Parish of Hobkirk

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: Hobkirk
1834-45: Hobkirk

Hobkirk (anciently Hopekirk), a Teviotdale parish of Roxburghshire, containing the post office of Bonchester Bridge, 7 miles E by S of the post-town, Hawick. It is bounded E by Bedrule, Jedburgh, and Southdean, S by Castleton, and W and NW by Cavers. Its utmost length, from NNE to SSW, is 10¾ miles ; its utmost breadth is 4¼ miles ; and its area is 16, 242 acres, of which 49 are water. Rule Water is formed by several head-streams in the S, and runs, from their confluence, first 4¾ miles north-north-eastward through the interior, next 2½ miles northward on or close to the Bedrnle border. Some head-streams, too, of Slitrig Water rise and run in the SW corner. In the extreme N, the surface declines along the Rule to close on 300 feet above sea-level, thence rising south-south-westward to 1392 feet at ' dark Ruberslaw, ' 1059 at round, green Bonchester Hill, 1210 at Stonedge Hill, 1312 at Pike Fell, 1662 at Windburgh Hill, and l687 at Fanna Hill, which belongs to the mountain chain that separates Teviotdale from Liddesdale. The interior mainly consists of the narrow vale of Rule Water, with its flanking heights, and comprises a belt of haughs scarcely ¼ mile broad. Silurian rocks predominate in the S ; sandstone, in the N, yields suitable building material ; and limestone occurring in considerable masses, has been quarried and calcined in several places. Trap rocks are found on Windburgh, Bonchester, and Ruberslaw Hills, and in a dyke traversing the lower part of the parish from E to W. Indications of coal have been observed. Pieces of detrital fossil wood are found in the bed of the Rule ; and a stratum of agate or coarse jasper, frequently used for seals and other ornaments, occurs at Robertslin. The soil of the haughs is a deep, strong, fertile clay, mixed in some places with small boulders, in other places with sand ; that of the acclivities, at a distance from the streams, is light, sandy, and naturally very barren. Less than one-fifth of the entire area, so late as 1836, was in tillage or in grass parks ; but a great additional extent of pasture land has since been brought under cultivation, and bears fair grain crops. Plantations cover some 800 acres, and much of the uplands is still pastoral or waste. The chief antiquities are ancient fortifications on Bonchester Hill, and vestiges of ancient camps or fortifications on Ruberslaw, at Wauchope, and in several other places. The Rev. Robert Riccalton, anthor of two volumes of essays and sermons, was minister of Hobkirk from 1725 till 1769 ; and the poet Thomson, spending with him some part of his early life, is said to have planned his Seasons here, and to have borrowed from surrounding places much of the scenery in its descriptions. Mansions, noticed separately, are Hallrule, Harwood, Langraw, Wauchope, Weens, and Wells ; and 8 proprietors hold each an annual of £500 and upwards. Hobkirk is in the presbytery of Jedburgh and synod of Merse and Teviotdale ; the living is worth £430. The parish church, ¾ mile S of Bonchester Bridge, was built in 1858, and contains 412 sittings. A Free church, at Wolflee, contains 200 ; and Hobkirk pnblic school, with accommodation for 148 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 72, and a grant of £58, 15s. 8d. Valuation (1864) £9008, 14s. 9d., (1882) £11, 595, 18s. 11d. Pop. (1801) 760, (1821) 652, (1841) 776, (1871) 718, (1881) 662.—Ord. Sur., sh. 17, 1864.

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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