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Polwarth

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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Polwarth, a village and a parish of central Berwickshire. The village, an ancient place, stands near the northern border of the parish, on ground originally swampy, but now drained, 3 miles NNE of Greenlaw, and 4 SW of the post-town Duns. Two old thorn trees formerly stood in the centre of the village green; and a custom prevailed for upwards of 300 years down to the commencement of the present century, of dancing at every marriage round these trees-a custom celebrated in several songs, particularly one by Allan Ramsay, set to the tune of 'Polwarth on the Green.'

The parish, containing also Marchmont station at the south-eastern border, is bounded NW by Longformacus, N by Langton, SE by Fogo, and SW and W by Greenlaw. Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 4¼ miles; its utmost breadth is 2¼ miles; and its area is 3013 acres, of which 13¼ are water. A small lake (1¾ x 1 furl.) lies near the western border; and the drainage is carried eastward towards Blackadder Water by the Kirk Burn and other rivulets. The surface, on the mutual border of the Merse and the Lammermuir district, declines in the extreme E to 370 feet above sea-level, and rises westward till it attains a maximum altitude of 933 feet at Kyles Hill. The predominant rocks are various kinds of sandstone; but Kyles Hill consists of a hard reddish porphyry. The soil of the uplands is moorish, and elsewhere is mainly argillaceous, but here and there is sand or gravel. Nearly 400 acres are under wood; rather less than half of the entire area is in tillage; and nearly all the remainder is pasture, moor, or moss. Marchmont House, noticed separately, is the only mansion; and Sir Hugh Hume-Campbell, Bart., is sole proprietor. Polwarth is in the presbytery of Duns and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £332. The parish church, ¾ mile SSE of the village, crowns the edge of a beautiful glade in the grounds of Marchmont, and was rebuilt by Patrick Home, first Earl of Marchmont, in 1703. According to a Latin inscription of that date, its predecessor was consecrated prior to 900, and restored in 1378. In 1684 the patriot, Patrick Home, concealed himself in the family burial vault beneath the church, where he remained for several weeks, supplied every night with food by his celebrated daughter Grizel, afterwards Lady Grizel Baillie, then only twelve years of age. The public school, with accommodation for 55 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 35, and a grant of £34, 2s. 6d. Valuation (1865) £2624, 2s., (1884) £2563, 3s., plus £1212 for 2¼ miles of railway. Pop. (1801) 291, (1831) 288, (1861) 251, (1871) 249, (1881) 227.—Ord. Sur., shs. 25, 26, 1865-64.

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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