View of the Tweedsmuir Hills from the site of an iron age hillfort - a Scheduled Monument - on the summit of Whiteside Rig.

 Insert in image is part of a poem titled Tweedsmuir by the Rev. John Buchan 1847- 1911 (1) 

Some of the secrets held in these smooth and green rolling hills have been gleaned by diligent research and are presented, not very expertly, on the 60 pages or so listed below. 

The editor of this site is well aware that the subject of local heritage is not a priority for many people.  In fact, a 5-year Community Action Plan in 2017, that included the views of the community on various subjects, concluded that only 5% of those polled thought that heritage had any importance.  This 5% will consist of the more elderly in the community.   Never the less this is a very disappointing statistic .   It is hoped that this website will redress this inbalance in some way and will be of assistance in implementing part of the aforementioned Action Plan and also the Tweedsmuir Community Company Crook Inn Project.   A more modern website would be an improvement - this is being worked on.

The etching of the landscape was commenced by a hunter c4000 BC who dropped his broken yew bow in a bog, he left no other mark on the landscape.   He was followed by many others who did leave very distinctive marks such as cairns, standing stones , settlement sites, cremation cemeteries, hillforts, etc.

There are still many mysteries that are being investigated including the early history of Chapel Knowe the enigmatic small hill on which the present Tweedsmuir Kirk stands.   The Rev. George Burns writing in 1834 in the Statistical Account remarked "that a veil of mystery hangs over it which will probably never be dispelled,"  The mound is sited towards the centre of a concentrated bronze age landscape that was a meeting place and probably also a burial place and had been so for centuries.  Of these Bronze Age sites many, including the hillfort on the site of Oliver Castle, are now Scheduled Monuments.  It is possible that the Druids were the successors to this landscape and may have continued the occupation of the mound.  Another, probably associated, mystery also being investigated is why a small hillock near the source of the River Tweed is named with the grandiose title of Crown of Scotland?  

However, it was the medieval familes, with their castles, such as the Frasers and Tweedies  that are better recorded in the annals of Scottish history, that are best remembered.   The two families intermarried on at least on two occasions and it is this connection between the families that has made the Tweedies a sept of Clan Fraser.  But, maybe the best remembered should be Merlin Caledonius with his strong association with the River Tweed?  Merlin along with Kentigern - St Mungo - followed by St. Cuthbert were the first recorded named persons in what is now the Parish of Tweedsmuir.


   The Early Families of Fraser.

 The Frasers first arrived in the Tweedsmuir area in the twelfth century and settled in.   They built castles at Oliver, Fruid and Neidpath and became the progenitors of the current highland families of Clan Fraser, Lovat Fraser and many Fraser cadet lines.   


To read more click on heading below.

Frasers of Oliver Castle.

Oliver Castle Site of.  Scheduled Monument.

Origin of Name of Oliver.

Frasers of Fruid Castle.

Fruid Castle - Site of.

Frasers of Neidpath Castle and the Yew trees of Neidpath.

Frasers and the Templars.  The Battle of Roslin 1303.



The  first Tweedie of Oliver was William Tweedie - a younger son of James Tweedie of Drumelzier - he was alive c1489 and resided at Oliver Castle.   He took over from the Hays - the Hays had been there since the marriage of Mary Fraser the co-heiress of Oliver and Gilbert Hay c 1312.  (In 1489 the Fraser family were still resident in Fruid and in 1525 Katherine Fraser the heiress of the Frasers of Fruid married James Tweedie of the Drumelzier Tweedies thus further connecting the Tweedies with the Frasers.)

To read more click on heading below.

Tweedie of Oliver

Origin of Name of Tweedie.

Tweedie Family Heraldry   

Bield. (Part of Oliver Estate).

Halfway House. (Halfway between Oliver & Crookhaugh)

Cadger Acre






  Merlin and The Wood of Calidon.


To  read more click on heading below.


  Merlin Caledonius.

 Wood of Calidon

 Tweeds Cross.

 Crown of Scotland

Annan, Tweed and Clyde rise out from the same hillside.






To read more click on heading below.

Early Peoples.   4000 BC Longbow, Bronze Age Cists, Cairns, Enclosures etc.

Standing Stone Circles.   Bronze Age followed by Druids.

Standing Stone Features. Meggat Stone, Gameshope Stone etc.

List of Scheduled Monuments.      

Chapel Knowe   The enigmatic mound on which the present Kirk stands.   

Romans.   Ericstanebrae gold fibula.



The Ericstanebrae layby is on the A701 road just north of the town of Moffat in Dumfriesshire

To read more click on heading below.


McLaren's Leap.



     Hunter Family of Polmood.

The first Hunter came to the area in the twelfth century and established a Hunter family at Polmood in parallel with the Hunter family of Hunterstoun - the chiefly line of Clan Hunter.   The family remained at Polmood until the nineteenth century when the lands were sold and the line came to an end. 


To read more click on heading below.

Hunter of Polmood.

Polmood House.

The Hunter Case.

Capture of Sir John Murray at Polmood.





Members of the Welsh family were well established in the area when the Parish of Tweedsmuir was formed in 1644.   They were heavily involved in the subsequent Covenanting era.   The family is well represented by brass wall mounted plaques in the Tweedsmuir Kirk.  On the plaque listing all the Ministers since 1644 is the Rev. James Welsh of Menzion, Minister 1721-1755.  The Rev. David Welsh DD Founder of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843 is remembered on another plaque.   There are two other plaques remembering two cousins, both Tom Welsh, who died in WW1.

To read more click on heading below.

Welsh of Tweedsmuir. (Includes family tree.)

Tweedsmuir Parish Kirk 1874-Present. (Wall Plaques)



The Porteous family were resident at Hawkshaws in the Fruid valley since the fifteenth century and remained there for three centuries.   They built a castle there - Hawkshaw Castle - of which the remnants are still evident and is the seat of Clan Porteous - it is a Scheduled Monument.  In recent times the Porteous Clan have built a memorial on the site.


To read more click on heading below.

Porteous of Hawkshaw.  (Find spot of Roman Marble Head.)



The Hays inherited part of the Barony of Oliver with the marriage of Gilbert Hay to the Heiress Mary Fraser c1312.  Part of these lands was the Talla valley where the summer residence, known as Tallashiels was located.   This was first owned by the Frasers then by the Hays of Oliver Castle.  A cadet line of the Hays styled themselves as Hay of Talla.

To read more click heading below.

Hay of Talla.  Includes Hay family of Nether Menzion.



The Chisholmes were established in Tweedsmuir where they were recorded in 1639.   However by 1700 they had vanished from the Tweedsmuir records.   What happened to them and where did they go?


To read more click on heading below.

Chisholm of Tweedsmuir.


  JOHN BUCHAN (1875-1941) First Lord Tweedsmuir.

John Buchan was born in Perth, Scotland.  He was a diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet, Member of Parliament, and novelist.  It is probably the last of these attributes for which he is remembered - namely the author of the novel The Thirty Nine Steps.  Buchan knew the Scottish Border landscape - he knew every burn and dry-stane dyke and the area featured in many of his novels.  He took the title of Lord Tweedsmuir in 1935 when he was appointed as Governor General of Canada.

To read more click on heading below.

John Buchan Lord Tweedsmuir - Life and Works.




 To read more click on heading below.

Tweedsmuir and the Covenanters 

Tweedsmuir Trial and citations.







A pathway through the Parish of Tweedsmuir from south to north was commenced by Pagan sun worshippers.  Followed by Druids such as Merlin then by Christians like St Kentigern (Mungo) and St Cuthbert.  The Presbyterian faith was embraced and the new Parish of Tweedsmuir was formed.   The area became a hotbed of Covenanting activity.  At this time the first recorded Kirk was built on Chapel Knowe in 1644 with a subsequent replacement second Kirk in 1874.  

To read more click on heading below.

The Pilgrim's Way. Merlin & St. Kentigern (Mungo).

Tweeds Cross.  Boundary and Way Marker 

Fruid Chapel.  Burial Ground.

Kingledores Chapel

The Covenanters.

Tweedsmuir Covenanter Trial and Subsequent Citations.    

Chapel Knowe. The enigmatic mound on which the Kirks were built

Tweedsmuir first Kirk 1648-1874.

Tweedsmuir Second Kirk 1874-Present.

Tweedsmuir War Memorial.  (in entrance hall of Kirk)

Tweedsmuir Kirkyard.

Tweedie Armorial Plaque. Carved Stone Slab.

Symbolic spy-hole in Kirk door.



The Cistercian Monks of Melrose arrived in the 13th century and set up a very prosperous hill sheep farming industry spread over the Tweedsmuir Hills based at Hopecarton.   They exported the wool and fleeces to Flanders via the wool market in Roxburgh  where the wool/fleeces were taken by horse drawn carts thence to Berwick for export.

To read more click on heading below.

Hopecarton & Carterhope.   Monks of Melrose






The Crook inn dates back to 1604 and was one of the first licensed premises in Scotland.   It has a stirring history and much of the history of Scotland has passed its doors.  Many literary giants of the Scottish Enlightment enjoyed the hospitality of the Inn.  It is listed by H.E.S as category C.   The listing is because of the Art Deco features such as the windows shown on image on left also an Art Deco garden.  Sadly the Inn was closed and was under threat from developers to convert the property into flats.   However, the local community stepped in and managed to buy the property after years of neglect.   It is now under development as a formal Community Hub a function that it had provided for many years prior to closure.

To read more click on heading below.

Crook Inn   History

Origin of the Name of Crook.

Willie Wastle's Wife.  Poem by Robert Burns about Willie Wastle who resided at Linkcumdodie. 

Maclaren's Leap.  Escape of Donald Maclaren at the Devil's Beeftub. Also known as Maclaurin.


 Tweedswell the source of the River Tweed.


At the layby on the A701 overlooking the source of the River Tweed is a stone monument depicting the story of the river from the source to Berwick on the north sea.

To read more click on heading below.


Tweedswell - the Source of the River Tweed and other wells in Tweedsmuir




The Talla reservoir was constructed between 1895-1905.   This was to provide water to Edinburgh via an aquaduct that was also part of the project.   A service railway was built between the existing railway station in Broughton and dam to bring workers and materials to the site.  The project was bedeviled by delays, rumours of drunkeness and many industrial fatalities.   An outbreak of smallpox in Scotland was traced to the site.  A fine house was also built as an HQ for the Edinburgh Water Works company and residence for the site Managers named Victoria Lodge.

To read more click on heading below.

Talla Reservoir & Railway.

Victoria Lodge.  



To read more click on heading below.

Old Post Offices in Tweedsmuir.

 Postie Stone.  Mail Coach Monument.



The Jubilee road was constructed in 1977 by the Forestry Commission as an eight mile forest drive through recently planted sitka spruce plantation.



To read more click on heading below.

Jubilee Road.  

Forestry Commission leaflet




To read more click on heading below.

Forkfoots Farm - Site of.

 Great Plague of 1645 in Upper Tweed.

 Formal Walled Gardens of Tweedsmuir.

 Saw Pits in Tweedsmuir Vilage in 1855.  

Carlow's Bridge

Cadger Acre.

Halfway House.



1)   Buchan, John, Rev; Tweedside Echoes Moorland Musings, John Mclaren, Edinburgh, 1881.  Poem titled "Tweedsmuir" p22.

 References/Bibliography for Tweedsmuir Parish History


The Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and Historic Scotland (HS) combined in 2015 to form a new organisation Historic Environment Scotlanf (HES).   The references in the above pages to the RCAHMS and HS should now be read as H.E.S.   The online archive "Canmore" continues/expanding and the relevant site ID numbers from Canmore are included on the above pages.

Also in 2016 the National Archives of Scotland - NAS - rebranded themselves as the National Records of Scotland - NRS.