"A considerable town and parish in the county of Berwick. The town is delightfully situated in the centre of the county, encompassed on the W. N. and E. by the Lammermuir hills, a fine plain 25 miles in extent lying towards the S. The ancient site of the town was on the top of the beautiful hill called Dunse Law, which is elevated from a base of about 2½ miles in circumference to the height of 630 feet above the level of the sea. The town was afterwards rebuilt at the foot of the hill. The small water of Whittadder passes by it ... Dunse contains about 2400 inhabitants. The parish of Dunse is an oblong square of 8 miles by 5, extending over a part of the ditrict of Lammermuir, and over the head of that fertile plain called the Merse ...Population in 1801, 3163." From the Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.
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:
- Boston Free Church
- United Presbyterian Church (East)
- United Presbyterian Church (South)
- United Presbyterian Church (West)
- Episcopalian Church
Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory of Scotland published in 1837 lists the following non-conformist churches in the parish:
- Relief Church
- United Secession (minister: Rev. Thomson)
- United Secession (minister: Rev. Robertson)
There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1615. 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).
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.
As a Burgh of Barony, Duns was presided over by a Barony Court. The Borders Family History Society has published a book of the court records between 1753 and 1800.
Duns now has its own town website giving lots of information about the modern town, as well as articles about its history.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Duns to another place.
You can see the administrative areas in which Duns has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
Ordnance Survey maps covering Duns include:
- Landranger 67: Duns, Dunbar & Eyemouth area - scale 1:50000, or 1.25inch:1mile, or 2cm:1km
- Pathfinder 436: Duns & Longformacus - scale 1:25000, or 2.5inch:1mile, or 4cm:1km
The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:
- 1825: Windshield, Oatlee Cleuch and Cockburn. Scale 1:19,000. Size 37x48cm. Grid (map) reference NT7658. NRS reference RHP.1760
- 1849: Cockburn. Scale 1:7900. Size 56x43cm. Grid (map) reference NT7658. NAS reference RHP.2587
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT774562 (Lat/Lon: 55.798646, -2.361997), Duns which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
- 1755 - 2593
- 1788 - 3324
- 1801 - 3157
- 1811 - 3082
- 1821 - 3773
- 1831 - 3469
- 1861 - 3595
For a description of Duns Reivers' Week see Chapter 19 of The Borders Book.
The Dunse History Society has a website detailing its programme of meetings.