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Our Exhibition, Archive and Search Room will be closed from Saturday, 20 December 2014 to Sunday, 4 January 2015 inclusive. See the link for our January and February openings.

Kelso

Roxburghshire map

The Parish of Kelso is situated in the north east of Roxburghshire and it is bordered by the Parishes of Smailholm and Nenthorn, Berwickshire to the north, the Parishes of Ednam and Sprouston to the east, the Parish of Eckford to the south and the Parishes of Roxburgh and Makerstoun to the west. Kelso is now part of two parishes, Kelso Old & Sprouston which is linked with Kelso Country Churches and Kelso North & Ednam.

The town grew along siude alongside Kelso Abbey is one of one of the four great medieval abbeys in the Borders although it is the least well preserved. Situated on the north bank of the River Tweed the palatial Floors Castle home to the Duke of Roxburghe is on the edge of the town.

Old Parish Records cover the periods:

  • Births: 1598 to 1854.
  • Marriages: 1597 to 1854.
  • Deaths: 1614 to 1669, 1839 to 1854.
Kelso Parish Church Kelso Parish Church

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
Forgotten Borderers--Andrew Walker (1808-1896)Andrew Walker, born Earlston, worked at Newton Don and moved eventually to Camden and started a Ragged School. He emigrated to Troy in New York and died there.less than 1 page 30 
Bowmakers and Currys in the new worldThe history of the Bowmakers and Currys before and after they emigrated to the New World.1 page or more 10Norman Bowmaker 
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 
Kelso Dispensary and Castleton Poor Law RecordsSome notes by the author on his publication on C.D. of Poor Law records instancing some of the information available and mentioning various diseases mentioned1 page or more 75Peter Munro 
Kelso Tradesmen Transcription ProjectNote on a project to transcribe the records of nineteenth century Kelso tradesmen1 page or more 75Juline Baird 
Revised and improved edition of Kelso Abbey, Old Churchyard and St. Andrews Monumental InscriptionsNotes on the improved version of our Memorial Inscriptions covering Kelso Abbey, Old Churchyard Kelso and St. Andrews.1 page or more 76 
The Stewarts of KelsoA report into extensive research into the Stewart family of Kelso, latterly of Edinburgh.5 pages or more 77Harry D Watson 
From Kelso to KalamazooAn account of the life of George 'Celery' Taylor' born in Kelso in 1803 gardener who emigrated to Kalamazoo, Michigan and is noted for introducing celery into the United States. Kept a detailed diary which also records his experiences on his return visits to Scotland in 1871 and 1874. 78Margaret Jeary 
Border MurdersThis is a stroll around the Borders looking into, with some depth, the murders in the 1800s.2 pages or more 32Norrie Mcleish 
The Gladstones-A studyThis is a brief outline of the Gladstone family here in the Borders and as far away as Edinburgh, and Norwich.3 pages or more 35G.M.S. Lauder-frost 
Anderson Family LegendThree brothers shared their last sixpence at Kelso Fair and then parted company. How a lady searched for relativesless than 1 page 8Mrs. Steele 
StoddartMargaret Stoddart, born 1831, and her very interesting history. From stot-herd,one who tended cattle 1376. Earliest mention in Douglas Barony of Buittle.2 pages or more 38Audrey Mitchell 
A grave look at the BordersThis must be one of the great stories ever to be printed in our magazine - it is the story of grave snatchers, and how one brave chap got his just reward.4 pages or more 21Ian Abernethy 
A Cockburn Family in Berwickshire and Its Descendants - The BookThe author's Cockburn family history - mostly recent.3 pages or more 24Andrew Cockburn 
An Opaque GlassAbout William Glass (or Glasgow), who had become the first governor of the South Atlantic Island of Tristan da Cunha, honoured by the Friends of Kelso Museum in 1996.2 pages or more 60Audrey Mitchell 
CD Review - Kelso Poor House and Ragged SchoolInteresting review of the content of this much loved publication, and a bit on the social context of the Poor House and the Ragged School in Kelso.1 page or more 67Norrie McLeish 
Governor GlassSome notes on William Glass, born in Kelso who went on to establish the colony of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic and to become its first Governor.1 page or more 75Ronald Morrison 
The relationship of place names and personal namesThe relationship is two fold: (1) Place names derived from personal names, (2) Personal names derived or adopted from place names.1 page or more 21Jessie Macdonald 
Newspapers published in the BordersBorder newspapers published in the Borders. 65 in total.2 pages or more 5Peter Elliot 
John Lee, Shoemaker in KelsoSome details of the funeral of John Lee, shoemaker in Kelso 1802. Details of funeral arrangements and surnames of those attending the funeral2 pages or more 75Elma Fleming 
Adam Clark (1811 to 1866)A fascinating account of Adam Clark, born in Edinburgh but brought up in Kelso who became a bridge builder of renown in Hungary building the first bridge across the Danube linking the communities of Buda and Pest.4 pages or more 79Dr. Jim Lyon 
Maxwellheugh Cottage - the biography of a houseA review of the families who had inhabited a house on the outskirts of Kelso.8 pages or more 73Isobel Gordon 
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 
The men who marched awayIf you have heard Gavin speak you will know how he has devoted his all spare time to this subject this is the K.O.S.B. part in Gallipoli, another Flodden. Men missing Gala 54, Hawick 52, Jedburgh 18, and so on.3 pages or more 9Gavin Richardson 
William Elliot, ArchitectThe family history of William Elliot and descriptions of some of the fine house's he built.3 pages or more 15Kathleen Stewart 
The Chisholms: Highland Names in the Borders?This is not just about the Chisholms, it delves into place names in the Borders, why they changed their names and the Highland connections.4 pages or more 28Michael Robson 
A Sassenach Searches for his Scottish AncestryHow the family name may have originated. Possible connections with Kelso. The Reiver Connections An interesting historical tale.5 pages or more 39George Heaviside 



Map of Kelso 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 Kelso Abbey, Old Churchyard & St Andrew's monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): BROTHERSTON (157), SCOTT (26), RUTHERFORD (21), SMITH (18), GRAY (17), ALLAN (15), DAVIDSON (13), DICKSON (13), WILSON (12), TAIT (12), TURNBULL (12), AITCHISON (11), THOMSON (11), BROWN (10), HARDIE (9), ROBERTSON (9), ORMSTON (9), KER (9), WATSON (9), PURVES (9).

The 20 most common on gravestones recorded by us in the Kelso - Rosebank Cemetery monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (111), THOMSON (71), WILSON (62), SMITH (59), BROWN (56), ROBERTSON (54), TURNBULL (47), YOUNG (47), MURRAY (46), BELL (45), DOUGLAS (42), ANDERSON (42), HENDERSON (38), PATTERSON (33), PURVES (32), RUTHERFORD (32), TAIT (31), HUME (27), WALKER (27), GRAY (26).

Other Sources

Scottish Borders Archives, The Hub Hawick

The Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh

Census Records

Kelso Parish Church (Ref - CH2/1173)

First Associate Session (Burgher) United Presbyterian Church (Ref - CH3/606)

Kelso East Relief Church (Ref - CH3/667 and CH3/818)

Kelso North Free Church (Ref - CH3/819)

Kelso East, Sprouston Free Church (Ref - CH3/1463)

Society of Friends, Quakers (Ref - CH10/1/25)

Trades

Maps

The Kings Own Scottish Borders Regimental Museum, The Barracks, Berwick upon Tweed

Websites

Town Website contains background information and a history of the Town and local names.
A list of prizewinners at Kelso Grammar School 1853.
Stobie's Map of Roxburghshire of 1770.
Kelso Rugby Club
Kelso Race Course
The RCAHMS website Scotland's Places contains details of:

Place and Farm names in Census Records

1841 census: Softlaw, Spylaw, Maisondieu, Spring Wood, Pinnaclehill, Wooden, Maxwellheugh Village, Galalaw, Muserig, Edenbank, Berrymoss, East Muirdean, Floors Castle.

1851 census: Mayfield, Spylaw, Wester  Softlaw, Middle Softlaw, Maisondieu, Wooden, Pinnacle Hill, Maxwellheugh, Sharpitlaw, Berryhill, Muirdean, Galalaw, Floors Castle, Edenbank, Springwood.

1861 census: Springwood, Spylaw, Maisondieu, Softlaw, Proctors Smithy Huntershall, Maxwellheugh, Pinnaclehill, Wooden, Gallalaw, Muirdean, Floors Castle, Muserig, Broadloan, Berryhill, Edenbank, Oakfield, Broomlands, Butts, Union Poorhouse.

Population;

The population has been recorded as follows:

Roxburghshire map