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Weekly Mailing List Archives
15th September 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

Electric Scotland
Micro Button Advertisers - Cara Magnus Celtic and Rooms in Scotland
The Flag in the Wind & MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary
Scottish Gazetteer
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Clan Newsletters
Children's Stories
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent
The Scots Week-End
James Chalmers of New Guinea
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Bits of Electric Scotland - Historic Scotland

I was back in Toronto this week for a couple of days and got back Thursday lunch time. While there Harold told me about a news item he'd just seen "Scots eating even less fruit and veg despite health drive". It seems the Scottish Government have spent £100 million on a health drive but a report reveals many of the country's eating habits are worse than they were a decade ago. Targets set in 1996 had not been met by 2005 with consumption of fruit and vegetables and oily fish down, while sugar consumption has risen. Salt and fat reduction targets had also been missed. Results were blamed on a reliance on junk food and lack of co-ordination in government, agriculture and industry.

You may have noticed that I've started posting up some pictures from Scotland on the site index page. I'm aiming at doing this each week on Thursday so hope you enjoy them. I am featuring Pitlochry, in the heart of Scotland, this week.

Received back the video of Fiddler, Stephanie Hutka, from the Sail Past. This is the one that ended up playing on its side and David Hunter at CTV kindly arranged to get it the right way up for me :-) You can view this at (Note it is 14.5Mb).

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
Delighted to say we have now filled our advertising slots with two new advertisers....

The first advertiser fills your requests for someone that does Celtic jewelry and here they tell you something about themselves...

Cara Magnus Celtic is both a retail and online Celtic store owned by Michael and Joan Young, a brother and sister team if you can believe it!. Our business was founded in the fall of 2000 as a small mail order jewelry company in Maryland, with just three jewelers from Scotland. It was rooted in Joan’s passion for Celtic knotwork design and history after traveling , mainly in Scotland.

With seventeen years in the museum preservation field, Joan wanted to pursue her love for Celtic history, art, and design, preserving history in a different manner. Joan is drawn to Scotland and feels most at home in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital although great-great grandfather William Young came to the US from Ballysadare, Sligo Ireland in 1864. Joan’s brother Michael spent twenty years in logistics management in the technology field and wanted to have more fun managing the logistics of Celtic jewelry or crystal. When space at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, North Carolina, part of the Outer Banks ocean resort area, opened up, they seized the opportunity to open a store that would bring a collection of Celtic inspired jewelry and gifts from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and other Celtic lands and were able to fulfill the dream of living at the Outer Banks, an area rich in both history and natural beauty.

Cara Magnus Celtic opened its doors in Scarborough Faire on April 16, 2003. Entering the store is like stepping into a shop on the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh where customers are always greeted with a warm welcome and Celtic music plays on the stereo. You’ll even find Michael whistling along or sometimes playing his guitar. The retail store itself is outfitted in dark wood display cases, many of them antique reproductions.

Cara Magnus is a Celtic business that strives to provide your family with the best that the Celtic Nations have to offer and it is our connections with our customers that makes our family business special. We enjoy similar warm relationships with all our Celtic suppliers, especially those family businesses that we have the pleasure of dealing with such as Sheila Fleet and her son Martin and Ian Roberts from Luckenbooth China and Glass. Step into our store or visit us online at and connect with your Celtic heritage. Tell us your stories of your heritage or travels in Scotland, Ireland, or the other Celtic Nations.

The final advertiser is helping you find accommodation in Scotland and even in Hostels which is a very low cost method of finding accommodation and here is what they have to say...

Rooms in Scotland was founded in February this year and our accommodation database has grown rapidly throughout the year. We now list around 800 properties in Scotland and by the end of the year we estimate that will grow to over 1,000 which will make us one of the largest accommodation directories for accommodation in Scotland on the web.

We list all types of accommodation with Hotels, Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts and Self Catering accommodation all available and we are currently in the process of adding a selection of around 200 hostels which will be online by the end of October.

At Rooms in Scotland you will find all your favourite brand names, as we currently list all of the Hilton, Ramada, Marriott, MacDonald and Swallow hotels that are available in Scotland.

Along with finding accommodation we offer various other travel related resources such as flights, car hire and travel insurance. We are also developing a special offers section and package holidays which will be online from next year.

Our main goal is to make finding accommodation easy and to give a wide selection of choices so that no matter where in Scotland you want to go or how much you want to pay you'll find what your looking for at Rooms in Scotland.

You can visit their web site at

This weeks edition is by Richard Thomson and in this issue he's looking at the anniversary of 9/11.

I noted one of Peter's quotations this week...

Albert (Al) Arnold Gore

Scotland is absolutely unique in its history, and the question [whether the US government should push for an independent Scotland] demands respect. Coming from a part-Scottish background, I’m all for you.

(Edinburgh International Film Festival 28 August 2006)

Peter also has an interesting article in his Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs this week...

Today, 15 September 2006, sees the 499th anniversary of the granting of a patent by James IV, King of Scots, to Androw Myllar and Walter Chepman authorising them to set up a printing press in Edinburgh – the first in Scotland. The earliest known output from their press – ‘The Complaint of the Black Knight – is dated 4 April 1508. The National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Printing Archival Trust is jointly promoting the 500th anniversary of this publication in 2008. Please visit for details of the preparation of many events which will be held throughout Scotland to celebrate this historic publication.

The printed word has played a long history in Scotland with the establishment of many leading publishers. Writers such as literary figures from the past Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson down to present day writers such as William McIllvaney and Ian Rankin have provided us with a wealth of reading material. Book reading continues to play a prominent part in Scottish life with Book Festivals proving to very popular. The largest such festival is the August Edinburgh Book Festival but the second largest takes place in the much smaller burgh of Wigtown. Now in its 8th year the Wigtown Festival takes place in Scotland’s officially recognised National Book Town from Friday 22 September to Sunday 1 October 2006. Visit for full details of this popular festival.

Wigtown was chosen in 1997 as Scotland’s National Book Town from a leet which included Dalmellington, Dunblane, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Moffat, Strathaven and the winning town, Wigtown, a royal burgh from at least 1292 now houses some thirty book related businesses with new and second-hand books galore.

Wigtown was the county town of Wigtownshire which before local government reorganisation formed the extreme south-west corner of Scotland with a coastline of 120 miles. But this week’s recipe – Pot Roast of Lamb – looks to the rural area of the county, which was most famous for dairy farming, but like the all areas of Scotland had its share of sheep.

Pot Roast of Lamb

Ingredients: 2 lbs neck end lamb, trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks; 2 tbs olive oil; 2 large onions, chopped; 1 clove of garlic, chopped; 1 tin of tomatoes; 1 lb flour; 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary; 1 tin of haricot beans; vegetable stock; salt and pepper

Method: Put half the flour into a plastic bag with the salt and pepper, and add the lamb, shaking until each piece is well coated. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil until smoking, then add the lamb in small batches, making sure each piece has been well browned. Remove the lamb, add more olive oil, then fry the onions and garlic, add the rest of the flour, making sure it has absorbed all the oil. Stir in the stock gradually, making sure the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Add the tomatoes and bring back to a simmer, then add the lamb and haricot beans. Cook in a covered casserole at 150 degrees for two to three hours. Serve with new potatoes and peas.

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

Linda Fabiani is back at work this week and so we get the start of her weekly diary.

You can read her diary at for 11th September 2006.

More progress on the W's. The end is in sight! :-)

Here are places mentioned this week...

Wandell, Wanlockhead, Wanlock Water, Wardhouse, Wardlaw, Ward Law, Ward-of-Cruden, Warmanbie, Warthill, Warwickhill House, Washington, Waterbeck, Waterloo, Watersay, Waterside, Watling Street, Watten, Wattston, Wauchope, Waulkmills, Wedale, Wedderburn Castle, Weem, Weir or Viera, Bridge of Weir, Weisdale, Wellbank, Wellfield, Wellhall, Wells House, Wellwood, Wemyss, Wemyss Bay, East Wemyss, Wemyss Hall, West Wemyss, West Arthurlee, Westcraigs, Westerdale, Westerhall, Westerkirk, Loch of Wester, Westerton, Westertown House, Westfield, West Hall, Westhaven, West Highland Railway, Westquarter, Westraw House, Westray, Westruther, West Water, Weydale, Whale Firth, Whalsey, Whauphill, Whifflet, Whim House, Whinneyleggat, Loch Whinyeon, Whistlefield, Whitadder Water, Whitburgh, Whitburn, Whitebridge, Whitecairns, White Cart, White Coomb, White Esk, Whitehaugh, Whitehill, Whitehills, Whitehouse, Whitekirk and Tyninghame, Whiteknow, Whitemire, Whiteness, Whiten Head, Whiterashes, Whiterigg, Whithorn, Isle of Whithorn, Whiting Bay, Whitletts, Whitslaid, Whitsome, Whittadder, Whitten Head, Whittingham, Whitton Tower, Wiay, Wick, Wigtown or Wigton, Wigtownshire, Wilkiestown, Fort William, Port William, Wilsontown, Wilton.

The whole Gazetteer is available at

Kenneth Shaw sent in "The Evil Witch of Balwearie" at

John sent in a new doggerel, Saff Daffin? at

Donna sent in a poem, To See, to Hear, at

Sir William Arbuthnot alerted me to "The Haggis Song" which you can read at

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

We are now on the C's with Clapperton, Clark, Clarke or Clerk, Clayhills, Cleghorn, Cleland and Clephane added this week.

Here is a bit from the Cleland entry....

CLELAND, a surname belonging to an old family on Lanarkshire, and derived from the lands of that name in the parish of Dalzeil. The Clelands of that ilk were hereditary foresters to the old earls of Douglas, and had for arms a hare saliant, argent, with a hunting horn, proper, about its neck; crest, a falcon standing on a left hand glove, proper. At other times, for supporters they had two greyhounds. James Cleland of Cleland, was one of the patriots who joined Sir William Wallace, and fought, under his command, against the English. He also remained faithful to King Robert Bruce; and for his services received from that monarch several lands lying within the barony of Calder in West Lothian. From him was descended William Cleland of that ilk, who, in the reign of King James the Third, married Jean, daughter of William Lord Somerville. From them branched Cleland of Faskine, Cleland of Monkland, and Cleland of Cartness. About the beginning of the seventeenth century, Sir James Cleland purchased the barony of Monkland from Sir Thomas Hamilton of Binning, first earl of Haddington, but his son and heir, Ludovick Cleland, sold it to James, marquis of Hamilton. On 6th September 1615, this Sir James Cleland of Monkland was, with two others, indicted for trial, for treasonably resetting Jesuits, hearing of mass, &c., offences very seriously punished in those days, but the diet was deserted against them. The Cartness family terminated in an heiress, previous to the middle of the eighteenth century, married to Sir William Vere of Blackwood in the same county.

Alexander Cleland of that ilk, with his cousin, William Cleland of Faskine, were both killed at Flodden in 1513. James Cleland of that ilk, an eminent man in the time of King James the Fifth, whom he frequently attended while hunting, married a daughter of Hepburn of Bonnytoun, descended from the earl of Bothwell, by whom he had a son, Alexander Cleland of that il, who was a faithful adherent of Queen Mary. He married Margaret, a daughter of Hamilton of Haggs, by whom he had William his successor, who married the sister of Walter Stewart, first lord Blantyre. Their eldest son, Alexander, married the sister of John Hamilton, first Lord Bargeny, and their son and heir sold the lands of Cleland to a cousin of his own name.

Major William Cleland, the great-grandson of the last mentioned Alexander Cleland of that ilk, was one of the Commissioners of the Customs in Scotland, about the middle of the last century.

The name was formerly Kneilland, with the K pronounced. In 1603 Mr. Andrew Kneilland was justice depute; and there are several instances of Cleland of Cleland being called Kneilland of that ilk, thus, among the persons who were ‘delated’ for being art and part in the murder of King Henry Darnley were William Kneland of that ilk, and Arthur Kneland of Knowhobbilhill, afterwards softened into Connoblehill, in the parish of Shotts. (See KNELAND, surname of.]

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 sixth issue of Volume 10 (March 1902) which includes amongst other articles ones on D. P. Menzies, FSA Scot of Menzieston, The isolation of Sutherlandshire, My Highland Home, Alexander MacPherson, The White Glave of Light, The Martial Music of the Clans, Banais Anns A' Ghaidhealtachd, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Pledged Sporran.

This issue is at

You can see the issues to date at

Clan Newsletters
Added the Fall/Winter 2006 newsletter from the Clan Hannay at

Added Family Utley newsletters at

Children's Stories
Margo has now started on the final book (12) in her Rolphin's Orb series and you can read this at

Margo also sent in the following...

Which Way is Up? at
Among the Stars at
A Strange Dream at

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Thanks to Nola Crewe for transcribing these biographies for us.

We have more biographies up for you to read at

I noted a fellow McIntyre clan member within the biographies this week...

HARRY JAMES FRENCH, general farmer and county councilor, residing on Lot 5, Concession 3, in Camden township, County of Kent, owns and operates a fine farm of 100 acres to which he came in December, 1892. His birth occurred in Chatham township, County of Kent, October 15th, 1862, and he is a son of Anslum and Nancy (McIntyre) French, of Chatham and Harwich townships, respectively. They were married in that county and celebrated their golden anniversary not long before they died, the father in 1893, aged seventy-six years, the mother in October of the same year, aged seventy-three years. They lie buried in Arnold’s cemetery in Chatham township. Both were consistent members of the Methodist Church. Mr. French was a farmer by occupation. The children born to Mr. And Mrs. French were: John, a harness maker of Kent Bridge; Susanna, of the County of Lambton, wife of Edwin Wicks; Thomas, of Chatham; Rachel, of Dresden, who married Thomas Ritchie; Sarah A., deceased, who married Duncan Ritchie; Eliza, of Chatham township, widow of W.J. Smith; Anne, who married John Dowswell, of Dutton, Ontario; Edwin, deceased; Sylvester, who is in the furnace business at Cleveland, Ohio; and Harry James.

On June 17th, 1889, in Dresden, Ontario, Mr. French was married to Mary E. Huff, and they have four children, Owen G., Lorne B., Harold G. and Evelyn E. Mrs. French was born in Camden township, County of Kent, Ontario, May 8th, 1965, a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Gifford) Huff, of England, who were married in the County of Kent, where they were farming people. The father died in July 1887, aged sixty-four years, and the mother died in 1877, aged forty-six years, and they are buried in Dresden cemetery. Both were consistent members of the Methodist Church.

Until he was thirteen Harry J. French remained with his parents, and then engaged as clerk in a dry-goods establishment in Dresden, Ontario, remaining there for seven years. From that city he went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and remained in a store for a year, returning to Dresden, where for seven years he was engaged in a grain business. In December 1892, he located on his present farm, where he has since been making a success of farming. Fraternally he is a member of the C.O.O.F. and the Woodsmen of the World, and is a Master Mason. Both he and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist Church and he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school for the past four years. For four years he served as township councilor, was reeve three years and has been county commissioner since 1900. He is a Conservative in politics, and is at present secretary of the East Kent Conservative Association. As a public official as well as private citizen he has proven himself a man of ability and sterling worth, and he has many friends throughout his neighbourhood.

Virginia Scottish Games are being held on Saturday September 16, 2006 at 4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria.

The Scots Week-End
And Caledonian Vade-Mecum for Host, Guest and Wayfarer (1936)

Loads of good stuff up this week including chapters on...

Mirth and Dancing under which you will find...

Outdoor Games
Peever Games
Bool Games
Active Games
Table & Floor Games
Sedentary Games
Literary Games
A Few Problems
An Examination Paper
Scottish Dancing

Bottle and Wallet under which you will find lots of recipes and it starts...

"THE diet of the Scots", wrote John Chamberlayne in the eighteenth century, "is agreeable to their estates and qualities. No people eat better, or have greater varieties of flesh, fish, wild and tame fowl, than the Scots nobility and gentry in their own country, where they can furnish their tables with ten dishes cheaper than the English can provide three of the same kinds; and of their wines, the French themselves did not before the Union drink better, and at very easy rates. The tradesmen, farmers and common people are not excessive devourers of flesh, as men of the same rank are in England. Milk-meats and oatmeal, several ways prepared, and kale and roots dressed in several manners, is the constant diet of the poor people (for roast-meat is seldom had but on gaudy-days); and with this kind of food they enjoy a better state of health than their more southern neighbours, who fare higher".

Some of this pleasant picture of Scots food and drink is out of date. We may, however, draw attention to the fact that to-day the best roast beef in England, the sweetest mutton, the finest as well as the cheapest sorts of fish, and most of the game that's worth while - not to speak of the highest grades of oatmeal and of strawberries -come from north of the Tweed.

Non-Human natives under which it says...

HERE Scotland holds her own. She stands as well as ever she did - in some ways better - as regards birds, beasts, flowers and semi-precious stones, not to mention gold. A considerable portion of this native stock, animate and inanimate, is peculiar to her. In no other British rivers can you hopefully seek for non-synthetic pearls, in no other British trees for wild-cats, capercailzies or ospreys, in no other British rocks for topazes filled with whisky-coloured fire.

Kirks and Corbie Steps under which you will find discussions on our architecture such as...

THE earliest type of building you are likely to meet with in Scotland is the broch, an open, round and tapering tower superbly built of stone slab walls 16 ft. thick, originally about 40 ft. in height, enclosing a circular space about 40 ft. in diameter. No windows pierce the walls, only a small door, while within the walls are built galleries, cells and stairs, and a hearth and a well occupied the centre space. Many brochs exist in the north and west of Scotland, dating mostly from the first to the fifth centuries A.D., and they were used either as a defence against sea-raiders or as the castles of a conquering aristocracy. They are stark and solemn and have no parallel outside Scotland.

Travelling under which you'll find lots of tips for travellers including...


IN Scotland the term walkers includes cyclists and motorists, as even these, if they wish to see Scotland, have often to get off or out and use their legs and their wits. When preparing to journey in Scotland by any other path than railway lines, the three grand things to keep in mind are the weather, the ground and the customs of the Scotch. In other words, prepare for cold, rain and mist, for rocks, bogs and innless roads, and for the fact that our natives, especially our Highlanders, while they are the soul of hospitality, are apt to take for granted the virtue of total abstinence in travellers. That is to say, your clothes, your carried refreshments, and your precautions against being caught out by fatigue or fog in remote spots, are all more important than if you were walking in England.

Boils, Blains, Bruises and Blights under which you'll find excellent advice such as...

FROM no spot in Scotland, so far as we know, is a doctor more than twenty miles away. Borne in a second-hand car, sustained by the Everlasting Arms, he will hurry to your aid before his telephone bell has stopped trembling.

It would be wicked and cruel to him and to you if, by putting at your disposal this porridge of useful tips and hints, we led you to believe yourself an adept in the least of his mysteries.

On the other hand we are not his tout and we feel free to warn you against certain ways of being ill in Scotland, and to tell you what to do in circumstances which might find you despairing and dithering. Not that it isn't pleasanter and cheaper to be ill in Scotland than anywhere else. A Case of the Itch (or Scottish Fiddle) was once cured in Buckie for five shillings, which included quite a large pot of Unguentum Sulphuris. The Case had previously spent seven hundred pounds on being treated (by vaccines and whatnot) by a series of London Knights and Baronets. He was naturally delighted at having secured so good a bargain.

Rights and Wrongs under which you get some legal advice and will be pleased to know...

THE "week-ender" need not concern himself with the more abstruse aspects of the law. For him let plagium, and, still more, wadset, remain a closed book. He is a holiday-maker, and his pursuit of pleasure or leisure must be assumed to be innocent and free from dole. While every citizen is presumed to know the law, the inadvertent lawbreaker may expect leniency if he has transgressed one of the innumerable statutory rules and regulations which pour out from the Stationery Office each year.

A lot of fun reading for sure this week at

James Chalmers of New Guinea
by Cuthbert Lennox (1903)

I've now moved ahead with this book and we're now on chapter 19

Chapter 15 starts...

WHEN Tamate returned to Port Moresby he found, to his great disappointment, that a splendidly equipped exploring expedition, fitted out by the Melbourne Age, had returned to the coast, spoiled of all their goods, hungry, fever-stricken, and disheartened—the leader of the party, Mr. G. E. Morrison, being himself wounded. The expedition had started on 21st July 1883, and was back again upon 14th October. Great results had been expected from this exploration. Tamate had entertained hopes that his theory of plateaux and inland lakes would be confirmed, and that "Morrison would tell such a tale of New Guinea as had never before been told."

His chief concern, however, arose from the reports of hostility on the part of natives in a district in which he had established friendly relations with the people. Although he was sick, and many thought it was too late in the season for inland travel, as the rains had commenced and the rivers were swollen, he fitted out a strong party and set off on 4th December for the scene of the alleged outrages, anxious to know the cause of attack and to restore peace and amity.

In the course of a week, with a rest on the Sunday, Tamate and his party were back in Port Moresby, having in that time covered the hundred miles that had taken the Age expedition three months. They had found the Varagadi villages deserted, but were able to ascertain that native pilfering had led to reprisals and the use of firearms. Certain signs, recognised by most travellers, had been given by the villagers, but Morrison had not understood them, and had stumbled on to his fate.

"I asked an old friend if he thought it safe for white men to travel inland, as in a few months a large party might be coming. He replied, ‘It is perfectly safe no one will hurt a white man.’ I told him to tell all the tribes of our visit, and that we wished to bring them peace and friendship, and that they must be careful as to how they meet the white man in the future. He told us our inland .journey and its object would soon be well known."

A week or two later, Tamate was away west at the Annie River. This time he had an opportunity of seeing the Motu traders setting forth on their homeward voyage. The building of lakatois, consisting of twelve and even fourteen canoes lashed together; the filling up of cargoes of tons of sago, peppers, and areca-nuts; the adventurous crossing of the bar—all added to his personal familiarity with the customs of the people.

At the Annie River he was in touch again with the cannibals. "Two large canoes came in, with an average of fifteen men in each; they were in quest of cooking-pots. They say it is very annoying not to be able to cook their man and sago in pots, and, being without them, a lot of unnecessary waste occurs, and, the gravy escapes. They have drunk none for a length of time now. They visited us, and we visited them. They were from a large village farther west than I had been last trip, and were extremely anxious that I should accompany them to their home; but it was out of the question."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The whole book can be read at

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read at

Chapter 35 starts...

WHEN such explosive materials as these existed, it required but a trifling incident to fire the train. In November, 1666, the flames of insurrection broke forth in Galloway under such unpremeditated circumstances as we are about to describe. On the 13th of that month, a party of Turner's soldiers, stationed at St. John's Clachan of Dalry, in the hilly region of Glenkens, confiscated a patch of corn belonging to a poor old man named Grier, and threatened him with personal maltreatment unless he paid the balance of church fines with which he was charged. At this juncture, four Covenanting refugees entered the village in search of food-one of them Mr. M'Lellan of Barscobe, who had been subjected to much persecution for conscience' sake. They felt much sympathy for their fellow-sufferer, but, smothering their feelings, withdrew to a small change-house, [The house in which they sat is still standing, but was partially rebuilt a few years ago; it was called Midtown. John Gordon then occupied it as a kind of tavern. Mr. Train says: "My friend, Mr. John M`Culloch of New Galloway, kindly procured from the proprietor for me one of the old rafters, of which I intend to make some articles of vertu." - History of Galloway, vol. ii., p. 158.] where, soon after, tidings reached them that the soldiers, carrying their menaces into effect, had stripped Grier naked in his own house, with the intention of subjecting him to torture, by setting him on a red-hot gridiron.

The four wanderers could remain patient no longer: hurrying to the old man's house, they remonstrated with the soldiers, who told them to mind their own business, and not to interfere, or it might be worse for them. After a brief altercation, several country people entered, and began to remove the bandages with which Grier's arms were fastened. The soldiers then drew their swords, and wounded two of them; upon which one of the latter retaliated by firing a pistol, loaded with a piece of tobacco pipe for bullet. A general fight, of short duration, ensued, terminating in the defeat of the troopers, who were all made prisoners and disarmed. What to do next became a matter for serious consideration. There was another party of ten or twelve soldiers at the neighbouring village of Balmaclellan; and, lest they should resort to reprisals, some of the country people set off early next morning, and made the whole of the soldiers captive, except one man, who offered resistance, and was killed. The outbreak was carried to its second stage, for the purpose of securing the safety of those accidentally led to engage in it: but if they now dispersed, they would certainly be pursued by the merciless soldiery belonging to the rest of Turner's force; and if they should succeed in escaping, the district would be subjected to such vengeful devastation as was fearful to contemplate. These reflections induced M`Lellan and his comrades to unfurl boldly the flag of insurrection. They were joined by another gentleman of the district, Mr. Neilson of Corsack, by Mr. Alexander Robertson, son of an outed minister, by Mr. Andrew Gray, an Edinburgh merchant, who happened to be in the district at the time; and these, the leaders of the movement, easily succeeded in raising a considerable force, the rural population all round being ripe for insurrection.

A council of war was held, at which a march on Dumfries, for the purpose of surprising Sir James Turner, was resolved upon; the place of rendezvous being fixed at Irongray Church, about six miles distant from the town. With wonderful secrecy and despatch, due notices were given and acted upon; and on the day after the casual skirmish at Dalry, a force of two hundred infantry and fifty horsemen mustered at the appointed place; the blue banner of the Covenant, the ensign of rebellion against the Government-rather, we should say, of righteous resistance to a tyrannical faction-flying above their small but resolute ranks. Gray-who seems to have been a fussy, pretentious gentleman, without any real regard for the cause with which he was prominently mixed up-was appointed leader of the little host. Starting from Irongray Church soon after sunrise on the 15th, they marched quietly on their appointed way, reaching the Bridgend of Dumfries about ten o'clock in the morning. Sir James Turner has sometimes been spoken of as a model soldier: yet though rumours of the insurrection had reached him, he appears to have made no preparations for meeting it, even when it was rolling to his very door; and, strange to say, though in the midst of a warlike people, who bore him no good-will, he had not, on this critical occasion, a solitary sentinel posted at the entrance of the town from Galloway.

Accordingly, when Captain Gray and his men reached the place where the populous burgh of Maxwelton now stands, they were agreeably surprised at finding the bridge unguarded, and the road to the headquarters of the renegade "malignant" open before them. Matters being in such a favourable train, it was thought best to allow the foot soldiers to remain outside, while a party of the horse rode across to pay the compliments of the morning to Sir James. Corsack and Robertson were entrusted with this delicate and perilous duty. Followed by several others, about half-past eight o'clock they crossed the bridge, passed up Friars' Vennel, and then down to Turner's lodgings, in Bailie Finnie's house, High Street. Aroused too late by the ring of the horses' hoofs upon the pavement, he rose in great alarm, ran in his night-dress [Sir James Turner's Memoirs, p. 148.] to the window, and, seeing an armed band below, exclaimed, "Quarters! gentlemen, quarters! and there shall be no resistance!" "Quarters you shall have," said Corsack, "on the word of a gentleman, if you surrender at once without resistance." "Quarters he shall have none!" said Gray, who now came up; and, suiting the action to the words, he presented a carabine at Turner; and had not Corsack, who was the real leader of the enterprise, interposed, the unscrupulous agent of the Government would have been instantly sent to his account. One soldier only, as at Balmaclellan, resisted, and died of the wounds he received; all the others giving themselves quietly up, according to the example and orders of their commander.

According to Turner's own statement, no more than thirteen of his men were in town at the time, the rest being quartered in the country on persons who "refused to give obedience to church ordinances." "Some few of my sogers," he adds, "were taken in their lodgings. They [the insurgents] looked for Master Chalmers, the Parson of Drumfries, but found him not, yet did they bring away his horse." [Sir J. Turner's Memoirs, p. 149]

There was great rejoicing in Dumfries on account of this overthrow of the tyrant captain and his troop. "He had," says Gabriel Scruple, "been reigning [there] like a king, and, lifted up in pride, with insolence and cruelty over the poor people;" and it is no wonder that, to signalize his degradation, they, as the same authority informs us, "set him on a low beast, without his vest-raiment, and carried him through the town in a despicable manner." It says much for the forbearance of the insurgents and the people of the Burgh, that Sir James Turner received no worse treatment than was involved in this pardonable exhibition of him in his new character. They then held a meeting at the Cross, where the leaders explained and vindicated their conduct; and to show that it was not the monarchy, nor the King, but his despotic ministers, against whom they had taken up arms, they expressed aloud their devoted attachment to his Majesty's person-a sentiment that was readily responded to with cheers by the listening crowd.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The whole book can be read at

Bits of Electric Scotland
It was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought might be of general interest.

This week I thought I'd highlight the "Historic Scotland" pages. This section was based on a small leaftet produced by Historic Scotland but over the years we've been able to add more information. Essentially this is a great place to get a list of historic properties in each region of Scotland along with a brief description and many wee pictures of the various places. Thanks to our visitors that have sent in pictures of places where we don't have pictures this has built up to be a great resource. Stan, the Bard of Banff, has really done an excellent job on the Grampian region for us.

The areas highlighted are...

Aberdeen & Grampian
Ayrshire & Arran
The Borders
Dumfries and Galloway
Edinburgh and Lothians
Kingdom of Fife
The Border Abbeys
Argyll, The Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs
Highlands & Western Isles
Perth & Tayside
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley
Castles of Scotland

For example the first three entries in the Aberdeen & Grampian area are...

Aden Park and Farming Museum
Incorporating a Doo-cot, 1 mile west of Mintlaw, forest walks, pond and great playpark for the kids.

Archeolink is a multi-award winning history park and visitor attraction which focuses on 'education, participation and fun'. Travel 10,000 years back in time and visit the exhibits, which include an Iron age farm and hill fort, Roman marching camp, stone age camp, the sand pit, the henge, stone circle, bronze age smithy and cist. Situated in the beautiful countryside on the north side of Bennachie.

Balvenie Castle
At Dufftown on the A941.
Tel: 01340 820121.
A fine 13th-century castle of enclosure with a curtain wall, first owned by the Comyns. Balvenie was added to in the 15th and 16th centuries. Visited by Mary Queen of Scots in 1562.
Winter: closed.

You can see this section at

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


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