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The approach to ednam Village from Kelso

The aim of this web site is to provide information about this old and very interesting village since its origin in the late 11th Century. Not being a historian I cannot lay claim to having all the details and nuances of the various centuries but I hope that readers of this site will find something for all tastes. My research has been, of necessity, restricted but I will try to ensure its accuracy. If anyone would would like to add to this site or provide me with, stories, information or pictures I should be very grateful.


Prior to 1097 the village of Ednam did not exist. The entire area was a wasteland. This was during the reign of King Edgar who was the fourth son of Queen Margaret and King Malcolm (Canmore). He had to fight to become king and so had to depend on the loyalty of his followers and soldiers. As a reward for such services he gave areas of land to his valued soldiers and friends. One such person was Thor Longus and to him King Edgar donated the lands of which the present village was part. These lands, at that time were extensive and stretched both north and south of the river Eden and from the present village down as far as the River Tweed at Edenmouth. Although the area in 1097 was an unihabited waste land it enjoyed a sheltered position and had the advantage of being sited on the banks of the River Eden.

  flat land

When the king gave lands to his subjects a Barony was created and the person to whom the land was given was called the laird. At first this area was called Edinham or Edenham or Ednaham. The ending, "ham", which is common to many villages in the Borders region means "settlement" so when Thor Longus created an inhabited place on the River Eden the name Edinham was appropriate - the settlement on the Eden. This system, whereby lairds owned land, became known as the Feudal System. The position of Laird had many rights and priveleges. The Laird had the right to settle disputes, to sit in judgement and even had the right to inflict the death penalty if the occasion arose. For this purpose each barony had a "Gallows Tree". The Laird was, indeed, a powerful person.

This is how the settlement of Ednam began and the old Celtic way of life changed. Areas of land were called parishes and Ednam is the first parish to be registered in Scotland. As Thor Longus developed his Barony people began to settle there. The previously nomadic shepherds who came to the region because of its sheltered position eventually set up their tents permanently.Over the centuries the parish is reported to have consisted of about three to six hundred inhabitants. In the census in 1851 the population of the Parish was 650 and that of the village itself was 162 with 41 houses being inhabited and 2 uninhabited. The 2001 census shows the population of the village as 140.

This gift of land to Thor Longus ( who was probably a norseman) was required to have a Charter All such gifts had charters,and the above shows the details of this charter which Thor Longus made to Durham and which is preserved in Durham Cathedral. It records that when he came to Ednam the area was uninhabited and that he lived on the land, reclaimed it, and laid the foundation for the church which he and the king dedicated to St. Cuthbert. He drained the land and made it a suitable place for people to live.

The people who came to work in this region would previously have moved round the country with their animals but through time, as they worked for Longus,they became loyal to him as he had given them a living and a home. In turn Thor was loyal to the king so for everyone it was a comfortable arrangement. It does not appear that Longus had any family so he must have lived a fairly solitary existence. He lived and worked in Ednam for the rest of his life and is reputed to have been buried here. There appears to be some uncertainty about the actual place of burial. One theory is that he was not buried in the Church yard but on a hill a little further from the village and overlooking it. As three stone coffins were discovered above the village some centuries later that theory was thought to be correct. However other "authorities" maintain that a person of Thor Longus' calibre would most certainly have been buried in the church and as the existing church stands on the site of the original it can be argued that Thor Longus still rests there. If anyone can clarify this point without any doubt them I shou;d be glad to have that information.

Ednam Village  

From the time of Thor Longus as the first laird, there is a record of all the lairds of Ednam
1124 David was laird when he became king. King David then disposed of several assets in Edinham
1 to the monks and Abbot of Kelso Abbey he gave rights in the parish of Ednam
2 to the Prior of Coldingham.....a gift from Ednam estates of a toft ( a homestead or hillock) with houses.
1153 succeeded by grandson Malcolm (The Maiden)
Malcolm, during his reign, confirms his grandfather's gifts and includes Ednam peats and barley in his gifts to the Monks of Kelso.

1165 the next laird was William the Lion
to Kelso Monks he gave more rights viz; the right to use Ednam Mill whenever the need arose (eg if their own mill was out of use) and 3 carucates of land( a carucate is the area of land which can be ploughed by one plough in one season). The position of this land would have been very clearly descibed.
Dryburgh Abbey also has charters referring to Ednam but for several years until the next century there is no further mention of Ednam.
1233 Walter de Edenham then appears and although he has no charter it is assumed that he was Laird of Ednam.


Walter was succeeded by his son William de Edenham
and, last in line, by his grandson Robert who, during the struggle for the crown of Scotland together, with other lairds in the borders, in 1296, took an oath of loyalty to the English King Edward 1. This was because it was thought that the English would win the struggle as King Edward had already set up his court in Roxburgh.

1314 It became evident that Robert had chosen unwisely and when Robert the Bruce overcame the English and became king of Scotland all estates of those lairds, who had sworn oaths, were forfeited to the crown. Ednam was given by King Robert to his daughter Marjorie

Ednam in due course passed to Marjorie's son Robert who sold it to a Sir Robert Erskine.
1371 when Robert11 became king he bought Ednam back for 100pounds sterling
1390 Robert 111 succeeded and gave the barony of Ednam to his sister Isabel as a wedding present, together with the hospital called St. Leonards or St. Lawrence.
1392 Isabel married John Edmondstoune and a line of 17 Edmondstounes reigned as lairds in Ednam until 1761. In 1392 the Edmondstounes owned almost the whole of the Parish of Ednam

David 1413 James 1426 John 1458 John 1482 James 1496 the 6th Edmondstoune. On June 6th June 1496 the English attacked this area of the borders and destoyed the great steeple and tower of Ednam, the castle at Stichill and burned Ednam. Ednam was rebuilt but not the tower and steeple.
after James followed 3 Johns, Andrew and another John
12th Laird Andrew 1633 borrowed heavily and mortgaged much of the estate (in the valuation of 1643 Ednam estate had a value of £8000 a year with Hospital lands valued at £360 per year. At that time the Edmondstounes still owned almost whole of the Parish including Kaimflat, Newtonlees, Bernington, Barlies and Berryloch.
13th laird Andrew was even deeper in debt and Newtonlees, Kaimflat, Harperton, Highridgehall and Edenmouth were all sold to the Laird of Newton Sir Alex Don of Newton Don.

14th laird Andrew married Isabel, daughter of Sir Alex Don.
15th laird Andrew 16th Andrew followed but died childless.

1760 was succeeded by James the 17th and last of the Edmondstounes. He was laird for only one year. Estate at that date consisted of village, 3 farms (Cliftonhill, Houndridge and West Mains). In 1761 he sold Ednam which had been in the family for 4 centuries to a James Dickson. 1765 James Dickson was born in Stichill in 1712 and had been an apprentice saddler in Kelso before leaving (under a cloud of suspicion) to make his fortune in London.


James Dickson made his fortune and returned to Kelso where he build a house which he named "Havannah House". Later he bought Ednam but continued to live in Kelso. He changed the name of his house to "Ednam House" which today is a hotel. Dickson was the first laird to live outside Ednam. Although he did not live on his lands he made many improvements eg he drained the lands,rebuilt his village,for the first time covered the roofs with red pantile tiles, built another mill and brought brewing as a business to the village. He also had great dreams of building a canal to link Kelso and Berwick but lack of financial backing prevented this. He died in 1771 at the age of 59 and is buried in Ednam church yard. As he had no children s two nephews inherited his estate.

James Dickson's grave in Ednam Church Yard

The inscription reads: Here lies James Dickson of Edenham, late merchant in London and representative in Parliament for the district of Peebles who died X1V November MDCCLXX1 in the L1X year of his life.
1771 As Dickson had no children his nephew William inherited all the property but sold Ednam to Arthur Cuthbert who lived in London
1792 James Ramsay Cuthbert inherited from his father
Another sad event in Ednam took place in then year 1795 when the laird´s two daughters Mary and Elizabeth were drowned when trying to cross the River Eden while it was in spate.
1827 was the year of a new line of lairds, a Viscount Dudley and Ward, who had been Foreign Secretary and was rewarded by the king. He then became the next Laird of Ednam.
1833 followed by his cousin Rev William Humble. 1836 his son William Ward became laird. He only visited Ednam on one occassion and that was for one hour. He was, in fact, the only one of this line to come to Ednam at any time.
1885 his son William Humble, Earl of Dudley,another absent laird, succeeded and he never visited Ednam.

1904 Ednam, a new laird, Sir Richard John Waldie Griffith of Henderside, took ownership of Ednam and as he was a native of the area. His father Sir George Richard Griffith had married the heiress Maria Jane Waldie of Hendersyde and the family had added the name "Waldie" to their surname in 1865. So, to this new Laird, Ednam was his home.. He bought Ednam in 1904 for £52000. He later was involved in a legal dispute abroad and lost his case. His third wife Lady Maude had acted as his defence in court proceedings the loss of which left him bankrupt.
Recently a member of the Waldie Griffith family very kindly sent me a copy of the London Illustrated News of 1889 in which the obituary notice of Sir George appeared.

obituary of Sir George Griffith

There is a brass plaque inside the church in memory of Lady Griffith and reads "In memory of Lady Frances Griffith beloved wife of Colonel Sir Richard Waldie Griffith".
The 20th Century saw great changes in Ednam and some of these are recorded in later chapters on this site.

  obituary of sir george
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