"A parish in the county of Berwick, extending 8 miles in length from E. to W. and nearly 6 in breadth ... The river Tweed is the boundary on the S. and possesses a valuable salmon fishing, the property of the Earl of Home. There was an ancient nunnery, of which nothing remains except 2 vaults, in the neighbourhood of the mansion of Eccles. About a mile to the N.E. of the village of Eccles is a monument erected to one of the Percies, who fell in an engagement with one of the rival family of Douglas, in which the slaughter was so dreadful, that tradition reports that a little streamlet in its neighbourhood ran with blood for 24 hours. Population in 1801, 1682." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.
View a Map of the Area.
The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of monumental inscriptions for Eccles, Leitholm and Birgham.
Nigel Hardie has transcribed and published parish of Eccles burials for 1786-1854.
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:
There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.
According to Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) a congregation was formed here in 1843. By 1848 the membership was 180; by 1900 it was 66.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1699. 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).
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the Berwickshire page for more details) the Rev. Adam Murray made the following comment about deficiencies in the registration of births in the parish of Eccles in the late 18th century:
"There are also many more baptisms than these which are registered; but of late years, since the tax of threepence was paid to the King, over and above the usual fees of registration, many cannot be prevailed on to enrol their childrens names. The minister has done every thing in his power, to convince them of the propriety of the measure; but many individuals still continue obstinate and refractory."
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.
An account of the parish (history, topography etc.) may be found in the Borders Family History Society's booklet of monumental inscriptions.
The National Archives of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:
At the time of the Napoleonic wars, lists of young men in parishes were compiled so that should there be a need for them to fight, they could be drafted into the Militia. If there were not enough volunteers for a list, a ballot was used to select names for it.
In their booklet of Eccles monumental inscriptions, the Borders Family History Society has included a transcript of the Eccles militia list.
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
In the 1690s a tax was levied by Parliament on every hearth in Scotland. Both landowners and tenants had to pay this tax and are therefore recorded in the records which were kept at the time. A transcript of the hearth tax records for Eccles parish (NAS reference E69/5/1) is included with the list of monumental inscriptions published by the Borders Family History Society.
Most taxation records are held at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
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