St. Ronan's Lodge
Built in 1824 adjacent to St. Ronan’s Wells, St. Ronan’s Lodge became the popular accommodation for those who came to partake in the healthy option of the day, the mystical waters of the various wells on the slopes of Lee Pen. With extensive grounds of flower, vegetable and strawberry gardens for provisions and bowling green and lawns for relaxation the house provided a stress free atmosphere with stunning views over the Leithen and Tweed Valleys and southwards to Traquair and the Glen.
Advertised for sale in The Times in 1908 the selling points boasted splendid fishing within 10 minutes walk in the Tweed and Leithen and an excellent golf course nearby.
But St. Ronan’s Lodge, now known as Glenroy, is a house with interesting past. The house now bears the name Glenroy, that was given to the house by Mr J M Wilson, a man who loved his sheep dogs and named the house after two of his favourites, Glen and Roy. Mr. Wilson has the esteemed honour of winning the World Sheepdog Title for an unequalled nine times between 1928 and 1955. In the field next to Glenroy, known as Dobson’s, in the late 60’s Wilson could often be see spending many hours training and working his dogs.
St. Ronan’s Lodge was once owned by a family named Dobson who likely owned the field beside the house. A timber ships cabin built in the garden was placed there by Mr Dobson, an importer, who lived in the Lodge in the early 20th century. Bill Dobson, born in September 1921, was a member of this family whose business Dobsons of Edinburgh was well known and successful. He had a brief but distinguished career in the sports car team based in the capital. Dobson was one of the founding drivers of the successful Ecurie Ecosse racing team that twice won the Le Mans 24 hour race. Dobson happily raced until 1952 before his father, who was ultimately paying for his sport, challenged him. Dobson reported: "The old man said to me one day, 'Are you going to motor race or are you going to earn a living?' I went away and thought about it, and decided that up against Stirling Moss and others I couldn't make a living motor racing. I decided to go back to the family business." Bill Dobson died in October 2008 aged 87.
On the 24th August 1892 John Elliott Cuthill was born at St. Ronan’s Lodge. Along with his family he emigrated to New Zealand in 1896 to live in Mossgiel. During WW1 John or Jock Cuthill was mentioned in despatches but perhaps more interestingly in a rugby playing area like the Borders he played for the All Blacks on sixteen occasions making his debut at age 21 and he played club rugby for Otago University. Described on the All Blacks web site as ‘a good attacking and defensive centre. He had a fine physique, rare defending powers, and was a strong and determined runner’ Cuthill was asked to captain the 1914 All Blacks in Australia but withdrew to concentrate on his studies. His brilliant rugby career ended when he was wounded in the war. He became a teacher after the war before going into business in Invercargill.
So an interesting house with some very interesting people connections and very much part of our local landscape and history.