Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary August 1828

Thursday 7 August 1828

5 40/60

The mail not starting from our house this morning, off to The Bush at 6½. Paid my fare. (By the way [imposed] on. In consequence of opposition, the fare reduced from 20/. to 16/., as confessed by the landlord at Selkirk. But, said he, passengers forwarded from Liverpool still pay 20/. & if a place is secured the night before they make you pay additional (nonsense!). They certainly made me pay 20/. thinking me a stranger & yet I should not find it out.) Mounted behind the coach man. Sat waiting above ¼ hour & off at 6¾. Fine, rich, well-wooded country. Capital road. 6 miles from Carlisle crossed the small river line & here begins Sir James Graham’s property & extends 4 miles beyond Longtown i.e. as far as we have to go in England. 8 miles from Carlisle the nice, neat, large, old village church; the nice small village (½ dozen houses?) & the very pretty wood-hidden parsonage of Arthuret (Reverend Fergus Graham, uncle to Sir James Graham). Change horses at Longtown (good little brick town) at 7 35/60 in 4 minutes. On driving along the town look down upon Sir James’s prettily wooded farm houses. At the end of the town pass narrow 5 arch stone bridge over the broad, gravelly bedded Esk, rather low just now but a good river. Cross it 4 times this “beautiful stage,” said one coachman. At 7¾ turn right & see (right, distant), among fine woods, Crofthead, a largeish white house where the present Sir James lived during his father’s life. Esk close, right. At 7 55/60, 11 miles from Carlisle, apparently in front of Netherby Hall, at a considerable distance right, large white house, among fine & extensive woods. “Beautiful place,” (said the coach man) “but fronts the tother way.” Several stooks1Sheaves of barley cut (the 1st corn cut save the oats going to Dumfries on Monday). Hay in cock2A haycock is a conical mound of hay. here & nearer Carlisle in swathe3A swathe is a strip of hay or straw left behind on field after reaping/harvesting..

Stooks of barley
Photo by Mark Robinson, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

At 8 two turnpikes very near together & between them a little ditch that parts England & Scotland & here begins the Duke of Bucleugh’s property. We go 30 miles in his estate which reaches to Hawick. Great many gentlemen’s houses by the way. All belong to the duke. At 8 10/60 very pretty, picturesque, wooded, white village of Gannaby (as pronounced)4I’m pretty sure she means Canonbie.. Good, new church little distance right. Broad gravel-bedded Esk just below us right & cross 3 arch bridge over it. Water very low now. Beautiful here. At 8 25/60 little village of Car-Saddle (as pronounced), white straw-thatched & some blue-slated cottages. River below. Rocky bed. Wooded banks with large, high 1 arch bridge which we cross. Very beautiful. At a short distance (right) Glenochy Castle5She means Gilnockie Castle., Johnny Armstrong6Johnny Armstrong is a Scottish folk hero who led a band of raiders along the lawless Anglo-Scottish border in the early 16th century. In 1530 James V of Scotland tricked him into coming to court by promising him safety, and then hanged him. tower with the 2 high gables of the ruined roof still standing at the top. 20 minutes thro’ a wood (some fine, picturesque Swiss firs in it with some good larches here & there – how [infinitely] the best of the fir-tribe the Swiss fir!) & at 8¾ cross the Esk again (2 arch bridge), pass a whisky distillery & at 8 53/60 enter the neat little town of Langholm. ‘Tis certainly a “beautiful” richly wooded drive from Longtown to Langholm. Well satisfied to have come. Changing horses or watering generally takes 5 minutes.

Johnny Armstrong, by Henry Hetherington Emmerson, 1886
The painting shows him on an ill advised journey to meet James V.

Off from Langholm at 8 57/60. Langholm Lodge (the duke’s shooting box – he sometimes comes to shoot) near the town [?] the [valley] (left). From Langholm go along Ewesdale, [enlivened] by here & there a white farm house or cottage. The Ewes (close) right, a small stream running along the foot of the green, high, round-topped, very occasionally rather heathery Lillup hills. At 9 50/60 turn left into Moss Fall Glen. Very fine & very beautiful green glen or [pass]. Just wide enough for the road & the Throstley bird burn (right). ‘Tis 2 fine ranges of the Lillup hills that form this short but fine glen. At Moss Fall House (very neat, yellow-washed little inn, lone house) at 10. Fine & sunshiny. The glen widens out a little here. The stables in Dumfriesshire. The house in Roxburghshire. This is the highest ground. From here the waters run different ways & the Throstley burn ceases to run westwardly & runs eastwardly. At 10 35/60 the Throstley burn falls into the Tiviot & we henceforward proceed along the file dale of Tiviot.

At 11½ stop at the Tower Inn, Hawick, a good, dark-coloured stone built town. Market day. A cold collation laid out in the coffee room7In this context ‘collation’ means a light meal provided when there isn’t time for anything fuller. ‘Cold’ refers to the lack of cooked food.. 3 coffee room compartments or Divisions. Have not met with this before. Not having had any breakfast sat down determined to [make] the best of the ¼ hour allowed. Had it all to myself. Ate 1½ leg of the fowl & some good new potatoes. Much the better & on the coach again (had had the box set from Langholm) & off at 11¾. At the end of the town cross narrow 3 arch stone bridge over the broad shallow Tiviot. Then hilly road over high, plain, almost unenclosed ground all the way to Selkirk. At 12¼ view for a while the Eildon hills. See only 2 summits (the 3rd much lower & not seen, I should suppose, unless from near), vid. Scottish Tourist 309/415. At 12½ little village, & cross (1 arch bridge) the Ale-water, a small stream. Descend upon Selkirk, surrounded by plain hills, & at 1 10/60 alight at the inn there & leave the mail (it would reach Edinburgh between 4 & 5?). It seems I have little chance of getting the 4/. returned I paid too much for my place this morning. However the landlord here very civil. Goodish little darkish-coloured stone built town.

Off at 1 40/60 for Melrose in a very uneasy tho’ neat looking gig. Roughish old-paved road. The rather broadish, shallow, pretty Ettrick river below us, left. Falls into the Tweed about 2 miles? below Selkirk. About 4 miles from Selkirk (left) Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott. He built it by degrees. Just below the house the Gala water falls into the Tweed. An irregular, old-style, castellated, label-windowed sort of English manor house. Of dark coloured stone with white corner stones. The sort of castle-court gateway, too, of white stone. Curious sort of iron rail gothic screen parts the garden from the court yet allows it to be seen. A tower at each of 3 of the corners of the house. 1 tower round, 1 square & 1 hexagon or octagon? A large flag flying. The boy-driver knew not why. But “Sir Walter always had it flying on some days.” Walked down to the house & looked at the outside for 5 minutes. The [short] approach road, a broad walk thro’ a young plantation, rather shrubbery like at present. Well wooded in the distance. Gentlemanly looking place. Village not to be seen from the road when the plantation gets up. Fine valley.

Abbotsford House
Photo by Christian Bickel, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

1st view of Melrose Abbey about 1½ miles from Melrose. Does not look well. The square tower low, too large & smooth & even looking. As if lately built. The rest of the ruin huddled on a heap. Not at all picturesque as thus seen in the distance. The red shingle-sided Eildon hills (right) fine. Alight at the George Inn, Melrose at 3 10/60. Somehow feel languid, rather lightheaded & tired. No motion this morning. Read The Scottish Tourist. Take ¼ hour’s nap. Had nodded & dozed every now & then as I came along this morning. Not certainly a safe situation for so doing. Go out at 4½ to the abbey. A very nice woman shews it. Her husband, a man of General John [Bower], had had a dram & could not come to me. Very fine ruin. Unquestionably finer than that at Elgin? The finest far I have seen in Scotland, or anywhere? Vid. Scottish Tourist 306/415 et seq. The carving “like lace-work” is the curly leaf of the Scotch Kale, very beautiful on the capital of the great pillar at the head of the south side the nave. The woman asked me to her house to see her husband’s drawings. Surprised to find him quite a self-taught artist. Beautiful little pencil sketch (south east view – the best) of the abbey 9/. – worth it. Had sold almost all of [any] [kind]. Bought a rough lithograph of this view & ditto of Abbotsford.

Melrose Abbey
Drawn by George Meikle Kemp, circa 1830.

 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Came back to the inn at 6 50/60. Would wait till they baked me some ned cakes (of flour & cream in the frying pan). Went out again. Past the good new church. Handsome spire, the rest like a common Methodist meeting house as usual in Scotland. The body of the church of darkish reddish stone, ditto the tower up to the roof of the building. The spire part of white stone. Curious, unpleasing effect. Down to the new suspension bridge built by subscription of the inhabitants. Opened 26 October 1826. About 11½ yards slope up to the pillars. Each pillar about 2 yards by 2 feet. Height I can’t guess. The bridge over the water (between the pillars) 98 yards long. 1¾ yards wide. Very neat thing. Pillars very neat. Battlemented at the top. Red sandstone. Walked into the picturesque little wood-embosomed village of Gattonside, returned a different way into the town & got back to the inn at 7¾. Tea. The ned cakes very good. Read Scottish Tourist. Speak to the landlord. Send my luggage by the coach tomorrow to Gedburgh & walk myself in order to see all by the way. Settle accounts, write out journal of today. All which had taken me till 12. Very fine day. Tho’ felt cold this morning till after Hawick. Went to my room at 12.

Graeme Yuill / Gattonside Chain Bridge / CC BY-SA 2.0

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One thought on “Thursday 7 August 1828

  1. I wonder if the woman made her red cakes, rather than ned cakes, but not been able to find any info. Would be interested to know what the woman cooked her – it sounds like maybe what we would call a Scotch pancake/drop scone?

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