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Meet the Gentry

Squire Ballantyne

"They would be only too glad to flee from the vices and the temptation of town life."
thumbail of Squire Ballantyne (Alistair Turnbull) Squire Ballantyne (Alistair Turnbull) click here to view large images

The Squire is a man who prides himself on being reasonable and who wishes to understand the reasons for the upset which is causing such an uproar in the farming community.  He owns an estate which is big enough for him to be rather remote from the farming community but not such a big estate that he would leave all such matters to his agent. He is proud of the improvements that have been made to his cottages.  He is a man with good principles but quite impartial due to his distance from the problems in agriculture.  He cannot, however, entirely ignore the problems because they are so wide spread and they will be a major topic of conversation even in his circle of friends.  He has strong feelings about the ‘vices and temptations’ of town life and mentions Kelso and Berwick in this connection!  

The Squire was played by Alastair Turnbull.

Farmer Robertson

"Of course, another solution might be the Bothy system?"
thumbail of Farmer Robertson (Mike Young) Farmer Robertson (Mike Young) click here to view large images

Farmer Robertson is a gentleman farmer and considers himself to be a well respected farmer  in Berwickshire.  He is aware that times are changing and that this is going to impact on his business but he is still determined to try and retain the status quo.   He has the pressure of the disease rinderpest amongst cattle round about and the rebellion amongst the workers is a big worry and irritation as he does not like change.  Not totally unreasonable but fairly entrenched in his views.  His farm is a distance from any town which means he cannot obtain casual workers easily.  ‘Good families’ are going to be very important if he is to obtain all the workers he needs and have them to hand when required. He speaks well but there are one or two colloquial words to indicate that he is only a generation or two removed from thepeasantry’.

The Farmer was played by Mike Young.

Rev. Lang

"We should take care to lodge our peasants as well as we lodge our beasts..."
thumbail of Rev. Lang (Tony Neale) Rev. Lang (Tony Neale) click here to view large images

Rev. Lang is quite elderly and slightly pedantic.  He remembers the previous, but unsuccessful, stand made against the bondage system in 1837.  He has a deep interest and responsible attitude to his parishioners and has obviously lobbied hard over the years to improve their conditions, particularly the housing. He admires the Rev. Gilly of  Norham who died in 1855.   Rev. Gilly spoke out strongly in support of the ‘peasantry’ of Northumberland and particularly lobbied for better housing.  He wrote ‘The Peasantry of the Border – an Appeal on their behalf’ – Published – Warder Office, Berwick-upon-Tweed. 1841.

Rev. Lang was played by Tony Neale.