Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Roberton

Roberton, a parish of Roxburgh and Selkirk shires, containing the hamlet of Deanburnhaugh, on the Dean Burn near its junction with Borthwick Water, 7¾ miles WSW of Hawick, under which it has a post office. At no distant date this hamlet contained above 100 inhabitants; now its population is under 20. The parish is bounded NE by Ashkirk and Wilton, SE by Hawick and Teviothead, SW by Eskdalemuir in Dumfriesshire, and NW by Ettrick, Kirkhope, and Selkirk (detached). Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 125/8 miles; its utmost breadth is 5¼ miles; and its area is 461/3 square miles or 29, 666½ acres, of which 247 are water, and 18, 038¼ belong to Roxburghshire, 11,628¼ to Selkirkshire. Borthwick Water, rising close to the Dumfriesshire border at an altitude of 1400 feet, winds 147/8 miles north-eastward and eastward, until it passes off from the parish 13/8 mile above its influx to the Teviot; and during this course it is fed by a score of burns. Rankle Burn runs 2¾ miles north-eastward along the Ettrick boundary; and Ale Water, rising near Henwoodie, at an altitude of 1100 feet, runs 8 miles north-eastward, at one point traversing Alemuir Loch (¼x ¼ mile), and, lower down, tracing for 23/8 miles the Ashkirk boundary. Kingside Loch (21/3 x 12/3 furl.) on the Ettrick boundary has been drained; but other lakes, still existing, are Hellmuir Loch (3½ x 2¼ furl.) on the Kirkhope boundary, Crooked Loch (2 x 1 furl.) at the meeting-point with Kirkhope and Ettrick, and smaller Windylaw, Philhope, Broadlee, and Bog Lochs in the interior. Where Borthwick Water quits the parish, the surface declines to close on 500 feet above the sea; and chief elevations to the NW of the stream, as one goes up the glen, are *Borthaugh Hill (880 feet), Highchesters Hill (848), Smasha Hill (1092), Hangingshaw Hill (1044), Firestane Edge (1155), Mid Hill (1207), *Coutlair Knowe (1371), Crib Law (1389), Long Tae (1438), and *Craik Cross Hill (1482); to the SE, Todshaw Hill (938), *High Seat (1140), *Calfshaw Head (1320), *Pike Hill (1369), and *Stock Hill (1561), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. Thus Roberton, though not far distant from the centre of the southern Highlands, and though walled in by one of the middle stretches of their watersheds, is not strictly mountainous, and possesses both lowness of surface and softness of feature compared with either Ettrick on its one side, or Liddesdale on its other. The two vales which, to a certain extent, traverse it lengthwise, are narrow along the bottom, or are the merest glens; but they have gently sloping screens, and, except where beautified with wood, are in a state of cultivation. The hills are as rich in all the common kinds of game as the waters are in fish, so that the district is an attractive one to the sportsman. Though heath stretches out in patches, and almost every farm has its particular moss, the lands of the parish may, in general, be viewed as an assemblage of green hills, pleasantly and richly pastoral. The rocks are mainly Silurian, but include a seam of excellent ironstone. The soil in the bottom of Borthwick vale is of good quality; on the skirts and lower parts of the hills is gravelly, shallow, and dry; and on their summits is wet and boggy. Barely 2000 acres are either regularly or occasionally in tillage; about 500 are under wood; and the rest of the parish, not covered with moss, is principally cattle pasture or sheep-walk. The antiquities include a reach of the Catrail and six or seven camps, some Caledonian and some Roman, but all locally known as Picts' works. Mansions, all noticed separately, are Borthwickbrae, Borthwick-Shiels, Chisholm, Harden, and Hoscote; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of more, 3 of less, than £500. Roberton is in the presbytery of Selkirk and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £353. The old parish church, 3 furlongs from the left bank of Borthwick Water, and 5 miles W of Hawick, was probably built in 1659 (the date upon it), to supersede the older kirk of Hassendean. The new parish church, nearer the public road, was built in 1863 at a cost of £2000, and is a good Gothic edifice, containing 328 sittings. Two public schools, Howpasley and Roberton, with respective accommodation for 36 and 122 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 13 and 79, and grants of £26, 17s. 6d. and £77, 14s. 6d. Valuation (1864) £9806, 16s. 7d., (1885) £10,068, 3s. 10d., of which £6212, 19s. 1d. was for the Roxburghshire portion. Pop. (1801) 618, (1841) 757, (1861) 640, (1871) 593, (1881) 567, of whom 317 were in Roxburghshire.—Ord. Sur., shs. 17, 16, 1864.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Roberton ScoP       Roxburghshire ScoCnty       Selkirkshire ScoCnty
Place: Roberton

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