MINTO, a parish, in the district of Jedburgh, county of Roxburgh; containing, with the hamlet of Hassendean, 455 inhabitants, of whom 90 are in the village of Minto, 5½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Hawick, and the remainder in the rural districts of the parish. This place, of which the name is of very questionable origin, is of considerable antiquity, and anciently formed part of the possessions of the powerful family of the Turnbulls, from whom it passed to the Riddells, and subsequently, by purchase, to Sir Gilbert Elliot, ancestor of Lord Minto, late first lord of the admiralty, its present proprietor. It comprises a great portion of the old parish of Hassendean, long since suppressed, and of which the church, with the larger part of the lands, was granted by David I. to the Bishop of Glasgow. The parish is nearly four miles in length, and about two miles and a half in breadth, and is bounded on the north by the parish of Lilliesleaf, on the east by the parish of Ancrum, on the south partly by the parish of Cavers and the river Teviot, and on the west by the parish of Wilton. The surface is broken by frequent undulations more or less bold, leaving but a very small proportion of level ground; the highest of the hills is about 900 feet above the level of the sea. They are richly covered with verdure; and a congeries of rocks forms a conspicuous ridge called the Minto Craigs, overhanging the vale of Teviot, to which, with their wooded summits, they give a character of peculiar beauty. The Craigs rise to a mean elevation of 700 feet, and adjacent are several small glens watered by rivulets descending from the higher grounds, and which in the winter months assume the velocity of torrents. One of these glens, near the western extremity of the parish, is strikingly beautiful, and has been tastefully laid out in walks, which lead to the different points of view from which its richest scenery is observed. Another, of narrower dimensions, is planted with evergreens of every variety; and the stream which flows through it, being intercepted in its progress by an artificial barrier, spreads into a beautiful sheet, from which the waters, issuing where they can find an outlet, form a very pleasing cascade. A pathway from this interesting glen leads to the Minto Craigs, the base of which is concealed by large masses of rock that have fallen from the heights at various times, and accumulated on the spot; and large projections from the craggy precipice threaten every moment to add to their number. Among these rugged heights are some intervals of level rock, said to have been the retreats of border chieftains; and on one of them are the ruins of an ancient tower, from which a highly romantic and boldly varied prospect is obtained.
   The soil is very various, though in some parts tolerably fertile, and the hills afford good pasturage for sheep and young cattle. The whole number of acres in the parish is estimated at 4500, of which nearly 2000 are arable, 1400 in permanent pasture, and about 800 in natural woods and plantations. The crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips; the system of agriculture is in an improved state, and the rotation plan of husbandry in use. Bone-dust has been introduced as manure; the lands have been well drained and inclosed, and the farm-buildings are generally substantial and well arranged. The sheep are of the Cheviot and Leicestershire breeds, and the cattle of the short-horned breed. The woods consist of oak, elm, ash, beech, and poplar, and the plantations are of Scotch, spruce, and silver firs, with larch, and various kinds of forest-trees intermixed; some of the larch-trees have attained to a remarkably fine growth, and of all the older timber there are numerous stately specimens. The woods and plantations are judiciously managed, and in a flourishing state. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4211.
   Minto House, the property of the Earl of Minto, is a spacious and elegant mansion, finely situated in an extensive demesne richly wooded, and abounding with picturesque and strikingly romantic scenery. Teviotbank House, recently erected, is a handsome mansion in the early English style of architecture, commanding many highly interesting views. The village is neatly built, and inhabited by persons chiefly employed in agricultural pursuits; it has a facility of communication with the neighbouring towns by good roads, which intersect the parish in various directions, and are kept in excellent repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Jedburgh and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. The stipend of the incumbent is £206: the manse, recently erected, is a very handsome and comfortable residence pleasantly situated, and the glebe is valued at £40 per annum. The church is an elegant and substantial edifice built in 1832, in the later English style of architecture, and is adapted for a congregation of 350 persons. The parochial school affords instruction to a considerable number of children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £25 per annum, to which may be added the interest of £100 bequeathed for the education of the poor. There are no remains of the church of Hassendean, the very site of which has been covered by encroachments of the river Teviot: of the ancient tower or stronghold of Hassendean only a slight vestige is left; and of the fortress of Minto nothing is left but the site, on which the present house has been erected. On the summit of the Craigs are the remains of an ancient peel called Fatlips Castle, supposed to have been a stronghold of the Turnbull family. When taking down the old church of Minto in 1831, under the foundation of one of the walls were discovered 400 silver coins of the reigns of Edward I., II., and III., of England, and some of the reigns of Alexander and Robert, Kings of Scotland.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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