Place:Traquair, Peeblesshire, Scotland

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NameTraquair
TypeParish
Coordinates55.5948°N 3.0853°W
Located inPeeblesshire, Scotland     (1694 - 1975)
See alsoBorders, Scotlandregional authority 1975-1996
Scottish Borders, Scotlandunitary council area since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog

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.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[2] 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).[3] 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.[2] Modern day Traquair House is an acclaimed visitor attraction, brewery, wedding venue, corporate hospitality and conference centre.


A legend, in two versions, applies to the 'Steekit Yetts' (stuck, or closed, gates), formerly the main entrance of Traquair House. Prince Charles Edward Stewart visited the family during the Jacobite rising of 1745. On his departure, the 5th earl declared the gates would never open again until a Stewart monarch required entry to the house.[3] The second version belongs to the 7th earl who deemed the gates stay closed after the death of his wife, in 1796, and not to re-open until there was another Countess of Traquair.[2]

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'.[1] 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.[4]

Research Tips

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

  • Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.

Notes for Peebleshire

  • GENUKI has a list of references for Peeblesshire. Some of these may be superseded by more modern material.
  • The Borders Family History Society provides a page of facts and publications for each of the parishes in its area. They have a lot of material and they publish monumental inscription books or CDs for many parishes. On each parish page is a map of the local area taken from either the Ordnance Survey Quarter-inch to the mile, Scotland, 1921-1923 series or the Ordnance Survey One-inch to the mile, Popular edition, Scotland, 1920-1930 series. These maps are not visible immediately upon opening a page, but worthwhile scrolling down to find.
  • The FreeCen Project has transcriptions of the whole of Peeblesshire online for the 1841 through 1871 censuses inclusive.
  • The Traquair Parish Registers for the Church of Scotland provide records of baptisms (1694-1854), marriages (1694-1854) and burials (1695-1854). See the FamilySearch Wiki article on Traquair for other church denominations.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Traquair. These articles often include a bibliography.
  • Scottish Places article on the parish of Traquair. The tabs of the right provide more information, and a map of the parish within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on Traquair provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the parish.
  • The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
  • Excerpts 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 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.