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Merse

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, 2002-2019.

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Merse, a district on the eastern part of the Scottish Border. In modern territorial arrangement it is the largest and most southerly of the three divisions of Berwickshire, and has been computed to comprise 129, 600 acres; in loose popular phraseology it is the whole of Berwickshire, including both the Lammermuir and Lauderdale districts; in proper topographical nomenclature, based on strict reference to geographical feature, it is all the low country between the Lammermuirs and the river Tweed, and includes all the Merse district of Berwickshire, with all the parts of Roxburghshire northward of the Tweed; and in ancient political designation it was the entire champaign country between the Lammermuirs and the Cheviots, included all the lowlands of Teviotdale, and was regarded as having Roxburgh town and castle for its capital. It forms, in any view, the eastern part of what were formerly termed 'the marches;' was anciently called March, as being the most important part of the marches; and gives the title of Earl of March to the Earl of Wemyss. The champaign portion of it, whether understood in the widest sense or restricted to Berwickshire, is the largest and richest tract of low country in Scotland; admits some comparison with the champaign of the Lothians, but claims superiority in consequence of that champaign being intersected by the Garleton, Edinburgh, and Pentland Hills; and, as seen from any of multitudes of high vantage grounds,-looks to be a continuous expanse of parks and arable farms, yet is much diversified by gentle undulations and by a few considerable isolated heights.

The synod of Merse and Teviotdale ranks as second in the General Assembly's list; comprehends the presbyteries of Duns, Chirnside, Kelso, Jedburgh, Earlston, and Selkirk; and holds its meetings at Kelso on the second Tuesday of October, and at Melrose on the second Tuesday of April.

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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