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

Liddesdale

Overview
Pont Texts
River Crossings -none
Placenames

Overview
As noted below the road known as Note O'The Gate ran from Newcastleton up past Saughtree to Jedburgh. Inglis suggests that in early mediaeval times the road from Carlisle to Jedburgh, Roxburgh and Berwick, known on part of its course as the Wheel Causeway, ran from Wheel (west of Peel Fell) over past Saughtree to run down the Liddel valley. When it went out of use in the early 1600's the Note O'The Gate route developed (more or less on the line of the present day road running down to Saughtree). There is therefore a slight possibility that Brighous and Kilfurd are linked to this route.

Bellsyetts as early maps show would have been on a route leading to the North Tyne Valley; Bygate with its implications of an indirect route may indicate there was another route though what this might have been is unclear. Ruterford may just mean cattle ford and Gatliehill, if it is a "gate" name, is near a natural route leading to the Ewes Water.

Texts written by or derived from Pont confirm a route up to Hermitage and possibly to Hawick and Jedburgh although a route by Langholm is an alternative possibility for the latter places.

 

 

BellsyettsBygateBrighouseBrighousecleughheadGatliehillKilfurdRuterford
Map based on quarter-inch OS map, published 1935.
With thanks to Ordnance Survey.


Pont Texts

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 MacFarlane's Geographical Collections.

So far as this map goes, the following entry indicates a route through this area:
   - Annand Toun and Hermitage Castle in Liddisdail 24 m.
Two other entries may also indicate routes to Hawick and Jedburgh:
   - Annand and Haik in Teviot dail 28 m.
   - Annand and Jedburg 36.
It is unclear however if the Hawick route went through Langholm or up Liddesdale past Hermitage. The distance given between Hawick and Jedburgh is 8 miles (28 + 8 = 36 miles) which suggest the Annan to Jedburgh route went through Hawick although a more direct Jedburgh route by Note O'The Gate was available at this time.


River Crossings

None shown

Placenames

Bellsyetts
Identification

Given the lack of detail on the Blaeu map the best fit seems to be near Bellsburnfoot NY61 95
Associated route
This would place it near a road shown on Thomson (1820) that ran down the River North Tyne past Keilder and Bellingham.

Bygate
Identification
Close to Leahaugh, 2 miles S of Hermitage on B6399 route, NY 509 926.
Associated route
It is shown on the 1st edition 1" map (sheet 11, Langholm) on a track leading off the road between Dinlabyre and Newlands and on Stobie’s map of Roxburghshire (1770) and Ainslie (1821) as Backgate though not on any road. Thomson (1820) and Tennant (1840) show it as Byegate. The Military Survey show it as Baggott but it is tempting to see this as a rendering of local pronunciation.

Brighous, in centre right of map
Identification
Bridgehouse, 4 miles NNW of Newcastleton off the B6357 Jedburgh road, NY 527 926
Associated route
It is shown on the 1st edition of the 1" map (sheet 11, Langholm) as beside a stream. It could be associated with the Dinlaybyre to Bygate track shown on the same map or even with an early route to Jedburgh which undoubtedly followed the valley of the Liddel but neither association is certain. With regard to the latter point Inglis's remarks quoted in W E Wilson's paper on The Note of the Gate (Hawick Archaeological Society, 1936) are interesting. He suggests that the Wheel Causeway was an early mediaeval route between Jedburgh (ultimately Roxburgh) and Liddesdale but went out of use in the late 1500's when another route by Singdean began to be used - this was known as the Note O'the Gate running from Jedburgh down to Castleton and beyond. In another paper, Inglis (Ancient Border Highways: The Minchmoor (Catrail) Road, the Wheel Causeway, the Annandale Forest Road, the Well Path, and the Enterkin, Harry R G Inglis, PSAS, Vol. 58 (1923-24), pps 203-23) suggests that the Wheel Causeway ran from Wheel directly over to the Liddel valley along what the OS had mistakenly marked as a catrail - see 6 " map sheet XXXIX.
It is not clear if the later Note of the Gate road was identical with the earlier Wheel Causeway in Liddelsdale but it does raise the possibility that Brighous could relate to one or other of them.

Brighouscleughead
Identification

Cleuch-head, near to Brighous above, NY 933 525
Associated route
The name is secondary to Brighous above.

Gatliehill
Identification

South of Gorrenberry, 2 miles W of Hermitage Castle, NY 47 96. This is included as the form of the name is suggestive. It does not appear on any other early map.
Associated route
Uncertain although its proximity to Hermitage Castle and a later road leading west is suggestive.

Kilfurd
Identification

Near to Riccarton, on B6357 Newcastleton to Jedburgh route, 7 miles NW Newcastleton, NY 95 56 approx.
Associated route
Unknown. It may have been a crossing over the Kiln Burn though whether local or more long distance is unknown.

Ruterford, on River Liddel
Identification

On Liddel, 2 ½ miles SSW of Kershopefoot. Not shown on any other early map. The only fords over the Liddel between Kershopefoot and Penton shown on the early 6 inch maps (sheet XLVIII) are Francis Ford at NY 450 795 and Huddshole Ford at NY 444 786. Francis Ford would be a better fit because the Blaeu map shows Ruterford opposite Muir Burn (not Tinnis Burn as on the map).
Associated route
J S M Macdonald (The Placenames of Roxburghshire, Hawick Archaeological Society 1991) in dealing with another Rutherford in Teviotdale suggests hryther or cattle as a derivation. As a ford for cattle it is likely to have just been for local use.

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