Place:St. Boswells, Roxburghshire, Scotland

Watchers
NameSt. Boswells
Alt namesSaint Boswells
St. Boswellssource: Family History Library Catalog
St Boswellssource: standard UK practice
TypeParish
Coordinates55.567°N 2.633°W
Located inRoxburghshire, Scotland     (1692 - 1975)
See alsoBorders, Scotlandregional authority 1975-1996
Scottish Borders, Scotlandunitary council area since 1996
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

St. Boswells was a parish in the former county of Roxburghshire, which ceased to exist following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1974. The parish had an area of 14.2 km2 (5.5 sq. miles) and had 5 neighbouring parishes: Ancrum, Bowden, Maxton, Melrose in Roxburghsire, and Mertoun in Berwickshire. The boundaries of this parish were modified among significant changes recommended by the Boundary Commissioners after the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.

St. Boswells is now located in the Scottish Borders Council Area, some 3 miles (6 km) southeast of Melrose and 7 miles (12 km) northwest of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. It contains the settlements of St. Boswells, Camieston and Charlesford. The larger settlement of Newtown St. Boswells was in Melrose parish. St Boswells is now linked [ecclesiastically] with the combined parish of Maxton & Mertoun.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Almost two thousand years ago the Romans came to this area in an attempt to extend the northern limits of their empire. At that time the Tweed valley was a land of open moor, bogs and forest inhabited by red deer and wild boar. The marshes were home to wildfowl and salmon were plentiful in the rivers. There were small settlements of Cumbric speaking pagans who hunted, fished and engaged in rudimentary cultivation of crops. The invading armies built their roads and military bases, fought their battles and then withdrew into history, leaving Trimontium and Dere Street as evidence of their occupation. The years following the departure of the Romans saw gradual changes. Tribal warfare, intermarriage and trade each brought new influences until eventually the area came under the sway of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria.

In the 7th century Northumbria was ruled by the pagan leader Oswald who, upon converting to Christianity, established, with the help of St Aidan, a monastery at Lindisfarne, the Holy Island. A group of young monks studied under Aidan and under his leadership they journeyed up the Tweed to build another monastery at Old Mailros. From this new religious centre monks were sent out to establish themselves as missionaries within the community. One of these monks who set up in this area and became especially known for his powers of healing was Boisil,[1] and he it was who gave his name to the village and parish of Saint Boswells.

Boisil set up his cell by the river and administered to the inhabitants of the settlement which grew up around him. It is suggested that some of the dwellings were on the flat haugh below Benrig - a good site but prone to flooding, which may explain why they eventually moved to the higher ground at Lessudden (the place of Aidan) and the present site of St Boswells.

St Boswells gave its name to a settlement in southwest Saskatchewan, Canada. The settlement was founded in the early 20th century, and flourished up to the mid-1930s. With depopulation after World War Two it failed in the 1960s and is no longer in existence.[2]

Lessuden

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Almost two thousand years ago the Romans came to this area in an attempt to extend the northern limits of their empire. At that time the Tweed valley was a land of open moor, bogs and forest inhabited by red deer and wild boar. The marshes were home to wildfowl and salmon were plentiful in the rivers. There were small settlements of Cumbric speaking pagans who hunted, fished and engaged in rudimentary cultivation of crops. The invading armies built their roads and military bases, fought their battles and then withdrew into history, leaving Trimontium and Dere Street as evidence of their occupation. The years following the departure of the Romans saw gradual changes. Tribal warfare, intermarriage and trade each brought new influences until eventually the area came under the sway of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria.

In the 7th century Northumbria was ruled by the pagan leader Oswald who, upon converting to Christianity, established, with the help of St Aidan, a monastery at Lindisfarne, the Holy Island. A group of young monks studied under Aidan and under his leadership they journeyed up the Tweed to build another monastery at Old Mailros. From this new religious centre monks were sent out to establish themselves as missionaries within the community. One of these monks who set up in this area and became especially known for his powers of healing was Boisil,[3] and he it was who gave his name to the village and parish of Saint Boswells.

Boisil set up his cell by the river and administered to the inhabitants of the settlement which grew up around him. It is suggested that some of the dwellings were on the flat haugh below Benrig - a good site but prone to flooding, which may explain why they eventually moved to the higher ground at Lessudden (the place of Aidan) and the present site of St Boswells.

St Boswells gave its name to a settlement in southwest Saskatchewan, Canada. The settlement was founded in the early 20th century, and flourished up to the mid-1930s. With depopulation after World War Two it failed in the 1960s and is no longer in existence.[4]

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article St Boswells.

Research Tips

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

  • Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.

Notes for Roxburghshire

  • GENUKI has a list of references for Roxburghshire. Some of these may be superseded by more modern material.
  • The Borders Family History Society provides a page of facts and publications for each of the parishes in its area. They have a lot of material and they publish monumental inscription books or CDs for many parishes. On each parish page is a map of the local area taken from either the ‘’Ordnance Survey Quarter-inch to the mile, Scotland, 1921-1923 series’’ or ‘’the Ordnance Survey One-inch to the mile, Popular edition, Scotland, 1920-1930 series’’. These maps are not visible immediately upon opening a page, but worthwhile scrolling down to find.
  • The FreeCen Project has transcriptions of the whole of Roxburghshire online for the 1841 and 1851 censuses and 87% of the 1861 census.
  • The St. Boswells Parish Registers for the Church of Scotland provide records of baptisms (1692-1854), marriages (1697-1825 and 1830-1854) and burials (1784-1854). See the FamilySearch Wiki article on St. Boswells for other church denominations.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on St. Boswells. These articles often include a bibliography.
  • Scottish Places article on the parish of St. Boswells. The tabs of the right provide more information, and a map of the parish within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on St. Boswells provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the parish.
  • The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
  • Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.