Unsullied and Untarnished

AUTHOR: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

DATE: September 2015

ISBN: 978-0993374203

PUBLISHER: Brownlie Editions; 1st Edition edition (Click here to buy.)

PAGES: 96

A photographic portrait of the people of the towns of the Scottish Borders who each year undertake the maintaining of tradition, commemorating their local history and strengthening the bonds of their communities, during the annual Common Riding festivals of the summer months.

Calum Murrow during Jethart Callant's Festival, Jedburgh, Scotland, 2014.ABOVE: Calum Murrow during Jethart Callant’s Festival, Jedburgh, Scotland, 2014.

Braw Lassies and Honest Lads, Left Hand Lassies and Right Hand Men, Cornets, Hunters and Coldstreamers – all titles given to the upstanding youths who lead the festivities, and whose duty it is to carry the burgh or town standard around the common lands, to “bring it back unsullied and untarnished”.

Men in the St. Leonard's Hut during the 'Curds and Creams Repast', during the 'ride out' to check and secure the town boundaries during Hawick Common Riding, Scotland, 2013.ABOVE: Men in the St. Leonard’s Hut during the ‘Curds and Creams Repast’, during the ‘ride out’ to check and secure the town boundaries during Hawick Common Riding, Scotland, 2013.

Unsullied And Untarnished forms Jeremy’s contribution to Document Scotland’s ‘The Ties That Bind’ photography exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, from 26th Sept 2015 – 26 April 2016.

Brogan Hogarth (11yrs) and Bobby the horse, during Beltane Week, Peebles, Scotland, 2014.ABOVE: Brogan Hogarth (11yrs) and Bobby the horse, during Beltane Week, Peebles, Scotland, 2014.

Excerpt from Unsullied And Untarnished foreword by photojournalist Harry Benson CBE:

“Jeremy’s interest lies in photographing people both in their own environment and in
the more tightly drawn framework of individual portraiture. In his new book Jeremy
turns his camera on the Common Riding festivals of the Scottish Borders and goes in-
depth to reveal the myriad of people who are a part of this historical tradition. It is
with this book that Jeremy continues the steadfast tradition of Document Scotland.”

Kevin Smith - Peebles Cornet 2014, during Beltane Week, Peebles, Scotland, 2014. From the project and new book 'Unsullied And Untarnished'.ABOVE: Kevin Smith – Peebles Cornet 2014, during Beltane Week, Peebles, Scotland, 2014. From the project and new book ‘Unsullied And Untarnished’.

Excerpts from essay, Unsullied And Untarnished, by Alex Massie:

“Some of these ridings and festivals are ancient, stretching back five centuries
and more. Others are more modern but, whatever their roots and antiquity, they
have something in common. They are annual gatherings of remembrance and
celebration; affirmations that though these may be small places there is nothing small
about coming from Kelso or Galashiels, Lauder or Langholm.”

David Turnbull, Secretary of the Beltane (right), with Allan Beveridge, Secretary of the Beltane, during Peebles Beltane Week, Scotland, 2014.ABOVE: David Turnbull, Secretary of the Beltane (right), with Allan Beveridge, Secretary of the Beltane, during Peebles Beltane Week, Scotland, 2014.

“These festivals are not flashy, for the Border towns are not flashy places….They
are an argument for the small places – none of the Border towns, not even Galashiels
and Hawick can count as metropolises – and the importance and permanence of
place. They maintain the golden threads that stretch back through the ages to a time
when the world was a younger place. These festivals are the guardians and
custodians of memory and without memory, what does identity matter?”

Horsemen, led by Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Martin Rodgerson and his Burleymen attendants, arrive at the Three Brethren cairns summit, to check the boundaries of the lands, during the Common Riding festivities in Selkirk, Scotland, 2013.ABOVE: Horsemen, led by Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Martin Rodgerson and his Burleymen attendants, arrive at the Three Brethren cairns summit, to check the boundaries of the lands, during the Common Riding festivities in Selkirk, Scotland, 2013.

“Every Common Riding is unique yet, in this important respect, each is just the
same as last year’s festivities. These are the permanent things; the ties that bind a
people together, that insist upon the specialness of a particular small patch of
Scotland. They are the things that make a difference, the things that matter most.
And if you listen carefully you will still hear the hoofbeats of history commanding us
to remember and celebrate who we are and whence we have come.”

Left to right: Right Hand Man Chris Ritson, Cornet Ross Andrew Gibson, Left Hand Man Ross Nichol, during Hawick Common Riding, Scotland, 2014.ABOVE: Left to right: Right Hand Man Chris Ritson, Cornet Ross Andrew Gibson, Left Hand Man Ross Nichol, during Hawick Common Riding, Scotland, 2014.

Darren Aitchison, the Right Hand Man at Duns Summer Festival, Duns, Scotland, 2014.ABOVE: Darren Aitchison, the Right Hand Man at Duns Summer Festival, Duns, Scotland, 2014.

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