Parish of Cockburnspath

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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1791-99: Cockburnspath
1834-45: Cockburnspath

Cockburnspath (anc. Colbrandspath), a village and a coast parish in the N of Berwickshire. The village stands ¾ mile inland, and ½ mile S of Cockburnspath station on the North British railway, this being 21 miles NW of Berwick-upon-Tweed, 7 SE by E of Dunbar, and 36½ E of Edinburgh. A neat clean place, with an antique cross in its midst, it has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and telegraph departments, an inn, and a fair on the second Tuesday of August.

The parish contains also Cove fishing hamlet, and comprises the ancient parishes of Cockburnspath and Aldcambus. It is bounded NW by Oldhamstocks in Haddingtonshire, NE by the German Ocean and Coldingham, S E by Coldingham and the Berwickshire section of Oldhamstocks, and SW by Abbey St Bathans. Its greatest length from E to W is 61/8 miles; its greatest breadth from N to S is 4½ miles; and its area is 12,951¾ acres, of which 281¾ are foreshore, and 18½ water. Dean or Dunglass Burn flows 2 miles along the Haddingtonshire border to the sea; Eye Water, from near its source, traces 2¾ miles of the south-western boundary; an affluent of the Eye drains the south-western interior; and most of the rest of the parish is drained by Herriot Water and Pease Burn to the sea. The coast is all hold and rock-bound, rising to 117 feet at Reed Point, 203 near Red Rock Cave, 200 at Craig Taw, and 362 near Redheugh; the perils of the neighbouring waters were terribly instanced by the Cove disaster of 14 Oct. 1881. The interior for some distance inland, particularly in the NW, is arable and in high cultivation, yet has generally an uneven surface; elsewhere this parish is mainly an eastward prolongation of the Lammermuirs, consisting of smooth rounded hills, intersected by deans or deep vales. To the E of the railway the surface attains 771 feet above sea-level at Greenside Hill, 803 at Meikle Black Law, and 727 at Penmanshiel Camps; to the W, 823 near Edmondsdean, 909 at Eelie Hill, 731 at Blackburn Rig, 943 at Little Dod, and 1042 at Corse Law, which culminates right on the SW border. At Cove, Redheugh, Sicear Point, Pease Dean, and Dunglass Dean are highly interesting objects which will be separately noticed. The rocks are chiefly Silurian; and in some parts, particularly on the coast, they present remarkable phenomena. Sandstone, of the Devonian formation, and of a quality valued chiefly for its power of resisting heat, is quarried near the mouth of Pease Burn. The soil here and there is rich and strong, but as a rule is light. Nearly 6000 acres are in cultivation, about 550 are under wood, and all the remaining area is either pastoral or waste. Cockburnspath Tower, a ruined old fortalice, near the railway, 1 mile E of Cockburnspath village, stands on the edge of a ravine or pass, which it seems to have been intended to defend, and belonged successively to the Earls of Dunbar, to members of the royal family, and to the Earls of Home. Some have identified it with ` Ravenswood Castle, ' in Scott's -Bride of Lammermoor. Roman urns and other Roman relics have been found in various places; and remains of Caledonian and Scandinavian camps are on several hills or vantage grounds. Cockburnspath is in the presbytery of Dunbar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £449. The parish church, a building of great antiquity, dating from at least 1163, was repaired in 1875-76 at a cost of £600, and contains 400 sittings. A Free church, for Cockburnspath and Old hamstocks, is situated in the latter parish; and a U.P. church, with 420 sittings, is at Stockbridge, 1 mile SW of Cockburnspath village. A public school, with accommodation for 184 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 91, and a grant of £76, 13s. 6d. Valuation (1882) £11,773, 8s. Pop. (1801) 930, (1851) 1196, (1861) 1194, (1871) 1133, (1881) 1130.—Ord. Sur., shs. 33, 34, 1863-64.

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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