[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
JEDBURGH, a parish in the southern division of Roxburghshire. It consists of two detached parts, lying a mile asunder, and both stretching lengthwise from south to north. The southern division, though the smaller, is the original Jedburgh; and it is bounded on the north-east and east by Oxnam; on the south by Northumberland; and on the west by Southdean. Its form is nearly a circle of 3¼ miles in diameter, with a projection northward of irregular outline, 2½ miles long, and about ¾ of a mile in average breadth. Its surface rapidly descends from the summit range or water-shedding line of the Cheviots on its southern boundary to an undulating plain, shooting up occasionally in beautiful, and in some instances high, green conical hills, and ploughed toward the north by the narrow vale of the Jed. The northern and larger division has the outline of an irregular pentagon, with a small oblong figure projecting at a wide angle and from a brief line of attachment on the east; and it is bounded on the north by Ancrum and Crailing; on the north-east by Eckford; on the east by Hounam and Oxnam; on the south by Southdean; and on the west by Bedrule. In extreme length, from north to south, it measures 6½ miles, and, in average length, about 5¼; and, in extreme breadth, exclusive of the eastward projection, it measures 5¼ miles, and in average breadth 4¼. The projecting part stretches north-west and south-east, and measures 2¾ miles by 1½. From the deep, and, in some places, furrow-like vale of the Jed, the surface rises undulating on both sides, in an enchanting variety of form, to the height of about 300 feet above the level of the stream, cut by numerous ravines, and exceedingly varied in the outline of its knolls and hillocks. But on its west side, first along the boundary from the southern end onward, and next in the interior, it rises into the regularly ascending and elongated Dunian, and at the site and in the vicinity of the town sends off the roots of that lofty hill almost from the very edge of the Jed, leaving hardly sufficient space for a convenient street arrangement of the burgh: See the article DUNIAN. Behind the northern part of the hill, or along the southern frontier, the surface is a level and luxuriant haugh, watered by the Teviot, which here forms, for 3½ miles, the boundary-line, and spreads freely around it the wealth and the mirthfulness of soil and landscape which distinguish the lower and longer part of its course. On the east Oxnam-water, flowing northward to the Teviot, forms for a mile the boundary-line, and, for another mile, runs across the connecting part or neck of the projecting district. – The whole extent of the parish, in both of its sections, and also a large portion of the conterminous country, was anciently wooded with what is known in history as Jed forest. About 100 years ago a large expanse of the forest continued to spread its umbrageous carpeting upon the soil; but during the course of last century it was almost all peddlingly and remorselessly cut down. A few patches of it, consisting principally of birch trees, still exist at Fernihirst, in the vale of the Jed, near the southern extremity of the northern division; and two venerable representatives of it, called ‘the King of the wood,’ and, ‘the Capon-tree,’ arrest attention lower down the vale, about a mile from the burgh. One of the trees – the monarch one – has a retinue of younger and less noble trees, and rises to the height of about 100 feet, with a girth near the ground of 14 feet; and the other stands solitarily in a haugh, abounds in the number, fantastic twistings, and far-stretching length of its boughs, and has a girth near the ground of 21 feet. But though the old forest has so generally fallen before the axe, trees which have sprung up from its old stocks, and others which have been raised by planting, are sufficiently numerous to give the parish a sheltered and ornate appearance. – Iron ore, 3 feet thick in stratum, occurs near the town. White and red sandstone, of excellent quality, abounds, and is wrought in several quarries. Limestone of excellent quality is abundant at Carterfell, on the boundary with England, and occurs at Hunthill 2 miles south-east of the burgh; but, owing to the dearth of fuel, it has not, for some time, been worked. Coal seems in one or two localities to be indicated, and even appears to have been at one time found on the Hunthill property; but it has more than once, in recent times, eluded expensive and laborious search. Two chalybeate springs well up near Jedburgh, and others seem to exist in other localities. One of the former, called Tudhope well, has been successfully tried for scorbutic and rheumatic disorders. Cultivation has been rapidly and remarkably extended, and has achieved results which everywhere impose on the district a rich and smiling aspect. Fifty years ago not more than a fifth or a sixth part of the area was arable ground, while all the rest was pastoral; but now the proportion of lands in tillage, in pasture, and under wood, is nearly in the proportion respectively of 29, 15, and 5. The farm buildings are neat, and, in some instances, almost elegant; the enclosures are tasteful and sheltering; the sides of the Dunian and of other lofty hills are frilled and beautified with enclosure and culture a considerable way up their ascent; and almost all the land which modern methods of improvement could reclaim have been subjected to the plough. The soil, over so extensive and diversified a district, is necessarily various; it is, in some places, a toughish clay, – in others, a mixture of clay with sand or gravel, – and in the lower parts of the vale of the Jed, as well as in the valley of the Teviot, a rich and fertile loam. The prevailing husbandry is a course of two white and three green crops. The higher parts of the Dunian, and especially the uplands along the boundary with England, are the sheep-walk of the famed Cheviot breed, – browsing here, as in coterminous districts, on their proper or original grounds. The climate of some parts of the parish, especially in the vale of the Jed, at the part where the town stands, is famed for its salubriousness. Environed with the high banks of the Jed on the south and east, and with the gigantic bulwark of the Dunian on the west, the town has often a mildness of temperature when the air, at a mile or two’s distance, is sharp and cold; and it suffers little from epidemics compared with the neighbouring towns of Kelso and Hawick, and was a stranger to cholera at the period of their bleeding beneath its scourge. Instances of longevity are so frequent that the minister who lived at the date of Sir John Sinclair’s Statistical Account, reported “many” to have lived to upwards of 90 years of age during the period of his incumbency. The mansions of the parish are, in the vale of the Jed, Edgerston, Mossburnford, Langlee, Hundalee, Stewartheld, and Boonjedward, and, in other localities, Hunthill, Lintalee, and Glenburnhall. There are six corn-mills on the Jed water, two of them at the burgh. Besides the town of Jedburgh and the village of LANTON [which see], there are two hamlets, – Bonjedward, at the intersection of the Newcastle and Edinburgh, and the Berwick and Carlisle roads, 2 miles below Jedburgh, – and Ulsten, 1¼ mile south-east of the former, and 1½ mile north-east of Jedburgh. The Berwick and Carlisle road runs along the southern part of the parish, in the vale of the Teviot, at a brief distance from the river. The Edinburgh and Newcastle road, for a mile after entering on the north, is identical with the former, as it has to debouch round the north, end of the Dunian; and afterward; from Bonjedward onward, it runs up the vale of the Jed till within 2¾ miles of England, where the vale diverges westward, and leaves the road to climb its unassisted way up the acclivity of the Cheviots. On account of the height of the ascent here, this line of road has hitherto been greatly less frequented than the Coldstream and Berwick lines; but being the shortest, and having recently been much improved, it must soon draw more favour. Nothing but the height and the broad base of the obstructing Cheviots could have permitted a doubt as to the line of this road being incomparably the best for a railway between Edinburgh and Newcastle. Jedburgh claims, either as natives or as residents, a considerable number of eminent men. Various distinguished persons were connected, in ancient times, with its ecclesiastical establishments. Dr. Macknight, the well-known critical commentator, and Dr. Somerville, the historian of Queen Anne, were incumbents in modern times, – the former during 3 years, and the latter during a period of 57 years, from 1773, furnishing, in his own person, an example of the longevity instances of which he had reported in the Statistical Account. John Rutherford, principal of St. Salvator’s college, St. Andrews, – Andrew Young, regent of philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, – John Ainslie, the eminent land-surveyor, – and Sir David Brewster, the distinguished living philosopher, are all claimed by the parish as natives. Samuel Rutherford, the pious and eminent principal of St. Mary’s college, St. Andrews, and Thomson the poet, whose father was minister of the conterminous parish of Southdean, are believed to have been educated at the grammar-school of the town.
The civil history and the antiquities of this parish are interesting. The name of the river whence the district has its designation, having been anciently written God and Gad, a conjecture is generally entertained that the ancient town, if one existed, was the capital, or that at least the district was the principal seat of the Gadeni, a British tribe who inhabited the whole tract of country lying between Northumberland and the Teviot. Its position on the Borders, its forming often a debateable territory between conflicting powers, its facilities of fortification and intrenchment, the shelter of its forest and the seclusion of its glens, occasioned it to be the rendezvous of armies, the arena of baronial gatherings and feuds, and the scene of conflicts both national and predatory, from the earliest period of authentic Scottish history down to an epoch immediately succeeding the Reformation. – The last onslaughter on its soil, though little else than the hasty squabble of irascible men at a Border tryst, was followed by consequences of pacification which invest it with interest and importance. On the 7th of July, 1575, some Scotsmen, resenting the unprovoked or unjustifiable slaughter of one of their countrymen, made a vengeful attack on the offenders, and were repulsed. But meeting in their flight a body of the men of Jedburgh who joined them, they wheeled round on their pursuers, completely routed them, killed Sir George Heron, an eminent Northumbrian, and carried prisoners to Dalkeith, Sir John Forster, the warden, and some considerable persons, his attendants. Elizabeth of England being enraged at the event, the Earl of Huntington as her envoy, and the Regent Morton on the part of Scotland, met at Foulden in Berwickshire, and arranged a general pacification. The scene of the conflict was the Reid Swire, one of the Cheviot hills on the boundary with England, – the word ‘swire’ meaning ‘a neck,’ and being used in the nomenclature of Scottish topography to denote the neck of a hill. The skirmish has supplied the Border minstrels with a subject for song, entitled ‘the Raid of the Red Swire.’ – Besides antiquities which occur to be noticed in the description of the town, others, of various classes, challenge attention throughout the parish. At Fernihurst, on the east bank of the Jed, about 2 miles above the burgh, the gray turrets of Fernihurst castle, look out from the surface of a grove of tall and aged trees which embosom it. The present pile was built in 1598, on the site of a predecessor, the stronghold of the ancestors of the Marquis of Lothian. In 1523 the original castle was captured by Surrey; in 1549 it was, after a severe struggle, retaken by the Scots, with the aid of French auxiliaries then stationed at the burgh; in 1569 it sheltered the Earl of Westmoreland from the vengeance of Elizabeth; and, in 1570, in revenge of an incursion which its chief and other Border leaders made into Northumberland, it was captured and demolished by the Earl of Sussex and Sir John Foster. – The parish appears to have been at one time thickly dotted with peels, and towers, and minor strengths, – several of which were massive and formidable; but all, except a tower at the village of Lanton, and the ruins of a stronghold at Timpan, in the vicinity of Lanton, have disappeared. Vestiges of artificial eaves exist on the banks of the Jed, particularly of two large ones excavated in rock at Hundalee and Lintalee. They recede in such a manner from the face of precipices as to be now inaccessible; but they were described to Dr. Somerville by aged persons who had entered them when a degree of access existed, as consisting of three apartments, one on each side of the entrance, and another of larger dimensions behind; and they seem, without a doubt, to have been used as hiding-places or strongholds in cases of emergency from invasion. – On the summit of the bank above the Lintalee cave, are the remains of a famous camp, which Douglas formed for the defence of the Borders during Bruce’s absence in Ireland, and which is described in Barbour’s Bruce. Richmond, the English warden, baring crossed the Border at the head of 10,000 men provided with hatchets to destroy Jed forest, fell, in a personal rencounter with Douglas, in the vicinity of the camp. Near Monklaw is a Roman camp, which seems to have been about 160 yards square. At Scarsburgh is a well-defined circular camp, about 180 feet in diameter, with ramparts nearly 20 feet in height. At Fernihirst, Howdean, Camptown, and Swinnie, are vestiges of other camps which have been greatly defaced. An ancient military road passes over the Dunian from Ancrum bridge toward the town. The Roman causeway passes along the north-eastern district at the distance of 2 miles from the burgh, and is here paved with whinstone, and almost entire. – At Old Jedworth, on the Jed, 4 miles above the town, and at the northern extremity of the southern section of the parish, are situated, amidst a little grove, the ruins, or rather vestiges, of a chapel founded by Ecgred, bishop of Lindisfarn, who died in the year 845. Verdant mounds and carpetings of rank grass respectively indicate the position of the chapel walls, and almost conceal from view the tomb-stones of the cemetery. Flint arrow-heads are sometimes found in various localities. Ancient coins and medals – particularly the former – have been found in almost incredible numbers. At Stewartfield, at Bongate, at Swinnie, and in other localities, but especially at a place on the side of the Jed near the burgh, where deposits were made of rubbish from the town and its Abbey, coins have been picked up of the reigns of Canute, Edred, Edwy, Ethelred, Edward I., Edward III., and of later monarchs both Scottish and English. – Population of the parish, in 1801, 3,834; in 1831, 5.647. Houses 752. Assessed property, in 1815, £20,591.
Jedburgh gives name to a presbytery in the synod of Merse and Teviotdale. Patron, the Crown. Stipend £296 17s. 4d.; glebe £48 13s. Unappropriated teinds £2,100 5s. 1d. The present parish comprehends the ancient parishes of Jedburgh, Old Jedburgh, and Upper Crailing. Old Jedburgh is the southern section of the parish, and Upper Crailing is what we have described as the eastern wing of the northern section. Old Jedburgh, containing, in 1836, a population of 283, was recently, with districts in the adjacent parishes of Southdean and Oxnam, erected into a parish quoad sacra. The church of the new parish is situated at Rink, and was built in 1838. The incumbent of the quoad civilia parish has an assistant, and, with his aid, maintains a preaching-station at Lanton, and extra services in the burgh. The quoad civilia parish-church is in the old Abbey of the burgh, and was fitted about the year 1793, and repaired and enlarged in 1834. Sittings 910. From a calculation of the minister in 1836, founded by a survey of the examinable parishioners, the population was distributed into 2,451 churchmen and 3,196 dissenters. There are in the parish 4 dissenting congregations, – all whose places of worship are situated in the burgh. – The First United Secession congregation was established in 1738, and their present meeting-house built in 1818. Sittings 1,200. Outlay on building and repairing church, manse, offices, and garden wall, from 1790 to 1836, £4,281. Stipend £190 with manse, offices, and garden worth from £25 to £30, and £10 sacramental expenses. The congregation has a library of upwards of 1,000 volumes. – The Second United Secession congregation was established in 1765. Sittings in their meeting-house, 400. Stipend £92, with a manse and garden. – The Relief congregation was established in 1757. Their present place of worship was built, in 1818, at a cost of £2,700. Sittings 1,100. Stipend £190. – The Independent congregation was established in 1840, and assembles in a hall. Sittings about 200. – There are in the parish three parochial schools, conducted by five teachers, and attended by a maximum of 332 scholars and a minimum of 272; and twelve non-parochial schools, conducted by thirteen teachers, and attended by 618 scholars. One of the parochial schools is situated in the burgh, and united to a grammar school. Aggregate salary £42 3s., with about £150 school-fees, and a house and garden worth £15. The other parochial schools are so far private that, while salaried by the heritors, they are kept in repair and otherwise provided for by voluntary subscription; and they are situated respectively at Lanton and at Rink. – The two Jedworths1 are the earliest parishes in Scotland of which there is distinct historical notice. So early as the record of the year 882, they are mentioned by Hoveden; and two centuries later, Eadulfus, a younger son of one of the Earls of Northumberland, is recorded by both Simeon and Hoveden to have been buried in the church of Jedworth, – a fact which shows how early these powerful Earls had connection with the manor of Jedburgh. As appears from the charters of David I., one of the Earls, amid the darkness which preceded the dawn of record, laid out on and around the site of the present burgh, a manor on which were built a castle, a church, and a mill. When David I. founded the monastery of Jedburgh, he gave its monks the churches of the two parishes, and also a chapel which then existed at Scarsburgh, in a recess of the forest east of the Jed. In 1147, Gospatrick, the “vicecomes,” granted to the same monks the tithes of the church of Upper Crailing. – In 1754, the Relief denomination of dissenters originated in Jedburgh under Mr. Boston. A curious manuscript prepared by the kirk-session of the epoch, and narrating the rise of the new sect, is in the possession of a bookseller in the burgh.
JEDBURGH, a royal burgh, and the county-town of Roxburghshire, occupies a romantic and very beautiful site on the river Jed; 10 miles west of Kelso; 10 east of Hawick; 46 by way of Lauder, south of Edinburgh; and 12 north of the English border. A correct idea of the town cannot be conveyed but through the medium of a previous idea of its site. The Jed, in approaching it, has a due north direction; and after running alongside of it for 230 yards, it bends round, flows 250 yards due east, again bends and flows 800 yards due north and about 660 yards north-east, and, now resuming its northerly course, takes leave of the town and its suburbs. The east or right bank of the river, while traversing this aggregate distance, is remarkably varied and picturesque in appearance; but, in general, may be described as a glen or narrow vale, with a scaured and richly-wooded back-ground of rising bank or undulating hill. The west or left bank may be compared to a stupendous wedge, with its hither edge rounded off, laid close along the margin of the early part of the river, the head or thick end being on the south, and the point, or end which subsides into a level, lying about two-third’s way down the river’s long northerly stretch of 800 yards. What the figure of the wedge illustrates is a spur or projection of the Dunian: but the main body of this vast though beautiful hill swells up at an average distance of about ¼ of a mile from the river, along the whole extent of the town, and over a considerable distance both above and below it, and forms a gigantic natural screen in its rear, adorned as it recedes with hanging gardens and orchards, A quarter of a mile east of the southern termination of the town or of its suburb, stands the elegant mansion of Stewartfield in the midst of a little grove; and leading up to it north-eastward from a bridge opposite the middle of the town, is a wooded avenue, whose trees, as well as those around the mansion, are of great age and dimensions, and might almost vie with the sylvan constituents of the vast American forest. The disclosures northward and southward of the superb scenery of the winding vale of the Jed, though not extensive, are singularly picturesque. Altogether, the site and the environs of the burgh are as exquisitely attractive as they are singularly peculiar.
At the south end or highest ground of the town, at the distance of only about 110 yards from the river, stands the castle, afterwards to be described, appearing, from its size and its position, like the head of the scorpion-formed streets and back lanes which stretch away from it down the hill to the plain, and, owing to the elevation of its site, presenting a conspicuous appearance from every point of view whence the burgh is visible. Close to the castle, on the north-west side, comes down the turnpike, from Hawick, after surmounting the Dunian at a point 2 miles distant, and making a rapid slanting descent on its hither side. Immediately in front of the castle commences the town, in the street called Townhead. This street runs almost due north-east down the hill, over a distance of 370 yards to the cross; and has, in general, especially in its upper part, a dingy, antiquate, and plebeian appearance. On its south-east side, or side next the river, stands the meeting-house of the Second United Secession congregation, an edifice differing little in aspect from a barn, except for being bored, on the side fronting the street, with two ungainly goggle-eyed looking windows. At the cross is an open area, extensive enough to give the core of the town an airy and pleasant appearance, and edificed both in itself, and in the parts of concentric thoroughfares adjacent to it, with many good houses, some of which have neat shops on the ground story, while others exhibit over their whole form that dowdy tastelessness in architecture for which the older towns of Scotland, and the old parts of modern towns, are remarkable. From the south-east corner of the area at the cross a thoroughfare goes off, running 120 yards south-eastward, and about the same distance southward to a bridge across the Jed, where the river has an easterly direction, and there it points the way up the vale of the parish toward Newcastle. This thoroughfare, over most of the way before reaching the bridge, is only partially edificed; but it has on the west side the superb ruin of Jedburgh abbey, and commands in the finest perspective the views along the Jed; and, both in itself and in the walks it offers round the Abbey and down to the river side, it is exquisite lounging-ground for enjoying the mingled delights of landscape, and venerable architecture, and antiquarian reminiscence. From the north-east corner of the area at the cross, a street called Canongate runs down 260 yards eastward to a very ancient and curious bridge of three semicircular ribbed arches, across the Jed. Spanning the roadway of the bridge at its centre, was formerly a gateway which some modern Goths who happened to have authority in the burgh caused to be destroyed. On the north-west side of the area at the cross, at a point directly opposite the commencement of Canongate, a street 110 yards in length files off north-westward leading up to an acclivitous roadway over the Dunian to the village of Lanton. Bisecting this short street nearly at its middle, is a streamlet, called Larkhall burn, which, though only about a mile in length of course, comes down through a wooded vista, and, flowing parallel to the main street line of the town over its whole length, greatly enriches the orchard scenery with which it is flanked. Continuous of Townhead, and nearly on a line with it, the High-street runs down the hill north-eastward over a distance of 360 yards, and, having gained the plain, leads over a few additional yards eastward to the Townfoot-bridge, a new and neat erection pointing the way to Kelso and Edinburgh. A street of 250 yards in length, only partially edificed, goes off at right angles from the north side of Canongate, and, running parallel with the Jed, joins the High-street at a very acute angle about 100 yards above its termination. A little above their point of junction, the Relief meeting-house, a handsome and tasteful edifice, stretches between them, presenting its front to the High-street. Nearly opposite, but a little lower down in High-street, stands in a recess the meeting-house of the First United Secession congregation, with its attendant manse and garden, presenting an aspect highly ornamental to the burgh. The entire length of the town, along Townhead and High-street, is almost exactly half-a-mile; and its greatest breadth from Canongate bridge upward is about 380 yards, or something less than ¼ of a mile. The general or aggregate aspect of its streets combines cleanness and spaciousness with a struggle between dinginess and antiquated loutishness on the one hand, and incipient smartness and modern neatness on the other. Two inconsiderable suburbs stand on the right bank of the Jed; one diverging in three brief lines from near the end of Canongate bridge; and the other called Bongate, straggling upwards of 500 yards alongside of the turnpike to Edinburgh and Kelso, from near the east end of Townfoot-bridge to a point where, by another bridge, the turnpike passes to the left bank of the river. At one end of this suburb is a large stone, sculptured with figures of animals and some indistinct characters, which seems to be part of an ancient obelisk, probably the cross of the suburb.
An air of modernization, and of fraternizing with the British tastes of the 19th century, may be seen even more in the moral than in the physical aspect of Jedburgh. We noticed the Townhead in particular, as antiquated in its architecture; and we quote as a foil to the redeeming features of improvement and neatness which it now at intervals presents, a whimsical and no doubt somewhat caricatured description which the author of the ‘Picture of Scotland’ gives of its condition at a comparatively very recent appearance. “The same appearance of entire antiquity,” says he, “which so strongly marks the Abbey-wynd or close, prevails in a larger district of the town in a situation resembling the castle-hill of Edinburgh, and denominated ‘the Town-heid.’ The Town-heid is composed solely of very old houses, which seem to have never either needed or received any of that species of mutilation, called by antiquaries ruin, and by tradesmen repair. The secret is, that the inhabitants of the Town-heid all possess their own houses, and being a quiet unambitious kind of people, not overmuch given to tormenting themselves for the sake of comfort, or killing themselves with cleaning and trimming, just suffer their tenements to descend peaceably from father to son, as they are, have been, and will be. The houses, therefore, are venerable enough in all conscience; but it is impossible for them to be more old-fashioned than the people who live in them. The ‘Town-heid folk,’ for such is their common appellation, are in fact a sort of problem even to the other people of Jedburgh. They are a kind of ‘knitters in the sun;’ a race who exercise, from the morning to the evening of life, a set of humble trades which do not obtain in other parts of the town. For instance, one would not be surprised to find that the Town-heid boasts of possessing an ingenious artisan, who can make cuckoo clocks, and mend broken china. And the trades of the Town-heid, not less than the houses thereof, are hereditary, even unto the rule of primogeniture. A Town-heid tailor, for example, would as soon expect his eldest son to become chancellor of Great Britain, as he would form the ambitious wish of making him a haberdasher in the lower part of the town. There was once a barber in the Town-heid, who lived seventy-one years without ever being more than two miles from Jedburgh on any occasion except one, and that was a call to Oxnam, (three miles,) which he was only induced to attend to because it was a case, not of life and death, but of death itself; being to shave a dead man. There have not been more instances of Town-heid folk descending to the lower part of Jedburgh, than of Town-fit folk ascending to the Town-heid. The cause is plain. There is never such a thing in the Town-heid as a house to be let. The Town-heid is a place completely built, and completely peopled; no change can ever take place in it; fire alone could diminish the number of its houses, and the gates of life and death are the only avenues by which people can enter or go out of it.”
On the site of the present castle stood a very ancient and famous castellated edifice. Jedburgh castle, built no one knows by whom, and figuring in the earliest records of the country, was occasionally a royal residence, and for centuries a place of great strength, and an object of sharp contest between antagonist kingdoms. In 1165, Malcolm IV., who had adopted it as his favourite home, died within its walls. During the reigns of William the Lion and Alexander II., it was frequently honoured with the royal presence. In 1263, it was the birth-place of a son of Alexander III., and, several years later, the scene of that bereaved monarch’s festive rejoicings on occasion of his marriage to Jolande, the daughter of the Count de Dreux. After the battle of Durham, it passed into the possession of the English; and in 1409 it was captured and laboriously demolished by the Scots. Of so great importance did the Scottish court esteem the demolition of a strength which was liable to be seized by the enemy, and powerfully used by them in purposes of mischief, that it proposed, for the complete accomplishment of the object, the imposition of a tax of two pennies upon every hearth in Scotland. Such few and slight vestiges of it as remained till modern times, were all removed, a few years ago, at the erection of the present jail and bridewell. What is now called the castle, owes its name partly to its occupying the site of the ancient stronghold, and partly to its possessing that castellated architectural character which lately has so much prevailed in public buildings. The jail and the bridewell themselves are capacious and neat erections; but they have attached to them spacious courts for ventilation and exercise, and are surrounded by high walls surmounted by chevaux de frise. The massiveness of the encompassing wall, and the air of comfort and of something resembling baronial splendour which, as seen from vantage-ground higher up the Dunian, is possessed by the enclosed area and erections, suggest ideas widely different from the real moral associations of the place; and the contrast is singularly heightened by the magnificence, and the hundred shadings of minute beauty, which emblazon the landscape beheld from the great gateway or place of public execution. The apartments of both jail and bridewell are kept in a superior style of cleanliness and comfort. Though the system of day-rooms, where a number of prisoners are allowed to congregate during the day, and also the arrangement or position of the cells, are not such as, at any period, to insure silence and non-communication among the prisoners; yet the prison appears undoubtedly to be maintained in the best order of which its construction, and the views of discipline which guided the details of its erection, will admit. – The county-hall, a neat modern edifice, occupies a site between the Abbey and the lower end of Townhead, very near the area at the cross.
After the demolition of the ancient castle, the town was defended by six bastel-houses or towers. The Earl of Surrey, writing to his master, Henry VIII., says respecting it: “There was two times more houses therein than Berwick, and well-builded with many honest and fair houses in garrison, and six good towers therein.” The towers, however, have all disappeared. Both the ruins of the Abbots’ tower, on the site of which now stands the dispensary, and a tower which was used as the jail, and which stood in the middle of the street near the cross, were destroyed in the course of the last century. The other towers probably were demolished, or at least much injured when, just before writing his account of it to Henry, the Earl of Surrey set fire to the town. A house, however, in which Queen Mary lodged and spent a period of sickness alter her visit to Bothwell at Hermitage castle [see article CASTLETOWN] still stands entire. It is a large building, situated in a back street, has small windows and very thick walls, with a sort of turret behind, and resembles a mansion-house of the reign of Charles II. The apartment occupied by the Queen is a small two-windowed room on the third story, reached from the second floor by a narrow winding stair, and thither from the ground by abroad stone stair. The house is called, in the record of the privy council, “the house of the Lord Compositor,” and, till recently, was in the possession of the family of Scott of Ancrum. Some of the tapestry which anciently adorned its rooms is still preserved. “With its screen of dull trees in front,” says the author of the Picture of Scotland, “the house has a somewhat lugubrious appearance, as if conscious of connexion with the most melancholy tale that ever occupied the page of history.” In an adjoining orchard is a group of pear trees, sprung up from the inhumed branches of a tree which is traditionally reported to have been blown down on the night of James VI.’s entering England to assume the crown.
A Maison Dieu anciently existed in the town, but has left no vestiges. A convent of Carmelites was, in 1513, founded in the town by the inhabitants; but it also has utterly disappeared. In this convent, lived and died the writer of a History of Scotland from remote antiquity to the year 1535, – Adam Bell, the author of ‘Rota Temporum.’ The existence of other ecclesiastical institutions, and the entire ascendency of ecclesiastical influence, are indicated by the names of various localities in the town. In a garden behind the north-west side of High-street, which is designated in some old documents ‘Temple Garden,’ the lower works of ancient buildings have been found at a considerable depth beneath the surface; and here, about 25 years ago, was dug up a stone sarcophagus, containing a large urn, three small urns, and fragments of human skulls and bones.
But the grand antiquity of Jedburgh, and, to the present hour, its prime architectural ornament, is the ruin of its ancient abbey. The description given of this magnificent pile by the Rev. John Purves, the amiable and excellent minister of the parish, in his report in the New Statistical Account of Scotland, [No. V. p. 9., Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, 1835,] is singularly complete and happy. “This venerable structure,” says he, “stands on the south side of the town on the declining bank of the river, which winds past it in front, washing some remnants of its outworks. The chapter-house, cloisters, and other appendages have perished; and nothing remains but the church, which, in the form of a cross, extends from east to west 230 feet. The choir is much dilapidated, bearing marks of great antiquity. The two lower stories consist of massive pillars and semicircular arches, with the diagonal or zigzag mouldings of Saxon architecture, whilst the upper windows and some other parts are Gothic, evidently added at a more recent period. The north transept is entire, presenting traceried Gothic windows, especially one of great size and beauty. The south transept has disappeared. Above the intersection of the transepts, with the nave and choir, a large square tower rises on four pillars to the height of 100 feet, surmounted by a projecting battlement, and crowned with turrets and pinnacles. The nave, measuring 130 feet long, presents on each side three tiers of arches; the first opening into the aisle consists of pointed arches, deeply recessed, and richly moulded; supported by clustered columns, with sculptured capitals; the second, which opened into the galleries, consists of beautifully moulded semi-circular arches, with two pointed arches inserted in each; and the third, of elegant pointed windows. The lofty western gable possesses a Norman door of uncommon beauty, the archway exhibiting a profusion of ornamented mouldings, supported by slender pillars to the depth of 7½ feet. Above it is a large window, with a semicircular arch flanked by small blank pointed arches, in long slender shafts, and this is surmounted by a beautiful St. Catherine’s wheel. On the south side of the choir, there is a chapel which was once appropriated to the use of the grammar-school * * But the chief object of architectural interest in this abbey is the Norman door, which formed the southern entrance to the church from the cloisters. This, for the elegance of its workmanship, and the symmetry of its proportions, is unrivalled in Scotland. Its sculptured mouldings springing from slender shafts, with capitals richly wreathed, exhibit the representations of flowers, men, and various animals, executed with surprising minuteness and delicacy. ‘This venerable pile,’ says the late Archibald Elliot, architect, in his report to the heritors respecting some of its projected repairs, ‘in my opinion, is the most perfect and beautiful example of the Saxon and early Gothic in Scotland.’ Its grand appearance is imposing, and admirably accords with the scenery of the romantic valley in which it is situated.” – St. Kennoch is reported to have been Abbot of Jedburgh in the year 1000, and to have laboriously but effectually exerted his influence, during a considerable period, for the conservation of the international peace. The traditional history respecting him, and the apparently high antiquity of the remains of the choir, would seem to dictate that the abbey had a very early existence. But the Melrose Chronicle, under the year 1174, has the entry, “Obiit Osbertus primus abbas de Jeddewrtha;” and, on this and other grounds, the abbey is perhaps regarded correctly, by the author of Caledonia, and other writers, as having been, not re-edified or extended, but originally founded in the year 1147, by David I. Its monks were canons-regular, brought, in the first instance, from Beauvais. The abbey was endowed, by its royal founder, with the tithes of the two Jedworths of Langton, of Nisbet, and of Crailing, and with other important property; by Malcolm IV., with the churches of Brandon and Grendon in Northamptonshire, and with some lands and a fishery on the Tweed; by Ranulph de Soulis, with the church of Dodington, near Brandon, and the church in the vale of the Liddel; and by William the Lion, and various barons, with many other churches and lands. During 20 years from the commencement of the 13th century, the abbot was embroiled with the bishop of Glasgow, fighting a stiffly contested battle for the prerogatives of the mitre and the crosier; and he was eventually compelled to acknowledge more of the bishop’s authority than comported with the loftiness of his own pretensions. During the early wars of the succession, the abbot and his canons were involved in ruin, – their house becoming so unsafe that they could not inhabit it, and their possessions so wasted that they could not enjoy them; and, at the end of the year 1300, they threw themselves on the bounty of Edward I., and were billeted by him on some religious houses in England. Robert I. tried to restore by his generosity what the hostility of his antagonist had destroyed, and granted to the canons the hospital of St. Mary Magdalene at Rutherford, and apparently also the priories of Restenet in Forfarshire and Canobie in Dumfriesshire. The canons, at all events, possessed these priories during the best days of their prosperity, sent off some of their number to occupy their cells, and used that of Restenet as a place of custody for their records and other valuable documents against the depredations of the Border marauders. During the long succession of international conflicts which followed the peace of Northampton in 1328, the abbey rocked under the violent rush of invasion and repulse, and underwent many a desolating change. In 1523, it was pillaged and partly burnt by the Earl of Surrey; and, in 1545, it was extensively dilapidated and converted into ruin by the Earl of Hertford. Even in very recent times, portions of it have been demolished by worthies such as those who destroyed the surpassingly fine cross of Edinburgh, or the gateway on the ancient bridge of Jedburgh, – wiseacres who sagaciously calculate the worth and beauty of an old ornate building by the number of shillings which they can procure for its stones. But now a better taste prevails, and, not contented with averting further dilapidations, has busied itself in making such repairs as promise to extend the duration of what remains of the pile. After the Reformation, the abbey became vested in the Crown by annexation. As the Kers of Fernihurst had long been the bailies of Jed Forest, they, after a while, became bailies of the canons of Jedburgh. In March, 1587, Sir Andrew Ker obtained from James VI. a grant of the bailiary of the lands and baronies of the abbey; and – the transition being easy in those times from connexion of any sort with ecclesiastical property to entire possession of it – he afterwards obtained a charter converting the whole into a lordship, by the title of Lord Jedburgh.
The town, proportionately to its size, makes a conspicuous figure in manufacture. Its staple produce is in woollens, akin to that of Hawick and Galashiels, with a trifling addition in linens. The principal fabrics are checked woollens for trowsers and for shepherds’ plaids, – woollen shawls with fringe, coarse and large check pattern, – a fine tartan, – coarse Scotch blankets, – coarse white plaiding for drawers, – carpets, – druggets, and hosiery. There are three large factories, all worked by water-power, and belonging respectively to Messrs. Hillson, Mr. Rutherford, and Mr. Ewing. The number of hand-looms, in 1828, was 20; and, in 1838, had increased to 75. The looms are kept in full trim at the expense of the masters. The average nett weekly wages earned by good workmen when fully employed are, for linen, 8s. 7d., – for blankets, 10s. 6d., – for plaiding and for trowser-checks, 12s., – for shepherds’ plaids, 13s., – and for shawls, 16s. Mr. Hope, the inventor and patentee of a particular description of printing-presses, employs about 20 persons in an establishment for producing his useful article. An iron and brass foundery, some business in the dressing of leather, and various artisanships which minister to the every-day wants of society, contribute, with the greater manufactures, to swell the aggregate number of in-door workmen in the burgh to about 550. But bread, which is sent hence in considerable quantities to the north of England, and is in much request for the excellence of its quality, may be viewed as an additional manufacture; and the produce of the orchard, which is raised and sold in greater quantities here than in any district of Scotland except Clydesdale, must be regarded as an important article of commerce. The ecclesiastics of the abbey appear to have been fully aware of the peculiar adaptation of the soil and site of Jedburgh to the growth and luxuriancy of fruit-trees, and to have introduced at various periods such species as their deep practical insight into the pleasures of the palate pointed out as most grateful. A peculiarly fine species of apple, and not a few kinds of luscious pears, are plentifully grown in the very numerous private orchards and gardens of the inhabitants. Many of the existing pear-trees are supposed to be three centuries old; and individuals of them have occasionally produced, in one year, from 50 to 60 imperial bushels.
Connected with literature, Jedburgh has 2 public reading-rooms, – a large and valuable public collection of books, called ‘the Company’s library,’ 2 smaller libraries, – a circulating library, – 5 itinerating libraries, of 50 volumes each, – 3 congregational libraries, – and a reading-society for the purchase of new publications. Among its religious, charitable, and patriotic institutions, it numbers a society for the promotion of education, – a dispensary, established in 1807, principally by aid from the Marquis of Lothian, and provided, in 1822, by that nobleman with a commodious house and baths for the reception and use of patients, – a savings’ bank, – a farmers’ club for promoting improvement in agriculture and in the breed of stock, – and the Roxburghshire Horticultural Society, for promoting the cultivation of the orchard and the garden. In mercantile and kindred matters it has branch-offices of the British Linen company’s bank, and the National bank of Scotland, – a weekly market on Tuesday, when much grain is sold, and another on Friday, – 4 annual fairs for horses and cattle, on the first Tuesday after Whitsunday, on the second Tuesday of August, O.S., on the 25th of September, if not a Saturday, a Sabbath, or a Monday, and, if otherwise, on the first Tuesday after, and, finally, on the first Tuesday of November, O.S., – monthly markets for sheep and cattle on the third Saturday of every month from January till May, – and hiring-markets for servants at Whitsunday and Martinmas. In matters of civil authority it has, in addition to its own burgh-courts, afterwards to be noticed, justice-of-peace courts, held at regular intervals, – the sheriff-courts for Roxburghshire, – and twice a-year, in spring and autumn, the circuit courts of justiciary. The jurisdiction of the last of these, extends over the four counties of Roxburgh, Berwick, Selkirk, and Peebles, and occasions an influx of witnesses, juries, and legal gentlemen from the whole basin of the Tweed and its tributaries; yet – so peaceful and pastoral is the district, and so contrasted in character to the utter lawlessness which once distinguished it – that the judges have sometimes hardly a case to try. The opening of the circuit-court is always an occasion of puff and pomp in the burgh. Certain antiquated observances are maintained in the getting up and conducting of a procession in honour of the judges, which are so quaintly comical as to seem like a tax upon all the. acquired self-restraint of these grave gentlemen.
Jedburgh is governed by a provost, 4 bailies, a dean-of-guild, a treasurer, and 18 councillors. Municipal constituency, in 1839, 168. The property of the burgh consists of lands, houses, and principally mills, yielding aggregately £498 18s. a-year. The revenue from other sources arises chiefly from custom and market-dues, and from casualties, and, together with the rental of property, amounted, in 1833, to £650 14s. 9d. The expenditure in the same year was £599 4s. 2¾d.; and there was then a debt of £5,223 18s. 4d. The revenue in 1838-9 was £644 1s. 4d. The magistrates have no power to make local assessments. During 30 years preceding 1832, they assessed the inhabitants, by sworn stent-masters, for water and lighting; but resistance being made to the exaction of money for lighting, the assessment was then discontinued. The taxation for poor’s-money is comparatively heavy, having, in 1832, amounted to £433 upon a real rental of £3,106, or 14 per cent. The incorporated trades consist of smiths, weavers, shoemakers, masons, tailors, wrights, fleshers, and glovers. All the corporations are rigid in exacting entrance-dues, – which, in some instances, amount to £10; and they possess, and wield what are called their privileges, with no advantage to themselves, and with much injury to the community. The magistrates, besides exercising the ordinary jurisdiction within burgh, claim the right of exercising it over a tract of ground adjoining their mills. By a singular custom, also, they exercise jurisdiction over the great fair of St. James, held close to Kelso. How this right arose, cannot be ascertained; but it has subsisted from time immemorial, and is said to be tenaciously regarded by the inhabitants, as giving them some influence and respectability. Yet, like many a questionable honour, it occasions cost. While the magistrates hold a court at the fair to take cognizance of petty irregularities, and are accompanied by a full inquest of burgesses, draining usually from £10 to £15 from the funds, the burgh-tacksman draws only £2 of customs. Both bailie and dean-of-guild courts are occasionally held in the burgh. Since the small debt, justice-of-peace, and sheriff-courts, were established, the cases in the burgh-courts have gradually decreased. The magistrates possess no other patronage than the appointing of their officers, and a joint voice with the landward heritors in making appointments to the grammar school. Jedburgh unites with Haddington, Dunbar, North Berwick, and Lauder, in sending a member to parliament. Parliamentary constituency, in 1840, 226. The parliamentary boundaries exclude some uninhabited fields within the royalty, but include the suburbs on the right bank of the Jed. Population within these boundaries, in 1831, 3,709.
The council-records of Jedburgh, extending back to only 1619, and all the ancient charters having been destroyed during the wars with England, neither the date of the origin of the town, nor that of its erection into a burgh, can be ascertained. All earlier charters were renewed and confirmed by Queen Mary, in 1556. A fac-simile of a charter granted by William the Lion, in 1165, to the abbot and monks of the town, was published at Edinburgh in 1771. The town – in connection with its castle and its abbey, the courts of the kings of Scotland, and the influence of a very wealthy fraternity of priests – must, so early as the 12th century, have become a place of very great consequence. During the festal scenes which occurred in its castle, in 1285, on occasion of Alexander III.’s second marriage, a masker dressed so as to resemble the skeleton figure of Death, glided among the dancers at the ball, and struck such terror into the queen and the other revellers, that they fled to their retirements. Though this monstrous piece of masquerading foolery was intended by the blockhead who practised it to be a joke, it excited a sensation throughout the kingdom, and was afterwards – with a wisdom quite akin to that which suggested the getting of it up – gravely regarded as an omen of the king’s childlessness and early death, and of the consequent disasters which accrued to the country. After the close of the 15th century, Jedburgh figures prominently in the history of the international wars; and partly after, partly before that date, is said to have been seven times burnt, and to have as often risen like a phœnix from the flames. In 1523, the Earl of Surrey, at the head of 6,000 men, marched against the town, and was so obstinately resisted by the inhabitants in his attempts to take it, that, in hostile guerdon of their bravery, he no sooner got it under his power than he gave it up to plunder and the faggot. In the civil contentions which followed the expulsion of Mary from the throne, the people of Jedburgh espoused the cause of the infant James, in opposition to their powerful neighbour, Ker of Fairnihirst, the ancestor of the Marquis of Lothian, who declared for the captive queen; and when a pursuivant was sent to them to proclaim the nullity of all proceedings against her while she was in Loch-Leven castle, they publicly inflicted on him some acts of contempt scarcely more ignominious and insulting to his person, than outrageously offensive to private modesty and public decency. Ker of Fairnihirst, in revenge, captured and hanged ten of the burghers, and destroyed by fire the whole stock of provisions laid up by the inhabitants for a winter’s consumption. During the rebellion of 1745, the Pretender and his army of Highlanders created an alarm in the town, which was remembered and feelingly depicted by some aged inhabitants very recently deceased. Though the town is now eminently prosperous – or prosperous beyond most towns of its class – in the achievements and wealth bearing results of peaceful industry, it threatened, within the recollection of the present generation, to pine away to ruin. After the age of marauding, and of cattle-lifting and forays passed away, the inhabitants availed themselves of the unequal taxation of England and Scotland, to drive a quiet and very advantageous contraband trade. Into England, they carried salts, skins, and malt, which, till the Union, paid no duties in Scotland; and from England they imported wool, to be shipped, at a great profit, from the frith of Forth to France. But the commingling of the legislatures of the two kingdoms drove the ladder from the feet of the contraband Border trader, and left him dangling perilously in the air. “The vestiges of 40 malt barns and kilns,” says Dr. Somerville, in the Old Statistical Account, “are now to be seen in the town of Jedburgh, while at present there are only 3 in actual occupation; and the corporation of skinners and glovers, formerly the most wealthy in the town, have, since the Union, greatly diminished, both in regard to opulence and number.” In 1833, the corporation of glovers had become reduced to two members
Such renown as expertness in the art of destroying human life, and foiling the efforts of pretended adepts in that art, is fitted to give, belongs in no stinted degree to the inhabitants of Jedburgh during Scotland’s fighting period. The proud war-cry of the burghers, “Jeddart’s here!” and their recorded dexterity in wielding a dangerous tool of strife which earned the designation of “the Jeddart staff,” are no mean evidences of their general prowess. Their bravery is believed to have decided in favour of Scotland the last, though comparatively unimportant feat of arms which she tried with England, – the skirmish mentioned in our notice of the parish as bearing the name of ‘the Raid of the Reid Swire.’ “I assure your grace,” says the Earl of Surrey, in his letter to Henry VIII. respecting his attack on Jedburgh, “that I found the Scots at this time the boldest men and the hottest that ever I saw in any nation, arid all the journey. Upon all parts of the army, they kept up with such continued skirmishes, that I never beheld the like. If they could assemble 40,000 as good men as the 1,500, or 2,000 I saw, it would be hard to encounter them.” The “Jeddart staff,” still proverbial in Teviotdale, is thus described by Mair: “Ferrum chalybeum quatuor pedes longum in robusti ligni extremo Jeduardiensis.” The corporation of shoemakers still possess a trophy taken from the English at the battle of Newburn; while the weavers, loftier alike in the fame of their own achievements in quiet and useful manufacture, and in the fame of their predecessors in the showy but substantially inglorious achievements of war, possess two trophies, carried off from the celebrated fields of Bannockburn and Killiecrankie. “Jeddart justice,” a phrase familiar throughout the Lowlands of Scotland, means the summary execution of a criminal previous to his trial, and is supposed to have been originally and solely practised by the reckless and tyrannical Dunbar, in his lording it over the Jedburgh courts of justice. [See ‘Border Minstrelsy,’ vol. i. p. 50.] But the phrase, even legitimately rendered, and seen in the light of equitable modern administration, appears rapidly to be losing all meaning. Scarcely a town in quiet and loyal Scotland is so exemplarily peaceful as Jedburgh, or environed far and wide with so well-toned and tranquilly industrious a country.
1 Jedworth, or Gedworth, is the ancient name, and is formed by affixing to the name of the river the Saxon weorth, the term for a hamlet, which occurs in the termination of so many names of places in England. Not the plebeian and popular “Jeddart” of local usage, therefore, but the polite and now authorized “Jedburgh,” is the, corruption of the original and real name.
5 thoughts on “Jedburgh, pp.60.67.”