Many years ago I attended a scout camp at Stobo and remember the walk along the B712 to collect water in an old milk churn. Returning today little appears to have changed. The scattered group of houses 6 miles south west of Peebles make up the village within a parish of 7 by 5 miles .
It was from the barony of Stobo that the surname arose.A David de Stobhou witnessed charters c 1177-99 and a Major Robert Stobo guided the Fraser Highlanders up the Heights of Abraham at Quebec in 1759.
The church with traces of 11th century Norman architecture is one of the oldest in Scotland,but the site possibly dates back to the 6th century and St Kentigern also known as St Mungo,patron saint and founder of Glasgow.Near here he is supposed to have converted Merlin the magician to christianity.Today Stobo is more famous for it's luxury health spa at Stobo Castle,a 19th century creation by the Montgomerys who succeeded the Murrays of Tweedsmuir.
There is limited parking off the B712 beside the church and it is well worth a wander round this historic building. There are some curious gravestones and a set of Jougs encased at the entrance. These were a common site at Scottish kirks where those guilty of breaking the sabbath,cursing and antenuptual fornication were publicly humiliated at the entrance to the church on the orders of the Kirk Session.
Return to the main road and cross the burn to a row of cottages and a sign pointing to the route of the John Buchan Way (JBW). There is also limited parking here if the church carpark is full. The track is an old drove road and heads through the Broughton Heights to Broughton,the neighbouring village and parish. Head up the road towards Easterknowe farm and the junction beside a JBW sign.Cross the gate and follow the burn. Eventually you will come to the ruins of Harrowhope,take the left fork ,crossing the burn and shortly over a stile into the open hill.Leave the JBW and head for a small plantation gradually climbing to the top of Penvalla. Here there are views over the Broughton Heights and Upper Tweeddale.
Drop down to the coll and fence between Penvalla and Ladyard Hill.Another short climb to the top offers view over the Lothian plain and the Pentland Hills.
Return to the fence and follow the track which can be marshy to Harrowhope cottage or follow the dyke and the high ground to the plantation at Penvey,where the fence can be followed down to Harrowhope.A short walk back along the JBW follows back to the start.Time 3-4hrs O.S 1:25000 Sheet 336, Biggar & Broughton.
Refreshments at the Laurel Bank Tearoom + bar in the nearby village of Broughton,home of the local Broughton Ale.
Hardie,N Stobo Death Records 1819-1854 : Selkirk Genealogy
Scott,S.A (1971) Pre 1855 Monumental Inscriptions of Peebleshire:Scottish Genealogy Society
Seymour,C.(1989) Stobo Kirk in NLS
Links for Stobo Parish
Stobo Kirk Wikipedia
Stobo Kirk and the legend of Merlin
The Statistical Accounts
Old Parish Register:
Births: 1783-1854 (Mothers' names are not recorded until September 1802) Marriages: 1783-1818, 1820-1854 (There is only one entry Jun 1787-Dec 1790) Deaths: 1783-1848
Kirk Session 1754-1959 CH2/423 Minutes, 1754-1843, 1854-1951; Heritors? minutes, 1808, 1815, 1817, 1826; Names of Heads of Families 1835,communion rolls, 1883-1931, 1936-1949; collections and disbursements, 1754-1849; cash book,1896-1958; fabric fund accounts,1945-1959; disjunction certificate book, 1934-1946; seat-letting book, 1931-1945; names of heads of families,1835.
Heritors Records 1818-1928 HR/309 Minutes, 1840-1913, 1915-1928; Valuation roll, 1818.
General Register of Poor 1845-1935 SBA/360/85
GD40/1/741 List of tenants and occupiers of the lands of Stobo and Eddilstoun Oct 1580
GD293/2/26 Rental Rolls and other papers pertaining to the estate of Stanhope and Stobo 1792-1803
GD293/3/2 and GD/293/4 Militia returns and correspondence.Peebles Lieutenancy and Militia.
RH9/3/98 Account of rent in parish of Stobo petaining to Sir William Murray of Stanhope 1683
RHP1902 Map of the Barony of Stobo