Parish of Mordington

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Mordington
1834-45: Mordington

Mordington, a hamlet and a coast parish of SE Berwickshire. The hamlet lies 4 miles WNW of the post-town, Berwick-on-Tweed. The parish, containing also the fishing hamlet of Ross, since 1650 has comprehended the ancient parishes of Mordington and Lamberton. It is bounded NW by Ayton, NE by the German Ocean, SE by the Liberties of Berwick, SW by Hutton, and W by Foulden. Its utmost length, from NNE to SSW, is 51/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1¼ furlong (at the glebe) and 23/8 miles; and its area is 3069¾ acres, of which 114¼ are foreshore and 16 water. Whitadder Water winds 2¼ miles south - south - eastward along all the Hutton boundary, though the point where it first touches and that where it quits the parish are only 11/8 mile distant. Its serpentine folds and steep rocky wooded banks are singularly picturesque. One burn rises and runs 3 furlongs in the interior, and then goes 2 miles south-south-westward to the Whitadder along the Foulden boundary; and another, running ¾ mile north-eastward to the sea along the north-western border, in the last part of its course makes a series of waterfalls down the gully cut by it in the precipitous cliff. The coast, 23/8 miles in extent, and trending in a south-south-easterly direction, rises steeply from the sea to a height of 200 feet, and is all a bold breastwork of rugged sandstone, pierced with many caverns, where smugglers once hid their stores. Here and there huge masses of detached rock stand out into the sea; and only in the extreme N is there a small recess, Ross Bay, with the conjoint fishing village of Ross and Burnmouth, the latter in Ayton parish The North British railway skirts the brink of the cliffs; and beyond it the surface rises westward to 614 feet at Lam. berton Moor, 712 at Hab or Habchester near the meeting-point with Foulden and Ayton, and 649 at the Witches' Knowe-heights that command a magnificent view of the Eildons, the Lammermuirs, the Ocean, and Bambrough Castle. Sandstone and poorish limestone are plentiful; coal has been worked; and ironstone occurs in small veins. The soil for some distance from the Whitadder is a stiff clay, yielding good crops of wheat and beans, and thence to the coast is mostly a light loam, well suited for turnips, and for sheep-grazing; but that of the loftiest parts of the high grounds is mostly thin and poor, and partly heathy or boggy. Some 25 acres, all in the southern district, are under plantation; about one-fourth of the entire area is pastoral or waste; and all the rest is in tillage. The barony of Mordington, which at one time belonged to a family of its own name, by Robert Bruce was granted to Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray; and, passing at the third Earl's death to his sister, Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, was given as a dowry to her daughter Agnes, who married Sir James Douglas of Dalkeith. It continued to be held by his descendants, the Earls of Morton, till 1581, when it reverted to the Crown; but in 1634 the lands and barony of Over Mordington were conferred on another James Douglas, the second son of the tenth Earl of Angus; and in 1641 he was created Baron Mordington in the Scottish peerage-a title which became dormant in 1791. Mordington House, on a rising-ground to the NE of Mordington hamlet, was Cromwell's headquarters when he first passed the Tweed in July 1650; and now is the seat of Major Charles Frederick Campbell Renton of Lamberton (b. 1819; suc. 1866), who holds 2487 acres in the shire, valued at £3560 per annum. Edrington Castle and Edrington House have been noticed separately. A sequestered glen, the scene, it is said, of the famous song of Tibbie Fowler o' the Glen, lies in the southern district, not far from Edrington House. On Habchester are vestiges of a so-called Danish camp, consisting of two trenches whose mounds, 18 or 20 feet high, appear to have been faced with stones brought toilsomely from the bed of the Whitadder; and on the abrupt Witches' Knowe a woman is said to have been burned for sorcery so late as the beginning of last century. Mordington is in the presbytery of Chirnside and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £261. The parish church, at Mordington hamlet, was built in 1869, and contains 173 sittings. A Free church, a little S of the parish church, contains 172 sittings; and the public school, with accommodation for 57 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 34, and a grant of £38, 10s. Valuation (1865) £3717, 6s., (1884) £5323, 10s., plus £1146 for the 21/5 miles of railway. Pop. (1801) 330, (1831) 301, (1861) 377, (1871) 402, (1881) 367.—Ord. Sur., shs. 34, 26, 1864.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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