county acres tweed water north feet crops
PEEBLES, a midland county of Scotland, is bounded N. and N.E. by Midlothian, E. and S.E. by Selkirk, S. by Dumfries, and W. by Lanark. Its outline is somewhat irregular, the greatest length from north to south being about 30 miles, the greatest breadth about 20, and the smallest about 10. The area is 226,899 acres, or about 355 square miles.
From the fact that the county lies within the upper valley of the Tweed, it is sometimes known as Tweeddale. The surface consists of a succession of hills broken by the vale of the Tweed, which in some parts attains considerable breadth, and by the narrow valleys forming the courses of numerous "waters" and smaller streams. The lowest point above sea-level is about 450 feet, but the hills generally vary in height from 900 to 1500 feet, while several attain an altitude considerably over 2000 feet. The highest summits are Broad Law (2754 feet), Cramalt Craig (2723 feet), and Dollar Law (2680 feet). The hills for the most part are rounded in form. The scenery is thus generally devoid of very striking or picturesque features, and its quiet pastoral character has a pleasing effect, while the exuberant plantations which clothe the sides and summits of the hills in the neighbourhood of the Tweed, with the well-cultivated fields adjoining its banks, lend to this district an aspect of rich luxuriance.
The Tweed has its source in a small fountain named Tweed's Well at the base of a hill on the south-western border called Tweed's Cross, from the farther side of which flow the Annan and the Clyde. It rises about 1300 feet above sea-level, and, with waters of sparkling clearness and purity, justly entitling it to the name of the " silver Tweed," flows with rapid course north-eastwards to the town of Peebles, receiving continual accessions from mountain streamlets, the principal being the Biggar Water from the west at Drumelzier, the Lyne from the north-west at Lyne, the Manor Water from the south near Edderston, and the Eddlestone Water from the north at Peebles. After passing Peebles the river bends in a more easterly direction, receiving, before it leaves the county, the Quair Water from the south and the Leithen from the north. The Megget Water flows eastwards into St Mary's Loch, which forms, for a very short distance, the south-eastern boundary of the county with Selkirkshire. The Medwin Water separates a portion of the south-western boundary of Linton parish from Lanarkshire. Peebles is, perhaps, more resorted to by anglers than any other county in Scotland, and it would be difficult to find anywhere else in the kingdom, within an equal area, so many streams and rivers affording such good sport and so unhampered by restrictions. Apart from St Mary's Loch, on the borders of the county, there are no sheets of water of much extent.
Geology. - Peeblesshire is included in the Silurian tableland of southern Scotland, and consists chiefly of Upper Silurian rocks, having generally a north-western dip. The strata have been thrown into great flexures by volcanic action, and are frequently mingled with igneous rocks, such as trap, felspar, and porphyry. In the valley of the Tweed, where there is a great anticlinal flexure, slates with thin beds of anthracite arc found, and also limestone. In a slate-quarry near Traquair graptolites, trilobites, and shells are met with, but nowhere else in the county have fossils been discovered. There are evidences of glacial action in the rounded forms of the hills, the frequent groovings along their flanks, and the large number of striated boulders. In the northern part of the county, in the parishes of Linton and Newland, the Silurian rocks dip beneath the Carboniferous strata of the West of Scotland coal-field. In Peeblesshire the strata consist of sandstone and coal-beds. Ironstone is also found, and lead-ore occurs in thin beds near the Leithen. Limestone and marl are abundant, and at Stobo there is a quarry of excellent blue slate.
Climate, Soil, and ilgrieulture. - In the uplands the climate, though colder than that of the Lothians, is generally pure and dry, and remarkably healthy. The average rainfall is about 20 inches. On the summits and slopes of the hills frequent showers occur when it is quite fair in the valleys. The reilexion of the " slanters " on the hillsides sometimes greatly increases the heat in the valleys and assists the early ripening of the crops. The character of the soil varies considerably, moss, gravel, and clay being all represented. The flat lands consist generally of rich loam, composed of sand and clay.
As may be supposed from its hilly character, the county is pastoral rather than agricultural. The old system of small farms is nearly completely broken up, the average size of the holdings being now about 200 acres of arable land, with pasturage for 600 to 800 sheep attached. According to the agricultural returns of 18S3, of the total area only 42,433 acres, or a little less than a fifth, were under cultivation, corn crops occupying 9832 acres, green crops 5716, rotation grasses 12,078, and permanent pasture 14,763. There were 10,177 acres under woods, 11 acres of market-gardens, and 6 of nursery-grounds. The most common rotation of crops is a six-course shift of (1) turnips, (2) barley or oats, (3), (4), and (5) grass or pasture, and (6) oats. The principal crops are oats, which in 1883 occupied 8797 acres, or about nine-tenths of the total area under corn crops, and turnips, for which the soil is specially well adapted, and which occupied 4679 acres, or about four-fifths of the total area under green crops. Horses in 1883 numbered 1142, cattle 5664, and sheep 192,122. The horses are frequently Clydesdales, and many are bred in the county. The most common breed of cattle in the county is a cross between Ayrshire and shorthorns, the cows being principally Ayrshire. Yorkshire calves and stirks are occasionally bought for feeding. The pasture, on account of the hilly character of the land, is better adapted for sheep than for cattle. On the green grassy pasture Cheviots and half-breds are the sheep most commonly preferred, and the heathery ranges are stocked with blaekfaced. Crosses of blackfaced, Cheviot, and half-bred ewes with Leicestershire rams are common.
According to the latest return, the land was divided among 708 proprietors, possessing 232,410 acres, with an annual valuation of £142,614, the annual average value per acre being about 12s. 3d. Of the owners, 532, or about 75 per cent., possessed less than one acre each. The following possessed over 5000 acres each : - earl of Wemyss and March, 41,247; Sir G. G. Montgomerie, 18,172; Sir J. Murray Nasmyth, 15,485; John Miller, 13,000; James Tweedie, 11,151; irustees of the late earl of Traquair, 10,778; Colonel James M 'Kenzie, 9403 ; Sir Robert Hay, 9155 ; Sir W. H. G. Carmichael, 8756 ; John White, 6366 ; George Graham Bell, 6600 ; James Wolfe Murray, 510S.
Manufactures. - Although the county has the advantage of convenient railway communication both by the North British and Caledonian systems, and possesses also abundant water - power, the only textile industries are the weaving of tweeds and shawls at Peebles and Innerleithen. The other manufactures are connected with the immediate wants of an agricultural population.
Administration and Population. - The county includes sixteen parishes, and one royal burgh, the county town. Along with the neighbouring county of Selkirk it forms a parliamentary county, which returns one member to parliament. Within the last fifty years the population of Peebles has increased about one-third, and, while in the first decade, between 1831 and 1841, there was a decrease from 10,578 to 10,499, the rate of increase has since then augmented in every succeeding decade. In 1861 the population amounted to 11,408, in 1871 to 12,330, and in 1881 to 13,822, of whom 6626 were males and 7196 females. In 1831 females were in a minority, being only 5236 to 5342 males. The county includes two towns, Peebles (3495) and Innerleithen (2313), and two villages, Walkerburn (1026) and West Linton (434). The town population in 1881 numbered 5808, the village 1460, and the rural 6554.
History and Antiquities. - There are a great number of British remains, including five circular British camps and numerous sepulchral tombs, where many eists and stone coffins have been discovered, sometimes containing armilhe of gold, and stone axes and hammers. The standing-stones of Tweedsmuir and the remarkable earthen terraces on the hillsides, especially at Purvis Hill near Innerleithen and at Romanno, also deserve notice. The only important Roman remains are traces of a camp on the Lyne, which some suppose to be the Carla of Ptolemy. The district was included in the old kingdom of Northumbria, and passed to the kingdom of Scotland in the 11th century. By David I. it was made a deanery in the archdeaconry of Peebles, and it was subsequently included in the diocese of Glasgow. About the middle of the 12th century it was placed under the jurisdiction of two sheriffs, one of whom was settled at Traquair and the other at Peebles. There are a considerable number of old castles, some of special interest, as Neidpath Castle on the Tweed, about a mile west from Peebles, originally a Norman keep, built about the time of David I., and enlarged for a baronial residence by the Hays, who came into possession of it in the 15th century ; Horsburgh Castle, a picturesque ruin near Innerleithen, once the seat of the Horsburghs, hereditary sheriffs-depute of Peebles ; and the mansion-house or palace of Traquair, frequently resided in by the Scottish kings when they came to hunt in Ettrick Forest.
See Pennecuick, Description of Tweeddale, 1715; W. Chambers, History of Peebiesshi re, 15i34.