Sunday, 28 June 2020

PAXTON




Paxton is a small quiet village in the Scottish Borders. It lies just off the B6461 and is about 5 miles from the market town of Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, and just over a mile from the Scottish border.  Duns, a small market town in the Scottish Borders is only 10.6 miles away.

Paxton dates back to around 400AD when the Saxons arrived and settled in Northumbria. The Saxon name of Paccuston, after the original family who settled here changed over a period of time to Paxton. The Paxton family acquired land in both Scotland and England becoming medieval barons with their own coat of arms. During the reign of Edward I when Scotland and England were frequently at war Paxton, along with other lands belonging to the Paxton family were forfeited. It became impossible for the family to have loyalty with both Kings. Eventually the village became the property of the Home family of Wedderburn.

The village had a turbulent past mainly due to its proximity to the border and crossing points on the River Tweed.  In 1296 whilst travelling to the siege of Berwick Edward I raided and then set fire to the village. The village was set fire to again in 1482 by the Duke of Gloucester (who was later Richard III) and in 1540 destroyed by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. In 1648 on his way to Coldingham from Norham Oliver Cromwell visited the village.

Despite these many obstacles over the next decades the villagers continue to work on the land or in the local salmon fisheries  and the village thrived. Although there are no longer any remains of the medieval homes the village still stands on the same ground and a number of wells still exist. The communal village pumps stands in The Square where the oldest part of the village remains. the oldest existing house dates from 1724.

Paxton was the birthplace in 1870 of Mary Jane Reddin , the mother of Eric Liddell, who after winning a gold medal in the 400 metres in 1924 Olympics became one of Scotlands most famous athletes. This friendly village has a church and the popular Cross Inn, serving excellent food. 

The elegant Paxton House is only a few minutes walk away. In addition to visiting the house and gardens a walk through the woods and along the banks of the River Tweed is well recommended. The village is close to the both the River Tweed and the Whiteadder Water and is surrounded by farmland.

War Memorial



Village Green








Village Pump

The Cross Inn, Paxton

Paxton Church


River Tweed

Whiteadder Water










Paxton House


Paxton House

A few minutes walk from the village is the impressive Paxton House. Paxton House is a Neo-Palladian style house built in the 18th century for Patrick Home. It remained in the Home family until 1988 when the house and furniture were given to the Paxton House Trust. The house houses a large collection of Chippendale furniture. The house and gardens are open to the public from March to November. House Tours and a visit to The Stables Tea Room are well recommended. The extensive grounds are a fantastic way to while away the hours, with paths through woods and along the banks of the River Tweed.









Walking
Paxton is an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility of riverside walks or the serenity of the countryside.

Paxton House is the ideal place to stroll through woodland before glimpsing the majestic River Tweed. A walk along the banks of the river is both serene and beautiful, before either returning through the glorious gardens of Paxton House or continuing along the river banks to the Union Chain Bridge.


River Tweed

The Whiteadder Water is a smaller river running past Paxton on its way to join the River Tweed.  Take the road out of the village (opposite direction to the church) and after a short while take the footpath on the left. Follow the path as it runs through a wooded area and then turns left up a small incline. Here the river is in a valley to the right although you may not be able to see it. At the end follow the footpath as it heads to the right. Continue on this path and you will soon approach some downhill steps. At the bottom you will be able to stand on the bridge and admire the dramatic rock formation and the Whiteadder Water.



Whiteadder Water






The small village of Hutton is about 2.3 miles from Paxton along country lanes. Leave the village passing the church on the right and follow the road round a bend and up the hill, taking in the views. At the top follow the road as it bears left and continue along this road until you reach Hutton. On the way you will pass Clarabads Farm followed immediately by a turning to Foulden on your right. After the turning you will pass a large house on the right. A little further along the road you will see the village of Hutton.




Hutton



Cycling

There are many different cycles that can be undertaken from Paxton either short local rules or further afield both in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland. A selection of these cycles can be found in the cycling section.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

JUNE IN PAXTON AND THE BORDERS

June has been a most schizophrenic month, from the first two blazing hot days, though a week of bitter northerly winds to a week of interminable grey like February which required the heating being used on the 13th to an end of month heatwave of some of the hottest weather experienced for years here. 

The garden’s roses are in their first glorious flush of the summer and while some of the clematis have stooped flowering now, others are in full bloom. 

As I write today it is so hot we have retreated indoors, joined by our three cats, all of whom are over-heated. To think that a week ago we had coats on! Most odd. That is what summers are like here, they can range from slate grey skies and shivering cold to blazing heat within a few days. Ten degree drops in temperatures between days are not unusual. 

By the end of the month fresher weather was back again. Several seasons in one month - it has certainly seemed that way. 














Monday, 8 June 2020

JEDBURGH


Jedburgh is an attractive market town in the Scottish Borders. It is situated on the banks of the Jed Water and is about 10 miles from the English Border. This historic town has had a turbulent past and has been raided and attacked by both Scottish and English forces many times. 

The town is home to the ruinous Jedburgh Abbey and in 1566 Mary Queen of Scots stayed in a house in the town that has now become a museum. Jedburgh Castle was built in the 12th century and was fought over many times during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Unfortunately, although it was occasionally used as a Scottish royal residence the castle was demolished by the Scots in 1409. In 1823 a jail was built on the site of the old castle. This closed in 1868 but has been restored to its original appearance and is now open to the pubic as Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum.

Jedburgh Abbey Overlooking The Jed Water





Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh Abbey was founded by King David I in 1138. It was originally both a priory and monastery and was home to a group Augustinian Canons until the 16th century. The abbey had a torrid time during the Wars of Scottish Independence and suffered many raids and attacks. These continued throughout the following centuries as the abbey slowly fell into disrepair. By the time of the Reformation in 1560 the abbey was in a poor state and was allowed to fall into disrepair. The church was used as a parish church until 1871 although some repairs were carried out in the late 1800's the abbey and church were never used again.



The Nave


Mary Queen of Scots House
Mary Queen of Scots House is a museum in the town where it is believed Mary stayed for several weeks after falling gravely ill on her return from a 30 mile ride to visit James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell at Hermitage Castle. 

The museum is devoted to the life and death of Mary with many interesting displays and memorabilia. Of particular interest is Mary's death mask and a copy of the Execution Warrant. 



Death Mask


Execution Warrant


Jedburgh Castle Jail Museum
Jedburgh Castle Jail was built on 1823 on the site of the old castle which was demolished in 1409. Although modified in 1847 the jail was closed permanently in 1868. In 1968 the building was restored and opened to the public as a museum. The old jailers house, which houses the museum and the original cell blocks are open to the public providing a fascinating insight into life in an 1820's prison.