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Sir Walter Scott's Courtroom

Occupying the former Town House and Sheriff Court on the Market Square in the centre of Selkirk (Scottish Borders), Sir Walter Scott's Courtroom is a small visitor attraction which explores the life of author and antiquarian Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) together with the history of the town. It was in this building that Scott dispensed justice to the people of the county, as Sheriff of Selkirkshire, from 1804 until his death in 1832. Scott can be seen presiding over the replica courtroom. Displays also tell the stories of two of Scott's contemporaries; namely James Hogg, 'The Ettrick Shepherd' (1770 - 1835), and African explorer Mungo Park (1771 - 1806), who was born nearby at Foulshiels. There is also a changing programme of temporary exhibitions.

The A-listed classical building was constructed in 1803 at a cost of 1292, using stone and other materials recovered from the demolition of the town's 16th C. Tolbooth. It features a prominent clock-tower and spire which is 33.5m (110 feet) high to the base of its weathervane. This spire has an octagonal bell chamber with its bell, dating from 1757, which was also taken from the old Tolbooth. Another use had to be found for this building when the present Selkirk Sheriff Court opened nearby on Ettrick Terrace in 1870 and the ground floor was converted to retail use. A stained glass window inserted in 1891 commemorates those killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The Courtroom is now owned and managed by the Scottish Borders Council, having been converted to a museum by its predecessor local authority, Borders Regional Council.


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