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Weekly Mailing List Archives
1st February 2008

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
Grower Flowers
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Household Encyclopaedia
Scottish Art Trading Cards
Scotland's historical links with Veere
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree

When I send out this newsletter I do get a fair number of "Out of Office" messages. I always read them as there is usually something of interest and I do notice some of you out there are taking far too many days off :-)

I wanted to share one message with you as it gave me a good laugh... it went something like this...

I am out of the office and am never coming back! I'm retired!!! YEAH!!! I can well imagine the enjoyment but just hope she remembers to re-subscribe to the newsletter from her non office address :-)

Last weeks newsletter went out with a new subject line "What's New on Electric Scotland this week" and for the first time in ages it didn't go into my spam folder. I thus hope this trend will continue and that more of you are now getting it.

Steve is working on a recipe program for the site where you'll be able to search for recipes but also add you're own ones. We hope to get it up in the next week for beta testing and if all goes well will make it available the following week.

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.

Grower Flowers [Advert]
Grower Flowers grow their own flowers in both Canada and the USA and offer a next day delivery service and a FREE vase. As Valentine's Day is approaching you might wish to check out their offerings at

They have a huge range of gift baskets for all occasions including special Valentine's baskets and so if you're too busy to do personal shopping for that special occasion then Grower Flowers is an excellent resource.

Electric Scotland has been working with Grower Flowers for over 3 years now and we've had many emails from our visitors saying how pleased they were with the service.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at 

It may have been Burns Night last Friday but the season continues for a wee while yet. We’re keen to have photos to display on Scotland on TV which show Burns Night being celebrated around the world. The page has started but we’d love to have more!

So, if you have photos or tales from your own Burns Supper, please do send them to us so that we can share them with the rest of the Scotland on TV community worldwide. The email details are on our site.

Scotland certainly isn't one of those places where January is a quiet month. With the Burns celebrations out of the way, here in Glasgow there are still a few days of the annual Celtic Connections music festival to go. We spoke to the artistic director about this year's line-up and were also privileged to meet with jazz guitarist Martin Taylor who appeared at this year's festival. Check out both our interviews here:

and here: 

And stv News made it up, through the blustery weather, to Lerwick, Shetland to report on this year's Up Helly Aa festival. Celebrated in Shetland since 1881, this Viking festival involves flaming torches intended to banish the January gloom and mark the beginning of the end of winter. The finale of the celebrations is the burning of a Viking longship - a spectacular sight.

And, as if that wasn't enough, this week we’re also looking forward to February and the Glasgow Film Festival. Now in its 4th year, it will offer 110 films, including 30 premieres over its 11 days.

And finally, some news about a change to the web TV channel. The more eagle-eyed of you may already have noticed that a new channel has appeared. So that everyone can see at a glance what's been newly added to the playlist, we have introduced the Most Recent Videos channel, take a look here:

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and he tells us that this is the 400th issue! Well done to Jim and all the regular compilers and to Peter Wright for his sterling work on the cultural section. Jim has I think put together the largest issue of The Flag with many interesting stories.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us...

Tomorrow (2 February 2008) is Candlemas, the first of the Scottish Quarter Days. It was traditionally the day that pupils used to give gifts to their schoolmasters – originally peat for heat or candles for light but this in time became siller or a cockerel.

Candlemas was originally a festival for the return of Spring held by the Romans in honour of Februa, the daughter of Mars. They carried torches through the city on February the first (the same date which was celebrated by the Celts as the first day of Spring). This festival was Christianized as the Purification of the Virgin Mary and was held on February the second. In medieval Scotland it was a day of pageants, processions and religious plays in honour of Our lady, as we can see from the Burgh Records of Aberdeen for 30 January 1505 –

‘The provest and baillies statut and ordanit that the said craftsmen and thair successoris sal in order to the Offering in the Play pass twa and twa togedir socialie; in the first the flesheris, barbouris, baxteris, cordinaris, skineris. Couparis, wrichtis, hatmakeris and bonatmakaris togider; walcaris, litstaris, wobstaris, tailyeouris, goldsmiths, blaksmithis, and hammermen; and the craftsmen sal furnyss the Pageants.’

Also from the North-East comes a rhyme to help us fix the date of Easter (alternatively just contact Jim Lynch!) –

‘First comes Cannlemas and syne the new meen,
The neist Tyesday efter that is Festern’s Een;
That meen out and the neist meen’s hicht,
And the neist Sunday efter that’s aye Pace richt.’

As this is being compiled on a cranreuch caul day prior to Candlemas, it is too early to know the outcome of the bittie Scottish weather lore which goes –

‘If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.’

February can be a snell month so this week’s recipe is designed to heat us all up! Carrot and Orange Soup is just the ticket.

Carrot and Orange Soup

Ingredients: 1 chopped onion; 1lb (450g) sliced carrots; 2 ozs (65 g or ½ stick) butter; 2 ozs (65 g or ½ cup) plain flour; 1 pint (600ml or two and a half cups) chicken stock; 1 pint (600ml or 2½ cups, scant) milk; 1 orange (juice and rind); Salt and pepper; 1 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 oz (one rounded tablespoon); chopped parsley

Method: Melt the butter and add the onions and carrots. Cook gently (without colouring) then stir in the flour and cook for a further 1/2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then simmer for 20/30 minutes. Liquidise before adding orange juice (including shredded rind) and reheat - but do not boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

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

Also Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for 31st Jan 2008 at

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

We are now on the Mac's with MacKay, MacKenzie, M'Kerlie, M'Kerrell and MacKinnon

Some more very good accounts of these major clans but again another catches the eye being M'Kerlie and here is how it starts...

M’KERLIE, the surname of an ancient family, originally of rank in Ireland, and settled for many centuries in Wigtownshire, where they held extensive estates. Their early history was in the possession of the monks of Crossraguel, Carrick, and lost when that monastery was destroyed. A Father Stewart, one of the monks in the 16th century, who left some writings, states, “the next great family are the Kerlies of Cruggleton, who being brave warriors stood boldly up for the independence of their country under Wallace, and it was one of their forefathers who, at a place called Dunmoir in Carrick, was particularly instrumental in giving the Danes a notable overthrow. He took Eric the son of Swain prisoner, for which service the king gave him lands in Carrick.” They took part in the Crusades, to which their armorial bearings, borne for centuries, specially refer, and sever traditions of adventurous exploits have been handed down. The loss of their early history can never be replaced. As corroborated by Felix O’Carroll, in his Translation of the chronicles of Tara, and History of the Sennachies, it is that the first Carroll (afterwards changed to Kerlie) who came from Ireland was a petty king or chief in that country. Fleeing to Scotland, he was hospitably received by the king, and had lands assigned to him in Galloway, where he lived in great splendour. Henry the minstrel, the biographer of Wallace about 1470, also states with reference to William Carroll or Kerlie, the compatriot of Wallace (with whom the change in the name is believed to have first occurred), that his ancestor accompanied David I. from Ireland, and having at Dunmoir in Carrick, with 700 Scots, defeated 9,000 Danes, had lands in Carrick, then a part of Galloway, now of Ayrshire, given to him for that service. Henry, however, is wrong as to the period, which is believed to have been either in the 9th or 10th century, when the Cruithne passed over to Galloway from Ireland.

Carroll was the original name, in Ireland O’Carroll, of which once powerful family more than one branch were petty kings or chiefs over different districts in the north of that country, even extending so far south as Meath, where were the hall and Court of Tara, as also Eile or Ely, now called King’s County, the chief of all being the arch king of Argiall. Since then (a peculiarity common with Galloway surnames) the name has been variously spelled at different periods, as Kerlé, Kerlie, M’Carole, M’Carlie, and M’Kerlie.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Tyrie at

Interesting wee story contained in this account...

Eminent Men.—The first individual connected with this parish, where history and fate possesses any degree of public notoriety and interest, is Mr Forbes of Boyndlie, a scion of the noble family of Pitsligo, the first possessor and builder of the first house of Boyndlie, and who was killed at the battle of Craibstone in 1575.

2. His descendant, John Forbes of Boyndlie, was taken prisoner on the 12th September 1644 at the battle of Aberdeen, by the celebrated Montrose; but was liberated shortly after on his parole of honour, to return in case he could not, along with his liberated fellow-prisoner, by the united influence with the Covenanters, procure the liberty of the young Laird of Drum, and also under the provisionary generous clause, not to return in case his captor should sustain a defeat before the stipulated period. With a spirit worthy of a man and a Christian, he, like Regulus, did return, upon finding insuperable obstacles in the way of the liberation of the stipulated prisoner. And when others, frightens by the apprehended dangers and privations of a winter's retreat, and perhaps a winter's campaign, amidst the wilds and fastnesses of the Highland mountains, were in crowds deserting Montrose, he nobly abode in the camp, determined to brave all things rather than break his plighted word. It is pleasing to record, that this honourable man died in peace and in honour at an advanced age, at his chateau in Cremar.

You can read the rest of this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at 

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger articles are continued week by week.

This week have added articles on...

Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 303-304)
A Journey by Sinai to Syria (Pages 305-309)
Latimer in the Pulpit (Pages 309-312)
Lady Somerville's Maidens (Pages 313-316)
Meditations on Heaven (Pages 317-319)
Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 319-320)

Here is how "Latimer in the Pulpit" starts...

The peculiarity of Latimer's preaching which we have next to notice, is the fact that he often brings into his discourses topics which, in these days, would be considered too secular in their character to be treated of from the pulpit. Our readers should recollect, however, that in Latimer's day there was no such person as the Thunderer of Printing-House Square. The newspaper press had no existence. If any injustice was committed by a magistrate, if any act of tyranny was perpetrated by a landlord, if any trickery was practised by a tradesman, the pulpit was really the only organ through which such iniquities could be exposed, denounced, and brought under the restraint of public opinion. The pulpit, in that day, had to discharge its own proper functions, and those now discharged by the platform and the press besides.

This apology, however, is perhaps unnecessary; for, notwithstanding the fact of our having the platform and the press, it is very questionable whether it would at all detract from the dignity of the pulpit, whether it would not add very considerably to the power and the usefulness of the pulpit, if Christian ministers condescended to notice every form of evil, as it is seen in the world of practical, every-day life. All kinds of injustice and wrong, whether on the part of great people or small, call forth Latimer's censures, and he is sometimes terribly severe. Even the king does not altogether escape.

It is true that sometimes Latimer used to flatter his sovereign; as, for example, when he says in Edward VI.'s presence, "Have we not a noble king? Was there ever a king so noble, so godly, brought up with so noble counsellors, so excellent and well-learned schoolmasters? I will tell you this, and I speak it even as I think, his Majesty hath more godly wit and understanding, more learning and knowledge, at this age, than twenty of his progenitors, that I could name, had at any time of their life." Well, this does sound rather fulsome, but it was not always thus that Latimer spoke before his sovereign. If there is anything of which a young man is impatient, and justly impatient, it is the interference on the part of others with regard to his choice of a wife; and to be publicly advised on such a matter would be intolerable. But Latimer thought it his duty, in one of his sermons, and in the presence of no one knows who, thus to address the king, hinting rather disagreeably at the king's father: "And here I would say a thing to your Majesty: . . For God's love beware where you marry; choose your wife in a faithful flock. Beware of this worldly policy. Marry in God; marry not for the great respect of alliance; for thereof cometh all these evils of breaking off wedlock which is among princes and noblemen."

And he not only ventures to give the king plain advice, he has the boldness to find fault with him occasionally. He is anxious that the young king should be industrious, that he should personally administer justice: "I require you, (as a suitor rather than a preacher,) look to your office yourself, and lay not all upon your officers' backs; receive the bills of supplication yourself; I do not see you do so now-a-days, as ye were wont to do the last year." The judges must have been a sorry lot in Latimer's time, or he would never have come out in this style : "If a judge should ask me the way to hell, I should shew him this way: first, let him be a covetous man; then let him go a little farther, and take bribes ; and, last, pervert judgment. There lacketh a fourth thing to make up the mess, which, so God help me, should be hangum tuum, a Tyburn tippet to take with him ; and it were the Judge of the King's Bench, or Lord Chief-Justice of England, yea, and it were my Lord Chancellor himself, to Tyburn with him." On the taking of bribes, he says in one of his sermons preached before the king, and probably in the presence of many of the judges, "A good fellow on a time bade another of his friends to a breakfast, saying, ' If you will come you shall be welcome, but I tell you beforehand, you shall have but slender fare, one dish, and that's all.' 'What is that?' said he. 'A pudding, and nothing else.' 'Marry,' quoth he, 'you cannot please me better; of all meats that is for mine own tooth; you may draw me round about the town with a pudding,' These bribing magistrates and judges follow gifts faster than the fellow would follow his pudding."

Here is another specimen of Latimer's attacks upon the magistrates: "Cambyses was a great Emperor. It chanced he had under him, in one of his dominions, a briber, a gift-taker, a gratifier of rich men ; he followed gifts as fast as he that followed a pudding; a hand-maker in his office, to make his son a great man, as the old saying is, ' Happy is the child whose father goeth to the devil.' The cry of the poor widow came to the Emperor's ear, and caused him to flay the judge quick (alive), and laid his skin in the chair of judgment, that all judges who should give judgment afterwards should sit in the same skin. Surely it was a goodly sign, a goodly monument! I pray God we may once see the sign of the skin in England."

You can read the rest of this at

You can read the other articles at 

Poetry and Stories
Donna sent in a poem, We Watched the Gulls Today, at

Added a picture of the cairn to Gordon, General Patrick (1635 to 1699) to our Grampian page at

Added Round Up 12 - SNP MEP Puts Scotland in Prestigious Euro Calendar and you can see the picture at

Added a wee article about John Malcolm who was awarded the Bronze Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea which you can read at

John sent in another doggerel, Mouse-icians, at

The History of Ulster
Have now started on volume 3 of this 4 volume set and have added this week...

XIX. The Cromwellian Settlement
XX. The Restoration
XXI. "New Presbyter" and "Old Priest"
XXII. The Arts of Peace in Ulster
XXIII. "The Old Order Changeth"

This is how "The Old Order Changeth" starts...

"When the historian of this troubled reign", wrote Macaulay, in reference to that of James II, "turns to Ireland, his task becomes peculiarly difficult and delicate." Macaulay wrote as an Englishman, and to him the work was rendered doubly difficult, if not delicate, by his lamentable lack of personal knowledge of Ireland and the Irish, and his consequent want of sympathy with a people of whose characteristics and aspirations he was wholly ignorant. The great historian's knowledge of Irishmen seems to have been largely derived from a study of Miss Edgeworth's stories, and he pathetically observes that in order to realize what the Irish were in the seventeenth century it is only necessary to study the national characteristics as depicted in the person of "King Corny " by a novelist of the nineteenth, and thus "form some notion of what King Corny's great-grandfather must have been". One might as well suggest that from a careful consideration of the character of James II some idea might be gathered of the character of his great-grandfather Henry Darnley! It is this lack of knowledge and sympathy which led Macaulay to depict the Irish as living in sties, and to contrast the "men who were fed on bread with the men who were fed on potatoes", with, of course, a verdict in favour of the former.

The Ireland of which James II became King was by no means a land filled with "squalid and half-naked barbarians", as Macaulay would have us believe. She was a land devastated by never-ending conflicts, and bore upon her features, save where they had been effaced by

The sweet oblivious tendencies
And silent over-growings of nature,

traces, in shattered fane and ruined tower, in prone walls and roofless dwellings, of the dire and ruthless deeds which had been done in her midst. But the recuperative power of Ireland is one of her most notable characteristics. A few years of peace and plenty restored to their pristine vigour a race which, Antaeus-like, arose refreshed from every overthrow. Ulster, which had from time immemorial been subject to the internecine feuds of the O'Donnells and O'Neills, and which later wellnigh suffered extinction at the hands of Mountjoy (her sons dying by hecatombs from starvation as well as the sword), survived to become a victim of Cromwell's sanguinary and merciless methods of warfare, and was now again prepared to hold her own against any foe however formidable!

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The previous 2 volumes can be read at 

Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)

This week we've added the following chapters...

Chapter LIX.
Musing without Method
Chapter LX.
The Landed Gentry
Chapter LXI.
Classes and Masses
Chapter LXII.
Political Currents and Eddies
Chapter LXIII.
Chapter LXIV.
Off to South Africa
Chapter LXV.
At Cape Town

Here is how the chapter on "London" starts...

THE first time I saw London was when I was sent on newspaper business to the opening of the Exhibition of 1862. As London was to be invaded by myriads of visitors from all countries of the world as well as from all parts of the United Kingdom, lodgings had been in good time secured for me in Aldersgate, which were very comfortable, and where my fellow lodgers were exhibitors from Manchester and Yorkshire. One day, however, when I continued my work in the Exhibition buildings so late that on coming out I saw the last of the conveyances driving off before I could reach it, I had to walk back on foot, and was saved from losing myself on the way by a strong sense of locality which made it pretty easy, either by night or by day, to find out places I had once seen without looking to street names or asking policemen.

As I represented two newspapers, I had two tickets of admission for the opening day, besides a season pass. One of the two tickets I gave to my landlord, who was so pleased with the little gift that he put himself in place of a guide, and went with me to see the Tower, the Guildhall, Covent Garden, the Docks, St Paul's, and various other places. My fellow lodgers and I, and our landlord got into the Exhibition buildings among the first, all in a batch, and had, therefore, a free choice of places. We stationed ourselves in what I may call a park of artillery, Armstrong guns, Krupp guns, and so on, near the platform. I perched myself on a field gun with our two exhibitors, and we had some trouble all day in so balancing ourselves as to keeput from playing tricks by swaying up and down. Its height gave us a wide view of the immense building, and we watched with interest how it filled up with people x as time went on. Our landlord sat below us on a big Krupp gun, which was solid and ugly enough for anything.

After a while came the splendid procession, and passed close to us to the platform, which also was very near at hand. Foreign Ambassadors, Ministers and ex-Ministers of State, men eminent in arts and sciences and literature, the Lord Mayor of London, and other chiefs of municipalities, in their robes and decorations, made that day a splendid muster. Then all eyes were concentrated on the royal personages who were to take the chief part in the formal opening ceremony. Owing to the recent death of Prince Albert neither the Queen nor any of her children could take part in the opening ceremony. The Duke of Cambridge was deputed to officiate, and he was supported right and left on the platform by the Prince of Prussia, afterwards the Emperor Frederick of Germany, the Queen's son-in-law, and by Prince Oscar of Sweden, who afterwards succeeded his elder brother and reigned long as Oscar II., but had the misfortune before his death to see, through no fault of his, Norway separated from Sweden.

Broad, burly, and of more than medium height as the Duke of Cambridge was, he was that day overtopped by the Prussian Crown Prince, a blonde giant and one of the handsomest of the sons of men, and by the dark and slimmer Prince Oscar of Sweden, who had inherited the French type of the Bernadottes. I gazed at him with peculiar interest on account of his name. His father, Oscar I. of Sweden and Norway, was the godson of Napoleon, who gave him the name of the finest hero of the Ossianic cycle of Gaelic poetry. But of all the Royal personages at the opening ceremony, the best known and best liked and most vigorously cheered by the huge crowd was the Princess Mary of Cambridge, who soon afterwards married the Duke of Teck.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The other chapters added so far can be read at the index page of the book at 

Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
by Major-General David Stewart (1822)

This week we've added further appendix entries...

T, Prejudiced Views of Highland Character
U, Lord President Forbes
V, Supposed Ferocity of the Highlanders
W, Disinterested Attachment, and Liberal Pecuniary Support afforded to Chiefs and Landlords when in Distress
X, Equality of Property, and Operation of the New Systems
Y, Report of Highland Convicts
Z, Ancient Cultivation
AA, Respectability and Independence of small Farmers in comparison with Day-labourers
BB, Comparative Produce from Cultivation, and from Land in the state of Nature
CC, Poor, and Poors' Funds

Here is the Appendix entry for "Ancient Cultivation" starts...

Of this there are numberless proofs in all parts of the Highlands. I remember many old people, who, in their youth, saw corn growing on fields now covered with heather. Among many traditions on this subject, there is one of a wager between my great grandfather and four Lowland gentlemen. These were the then Mr Smythe of Meth-ven, Sir David Threipland, Mr Moray of Abercairney, and Sir Thomas Moncrieff. The object of the wager was, who could produce a boll of barley of the best quality, my ancestor to take his specimen from his highest farm, and Sir David Threipland not to take his specimen from his low farms on the plains of the Carse of Gowrie, but from a farm on the heights. Marshal Wade, who was then Commander in Chief, and superintending the formation of the Highland roads, was to be the umpire. Methven produced the best barley, Sir Thomas Moncrieff the second, my relation the third, Abercairney the fourth, and Sir David Threipland the fifth and most inferior quality. This happened in the year 1726 or 1727. It is said that the season was uncommonly favourable for high grounds, being hot and dry. The spot which produced the Highland specimen is at the foot of the mountain Shichallain, and is now totally uncultivated, but of a deep rich soil, only requiring climate and shelter with planting to produce the best crops. Some hundred yards farther up the side of the mountain, and more than 1400 feet above the level of the sea, the traces of the plough are clear and distinct; also the remains of in-closures and mounds of stones, which had been cleared away from the lands, when prepared for cultivation in more ancient times. In the present state of the climate and the country, bare and unsheltered from the mountain-blast, those fields, once smiling with verdure, woods, (the underground roots of which still exist in vast quantities), and cultivation, now present the aspect of a black desolate waste. This extension of early cultivation was the more necessary from the numerous population, of which there are so many evident traces. Although the more remote ages are called pastoral, the value and importance of cultivation seem to have been well appreciated. Forest trees of large size have flourished on those high mountains, as is fully proved by their remains, which are still found in mosses more than 1500 feet above the sea. Recent experience, in several instances, has shown, the Scotch fir and Alpine larch will prosper in those high regions.

You can read the rest of this at

You can read the other chapters at 

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
This week have added The Old and Remarkable Walnut Trees in Scotland and here is how it starts...

Whatever difference of opinion may exist in the minds of arboriculturists as to the indigenous nature of some other species of hard-wooded trees to Scotland, or even to Britain, there can be no doubt regarding the walnut having been an importation and a foreign acquisition to our Sylva. Old and large examples at the present day are few in number, and, like the Spanish chestnuts,—with which in point of introduction the walnut seems to be coeval,—are generally found around ruined monastic buildings and foundations, or adjoining the castellated remains of the strongholds of feudal barons of the Middle Ages, in sites which appear to have been carefully selected, with due regard to prominence and yet shelter, where the cherished nut tended with care, and probably the memento of some distant pilgrimage, might remind the old monk of some foreign shrine, or recall to the memory of the gallant knight-errant in after years in his native land, the grateful shade and refreshing fruit of its parent tree, under whose umbrageous branches he had rested after the toils of the battle-field. Some authorities ascribe the introduction of the walnut to the Romans during their occupation of Britain, but however this theory may hold good as regards the southern parts of England, it cannot be supported by either fact or inference, if we take the oldest survivors in Scotland as living witnesses, or notice the total absence of all traces of any remains, or even of later specimens existing at or near to any Roman station in Scotland.

Few, if any, walnuts appear to have existed in this country, north of the Tweed, earlier than about the year 1600. It is a curious fact, that Dr Walker, who wrote his Catalogue after about forty years of patient compilation, mentions only four " remarkable " walnut trees in Scotland, and Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in 1826 adds none to the list which the old Professor had collected. The cause of this scarcity of good examples existing in Scotland about the beginning of the century will be afterwards referred to, and probable reasons assigned for it, but meantime, we may glance at these old walnuts noticed and recorded by Walker, and endeavour to identify any of them at the present day, and notice their growths and condition. It should be observed also, that the otherwise very fastidious arborist and collector Dr Walker condescends to notice in his scanty list, three trees of no notable size whatever, thus showing that very few trees of dimensions worth recording were known to him from 1760 to 1790 ; and so minute and exacting an inquirer into all nature's secrets was Dr Walker, that if many fine trees of the walnut species had then existed in this country, even at wide and distant points, his industrious and intelligent investigations would have led him to them, and he would have certainly discovered and recorded them. Walker's first mentioned walnut is one growing in the garden at Lochnell in Argyleshire, which, in July 1771, girthed 3 feet 3 inches at 4 feet from the ground, and was 25 feet in height, and was then known to be exactly thirty-six years old. It is to be regretted that repeated inquiries made as to the existence and condition and size of this tree at the present day, for the purpose of this paper, have been met with no response regarding it.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other articles can be read at

Household Encyclopaedia
I have added a few more pages to the B's which you can see at

The index page of this publication can be seen at

Scottish Art Trading Cards
Margo has done some Scottish Art Trading Cards which you can print out on 2.5" x 3.5" cards and build them into a collection. These are great for kids and also anyone interested in collecting cards. We have the second 10 up at

Scotland's historical links with Veere
Throughout the coastal towns and villages of France, Belgium, Scandinavia and the Baltic States are to be found almost forgotten historical links with Scotland. One of the least known to Scots perhaps, but not to the Dutch is the link with the picturesque little town of Veere.

Veere is in Zeeland, near Middelburg on the now landlocked ‘island’ of Walcheren. It has a small picturesque harbour, which once gave direct access to the North Sea. Old fortifications have defined its layout, dominated by the huge Church of Our Lady (Grote Kerk) and by the elegant Late Gothic Town Hall. Many buildings recall a prosperous period in the town’s history when it was the centre of the wool trade with Scotland and Scottish merchants lived here.


In the 12th century, wool production in Scotland and England began to outstrip domestic demand, so the Cistercian monks of Melrose exported Scottish wool dutyfree to Flanders. This right was formalised in 1407 by a decree of the Duke of Burgundy which created the office of Conservator of Scottish Privileges in the Low Countries. Huge amounts of wool were exported for manufacture into cloth in the Low Countries, France and German towns on the North and the Baltic Seas.

Founded as a fishing port in 1296, Veere soon made contact with Scottish ports and exchanged all kinds of goods. At this time, Scottish wool was exported to Bruges, but when the River Zwin silted up the ports of entry, Damme and Sluis, could no longer be navigated. Despite all the efforts of Bruges to retain the Scottish Wool Staple the Conservator of Scottish Privileges, Sir Alexander Napier, eventually transferred his Office and Staple Court to Middelburg in 1518. Another factor in this move was the growing pressure from Spain and France to assert the Roman Catholic rite in Flanders. When this pressure began to be felt in Middelburg, the Staple was again moved in 1541 to Veere, where the local people sympathised with the Calvinist views of the Scottish trading community.

You can read the rest of this account and find a link to a web site of the area at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
You can find the February issue at

Lots of interesting stories as usual and in Section 1 you'll find a huge account of "Why would Americans want Armorial Bearings".

In Section 2 an equally interesting article about "Artworks of the Earth and an Orkney Arts Adventure" along with many pictures.

All in all an excellent read :-)

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


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