“ Letters from the Past
Free Church of Scotland 1843,
Revd. Dr. Brown of Langton.
The letter is written on unwatermarked, cream paper, and is printed stationery.
It is addressed to Rev. Dr. Brown, Langton, Dunse, which is near Berwick, and it has three postal markings.
1) a circular date stamp in red ink of the type in use from 1838.
2) a ‘1’ charge mark also in red ink signifying it had been paid, and
3) a receiving date stamp of DUNSE JY 7 1843 boxed in black ink.
Although the date of the letter is 1843, which is 3 years after the introduction of the Penny Black postage stamp, it was not compulsory to have the adhesive stamp applied to the letter, and the PAID AT EDINBURGH stamp was adequate. I found it interesting that the address of Dunse, and the receiving stamp of the same name is listed as that in Alan Robertson’s book, yet in my atlas of the British Isles it is shown as DUNS without the E on the end. On checking further it seems that it was just the different spelling used by the Scots (Dunse) and the English (Duns), as this border area had changed ownership over the centuries in battles between these two countries.
The letter is rather dirty on the outside, but the inside is unmarked and very clean. The writing is quite legible.
Notes: 1) There is an interesting aspect to this letter, in that it was written only about 3 months after the establishment of the Free Church of Scotland, which according to the Wikipedia entry was a Scottish denomination which was formed in 1843 by a large withdrawal from the established Church of Scotland in a schism or division known as the Disruption of 1843. So this letter is a very early item of correspondence concerning the Free Church of Scotland, which survived until 1900.
2) Duns information from Wikipedia
3) Langton information from the website of the Scottish Borders Family History Society.
This is another old letter which, on the face of it has nothing of interest, but it leads to my learning all kinds of facts of which I would otherwise have no knowledge. No two letters of ours are the same, and that is part of the appeal of postal history.
In July 2018 we contacted the Scottish Borders FHS, and the Secretary kindly gave us this information about the addressee of our letter.
Regarding the Rev, John Brown I quote from G.A.C. Binnie’s book ‘The Churches and Churchyards of Berwickshire’, 1995
Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839 Alan W. Robertson and websites as mentioned.
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