22.  Halfway House. (Half Mile House).


Half mile house first appears in the records with Armstrong - see above - who lists it between Crookhaugh and Cadger acre on his list of farms etc in Tweedsmuir Parish in his Companion to his map of 1775.(1) He does not mention it again.  However on his map and also subsequent maps it is called Halfway House?  - See Armstrong map on left.  The location perhaps being the dot above the H of House on the East side of the road? Or it could be located on the East bank of the Tweed just above Glenrusco?   However on Ainslies map of 1832 see lower map - it looks as if Halfway House is definitely on the East side of the road?   On reflection, I think that Armstrong's mention of Halfmile House is a clue and that the location is halfway between the wayside mile stones of 36 and 35 miles to Edinburgh  - the former was beside Oliver and the latter near to Crookhaugh.   These milestones were on both sides of the road(2)    

We know that the site was a smiddy - the following from the Tweedsmuir Kirk Marriage records - "1774, August 8, John Lithgow, Smith at Halfmilehouse, and Anne Paterson were married in Biggar."(3)  This entry confirms that Halfmilehouse is probably the correct name for the site and that the maps have it wrong.  The actual location of the smithy site is possibly the site of the existing hay barn on the right side of the road or the nearby layby on the left used by the Council for road maintenance purposes   A small stream that passes between the two possible locations and flows into the Tweed is known as the Smithy Burn!  The OS Name Book of 1855 states that "The Smithy Burn it is a small stream which rises at the south of Nether Oliver Craigs and falls into the Tweed."(4)

Halfmile house is not mentioned in the first census of 1841 or on subsequent ones.  


1)  Armstrong, Mostyn, John; A Companion to the map of the County of Peebles, W Creech, Edinburgh, 1775. p102.

2)  Railton, Margaret, Compiler; Andrew Lorimer's Life and Times in the Upper Tweed Valley, Tuckwell Press, Phantassie, 2001. p160.

3)  National Archives of Scotland, Old Parish Register Marriages 772, Tweedsmuir.

4)  Ordnance Survey Name Book; Peeblesshire , Vol 44, Tweedsmuir, HMSO Edinburgh, 1855. p23.


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