Stob Stanes

A half mile walk into the hills brings you to these ancient stones. They are the focus of a dramatic rideout in the annual Festival Week in June

About Stob Stanes

For much of the medieval period the stones marked one point on the eastern boundary of an estate owned by the Abbey of Kelso. When the monks left in the 1500s, this land, bounded on the west by the Halter burn, became disputed territory between Scotland and England. It was long claimed as common land by the people of Yetholm who were not above taking direct action. When the English Earl of Tankerville impounded some of their cattle in 1753, ‘thirty or forty infuriated Scots in a violent and forceful manner’ took them back. The stones now lie just a few metres from the Scotland/England border which largely follows the eastern edge of what was Yetholm Common.
The Stob Stanes play a major part each year in Yetholm’s Festival Week. A spectacular ride-out takes place on the Wednesday of the second week in June during the Festival Week. Over 100 riders follow the border line, which is also the northern and eastern bounds of the parish, galloping up the Halterburn hills to the Stob Stanes. There a ceremony takes place involving the Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi (Romany names signifying the ‘best man’ and ‘best girl’), the ‘principals’ of Yetholm’s Festival Week. The cavalcade then returns to Kirk Yetholm led by a piper. The Yetholm tradition of riding the bounds up to the Stob Stanes probably goes back to the 1700s, but is first mentioned in print as part of the crowning of the Gypsy King Charles Blyth I in 1847.
Grid Ref: NT 85143 27011

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