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Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
A History of the Scotch Poor Law (New Book)
The Life of John Duncan
Chronicles of Stratheden
History of Glasgow
25 years of Village Cricket
Scots and Scots-Irish in North Carolina
Dr. Kirsty Duncan
Scotch Wit and Humour (New Book)
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
I'm sure my Scottish friends are not going to be too pleased with my
observations but I'm getting more and more convinced that the best
of Scots have already left Scotland. While this isn't news as such I
just thought it was time to put some of my thoughts down and I'd
certainly welcome any comments after you have read it be they
positive or negative :-)
Back in the 16th, to 20th centuries hundreds of thousands of Scots
left Scotland for lands all over the world. [Note that at the Union
of the Crowns in 1707 it was estimated that the population of
Scotland was just 1 million]. A lot of them had an enterprising
spirit and saw business opportunities. A lot of others were forced
to leave through the Highland Clearances but it still took a lot of
courage to leave the homeland.
You simply can't read the histories of other countries without being
made aware of the part the Scots played in those lands. Before the
new worlds were discovered Scots had been emigrating to Europe and
other lands and then they turned to the opportunities of the new
They founded banks, legal firms, farms, educational establishments,
churches, and were leaders in commerce, shipping, and general
industries as well as being heavily involved in politics be it local
In those days Scots had a world vision and an enterprise that was
astonishing and despite all that has happened, the Scots descendants
still do amazing things in the world. Recently they discovered that
despite being a small minority in the USA they actually produce 10%
of all the millionaires in America.
I find as I travel around the various places in the world where
Scots have settled that I get a great deal of help from the Scots
and their descendants. They are generally proud of what they and
their ancestors have achieved and are willing to provide information
on those achievements.
And yet the Scots at home seem a pale shadow of those descendants.
They don't have the same vision or pride that our descendants do in
I have written to 100 Scottish companies to see if they'd be
interested in providing some history about their companies. Not one
provided such information, although the Wood Group did some years
I have emailed or written to every Scottish Council area to ask for
information and the few that responded offered nothing or little
that was of any use.
Not one tourism company or tourism organisation in Scotland has
offered anything about themselves.
I have attended a number of meetings in Canada and the USA where
I've been asked to attend due to a Scottish Minister doing the
rounds or other Scottish organisations wanting to talk to local
people. Never have they come up with plans on what we can do to
help. They tell us a tiny amount about their organisations or what
is happening in Scotland and expect us to read their minds about why
they they have come or what we might be able to do to help.
I once did a survey on why people might go to Scotland and found
that some 78% of them that did go to Scotland just wanted to touch
base with their roots. Those 78% had, to their knowledge, no living
relations in Scotland.
I keep wondering why local Scots in Scotland are so poor at
communicating. We are after all in the communication age. Even if
you visit their web sites most are just brochures and very few of
them excite or enthuse the visitor. They are so seldom updated that
there is often little point in going back as nothing will have
I am in fact fortunate to be in Canada right now and here in Canada
I could spend the rest of my life just writing about Scots in Canada
with the huge amount of written accounts of Scots here. In fact I've
really come to the conclusion that Canada is the real home of the
Scots as so many of them came here, settled and helped to develop
the country to what it is today.
If we read the histories you can see that many clan chiefs came from
other lands to Scotland. This progress now seen to be happening
again but this time clan members are moving to Canada, America,
On the whole it's those people that have kept alive the clan roots
and not, in most cases, the people back in Scotland.
We keep hearing about Scots wanting to ditch the tartan and bagpipe
image of Scotland and yet these are instantly recognisable brands
for Scotland. It was the Scots people of Canada and the USA that
came up with Tartan Day and now the local Scots want to ditch that
in favour of Scottish Week. Did they ever do anything to help get
Tartan Day started? No! So in thanks for all our work to get Tartan
Day started they tell us thanks but we need to move on to other
things. Do they actually recognise all the work that went on to get
Tartan Day recognised? I'm sure most have no idea whatsoever.
Now there is a movement afoot to get the month of April recognised
in the USA as Scots & Scots-Irish Month. This is of course being
done by local people of Scots descent and this month has already
been recognised by many States in America. Where are the local Scots
in all this? Nowhere! I might add if you want to give support to
this group you can read more at
I am hugely proud to be a Scot and especially when you consider what
the Scots have achieved all over the world. I'm not so sure I can
identify with the local Scots of today however. They seem to be a
pale shadow of what our Scots ancestors were in the olden days. I
believe most of our real traditions have been moved to places like
Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world.
Indeed Canada has already had to go back to Scotland to teach them
about step dancing. The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is keeping the
Gaelic Language alive. The College of Piping in Prince Edward Island
likewise for bagpipes. The Centre for Scottish Studies at the
University of Guelph is the only place in North America where you
can obtain a Doctorate or Masters in Scottish Studies. Some of the
finest Burns clubs in the world can be found in Canada and the USA.
About the only reason for going back to Scotland is to see the
country where we came from. Next year we see Homecoming Scotland
getting started and to learn how to do a clan gathering they had to
visit the Grandfather Mountain Games and Stone Mountain Highland
Games and the Fergus Highland Games in Canada to learn how to do it.
The fact that it is being held on Scottish Soil is perhaps the only
reason to go there.
Most people that will go to Scotland in 2009 from further afield
than Europe will be going for between 7 - 14 days. Likely at least 3
days will be to Edinburgh where the Clan Gathering is but where will
they go next? Perhaps to Stirling but then I would imagine most will
head to St. Andrews and the Highlands and Islands. So many parts of
Scotland will be missed as no attempt is made to attract people to
them. Like why would you go to Glasgow? Why go to a city for your
holiday? Would it even occur to you to go to Glasgow unless you had
I get reports on Scottish Business from the point of view that Scots
around the world send opportunities back to Scotland. The local
Scots seem to want business handed to them on a plate. Like you mean
we have to do some work to get the business? Unless there is a grant
I'm not interested!
Our ancestors didn't get grants but many of them made millions by
engaging businesses all over the world. A lot of them found ways to
co-operate with each other to help defray expenses. And a lot of
them made sure people knew who they were and why they had come. This
is entirely different from the secretive Scottish Enterprise who
while involved in North America make sure you learn virtually
nothing about what they do.
The vast majority of Scots left Scotland to get a better life and
most of them achieved that and are now Americans, Canadians,
Australians, etc. Their new countries have given them a much better
life that they could get in Scotland. We mostly have positive
attitudes to "Old Scotland" but I doubt most of us have any
particular ties to "New Scotland" unless you have family there.
Should the Scotland of today want to engage us they need to give us
reasons and provide us with some information as to why we should do
That's not to say Scots in Scotland won't give you a decent welcome
when you get there but I just think our Scots descendants give you
an even better welcome when you visit them. Like I spend 6 months in
Canada and all that time I was put up in Canadian homes of Scots and
their descendants. Likewise I was put up for 3 months in the USA
again staying with Scots and their descendants. That just wouldn't
happen in Scotland.
It just seems to me that local Scots have no idea how to communicate
with the Scots Diaspora around the world and it's a real shame as
they are ignoring the very best of Scots that have actually achieved
so much in their new lands. These are successful people with vision
and enterprise. Why would you not want to communicate with them?
I believe Scotland could do so much better but perhaps it's because
the best of Scotland have already left Scotland and the people we
left behind are mostly the ones that did not have the courage to
leave Scotland or the vision and enterprise to see the possibilities
in the world.
Scotland should be able to do so much better but where are the
visionaries, the entrepreneurs? We simply don't know as Scotland has
a failure to communicate and so most Scots in the Diaspora haven't a
clue as to what Scotland is getting up to today. Only a tiny
percentage go to the trouble of finding out.
And so if Scots
want to do better in the world it's time they went back and looked
at their history when Scots were doing all those amazing things in
I'm going to be at the Fergus Highland Games on Saturday 9th August
so might see you there if you're going yourselves.
Nothing of particular note this week other than working hard on a
number of books that I'll be bringing onto the site over the next
few weeks. There is a fair mixture of subjects and here is a list of
ones I'm working on at the moment...
Being the story and traditions of a remote Highland parish and its
people by Alexander MacRae
The Highland Host of 1678
By John Rawson Elder (1914)
History of Banking in Scotland
By Andrew William Kerr (1908)
Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades by Ebenezer Bain
Reminiscences of a Highland Parish
By Norman MacLeod D.D. (1871)
The Sea of Galilee Mission of the Free Church of Scotland
Published for the Jewish Committee of the Free Church of Scotland
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
By W. I. Smith and Illustrations by M. McGillvray (1923)
A signatory to the American Declaration of Independence by David
Walker Woods (1900)
The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia
By Mrs Flora McDonald Williams (1911)
Of all of these the hardest has been the Merchant and Craft Guilds
as that book gives liberal quotes from old charters and mauscripts
which all are in the old Scots language. So my spelling checker was
going berserk! :-) It is however a fascinating book revealing so
much information on the old days in Scotland that it's well worth
In the book about the Glengarry McDonalds reference was made to a
book "Sketches of North Carolina" and so I looked up that book and
found quite a few references to Scots and Scots-Irish so I might
look at doing this book. The Glengarry McDonalds is an interesting
account of Scots who emigrated to the USA and what they got up to
there. Interesting accounts of their involvement in the Civil War as
well. One of them settled a border dispute between Virginia and
Maryland by going back to Britain to research old records and
getting emotional when he met a wee Scots beggar playing an old
Scots tune while he was in London.
John Witherspoon was of course one of the signatories of the
American Declaration of Independence and so doing a biography of him
seemed to be a good idea.
Kinlochbervie and Reminiscences of a Highland Parish give us an
insight into life in those parishes back in the 19th century.
History of Banking is there as yet another way of me exploring the
various aspects of Scottish history. I'd like to explore a bit more
on banking as many banks throughout the world were founded by Scots.
Indeed should you be working in a bank you might ask about the
founders and if there are any Scots in there would be interested to
learn of them :-)
The Sea of Galilee Mission is quite a short book and I just thought
it was just another way of showing what Scots got up to in the world
in a geographical area that I have yet to explore.
The Pioneers of Old Ontario is simply an excellent book that
explores what pioneers had to do to "clear the land", etc and has
dozens of illustrations and of course many Scots are mentioned in
the book. I will say it's one of the most enjoyable reads I've had
in a while.
So these are books you can look forward to reading in the weeks
I have made a start at the Poor Law in Scotland for which more
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 Mark Hirst and I note a comment about
British Airways slashing flights from Aberdeen Airport to Heathrow.
So it seems that Scotland is also being affected by the high fuel
costs just like every country in the world.
In Peter's cultural section he tells of his last part of his
Culloden visit in which as it happens the McDonalds of Glengarry in
the USA fought. Here is what he has to say...
This week we conclude our July visit to the Culloden Battlefield
with a look at the reconstructed Leanach (Culwhiniac) enclosure, the
front line of the Jacobite army and the Keppoch Stone, which you
find on a path leading from the front line. The Culwhiniac enclosure
stretched along the right wing of the Jacobite line where Lord
George, the ablest Jacobite commander, commanded the first line with
his Athollmen, the Camerons, and the Stewarts of Apppin. This upset
Clan Donald who claimed that honoured spot by right, dating back to
the Battle of Bannockburn in 1320. The men of Atholl stood on the
extreme flank beside the dry-stane dyke of the Culwhiniac enclosure.
The dyke should have been destroyed prior to the battle as the
Athollmen found to cost as the enemy used it to devastating effect.
Men from the Hanoverian supporting Argyll Militia, a 140 strong band
of Campbells, occupied the enclosure and were able to exact a
terrible toll on the Atholl Brigade. The reconstructed part of the
wall 262 years on fully shows how the Campbells were well protected
as they took their part in the killing field of Drummossie. The
irony is that Butcher Cumberland didn’t want them to take part in
the battle (distrust of Highland Scots!) but as scouts they arrived
at Culwhiniac anyway.
On the left wing Clan Donald stood unwillingly and was slow to
charge. Hearing the Clan Chattan’s slogans and the surge forward of
both John Roy’s Stewarts and the mixed clans they slowly advanced
with sullen anger. Young Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch shouted
angrily to his fellow clansmen “Mo Dhia, an do threig Clann mo
chinnidhmi ?” (My God, have the clansmen of my name deserted me?).
The men of Clanranald, Keppoch and Glengarry went forward in a
ragged manner, halted to fire their pistols and firelocks, but never
advanced nearer than a hundred yards from the Government lines.
Always under heavy fire when Kingston’s Horse came up on the flank
of Clan Donald they fell back. The men of Keppoch running past their
clan chief as he lay at the spot marked by the Keppoch Stone. Grape
and musketry fire from Pultney’s had resulted in many casualties
including Keppoch who had been struck in the arm, paralysing it and
bringing him to his knees. He was found by James Macdonell of
Kilachonat and as he attempted to drag his chief to the rear,
Keppoch was struck by another bullet in the back. Macdonell fearing
that his chief was dead fled the field. But Keppoch was still alive
and was found by one of his sons, Angus Ban, who carried him to a
near-by bothy. There Keppoch breathed his last and Angus Ban took
his sword and dirk and headed for home. As Marilyn is descended form
MacDonald stock, a visit to the Keppoch Stone is an essential part
of any visit we make to Drummossie.
The First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond visited Culloden this
week, prior to a Scottish Government Cabinet meeting in Inverness.
He said that the battlefield would play a vital part in the 2009
Year of Homecoming. With that in mind, the timing of the new £9
million Culloden Visitor and Exhibit Centre couldn’t be better as
the new centre can deal with many more visitors than the old one.
The First Minister is right that Culloden should prove a great
attraction for home-coming Scots and those of Scottish descent as
the battle, 262 years on, stills tugs at the Scottish soul. Perhaps
the great English historian and author John Prebble hit the nail on
the head when he wrote of Culloden – ‘A lost cause will always win a
last victory in man’s imagination.’ Scots, Scotland and particularly
The Highlands paid a terrible price for the coming of the Italian
cousin and his defeat at the hands of his German cousin. An episode
in history which 262 years on continues to fascinate every
This week’s recipe combines two things which the Highlanders held
dear – Black Cattle and Whisky – as Beef in Whisky Sauce combines
Beef in Whisky Sauce
Ingredients: 1 ½ lb sirloin steak: 1 oz butter; 1 large onion,
chopped; 3 tbs Scotch Whisky; ¼ cup double cream; salt and pepper
Method: Cut the beef into thin strips. Cook the beef strips and
onions in the butter for 5-10 minutes, until the beef is brown and
cooked to taste. Stir in the Whisky and cream. Heat gently to reduce
See the Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs in the Features
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots
Wit and lots more at
Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for this week can be viewed at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We finished the R's with Rymer
and now move onto the S's with Sage, St Colme, Saltoun, Sandeman,
Sanders, Sandford, Sandilands and Sanquhar.
Mostly small account this week but the account of Sandford shows how
Scots were interested in the Greek language...
SANDFORD, SIR DANIEL KEYTE, D.C.L., an accomplished Greek scholar,
was the second son of the Right Rev. Daniel Sandford, Episcopal
bishop of Edinburgh, in which city he was born February 3, 1798.
After receiving the rudiments of his education under the
superintendence of his father, who died in January 1830, he was sent
to the High school, and afterwards to the university of his native
town, where he distinguished himself by his progress in classical
learning. In 1813 he was placed under the care and tuition of his
god=father, Mr. Keyte, at Runcorn, in Cheshire, and remained there
for two or three years, pursuing his studies with enthusiasm and
success. IN 1817 he was entered as a commoner of Christ Church,
Oxford. At the public examination in Easter term, 1820, he was
placed in the first class, in Literis Humanioribus, and October 20,
the same year, he took his degree of B.A. In 1821 he gained the
chancellor’s prize for an English essay on ‘The Study of Modern
History;’ and May 25, 1825, he proceeded to the degree of M.A., as a
grand compounder. The Greek chair in the university of Glasgow
having become vacant, by the death of Professor Young, Mr. Sandford,
although an Episcopalian, was, on the recommendation of men of all
parties, elected his successor in September 1821, at the early age
of 23. In the beginning of the session of that year he entered on
the duties, and by his unrivalled skill as a teacher, and the
enthusiasm of his classic genius, he soon awakened a love for the
study of Greek literature, not only in the university of Glasgow,
but throughout Scotland.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read these entries at
Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "Summer Drought" which you
can read at
Margo has also sent in another Ian and Mac story at
We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and
others in our Article Service. Also another Llama story 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 Aboyne and Glentanner
Eminent Men.—The chief characters of eminence connected with this
parish have been the Earls of Aboyne and members of that Noble
family; but an account of the more distinguished of these is to be
found in the general history of Scotland. It may not, however, be
out of place here to state, that George, fifth Earl of Aboyne,
succeeded to the Marquisate of Huntly on the death of George, fifth
and last Duke of Gordon, eighth Marquis of Huntly, on 28th May 1836.
The pedigree, as on that occasion proved before the House of Lords,
shows that the late Earl and his son, the present Marquis, have been
seized in the estates of Aboyne since 1732, the unusual period of
110 years; and that since the lamented death of the last Duke, S.
P., the Marquis has become chief of the Gordons, a clan ever bydand;
and that the loyalty which held the Crown on James III.'s head, "animo
non astutia," has never been wanting in their chief.
You can read this account at
On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85
parishes and also a map at
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
The Miller of Doune: a Traveller's Tale
This week we have up Chapter 3 of this tale and here is how it
The time was now drawing near for the sports to be held at Stirling,
and William was aye wanting to speak to his father about it, and to
ken if they were gaun; but Jeanie advised against it. "If ye speak
till him, and fash him about it enow,” says she, "it’s ten to ane
but he’ll say no, and then, ye ken, there’s an’ end o’t; but gif ye
say naething, and keep steady to your wark, l like enough he may
speak o’ gaun himsel; sae tak my advice an’ sae naething ava about
William did as Jeanie wanted him, but still the miller didna speak,
an’ now it was the afternoon of the day before the sports were to
come on, an’ no a word had been said about them; an William was unco
vexed, an' didna weel ken what to do. When he’s sitting thinking
about it, the door opens, an’ in steps their neebour, Saunders
Mushet, just to crack a wee; an’ by an’ by he says, "Weel, miller,
an’ what time will ye be for setting aff the morn’s morning?”
"Me!" said the miller," an’ what to do?"
"What to do?" says Saunders, "why, to see the sports at Stirling, to
be sure; you’ll surely never think o’ missing sic a grand sight?"
“An’ troth, Saunders," says the miller, "I had clean forgotten’t. 'Od,
I daur-say there’ll be grand fun, an’ my bairns wad maybe like to
see’t; an’ now that I think o’t, they’ve dune unco weel this while
past, especially William there, wha’s wrought mair than e’er I saw
him do afore in the same space o’ time; sae get ye ready, bairns, to
set out at five o’clock the ok Saunders up as we gae by."
This was glad news to the miller’s family, an’ ye needna doubt but
they were a' ready in plenty o’ time; an’ when they cam to Stirling,
they got their breakfast, an' a gude rest before aught o’clock cam,
which was the hour when the sports were to begin; an' grand sports
they were, an’ muckle diversion gaed on; but nane o’ the miller’s
family took ony share in them, till they cam to puttin’ the stane,
and flingin’ the mell.
You can read the rest of this at
The other stories can be read at
A History of the Scotch Poor Law
By Sir George Nicholls, K .C. B. (1856)
This is a new book we've started on with the first three chapters up
for you to read.
The preface starts by saying...
IT was originally intended that the History of the Scotch Poor Law,
should form an appendage to the Author's account of the Poor Law of
England; but he found, as he proceeded, that the materials which it
was necessary to collect and arrange in order to afford a complete
view of the subject, increased so much in bulk, and assumed a
character of so much importance, as to warrant their publication as
a separate work, and hence the appearance of the present volume.
Although now published separately, both the English and Scottish
Histories may however for the present purpose be regarded as one;
for the Poor Laws of the two countries were so nearly identical in
their origin, and for a time were likewise so similar, in spirit and
operation, that a certain knowledge of both is necessary to a right
understanding of the character, and a full appreciation of the
advantages and disadvantages of either. They are in fact, or rather
in their progress they became, the opposite extremes of the same
system; and they should both be kept in view when seeking to arrive
at a sound conclusion as to the nature and extent of the assistance
that may with safety, and at the same time with advantage, be
administered at the public charge in relief of destitution. The
Irish Poor Law, it may be remarked, is a compound of the English and
Scottish systems, deriving nearly as much from the one as from the
other, and aiming at embodying the excellences, and avoiding the
defects of each.
The Author was required to take a prominent part in the framing and
introduction of the Irish Poor Law, and this made it especially
necessary that he should make himself acquainted with the Poor Law
of Scotland. He mentions this as one reason for his venturing to
undertake the present work, and it may be stated as a further
reason, that during many of the best years of a now somewhat
protracted life, it has been his fortune to be connected with the
Poor Law question—not speculatively only, but practically, and on
the most extensive scale—in England as well as in Ireland; and his
attention could not therefore fail of being much directed to what
had been done, and to what was doing in Scotland.
You can read the rest of this at
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell
We've now started getting up chapters on individual gardens...
Kellie Castle, Fife
Cawdor Castle, Nairnshire
Manse Of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
Sunderland Hall, Selkirkshire
Here is how the account starts on Sunderland Hall, Selkirkshire...
"'O the broom and the bonny, bonny broom,
The broom o' the Cowdenknowes '-
And aye sae sweet as the lassie sang
In the bucht milking the ewes."
[Southerners will miss the rhyme unless they follow the Scots in
pronouncing "ewes" as "yowl," for thus the sound of the Anglo-Saxon
eown has been pronounced in the northern dialect, as it has been in
many other words.]
OW the old lilt ran in my head as I travelled one hot morning in
June from Galashiels to Lindean, for the golden broom was in full
glory on the river banks—such glory, that if it were a tender
exotic, requiring careful coddling and nicety of soil, I think we
should build glass houses for its accommodation, as now we do for
costly orchids. Truly, it seemed vain to seek in garden ground for
colour more pure or fragrance more perfect than were so lavishly
offered in field and hedge and hanging copse, for what can excel the
broom in splendour or the may-blossom in scent? Nor could there be
devised a more charming contrast to the glowing gold of the broom
than the cool tint of field-geraniums, which sheeted the railway
embankments with purple.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the rest of the chapters at
The Life of John Duncan
Scotch Weaver and Botanist with Sketches of his Friends and Notices
of the Times
By William Jolly (1883)
Have now added more chapters from this book...
Chapter IX - His early life as a Country Weaver
Settles near Monymusk on the Don; scenery round; wanderings for
herbs; unkind and kind proprietors; soap dear and little used; stays
near Paradise on the Don; Paradise described; stinginess and
buttermilk; learns to write about thirty; goes to Fyvie; scenery
there; his friendship with gardeners; his success in weaving and
study of the art. 1824-1828.
Chapter X - His Studies at this period: Elementary Subjects and
Politics in Aberdeen; Writing; Meanings and Etymology; Grammar and
Arithmetic; Latin and Greek; Geography and history: Herbalism;
Culpepper and his "herbal"; Sir John Hill and Tournefort; John's
knowledge of plants; his opposition to doctors; his own medical
practice; examples of his employment of curative plants; of his
practical uses of plants; of his picturesque knowledge of them: his
study of Astrology. 1824 onwards.
Chapter XI - His Astronomical Studies: "Johnnie Moon."
Culpepper and Astrology; begins Astronomy; his midnight studies; is
counted "mad"; studies Dialling and makes dials; his mode of knowing
the hours; his pocket horologe described; studies Meteorology; known
as "the star-gazer," "Johnnie Moon," and "the Nogman"; John a true "nogman."
Chapter XII - Life and Star-Gazing at Auchleven and Tullynessle
The classical Gadie; the village of Auchleven on it; John settles
there; his bedroom, "the Philosopher's Hall"; weaving; Astronomy in
an ash-tree; Willie Mortimer, the village shoemaker; John's aspect
and habits; counted "silly"; his character: stays at Insch; "the
starmannie" there: removes. to Tullynessle in the Vale of Alford;
his master, Robbie Barron; his workshop and bedroom; Astronomy
there; his telescope and dials; midnight on the mountains; frightens
a good woman at night; his life at Muckletown; how looked on there;
frequents it to the last. 1828-1836.
Chapter XIII - Settlement at Netherton, and Village Life there
The Vale of Alford and the Don described; Netherton in Tough; John
settles down there; his new home and work; his new master, Peter
Marnock John's life there; Charles hunter, the shoemaker; Sandy
Cameron, the tailor; Willie Davidson, the innkeeper; John still
persecuted by his wife. 1836.
Chapter XIV - John's Introduction to this "Alter Ego"
The mansion of Whitehouse; Mr. and Mrs. Farquharson; Charles Black,
the gardener; his early life and botanical studies; his character
and later studies; John's introduction to him; Botany or Culpepper?;
the crisis in John's life reached. 1836.
These can all be viewed at
Chronicles of Stratheden
By a Resident (1881)
Added the Conclusion to this book which now completes the book.
Here is a bit from the final chapter...
WE have endeavoured to describe the general features of the average
Highland parish of our own times. There are a few peculiarities long
associated with the Highlands—such as witchcraft, second-sight, and
certain other superstitious beliefs—to which some may think a
distinct chapter should have been allotted. Such beliefs, however,
are all but vanished, being very much scared by railways,
newspapers, and schools, not to speak of the influence of the
pulpit, though this latter has not always been so helpful as might
be wished. As, however, such beliefs widely prevailed until within a
recent period, and as isolated traces of them may yet exist, a few
general remarks on the subject may suitably occupy a part of this
Reputed witches and uncanny ones of that ilk, that "took away" the
milk, as was alleged, from cows, and that dealt in other mischievous
practices, were by no means rare in the Highlands about twenty years
ago. We remember some score years ago having seen a representative
of the hated sisterhood. She was old, and had a wrinkled and
somewhat sable face,—all which features, of course, are ordinarily
considered requisites in a witch. She invariably carried about with
her a small tin pail, and it was in this pail the appliances for her
alleged diabolical artifices were believed to reside. She was
peculiar among witches because of the pail. Other witches went about
without a pail, and were not supposed to be engaged in evil-doing
beyond the pale of their homes, whereas the pail witch was believed
to be capable of doing injury anywhere with the pail. Schoolboys
half trembled at the sight of her when she came from her home in the
hills to the little village; and certain owners of cattle no sooner
saw her than they deputed a special messenger to go to look after
the cows, lest by her odious charms, as was alleged, she might "take
away," or take the virtue from, the milk. In such houses as she
honoured with a visit it was thought prudent to be kind to her;
for—so thought those that made her peace-offerings—who knew what she
might do to man or beast, or both? She and her pail have disappeared
some dozen years ago, and though she had several rival witches in
her day in her neighbourhood, it will to-day be difficult in the
same district to find even one successor.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The rest of the chapters can be read at
The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes
We are now making progress with these volumes and this week we have
Prehistoric Condition of Glasgow Area—Sites of Early Dwellings
The Roman Period and After
The Coming of St. Kentigern
St. Kentigern's Return from Wales
Early Place Names
After the Days of St. Kentigern—Strathclyde and Cumbria
Diocese of Glasgow
And here is a bit from the Diocese of Glasgow...
WITH regard to the extent of the kingdom of Cumbria, a chronicler of
the year 1069, in the early part of the third King Malcolm's reign,
states that it included the three bishoprics of Glasgow, Candida
Casa and Carlisle. Both sides of the Solway, as well as the Galloway
district, were thus at that time comprehended within the kingdom;
but, according to the Saxon Chronicle, William Rufus, in 1092, went
with a large army to Carlisle and wrested from Malcolm the district
south of the Solway. [St. Kentigern, pp. 333-4; Dr. G. Neilson's
Annals of the Solway, p. 36.]
At what time the diocese, which originally extended from the Clyde
district to the Derwent in Cumberland, was split into two, with the
Solway as the dividing line, is not definitely known, but such seems
to have been the position about the middle of the eleventh century.
The Cumbrian region, however, still continued to be viewed as a
whole, and Joceline uses the term in that sense, though the name of
Cumberland began to be exclusively appropriated by the southern
parts. Of the existence of Bishops of Glasgow during the eleventh
century, any statements in the chronicles are rather vague and some
are of doubtful authority. According to one account, Thomas,
Archbishop of York, between 1109 and 1114, ordained "a holy man,
Michael," as Bishop of Glasgow, and on the authority of "truthful
men" it is also stated that Kinsi, who was archbishop between 1055
and 1060, had consecrated his predecessors, Magsula and John, the
only other bishops, besides Sedulius, of whom there is any mention
between the time of St. Kentigern and the twelfth century. "But,"
adds the chronicler, "because of hostile invasion and desolation and
the barbarity of the land, for long the church was without a pastor,
until Earl David (afterwards King of Scotland) appointed, as bishop,
Michael aforesaid, and sent him over to be consecrated by Archbishop
Thomas." Though Michael's name is mentioned only by English
historians and does not appear in Scottish record, there seems to be
little doubt of his existence, at least as a titular Bishop of
Glasgow. He died and was buried in Westmoreland, and as he acted as
an assistant bishop at York his personal connection with Glasgow
was, probably of the slightest. That he was consecrated by the
Archbishop of York, at Earl David's desire, is improbable, the claim
for canonical obedience, either to Canterbury or York, having been
so constantly disputed by Scottish rulers. Of Magsula and John no
reliable information is procurable, and it is suspected that their
names are chronicled merely in support of the claim of the
Archbishops of York to supremacy over the Scottish sees. [St.
Kentigern, p. xcii; Scottish Annals, pp. 133-4 ; Dowden's Bishops, p
Of John, the next Bishop of Glasgow, a monk who has the reputation
of being a learned and worthy man, there are fuller and more
authentic particulars. Formerly tutor to Earl David, he was
consecrated Bishop of Glasgow prior to izi8. In a letter by Pope
Calixtus II. to the bishop, in 1122, it is stated that he had been
elected by the chapter of the church of York and at their request
had been consecrated by the former Pope, and he was therefore
enjoined to render obedience to the Archbishop of York. Neither this
command nor a repeated order in the same year and to the like effect
was complied with; and here it may be added, as showing the
persistency on both sides, that a similar request by Pope Innocent
II., in 1131, was also ignored. John, having been suspended in 1122,
left his diocese, intending to visit Rome and Jerusalem, but he was
compelled to return to Glasgow in the following year. From a
subsequent absence he was similarly recalled in 1138. [ Bishops of
Scotland, pp. 295-6.]
Most of the high officers of State, in early times, were churchmen,
and in the exercise of these functions Glasgow ecclesiastics had
their full share. In an undated charter by King David to the Abbey
of Dunfermline, believed to be granted about the year 1130, John,
designated bishop and chancellor, is one of the witnesses. The
chancellor was the King's adviser in all legal matters, acting as
his assessor in courts of justice, while the King still held them in
person, and he was also usually keeper of the Great Seal. [Reg. de
Dunferrnlyn, No. 12 ; Early Scottish Charters, pp. 74, 336.]
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The index page of the book is at
By John Henderson
John is sending in a 5 part account of "25 years of Village Cricket,
1983-2008, in Gargunnock, Stirling, Scotland" in pdf format. We now
have up Part 3 which you can read at
Scots and Scots-Irish in North Carolina
I was looking through some history books about North Carolina and
came across a couple of chapters about them which I thought I'd turn
into a couple of articles which you can read at...
Scots in North Carolina at
Scots-Irish in North Carolina at
You might remember this conservation project to preserve an old farm
that Scots settlers built in Ontario, Canada. I have received an
update on their work which you can read at
Dr. Kirsty Duncan
Kirsty has achieved quite a lot in her life already and will be
standing for the Canadian parliament in the next elections. She is
also a board member of the Scottish Studies Foundation. I just
thought you might be interested in reading her wee biography to date
Scotch Wit and Humour
Printed in 1898
I came across this book and enjoyed reading some of the old wit and
thought I'd share it with you. Given the way the book was laid out I
thought I'd just scan it as images of each page.
The Preface tells us...
Scotch Wit and Humor is a fairly representative collection of the
type of wit and humor which is at home north of the Tweed—and almost
everywhere else—for are not Scotchmen to be found everywhere? To say
that wit and humor is not a native of Scotch human nature is to
share the responsibility for an inaccuracy the author of which must
have been as unobservant as those who repeat it. It is quite true
that the humor is not always or generally on the surface—what
treasure is?—and it may be true, too, that the thrifty habits of our
northern friends, combined with the earnestness produced by their
religious history, have brought to the surface the
seriousness—amounting sometimes almost to heaviness—which is their
most apparent characteristic. But under the surface will be found a
rich vein of generosity, and a fund of humor, which soon cure a
stranger—if he has eyes to see and is capable of appreciation—of the
common error of supposing that Scotchmen are either stingy or
True, there may be the absence of the brilliancy which characterizes
much of the English wit and humor, and of the inexpressible quality
which is contained in Hibernian fun; but for point of neatness one
may look far before discovering anything to surpass the shrewdness
and playfulness to be found in the Scotch race. In fact, if Scotland
had no wit and humor she would have been incapable of furnishing a
man who employed such methods in construction as were introduced by
the engineer of the Forth Bridge.
I might add that by reading this book I found out that beadles were
given mallets with which to wake up members of the congregation that
had fallen asleep :-)
You can read the complete book at
And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)
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