Garvald and Bara


"GARVALD AND BARA, an united parish, containing the post-office village of Garvald, in Haddingtonshire. It is bounded by Berwickshire, and by the parishes of Gifford, Morham, and Whittingham. Its length southward is 7 3/4 miles; and its greatest breadth is 4 miles. The northern division, comprising about one-fourth of the whole area, is arable, well-cultivated, delightfully shaded with plantation, and rich in the agricultural capacities and beauties of the great plain of East Lothian; but the other divisions climb away up the Lammermoor hills, till they gain the highest ridge, and over their whole progress wear the heathy garb, variegated with occasional patches of verdure, which distinguishes that pastoral region ... Population of the village, about 280. Population of the parish in 1831, 914; in 1861, 891." [From the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868]
A lengthier description is available.


Church History

The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland , edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume I, page 719:

"The parish church is an old building, enlarged in 1829, and containing 400 sittings. There is a Free church, with an attendance of 250 ... The suppressed parish of Bara was rated in the ancient Taxatio at 25 merks, while the original parish of Garvald was rated at only 15; and it seems, therefore, to have been the more populous of the two ... The two parishes were united in 1702."

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1694. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, and copies on microfilm may be consulted in local libraries and in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Later parish registers (after 1855) are often held in the Scottish Record Office as are any records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).


Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For details of these and other records held at the General Register Office in Edinburgh, see the GRO tutorial .


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Garvald and Bara which are provided by:



Extracts for this parish from the 1868 National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland are available.



This map shows the location of the parish in the county.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT570657 (Lat/Lon: 55.882488, -2.688891), Garvald and Bara which are provided by:



Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:

Year Population
1755 744
1793 730
1801 749
1831 914
1861 891
1881 758
1891 600
1901 628


For a social and economic record of the parishes of East Lothian together with considerable statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, which was compiled in the 1790s. Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.

Thanks to a joint venture between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh the First and Second Statistical Accounts can now be accessed on-line at The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1799 and 1845.