Stitchell and Hume

   STITCHELL and HUME, two ancient parishes now united, the former in the district of Kelso, county of Roxburgh, and the latter in the county of Berwick; containing together 847 inhabitants, of whom 161 are in the village of Stitchell, 4 miles (N. by W.) from Kelso. The district of Stitchell, which is situated on the north-eastern boundary of Roxburghshire, is supposed to have derived its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "a declivity," from the elevated site of the village at a height of more than 600 feet above the level of the Tweed at Kelso. Towards the close of the 16th century, the lands of Stitchell came into the possession of Robert Pringle, whose grandson, Robert, was created a baronet by Charles II., in 1683; and they are still the property of his descendant, the present Sir John Pringle, Bart. The district of Hume, which adjoins Stitchell on the north, appears to have derived its name, originally Home, from its ancient proprietors, the Homes, descended from the earls of Dunbar and March, and who, in 1605, were raised to the peerage by the title of Earls of Home, which their descendants still retain. The ancient castle of Home, the baronial residence of the family for many generations, and the picturesque ruins of which are seated on the summit of a hill nearly 900 feet above the level of the sea, is intimately connected with many events of historical importance. According to tradition, when James II. went to the siege of Roxburgh, he placed his queen in the castle of Home for greater security; and it is said that, in one of her daily walks to join the king, she was met by a messenger from Roxburgh who informed her of James's death by the bursting of a cannon. This melancholy intelligence, abruptly communicated, is reported to have instantaneously produced the premature birth of a child, of which the queen was delivered on a hill in the neighbourhood, which from that event has since been called the "Queen's Cairn." During the border warfare, the castle was for many years a place of defence for the surrounding districts; and in 1547 it was besieged by the English forces under the Duke of Somerset, against whom it was for a long time valiantly sustained by Lady Home, after the death of her husband, who had been killed a few days before in a general engagement with the enemy. At length the garrison capitulated on honourable terms, and the castle was surrendered to the duke; but in 1549 it was retaken by the Scots, who put the English to the sword. During the sway of Cromwell, the castle was again besieged by the English, under Colonel Fenwick, whom the usurper, after the capture of Edinburgh Castle, had sent to summon the garrison to surrender. The governor, whose name was Cockburn, received the summons in a spirit of contemptuous defiance; but the army of Cromwell, having brought a battery to bear upon the walls, soon made a breach; and the governor, after stipulating for the lives of the garrison, surrendered the castle to the assailants. Of the original buildings, only some trifling fragments are now remaining; the area inclosed by the exterior wall has been converted into a garden, and few traces of the vaults are discernible.
   The parish is bounded on the west by the water of Eden, which separates it from the parish of Nenthorn; and is from five to six miles in length, and from three to four miles in breadth, comprising about 5500 acres, of which the whole are arable, with the exception of fifty acres of woodland and plantations and 300 waste. The surface rises gradually from the south towards the north, where it attains an elevation of more than 600 feet above the level of the sea; and towards the western boundary is the hill on which the ruins of Home Castle are situated. The water of Eden, which bounds the parish for about a mile and a half, forms in its course a picturesque cascade, falling from a rock near Newton-Donhouse, forty feet in height: the stream abounds with trout, affording good sport to the angler. The soil is generally strong, in some parts clayey, and on the whole fertile, producing crops of grain of all kinds, for which it is well adapted, and the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is in a very improved state, and the lands under excellent cultivation; the farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged, and the inclosures kept in good repair. The cattle reared in the parish are of a larger size than the usual breed on the north of the Tweed, the late Sir Robert Pringle having introduced, and for several years maintained, a regular supply of bulls from Holland. The sheep are of the customary English breeds, and are noted for the fineness of their wool: during the winter they are mostly fed upon turnips. The grain and other agricultural produce are principally sold at Kelso, whence considerable numbers of cattle and sheep are sent for the supply of the southern markets. The plantations, which are mainly of modern growth, consist of firs, interspersed with the usual varieties of forest-trees, and, though by no means extensive, are generally in a thriving state. The substrata are principally whinstone, of which the rocks are all composed; and at a place near Hardie's Mill, in the district of Hume, is a rising ground called Lurgie Craigs, in which are some polygonal columns of basaltic formation, from five to six feet in height, and about seventeen inches in diameter, closely resembling those of the Giant's Causeway. The rateable annual value of Stitchell is £4033, and of Hume £4011. Stitchell House, the property of Sir John Pringle, a spacious and handsome mansion, situated in a well-planted demesne to the west of the village, is the only seat. The village of Stitchell is neatly built, and inhabited chiefly by persons employed in agricultural pursuits: the small hamlet of Hume, which contains only about thirty inhabitants, derives its only importance from its proximity to the ancient castle. The ecclesiastical affairs of Stitchell and Hume, which, though united in other respects, separately maintain their own poor, are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Kelso and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. The minister's stipend is £219. 14. 7., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £27 per annum; patrons, the Crown, and Sir H. P. H. Campbell, Bart. The church, situated in the village of Stitchell, is a substantial structure, in good repair, and affording ample accommodation for the parishioners. There is a place of worship for members of the United Secession. Two parochial schools, one in the village of Stitchell, and the other in Hume, are attended by about ninety children each: the masters have each a salary of £25, with a house and garden, and fees varying from £20 to £25 annually; each has also £2. 10. from an ancient bequest for the gratuitous instruction of children. The late Sir W. Campbell bequeathed £25 per annum to be distributed in meal and coal to the poor. Sir John Pringle, Bart., president of the Royal Society, was a native of Stitchell; Hume, or Home, gives the title of Earl to the family of Home.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hume —    HUME.    See Stitchell and Hume …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Gordon —    GORDON, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 8½ miles (N. W.) from Kelso; containing 903 inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from the Gaelic word Goirtean, signifying a little farm or field, probably in reference to a particular… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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