Cornhill Social History


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The Old Vicarage

Photo taken around 1900 - 1910.
It was sent to the present owner by Jocelyn Carr.
Her great-grandfather was the rector, Rev Canon William Lyall Holland

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The Old Mill

Restored Cornhill Mill, June 7th 2001 photo by Joe Payne for the Berwick Advertiser

Cornhill Mill was fed by water from a pound about 250 yards away on the Campfield Road. The water of the Mill Burn was partly canalised and carried in a short aqueduct to the over-shot wheel, thence to Duddo Water and the Tweed.
In the 1920s and 30s, the mill no longer ground corn but drove a turbine making electricity for Cornhill House, the residence of Captain J.C. Collingwood, some 100 yards away. With the arrival of electricity in the village in the late 1930s, this use ceased. The old buildings are now gone and the pound, once the haunt of water-fowl, is dry with trees growing in it.

In 2001, when the Mill had been renovated and enlarged, it was reported in the Berwick Advertiser that villagers were unhappy that the old wheel had been removed and appeared to be lost. It had been made by local craftsmen. However, the then-owner of the property said that the wheel had been left for many years half-buried, overgrown and in a very dilapidated condition. A local child was trapped in it and had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade. No-one was able to trace its whereabouts.

       Cornhill Mill, a poem by William Johnston, Buckie House
        There's an ancient mill now in mouldering decay,
        West of Cornhill, at the foot of the brae;
        Where a family named Coultert for eighty odd years
        Held fast to that homestead through sunshine and tears.

        One pictures times when the Mill wheel revolved,
        Here, many one's worries of grinding were solved;
        Here the man of the Mill would work hard for gain,
        For this, his payment for bruising the grain.

        The workhorse in cart with waistcoated men,
        The present A. Coultert a wee laddie then;
        And Millie such happenings can scarcely recall,
        The machine has supplanted the horse and the stall.

        The Mill brae, then the bend, with the bridge at the end
        Where the Deddo in Tweed her effort expend;
        Here the Church looks down from its loftier height,
        Within her precincts sleep a former world's might.

        The Coulterts have gone to the village near by,
        To something that's modern, I think, with a sigh;
        There's nothing can quench the yearnings of age,
        Like the rapture of childhood looking back on youth's page.

        I am sure they will often return to the scene,
        Where the blossoms of youth are by memory kept green;
        And long may look on that cherished abode,
        Enquire in their Church and there worship God.

Cornhill Mill

Cornhill Mill, 2019 (photo taken with owner’s permission)

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Cramond Hill Farm

Cramond Hill Farm, once the home of the Maxwell family
The Farm is reputed to have been built on the site of a former monastery.
There was a dovecote in the grounds.
Please send us more information

Oil painting of Cramond Hill Farm by Neil H. McQueen, 1973

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The Bird Cage

This used to be the working men’s club

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Medicinal spring and Bath house in Bathing Well Wood

Most of the following information is from the informative and well-researched book ‘A History of Campfield, Cornhill-on-Tweed’ by Graham Dennis. Extracts have been used with his permission.

1715 During the last 300 years, historical references have mentioned a mineral spring in, what is now, Campfield. It is probable that the spring would have always been regarded as having medicinal properties and would have been visited since very early times. One of the earliest known references was in 1715.

1750s By now interest in the spring/well was established and it features in all the major histories for nearly 100 years. It was known as a chalybeate spring, i.e. waters rich in iron salts.

1752 The church of St. Helen was rebuilt on the site of an earlier church in 1752, at the height of the spring's popularity. In records, the spring has been referred to as St. Helen’s Well and even St. Cuthbert’s Well.

1769 First reference to a permanent structure, a cold bath for bathing built near the spring was made in 1769. The spring, of the highest medical fame and most frequented, was described as being between Learmouth and Cornhill and was commonly called Cornhill Well. The bathing pool was paid for by Henry Collingwood. It was ‘neat and cased with lead and emptied by turning a cock’.
Also in 1769, a map of Northumberland was published. Campfield is shown as Camp Hill. The bath and the spa are marked on this map. (The map is reproduced in Graham Dennis’ book.) It seems that the bath house was in use for nearly 100 years.

1813 The impression is given in accounts that the spring and bath were beginning to fall out of favour, maybe because Cornhill’s remote location made it less popular as other more accessible resorts flourished.

1852 It was stated by James Raine that the well ‘now wastes its healing powers and the bath is destroyed’. Hereafter, the healing waters of Cornhill begin to fade from memory with only the occasional mention. In writing this in 2020, there is no recollection amongst local people of the existence of a bathing well in Bathing Well woods, even though the name persists.

1867 Reported in ‘History of the Berwickshire Naturalists’ Club’, article written by Rev.S.A. Fyler on the Village of Cornhill
“In the middle of a wood . . . is a very cold and pure spring, whose waters are reported to be beneficial in the scurvey and gravel (kidney stones). There used be a bath house there, now destroyed.”

On the modern Ordnance Survey maps a well is marked in the wood at grid reference NT 858387. The spring flows into the Duddo Burn and the public footpath from the Duddo bridge to the lane to Campfield is known as Bathing Well path. Apparently young people used to meet in the area by the Duddo bridge.
Another well can be seen on the east side of the steep hill of the B6350 Wark road near where it joins the main A698 in Cornhill. The stonework here dates from 1842. Locals sometimes refer to this as St. Helen’s Well too.

If you have more information about this, please send it to us

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Thatched Cottage

This cottage was on the left-hand side going out of Cornhill away from the shop.
Margaret Jeffrey lived there when she married Alex Brownlees.
Margaret’s nieces remember feeding the pigs in the garden there.
Does anyone know where this was?

We have had a response from Graham Dennis of Campfield.

Row of Cottages, courtesy of Graham Dennis

Graham thinks the cottage on the right is the mystery thatched cottage shown above.
The windows and door are correct.
There are three chimney stacks, the one on the left has two pots.
The windows have 12 frames.
The roof line to the left of the mystery photo matches the cottage in the photo.
The ground in front slopes down, there is a trackway to the right, as on the map below.

Ordnance Survey map 1920
There are eight cottages in a row in the photo and on the map.

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