Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Weekly Mailing List Archives
11th August 2006

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

Regret to say we had some major problems with our service this week. It is mostly down to the fact that Steve, our ISP, took off for Pennsic Wars for his 2 week annual vacation. Our email went down for around 20 hours and the site was also down for at least that time as well. I had no means of contacting him but now have a mobile phone number for him in case anything else happens. Our message forums have been down for a couple of days and it now looks like they will be down until Steve gets back in another 10 days time. Not really acceptable and I'll be discussing this with him in person during September.

I'd like to thank those that have completed my survey.... it's much appreciated :-) It will remain open until 13th August for those that haven't had the time to complete it. See to see the most up to date results or to complete the survey if you haven't yet managed to do so.

At time of writing 807 have now completed the survey and am still hoping we'll reach at least 1000 by the completion date and so if you haven't yet completed it would very much appreciate it if you would :-)

I got asked about Electric Scotland T-Shirts and as it happens I have a new advertiser who does T-Shirts and a whole range of other merchandise. I'll be telling you more about them below but in the meantime you can see a range of Electric Scotland merchandise at

I have made a start on two new books, The Celtic Monthly and James Chalmers of New Guinea for which see below.

And as to you wanting me to tell you more about Scottish Events I have made a small change on the menu. I've relocated the "Calendar" menu item and now term it "Events Calendar". I hope this will make it a little clearer to new users of the service.

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 and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

Micro Button Advertisers
We now have two new advertisers to tell you about...

First we welcome "Scotland's Greatest Story" this week and here they tell you something of themselves...

"Having left BBC Scotland, where I had worked for many years as a producer of historical TV documentaries, I set up the Scotland’s Greatest Story family history research service to help other people research their Scottish family trees. So many times I had heard people say, “Oh nothing ever happened in my family”, and in most cases it was just plain wrong!

Within days of having started my own family history research seven years ago, I had found ancestors who had been murdered by an axe, rebelled against their own Scottish regiment in 1798, performed one of the country’s first successful caesarean sections, and worked on the construction of the Titanic in Belfast. And that was just me!

Now using the same skills that brought my own history to life, I offer a service ranging from basic family records research at Edinburgh’s New Register House, to more detailed research using a variety of archives across Scotland. The range of sources is vast – newspapers, kirk session records, old parish registers, valuation records, and many more.

Each research based activity is planned in advance with the customer, and to a budget that is competitive with other service providers, with results professionally laid out in both printed and electronic formats.

Every one of us has a unique history, and Scotland’s Greatest Story aims to bring that history back to life and preserve it for the generations to come. It’s a fun journey that along the way can often reveal a hidden surprise or two - one of my first clients from Bonnybridge was stunned to learn that she was her own fourth cousin twice over!

Is your Scottish family history as bare as you might think?! "

Chris Paton

Chris can also arrange to take photographs and even video of your family lands so do check him out :-)

Second we have "Things Scottish" where Stacy is going to do our Electric Scotland merchandise. Here is what she has to say about her business...

As my family genealogist, I was thrilled when I acquired my very own kilt in my clan tartan! Eventually, I was looking for a more casual (and less expensive) way to express my pride in my Scottish heritage and couldn't find anything readily available. The first idea I had was to adapt my clan tartan into a cross stitch pattern. This lead to my adapting dozens of clan tartans into cross stitch patterns and selling them on my personal website.

After having several stitchers comment that they were planning on stitching their tartans on to apparel, I looked for a less time-consuming way to give my fellow stitchers what they were seeking. In July of 2003, I found the answer - my very own CafePress shop: Things Scottish! At the start, I just offered items featuring various tartans. As the shop grew, I added other Scottish images using each clan's tartan: a map of Scotland and a Scottish Terrier.

In 2005, two new tartan images made their debut: the Thistle and My Heart Is [clan]. The number of names available grew to over 100!

This year has seen the shop grow even more. Now the shop offers Custom Items for weddings and/or anniversaries featuring the bride's and groom's clan badges or interlocked tartan rings along with their special date. Currently, the shop has over 200 names + 7 Districts available with more being added weekly.

I look forward to helping you celebrate your Scottish heritage!

Stacy Armstrong-Christopherson
Celebrate your Scottish heritage:

And don't forget you can also see our own range of Electric Scotland merchandise at

Actually when you click on your clan name you get to see a range of items you can order so if you clicked on your clan badge you'll see 32 different items of apparel with your clan badge on them. Men, women, kids and dogs are catered for along with 22 other products. There is even a tartan light switch cover :-)

This weeks edition is by Jim Lynch, editor of the Scots Independent Newspaper.

The big news this week is their launch of their own Shopping Mall which they modestly don't talk about in this weeks issue but as I have the inside track I thought I'd tell you about it... after all it was my good self that built it for them :-)

You can see their Shopping Mall at

The Scot Wit section this week is...

Remember Your Change

A Scotsman, an Irishman and an Englishman stood by the grave of a common friend. The Irishman, in a gesture of impractical generosity, dropped a pound coin into the grave; the Englishman, not to be outdone, dropped in a two pound coin and retrieved the pound coin; the Scotsman in turn wrote a cheque for three pounds and pocketed the two pound coin.

You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots language at

Still working on the S's which you can read at

Good accounts of Shotts, Skye, Solway Firth, Staffa, Spey and Speyside.

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

We are now on the C's with Cardross and Carey added this week.

CAREY, DAVID, a writer of some versatility, a poet and a novelist, was the son of a manufacturer in Arbroath, where he was born in the year 1782. Having completed his school education, he was placed in his father’s counting-house, but cherishing an inclination for literary pursuits, he soon removed to Edinburgh, and was by Mr. Constable the publisher appointed to the temporary charge of a department of his business allied in some degree to the profession of literature. As a better field for the exercise of his talents, he repaired soon after to London, where he obtained, through several gradations, the direction of various departments of the periodical press. He began to publish in 1802. The order and titles of his works will be found annexed. The ability he displayed in advocating the measures of the Whig party, whose side he had espoused, gained for him the notice of Mr. Wyndham, who offered him a situation at the Cape of Good Hope, which he declined. On the change of ministry he wrote a satire on their successors, entitled ‘Ins and Outs, or the state of parties, by Chrononhotonthologos,’ of which two large editions were sold in a few weeks. On the establishment of the ‘Inverness Journal’ newspaper, in 1807, he was invited, on the recommendation of Mr. Constable, to undertake the office of editor, which, under many disadvantages, he discharged during nearly five years with general satisfaction, continuing his literary publications at the same time. During a considerable part of the year 1812, he conducted the ‘Boston Gazette.’ He next repaired again to London, and renewed his connexion with the public journals there. With the exception of a short visit to Paris, on some literary speculation, at a subsequent period, his labours from this time were devoted to the press. At length, weary of perpetual struggles and disappointments, feeling his health much impaired, he returned to his native place, to receive the attentions of parental affection. He died at his father’s house at Arbroath, of consumption, after eighteen months’ illness, on 4th October 1824, in the 42d year of his age. Besides the works enumerated below, he contributed largely to ‘The Poetical Magazine, or the Temple of the Muses,’ consisting chiefly of original poems, published in 1804, in two volumes 8vo, of which he was the editor. His poems are distinguished generally by elegance and harmony, and, with a good deal of purity and feeling, are not deficient in sentiment and imagery.

His works are:

Pleasures of Nature; or the Charms of Rural Life, and other Poems, 1802, 8vo.
The Reign of Fancy, a Poem, with Notes, 1803, 12mo.
Lyric Tales, &c. 1804.
Secrets of the Castle; a Novel. 1806, 2 vols. 12mo.
Ins and Outs, or the state of Parties, by Chrononhotonthologos. 1807, 8vo.
Poems, chiefly Amatory. 1807, 12mo.
Craig Phadrig; Visions of Sensibility, with Legendary Tales, and occasional Pieces, and Historical Notes; dedicated to Lord Seafield, a tribute chiefly of gratitude for the kindness and hospitality of his Highland friends and neighbours. 1810, 8vo.
Picturesque Scenes; or a Guide to the Highlands. 1811, 8vo.
The Lord of the Desert; Sketches of Scenery; Foreign and Domestic Odes, and other poems, 1812.
Lochiel, or the Field of Culloden, 1812. A novel founded on the rebellion of 1745, and exhibiting a vivid picture of local scenery, and a faithful representation of Highland manners.

You can read the other entries at

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church of Carlton
(The Gaelic Church) By W. A. Sanderson, M.A., LL.M. (1905)

Have completed this book with only the appendix to go up now. In the appendix B is a list of office bearers in the church which might be useful if you are looking for any genealogy in that area. Here is a bit from chapter 5...

The minister on his return was warmly welcomed by the people. He set to work at once, but found that his strength would not permit his doing visitation work. The missionary had resigned, and it was decided not to appoint anyone in his place for a while, as the funds were in a low state. Mr. W. H. Scott, however, came forward very kindly, and relieved the minister of the visiting. Mr. Scott was at that time a theological student. He had previously held the position of missionary, and resumed the mission work again later on, also becoming a member of Session. He resigned these positions when he became a minister.

During Mr. McEachran's absence, the Session had been greatly weakened through the resignation of Messrs. John Tait and Samuel MacGregor, and the death of Mr. David Brunton, who had all been valued workers. The congregational funds had fallen off considerably, only 349 sittings were let, and there was not enough money to meet current expenses, and a large bank overdraft had been the result. The people, however, courageously faced the difficulty, and, at a congregational meeting held on 1st October, resolved to collect subscriptions towards wiping off this new debt. A hearty response was made, £229 being promised, of which £215 3s. were received before the end of the year. The minister was specially generous. Not only did he head the subscription list with £50, but he consented to his stipend being reduced by £100 for the next year, and undertook to pay for an assistant out of his own pocket. Other members also contributed liberally, the largest donors being Messrs. K. Gunn and P. McCracken, who donated £50 and £25 respectively.

Matters now began to improve gradually again, and at the close of the following year the annual reports of the Session and Board of Management were of an encouraging nature. The minister's health steadily improved, and from the middle of February, 1880, he was able to preach twice every Sabbath and conduct the prayer meeting and Bible Class during the week. The attendances at public worship increased, until they were again almost as large as before the pastor's illness. At the close of 1880 there were 298 communicants on the roll. The bank overdraft during the same year was reduced from £120 7s 9d. to £50 19s. 9d., whilst more than this latter sum had been expended in repairs to property during the year. There was an improvement in the ordinary collections, as well as in the number of sittings let, and £72 3s. 6d. were contributed to the Sustentation Fund, which had always been well supported by the congregation, while missions and other church schemes were not forgotten.

Under these encouraging circumstances, the stipend of the minister was raised to £700, as from 1st January, 1881. Things during the next twelve months still continued on the up-grade, and the next annual reports were full of rejoicing. The Communion roll had increased, this result having been to a large extent helped by special services conducted by the Rev. John McNeil, who had formerly been connected with the congregation. The debt had been reduced (£357 11s. 6d. being specially collected for the purpose, which enabled the bank overdraft to be eliminated, and the mortgage debt reduced to £1,200), whilst there had been a most gratifying increase in the ordinary revenue. The year had been one of general prosperity, a spirit of love and concord prevailed among the people, the attendance at church had steadily increased, and the power of the Holy Ghost had been manifest in the preaching of the Word, as well as in other means of grace.

During the next few years, the congregation was again in a very prosperous condition. The pastor regained his strength, and there was no lack in earnest men to help him. In 1882 there were no less than 15 elders, the minister's Bible Class had an average attendance of 80, and the mission was again in full swing, under Mr. Hart (now Rev. M. G. Hart, St. John's, Ballarat). The finances were good, and, in addition to the ordinary revenue, £70 6s. were raised for the Sustentation Fund, and £51 15s. 6d. for heathen missions, irrespective of the amounts raised by the Sabbath School. A special effort to reduce the debt on the manse was also started, and during the year £100 was deposited in the Savings Bank as a nucleus towards attaining the desired object. An important change was also effected in the property by opening a window in the gable opposite the pulpit, to improve the acoustics of the church. Whilst the work was in progress, Mr. James Laurence, one of the contractors who built the church, who was at that time a member of the congregation, took a great interest in the proceedings, and when they were completed forwarded a cheque to the treasurer for the whole cost of the improvement (£38 18s. 6d.), for which he received a special vote of thanks from the congregation.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

We have the first three chapters up which you can read at

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

I managed to get hold of two volumes (10 & 11) of this publication for 1901 and 1902. They had been water damaged so got them at a good price. While the pages are a bit wrinkled they seem to be very readable.

I am intending to post one issue up each week (20 pages) but am scanning them in as graphical pages. This first issue contains...

As well as Gaelic poems and their translations there are also articles on MacLeans of Gallanach, Coll, Gaelic Mod in Glasgow, Simon Fraser, Tenth Lord Lovat, The Graves of the Keppochs, The MacLeans of Coll, Clan Colquhoun Society annual gathering at Luss, Neil MacLeod, last of the MacLeods of Assynt, Highland Home Industries, etc.

You can see this first issue at

Children's Stories
Margo has commenced her penultimate book of the Rolphin's Orb series, Book 11, which you can start reading at

Scots Minstrelsie
A National Monument of Scottish Song
Edited and Arranged by John Greig, Mus. Doc. (Oxon.)

Have added the following songs...

Roslin Castle
Argyle Is My Name
The Wee, Wee German Lairdie
Highland Mary
The Brume O' The Cowdenknowes
My Nannie, O
Mary's Dream
Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie
The Banks Of Allan Water
Joy Of My Heart

and you can read these in our current volume at

The Life of James Stewart
D.D. M.D. Hon. F.R.G.S. by James Wells, D.D. (1909)

Am continuing this book and we are now up to chapter 19. Here is how Chapter 19 starts...

STEWART was an enthusiastic pioneer of native education. To have a hand in fashioning young lives, was exceedingly attractive to him. He would not despair of teaching young barbarians among whom education was unknown and despised, and who cared only for their animal wants. Living in a transition period between the old and the new, he adapted his methods to both, and of the new he might justly have said, ‘Quorum pars magna fui.’

He had a sun-clear idea of his educational aims. He was intensely practical. For cram and goose-quill learning he never had any respect. The problem with him was how the whole pupil could be trained for the whole of life, for God and man, for earth and heaven. In an address to the Love-dale Literary Society he thus defines the end of education. ‘What is this long, costly process to produce as a result? This may be answered in one brief word—Action. . . . A man is educated when he is fitted for the position he is intended by the Providence of God to fill. . . . Any education which is not practical in its character is of no real value to you at your present stage of civilisation.’

His intense desire to serve Christ and his fellows rescued him from that ‘malady of the ideal’ which has made many cultured men martyrs of disgust, and spoiled them for the humble tasks of daily life. It seemed to him worth his while to take the greatest pains with the rudest pupils, and study all the details of school life. He had received no training as a teacher, but enthusiasm and experience soon made him an expert. He was a good teacher because he was a learner to the very end, and took pains to give his pupils water from a running stream, and not from a stagnant pool. He carefully examined all methods of teaching, and he visited and sampled more than twenty educational establishments in America among the Indians and freed negroes. The result was that he ‘preferred the African material to work upon.’

John Knox Bokwe thus describes Stewart’s aims:

‘He had a favourite maxim which he oft repeated. "The receiving of education should not be of the nature of a sponge which sucked everything for itself, but gave nothing out, nor should it resemble a bottomless bucket which kept nothing in." The sponge, he explained, represented selfishness, the opposite of which was self-denial and self-sacrifice. He was so fond of using these terms that his pupils nicknamed them "the doctor’s jaw-breakers." To the native mind these ideas were new, and caused much discussion in the dormitories.’

The education at Lovedale was very liberal, for it ranged from the alphabet to theological classes. The aim was to equip the boys and girls for every sphere of civilised life. The programme embraced ‘the rudiments of education for all, industrial training for the many, and a higher education for the talented few.’ In 1905, I found at Lovedale twenty-five Europeans on the Staff, among whom were four Masters of Arts, who represented the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Dublin. I said to the pupils that they had better opportunities of education than I had had, and both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Roberts made a similar statement regarding themselves. Many white pupils have been educated at Lovedale, and not a few of them now occupy very important posts in South Africa. The natives and the whites have the same education within their reach. One could scarcely imagine a more impressive proof of respect for the natives and faith in their elevation. It is fitted to deliver them from their seif-despisings, and from the despisings of the whites. I saw Stewart’s grandson in a class alongside of Kafir boys.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Prehistoric Scotland
We have now started on chapter 7 of this book about General Phenomena of the Early Iron Age - Late Celtic Period. There will be 3 parts to this and now have the first one up in .pdf format at

You can read the balance of the book at

James Chalmers of New Guinea
Missionary, Pioneer and Martyr by Cuthbert Lennox (1902).

This is another new book that I've started and have the first chapter up. I already had a good account of him from the book Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen but this book let's us see further into the work he did.

Here is a little about him...

James Chalmers was born in 1841 in the town of Ardishaig. His father, a stonemason, and his Highlander mother brought him up with the stern discipline of a Scots peasant home. His most vivid boyhood memories centered around the nearby Loch Fyne and other bodies of water in the county. Young James became a favorite of the local fishermen. He won recognition for his bravery in sea escapades, having rescued comrades from drowning on several occasions.

On May 20, 1867, the Chalmerses saw the mountains of Rarotonga. A boat could not get close enough to shore, so a brawny native waded out to carry Chalmers to land. The native wished to know his passenger's name that he might announce it to those waiting on the shore. "Chalmers," the missionary said. "Tamate," was the nearest equivalent the confused native could call out to other Rarotongans, and Tamate became Chalmers's name for the next 35 years.

New Guinea, or Papua, the largest island in the world, located across from the northern tip of Australia, was largely unexplored at the time of Chalmers's arrival. Chalmers became to New Guinea what David Livingstone was to Africa. He found the people "a very fine race physically, but living in the wildest barbarism. Nose-sticks, huge rings adorning the lobe of the ear, necklaces of human bones, gaudy-coloured feathers, repulsive tattoo marks, and daubs of paint were almost the sole clothing of the men. The only additional adornment of the women was their bushy grass skirts." The natives of New Guinea, like those of Rarotonga, spent much of their energy fighting. Tribal disputes were settled by bloodshed, and victorious tribes celebrated with cannibal feasts. Many Papuan houses were built in the tops of tall trees to help protect the inhabitants from surprise attacks. Unlike the Rarotongans, however, the Papuans were industrious in the cultivation of the soil. There were talented craftsmen among them in woodwork or pottery. Surprising to the first missionaries, too, was the fact that Papuan family life was much better developed than among many primitive cultures. Parents were affectionate with their children, and children, in turn, cared for sick or aging parents. Women enjoyed a much better status -- approaching equality with men--than did the women of most areas where Christianity had never permeated.

You can read the existing account where you'll also find the contents of this book at

Bits of Electric Scotland
Again from the survey it was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought might be of general interest.

This week I'm looking at our Famous Scots page at

There is a huge amount of reading within this section. It has its base from the 5 volume "Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen" originally edited by Robert Chambers. I got a later edition of this publication which had an extra volume bringing it more up to date. Since then I've added other Eminent Scots that I've come across over the years. I would say all of the entries in this book give significant detail on each of the persons in the publication.

While looking at this section to decide what to say about it I clicked on the "M" letter and got up the page and here are just some of the names...

MacGill, Stevenson
Professor of theology in the university of Glasgow.

MacGillivray, James Pittendrigh
King's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland in 1921.

Macgregor, John
Partner in the firm Tod & Macgregor, builders of the ground breaking ocean-going iron screw ship; the City of Glasgow (1850).

Macgregor, William York
A leader of the "Glasgow Boys" group of painters. "The Vegetable Stall" (1883) is on permanent display at the Scottish National Gallery.

MacIntosh, Charles
An inventor of several chemical manufactures.

McIntyre, Donald
Professor and all round genius.

McIntyre, Dr Robert
The SNP's first Member of Parliament.

M'Kail, Hugh
Young martyr for the cause of religious liberty.

Mackay, George Leslie
Missionary in China. Known as the Black Bearded Barbarian.

MacKay, James

MacKenzie, Alexander
Explorer who completed the first known transcontinental crossing of America north of Mexico.

MacKenzie, Colin
The man who mapped India.

MacKenzie, George
First earl of Cromarty, a distinguished political and literary character.

MacKenzie, Sir George
A celebrated lawyer and state officer, and perhaps the first Scotsman who wrote the English language in a style approaching to purity.

As as I've been doing some work on Scottish Missionaries I spotted George Leslie MacKay, Missionary in China. I'd entirely forgotten about this person and so when I clicked on that link expecting a short biography of him I found that I was given a text link to a complete e-text book about him. He was born in Canada of Scottish parents and studied for the ministery in Edinburgh. It was the Canadian Presbyterian Church that actually sent him to China on his missionary work.

So by going through this section you can of course look for anyone with the same name as your own but just browsing through the various names you might well find others that tweak your interest. For example...

Napier, John
Born 1550. Mathematician and Astronomer. Devised "Napier's Rods" or "Napier's Bones" which permitted easy multiplication by addition, and this led to him defining the concept of logarithms. Also invented the decimal point.

And when you click on that link the account starts...

He was ‘the person to whom the title of great man is more justly due than to any other whom this country has produced’. In this simple pronouncement, the Scottish intellectual David Flume summed up his fellow countryman John Napier.

Yet most Scots know little or nothing about the 16th-century mathematician, philosopher and inventor who, from his secluded tower in Scotland, produced the vital tool needed by mankind to explore the globe and fathom the universe. Without Napier's invention of logarithms and the decimal notation for complex fractions, the discoveries of others such as Galileo, Kepler and Newton would have been hindered by years of long and complex calculations.

... and so you can just see that this is going to be an interesting story :-)

And here is just one more taken at random...

Scott, Michael
A learned person of the thirteenth century, known to the better informed as a philosopher, and to the illiterate, especially of Scotland, as a wizard, or magician, was born about the year 1214.

And so when you click on this link you will find this account...

SCOTT, MICHAEL, a learned person of the thirteenth century, known to the better informed as a philosopher, and to the illiterate, especially of Scotland, as a wizard, or magician, was born about the year 1214. The precise locality of his birthplace is unknown, although that honour has been awarded to Balwearie, in Fife, but on insufficient authority. Neither is there any thing known of his parents, nor of their rank in life; but, judging of the education he received, one of the most liberal and expensive of the times, it may be presumed that they were of some note.

Scott early betook himself to the study of the sciences; but, soon exhausting all the information which his native country afforded in those unlettered times, he repaired to the university of Oxford, then enjoying a very high reputation, and devoted himself, with great eagerness and assiduity, to philosophical pursuits, particularly astronomy and chemistry; in both of which, and in the acquisition of the Latin and Arabic languages, he attained a singular proficiency. At this period, astronomy, if it did not assume entirely the shape of judicial astrology, was yet largely and intimately blended with that fantastic but not unimpressive science; and chemistry was similarly affected by the not less absurd and illusive mysteries of alchymy: and hence arose the imaginary skill and real reputation of Scott as a wizard, or foreteller of events; as, in proportion to his knowledge of the true sciences, was his imputed acquaintance with the false.

On completing his studies at Oxford, he repaired, agreeably to the practice of the times, to the university of Paris. Here he applied himself with such diligence and success to the study of mathematics, that he acquired the academic surname of Michael the Mathematician; but neither his attention nor reputation were confined to this science alone. He made equal progress, and attained equal distinction in sacred letters and divinity; his acquirements in the latter studies being acknowledged, by his having the degree of doctor in theology conferred upon him.

While in Paris, he resumed, in the midst of his other academical avocations, the study of that science on which his popular fame now rests, namely, judicial astrology, and devoted also a farther portion of his time to chemistry and medicine. Having possessed himself of all that he could acquire in his particular pursuits in the French capital, he determined to continue his travels, with the view at once of instructing and of being instructed. In the execution of this project, he visited several foreign countries and learned universities; and amongst the latter, that of the celebrated college at Padua, where he eminently distinguished himself by his essays on judicial astrology. From this period, his fame gradually spread abroad, and the reverence with which his name now began to be associated, was not a little increased by his predictions, which he, for the first time, now began to publish, and which were as firmly believed in, and contemplated with as much awe in Italy, where they were first promulgated, as they were ever at any after period in Scotland.

From Italy he proceeded to Spain, taking up his residence in Toledo, whose university was celebrated for its cultivation of the occult sciences. Here, besides taking an active part, and making a conspicuous figure in the discussions on these sciences, he began and concluded a translation, from the Arabic into Latin, of Aristotle’s nineteen books on the History of Animals. This work procured him the notice, and subsequently the patronage of Frederick II., who invited him to his court, and bestowed on him the office of royal astrologer. While filling this situation, he translated, at the emperor’s desire, the greater part of the works of Aristotle. He wrote, also, at the royal request, an original work, entitled "Liber Introductorius sive Indicia Quaestionum," for the use of young students; and a treatise on physiognomy, entitled "Physiognomia et de Hominis Procreatione;" besides several other works, of which one was on the "Opinions of Astrologers."

After a residence of some years at the court of Frederick, Michael resigned his situation, and betook himself to the study of medicine as a profession, and soon acquired great reputation in this art. Before parting with the emperor, with whom he seems to have lived on a more intimate and familiar footing, than the haughty and warlike disposition of that prince might have been expected to permit, he predicted to him the time, place, and manner of his death; and the prophecy is said to have been exactly fulfilled in every particular. After a residence of some years in Germany, he came over to England, with the view of returning to his native country. On the latter kingdom, he was kindly received and patronized by Edward I.; and, after being retained for some time at his court, was permitted to pass to Scotland, where he arrived shortly after the death of Alexander III. That event rendering it necessary to send ambassadors to Norway, to bring over the young queen, Margaret, or, as she is more poetically called, the Maid of Norway, granddaughter of the deceased monarch, Michael Scott, now styled Sir Michael, although we have no account either of the time or occasion of his being elevated to this dignity, was appointed, with Sir David Weems, to proceed on this important mission, a proof that his reputation as a wizard had not affected his moral respectability. With this last circumstance, the veritable history of Sir Michael terminates; for his name does not again appear in connexion with any public event, nor is there any thing known of his subsequent life. He died in the year 1292, at an advanced age, and was buried, according to some authorities, at Holme Coltrame, in Cumberland; and, according to others, in Melrose abbey.

Although, however, all the principal authenticated incidents in the life of Sir Michael which are known, are comprehended in this brief sketch, it would take volumes to contain all that is told, and to this hour believed, by the peasantry of Scotland, of the terrible necromancer, auld Michael. For some curious specimens of the traditional character of the great magician of other days, the reader may be referred to the notes appended to the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," by the still greater magician of modern times. He will there learn, how Sir Michael, on one occasion, rode through the air to France on a huge black horse; how the devil made an unsuccessful attempt to entrap him by the way; how, on another occasion, when

Maister Michael Scott’s man,
Sought meat, and gat none,

from a niggardly farmer, he threw down a bonnet which his master had previously enchanted, and which, becoming suddenly inflated, began to spin round the house with supernatural speed, and drew, by its magical influence, the whole household after it, man, maid, and mistress, who all continued the goblin chase, until they were worn out with fatigue. It may not, perhaps, be unnecessary to add, that all these cantrips, and a thousand more, were performed by the agency of a "mightly book" of necromancy, which no man, but on peril of soul and body, might open, or peruse, and which was at last buried with its tremendous owner.

... and so this is just to illustrate just a tiny fraction of what you can read in this "Famous Scots" section.

And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)


With Electric Scotland's new site design it is now possible for you to advertise your company on all 20,000+ pages of our site. Email address and contact information can be found at

You can see old issues of this newsletter at 

For only $10.00 per year you can have your own email account with both POP3 and Web Access. For more details see 

To manage your subscription or unsubscribe visit and select "Manage Subscriptions" at the foot of the Application box.

Return to Weekly Mailing List Archives


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus