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Help and advice for Earlston

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"A village and parish in the district of Berwickshire called Lauderdale. The extent of the parish is about 6 miles in length, and from 3 to 4 in breadth; washed on the E. border by the Eden, and on the W. by the Leader, both of which rivers abound with trout. Towards the banks of the Eden the surface is level, and the soil light and dry; in the western border it is more uneven, and the soil inclines to a strong tough clay. There are several extensive plantations, and many fields are sheltered by belts and clumps of planting. There are several villages, of which Earlstoun and Mellerstain are the largest. The former is in a low situation, almost surrounded with hills, and is famous as the birth-place of Sir Thomas Learmont, commonly called the Rhymer. He flourished in the 13th century, and part of his house is still standing, called Rhymer's Tower ... Population in 1801, 478."
From the Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.


The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of monumental inscriptions for Earlston.

Pre-1855 inscriptions for the parish are contained in the Scottish Genealogy Society's volume of Berwickshire Monumental Inscriptions (Pre-1855).

Nigel Hardie has transcribed and published Earlston and Ledgerwood burials for 1784-1854.


Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Earlston area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist churches:

  • United Presbyterian Church (East)
  • United Presbyterian Church (West)

Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory of Scotland published in 1837 lists the following non-conformist church in the parish:

  • United Secession

There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.

The church in Earlston: 600 A.D. to 1992 by John H. Duncan (35 pages) was published at Edinburgh in 1992.

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1694. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the National Records of 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 Records of Scotland as are any records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).

The LDS Family History Library catalogue lists a microfilm version of Sessional minutes, 1771-1799 of the Free Church of Scotland's Associate Presbytery of Earlston. The catalogue entry records this as a microfilm of records held at the Scottish Record Office (now called the National Records of Scotland), citing reference CH3/106/1. The microfilm copy in the LDS catalogue should hopefully be viewable at LDS family history centres around the world.

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For further details of this see the National Records of Scotland website.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Earlston which are provided by:

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Earlston has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Ordnance Survey maps covering Earlston include:

  • Landranger 73: Peebles, Galashiels & surrounding area - scale 1:50000, or 1.25inch:1mile, or 2cm:1km
  • Outdoor Leisure 44: Tweed Valley (Peebles to St Boswells) - scale 1:25000, or 2.5inch:1mile, or 4cm:1km

Earlston is also covered by an old Victorian one-inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map published by Caledonian Maps. The relevant sheet is sheet number 25 "Kelso & Melrose" which also includes Earlston, Galashiels, Gordon, Greenlaw, Lauder, Polwarth, Roxburgh, St Boswells, Selkirk and Westruther.

The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:

  • 1812: Plan of Kirklands and adjacent parks. Scale 1:1600. Size 74x52cm. Grid (map) reference NT5835. NRS reference RHP.3616
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT576385 (Lat/Lon: 55.638233, -2.675113), Earlston which are provided by:


Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:

  • 1755 - 1197
  • 1791 - 1351
  • 1801 - 1478
  • 1811 - 1528
  • 1821 - 1703
  • 1831 - 1710
  • 1861 - 1825


The Auld Earlston is a local community heritage group researching the history of the town. It also has an associated Facebook page, Lost Earlston.