THE past of one Borders village will never be forgotten after author Ian MacDougall immortalised its history.

MacDougall, who is a long-standing research worker with the Scottish Working People’s History Trust, interviewed 24 of Lilliesleaf over a three year period in the early 1990s.

And earlier this month there stories have been brought together for Voices of Lilliesleaf.

Ian said: "This book is an oral history of life and work in the village of Lilliesleaf, based on interviews recorded in 1991 to 94 with 24 of its oldest inhabitants.

"They include farm, forestry and sawmill workers, shopworkers and domestic servants, the main local landowner, wartime Land Girls and a wartime evacuee.

"In their own words they describe daily life and work; social, political, religious and cultural activities; changes in farming practices; the huge impact of two World Wars; the closure of village shops as car ownership and supermarkets spread; and the rising cost of village housing, pushing younger villagers into the towns.

"Popular local practices, such as poaching and the annual Ball Day are discussed, as are issues such as hiring fairs and flittings, large families, schooling, overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, food and drink."

Many local characters, such as Bobby the Banesetter, ‘Dr’ Blythe the carter, dustman and sportsman who was often locked in a shed by his wife until he sobered up, tramps Bet the Boar, Sailor Jack and Big Bella Robertson, who apparently lifted the village policeman and laid him down on the road when he came to arrest her for being drunk.

Ian added: "The book gives a vivid portrayal of country and village life in Scotland during a century of great change."

MacDougall is the author of several works of social history including Bondagers, All Men are Brethren, Voices of Scottish Journalists, Voices from War and Voices from the Hunger Marches.

Voices of Lilliesleaf is now available from Birlinn books at