|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||31 mi (50 km)|
|• London||301 mi (484 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Selkirk was formerly the county town of Selkirkshire. Selkirk is one of the oldest Royal Burghs in Scotland and is the site of the earliest settlements in what is now the Scottish Borders. The town's name means "church in the forest" from the Old English sele ("hall" or "manor") and cirice ("church").
Selkirk was the site of the first Borders abbey, a community of Tironensian monks who moved to Kelso Abbey during the reign of King David I. In 1113, King David I granted Selkirk large amounts of land. William Wallace was declared guardian of Scotland in the town at the Kirk o' the Forest. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Marquess of Montrose and the Outlaw Murray all had connections with the town.
Selkirk grew because of its woollen industry, although now that industry has ceased, leaving little in its wake. The town is best known for bannocks, a dry fruit cake. It has a museum and an art gallery.
The town has associations with Mungo Park (explorer); James Hogg ("The Ettrick Shepherd"), a local poet and writer; and Sir Walter Scott, a writer of romances in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is also home to Scotland's oldest horse racing track, the Gala Rig, on the outskirts of the town.
It was supposedly in the church at Selkirk, supported by nobles and clergy, that William Wallace was declared Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland. However this is disputed; the old lands of Mauldslie near Rosebank are also reputed to be where Wallace was declared Guardian. Mauldslie Castle was built on the lands of Forest Kirk.
Selkirk men fought with Wallace at Stirling Bridge and Falkirk, and also with Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn, but it is Selkirk's connection with the Battle of Flodden in 1513, her response to the call of the King, the brave bearing of her representatives on the fatal field, and the tragic return of the sole survivor, that provide the Royal Burgh with its proudest and most maudlin memories: the celebration of a five-hundred-year-old defeat. Only one man, "Fletcher", returned from the battle, bearing a blood-stained English flag belonging to the Macclesfield regiment. On his return he cast the captured English standard around his head before falling to his death.
During the series of conflicts that would become known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Selkirk played host the Royalist army of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, with his cavalry installed in the burgh, whilst the Royalist infantry were camped at the plain of Philiphaugh, below the town. On the morning of 13 September 1645, a covenanting army led by Sir David Leslie attacked the royalist forces camped at Philiphaugh, and a rout ensued. Montrose arrived to find his army in disarray and had to the flee the field, eventually leading to his exile. The action at Philiphaugh is infamous for the massacre by the Covenanters of up to 500 surrendered Royalist troops and camp followers — including many women and children.
Sir Walter Scott was appointed Sheriff-Depute of the County of Selkirk in 1799, and was based in the Royal Burgh's courthouse in the town square. The Sir Walter Scott Way from Moffat to Cockburnspath passes through Selkirk.
The Selkirk Common Riding is a celebration of the history and traditions of the Royal and Ancient Burgh. Held on the second Friday after the first Monday in June, the ceremony is one of the oldest in the area, with 300-400 riders, Selkirk boasts one of the largest cavalcades of horses and riders in Europe. Selkirk still owns common land to the north and south of the town, but only the northern boundary of Linglie is ridden on the day. The Riding commemorates how, from the eighty men that left the town to fight in the Battle of Flodden, only one – Fletcher - returned, bearing a captured English flag. Legend has it that he cast the flag about his head to indicate that all the other men of Selkirk had been cut down. At the climax of the day the Royal Burgh Standard Bearer and Crafts and Associations Standard Bearers cast their colours in Selkirk's ancient market place.
The Standard Bearer is chosen from the eligible unmarried young men of the town who have applied for the post by the trustees of the Common Riding Trust, successors to the old Selkirk Town Council which disappeared in the local government reorganisation in 1975. He will normally have served his time as an Attendant to previous Standard Bearers. He is introduced on Appointment Night, the last Friday in April. He is carried shoulder high round the town, accompanied by bands and the crowds of locals. There follow many civic duties in preparation for the main event, and participation in other town common ridings and festivities, including Spurs Night when the Standard Bearer and attendants meet the principals of Galashiels at Galafoot and receive a pair of spurs at a dinner in Galashiels.
The Saturday before Common Riding Day is marked with the annual Children's Picnic, where primary schoolchildren have races. Sunday sees the inspection of The Rig, the town racecourse and Show Sunday, recently moved to the grounds of The Haining. Traditionally Souters would meet up in their new finery bought for the festivities and sing songs to the town bands. Other events include the Ex-Standard Bearers Dinner on Monday, and Ladies Night on Wednesday when the female population take over the bars and clubs for the evening and only the bravest males venture out. Various bussing concerts and dinners are held for the Crafts and Associations.
On Thursday evening the Senior Burgh Officer takes to the streets to "Cry the Burley", giving notice that the marches are to be ridden the following day, naming the Burleymen (four ex standard bearers), the Burgh Standard Bearer and his attendants. His trek, accompanied by the bands, starts in the West Port, stopping in the Market Place, High Street, Back Row and South Port to read the proclamation, ending with the time honoured phrase "There will be all these, and a great many more, and all be ready to start at the sound of the Second Drum." There follows the Bussing concert for the Incorporations of the Weavers and the Hammermen, in the Victoria Hall. This is followed by an act of remembrance when all available ex-Standard Bearers march to the statue of Fletcher outside the Victoria Hall. A wreath is placed on the statue by the chairman of the ex-Standard Bearers Association, and each ex-Standard bearer walks round the statue in order of the year they represented the town, earliest first. Then many hit the pubs and clubs to renew old friendships, for others it is off to bed in preparation for a full day ahead.
Before dawn, at 4.00 a.m., the Selkirk Flute Band begins the march around town, wakening in turn the Standard Bearer and Provost. There follows an Act of Remembrance by the Ex-Soldiers at the War Memorial at 5.30. The "First Drum" is struck at 6.00, the Silver Band play round the town and lead the singing of "Hail Smiling Morn", alternating with the first verse of the hymn "Lead, Kindly Light". The band stops off outside the County Hotel for a rendition of Exiles’ Song "Her Bright Smile" before continuing to the Victoria Halls for 06.30. Meanwhile, the riders assemble in the Back Row. At 06.45 there is the Installation of Standard Bearer and Bussin' of Royal Burgh Flag on balcony of Victoria Hall. At this point, The procession forms and marches to Market Place awaiting the “Second Drum” at 07.00. The procession moves off 'down the Green' behind the Silver band playing “O’ a’ the airts” and the pipe band, along with the flags of the Incorporations and Guilds on foot. Then follows the Standard Bearer and his attendants and the mounted cavalcade behind. The traditional wish for all horseman is "Safe oot, Safe in", wishing that all ride, and return safely.
By 07.30 the riders begin to ford the River Ettrick and continue to Linglie Glen. The cavalcade reaches the summit of the Three Brethren cairns, the highest point of the ride; here they rest and the Standard Bearer and Attendants sing "Hail Smilin’ Morn" before remounting and continuing the ride.
Back in Selkirk, the foot procession re-forms in Market Place and leaves for Shawburn Toll for community singing led by bands until the riders return at the gallop. The procession re-forms again and returns to Market Place via Bleachfield Road and High Street to the Market Square for the ceremony of the Casting of the Colours; In turn the Royal Burgh Standard Bearer followed by those of the Weavers, Merchants, Fleshers, Colonials, and ex soldiers cast their flags to the tune “Up wi’ the Souters”. The ex soldiers standard is dipped at the end of his performance, there follows a Two Minutes Silence to honour the towns War Dead, broken by the Silver band playing the haunting ballad “The Liltin”.
The ceremonial ends with the Return of the Burgh Flag "unsullied and untarnished" by the Standard Bearer to the Provost. After lunch there is horse racing at the Rig, and the ball is held in the Victoria Halls. Saturday ends with “The Games” – gymkhana and professional foot racing at the towns Cricket Club.
The remains of the "forest kirk", referred to in ancient times as the church of St Mary of the Forest, still stand in the old churchyard. William Wallace may have become Guardian of Scotland here, and it is also the final resting place of several relatives of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the USA. Roosevelt, whose ancestors came from the area, named his famous dog Fala, after Fala and the nearby village of Falahill.
Just to the south of the town is The Haining, the late 18th-century residence of the Pringle family. In 2009 the last owner died, and left the house and grounds "for the benefit of the community of Selkirkshire and the wider public." A charitable trust is now planning to restore the building as an art gallery.
The Selkirk Grace has no connection with the town of Selkirk, beyond its name; it originated in the west of Scotland. Although attributed to Robert Burns, the Selkirk Grace was already known in the 17th century, as the "Galloway Grace" or the "Covenanters' Grace". It came to be called the Selkirk Grace because Burns was said to have delivered it at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk at St Mary's Isle Priory, in Kirkcudbright in Galloway.
Rugby union plays its role in Selkirk culture and society. Selkirk RFC play in their home games at Philiphaugh, competing in Scottish National League Division One and the Border League (the oldest established rugby union league in the world).
The town cricket club was formed in 1851 and still plays in the Border League. The cricket ground at Philiphaugh is the site of the Battle of Philiphaugh. Selkirk Cricket Club have won the Border League on 23 occasions and the club has produced a dozen Scottish internationalists.
The town also has a footballing tradition, having produced some players of note in the Scottish game including Bobby Johnstone of Hibernian, Bob Mercer of Heart of Midlothian, Sandy McMahon of Celtic. Selkirk Football Club were members of the Lowland Football League. Nicknamed The Souters (Cobblers) the club was founded in 1880 and is the oldest club in the Borders, however the team liquidated in 2018 due to financial mismanagement, later in the year the team tried to re enter the SFA but were not accepted.
Football in the town now consists of Selkirk Victoria ( The Vics) and Selkirk Junior FC,( age group teams).
Like the rest of the British Isles, Selkirk has a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. However the area appears to have one of the widest absolute temperature ranges in the United Kingdom. The absolute minimum temperature of −26.6 °C (−15.9 °F) at the nearest weather station is both a daily record, and the record lowest temperature for the UK outside of the Highlands. Conversely, Scotland's highest temperature of 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) was recorded at Greycook, St. Boswells just 8 miles (13 km) to the east.
Andrew Mercer (1775–1842) was a Scottish poet and topographer.Bobby Johnstone
Robert Johnstone (7 September 1929 – 22 August 2001) was a Scottish footballer, who played for Selkirk, Hibernian, Manchester City, Oldham Athletic and Witton Albion. Johnstone also represented Scotland and the Scottish League.
Johnstone is most remembered as one of the Famous Five forward line (Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond) for Hibernian in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He joined Manchester City in 1955 becoming the first player to score in successive FA Cup Finals at Wembley, in 1955 and 1956. After a short return to Hibs he also played for Oldham Athletic.
He won 17 caps for Scotland.Charmian Campbell
Charmian Campbell (née Charmian Rachel Montagu Douglas Scott; 18 July 1942 – 5 April 2009) was a British socialite and artist.
She was born at Selkirk in the Scottish Borders to portrait painter Mary Winona Mannin "Molly" Bishop and Lord George Montagu Douglas Scott, the youngest son of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, Scotland's largest landowner (making her a niece to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester). After World War II her parents settled in Wiltshire, where Charmian grew up with two siblings, Georgina Mary "Gina" and David.
In 1958 she left school to study art in Florence. She went on to study briefly at the Chelsea School of Art, where she quickly realized she was not happy and left. She then began modelling and found success until a car crash left her with minor facial injuries. During this time she was commissioned to draw Lady Antonia Fraser's eldest daughter. Charmian Campbell went on to a successful drawing career. She drew the children of the King and Queen of Spain, the children of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and actress Natalie Wood and her children. She supported the Amber Trust, a musical charity for blind and disabled children, and other charities by creating portraits for auction.Derek Brownlee
Derek Brownlee (born 10 August 1974) is a Scottish accountant and politician, who is a former Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament for the South of Scotland region 2005–2011.Gideon Lang
Gideon Scott Lang (1819–1880) was a Scottish born Australian pastoralist who was a key figure in the pioneer settlement of Victoria, the Riverina and the Darling Downs regions.
Born on 25 January 1819 in Selkirk, Lang left school at 16. In 1839, his brothers migrated to Melbourne to take up land on the Saltwater (now Maribynong) River. Lang joined them two years later as a shepherd. Leaving his brothers to run a toll bridge and then a fishing business, he returned to his brothers, eventually squatting on land near Buninyong.
In 1848, the brothers acquired land in the Riverina, eventually holding 30 miles of Murrumbidgee River frontage. The town of Hay on the Murrumbidgee, was originally known as Lang's Crossing Place. Lang explored southern Queensland and in 1851, after obtaining information on the whereabouts of Ludwig Leichhardt attempted to begin a search, but was restrained by drought.
In 1854, Lang married Elizabeth Jane Cape, daughter of the schoolmaster William Timothy Cape. He was elected to represent the Liverpool Plains and Gwydir in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1856. On dissolution of the Assembly in 1857, Lang and his family toured Europe, meeting Giuseppe Garibaldi at Como in 1859 and returning to Australia in 1862.
In 1863, Lang became the founding president of the Riverine Association, formed to promote the interests of squatters and to advocate the separation of the Riverina from New South Wales. He was the first chairman of directors of the Commercial Bank of Australia on its establishment in 1866. Late in his life, he was involved in the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879. Lang died on 13 July 1880.James Marr Brydone
James Marr Brydone (1779–29 March 1866), was a Scottish surgeon who served in the British fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. He is best remembered for being the first person in the main British battle fleet to sight the Franco-Spanish fleet, and did so without the use of a glass. The information was signalled to the fleet flagship, HMS Victory.John Pringle, Lord Haining
John Pringle, Lord Haining (c. 1674 – 19 August 1754) was a Scottish lawyer, politician, and judge. His ownership of a large estate near Selkirk secured him a seat in the Parliament of Scotland from 1702 until the Act of Union in 1707, and then in the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 until he became a Lord of Session in 1729.John Roberts (mayor)
Sir John Roberts (October 1845 – 13 September 1934) founder and managing partner of Murray Roberts & Co was a leading New Zealand businessman and run-holder of the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the following century.
He brought his family woollen business to New Zealand initially by opening a Dunedin branch of Melbourne's (and Galashiels') Sanderson Murray following that in 1873 by floating a public company to buy Mosgiel Woollen Mill established two years earlier by Arthur J Burns. He was appointed first chairman of its owners at the age of 28 and remained chairman until he died. Founder A J Burns, a grand-nephew of the great poet, was also a director.By this time Sanderson had withdrawn from the partnership and his place had been taken by young William Murray who was two years younger than Roberts. At the end of the 19th century Murray Roberts was New Zealand's second largest wool exporter and Sanderson Murray & Co in London was ranked as the third largest importer of wool in the United Kingdom.
Sir John also found time to serve his community as Mayor of Dunedin and earlier as a member of the Otago Provincial Council.List of listed buildings in Selkirk, Scottish Borders
This is a list of listed buildings in the parish of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, Scotland.Peter Blake (actor)
Peter Blake (8 December 1948 – 21 July 2018) was a Scottish actor. Probably best known as the character Kirk St Moritz in the BBC sitcom Dear John, by John Sullivan, his other high-profile moments came through his playing of a 'Fonz'-type character in Pepsi-Cola commercials which led to a hit record in 1977 "Lipsmakin' Rock 'n' Rollin", Andy Evol the disc-jockey in Agony with Maureen Lipman for LWT and in an episode of Taggart ("Do or Die") as Sgt. Bill Kent. He also had a long association with The Rocky Horror Show playing Frank-N-Furter over a thousand times between 1975 and 1994.Rae Hendrie
Rae Hendrie (born 30 November 1976 in Selkirk) is a Scottish actress most famous for her role as Jess Mackenzie in BBC TV series Monarch of the Glen. As a child, Rae sang in classical concerts. She later sang in her role on Monarch of the Glen. Prior to being cast in Monarch, Rae was a London classroom assistant working with children with special education needs. She also appeared in an episode of Taggart in 2002, playing Sadie McPhail, and in 2006 had a role in EastEnders playing Briony Campbell.Sandy McMahon
Alexander "Sandy" McMahon (16 October 1870 – 25 January 1916) was a Scottish footballer who spent most of his career with Celtic.
Born in Selkirk, McMahon started his career with Woodburn F.C. then Darlington St Augustine's before relocating to Edinburgh. There he played with Leith Harp and Hibernian before a first venture to the professional game in England with Burnley. He returned to Hibs in February 1889 but found the club floundering due to the mass recruitment of their players by Celtic.
McMahon eventually followed the path of other former Hibernian favourites, such as Willie Groves, to Celtic in 1891. He played for the Glasgow team until 1903, making at least 217 appearances and scoring 171 goals. Equally adept at centre forward or inside left, he won three Scottish Cup medals, in 1892, 1899 and 1900, and four Scottish League medals, in 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1898. His first moment of glory came in the 1892 Scottish Cup Final replay, when he scored two goals in the 5-1 victory over Queen's Park. He also scored in the 1899 cup final when Celtic beat Rangers 2-0, and in the 1900 final when they beat Queen's Park 4-3. In 1892, following his cup final display, McMahon returned to professional football in England with Nottingham Forest but, after concerted efforts from the Celtic committee, returned to Glasgow without having played for the East Midlands side.The advent of professionalism in Scotland the following year stemmed the southward drift and ensured players such as McMahon could earn sufficient remuneration for their talents by staying in their native country. McMahon played six times for Scotland between 1892 and 1902 and scored four goals in the 11-0 rout of Ireland in 1901. He also represented the Scottish League XI on eight occasions.McMahon eventually left Celtic in 1903, joining Partick Thistle where he retired a year later. He earned several sobriquets during his playing days, such as the "prince of dribblers" and "The Duke". The later was derived from the French President Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta, the descendant of an Irish soldier who had severed under Napoleon. Writer John Cairney recounts that when the duc de Magenta died, Glasgow news-vendors cried "McMahon died! McMahon died!" to sell more papers. Many Glaswegians purchased the paper under the assumption that the story referred to the popular Celtic player, rather than the far-removed foreign politician.In May 2015 a biography called "Sandy McMahon And The Early Celts" written by Celtic historian David Potter appeared.Scott Hutchison
Scott John Hutchison (20 November 1981 – c. 10 May 2018) was a Scottish singer, songwriter, guitarist and artist. He was the founding member and primary songwriter of the indie rock band Frightened Rabbit, with whom he recorded five studio albums, and created the artwork for each release.Hutchison was also a member of the musical collective The Fruit Tree Foundation, and released one solo album under the moniker Owl John. His last musical project was the indie "supergroup" Mastersystem, featuring Frightened Rabbit bandmate and brother Grant alongside members of Editors and Minor Victories.Hutchison studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art, before forming Frightened Rabbit in 2003. Initially a solo project, Hutchison collaborated with his brother Grant on the band's debut album, Sing the Greys (2006), and recorded the band's critical breakthrough, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008), as a three-piece, following the collapse of a romantic relationship.Following the album's release, the band's fanbase expanded significantly and a third studio album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, was released in 2010. Signing to Atlantic Records, the band released their fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse, in 2013. The following year, Hutchison recorded a solo album as Owl John. In 2016, the band released their fifth studio album, Painting of a Panic Attack.Hutchison disappeared on 9 May 2018, and his body was found the following day on the banks of the Firth of Forth.Sir James Murray, Lord Philiphaugh
Sir James Murray, Lord Philiphaugh (1655–1708), of Philiphaugh, was Lord Clerk Register of Scotland.Stan Cowan
Stan Cowan (22 December 1931 – 8 February 2015) was a Scottish rugby union, and professional rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 1960s. He played representative rugby union (RU) for South of Scotland, including against the New Zealand All-Blacks at Netherdale, Galashiels and at club level for Selkirk RFC, and club level rugby league (RL) for Hull F.C. as a wing, or centre, i.e. number 2 or 5, or, 3 or 4. Cowan died in February 2015 after a short illness. He was 83.Thomas Lang (cricketer)
Thomas William Lang (22 June 1854 – 30 May 1902) was an English first-class cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman and a roundarm right-arm medium pace bowler who played from 1872 to 1875 for Oxford University Cricket Club and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. Lang was born at Selkirk, Scotland.Lang made 18 first-class appearances, scoring 303 runs @ 13.17 with a highest innings of 54, his sole half-century. He held 9 catches and took 76 wickets @ 14.52 with a best analysis of 6–27. He took 10 wickets in a match on one occasion and five wickets in an innings on five occasions.Lang was educated at Loretto School, Clifton College and Balliol College, Oxford. He became a stockbroker. He died at Virginia Water, Surrey on 26 December 1894.Tibbie Tamson
Isabella Thomson (d.1790), usually known by the dialect form of her name Tibbie Tamson, was a Scottish woman who lived in the royal burgh of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders during the 18th century. Her isolated grave is a notable landmark, located on a hillside approximately 1.5 miles north of Selkirk at grid reference NT436296.Tom Scott (painter)
Thomas Scott, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1854–1927) was a Scottish painter, primarily a watercolourist, born in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.
Scott signed work as Tom Scott and T. Scott.William Ritchie Sorley
William Ritchie Sorley, FBA (; 4 November 1855 – 28 July 1935), usually cited as W. R. Sorley, was a Scottish philosopher. A Gifford Lecturer, he was one of the British Idealist school of thinkers, with interests in ethics.
|Climate data for Bowhill, 168 m above sea level, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960- (Weather station 2.3 miles (4 km) to the West of Selkirk)|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.6
|Average high °C (°F)||5.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−26.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||95.16
|Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute|