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Morebattle

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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Morebattle, a Border village and parish of E Roxburghshire. The village stands, 320 feet above sea, level, on a gentle eminence, not far from the left bank of the winding Kale, 41/8 miles SW of Yetholm and 7½ SSE of Kelso, under which it has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments. Pop. (1871) 327, (1881) 322.

The parish, comprising the ancient parish of Mow, is bounded NW by Linton, NE by Yetholm, E and SE by Northumberland, SW by Hounam, and W by Eckford. Its utmost length, from NNW to SSE, is 95/8 miles; its utmost breadth is 7 miles; and its area is 351/6 square miles or 22,518 acres, of which 183½ are water. Kale Water flows 41/8 miles northward and westward, partly along the Hounam and Linton boundaries, partly across the western interior; and Bowmont Water, formed at Cocklawfoot (780 feet) by head-streams that rise among the Cheviots on the English Border at altitudes of from 1700 to 2350 feet, runs 75/8 miles north-westward and northward till it passes off near Hayhope into Yetholm parish. Yetholm or Primside Loch (3 x 12/3 furl.) lies just on the Yetholm boundary. Along Bowmont Water the surface declines to 385, along Kale Water to 220, feet above the sea; and chief elevations, from N to S, are *Linton Hill (926 feet), Clifton Hill (905), *Windshaw Hill (1067), Morebattle Hill (719), the Curr (1849), the *Schel (1979), *Auchopecairn (2422), and *Windygate Hill (2034), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. Indeed, excepting two small tracts in the extreme NW and N, all Morebattle consists of hills and narrow valleys, and runs up along the whole boundary with England to the highest summits of the Cheviots. Its heights command, in many instances, very grand and map-like views of Teviotdale, Merse, and Northumberland, fringed on the E by the German Ocean; and generally have a graceful outline and a deep verdure, unlike the usual stern features of a mountainous district. Only a fair proportion of wood is wanted to complete that blending of grandeur into beauty which is due to the district's natural form and clothing. The predominant rocks are eruptive; and the soil of the arable lands is mostly light, well suited to the turnip husbandry. The higher grounds are chiefly disposed in pasture. Corbet Tower, near the Kale's left bank, 1 mile SSE of the village of Morebattle, was burned by the English in 1522 and 1545. Rebuilt in 1575, it gradually fell into decay, till early in this century it was renovated by Sir Charles Ker of Gateshaw, though never inhabited. Whitton Tower, 1 7/8 mile SSW of the village, was sacked by the Earl of Surrey in 1523, and burned by Hertford in 1545, and is now in a ruinous condition. Other towers and peel-houses of the parish which figure in Border records have disappeared; but on many of the heights are encampments. The church of Merebotle or Morebattle (`village on the mere or lake') belonged to Glasgow cathedral as early as the 12th century, but was the subject of pertinacious controversy regarding the right to its temporalities; and eventually, in 1228, was declared to be a prebend of Glasgow, whose archdeacon should receive thirty merks a year for a mansion, but should claim nothing of the rectory. There were two pre-Reformation chapels in the parish the one at Clifton on Bowmont Water, and the other at Whitton, now called Nether-Whitton. Mow or Moll included the highest grounds or southern and south-eastern parts of the united parish. Its village stood on Bowmont Water near Mowhaugh, 5 ¼ miles S of Yetholm; and its church stood a little lower down the river. The church belonged to the monks of Kelso. Those of Melrose also held lands in the parish; and their refusal to pay the tithes gave rise to a dispute, which was finally settled in 1309. The principal residences are Lochside, Otterburn, and Gateshaw; and 7 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500, and 4 of from £20 to £50. Morebattle is in the presbytery of Kelso and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £343. The parish church, at the village, was built in 1757, and contains 300 sittings. In the village are also a Free and a U.P. church, the latter representing the oldest Secession congregation in the South of Scotland. Their first minister, Mr Hunter, was ordained in 1739, and was the earliest Secession licentiate; but he died a few months after his ordination. The original meeting-house stood at Gateshaw Brae or Corbet, and the presentone was built in 1866. A great religious meeting, conducted by a body of Secession ministers from a distance, was held in 1839, on Gateshaw Brae, to celebrate the centenary of Mr Hunter's ordination. Two public schools, Morebattle and Mowhaugh, with respective accommodation for 125 and 28 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 104 and 19, and grants of £94, 11s. and £34, 2s. 6d. Valuation (1864) £13,013, 18s. 11d., (1884) £13, 962, 8s. 2d. Pop. (1801) 785, (1831) 1055, (1861) 1031, (1871) 986, (1881) 1003.—Ord. Sur., sh. 18, 1863.

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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