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County (until circa 1890)
Country Scotland
County town Selkirk
 • Total 691 km2 (267 sq mi)
  Ranked 27th
Chapman code SEL

Selkirkshire or the County of Selkirk (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Shalcraig) is a registration county of Scotland. It borders Peeblesshire to the west, Midlothian to the north, Berwickshire to the north-east, Roxburghshire to the east, and Dumfriesshire to the south. It derives its name from its county town, the Royal burgh of Selkirk.

Until 1975 it was one of the thirty-three administrative counties of Scotland, with a county council formed by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the use of counties as local government areas was abolished across Scotland, with its area becoming part of the Ettrick and Lauderdale district of the Borders Region. Unlike many counties, Selkirkshire has not continued to exist as a lieutenancy area, but has become part of Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale for these purposes.


In the 1st Century AD Selkirk formed part of the lands of the native people who hunted it rather than settled there. Neither the Romans, Angles, or the Saxons cleared much of the forestry there and for centuries Selkirk was known for its forest coverage. Indeed an alternative name for the county was Ettrick Forest. Under the Scottish kings the forest was regarded as Royal. Despite this it was not until the reign of James V that sheriffs were appointed to administer the county on the Crown's behalf. Under Edward I of England, the forest was granted to the Earl of Gloucester. Later, the Earl of Pembroke assumed the hereditary sheriffdom. Under and after King Robert the Bruce, the Earls of Douglas, and later Earls of Angus administered the county on behalf of the Crown, until the Union of the Crowns.

Folk ballads written of the county commemorate the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645, the 'Dowie Dens' at Yarrow and Tibbie Shiels at St Mary's Loch.


The population as returned at the census was as follows:[1]

  • 1801: 5,889
  • 1811: 6,637
  • 1821: 6,833
  • 1841: 7,990
  • 1851: 9,809
  • 1861: 10,449
  • 1871: 19,651
  • 1881: 26,346
  • 1891: 28,068
  • 1901: 23,356
  • 1911: 24,601
  • 1921: 22,607
  • 1931: 22,711
  • 1951: 21,729

Ettrick Forest[edit]

Ettrick Forest is a former royal forest in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is a large area of moorland, south of Peebles, stretching from Dollar Law to Selkirk.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

The archeology and historic buildings of the county were documented in 1957 by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Scotland. There is also a History of Selkirkshire by T. Craig Brown, published in 1886.

External links[edit]

  • "Selkirkshire" from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland by Samuel Lewis, 1846 (British History Online) [1]
  • Selkirkshire from 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica (Love to Know) [2]
  • Entries on Selkirkshire from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland by Frances Groome(1882-4) and the Gazetteer of the British Isles by John Bartholomew (1887)(Vision of Britain) [3]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°30′N 3°00′W / 55.500°N 3.000°W / 55.500; -3.000