EYEMOUTH, a sea-port, burgh of barony, and parish, in the county of Berwick, 3 miles (N. E.) from Ayton, and 8 (N. N. W.) from Berwick; containing 1401 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from its situation at the influx of the river Eye into the sea, appears to have been indebted for the degree of importance it possessed at a remote period to its connexion with the priory of Coldingham, to which it seems to have been granted by charter in the reign of William the Lion. From its advantageous position, it was probably early made available as a port for the landing and embarking of pilgrims visiting the priory, and for the supply of that establishment with various stores for the use of its numerous fraternity. Few events of historical importance are recorded in relation to the place prior to the erection of a fortress here by the Duke of Somerset in his invasion of the country in the year 1547, and which was dismantled on the conclusion of a treaty of peace between England and France in 1550; it was afterwards restored and garrisoned for a time, but was finally demolished at the period of the union of the two kingdoms. The town, which is pleasantly situated at the mouth of the river Eye, is irregularly built, but contains many good houses; it is chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the corn trade, which is carried on to some extent, in the fisheries, and in the various handicraft trades requisite for the neighbourhood. The streets are well paved, and the inhabitants are supplied with water conveyed by iron pipes. The approaches are commodious, and a good bridge has been built across the Eye, near which the turnpike-road to Ayton branches off in two directions, the one leading by the north, and the other by the south, bank of the river. A chain-bridge, also, has recently been thrown over the Eye, by Capt. Brown, to form a readier communication with his estate of Netherbyres. A parochial library is supported by subscription, and has a tolerable collection of volumes on divinity and other subjects.
   The trade in grain, since the establishment of the market, has been rapidly increasing, and is now very extensive. The quantity of grain sold in the first year after the opening of the market was estimated at £20,000; warehouses have been erected on the quay, and a spacious building formerly used for barracks has been converted into a store-house. On the river is a mill for preparing pearl-barley and oatmeal, of which great quantities are shipped for London. The manufacture of paper has been established at Millbank, on the borders of the parish, where a spacious mill with the requisite machinery has been erected, in which a considerable number of persons are employed; and at Gunsgreen, adjoining the harbour, but in Ayton parish, a distillery was till lately at work. The post-office, which has a good delivery, is a branch of the office at Ayton. The market is on Thursday, and is abundantly supplied with grain, and numerously attended; and two fairs are annually held here, but very little business is transacted. A lucrative fishery is carried on off the coast; the fish usually taken are, cod, haddock, and herrings. In the cod and haddock fishery about fifteen boats are regularly engaged, each of which is managed by six men, and the yearly produce is estimated at £3000. The herring-fishery is also very productive, and in 1820 afforded employment to more than 100 boats, whose cargoes in that year amounted to 10,000 barrels; but since that time it has materially diminished. The cod, either dried or pickled, is generally sent to London; the red or smoked herrings to London, Hull, Glasgow, and Newcastle; and the white or pickled herrings to Ireland, and the ports of the Baltic.
   The business of the port consists chiefly in the exportation of grain and the produce of the fisheries and distillery; and in the importation of timber, bones for manure, rags for the paper manufacture, coal, slates, bricks and tiles, freestone, and paying stones, with various articles of general merchandise. The exports in a recent year were, 850 quarters of wheat, 4300 quarters of barley, 2800 quarters of oats, and 2800 gallons of spirits; the quantity of coal imported was 2367 tons, and the whole number of vessels that entered the port was 198. The harbour, which, previously to the year 1770, was exposed to the north-east winds, was then much improved and rendered more secure by the erection of a pier and breakwater under the direction of Mr. Smeaton; and it has been subsequently enlarged and deepened by the removing of shingle and the clearing away of rocks. In 1844, an extensive additional pier was completed. The depth of water at spring tides is sixteen feet, and at neap tides ten feet; and from its situation in the German Ocean, and its facility of access, the harbour is much frequented by vessels detained by contrary winds. The custom-house is superintended by a principal coast-officer and two tidewaiters, who reside on the spot; and the care and management of the port are under the controul of a board of trustees appointed by act of parliament. The town was erected into a burgh of barony by charter granted in 1597, by James VI., in favour of Sir George Home, of Wedderburn, with all the usual privileges, and is governed by a baron-bailie appointed by the superior of the barony. With the consent of the superior, the burgesses had power to elect magistrates, to erect a gaol, and hold courts for the trial of all offences not capital, and for the determination of civil pleas to an unlimited amount, together with a weekly market and two annual fairs; but the only jurisdiction exercised by the bailie is the occasional holding of a court for the determination of petty causes.
   The parish is about a mile and a half in length, and nearly of equal breadth, and comprises 880 acres, of which, with the exception of about 20 in woodland, plantation, and a few acres of pasture, the whole is arable. The surface is varied, and in some parts rocky, and the scenery is diversified with wood and water. The river Eye has its source at Dodhill, in the parish of Oldhamstocks, and, after flowing through Cockburnspath, Coldingham, and Ayton, forms the eastern boundary of this parish for about a mile, and falls into the sea. The Ale, a small rivulet, runs for some miles through a picturesque valley, then constitutes the southern boundary, and joins the Eye at the south-eastern extremity of the parish. The soil is every where extremely rich and fertile; the system of agriculture is in a very advanced state, and the four and six shift rotations of husbandry equally prevail: the crops are, wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, and turnips. Bone-dust and sea-wrack are amply used for manure; the lands are well drained and inclosed, and all the more recent improvements in implements have been adopted. The sheep are of the Leicestershire breed, and the cattle of the short-horned or Teeswater; very few of either are reared in the parish, but a considerable number are bought, and fed for the market on turnips and grass. The chief substrata are, greywacke, greywacke slate, and old red sandstone, with rocks of trap and porphyry; there is also a rock of breccia or coarse conglomerate, forming the promontory that bounds the bay. This stone, of which the breakwater and quays of the harbour were constructed, is of excellent quality; it is occasionally quarried for building, and can be raised in masses of any size. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2683. The manorhouse of Linthill is an ancient edifice, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Ale, near its influx into the river Eye, and commands a finely-varied prospect, embracing the harbour, with the shipping, and the sea in the distance. The parish is in the presbytery of Chirnside and synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £130.19.6., exclusively of a composition for tithes of fish, for which each boat pays £1. 13. 4., with an excellent manse, and a glebe of above 9 acres. The church, situated in the centre of the town, was erected in 1812; it is a neat edifice with a tower, containing little exterior embellishment, and is adapted for a congregation of 450 persons. There are places of worship for the Free Church, the Secession, and Primitive Methodists. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction; the master has a salary of £34, with £23 fees, and a house and garden. There are some remains of the fort erected by the Duke of Somerset, occupying a considerable site on the promontory projecting into the sea, which, from its commanding position, affords an extensive prospect: little is left except the foundations, now covered with verdure, but it would appear to have been a place of great extent and of massive proportions. The adjacent grounds have been tastefully laid out, and form an interesting and much frequented promenade. Eyemouth gave the title of Baron to the great Duke of Marlborough.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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