Longformacus and Ellim

   LONGFORMACUS and ELLIM, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 7 miles (W. N. W.) from Dunse; containing 390 inhabitants. The name of this place has been variously written at different periods, and its derivation is involved in much obscurity. In 1384, it is called Longfordmakehouse in a charter by the Earl of Orkney to his cousin "James de Santæ Clairo;" while, in a charter of 1395, the lands of Lochirmackehous are conveyed by the Earl of March to James Sinclair. In 1505, the spelling had changed to Lochirmacus, which form it kept till about 1556, when it assumed its present form of Longformacus. The name of Ellim has also been spelt differently, sometimes being written Ellim, and at other times Elm and Ellem: its derivation, too, is uncertain, like that of Longformacus. These two parishes, on account of their proximity, were united on the 18th of February 1712, when the population of Longformacus was 200, and that of Ellim 100. There are no striking historical events; but notices of many severe conflicts are handed down by tradition as having taken place in this district, which, on account of its situation, was involved in the border warfare. The name of Main, or Man-slaughter, Law is given to a hill in the neighbourhood, where a bloody battle is said to have been fought in 1402, between the Earl of Dunbar and Hepburn of Hailes; and a large heap of stones at Byrecleugh, called the "Mutiny Stones," about 240 feet long, mark the spot or vicinity of some severe encounter the particulars of which are unknown. There being a place here of the name of Otterburn, the supposition has been hazarded that this parish was the scene of the contest between Douglas and Hotspur, fought in the year 1388.
   The parish is about twelve miles in length, from east to west, and eight miles in breadth, and contains 21,350 acres, of which 2200 are cultivated, 18,800 uncultivated, and 350 under plantation. It lies at the extremity of the county, and is bounded on the north by the Lammermoor hills, which separate it from the parish of Whittingham, in Haddingtonshire: it has on the south the parishes of Langton, Greenlaw, and Westruther; on the east, Dunse and Abbey St. Bathan's; and on the west, the parish of Lauder. A part of the parish, about two miles long and one and a half broad, called Blackerstone, which belonged to the old parish of Ellim, is locally situated in, and insulated by, the parish of Abbey St. Bathan's: this portion is eight miles distant from the church. The surface of the parish, in its general appearance, is hilly, being situated near the great Lammermoor ridge; and is mostly covered with heath, and traversed by large flocks of sheep. But, though the hills are uncultivated, some of them, such as the two Dirrington Laws, which are conical in form, are of great beauty; and one of the two rises 1145 feet in height. The most elevated part of the parish, however, is Meikle Cese, or Sayrs Law, in the line of division between Berwickshire and East Lothian, and which is nearly 1500 feet high. The climate, on account of the peculiar situation, and in many parts lofty site, of the district, is cold and piercing, but by no means unhealthy. The lands are watered by the rivers Whiteadder and Dye, the former of which cuts the northern boundary of the parish at Duddy Law: the Dye is a tributary to the Whiteadder, and the Whiteadder to the Tweed; and both are good trouting streams.
   Though the farm-houses are generally in indifferent repair, the system of husbandry is tolerably advanced; and the crops usually produced are, barley, oats, turnips, potatoes, rye-grass, and clover. Some of the grain and of the potatoes is sent to the markets of Haddington, Dunbar, and Berwick. Near the village of Longformacus, plantations have been made to a considerable extent, especially in the immediate neighbourhood of the Mansion House, the seat of the principal heritor, John Home Home, Esq., where are some elm and ash trees of very striking appearance. On the lands of Blackerstone, also, at the Retreat, planting has been extensively carried on. The sheep pastured amount to about 9000 or 10,000, two-thirds of which are of the Cheviot breed; 100 scores are the black-faced, and fifty scores half Leicesters. The cattle are the common breed of the county, but not of so fine a quality as those in the southern districts. There is a vein of copper-ore in the place where the old church of Ellim stood; it has at different times been partially worked, but without success. An English company, not many years ago, renewed the attempt upon a larger scale; but it was shortly abandoned, the ore not being sufficiently rich and plentiful to cover the expenses. A vein of superior quality, however, is supposed to exist in the same neighbourhood. The rateable annual value of the parish is returned at £3788.
   The only village is Longformacus: there are two main roads running through the parish, one from Haddington to Coldstream, and the other from East Lothian to Dunse; but both are very indifferent. The cross-roads, also, are in a bad state, the money for their repair, which is levied upon twenty ploughs, the estimated number kept, being found altogether insufficient for the purpose. The Duke of Roxburghe has a shooting or fishing cottage here; as have Lord Somerville, on the Dye water; the Earl of Wemyss, at the Retreat; and Mr. Smith, at Rigfoot. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, Mr. Home Home. The stipend of the minister is £222, with a manse, which stands about three-quarters of a mile from the church, and was built about twenty-seven years ago. The glebe consists of twelve acres of excellent land, and there is a right of pasturage for forty sheep on the farm adjoining the old church of Ellim, which privilege is in lieu of a glebe for that parish; the minister has, however, commuted this privilege for £11 per annum. The church, a plain, long, narrow structure, was built above a century and a half ago; it has lately been repaired, and is in good order. It accommodates 200 persons with seats, and is conveniently situated, although, from the angles and curvatures of the boundaries of the parishes in this portion of the county, which in many parts shoot into and intersect each other, the congregations of this and neighbouring churches are frequently composed of persons belonging to several different parishes. There is a parochial school, in which the usual branches of education are taught; the master has the maximum salary, with about £10 fees, and the legal allowance of house and garden. The poor have the interest of £100. In the Lammermoor district are several heaps of stones, or cairns, the evidences of ancient conflicts; and on the sheep-farm of Byrecleugh, belonging to the Duke of Roxburghe, is one, already referred to, 240 feet long, of irregular breadth and height, but where broadest seventy-five feet, and where highest eighteen feet. The stones of this must have been brought from a crag at least half a mile distant.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ellim —    ELLIM, county of Berwick.    See Longformacus and Ellim …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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