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Newstead Scotland

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Information on the village of Newstead in Scotland.

History of Newstead


Arri's Altar
Trimontium Site

Name - From the Old English 'stede' - a place. Recorded first as Newsteid in 1539.
Newstead is reputed to be the oldest inhabited village in Scotland. As there were undoubtedly buildings, inhabited by the locals who provided for the needs of the soldiers when the Romans were there, at Trimontium, and that the people who remained when the Romans went back south continued to live there, and that a population is recorded there from 650AD onwards, until the present day, then this statement is probably true.
The stonemasons and architects and other tradesman who built Melrose Abbey were lodged there.

Graveyard Record - There is no graveyard recorded at Newstead. Melrose graveyards are and were used for interments.

Places of Interest

  • St John's Wynd - a lane leading to the site of the first Masonic Lodge in Scotland. Set up by the masons, mainly to control the level of training and craftsmanship of the apprentices, before becoming journeymen, the Lodge was certainly there prior to 1600. The building fell into disrepair after the Lodge moved its premises into Melrose in 1742. Only a marker stone and plaque now remain.
  • Newstead Village Hall - formerly the village school which closed about 1941. War Memorial - opposite the Hall.
  • Sundials - Newstead was famous for the number of sundials which it had. Carved onto the houses of the masons, many are now gone, but keep your eyes open, there are still some to be seen.
  • Millennium Column - sited at the east exit to the village, unveiled in 2000.
  • Trimontium - The Roman camps which are associated with Newstead are a book in themselves. Joining the organised walks which take place throughout the summer, presently on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and visiting the Trimontium Exhibition in Melrose are the best way to find out about the sites and the Romans who lived there. There is also a website with a virtual walk for those who cannot take part, and also a website for the Trimontium Trust.

People of Note Associated

  • Admiral Sir Henry Fairfax of Ravenswood - Born in Edinburgh of the well-known Fairfax family, his life was spent in the navy. As owner of much of the land around Newstead, on his death in 1900, his widow Dame Harriet gave land and set up a trust to provide a Library, a Mission Hall, and a Reading Room for the benefit of the residents of the village of Newstead, as a memorial to her husband. Unfortunately, nothing now remains of any of these buildings. The marble bust which was in the grounds is now in the Village Hall.
  • Liz Taylor - Journalist, writer and novelist. Novels written under the name of Elisabeth McNeill. Lives and works in the village.
  • Willie Alchin - Brought up in Newstead and has recorded his memories of life in and around the village at the start of the 20th century.

Further Reading

  • 'Newstead, Cameos of Eighty Years, 1916 - 1996' by Major Jim Gordon MBE (1996)
  • "As I recall" - Childhood memories of Newstead by Willie Alchin. (1988)
  • "Further Recollections" - Life in the Village of Newstead at the Turn of the Century by Willie Alchin (1991)

Articles about Newstead's History