New Book for Exiles

Readers should look out for posters in local shops advertising the sale of the Society book ‘’More Tales of the Exiles’’ and their CD containing many of the songs and music of the Common Riding featuring local singers and bands.

The book is now in its second edition after the success of the first edition which was published in 2018. This second edition, as well as telling the story of the history of the Society from 1910 when Selkirk exiles in Canada founded the organisation, contains a great many ‘’tales of the exiles’’ from ‘’a the airts’’. We journey through time, from 1910 in Hespeler, Ontario, Canada, to Selkirk 1911 for our first Common Riding, to 1928 and the first live BBC broadcast of a Colour Bussin’, the Coronation Bussin’ in 1953, our first LP in 1964 with the Common Riding music and song (followed by cassette and CD eventually), the Society Newsletter first produced in 1994, and on into our second century with our regalia preserved for the future, right up to 2023 with the visit of King Charles. Included in the book is a photo gallery of all our Standard Bearers and Lady Bussers together with a host of pictures covering the history of the Society.

The tales of the exiles are spread throughout the book starting with those who were involved in the founding of the Society in 1910 and ending with stories from our ‘’exiles’’ in more recent years. Some of these tales were written by High School students as part of the annual Colonial History Medal competition (Oliver Linton, pictured, was one of those whose story was told in 2018), while others originated from newspaper articles, or from the members themselves.

The recording on CD has been produced by Selkirk Colonial Society to preserve the traditional form of songs and music which are an integral part of the centuries-old Common Riding. Some of the songs are traditional to Ettrick Forest, of which Selkirk is the ancient capital. Others were incorporated, primarily by the late Baillie Reekie, because they seemed to catch the mood and spirit of the festival. How well the choice of songs was made in these early years is evidenced by the fact that they are sung with gusto by Souters all over the world, and at the annual Common Riding all those who take part in the procession sing these well-loved songs and march behind the bands to these well-loved tunes.


Tracks 1-13 represent the start of the Common Riding on the Thursday night, with the Flute

Band heralding the Burgh Officer as he ‘’Cries the Burley’’, followed by the procession around the town and various bussin’ concerts.


From track 14 the songs and music follow the sequence in which they are heard with Selkirk

Silver Band, Souters ‘’frae a’ the airts’’ and Selkirk Pipe Band all involved. The day starts with

the pipers playing ‘’the Flo’ers o’ the Forest’’ at the War Memorial, and then at the First

Drum, the Silver Band sets of on its traditional march to the tune of ‘’Hail Smilin’ Morn’’. We salute the exiles with ‘’Her Bright Smile’’, march along for the Bussin’ of the Burgh Flag, and head doon the Green at the Second Drum singing ‘’O’ a’ the Airts’’. Marching to the Toll to meet the riders we sing ‘’Maggie’’ and ‘’The Boys of the old Brigade’’. At the Toll we sing along to ‘’the Roses’’ and ‘’the Rowan Tree’’, and once the riders have safely returned the procession heads back to the Market Place with both Silver and Pipe Bands to the fore. Flags are cast in the timehonoured manner to the tune ‘’Up wi’ the Souters’’ and then after the silence to remember those who fell at Flodden, the Common Riding ends with the band playing ‘’the Liltin’ ‘’.

The recording features many of the old, long departed artistes such as Willie Grieve (The Riders o’ the Marches), Charlie Brodie (The Soft Lowland Tongue), John Mitchell (Wild Ettrick) and many more.

The Book is available from local shops (or direct from the Colonial Society) at the special price of £9.00 and the CD at £7.00. Buy both and get a further discount, a really fantastic offer of £15.00.

You can contact the Colonial Society at