Friday, 10 July 2015

Earlston's Working Horses

"Horses are absolutely necessary in this part of the country, for it is by them the farmers labour their farms and drive their corn to market.  They never work with oxen now as they did formerly" - a quote from "The First Statistical Account of Scotland" written 1791-1799.  

Sixty years on,  the 1851 census for Earlston (including Mellerstain and Redpath) lists 9 men working as  blacksmiths, 7 carters/carriers, 3 saddlers, 2  stable boys, an ostler, a farrier, a groom and a coachman - plus of course all those who would be working  with horses on the many farms in the parish.  

Photographs in the Auld Earlston Collection show the importance of the horse in everyday life, well into the twentieth century, as illustrated here. 

Anyone tracing their family history may well have  a "carter or carrier " in their ancestry - an essential occupation in transporting goods around. 


A horse and cart beside the trough and old Pump Well in Earlston's Market Square.  
The Well was demolished  in 1920 to make way for the War Memorial. 

The Smiddy in the Square

Below three photographs of Brotherstone Blacksmith's at the East End.

 Gypsies at the Horse Fair on East Green. c.1900

1907 and the church choir outing to Yarrow Manse on a crowded wagonette 


A winter photograph  of the Red Lion Hotel  in the Square.    The driver of this unusual sledge seems to be dressed very formally in a top hat and is not particularly well  wrapped up against the elements.  And who was he waiting for?  There does not seem to be any path cleared through the snow from  the hotel.  Or was it a promotional photograph?    From the collection of the Heritage Hub, Hawick.

And finally can anyone help identify the occasion for the bunting in this photograph  of Thorn Street  - date unknown?   

For more photographs on village life,  
look at our associated Facebook page  Lost Earlston

Thank you to everyone who has  donated or loaned old photographs for scanning.
Auld Earlston welcomes all contributions on the village's past  -
 contact us on or via the comments box below.  



  1. Some more super photos

  2. An interesting selection of pictures.

  3. An interesting social history on the role of the horse in everyday life.


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