- LANGTON, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 2½ miles (W. S. W.) from Dunse; containing, with the village of Gavinton, 479 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the ancient town, which was remarkable for its length of straggling houses, extending from the manor-house to the eastern extremity of the parish. From its situation on the confines, it was continually exposed to all the accidents of border warfare, and was frequently plundered by the English, and in 1558 burnt by the forces under the command of Sir Henry Percy and Sir George Bowes. In the reign of David I., the manor belonged to Roger de Ow, a Northumbrian, who granted the church, with its appendages, to the abbey of Kelso, to which establishment it was confirmed by William de Vipont, a subsequent proprietor of the lands. On the death of Sir William Vipont, who fell in the battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, the estates passed, by marriage with his daughter and heiress, to the family of Cockburn, of whom Alexander Cockburn, of Langton, was keeper of the great seal in the reigns of Robert II. and III., which office was annexed to the barony of Langton by charter of James IV. in 1504. In 1627, William Cockburn was created a baronet by Charles I.: his descendant, Sir Alexander Cockburn, was killed in the battle of Fontenoy. The lands continued in the family till the year 1758, when they were sold to David Gavin, Esq., who, finding the old town an obstacle to the improvements of his estate, granted the inhabitants a more eligible site, upon very advantageous terms: here they erected the present village, which they called after his name; and in a few years every vestige of the former town disappeared. With a trifling exception, the lands are now the property of the Dowager Marchioness of Breadalbane.The parish is above four miles and a half in length and three miles in breadth. The surface is extremely hilly, forming a portion of the Lammermoor range of heights, which in this district are called Langton Edge, and have an elevation of nearly 1000 feet above the level of the sea. The scenery, in numerous parts barren and rugged, is relieved by many features of natural beauty, and in some places enriched with wood; and several small streams run through the parish, of which the principal is Langton burn, a rivulet that rises in the hilly grounds, and flows into the Blackadder. A smaller stream passes near Langton Lees, between precipitous banks crowned with foliage, and in its course through Langton wood displays much beautiful and picturesque scenery. The soil in the higher parts is light, and unfit for cultivation; in the lower lands, richer, and of greater fertility. The whole number of acres is estimated at 7000, of which about 4000, lying chiefly in the Lammermoor hills, are appropriated to the pasture of sheep; 2600 are arable, and 400 acres woods and plantations. The system of agriculture is advanced, and generally the five-shift course is practised; the crops are, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips. The lands are well drained and inclosed; the farm-houses and offices are substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry are in use. The sheep are of the Leicestershire and Cheviot breeds, with a few of the black-faced; the cattle are almost all of the short-horned or Teeswater breed. The woods are chiefly oak, ash, elm, beech, and plane; and the plantations, larch, and Scotch and spruce firs, intermixed with various kinds of forest-trees, all carefully managed, and in a very thriving state. Langton House, the property and occasional residence of the dowager marchioness, is a handsome seat, the grounds of which are tastefully laid out, and have recently been greatly improved. The village of Gavinton is neatly built, and pleasantly situated: facility of communication with Dunse, the nearest market-town, and with other places in the vicinity, is maintained by roads kept in excellent order. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5980.The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviotdale: patroness, the Dowager Marchioness of Breadalbane. The stipend of the incumbent is £215; the manse, erected in 1767, and repaired and enlarged by the late marquess in 1819, is a comfortable residence, and the glebe comprises ten acres of profitable land, valued at £24 per annum. The ancient church, of which the date is not distinctly known, was situated near Langton House, and was in use till the year 1798, when the present church was erected in the village of Gavinton; it is a neat edifice in good repair, and adapted for a congregation of 250 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school, also in the village of Gavinton, is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £20 per annum. A parochial library is supported by subscription; it contains a good collection of works on divinity, history, and biography. A friendly society, also, has been for some years established, which has tended to diminish the number of the poor on the parish list; and the liberal assistance afforded by the marchioness to industrious families in times of difficulty has greatly contributed to preserve a spirit of independence among the labouring classes. On the hill near Raecleugh Head are traces of a Danish camp, of which the ditches are still tolerably entire; and at a place called Camp Muir near Choice Lee, where a regiment was stationed after the rebellion in 1715, are traces of the military works thrown up on that occasion. Upon Crumstane hill was a large cairn, on the removal of which, in 1792, were found several urns of different dimensions, containing human bones, but without any inscription; various stone coffins were also discovered on the lands of Middlefield and Crease. In 1813 was found, in a small streamlet flowing through a spot called the Battle-Muir, a bracelet of gold, nine inches in circumference, and which weighed nearly ten ounces.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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