21. Cadger Acre.

The site of the field known as Cadger Acre is adjacent to the Bield and close to the present day A701 road.

It is located on the Thomson 1832 map, shown on the left, just south of Halfway House. On the OS Name Book Cadger Acre is described as A piece of ground north of the Bield on either side of the Edinburgh Moffat road. (1).   On the OS 1897 map below Cadger Acre is shown firmly on one side of the road.

Armstrong in 1775 noted that it is "said to have been a grant given by the first Earl of March, about the year 1700, on a complaint that the country people refused to accommodate these itinerant merchants, called Cadgers". (2).

Pennecuik noted "the greatest merchant commodity that brings money to the place, with their products of lambs, wool, skins, butter, and cheese."(3).   Also noted by Pennecuik "milk from the ewes mixed with the cows-milk of the farm, is made into cheese for sale." (3).   The Tweedsmuir farmers were serious cheese makers!   Pennecuik also remarked "Cadgers are those that go about buying butter, eggs, poultry, etc. to be sold again in towns ". (3)   The Cadgers aka itinerant merchants were obviously very important for the economy of the area mainly for the purchase of ewes milk products.

The importance of ewes milk can be judged by the number of the remains of buchts around the Parish that give their names to topographical features such as Bucht Syke, Bucht Hill etc.  A bucht was designed for the mass milking of ewes and was a turf built or stone stell like structure that instead of being circular was U shaped ie open at one end.

At the head waters of the Fruid Water are the remains of a farmstead.   The RCAHMS now HES in their survey No 672 of 1959 stated "that the settlement may possibly have been utilised in connection with the summer pasturing of sheep." (4).  The Biggar Archaeology Group led by Tam Ward did a major survey of the site and confirmed that it was a sheiling with residential houses and buchts.(5)(6)   It was the women and children that roughed it at the sheilings.

In the first census of 1841 there were three families registered in Cadger Acre.  They were agricultural labourers.   In subsequent years there are no families at Cadger Acre.


1)  Ordnance Survey Name Book, Peebleshire, Tweedsmuir Vol 44, HMSO, Edinburgh, 1856/58. p26.

2)  Armstrong, Mostyn, John; A companion to the map of the County of Peebles, W Creech, Edinburgh, 1775. pp106-107.

3)  Pennecuik, Alexander; Works of Alexander Pennecuik of Newhall with Notes, A Allardice, Leith, 1815. pp52-53 and p246.

4)  Royal Commission on the Ancient Historical Monuments of Scotland,  Inventory for Peeblesshire, Vol 2 - 672, HMSO, Edinburgh, 1967. p356. Also Canmore ID 194181.

5)  Ward, Tam; Tweeddale, Scottish Borders (Broughton, Glenholm & Kilbucho, Drumelzier, Tweedsmuir parishes survey, Discovery Excav Scot, Biggar, 2000. p75.

6)  Biggar Archaelogy Group; Fruid, Sheilings and Buchts in Souther Scotland, Biggar. Fig 10 & p75.


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