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West Linton

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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Linton (` town on the lin or pool ') or West Linton, a village and a parish of NW Peeblesshire. The village, standing, 800 feet above sea-level, on the left bank-of Lyne Water, by road is 16 miles SSW of Edinburgh, 11 NNE of Biggar, and 14 NW of Peebles, whilst its station, Broomlee or West Linton (5 furl. SSE), on the Dolphinton branch of the North British railway, is 24 miles SSW of Edinburgh and 14½ ENE of Carstairs. The village is very irregularly built. Even in the main thoroughfare the houses are built on no fixed plan, and, in consequence, show great variety of style, age, and appearance. West Linton possesses 3 places of worship -the parish church, built in 1781 and repaired in 1871; the United Presbyterian church, built in 1784 (at that date occupied by a Relief congregation); and the Episcopal church of St Mungo. The parish church contains some beautiful wood-carving, the work of ladies. The carved work of the galleries and windows was done by Miss Fergusson, eldest daughter of the late Sir William Fergusson, surgeon to the Queen; that of the pulpit by Mrs Woddrop, wife of the proprietor of Garvald. The Free church (erected in 1845) is at Carlops. West Linton also possesses a public hall (built in 1881), a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Bank of Scotland, two inns, gasworks, and a police station. On the Rutherford estate, which belongs to Mr Philip, there is a mineral spring called ` Heaven Aqua Well,' the taste of whose waters somewhat resemble that of the waters of the Tunbridge Spa. West Linton was once known as Linton Rodervck or Linton Rutherick. The double name is found as early as the 12th century, and was probably derived from that of the chief man or family in the district. There is another Linton in Haddingtonshire -East Linton-from which that in Peeblesshire is distinguished by the prefix West. According to Chambers (in his History of Peeblesshire, 1864), West Linton was at one time a burgh of regality and centre of traffic. Quoting from Pennicuick, he says:-` In the Regent Morton's time West Linton was a pendicle of Dalkeith, but was created a burgh of regality by John, the first Earl of Traquair, who -derived from it his title of Lord Linton.. Linton is known to have had a resident bailie of regality, who was assisted in keeping order by a council, composed of portioners or small proprietors, known as the " Lairds of Linton." ' Sheep markets were once held at West Linton four times a year, but their size and importance gradually dwindled until they ceased altogether. Now the business done in the village is almost entirely local, its chief frequenters being commercial travellers, anglers, and a few summer visitors. An interesting relic of antiquity is to be found in the statue of a woman, placed on the top of the village pump. It represents the wife of James Gifford, usually known as Laird Gifford, who flourished as a mason and stone carver in 1666. Another curiosity, according to Chambers, ` consisted in a marble tombstone in the parish churchyard, over the grave of James Oswald of "Spital" or Spittals.' During his lifetime it had served in some way at the social gatherings of which Oswald was fond, and at his death (1726) it was placed over his grave by his widow. It bore the following inscription in Latin:-" To James Oswald of Spittal, her deserving husband, this monument was erected by Grizzel Russell, his sorrowing wife. This marble table, sitting at which I have often cultivated good living (lit. propitiated my tutelar genius), I have desired to be placed over me when dead. Stop, traveller, whoever thou art; here thou mayest recline, and, if the means are at hand, mayest enjoy this table as I formerly did. lf thou doest so in the right and proper way, thou wilt weither desecrate the monument nor offend my manes. Farewell. ' This relic was carried off about forty-six years ago, and sold for the value of the marble. The carving of gravestones was once largely engaged in at West Linton, suitable stone being found in the Deepsykehead quarries. Handloom weaving of cotton fabrics was also carried on by the villagers. Pop. of West Linton (1832) 395, (1861) 512, (1871) 514, (1881) 434, of whom 202 were males. Houses (1881) inhabited, 112; uninhabited, 11; building, 1.

The parish, containing also Carlops village, is bounded NW and NE by the Edinburghshire parishes of West Calder, Midcalder, Kirkliston (detached), and Penicuik, SE by Newlands S by Kirkurd, SW and W by Dolphinton and Dunsyre in Lanarkshire. Its utmost length, from N by E to S by W, is 93/8 miles; its utmost breadth is 75/8 miles; and its area is 23, 4207/8 acres, of which 57 are water. Lyne Water, rising at an altitude of 1260 feet above sea-level, winds 7½ miles south-south-eastward through the middle of the parish, then 1½ mile south-by-westward along the Newlands boundary. The North Esk, fed by Carlops Burn, flows 5 miles south-south -eastward and east-by-northward along the Midlothian border, and Medwin Water 4¼ miles along the W boundary. The drainage thus belongs mainly to the Tweed, but partly to the Clyde and partly to the Firth of Forth. Many small streams flow through the parish, which also contains Slipperfield Loch (1½ x 1/3 furl.), 9 furlongs SSW of the village. As a rule the surface is hilly, with a northward ascent to the Pentland range, which lies on the northern border. In the SE, along Lyne Water, it declines to 700 feet above the sea; and chief elevations, from S to N, are Blyth Muir (1015), Mendick Hill (1480), King Seat (1521), Byrehope Mount (1752), Mount Maw (1753), and West Cairn Hill (1v844). The scenery is extremely pretty and attractive, especially near Carlops and Habbie's Howe, which, in the summer time, are visited by picnic parties without number. The greater part of the land is occupied by sheep farms (the parish being noted for a famous breed); but, near the rivers, the ground is under tillage, and yields good crops. The soil is chiefly either clay on limestone or sandy loam upon a gravelly bottom. White freestone has been largely quarried at Deepsykehead and Spittalhangh, and limestone calcined at Whitfield; whilst fuller's earth is found near the Lyne, blue marl at Carlops, and Scotch pebbles in the streams. Mansions, noticed separately, are Garvald, Medwyn, and Spittalhaugh; and the property is divided among ten. This parish is in the presbytery of Peebles and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £414. The church of Linton Roderick was a vicarage under the monks of Kelso from the reign of David I. to the Reformation. In the 13th century a chaplaincy of the Virgin Mary existed at Ingliston, and a chapel, attached to a hospital, at Chapel on Lyne Water. Four schools-public (1874), Episcopalian, female, and Sommervail endowed (1852)-with respective accommodation for 72, 68, 58, and 96 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 58, 19, 24, and 60, and grants of £53, 3s., £18, 8s. 6d., £17, 15s., and £0, the last being not under Government inspection, but managed by a committee of the U.P. presbytery of Edinburgh. Valuation (1860) £9263, (1884) £12, 161. Pop. of parish (1801) 1064, (1831) 1577, (1861) 1534, (1871) 1387, (1881) 1117.—Ord. Sur., shs. 24, 32, 1864-57.

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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