[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
HAWICK, a parish in the south-west of Roxburghshire; 15½ miles in extreme length, by 3½ in extreme breadth. It comes down north-eastward from the upland extremity of the county, in a stripe which for 9 miles does not average quite 1¾ mile in breadth; it then first contracts to nearly half-a-mile, and next suddenly expands to 3 miles; and it afterwards slowly and gradually contracts till it terminates, at its north-east extremity, in a regular and very acute angle. The parish is bounded, along its north-west side, by Roberton and Wilton; along its south-east side, by Lower Cavers, Kirkton, and Upper Cavers; and along its brief south-west base, by Dumfries-shire. Its superficial area is computed at about 24 square miles, or 15,360 imperial acres. The “sweet and silver Teviot” rises in two head-streams at the boundary with Dumfries-shire, – traces for 9 miles the boundary with Upper Cavers, till it makes a confluence with the Allan, – runs along 2½ miles farther to a point where it receives Borthwick water, and, being now on the north-west side of the parish, traces, thenceforth till the point of its exit, the boundary with Wilton. Allan water comes down from the south-east upon the extremity of the parish’s sudden expansion a little below its middle, and till its confluence with the Teviot traces along the south side of that expansion the boundary with Cavers. The Borthwick comes in from the west, and, for about 1¼ mile before falling into the Teviot, traces the boundary with Wilton. The Slittrig comes in from the south, traces for 1¼ mile the boundary with Lower Cavers, and then runs sinuously across the parish over a distance of 1½ mile, and falls into the Teviot at the town of Hawick. Down the whole length of the parish, along the course of the Teviot, bending sinuously with the stream, stretches a valley pressed, for the most part into narrow limits, by flanking ranges of hills, – looking up, at intervals, through clefts or converging vales which bring down to the Teviot their tributary rills or rivulets, beautified in every part, and greatly enriched as to both soil and vegetation in some, by the sparkling progress of the traversing river, and set in an upland frame-work remarkable for the graceful forms and the gay verdant clothing of its summits. For several miles down from its southern extremity, the parish is wildly but beautifully pastoral, untouched by the hand of culture, and seldom trodden by other human feet than those of the shepherd, but presenting a thousand charms to a tourist who loves to gaze on the virgin purity and the unadorned simplicity of mountain but verdant landscape. In its central and lower parts, the valley becomes loamy and luxuriant, frilled or dotted with plantation, carpeted with waving crops of grain, or mirthful and picturesque with the rival and emulous enterprises of agriculture and manufacture; and at several stages of its long and narrow progress, it embosoms or spreads out to the view objects and scenes which have been celebrated in story and awarded with sweet outpourings of song. Another vale – of brief length compared with the former – follows the course of the Slittrig, paving the bed of that stream with rough stones and declivitous shelves, pressing in upon it at times with high and almost perpendicular banks of bare rock, garlanded or capped with young wood, and presenting altogether an aspect of mingled wildness, seclusion, beauty, and romance. While passing along the valleys southward or eastward, respectively toward Dumfries-shire or toward Liddesdale, a tourist, though never indulged with more than a limited view, is delighted and surprised at very brief intervals by the constantly changing beauties and varieties of the landscape, and all around, is environed with chains and congeries of hills, delightfully variegated in form and dress, presenting an endless gradation of aspect from gloom to joyousness as the many-tinted clouds flit across the sky, and pervaded by such a stilly silence as softly distils upon the mind mingled emotions of gladness and awe. – The soil, in the haughs, is a mixture of loam, gravel, and sand; on rising grounds, between the valleys and the hills, is loam, with occasionally a mixture of gravel; and on the hills is, in some places, light and dry, – in some soft and spongy, – and in others wet and stiff. Moss and heath occur only in small patches. The valleys and their adjacent rising grounds, though not thickly carpeted with soil, are far from being unfertile, and the hills are every where an excellent sheep-walk. Rather more than one-fourth of the whole area of the parish is in tillage; about 160 acres are under wood; and all the rest, with due deductions for roads, and the sites of the town and scattered buildings, is in pasture. – One mile-and-a-half above Hawick, on the right bank of the Teviot, stands the ancient tower of Goldielands, one of the most entire on the border, whose last laird, a Scott, is said to have been hanged over its gate for the treasons and the maraudings of a riever’s career. The tower is square, and of massive and venerable aspect, and, foiled by the background of its site on the brow of an eminence, it forms a feature in the landscape as picturesque as it is conspicuous. – One-and-a-half-mile farther up, on the opposite bank of the river, is Branxholm-house, wearing, at present, the appearance of a modern mansion, but preserving the remains of the ancient castle so celebrated as the principal scene of ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel.’ In the reign of James I., the castle became the property of Sir William Scott; and, during the 15th and the 16th centuries, it was the residence of the family of Buccleuch, and the scene of great baronial splendour and festivity. But owing to the feudal power of its barons, and the dangerous vicinity of the foemen of the English border, it was often the object of impetuous attack, and bold but sanguinary defence. In 1532, it was fired by the Earl of Northumberland; and, in 1570, it was blown up with gun-powder during the inroad of the Earl of Surrey. Almost immediately after its destruction, however, it was rebuilt, – the re-edification having been begun in 1571 by Sir Walter Scott, and completed in 1574 by his widow. A venerable and magnificent ash-tree rises on the lawn, with a girth of 13 feet at 4½ feet from the ground, and lifts its stem 16 feet aloft before shooting out into branches. [See BRANXHOLM]. – The Edinburgh and Carlisle mail-road crosses the Teviot, and enters the parish at the town of Hawick; it then runs 2 miles along the right bank of the river, and crosses to the left; it now runs 4 miles along the left bank; and there, recrossing to the opposite side, it leaves the parish, – though, for 2½ miles farther, it keeps close to the Teviot, and as strictly commands its scenery, and offers its inhabitants facility of communication, as before leaving it. The road into England through Liddesdale diverges from the former at Hawick, and runs along the valley of the Slittrig, a third of the way on the right bank of the stream, and two-thirds on the left till it leaves the parish. A post-road from Hawick to Kelso and Berwick follows the course of the Teviot; and, even after leaving the parish, keeps constantly in its company till the confluence of the river with the Tweed. In the lower part of the parish are two other roads, one leading due south, the other due east, and both diverging from the town of Hawick. – The projected inland railway line from Hexham, on the Newcastle and Carlisle railway, to Edinburgh, crosses the Teviot about 4 miles to the eastward of the town of Hawick. – Population, in 1801, 2,798; in 1831, 4,970. Houses 457. Assessed property, in 1815, £8,327.
Hawick is in the presbytery of Jedburgh, and synod of Merse and Teviotdale. Patron, the Duke of Buccleuch. Stipend £278 1s. 4d.; glebe £62. Unappropriated teinds £936 6s. 5d. The parish-church was built in 1764. Sittings 704. An additional church, connected with the Establishment, has been completed. Sittings 1,500. A district of the parish, with a population of 216, is attached to the preaching station at Caerlanrig, in the parish of Cavers: See CAVERS. – There are in the parish, but all situated in the town, 5 dissenting places of worship. The First United Secession congregation was established in 1763. The original church was built in 1766; and the present one in 1823, at a cost of upwards of £900. Sittings 639. Stipend £108, with a manse. – The Second United Secession congregation was established between the years 1775 and 1780. The place of worship was built in the latter of these years. Sittings 752. Stipend £185; but, while the charge is collegiate, the senior minister has £85, and a manse, garden, and glebe, valued at £25, and the junior minister has £100, and a manse. – The Relief congregation was established in 1810. The place of worship was built in 1811, and cost between £800 and £900. Sittings 750. Stipend £85. – The Independent congregation was established in 1832, Their place of meeting is a room built in 1836, and rented at about £5 10s. Sittings 300. No stipend. – The society of Friends was established about the year 1800. The place of worship was built in 1822, at a cost of from £500 to £510. The average attendance is only from 9 to 12. No stipend. – According to a survey made by the parish minister in February 1836, the population then was 5,363. Of these 3,962 were churchmen, and 1,464 were dissenters. – The parochial school is conducted by two teachers. Salary £33, with school-fees, and £19 other emoluments. There are 12 non-parochial schools, conducted by 7 male and 5 female teachers, and attended, on the average, by 342 boys and 310 girls. – The parish is probably as ancient as the date of the Saxon settlement. The church was, in 1214, dedicated to St. Mary, and, previous to the Reformation, was a rectory. The edifice, long after the Scottish canons had prohibited such an abuse, was employed not only as a place of worship, but as a court-house; and it was occupied for the discharge of county-business by the sheriff, during the period of the English having possession of the castle and town of Roxburgh. In 1342, while William Ramsay, one of the most gallant men of the age, was here seated on the bench, he was seized by William Douglass, the knight of Liddesdale, to be carried off to Hermitage castle, and there starved to death in solitary confinement.
HAWICK, the capital of the parish just described, and a burgh-of-regality, is situated at the confluence of the Teviot and the Slittrig, 5 miles from Jedburgh, 20 from Kelso, 45 from Carlisle, 11 from Selkirk: and 50 from Edinburgh, The Teviot approaches the town in a north-easterly direction, makes a beautiful though small bend opposite the upper part of it, and then resumes and pursues its north-easterly course. Just after it has completed the bend, the Slittrig comes down upon it from the south at an angle of about 50 degrees; but, opposite the bend of the Teviot, is not far from being on a parallel line.1 The town adapts its topographical arrangement almost entirely, and even very closely, to the course of the streams and to the angle of their confluence; and maintains a delightfully picturesque seat upon both, amidst a somewhat limited but magnificent hill-locked landscape. The Slittrig approaches the Teviot with a narrow plain, immediately backed by hills on the farther bank, and with an abrupt and considerable acclivity falling off in a fine slope on the hither bank; and the Teviot, coming down in a narrow and sylvan vale, begins, when it touches the town, to fold out its banks into a limited haugh, framed on the exterior with sloping ascents, and somewhat acclivitous but beautifully rounded and verdant hills. The town occupies all the narrow vale on the right bank of the Slittrig, and all the summit, as well as the slope, toward the Teviot of the high ground on its left bank; and, aided by its “common haugh,” or public burgh-ground, and by its suburb of Wilton, it also stretches over all the little haugh of the Teviot, and mounts the softer rising eminences on the back ground; and both up and down the latter stream – which is here limpid and garrulous, and bright with the features of a river wearing in picturesque admixture a highland and a lowland dress – the town sends off environs of no ordinary attraction, – here extensive nursery-grounds, there tufts of grove and lines of plantation casting their shade upon luxuriant fields, and yonder a factory busy in industrious pursuits, yet sequestered and tranquil in appearance, and combining – as the rural aspect and the pure air and the bright sky indicate the town itself to do – the athletic and productive toils of factorial industry, with the healthful habits and the peacefulness of almost a pastoral life. Seen from almost any point of view, but especially from the Edinburgh road, where it comes over the brow of the hills beyond the Teviot, Hawick and its environs spread out a picture of loveliness to the eye which the mere imagination would have in vain tried to associate with the seat of a great staple manufacture, or with any other town than one whose site had been selected by taste, and whose arrangements had been made with a view to poetical effect.
Entering the town on the Kelso road from the north-east, a stranger finds himself in the principal street. A short way on, a new and neatly built though short street comes in at an acute angle on his right hand, bringing down the Edinburgh and Carlisle mail-road. The main street now runs along parallel to the Teviot, with no other winging on that side than back-tenements and brief alleys, and sending off on the other side two streets, called Melgund Place and Wellgate, till it passes on the same side, first, the town-hall, and a little way farther on, the Tower-inn, and is terminated by two houses which disperse it into divergent thoroughfares. A street, at this point, breaks away on the east, up the right bank of the Slittrig, disclosing, in a snug and almost romantic position, a curved and beautifully edificed terrace called the Crescent. An ancient bridge, carried off, at the commencement of this street, leads across the Slittrig, to an eminence surmounted by the parish-church. Another bridge, spacious and of modern structure, spans the Slittrig nearer the Teviot, and carries across the continuation of the Edinburgh and Carlisle mail-road. From its farther end, one, street, called the Sandbed, runs westward to communicate by a bridge across the Teviot with the suburb of Wilton; another street, called the Howgate, diverges in the opposite direction, and after ascending the rising ground splits into three sections, called the Back, the Middle, and the Fore Row, which again unite and form what is called the Loan; and the main thoroughfare, continuing the mail-road, runs right forward, lined with new and elegant houses, and adorned at its extremity with the beautiful new church, afterwards to be noticed. The general appearance of the town has of late years been greatly improved. Besides the erection of entirely new streets uniformly edificed, or pleasingly diversified with a rivalry of taste in the structure of the houses, many old tenements with their thatched roofs or thick walls, and clumsy donjon-looking exterior, have been substituted by airy and neat buildings accordant in their aspect with modern taste. In the unrenovated parts it still presents a rough and clownish exterior; but as a whole it cannot offend even a fastidious eye. All its edifices are constructed with a hard bluish coloured stone, which does not admit of polish or minute adorning, but pleases by its suggestions of chasteness and its indications of durability and strength. But though lighted up at night with gas, and always clean and airy, and in other respects tasteful, the town utterly disappoints a stranger by its poverty or utter destitution in suitable public buildings. Excepting the handsome bridge which carries the Edinburgh road across the Teviot, and the elegant new parish-church in the course of erection at the expense of the Duke of Buccleugh, it contains not one public edifice on which the eye can rest with satisfaction. The town-hall is plain even to meanness, and does not make so much as the poor amends of being commodious in the exterior; and it embowels somewhere in its gaunt and squalid proportions, a jail so small, so fulsome, and so ill-secured, that criminals, for sake both of safe durance, and of decent regard to their health, have to be sent off to the care of the turn-keys at Jedburgh. The steeple of the town, rising from the town-hall, while it seems the most conspicuous object in the burghal landscape as seen from a little distance, is so plain and dingy as to be scarcely ornamental. All the places of worship, too, with the exception already-mentioned, are, in the aggregate, plainer than the average of any equal number in the secluded villages or sequestered valleys of the country. The principal or Tower inn, however, strongly arrests attention, if not for architectural elegance, at least for its spaciousness, its imposing appearance, and especially its connexion with antiquity. Part of it was an ancient fortress of a superior order, surrounded with a deep moat drawn from the Slittrig, and originally the residence of the barons of Drumlanrig, the superiors of the town. At a later period, it was the scene of the princely festivities of Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth. This building connects modern and ancient Hawick, having been the only edifice which escaped several fearful devastations to which the town was subjected. Another very curious structure, is one of two bridges across the Slittrig, – that which leads up to the parish-church. Though of unascertained date, it bears marks of a very high antiquity, and certainly was constructed without the remotest advertency to the existence of wheeled carriages. Though strong and of solid masonry, and abundantly capable of bearing considerable pressure, it is so very narrow as to be available only for foot passengers. A series of narrow abutments, on the sides of the main arch, rise from the water-course, and run along till they meet in the centre, and form a semicircle; and they thus present a rude approximation to the architectural adornings on the porticoes of many ancient cathedrals. At the upper end of the town, and overlooking the main street, is an artificial earthy mound, of a circular form, called the moat, 312 feet in circumference at the base, rising on an inclined plain to the height of 30 feet, and terminating in a nearly flat summit 117 feet in circumference. This vast tumulus is supposed to have been used in remote times, both as the seat of the administration of justice, and as the place of assembly and of deliberation on public affairs, of the chiefs of the district.
Hawick has considerable manufactures in the tanning of leather and dressing of skins, and in the making of thongs, gloves, candles, and machinery. The winnowing-machine, or corn-fanner, according to the statement of the writer in the Old Statistical Account, first made its appearance in Hawick. “Andrew Rodger,” he says, “a farmer on the estate of Cavers, having a mechanical turn, retired from his farm and gave his genius its bent; and probably from a description of a machine of that kind, used in Holland in the year 1737, constructed the first machine fan employed in this kingdom.” This ingenious person, it seems, pushed a considerable trade in the article of his manufacture, and bequeathed it to his descendants; and when the reporter wrote, they made and disposed of about 60 in the year, and found a market for many of them in England. An inkle manufacture was commenced in 1783, and, after 10 or 11 years, employed about 65 persons, and consumed annually 10 tons of linen-yarn in fabricating common linen-tapes and twists. But the town has immersed most of its temporal well-being, and expended nearly all its genius and enterprise, in the various departments of woollen manufacture, and is famous over Britain as the seat of various species of staple woollen produce. Though labouring, like Galashiels, under the serious disadvantages of great distance from coals and extensive inland carriage, and though apparently possessing only such average intrinsic facilities as are enjoyed by one-half of the towns and villages of Scotland, it has been lifted up, by the sheer force of energetic and skilful artisanship, to a high status among places of manufacturing importance. But in estimating its productiveness we must pass parochial limitations, and go across the Teviot so as to include the suburb of Wilton. Though the great majority of both proprietors and operatives reside in Hawick, yet the factories and their dependencies are, to so considerable an extent, distributed on the Wilton side of the river, that the town must be viewed just as it presents itself to the eye of the traveller, and not as parcelled off into two detachments and marched away to widely distant places in the alphabet by parochial assignment of territory. The earliest woollen manufacture seems to have been that of carpets, established in the year 1752. This was followed, in 1780, on the part of the same proprietors, with the manufacture of serges for carpet covers, plain cloths for table-covers, rugs, and collar-checks, and other articles used by saddlers. In the same year, but by a different party, Mr. John Nixon, was established the manufacture of stockings. During 4 years Mr. Nixon was employed chiefly in making hose for persons who furnished their own materials; but after 1785 he turned his attention to various departments of hosiery, and laid the foundation of the fame which Hawick rapidly obtained for lamb’s-wool hose. In September, 1787, was commenced the manufacture of cloth; and during the first year it consumed only 10 packs of wool. After the introduction of machinery, about the commencement of the century, the various manufactures moved rapidly onward to importance; and from that period to the present day they have, as a whole, steadily and bulkily increased. During the last 8 or 10 years, in particular, several new factories, on a large scale, have been erected, and large additions made to almost all the previously existing mills. In 1839 there were 11 extensive factories, 10 of which were driven by water-power, and 1 by steam; and there were also several extensive buildings fitted up with stocking-frames. The fabrics at present made, are hosiery, druggets, checked woollen for trowsers, checked woollen for shepherds’ plaids, checked woollen for women’s shawls with fringe, coarse and large pattern, a fine tartan, coarse Scotch blankets, and a coarse white plaiding for trowsers. All these fabrics, except the first, are estimated as to fineness of the reed by porters of 4 to the split except when stated otherwise; so that a 16 porter is equivalent to a 32 porter at Kilmarnock, or to a 64 reed in the cottons. So hard-driven is the trade that some of the factories work during a great portion of the night; and wages average as high as in any part of Scotland, except Galashiels.2 A table constructed by the writer of the New Statistical Account from returns made to him by some of the leading manufacturers, exhibits very tangibly the state of trade in 1838. According to that table the value of property employed in manufacture was £101,861; the annual amount of wages, £48,726; the quantity of yarn manufactured, 854,462 lbs.; the annual consumption of wool, 108,162 stones; the annual consumption of soap, 132,899 lbs.; the number of stockings made, 1,049,676 pairs; the number of articles of under-clothing, 12,552; the number of operatives, 1,788; the number of stocking-frames, 1,209; and the number of weaving-looms, 226. The number of hand-looms, as exhibited in the report of the Commissioners on Hand-loom weavers, was, in 1828, 55; and, in 1838, 121. But the influence of Hawick on the prosperity of artisans is very far from being limited to the persons employed immediately upon its fabrics in its factories and loom-shops. Besides smiths, carpenters, masons, mill-wrights, and needle-makers, on the spot, who are chiefly or wholly maintained in subordination to its staple manufactures, it gives employment to weavers and stocking-makers, clustered together in villages, or dispersed over the face of the country in almost every parish within a radius of 20 or 30 miles; and, through the stocking-makers both within and beyond burgh, it regularly maintains a large, though unascertainable, number of females as sewers or seamers. The principal manufacturers are the Messrs. Wilson, Messrs. Dickson and Laing, and Mr. Nixon.
Hawick has branch-offices of the British Linen company’s bank, the Commercial bank, and the National bank of Scotland. Markets for cattle and for hiring servants are held usually on the 17th of May and on the 8th of November; for sheep on the 20th and 21st of September; and for horses and cattle on the 3d Tuesday of October. A market for hiring hinds and herds is held generally on the 1st, 2d, and 3d Thursdays of April; a hiring-fair is also, held on the 17th of May. A sheep-fair, at which from 2,000 to 3,000 Cheviots are generally shown, is held on the 20th and 21st of September, or the Tuesday after, if the 20th falls on a Saturday. Hawick tryst is held on the 3d Tuesday of October. This is a tup show, but some young horses, and a few Highland cattle from the Falkirk tryst, are also shown. A winter cattle-market is held on the 8th of November, or on Tuesday after, if the 8th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Till 1778 no regular corn-market existed in the town; but one was, in that year, established by the Farmer’s club. Not only in this matter, but in others of a similar nature, and in most things bearing on agricultural improvement, the Farmer’s club has been a vigilant, active, and highly useful association. The club was formed in Hawick in 1776, and continues to hold its meetings on the 1st Thursday of every month. A kindred association of wider range and more powerful influence, owes its paternity to the patriotic and enlightened James Douglas, Esq. of Cavers, and was formed in the town in 1835, under the patronage of the Duke of Buccleuch. This association – the Agricultural society for the west of Teviotdale – includes in its sphere of action 13 parishes, and holds an annual general meeting in Hawick on the 1st Thursday of August. A School of Arts, originating in the same judicious and benevolent quarter as the Agricultural society, was established in 1824, and has procured the delivery of several courses of lectures. Three reading and news-rooms, which enrich the town, are liberally conducted, and possess appliances equal to the best in almost any town in Scotland. A Public library, established in 1762, contains about 3,500 volumes, besides the principal current periodicals; and the Trades’ library, instituted in 1802, contains about 1,200 volumes. Several shops are maintained solely or chiefly by the binding of books, and two local printing-presses have issued various useful publications. Besides associations of a directly religious nature, and a good grammar-school and private schools for education, the town has a clothing society for indigent females, a society for rendering medical relief, a Temperance, or rather Total Abstinence society, various small friendly associations, and a Savings’ bank.
Hawick is a burgh-of-regality or barony, nearly approaching, in some of its institutions, the character of a royal burgh. Its oldest extant charter is one of confirmation granted by James Douglas of Drumlanrig, Baron of Hawick, dated 11th October, 1537; and confirmed by a charter of Queen Mary, dated 12th May, 1545. A detail of the sett, previous to 1781, would be unnecessary, as, at that time, the sett was regulated and established by a decreet of the Court of Session. About 1778, certain burgesses having challenged the administration of the magistrates and council, mutual actions of declarator were raised, which terminated in a decree pronounced by the court in August 1781. The purport of that decreet is:- The bailies, when elected with the advice of the council, shall have the right of administration of the town’s property; the bailies are to be elected annually, by a poll of the burgesses trading and residing within the burgh, from a leet (list) of six, prepared by the magistrates and council; the council is to consist of 31 members, – viz., the two bailies, 15 standing councillors, elected by the bailies and the other standing councillors, and 14 quarter-masters, two of whom are annually elected by each of the seven incorporated trades out of their own number; on the death or removal of any councillor, the bailies and other standing councillors are to elect another in his place; and, if a bailie be chosen from among the standing councillors, the bailies and the remaining councillors are to elect a councillor to supply his place for the year for which the bailie is so elected The magistrates exercise jurisdiction directly, with the assistance of the town-clerk as assessor; and they hold courts when necessary, and regulate their proceedings in terms of the act of sederunt, 12th November, 1825. They try both civil and criminal causes. They issue services of heirs on brieves forth of Chancery; they judge in matters of property and disputed marches within burgh; they authorize the repair of ruinous tenements; and, in other particulars, they have, as to civil causes, a wide range of authority. In criminal causes their jurisdiction may be stated generally to be the same as that in royal burghs. They try for assaults, riots, petty thefts, and other delinquencies; and they fine and imprison, and have frequently pronounced sentence of banishment forth of the burgh; nor are they limited in their warrants of imprisonment, to any particular crime. Of late the criminal jurisdiction has, for the most part, been exercised summarily on complaints at the instance of the procurator-fiscal; and aggravated cases, after precognitions taken by the magistrates, have been remitted to the sheriff. The patronage of the magistrates is limited to the appointing of 3 burgh-officers, and the procurator-fiscal of the burgh. Other officers – the town-clerk, the town-treasurer, an overseer of public-works, a surveyor of weights and measures, and billet-master, and a clock-keeper – are elected, the first biennially, and the rest annually, by the burgesses. The qualification of being a burgess or guild-brother is not necessary to entitle any one to manufacture or deal within the burgh, and trade is quite free; but the magistrates levy certain dues on the admission of burgesses. These have been from time to time regulated by acts of council. According to the existing acts, dated 1st December, 1813, they are, for the son of a burgess, £1, – for the son-in-law of a burgess, £2, – and for all other persons, £4. The total amount for ten years preceding 1833, was £401 18s., giving an average of £10 11s. per annum, and the yearly average of non-burgess stent, during the same period, amounted to £2 17s. 1d. The dues of burgess entries and non-burgess stent are, like the other branches of the revenue, applied to the general purposes of the burgh. – There are seven incorporated trades within the burgh, viz., weavers, tailors, hammermen, skinners, fleshers, shoemakers, and bakers; but they do not enjoy any exclusive privilege, or other right or advantage, except that of each sending two of their number to represent, them in the council. – The police departments, such as watching, cleaning, and lighting, are not regulated by any local statute. The duty of watching, when necessary, has been done voluntarily by the inhabitants, under direction of the magistrates; and the expense has been defrayed out of the funds of the corporation. The cleaning is conducted under the order of the magistrates and council, the expense being defrayed, in the first instance, out of the funds of the corporation. The proceeds of the periodical sales of street dung are brought by the treasurer to the credit of the same funds; but, in general, their proceeds fall short of the expense. The lighting is managed by a committee of the inhabitants, appointed annually, and named partly by the magistrates and council, and partly by the other inhabitants. The magistrates and council have been in the practice of voting £30 a-year towards the expense of lighting, and the deficiency has been made up by a subscription by the inhabitants at large, which is collected by the committee, who annually report a state of their accounts to the magistrates and council. – A plentiful supply of water has, at different periods, been brought into the town, at the expense of the corporation, by whom also the wells are kept in good repair. – The middle of the principal street, which has of late been macadamized, and forms a part of the turnpike road, is kept in repair at the expense of the road trustees. A sum is annually granted by the statute-labour trustees, from the statute-labour fund of the parish of Hawick, towards keeping the paved streets and bye-lanes in repair; and the expense of keeping up the remainder is defrayed out of the funds of the corporation; but owing to the state of these funds, and to the circumstance of one of the magistrates only being, ex officio, a trustee upon the public roads, the power of the magistrates, with relation to the repairs of the streets and lanes, is very limited; and, in consequence, these are not in good order. – The procurator-fiscal’s account for criminal business, and all other expenses incurred in preserving the peace of the burgh, are defrayed out of the funds of the corporation; but the police-establishment is far from being efficient. – The property of the burgh consists in the common muir and common haugh of Hawick, and in the town-house and an adjoining dwelling-house. A low estimate of the value is £6,317 12s. 6d.; and this, after deducting amount of debt, exhibits a balance, in the burgh’s favour, of £3,537 12s. 6d. The revenue, from Whitsunday 1832 to Whitsunday 1833, was £386 5s. 7d.; and the expenditure, during the same period, was £506 4s. 9½d.; thus exhibiting a super-expenditure of £119 19s. 2½d. In preceding years, also, there was a super-expenditure occasioned by the borrowing of money, partly for public improvements, and partly for a purpose of litigation. The population of the town, exclusive of the suburb of Wilton, and of the landward parts of its own parish, was, – as stated in the New Statistical Account, – in 1791, 2,320; in 1821, 3,684; in 1836, 4,744; and in 1838, 5,306.
The barony of Hawick is not traceable in history higher than in a charter granted in the reign of Robert Bruce. Along with Sprouston it was given by David II. to Thomas Murray; and in the same reign it descended to Maurice de Moravia, Earl of Strathearn. In 1357 the town figures as a burgh-of-regality. Near the commencement of the 15th century the barony went into the possession of Sir William Douglas, the ancestor of the family of Drumlanrig. A curious charter granting to this baron the lands of Drumlanrig, ‘Hawyke,’ and Selkirk, and written in the autograph of James I., is still in existence. In 1478-9 Alexander Murray, parson of Hawick, pursued an action in parliament, for 44 marks, a part of his church-dues, against David Scott of Buccleuch. Hawick, at three several periods, suffered destruction from the irruptions of the English; in 1418 it was burnt by Sir Robert Umfranville, vice-admiral of England, and governor of Berwick; in 1544 it shared the disasters which were unsparingly inflicted on all Teviotdale by Sir Ralph Evers and Sir Brian Latoun; and in 1570, in order to prevent its being occupied by the troops of the Earl of Surrey, it was fired by its own inhabitants, and, with the exception of the Black tower, now agglomerated with the Tower inn, entirely burnt to the ground. Situated so near the Border, amid territories frequently debated, constantly possessed or overrun by clans of freebooters, and almost incessantly the scene of foreign incursions or intestine feuds, it could not escape the rough contacts and barbarizing influences of contention and warfare; and, during many centuries, it seems to have worn a character entirely contrasted to its present peacefulness, and plodding, energetic, sturdy, honest, manufacturing pursuits. But at comparatively a late date, long after tranquillity and order acquired ascendency over its affairs, it was the scene of a remarkable and very memorable occurrence. “The town of Hawick,” says the writer in the Old Statistical Account, narrating this event, “though not subject to inundations, has every reason to be afraid of them. It stands at the conflux of the rivers Slittrig and Teviot, which, after great rains, or the dissolving of the snows on the adjacent hills, rise several feet upon the houses immediately situated on their banks. A remarkable one happened in August, 1767. Slittrig then rose to an astonishing height, occasioned by a cloud bursting at its source. It began to rise at four o’clock in the afternoon, and continued to increase till past six, when it was 22 feet above its usual level. It marked its progress with destruction. Part of the surface of the hill, where the cloud fell, floated into the river. Corn and cattle, with every thing on its banks, were borne away by the torrent. In Hawick its devastations were great, – 15 dwelling-houses and a corn-mill, were carried off, and the rock swept so clean, that not a bit of rubbish was left to tell where they stood. At the height of the flood, a maid-servant belonging to a merchant, recollecting that in the house, now surrounded with water, her master had £300 in gold, boldly ventured in and got hold of the bag with the money. In returning, however, she was carried down by the stream, but was cast ashore on a green below the town, herself and the money both safe. In this alarming event two lives were lost; both, indeed, through rashness and inattention.”
Hawick, either within itself, or in common with a limited district, is signalized by some curious moral peculiarities. Fictitious designations of individuals, or soubriquets borrowed from ancient clanships or whimsically descriptive of distinctive physical features, very extensively usurp the place of proper names; and stick so adhesively to persons in all ranks of life as, in some cases, to cause the utter oblivion of their real names, and to follow them even to the grave and into the records of mortality. When an individual is believed to be dying, relatives and friends still, in rare instances, maintain the Border practice of crowding near his bed, and lifting their voices in a strain of pathetic sacred melody, singing some psalm which they regard as adapted to solemnize his departure from life. On the last Friday of May, old style, a procession, consisting of the magistrates on horseback, and a large multitude of the burgesses and inhabitants on foot, and graced with the banner of the town, the copy of an original which is traditionally reported to have been taken from the English soon after the battle of Flodden, moves along the boundaries of the royalty, greeted by the hilarious demonstrations of youths and children, and ostensibly describing the limits of their property, and publicly asserting their legal rights; thus very idly and childishly perpetuating the ancient and once necessary practice of ‘riding the marches.’ Some writers on Hawick think it worth their attention to record that ‘a Hawick gill’ was formerly, by conventional licence, half an English pint; and they remind us that this double-barrelled ‘pocket-pistol,’ is alluded to in the song of ‘Andrew wi’ the cuttie gun.’ We allude to the worthless reminiscence simply to remark that such writers seem – from some strange concurrence of misconceptions – to agree in representing the inhabitants as still having a strong dash of the characteristic peculiarities of the ancient Border-men. Had we not seen so grave a charge made by highly respectable authority, we should have been disposed to view the Hawick-men in an entirely opposite light, and to exhibit them as a remarkable instance of acknowledged excellencies, asserting dominion in a locality once all but infamous by antagonist vices. Wassailing and the free use of ‘the Hawick gill,’ for example, was a very marked peculiarity of the reiving age. But now the town of Hawick, all manufacturing though it be, and crowded with hard-working and thirsty artisans, is more signalized than probably any other town or district of Scotland, by the extensive adoption, and the consistent, zealous observance of the total abstinence pledge. Then as to the other, the only other really distinguishing peculiarity of the roistering period – the confounding of distinctions between meum and tuum – what can be more contrasted to it than the persevering and patient industry, and the high commercial rectitude, and the strong sense of moral honesty, for which every one is ready to give the Hawick-men credit as a community? What alone has induced the notion of their exhibiting in a softened form the spirit of the ancient Border-men, seems to be their sturdy independence, their jealousy of their rights, and their vigilant outlook against the assault or the insinuation of any domineering influence. For these properties, undoubtedly, the people of Hawick are noted, to a degree which nearly stamps them upon them as peculiarities. Hawick-men are about the last in Scotland in whom a penetrating observer could discover any trace of the subjugated and cringing and servile spirit of the serfs of the feudal times; and resemble more, in political animus, the citizens of the ancient free states of Greece, or the spirited and enterprising citizens of the young states in America, than the lawless, and by turns enthralling and enthralled, race to whom they have been somewhat hastily – though gently and remotely – compared.
1 Either the curving reach of the Teviot, or the crook made by the confluence with it of the Slittrig, seems, in combination with an adjacent house or hamlet, to have suggested the name Hawick, – ha, or haw, a mansion or village, and wic or wick, the bend of a stream, or the crook, or confluence of the rivers.
2 A good plaid-weaver, in 1838, gained 15s. per week of clear wages; inferior hands averaged 10s.; blanket-weavers’ wages averaged about 1s. less, in each class. The wages of the woollen-weavers in Galashiels, Hawick, &c. are above 100 per cent, higher than those of the cotton-weavers. – See for these and the above details ‘Reports on Hand-loom Weavers,’ 1839. Pp. 39, 40. – and Report of Commissioners, 1841.
3 thoughts on “Hawick, 749-755.”