Martinshouse Farm

There is no record of a Martin ever having lived at Martinshouse (or Mertin’s Hoose) Farm, and where most houses face the road they’re built beside, Martinshouse sits with its back to passers-by. An anomaly of architecture, or the product of historic chance? The latter, it would seem. For Martinshouse Farm once stood facing a turnpike road, now colloquially known as ‘the Old Road’. The Old Road ran from the English border at Scots Dyke (in Dumfriesshire) to Hare Moss (in Roxburghshire, just outside of Selkirk). It passed through Hawick via Martinshouse, Langbaulk, and the Loan. The road (which ran roughly along the route of the modern A7) was wide enough to be passable by wheeled-traffic, thus allowing Hawick to flourish and grow as a centre for trade. However, in 1815, ‘the New Road’ was built, which ran from the Sandbed to Goldielands, and on to Carlisle or the Borthwick, alongside the Teviot. Opened officially in 1816, this new turnpike route bypassed Martinshouse Farm, and the Old Road fell into disuse. So goes the story of how Martinshouse Farm ended up with its back to the modern roads, and its front to the hills. As for the name, it has been suggested that it refers to the presence of those most nimble-flighted of farmland birds: house-martins.