Stobo

   STOBO, a parish, in the county of Peebles, 6 miles (W. S. W.) from Peebles; containing 465 inhabitants. This parish, which was considerably increased by the addition of part of the parish of Dawick, on its suppression in 1742, is seven miles in length and five miles and three-quarters in extreme breadth. It is bounded on the east and west by the Lyne and Biggar waters, and comprises 12,583 acres, of which 1255 are arable, 587 woodland and plantations, and 10,741 hill pasture, moorland, and waste, of which about 800 acres might at a moderate expense be brought into profitable cultivation. The surface is divided, by three ranges of hills from north to south, into valleys watered by streams tributary to the Tweed, which intersects the parish. Of the hills forming these ranges, the most considerable are, the Pyked Stane, which has an elevation of 1884 feet; the Benvalla, which has an elevation of 1850; the Binliga, of 1692, and the Flint hill, which has an elevation of 1621 feet, above the level of the sea. The Tweed traverses the parish for nearly seven miles, and in its course receives the waters of the Biggar and the Lyne; the Stobo burn has its rise near the base of the Pyked-Stane, and, after a course of about five miles through the parish, falls into the Tweed. Good trout are found in the Tweed and Lyne; and in the former, salmon also. The soil is various, but chiefly light and gravelly; on the northern parts of the hills, and generally at the base, a stiff clay; and in the meadows on the banks of the Tweed, a rich and fertile loam intermixed with sand. The crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is improved; the lands are well drained, and inclosed with stone dykes; the farm houses and offices, substantial and well arranged; and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been adopted. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of sheep and cattle, for which the hills afford good pasturage: the chief breed of sheep is the Cheviot, with a few of the black-faced; and the cattle are mostly of the old breed, which in some instances has been recently improved by a cross of the Teeswater and Ayrshire.
   The woods and plantations are well managed, and in a thriving condition. The substrata are chiefly whinstone and clay-slate: the latter has been extensively quarried for many years; the slate is of good quality, and very similar to that found in the county of Argyll. The whinstone has been merely wrought where it occurs near the surface, and only for materials for making inclosures. Stobo Castle, for many years the residence of the late Sir James Montgomery, Bart., is a handsome modern mansion, of whinstone with ornaments of freestone. The nearest market-town is Peebles, with which facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in good repair, and by convenient bridges over the various streams. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3367. It is in the presbytery of Peebles, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and patronage of Sir Graham Montgomery: the minister's stipend is £158. 6. 7., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £42; he has also ten bolls of meal, the proceeds of one-half of the glebe of Dawick. The church is an ancient structure in the early English style of architecture, and has been adapted for a congregation of 200 persons. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £32 per annum, with £28 fees, and a house and garden. The poor are partly supported by the interest arising from a fund of £545, which has accumulated from the balances of collections. On a moor in the parish, which was formerly appropriated to the mustering of the militia of Tweeddale by the sheriff, and which still retains the name of Sheriffsmuir, are two upright stones three feet in height, and about six feet distant from each other, which are thought to mark the grave of some chief who fell in an engagement here. There are also some cairns or heaps of stones, supposed to have been raised over the tombs of distinguished persons; and in a circular cavity about 250 feet in circumference, were interred, it is said, the bodies of men slain in battle; but there are no authentic records of any such event having taken place. Lord Chief Baron Montgomery, of Her Majesty's Exchequer in Scotland, who contributed greatly to the improvement of the lands and the agriculture of the parish, was interred in the family burial-place in the churchyard, in 1803. His son, Sir James Montgomery, the second baronet, already alluded to, having been bred to the bar, was appointed lord-advocate of Scotland, which office, however, he resigned two years after, in 1806; he died in the year 1839, and was succeeded by Sir Graham, the present baronet.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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