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Knowetownhead, Hassendean, Roxburghshire

(55°27′26″N, 2°43′21″W)
Knowetownhead, Hassendean
NT 544 184
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland) Roxburghshire
now Scottish Borders
medieval Glasgow
now n/a
  • James King
28 June 2016

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Feature Sets

The carved panel is built into an exterior wall of a post-medieval farm building, the farm house next to it thought to be 18thc (but could be early 19thc). Knowetownhead is located near Hassendean Burn, just NW of the site of Hassendean Chapel which was originally located at the juncture of Hassendean Burn and River Teviot. The only other carved stone so far found on the farm buildings is a stone with the date 1828. The last of the lairds of Hassendean seems to be David Scott, who was killed in 1564. Ultimately, the parts were united in the person of Thomas Turnbull, last laird of Minto. In 1673, John Turnbull made a disposition of the land and barony in favour of Walter Scott of Harwood. The land subsequently went through a series of short ownerships but was eventually sold to Gilbert Elliot, who was made first Baron of Minto in 1700. After the church of Hassendean was surpressed in 1690, the parish was split between those of Minto, Roberton and Wilton, the largest part going to Minto. In the land tax rolls for 1803, it states that David Simpson paid £227.8.0 for ‘Know’, but below this, in the same entry, is written that Thomas Gray of Altons paid £214.0.0 for ‘lands now called Knowtownhead’. In the valuation rolls of 1858, ‘Knowtownhead’ is described as ‘a farmhouse with outhouses attached’. At that time, it was inhabited by John Turnbull, though owned by W. J. Scott. John Scott, son of William Scott purchased the estate of Teviotbank about 1804. Teviotbank House was built in 1833, but there had been a previous house called ‘The Knowes’. The farm buildings of Knowetownhead are a short distance from the site of the old church at Hassendean, destroyed by flooding in 1796.


Walter son of Alan appears to have been made Steward of Scotland by David I, most probaby after 1141. Later, David’s grandson Malcolm IV (1153-65) bestowed on Walter, in gratitude of service, land in several places including ‘Halestondene’. In about 1163, Alan made it known that he wished to found a priory at Paisley, with monks from Wenlock, but it was not until 1169 that Humbald and his fellow monks arrived there. During the reign of King William the Lion (1165-1214), the buildings on the site at Paisley were advanced enough for the monks to move into them and a charter was given to the new foundation. In it, a gift was made to the priory of a caracate of land in ‘Hastendene', which Walter the Chaplain is said to have held.


Loose Sculpture


The farm buildings of Knowetownhead are a short distance from the site of the old church at Hassendean, destroyed by flooding in 1796. Although there seems to be no record of where the carved panel was found, it has been suggested that the stone may have come from the old church, especially as there is no evidence for any other buildings near the farm which could have been its source. While the stone is not carved with obvious 'Romanesque' forms, Anglo-Saxon and Pictish scholars do not recognise the carved forms on it. It seems possible, therefore, that the carving may represent an overlap period, late-11thc to early 12thc, in the Border region of Scotland. See site for Hassendean’ for the history of the church.


D. Aitken, ‘Parish of Minto’, The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 3 (Edinburgh and London, 1845), 367-373.

W. Burn, ‘Parish of Minto’, in J. Sinclair, The Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol. 19, Edinburgh 1797, 570-72.

J. Cameron Lees, The Abbey of Paisley, from its Foundation till its Dissolution, Paisley, 1878, 26-27, 32-35.

A. Jeffrey, The History and Antiquities of Roxburghshire and Adjacent Districts, Vol. 2, London 1857, 21, 22, 156, 374.

National Records of Scotland, Land Tax Rolls for Roxburghshire, Vol. 4 (1803), 59.

Ordinance Survey Name Book: Roxburghshire, 29: Parish of Minto (1858), 59 plan 20.9. trace no. 5.