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" Ten Rigs " afforded. Moreover, it takes away tenants,
who, if they are not wealthy, yet still remain in the parish
and share the duties of the land, while the large farmer
simply puts in a steward and takes a house elsewhere, more
convenient for his own comfort, and draws the profits. The
system has been long a drawback to Channelkirk.

The entire farm of Bowerhouse, now embracing in its
scope Over and Nether Bowerhouses, does not wholly fall
within the boundaries of this parish. About three-fourths of
it are in Channelkirk Parish, and the other quarter in that
of Lauder. It comprises 750 acres as a whole, and has a
present rental of ^^400. The soil is very varied, and, in
general, 270 acres are in crop ea'ch year, 460 in pasture and
20 are in wood. The turnpike approaches are all uphill,
the steading being situated on a considerable eminence,
but the county keeps the road good only to Nether Bower-
house. The usual rotation is oats, turnips, oats sown with
grass seeds, barley or tares, then grass for two years.
The buildings afford plenty of room for improvements.
The water-supply is, however, plentiful, and much has been
done for drainage, although still more is require'd. The
amount of stock at present is 400 half-bred ewes, 150 half-
bred ewe hoggs, 5 cows, 6 or 8 horses, and some feeding
cattle and sheep. Markets attended are Earlston and St
Boswells. Shepherds' wages are those obtaining in the
valley, but as they have usually sheep and other perquisites,


their wages vary with prices of stock. Hinds have mostly
a money wage now, ;^42 per year, with a quarter of an acre
of potatoes, free house and garden, coals carted free, no
taxes, free housing and bedding for pig or pigs. The hours
are ten hours a day, and nearer seven when the day is short
in winter. The tenants are John Fleming, Esq., Craigsford
Mains, Earlston, and his son John; the latter since 1883.
The latter gentleman is a member of both School Board
and Parish Council. His father took the farm in 1870.
There are thirty-six souls on the farm. The view from the
farmhouse is very fine, and in summer very beautiful, though
the winter has also its grandeur, and is nowhere seen to
better advantage than from this situation, the dale over-
looked being here at its broadest, probably five miles from
crest to crest of the hills, and the scenery the most varied in
hill and glen and winding waters,

" Deep waving fields and pastures green,
With gentle slopes and groves between."

For other references to Bowerhouse the reader is directed
to the chapter on " Antiquities." At the beginning of this
century a family of the name of Peacock farmed Upper
Bowerhouse. Mr Thorburn succeeded, then the two
brother Mercers, one of whom died lately in Selkirk. Mr
Bathgate followed, and the Flemings succeeded Mr Bath-


The genesis of Heriotshall is attempted in the Oxton
chapter, and its history there brought down to 1742. We
find it then in the hands of John Murray of Wooplaw. Its
old designation was " The Two Husband Lands of Ugston,"


and was included within the barony lands of that territory.
It preserves a rigid individual existence, however, from about
the beginning of the seventeenth century, when it appears
to have come under the name of Heriotshall from its
connection with the Heriots of Airhouse, but was not
generally so called until later. The minister of the parish
in 1627, for example, simply styles it "the Two Husband
Lands of Ugston." It is also so called when Walter Riddell,
The Haining, about 163 1, holds Ugston lands ("except the
Two Husband Lands belonging to Lord Cranstoun "), and in
the many notices of the possession of the lands of Ugston by
the Somervilles of Airhouse on the one hand, and Justice
of Justicehall on the other, "the Two Husband Lands" are
never included in their properties by that designation.

There seems to be considerable confusion regarding it
in this respect, and when the teinds were localled early in
this century, it was found difficult to determine whether it
should be included in Ugston (Oxton), or treated separately.
In 1627 the minister mentions all the kirk lands within
the parish, and among them are " the Two Husband
Lands." He says they are " My Lord Cranstoune's " lands
in Huxstone. Over Howden and Nether Howden are the
only other kirk lands in Ugston territory. But when James
Cheyne, W.S., in 1644 is seised in the "village and lands
of Ugston," the "Two Husband Lands" are not included.
Yet the " Forty-shilling Lands of Ugston, sometime pertain-
ing to the Monastery of Dryburgh," are reckoned among
them. These are ostensibly " kirk lands." And the question
arises whether the " Forty-shilling Lands of Ugston " may not
be identical with the " Two Husband Lands," seeing they are
kirk lands, and only one species of such is mentioned by the
minister in 1627? Another confusing element is the fact


that these "Two Husband Lands" are, in 1728, said to be
" lying in the barony of Hartside." What seems most fatal
to their identity with the " Forty-shilling Lands of Ugston" is
the fact that Forty-shilling Land was equal to a ploughgate,*
which is equal to 104 acres, whereas "Two Husband Lands"
were only equal to 52 acres, or exactly half a ploughgate. It
does not appear, therefore, that the " Two Husband Lands of
Ugston " can be made identical with the Ugston Forty-
shilling Lands.

That these " Two Husband Lands " were part of Ugston
territory from time immemorial, and that they came
ultimately to be called Heriotshall, are facts well ascertained ;
and their long sustained separation from the rest of Ugston
lands is due, perhaps, to Heriotshall having been in Lord
Cranstoun's hands when all the other land of Ugston was
possessed by Walter Riddell of The Haining, in Selkirkshire.
And while the Somervilles are said to hold half Ugston
lands, and Justice of Justicehall the other half, we
remember that what is really meant is that each held half
of the Ugston land which Riddell owned in 163 1. This
does not appear to have embraced Heriotshall. Moreover,
because that Heriotshall is always outside the catalogue of
the " Halves " of Ugston lands so frequently mentioned as
belonging to the Justices on the one hand and the
Somervilles on the other, it cannot be " Pickelraw," " Lucken-
haugh," the " Two-merk Land," the " Forty-shilling Land,"
the " Temple Land," etc., which are repeatedly enumerated
in these " Halves " as " of Oxton."

The Murrays of Wooplaw held it from the beginning
till the end of last century. John Murray, as we have
said, possesses it in 1742, when we find the heritors assessing
* Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. iii., p. 226.


themselves for the schoolmaster's salary.* His son "James
Murray of Heriotshall, farmer, Corsbie, appears first as
heritor for that place in 1773. He bonded it for £1000
to the Marquis of Tweeddale. He died in 1795, and left
it to his only son and heir, John Murray, who held
Heriotshall till 1799. He sold it then to the Rev. Thomas
Murray, minister of the parish, who gets sasine of it on
29th November 1802. He was doubtless related to the
Wooplaw Murrays. He held it till 1807, when it went
into the hands of trustees, one of whom was Rev. Archi-
bald Singers, minister of Fala (1790- 1830). Several feus
on Heriotshall lands were granted in 1791, one to Robert
Inglis, overseer of Roads, Ugston, another to John Lambert,
mason, Ugston, and yet another to Andrew Mercer, Ugston,
and still one more to Andrew Thomson, mason, Ugston.
A few years earlier the same growth is visible in feuing.
We wish to point out these as an evidence of increasing
prosperity at that time among the working classes of our
district. Indeed, from the beginning of last century down-
wards, there are abundant instances among farmers and
tradesmen, that the labourer, the shepherd, and the plough-
man, by patient industry, raised themselves from an inferior
to a superior condition of life. It is a very strong character-
istic of the workmen of Upper Lauderdale to this day.

Here is another proof of this: "March 8, 1809. — Robert
Dobson, in Ugston, seised, 2nd March 1809, in the two
husband lands of Ugston called Heriotshall — on Disposition
by Rev. Thomas Murray to the said Robert Dobson and
John Dobson, then tenants in Collielaw, May 16, 1808,
and Disposition and Assignation by the said John Dobson,
November 14, 1808.

* Kirk Records.


On 17th April 1809 Robert Dobson disposes of Heriots-
hall to Alexander Dobson, son of James Dobson, mason^
Selkirk, and Robert Dobson, builder, Edinburgh, under
burdens to various relatives. Various persons are concerned
in small properties and grounds in Ugston and Heriotshall
about the years 181 5- 181 7. "John Mason of Heriotshall,
seised 2nd April 1819, in the two husband lands of Ugston
(called Heriotshall), and teinds, in the barony of Hartside —
on Disposition by Alexander Dobson at Wigan, Lancashire,
and Robert Dobson, builder, Edinburgh, December 9. 15.


The Masons are sometimes said to be of " Justicehall" *
also, but were only tenants, it seems. After Captain Justice
left Justicehall, one of the Masons was tenant in that place,
and naturally Captain Justice, living in his cramped room
in Oxton, hated to see a " fremit man " making himself free
in the home which his forebears had raised and called their
own. One day Captain Justice was coming slowly up the
vennel to his room,- and emerged from it in time to see
the tall form of tenant Mason turning away from the
smithy adjoining. Instantly his proud spirit burst through
all dictates of prudence, and hurling his heavy stick at
the back of Mason, shouted, " Whalebone ! " This was the
Captain's way of expressing his contempt for the plebeian
who had made his money in the whaling trade, and who
dared to occupy a professional family's estate under a
descendant's very eye ! We trust his dinner sat better
on his stomach after such relief The irate Captain : with
whom we deeply sympathise.

John Mason was in possession of Heriotshall before
29th April 1 81 8, as we find him attending a heritors'
* Heritors' Records.


meeting on that date. Robert Mason holds it on nth
November 1825, by the same evidence. It has continued
in the hands of the Masons all through this century, we
believe, and the two most interested in it at this date
(June 1900) are Mrs Whiteford, wife of Dr James White-
ford, Greenock, and Mr William Gilmour Mason, farmer,
Westfortune, Drem.

The situation of the farm and farmhouse, the latter of
which has been but recently built, is pleasantly seen from
the village of Ugston, a few hundred yards to the west.
Its area comprises 65 acres, with a rental of £y^. The
soil is good, and all the roads about it are in good order. It
is worked on the " four-shift " rotation ; 57 acres are in tillage,
6 in pasture, and 2 in wood. The buildings are very good
since recent repairs. The water-supply is about to be
improved, and drainage is all that can be desired. The
usual stock are kept to the amount of 107 head. The
markets attended are St Boswells and Edinburgh, and
the systems of sale are found satisfactory. The present
tenant is Mr Robert Hunter. Neither he nor his father
was born in the parish, and Heriotshall is the only place
he has occupied in it. He attends the parish church, is
married, and has family. There are nine souls resident
on Heriotshall at the present time. We .regret to add that
the proprietors are non-resident and take no personal interest
in the parish or the people.

As we saw in the account of Oxton, the first tenant
of the "Two Husband Lands" was John Baty, 23rd June
1482, and then John Wod, loth November i486. George
Lauder farms it from 1723 till 1761, and was thus tenant
for thirty-eight years.

This century has seen as its tenants (i) Mr Mason,


Elder in Channelkirk, 1842 ; (2) David Lees ; (3) Walter
Brodie, who left it to be ground officer on Lauderdale
Estates, and latterly was farmer in Threeburnford ; (4) James
Bell, Threeburnford, recently deceased ; and (5) Robert
Hunter, the present tenant.

2 P



The Miller— Thirlage— The Mills of the Parish and their Sucken— Mill
of Oxton — Proprietary — Carfrae Mill — Adam the Mill-knave — Carfrae
Mill Inn — Tenants — Area of Farm — Wiselaw Mill — History and
Name — Tenants.

The Mill of Oxton — Carfrae Mill— Wiselaw


The ancient mills were, in their way, as essential to the
well-being of the parish as the ancient kirks, and no
barony or territory was without one. They flourished in
the days when it was as common to break heads as to
bruise corn, and the mill and the miller were as often,
perhaps, associated with the one as with the other. Un-
fortunately the mill was not always held in the highest
respect, owing to the tyrannous system which it exerted
over the farms and people in its neighbourhood, and deep
were the curses breathed out upon the miller who happened
to abuse his power, and fleece the helpless peasants to a
larger extent than his multures justified. This was the
worst feature of them, no doubt, but many pleasanter ones
might be set against it, though so fiercely was the thraldom
or thirlage of the -mills resented on many an occasion, that
the more genial incidents connected with the grinding of the


corn were overshadowed by it. The system of thirh'ng
or thralHnf^ was slow to yield before the solvent influences
of the social life of the people, which taught them inde-
pendence, and the right to buy and sell in whatever market
they deemed most proper and advantageous to themselves.
No doubt it lived because it was part of that feudalism
which made monopoly one of its first principles, and ex-
clusiveness a second nature. Tax by king, tithe by pope,
tallage and tollage by inferior lord and bishop, baron or
burgess in country or town, were but broader applications
of the same economic rule which converted the population
of a district into suckeners, and identified multures with
the meal mill. It would be unwise, however, to suppose
that because such a system is out of touch with modern
thought and feeling that it must have been a hardship in
all times. There is room to suppose that perhaps the
feudalism of the Middle Ages was as salutary in the circum-
stances of that period as any other .system is found to be
in other social and political surroundings. So long as the
parental hand suffices for dispensing the feudal rule, and
the judicial rod is kept in happy disuse, — so long, that is,
as the most powerful are also wisely and affectionately
protective of a contented people's interests, and there is
no need of law and force to exact dues and obedience, the
feudal system will be found to be as true to the natural
laws of a country as the father's impositions are to the
family in the home, or the universal Rule, reflected in
the government of the Highest. But a country grows out
of its leading-strings as certainly as do young people, and
in such a case every wise restraint which becomes a
galling fetter will become hateful, and under the impulse
of liberty, a long-suffering people may take the government


into their own hands if more lenient and discriminating
counsels do not prevail. Want of power to do this, and
not want of will, seems to have alone reconciled the Scotch
suckeners to the methods of extortion which were constantly
practised at their meal mills. The mills were usually the
property of some abbey or religious house, or in the
possession of a powerful " baron bold." The miller tenanted
the mill, and ground the corn of all the farms within a
certain district for multure. Multure was a regular payment
for grinding the meal. This might have been perfectly
legitimate if thirlage had not been behind it like the hammer
behind the wedge. It was this that made the " multures "
to mean " extortions." For every farm was thirled or
thralled to its mill, and the farmer and all on the land
had to carry their corn to that mill and no other, to
have it threshed and ground. Hence there was compulsion
in the case. Any attempt to carry the corn to any other
mill where it might be threshed for a more reasonable
multure was visited by fine and force of law. The area
of land so thralled to such a mill, and which might embrace
several farms, was called, with reference to its obligation,
" the Sucken," and all the people on it " the Suckeners."
It sometimes happened that the miller demanded additional
perquisites to his " multure," such as " the lock," which was
a small quantity, and the " gowpen," which was a full handful,
and these " sequels," as they were termed, were a prolific
source of fierce contentions. The following extract explains
the system : —

The servitude of thirlage to a mill involved the payment of certain
multures and the performance of a variety of mill services. The thirlage
might be —

I. Of all growing corn.


2. Of all grindable corn.

3. Of com brought within the thirl.

4. Of corns that should thole fire and water ; and

5. Of corns necessary for family use.

When thirlage was constituted, the proprietor of the ground which
was thirled or astricted to a mill could not build a mill within the astricted
ground, that there might be no temptation to defeat the thirlage. In
numerous instances the Court of Session have ordered the removal
of such mills. The nature of the dues demanded will be best understood
from a short statement of terms used in connection with thirlage : —

(i.) Multures were the chief produce of the mills, consisting sometimes
of grain (see Drymulture below) and sometimes of a proportion of
the meal ground at the mill, varying according to one authority from
a thirtieth to about one-twelfth of the grain or meal. There was no
limit to the amount that might be imposed.

(2.) Sequels included the smaller duties of Knaveship, bannock, lock
and goupen, which fell to the servants of the mill.

(3.) Thirl of Sucken, the lands astricted.

(4.) Suckeners, the possessors of the astricted lands.

(5.) Insucken Multures were those paid by parties under astriction.

(6.) Outsucken Multures were those paid by voluntary employers
from beyond the district or thirl. These were not so heavy as the
insucken multures, and were more nearly of the value of the service

(7.) Drymulture was a quantum laid upon a person's corn whether he
had it grinded or not.*

As the miller stood between the monks, or barons, and
the people, he had to bear the fire of the dealers as well
as the frown of his superiors, and it needed a tough heart
in a tough body to resist such opposing pressures. But
the very solitariness of his position naturally bred in him

* Hawick News, i8th February 1882. Paper by Nenion Elliot, Esq.,
S.S.C, Teind Office, Edinburgh.


a certain reckless courage and wanton gay defiance ; and
thus in the ballads he is often represented as jolly and bold,
fond of the malt, and a hearty set-to with those who might
think their head was harder to break than his ; and some-
times, be it breathed, a little lecherous : —

" The miller was a stout carl for the nones,
Full big he was of brawn , and eke of bones." *

" But then a miller," says Scott, " should always be of
manly make, and has been described so since the days of
Chaucer and James I."-|*

The parish of Channelkirk seems to have been able to
boast of three mills of barony from a very early period.
These were : — Oxton Mill, Carfrae Mill, and Wiselaw

The parish generally divided itself, territorially, into
three divisions, and each division seems to have had its
own mill. First, the barony of Carfrae, including all the
land lying on the banks of the Kelphope Water, was served
by the Mill of Carfrae, now Carfraemill ; second, the barony
or territory of Oxton, including, apparently, Over Howden,
Nether Howden, and the lands around these, was served
by Wiselaw Mill ; and third, the barony of Glengelt, which
was supplied by Mount Mill. To what extent the farms
in the neighbourhood of each mill was thirled to it, we
cannot now say, but it seems clear, at least, that all the
lands of Carfrae, Headshaw, Midlie, Fernielees, Kelphope,
Hillhouse, Herniecleuch, Hasleden, Carfraemill, and Friars-
knowes, were originally thirled to the Mill of Carfrae. We
shall see presently that Wiselaw Mill had also its rights of
thirlage, and indisputably the same system would prevail
* Canterbury Tales. t Monastery.^ chap. xiii.


with regard to the Mill of Ulfkilston (Oxton), or Mount Mill.
It may also be safely assumed that the three mills in
question must have existed contemporaneously with the
territories or " lands " on which they were localised. From
the nature and need of things this seems evident. With
regard to Carfrae Mill and the Mill of Oxton, there appears
to be no reasonable doubt of this, and as Collilaw, as an
estate, seems to have been as early in existence as any in
the parish, the mill which would fall naturally to serve its
population and that of the lands adjacent to it would be
Wiselaw Mill. There is just a suspicion that Oxton
territory, which seems to have included at one time all
Over Howden and Nether Howden, and perhaps more,
may have been thirled to Mount Mill (Oxton Mill), but
Wiselaw Mill may have had Bowerhouses and Collielaw
and the lands south of it, thirled to it, although it does not
fall to be mentioned so early in legal documents as the
other two. With such abundance of water-power flowing
through the valley, there could be little difficulty in working
mills; but while Mount Mill and Wiselaw Mill keep the
same stations they have held for several hundred years,
the present site of Carfrae Mill does not, perhaps, quite
correspond to the exact situation of the original Mill of
Carfrae, which from Font's map, and from other considera-
tions, seems to have been somewhat further up the Kelphope
Water, and nearer to Carfrae House.

The Mill of Oxton Barony

The Mill of UlfkiLston (now Mount Mill) is mentioned
as early as cir. 1206 A.U., in the charter by which Alan,
Earl of Gal way, conveys 520 acres of Oxton territory to


Kelso Abbey. He says the monks may also possess the
mill if they wish it. Perhaps there may have been reasons
for their not accepting the mill though the land was
welcomed, for we find the Mill of Ulfkilston's tithes con-
firmed, cir. 1 220, under the Bishop of St Andrews, William
Malvoisine, in whose bishopric Kelso Abbey and its
properties were not enrolled. The monks of that Abbey
had therefore not thought good to take the mill with the
five carucates of Lord Alan of Galway's gift. In the year
1273, Lord William Abernethy owns it, and gives from it
to Dryburgh Abbey, two marks annually, to sustain light,
that is, candles, before the Virgin's Image there.* About
1300 A.D.-j- these two marks are confirmed as being "from
the gift of Lord Wm. of Abernethy in the Mill of Ulkeston,"
to the possessions under the superiority of St Andrews
diocese, and about 1380,^ Lord William's son and heir,
also Lord William Abernethy, gifts to Dryburgh Abbey
the whole " Mill of Ulkeston in the valley of Lauder, with
multure, and each yearly revenue derived from it, or the
value of what is derived from it, in free and perpetual charity,
without any reserve, to be held and possessed with all its
belongings by them and their successors, without demanding
any secular service or exaction." § The interest of the
Lords of Abernethy in Lauderdale had a wider significance
when we remember that they were united, according to
Wyntoun, with the Black Priest of Wedale (Stow), and
Macduff (reputed Thane) of Fife, in the privileges known
as " the law of the Clan Macduff," which were to place the
King in his chair on coronation day, to lead the vanguard
in every battle fought under the Royal Standard, and to

♦Dryburgh Charters, No. 175. \ Ibid.^ No. 292. Xlbid.^ No. 312.
\Ibid., Nos. 292 and 312.



have liberty of " girth " to their manslayers within the ninth
degree of kinship. Skene quotes it thus : —

" Off this lawch are thre capytale,
That is the Blak Prest off Weddale,
The Thayne off Fyffe, and the thryd syne
Quha ewyre be Lord of Abbyrnethyne." *

Thus from the beginning of the thirteenth to nearly the
close of the fourteenth century, the Mill of Ulfkilston has

Online LibraryArchibald AllanHistory of Channelkirk → online text (page 44 of 50)