TWEEDSMUIR PARISH HISTORY.

1. Listed Buildings in Tweedsmuir Parish

The historic Crook Inn described below was under threat from a developer and was closed in November 2006.   The united local community has  managed to raise the required funds to purchase the site - this happened in February 2013.   The building having been closed and empty for over six years.   Things are really happening now and information on the progress being made to reopen the Crook as a Community Hub can be be found at the following website -          

http://www.facebook.com/groups/CrookInnHub

 

The Tweedsmuir Community Company has been formed as a Scottish Registered Charity with the main aim at present is to create an excellent sustainable Crook Inn Community Hub at the Historic Crook Inn.   Details including the latest plans (2018) for a cafe and bunkhouse can be found at 

http://tweedsmuircommunitycompany.org.uk.

 

The Inn has been added to the Historic Scotland "Buildings at Risk" register.  Reference No HS 49036.

 

The Crook Inn (Listed as Category C in 2002 - the Listing includes the out-buildings and the metal railings at the south side of the car park).  The Inn received its first licence in 1604 and is one of the oldest licenced premises in Scotland.  However the name Crook was in existence before this date as a charter of 1572 in connection with Kingledores mentioned the Cruikburn (1).  There are two possible derivations of the name 1) From Cruik the hook from which cooking pots were suspended over open fires and 2) From a Cross a wayside Pilgrim's way marker.  The second derivation is increasingly becoming the more likely.   Both derivations are on the Origins of name of Crook name page.     Edgar's map of 1641, below, shows the Crook on the east side of the track on the parish boundary.  The route of this section of track must have been where the Talla railway passes to the west of the Crook today.   Subsequent maps show ithe Crook on the west side as it is today.

The first date after 1604 when the Inn was mentioned in the records was in 1621 when a messenger was sent from Edinburgh to arrest Sir Patrick Porteous of Hawkshaws as he was wanted for debt.   They broke their journey at the "Cruik in Tweddale"(2) where Porteous was rescued by his neighbours.   This must be the first recorded instance of the connection between the Porteous family of Hawkshaw and the Crook Inn.

The next date was in July 1624 when in the accounts for Peebles a Robert Fotheringham was reimbursed expenses incurred in the transport of a prisoner , Walter Grahame, from Peebles to Dumfries with an overnight stop at the Crewik.(3) 

In June 1682 the records of the Tweedsmuir Parish Kirk state "Claverhouse nearly captured at the Crook by hillmen returning from their quarterly convention at Talla Linns (4) Although the Crook is mentioned in the Kirk records the incident, according to Claverhouse, took place nearer to the Bield(16).

It was during the year 1682 that well over 100 Tweedsmuir residents including women and children were cited by the Minister Francis Scott for being disorderlie ie not attending church but attending illegal conventicles at Talla Linns.   They were brought before the Sherrif and the court was convened in the Parish.  The only possible  location for the court would have been the Crook Inn!

More about the Covenanters can be found on page 9 Tweedsmuir and the Covenanters and also The Tweedsmuir Covenanter Trial..  It was around this time that the landlady at the Crook hid a hill-man in her peat stacks until the dragoons had refreshed themselves and ridden away.(11)

In the Privy Council records for Drumelzier Parish in 1684 is John Tweedie Cotar in Cruik.(5)  This cottage must be the same one noted nearly one hundred years later by Capt. Mostyn Armstrong in 1775.(6)   See Armstrong's observations on page 1.1.a. Origins of Crook name.  

In 1688 the Crook got a second mention in the Tweedsmuir Kirk records. "Mr Francis Scott, Episcopalian had been outed by the parishioners - Mr Thomson ordained at the Crook, which was the place ordained for preaching - the church not yet having been obtained possession of."(7)

Around 1730 a Walter Hunter married to Helian Ledell resided at the Crook, he may have been the manager but just as likely an employee.   He must have been related to the Hunters of Polmood as he named one of his daughters Veronica who was born 11-05-1731 or perhaps this namimg was to indicate that he was a Jocobite?   See reference to Veronica Murray of Polmood below.

The aftermath of the battle of Culloden in March 1746 spread far and wide, even as far as the reaches of the upper Tweed and the environs of the Crook Inn.   On the twentyseventh of June 1746 the Redcoats were at the door of the Hunter family house of Polmood a very short distance from the Crook.   They were there to arrest Sir John Murray of Broughton, - 7th Baron of Stanhope - the secretary to Prince Charles.  Murray had first visited, in disguise, Dickson relations at Kilbucho House had then progressed to Polmood seeking refuge with his sister Veronica Murray.   Veronica was the Lady of Polmood - her husband had been Robert Hunter of Polmood who had died two years previously in 1744.(8)   Sir John Murray later turned King's Evidence "ratted"(23) to save his own skin. One of the consequences of his action was the execution of Simon Fraser 11th Lord Lovat - this Simon Fraser is the grandfather of Jamie Fraser of "Outlander" fame.(20)  Murray was hence held in disdain by his Jacobite compatriots and was referred to scathingly as "Mr Evidence Murray". More about the capture of Murray on page 25.2 Capture of Sir John Murray at Polmood. The Redcoats no doubt took the opportunity to slake their thirsts at the Crook after the succesful operation of the arrest of Murray.

Two months later in August 1746 a detachment of Redcoats escorting a prisoner stopped at the Crook.   George Black the innkeeper was surprised as the prisoner of the Redcoats  was an old aquaintance - this visitor was Captain Donald Maclaren.  The next day George Black was even more surprised as Mclaren arrived again at his door but this time he arrived as a fugitive seeking shelter for the night!  This is Donald Maclaren of Maclarens Leap at the Devil's Beeftub.(9)  For more about this see page 14 Maclarens Leap.  This story was first recounted by Bishop Forbes in his The Lyon in Mourning.  George Black the Innkeeper rests in Tweedsmuir Kirkyard along with his wife Mary Wilson - their headstone reads ... Mary Wilson wife of George Black tenant at the Crook died 01-06-1771 aged 63, George Black late tenant innkeeper at the Crook died 30-10-1778.(10)  

There are many stirring stories involving the Crook including fugitive Covenanters, Jacobites, Poachers etc that have been brought to life in the works of the many notable literary stalwarts of the day that enjoyed the hospitality of the Inn.  The best known are Robert Burns and his friend the poet Robert Fergusson and also Sir Walter Scott.  Others listed by Walter Buchan in his History of Peeblesshire were - Lord Cockburn, Bishop Forbes, was there many a time, Veitch, Shairp, Christopher North, Dr. John Brown, Professor Blackie, Russel of the Scotsman , Andrew Lang all new it well.  Sir Thomas Dick Lauder and William Black.(11)   Bishop Forbes mentioned above would be Robert Forbes (1768-1775) an ardent Jacobite, see page 14 McLarens Leap.   He was not related to Lord Forbes who had married Elizabeth Hunter of Polmood in 1792, see page 25 Hunters of Polmood. 

On June 18th 1783 John Tweedie and Nicholass Moffat were married at the Crook by the Tweedsmuir Minister the Rev. Muchet.(17).   The Couple had been married on the 13th of June in Drumelzier Parish Church when John Tweedie was described as "in this Parish."(18)  Nicholass, according to her headstone in Drumelzier Kirkyard died on 27-09-1803.  Here she is described as the wife of John Tweedie herd Glenrath.(19)

The Inn was rebuilt in the early Nineteenth century (24).

John Buchan, 1st Lord Tweedsmuir is unlikely ever to have frequented the Crook Inn.   In his younger days he must have passed the door of the Crook many times, either walking or on a bicycle usually with rod and creel.   For an insight as to why he probably chose the title of Tweedsmuir see page 19 John Buchan.

The Inn had many landlords over the years - the best known was probably Jean Hutchison better known as "Jeanie o' The Crook."  Rev. Hamilton Paul the Minister of Broughton, wrote a song in which he proposed to Jeanie, and she would have nothing to do with him.(12) 

Jeanie died in 1839.  Image of the Hutchison gravestone in the Tweedsmuir Kirkyard Picture Gallery

The Crook Inn is mainly remembered as a Coaching Inn although there was also a farm on the site.   The arrival of the railway system in the first part of the nineteenth century led to the cessation of the stage-coach service and the Crook Inn went into decline and farming became the main business of the premises.

However in 1855 the entry in the Ordnance Survey Name Book(13) painted a rosier picture "Accommodious Inn two stories high and slated, with corresponding office houses, garden and a small farm of land attached. It is 34 1/2 miles from Edinburgh on the road to Moffat, affords good accomodation and is generally well attended in the game and fishing seasons by sportsmen and visitors to Tweedsmuir from various places attended by Mr. Ecclefield who has license to sell Porter, Ale and Spirits.  The property of the Earl of Wemyes."   This entry in the O.S. Name Book was signed by John Murray, Hearthstanes, T. McGarth, Bield and Mr. Ecclefield, Occupant.  John Murray, Tweedie McGarth, John Ecclefield and members of their families all rest in the Tweedsmuir Kirkyard.(10) 

By the second half of the nineteenth century the railway system had expanded into all rural areas including Broughton.   This expansion of the railways with associated "Station Hotels" brought a new age of travel and tourism, particularly to Scotland with Queen Victoria's encouragement.   The Crook Inn jumped on this bandwagon.  The building was remodelled and considerably extended - doubled in size infact - between 1871-1881.   The new building extending southwards into what is the present day car park.   It was at this time that the public bar with a new fire-place complete with sway/cruik/pot was probably added and named Willie Wastle's Bar - the fireplace included an ingle seat as described in Burn's poem and also a replica of the cat mentioned in the poem.  For the poem about Willie Wastle and his wife by Robert Burns and information on the site of Linkcumdoddie mentioned in the poem - go to page 15 Willie Wastle.   Part of the fabric of the original building, ie the paved stone floor of the bar area, was possibly incorporated into the new extended building but this not specific.  The Crook was rebranded as an Hotel and a shuttle service of horse/large two-wheeled gigs (also known as dog-carts) between Broughton station and the Crook was established.

The construction of the Talla Reservoir 1890-1905 brought in a new era and according to the Census of 1901 senior staff of the Edinburgh waterworks, engineers, surveyors etc resided at the Crook as did some of the navvies who lived in a hut on the site.   This hut named the Crook Navvies Hut was kept by a housekeeper a widow Euphenia McLean from Largo in Fife.  She was accompanied by her son Neil aged 22 who was a navvie and her grandaughter  Euphenia aged 9 who went to school.   There were seven navvies as boarders - six from Ireland and one Scot.  Most of the navvies however lived in large huts at the Talla dam site.   The Talla railway built to service the dam construction passed to the rear of the Crook and a wooden "Station" shown as Crook Halt on maps see page 18 Talla Railway & Reservoir.   The fact that the Crook at this time, according to the 1901 census, had a full-time barman says it all! Previous census listings had the dairy-maids doubling as bar-maids. 

In 1908 James Watson(22) wrote "The Crook Hotel is next reached, where good accomodation may be obtained for both man and beast."

Some time before 1890 it was recorded that a curling stone "One ancient specimen, shaped somewhat like a Tam o'Shanter bonnet -- was found in the bottom of a deep pool in the River Tweed, near Crook Inn."(21)   The Tweed was quite possibly frozen at the Crook on several occasions to allow curling to take place.  It was most certainly must have been in 1895 - after the finding of the stone mentioned above - as Buchan/Paton(11) recorded that at Stobo that "Tweed was completely frozen over in the ten weeks frost which began about the New Year 1895, and curlers had a game on the river - bachelors being sent on first to make sure that the ice was bearing". 

But in 1913 it is recorded that the Inn closed it's doors and became a private residence.   "What used to be the cheery, clean little Crook Inn, standing in it's clump of trees, its history as an Inn has ended...   There is now on this highroad between Peebles and Moffat - a distance of something like thirty miles - not a single house where man or beast may find accomodation and refreshment."(14)

However this dismal state of affairs did come to an end.   The invention of the internal combusion engine brought a new wave of tourism by car and charabanc.  In 1936 the main building was reduced in size - the south extension disappeared and an Art Deco road-house style infill single story extension added with a new imposing entrance. There was access to a sitting-out area on the roof of this extension accessed by an Art Deco doorway from the upstairs of the building.  An Art Deco formal garden was also established on the opposite side of the road.  A visitor to the hotel in 1938 wrote a postcard - of the Crook - in which she said "This is a marvelous Hotel.  I wish you could see the bed & bathrooms!"

Molly Clavering writing in 1953(15) commented on the new building "There is a big lounge with a flat roof built across the angle of the old house, there are new bedrooms and bathrooms and a new dining-room, so that at first glance it appears entirely different.   But if one looks at it carefully the old buildings are seen to be there still, like a familiar face wearing a strange and perhaps not altogether attractive mask."   Mary Clavering continued "In spite of its modern facade, the atmosphere of solid Victorian smugness which belonged to the Crook during the later years of the last century still pervades it.   However busy the staff may be - and usually are - their demeanour maintains an unruffled cheerfulness, so that guests there do not have the disagreeable feeling of being hustled, as in so many hotels now."

For images of the spectacular Art Deco bathrooms I suggest a visit to the Royal Commission of Ancient Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) website http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/ .   Enter Crook Hotel in the search box.  It is planned that when the Crook Inn is reopened that the Art Deco bathrooms will be retained.

The shepherd's crook and gambling lambs "logo" came later.  In 1953 the Inn had two pet lambs - one black one white - that butted any dogs that came to stay.(15)

The Crook Inn was the Post Ofice for Tweedsmuir during the stage coach days and also for a few years prior to the Inn closure.  For more about this see page 24 Post Offices of Tweedsmuir.

Sadly the Inn has closed yet again.   The present owners have closed the Inn (Our Pub!) and have made an application to convert the historic site into flats - November 2006.   The local populace is up in arms and a battle to safeguard the Crook has commenced and is gathering pace.  To view the latest news go to http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheCrook  and also the Tweedsmuir Community Company site http://www.tweedsmuircommunitycompany.org.uk

Photographs in the Crook Inn Picture Gallery.

References.

1)  Buchan J.W. and Paton H; History of Peeblesshire, Jackson and Wylie, Glasgow. 1927. Vol 3 p412

2)  Clavering, Molly;  From the Border Hills, Nelson, Edinburgh, 1953. pp219-220.

3)  Renwick, Robert; The Burgh of Peebles: Gleanings from its Records 1604-1652, Alan Smyth/Neidpath Press, Peebles, 1912, p48.

4) Gunn, Clement, Bryce, Dr; The Book of Tweedsmuir Kirk, Alan Smyth/Neidpath Press, Peebles, 1926. p135.

5) Paton, Henry; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, 3rd Series, General Register House, Edinburgh, 1924. Vol 9 p498.

6) Armstrong, Mostyn, John; Companion to the Map of the County of Peebles, W Creech, Edinburgh, 1775. p107.

7) Gunn, Clement, Bryce, Dr.; The Book of Tweedsmuir Kirk, Alan Smyth/Neidpath Press, Peebles, 1926. p136

8) Buchan,J W and Paton, H; History of Peeblesshire. Jackson Wylie, Glasgow, 1927. Vol 3 p256 and p318 (Footnote).  Also Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for Sir John Murray of Broughton 1714-1777.

9) Chambers, Robert; History of the Rebellion of 1745, W & R Chambers, London, 1869.

10) Scott, Sheila; Monumental Inscriptions of Peeblesshire, Tweedsmuir Parish, Scottish Genealogy Society, Edinburgh, 1993. p114.

11) Buchan,J.W. and Paton H; History of Peeblesshire, Jackson Wylie, Glasgow, 1927. Vol 3, pp 364-365, curling at Stobo p470.

12) Buchan, J W; History of Peeblesshire, Jackson Wylie, Glasgow, 1925. Vol 1, p201.

13)  Ordnance Survey Name Book; Peeblesshire Vol 44, Tweedsmuir. p15.

14) Lang, Andrew and Lang, John; Highways and Byways in the Border, Macmillan, London, 1913. p357.

15) Clavering, Molly; From the Border Hills, Nelson, Edinburgh, 1953. p134, p137 & p169. 

16) Scottish History Society; Miscellany, Claverhouse Letters, Edinburgh, 1990, Vol XI, pp182-183.

17) Tweedie, Forbes, Michael; The History of the Tweedie, or Tweedy Family, W.P Griffiths, London, 1902. p201. 

18)  National Archives of Scotland; Old Parochial Records, Drumelzier 759, Marriages 1700-1813. p93. 

19)  Scott, Sheila; Monumental Inscriptions for PeeblesshireDrumelzier Parish,The Scottish Genealogy Society, Edinburgh, 1993. p10.

20) Gabaldon, Diana; Outlander, Arrow, London, 2015.  (Now a TV series).

21) Kerr, John; History of Curling, Chapter II, A study of Stones, David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1890.

22) Watson, James; Peeblesshire and its Outland Borders, Alan Smyth, Peebles, 1908. p95. 

23)  Fraser, Sarah; The Last Highlander, Harper Press, London. 2013. p347

24) Cruft Kitty, Dunbar John, Fawcett Richard; The Buildings of Scotland Borders, Yale University Press, 2006. p738

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