AUTHOR: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
DATE: September 2015
PUBLISHER: Brownlie Editions; 1st Edition edition (Click here to buy.)
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.
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”.
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.
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.”
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.”
“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?”
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.”