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formerly Dunse
Berwickshire map

The Parish of Duns lies in central Berwickshire, being bounded on the north by the Parishes of Cranshaws and Abbey St. Bathans, the Parish of Bunkle and Preston is to the east, the Parish of Edrom is to the east and south and the Parishes of Langton and Longformacus are on the west.

Old Parish Records cover the periods:

  • Births: 1615 to 1854.
  • Marriages: 1797 to 1854.
  • Deaths: 1796 to 1816 and 1822 to 1854

Death records from 1797 to 1854 have been indexed.

Duns Parish Church Duns 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
Border MurdersThis is a stroll around the Borders looking into, with some depth, the murders in the 1800s.2 pages or more 32Norrie McLeish 
Who am IHistory of the Cockburns who all came from Duns parish. It also looks into the history of Edinshall Broch.1 page or more 37Andrew Cockburn 
John Duns ScotusA mention of events to commemorate the 750th. Anniversary of the birth of John Duns Scotus, genealogy research and the seeking of a possible DNA connection.1 page or more 89Ronald Morrison 
Duns, Burgh on the Merse and Surrounding VillagesReview of the book Dunse Burgh on the Merse with the Surrounding Villages' by James Denham.1 page or more 91 
Duns AssociationsA detail of different Associations and Societies in Duns with dates of incorporation.less than 1 page 95 
Duns 700A summary of the origin of the 700th anniversary of the granting of a Charter to Randolph, Earl of Moray, of the lands of Duns, by his uncle King Robert the Bruce. Randolph initiated the building of Duns Castle and effectively giving rise to the town. It is acknowledged the Iron Age fort (before 1320), and the Franciscan scholar Duns Scotus pre-date this. The Duns 700 coincides with the 200th anniversary of the Town Hal (now demolished). Preston Road Monumental Inscriptions, 1821 population list, militia lists, Church of Scotland and Duns Kirk communicants, plus custody records will be available.1 page or more 102Ronald Morrison 
Dunse Mystery PhotoA request to identify the people in a postcard taken in Duns(e). Thought to be prior to 1882.less than 1 page 103Editor 
Southfield House and The KnollBook review. Author: David McLean. Histories of 2 properties in Duns. Southfield House (now Southfield Community Centre) - Robson family, and The Knoll (now The Knoll Medical Centre) - Wilson family. Digital copies available.less than 1 page 106Ronald Morrison 
Duns Properties and FamiliesBook review. Author: David McLean. Histories of 3 further properties in Duns. 1. The Hermitage on Station Road - built 1840 - previously families Stewart/Stuart and Ferguson - nursing home - and now in private hands again. 2. Duns Auction Mart - opened 1877 - main family connection - Swan. 3. Fenton Lodge (previously Kilmeny) - 1890s designed by local architect George Fortune (also known for local churches - especially new church at Cranshaws - related families Fensons and Robsons. Digital copies available. See also Issue 106.less than 1 page 107Ronald Morrison 
Duns Title DeedsA summary of the extensive property portfolio of the Watson family in Duns in the 18th and 19th centuries, recorded in a collection of 17 deeds, hand written, bound and indexed by solicitors in the Watson family. Adjoining proprietors are also recorded.less than 1 page 108Ronald Morrison 
Duns Properties and FamiliesBook review. Author: David McLean. History of 1 further property in Duns. A description of Wellnage, a grand early 19th century house, and 2 families that resided there (the Peats, the original owners, and their successors, the Wilsons). Digital copy available. See also Issue 106 and Issue 107 for other properties.less than 1 page 109Ronald Morrison 
Cockburns face to faceCockburns and their likeness seems to have been the great asset of this family. From 1650 onwards this family have a interesting history.2 pages or more 10Anne Cockburn 
Hunters of DunsDetailed article on the history of the Hunter family of Duns and their involvement in the American War of Independence.3 pages or more 94David J Wesley 
Edrom and Preston Road, Duns burialsReport of a donation to the Society of copy records relating to burials at Edrom Churchyard and Preston Road, Duns Churchyard.less than 1 page 96 
The Soldiers RememberReport on launch of the book 'The Soldiers Remember' being of memories recorded by wounded soldiers during WW1 as they recovered at Southfield Military Hospital, Duns.less than 1 page 97 
Murder Most FoulThe story of a murderer John Newbigging (born Duns 1871) who married Margaret White from Eyemouth. He killed his wife and 4 children in Lanark Lodge in Duns assessed as due to 'homicidal mania'.1 page or more 103Ronald Morrison 
The Berwickshire Leitchs Part 1Research into the ancestors of the author's husband David Leitch. Two groups of the Leitch families were revealed - 1 from Glasgow and Argyll area and a group from the Borders, with the family original home in Hume in the 1700s. Duns, Stichill, Makerstoun, Clockmill, Haddington, Greenlaw and Gavinton have all emerged as places where the Leitch family has lived.3 pages or more 105Diana Leitch 
LongformacusA cautionary tale from 1871 and some extracts from the school log book,2 pages or more 73 
Bradshaw's Railway GuideA note on Bradshaw's Railway Guide and what might be available - some snippets from the entry for Duns.less than 1 page 78Ronald Morrison 
Cadwallader ColdenSome notes on the life of Cawallader Colden, born in Duns who went on to become the last Colonial Governor of New York State and whose image was burnt in effigy by the mob.1 page or more 78Ronald Morrison 
Soup Kitchen at Dunse 1832An account of the outbreak of cholera in 1832 and minutes of the Dunse Committee of Health setting up soup kitchens with names of those to whom vouchers were issued.3 pages or more 87Ronald Morrison 
Berwickshire Postal HistoryA look at Berwickshire postal history and postmarks and also at various letters of historical significance.3 pages or more 95Keith Robertson 
The Ainslies--Some notesThe name Ainslie, from 1066 onwards, a full and detailed family history.1 page or more 8Violet Jardine 
Glass SlidesSome information on a large collection of glass slides containing images taken in the 1940s to 1960s by Leslie Chappell photographer Duns, mostly relating to the town1 page or more 75Ronald Morrison 
St.Boswells to Berwick Railway via DunsSome paragraphs on a book 'St Boswells to Berwick via Duns' which traces the history of this railway line.less than 1 page 83 
Extracts from Dunse Barony RecordsExtracts from the author's book, Dunse Barony Records, in the 1760s.2 pages or more 68Ronald Morrison 
Duns Auxiliary UnitFurther information on the Duns Auxiliary Unit.1 page or more 88 

Map of Duns from UK Great Britain, Ordnance Survey one-inch to the mile (1:63,360), 'Hills' edition, 1885-1903
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.

Map of Duns from UK Ordnance Survey Historical Maps from 1919-1947
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 surnames on gravestones recorded by us in the Duns Preston Road Cemetery monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): ROBERTSON (36), WILSON (29), JOHNSTON (27), GRAY (25), FORREST (25), AITCHISON (25), KERR (24), RENTON (23), SMITH (23), THOMSON (23), PATTERSON (23), BROWN (22), ANDERSON (20), YOUNG (20), COCKBURN (20), FORTUNE (19), SCOTT (18), COWE (18), PURVES (17), MURRAY (16).

Other Sources

Scottish Borders Archives, The Hub Hawick

School Records

The Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh

Boston Free Church (Ref - CH3/_).

Duns Branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland 1871 -1931 (Ref - GD342).


Dunse History Society has these Maps

Berwickshire Naturalists' Club.

The Southern Annual.


Dunse History Society - includes detailed articles on the history of Duns and also a detail of the Society Archive
Town Website - contains a wide range of local information including a general history of the Town.
The RCHAMS website Scotland's Places contains details of;

Place and Farm Names in the Census Records

1841 census: Duns, Chapel, Cockburn Mill, Cumledge Waulk Mill, Cumledge, Ladywell, Johnsfield, Kays Muir, Dunse Law, Castle Mains, Gateside, Oxendean, Knock, Kidshiel, Kidshiel Haugh, Burnhouses, Easter Windshiel, Oatiecleugh, Elba, Eastfield, Cockburn, Millburn, Sunnyside, Grueldykes, Dunse Mill, Wester Grueldykes, Bankhead, Clockmill, Borthwick, Todlaw, Gas House, Cheeklaw, Puttonmill, Cairneyhill, Wedderburn, Crumstane, Turtleton, Brieryhill, Manderston, Buxly, Broomhill, Trinity, Berrywell, Chalkielaw, Elfhole, Rulemains, Ninewar, Pilrig, Pinkie, Wellfield, Tiendhill, Clouds, Langton Gate, Welnage, Haymount, Maryfield.

1851 census: Duns, Tiendhillgreen, Clouds, Langtongate, Bridgend, Haymount, Wallnage, Todlaw, Southfield, Cheeklaw, Pilrig, Berrywell, Cairnbank, Trinity, Wellfield, Clockmill, Sunnyside, Under Wellrig, Bankhead, Langton Mill, Grueldykes, Dunse Mill, Putton Mill, Cairnhill, Wedderburn, Turtleton, Brieryhill, Manderston, Crumstane, Pinkie, Chalkielaw, Elfhole, Buxley, Manderston Mill, Broomhill, Ninewar, Ladywell, Johnsfield, Kaysmuir, Edenbank, Cumledge, Cumledge Mill, Redhouses, Rules Mains, Castle Mains, Gateside, Chapel, Millburn, Knock, Kidshiel, Kidshielhaugh, Commonside, Rigfoot, Upper Windshiel Oatletcleugh, Burnhouses, Cockburn, Elba, Oxendean, Commonhaugh, Dunse Law.

1861 census: Duns, Tiendhillgreen, Clouds, Langtongate, Wellfield, Bridgend, Haymount, Todlaw, Southfield, Cheeklaw, Pilrig, Berrywell, Cairnbank, Trinity, Clockmill, Sunnyside, Under Wellrig, Bankhead, Langton Mill, Wester Grueldykes, Grueldykes, Dunse Mill, Putton Mill, Cairnhill, Wedderburn, Turtleton, Brieryhill, Manderston, Crumstane, Pinkie, Chalkielaw, Elfhole, Buxley, Broomhill, Ninewar, Ladywell, Johnsfield, Kaymuir, Edenbank, Cumledge, Cumledge Mill, Redhouses, Rules Mains, Castle Mains, Chapel, Millburn, Knock, Kidshiel, Kidshielhaugh, Commonside, Rigfoot. Upper Windshiel, Little Windshiel, Oatleycleugh, Burnhouses, Cockburn, Elba, Cockburn Mill, Oxendean, Commonhaugh, Dunse Law.


The population has been recorded as follows;

Berwickshire map