A Brief History

The village of Chirnside can be seen from almost anywhere in Berwickshire, perched on the ridge between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Duns, and overlooking the Tweed valley with the Cheviots in the distance. The village derives it’s name from the Cairn, which stood on the hill at the east end, and over many centuries it has developed as a thriving community. Chirnside has several interesting landmarks.

Buildings of Note


pen and ink drawing of parish church norman doorway

parish church norman doorway

pen and ink drawing of Parish Church

Parish Church

The Parish Church dates from the mid-12th century, with the Norman doorway and part of the west wall still visible. A sundial, dated 1816, can be seen on the south west corner of the building. The Church was rebuilt in 1878, then restored and altered in 1907, a fine monumental gateway being added later.




pen and ink drawing of Ninewells doocot

Ninewells doocot


The ‘Ninewells doocot‘, a circular structure dating back to the 16th century, is one of several quirky dovecots elaborately built to house and feed pigeons over the winter. It is reputed that the land on which it stands was won in a wager, from the owner of Whitehall, by Hume of Ninewells, who erected the doocot so the birds would feed on his neighbour’s crops.




pen and ink drawing of Chirnside Primary School

Chirnside Primary School

Chirnside Primary School was designed in 1937 by Edinburgh architects Reid and Forbes, who were responsible for several schools in south east Scotland. It is an elegant building of Scots revival built in Art Deco style. Noted for its light and airy classrooms, it is a Listed Building.




pen and ink drawing of Mill at Chirnside Bridge

Mill at Chirnside Bridge

The first Mill at Chirnside Bridge dates from 1827 although all that is thought to remain is the octagonal Porter’s Lodge. In 1842, the Young Trotter Company reconstructed and enlarged the paper mill. It grew in size twice more in the 19th century to meet the need for fine paper produced from rags. The Italianate house built for the owner is used as offices by Ahlstrom, the current manufacturers at the site.


To find out about famous and historically significant people who are associated with Chirnside click here

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