Hawick Common Riding

date_range 6th June, 2024 - 8th June, 2024

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The Hawick Common-Riding is the first of the Border Common Ridings and celebrates both the capture of an English Flag in 1514 by the youth of Hawick at a place called Hornshole and the ancient custom of riding the marches or boundaries of the common land.

The Cornet for the year is elected at the beginning of May, well in advance of the Common Riding proper. In the weeks preceding the actual Common-Riding, on each Saturday and Tuesday, the Cornet and his supporters are out on their ride-outs in the course of which they visit surrounding villages and farms. The main ride-out, however, usually two weeks before the Common-Riding weekend, is the twenty-four mile ride to Mosspaul and back.

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. 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. 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”.

On Friday 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. 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.

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.
06:00 - Thursday 6th June to 23:59 - Saturday 8th June