Roberton

   1) ROBERTON, a village, in the parish of Wiston and Roberton, Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 2¼ miles (S. S. W.) from the village of Wiston; containing 201 inhabitants. This village is pleasantly situated in the south-eastern quarter of the parish, and is chiefly inhabited by persons employed in agriculture, and in the various trades requisite for the supply of the vicinity. There is a place of worship for members of the Relief, of which the minister derives his income from the rents of the seats and the contributions of his congregation; and the parochial school of Roberton, formerly a separate parish, is still kept here.
   2) ROBERTON, a parish, partly in the county of Selkirk, but chiefly in the district of Hawick, county of Roxburgh, 3 miles (W.) from Hawick; containing 757 inhabitants, of whom about 100 are in the village of Deanburnhaugh. This place is distinguished by few events of historical importance. It was, however, the chief residence of the family of the Scotts of Harden, who at one time bore the title of earls of Tarras; and during the border warfare it was signalized by many predatory exploits of Walter of Harden, a well-known and formidable border chieftain, of whose castle there are still some interesting remains. It is said that, on his return from an expedition into the neighbouring districts, he brought home an infant who was fostered by a descendant of the family of Scott, known by the appellation of the Flower of Yarrow, and at that time Lady of Harden; and that the child afterwards became eminent as a bard, and was the author of the most admired and popular of the border songs. The parish is about thirteen miles in length and nearly five miles in breadth, and comprises 30,550 acres, of which about 2000 are arable, 550 woodland and plantations, and the remainder rough pasture and waste. The surface is broken by hills of bold elevation, of which the most lofty are those of Craickmoor, the Culm or Coom, and the Criblaw of Craick, the last of conical form; but none of them exceed the height of 1300 feet above the level of the sea. A range of hills intersects the parish from north to south; and two chains of less elevation branch off from it in an eastern direction, including between them the vale of Borthwick, watered by the river of that name. The lower lands are beautifully diversified with lakes, of which Alemoor, a fine sheet of water of circular form, is the source of the river Ale. Hellmoor lake, of less depth, but of much greater extent, is partly in the parish; and to the west is Moodlaw lake, equally divided between the parishes of Roberton, Eskdalemuir, and Ettrick, and in the centre of which the respective counties of Roxburgh, Dumfries, and Selkirk unite. The river of Borthwick has its source in the hills to the west, and, after a rapid course to the eastward for nearly thirteen miles, flows into the Tiviot about two miles west of Hawick. Most of the lakes abound with perch, pike, and eels; and in those in which there are no pike, trout of excellent quality are found in great plenty.
   The soil is of good quality in the vale of Borthwick; upon the acclivities, which in some places are rather precipitous, it is thinner, and gravelly; and towards the summits of the hills, which are generally flat, it is wet and boggy. The system of agriculture is improved, and the five-shift course generally prevalent. The prevailing kinds of timber are, larch, spruce, and Scotch fir; but there is also a considerable quantity of oak, ash, elm, beech, and plane, and the number of these is progressively increasing. The common breeds of cattle are the shorthorned and the Highland Kyloe. Vast numbers of sheep are bred, the chief of which are the Cheviot crossed with the Leicestershire, which are found profitable for the butcher, and in the weight and quality of the fleece; there are also a portion of the black-faced hirsel kind. The number of sheep of all kinds reared and fed is little less than 20,000; and within the last few years, considerable numbers of Kyloes, bought at the Falkirk fairs, are pastured in common with the sheep during the winter. The farm-buildings are generally good, and many of the farm-houses are spacious and handsome: the fences in the lower lands are hedges, and in the higher grounds stone walls; both kept in good order. Lime and bone-dust, the chief manures, have been introduced with much benefit to the lands; and among other improvements are the sheep-drains, which have also been productive of great advantage. The substratum of the parish is mostly the greywacke rocks; ironstone is also found in some parts; and beneath the mosses, which are extensive, shell-marl and peat are found in abundance. Decayed trees are often discovered imbedded in the moss, and also the horns of deer and other animals. The chief fuel is peat; and coal is also obtained, at a moderate price, and in sufficient quantity. About one-half of the lands are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, and the remainder divided among several proprietors: the rateable annual value of the parish is £6395. Chisholme, Borthwickbrae, Hoscoat, and Borthwickshiels are handsome modern residences embellished with thriving plantations. Harden, the property of Hugh Scott, Esq., is a venerable mansion, which retains a little of its former magnificence, and some vestiges of its ancient fortifications. The ceiling of the old hall is still partly embellished with stucco; and the mantel-piece in one of the rooms is decorated with an earl's coronet and the cipher "W. E. T.", that is, Walter, Earl of Tarras. In front of the house is a deep glen, into which were driven the cattle that were carried off by the chieftains during the wars of the border.
   This place seems to have been erected into a parish about the year 1650, and consists of parts of the former parishes of Hawick, Selkirk, Wilton, and Hassendean. It is in the presbytery of Selkirk and synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £205. 12. 9., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £18 per annum. The glebe-lands are intersected by the boundary line between Roxburgh and Selkirk, and the minister has a vote for each of those counties. The church, from an inscription bearing date 1659, appears to have been erected when the parish was constituted; it is in good repair, and adapted to a congregation of 250 persons. The parochial school, for which a handsome schoolroom, and a residence for the master, have been recently built by the heritors, affords an excellent education to a considerable number of scholars; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £24 fees, and a garden. Remains of ancient camps are found in various parts of the parish, some of which are square, and others of elliptical form. Of these the largest and most complete is on the farm of Broadlee, in the west of the parish; another is on that of Highchesters, in a most commanding situation; there are also two on the farm of Todshawhill, and one called Camp Castle on the lands of Borthwickshiels. In one, a ball weighing one and a half pound was found; and in another, some daggers in a very decayed condition. The remains of an old chapel may still be seen on the farm of Chapelhill, where a curate from Hassendean used to officiate; and also at Borthwickbrae, the cemetery of which is still the chief burying-place of the parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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