About Auld Kirk
As you enter the Auld Kirk yard, take a few moments to read the Information Board on the right, which tells much of its history and the notable people buried or commemorated here. There has been a church on this site since 1152 AD. The present ruin was built in 1747 and was the parish church until 1861. The Scottish patriot William Wallace was proclaimed “Guardian of Scotland" here in 1298.
The churchyard and later the building interior were both used as graveyards. On the back wall of the ruined kirk is a stone to the memory of one Patrick Fletcher, who was Deacon of the Weavers’ Guild and died in 1675. Next to it is the oldest surviving tombstone, which is badly eroded and has only a faded inscription still visible. On the right as you are leaving the church is the restored Murray Aisle, where the maternal ancestors of the U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt lie.
Before you leave, follow the tarmac path and walk around behind the Auld Kirk to find another Information Board, titled ‘The Kirk in the Forest’, which contains interesting information about earlier religious activity on the site. Note the bare burial area where cholera victims were buried in 1847 during an epidemic, then admire the view to the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys towards Philiphaugh where the Marquis of Montrose was defeated in the Covenanting Wars in 1645 and to Georgian Bowhill House, home of the Duke of Buccleuch. Selkirk castle once stood a little beyond the west wall. It declined in importance after King Robert the Bruce granted the Ettrick Forest to the Douglas family, who governed it from Auld Wark. It was thought to have stood about half a mile from the ruined Newark Castle, which lies within Bowhill estate.