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"A parish in Berwickshire, of a triangular form, each side of which is about three miles in length. The soil is mostly clay, lying on a cold impervious tilly bed; but there is a considerable extent of gravelly and sandy soil. The greater part is inclosed. The principal crops are oats and barley, a few pease, and sometimes a little wheat. There are several extensive woods and plantations. The village of Polwarth, which contains about 200 inhabitants, is situated on a very wet and swampy piece of ground. In the middle of it are two old thorn trees, at about 6 yards distant from each other, around which it was formerly the custom for every new married pair, with their company, to dance in a ring: from hence the old song of 'Polwarth on the Green'. But this custom has fallen greatly into disuse. Population in 1801, 291." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.


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

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.

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1652. 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 parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include kirk session accounts for the years 1747-1771 (in part 754/2 of the microfilm). More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Berwickshire page.

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

A short article on Polwarth's geography and history was printed in the June 1995 edition of the Borders Family History Society magazine, written by Sandra Whittaker.


The National Records 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:

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Page created by Vivienne S Dunstan.
Last updated: 4th May 2010

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