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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - December/January 2005
The Other 70%


By Judith Lloyd

In one of my first articles for Lowland Scots, The Other 70%, I wrote an excerpt from a journal that I had kept while we were touring in the Lowlands of Scotland.   The area we were visiting was near Peebles in what was called Peebleshire just south of Edinburgh. This was the land of the Douglas, Fraser, Stewarts, and Hay, in addition to other border Scots families.  I decided to revisit this area for this article because of some confusion I was feeling after meeting Angus Hay, who is the cousin of the current chief, Merlin, Earl of Errol. 

Angus stated that he was descended from the Hays of Tweeddale, an area I had not heard of.   Though I had been in this area as I said I at the time was told that we were in Peebleshire.  In the book, District Tartans, by Philip Smith and Gordon Teall, the area was referred to as Tweedside, and had its own Tartan.   This area used to be a popular area for raising and training race horses, and castles dot the landscape.  The Frasers who were of Norman descent and had come from France owned land in this area.   A Fraser heiress, Mary Fraser, married into the Hay family. The Hay's built Neidpath Castle alongside the shallow Tweed in the late 1300's.   These were the Lords of Yester who were eventually also given the title, Marquess of Tweeddale, by Charles I.  Ironically the son of the first Marquess, John Hay, initially supported Charles, but then became a Covenenter.  Apparently this did not affect the titles of Yester and Tweeddale since they were not lost later as many others' titles were.   In everything that I found on the Lords of Tweeddale they were referred to as Marquess.  However in my journal I have them noted as the Earls of Tweeddale. 

Now there is a mystery I did not solve in my research.  Which were they?  Or were they one and the same?  So getting back to my dilemma, Tweedside, Tweeddale, Peebleshire - which?  A question I was beginning to wonder if there was an answer to.  At the Tweeddale site the area was described as extending from Broughton in the west (a friend's family name that started this whole Tweeddale discussion in the first place) to Innerleithen in the east,  West Lothian in the north to Tweedsmuir in the south.  Now that is the same description I had gotten for Tweedside and almost the same area as Peebleshire.  Were they simply different names for the same area and if so, how confusing.  In truth this is almost exactly what I did find.  Tweedside (as I knew the area) was an old name for the area now known as Peebleshire.  In 1974 the name Tweeddale was given to the area as an administrative area, but its boundaries were so similar to the boundaries of Peebleshire that the area was then named a lieutenancy. 

A Lord Lieutenancy was a personal representative to the monarch of the U.K., and the area he/she represented used to be the actual counties.  However, areas changed over the years and a lieutenancy most likely now does not follow actual county borders.   So in essence the area described in the upper region of the Tweed was once called Tweedside, then Peebleshire, then shortly Tweeddale, and back to Peebleshire.   Tweeddale is now an area designated for a monarch's representative, and Peebleshire is the actual area/county name.  There is still one more gap.  Charles I made John Hay, who was already Lord Hay of Yester, the Marquess of Tweeddale. So in that period of time was the area called Tweeddale and then Peebleshire before it became Tweeddale again for a short period of time?  That is a question to be answered perhaps at another time, or perhaps by a reader who is more familiar with that area in the time of Charles I and John Hay, Lord of Yester, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale.


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