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"My Scottish Borders"
COMMON RIDINGS and CARTER BAR
|Horse Statue, Hawick|
Photograph by Lesley Fraser
Until recently I lived in the town of Hawick where the focal point of the local calendar is Hawick Common Riding. It is both a symbolic riding of the town's boundaries, made in the past to safeguard burgh rights and also a commemoration of the "callants", young lads of Hawick, who in 1514, raided a body of English troops and captured their flag - the "banner blue". This skirmish followed the the ill-fated Battle of Flodden in 1513, when King James IV and much of the "Flower of Scotland" were killed. The 1514 Monument (right), unveiled in June 1914 and known locally as "The Horse", commemorates this victory.
|The Cornet carrying "The Banner Blue" leads Hawick Common Riding |
Photograph by Lesley Fraser, www.ilfimaging.co.uk
|Hawick's Cornet with the "Banner Blue". |
Photograph by Lesley Fraser
All of the main towns in the Borders have a 'common riding' - or something similar,but each one has its own unique spirit and specific traditions. Typically, a "Cornet" or other named representative, i.e. Standard Bearer, Braw Lad, Callant, Reiver etc. is selected from the young men of the town, and becomes an honoured figure. He leads a procession of mounted and foot followers through the town. He proudly carries the town flag, creating a marvelous spectacle. He then leads his cavalcade of riders out of the town into the hills and around the town's ancient boundaries re-enacting the age old ritual of 'riding the marches.'
It is a time when exiles return to their home town to renew friendships and join in the celebrations - in ceremonies and processions, picnics and horse-racing, and in songs, ballads and music, such as one of my favourites below:
To join the Teviot Water
There dwells auld Hawick's honest men
- JIM CLARK (1936-1968) World champion racing driver grew up at Chirnside, Berwickshire. He had seven Grand Prix wins in 1963 and was the first non-American in sixty years to win the Indianopolis 500. Hee was killed at Hockenheim, Germany in the European Formula 2 Championship Race. The Jim Clark Museum in Duns shows a unique collection of his trophies, photographs, model cars and other memorabilia,
- William CHAMBERS (1800-1888), born in Peebles, founded with his brother the famous Chambers publishing house. In his home town he endowed a library, museum and art gallery, gifted to the people of Peebles. He served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1865-69. In the capital he is remembered by a statue on the appropriately named Chambers Street.
- PLACE NAMES THAT APPEAL - Crumelknowes, Catslackburn, Cappercleuch, and Carterhaugh in the Scottish Borders are all the names that roll off the tongue - try saying them! (ch and gh are pronounced as ch in "loch")
- Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journeythrough the Scottish BordersD is forDryburgh Abbey, Duns Scotus
and a Douglas Tragedy
The Scottish Borders
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Do take a look at earlier posts in "My Scottish Borders
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail