Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


The late 19th century remembered

Information is taken from ‘A History of the Village’ by Margaret Sellar, printed 1989.
Unfortunately the book is now out of print.

A good first-hand account of the village life at this time is given by John Ramsay in his article written in 1951 “The story of my boyhood days in Denholm over 50 years ago.” Ramsay, born in 1885, was the son of the last preacher at the Cameronian chapel and was brought up in the house next to it, known at that time as the Old manse, now called Elm Bank.

By the 1890’s there were few stocking makers left, the quarrying had dwindled away and the community was once again mainly agricultural, made up of small holders, rural craftsmen and the village tradesmen and shopkeepers.


Ramsay mentions several farmers. Most of them were no more than smallholders, in the tradition of the 18th century feuars. They worked their garden ground, the Crofts given in 1862, the haughs by the Teviot and common land to the East and South. They kept pigs, poultry, cattle and horses.

He names Farmer Armstrong who had a steading near the bottom of the Loaning and a “Milk House” (Dairy) in the Eastgate where his family sold milk, butter and eggs.

Rillbank His customers were also supplied with manure for their gardens and every autumn he gathered up the fallen leaves from the elm trees in the main Street to used as bedding for his pigs.

The Tait family who lived in Rillbank and other cottages at the bottom of the Canongate had smallholdings and also ran a quarrying and contractors business.

Ruberslea, in Eastgate, was a farmhouse at that time with a stable and a large hayshed attached.

So too was Thornbank in the Wynd which had a byre and was worked by the Barry brothers. Several households in the village kept and hired out horses.

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