"A parish situated in the centre of the county of Roxburgh. It is about 4 miles in length and from 2 to 3 in breadth. The form of the parish is almost oval, and consists of nearly equal divisions of arable, pasture and moor land. The surface is various, exhibiting sudden and unexpected transitions from hill to dale. The soil is uncommonly fertile; and is much improved from the quantity of marl which is found in almost every part of the parish. In this district much attention is paid to agriculture; and lime is advatageously used as a manure, though brought from a considerable distance. The appearances of coal are very flattering; but as yet none has been discovered. The hills of Dunian and Ruberslaw, the former rising 1031 feet, and the latter 1419 feet above the level of the sea, are seen at a great distance. There is abundance of excellent freestone, which supplies the neighbouring country. The roads from Berwick to Carlisle, and from London to Edinburgh, in passing through this parish, are remarkable for the variety and beauty of the prospects which they unfold. The rivers Rule and Tiviot form the boundaries on the N. and W. Population in 1801, 260." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.
View a Map of the Area.
George Tancred's Rulewater and its People was first published in 1907 and reprinted in 1992 by the Borders Regional Library. This gives "the history of many parishes in Rulewater, Roxburghshire, and adjoining lands and families." It is listed in the LDS Family History Library catalogue in microfilm format, so is hopefully available worldwide in LDS family history centres.
The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of Bedrule monumental inscriptions.
Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.
Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) notes that the Free Church congregation at Denholm "was formed in the autumn of 1843 by adherents of the Free Church from the parishes of Minto, Bedrule, and Cavers". He notes the membership of this congregation in 1848 as 185; by 1900 it was 174.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1690. 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).
The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include some kirk session records:
More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Roxburghshire page.
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the Roxburghshire page for more details) the Rev. Simon Haliburton made the following comment about deficiencies in the registration of births in the parish of Bedrule in the late 18th century:
"The register of the names of children born in the parish, seems to have been carefully attended to from the commencement of the above mentioned record 1690, until the enactment of a late act of Parliament, laying a small tax thereon; which, very different from the purpose thereby intended, here operates as a prohibition."
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.
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 Bedrule monumental inscriptions, the Borders Family History Society has included a transcript of the Bedrule 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 Bedrule parish (NAS reference E69/21/1) 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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