23.   Formal Walled Gardens of Tweedsmuir.


There are relics of a bygone age in the grounds of "Big Houses" in the form of formal walled gardens in Tweedsmuir Parish and in the adjacent southern end of Drumelzier Parish.   There are four in Tweedsmuir namely Oliver, The Manse, Menzion & Hearthstanes and three in Southern Drumelzier, Polmood, Kingledores & Patervan.  The Rev. Gray, Minister of Tweedsmuir, writing in the Third Statistical Account noted when commenting on the number of large houses in the Parish that "most, especially the older, possess rather big walled gardens".(1)  The following seven maps, the 6" to the mile of 1856 the first OS maps to show this amount of detail, are on the right and below - although the map series is dated 1856 the actual surveys were completed during the years prior to this date.  Oliver has the largest garden which in recent years has beeng brought back to the original.   Polmood does not in fact have a formal garden what they have instead is a tennis court that was surrounded by a hedge instead of a wall.  The court is still there!   The present garden that is nearest to the original design is that at the Manse - Glebe House - in Tweedsmuir.   The gardens were usually divided into four sections with divisional paths or in the case of Patervan only two secions.  A common feature was the siting of a tree in the exact centre of the gardens - was this a reference to the biblical Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden mentioned in Genesis 2-3?.

The gardens were undoubtedly a status symbol along with the planting of broad leafed trees adjacent to the house.   Also the planting of Virginia Creeper Ivy against the walls of the house was popular.  It would also appear to be a time of the expansion of these houses or in the case of Hearthstanes a complete new large house that was constructed after the survey for the maps and between the census' dates of 1851 and 1861.  Polmood was also a new house built c1887 on the footprint of a previous ediface that had been in ruins for over a century.    Although I refer to these as big houses it is only Polmood that makes it into the booklet titled The Country Houses, Castles and Mansions of Peeblesshire.(2)















1)  Gray, W. P. G. Rev.; Third Statistical Account of Scotland, County of Peebles, Collins, Glasgow, 1964. p194.

2) Byrom, Bernard; The Country Houses, Castles and Mansions of Peeblesshire, Stenlake Publishing, 2014. p43 for Polmood.


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