Historic inspection of the Royal Burgh has its roots in medieval times

An ancient scene which is oddly reminiscent of current Marches celebrations.
An ancient scene which is oddly reminiscent of current Marches celebrations.

For a royal burgh, the responsibility was on the town’s authorities to ensure their boundaries were regularly inspected if they wished to hold sway within them.

A royal charter - one was granted to Linlithgow by King Robert II in 1389 - gave a burgh significant powers.

Linlithgow authorities probably regularly inspected their frontiers from the 14th century on.

The first written evidence of the inspection says that this was to be undertaken on the first Tuesday after Easter.

On that day, the whole community would be obliged to rally to witness the Provost, Bailies and other officials inspecting the burgh boundary at the River Avon and at Blackness. The ceremonial tradition continues to this day – although now on the first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June.

The town is given fair warning of the event - and reminded of the £100 Scots fine for missing the rituals – at the Crying of the Marches on the previous Friday.

On the day itself, in recognition of 16th century life, the town is awoken by flute and drum at 5am.

The main parade begins - from the front of the 17th century Burgh Hall - at 11am.

After a long and emotional day, it returns from Blackness at 5pm.

For centuries the Town Council organised the Marches but, on their demise, a new organisation, The Court of the Deacons, was established to perpetuate the unique occasion.

June 16, 2015, will be a day when the whole community will come together to celebrate and perpetuate those sentiments which bind a township together: fellowship and a shared sense of history and local pride.