The local authority Parish of Stow stretches from Crookston (near Heriot) to Bowland, and has two main centres of population: Stow and Fountainhall.
Stow, or more properly, Stow of Wedale, is a small village nestling in a bend of the Gala Water valley in the Scottish Borders. Various explanations have been given for the name of the village; until recently it was accepted that Stow came from the Anglo-Saxon for a stockaded place and Wedale described the country of the Goidel – an old British tribe who lived in a wide expanse from Wales to the river Tay. But it is more likely that the name means The Holy Place in the Valley of the Shrine (wiche meaning “shrine” and dale meaning “valley”; wiche dale = “wedale”). This definition takes us back to Our Lady’s Well which stands just to the south of the village.
Fountainhall – with a population of 280, Fountainhall is a small community with its own school and village hall. It supports a thriving WRI and is strongly linked to the farming community. Lying just a couple of miles to the north of Stow, Fountainhall comes together with Stow as one community enjoying many social and economic links with Heriot and Galashiels.