Hawick Common Riding 2012
Hawick Common Riding links the traditional riding of the town‘s lands with a commemoration of the callants, young Hawick lads who in 1514 routed English plunderers, capturing their flag. Records of the Common Riding principals go back to 1703.
Following Chases on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings of Common-Riding week the second major Chase takes place on the Thursday morning when the Cornet carries the unbussed Flag for the first time. After breakfast the Principals visit the local schools where, after a rapturous welcome, the Cornet requests the Head Teacher to proclaim a holiday for the rest of the day and the next. This is of course granted and the children and assembled parents join with the riders in singing the festival songs.
During Common-Riding Week large numbers of "exiled Teries" return to their home town from all over the world to join in the festivities and renew old friendships. To mark the occasion the Council hold a reception where they are officially welcomed by the Provost and the Cornet and are entertained.
THURSDAY 7TH JUNE - COLOUR BUSSING
This unique and interesting Ceremony will take place in the Town Hall on the evening of Thursday 7th June. Residents wishing Colour Bussing tickets, should make written application by POSTCARD ONLY to their undernoted representatives of the Committee in their respective Wards on or before 1st Saturday in May. Postcards should state full name and address of applicant and also price of ticket desired. Two seats are allocated per household. Past successful applicants must have a three year lapse.
One of the most impressive and colourful of all the festival ceremonies, the Colour Bussing, takes place on the Thursday evening in the Town Hall. The Provost and Magistrates are played into a packed Hall by the Drum and Fife Band. Then come the Lasses with the Maids of Honour. The Cornet's Lass carries the Flag to the front of the Hall. She mounts the platform with her attendants and "busses" the Flag by tying ribbons of blue and gold to the head of the staff. This is symbolic of the days when women, as a sign of affection, bedecked their loved ones before going off to battle. The Lass then hands the Flag to the Provost.
The Cornet with the Right and Left-Hand Men, who have been guarded by halberdiers in 18th century dress, now come forward. The Provost, after congratulating the Lass, passes the Flag into the Cornet's keeping, reminding him that it is "the embodiment of all the traditions that are our glorious heritage". The Cornet is charged to ride the marches of the commonty of Hawick according to ancient custom and return the Flag "unsullied and unstained" at the conclusion of the ceremonies. There follows an oration by a distinguished guest and song-singing.
Immediately following the Colour Bussing the Halberdier appears on the balcony of the Town Hall and reads to the crowds below the Proclamation calling on the burgesses to "ride the meiths and marches of the commonty".
Then begins the Cornet's Walk round the town with his supporters, preceded by the Saxhorn and Drum and Fife Bands. He first makes his way along the main street to the "Horse" where he busses the flag of the equestrian statue commemorating Hornshole, as a tribute to his centuries old predecessor, in front of dense, enthusiastic crowds.
FRIDAY 8TH JUNE - COMMON RIDING
At 6.00 a.m., the following morning, Common-Riding day proper, the Drum and Fife Band set off to rouse the town. Presently a large crowd assembles at Towerdykeside for a curious ceremony called the Snuffin', when snuff is dispensed from an old horned mull amid much jostling and pushing. After the melee, packets of snuff are thrown from a window; the crowd soon dispersing to the surrounding hostelries for the traditional refreshment of rum and milk before breakfast.
The Cornet and his supporters, married and unmarried, breakfast together in a local hotel, while the Provost entertains colleagues and guests to breakfast in the Town Hall. Afterwards oak leaves are distributed and this is followed by the singing of the "Old Song" at the door of the Tower Hotel, each of the Principals taking it in turn to sing verses.
Afterwards the Principals, followed by a huge number of followers - sometimes as many as 300, mount their horses and set off in a procession round the town and on to the Nipknowes where the main chase of the festival takes place. Firstly the Acting Father followed by the married supporters gallops up the hill. The Cornet, with the Flag held high, gallops up the hill followed by the unmarried supporters. At its conclusion the Cornet's Acting Father in his capacity as Acting Senior Magistrate takes the Flag and carries it to St. Leonards to the song and toast session in the Hut-the Curds and Cream Repast.
The Chase could represent the youths of Hawick returning in triumph from the battle of Hornshole proudly following the captured Flag to the cheers of the local people. Alternatively it could symbolise the townspeople chasing off unauthorised users of the Town's Common.After leaving the Hut and singing "Teribus" in front of the farmhouse the riders set off via Williestruther Loch and Acreknowe Reservoir for the serious business of riding the marches making their way to the extremity of the Common-the corner of a field where the Cornet dismounts and ceremoniously "Cuts the Sod" to mark the boundary as ancient custom demanded.
They then make their way to the race-course where the Cornet rides the course and then places the Flag on the roof of the committee room before being presented with a riding-crop as a memento of his term of office. After a programme of horse-racing the company remounts and proceeds by way of Crumhaughhill to Myreslawgreen to complete their riding of the boundaries. At Myreslawgreen the riders receive refreshments and wait while the Principals proceed to the Coble Pool in the River Teviot, where they enter the water. The Cornet lowers the staff of the Flag three times into the water to mark the ancient boundary of the Burgh.
On their return to the main party the procession moves to Millpath where a proclamation is made to the effect that the marches have been duly ridden, without interruption or molestation of any kind. This is followed by an enthusiastic rendering of "Teribus" which gives this ceremony its name - the Song Singing. The Drum and Fife Band play the party on foot back to the Town Hall where the Flag is returned temporarily to the Council Chambers, where it is displayed from the balcony.
Later in the evening the Cornet attends the Common-Riding Dinner and is presented with his official Cornet's Medal, commemorative of his year in office, and the spirit of the Riding is renewed in toast, song and story. An honoured place is given to a toast "The Memory of Drumlanrig", the generous donor of the "Common" which every Hawick Callant along with his "rights" will surely "aye defend". The climax of the festival has been reached.
Then on to the Common-Riding Ball. Reels and country dances are prominent and at midnight the Cornet's Reel, which is confined to the Cornet, ex-Cornets and the Lasses, is danced with considerable enthusiasm. The dancing continues through the night. As dawn approaches the revellers, headed by the Cornet, climb to the summit of the Moat Hill to greet the rising sun with another rendering of "Teribus". On returning to Tower Knowe the Principals dance a final reel before getting some well earned rest.
SATURDAY 9th JUNE
The Saturday proceedings bring the festival to a close. The town is again roused by the Drum and Fife Band and by 9.30 a.m. the riders are once more saddled and bridled for another procession. They ride first to Wilton Lodge Park where after standing in their stirrups and singing "Teribus" at the end of the Avenue, the principals lay wreaths of remembrance on the town's War Memorial. The procession then heads for the Moor where horse races are again held.
On the Cornet's return, his official duties end when he ceremoniously returns the Flag to the Provost in the Council Chambers. The Provost accepts the return of the Flag, congratulates the Cornet on his conduct and thanks him for the satisfactory carrying out of his duties. The Cornet finally displays the Flag on the balcony overlooking the High Street and the Saxhorn Band play a hymn-like tune called the "invocation". The mounted supporters stand in their stirrups as if to attention to mark the successful conclusion of another Common-Riding.
SATURDAY 9th JUNE GREETING DINNER This
An informal occasion when the company bid farewell to the Left-Hand Man, who as Cornet of two years ago, is wearing his uniform for the last time. Afterwards the guests and principals make their customary tour of the fairground in the Haugh.
ELECTION of CORNET.
The Congratulatory Smoker will be held in the Town Hall
|Burnfoot||David Richardson, 63 Burnfoot Road or Keith Richardson, 40 Fairhurst Drive|
|Weensland||W. Burnett Smith, 15 Heronhill Bank or David Cowban, 22 Weensland Park|
|Silverbuthall||Ian Scott, Glengoyle, 8 East Stewart or Philip Nichol, 15 Howdenbank|
|Hermitage||Billy Welsh, 31b Loan or Robert Halliday, 14 Longcroft Crescent|
|Wilton||Oliver Angus, 21 Ancrum Court or John Hope, 32 Mayfield Drive|
|Teviot||Jake Short, 4 Gladstone Street or Michael Robertson, 12 Gladstone Street|
COMMON-RIDING DINNER and BALL
The Dinner will be held in the Town Hall on Friday . A strict dress code of black tie for gentlemen and long evening dress for ladies will be enforced.Tickets will be on sale at 11 O'Connell Street . Names will be required for the seating plan.
OFFICE OPENING TIMES
The Common-Riding office at 11 O'Connell Street Please note, attendance at all licensed events is restricted to over 18's.
For further details see www.hawickcommonriding.com