Newtown St Boswells lies on the west side of the A68 a little south-east of Melrose and the Eildon Hills. It also lies just a mile north-west of St Boswells, something that causes considerable confusion as the name implies that Newtown is some recent offshoot of a more established village.
Newtown St Boswells is actually a very long established community, dating back to medieval times. And over the years it has adopted a variety of names, including Newtoun, Newton, Newtown of Eildon and Newtown of Dryburgh. The name Newtown St Boswells dates back to 1849 when the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway decided to give the station it opened in Newtown the name "St Boswells". As happened elsewhere, an arbitrary naming decision made by a railway executive came into common use.
Newtown originally grew as a centre for milling, with mills powered by the Bowden Burn as it made its way down to the nearby River Tweed. Amongst the first customers were the monks from Melrose Abbey who used Newtown's mills to process their grain.
The railway turned Newtown from a small agricultural village into a regional centre for the processing and transport of the produce of the fertile area between what is now the A68 and the coast. The railways that once connected Newtown to Edinburgh, Carlisle and Kelso have long gone, but traces remain. Perhaps the most spectacular is the 19 arch Leaderfoot Viaduct over the River Tweed two miles north of Newtown.
In 1899 Newtown's excellent transport links led to it becoming the focus of the county of Roxburghshire. Today it is home to the headquarters of Scottish Borders Council, a building that dominates much of Newtown and which was built in stages in the 1960s and 1980s as major extensions to the original Roxburgh County Buildings.