Saw Pits in Tweedsmuir Village in 1855.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1855 of Tweedsmuir village shows two "saw pits".   One at Newbigging at top left of image and one  SW of Dykehead.   Saw pits were used for sawing tree trunks into planks using a two man saw.   The tree trunk was placed longitudinally over the pit , that was maybe about six feet deep.   One man stood in the pit holding the saw vertically while the second man straddled the pit with the top end of the saw. Helpers would help to move the tree along as the cut progressed   This was quite a skilled job. 

The question must be asked as to why there was a requirement for at least two saw pits?   My own view on this is that there must have been a general upgrade in building standards particularly in roofing where thatch was giving way to slated roofs.  This required not only roof struts, rafters  etc but also the sarking boards on to which the slates were nailed  The importance of having a slated roof is highlighted in the 1856/58 Ordnance Name Book for Tweedsmuir Parish where the first phrase of the description of several buildings was that it was slated.(1) 


The first Tweedsmuir Kirk (1648-1874) started off with a thatched roof but by the time it was demolished in 1874 it had aquired a nice slate roof - image on right.



1)  Ordnance Name Book for Peeblesshire,1856/1858, Volume 44 for Tweedsmuir Parish. Slated roof reference for Crook Inn p15, for Dykehead p33.   Volune 7 for Drumelzier Parish, Polmood Farm.