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"A parish in Roxburghshire, of an oval form, about 9 1/2 miles in length, and 6 in breadth. It borders on the S. with England, where the top of the Hounam Fell, a part of the Cheviot hills, is in the march. The surface is hilly and mountainous, but the pasture is excellent; and this parish is noted for a particular breed of sheep, called the Kale-water breed, from a stream of that name which runs through the middle of the district. The Roman road from Boroughbridge in Yorkshire, towards the Lothians, can be distinctly traced in this parish for 5 miles. There are also the remains of a rectangular encampment on the summit of Hounam Law, one of the highest of the border hills. Population in 1801, 372." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.


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


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 1689. 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).

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 Hounam's geography and history was printed in the July 1991 edition of the Borders Family History Society magazine and another article may be found in the society's published list of monumental inscriptions in the parish.


The Morebattle Village site includes information about the history of Hounam parish.


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 Hounam parish (NRS 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 Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.

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Last updated: 3rd July 2007

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