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Parish of Longformacus

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: Longformacus and Ellim
1834-45: Longformacus and Ellim

Longformacus, a small village and a parish in Lammermuir district, N Berwickshire. The village stands, 690 feet above sea-level, on both sides of Dye Water, 7 miles WNW of its station and post-town, Duns. It has a post office, and is a resort of anglers, for whom there is good accommodation.

The parish, consisting of a main body and a detached section, comprises the ancient parishes of Longformacus and Ellem, united in 1712. The main body is bounded N by Cranshaws and by Whittingham and Innerwick in Haddingtonshire, E by Abbey St Bathans, Duns, and Langton, SE by Polwarth, S by Greenlaw and Cranshaws (detached), SW by Lauder, and NW by Garvald in Haddingtonshire. Its outline is remarkably irregular, being closely contracted by the two sections of Cranshaws, and making a great projection towards Greenlaw; and its utmost length, from E to W, is 103/8 miles; whilst its breadth varies between ¾ mile and 7¾ miles. The detached or Blackerstone section, lying 1½ mile E of the nearest point of the main body, is surrounded by Abbey St Bathans, Cockburnspath, Bunkle, and Duns, and has an utmost length and breadth of 2¼ miles and 1 mile. The area of the whole is 19, 604½ acres, of which 11491/3 belong to the detached section, and 72¼ are water. Dye Water, rising on the western confines of the parish at an altitude of 1600 feet above sea-level, winds 13¾ miles eastward through the interior and along the southern boundary, till, after a total descent of 1000 feet, it falls into the Whitadder, ¾ mile WSW of Ellem Inn. The Whitadder itself curves 4½ miles eastward through the interior and along the boundaries with Cranshaws and Abbey St Bathans, and lower down traces the western and southern boundary of the Blackerstone section for 2¼ miles. Along the Whitadder the surface of the main body declines in the extreme E to 510 feet above sea-level, thence rising to 1032 feet at Brown Law, 880 near Otterburn, 1309 at Dirrington Great Law, 1191 at Dirrington Little Law, 1194 at Wrink Law, 1299 at Black Hill, 1531 at Meikle Law, 1625 at Hunt Law, and 1626 at Willies Law. The rocks are mainly Silurian, and various unsuccessful attempts have been made at copper-mining. The soil is fairly good for a hill district; but less than one-ninth of the entire area is in tillage, wood covering some 330 acres, and the rest being pastoral moorland. The chief antiquity, a cairn called the Mutiny Stones, is noticed under Byrecleugh. An ancient British camp, known locally as Runklie-a corruption of Wrink Law-lies 1½ mile above Longforinacus, where the flanks of the hill drop abruptly down on Dye Water. On one side it is protected by precipitous slopes, on the other by walls and mounds. In recent times Runklie has been the site of a farm and a mill, the traces of which can be easily seen within the limits of the more ancient remains (Procs. Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, 1882). At the manse is a tall picturesque gable-end of a dwelling, supposed to be a mansion built for defence in the old Border times. In olden times the barony of Longformacus belonged successively to the Earls of Moray, the Earls of Dunbar, and the St Clairs of Roslin. Longformacus House stands a little way E of the village, on the opposite bank of the Dye, amidst large and well-wooded grounds. Its owner, Captain A. M. Brown, holds 2600 acres in the parish, valued at £1620 per annum. The only other resident landowner is Andrew Smith, Esq. of Whitchester, whose turreted mansion, standing on a hill between Ellemford and Longformacus, forms from all parts a most prominent feature in the landscape. Four other proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and 3 of less, than £500. Longformacus is in the presbytery of Duns and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living averages nearly £300. The parish church, built about 1730, contains 200 sittings. There is also a Free church; and a public school, with accommodation for 66 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 42, and a grant of £53, 1s. Valuation (1865) £6634, 9s., (1884) £7085, 6s. Pop. (1801) 406, (1831) 425, (1861) 448, (1871) 452, (1881) 385.—Ord. Sur., shs. 33, 34, 25, 1863-65.

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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