of St Bathan’s
|Abbey St Bathans
- the village is on the Southern Upland Way
There used to be an old Cistercian nunnery here - this
was a cell of South Berwick (i.e. Berwick).
There is a legend that the nuns had an underground passage
below the Whiteadder over to the church of Strafontane.
Roads fairly reasonable but hilly. There is a footbridge
over the Whiteadder - there used to be a boat here.
Coal is very expensive because of the distance it has
to be carried.
The post road has now been constructed, with tolls
at each end of the county. Although it had been opposed,
its benefits are making themselves felt. The statute
labour is commuted. Roads are now made more economically
ever since they were put up for auction.
It would be an advantage if the mail coach would drop
the mail here for both Ayton and Eyemouth rather than
at Berwick or Press in the parish of Coldingham). The
village is on the post road and is 7 miles from Berwick.
There are two or three bridges.
There is a post office here. The London road and the Eyemouth
to Ayton road are both excellent. Three coaches run each
day to Edinburgh and Newcastle.
There is an old bridge which collapsed a few years ago
- it was on an old route to London.
As the parish is the first in Scotland it receives large
numbers of poor people, often unwell or infirm, who have
been sent back from England to their parish. In some cases
the county will not pay for them to be moved on and this
parish has to look after them if they are not to die on
the street. There are also large numbers of Irish and
others travelling through who often approach the manse
and the schoolmaster for help.
Bonkle and Preston
There is a copper mine at Hoardwell. In 1775 a great flood
destroyed all the bridges except that at Preston.
They are now rebuilt but at great expense.
Sheep driven to Morpeth.
No begging poor are allowed in the county and two constables
ensure that gypsies, tinkers, beggars etc are
arrested and taken to the nearest JP. After a few days
in jail they are expelled from the county in the direction
of their own parishes.
Coal brought 15 miles from Northumberland along very poor
roads. This is done in the summer when the
Tweed is fordable.
Roads and bridges are better than most other parts of
the county as there is not much traffic, materials are
readily available and the statute labour is properly applied.
Roads elsewhere in the county are bad beyond
The roads are good - they are paid for by the conversion
The nearest market town is Duns.
see also Girthgate
Although peat and turf was formerly used for fuel, the
improved roads now allow coal to be brought in
from 12 miles away more cheaply. There is a market at
Dalkieth, some 14 miles away; carts return with
coal or lime. Butcher meat can be obtained from Dalkeith
and sometimes Lauder which is 6 miles away.
was maintained by the monks from Melrose as their way
to Edinburgh passes through the west
of the parish. It is a broad green path, free of the
heath that grows on either side (see photo).
There is an old ruin on this road called Restlaw
Haw where it is said monks and pilgrims rested -
it is halfway between Edinburgh
The Edinburgh to Lauder post road is advantageous and
is in good repair.
(see also Melrose
parish entry for Girthgate)
There is a road with a ruin where pilgrims to Melrose
used to stay.
The Edinburgh to Newcastle road is just finished and
is on a new line.
The bye-roads are in good condition and are financed
by a rate on horses.
There is a post office at Lauder, 5 miles away. Coal
comes from 10 miles away, along an excellent road.
Dr Webster’s report of 1755 mentions carriers between
Berwick, Chirnside and Edinburgh once a week. Fairs
at Duns and Berwick. The writer suggests that there
was a Roman road in the area or at least that they kept
near the sea as mentioned in Tacitus and may have had
a camp at Chesterknowes. In the 1580’s the Wardens of
the March met at Houden Flank and the Bounden-Road.
There are 6½ miles of turnpike in reasonable condition.
The cross roads are also good.
A bridge is to be built over the Whiteadder at Bluestone
ford. Fuel is brought from Northumberland.
Coal used to be worked in the parish.
||The old road over
Post office, formerly at Auldcambus, is now at the
Press in Coldingham parish.
Fish taken to Musselburgh. As part of an attempt to
build a harbour at the Cove, a road
was cut through rock to access the shore. Carts still
use this and pass underground for about 60 yards.
The Edinburgh to Berwick road passes through the parish
as does the road from Dunbar to Duns.
Another road is being built to make an easy and shorter
route between East Lothian and Berwickshire. It will
run along a valley near Renton (note: as this is near
Grantshouse the road was probably the precursor of the
A1 hereabouts - the old road ran directly over Coldingham
Moor to Ayton). There are also a number of roads that
lead to the shore where sea weed is gathered for manure.
The post road crosses Dunglass Burn by an old bridge,
then another stream at the Tower by a bridge built in
1786 and then the Pease by another bridge also built
in 1786. These two bridges avoid the dangerous route
taken by the old road.
For details of Dunglass Burn bridges see Canmore
entries; for Pease Bridge see here
|Area between Dunglass
and Old Cambus. From 1" OS map, Sheet 34, 1903.
With thanks to O.S.
There is a daily runner to Dunbar for the post.
The Edinburgh-Berwick-London road passes
through and much of it here is newly built. The older
road went nearer to the coast, going over an old and
inconvenient bridge and over the Pease Bridge, built
in 1785-86, to let travellers avoid a dangerous pass
near the sea. Part of the old road here can still be
seen - it is very steep. The mail used to go by this
road on horseback; the post office being at Old Cambus.
The new line now leaves the old road at Cockburnspath
Tower, ½ mile west of Pease Bridge and goes along the
Eye valley past Renton. It is an excellent road.
Bridge built 1785/86 - click for larger image
Old Bridge, c.1600 - click for larger image
There are four notable bridges, two of which are over
Dunglass Dean - one is very old. Two miles east at the
old castle of Cockburnspath there is another very attractive
bridge and the Pease Bridge, 1½ miles east of the village
is very striking.
Other roads are generally good.
Two coaches run each day between Edinburgh and Newcastle,
and there is a daily coach from Edinburgh to Berwick.
Coal is brought by sea from south of Berwick and landed
at the Cove in this parish or at Skateraw in Innerwick
Note: See Angus Graham, Archaeology
on a Great Post Road for details of these bridges
and the Edinburgh to Berwick road generally.
Fish landed at Eyemouth pass through on their way to Duns,
Kelso and Edinburgh.
There was an old monastery, dating to before the Normans.
It was settled from Durham in 1098.
Coal brought 14 miles from Northumberland.
Prior to 1772 when the statute labour required people
to work on the roads, very little was done and that
in a slovenly manner. A turnpike act was applied for
in 1772 along with permission to commute the statute
labour to a monetary payment, and the money raised has
helped greatly to improve the roads. The impetus for
this came when landowners found that the roads were
so poor that people were continually trespassing on
their newly formed enclosures. Initially much of the
money was spent in maintaining the great post road which
was in very poor condition so it was felt necessary
to apply for a separate turnpike act for that road as
well as a bridge over the Pease Burn. The post road
is now very good and traffic has increased. The conversion
money is £140 per year and should be sufficient to keep
the roads in good repair.
Note: The monastery had extensive
holdings throughout this part of the Borders - this
would presumably entail frequent journeys to these places.
|Centre of Coldingham
The nearest market is Eyemouth, 2 1/2 miles away. A
daily post runs between Coldingham and Ayton.
The London road runs for 9 miles through the parish,
with three coaches daily. Fifty three miles of parish
roads are maintained from the statute labour conversion
funds of £160.
Fairs are held twice a year but are very poorly attended.
Coal is brought from Eyemouth and Berwick.
Twenty carters in the town.
The London - Berwick; Berwick - Kelso; and Duns - Northumberland
roads pass through.
A proposal for a canal is presently being discussed.
There is a weekly market for corn and a monthly market
for sheep and cattle.
The London to Edinburgh curricle passes through each day
- there is also a daily post to nearby counties.
There are 8 miles of turnpike and 22 miles of parish road.
Three coaches pass on the Edinburgh to Newcastle road
each day and two between Kelso and Hawick.
In Coldstream there is a five arch bridge and one other
Coal comes from nearby collieries in England.
Irregular marriages are carried out on Coldstream bridge
by "persons of the lowest and most worthless character."
The parish is in two parts, separated by part of Longformacus.
The church is 5 miles away from the larger part of the
In winter sheep used to be driven to lower ground for
hay but turnips are now available.
Lime brought 16 or 17 miles on very bad roads.
Peat and turf used for fuel.
To improve the parish a three mile stretch of road should
be built from near the manse up to the head of the Whiteadder.
There are carriers to Edinburgh, Kelso, Dunbar, Eyemouth
and Berwick. Hides sent to Haddington.
The statute labour has been set at 7/6 for a horse and
3/- for a householder.
There are two turnpikes from Edinburgh to London; one
runs by Greenlaw and Coldstream, the other by the Press
(Coldingham) and Berwick. There is concern that there
are tolls on the roads used to bring in coal and lime.
- these are brought in from Northumberland.
Three large fairs - cattle bought by English traders.
There is also concern about the post. Formerly it came
by Oldcambus then was moved to the Press and more recently
to Berwick which adds a penny to a letter. Kelso’s mail
also comes from Berwick but they were successful in having
the one penny surcharge removed. A similar petition from
Dunse has been greeted with “sullen silence” by the Post
Office. In addition, the local postmaster now refuses
to deliver letters directly to houses as used to be done,
and is demanding an extra (and illegal) payment. The response
from the Post Office has been poor and legal action is
now being considered.
There is a small weekly market in Duns but the main market
is at Berwick. There are three fairs each year for cattle
and horses and four quarterly markets for sheep.
There is a post each day to Lauder and Edinburgh and a
daily coach to Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh to Jedburgh turnpike passes at the west
end of the village and the Edinburgh to London road via
Kelso about one and a half miles to the east.
Meal and barley taken to Dalkeith and Edinburgh markets
and coal and lime brought back on return.
The nearest market town is Melrose. There is a post office
A road from Edinburgh to Kelso runs through the parish
on which there is a daily coach in each direction.
There are two annual fairs for horses and cattle.
Coal is obtained near Dalkeith, 20 miles away.
There is a proposal to alter the road from Edinburgh to
Kelso. It would also be of benefit if a road was made
from Fans through the neighbouring parish of Gordon over
to the Edinburgh turnpike.
There is an old nunnery here.
Lime is carted 14 miles from Northumberland. During the
summer, most farmers cart it in daily for the turnips
and then the fallow. Wheat and barley sent to Berwick
rather than Kelso as the returns are better.
It is a very prosperous and well cultivated parish with
Means of Communication
The placename Birgham refers to there having been an old
There are local markets in Kelso, Coldstream and Berwick.
The Edinburgh to London mail road by Greenlaw passes through,
as well as the Edinburgh to London road by Kelso and Berwick.
Two coaches run between Berwick and Kelso. The turnpikes
are in excellent condition - there are no tolls in the
Fuel is brought from County Durham, 15 miles away.
Note: There was very likely a bridge
here in Anglo-Saxon times as Birgham means bridge-settlement.
Borders Heritage site for further details.
The roads have improved in the last 30 years and are now
in reasonable repair. The statute labour conversion money
totals £115 each year, with the rate being 7/6 for a horse
and 1/6 for cottages. There are few or no tolls except
on the post roads. Opinion is divided on turnpikes.
The nearest market town is Duns. There are regular deliveries
of letters and newspapers from Duns and Ayton.
Twenty five miles of turnpike and parish roads. A coach
runs to and from Berwick three times a week, sometimes
more; there are also daily carriers. There is a coach
each day from Duns to Edinburgh as well as carriers.
Chirnside Bridge is over the Whiteadder - one at Allanton
is needed. There are two bridges over the Blackadder,
the Mouth Bridge and at Kimmerghame. Also two wooden bridges.
There are corn markets in Duns and Berwick although some
take their grain to Dunbar and Edinburgh and return with
lime. Sheep and cattle are mostly taken to Morpeth but
some go to Edinburgh and Dalkeith.
Being a fishing port, goods are imported and exported.
One nuisance is having to report every cargo to the Customhouse
in Dunbar and get permission to load or unload.
Regular mail received from Ayton. Roads in the county
are much improved. The parish has four miles of road,
2 3/4 are parish roads, the remainder turnpike.
The turnpike divides at Eyemouth Bridge and runs on the
north and south banks of the Eye. Its bridges over the
Eye and Ale are good. There is also a chain bridge over
the Eye to Netherbyres.
Two annual fairs are held but no business is carried out
Fuel is carried by road from Berwick and also by sea.
Although the roads are good it would be an advantage if
a bridge were built over the Whiteadder somewhere between
Chirnside and Hutton. This would make access to Tweedside
easier and help support the recently established corn
Generally the parish roads are poor and at least six miles
of these are in very bad condition. There are insufficient
funds to maintain the roads. There is an ancient bridge
over the Blackadder at Fogo which is maintained by the
county. It is the only bridge in the parish and is very
useful as it is difficult to ford the river in winter.
Coal brought from Northumberland. Both coal and lime are
There is a Roman camp at Chesters and what seems to have
been a Roman causeway that may have led to this. It ran
through a moss just to the south of the parish.
Two turnpikes (both Macadamised) pass through the parish.
One goes to Berwick via the "Chain or Suspension"
bridge to join the Edinburgh road east of Greenlaw; the
other is from Coldstream to Duns. The first road runs
for 4 miles through the parish, the other 2 miles. There
are about 10 miles of other roads. The improved roads
allow one horse to pull what used to take six horses.
There is an old bridge over the Blackadder near the church.
Easy access to coal and lime from Northumberland, 15 miles
|The attractive village
||View of the Cheviots
There are two annual fairs but only a few cattle and some
wool are sold.
In the past this was a centre for selling shoes to Northumberland.
Since the turnpikes the roads are greatly improved.
The nearest market town and post office is Berwick. It
is five miles to the nearest bridge over the Whiteadder
but one is to be built soon at a cost of 2500L. There
will be an associated road. There used to be 2 fairs but
now there is only one, with no business carried out. Coal
is brought from Berwick.
The Edinburgh to London road via Greenlaw and Cornhill
runs through the parish. Meal taken by cart to Edinburgh,
Dalkeith, Musselburgh, Prestonpans etc. In the past, before
the turnpike roads, this was taken on horseback. On the
return journey, they carry coal, salt, lime, wood etc.
The statute labour requirement was converted into a monetary
payment some 16-18 years ago but has not improved the
parish roads which are very bad.
Kelso is the nearest market town, 8 miles away. The Edinburgh
to Kelso road and the Earlston to Greenlaw roads run through
the parish. Other roads are reasonably good. Peat and
turf are mostly used as fuel - coal is very expensive
having to come from 24 miles away.
When agricultural improvements first began to be made,
the roads were very bad. It was expensive to carry meal
and grain on horseback to the Lothian markets and practically
impossible in winter to traverse the roads, or as the
writer says, “roads, or rather tracts”. With the building
of the Edinburgh to London road, which runs through the
parish, some 30 years ago, it is now easy to reach Dalkeith
with grain etc and return with coals and lime. The roads
to Berwick and Eyemouth, and the cross roads are much
improved in recent years.
Regular markets and two fairs. There is a post office.
Letters from London only take 40 hours and from Edinburgh,
three and a half hours. There are 18 miles of good road.
The statute labour has been converted. Edinburgh to Duns
coach passes through each day. Coal comes 18/20 miles
Although in Berwickshire, this is joined with Stitchill
in Roxburghshire and is described there under the United
Parishes of Stitchill
The tide flows as far as Norham, ten miles from Berwick
and 30 ton boats can reach New-Water Ford, six miles from
Berwick. The roads are reasonable with one road leading
from the west into Berwick being excellent. Several carters
of coal and lime. The coal is brought from Northumberland.
The crossroads will soon be improved as there are considerable
funds available. The produce of an existing toll and one
soon to be erected will be more than £300 per annum.
Edward I's army probably camped here in 1296 prior to
his seige of Berwick. As it is a border parish there is
smuggling of whisky into England. Some inhabitants remember
when grain was taken to Berwick on horseback as the roads
were too bad for carts. The roads are now much better.
No specific mention of roads but passing references to
coal, markets etc.
Coldstream is the nearest market town but most goods come
weekly from Berwick. There is a branch post from Coldstream.
One annual fair, mostly for linen and lintseed. Coal comes
5 miles from Durham.
Small farmers with carts carry coal and lime. They also
deliver gravel and stones to the roads. Markets are Duns
and Berwick. Coal is brought from Northumberland but it
is expensive because of the distance and the poor roads.
Duns, 2 miles away, is the market town.
Grain taken weekly to Edinburgh and Dalkeith.
Roads and bridges in good order. Income from tolls and
statute labour. Turnpikes have helped improvements.
Peat was used for fuel in the past but coal is now brought
in from 15 miles away using the turnpikes. Lime also is
There are markets in Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Kelso and Haddington.
Mention of a camp on Tollishill on road to Haddington
and of the old road to Melrose.
Lauder itself is a market town, other nearby market towns
are Kelso and Dalkeith. Corn is taken to Dalkeith and
coal and lime carried on the return journey.
Post office with daily post from Edinburgh and London.
There are two turnpikes. One runs for 6 miles on the east
side of the Leader and goes to Greenlaw, Duns and Berwick
as well as Coldstream and Kelso. The other runs for 8
miles on the west side of the river and goes to Melrose
and Jedburgh, and to Kelso by Earlston. There are 5 public
carriages from Edinburgh to all these towns. There are
2 main bridges and several smaller ones, all in good condition.
Five annual fairs. Coal comes from Pathhead, 14 miles
away. The roads are much improved and in the past only
one coach went every two days to Edinburgh.
& lime ; markets
Lime is carried on return journeys from Dalkeith market,
otherwise it would be too expensive to obtain. Generally,
with a couple of exceptions, the parish roads are very
poor. Goods are brought from Edinburgh, Kelso, Dalkeith
The roads from Edinburgh to Kelso and to Hawick pass through.
Post offices at Lauder and Earlston. Ten miles of parish
roads, nine bridges. Coal comes from the Lothians.
References in passing - roads bad, markets far distant,
some coal brought in but mostly peat etc. used as fuel.
The Haddington to Coldstream road and a road from East
Lothian to Duns go through the parish but are badly maintained
by the statute labour money which is raised on 20 ploughs
and is quite inadequate. Roads generally are very bad.
Usual fuel is peat - coal very expensive as it comes from
One of the most public roads in the parish passes Bemersyde
For five months each year the roads are extremely bad,
though improvements are hoped for. Coal and lime are 26
miles away. Butcher meat has to be obtained in Jedburgh,
Kelso or Melrose. There are no carriers and everyone has
to make their own arrangements for the most trivial items.
No turnpike, coaches or carriers. Daily post at Lessudden
(St Boswell's). Although only 2 miles away there is no
bridge and one has to travel an extra 2 miles to Dryburgh
where there is a suspension bridge. Disadvantages are
that the parish is 25 miles from coal and lime and that
the only bridges are at Dryburgh, Kelso and Drygrange.
A suspension bridge would be very convenient and would
allow good connections between Selkirk and St Boswell's
Green to Berwick.
Lime and dung available from Berwick, four miles away.
The great post road from Edinburgh to London by Berwick
and Newcastle runs through the east side of the parish
and the Duns to Berwick road runs on the south side. Turnpikes
are proving very useful. In the past it was often difficult
for carriages and horses to get through. The crossroads
are improving. Statute labour is commuted. Excellent road
to Berwick. Seven miles to coal on good roads.
As the parish is on the border, whisky smuggling takes
place. The roads are patrolled by excise officers. Berwick
is the market town; corn also sent to the market at Eyemouth.
Wool is purchased by Yorkshire merchants. Cattle sold
at Morpeth, Berwick and at a monthly market in Ayton.
Two of the four public houses where spirits are sold are
at toll bars. Coal comes from the Berwick collieries.
No mention of roads - coal obtained from Lothian and England.
Kelso is the nearest market town although a lot of produce
is taken to Dalkeith and Berwick because of the good roads,
Coal, lime and bone-dust is carried on the return journey.
Two bridges have been built over the Eden, whereas before
it had to be forded. Older people remember when two wheeled
carriages had great difficulty travelling to Kelso in
bad weather; now stagecoaches can travel on the road at
8 or 9 miles per hour.
A private post delivers letters and newspapers.
Peat has been replaced by coal from Lothian or Northumberland.
Wood is also used.
No mention of roads - three carters in parish.
Nearest markets are Greenlaw and Duns. Roads good. The
Duns to Edinburgh road passes through and there is a daily
stagecoach. There are two carters in the parish.
United Parishes of Swinton and
see also ford
The clay soil makes it difficult to make and maintain
good roads as any hard materials sink into the soil. As
a result the roads are often “deep and miry”.
On hiring markets every Whitsunday, families can be seen
removing or returning with all their furniture piled on
Corn to Berwick and Eyemouth.
Coal is brought in from Northumberland but there is a
dangerous ford over the Tweed where there have been many
Bread brought in from Edinburgh, Berwick, Duns, Coldstream
Statute labour commuted.
The threat of turnpikes and tollbars is “heartily abhorred”
Eight miles of turnpike in the parish and three bridges.
No public carriages travel through. The roads are excellent
and completely fenced. Two fairs are held each year though
no longer used for trade. There is one inn in the village,
used by travellers to and from Berwick. Coal is obtained
in Northumberland, 10 miles away.
The London road by Coldstream runs for four miles through
the parish before passing into Greenlaw parish. The area
is improving because of the turnpikes which make access
to manure and to markets easier although the poor crossroads
remove some of the advantage.
The market towns are Lauder and Greenlaw. There is no
post office but a local family, when resident here, send
a courier to Lauder which benefits the whole parish.
The Edinburgh to Newcastle road passes through Hounslow
and runs for 5 miles through the parish. The mail-curricle
and the Edinburgh to Duns coach use it daily. Roads are
In 1745 there were no roads other than tracks as an old
person remembers seeing troops fleeing Prestonpans searching
for a way to Coldstream. A road was made from Whiteburn
to Kelso in 1800 and from there to Duns the following
year. There are now 15 miles of turnpike and three bridges.
United Parishes of Whitsom and Hilton
Minimal references to roads: mention of the farm of
Wynnefield being near a public road; road money collected
by the schoolmaster; corn, eggs, poultry etc are taken
The nearest markets are at Duns, Coldstream and Berwick.
There is a weekly carrier to Duns, Edinburgh and Berwick.
Post is taken to Swinton, 3 miles away.
There are 12 5/8 miles of parish roads, 3 ½ of these
under trust. The statute labour conversion money amounts
to £54.1.6 and is levied on 19 masters at 3/-,
55 servants at 3/-, 13 cottagers at 1/6, 108 horses
at 7/6 and 8 mares in foal at 3/9.
In the past streams flowed across roads but small bridges
and culverts have now been made.
Coal comes from Northumberland.