Selkirkshire
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Selkirkshire

(Click on the picture to see a larger one)

In 1513 Henry VIII's England invaded France and, relying on a treaty which in fact he was not bound to observe, James IV of Scotland declared war on England and invaded with an army of 20,000 men. Initially they did well, capturing several English strongholds, and the Earl of Surrey, with a slightly smaller force but better artillery, was sent north to stop them. The two armies confronted each other on 9th September at Flodden Field, near Branxton. The Scots held a more advantageous position but, stung by the accurate enemy artillery, they abandoned this and engaged the English in hand-to-hand fighting. Sadly for the Scots, the new English halberds proved more effective than Scottish spears, and the end result was a catastrophic defeat for the Scots, with the king himself being counted among the dead.

The burgh of Selkirk sent 80 men to Flodden, and only one returned alive, a man called Fletcher. Weary and wounded, he could not bring himself to tell of the defeat; instead, he waved a captured English banner defiantly in the air before lowering it sadly to the ground. The event is remembered every year in the Selkirk Common Riding and the Casting of the Colours, which is followed most movingly by the playing of the Flowers of the Forest, Selkirk's own haunting lament to the fallen not only of Flodden but of all wars since.

Nearly 300 years later, Sir Walter Scott - "the Shirra", as he was popularly known - became Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire and dispensed justice from the old courthouse which still dominates the town's market place. Another famous local literary son was James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, who was born in 1770 and became a nationally recognised poet and song-writer. According to local legend Hogg declined an invitation to the coronation of King George IV in London for the reason that it fell on the same day as the local St. Boswells Fair which he was not prepared to miss!

Three miles west of Selkirk the impressive ruins of Newark Castle stand high above the Yarrow Water. In 1645 the castle was the scene of a particularly nasty atrocity when 100 wounded followers of the Marquis of Montrose, captured after the Battle of Philiphaugh, were shot in the castle courtyard on account of their religious beliefs. A number of other prisoners, many of them women and children, were taken to Selkirk and shot in the Market Place.

Even today Selkirkshire is heavily wooded and the old Ettrick Forest, which used to cover much of the county, gave refuge to generations of reivers, outlaws, and other fugitives from justice. William Wallace and Robert the Bruce both waged guerilla campaigns against the English from the relative safety of the Forest.

Being a border county Selkirkshire was of course closely associated with the Border Reivers (Raiders), and one of the most outstanding features of the county's biggest town, Galashiels, is a massive mounted Reiver sculpted by local man Thomas Clapperton. By the 19th century Galashiels was Scotland's premier tweed producing town and in 1909 the Scottish College of Textiles was established here.

Selkirkshire is one of our smaller kits, with a stitched area of 9 9 inches (231 233mm) and a stitch count of 123 x 125. Stitched on 27-count evenweave, it includes 25 colours and 11 buildings as well as place names, compass and county crest.

Kit 18.35 UK pounds
Chartpack   8.99 UK pounds




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