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Weekly Mailing List Archives
22nd 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
Scottish Gardens
The Life of John Duncan
History of Glasgow
History of Banking in Scotland
25 years of Village Cricket
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Scottish Influence of my Scottish forebears in NZ
Total Immersion Plus - Making Great Strides
Notice of Runic Inscriptions (New Book)
Ranald's Humour

We were down for around 24 hours on Saturday as our server system hard drive blew up after a power cut. This meant rebuilding the server from scratch. All our data was preserved ok but it takes time to re-build a web server from scratch so well done Steve on doing so well to get us back up and running.


I got a few more comments back from my article last week and one such from New Zealand gave me a url for an article about GlobalScot which you can read at


Also should mention the Fall Meeting at the Uni of Guelph is on Saturday 27th September. Always an enjoyable event and the McLaughlin library often sells of duplicate copies of books which can be quite a bargain. Admission includes coffee, lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Registration this year will be with the Ossian Art Exhibition in the University of Guelph's Mclaughlin Library from 9.30am. Come early for coffee and a private viewing of the exhibition and meet the artist Calum Colvin at 10am. You then take a short walk to Rozanski Hall for the rest of the program which includes speakers...

Duncan Macniven, Scotland's Registrar General, who will talk about Scottish Genealogy, the census and ScotlandsPeople. Other speakers will be Dr Tom Normand (St Andrews), Ms Kim Sullivan (Otago), Dr. Graeme Morton (Guelph) and Professor Cairns Craig, FBA, FRSE, OBE, Glucksman Professor & Director of the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Please tell them if you are coming, Tel: 519 824 4120 x 53209
Email: Web:


I'm off to the the Selkirk Faire just outside Wallaceburg this Saturday and hopefully this time there will be sun! :-) The event is over Saturday and Sunday so hopefully if you live in the area you'll manage to get there. They do have a web site at


I also wanted to say sorry for the site being so slow these days. We've actually exceeded our bandwidth but I can't afford to increase it at this time. We'll just need to suffer it until we can move to Michigan where I'll be able to afford to increase it. Estimated time scales for this are now into October.

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 Jennifer Dunn in which she is giving her thoughts on the next by-election.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us about cricket in Scotland...

Eight years ago, in the early days of The Flag, Jim Lynch caused a minor brouhaha by casting doubts on the popularity of cricket in Scotland – he was probably right from the point of view of spectators but as I pointed out at the time there are more cricket clubs in Aberdeenshire than there are in Yorkshire, England. That must be true as my Dominie at St Combs Primary School, who played for Huntly CC, told me so! He also taught me the rudiments of the game.

I was reminded of this on Monday as I settled down to listen to Scotland v England on Radio Scotland in the very first official cricket game between Scotland’s national team and England. Although there has been the occasional exhibition or friendly game it has taken 220 years before the first serious game, a one-day match at the Grange in Edinburgh, attended by First Minister Alex Salmond. Scotland regained the status to play one-day internationals (ODIs) in 2005. Fortunately or unfortunately the start was delayed due to rain until 12.30 pm enabling me to switch on in time for the start after a morning volunteer shift at New Bayview, home of East Fife FC. I almost wished immediately that I had missed it as Scotland put in to bat slumped to only 11 runs for three wickets. But a spirited fight-back from Gavin Hamilton (60 runs) and Colin Smith (36 runs) ensured that Scotland finished the revised 44 overs on 156 for 9. England responded with 10 runs off the first 15 balls as they chased the Scots total before rain once more stopped play and the game ended up as a no-result.

The full house at the Grange showed that there is an audience for the top games in Scotland. Hopefully rain will not ruin the next major ODI in Scotland next year when the Scots will face the power of Australia on 28 August 2009. Further good news emerged this week that Scotland will also take part in the ICC World Twenty tournament in England next year, following the formal withdrawal of Zimbabwe. They will face stiff opposition in the shape of South Africa and New Zealand in Group D.

Hopefully Scotland will find some top form batting in these matches, and preferably someone who can hit a century. On a historic note the first recorded cricket century to be scored in Scotland was made by the Hon Charles Lennox, way back on 9 October 1789. He scored 136 not out on that day. Cricket grounds were firmly established before the emergence of modern football. Indeed the first International football match played in the world – Scotland v England – took place at a cricket ground in Patrick, Glasgow. A crowd of 4,000 paid a 1/- a head to watch the 0-0 draw. Scottish writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and James M Barrie were keen cricketers and as you will see from this week’s History Dates 108 years ago, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle bowled out the legendary W G Grace, one of England’s greatest ever batsmen.

With some 200 local clubs and over 25,000 people involved in the sport, cricket has a firm place in the traditional way of life in Scotland. In towns and villages, the length and breadth of the nation, resounds to the sound of ball on willow during the summer months. Week in and week out fielders will hope to avoid the dreaded dropped catch but this week’s recipe – Dropped Scones – should appeal to all cricketers when the stumps are drawn.

Dropped Scones

Ingredients: 4oz self raising flour; pinch of salt; 2oz caster sugar; 1 egg; milk to mix, approx 4 tablespoons

Method: Mix the flour, salt and sugar, add the egg and gradually beat in the milk to make a thick batter. Bake 2 or 3 at a time by dropping spoonfuls of the mixture on a hot, well-greased griddle. Butter and enjoy.

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're now onto the S's with Seaforth, Selkirk, Semple, Seton and Shairp.

A substancial account of Seton this week which starts...

SETON, a surname derived from Say-tun, the dwelling of Say. Anciently there were in England two families names Say, of Norman descent. The first of the race who came into Scotland was Secher or Saiker de Say, who obtained from David I. lands in Haddingtonshire, and was the ancestor of the noble family of Seton, earls of Winton. He was the son of Dugal de Say, by his wife, a daughter of De Quincy, earl of Winchester, constable of Scotland.

Alexander de Seton, son of Secher, witnessed a charter of David I., to William de Riddell of the lands of Riddell in Roxburghshire. He was proprietor of Seton and Winton in East Lothian, and Winchburgh in Linlithgowshire, and his son, Philip de Seton, got a charter of these lands from William the Lion, to be held in capite of the crown. Philip’s eldest son, Sir Alexander de Seton, witnessed many charters of Alexander II., and also a donation of Sayer de Quincy, earl of Winchester, to the abbacy of Dunfermline, before 1233.

His son, Serlo or Secher de Seton, had two sons and a daughter, Sir Alexander, Sir John, and Barbara, the wife of Sir William Keith, great marischal of Scotland. Among those who swore fealty to Edward I. in 1296 was Alisaundre de Seton, valet, Richard de Seton, del counte de Dunfres, and John de Seton of the same county. Sir Alexander, the elder son, was father of Sir Christopher Seton, who married Lady Christian Bruce, third daughter of Robert earl of Carrick, sister of King Robert I., widow of Gratney, earl of Mar. He was one of the principal supporters of his brother-in-law, and was present at his coronation at Scone 27th March 1306. At the disastrous battle of Methven, 13th June following, he rescued Bruce when he was unhorsed by Philip de Mowbray. He afterwards shut himself up in Lochdoon castle in Ayrshire, and on its surrender to the English, Sir Christopher Seton was, by order of Edward I., executed at Dumfries.

He appears to have been succeeded by his brother Sir Alexander Seton, who signed, with other patriotic nobles, the famous letter to the Pope in 1320, asserting the independence of Scotland. He had grants from King Robert I. of various lands, as well as of the manor of Tranent and other extensive possessions previously belonging to the noble family of De Quincy, attainted for their espousal of the cause of Edward. He also got the lands of Falside or Fawside, forfeited by Alexander de Such, who married one of the daughters and heiresses of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester.

Falside castle, situated near the boundary with Inveresk, was one of the ancient strong fortalices of the Setons. A younger branch of the family styled themselves the Setons of Falside. Their principal castle was Niddry in Linlithgowshire, the ruins of which still remain. Sir Alexander de Seton had a safe-conduct into England 7th January 1320, and Robert I. applied for another, 21st March 1327, for him to treat with the English. He was governor of the town of Berwick when it was besieged by the English in 1333. His son Thomas was given as a hostage to King Edward III., that that place would be surrendered on a certain day if not relieved before then. Sir William Keith having arrived with succours, assumed the governorship, and refused to deliver up the town. Edward ordered Thomas Seton, and, some accounts say, two sons of Keith, who had fallen into his hands, to be executed in sight of the besieged. The day after the defeat of the Scots army at Halidon-hill, 19th July 1333, Berwick surrendered to the English. Sir Alexander Seton was present in Edward Baliol’s parliament, 10th February following, when he witnessed the concession of Berwick to the English. He had a safe-conduct to go to England, 15th October 1337, and in August 1340, he was one of the hostages for John, earl of Moray, when he was liberated for a time. He appears to have entered into a religious order in his old age, as “Frater Alexander de Seton miles, hospitalis sancti Johannis Jerusalem in Scotia” had a safe-conduct into England on the affairs of David II., 12th August 1348.

By his wife, Christian, daughter of Cheyne of Straloch, he had three sons and a daughter, namely, Alexander, killed in opposing the landing of Edward Baliol near Kinghorn, 6th August 1332; Thomas, already mentioned; and William, drowned in an attack on the English fleet at Berwick, in sight of his father, in July 1333. The daughter, Margaret, became heiress of Seton. She married Alan de Wyntoun, supposed to have been a cadet of the Seton family. This marriage, we are told, produced a feud in East Lothian, and occasioned more than a hundred ploughs to be laid aside from labour. His children took the name of Seton. He died in the Holy Land, leaving a son, Sir William Seton, and a daughter, Christian or Margaret, countess of Dunbar and March.

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 "Coortin Weemen" which you can read at

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 Old Machar

The parish of Old Machar was originally a deanery, called the Deanery of St Machar, and comprehended the parishes of Old Machar, New Machar, and Newhills. In times of Popery, they do not seem to have been divided into separate parishes, but to have been chapels in the deanery, at which chapels divine worship was regularly performed, as the inhabitants of so extensive and populous a district could not conveniently meet in one place for public worship. New Machar seems to have been erected into a separate parish about the time of the Reformation; and Newhills about the year 1663.

The extent of this parish is great, and its form irregular. Its south-east corner forms the north and west boundaries of the city of Aberdeen, or parish of St Nicholas. It extends about three miles up the Dee, by which river it is bounded on the south, and divided from the parish of Nigg, and county of Kincardine. The western boundary stretches in a crooked line from the Dee to the Don, at the distance of about two miles and a-half from the parish church. By this line it is divided from the parishes of Nether Banchory and Newhills. Crossing the Don, it extends a mile and a-half farther up the river, making in all four miles from the river's mouth. On this part the Don divides it from the parishes of Newhills and Dyce; its northern boundary passes by the parishes of New Machar and Belhelvie, till it joins the sea at the Black Dog, forming a sweep, every part of which is distant from the parish church at least four miles. On the east, it is bounded by the sea, from the Black Dog to Aberdeen, the extent of coast being about five miles. Its greatest length, from north to south, may be seven or eight miles, and its greatest breadth about four miles.

This parish rises in a gentle slope from the sea, and though there is no eminence in it that deserves the name of a mountain, its surface is beautifully diversified by rising grounds. The windings of the Dee and the Don, the manufactories, and the woods on the banks of the latter, some detached clumps of planting on the rising grounds, interspersed with a number of gentlemen's seats and villas,—together with the various prospects of the sea, the rivers, the cities of Old and New Aberdeen, and the villages of Gilcomston and Woodside,—give a pleasant variety to the general appearance of this parish.

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 5 of this tale which completes this story and here is how it starts...

Next day the miller spoke to James anent his marriage, an’ tell't him, as they were no to move frae the mill, it needna be putten aff ony langer; sae it was settled to be in a fortnight, an' that created an unco bustle in the house. An’ Jeanie was every now and then speakin’ o' how they were a.’ to manage, but the miller ne’er seemed to mind her.

So ae day, when they’re in the kitchen by themsels, she begins on’t again:

“An` James an' his wife will hae to get the room that he an’ William are in ; an’ then William he maun either get mine, or sleep outby, for there’ll be nae puttin’ him in yon cauld, damp bed,unless we want him to gang like a cripple; sae I dinna ken what's to be dune."

"Ye forget, Jeanie," said the miller, “that John Murdoch sleepit there, an’, he didna seem to be the waur o`t.”

"Aye, for ae night, nae doubt, and in fine weather; but how lang will that last?”

The miller gies her nae answer; but after sittin’ thinking a wee, he rises and taks down his bonnet.

"It’s a fine day for being out," says Jeanie; "but are ye gaun far, father?"

"Nae farer than the Hope," said the miller.

"The Hope!” exclaimed Jeanie, as her face reddened.

"Ay," says the miller; "and I’m thinking o’ speirin if there’s room there for ane o' ye."

"Now God bless my gude auld father," said Jeanie; "he sees brawly what I wanted, and wadna even look me in the face to confuse me."

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read at

Scottish Gardens
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell

We've now started getting up chapters on individual gardens and this week have added...

Dunrobin, Sutherland
Stobhall, Perthshire
Raeden House, Aberdeenshire
Cocker's Nursery, Aberdeen
Smeaton-Hepburn, Haddingtonshire

Here is how the account starts on Cocker's Nursery, Aberdeen...

PASSING from Raeden House over the hill-top known as the Cocket Hat, one comes upon a wide extent of nursery ground and, forasmuch as our series of Scottish garden types would not be complete without a sample of commercial horticulture, Miss Wilson has chosen a corner of this ground called Honey Braes, which forms a fitting subject for her art. The day may come when this drawing may have an interest more than aesthetic; for already this part of the nurseries has been marked off in building plots, and the red-roofed house is doomed to disappear at no distant date. It was under these red tiles that Mrs. Byron (nee Catherine Gordon of Gight) lived with her son George, whom she described to her sister-in-Jaw, Mrs. Leigh, as being "very well and really a charming boy" in 1791. Seven years later the "charming boy" succeeded his great-uncle, the "wicked Lord Byron," as sixth Lord Byron, with such results upon English literature as we wot of. It suggests curious commentary upon early training and what surprises may await those who calculate upon its result, to read Byron's notes upon his start in letters. "I had," he says, "a very serious, saturnine, but kind young man, named Paterson, for my tutor. He was the son of my shoemaker, but a good scholar, as is common with the Scotch. He was a rigid Presbyterian also."

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 XXII - John returns to the Gadie
Return to Auchleven; Sandy Smith's cottage; Sandy Smith himself; John and Mrs. Smith; his abstemiousness; his methodicalness; his quiet humour—night-caps and social standing!; John and young Sandy: Emslie, the carpenter's rife; her kindness to John; their intellectual intercourse; her opinion of him: Mrs. Lindsay's cottage; John by the fireside there; John sleeps with a "pig!"; his returns for kindness received. 1849-1852.

Chapter XXIII - His Studies and Friends at Auchleven
Intellectual pursuits ardent as ever; John's studies in "the philosopher"; "We've laid by the moon and ta'en up the stars?"; John's practical answer; botanising round Gadie side; out all night and "like naebody else"; his style of speech; holds the first Botanical Exhibition; his discourse then, "Botany not a beast"; his fame spreads: still an herbalist: his Astronomical studies; makes a telescope; John on the stars at a soiree: Entomology: Meteorology: Theology; studies the Greek Testament; anti-papal reading: bewildered opinions of him at Auchleven; "he's a fool"; John regards the exoteric and the esoteric: John and young Dr. Mackay; their friendship; their joint studies of Botany and Theology. 1849-1852.

Chapter XXIV - John becomes an Essayist
Rise of the Mutual Instruction movement in the north; "Corresponding Committee" appointed; "Address to Farm Servants" issued; "Mutual Instruction Union" formed; Female classes; "Rural Echo" published; the after history of movement: the Auchleven Class; its meetings, soirees and library; John at the meetings; his essays there: his Essay on Botany; advocates Natural History for children; his praise of Linnaeus: Essays on Astronomy; Essay on Weaving: Essay on Practical Gardening; good effects of flowers everywhere; advices on gardening; criticism of gardens in general; influence of such natural studies. 1846-1852.

Chapter XXV - Friendship and Courtship
Renewed intercourse with Charles Black on the Gadic; their last ramble together; their subsequent connection: wishes a home of his own; John a great ladies' man; his matrimonial qualifications; a love-letter of John's; John and the housekeeper; John gets another denial; John and a third lady on the hill-top; John's chivalry in love-making. 1848-1852.

Chapter XXVI - Settlement and Word at Droughsburn
Events during his residence at Auchleven: the Vale of Alford and John's relations to it; Droughsburn described; his workshop and home there: William Watt his predecessor; their connection; eminent weavers: John settles down there; his future labours; a good judge of cloth; his general aspect in his wanderings; how he finished a web; his journeys to Aberdeen. 1852-1859.

These can all be viewed 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 XV
Church Building—Bishop Joceline

Chapter XVI
King William's Burghal Legislation

Chapter XVII
Glasgow and Dumbarton—Royal Mint

Chapter XVIII
Collection of the King's Customs

Chapter XIX
Building of Glasgow Cathedral Resumed

And here is a bit from Chapter XVII...

Between the lands of Glasgow barony and the district of Argyle, thus united to the kingdom, lay the earldom of Levenachs, otherwise Levenax, a name latterly softened to Lennox, originally taken from the river Leven to the lands through which it flowed, and in time extended to the wide district embracing Dumbartonshire with a considerable portion of the shire of Stirling and other adjacent lands. The first owner of this territory is said, but on doubtful authority, to have been one Arkyll who lived in the time of Malcolm Canmore, and it was supposed that his son or grandson, Alwyn, was the first earl. Both the first earl and his son and successor were named Alwyn, but the precise dates of possession are uncertain. When the succession opened to the second earl he was in minority, and till he came of age for military service the earldom was held by King William's brother, David earl of Huntingdon. [Lindores Chartulary, p. i; Scots Peerage, `Lennox,' vol. v.; Reg. de Passelet, p. 167.]

One interesting bit of information connected with the administration of the earldom about this time is preserved in the Register of Glasgow Bishopric. By charters granted between 1208 and 1214 the second Earl Alwyn and Maldouen, his son and heir, granted to the church of Glasgow and to Bishop Walter and his successors, the church of "Kamsi," with the land which he gave to it at its dedication, and with the chapels adjacent to the church, common pasturage throughout the whole parish and other easements, all in free and perpetual alms. The charters are accompanied by a minute description of the bounds of the parish, but these limits have been altered by subsequent disjunctions. [Reg. Episc. Nos. 101-3.] Campsie became the prebend of. the chancellor of the cathedral, but at first the bishop's title to its possession was not clear. During Earl David's wardship he had granted Campsie church to the monks of Kelso, and their claim was only surrendered in consideration of their receiving payment of ten merks yearly from the benefice. [Reg. Episc. No. 116; Origines Parochiales, i. p. 45.]

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...

Chapter I
Origin and Development of Scottish Banking

Chapter II
The Darien Company

Chapter III
The Bank of Scotland

Chapter IV
The Equivalent Company - The Royal Bank of Scotland

Chapter V
Competition - Private Banking - John Coutts & Co.

Chapter VI
Ramsays, Bonars & Co., - Rebellion of 1745 - The British Linen Company

Chapter I starts...

THE state of Scotland at the close of the seventeenth century—the period at which Scottish banking commenced—was not favourable to commercial enterprise. Foreign and domestic wars and tumults had, from time immemorial, drained the country of its hardiest manhood and of its scanty treasure. Commerce, except in that minimum proportion which is indispensable to the distribution of the necessaries of life, had never had opportunity to establish itself. The nation was sunk in poverty. Even the few large landowners could only be called wealthy in comparison with the plain living commonalty, who could with difficulty supply their wants. Even the officers of the Crown were in the enjoyment of but petty incomes, which the evil fortunes of the nation frequently interrupted the payment of. The currency was debased in quality and scarce in quantity. It would appear that payment in kind was usual in the settlement of rents, and it is probable that barter in some forms was not uncommon in the more remote country districts. The history of Scotland as an independent country is one of almost constant misfortune ; for even the brilliant victories gained by the Scots over their great enemies, the English, were but the barriers which averted ruin. They did not, like the triumphs of the French or of the Spaniards, add new territory to the State, or increase the wealth of the kingdom. They merely enabled the unconsolidated community to continue its rude existence in independence at the cost of chronic penury, intensified by internecine feuds and periodic coups d'etat. Eventually the nation reaped a rich reward for the sufferings it had endured in the struggle to preserve its freedom, for it gained access to boundless fields for the exercise of its restless energy, achieved large profits for its untiring activity, and became united into one of the most law-abiding and industrious countries in the world. At the time when our history begins, however, the clouds of night were still overshadowing the country; and the sun of prosperity, destined to shine with undimmed splendour, had not yet risen on the national horizon.

The Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland in the year 1603, by the accession of James VI. of Scotland to the throne of England, put an end to the hereditary warfare waged for centuries between the kingdoms; but though the wounds were bound up they were not healed, and international jealousy and dislike still prevented the full advantage of community of interests. As being the weaker power, Scotland suffered most in this new phase of its struggle with its domineering associate, who ever and anon checked its enterprise whenever it seemed to trench on English prerogatives. It did, however, snatch an uneasy rest during the forty years which elapsed before the great civil war between the Commons and the Crown broke out in 1642. In that six years' struggle, as in all the succeeding troubles, the efforts of Scotland were generally spent on the losing side. The Scots, indeed, escaped the brunt of the conflict, but they suffered terribly in the end by the iron hand of Cromwell, whose power they had well-nigh crushed at Dunbar, but for the infatuation of their clerical dictators prevailing over the military skill of their sagacious general, Leslie. Through the Commonwealth and the restored Monarchy, the country's grievances continued; and it was not until the peaceful revolution of 1688 placed the constitution on a firm basis, that there was even the possibility of prosperity for Scotland; and not until the effects of the legislative union of the countries in 1707 had had time to develop themselves, that the nation's spirit was at rest.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters 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 5 which you can read at

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
Thanks to Nola Crewe for sending us in more of these accounts.

Alexander McTavish at

Scottish Influence of my Scottish forebears in NZ
Anne Stewart Ball has produced a 2 part account of the Scots Diaspora in New Zealand as a result of my editorial of a couple of weeks back. She starts by saying...

Reading your Newsletter, Alastair, has provoked considerable thought on the Scottish Influence of those early immigrants who made New Zealand their new home- their legacy and how the Scottish Influence has permeated into our way of life – business, economics, transport systems, community, church and culture.

It has been said at times that Dunedin is a true Scottish town – more Scottish than Scotland. The newspapers of 1889 record a crowd of at least 15000 turning out to unveil a statue of Robert Burns.

Mr Whyte MHR in a responding speech at a dinner held to celebrate the opening of the Waiorongomai Battery and Tramway was reported as saying." In the composition of the House there were about 50 English men, 6 or 8 Colonials, 4 Maories, 8 or 9 Irishmen, and 25 Scotchmen,” He added to this that “ the presence of the Scotchman had had the effect of producing a large amount of practical work.”

You can read Anne's account at

Total Immersion Plus - Making Great Strides
A great article talking about how to learn the Gaelic language by Finlay MacLeod. This came about from my editorial of a couple of weeks back and subsequent comments made on Scotland on Sunday. Finlay phoned me from Scotland and I hope this will be the first of a number of articles from him.

The article concludes with...

A student's perspective

I first began learning Gàidhlig with the organization Sgoil-Ghàidhlig an Ard-Bhaile in February 2007. I remember seeing the ad in the paper for the classes, and I couldn't get to the phone quick enough to find out more! I have always had an interest in the language ever since I was a kid. I was informed that the classes employ the Gàidhlig aig baile (Gaelic in the Home/community), which is essentially immersion. I was a bit nervous... but Kathleen Reddy (now my tutor) stated that if one is truly interested in becoming fluent in a language they must do immersion at some point.

Since then I have attained a modest level of 'conversational fluency' and can understand much of what is being said by fluent speakers, but as they say, you never stop learning. Gàidhlig is by far the best thing I've ever become involved with. I now have knowledge of a language which is the Keystone to all areas of the culture I love so much. I have even learned five or so Orain Luaidh..... or Milling songs.

For anyone who is interested in the Language or the Culture, I would strongly recommend you check out a Gàidhlig aig Baile class near you... you have everything to gain!

- Patrick Bennett

You can read this article at

Notice of Runic Inscriptions
This is a small book to do with excavation of Maes-Howe and other old barrows and such on the Island of Orkney. I have posted it up by both ocr'ing the text but there are also many illustrations and thus many images that make up the book. I had posted it up as just one page but found it was taking far too long to download due to all the images so have now divided it into 3 parts.

I might add that I visited the Orkneys once a year for six years and had never heard of these old stone buildings until I started to do the histories some years later.

Here is a wee bit from the first part to set the scene...

EARLY in the month of July 1861 I was enabled, by the kind permission of my friend David Balfour, Esq. of Balfour and Trenaby, to put in execution a scheme long contemplated, but from various circumstances unavoidably delayed, the excavation of some of the great tumuli in the neighbourhood of the Stones of Stennes, or Ring of Brogar. I had in the year 1854 partially explored one of considerable size on the east side of the great circle of stones, which stands on the west shore of the Loch of Harray. No discovery, however, of any importance was then made.

Some days were devoted to excavations close to Stennes, to which allusion will afterwards be made, but as several gentlemen of well-known antiquarian reputation from Edinburgh and Aberdeen were expected, and as I was desirous of having the benefit of their experience and advice, I determined at once to commence operations on the great tumulus of Maes-howe, the subject of this notice. My attention had been particularly called to this tumulus by Mr. Balfour, whose decided opinion that a careful examination might result in some important discovery, afforded me great encouragement, as I well knew that he had for many years taken considerable interest in Orkney antiquities, and his opinion that Mass-howe was a sepulchral chamber, appeared to be confirmed by local traditions. [The country people state that the building was formerly inhabited by a person named - Hogboy, possessing great strength. Haugbuie, in Norse, signifies "the ghost of the tomb;" and Haugr, "tumulus."]

On the afternoon of Saturday the 6th of July, therefore, guided by the experience of Mr. George Petrie, and assisted by the professional knowledge of Mr. Wilson, road contractor, ground was broken on the west side of Maes-howe, and on the same evening, Mr. John Stuart and Mr. Joseph Robertson of Edinburgh, with Colonel Forbes Leslie of Rothie, and Mr. James Hay Chalmers of Aberdeen, arrived by the Prince Consort steamship. As it was anticipated that a couple of days would suffice to make a large opening in the tumulus, arrangements were made for meeting there on the 10th of July. Before proceeding with the description of what followed, it may not be out of place to give a short account of the Stones of Stennes, as described by Lieutenant Thomas in a work published by him in 1851 :--
"The Great Circle of Stennes, or Ring of Brogar, is a deeply entrenched circular space containing almost two acres and a half of superficies, of which the diameter is 366 feet. Around the circumference of the area, but about thirteen feet within the trench, are the erect stones, standing at an average distance of eighteen feet apart. They are totally unhewn, and vary considerably in form and size. The highest stone was found to be 13-9 feet above the surface, and judging from some others which have fallen, it is sunk about eighteen inches in the ground. The smallest stone is less than six feet, but the average height is from eight to ten. The breadth varies from 2-6 to 7-9 feet, but the average may be stated at about 5 feet, and the thickness about 1 foot—all of the old red sandstone formation. The trench round the area is in good preservation. The edge of the bank is still sharply defined, as well as the two foot-banks or entrances, which are placed exactly opposite to each other. They have no relation to the true or magnetic meridian, but are parallel to the general direction of the neck of land on which the circle is placed.

The trench is 29 feet in breadth, and about 6 in depth, and the entrances are formed by narrow earth-banks across the fosse. The surface of the enclosed area has an average inclination to the eastward. It is highest on the north-west quarter, and the extreme difference of level is estimated to be from 6 to 7 feet. The trench has the same inclination, and therefore could never be designed to hold water."

You can read the whole book at

Ranald's Humour
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 enjoy...

You Think You Have Problems?

A little guy is sitting at a local bar just staring at his drink for half an hour when this big trouble-making truck driver sits down next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig.

The poor little guy starts crying.

"Come on man, I was just giving you a hard time," says the truck driver. "I'll buy you another drink. I just can't stand to see a man crying!"

"This is the worst day of my life," says the little guy between sobs. "I can't do anything right. I overslept and was late to an important meeting, so my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car was stolen and I have no insurance. I grabbed a cab home but, after the cab left, I discovered my wallet was still in the cab.

At home I found my wife in bed with the gardener. So I came to this bar trying to work up the courage to put an end to my life, and then you show up and drink the damn poison!"

And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)


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