Morebattle and Mow
- MOREBATTLE and MOW, a parish in the district of Kelso, county of Roxburgh; containing 1051 inhabitants, of whom 365 are in the village, 7½ miles (S. S. E.) from Kelso. The name of Morebattle is supposed to have been derived from the Saxon words Mere, "a marsh," and Botl, "a hamlet," descriptive of its state in former times, when it seems to have been to a considerable extent under water. The name of Mow has been traced to the ancient British word Moel, which signifies "bare" or "naked," and it is also descriptive of the appearance of the district to which it is applied. Few events of importance are recorded in connexion with the parish; but it contains some circular rows of stones called the Trysting-stones, and on the heights are traces of encampments which, like similar antiquities in many neighbouring places, indicate the scene of military operations of the particulars of which we are altogether ignorant. There is also a tower or fort called Whitton, now nearly in ruins, which was demolished by the Earl of Surrey in the reign of Henry VIII., on the occasion of his making an inroad into this part of the country. Another fort, called Corbet-House Tower, was burnt in 1522 by the English, who were then plundering the banks of the Kale and Beaumont, in retaliation for a marauding expedition of the Scots into Northumberland, of which Launcelot Ker, of Gateshaw, had been one of the leaders. This tower was repaired and renewed about thirty years ago by the late Sir Charles Ker.The length of the parish from north to south is about nine and a half miles, and its breadth from east to west six miles; it contains 23,000 acres. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Yetholm and Linton; on the south by Northumberland and Hownam parish; on the east by part of Yetholm and by Northumberland; and on the west by Hownam, Eckford, and Linton. The surface is diversified throughout by hill and valley, the parish extending to the summit of the Cheviot range; and the lands exhibit the usual features of mountain scenery. The principal hills are, part of the Cheviots, the Curr, the Schell, the Whitelaw, Percy hill, Woodside hill, and Clifton hill, the last of which rises majestically with its well-rounded top from the eastern side of the valley of Beaumont. These hills vary in height from 500 to upwards of 2000 feet, and are covered in general with rich verdure. Some of them, especially the Cheviot range, command beautiful prospects of the counties of Northumberland, Berwick, and Roxburgh, with the German Ocean on the east, and on the west and south the mountainous tract stretching from Westmorland to the sources of the Clyde and the Tweed.The circle embraced by the eye from the Grubit hills, though not so extensive as that from some others, is more picturesque and striking, and crowded with wellarranged and interesting objects standing in the midst of a wide field of the most attractive scenery. The fine vales of the Kale and the Beaumont lie at the base of this eminence, and are studded with the pleasant villages of Yetholm and Morebattle, the Primside and Linton lochs, the romantic church of Linton, the wooded villas of Marlfield and Clifton Park, the celebrated ruins of Cessford Castle, the tower of Corbet House, and many cheerful farm-houses with their neighbouring and peaceful cottages. The distant perspective includes on the one side the lofty range of the Cheviots, and on the other the district of Merse, ornamented with many seats of the gentry, the rich vale of the Teviot, and the windings of the Tweed, with other interesting objects, the back-ground terminated by the hills of Lammermoor and Selkirkshire. Wood is wanting generally throughout the parish, and in several places waste patches prominently appear; but some of these have been recently cultivated and planted, and it is expected that this description of improvement will now make gradual progress. The climate is dry and salubrious, except in the higher parts, where, on account of the peculiar character of the land, the winters are severe and stormy. The chief rivers are the Kale and the Beaumont, both of which rise in the Cheviot range. At the close of autumn, salmon from the Teviot and Tweed ascend the Kale for the purpose of spawning, and great numbers are killed in the night by torch-light: the streams also abound in excellent trout. The lochs are those of Yetholm and Linton, but only parts of them are in this parish.The soil in general is light, and well adapted to turnip husbandry, which prevails to a considerable extent. The higher lands are in pasture; but the lower are under tillage, and produce, besides turnips, much barley and oats, with a small quantity of wheat: the five-years' rotation is usually followed, in which case the land remains for two years in grass; but in the four-years' shift it lies in grass only one year. Dung produced on the farm, lime, and guano are the manures chiefly used; and the last of these has vastly multiplied the turnip crops, the larger part of which are eaten off the ground by the sheep, which thus supply a sufficient manuring for the remaining years of the rotation. The cattle are mostly of the short-horned or Teeswater breed; and the sheep are mainly the Cheviots and the Leicesters, the former kept on the higher grounds, and the latter on the lower: there is also a cross between these two breeds on some of the farms. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,388. The village stands on an eminence on the banks of the Kale: the houses, formerly consisting of only one story, with a thatched roof, are now principally of two stories, and covered with slate. A small common near it was divided among the inhabitants about forty years ago by consent of the Marquess of Tweeddale, of whom the houses are held on lease; it has since been inclosed and cultivated, and now produces good crops, to the great advantage of the villagers. The whole population of the parish are employed in agricultural pursuits and in the domestic trades required by the neighbourhood. Coal is the fuel used, but being brought from a distance of seventeen or eighteen miles, is procured only at considerable expense. A turnpike-road passes through the village, communicating with the Kelso and Jedburgh road on the west, and running to Northumberland on the east.The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Kelso and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, the Duke of Roxburghe. The stipend of the minister is £235, with a large manse, and a glebe of eleven acres of good land: the house is badly constructed, but has lately undergone considerable repairs. The church, situated on the north side of the village, was built in 1750, and seats 450 persons: it was originally dedicated to St. Lawrence, from whom a well below the churchyard is still called Lawrie's well. There are places of worship belonging to the Free Church and United Secession. Two parochial schools are maintained, in which are taught mathematics and Latin, with all the usual branches of an ordinary education. The master of the school at Morebattle has the maximum salary, with about £30 fees, and a house and garden; and the master of the other school, which is situated at Mowhaugh, on Beaumont water, has a salary of £17, with about £10 fees, and the allowance of house and garden. There is also a parochial library containing nearly 700 volumes. About eighty-five years since, £1500 were left by Mr. Moir, a native of the parish, for the support and education of indigent orphans. Thomson, the author of the Seasons, occasionally resided in the parish, at Wideopen, the property of his maternal uncle.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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