Roxburghshire, also known as the County of Roxburgh, was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided for administrative purposes. It was the most south-easterly of Scotland's counties and provided a long stretch of the border with England. For much of its history this area was fought over, either by the armies of Scotland and England or during frequent periods of lawlessness, by border reivers.
Roxburghshire was bordered on the south and east by England, on the west by Dumfriesshire, and on the north by Selkirkshire and Berwickshire. Traditionally it contained an enclave of Selkirkshire. This was taken over by Roxburghshire in a tidying up of the map of Scotland's counties which removed most enclaves and exclaves and reduced the total number of counties to 33 in 1890. Roxburghshire remained a county in its own right until reorganisation in 1975 swept all the counties away in favour of 12 regions.
The main settlements in Roxburghshire were Melrose, Kelso, Jedburgh and Hawick. The county town was Jedburgh. Roxburghshire was also home to the four great border abbeys, Melrose Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, Kelso Abbey and Dryburgh Abbey. A notable absentee from the list of settlements in Roxburghshire is Roxburgh itself. Today, Roxburgh is a small village about three miles south-west of Kelso. In 1400 Roxburgh was one of the most important royal burghs in Scotland, but the frequent conflict between England and Scotland weakened it, and the permanent capture of Berwick-upon-Tweed by the English in 1482 was the final nail in the coffin. Roxburgh was largely abandoned and today little remains beyond traces of the ramparts of its once magnificent castle.
The regions formed in 1975 were the upper tier of a two tier local authority system, and the area which had formed Roxburghshire became part of the region of Scottish Borders. Most regions were divided into a number of district council areas, and Scottish Borders had four of them. Most of the area that had formed the traditional county of Roxburghshire became part of Roxburgh District, though the area round Melrose became part of Ettrick & Lauderdale District.
Regions and districts disappeared from the scene in a major reorganisation in 1996, being replaced by 32 unitary council areas. What had started out as the traditional county of Roxburghshire today forms the geographic core of the unitary council area of Scottish Borders. For administrative purposes, Scottish Borders is divided into five area committee areas, which are partly based on the district council areas that preceded them. Those parts of Roxburghshire taken over by Ettrick & Lauderdale District are now part of the Eildon area committee area, while the main body of the traditional county which became Roxburgh District were spilt between two area committee areas: Cheviot and Teviot & Liddesdale.