Borders Hospitality

In 1609 The Loch of Bemersyde formed a bitter subject of contention between James Haig and one of his neighbours namely Haliburton of Mertoun. The latter laid claim to certain privileges over the loch in question, which lies in the hollow pass between the two estates and is now called Bemersyde Moss. 

While the dispute was pending, the laird of Mertoun, rode across the “rigs” in front of Bemersyde House. Haig, incensed, threatened him if he came that way back again.  Mertoun did so, whereupon Bemersyde sent his son James into the house for his gun. Haig, in reply to a contemptuous remark of Mertoun’s, lodged the contents of the gun into Mertoun’s body. Mertoun’s companion, seeing him fall from his horse, drew his sword, and attacked, only to be felled by the butt of Haig’s gun.  

Happily, in neither case were the injuries fatal and with the rude chivalry of the Borders, Haig himself undertook the surgery of his two prostrate opponents, and afterwards to send them both home to Mertoun "carried in blankets".

The dispute with regard to the Loch, which we now know as Bemersyde Moss was not finally disposed of until near the end of the century.