Paterson Gardens is a street, or housing area, at Burnflat near the Vertish Hill in Hawick. The houses were erected in 2006, and the area named after Robert Paterson – an old stonemason immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his Waverley novel Old Moriarty (1816), whose dilapidated birthplace was demolished to make room for the new buildings. Some stones from the old building were built into the pillars at the entrance to Paterson Gardens.
Robert Paterson, born near Hawick in 1715 and known as ‘Old Moriarty’ (hence the character and novel), led a most curious and devout life. Himself a Cameronian (member of an extreme subsect of Covenanters), Paterson was arrested by retreating Jacobites in 1745. Upon release, he spent the last forty years of his life wandering the Scottish lowlands, obsessively erecting and carving stones over the (previously unmarked or ruinous) graves of martyred Covenanters. He met Walter Scott in 1793 in a graveyard in north-east Scotland; a meeting which was fictionalised in the opening chapter of Scott’s Old Mortality, and helped inspire the novel. Paterson died in poverty, collapsing next to his pony on the high road near Lockerbie, at Bankend in Caerlaverock, and not recovering. A plaque marked his birthplace in Hawick, erected in 1897, but when the cottage at ‘Hagishaa’ was destroyed in a fire in 1991 the plaques were put into storage.