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Annals of Hawick 1214 - 1814
With an Appendix containing Biographical Sketches and other illustrative documents by James Wilson, Town Clerk of Hawick (1850)


The completion of a line of Railway, to which the metropolis of Scotland and the ancient burgh of Hawick have become respective termini, with certain advantage to the latter, if not indeed to both places,—appeared to the compiler a suitable opportunity for stringing together such notes connected with the history of the town, as he had from time to time entered upon his tablets. Inconsiderate observers may feel disposed to undervalue these " short and simple annals but when it is remembered how completely neglected the topography of our country has been, and how important are the smallest materials which contribute to remedy the defect, the facts hereinafter recorded may appear to be neither uninteresting nor entirely devoid of historical value.

To some individuals, the Record of the Proceedings of the Circuit Court of Justiciary, held at Dumfries and Jedburgh in the years 1622 and 1623, contained in the Supplement, may seem to have no special connection with the town of Hawick; yet it certainly sheds light on the state of society throughout that part of the Borders with which the town is usually identified, during a period when history furnishes but scanty materials for reference; and a collection can hardly be considered altogether insignificant, containing authentic reports of our ancient mode of procedure in trials for crime on the Borders, of a much earlier date than any of a similar character yet discovered.

The Appendix includes several documents hitherto unpublished, calculated to convey to the reader an accurate notion of the municipal constitution of the burgh ; and, with regard to the Biographical Sketches, although the lives of some of the persons may be found elsewhere, these, for the most part, are contained in books not generally accessible to most readers.

The View of Hawick, from a painting by Mi-Andrew Richardson of Edinburgh, is taken from Easter Martin's Hill, a point which is considered to afford the most pleasing representation of the locality.

The Vignette is from a painting, apparently that executed by L. Clennel for Sir Walter Scott's Border Antiquities of England and Scotland, published in 1813.

To Alexander M'Donald, Esq., Keeper of the Register of Deeds in the General Register House, Edinburgh, who, by revising with remarkable care, the proof sheets of the Justiciary Record, relieved the Editor from that irksome task, his thanks are justly due, and gratefully tendered.

Had access to the archives contained in the charter-rooms of the feudal mansions connected with this part of the Southern Border been obtained by the compiler, the following pages might have been rendered more complete and interesting. As it is, he can only express a hope that some future and more competent individual may enjoy that fortunate privilege.

While these sheets are passing through the press, a very interesting work, intituled, " Descriptive Catalogue of Casts of the Royal, Baronial, and Ecclesiastical Seals of Scotland," by Mr Henry Laing of Edinburgh, has been announced for publication. By his permission, the following description of the seals in the Hawick Charter Chest is extracted from the work:—

"James Douglas of Drumlanrig, 1537.
Quarterly first and fourth, three mullets; second and third, a mans heart; and on a chief, three crosses pattee.

' S. J. D. de Drumlanrege." (that is, Seal of James Douglas.)

Appended to a Charter by James Douglas of Drumlanrig to the town of Hawick, 11th October 1537.

Mary, a.d. 1545.

The Queen is here seated on a throne of state, with a sceptre in her right hand, and her left lying on her breast. The throne is elaborately embellished with carved ornaments in that mixed Italian style prevailing at the time, and now called Elizabethan. The inscription is imperfect, but may be read,

' Maria Dei Gracia Regina Scctorum/

Counter Seal of the last.

The royal arms of Scotland. Supporters, two unicorns chained, and gorged with a crown. Above the shield, an arched closed crown of llcur-de-lis and crosses pattee, the arches meeting and terminating in a ball, surmounted with a thistle crowned. The inscription is not very distinct, but can be read,

' Salvum fac Populum tuum Dvne.'

Seal of the Burgh of Hawick, circa 1814.

The common Seal of the burgh of Hawick has crosses pattee. The shield is surrounded by the collar of the Thistle, and further embellished by two banners, the dexter charged with a saltire, and the sinister, another of the same surmounted with an open crown. Behind each supporter is the arms of the burgh, viz., argent, an altar, thereon an open book (the Bible ?) between a pennon waving towards the dexter, inscribed with the date 1514; and a man's heart imperially crowned, all proper fesswise ; and on a chief, sable, a lamp with two branches inflamed, proper. On a garter surrounding the shield is inscribed,

' slgillum burgi de hawick.'

The charges of the altar and lamp are of course allusive to the religious intentions of the donor of the charter to the town, one of the conditions of which is, that the good town should bear the expense of burning a lamp on certain festivals, for the health of the soul of himself and his successors. The pennon commemorates the event of the capture of such a trophy by the burghers of Hawick from the English, at a skirmish in the neighbourhood of the town in a. d. 1514. The heart is too well known to require any explanation.'',

Hawick, January 1 1850.


Annals of Hawick, from 1214 to 1814


"The Commissionaris Court Buik of the Sherifdomes of Bervick, Selkirk, Peiblis, Jedbrugh, Dumfreis, and stewartries of klrkcudbrycht and Annandaill, quhairintill Gilbert Watt, notar, is clerk, begunne the xxi of Maij 1622, at Dumfreis. (8.S.) Gilb. Watt, Clk."


I. Gavin Douglas
II. Douglas of Drumlanrig
III. Observations on the Charter of 1537
IV. Charter of Confirmation by Mary Queen of Scots, under the Great Seal, in favour of the Town of Hawick, 1545
V. Instrument of Sasine in favour of James Scott alias Bailzie, 1558
VI. Rev. William Fowler
VII. Act in favour of William Lord Drumlanrig, for two Yeirlie Faires at the Toun of Hawick, 1669
VIII. Ratification by the Scottish Parliament in favour of Anna, Duchess of Buccleuch, of the Lands and Barony of Hawick, &c., 1686
IX. Ratification by the Scottish Parliament in favour of Anna, Duchess of Buccleuch, of the Earldom and Lordship of Buccleuch, 1693
X. Rev. Alexander Orrok
XI. Rev. Robert Cunningham
XII. Rev. William Crawford
XIII. Rev. Thomas Somerville, D.D.
XIV. Remarks on the Tenure of the Burgh of Hawick
XV. Observations on the Division of Hawick Common, in 1777
XVI. Rev. Samuel Charters, D.D.
XVII. Set of the Burgh
XVIII. Rev. John Young, D.D.
XIX. Judgment of the Court of Session in the Cattle Steut Case
XX. Corporation Abstract, 1814 to 1815
XXI. Corporation Abstract, 1846 to 1847
XXII. Comparative View of the Trade of Hawick, 1771-1850
Addendum.—Rev. George Hepburn and the Rev. Thomas Somerville.

You can download this book in pdf format here!

For those doing research on Hawick you may also like to download this small book...

Bibliography of Works relating to, or published in, Hawick with an Appendix containing a List of Hawick Newspapers, Local Maps, and Music by James Sinton (1908).

You can download this book here

A Hawick Word Book
By Douglas Scott (2018) (pdf) (external link)

"Queen O the Border"
1948 Travelogue of Hawick, Scotland, Cashmere & Merino Knit Sweaters

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