About County Hotel
It was frequented by Sir Walter Scott and was a meeting place of the Forest Club: the site was visited by many famous men including James Hogg, Robert Southey, the Duke of Wellington and John Wesley.
The great Hungarian revolutionary hero, Louis Kossuth (1802–1894) also stayed there briefly in 1856, while on a fund-raising speaking tour of Scotland. Above the portico is the life size statue of Red Dog Souter, a successful greyhound owned in the 19th century by the proprietor. Inside the hotel is a ballroom with musicians’ gallery.
The Market Place is dominated by the Scott monument by Handyside Ritchie, dated 1839. It was erected on the site of the old tollbooth – (town hall and prison) by “the Gentlemen of the County” and shows Scott in his Sheriff ’s robes. On the pedestal are the arms of Scott, the arms of Selkirk, a winged harp and a Scots thistle.
This area would have been the focal point of the medieval burgh, where the long lost market cross would have seen proclamations, punishments and markets: medieval records show meat, fish, butter, cheese and salt were all traded. Fragments of the mercat cross may have been incorporated into the Pant Well of 1898.
As you pass house number 9, note the small round white fire insurance plaque of a thistle above the door for the “Caledonian Insurance Company.” Before municipal fire services existed, private companies would only fight fires if a plaque confirmed the owner had paid his insurance.