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Newtown St Boswells Scotland

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Information on the village of Dryburgh near Newtown St Boswells in Scotland.

Newtown St Boswells - A Brief History

Immediately one has to dispel the supposed link between the communities of Newtown and that of St Boswells. Newtown was in existence long before St Boswells was called St Boswells, so if there had been a link, Newtown would have been Newtown Lessudden. In fact, Newtown has been referred to through the ages as Newtoun, Newton, Newtown of Eildon and Newtown of Dryburgh. It is first recrded in 1529.

Newtown was until relatively recently in the Parish of Melrose, and was a milling centre for the grain of the area. Because of the burns which run through the village, the monks of Melrose Abbey brought corn to be ground at Newtown Mill, milling continuing until the early 1900's. The Mill today has been converted into a house, but it still stands at the foot of the hill up to the Kirk.

Being in Melrose Parish resulted in the village being without a church and graveyard for many years, but, with the Disruption in the Church of Scotland, Newtown became the base for a 'branch' of Selkirk First Secession Church in 1772, first, down the Glen, and later, in 1868, on the site of the present church.
There is still no graveyard, Wairds Cemetery in Melrose being used.

The coming of the railway changed the village greatly. Having been a typical small border village with a range of tradesman working in the close surrounding area, it suddenly became a centre of communication for the area. Workers, and the housing for them, were needed, and Sprouston Cottages was built to give them shelter. Sprouston Cottages was reputedly nicknamed "Cordy Raw" because all the railwaymen wore corduroy trousers.

With access to the railway, and through it to the wider markets, farmers were soon using the railway to transport live animals, and 'The Mart' sprang up. In fact, there were two Marts, one, still in use, opened by John Swan in 1871, and another, Davidson's Mart which was destroyed by fire in 1941. The two companies had in fact amalgamated four years earlier.

Langlands Mill was established in 1880, by the Hall family, again making a demand on the area for workers and housing. They built workers' houses in Plainfield Terrace and Langlands Place.

The provision of housing by the local authority became the norm after the 1st World War with Eildon Terrace being built in the 1920's, Roxburgh Place in the 30's, Glenburn in the 50's and Whitefield in the 70's.

The closure of the railway in 1969, as a result of the Beeching cuts, meant a loss of communications and a reduction in the use of Newtown as an outlet for livestock.

Prior to the seventies, Newtown St Boswells had been the adminstration centre for the County of Roxburgh, but with the amalgamation of the Counties for administrative purposes, Newtown became the centre for the Borders Regional Council, now known as Scottish Borders Council. This brought new offices and a daily influx of hundreds of staff. Unfortunately, as with the opening of the new Borders General Hospital, private housing was not available to these staff, who had no choice but to live outside of Newtown.
Bowden and St Boswells have grown and developed with new building, alas, Newtown has not.


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