Names of Cornets between 1817 and 2007
Published at 01:00, Thursday, 26 July 2007
THE Riding of the Common began in 1816 when for the first time Archie Thomson, landlord of the Commercial Inn, John Irving of Langholm Mill and Frank Beattie, landlord of the Crown Inn went round the Marches on horseback.
The following year it was decided that they should choose someone to lead the horsemen round the boundaries and act as Master of Ceremonies on the Common Riding Day.
There are no hard and fast rules about the qualifications required to be Cornet, although it had always been generally accepted that he should be Langholm born and a bachelor.
Originally, only a resident of the Old Town was eligible for selection as Cornet because, legally, the privileges and rights awarded by the Court of Session belonged to that area of the town. However, in 1843 this restriction was relaxed when a New Town resident, Robert Anderson was elected Cornet.
The occupations of the Cornets reflect the times as well as the make-up of the town and show its development over the years with blacksmiths, saddlers and grooms being replaced by vanmen and motor mechanics; coopers and carters giving way to computer programmers and medical technologists. Some occupations span the centuries such as butcher, baker and farmer, and the building trade is particularly well represented. Langholm's close association with the textile industry is reflected by its Cornets and so weaver, spinner, yarnman, textile designer and mill warper are just some of the many associated occupations that we see in the list.
One thing you can be sure of is that, while a love of Langholm is integral to the proceedings, a love of horses is not. Many of the Cornets have not owned their own horses but rather have been lent a mount for the proceedings.
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