1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Peebles

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PEEBLES, a royal and police burgh and county town of Peeblesshire, Scotland, situated at the junction of Eddleston Water with the Tweed. Pop. (1901), 5266. It is 27 m. south of Edinburgh by the North British Railway (22 m. by road), and is also the terminus of a branch line of the Caledonian system from Carstairs in Lanarkshire. The burgh consists of the new town, the principal quarter, on the south of the Eddleston, and the old on the north; the Tweed is crossed by a handsome fivearched bridge. Peebles is a noted haunt of anglers, and the Royal Company of Archers shoot here periodically for the silver arrow given by the burgh. The chief public buildings are the town and county halls, the corn exchange, the hospital and Chambers Institution. The last was once the town house of the earls of March, but was presented to Peebles byWilliam Chambers, the publisher, in 1859. The site of the castle, which stood till the beginning of the 18th century, is now occupied by the parish church, built in 1887. Of St Andrew's Church, founded in 1195, nothing remains but the tower, restored by William Chambers, who was buried beside it in 1883. The church of the Holy Rood was erected by Alexander III. in 1261, to contain a supposed remnant of the true cross discovered here. The building remained till 1784, when it was nearly demolished to provide stones for a new parish church. Portions of the town walls still exist, and there are also vaulted cellars constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries as hiding-places against Border freebooters. The old cross, which had stood for several years in the quadrangle of Chambers Institution, was restored and erected in High Street in 1895. The industries consist of the manufactures of woollens and tweeds, and of meal and flour mills. The town is also an important agricultural centre.

The name of Peebles is said to be derived from the pebylls, or tents, which the Gadeni pitched here in the days of the Romans. The place was early a favourite residence of the Scots kings when they came to hunt in Ettrick forest. It probably received its charter from Alexander III., was created a royal burgh in 1367 and was the scene of the poem of Peblis to the Play, ascribed to James I. In 1544 the town sustained heavy damage in the expedition led by the 1st earl of Hertford, afterwards the protector Somerset, and in 1604 a large portion of it was destroyed by fire. Though James VI. extended its charter, Peebles lost its importance after the union of the Crowns.

On the north bank of the Tweed, one mile west of Peebles, stands Neidpath Castle. The ancient peel tower dates probably from the 13th century. Its first owners were Tweeddale Frasers or Frisels, from whom it passed, by marriage, to the Hays of Yester in Haddingtonshire, earls of Tweeddale. It was besieged and taken by Cromwell in 1650. The third earl of Tweeddale (1645-1713) sold it to the duke of Queensberry in 1686. The earl of Wemyss succeeded to the Neidpath property in 1810.