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Parish of Hume

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: Stitchell and Hume
1834-45: Stitchell and Hume

Hume or Home, a post-office village and a parish of S Berwickshire. The village, standing 680 feet above sea-level, 3 miles S by W of Greenlaw, and 5¾ N by W of Kelso, was once a considerable town, teeming with the retinue and the dependants of one of the most powerful baronial families of a former age, but it has passed into decadence and decay, so as to be now a mere hamlet. Home Castle crowns a rocky eminence hard by, and figures like a beacon-tower over all the Merse, forming a picturesque feature in a wide and luxuriant landscape. As founded in the 13th century, it must have been a lofty and imposing structure ; and, ever growing larger and stronger as the lords of Home grew richer and mightier, it served at once to over. awe and to defend the surrounding country. Prior, indeed, to the general use of artillery, * it was deemed to be almost impregnable ; but in 1547 the Protector Somerset captured it, after a stout resistance by Lady Home, whose husband, the fourth Lord Home, had fallen in a skirmish the day before the battle of Pinkie. He placed in it an English garrison, who in 1549 were surprised and slain by young Lord Home. Again, in 1569, the Earl of Sussex, ' being at Wark, accompanied with the whole bands of footmen and a thousand horse, with three battery-pieces and two sacris, went to the siege of Home, where he planted his battery ; where, within twelve hours after the battery was planted, the castle was surrendered to him, simply having within it 240 soldiers. So the soldiers departed out of it in their hose and doublets.' And lastly, in 1650, immediately after the capture of Edinburgh Castle, Cromwell despatched Colonel Fenwick at the head of two regiments to seize the Earl's castle of Home. In answer to a peremptory summons to surrender, sent him by the Colonel at the head of his troops, Cockburn, the governor of the castle, returned two missives, which have been preserved as specimens of the frolicking humour that now and then bubbles up in the tragedy of war. The first ran : ' Right Honourable, I have received a trumpeter of yours, as he tells me, without a pass, to surrender Home Castle to the Lord General Cromwell. Please you, I never saw your general. As for Home Castle, it stands upon a rock. Given at Home Castle, this day, before 7 o'clock. So resteth, without prejudice to my native country, your most humble servant, T. Cockburn. , The second was expressed in doggerel lines, which still are quoted by the peasantry, often in profound ignorance of the occasion when they were composed :-.

I, willie wastle.
Stand firm in my castle ;
And a' the dogs o' your town
Will no pull Willie wastle down.'

Home Castle, however, when it felt the pressure of Colonel Fenwick's cannon, and saw his men about to rush to the attack, very readily surrendered to his power, and received within its walls the soldiery of Cromwell. Early in the 13th century William, a grandson of the third Earl of Dunbar, acquired the lands of Home by marriage with his cousin Ada; and his eighth descendant, Sir Alexander Home, in 1473 was raised to the peerage as Baron Home, whilst his twelfth in 1605 was created Earl of Home and Baron Dunglass. (See Bothwell, Douglas Castle, and Hirsel.) In the early part of the 18th century Home Castle and the domains around it passed into the possession of the Earls of Marchmont, a branch of the Homes who for a time were wealthier and more influential than the main stock, but whose title expired with the third Earl in 1794. The castle in his time was almost level with the ground, but was by him rudely restored from its own materials, high battlemented walls being re-erected on the old foundations. It is only a ' sham antique; ' but, seen from a distance, it still appears, on its farseeing elevation, to frown over all the Merse and much of Roxburghshire. The present proprietor is Sir Hugh Hume-Campbell of Marchmont, Bart., great-grandson of the second Earl of Marchmont.

The parish is bounded NW by Gordon, NE by Greenlaw, E by Eccles, S by Stitchell in Roxburghshire, SW by Nenthorn, and W by Earlston. Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 41/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1hf. and 2½ miles; and its area is 4103 acres, of which 3¾ are water, and 39½ lie detached within Earlston. Edien Water flows ½ mile southward along the western boundary; and Lambden Burn rises in and traverses the southern interior, on its easterly course to the Leet. Where it passes off into Eccles, the surface declines to 380 feet above sea-level, thence rising to 700 at Hume Craigs, 538 at Fallsidehill, 709 at Stenmuir, and 654 at North Blinkbonny. A rising-ground called Lurgie Craigs, on the south-western border, is faced with a fine basaltic colonnade, whose erect, regular, polygonal columns are 5 or 6 feet high and 16 inches thick. The soil, in most places clayey and strong, in some was naturally wet and cold, but nearly everywhere has been greatly improved, and brought into a state of high cultivation. The property is divided among three. The original parish, whose church was dedicated to St Nicholas, was four times the size of the present one, and comprehended much of the lands now included in Gordon and Westruther. In the first half of the 12th century the second Earl of Dunbar conferred it on Kelso Abbey, whose monks placed large portions of it under other parochial arrangement. The curtailed parish was annexed in 1640 to the contiguous Roxburghshire parish of Stitchell. A public school, with accommodation for 96 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 67, and a grant of £44, 1s. 3d. Valuation (1864) £5000, 7s. 6d., (1882) £6213, 1s. 9d. Pop. (1841) 385, (1861) 420, (1871) 460, (1881) 407.—Ord. Sur., sh. 25, 1865.

* It may here be noted that. according to tradition, James II. 's queen. Mary of Gueldres, was lodging at Home castle. when the King met his death by the bursting of a cannon at the siege of the castle of Roxburgh, 3 Aug. 1460.

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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