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
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
Poems and Stories
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands (New Book)
Scotland in the Middle Ages
My Canadian Journal
Buddhism in Scotland
The Highland Targe
I was away to Toronto this week attending a meeting with the Scottish
Studies Foundation and Society. As well as other things being discussed we
were of course talking about the Tartan Day Dinner in Toronto on 18th April.
You can book your tickets online at
This event is always well attended and everyone enjoys it so if you are near
Toronto do try and come :-)
I headed out on Tuesday and got back around 4pm on Thursday so lots to do
now I've got back. I have arranged to get a copy of the History of Scotland
by Tytler which is a 6 volume set. The historians I have spoken to all seem
to agree that this is the best of the histories of Scotland and so it should
add good quality content to the site. I have noted there are numerous
footnotes in this publication so will likely scan them in as Adobe acrobat
I will be starting a couple of new books next week both on the Scots-Irish
in America. One is a short book giving us an overview and the other is about
the First Congress of the Scots-Irish in America in May, 1889. Hope you'll
enjoy these. I am also looking at starting the book "Romance of War or The
Highlanders in Spain" which I think will provide some interesting insights
into that time period.
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
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
It's Ian Goldie's turn this week and amongst other articles he includes some
heavy statistics on how the various European countries fair when it comes to
Economic and Social life. An interesting read.
In Peter's cultural section it's kind of him to acknowledge our own 10th
anniversary and he talks about the 721st anniversary of the death of
Alexander III which deserves to be read again...
This week, as we approach the 721st anniversary of the death of Alexander
III, King of Scots and the end of the period known as The Golden Age, we
reprint an article which appeared on Electric Scotland. We also extend
congratulations to Alastair McIntyre on reaching the tenth anniversary of
his splendid Electric Scotland website.
The Golden Age
In Scotland the 19th of March 1286, after a stormy night gave way to a
Spring-like day with no sign of any further storm. At Dunbar Castle, Earl
Patrick and his household dismissed the prophesy, made the previous evening
by Thomas of Erchildoun, Thomas the Rhymer, that
Alas for the morrow, day of misery and calamity! Before the hour of noon
there will assuredly be felt such a mighty storm in Scotland that its like
has not been known for long ages past. The blast of it will cause nations to
tremble, will make those who hear it dumb, and will humble the high, and lay
the strong level with the ground.
As noon approached Earl Patrick and his household, having watched the sky
all morning for the prophesied storm, dismissed Thomas the Rhymers warning
and went in to dinner. They had barely sat down as the clock pointed to noon
when a messenger knocked on the Castle gate demanding entrance to see the
Earl. He was admitted and gave his urgent news
News, he said, I have indeed, and evil news, which the whole realm of
Scotland will mourn; for alas! its noble King ended his life yesternight at
Kinghorn: and this I am come to tell you.
The Earl Patrick rose and smote his breast, acknowledging that indeed Thomas
of Erchildoun was all too true a prophet. Indeed as the messenger said all
Scotland would mourn the loss of Alexander III, whose death marked the end
of the direct line of Scottish Kings descended from Kenneth MacAlpine. His
death marked a turning point in Scottish History and his reign was to be
seen by future generations, poets and historians, as The Golden Age.
Alexander III had succeeded his father, Alexander II, in 1249 at the age of
seven. At fifteen he took over the reins of government from his Regents and
proved to be a wise and capable King. He acted, much in the way of a modern
President or Prime Minister, in binding the Nation together, building upon
the foundations laid by his father. He presided over a Scotland largely at
peace, and with peace came prosperity and an expansion of the Burghs and
trade. Indeed Berwick alone, the chief Scottish Burgh of Alexanders day,
had customs equal to a quarter of all the customs of England. The whole
Nation prospered as never before.
No King of Scots, before or since, ever did more for the welfare of his
realm. He was known as The Peaceable because apart from freeing the
Hebrides from Norse rule he led his people into no war. Thanks to Alexander
peace with Scotlands larger and more powerful neighbour England was
He firmly believed in the Independence of Scotland and of the Scots. He
successfully withstood false claims of sovereignty by England, both by his
father-in-law Henry III and his brother-in-law Edward I.
The years of peace and rising prosperity gave Scotland, a foundation of
unity, and a feeling of Scottishness and a spirit that she never had before.
If after his untimely death, William Wallace and Andrew de Moray rallied a
Nation against English oppressors, and Robert I was able to regain Scottish
Independence, it was Alexander III who had made that Nation and made his
fellow Scots realise the need for a separate Scotland.
On the 18th of March 1286 that Independence was not threatened. Alexander
was in good health and firmly in control. That fateful day he held council
in Edinburgh Castle, debating a reply to an embassy from the English King
Edward I, a debate that went on until late in the afternoon. Alexander was
said to be in good humour at the conclusion of the meeting and after eating
he set off in the evening to return to Fife where his second wife, of six
months, Yolande, awaited his return.
His nobles tried to persuade him to stay in Edinburgh, as it was an evening
of stormy weather, bitterly cold with a strong wind from the north bearing
rain and snow. But the King was determined to return to Kinghorn and rode to
Queensferry. There the Ferryman tried to persuade him not to cross the
gurlie waters of the Forth but to no avail. In an eight-oar ferry Alexander
made a slow crossing of the Firth of Forth, as the oarsmen struggled against
the elements. Eventually Alexander III and three esquires arrived at the
Fife Burgh of Inverkeithing.
In a pit-mirk night, which was so dark that the Inverkeithing Saltmaster
only recognised his King by his voice, his pleas to travel no further were
rejected by Alexander. The King was determined to finish his journey and
asked for two guides. Off they rode but in the darkness the King and his
companions were separated and as he pressed onwards alone, and almost at his
destination, Alexanders horse stumbled in the sand and threw him to his
His body was found in the morning and messengers dispatched with the sad
news .His death was indeed mourned all over his Kingdom, as Alexander the
Peaceable was held in such high esteem and love by his fellow Scots.
With the long and bloody Wars of Independence which followed his death, it
is little wonder that Scots would look back on Alexanders reign as The
Golden Age and remember the canto, by an unknown hand, recorded in Wyntons
Quhen Alysandyr oure Kyng wes dede,
That Scotland led in luve and le,
Away wes sons off ale and brede,
Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle;
Oure gold wes changyd in to lede.
Cryst, borne in to Vyrgynyte,
Succoure Scotland and remede,
That stad [is in] perplexyte.
Seven hundred years on, Scots still look back for inspiration to Alexanders
Golden Age, when Scotland was Independent and prosperous, for as the
Historian James Halliday has written Scotlands luck died with Alexander at
Kinghorn and never the slightest whiff of good fortune was to come the way
of the Scottish people for the next seven centuries.
The Golden Age is still remembered. Every March Scots gather at the memorial
to Alexander III, which stands between Burntisland and Kinghorn in Fife, to
pay tribute to his achievements.
The 2007 commemoration and wreath-laying will be held on Sunday 25 March at
3pm all welcome.
Dates play a major part in the cultural section of The Flag as it starts
with the ever-expanding Scottish History time-line under Notable Dates.
Our recipe this week concerns a totally different kind of date one that
you can chew rather than try to remember!
Ingredients: 6 oz plain flour; 3oz coconut; 6 oz chopped dates; 6 oz caster
sugar; 1 egg; 3 oz margarine; 1 rounded dessertspoon syrup
Method: Preheat oven Gas Mark 3. Sift flour then stir in coconut and dates.
Melt sugar, margarine and syrup in a pan, stirring over a gentle heat. Beat
into dry ingredients with beaten egg. Bake for 45 minutes in a Swiss roll
tin, Cut into squares when still warm.
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and
lots more at
You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary at
Email Linda at
We did get in a two week diary entry since the last newsletter :-)
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Now moved onto the F's and added this week are Forman, Forrest, Forrester
Here is how the Forrester entry starts...
FORRESTER, a surname of great antiquity, originally derived from the office
of keeper of the kings forests, as appears from their armorial bearings,
hunting horns. There was an ancient family of this name, designed of Renton,
in Berwickshire, which several centuries since terminated in an heiress, who
married Elim of Elimford. From the latter family the estate again passed
with another heiress to the Homes. [Nisbets Heraldry, vol. i. p. 432.] From
another old family of the name, Forrester of Carden in Stirlingshire, the
Forresters of Denovan were descended. A son of one of the Forresters of
Carden married about 1496 the heiress of Strathenries of that ilk, and the
estate continued in the name of Forrester till the reign of King Charles the
Second, when a younger son of Douglas of Kirkness married the heiress, and
got the lands. In the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Seventh, a
Sir Andrew Forrester was under secretary of state.
FORRESTER, Lord, a title in the Scottish peerage, now merged by marriage in
the English family of Grimston, earl of Verulam and Viscount Grimston. The
immediate ancestor of the Lords Forrester was Sir Adam Forrester, a wealthy
burgess of Edinburgh, who, in the reign of King David Bruce, in 1365,
obtained a charter, under the great seal, of lands at Whitburn, in the
constabulary of Linlithgow, with remainder to his heirs male, &c., and in
1370, during the reign of the same monarch, on the resignation of William de
Seton, received another charter of lands at Nudriff or Niddery, in the same
constabulary, with like remainder. He was possessed of an immense estate,
having got from King Robert the Second no less than six charters, under the
great seal, of different lands and baronies, and is supposed to have
acquired the greater part of his fortune by trading with England. In the
Rotuli Scotiae we find a license granted to him to bring grain into
Scotland, without payment of duty. In 1373 he was provost of Edinburgh, and
in 1382 sheriff of Lothian. The barony of Corstorphine near Edinburgh, which
became the chief designation of his family, he acquired in 1376 from
Gilchrist More, brother of Sir William More of Abercorn. On the accession of
Robert the Third, in 1390, Sir Adam was appointed lord privy seal, and
between the years 1391 and 1404 he was employed no less than seven times in
negociating treaties between England and Scotland. In 1402 he was present at
the battle of Homildon Hill, where he was taken prisoner, and, with several
others, was presented to King Henry the Fourth, in full parliament, when he
made a speech showing the advantages of a solid and durable peace between
the two kingdoms. He was soon exchanged, and in 1405 became depute
chamberlain of the southern division of the kingdom, under the earl of
Buchan, eldest son of the regent Robert Duke of Albany. He died the same
year, and was buried in the chapel of St. John the Baptist at Corstorphine.
He was twice married; first, to Agnes, daughter of John Dundas of Fingask;
and, secondly, to a lady whose Christian name was Margaret, but whose
surname is not known, and had two sons.
Sir John Forrester, the elder son, in 1407 got a charter from the regent
Robert duke of Albany, of the barony of Uchtertyre in Stirlingshire. He
succeeded his father in the office of depute chamberlain of the southern
division of the kingdom. After 1408 he acted as depute chamberlain of the
whole kingdom, under the earl of Buchan, during whose absence in France he
appears to have performed all the functions of lord high chamberlain. In
1416 he was appointed one of the commissioners for treating with the English
about the release of King James the First, and in 1421 he was constituted
lord privy seal by the regent Murdoch duke of Albany. In 1423 he became one
of the hostages for the kings liberation, which was effected the following
year. By that monarch he was so highly esteemed that on his return to
Scotland he appointed h im master of his household, an office then first
instituted. The earl of Buchan being killed at the battle of Verneuil in
Normandy, Sir John was made lord high chamberlain in 1425, and by King James
he was continually employed in negociations with the English. He was one of
the jury on the trial of Murdoch duke of Albany in May 1425. In 1429 he
founded and endowed the collegiate church of Corstorphine, and dedicated it
to St. John the Baptist, for a provost, five prebendaries, and two singing
boys. He died in 1440, and was buried in the chancel of the collegiate
church which he had founded, and which is now the parish church of
Corstorphine. The coat of arms of the family of Forrester is everywhere
dispersed over the building, and within the church, in niches, are several
monumental remains of this family, with effigies cut in stone, as large as
life. The male figures are covered with complete armour, and the female
appear richly ornamented according to the fashion and dress of the times. He
had two sons, Sir John, his successor, and Henry, styled of Liberton.
You can read more of this entry at
You can read the other entries at
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
Added the October 1912 issue at
Mr Donald MacKay of Edinburgh, After Culloden, To what Clan did Lord Clyde
belong?, The Fernaig MS, Notes on the Celtic year, Clan Alpin's Vow, Beauly
Priory and its associations, Gaelic Proverbs, Clan MacFarlane, The
Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Rev. Murdo Lamont, Celtic Notes and
Queries, Our musical page, The days of the week in Gaelic.
You can see the issues to date at
The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.
Added this week are...
The History of Tennessee - Chapter III
Tennessee as a part of the Confederacy, 1861 - 1865
The History of Tennessee - Chapter IV
Tennessee since the War, 1865 - 1909
The History of Florida - Chapter I
Florida, 1512 - 1819
The History of Florida - Chapter II
Florida, 1819 - 1861
Here is how Chapter I - The History of Florida starts...
Discovery and Exploration.
AS a term in the geography of Spanish-America, Florida included all the
eastern coasts of the present United States, from Mexico on the south to New
France on the north, and extended into the interior north and west to a
distance unknown and undefined. Consequently many of the early events of
history that are mentioned in connection with Florida would, under later
nomenclature, be placed in parts of the territory now known to us as
Virginia, Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf states. In this article we shall,
so far as possible, confine our story to the actual territory comprised in
the present state of Florida.
After the discovery of the islands of the West Indies, as they came to be
called, and the exploitation of Mexico by the Spaniards, the superior
attractions of these regions drew the voyagers that followed Columbus away
from the northwest, and it is to be noted that Balboa had discovered the
Pacific Ocean before any European of the time had put foot upon any part of
this territory. Claims are made that Sebastian Cabot had explored, or at
least seen, these shores nearly or quite as far south as Cape Hatteras, but
as these claims rest on a single paragraph in the Hakluyt translation of
Peter Martyr's travels, the evidence is insufficient to take from Juan Ponce
de Leon the honor of having been the first European to land upon the soil of
the future United States.
Ponce de Leon had been among the early colonists of Hispanola, having come
thither with Columbus on his second voyage, but on the return of Columbus to
Spain De Leon remained as an officer under Ovando, upon whose recommendation
he was made governor of the Island of Porto Rico, a position he held for
twelve years. His administration was marked by all the qualities that make a
successful commander and colonizer, and he soon brought the country under
subjection and made it highly productive and profitable. As was the practice
of the day, however, he was forced to make way for a court favorite who
desired to gain riches quickly.
De Leon was born in 1460, and was now over fifty years of age. Although he
had amassed considerable wealth in the course of his public employments, he
was not nearly as rich as some of his contemporaries, so it is probable that
the approach of old age and a desire for greater possessions made him an
eager listener to the tales that were in circulation concerning a not very
distant island called Bimini, where, in addition to fabulous deposits of
gold, was a spring whose waters were capable of restoring to age and
decrepitude the form and vigor of youth. So in the spring of 1513 De Leon
sailed from Porto Rico with a charter from the king authorizing him to
search for and settle the mythical island.
For some weeks he sailed about among the Bahama Islands, to find that his
longed-for island seemed further away the longer he sailed, so with hopes
crushed he abandoned cruising in the original direction and turned almost
directly westward toward a land he must have heard about while sailing among
the islands. On March 27 he sighted a low-lying shore, splendid with the
early bloom and luxuriance of a sub-tropical flora, and as it was the Easter
season of the year, the Pascua Florida or Pascua des flored of the Spanish,
he called the newly discovered island, as he supposed it to be, Florida. He
sailed north looking for a suitable harbor, so that it was not until the 2d
of April that he landed at a point near the place where St. Augustine now
stands. He then took formal possession of the country for the king of Spain
by the right of discovery, unfurled the royal standard and set up a cross.
For eight weeks or more the explorer skirted the shores of this new world,
sailing south and west as far as Apalache Bay, and without making any
attempt to found a settlement because of the hostility of the natives, he
returned to Porto Rico with no more profitable result of his journey than
the announcement that another island had been added to the Spanish realm.
This, however, was not of sufficient importance to save the disappointed man
from the attacks of the wits of the day, and he was most unmercifully
lampooned and twitted for his failure to return as a youth in his prime.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The book index page is at
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)
Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to the
District Sketches which contain a ton of genealogical information. You can
read the chapters at
The Districts added this week are...
General Sketches of the French Districts
Here is how the account of General Sketches of the French Districts
We regret greatly that we were not vouchsafed the necessary information for
a detailed history of the pioneer settlers of these fine French communities.
A special editor, was, with our hearty approbation, named and appointed to
write up these important settlements of the county. This gentleman was
selected for that work because he was a native of those districts, could
speak the language of the people and interpret accurately their ideals and
inspirations; and because he was highly competent in all other respects to
perform creditably the labors and duties involved. But, unfortunately, this
well qualified co-operator, was not able, owing no doubt to the pressure of
imperative official demands, to attend to this optional and silent service
We mention this circumstance not at all by way of imputing blame to the
gentleman referred to. Far from it. We know from experience the vice-like
grasp in which public officials are often held. They are servants of supreme
authority. We know also, that but few busy men among us are particularly
prone to impose on themselves serious voluntary burdens, for no more
tangible reward than "The still, sad, music of humanity."
All the same, for the sake of this work, for the sake of the noble legions
of the North, we deplore the fact that our esteemed friend could not have
been permitted to give us the great assistance which he was so well-fitted
to give, and we were so eager to get.
That portion of this country lying between the Harbor and River of Margaree
and the borders of Pleasant Bay is inhabited exclusively by people of French
descent. At the time of the drastic expulsion of the Acadians quite a number
of the French escaped and sought asylum in Prince Edward Island. Later on
some of these crossed over to the northern shores of Inverness county. On
the disastrous day of Louisburg in 1758 many of the French there dispersed
into various ports of possible safety on our Island coast. Quite a number
came to Arichat and adjoining haven's. From these points proceeded
subsequently a goodly number of the early settlers of Margaree and Cheticamp.
The plight of these initial Inverness settlers of the French race was harder
and more pathetic than that of the Scotch and Irish. The latter races came
here of their own accord as ordinary immigrants, and were prepared to accept
whate'er the fates would give them under their own flag. The French were
driven here by the sword of conquest, and thus the conquered were compelled
to seek shelter and sympathy under the heel of the conquerors. The ancestors
of these French pioneers had long been the owners and masters of Cape Breton
Island. They lost their title and hard won homes and possessions by ruthless
force of arms. And hither they came in flight into the forest fastnesses of
the victors, appealing, as a last resort, from Philip drunk to Philip sober.
Luckily for the county of Inverness the appeal was allowed; and these
defeated and dispersed Frenchmen have become an asset of value and lustre in
our British and Canadian citizenship.
To any man who would ask us what these people have done in the development
of Inverness we should say, go there and see. Standing there with your eyes
open, if you want to see their monument look around you. There is not a
piece of ground in Cape Breton Island, barring towns created by special and
concerted industries, that maintains so many people in comfort and
contentment as do these Acadian settlements. The people here are true types
of the thrifty Gauls of the homeland. They are quick, alert, industrious,
emotional, resourceful, and polite to the last ditch.
You the rest of this chapter at
You can read the rest of the chapters at
Started work again on the final volume 6 of this publication complete with
sheet music. The index page is at
To volume 6 I added...
The Boatie Rows
Kind Robin Lo'es Me
Farewell To Fiunary
Over The Sea
The Gloomy Night Is Gath'ring Fast
Auld Lang Syne
You can see these at
The Auld Lang Syne song comes with 11 pages of sheet music and is the final
song in the 6 volume set. I just need to post up the glossary and index to
complete this and that will likely go up in the next day or so. I figure
this has taken 3 years to get up but finally offers a great collection of
Scottish songs with their sheet music. I had hoped to bring you some Bagpipe
sheet music as well but still finding issues of copyright on what I have
found so far.
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Added another issue of this newspaper...
April 30, 1891 at
Feature story this week is about Miss Jessie Alexander of Toronto who
apparently won over many audiences in Canada and the USA.
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
by Henri Hubert (1934).
Added this week...
The Celts in the West. Italy and Spain - Part B
I. The Belgae in Italy. II. The Belgae in Spain. The Celtiberians. III. The
Celts in the Punic Wars.
These are all .pdf files for which you need the Acrobat reader.
You can read this at
Poems and Stories
Margo has continued her series "Apollo's Soldiers" at
Margo has send in more Children's poems which you can read at
And the Innkeeper... Steve May.. sent in a poem called "The Other Man" which
you can read at
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
by Charles St. John (1878).
Have made more progress with this book which you can read at
Crossbills: Habits of; Nest Snowy Owl Great-eared Owl Hoopoe Shrike
Tawny and Snow Buntings Lizards Singular Pets Toads: Utility of;
Combats of Adders Dog and Snakes Large Snake Blind-Worm.
On the Peculiarities and Instinct of different Animals Eggs of Birds
Nests Feeding habits The beaks of Birds Wings of Owl Instinct in
finding Food Ravens Knowledge of Change of Weather Fish.
The Eagle: Habits; Greediness; Anecdotes of; Killing Eagles; Trapping; Food
of The Peregrine Falcon: Manner of Hunting Tame Falcon: Anecdotes of
Guinea-Hen and Ducks The Osprey The Kite: Trapping The Buzzard: Nests
and Habits of.
The Hen Harrier: Destructiveness to game; Female of Trapping The
Sparrowhawk: Courage of; Ferocity; Nest The Kestrel: Utility of The
Merlin: Boldness The Hobby Increase of small Birds.
The Otter: Habits Catching of Shooting Attachment to each other
Anecdotes Fish killed by.
Weasels Ferrets: Fierceness of Anecdotes Food of Weasels Manner of
Hunting for Prey The Stoat: Change of Colour Odour of Food of Their
catching Fish: Polecat The Marten Cat Habits Trapping Eating Fruit
Activity of: Different Species.
Here is a wee bit about the weasel from Chapter XIII...
THE bloodthirstiness and ferocity of all the weasel tribe is perfectly
wonderful. The proverb "L'appιtit vient en mangeant" is well applied to
these little animals. The more blood they spill, the more they long for, and
are not content till every animal that they can get at is slain. A she
ferret, with a litter of young ones, contrived to get loose a few nights
back, and instinctively made her way to the henhouse, accompanied by her six
kittens, who were not nearly half-grown, indeed their eyes were not quite
open. Seven hens and a number of tame rabbits were killed before they were
discovered; and every animal that they killed, notwithstanding its weight
and size, was dragged to the hutch in which the ferrets were kept, and as
they could not get their victims through the hole by which they had escaped
themselves, a perfect heap of dead bodies was collected round their hutch.
When I looked out of my window in the morning, I had the satisfaction of
seeing four of the young ferrets, covered with blood, dragging a hen (who I
had flattered myself was about to hatch a brood of young pheasants) across
the yard which was between the henhouse and where these ferrets were kept;
the remainder of them were assisting the old one in slaughtering some white
rabbits. Their eagerness to escape again, and renew their bloody attacks,
showed the excited state the little wretches were in, from this their first
essay in killing.
In the same way the wild animals of the tribe must be wofully destructive
when opportunity is afforded them. Sitting opposite a rabbit-hole, I one day
saw a tiny weasel bring out four young rabbits one after the other, and
carry, or rather drag them away one by one towards her own abode in a cairn
of loose stones; and, a few days ago, I saw one bring three young landrails
in as many minutes out of a field of high wheat. In fact, as long as she can
find an animal to kill, so long will a weasel hunt, whether in want of food
or not. I have frequently seen a weasel, small as he is, kill a full-grown
rabbit. The latter is sometimes so frightened at the persevering ferocity of
his little enemy, that it lies down and cries out before the weasel has come
up. Occasionally these animals join in a company of six or eight, and hunt
down rabbit or hare, giving tongue and tracking their unfortunate victim
like a pack of beagles.
There is no doubt that in some degree they repay the damage done to game, by
the number of rats and mice which they destroy (the latter being their
favourite food). The weasel will take up its abode in a stack-yard, living
on the mice and small birds that it catches for some time, and the farmer
looks on it as a useful ally; till, some night, the mice begin to grow
scarce, and then the chickens suffer. Eggs, fresh and rotten, are favourite
dainties with the weasel.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
Scotland in the Middle Ages
Sketches of Early Scotch History and Social Progress by Cosmo Innes
(Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh. 1860).
I have up Chapters 2, 3 and 4 this week...
Chapter II - Introductary (Pages 35 - 76)
Growth of the feudal system Later Carlovingians without power The feudal
vassals become independent Countsof Paris Hugh Capet crowned king of the
French Settlement of the Normans in France Old Britain; what remains of
Ante-Roman Britain Language, Institutions The Normans in France Their
change of manners when settled Readily adopt feudalism and the privileges
of seignory The Romans in Britain Their civilization Roman villas in
Britain Roman towns, roads, bridges Britain Christianized Roman
colonization gave no independence or self-government Roman civilization
obliterated The Saxons in Britain Hengist and Horsa apocryphal Jutes
Angles Saxons Other Teutons Frisians King Arthur the only British
hero Anglo-Saxon institutions King Hereditary nobility, Thane,
Alderman Churl Serf Property of the soil Folcland Bocland
Subdivisions and meetings Scir-gemot Great assembly of the nation
Christianity restored Wholesale conversions Edwin of Northumbria Caefi,
the high priest Rome endeavours to win over the British Bishops In vain
Saxon missionaries on the Continent Alfred Cnut The Danes and
English The Norman conquest The Normans in England Composition of the
army of invasion Causes of its success Why the Anglo-Saxon language and
institutions prevailed over those of the conquerors.
Chapter III - Scotland Earliest History (Pages 77 - 117)
Earliest Writing Charters Chronicles Old Scotch collections of laws
The Berne MS. The Ayr MS. Materials of early history State papers from
Alexander III. Records of Parliament from Robert I. Barbour, Wyntoun,
Fordun Scotland in the twelfth century Scots Picts Lothian The
Norse settlement Strath-Clyde Cumbria Language of old Scotland, Celtic
After Malcolm Canmore, tendency to anglicize Scotch princes anglicizing
The Scotch courtiers and settlers all Saxon or Teutonic Northumberland
under David I. Walter Espec at the battle of the Standard David's troops
The Galwegians The Scots Bruce at the battle of the Standard Early
Christianity Saint Ninian Columba Iona Conversion of Northumbria
The see of Lindis-farne founded AEdan Bishop of Lindisfarne St.
CuthbertIona the source of Christianity in Scotland The Culdees Their
later irregularities Ancient Bishoprics restored by David I. Munificence
to the Church David I. His character.
Chapter IV - Scotland in the time of David I. (Pages 118 - 147)
Short period of prosperity under Macbeth David's reign the beginning of a
new policy and of long prosperity Royal progresses Great officers of
state The king's household Sources of revenue Demesne lands Burghs
Feudal casualties Customs and duties Fines and escheats Items of royal
expenditure Warlike defence Hunting and hawking Gardening The king's
tailor Gascon wine Meat Salted marts Fish Country life of the king
Royal parks At Stirling At Jedburgh Nobles of the Scotch court
Great earls of Stratherne The Bruces The Stewarts and their followers
Knightly occupations War The chase The Stewarts' preserved forest and
park Studs of horses The Church The secular clergy Parish churches
bestowed on monasteries The Church Monachism in Scotland Monasteries
Their education Schools The arts and trades practised in the Convent
Life in the Convent Early rental of Kelso Rural population under the
monks Nativi Serfs Price of serfs Serfs emancipated by the Church
Some light on the condition of serfs Emancipation of serfs Agriculture
Roads Carriages Mills Agriculture of the monks.
Here is a bit from Chapter III...
Perhaps it does not require much apology when I request your attention to
that part of European policy, which was developed in our own country. I
cannot think that even among strangers, the history of Scotland could be
regarded as uninteresting. We know that it is not the mere size, or
population, nor the actual power of a nation, that gives it a prominent
place in the history of mankind, since the little provinces and single
cities of Greece have made an impression on the history of the world, which
nothing else can rival, and which time cannot efface.
An English writer an English lady speaking of her own country, has
challenged a comparison even with the ancients: "Nor is it only valour and
generosity that renowne this nation. In arts wee have advanced equall to our
neighbors, and in these that are most excellent, exceeded them. The world
hath not yielded men more famous in navigation, nor ships better built or
furnisht. Agriculture is as ingeniously practised. The English archery were
the terror of Christendom, and their clothes the ornament. But these low
things bounded not their I. great spirits. In all ages, it hath yielded men
as famous in all kinds of learning as Greece or Italy can boast of." [Mrs.
I venture to claim a part of the same character for Scotland. If it has been
denied to our country to create and perfect art, and to preserve immortal
thoughts in language as immortal, we have yet been allowed to treasure up
some associations with our bygone events, which have commanded a sympathy
far beyond our political influence or the spread of our language. Our poor
and narrow country has developed principles and feelings that know no limits
of time or space; and our history and literature are regarded, if I am not
mistaken, with a heartier sympathy over the civilised world, than those of
many countries of the greatest political importance.
We have no extant Scotch writing, so early as the reign of Malcolm Canmore,
who died in the . year 1093. That the art of writing was known and practised
among us to a small extent before, we cannot doubt; but it was probably used
only for books connected with the Church, its forms and service. At least
there is no evidence of the existence, so early as that reign, of any
charter, record, or chronicle. The oldest Scotch writing extant, is a
charter by King Duncan (not "The gracious Duncan," murdered by Macbeth, but
his grandson, who reigned in 1095), granted to the monks of St. Cuthbert of
Durham. It is kept in the treasury of Durham, and is in perfect
preservation. The rude pinning of a seal to it has raised some suspicion
with regard to its genuineness; but I think without foundation. The
appending of the seal is apparently a modern and clumsy attempt to add a
sort of authentication, which the charter did not want. It is executed in
the Anglo-Saxon manner, by the granter and the several witnesses affixing
their crosses, and in most Anglo-Saxon charters, seals were not used. We
have several charters still preserved of Edgar, the brother and successor of
Duncan, who reigned till 1106, and who uses a seal after the Norman fashion,
on which he takes the barbaric style of Basileus. From his time, that is,
from the beginning of the twelfth century, we have charters of all the
Scotch kings, in an unbroken series, as well as of numerous subjects, and
derive from them more information for public and domestic history, than is
at all generally known.
There is still preserved a poor fragment of a Scotch chronicle, which
appears to have been written about the year 1165. It is a single leaf, now
inserted in the MS. of the chronicle of Melros, in the Cottonian library.
The rest of that venerable chronicle, written in the thirteenth century, in
the Abbey of Melrose, is the most ancient Scotch writing I. of the nature of
continuous history that is now extant. A few other fragments of chronicles
of that century perhaps, but being for the most part bare lists of the
Scotch and Pictish kings, are now deposited in the royal library at Paris.
When used by Camden and other historians, they were in the library of Cecil,
Of collections of the laws of Scotland, the oldest is one which has been
lately restored to this country, from the public library at Berne. It is a
fine and careful MS., written about 1270; and, what adds greatly to its
interest, containing an English law treatise and English styles, as well as
some of the most ancient laws of Scotland, particularly David I..'s
venerable code of Burgh laws; and last of all, the ancient laws of the
Marches, concerted by a grand assize of the borderers of the two kingdoms in
1249. This singular mixture of the laws of two countries (which might have
served as the materials for the mysterious fabrication of a so-called Scotch
code) excites our curiosity as to the owner of the book; but the only clue
we find to guide us is a memorandum scribbled on the last leaf, of an
account of sheep taken from John, the shepherd of Malkaris-ton, on Sunday
next before the feast of St. Andrew, in the year 1306, when the flock is
counted in ewes, dynmonts, and hogs. Next in interest to the Berne MS., is a
book of Scotch laws, chiefly Burghal, which was picked up in a book-stall in
Ayr in 1824, and its previous history cannot be traced. It is a fine MS., of
the age of Robert T., or at least of the early half of the fourteenth
century. After that period, there is no want of MS. collections of our laws;
but all of the character of private and unauthentic compilations.
State papers, properly so called, few, but of great importance, begin in the
reign of Alexander III., or the latter half of the thirteenth century; and
there are still preserved imperfect records of parliamentary proceedings,
from the age of Robert Bruce downwards. These are all the materials of the
civil history of Scotland which we still possess, previous to the work of
John Barbour, of which I shall have occasion to speak hereafter. Soon after
his time, Andrew Wyntoun, prior of Loch Leven, wrote his rhyming chronicle,
and John Fordun laid the foundation of Scotch history, in his
Scoti-Chronicon. These two writers were engaged upon their works at the same
time, about the latter years of the fourteenth century ; but neither seems
to have been aware of the other's undertaking.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the other chapters at
Added the March/April 2007 newsletter for the Family Utley at
My Canadian Journal
Not doing any detailed journals these days but felt I should mention some
points of interest to myself since the start of the year and you can read
this if interested at
Buddhism in Scotland
By Claire Smith
I was told of this article in the Scotsman newspaper and thought I would
copy it to add to our Religion section of the site.
The article starts...
FORTY years ago a young Tibetan man arrived at the village of Eskdalemuir in
Dumfriesshire. A friend had driven him from Oxford in an old wreck of a car,
and when they reached the church the engine packed up, never to start again.
The young Akong Rinpoche finished the journey on foot to the hunting lodge
which was to become the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the west.
Akong Rinpoche was only 28, but he had already lived an extraordinary life.
Taken from his parents at the age of three, he had been declared a tulku, or
reincarnated lama, and was raised in a monastery in a remote region of
Tibet. In 1959 he was among a group of 300 who had decided to escape Tibet
and flee to India - but many died of cold and hunger and only 13 of the
refugees survived the journey.
Akong eventually made it to Britain, and by 1967 had been living in Oxford
with fellow tulku Chogyam Trungpa for four years. Times were hard: the two
refugees lived on Akong's wage as a hospital porter.
On that cold, frosty day in January 1967 things were about to change, Akong
had set out to visit Johnstone House in Eskdalemuir, which had been offered
to the two Tibetans to use as a centre.
You can read the rest of this at
The Highland Targe
Pat Maclaine hand crafts Highland Targes and he sent in pictures of his
work. He has spent some twenty years researching on Scottish targes and you
can see pictures of his work at
Got in a wee gardening article...
Potato eyes are growing and are beginning to let me know they wish to be
either planted or used for cooking. Some tulip bulbs I failed to plant last
fall are sprouting out of the soil from their clay pot and my winter onions
are sending up green sprouts. Soon it will be that joyful time of year when
all things become green and lush. The broad leafed plants wintered over on
the back porch are in my vision of where they will go on the front patio.
The seed section of Lowe's becomes like a magnet to my bold eyes where I
pick up Sunflower seeds for the Redbirds and vines of another variety. As if
to feed my longing to join in with natures revelry this commercial came over
the television. I thought you would enjoy. Whether they work as they say
they will matters not to me. It is simply the happy promise of something
good and beautiful ahead of us who enjoy this good earth so much.
And that's all for now and I hope you and your families all have a great
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