Skirling Village

Skirling is a conservation village and community council area in the Scottish Borders, situated 2.5 miles east of Biggar, just across the border in South Lanarkshire.  Along with Broughton and Tweedsmuir, Skirling is part of the Parishes of Upper Tweed.

The earliest known record of Skirling by name dates from the reign of King Robert Bruce, who granted the barony of Scrawline to John Monfode.  The barony of Skirling was possessed by the Cockburn family c.1370 – 1621 and during the 18th and 19th centuries by the Carmichael family.  Thomas Gibson-Carmichael was raised to peerage of the United Kingdom in 1912 as Baron Carmichael of Skirling, but this title became extinct on his death in 1926.  He commissioned the building of Skirling House in 1905.

The earliest record of a church is in 1275, sited near the present war memorial.  In 1843, William Hanna left the established Church of Scotland in 1843, joining the Free Church of Scotland, taking most of his congregation with him.  The present building was rebuilt in 1720 and was much altered in 1891.  Most recently the bell tower with its unusual sundial was rebuilt in 2004.  There is ironwork by Thomas Hadden on the gates to the graveyard and The Carmichael family plot is flanked by two charming angel sculptures.

The village of Skirling originally consisted of five small farms on the valley floor of Skirling Burn, forming a roughly linear shaped settlement.  The village is a conservation area, which includes the parish church, the old Free church, Skirling House, along with many 1 – 2 story buildings made from traditional materials.  Just south-west of the village is the site of Skirling Castle, described as “ane notable beilding” and demolished and burnt by Regent Moray on 12 June 1568.  The village war memorial was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer and added in 1920. 

Skirling has a population of approximately 160 and still consists of family run farms in and around the village, as well as residents who commute to local towns, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.  The children from the village mostly attend primary school in Broughton and high school in Peebles.

The village does not have a shop or a pub but it does have a very well used village hall and village green where a variety of activities take place.

Scots Magazine Article

Click here to read a fascinating article about Skirling, which appeared in Scots Magazine in 1974.