Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where are the Newcastleton Poor Registers ?

Back in February 2009, one of the Poor Law Records volunteers told me that
she would really like to transcribe the Castleton parish Poor Law Records,
as she had many family members who might be in those records.
The parishes for which records have been digitised are Bowden, Broughton,
Drumelzier, Eckford, Eddleston, Eyemouth, Glenholm, Hounam, Kilbucho,
Jedburgh, Kelso, Lilliesleaf, Linton, Makerstoun, Manor, Maxton, Morebattle,
Oxnam, Peebles, Skirling, Smailholm, St Boswells, Stichill, Stobo, Traquair,
Tweedsmuir, Yetholm; and Castleton is missing.
When I next went to Hawick Heritage Hub I discovered that the only records
they had relating to Castleton and the Parochial Board was the McKinley Fund
minute book which contained only a few summary minutes and was not relevant.
I wondered where the Poor Law records were and whether they have been lost,
are in another archive, or even in somebody's attic.
The ministry began in 1574 with Martin Elliot, the rector, parson and vicar.
Initially the session was within the jurisdiction of Langholm Presbytery,
and the synod of Dumfries. On 9 December 1604, the session united with
Wheelkirk, Ettleton and Belkirk. By the early twentieth century the session
was within the jurisdiction of Hawick Presbytery, so I thought that if the
records were not in the Scottish Borders Archives, they might have been in
Langholm, and found their way into Dumfries and Galloway Archives.
Alas, that hope was soon dashed, and another idea that they might be lurking
in Newcastleton Heritage Centre was also in vain.
The poor registers aren't listed in the National Archives catalogue, either.
This is clearly something that needs more investigation.
My colleague, Davina Smart, discovered in the Valuation Roll for
Roxburghshire, from Whitsunday 1924 to Whitsunday 1925, the following
information:
Casual Sick House, South Hermitage Street, Castleton; Proprietor Parish
Council of Langholm; Inhabitant Occupier: Lancelot Graham, Caretaker.
She thought this might be the poorhouse, and it is next to the church
building now used as the heritage centre.
This isn't as unlikely as it might seem.
Most poor houses (officially all) closed by 1930, but some a great deal
earlier; Jedburgh poor house was closed in 1921, but the Shelter was used for
vagrants until 1930. There was some discussion about using it for the casual
sick, or as an overflow for Jedburgh Cottage Hospital.
In Linton, a building attached to the poor house was built as a pauper
hospital for the casual sick in 1857, and was still in use in 1916.
By 1952 it had become a wash house for the school which had taken over the
poor house.
However, although Castleton was sending its paupers to Jedburgh poor house by
1884, it's not impossible for the Casual Sick House to have been the
poor house initially.

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2 comments:

Bill Chisholm said...

Newcastleton was a village created by the Duke of Buccleuch in 1793, so I wonder whether the records for the poor house or the casual sick house are in the Buccleuch Estate Archives at Bowhill ?

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