The most interesting headstones are those of John Hunter a Covenanting Martyr. It is said that John Paterson (Sir Walter Scot's Old Mortality) recut the inscriptions.

Covenanters01The Inscription reads:-

Here lyes

The body of John Hunter

Martyr who was cruelly

Murdered at Corehead

by Col James Douglas and

his party for his adherance

To the Word of God and

Scotland's covenanted

Work of Reformation


Erected in the year 1726.

(Reverse of Stone)

when Zions King was robbed

of his Right

His witnesses in ScotlandThe Grave of John Hunter

put to flight

When popish prelates &


All who would not unto

their idols bow

They socht them out &

and who they found they slew

For owning of Christ's cause

I then did die

My blood for vengeance on

His en'mies did cry.


The following was added in 1910 on a separate stone.

John Hunter a Tweedsmuir lad

was accidently visiting a

sick friend at Corehead when

timely in the morning he was

surprised with Douglas and

his dragoons. He fled to the

hill a great way, but one

named Scott, being well horsed, compassed

him and came before him

He was most barbarouslie shot through the body,

felled on the head with the neck of a gun,

and casted headlong over a high steep craig.

Contempory Record.




Another memorial is that to the 30+ men who died during the construction of the Talla Reservoir project (1895-1905). Not all died from industrial accidents, a small number died during the smallpox epidemic of 1902/1903. The grave stretches the width of the kirkyard. Oral tradition has it that there were 14 wooden crosses on the piece of land adjacent to the mortuary at the dam site. Whether the figure of 30+ on the headstone includes this figure of 14 is not known.

The John Hunter memorial erected in 1726 (he died in 1685) is not the oldest in the kirkyard, that would appear to be that of John Welsh who died in Over Menzion and dated 1711.  For more about this Welsh family see Welsh Family of Tweedsmuir page.  There are in the records references to older stones that were whinstone slate that have now vanished.

The most common names in the older part of the Kirkyard are as one would expect are Tweedie/Tweedie Stodart, and the Welshes. The next are Andersons and perhaps surprisingly, Hopes! These Hopes were tenant farmers while at this time my own Hope ancestors came via Selkirk from a village called Bole in Traquair Parish.

There is an interesting stone slab on which the Royal Commission commented as follows in 1959. " What seems, however, to be a relic either of the church (previous) or of a contemporary burial-vault is to be seen in a carved stone slab which now leans against the NW corner of the existing building. This slab is carved in relief with a shield, surrounded by a helm and mantling and having at either side an hour glass and, below, a cartouche which no doubt once bore an inscription; weathering, however, has made the charges on the shield illegible and entirely removed the inscription." It is probable that the slab did indeed come from the previous church and was located outside and above the east window.   More about this on the page on the Tweedsmuir churches.

One other headstone of local interest, is that of Jeanie o' the Crook who was the landlady of the Crook Inn, that in her day was well known to a number of famous Scotsmen. The Rev. Hamilton Paul, Minister of Broughton, wrote a song in which he proposed to Jeanie, however she refused. She died in 1839.

The Professor Dr. John Ker DD of the main window of the church and plaque on the Bield building died in 1866 is buried in Edinburgh.

The parents of Dr David Welsh - David and Margaret Welsh -and members of the Welsh family are buried here. There are also two WW1 Memorial Plaques inside Tweedsmuir Kirk.


Tony Hope