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Weekly Mailing List Archives
29th 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 - offering a free vase and new gift baskets
The Flag in the Wind & MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary
Scottish Gazetteer
Scottish Education - Schools and University, from early times to 1908
We're nearly all Celts under the skin
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Children's Stories
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women (new book)
Highland Gatherings (new book)
Donna Flood
Clan Wallace Society Newsletter
Mini Bios
The Scottish Country Dance Book
Bits of Electric Scotland - Games on Electric Scotland

Just been pushing on with getting more books onto the site this week and there are a couple of new books started for which see below.

I might add that on the whole I try to ocr books onto the site but there are books that really defy the ocr programs either because they use a non standard font which means the ocr programs make a real mess of trying to understand the words or the page is very faint which also causes real problems.

When I understood that the adobe acrobat program could scan in pages and make a reasonable job of ocr'ing the results at the same time I moved to this method of posting such books as .pdf files. I am still confused however on how Google indexes such files and despite emailing adobe and google I still don't have an answer. The point is that Adobe states that you need to scan in at 300dpi if the program is to try and ocr the text. When I did a chapter of a book at this dpi it came out at 4.6Mb. I then took the option of reducing the file size and that got it down to 648k which is a lot smaller.

My problem is this... if you ever use google to search for something and it offers a .pdf file in the results they also offer an html view of the .pdf file where when clicked they have obviously made an attempt at ocr'ing the text. So what I need to know is if I reduce the file size of the .pdf file will they still be able to do this? Like does the .pdf file already contain the text and so there would be no need to put up the larger file? As I still don't know the answer to this I am posting both versions up on the site with the main link to the larger file and then I post a "Version for dial up visitors" below that and link that to the smaller file. It would be great if I knew the answer to this question then I could just use the smaller file.

Anyway... should anyone have an answer to this I be very pleased to hear from you :-)

And just on an admin note... I am gradually working on bringing back in our other domains under the main site. As the site was so large I thought that splitting up the site into different domains might make things easier for me but having given it a decent trial I have on reflection decided to bring some of them back onto the main site. Currently I have re-integrated and back under and will be working on the site in the coming weeks. My reason for mentioning this is just in case anyone out there has bookmarked either of those domains as if you have you'll need to renew your bookmark.

Due to getting so much spam it is getting more likely that I might miss an email you send to me. The things to note are that if you do send me an email make sure you give a decent subject line so it's obvious it's a real email. I also get some emails which have an attachment but no decent text in the body of the message telling me what the attachment is. Where I don't know what the attachments is the email just gets deleted. So please consider this when sending me a message :-)

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

Grower Flowers are now offering a free vase with every order. They are also adding New Fall Products which will be available on the site shortly. These will include some Ready to Grow products as well as a multitude of new Gift Basket selections.

This weeks edition is by Allison Hunter and in this issue she's talking about the lack of vision by Labour and Lib Dems.

I was looking at some stats on The Flag and noted the top entry pages for the site (other than the index page) are...

These must be pages that people book mark so instead of going to their index page they go right to these pages. I can well understand them going to the main index pages for subjects like the Scots language, Food and Burns but find it interesting that the song New Orleans is there, the song Barbara Allen, the recipe for Banana Loaf and the song Normans Land are all so prominent. I can only assume that some big site(s) have a specific link to those pages.

I'm working on doing a major section on Lady Nairn on Electric Scotland. I note with interest that Peter has included two of her songs in this weeks issue, "A Hundred Pipers" and "The Land o' the Leal".

You can listen to "The Land o' the Leal" in Real Audio read by Marilyn P Wright at

Daughter of a Perthshire Jacobite, Carolina Oliphant ( 1766-1845 ) married William Nairne and called herself 'Mrs Bogan of Bogan' to write her songs, many of which are still widely popular today, including 'Caller Herrin', 'Will ye no come back again?' and 'The Auld Hoose'. (Note: You can read more about her and some of her songs at )

Here are the words...

I'm wearin' awa', John,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John,
I'm wearin' awa'
To the land o' the leal.
There's nae sorrow there, John,
There's neither cauld nor care, John
The day is aye fair
In the land o' the leal.

Our bonnie bairn's there, John,
She was baith gude and fair, John,
And, oh! we grudged her sair
To the land o' the leal.
But sorrow's sel' wears past, John,
And joy is comin' fast, John,
The joy that's aye to last
In the land o' the leal.

Sae dear's that joy was bough, John,
Sae free the battle fought, John,
That sinfu' man e'er brought,
To the land o' the leal.
Oh! dry your glist'nin' e'e, John,
My saul langs to be free, John,
And angels beckon me
To the land o' the leal.

Oh! haud ye leal an' true, John,
Your day it,s wearin, thro', John,
And I'll welcome you
To the land o' the leal.
Now fare ye weel, my ain John,
This warld's cares are vain, John,
We'll meet, and we'll be fain,
In the land o' the leal.

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

MSP Linda Fabiani's diary is in for 25th September. You can read her diary at

Have now completed all the places in the gazetteer and so have now moved onto the final part which is the General Survey which contains lots of interesting information.

This week we've added various sections...

Deer Forests and Grouse Moors
Industries, Shipping, Trade, and Commerce
Roads, Canals, Railways, Steamers, Telegraphs, Etc.

The whole Gazetteer is available at

Scottish Education - Schools and University, from early times to 1908
by John Kerr, M.A., LL.D. (1910).

I've nothing on the site to do with education in Scotland so this fills a great gap and am very pleased to be providing this for the site. You can get to the index page of this book at

Chapter III - First Period to 1560. St. Andrews University starts...

WHILE much in connection with St Andrews from very early times up to the 10th or 11th century is outside the domain of authentic history, there is so much that cannot be questioned as to make us recognise a singular propriety in its being the possessor of the first Scottish seminary bearing the name of University. This honour and benefit fell to it in 1411, thanks to Bishop Wardlaw who in 1413 received from Pope Benedict XIII a Bull giving papal confirmation of the foundation. Its claim to this honour is strictly in keeping with its holding the Primacy of the whole Scottish Church from the downfall of Iona to that of the medieval Church [For a long time the head ecclesiastic of Scotland was the Archbishop of Canterbury, much to the dissatisfaction of the Scots, whom the Pope would not allow to have an Archbishop of their own. The first Archbishop of St Andrews was Patrick Graham in 1465, the second was William Scheves in 1478, Graham having been deposed for maladministration. Dictionary of National Biography.]; its connection with the Culdees ; its St Regulus Tower marking the change from the Celtic to the Roman Church; its priory, cathedral and monasteries-among the oldest in Scotland ; its Schola Illustris [The Schola Illustris was probably a part of the monastic buildings. The Pedagogy contained both class-rooms and dormitories as well as a kitchen and other domestic offices, and had the Chapel of St John attached to it. It was the property of the Faculty of Arts, but the Faculty of Canon Law had the use of some parts of the buildings. Unfortunately the Pedagogy had very slender endowments and so rapidly fell into decay.] the existence of which is undoubted though its exact date is uncertain, and which was probably the germ which many years afterwards developed into a University.

Bower, a contemporary writer, says distinctly that the "general study of the University in the city of St Andrew of Kilrymonth in Scotland began in 1410 after the feast of Pentecost." The substantial accuracy of the statement is confirmed by the charter granted by Bishop Wardlaw in 1411-12 where it is stated that the university had already made a praiseworthy commencement (jam laudabiliter inchoata). The reception of the Confirmation Bull and of others confirming various privileges in 1413-14 was the occasion of great rejoicing.

The historian thus describes it "The arrival [of the Papal Bulls] was welcomed by the ringing of bells from the steeples, and the tumultuous joy of all classes of the inhabitants. On the following day, being Sunday, a solemn convocation of the clergy was held in the Refectory; and the Papal Bulls having been read in the presence of the Bishop, the Chancellor of the University, they proceeded in procession to the high altar (of the cathedral) when the Te Deum was sung by the whole assembly ; the bishops, priors, and other dignitaries being arrayed in their richest canonicals, whilst 400 clerks, besides novices and lay brothers, and an immense crowd of spectators, bent down before the high altar in gratitude and adoration. High mass was then celebrated and the remainder of the day was devoted to mirth and festivity [Tytler's History of Scotland, II, p. 43 (1864).]."

James I was at this time a prisoner in England, but he was kept informed of the movement for founding a university and gave it his hearty approval. On his release from captivity and after his coronation in 1424 he made vigorous efforts to promote the growth of the university.

You can read this chapter from the index page for the book at

We are now up to Chapter 8 of this book.

We're nearly all Celts under the skin
David McKenzie allerted me to this article in the Scotsman newspaper and thought I'd include it here for you to read.


A MAJOR genetic study of the population of Britain appears to have put an end to the idea of the "Celtic fringe" of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Instead, a research team at Oxford University has found the majority of Britons are Celts descended from Spanish tribes who began arriving about 7,000 years ago.

Even in England, about 64 per cent of people are descended from these Celts, outnumbering the descendants of Anglo- Saxons by about three to one.

The proportion of Celts is only slightly higher in Scotland, at 73 per cent. Wales is the most Celtic part of mainland Britain, with 83 per cent.

Previously it was thought that ancient Britons were Celts who came from central Europe, but the genetic connection to populations in Spain provides a scientific basis for part of the ancient Scots' origin myth.

The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, following the War of Independence against England, tells how the Scots arrived in Scotland after they had "dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes".

Professor Bryan Sykes, a human geneticist at Oxford, said the myth may have been a "residue" in people's memories of the real journey, but added that the majority of people in England were the descendants of the same people who sailed across the Bay of Biscay.

Prof Sykes divided the population into several groups or clans: Oisin for the Celts; Wodan for Anglo-Saxons and Danish Vikings; Sigurd for Norse Vikings; Eshu for people who share genetic links with people such as the Berbers of North Africa; and Re for a farming people who spread to Europe from the Middle East.

The study linked the male Y-chromosome to the birthplace of paternal grandfathers to try to establish a historic distribution pattern. Prof Sykes, a member of the Oisin clan, said the Celts had remained predominant in Britain despite waves of further migration.

"The overlay of Vikings, Saxons and so on is 20 per cent at most. That's even in those parts of England that are nearest to the Continent," he said.

"The only exception is Orkney and Shetland, where roughly 40 per cent are of Viking ancestry."

In Scotland, the majority of people are not actually Scots, but Picts. Even in Argyll, the stronghold of the Irish Scots, two-thirds of members of the Oisin clan are Pictish Celts.

However, according to the study, the Picts, like the Scots, originally came from Spain.

"If one thinks that the English are genetically different from the Scots, Irish and Welsh, that's entirely wrong," he said.

"In the 19th century, the idea of Anglo-Saxon superiority was very widespread. At the moment, there is a resurgence of Celtic identity, which had been trampled on. It's very vibrant and obvious at the moment.

"Basically the cornerstone of Celtic identity is that they are not English. However, to try to base that, as some do, on an idea that is not far beneath the surface that Celtic countries are somehow descended from a race of Celts, which the English are not, is not right. We are all descended from the same people.

"It should dispel any idea of trying to base what is a cultural identity on a genetic difference, because there really isn't one."

This article:

I might add that all of this is made quite evident by Bruce MacIntyre's book "Six Millennia, The History of the Gael" which can be seen at

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

We are now on the C's with Colville, Colyear, Combe, Combie, Comyn, Congalton, Constable, Cook and Cooper added this week.

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

COLVILLE OF CULROSS, lord, in the peerage of Scotland, a title possessed by a family, the first of whom in North Britain was Philip de Colville in the twelfth century. Along with Robert, bishop of St. Andrews and others, he was witness to a general confirmation by King Malcolm the Fourth of all donations made by his predecessors to the monastery of Dunfermline before 1159, in which year Robert died; also, another by the same monarch of several donations to the priory of St. Andrews in 1160. He was one of the hostages for the release of King William the Lion from captivity in 1174. The first possessions which he obtained in Scotland were Heton and Oxenhame (now Oxnam) in the county of Roxburgh. He also acquired lands in various parts of the country, particularly in Ayrshire.

His son, Thomas de Colville, is witness to several charters of King William the Lion betwixt 1189 and 1199. In 1210, being unjustly suspected of a conspiracy against that monarch, he was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh, but was liberated after six months’ confinement and received again into favour. On the 28th April 1214, a discharge was granted by King John to William de Harcourt of several hostages put into his majesty’s hands, among others Thomas de Colville and Gervase Avenel, obsides regis Scotiae. He died in 1219. By Amabilia his wife he had a son, William de Colville, who granted to the monks of Newbattle, the lands which belonged to his father “super le Ness.” He settled at Morham under William the Lion. He was proprietor of the barony of Kinnaird in Stirlingshire, as appears from a lease granted by him of part of these lands to the abbot and convent of Holyroodhouse, confirmed by King Alexander the Second, 15th September 1228. Eustace, the heiress of Sir William Colville of Oxnam, who possessed also the lands of Ochiltree in Ayrshire, married Sir Reginald Chene of Inverugie, who died soon after 1291, an aged man. She survived her husband, and having sworn fealty to Edward the First in 1296, she had livery of her lands in the shires of Aberdeen, Ayr, Banff, Forfar, Inverness and Kincardine. This lady, according to the Remarks on the Ragman Roll, in ‘Nisbet’s Heraldry,’ (appendix, vol. ii. page 27) was the heiress of the principal house of Colville.

In the reign of Alexander the Third Sir John Colville was proprietor of Oxnam and Ochiltree. In 1296 Thomas de Colville swore fealty to King Edward the First, as did also Adam de Colville. During the reign of Robert the First, Eustace de Colville granted to the monks of Melrose the church of Ochiltree with all its pertinents, a grant which was confirmed by a charter from Robert de Colville, dominus de Oxnam, designed also Baro baroniae de Ochiltree, in 1324. [Great Chartulary of Melrose.] This Robert, who is also witness to a donation to the monastery of Kelso in 1350, had a charter of the barony of Ochiltree in Ayrshire from King David the Second. Among the charters of that monarch are two to Duncan Wallace and Malcolm Wallace of the lands of Oxenham, and lands in the county of Dumfries, forfeited by Robert Colvill. The family, however, retained the title of Oxnam till the reign of King James the First, when they assumed the designation of Ochiltree, and were among the greatest barons below the degree of lords of parliament in the kingdom.

Robert Colville of Oxenham, probably the son of the above Robert, is witness to a charter of John Turnbull of Myntou (Minto), to Sir William Stewart of Jedworth (Jedburgh), his grandson, of the lands of Myntou, 8th December 1390, which was also witnessed by his son, Thomas Colville of Oxenham. This Thomas had been witness to a charter of Margaret countess of Douglas and Mar in 1384, and in the reign of King Robert the Third granted a charter to Henry Preston of his part of Formertein (Formartyn) in Aberdeenshire, with the castle and tolls of the burgh of Fyvie. He was one of the numerous train of knights and esquires who in 1436 attended Margaret of Scotland into France, on her marriage with Louis the Dauphin.

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 eigth issue of Volume 10 (May 1902) which includes amongst other articles ones on Hugh MacLeod of Glasgow, Scottish Memories in the Midlands, Stories of Kintyre, Celtic Facts and Fancies, The Early Celtic Church, The Highland Hills, The Martial Music of the Clans, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Evening in the Hill Country, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetry, Bonnie Prince Charlie, An Leannan A Bh' Aig Domhnull Ruadh, Armorial Bearings of MacLeans of Dochharroch.

This issue is at

You can see the issues to date at

Children's Stories
Margo has now started on the final book (12) in her Rolphin's Orb series and you can read up to Chapter 17 at

Got in "A Knightly Deed Well Done" by William Smith at

Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain (1783)

Added Book 4 this week which contains...

City of Novogorod. - The Sterlit fib. - Marshal Zeremetof's military mistakes. - The readiest method to get out of the Russian service. - The city of Petersburgh. - The czar's usual table. - His entertainments. - His present of boats to different ranks, and its good design. - An ambassador from Usbeck Tartary. - A naval excursion for his entertainment. - Cronstadt and Cronelet. - Oramanbaum, Petersboff, and Catharinhoff. - The grand dutchess born, and the prince's behaviour on the occasion. - His disrespect to the czar. - Naval expedition, in which the czar was rear admiral. - His gallant action with Ehrenshield. - He takes Aland. - His triumphal entry at Petersburgh. - Promoted to vice-admiral. - He complimnts Ehrenshield's bravery. - His speech to the senate. - His resentment of the czarowitz's disrespect. - He institutes frequent social assemblies and a royal academy. - Court-martial on Admiral Kruys. - The order of St. Catherine. - Confusions in the revenue, and the consequent distress. - Many delinquents punished. - Fiscals appointed. - The czar's public entertainments. - Mr Slitter's perpetuum mobile. - The old Findlander. - Hard frost at Petersburgh. - Experiements on bears. - Method of killing them.

You can read this book 4 at

You can read this publication at

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

Chapter 39 is actually very interesting as it discusses a major building project and the trouble getting men and materials to build it...

SOON after the beginning of the next century, a great building scheme absorbed the attention of the Dumfries public, the money available for which was obtained in a very singular way. In the year 1697 the tack or lease of the Customs and Foreign Excise of Scotland was exposed by public auction, and taken by a committee of the Convention of Royal Burghs for £33,300 sterling. Each burgh having been offered a share of the lease in proportion to the amount of the tax paid by it, the Town Council of Dumfries engaged in the speculation, and then sold their share to Sir Robert Dickson of Inveresk, and Mr. John Sharpe of Hoddam. At this transaction the inhabitants were indignant. They held a public meeting, at which it was thoroughly repudiated; and, with the view of getting it annulled, legal proceedings were instituted by them against the civic authorities. An internecine war, involving the loss of much money and temper, seemed about to be declared, when, at the instance of Mr. Sharpe, a truce was agreed to, and the question at issue was wisely left to arbitrators; who decided that the tacksmen should be permitted to retain their bargain on condition of paying 20,000 merks into the burgh purse.

Here was a windfall, great and unexpected; and what to do with it, became an interesting question. The burgesses and "burden bearers" who had taken a lead in arraying the commonalty against the magnates of the Tolbooth, wished the compensation money to be spent on something that would be both useful and ornamental-which idea was, as may be conceived, highly acceptable to the latter body; and, as the result of several public meetings, it was unanimously resolved that a new town-house, overtopped by an imposing steeple, should be erected to benefit and adorn the Burgh. It was on the 30th of April, 1703, that a definite arrangement was made to this effect, at a meeting of " the magistrates, members of council, the most eminent and considerable heritors, burden-bearers, burgesses, and haill community," and that after receiving an overture subscribed by ninety-three influential persons, the principal passages of which we subjoin "We doe hereby propose and offer to the magistrats and council, . . . that whereas the toun is not at present provided with sufficient prisones, whereby several malefactors guilty of great crimes, and others for debt, have made their escape, to the dishonour and iminent perill of the Burgh; as also that there is not ane steeple in the whole toun, nor ane suitable council-house and clerk's chamber for keeping the charter chist and records of the Burgh, nor ane magazine house, nor room for the sure keeping of the toun's arms and ammunition thereto belonging ; therefore it is our opinion and unanimous advice, ... that the said sum of twenty thousand merks be disposed of and employed for the uses foresaid, which we judge may be conveniently done for the money; and that the same be built on the waist ground at the back of the Cross, being in the middle of the toun and highest place thereof." [Town Council Minutes.]

A committee was appointed to carry the wish of the meet ing into effect, consisting of John Sharpe of Hoddam; Thomas Rome, ex-Provost; William Craik of Duchrae; John Irving of Drumcoltran; John Irving, younger of Logan ; Alexander M'Gowan, writer, Edinburgh; and Walter Newall, late Convener of the Trades: to whom were added by the Council, John Coup land of Colliston, Provost; Bailies Crosbie and Barclay; Captain Robert Johnston of Kelton, ex-Provost; John Irvine of Logan, ex-Provost; James Milligan, dean; John Gilchrist, merchant; John Brown, ex-treasurer; John Irving, deacon-convener; and Robert Newall, deacon of the wrights. John Moffat, a Liverpool architect, was employed by the Committee to come to Dumfries and "furnish a modall " for the proposed fabric. He arrived in due time; and, that he might obtain the requisite architectural inspiration, he proceeded to the city of St. Mungo, as is shown by an item in the Treasurer's account: "To Mr. Moffat, architect, and Dean Johnston, 24 lbs. [Scots] to bear their expenses in their journey to visit Glasgow steeple." According to another entry in the same account, dated 10th April, 1704, Mr. Moffat was paid £104 Scots "for drawing the steeple scheme, and in name of gratification for his coming to Dumfries." For some reason or other he backed out of his engagement with the Committee; and they, in January, 1705, "considering how long the designed building is retarded for want of an architect," resolved "to send for one Tobias Bachup, a master builder now at Abercorn, [Bachup was then engaged in building a house at Abercorn House; but he resided in Alloa, his native town.] who is said to be of good skill." [Minute-book of the Steeple Committee. This book, consisting of nearly sixty pages of beautiful manuscript, is preserved in the Record Room of the Town Hall.] What Moffat left at an incipient stage, Bachup cordially agreed to complete-he coming to the Burgh for that purpose in the following month.

Whilst the Committee were put to some little trouble in this matter, they had many other difficulties to surmount. There was no adequate timber, as in ancient times, in the vicinity of the town; and the first impulse of the Committee was to freight a vessel and send it for that material to "Noroway o'er the faem." Then there was no available lime lying nearer than Annandale; and though there were plenty of stones in the town's quarry at the foot of the Dock, men able to excavate and use them were exceedingly scarce in the district. The erection of a fabric that was to cost 19,000 merks (£1,041 13s. 4d. sterling), was such an extraordinary enterprise for a small town of that day, like Dumfries, that the Committee were often at their wits' end; and they must have spent a vast amount of time and energy, and lost many a night's sleep, whilst engaged with their herculean task. At one of their sederunts, Provost Coupland reported "that he and Bailie Corbet, when they were at Edinburgh, had made search for a free Danish or Swedish bottom for fraughting for timber to Norway, and after dilligent search, they found that there can be none gotten at a easy rate." [Steeple Committee's Minutes.] A resolution to search for the article in this country was therefore come to; and, after an exploratory raid, trees of sufficient size were discovered at Garlieswood, in the Stewartry, which the proprietor was willing to dispose of. How to bring the Galloway oaks to the banks of the Nith-" Birnam Wood to Dunsinane" - was the next difficulty. The forest was some miles inland; so that the trees, after being felled, had to be transported by horses over wretched roads to the Dee, and then conveyed in a flat boat or gabbart, and in rafts, down Kirkcudbright Bay into the Solway, and thence up the Nith to Kelton or the Dock, where horse-power was again needed to take them to Dumfries.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The whole book can be read at

A Group of Scottish Women
by Harry Graham (1908).

This is a new book and our thanks to Julie Roberts for typing this in for us. Here is the Preface of the book for you to read here...

AT no time in the world's history has the position of woman claimed so large a share of the public thought as it does to-day; never have her influence and power been more fully recognised. Her energies are no longer restricted to the domestic hearth; they extend from the factory workroom to the political platform. She advances unchallenged along walks of life to which until but recently she has been denied all access. At the present moment, indeed, the Army might seem to be the only profession in which she does not aspire to take her place side by side with man.

Whether the hand that rocks the cradle is competent to rule the world is one of the controversial questions of the moment. It does not, however, lie within the scope of the present volume to promote such a discussion. But whatever views one may hold on the subject of woman's capacity to govern or achieve, it cannot be denied that she has always been the most fruitful source of inspiration for genius or eminence of any kind ; that the noblest actions (and the greatest crimes) have been inspired by women. It is therefore interesting to look back into the past and recall individual instances of women who, by reason of their heroism, courage, piety, or wit, have affected their generation and made their mark upon the history of the age in which they lived.

Of the world's women who have ranked as celebrities, Scotland can lay claim to a generous share. Scottish queens, from the sainted Margaret -who was, however, Scots only by adoption-to the ill-starred Mary ; heroines, from Grisell Baillie to Flora Macdonald; great ladies and leaders of society, from the Duchess of Buccleuch and Lady Stair to Lady Eglinton and Gainsborough's Mrs. Graham ; writers and novelists, from Susan Ferrier, Catherine Sinclair, Lady Halkett, Mrs. Brunton, and Mrs. Hamilton to Mrs. Grant of Laggan ; poets and songstresses, from Joanna Baillie to Lady Nairne ; they have inscribed their names indelibly upon the pages of the national history. There are, moreover, a number, difficult to classify -such widely different women as Lady Arabella Stuart, Lady Jane Douglas, and Mrs. Clephane Maclean - who all inspire interest and deserve more than passing notice. While others, again, of the type of jenny Geddes, Lady Lovat, or Miss Sophia Johnstone, have become notorious by their very eccentricities.

With so many names to choose from, it is somewhat curious that there should not be any single one that stands out with notable pre-eminence. When the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was built, some twenty years ago, a number of patriotic Edinburgh ladies raised a subscription to erect a statue of a famous and typical Scotswoman in one of the niches in the front of the building. It was to be a fitting companion to the effigies of Barbour, Raeburn, Knox, Adam Smith, and the other eminent Scotsmen already installed there. When, however, the final choice of the individual came to be made, it was found impossible to decide upon the name of any woman, of pure Scottish birth and breeding, who was worthy, in the opinion of the subscribers, of such an honour.

It is not my intention to attempt the solution of a problem by which the Scotswomen of the past have succeeded in puzzling their descendants of to-day. My desire is to present the reader with a series of biographical portraits of some of the most prominent of the former, and to throw as much light as possible upon their characters, methods, and achievements.

Of materials for such a volume there is no lack. Interesting women are plentiful throughout the whole history of Scotland; the eighteenth century is particularly rich in them. How many books have already been written round the "Ladies of the Covenant"? and still the material appears inexhaustible. What subjects for literary treatment are to be found in the lives of fair Jacobites; of that devoted group, "the Queen's Maries"; of the "flames" of the susceptible Robert Burns, or the friends of the large-hearted Walter Scott !

In these pages I have endeavoured to collect a number of types of feminine character, differing from one another in many particulars, but all with one single exception-bound together by the common ties of Scottish birth. There are, no doubt, many names well worthy of a place in the front rank of Scottish women, which have not been included in this volume. My excuse must be that there was not room for all, and in the selection of subjects I have exercised the right of allowing personal preference, or prejudice, to be my guide. My choice of individuals is, indeed, a purely arbitrary one. It ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the devout to the degenerate ; from Dervorguilla, the philanthropist, to Elspeth Buchan, the fanatic; from Jane, Countess of Sutherland, to Isobel Pagan. Many phases of character are thereby represented. Thus, Lady Grisell Baillie stands for heroism ; Jane, Duchess of Gordon, for political ambition ; "Black Agnes" is the type of Scottish Amazon ; Miss " Nicky " Murray, the woman of fashion ; Lady Anne Barnard, the woman of the world ; Mrs. Grant, the "blue-stocking "-and so on through out these pages.

In my treatment I have adopted a discursive style. I have even ventured to introduce much extraneous and apparently irrelevant matter. My object has been to include in these sketches of notable Scotswomen some brief glimpses of other less important individuals of whom it was not possible to write at length. Above all, I have sought to provide each of my main figures with a suitable background, which shall suggest something of the general life and manners of her particular time.

For permission to make use of various sources of information, kindly placed at my disposal, I am indebted to the courtesy of the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell Scott, Mrs. Graham-Wigan, the Duke of Sutherland, the Duke of Portland, the Earl of Crawford, the Earl of Home, and Colonel H. R. Clinton. I am particularly grateful to the Earl of Rosebery, Lord Guthrie, Lord Balcarres, Mr. A. Francis Steuart, Mr. William K. Dickson (Keeper of the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh), the Rev. James M. Joass of Golspie, and to my friend, Mr. E. V, Lucas, for their interest, encouragement, and assistance. I also wish to express my warmest thanks to Mr. David Douglas for permission to quote extensively from many publications of which he holds the copyright. To various other publishers and authors-notably Mrs. Godfrey Clark, the Hon. J. A. Home, and Mr. T. Craig-Brown -who have kindly provided me with valuable material, I have endeavoured, as far as possible to acknowledge my indebtedness in footnotes.

H. G.

We have the first two chapters up...

Scotswomen of early times - Dervorguilla (1213 - 1290)
Some Scottish Amazons - "Black Agnes of Dunbar" (1313 - 1369)

And you can read them at

Highland Gatherings
Being Accounts of the Braemar, Northern and Luss Meetings, by Sir Iain Colquhoun, Bart., D.S.O. and Hugh Machell. With contributions by John Macpherson and C. D. McCombie-Smith, and a Foreword by H. R. H. The Princess Royal, The Duchess of Fife. [1927].

This is another new book for the site as I thought it time I got something up about Highland Games in the old days in Scotland. The Foreword starts...

By H.R.H. The Princess Royal, The Duchess of Fife

THE spirit of friendly rivalry that is fostered by Highland gatherings can perhaps be matched by many a similar athletic contest, but I feel that this spirit combined with the pride of race and clan, that is so prevalent at these meetings, may be said to give them a special value.

There laird and clansman, crofter and shepherd, meet for the purpose of keeping alive the memories of a great past, and furthering either in person, or by their attendance, the continuance of those contests which will be of the greatest value in maintaining the best traditions of their race.

To anyone who has lived among and loved the mountains and their people, and truly felt their atmosphere, attendance at these gatherings must be in the nature of an acknowledgment of all that their race and country means to them.

In this book the authors have combined, in a most skilful manner, a romance and a bare statement of progress and athletic achievement. The records of Donald Dinnie, Sandy Mackintosh, and the McCombie-Smiths, are mingled with stories of Malcolm Canmore, the "'15," Lady Jane, Duchess of Gordon, and other romantic episodes of a cherished past.

We read with pleasure of the wave of national feeling, originating in the formation of a post of the British Legion, which caused the resuscitation of the Luss Gathering after a period of abeyance of ten years; and some indication of the popular affection for these gatherings can be gained from the splendid response made by the whole parish to the appeal for subscriptions in 1922.

"The records of the Northern Meeting are most enjoyable reading, and give an excellent insight into the life of the Highlands from the days of the prohibition of Highland dress.

The games will be seen to have somewhat altered in accordance with the progress of the times, but throughout the gradual change until the present day, the same spirit of great pride in the good name and fortitude of the race has endured - that spirit which one cannot help feeling it is the intention of the gatherings and this book to maintain.


So far we have up...

Summary of Events at Braemar
Chapter I - Historical
Chapter II - Origin
Chapter III - Feats

You can read the book at

Donna Flood
I know a lot of our readers like to follow Donna around on her various activities and we have a couple of articles from her this week...

Bartlesville Book signing trip in which she includes some pictures of the town and area at

Chilocco Indian Agriculture School Listed as Historic. There is much interest in this School from many old students and this is an article about it being listed as "Historic" which means it is now much more likely to see some preservation efforts. You can read about this at

Clan Wallace Society Newsletter
Got sent in the Fall 2006 newsletter which you can read at

Mini Bios
Got in a mini bio on the Rodger Family which you can read at

The Scottish Country Dance Book
Found book 2 of this series and have added it to the site. These books all provide 12 dances and they show you the steps and provide the sheet music for each dance. The dances in this issue include...

La Tempête
The Bumpkin, or Ninesome Reel
Glasgow Highlanders
Speed the Plough, or Inverness Country Dance
The Perth Medley
Soldier's Joy
Princess Royal
Greig's Pipes, or Cameronian Rant
Delvine Side
The Bob o' Dowally
The Eightsome Reel

The dances published by the Scottish Country Dance Society are traditional both in steps and formation. Their present form has been arrived at from available manuscripts, old books, and from the experience of dancers during the last 150 years. The reference given at the bottom of each dance is the oldest known form.

You can see this book 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 "Dress the Chief" and other games on Electric Scotland.

Essentially I hoped to get a wee bunch of games created for the site but the company who built the ones we do have went out of business and we've never been able to find another company that can do these at a reasonable cost although I have tried at various times over the years. I just wanted to add some light hearted fun to the site and also to try and get the young ones involved.

It never ceases to amaze me that with all our history the "Dress the Chief" game is actually the 5th most visited page on the site :-)

Essentially it's a game where you select from 3 different backgrounds. The first at the baronial fireplace, the second in the woods looking over to a castle on an island in the middle of a loch and third a simple standing stone looking out to the sea.

Having selected the scene you then proceed to build a picture. You can drag the trunk of the Chief onto the picture then select from different heads, different coloured tartans, give him a left arm which hold things like the bagpipes, golf clubs, shield and dagger, etc. You then add his other arm and you can add various things to his hand like swords, rifles, dagger, chicken drum stick, beaker of beer, etc.

You can then bring in the Chief's wife, son and daughter. There are various other items like sheep, haggis, dog, mice, christmas tree, etc. So all in all you can have great fun building your picture.

When we got this designed we intended to allow folk to email the finished picture to friends and family but the company went out of business before they could complete that last step. Still it is possible to use one of various programs to capture the picture to your own computer.

This particular game can be found at

Our other Electric Scotland games include...

"Caber Toss" at
"Curling" at
"Bag the Sheep" at
"Road Rage" at
"Lemonade Stand" at

These games and others can be found at

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

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