While Peebles and Innerleithen folk may say she is one of their own, Souters also lay claim to the woman credited with being the Scottish forerunner to the pantomime dame.
A literary creation of Sir Walter Scott, Meg Dodds was said to be based on the landlady of the Cleikum Inn in Innerleithen and featured in Scott’s ‘St Ronan’s Well’, which, it has been suggested, was prompted by one of the domestic court cases Scott heard in his capacity as Sheriff of Selkirk.
It was, however, Edinburgh author Christian Isobel Johnstone that gave Meg the reputation of being a great cook, by taking her name as a pseudonym for ‘The Cook and Housewife’s Manual’, which she published in 1826. And today Meg’s name lives on every year at the Scott’s Selkirk Christmas market.
But this year she has moved from The Hermitage to the County Pend (the County Hotel car park to 21st century visitors) where hot food will be served throughout the day, including mulled wine with brandy.
The photograph shows Scott’s Selkirk serving wenches all ready for their move to the County Pend.