Skirling  Peebles Shire


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Skirling like this:

Skirling, a village and a parish of W Peeblesshire. The village stands 690 feet above sea-level, 2½ miles ENE of the town and station of Biggar, under which it has a post office.

The parish is bounded NE by Kirkurd, E and S by Broughton and Kilbucho, and W and NW by Biggar in Lanarkshire. ...

Its utmost length, from N to S, is 3 miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 2 miles; and its area is 3427¾ acres, of which 5 are water. Biggar Water flows 1½ mile eastward along all the southern boundary; and Spittal Burn, its affluent, traces most of the Lanarkshire border. Beside Biggar Water the surface declines to 640 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises northward to 920 feet near South Mains, 1035 at Skirling Craigs, 1163 near Townhead, and 1399 at Broomy Law near the northern extremity of the parish. The rocks are chiefly Silurian, and the soil is mostly light but fertile. Nearly four-fifths of the entire area are in tillage; about 35 acres are under wood; and the rest is partly moor but chiefly green pasture. Skirling Castle, an old baronial fortalice which stood in the south-western vicinity of the village, belonged in the 16th century to Sir James Cockburn, a warm partisan of Queen Mary; and, demolished in 1568 by order of the Regent Moray, has entirely disappeared. A monastic establishment is believed to have stood on Kirklawhill farm; and coins of Adrian and Antoninus were found about 1814 near Greatlaws. James Howe (1780-1836), the animal painter, was the son of a former minister. The barony of Skirling, possessed by the Cockburns from about 1370 till 1621, since the close of the 17th century has belonged to the Carmichaels; and the Rev. Sir W. Gibson-Carmichael, Bart., of Castle-Craig, is almost the sole proprietor. Skirling is in the presbytery of Biggar and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £336. The parish church, at the village, is a building of high antiquity, renovated in 1720, and containing upwards of 200 sittings. There is also a Free church; and a public school, with accommodation for 87 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 42, and a grant of £44, 18s. Valuation (1860) £2274, (1885) £3598, 18s. Pop. (1801) 308, (1831) 358, (1861) 317, (1871) 325, (1881) 274.Ord. Sur., sh. 24, 1864.

Skirling through time

Skirling is now part of Scottish Borders district. Click here for graphs and data of how Scottish Borders has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Skirling itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Skirling, in Scottish Borders and Peebles Shire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 22nd June 2024

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