This website uses cookies. To read more about them, click 'cookies stored'. To accept our cookies, click the check box then press 'Continue'.

Borders Family History Society

Society Logo
Home Join
Publications Research Maps &
Blog Other
Contacts What's

Our Archive and Search Room is open for research by appointment only. Please use the Contacts page, selecting the option Archive Appointment Request to arrange your visit. Keep up to date via our Facebook page and Twitter.


Roxburghshire map

The Parish of Melrose based on the historic Burgh of the same name is situated in the north east of Roxburghshire being bordered on the north by the Parish of Lauder, on the east by the parishes of Legerwood, Earlston and Mertoun all in the County of Berwickshire, on the south by the Parishes of St. Boswells, and Bowden and on the east by the Parishes of Galashiels and Caddonfoot both in the County of Selkirkshire and Stow in the County of Midlothian.

The town of Melrose grew up around Melrose Abbey, one of the four great medieval abbeys in the Borders. Melrose is also the home of Seven-a-Side Rugby which was first played here in 1883. Melrose and Bowden have now been combined into a single parish. The War Memorial is on the green in front of the parish church. There's also a war memorial at Darnick

Old Parish Records cover the periods:

  • Births: 1642 to 1791, 1820 to 1854.
  • Marriages: 1642 to 1854.
  • Deaths: 1781 to 1854.
Melrose Parish Church Melrose Old Parish Church

Local Pictures

Sales List

See our sales list for full details and cost of postage.

Volumes available for consultation within our Archive

Magazine Articles

Please note that the heading Author includes persons who have compiled or transcribed records; and that the topics indexed, and the synopses are subjective opinions.
See the Sales List to buy copies of the magazines containing articles in which you're interested.

Title Synopsis Size Description Issue No Author
Life in Melrose--150 years agoThis is the account of family life in Melrose in the first half of last century, from an autobiography of Catherine Helen Spence.3 pages or more 11Colin Wood 
The Boston Family of GattonsideA tale of hand loom weavers from Gattonside who decided to visit a sister in Canada. How they eventually decided to emigrate over to Canada and they walked from New York to Upper Canada. Most of the family are buried in Melrose Church Yard.2 pages or more 39M.C.Lawson 
The Case of Agnes GrayTaken from the Session Minutes of Melrose Parish Registers (1723-1741). A sad tale of a young girl who was cited to present herself before the Kirk Session.1 page or more 19 
My dig into the PastHow a birthday party of Melrose Bridge led to a very interesting tale of one man's family search.2 pages or more 33Mr Turner 
Melrose ApprenticeshipsA report on the compilation by Society member, Dr Vivienne Dunstan, on masters and apprentices in Melrose Parish between 1743 and 1804.less than 1 page 83Vivienne Dunstan 
Langshaw Mill Decree of 1608Extract Decree relating to Langshaw Mill. The Decree is interesting for genealogists because of the very considerable number of people mentioned in it.1 page or more 59Gregory Lauder-Frost 
Cousin Fred from HawickProblems tracing the history of a Dickson family who had lived in the Lauder area from the 17th century,3 pages or more 65Jim Dickson 
A 'Scot' Moves to South AfricaBiography of Archibald Little, born Melrose, 11 January 1829, died 13 December 1921, Johannesburg. Brief notes on his occupations, and service in the Basuto War.2 pages or more 44Tony Little 
Blind Jamie DonaldsonAccount of James Donaldson, whose tombstone is in Melrose Abbey churchyard.1 page or more 47Margaret Lawson 
McKenzie's around the River AleAn account of McKenzies in and around the Borders.4 pages or more 49W E McKenzie 
The Cairncross family - an example of a 16th-17th century family of feuarsThis is the text of the author's talk to the Society on 18 September 2005 titled 'Cairncross, a Border Family'. Outline of a typical noted old family in the Lauderdale/Melrose/Galashiels district, with descriptions of some of the local areas and ownership.12 pages or more 59Gregory Lauder-Frost 
Memorials to the late Rev Thomas WilliamsonDetail of a book on the Rev Thomas Williamson, minister of Melrose Secession Church for 30 years.less than 1 page 90 
My dig into the pastPeebleshire family and from other parts of the Borders, an interesting tale. Also, history of various bridges over the Tweed.3 pages or more 34A. Turner 
Melrose to Melbourne - The Story of one Wallace familyInteresting account of the author's Wallace research, ancestral emigration from Melrose to Sydney, Australia, farming, and the army. Two interesting photographs, too.3 pages or more 67Richard Balsillie 
Escape from DingletonSome of the inmates of Dingleton Asylum, Melrose tried to escape. A few entries from the Register of Escapes are listed here.3 pages or more 74Peter Munro 
The Fairholme Memorial (Holy Trinity Churchyard, Melrose)An article on the memorial in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Melrose, to James Walter Fairholme, RN, who perished with the Franklin expedition of 1845 to discover the North West Passage and an account of the expedition itself. 89John Wood 
A Berwickshire SchoolmasterJean Smithers has contributed this nugget from her investigations into the history of one of the strands of her ancestry.1 page or more 11Jean Smithers 
Cavers & DistrictTalk given in February 2007 about the history of the kirk and parish of Cavers and its links with Melrose, St Cuthbert, and other famous people.6 pages or more 64Jean Muir 
Kelso's Ragged schoolCase histories and fate of children in the 1800s who went to a Ragged School. These three names from the excellent book that Audrey has written will make you want to purchase this book.2 pages or more 9Audrey Mitchell 
A Border Lady of the Old SchoolInterview with Mrs Jane Henderson Thomson Bell aged 83 in 1910 about her life. Written in Scots.4 pages or more 20 
Celtic v Pick of the BordersAn account of a football match between Glasgow Celtic and 'Pick of the Borders' in 1906.1 page or more 88Kenny McLean 
William Dick (1849 - 1932)Account of William Dick, a blacksmith in Fountainhall and his family.4 pages or more 63Margaret Dick 
The Days of Our Youth - Memories of MelroseThis article has been extracted from a much longer memoir that John Dick wrote when he retired around 1950. He was born in 1889, the second son of William Dick, an ironmonger in Melrose and his wife Isobella Lauder. He emigrated to Canada as a young man where he eventually became the Chief Cost Accountant for Sun Life Assurance Company. John served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I as a quarter-master sergeant. Although he was twice married, he had no children.7 pages or more 67John Dick 
Melrose: Past and PresentA story of Melrose from 3000 years BC to the Greenyards in 1992.2 pages or more 22Mr. T Little 
Dingleton Hospital, MelroseSome notes on Dingleton Hospital, Melrose, and how to access information of those having a connection.1 page or more 87 

Map of Melrose from Quarter-inch to the mile, Scotland, 1921-1923 or One-inch to the mile, Popular edition, Scotland, 1920-1930
by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Use the control at the top left of the map to zoom in or out and drag the map left, right, up, or down as you wish.

20 Most Common Surnames

The 20 most common on gravestones recorded by us in the Melrose Abbey monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (34), PRINGLE (21), SMITH (16), MILNE (15), RUTHERFORD (13), TAIT (12), MERCER (12), BROWN (12), ELLIOT (11), THOMSON (11), TURNBULL (10), DICKSON (9), STEVENSON (8), BELL (8), DAVIDSON (8), DODDS (8), TOD (8), ANDERSON (8), BUNYAN (8), BOSTON (7).

The 20 most common on gravestones recorded by us in the Melrose - Weirhill and High Cross Cemeteries monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (36), BROWN (23), RUTHERFORD (16), WILSON (16), HENDERSON (16), THOMSON (12), TURNBULL (12), STEWART (12), MURRAY (12), RIDDELL (12), DOUGLAS (11), HALL (11), HARDIE (10), GRAHAM (10), REDPATH (10), WOOD (9), ROBERTSON (9), SMITH (9), LOCKIE (9), ANDERSON (9).

Melrose - Wairds Cemetery is not yet included in the Gravestones Index.

Other Sources

Scottish Borders Archives, The Hub Hawick

School Records

Poor Law

The National Archives of Scotland

Melrose Parish Church (Ref CH2/386)

Melrose Free Church (St. Aidan's) (Ref - CH3/805)

Melrose United Associate Congregation Church

Other Items


The Southern Annual

Lothian Health Service Archives

(situated at Edinburgh University Library)


Town Website contains a history of Melrose.
Melrose Rugby Club
Stobie's Map of Roxburghshire of 1770 .
The RCAHMS website Scotland's Places contains details of;

Place and Farm names in Census Records

1841 census: Danielton, Darnick Village, Huntlyburn, Pavilion, Bridgend, Lowood, Abbotsford, Kaeside, Sunnyside, Coatgreen, Broomilees, Peashill, Old Melrose, Ravenswood, Broomhill, Newstead Village, Eildon Village, Newtown Village, White Hill, Greenwells, Friarshall, Gattonside Village, Gateside, Kittyfield ,Leaderfoot, Drygrange, Sorrowlessfield, Craigsford, Blainslie, Broadwoodshiel, Calfhill, Colmslee, Threepwood, Langshaw, Allanshaws/ Uplaw, Hawksnest, East Langlee, West Langlee, Old Gala Bridge, Langhaugh, Ladhope, Plumtree, Buckholm, Whitlaw, Williamlaw, Comely Bank, Chingle, Sime Pl., Bridge St., Wilderhaugh.

1851 census Melrose, Darnick, St. Helens, Darnick Vale, Chiefswood, Huntlyburn, Broomlees, Cotgreen, Sunnyside, Kaeside, Abbotsford Moss, Abbotslee, Abbotsford, Lochend, Tweedbank, Bridgend, Lowood, Berryhall, Gattonside, Abbotsmeadow, Allery, Friarshall, Newstead, Millmount, Gattonside Haugh, Eildon Mains, Eildonhall, Eildon, Peasehill, Langlands, Newtown, Newtown Mill, Hawkslee, Whitehill, Point field, Whitelee, Glenburnie, Greenwells, Eildonhall, Carolside Mains, Clackmae, Leadervale, Craigsford, Sorrowlessfield, Drygrange, Leaderfoot, Kittyfield, Ravenswood, Broomhill, Old Melrose, Wineburgh, Jeanfield, Blue Cairn, Newhouses, Threepwood, Upper Blainslie, Middle Blainslie, Blainslie, South Blainslie, Roan, New Blainslie, Broadwoodshiels, Cuddy Hall, Wooplaw, Allanshaws, Cobleheugh, Pavilion, Westhouses, Gateside, West Housebyres, East Housebyres, Mosshouses, Langshaw, Langshaw Mill, Comslie Hill, Hawksnest, Ladhope Muir, Comslie, Glendarg, Langlee Hill, Charlies Cairn, Langlee Main, Back o' the Hill, East Langlee, Whitlaw Bar, Whitlee, Whitlaw, Hawk Burn, Williamlaw, The Whin, Torwoodlee, Buckholm, Buckholm Mill, New Bristol, Plumtreehall, High Buckholm, Damhead Bar, Murray's Gate, Appletreeleaves, Ladhope, Langhaugh, Wester Langlee, Joppa, Galashiels, Darling's Park, Wilderhaugh, Low Buckholmside, Comleybank, High Buckholmside, Ladhope Bank, Dingleton Mains, St. Mary's, Mavisbank, Rose bank, St. Dunstan's, Booklaws, Bloombank, Weirhill, Bleachfield, Weirbank, St. Cuthbert's, The Priory, Cloisters, Viewfield.

1861 census: Melrose, Weirhill, Trinity, High Cross, Wellbank, Bleachfield, Dingleton Mains, St. Helens, Darnlee, Lowood, Bridgend, Tweedbank, Lochend, Abbotsford, Abbotslee, Abbotsmoss, Huntlyburn, Chiefswood, Berryhall, Kaeside, Sunnyside, Cotgreen, Broomilees, Darnick, Darnick Vale, Westhouses, Pavilion, Cobleheugh, Chainbridge, Gattonside Haugh, Millmount, Gattonside, Newstead, Broomhill, Ravenswood, Old Melrose, Peashill, Eildon, Nortonhall, Eildon Bank, Glenbournie, Greenwells, Eildonhall, Eildon Mains, Oakendean, Newtown, Hawkslee, Whitehill, Whitlee, Langlands, Gattonside Mains, West Housebyres, Easter Housebyres, Mosshouses, Cairney Mount, Clackmae, Leadervale, Glenburnie, Craigsford, Sorrowlessfield, Drygrange, Leaderfoot, Kittyfield, Fairshall, Allerly, Craigsford, Longshaw, Colmsliehill, Threepwood, Newhouses, Blainslie, Mid Blainslie, Nether Blainslie, New Roan, Old Roan, Winburg, Cuddyhall, Broadwoodshiels, Jeaniefield, Bluecairn, Old Bluecairn, Longshaw.


The population has been recorded as follows:

Roxburghshire map

Local Pictures

 Abbotsford House - The Armoury
Abbotsford House - The Armoury

 Abbotsford House from the garden (before 1905)
Abbotsford House from the garden (before 1905)

 Abbotsford House from the Tweed
Abbotsford House from the Tweed

 Baillie Memorial Hall and United Free Church (now Church of Scotland), Newtown St Boswells
Baillie Memorial Hall and United Free Church (now Church of Scotland), Newtown St Boswells

 Curly Green Capital, Melrose Abbey
Curly Green Capital, Melrose Abbey

 Darnick Tower
Darnick Tower


 The Eildons from Bemersyde
The Eildons from Bemersyde

 The Eildons
The Eildons

 Melrose and the Tweed
Melrose and the Tweed

 Melrose Abbey
Melrose Abbey

 Rhymers Glen, Melrose
Rhymers Glen, Melrose

 Eildons from Bemersyde, Abbotsford House
Eildons from Bemersyde, Abbotsford House

 Tweed Suspension Bridge, Melrose
Tweed Suspension Bridge, Melrose

So far as we are aware, the copyright on these pictures has expired. However, if you wish us to remove the images and you can demonstrate that you hold the copyright, please contact us.