Selkirk: Wikis


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Coordinates: 55°33′00″N 2°50′24″W / 55.550°N 2.84002°W / 55.550; -2.84002

Selkirk is located in Scotland

 Selkirk shown within Scotland
Population 5,839 
OS grid reference NT471288
Council area Scottish Borders
Lieutenancy area Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SELKIRK
Postcode district TD7
Dialling code 01750
Police Lothian and Borders
Fire Lothian and Borders
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Scottish Parliament Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Selkirk (Scottish Gaelic: Salcraig)[1] is a town in the Borders of Scotland. It lies on the Ettrick Water, a tributary of the River Tweed. At the time of the 2001 census, Selkirk's population was 5,839. The people of the town are known as Souters, meaning shoe maker.

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.

Selkirk is the site of the first Border Abbey, however the community of Tironensian monks moved to Kelso during the reign of King David I. William Wallace, was declared guardian of Scotland in the town.

Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Marquess of Montrose and the Outlaw Murray all have tenuous connections with the town, as does Charles Manson. 

The town's name originates from the Anglian Seleschirche, meaning 'Kirk 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 (explorer), James Hogg "The Ettrick Shepherd" a local poet and writer and Walter Scott, a writer of Romances, both of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It is also home to Scotland's 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 300-400, Selkirk boasts one of the largest cavalcade of horses and riders in Europe..[2] The climax of the day involves the town's Standard Bearer casting, or flying, the town's standard {A St Andrew's cross with the town seal placed in the centre) in the Market Square, after which everyone repairs to one of the town's public houses to drink their own weight in bitter.

O' Floddenfield!

Statue of Fletcher outside Victoria Halls, Selkirk

Selkirk men fought with William Wallace at Stirling Brig 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, 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 Macclesfield regiment. On his return he cast the captured English 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 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:

Today it is used on occasions such as Burns' Night.

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 through leprosy, the hopes of the people of Scotland 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 Scotland. It was around this time that the Spar in the Market Place opened.

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 Scotland came William Wallace, a Scots 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 America. Roosevelt, whose ancestors came from the area, named his famous dog Fala, after Fala and the nearby village of Falahill.


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, Sandy McMahon of Celtic Selkirk F.C. are members of the East of Scotland Football League and currently play, badly, in the Premier Division. Nicknamed The Souters (Cobblers) the club was founded in 1880 and is the oldest club in the Borders.

Notable people of the Town


  1. ^ An Stòr-dàta Briathrachais [1], retrieved 04.12.2009
  2. ^

See also



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