20.  Great Plague of 1645.

Thomas Muchet the Minister of Tweedmuir Kirk writing in the 1791/99 Statistical Account(1) mentioned the following."Near Nether Menzion, on the banks of the Fruid, is the grave of Marion Chisholm, who it is said have hither from Edinburgh, while the plague was raging there, and to have communicated the pestilential infection to the inhabitants of three different farms in the Parish, viz, Nether Menzion, Glencothe and Fruid by means of a bundle of clothes, which she brought with her, in consequence which, a number of persons died, and were buried in the ruins of their houses, which the neighbours pulled down upon their dead bodies."

The actual site of the grave of Marion Chisholm on the banks of the Fruid Water is not recorded .

This episode has been confirmed from the Tweedsmuir Kirk Records(2) that on "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."

Below is the excert from that Tweedsmuir Parish Record.  (It should be noted that the index for these records has listed William Chisholme as dying on the 16th of July but the ione at the end of the name indicates that the name must be Marione?)    It is not recorded where Elizabeth the mother of Marione was buried.

A month later there were further misfortunes at Nether Menzion - the following from the Tweedsmuir Kirk records(2) also (3) 

"1645, The 14 of August Sarah Tweedie servant to Margaret Tweedie relic of William Whyte Robert Portieous in Nether Menione depairted this lyff by Petilence."

"1645, the 16 of August Margaret Tweedie relic of William Quhyte Robert Portious in Nether-Minion departed this lyf about 12 hours at night and that same night hir Youngest daughter depairted this lyf about 8 hour at night and upon the 18 of August a chyld of her daughers about 4 or 5 years of age depairted this lyf and were all buried togedder said 18 day of August and all died of the pestilence." 

The date of 1645 is the date of the worst outbreak of the plague that visited Upper Tweed.  This event is described by John Buchan in his classic novel Witch Wood(4).  In the novel the village of Woodilee, at the centre of the story, is a thinly disguised Broughton.   In the book the heroine - Katrine Yester - dies of the plague.

The farm of Glencothe (Glencutho) mentioned above is now under the waters of the Talla reservoir and was situated at the confluence of the Glencutho burn and the Talla Water. 


1)  Muchet, Thomas, Rev; 1799 Statistical Account - Tweedsmuir, p914.

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

3)  Tweedie, Forbes, Michael; The History of the Tweedie or Tweedy Family, Griffiiths & Sons, London, 1902. Appendix, p222.

4)  Buchan, John; Witch Wood, Unified Edition, Nelson, Edinburgh, 1927.   Chapter XVIII - The Plague and Chapter XVIIII - The Sacrifice pp346-385.


or return to History of Tweedsmuir Parish.