Listed Buildings in Tweedsmuir Parish

1.4   Carlow's Bridge. (Listed as Category B)

This bridge spans the river Tweed at the point where it narrows to flow through the rocky defile known as Carlow's Linn, 400 yards SW of Tweedsmuir Church.   It is built entirely of rubble masonry and comprises a single arch having a span of 30 feet and a width of 15 feet.   Upon the south facing of the bridge a block of sandstone bearing the date of 1783 is built into the fabric above the crown of the arch. The structure evidently replaces the earlier bridge shown on William Edgar's map of peeblesshire, surveyed in 1741(1).   The bridge was constructed by James and Alexander Noble(1) who were stone masons based in the Upper Tweed area.(2)  Various spellings can be found in the records such as Carlows and Carlowse but the 's version was registered with the O.S. Name Book for Peeblesshire in 1849 (3) and was first used in the New Statistical Account of 1834.  It has subsequently found favour with both Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission (RCAHMS).  I wonder who Mr or Mrs Carlow (Carlaw) was who gave their name to the Linn (waterfall).  John Buchan referred to it as Curlew Linn in his short story titled Sentimental Travelling in his book Scholar Gypsies.(4)   Or, is Carlow a corruption of Carlin the Scots word for witch - Witch's Linn? 

This bridge is the sole access for the large lorries taking away the harvested spruce and pine trees from the Tweedsmuir forests.   The fact that this ancient bridge designed for a mule and cart can cope with the weight of these lorries is a wonder.  

The bridge - March 2011 - is now showing signs of wear and tear and with no sign of the number of timber lorries crossing the bridge diminishing there is real concern by the local residents that the bridge could fail - leaving them isolated.   The bridge was successfully repaired in 2014 by the Scottish Borders Council

Photographs in Picture Gallery - Carlow's Bridge.


1) Royal Commission on the Ancient  Historical  Monuments of Scotland, Inventory for Peeblesshire,  Edinburgh, 1967. Vol 2 No 633. p342.  Also Canmore ID 48564.

2)  Somerville, Meredyth, Editor; The Diary of James and Alexander Noble 1762-1827, Biggar Museum Trust, 1984. p17.

3)  Ordnance Survey Name Book, Vol 44, Peeblesshire, Tweedsmuir. p30. 

4)   Buchan, John; Scholar Gipsies - Chapter 7 Sentimental Travelling, John Lane/Bodley Head, London. 1896. p103. 

TOP & Navigation Bar.