A delightful old market town in the Scottish borders, filled with narrow streets and alleys that lead off from a spacious market square. A traditional Scottish Mercat (or market) cross, sited in the centre of the square, provides a symbol of the town's time long commercial and civil standing.
This picturesque border town was little more than a small hamlet up until 1551, when it became the county town of historic Berwickshire (after Berwick became a part of England). Although the county merged with the unitary Scottish Borders Council in 1973, the town still retains the seat of the Berwickshire Sheriff Court. The town expanded somewhat in the 1990s and now has the largest shopping facilities in a 15 miles (24 km) radius.
The Formula 1 racing driver Jim Clark lived in Duns from 1936 to 1968. He won the world championship in 1963 and again in 1965, but sadly died in a racing accident in 1968. The Jim Clark Museum, located in the Burgh Chambers is devoted to his exploits. Another famous son of Duns was John Duns Scotus, a medieval scholar and religious thinker who taught at the University of Paris. A bronze statue of him stands in the public park and his portrait hangs in the Council Chambers.
Duns Law, a 700 ft hill beside the town, is the original site of the settlement of Duns. Along its top can be found the remains of an old Iron Age hill fort. A stone at the summit also identifies the encampment where the Covenanters, under General David Leslie, set up their standard in 1639. This event marks the beginning of the fight for Scottish independence, first against Charles I and later against Cromwell.
Situated just north west of the town is Duns Castle. An early 19th-c Gothic mansion built around a much older Norman Keep (or Pele Tower), which has been home to the Hay family since 1696.
Duns Castle is the residence of the current Laird, Alexander Hay. The oldest part of the property, is a Norman Keep or Pele Tower (circa 1320). Although the property is not open to visitors it can be booked for weddings, events and functions. The surrounding parkland, however, is accessible to the public.
Location: Duns Castle Estate, Duns, Berwickshire TD11 3NW - Tel: 01361 88321
Reached by a footpath just off Castle Street. Includes a way marked path that climbs up Duns Law, affording fine views of the castle.
Museum dedicated to the life of the famous racing driver Jim Clark. The museum displays his many racing trophies and racing memorabilia.
Location: 44 Newtown Street, Duns, Scottish Borders, TD11 3AU - Tel: 01361 884114
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