Cockburnspath (/ˈkoʊbərnzpɑːθ, -pæθ/) is a village in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It lies near the North Sea coast between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh. It is at the eastern extremity of the Southern Upland Way a long-distance footpath from the west to east coast of Scotland. It is also the termini of the Sir Walter Scott Way and the Berwickshire Coastal Path. At the nearby village of Cove, there is a small fishing harbour.

Cove Harbour

Cove harbour
Cockburnspath is located in Scottish Borders
Location within the Scottish Borders
Population411 [1] (2001 census)
OS grid referenceNT774710
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTD13
Dialling code01368
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament


The area has many archeological remains which indicate it has been lived in and fought over since the Bronze Age. It lies close to the old invasion route from England into Scotland. Cockburnspath was originally known as "Colbrand's Path", after a folkloric giant.[2]

Sir Adam de Hepburn (d. before 1371), in the reign of David II, had a charter of the lands of Traprain, and Southalls and Northalls (united as Hailes) in Haddingtonshire, as well as the lands of Mersingtoun, Cockburnspath, and Rollanstoun in Berwickshire.[3]

The Market Cross, Cockburnspath, Berwickshire - - 941962
The Market Cross
Siccar Point red capstone closeup
'Hutton's Unconformity' at Siccar Point shows gently sloping Devonian Old Red Sandstone layers forming an eroded capping over much older vertically bedded Silurian greywacke rocks.

The lands of Cockburnspath must have at some point reverted to the Crown as they were part of the dowry given by James IV of Scotland to Margaret Tudor (daughter of Henry VII of England) on their marriage in 1503. This was known as the Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose, representing the Scottish and English national symbols. The 16th century market cross in the heart of the village has carved emblems of a thistle on two of its faces and a rose on the other two.

The marriage cemented the signing of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace between Scotland and England in 1502; the peace was short-lived and James was killed at the Battle of Flodden, just across the border in Northumberland, in 1513. This dynastic marriage did, however, lead to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 when James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, on the death of Elizabeth I of England.

In the 19th century Cockburnspath was a favourite summer haunt of many Scottish artists who painted the village, farm workers and the surrounding scenery. The village's picturesque scenery captivated both James Guthrie and Edward Arthur Walton who shared a house there in 1883.[4]

Dunglass, just to the west of the town, was the home of the geologist Sir James Hall who, in the Spring of 1788, joined John Playfair and James Hutton in a boat trip from Dunglass Burn east along the coast looking for evidence to support Hutton's theory that rock formations were laid down in an unending cycle over immense periods of time. They found examples of Hutton's Unconformity at several places, particularly an outcrop at Siccar Point sketched by Sir James Hall. As Playfair later recalled, "The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far back into the abyss of time".[5] Hutton's work influenced later geologists, particularly Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin.

The parish church has an unusual round tower. There is also the mediaeval Dunglass Collegiate Church at the border with East Lothian, maintained by Historic Scotland and open to the public.

Nearby Fast Castle was a fictional setting for Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermuir, which in turn inspired Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermuir. The Lammermuir Hills form the area of high moorland running west from the village on which the Border abbeys had their sheep farms, or walks, in the Middle Ages.

Notable people

  • John Broadwood (1732-1812), born in Cockburnspath, was the Scottish founder of the piano manufacturer Broadwood and Sons[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Cockburnspath Resilient Community Plan" (PDF). Scottish Borders Council. p. 6. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  2. ^ May Williamson (1942). "The Non-Celtic Place-Names of the Scottish Border Counties" (PDF).
  3. ^ Paul, Sir James Balfour, The Scots Peerage, Edinburgh, 1905, under 'Bothwell':135/6
  4. ^ "Edward Arthur Walton". Archived from the original on 20 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Hutton's Journeys to Prove his Theory". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  6. ^ Pianos and Their Makers by Alfred Dolge, page 244 ISBN 0-486-22856-8

External links

A1107 road

The A1107 is a road in south-east Scotland, in the Scottish Borders. It is a non-trunk route from near Cockburnspath to near Burnmouth.

It follows the route Burnmouth - Eyemouth - Coldingham - Old Cambus - Pease Bay - Cockburnspath.

Only at the southern end are there any settlements (Eyemouth and Coldingham). The route is closer to the east coast than the main A1 road inland, therefore providing a touristic alternative route along the sea shore.

The route offers an excellent view of the relatively flat area to the east of Dunbar

(East Lothian) namely the Torness Power Station and the Isle of May at the end of the Firth of Forth and across to Fife.

The road contains what was once the highest bridge in the Europe, a masonry structure over the gorge that leads out to the nearby Pease Bay, now a holiday caravan site. At its southern end, this bridge crosses the Southern Upland Way and Sir Walter Scott Way long distance footpaths.

There was a proposal to construct a wind farm straddling the road consisting of 22 wind turbines with a maximum height of 76 m. The planning officials of the Scottish Borders Council recommended refusal of the application of the developers PM Renewable Ltd. The planning application was rejected by a unanimous decision of the Scottish Borders Council.The project, however, seemingly has been turned into reality with several wind turbines since around 2012 in fact being situated on either side of the road near to Moor House farm on Coldingham Moor.


Berwickshire is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area in the Scottish Borders. It takes its name from Berwick-upon-Tweed, which was part of Scotland at the time of the county's formation, but became part of England in 1482 after several centuries of being fought over and swapping back and forth between the two kingdoms.

Formerly the county was often called "the Merse", from Old English mǣres, "border". From 1596 to 1890 the county town was Greenlaw. However, this was changed to Duns by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, the act which established the system of county councils in Scotland.

The county borders Midlothian to the west, East Lothian to the north, the North Sea to the east and Roxburghshire and the English county of Northumberland to the south.

Berwickshire Coastal Path

The Berwickshire Coastal Path is a walking route some 48 kilometres (30 mi) long. It follows the eastern coastline of Scotland from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders to Berwick upon Tweed, just over the border in England. At Cockburnspath the path links with the Southern Upland Way and the John Muir Way.The coastline traversed by the path is nationally and internationally important for seabirds, coastal flora and marine life: much of the coastline is protected as a Special Protection Area, and there is a National Nature Reserve at St Abbs Head which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Strong walkers can walk the route in two days, although the walk can be split into shorter sections to allow more time to explore the towns and villages along the way.The path was developed by Scottish Borders Council, and is now designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage. The route is waymarked, and there are four memorial statues at Eyemouth, Burnmouth, St Abbs and Cove to commemorate the 189 lives lost in the Eyemouth disaster of 14th October 1881, when a hurricane devastated the fishing fleet. Twelve bronze trail markers have also been erected along the route, linking the memorial sculptures.


Bilsdean is a village between Thorntonloch and Cockburnspath on the East Lothian coast of Scotland.

The place-name derives from Biel, East Lothian, also Biel House, Biel Water, Belhaven, and Belhaven Bay.

Cockburnspath railway station

Cockburnspath railway station was a railway station located in Cockburnspath, Berwickshire, Scotland from 1846 to 1951 on the East Coast Main Line.

Cove, Scottish Borders

Cove is a village in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, close to Cockburnspath, Dunglass, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Bilsdean, and, further afield, Dunbar and Eyemouth. It is approximately 36 miles east of Edinburgh (slightly South-East) and is about 8 miles from Dunbar. It is 18 miles north-west from the Scotland/England border.

The climate is the average Scottish climate, with winters being cold and wet and summers being variable, with days of rain and days of temperatures over 20 degrees.

The nearest railway station is Dunbar which is on the main East Coast line from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh. There are regular trains from Dunbar to Edinburgh and southwards to Berwick-upon-Tweed as well. The nearest bus station is in Cockburnspath which takes you northwards to Edinburgh and terminates at St Andrews Square, or southwards which terminates in Blyth.

The rocks that form the approach to the harbour are limestones and sandstones of Carboniferous age. They dip sharply to the N/NW due to the downthrust of the Cove fault about half a mile to the SE. Beyond the fault, older strata of the Old Red Sandstone of Devonian age can be seen.

The natural harbour was improved in 1831 by the building of a breakwater. Access is via an unusual tunnel which was excavated by hand, the pick marks are clear to see.

Eleven men from Cove lost their lives in the great East Coast Fishing Disaster of 1881, and there is a memorial at the top of the cliffs.

The village has been described by The AA Guide to the British Coast as having more of a Cornish than Scottish air about it. It has no school, shops or post office, although it was knocked down to build new holiday homes. There is a shop and post office nearby in the village of Cockburnspath which also has a school. For amenities, such as a pool or a gym, you need to travel to Dunbar which is also has an ASDA supermarket.

The nearby beaches of Pease Bay (1.4 miles) and Thorntonloch (3 miles) are good for surfing.

Cove is privately owned by the architect Ben Tindall and the Cove Harbour Conservation Ltd.

The Southern Upland Way passes through Cove along the headland and the road in Cove. Nearby also is the John Muir Way which passes through Dunbar.

David Douglas, 7th Earl of Angus

David Douglas, 7th Earl of Angus (c. 1515-1558) was a Scottish nobleman.


Dunglass is a hamlet in East Lothian, Scotland, lying east of the Lammermuir Hills on the North Sea coast, within the parish of Oldhamstocks. It has a 15th-century collegiate church, now in the care of Historic Scotland. Dunglass is the birthplace of Sir James Hall, an 18th-century Scottish geologist and geophysicist. The name Dunglass comes from the Brittonic for "grey-green hill".

Dunglass Collegiate Church

Dunglass Collegiate Church is situated in south-east East Lothian just off the old A1 highway, one mile north of Cockburnspath in Berwickshire, Scotland, UK. It is designated as a scheduled monument.

James Hardy (naturalist)

James Hardy LL.D. (1 June 1815, in Oldhamstocks, East Lothian – 30 September 1898, in Old Cambus, Cockburnspath, Berwickshire) was a Scottish naturalist and antiquarian. He was secretary of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club from 1871 until at least 1896. At least two species have been named in his honour.

List of listed buildings in Cockburnspath, Scottish Borders

This is a list of listed buildings in the parish of Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders, Scotland.


Longformacus (Scottish Gaelic: Longphort Mhacais) is a small village in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north-west of Duns, in the Lammermuir Hills. The Dye Water runs through the village, flowing east towards its confluence with the Whiteadder Water nearby.

In the vicinity are traces of an ancient fortification at Runklie or Wrinklaw and the Mutiny Stones cairn.The opera Lucia di Lammermoor, written by Gaetano Donizetti and based on Sir Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor, was set in Longformacus.The Southern Upland Way, a Long Distance Route which crosses southern Scotland, passes through the village, and the Sir Walter Scott Way from Moffat to Cockburnspath passes through Longformacus.

Nicolson baronets

There have been four baronetcies created for persons with the surname Nicolson, all in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. two of the creations are extant as of 2008.

The Nicolson Baronetcy, of Cockburnspath in Berwickshire, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 17 December 1625 for James Nicolson. However, nothing further is known of the title.

The Nicolson Baronetcy, of that Ilk and of Lasswade in the County of Midlothian, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 27 July 1629 for John Nicolson, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever. On the death of the seventh Baronet in 1743 the baronetcy became dormant. Arthur Nicolson, de jure eighth Baronet, was the great-grandson of James Nicolson, Bishop of Dunkeld, brother of the first Baronet. In 1826 Arthur's grandson, Arthur Nicolson, was served heir of the seventh Baronet and became the eighth Baronet. The eleventh Baronet was Lord-Lieutenant of Shetland. The baronetcy once again became dormant on the death of the twelfth Baronet in 1961. In 1984 David Nicolson, 4th Baron Carnock, was recognised in the title and became the thirteenth Baronet. See Baron Carnock for more information.

The Nicolson Baronetcy, of Carnock in the County of Stirling, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 16 January 1637. For more information on this creation, see Baron Carnock.

The Nicolson Baronetcy, of Glenbervie in the County of Kincardine, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 15 April 1700 for Thomas Nicolson. The title became dormant on the death of the fifth Baronet in circa 1839.

Pease Bay

Pease Bay is a bay in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, close to the border with East Lothian as well as Cockburnspath, Cove and Dunglass. The area is notable as a holiday destination, for surfing in Scotland, and also for the large static caravan park at the bottom of the bay.

Pease Dean

Pease Dean is a nature reserve at Pease Bay, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, near the Anglo-Scottish border and Cockburnspath, Cove, and Dunglass. OS 67 NT794707.

The reserve is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and has two parts: Pease Burn and Tower Burn. Pease Burn is open grassland, with gorse and alder. Tower Burn consists of mixed woodland.

Scheduled monuments in the Scottish Borders

A scheduled monument in Scotland is a nationally important archaeological site or monument which is given legal protection by being placed on a list (or "schedule") maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. The aim of scheduling is to preserve the country's most significant sites and monuments as far as possible in the form in which they have been inherited.The process of scheduling is governed by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, which aims "to make provision for the investigation, preservation and recording of matters of archaeological or historical interest". The term "scheduled monument" can apply to the whole range of archaeological sites which have been deliberately constructed by human activity but are not always visible above ground. They range from prehistoric standing stones and burial sites, through Roman remains and medieval structures such as castles and monasteries, to later structures such as industrial sites and buildings constructed for the World Wars .

Some buildings or structures which were both scheduled and listed have had their listing designations removed to reduce the duplication.

In 2017 there were 8238 scheduled monuments in Scotland

Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is a 338-kilometre (210 mi) long distance coast-to-coast trail in southern Scotland. The route links Portpatrick in the west and Cockburnspath in the east via the hills of the Southern Uplands. It opened in 1984, and was the UK’s first officially recognised coast-to-coast long-distance route. The Way is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and is the longest of the 29 Great Trails. The Southern Upland Way meets with seven of the other Great Trails: the Annandale Way, the Berwickshire Coastal Path, the Borders Abbeys Way, the Cross Borders Drove Road, the Mull of Galloway Trail, the Romans and Reivers Route and St Cuthbert's Way.The path is maintained by the local authorities of the two main council areas through which it passes: Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council; a short section in the Lowther Hills lies in South Lanarkshire. It is primarily intended for walkers, but many sections are suitable for mountain bikers; some sections are also suitable for horseriders. About 80,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 1,000 complete the entire route.The Southern Upland Way forms part of the E2 European long-distance path, which runs for 3,010 miles (4,850 km) from Galway to Nice.

TD postcode area

The TD postcode area, also known as the Galashiels postcode area, is a group of postcode districts in Scotland and England around the River Tweed (from which the postcode letters derive) including Berwick-upon-Tweed, Cockburnspath, Coldstream, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Duns, Earlston, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Gordon, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Lauder, Melrose, Mindrum, Newcastleton, Selkirk.

Thomas Nicolson of Carnock

Thomas Nicolson of Carnock (d. 1646) was a Scottish lawyer, landowner, commissioner for Stirlingshire, and postmaster.

An advocate from 1612, In 1623 Nicolson was rewarded with the office of postmaster of Cockburnspath for his assistance to John Murray, 1st Earl of Annandale.In 1634 Nicolson bought Carnock House near Stirling from John Drummond the grandson of Robert Drummond of Carnock. His son John Drummond of Drummondshall married Margaret Rollo or Rollock, daughter of his business partner John Rollock, and their lands became the Bannockburn estate. Nicolson was said to have been a great patron and encourager of the minister James Guthrie.He was created Baron Nicolson, of Carnock, co. Stirling Nova Scotia on 16 January 1637, and he decorated his house at Carnock with his new heraldry in stone and plasterwork.A number of Nicolson's letters and charters are held by the National Archives of Scotland.

Nicolson married Isobel Henderson.

Berwickshire towns and villages


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