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"A royal borough [burgh] in the county of Roxburgh, delightfully situated on the banks of the river Jed, and surrounded on every side by hills of considerable height. It is a borough of very ancient erection, and appears to have been a place of note previous to the year 1165, from a charter from William the Lion King of Scotland, when he founded the abbey and monastery of Jedburgh, or as it was then sometimes called Jedworth. It continued a place of considerable importance, and, early in the last century, was one of the chief towns on the English border; but after the union of the two kingdoms, the trade of Jedburgh was in a great measure ruined, and the population and size of the town diminished in consequence ... The neighbourhood of the town is noted for its orchards, the annual average value of the pears alone being estimated at about 300L. The parish of Jedburgh is of great extent, being about 13 miles long, and in some places not less than 6 or 7 broad. The greater part of the parish is hilly, and laid out in sheep farms, which are dry, and covered with luxuriant pasture ... Population in 1801, 3834." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.

See also Edgerston.


See under Social Life and Customs for details of George Tancred's book The annals of a border club, the Jedforest, of Jedburgh, Scotland: and biographical notices of the families connected therewith.


Census returns for Jedburgh in 1831 have apparently survived among kirk session records held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh (NRS reference CH2/552/44). Please bear in mind that the amount and depth of information in these early returns may differ from that in later ones (source of info: Gordon Johnson's Census Records for Scottish families at Home and Abroad - see the Census section on the main Scotland GENUKI page for further details of this publication).

Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1831, 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.

Church History

The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume II, page 155:

"The present parish of Jedburgh comprehends the ancient parishes of Jedworth, Old Jedworth, and Upper Crailing. Old Jedworth is the southern section of the present parish; and Upper Crailing is what we have described as the eastern wing of the northern section. The two Jedworths are the earliest Scottish parishes distinctly noticed in history. So early as the record of the year 882 ... In 1754, the Relief denomination of dissenters mainly originated in Jedburgh under Mr. Boston; and a curious manuscript was prepared by the kirk-session of the epoch, narrating the rise of the new sect."

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 Somerville wrote the following:

"There are four clergymen in the town of Jedburgh; the minister of the Established Church, of the Relief congregation, of the Burgher, and the Antiburgher, seceders. Their respective examination rolls are as follows: Established Church 800; Relief congregation 1200; Burgher congregation 600; Antiburgher 150 ... Near a half of all the families in the parish of Jedburgh, and a great proportion of the families in all the surrounding parishes, are members of this [Relief] congregation."

Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist churches:

Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory of Scotland published in 1837 lists the following non-conformist churches in Jedburgh:

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 Dr John Purves, minister of Jedburgh, "and a large congregation" left the Church of Scotland for the Free Church in 1843 and that they "worshipped in the assembly room of the Spread Eagle Hotel" until their church was built. Rev. Ewing gives the membership of the congregation in 1848 as 526; in 1900 as 384.

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1639. 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).

Registers for a number of non-conformist Jedburgh churches are listed in microfilm format in the LDS Family History Library catalogue, and should therefore hopefully be available in LDS family history centres around the world:

The National Records of Scotland holds baptisms from Jedburgh Free Church for some years as part of its collection of Miscellaneous Records (MR 88) [Note: the GRO(S)'s catalogue gives the dates covered as 1812-1854, but when I looked at this item in the GRO(S) I couldn't see any baptisms earlier than the 1840s].

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.

Correctional Institutions

Graham and Emma Maxwell have indexed the prison registers of Jedburgh Prison for 1843-1848 and 1848-1869.


See for example:


A reprint of John Wood's plan of Jedburgh compiled in the early 19th century is available from Caledonian Maps. This was one of a number of plans of Scottish towns compiled during the period 1818-1825, most naming streets and property owners.

A later town plan of Jedburgh, surveyed in 1898, is published by Alan Godfrey Maps. The maps in this series are highly detailed having been taken from the original 1:2500 plans and reprinted at a scale of about 14inches:1mile.

Ordnance Survey maps covering Jedburgh include:

The town is also covered by an old Victorian one-inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map published by Caledonian Maps. The relevant sheet is sheet number 17 "Hawick & Jedburgh" which also includes Ancrum, Ashkirk, Bedrule, Bonchester, Cheviot Hills, Hobkirk, Lilliesleaf, Minto, Teviotdale and Watling Street.

The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:

Military Records

A roll book for the Jedburgh company of the Border Rifles, covering the dates 1870-1874, is now held at the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum, The Barracks, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1DG. (source: National Register of Archives).

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

The Borders Family History Society has published Poor Law Records CDs for Jedburgh Parish for 1852-1874 and 1875-1893.


Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:


Published school histories include:

Some records of the Jedburgh Burgh and Parochial Schoolmasters' Widows Fund are held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. These consist of minutes for the years 1824-1872 and have NRS reference GD342. (source: National Register of Archives).

Social Life and Customs

For a description of Jedburgh's annual Callants Festival see Chapter 19 of The Borders Book.

The annals of a border club, the Jedforest, of Jedburgh, Scotland: and biographical notices of the families connected therewith by George Tancred was published at Jedburgh in 1899 (505 pages). The LDS Family History Library catalogue lists a microfilm version of this book, so hopefully it should be available to view in LDS family history centres around the world.

Refreshing the spirit: the inns and pubs of Jedburgh by Garrett O'Brien was published at Jedburgh in 1991.

Hound and horn in Jedforest by T. Scott Anderson was published in 1909.

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Last updated: 24th August 2012

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