Parish histories, from
their purely local [character, receive only a limited amount of
attention from the general public. These histories not infrequently omit
all detail in regard to individuals whose families for generations have
followed their vocation as shepherds, farmers, or labourers, some of
whom, or their descendants, have risen to distinction in other parts of
the world. In Rulewaier and Us People I have endeavoured not to make
this omission. The units in the population of our Border parishes are
all much alike—landowners, ministers, farmers, shepherds, tradesmen,
gamekeepers, and farm-servants. Some are here to-day and away to-morrow;
others cling to their native parish. They may leave it for a time, but
generally return—these all find a place in this history of the district.
In whatever part of the world this book falls into the hands of a
Rulewater man or one who is united to this district by the ties of
ancestry or kindred, I trust its perusal may have the effect of
intensifying his love, and of drawing him in closer bonds of fellowship
with his brethren in the Watergate.
It is sometimes thought necessary, in attempting to write the early
history of a place, to dive into remote antiquity and to record
circumstances for which there is no sufficient authority. These records
of a past age I leave to the scientific archaeologists, who are better
able to give an opinion in such matters. I have restricted myself to a
few parochial traditions handed down from father to son, which in
themselves give some shadow of authentic history to the narrative.
In compiling the family history of Rulewater I have included the lands
adjoining the valley and the families connected therewith. I hope those
who have a claim to be mentioned but who have been left out will pardon
the omission, as space would not allow me to notice even briefly many
who were born and bred in the district.
I publish this book, not for the landowners of the valley, but for the
descendants of those old residenters who in their day and generation
have helped to keep together the clanship of the Borders. If this humble
attempt of mine should in any way promote this object, I shall feel well
repaid for the trouble I have taken.
I have had assistance from all parts of the county in the preparation of
this work, for which I am* most thankful. The old resident families,
past and present, have a strong claim to my gratitude for the willing
help they have given me in regard to their pedigrees and family
histories; and I am much indebted to the officials of His Majesty’s
Register House for their courtesy to me on all occasions. I should like
to mention specially the names of two old friends of mine now dead, from
whom I received much valuable assistance—Walter Deans, mason,
Kirk-style, and Thomas Rutherford, blacksmith, Bonchester Bridge, who
were born and educated in this valley.
Rulewater and its People here
See also by the same
author The Annals of a Border Club