- SPROUSTON, a parish, in the district of Kelso, county of Roxburgh; containing, with the village of Lempitlaw, 1439 inhabitants, of whom 420 are in the village of Sprouston, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Kelso. This place, of which the name is of uncertain derivation, is of considerable antiquity, and appears to have formed part of the endowment of the Abbey of Kelso in the year 1128. From its situation near the border, it participated in the hostilities of the border warfare, and was destroyed about the year 1540 by the invading army under the Duke of Norfolk, which laid waste many towns and villages on the river Tweed. The village seems to have been anciently of much greater extent than at present, and foundations of old houses are said to have been discovered by the plough in the lands above the Scurry rock, to which place it originally extended in that direction. The parish is bounded on the north by the Tweed, and on the east by the county of Northumberland; it is about four miles in length and nearly of equal breadth, and comprises 8207 acres, of which 7130 are arable, 130 woodland and plantations, and the remainder rough pasture and waste. The surface is broken by the heights of Haddenrig, which traverse the parish nearly in the centre, in a direction from north-east to south-west, and by those of Lempit-Law, which extend along the southern extremity; both ridges are of gradual ascent, and between them is an extensive valley, which, though generally fertile, contains some portion of marshy land. The soil on the banks of the river, a rich black loam, is luxuriantly fertile, and in a very good state of cultivation; in the higher parts of the parish it is generally of a clayey nature, but on some portions of Haddenrig poor and unproductive. The crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is highly improved; the lands have been well drained, and inclosed; the farm-buildings are mostly substantial and commodious, and many of them of very superior order; and the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. The plantations are chiefly of fir, and are judiciously managed and in a thriving state. The sheep fed in the parish are usually of the Leicestershire breed, and great attention is paid to the management of livestock generally.Freestone of excellent quality was formerly abundant, and about half a mile from the village a quarry was extensively worked; the stone was much esteemed for building, and was used in the erection of Kelso bridge, and of Abbotsford. On its being exhausted, a new quarry was opened, of which the stone is of inferior quality, and is not extensively worked. Upon the river is a salmon-fishery, the rent of which, including also a ferry, produces a little more than £70 per annum to the proprietors. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,561. The village of Sprouston is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Tweed, and contains about one hundred cottages, inhabited chiefly by persons employed in agriculture and in the several trades which are carried on for the supply of the inhabitants of the parish. It possesses facility of communication with Kelso, the nearest market-town, and with other places in the district, by good roads kept in order by statute labour, and by the turnpike roads from Carham to Cornhill and to Wooler. The parish is in the presbytery of Kelso, synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Duke of Roxburghe: the minister's stipend is £243. 3. 8., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £25 per annum. The church, erected in 1781, and repaired in 1845, is a plain, neat, and substantial edifice situated on an eminence nearly in the centre of the village, and is adapted for a congregation of 500 persons. The members of the Free Church have no place of worship. The parochial school affords a liberal education to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £30, with £40 fees, a house, and garden. There is a school at Hadden, which has a small endowment given by Lady Ker, and an allowance of £10 a year from the heritors; the master has the remainder of his income from the fees. There is also a school at Lempitlaw, partly supported by the heritors. Hadden-Stank and Redden-burn are frequently noticed in the histories of the border warfare, as places for the frequent meetings of the commissioners on both sides appointed for adjusting the boundaries of the two kingdoms, and for the settlement of the various disputes which arose during those unsettled times. Haddenrig is distinguished as the site of a sanguinary conflict between the Scottish forces and a body of English cavalry consisting of 3000 troops, in which the latter were defeated. Part of the ancient church of Lempitlaw, which was originally a separate parish, was till within the last few years remaining; but the ruins have been totally removed at different times, to furnish materials for building and for other uses. The churchyard, however, is still used as a burying-place by the inhabitants of that district of the parish.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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