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Town Trail

Tea Street (5)

The houses on the right hand side of Tea Street were built in the late 17th century. Looking at them, you will see that the line of the roofs and eaves are constant but the ground level, door and window heads vary in height, the most exaggerated case being the house at the eastern end of the row. Until the 17th century, most Scottish domestic buildings were thatched. In 1681, an Act of Parliament was passed which stipulated that new roofs should be covered with "lead, slate, scailzie or tile and no otherwise". This was in an attempt to stop a fire in one building spreading to those close by. The houses in Tea Street were originally thatched - notice how steeply pitched the roofs are - and this was still in evidence on the houses in 1930.

Near the junction of Tea Street and the lane called School Close there used to stand Hunter's Ha', a strong tower with walls two metres (almost seven feet) thick which served as a Royal Hunting Lodge. It is said to have been erected in the 14th century by the Douglas family who held sway over much of the Borders. When they were stripped of their lands and power in 1455, the tower was claimed by the Crown. It then became a mini armoury for the storage and repair of cannon and other guns used in Border wars and was locally known as the "King's Fortalice". The building later became the residence of the Gala Estate Forester and remained so until 1813. Parts of the tower were then incorporated into the new parish school building, although most was demolished in 1816 for safety. The school itself was demolished shortly before the Second World War to allow new houses to be built. This also created a new road called Glebe Place.

Continue along Glebe Place to the junction of Church Street. Immediately in front of you is a terrace of houses. Behind the houses is an area known as the Bow Butts. This is where the men of Galashiels used to practice archery and may date from the 15th century. A decree made by King James IV (1488-1513) required that all men of military age were to practice archery in order that they could be called upon in times of conflict. Well before this law was passed, both William Wallace and King Robert I made use of archers from the area during the Wars of Independence. As you walk along Church Street the Old Burial Ground is on your left. Behind the high wall on the right is "The Grange" (the old name for an abbey farm) which was at one time the manse for the church.

Next: Old Burial Ground

Historical Background
Where to Start
(1) Scott Park
(2) Old Gala House
(3) Old Parish & St Paul's Church
(4a) The Tolbooth and Cloth Hall
(4b) The Mercat Cross
(5) Tea Street
(6) Old Burial Ground
(7) St Peter's Episcopal Church & School
(8) Burgh Buildings
(9) Public Library
(10) Market Square
(11) Church of Our Lady & St Andrew
(12) Post Office
(13) Former Co-op Building
(14) Glasite Chapel
(15) Burgh School
(16) Bank Street Gardens
(17) Volunteer Hall
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