THIS week, Chris Atkinson, from the West Linton Historical Association, brings us the history of the village of Romanno Bridge...

Romanno Bridge is a small village with much of interest.

Terraces on the slopes above the village have always attracted the attention of visitors. The ancient steep bridge over the Lyne Water with its attractive tollhouse was identified as a place to halt on the turnpike roads to Peebles or Moffat.

It was close to this spot that in 1677 two gypsy clans, the Faws and the Shaws, returning from Haddington Fair fell out over the division of spoils that they had taken there.

The resulting skirmish was a bloody affair resulting in the death of old Sandie Faw and his pregnant wife and the serious wounding of his brother George.

The remaining fourteen were quickly arrested by the Laird of Romanno, Alexander Pennecuik, taken to the Peebles tolbooth and subsequently sent to Edinburgh for trial which resulted in old Robert Shaw and his three sons being found guilty and hanged in the Grassmarket.

Their bodies with their clothes on were thrown into a hole dug for them in Greyfriars Churchyard. Next morning only three bodies were there, that of the youngest son a boy of sixteen was missing.

To commemorate the incident Dr. Pennecuik erected a dovecote at Romanno upon the spot in 1683, and placed upon the lintel of the door this inscription:

“The field of Gipsie blood you see

A shelter for the harmless dove shall be”

In more recent times Romanno Bridge’s claim to fame was its poultry farm. In 1913 there came to the hamlet of Romano Bridge from the south, three men, Messrs F.E. & G.H. Adams and T.D.M. Linkie, to set up a poultry farm.

The only house for miles around was a temperance hotel which was promptly bought and converted into a private residence and office for the newly formed Romanno Bridge Poultry Farm.

Opposite, an abandoned building, which in earlier times had been a Tweed mill, was converted conveniently into a two-storey Incubator House which had capacity for 40,000 eggs.

Several thousand chicks were brought out weekly during the season, since in addition to a big trade in eggs for sitting, Messrs. Adams and Linkie had a considerable connection in “day-olds”.

The farm was a great success, extending over 300 acres employing forty staff, and was described as “the largest and best equipped poultry farm in the British Isles”. It closed in the 1920s during the Depression.