The Crook Inn
The Crook Inn has been at the heart of Tweedsmuir for more than 400 years. In 1604 it was one of three inns licensed under new laws introduced in Scotland by King James I/VI, to ’restrain the inordinate Haunting and Tippling of Inns, Alehouses, and other Victualling Houses’. It continued to offer hospitality to visitors and the community alike until its closure in 2006.
In 1688 the local Minister was ousted by his congregation, who preferred the Covenanters. He took the key to the Kirk, so services were held in The Crook until the Kirk could be reopened. The next minister was ordained at the inn
When the A701 became a turnpike road between Edinburgh and the spa town of Moffat and Dumfries in 1752, The Crook was a staging post. Travellers included Robert Burns, who wrote his scurrilous, amusing description of Willie Wastle’s Wife in the kitchen. Willie Wastle lived in the nearby settlement of Linkumdoddie
The handsome Victorian conversion was opened in 1835, when the Minister from Broughton, Rev Hamilton Paul, declared his admiration for the landlord’s daughter, lovely ‘Jeannie ‘o the Crook’, in a poem which became a popular song.
Amongst many sociable gatherings at the Crook Inn, distinguished Edinburgh literati came regularly for good walking and excellent hospitality. In 1891, the Scottish Mountaineering Club held its first official outing, setting out from The Crook to climb Broad Law, the highest hill in the Scottish Borders
The Tweedsmuir Curling Club met there annually until 1914, and the Porteous family held regular family gatherings every 5 years for members from all over the world
The Crook played a significant role in the construction of the Talla reservoir in 1895-1905. A railway line was built from Broughton to Talla to transport materials to the construction site, with a siding at the Crook. The contractor had a financial interest in the Inn, and paid the 300 – 500 labourers there on a Friday, reckoning to get most of his money back by Monday! The Crook Inn was reported to be rowdy in those days
In the 1930s The Crook had another makeover, in Art Deco style. The exterior walls were finished in white and an impressive extension built, with curved windows, a flat roof and balcony. Art Deco features inside include the striking tiling in the ladies’ cloakroom.
The Crook Inn was closed in 2006 by a new owner who proposed housing developments, stripping away over 400 years of heritage and the vital centre of community life and employment. Residents strongly opposed the proposals and formed the Tweedsmuir Community Company to fight the plans. An energetic Save the Crook campaign raised £160,000 to purchase the Inn.
The rest of the land at the site was purchased in 2016 with support of the Scottish Land Fund and windfarm community grants.