‘Rodents’ are newts

With reference to Douglas Hunter’s letter in TheSouthern on March 23, I can assure him that the carvings at the base of the shaft of the Jedburgh fountain are not “rodents”, but are newts.

The full description of the fountain is in the Jedburgh Gazette for May 31, 1891, following the inauguration ceremony (although the Jubilee was in 1887). I have a full report of proceedings.

The unicorn which surmounts the shaft can only be befriended by the good and the pure, while the newts are the symbols of sprituality, emotion, ease of movement, and ability to douse fire.

With all the good works of restoration having been done, could the heads and tails of some of the newts be repaired?

David Sturrock

Easter Ulston