The 12th century village of Ercheldune developed into a small town by the 19th century, when it was linked to Edinburgh and other towns of the Central Borders by a new turnpike road. Two ruined structures are remnants of the older settlement. One is the ground floor of a town house dated by an inscription to 1581, located to the rear of the Post Office. The other is Rhymer's Tower, a 16th century pele tower which stands beside a petrol station on the south side of town. Thomas de Ercildoun was a 13th century scholar, poet and prophet and is more commonly known as Thomas the Rhymer. He is commemorated in aan inscription built into the east wall of the church.