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062 Piper's Stone, Rachan Mill, Broughton.

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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 garden.

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 Water.

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.

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Quick Info
Type: Named Stone
Nearest Town: Biggar
Nearest Village: Broughton
Landranger Sheet 72
O.S. Explorer Sheet 336
Grid Reference: NT 1153 3400
GPS Reference: PIPER2

Symbols Key | Stone Types

Other Sites Nearby
035 Standing Stone, Drumelzier, Broughton.
057 Stone, Dreva Craig, Broughton.

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