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I was asked to prepare a little pamphlet for the Church in Ednam with a list of all Ednam's famous sons, copies of which are available in the Church The area is justly proud of the fact that so many people of note have been nurrtured in our little village. Some were born here and never moved far from home. Others left to seek their fortunes elsewhere but all remembered and treasured their years in Ednam as is recorded in this website. See also details and photographs on page "People" on this site.

EDNAM FROM THE BEGINNING Nine hundred years ago, in the reign of King Edgar, it was not unusual for the King to reward his most faithful soldiers and loyal supporters with gifts of land. To Thor Longus, who was probably a Norseman, the land along the banks of the River Eden in the Scottish Borders was gifted in recognition of his services to the king

At that time, however the land was not the pleasant area that it is today. The land, though extensive, including not only the area of the present village but the lands occupied by many farms in the surrounding countryside, was an uninhabited wasteland. Originally the area was called Edenham – the settlement on the banks of the River Eden. This settlement had the advantage of being in a sheltered spot which attracted the nomadic people of that age who brought their animals to graze and rest beside the river. Gradually, as these people found work with Thor Longus they put down roots, abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and replaced their tents with permanent homes.

We are told that Ednam throughout the centuries was a peaceful place with contented people and so it is today.

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

After the dedication of the church to St Cuthbert the monks came to Ednam. As well as caring for the spiritual well being of the people the monks brought education. A school was opened and Ednam, in the 21st century, still has its village school. Looking back over these 900 years it is gratifying to see how many famous sons this little society has nurtured either from birth or from adoption There are so many sons, from Ednam, worthy of note that it is impossible to include all in this little pamphlet but these are a few who must have special prominence.

JAMES THOMSON 1700

James Thomson was born in 1700 in Ednam Manse to an Ednam family whose grandfather had been a gardener to the Laird.. His family moved from the village when he was still a baby and he was educated, probably, at Jedburgh Grammar and Edinburgh University He later followed a career in literature and poetry. In 1725 he wrote “Winter”, the first of his four famous works called “The Seasons.” He is remembered for his composition of “Rule Britannia” The obelisk on a hill overlooking the village is Ednam’s tribute to him and the inscription reads : Erected in memory of James Thomson. Author of The Seasons. Born at Ednam 11th September AD 1700

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

James Dickson 1712

James Dickson was a native of the Borders, having been born in the neighbouring village of Stichill, who eventually became the owner and laird of Ednam. His is a story of a youthful misdemeanour which resulted in his running away from the Borders in order to avoid punishment. He set out to seek his fortune and while abroad he prospered. On his return, with the fortune he had amassed, he built a house in Kelso which he called Havannah House as it was Havannah from which his wealth came. However on buying Ednam Estate, but continuing to live in Kelso, he renamed his house Ednam House which today is Ednam House Hotel. Having no children of his own his estate passed to nephews who sold it. He is buried in Ednam Churchyard

James Cook 1728

Captain James Cook, the famous explorer, who discovered what was to become New South Wales in Australia, is another eminent person with paternal links to Ednam. At that time each household was charged a Hearth Tax and records show that a John Cooke paid such a tax, in Ednam, in 1691. This must have been Captain Cook’s grandfather. Records again show that in 1693 a John Cook and a Jean Duncan married in Ednam Church

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

WILLIAM WRIGHT 1782

William Wright was born into a poor Ednam family. He was the eighth of thirteen children of a farm worker. As he was a cripple and, all his life was dependent on others, he only left the village on three short visits to the surrounding area. When he was 30 his mother died and he then relied on non-family support. He had, however, three good friends in the village, the Laird, Sam Robertson the brewer, and Ms Anna Waldie of Hendersyde. His main pleasure, especially in fine weather, was sitting in the churchyard observing birds, flowers etc and it was here that he wrote his poetry. Miss Anna Waldie was instrumental in having his poems printed and from his poem “To the Best of all Friends, Ms Anna Waldie” it is obvious that he appreciated the help she gave him

HENRY FRANCIS LYTE 1793

Henry Francis Lyte was born in ‘The Cottage’, a property owned by the brewer in Ednam. He was the middle son of Thomas Lyte, whose ancestral home, Lytes Carey Manor in Somerset had been in the family from 13th century until the late 18th century. His father had sold his commission in the army and with Anna Maria Oliver had come to Scotland. Their three boys were born in the Borders with the two younger ones being born and baptised in Ednam. The family lived in Ednam for about eight years before moving to Northern Ireland. It was there that the family broke up with his mother and younger brother returning to England and his father and older brother moving to Jersey. Henry Francis, of outstanding ability, was educated at Portora School and Trinity College. In Ireland he remained in the care of the family of the kindly Dr Burrows, Headmaster of Portora school.

After his ordination as a minister he served in several parishes before going to Brixham, in England where he had charge of All Saints Church for 23 years. He was a prolific writer and a talented speaker. Besides his many publications he is remembered as the author of “Abide with me”. Although he never returned to Scotland he always considered the Borders to be his homeland as his poem, “On my Native Land” testifies. For many years ill-health plagued him and while convalescing in France he died and was buried in Nice. A plaque in Ednam church-yard commemorates his life.

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

JOHN GIBSON SMITH

John Gibson Smith, though not a native of Ednam, (born in Biggar in 1816) came to Ednam as its schoolmaster in 1834 where he quickly earned the respect of the children and their parents. He was an excellent teacher and, though strict he was popular and welcomed by the community. His reputation was such that some 20 to 30 children chose to travel from Kelso daily to attend his school. He had two great hobbies – gardening and poetry – about both he was very knowledgeable. He is reputed to have been a cheery, happy man yet many of his poems are rather sombre and belie this image of him. In 1862, “The Old Graveyard,” a 240 page volume of his poems was published.

In 1851 he married Mary Waddell (his first wife died in 1841) from Oban and they had a large family of 8 children. Some of his children became teachers. Because of ill-health he, and his family, emigrated to New Zealand in 1864 where he wrote much more poetry in his spare time. He is buried with his wife Mary at Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill, New Zealand.

Read all about the life of this interesting man on page "people" on www.ednam.org included Obituary and Funeral.

ANDREW BROTHERSTON 1834

Andrew Brotherston was born in 1834 in Eccles Shiel and moved to Ednam very shortly after his birth. He always considered himself an Ednam man. He started school in the village while John Gibson Smith was the schoolmaster. Andrew Brotherton was highly intelligent but as he lacked ambition he never reached his full potential. Andrew was a gifted pupil who loved nature and worked in the village as a gardener so that he would have time for his hobbies of nature study and bird stuffing.

He was an expert botanist and his deep and wide knowledge was recognised by many experts with whom he corresponded but he always declined posts of responsibility which were offered to him. He wrote many articles with one of particular value in overcoming the disease destroying salmon in the area at that time. Another of his publications is "Notes on Rare and Uncommon Wild plants found near Kelso"

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

RICHARD WALDIE GRIFFITH 1850

The Waldie family was an eminent Borders family from Hendersyde Park, Kelso

Richard Waldie-Griffith was born in 1850, the only son of Sir George Griffith – born 1820 - (whose father Sir Richard John Griffith married Maria Jane Waldie, an heiress of Mr. George Waldie of Hendersyde. The family in 1865 added the surname Waldie to their name of Griffith.

In 1849 Sir George married Eliza, daughter of Mr Nicholas Philpot Leader MP in County Cork. They had 2 daugters and one son- Richard _ who on his father’s death became Sir Richard. Sir Richard was born in 1850 and in 1877 married Mary Nena, ( she died in December 1916) daughter of General William Irwin of Leixlip, County Kildare. In 1904 Sir Richard bought the Estate of Ednam from William Humble, Earl of Dudley for the sum of £52000 thus becoming the Laird of Ednam.

It was largely due to Sir Richard's generosity that Ednam had a spacious site on which to build its new school. With the donation of the land and a sizable financial input to the cost of the building, the school, which houses today’s pupils, was built and opened in 1911.

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

WILLIAM PURVES 1931

Ednam, over the centuries, has nurtured many people who have left a lasting impression on our world. Even today this trend continues and last century a famous banker, William Purves, born 1931, began his education in Ednam. His mother, Mrs Ida Purves, was schoolmistress of the village school. He is now Sir William Purves and a plaque sited in the village hall, when it was built in 2000 pays tribute to him. He now lives in retirement, in London.

END OF PAMPHLET

 

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