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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

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
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 
Kelso Abbey and Walter Scott's KelsoReview of two books, Kelso Abbey and Walter Scott's Kelso, looking in particular at the connection between Sir Walter Scott and the Town.2 pages or more 89 
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 
Robeson descendants in Roxburghshire & BerwickshireAndrew Robeson was born in Kelso (1640), with 4 siblings Thomas, David, James and Janet, was a wool and linen merchant and a Quaker and was imprisoned in Duns and Edinburgh for that reason in the 1660s. He went to America, via Clonmel, Ireland and established the earliest township in Philadelphia, and called it Roxburgh.His grandson Thomas was heavily involved American Revolution in North Carolina, and Robeson County was named after him. Robesone, Robison, Robson and Robertson make tracing this family a challenge.1 page or more 102Editor 
'A Lamentable Accident'A description collated from the local press from December 1881 of the death of Michael Queenan (from Frogden, and father of 5 children) as result of an accident near Frogden on the way home in a spring cart being driven home by brother-in-law James Corcoran (toll collector at Cowbog Toll), from St Marys Church Kelso. The funeral was in Linton churchyard. James was sent to prison, but released on bail 13 January 1882, and was found not guilty of homicide February 1882. The parents of the deceased originally came from Sligo, Ireland. There is a further investigation into the Queenans all over the Borders and the other children of Michael and Catherine Queenan, including Betsy who had married the aforementioned James Corcoran.3 pages or more 104Cyril Corcoran 
Kelso SlatersPhotos possibly of the Slaters of Kelso, seeking identification.less than 1 page 104Andrew Solomon 
Anderson Family LegendThree brothers shared their last sixpence at Kelso Fair and then parted company. How a lady searched for relatives.less 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 
Family History of George Tulloch (Tully)Notes on a family history relating to the Tulloch (Tully) family.less than 1 page 93Judith E Tulloch 
Swan Family of Jedburgh and KelsoRecollections by the author's grandmother of life in Jedburgh and Kelso in the early twentieth century.less than 1 page 94John Falconer Swan 
Lt Col Hon Sir Richard Waldie-Griffith BtBiography of Richard Waldie Griffith, grandson of Richard Griffith, Laird of Ednam, a renowned geologist and mining engineer, and son of George Richard Griffith1 page or more 100Mike Chandler 
Newspapers published in the BordersBorder newspapers published in the Borders, 65 in total.2 pages or more 5Peter Elliot 
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 
A Balloon Visits the BordersHistory of hot-air ballooning over Scotland and the Borders from 17851 page or more 100Mike Chandler 
Sir Walter Scott's BordersA note about Scott being born in Edinburgh, but convalescing at Sandyknowe Farm near Smailholm with grandfather and Aunt Jenny, where he was immersed in Borders history and folklore and music. A year at Kelso Grammar School, Deputy Sheriff of Selkirkshire, Ashestiel and construction Abbotsford.less than 1 page 106Editor 
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 
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 
County Railway Routes - Berwick to St BoswellsDetails of the book in the Country Railway Book series Berwick to St Boswells.less than 1 page 89 
Ralph Oliphant of Marefield nr. Kelso, Mentor for the early Scottish Photographer John Muir WoodStory of John Muir Wood - photographer, who was mentored by Ralph Oliphaunt of Marlefield near Kelso.2 pages or more 100Paul Muir Wood 
Border names involved in the Radio Security Service during WW2An investigation into the radio listening activity by amateurs in the Borders before, during and after WW2. 5 were recognised by Bletchley Park for their services, including Mrs Ann Thomson (nee McDonald) who was also recognised by the government in July 2019 before she passed away in 2021. A list of local radio enthusiasts in the Borders between the 1930s and 60s are presented. Photographs included.4 pages or more 111Bruce McCartney 
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 
More Extracts from the Kelso Mail 1804Miscellaneous Extracts from the Kelso Mail of 1804. 87 

Map of Kelso 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 Kelso 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 Kelso Abbey, Old Churchyard & St Andrew’s monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): BROTHERSTON (157), SCOTT (111), THOMSON (71), WILSON (62), SMITH (59), BROWN (56), ROBERTSON (54), YOUNG (47), TURNBULL (47), MURRAY (46), BELL (45), ANDERSON (42), DOUGLAS (42), HENDERSON (38), PATTERSON (33), RUTHERFORD (32), PURVES (32), TAIT (31), HUME (27), WALKER (27).

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)



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


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.


The population has been recorded as follows:

Roxburghshire map

Local Pictures

 Kelso Bridge from Maxwellheugh
Kelso Bridge from Maxwellheugh

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.