Black Bull Hotel (5)
The Black Bull Hotel dates from the 18th century. The hotel is reputedly the site of a peel , although no trace of such a building exists today. The land was sold in 1721 but the sasine does not mention a peel. The land was sold again in 1737 although this time the sasine does record a 'high house called the peel'. It seems reasonable to assume therefore that a peel may have been built between 1721 and 1737 but it is strange that a defensive building should be built during a period of peace and prosperity for the Burgh.
Whatever it's earlier history, what is certain, is that the Black Bull served as a coaching inn for many years and in the early 19th century it was one of the busiest inns in the Borders. After the Treaty of Union in 1707, Lauder was situated on one of the main north-south routes through the Borders providing a convenient stage where the coach horses could be changed.
One tale of the Black Bull refers to the son (Tom) of the head ostler who got into trouble and was sent to the Tolbooth jail. Tom was a post boy at the stables, and during the period of his incarceration, when all the other postboys were out, a post-chaise arrived, drawn by four horses with two postilions . His father was in quite a quandary and eventually decided to run to the jail and plead that Tom be released in order to attend to his duties. He was duly granted his freedom but it was not long before he was imprisoned again for another offence in the town!
The building was enlarged in the 19th century to include the section on the left. Here you can see two tripartite windows, the ground floor set have an elegant round headed Palladian window with Gothic astragals. The earlier part of the building, to the right, is typically Scottish in detailing, notice the dormer windows at the eaves with their pedimented gables. It is conceivable that the Black Bull was once thatched.
To the left of the Black Bull Hotel is Rutherfords general store. Note the distinctive yellow sandstone quoins and dark whinstone walls.
At the top of the Avenue to the left of Rutherfords shop is the Eagle Hotel. In the past this Hotel was known as the Eagle Inn and was one of several inns providing stages for changing horses on the road between Edinburgh and the North of England as well as providing rest on the local routes to Jedburgh, Kelso and Duns.