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"A parish of irregular figure and considerable extent in the county of Roxburgh, being upwards of 20 miles long from E. to W. and from 7 to 2 broad. The western part is hilly and ragged, but towards the E. it becomes flat, with a rich fertile soil. The upper district is mostly appropriated to sheep pasture. The rivers Rule and Tiviot are the boundaries on the N.E. and S.E. joining their streams at the extremity of the parish. There is a small village, called Denholm, on the estate of the Duke of Buccleugh. Cavers is the only mansion of note in the parish. Population in 1801, 1382."
From the Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.
The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of monumental inscriptions for Cavers and Kirkton.
A list of monumental inscriptions in Cavers Old Churchyard was printed in the 1973 volume of the Hawick Archaeological Society's Transactions and a list of the surnames recorded is available online.
Nigel Hardie has transcribed parish of Cavers deaths.
See George Watson's article "The Kirks of Cavers" in the Hawick Archaeological Society's transactions of 1946, pages 6-13 and corrections on page 58.
The following quotation comes from notes by Lewis Grant about his father Rev. William Grant (1811-1853) and refers to Rev. Grant staying with the Church of Scotland when the Free Church broke away, and many other Church of Scotland ministers went with it.
"When the Disruption took place in 1845 William Grant was one of those who remained loyal to the establishment. It may be that Cavers was an enlightened parish, as it is recorded in the Fasti (the annals of the Church of Scotland) that Mr. Strachan was presented to the parish by the chief heritor Mr. Douglas, but in 1840 when Mr. Strachan died there is no mention of any presentation being made."
Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) adds to this by noting 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 1694. 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).
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the Roxburghshire page for more details) the Rev. Thomas Elliot made the following comment about deficiencies in the parish registers of Cavers:
"The number of births, deaths, and marriages, cannot be precisely ascertained, as few of the Seceders enter their childrens names in the parish register."
The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include kirk session accounts for the years 1819-1841 (in part 785/3 of the microfilm). More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Roxburghshire 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:
- Free Church
- Independent Church
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.
You can see pictures of Cavers which are provided by:
A number of articles on this parish have been published in past transactions of the Hawick Archaeological Society. These include:
- "The History and Antiquity of Cavers" by J.A.H. Murray, 1913 transactions (reprinted from 1863), pages 30-37
- "Denholm and its memories" by John W. Turnbull, 1938 transactions, pages 62-70 (concentrating on Denholm village)
- "An old Denholm book" by William F. Cuthbertson, 1933 transactions, pages 19-24 (an article about Denholm Library, founded in 1805)
For a history of the village of Denholm see Denholm: a history of the village by Margaret Sellar, published at Denholm in 1989 (42 pages long).
The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:
- 1846: Plan of Edderstoneshiels and Edderstonelee. Scale 1:3200. Size 126x80cm. Grid (map) reference NT5109. NRS reference RHP.1435
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT537158 (Lat/Lon: 55.433922, -2.733258), Cavers which are provided by:
Stobs Military Camp was used as an army training facility and prisoner of war camp between 1903 and 1959. For more information on the camp see Derek Robertson's Stobs Military Camp website.
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
- 1755 - 993
- 1794 - 1300
- 1801 - 1382
- 1811 - 1402
- 1821 - 1504
- 1831 - 1625
- 1861 - 1824