History of Garvald

Garvald is a pretty little East Lothian village, lying South-East of Haddington, South of East Linton and East of Gifford. It sits in a valley at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills, and alongside a burn called the Papana Water, on what was an historic route from the Borders to the coast. The village is built almost entirely from red sandstone giving the village a distinctive character. There are many listed buildings and the village itself has been given conservation status.

At the East end of the village stands Garvald and Bara Parish Church, which was built in the 1100s but remodelled in 1829. It is bright and airy inside, and still used for worship every other weekend. At the West end sits the former Free Kirk, with its free-standing bell tower, which is now the village hall. In between these two buildings there are a collection of private houses. There is a small village green, and opposite that, the Garvald Inn and a large community park, woodland and childrens’ play area. More information on Garvald can be found on Wikipedia and village photos are in the Gallery. For an aerial photograph of the village, see the ScotlandsPlaces website.

The photograph below was taken by local resident Graham Barnes for World Pinhole Photography Day on 29th April 2012, using a modern digital camera fitted with a plastic body cap (with a homemade pinhole) rather than using a lens. This results in slightly out-of-focus but artistic images. Another of the images taken in the village (called Whhoosh!) was selected for the World Pinhole Photography Day 2012 international exhibition.

Village street

Copyright 2012 Graham Barnes

 Newsletters:

Before this website was set up, a regular edition of the Garvald and Morham Village Newsletter kept residents informed. Some of the previous editions are available here in PDF format. If you require Adobe Reader to view the document, click the link below to download the Reader software.

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16 thoughts on “History of Garvald

  1. Hope Haggart Stein

    Just had a visit home to Garvald and it was a great day, the church was looking great, had a lovely lunch at the pub. I wasn’t allowed in the pub by my mother in 1963 it just wasn’t the thing! Meal was beautiful. Sorry that all the old people (born there) are all gone. I wonder where? I have a few photos of the Garvald burn in 1955 and a photo of Africa our house in 1963 I’ll try and send them to you. Thank you all for keeping us up to date with Garvald. Regards, Hope, nz.

    Reply
  2. Melissa Meek

    Have really enjoyed looking at your website, and hope to visit you before too long. My ancestor George Dods was born in Garvald in 1786 (and died in Bristol in 1874). I believe that his parents George and Mary are buried in Garvald Kirk.
    Best wishes,
    Melissa

    Reply
  3. Ian Christie

    I am seeking information on Christie family history. Five brothers John, Richard, Alexander, Peter and William emigrated to the state of Victoria, Australia in the 1850s. Several settled in the Byaduk locality where I still live. Any info or contacts would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  4. allie stewart

    Anyone have any information on the Hay family of Garvald? I have a John Hay marrying Agnes Neison in about 1734. He was born in 1709 and his father was William Hay. I have reached a dead end and need help here. I think William was married to a Beatrix Hauden or similar name.

    Reply
  5. rodney jeffery

    My G_G Grandfather was born at Chesters, Morham Mains, Garvald on 1 May 1788 to parents James Jeffery and Margaret Downie. Any info on the Jeffery or Downie families of Garvald-Haddington area would be much appreciated. Rod Jeffery Bunbury, Western Australia

    Reply
  6. Harry Glover

    Does anyone have any details of the history and residents of Tanderlane Farm (or House?) in the 1900s?
    My wife and I are researching family history, and we are trying to trace the life of a lady called Andrina Isaacs (or Andrina Pitcairn) who we believe was Housekeeper there from about 1930-ish, but we don’t know for how long.
    She probably had two young childen with her, David (b. 1920) and Ruth (b. 1922).
    Any leads anyone can offer will be very much appreciated.
    Harry Glover
    Farnham, Surrey

    Reply
  7. Norma

    I just discovered that my Great Great Grandfather was born in the village so it was interesting to find this site and learn a little bit about the village.

    Reply
  8. Ronnay Wilson

    I came upon this website today by chance and was delighted to read that Hope Haggart had made contact. She had a brother, Lynn Haggart, that was pals with us in the late 40′s/early 50′s. The Haggarts stayed in the Cottage “Africa” just over the bridge on the way to Stoneypath Tower. I was not brought up in Garvald but spent much of my childhood between Garvald and Snawden Farm where we lived at that time. My Grandparents/Chrissie Murray lived in Loan Cottage, Garvald from the 30′s. Aunts and Uncles, the Saundersons, Samuals and Robsons, were all part of Village Life. The Village Policeman in the 50′s was killed in his garden by bee stings. Mrs Bolton ran the village shop and at a later date the Catloughs ran the Post Office opposite the swing park. The P.O.W. Nissan Hut was still on the village green and Brother Oliver from Nunraw, who had taken a vow of silence, would always give us “Boys” a lift back to the Village if he found us miles away. It was life at its best.
    My Mother always told me I was brought to Garvald on 24th February 1944 being the latest addition to the Murray/Wilson Family.
    from Ronnay Wilson

    Reply
    1. Jo

      My granny was Nancy Murray before she got married and she grew up in Garvald together with her 9 brothers and sisters. She was born in 1915 and passed away a few years ago. When she was still alive she and my grandpa took us to Garvald several times so that we could see the village where she grew up. She was very fond of Garvald too.

      Reply
    2. Graham Barnes

      Hi Ronnay … You may remember that a few months ago we had a long chat about your memories of the Garvald when we met in main street near the pub. I mentioned to one or two others that you had very interesting stories. I told them that we discussed your coming back one day to do a walk around the village to point out where all these things happened and to describe how the various locations had changed. I’ve certainly not forgotten your kind offer and last weekend it came into my mind again when my next-door neighbour, of his own accord, said he would like to know more of the recent history of the village. If you’re still up for a Garvald walk-about let me know. Best wishes … Graham

      Reply
  9. Hope Haggart (Stein )

    Hi, can anyone find out if there is any reference to New Zealand in the graves behind the Kirk, the ones that have walls round them. I’m hoping that my memory is true and I might be able to connect people here in NZ to the great wee village of Garvald. regards, Hope

    Reply
  10. Hope Haggart (Stein )

    Great to hear that Garvald is once again on the map. I’m a Garvald bairn so I get a bit homesick for my hame and the childhood that we had in the village. Keep up the great work in keeping the village active as it used to be. Regards Hope Stein, Auckland N.Z

    Reply
  11. Hope Haggart (Stein )

    Great to see and hear what is still going on in the great wee village of Garvald. Even in my days it was very active. I am always hoping that life could just be a wee bit like how it was.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      If anyone has photos of the village taken in the past, please contact us as we would like to add them to the site in a gallery of Garvald in the past and present.

      Reply

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