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Duns Church History: Churchyard (7/12)

Duns churchyard is a quiet and well-kept, if little visited, oasis in the heart of the bustling town centre. It is accessed by a small gate east of the church hall. It has been the resting place of ‘Dingers’ since pre-Reformation times, and contains many old headstones, some dating to the 1600s. Notable individuals include many local merchants, professionals, ministers and landowners, and even a veteran of Waterloo, as well as mentions of sons and daughters of the town who travelled to the four corners of the British Empire. Grave-robbers made an unsuccessful visit in 1826 and a watch-house for guarding against them was in place until 1877.

By 1850 the churchyard was becoming overcrowded and a few years later the New Burial Ground was opened on Preston Road, with the churchyard closed to all but next-of-kin. In the early 1960s the easternmost part of the churchyard was removed during the widening of Currie Street, remains being reinterred in the New Burial Ground. In 1925 responsibility for maintenance passed to the local authority. Borders Family History Society have produced a CD-ROM, available from their website, containing transcriptions and photographs of every headstone in the churchyard and Christ Church’s Episcopal churchyard.

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