The Crook Inn (Listed as Category C in 2002 - the Listing includes the out-buildings and the metal railings at the south side of the car park).  The Inn received its first licence in 1604 and is one of the oldest licenced premises in Scotland.  However the name was in existence before this date as a charter of 1572 in connection with Kingledores mentioned the Cruikburn.

Crook Inn

There are two possible derivations of the name 1) From Cruik the hook from which cooking pots were suspended over open fires and 2) From a Cross a wayside Pilgrims way marker.   Both derivations are on the Origin of the ‘Crook’ Name page. Edgar's map of 1641, below, shows the Crook on the east side of the track on the parish boundary.  The route of this section of track must have been where the Talla railway passes to the west of the Crook today. Subsequent maps show ithe Crook on the west side as it is today.

EdgarsMapshowingCrook.jpgThe first date after 1604 when the Inn was mentioned in the records was in 1621 when a messenger was sent from Edinburgh to arrest Sir Patrick Porteous of Hawkshaws as he was wanted for debt.   They broke their journey at the "Cruik in Tweddale" where Porteous was rescued by his neighbours.   This must be the first recorded instance of the connection between the Porteous family of Hawkshaw and the Crook Inn.

The next date was in July 1624 when in the accounts for Peebles a Robert Fotheringham was reimbursed expenses incurred in the transport of a prisoner , Walter Grahame, from Peebles to Dumfries with an overnight stop at the Crewik.

In June 1682 the records of the Tweedsmuir Parish Kirk state "Claverhouse nearly captured at the Crook by hillmen returning from their quarterly convention at Talla Linns"  More about the Covenanters can be found on the Covenanters in Upper Tweeddale page.

In the Privy Council records for Drumelzier Parish in 1684 is John Tweedie Cotar in Cruik.  This cottage must be the same one noted nearly one hundred years later by Capt. Mostyn Armstrong in 1775.   See Armstrong's observations on the Origin of the ‘Crook’ Name page.

In 1688 the Crook got a second mention in the Tweedsmuir Kirk records. "Mr Francis Scott, Episcopalian had been outed by the parishioners - Mr Thomson ordained at the Crook, which was the place ordained for preaching - the church not yet having been obtained possession of."

The aftermath of the battle of Culloden in March 1746 spread far and wide, even as far as the reaches of the upper Tweed and the environs of the Crook Inn.   On the twentyseventh of June 1746 the Redcoats were at the door of the Hunter family house of Polmood a very short distance from the Crook.   They were there to arrest John Murray of Broughton, the secretary to Prince Charles.  Murray had gone there seeking refuge with his sister Veronica Murray who was the Lady of Polmood - her husband had been Robert Hunter of Polmood who had died two years previously in 1744.   Murray later turned King's Evidence to save his own skin and was hence held in distain by his Jacobite compatriots and was referred to scathingly as "Mr Evidence Murray".  The Redcoats no doubt took the opportunity to slake their thirsts at the Crook after the succesful operation of the arrest of Murray.

Two months later in August 1746 a detachment of Redcoats escorting a prisoner stopped at the Crook.   George Black the innkeeper was surprised as the prisoner of the Recoats  was an old aquaintance - this visitor was Captain Donald Maclaren.  The next day George Black was even more surprised as Mclaren arrived again at his door but this time he arrived as a fugitive seeking shelter for the night!   This is Donald Maclaren of Maclarens Leap at the Devil's Beeftub.   For more about this see the Maclarens Leap page.  George Black the Innkeeper rests in Tweedsmuir Kirkyard along with his wife Mary Wilson - their headstone reads ... Mary Wilson wife of George Black tenant at the Crook died 01-06-1771 aged 63, George Black late tenant innkeeper at the Crook died 30-10-1778.

There are many stirring stories involving the Crook including fugitive Covenanters, Jacobites, Poachers etc that have been brought to life in the works of the many notable literary stalwarts of the day that enjoyed the hospitality of the Inn.  The best known are Robert Burns and his friend the poet Robert Fergusson and also Sir Walter Scott.  Others listed by Walter Buchan in his History of Peeblesshire were - Lord Cockburn, Bishop Forbes, was there many a time, Veitch, Shairp, Christopher North, Dr. John Brown, Professor Blackie, Russel of the Scotsman , Andrew Lang all new it well.  Sir Thomas Dick Lauder and William Black.

John Buchan, 1st Lord Tweedsmuir is unlikely ever to have frequented the Crook Inn. In his younger days he must have passed the door of the Crook many times, either walking or on bicycle usually with rod and creel. For an insight as to why he probably chose the title of Tweedsmuir see section on John Buchan on this website.

The Inn had many landlords over the years - one of the best known was Jean Hutchison better known as "Jeanie o' The Crook."  Rev. Hamilton Paul the Minister of Broughton, wrote a song in which he proposed to Jeanie, and she would have nothing to do with him. Each verse of the song is believed to end with the chorus -

O dear Paul, ye're far ower awl',

For Jeannie O' the Crook.

Jeanie died in 1839.  Below is an image of the Hutchison gravestone in the Tweedsmuir Kirkyard Picture Gallery.

jeanieothecrook02.jpg

Worn inscription - Johnston sister...oct 31 1779 aged (57)... also Ann (Ferguson) (spouse)... Eliz d ? aged 11 months and Margaret died 27-04-1812 aged 17 both daughters of John Hutchison in Crook: John Hutchison in Crook died 1(3 or 5) aged 64, wife Margaret Johnston died Crook 06-02-1839 aged 69, son Robert died 13-02-1826 aged 21, daughter Elizabeth died 10-07-21.  " Jeanie o' the Crook died 1839."

The Crook Inn is mainly remembered as a Coaching Inn although there was also a farm on the site.   The arrival of the railway system in the first part of the nineteenth century led to the cessation of the stage-coach service and the Crook Inn went into decline and farming became the main business of the premises.

However by the second half of the nineteenth century the railway system had expanded into all rural areas including Broughton.   This expansion of the railways with associated "Station Hotels" brought a new age of travel and tourism, particularly to Scotland with Queen Victoria's encouragement.   The Crook Inn jumped on this bandwagon.  The building was remodelled and considerably extended - doubled in size infact - between 1871-1881.   The new building extending southwards into what is the present day car park.   It was at this time that the public bar with a new fire-place complete with sway/cruik/pot was probably added and named Willie Wastle's Bar - the fireplace included an ingle seat as described in Burn's poem and also a replica of the cat mentioned in the poem.  For the poem about Willie Wastle and his wife by Robert Burns and information on the site of Linkcumdoddie mentioned in the poem - go the Willie Wastle page.   Part of the fabric of the original building, ie the paved stone floor of the bar area, was possibly incorporated into the new extended building but this not specific.  The Crook was rebranded as an Hotel and a shuttle service of horse/large two-wheeled gigs (also known as dog-carts) between Broughton station and the Crook was established.

The construction of the Talla Reservoir 1890-1905 brought in a new era with senior staff of the Edinburgh waterworks, engineers, surveyors etc resided at the Crook as did some of the navvies who lived in a hut on the site.   Most of the navvies however lived in huts at the Talla dam site.   The Talla railway built to service the dam construction passed to the rear of the Crook and a wooden "Station" shown as Crook Halt on maps was established there.   The fact that the Crook at this time, according to the 1901 census, had a full-time barman says it all! Previous census listings had the dairy-maids doubling as bar-maids.

But in 1913 it is recorded that the Inn closed it's doors and became a private residence.   "What used to be the cheery, clean little Crook Inn, standing in it's clump of trees, its history as an Inn has ended...   There is now on this highroad between Peebles and Moffat - a distance of something like thirty miles - not a single house where man or beast may find accomodation and refreshment."

However this dismal state of affairs did come to an end.   The invention of the internal combusion engine brought a new wave of tourism by car and charabanc.  In 1936 the main building was reduced in size - the south extension disappeared and an Art Deco road-house style infill single story extension added with access to a sitting-out area on the roof accessed by an Art Deco doorway from the upstairs of the building.  An Art Deco formal garden was also established on the opposite side of the road.  A visitor to the hotel in 1938 wrote a postcard - of the Crook - in which she said "This is a marvelous Hotel.  I wish you could see the bed & bathrooms!"  For images of the spectacular Art Deco bathrooms I suggest a visit to the Royal Commission of Ancient Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) website http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/ .   Enter Crook Hotel in the search box.  It is planned that when the Crook Inn is reopened that the Art Deco bathrooms will be retained.

Its a great pity that the Coaching Inn swinging sign which may have been above the main door has not survived as this may have depicted a cruik/cooking pot alluding to food, warmth and hospitality.  One would like to think that Alexander Pennecuik back in 1715 during his journeys through Upper Tweeddale actually stayed at the Crook and saw the Coaching Inn sign.  By 1715 the origin of the name of Crook being possibly derived from a wayside cross would have been forgotten - see Origins of Crook Name page.

The shepherd's crook and gambling lambs "logo" came later.  In 1953 the Inn had two pet lambs - one black one white - which butted any dogs that came to stay.

Sadly the Inn has closed yet again.  The present owners closed the Inn (Our Pub!) and made an application in November 2006 to convert the historic site into flats. The local populace took up in arms and began a battle to safeguard the Crook as an Inn. They  managed to raise the required funds to purchase the site - this happened in February 2013. The building having been closed and empty for over six years. Things are really happening now and information on the progress being made to reopen the Crook can be be found at the following website - http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheCrook and also the Tweedsmuir Community Company site http://www.tweedsmuircommunitycompany.org.uk.

The Inn has been added to the Historic Scotland "Buildings at Risk" register.  Reference No HS 49036.

 

Tony Hope