THIS week, Chris Atkinson from the West Linton Historical Society, explores the area of Carlops and its rich past...

Following the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, two miles north west of Berwick, Edward de Balliol, King of Scotland, ceded the whole of the district formerly known as Lothian to Edward III. 

This moved the English border close to Carlops, possibly along the North Esk. In 1783 the estates of Carlops and Newhall were bought by Robert Brown, an advocate, who established a cotton weaving industry and had weavers’ cottages built along either side of the main road south of Carlops Bridge.

In 1792 the Allan Ramsay Hotel was built as a wool store by Alexander Alexander, a weaver from West Linton. It has certainly been an inn since the middle of the nineteenth century when the weaving trade began to fail. 

With the coming of the improved turnpike roads it became a staging post for coaches passing along the road from Edinburgh to Dumfries. The hotel was for many years run by Mrs Veitch, granddaughter of Alexander Alexander, an engaging character who wore a lace cap and was known as Mother Veitch.

The attractive church on the main road was first established with a separate congregation in 1844. By 1850 the congregation felt confident enough to build its own church and ten years later Carlops became a fully-fledged Free Church with its own minister. 

In 1929 reunion of the Free Church with the Church of Scotland took place. By the turn of the century Carlops had become a popular destination for day trippers wanting to visit the site of the scenes depicted in Allan Ramsay’s play The Gentle Shepherd.

These were but a short distance down the North Esk from the hotel to which the visitors could return for refreshments after they had enjoyed the Habbie’s Howe in the sylvan glade. 

Further upstream lay the North Esk Reservoir stocked with trout and built in 1850 for the mill owners downstream to regulate the flow in the river during times of low rainfall. 

The river at Patie’s Mill, which has a dramatic waterfall, was the site of an electric generator providing power for a poultry farm and some of the village houses.

Carlops also had a golf course now long gone, but still with us is the rocky outcrop at the car park which provided a leaping-off point for local witches and gave, some say, Carlops its name – Carline’s Loup.