It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
/update.html and you can unsubscribe to
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 - "Scotland’s Greatest Story" and Chris has
included a book about the Dicks of Glasgow for you to read.
The Flag in the Wind & MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary
Scottish Education - Schools and University, from early times to 1908
Scenes around Loch Linnhe & Loch Leven
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Traditional Scottish Wedding Information
Frank Shaw - A Highlander and his books
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women
Clan Newsletters - Clan Gregor
Bits of Electric Scotland - Games on Electric Scotland
An extended trip to Toronto this week through my car breaking down which
added a couple of days to my trip. This meant when I did get back it took
most of a day to get through all my email so not a lot new done this week.
Added some pictures to the index page from the Battle of Culloden site and
also a picture of a Black House.
I did add a Canadian Journal entry for September at
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
"Scotland’s Greatest Story"
It has been just over six months now since I created the Scotland’s Greatest
Story family history research service, having just taken voluntary
redundancy from the BBC in Scotland, and what a six months it has been!
For twelve years prior to setting up the service I had made history
programmes for the BBC and Scottish Television, covering subjects as diverse
as the Battle of Britain, the Celtic history of the USA, the history of the
Scottish kirk, umpteen British battles, clan battles in the Hebrides, and
much, much more, a career which has seen me gain a great deal of research
expertise from many archives throughout the UK. But having started
researching my own family history some six years ago after the birth of my
first son, I soon realised how personal history can really be. In my own
tree I discovered ancestors who were murdered and who had committed suicide,
those who had helped to build the Titanic, others who had died as civilians
in occupied Brussels in World War One, and also to identify ten first
cousins that my father never knew existed, as well as two uncles and an
aunt. I knew then that family history could not only be more of a time
machine into the past than any television programme could ever be, but that
it could have a direct and powerful impact on our everyday lives in the here
The service was created shortly after a friend of mine asked me to help her
father out with their family tree. This was the first time that I had taken
on another person’s family history, and I was unsure as to how I would feel
about researching people with whom I had no genetic connection. Would it be
as exciting? Would I care as much about what happened and to whom? The only
way to find out was to give it a go. After a day’s research, any misgivings
I had were soon firmly knocked into touch - I had not only worked out that
my friend’s parents were third cousins to each other, I had also discovered
that her mother’s grandparents had also been first cousins, making this
friend of mine her own fourth cousin twice over! It was such an amazing
story in its own right, but along the way were many other fascinating
discoveries, such as the fact that one of her ancestors was employed as an
Irish vole catcher on the island of Bute!
Soon after this first test run, Scotland’s Greatest Story was set up, its
purpose to try and make Scottish family history accessible and affordable,
particularly for those overseas who cannot access the records with as much
ease as someone based here. The name of service was decided to reflect the
fact that the greatest story in our lives to have ever happened in the
country is our own story. In many cases, the tales of the great and the
good, the battles and the revolutions are meaningless to us if it had not
been for the weavers, the miners, the shipbuilders, the domestic servants,
the paupers, the farmers and the clansmen who came before us.
My service offers an ability to check whichever records are relevant to a
person’s Scottish family history, whether those be a simple identification
of ancestors in a client’s family tree from research at New Register House
in Edinburgh, or a much more in depth investigation into particular
incidents and stories from the past.
In the last six months I have carried out a vast range of assignments for
clients in both Scotland and the US. I have researched the great upheavals
of Irish famine victims making their way to relative safety in Scotland, the
horrors of railway accidents on the Monklands Railway in the 1860s, and the
tragedy of a mother dying in childbirth in a Glasgow slum. Two of my clients
turned out to have ancestors on different sides of the argument during a
miner’s riot, and I’ve even worked out a possible distant connection between
one client and one of my own ancestors! A current investigation I am working
on is that of a 19th century family living within the Duke of Hamilton’s
estate, one member of whom is now believed through circumstantial evidence
to have joined the Duke’ regiment to fight at the Revolutionary War in
America, and we’re now trying to work out whether this did in fact happen.
The range of stories is never ending, and most delve into the hidden untold
everyday history of our nation.
So if you wish to find out more about your own family history, please do
visit the micro advertisers link on the top of each Electric Scotland
webpage to find out exactly how I might be able to help you in your quest! -
And am very pleased to say that Chris has sent us in a transcript of a book
of the Dicks. As he says... I have a transcription of another book which
might be of interest for your site, concerning a former synthetic shoe
factory in Glasgow called R. & J. Dicks Ltd, which was based on Glasgow
Green for decades in the late 19th C and early 20th C. The word 'gutties', a
slang word in Scotland for training shoes, comes from the raw material they
used to make their rubber shoes, called 'guttapercha'. The book was a
celebration of 100 years of the firm in 1946, and I am sure many Glaswegians
will have a connection or memory regarding the company! You can read this
You can go to Chris's web site at
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks edition is by Jim Lynch and he gives a tribute to David Rollo who
died at age 87. He also covers the usual political questions in Scotland and
has a look at the new Tory leader.
I note Peter has added an interesting recipe this week and here it is to
Oatmeal Tattie Rissoles
Ingredients: 1lb (500g) potatoes, peeled; 1 small onion, chopped; 1 egg,
beaten; 3oz (75g) mature cheddar, grated; 4oz (100g) good Scottish oatmeal;
beaten egg to coat; salt and pepper; vegetable oil for cooking
Method: Boil then mash potatoes and mix with finely chopped onion, cheese
and beaten egg. Leave to cool in fridge. When cool, shape into patties, dip
in beaten egg, then coat in oatmeal (the good bit). Cook the patties in the
vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown.
You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots
MSP Linda Fabiani has fallen ill after her trip to Malawi but her assistant
Calum has stepped in with a wee overview which you can read at
This week saw the completion of the 6 volume Scottish Gazetteer which I note
was started in October 2004 and so 2 years later it is now complete.
This week we've added various sections on...
Scottish Language and Literature
Gaelic Language and Literature
The whole Gazetteer is available at
Scottish Education - Schools and University, from early times to 1908
by John Kerr, M.A., LL.D. (1910).
We are now up to chapter 15 and here is a bit from chapter 14...
Chapter XIV - Third Period (1696 - 1872). General Assembly and Sessional
THERE is great similarity between the aims of the Society for the
propagation of Christian Knowledge and the General Assembly's committee for
"increasing the means of education and religious instruction in Scotland."
The former took up the work more than a hundred years before the latter, and
had in view almost exclusively the Highlands and Islands, while the latter
ultimately took in the whole of Scotland. The two societies were
co-operators, not rivals. The enquiry made by the General Assembly as to the
extent of necessary effort resulted in the discovery that of the 16 synods
of the Church 10, mostly in the south and west, were well supplied with the
means of education, and that scarcely any individual was unable to read, but
that the other six, viz. Argyle, Glenelg, Ross, Sutherland, Caithness,
Orkney and Shetland, containing I43 parishes, had most urgent need of not
less than 250 schools [General Assembly's Education Reports, Vol. 1, p. 2.].
It is surprising to find Orkney and Shetland mentioned as one of these six
synods. In a report on the Moral Statistics of the Highlands and Islands it
is stated that in Orkney and Shetland "education is almost universal [Moral
Statistics of the Highlands and Islands. Inverness, 1826, p. 27.]."
It is probable that these two groups of islands are wrongly classed as
destitute of education. They have had for a long time trade and intercourse,
somewhat irregular and infrequent, with the mainland as far south as Leith,
and they were not handicapped by having Gaelic as their language, of which
they know being Norsemen as little as they know of Chinese. A statement to
the effect that the number of uneducated persons in these six synods was
deplorably large, accompanied by a circular letter, was sent to every
minister in the Church, and brought in most gratifying contributions. In the
course of two years the fund amounted to upwards of £5000 from parish
collections, donations, and annual subscriptions. Appeals were also made to
heritors and others in the districts where schools were needed for the
supply of school-house, dwelling-house, garden, fuel, and a cow's grass. The
committee were in 1825 ready to make a start.
Teachers were chosen with great care as to qualifications and character.
Salaries of £20 or £25 were to be paid, the larger sum to teachers who could
give instruction in advanced branches. From this as also from their being
permitted to charge the same fees as parish teachers, it is evident that the
schools were intended to be of a higher type than those of the Society for
the propagation of Christian Knowledge. In many of them mensuration,
mathematics, navigation, and Latin were by and by taught. It was by no means
unusual, where from any cause the parish schoolmaster was unsatisfactory, to
find the General Assembly or Free Church Sessional School surpassing the
parish school in both numbers and efficiency. In the course of the next
three years the number of schools established was 35, 70, and 85
respectively. Their unsectarian character is shown by the fact that in South
Uist there was a school in which out of 33 pupils all but five were Roman
Another evidence of the fairly advanced education is that in 1854. there
were 52 teachers who held government certificates, and that in 27 schools
pupil teachers were employed. In 1843 the number of schools on the
Assembly's list was 146 with 13,000 Pupils. In 1848 it was 189 and in 1873
it reached its maximum of 302 ordinary, and 130 sewing schools.
You can read more of this chapter at
The whole book can be read at
Scenes around Loch Linnhe & Loch Leven
More superb photographs from David Hunter of the Scottish Studies Foundation
which you can see at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now on the C's with Copland, Corbet, Cormack, Cornwall and Corrie
added this week.
Mostly shorter entries this week so here is a complete account of Copland...
COPLAND, a surname originally English, and signifying a headland, from
caput, a head. At the battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346, King David the
Second of Scotland was disarmed and taken prisoner by John Copeland, a
gentleman of Northumberland, who was governor of Roxburgh Castle, although
not without having knocked out two of Copeland’s teeth with his gauntlet, in
the struggle to free himself. Copeland conveyed the wounded and bleeding
monarch off the field, and on refusing to deliver him up to the queen, who
had remained at Newcastle during the battle, King Edward, then at Calais,
sent for him, when he excused his refusal so handsomely that the king
bestowed on him a reward of five hundred a-year in lands near Wooler, which
still bear the name of Copland, and made him a knight banneret. From this
Sir John Copeland descended the Coplands of Collieston, in Dumfries-shire,
as well as others of the name in Scotland.
COPLAND, PATRICK, LL.D., professor of natural philosophy at Aberdeen, son of
the minister of Fintray, in Aberdeenshire, was born at the manse of that
parish in January 1749. Having obtained a bursary by competition, he
received his education at Marischal college and university of Aberdeen; and,
on March 28, 1775, he was elected professor of natural philosophy in that
institution In April 1779 he was transferred to the chair of mathematics in
the same university, which he filled till July 9, 1817, when he again became
professor of the natural philosophy class. He taught with great reputation
and success, for upwards of forty years, and, on June 27, 1817, his
colleagues conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D. in acknowledgment
of his eminent services. His course of natural philosophy was illustrated by
one of the most extensive and complete sets of apparatus in the kingdom,
mostly the work of his own hands, or made by workmen under his
superintendence. As a lecturer, he was distinguished by his clear method and
impressive manner of communicating knowledge, and fixing the attention of
his hearers. He was the first in the north of Scotland who gave a regular
series of popular lectures on natural philosophy, divesting that science of
its most abstruse calculations, and suiting the subject to the mechanic and
operative tradesman. His attention was also successfully directed to other
sciences. In Mr. Samuel Park’s ‘Chemical and Philosophical Essays,’ due
credit is given to Dr. Copland for having introduced into this country an
expeditious method of bleaching by oxymuriatic acid, which had been shown to
him merely as a curious chemical experiment by the celebrated Professor De
Saussure, while at Geneva with the duke of Gordon, in 1787. Mr. Thomas
Thomson, however, in the article Bleaching in the Encyclopaedia Britannica,
denies that Dr. Copland had any claim to the first introduction of the new
process into Great Britain, ascribing the merit of it to the celebrated
James Watt. During his long and useful life, Dr. Copland was in frequent
correspondence with Watt, Telford, Maskelyne, Leslie, Olinthus Gregory, M.
Biot, Dr. Hutton, and other distinguished literary and scientific men. In
1782 he was elected a corresponding member of the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland, and, in 1807, an associate of the Linnaean Society of London.
Declining health caused him, in September 1822, to resign his professorship,
and he died November 10th of that year, in the 73d year of his age. He
married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. David Ogilvy, surgeon, R.N., by whom he
had three sons and one daughter.
You can read the other entries at
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
I have now added the ninth issue of Volume 10 (June 1902) which includes
amongst other articles ones on John G. Jarratt, Laoidh na Rioghachd (The
National Anthem), Gaelic Music in Scotland, Highland Scenery and Climate in
Relation to National Music and Poetry, The Martial Music of the Clans,
Leaving the Glen, What is my Tartan?, The Scot Abroad, The Story of Jane
MacRae, To a Bunch of Scotch Heather, The Early Celtic Church, London
Argyllshire Association, Unitas Celtica, The War Office and the Tartans.
I might add that the account of "The Scot Abroad" is most interesting and
continues in the next issue.
This issue is at
You can see the issues to date at
Margo has now started on the final book (12) in her Rolphin's Orb series and
you can read up to Chapter 24 at
Got in a poem from Kenneth Shaw, Disaster on the Bridge, at
Traditional Scottish Wedding Information
Our thanks to Scotland's Ceilidh Band for supplying this article and you can
visit their web site at
Scotland always seems to do things in it's own way and style - and a
Scottish wedding is no exception to the rule. In the 21st century, the
Scottish wedding is an intricate blend of ancient highland tradition mixed
in with modern, streamlined rites. Present day Scottish wedding
traditions have their origins as far back as the 13th century. Back then the
medieval Celtic church would proclaim the 'banns of marriage' for three
successive Sundays. This practice of announcing a forthcoming marriage
lasted for 600 years - until in the latter years of the 20th century it
became standard to 'give notice of intent' to a registry office several
weeks before the intended event.
You can read the rest of this article at
Frank Shaw - A Highlander and his Books
Frank has sent in a book review of "Skull & Saltire" which you can read at
The review starts with...
Jim Hewitson has written another interesting book, and it’s full of great
stories of adventuresome Scottish men at sea. Hewitson points out something
that all Scots should be proud of …“the rip roaring Pirates of the
Caribbean” is “built on a tradition nurtured by writers, including the Scots
Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Sir James Barrie, and has
helped to sustain what is basically a grand myth.”
The author looks upon America’s “Father of the American Navy,” John Paul
Jones, as a pirate! How many of us on this side of the pond would agree with
that assessment, particularly those guys in white hanging out at the Naval
Academy in Annapolis, where the great man is entombed in the chapel similar
to that of Napolean at Les Invalides in Paris? Jim, to his credit, goes on
to say that “Scottish pirates were a particularly odd breed. They were
either extraordinarily successful, heroic almost - in the mould of John Paul
Jones – or they were simply not very good at their job, pretty poor pirates
who would never have made the Piratical Top 100.”
He also sent in a chat with the author (Jim Hewitson) at
In the chat Frank starts off by saying...
I have known Jim Hewitson for several years and have many of his books, all
of which, to me, are worthy of space on any Scot’s personal library shelf,
public library, or school library. He is an excellent writer, period! His
recent book, Skull & Saltire, is a fine example of a talented writer. He is
the type of person with whom you can imagine yourself having a delightful
and informative conversation over a wee dram or two at the bed-and-breakfast
that Jim and his wife Morag run on Orkney, Papa Westray, (population 70),
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain
Added Book 5 this week which contains...
Descent upon Sweden. - Birth of the emperor's grandson Peter, and death of
the princess, his mother. - The birth of Peter Petrowitz, son to the
emperor. - A carnaval. - The czar's double eagle. - The czar's attention to
improve his capital and country. - His military rewards and punisbents. -
Thirty tall grenadiers for the king of Prussia. - A horrid murder at Riga. -
Contributions on Dantzig. - His scheme in taking Weismar. - Conference with
the king of Denmark and arrival at Copenhagen. - The combined fleets. - The
Danes alarmed. - Resufe subsistence to the troops. - A conference with the
king of Denmark in his capital, with its consequences. - The story of
leutenant general Bohn. - Oppressive scheme of the Duke of Mecklenburg. -
The distress of his people. - The czarowitz dissapears. - The captain
refused leave to quit the Russian service. - The czar's return from Paris. -
The return of his army to Petersburgh. - Desorders in his absence redressed.
- Attempt to discover a north passage to India. - The fatal expedition of
prince Beckwitz. - A new regulation at Petersburgh, and a silk manufactory
You can read this book 5 at
You can read this publication at
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read
Here is how Chapter 41 starts...
LORD KENMURE, finding himself at the head of a considerable army, resolved
on making some decisive movement. His thoughts again turned towards
Dumfries; his idea being that he was now in a condition to attack it with
success. The inhabitants, anticipating a second and more serious visit from
his lordship, renewed their defensive preparations, which had been partially
put a stop to. The Marquis of Annandale, having granted commissions to the
officers of militia, and made arrangements for cutting out the force if
necessary, left Dumfries for Edinburgh on the 20th of October; and no
immediate danger being apprehended, the country people returned home,
leaving the town to the care of its own inhabitants. When, however, news of
the ominous rebel conjunction at Kelso reached the magistrates, they
despatched expresses to their friends throughout Nithsdale and Galloway; and
in a short time, in answer to their urgent requests, two thousand well-armed
men volunteered their services for the protection of the Burgh. A few of the
inhabitants favoured the Jacobites; one of whom went bustling about,
assuring the country folks that Kenmore would be down upon them with
irresistible force; that the town would have to give in; and that they would
all be massacred wholesale. The tongue of this tattling busy-body might have
occasioned mischief; had he not been promptly consigned to durance vile.
Next morning (the 28th) the Town Council met; and, in order to dissipate the
impression made by such treasonable gossip, they issued a proclamation,
setting forth:- "That whereas some person or persons, disaffected to his
Majesty's person and Government, have raised and spread a false and
groundless report that the town would surrender, we do therefore certify all
concerned, that we have no such design, but that we are firmly resolved to
make a vigorous resistance if attacked by the rebels; and we hope none will
credit the malicious stories to the contrair that have been contrived by the
enemy." [Rae's History, p. 227.]
It was not traitorous tale-bearers merely that the authorities had to deal
with: there were Achans in the camp of a more dangerous kind-plotting
incendiaries, who repeatedly endeavoured to fire portions of the town. One
notable attempt of this nature was made on the night of the 26th. A train of
gunpowder, nine yards long, was laid at the foot of a close of thatched
houses near the centre of the Burgh, which, on being ignited, set one of the
tenements in a blaze. Fortunately two of the magistrates were near at hand,
by whose assistance the fire was extinguished before much damage or alarm
was occasioned. A reward of a hundred merks was offered for the discovery of
the guilty parties; and the authorities, fearing that on the approach of the
rebels their friends inside would perpetrate similar acts of incendiarism in
order to withdraw the loyal inhabitants from their posts, and otherwise
create confusion, adopted all possible precautions to prevent or mitigate
the threatened evil. The militia of the County was not yet raised - why, it
is difficult to say; so that Dumfries had to depend for its defence on
volunteer soldiers alone.
These, as has been mentioned, were forthcoming to a large extent. In the
last week of October, the Burgh wappenschaw could boast, we should say, of
fully three thousand men; one half of whom were well trained and armed, the
other half raw recruits, including five score of such inhabitants as had
little skill in fire-arms, who were furnished with scythes, and set to do
duty at the barricades and in the trenches. The magistrates, with prudent
forethought, resolved that Mr. Currie, one of their number, should be sent
on a mission to General Carpenter, who had arrived at Jedburgh in search of
the Jacobites under Kenmure. On learning the condition of affairs at
Dumfries, the General assured Bailie Currie that if the town were attacked,
and held out for six hours against the rebels, he would at the close of that
time be ready to fall upon them in the rear. Fully aware of the importance
of retaining Dumfries, the Duke of Argyle sent Major Campbell, Captain
William Graham, Lieutenant Francis Scott, Lieutenant Anthony Smith,
Lieutenant David Reid, Lieutenant John Kay, and Ensign Robert M`Arthur, all
half-pay officers, to superintend its defence.
On the 24th, soon after their arrival, the work of thoroughly fortifying the
town was proceeded with. In earlier times, as we have seen, it was
surrounded, except where the Nith formed a natural defence, by walls,
ditches, and earthen banks. Pursuing a somewhat similar plan, the loyal
inhabitants, under skilful military direction, soon rendered the
fortifications tolerably complete-quite able to resist the enemy's assaults
for ten times the six hours that General Carpenter had bargained for. All
the gates and avenues were built up with stone, except the bridge and
Lochmaben-gate. A line of wall was raised from the river to the churchyard,
and thence through the adjoining meadow to the high road beyond Lochmaben-gate;
it then ran towards the east, curved towards the north-west, then to the
south-east corner of Sir Christopher's Chapel: the whole constituting a
covered way in the form of a half-moon. From the south-west corner of the
chapel another line was drawn nearly parallel to the former, for the safety
and convenience of the defenders in the event of the rebels forming on the
fields betwixt that locality and the Loreburn, which streamlet was also
intrenched; and the meadow beyond it was protected by a deep ditch, dug
behind a thick thorn hedge, that separated it from the highway leading to
the Townhead. Here also the gate was walled up, and a trench of bastion
shape gave protection to the Moat on the other side. It took fully a week to
complete these works: for though hundreds of hands were employed, suitable
materials were not easily obtained; and in the pressing emergency, the
stones of the east gable of the sacred edifice erected by Christian Bruce in
memory of her patriotic husband, were appropriated by the workmen. Little
did the royal lady think, when she erected the chapel, or Robert Bruce when
he endowed it, that its walls would be thrown down for the purpose of
resisting the march of one of their descendants to his ancestral throne.
What piety and widowed love fondly built up, patriotism unreluctantly cast
down. But curious cross-purposes such as this are frequently met with by the
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The whole book can be read at
A Group of Scottish Women
by Harry Graham (1908).
We now have more chapters up and here is a bit from the Jane, Countess of
Sutherland (1545 - 1629) entry...
In the month of April of the year 1567, the fortress of Dunbar was again the
scene of an event memorable in Scottish history. James, 4th Earl of Bothwell,
was at that time Keeper of the castle, a post to which he had been appointed
by Queen Mary soon after the murder of Rizzio. It is not necessary to do
more than recapitulate as briefly as possible the well-known chain of
circumstances which led to the marriage of the Queen and her favourite.
On April 19th, the famous bond had been signed in an Edinburgh tavern by a
number of Bothwell’s friends, wherein special stress was laid upon the
earl’s innocence of Darnley’s death, and the subscribers stoutly pledged
themselves to further his matrimonial ambitions with regard to the Queen.
Scarcely a week later, as Mary was returning to Edinburgh from Stirling,
after a visit to her son, she was met by Bothwell and an armed force, and
borne away captive to Dunbar. Whether she submitted willingly to such an
outrage is a matter of doubt. Sir James Melville, who, together with
Lethington and Huntly, was also taken to Dunbar on this occasion, declares
that the abduction met with Mary’s full approval. “Captain Blakester that
was my taker,” he says, “allegit that it was with the Quenis owen consent”
[Memoirs of His Own Life, by Sir James Melville of Halhill. (Edinburgh,
Bannatyne Club, 1827).] – which is more than probable. As they entered the
town, Bothwell dismounted, and, commanding his followers to throw away their
weapons – so as to secure himself against a possible future charge of
treason – led the Queen’s horse into the castle by the bridle.
His project to gain the heart and hand of his sovereign, however ambitious
it may have seemed, was admirably planned, and executed under the most
favourable conditions possible. Mary was notoriously impressionable. She was
still young and very large-hearted. Her love had been lavished upon an
unworthy object who requited her affection with gross ingratitude, and met
her advances with neglect and violence. Bothwell, whatever else he may have
been, was essentially a strong man. By securing the custody of the Queen’s
person he held the key of the position, and nothing was left to Mary but to
submit as gracefully as possible to a course for which she probably felt
little disinclination. She afterwards complained feelingly and very justly
that while she remained under Bothwell’s thraldom in the castle of Dunbar,
not a sword was drawn for her relief; but that after her marriage with him –
the direct result of this apathy on the part of her friends – a thousand
swords were drawn to drive him from the country and to dethrone her. [Life
of Mary Queen of Scots, by George Chalmers, p.217. (London 1818.)]
It was during the five days following this dramatic abduction – days spent
by Mary at the castle of Dunbar – that she consented to marry her captor.
There was, however, a slight obstacle in the way of the proposed union
between the Queen and Bothwell. This lay in the fact that the latter was
already married to Lady Jane Gordon, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Huntly.
In the year 1565-66, when this previous marriage took place, Lady Jane was
only a girl of twenty, endowed with more than average intelligence, and of a
grave and peaceful disposition. She was also a devout Roman Catholic. Anyone
less suited to be the wife of so turbulent, ill-favoured, evil-minded a man
as James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell – who was moreover a bigoted Protestant –
it would be difficult to imagine. But it was an age when the wishes of a
daughter were not as a rule consulted upon such a minor matter as her own
marriage, and the match was in all probability arranged by Lady Jane’s
family without much reference to the feelings of the prospective bride.
And you can read the rest of this entry at
The other chapters can be read at
Being Accounts of the Braemar, Northern and Luss Meetings, by Sir Iain
Colquhoun, Bart., D.S.O. and Hugh Machell. With contributions by John
Macpherson and C. D. McCombie-Smith, and a Foreword by H. R. H. The Princess
Royal, The Duchess of Fife. .
Have now got up more chapters of this book including...
Chapter III - Braemar Royal Highland Society
Chapter III - The Luss Gathering
Chapter III - The Northern Meeting
Chapter IV - Short account of the Northern Meeting
Chapter V - The Gallant Marquis
Chapter VI - Fifty Years: 1807 - 1857
Chapter VII - 1858 to Present Time
Here is what it says about the Northern Meeting...
IN 1788 the Northern Meeting was instituted. On the 11th June that year a
meeting was held at which were present Colonel Hugh Grant of Moy, Messrs.
Cumming of Altyre, Macleod of Gramis, Munro of Culcairn, Fraser of Relick,
Fraser of Culduthel, Baillie of Dochfour, Captains Alex. Mackenzie, 71st
Regiment, William Wilson, 39th Regiment, Gregor Grant, Lieutenant John Rose,
and Dr. John Alves (appointed first secretary). They formed the Society for
an annual week of social intercourse, one guinea subscription for each head
of a family, and any absentee to be fined two guineas. In the first year £40
came in from such fines, absence on duty being the sole excuse. The first
stewards were Messrs. Cumming, the Frasers of Culduthel and Relick, and
Macleod. No games were intended, only balls and dinners. The company dined
together in full evening-dress, alternately at the hotels of Messrs.
Beverley and Ettles, dancing from eight to twelve. Only stewards could
invite strangers. The regulations in force at Edinburgh were obtained from
Captain Graham, M.C., in that city. The town hall was the place of dancing,
with the room above, called the Guildry, for tea. A public breakfast was
provided. Anyone producing a subscription paper before a full assembly was
fined a guinea. The mornings seemed to require some occupation, so Brodie of
Brodie and Macleod were deputed to invite the huntsmen and hounds of the
Duke of Gordon and Sir Robert Munro of Foulis. About ninety members joined
from the counties of Inverness, Ross, Nairn and Moray, and the date was the
second week in October. Formal balls becoming rather too heavy, they were
reduced to two, with undress dances and card parties to fill the gaps. The
uniform worn, according to an old authority, was a grass green coat with
buff edging, white metal buttons, black velvet cape with four silver
embroidered or vellum buttonholes; buff or fancy waistcoat, buff or black
silk breeches, the buttons having N.M. engraved thereon. Truly a gay
cavalcade for the Highland Capital ! In 1810 the third week is selected, and
by the desire of the Marquis of Huntly all members had to appear in blue
coats from the Inverness Woollen Factory to stimulate local industry. The
stewards now receive badges, then wands, then tartan sashes, and last,
In 1816 a plate of fifty guineas was given out of the funds for any horse
carrying ten stone that had never won a plate (Hunter's Plate excepted); a
special committee was appointed to provide the course at a cost of £20; but
this did not continue for long as part of the programme. The course was at
Duneancroy, but the tax on the funds being too much it was stopped. The
present races are quite independent.
Games proper began in 1840, at first by private subscription, in the Academy
Park, afterwards at the Longman Park. In the early sixties the present park
was bought from the late Sir Alexander Matheson of Ardross and walled round.
A pavilion, followed by a second, was subsequently added. The annual
assemblies required their own room, so in Church Street ground was bought
and erections built gradually. In 1801 this building was greatly damaged by
fire. It was very near a candle factory, above which was a powder magazine !
It is perhaps unnecessary to observe how lax the regulations on these
matters must have been under good King George III !
Heat one day reached the powder, with the natural consequences, seven lives
being lost and many persons injured. The factory itself was also damaged.
The rooms had to be rebuilt, and in 1845 or thereabouts assumed the form in
which they are to-day, but internally they have been greatly improved since
that date. Even in 1795 and subsequently the meeting continued, in spite of
Napoleonic Wars; in 1796 we read of a "brilliant assembly of beauty and
Cholera prevents it in 1832, and the South African War in 1900, though in
the latter year Highland sports were held on one day. No fines are now
inflicted on absentees, and the terms of admission have often been changed.
The uniform is a thing of the past, but Highland dress takes its place, the
meeting being recognized as a prominent permanent festival and fashionable
You can also read the resolutions set at the meeting of 11th June 1788 at
the start of this account at
I might add that this is a scan of a folded page that came with the book and
I've scanned it in in two parts and joined them together.
You can read the book at
Got in the Beltane and Lammas newsletters from the Clan Gregor 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 "Highland Clearances" section at
The menu page shows...
The Highland Clearances
This is an account of the Clearances with information on how brutal they
Ross-shire Clearances: Glencalvie
This is a specific account of the Clearances as they affected Glencalvie.
Journey to the Western Islands
This is the book by Samuel Johnson in which he details his travels
throughout the Highlands and Island during 1773 and provides a very
interesting account of Scotland at the time of the Highland Clearances.
This is a specific account of the Strathnavar Clearances including some
accounts from people that were forced to leave their lands.
A Balanced View
This is an historical account of the period of the Highland Clearances in
which we see both sides of the event. Some claim that the Clearances were
actually good for Scotland.
This is a small account of where the people emigrated to.
The Testimony of Seonaid Nic Neacail
An account of being cleared.
On Emigration and the State of the Highlands
By The Earl of Selkirk 1805. This really is an excellent account of the
conditions of the Highlands that led to the clearances and emigration. The
Earl of Selkirk also arranged for the new settlement on Prince Edward Island
in Canada and gives a detailed account of it.
And to finish I got a wee article in from Bud White which I thought some cat
lovers might enjoy...
The Creation Myth
On the first day of creation, God created the cat.
On the second day, God created man to serve the cat.
On the third day, God created all the animals of the earth to serve as
potential food for the cat.
On the fourth day, God created honest toil so that man could labor for the
good of the cat.
On the fifth day, God created the sparkle ball so that the cat might or
might not play with it.
On the sixth day, God created veterinary science to keep the cat healthy and
the man broke.
On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but he had to scoop the litter box.
And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)
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