Place:Ladykirk, Berwickshire, Scotland

Alt namesUpsettlingtonsource: Wikipedia
Coordinates55.7225°N 2.1846°W
Located inBerwickshire, Scotland     (1697 - 1975)
See alsoBorders, Scotlandregional authority 1975-1996
Scottish Borders, Scotlandunitary council area since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog

The parish of Ladykirk was located in the former county of Berwickshire on the border with England. There is a stone bridge built in the 1880s connecting the village of Ladykirk with Norham in Northumbria. The former name of Upsettlington was changed by James IV of Scotland (1473-1513). The baptismal register has entries from 1697.

The parish is now located in the Scottish Borders Council Area and has two settlements: Ladykirk and Upsettlington.



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

John Balliol

The land opposite Norham Castle known as Upsettlington Green and Holywell Haugh was used for meetings during the wars of Scottish Independence. Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale, the father of Robert the Bruce, and the Competitors for the Crown of Scotland convened at Holywell Haugh on 2 June, 1291, and met Robert Burnell the English Bishop of Bath and Wells. On the following day John Balliol acknowledged Edward I of England as his feudal superior.

James IV

James IV established his headquarters at Upsettlington on 5 August 1497 during an attack on Norham Castle. Here James played cards with the Spanish ambassador Pedro de Ayala. The approach of an English army lead by the Earl of Surrey forced James to abandon the siege of Norham. Surrey marched towards Ayton Castle and by 21 August 1497 peace was negotiated and James sent orders to stop re-inforcements coming to Ayton.

Soon after, James IV built a new church called Our Lady Kirk of Steill at Upsettlington. Originally, the church served two parishes, Horndene and Upsettlington. It is said that James founded the new church in gratitude for his safe crossing of the River Tweed, or to commemorate the siege of Norham Castle in 1497 and its peaceful conclusion. An inscription already illegible by the late 18th-century recorded that the church was founded by James in 1500, marking the Christian jubilee year. The building was first supervised by Sir Patrick Blacader from 1500 when he was allocated £40 from wool customs for the construction, and then from 1504 onwards by George Ker of Samuelston, by which time the windows were being glazed.

James IV visited in August 1501, and a church organ was brought for this occasion. Payments for the Kirk were listed in the royal accounts under the same 'buildings' heading as for the king's palaces and the ships of the Royal Scots Navy. A chasuble embroidered with the royal arms, with an alb, and an altar frontal of arras-work were provided in March 1505, and the building work continued. In legend, the foundation of the church became associated with visits of James IV to Lady Heron of Ford, and the defeat of the Scottish army at Flodden. Subsequently the church was an important meeting place on the border.

James gave the lands of Upsettlington and Holywell, with fishing rights, and the patronage of the new church to Alexander Lord Home. Lord Home had been the patron of the previous church. In the 16th-century fishing rights at Holywell were disputed between Lord Home and the English Norham castle.

Later sixteenth century

The Earl of Angus and his allies Lord Home, Lord Livingstone and John (Red-Bag) Somerville of Cambusnethan met at the Kirk of Steill in 1521. They were leaving Scotland to avoid Regent Albany their political rival who had returned from France. Angus sent his uncle, the poet Gavin Douglas to Cardinal Wolsey from Ladykirk on 13 December 1521.

The gentlemen of Selkirk, Jedburgh and Duns were summoned to meet Mary of Guise at Ladykirk on 24 November 1551, as she returned from France.

The 15th century church and village are known as the place where a treaty supplemental to the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed by the English and Scottish commissioners. The Treaty of Upsettlington, May 1559, (as it is known) was concluded within the Lady Kirk and exchanged at the church of Norham in England. The commissioners of Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis II of France were the Earl of Morton, Alexander, Lord Hume, Henry Sinclair, Dean of Glasgow and James MacGill of Nether Rankeillour. The English commission included the Earl of Northumberland and the Bishop of Durham.

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 Berwickshire

  • GENUKI has a list of references for Berwickshire. 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. 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.
  • There are no records for Berwickshire in the FreeCen Project.
  • The Ladykirk Parish Registers for the Church of Scotland provide records of baptisms (1697-1854), marriages (1698-1817) and burials (1784-1814). See the FamilySearch Wiki article on Ladykirk for other church denominations.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Ladykirk. These articles often include a bibliography.
  • Scottish Places article on the parish of Ladykirk. 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 Ladykirk 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.