Leyden's Cottage

Leyden's Cottage is located at the centre of the earliest part of the village of Denholm, overlooking a small green which is just to the northeast of the main village green. John Leyden, linguist and poet and friend of Sir Walter Scott, was born here in 1775.


The cottage now has A listed status reflecting it’s importance as the birthplace of Scots poet and linguist Dr John Leyden.

The cottage is made up of three single storey cottages made into one, with an upper level.


It is now the only thatched cottage left in the village and one of only eleven thatched buildings known to survive in the Scottish Borders.

Fifty years after his death a Monument was built in the middle of the village green to commemorate his life.

The cottage is a private residence.

In 1793 the stocking making firm, Dickson and Beattie, set up their business in Leyden's Cottage. The cottage was used to clean the textile fibres prior to stocking manufacture. In 1803 Dickson and Beattie moved to Hawick where they became Dickson and Laing and opened the Wilton Mills in 1809-10. The Wilton Mills were the first in Hawick to have water powered spinning jennies and in 1830 they introduced the first power looms. The Wilton Mills expanded significantly over the 19th century and became one of the most prominent mills in Hawick, which was the centre for textile manufacturing in southern Scotland.

The cottage's association with John Leyden was remembered throughout the 19th century and in 1896 the cottage was restored by the Edinburgh Border Counties Association as an informal museum to him. During these works the granite memorial plaque was set within the wall next to the front door. It reads 'Birthplace of Dr. John Leyden born 8 September 1775 Died at Batavia 20 August 1811'.


After the works the cottage was passed into the care of the Earl of Minto whose ancestor had been a friend of Leyden.

The cottage is now in private ownership  however it remains a significant building within the village because of its association with Leyden.

PHOTO: The Edinburgh Border Counties Association take over Leyden's Cottage, 28th July 1896.