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Parish of Heriot

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: Heriot
1834-45: Heriot

Heriot, a parish of SE Edinburghshire, containing, towards its NE corner, Heriot station on the Waverley section of the North British railway, 19¼ miles (16 by road) SE of Edinburgh, with a post and telegraph office. It is bounded NW by Temple and Borthwick, NE by Crichton, Fala, and detached sections of Borthwick and Stow, SE by the main body of Stow, SW by Innerleithen in Peeblesshire, and W by Temple. Its greatest length, from NE to SW, is 7¾ miles; its greatest breadth is 4½ miles; and its area is 15,038¼ acres. Formed by the confluence of Blackhope, Hope, and Dewar Burns, which all three have their source near the Peeblesshire border, Heriot Water winds 4¾ miles east-north-eastward through the interior, till it unites with Gala Water, itself rising on the northern verge of the parish. At the point of their confluence the surface declines to 770 feet above sea-level, and thence it rises westward and south-westward to the Moorfoot Hills, attaining 1394 feet near Roughsware, 1508 at *Torfichen Hill, 1550 at Dod Law, 1435 at Dun Law, 1684 at *Mauldslie Hill, and 2136 at *Blackhope. Scar, where asterisks mark those summits that culminate just on the confines of the parish. All the interior, excepting strips of vale along the course of the streams, is hilly upland; but the hills, except on the boundaries, are not ranges but congeries, which, having to a large extent been laid down in permanent pasture, no longer offer a bleak and heathy appearance. The climate is bracing, and very healthy. The rocks are mainly Lower Silurian. The soil in the vales adjacent to the streams is of the finest description, and, except in late seasons, produces abundant crops. As it is, little more than one-third of the entire area is either regularly or occasionally in tillage, or might be profitably brought under the plough. Two ancient Caledonian stone circles were on Heriot Town Hill-head and Borthwick Hall Hill-head; traces of ancient circular camps are on some of the other hills; the head and foot stones of what is known as the ' Piper's Grave ' are on Dewar farm; and a stone on which a woman was burned for imputed witchcraft is supposed to have been near Heriot station. The only mansion, Borthwick Hall, on the right bank of Heriot Water, 3½ miles SW of Heriot station, is now the seat of David Johnstone Macfie, Esq. (b. 1828), who holds 2036 acres in the shire, valued at £1188 per annum. The Earl of Stair is a much larger proprietor, and there are 5 lesser ones. Heriot is in the presbytery of Dalkeith and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £222. The parish church, near Borthwick Hall, rebuilt in 1835, contains 210 sittings; and a public school, with accommodation for 108 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 54, and a grant of £56, 5s. Valuation (1860) £4315, (1883) £5968, plus £1339 for railway. Pop. (1801) 320, 1831) 327, (1861) 407, (1871) 414, (1881) 429.—Ord. Sur., shs. 24, 25, 1864-65.

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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