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Roads in the 1600's: The Maps of Timothy Pont

Berwickshire

Overview
Roads
River Crossings and Placenames

Overview
The most prominent feature on this map is the Berwick to Edinburgh road which allows us to follow its route reasonably accurately. The river crossings at Berwick, Aiton, and two near Dunglass as well as lesser streams are related to this road as are the placenames Cockburnpath and Pathhead near Dunglass.

There is a hint of another route that would link the placenames of Strangfurd, Alumford, Petth, Rysybrigs and a crossing at Cranshaws which would lead from the Duns area over the Lammermuirs into Lothian. There was certainly a route here by the mid 1700's and the age of the placenames suggest it had been in existence long before then, even if only for local purposes. Angus Graham (More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs, PSAS, Vol. 93 (1959-60), pps 217-35 - see pps. 224-226) quotes some evidence that indicates it may have been used in the 1500's. A charter of Kelso Abbey refers to a road from Riselbrig leading towards Innerwick. Riddpetth probably linked Longformacus to Cranshaws and Frampeth may date from the time of the convent at St Bathans.

The isolated Langatt points to a route over the Lammermuirs from the Lauder area, perhaps just with the meaning of the "long way round". The Lammermuirs generally are crossed with many tracks as shown on early maps and were probably linked to journeys to the important markets of Dalkeith and Haddington. Hexpetth suggests a route over to Greenlaw and beyond that would have branched off from the early Edinburgh to Kelso road.

A number of "spittals" are included as they sometimes catered for pilgrims and travellers. Recent work has shown that they were often for other purposes such as hospitals, almshouses, poorhouses and leper hospitals so that it is probably best to be cautious in assuming a "spittal" indicates a route (see Scottish Monastic Landscapes, Adam Hall, Tempus 2006 for a gazetteer of spittals).

Roads
Click map for larger image

Map based on half-inch OS map of North Berwick, Berwick upon Tweed and Selkirk, published 1914.
With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

This sheet shows the continuation of the road to Berwick. Where the course of a road is uncertain this is shown by a dotted line.
For further information on this road see Angus Graham, Archaeology on a Great Post Road, PSAS, Vol. 96 (1962-63), pps 318-47.

Dunglass Burn to Cockburnspath
This short stretch looks to be on much the same alignment of the A1, although the course over the Dunglass Burn is that of the minor road just south of the A1 (see 1st Edition of the OS 1"map - sheet 33).

Cockburnspath - Aiton
Going by the rivers, the road seems to have run almost directly from Cockburnspath to just above the confluence of the Heriot Water and the Alemoor Water. From there it probably went towards Old Cambus to take up the line shown on the Military Survey that ran directly to Aiton (A1107 and minor road to Aiton). This is a very good fit as shown by the alignment in relation to the Ale Water and the position of W Presse (Press Castle at NT870654).

Aiton - Berwick
From Aiton the road ran directly to Wamertoun Kirk (Lamberton) and then on to Berwick. Given this and the relative straightness of the route it is likely that it was the same as that shown on the Military Survey, viz. the minor road to one mile north of Lamberton and then passing along a partly still existing path to join the A1 before running into Berwick.

Note: A number of texts written by or derived from Pont gives distances between towns. It is very likely that these relate to routes because the distances must have been measured and there would be little point in knowing the mileage unless people were travelling between these places. In some cases he refers directly to "the way to" or gives a list of intermediate places as if they were on a route. He also shows river crossings that must have been used for journeys. There is in any case evidence from other sources that there were routes at this time. The texts can be viewed on the NLS Pont Website and are also in McFarlane's Geographical Collections.

So far as this map goes, he mentions that Berwick was 20 miles from Kelso. Later maps (mid 1700's) show a road running via Coldstream.

River Crossings and Placenames
Larger map

Note: Galashiels, Briggend, Brigheuch, Craikkesfoorde, Spittel, Brigend and Maisondieu are not shown on the Merse sheet

StrangfurdSpittal (Berwick)Spittall (Hutton)Smellum SpittalSisterpetthRysybrigsRutherfordRippethRiddpetthHexpetthPetthPetheadParkyetLangattFrampetthEdnam SpittellCockburnspathAlamfurdNear CranshawsOld Bridge, BerwickDunglass CastleDunglassCockburnspathAitonAitonColdinghamAle Water

Map based on quarter-inch OS maps, published 1935 & 1945.
With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

River Crossings

Bridge near Eyemouth
Identification
Given the position of Hilaw and Beenrig (this was just north of present day Linthill) the best fit would be either a ford over the Ale Water at NT 927 626 or stepping stones 200 metres to the east.
Associated route
These crossings are awkwardly placed for routes between Ayton and Eyemouth and Ayton and Coldingham so may just have been for local access to Ayton.

Coldingham
Identification
The Blaeu map is confusing as Floures and Halydrunn are on the south side of the Abbey Burn whereas Law is on the north side and not on the south side as shown on the map. This mistake would be rectified if Law and Coldingham were to straddle the northerly of the two rivers shown.
Associated route
Assuming the crossing was to Law this would probably indicate a route to Eyemouth, much as is shown on the Military Survey.

Aiton
Identification

Ayton village was rebuilt along this street - the old road was about 300 metres to the right of this

There is some difficulty about this as two crossings are shown, one on the Berwick to Edinburgh road and one just to the east of this. The New Statistical Account written in the 1830’s says that there was an old bridge which was on a very old London road (i.e. the road marked on the Blaeu map) which was used by villagers to get to the kirk. It had been in a ruinous condition and had collapsed some time before. From this one would assume that the road in Blaeu’s time passed over this bridge and that the additional crossing may be a mistake. NT 928 609.
Associated route
As the NSA says this was on an earlier alignment of the Edinburgh - Berwick road.  Angus Graham gives a full account of this section - Archaeology on a Great Post Road, PSAS, Vol. 96 (1962-63), pps 318-47 - see p.321.

 

 

Cockburnspeth, on river
Identification
One and a half miles east of Cockburnspath. The map shows the road crossing two streams (Heriot Water and Pease Water - NT 7970) as well as a bridge very near the coast at NT 795 708.
Associated route
As Angus Graham (op.cit.) notes, two routes came from the south - one from Coldingham and one from Aiton. From Old Cambus a traveller could go through Cockburnspath but also more directly by a very steep descent to the coast, crossing the stream there. In that sense the map is correct as it shows a road through the village and a crossing near the coast on the other road although it only confirms what we already know rather than being new evidence.

Dunglass
Identification
This bridge (NMRS record) crossed Dunglass Burn near the coast at NT 772 723. Full details are given by Angus Graham.
Associated route
Edinburgh to Berwick.

Dunglass Castle
Identification
Dunglass Castle. NT 766 717
Associated route
This looks very much as if it was to give access to the then existing castle.

Berwick

Identification
Old Bridge, Berwick on Tweed. On his journey south to take up his crown as James I of England, James VI of Scotland was appalled at the condition of the then wooden bridge and granted funds for the building of a new bridge - see feature on Undiscovered Scotland site. It was completed in 1634 after 24 years in the making. There had been earlier bridges in the middle ages.
Associated route
Route from the south towards Scotland.

Near Cranshaws

The newer church near Cranshaws - the Whiteadder is in the background

Identification
This crossing is shown over the stream running into the Whiteadder near Cranshaws. NT 68 61
Associated route Uncertain. Although the Military Survey shows a road running from Longformacus to the west bank of the Whiteadder and then over to Innerwick (a Kelso charter of the 1200's mentions a road from Riselbrigs just north of here towards Innerwick) and the Edinburgh to Berwick road, it is not clear from the Blaeu map if the crossing was on this road or of more local use perhaps to access the old kirk. There could also be a link to a route through Petth, Rysybrigs, Alumford and Strangfurd.

 

Placenames

Alumfurd
Identification

Ellemford

Same location as Ellemford Bridge over Whiteadder Water, 3 miles NE of Longformacus. NT 729 600. The old 6" map (sheet IX) shows stepping stones. Associated route
The Military Survey shows the location but has no road running across the ford. The Armstrong and Blackadder maps do show a road passing over the ford which would give access to Cranshaws to the north and Duns and other places to the south. As there are the remains of a church dating from the 13th century just north of the ford, it is likely the ford was used to access the church at an early date. Angus Graham (More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs, PSAS, Vol. 93 (1959-60), pps 217-35 - see 224-226) notes that James IV had his headquarters here prior to a campaign into England in 1496 and that it was a mustering point in 1513 prior to Flodden. These facts along with the occurence of Petth, Rysybrigs, the crossing at Cranshaws and Strangfurd suggest a route along this line.

Cockburnspeth
Identification
Cockburnspath. It is first mentioned as Colbrandespade in the Charter of Holyrood Abbey in 1128. The name comes from the personal name Kolbrandr (Nicolaissen, Scottish Place Names). NT 77 70.
Associated route
Although very likely, it cannot be said with certainty that it is directly related to the main north-south route passing here.

Ednam Spittell
Identfication
St Leonard, Ednam, 1½ miles N of Kelso. Adam Hall in Monastic Landscapes of Scotland identifies it as an almshouse. NT 734 358
Associated route
Unless there is evidence that it catered for travellers it cannot be linked to any specific route.

Frampetth, near Abbey St Bathans
Identification
Near the Whiteadder about 1½ miles west of Abbey St Bathans. It is shown on the early 6" map as Frampath (Berwickshire- Sheet X). Interestingly the Dictionary of the Scots Language gives a meaning for fram as "to put together, to devise" - perhaps suggesting a made path.
Associated route

Without supporting evidence it is difficult to say although it is tempting to see a connection with the convent at St Bathans and the Inner and Outer Abbey Hills.

Hexpetth, 3 miles E of Greenlaw
Identification
Hexpath, on A697 3 miles E of Greenlaw. NT 663 468
Associated route
The Military Survey looks very incomplete in the area. Other early maps show a route from the Lauder area over towards Greenlaw. Given there was a mediaeval route from Edinburgh past Lauder, Legerwood and Smailholm to Roxburgh and Kelso, this name could provide partial evidence for an early route over to Greenlaw.

Langatt
Identification
This appears as Langgate on the Military Survey on a road running from Carfraemill (4 miles N of Lauder) directly north by the Kelphope Burn. NT 512 552 approx.
Associated route
It is not clear what the purpose of this route was. Early maps show quite a few routes hereabouts, sometimes incorporating segments of earlier routes. On the north side of the Lammermuirs, the Military Survey shows it joining the network of roads there but with no clear destination. Ainslie’s map of 1821 shows it running to just south of East Salton though it is not clear why it would do this.
*also shown on Lauderdale map

Parkyet, near Cockburnspath
Identification
Unidentified. Somewhere near Ewieside Hill about 2 miles S of Cockburnspath.
Associated route
Unknown.

Pethead, near Cockburnspath
Identification
On main road just north of Cockburnspath near railway. NT 777 716. The Blaeu plate shows it on the road leading from the village.
Associated route
The Edinburgh to Berwick road.

Petth, near Burnhouses on B6355, 3 miles NW of Duns
Identification
Although not marked on early maps its position can be estimated as being just upstream (Mill Burn) from Burnhouses where there was a mill. NT 750 580 approx. Interestingly the Armstrong map shows a deviation of the then road near Burnhouses which would take it much nearer "Petth" than other maps.
Associated route
It could be associated with a route between Strangfurd and Alumford but additional evidence would be needed to be certain of this.

Riddpetth, south of Cranshaws

Identification Redpath NT 690 596

Associated route A route is shown on the Military Survey running from Longformacus to Cranshaws which passes about 400 metres to the east of Redpath farm.

Rippeth
Identification
Redpath, 2 ½ miles SSE of Earlston, NT 585 385
Associated route
Given the presumed age of this place name it is tempting to think that a road would have ran north through here from Dryburgh Abbey but there does not seem to be any record of such a road. Another possibility is that it was on a road between Melrose and Earlston but early maps do not support this.
*also shown on Teviotdale, Tweeddale and Lauderdale maps

Rutherford
Identification
Rutherford Mill, 3 miles E of Maxton, on River Tweed, NT 662 312. The 1863 6” OS map (sheet IX) shows a ford at Rutherford Mill although there was a ferry one mile to the west at NT 650 319. Macdonald (op.cit) suggests the name means “cattle ford” from the Old English hryther and ford.
Associated route
The Military Survey and Stobie show a road running past Rutherford Mill on the south side of the river and on the north side, one about ¼ mile from the ferry but more than a mile from the ford; this suggests that there was no through route. The name itself is more suggestive of a local route.
*also shown on Teviotdale map

Rysybrigs, near bridge at top of map
Identification

Near "Rysybrigs"

The old 6" map (sheet IX) shows Rise Lea at NT 6962 just north of Cranshaws. The Dictionary of the Scots Language has entries for rise and brig. Rise (rys or rice) could indicate either bundles of twigs or an area of "dense, twiggy wood-growth" often along the banks of a river. From this one could suggest the name means either a causeway over marshy ground formed by bunches of twigs or a bridge over a stream where there was dense undergrowth.

Associated route
If the name does relate to a bridge or causeway then there may have been a bridge over the Whiteadder near to St Agnes (NT) on the Longformacus route that ran through Cranshaws or a causeway near to Rise Lea itself but given the indeterminate location this is fairly speculative. It could also be linked to a possible route through Strangfurd,Alumford,Petth and the crossing at Cranshaws.

There is mention of a road (via) from Riselbrig to Innerwick in a charter of Kelso Abbey mentioned in the Monastic Annals of Teviotdale (Rev. James Morton). The Military Survey shows a road on this line.

Sisterpetth, near Fogo
Identification
Sisterpath, one mile west of Fogo. NT 756 484
Associated route
Uncertain.

Smellum Spittell
Identification
Smailholm. The location given in the NMRS is just west of the village at NT 645 363. The Military Survey however shows it at 677 361 approx. and south of Nenthorn. There is a possibility that a spittal associated with Nenthorn became confused with Smailholm Spittal.
Associated route
Whatever the location it is not known if travellers were catered for. In any case we know that a route ran from Edinburgh through Smailholm to Kelso and Roxburgh in mediaeval times.
See NMRS records:Nenthorn; Smailholm.

Spittall, near Hutton
Identification
Near Spittall House, just west of Paxton and 5 miles W of Berwick. NT 921 530. NMRS record.
Associated route
The function of the spittal is unknown although it is close to a route shown on early maps between Hutton and Berwick.

Spittell, Berwick
Identification
Spittal, on south side of River Tweed at Berwick. Said to have been founded by Edward I for lepers.
Associated route
Whatever its function, the name itself would only supplement what is known already about the route into Berwick from the south.

Strangfurd, near Duns
Identification

Ford over Whiteadder at Preston Haugh on B6355, 2½ miles N of Duns. NT 775 577. Shown on old 6" map (sheet X) as Strongford with nearby stepping stones.

Associated route
The presence of other place names in the valley of the Whiteadder (Alumford, the crossing at Cranshaws, Rysibriggs and possibly Peth) along with some evidence noted by Angus Graham (More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs, Angus Graham, PSAS, Vol. 93 (1959-60), pps 217-35 - see 224-226) suggest a route may have existed in the 1500's.

 

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