An Early Common Riding
In October 1540, following the early Charters granted to the Burgh, a further Charter was issued in the name of King James V. giving power to the baillies and community of Selkirk to elect a Provost.
This official held office direct from the King.
Exemption from the jurisdiction of the Sheriff of Selkirkshire was granted, and the dues were commuted for an annual fee of £5. Furthermore, permission was given to fortify the town.
Shortly after this, John Muthag was elected as the first Provost, and James Kein and James Scott were the Bailies associated with him.
Muthag's tenure of office was short, as he fell victim to a murderous attack by the Kers of Bridgeheugh in the following year.
The town in those days had an extensive property in Common Land, and the Riding of the Marches was undertaken by a specially appointed body of men, selected by their fellow citizens, doubtless for their prowess with the sword.
Accompanied by the Provost and Bailies, this small party journeyed round the boundaries of the Town land, much of which has been gradually sold off since then, either in times when money was scarce, or when it seemed preferable to make a livelihood in other ways than from the soil.
These possessions, however, in olden days, were carefully guarded from the encroachment of the town's neighbors, and the Riding of the Marches became one of the town's insistent cares.