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Neil Wallace

Born in the Haig Maternity, lived in Dovemount Place, and started school there at Trinity. To Burnfoot Primary then the High School. Moved away from the town to Cardiff, then Edinburgh, and now an exile in Suffolk.
Neil Wallace has written 22 posts for Hawick Common Riding Cornets

1777 James Richardson’s sing-a-long of Teribus

Cornet James Richardson had a grand occasion to celebrate during his time as Cornet in 1777 – the opening of the Drumlanrig Bridge bringing a convenient new way from the Tower Knowe to the Sandbed, rather than the old road which bogled its way over the Auld Brig over the Slitrig and then down Silver … Continue reading

1814 Walter Wilson and the Hanging in the Haugh

1814 was quite  a year for Walter Wilson to be Cornet, and the end of an era. The long Napoleonic wars seemed finally to be over – Napoleon had invaded Russia, and then retreated from Moscow, leading to a hundred French, German and Polish officers from his army coming to Hawick as prisoners of war … Continue reading

1515 The first Cornet – think Hawick, think Helmand Province

Thinking about who was the first Cornet – we know the names back to 1703 and James Scott, the first named Cornet , but nothing before that. Which isn’t very satisfying – I want a name! My Granny’s cousin Cornet was of Lanark stock – and Lanark‘s Lanimers is very [very!] like the Hawick Common … Continue reading

1857 Andrew Leyden the first photograph of a Cornet

In 1857 photography had only just begun – so the photograph of Andrew Leyden and his Right and Left Hand men records an extraordinary event. Taking a photograph was a rigmarole involving glass plates and wet chemicals and portable tents and large cameras. Photographic Societies were just being started to promote the art and science … Continue reading

1758 William Oliver – a batchelor banker

William Oliver was Cornet in 1758, and he was a banker. Just as we have nicknames for bankers now , so it was then – he was “Old Cash”. He was about the first one in Hawick – becoming agent for the Bank of Scotland in 1792 [though he may just have been pipped at … Continue reading

1846 James Smith and the Flood

Records of flooding in the Teviot Catchment go back many years,with a  recent speeding up of runoff through new agricultural drains and lack of buffering by wetlands.  For “new” read 1836, when one local claimed that “a little summer flood which took a fortnight or three weeks to run off previous, now completely runs out … Continue reading

1869 Andrew Burns the Selkirk woolsorter

Andrew Burns the 1869 Cornet was a wool sorter – “ Wool sorters were the craftsmen who processed the fleece before yarn could be spun. Different breeds of sheep produce vastly different types of wool. The variations include fineness and length of the staple, softness of handle, crimp, colour and lustre, and different types of … Continue reading

1781 James Wilson’s four fine silver watches

Four fine silver watches made by the 1781 Cornet, James Wilson, were stolen from the Bull and Mouth Inn in London in 1778 The New Daily Advertiser of 5 June 1778 reported a major robbery from the Bull and Mouth Inn in Holborn early that Sunday morning. The Bull and Mouth crops up often in the … Continue reading

1840 Charles Smith at the Races

The 1840 Common Riding was well reported and having carrid out the ceremonies of the day, retired to a well earned meal at the Tower Inn for the “more aged and grave citizens”, and the livelier do in the Town Hall, provided by Mrs Hay of the Crown Inn Living with Mrs Hay, and presumably … Continue reading

1847 Thomas Hay died aged 23

Thomas Hay, who was to be Cornet in 1847, was living in the Crown Inn on the High Street as a 12 year old in 1840, when Cornet Charles Smith and his followers were served a sumptuous dinner by the publican Mrs Ann Hay, helped no doubt by the young Thomas. The 1840 Common Riding … Continue reading

1808 William Beck

The Caledonian Mercury on 24 March 1808 carried an advert which would have been of interest to anyone wishing to have tweels, diaper, damask or cloth bleached at the Roslin Bleachfields. The proprietors promise that particular care is taken to preserve the fabric, and that a beautiful colour is given to the cloth, which would … Continue reading

1868 William Inglis and the Hawick Oil Refinery

William Inglis was the son of another father and son Cornet pairing: William senior in 1827, and William junior in 1868, so there was quite a time between them – 41 years. William senior, merchant, didn’t get married until late – in 1841 he was a 40 year old grocer at 64 High Street, unmarried … Continue reading

1861 John Ferguson the first modern Cornet

There are two events which mark the beginning of modern Hawick – the introduction of knitting frames by Baillie Hardie in 1771, and the opening of the railway in 1849. [even though the railway only ran north to G***shiels and Edinburgh until the following year – “The Hawick branch of the North British Railway was … Continue reading

1706 the Two Hardies “wild a wee and ill to keep in order”

The Council had problems with the Common Riding in 1706 It started with the removal of George Scott from the council arising from his conduct towards the Town Clerk George Scott is discharged by the council of continuing any longer ane councillor, in respect not only of his going to bear some office in the … Continue reading

1779 James Ekron and his smokers cough

Always been intrigued by James Ekron – and his nickname “The Blast” First the very Biblical sounding name – Ekron is a city in Canaan. In very bible-literate times, it could be that the reference below in 1 Samuel 5:1 would be well known – it certainly would attract the attention of any young lads … Continue reading

1834 Robert Beck, Third Class Clerk

I thought I would push my census sources as far as they would go, to the 1841 census , with a fair chance that I would be able to pick up a 25-30 year old  ex-1834 Cornet Robert Beck. I thought it would be easy -  William Beck’s Stocking Shop is now clearly seen on … Continue reading

1836 Thomas Kedie the third Kedie Cornet

Thomas Kedie was a baker, living at Kirkstyle, east side at the head of Silver St. The Exchange Bar is probably Victorian, but the houses look older as you go towards the church. However, they are on the West side, not the East side where Cornet Kedie was living. The 1824 Woods Map is only … Continue reading

1841 George Turnbull and the Auld Grey Yaud

Cornet George Turnbull, aged 21, was living in Allers Bank with his father John, a 43 year old “Seedsman Sp Dealer” in the census record – presumably an abbreviation for “Seedsman and Spirit Dealer” “Hawick Place Names” gives Allers Crescent being built in 1841 – after which the area looked like this But at the … Continue reading

1852 Robert “London” Laidlaw the Loan cowboy

Robert Laidlaw’s cousin William Laidlaw had been the Cornet in 1838.They would have known each other – their granny lived at 17 Loan with Robert’s family as a widow when William was Cornet, so he would have visited. There were several Laidlaw families in Hawick at the time – hosiery manufacturers in Teviot Crescent, grocers … Continue reading

1851 John S Elliot lived up the Loan

John S Elliot, aged 21, lived at 2 Loan, north side, east end, with his elder brother William Elliot , aged 36. He was a Joiners Apprentice, possibly to William, a joiner. William’s wife Helen, 29 from Hobkirk, had given birth to another son Robert aged 2 months at the time of the census. Also … Continue reading

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