Hunter of Polmood
HUNTER of Polmood
The HUNTER family of Polmood (Polmood shown here in ruins at right) certainly had an extensive history in Tweedsmuir. It was their tradition that they could trace their ancestors back to a charter dated 1057 to Norman HUNTER of Polmood. For purposes of their connection to the MURRAYs of Stanhope, we will begin our discussion with Robert Hunter of Polmood, the second son of Michael HUNTER and Helen SCOTT.
Robert HUNTER, of Polmood was admitted as a burgess of Peebles in 1633. He succeeded his older brother in Polmood in 1635. There is no record of his marriage, however, he did produce a son. Robert HUNTER died in 1689.
Child of Robert HUNTER of Polmood:
i. George HUNTER, who was born about 1650. He was also admitted as a burgess of Peebles and succeeded to Polmood on his father's death. His wife's name is unknown. George HUNTER died in 1721.
Children of George HUNTER of Polmood:
1. Robert HUNTER, younger of Polmood appears in April of 1718 as a witness to the marriage of Alexander MURRAY of Cringletie and Katherine STEWART. On 05 September 1721, he married Veronica MURRAY, daughter of Sir David MURRAY of Stanhope. Robert HUNTER died without issue on 08 February 1744.
2. Archibald HUNTER was the second son of George HUNTER of Polmood. He was served heir to his brother, Robert, in 1747. Archibald married but the name of his wife in unknown. Archibald died in 1752 leaving one son
a. Thomas HUNTER who was born about 1743 and was described as a 'delicate youth' and was sickly throughout his short life. A merchant from Edinburgh became his tutor and curator and the merchant used this advantage to entice Thomas to entail Polmood in favour of the merchant. Thomas died 20 March 1766 and the merchant was able to prevail over several challenges to his title.
The Edinburgh Merchant who stole Polmood happened to be named Alexander HUNTER although he was of no relation to the Hunter's of Polmood. Of course, this pilfering was big news in Western Peeblesshire and when the merchant's claim to Polmood was finally challenged in court (1780) many old Peeblesshire legends became part of the court transcript.
Several of these revolved around "Uncle Robert" HUNTER. Uncle Robert was born in 1651, the great-grandson of a James HUNTER who died at Hearthstane in 1620. Uncle Robert was a tenant in Craig Kingledoors and Hearthstane.
Uncle Robert was an important friend to the Hunters of Polmood and he is given credit for stopping (by force) the laird of Polmood (George HUNTER 1650-1721) from joining the Jacobite rising in 1715 . . . therefore saving Polmood from certain forfeiture.
Uncle Robert was said to own an extraordinary dog, called Algiers. Many local residents testified that Robert would tie a napkin containing money around the neck of the dog and send him off on a three mile journey to Lammington in order to purchase snuff for the master. The journey included a swim across the Tweed but the dog would execute the task faithfully and prevented anyone from laying hold of or stopping him. Residents who knew Robert HUNTER of Polmood even recalled that, "Algiers could be sent to Edinburgh with a letter, and bring back an answer to his master."
Uncle Robert even spent his later years at Polmood where his niece, Margaret TWEEDIE, in nearby Hearthstane, provided care for him. Margaret "thought it a pity that the family of Polmood should be troubled with him" so she provided care for her Uncle Robert until he died in 1744. It was this service, in part, that earned Margaret TWEEDIE the moniker "Gudewife o' Herstanes".