Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
Merchant and Craft Guilds
History of Glasgow
Reminiscences of a Highland Parish
The Scottish Historical Review
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
WOW... things are sure going down hill rapidly in the world. I used
to work many years ago with the Hill Samuel Merchant Bank and it's
amazing how much you can make if you keep investing in the stock
market through these troubled times. This is by no means the first
time that stock markets have gone steeply downhill. They have always
recovered and gone on to make new highs. The savy investor will have
quickly switched to safer investments and as the market settles down
it will be a good time to jump back in.
Should you be saving amounts on a regular monthly basis then your
money is now buying many more shares and when we come out of this
you're going to make a fortune!
Pensions will be safe and money that has gone into them will be
Many years ago I also worked for Carnation Foods for some 7 years.
The company was bought out by Nestle and as I didn't have the
required 10 years of pension service my pension contributions were
put into a large Pensions company. I got a statement from them
recently that showed at 65 I would have sufficient to live on with
that pension alone. My pension interest had been buying shares all
those years through thin and thick times and obviously made a good
deal more money for me.
This is not just an American problem as it's now a world problem and
I'm quite sure we'll work our way out of this mess. It seems to me
that the problem has been caused by banks not doing what banks
should have been doing and that is to ensure any loans they make are
sensible. Seems they all assumed that the property prices would keep
going up and didn't take any position on what would happen if they
Anyway... I'm no expert in all of this but it's good news in some
ways for the young people as they might actually be able to afford
to purchase a house now and of course they have many years before
they get near retirement age.
Got in an email from Diane Madsen telling me of this article and
thought I'd share it with you...
Bob Dylan's greatest creative inspiration is not Woody Guthrie,
Little Richard or Odetta. It's even not Picasso or Cézanne. Instead,
Dylan has revealed his greatest inspiration is Scotland's favourite
son, the Bard of Ayrshire, the 18th-century poet known to most as
As part of an advertising campaign this year, Dylan was asked to
name the lyric or verse that had the greatest impact on his life.
Rather than quoting his idol Woody Guthrie or poet Dylan Thomas,
from whom it is thought that Robert Zimmerman took his name, Dylan
selected A Red, Red Rose, written by Robert Burns in 1794.
"O, my luve's like a red, red rose," the poem begins, "That's newly
sprung in June. / O, my luve's like the melodie, / That's sweetly
play'd in tune."
The selection was made as part of HMV's My Inspiration campaign. The
adverts were launched two years ago with a spot by David Bowie, who
chose lyrics written by Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. Dylan is the
100th artist to participate, after contributions from the likes of
Morrissey, Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher and, er, actress Audrey
"[Rabbie Burns] was a hugely committed artist who dealt with
everyday emotions and big emotions so, in that sense, it's not a
surprise he's influenced Dylan," Dr Gerard Carruthers, director of
the Centre for Burns Study at the University of Glasgow, told the
Glasgow Herald. "I imagine Dylan will still be loved in 200 years as
much as Burns is."
Dylan's advocacy for the poet is in stark contrast to that of Jeremy
Paxman, the BBC journalist who earlier this year called Burns's
writing "no more than a king of sentimental doggerel".
The celebration of the Scotsman's work by an American music legend
coincides with research by Dr Ferenc Morton Szasz. In work recently
published, the US academic found a strong link between Burns and
Abraham Lincoln. The legendary president could apparently recite
Burns's poetry by heart, and his politics might have been influenced
by the Scotsman's liberal views.
Maybe Lincoln even used A Red, Red Rose in a love letter - wooing a
lady with the same words used by Burns in Ayr, or Bob Dylan several
hundred years later.
I noticed a wee article that I thought might be of interest...
For the first time, Scotland's tartans are all being given formal
protection. MSPs have backed plans for an official register of the
designs, both old and new.
New and old patterns would be held at a central database in
Edinburgh. It would be created and maintained by the National
Archives of Scotland with input from industry experts.
Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor steered the Register of Tartans Bill
to its final stage with cross-party support - despite disagreement
over the way designs should be submitted.
The register aims to capitalise on the tartan industry which is
currently worth around £350 million a year. Those in the industry
are welcoming the new register, which aims to preserve, promote and
protect Scotland's tartan designs.
As to the books I mentioned in last weeks newsletter I only got a
small response for which many thanks to those that did respond...
but even with that... all but one book was asked for. Kind of
amazing that. Just goes to show the wide spread of interests you all
Electric Scotland is really my own personal journey through the
history of Scotland and the Scots. I thus try to fill in gaps in my
knowledge and hence the range of material I try to put up. Sometimes
I'll put up a book that I feel needs to go up although I'm sure most
of you won't read it. For example one book I'm looking to add is
about the Public Administration of the Highlands. Right now I have
nothing on the site about that and so this fills one of those gaps I
I will say that all books I mentioned last week will go up on the
site but I just thought I'd let you choose which ones would go up
I have decided that I'll do the Jewish book next as that is a small
one and after that go for "Notes and Sketches illustrative of Rural
Life in the 18th Century" By Wm. Alexander (1877) as that was the
only book asked for twice. I should start on these this coming week.
Our new site search engine should be up on the site over this coming
weekend in what we call beta mode. In other words it will be our
first attempt at bringing this online. We'd certainly appreciate any
feedback or suggestions you may have.
We do know that there are any number of options we can build in and
we still need to figure out how to index pdf files. The thought is
that we'll have a simple search on all pages of the site but may
create a special search page at a later date to give you more
Using the site search will in fact find anything on
ElectricScotland.com, ElectricScotland.net and ScotsIndependent.org
We still have to figure out how to bring in our Article Service,
Forums, etc into the search.
Reading the manual the normal search terms will work but it looks
like wild cards can also be used. This means if you were looking for
MacIntyre, McIntyre or M'Intyre you could do a search for *intyre
and that should find all of them.
There is obviously more to do but it will be great to get started
We now have a fixed date for our move to Michigan which means the
site will go down after lunch on the 26th October (Sunday). We'll
then drive our servers up to our new address and they should be
online by 9am EST on the 27th (Monday). It might of course take up
to 24 more hours for you to find the site depending on where you
are. As we have to have a new set of IP addresses that means that
domain name servers around the world will need to pick these up and
while the large companies usually update every 2 hours smaller
companies might only update every 24 hours. The very last thing
we'll do before shutting down is to propigate those new IP addresses
so that there is a good chance by the time we get our servers back
on line most of you will be able to get to them right away.
I might add that as part of installing this site search software it
does report on the download times and frankly these are just
terrible and so getting more bandwidth when we move to Michigan will
be a big bonus.
so do keep your fingers crossed for us that all goes well :-)
Also.. while all the above is going on I'll be at the Scottish North
American Leadership conference in Chicago giving a talk there on the
morning of the 25th. Given that and our move likely nothing new will
go up on the site 24th through to 26th.
Should you wish to know more about the conference you can download
the pdf file at
And just as I was finishing this newsletter I got send a url for a
new book about the Knights Templar which you can get to at
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. I was delighted to hear
that he is also a fan of pie, baked beans and fries :-)
I also noted the interest in making BBC Alba more available across
Scotland. This is the Gaelic channel. I would make an observation
that it would also be great to make it available across the world!
In Peter's cultural section he's talking about Halloween...
There were two occasions in the year when bairns in Scotland
traditionally went guising - Halloween and Hogmany ( this custom has
now died out ). We are now nearing Halloween and can expect Guisers
to come chapping on the door - not begging, but merely "thigging";
that is, soliciting gifts on special occasions. Apples, nuts and
copper coins ( now silver! ) were the appropriate gift to "help the
guisers". In her splendid book "Halloween" the late F Marion
McNeill, one-time Vice-President of the Scottish National Party and
well known Scottish cookery writer, explains the origin of this
'Halloween or All Hallows' Eve ( October 31 ), appears in the
Christian Calendar at the festival of All Saints, which commemorates
the "blessed dead" who have been canonised. But how comes it, you
may ask, that a solemn religious festival is associated with
bonfires, guisers, witches, ducking for apples, burning hazel-nuts
and such-like ploys?
The answer is quite simple. It was the policy of the early Christian
Church to graft a Christian festival upon each pagan one, so as to
disturb the customs of the people as little as possible; and, just
as they grafted Christmas, the feast of the Nativity, upon Yule, the
great festival of the Nordic peoples that celebrated the winter
solstice, so they grafted Halloween upon the ancient Celtic festival
of Samhuinn ( pronounced approximently Sah'-win ), which marked the
entry of the Celtic year........ The religion of Scotland at the
coming of the first Christian missionaries was Druidism, a form of
sun-worship peculiar to the Celtic peoples. The doctrines of the
Druids were secret. They were never written down, but were committed
to memory, generation after generation, by the priestly caste. But
the rites were public, and many survived as folk-customs for
centuries after their original significance was forgotten. Some
survive to this day as Halloween frolics.'
Next week we will look at some of the ploys and games associated
with Halloween and towards that end you might consider enjoying one
of the splendid dishes with Halloween significance - Cloutie
Dumpling. Mind you, it is a treat at any time of the year!
Ingredients: 12 oz flour ( or half flour and half breadcrumbs ); 6
oz shredded beef suet; 6 oz moist sugar; 4 oz currants; 4 oz sulanas;
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or mixed spices; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate
of soda; 1 egg ( optional ); buttermilk or thick sour milk to mix.
Method: Mix the dry ingredients together in a basin. Stir in enough
buttermilk to make a rather thick batter - that is, one of dropping
consistency. Dip a pudding-cloth into boiling water. Wring it out,
then dredge lightly with flour and sink it into a bowl large enough
to hold the mixture. Spoon in the batter. ( The bowl will give it a
round shape, like a dumpling. ) Gather up the cloth, making sure
that the folds are evenly distributed. Tie up tightly with string,
leaving room for the dumpling to swell ( about one quarter of total
bulk ). Place an old thick plate in the bottom of a large pan. Lift
the dumpling on to it, and pour in boiling water to cover. Cover
closely, replenishing the water when necessary. Boil for about three
hours. Untie and turn out carefully on to a heated serving-dish.
When removing the cloth, take care not to break the "skin". Dredge
with castor sugar and serve with hot custard sauce.
Note - The spice may be varied to taste, and oatmeal may be
substituted for breadcrumbs. The dumpling is very good made with ale
instead of milk, an egg being added and the spice omitted.
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 read at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We're now onto the S's with Strathavon, Stratheden, Strathern,
Strathmore, Struthers, Stuart, Sutherland, Suttie and Swinton.
A good account of Sutherland which starts...
SUTHERLAND, a surname derived from the county of that name in the
north-east of Scotland. The Norse sea kings, who in ancient times
held the sovereignty of the Arcades, styled the region south of the
Ord mountain, Sudrland or Southerland, as lying south from
Caithness, which for a long time was their only possession on the
mainland of Scotland.
The clan Sutherland had for their badge what is vulgarly called
Butcher’s broom. According to Skene, the ancient Gaelic population
of the district now known by the name of Sutherland were driven out
or destroyed by the Norwegians when they took possession of the
country, after its conquest by Thorfinn, the Norse Jarl of Orkney,
in 1034, and were replaced by settlers from Moray and Ross. He says,
“There are consequently no clans whatever descended from the Gaelic
tribe which anciently inhabited the district of Sutherland, and the
modern Gaelic population of part of that region is derived from two
sources. In the first place, several of the tribes of the
neighbouring district of Ross, at an early period, gradually spread
themselves into the nearest and most mountainous parts of the
country, and they consisted chiefly of the clan Anrias. Secondly,
Hugh Freskin, a descendant of Freskin de Moravia, and whose family
was a branch of the ancient Gaelic tribe of Moray, obtained from
King William the territory of Sutherland, although it is impossible
to discover the circumstances which occasioned the grant. He was of
course accompanied in this expedition by numbers of his followers,
who increased in Sutherland to an extensive tribe; and Freskin
became the founder of the noble family of Sutherland, who, under the
title of earls of Sutherland, have continued to enjoy possession of
this district for so many generations.” (Skene’s Highlanders, vol.
ii. p. 301.) We do not altogether agree with this intelligent author
that the district in question was at any time entirely colonized by
the Norsemen. There can be no doubt that a remnant of the old
inhabitants remained, after the Norwegian conquest, and it is
certain that the Gaelic population, reinforced as they were
undoubtedly by incomers from the neighbouring districts and from
Moray, ultimately regained the superiority in Sutherland. Many of
them were unquestionably from the province of Moray, and these, like
the rest of the inhabitants, adopted the name of Sutherland, from
the appellation given by the Norwegians to the district.
The chief of the clan was called the great cat, and the head of the
house of Sutherland has long carried a black cat in his
coat-of-arms. According to Sir George Mackenzie, the name of Catta
was formerly given to Sutherland and Caithness, (originally Cattu-ness,)
on account of the great number of wild cats with which it was, at
one period, infested.
The earl of Sutherland was the chief of the clan, but on the
accession to the earldom in 1766, of Countess Elizabeth, the infant
daughter of the eighteenth earl, and afterwards duchess of
Sutherland, as the chiefship could not descent to a female, William
Sutherland of Killipheder, who died in 1832, and enjoyed a small
annuity from her grace, was accounted the eldest male descendant of
the old earls. John Campbell Sutherland, Esq., of Fors, was
afterwards considered the real chief.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read all these entries at
Clan and Family Information
Got in the Clan Leslie of Australia newsletter which you can read at
Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "City Of The Rock" which you
can read at
John has also sent in another pdf file in his "Village Cricket"
We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and
others in our Article Service at
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
I have now started on the Lanark volume with the Parish of Lanark.
Name and Boundaries.—Some trace the origin of the name of this
parish to the Latin terms Lana and area, quasi the wool-chest;
others to Lan-arig, the bank of the river; or to the Gaelic words
Lan, signifying a house, repository, or church, and deare, a
bilberry. A derivation equally probable is that given by Chalmers in
his Caledonia; namely, from Llannerch, which in several places in
Wales is applied to a slip of level ground, or a vale. [Several
places in North Britain have the same name; thus Lendrich in
Kilmadock; Lendrich in Dumblane; Lendrich in Callander; Lendrich
Hill in Fossaway; and Drumlanrig, the former seat of the Duke of
Queensberry; all these accord with the colloquial name of Lanerk,
and are probably from the same British source.]
The parish lies pretty nearly in the centre of the county to which
it gives its name. It is of an irregular oblong form; in the south
about 3, in the north about 5 miles broad. It is from 6 to 7 miles
in length; and stretches along the eastern bank of the river Clyde,
which separates it on the south from Pettinain and Carmichael, and
on the west from Lesmahagoe. The adjacent parish on the north is
Carluke, from which it is partly divided by Mashoch burn. Carstairs
bounds it on the east. The town of Lanark is situated in 550 34' of
north latitude, and 3° 5' of west longitude from Greenwich. It may
be considered as the central town of the Lowlands, being 31 miles
distant from Edinburgh, 35 from Stirling, 23 from Glasgow, and 47
In 1244, Lanark was burnt to the ground; a fate which befell several
other towns at the same period, and to which they were liable from
having been then built of wood. In 1297 it was the scene of the
first military exploit of Sir William Wallace, who there slew
William de Hesliope or Heselrigg, the English she-, riff, and
expelled his soldiers from the town. It seems to have been a
garrisoned place in 1310, for we read of its having then surrendered
to King Robert Bruce, with Dumfries, Ayr, and the We of Bute. On the
12th of January 1682, the Covenanters here published a declaration,
which Wodrow calls the first essay of the "societies united into a
correspondence." This act roused the indignation of the
Privy-Council, who fined the town 6000 merks, and issued processes
against the freeholders for not preventing it, nor seizing the
parties concerned in it. Several persons were executed at the place
about the same time, and among the rest William Hervie, who was
charged with being at Bothwell Bridge, and publishing Wood's
declaration. The grave of this person is still seen in the
churchyard of the parish, and is an object of great reverence.
You can read this account at
The index page for the New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
can be found at
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
This is a large story and so we have Chapter 1 up now which
During the persecutions in Scotland, consequent upon the fruitless
attempt to root out Presbyterianism and establish Episcopacy by
force, there lived one Allan Hamilton, a farmer, at the foot of the
Lowther mountains in Lanarkshire. His house was situated in a remote
valley, which, though of small extent, was beautiful and romantic,
being embosomed on all sides by hills covered to their summits with
rich verdure. Around the house was a considerable piece of arable
ground, and behind it a well-stocked orchard and garden. A few tall
trees grew in front, waving their ample foliage over the roof, while
at each side of the door was a little plot planted with honeysuckle,
wallflower, and various odoriferous shrubs. The owner of this neat
mansion was a fortunate man ; for the world had hitherto gone well
with him, and if he had lost his wife—an affliction which sixteen
years had mellowed over-he was blessed with an affectionate and
virtuous daughter. He had two male and as many female servants to
assist him in his farming operations ; and so well had his industry
been rewarded, that he might be considered as one of the most
prosperous husbandmen in that part of the country.
Mary Hamilton, his only child, was, at the time we speak of,
nineteen years of age. She was an extremely handsome girl, and,
though living in so remote a quarter, the whole district of the
Lowthers rung with the fame of her beauty. But this was the least of
her qualifications, for her mind was even fairer than her person;
and on her pure spirit the impress of virtue and affection was
stamped in legible characters.
Allan, though a religious man, was not an enthusiast; and, from
certain prudent considerations, had forborne to show any of that
ardent zeal for the faith which distinguished many of his
countrymen. He approved secretly in his heart of the measures
adopted by the Covenanters, and inwardly prayed for their success ;
but these matters he kept to his own mind, reading his Bible with
his daughter at home, and not exposing himself or her to the
machinations of the persecuting party.
You can read the rest of this at
The other stories can be read at
Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades by Ebenezer Bain
More chapters up this week including...
Wright and Cooper Trade—Masons—Coopering in Aberdeen—Seals of
Tailor Trade—Seal of Cause—Statutes—Admission of
Females—Upholsterers—Hours and Wages—Strike, 1797—Trust
Shoemaker Trade—Appointment of Searchers—Seal of Cause—Prices of
Boots and Shoes, 1586—The "Schoon Mercat"—Hides and Bark
Weaver Trade—Early Mention—Price of Work—Old Aberdeen
Flesher Trade—Appreciatores Carnum—Early Regulations—Seal of Cause
—Price of Beef and Mutton, 1576—Flesh Market—Statutes Amalgamation
with the Six Trades
The Burgh Reform Movement—Abolition of Exclusive Trading Privileges
—Rights to Property Reserved
The Funds of the Seven Trades—Tables of Entry Monies—Widows'
Fund--Supplementary Widows' Fund—Trades School
Here is how the account of the shoemakers starts...
THE shoemakers, long known as cordwainers or cordiners (from
cordonnier [f.], a worker of leather), were early associated under a
deacon. They had evidently taken advantage of the Act of 1424
authorising craftsmen to elect "ane wise man of the craft," and the
following entry in the Council Register shows that even as early as
1484 the Magistrates had come into conflict with them regarding
their deacon :-
27th May, 1484.—The same day the alderman, baillies, and counsall,
because thai have fundin n ete faute in the craft of the cordinaris,
at this tyme thai have put down the deacons of the said craft,
annulland all powaris that thai gif to thaim of befor, and will fra
hynce furth tak the correction of thaim all in tyme to cum, and to
puniss thaim after thair demerits that sal be committit in tyme
command.—Council Register, vol. vi., p. 848.
This arrangement, however, by which the Magistrates were to take the
correction of the work of the cordiners into their own hands, does
not seem to have worked well, for we find from an entry, a few years
after, that two visitors were appointed with the same powers and
functions as the deacons of the other crafts. These men were, no
doubt, members of the cordiner craft, and the powers conferred on
them are similar to those conferred by the formal Seals of Cause
granted about thirty years afterwards to most of the craftsmen in
31st September, 1495.—The saide day the Alderman and diuerss of the
counsall and communitie present for the tyme thought it expedient
for ye commone proffit, for the correction of evil werk maid be ye
cordinaris and cersing and reforming of it yat William Tamsone and
Thomas Meldrum sal vesie, consider, and understand ye craftsmen of
thar craft within this burghe, yat yai werk diligentlie, and to
correct evil werk, and insufficint stuff as the vyss is of uyiris
burrowis, and gif ony dissobeis the saidis William and Thomas,
heirintill, in contrar to the common profit, yai sal present ye falt
to ye alderman and balzeis, quhilkis sal punis them efter ye laws of
ye realme, and consuetude of uyiris burrowis.—Council Register, vol.
vii. p. 663.
In 1501 a more explicit order was issued by the Magistrates, with
consent of the cordiners, for the appointment of "tua mene of thar
craft to serce ande consider ye wirk of thar craft," a warrant that
may be regarded as the first formal Seal of Cause that was granted
to this craft, a Seal of Cause being, as has already been pointed
out, a recognition or confirmation granted to a particular craft of
the right to elect a deacon. The powers of the deacons were more
specifically set forth in the Seals of Cause of certain crafts than
in others ; but once the right was conferred on a particular body of
craftsmen, they considered themselves entitled to make and pass
by-laws for carrying on all the affairs of their craft or society.
The right to choose a deacon was originally acquired in virtue of
Royal Charters and Acts of Parliament; all that was afterwards
required was a recognition of that right by the local Town Council,
whose consent had to be obtained.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The index page can be found 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're
make a start at the second volume.
Superintendent Willocks—Archbishop Porterfield
Archbishop Boyd—Allotment and Feuing of Lands—Arrival of Andrew
Melville and Esme Stewart
Archbishop Montgomerie—Conflict with General Assembly—Raid of
Archbishop Erskine—Rise of Walter Stewart, Lord Blantyre Feuing and
Selling of Lands
Parsons and Ministers—Archibald Douglas—David Wemyss
The Churches of Glasgow
Here is how chapter VII starts...
So far, the alienation of the temporal possessions of the
archbishopric had not proceeded to any great extent. A more
determined effort was now, however, made. Notwithstanding the acts
of the General Assembly, which probably expressed the feeling of a
large number of the burgess and the lower classes of the people, the
king strongly desired to continue the episcopal system of church
government. In this he was supported by a large proportion of the
nobility, partly, no doubt, from desire for the orderly conduct of
religion and from dislike of the republican temper of the
presbyterian church courts, but partly also, there is good reason to
believe, from desire to profit by the transference of church
property which the episcopal dignitaries had power to carry out.
Foremost in supporting the young king in this policy was the now
all-powerful Lennox, and it has been made quite clear that he
proceeded of set purpose to exploit for his personal profit to the
fullest possible extent the appointment of a new archbishop at
A suitable tool for his purpose lay to his hand in the person of
Robert Montgomerie, minister at Stirling. Montgomerie must have been
well known to the king and court, who would be among his constant
hearers in the noble old kirk under the walls of Stirling Castle. So
far he had been a vehement supporter of the party which opposed
episcopacy, [Spottiswoode, ii. 281.] but he was evidently a poor
creature, and Lennox had recognised this. The duke made a pact with
him by which, if appointed archbishop, he was to receive an annual
sum of £1000 Scots, with some horse corn and poultry, while all the
remaining revenues were to be made over to the duke and his heirs.
[Richard Hay's MS., quoted in Chalmers's Caledonia, iii. 626.]
You can read the rest of the Preface at
The index page of the book is at
Reminiscences of a Highland Parish
By Norman MacLeod D.D. (1871)
Made some good progress on this book and have up the following
Tacksmen and Tenants
Mary Campbell's Marriage
Churchyards and Funerals
The Old Stone Coffin; or The Tomb of the Spanish Princess
The Grassy Hillock; or The Grave of Flory Cameron
Here is how the story of "The Grassy Hillock" starts...
WE might expect to find peculiar types of character among a people
who possess, as the Highlanders do, a vivid fancy, strong passions,
and keen affections; who dwell among scenery of vast extent and
great sublimity, shut up in their secluded valleys, separated even
from their own little world by mountains and moorlands or stormy
arms of the sea; whose memories are full of the dark superstitions
and wild traditions of the olden time; who are easily impressed by
the mysterious sights and sounds created by mists and clouds and
eerie blasts, among the awful solitudes of nature; and who cling
with passionate fondness to home and family, as to tic very life and
soul of the otherwise desert waste around them But I never met, even
in the Highlands, with a more remarkable example of the influence of
race and circumstances than Flora, or rather Flory Cameron.
The first time I saw her was when going to the school of "the
parish," early on an autumnal morning. The school was attached to
the church, and the churchyard was consequently near it. The
churchyard, indeed, with its headstones and flat stones, its walled
tombs, and old ruined church, was fully appreciated by us, as an
ideal place for our joyous games, especially for "hide and seek,"
and "I spy." Even now, in spite of all the sadder memories of later
years. I can hardly think of the spot without calling up the blithe
face of some boy peering cautiously over the effigy of an old chief,
or catching the glimpse of a kilt disappearing behind a headstone,
or hearing a concealed titter beside a memorial of sorrow.
As I passed the churchyard for the first time in the sober dawning
of that harvest day, I was arrested by seeing the figure of a woman
wrapt in a Highland plaid, sitting on a grave, her head bent and her
hands covering her face, while her body slowly rocked to and fro.
Beside her was a Highland terrier that seemed asleep on the grave.
Her back was towards me, and I slipped away without disturbing her,
yet much impressed by this exhibition of grief.
On telling the boys what I had seen, for the grave and its mourner
were concealed at that moment from our view by the old ruin, they,
speaking in whispers, and with an evident feeling of awe or of fear,
informed me that it was "Flory the witch," and that she and her dog
had been there every morning since her son had died months before;
and that the dog had been a favourite of her son's, and followed the
witch wherever she went. I soon shared the superstitious fear for
Flory which possessed the boys; for, though they could not affirm,
in answer to my inquiries, that she ever travelled through the air
on a broomstick, or became a hare at her pleasure, or had ever been
seen dancing with demons by moonlight in the old church, yet one
thing was certain, that the man or woman whom she blessed was
blessed indeed, and that those whom she cursed were cursed indeed.
"Is that really true?" I eagerly asked. "It is true as death!"
replied the boy Archy Macdonald, shocked by my doubt; "for," said
he, "did not black Hugh Maclean strike her boy once at the fair, and
did she not curse him when he went off to the herring fishery? and
wasn't he and all in the boat drowned? True! ay, it's true." "And
did she not curse," added little Peter M`Phie, with vehemence, "the
ground officer for turning old Widow M'Pherson out of her house? Was
he not found dead under the rock? Some said he had been drunk; but
my aunt, who knew all about it, said it was because of Flory's
curse, nothing else, and that the cruel rascal deserved it too." Ana
then followed many other terrible proofs of her power, clinched with
the assurance from another boy that he had once heard "the maister
himself say, that he would any day far rather have her blessing than
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The other chapters can be found at
The Scottish Historical Review
I have added several more articles from these publications...
Superstition in Scotland of Today
Probably few of those who year by year visit the northern counties
of Scotland have any notion of the fairy lore and superstitions
which, notwithstanding our modern wholesale education, are still
cherished and believed in by the natives. The isolation of the
crofter communities and the mystic temperament of the Celt are
probably the chief contributory causes for these survivals elsewhere
relegated to the limbo of forgotten things, and as every year, with
the spread of education from one source or another, they will become
less vigorous, it seems desirable to place on record the following
instances which have come under observation within recent years.
Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families
THE editor is indebted to Mr. John S. Samuel for these biographical
and historical Notes of Scotsmen in Sweden. They were prepared by
Herr Eric E. Etzcl, D.Ph., Upsala, partly from information in Anrep.:
Svenska Adelns Aettartaflor, and partly from researches in the
private archives of members of the Swedish nobility, who trace their
descent from Scotsmen who migrated to Sweden, for the most part
during the Thirty Years' War. That prolonged struggle attracted a
large number of Scottish soldiers of fortune, who at its close
settled in Sweden, and afterwards made for themselves a name in its
military and industrial annals.
Helenore, or The Fortunate Shepherdess
THIS manuscript volume is, so far as I know, the only copy in
existence in Alexander Ross's autograph of one of the finest
Pastorals in the Scottish vernacular—a poem which, in the counties
of Forfar, Kincardine, Aberdeen, and so along to Inverness, easily
holds in public estimation a place equal, if not superior, to that
held by Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd in the Lothians and other
lowland counties of Scotland. In one respect it is undoubtedly
superior—as a genuine and faithful record of the habits, customs and
common speech of the locality and period the poet professes to
John Bruce, Historiographer 1745-1826
Mr. Bruce's intellectual powers were of the very highest order. He
was equally distinguished as an accurate historian and an elegant
scholar. The extent, the variety, and the correctness of his general
information was astonishing.... In the more vigorous period of his
life he was eminently distinguished by that qualification which is
so rarely to be met with, in which great knowledge is combined with
a shrewdness and pleasing urbanity of manners which rendered his
communications agreeable to everyone. His conversational powers were
captivating in the extreme, and his sallies of innocent humour and
flashes of wit were irresistibly entertaining.
Scots in Poland
This article gives many Scottish names in Poland.
You can read these articles at
And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)
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