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Bemersyde House

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Bemersyde, a hamlet, a mansion, and an estate in Merton parish, Berwickshire. The hamlet lies 1¼ mile N by E of Dryburgh Abbey, and 2½ NE of St Boswells. The mansion, to the SW of the hamlet, and near the left bank of the Tweed, is an old baronial pile, built in conformity to an Act of Parliament of 1535, 'for bigging of strengthis on the Bordouris;' and has always been the seat of the Haig family, one of the most ancient in the S of Scotland, its present owner being Capt. Arthur Balfour Haig (b. 1840; suc. 1878), owner of 1357 acres in the shire, valued at £2010 per annum. The Haigs, or De Hagas, of Norman origin, possessed the lands of Bemersyde as early as the 12th century; and, till a recent period, they always held them in a line of direct descent, thus verifying the prophecy, ascribed to True Thomas of Ercildoun:-

'Tide, tide, whate'er betide,
There's aye be Haigs of Bemersyde.'

The crest (540 feet) of a public road over Bemersyde Hill commands a view of the valley of the Tweed from Abbotsford down to the Cheviots; here Scott would always rein up his horse, and here by some accident his hearse was brought for several minutes to a standstill. This view was pronounced by Elihu Burritt, the learned American blacksmith, to be, with exception of that from Stirling Castle, the most magnificent he ever saw in Scotland, 'so truly beautiful as to be beyond description.' On the estate is a mighty Spanish chestnut, only 50 feet high, but girthing 27¼ feet at the base. See Jn. Russell's Haigs of Bemersyde (Edinb. 1881).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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