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"SWINTON, a parish ,containing a post-office village of its own name, in the Merse district of Berwickshire. It is bounded by Fogo, Edrom, Whitsome, Ladykirk, Coldstream, and Eccles ... The present parish of Swinton comprehends the ancient parishes of Swinton and Simprin, which were united in 1761."
From the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
Two articles describing the history of Simprim parish (not Swinton) may be found in past transactions of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club. Both are written by R.C. Wood. The first article, "Simprim in the Merse" appears in Volume 43 (part 1 - 1984) pages 17-24. The second (follow-up) article, "Simprim in the Merse: Part II - The Session Records 1699 to 1761" was printed in Volume 44 (part 3 - 1989) pages 142-146.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1700. 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 Church of Scotland records for this parish held at the National Records of Scotland (NRS reference CH2/346) include 1 leaf of baptisms in the years 1668-1674.
The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include kirk session minutes and accounts for Swinton for the years 1706-1719 (in part 755/1) and accounts for Swinton and Simprim for the years 1776-1800. More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Berwickshire page.
The presence of non-conformist churches in the parish is revealed by Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory which lists the following in the year 1866:
There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.
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 Swinton which are provided by:
Ordnance Survey maps covering Swinton and Simprim include:
- Landranger 74: Kelso & surrounding area - scale 1:50000, or 1.25inch:1mile, or 2cm:1km
- Pathfinder 436: Duns & Longformacus - scale 1:25000, or 2.5inch:1mile, or 4cm:1km
The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:
- circa 1780: Plan of part of road between Swinton and River Tweed. Scale 1:5800. Size 21x15cm. Grid (map) reference NT8545. NRS reference RHP.645
- 1884: Plan of estate of Swinton, including names of adjacent lands and owners. Scale 1:4800. Size 85x57cm. Grid (map) reference NT8147. NRS reference RHP.3352
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT836474 (Lat/Lon: 55.719779, -2.262625), Swinton which are provided by:
Here are some figures showing the population through time (for Swinton+Simprim):
- 1755 - 494
- 1791 - 898
- 1801 - 875
- 1811 - 866
- 1821 - 919
- 1831 - 971
- 1861 - 964
There was a noticable increase in population between Dr Webster's survey of 1755 and the survey undertaken by the parish minister in 1791 as part of Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland. Rev. George Cupples explained the increase in population as follows:
"The increase is to be ascribed entirely to Lord Swinton's judicious attention to improve and enlarge his village of Swinton, partly by perpetual feus, and partly by leases of 999 years ... it is inconceivable how many of the necessaries of house-keeping, and how many conveniencies can be now found here, which 25 years ago the inhabitants had to send many miles for."
From the Statistical Account of Scotland compiled by Sir John Sinclair