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Melrose Town Trail

The Greenyards


The Press Box

On your left hand side is one of the former landholdings of Captain Stedman who was in the 26th Regiment of Foot. This area is called The Greenyards and was gifted to the town by Charles Ormiston, a former seed merchant from Melrose. In ancient times, this was a marsh, which the monks drained and used as a grazing ground and market for sheep. Nowadays, this is the home ground of Melrose Rugby Football Club, one of the most respected clubs in the sport. It was here that the game of Rugby Sevens was invented in 1883 by Ned Haig, a Jedburgh-born butcher who played as a three-quarter for Melrose. Every year in spring-time, the Greenyards comes alive with rugby teams and supporters from all over the World, keen to see their team win one of the most prestigious tournaments in the game.

Notice the "press box" - which dates from the 1930s - in the roof of the stand with the famous yellow letters MRFC against a black background - the team colours. From this box, journalists have reported the results from The Greenyards to the world. The team colours were adopted when the club split from Galashiels Rugby Football Club in 1877. During the split, the goal posts and the club minute book were removed from Galashiels to Melrose and to this day there is a fierce sporting rivalry between the two clubs. The small area of ground to the west of the rugby pitch once contained a pond and it is easy to imagine Captain Stedman and his young wife, Sophia Mercer, taking a stroll across the Greenyards and around the pond.



The Fire Station

Across High Street from the Greenyards is Gibson Park. The Gibson family, who had long been associated with Melrose, gave the land to the town. Within the park can be found tennis courts and a caravan park. At the north west corner of the park is the old fire station. This simple stone building has a pitched roof with an air raid siren - dating from the Second World War - on its ridge. The station was big enough for only one old style fire appliance. This has now been replaced by a more modern building a little further along High Street.

From this part of the town, you can get a good view of the Eildons, the hills that tower over Melrose and dominate the skyline for miles around. Legend has it that they were created when Sir Michael Scott, supposedly a wizard (in fact a 13th century philosopher) set the Devil three tasks. The first of these was to cleave the head of mighty Eildon Hill into three, the second was to bridle the Tweed with a Cauld above Kelso and yet another was to make ropes from sand at Berwick. The first two were completed with ease but the last trial keeps the Devil busy to this day, since the tide keeps washing his work away. Sir Michael Scott is said to be buried in the grounds of Melrose Abbey.

Another local legend associated with the Eildons is that King Arthur and his knights fought their last great battle nearby at Gala Water, in the Vale of Woe. After the battle, Arthur and his warriors where laid in a chamber deep within the Eildon Hills, ready to defend the country again if and when the need arises. Yet another is that Thomas Learmont - True Tammas - fell asleep under the Eildon tree and met and kissed the queen of the fairies. He then gained powers to see the future and many of his prophecies came true.


Next: St Mary's School


Melrose Town Trail

Walking in Melrose

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