The preliminary meeting to consider the forming of a Bowling Club in Jedburgh took place on 30th September 1859, with a Mr Halliburton, grocer, in the chair. At that meeting the following appointments were made: President-G Rutherford, Sheriff Clerk: Vice President-C Anderson Banker; Secretary-James M Smith, Teacher St John’s, Treasurer-J S Turnbull Accountant.The directors appointed were John Stuart (draper), John Halliburton (grocer) John Turnbull (draper), William Stuart (draper), Thomas Smail (bookseller), William Brown (grocer), James Thomson (cabinet Maker) arequested and James Hislop (draper). Lord Lothian was requested to accept the office of Patron and Sir William Scott Bart of Anrum M.P. requested to accept the office of Vice Patron
At the next meeting on 4th October 1859 the secretary was instructed to communicate with the Marquis of Lothian with a view to obtaining a lease of the garden known as Allars Bank, situated between the Free Kirk and Old Bridewell- quite a unique site ‘twixt church and prison’. The location of this garden is where the baths are now.His Lordship agreed to the lease with a payment of £1 to be paid each year
A Bowling Green was set out on this site, the opening match being played in April the following year-1860. It was lengthened in 1864 at a cost of £29 5/9d, the contractors being Peter Spence, John Laidlaw mason and James Thomson, joiner. At this time there were 33 members, and the annual subscription was 10 shillings. Also during the 1860’s an annual supper was held in the Spread Eagle Hotel, with the cost 18 pence per head. The report on one such function being “everything that could be desired and the Toddy first rate”.
Membership in 1861 was 44.
The first recorded challenge match was arranged against Galashiels at Gala on 25th July 1863 for 3 rinks. The score on this occasion was a win for Gala by 66 shots to 30. A return challenge was arranged on Saturday 1st August 1863 when the score was a draw with each scoring 66 shots.
On 8th October 1863 a game took place between the married men and the single men in a rink challenge, won 21 shots to 18 by the married men. A supper followed at the Spread Eagle Hotel where 18 of the Club “supped”. The company broke up at 1.30 am highly satisfied with the nights proceedings. Mrs Scott, landlady at the Spread had obtained leave from the Provost to keep the house open till 2 am
In 1864 42 ordinary members paid an annual subscription of 10 shillings. If any member gave a non member the use of his key, he was liable to a fine of half a crown (2 shillings and 6 pence)
In July 1864 the annual prize bowl competition involved 19 men. The final was to be played over 3 games between John Thomson and Thomas Young. Mr Thomson won the first game 21-16, he became ill and the other 2 games could not be played before the end of the season. Mr Young unfortunately died in February 1865 so the subscribers agreed that Mr Thomson should have the bowls.
In October 1864 at a special general meeting, members agreed to the lengthening of the green at a cost of 20 pounds and 10 shillings. The end of season works on the green consisted covering the green with 1 inch of clear sand.
A championship medal competition was instigated in 1865 with the following rules:
1) Open to all members of the Club
2) To be played in the presence of a Club office bearer, who shall make the necessary measurements and mark the number of points scored
3) The jack to be placed 100 feet from the nearest point of the cloth, on which the player stands to deliver his bowl
In Riding it shall be placed 6 feet from the ditch
In Guarding a thin cord 30 feet long, laid from the jack towards the cloth, the end of which is marked by another jack. The second jack to be removed after the guarding has been played
4) Each player has 1 pair of bowls
5) The game to be 30 shots. 10 for drawing, 10 for guarding and 10 for riding. In drawing the bowl is not allowed to touch the jack, the supervisor lifts the jack to allow the bowl to pass. Every bowl within 1 foot scores 3 points, 1 to 2 feet scores 2 points and 2 to 3 points scores 1 point. In guarding the bowl must pass the first jack but not the second. Rest within 4 inches of the cord scores 3 points, 4 to 8 inches scores 2 points and 8 to 12 inches scores 1 point. In riding every bowl that takes the jack to the ditch scores 3 points
On 2nd October 1865 a meeting was arranged to discuss a breach of rules where certain members were playing for pennies for their own interest. This was a breach of laws 1 and 2.
Controversy arose in the Border Tournament on 18th June 1873 in a 3rd round tie between Langholm and Jedburgh. The game was abandoned due to bad light with the score McLeary (Langholm) 12 and Wood (Jed) 13. Play resumed the following morning when an unpleasant dispute fell to be adjusted, which caused a great deal of strong feeling. It was a tie after 15 ends so they decided to play 1 more end to decide the winner “great interest was felt in the game and the end was crowded with people who should not have been on the green. When the last bowl was run, the Langholm leader, believing his rink had indisputedly won, contrary to the rules of the game, picked up the jack before the umpire had given his decision.
In July 1874 a current loaf was presented by Mr Smeal, baker, to be played for by 2 first year members. The loaf was won by Robert Smith
Again in 1875 the green was extended, and a Mr John Craw, was elected an Honorary Member in recognition of the kindness shown by him by allowing the turf for the extension of the green to be taken from one of his fields.
About this time a match for strawberries took place between two rinks consisting of married members and two rinks of bachelor members. It is not recorded who got the berry.
During this period matches were played with Hawick, Selkirk, Kelso, Galashiels and Melrose Clubs. Also, an annual Prize Draw was held, the winners receiving such items as, a cheddar cheese, a ham, bottle of brandy, six pairs of socks and a bottle of smelling salts
On 25th June 1877 a match took place between 4 left handed bowlers and 4 right handers. The right handers won by a large majority.
A new roller was purchased in 1879 at a cost of £13 8shillings and 3 pence. The President, Mr Peters, “handsomely intimated” that he would advance the Club £5 to tide them over financial difficulties through the purchase of the new roller. At the AGM that year ordinary members subscriptions were raised to 10 shillings and 6 pence and yearly membership to 12 shillings and 6 pence. The old roller was sold for £3.
In July 1886 Jedburgh agreed to join an association of border clubs to have an annual competition.
On 24th July 1886 The Marquis of Lothian accepted the office of Patron of the Club and J H Halliburton accepted vice patron.
In 1887 a pair of trousers presented by Robert Wilson, were won by Robert Smith.
At the AGM on 29th February 1888 the retiring President offered a tweed suit length and James Minto a cask of ale, to be prizes during the ensuing season
In 1890 a committee was formed to make enquiries about a new site for the Bowling Green, and a meeting of that Committee in Port Hall, two sites were mooted. One was at Hemphole and the other at the Auction Mart, which was situated off the Oxnam Road close to “The Brae”. The Hemphole site was decided upon, and a plan was submitted by Mr Brunton, to Mr Smith, Hawick for his inspection, and to enable him to make an offer for the construction of a bowling green. In October 1894 Mr Smith’s estimate of £375 10/- was accepted. The ground was feud from a Mr Thomas Simson. To finance this 500 shares of £1 were issued, payable 1/7/1895 with 3.75% interest payable. Mr Smith, contractor from Hawick, was hired to build the green 40 yards square. They then removed the existing turf, raised to a proper height then beaten down firmly. The contractors had then to supply and spread a coating of gas lime over the entire green. They then had to spread ashes, gravel and shale to a depth of 5 to 6 inches, damping down to a firm base. Next 3 inches of sand battered down as level as possible. The turf was top quality seaside turf cut 12inches by 14 inches and laid diagonally on top of the sand with a straight edge. On completion a top dressing of fine sea sand was spread. The contractors also supplied and fitted edging of redwood 6inches by 2 inches. Ditches were to be 10 inches wide, with banks 12 to 14 inches above the green. Paths were to be round 3 sides of the green and 4 feet wide and 5 feet wide on the Clubhouse side. Finally he had to make a drain on the high side of the green with clay tiles.
The first Club constitution was drawn up in 1895 and stated “spitting on the green was strictly prohibited” as was the wearing of boots, which in the opinion of the green committee, would damage the green. The fine for contravening these rules was 6 pence. Dogs were not allowed on the green, fine to the owner also 6 pence. There was also a 6 pence fine for leaving the green without permission
During March 1895 the following estimates for the erection of a Club House were accepted: joiner work Messrs Cranston & Carruthers £42 9/6d; plumber work W & A Waugh £14 9/6d; mason work Mr T Cranston £15 19/-, and a fence to be erected by a Mr Hislop to cost £8 12/6d. Laidlaw Brothers gave the Club permission to lay a pipe from the new green in Hemphole field to the water tank in their mill. One shilling a year rent to be charged “payable when asked for.”
On 10th July 1895 it was reported that Mr R J Charters had valued the plant at the Old Green at £17, and that it had been offered to the Artisan Club at £12 10/- and accepted by them. The greenkeeper’s pay for the new green was to be 15/- per week.
The new green at Hemphole was opened on 18th July 1895. The Secretary, Councillor Phaup organised the proceedings. It would appear to have been a very grand affair with Provost Laidlaw performing the opening ceremony at the request of Mr Alexander Sturrock, President of the Club. In his remarks the Provost said that during the twenty years he had been a member of the Club they had often talked about having a new green, but it never took practical shape until Mr Sturrock was appointed Vice President. Immediately on Mr Sturrock’s appointment to that office he set about negotiating along with other members of the Club, with a view to procuring a new and more extensive green. Present at the opening ceremony were Mr Thomas Smail, Bookseller, Mr William Brown, Grocer Castlegate and Mr John T Halliburton, all original members of the green at Allars Bank since it was opened in 1860.
On the staff, which rises above the porch of the Club House there, was flying, that opening day, a handsome flag, which had been donated to the club by the President. Without a doubt that flag is in tatters now, and possibly no longer in existence.
1896 saw the first double handed competition
1898 saw the introduction of rubber shoes and galoshes to save the green being damaged.
In July 1898 William Foulds & Co of Glenfyne distllery presented the Club with a beautiful silver cup originally played between the Presidents side and vice presidents.
1900 the Clubs first patron, Lord Lothian, died.
At this time there were around 80 members and a match in aid of The Scotsman Boer War Fund was played on 27th June 1901. Music was supplied by a piper and four girls made a collection in tambourines, and gathered the sum of £7 12/-.
The Bowling Club Supper was again an annual event in the early 1900’s an at the 1901 Supper among the many toasts was one to the Jed Forest Bowling Club, Mr W Turnbull and Mr George Goodfellow being present as a deputation from that Club.
A meeting was held in the Spread Eagle hotel on 7th October 1902, where Alexander Wilson from Willowbank bowling green in Glasgow agreed to examine thee green for £1 10 shillings. He suggested it be probed with an iron 8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, probes to be 6 inches apart. The holes were then to be filled with sharp sand which would improve the condition of the green.
In 1904 the Club considered applying for registration under the new Licensing Act, but it was decided due to the cost, only to apply as the directors of the Club saw fit
The Greenkeeper was now paid £20 for the whole season and apart from attending the green and clubhouse, he had to be present every evening to lock up the place. Single day tournaments were held and on 2nd July 1908 the prizes were 1st a watch; 2nd whisky; 3rd tea and 4th a gold chain being won respectively by Peter Cairns, Thomas Hume, J G McNaught and James H Jack. The game started at 9 am and usually finished between 8 and 9 pm. Included in the Prize Draw that day was a Cheviot Gimmer given by Robert Bruce, and won by Mr John Davidson.
During the Great War, competitions were held in aid of the Red Cross and on 5th July 1917, such a game was held. It is reported that the public turned out in large numbers. Jed Forest Instrumental Band was in attendance, and John Scott, Castlegate, the second prize going to W Mabon, Kenmore, won a first prize of a suit length and trousers. Miss Fairbairn was first for the ladies and Miss Chrissie Scott, second.
After the war, carpet bowling matches were arranged with the Comrades. The evenings were spent “in a very enjoyable manner” The Comrades usually had a good few shots to spare.
An umbrella competition was played on 11th September 1919 to raise funds for the installation of a gas supply into the clubhouse
At a committee meeting on 24th February 1922, a whist drive and dance was arranged, and it was also arranged to “sow a quantity of soot on the green.” Chairs and tables were borrowed from the Comrades Club and the whist drive took lace in the Liberal Club on 15th March 1922, the sum of £4 16/5d being realised. Tickets for whist drive and dance were 2/6d, dance only, gent’s 1/6d ladies 1/-.
The late 20’s and early 30’s were lean times for the country as a whole, and the Bowling Club was no exception. At a meeting on 7th November 1929, the treasurer submitted a preliminary statement, which showed that funds were exhausted. In order to carry on and to meet rates and taxes prepayments of subscriptions for the year 1930 were required. A generous offer by various members was made and the Club remained in being. Lack of funds did not detract from member’s skill on the green, as in the following year; the Jedburgh Club, the winning rink consisting of Frank Dobson, William Rennilson, A R Telfer and R S Waugh, won the Tweedside Tournament.
During the early thirties an annual match was played against Spittal and this fixture was always arranged on the same Saturday as the Sunday School Picnic.
At this time members numbered around thirty, and it was a great struggle to keep the Club in operation. For example the cash in hand plus cash in bank for year 1939 amounted to £3 9/1d. But keep going the Club did- perhaps the green keeper helped, his pay was 1/- per hour!
During the war, competitions were held once a month in aid of the Red Cross and by this time matches were being played against the Ancrum Club. During the 1940’s dances were held in the Territorial Hall and on average £10 was made at each one.
At the AGM on21st April 1947 the Club was asked to put forward names for the first Jethart Callant, one of the names was Gideon Yellowlees.
1948 saw the subs raised to 30 shillings.
1950 saw the championship changed to 1 game instead of the best of 3.
The rink, skipped by William Hope, one of our outstanding players, representing the Club in the 1951 Scottish Championships reached the final and played at Queens Park, Glasgow, while the 1960 rink won the Border Association Championship.
At the annual general meeting in 1958 only 11 members were present, and by 1963 the total number of members had dropped to 24, but a lifebuoy was at hand in the shape of the weekly lottery. After much argument and heart searching, at the 1964 annual general meeting the momentous decision was taken to open the green on a Sunday for a trial period of one year, and in the following year it was decided to become members of the Border League. Success smiled on the Club immediately, for in the same year the league flag and cup came to Jedburgh.
In November 1964 it was agreed that Sunday bowling would be brought in for a trial period of 1 year.
On 6th May 1965 it was agreed to allow ladies to join the Club. They were only allowed to be associate members paying £1 subscription
In 1968 the pair representing the Club in the Scottish Championship reached the last sixteen, but were defeated at Queens Park.
October 1969 W Hope made life member
Since 1970 many things have happened to the Club. The Border League was again won in 1974, the L S Starrett Company presented a cup and Mr Ron Turner presented a trophy. The Turner Trophy is an open pairs competition and attracts entries from every club in the Borders. A Jedburgh pair has won it once. The clubhouse has been enlarged, there is a well appointed kitchen and bar, many of the alterations being carried out by the members themselves. Mr A Muir Sturrock very kindly granted part of his field (Hemphole Field) for the erection of a tool shed. A darts team has been formed from Club members, and during the winter months they take part in the Town Darts League.
In April 1975 it was decided to have a club tie. The tie was to incorporate the Jethart Axe
Toilets were built onto the Club in 1976. Also in that year an entertainment committee was set up for the first time.
At the 1977 annual general meeting, due to the number of applicants, it was resolved that a limit of one hundred be put on the membership. There is also a very active ladies section. A dinner dance and presentation of prizes takes place annually, and a tote double is run weekly, which is a great aid to the finances.
Perhaps 1978 might be said to have been the Club’s most successful season. Apart from winning the Border League at the Border Finals in Galashiels, representing the Club were two fours, a triple and a youth. The rink skipped by Bobo Robson won the championship shield the other beaten in the semi finals, while the triple and youth were beaten in the final. Also during 1978 the Tweedside Tournament was won by the Club, with the rinks skipped by John Gibson and Ronnie Kingswood, and for the second year in succession a four from the Club were beaten in the final of the Skol Open competition for all of the Borders. In November 1978 on the proposal of Bill Richardson its was agreed that minutes of all monthly committee meetings would be kept, read at the next monthly meeting and signed by the President as being a true reflection of the meeting.
No article concerning the Club can be complete without mentioning the name of Sandy McNeill who was a most worthy President during the seasons 1977 and 1978. It was under his guidance that the Club was rejuvenated and rose to the heights it did during his term of office.
April 1979 Gideon Yellowlees and Muir Sturrock were made Honorary Vice Presidents. This was also the year when the Club had its first jersey, white with the motif in blue. In September 1979 Scott & Foggon presented a rose bowl to be played for on festival Friday afternoon
1980 the automatic sprinkler system was installed at a cost of £2500. In April a new flag was presented to the Club by the ladies section. Subscriptions raised to £10
1982 the championship board was made by Jedburgh Grammar School
Season 1995 was 100 years played at Allars Mill.
October 1983 an entertainment committee was set up for the first time.
October 1985 it was agreed that we would have a new jersey, the colour was to be “scots blue” with Ted Best designing a new badge which incorporated the Abbey.
In his closing speech of October 1986 retiring President John Bathgate stated it was much nicer to give than receive, and so it would be fitting if all the members bought him a pint, which would make them feel better having participated in this charitable deed. Jock was another of the Club’s characters.
May 1990 John Thomson made life member
At a Special General Meeting in April 1992 it was agreed to create Associate Membership
August 1996 President Addie Kerr died in office
September 1996 Dougie Munro and Hughie Fisher won Border Pairs for 2nd successive year. In December of that year Norman Kerr wished to donate a trophy in memory of his late father, this trophy was accepted and is played for in our very successful annual “Pro Am” tournament.
September 1997 saw the Club’s first tour, where we visited Fife to play Leven and Buckhaven. This was the year in which a band of volunteers dug up the grass bankings and replaced them with artificial ones
September 1998 Tom Hutchison, Laing Robson, John Gorrie and Bobby Hogg all made Honorary Life Members. Dougie Munro and Darrie Scott won the Border Pairs
August 1999 with Club funds low it was decided to start a “200” club in an attempt to generate funds for a possible new clubhouse. In September 1999 a bench was donated in memory of Tom Hutchison past President and Champion.
March 2001 Dave “Doc” McMeekin awarded Honorary Life Membership
June 2003 in an effort to raise funds, with the 200 club declining it was agreed to have a weekly lottery with tickets being sold for £1 each. The committee hoped this might bring in about £100 per month making a profit of about £600 per year, how wrong we were. December of that year Bill Richardson made Honorary Life Member for his work for the Club, he was secretary from 1993-98, general committee 5 years, selector 3 years and green ranger for 12 years
2005 Border Knock Out Cup won for the first time
2006 Won Border League and beaten finalists in the Cup. At AGM subs raised to £50
2007 John Thomson made Honorary Vice President for gifting a piece of ground to the Club for the new Clubhouse
2008 Callant's Club voted the Bowling Club their team of the year. New Club website set up. Jock Henderson made Honorary Vice President as thanks for auditing our books over the years.
2009 April saw Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary for the Club. To mark this we had various events starting with an ABBA tribute night in the Town Hall. Two Friday nights where the Club played rinks from other clubs around the Borders followed by social evenings. The highlight was when the SBA Presidents team came to Jedburgh with a 6 rink game won by Jedburgh, the game was enjoyed by all who played. The 150th season ended with a dinner in the Town Hall with nearly 180 in attendance to listen to speakers Stuart McFarlane toasting Jedburgh Bowling Club and George McNeil (the one time fastest man on the planet) toast the sport. A fantastic night was had by all and was a superb way to end our 150th celebrations A proud moment for the Club with Greg Nagle appointed Borders under 25's captain Robert "Bobo" Robson made Life Member. Gents finished 2nd in the league losing on the last game of the season to Melrose Edges of the green to be raised with two done each year to spread the cost. Total cost £4000 Sports Turf Services to be employed from next season to look after the maintenance of the green.
2010 Jim Straker wins the Royal British Legion Singles title, playing on his home green and was up against bowlers from all over Scotland.
2011 New Club strip registered with Bowls Scotland, white polo shirt with Royal Blue collar and flash down the side and black trousers. Won second division and gain promotion back to first division Gents seniors win the morning league for the first time. Rink of Jim Straker, Robbie Lindores, Greg Nagle and Euan Lindores qualify for Scottish Finals at Ayr losing out in the semi finals to Carrick Knowe who went on to win the tournament.
2012 David Hynd made Life Member Plans finally accepted and passed for a new clubhouse to be erected in place of the existing one which has been there since 1898, work will commence in spring 2013. Ladies rink of Mabel Dick, Helen Hogg, Ann Gilfillan and Irene Watters qualify for Scottish Finals at Ayr, but were unfortunately defeated in the first round. Mixed Pair of Laura Lightbody and Dougie Munro qualify for National Finals at Bainfield, but unfortunately lost in the 1st round.
2013 Old Clubhouse demolished on 7th March 2013 and new one built and finished on 16th August 2013, on time and in budget. This was funded through grants of £5000 from Roxburgh Sports Council, £5000 SBC Community Grant Fund, £30000 from BCCF Environmental Group, £45000 from Jedburgh Common Good Fund, £60000 from Sport Scotland a £70000 loan from Jedburgh Common Good Fund. Building work was carried out by local tradesmen Builders Gibson & Hall, Brian Wear joiner, R&B painters, G&S Plumbing, Jimmy Raeburn electrics, Rory Stewart plasterer Billy Hislop floor coverings and Michael Elder fencing. Gents pair of John Taylor and Greg Nagle qualified for Scottish Finals at Ayr defeated in the second round by eventual winners West Barns. Rink of Alistair Law, Rob Hogg, Jim Straker and Steven Fisher lost to Wilton in final of the Border Rinks
2014 4th April 2014 saw the official opening of the new Clubhouse. Volunteer members dug out the existing grass banking and built a crib wall carrying in the wood and stone by hand. Laura Lightbody lost in the final of the ladies Champion of Champions. The gents won the Top 10 Border Area Championship for the first time beating Lauder, Newtown, Kelso and Buccleuch before defeating Chirnside in an exciting final at Spittal.
2015 Darrie Scott and Jim Straker made Life Members of The Club The gents won the Border Knock Out Cup for the second time beating Abbotsford in the final Represent Borders in National Top 10 losing out to Strathmiglo on shots difference in the quarter finals. Dougie Munro won the Border Champion of Champions on the Selkirk green defeating the champions of Abbotsford, Kelso and Hawick clubs, the first time a member from Jedburgh has won this competition.
2016 John Taylor made Life Members of the Club. Gents won Border League first division again.
2017 Lost in final of Border Knock Out Cup to Waverley.
Ladies squad of Jean Ervine, Margaret Gray, Ann Gilfillan, Babs Hogg, Laura Lightbody and Irene Watters made up for last years disappointment by winning the Border Top 6 competition beating Hawick in the final.
Mike Nicoll is selected for Scotland's Disability Team in the B6 category.
Euan Lindores won the Border Champion of Champions defeating Gavin McLean from host club Ayton, Billy Nisbet from Lauder, Harry Bell from Selkirk and Neil Kellett from Gordon in a nail biting final.
2018 Mike Nicoll is selected for the Team Scotland para bowlers B6 category at The Commonwealth Games in Australia's Gold Coast.
The gents rink of Steven Fisher, Grant Robson, John Taylor and Greg Nagle won the Border Rinks, the finals being played on the Jedburgh green
Mike Nicoll again selected for Scotland as a para bowler in the B6 category
The UK was hit by COVID19 a global pandemic. The lockdown effect in the country impacted bowls with no play allowed till the middle of June and even then with very strict conditions. The committee therefore decided that there would be no club competitions played this year. A comprehensive Risk Assessment was completed allowing a limited number of members to play on the green at any time with a strict booking of rinks put in place, although there were also very strict rules around how members were able to use the clubhouse . The members accepted these strict conditions and were able to enjoy an informal tournament every weekend, allowing 24 people on the green at any one time.