SELKIRKSHIRE, an inland county, in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the counties of Peebles and Edinburgh, on the south by Dumfries-shire, on the east by Roxburghshire, and on the west by Peebles-shire. It lies between 55° 22' and 55° 43' (N. Lat.) and 2° 50' and 3°; 20' (W. Long.), and is twenty-seven miles in length from south-west to north-east, and sixteen miles in breadth; comprising an area of 263 square miles, or 168,320 acres; and containing 1522 houses, of which 1446 are inhabited; and a population of 7990, of whom 3972 are males and 4018 females. The county was anciently inhabited by the Gadeni and Ottadini, and, like that of Roxburgh, with which in its early history it is identified, formed part of the forest of Ettrick, the favourite resort of the Scottish sovereigns for the purpose of hunting. In many of the royal charters the county is styled "the Forest"; and on the bank of the Yarrow are the remains of an ancient castle, which was the hunting-seat of the kings, and the residence of the keeper of the forest, who was also constable of the royal castle of Selkirk. The lands were included among the possessions of the abbey of Melrose, and are now held by charter from the crown; about two-thirds are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, and the remainder is divided among numerous freeholders. The county is within the synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and comprises the whole of the parishes of Yarrow and Ettrick, about eleven-twelfths of the parish of Selkirk, and smaller portions of six other parishes. It contains the royal burgh of Selkirk, which is the county-town; part of the market-town of Galashiels; and numerous small hamlets, of which none can be considered as villages. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament; the number of persons qualified to vote is 420.
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