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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 39 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PEEBLESSHIRE, or TWEEDDALE, a southern inland county of Scotland, bounded N. and N.E. by Edinburghshire, E. and S.E. by Selkirkshire, S. by Dumfriesshire, and W. by Lanarkshire. Its area is 222,599 acres or 547.8 sq. m. The surface consists of a succession of hills, which are highest in the south, broken by the vale of the Tweed and the glens formed by its numerous tributaries. South of the Tweed the highest points are Broad Law and Cramalt Craig on the confines of Selkirkshire (each 2723 ft.), while north of the river are, in the west centre, Broughton Heights (1872), Trahenna Hill (1792), Penvalla (1764) and Ladyurd Hill (1724), and in the north-west the Pentland eminences of Mount Maw (1753), Byrehope Mount (1752) and King Seat (1521). The lowest point above sea-level is on the banks of the Tweed, where it passes into Selkirkshire (about 450 ft.). The principal river is the Tweed, and from the fact that for the first 36 m. of its course of 97 m. it flows through the south of the shire, the county derives its alternative name of Tweeddale. Its affluents on the right are the Stanhope, Drummelzier, Manor and Quair; on the left, the Biggar, Lyne, Eddlestone and Leithen. The North Esk, rising in Cairnmuir, forms the boundary line between Midlothian and Peeblesshire for about four miles, during which it presents some very charming pictures, especially at Habbie's Howe, where Allan Ramsay laid the scene of the Gentle Shepherd. For 4 M. of its course the South Medwin divides the south-western part of the parish of Linton from Lanarkshire. Portmore Loch, a small sheet of water 2 M. north-east of Eddlestone church, lies at a height of l000 ft. above the sea, and is the only lake in the county. The shire is in favour with anglers, its streams being well stocked and unpolluted, and few restrictions being placed on the fishing. Geology.—The southern elevated portion of the county is occupied by Silurian rocks, mainly by shales and grits or greywackes of Llandovery age. Owing to the repeated folding and crumpling of the rocks in this region there are numerous elliptical exposures of Ordovician strata within the Silurian tract; but the principal area of Ordovician rocks lies north of a line running south-west from the Moorfoot Hills through Lyne and Stobo. Here these rocks form a belt some four to five miles in breadth; they are composed of radiolarian cherts and mudstones with associated contemporaneous volcanic rocks of Arenig age, and of shales, grits and limestones of Llandeilo and Caradoc age. The general direction of strike of all these formations is south-west–north-east, but the dips are sometimes misleading through occasional inversion of the strata. Patches of higher Silurian, with Wenlock and Ludlow fossils, are found in the north of the country in the Pentland Hills, and resting conformably upon the Silurian in the same district is the Lower Old Red Sandstone. The Old Red Sandstone here consists of a lower division, red and chocolate marls and sandstones; a middle division, volcanic rocks, porphyrites, tuffs, &c., which are unconformable on the lower marls in this area; and an upper division, sandstones and conglomerates. The south-west extremity of the Edinburgh coalfield just enters this county over the north-west border where a slice of Carboniferous strata is found let down between Silurian and Old Red rocks by two important faults. Both Calciferous sandstone and Carboniferous limestone occur, with useful beds of coal, limestone, ironstone, fireclay and alum shale. An outlier of Carboniferous limestone, surrounded by Lower Old Red Sandstone, lies south of Linton. Much glacial boulder clay with gravel and sand rests upon the higher ground, while morainic deposits are found in the valleys. Climate and Industries.—The annual rainfall averages from 33 to 41 in.; the mean temperature for the year is 47.50 F., for January 38° F., and for July 59° F. The character of the soil varies considerably, peat, gravel and clay being all represented. The low-lying lands consist generally of rich loam, composed of sand and clay. The farming is pastoral rather than arable. The average holding is about 200 acres of arable land, with pasturage for from 600 to 800 sheep. Roughly speaking, one-fifth of the total area is under cultivation. Oats are the chief grain and turnips the chief root crop. The hill pastures are better suited to sheep than to cattle, but both flocks and herds are comparatively large. Cheviots and half-breds are preferred for the grass lands, the heathery ranges being stocked with black-faced sheep. Crosses of Cheviots, black-faced and half-bred ewes with Leicestershire rams are common. The favourite breed of cattle is a cross between Ayrshires and shorthorns, the cows being Ayrshire. Many of the horses are Clydesdales bred in the county. Pig-keeping is on the decline. A few acres have been laid down as nurseries and market gardens, and about ro,000 acres are under wood, especially at Dalwick, where larch and horse-chestnut were first grown in Scotland. Apart from agriculture, the only industries are the woollen factories and flour mills at Peebles and Innerleithen. The North British railway crosses the county in the north from Leadburn to Dolphinton, and runs down the Eddlestone valley from Leadburn to Peebles and Thornielee, while in the south the Caledonian railway connects the county town with Biggar in Lanarkshire. Population and Administration.—In 190I the population numbered 15,o66 or 43 persons to the sq. m. In Igor one person spoke Gaelic only, 72 Gaelic and English. The chief towns are Peebles (pop. 5266) and Innerleithen (2181). West Linton, on Lyne Water, is a holiday resort. The shire combines with Selkirkshire to return one member to parliament, the electors of Peebles town voting with the county. Peeblesshire forms a sheriffdom with the Lothians and a sheriff-substitute sits in the county town. There is a high school in Peebles, and one or more schools in the county usually earn grants for secondary education. History.—The country was originally occupied by the Gadeni, a British tribe, of whom there are many remains in the shape of camps and sepulchral mounds (in which stone coffins, axes and hammers have been found), while several place-names (such as Peebles, Dalwick and Stobo) also attest their presence. The standing stones near the confluence of the Lyne and Tweed are supposed to commemorate a Cymric chief. The natives were reduced by the Romans, who have left traces of their military rule in the fine camp at Lyne, locally known as Randal's Walls. The hill-side terraces at Romanno are conjectured, somewhat fancifully, to be remains of a Roman method of cultivation. On the retreat of the Romans the Gadeni came into their own again, and although they are said to have been defeated by King Arthur at Cademuir in 530, they held the district until the consolidation of the kingdom after Malcolm II.'s victory at Carham in ror8, before which the land, constantly harried by Danes, was nominally included in the territory of Northumbria. This tract of Scotland is closely associated with the legend of Merlin. David I. made the district a deanery in the archdeaconry of Peebles, and it afterwards formed part of the diocese of Glasgow. Towards the middle of the 12th century it was placed under the jurisdiction of two sheriffs, one of whom was settled at Traquair and the other at Peebles. At Happrew, in the valley of the Lyne, the English defeated Wallace in 1304. The Scottish sovereigns had a lodge at Polmood, and often hunted in the uplands and the adjoining forests. English armies occasionally invaded the county, but more frequently the people were harried by Border raiders. Many castles and peels were erected in the valley of the Tweed from the Bield to Berwick. Several were renowned in their day, among them Oliver Castle (built by Sir Oliver Fraser in the reign of David I.), Drumelzier, Tinnis or Thane's Castle, and Neidpath. Three miles south of Romanno stand the ruins of Drochil Castle, designed for the Regent Morton, who was beheaded at Edinburgh in 1581, and the building was never completed. Memories of the Covenanters cluster around Tweedhopefoot, Tweedshaws, Corehead, Tweedsmuir, Talla Linns and other spots. In the churchyard of Tweedsmuir is the tombstone of John Hunter, the martyr, which was relettered by " Old Mortality." The " men of the moss hags " did little fighting in Peeblesshire, but Montrose first drew rein at Traquair House after he was defeated at Philiphaugh on the Yarrow in 1645. The plain of Sheriffmuir near Lyne is the place where the Tweeddale wapinschaws used to be held in the 17th century. The Jacobite risings left the county untouched, and since the beginning of the 19th century the shire has been more conspicuous in literature than in politics.

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