Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories including Poems for Kids
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
The Life of Tom Morris
The Annals of Penicuik
The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present
Soldiers of Fortune (New Book)
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
Duncan Ban MacIntyre, the Gaelic Poet
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
I published another page in my Canadian Journal. It's really just a
few highlights as I'm not really doing much with it these days so
it's more like a reference for myself to refer to.
You might be interested in viewing it as I posted up an article from
McLeans's Magazine which compares Americans with Canadians and
provides some rather interesting statistics. I didn't post it up for
the comparisons it makes but rather to record the statistics as it
gives an interesting insight into both countries. For example, the
USA has a much higher marriage rate whereas Canadians are more
likely to just live together.
The article starts with the opening remark of... "The numbers are
in. Compared to the U.S. we work less, live longer, enjoy better
health and have more sex. And get this... now we're wealthier too."
We've just gone through Canada Day here on 1st July and by the time
you get this it will be 4th of July celebrations in the USA... so
hope you all had/have a good time.
Made a start at a new book, "Soldiers of Fortune" for which more
I am also looking to start on the "Chronicals of Stratheden" which
is great wee book about a typical Highland village in the mid 1800's
and its residents. I will also be starting on a book about "Scottish
Do feel free to suggest topics you'd like to see covered on the site
or types of books you'd like to see and if I can find them I'll
certainly look at including them.
Also want to give another plug to our "Article Service". This is
where you can add your own stories, poems, or just comment on any
subject you want from gas prices to home mortgages or the political
scene. Perhaps even household tips, recipes, and pretty much
anything you'd like to offer. You could also post up anything about
families and clans, a trip you took to somewhere interesting where
you had a good time. The article can really be about anything and it
need *not* have anything to do about Scotland. It could also be used
as a Blog.
When you create an account you will be able to add pictures to your
articles and get a url where all your articles will be revealed that
you can quote on other web sites or in emails.
So do make use of this service and especially if you are doing
something you'd like other people to know about. You could even use
it to do a book review or add a press release.
Should you feel that something you are interested in posting doesn't
have an appropriate category or sub category feel free to email me
with your suggestion and I'll certainly consider adding it to the
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 or on our site menu.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and I note his opening
"Congratulations to the United States of America on their
Independence Day, and we note that although their National Debt,
thanks to the munificence of George W Bruce towards his well heeled
friends, is now several trillion dollars, they have no intention of
asking the United Kingdom to take them back into the fold." <grin>
A fair proportion of this issue is dedicated to the resignation of
the Labour Party Leader and surrounding information. There is also
an interesting article on the Stone of Destiny.
In Peter's cultural section he blames me for the creation of his
historical time line :-)
One of the invaluable suggestions by Electric Scotlands Alastair
McIntyre whilst discussing setting up the Flag in the Wind was that
there should be a weekly section of Scottish History Dates. This was
duly done and at the beginning of June The Flags history time-line
had reached some 2,100 dates, giving a fascinating glimpse of
Scottish History. An ever-expanding feature it gives an interesting
back-up to James Hallidays splendid Scotland: A Concise History
which you can also find in The Flags features.
Here are today's dates...
4 July 1600
Jean Livingstone, Lady Warriston, daughter of John Livingstone of
Dunipace, was beheaded at the foot of the Canongate, Edinburgh, for
the murder of her husband John Kincaid of Warriston.
5 July 1656
Birth of John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven, leading opponent of the
1707 incorporating Union between Scotland and England.
I think I see a free and independent kingdom delivering up that
which all the world hath been fighting for, since the days of
Nimrod; yea, that for which most of all the Empires, Kingdoms,
States and Principalities and Dukedoms of Europe, are at this time
engaged in the most bloody and cruel wars that ever were, to wit a
power to manage their own affairs by themselves without the
assistance and counsel of any other.
(Speech opposing the incorporating Union between Scotland and
England 2 November 1706)
5 July 1880
Miss Duthie, noted Aberdeen benefactor, stated her intention of
presenting Aberdeen with a public park to perpetuate the memory of
her uncles and brothers. The Duthie Park was officially opened in
1883 by Princess Beatrice.
6 July 1820
The eighteen radicals taken prisoner at the Battle of Bonnymuir were
6 July 1919
The British airship R34 arrived at Mineola, New York, from East
Fortune, East Lothian, becoming the first airship to cross the
Atlantic. The flight took 108 hours.
6 July 1991
The Piper Alpha memorial, sculpted by Sue Taylor, was unveiled by
the Queen Mother in Hazelhead Park, Aberdeen.
8 July 1760
Death of Lord George Murray, outstanding exiled Jacobite commander,
8 July 2007
Colin Montgomery pulled off his first tour victory in 19 months in
winning the European Open by one stroke at the K Club, Dublin.
8 July 2007
Jamie Murray and Jelena Jankevic won the mixed doubles final at
Wimbleton with a 6-4, 3-6. 6-1 win over Jonas Bjorkman and Alicia
Molik. Murray was the first Scottish winner at Wimbleton since
Edinburgh-born Harold Mahoney (usually referred to as Irish) was
singles champion in 1896.
10 July 2007
Police confirmed that more than a thousand antique coins, dating
back to 1136 and worth around £500,000, had been stolen from the
home of Lord and Lady Stewarthy at Broughton near Peebles.
for this column came from the historic canoe journey made by Oliver
Brown Award winners, Sir Alastair M Dunnett and James ( Seumas )
Adam, from Bowling on the Clyde to Skye in 1934. The expedition led
to them being known as The Canoe Boys and the foodstuff which
provided the back-bone of their diet, a foodstuff which had
sustained Scots for centuries, was oatmeal. They preferred to have
it, at least twice a day, in the form of oatmeal brose rather than
as porridge. An account of how they made their brose was provided by
Sir Alastair M Dunnett in 'Quest By Canoe', the story of their
adventure published in 1950 and reprinted in 1995.
Oatmeal brose was the true foundation of the expedition, and the
correct method of making it must be put on record. A quantity of
coarse oatmeal - with salt 'to taste' as they say - is placed in a
bowl and boiling water poured over it. The water must be boiling
hard as it pours and there should be enough of it to just cover the
oatmeal. A plate is immediately placed over the bowl like a lid. You
now sit by for a few minutes, gloating. This is your brose cooking
in its own steam. During this pause, slip a nut of butter under the
plate and into the brose. In four or five minutes whip off the lid,
stir the mass violently together, splash in some milk and eat. You
will never again be happy with the wersh and fushionless silky slop
which passes for porridge. This was the food whose devotees
staggered the legions of Rome; broke the Norsemen; held the Border
for five hundred years; and are standing fast on borders still. It
is a dish for men. It also happens to taste superbly. We ate it
twice a day, frequently without milk, although such a simplification
demands what an Ayrshire farmer once described to me as a 'guid-gaun
stomach'. He is a happy traveller who has with him a bag of oatmeal
and a poke of salt. He will travel fast and far.'
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are onto the R's now with Reid, Rennie, Renton, Renwick,
Richardson and Riddell.
A good article on Riddell and here is how it starts...
RIDDELL, the surname of an ancient Roxburghshire family. The first
in Scotland of the name was Gervase de Riddel, who accompanied from
England David, prince of Cumberland, afterwards David I., and
received from him considerable lands in that county. He was of
Norman extraction, his grandfather, the Sieur de Riddel, having come
over with William the Conqueror. The latter is particularly named in
the roll of Battle Abbey, with Avenell and Ros, and lands in
various parts of England were bestowed on him by the Conqueror. From
Dugdales Baronage (vol. i. p. 555), we learn that his son Geoffrey,
Lord Riddel, father of Gervase, was lord-chief-justice of England in
1107, and that he married Geva, daughter of Hugh de Abrincas, earl
of Chester, of whom descended Matilda or Maud, wife of David, earl
of Huntingdon, and grandmother of Robert Bruce the competitor,
grandfather of King Robert the Bruce. He perished at sea in the same
ship with Prince William, son of Henry I., on their return from
France in 1120. His son, Gervase or Geoffrey, was progenitor of the
Scottish family of Riddell of Riddell.
This Gervase or Geoffrey Riddell was the earliest sheriff of
Roxburghshire. He was witness to most of the charters and donations
of King David I., and also to the well-known Inquisition made by
that monarch when prince of Cumberland, for the old possessions
belonging to the church of Glasgow. He died about 1140, leaving two
sons, Walter, his heir, and Sir Anketil, who succeeded his brother.
The elder son, Walter de Riddell, had a charter from David I., of
the lands of Lilliesleaf, Whittunes, &c., in the county of Roxburgh,
to be held of the king per servitium inius militis, sicut unus
baronum nostrorum, &c. This is admitted to be the oldest charter
extant by a Scottish king to a laic. It is without a date, as was
usual in those days, but must have been granted sometime between
1140 and 1153. Nisbet (vol. i. p. 374), says that he had seen a
transumpt [sic] of it, made by order of Lord Gray, justice-general
of Scotland, in a justiciary court held at Jedburgh in 1506. The
lands named were afterwards called the barony of Riddell. In the
Lay of the Last Minstrel, Sir Walter Scott mentions
Ancient Riddells fair domain.
And in a note he says, The family of Riddell have been very long in
possession of the barony called Riddell or Reydale, part of which
still bears the latter name. Tradition carries their antiquity to a
point extremely remote; and is in some degree sanctioned by the
discovery of two stone coffins, one containing an earthen pot filled
with ashes and arms, bearing a legible date, A.D. 727, the other
dated 936, and filled with the bones of a man of gigantic size.
These coffins were discovered in the foundations of what was, but
has long since ceased to be, the chapel of Riddell, and, as it was
argued with plausibility that they contained the remains of some
ancestors of the family, they were deposited in the modern place of
sepulture, comparatively so termed, though built in 1110. There is
nothing in the discovery of two stone coffins with the respective
dates mentioned, to support the supposition that the family of
Riddell was settled at that place in the seventh or eighth century,
as has been rather hastily assumed. The first grant of land they had
in Scotland was in the reign of David I., as above shown, when the
first of the name came from England and obtained possessions in
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 Turriff
Extent and Boundaries. The mean length of the parish from north to
south is 6 1/6 miles; and the mean breadth from west to east, 5 5/12
miles,thus making its superficial extent about 33½ square miles.
From the site of the church to the extremities of the parish, the
distance, on all sides except to the west, is so nearly equal, that
a circle, of which the town is the centre, and the radius 4¼ miles,
would include the whole of this parish, with a large part of that of
Forglen, from which it is separated by the river Doveron. The other
neighbouring parishes are Alvah and King Edward, on the north;
Monquhitter, on the east; Fyvie and Auchterless, on the south; and
Inverkeithnv, on the west.
Topographical Appearances. On the river banks and level grounds,
the prevailing soil is an alluvial deposit of clay-slate or clay. In
some places, it is sharp, light, and gravelly, and is very early and
fertile. The aspect of the parish is, upon the whole, beautiful; the
ground rising from the Doveron towards the south and east, till it
terminates in gently undulating fields, bearing in general, in
favourable seasons, abundant crops. The hills of Vrae on the north,
Cotburn on the east, Darra on the south, and Ardmiddle on the west,
are the most elevated. The town is very pleasantly situated, with a
fine southern exposure; and although it cannot boast of its spacious
and well-formed streets or its public buildings, the houses are
substantial, neat, and commodious, and surrounded by little gardens,
tastefully laid out, display a degree of comfort and convenience
which the inhabitants in general enjoy. Indeed, it has often been
remarked by strangers, that Turriff exhibits fewer instances of
poverty and wretchedness than most places of the same size. Within
the last fifteen years, a considerable addition was made to the
extent and population of the town by two streets which were opened;
and it is rumoured that additional feus are to be given off upon a
more uniform and improved plan than has hitherto been followed.
Longevity.In the course of last summer, a woman died in her 99th
year; and there are now living in the parish, and in tolerable
health, a few persons above 90, and a good many from 80 to 87 years
of age. Two of the present members of the kirk-session are in their
87th year, and still take an active part in the discharge of their
duties as elders.
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
The Elder's Funeral and here is how it starts...
How beautiful to the eye and to the heart rise up, in a pastoral
region, the green silent hills from the dissolving snow-wreaths that
yet linger at their feet! A few warm sunny days, and a few breezy
and melting nights, have seemed to create the sweet season of spring
out of the winter's bleakest desolation. We can scarcely believe
that such brightness of verdure could have been shrouded in the
snow, blending itself, as it now does, so vividly with the deep blue
of heaven. With the revival of nature our own souls feel restored.
Happiness becomes milder, meeker, and richer in pensive thought;
while sorrow catches a faint tinge of joy, and reposes itself on the
quietness of earths opening breast. Then is youth rejoicingmanhood
sedateand old age esigned. The child shakes his golden curls in his
glee; he of riper life hails the coming year with temperate
exultation; and the eye that has been touched with dimness, in the
general spirit of delight, forgets or fears not the shadows of the
On such a vernal day as this did we, who had visited the Elder on
his death-bed, walk together to his house in the Hazel Glen, to
accompany his body to the place of burial. On the night he died, it
seemed to be the dead of winter. On the day he was buried, it seemed
to be the birth of spring. The old pastor and I were alone for
awhile as we pursued our path up the glen, by the banks of the
little burn. It had cleared itself off from the melted snow, and ran
so pellucid a race that every stone and pebble was visible in its
yellow channel. The willows, the alders, and the birches, the
fairest mid the earliest of our native hill-trees, seemed almost
tinged with a verdant light, as if they were budding; and beneath
them, here and there peeped out, as in the pleasure of new
existence, the primrose lonely, or in little families and flocks.
The bee had not yet ventured to leave his cell, yet the flowers
reminded one of his murmur. A few insects were dancing in the air,
and here and there some little moorland bird, touched at the heart
with the warm and sunny change, was piping his love-sweet song among
the braes. It was just such a day as a grave meditative man, like
him we were about to inter, would have chosen to walk over his farm
in religious contentment with his lot. That was the thought that
entered the pastors heart, as we paused to enjoy one brighter gleam
of the sun in a little meadow-field of peculiar beauty.
"This is the last day of the week, and on that day often did the
Elder walk through this little happy kingdom of his own, with some
of his grand-children beside and around him, and often his Bible in
his hand. It is, you feel, a solitary place,all the vale is one
seclusionand often have its quiet bounds been a place of
undisturbed meditation and prayer."
The Life of Tom Morris
By W. W. Tulloch, Member of the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews
Have added the following chapters...
Early associations and marriage
Before and after Prestwick
Institution of Tournaments, the Open Championship and rise of young
Tom's matches with Willie Park
Some famous golf matches in the 'sixties
Chapter VIII starts...
ALLAN and Tom would get a great ovation in St Andrews when they
returned victorious from the match I described in my last chapter.
The splendid and unexpected victory which they won was enough to
stir the placid atmosphere of the old city, and to set the small but
select society of golfers talking and boasting of the prowess of the
two St Andrews champions of golf.
And it was a quiet little St Andrews in those days. There were, of
course, always a few regular residents in the old city who played
every day, and now and then their number would be augmented, their
golfing form stirred and their hilarity increased by "visiting
brethren" from Musselburgh, Leith and Perth links. There was no
Club-House as a sumptuous rendezvous then. The players met in the
small Union parlour in Golf Place about noon, and the matches for
the day were arranged. And then out to play. If the matches were
concluded 3 or 4 holes from the home green, they would at once turn
and commence; their second round, taking a glass of ginger-beer
mixed with something stronger if they had it with them in their
flasks, and "a snack" or sandwich at the fourth or "Ginger-Beer"
hole. Did the necessities of the match bring them to the home hole,
they would visit the Union parlour for a quarter of an hour and take
the slight refreshment they allowed themselves there. They then
started on their second round, which would be finished by four
o'clock, in plenty of time for their five-o'clock dinner.
I might add to this that I remember the golfer John Panton, who was
the professional at Glenberview near Falkirk. He never drank
anything alcoholic and his favourite drink was a Ginger Beer with a
dash of lime cordial.
The Annals of Penicuik
By John J. Wilson (1891)
Have now completed this book with the following chapters...
Chapter VI - Agriculture and Other Industries
Chapter VII - Roads and Conveyances
Chapter VIII - Landed Estates - Families and their History
Chapter IX - Witchcraft - Games - Folklore
Chapter X. Biographical
Chapter XI - Various Incidents
In Chapter IX we read...
IT is difficult for us, in the days in which we now live, to realise
the fact that at one time, not only in our own parish, but
throughout Scotland, belief in witchcraft was universal. It is still
more difficult to believe that numbers of wretched creatures of both
sexes were accused of this imaginary crime and put to death, in many
cases with cruel tortures. By an Act passed in the ninth Parliament
of Queen Mary, it was declared 'that witches, or consulters with
witches,' should be punished with death. For many years afterwards,
as a consequence of this enactment, every effort appears to have
been made to hunt out and bring to their doom those unfortunates who
believed themselves, or were believed by others, to be possessed of
supernatural powers through the influence of Satanic agency. In many
places the parochial clergymen were the most active instruments in
bringing suspected sorcerers to justice, and it is possible that, in
the cases I am about to quote, the Rev. Mr. French of Penicuik was
the informer, both to the civil power and to his brethren of the
Dalkeith Presbytery, of the existence of sundry dangerous characters
in his own parish. The preliminary proceedings cannot now he
ascertained, but the proof must have been very strong, for a short
shrift was given to the poor unfortunates so denounced. A minute of
Preslbytery, of 17th September 1629, states that the Court appointed
the Revs. James Porteous, John Knox, and Thomas Couplan to be
present in Penicuik at the execution of Christian Thomson, Isobel
Dryburgh, and Margaret Smail, arraigned for witchcraft.
In this short and abrupt way is a matter involving the death of
three of their fellow-creatures thus disposed of by the Fathers and
Brethren of those days. Sad to think that such a scene should have
been witnessed in our parish, and that men who by their position and
education ought to have been the first to disabuse the minds of the
people of such absurd delusions, should have been the most active in
aiding and abetting such horrid cruelties. Nor does this complete
the dismal story, for at another meeting of Presbytery, held on 18th
December of the same year, a deputation, who had again visited
Penicuik, report that they had personally superintended the burning
of Janet Bishop, Janet Pennycuick, and Margaret Endherson, who had
been condemned to death for the same crime. Local tradition fixes
upon two different sites as the ground upon which these fearful
scenes were enacted. It is more than likely, however, that it was in
the churchyard that the stakes were erected, and the coals, the
heather, and the gunpowder built round them to do their fatal work
of reducing to ashes the quivering bodies of these poor victims.
The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present
By David Bremner (1869)
Have added a number of new chapters...
Manufacturers in Iron
Carron Iron WorksHow the Poet Burns solaced himself on being
refused admission to the WorksA Royal Visitor--Pot-making and the
Pot-makersFalkirk Iron Works, and their ProductionsArtistic
CastingsMorrison's Ventilating Fire-placeThe Malleable Iron Trade
Puddling, Shingling, and RollingThe Lancefield and Parkhead
ForgesGigantic Smith-workHow the Shafts for Screw-Steamers are
Scotch Shipping before the UnionThe "Great Michael"Effect of the
Union on commerceStory of the First Steamer, and her immediate
successorsThe Inventors and Improvers of Steam-vesselsMiller,
Taylor, Symington, Bell, and NapierOrigin of Building Ships of
IronRise and Progress of Shipbuilding on the ClydeMessrs R. Napier
& SonsShipbuilding at Leith, Aberdeen, Dundee, &c.Statistics of
Infancy of RailwaysFirst Railway in ScotlandThe Kilmarnock and
Troon LineFormation of a Railway between Edinburgh and Dalkeith"The
Innocent Railway"Early Locomotive EnginesExperiments and
DiscoveriesRailways and their Advantages foreshadowed by Mr Charles
MaclarenRoad SteamersProgress of Railways in ScotlandThe Railway
ManiaExtent, Organisation, and Traffic of the Scotch Rail-waysHow
the Rolling Stock is made and upheldThe North British Company's
Workshops at CowlairsWork and Wages of Railway Servants.
Introduction of Coaches into BritainSedan Chairs and Hackney
Coaches in EdinburghThe First Stage Coach between Edinburgh and
Glasgow Extension of Stage Travelling to LondonImpetus given to
Travelling by improving the RoadsDifficulties of Early
TravellersThe Coach- making Trade in EdinburghHow Carriages are
made and equipped Coachmakers and their earnings.
Manufacture of Plate and Jewellery
Native Gold in use among the early inhabitants of ScotlandGold
Mining at various PeriodsProofs of the Existence of Gold in many
parts of the CountryPlate and Jewellery in old Scotch
FamiliesGeorge HeriotEnactments for the Regulation of Workers in
the Precious MetalsThe Edinburgh Incorporation of HammermenHow
articles of Silver are MadeChasing, Engraving, Casting, and
Electro-Plating Jewel-Making, Gem-Setting, Gold-Beating, and
Seal-Engraving Edinburgh as a seat of the Plate and Jewellery
Miscellaneous Manufacturers in Metals
Machine-MakingThe Amalgamated Society of EngineersThe Iron-
Moulders and their UnionCopper found in ScotlandWorking in Copper
and BrassMilton House Brass-Foundry and Metre Factory Lead Mining
in ScotlandManufacture of Lead and Tin Tubing Messrs Miller &
Richard's Type-FoundryType-Making by Machinery.
History of the Scotch Woollen TradeHow the people dressed in 1598
Early Statutes for the Encouragement of Woollen Manufactures State
of the Trade in 1733 and 1778The Scotch Tweed TradeThe
Manufacturing ProcessesThe Manufacture of Hosiery, Carpets, &c.
Notes on the Chief Seat of the Woollen Trade.
Soldiers of Fortune
In Camp & Court by Alexander Innes Shand (1907)
A new book for you to read. I will say this is not a book about
Scots but it does include a Scot amongst them. I guess I just
enjoyed the book and so thought instead of just taking the Scot out
of it I'd add the whole book for you to read. The Introduction
THE sword has always been the resource of the adventurous or
impecunious, and the roll of celebrated soldiers of fortune is so
long that the choice may be much a matter of fancy or predilection.
But there were epochs when the trade was exceptionally flourishing,
there were times when men were typical or when circumstances forced
them to the front, as there were illustrious careers sensationally
dramatic. So there is justification for a selection not altogether
arbitrary. One naturally begins with the medieval Condottieri and as
naturally ends with the Indian Adventurers, their modern
representatives. The war which for thirty years desolated Europe saw
the developments of a science then in its infancy, with a revolution
in the methods of campaigning. Our countrymen, and especially the
Scots, had a special interest in that war from the numbers who
flocked to the standards of the Lion of the North, the Catholic
League, or the Empire. Of the many Scottish soldiers of fortune,
Marshal Keith of the next century was by far the greatest. All are
familiar with him as one of Frederick's most trusted lieutenants,
but less is known of his concern in the Jacobite intrigues, and as
little of the vicissitudes of his life in Russian camps and courts,
where, after rising to the highest rank, his Scottish caution saved
him from the scaffold or Siberia. Eugene, born with the very genius
of war, was rejected by the country of his adoption in an evil hour
for France. Soldier and statesman, diplomatist and man of letters,
from the Meuse to the Danube, from the Alps to the Apennines, he
commanded under greater difficulties and in a greater diversity of
campaigning than his friend and colleague Marlborough, and the
career of the Edler Ritter of the camp songs was a romance from
be-ginning to end. Romantic as it was, it was surpassed by that of
Maurice of Saxe, born, like Eugene, almost on the steps of a throne,
and scarcely embarrassed by the bar sinister. Distinguished by
supreme talents and degraded by his follies, no ambitious hero ever
missed more magnificent opportunities, when a choice of marriages
might have made him Emperor of all the Russias. He had to console
himself with the baton of a Marshal of France, where he died with
the reputation of the first soldier of the age, crowned with laurels
and overwhelmed with the honours ordinarily paid to royalty alone.
This week we've added bios on Charles McLaren, John Goodbrand, and
Duncan Ban MacIntyre
Duncan Macintyre was a favourite with the people. On his journeys
throughout the Highlands his fame preceded him, and he was generally
well received. His handsome presence and frank bearing, his cheerful
countenance and sociable disposition, were all conducive to
hospitable entertainment. Of a peaceable, happy-go-lucky
disposition, he was mild-mannered as a rule but merciless in
retaliation for insult, and uncharitable to opponents. He apparently
enjoyed the tours he made through the Highlands and Islands. In his
younger days he was, by choice or by chance, a wanderer, a welcome
minstrel in different places toirt ̣rain ùra s rannachd dhaibh
and so became known and loved as Donnchadh bàn nan ̣ran.
The bard of Glen Orchy had known wild and lonely places, he lived in
shielings and gamekeepers huts, and he was familiar with all phases
of farm work and rural pastimes. He had observed men toiling and
striving all their days and came to the conclusion gur e n duine
diomhain as fhaide mhaireas (that tis the idle man that doth last
longest). He had followed his own recipe for longevity long before
he left Glen Orchy; and we may rejoice it was so, for sustained
poetic composition requires leisure and contemplation and the mental
concentration that weariness makes difficult. He hoped that his
duties in the City Guard would leave him many spells to be "in
vacant or in pensive mood." Actually, Conditions in the capital were
not favourable: there were too many opportunities for company and
too few for privacy.
Macintyre made his home in the capital for half his life-time; here
some of his children were born and some died; and here he himself
passed away in 1812, and his wife in 1824. The poet and his wife,
and some of their children and grandchildren are buried in Old
Greyfriars churchyard. His monument here marks a spot that will ever
be sacred to all who speak the Gaelic language and appreciate the
grace and grandeur of the songs bequeathed to them by Duncan Ban
It is said that what Burns was to the Scots, MacIntyre was to the
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