Parish of Bowden

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: Bowden
1834-45: Bowden

Bowden (Bothenden in 1124), a parish and a village of NW Roxburghshire. The village stands at the eastern border, on the left bank of Bowden Burn, 2¾ miles S by E of Melrose and 1¾ WSW of its post-town and railway station, Newtown St Boswells. It has an old stone cross, a handsome modern fountain, an inn, a post office, remains of one or two old square ` bastel ' towers, and a Free church; across the stream is the ancient parish church, much older than the oldest date upon it (1666), with 380 sittings, a curious canopied pew, and a chancel vault, where 22 Kers of the Roxburghe line have been laid-the last, the sixth duke, on 3 May 1879.

The parish also contains the village of Midlem or Midholm, 3¼ miles SW of Bowden, and 3½ E by S of its post-town Selkirk, with another inn and a United Original Seceders church. It is bounded N and NE by Melrose, E by St Boswells and Ancrum, SE and S by Lilliesleaf, and W by Selkirk and Galashiels. Its length from N to S varies between 25/8 and 4¼ miles, its breadth from E to W between 21/8 and 41/8 miles; and its area is 7682¾ acres, of which 15½ are water. For 2¾ miles Ale Water traces the south-eastern boundary, and receives two rivulets from the interior; but most of the drainage is carried east-north-eastward directly to the Tweed by the Bowden and lesser burns. Just where the Bowden quits the eastern frontier, 1 mile from its mouth, the surface is only 400 feet above sea-level; but thence it rises in parallel westward ridges to 571 feet near the manse, 933 on Bowden Moor, 816 on Faughhill Moor, 856 near Nether Whitlaw, 735 at Prieston, 862 at Clarilawmoor, and 893 near Friarshawmuir, other points of elevation being Rowchester (640 feet), Blackchester (500), Cavers Carre (535), and a nameless eminence in the farthest S (709). All these, however, are dominated by the triple Eildons, whose southern and half of whose middle and loftiest peak attain a height of 1216 and 1385 feet within the north-eastern confines of the parish. The leading formation is porphyritic trap; and the soil varies from a stiff clay overlying a hard retentive tilly subsoil in the N and part of the W to a fertile loam along the central haughs, whilst in the S it has a thin, dry, friable character, well suited for turnip culture. About three-fourths of the entire area have been under the plough at one time or another; the rest is moor, bog, or woodland, plantations covering some 250 acres, chiefly around the south-eastern base of the Eildons. A military road may be traced, running north-westward from Beaulieu in Lilliesleaf to Cauldshiels above Abbotsford, and flanked by three circular camps; midway along it, and 1¼ mile W by S of the village, stood Holydean Castle, built, it would seem, by Dame Isabel Ker in 1530, and demolished by the third Duke of Roxburghe about 1760. Only a vault remains to mark its site, and a chapel hard by, overhanging the deep dell called Ringan's Dean, has likewise disappeared; but its stone dyke, enclosing the ` great deer park ' of 500 acres, still forms a tolerable fence. The son of an Antiburgher ' portioner,, Thomas Aird of Bowden (1802-76) wrote the weird -Devil's -Dream and other poems, last published, with a Memoir, in 1878. The mansions of Linthill, Cavers Carre, and Kippilaw are all three situated in the SE, the first two near Ale Water; and 2 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 or upwards, 12 of between £100 and £500,4 of from £50 to £100, and 13 of from £20 to £50. Bowden is in the presbytery of Selkirk and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; its minister's income is £436. Two public schools, at Bowden and Midlem villages, with respective accommodation for 125 and 58 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 63 and 45, and grants of £59,17s. and £45,6s. Valuation (1880) £9127,17s. 7d. Pop. (1801) 829, (1831) 1010, (1871) 842, (1881) 769.—Ord. Sur., sh. 25,1865.

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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