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Duns Town Trail
Duns Public Park


Duns Public Park

Duns Public Park (5). The gates of the park have armorial panels on them. The two central gates bear the Burgh Arms and the side gates, the arms of Sir William Miller of Manderston (to the left) and those of John Smyth dating from the 17th century (to the right). The land on which the park was created was part of the bog that formed a natural defence for the town. The land was purchased in 1891 by Andrew Smith of Winchester who then gifted it to the town. Mr Smith also paid for the Mercat Cross to be re-erected in the park in 1897 after it had been dismantled in 1820 to make way for the Town House. Sir James Miller of Manderston levelled the entire area, landscaped it and presented the gates and railings to the town.

Just inside the gates in front of you is the War Memorial in the form of an obelisk. The Burgh Arms are carved on the front of the memorial and the names of those from the town who died in both World Wars are recorded on granite plaques. Near the war memorial is a 1966 bronze bust by the artist Frank Tritchler of the philosopher, John Duns Scotus. Born around the year 1266 and for long associated with the town, he became a Franciscan friar and was known as 'Subtle Doctor'. The word 'dunce' is believed to have been used as a term of derision for his followers. He died in Cologne in Germany. In 1991, Pope John Paul II declared him 'venerable' which may be the first step towards Sainthood.


John Duns Scotus Statue

A short distance further on is a war memorial dedicated to 127 Polish soldiers who were stationed in Duns during the Second World War and who died during the liberation of Europe.

An advanced party of Poles arrived in the town in February 1942 to prepare accommodation throughout Berwickshire for the main body of 15,000 troops. The town played host to the 1st and 2nd Armoured Regiments until March 1944 when they departed for England, to prepare for the invasion of mainland Europe. The memorial was paid for by Polish former soldiers and by the people of Duns. This was unveiled in 1981 by the former Commanding Officer of the Division, General Maczek.

At the entrance to the Boston Court sheltered housing complex a short distance away, you can find the Drumclog Bell. John Wilson and Son in Glasgow founded this bell in 1892. A Mrs Ford in memory of her father, Mr Jasper Aitchison who was a merchant in Duns, bequeathed the bell to Duns Boston Memorial Church. It was named in commemoration of the Battle of Drumclog on 1 June 1679 at Strathaven in Lanarkshire. At this battle, Graham of Claverhouse - Bonnie Dundee - was defeated whilst trying to disperse a large group of Covenanters.

You should now take the pathway - opposite the Polish War Memorial - towards Market Square. The path passes the bowling green (which was once the town's bleaching green) and is bounded by high stone walls. The lane is called Blinkbonnie, meaning a pleasant place. This brings you to South Street (originally Fore Street) with Market Square on your right.


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Duns Scotland, Scottish Borders UK