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4th April 2008

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

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
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
Article Service
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Clan Information
Poetry and Stories
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
Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format - 5 volume publication this week!
The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the Tenth Century (new book)
Fallbrook Farm
Sketches of Early Scotch History
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Parliamentary Register 29 July 1587

As I write this I am in Toronto to take part in Scotland week.  Tonight we'll be at the CN Tower with Linda Fabiani, Scotland's Minister for Culture and also the Lord Provost of Glasgow. I'm told the Scottish Studies Foundation will be filming the event and will produce a DVD of the event.  Once I get my hands on a copy I'll post it up on the site.

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 or on our site menu.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at 

This week is Scotland Week, with Tartan Day being celebrated across the globe this coming Sunday. Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, launched the Scotland Week and Tartan Day events back in March and this week sees the culmination of all that planning and preparation. 

As part of Scotland Week, award-winning Edinburgh chef, Tom Kitchin has travelled to New York to promote Scotland and its wonderful produce. He's been cooking Scottish food with a modern twist, including Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. Kitchin was awarded a prestigious Michelin Star last year and whilst in NYC, he has been promoting Scottish cooking by holding a number of demonstrations, including one at Bloomingdales department store in Manhattan. stv News caught up with Tom before he headed across the Atlantic:

Jim LynchThis weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and I think this must be the largest content week ever with lots of great articles and Jim even added a wee humour story...

As boys we used to love standing listening to the old men talking at the various street corners in the village. One old worthy, who had fought in both World Wars, used to keep us well amused.

“Aye,” he said one night whilst in WW2 mode, “We showed the Germans at Dunkirk. By jove and we didn’t half!”

“But Donnie,” we protested, “Dunkirk was the biggest retreat in British history. How could we have ‘showed them’?”

“Oh we showed them all right. The stupid b******s thought we were going to turn and fight, but we showed them!”

‘Brutain’s hardy sons’, as Para Handy would have said!

In Peter's cultural section I thought I'd include his Dates in History for a change...

4 April 1609
The various clans forming Clan Chatton met at a house called Termit on Petty Ridge to renew their confederation of mutual support first created in 1397 after the Battle of the North Inch. ‘The Bond of Union’ was witnessed by the Inverness provost, the burgh clerk and the Petty minister. Clan Chatton which included MacPhersons, Macintoshes and MacGillvrays were loyal supporters of the Stewarts. The ‘Bond of Union’ was renewed in 1664 and extended to include the Farquharsons for the first time.

Bill McLaren4 April 2007
Fifteen Royal Navy sailors and marines, including Marine Danny Masterton from Muirkirk, were released by the Iranian Government after 13 days in captivity. They were seized on the grounds that their boat had entered Iranian waters.

5 April 1296
John Balliol, King of Scots, formally renounced his homage to King Edward I of England.

6 April 2002
Outstanding Rugby Union television commentator Hawick’s Bill McLaren, the ‘Voice of Rugby’, made his last Six Nation’s commentary – Wales v Scotland from the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, which Scotland won 27-22. His official retirement after 50 years broadcasting followed coverage of the Melrose sevens and Wales’ June tour to South Africa.

7 April 1996
Gay Rights activists attacked Cardinal Thomas Winning after he compared homosexuality to a physical handicap.

Alex Arthur 8 April 2005
Edinburgh’s Alex Arthur regained the vacant British superfeatherweight title and Commonwealth belt when he knocked out Craig Docherty, Glasgow, in the 9th round. In the biggest all-Scots contest in 32 years (Buchanan v Watt 1973), Alex Arthur won a Lonsdale Belt outright.

9 April 1992
The Conservatives, under Prime Minister John Major, won a fourth successive term in office at Westminster when they triumphed at the General Election – but with a greatly reduced majority of 21. In Scotland Labour won 49 seats (39%), Conservatives 11 seats 925.6%), Scottish National Party 3 seats (21.5) and Liberal Democrats 9 seats (13.1).

10 April 1664
Andrew Honyman was consecrated as Bishop of Orkney: he succeeded Bishop Sydserf.

10 April 2007
St Andrews University was awarded £449,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a new museum.

Peter must have the largest collection of dates in history for Scottish matters anywhere in the world. You can his collection at

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

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary is not available this week.

The Article Service
More interesting articles in this week including the full translation of the Declaration of Arbroath.

See these at

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

We are now onto the M's with Merce, Meston, Methven, Mickle, Middleton and Mill.

An amazing writer was James Mill and here is the account of him.

MILL, JAMES, the historian of British India, was born in the parish of Logie-Pert, Forfarshire, April 6, 1773. The early part of his education he received at the grammar school of Montrose, on leaving which, through the patronage of Sir John Stuart, baronet, of Fettercairn, one of the barons of the exchequer in Scotland, on whose estate his father occupied a small farm, he was sent to the university of Edinburgh to study for the church. In 1800, after being licensed as a preacher, he went to London as tutor in Sir John Stuart’s family, and, settling in the metropolis, he devoted himself to literary and philosophical pursuits. By his powerful and original productions, as well as by the force of his personal character, he soon earned for himself a high reputation as a writer. During the first years of the Edinburgh Review, he contributed to it many articles on Jurisprudence and Education, and he was also the author of a number of masterly papers in the Westminster, the London, the British, the Eclectic, and Monthly Reviews. In politics he belonged to the Radical party, and among other articles which he wrote for the Westminster Review were the celebrated ones ‘On the Formation of Opinions,’ in No. 11, and ‘On the Ballot,’ in No. 25.

About 1806 he commenced his ‘History of British India,’ which occupied a considerable portion of his time for more than ten years, and was published about the end of 1817, in three volumes 4to. The information contained in this valuable work, with the author’s enlarged views on all matters connected with India, tended greatly to the improvement of the administration of our empire in the East, and induced the East India company to appoint him in 1819 to the second situation in the examiner’s office, or land revenue branch of the administration, at the India House. On the retirement of Mr. William M’Culloch, he became head of the department of correspondence with India. In 1821 Mr. Mill published his ‘Elements of Political Economy,’ containing a clear summary of the leading principles of that science. In 1829 appeared, in two vols. 8vo, his ‘Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind,’ a work on which he bestowed extraordinary labour, and which displayed much philosophical acuteness. Besides these works he contributed various valuable articles to the Supplement of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, principally on Government, Legislation, Education, Jurisprudence, Law of Nations, Liberty of the Press, Colonies, and Prison Discipline, which were also published as separate treatises. In 1835 he produced, without his name, his ‘Fragment on Mackintosh,’ in which he severely criticizes Sir James Mackintosh’s ‘Dissertation on the History of Ethical Philosophy.’ Mr. Mill died of consumption, June 23, 1836, and was buried at Kensington, where he had resided for the last five years of his life. He left a widow and nine children.

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 Kemnay at

Here is the extent of the Parish...

Extent.— The measurement of the estate of Kemnay, according to the last survey, is 3306 acres and a fraction; that of Lord Kintore's property in the parish, 524 acres and a fraction; several hundred acres are covered with thriving plantations. The whole parish was the property of the Earl of Kintore, and of our only residing land-holder, John Burnett, of Kemnay, Esq., till of late when Lord Kintore was authorized by law to sell part of his entailed Kemnay property to Colonel Fraser of Castlefraser, for the redemption of his land-tax. Kemnay is from 4 to 5 miles in length, but, being of an irregular figure, it is not easy to ascertain its mean breadth, which may be perhaps nearly three miles.

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 

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

Wat the Prophet by James Hogg

And here is how the story starts...

About sixty years ago there departed this life an old man, who, for sixty years previous to that, was known only by the name of Wat the Prophet. I am even uncertain what his real surname was, though he was familiarly known to the most of my relatives of that day, and I was intimately acquainted with his nephew and heir, whose name was Paterson, yet I hardly think that it was the prophet’s surname, but that the man I knew was a maternal nephew. So far, I am shortcoming at the very outset of my tale, for in truth I never heard him distinguished by any other name than Wat the Prophet.

He must have been a very singular person in every respect, In his youth he was so much more clever and acute than his fellows, that he was viewed as a sort of phenomenon, or rather "a kind of being that had mair airt than his ain.” It was no matter what Wat tried, for either at mental or manual exertion he excelled; and his gifts were so miscellaneous, that it was no wonder his most intimate acquaintances rather stood in awe of him. At the sports of the field, at the exposition of any part of Scripture, at prayer, and at mathematics, he was altogether unequalled. By this, I mean in the sphere of his acquaintance in the circle in which he moved, for he was the son of a respectable farmer who had a small property. In the last-mentioned art his comprehension is said to have been truly wonderful. He seemed to have an intuitive knowledge of the science of figures from beginning to end, and needed but a glance at the rules to outgo his masters.

But this was not all. In all the labours of the field his progress was equally unaccountable. He could with perfect ease have mown as much hay as two of the best men, sown as much, reaped as much, shorn as many sheep, and smeared as many, and with a little extra exertion could have equalled the efforts of three ordinary men at any time. As for ploughing, or any work with horses, he would never put a hand to it, for he then said he had not the power of the labour himself. How ever unaccountable all this may be, it is no fabrication; I have myself heard several men tell, who were wont to shear and smear sheep with him, when he was a much older man than they, that even though he would have been engaged in some fervent demonstration. in spite of all they could do,"he was aye popping off twa sheep, or maybe three, for their ane."

You can read the rest of this story at

The other stories can be read 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...

What Has Been Done in the Fiji Islands (Pages 408-411)
A Door Opened in Heaven (Pages 411-415)
Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 415-416)
The Deformed Child (Pages 417-418)

The account of The Deformed Child is a poem and I thought you might like to read the entire poem here...

When Summer days are long and warm, they set my little chair
Without the door, and in the sun they leave me sitting there;
Then many thoughts come to my mind, that others never know,
About myself and what I feel, and what was long ago.

There are no less than six of us, and all of them are tall
And stout as any you may see, but I was always small:
The neighbours look at me and say, I grow not with the rest;
Then Father strokes my head and says, The least are sometimes best.

But hearing I was not like them, within my head one day
It came (strange thoughts that children have!) that I'd been changed away!
And then I cried—but soon the thought brought comfort to my mind,
If I were not their own, I knew they could not be so kind.

For we are happy in our home as ever people were,
Yet sometimes Father looks as if his heart was full of care:
When things go wrong about the house, then Mother vex'd will be;
But neither of them ever spoke a cross word unto me.

And once, when all was dark, they came to kiss me in my bed,
And though they thought I slept quite sound, I heard each word they said.
"Poor little thing! to make thee well, we'd freely give our all;
But God knows best!" and on my cheek I felt a warm tear fall.

And then I long'd to sit upright, and tell them not to fret,
For that my pains were not so bad, I should be stronger yet;
But as the words came to my lips, they seem'd to die away,
And then they drew the curtain close, and left me as I lay.

And so I did not speak at all, and yet my heart was full,
And now, when I am sick and ill, for fear it makes them dull
To see my face so pale and worn, I creep to Father's side,
And press it close against his own, and try the pain to hide.

Then upon pleasant Sundays in the long warm evening hours,
Will Father take me in his arms among the fields and flowers;
And he'll be just as pleased himself to see the joy I'm in,
And Mother smiles and says she thinks I look not quite so thin.

But it is best within the house when nights are long and dark,
And two of brothers run from school, and two come in from work;
And they are all so kind to me, the first word they will say
To Mother at the door will be, "Has Bess been well to-day?"

And though I love them all so well, one may be loved the best,
And brother John, I scarce know why, seems dearer than the rest;
But tired and cross as I may feel, when he comes in at night
And takes me on his knee and chats—then everything is right!

When once, I know, about some work he went quite far away,
Oh! how I wished him back again and counted every day;
And when, the first of all, I heard his foot upon the stair,
Just for that once I long'd to run and leave my little chair!

Then when I look at other girls they never seem to be
So pretty as our Hannah is, or half so neat as she;
But she will soon be leaving us, to settle far away
With one she loves, and who has loved her well this many a day.

I sometimes think because I have few pleasures, and no cares,
Wherewith to please or vex myself, they like to tell me theirs;
For sister talks to me for hours, and tells me much that she
Would never breathe unto a soul unless it were to me.

One night, when we were quite alone, she gave the fire a stir,
And shut the door, and showed the ring that William bought for her,
And told me all about her house, and often she has said,
That I shall come to live with them, when she and William wed.

But that I think will scarcely be, for when our Hannah goes,
What we shall do for want of her, not one among us knows;
And though there is not much in me, the place she leaves to fill;
Yet something may be always done, where there is but the will.

Then the kind doctor says, and he is very seldom wrong,
That I some day, when no one thinks, may grow both stout and strong
And should I be, through all my life, a care unto my friends;
Yet Father says, there are worse cares than God Almighty sends!

And I will think of this, and then I never can feel dull,
But pray to God to make me good, and kind, and dutiful;
And when I think on Him that died, it makes my heart grow light,
To know that feeble things on earth are precious in His sight!

D. G.

You can read the other articles at 

Clan Information
Got in the April 2008 newsletter from Clan Munro of Australia which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
Further articles have been added to our Articles Service where the likes of Donna have been adding poems and stories at 

Got in "Auld Jock Jack" another doggerel in from John Henderson and for a change here it is to read here...

Lyrics composed by John Henderson on 27th March, 2008,
to the old fair-ground tune, 'Calliope Stars".

Ae day fan his sillar ran oot,
Auld Jock Jack wonner'd fit shid be roupit;
He cwid sell his coos an his bul,
Or his shaltie an cairt tae boot.
"Och life's a fair scunner, he mained,
Nae yin tents gin fowks the liks o' me are trachled;
Bit there'll come the day thit they'll feel the pinch an aa,
An fit it's lik tae be wi age an poortith shackled."

Sae aff tae the mairket he gaed
Wi' teem cairt an his shaltie fur roupin;
The laird micht jist coff baith o them
Fur tae cairry his braw faavour'd maid.
"Ay, life's a fair scunner, he girned,
Nae yin tents gin fowks the liks o' me are trachled;
Bit there'll come the day thit they'll feel the pinch an aa,
An fit it's lik tae be wi age an poortith shackled."

An syne fan the haimmer banged doon,
Twis the laird fa hid baetin aa ithers;
Tho' Jock pooched echt poonds he wis dool
As he wauk'd hame wi'oot leukin roon.
"Ay, life's a fair scunner, he frooned,
Nae yin tents gin fowks the liks o' me are trachled;
Bit there'll come the day thit they'll feel the pinch an aa,
An fit it's lik tae be wi age an poortith shackled."

It teuk him a whilie oan fit
Tae win back tae his cottage an feedle,
Fan a sicht fur sair een steed there prood,
Faar his shaltie an cairt hid been pit.
"Losh, life's fu surpreeses," he lauched,
As he keeked at the note oan his cairt stacken,
An saw mony freens'd bocht them back fae the laird,
Nae likin auld Jock Jack wi age an poortith braken.

I might add that John also includes a midi or wav music file with his doggerels to match the words.

"Oot O' The World and into Kippen". Our thanks to John Henderson for sending in this excellent poem. The situation of the village is so sequestered that a common saying of the country folks is as above. The phrase is the title of the following imaginative lines composed by Stewart Alan Robertson, M.A., English Master at The High School of Stirling, (1896-1904), and are supposed to be spoken by a husband to his wife, both natives of the "Kingdom," dwelling in New York. You can read this at

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

We have now completed this 2 volume publication with...

National Corps and Garb
Volunteers and Local Militia
Appendix - Tables of Killed and Wounded

Here is how the National Corps and Garb starts...

Although so much has been already said about national corps, distinguished by their garb, or otherwise, I may still add a few observations on the effect the Highland regiments have had in directing the notice of the public to the military character of Scotland, which is now so much blended with the sister kingdom, that, while we hear of the English Parliament, and the English Navy and Army, Scotland is never once mentioned. In the great naval victories of Britain, we have never heard of Scotch sailors; and were it not for those corps distinguished by national marks, the northern part of the kingdom would have been as low in military as in naval fame, and as unnoticed at Alexandria and Waterloo as at Aboukir and Trafalgar. In Keith's and Campbell's corps in Germany in the Seven Years' War, 1200 Highlanders gave celebrity to the warlike character of Scotland; at the same time that, calculating from the usual proportions, there were at least 3000 Scotch soldiers intermixed with the English regiments under Prince Ferdinand; but, although each of these men had been as brave as Julius Caesar, we should never have heard a syllable of Scotland. Fortunately, however, there was no mistaking "the brave band of Highlanders," with their plaids and broadswords. The assault of St Sebastian was most desperate, and called forth stronger proofs of resistless intrepidity and perseverance, than almost any other achievement in the Peninsular Campaigns. On that occasion there were (besides the commander, General Graham of Balgowan, Generals James Leith, John Oswald, Andrew Hay, and many others) three times the number of Scotch officers and soldiers belonging to the different regiments engaged, that there was at Arroyos de Molinos, where the Gordon Highlanders were engaged, and where a detachment of the French army was surprised and dispersed. This was a mere skirmish in comparison of the assault at St Sebastian, in which Scotland was never mentioned, while the other affair, in which the men were distinguished by the Highland garb, is introduced into the ballads of the country, and the tune of "Hey Johnnie Cope" has gained additional celebrity by being played that morning, when the piper struck up the advance, in quick time, to the attack. It is well known that no regiment was more distinguished in the Duke of Wellington's campaigns than the late 94th, or Scotch Brigade, a great proportion of the men, and two-thirds of the officers of which were Scotch, and yet that courage, of which the French saw so many examples, never furnished them with one idea favourable or unfavourable to Scotland; because the Scotchmen had not a distinguishing mark. Neither the enemy nor our allies could know from what country they came. In short, if there were no Scotch regiments, and no Highland uniform, we should hear no more of the military character than we do of the naval exploits of Scotland. There might be, as there always have been, many individual instances of distinguished merit, but there would be no national character.

You can read the other chapters at 

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1884
This week have added two articles...

Wintering Hill Sheep
On Developing the Oyster Fisheries of Scotland

Here is how the account of Wintering Hill Sheep starts...

The winter management of hill flocks has ever been a subject of supreme importance to the pastoral farmer, and when we consider the vast extent of hill and mountain land devoted to the rearing of sheep, it becomes apparent that we cannot too highly value a thorough knowledge of the best methods of bringing hill flocks through severe winters. From time to time, as far back as we have any record, periodical disasters through severe winters have occurred, and sometimes swept the hills of their entire flocks, or left them in an almost ruined condition. Whether the accounts given of the storms which prevailed during last century are authentic or exaggerated, we are scarcely able to judge. In any case, they are pictures of woeful destruction. One of the most remarkable on record is known as the "thirteen drifty days," which happened about the year 1620. During all that time, it is said, the storm never once abated. The frost was intense, and about the fifth or sixth day the young sheep began to fall into a sleepy and torpid state, and all those that were so affected in the evening died over night. The shepherds built high semicircular walls with the dead, to shelter the remainder of the living, but their efforts were of little avail. Large mis-shapen walls of dead, surrounding a small prostrate flock, likewise all dead, and frozen stiff in their lairs, were all that remained to cheer the forlorn shepherd and his master. But of all the storms, says Hogg, " which Scotland ever witnessed, or I hope ever will again behold, there are none of them that can once be compared with the memorable 24th January 1794, which fell with such peculiar violence on that division of the south of Scotland that lies between Crawford Muir and the Border. In that bounds there were 17 shepherds perished, and upwards of 30 carried home insensible, who afterwards recovered, but the number of sheep that perished far outwent any possibility of calculation. One farmer alone lost 72 scores, and many others from 30 to 40 scores each." From the number of sheep, as well as shepherds that perished on these occasions, we conclude several of the storms experienced during last century were of a more dreadful character than any that have occurred in this or the previous generation. It was no wonder the "Ettrick Shepherd" so truthfully portrayed them "as constituting the various eras in the pastoral life—as the red lines in the shepherd's calendar; the remembrancers of years and ages that are past— the tablets of memory by which the ages of his children, the times of his ancestors, and the rise and downfall of families can be ascertained. Even the progress of improvement in Scotch farming can be traced traditionally from these, and the rent of a farm or estate given with precision before and after such and such a storm." Whether the winters are as severe now as formerly, we cannot very well prove. The old folks say no; and we are inclined to credit this belief so far, from the fact that since draining and other improvements have been effected, the snow does not now accumulate to so great a depth. Still, we do not consider them materially milder, as even yet, with all our skill, the winter losses are by no means light; and were we to care for the flocks in the same way as they did of old, very similar results would follow.

Advancing prices for sheep in the early part of the century, together with a series of severe winters, were probably the means of awakening hill farmers to consider what means they could adopt to save their flocks from winter starvation. Greater attention was also paid to their breeding, but, from the oldest shepherds now living, we learn that progress both in the arts of feeding and breeding was exceedingly slow and primitive. In sheep farming, however, as in other industries, great advances have been made during this century. Farms have been fenced, pastures renovated, food and shelter provided, and the breeds of sheep improved in a wonderful degree. The present types of sheep are greatly different from the originals, and far superior both as mutton and wool producers. But with both Cheviots and blackfaces this improvement has meant a certain loss of hardiness. Some breeders are slow to admit this fact, but amongst hill sheep there is unfortunately abundant proof of less robustness. This makes the sheep more difficult to winter, as those who bred them too big for their land have experienced, and are now changing from one breed to another. Hill land can only carry sheep of a certain grade, and whenever they are bred above that point, the sheep will suffer, unless their wants be artificially supplied. Not a few Cheviots have been bred too fine for the conditions under which they are compelled to exist, and although many have found a substitute in the blackfaces, it is not too soon to take warning so as to prevent a similar mistake. In the management of hill flocks their breeding is a vital point, and unless it be zealously guarded, all other efforts will fail in keeping them profitably.

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

Page 155
Brown Boots, Brown Boot Polish, Brown Bread, Brown Bread Pudding, Brown Holland, Browning, Brown Johnnie Pudding, Brown Paper, Brown Rot, Brown Scale, Bruise
Page 156
Brush, Brussels Carpet, Brussels Sprouts
Page 157
Brussels Sprout, Brussels Sprout Soup, Bubble and Squeak, Bucket, Buckram, Buckskin, Budgerigar, Buffet, Buff Knife, Buff-Tip Moth, Bug, Bugle
Page 158
Buhl, Building: The Legal Aspect, Building Society

The index page of this publication can be seen at 

Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format
I said I'd do my best to add a book each week and so this week I've added...

The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland
From the Twelfth to Eighteenth Century
By David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross (1887)

Saw this review on so thought I'd include it here...

Absolutely magnificent, these intrepid architects travelled the length and breadth of Scotland at the tail end of the 19th c making detailed architectural drawings of as many of Scotland's castles as they could. This is the ultimate reference work for all those interested or writing about Scottish castles, or their architecture.

In five hard back volumes, you will be astounded by the detail and amount of information provided, complete with historical data.

The introductory chapters of Volume 1 detail the development of castle architecture throughout Europe, before concentrating on the Scottish style. The remainder of the work details specific castles, before providing appendices in Volume 5 on secondary subjects, such as town houses, churches, sundials, and Master Masons.

A required reference for castle enthusiasts anywhere.

As this is a huge collection to download I have made available a .pdf file of the index of the whole works taken from Volume 5. I figured if you were interested in a particular castle then getting this index would save you from downloading the whole set.

Electric Scotland would like to acknowledge the kind permission given by Birlinn Limited, the publishers of the reprint of these volumes, to publish their volume 4 to complete this set for inclusion in our web site. Note that the quality of the adobe file is not representative of the quality of print of the actual volume as we've compressed it to make it easier to download.

You can read the 5 volumes at

The index page for this section can be reached at

The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Edited by W. Stanford Reid

This week have added two chapters...

The Scot as Farmer and Artisan by J. A. Mclntyre

Here is how this chapter starts...

The objective in this chapter is to show the part played by Scottish farmers and artisans in the shaping of Canada in its formative years. Two periods of time will be discussed: the early years of settlement and the years from 1800 to 1867, the later period receiving most attention. Even for this period, however, it is possible at this juncture to present only an impressionistic picture for lack of data: a broad, sweeping sketch of where the immigrants came from, where they settled, what conditions they met and how they responded to those conditions. The study in detail and the precise measurement of their contribution will have to await the assembling of such material as family histories, collections of correspondence and corporate histories.


In the seventeenth century, although the Scots made attempts at colonization in North America, no settlement of any importance was established. Scotland at the time possessed neither the financial, military and naval support, nor the independent foreign policy needed for such an enterprise. The Scots who went to North America during this century went more often as a consequence of compulsion of one type or other than of their own free will: transportation, penal as well as political, or outright abduction. Such forced movement is said to have continued well into the eighteenth century.

During the eighteenth century the foundations were laid for the substantial immigration of Scots to British North America that was to occur in the following century. The first major emigration began during the middle years of the century, principally following the '45. Substantial social change was under way in Scotland. The alterations in clan organization, hikes in land rents, and innovations in agricultural methods all contributed to a profound altering of an inefficient and archaic social system.

The first to respond to the changes by emigrating were families of social standing, trying to transfer their whole social system to the New World. They were tacksmen, semi-aristocratic tenants of large acreage, who sublet their holdings to crofters and small farmers. Many had substantial capital, although some may have been poverty stricken. In the last quarter of the century, they were followed by more humble emigrants. Some were clansmen with families, of modest financial resources and sometimes unskilled, who had known the semi-agricultural life of the Highlands or Islands. Others were discharged members of the military, settled upon small holdings in North America by a grateful government in lieu of being transported home, and intended to serve as part of a buffer of military capacity north of the troublesome North American colonists who had dealt the first revolutionary blow to the Empire.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the Tenth Century
By James T. Calder (1861)

This week have added Chapters 2, 3 and 4.

Included in these chapters are accounts of...

Chapter II
The original inhabitants of the county—Subdued by Sigurd, the Norwegian Earl of Orkney—Battle of Clontarf— Death of the Earl of Orkney and Caithness—Remarkable prodigy—Legend of the Piper of the Windy Ha'—Thorfin, the celebrated Viking,

Chapter III
Cruel death of the Norwegian Governor at Duncansbay— Tale of the "poisoned shirt"—Sweyn, the famous Freswick Pirate—Siege of Bucholie Castle—Escape and adventures of Sweyn—Earl Ronald, founder of the Cathedral of Kirkwall, murdered at North Calder, in the parish of Halkirk,

Chapter IV
Battle on the Hill of Clairdon—Barbarous usage of the Bishop at Scrabster by Wicked Earl Harold—William the Lion comes to Caithness to punish Earl Harold—Adam, the Bishop of Caithness, burnt to death in his own palace at Halkirk—Alexander II. hastens from Jedburgh, enters the county, and executes nearly the whole of those that were implicated in the burning of the Bishop—Adam succeeded by the celebrated Bishop Gilbert Murray—Haco, King of Norway, on his way to Largs, levies an impost on the natives of Caithness,

You can read these chapters at

Fallbrook Farm
We've had more updates in on this conservation project and if you'd like to help you just need to email them your support as the more emails they can produce in support of the project the better chance they have in making it happen.

Do visit their page and keep up to date with their findings and activity at 

Sketches of Early Scotch History
By Cosmo Innes

Our thanks to Alan McKenzie for scanning this in for us.

We've now added the Kilravock Papers...

A little Pedigree—The Bysets and their Norman kindred— Hugh de Rose and Mary de Bosco—Large possessions— Early styles—Extent of 1295—Papers show steady progress of civilisation—Character of the family—Building of the tower, 1460—The ninth baron in prison—Gardening in 1536—The black baron, a remarkable person: of no party, yet trusted by all—William the eleventh baron, and Lilias Hay—Hugh, the twelfth—Mr. Hew, the historian's, conclusion—Seneca translated—The fourteenth baron at school; at Aberdeen; married to Margaret Innes—Religious correspondence—The fifteenth baron—The affair at Inverness in the '15—Young lady's school—Her marriage—Planting—Drinking — The library — The Baron settles at Coulmony — "Geddes" marries and settles at Kilravock, 1739—Betty Clephane—Dunrobin—Mr. Lewis—Peaceful occupations— Sport—Prince Charles Edward and the Duke of Cumberland at Kilravock in the '45—A Whig cup—Gardening—Fruit— Geddes a scholar—Critical in Greek—Reluctance to ask the Sheriffship—His music—Occupations out of doors—The Clephane brothers—Doctor Clephane—His early life and travels —His friends—Dr. Mead—David Hume—Settles in London —Success in his profession—His kindness to his relations— Letter of Elizabeth Rose to him—His last letter—His death —Dr. William Hunter's esteem for him—The Major—Lieutenant Arthur's letter from Quebec—Hon. General Caulfield —Mrs. Elizabeth Rose—Burns's visit—Hugh Miller's estimate of her—Branches of Kilravock—General love borne by them to the chief house—Stewart Rose—General Sir Hugh Rose—The old place.

This now completes the main part of the book but there is still interesting material in the appendices which we'll be adding.

You can read this final section at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
The April issue is now available for reading at

As Beth can't afford to make this a newspaper she is doing it as a .pdf file. We hope some of you might print it off and when finished reading will pass it on to friends and family :-)

Her editorial this week is...Scottish dress for ladies...

Just the other day I received an email from an old friend asking if I would please write something about proper dress for ladies who wear Scottish attire.

My first thought was...”Me?”

After some thought, I realized I have learned a few things along the gypsy trail where I have trod for more than twenty years.

Scottish attire is not a costume nor a uniform. It is regular clothing worn in an appropriate manner for the weather and for the occasion. The same is true for ladies and for gentlemen.

Ladies do not wear kilts unless they are members of a pipe band.

Ladies do not wear sporrans unless they are members of a pipe band...nor skian dubhs.

Ladies do wear “kilted skirts.” The pleats go in the back. A kilted skirt should fit nicely and not be pulled so tight across the front that the tartan pattern is “whompy jawed.”

Kilted skirts may be worn for any occasion and in most any weather. I’ve worn the same kilted
skirt for the most formal event and then changed my shoes and top and worn the skirt to a games the next day. It’s a marvelous garment in that you have a complete wardrobe on one hanger!

Formal kilted skirt attire includes a nice blouse in white or a color to coordinate with your
tartan...perhaps with a vest and a jacket - velvet in the cooler weather. You may choose to wear a sash (and everyone knows that you wear the sash on your right shoulder unless you are a Scottish Country Dancer or the wife of a Chief or a highranking military man).

Your shoes should be simple and NOT white.

To my notion, plain pumps are wonderful for a dinner or very fancy party, while simple flat shoes are appropriate for most everything else - again, coordinating with your tartan. To me, strappy high heels are not proper with a kilted skirt - nor or glittery sandals. Simple, plain pumps or nice flat shoes will do for most anything.

Wear hose. I love the look of lacy blouses with a kilted skirt for fancy times.

If you are fortunate to have a “hostess length” kilted skirt (long) that is always perfect for an evening engagement. The same nice - usually longsleeved - blouse with vest, jacket and sash complete an outfit nice enough to “meet the Queen.”

Jewelry? Your kilt pin goes only through the top layer of material. A brooch is lovely to hold your sash in place on your shoulder. Your insignia from various orders and Scottish
related groups is handsome on your lapel. No big, clunky costume jewelry, please.

For Highland Games or other everyday wear, sneakers and socks are fine...again, sandals or white shoes are just not right...simple, plain shoes such as loafers or even short boots in wet or cold weather...with maybe tights worn underneath - coordinating with your tartan.

The mention of tights reminds me that if you are maybe traveling in Scotland wearing your kilted skirt and climbing ladders and Hadrian’s Wall or somesuch, just slip on a pair of tights and ladylike modesty will be preserved and your legs will be warm!

T-shirts (not skin tight) and blouses are always fine in daytime. Depending on the weather, a
simple blouse or turtleneck with a sweater or jacket will keep you neat and looking nice. I love a nice blouse and some kind of pretty vest if the weather is cool enough. Remember, no sporran, no skian dubh.

Nice sweaters or sweatshirts are always fine in cold weather. (Remember, not skin-tight.) There are literally thousands of great tartan or Scottisht hemed items from which to choose.
Ladies may wear a “ladies sporran” which is a sporran with a strap which is worn over your shoulder. There are several vendors who make “fannie packs” of tartan. These look nice and are a great way to keep up with your essentials.

The rules for the sash are always the same. It is always proper for a Scottish lady to wear a
white or cream colored dress with her sash. I still don’t like white shoes or sandals, since the sash is either wool or silk - which just don’t seem to go with white shoes or sandals.

I remember an AGM I attended years ago. The Tartan Police were there and put on a seminar of
all the things you should or shouldn’t do. One of my favorite folks was there from Scotland - a Chief. He came down to the big fancydress ball that night breaking each and every rule
more than one tartan, a horsehair sporran, some wild socks, etc., and looked magnificent.

From that, I learned that you really may wear whatever you wish. In Scotland, the people wore
what they had. Another “Chief” friend of mine almost always wears a patterned shirt with his
kilt...which tells me that should you be feeling so happy and good that only a Hawaiian shirt will do - and you have one in colors that coordinate with your tartan - wear it and be happy.
Ladies, your tartan is your heritage and you always want to respect that.

All of this is just from my, it’s surely not “rules” for anything. To tell you the truth, I always think, “Would my Grandmother allow me out of the house in this?” If the answer is, “Yes, she would,” then I figure I’m OK.

If there is anyone who is an “expert” on ladies Scottish attire, you’d be most welcome to write a column to appear in BNFT. If you have questions, I’ll be glad to answer them if I can...or find someone who knows what you need to know. Just email

Parliamentary Register 29 July 1587
Our thanks to Mary Thompson for sending this into us...

It's a James VI: Translation 1587, 8 July, Edinburgh, Parliament Parliamentary Register 29 July 1587.

This gives a list of clans at this time date with background information and you can read this at

And finally I got in a wee humour story...

Six retired Scotsmen were playing poker in McTavish's apartment when Angus loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up.

Finally one looks around and asks, "Oh, lads, someone got's tell Angus's wife. Who will it be?"

They draw straws. Mac picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

"Discreet??? I'm the most discreet Scotsman you'll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me."

Mac goes over to Angus's house and knocks on the door.

Angus’s wife answers, and asks what he wants.

Mac declares, "Your husband just lost $500, and is afraid to come home."

"Tell him to drop dead!", says Angus's wife.

"I'll go tell him." says Mac.

And that's it for now and I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)


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