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Ednam, Roxburghshire

Historical Description

EDNAM, a parish, in the district of Kelso, county of Roxburgh; containing 615 inhabitants, of whom 146 are in the village, 2¼ miles (N. by E.) from Kelso. The name of this parish, which is a contraction of the word Edenham, signifies a hamlet on the Eden, and is descriptive of the situation of the village near that river. Various facts are recorded in connexion with the early history of the place; they relate to its ecclesiastical affairs, and reach back to the beginning of the twelfth century. About this period, the waste of Aednaham was peopled, and a church built in honour of St. Cuthbert, by Thor the Long, to whom the lands had been given by the crown. The church had two chapels attached to it, one situated at a place called Newton or New-town to distinguish it from the old village of Ednam, and the other situated at Naithan's-thirn or Nanthorn. Robert, Bishop of St. Andrew's, who died in 1158, ratified the connexion between the parochial church and the chapel of Newton; and Bishop Arnold, who died in 1162, confirmed to the monks of Coldingham the possession of all the three places of worship. There svas also an hospital dedicated to St. Lawrence, supposed to have been founded by the Edraonstons of Ednam, who were its patrons; it is referred to in 1348 in a writ of Edward in., who therein directs that the establishment, with the hospital of St. Mary of Berwick, should be restored to Robert de Burton.

The PARISH is nearly square in form, its length being three miles and a quarter, and its breadth three miles, and it contains 5500 acres. The surface is pleasantly varied by undulations and gently-rising hills, well cultivated, or covered with rich verdure and flourishing plantations; and the parish being only about a mile and a half distant from the English border, the scenery partakes very much of the general character of that on each side of the Tweed. Ednam hill, on the east of the village, forms an interesting object in the picture; it is arable to the summit, and commands an extensive view of the surrounding country. The river Eden constitutes another striking feature in the parish, flowing through a district ornamented with hedge-rows and with numerous clumps of trees standing in the midst of cultivated fields. On the south-east runs the Tweed. In some parts the soil consists of loam resting upon a gravelly subsoil, and in others it is clay, with a less retentive subsoil than is usually found in such situations; upon the same subsoil there is light gravelly earth, and in some places the soil is moorish. These four different descriptions are found in nearly equal portions. The cultivated land consists of about 3700 acres, two-fifths of which are in grain, two in pasture and hay, and one in turnips and fallow; seventy acres are in pasture along the banks of the rivers, forty in pleasure-grounds, and about seventy in plantations. Grain of all kinds is produced, with good crops of potatoes, turnips, and hay. The cattle are those usually termed the short-horned, and the sheep are of the Leicester breed, of which kind a flock was lately reared by one of the farmers of so superior a description that it excited the attention of agriculturists in distant parts of the kingdom. The lands are highly cultivated, and husbandry is thoroughly understood; the soil is well drained, and embankments have been constructed to a considerable extent. Nearly the whole of the substratum is calcareous: there is a very thin bed of freestone. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8329.

There is a mansion-house named Hendersyde, a handsome modern building, the residence of one of the heritors. The village is neat in its appearance, the houses being regularly built, and covered with tiles or slate; the woollen manufacture was carried on till about twenty years ago, and there is still a brewery. The river Eden, which rises in the parish of Gordon, and divides that of Ednam into two parts, flows close to the village, and has two stone and two wooden bridges in the parish, all in the best state of repair: three turnpike-roads, one of them between Berwick and Kelso, intersect the parish, and there are several other roads. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Kelso, synod of Merse and Teviotdale; patron, the Crown. The stipend, with an allowance for communion elements, is £158. 6. 8., of which £111 are payable from the land, and the rest from the exchequer; an excellent manse was finished in 1834, and there is a glebe of the annual value of £15. Ednam church stands near the village, and accommodates about 260 persons; it was built in 1800, and is in good repair. There is a parochial school, in which mathematics and French are taught, with all the ordinary branches of education; the master has the maximum salary, with about £36 fees, and a house and garden. Thomson, author of the Seasons, was born in the manse, his father, the Rev. Thomas Thomson, being minister of Ednam; and in 1820 an obelisk, fifty-two feet in height, was erected to his memory on some rising ground about a mile from the village, at the expense of the Ednam Club, an association of gentlemen who annually celebrated the poet's birthday here. There is evidence to prove that the father of Cook the circumnavigator was a native of Ednam. Mr. William Dawson, the distinguished agriculturist, who introduced turnip husbandry into Scotland, was also a native of the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis