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"A parish in the counties of Roxburgh and Selkirk, situated at the western extremities of these shires, where they march with that of Dumfries. It is estimated to extend 13 miles in length, and 6 in breadth, watered by the little river Borthwick, and the river Ale, beside several small lakes which give rise to these streams. The general appearance is hilly; but none of the eminences are of extraordinary elevation. From the banks of the rivers the surface rises by a gentle ascent; and the low grounds, except where beautified with planting, are in a state of cultivation. The higher grounds afford excellent pasture, interspered with considerable patches of moss ... There are several remains of encampments and fortifications: one large square encampment, well fortified, bears the name of Africa, communicating with one of a semicircular form. Population in 1801, 618." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.


A list of pre-1855 tombstone inscriptions in Borthwick Wa's churchyard (Roberton parish) was printed in the 1972 volume of the Hawick Archaeological Society's Transactions: a list of the surnames recorded is available online. This list of inscriptions was also published separately in booklet form: An Historical Record of Borthwick Wa'as Burial Ground by Kathleen W. Stewart, printed in 1987 by E & C Print, Melrose. For an earlier article on the same cemetery, see the 1938 transactions of the Hawick Archaeological Society. Entitled "Borthwick Wa's: a lonely Border churchyard", it was written by James C. Bonsor and appears on pages 79-87.

The 1972 volume of the transactions also contains a list of inscriptions for Roberton parish burial ground: a list of the surnames recorded in this burial ground is available online.


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

Church History

A 19th century account of the history of Roberton parish can be read online. Roberton includes part of the ancient parish of Hassendean.

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1679. 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).

The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include kirk session minutes for the years 1700-1735 and 1737-1788, and accounts for the years 1776-1820. More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Roxburghshire page.

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.


Two books covering the whole parish are:

A number of articles on this parish have been published in the transactions of Hawick Archaeological Society. These include:

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Page created by Vivienne S Dunstan.
Last updated: 9th September 2011

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