This is the 18th century Old Marriage House in Coldstream. It was also the Toll House for the bridge, which crosses the River Tweed from Coldstream in Scotland to Cornhill-on-Tweed in England. The Old Marriage House is at the Scottish end of the bridge and is now a private home. But from 1754 until 1856 it was popular (like the Smithy at Gretna Green) for runaway marriages, because during that period under Scottish law couples could get married without parental consent and without giving prior public notice.
In the 19th century 1,446 ‘irregular’ marriages, valid in Scots law were conducted by ‘priests’, whose numbers included local men such as shoemakers and molecatchers. During that period five earls and at least two, maybe three, Lord Chancellors of England were married there.
This is the Coldstream Bridge, built between 1763-6, designed by John Smeaton. It replaced the old ford across the river.
The Union Chain Bridge links England and Scotland over the River Tweed at Horncliffe, just a few miles from where we live. Below is a view of the bridge seen from a footpath on the banks of the river. This was the first suspension bridge in Europe to carry road traffic. It still carries vehicular traffic.
Scotland is on the left as you look at the photo and England on the right.
Designed by Captain Samuel Brown, the bridge was opened in 1820, when it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world, with a span of 137 metres (449 ft). It is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.
I took the photo below standing on the bridge looking towards Scotland:
And a closer view of the bridge on the English side of the border:
Just up the road from the bridge is the Chain Bridge Honey Farm, a fascinating place where you can see a live colony of bees, behind glass, making honey, and where you can buy honey and other products such as candles made from beeswax. I’ll maybe write more about that in another Saturday Snapshot post.
The Visitor Centre at the Honey Farm also has a beautiful mural painted by local artist,Tony Johnson. My photo below shows a section of the map – my blue arrow points to the Chain Bridge. Also shown in this photo is Smailholm Tower (on the left of the photo as you look at it) which I featured in an earlier Saturday Snapshot post.
Coldstream is our nearest Scottish town, the other side of the River Tweed. The view as you approach from the English side of the border is dominated by this monument that towers 70 feet above the town. It’s known as ‘Charlie‘ and was erected in 1834 as a tribute to Sir Charles Marjoribanks who was the first Liberal Member of Parliament for Berwickshire after the Reform Act of 1832. He died in 1833 at the age of 39.
Below my photo is rather dark, just showing the silhouette of the statue as it rears up behind the houses in front and below it.
The obvious choice for me is reading, but as most of this blog is about just that, I chose this photo I took yesterday of reflections and rowing boats on the River Tweed, just a short distance from our house.