"A considerable town and parish in the county of Berwick. The town is delightfully situated in the centre of the county, encompassed on the W. N. and E. by the Lammermuir hills, a fine plain 25 miles in extent lying towards the S. The ancient site of the town was on the top of the beautiful hill called Dunse Law, which is elevated from a base of about 2 1/2 miles in circumference to the height of 630 feet above the level of the sea. The town was afterwards rebuilt at the foot of the hill. The small water of Whittadder passes by it ... Dunse contains about 2400 inhabitants. The parish of Dunse is an oblong square of 8 miles by 5, extending over a part of the ditrict of Lammermuir, and over the head of that fertile plain called the Merse ...Population in 1801, 3163." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.
View a Map of the Area.
The Borders Family History Society has published a CD of monumental inscriptions in Duns Parish and Episcopal Churches.
Pre-1855 inscriptions for the parish are contained in the Scottish Genealogy Society's volume of Berwickshire Monumental Inscriptions (Pre-1855).
Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.
Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist churches:
Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory of Scotland published in 1837 lists the following non-conformist churches in the parish:
There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1615. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, and copies on microfilm may be consulted in local libraries and in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Later parish registers (after 1855) are often held in the National Archives of Scotland as are any records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For further details of this see the General Register Office for Scotland website.
As a Burgh of Barony, Duns was presided over by a Barony Court. The Borders Family History Society has published a book of the court records between 1753 and 1800.
Duns now has its own town website giving lots of information about the modern town, as well as articles about its history.
Ordnance Survey maps covering Duns include:
The National Archives of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
Some records of the Duns branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland (a teaching union) are held in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. Their NAS reference is GD342 and they consist of minutes covering the years 1871-1931. (source: National Register of Archives).
For a description of Duns Reivers' Week see Chapter 19 of The Borders Book.
The Dunse History Society has a website detailing its programme of meetings.
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