Holystone In The 19th Century
David Dippie Dixon (1903, 282) noted that there were some twenty to thirty houses in the village during the early 19th century, with the population numbering around 180, whereas by his day there were only half that many houses and the population had dwindled to 81. However the census figures which Dixon himself quotes (ibid., 283) suggest that the 182 inhabitants listed in 1821 was something of an aberration with the population otherwise remaining stable between 122 - 136 until the end of the century when it began to decline.
A wide variety of trades were represented in the village at this stage including a blacksmith, corn miller, schoolmaster, tailors, shoemakers, weavers, masons, joiners and besom makers. Some had more than one occupation.
His engaging description of the early 19th century cottages suggests that living conditions for the villagers had not greatly changed since the end of the medieval period:
The houses were all thatched and consisted of one floor divided into two apartments by "box beds" with sliding doors, in which the villager of the day enjoyed "tir'd nature's sweet restorer" on a "calf bed", amid homespun blankets, the cow being housed in the entry, underneath the same roof.
Picture : Foundations Of Old Cottages at Holystone