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The Braw Lads Gathering of Galashiels

braw lads badgeInstituted in 1930, the Braw Lads Gathering is in many ways a revival of the Midsummer Fair which was a feature of the local calendar in former days. There is evidence to suggest that there had been at one time a Galashiels Summer Festival held in what then was and still is called Gala Park to the west of the town, but it appears to have faded away in the later half of the nineteenth century as the park was swallowed up in the rapid growth of the town. A feeling that it should be revived in a form appropriate to the changing times became apparent after the first world war.

The term ‘Braw Lad’ came from the Robert Burns poem Braw Lads o’ Galla Water. The original proposal for the Gathering came from the Provost, J. C. Dalgleish, although it was only agreed after lengthy consultation in the community.

It was agreed by the founders of the Gathering, that the ceremonies should be based on the events in the history of Galashiels. The four events that were decided upon are as follows:

1. The dispersal in 1337 of a band of marauding Englishmen at a spot known as the Englishmen’s Syke near where the Raid Stane is now positioned.

2. The granting by King James IV as a gift to his bride-to-be in 1503 of the lands of Ettrick Forest, then in the possession of the Crown, preliminary to his marriage to Princess Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England, which marriage led to the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England one hundred years later, an event symbolised by the handing over of earth and stone of the Forest - the Act of Sasine - which took place near the tower and manor of Galashiels.

3.  The granting of a Charter as Burgh of Barony to the people of Galashiels by Sir James Pringle of Gala in 1599, thereby enabling the holding of an annual Fair and establishing the identity of the town as an independent unit.

4. The Act of Homage at the War Memorial in recognition of the Sacrifices of the peoples of Galashiels in the Great War of 1914-18 and in deepest respect for the fallen.

The ceremonies have changed little over the years, an indication as to how well the foundations of the gathering were laid in 1930.

For more information please contact:
Miss Hazel Newlands - The Clerk to the Gathering.
123 Scott Street,
Galashiels. TD1 1DU.
Phone: 01896 750 669
E-mail: h.newlands@btopenworld.com
 
https://twitter.com/BrawLads
 
ReturnToTheRidings.co.uk/galashiels.html
 
YouTube.com - Braw Lads Procession 2010, Galashiels, Scotland (1 of 3)
YouTube.com - Braw Lads Procession 2010, Galashiels, Scotland (2 of 3)
YouTube.com - Braw Lads Procession 2010, Galashiels, Scotland (3 of 3)
 

braw lads badge

old braw lads badge

gala crest

gala crest 1

gala crest 2

galatownflag

Braw lads at Torwoodlee

old picture of Braw  Lads at old torwoodlee tower

braw lad John Dalziel

braw lads at Abbotsford

torwoodlee pringles with braw lads

braw lads at torwoodlee with pringles

braw lass with James Pringle of Torwoodlee

Braw lads group pic

 
 
 
Braw Lads O’Gala Water
by Robert Burns
 
Braw, braw lads on Yarrow braes,
They rove amang the blooming heather;
But Yarrow braes, nor Ettrick shaws
Can match the lads o’ Gala Water.
 
But there is ane, a secret ane,
Aboon then a’ I lo’e him better;
And i’ll be his, and he’ll be mine,
The bonie lad o’ Gala Water.
 
Altho’ his daddie was nae laird,
And tho’ I hae na meikle tocher,
Yet rich in kindest, truest love,
We’ll tent our flocks by Gala Water.
 
It ne’er was wealth, it ne’er was wealth,
That coft contentment, peace, or pleasure:
The bands and bliss o’ mutual love,
O that’s the chiefest warld’s treasure.
 
 
Braw lads O’ Gala Water
(Original Version)
 
Braw, braw lads of Gala Water,
  O braw lads of Gala Water;
I’ll kilt my coats aboon my knee,
  And follow my luve through the water.
 
O’er yon bank and o’er yon brae,
  O’er yon moss amang the heather;
I’ll kilt my coats aboon my knee,
  And follow my luve through the water.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Braw lads O’ Gala Water
(Old Version)
 
Out ower yon moss, out ower yon muir,
  Out ower yon bonnie bush o’heather,
O’ a’ ye lads whae’er ye be,
  Shew me the way to Gala Water.
 
  Braw, braw lads o’ Gala Water,
    Bonnie lads o’ Gala Water:
  The Lothian lads can ne’er compare,
    Wi’ the braw lads o’ Gala Water.
 
At Nettleflat we will begin,
  And at Haltree we’ll write a letter:
We’ll down by the Bower, and take a scour,
  And drink to the lads o’ Gala Water.
 
There’s Blindlee and Torwoodlee,
  And Galashiels is muckle better;
But young Torsonce he bears the gree,
  O’ a’ the Pringles o’ Gala Water.
 
Buckham is a bonnie place,
  But Appletreeleaves is muckle better;
But Cockleferry bears the gree,
  Frae ilk laird on Gala Water.
 
Lords and lairds cam’ here to woo,
  And gentlemen wi’ sword and dagger;
But the black-eyed lass o’ Galashiels,
  Wad hae nane but the gree o’ Gala Water.
 
Lothian lads are black wi’ reek,
  And Teviotdale lads are little better;
But she’s kiltit her coats aboon her knee,
  And gane wi’ the lad o’ Gala Water.
 
Though corn rigs are guid to see,
  Yet flocks o’ sheep are muckle better;
For oats will shake in a windy day,
  When the lambs will play by Gala Water.
 
Adieu, “Sour Plums o’ Galashiels,”
  Farewell, my father and my mother;
For I’ll awa wi’ the black herd lad,
  Wha keeps his flocks on Gala Water.
 
  Braw, braw lads o’ Gala Water,
    Bonnie lads o’ Gala Water,
  Let them a’ say what they will,
    The gree gaes aye to Gala Water.
 
 
 
 

© 2005-15 James Pringle. All rights reserved.

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