POLWARTH, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 4 miles (S. W.) from Dunse; containing 260 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are in the village, and the remainder in the rural districts. This place once formed part of the estates of the Marchmont family, whose ancestor, Sir Patrick Hume, during the period of religious persecution was compelled to seek for safety in a vault under the church, where he remained in concealment, attended by his daughter, lady Grizzel Baillie, through whose assistance he was eventually enabled to make his escape into Holland, where he stayed till the era of the Revolution. After his return to his native land, he was successively created lord Polwarth and earl of Marchmont, which titles continued in the family till the time of Hugh, the third earl, in whose person they became extinct, and on whose demise the estates passed to the family of Sir Hugh Purves Hume Campbell, Bart., the present proprietor. The parish, which is situated nearly in the centre of the county, is of triangular form, about three miles in length and two miles in extreme breadth; and comprises 3052 acres, of which 1540 are arable, 400 woods and plantations, 1030 heathy moorland and moss, and eighty-two roads, fences, and homesteads. The surface is varied, rising by gentle undulations from the east to Kyleshill, an eminence of moderate elevation near the western extremity; the scenery is pleasing, and enriched with thriving plantations and clusters of trees, which, crowning the heights, have a very interesting appearance. The soil is various, but generally not unfertile; in some parts, of a light sandy quality, intermixed with clay; in others gravel; and in some places almost a sterile moor. The crops are, oats, barley, a few acres of wheat, potatoes, and turnips; the lands have been much improved by a judicious system of agriculture; and a considerable portion of old grass land, divided into portions of from ten to thirty acres, and inclosed, is let for very high rents to farmers who want additional pastures for live-stock. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to the income-tax returns, is £1829.
   The woods, of which there is a moderate extent, consist of the ordinary kinds of trees; and the plantations, which are well kept and in a thriving condition, are Scotch and spruce firs, with a due variety of forest-trees. The chief substrata are sandstone of the new and old red formation, the former prevailing in the southern, and the latter in the northern districts; Kyleshill is formed of a compact reddish porphyry, thickly interspersed with crystals of felspar. Marchmont House, the seat of Sir Hugh Campbell, is a handsome mansion erected by the last earl of Marchmont, and is pleasantly situated in an ample demesne embellished with some stately timber and with young plantations. The village, in which the greater portion of the population reside, is not well situated; but it is neatly built, consisting of small clusters of houses in detached spots, and, from the portions of land and garden-ground attached to each of the houses, has a very pleasing and rural aspect. It is inhabited chiefly by persons employed in agricultural pursuits, and in the various handicraft trades requisite for the supply of the parish. In the centre of the villagegreen are two thorn-trees marking out the spot for the ancient celebration of festivities, for which this place was renowned. Facility of intercourse is maintained by the line of road from Dunse, the nearest market-town, to Edinburgh, which intersects the parish; and by good private roads kept in repair by statute labour. Polwarth is in the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviotdale: the minister's stipend is £194. 16., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £19 per annum; patron, Sir Hugh Campbell. The church, pleasantly situated within the demesne of Marchmont House, appears to have been originally erected prior to the 9th century, and rebuilt in 1703, upon the ancient foundation; it is a neat edifice, and beneath it is the vault of the Marchmont family, in which Sir Patrick Hume was concealed. The parochial school affords instruction to about fifty children; the master has a salary of £31, with £15 fees, and a house and garden. Each of the poor on the parish list has a house and garden rent free, given by the late Sir W. P. H. Campbell, who also bequeathed £25 per annum for the relief of the poor.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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