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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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Chirnside, a village and a parish of E Berwickshire. The village is 5 miles WSW of Ayton and 1 mile E by S of Chirnside station, on the Berwickshire branch (1863) of the North British, this being 26¾ miles NE of St Boswells, 4¾ NE of Dunse, 4 SSW of Reston Junction, and 50½ ESE of Edinburgh. It consists of two streets, straggling for nearly a mile along the brow of Chirnside Hill, and commands a wide prospect, from the sea to the Cheviots and the heights of Teviotdale; but it lies withal somewhat exposed, and suffered severely from the gale of 14 Oct. 1881. At it are a post office, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Commercial Bank, an inn, gas and water works, the parish church (359 sittings), a Free church (500 sittings), and a U.P. church (575-sittings). In the patronage formerly of the collegiate church of Dunbar, the parish church is a venerable structure, retaining a Romanesque western doorway. A fair, of trifling importance, falls on the last Thursday of November. Pop. (1861) 901, (1871) 852, (1881) 939.

The parish, containing also the hamlet of Edington, 2 miles E by S, is bounded N by Coldingham, E by Ayton and Foulden, S by Hutton and Edrom, and W by Bunkle. It has an utmost length from E to W of 33/8 miles, an utmost breadth from N to S of 31/8 miles, and an area of 5594 acres, of which 16½ are water. Whitadder Water, winding 6¼ miles eastward, roughly traces all the southern boundary; whilst its affluent, Billymire Burn, rises in the NW corner of the parish, and, first striking 1½ mile ENE, next flows 2 miles WSW along the northern, and 1¾ mile S by W along the western, border. The surface sinks in the extreme SE to a little below 100 feet above sea-level, and rises thence in a long north-westerly ridge to 244 feet near Oxward and 466 on Chirnside Hill, which culminates 5 furlongs ENE of the village. The soil almost everywhere is very fertile; and, with the exception of some 370 acres of plantation and 88 of roads and railway, the entire area is in a high state of cultivation. Ninewells woollen factory, an extensive paper-mill (1841) at Chirnside Bridge, and Edington saw-mills, also furnish employment. Maines and Ninewells, the latter interesting from its connection with the two David Humes, are the chief mansions; and 5 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 7 of from £50 to £100, and 10 of from £20 to £50. Among former ministers were Henry Erskine (1624-96), grandsire of the Secession, to whom a monument, 25 feet high, was erected in the churchyard in 1826; and William Anderson, D.D. (d. 1800), the author of three ponderous histories. Chirnside is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Merse and Teviotdale; the living is worth £399. A public school at the village and Ninewells Church of Scotland school, with respective accommodation for 170 and 60 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 168 and 31, and grants of £141,19s. 8d. and £25,6s. Valuation (1880) £13,226,6s. Pop. (1801) 1147, (1831) 1248, (1861) 1502, (1871) 1413, (1881) 1516.—Ord. Sur., sh. 34,1864.

The presbytery of Chirnside comprises the old parishes of Chirnside, Ayton, Coldingham, Coldstream, Edrom, Eyemouth, Foulden, Hutton, Ladykirk, Mordington, Swinton, and Whitsome, with the quoad sacra parish of Houndwood. Pop. (1871) 17,019, (1881) 18,337, of whom 3696 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878, the sums raised that year by the above 13 congregations in Christian liberality amounting to £1112. A Free Church presbytery is designated of Dunse and Chirnside.

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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