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8th August 2008

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at 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
A History of the Scotch Poor Law (New Book)
Scottish Gardens
The Life of John Duncan
Chronicles of Stratheden
History of Glasgow
25 years of Village Cricket
Scots and Scots-Irish in North Carolina
Fallbrook Farm
Dr. Kirsty Duncan
Scotch Wit and Humour (New Book)

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 worlds.

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 or national.

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 other lands.

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 later.

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 changed.

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, Australia, etc.

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 relatives there?

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 so.

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 the world.


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 (1887)

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)

John Witherspoon
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 the read.

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 ahead.


I have made a start at the Poor Law in Scotland for which more below.

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.

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 generation.

This week’s recipe combines two things which the Highlanders held dear – Black Cattle and Whisky – as Beef in Whisky Sauce combines both.

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 slightly.

See the Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs in the Features section at

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 starts...

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 it."`

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

Scottish Gardens
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell

We've now started getting up chapters on individual gardens...

Kellie Castle, Fife
Auchencruive, Ayrshire
Barskimming, Ayrshire
Cawdor Castle, Nairnshire
Manse Of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
Sunderland Hall, Selkirkshire
Balcaskie, Fife

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 Herbs
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." 1824-1836.

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 concluding chapter.

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 (1921)

We are now making progress with these volumes and this week we have up...

Chapter I
Prehistoric Condition of Glasgow Area—Sites of Early Dwellings

Chapter II
The Roman Period and After

Chapter III
The Coming of St. Kentigern

Chapter IV
St. Kentigern's Return from Wales

Chapter V
Early Place Names

Chapter VI
After the Days of St. Kentigern—Strathclyde and Cumbria

Chapter VII
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 294-5.]

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

Village Cricket
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

Fallbrook Farm
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 at

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 stupid.

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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