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Swinton

A historical perspective, drawn 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.

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Swinton, a village and a parish in the Merse district, SE Berwickshire. The village stands, 190 feet above sea-level, near the left bank of Leet Water, 6 miles N by W of Coldstream and 5½ SE by S of Duns, under which it has a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments. Built round a large green, whereon stands an ancient cross, it presents a pleasant appearance, and has an inn and several shops; but its two fairs, on the third Thursday of June and the fourth Tuesday of Oct., have long been obsolete. Pop. of village (1831) 450, (1861) 431, (1871) 456, (1881) 434.

The parish, since 1761 comprehending the ancient parish of Simprin, is bounded N by Edrom and Whitsome, E and SE by Ladykirk, S by Coldstream, W by Eccles, and NW by Fogo. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 4 miles; its utmost width is 3 miles; and its area is 5571 acres, of which 11 are water. Leet Water, -entering from Whitsome, flows 3 miles south-westward through the interior, and 5½ furlongs south-by-westward along the Eccles border, till it passes off on its way to the Tweed at Coldstream. The surface is a series of gentle ridgy elevations, ranging from E to W, with intervening flats, and, at no point sinking much below 170, at none exceeds 274, feet above sea-level. New Red Sandstone is the predominant rock, and has been largely quarried. The soil in general is clayey, deep, and fertile. Nearly all the land, except some 25 acres under wood, is regularly or occasionally in tillage. From time immemorial the lands of Swinton have been held by the Swinton family; Edulf de Swinton having received from Malcolm Ceannmor (1058-93) a charter- one of the earliest granted in Scotland-confirming to him the entire parish of Swinton. Among his descendants were Sir John Swinton, to whom Fordun ascribes the victory of Otterburn (1388), and who fell fighting bravely at Homildon Hill (1402); Sir John, his son, who unhorsed and slew the Duke of Clarence, Henry V.'s brother, at the battle of Beauge (1421), and himself fell at Verneuil (1424); Alexander, the `fanatic judge, ' Lord Mersington, who headed the riotous attack n the Chapel Royal of Holyrood (1688); and John, likewise a lord of session by the title of Lord Swinton, who died in 1799. The estate is now held by Mrs Swinton, who owns 1161 acres in the shire, valued at £2808 per annum. Her seat, Swinton House, 13/8 mile WSW of the village, is an elegant modern mansion, successor to one of great antiquity. An interesting history of the Swinton family- was privately printed in 1883. Simprin was long the property of the Cockburns of Langton, who sold it in 1758. In all, 5 landowners hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards. Swinton is in the presbytery of Chirnside and the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £511. Thomas Boston (1676-1732), author of the Fourfold State, was minister of Simprin from 1699 until his translation to Ettrick in 1707. The session register during these eight years is wholly in his handwriting, and is still preserved; but the little church, near the southern border of the united parish, has long since fallen to decay. Swinton parish church, at the village, was built in 1729, and, as enlarged by an aisle in 1782, contains 366 sittings. A beautiful Free church (1860) contains 550 sittings; and a handsome public school, erected in 1877 at a cost of £2000, with accommodation for 200 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 150, and a grant of £126, 17s. Valuation (1865) £10, 993, 9s. 7d., (1885) £10, 529, 5s. 8d. Pop. (1801) 875, (1841) 1095, (1861) 964, (1871) 996, (1881) 964.—Ord. Sur., sh. 26, 1864.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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