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Saturday, 12 April 2014

K for Kaleidoscope, Kelso & Kinmont Willie

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

K is for: 

Did you know that the children's colourful toy the KALEIDOSCOPE was invented by a Borderer?  

David Brewster (1781-1868), was born in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire,   and became  a leading physicist renowned for his work on optics and polarisation. 

The word "Kaleidoscope" is derived from the ancient Greek -
"Kalos" - beautiful,
"Eidos" - form or shape

"Skopea" - to look at or examine -

Thus observation of beautiful forms. 


The town of KELSO, Roxburghshire was described by writer Sir Walter Scott as "the prettiest if not the most romantic town in Scotland".   It lies in a picturesque setting at the junction of the Tweed and Teviot rivers and is full of architectural features with street names such as Woodmarket and Horsemarket reflecting the local economic interests.

The ruined abbey (one of four in the Borders)  was built in 1128 and witnessed the coronation of the young King James III in 1460, following the death of his father at the siege of nearby Roxburgh Castle. 

The spacious town square claims to be the largest in Scotland, with  the elegant Georgian Town House built in 1816.  The graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed, built by John Rennie in 1803, was the model for London's Waterloo Bridge.

Floors Castle, Scotland's largest inhabited house, stands in parkland overlooking the Tweed.   It was built by the architect William Adam, for the 1st Duke  of Roxburghe in 1721 and later embellished by William Playfair.  Despite its name, it is a large country house - not a castle fortress built for defence.

 Massed pipe bands at Floors Castle

The lively programme of local events reflects the predominantly agricultural community, with the Border Union Agricultural Show, ram and horse sales, Kelso Races, point-to-point and the Scottish Championship Dog Show.

Heavy horses at the Border Union Agricultural Show

The story of Kinmont Willie  is one the best documented episodes in the exploits of the Border Reivers. 

William Armstrong of Kinmont was captured by the forces of the English Warden  in violation of a truce day in 1596 and imprisoned in Carlisle Castle across the Border in England. Fellow Reiver Walter Scott of Buccleuch (known as "The Bold Buccleuch" - pronounced Buck-loo)  led a band of men on a daring raid and broke Kinmont Willie out of the castle.  Kinmont Willie Armstrong was never recaptured.

Here are a few verses from the 46 verse ballad to get a flavour of both the language and the story 

They band his legs beneath the steed, 
They tied his hands behind his back; 
They guarded him fivesome on each side 
And brought him ower the Liddle-rack.

My hands are tied, but my tongue is free, 
Ands whae will dare this deed avow? 
Or answer by the Border law? 
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch?

“And have they ta’en him Kinmont Willie, 
Against the truce of Border tide 
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch 
Is keeper here on the Scottish Side? 

We crept on knees, and held our breath, 
Till we placed the ladders against the wa’ 
And sae ready was Buccleuch himself 
To mount the first before us a’. 

“Buccleuch has turn’d to Eden water, 
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim, 
And he has plunged in wi’ a’ his band, 
And safely swam then thro’ the stream. 

Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 

through the Scottish Borders

  L is for
The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire 
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail

A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 

A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 

A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg and Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice and Jethart Snails  

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