The term “whipman” is an old Scots word meaning a carter, carrier or cadger (pedlar), all of whom depended on horses for their trades. It was in 1803 that the local whipmen of Linton formed the Linton Benevolent Society, initially for providing mutual financial aid to its members, and subsequently for alleviating hardship in the wider community.
Thus began a tradition of celebrating the closing of the Society’s year with a public holiday known as the Whipman Play held on the second Thursday in July. The day started with Society members riding out of the village behind their elected leader, the Whipman, who carried their flag. They were usually led by a band. Although their route varied the favourite was to Carlops, and it always included formal visits to several of the large houses in the area.
The rest of the day was devoted to various sporting activities, and in the evening the Society held its annual dinner at which it transacted its closing business for the year. Later, a concert was held in the local school.
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