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Random Notes Anent the Antiquities, Traditions, Superstitions, and Old Manners and Customs of the Borders. – XX. – Miscellaneous.

[Kelso Chronicle Articles Contents]

1. EDNAM. 

   THE Chronicles of Coldingham say that in the reign of Edgar, Edenhim and Swinton were in a waste and desert state. 

   Malcolm Canmore, in 1159, granted out of the milne of Ednam twelve chalders of oats yearly to the monks of Kelso. David I. granted it at first, and Malcolm confirmed the grant. King William gave them the milne itself in exchange for this and the twenty chalders of meal and wheat which they had from the milne of Roxburgh, and the forty shillings from the custom of the same, and they had the power to hinder the exaction of any other milne within the parish. 

   The monks of Kelso had liberty to dig turf for fuel from a certain part of the muir. The last part of the parish which was subjected to agriculture was probably the land in the farm of Highridgehall, which still retains the name of Moral-law in the vulgar nomenclature. This is evidently a corruption of Moory-law, which it is natural to suppose would be given to it when the adjacent fields were brought under cultivation. The nature of the soil, which is the least fertile in the parish, offered no inducement to the monks or their successors at the Reformation to render it arable. 

   Paganus de Bosseville gave the monks an ox gang in Edinham, consisting of fourteen acres. King William gave three ploughgates, which were delivered to them by Erkinbald, Abbot of Dunfermline. Two and a half of these ploughgates lay near the limits of their land in Kelso, on the north side of the petary of Ednam, reaching thence along the boundary of the parishes to the southern bounds of Newton, and thence along the said bounds to the river Eden, and along the Eden to the bridge on the west side of Ednam, and hence to the road leading to the hospital at the forking of the road which comes from the north side of the petary, and thence along the road to the place first-mentioned. The other half ploughgate lay on the east side of the quarry belonging to the Abbey, between the fourteen acres of Pagan de Bosseville, the hospital land, the petary, and the road leading to Spouston-ford. These lands were held before the grant was made by Henry and his nephew Randolph, Roger Clerk, and David, son of Thructe or Tructe, and Elzi and Alfred. King William also gave them a fishing in the Tweed, belonging to Ednam, extending from the bounds of Kelso to those of Brigham. King Malcolm gave the monks of Dryburgh half a ploughgate in Ednam, and two merks annual rent there. They granted this land to the master and congregation of the hospital of St Leonards at Ednam for half-a-merk and a pound of incense yearly. This rent they afterwards exchanged for some lands at Pettcorthya. 

   Ednam was part of the marriage portion which Robert I. bestowed on Walter the Steward, in 1315, with his daughter Marjory. 

   Ednam and Ednam Spittal were burnt by the Duke of Norfolk’s army in 1542. 

   In 1544, and 24th of July, Wark garrison, the captain of Norham castle, and H. Euse burnt Long Edenim, made many prisoners, took a bastel-house, strongly kept, and got a booty of forty nolt and thirty horses, besides those on which the prisoners were mounted, each on a horse. 

   In 1759 the whole lands and barony of Ednam being exposed to sale, it is stated that they amounted to £560, 6s. 10d. sterling of yearly free rent, after deducting public burdens; that they were within a mile of Kelso; 12 of Berwick; 10 of Eyemouth; and that the rents were punctually paid. There was also a good house on the estate, consisting of 15 fire rooms, besides kitchen and other conveniences. The kirk and manse were being removed from the neighbourhood and the house, and were building at a considerable distance from it. The purchaser was to be relieved from the expense of both. 


   Sir Eustace de Vesci, who, in 1193, married Margaret, the illegitimate daughter of the king, had the manor of Sprouston granted to him. He was slain by an arrow in 1207, when reconnoitring Castle Bernard, along with Alexander II. He had a private chapel at his house. 

   In 1313 William Frank, the person who conducted Randolph and his band of men up the rock of Edinburgh castle, which enabled him to recover that garrison from the English, received a grant of the lands of Sprouston, which has fallen to the crown, by the forfeiture of William Riot, Henry Drawer, Thomas Alcoats, John, Thomas, and William Fitzallan, and others. 

   Gardez vous al Français was the motto of a picture of a castle with a ladder applied to the wall and a man climbing up, which picture was drawn by the command of Marjory, wife of Malcolm Canmore, and remained in the days of Barbour suspended in the chapel of St Margaret. It was reckoned prophetic of the above transaction of the taking of Edinburgh castle. 


   A nunnery was founded here by Cospatrick, Earl of March, or his lady. The nuns were of the Cistercian order. 

   1554. Sept 27. – The men of the east and part of the middle marches won the church of Eccles by assault, and slew eighty men of the abbey and town, most of them gentlemen of head surnames. They also took thirty prisoners, and burnt and destroyed the said abbey and town. 


   In the year 758 Ethelwold was raised to the throne of Northumbria. Although he was no relation to the royal family, Oswin, a descendant of the kings who had reigned over the country for many years, endeavoured to recover his possessions by force. Both armies met at Eldun, in the neighbourhood of Mailross, when a bloody combat ensued, which lasted the space of three days. Oswin was slain, and his army routed. This happened in 761, although the Chronicle of Melrose places it in 760. The encampment of one of the armies was marked by a few large thorns called the “barons thorns,” which are now cut down. They stood about half a mile eastward of the village of Bowden. 

   There were other thorn trees in the neighbourhood of this village of historical interest, which have fallen under the axe of the Goth, without a single voice being uplifted “Woodman, spare that tree.” The Corsedyke thorn is now no more; Bonnington’s thorn stood at the east end of the village, and was always one of the hails in the games of footballs or shinty. The Campknow thorn grew at the south-east corner of the park of that name, near which tradition says there was a churchyard and an old Roman encampment; hence its name. The trysting or weapon schaw thorn tree stood in a park to the west of the Campknow, near the roadside. Here the lairds of Halydean assembled at certain seasons the individuals who composed their marauding bands. Here also the royal weapon schaws were held when Bowden was within the pale of Ettrick, or the Royal Forest. Some of these thorn trees were of very large dimensions, and were cut down by a farmer whose name deserves to go down 

“To the vile dust from which he sprung, 

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.” 

J. G. S.      

– Kelso Chronicle, 1st January, 1864, p.4. 

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