IN placing before the
reading public this small book on a great subject, it may be desirable
to give a few words of explanation regarding its compilation. Some
fifteen or sixteen years ago, in connection with other literary work
regarding parochial and local matters throughout Scotland, the writer
had occasion to consult somewhat fully, many of the works on such
subjects,namely, works regarding topographical history and description.
In these volumes, mostly either large, rare, or expensive and difficult
of access by the general public, numerous references, it was observed,
were made to old customs of all sorts, now either quite obsolete or
rapidly becoming so.
interested in these frequent references, jottings were taken in many
instances. Since then the accumulation has been added to from time to
time, and from many sources,by personal contact with the people and
otherwise,and now there being a goodly number, it has been suggested
that they would form an interesting little volume, which might not be
altogether unacceptable to those fellow-countrymen who are interested in
the manners and customs of our fathers. In the circumstances described,
the result of the protracted but pleasing process of research, sadly
imperfect as it may be, is laid before the public in all humbleness of
spirit, and as such it is hoped that criticism may be withheld. As the
customs themselves only are given, and, not being burdened with remark
or comment, the style of the collection must necessarily be fragmentary
and brief; perhaps however, this latter feature, in these days of the
making of many books, may not be altogether a disadvantage.
With regard to the works
already referred to, as the source from which the writer is indebted for
most of the various customs described in these pages. Almost all
authoritative and standard authors likely to be of assistance have been
consulted. Among many others the following may be specified :Skenes
The Highlanders of Scotland, 2 vols.; Chalmerss Caledonia, 3 vols.,
4to.; Martins Description of the Western Islands; Pennants Tour in
Scotland, 3 vols.; Johnson and Boswells Tour in Scotland; Rogers
Scotland Social and Domestic, and other writings; Sir Walter Scotts
various writings; Chambers Picture of Scotland, and other writings;
Forsyths Beauties of Scotland, 5 vols.; Miss Gordon Cummings In the
Hebrides, etc., etc. But chief of all, is the magnificent collection
edited by Sir John Sinclair entitled the Statistical Account of
Scotland, in 21 volumes, and written by the respective parish ministers.
The value and interest attaching to these latter volumes is far beyond
all ordinary estimate, and yet the work is not at all easy of access,
and is seldom seen by the general reader.
London, May, 1885.
IntroductoryThe Beltane CustomsOrigin of many Scottish Customs to a
great extent unknown Holy-wellsWater SpiritsThe Father of Northern
MagicFancys LandThe Study of Old Customs.
The Curfew Curious Foot Ball Custom at ColdinghamHand BallRural
Festival at LochtieOld Scottish Funeral Customs Burgess Customs at
Selkirk Customs at Forfar commemorative of Queen MargaretCharitable
Feast at Kirkmichael Singular Custom at South QueensferryThe Burry
Women playing at foot ballSingular wedding custom in Ayrshire and the
BorderThe ancient game of golfUnpleasant Burgess custom at Edinburgh
The Robin Hood gamesThe Poor Folks in EdinburghThe Siller
SquareCustoms in connection with the Blue Blanket banner The old
custom of Handfasting.
The Herds Festival at MidlothianOld customs in connection with
ArcheryThe Hangmans Right at DumfriesThe Cure for Scolds at Langholm
Customs regarding Holy wellsCurious customs at RutherglenThe feast of
Sour CakesRiding the MarchesFoot-Race at BiggarRiding the Stang.
Old Marriage Customs in PerthshireSuperstitions regarding the cure of
diseaseScottish customs regarding the observance of Hallow eenGeneral
description of this festivalPulling the Green Kail Eating the
AppleBurning NutsSowing Hemp SeedWinnowing Corn Measuring the Bean
StackEating the HerringDipping the Shirt SleeveThe Three
PlatesThrowing the Clue Illustrative AnecdotePricking the EggThe
Summons of Death.
Carters Plays at LibertonSuperstitions in connection with St.
Catherines WellOld customs at Musselburgh-Riding the Marches
againLanark and LinlithgowThe Polwarh ThornGretna Green
MarriagesCurious Land Tenure Customs Traditions regarding Macduffs
CrossSingular customs regarding Licensed Beggars in Scotland.
Customs connected with St. Filans WellScottish Custom regarding May
DewSt. Serf a festival at CulrossPalm Sunday held at LanarkRiding the
Marches at LanarkKilling a Sheep at Lanark Old Custom at KelsoThe
Kings Kase at Ayr Burning the Chaff after deathCreeling the
Bridegroom in BerwickshireMarriage customs and Superstitions in
InvernesshireAncient customs at CarlukeScottish funeral
customsHorse-Racing in ScotlandFarmers Parade in AyrshireShooting
for the Siller Gun at Dumfries.
Interesting Hand-ball custom in PerthshireOld custom in connection with
Scottish CoronationsThe Game of Shinty at RoseneathPlaying Football on
SundayChristmas Sports in Aberdeenshire Festive Games at
CullenMarriage and Funeral Customs at KnockandoSuperstitious customs
in connection with the Dhu LochThe Well of Lorretta at MusselburghChapmans
Festival at Preston Cock-fighting at WestrutherThe Wapin-sliaw at
PerthHorse-racing at Perth in Olden Times The Mount of Peace
Holy-wells at Muthill.
Marriage and Funeral customs at PettieThe Duke of Perth and the Crieff
FairFairy doings in Inverness-shireCurious marriage custom at
Ardersier Superstitious customs at FodertyThe old Scottish game of
curling Farmers custom at Elgin Happy and unhappy feetFuneral
customs at CampsieGool Riding in Perthshire.
Old Customs at KirkmichaelThe Pedlars Tournament at
LeslieSuperstitious custom at St. Mon-anceThe Touch HillsThe Maiden
Feast in PerthshireThe Society of Chapmen at Dunkeld Announcement of
Death at Hawick-The customs in connection with NicknamesReligious
custom on the approach of DeathRiding the Marches at Hawick Scottish
Masonic customs Candlemas customs.
Strange Custom at KirkmaidenSingular obituary announcement at BonessHoly-well
observances in KincardineshireAncient races at Kilmarnock Creeling the
Bridegroom againOld Border customsAlarm signalsThe right hand
unbaptised The fiery peatGood faith of the Borderers Sunday
dissipationPunishment of matrimonial infidelity in former timesRiding
the stang Marriage processionsOdd football custom at FouldenStrange
holy well superstitionsCurious customs with regard to fishingThe
siller gun of Kirkcudbright.
Old Lammastide customs at MidlothianSome Galloway customsThrowing the
hoshen Fykes FairGiving up the namesOld gamesThe priests
catCustoms at new moonOid marriage ceremoniesBar for barThe game of
Blinchamps The game of Burly WhushThe game of king and queen of
Superstitious customs with regard to good or bad omensYule boysThe
rumbling well in Galloway-Marrying days in GallowayMichaelmas custom
in ArgyleshireSaint Cowie and Saint CouslanThe lucky well of BeothaigThe
bridge of one hair in KincardineshireThe old custom of Rig and RennelSome
old customs of the Sinclairs.
Some old customs at WickFuneral processions at North UistMarriage
customs among the poorer classes in the NorthGoing a rockingOld
customs in the Orkney IslandsFishermans customs in setting out for the
fishing groundThe sows daySt. Peters dayDingwall Court of
JusticeOld custom at EriskaSingular fishermans custom at Fladda
Interesting Highland custom Old customs at the Island of Eigg.
Interesting customs at St. KildaThe water-cross at BarraOcean
MeatCurious wooing custom in the Western IslandsAnnual Festival in
honour of St. BarrThe fiery circleOld customs in the Island of Lewis
Singular cute for Scrofula Strange custom regarding forced
fireDevotion to St. Flaunan Salmon-fishing Superstition The Sea-god
ShoneyBurying custom at Taransay Michaelmas custom at LiaguyCustoms
regarding fowling expeditions.
Form of prayer used for blessing a ship in the Western
IslandsDedicating horses to the sun at Iona Curious harvest custom in
Island of SkyeDrinking Custom in the Clan MacleodOld customs in
connection with a holy loch in SkyeThe Evil Eye in the Western IslandsSignalling
customs in olden timesEvening amusements in the Western Islands ill
former timesCurious belief regarding quarreling and HerringsBelief in
Brownies in the Western Islands.
Some interesting customs and superstitions in ShetlandObservance of
Yule-tideStrange funeral customThe water of healthThe healing thread
Curing ringworm Curing burns Elf-shot Wearing charmsSingular
calving customBelief in fairiesThe doings of fairiesThe high land of
the trowsSuperstition regarding neighbours profits.
Some old Highland customsCourtship in former timesMarriage
ceremoniesManner of inviting guestsThe bridegroom and the brideThe
processionWinning the kailThe Marriage feastThe dance Funeral
customs Laying out the corpseThe lyke-wakeThe coronachThe fiery
crossA Fastens Eve customSome Lowland and general customsPenal
statutes at Galashiels Peebles to the playMarriage and kirking customs
againFamily spirits or demons.
Holding Kate Kennedys Day at St. AndrewsGolf againAmusing account of
its origin and history Holy well customs at DunkeldHoly wells at
HuntlyNumerous holy wells over Scotland Superstitious customs
connected therewithThe burning of the Clavie at Burghead.
Description of some of the old Druidical customs and their remainsThe
Ancient Gods of the Britons The manner of celebrating the Bel-teinThe
first day in MayThe Relics of Druidical Worship in KincardineshireThe
day of Baals fireThe day of the Fire of PeaceDruidical SacrificesMay
and Halloween observances of Druidical origin Tinto Hill in
LanarkshireRemains of Druidical customs at MoulineIn PerthshireAt
CambuslangPassing children and cattle through the fire.
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