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Selkirk ( )is a small town in the Borders of Scotlandmarker. It lies on the Ettrick Watermarker, a tributary of the River Tweed. At the time of the 2001 census, Selkirk's population was 5,742. The people of the town are know as Souters, meaning, Cobblers.

Selkirk was formerly the county town of Selkirkshiremarker. Selkirk is one of the oldest burghs (boroughs) in Scotland and is the site of the earliest settlements in what is now the Scottish Borders.

Selkirk is the site of the first Border Abbey where William Wallace, was declared guardian of Scotland. Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Marquess of Montrose and the Outlaw Murray all have tenuous connections with the town.

Selkirk was originally named Seleschirche, meaning 'Kirk (church) in the Forest'. In 1113, King David I granted Selkirk large amounts of land.

Selkirk's population grew up because of its woollen industry, although now that 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 art gallery, and associations with Mungo Park , James Hogg "The Ettrick Shepherd" a local poet and writer and Walter Scott, a collector of ballads and writer of Romances, both of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It is also home to Scotland'smarker oldest horse racing track, the Gala Rig, on the outskirts of the town.

Selkirk Common Riding

Selkirk commemorates and celebrates her history at the annual Common Riding, always held on the second Friday after the first Monday in June, when the town's boundaries or 'marches' are ridden. Usually in the region of 400-500, Selkirk boasts one of the largest cavalcade of horses and riders in Europe.. The climax of the day involves the town's Standard Bearer casting, or flying, the town's colours in the Market Square.

O' Floddenfield!

Statue of Fletcher outside Victoria Halls, Selkirk
Selkirk men fought with William Wallace at Stirling Brigmarker and Falkirkmarker, and also with Robert the Bruce at Bannockburnmarker, but it is Selkirk's connection with The Battle of Floddenmarker 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, provide the Royal Burgh with its proudest and most maudling memories.Only one returned from the battle, “Fletcher”, bearing a blood-stained English flag, belonging to the Macclesfieldmarker regiment. On his return he cast the captured Englishmarker standard around his head to describe that all others had perished in battle.

Sir Walter Scott and Selkirk

Walter Scott's Courtroom in Selkirk Market Place
Sir Walter Scott, known as "Walty the Plamf", was appointed Sheriff-Deputy of the County of Selkirk in 1799, and was based in the Royal Burgh's Courthouse, which can be found in the town square.

The Selkirk Grace

The Selkirk Grace, is a grace (prayer said before a meal) attributed to Robert Burns: It has no connection with the town.It was written for the Earl of Selkirk who resided in Kirkcudbrightshire in the west of Scotland. Burns wrote it as an apology when he was late for a dinner invitation.

Today it is used on occasions such as Burns' Night. It is generally used ironically, amongst the Commonality.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae the Lord be thankit.

Some have food and cannot eat,
And some would eat that lack it (food),
But we have food and we can eat,
So the Lord be thanked.

William Wallace

"See approach proud Edwards power, Chains and slavery!"

After the death of Alexander III the hopes of the people of Scotlandmarker rested with the Maid of Norway. Her death in 1290 left the country at the mercy of the English King. From that date until the crown was awarded to John Balliol, King Edward prosecuted remorselessly his schemes against the independence of Scotlandmarker.

Balliol, as preceding kings before him paid homage, in respect of his lands in England, to Edward and, in return, suffered many humiliations at the hands of the supposed English Suzerain. Scottish nobles and gentry, many from the Borderland, were compelled to swear allegiance to the "proud usurper."

From the West of Scotlandmarker came William Wallace, a Scotsmarker knight who led his countrymen in resistance to English domination.

Scottish Borderland is associated with Wallace. It was in Selkirk, supported by nobles and clergy, he was declared Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland.

Today in the 'forest kyrk' (the Kirk (church) of the Forest), referred to in ancient times as the church of St Mary of the Forest, visitors can now visit this ancient site, which is also the final resting place to several relatives of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of Americamarker. Roosevelt, whose ancestors came from the area, named his famous dog Fala, after Falamarker and the nearby village of Falahillmarker.


Rugby union plays its role in Selkirk culture and society. Selkirk RFC play in their home games at Philiphaugh, and are now in Premiership Division One and Border League (the oldest established rugby union league in the world).

The town also has a footballing tradition, having produced some player of note in the Scottish game including Bobby Johnstone of Hibernian, Bob Mercer of Heart of Midlothian and Sandy McMahon of Celtic. Selkirk F.C. are members of the East of Scotland Football League and currently play in the Premier Division. Nicknamed The Souters (Cobblers) the club was founded in 1880 and is the oldest club in the Borders. Their home ground is Yarrow Park.

Notable people of the Town



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