In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Ashkirk like this:
Ashkirk, a village of W Roxburghshire, and a parish partly also in Selkirkshire. The village stands on the right bank of the Ale, 5½ miles S of Selkirk station, and 6½ NNW of Hawick, and has a post office under the latter town.
The parish is bounded NW by Selkirk parish, E by Lilliesleaf, SE by Wilton, S by Roberton, SW by a detached portion of Selkirk parish, and W by Kirkhope; its Selkirkshire portion is in two sections-the eastern lying detached from, the south-western compact with, the main body of that county. ...
The length of the entire parish, from NE to SW is 7 ¾ miles; its breadth varies between 5 furlongs and 3¾ miles; and the area of the Roxburghshire portion is 8417 acres, of which 78½ are water; that of the Selkirkshire portion 3385 acres, of which 2161 are in the detached section and 15¾ water. The river Ale winds for about 6 miles from the south-western to the north-eastern border, and here receives the Woo, Todrig, and Woll burns; with it communicate the little lochs of Shielswood, Ashkirk, Essenside, and Headshaw. The surface is hilly, the principal heights, as one descends the Ale, being, on the left hand, Hammel Side (1022 feet), Whitslade Hill (1134), Leap Hill (1047), 3 nameless summits (1030,1126, and 1178), Broadlee Hill (871), Woll Rig (1113), Headshaw (896), Stobshaw Hill (1051), and Cock Edge (990); on the right hand, Esdale Law (1167), Cringie Law (1155), Ashkirk Hill (967), and Blackcastle (908). The rocks are chiefly greywacke and clay slate; marl is plentiful and of excellent quality; and the soil is in some parts peaty, in most parts light and sandy, about 2800 acres being under the plough, and some 400 planted. Near the manse stood a residence of the archbishops of Glasgow, whose site is still known as 'Palace Walls; ' of a strong baronial fortalice at Salanside hardly a trace remains. An ancient camp at Castleside is fairly entire, and vestiges of others occur at various points. Up to the Reformation great part of Ashkirk belonged to the see of Glasgow, and later almost all of it was divided among the family of Scott. The principal mansions are Ashkirk House, Sinton House, and Woll House; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 5 of between £100 and £500. This parish is in the presbytery of Selkirk and synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the minister's income is £433. The church, built in 1791, contains 202 sittings; and there is also a Free church with 200 sittings; whilst a public school, with accommodation for 131 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 84, and a grant of £97,6s. Valuation (1880) £7955,13s. 2d. (incl. £2727,5s. 8d. in Selkirkshire). Pop. (1831) 597, (1861) 578, (1871) 550 (148 in Selkirkshire), (1881) 500.Ord. Sur., sh. 17, 1864.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Ashkirk has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Scottish Borders. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Ashkirk and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ashkirk, in Scottish Borders and Selkirkshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st August 2016
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