Here brings us to the last civilised spot upon the river Rule. Even, I might add, a final resting place for some, as it houses an ancient graveyard.
Spittal-on-Rule is full of interesting things like old farm buildings, ruins, an ancient bridge, an ancient graveyard site which was then re-used in the 17th century - featuring the last witch of Denholm, three freshwater wells - one of which cures leprosy.
A little history: "Spittal-on-Rule" name definition: hospital on the river Rule. Once upon a time this farm was actually three separate farms and through the ages owned by the Veitches, Murrays, Bunyans, Douglases, Kers, Teachers and Turnbulls, but through time, these farms became one, situated at the meeting point of the two rivers, Teviot and Rule, in 1807. A shiny new farm steading was built in 1808.
(This next bit is sourced from 'Rulewater and Its People' by George Tancred) In 1563 William Douglas of Cavers sold Spittal Mains to Gilbert Ker - note this would have been after that nototious Earl of Hertford burned pretty much the whole parish of Cavers in 1545. Later on, in 1619 and thereabouts the tenants were Turnbulls.
After the forming of three farms to one in 1807 the Turnbulls became owners of the farm in 1811. In later years the farm was passed to the Teachers - who made whisky, though I dont know if they made it at Spittal it seems likely, and the Turnbull's also made whisky.
I have even found a little old token coin in the fields with only the word "STILL" printed on either side. No coincidence surely that the place was once teeming with whisky lovers!
The farm then passed to the present owners who have had the farm for about forty years. They dont make whisky. But they do grow wheat - which becomes whisky sometimes...
There was once a chapel here, but while there is nothing visible to suggest where it's location was a number of old maps and documents suggest it was directly above the well that cures leprosy. The graveyard is still there though.
The farm's hospital existed at the same time as the chapel, documented as existing in 1425, but I'm not sure how long a chapel on the site had existed for before this. The church was destroyed in 1545 by the Earl of Hertford and his army.
According to Ian Cowen & David Easson in 'Medieval Religious Houses, Scotland' (1976) the hospital at Rulemouth (an older name for Spittal-on-Rule) was for lepers, and was known as the hospital of St Mary in Teviotdale in 1510. This book confirms that Spittal was one of the places burned by the Earl of Hertford (nasty man) in 1545. (p189-90)
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