Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter
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/rss/whatsnew.php 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
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
The Life of John Duncan
History of Glasgow
History of Banking in Scotland
The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia (New Book)
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Banffshire Maritime Heritage Association Newsletter
Strange Secrets of Ancient Scotland
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
While completing this newsletter I have been enjoying the Democratic
Convention. The music has been great and have to say most of the
speeches have been interesting. It will be interesting to see what
the Republicans comes up with next week :-)
Well I did make it to the Selkirk Faire on Saturday and it was warm
and sunny which certainly made a huge change from the Fergus Games.
You can see the pictures and videos I took at
I have added the videos to YouTube but have also managed to create
quite small real videos of under a Megabyte. The audio is actually
more important that the video so figured I could make them quite
small if I just concentrated on the audio.
I've been in touch over the past few weeks with a Duncan MacDonald
in the US and she has been telling me about many Scottish
Organisations in the US that I have never heard of. I'm only
mentioning this as I'd like to start documenting these organisations
and need your help to do so. Essentially if you know of a Scottish
or Scots-Irish organisation perhaps you can get them to do a meaty
article about when and how they got started and what they do with
some examples and then email it to me with their web site address
and contact email address. I can then build a section of my site to
tell people about them.
It would also be useful if they could make clear how they could help
Scotland either locally and/or in Scotland. Like how many members do
they have... can they raise money for projects... can they contact
people to come to a special meeting? Would they be able to provide
accommodation if a local Scot wanted to come to their country to try
and do business? Things like this would help a great deal if only we
can pull this information together.
This is clearly going to be a long term project but am certainly
willing to give it a try.
It is with regret that we note the closure of Zoom Airlines...
Zoom Airlines sincerely regrets to advise its customers that it has
suspended operations with effect from 18:00 UTC on Thursday 28
All flights scheduled to depart have been cancelled and Zoom's
aircraft have been grounded.
Both Zoom Airlines Inc and Zoom Airlines Ltd, the Canadian and UK
airlines, will be filing for insolvency proceedings in their home
For customers who have future travel plans involving a Zoom flight
for which reservations and payment have been made, you should refer
to your credit or debit card company to apply for a refund. We have
set out details of other airlines who operate the same or similar
routes to those flown with Zoom in the hope that this may assist you
in making alternative travel plans to replace the flights that you
had booked with Zoom.
If your travel arrangements have been made as part of a holiday
package originating in the UK and booked through a holiday company,
you may be able to make a claim under the CAA's Air Travel
Organiser's Licence scheme. For information on this, please consult
the CAA ATOL website at
Hugh and John Boyle, the founders of Zoom, said today: "We deeply
regret the fact that we have been forced to cease all Zoom
operations. It is a tragic day for our passengers and more than 600
"We are desperately sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause
passengers and those who have booked flights.
"We have done everything we can to support the airline and left no
stone unturned to secure a re-financing package that would have kept
our aircraft flying. Even as late as yesterday we had secured a new
investment package but the actions of creditors meant we could not
"The collapse of Zoom is a result of matter beyond our control. Only
last year Zoom Airlines made profit, but that turned into a loss in
the last year due to the unprecedented increase in the price of
aviation fuel and the economic climate. The price of oil resulted in
our fuel bill jumping by nearly $50 million in one year and we could
not recover that from passengers who had already booked their
"We would like to thank the many thousands of passengers who chose
to travel with Zoom during the last seven years and efforts of the
We have been advised that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are
graciously offering special fares to assist Zoom customers that have
been displaced by the suspension of our services.
Hugh Boyle was very supportive of the Scottish Studies Foundation
and was of course a "Scot of the Year". We wish them all the best.
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 Ian Goldie in which he is
highlighting the tiny minority of Scots that went to the Olympics
compared with other smaller nations.
In Peter's cultural section he tells us about the village of
Kinghorn in Fife...
This week we resume our visits to various Scottish towns and visitor
attractions with a look at, and around, the ancient Royal Burgh of
Kinghorn in the Kingdom of Fife. Kinghorn was created as a Royal
Burgh in 1285 by Alexander III, King of Scots, and ironically a year
later he met his untimely death just outside the burgh. After a long
council meeting in Maiden Castle, now known as Edinburgh castle,
discussing problems with England, Alexander the Peaceable safely
crossed the gurlie waters of the Forth and landed in Inverkeithing.
Accompanied in the pit mirk night by two guides he set off for
Kinghorn Castle to join his wife of six months, Yolande.
Unfortunately this great Scottish King never reached his goal and
fell to his death at Pettycur, within sight of his goal. His death
resulted in the long Wars of Independence as King Edward I of
England cast covetous eyes on the kingdom to his north. Alexander
III had striven to build a secure, prosperous and united Scotland,
and the sound foundation he laid ensured that Sir William Wallace
and then Robert I, King of Scots, bore the gree and Scotland
maintained her long held independence. No visit to Kinghorn, or
indeed neighbouring Burntisland, would be complete without a visit
to the superb Alexander III Monument, which stands at Pettycur
between the two burghs, with magnificent views over the Forth and
miles of golden sand.
The Royal Burgh of Kinghorn has long had association with the
Scottish monarchy, although all trace of the Royal Castle has long
since gone, but the association is recorded in many of the
street-names – David the First Street, Queen Margaret Street,
Alexander the Third Street, Baliol Street, Macduff Crescent,
Strathmore Street, Glamis Road, Bruce Street and Canmore Street. A
wander up and down the town reveals many hidden delights and
secrets. Cuinzie Neuk, for example, a fairly recent Tudor style
building, just off the High Street, stands on the site of where a
Royal Mint stood in days gone by. Down towards the sea from Cuinzie
Neuk stands Kinghorn Parish Church, reconstructed in 1774, which
contains remains of what is thought to be the church consecrated by
David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews in 1243. Near the church lies
Kinghorn beach, on a sheltered bay, a major attraction to families
seeking a good day out at the seaside. On a more gruesome note you
can visit Witches Hill in the local cemetery where local witches
were burnt – the last witch to be burned in Kinghorn was Katherine
Wallenge on 24 March 1644.
Kinghorn, like its nearby larger neighbour Kirkcaldy, once suffered
from a well-known ‘smell’ – in the case of Kirkcaldy linoleum and in
Kinghorn’s leather. These days are passed but near where the
Kinghorn leatherworks once stood is the Craigencault Ecology Centre
at Kinghorn Loch. At the Ecology Centre is the Earthship House, a
unique building made entirely from recycled materials. Old car
tyres, glass jars and drink cans are among the reclaimed material
used in a house which is self-sufficient in electricity, water and
sewage treatment. The Ecology Centre and Earthship House are among
the many buildings open in Fife during Doors Open Days 2008. Sunday
14 September is the date for your diary to visit Kinghorn and the
opening times, free entry, is from 10am to 4pm.
Fife, like Angus and Perthshire, is famous for strawberry and
raspberry growing, and you have just time before the end of the
present season to use either in this week’s recipe – Apple and Berry
Apple and Berry Compote
Ingredients: 4 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and bruises
removed: 100ml orange or apple juice; handful of strawberries or
raspberries; a pinch of cinnamon
Method: Put the apples, orange juice and cinnamon into a heavy based
pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until just
tender, stir in the berries and serve with dropped scones (see last
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 did not arrive.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We're now onto the S's with Shank, Sharp, Simpson, Simson, Sinclair,
A substantial account of Sinclair this week which starts...
SINCLAIR, a surname of Norman origin, the first who bore it in
Britain, Walderne, Count de Santo Clara, having come into England
with William the Conqueror. His son, by Margaret, daughter of
Richard, duke of Normandy, William de Sancto Claro, was one of the
many Anglo-Norman barons who settled in Scotland in the reign of
David I. From that monarch he obtained a grant of the barony of
Roslin, Mid Lothian. He was called, in allusion to his fair
deportment, the seemly St. Clair. His descendants became possessors,
besides Roslin, of Cousland, Pentland, Catticune, and other lands.
They afterwards obtained also the earldom of Orkney. From the same
stock sprung the earls of Caithness. Another branch of the Sinclairs,
those of Herdmanston, deriving their origin from a settler, under
the Morvilles, constables of Scotland, are represented by the Lords
Sinclair (see next article).
William de Saint Clair, above mentioned, progenitor of
“The lordly line of high Saint Clair,”
Had a son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, who got a confirmation
of that barony in 1180. His son, Sir Henry Sinclair of Roslin,
witnessed many charters of Alexander II. The son of Sir Henry, Sir
William St. Clair, of Roslin, witnessed a donation of the same
monarch to the monastery of Newbottle in 1243, and died about 1270.
The following year, his son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, was
appointed sheriff of the county of Edinburgh for life. He sat in the
parliament of Scone 5th February 1284, when the succession to the
crown of Scotland was settled, in the event of the death of
Alexander III. The same year he was one of the commissioners sent to
France to obtain a wife for his sovereign, then a widower. They
fixed upon Joleta, daughter of the count de Dreux, whom Alexander
made his queen. Sir William de St. Clair was in the assembly at
Brigham, 12th March 1290, when the marriage of the princess Margaret
of Scotland with Prince Edward of England was proposed. In the
competition for the crown of Scotland in 1292, he was one of the
nominees on the part of Baliol. He swore fealty to Edward I., 13th
June that year, and he was present in the following November, and
again in December, when Baliol did homage to the English king. On
the 28th of the latter month, Edward addressed a letter to him to
pay certain sums to Eric, king of Norway. He was summoned to attend
the imperious Edward into France, 1st September 1294. He died about
1300, leaving three sons: 1. Sir Henry, his successor. 2. William,
consecrated bishop of Dunkeld about 1312; and, 3. Gregory, ancestor
of the Sinclairs of Longformacus, Berwickshire, baronets.
The second son is historically known by his spirited conduct in
repelling an invasion of the English in 1317. The latter had landed
in considerable numbers at Donnybristle in Fife. The fighting men of
the county appear to have been at this time with Douglas, who was
ravaging the English borders, and the sheriff of Fife had great
difficulty in gathering together a force of 500 cavalry. With these
he made an attempt to encounter the invaders, but, intimidated by
their superior numbers, they disgracefully took to flight. Sinclair,
bishop of Dunkeld, was at the time residing at Auchtertool, in the
neighbourhood. Like other churchmen of the period, he had as much of
the soldier as the ecclesiastic about him, and receiving notice of
his countrymen’s retreat, he put himself at the head of sixty of his
servants, and with a linen frock or rochet cast over his armour,
threw himself on horseback and rode off to meet the fugitives.
“Whither are ye flying?” said he, addressing their leaders, when he
came to them; “ye are recreant knights, and ought to have your spurs
hacked off.” Then seizing a spear from the nearest soldier, and
calling out, “Turn for shame! Let all who love Scotland follow me!”
he furiously charged the enemy. Encouraged by his gallant example,
the Fifemen instantly rallied, and the attack was renewed. The
English, who had not completed their landing, speedily gave way, and
were driven back to the ships, with the loss of 500 men, besides
many who were drowned by the swamping of one of their vessels. On
his return from Ireland, where he was at the time, Bruce highly
commended the spirit which Sinclair had shown, and declared that he
should be his own bishop. Under the appellation of the king’s
bishop, this brave churchman was long afterwards affectionately
remembered by his countrymen. For all his patriotism, however, he
preformed the ceremony of crowning Edward Baliol, the puppet king,
in 1332. The St. Clair family favoured the claims of the Baliols
from the beginning of the contest for the crown. The bishop died in
Sir Henry St. Clair of Roslin, Sir William’s eldest son, swore
fealty with his father, to Edward I., 13th June 1292, and appears at
first to have been on the English side in the great struggle for the
independence of the Scottish monarchy. ON 30th September 1307, and
again on 20th May 1308, letters were addressed to him and others of
Edward’s friends in Scotland, calling upon them to assist in
suppressing “the rebels.” Subsequently he gave in his adherence to
Robert the Bruce, from whom, in 1317, he obtained a grant of all his
majesty’s lands in the moor of Pentland, in free warren for the
service of the tenth part of a knight’s fee. He was one of the
patriots who in 1320 signed the letter to the pope, asserting the
independence of Scotland, and one of the guarantees of a truce with
the English, 1st June 1323. He held the office of Panetarius Scotiae,
of chief butler of the kingdom.
His son, Sir William St. Clair, was the adventurous knight of whom
the following romantic hunting story is told. King Robert the Bruce
had been repeatedly baulked by a fleet white deer which he had
started in his hunts among the Pentlands; and having asked an
assembled body of his nobles whether any dogs in their possession
could seize the game which had escaped the royal hounds, Sir William
St. Clair promptly offered to pledge his head that two favourite
dogs of his, called ‘Help and Hold,” would kill the deer before she
crossed the March-burn. The king instantly accepted the offer, and
pledged himself to give the forest of Pentland moor, -- which
included the northern division of the great Mid Lothian hill-range,
-- in guerdon of success. A few slow-hounds having been let loose to
beat up the deer, the king stationed himself on the best
vantage-ground for commanding a view of the chase. Sir William, on
his part, after slipping his dogs, prayed earnestly to St.
Katherine, to give the deer up to them, and, on a fleet-footed
steed, went in full chase after the deer. Arriving at the
March-burn, he threw himself from his horse in despair. ‘Hold,’ just
in the crisis of fate, stopped the deer in the brook, and the next
Came up, drove her back, and killed her on the winning side of the
stream. The king, who had witnessed the result, came speedily down
from his vantage-ground, embraced Sir William, and granted him in
free forestry the lands of Logan-house, once a favourite hunting
seat of the Scottish kings, Kirton, and Earncraig. In gratitude for
the fancied interference of St. Katherine in his favour, the knight,
in the superstition of the times, built the chapel of St. Katherine
in the Hopes, parish of Penicuick. Sir William accompanied Sir James
Douglas on his expedition to the Holy Land with the heart of Bruce,
and was killed with him fighting against the Moors in Spain, 25th
August 1330. His tomb is said to be still seen in Roslin chapel, and
it appropriately represents the person of a knight in armour,
attended by a greyhound. Sir Walter Scott, in ‘The Lay of the Last
“There are twenty of Roslin’s barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle;”
…”And each St. Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell.”
He left an infant son, who was also Sir William St. Clair. By the
marriage of this knight of Roslin, with Isabel, one of the daughters
and coheiresses of Malise, earl of Strathern, Caithness, and Orkney,
his elder son, Henry St. Clair, became earl of Orkney, and in 1379
obtained a recognition of his title from Haco IV., king of Norway
(see ORKNEY, earl of).
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read all these entries at
Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "Dream Waukin" which you can
We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and
others in our Article Service 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 Lumphanan
Name.—The etymology of Lumphanan, which is spelled in the most
ancient writings, Lunfanan, Lonfanan, and Lanfanan, cannot be
ascertained with certainty. We may conjecture that it comes from
three Celtic words, Llan or Lan, a church—Fan, a descent—and An,
water, [Chalmers's Caledonia, Vol. i. p. 54, 23, and Vol. iii. p.
3.]—a derivation which might naturally suggest itself to those who
observed that the principal stream in the parish passes near the
church, in its descent from the mountains to the Loch of Auchlossan.
Situation, Extent, and Boundaries.—The parish is situate between the
Dee and the Don, in the district of Mar, twenty-four miles from
Historical Notices.—Macbeth was killed and buried in Lumphanan. It
is necessary to record the evidence of this fact, furnished by
history and tradition, as Shakspeare has represented Dunsinane in
Perthshire as the scene of his slaughter.
"Macbeth, the son of Finleg, reigned seventeen years; he was slain
at Lunfanan by Malcolm, the son of Duncan;"—is the brief notice of
the event in the register of St Andrews. [Regist. Sti. Andr. apud
Johnstone's Antiq. Celt. Norm. p. 148.]
"Macbeth seeing his own forces," says Fordun, "daily diminishing,
and those of his adversary increasing, suddenly left the southern
parts of the kingdom, and fled to the north, in whose narrow passes,
and in the depths of whose forests, he hoped to find safety.
Malcolm, however, quickly followed him across the mountains to
Lunfanan, where he slew him, in a skirmish, with his few followers,
on the 5th December 1056." [Forduni Scotichronicon, lib. v. c. vii.]
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 Headless Cumins by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder
Here is how it starts...
In the parish of Edinkellie, a place towards the centre of
Morayshire, in the northern part of Scotland, there is a romantic
and fearful chasm, supposed to have been at one time the bed of the
river Divie. It has two entrances at the upper end, and the ancient
courses which led the river into these successively are easily
traceable. The lower extremity of the ravine terminates abruptly
about forty feet high above the Divie, that flows at its base. This
spot is one of a very interesting nature. Its name in Gaelic
signifes "the Hollow of the Heads;" a name originating, it is said,
in the following transaction :—
Near the upper end of the ravine there is a curious cavern, formed
of huge masses of fallen crags, that cover the bottom of the place.
It enters downwards like a pit, and the mouth, which is no more than
wide enough to admit a man, is not easily discovered. Here it was
that the brave Allister Bane secreted himself after the Battle of
the Lost Standard. At this time the Castle of Dunphail was besieged
by Randolph, Earl of Moray; and Allister Bane, who could no longer
make head against him in the open held, contented himself with
harassing the enemy. Knowing that his father and his garrison were
reduced to great want, he and a few of his followers disguised
themselves as countrymen, and, driving a parcel of horses, yoked in
rude sledges, laden with sacks, they came to the edge of the glen
where Randolph’s beleaguering party lay, and, pretending to be
peasants carrying meal from the low country to the Highlands, they
entreated their protection from one Allister Bane, of whom they were
afraid. Their prayer being granted, they unyoked their horses, and
took care to leave their sledges at the brink of the precipice, so
that, on a given signal agreed on with the garrison, they tumbled
sledges, sacks, and all over into the glen below, and the garrison,
making a sally at the same time, each man bore off a sack on his
back, whilst the pretended peasants sprang on their horses, and were
out of sight before the astonished sentinels of the enemy had well
given the alarm.
You can read the rest of this at
The other stories can be read at
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell
We've now completed this book with...
Species Of Rhododendron Suitable To The Climate Of The West Of
Other Shrubs Which Have Proved Hardy In Scotland
Decorative Shrubs, Herbs And Bulbs
You can read these 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 XXVII - John's Life and Habits at Droughsburn
His style of living; the Allanachs with whom he boarded; relations
with chilly Allanach; with genial Mrs. Allanach; with couthy Mrs.
Webster: his extreme care of his possessions; of his chests; of his
books; of his clothes: John at church; Botany on Sunday; his flowers
in church; his appearance there; his short-sight and snuffing there;
on way home after church: keeps Halloween and raises bonfires; keeps
Yule; at other merry-makings; sings at a soiree. 1852-1877.
Chapter XXVIII - General Studies in Later Years
Theology; Astronomy; Meteorology; Ornithology; Entomology; Natural
History; Geology; Phrenology; John Adam, the phrenologist and
antiquarian; General knowledge; Gardening; John's relations to the
McCombies of Cairnballoch; his horticultural practices; his contempt
for "florist flowers"; James Black's "monstrosities"; John's
herbalism; his politics; his oratory: the Milton of Cushnie as it
then was; John and Willie Williams, the shoemaker; John and George
Williams, the merchant: the Alford Literary Society; John at its
meetings: his dislike of gossip. 1852-1880.
Chapter XXIX - His Botanical Studies in Old Age
Botany still dominant; still harvesting and botanising; his modes of
gathering plants; his travelling fare; his use of technical words;
his pronunciation of them; his depending on his memory; his
associations round flowers: visited by lady in his eighty-fourth
year; searches for the Linna'a for her; out all night in a
thunder-storm; his extraordinary ardour and self-denial; his flashes
of old humour: his wild flower garden; its decay: presented with the
portrait of Linnaeus; wins two prizes for wild plants; list of wild
plants in his garden. 1852-1878.
Chapter XXX - The Misunderstandings under which John Lived
Penalties for social deflection from one's neighbours; the need of
being interpreted to them: reasons for the common misunderstandings
of John; his eccentricities; his good temper under attack; counted a
madman by schoolboys; scepticism regarding his acquirements; his
consistency in nomenclature tested by youngsters; his relations to
the bucolic "Johnnie Raws": the berriless juniper bush and the
ploughmen; John prophesies berries for it; berries produced but
once; his delight at the experiment: depreciated by many who should
have known better; accused of idling his time; "what's the use of
it?"; the utilitarianism of Aberdeenshire; John's answer once to
this question; it should be asked on a higher level. 1836-1878.
Chapter XXXI - His Disciples and Sympathisers at Droughsburn
his influence over others; his disciples: John Taylor, the
ploughman; visits John and begins Botany; his botanical studies with
John; his later knowledge of Botany; his other studies; his after
life: William Deans, farm-servant; goes to college; becomes a
teacher; introduced to Botany; makes John's acquaintance at Alford
market; his first visit to the weaving shop; his after studies under
John; his present position: Samson, the Swede; comes to learn
farming; introduced to John; studies plants with him; his subsequent
history: Dr. Williams visits Droughsburn; his impressions of the
place and the man: Rev. George Williams gets plants described by
John; his visits to John's cottage; their conversations there on
insects, plants, weavers and ministers; Rev. David Beattie's visits
to John and his impressions of him. 1852-1878.
Chapter XXXII - His visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Eccentricity
Visits Aberdeen regularly; growth of the city; visits to Raeden:
visits to James Black; their early journeys about Tough; John's
appearance in town, and its effects; John's search for "Jamie
Black"; James carries one of John's bundles; James martyrised in a
shop window: last meeting of John with Charles Black; he becomes
beatified; their talk and parting: John consents to be photographed;
preparations for the event; he refuses to stand; successfully taken;
portraits of him: International Botanical Congress: John visits
William Beveridge; their previous intercourse; they examine the
museum; their evenings at home: John's obliviousness of "the
Chapter XXXIII - John's visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Botany
Meets James Taylor; James begins study with Charles Black; he goes
to college and studies medicine; sails to the Arctic regions and
explores their natural history and botany; later studies and work;
settles at Clashfarquhar; John's visits to him; they botanise
together; John begins the more difficult sections of the subject;
Taylor's impressions of him; visits John at Droughsburn with Dr.
Sutherland; John finds the Limestone Polypody; visits Clashfarquhar;
his last visit there; botanises at the cliffs: John's connection
with Professor Dickie. 1849-1877.
These can all be viewed 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
Lands in the Barony of Glasgow and Bishopforest
Arrival of the Friars
Kings and Bishops—Cathedral Canons and Vicars
Burgh Court—Sales of Heritage—Bridge over Clyde—Steeple and Treasury
of Cathedral—Taxation of Benefices
Transfers of Properties—St. Mary's Chapel—St. Enoch's Chapel —Monks'
National Calamities—War of Independence—Wallace and the Battle of
the Bell o' the Brae—Bishop Wischart—English Occupation
And here is a bit from Chapter XXV...
BY a series of misfortunes in the last quarter of the thirteenth
century, the prosperous condition of Scotland was completely
arrested, and for a long time the story which the annalist has to
tell is one of overbearing oppression on the one side and of
patriotic and ultimately successful resistance on the other. Through
the loss of his children, two sons and a daughter, who all died
within the years 1281-3, King Alexander III., when accidentally
killed on 19th March, 1285-6, left as his successor to the Scottish
throne an infant grand-daughter, Margaret the Maid of Norway, who
survived him for no more than the short period of four years. On
account of the divided interests of the claimants to the crown,
chiefly in consequence of their landed estates being spread over
both countries, and those situated in England being held of King
Edward as feudal superior, that monarch's ambitious scheme for the
union of the two kingdoms was not devoid of Scottish support, and
but for the patriotism of some of the lesser barons and the feeling
of sturdy independence which pervaded large masses of the people,
his purpose might have been accomplished. During this critical
period Glasgow must have had its share of the country's prevailing
troubles, and though many of its citizens, barony men and churchmen,
may have had their names inscribed on the Ragman Roll, it is known
that Robert Wischart, the warrior bishop, was not without local
followers in his valiant contest for freedom.
Bishop Wischart was appointed one of the guardians of Scotland after
the death of King Alexander, and throughout subsequent events, the
interregnum of 1290-2, the inglorious reign of John Balliol, 1292-6,
the interregnum of 1296-1306, Wallace's protectorate and the early
years of Bruce's reign, the bishop took a prominent part in public
affairs. He was keenly patriotic.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The index page of the book is at
History of Banking in Scotland
By Andrew William Kerr (1908)
We now have up several chapters from this book...
Development of Banking in Glasgow and the Provinces
Note-Issuing Mania and the Act of 1765
Douglas, Heron & Co., and the Crisis of 1772
Resuscitation of Private Banking, and Rapid Development of
Forgeries and Illicit Coinage
The Crisis of 1793 and 1797
Conflict of Joint-Stock and Private Banking - The Commercial Bank of
Chapter X starts...
THE crisis of 1772, which formed the subject of our last chapter,
although sharp and disastrous in its immediate effects, passed off
more quickly and easily than might have been expected. Several
causes conduced to this. The old banks, and the three private
banking houses of Forbes, Mansfield and Cuming, who were almost the
sole surviving representatives of what had been a large community of
financial establishments, had foreseen and provided for the
approaching catastrophe; and, being themselves unentangled in the
speculations and grotesque banking indulged in by Douglas, Heron &
Co., and their clique, they not only themselves rose lightly on the
wave of adversity, but were able to afford the necessary banking
accommodation to bona fide traders and the public. It was remarked
at the time that the forbearance of creditors largely aided the
recovery from the crisis; but this was only an unphilosophic way of
stating that business was in the main sound, and that money was
fairly plentiful. Coin, it is true, was scarce, but the notes of the
public banks were in full credit. The crisis was essentially a
banking one; and although it was necessarily directly associated
with trade, it would appear that that connection was, as far as
Scotland was concerned, limited to a comparatively small section of
the community. The resolution of the banks, in 1773, to accept the
notes of the Ayr Bank in payments, when that establishment finally
agreed to give up business, was a further assistance in the
restoration of confidence. The harvest of 1773 was fairly good, the
fisheries excellent, the cattle trade active, and money cheap.
Hardly had affairs resumed a satisfactory aspect, when the dark
cloud of war cast its shadow over the land. Complications with the
American Colonies arose, and rapidly drifted into open rupture. In
January 1774, hostilities commenced, which did not end until 1782,
when the independence of the United States, who had formally thrown
off their allegiance to their tyrannical parent six years
previously, was acknowledged by Great Britain. Meanwhile the latter
country was at war with France, Spain, and Holland; had to sustain
repeated reverses in India, at the hands of the victorious Hyder
Ali; had to stamp out sedition and open rebellion in Ireland; and
had to check discontent and riots within its own borders. It does
not concern us here to discuss the policy of the British Government
during those events; but the events themselves are potent factors in
the history of banking. The national expenditure had assumed
enormous proportions; and although increased taxes were laid on the
much-suffering public, the warlike and aggressive rulers of a
commercial people year by year dragged their subjects deeper into
debt. The American war alone cost 129 millions sterling, besides the
loss of 50,000 men. The financial result of the eight years of
warfare, ending with the peace of January 1783, was that the
national debt was increased from 136 to 238 millions sterling, even
after exhausting efforts to balance expenditure and income.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the other chapters at
The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia
By Mrs Flora McDonald Williams (1911)
Realizing some years ago how little effort had been made to preserve
the records of the McDonald family, since the first member of it
came to this country in 1746, and discovering—as I searched further
into the matter—what an honorable and generous measure each
generation had contributed to the history of the country, I
determined to do what I could to rescue from obscurity, and put in
some permanent form, a record of those men who had been so busy
doing things that no time had been found to write them up.
Little of the data preserved in family and personal papers had
escaped the ravages of time, to say nothing of two wars; hence I
found myself much restricted along those lines. But a persistent
following up of every clue, led finally to the unearthing of much
that was hitherto unknown of their distinguished ancestor, by the
descendants of the original Angus, who came here in 1746.
Strange to say, I found in the Library of the State historical
Society of Wisconsin, more valuable and reliable information of his
early activities in the French and Indian wars, than anywhere else.
And I am much indebted to Dr. Reuben G. Thwaite, Librarian, for his
assistance and courtesy in furnishing much that was not procurable
elsewhere. I also found in "American Archives" many references to
his life and work.
It has always been the commonly received belief among the majority
of his descendents, that he would have entered the Revolutionary
army, but for his untimely death soon after the beginning of
hostilities; his hesitation at first, resulting from a
disinclination to serve under a man who had had no military
experience, but Washington's great anxiety to have him in the field,
as shown by his letter to him from Morristown, N. J., would, most
likely, have resulted in his assignment to another command, had he
lived. McDonald's lack of a knowledge of "wire-pulling," had, in all
probability, a good deal to do with "the parson's" betting ahead of
Angus McDonald had been trained, like his forebears to service in
the field, and had been an officer in the battle of Culloden, though
but eighteen years of age. Macaulay says of his ancestors: "As
military men the McDonalds have ever supported their high renown;
the names of those distinguishing themselves, being truly far too
numerous to mention, and had they been only as wise and prudent as
they were brave and generous, there would never have been another
clan equal to it."
A record of a more recent date, preserved in "Coyner's Diary," who
served as Captain under Ashby, in the war between the States,
furnishes additional testimony to their soldierly qualities. It has
this to say:
"The McDonald that Ashby followed and the McDonalds who followed
Ashby were alike brave and gallant soldiers, and stand beside the
noblest names on the pages of history."
I have no doubt that some errors will be found but I have taken
every pains to verify my statements, when given as facts. I have
found my work most engrossing and interesting and close it with
regret, for I shall miss the companionship of those whose activities
I have recounted in the following pages. They have seemed very real
and near to me.
FLORA MCDONALD WILLIAMS.
We now have several chapters up and they can be read at
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Beth's September issue is now available and here is her Editors Page
for you to read...
As much as some games organizers wish it wasn’t...the Clan Tents at
a games are very much a part of the “show” and what draws
individuals and families to pay their hard-earned money to come
through the gates on game day.
It is important that the Clan Tents are interesting to see, fun to
visit and a place where friends, strangers, family and just everyone
will enjoy visiting.
Since the little letter about “How to have a happy, successful and
vibrant Scottish clan organization,” I’ve had numerous folks ask me
to write about clan tents and give a few ideas on how they can be
In the south, almost every Clan Tent provides some kind of food for
their members and friends. It may be that someone brings a grill and
cooks right there - or many of the members bring lunch fare and
snacks and treats to share. I can testify in court that Scots at
South-Eastern Highland Games are some of the best cooks in the
To me, this is a grand idea and wonderful tradition. What better way
to welcome clansmen and clanswomen to the tent than to be able to
say, “Join us for lunch!” What better way to have time to chat and
visit than to share someone’s wonderful shortbread or cookies or
cakes or pies...
This tradition doesn’t go as far as the west coast. I’ve been
surprised at the absence of picnics at the games out there. If there
is a rule about it or some reason why it’s not done, I would like to
know about it.
I don’t think the picnics at the games affect any food vendors who
have hour-long lines at the Southeastern Games in spite of the
clansfolk bringing their own.
Thinking about Clan Tents, I have to think of Clan Keith - who has a
wonderful antique “throne” chair sitting in the middle of a very
nice oriental rug. Any person who signs up to become a new member of
Clan Keith is invited to sit in the chair to have their photograph
Clan Keith’s tent always is wonderful. You’ll see armor for “Steel
Bonnets” and armor for their horses. You’ll see flowers and tartan
and books and paintings and maps and souvenirs of Clan Keith’s
romantic and glorious history.
Visit the Clan Henderson tent most anywhere and you’ll see little
sleeves of Henderson tartan which cover those plebeian tent posts!
There’s always lots of books and educational material, always
handsome table covers featuring the Henderson tartan - and, if you
are fortunate, George Henderson will have his rare and beautifully
painted Henderson motorcycle on display - featuring painted
Henderson tartan on the gas tank and in fact all over the bike!
There are always plenty of chairs and flowers and food...a welcoming
and friendly place to be.
tent features an almost life- sized banner with their castle
inviting folks to have their photograph made with the castle as a
backdrop... wonderful idea! Clan Lockhart always has a small “flock”
of toy sheep just in front of their display (It is tradition that I
“tip” at least one sheep!). The youngsters flock (pun intended) to
the soft and cuddly creatures...and their parents stay to visit.
At the Clan Home tent, you’re likely to see Clyde, the Stealth Camel
- well, his halter anyway. As the home of the Clan Home Air Force
(Yes, you can join!) there are many artifacts attesting to the proud
Clan Home Air Force and their “fly-overs” at many Highland Games.
The Air Force flies Stealth Sopwith Camels. (If you’d like more
information, just email <
email@example.com > )
Clan Montgomery has given away red and purple Mardi Gras beads for
years and years. Their tent is always filled with tartan, flowers,
beautifully arranged displays of books and photographs and more.
I can’t tell you the numbers of creative folks you’ll find at
Highland Games. Just look at the paperweights next time you visit
clan tents. There are painted rocks made to look like tartan, sheep,
haggis, you-name-it - but all great fun - and useful too.
Clan Donald probably has the biggest “feast” of most games...with
many clansfolk bringing about anything that tastes good. The tent is
always attractively set up with tartan and flowers and books and
Recently, a Clan Hunter member had made three huge panels featuring
something like 66 Hunter Coats-of-Arms. These panels are to be used
as a backdrop in the Clan Hunter tents!
Clan Wallace in the Southeast always arrives early to Highland Games
as it takes hours and hours to set up the walls of their tent and
the display of weaponry and books and paintings and more.
I must mention the Clan - and I am embarrassed that I can’t remember
which it is - who has a “Sword in the Stone” for the little ones to
try and magically pull from the stone. The gentleman tells the
youngsters about being brave and courageous and honorable and
good...and when the kids agree to working on having all of those
qualities...the magic occurs and the sword slides out of the stone.
(It’s all safe...and those children will never, ever forget it!)
I haven’t scratched the surface of all the creative things to be
seen at Clan Tents at the games.
There are so many more wonderful things. We’ll do this again.
I haven’t mentioned either, the naked tables with nothing except the
little bit of paper that the games provide to let you know which
tent is whose...and not anything else.
Tom and I have been talking about some way to award creativity at
games. I’ll let you know when we figure out what we can do...
But, if you’re going to a Highland Event - please think about your
Clan Tent and how you can make it better! It simply adds to the fun
of it all!
You can read this issue at
Banffshire Maritime Heritage Association Newsletter
Stan sent me in a copy of this first ever newsletter from the
Association and am pleased to be able to let you read it at
Strange Secrets of Ancient Scotland
This is a book by Stuart McHardy who has kindly donated to us
several stories from his book which make great reading.
The account starts by telling us...
Scotland is a country rich in mementoes of the past. The regular
shapes of hill-forts catch the eye from miles away, standing stones
and circles stand by roadways or in fields, stark and timeless.
History tells us little of such places and archaeology can give us
only technical data. Yet many such ancient sites are not mute.
Legends and stories have survived about them and offer us
tantalising glimpses of how our distant ancestors lived and thought.
Legends which survive because people continue to tell them show us
different aspects of our past. By their survival, like our folk
music, such tales are part of a living continuity with the past.
Some of the tales in this book might even be thousands rather than
hundreds of years old. What they all have in common is that in one
way or another they reflect the underlying Celtic nature of Scottish
culture. The stories range from legends told about Pictish symbol
stones to tales of the great Celtic warrior heroes Finn mac Coul and
There is the curious yarn of the nine maidens — were they all slain
by a dragon or were they saints who had churches and wells all over
Scotland dedicated to their honour? Where can we see a portrayal of
a Queen's punishment for being unfaithful to her husband and what
curse did it unleash on generations of wives? Where was Satan's
bride turned to gold? Why did Kirk ministers say islanders had been
turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath and where can we see
these stones today? How did flames of fury kill off a race of
giants? What are the incredible secrets of the three bells that have
supernatural powers? What conditions did a ghost impose in return
for revealing the hiding place of priceless treasure?
After reading these dramatic stories you will want to waste no time
in visiting the places covered. Stuart McHardy gives you directions
on how to get there.
And then he goes on to share some of the stories in the book which
you can read at
Ranald McIntyre from Scotland is an old time friend of the site and
we have a collection of his sayings and verses up on the site at
He has sent in a wee humour story for us and here it is for you to
A good-natured old Scots farmer entered a tramcar one afternoon and
found himself seated beside a small boy returning from school.
"An dae ye like the schuil, my mannie?" asked the farmer.
"Ay" said the boy bashfully.
"That's graun" continued the farmer "an I'm shair ye'll be a guid
scholar. But hou dae ye staun in yir class?"
"Saicont dux" promptly replied the boy.
"Saicont dux! did ye say? Weill ye deserve something for that" and
he thrust sixpence into the boy's hand.
"An hou monie's in yir class?" continued the farmer.
"Me an a wee lassie" came the unabashed reply.
And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)
OUR NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
You can see old issues of this newsletter at