(A Paper read to the Members
of the Hawick
Archaeological Society on Tuesday, 31st January, 1933)
As far as I am aware, there
has not been contributed to the Society's Transactions any paper regarding
the well-known roadside inn situated midway between Hawick and Langholm, and
its historical associations. Some reference to Mosspaul may, therefore, not
be without its local value and interest.
I can find no record as to
the date when the old inn was built, but Dr Carlyle of Inveresk, in his
autobiography, states that in 1767 he stopped there in company with some
friends for refreshments. In the old days of imprisonment for debt Mosspaul
occupied rather an unique position. The house itself, and the byre were in
the county of Roxburgh, while the stables, hay loft, etc., were in
Dumfriesshire. Consequently, a person wanted for debt in Roxburgh≠shire
could stay in the house, and on receiving warning of the approach of the
officers of the law, defy them from his snug retreat in one of the hay
lofts. It is recorded that there was one farmer in the district who was wont
to take advantage of this peculiar situation.
The name Mosspaul is
understood to be of ancient origin, and it is mentioned in the Charters of
the Earl of Home in the beginning of the 17th century. According to the
statistical account of Ewes parish, prepared by the Rev. Robert Shaw in
1835, a chapel existed at Mosspaul before the Reformation, and its ruins, it
was stated, could be traced at that time. The lands around Mosspaul in olden
times bore the name of Penanngo, this name surviving in Penangus Hope, the
present-day name of the glen in which runs Mosspaul Burn. The lands of
Penangus were, along with Caldcleugh, gifted in the 14th century to the
monks of Melrose by William, Earl of Douglas, for masses to be said,
especially for the soul of William Douglas of Lothian, who was buried before
St. Bridget's Altar in Melrose. The surrounding lands belonging to the
monks, and they having a chapel adjoining, is supposed to give a clue to the
origin of the name Mosspaul - the moss of St. Paul's chapel. There can be no
doubt that in those early times the lonely chapel of Mosspaul would be
regarded as a welcome resting-place and retreat to many a foot-sore and
Here it may be surmised the
children of the mosstroopers would be baptised, and here also within the
walls of this plain and primitive building many of the marriages begun in
hand-fasting would receive the sanction of the Holy Church. In a manuscript
account of the parish of Ewes, which adjoins that of Teviothead, in which
Mosspaul is situated, written in the beginning of the 18th century
(Macfarlane's Geographical Collection), the following occurs:≠ "There is a
tradition that friars were wont to come from Melrose or Jedburgh to baptise
and marry in this parish, and these friars being in use to carry the
mass-book in their bosoms, they were called by the inhabitants
*Sir Walter Scott describes
the customs of handfasting in chapter 25 of "The Monastery," where he makes
Avenel derisively say:- "We Borderers are more wary than your inland clown
of Fife and Lothian - we take our wives, like our horses, upon trial. When
we are handfasted we are man and wife for a year and day - that space gone
by, each may choose another mate, or, at their pleasure, may call the priest
to marry them for life - and this we call handfasting."
THE FIRST LANDLORD
Mosspaul Inn at one time was
said to be little more than a "butt-and-ben," and continued to be so till
about the beginning of the 19th century. The first landlord of whom any
record can be traced was Thomas Gray, whose name appeared in a list, in
1803, of those who were prepared to defend their country against the
threatened French invasion. He was a member of the 1st Battalion of the
Roxburghshire Volunteers, and rode to Hawick along with Major Robert Elliot
of Arkleton on the night of the False Alarm, the evening of the 31st
January, 1804, when the beacon fires on the Border hills flashed the
erroneous intelligence that the French had landed.
Gray and James Ruickbie, the
keeper of the Toll Bar at Colterscleugh, were congenial friends, and being
separated by only a few miles, would no doubt have many social and convivial
evenings together in their respective houses, for in those days practically
all the Toll Bars sold liquor. Ruickbie was a noted Border poet, and
believed to have been the first local bard to have published a volume of his
verses. He is understood to have issued three of four editions, one of which
was printed by Robert Armstrong in Hawick in 1815, the year of the battle of
One of Ruickbie's effusions
was addressed to Gray after his return from a visit to his old friend, when
he had been much impressed with the additions and improvements which had
been carried out at Mosspaul, a second storey having been added to the old
building. Ruickbie's poem was as follows:≠
Tam, the storm baith loud
and fierce is,
Ever since I left Mosspaul,
Yet accept my two-three verses,
Now I'm in a tift tae scrawl.
Since I left your bonnie
Snug and bien, genteel and tight,
Frae the grun'-floor tae the riggin'
Ilka thing looks unco bright.
Ev'ry plan displays
Finished by a skilfu' hand,
Ilka neat and shining mansion
Minds me o' the promised land.
Hallans, sleekit owre wi'
Glintin' a' as white as snaw.
Worthy o' its noble maister,
Kitchen, passage, rooms, an' a'.
Dinna here expect a
On the beauties o' ilk room;
Quite unskilled in architecture≠
At this task I'll no' presume.
Only let me just remind
Never let it steal your love;
Cast its grandeur a' behind you,
Mind the bonnie house above.
Think it was but built
To refresh an' tak' the road;
You and I are just like sodgers,
Billeted in oor abode.
Ruickbie belonged to
Innerleithen, and according to one authority was a miller to trade, and to
another, a weaver. However, after he left Colterscleugh he removed to Hawick
and became landlord of the Harrow Inn, a property which occupied part of the
site in the High Street on which the Royal Bank is built. He enjoyed the
friendship of many notable persons, such as the Ettrick Shepherd, Professor
Wilson, Allan Cunningham, Thomas Campbell, Henry Scot Riddell, and others.
He died in 1829 in his seventy-second year.
Ruickbie was latterly still
more closely associated with Mosspaul, as one of his daughters was married
to Gray's successor - Robert Govenlock, who was landlord of Mosspaul Inn
from 1816 till his death on 12th June, 1861, at the age of 73 years. About
three years later the licence was allowed to lapse, the opening of the
railway between Hawick and Carlisle, in June, 1862, and the withdrawal of
the mail coaches, having made the road practically deserted.
MAIL COACH GUARD
Robert Govenlock, who was
landlord of Mosspaul for the long period of forty-five years, was a man of
commanding appearance and distinctive personality. He was said to have been
brought up at Phaup, where his father was a shepherd. He was for several
years a guard on the mail coach, and a picturesque personage in his official
uniform of scarlet coat, top boots and hat trimmed with gold braid. The mail
coach carried eight passengers - four inside and four outside. The guard was
seated on the top of the coach, at the rear end, with accommodation for the
mail bags, while in front of him were ensconced a pair of pistols and a
blunderbus in case of attack by highwaymen. Nine and a half hours were
allowed for the journey of the coach between Edinburgh and Carlisle, the
distance being scheduled as 95 miles.
After Govenlock, who was
familiarly known as "Gloomy Winter," became landlord of Mosspaul, further
additions and improvements were made, three sides being added to the
stables, which completed the large square of stabling to the west of the
inn, the site of the present bowling green which faces the front entrance to
the hotel. For many years the old inn was the scene of much bustle and
activity, for at one time several coaches ran daily, and these all pulled up
at Mosspaul for a change of horses, the passengers generally at the same
time partaking of solid or liquid refreshments. The stabling was extensive,
consisting of forty-two stalls in addition to a number of loose boxes, and
it is said that he had always twenty-four horses ready for the road.
Govenlock and his wife were
well known to travellers, and their kindly disposition and homely manners
made them extremely popular amongst all who had occasion to visit the inn or
pass a night beneath its comfortable roof. It was said that Mrs Govenlock
was especially noted all over the country≠side for her kindness and
hospitality. She spent most of her time in the large and roomy kitchen, her
favourite seat being a settle beside the great fireplace, and it is recorded
that it used to be a regular custom with the shooting tenants of Lymiecleugh
staying in the house to adjourn to the kitchen in the evenings after dinner
and be entertained by the quaint old-world stories of the landlady.
Like her husband, Mrs
Govenlock was tall and of fine physique. She had seen very little of the
outer world, but nevertheless was happy and contented with her sphere in
life. As can be imagined, she led an extremely busy existence, and in her
days travel was only indulged in by the rich and well-to-do. When pretty
well up in years she was proceeding to Hawick one day with the coach when
some would-be wits among the passengers sought to amuse themselves at the
expense of the plain, homely old woman. Engaging in conversation, one of the
strangers remarked to her, "You'll been in London, of course?" Quickly came
the reply, "Eh, no, never as fer as that, sir." "But you must have seen the
sights of Edinburgh, at least?" he continued. Promptly came the same
answer-"Never sae fer, sir." Trying to draw her, the questioner continued,
"But, bless me, my good woman, have you never stirred all your life till
now?' In no way disconcerted, she quietly replied, "Hoots, aye, aw was yince
at Denholm "
THE "ENGINEER'S" LAST RUN
Mr Govenlock was one of the
original proprietors of the coach called the "Engineer," which was started
in 1825 and continued to run till 1862, when it was with≠drawn from the road
on account of the opening of the railway between Hawick and Carlisle. The
last run from Hawick to the South was made on Monday, 30th June, 1862. For
some time previously the run had only been to Scotsdyke, and later to
Rowanburn, the branch railway line between these places and Carlisle having
been opened for traffic. The final run which, unfortunately, Mr Govenlock
did not live to participate in, was made an event of outstanding importance.
The departure of the coach from the Tower Knowe was witnessed by a large
concourse of spectators. The team of four horses bore silver-mounted
harness, and Mr William Crozier, landlord of the Tower Hotel, one of the old
mail coach drivers, handled the reins. The company, numbering about a dozen,
were accompanied by Bandmaster Teal and Sergeant Bunyan of the 5th Roxburgh
Volunteer Band, who discoursed cornet selections on the way.
All along the route people
turned out to have a farewell look at the coach as it passed. At Northhouse
the party were joined by Mr John Fenwick, Mr Crozier's predecessor as
landland of the Tower, and long one of the proprietors of the coach, and Mr
Robert Govenlock, farmer, Teinside, a son of the old landlord of Mosspaul.
At Langholm the company dined sumptuously at the Crown Hotel in the evening,
and returned to Hawick by train next day.
One of the best-known
characters associated with Mosspaul for something like half a century was
Jamie Ferguson, who was looked upon as part of the establishment. Jamie had
been first engaged there as a post boy, and then as a strapper, and he
performed his duties for the last time that memorable Monday. It is said
that, as the coach departed for Langholm, Jamie stood in the middle of the
road gazing wistfully at it until a turn in the roadway obscured his view.
Then he stood for a while, silent and motionless, as well as sorrowful, for
with a tinge of sadness he felt that his occupation was gone. Not only had
the railway run the coaching traffic off the road, but the carriers and
Canonbie coal carters as well. Jamie, it was said, was only once entrusted
with the reins, and never again, for in some way he "couped" the coach. The
"couping" of the coach, it is needless to say, was regarded as a very
serious affair by the proprietors. The accident occurred at Langholm, and on
receipt of the alarming news Mr Govenlock at once drove off from Mosspaul to
the scene of the disaster. The Langholm folks anticipated a lively meeting
when "Gloomy Winter," who was a somewhat stern master, encountered Jamie,
but they were disappointed. Jamie was waiting his arrival outside the Crown
Hotel in the midst of a curious crowd. "How did this happen, Jamie?"
enquired Mr Govenlock in an unexpectedly mild manner. "Deed, maister,"
answered Jamie in a very crestfallen spirit, "aw dinna yen; she hitet an'
shy'd an' juist gaed owre. " "Aye, aye, Jamie, ma man," replied Mr Govenlock,
"aw kenned it wadna be your fault-but come away in." What took place behind
the closed door never transpired, but care was taken that Jamie was never
allowed on the box again.
As may be inferred, in the
depth of winter and in the midst of severe snowstorms, there were many
dangerous and exciting episodes in connection with some of the journeys in
the bleak and exposed portions of the road, particularly between Linhope and
Langholm, One such occurred on a morning in February, 1854, when the mail
coach left Carlisle under the charge of William Crozier. The morning was
cold, and thin snowflakes were flying about, but the weather did not seem
altogether unpromising, though as the coach preceded on its journey the
snowstorm began to increase in violence. The Cross Keys at Canonbie had been
left behind and the Hollows just passed, when a man was encountered in the
middle of the road holding aloft an axe as a danger signal. The coach was
drawn up, and in answer to "What's wrang now?" the forester replied, "Ye
canna gang ony further, Maister Crozier, there's at least a score o' trees
blawn doon and lying across the road, so ye maun juist wait till we make a
clearance." Crozier was reputed to have been a man of quick decision, and as
he was near Irving House, the residence of the Duke of Buccleuch's
chamberlain, he drove into the courtyard there. The passengers and the
driver and guard were hospitably treated, and their half-frozen limbs thawed
before a blazing log fire.
In about two hours it was
announced that the road was cleared, and accordingly the coach proceeded on
its northward journey. But Crozier began to calculate that their troubles
were not yet over, as they should have met Jamie Govenlock and his coach on
the southward journey about Sorbie. But even at Langholm there were no
tidings of him, and Crozier, with his intimate knowledge of the road, began
to speculate that Jamie would be stuck between Linhope and Mosspaul. And he
had been right, for after a slow and perilous run between Fiddleton and
Mosspaul he reached the old inn to find Jamie, a son of the landlord,
standing in the doorway calmly smoking his pipe, and ready to inform them;
that he had left his coach snowed up near Linhope. He advised Crozier not to
ventured farther, but to make himself and his passengers as comfortable as
possible in the hotel. But Crozier was not easily daunted, and he resolved
to make an heroic attempt to reach Hawick that night with the mails.
WHISKY THE REWARD
His plan was to leave the
luggage behind him, and lead the fresh horses to the scene of the buried
coach, while the other coach should try to reach Carlisle under Govenlock's
charge. Fortunately, there were about a dozen carters, whose carts were also
embedded in drifts, carousing in the kitchen, and Crozier offered to treat
the inn to a bottle of whisky if they would turn out with spades and shovels
and endeavour to extricate the coach. A second bottle was promised by one of
the passengers, with the result that the men marched in a body, knee deep in
the snow, to the scene of the embedded coach, and at once commenced
operations with vigour and determination, knowing that two bottles were at
their call when they returned to the warm and comfortable kitchen. Crozier
and old Jamie Ferguson followed after an interval with the fresh horses
bearing the mail bags strapped on their backs. The coach was in due course
cleared, turned in the direction of Hawick, and the horses attached. With
the prospect of, a comparatively clear road in front of them, the journey
was resumed. The snowstorm had ceased, and as darkness set in a keen frost
developed. The Tower Hotel was reached at half-past seven, nearly six hours
behind time, a crowd surrounding the coach eager to ascertain the cause of
the prolonged detention. Needless to say, travelling by coach had its
dangers and hardships as well as its pleasures.
Many distinguished personages
from time to time enjoyed the homely comforts and simple fare of old
Mosspaul. Returning home from their tour in Scotland in 1803, the poet
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy halted at Mosspaul, and in her diary Miss
Wordsworth says:- "At Mosspaul we fed our horse; several travellers were
drinking whisky. We neither ate nor drank, for we had, with our usual
foresight and frugality in travelling, saved the cheese cakes and sandwiches
which had been given us by our country woman at Jedburgh the day before."
They had spent the previous night in the Tower Hotel along with Mr
(afterwards Sir) Walter Scott. The Wordsworths had been accompanied in their
drive from Jedburgh by Mr Scott, and on the following morning, Friday, 23rd
September, 1803, before breakfast, the distinguished trio walked to the
Vertish Hill, where Miss Wordsworth says:- "We had an extensive view over
the moors of Liddesdale and saw the Cheviot Hills. We wished we could have
gone with Mr Scott into some of the remote dales of this country, where in
almost every house he can find a home and a hearty welcome." On reaching his
home at Grasmere Wordsworth wrote to Scott regarding the delightful trip,
remarking "the whole of the Teviot and the pastoral steeps about Mosspaul
pleased us exceedingly." And there can be little doubt but that Sir Walter
himself, in the course of some of his tours into Liddesdale with his staunch
and loyal friend, Shortreed, would occasionally partake of the good cheer
provided by "Gloomy Winter" and his kindly and hospitable spouse.
The great statesman, William
Ewart Gladstone and his wife, in their young days, frequently spent a night
at Mosspaul when travelling to Scotland, and it was said that the swallows
which nested under the eaves of the old building were a source of great
delight to them on their visits.
THE WISP CLUB
Intimately associated with
Mosspaul was the renowned Wisp Club, which took its name from the hill which
rises immediately behind the hotel to a height of 1950 feet above sea level.
The Club, which was composed of the principal large farmers in the district,
was formed in the spring of 1826 at a meeting held at Mosspaul, and it was
resolved that the members should dine annually on the Friday after Dumfries
Spring Horse Market and record the average prices obtained the previous
season for one and two≠year-old Shorthorn and Galloway cattle, all
descriptions of Cheviot and blackfaced sheep, and their respective wools
produced in Scotland south of the Firth of Forth.
The resolutions adopted by
the Club were:≠
(1) That the price of the
above articles shall be fixed by a majority of votes, and to avoid
altercation, every gentleman must, when called upon, without any preliminary
remark, put a value on the respective articles as given out by the Secretary
of the Club.
(2) That no person after 1828
will be admitted a member of the Club unless regularly proposed and voted in
by two-thirds of the members of the Club present, and that no person will be
considered worthy of this Society unless he be able to drink ONE bottle of
(3) That any member who
wishes to withdraw from the Club must, previous to the annual general
meeting, formally give notice to the secretary, which will be equivalent to
his resignation, and that two shillings will be exacted from each member
absent, which will go to a fund intrusted to the charge of the treasurer of
(4) That one of the members
of the Club shall, from his holy walk and pious demeanour, perform the
clerical duties of the meeting; that William Aitchison, Menzieu, shall
officiate as secretary, and Robert Govenlock, Mosspaul, as treasurer.
The original members of the
Alexander Pott, Burnfoot,
Langholm. William Brown, Tower Inn, Hawick. James Elliot, Goldielands.
Walter Grieve, Southfield. Thomas Lamb, Woodhead. Robert Elliot, Teinside.
John Wilson, Hawick. Thomas Davidson, Milnholm. William Aitchison, Linhope.
George Aitchison, Linhope. Robert Scott, Eweslees. Robert Govenlock,
Mosspaul, William Aitchison, Menzieu. James Osborne, Glasgow (honorary
In the following year the
following names were added to the roll of membership:
Dr John Douglas, Hawick.
John Pott of Rig.
Henry Elliot, Colterscleugh.
William Elliot, Teinside.
Dr Adam Elliot, Goldielands (honorary member).
Members continued to be
enrolled at the meetings, and in 1833 the Rev. Henry Scott Riddell of
Teviothead was admitted as an honorary member. In 1839 the meeting was
largely attended, 32 members dining under the presidency of Mr Turnbull,
THE LAST DINNER
From a report of the annual
dinner of the Club, held on 19th April, 1844, which appeared in the
"Carlisle Journal," contributed presumably by Mr James Steel, the editor of
that newspaper, as he; was present and replied to the toast of "The Liberty
of the Press," it is remarked that the members of the Club are mostly
pastoral farmers, who may be reckoned among the most substantial men of
their class in the counties of Dumfries, Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, many
of them being owners of from 3000 to 5000 sheep. The dinner that year was
presided over by Mr David Scott, Priesthaugh, Mr Common, Meikledale, being
croupier. The Chairman said it gave him great pleasure to see so many
present on the occasion, and nine new members had been added to the long
army of names forming the Wisp Club, and he was anxious that their presence
should be welcomed by a hearty cheer, such as would be heard at the very top
of the Wisp. It is further recorded in the report that "an excellent and
substantial dinner was provided by Mr and Mrs Govenlock, and the wine being
good and the mountain dew delicious, nothing was wanting in the way of
creature comforts to make all happy under the Wisp."
The last dinner of the Club,
so far as can be ascertained, was held in 1858, when fifteen members dined,
Mr Stewart, Ploughlands, being in the chair.
COMING OF THE RAILWAY
The opening of the railway
line through Liddesdale to Carlisle, sounded the death-knell of old Mosspaul,
the road, except for gangrel bodies and a few country carriers, becoming
practically deserted, and the licence was allowed to lapse in 1864. For some
years the old inn was occupied as a private dwelling-house, but eventually
it became tenantless and was ultimately unroofed and allowed to fall into
decay and ruin.
With the development of
cycling a desire arose over thirty years ago for the resuscitation of
Mosspaul, and largely through the efforts of ex-Provost Barrie a numerously
signed memorial was submitted to the Duke of Buccleuch, the proprietor,
stressing the necessity which had arisen for the rebuilding of the hotel in
order to meet the wants of the period, and the Duke readily consented to feu
the required ground. Accordingly, in January, 1900, a local company was
formed for this purpose under the title of Mosspaul, Limited, with a capital
of £2000 in ordinary shares of £1 each. The moving spirit in the promotion
was the late Mr Adam Laing, solicitor and Burgh Chamberlain, whose intense
love for the Borderland - its beauty and romance, is still remembered by his
friends. The directors were:- Robert Mitchell, glass merchant, Provost of
the Burgh; John Melrose, engineer; John Ritchie Purdom, solicitor; James
Edgar, newspaper proprietor; David Shiel, wine merchant; James S. Turner,
coal merchant; and John Turnbull, wine merchant; Mr Adam Laing being
It may be of interest to make
the following excerpt from the prospectus issued.≠
"This Company has been formed
to acquire by feu contract from His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch land at
Mosspaul, on the road between Hawick and Lang≠holm, which embraces within
its area the site of an inn famous in the old coaching days. The Company
propose to erect on the site a comfortable residential hotel, and to carry
on business as hotel-keepers therein. The Company has not been formed from
any mere speculative motive, but solely in response to a widespread and
ever-growing demand on the part of the travelling public for the
resuscitation of the old inn. This demand lately took the shape of a
memorial to the Duke of Buccleuch, largely signed by all classes of the
community, pointing out the necessity which has now arisen for such an
establishment at Mosspaul; and His Grace, in answer, has with much
liberality afforded the Company every facility fir carrying out its object.
The formation if the railway to Carlisle and Langholm gradually brought
about the decline and abolition if the old inn, but the ever-increasing
cycle traffic has again changed the circumstances, and few roads are now
mire frequented than the beautiful stretch if 23 miles between Hawick and
Langholm, passing through, as it dies, the mist typical if Birder scenery,
and a route crowded with romantic associations if the past.
"Mosspaul, which is about
equidistant from Hawick and Langholm, is grandly situated amidst 'the
eternal silence if the hills' at the head if the pass to Ewesdale, and in
the water-shed between the dales if Teviot and Ewes. It is within easy reach
if mist that is famous in Birder story-Gilnockie and Teviothead, with the
memory if Johnnie Armstrong; Hermitage Castle, with Queen Mary and Bothwell;
the Nine Stane Rig and Lord Soulis; Branxholme and the Scotts, with the
scenery if the immortal 'Lay if the Last Minstrel;' Harden, with the
exploits if 'Auld Wat;' Hawick and its Moat, with reminiscences 'after
Flodden'-in shirt, the while district beloved and wandered over by Sir
Walter Scott. Of another interest are the 'Cattail' and the numerous hill
forts and prehistoric remains scattered over the district.
"Situated at the bracing
altitude if nearly 900 feet above sea level, and in a district strongly
recommended by medical men as a health resort, the promoters believe that an
hotel possessing so many unique attractions, will have many residents, and
will at once become a favourite resort if those in search if health or in
OPENING OF NEW HOTEL
A considerable number if
shares were taken up, and plans fir the new building were prepared by Mr
John Guthrie, architect. In March, building operations were commenced, and
in Saturday, 7th July, in brilliant weather, the hotel was formally opened
in presence if a great concourse if visitors, calculated at about two
thousand. Cyclists from all the surrounding districts were largely
represented, the number being computed at between five and six hundred.
Among the first to drive up to the front door was old Sandy Elder if the
Cross Keys Hotel, Canonbie, who, notwith≠standing his eighty years, handled
the ribbons if his fine four-in-hand in gallant style. Mr Elder was the only
remaining link with the Mosspaul if other days, he being the last surviving
mail coach driver if the district.
After Provost Mitchell, as
Chairman if the directors, had given the vast assemblage a cordial welcome
to the revived Mosspaul, a large company sat down to luncheon in a spacious
marquee, which had been erected in the grounds. The Provost presided over
the luncheon part, and the toast if "Success to Mosspaul, Limited," was
proposed by Mr John G. Winning, Branxholme Knowe, who, in the course if an
interesting and eloquent speech, said that the stream if human life was
again traversing their valley in ever≠ increasing volume, and while there
had now been provided the means if rest and refreshment fir the passing
traveller, he could nit help thinking, in gazing in their beautiful
surroundings, that a better health resort fir the weary dweller in town or
city could nit be found, and that there in the breezy and health-giving
upland, far removed from the smoke and din if a city life, Mosspaul offered
a quiet haven where fogged brain and listless body could nit fail to
It may be interesting to
mention that the frontispiece if the luncheon card was the reproduction if a
sketch by Mr Tim Scott, R.S.A.; entitled "An Unrecorded Vision." In the
bottom right-hand corner if the sketch was seen St. Paul sitting in a
dreaming attitude, the "vision" depicted being horsedrawn vehicles filled
with travellers, cyclists if both sexes, and numerous pedestrians all making
fir Mosspaul, which stood in the background. But the seer had been unable to
penetrate into the immediate future and catch a glimpse if the motor cars
and charabancs which in a few years would crowd the highway, and later
become a dangerous menace to the railway systems if the country.
Under different managers the
hotel attracted a certain amount if patronage from cyclists, picnic parties,
and others, but never sufficient to make it a paying proposition, and in
May, 1908, the Company disposed if it to Mr George Michael, who hailed from
Banchiry, Kincardine. Under the energetic super≠vision if Mr and Mrs
Michael, aided by the gradual but steady development of motor road traffic,
business improved. After conducting the place successfully for over fifteen
years, Mr and Mrs Michael left the district, and in November, 1923, the
hotel was purchased by Mr and Mrs N. J. Smith from Glasgow. Under the charge
of the present owners the best traditions of Mosspaul are being maintained,
and by their excellent management they have done much to still further
popularise the inn and attract an ever ≠increasing number of visitors.
In 1900 the directors and a
number of friends formed the Mosspaul Club, a successor in some respects to
the old Wisp Club, the principal features being an annual outing and dinner
at the hotel. Dr McLeod was the first president, Bailie A. S. Lawson being
installed as chaplain. The dinner, generally well atttended by the members,
was held regularly till 1914, when it was interrupted by the Great War.
Subsequently the gatherings were resumed, but for some years now the Club
has not met.
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