Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Weekly Mailing List Archives
8th June 2007

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
University of Strathclyde Genealogy Course
The Scottish Nation
Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
Poems and Stories - World's Civil Aircraft and Scottish Landscape Artists
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May 14 to 17, 1891
History of Scotland
Highlanders in Spain
Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D.
Stan's War Memorials in Grampian
Doug Ross's pictures from his Scottish Tour
Frank Shaw Articles
Scots Independent Newspaper
Galbraiths of the Lennox

My next door neighbour has left for a new home and the owner of the property visited saying he will be doing up the house before it gets rented out again... he's sorting out the front and back garden, new roof, etc. and so hopefully this is yet another stage in the general development of the area. I will shortly be getting my steps replaced - should have been done last week so hopefully soon. Also need to get the trees trimmed back. So domestic issues taking up some of my time this week :-)

Homecoming Scotland have completed their survey now and Stephen said "it worked powerfully for
us" so many thanks to you all for helping with this survey. He tells me he'll send in an article about it when he gets a chance.

I met up with Jim Shields who emigrated from Scotland to Canada in the late 1990's. He has just published a book on "World's Civil Aircraft" which is a mighty tome and he kindly gave me a copy. In a long chat he also told me that he is an Artist and during his life in Scotland he learned and worked with many of Scotland's top Artists. As a result he has agreed to do some mini bios on some of the more famous ones including James McIntosh Patrick and Joe McIntyre and he has already sent in an article on James McIntosh Patrick. I have links up to these in the Poems and Stories section below.

As you know Stan has been sending in pictures of War Memorials in the Grampian area of Scotland. Well in the Chapel of Garioch War Memorial there are many abbreviations against the names and Stan has asked if you could take a look at it and if you know what the abbreviations are if you could email him with the information at See below for details.

I might also just remind you that I'm posting a new set of pictures onto our index page each Thursday. This week they are of the Secret Bunker near Elie in Scotland.

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.

Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and likely a reading of the Flag on a regular basis will provide us with more information on how the SNP are getting on in governing Scotland. In this weeks issue he tells us about the first Question Time which he attended in person.

In Peter's cultural section he talks about...

The Royal Burgh of Selkirk is renowned for having, perhaps, one of the most colourful of the Border Common-Ridings with the Casting of the Colours, led by the Standard-Bearer, in the Town's Market Place after the Riding of the Marches. This year’s Royal Burgh Standard Bearer will be Alasdair Craig and the Common Riding is due, as usual, on the second Friday after the first Monday in June – in other words a week today – Friday 15 June 2007. That day Selkirk will resound to the town’s traditional song – ‘Up Wi’ The Souters O’ Selkirk’ –

‘It’s up wi the Soutars o’ Selkirk,
An doun wi’ the Earl o’ Hume,
An here’s tae a’ the braw ladies
That weirs the single-soled shuin.
It’s up wi’ the Souters o’ Selkirk,
For they are baith trusty an’ leal,
An up wi’ the lads o’ the Forest’
An doun wi’ the Merse tae the deil.’

But you don’t need to wait until next week in Selkirk to enjoy the town’s well-known delicacy Selkirk Bannock as below you will find a recipe to make your very own!

First made by Robbie Douglas in his bakery in Selkirk Market Place in 1859 it was a great favourite of Queen Victoria. A slice of Selkirk Bannock was all that she would eat, along with a cup of tea, when she visited Sir Walter Scott's grand-daughter at Abbotsford in 1867 in spite of being offered a rich repast.

According to the writer Theodora Fitzgibbon the Selkirk Bannock is a reminder of our Celtic Heritage - "All the Celtic Countries - Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Brittainy - have many things in common; a similarity of language; cultural heritages; as well as a surprising number of foods general to all these countries. There is little to choose between the Barm Brack of Ireland, the Bara Brith of Wales, Selkirk Bannock of Scotland, the Morlaix Brioche of Brittainy...".

To make your very own Selkirk Bannock, a circular, very rich fruit loaf, flat on the bottom and rounded on top, take

2 lb flour, 1/2 pt warmed milk,1 oz yeast, 1/2 lb sugar, 1/2 teasp sugar for creaming the yeast, 1lb sultanas, 4 oz butter, 4 oz lard, 4 oz chopped candied orange peel, a little milk and sugar for glazing.

Melt the butter and lard until soft but not oily, then add the warmed milk; cream the yeast with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and add to mixture. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the liquid, then sprinkle the flour from the sides over the top to make a batter. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in size. Knead well, and add the fruit and sugar. Knead again for about 5 minutes, place in greased tin which should be half full, cover and sit again to rise for about 45 minutes. Bake in a moderate oven ( 350F; mark 4-5 ) for about one hour to one and a half hours, and half an hour before done, take from oven and brush top with a little warmed milk with sugar dissolved in it. Put back in oven and continue cooking until golden. Test with a skewar to ensure fully cooked.

It is usually served for tea, sliced and buttered - enjoy like Queen Victoria - well worth the effort!

[Note: It would be great if someone could send in some pictures from the riding for us to place on the site.]

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

University of Strathclyde Genealogy Course
In just two weeks time the first intake of students at the University of Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Studies will finish their formal lectures for this year’s course, but the university is already looking for applicants for the next run, which will commence in January 2008. The course, the only one offered at this level at a British university, is very much geared towards those seeking a career as a professional genealogist, or in other fields where such information may be of vital use. Upon its completion, successful candidates can progress further if they wish to study a Postgraduate Diploma in the field, and then onto a Masters.

Unlike this year’s course which was solely based in Glasgow, the next certificate will be offered both at the university campus in Glasgow and as a distance learning course for those slightly further afield. Covering British genealogy, with a strong leaning towards the records and techniques necessary for working within the industry in Scotland, the course covers Genealogy and Heraldry, Family and Social History, Records & Archives, Law and Language, and Methodologies and Practice.

For more information, prospective students can visit

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

Now on the G's and added this week are Gregory, Greig, Grierson, Guild and Gunn.

Here is how the Gunn entry starts...

GUNN, the name of a Celtic clan, from the Gaelic word Guinneach, signifying sharp, fierce, or keen. The clan, the badge of which was the juniper bush, a martial and hardy, though not a numerous race, originally belonged to Caithness, but in the sixteenth century they settled in Sutherland. They are said to have been descended from Gun, or Gunn, or Guin, second son of Olaus, or Olav, the Black, one of the Norwegian kings of Man and the Isles, who died 18th June 1237. One tradition gives them a settlement in Caithness more than a century earlier, deducing their descent from Gun, the second of three sons of Olaf, described as a man of great bravery, who, in 1100, dwelt in the Orcadian isle of Graemsay. The above-mentioned Gun or Guin is said to have received from his grandfather on the mother’s side, Farquhar, earl of Ross, the possessions in Caithness which long formed the patrimony of his descendants; the earliest stronghold of the chief in that county being Halbury castle, or Easter Clythe, situated on a precipitous rock, overhanging the sea. From a subsequent chief who held the office of coroner, it was called Crowner Gun’s castle. It may be mentioned here that the name Gun is the same as the Welsh Gwynn, and the Manx Cawne, It was originally Gun, but is now spelled with two ens.

The clan Gunn continued to extend their possessions in Caithness till about the middle of the fifteenth century, when in consequence of their deadly feuds with the Keiths (see KEITH, surname of), and other neighbouring clans, they found it necessary to remove into Sutherland, when they settled on the lands of Kildonan, under the protection of the earls of Sutherland, from whom they had obtained them. Mixed up as they were with the clan feuds of Caithness and Sutherland, and at war with the Mackays as well as the Keiths, the history of the clan up to this time is full of incidents which have more the character of romance than reality. [See Browne’s Highlands, vol. I.] sir Robert Gordon, in his ‘Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland,’ written up to 1630, and continued by another party to 1651, has several incidental notices regarding the clan Gunn and the battles in which they were engaged. In one place, alluding to “the inveterat deidlie feud betuein the clan Gun and the Slaightean-Aberigh,” – a branch of the Mackays, – he says: “The long, the many, the horrible encounters which happened between these two trybes, with the bloodshed and infinit spoils committed in every part of the diocy of Catteynes by them and their associats, are of so disordered and troublesome memorie,” that he declines to give details.

You can read the rest of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
by S. R. Crockett (1902)
Our thanks to John Snyder for ocr'ing in this book for us

Added chapters XII through to XV this week. Here is a bit from chapter XII which shows how Parliament worked in the area :-)


PARLIAMENT was in session. It met in the smiddy, and the smith was the Speaker. He differed from the other Speaker at Westminster in this, that he really did most of the speaking. Rob Affleck of the Craig, was the only man who disrupted the floor with him. But then to listen to Rob was generally held to be as good as a play.

There were a dozen of men from the neighbouring farms who had come in with their plough gear to get sorted, and a sprinkling of the village folk who found no place so bright and heartsome in the long winter nights as the smithy by the burnside. The very door was blocked up with boys who dared not come any farther. At these Whaupneb Jock, the smith's apprentice, occasionally threw a Ladleful of water from the cooling cauldron, by way of keeping them in their place and asserting his own superiority.

The Whinnyliggate House of Commons was discussing matters seriously. It had four subjects – ministers in the abstract, ministers, women, and Mr. Gladstone. Women was the only one of these which they discussed philosophically. But upon all topics the smith prevented any accidents from over-emphatic tongues. As soon as he heard anything unparliamentary, he protruded a fist, solid as a ham, an inch beneath the speaker's nose.

“Smell that," he said.

This was called in Whinnyliggate the cloture.

“It's as easy to choose a minister as it is to sup yer porridge, man," said Rob Affleck of the Craig, with great assurance and some contempt.

As he spoke he hefted a coal from the smiddy hearth between his finger and thumb and dropped it dexterously into the bowl of his pipe, turning it with a rapid rotary movement as he did so. All the boys of the vicinity watched him with admiration and awe. To be able to do this was to be a great man. Each of them would rather have been able to lift a coal with Rob's unconcern than get a good conduct prize at school. Which was only a two-shilling book at any rate. But in the meantime it was worth while trying for both distinctions. The master of the village school, Duncan Duncanson, wondered why so many of his pupils had blisters on their thumbs and second fingers when they came to write. One day he found out. It was Fred Mill whom he caught practising lighting a pipe in Rob Affleck's way, After this blisters were not confined to the finger and thumb of those caught with the brand of Tubal Cain upon their hands.

"As easy as suppin' your porridge, man!" he repeated more emphatically than before, though in reality no one had contradicted him.

"I dinna haud wi' ministers!" interjected the budding freethinker of Whinnyliggate, Alexander White, generally known as "Ac White."

Clang—cling! Clang—cling! Clang—cling! went the sledge and small hammer on the anvil as the smith and his assistant forged a coulter.

Clang-cling! Clank-a-clink-cling-cling-cling!

The foreman dropped the sledge and stood leaning on it.

The smith himself elaborated the red cooling metal with his smaller hammer, turning it about briskly with his pincers.

“Ay, man, Ac White, an' what said ye?” he asked, as he gave the dull red mass the final touches before thrusting it back again into the fire.

“I was sayin' –" began Ac the Agnostic.

But he was interrupted. The foreman at the other side had extracted out of his fire another coulter, and in a moment the smith was swinging the sledge and the journeyman in his turn moulding the iron with the small hammer, turning it about deftly in his pincers as the blows fell.

Clang-cling! Clang-cling! Clang-cling!

“I was sayin' that I dinna haud wi' ministers ava',” said Ac White.

The smith cast down the heavy coulter. It fell on Ac White's toes. That is what is called a dispensation in the Whinnyliggate smiddy, where the smith sometimes acted instead of Providence. Ac White's language came in a burst.

“Smell that!" said the smith, turning sternly and suddenly. Ac White smelt it, but apparently he did not think much of the perfume, which was that of iron, grime, and newly-shod horse-hoofs-a scent particularly wholesome and vIgorous.

His words were dammed back within him.

The smith was coaxing the fire into a whiter heat by taking up little shovelfuls of small coal and letting them trickle upon the cracked red volcano above the coulter he was heating. With his left hand upon the polished handle of the bellows, he kept up a mild equable blowing with short light strokes. Rob Affleck's pipe was now going fine. The smith looked over at him, which was a signal that there was an interval in the hammering, long enough for Rob to utilise by treating further on his subject, which was ministers in the abstract – also elders.

"It’s easy aneuch gettin' a minister," repeated Rob, who, like all Whinnyliggate talkers, had to make a fair fresh start "each time: "but it's quite another thing to get half-a-dizen o’ guid elders_fair to middlin', that is. Theyre easy aneuch to elect, but then your wark's no dune. Ye hae to get them to accept, ye see! Noo, it's no juist every man that likes to bind hissel' to come hame straught up on end in his gig every Monday nicht, as all elder is expectit to do. Na, lads, it's a deal to ask o' ony man, year in an' year oot"

“Was that what keepit you frae takin' the eldership last year, Rob" said the smith, over the handle of the bellows.

You can read more of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

Poems and Stories
Jim Shields visited me this week to tell me about his new book "World's Civil Aircraft" which you can read about at

As Jim is also a painter and knew some of the very best landscape artists in Scotland he had kindly offered to do a few mini bios of some of them for the site. He has now sent in the first of these, James McIntosh Patrick, which you can read at

Added the June 2007 newsletter from Clan Amcu at

Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Added another issue of this newspaper...

August 6, 1891 at

This issue carries an article about Balnagown which includes some interesting information on the Rosses of Balnagown on the front page which continues on the second page.

You can see all the issues to date at

Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May 14 to 17, 1891
Now working on the Third Congress and this week as well as completing the summary proceedings have added...

Scotch-Irish influence upon the Formation of the Government of the United States.
By Rev. J. H. Bryson, D.D., of Huntsville, Ala.

The Scotch-Irish Race Among the Nations.
By Rev. Dr. Thomas Murphy, of Philadelphia, Pa.

The Scotch-Irish of California.
By Mr. Terence Masterson, of San Francisco, Cal.

The Scotch-Irish in East Tennessee.
By Judge Oliver P. Temple, of Knoxville, Tenn.

Here is how the Scotch-Irish influence upon the Formation of the Government of the United States by Rev. J. H. Bryson, D.D., of Huntsville, Ala. starts...

The science of government is a study full of interest from every stand-point of investigation. The nature and genius of a government cannot be correctly understood without a clear apprehension of the several elements which enter into the formation of the governmental structure. There are always antecedents of a marked and pronounced character, which lead up to every great historical epoch, and these great events of human history must be carefully studied in the light of these antecedents if they are to be properly understood.

The formation of the government of the United States is the grandest and most distinguished achievement of human history. It has no parallel in any age or century. It is the outgrowth of principles, which had to work their way through long periods of suffering and conflict. The logical and regulative structure of the principles of our government into an instrument, which we call our Constitution, was the result of but a few months' labor; the principles themselves, however, had been struggling through martyrdom and blood for many generations. To understand the government of the United States, the genius and character of the people who settled the several colonies must be carefully studied. Its most distinguishing feature is that it is a government framed by the people for the people. It is their own conception of the best form of government to secure personal right and liberty.

In the present discourse we propose to review the influence which the Scotch-Irish people exerted in various ways in the formation of our government. The inhabitants of the colonies up to 1776 were almost entirely an English-speaking people, coming from England, Scotland, and Ireland. The French Huguenot was not a large element in the settlement of the country, but it was a most important one. There was also a noble body of settlers from Holland. These different classes of people all have an honorable part, worthy of themselves, in forming the government of our country.

When the government of the United States came into existence, as the voice of the people speaking through thirteen sovereign States, the world stood amazed at the daring and brilliant conception. Tyranny and oppression received a fatal blow in that glorious day, and human liberty found a permanent home in the hearts of three millions of American citizens. Many were the prophecies of its speedy downfall, but with the first century of its history it has taken the first place among the nations of the world. The principles of this government are no longer a matter of experiment, but, as a distinguished writer has said: "they are believed to disclose and display the type of institutions toward which, as by a law of fate, the rest of civilized mankind are forced to move, some with swifter, others with slower, but all with unhesitating feet." [Brice's "American Commonwealth," Volume I., page 1.]

The causes which led to the formation of the American Government were foreign to the people of the colonies. They did not willingly break allegiance with the mother country. It was the oppressive measures of the British Crown which forced them to declare their independence and construct a new government, if they would be freemen. But the birthday of constitutional liberty had come. A mysterious providence had prepared a people, through long years of suffering and trial, for the glorious heritage, and had held in reserve a magnificent continent for their abiding-place. The era of 1776 was not within the range of human conception or forecast, but there was above and behind it all a divine Mind, bringing forward the day with all its stupendous revelations.

In considering the history of any people, it is a serious defect to leave out of view their religious conceptions, as expressed in their formulas of faith. Religion of necessity is the most powerful factor in the direction of human life. Mr. Carlyle has well said: "A man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him." [Carlyle's "Heroes," page 1.] In a Christian land, with an Spell Bible, this is pre-eminently true. With the American colonies religious liberty was a question of not less vital importance than that of civil liberty. Their religious faith had a most powerful influence in forming their character, and they intend to be untrammeled in its exercise. From New Hampshire to Georgia they were Calvin-fets of the most pronounced type. Calvinism was their religious creed, and out of it sprung their political principles. This had been the creed of their ancestors from the days of the Reformation. It had stood the test of fire and sword for more than two hundred years. The principles of that wonderful system had permeated their whole being.

It gave them intellectual strength and vigor. It intensified to the highest degree their individuality. It developed that integrity and force of character, which no blandishments or persecutions could break down. He who puts a light estimate upon Calvinism knows little of its principles, and he knows little of the struggles which brave Calvin-ists have made in many lands for freedom. Motley speaks correctly when he says: " Holland, England, and America owe their liberties to Calvinists." Ranke, the great German historian, as well as D'Aubigne, says: "Calvin was the true founder of the American Government." Hume, Macaulay, Buckle, Froude, and Leckey all affirm that it was the stern, unflinching courage of the Calvinistic Puritan that won the priceless heritage of English liberty. Scotland can never estimate what she owes John Knox, the fearless embodiment of Calvinism in Church and State. Mr. Bancroft makes the statement conspicuous that it was the Calvinistic faith of the American colonies, which prompted them to resist the oppressions of the British Crown, and maintain the desperate struggle with unfaltering courage until the glorious victory was achieved.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read more of this volume at

History of Scotland
In 9 volumes By Patrick Fraser Tytler (1828)

Continued the fifth volume. Here is what has been added this week...

Chapter 2 (Pages 86 - 174)
James the Fifth (1513)

Chapter 3 (Pages 175 - 220)
James the Fifth (1524 - 1528)

Chapter 4 (Pages 221 - 304)
James the Fifth 1528 - 1542

And so lots of reading this week. Here is a bit from Chapter 2...

THE news of the discomfiture of the Scottish army at Flodden spread through the land with a rapidity of terror and sorrow proportionate to the greatness of the defeat, and the alarming condition into which it instantly brought the country. The wail of private grief, from the hall to the cottage, was loud and universal. In the capital were to be heard the shrieks of women who ran distractedly through the streets bewailing the husbands, the sons, or the brothers, who had fallen, clasping their infants to their bosoms, and anticipating in tears the coming desolation of their country. In the provinces, as the gloomy tidings rolled on, the same scenes were repeated; and had Surrey been inclined, or in a condition to pursue his victory, the consequences of the universal panic were much to be dreaded; but the very imminency of the public danger was salutary in checking this violent outburst of sorrow in the capital. During the absence of the chief magistrates who had joined the army with the king, the merchants to whom their authority had been deputed, exhibited a fine example of firmness and presence of mind. They issued a proclamation which was well adapted to restore order and resolution. It took notice of the great rumour touching their beloved monarch and his army, which had reached the city, dwelt on its uncertainty, and abstained from the mention of death or defeat; it commanded the whole body of the townsmen to arm themselves at the sound of the common bell, for the defence of the city. It enjoined, under the penalty of banishment, that no females should be seen crying or wailing in the streets, and concluded by recommending all women of the better sort to repair to the churches, and there offer up their petitions to the God of battles, for their sovereign lord and his host, with those of their fellow citizens who served therein.

It was soon discovered that, for the moment at least, Surrey had suffered so severely that he did not find himself strong enough to prosecute the victory, and an interval of deliberation was thus permitted to the country. Early in October, a parliament assembled at Perth, which from the death of the flower of the nobility at Flodden, consisted chiefly of the clergy. It proceeded first to the coronation of the infant king, which was performed at Scone with the usual solemnity, but amid the tears, instead of the rejoicings of the people; its attention was then directed to the condition of the country; but its deliberations were hurried, and unfortunately no satisfactory record of them remains. Contrary to the customary law, the regency was committed to the queen mother, from a feeling of affectionate respect to the late king. The castle of Stirling, with the custody of the infant monarch, was entrusted
to Lord Borthwick; and it was determined, till more protracted leisure for consultation had been given, and a fuller parliament assembled, that the queen should use the counsel of Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, with the Earls of Huntly and Angus. It appears, however, that even at this early period, there was a party in Scotland which looked with anxiety on the measure of committing the chief situation in the government to a female, whose near connection with England rendered it possible that she might act under foreign influence; and a secret message was dispatched by their leaders to the Duke of Albany, in France - a nobleman, who, in the event of the death of the young king, was the next heir to the throne, requesting him to repair to Scotland and assume the office of regent, which of right belonged to his rank.'

You can read the rest of this chapter at

As all the chapters are .pdf files I'll just point you at the index page of this publication where you can read the rest of the chapters at

Highlanders in Spain
By James Grant (1910)

Now up to Chapter 45 and here is how chapter 44 starts...

Chapter 44 - Passage of the Nive

An order having been issued for a general attack on the enemy's position at the Nive, on the morning of the 9th of December, an hour before daybreak, the allied army got under arms, in high spirits and glee at the prospect of fighting monsieur on his own ground, and prosecuting their victorious career still further into France. But as it is not my purpose . to give an account of that brilliant affair, I will confine myself to the adventures of our friends. In Stuart's quarter, or billet,—a miserable and half-ruined cottage,—the officers who were to be under his command on a certain duty, sat smoking cigars and carousing on the common wine of the country, until the signal 'to arms' was given. The parly consisted of his own subs,—of Blacier and a Spanish captain, Castronuno, a tall and sombre cavalier, lank, lean, and bony, and who might very well have passed for the Knight of La Mancha. Their supper consisted of tough ration carne (beef), broiled over the fire on ramrods, and eaten without salt,—an article which was always so scarce, that a duro would have been given for a teaspoonful. This poor fare Blacier improved by swallowing an ample mess of chopped cabbage and vinegar, and by puffing assiduously at his meerschaum. After having stuffed himself until belt and button strained almost to starting, he deposited in his haversack a quantity of spare bread and meat for his breakfast. Castro-hiuno, who had been observing his gluttony with quiet wonder, recom. mended him to eat his breakfast then, as it would save trouble on the morrow. This advice Stuart enforced by adding that he might be knocked on the head before day broke, and perhaps all his good provender would go to swell some other man's paunch.

'Mein Gott!' groaned the German, 'vat you say is right. I veel eat vile I can. Hagel! mein Herr, you hab gibben de soond advice.' And he commenced a fresh attack on the viands, and quickly transferred them from the haversack to his distended stomach. He had scarcely finished, and let out four holes in his sword-belt, before the sharp Celtic visage of Sergeant Macrone was seen peering through the clouds of tobacco-smoke, as he informed Stuart, ' Tat ta lads were a' standin' to their airms on the plain stanes.'

It was then an hour before daybreak, and the sky was dark and gloomy. Stuart noiselessly paraded his troops—the 'light-bobs,' Blacier's riflemen, and Castronuno's Spaniards, and moved up the banks of the stream, to execute the duty assigned to him. This was to carry by storm the castle of the Nive, that the troops in its immediate neighbourhood might be enabled to cross by the ford, the passage of which was swept by the guns of the fortress. The day preceding the projected assault, Ronald and Blacier made a reconnaissance of the place, and found that there was no other method but to ford the river below the neighbouring cascade, and carrying the outer defences by storm, trusting to Heaven and their own hands for the rest, as the tall keep might be defended against musketry for an age, unless a piece of cannon was brought to bear upon it.

At the time mentioned, an hour before dawn, the whole of the troops in and about Cambo were under arms, and the signal to cross was to be the storming of the chateau. The companies destined to effect this dangerous piece of service marched up the bank of the Nive a few miles, and, favoured by the intense darkness, halted immediately opposite to the scene of action among some olive-trees, which were, however, bare and leafless. There a consultation was held, and it was determined to proceed forthwith. All appeared still within the chateau. The sentries on the bastions and palisades were seen passing and repassing the embrasures, but the noise of their tread was drowned in the rush of the cascade, which poured furiously over a ledge of rock a few yards above the fort, and plunged into a deep chasm, from which a constant cloud of spray arose. Desiring Evan Bean Iverach to keep close by his side, Ronald, with a section of twelve picked Highlanders carrying three stout ladders, led the way. Under the command of Evan Macpherson, the rest of the company followed close upon his heels, with their bayonets pointing forward, and every man's hand on the lock of his musket. Old Blacier, who was as brave as a lion, notwithstanding all his oddities, prepared to mount the works by escalade a little further up the stream, where his riflemen were in imminent danger of being drenched by the spray of the waterfall. Two companies of the 18th Spanish corps of the line were to form a reserve, under the command of Don Alfonso de Castronuno.

'Now then, lads,' said Ronald, while his heart leaped and hfe breath came thick and close, for the moment was an exciting one, 'keep up your locks from the stream, and look well to your priming,—though we must trust most to butt and bayonet.'

'Qui va là? challenged a sentinel.

'You'll soon find that out, my boy,' cried Stuart, brandishing his sword. 'Forward, Gordon Highlanders! Hurrah!'

'Demeurez la/' cried the Gaul in dismay, while he fired his piece in concert with three or four others. A Highlander fell in the stream wounded, and was sucked into the linn, where he perished instantly. His comrades let fly a rattling volley, and pressed boldly forward. The water rose nearly to their waists, but the Celts had an advantage over their comrades in trousers. Raising the thick tartan folds of their kilts, they crossed the river, keeping all their clothing, the hose excepted, perfectly dry.

The Nive, at the place where they crossed, was several yards wide, and the current, on the surface of which some pieces of thin ice floated, was intensely cold; but the hardy Highlanders pressed onward, grasping each other by the hand, and crossed safely, but not without several unlooked-for delays. The bed of the river was pebbly, slippery as glass, and full of holes, which caused them to stumble every moment, and a scaling-ladder was nearly carried away by the stream. The rocks were steep and precipitous, rising to the height of several yards abruptly from the water. The ladders were planted among the pebbles; and when one point of the rock was gained, they had to draw them up before they could reach another, and so arrive at the foot of the sloping bastion, which was now bristling with bayonets. By the time the escalade approached the outworks, every soldier in the chateau was at his post, and the cannon had begun to belch their iron contents, which, however, passed harmlessly over the heads of the assailants. The fierce northern blood of the latter was now roused in good earnest, and their natural courage seemed only to receive a fresh stimulus from the din of war around them.

Accustomed from infancy to climb like squirrels, the Scotsmen clambered up the rocks, grasping weeds and tufts of grass,—finding assistance and support where other men would have found none; and in less space of time than I take to record it, they were all at the base of the bastion.

'Up and on! Forward, my brave Highland hearts!' cried Ronald Stuart, springing recklessly up the perilous ladder, waving his sword, and feeling in his mind the wild—almost mad—sensations of chivalry and desperation, which no man can imagine save one who has led a forlorn hope. 'Death or glory! Hurrah! the place is our own!' At that moment a twenty-four pounder was run through the embrasure and discharged above his head. It was so close, that the air of the passing ball almost stunned him; he felt the hot glow of the red fire on his cheek, and the deadly missile whistled over his bonnet, and boomed away into the darkness. Several fire-balls were tossed over the works by the French. These burned with astonishing brilliancy and splendour wherever they alighted,—even in the middle of water, where they roared, sputtered, and hissed like devils, but would not be quenched until they burned completely away.

Those which fell upon the rocks served to reveal the storming-party to the deadly aim of the defenders, and at the same time added to the singularity, the picturesque horror of the scene, by the alternate glares of red, blue, and green light which they shed upon the castled rock, the bristling bastions, the rushing river, the gleaming arms, and the bronzed features of men whose hearts the excitement of the moment had turned to iron. Unluckily, the first ladder planted against the breastwork broke, and the men fell heavily down.

Enraged at this discomfiture, Stuart leaped up the rocks again, though drenched with water,—but blows had been already interchanged. A second ladder had been planted by Macpherson, who leaped into an embrasure at the very moment a cannon was discharged through it, and he narrowly escaped being blown to pieces. With charged bayonets the resolute Highlanders poured in after him in that headlong manner which was never yet withstood, and a fierce conflict ensued, foot to foot, and hand to hand. From their lack of muscular power, the French are ever at disadvantage in such strife; and although many of the assailants here forced over the parapet and slain, the outworks were entirely captured in a few minutes. The Germans under old Blacier, who led them on with his sabre in one hand, and his meerschaum in the other, effected an entrance at one angle, while the Spanish officer commanding the reserve bravely carried another, finding it impossible to restrain his soldiers, whose triumphant shout of 'Santiago y Espana! Viva/' struck the French with dismay. Finding themselves attacked successfully on three points, they became distracted, and were driven tumultuously from bastion and palisade, after which their own cannon were wheeled round on them. Nevertheless they fought with the chivalrous courage of old France. The top of the keep was lined with chasseurs, who madly continued to pour down an indiscriminate fire of musketry on friends and foes, and the barbican was full of blood and corpses in five minutes. Brilliant fire-balls were also cast over, and the glare thrown by them on the bloody earth, the flashing weapons and powder-blackened visages of the combatants, produced an effect never to be forgotten by a beholder. Poor Blacier, who had been shot through the lungs at the moment he entered the court, hurled his sabre among the enemy and crawled away into a corner, where he smoked composedly as he bled to death,—or at least appeared to smoke. The Gascon major of the 105th was encountered by Alfonso de Castronuno, who at the second blow laid him dead at his feet, but almost at the same moment the Spaniard himself expired: a shot had passed through his heart. Remembering Louis Lisle, and animated by a bitter hatred against all who wore the same garb, the duke, with his cloak rolled round his left arm, and accoutred with sword and dagger, leaped among the Highlanders, calling on the French to follow; but no man obeyed. He would have been instantly bayoneted but for Ronald, who was the first man he encountered, and who ordered the soldiers to leave them hand to hand. In avoiding the duke's stiletto, Stuart stumbled over the corse of Castronuno, and would have been instantly despatched, but for the crossed bayonets of a dozen soldiers.

'Save him!' cried Stuart. 'Macpherson! Evan Bean! take him alive.' 'Haud!' cried Iverach sternly. 'Stand, ye black son o' the devil ! Back—back! or my bayonet's through ye in a twinkling.' But the furious Spaniard spat upon him in the bitterness of his fury, and the next moment his blood was reeking on Evan's weapon. He fell prone to the earth, and even while he lay choking in blood, he continued to curse and spit at the conquerors, until the Spaniards destroyed him by trampling him to death. The moment he fell, the French surrendered, after being hemmed into a corner, and finding it impossible to maintain the conflict longer. On both sides the slaughter was very great, and upwards of two hundred lay killed in the court or barbican. The chasseurs on the top of the keep did not yield until threatened that the place would be blown up ; on which they laid down their arms, and joined the other prisoners, who formed a sullen band, ranked in a corner and guarded by the Spaniards, for whom they showed their scorn and contempt so openly that three or four were killed.

Many of the captives were mere boys, poor conscripts, who only a month before had been compelled to resign the shovel for the musket; and some were the old and high-spirited soldiers of the Emperor,—stern fellows, with bronzed and scarred cheeks, rough moustaches, and mouths black with the cartridges they had bitten. They looked around them with an air of haughty pride, defiance, and nonchalance, which only a Frenchman can assume under such circumstances. When daylight dawned, Blacier was found lying dead. When last seen alive, he was sitting philosophically watching the pool formed by his blood; and thus he expired with his pipe in his mouth, an inveterate smoker to the last.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D.
Minister of Barony Parish, Glasgow; one of Her Majesty's Chaplains; Dean of The Chapel Royal; Dean of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of The Thistle.
By his brother The Rev. Donald MacLeod, B.A. (1876)

Got up five chapters this week covering...

Sabbath Controversy
Some Characteristics

Here is how the 1860-61 chapter starts...


AS the next twelve years were the last, so they were the most laborious and most important, of his life. In addition to his onerous pastoral duties, he now accepted the editorship of Good Words. The voluminous correspondence which that office entailed necessarily occupied much of his time; but, besides numerous minor articles, he contributed to its pages, between 1860 and 1870, "The Gold Thread," "The Old Lieutenant," "Parish Papers," "The Highland Parish," "Character Sketches," "The Starling," "Eastward," and "Peeps at the Far East," For the greater part of the same period he presided over the India Mission of the Church; and during its course he had more than once to engage in painful controversies on public questions, which, to a man of his temperament, were more exhausting than the hardest work.

He had removed during the previous year from Woodlands Terrace to his future home at 204, Bath Street; and here, as a refuge from interruption, he fitted up a little library over an outside laundry, which was, to the last, his favourite nook for study. His writing table was placed at a small window which he had opened at a corner of the room, where he could enjoy a glimpse of sky over the roofs of the surrounding houses. It was at the best only a spot of heaven that was visible, but such as it was, it afforded him some refreshment when, in the midst of his work, he caught a passing gleam of cloudland.

Those who were admitted to this "back study" will remember the quick look with which he used to turn from his desk to scan his visitor, and the unfailing heartiness with which, even in his busiest hours, the pen was cast aside, the small meerschaum lighted, and throwing himself on a couch covered with his old travelling buffalo robe, he entered upon the business in hand. But the continual interruptions to which he was exposed [Every forenoon there was quite a levee at bis house, consisting chiefly of the poor seeking his aid on all kinds of business, relevant and irrelevant. On these occasions his valued beadle, Mr. Lawson, acted as master of the ceremonies. One day when Norman was overwhelmed with other work, and the door-bell seemed never to cease ringing, some one said, "I believe that bell is possessed by an evil spirit." "Certainly," he answered, "Don't you know the Prince of evil spirits is called Bellzebub—from his thus torturing hard-worked ministers?"] and the pressure of literary engagements gradually drove him into the habit of working far into the night, and as he seldom failed to secure at least an hour for devotional reading before breakfast, his sleep was curtailed, to the great injury of his health.

Good Words was not projected by him but by the publishers, Mr. Strahan and his partner Mr. Isbister. When Mr. Strahan (to whose enterprise and genius as a publisher the magazine greatly owed its success) asked him to become its editor he for a time declined to accept a task involving so much labour and anxiety. But he had long cherished the conviction that a periodical was greatly required of the type sketched by Dr. Arnold, which should embrace as great a variety of articles as those which give deserved popularity to publications professedly secular, but having its spirit and aim distinctively Christian. The gulf which separated the so-called religious and the secular press was, in his opinion, caused by the narrowness and literary weakness of even the best religious magazines. He could see no good reason for leaving the wholesome power of fiction, the discussion of questions in physical and social science, together with all the humour and fun of life, to serials which excluded Christianity from their pages. His experience while conducting the Edinburgh Christian Magazine served only to deepen his desire to have an ably written periodical which would take up a manly range of topics, and while embracing contributions of a directly religious character, should consist mainly of articles "on common subjects, written," as Arnold said, "with a decidedly Christian tone."

From his Journal:—

"January 1, half-past 12.—Into Thy hands I commit my life, my spirit, my family, my all!

"I have had more pleasure in preaching this year than any year of my life. Sabbath after Sabbath I have had joy in the work, and have been wonderfully helped by God out of the pulpit and in it. I had my usual evening sermons with the working classes. But, strange to say, though it was a time of revival, and my heart longed for one, and a prayer-meeting was established for one, and I preached two months longer than usual, the results as to attendance and conversions were far poorer. I cannot yet account for this, except on the supposition that the good which flowed through this channel has gone through others into God's treasury. Amen.

[The following anonymous letter which he received expresses graphically the impression these services had on the poor.

"I hope you will excuse me, Sir, a poor woman, to address you, one of the greatest men of the City, but I feel so grateful for your unwearied kindness in preaching to us working-people many winters, just out of pure good will for the real good of our souls ; if the prayers of the poor are of any avail, I'm sure you have them heartily, you have no idea how proud we are to see yourself coining into the pulpit.

"I remember some of the lectures very well last winter on the Creation, on the fall of Man, the Flood, and Abraham offering up his son Isaac, and how delighted we were that night when you were on Lazarus, and Martha and Mary. I heard you on the mysteries of providence, and I understood it well, Sir, as I heard you mention how it was explained to yourself that night when you thought Mrs. Macleod was dying.]

"The editorship of 'Good Words' was given me. I did not suggest or ask the publication, and I refused the editorship for some time. On the principle, however, of trying to do what seems given me of God, I accepted it. May God use it for His glory!"

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The index page for the book is at

[Note: I have purchased a copy of "Good Words" which I will be bringing to you in the months ahead.]

Stan's War Memorials in Grampian
Stan has sent in this week the Aberchirder War Memorial at


Chapel of Garioch at 

This is the one with the abbreviations which he's needing some help with.

He also sent in a newspaper article about the Banffshire Maritime and Heritage Association entitled "Dalek leaves Doctor behind for MacDuff Mission" which you can see at

Doug Ross's Pictures from Scotland
Doug and Pat Ross have sent in five more chapters in their tour...

Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford House
St Andrews
Fort George

You can see these at

Frank Shaw Articles
This week Frank has sent in...

A Chat with Author Kay Shaw Nelson, the author of the Scottish-American Cookbook at

Got in a book review from Frank Shaw, Highlander and his books - "Whisky" at

This is a rare wee book consisting of only 135 pages of pure delight about whisky. (As a courtesy to our cousins across the pond, I will not spell whisky with an “e”!) The author, George Malcolm Thomson, used the pseudonym Aeneas MacDonald “in deference to his mother”. I was presented with this gem by my good friend, Dave McDaniel, a fellow Scot. We are both members of the St. Andrew’s Society of Atlanta. Dave wears a medallion acknowledging that he is the “Keeper of the Bar” for our society. He knows whisky and pours a mean dram!

Ian Buxton, one of the world’s greatest whisky authorities, in my opinion, has a 25-page “Appreciation” or introduction at the beginning of this epistle that, in and of itself, is worth the price of the publication. Mr. Buxton has brought this very readable book, first published in 1930, to our generation of readers and deserves the highest of accolades for doing so. The book cover flap brags, and justifiably so I might add, that this “is what everyone should know about the world’s noblest beverage”. After you’ve read it, you will be hard pressed to disagree.

WHISKY is one of the best works I have reviewed in the six plus years since beginning the column, A HIGHLANDER AND HIS BOOKS. Let me hasten to say this is not a volume “just” for men. Women will find it enjoyable, factual, and full of wit and interesting references, replete with historical anecdotes throughout. Discriminating readers, as well as discriminating drinkers, will find this manuscript of great value. You’ll love the book even if you do not drink whisky!

The name Aeneas MacDonald should resonate with all clan members, not just Clan MacDonald. Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott each play a part in the book. You’ll learn of the so-called “Squirrel” whisky produces an “irresistible desire to climb trees” and “Rabbit” whisky creates an impulse to leap and run.

You wouldn’t spend good money on bad whisky, and you will never, ever spend good money on a better reading whisky book! Need I say more as to how interesting you’ll find this book?

WHISKY by Aeneas MacDonald was re-published by Canongate Books Ltd, 14 High Street, Edinburgh, ISBN
I 84195 857 3, and costs 9.99 pounds. (FRS: 5-21-07)

Frank also sent in "A Chat with Ian Buxton, the author of Whisky" which you can read at

Scots Independent Newspaper
I got in my June 2007 copy of the Scots Independent Newspaper and felt that as it was the first issue since the SNP got elected it was an "historical" issue and so I took the liberty of taking pictures of the pages for you to read. You can see these at

I might add that on their "Flag in the Wind" section they do have a button where you can subscribe to the newspaper and get it delivered to you each month.

Galbraiths of the Lennox
Was sent in a reprint of this book by Bruce W. Galbraith (Galbraithbook.doc) which is in word format.

The account starts with...


In many modern notices of the Galbraiths, a great deal of ambiguity has crept in owing to inaccuracy in statements made about the early members of the family, e.g. in the "Memoirs of the House of Hamilton," by John Anderson, "Arthur, the father of William" and "Arthur, the son of Maurice" seem to be taken as the same person, and there are other misstatements in the same book.

The purpose of this inquiry is mainly to try to place in proper order the ancient ancestors of the Galbraiths so far as this can be done from the study of the charters in which the name appears, particularly the "Cartularium Comitatus de Levenax."

Some attempt will also be made to bridge, or at least to narrow, the gap separating the original families of Galbraith from the Culcreuch family, whose head became the chief of the Galbraiths about 1400, when Galbraith of Gartconnel died without leaving any male heir to succeed him. If this gap could be successfully bridged it would appear that some Galbraiths of the present day could show a line of generations, always bearing the same name, which few families in Scotland could rival. This does not mean that there are not other families who can show ancestors of greater antiquity, but, owing to the early system of patronymics, very few can claim ancestors, of the same surname, of greater antiquity.

It is strange that in more modern times the Galbraiths have never been recognized as a separate clan. In lists of clans they are usually known as septs or dependents of other clans, e.g. of the Macfarlanes and the Macdonalds. But in the year 1489, Thomas Galbraith of Culcreuch, who was hanged for taking part in a rising headed by the Earl of Lennox, Lord Lyle and others is called "Chieffe of the Galbraiths" by Sir James Balfour in his "Annals of Scotland." And in the Acts of the Scottish Parliament of 1587 and 1594, the Galbraiths are mentioned as a clan, along with many others, whose "brokin men" are accused of being "wickit thevis and lyrnmaris." (Vide, Historical Geography of the Clans of Scotland, by T. B. Johnston and Col. James R. Robertson, 3rd Edition 1899.) But they do not seem to have emerged as a later clan, like the other numerous clans of Scotland, including the Colquhouns and Buchanans, among whom they lived and with whom they intermarried.

It is not the place of a writer of a short family history such as this to dwell at any length on the more general aspects of Scottish history which can be found in other places. It is only necessary to indicate very briefly the state of the country as it was when the first persons to be dealt with appear upon the scene. For those who are interested in the history of the Lennox and the origin of the first Earls of that name it is only necessary for reference to be made to Sir William Fraser's book, "The Lennox." There the story will be found of the Lennox from Roman times and also details of the supposed origin of the Earls of Lennox. Fraser traces them from a Northumbrian noble, Archill by name, who was driven out from his country by William the Conqueror, and took refuge with Malcolm Canmore, who received him well, his descendant, Alwyn, becoming Earl of Lennox, about the middle of the 12th century. Fraser is careful to state that there were other opinions as to the descent of the first Earl—Skene holding that he had a Celtic and not a Saxon origin.

You can read this book at

Pictures from around the world
From time to time folk send me pictures they've taken on their trips around the world and am afraid that unless they are from Scotland I've usually not posted them up on the site. Well... I got another set of pictures in this week and I have decided to create a new section on the site where I will post them up on the site. I figured many Scots live all over the world so it might be nice to see areas that they might live.

So this new section means that if anyone out there would like to take pictures of their own area I'd be happy to post them up on the site. To start the section off I've posted up a collection of pictures from Derek in Chatham when he visited his son in the Banff area of British Columbia in Canada. You can see these at

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


With Electric Scotland's new site design it is now possible for you to advertise your company on all 150,000+ pages of our site. Email address and contact information can be found at 

You can see old issues of this newsletter at 

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

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

Return to Weekly Mailing List Archives


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

comments powered by Disqus