The feeling of Singdean is lovely, like a hug. So, we wanted to find out the names of people that lived here. And although it must have been a hard life, we think that the people that lived here were happy.
We have tried to find out as much as we could, a sort of family tree for Singdean. This is a story of our discoveries so far
1222 - 1603
Singdean is placed in the ‘Middle Marches’, the centre of a very troubled history of ‘The Border Reivers’ It was right on the borders of the areas known as both ‘Liddesdail’ and ‘Teviotdail’ or ‘Lidalia’ and ‘Tevotia’ and ‘Tiviotdale’. And also in the middle of ‘Hobkirk’ and Castleton. (We had the same problem when trying to register with a doctor as we were in the middle of 3 boundaries but not part of one!) The valley of Liddisdail was one of the most dangerous places to live in Europe. This Border Country as described in George MacDonald Fraser’s book ‘The Steel Bonnets’ - “the whole region, the very heart of Britain, contains some of the loveliest and some of the bleakest country in the British Isles. Along the central part of the frontier line itself is the great tangled ridge of the Cheviots, a rough barrier of desolate treeless tops and moorland with little valleys and gullies running every way like a great rumpled quilt. They are not high but they are bleak and lonely beyond description, ridge after ridge of sward and rough grass stretching away for ever, and an eternal breeze sweeping across the tufty slopes. They are melancholy mountains but even the incomer will recognise them as the most romantic hills in the world”
‘DEAN’ - a deep wooded valley of a small river (‘dene’ in English) and ‘sengan denu’ - Old English for a valley cleared by burning which could be where Singdean and all it’s name variants come from.
Although we are the only house here, Singdean was once known as a hamlet. There is one mention of Over and Nether Syngdene but we don’t know which one this is! There are some remains down the valley ahead of Singdean, which we refer to as ‘Old Singdean’ but they may not be as old as where we are now. In the 1930‘s it is recalled that there are some ‘old foundations at the foot of the plantation near to the burnside’ (as yet, we have not found these).
Singdean is first mentioned (as ‘Sougdon’) as part of land belonging to Jedburgh Abbey. This was for sheep farming. Wool was a very valuable and vital commodity - the sacks of wool were exported via Berwick port.
Listed as ‘Singdane’ where El-Wald (Elliot) was a tenant here with five other farms quite close by - Makpartrikhope, Cleirlandis, Heuchous, Pantoden and Ricardtoun. Two of the farms were located over the other side of the hill that Singdean faces. There was a road linking everything, that went from here, down the hill, across the stream and up the other side and came out on the Kielder road at Myredykes farm (which is still there). There was also a long straight road that ran for miles - ‘The Wheel Causeway’ which is an old Roman road that ran along the top of the big hill opposite, toward Bonchester Bridge. There was also a large church ‘Wheel Kirk’ with a large grave yard, a tower, a farm and houses. Edward 1st was said to have taken refuge in the church in 1296 one night on his way to Galloway. All have long ago gone, but for Singdean.
In 1541 there is a ‘William Elliot’ listed as a tenant paying an annual rent of 12 merks. It could be that he is the same tenant as in 1537 and his family sibling (?) Elliots - Leo(ni), Robert, Joan(ni), Jacob are working the other farms.
This is the earliest Pont map we have found showing Singden of Liddesdaill. It's difficult to see, it's in the highlighted bit.
1597 Annexation of lands owned by Jedburgh Abbey showing Over and Nether (Singdean)
1654 Singdenn’ on a map, Bleu Atlas of Scotland
1694 There is a book on ‘Hearth Tax’ . This meant you had to pay tax on the number of fireplaces that were in your home. It shows that Adam Thomsone (1691 - 1695) lived here.
1695 George Marjoribanks born here
1715 Marjoribanks are living here, George was a shepherd. He was captured with three of his cousins whilst fighting with the Scottish Forces against the English in the Battle of Preston. They were sent to Virginia, America on a ship 29th June 1716 where he later made his fortune in tobacco and cotton farming.
1718 Map showing land and farms owned by Anne Scott, the Duchess of Buccleugh. ‘Singden’ farm had 1770 acres. By now, The Buccleughs own a huge amount of land in Scotland, Singdean is a tiny part of it.
1729 The mother of John Steph(v)enson of Rulewater and George (blacksmith at Hobkirkstyle) died here at ‘Singdon’. John Stevenson and his family lived in ‘one of the Singdon Cottages’ here until 1779. He made use of the parish ‘mort cloth’ for a family burial in 1729. John’s eldest son, George, was a blacksmith at Hobkirkstyle. After they leave Singdon, John and his sons take over the blacksmiths in Bonchester Bridge. There is still a blacksmiths there.
1755 10th May Newspaper article. All the stock from the farms Hudshouse and Singden, belonging to Andrew Kerr to be sold consisting of 1400 ewes and lambs, 700 gimmers and dinmons, 600 weather hogs, 500 ewe hogs and 40 tups. Sale on 23rd May. Andrew Kerr is leaving (voluntarily or not?) as the landownner Duke of Buccleuch is advertising for a new tenant. (There is a record for Andrew Kerr marrying Janet Mercer 3 years later in Selkirk in 1758).
1755 Newspaper article. The Duke of Buccleuch is looking for a new tenant to rent Singden, part of 8 farms he owns in the area. Adverts were placed in ‘The Caledonian Mercury’ twice a week for 8 weeks.
1770 Stobies map shown as Singdon
1780's It is thought that the section of road that Singdean sits on was made between 1780 and 1790. As William Oliver was Sheriff of Roxburghshire, he would be often traveling from Dinlabyre to Jedburgh, so this road was made for his convenience and is thought to have the oldest bridges in Liddesdale. It is also probable that he built the Inn at Note of the Gate (no longer there) for his requirements as a half way house for refreshment and shelter during a storm.
1792 John Stevenson lived here, son of George, Laird of Hobkirkstile inherited from grandfather John Shiel, also a potioner of Kirknow
Singdon’ on Ainslie’s map of around 1790’s
1793 The famous Sir Walter Scott passed on one of his ‘raids’ into Liddesdale in search of historical and traditional information. He went by ‘Singdon’ and heard a coughing cow, which a judge in an earlier court and ruled impossible “ "I have had plenty of healthy kye in my time, but I never heard of one of them coughing. A coughin' cow!—that will never do." It was a day or 2 after this that Scott and an old companion were on their way into Liddesdale when "just," says the Shortreed Memorandum, "as we were passing by ‘Singdon’, we saw a grand herd o' cattle a' feeding by the roadside, and a fine young bullock, the best in the whole lot, was in the midst of them, coughing lustily. 'Ah,' said Scott, 'what a pity for my client that old Eskgrove had not taken ‘Singdon’ on his way to the town. That bonny creature would have saved us.
Lieutenancy book 1797 - 1802. Thomas Armstrong was a shepherd here. He is found on a list of men balloted to serve in the militia. In 1794 there was a Royal Warrant which ordered the development of volunteer forces for the defence of Scotland.
1799 Thomas Armstrong is still a shepherd here. It appears his name was one of the names that was not drawn.
1801 John Oliver, shepherd at Singdean was balloted for the militia.
1807 Alexander Anderson became the new owner of Singdean and borrowed £600 from Robert Turnbull to pay for it.
1815 'Scott’ lived here. He was also a shepherd to James Davidson of Handle. He was born 1790 / 1791 in Cavers Parish.
1820's Robert Carruthers (b 1811) son of William and Agnes Davidson) - was a shepherd here. He lost his health when quite a young man, so returned home to Langburnshiels where he died. His youngest brother was a managing shepherd for 17 years at the neighbouring farm down the road at Hyndlee.
1832 Singden is shown on a map - John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland 1832 which clearly shows a road or track linking it to the other farms ‘Myredykes’, ‘Peel’ and ‘Wormscleugh’ amongst others. There is no sign of any road or track now.
1832 Stock Sale. A handwritten note confirming items of stock from various farms, Singden, Myredykes, Phaupknowe, Stitchhill, Whitropefoot, in the Parish of Castleton to be sold at Public Roup, listing livestock and describing attributes. Found in copy of 'Treatise on Farm Leases and Rents etc' by J Oliver, Hon. Sec. Teviotdale Farmers' Club, Hawick, W&J Kennedy, 1900.
1830's George Lunn is at Singdean. Nothing else is known other than he marries Jane Johnstone fromLangholme 1st July 1834 at the residence of Thomas Brown Esq in Wales.
1832 William Elliot is the farmer here as well as the Myredykes Farm. There are many newspaper articles recording stock sales where the SIngdean sheep are very highly regarded.
1835? Thomas Scott lives here. Is he the same as in 1815?
1839 Discussions on the railway line route;
"to Bellingham, up the North Tyne, near Keilder to Dead Water, up the Singdean burn to Note of the Gate, and from thence by Rule Water to the Tiviot, and join the present line near Newton.”
So, there could have been a railway line running in the valley in front of us!
Tennant Map - 1840. Singdean is shown, again with a (now gone) road linking it with ‘partner’ farms. Note of the Gate is now shown as having a toll booth
1840 There is record of a ‘Christian Elliot Wood’ (female) born here
1841 Census. Walter (50) and Elspeth (Eppy) Scott (41) lived here with their 8 children and 2 labourers in 2 rooms. Their children Helen (18), James (16), Jean (13), Andrew (11), John (9), William (7), Anne (5), and Christian (as above) 1. The labourers are Francis Cavers (20) and William Amos (15 - who went on have 3 children and died over the age of 70 in East Lothian).
We think Elspeth was a local girl as her birth was registered in Hobkirk, 12.05.1801, just a few miles away from Singdean, father was Thomas Clark. There is also an Eppy Telfer born in 1800. There is also a Walter Scott registered at Hobkirk, February 1792, father Thomas Scott and also Walter Scott born 1790. Still more research...
Walter Scott (who started as a shepherd at Hyndlee farm down the road) has much written about him. At the beginning of the 1800’s, this ‘lonely out post amid the fair hills’ was home to a shepherd Walter Scott, who lived in the one room (now the kitchen) where his 10 sons and daughters were born. His animals would have been kept in the adjoining barn.
He had in his possession a recipe for the making of a plaster for the cure for external cancer. He had met a doctor from Paris who told him that all the herbs he needed could be found on the hills around Singdean, it is said that it was a vegetable preparation and that all the plants used grew on the land at Singdean. They were then dried in a locked ‘keb-hoose’ on the hillside.
Walter Scott became famous far and wide and men and women of all ranks and classes found their way for the now famed ‘Singdean Plaster’ and many remarkable cures were affected. Many were disappointed though, as he would only ‘cure’ externally and then away from a ‘vital part’. It is said that to avoid the appeals of the disappointed he would sometimes hide on the hill or in an out-building until the unhappy sufferer had left.
Walter Scotts handwritten leather bound notebook is in the heritage centre in Newcastleton. However the pages at the end of the book, presumably with the cancer cure, are missing. We believe the recipe was passed down the family and is currently held by an ancestor in Arbroath.
His 'recipe' in the museum in Newcastleton
1843 Walter and Eppy’s daughter Margaret dies at SIngdean 3rd April aged 17.
1845 There is a obituary - George Lunn (late of Singdean) has passed
1851 Walter and Elsbeth (Eppy) Scott are still here with their children James, Jean, Andrew, John, Anne, Christian and a new daughter little Eppy. Also visiting on this day is a dress maker Barbara Telfer from England. Their sons are shepherds here, and the 2 older daughters are domestic servants.
In 1851, Archibald Scott was the toll house keeper at ‘Note of the Gate’, at the top of the hill about a mile from Singdean. It was also a pub. A ‘lively place with merry nights frequented by quarry men and lime carters, sometimes with 20 carts outside’. Later is was frequented by many railway workers building ‘Borders Railway’ and the viaduct at Saughtree.
1853 Walter Scott dies at Singdean on 11th July aged 63. (His grave is in Newcastleton with his wife who died in 1881 aged 80 and Ann (granddaughter) who died in 1922 aged 36)
1861 Walter's eldest son James Scott is now head of the family and is married to Ellen. They have children Isabella (6), Walter (4) and Margaret (2). James’ younger brother Andrew also still lives here as well as 2 shepherds Simeon Rutherford (16) and Thomas Pott (64) who are both shepherds
1862 James Scott wins a sheep competition
1864 Archaelogy notes “About five years ago a stone, nearly four feet long, with a cross rudely sculptured on it, was found in the mountain pass near Singdean, and is now, we believe, in the possession of Mr Stavert of Saughtree. It appears to be a memorial cross, but tradition is altogether silent in regard to it “.
1866 Newspaper article. James Scott wins both ‘The Throwing of Heavy and Light Ball’ competitions at the Newcastleton Border Games.
Above is Helen Scott, the eldest daughter of Walter Scott and was born in around 1823 at Singdean. We have this picture from her great great grandson William Ramp who lives in Canada. It is taken around 1871 and shows Helen and her husband and their youngest Richard. He has told us a brief history about her;
She was called to the Stool of Repentance at Newcastleton a couple of times for children born before marriage. The father of her children was Andrew Amos (son of William Amos and Margaret Wilson) who was a blacksmith in and around Newcastleton. His brother, William Amos, was a labourer at Singdean. They eventually married and had more children. Children were James (1842), William (1844), Walter (1846), Andrew (1849), John (1850), Margaret (1855), Thomas (1857), Robert (1859), Elspeth (1861), Richard (1865)
In the 1851 census, the family lives at The Forkins, Hobkirk (just a few miles from Singdean) where Andrew was a blacksmith. In 1852, the family left for Canada aboard the Tay from Glasgow to Quebec.
In Canada, Andrew worked on the railways in Lanark County (near Ottawa) then moved to a place north of Port Hope Ontario before settling at a farm, co-owned with his son William, just outside of Woodstock Ontario. Several of there children became farmers in the Woodstock area.
Helen and Andrew both died in the early 1880’s
1871 James and Ellen Scott are still here with their children Isabella and Walter. They have a new shepherd living there, John Elliot (28).
1876 Walter Elliot ran barefooted in the Jeburgh Border Games (a huge event in it’s day) and won in the Grand Dunion Steeplechase, and when he came in, the spectators were most exultant at the great success of the winner.
In the newspaper it says that ‘running barefoot, the winner Elliot made a complete fool of some of our best long distance runners’. Well done Walter!
1878 At the top of the hill, about a mile from Singdean, there was a pub at ‘Note of the Gate’. The publican, Mr W. Beattie, was fined £3, 6s (about £220 today) for selling liquor on Sunday 23rd June.
1881 James Elliot of Singdean wins the half mile race. He wins 7s 6d
1881 Census. Walter Elliot (61) and his wife Eliza (61) now live here with their 2 unmarried children James (27) and Betsy (18) and a granddaughter Eliza (3). Both Walter and James are shepherds.
1883 The extension (the upstairs downstairs part) is built. This is in our part of Singdean and has surprisingly tall ceiling heights with 2 attic bedrooms with very low ceiling heights!
Robert Oliver, a joiner from Longtown, does some work here October 28th 1884. We find his signed piece of wood when renovating in 2012.
1885 The last man to occupy the pub at Knot of the Gate was William Beattie, the license was taken away in 1883. In 1891 the walls were still up but without a roof and eventually the stone walls were used for the road.
1887 A lady from London writes to The Southern Reporter requesting information for Walter Scotts cancer cure. The reply in the paper is as follows;
We have had a number of letters in response to the desire of a correspondent in Loudon for information of Walter Scott, who was known to have effected many cures of cancer. It appears from these letters that there are many persons in different parts the country suffering from this disease, and it is possible that others besides the correspondent referred in our paragraph last week may be interested in the information communicated through us.
It may briefly summarised follows:—Mr Walter Scott, the discoverer, or all events, the possessor, of a particular mode of cure for cancer, was a shepherd Singdean, Liddesdale, and died 34 years ago. Afterwards, his eldest son Andrew, having the recipe, continued his father's mode of treatment until about two years ago, when he died suddenly at Carlisle Railway Station, being then on his way to Silloth for the benefit of his health.
His widow, Mrs Scott, Townhead, Newcastleton, has the recipe and takes in hand cases of cancer, using her late husband's means of cure. Other correspondents refer to Walter Scott, gamekeeper, Westerkirk, Langholm, son of the late Andrew Scott and grandson of Walter, as also having the cure, and being able to give information.
The correspondent in London requests us to express her sincere thanks to all who have so kindly favoured her with the information she was anxious obtain.
1890 The recent heavy rains in Liddesdale have led to a large destruction of fish in the Liddle. The water eventually became quite black, and it soon was surmised that a land- slip had occurred somewhere among the hills in the locality.
It appears that the slip was into Dawston Burn, and was so large that it blocked up the burn for a considerable time, being thirty feet deep. The place where it occurred is Singdean Hope, from which there was a similar slip a few years ago, when an area of ground amounting to an acre was run away.
Now that the water has subsided, it is found that the flood has proved most disastrous to the large number of salmon and fish of the salmon kind which frequent the Liddle. An immense number have been found dead on the river banks.
At Whithaugh Pool, above Newcastleton, people gathered as many as nine and twelve dozen pair each. There were, besides, large numbers of salmon. It is beyond doubt that they were choked with the thick mossy water.
1890 “For some years after Scott's early raids into Liddesdale , there was no road even to Hindlee Farm. From Abbotrule, the natural way to the source of the Liddel was southward and then west, getting to the line where a road was made afterwards, as Hewitt did, near Note of the Gate.
At present there is and for ninety years has been, a fairly good driving road alongside of Catlee Burn, passing near the farmhouse, which is snugly situated, well sheltered and with a lawn sloping down toward the burn. At this plant the road seems to have reached the world's end. Apart from the farm house with small steading and one or two storages, there are no human habitations; and there is a long pull upwards for nearly 2 miles before reaching the now disused toll-bar.
In a gorge, just at the water shed with it’s front to the road and its rear against a hill called ‘The Dog Knowe' is a solitary cottage which forms the gate of Liddesdale. From the windows there is not much of a view but from various points in the neighbourhood a splendid panorama of Border Hills can be obtained.
No human dwelling is visible except Singdean, a mile distant on the Liddesdale side. It is a shepherds sheiling, the back of which is turned to the road while the front windows look out across a deep ravine to Peel Fell, the sides of which are so steep that goats would seem to be more suitable occupants than even the hard Cheviot Sheep that cling to its grassy slopes. “
1891 Walter and Eliza (71) Elliot still here with their still unmarried children James and Betsy and their granddaughter Lizzie. They also now have a shepherd John Anderson (21).
1893 BORDER REMINISCENCES - By and Old Hand
“The early years of the century saw ourselves on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Aesculapius on a spur of the Cheviot hills. The nearest toolbar was the' Knot o' the Gate.' We sought diligently for the shepherd's cottage, inhabited by Wattie o Singdean, on a mission of mercy with a dear friend in the last stage of an incurable disease. The whole enterprise was on the point of failure as we rounded the twists of the Kirkton burn, for a young and spirited animal we drove forthwith backed into the hedge next to the precipice, over which we had inevitably tumbled but for a watchful providence and a stout larch rail the old joiner at Cavern had carefully erected end which entangled the wheel of our modest vehicle.
Robbie Burns, in his ' Cotter's Saturday Night,' affords us a pleasing glimpse into a humble Scottish home on the last evening of the week. Here is ours in the middle of the week into a lonely shepherd's on the mountain tops; Wattie and his good wife, with their stalwart sons and daughters, were at home and feelingly received the ailing stranger. A palace could not have afforded heartier or daintier fare. Evening came on apace, when the big shepherd's Bible was duly placed on Wattle's table. The reverend improvised doctor, patient, visitor, long-legged shepherds and fair daughters of Eve, knelt down for evening worship on the spotlessly clean sandstone floor, and implored the blessing of Almighty God on all present, a special blessing asked on the afflicted stranger.
A solemn scene ensued ; the shepherd's kitchen was transformed into a friendly consulting room. ' Now, mistress,' in his homely dialect, ' If ye perfectly shur ye want this plaister tried ' Oh, yes, quite certain,' was the gentle response, a conversation revealing nothing of the designing' quack' or the vulgar touter one so often meets. The shepherds rigid secret has been well keep. The old honest shepherd who first practised the remedy has long rested from his labours. His son, also a shepherd, alone possesses the wonderful secret, and his address can be found. Only lately a dear friend was cured of cancer in the lips, as also many others on the Borders.”
1897 “John Elliot, proprietor of Peel, dies. He was one of the most extensive sheep farmers in the Borders, holding the large farms of Flatt, Boghall, Kirndean, Myredykes and Singdean at a rental of £2000 from the Duke of Buccleuch. He was a member of Roxburghshire First County Council and other bodies. He was never married.”
There is a John Elliot living at SIngdean in 1871 when he was 28. It is not the same person.
1897 In August, one month after the death of John Elliot, Singdean and his other farms are up for let.
“The well known and extensive sheep farms of Myredykes and Singdean, Kirndean and Boghall, extending to about 6000 acres situated on the Duke of Buccleuchs estate, has been let to Walter Elliot, son of the well known Cheviot sheep breeder John Elliot, recently deceased, at a slight reduction from the old rents.”
1898 At some point by now, the farms mentioned above, including Singdean, have been taken over by the Earl of Ancaster, who is to ‘add the farms to the Royal Deer Forestry of Glenartney”
1898 Wednesday 22nd June, Edinburgh Gazette. William Telford, a shepherd at SIngdean, please guilty to allowing about 40 gallons of diluted sheep dip to be discharged into the Cauldron Burn, a tributary of the Liddle. He was fined 12s 6d or 2 days imprisonment.
1899 THE LATE MR JOHN WOOD AND THE CANCER CURE
lt has been stated that the above deemed native of Jedburgh was in possession of the secret recipe for making the celebrated cancer cure plaieters. This, however, is untrue.
I remember meeting the deceased on The Rampart many years ago, when we got into a conversation about the components of the Singdean Cancer Cure. The deceased showed me a horn snuff box containing the matter, in a pasty state, out of which he made the plasters, and I then asked him if be knew the substances of which this stuff was made. He candidly admitted that he only knew two of them, but the third be did not know, and that he could not find it out. The two he knew were the very commonest of herbs, and he said if he only knew what the other one was, that he could make his fortune. The colour of the stuff be showed me was more like scraped slate than anything else—a kind of bluish grey—but whatever the herbs were, their combined effect on cancers of a certain kind, when not too far advanced, was of a most effective nature, a statement which can easily be corroborated by anyone taking the trouble to inquire into the matter.
The deceased, however, did not always stick to the Singdean prescription, but was said to have introduced a liquid to make up for the unknown (or third) ingredient in the original cure. This composition did not give general satisfaction, and in consequence those who latterly required to use Cancer plaisters in this district were in the habit of getting them (or the stuff) direct from the family, who are in posession of the nature of their progenitors secret preparation, which is said to consist of three of the very simplest herbs to be met everywhere in the locality where it is made.
The late Mr John Wood also declared that be believed Acetic Acid was as good a thing as any he knew for cancers where it could be properly applied—always, of course, in cases where they were curable. In connection with the Singdean plaster', the late Mr George Waugh, who had a penchant tor advising the use of herbs in sickness, told the writer that he offered old Scott of Singdean £7O for the recipe, but that he would not part with it for that sum; and it is also an open secret that much larger sums have been offered the family by doctors and others for the necessary information requisite to make up the plasters, but all without avail.
In the humble opinion of the writer, the Singdean plaister is a specific in certain cases of cancer when not too advanced; and it is greatly to be regretted that it ehould remain such a secret as to preclude its universal use - Yours A Native of Jethart (this letter is printed again as a ‘this day 40 years ago’ in the paper)
1899 "CANCER CURE. (To the Editor of the Gazette.)
l was greatly surprised on reading the letter on the above subject in last week's Gazette to-find how adroitly he avoids my statement that the above deceased never possessed the formula or recipe of the celebrated Singdean cancer cure. Instead of contradicting it, he imports into the discussion matters entirely foreign to the question at issue, by trailing a red herring across my track, with the object of raising a side-issue in order to divert the attention of your readers from my main point of contention, which was as stated above.
He has either evidently misread my letter or twisted its meaning to suit his own object in order to ‘turn my flank,' otherwise he could not have misunderstood my words and penned the letter referred to.
I again reiterate, that it is untrue, as stated elsewhere, that the deceased Mr John Wood, was in posession of the Singdean secret of the cure of cancer.' Does he agree with that assertion or does be not. That is the whole question, and an answer 'yes' or 'no' would settle the matter in the meantime; but if he declines thus to answer me, your readers can draw their own inferences from his silence thereon.
The deceased may have possessed either one or a score of other recipes for curing cancer for anything I know; but if he did, the probability is that the fact would have been made far more public long before this time of day.
I know of cancer cases in which the deceased is said to have used other substances than herbs for his plasters ; but as this is a delicate subject I refrain from further allusion thereon. In such cases, however, the Singdean folks' prudence is to be highly commended, as they were amply justified in refusing treatment where they believed no benefit, and needless additional suffering would follow the application of their plasters.” Yours - A Native of Jethart
1901 William Telfer (36) and his wife Margaret (25) live here with their new born daughter Sarah. They also have a domestic servant Jane Crozier (14) and 2 shepherds Robert Anderson (18) and James Scott (17). Another daughter is born here in 1904.
1901 Singdean has been let to Mr Gibbons. It is still owned by The Duke of Buccluech.
1903 A look back of 50 years of the Jedburgh Border Games. Charles Scott, shepherd at Singdean was famed for his long distance running. We don't know when he was at Singdean.
1904 Hawick and Border Chronicle report that James Elliot, late shepherd at SIngdean, is elected as a cowherd. It was a landslide victory!
1904 A prize winning Cheviot sheep was bought for £120 at auction in Dundee by Mr Elliot of Singdean and Myredykes.
1904 The wife of William Telfer of Singdean gave birth to a daughter.
1910 Displenishing (disposal) Sale.
Mr George Hogg to sell all sheep and 10 hogs, horses and cattle on 17th May, from Myredykes and Singdean. They are deemed healthy and can be moved to any district.
Also for sale; 1 Binder, 1 Manual Reaper, 3 Carts and Frames, 2 Metal Rollers, 1 Grubber, 1 Grub Harrow, 1 Swing Plough, 1 Double Plough, 2 pairs Harrows, Scaper, Horse Rake, Gig, Cake Breaker, Corn Grinder, Sheep Turnip Cutter, Turnip Slicer, 20 Corn Boxes, 10 Nets and Net Stobs, 80 Stack Props, 5 Ladders, Grindstone, Cart and Gig Harness, 3 Sheep Becks, Turnip Sowing Machine, Riding Saddle and Bridle, All Barn and Stable Utensils.
1910 Hawick News 8th July.
While party of clippers from Myredykes were returning to Singdean, over Saughtree Rig, on Monday night, the cart which they were travelling was overturned, pinning one of the men beneath it. One of his companions, unaided, lifted the cart, and enabled the man to be pulled from under it. But for this prompt action, the man would undoubtedly have lost his life, as his head was forced into the ground, and was being rapidly suffocated.
This is a picture of a hill farm in the area
Berwickshire News, 30th August 1910
Mr Cecil de Pree has taken Singdean belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch.
We have found a Cecil George de Pree born in 1874 and is the nephew of the soldier Douglas Haig. His nickname is Tito. He dies at the age of 72 in 1946. He is buried in East Lothian, Scotland. Is he the same as the one who has just taken Singdean? More research needed…..
1918 Telfer is looking for a single male shepherd to work at Singdean
1918 Married and single shepherd (double herding) wanted at Whitsunday for Singdean. Apply Elliot, Middletoun, Stow.
1920 The Duke of Buccleuch sells Singdean and land to James Beattie.
1922 Cross bred cow for sale at Singdean; time up, good milker.
1923 Lost black and white collie dog, answers to ‘Speed’. Mr Marshall, SIngdean.
1923 Mr Thomas Elliot of Myredykes and Singdean shows a strong three shear ram for sale. It seems he lives at Blackhaugh.
1924 Shepherds wanted at Singdean. It seems the new owner of Singdean now is J (James?) Beattie of Park House, Canonbie.
1925 Jedburgh Gazette 5th June
Unusual Accident. Whilst assisting at a sheep valuation on the hill farm of Singdean, Mr Laing, farmer Cleughhead Bonchester, met with a some what unusual accident. He was passing through a gateway when he stumbled and fell, fracturing his left leg just above the ankle.
He was conveyed home and received attention from a Hawick doctor. The ground is fairly level at the gateway and a probable explanation is that Mr Laing had trodden on a loose stone and lost his balance.
1925 John Anderson at Singdean is wanting a shepherd for May and an experienced lambing man.
1926 Mr Beattie of Singdean bought a prize winning Cheviot Dinmont for £315 (just one £13,000 in todays money) Interestingly, Mr Douglas, Saughtree, the neighbouring farm, also bought a Cheviot Dinmont for £315.
1927 For sale by Mr J Anderson of SIngdean; set of drainers tools, good, next to new.
1931The children of Singdean were to be given an additional 5d (about £1) per day, for transport for education.
JOHN PARK. We found this written on an old bit of plaster when we were renovating the room which is now the B and B.
1932 James Park, SIngdean, who has been treasurer to the Hobkirk Parish Picnic, has been presented with a sliver salver, suitably inscribed, on the occasion of his marriage.
1940 The story of the Singdean Plaster has reemerged and several people have written in to the paper with their recollections of it. It is said the Walter Scott got the recipe from a French doctor he met when hr was visiting Edinburgh.
"Stories of people visiting SIngdean suffering from cancer were common in those far back days….It is told of the young shepherd (Walter) that he persisted in nipping his arm in the hope of making a cancer grow so that he might have the satisfaction of getting it extracted by the Singdean Plaster. We knew that shepherd when he had attained to mature manhood and we found him to be unwaveringly conscientious.”
It is then recalled that from around 1861 many cases were recalled to have "effected a cure of external cancer by the SIngdean Plaster."
“The only person now who can supply the preparation is Miss Mary Scott, Fernlea, Bowden, Melrose”
“The plaster was a potent, if severe, remedy for external cancer, pulling them out, roots and all. When applied to the disease in its early stages a cure was generally effected, but in cases where the roots of the cancer had established themselves, the action was so severe that the patient succumbed or did not survive the treatment. John Grieve Ballantyne, Liddesdale farmer, had the cancer removed but the reaction was so severe he did not survive the ordeal. I have heard my father talking about Mr Ballantyne showing him the tumour after it had been extracted”.
“Personally, I have known the family who possessed it for a lifetime and cannot say I ever heard one of them mention it - they left the patients themselves to do that. A good many years ago I met a gentleman in Canada and in the course of our brief conversation, he asked if I had eve heard of a family in Scotland in possession of a cancer cure. He had read an article in the ‘Montreal Herald’ about a Scott family and their plaster”.
1940 Two lorry drivers are charged with failing to report an accident in which 75 sheep are killed after their lorry went off the road a down a very steep hill by SIngdean. The 2 men jumped from the lorry before it careered down the steep hill into the gully and disintegrated. John Park (17) of Singdean was called as a witness and recalled that the following day a Mr Thomson’ from Bellingham asked him and his father to bury the dead sheep.
1940 The Co-Operative in Jedburgh have recently had to stop delivering to Singdean after 40 years. ‘They would possible get a once a week delivery from Newcstleton now’
1944 Angus Park, Scots Guards, of SIngdean is a prisoner of war.
The Red Cross fund for Roxburgh Prisoners of War, sick and wounded, has a list of donations. Mrs Park gives 10 schillings to the charity.
1945 Sgt Angus Park who was taken prisoner on the Anzio Beach head in April 1944, has arrived home and is looking remarkably fit. He is the last of the 10 remaining Liddesdale lads who were prisoners of war in Europe to return.
This is Leslie Nichol, a picture taken at Singdean
1949 Leslie Nichol of Singdean (who later died at the age of 92) was fined £2 for riding a pedal cycle recklessly causing it to collide with a motor cycle. “When the motor cycle sounded his horn to over take the pedal cycle they were level, Leslie swerved to the right and ran into the front wheel of the motor cycle.”
The fiscal announces ‘Apparently, some pedal cyclists think a motorist has got to exercise all the care and that they have not got to take any care at all’.
1951 Ann Paterson, daughter of the late Andrew Scott of Singdean, dies in Roberton at the home of her nephew, at the age of 76.
1951 Master Jas. Henderson, SIngdean, wins a raffle prize at a dance at Saughtree school.
1951 A labourer from Edinburgh, residing in a workmans hut at SIngdean, fails to turn up at court after being drunk and disorderly in Newcastleton;
This is a picture of John, sat on the wall in front of where Alpnhaus is now. We recently met John, who now lives in Spain.
Ken, Irving, John and Dorothy Beattie lived here with mum Betty (who died at the age of 43) and dad Bill. They worked the sheep farm, as it still was then. The children’s uncle is Leslie (pictured above).
Both Irving and Ken have stayed here in the B and B recently and are so lovely. They supplied these wonderful photos of Singdean along with many happy memories - including the ice cream van stopping every week!
They are no relation to Mr Beattie who actually owns Singdean at this moment.
The following pictures are of the happy Beatties who lived here for about 10 years
1961 Morag is baptised here at Singdean. Together with sisters Irene and Rosemary Dalgliesh they are children living here with their parents. Their father works as a shepherd for Andrew Beattie
1963 Robert Kyle buys Singdean from Andrew Baettie.
1963 The severe Winter sees Singdean and the Dalgliesh family snowed in for 6 weeks. Eventually a helicopter bought hay for the sheep and groceries for the family.
1967 Mr Andrew Stavert Turnbull buys Singdean from Robert Kyle. You can see in the picture above that old railway carriages are used as sheds. The land hasn't been planted with trees yet, but not much has changed.
They have 3 children Jan, Stavert and Rhona. Rhona and Jan (above) came and stayed here at Singdean in 2018 and bought us all these lovely pictures and told us some lovely memories. The picture of them as children was taken where our pond is now.
Their cousin, John Elliot, still lives in Newcastleton and he was our builder for Alpnhaus : )
1973 Robert Kyle sells Singdean land to E.F.G. Estates Ltd who in the same year sell Singdean and 1127 acres around it to Mr and Mrs Harris. Stavert sells his part of SIngdean in the same year.
1975 Mr and Mrs Harris sell Singdean house and the surrounding 4 acres garden to Margaret Thompson. Mrs Harris keeps the rest of the land which she later sells in 2014
Mr and Mrs Thompson, from Edinburgh, use Singdean as a get-away retreat. Mr Thompson loves to wear a yellow bobble hat, much to the annoyance of the owls who attack the hat on a number of occasions - Mr Thompson refuses to take his hat off!
1980's Scottish Borders Archaeology visit Singdean and record a medieval farmstead (Old Singdean down the hill in front of us) and note that ‘the original settlement of Singdean is on record as early as 1376
2007 Margaret Thompson dies and leaves SIngdean to her daughter Stephanie.
2012 And so our adventure begins…..we buy Singdean from lovely Stephanie and Dave and move here in June 2012.
It no longer has hundreds of acres used for farming thousands of sheep since 1367, but still has a most wonderful atmosphere. You can feel that many people have been happy at Singdean, you get a sort of hug from it.
We love it and we thank Singdean for being so amazing.