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