Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Mertoun

Mertoun, a Tweedside parish in the extreme SW of Berwickshire, containing Clintmains hamlet, 1½ mile E by N of St Boswells, under which it has a post office. It is bounded N by Earlston, and on all other sides by Roxburghshire, viz., NE by Smailholm, E by Makerstoun, S by Maxwell, SW by St Boswells, and W by Melrose. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 45/8 miles; its breadth varies between 101/3 furlongs and 4½ miles; and its area is 65361/5 acres, of which 161¾ are water. The Tweed-from the influx of Leader Water to Dalcove Ferry-meanders 101/8 miles south-south-eastward and eastward along all the boundary with Melrose, St Boswells, and Maxton, though the point where it first touches and that where it quits the parish are only 5¼ miles distant as the crow flies. This part of its course is very winding, the river making several large sweeps, especially at Old Melrose, at Dryburgh, and between Mertoun Mill and the new Suspension Bridge (erected by Lord Polwarth in 1880). The Mertoun bank, which is generally high, steep, and well wooded, furnishes some fine bits of cliff scenery. Along the Tweed the surface declines to 190 feet above sea-level, and rises thence to 425 feet near Dalcove Mains, 542 near Clinthill, 588 near Bemersyde House, 747 near Gladswood, and 871 near Brotherstone. Bemersyde Loch, situated in the NW part of Mertoun, is almost dry in summer, but in winter it affords fair wild-fowl shooting. The soil is mainly a stiff, reddish clay, and, although difficult to work, is productive and highly cultivated. Red sandstone abounds along the Tweed, and was formerly quarried. Mertoun is a well-wooded parish, especially in the S part, which contains the Hexsides beech-wood and Mertoun woods. Dryburgh Abbey and Bemersyde have been noticed separately. Mertoun House, a seat of Lord Polwarth, stands close to the Tweed's left bank, 2 miles E of St Boswells. It was built in 1702 from designs by the celebrated architect, Sir William Bruce. (See Harden.) Gladswood, in the NW of the parish, 3 miles E of Melrose, is the seat of Miss Meiklam (suc. 1882), who holds 258 acres in the shire, valued at £426 per annum. The Queen stopped here on 22d August 1867 as she was driving from Melrose to Floors Castle. In all, there are five landowners. Mertoun is in the presbytery of Earlston and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £377. Its church, built in 1658 and restored in 1820, stands in a wood near Mertoun House, ½ mile SSE of Clintmains. It has accommodation for 200 people; and a pair of 'jougs ` hang beside the main entrance. The public school, built in 1839, and enlarged in 1872, with accommodation for 121 children -had (1883) an average attendance of 64, and a grant of £69, 1s. Valuation (1860) £8768, 5s. 8d., (1884)£10,200, 8s. 6d. Pop.(1801) 535, (1831) 664, (1861) 729, (1871) 734, (1881) 682.—Ord. Sur., sh. 25, 1865.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a Tweedside parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Mertoun ScoP       Berwickshire ScoCnty
Place: Mertoun

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