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Coldstream

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.

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Coldstream, a Border town and parish of S Berwickshire. The town, 100 feet above sea-level, stands on the left bank of the broad winding Tweed, and of its affluent, Leet Water, 47 miles SE by E of Edinburgh by road, whilst Smeaton's fine five-arched bridge (1763-66) across the Tweed leads 1½ mile east-south-eastward to Cornhill village, in Norham parish, Northumberland, at which is Coldstream station on the North-Eastern railway, 13½ miles SW of Berwick-upon-Tweed, 10 ENE of Kelso, and 62 SE by E of Edinburgh. On the English side are the ruins of Wark Castle, the field of Flodden, and the scene, some fancy, of the ` Hunting of the Chevyat; ' and Coldstream itself derived importance from its ford, the first above Berwick of any consequence. By this passage Edward I. invaded Scotland in 1296; and down to 1640, when Montrose led the Covenanters southwards, many other armies, Scottish and English, crossed thereby, to ravage the country of their respective foes. Later, till 1856, its position made Coldstream a chapel of ease, as it were, to Gretna Green, among the more notable of its runaway marriages being that of Lord Brougham (1819). Not a stone remains of the wealthy Cistercian priory, founded in 1143 by Cospatrick, Earl of March, for nuns brought from Whiston in Worcestershire. It stood a-little eastward of the market-place; and in 1834 many bones and a stone coffin were dug up in its burying-ground, where, according to tradition, the prioress had given sepulture to the foremost of the Scottish slain at Flodden. The Chartulary of this priory was edited for the Grampian Club by the Rev. C. Rogers in 1879. A yet more interesting building, a house at the E of the market-place, has likewise disappeared; but its successor bears the following inscription- 'Headquarters of the Coldstream Guards 1659; rebuilt 1865.' The Coldstreams were formed by General Monk in 1650 from the two regiments of Fenwick and Haslerig; Borderers chiefly, tried and hardy men, they marched with him up and down Scotland, discomfiting all enemies of the Commonwealth from Berwick to Dundee, and from Dundee to Dumfries, till, after ten years spent in Scotland, they followed him to London, there to restore King Charles II. The present town, although irregularly built, is very pretty, with its nice modern cottages and gardens. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the British Linen Co. (1820) and Bank of Scotland (1855), a local savings' bank (1842), 2 hotels, gas-works, water-works (1852), a town-hall, a mechanics' institute (1863), a public library, a working men's club, a masonic lodge (1861), a dispensary, a volunteer corps, a horticultural society, a brewery, and a fortnightly Saturday paper, the Coldstream Guard (1879). A burgh of barony and a police burgh, it is governed by a baron bailie, under the Earls of Haddington and Home, and by 8 police commissioners. Courts sitting here are noticed under Berwickshire; and fairs are held at Cornhill on the first Monday of March (hiring), the Wednesday after the second Tuesday of July (lamb and wool), and 26 Sept. (draft ewes). At the E end of the town is a handsome monument, 70 feet high, erected in 1834 to the memory of Charles Marjoribanks, Esq., M.P. for Berwickshire. His statue surmounting it, from the chisel of Mr H. Ritchie of Edinburgh, was shattered by lightning (1873), but was replaced in the following year by another, 4 tons in weight, by the Border sculptor, Mr Currie of Darnick. The parish church (1795; 1100 sittings) has a spire and clock; and other places of worship are a Free church (600 sittings), and 2 U.P. churches, East (700) and West (1000 sittings). Three public schools-New Road, North, and Hirsel Law, the last about 2 miles NNW of the town-with respective accommodation for 150,225, and 110 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 62,161, and 56, and grants of £42, 5s., £134, 15s., and £40, 16s. Pop. (1841) 1913, (1851) 2238, (1861) 1834, (1871) 1724, (1881) 1616.

The parish, till 1716 called Lennel or Leinhall, is bounded N by Swinton and Ladykirk, SE and S by Northumberland, and W by Eccles. Rudely resembling a kite in outline, with Todrig at top and Home Farm at bottom, it has an utmost length from ENE to WSW of 6½ miles, an utmost breadth from NW to SE of 4¾ miles, and an area of 8534½ acres, of which 2141/3 are water. The Tweed, here a glorious fishing river, sweeps 85/8 miles along all the English Border, forming a horseshoe bend at the town, and there receiving the ditch-like but troutful Leet, which, after tracing 2 miles of the Eccles boundary, strikes 4¾ miles south-eastward through the interior. Graden and Shiels Burns run east-north-eastward to the Tweed; the only large sheet of water is Hirsel Loch (2 x 1¼ furl.). The surface, with a general north-westward rise, nowhere sinks much below 100, or exceeds 246, feet above sea-level; sheltered by both the Cheviots and the Lammermuirs, it lies exposed to the NE only, whence, in the gale of 14 Oct. 1881, its trees sustained considerable damage. A band of barren moor, from E to W, is now nearly all reclaimed; and the entire area, with very slight exception, is either richly cultivated or under wood. The woods cover a comparatively large extent, particularly on the Hirsel estate. The rocks include white and reddish sandstone, clay marl, limestone, and gypsum; the first of which forms an excellent building material, and has been worked in three quarries. Quartz crystals, calcareous crystals, prehnite, and selenite are found. The soil, near the Tweed, is light; further inland, inclines to clay; and almost everywhere is rich and fertile. Remains of a fortification, probably later than the introduction of cannon, are on the barony of Snook; and an ancient cross, called Maxwell's, stood between Lennel church and Tweed-mill, but was removed about 1730. An episode still to be noticed is Burns's visit of 7 May 1787, which he described in 'Alfred Jingle' style: 'Coldstream-went over to England-Cornhill-glorious river Tweed-clear and majestic-fine bridge. Dine at Coldstream with Mr Ainslie and Mr Foreman-beat Mr F. in a dispute about Voltaire. Tea at Lennel House with Mr Brydone . . . my reception extremely flattering-sleep at Coldstream.' The said Mr Patrick Brydone (1741-1818), who died at Lennel House, was author of a well-known Tour through Sicily and Malta. The principal mansions, all noticed separately, are The Hirsel, The Lees, Hope Park, Lennel House, and Milne Graden; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 11 of between £100 and £500,6 of from £50 to £100, and 41 of from £20 to £50. Coldstream is in the presbytery of Chirnside and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £460. Valuation (1882) £20,300,19s. 10d. Pop. (1801) 2269, (1831) 2897, (1851) 3245, (1861) 2823, (1871) 2619, (1881) 2561.—Ord. Sur. sh. 26,1864.

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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