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
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).
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,
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
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
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.
Note: Galashiels, Briggend, Brigheuch,
Craikkesfoorde, Spittel, Brigend and Maisondieu are
not shown on the Merse sheet
Map based on quarter-inch OS maps, published
1935 & 1945.
With thanks to Ordnance Survey.
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.
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.
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
Assuming the crossing was to Law this would probably
indicate a route to Eyemouth, much as is shown on the
|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.
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.
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.
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
(NMRS record) crossed Dunglass Burn near the coast at
NT 772 723. Full details are given by Angus Graham.
Edinburgh to Berwick.
Dunglass Castle. NT 766 717
This looks very much as if it was to give access to
the then existing castle.
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.
Route from the south towards Scotland.
|The newer church near Cranshaws
- the Whiteadder is in the background
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.
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
The Military Survey shows the location but has no road
running across the ford. The Armstrong
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.
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.
Although very likely, it cannot be said with certainty
that it is directly related to the main north-south
route passing here.
St Leonard, Ednam, 1½ miles N of Kelso. Adam Hall in
Monastic Landscapes of Scotland identifies it as an
almshouse. NT 734 358
Unless there is evidence that it catered for travellers
it cannot be linked to any specific route.
near Abbey St Bathans
Near the Whiteadder about 1½ miles west of Abbey
St Bathans. It is shown on the early 6" map as Frampath
Sheet X). Interestingly the Dictionary
of the Scots Language gives a meaning for fram as
"to put together, to devise" - perhaps suggesting a
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.
3 miles E of Greenlaw
Hexpath, on A697 3 miles E of Greenlaw. NT 663 468
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.
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.
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
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
Unidentified. Somewhere near Ewieside Hill about 2 miles
S of Cockburnspath.
On main road just north of Cockburnspath near railway.
NT 777 716. The Blaeu plate shows it on the road leading
from the village.
The Edinburgh to Berwick road.
Petth, near Burnhouses
on B6355, 3 miles NW of Duns
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
map shows a deviation of the then road near Burnhouses
which would take it much nearer "Petth" than other maps.
It could be associated with a route between Strangfurd
and Alumford but additional evidence would be needed
to be certain of this.
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.
Redpath, 2 ½ miles SSE of Earlston, NT 585 385
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
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.
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
near bridge at top of map
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.
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
There is mention of a road (via) from Riselbrig to
Innerwick in a charter of Kelso Abbey mentioned in the
Annals of Teviotdale (Rev. James Morton). The Military
Survey shows a road on this line.
Sisterpath, one mile west of Fogo. NT 756 484
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.
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;
Near Spittall House, just west of Paxton and 5 miles
W of Berwick. NT 921 530. NMRS
The function of the spittal is unknown although it is
close to a route shown on early maps between Hutton
Spittal, on south side of River Tweed at Berwick. Said
to have been founded by Edward I for lepers.
Whatever its function, the name itself would only supplement
what is known already about the route into Berwick from
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
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.