Sweet Holm circa 1909 by Charles Sweet.

Sweet Holm circa 1909 by Charles Sweet.


There is an article published in the Scottish Gardener and Northern Forester in 1908  written by my Great Grandfather, Alexander Sweet (1843-1921). This provides some of the background to the family history and so is a good starting point. Some of the statements in the article I have been able to prove and some are yet to be confirmed. You can view the article here. During a visit to Strathalbyn library in South Australia I found the self same article bound into a family history for the Harvey family; a family related to the Sweets through marriage.

Briefly, the history is that the Sweets left Kent at the time of Queen Mary (1558) and settled in Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. I have only been able to trace the Sweets back to about 1647 and so there is a lot of ground to cover! John Sweet from Newcastle moved to the Scottish Borders around 1682 as he is recorded as a covenanter in Midlem at this time, at some time he moved to Yetholm and this in effect is where our story truly begins. There are quite a number of references to Sweet in the Durham and Northumberland areas.

John’s son, William born about 1677, would appear to have built Sweet Holm and also what is now known as Mertoun Cottage; the latter after Sweet Holm and about 1709. William developed a market garden or orchard of three quarters of an acre behind Sweet Holm (pictured above) which is now the location for the village allotments. Sweet Holm is now a ruin but Mertoun Cottage is still lived in.

My ancestor, Thomas Sweet (1758-1847) moved to Glasgow some time around 1785 and set up in business there. His brother, George (1768-1828), followed him some years later possibly around 1796. Thomas’ daughter, Anne Lyon Sweet (1801-1879), who had moved back to Yetholm between 1818 and 1821, and her husband, Robert Sweet (1798-1866), together with their young family left for Australia in 1853. This marked the end of the Sweets in Yetholm. The story so far is related here.

There are many twists and turns in this history and at times it becomes confusing but I am happy to provide any further information if I can and of course I am happy to receive any amendments.

This is a continuing development, so whatever help and advice you can give will be gratefully received.

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