Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Celebrating 50 Years of Earlston Civic Week - Photographic Exhibition

Auld Earlston in conjunction with Earlston Civic Week






Monday July 4th 2022

6.30pm - 9pm

At the Rugby Club


Free Entry

Silver Collection in aid of Auld Earlston Funds


         Please Note:  Refreshments are not available at this event






Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Royal Celebrations in Earlston

As we come to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee of 70 years on the  throne, a look back to earlier royal celebrations in Earlston.  


The Queen's Coronation 2nd June 1953 with the  programme following very much the pattern of other major royal occasions through the century.   

The morning began with an open air service in the Square, conducted by the Rev. Duncan, followed by  a Fancy Dress parade with Earlston's Coronation Queen Margaret Amos, and open-air dancing in the Square.  In the afternoon, sports took place  in the Haugh.   The evening saw a dance in the Corn Exchange and the day ended with a bonfire on the Black Hill.  All members of the community were remembered.

  • For "old folk"  a TV show with afternoon tea was on offer at  Earlston Hall and at The Park, home of Mrs Sharpe, with Earlston WVS providing transport.

  • The sick and invalid of the village were presented with a bouquet of flowers and a souvenir gift.

  • Earlston Junior Secondary School had raised enough money to present the younger children with a Coronation mug, whilst older children received  sweets. 
The newspaper also included in its report a long list of prizewinners in both the fancy dress and sports events. 
A Personal Memory:    I was nine years old,  not then living in Earlston.   I had been busy making  red, white and blue decorations at school,  creating  a coronation scrapbook, collecting my coronation mug (presented to all children) and playing with the doll my mother made for me, dressed as the Queen with a long velvet purple train, embroidered in gold thread.  (How I wished many years later I had kept it). On the day itself we woke up to the news on the radio that Everest had been conquered and watched the coronation procession and ceremony on our new 10-inch screen black and white television - one of the first in the  street, with a full household of my aunt and uncle and neighbours crowding in.

In 1937, King George VI was crowned and the village celebrated the  coronation in style with a church service, a fancy dress parade, with over 200 characters, led by the popular Earlston Clown Band, sports for all ages (including an  "old man's'" race and a married women's race),  and  presentations to children of commemorative souvenirs.

The Southern Reporter of 24th May 1937 gives us a detailed report on the activities. 


"The celebrations at Earlston commenced with a combined church service which began in Ercildoune Church, conducted by the Rev. Peter Wylie, and the Rev. John Gray, St. John’s. The praise was led by a united choir.

In the afternoon a series of juvenile athletic sports were held on the football pitch which was kindly lent by Earlston Rugby Football Club. The sports were witnessed by a crowd of adult spectators numbering over 1100. The juvenile events comprised flat races, sack races, obstacle races, and pillow fights, while for grown-ups there were an old man’s race, a married women’s race, and a tug of war.

Mrs Ferguson of Carolside handed over to the younger children Coronation souvenirs in the form of silver spoons engraved with the heads of King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth. Elder children received copies of Salute the King by Arthur Mee.

A fancy dress pageant was held, headed by the familiar clown band. Mr J. W. Murdison, attired in clerical garb acting as drum major. There were over 200 characters on parade. Several beautifully decorated lorries kindly lent by Messrs W. and A. Rodger, representing various scenes and types were greatly admired"



1911 saw the  coronation of King George V with a report in  "The Southern Reporter"  29th June 1911, with "the boisterous weather" not being allowed to dampen  enthusiasms.

"EARLSTON'S FESTIVITIES. On Thursday the town was decorated with flags and bunting, all business was set aside, and all thoughts turned to the celebration on that eventful day. At 11 a.m. the Territorials (under Lieut. Sharpe), the Boys' Brigade under the charge of Serg. Wilkie, and the school children, mustered in the Market Square and headed by two pipers, marched to the Parish Church, where a united service was conducted bv the Rev. C. Keith, and numerously attended by members of both congregations. A short address appropriate to the  occasion was given and the proclamation of the Coronation was read by Colonel Hope, one the elders of the church.

At 1.30pm   the scholars again assembled and took their way to the sports field at Cowdenknowes, being followed by a great crowd of onlookers and participants in the competitions. As the grass was wet, a platform had been erected for dancing, where festive crowds footed it bravely for hours. Notwithstanding the showery and somewhat boisterous character of the weather,  the sports were carried on with the greatest enthusiasm, and all the events were contested............

 At 8 o'clock what was the noteworthy feature of the whole day's proceeding - the  fancy dress parade.........This part of the day's proceedings was successful beyond  anticipation, and those who took part are congratulated on the brilliancy of the show.

A bonfire on the Black Hill and a fine display of fireworks, Colonel Hope's handsome contribution to the Coronation festivities, concluded the rejoicings.  Notwithstanding the rain , which fell in occasional heavy showers as the night wore on, many made their way to the top of the Black Hill, whence over 30 other similar bonfires could be seen. Others contented themselves with a view from a vantage ground nearer home."



These were more muted occasions. 

1935 marked the Silver Jubilee of the reign of King George V and his wife Queen Mary - our Queen's grandparents.  "The Southern Reporter" of 18th April 1935 outlined  plans.

 "King’s Jubilee.—A meeting to arrange the local celebration of the King’s Silver Jubilee was held in the Public School on Wednesday evening, Major Sharpe, The Park, presiding. It was unanimously agreed to hold sports for the school children on the football pitch, and in addition to being entertained to tea, those between the ages of five and ten will be presented with chocolate in Jubilee containers, while those over ten will receive a suitable book. The committee hoped to be in a position to present children who are not of school age with a small gift. It was decided to open a subscription list to defray part of the expenses, contributions to be sent to the honorary treasurer, Mr R. A. Dodds. Commercial Bank, Earlston. "

                                                  George V Silver Jubilee Mug

In 1897  Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was celebrated  - 60 years on the throne, 
 The vision of purchasing land for a public park failed to raise sufficient funds, plus  the failure to secure a band for the occasion, meant the plans were scaled back to a sports event and the lighting of a bonfire on the Black Hill. - as reported in "The Edinburgh Evening News" of  8th  June 1897.

Free vector graphics of Queen

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

1887 marked Queen Victoria's 50 years on the  throne.  Although other Border communities celebrated the event in style, no press coverage was traced on Earlston's contribution.  However local knowledge passed down the decades noted that trees were planted in the Market Square to mark the occasion.

An early photograph c.1900 show the feint out of young trees around the Square.

oday we can still take pleasure in seeing this tangible legacy in Earlston  from a fine Royal occasion held 135 years ago.





Contributed by Susan Donaldson, 

with photographs of Royal souvenirs from her family collection.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

John P. Weatherly (1851- 1907 ) - Earlston Postmaster and Photographer

Part One of the Weatherly Story featured Thomas Weatherly  who came to Earlston from Berwick upon Tweed  in the 1870’s and set up the stationers/newsagent’s High Street business that survived over
one hundred years.

Following Thomas’s death, his eldest son John P. Weatherly took over the business. Born in 1851 in Berwick, John’s middle initial was for Patterson – his mother’s maiden name.

John married Margaret Thomson Winter  and the birth of four children followed in Earlston - sadly eldest son, also named John, born in 1894  died  at the age of only nine months; Ellen Sarah Patterson Weatherly was born in 1889, Margaret Thomson Weatherly in 1891, and Edward William Sprott Weatherly in 1893. 

A Man of Many Parts:
John was soon involved in the family business, described in census returns as Bookseller’s Assistant, and Postmaster/Stationer

Advert in Berwickshire News:  31t December 1889 

But John. along with his postmaster role,   also gained renown as a  local photographer  and proved  to be an owner of four properties in the village.

As Photographer 

The official opening of the rebuilt church in Earlston in 1892  featured in a lengthy article in “The Berwickshire News” of 12th July  and ended with the paragraph:

“Through the great kindness of Mr J. P. Weatherly, photographer, Earlston, we are enabled to give a portrait above of the church, from a photograph specially taken by Mr Weatherly for the purpose.”

 John also  produced a series of local postcards entitled the “Weatherly Leadervale Series”  - with three examples shown below.

The postcards are all labelled on the reverse as “Weatherly’s Leadervale Series”



This charming photograph was gifted to Auld Earlston by a reader who had bought it off Ebay.  The only information was the fact it was produced by John P. Weatherly of Earlston – no name of the little girl, no date, but thought to be printed around 1900. 

The photograph is in the format of a “carte de visite”  - a small photograph mounted on thick  card, which originated in France but some became popular elsewhere, as people exchanged them to foster friendship and family bonds. 

Following his death in 1907, “The Berwickshire News” paid tribute to John P. Weatherly in  this role:

“For some years he gave a good deal of his spare time to photography in which he acquired considerable skill – his views of Earlston and district being well known and appreciated by the public”.

As a Property Owner

John appears to have developed a portfolio of property. The 1905 Valuation Roll for Earlston shows John owning:

As proprietor & occupier:  A house and shop on the High Street, and a washhouse.

As proprietor & landlord:   A smithy with the tenant Robert Waldie, blacksmith, and a house & stable, with the tenant Thomas Wilson,  labourer.


John P. Weatherly continued to hold the position of Post Master until his death in 1907,  with obituaries appearing in a number of newspapers.

Southern Reporter:  14th November 1907

John was buried in Earlston Churchyard, with “Earlston Monumental Inscriptions”, published by the Border Family History Society, recording the details of his gravestone:

“In loving memory of John Patterson Weatherly, beloved husband of Margaret T. Weatherly who died 11.11.1907 aged 46 years; also the above Margaret Thomas Weatherly 23.10.1914, aged 53; also their son John Patterson who died 24.9.1895 aged 9 months.  also their daughter Ellen Sarah Patterson Weatherly 21.1.1970 and Margaret Thomson Weatherly who died 10.12.1970.” 


Following John P. Weatherly’s death in 1907, his wife Margaret took on the role of Postmistress, until her death in 1914, with an obituary appearing in “The Berwickshire News” of 27th October 1914.

“The death of Mrs Weatherly, Post Mistress, which took place on Friday morning, caused surprise and regret in the town and district, where she was well known and much respected. Mrs Weatherly succeeded her husband, Mr John P. Weatherly, who died in 1907, in the management the Post Office, the duties of which she performed the great satisfaction of the community, who appreciated her business competence, her obliging disposition and courtesy. Mrs. Weatherly for very many years has been Agent for “The Berwickshire News,” a position held for a long time by her late husband; and both Mr and Mrs Weatherly were highly esteemed and valued representatives of  the County Newspaper Earlston. Mrs Weatherly’s illness was not generally regarded as of a serious nature, and her death naturally came as a shock to the general public. Much sympathy is felt under their severe bereavement for her family consisting a son and two daughters, all grown up.”  

Sources of Information:

                                      Contributed by Susan Donaldson and Sheila McKay.


Tuesday, 15 March 2022

The Weatherly Family of Earlston 1: Thomas. Weatherly (1833-1891)



For over 100 years the Weatherly Family was well known in Earlston as postmasters and postmistresses.  This new blog series follows their lives from Thomas Weatherly born in 1833 in Berwick upon Tweed to his great grandson John P. Weatherly, remembered today my many local residents.  

Thomas Weatherly was born in 1833 in Berwick upon Tweed, son of William Weatherly, a mariner and his wife Eleanor.  Thomas married in 1855 in Berwick Sarah Patterson, whose surname was adopted by many of her descendants as a middle name.

The 1861 census saw the young family still in Berwick with Thomas 28, a printer, Sarah 36, and children Margaret 4 and baby John P.  Ten years on in 1871 the family had grown with Margaret 14, John 10, Sarah 7 and Thomas 4 years old. 

The family moved to Earlston, in the 1870s, with an advertisement in “The Southern Reporter” of 3rd September 1874 announcing that Thomas was opening a printing business in the village.

Slater’s Business Directory of 1878 listed Thomas Weatherly as one of five Booksellers & Stationers in the village, with Thomas described as a letter press printer and book binder. He was also listed under Fire & Office Agents as an insurance agent. 

In 1881 the family was living on the High Street with Thomas at 48 years old described as a printer, his wife 58, daughters Maggie, aged 24  and 17 year old Sarah were both housekeepers; John at 20 was a bookseller’s assistant and 14 year old Thomas  a printer’s apprentice – so very much a family business. 

Thomas (senior) appeared also to act as agent for the local newspapers, with many adverts naming him as contact for information on property to let, events tickets and lost & found items, such as a lady’s fur muff lost at Earlston Fair, a lady’s riding crop, and a lady’s gold bracelet. 

Southern Reporter: 27th November 1879

A black edged letter printed by Thomas Weatherly as an invitation to a funeral. 

We have a first-hand account of Thomas in Earlston,   written by the Rev. William Crockett (1866-1945)

 “A printer from Berwick, he migrated to the west of the shire (about 70 years ago) and had his  stationer's and bookseller's shop on the High Street. 

Weatherly's enterprise took him into the publishing and  newspaper field, with an eight page weekly "The Border Beacon",  followed by a second, having the rather high sounding title "The South of Scotland Live Stock Journal".  I fancy that very few, if any copies, have survived, apart from those I have myself kept in file those many years.  

As Weatherly discovered, Earlston was scarcely the place for a successful venture into the journalistic sphere”.

In 1883, Thomas Weatherly became Earlston Post Master, and the post office moved further along the High Street to what is now the Lucky Finds shop.

High Street , looking west, with the Weatherly shop & post office on the right.

Slater’s Business Directory of 1886 noted the services offered by the Post Office under Thomas Weatherly. 

Thomas  served  in the postmaster role until 1886, (the year his wife died),   when his son John P. Weatherly succeeded him – to be followed by his granddaughters Margaret T. Weatherly  and Ellen S. P. Weatherly and finally his great grandson John P. Weatherly, well known to many today for his involvement in village activities. .  

Thomas died of bronchitis on 13th February 1891, aged 58.  buried in Earlston Churchyard.  The gravestone also marks the death of his wife Sarah in 1886 and his youngest, unmarried  daughter Sarah in 1920. 


Daughter Margaret  married in 1883 local man Adam Mauchlan, variously described as "fishmonger, poulterer, rabbit catcher, general dealer".    Adam had his business on the High Street.  The couple went on to have three sons and one daughter.  interestingly in the 1901 Census their home was next door to the Weatherly family!      Margaret died age 47 in 1904 and her husband described his 'beloved' wife as " a model wife and mother ever remembered by Adam Mauchlan".    After Adam's death in 1910 the family moved away from the village, apart,  from second son, Thomas, who worked as a power loom tuner and lived in Roosevelt Place, married twice but had no family of his own.   He died at Rhymer's Cottages.                                                                                                   

Earlston at the Turn of the Century



Contributors:  Susan Donaldson, Sheila McKay and Jeff Price of the Auld Earlston Group.


  • Slater's Business Directories, 1878 and 1886. 
  • Earlston Monumental Inscriptions, published by the Borders Family History Society.

  • The Rhymer's Town:  Further Notes on Earlston's Past, by Rev. Dr. W. S. Crockett. In "The Southern Annual”:1942.