"CASTLETON, a parish, containing the post-office village of New Castleton, in the southern extremity of Roxburghshire. It has a somewhat triangular outline; and is bounded on one side by England, on the west by Dumfries-shire, and on the north by the parishes of Teviothead, Hobkirk and Southdean. Its area is greater than that of any other parish in the south of Scotland ... In history and poetry, and very frequently still in conversation, its name is Liddesdale, from the river Liddel, which runs through it from east to south. The upper or northern part is mountainous and bleak; but is generally dry, and affords good sheep-pasturage ... the most celebrated antiquity of the parish is Hermitage castle, which consists of a tall, massive, gloomy-looking, double-tower, protected by a ditch and strong rampart, and rising aloft from the centre of an extensive waste, overlooking the limpid, murmuring waters of the Hermitage river, amid a scene of barrenness and desolation. This fortress was one of the largest and strongest on the border ... Population in 1831, 2,227; in 1861, 3,688." from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
View a Map of the Area.
The Scottish Genealogy Society has listings of all inscriptions up to a recent date in Castleton and Hermitage graveyards within this parish. The number of recorded stones in Castleton is 243, 5 stones have been recorded in Hermitage's small graveyard. These lists are part of the society's collection of unpublished inscription lists and may be consulted at the society library in Edinburgh.
See also Memorials of Castleton Parish by George Gilchrist, Alexander McCracken and Arthur Tolson, published at Annan in 1971. A microfiche edition of this can be purchased from the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society.
Nigel Hardie has transcribed parish of Castleton deaths.
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.
Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) notes that "in 1850 certain persons formed themselves into a congregation here" and that their church was built in 1853. Rev. Ewing gives the membership of the congregation in 1859 as 92; in 1900 as 140.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has Old Parish Registers dating from 1749. 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).
Please note though that there are limited earlier parish registers for Castleton surviving among the kirk session records in the National Archives of Scotland (reference CH2/64). These are baptism and marriage proclamation registers for 1707-1710. Graham and Emma Maxwell have published these, along with the 1695 Hearth Tax.
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the Roxburghshire page for more details) the Rev. James Arkle made the following comments about deficiencies in the parish registers of Castleton:
"With regard to marriages and baptisms, the parish register is very imperfect. Several books have been lost, which make blanks of considerable periods ... No account of the burials can now be given, because there are three burying grounds still used, and a mortcloth, the property of private individuals, and not belonging to the kirk-session."
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.
Team Liddell is a worldwide group of genealogists researching surnames thought to derive from Liddesdale and using DNA techniques to investigate family links. Surnames covered include Liddell, Liddle, Lidel, Lidell, Lydell, t-variant surnames (Lyttle, Little, Littel, Littell and so on), Riddell-like lines, and other similarly-spelled surnames.
For information on Note-of-the-Gate, see "The Note of the Gate" by W. E. Wilson, published in the 1936 transactions of Hawick Archaeological Society, pages 57-60.
The National Archives 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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