Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Bemersyde

Bemersyde, a hamlet, a mansion, and an estate in Merton parish, Berwickshire. The hamlet lies 1¼ mile N by E of Dryburgh Abbey, and 2½ NE of St Boswells. The mansion, to the SW of the hamlet, and near the left bank of the Tweed, is an old baronial pile, built in conformity to an Act of Parliament of 1535, 'for bigging of strengthis on the Bordouris;' and has always been the seat of the Haig family, one of the most ancient in the S of Scotland, its present owner being Capt. Arthur Balfour Haig (b. 1840; suc. 1878), owner of 1357 acres in the shire, valued at £2010 per annum. The Haigs, or De Hagas, of Norman origin, possessed the lands of Bemersyde as early as the 12th century; and, till a recent period, they always held them in a line of direct descent, thus verifying the prophecy, ascribed to True Thomas of Ercildoun:-

Tide, tide, whate'er betide,
There's aye be Haigs of Bemersyde.

The crest (540 feet) of a public road over Bemersyde Hill commands a view of the valley of the Tweed from Abbotsford down to the Cheviots; here Scott would always rein up his horse, and here by some accident his hearse was brought for several minutes to a standstill. This view was pronounced by Elihu Burritt, the learned American blacksmith, to be, with exception of that from Stirling Castle, the most magnificent he ever saw in Scotland, 'so truly beautiful as to be beyond description.' On the estate is a mighty Spanish chestnut, only 50 feet high, but girthing 27¼ feet at the base. See Jn. Russell's Haigs of Bemersyde (Edinb. 1881).

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a hamlet, a mansion, and an estate"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Mertoun ScoP       Berwickshire ScoCnty
Place: Bemersyde

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