Piper's Stone, Rachan Mill, Broughton.
A large block of local whinstone, measuring approx. 1.10m x
0.80m x 0.30m can be seen in the garden of a house just south of
Rachan Mill near Broughton. The stone lies recumbent but have
stood erect at one time.
From Broughton, follow the A701 south towards Moffat. The stone
lies in the garden of the house on the west side of the road, less
than half a mile from the junction with the B712 Peebles road.
There is very limited parking in the area but permission might be
sought at the house. Please ask permission before entering the
According to local legend, Bertram the Cobbler played
the pipes when the king passed by. That is one story, but
there are variants. One is that the King, in recognition of
the hospitality and services of Bertram who was a cobbler by
trade, granted to him as much land as his wife, who was
stoutly built and slow of foot, could walk round in a given
time. While the King sat and watched - his stone seat in the
garden of the Acre can still be pointed out - Bertram's wife
succeeded in encircling a tract of sixteen acres, and this
was duly granted, together with the right of pasturing a
mare and foal, a sow and nine pigs, on ground near Helms
Another and more circumstantial account tells us that the
King James IV. or V. in disguise came upon Bertram while he was
tending his cows and amusing himself with a tune on the
bagpipes. He was hospitably entertained, and spent the night in
Bertram's cottage. In the morning the King revealed his
identity, and promised Bertram a grant of lands adjoining his
house, with the pool in the centre - these lands to be called
Drone instead of Duckpool in memory of the tunes of the bagpipes
- and as much ground at the foot of Holms Water as would keep
the mare and foal, sow and pigs, but they were to be driven no
faster 'than a woman could walk knitting a sock or spinning with
a distaff.' Bertram was also to have five soums on the
common of Holmshope.
Thereafter Bertram accompanied the King on his way to
Badlieu. They passed Drumelzier Castle, and did not stop to
render tribute, and Tweedie in great wrath set out in pursuit.
They were overtaken at the march between Badlieu and Glenbreck,
and the pool in the river at that spot was, according to the
writer (Rev. Hamilton Paul) of the second Statistical Account
(1834), still called in his day the Drone pool. The King sounded
his bugle, and in a few minutes four and twenty belted knights
came to his assistance. Tweedie was completely discomfited, and
in the trial which followed in Edinburgh, Bertram was given the
place of honour.
The stone may not be an antiquity and it's setting does not
suggest it being anything significant in the past. However, the
fact that has some associated folklore and also that it has
survived in a domestic garden, might be important.