In 1627 the Rev. Robert Cunninghame, minister of Hawick, lamented that there was no school in his parish, as a consequence of which there was “great ignorance”. There must have been some educational provision by 1683, we know that pupils were being taught in the Parish Church – now St. Mary’s – for we read that the Moderator and Kirk Session “earnestly desire the school might be built in ane other convenient place, seeing the pews suffered a considerable loss by ye scholars breaking ye same”.
It was not until 1711 that another parish minister, described on the plaque in the Assembly hall as “the founder and benefactor” of the school, was instrumental in the establishment of Hawick Grammar School. In his will, the Rev. Alexander Orrock left 9,000 merks – £500 (a considerable sum in those days) – income which was to provide a school and a schoolhouse to be located in the Sandbed. The building of this was not actually completed until 1732. An English or Elementary school which measured only 30 feet by 16 feet was erected in 1739, pupils attending the Elementary school for 2 years and the Grammar school for 4. In 1824 the two schools joined together and a new school of two rooms was completed in 1826, the building now used by Chisholme Antiques.
In 1835 there were 85 boys and 65 girls on the register. How they all squeezed in we are not told and yet it took until 1860 before the inadequacy of the accommodation was recognised and the Duke of Buccleuch gifted the town the land “between the Wester Tollbar and the River”, the site which the school occupies to this day. Mr Anthony Dodds, Rector of the Grammar School, marched his scholars up the New road in procession to take possession of the new school which was named Buccleuch School but known affectionately as “Dodd’s Schule”. The school was entirely remodelled at a cost of £10,000 in 1908, it’s name being changed to Buccleuch Higher Grade School until 1915 when it acquired its present name of Hawick High School.
Disaster struck early in the morning of the 23rd of December 1925 when fire reduced the school to ruins within a couple of hours. As a result some pupils received virtually all of their secondary schooling in Church halls as the school, rebuilt within what remained of the old walls, was not reopened until 27th October 1928. On the same day, the Henderson Technical School, now the Art and Business Studies building gifted to the town by Sir Thomas Henderson, was also formerly opened.
In 1933 the daughters of the late Colonel Elliot gifted the house and grounds of Teviot Lodge to the school and it was here that the new science buildings and gymnasia were built in 1960.
The 1970s saw the erection of the Extension building, the new Technical building, the Games Hall and the Dining Block, the latter amid much controversy as it was built on part of the cricket field.The school was extensively modernised in the early 1990s at a cost of £6 million. Every area of the school was redecorated, and new link corridors between the buildings, a new Library, and new Music and Special Education Needs Departments were built. The refurbishment was officially opened on 9th September 1993 by H.R.H. The Princess Royal.
In May 2003, the Ground Floor of the Dining Block was renovated, providing a much needed new canteen. Also, a new area for use by the Learning Support department was created, following its vacation by the Guidance staff.