It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
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this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Micro Button Advertisers - Cara Magnus Celtic and Rooms in Scotland
The Flag in the Wind & MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent
The Scots Week-End
James Chalmers of New Guinea
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Bits of Electric Scotland - Historic Scotland
I was back in Toronto this week for a couple of days and got back Thursday
lunch time. While there Harold told me about a news item he'd just seen
"Scots eating even less fruit and veg despite health drive". It seems the
Scottish Government have spent £100 million on a health drive but a report
reveals many of the country's eating habits are worse than they were a
decade ago. Targets set in 1996 had not been met by 2005 with consumption of
fruit and vegetables and oily fish down, while sugar consumption has risen.
Salt and fat reduction targets had also been missed. Results were blamed on
a reliance on junk food and lack of co-ordination in government, agriculture
You may have noticed that I've started posting up some pictures from
Scotland on the site index page. I'm aiming at doing this each week on
Thursday so hope you enjoy them. I am featuring Pitlochry, in the heart of
Scotland, this week.
Received back the video of Fiddler, Stephanie Hutka, from the Sail Past.
This is the one that ended up playing on its side and David Hunter at CTV
kindly arranged to get it the right way up for me :-) You can view this at
/ssf/Sandyfinal.wmv (Note it is 14.5Mb).
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
Micro Button Advertisers
Delighted to say we have now filled our advertising slots with two new
The first advertiser fills your requests for someone that does Celtic
jewelry and here they tell you something about themselves...
Cara Magnus Celtic is both a retail and online Celtic store owned by Michael
and Joan Young, a brother and sister team if you can believe it!. Our
business was founded in the fall of 2000 as a small mail order jewelry
company in Maryland, with just three jewelers from Scotland. It was rooted
in Joan’s passion for Celtic knotwork design and history after traveling ,
mainly in Scotland.
With seventeen years in the museum preservation field, Joan wanted to pursue
her love for Celtic history, art, and design, preserving history in a
different manner. Joan is drawn to Scotland and feels most at home in
Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital although great-great grandfather William Young
came to the US from Ballysadare, Sligo Ireland in 1864. Joan’s brother
Michael spent twenty years in logistics management in the technology field
and wanted to have more fun managing the logistics of Celtic jewelry or
crystal. When space at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, North
Carolina, part of the Outer Banks ocean resort area, opened up, they seized
the opportunity to open a store that would bring a collection of Celtic
inspired jewelry and gifts from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and other
Celtic lands and were able to fulfill the dream of living at the Outer
Banks, an area rich in both history and natural beauty.
Cara Magnus Celtic opened its doors in Scarborough Faire on April 16, 2003.
Entering the store is like stepping into a shop on the cobblestone streets
of Edinburgh where customers are always greeted with a warm welcome and
Celtic music plays on the stereo. You’ll even find Michael whistling along
or sometimes playing his guitar. The retail store itself is outfitted in
dark wood display cases, many of them antique reproductions.
Cara Magnus is a Celtic business that strives to provide your family with
the best that the Celtic Nations have to offer and it is our connections
with our customers that makes our family business special. We enjoy similar
warm relationships with all our Celtic suppliers, especially those family
businesses that we have the pleasure of dealing with such as Sheila Fleet
and her son Martin and Ian Roberts from Luckenbooth China and Glass. Step
into our store or visit us online at
http://www.caramagnus.com and connect with your Celtic heritage. Tell us
your stories of your heritage or travels in Scotland, Ireland, or the other
The final advertiser is helping you find accommodation in Scotland and even
in Hostels which is a very low cost method of finding accommodation and here
is what they have to say...
Rooms in Scotland was founded in February this year and our accommodation
database has grown rapidly throughout the year. We now list around 800
properties in Scotland and by the end of the year we estimate that will grow
to over 1,000 which will make us one of the largest accommodation
directories for accommodation in Scotland on the web.
We list all types of accommodation with Hotels, Guest Houses, Bed and
Breakfasts and Self Catering accommodation all available and we are
currently in the process of adding a selection of around 200 hostels which
will be online by the end of October.
At Rooms in Scotland you will find all your favourite brand names, as we
currently list all of the Hilton, Ramada, Marriott, MacDonald and Swallow
hotels that are available in Scotland.
Along with finding accommodation we offer various other travel related
resources such as flights, car hire and travel insurance. We are also
developing a special offers section and package holidays which will be
online from next year.
Our main goal is to make finding accommodation easy and to give a wide
selection of choices so that no matter where in Scotland you want to go or
how much you want to pay you'll find what your looking for at Rooms in
You can visit their web site at
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks edition is by Richard Thomson and in this issue he's looking at
the anniversary of 9/11.
I noted one of Peter's quotations this week...
Albert (Al) Arnold Gore
Scotland is absolutely unique in its history, and the question [whether the
US government should push for an independent Scotland] demands respect.
Coming from a part-Scottish background, I’m all for you.
(Edinburgh International Film Festival 28 August 2006)
Peter also has an interesting article in his Scottish Food, Traditions and
Customs this week...
Today, 15 September 2006, sees the 499th anniversary of the granting of a
patent by James IV, King of Scots, to Androw Myllar and Walter Chepman
authorising them to set up a printing press in Edinburgh – the first in
Scotland. The earliest known output from their press – ‘The Complaint of the
Black Knight – is dated 4 April 1508. The National Library of Scotland and
the Scottish Printing Archival Trust is jointly promoting the 500th
anniversary of this publication in 2008. Please visit
http://www.500yearsofprinting.org for details of the preparation of many
events which will be held throughout Scotland to celebrate this historic
The printed word has played a long history in Scotland with the
establishment of many leading publishers. Writers such as literary figures
from the past Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson down
to present day writers such as William McIllvaney and Ian Rankin have
provided us with a wealth of reading material. Book reading continues to
play a prominent part in Scottish life with Book Festivals proving to very
popular. The largest such festival is the August Edinburgh Book Festival but
the second largest takes place in the much smaller burgh of Wigtown. Now in
its 8th year the Wigtown Festival takes place in Scotland’s officially
recognised National Book Town from Friday 22 September to Sunday 1 October
http://www.wigtown-booktown.co.uk for full details of this popular
Wigtown was chosen in 1997 as Scotland’s National Book Town from a leet
which included Dalmellington, Dunblane, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Moffat,
Strathaven and the winning town, Wigtown, a royal burgh from at least 1292
now houses some thirty book related businesses with new and second-hand
Wigtown was the county town of Wigtownshire which before local government
reorganisation formed the extreme south-west corner of Scotland with a
coastline of 120 miles. But this week’s recipe – Pot Roast of Lamb – looks
to the rural area of the county, which was most famous for dairy farming,
but like the all areas of Scotland had its share of sheep.
Pot Roast of Lamb
Ingredients: 2 lbs neck end lamb, trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks; 2
tbs olive oil; 2 large onions, chopped; 1 clove of garlic, chopped; 1 tin of
tomatoes; 1 lb flour; 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary; 1 tin of haricot beans;
vegetable stock; salt and pepper
Method: Put half the flour into a plastic bag with the salt and pepper, and
add the lamb, shaking until each piece is well coated. Heat 1 tbsp of olive
oil until smoking, then add the lamb in small batches, making sure each
piece has been well browned. Remove the lamb, add more olive oil, then fry
the onions and garlic, add the rest of the flour, making sure it has
absorbed all the oil. Stir in the stock gradually, making sure the mixture
is smooth and free of lumps. Add the tomatoes and bring back to a simmer,
then add the lamb and haricot beans. Cook in a covered casserole at 150
degrees for two to three hours. Serve with new potatoes and peas.
You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots
Linda Fabiani is back at work this week and so we get the start of her
You can read her diary at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/fabiani for 11th September 2006.
More progress on the W's. The end is in sight! :-)
Here are places mentioned this week...
Wandell, Wanlockhead, Wanlock Water, Wardhouse, Wardlaw, Ward Law, Ward-of-Cruden,
Warmanbie, Warthill, Warwickhill House, Washington, Waterbeck, Waterloo,
Watersay, Waterside, Watling Street, Watten, Wattston, Wauchope, Waulkmills,
Wedale, Wedderburn Castle, Weem, Weir or Viera, Bridge of Weir, Weisdale,
Wellbank, Wellfield, Wellhall, Wells House, Wellwood, Wemyss, Wemyss Bay,
East Wemyss, Wemyss Hall, West Wemyss, West Arthurlee, Westcraigs,
Westerdale, Westerhall, Westerkirk, Loch of Wester, Westerton, Westertown
House, Westfield, West Hall, Westhaven, West Highland Railway, Westquarter,
Westraw House, Westray, Westruther, West Water, Weydale, Whale Firth,
Whalsey, Whauphill, Whifflet, Whim House, Whinneyleggat, Loch Whinyeon,
Whistlefield, Whitadder Water, Whitburgh, Whitburn, Whitebridge, Whitecairns,
White Cart, White Coomb, White Esk, Whitehaugh, Whitehill, Whitehills,
Whitehouse, Whitekirk and Tyninghame, Whiteknow, Whitemire, Whiteness,
Whiten Head, Whiterashes, Whiterigg, Whithorn, Isle of Whithorn, Whiting
Bay, Whitletts, Whitslaid, Whitsome, Whittadder, Whitten Head, Whittingham,
Whitton Tower, Wiay, Wick, Wigtown or Wigton, Wigtownshire, Wilkiestown,
Fort William, Port William, Wilsontown, Wilton.
The whole Gazetteer is available at
Kenneth Shaw sent in "The Evil Witch of Balwearie" at
John sent in a new doggerel, Saff Daffin? at
Donna sent in a poem, To See, to Hear, at
Sir William Arbuthnot alerted me to "The Haggis Song" which you can read at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now on the C's with Clapperton, Clark, Clarke or Clerk, Clayhills,
Cleghorn, Cleland and Clephane added this week.
Here is a bit from the Cleland entry....
CLELAND, a surname belonging to an old family on Lanarkshire, and derived
from the lands of that name in the parish of Dalzeil. The Clelands of that
ilk were hereditary foresters to the old earls of Douglas, and had for arms
a hare saliant, argent, with a hunting horn, proper, about its neck; crest,
a falcon standing on a left hand glove, proper. At other times, for
supporters they had two greyhounds. James Cleland of Cleland, was one of the
patriots who joined Sir William Wallace, and fought, under his command,
against the English. He also remained faithful to King Robert Bruce; and for
his services received from that monarch several lands lying within the
barony of Calder in West Lothian. From him was descended William Cleland of
that ilk, who, in the reign of King James the Third, married Jean, daughter
of William Lord Somerville. From them branched Cleland of Faskine, Cleland
of Monkland, and Cleland of Cartness. About the beginning of the seventeenth
century, Sir James Cleland purchased the barony of Monkland from Sir Thomas
Hamilton of Binning, first earl of Haddington, but his son and heir,
Ludovick Cleland, sold it to James, marquis of Hamilton. On 6th September
1615, this Sir James Cleland of Monkland was, with two others, indicted for
trial, for treasonably resetting Jesuits, hearing of mass, &c., offences
very seriously punished in those days, but the diet was deserted against
them. The Cartness family terminated in an heiress, previous to the middle
of the eighteenth century, married to Sir William Vere of Blackwood in the
Alexander Cleland of that ilk, with his cousin, William Cleland of Faskine,
were both killed at Flodden in 1513. James Cleland of that ilk, an eminent
man in the time of King James the Fifth, whom he frequently attended while
hunting, married a daughter of Hepburn of Bonnytoun, descended from the earl
of Bothwell, by whom he had a son, Alexander Cleland of that il, who was a
faithful adherent of Queen Mary. He married Margaret, a daughter of Hamilton
of Haggs, by whom he had William his successor, who married the sister of
Walter Stewart, first lord Blantyre. Their eldest son, Alexander, married
the sister of John Hamilton, first Lord Bargeny, and their son and heir sold
the lands of Cleland to a cousin of his own name.
Major William Cleland, the great-grandson of the last mentioned Alexander
Cleland of that ilk, was one of the Commissioners of the Customs in
Scotland, about the middle of the last century.
The name was formerly Kneilland, with the K pronounced. In 1603 Mr. Andrew
Kneilland was justice depute; and there are several instances of Cleland of
Cleland being called Kneilland of that ilk, thus, among the persons who were
‘delated’ for being art and part in the murder of King Henry Darnley were
William Kneland of that ilk, and Arthur Kneland of Knowhobbilhill,
afterwards softened into Connoblehill, in the parish of Shotts. (See KNELAND,
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other entries at
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
I have now added the sixth issue of Volume 10 (March 1902) which includes
amongst other articles ones on D. P. Menzies, FSA Scot of Menzieston, The
isolation of Sutherlandshire, My Highland Home, Alexander MacPherson, The
White Glave of Light, The Martial Music of the Clans, Banais Anns A'
Ghaidhealtachd, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Pledged Sporran.
This issue is at
You can see the issues to date at
Added the Fall/Winter 2006 newsletter from the Clan Hannay at
Added Family Utley newsletters at
Margo has now started on the final book (12) in her Rolphin's Orb series and
you can read this at
Margo also sent in the following...
Which Way is Up? at
Among the Stars at
A Strange Dream at
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Thanks to Nola Crewe for transcribing these biographies for us.
We have more biographies up for you to read at
I noted a fellow McIntyre clan member within the biographies this week...
HARRY JAMES FRENCH, general farmer and county councilor, residing on Lot 5,
Concession 3, in Camden township, County of Kent, owns and operates a fine
farm of 100 acres to which he came in December, 1892. His birth occurred in
Chatham township, County of Kent, October 15th, 1862, and he is a son of
Anslum and Nancy (McIntyre) French, of Chatham and Harwich townships,
respectively. They were married in that county and celebrated their golden
anniversary not long before they died, the father in 1893, aged seventy-six
years, the mother in October of the same year, aged seventy-three years.
They lie buried in Arnold’s cemetery in Chatham township. Both were
consistent members of the Methodist Church. Mr. French was a farmer by
occupation. The children born to Mr. And Mrs. French were: John, a harness
maker of Kent Bridge; Susanna, of the County of Lambton, wife of Edwin
Wicks; Thomas, of Chatham; Rachel, of Dresden, who married Thomas Ritchie;
Sarah A., deceased, who married Duncan Ritchie; Eliza, of Chatham township,
widow of W.J. Smith; Anne, who married John Dowswell, of Dutton, Ontario;
Edwin, deceased; Sylvester, who is in the furnace business at Cleveland,
Ohio; and Harry James.
On June 17th, 1889, in Dresden, Ontario, Mr. French was married to Mary E.
Huff, and they have four children, Owen G., Lorne B., Harold G. and Evelyn
E. Mrs. French was born in Camden township, County of Kent, Ontario, May
8th, 1965, a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Gifford) Huff, of England, who
were married in the County of Kent, where they were farming people. The
father died in July 1887, aged sixty-four years, and the mother died in
1877, aged forty-six years, and they are buried in Dresden cemetery. Both
were consistent members of the Methodist Church.
Until he was thirteen Harry J. French remained with his parents, and then
engaged as clerk in a dry-goods establishment in Dresden, Ontario, remaining
there for seven years. From that city he went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and
remained in a store for a year, returning to Dresden, where for seven years
he was engaged in a grain business. In December 1892, he located on his
present farm, where he has since been making a success of farming.
Fraternally he is a member of the C.O.O.F. and the Woodsmen of the World,
and is a Master Mason. Both he and his wife are consistent members of the
Methodist Church and he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school for the
past four years. For four years he served as township councilor, was reeve
three years and has been county commissioner since 1900. He is a
Conservative in politics, and is at present secretary of the East Kent
Conservative Association. As a public official as well as private citizen he
has proven himself a man of ability and sterling worth, and he has many
friends throughout his neighbourhood.
Virginia Scottish Games are being held on Saturday September 16, 2006 at
4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria.
The Scots Week-End
And Caledonian Vade-Mecum for Host, Guest and Wayfarer (1936)
Loads of good stuff up this week including chapters on...
Mirth and Dancing under which you will find...
Table & Floor Games
A Few Problems
An Examination Paper
Bottle and Wallet under which you will find lots of recipes and it
"THE diet of the Scots", wrote John Chamberlayne in the eighteenth century,
"is agreeable to their estates and qualities. No people eat better, or have
greater varieties of flesh, fish, wild and tame fowl, than the Scots
nobility and gentry in their own country, where they can furnish their
tables with ten dishes cheaper than the English can provide three of the
same kinds; and of their wines, the French themselves did not before the
Union drink better, and at very easy rates. The tradesmen, farmers and
common people are not excessive devourers of flesh, as men of the same rank
are in England. Milk-meats and oatmeal, several ways prepared, and kale and
roots dressed in several manners, is the constant diet of the poor people
(for roast-meat is seldom had but on gaudy-days); and with this kind of food
they enjoy a better state of health than their more southern neighbours, who
Some of this pleasant picture of Scots food and drink is out of date. We
may, however, draw attention to the fact that to-day the best roast beef in
England, the sweetest mutton, the finest as well as the cheapest sorts of
fish, and most of the game that's worth while - not to speak of the highest
grades of oatmeal and of strawberries -come from north of the Tweed.
Non-Human natives under which it says...
HERE Scotland holds her own. She stands as well as ever she did - in some
ways better - as regards birds, beasts, flowers and semi-precious stones,
not to mention gold. A considerable portion of this native stock, animate
and inanimate, is peculiar to her. In no other British rivers can you
hopefully seek for non-synthetic pearls, in no other British trees for
wild-cats, capercailzies or ospreys, in no other British rocks for topazes
filled with whisky-coloured fire.
Kirks and Corbie Steps under which you will find discussions on our
architecture such as...
THE earliest type of building you are likely to meet with in Scotland is the
broch, an open, round and tapering tower superbly built of stone slab walls
16 ft. thick, originally about 40 ft. in height, enclosing a circular space
about 40 ft. in diameter. No windows pierce the walls, only a small door,
while within the walls are built galleries, cells and stairs, and a hearth
and a well occupied the centre space. Many brochs exist in the north and
west of Scotland, dating mostly from the first to the fifth centuries A.D.,
and they were used either as a defence against sea-raiders or as the castles
of a conquering aristocracy. They are stark and solemn and have no parallel
Travelling under which you'll find lots of tips for travellers
WARNINGS TO WALKERS
IN Scotland the term walkers includes cyclists and motorists, as even these,
if they wish to see Scotland, have often to get off or out and use their
legs and their wits. When preparing to journey in Scotland by any other path
than railway lines, the three grand things to keep in mind are the weather,
the ground and the customs of the Scotch. In other words, prepare for cold,
rain and mist, for rocks, bogs and innless roads, and for the fact that our
natives, especially our Highlanders, while they are the soul of hospitality,
are apt to take for granted the virtue of total abstinence in travellers.
That is to say, your clothes, your carried refreshments, and your
precautions against being caught out by fatigue or fog in remote spots, are
all more important than if you were walking in England.
Boils, Blains, Bruises and Blights under which you'll find excellent
advice such as...
FROM no spot in Scotland, so far as we know, is a doctor more than twenty
miles away. Borne in a second-hand car, sustained by the Everlasting Arms,
he will hurry to your aid before his telephone bell has stopped trembling.
It would be wicked and cruel to him and to you if, by putting at your
disposal this porridge of useful tips and hints, we led you to believe
yourself an adept in the least of his mysteries.
On the other hand we are not his tout and we feel free to warn you against
certain ways of being ill in Scotland, and to tell you what to do in
circumstances which might find you despairing and dithering. Not that it
isn't pleasanter and cheaper to be ill in Scotland than anywhere else. A
Case of the Itch (or Scottish Fiddle) was once cured in Buckie for five
shillings, which included quite a large pot of Unguentum Sulphuris. The Case
had previously spent seven hundred pounds on being treated (by vaccines and
whatnot) by a series of London Knights and Baronets. He was naturally
delighted at having secured so good a bargain.
Rights and Wrongs under which you get some legal advice and will be
pleased to know...
THE "week-ender" need not concern himself with the more abstruse aspects of
the law. For him let plagium, and, still more, wadset, remain a closed book.
He is a holiday-maker, and his pursuit of pleasure or leisure must be
assumed to be innocent and free from dole. While every citizen is presumed
to know the law, the inadvertent lawbreaker may expect leniency if he has
transgressed one of the innumerable statutory rules and regulations which
pour out from the Stationery Office each year.
A lot of fun reading for sure this week at
James Chalmers of New Guinea
by Cuthbert Lennox (1903)
I've now moved ahead with this book and we're now on chapter 19
Chapter 15 starts...
WHEN Tamate returned to Port Moresby he found, to his great disappointment,
that a splendidly equipped exploring expedition, fitted out by the Melbourne
Age, had returned to the coast, spoiled of all their goods, hungry,
fever-stricken, and disheartened—the leader of the party, Mr. G. E.
Morrison, being himself wounded. The expedition had started on 21st July
1883, and was back again upon 14th October. Great results had been expected
from this exploration. Tamate had entertained hopes that his theory of
plateaux and inland lakes would be confirmed, and that "Morrison would tell
such a tale of New Guinea as had never before been told."
His chief concern, however, arose from the reports of hostility on the part
of natives in a district in which he had established friendly relations with
the people. Although he was sick, and many thought it was too late in the
season for inland travel, as the rains had commenced and the rivers were
swollen, he fitted out a strong party and set off on 4th December for the
scene of the alleged outrages, anxious to know the cause of attack and to
restore peace and amity.
In the course of a week, with a rest on the Sunday, Tamate and his party
were back in Port Moresby, having in that time covered the hundred miles
that had taken the Age expedition three months. They had found the Varagadi
villages deserted, but were able to ascertain that native pilfering had led
to reprisals and the use of firearms. Certain signs, recognised by most
travellers, had been given by the villagers, but Morrison had not understood
them, and had stumbled on to his fate.
"I asked an old friend if he thought it safe for white men to travel inland,
as in a few months a large party might be coming. He replied, ‘It is
perfectly safe no one will hurt a white man.’ I told him to tell all the
tribes of our visit, and that we wished to bring them peace and friendship,
and that they must be careful as to how they meet the white man in the
future. He told us our inland .journey and its object would soon be well
A week or two later, Tamate was away west at the Annie River. This time he
had an opportunity of seeing the Motu traders setting forth on their
homeward voyage. The building of lakatois, consisting of twelve and even
fourteen canoes lashed together; the filling up of cargoes of tons of sago,
peppers, and areca-nuts; the adventurous crossing of the bar—all added to
his personal familiarity with the customs of the people.
At the Annie River he was in touch again with the cannibals. "Two large
canoes came in, with an average of fifteen men in each; they were in quest
of cooking-pots. They say it is very annoying not to be able to cook their
man and sago in pots, and, being without them, a lot of unnecessary waste
occurs, and, the gravy escapes. They have drunk none for a length of time
now. They visited us, and we visited them. They were from a large village
farther west than I had been last trip, and were extremely anxious that I
should accompany them to their home; but it was out of the question."
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The whole book can be read at
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read
Chapter 35 starts...
WHEN such explosive materials as these existed, it required but a trifling
incident to fire the train. In November, 1666, the flames of insurrection
broke forth in Galloway under such unpremeditated circumstances as we are
about to describe. On the 13th of that month, a party of Turner's soldiers,
stationed at St. John's Clachan of Dalry, in the hilly region of Glenkens,
confiscated a patch of corn belonging to a poor old man named Grier, and
threatened him with personal maltreatment unless he paid the balance of
church fines with which he was charged. At this juncture, four Covenanting
refugees entered the village in search of food-one of them Mr. M'Lellan of
Barscobe, who had been subjected to much persecution for conscience' sake.
They felt much sympathy for their fellow-sufferer, but, smothering their
feelings, withdrew to a small change-house, [The house in which they sat is
still standing, but was partially rebuilt a few years ago; it was called
Midtown. John Gordon then occupied it as a kind of tavern. Mr. Train says:
"My friend, Mr. John M`Culloch of New Galloway, kindly procured from the
proprietor for me one of the old rafters, of which I intend to make some
articles of vertu." - History of Galloway, vol. ii., p. 158.] where, soon
after, tidings reached them that the soldiers, carrying their menaces into
effect, had stripped Grier naked in his own house, with the intention of
subjecting him to torture, by setting him on a red-hot gridiron.
The four wanderers could remain patient no longer: hurrying to the old man's
house, they remonstrated with the soldiers, who told them to mind their own
business, and not to interfere, or it might be worse for them. After a brief
altercation, several country people entered, and began to remove the
bandages with which Grier's arms were fastened. The soldiers then drew their
swords, and wounded two of them; upon which one of the latter retaliated by
firing a pistol, loaded with a piece of tobacco pipe for bullet. A general
fight, of short duration, ensued, terminating in the defeat of the troopers,
who were all made prisoners and disarmed. What to do next became a matter
for serious consideration. There was another party of ten or twelve soldiers
at the neighbouring village of Balmaclellan; and, lest they should resort to
reprisals, some of the country people set off early next morning, and made
the whole of the soldiers captive, except one man, who offered resistance,
and was killed. The outbreak was carried to its second stage, for the
purpose of securing the safety of those accidentally led to engage in it:
but if they now dispersed, they would certainly be pursued by the merciless
soldiery belonging to the rest of Turner's force; and if they should succeed
in escaping, the district would be subjected to such vengeful devastation as
was fearful to contemplate. These reflections induced M`Lellan and his
comrades to unfurl boldly the flag of insurrection. They were joined by
another gentleman of the district, Mr. Neilson of Corsack, by Mr. Alexander
Robertson, son of an outed minister, by Mr. Andrew Gray, an Edinburgh
merchant, who happened to be in the district at the time; and these, the
leaders of the movement, easily succeeded in raising a considerable force,
the rural population all round being ripe for insurrection.
A council of war was held, at which a march on Dumfries, for the purpose of
surprising Sir James Turner, was resolved upon; the place of rendezvous
being fixed at Irongray Church, about six miles distant from the town. With
wonderful secrecy and despatch, due notices were given and acted upon; and
on the day after the casual skirmish at Dalry, a force of two hundred
infantry and fifty horsemen mustered at the appointed place; the blue banner
of the Covenant, the ensign of rebellion against the Government-rather, we
should say, of righteous resistance to a tyrannical faction-flying above
their small but resolute ranks. Gray-who seems to have been a fussy,
pretentious gentleman, without any real regard for the cause with which he
was prominently mixed up-was appointed leader of the little host. Starting
from Irongray Church soon after sunrise on the 15th, they marched quietly on
their appointed way, reaching the Bridgend of Dumfries about ten o'clock in
the morning. Sir James Turner has sometimes been spoken of as a model
soldier: yet though rumours of the insurrection had reached him, he appears
to have made no preparations for meeting it, even when it was rolling to his
very door; and, strange to say, though in the midst of a warlike people, who
bore him no good-will, he had not, on this critical occasion, a solitary
sentinel posted at the entrance of the town from Galloway.
Accordingly, when Captain Gray and his men reached the place where the
populous burgh of Maxwelton now stands, they were agreeably surprised at
finding the bridge unguarded, and the road to the headquarters of the
renegade "malignant" open before them. Matters being in such a favourable
train, it was thought best to allow the foot soldiers to remain outside,
while a party of the horse rode across to pay the compliments of the morning
to Sir James. Corsack and Robertson were entrusted with this delicate and
perilous duty. Followed by several others, about half-past eight o'clock
they crossed the bridge, passed up Friars' Vennel, and then down to Turner's
lodgings, in Bailie Finnie's house, High Street. Aroused too late by the
ring of the horses' hoofs upon the pavement, he rose in great alarm, ran in
his night-dress [Sir James Turner's Memoirs, p. 148.] to the window, and,
seeing an armed band below, exclaimed, "Quarters! gentlemen, quarters! and
there shall be no resistance!" "Quarters you shall have," said Corsack, "on
the word of a gentleman, if you surrender at once without resistance."
"Quarters he shall have none!" said Gray, who now came up; and, suiting the
action to the words, he presented a carabine at Turner; and had not Corsack,
who was the real leader of the enterprise, interposed, the unscrupulous
agent of the Government would have been instantly sent to his account. One
soldier only, as at Balmaclellan, resisted, and died of the wounds he
received; all the others giving themselves quietly up, according to the
example and orders of their commander.
According to Turner's own statement, no more than thirteen of his men were
in town at the time, the rest being quartered in the country on persons who
"refused to give obedience to church ordinances." "Some few of my sogers,"
he adds, "were taken in their lodgings. They [the insurgents] looked for
Master Chalmers, the Parson of Drumfries, but found him not, yet did they
bring away his horse." [Sir J. Turner's Memoirs, p. 149]
There was great rejoicing in Dumfries on account of this overthrow of the
tyrant captain and his troop. "He had," says Gabriel Scruple, "been reigning
[there] like a king, and, lifted up in pride, with insolence and cruelty
over the poor people;" and it is no wonder that, to signalize his
degradation, they, as the same authority informs us, "set him on a low
beast, without his vest-raiment, and carried him through the town in a
despicable manner." It says much for the forbearance of the insurgents and
the people of the Burgh, that Sir James Turner received no worse treatment
than was involved in this pardonable exhibition of him in his new character.
They then held a meeting at the Cross, where the leaders explained and
vindicated their conduct; and to show that it was not the monarchy, nor the
King, but his despotic ministers, against whom they had taken up arms, they
expressed aloud their devoted attachment to his Majesty's person-a sentiment
that was readily responded to with cheers by the listening crowd.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The whole book can be read at
Bits of Electric Scotland
It was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought
might be of general interest.
This week I thought I'd highlight the "Historic Scotland" pages. This
section was based on a small leaftet produced by Historic Scotland but over
the years we've been able to add more information. Essentially this is a
great place to get a list of historic properties in each region of Scotland
along with a brief description and many wee pictures of the various places.
Thanks to our visitors that have sent in pictures of places where we don't
have pictures this has built up to be a great resource. Stan, the Bard of
Banff, has really done an excellent job on the Grampian region for us.
The areas highlighted are...
Aberdeen & Grampian
Ayrshire & Arran
Dumfries and Galloway
Edinburgh and Lothians
Kingdom of Fife
The Border Abbeys
Argyll, The Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs
Highlands & Western Isles
Perth & Tayside
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley
Castles of Scotland
For example the first three entries in the Aberdeen & Grampian area are...
Aden Park and Farming Museum
Incorporating a Doo-cot, 1 mile west of Mintlaw, forest walks, pond and
great playpark for the kids.
Archeolink is a multi-award winning history park and visitor attraction
which focuses on 'education, participation and fun'. Travel 10,000 years
back in time and visit the exhibits, which include an Iron age farm and hill
fort, Roman marching camp, stone age camp, the sand pit, the henge, stone
circle, bronze age smithy and cist. Situated in the beautiful countryside on
the north side of Bennachie.
At Dufftown on the A941.
Tel: 01340 820121.
A fine 13th-century castle of enclosure with a curtain wall, first owned by
the Comyns. Balvenie was added to in the 15th and 16th centuries. Visited by
Mary Queen of Scots in 1562.
You can see this section at
And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)
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