THIS week, Chris Atkinson, from the West Linton Historical Association, brings us news about the village's 'beautiful' greens...

West Linton is very fortunate in possessing two most attractive village greens, the land for which was granted to the inhabitants in perpetuity by the feudal Lord, the Earl of March.

When in 1631 Linton was raised to a Burgh of Regality, it gained the right to hold fairs and markets which in earlier times were held on the Lower Green.

These markets in the nineteenth century were of a considerable size and were regarded as the largest in Scotland when upwards of 30,000 sheep would be sold annually.

West Linton was on a drove road for cattle crossing the Pentlands by the Cauldstane Slap and the greens in the village provided suitable resting up places for cattle and drovers on their journey south.

These greens were not always as tranquil as we see them today. In 1729 there was an objection on the part of a section of the congregation of the church to the enforced settlement of the minister, and on the day of ordination in 1731, ‘riotous scenes’ were reported.

Soldiers, possibly dragoons from Lanark, were sent to restore order, and as they forded the river at the Lower Green, they were pelted with stones by the indignant villagers, several of whom were then taken to Edinburgh to answer for their disorderly conduct.

In 1854 a gas works was erected at the north end of the Lower Green which must have detracted somewhat from its bucolic nature as villagers were allowed to graze their cows and dry their washing there. It existed until 1902 but no remains of it are to be seen today.

A reliable supply of potable water, from a spring above the Upper Green known as Rumbling Tam, would undoubtedly have been the main factor in the establishment of a brewery and a tannery at this spot. A children’s playground was originally sited near there on the Upper Green below the road embankment, which at that time was fringed with trees.

In early June the village celebrates Whipman Week, when the Whipman and his Lass are installed at a ceremony on the Lower Green, and many events are enjoyed including dancing, fancy-dress parades, and numerous games and sports. At this time the ‘shows’ would arrive with their roundabouts, stalls and side -shows.

During the summer the Lower Green was very popular with visitors who at that time could picnic in their cars by the Lyne Water.

A bowling green, tennis courts, and at one time a putting green, adjoined the Lower Green and at a bend in the river a deep pool, known as the Minister’s Pool, provided a choice of recreation for both villagers and visitors alike.