Rhyming tales help folk remember events and characters past. Discover old sayings, songs, rhymes and proverbs about some of the colourful characters or weird and wonderful places, which ought not be forgotten. 

Portrait of Robert Burns, by Alexander Nasmyth, 1787.

Burns at Berrywell

Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns visited Berrywell, near Duns, in 1787. The town features in his song ‘Robin Shure in Hairst’.


Garvald poem by Matt Freeland

Poem about Garvald, written by Matt Freeland in the 1940s.

Billie Mains to Auchencrow path.

George Henderson – the bard from Billy

George Henderson, born here in 1800 at Little Billy Farm (later known as Billy Mains), collected many poems, rhymes, ballads and anecdotes about his local area and the wider region.

Old man on horse.

Tam O'Crumstane

This old poem puts a local spin on the phrase ‘pride comes before a fall’: ‘He flew owre his yaud, and fell i’ the midden.’

An old ink sketch of the Pech Stane with a man in a top hat and tails and a dog next to it.

The Pech Stane

The Pech Stane is an enormous boulder near Billie Mains which features in an old rhyme:

Grisly DRŒDAN sat alane
By the cairn and PECH stane …

Sketch of Bunkle Castle by Brian Edwards.

Thomas the Rhymer and the three castles

In his rhyme about the decay of three castles, Buncle, Billy, and Blanerne, foresaw the loss of the Scottish Crown.

Drawing of the tragic lovers, Lucy and Edgar, from Sir Water Scott's 1819 novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor', 1886.

Water Scott’s ‘The Bride of Lammermoor’

One of Scotland’s most famous writers, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), was active in this area. Could Nunraw be the castle featured in one of his novels, dubbed ‘the Romeo and Juliet of the Scottish Lowlands’?