In my maternal side of the family, through the Dodds side, there is a long tradition of ancestors being beadles or church officers for Melrose parish. The earliest was Alexander Dodds (1816-1877), the first of the family to settle in Melrose. He was succeeded by his son Alexander Burnett Dodds (1836-1895). After that I think his eldest son Alexander Dodds (1866-1935) was beadle for a while – we have a photo with lots of Doddses in it which seems to show an older man of this generation holding the abbey keys. And then his younger brother John Dodds (1877-1945) was beadle for many years, and later John’s son Thomas Cavers Hall Dodds (1910-1981), my granddad.
But when John Dodds was away at war in World War One, having enlisted with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, his eldest sister Catherine Mary Helen Dodds (1868-1929) acted as beadle. We know this because after her brother returned she was given a bible as thanks for her work. Quoting from the inscription in there:
Miss Catherine M.H. Dodds
the Children attending Melrose Parish Church Sunday School
in grateful & affectionate appreciation of the many kind services she rendered to them when acting as Substitute Church Officer during the period of the Great War, 1914-19.
The bible was passed down through the family and we inherited it after granddad died.
Here are some pictures of it, firstly the outside: