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Ednam in the beginning

Ednam is an attractive village approxinately 2 miles north of Kelso. It is surrounded by fields and open countryside. In the eleventh century Ednam was wasteland but even in those days it was recognosed by travelling people as a desirable place at which to rest. It is situated on the banks of the River Eden in a sheltered spot. THe nomadic people of that time travelled round the country with their animals - grazing them from plce to place but in the winter months they chose the milder climate around Ednam for the winter rest. They pitched their tents by the banks of the Eden and at the end of winter they resumed their travels round the area. Around the end of the century changes came to the area. It was the custom of that era that the king gave parcels of land to his trusted follwer (soldiers) in recognition of the loyal and valued service. It was as a reward for his sevice to King Edgar that Thor Longus was gived this large wasteland near the town of Kelso. He, at once , set out to cultovate it. It was the perfect setting for the beginnings of a settlement. When the nomadic people and their animals arrived they provided the labour Thor Longus required and he, in turn, presented the travellers with the opportunity to live a settled life. They could pitch their tents and there was a supply of work. It was a convenient arrangement.

Thor Longus became the first Laird of Ednam. We can assume that the first inhabitants of Edan were probable of Norse and Saxon origin -- the names of the fields and farms seem to indicate this. At that time the settlement was called EDNAHAM. It was here that the people had a chance to put down roots. AS the new Laird THor Longust was keen to drain and develop this wasteland and create a long term home for the people who came there. He planned to build a church and industries which would provide continuous employment. In the early days ther is no mention of a mill. But Ednam was ar ural setting and in such a place a mill was essential so it is reasonable to assume that the building of a mill was an early priority. Certainly there is mention of a mill in 1128 when it is recorded that King David, in a charter, gave certain rights regarding the mill to the MOnks of Kelso when they moved there from Selkirk. Also , as Laird, Thor Longus had the right to build a mill. The laird was the head of the community with the next in importance being the Minister and the Miller

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

The Laird

First of all the laird had to make his new land habitable. and he had to create work for the people. His first building was the church and since 1105AD the church in Ednam has occupied that same site although there have been severeal buildings.The CHURCH was dedicated to St Cuthbert and became the focal point of the village. The building of a mill must have followed soon after the church and the Minister and the Miller were very important peeople in the community.The first laird,Thor Longus, brought people to this area of uninhabited wasteland. He wanted to drain and reclaim land, to build a church and to provide industries where people could earn a living. Although there is no mention of a mill here at first, we can assume that, in a rural area, when a barony was created the laird had the right to build a mill. We do know that there was a mill in 1128 as King David, in a charter, gave certain rights regarding the mill to the Monks of Kelso when they moved there from Selkirk. The Laird was he head of the community with, on his one hand the minister, and on his other the miller.

The Minister

Probably the Minister was the second most important person in the area after the laird. He, of cours, cared for the spiritual needs of the Parish. He administered the sacraments and had a great influence on the people. He lived in the manse and in later centuries,once Prsbytarianism was established, he had regular contact with the Presbytery.


The Miller

The course of the old lade (still clearly seen today) from the West Mill to the river
The miller was a very important person in the community. As the farms grew so too did the need for a mill.The farmers and the people of the area had to have their grain ground at the mill; they could not take it elsewhere because the farmer was "thirled" to the mill and as well as having his grain processed there he was also obliged to provide a man once a year to help clean the dam and carry in the new grindstone. This condition was written into the lease of the farm long after the need for it had ceased. Over the years the use of the mills changed. At one time English blankets were manufactured at Ednam mill. In the 18th century a new mill was build higher up from the old mill and the two mills were in use for some time.

The School Master

The white building in the photo was the schoolhouse attached to the old school. The grounds in front of the building are those of Edenwater House and run from the public road to the church gates beside the Garden of Rest. Those going to the church are obliged to cross Edenwater House grounds.

The schoolmaster was the next most prominent and respected member of the community. He and the minister worked closely together. The minister had a say in what was taught in the school. Pupils were taught to read from the Bible. There was a school house in the village and, like the Manse, it was the home of each schoolmaster in turn.From about 1865 until 1905 Mr David Pringle was the headmaster of Ednam School.He kept very detailed records of his years as head and these make fascinating reading. In many ways today's teachers will read with envy about the enthusiasm of the 19th century students.

Ednam Village  

The School Log

This is a selection of some of the entries and these can be read in full by visiting the excellent web site prepared by the modern Ednam students.
1873 28th November 133 scholars. One of my pupils, by name Bowmont Weddell, has been appointed a pupil Teacher in the Duchess of Roxburghe's School and has accordingly left this school
1874 6th March Two half holidays, - one on Tuesday afternoon and other on Friday afternoon, the former being day of Inspector's visit, and the latter being Kelso Hiring for Farm Servants
1873 5th December 139 sc Scholars enrolled. As the schoolroom affords accommodation for only 97 pupils, no little inconvenience is experienced, especially in changing classes.

1874 25th December Monday being the shortest day, the pupils by a flank march debarred me from getting into school in the afternoon - hence the half holiday. Apparently to make amends for their cruel treatment to their teachers on that day, they presented their teachers with handsome and costly Xmas presents on Thursday.

1875 23rd July The Annual Excursion of pupils to Hendersyde Park came off to-day. There were 100 pupils present. Carts were kindly provided for the occasion by Messrs Ross of Newtonlees, Roberton of Harpertoun, Rennie of Edenmouth Burn, Ednam. The Scholars experienced much kindness at the hands of Mr and Mrs Waldie Griffiths.

1879 9th June 20 new pupils enrolled but most of them, in fact all of them, without intelligence and very deficient in every respect. It will take a year's work to bring them up to those lost at the Whitsunday "flittings" and whose place they fill. Two half holidays, - one on Tuesday afternoon and other on Friday afternoon, the former being day of Inspector's visit, and the latter being Kelso Hiring for Farm Servants.

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

1879 9th June 20 new pupils enrolled but most of them, in fact all of them, without intelligence and very deficient in every respect. It will take a year´s work to bring them up to those lost at the Whitsunday "flittings" and whose place they fill. 1882 5th May Lily, my youngest child, lying seriously ill and school conducted on Friday

1882 8th May School standing about 2 inches deep with water, caused by a remarkable rainfall yesterday (Sunday) and the pipes were not sufficient to carry the water off. The door-step being too low the water found its way into the Schoolroom and Class-room. The floor today was so wet that we found it necessary to dismiss the Scholars. Measles have broken out in epidemic form and most of the Scholars who have not had them before are now lying therewith. 1882 15th May Lily, my youngest child, died today, and made a sad blank in School and house.

1885 1st April Examination in Bible History, etc. 14 pupils repeated correctly Christ's sermon on the Mount and each of these received a book as a prize from Mr Roberton, Chairman of the Board.

1887 28th July The girls in Standard V1 Arithmetic very superior to the boys. The former have got their work up but the latter are still in comparative darkness.
1890 11th February Today I was unable to attend School owing to Influenza - being the first occasion during 25 ½ years of absence through illness.

1896 21st November Attendance keeping up tolerably well. The Scholars work agreeably and are anxious to please their teachers. It is seldom necessary to have recourse to corporal punishment - never for discipline, - occasionally for badly prepared lessons.
1899 19th October School Board have under consideration Water Closet conveniences - pails with sandy soil being used meanwhile. 1905 24th May Last day of teaching of Mr Pringle, headmaster for over 40 years

NOTE: Mr Pringle had bought Eden House from the Earl of Dudley and lived on in Ednam after his retirement in 1905. He died in Eden House in 1927 and is buried in the "Kirkyaird"

  Ednam Village
Ednam Village  

Eden House

Eden House occupies a prominent position near the river and overlooking the area. It is curently a private residence. The inscription reads: erected by David Pringle in loving memory of his daughter Lily Alice J. Pringle who died at schoolhouse Ednam on 15th May 1882 aged 5 years. Also of his wife Alice Fisher Pringle who died at Eden House Ednam on 13th April 1920 aged 73 years and also the above named David Pringle who died at Eden House on 16th March 1927 aged 87years and who was schoolmaster at Ednam from 1864 - 1905. also their daughter Mary Spence Pringle beloved wife of Frederick Finlayson who died 3rd June 1955 aged 82years and also the said Frederick Finlayson who died 25th March 1968 aged 100years.

The Farmers

The farmers were the rich men and employed a variety of workers. they employed shepherds, cattle men, ploughmen, field workers, odd job men and servants within the home and in the fields.Women were employed in both indoor and ootdoor farm work. Boys and women usually carried out the day to day runnimg of the farm.The farmers also provided homes (cots or cottages) for their male farmworkers in exchange for their work but it did not end there and there were other conditions. A married cottar,(a hind) was bound to provide the farmer with a bondager (this term was peculiar to the Borders and the North of England and means a female farm outworker). The census of 1851 records the number of hands employed at each farm.

  Ednam Village

Medical care in the Ednam Area

Ednam Parish had a hospital from very early times and although there is no trace of it now it was sited in the field opposite the present race course. It was called St. Leonards and is mentioned several times in the history of the Parish. Its first mention was during the reign of William the Lion in connection with an exchange of land in 1178.In the 14th century again it is mentioned regarding the Master of the Hospital receiving payments. In 1392 King Robert 111 gave the hospital to his sister as a weeding present. Unfortunately it suffered at the hands on the English during theirraids in 1542 and 1544. There are no remains but the site was known as Spitalfield

The Brewers

Site of the Brewery now Eden House
Although there had been a brewery in Ednam from the beginning of the district it had not been run as a business and was owned by the monks. The vaults are supposed to be almost as old as those of Kelso Abbey. Laird Dickson invited a brewer from Kelso to move his business to Ednam where the taxes were lower than in Kelso and,with the site being by the river it was an ideal spot with a costant supply of water, For the next 100 years Ednam had a brewery on the site where Eden House now stands,though originally the house was called Brewery House.There is a story that on one occasion when the Brewery cart was on the Kelso road loaded with barrels of beer the load slipped and a barrel was carried away in the river which was in spate. Years later it was found some considerable distance from Ednam but with a happy ending as the beer was still drinkable. In 1885 the brewery was destroyed by fire (in spite of tremendous efforts on the part of the villagers) and as it was never rebuilt brewing in Ednam ceased while in the grounds of Eden house some of the ruins remain. The first brewer, Samuel Robertson, is buried in Ednam. The inscription on his tomb reads.

Samuel Robertson, brewer in Ednam who died 1807 aged 57years also his wife Margaret Robertson who died ? 1826 aged 66 years also their children David, Archibald, Helen, David and John who all died young. All the above were buried in ground belonging to the Society of Friends in Kelso and were later re-buried here. Samuel, Alexander and David all died abroad.

Ednam Village  


Life in Ednam was well structured, with everyone having a place in the society. It was reported that there were few disputes in the area so we might assume that by and large Ednam people were a contented people. They were also a busy people with little spare time so they may have been too busy to quarrel either with members of their families or with the wider community. That is not to say that people did not experience difficulties. Floods and storms had to be endured and there are many reports of such. In the latter centuries school records show that on occasions the school had to close because the fields were flooded. Storms uprooted trees and accidents happened when the river was in spate. One of the Lairds who had two daughters and a son suffered a tragic loss when his daughters Mary and Elizabeth were both drowned as they tried to cross the River Eden when it was in spate.

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