Sir Walter Scott Courtroom Museum, Selkirk

Looking more like a converted church than a museum, the large building on Market Square in the centre of Selkirk was built in 1804 as the Sheriff Court. It was where Sir Walter Scott, author of such classics as The Heart of Midlothian and Rob Roy, dispensed justice to the people of Selkirkshire. Scott had qualified as a lawyer at Edinburgh University and split much of his life between working in Scotland's capital and  in the Scottish Borders as Sheriff- depute of Selkirkshire from 1799 until his death in 1832. This was a part-time job and Sir Walter lived and worked in both Edinburgh and Selkirkshire. Outside the museum is a large statue of Sir Walter.

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The entrance to the museum is at the side of the building and visitors are initially met by a cardboard cut-out of  Sir Walter himself, dressed in the robes of a judge.

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Inside the building are exhibits of personal objects that once belonged to this world-famous author. There is also material on two other local notables - poet and author James Hogg (the "Ettrick Shepherd", explorer Mungo Park and local history and culture.

 

A highlight of the display is the montage of the courtroom with a model of Sir Walter on the high bench and local people in the well of the courtroom - with a multitude of quill pens on the tables.

 

I can never understand the VisitScotland rating system and felt that it deserved more than its "3-star" rating. Admission is free and the rating Web site "TripAdvisor" recorded 16 "excellent" out of 30 reviews when this page was being drafted.

 

There are other museums in Selkirk and near Sir Walter Scott's court room museum is another side to Selkirk history - the "Home of the Original Selkirk Bannock" (a well-known variety of flat quick bread containing raisins and baked or cooked from grain). The round bannock is often cut into wedges or slices.

The museum is open mainly in the summer months and it is as well to check on opening hours and days in advance of a visit - see Scottish Borders Museum - Sir Walter Scott Courtroom