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Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Selkirkshire

Old and New Statistical Accounts

Ettrick
Galashiels
Selkirk
Yarrow


Note: The above map is from Arrowsmith's map of Scotland dated 1846; image courtesy of David Rumsey
Historical Map Collection
. The image is copyright Cartography Associates but has been made available
under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use.

The OSA links are to the Edina site and in most cases are to the main entry on roads for each parish. When the Edina page appears go to browse scanned pages for the link.
Additional information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site.
NSA links are below. There may be other passing references to roads in a parish account.

New Statistical Account
The NSA links below are to this point where the original accounts can be accessed. Use the back button on the browser to return to parish account.


Ettrick

OSA
The nearest market town is 15 miles away. Roads are almost impassable.
The only road similar to a turnpike is to Selkirk but it is very bad in places. It takes four hours to ride the 16 miles to Selkirk.
When snow threatens to cut off the district the farmers have to take their flocks to Annandale where they keep them through the winter.
The lack of bridges leads to many delays or long detours.
Coal is brought from 30 miles away.
There are 20 carts in the parish but no carriages or waggons.

NSA
There are old chapels at Buccleuch, close to the Rankle Burn, Kirkhope and Chapelhope. At the latter, "muggers" buried one of their dead.
The nearest market town is Moffat, 16 miles away, but Hawick and Selkirk which are 18 miles away are the main markets for the parish.There is a post office in Selkirk with a twice weekly service by carrier. During the summer mail is also brought from Hawick, Edinburgh and Galashiels.
Thirty miles of road are suitable for carriages. Much of the improvement is due to Lord Napier.
A reference to the parish in 1707 mentions the road to the county town being "little better than the channel of the river."
There are four fairs each year.
A new inn has been built near Tushielaw.
Peat is the usual fuel; although coal would be preferred but for its expense.
The start at building the long contemplated road across the Moorfoots will greatly help in obtaining coal and lime.
An old man of 80 remembers when there were no carts in the parish and peat and manure were carried on horseback. Now there are about 36 carts.


Galashiels
OSA, see also
Grain, except wheat taken to Edinburgh, Dalkeith and Peebles. Of the 109 horses in the parish, 92 are used in draught including ploughing and drawing carts. Some are used as saddle horses. There are 64 single horse carts, mostly used for carrying coal, manure, grain and wood.
The distance from coal and lime is a disadvantage. They are brought from Middleton, 21 miles from the town. The lack of a post office is also a disadvantage. The nearest are at Stagehall, Selkirk and Melrose. Stagehall is the more convenient as it is on the road to Middleton where coal and lime is collected.

NSA
The remains of a Roman road are visible.
Two new bridges have been built over the Tweed and Ettrick on the road to Selkirk. The journey is now two miles shorter and much safer as a number of people had drowned fording the rivers. In particular, a ferry boat sank about 100 years ago with great loss of life.
A chain, or suspension bridge, the first of its kind in Britain and a wooden bridge have been built in the town.
The markets in Galashiels have fallen into disuse and its fairs are poorly attended. The nearest markets are now in Melrose and Selkirk. There is a post office.
The roads are excellent. The Edinburgh to Carlisle road passes through the town and several coaches run to and from Edinburgh each day. There are frequent carriers to local towns.
Coal is carted from Middleton which is 24 miles away; however a new depot in the town will make supply easier and cheaper.
There are 5 miles of turnpike and 14 miles of statute labour roads.
A railway has been proposed but there is a delay in starting it. Despite the excellence of the roads there is no doubt a railway would be a great advantage.


Selkirk
OSA
Sheep are driven to Annandale in bad winters. The roads are almost impassable.

NSA

Selkirk is a market town.
The roads are excellent and greatly improved in the last 20 years.
Stage coaches pass through each day on the mail road from Edinburgh to Carlisle. The road at present runs along the north bank of the Ettrick and crosses half a mile from the town; a new one is being built which will run from Galashiels along the south of the river.
There is a bridge over the Ettrick and three over the Yarrow.
Coal is brought from mid-Lothian.

 

Yarrow
OSA

This road ran from the B709 over to Tibbie Shiel's Inn at St Mary's Loch. It appears on Ainslie's Selkirkshire map of 1773. Although the poles remain, the sign has now disappeared.

Coal is brought 30 miles from Lothian. Because of the expense, poorer people use peat and heather. Lime is brought 18 miles. The roads are bad and it is only recently that any attempt has ben made to improve them. Now there is a road suitable for carriages that runs along the Yarrow from Selkirk to Moffat and the west. Another road follows the Etterick River to Etterick church but both of these, especially the latter, still need improving. The cross roads are in a state of nature and very deep in places. The district is cut off when it snows. Bridges are few and this leads to delays and long detours when the rivers are high.

NSA

The distance from coal, lime, manure and markets is a disadvantage to the parish. The nearest market town is Selkirk which is 9 miles away.
The roads are excellent and paid for by the statute labour conversion money.
Roads run along the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys with two cross roads between them. Another road leads into Tweedsdale. The total length is 37 miles.

St Mary's Loch

A rough track leads over Minchmoor - this used to be the mail road from the south. It is still used by troops in their movements.
There are three bridges; one of these is old and badly constructed and is being replaced.
There are three alehouses, of benefit to travellers.
In the past, sheep had to be moved to Annandale in bad winters but provisions are now laid in. The roads are much busier than in the past. Bread used to be brought in by one person on foot but several carts now bring it along the Yarrow valley. Newspapers etc are received regularly in contrast to the time when one newspaper alone would make its slow way up the valley through the hands of many readers.
Some improvements to the roads and bridges could be made to link to the Tweed and along the south banks of the rivers.

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Interesting Points

Ettrick
It takes four hours to ride the 16 miles to Selkirk. Farmers take their flocks to Annandale in bad winters. The lack of bridges leads to many delays or long detours. In 1707 the road to the county town was "little better than the channel of the river." There are old chapels at Buccleuch, close to the Rankle Burn, Kirkhope and Chapelhope. At the latter, "muggers" buried one of their dead.

Galashiels
The remains of a Roman road are visible. Two new bridges have been built over the Tweed and Ettrick on the road to Selkirk. The journey is now much safer as a number of people had drowned fording the rivers. A ferry boat sank about 100 years ago with great loss of life.

Selkirk
Sheep are driven to Annandale in bad winters. The roads are almost impassable.

Yarrow
A rough track leads over Minchmoor - this used to be the mail road from the south. In the past, sheep had to be moved to Annandale in bad winters but provisions are now laid in. Newspapers etc are received regularly in contrast to the time when one newspaper alone would make its slow way up the valley through the hands of many readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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