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Harrow Inn

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Harrow Inn

Larry (View posts)
Posted: 1121378799000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Ruickbie
Partial Transcription
This is only a portion of the 1938 Hawick Archaeological Society Transactions.
This article concerned itself with the public houses of Hawick.

“The Harrow Inn
One of the houses was the Harrow Inn, and the other the Ordnance Arms, but better known as the Cannon Inn. In the olden days a great number of inns had pictorial signboards, and probably that above the door of the Ordnance Arms would depict a cannon or cannons, seeing that the landlord was an old artillery man. At the time the bank acquired the properties only one of the houses held a licence – the Harrow Inn on the west side, the owners being the trustees of John Hislop, merchant, deceased, and George Hardie Fraser. The tenement towards the east belonged to and was occupied by James Wintrup, auctioneer and shoemaker. Between the Harrow Inn and the property on the west side ran a long narrow dark close right up to the Backdamgate, and which was known as the Tunnel.

The landlord of the Harrow Inn in the early years of the last century was James Ruickbie, a noted border poet who enjoyed the friend ship of the Ettrick Shepherd, Henry Scott Riddell, Allan Ramsay, Thomas Campbell, Professor Wilson and other contemporary bards. He was a native of Innerleithen and a miller to trade, but for some years before entering the Harrow had been a toll keeper at Colterscleugh, all the country tolls in those days being licensed houses. One of Ruickbie’s daughters was married to Robert Govenlock (“Gloomy Winter”), who was the landlord of Mosspaul from 1816 till his death on 12th June 1861.

Ruickbie was believed to have been the first local bard to publish a volume of verses, and is understood to have issued three or four edition, one of which was printed by Robert Armstrong, Hawick in 1815. He is said to have been a model landlord, enjoying the respect and esteem of all classes of the community. Mr. James Turnbull, in his work already referred to, says he remembered the Harrow Inn, the tenant being a Mrs. Scoon, whom everybody spoke of as “The Canny Woman.” The last landlord of the Harrow must have been a Mr. Ferguson, for it is reported that on the Old Years Night of 1856 the annual supper of the Hawick Ornithological Society was held in “Mr. Ferguson’s Harrow Inn.””



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