It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
http://www.electricscotland.com/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 - "Ecosse Unique Ltd."
The Flag in the Wind
What is My Tartan? - New Book
Scottish Education - Schools and University, from early times to 1908
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
A Brief History of the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women
The Scottish Country Dance Book
Medieval Scottish Saints
Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph - Video
Bits of Electric Scotland - Desktop
An interesting week coming up next week. I'm heading to the University of
Guelph's MacLaughlin Library on Friday to photograph a couple of books....
Title: Leabhar Comunn nam Fior Gha¨el = The book of the Club of True
Highlanders : a record of the dress, arms, customs, arts and science of the
Author: North, C. N. McIntyre ( Charles Niven McIntyre).
Title: Memoirs Concerning the ancient alliance between the French and Scots
: and the privileges of the Scots in France : faithfully translated from the
original records of the Kingdom of France
Author: Moncrieff, Thomas
Then after the weekend have a meeting with Michael Corish the Canadian
representative of Scottish Enterprise. The a couple of day later will be
back at the Uni of Guelph taking in a talk from Dr. Brad Patterson, Director
of the Irish-Scottish Studies Programme of the Victoria University of
Wellington, NZ about 'Identifying New Zealand's Scots'.
and so I hope between all that I'll have some great information to add to
The following week I'll also be attending a dinner in Toronto with the
Scottish Studies Foundation to meet Professor Robert Cormack from UHI
(University Highlands and Islands, Scotland).
I've converted the "Scotsman in Canada" 2 volume set to .pdf files so that
they can be indexed and thus made searchable. You can see this 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
"Ecosse Unique Ltd"
One of the best ways to experience Scotland is to come here and live as a
native. No, I don’t mean running round the hills wearing a kilt, daubed in
woad and doing your best Braveheart impression. I mean staying in your very
own Scots holiday home, living like the locals and mixing with them in the
pub, the shop and so on.
Jill Bristow set up business as Holiday Cottages in Scotland in the little
Scottish Borders village of Morebattle some thirty years ago, with the aim
of enabling people to have that very special experience and share the
attractions of the country which we all love and know so well. She started
renting a couple of her own cottages, but was then approached by the local
landowner to handle his properties. She subsequently moved to Lilliesleaf,
also in the Scottish Borders, and now, as Ecosse Unique Ltd, offers holiday
homes in beautiful locations all over Scotland, from Walter Scott’s romantic
Borderlands to the windswept Western Isles, from sophisticated, cosmopolitan
Edinburgh to wee crofts nestling deep in Highland glens. All the properties
are carefully inspected and we try to find those that are just a bit
different and special. The Wow! Factor is eagerly sought after.
Like most successful businesses, we started small and grew, but from the
very beginning there was a determination never to lose a uniquely personal
contact with both the cottage owners we work with and the visitors who book
into their properties. One thing you can be sure of – when you call Ecosse
Unique you won’t be dealing with a faceless call centre in Delhi or even
Doncaster. The office is still situated in part of Jill’s house and she
continues to take an active part in its running, assisted by a small and
enthusiastic team. If you want extra details about the cottages, someone in
the office will actually have been there and be able to tell you what you
want to know.
There can be few more satisfying jobs than making it possible for people to
have a good time. We have fun doing so and we pride ourselves on matching
the houses and the visitors, trying to ensure that they go home with the
happiest possible memories of a superb holiday.
All our cottages, castles, large houses and apartments can be found on our
website. We hope to welcome you to one of them.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks edition is by Richard Thomson and he gives a list of blogs that
you can view to see what is going on in the political scene in Scotland. He
has also sent in 5 articles this week which I think is a record for Richard
There is also an interesting article about SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP
celebrating a vote in the European Parliament which paves the way to giving
"uisge beatha Albannach" - Scotch whisky in Gaelic - full recognition in EU
This week Peter is telling us about the Gaelic Mod...
This week, just as the Annual National Conference of the Scottish National
Party finishes in Perth, the Gaelic language comes into its own as the 103rd
Royal National Mod opens in Dunoon. From today (Friday 13 October 2006) the
Cowal peninsula will resound to the sound of Gaelic until Saturday 21
October, as Gaels, young and old, enjoy what is Scotland’s second largest
An Comunn Gaidhealach was formed in 1891 to promote the use and teaching of
Gaelic and held its first Mod in Oban the following year. Now the Royal
National Mod, it is the Scotland’s premier festival of the Gaelic language,
arts and culture, and is held annually in October at different venues
throughout Scotland. Next year the Mod goes to Lochaber where Fort William
will host the event from the 12th to 20th October and in 2008 it will move
to the Central Belt where Falkirk will be the Gaels destination from the
10tth to 18th October. The Mod is competition-based festival which
celebrates the Gaelic language through music, dance, arts and literature.
The Children’s competitions, in particular, attract great attention, and are
obviously much enjoyed by the young Gaels taking part.
Mod 2006 will be on a far greater scale than its 1892 counterpart which was
restricted to a one day event and like all modern festivals, The Mod has its
own fringe! Visit
http://www.the-mod.co.uk for details of all activities at Dunoon.
Some unfair commentators dismiss The Mod as the ‘Whisky Olympics’ and while
it is true that a dram or two will oil the success of the event, there is
much more to The Mod and Gaeldom would be much the poorer without its
showcase. The annual Mod acts as a reminder of our Gaelic heritage and acts
as a visible reminder to all Scots of the important part Gaelic still plays
in Scottish life and what it means to be Scottish. The recent opening of the
new Gaelic school in Glasgow, which takes pupils from nursery school right
through to secondary shows that Gaelic is not yet, thankfully, a dead
But whisky does play a part in this week’s recipe as you can enjoy a taste
of Gaelic in Gaelic Coffee.
Ingredients: 3 dessertspoons Scotch Whisky; 1 level dessertspoon light brown
sugar; fresh, strong coffee; double cream
Method: Heat a stemmed wine glass with hot water and dry quickly. Add the
Whisky and stir in the sugar. Pour in the coffee, leaving an inch below the
rim. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved and pour in the cream over
the back of a teaspoon so that it floats on the surface to the depth of
about half an inch. Enjoy.
And I might add I have had several Gaelic Coffee's over the years and they
are delicious! :-)
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 so not sure when
we'll hear from her.
What is My Tartan?
by Frank Adams FSA Scot. (1896).
As this was a small book I decided to post this up complete.
In offering this little book to my countrymen I express the hope, that it
may encourage the spread of the movement for the revival of the use of the
Highland dress. This movement, I am glad to think, has, during the last fell
years, made considerable progress. The foundation all over our own country,
and also in the Colonies and in America, of Clan Societies, has undoubtedly
raised attention to and enthusiasm for Highland things. This, I trust, will
have the effect of making the term, "Hielan," one of honour, instead of, as
has been too often the case, one of reproach. It is to be hoped, too, that
the rising generation will, as a consequence of this Highland revival, be
led to adopt, as much
as possible, the becoming dress of the Celt in preference to the
uninteresting garb of the Sassenach !
Since my boyhood Highland matters have always had an extreme fascination for
me. The subject, however, which, of all others, I have found the most
engrossing, is that of the Origin of Highland Sunrnames. The excuse for the
publication of this book, therefore, is owing to the following reasons : I
have had, of late years, many enquiries from my friends, for information
regarding the tartan, which they were entitled to wear. I have also met not
a few people, bearing Highland names and fond of things Highland, but who
were entirely ignorant of the fact, that
their names were of Highland origin. Lastly, I have not unfrequently found
people wearing a tartan, totally unconnected with the Clan to which their
I have spared no pains to make as complete ixs possible the list of Septs
of, and dependents on, the Highland Clans. It has, too, been my aim, to
place within the reach of everyone entitled to wear a Clan tartan,
information not only in regard to the tartan of his Clan, but also as to the
arms, badges, slogan, etc., of the Clan, to which he belongs.
It has been my endevour to steer clear of controversial matters, such as the
Chieftainship of the Clan Chattan, Clan MacLean, etc. I wish also to point
out, that, in making up the list of Clan tartans, I have altogether
disregarded the modern tartans of Lowland families, and have confined myself
entirely to names and tartans of Highland Clan origin.
This work is intended as a companion to the handy reference book "The
Scottish Clans and their Tartans") published by Messrs W. & A. K. Johnston,
Edinburgh. By reference to that book and to this little work, which is now
being launched, I hope, that many a person with Highland sympathies, though
ignorant of the Clan to which he belongs, may have his difficulties solved.
The contents of the book include...
Chap. I. - Antiquity of the Highland Garb.
Chap. II. - Antiquity of Tartan .
Chap. III. - Attempts to suppress the Highland Garb.
Chap. IV. - Rise and Decadence of the Highland Clan System.
List of Highland Clans (which have each its own Tartan) showing English and
Highland apellation of the Clans, Clan Arms and origin of the Chief.
A List of Clans, having their own Tartan, but connected with or affiliated
to other Clans.
Designations of Highland Chiefs and Chieftains.
Badges of the Highland Clans.
List of Distinctive Clan Pipe Music.
Slogans (or War-cries) of some of the Highland Clans.
Alphabetical List of Clan Septs and Dependents, showing the Clans with which
they are connected.
A List of Clan Septs and Dependents grouped under the Clans with which they
I have done the book as a single .pdf file so that it can also be indexed
and searched and you can read this book at
Added the poem "Song to the Breeches" by Duncan Ban MacIntyre seeing as it's
referenced in the above book. You can read this 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 22 and here is a bit from chapter 22...
For children of more than average ability there is opened up, through
skilful organisation of advanced subjects, a path by which they can climb to
the higher position for which nature intended them. Whatever room there may
be for difference of opinion as to details, it cannot be doubted that this
is the aim of the Education Department, and that the above is an
approximately correct account of the public schools, which have taken the
place of the old parish schools. In outlying and sparsely populated
districts university subjects are now less taught. For this there are
several reasons; secondary schools and higher grade schools are more
numerous; travelling facilities to educational centres are greater, and a
preliminary examination for entrance into the university - higher than that
for Oxford or Cambridge - makes attendance at a secondary school necessary,
or at least desirable [The first examination in Oxford and Cambridge is not
a real preliminary examination, because many colleges can and do take men
who have not passed it.]. There are also now for clever boys many more
outlets, for which university training is not absolutely required.
Changed social conditions have necessitated the introduction of fresh
subjects - higher English, Nature Study, Science, Shorthand, Drawing, French
and German, &c. - in order to meet the wants of pupils who have no
university aims, and to whom, as prospective skilled artisans, architects,
clerks, business men, and chemists, Latin and Greek are less necessary. At
the same time the lowered estimate of the value of university education for
business men, architects, and chemists, and the falling off in the number of
men students are somewhat disquieting features in Scottish education. In the
last and previous generations, a considerable number of large farmers and
merchants in Aberdeenshire had either graduated, or been at college for at
least two sessions. If the new system should scare away such men, education
and the men themselves will suffer, but the university still more. Hitherto,
when the university has wanted money, it could always get it, for members of
all classes had been through it, and in loyalty to their alma mater
contributed handsomely. It is the general interest thus created that has
enabled Aberdeen, with its small local clientele, to collect for its
re-endowment a sum of £228,000, nearly twice as much as Cambridge has been
able to do in approximately the same time. The women students will not, in
this respect, take the place of men who have ceased to go, and the result
will be a serious national loss.
While we cannot but admire the patience and fidelity, under discouraging
conditions, shown by the typical old parish teacher, and are surprised that
he accomplished so much, it is difficult to resist the impression, that the
constant and unqualified praise which it has been customary to bestow on him
has, if taken as descriptive of the whole of Scotland, been somewhat
overdrawn, and is to a considerable extent a reflected glory from the Dick
Bequest schools, of which a separate account is necessary. Though their
history belongs to both third and fourth periods, it is more conveniently
dealt with under the latter. It is beyond question that, till well towards
the end of the 19th century, graduate parish schoolmasters, except in the
Dick Bequest counties were comparatively rare.
You can read this chapter from the index page for the book at
The whole book can be read at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now on the C's with Corsan, Coupar, Couper, Coutts, Cowan, Craig,
Craigie, Craigingelt and Craik added this week.
Mostly shorter entries this week so here is a complete account of Craig...
CRAIG, a surname derived from a Scottish word meaning a crag or steep rocky
cliff, and often prefixed to the names of places in hilly or mountainous
districts in various parts of Scotland. The name seems to belong
particularly to the north of Scotland, while the surname of Cragie is
derived from an estate in Linlithgowshire. See CRAIGIE, surname of.
In 1335, when the castle of Kildrummy, in Aberdeenshire, was besieged by the
followers of Edward Baliol, Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, William Douglas of
Liddesdale, and the earl of March advanced to its relief with eight hundred
men, natives of the Lothians and the Merse. They were joined by three
hundred men from the territory of Kildrummy, under the command of John
Craig. Surprising the army of Baliol, under the earl of Athol, in the forest
of Kilblean, they signally defeated them, Athol their leader, being among
the slain. Some writers assert that this John Craig was captain of the
garrison at Kildrummy, but Lord Hailes, with more probability, thinks that
the reinforcement which he brought to the patriot army were the vassals of
the earldom of Mar, whereof Kildrummy was the capital messuage, and not a
detachment from the garrison of the castle. Fordun calls the commander
quidam Johannes Crag, which plainly shows that he did not mean to speak of
John Crabbe the Fleming, whom he had previously mentioned; yet later authors
suppose them to have been the same. [Dalrymple’s Annals of Scotland, vol.
ii. p. 185, note.]
Of the name, the Craigs of Riccarton were the most conspicuous family. The
first of it was the distinguished feudal lawyer, Sir Thomas Craig of
Riccarton, of whom a notice is given below. James Craig, the fourth son of
his great grandson, was professor of civil law in the university of
Edinburgh, to which chair he was appointed October 18, 1710. He died in
1732. By his wife, a daughter of Robert Dundas of Arniston, one of the
senators of the college of justice, he had two sons, Thomas, usually styled
“the laird,” and Robert. The two brothers for many years resided together,
and neither ever married. Though very wealthy, they were men of primitive
and simple habits. On the death of the elder brother, Thomas, 22d January,
1814, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, his younger brother, Robert
succeeded him. The latter, who had passed advocate in 1754, was, about the
year 1776, appointed one of the judges of the commissary court, which office
he resigned in 1791. He was a liberal in politics, and in 1795 he published
anonymously at Edinburgh, a pamphlet entitled, ‘An Inquiry into the Justice
and Necessity of the present War with France,’ 8vo, of which a second and
improved edition was published the following year. Its object was to
demonstrate the right which every nation has to remodel its own institutions
and choose its own form of government; referring, by way of precedent, to
the various revolutions which have taken place in Great Britain, without
producing any attempt at interference on the part of other states. He died
on 13th March 1823, at the advanced age of ninety-three. Pursuant to a deed
of entail, Mr. James Gibson, writer to the signet, (afterwards Sir James
Gibson Craig, baronet, the baronetcy being conferred in 1831) succeeded to
the estate of Riccarton, when he assumed the name and arms of Craig. At his
death in 1850, his son, Sir William, became second baronet.
Another family of the name were the Craigs of Dalnair and Costerton,
Mid-Lothian, who became connected by marriage with the Tytlers of
Woodhouselee, Anne Craig, daughter of James Craig, Esq. of Costerton, writer
to the signet, having, in 1745, married the eminent antiquarian writer,
William Tytler of Woodhouselee. She was the mother of Alexander Fraser
Tytler, usually styled Lord Woodhouselee. Her sister, Miss Craig of Dalnair,
married Mr. Alexander Kerr, a wine merchant at Bordeaux, father of James
Kerr, Esq. of Blackshiels. The last of the Dalnair family, Sir James Henry
Craig, K.B., governor-general of British North America, died in 1812.
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 tenth issue of Volume 10 (July 1902) which includes
amongst other articles ones on Lieut.-Colonel John W. M'Farlan of
Ballancleroch, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Scot Abroad, The Dying Gael's
Farewell to Strath Strathie, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, Tp
John MacKay of Hereford, The Martial Music of the Clans, Gillecriosd,
Highland Scenery and Climate in relation to National Music and Poetry, The
Early Celtic Church, Highland Society of London, The Rant of Struan
This issue is at
You can see the issues to date at
Margo has now completed her final book (12) in her Rolphin's Orb series and
you can read up to Chapter 27 at
She also added another story, Walk to the Park, at
Got in a couple of poems from Donna...
Fall 2006 at
Got in a poem, On Turning 60 by William Smith at
A Brief History of the Scottish Ceilidh and Ceilidh Dancing
Our thanks to Scotland's Ceilidh Band for supplying this article and you can
visit their web site at
"An informal social gathering at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music
and singing and folk dancing and even story telling", is how you would find
the word 'ceilidh' described in a dictionary. A Ceilidh (pronounced
"Kay-lay", emphasis on 1st syllable) is many things to many people. It
derives from the Gaelic word meaning a 'visit' and originally meant just
that. It can also mean a 'house party', a 'concert' or more usually an
evening of 'informal Scottish traditional dancing to informal music'.
Ceilidhs in the Lowlands tend to be dances, in the Highlands they tend to be
concerts. Dances in the Highlands and traditional ceilidhs in the Lowlands
are often referred to as 'ceilidh dancing' or 'ceilidh dances'.
Ceilidh dancing is a more relaxed, non-competitive version of Scottish
country dancing. Ceilidh dancing is much less formal - its primary purpose
being the enjoyment of the dance. Scottish Country Dancing is much more
orientated towards being a demonstration or exhibition. Ceilidh dancing over
the last 20 years have become increasingly popular with young people,
particularly students, and often attract from a few dozen people to several
hundred. To many of us, going to a ceilidh goes hand in hand with good
company, fun times and having a laugh while you swing and jig with friends
on the dance floor to great music.
You can read the rest of this article at
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain
Added Book 6 this week which contains...
Return of the czarowitz from Moscow, and his exclusion from the succession.
- His accomplices. - The prince, Mary concerned in it. - The trials of the
czarowitz at Petersburgh. - His death and character. - The Swedish field-marshall
Rheinshield's return home. - Negotiation at Aland, for peace with Sweden,
renewed. - King of Sweden's death. - The death of baron Gortz. - The
fiscal's information against the grandees for misdemeanours, and their
trial. - Prince Gagaren's unaccountable behaviour. - More of the czarowitz's
confererates. - Death of prince Peter Oetrowitz. - Prince Peter Alexowitz
made a seargeant, taught his exercise, and made ensign. - Negotiations for
peace renewed, but fruitless. - The czar resolves to command it. - Memorable
descent on Sweden. - The British fleet come too late. - The czar disgusted
with Britain. - The Jesuits banished. - The czar seized with a fit at Revil.
- General Weyde's illness, and the czar's concern for him. - Affairs of
Sweden. - Marshal Weyde's death. - Ill treatment of his family. - His
funeral. - The czar reproves Menzikoff. - Captain Bruce's inffectual attempt
to quit the Russian service. - The new king of Sweden notifies his
accession. - A second invasion. - The Swedes attack our fleet with loss. -
The czar receives the duke of Holstein into his protection. - Court martial
on lieutenant colonel Graves. A curious lawsuit between two brothers at
Reval. - Fresh preparations against Sweden. - Proposals on their part, for a
cessation of hostilities, rejected. - A third descent on Sweden, which
obliged them to sign the preliminaries, and a child remarkdly preserves. -
The fleet arrive at Petersburgh. - The czar honoured by his senate with the
title of Peter the Great, &c. - A wise reformation in the benefits of the
law. - The captain again refused leave to quit. - Triumphal entry into
Moscow. - A proclamation and oath regarding the succession.
You can read this book 6 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 43 starts which shows how Scots have always been
concerned about taxing their drink :-)
LONG before the outbreak of the Rebellion, the want of adequate church
accommodation was fully recognized by the authorities; and when peace was
restored they adopted measures for obtaining a second place of worship. A
difficulty having been experienced in compensating the inhabitants for their
sacrifices when the town was threatened by the Jacobites, the device was hit
upon of applying to Parliament for authority to levy such a duty on malt
liquor as would discharge these patriotic claims, as well as build the
church. On the 9th of April, 1716, the initiative in this ingenious scheme
was taken by the Council; and when the bill took shape, the Legislature was
asked by it to impose a duty of two pennies Scots on every pint of ale or
beer brewed and sold within the Burgh for the purposes referred to-the
preamble stating as regards one of them, "that the present church doth not
accommodat more than the half of the congregation." In due time the bill was
passed, Government being very willing in this way to acknowledge the loyal
services rendered by the Dumfriesians. In October of the following year,
they were required by the Council to "give in upon oath the accounts of
horse meat and man's meat furnished by them, by the Marquis of Annandale's
order, to the country people in defence of the town, the time of the late
Rebellion, and how much is resting to them unpayd, to the effect ane account
thereof may be laid before the overseer named in the Act of Parliament,
anent the duty lately granted to the Burgh." [The outlay incurred must have
been very heavy: a minute of Council dated 5th November, 1715, states that,
owing to the extraordinary and inevitable expenses "entailed on the town,
the treasurer is intirely exhausted of any effects;" and that he was
authorized to borrow £80 sterling on that account.]
It was a comparatively easy thing for Provost Crosbie and his colleagues to
acquire a right to tax the national beverage, but to enforce the duty was a
different matter. Whilst they were preparing to give it effect, an adverse
storm was brewing among the brewers. What ! Punish the beer-drinking lieges,
and ruin our trade, by your kirk-building schemes? Not, by St. Michael! if
we can help it! Actuated by such a spirit, the malting interest petitioned
against the bill; and when that was of no avail, resolved doggedly and
defiantly to look upon it as a dead letter. At this time there were no fewer
than ninety-one brewers and retailers of ale in the Burgh: some of them had
large establishments; others, little shebeens that could not boast of more
than a couple of barrels each. The rating on the whole of the stock,
numbering 255 1/4 barrels, amounted to £14 for six weeks, which would
realize £112 per annum. About one-third of the trade quietly paid the
impost; the rest offered a sullen, passive resistance; and when a determined
effort was made to overcome their obstinacy, they rose with the occasion,
forcibly encountered his Majesty's representatives, and made the streets
ring with the voice of tumult. A warrant having been granted to distrain
"the goods and cattels" of the recusants to the extent of their liability,
varying from £1 sterling down to 8d., the Burgh officers issued forth on the
8th of April, 1718, to carry it into effect. But the publicans, banded
together, easily beat off the legal emissaries; whereupon the magistrates
personally, accompanied by several burgesses, undertook the perilous task of
poinding the defaulters. Meanwhile a mob of beerloving sympathizers had
rallied round the victuallers, and joined in their cry of free trade in ale
and confusion to the exciseman. The Provost and Bailies, nothing daunted,
pushed forward in the belief that their dread presence would disperse the
clamorous rabble. Vain delusion ! Before the august authorities could, with
official finger, touch a plack's worth of furniture, they were hustled by
the crowd and driven violently from the streets. The magistrates and their
supporters took shelter from the popular storm in the town clerk's chamber;
but as it had not been made, to resist a siege, they were soon joined in
their retreat by the ringleaders of the populace; and though the Riot Act
was read, and the friends of law and order offered a stout resistance, King
Mob became for the time being master of the town and of its rulers, the
latter of whom received no mercy. The rioters first broke the office
windows, next threw stones and softer unsavoury missiles on the inmates; and
having succeeded in forcing the door, they-how shall we tell it!-literally
beat with their irreverent fists the magistrates of the Burgh. After
perpetrating this crowning indignity, the rabble retired triumphant but
appeased; and doubtless would be treated to a supply of "reaming swats that
drank divinely," by those in whose behalf they had fought and conquered.
This serious emeute having been brought under the consideration of the
Council at their next meeting, a resolution was adopted to transmit a report
to the Government regarding it, and to prosecute the rioters at the town's
expense. The brewers, on their part, continued their opposition to the duty,
transferring the war against it from the streets to the Court of Session;
but an amicable interview having been brought about between them and the
magistrates, mutual concessions were made, according to which the litigation
was abandoned, and the obnoxious duty on beer was modified so as to amount
only to "thirteen shillings four pennies Scots upon each barrel, consisting
of twelve gallons, and soe proportionally for greater or lesser quantities,
after deduction of the seventeenth pairt made by wrong valuation, and of two
and ane half of each twentie-three shillings." Though this arrangement does
not seem very intelligible to us, it was deemed satisfactory by the
publicans, who agreed henceforth to pay the duty in peace; and the mollified
magistrates, overlooking the insulting treatment .liven to them, dropped the
criminal process they had raised against the rioters, [A curious compromise
was effected. "The brewers engaged in the late riot agreed to come under the
judgment of the magistrates, while the magistrates engaged to endeavour to
get the diet deserted against them in the Court of Justiciary; each party to
pay the half of the fees to the King's advocate and the clerks of Justiciary
for deserting the diet." The Provost went to Edinburgh, and succeeded in his
mission of getting the diet deserted at an outlay of £8 12s.- Pamphlet by
MR. W. R. M`Diarmid on the Established Churches of Dumfries, pp. 21-2.] and
proceeded with the scheme that had been the innocent cause of all these
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 Elizabeth, Duchess of
Lauderdale (d. 1698) entry...
From the writings of seventeenth-century historians one might imagine their
world to have been a stage devoted exclusively to the performance of
melodrama. They have invested their subject with all the conventional
characteristics of that sensational form of art. Their heroes and heroines
are so heroic as to be scarcely human; their villains and adventuresses are
of the most lurid type. To that front row of stalls from which they viewed
the play, the villain’s raven hair no doubt suggested the blackness of his
heart; the character of the adventuress seemed no less scarlet than her
lips. The very proximity of the spectator exaggerated the virtues or defects
of the various characters, as in a theatre it enhances the redness of the
low comedian’s nose and makes the “heavy father” still more ponderous.
If contemporary critics were too close to the footlights, we, on the other
hand, are certainly too far off to appreciate the charm of subtle effects or
delicate characterisation. Distance may lend enchantment; it supplies
perhaps the advantage of a truer perspective. But to bring the scene closer
there is nothing left save to have recourse to the imagination, at best an
unsatisfactory opera-glass. Only in imagination can we note the emotions of
the principal actors or follow them beyond the limits of that narrow
proscenium within whose bounds history has confined their movements. Some
intimate diarist, and Evelyn or a Pepys, may bid us accompany him to the
players’ dressing-rooms behind the stage; even so, the knowledge that we
gain is but scanty, the glimpse too often misleading. For if the modern
historian is occasionally prejudiced in his views, how much more so must the
contemporary chronicler have been, living as he did in an age when a fair,
unbiased eye and an open mind were not considered qualifications essential
for the writer of history. While the essayist of today may twist his facts
into the shape he requires to prove a paradox – that Henry VIII. was a
perfect lover, or Mary Queen of Scots a model wife – he does not, like the
bygone historian, cherish any personal grudge which can only be paid off at
the expense of truth.
In the seventeenth century, on the other hand, the chronicler did not suffer
from the modern weakness of being able to see both sides of a question.
Consequently, whatever his descriptions lost in fairness, they gained in
strength. He painted his patrons in broad, heroic colours; his foes he
portrayed in harsh outline, black as silhouettes, and with as little of
suggestion or detail. Small wonder, then, if we find it difficult to form
any accurate mental picture of many of the great personages of the past who
are shown to us in such exaggerated colours. A great deal has been written
about some of them, and yet how little do we really know of any single one.
Take, for instance, the case of Elizabeth, Duchess of Lauderdale, a woman
who attained to greater power and position than any other woman (not of
royal blood) in the whole history of Scotland. What do we learn of her
private life, of her real ambitions, of her best side, from the writings of
her contemporaries? Practically nothing. Bishop Burnet has, indeed, left a
very full sketch of her character as it appeared to him. But his drawing is
in many senses a caricature; it is everywhere coloured with the author’s
prejudice and personal spite. Since that time other writers have for the
most part been content to make slavish copies of the bishop’s portrait, if
anything deepening its shadows, certainly imbuing it with no fresh colour.
It is idle to suppose that a woman of so much character and determination,
possessed of such ability and strength of purpose, could have been
altogether bad. There must have been good points about her character which
her contemporaries had neither the grace nor the desire to see. Yet it is
nowhere suggested that the Duchess of Lauderdale was blessed with a single
redeeming quality. It is only when we search her private correspondence that
we can discover a faint trace of that softer side which nature did not deny
to her any more than to less hardened and unscrupulous individuals.
Elizabeth Murray was the elder daughter of William Murray, 1st Earl of
Dysart, by his wife Catherine Bruce, a member of the Clackmannan family.
Lord Dysart was of comparatively humble birth, being the son of a Fifeshire
minister. Educated by his uncle, Thomas Murray, at one time tutor to Prince
Charles, he became in turn “whipping boy” to and intimate friend of the
young prince, who showed his gratitude to the victim of his vicarious
punishments by eventually appointing him to be one of his
gentlemen-of-the-bedchamber. Perhaps the memory of those early flagellations
which he had suffered in Prince Charles’s stead rankled in William’s breast
when he grew up. At any rate he repaid his master’s kindness by selling his
secrets to Parliament for a sum of forty thousand merks, and in many other
ways betrayed the trust which the King was so unwise as to repose in him.
William Murray was, in fact, an ignoble character, unworthy of either
confidence or affection, and his nature was not in any way improved by his
being created Earl of Dysart in 1643. One single good quality he possessed.
Though in his sober moments he was outspoken and indiscreet, in his cups he
became at once reticent and reserved. Luckily, he was generally drunk.
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 completed this book with...
Chapter VIII - Donald Dinnie
Chapter IX - Sandy Mackintosh
Chapter X - The McCombie-Smiths
Here is what it says about Donald Dinnie...
THE marvellous collection of medals depicted opposite this page are surely
unique in the history of Scottish athletes. The actual prizes won by Donald
numbered over ten thousand, so we are glad to give a few words about his
victorious career. Born on the 8th July, 1837, at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, he
soon exhibited great physical strength. His father being a mason and
contractor, Donald became apprenticed to this work, until after
qualification, he carried on similar business by himself. His father came
from Birse in the same county, and was eighty-three when he died in 1891.
Donald was the eldest of six sons, and had four sisters. All the sons
followed their father's occupation, except one, called Walter, who after
being a bank clerk, became a clerk, and later a detective at Scotland Yard,
rising eventually to the rank of inspector.
In 1869 Donald had an hotel for three years at Kincardine O'Niel, before
keeping the Royal Ury Hotel at Stonehaven. Here he made money with a posting
business and funeral undertaking, and subsequently bought the Kintore Arms
Hotel at Auchinblae, setting up a larger establishment than was justified by
the resulting business. Either the neighbours did not die in sufficient
numbers, or preferred to dispense with hearse and horses when their time
came. Anyhow, he was not successful, and went farther afield. He is reported
to have negotiated for the purchase of a nice hotel in Dundee, and only to
have given up the idea when he found it was impossible to swing a hammer in
the back yard. Donald denied this story himself, saying his reason for not
taking it was its only having a public-house and not a full hotel licence.
In 1870 he was invited by the Caledonian Clubs in America to go over to the
States, and he defeated the best athletes there and in Canada. In 1872 he
paid the States another visit, this time with James Fleming of Ballingling.
He remained in Scotland ten years after that, until his next visit abroad,
which included Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Natal, and Cape Colony.
He went into the hotel and posting business in the Colonies, and also had
several prize-winning trotters. His last house was a restaurant at Auckland.
His return to Scotland was the cause of great personal disappointment. The
result of his appearance in many of the scenes of his former triumph was
such as barely covered his expenses. For twelve months he kept dining-rooms
in Crookston Street, and later on in Old Govan Road, Glasgow, within pistol
shot of where, twenty-five years previously, he had won more money in one
day than he then took for a whole week. Fish and chips next-but let us turn
from this (although in pantomime and elsewhere the reference frequently
causes a smile), to the brighter side of his history.
With a height 6 feet, chest 48 inches, and thigh of 26½ inches, he had a
calf of 17¼ inches. In proper training his weight was 15 stone. His swarthy
complexion and piercing eyes were characteristic of his nature, and all his
life he stuck to the kilt.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the book at
The Scottish Country Dance Book
Have added Book 3 to this collection and I have one more to add which I hope
to get up next week. You can see this issue at
Have now made a start at getting up some songs from the 5th volume of this
publication where all songs have the sheet music to go with them. This week
I got up...
My Peggy's Face
Bonnie Wee Thing
You can see these at
You can see the whole publication at
Medieval Scottish Saints
A talk given by Lindsay Iirvin at the Scottish Studies Fall Colloquium, 30
Sept. 2006. It starts...
Often when I reveal that one of my primary research interests is Scottish
saints, I am met with expressions of confusion, sometimes even expressions
of doubt that there were saints north of the English border. Although the
number of individuals venerated as saints who can be claimed by Scotland
pales in comparison to the host of men and women who sought the ascetic
lifestyle in the “desert” of Ireland or were killed for their faith on the
Continent, Scotland’s saints should not be dismissed or ignored due to their
small number. This morning I would like to share with you information about
the most prominent Scottish saints—Ninian, Columba, Kentigern, and Margaret,
as well as touch on the process by which a Galilean fisherman became the
patron saint of a small country in the middle of the North Sea.
The primary sources I will refer to are works of hagiography, or literature
about the saints. Hagiography was not written to be an historically
accurate biography as we would think of today, but was intended to provide
examples of exceptional individuals who led lives devoted to religion and
good works. Saints’ Lives usually include fantastic stories about
miraculous events intended to grab the attention of the audience and
encourage pilgrimage to a saint’s shrine.
You can read the rest of this talk at
Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph
David Hunter, President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, went to the
Scottish Studies Dept. at the University of Guelph to do a short video of
what goes on there. He interviewed the local Professor, lecturers and
students and produced a video of his visit. David has now made this
available to broadband users 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 "Desktop" section at
Essentially this page was really put up for personal reasons as it is just a
collection of utilities that I use myself from time to time.
When you go there you will find...
A link to our Scottish Events Calander
Figured this was a useful link to find any Scottish events if I was
A World Time calculator
So I can figure what the time it is in any major city around the world.
Get your Sun/Chinese Sign
Just thought this was an interesting facility.
Get Driving Directions
I used this to figure out how to get from Chatham in Canada to Stone in
Kentucky in the USA and it worked a treat.
Useful if you are travelling to other countries.
People Finder for the UK
Figured this would be a useful facility.
Basic calculator with Memory function.
Roman Numerel convertor
You've no idea how many times I use this feature!
Link to Martindale's "The Reference Desk"
Always liked this site and it provides tons of information.
Link to My Virtual Reference Desk
Likewise with this link.
Free Translation Service
Great facility to translate a phrase or a word.
Dictionary & Thesarus
Just figured this was a useful tool.
Crossword of the Day
I liked this one as I could sometimes actually complete it :-)
Streetmap search engine for the UK
Good facility of you are looking for street or road maps of the UK.
Internet Security Alert
A feed from Symantec
Flight Status Search engine
Meeting someone at the airport? You can check if the flight is on time or
And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)
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