Coldstream lies on the north bank of the River Tweed in Berwickshire, while Northumberland in England lies to the south bank, with Cornhill-on-Tweed the nearest village. At the 2001 census, the town had a population of 1,813, which was estimated to have risen to 2,050 by 2006.[2][3] The parish, in 2001, had a population of 6,186.[4]


Coldstream is the location where Edward I of England invaded Scotland in 1296. In February 1316 during the Wars of Scottish Independence, Sir James Douglas defeated a numerically superior force of Gascon soldiery led by Edmond de Caillou at the Skaithmuir to the north of the town. In 1650 General George Monck founded the Coldstream Guards regiment (a part of the Guards Division, Foot Guards regiments of the British Army). It is one of two regiments of the Household Division that can trace its lineage to the New Model Army. Monck led the regiment to London, helping to enable the Restoration of King Charles II.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Coldstream was a popular centre for runaway marriages, much like Gretna Green, as it lay on a major road (now the A697). A monument to Charles Marjoribanks (d. 1833), MP for Berwickshire, whose ancestral home was in nearby Lees, stands at the east end of the town, near the Coldstream Bridge. Alec Douglas-Home (d. 1995), who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1963 to 1964, is buried in Coldstream.[5]

Notable buildings in the town include the toll house where marriages were conducted, and The Hirsel, which is the family seat of the Earls of Home. Each year, during the first week of August, Coldstream hosts a traditional "Civic Week" where it includes historical aspects of the town's history such as the Torchlight procession and horse-rides to the Battle of Flodden battlefield.

Coldstream Abbey

The Priory of St Mary was founded before 1166 by Earl Gospatrick of Dunbar and ceased to exist in 1621. It had 121 members in 1537 and only 8 in 1621.[6] Isabella Hoppringle (1460 – 1538) was the abbess of Coldstream in 1505-1538.

The Baa Green

The border between Scotland and England runs down the middle of the River Tweed, however between the villages of Wark and Cornhill the Scottish border comes south of the river to enclose a small riverside meadow of approximately 2 to 3 acres (or about a hectare). This piece of land is known as the Ba Green. It is said locally that every year the men of Coldstream would play the men of Wark (south of the river) at ba, and the winning side would claim the Ba Green for their country. As Coldstream grew to have a larger population than Wark, the men of Coldstream always defeated those of Wark at the game, and so the land became a permanent part of Scotland.[7][8][9]

See also


  1. The Online Scots Dictionary
  2. "Comparative Population Profile: Coldstream Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 29 April 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 2012-04-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Census 2001: Usual Resident Population: Civil Parish: Coldstream". Scotland's Census Results Online. General Register Office for Scotland. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  5. Alec Douglas-Home (1903 - 1995) - Find A Grave Memorial
  6. Coldstream; Monastic Matrix
  7. Crofton, Ian (2012). A dictionary of Scottish phrase and fable. Edinburgh: Birlinn. p. 25. ISBN 9781841589770.
  8. Moffat, Alistair (1 July 2011). The Reivers: The Story of the Border Reivers. Birlinn. ISBN 9780857901156.
  9. "(Showing Scottish border south of the Tweed) - Berwickshire Sheet XXIX.SW (includes: Coldstream) -". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
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