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  1. ITV Report

Was William Wallace made Guardian of Scotland in Selkirk?

Dr Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council archaeologist, and Colin Gilmour, Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme Project Manager. Credit: Scottish Borders Council

Researchers in Selkirk have discovered what appears to be the remains of a medieval church where William Wallace was made Guardian of Scotland.

Ruins of the town's Auld Kirk date back to the 18th century, but it's thought to have replaced churches from the 16th and 12th centuries.

A geophysics study of the area was expected to reveal details of the 16th century church, but instead shed light on the medieval chapel, which could be Norman.

William Wallace was known for using guerilla tactics to fight the English from Ettrick Forest in the Borders, and Scottish nobles made him Guardian of Scotland in recognition of his military successes.

He is widely believed to have received the honour in Selkirk in 1297, and the study by Scottish Borders Council, Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, and Durham University could have pinpointed the exact location.

While these geophysics results suggest a medieval, possibly Norman, chapel beneath the later church, we are very restricted by the burials in the area to allow any excavation. But in the future it may be possible to conduct limited investigations in areas where there is no evidence of burial.

– Dr Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council’s archaeologist

The council is hoping the findings could boost tourism in the area.

There is nothing in the town currently signposting people to the Auld Kirk site, but with this latest discovery it could become a major attraction and assist with the regeneration of the town centre.

– Colin Gilmour, Selkirk CARS project manager