Mossfennan is a small settlement in Scottish Border near Drumelzier in the valley of the River Tweed.
Because of its strategic position on one of the two main road between England and Scotland it has a long history; it was a fifty shillings land of old extentIn the phrases old extent and new extent, the names given to the general valuations of land in Scotland for the purposes of taxation, casualty assessment and franchise. The old extent was made in the reign of Alexander III, the new, as a result of the improvement of land and altered money values, in 1474. Later valuations were generally calculated in multiples of old extent, until superseded in the 17th century by valued rent. and it had a peel tower. The original name was Mospennoc (Cymric; meadow by the hill).
Mossfennan appears in literature being referenced in an old Scottish ballad.
‘The King rode round the Merecleuch Head,
Wi’ spotted hounds and spaniels three,
Then lichted doun at Mossfennan Yett,
A little below the Logan Lee.’
In the reign of Alexander II. (1214-49) were owned by William Purveys who granted to the monks of Melrose a way-leave through them to their lands of Hopcarton on the opposite side of the Tweed. In 1296 there is record of ‘John Eyr of Messfennon’ who swore fealtyAn oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas (faithfulness), is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. Typically the oath is made upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint’s relic, often contained within an altar, thus binding the oath-taker before God.
In medieval Europe, fealty was sworn between two people, the obliged person (vassal) and a person of rank (lord). This was done as part of a formal commendation ceremony to create a feudal relationship.
Fealty and homage are a key element of feudalism.
to Edward I. of England on 23rd August of that year.
After that, two centuries pass before there is any clear trace of the proprietors, but it is probable that the lands were held either in property or superiority by the barons of Glenholm – the Frasers and the Earls of Douglas. After the forfeiture of the Douglas estates the superiority of Mossfennan (and also Logan) passed to the family of Porteous of Whitslade, afterwards of Glenkirk, and then, as already narrated to Lord Fleming in 1727, to Thomas Cochrane in 1742, to the Naesrnyths in 1753, and to John Welsh in 1792.