Traquair

   TRAQUAIR, a parish, in the county of Peebles, 8 miles (S. E.) from Peebles; containing 682 inhabitants. This place, of which the name is supposed to be a modification of Strath-Quair, or "the Valley of the river Quair," is not distinguished by many incidents of historical importance: the Marquess of Montrose, however, is said to have rested here, at the house of the Earl of Traquair, on the night after the battle of Philiphaugh. In 1674, the greater portion of the ancient parish of Kailzie, which was at that time suppressed, was united to this parish, and the remainder to the parish of Innerleithen. Traquair is situated in the eastern portion of the county, and bounded on the north by the river Tweed; it is about eight miles in length from east to west, and five miles in breadth, and comprises 17,600 acres, of which 3000 are arable, 600 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hilly moorland and sheep pastures. The surface is very hilly, with some tracts of valley on the banks of the Tweed and the Quair. The hills in some parts attain a mountainous elevation; the highest are, Minchmoor, nearly 2300 feet above the level of the sea, situated in the eastern part of the parish, and Gumscleugh, in the west, which is about 2500 feet high, and was selected as one of the stations for carrying on the trigonometrical survey of Great Britain. The other hills, though rather steep, are not of very great height, and afford good pasturage for sheep. Among the hills, near Gumscleugh, are the banks of Glendean, forming a strikingly romantic chasm between rocks of nearly perpendicular elevation, which extend for more than half a mile on both sides. The lands are intersected by numerous streams, of which the Quair is the principal; it has its source within the parish, through which it flows for five or six miles, receiving in its devious course many streamlets and burns, whereof the Glengaber and the Glenlude are the most considerable. Other burns fall into the Tweed near the eastern extremity of the parish. This river contains abundance of salmon at certain seasons, but, from so long a run, they are seldom of good quality; trout, however, of excellent quality abound both in the river and in the Quair, and also in the several burns that flow into them.
   The soil is generally light and thin, and on some grounds appears to be much exhausted; the crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is improved, and the lands are mostly well drained and inclosed; but the distance from limeworks and collieries, which is not less than twenty miles, and the acclivity of the farm roads for conveying manure, greatly retard advancement. The farm-houses are substantial and commodious, and the various improvements in the construction of agricultural implements have been adopted. Much attention is paid to the breed of live-stock. The cattle are the Teeswater or short-horned, with an occasional cross of the Ayrshire; the number reared is not very great, but considerable numbers are bought, and fed for the market. The sheep are almost entirely of the Cheviot breed, and about 7000 are annually pastured on the hills; of these, 1200 are fed off chiefly on turnips; and about 2300 lambs are generally disposed of in the autumn. The woods include ash, beech, elm, and plane, which seem best adapted to the soil, though forest-trees of every kind have been planted, and thrive well: there is little very ancient timber remaining. The plantations are mostly Scotch fir, spruce, and larch, of which fine specimens are found in the demesnes of the resident heritors. The substrata are mainly whinstone of various qualities, with some slate, but of inferior quality, and not much used, one small quarry of it only having been wrought. A vein of porphyry is found in the hills; but there are no mineral ores of any note. Traquair House, the seat of the Earl of Traquair, is an extensive mansion, of which part is of very great antiquity, though the precise time of its erection is not known. The mansions of Cardrona, Kailzie, and the Glen, are also elegant residences, situated in well-planted demesnes commanding much interesting scenery. The parish has facility of communication with the neighbouring places by good roads, of which the turnpike-road to Edinburgh passes near. The rateable annual value of Traquair is £5565. It is in the presbytery of Peebles, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £216. 3., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £20 per annum. The church, built in 1778, and improved in 1840, is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, but at a remote distance from those portions of it which are most thickly inhabited; it is adapted for a congregation of 350 persons. At Traquair House is a private Roman Catholic chapel for the family; but there are no other places of worship in the parish. The parochial school affords a useful course of instruction to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £34. 4., with £25 fees, and a good house and garden. A handsome and commodious parochial school-house was recently erected by the heritors. A friendly society has been established in the vicinity, but has tended little to diminish the number of applications to the poor's fund. Near the house of Cardrona are remains of a British camp. An urn of Roman bronze, and a small battle-axe, were found in making a drain on the lands of Kailzie; and several sepulchral urns containing ashes have been found at various times. On the outside wall of the church is a tablet to Mr. Brodie, a native of this place, who, as an iron-master in the county of Salop, in England, accumulated property to the amount of nearly half a million sterling. The Earl of Traquair takes his title from this place.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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