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Scottish Borders History
Famous Borderers


This listing acknowledges famous Borderers and lesser known names,
who nevertheless have made their mark nationally and internationally

JOHN AINSLIE (1745-1828)
Born in Jedburgh and was buried in Jedburgh Abbey.

Notable Achievement: Described as Scotland's greatest cartographer. both for the quality and quantity of his work. He produced many maps of Scottish counties and private estates, and is chiefly known for his large map of Scotland on nine sheets published in 1789 for which he carried out extensive new surveys. His publications included "An Atlas of the World" (1782) and the text "Comprehensive treatise of Land Surveying Comprising the Theory and Practice of all its Branches" (1812).

Plaque: marble tablet in the south transept of Jedburgh Abbey.

JOHN ARMSTRONG (1709-1779)
Physician and Poet, bore in Liddesdale. The son of a minister, he took his MD in Edinburgh in 1732 and went and went into practice in London.

Notable Achievement: In 1736 he published "Oeconomy of Love", a sex manual in blank verse for newly weds. In 1746 he was appointed physician to the London Soldiers Hospital and from 1760-1763 was physician to the forces in Germany.

MARGOT ASQUITH, NEE TENNENT (1864-1945)
Born in Peeblesshire the 11th child of Sir Charles Tennant, MP. In 1894 she married Liberal Herbert Asquith who was Prime Minister from 1908-1916

Notable Achievement: She received little formal education but possessed unusual literary, artistic and musical talents. She had a group of young intellectuals and aesthetes known as "The Souls" who advocated greater freedom for women.

LADY GRIZEL BAILLIE (1665-1746)
Eldest of 10 children of Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth. who was persecuted for his views, before escaping with his family to Utrecht. Their exile ended with the landing of William of Orange in Britain.

Notable Achievement: Songwriter. With her husband George Baillie, MP, they began the building of Mellerstain House.

ISOBEL BAILLIE (1895-1983)
Born in Hawick, and brought up in Manchester.

Notable Achievement: Singer and outstanding interpreter of oratorio, especially Handel’s "Messiah". In 1933 became the first British artist to perform at the Hollywood Bowl.

JAMES BARKE (1905-58)
Writer and Author. born In Torwoodlee, Selkirkshire.

Notable Achievement: His devoted research on the life of Robert Burns resulting in a 5 volume cycle of novels (1946 – 54) an edition of poems & songs of Burns (1955) and the most-famous "Bonnie Jean" about Burns and Jean Armour.

SIR CHAY BLYTH (1940-)
Born in Hawick on 14th May, 1940 and lived in the West End area of the town. At 18 he joined the British Army’s Parachute Regiment, becoming a Sergeant at the age of 21.

Notable Achievement: Sailor. In 1966 Sgt. Chay Blyth and Capt. John Ridegway rowed across the North Atlantic from Cape Cod to the Aran Islands, in a 20 ft. dory in 90 days, and he was awarded the British Empire Medal. In 1971 he became the first person to sail, single-handed, non-stop, around the world aboard the 59 ft. ketch British Steel. "The most outstanding passage ever made by one man alone" quoted the Times. In recognition of his achievement, he was made a Commander of The British Empire. In 1997 Chay was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to sailing.

DAVID BOGUE (1750-1825)
Congregational Minister, born Coldingham, Berwickshire

Notable Achievement: One of the founders of the London Missionary Society and founder of the British and Foreign Bible Society. With Sir James Bennett, he wrote a History of Dissenters in 1809.

SIR DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)
Born in Jedburgh and went to Edinburgh University at the age of 12. .

Notable Achievement: One of Scotland’s most eminent scientists. Inventor of the Kaleidoscope - Stereoscope - Lithoscope - and the Dioptric system for lighthouses. Took a close interest in early photography. A prolific scientific journalist, Fellow of the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London, Principal of both St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh Universities in succession. Played a major role in setting up the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Monument/Plaque: In Jedburgh at the entrance to the underpass leading to the Canongate bridge.

SIR THOMAS BRISBANE (1773-1860)
Although born in Largs, had many Border connections, largely through his wife Anna Maria Macdougall, heiress of Makerstoun. He joined the army at 16, serving abroad. A keen astronomer he built an observatory in the grounds of Makerstoun House. Founder member and first president of the Tweedside Physical and Antiquarian Society established to promote the study of natural history and antiquities of the district, with a museum set up in Kelso in 1838.

Notable Achievement: Became Governor of New South Wales 1821-1825 reforming the penal code and establishing a constitution for the colony. The Brisbane River, discovered in 1823 and the city which was built on its banks, were named after him.

Monument: In the graveyard of the church in the village of Makerstoun is a sundial to his memory.

JOHN BROADWOOD (1732-1812)
Born in Cockburnspath, Bertwickshire, a cabinet makes who left home at 29 and reputedly walked to London

Notable Achievement: founded the great London pianoforte house of Tschudi and Broadwood, marrying the daughter of Swiss born harpsichord maker Burkhardt Tschudi. Highly gifted, he made great advances in the design of the pianoforte both upright and grand, such as adding pedals and increasing the range. He supplied pianos across the world to composers and royalty, and when he died left a substantial estate. The house is still in business today.

SIR JAMES BRUNLEES (1816-1892)
Civil Engineer, born in Kelso Roxburghshire.

Notable Achievement: Much of his work was concerned with the construction of railways in Britain and South America. He also built the rack railway over the Mont Cenis pass in the Alps, which operated, from 1868-1871 when the Mont Cenis Tunnel was opened. He designed the first Avonmouth Dock and the Whitehaven Dock works as well as piers at Southend and other seaside resorts.

JOHN BUCHAN - 1ST BARON TWEEDSMUIR (1875-1940)
Born in Perth, but moved to Broughton, Peebleshire, where his father was Minister.

Notable Achievement: Novelist, lawyer, soldier, historian, politician and diplomat. President of the Scottish History Society 1929 – 1932. Member of Parliament for the Scottish Universities 1927 – 1935. Raised to the Peerage in 1935 when he became Governor General of Canada.

Wrote over 50 books beginning with a series of essays. He became best known for his spy thrillers featuring Richard Hannay; The Thirty Nine Steps, Greenmantle, The Three Hostages and others. He also wrote biographies including Montrose and Sir Walter Scott.

Monument: The church at Broughton is now the John Buchan Museum.

WILLIAM CHAMBERS (1800-1883)
Born Biggiesknowe, Peebles. In 1832 with his brother Robert formed the publishing house W & R Chambers in Edinburgh. In 1859 founded and endowed a Museum, Library and Art Gallery known as the Chambers Institution gifted to the people of Peebles. Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1865 – 1869 he promoted a successful scheme for improving the older part of the city. At his own cost he carried out a restoration of St. Giles Cathedral adding the Thistle Chapel.

Notable Achievement: Publisher & Writer

Plaque: On house in Peebles. He is also commemorated in the Chambers Aisle St. Giles Cathedral

JIM CLARK (1936-1968)
Born in File but grew up in Chirnside in Berwickshire. Killed at Hockenheim.

Notable Achievement: World Champion Racing Driver, with seven Grand Prix wins in 1963. First non-American in 50 years to win the Indianapolis 500

Monument: Jim Clark Museum at Duns shows a unique collection of his trophies, photographs, model cars and other memorabilia. Clock Memorial at Chirnside

THOMAS J CLAPPERTON (1879–1962)
Son of a local photographer, born in Bridge Street, Galashiels on 14 September 1879. Educated in Galashiels, studied at Glasgow School of Art, Kensington School of Art in London and the Royal Academy Schools. Latterly lived in Sussex where he died in 1962.

Notable Achievement: Sculptor was elected Member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1913. Examples of his work can be seen in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and London as well as in the Scottish Borders where his fine Mounted Border Reiver forms the centrepiece of the Galashiels War Memorial. The statue of Mungo Park in Selkirk is also his work.

Monument: A permanent exhibition of his life and work can be seen in the "Clapperton Room" in Old Gala House, Galashiels.

ARCHIE CRAIG (1888-1985)
Church of Scotland Minister, born in Kelso Roxburghshire.

Notable Achievement: A long and distinguished career as an academic and spiritual leader.

War service-he won the military class "for gallantry in France" This was followed by ministry at Gilmorehill Glasgow, university chaplency, a spell with the BBC, and a key role in the lona Community. He was lecturer in Biblical studies at Glasgow University and moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1961, receiving the same year honorary doctorates from Dublin and Glasgow universities. The international reputation he held is indicated by the unusual award of Order of St Mark of Alexandria 1st class in 1970. He became Secretary of the British Council of Churches (from 1942) of a crucial period of its development, helping to set the agenda, the direction and the pace for ecumenical progress

ANDREW DALLMEYER (1945-)
Actor, Writer and Director, born in St Boswells Roxburghshire. Appeared at the National Theatre, Royal Court and Bristol Old Vic.

Notable Achievement: Since the 1970’s he has directed almost 50 productions at the Leeds Playhouse, Sheffield Crucible, Liverpool Playhouse and Edinburgh Traverse Theatres.

He is author of over 40 plays many taking an off beat look at a real figure such as Salvador Dali or Rudolf Hess. Among his finest works is the Political Satire "The Boys in the Backroom" (1982). He is considered by many to be the finest and most individual Scottish playwright for many years.

LAVINIA DERWENT

Notable Achievement: Novelist who grew up in the Cheviot Hills south of Jedburgh. Her "Border Bairn" series is set around Jedburgh, and "Lady of the Manse" has a Berwickshire setting. She became well known for her children's books based on Tammie Trout and Greyfriars Bobby.

DUNS SCOTUS (c1265-c1308)
Born in Duns, Berwickshire, which he left to attend the Franciscan school at Dumfries. Studied at Oxford and taught in Paris.

Notable Achievement: Philosopher and theologian. who turned again orthodox thinking. The church rejected his views and this name became associated with stupidity - hence "dunce"

Monument: A bronze statue in the Public Park, Duns. A plaque marks his birthplace beside the Pavilion Lodge at Duns Castle.

JEAN ELLIOT (1727-1805)
From Minto, near Hawick. Daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot, 1st Earl of Minto and Governor General of India.

Notable Achievement: Poet and Author of "Flowers of the Forest".

SIR WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN (1789-1874)
Born in Kelso, son of a farmer. Became an apprentice wheelwright in South Shields, befriending the young George Stephenson. Set up business in Manchester, making machinery for cotton mills and in 1830 took a lead in making iron boats by opening a shipyard at London.

Notable Achievement: Engineer. In Stephenson's bridge over the Menai Straits in Wales. He invented the rectangular tube that was ultimately adopted and he erected a thousand bridges upon this principle. Became Fellow of Royal Society and President of the British Association. Knighted in 1869.

Plaque: In Kelso situated on the wall of his birthplace, Duncan House

LT ANTHONY FASSON (?-1942)
Naval officer, a native of Jedburgh.

Notable Achievement: Given posthumous award of the George Cross. He was on board the destroyer HMS Petard in the Atlantic when it torpedoed a U-boat. Lieutenant Fasson dived into the sea and boarded the stricken vessel with two other crewmen, with a mission of capturing top secret codebooks. He was lost when the submarine sank, but the papers were saved, and once deciphered provided crucial intelligence for the Allies on U-boat movements. In 1969 the comic book "the Hornet" portrayed the story of Anthony Fasson.

Plaque: with framed photograph unveiled in his honour at Jedburgh British Legion.

ROBERT FORTUNE (1813-1880)
Horticulturist, born in Edrom, Berwickshire. He was at first employed as a gardener in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and at the Horticultural Society Chiswick.

Notable Achievement: From 1843 he travelled extensively in the East for the London Botanical Society supplying to Kew Gardens species never before seen in Europe at Kew, including the double yellow rose, forsythia, fan palms and the Japanese anemone. . He planted tea successfully in India’s North East Provinces. He published accounts of his travels in 1863.

JIMMIE GUTHRIE (1897–1937)
"Hawick’s Racing Legend" Jimmy was born on 23rd May 1897 and served his apprenticeship as an Engineer.

Notable Achievement: Motorcycle Racing Champion. He achieved success after success, race after race and held many world records and European Championships. His last race was at Sachsenring where he died "upholding the honour of his country in the German Grand Prix" on 8th August 1937. The train to the German frontier carrying his body had a military escort. His funeral took place in Hawick and was attended by thousands – the cortege was 3 miles long.

Monument: Public subscription resulted in a statue being erected in 1939 at Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, near to the Museum, where there is an exhibition commemorating his life.

DOUGLAS HAIG (1861-1928)
Born in Edinburgh to an old Borders family.

Notable Achievement: Soldier. Became Commander in Chief of the British Army in 1915, and become a national hero for his defence at Mons and Ypres. Became First Earl Haig of Bemersyde. Founded the Earl Haig Poppy Fund and Royal British Legion to care for those wounded and bereaved as a result of the First World War. His home of Bemersyde was presented to him by the nation.

Monument: At Dryburgh Abbey where he is buried.

ANDREW JOHN HERBERTSON (1865-1915)
Geographer, born in Galashiels Selkirkshire. Educated Edinburgh University. After a period at Ben Nevis and Fort William observatories (1892-3) and an assistantship with Patrick Geddes at Dundee (1892), he taught at Manchester (1894-96) and Heriot Watt (1896-9) where he became lead of the department of geography.

Notable Achievement: Introduced what was to become a distinctive interest in human and regional geography, and developed his scheme of world natural regions, based on the association of physical features, vegetation and climate.

JAMES HOGG (1770–1835)
Born in Ettrick, the son of a shepherd, Contemporary and friend of Sir Walter Scott. He is buried in Ettrick Kirkyard. .

Notable Achievement: Writer, known as "The Ettrick Shepherd".

Monument: A monument stands on the site of his cottage in Ettrick where he was born. At St. Mary’s Loch a statue to Hogg looks down over the waters, and over Tibbie Shiels Inn where Hogg, Scott and Burns met. An exhibition on his life and work is on display at AikwoodTower, Ettrickbridge.

WILLIAM JOHNSTONE (1897-1983)
Artist, born in Denholm, Roxburghshire, son of a farmer. Studied in Paris and was influenced by the school of surrealism, which he incorporated into his paintings of the Borders countryside. .

Notable Achievement: His work is recognised as amongst the most original for that period of British art, with his complex "A Point in Time" (1929-37) on exhibition in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. As Principal of the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and the Central School, London, he was responsible for the foundation of modern art education principles in Britain.

GEORGE MEIKLE KEMP (1795-1844)
Shepherds son from Tweeddale. Apprenticed as a millwright and carpenter He worked in England and France studying Gothic Architecture.

Notable Achievement: Designed the Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Monument: Memorial erected in 1932 on house where he did his apprenticeship, 2 miles north of Peebles on A703.

ANDREW LANG (1844 – 1912)
Born in Selkirk. Died at Banchory.

Notable Achievement: Writer and Journalist. His output was enormous and varied over many subjects from fairytales to anthropology and Greek literature. The old Cottage Hospital in Selkirk is now called the Andrew Lang unit.

JAMES PARIS LEE (1831-1904)
Born in Hawick, but emigrated with his parents to Canada in 1836, where he followed in his father's footsteps to become a watchmaker.

Notable Achievement: Set up the Lee Firearms Company and designed the Lee Enfield Rifle, the supreme weapon of infantrymen. It was f introduced to the British services and used in the Boer War.

DR JOHN LEYDEN (1775–1811)
Born in Denholm, near Hawick in an 18th century thatched cottage, which can still be seen. Son of a shepherd, went to Edinburgh |University at the age of 15. He was a brilliant scholar and he later qualified in Divinity and Medicine. It is believed he knew over 40 languages.

Notable Achievement: Poet, Linguist and Orientalist. Friend to Sir Walter Scot, he helped to collect ballads for "The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders". He travelled to India, becoming a Professor and a Judge but died at the age of 36, whilst on an expedition to Java.

Monument: Leyden’s Monument was built by public subscription in 1861, marking the 50th anniversary of his death. Designed by Hector H. Orrock, it sits on Denholm Green.

HENRY FRANCIS LYTE (1793–1847)
Born in Ednam, near Kelso.

Notable Achievement: A prolific hymnist whose works include "Abide with Me" and "Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven".

Plaque: On Ednam Bridge.

Read more about Henry Francis Lyte here.

BILL MCLAREN
Bill was born and brought up in Hawick. In his earlier years he was a Primary School teacher, teaching the rudiments of rugby to youngsters and "instilling in them the traditions and passion of the game as it pertained to Hawick". Even though he is known to the famous names in rugby throughout the world and associated with thousands of others, he still has a very close interest in anything to do with rugby and his home town, Hawick.

Notable Achievement: Rugby Commentator on radio and television. Commentating would not be the same without the voice of Bill McLaren. His excellent skills, attention to detail and enthusiasm for the game are forever present. He is greatly respected by all who know him.

LIZ McNEIL

Notable Achievement: Writer and journalist who lives in Melrose. A number of her novels feature Border locations and Border themes e.g. the Bondagers, and the building of Leaderfoot Bridge, with "Lark Returning" (Melrose and Lauder, "St. James Fair" (Kelso area), and "Woman of Gallantry" (Berwickshire).

ROBERT MORRISON (1782-1834)
Scholar and missionary, born in Jedburgh.

Notable Achievement: He was sent to Canton by the London Missionary Society as the first Protestant missionary to China. He translated and printed the Bible into Chinese and in 1823 he completed his great Chinese Dictionary. In 1818 he established an Anglo Chinese College at Malacca.

SIR JAMES MURRAY (1837–1915)
Born in Denholm, near Hawick, the son of a tailor. He left school at the age of 14, and became a teacher in Hawick and founder member of the Hawick Archaeological Society which is still in existence today. Moved to London in 1856. Wrote a "Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland". – the first scientific study of dialect. Knighted in 1908.

Notable Achievement: Lexicographer. He became First Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, which was quickly established as the standard for the English language. He died in 1915 before the Dictionary was finished, but he left a legacy of organisation and inspiration for those completing it. .

Plaque: The house where "Dictionary Murray" was born is situated on Main Street, Denholm, marked by a plaque.

JAMES NICOL (1810-79)
Geologist, born Traquair Manse Innerleithen, Peebleshire. . After studying at Edinburgh he attended universities of Berlin and Bonn.

Notable Achievement: Undertook a Survey of Scotland and by 1844 had published his "Guide to the Geology of Scotland". In 1847 he was appointed secretary to the Geological Society of London. In 1853 he was appointed Professor of Natural History at Aberdeen University.

WILL OGILVIE (1869 – 1963,
Born near Kelso, lived at Ashkirk near Hawick.

Notable Achievement: Poet.

Monument: A cairn was erected to his memory on the hill road between Ashkirk and Roberton.

MUNGO PARK (1771–1806)
Born at Foulshiels, Yarrow Valley, educated in Selkirk, and apprenticed to a local surgeon at the age of 15. Studied medicine and botany at Edinburgh University. Practised medicine in Peebles 1801–1804.

Notable Achievement: African explorer, who set out to plot the course of the Niger River. and died on his second trip to Nigeria in 1806 when his expedition was never seen or heard of again. Wrote "Travels in the Interior District of Africa"

Monument: Statue by the local sculptor Thomas Clapperton at the corner of Back Row with High Street, Selkirk. In Peebles plaque at his residence 5-7 Northgate and on the window lintel of Keg Bar, High Street showing the site of his surgery.

ANNE REDPATH, RSA, RWA, ARA, OBE (1895–1965)
Born in Galashiels, daughter of a Galashiels tweed designer. Enrolled at Edinburgh College of Art in 1913, qualifying as an art teacher in 1917. Lived in France after marrying an architect working for the War Graves Commission. Returned to the Borders living in Hawick, where she painted still lifes and landscapes of the Borders and Skye before moving to Edinburgh. Anne Redpath’s works are now fetching large sums of money at auction.

Notable Achievement: Outstanding artist.

HENRY SCOTT RIDDEL (1797-1870)
Minister of Teviothead Church, near Hawick.

Notable Achievement: Author of the national song "Scotland Yet".

Monument: A cairn stands visible from the A7 on the slopes of Dryden Fell above Teviothead

SAINT CUTHBERT (c 635-687)
His early life is associated with Lauderdale where hew may have been born, and where, whilst shepherding near Oxton he experienced a vision which persuaded him to become a monk. He entered the monastery at Old Melrose and became Prior. He subsequently became Bishop of Lindesfarne.

FRANCIS GEORGE SCOTT (1880-1958)
Born in Hawick

Notable Achievement: Composer. Published 6 volumes of Scottish lyrics and worked closely with Hugh McDiarmid setting his poems to music.

MICHAEL SCOTT (c1175-c1234)
Assumed to come a Borders family. Educated in Oxford, Paris and Padua.

Notable Achievement: Wizard. Became court astrologer to the Holy Roman Empire. In Sir Walter Scott’s "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders", he is portrayed as "he cleft the Eildon Hills in three and bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone. ". Tradition relates that the Eildon Hills were once one, and he sought employment for the devil and made them three

TOM SCOTT, RSA (1854–1927)

Notable Achievement: A Selkirk born artist who studied in Edinburgh, France, Italy, Tunis and Holland before returning to his native heath, residing at Leslie Cottage, Selkirk. Paintings by Tom Scott can be seen in Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom, Selkirk, and Drumlarnig’s Tower, Hawick.

Plaque/Bust: Above old Southern Reporter building in High Street, Selkirk.

SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771–1832)
Born in Edinburgh of Borders descent from the Scott’s of Harden and family connections with Smailholm and Kelso; He was appointed Sheriff Depute of Selkirkshire in 1799, a position which he held until his death in 1832. During these years his full creative genius as a poet and novelist developed. He built and lived at Abbotsford House – 2 miles from Galashiels. He is buried within the precincts of Dryburgh Abbey near St Boswells.

Notable Achievement: Novelist and poet.

Monument/Plaque: Many examples across the Borders - bust and plaque near the Volunteer Hall, St John Street - also statue outside Clovenfords Hotel, 3 miles west of Galashiels, - and statue in Selkirk Market Square. Other places associated with his life also include Melrose Abbey, Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom in Selkirk, Scotts View, Innerleithen and Tibbie Shiels.

MARY SOMERVILLE (1780-1872)
Born Mary Fairfax in Jedburgh, daughter of Sir William Fairf\ax, one of Nelson’s captains. .

Notable Achievement: Mathematician and Scientific Writer, despite only one year of formal education. Published widely used textbooks. Somerville College at Oxford is named after her.

CATHERINE HELEN SPENCE (c 1825-1910)
Born in Melrose, daughter of lawyer David Spence, who faced with bankruptcy and financial ruin, emigrated with his family to Australia in 1839 when Catherine was 14. David Spence became Adelaide's first town clerk.

Notable Achievement: Catherine became Australia's first female political candidate, first woman journalist and novelist, a battler for women's suffrage and social reform, and a lifelong campaigner for proportional representation.. She played a key role in setting up the children's court system, wrote the first legal studies textbook to be published in Australia, and helped to transform South Australia from a rural backwater into a respected, progressive colony, earning the title of "Grand Old Woman of Australia". She is commemorated in Adelaide by the Spence Archive of her papers and writings and by a statue with the instruction "Social and political reformer, writer and preacher who worked for children". A new 2001 $5 banknote, celebrating the centenary of the federation of Australia features her image

Plaque: At her early childhood home in Melrose, which now forms part of Millers Hotel in the Square.

THOMAS THE RHYMER c1210-c1290
Born and lived at Ercildoune (Earlston) According to Sir Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders, Thomas saw the Queen of the Fairies as she rode out over the Eildon Hills, was captivated by her and returned with her to her kingdom inside the hills. After seven years, he was allowed to return to earth and as a keepsake was given the gift of prophesy. Among his predictions were the death of Alexander 111, the defeat of Flodden and the union of the crowns in 1603.

Notable Achievement: Prophet, Seer and one of Scotland’s earliest poets

Monument: Sculpture, viewpoint & interpretation boards at Boglie Burn, near Melrose. Ruins of his tower just south of Earlston. Rhymer’s Stone set into the east wall of Earlston Parish Church

JAMES THOMSON (1700-1748)
Born at Ednam, nr Kelso, moved to Southdean as a child, attended Jedburgh Grammar School and studied divinity at Edinburgh University. Died at Richmond, Surrey.

Notable Achievement: Poet of great merit. Wrote the words of "Rule Britannia" (set to music by Thomas Arne) and "The Seasons" (used by Hadyn as the text for his oratorio)

Monument/Plaque: A monument on Ferny Hill, just outside Ednam. The Temple of the Muses in Dryburgh, nr St Boswells was erected by the 11th Earl of Buchan and dedicated to James Thomson. The temple used to hold a fine statue of Apollo, copied from the Apollo di Belvidere at Florence and on the pedestal were the nine muses. A bust of Thomson is on top of the temple. Poet Robert Burns wrote a poem "Address to the Shade of Thomson" for the opening of the temple.

SIR WILLIAM TURNBULL (c1400-c1454)
Reputed to be the younger son of the Laird of Bedrule, near Hawick. Believed to have died whilst on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Notable Achievement: Scholar, Bishop of Glasgow and founder of Glasgow University in 1451

Monument: A memorial to him is in Bedrule Church, near Hawick.

JOHN VEITCH (1829-1894)
Born in Peebles. Studied at Edinburgh University; then studied Theology at New College, Edinburgh. In 1856 appointed assistant to Sir William Hamilton Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh 1860. In 1860 he was appointed Professor of Logic at St. Andrews University.

Notable Achievement: Poet and scholar - wrote about the Border Country

Plaque: on his house in Biggiesknowe, Peebles. A commemorative fountain is situated on the High Street in front of the Tontine Hotel.

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