Chirnside’s famous sons include the Philosopher David Hume of Ninewells, Henry, Ralph and Ebeneezer Erskine, who contributed greatly to the religious history of Scotland, and, much more recently,Jim Clark, World Champion Racing Driver, who farmed at nearby Edington Mains.
David Hume of Ninewells (1711-1776), the world renowned moral philosopher and historian, went to school in Chirnside until he was twelve, before going to study law at Edinburgh University.His family home was Ninewells estate, to which he would often return in later years. His first and most important philosophical work, ‘Treatise of Human Nature’, was published when he was only 28 years of age. Through his many writings, his influence became widespread, and he is still regarded as the greatest philosopher that Britain has ever produced.
The Erskine Family were prominent in the history of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. The highly regarded Henry was parish minister of Chirnside in the 17th Century, during which time he was imprisoned for his covenanting beliefs. On a national level, his son Ebeneezer broke away from the established Church of Scotland in 1733, forming the Secession Church which stood out against the power of patronage in a parish. Both Ebeneezcr and his brother Ralph are regarded as among the best preachers ever to have been heard in Scotland.
Jim Clark OBE, whose family farmed locally at Edington Mains, won the F1 World Championship on two separate occasions, and in 1965 he became the first Briton to win the Indianapolis 500 in the United States. Sadly, Clark was tragically killed in an accident in 1968 on the Hockenheim Circuit in Germany at the age of 32. The clock which you can see in the centre of the village stands as a memorial to his achievements, and his grave in the local churchyard, is frequently visited. The Jim Clark Rooms in Duns, which is dedicated to his short but successful career, is home to many of his trophies and awards.