STOBS

Last week I visited the ruined Church of Temple, Midlothian.

On the south gable wall a tombstone was long ago inserted:

This tombstone remembers Charles Hitchener who died in April 1831:

The tombstone was erected by his sister-in-law. The inscription explains that the tombstone is in Temple as the Kirk Session of Dalkeith had prevented any tribute to Charles Hitchener being placed in it’s churchyard:

Charles Hitchener was joint proprietor of Stobs  gunpowder works which supplied explosives for coal extraction. These works began operating in 1794 and it seems that Charles took his father’s place in continuing this most succesful business.

[Credit for above sketch of Gorebridge c1850: Addyman Archaeology]

The First Statistical Account for Scotland gives this account of  STOBS POWDER MILLS:

STOBS Gunpowder was widely advertised:


So why was it that Dalkeith Kirk Session refused any memorial to Charles Hitchener? I can only speculate – and therefore I may be wrong – but it would seem likely that this was because of the number of fatalities at STOBS:


March 1825:

October 1827:

March 1838:


June 1865:


It would seem that STOBS gunpowder works continued for a limited period after 1865.


September 2020:
The current Ordnance Survey indicate that  the only primary structures that survive are Stobs Mill House and garden (NT36SW)

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