- BOSWELL'S, ST., a parish, situated in the district of Melrose, county of Roxburgh, 4 miles (S. E.) from Melrose; containing, with the village of Lessudden, 747 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its church, which is supposed to have been first founded by St. Boswell, abbot of Melrose, whose disciple, St. Cuthbert, flourished in the ninth century; and traces of the ancient village of St. Boswell's are still occasionally discovered by the plough. Few historical events are recorded: the principal one is the burning of the village, by the English of the border, in 1544, when many of the inhabitants were killed, and the lands laid waste; the village, at that time, is said to have contained many fortified houses. The parish is situated on the river Tweed, which forms its eastern and northern boundary, for two miles; and is about three miles in length, and one and a half in breadth, comprising an area of four and a half square miles. The surface is uneven, rising in the upper portion in ridgy undulations, with intervening valleys, but towards the river being more level; the lower grounds are watered by numerous springs, and by a rivulet called St. Boswell's burn, which, in its course towards the Tweed, is augmented by several tributary rills. The scenery is generally of pleasing character; and adjoining the village of Lessudden, is an elevated ridge, from which is obtained a fine view of the old abbey of Dryburgh, shaded by venerable woods, and nearly surrounded by the windings of the Tweed; and of the remains of Lessudden Place, an ancient fortress, the property of the Scotts of Raeburn, forming an exceedingly interesting feature in the landscape.The lands, with the exception of about 30 acres on the steep banks of the river, nearly 180 acres of woodland, and about 40 acres of common, called St. Boswell's Green, are all arable, and about 2300 are under cultivation. The soil, for the greater part, is a stiff clay; in the neighbourhood of Lessudden, a black loam; and in other parts alluvial. The system of agriculture is good, and considerable improvements have been made in draining the lands, and in plantations; the soil is well adapted to the growth of forest timber of every kind, and on the lands of Ellieston are some of the most flourishing larch-trees in the kingdom. Lime is to be obtained only from a great distance, and bone-dust has been substituted, which has been found to succeed well for turnips; some progress has been made in embankments against the inundations of the Tweed, and two have been completed to a considerable extent, on the farms of Fens and St. Boswell's. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3800. There are quarries of red sandstone, which is of good quality for building, and, in some places, appears resting on a seam of whitish-coloured stone of great hardness, strongly impregnated with pyrites of iron; coal is supposed to exist, but no attempts to procure it have been attended with success. To the north of the Green, a very handsome hunting establishment has been erected by the Duke of Buccleuch. A fair is held on the Green, on the 18th of July, or the following Monday, if the 18th happen on a Sunday; it is frequented by a great concourse of people from all parts, for the purchase and sale of Scotch and Irish linens, hardware, books, toys, and other articles; and it is a very extensive market also for sheep and lambs, and for cattle and horses, the sales which annually take place averaging from £8000 to £10,000. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the controul of the presbytery of Selkirk and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, the Duke of Buccleuch. The stipend of the incumbent is £211. 11. 7.; the manse, built in 1791, was substantially repaired in 1811, and the glebe comprises seven acres of excellent land. The church, situated at the eastern extremity of the parish, was built near the site of a more ancient structure which had fallen into decay, and probably about the year 1652; it was enlarged and thoroughly repaired in 1837, and affords accommodation to 430 persons. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church. The parochial school affords education to a considerable number of scholars; the master has a tolerable salary, with a house and garden rent free, and the fees.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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