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GALASHIELS, a manufacturing town, burgh of barony, and parish, partly in the district of Melrose, county of Roxburgh, and partly in the county of Selkirk, 6 miles (N. by E.) from Selkirk, and 32 (S. S. E.) from Edinburgh; containing 2140 inhabitants, exclusively of 2396 in the parish of Melrose, into which the town extends. This place, which is of remote antiquity, derives its name, signifying in the British language "a full stream," from its situation on the river Gala, by which, from the rapidity and violence of its current, the town was formerly subject to frequent and disastrous inundations. In the reign of David II., the Scottish army was quartered in the immediate neighbourhood, after the battle of Crichtondean, in which the English, being taken by surprise, had been defeated, and compelled to cross the Tweed near the town. About a mile distant, on the road to Abbots ford, is a tract formerly a marsh, but now in a state of cultivation, where, in a skirmish, some of the English forces were slain, and in which, while draining the land, were found several implements of war. In 1599, the place was erected into a burgh of barony; and in 1622, from a report of the lords commissioners, it appears that it had become of some importance, and contained not less than 400 inhabitants. The town is pleasantly situated on the river Gala, which pursues its course in a direction from north-west to south-east, and is spanned by four bridges. It is of very pleasing appearance, consisting chiefly of houses built within the last fifty years in a neat and handsome style; the streets are well laid out, and partially lighted, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. A public library, supported by subscription, has a collection of more than 5000 volumes of general literature; and there are public reading and news rooms, well supplied with newspapers; also a good circulating library, and libraries attached to some of the places of worship.
From: 'G'Aasker Isle - Glasford', A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 458-478. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43442&strqu... Date accessed: 24 June 2009.
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