Listed Buildings in Tweedsmuir Parish

 1.3.2. Tweedsmuir Kirkyard (Listed as Category B)

One of the more interesting headstones are those of John Hunter a Covenanting Martyr. It is said that John Paterson (Sir Walter Scott's Old Mortality) recut the inscriptions.

The Inscription reads:-

Here lyes

The body of John Hunter

Martyr who was cruelly

Murdered at Corehead

by Col James Douglas and

his party for his adherance

To the Word of God and

Scotland's covenanted

Work of Reformation


Erected in the year 1726.

(Reverse of Stone)

when Zions King was robbed

of his Right

His witnesses in Scotland

put to flight

When popish prelates &


All who would not unto

their idols bow

They socht them out &

and who they found they slew

For owning of Christ's cause

I then did die

My blood for vengeance on

His en'mies did cry.

(The following was added in 1910 on a separate stone.)

John Hunter a Tweedsmuir lad

was accidently visiting a

sick friend at Corehead when

timely in the morning he was

surprised with Douglas and

his dragoons. He fled to the

hill a great way, but one

named Scott, being well horsed, compassed

him and came before him

He was most barbarouslie shot through the body,

felled on the head with the neck of a gun,

and casted headlong over a high steep craig.

Contempory Record.



In addition to the Hunters,  other families associated with the Covenanters the Families of Welsh, Tweedie and Hope are buried in the Kirkyard.   They can be found together in the North/East quadrant of the old section of the Kirkyard.   See page on the Covenanters in Upper Tweed.  These names along with Anderson are the most common in the Kirkyard.

The John Hunter memorial erected in 1726 (he died in 1685) is not the oldest in the kirkyard, that would appear to be that of John Welsh who died in Over Menzion and dated 1711. This John Welsh was the son of Black Welsh a noted Covenanter.  For more about this Welsh family see Welsh Family of Tweedsmuir page.  There are in the records references to older stones that were whinstone slate that have now vanished.

Another headstone of local interest, is that of Jeanie o' the Crook who was the landlady of the Crook Inn, that in her day was well known to a number of famous Scotsmen. The Rev. Hamilton Paul, Minister of Broughton, wrote a song in which he proposed to Jeanie, however she refused. She died in 1839.

Several of the Ministers of the first Tweedsmuir Kirk are buried in the Kirkyard.   They are buried in a line along the east gable of the current Kirk.  This location must have been considered as special and been reserved for the Ministers.   The Ministers buried here are the Revs. Thomas Muchet, George Burns, James Gardiner and Archibald Tod.(1)   One of the headstones is lying flat on its front and must have been that way for many years.  By the process of elimination this stone is that of the Rev. George Burns.

Also there are headstones in memory of Tweedie McGarth and his family including his son in law Richard Ross and family(1).  Tweedie McGarth was the post master at the Bield for many years. 

Also remembered on a family headstone is Professor Dr. John Ker DD of the main window of the church and plaque on the Bield building.   Dr Welsh died in 1866 and is buried in Edinburgh.

The parents of Dr David Welsh - David and Margaret Welsh -and members of the Welsh family are buried here. There are also two WW1 Memorial Plaques inside Tweedsmuir Kirk.

There is a headstone for an Edward Aitchison who was born in Burnfoot in Ewes Langholm and died at Menzion on 25-12-1854 aged 72.(1)   The Rev. C. Rogers in his book Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland(2) published in 1871 noted in the section on the Parish of Tweedsmuir in Peeblesshire the following:- Edward Aitchison, an itinerant minstrel, who died about fifteen years ago, is on his gravestone thus described :-

"Here in a lonely spot the bones repose

Of one who murder'd rhyme and slaughter'd prose;

Sense he defied, and grammar set at nought;

Yet, some have read his books, and even bought.


For want of art his virtues made amends;

Foes he had none, but counted many friends;

Long was he known by Teviot and by Tweed,

An aged horseman on an aged steed.


Where'er he went he found an open door,

The folks all likes him, and the bard was poor;

A ream of paper, and a pound of snuff,

Pens and his 'specks' and Edward had enough.

Along life's road he jogg'd at easy pace,

Dismounted here, and found a resting place."

However, examination of the headstone unfortunately shows no sign of this poem.  There is no other headstone for an Edward Aitchison in the Kirkyard.  An adjacent table headstone remembers a Beatrice Osborne(1) who according to the 1851 census was head of the household at Menzion that included Edward Aitchison.  Edward is listed on this census as a visitor who was a retired farmer was unmarried and was born in Ewes, Langholm.  The maiden name of Beatrice was Aitchison hence she was probably the sister of Edward.  She is buried with her husband James Osborne.   On the 1841 census Edward is listed as a farmer at Unthank, Ewes, Dumfriesshire.  The poem mentions probable books - if Edward did write books none of then have survived.  There is nothing to indicate that Edward was itinerant far less a minstrel!

Another memorial is that to the 30+ men who died during the construction of the Talla Reservoir project (1895-1905). Not all died from industrial accidents, a small number died during the smallpox epidemic of 1902/1903. The grave stretches the width of the kirkyard. Oral tradition has it that there were 14 wooden crosses on the piece of land adjacent to the mortuary at the dam site. Whether the figure of 30+ on the headstone includes this figure of 14 is not known.

Below is a map of 1856 with the original church that shows a substantial structure - about half the size of the Kirk - adjoining the south/east corner of the Kirk.  There is a built up railed enclosure at this location at the present time that wraps round the corner of the present Kirk. See image below the map at foot of page.  During the construction if the original Kirk in 1664 it is recorded in the Peebles Presbytery records and quoted by Will Grant (3)" that skeletons were found proving an ancient burial-place and site of a chapel."  Were the skeletons reinterred in this enclosure?   However, there is a more likely purpose for this enclosure and that is that it is an older Tweedie burial area.  One of the reasons for this thinking is that there is an old table headstone for a Welsh/Tweedie family in the enclosure - this headstone would appear to have somehow evaded being recorded in the Scottish Genealogical Society survey of 1993(2) - perhaps a slip up between the late Sheila Scott's field notes and final publishing.  This headstone records Humphrey Welsh of Easter Heartstanes d 1772 married to Margaret Tweedie who also died in 1772 also their son Alexander Welsh married to Marion Tweedie - this is a Tweedie headstone.  Another reason and perhaps clinching reason is the presence of the memorial plaque at the east end of the old Kirk overlooking the Aisle - more about this on page 1.3.1.b. Armorial Plaque.  The new Kirk, that was larger than the previous Kirk, when being constructed can be seen to have encroached on this enclosure reducing it in size.  The name Tweedie Aisle is not a too grand a name for this enclosure to distinguish it from the newer Tweedie Lair?   The Aisle must contain many old Tweedies- from Oliver but also elsewhere going back as far as 1489(4) including those that died in the plague of 1645 - see page 20 Great Plague of 1645.   Some of these deaths are recorded in the church records but their burial places are not marked.   The earliest Tweedie of Oliver headstone in the Tweedie lair on the north side of the Kirk lists Thomas Tweedie who died 07-05-1731 aged 75(2).   His name is preceeded on the stone by the names of Patrick Tweedie of Oliver, son John of Oliver but without any dates indicating that they had probably died before the headstone was erected.  Thomas was in fact the son of John who died in 1669 and Patrick his grandfather died in 1655.(3)  The Thomas Tweedie who died in 1731 must have been the Laird of Oliver that held the Tweedsmuir community together during the Killing Time - 1680/1688 - of the Covenanting era.  His father John could have been involved in the early Covenanting era but had died before The Killing Time.  See Page 9 The Covenanters in Upper Tweed.



The map also shows the Victorian formal garden at the Manse.   Also shown in the top right corner is an island in the Talla Water.  Was this the original Inch that subsequently gave its name to the field marked 71? 

The image shows the built up railed enclosure - Tweedie Aisle - at the left hand corner of the Kirk behind the pine tree.  This is shown on the map indicating that the south east corner of the first Kirk butted up against the railed enclosure and not encroaching upon it.   As mentioned above the present Kirk encroached into the enclosure. 


1)  Scott, Sheila; Monumental Inscriptions for Peeblesshire, Scottish Genealogy Society, Edinburgh, 1993. p115 (Aitchison), p116 (Tweedie) and p118 (McGrath).

2)  Rogers, C, Rev; Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland, Tweedsmuir Parish, Grampian Club, Charles Griffen and Co, London, 1871. pp272-273.

3)  Grant, Will; Tweeddale, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1948. pp110-111.

4)  Buchan, J, W, Paton, H Rev; History of Peeblesshire, Jackson Wylie, Glasgow, 1927.   Vol III p383 and Tweedie pedigree chart p384.

More pictures in the Tweedsmuir Kirkyard Picture Gallery


TOP and Navigation Bar.

Continue to section 3.1.3. Quarter Knowe.  (Mound on which the Kirk is built)