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St. Boswells Scotland

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Information on the village of St. Boswells in Scotland.

St Boswells Fair - The Great Riot of 1853

The Fairground was the scene of the great fight in 1853 at the time when gangs of Irish navvies were working on the new railway. Some of the workers from the Greenend stretch of the line came to the Fair, had too much to drink, and got into an argument with the locals. This developed into a fight involving a number of men on each side. A local man, Willie Lauder, on hearing that his father was in the thick of the melee, went in to help him out. He was hit such a blow on the head that he died and the fight broke up.

The local police were powerless against such a big gang, but the next day 30 Dragoons, sent from Edinburgh arrived in the village and made for Greenend where the navvies were at work. They arrested a man with blood-stained clothing, and in spite of his protestations of innocence, he was found guilty and hanged. His was the last hanging ever to take place at Jedburgh.

It later was established that the true murderer had managed to change his clothing and escape the area, eventually ending up in America.

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