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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Maxton (anc. Maccus-ton), a village and a parish on the N border of Roxburghshire. The village, which consists of a short double line of houses, built on either side of the Kelso road, is situated in the W part of the parish within ¼ mile of the S bank of the Tweed, 1½ ESE of Newtown St Boswells, and ¼ NW of Maxton station on the North British line from Newtown St Boswells to Kelso, this being 3 miles ESE of Newtown St Boswells, 8½ WSW of Kelso, 12¾ NNW of Jedburgh, and 43½ SE of Edinburgh. Although the village is at a little distance from the Tweed, the church, manse, and burying-ground are close beside the river. Maxton church was dedicated in the 12th century to St Cuthbert, and eventually became the property of the monks of Dryburgh, who held it until the Reformation, when it was placed under the charge of a minister, along with Mertoun, St Boswells, and Smailholm, and had a ` reader ' attached to it with a stipend of £20 Scots. In 1792 the church was thatched; but in 1812 and 1866 it was restored and enlarged, and is now as neat and well-built a country church- as any in the district. Beneath it is the burial-place of the Kers of Littledean. A memorial-tablet to Lieutenant-General Ker, interred there in 1833, was recently placed in the church by a descendant. The old shaft of the village cross still remains to point out the spot ` where 1000 men of the barony were wont to assemble for war.' It was restored in 1882 by Sir W. R. Fairfax at considerable expense. Maxton parish is bounded N by Mertoun in Berwick. shire, NE by Makerstoun, E and SE by Roxburgh, SW by Ancrum, and W by St Boswells Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 43/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1 mile and 27/8 miles; and its area is 4494¾ acres, of which 72½ are water. Besides the village of Maxton, it contains the railway station of Rutherford, 2½ miles from Maxton. The Tweed curves 43/8 miles east-north-eastward along all the northern boundary through very fine scenery. Beside it the surface sinks to close on 200 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises to 579 feet at Muirhouselaw and 563 at Lilliard's Edge, on the Ancrum border. The ground is generally productive, especially near the Tweed, where it is a rich clay loam. A considerable part of the ground is under wood, a small portion is bog land, and the rest is almost entirely in tillage.

The most interesting ruin in the parish is Littledean Tower, which stands on a lofty crag overlooking the Tweed, 1½ mile NE of the village. From the remains of the circular tower, the extreme thickness of the walls that still remain, and the vestiges of other walls, it is plain that Littledean was an important stronghold, the ` Keep ' of the noted family of Ker of Littledean. The parish is partly traversed by a Roman road, and there are vestiges of a Roman camp on Muirhouselaw. The chief landowners in Maxton parish are the Duke of Roxburghe, Lord Polwarth, Sir Edmund Antrobus of Rutherford, Sir William Ramsay Fairfax, and C. J. Cunningham, Esq. of Muirhouselaw. None of them are resident. Maxton is in the presbytery of Selkirk and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £421. The public school, with accommodation for 92 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 67, and a grant of £48, 9s. 6d. Valuation (1864) £5431, 4s., (1884) £6560, 2s. Pop. (1801) 368, (1831) 462, (1861) 497, (1871) 481, (1881) 456.—Ord. Sur., sh. 25, 1865.

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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