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Weekly Mailing List Archives
25th 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

Sorry about the forums being down for the past couple of weeks. At time of writing this the software company has been contacted and they've fixed the problem so access should be back to normal.

Been an expensive week for me... put my car in for a service... first one since I purchased the car some 17 months ago mind you. Annual service will just be $49.95 Mr McIntyre.. so the receptionist told me. Not bad thought I :-) Anyway... around an hour later I got a wee phone call... It's the garage here Mr McIntyre... Ah! Good.. that was a lot quicker than I'd thought.. I was expecting you to take 2 hours. Ah yes.. the voice replied.... actually we've found a couple of problems with your car... Err.. what exactly did you find said I?. Well you need to replace this as it's in very bad condition... OK said I... and how much is that going to cost? Just $600 including labour. <gulp>. You mentioned a couple of things? Yes Sir.. you also need this doing as well. And how much is that going to cost me? Another $280 Sir. <Gulp>. So how much is this all going to cost by the time you've done all this? Just over the $1,000 Sir... do you want us to proceed? Let me just have a glass of whisky while I think about it said I. Does that mean you want us to proceed Sir? Sheesh... he equates a glass of whisky with permission to spend $1000 <sheesh>. Well guess you might as well go ahead... don't suppose there is any discount available seeing as I'm a new customer and you want to make a good impression so I'll come back? Slight pause at the other end... I'm afraid not Sir. Well I did try! :-)

I'm going to be starting the book, "Scots Weekend" next week and I hope you'll enjoy exploring all the wee bits in it. One of the small sections is about an Examination Paper and the first section of that is about History. Here are the questions...

1. Who said, and in what circumstances, the following?

(a) "I'll mak siccar."
(b) "I will bell the cat."
(c) "It came with a lass, and it will go with a lass."
(d) "The monstrous regiment of women."
(e) "Better bairns greet than bearded men."

2. What do you know of (a) Margaret Logie, (b) the Wolf of Badenoch, (c) Jingling Geordie, (d) the Guidman of Ballengeich, (e) Sawney Bean, (f) Toom Tabard?

3. What was Robert the Bruce's mother tongue, and do you know anything of his linguistic attainments or limitations?

4. "Berwick-on-Tweed is an English town which gives its name to the adjacent Scottish county." Discuss this statement with a wealth of historical detail.

5. Who was Captain Green, and what is his importance in the history of Scotland?

6. Who was the "Admirable Crichton", where was he born, and what did he do?

7. Why was the Battle of Bannockburn?

Tough exams they have in Scotland... how do you think you'd do on this set? :-)

I was also delighted to view the biographical records of Kent County where I am now living. Nola visited and brought in two large ring binders containing a photocopy of this publication which was done in 1904. The library had Photostatted the book for her and so she brought it over for me to view. She also said she'd be happy to transcribe some of them for me! Well as I worked through both binders I found around a quarter of the entries were of Scots descent.. some 160 all told. Mind you I'm not sure if Nola thought she might do 160... but I live in hope :-)

My purpose in mentioning this is that if the local library here has such a publication might not other libraries in other parts of Canada, the USA and rest of the world have similar records? Might there be any retired folk out there in newsletter land that have some time at their disposal and might check to see if there is anything similar in their local library? And if so perhaps they might be able to transcribe the odd record or two or more and email them to me???? :-) Anyway... just thought I'd ask [grin]

Now to address another of the questions from the survey I carried out...

I would like more info on historical castles, abbeys, etc. Especially if they are out of the way places. There are many ruins which have interesting histories but because they are ruins they get very little exposure.

Well we have been doing the Gazetteer of Scotland and in that there are many historical castles mentioned along with special houses, etc. It might be worth your while to just browse through each letter of the Gazetteer and see what you can find. I'd also highly recommend that you use the site search engine in the header of our site. Just enter "castle" and when I did that myself I got a list of 2,630 pages with the word "castle" on the page.

Another way to search is by going to the Gazetteer and when you bring up the A page then use your browsers Edit / Find (on this page) option. When I did that on the A page I found 8 castles listed. When I did the same on the C page I found 92 listed.

We also have a main menu item of "Castles" and clicking on that will find most of the well known ones.

Hope this helps :-)

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.

This weeks edition is by Ian Goldie and he gives us his second article on why Scotland should go independent and here it is for you to read here...

Last month I tried to show that as far as modern European states are concerned, independence is absolutely normal, whether for large or small. The critical factor is whether a population sees itself as a nation.

Now I have heard lots of arguments for Scottish independence. Mostly they are economic, political, and democratic, with very good reason, for these are vital strands in the struggle for independence.

But I don’t think I have ever heard anyone make what is for me perhaps THE most important argument for independence, and that is the PSYCHOLOGICAL argument.

Look at it this way. I often think that there are many similarities between a country (i.e. a mass of people living individual lives) and the individual person him or herself.

Everyone knows that when talking to a child (or an adult, for that matter) reasonable praise is essential to build confidence. Constant criticism will inflict great damage and produce an insecure, unhappy and sometimes an irrationally aggressive individual.

(It’s a sad fact that many Scottish parents seem never to have learned that simple fact of life.)

And of course the implications are even worse for a country. To read the Scotsman newspaper or some of the comments from the London media, you would almost think that the Scots are inferior to the rest of humankind. We could never run our own affairs, and even if we did have the capacity, what is there in Scotland anyway? There’s nothing here.

Moreover, the story goes that we are scroungers of the first order, living of the wealth of England and its south-east. This was the common story, generally accepted, during the twentieth century. Mrs Thatcher actually said that she recognised that the Scots were subsidised but she didn’t let on about that when speaking to an English audience – so we ended up not only as scroungers but we also connived in her deceit of English audiences. Now there’s a pretty thought!

It is hardly surprising that this constant undermining of Scots and Scotland has undermined our country and the confidence of its people. Many actually do believe that we are inferior and could not manage without England. And so we bump along, despite our incredible immense potential.

What a contrast with other small independent countries of northern Europe. Just as people say (truly) that you can feel the energy when you set foot in the USA, so you can feel the quiet self-confidence when you visit Ireland, or Norway or Sweden.

So what we need is the national equivalent of the sensible, sane individual at peace with him - or herself and happy with their place in the family and wider community; no delusions of grandeur (a danger of bullies and larger states) but a willingness to be a state in the great community of nations and to contribute and help with others to build a better world.


In the cultural section of The Flag Peter gives us Part 2 of his Burns Supper course and I note he has given us a recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Jam which was a great favourite of my family. I'd note that my mother always had a wee jar of Ginger in a syrup and when she made the jam she used to dice up the ginger from the jar into the jam so you actually got wee bits of ginger to eat.

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

Linda Fabinani is still on holiday but hopefully we might get a report from her next week.

Competed the S's and have now moved onto the T's which you can read at

Good accounts of Sutherland and Tain in this week. In fact as I scan this in as pictures I haven't ever given you an example of some of the text from this publication so here is how the account of Tain starts...

Tain (Scand. Thing, `a place of assembly'), a town and a parish of NE Ross and Cromarty. A royal, parliamentary, and police burgh, the town stands 3 furlongs from the southern shore of the Dornoch Firth, and has a station on the Highland railway (1864), 25 3/4 miles NE of Dingwall and 44 NNE of Inverness. Extending 1 mile north-westward along the ancient sea-margin of the firth, it has pleasant environs of hill and brae, terrace and down; and, though irregularly aligned, has undergone such improvement of recent years as to contain a number of good modern houses, and to present a remarkably tidy appearance.

The Gaelic name of Tain is Baile Dhuthaich, or `Duthus' town,' after St Duthus or Duthac, a famous Saint styled 'Confessor of Ireland and Scotland,' and supposed (probably erroneously) to have been Bishop of Ross, who was born at the site of St Duthus' Chapel, Tain, about the year 1000, and died in 1065 at Armagh in Ireland, whence his body was `translated' to Tain for burial in 1253. A rude granite chapel 'quhair he was borne,' now roofless and partly broken down, bears his name, and was of old a famous `girth' or sanctuary.

Hither, in 1306, Isabella, queen of Robert the Bruce, his daughter Marjory, and ladies of his court with attendant knights, fled for safety from Kildrummy Castle, but were seized at the chapel by the Earl of Ross, and delivered by him to Edward I. of England, who imprisoned the ladies and executed their male attendants. Hither, also, in 1427, M`Neill of Creich (Sutherland), a barbarous chief, pursued Mowat of Freswick (Caithness), and burned the chapel over him and his followers, who had taken refuge in it. It was probably on that occasion that the earlier charters of the burgh had been burnt `by certain savages and rebellious subjects,' as stated in a charter of Novodamus, granted by James VI. in 1587.

It is probable that several of the earliest Scottish monarchs visited the shrine of St Duthus; and after the death of James III, an annual sum was paid to its chaplains from the royal treasury to say masses for the king's soul. But it is certain (from entries of disbursements in the king's treasurer's books) that James IV. visited it regularly every year, probably without the omission of one, during at least 20 successive years from 1493 to 1513, to do penance for the part which he took in reference to his father's death. His last visit was made early in August 1513, and on 9th September of the same year he was killed on the fatal field of Flodden.

Again, in 1527 James V. made a pilgrimage barefooted to it at the instigation of his popish advisers, who wished to get him out of the way when they were about to condemn and burn for heresy his near relative Patrick Hamilton, the first martyr of the Scottish Reformation. A rough footpath across the moor in the uplands of the parish is traditionally pointed out as the hastily-constructed route by which he approached, and still bears the name of the King's Causeway. The grounds around the chapel have been recently enclosed by a handsome parapet wall and railing, and formed into a very pretty cemetery.

The collegiate church of St Duthus, in the Decorated English Gothic style, was founded about the year 1360, and there are beside it the walls of an old chapel, probably of Culdee origin. In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII. granted the church an ecclesiastical constitution. The Papal Bull is still treasured in the archives of the burgh, and has a leaden seal attached to a silken cord. The officials were a provost, 5 canons (all regular priests), 2 deacons or subdeacons, a sacrist, with an assistant clerk, and three singing-boys.

From the Reformation till 1815 it was used as the parish church, but being too small to contain the parishioners it was in that year relinquished for the present large parish church, and thereafter was allowed to fall into great decay by neglect. At the instance of the late Provost M`Leod and his son, A. B. M`Queen M'Intosh, Esq. of Hardington (son of Rev. Dr Angus M`Intosh, during whose ministry the church was vacated), Kenneth Murray, Esq. of Geanies, Provost Vass, and others, the church was completely restored between 1849 and 1882 at a cost of about £1110; and, set apart for monumental and memorial purposesthe Valhalla of Ross-shire - it has been entrusted to the Tain Guildry Trust for care and preservation. It may be remarked that its fine old oak pulpit was a gift from the `good Regent' Murray to Tain for its zeal in the Reformation.

The church stands beautifully on the N side of the town on a wooded knoll, by whose trees it is embosomed. All its five principal windows are filled in with stained-glass designs. The five-light E window is on a grand scale, and is the gift of Mr A. B. M`Queen M`Intosh, in memory of his father, Rev. Dr Angus M`Intosh, and his brother, Rev. Dr C. C. M`Intosh, ministers of Tain; and the four-light W window, representing the adoption of the Confession of Faith by the Scottish Parliament in 1560, is the gift of Mr George M`Leod, in memory of his father, Provost M`Leod. A third window represents Malcolm Ceannmor, with his good Queen Margaret, handing the burgh's first charter to the provost and magistrates.

Underneath the E window there is a most beautiful double pannelled monument 16 feet long by 7` high, in the Gothic style of the 16th century, which century, which Scottish national interest. It commemorates Patrick Hamilton-of royal extraction -the youthful Abbot of Fearn, who was burned at the stake at St Andrews, 28 February 1528, the first martyr of the Reformation; and Thomas Hog, the Covenanting minister of Kiltearn, one of Tain's most honoured sons, and the intimate friend and adviser in Scottish affairs of William III, Prince of Orange. Opening into the churchyard in which the church stands, a very handsome ornamental gate was erected in 1885 in memory of the late William Ross, bank agent, Tain.

And so you can see that many of these accounts are very detailed and there is lots more to read about Tain :-)

I might just add that in the Gazetteer you will also find very good detailed maps of each area of Scotland. You can find links to them on the index page of the publication.

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

We are now on the C's with Carrick, Carruthers, Carson and Carstairs added this week.

Here is a bit from the Carrick entry which shows how blood thirsty things can be in Scotland....

CARRICK, earl of, an ancient title, first held by Duncan, son of Gilbert, one of the two sons of Fergus, lord of Galloway, a chief descended of a Saxon family, long previously placed over these wild people by the English earls of Northumberland, who, having rebelled against Malcolm the Fourth, was subdued by him, and became a subject of the Scottish crown in the twelfth century, At that period, the district of Carrick formed a portion of Galloway. On Fergus’ death, in 1161, his lands were, according to the law of the country, divided between Gilbert and his brother Uchtred. They attended William the Lion on his invasion of Northumberland in 1174, but no sooner was he taken prisoner than, returning into Galloway at the head of their fierce and rapacious clans, they broke out into rebellion, attacked and demolished the royal castles, murdered the Anglo-Normans who had settled among their mountains, and expelled the officers of the king of Scots. They proceeded next to dispute about pre-eminence and possessions among themselves.

On the 22d September, 1176, Gilbert attacked Uchtred, while residing in his father’s house in Loch-Fergus, and having overpowered him, caused his son Malcolm to put him to death, after depriving him of his sight and tongue, but was unable to acquire his possessions, valiantly defended by Roland the son of Uchtred. On William the Lion regaining his liberty, in the following year, he invaded Galloway, subdued Gilbert, and exacting a pecuniary satisfaction, allowed him to resume possession of his inheritance. Gilbert died on the 1st of January 1184-5, when Roland, the son of the murdered Uchtred, seizing the favourable opportunity, attacked and dispersed his uncle’s adherents, 5th July 1185, and obtained possession of all Galloway as his own inheritance. This procedure was, however, opposed by Henry the Second of England, then lord paramount of Scotland, who marched an army to Carlisle, and although William would have been well pleased to see Roland in possession of the whole country, both he and Roland were forced to submit the matter to the decision of the English court. Satisfied with this acknowledgment of his paramount right, Henry left the settlement of the question to William, who granted Duncan the district of Carrick as a full satisfaction for all his claims. This took place about 1186, and Duncan was thereupon created earl of Carrick. About 1240, he founded the famous abbey of Crossraguel or Crossregal, two miles from Maybole, for Cluniac monks, and amply endowed it with lands and tithes. He also gave to the monks of Paisley and Melrose, several donations out of his estate, for the welfare of his soul.

His son, Nigel, or Niel, second earl of Carrick, like his father, was very liberal to the church. In 1255, a commission was granted by Henry the Third, for receiving ‘Niel earl of Karricke,’ and other Scotsmen into his protection. He was one of the regents of Scotland and guardians of Alexander the Third and his queen, appointed in the convention at Roxburgh, 20th September, 1255, and died the following year. He married Margaret, daughter of Walter, high-steward of Scotland, by whom he had a daughter, Margaret, countess of Carrick, in her own right, and the mother of ROBERT THE BRUCE. She was twice married; first, to Adam de Kilconcath (or Kilconquhar), who, in her right, in accordance with the practice of those days, was third earl of Carrick. Having joined the crusade of 1268, under the banner of Louis the Ninth of France, he died at Acon in the Holy Land in 1270. The following year she married, secondly, Robert Burs, son of Robert Brus, lord of Annandale and Cleveland, under the romantic circumstances already related. [See BRUCE.] Brus, in consequence, became fourth earl of Carrick. The countess died before 1292, and on 27th November of that year, her husband resigned to Robert the Bruce, his eldest son, the earldom of Carrick, with all the lands he held in Scotland in right of his wife. He still, however, continued to be styled earl of Carrick. He and his son swore fealty to Edward the First at Berwick, 28th August 1296, on which occasion they are styled in the record ‘Robert de Brus le veil (vieil) e Robert de Brus le jouene Counte de Carrick.’

The elder Brus died in 1304. By the countess of Carrick he had five sons and seven daughters, viz. 1. Robert the Bruce, fifth earl of Carrick and king of Scots; 2. Edward, sixth earl, crowned king of Ireland; 3 and 4, Thomas and Alexander, who, being taken prisoners in Galloway, 9th February, 1306-7, by Duncan Macdowal, when bringing succours to their brother Robert from Ireland, after an engagement in which they were both severely wounded, and presented by him at Carlisle to Edward the First, were, by his order, immediately executed; and, 5. Niel, a young man of singular beauty, one of those who surrendered at Kildrummie castle to the earls of Lancaster and Hereford in 1306. He was tried by a special commission at Berwick, condemned, hanged and beheaded. The daughters were, 1. Lady Isabel, married, first, to Sir Thomas Randolph of Strathdon, high-chamberlain of Scotland, by whom she had Thomas earl of Moray, regent of Scotland; secondly, to an earl of Athol; and thirdly, to Alexander Bruce, by whom she had a son of the same name. Among the charters of Robert the Bruce is one to Isobel countess of Athol and Alexander Bruce her son, of the lands of Dulven and Sannaykis. Two others are granted to Isabell de Atholia and Alexander Bruce, ‘filio suo nepoti nostro,’ of the lands of Balgillo in Forfarshire; 2. Lady Mary, married, first, to Sir Niel Campbell of Lochow, ancestor of the Argyle family, and secondly, to Sir Alexander Frazer, high-chamberlain of Scotland; 2. lady Christian, married, first, to Gratney, earl of Mar; secondly to Sir Christopher Seton of Seton, who was put to death by the English in 1306; and thirdly, to Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell; 4. Lady Matilda, married to Hugh, earl of Ross; 5. Lady Margaret, married to Sir William Carlyle of Torthorwald and Crunington; 6. Lady Elizabeth, married to Sir William Dishington of Ardoss in Fife; and 7. the youngest daughter, whose name has not been preserved, married to Sir David de Brechin.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

I have now added the third issue of Volume 10 (December 1901) which includes amongst other articles ones on William C. MacLeod, Neil MacLeod - last of the MacLeods of Assynt, The Martial Music of the Clans, The MacLeans of Coll, Kintyre on Emigration and Depopulation, Iain Lom and his Times, The Scot Abroad, A Mull Song, The Fledged Sporan - a tale of Terror from the Gaelic, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Death of John Cameron of Sutherland, etc.

I must say I'm really enjoying these issues... given that they were printed over 100 years ago they make really interesting reading :-)

You can see the first three issues at

Children's Stories
Margo sent in three wee children's stories...

Green Glass Balls at
The Grand Ball at
Fussy Eaters at

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

Have added the following songs which now completes Volume 4.

What Ails This Heart O' Mine?
The Guidman's Love-Letter
Doun the Burn, Davie, Love
Lochaber No More
Lord Randal, My Son

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 32. Here is how Chapter 32 starts...

Instead of speaking of Dr. Stewart of Lovedale, his friends would naturally speak of Dr. and Mrs. Stewart. She was a large part of the Institution, and one with her husband in mind and heart. ‘They brought duality near to the borders of identity,’ as Gladstone said of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Often at night, when all the rest in the house were in bed, they would spend an hour in consultation and prayer about their work.

In her own sphere she was as influential as he was in his. He always maintained that she was wiser and more efficient than himself. He thoroughly appreciated the spirit in which she accepted the trials and anxieties inseparable from his pioneering work. He wrote: ‘Her complete sympathy with missionary work and her sound judgment and activity have been a great source of strength to me.’ The Report of Lovedale for 1906 closes with these words: ‘To her many other gracious gifts Mrs. Stewart added that of a gifted speaker, a capable organiser, and one whose personal influence was very marked. Forty years of such service in Love-dale is a great and worthy record.’ The native name for Mrs. Stewart was ‘Nobantu,’ the mother of the people.

His many letters to his children reveal the father’s heart. Several of them are long and carefully printed for the tiny reader. Here is one addressed to his ‘dear wee singing bird ‘:—

‘How I miss your singing in the morning... I try to recall that sweet smile of yours—sweet to look at—sweeter still to remember—and sweetest of all to see again if God shall so spare us.

‘A gift of God you are to us. May He who has given you, long continue the gift to gladden us and freshen all our lives. Sweet token of God’s love, may you be one of His own, made still purer and sweeter by the Spirit’s grace and the Lamb’s blood.’

Again he writes:—

‘I will tell you now what I am doing. I go about the streets and into the offices, and I say to this man, "Give me a hundred pounds for Lovedale," and to another who is not so rich I say, "Give me fifty pounds." And they give me that money, and I thank them before I go, and thank God too, because it is He that puts it into the hearts of these men to give me money for Lovedale. And they give it because they love Christ and have already given Him their hearts.

‘Now I am going to ask you to give Jesus some-thing too. Go into the garden and see if there are any flowers. Then go into another garden and you will find a flower. Take it and say, "Lord Jesus, I have nothing else to give you. But I give you this; it is a little flower, it is my heart. I give it to you because you love me. You loved me so much that long ago you died for me. And now I give the little flower of my life, and I pray to you:

"In the Kingdom of Thy grace
Give a little child a place."

And He wili give you that place, and you will be a glad and happy little girl, and we shall be so happy when we hear that you have given this little flower to Christ.

‘Do you remember London, that great place, nothing but houses and people, nearly as far as from Lovedale to Beaufort? There are many poor children in London, and when I see them, I think of you and F. . . . Do you remember anything I said about a little flower in one of my letters? What has become of it?

‘I am wearying to see you, and hope to come in two months after you get this. I hope you will pull hard on the ropes and make the ship come fast to Cape Town.

‘. . . There is the line of a hymn that has been in my mind this morning—it is this:

"I heard the voice of Jesus say
Come unto me and rest.
Lay down, thou little one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast."

‘Now, dear little M., I should like if you could tell me some day that you had heard Jesus say this, and that you had just done what He bids you. He is very good and kind to those who come to Him.’

One of his daughters writes:—

‘All I can say is that as each year goes by I miss father’s wonderful tenderness and sympathy more and more. I often think of his love and gentleness to M. (a grandson) during the war. [M.’s father was the little boy from whose wounds Dr. Stewart sucked the poison. See p. 99.] In the study at Lovedale I sometimes found the two with their fingers all inky, and father so pleased and laughing because M. was "making his fingers like Grand-daddy’s, and Granddaddy was a dirty boy too." I was not allowed to take the wee chap away, as they "were enjoying themselves," father said.’

They had one son and eight daughters, one of whom died early. Their large, happy, and loyal family was an effective object-lesson upon the Christian home, and a source of power to the mission.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Prehistoric Scotland
We have now completed chapter 7 of this book about General Phenomena of the Early Iron Age - Late Celtic Period. Have also completed chapter 8 - The Abodes and Memorials of the Dead.

Again there are a large number of illustrations so those of you that are interested in celtic art work should find this of interest.

Here is how Chapter 8 starts...

WHEN man's thoughtfulness reached the stage of his being able to realise, by the power of reflection and experience, that physical death is the fate of all living things, nothing seems more natural than that he should come to regard the mysterious manifestations of his material surroundings as the work of the shadowy agents of an unseen world, the reality of which rvas so forcibly and frequently brought before him in dreams and other psychological phenomena. In the supernatural system thus conjured up, the momentous terrnination of his own earthly career became the central pivot of a religious cult which presaged the continuation of his spiritual existence-his alter Ego or ghost-in the world
of spirits. The idea that death was a severance, for ever, of all social ties and friendships formed on earth would be, probably, more repugnant to Neolithic man than to some of the philosophical minds of the present day. To him, death seems to have been nothing more than the mere portal which conducted into the community of departed heroes and friends, and to which he looked forward, across the span of human life, with hopeful anticipations of a more perfect state of existence. lVhen, and by what means, this higher phase of humanity, which led him on to the rails of religiosity, assumed the mastery over the mere animal propensities which he inherited from the organic world, are questions which would be out of place here to discuss.

But, whatever these influencesa and moulding agenciesm ay have been, we have strong presumptive evidence for believing that when prehistoric man first appeared within the geographical limits of what is now called Scotland, he was in the true sense of the word a religious being. Already his belief in the supernatural and in his orvn future destinies had porverfully moulded his conduct in life. When a great man died rve have reason to believe that his favourite wives, slaves, and pet animals were sacrificed on his grave so as to accompany him in his journey to the future world. His weapons, ornaments, and other cherished objects, as well as suitable viands for the journey, were laid in his tomb - all of which facts are incompatible with any other theory than that it was then the current opinion that life in the world beyond the grave varied little from that on earth.

Consequentiy, in actual life the abodes of the dead came to be of far more importance than those of the living. In support of this we have the singular fact that whilst hundreds of the former are found scattered over Europe, there are but the faintest indications of the latter. The houses, generaily built of such perishable materials as wood, turf, or clay, soon crumbled into dust. On the other hand, the tomb was constructed of the most durable materials, and placed on an eminence, so as to be seen from afat, and to be a lasting memorial among succeeding generations. Thus we see prehistoric lnan inspired with hopes and convictions which carried his mental vision beyond the affairs of this life.

The grave was, therefore, to a large extent, a reflex of current civilisation, and, as a tribute of respect to the departed, there were occasionally deposited in it the choicest art products of the age. The most natural method of protecting the remains of the dead, and of commemorating their deeds while in life, was by rearing a mound of stones or earth over the grave. To this custom we owe some of the most striking and lasting monuments in the world's history-the pyramids of Egypt, the topes and dagobas of India, the mighty mounds of Silbury and New Grange, the megalithic circles of Stonehenge, Avebury, and other hoary monuments which are so abundantly found scattered on the outskirts of Western Europe from Scandinavia to Africa.

Sepulchral memorials are found under such varying conditions, as to structure and composition, that it is difficult to appropriate their physicai characters as a basis of description. Another element which adds to the difficulty is the custom of cremation, which appears to have spread over the British Isles torvards the close of its Stone Age, and to have initiated considerablec hangesin the manner of disposing of the dead. The body, reduced to a few handfuls of ashes and burnt bones, was sufficiently preserved in a clay urn, there being no longer any necessity for constructing great chambers. Hence sprung up a tendency to diminish the size of the abodes of the dead, even by those who still adhered to the earlier method of burial by inhumation. Some of the problems thus raised will be subsequently discussed. All I wish at present to emphasise is, that we have indisputable archreological evidence to show that, during the whole of the Bronze Age, both methods of disposing of the dead were practised within the British Isles apparentiy at the same time.

Burials may, therefore, be classified in various ways, as, for example, according to whether the body had, or had not, been cremated. The unburnt body was deposited, either within a chamber constructed of stones and covered by a cairp or mound, leaving a permanent passage for future access tö the chamber; or in a stone cist, without an accessory passage, generally formed of slabs set on end, but only of dimensions sufficiently large to admit of the body in a doubled-up position, and then covered over with a mound of stones or earth or in a wooden coffin formed out of the trunk of a tree, similar to a dug-out canoe; or simply in the bare earth, without any protecting envelope between it and the materials of the mound; or, indeed, without a mound at all or any other external indications to mark the site.

You can read the balance of the book at

Byways of Scottish Story
by George Eyre-Todd (1930)

Have almost completed this book and this week included was the story of "Village Naturals" and here is how it starts...

A RACE which has all but disappeared from the country-side in Scotland since the passing of stringent vagrancy Acts and the reformation of local authorities, is that of the half-witted wanderers, or "naturals," as they used to be called, whose idiosyncrasies, a generation ago, formed one of the occasionally painful characteristics of most rural districts. A sort of privileged mendicants, they were never turned from the door of cottage, manse, or farm-steading. This friendly reception was due partly to superstition, which made it unlucky to refuse hospitality to those mentally afflicted, and partly to fear of the unreasoning vengeance which some of them had been known to perpetrate; but most of all to pity, which everywhere looked upon them with a kindly and excusing eye. Stories of their exploits and savings, by no means always so "thowless" as might have been expected, but generally containing a biting grain of humour which tickled the fancy, were current everywhere about the country. And sometimes "the natural" even did a useful service which could have been effected by no more sane and sensible person.

It is recorded in the life of Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, that he owed something of the dawn of his inspiration to one of these wanderers. One sunny summer day when, a lad of twenty, he was herding his sheep on the Hawkshaw Rig, above the farm of Blackhouse, on the Douglas Burn, in Yarrow, there came up to him one of these naturals, named Jock Scott, well known and welcomed on that country-side for his poetic proclivities. To while away the time, Jock, who was then on his return from a peregrination in Ayrshire, recited to the Shepherd the whole of a wonderful poem called "Tam o' Shanter," made by an Ayrshire ploughman of the name of Burns. To that recitation, no less, perhaps, than to the storied surroundings of the hills of Yarrow among which he dwelt, Hogg owed the opening of his eyes to the poetic light that never was on sea or land, and to the magic of that elfin underworld in which he was to dream his exquisite dream of Bonnie Kilmeny.

Of later wanderers like Jock Scott on that Borderside, Dr. Russell, in his "Reminiscences of Yarrow," has recorded an anecdote or two. Jock Gray, supposed to be the original of Davie Gellatley in "Waverley," is described as wearing knee-breeches, and fastening his stockings with glaring scarlet barters. Like many of his kind, he was strong in mimicry, especially of the ministers whose services he attended, and whom he could frequently be induced to "take off " with great effect. Once the wife of the minister of Selkirk asked him to furnish forth an imitation of her husband. That gentleman was in the habit of reading his sermons, a habit much reprobated in those days. The saltness of Jock's reply may therefore be understood when he told the lady that before he could comply with her demand she must give him "a bit o' paper." Sometimes his zeal for ministerial duties carried him further than mere mimicry. It is recorded that on one occasion he managed to make his way into the pulpit of Ettrick kirk before the arrival of the minister. When the latter himself reached the foot of the pulpit stairs and discovered the occupant of his place, he called out, "Come down, John," The predicament reached its climax when the congregation heard the answer, "Na, sir; come ye up; they're a stiff-necked and rebellious people; it'll tak' us baith."

You can read the rest of this at

The chapters added this week are...

The Gael Again
Some Historic Apparitions
Village Naturals
The Tale of a Quiet Strath
A Parish Chronicle of the Seventeenth Century

and they can all be read at

Our thanks to John Snyder for ocr'ing in this book for us.

Got up chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 this week which can be read at

Here is how chapter 6 starts...



THE Hinterland of this Paradise of cave and arch and grotto is the parish of Colvend, or as the Galloway folk like to say. lovingly softening their voices to the sound of a dove cooing (even as Patrick Heron heard them), "Co'en "–they call it “the Co'en shore" quite forgetting the big wild parish which lies behind that narrow fringe of white foam and blue sea.

The last time I set eyes on Colvend (this seaboard parish which looks across to Cumberland) was when, dreaming over the writing of "The Raiders," I stood alone on the hoary scalp of Criffel. The whaups circled about me as I looked towards the more fertile holms of the North.

"Troqueer! " they cried, "Troqueer!, Troqueer! We were better there than here." And yet I am not sure that the whaups were right. For nobler is the wild red deer of the mountains, braying his challenge from hilltop to hIlltop through the mist, than the lowing of myriads of kine knee-deep in fat pasture-lands.

As I stood thus, correcting my boyish memories of twenty years before, the phrase which stands at the head of this chapter rose into my mind– "The Riddlings of Creation."

"That's it," said I; "the very thing."

Other places and parishes have been so called, I know, but here in Co'en surely the Almighty made a bigger bing and used a wider mesh to His riddle. Some indeed there be who say that here the "boddom fell oot o' the wecht a'thegither!" Whether they are right or no, I cannot say.

There is, for example, Minnigalf–crowned king of all the moor parishes of Galloway, and, as I think, of Scotland. There is, truth to tell, routh of "riddlings" in Minnigalf. Yet Kells also runs it hard. Girthon is green with bracken and purple with heather for many a mile, but for varied wildness and a certain saucy defiance, characteristic also of its maidens, Co'en cowes them at.

Bourtree Buss.

I cannot, indeed, write about Colvend, or indeed about any of the "Ten Parishes" east of the Water of Urr, as I can of my own country, being by birth and breeding a lad of the Dee. But for five or six years it was my lot to spend a considerable part of every summer there. I stayed sometimes at the house of a distant family connection, who was the farmer of a place which I shall call the Bourtree Buss. Robert Armstrong (that was not his name either) was already an old man when I knew him, but he was still fresh and hearty, with a stalwart family scattered allover the world. His wife was master, however – a tall, gaunt woman, apparently clothed in old com sacks, and with a poke bonnet you could have stabled a horse in – a woman terrible to me as Fate. For in those days, strange as it may seem now, I had in me not infrequently the conscience of an evil-doer.

"Sic a laddie for earin' as I never saw. The only thing he has nae stammock for, that I ken o'–is wark."

This was spoken of one of her own grandsons, my companion, hut I knew well that I was under the same ban. I shall not soon forget how she used to roust us out of our warm beds about half-past four in the morning, and set us to carry water from the well – "to give us an appetite." She need not have troubled.

"Are ye weel?" she would say in a pipe like that of a boatswain, at the foot of the stable ladder.


"Then rise."

That she "likit the beds made an' a' things trig by breakfast-time" was a favourite phrase of hers. At Bourtree Buss breakfast was at six, dinner at twelve, so there was plenty of time between to "fin' the grunds o' your stammock." By noon that organ seemed as vast and as empty as the blue vault of heaven.

The guidman used to lend me his great three-decker spyglass with "Dollond, 1771, London," engraved on it in quaint italics, cautioning me to "slip oot at the back and no let the mistress see ye. She disna like things ta'en frae 'boot the hoose."

Then, it is sad to have to relate, if by any process whatsoever, not excluding actual breach of the eighth commandment, we could obtain a "soda scone" or two, and a whang of cheese, we were supremely happy. The reader may, he very sure that, having located the "auld woman," we kept the bieldy side of a dyke till well out of her reach.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Added a couple of pictures from the Clan Grant Society USA 2006 AGM at

Got in an article about James Farquhar - was this the last clan battle on Scottish soil by the Clan Grant?

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
As I mentioned above I've got the first biographical account up of a Robert Alexander. Here is the account for you to read here...

ROBERT ALEXANDER has resided in the County of Kent from early boyhood, and now, at the age of eighty-five years, is one of the oldest residents in his section. The account which follows, of the emigration of the family and their settlement in the New World, is especially interesting as coming from the pen of one of the few remaining pioneers of this locality.

As Byron says in his tragedy of “Manfred”, “I ask no passage on high, but oblivion, self-oblivion.” But then he says, “Will death bestow it on me?” To compare small things with great, I feel like Burns. He was anxious to know if he could find the names of any of his ancestors in the Book of Heraldry, but could not find any. So I will just say like Alexander Pope, who, in company with some nobles who were boasting that their ancestors had come over with the Conqueror, said, “My plebian and ignoble blood has flowed through scoundrels ever since the flood.”

After Cromwell subdued Ireland there was quite an emigration to Ireland from Scotland into the Province of Ulster. My paternal ancestors were in the crowd that settled in Tyrone, Armagh and Derry. I can’t say that any of them distinguished themselves, any more than that my father served in the Rebellion of 1798, as a yeoman. My grandfather Alexander having a large family on a small estate, some of the boys had to enlist in the army. My father, hearing that things were booming in Glasgow, came to Scotland – I don’t or can’t say what year. The Irish Yankee brags about Andrew Jackson. He said that the President was born two years after he left Ireland. At all events I was born January 30, 1819. Glasgow was then, as now, a great manufacturing center. Father being an expert hand loom weaver, the Glasgow factories furnished him with yarn. He had several looms and kept several jouneymen. By hand looms they wove the cloth. Father carried the cloth to the factory and got another supply of yarn. He carried on this business in the town of Rutherglen, a couple of miles out of Glasgow. I needn’t give you the names of brainy men that discovered the art of making cloth by steam. The hand loom weavers, not being able to complete, began to think of emigrating to America. So the hand loom weavers of Rutherglen set out under the leadership of a gentleman of the name of Jones, a retired officer of the navy, who had obtained a grant of land on condition that he colonized with good Scotch. My father joined the company in the year 1829. I being then 10 years old. We got on a small vessel at the Bromalaw and sailed to Greenlock, and got aboard the brig “George Cannan,” commanded by Capt. Calander. In the year 1829, as I said, I was ten years old. My wife and her people were on the same ship, she being then six weeks old. All were bound for Quebec. It took six or seven weeks to get across the “herring pond”, and then we got a small steamer to Montreal. We were greatly amused to hear the captain and crew talking French. Then we got on a boat they called a Duram boat, manned by Frenchmen. They propelled the boat with long poles, a string of men on each side. They placed the poles to their shoulders and shoved it along up the long sault, and there we sat with all our goods and chattels spread out on the deck. When we got to Niagara Falls we had to make portage – got into wagons; came to Port Cerie, where there was a brig called the “Wellington”, which brought us to our destination, twelve miles north of Sarnia, and landed us on the beach – a lot of the most unsophisticated, simple, ignorant crowd of emigrants ever landed on a foreign soil.

My father and my wife’s father, disagreeing with our leader, Jones, left and came to Michigan. Father rented a farm from the notorious Capt. Westbrook, close to what is now Marine City. When father came to know the Captain’s history – that he was once a British subject and that he had in the war of 1812 left Canada and joined the Yankees, and with his guerrilla band made raids into Canada (in fact, I myself, talked with many who had suffered) – then, in the year 1830, having heard that Col. Talbot had to give free grants of land, he bade good-bye to Capt. Westbrook and on foot made tracks for Canada. That grand, benevolent, patriotic lady, Mrs. Coyne, administered to his wants. [Livingstone, in his travels through Africa, said that he always found the females the best, far superior to the males, in kindness and charity.] Not only that, but she gave him good advice, how to manage the old Colonel. She was an angel of mercy to many a footsore traveler asking for land. She told him not to approach the Colonel until after he had broken his fast in the morning. The Colonel received him kindly, gave him a grant, Lot No. 10, on the town line between Howard and Harwich, and there he squatted in the year 1830. The story of the first settlers in the bush is an old one, told by abler writers than I, so I slip over all the hardships that we endured. We got a shanty built, but father felled a tree on it and remarked that the beams being strong saved us youngsters. There was another tree that could reach, so he dared not tackle that, but sent me for to get a Mr. Cram, who was an expert, to cut it down. Having heard that we could make sugar out of maple trees, he tied strips of basswood around them. Then we heard of other trees – bee trees, coon trees. We wanted him to mark the coon and bee trees, but he only laughed. I, being ten or twelve years old, in course of time became an expert axeman, in fact I never became distinguished for anything else. And so we strugged along – father at his old trade, weaving, mother spinning, my brother Thomas and I cutting and slashing down the primeval forest. And so we struggled along till the year 1846 when mother died, on the 10th of May. In the month of November of that year I married Agnes McCauley, who with her family came over in the same ship, she being six weeks old. Her brother James previously married my sister Mary Ann. My time was spent in clearing off the heavy crop of timber, attending logging bees and raisings and raising a family of nine – there was no such thing as race suicide in those days – five boys and four girls. Father died in 1862. They were buried on the farm, but I had the remains moved to Ridgetown cemetery, where I will shortly join.

But a word on politics and religion. I have listened to Sir Alan McNab, to George Brown, to John A. McDonald, to Col. Prince,to John Llyllard Cameron, to Malcolm, whom we called the old coon, sympathized with William Lyon Mackenzie, but left the Glove because for many years he cried out free trade. In religion I have listened to the Rev. Mr. Ryerson, brother of the Rev. Egerton Ryerson. That in Burns consoles me when he says:

What pleasure can it gie,
E’en to the de’il,
To scalp and scald
Poor chaps like me
And make us squall.

And so this is the first of what I hope will grow to a grand wee collection of biographies :-)

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 "Food & Drink" section at

On this index page you'll find...

Electric Scotland Recipes
Our own recipe collection. On the whole these are ones I gathered myself from home and from friends.

Visitors Recipes
This is where our visitors have shared some of their favourite recipes and I might add that we're always happy to receive recipes to add to this collection :-)

Stories and Stovies
A unique book by Charlotte Bleh. This was a book that Charlotte shared with us. It was written for her own extended family to share the family recipes but also to tell wee stories about her upbringing in Scotland. So not only are there some great recipes but also a charming story to go along with them.

Wenona Flood's Recipes
Sent in by Donna Flood. These are family recipies which Donna was able to share with us from a cousin.

Donna's Newest Recipes
Donna's own recipes she's created recently.

Jeanette's Recipe Collection
Thanks to Jeanette for this. Jeanette's famous tea parties always include some great bakery products and is fun to read.

Kooking for Kids
A collection of recipes for young children. This is a collection of recipes that Jeanette cooked with her young grand daughters and she shared them with us.

The Practice of Cookery
An old recipe book, Adapted to the Business of Every-Day life by Mrs. Dalgairns 1840. At the time this was probably the best cookery book available.

All About Tea
Learn about it's history and how to give a tea party.

Kitchen Measurement Guide
Giving you a kitchen measurement conversion table

In other words a right mixture of receipes and also some stories to enjoy. We also have links to e-text recipe books.

The thing to note here is that if you use the site search engine in our header this will just search the web site and so if you are looking for a recipe for scones you'd find amongst others...

Potato Scones

Soda Scones

Treacle Scones

Griddle Scones

Highland Scones

Dried Cherry Scones
Jerry's Fruit-Filled Scones

Scottish Oat Scones


And so I hope you enjoy exploring these recipes. I note that as a Scot living away from Scotland I do miss Scottish Sliced Lorne Sausage. Elda in Australia also missed it and after lots of experimenting she came up with a recipe that worked for her and she has kindly shared it with us. You'll also find the famous Sunday Post Clootie Dumpling recipe :-)

And finally...

Helen Bullard of Arkansas sent me in an interesting wee list and thought I'd share it with you...

A few groaners here!


1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
2. A will is a dead giveaway.
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.
15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
16. A calendar's days are numbered.
17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
21. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.
29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

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


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