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
Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
Sketches of Early Scotch History
Robert Burns Lives!
Ranald Alasdair MacDonald of Keppoch Letter
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
The good news this week is that we've got the ScotCards program up and
working and as there is a fair bit to tell you about this service I'll
detail that in it's own section below.
And now for some Technical News from Steve May...
Greetings to all from the mountains of Kentucky,
And all of you wonder why it is you are hearing from the person that tends
to stay behind the scenes and work on stuff :-)))). Well I wanted to discuss
a number of things that I am working on over the next few weeks and my
long-time friend, partner and cohort in crime in this place we call Electric
Scotland felt it would be best for me to explain things.
Al is the person you hear from most often and his part is to gather content,
get the advertising, do all the meetings and such and run the site as a
whole. Al does awesome work on the overall ES Site and continues to add new
content all the time. We currently make available @electricscotland.com
email addresses for a minimal fee (a few of you have them) and the message
forums and some games (which I am working on as I type this). We also offer
the ability to have a personal site with an ES address (ie -
http://wendysworld.electricscotland.com) for a minimal fee as well.
One of our main goals has always been to create a viable online Scottish
Flavored Community in all aspects (and we have been discussing this since we
first got together over 11 years ago). We want to add many different kinds
of functionality and options for all of you out there and there are a lot of
things available now that will allow us to do this. The reviewing of them
takes time, but at the end of the day it is well worth it. Which brings me
to why I am writing this missive instead of Al.
As many of you know, I am the techie behind the scenes. My job is to keep
all the servers running well, do all the programming, fix problems as they
arise, search for new stuff that Al and I feel will enhance things and (most
times) spend some of Al's money <GRIN>. The additions and changes happening
on ES right now are mostly technical based and so I figured I should let
everyone know what is happening/planned so you do not freak out when
something doesn't work or all of a sudden something has changed in a major
The main thing to mention is that there will be some intensive and detailed
work being done on a previously underdevolepd/unused section of our Site,
and this is the ScotChat section. Currently we only run the Message Forums
software here (and have not had much time to do anything with it except try
to ensure it works). Some of you are members but many are not at this time.
Over the next week I will be performing a clean installation of the latest
version of the current software we use and making some internal changes to
the system. I will do all I can to save the current messages and such but I
make no promises. All users will be required to login as new once the new
system is set up (sorry for that but the User Database needs some major
After the software is properly working I will be doing some testing of other
software packages for Message Forums over a few weeks and some of you will
be invited to test them out and provide feedback on the systems. The
feedback will be accomplished by a new Blog I will be setting up under the
Scot Chat domain that will be specifically used for Development Work,
Suggestions and Important Announcements (this is one of the many new
features I will be adding to this section).
Once everything is tallied up as it relates to feedback and the such we will
then make a final decision on the Message Forums Software that we will put
into permanent use and then I will be able to move forward with further
development of this section and hopefully bring into fruition many functions
and fetures that Alastair and myself have discussed over the years.
I am currently in the process of reviewing many different Scripts and
Packages in order to put the dedicated Scottish Based Community (similar to
places like MySpace or Multiply) that will be focused specifically on the
Scottish Community and things relating to it. This process will take a
number of weeks but hopefully we can have everything lined out and working
soon after the 1st of the year. Please do not hold me to this since
sometimes problems arise that we have no control over and program testing
does not work out as planned. In addition I have literally 1000's of scripts
I am reviewing to add different functionality all through the ES sites (the
winter weather has allowed me the time to sit in front of my computer and
just focus on this type of work). So look for changes and enhancements
popping up over the next month or two, and expect a few one-off
announcements coming to you in addition to your regular weekly newsletter.
I close by saying I have enjoyed the last 11+ years working with Al and
building ES for everyone out there and I look forward to another 11+ years.
Cheers Ya'll - Steve May (known as Papa Bear)
And so now you've had a chance to hear from our Technical Wizard you'll see
he's back in business and that means we'll be able to add a lot more
features in the coming weeks :-)
I've added my Christmas Card to our index page this week and if you click on
the card you'll be sent to our Christmas page. You can see the card at
The service is Free whether you use it as a Guest or a Member. As a Member
you do get to use a greater range of services...
Address Book - Store all your friends' e-mail addresses, so sending an eCard
will be quick and easy.
Calendar - Plan ahead by accessing your Calendar, where you can add
birthdays, and other special days and appointments. Click on that day, and
it will link you to that section. (Birthdays, Holidays, etc.)
Reminders - Store all your important dates so birthdays, anniversaries and
other special events will never be forgotten, through our Reminder
Invitations - Send out Invitations for a special meeting or event and then
track how many say they're coming or not and if they are bringing any guests
My Favorites - Store all your favorite cards in 1 convenient location for
Card History - View all cards sent in the past 30 days, with option to
cancel cards that have not been delivered yet.
My Account - Edit your membership information including e-mail address and
Record your Voice - You can record your Voice to send an eCard with your
Send your own image - Back from vacation, got new photos in your digital
camera? Wouldn't you like to send them as eCards, to your friends, and
Electric Scotland's Unique Smiley Characters are available to use within the
postcard editor. In actual fact I got these characters done around 5 years
ago and have never used them and figured this was the perfect opportunity
But if you just want to send a quick postcard then a Guest membership is all
Do try to take some time to explore all the various features of our service
and there are lots of features. You can add music, java effects, poems,
different fonts and colors and Smiley characters, or indeed none of those,
to all our eCards. And have some fun with our ePhotoHunt - Spot the
differences game and our Memory game.
Also if there are any clever graphics folk out there that would like to try
and design some new Invitation cards please get in touch and I can send you
a base invitation card set for you to look at and then try your hand at
designing one. The admin page is at
http://www.ecardmax.com/index.php?step=user_guide_2006 for designing the
The url to get you to ScotCards is
And of course well done Steve on picking up on the challenge to get it up
within a week of the last newsletter <grin>
One final thing... if you are a member of a clan then you might look at
sending us in a collection of pictures of clan lands and we can add them to
our ScotCards. You could send in around 10 pictures with a short description
of each. The cards on the site are 500 pixels in width but if you send in
larger pictures I can easily reduce them in size. Should I get in a
selection I'll create a new "Clan Pictures" category.
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
Scotland on TV
Visit their site at
We didn't get in any news this week.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson Ian Goldie and I liked his
wee story on Giving Blood...
I gave blood this week for the first time in about 3 years. However, I'm
sorry to report to all those Barnett Formula obsessed Mail and Telegraph
readers out there, that the experience of giving blood in Scotland is far,
far more agreeable than it is in England.
How so, when the staff are every bit as professional, the procedures are
identical and the facilities exactly the same? Well, the difference is in
the quality of the refreshments afterwards. There's nothing wrong with
orange juice and chocolate bourbons, but where's the Tunnocks teacakes and
caramel logs that you get back home?
Very disappointing... just like Tony Hancock, I feel like someone's run off
with my last wine gum!
Lots of other good political stories in this issue.
In Peter's cultural section he tells us...
The Christmas lights are already going up and the Yule cards, which seem to
go on sale earlier and earlier every year, are starting to drop through
letterboxes – and it is only early December! Flag visitors will be among
those now who are preparing to suffer writer’s cramp, or already have, in
sending out the annual Yule greeting cards which so delights the postal
authorities world-wide. The blame, or indeed credit, for this annual bonanza
lies at the door of a Scotsman, for it was a Leith printer, one Charles
Drummond, who set on motion the sending of cards at Yule. In 1841 he printed
a card portraying a cheery, well-fed looking chiel with a message
proclaiming ‘A gude New Year and mony o’ them’. There was no mention of
Christmas as at that time, indeed until the 1960s, Christmas was just
another working day in Scotland and the real celebration was Hogmanay. How
times have changed. But whether you now celebrate Christmas or stick by the
old ways of waiting until the New Year, this week’s recipe – Oatmeal
Stuffing – will enhance turkey or chicken on any occasion.
Ingredients: 225 g (8 oz) oatmeal; 1 small onion; 60 g (2 oz) butter,
melted; pinch of sage; 1 garlic clove; salt and pepper
Method: Dice the onion and crush the garlic. Mix oatmeal, salt, pepper,
sage, onion and garlic. Mix in butter then stuff the bird, of your choice,
with the mixture.
NB Quantities obviously depend on the size of your bird, so adjust
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and
lots more at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now onto the L's with Liston, Lithgow, Livingstone, Lochnaw,
Lockhart, Logan and Lothian
Here is how the account of Lochnaw (also Agnew) starts...
LOCHNAW. The account of the Agnews of Lochnaw in Wigtonshire is introduced
here under the name of their estate, as it was inadvertently omitted at its
regular place in the first volume of this work.
The surname of Agnew is understood to be of French origin, a family of the
name of Agneau having been, about the end of the tenth century, seated in
Normandy, and there is a family tradition, confirmed by some ancient MSS.,
that the first progenitor in England of the Agnews came over with William
the conqueror, although his name is not upon the list of barons. In the 12th
century, soon after the subjection of Ireland to the English crown by Earl
Strongbow, the famous warrior, Sir John de Courcy, the conqueror of the
province of Ulster, was “accompanied, we are told, by Agneau, an
Anglo-Norman like himself, who settled at Larne, in the conquered province;
and it is well known that the family had very extensive possessions in the
county of Antrim, where they were called lords Agnew, or lords of Larne.” (Nisbet’s
Heraldry, vol. i. p. 162). In the reign of David II. the first of the
Scottish Agnews arrived at his court, and acquired the lands and castle of
Lochnaw, then a royal castle, in the Rhinns of Galloway, being at the same
time appointed sheriff of the county of Wigeon. He was also made heritable
constable of Lochnaw castle.
The family appear in the 15th century to have held their possessions under
the Douglas. Callers (Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 395), says, “Andrew Agnew was
the first who obtained, in the capacity of scitifer (shield-bearer, esquire
at arms), the good will of the Lady Margaret Stewart, the duchess of Turenne
and countess of Douglas, while she enjoyed Galloway as her dower. In 1426 he
acquired from William Douglas of Leswalt the heritable office of the castle
of Lochnaw,” &c. This Andrew Agnew got several charters from James I.,
particularly two, dated 31st January 1431, confirming to him and his heirs
the office of heritable constable of Lochnaw, with the whole lands and
barony of Lochnaw, &c. He afterwards got the office of heritable sheriffship
of Wigeon conferred on him and his heirs, by a charter, under the great seal
from James II., dated 25th May 1451.
Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw, his great-great-grandson, lived in the reigns of
Queen Mary and James VI. His son, Sir Patrick Agnew, seventh sheriff of
Wigeon, was knighted by the latter monarch, and created a baronet of Nova
Scotia by Charles I., by patent to him and his heirs male whatever, dated
28th July 1629. In 1633 he represented the county of Wigeon in the Scottish
estates. He was a member of the high commission court, established for the
introduction of episcopacy in October 1634, and he died in 1661. He had
three sons: Andrew, his successor; Patrick of Sheuchan, whose
great-granddaughter married John Vans, Esq. of Barnbarroch, now represented
by Vans Agnew of Sheuchan and Barnbarroch, Wigtonshire; and James,
lieutenant-colonel of Lord Kirkcudbright’s regiment in the reign of Charles
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other entries at
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are
some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
This week have added...
Parish of Bourtrie at
Here is some information on this Parish...
Extent and Boundaries.—Bourtie extends from west to east 5 miles; in average
breadth nearly 2; and contains probably 9 square miles. In figure it
resembles an irregular triangle, of which the western boundary, resting on
Chapel of Garioch, forms the base, and the eastern point, where it touches
Udny, the apex. On the north, it is bounded by Daviot, Meldrum, and Tarves;
and on the south, by Udny and Keith-hall. Near the centre of the parish, and
distant a mile from each other, rise two hills of consi-derable elevation,
being probably 600 feet above the level of the sea. That on the north is
named the Hill of Barra, the other the Hill of Lawhillside. These run in an
easterly direction, and converging terminate in the Hill of Kingoody, by the
foot of the eastern acclivity of which the parish is bounded.
Antiquities.—The parish is by no means destitute of ancient remains. Three
of the circles, which continue to be named Druidical, existed at the date of
the last report. Two of these remain —one in a state of considerable
preservation, on the lands of Thornton. Two barrows, or rather cairns, have
been opened within the last ten years. In each there was found a
stone-coffin enclosing two urns of hard-baked carved pottery. The urns were
full of rich loam, mixed with charcoal. The largest of these cairns raised
on an eminence called the Hawklaw, originally covered nearly half an acre,
and was surrounded with a circle of small stones set on end.
Cumming's Camp.—The most remarkable, however, of our ancient remains is the
fortification on the Hill of Barra, [The small western isle Barra is thus
described; "This island, which is low and flat on the west side, and steep
and irregular on the east," &c. These features correspond exactly with those
possessed by the estate of Barra, so that I should be inclined to question
the accuracy of Chalmers's derivation of Barra. It is, according to him,
from two Celtic words Bar and ra, rae or Bath, signifying the fortified
ground.] known by the name of the Cumming's Camp. This, and the
circumstances connected with it, have afforded a fertile theme of discussion
to antiquarians, and I shall therefore, perhaps, be excused if I dwell on it
at some length. The fort occupying the flat summit of the hill contains
fully three acres of ground, and is surrounded with three nearly parallel
walls of circumvallation, composed of earth and stone. Apart from its name,
the camp would be considered merely one of those hill-forts, which, by no
means rare in Scotland, are pretty numerous in the adjacent country. Thus we
have, with such differences merely as arise from the nature of the
accessible materials, the forts on Benachie and the Keirhill in Skene, and
the Barmekyn in Echt. These all lie in the vicinity of the Roman Iter, from
their camp ad Devanham (Norman dikes in Peterculter), to that ad Ituriam (Glenmailen
in Forgue), towards the Castra alata on the Moray Frith. Is it not probable,
then, that, as these forts flank on either side, the line of the Roman
progress northwards, they were erected by the then inhabitants of the
country (the Faixali), as places of refuge for themselves and their
families, from which, sallying forth, they might engage in a Guerilla
warfare with their haughty invaders? The tradition which gives the building
of this camp to the Cummings is evidently fabulous, —for to it their age
affords nil vel simile aut secundum. That it was even occupied by them
previous to their battle with Bruce, the accounts of that battle, whether by
Hector Boece or by Barbour, seem to render very doubtful. They were the
invading and more powerful party, and came to seek not a secure retreat but,
as they believed, an easy victory over the Bruce, already depressed with
reverses and wasted by most valetudinary health. Barbour's account of the
battle, which is the most authentic, is here subjoined. It was fought on 22d
May 1308. "The King having crossed the Grampians received the allegiance of
some barons, but, in a short time, fell sick at Inverury; he was unable to
take any sustenance, and his strength entirely failed him. Having been
placed in a litter, he was carried to the Slenach or Sliach, in the parish
of Drumblade, a fortification of some strength. After Martinmas, when the
ground was covered with snow, the Earl of Buchan raised an army, and along
with his brother, Sir John the Mowbray, and Sir David Brechin, nephew to the
Bruce, marched against the monarch.
You can read the rest of this account at
On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and
also a map at
Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod
You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger
articles are continued week by week.
This week have added articles on...
Reminiscences of Mission-Work in Ireland (Pages 217-218)
The Destroyed Cities of the Plain (Pages 218-223)
Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 223-224)
God's Glory in the Heavens (Pages 225-228)
In the Life of a Village Schoolmaster (Pages 229-232)
Here is how the account of In the Life of a Village Schoolmaster starts...
"Grown old and gray in service, and still the same slender salary, and no
hope of promotion." So sighed the good old schoolmaster, Lebrecht Friedefeld,
as he sorrowfully contemplated a little heap of silver pieces that lay
before him on the plain deal table that almost filled his tiny room. Good
man, his thoughts were somewhat wandering this Sunday morning. It was very
bright and still without; there were no steps up the village street; the
sunshine lay in broad patches over the meadows, so fixed that it must have
fallen asleep; you could hear the timid brook as it whispered to the rushes,
and the wind had gone to rest among the great chestnuts, only stirring a
leaf now and then to shew where it was. All this could be seen through the
window—and the orchard blossoms, and here and there a gable end, or a
chimney with its tremulous pillar of smoke, and the old stork solemnly
silent on the roof, and the low wooden spire of the church, half smothered
in trees, and beyond, the quiet sky with its blue depths and spots of
stationary cloud. Moreover, with the sweet-briar and scent of limes, there
stole into the room a broken murmur of prayer from a neighbour's house. It
would have been better if the schoolmaster had thought of these things, and
not drawn the heavy leathern purse out of his pocket, and emptied the crowns
upon the table. For his meditations became worldly, and naturally brought
little peace with them. And I do not excuse him. Neither do I excuse you,
reader, for thinking, as you did, last Sunday, between breakfast and
church-hour, when you walked to the window and found how much that young
plantation had grown, or wondered how the wheat would yield, or when a
remembrance of that clever stroke of business last week brightened through
your reverie, or you admired the wise discernment that selected that pretty
ribbon you were tying, or a misgiving came over you about a little bill that
must be settled, or A------'s carriage passed, and left an ugly rumour
behind about his credit, and you vexed yourself with the mysteries of bad
debts. I do not excuse the schoolmaster, and I do not wish you to condemn
him more harshly than yourself. It would have been better had the money been
laid aside ; bat I cannot alter that, for this is a history, and not a
"One quarter's salary—thirty crowns. In these dear times that will scarce
reach over six weeks, and after that I must be content with potatoes till
the next quarter is due; and then the old song begins once more that I have
sung these forty years. Thirty crowns! And corn is four crowns a bushel; and
meat is so dear, and, alas ! the bones are so large in these days! Old
Friedefeld, it will be a sharp quarter for you."
He shook his head sadly, folded his hands, and sunk into a profound reverie,
which, to judge from the bitter expression that played round his lips,
brought little comfort or help. He was interrupted by soft, clear,
flute-like notes that rang out in the beautiful hymn—
"Leave God to order all thy ways,
And hope in Him, whate'er betide;
Thou'lt find Him, in the evil days,
Thy all-sufficient strength and guide."
It was the blackbird from its cage on the sunny wall; and as it sang, the
old schoolmaster's eye lighted up, and the painful twitching about his mouth
changed into a quiet, happy smile.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other articles at
Added the Winter 2007 newsletter from the Clan Wallace Society at
Added the Clan Munro newsletter for December 2007 at
Posted up the December 2007 newsletter from Clan Colquhoun at
Added the Clan Ross Newsletter for November 2007 at
Poetry and Stories
John sent in three doggerels...
Aiburdeen Awa at
A Guff Tae Up Wi Pit at
Days of Yore at
Added Chapter 64 to John's Recounting Blessings at
Donna showed off some of her paintings at an Art show at the Marland
Mall-December 2007 at
Donna sent in an article, Chapter 4 - Article in Shidler Newspaper at
Added a wee humour story about Scottish Women at
Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson
The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896
This week we have...
by Professor Wilson
The Widow's Prediction
from the Edin. Literary Journal
The Lady of Waristoun
from Chambers's Edin. Journal
Here is how The Lady of Waristoun starts...
The estate of Waristoun, near Edinburgh, now partly covered by the extended
streets of the metropolis on its northern side, is remarkable in local
history for having belonged to a gentleman, who in the year 1600, was
cruelly murdered at the instigation of his wife. This unfortunate lady,
whose name was Jean Livingstone, was descended from a respectable ancestry,
being the daughter of Livingstone, the laird of Dunipace, in Stirlingshire,
and at an early age was married to John Kincaid, the laird of Waristoun,
who, it is believed, was considerably more advanced in years than herself.
It is probable that this disparity of age laid the foundation of much
domestic strife, ] and led to the tragical event now to be noticed. The
ill-fated marriage and its results form the subject of an old Scottish
ballad, in which the proximate cause of the murder is said to have been a
quarrel at the dinner-table:
It was at dinner as they sat,
And when they drank the wine,
How happy were the laird and lady
Of bonny Waristoun!
But he has spoken a word in jest;
Her answer was not good;
And he has thrown a plate at her,
Made her mouth gush with blude.
Whether owing to such a circumstance as is here alluded to, or a bite which
the laird is said to have inflicted upon her arm, is immaterial; the lady,
who appeared to have been unable to restrain her malignant passions,
conceived the diabolical design of having her husband assassinated.
You can read the rest of this story at
The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at
The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)
This week we continue Volume II with
Tyrone Submits: Death of Elizabeth
King James and his Irish Subjects
The Flight of the Earls
Some Results of the Flight
The O'Dogherty Insurrection
The O'Dogherty Defeat
The Plantation of Ulster
Here is how the chapter "The Plantation of Ulster" starts...
The flight of the Earls and the rebellion of O'Dogherty removed the main
obstacles to the sweeping changes in Ulster which James desired to make. The
Celtic land tenure, the Brehon laws, the language, customs, and traditions
of the defeated race were doomed to gradual yet certain extinction. The
institutions of England were to be transplanted into the sister island,
irrespective of the question how far, if at all, they were suitable to the
Irish. Hence- forth the King's garrisons were to occupy every stronghold;
the King's writ was to run in the remotest districts; the King's judges were
to hold assizes in every new-made county.
To this end it was proposed that six counties of Ulster were to be
confiscated to the Crown. Tyrone, Derry (then called Coleraine), Donegal,
Fermanagh, Armagh, and Cavan were to be parcelled out amongst those who
should under- take to lay out capital in improving them, provided the
undertakers were not Irish, and were Protestants. Antrim and Down were not
included in the plantation. Monaghan had been forfeited by the MacMahons in
1591, and grants made of it, so it also was not included in this plantation.
Much was expected as the result of this new system. "When this plantation",
wrote Sir John Davies, "hath taken root, and been fixed and settled but a
few years . . . it will secure the peace of Ireland, assure it to the Crown
of England for ever, and finally make it a civil, and a rich, a mighty, and
a flourishing kingdom.'*
In Ulster the tribal system of land tenure had been recognized longer than
in the other provinces. Ulster, it must be remembered, was the last to
submit, and hence in many ways was, from an English point of view, years, if
not centuries, behind her sister provinces.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The rest of the chapters can be read at
Painted by Sutton Palmer, Described by A R Hope Moncrieff (1904)
Have added another four chapters to this book...
To John o' Groat's House
The Great Glen
Glasgow and the Clyde
Here is how the account of "The Great Glen" starts...
The Highland Line is an oblique one, in the main facing south-east; and in
much the same direction, between the head of deep inlets, extends the cleft
of some threescore miles that cuts the Highlands into near and off halves,
the former far the harder worked as a tourist ground, the latter retaining
more of its Celtic poverty, while not less richly endowed by nature. From
either side smaller glens and straths, each the "country" of some clan,
debouch into Glenmore, bed of a chain of lochs and streams linked together
as the Caledonian Canal, their varying levels made navigable by the locks
that come easier to a Sassenach tongue. This canal is now nearly a century
old. In the century before its trenches were opened, King George's soldiers
had islanded the farther Highlands by a road between three fortified posts,
in the centre and at either end of this Great Glen, thus used as a base for
dominating and civilising a region over which the fiery cross ran more
freely than the king's writ. The northernmost of the three, Fort-George,
above Inverness, is still a military station, serving as depot for the
Seaforth and Cameron Highlanders.
Inverness is called the capital of the Highlands, though it lies on an edge
of Celtic Scotland, at the north end of the Great Glen, and near the head of
the Moray Firth. This is not a Gaelic city, whose inhabitants had at one
time the fame of speaking the best English in Scotland, or, for the matter
of that, in England, a merit sometimes traced back to a colony of Cromwell's
soldiers. Of late years, to tell the truth, the speech of Inverness has
hardened and vulgarised somewhat in the mouths of a very mixed population;
yet still in some of the secluded glens of the county may be heard a tongue
not their own used with a melodious refinement unknown within the sound of
Smart, cheerful, and regularly built, Inverness has the air of a lowland
town, spread out on a river plain, across which fragments of the Highlands
have drifted from the grand mountains in view, as the Alps from Berne. The
Ness has the distinction of being the shortest river in Britain, shorter
even than London's New River ; but its course of only a few miles, from Loch
Ness to the Moray Firth's inner recess, is enough to make it a resort for
big salmon and small shipping. Hector Boece records a former great "plenty
and take of herring," which vanished "for offence made against some Saint."
Sheltered from the winds of the east and the "weather" of the west, the
district has a genial climate where, indeed, the air often "nimbly and
sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses." Shakespeare, not having
the advantage of Black's Guide, says little about the scenery around, which
has been much described in Wild Eelin, William Black's last and not his
worst novel, though it has the deplorable fault of bringing in real
personages not less thinly disguised than Inverness is as Invernish.
You can read the rest of this account and enjoy the landscape paintings at
You can read the rest of the chapters at
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)
This week we've added the following chapters...
Education and the Church of Scotland
Glenlyon and its Neighbourhood
Some Parish History
Cursory Remarks on the Ossianic Controversy
The Unwieldy Parish Divided into Three
Here is how the chapter on "Some Parish History" starts...
THE parish of Fortingall was in area less like a parish than a small county.
The Reformation supplied it with one parish minister and one parish
school-master, who lived close to each other at Fortingall village. It was a
long time before Glenlyon and Rannoch were each provided with side-schools,
the latter with one at the upper end and another at the lower end of Loch
Rannoch. It was in the latter that Dugald Buchanan taught during the early
part of Mr Macara's long ministry. The earliest of the Glenlyon schools was
set up at Innerwick, and the second at Roro. Mr Ferguson, minister of
Fortingall parish from 1719 to 1752, was an uncompromising upholder of the
Revolution Settlement and Presbyterian doctrines and discipline. He made
himself a sort of terror to the Jacobite lairds of the parish, and was
accordingly much detested by them. He succeeded, in 1719, Mr Alexander
Robertson, who had been deposed for having read treasonable papers from the
pulpit at the time of the 1715 rising.
Mr Ferguson during the '45 rising acted with the full courage of his
convictions, and when Prince Charlie was at Castle Menzies, within a few
miles of his church and manse, increased rather than diminished the emphasis
of his denunciations. In 1752 he died from a cold which he caught through
having fallen into the river from an upset boat. For over thirty years his
ministry was a long fight with ignorance, immorality, disorderliness, and
adverse heritors, who, I believe, with the sole exception of Sir Robert
Menzies, were Jacobites, and, as long as he lived, adherents to the deposed
minister, Mr Robertson, who became an Episcopalian. It was said that at
first Mr Ferguson tried conciliation, but if he did he found it of no use,
and he soon went on the war-path, which he never afterwards left.
About 1726 he forced an augmentation of stipend on his heritors. Immediately
before his death he compelled them to renovate his manse, which, in spite of
remonstrances, they had long refused to do. While this work of renovation
was going on, he went to lodge with his wife's relatives at Laggan on the
other side of the river hence the river crossing and the boat accident,
about which there was a whispered suspicion that it was less accident than a
malicious Jacobite trick to give the strong-handed minister a ducking. Be
that as it may, Mr Ferguson died of the cold he got by the immersion. He
died, was buried, and then the groundless story arose, from a light having
been seen in the vacant manse, that after death he walked and found no rest
until he had an interview with his successor.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The other chapters added so far can be read at the index page of the book at
Sketches of Early Scotch History
By Cosmo Innes (1861)
Mind that these are adobe .pdf files and this week we have an account of
Arbroath which includes accounts of...
Abbey dedicated to Thomas-a-Becket—William the Lion its founder—Rapid
acquisition of property—The Culdees of Abernethy—Lay appropriation of
ancient Church endowments —Ancient customs—Judicial procedure—Military
service— Extent—The Brecbennach and custody of the Abbey banner— Abthanies—Old
names, Abbe, Falconar, Dempster—Domestic manners, hostelage in Stirling—Culdees—Forgotten
Saints— Evidence of ancient bridges over the North Esk, the Tay, the Dee,
the Spey—Abbey buildings—Offices of the Abbey—The dignity of the Abbot—Burgh
of Arbroath—The Harbour— Fights of the Lindesays and Ogilvies—Tomb of
William the Lion—Effigy of Thomas-a-Becket—Old customs—Banking —The
schoolmaster—The Abbey advocate—Great Angus families extant and extinct.
You can read this at
The index page for the book and other chapters can be found at
Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw
A Place To Come To
Since its inception in 1896, the Burns Club of Atlanta has met the first
Wednesday of each month. For 111 years there has been a monthly speaker who
has reflected the club’s charter that it is a literary club. While the
cottage bears the imprint of the home where Robert Burns was born and the
name of the club bears his name, these speeches may also be about other
literary giants, not just Burns.
We gathered this year for our July meeting on Independence Day 2007 to hear
a talk by member David Grant who serves as the club’s historian. Yes, the
club meets the first Wednesday no matter the date of the month. We were
treated by David with a talk on the “Founding Fathers…of the Burns Club”. It
was mentioned in the monthly newsletter that it would be “…interesting to
look back at some of the founders of the Burns Club, those men whose images
and names grace the walls of the cottage”.
In following the custom of a response by another member following the
discourse, I was asked to give that response, and since edited, it follows
You can read the rest of this article at
Ranald Alasdair MacDonald of Keppoch Letter
Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber
Mac Mhic Raonuill,
Got this email in from Ranald and thought I'd share part of it with you...
Your web site is as usual topical and informative though to be honest some
of my friends have been telling me that it takes ages to read all the
material therein. I tell them to pick what is of interest to them and leave
out what is not. And if they do not have time to read that, then move either
the story or information to a folder headed up Electric Scotland or move the
whole newsletter to the folder for reading whenever they have time to do so.
Put it another way. You could go into the library and study some but not all
of the books you post up. If you are luckly enough to live in the capital,
you can go to either the Central or National Library and Royal Scottish
Museum for more if not all of the books posted. But it is far easier to do
so via your web site and that is a big bonus I tell them. Hope this proves
helpful for you, as I am sure other people have perhaps thought the same as
my friends and have simply scanned quickly over the newsletter and deleted
it. Please let me know what you think of this idea Alastair?
And so yes... that is a great idea. So all you need to do is create a folder
in your email program for Electric Scotland and then just move the
newsletter into that until you have time to read it :-) Great idea!
You could also create a folder on your Desktop and simply copy and paste an
article on the site into it for later reading as well. So if you want to
read a book that we're featuring in our newsletter but find it's too long to
read then and there just save the web page to your Electric Scotland desktop
Another way to handle things is to use your browser favourites. You can
create a folder in there for Electric Scotland and then when you find a link
you'd like to read later just add that page to your favourites under
Electric Scotland. At the time of saving the favourite you do get the
opportunity to give it a title that will show in your favourites and so if
you find the default title isn't descriptive enough type your own in to
You can even keep sub folders under Electric Scotland to further make it
easy to locate information. So you might have a sub folder for clans,
history, recipes, etc.
So some ideas on how to handle the huge amount of material we have on the
And that's all for now and hope you all have a great weekend.
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