29. Chisholm/e Families of Tweedsmuir.  

There were several Chisholms resident in Tweedsmuir when the Parish was first formed in 1644.   They were first recorded in 1639 when there was a roll of tenents in the new Parish.(1)   This date was only one year on from the signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh in 1638. More about this time in Tweedsmuir on page 1.3.  Introduction to Tweedsmuir Churchs

The Chisholm tenents listed on the 1639 roll were:- Johne Chisholme in Glencraigo, Johne Chisholme in Hawkschaw, Williame Chisholme in Carterhope, Johne Chisholme in Fruid, Johne Chisholme in Stanehop and Thomas Chisholme in houpkairtane.

A Marion Chisholm of Nether Menzion died of the plague in 1645.  The following is an extract from the Tweedsmuir Kirk records -  "16th July 1645, Marione Chisholm, daughter of John Chisholm in Nether Menione died by pestilence and two weeks later John's wife Elizabeth also "depairted this lyff by pestilence. (2).  For more about the Plague in Tweedsmuir see page 20. Great Plague of 1645 in Upper Tweed.

There were  other Chisholm families recorded at Menzion and also at several other farms spread over the Parish.(1)

The Chisholms were generally Roman Catholic (3).   However it would appear that not all were as evidenced by the Tweedsmuir Kirk Sessions Records where between 1644 and 1700 there were 11 births, 6 marriages and 4 deaths recorded for Chisholmes.(2)  Also Chisholmes from Nether Menzion and other farms were active during the Covenanting period. For more about the Covenanting Chisholmes see page Tweedsmuir Covenanters Trial.

 However by c1690 the Chisholms disappear from the Tweedsmuir records.  Why and where did they go?  The reason for their departure, certainly for the RC members, could have been been firstly, their unease at the atmosphere generated by the strong Covenanting movement that had flourished in the Parish.   Secondly, although c1690 the Covenanting movement had come to an end the Protestant William of Orange had become King replacing the Catholic James VII (James II in England) continuing the unease.  

The Tweedsmuir R.C. Chisholms probably went north to the heartland of the Chisholm clan at Erchless castle in Kilmorack Parish in Strathglass in Invernessshire.   The Parish was fairly extensive and the Kilmorack Parish Church (now an art gallery) had seatings for 630 (4).   The 1798 Statistical Account for the Parish stated that "On the Chisholm's property there are 600-700 Papists."(5).   Erchless castle is only about ten miles from Beaufort castle the seat of the Lovat Frasers in the neighbouring Parish of Kiltarlity.   For more about the Lovat Frasers and their Tweedsmuir heritage see page 5.1. Frasers of Oliver Castle.   Sadly, neither Erchless or Beaufort castles  are presently in the hands of Chisholm of Chisholm or MacShimi, their respective clan chiefs. 


1)  Robson, Michael; Surnames and Clansmen, Border Family History in earlier Days, Michael Robson, Isle of Lewis,, 1998. Chapter 7 - Chisholms in Peeblesshire - pp124-138.

2)  National Records of Scotland; Old Parochial Records,Tweedsmuir Kirk Session Records, 1644-1690

3)  George Way of Plean & Squire, Romilly; Scottish Clan & Family Encylopedia, St Kilda Ltd, Glasgow, 3rd Edition 2017. p138.

4)  Groome Francis, F;  Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, Grange Publishing, Edinburgh, 1882-1885. 

5)  Fraser, John, Rev; 1798 Statical Account for Scotland, Kilmorack, County of Inverness, Vol XIX p407.