Traquair was a parish located in the former county of Peeblesshire, which ceased to exist following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1974. The parish had an area of 75km2 (28.9 sq. miles) and had 4 neighbouring parishes: Innerleithen and Peebles in Peeblesshire, and Caddonfoot and Yarrow in Selkirkshire.
Traquair is now located in the Scottish Borders Council Area, some 6 miles (9 km) southeast of Peebles and 14 miles (23 km) west of Melrose in the Scottish Borders. In 2000 it became part of the [ecclesiastical] Parish of Innerleithen, Traquair and Walkerburn.
Traquair House is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland and the lairds were long time supporters of the Stewart Monarchy.
Traquair, said to mean "hamlet on the Quair Water", a river which runs northwards from the hill, Slake Law to drain into the River Tweed north of Traquair. The village was once surrounded by the great Ettrick Forest and is surrounded by many hills in excess of The area was renowned for the rearing of Cheviot sheep.
In early times the village bore the name Kirkbryde or Strathquair, the Kirkbryde coming from the local church which was dedicated to St. Bride, or Bridget. As early as the 12th century, Traquair was of some importance, important enough to be raised to the status of a Sheriffdom. One of the earliest mentions of the area came in 1107 when Traquair House or Tower was known as a hunting lodge of the Scottish kings and as a refuge for priests. The house was known as Traquair Palace and, in 1176, at the palace, William I of Scotland granted a charter for the erection of a burgh with the power to hold markets every Thursday.
The burgh which was erected that year at Traquair is known now as the City of Glasgow. Traquair House was one of a string of towers built along the line of the River Tweed as defence of the borderlands against English invasion.
The lands of Traquair were granted by King Robert the Bruce to Sir James Douglas, Lord of Douglas. The manor was later in the hands of the Murray family, the Douglas of Cluny then the Boyds before becoming forfeit to the crown. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany is said to have granted the lands to William Watson in a charter signed at Edinburgh in 1409. In 1469, there was uproar when James III of Scotland granted the estates to Dr William Rogers. Rogers only lived there a few years before selling it to James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan. Rogers, reputed to be a friend and court musician to the king, sold the house to Buchan for 70 Scots merks (less than four pounds in today's money). The earl gave the manor of Traquair to his son, also James, who later died at the Battle of Flodden Field on 9 September 1513. The estate was elevated in status in 1633 when John was elevated to the title of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Traquair; he later became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland but was later attainted and died penniless. The last of the family, Lady Louisa Stewart, died aged 99 in 1875 and the lands of Traquair passed to her kinsman, Henry Maxwell. Henry adopted the name Stuart and the Maxwell Stuarts still live at the house today. Modern day Traquair House is an acclaimed visitor attraction, brewery, wedding venue, corporate hospitality and conference centre.
The Duke of Montrose visited Traquair in 1645 after the Battle of Philiphaugh. Then Robert Burns came to Traquair in order to see a then-famous thicket of beech trees known as the 'Bush aboon Traquair'. A considerable village in the early 18th century, Traquair boasted no less than six alehouses but the local minister stated the locals drank to excess. By the end of the century there was only one pub and the population was said to have halved during that century. At one point, at the same time, there was talk of building a road through Traquair to become the main route between Edinburgh and Carlisle. An Edinburgh man had even offered to fund the building of a new bridge over the River Tweed but the plans never came to fruition and the local roads stayed in a very poor state. A toll bar was built in an attempt to raise funds for roads but was not successful.
Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses
Notes for Peebleshire
Further Sources of Reference
Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.