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Weekly Mailing List Archives
29th August 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
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
Scottish Gardens
The Life of John Duncan
History of Glasgow
History of Banking in Scotland
The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia (New Book)
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Banffshire Maritime Heritage Association Newsletter
Strange Secrets of Ancient Scotland
Ranald's Humour

While completing this newsletter I have been enjoying the Democratic Convention. The music has been great and have to say most of the speeches have been interesting. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans comes up with next week :-)


Well I did make it to the Selkirk Faire on Saturday and it was warm and sunny which certainly made a huge change from the Fergus Games. You can see the pictures and videos I took at

I have added the videos to YouTube but have also managed to create quite small real videos of under a Megabyte. The audio is actually more important that the video so figured I could make them quite small if I just concentrated on the audio.


I've been in touch over the past few weeks with a Duncan MacDonald in the US and she has been telling me about many Scottish Organisations in the US that I have never heard of. I'm only mentioning this as I'd like to start documenting these organisations and need your help to do so. Essentially if you know of a Scottish or Scots-Irish organisation perhaps you can get them to do a meaty article about when and how they got started and what they do with some examples and then email it to me with their web site address and contact email address. I can then build a section of my site to tell people about them.

It would also be useful if they could make clear how they could help Scotland either locally and/or in Scotland. Like how many members do they have... can they raise money for projects... can they contact people to come to a special meeting? Would they be able to provide accommodation if a local Scot wanted to come to their country to try and do business? Things like this would help a great deal if only we can pull this information together.

This is clearly going to be a long term project but am certainly willing to give it a try.


It is with regret that we note the closure of Zoom Airlines...

Zoom Airlines sincerely regrets to advise its customers that it has suspended operations with effect from 18:00 UTC on Thursday 28 August.

All flights scheduled to depart have been cancelled and Zoom's aircraft have been grounded.

Both Zoom Airlines Inc and Zoom Airlines Ltd, the Canadian and UK airlines, will be filing for insolvency proceedings in their home countries today.

For customers who have future travel plans involving a Zoom flight for which reservations and payment have been made, you should refer to your credit or debit card company to apply for a refund. We have set out details of other airlines who operate the same or similar routes to those flown with Zoom in the hope that this may assist you in making alternative travel plans to replace the flights that you had booked with Zoom.

If your travel arrangements have been made as part of a holiday package originating in the UK and booked through a holiday company, you may be able to make a claim under the CAA's Air Travel Organiser's Licence scheme. For information on this, please consult the CAA ATOL website at

Hugh and John Boyle, the founders of Zoom, said today: "We deeply regret the fact that we have been forced to cease all Zoom operations. It is a tragic day for our passengers and more than 600 staff.

"We are desperately sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause passengers and those who have booked flights.

"We have done everything we can to support the airline and left no stone unturned to secure a re-financing package that would have kept our aircraft flying. Even as late as yesterday we had secured a new investment package but the actions of creditors meant we could not continue flying.

"The collapse of Zoom is a result of matter beyond our control. Only last year Zoom Airlines made profit, but that turned into a loss in the last year due to the unprecedented increase in the price of aviation fuel and the economic climate. The price of oil resulted in our fuel bill jumping by nearly $50 million in one year and we could not recover that from passengers who had already booked their flights.

"We would like to thank the many thousands of passengers who chose to travel with Zoom during the last seven years and efforts of the airline's staff."

We have been advised that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are graciously offering special fares to assist Zoom customers that have been displaced by the suspension of our services.

Hugh Boyle was very supportive of the Scottish Studies Foundation and was of course a "Scot of the Year". We wish them all the best.

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.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie in which he is highlighting the tiny minority of Scots that went to the Olympics compared with other smaller nations.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us about the village of Kinghorn in Fife...

This week we resume our visits to various Scottish towns and visitor attractions with a look at, and around, the ancient Royal Burgh of Kinghorn in the Kingdom of Fife. Kinghorn was created as a Royal Burgh in 1285 by Alexander III, King of Scots, and ironically a year later he met his untimely death just outside the burgh. After a long council meeting in Maiden Castle, now known as Edinburgh castle, discussing problems with England, Alexander the Peaceable safely crossed the gurlie waters of the Forth and landed in Inverkeithing. Accompanied in the pit mirk night by two guides he set off for Kinghorn Castle to join his wife of six months, Yolande. Unfortunately this great Scottish King never reached his goal and fell to his death at Pettycur, within sight of his goal. His death resulted in the long Wars of Independence as King Edward I of England cast covetous eyes on the kingdom to his north. Alexander III had striven to build a secure, prosperous and united Scotland, and the sound foundation he laid ensured that Sir William Wallace and then Robert I, King of Scots, bore the gree and Scotland maintained her long held independence. No visit to Kinghorn, or indeed neighbouring Burntisland, would be complete without a visit to the superb Alexander III Monument, which stands at Pettycur between the two burghs, with magnificent views over the Forth and miles of golden sand.


The Royal Burgh of Kinghorn has long had association with the Scottish monarchy, although all trace of the Royal Castle has long since gone, but the association is recorded in many of the street-names – David the First Street, Queen Margaret Street, Alexander the Third Street, Baliol Street, Macduff Crescent, Strathmore Street, Glamis Road, Bruce Street and Canmore Street. A wander up and down the town reveals many hidden delights and secrets. Cuinzie Neuk, for example, a fairly recent Tudor style building, just off the High Street, stands on the site of where a Royal Mint stood in days gone by. Down towards the sea from Cuinzie Neuk stands Kinghorn Parish Church, reconstructed in 1774, which contains remains of what is thought to be the church consecrated by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews in 1243. Near the church lies Kinghorn beach, on a sheltered bay, a major attraction to families seeking a good day out at the seaside. On a more gruesome note you can visit Witches Hill in the local cemetery where local witches were burnt – the last witch to be burned in Kinghorn was Katherine Wallenge on 24 March 1644.

Kinghorn, like its nearby larger neighbour Kirkcaldy, once suffered from a well-known ‘smell’ – in the case of Kirkcaldy linoleum and in Kinghorn’s leather. These days are passed but near where the Kinghorn leatherworks once stood is the Craigencault Ecology Centre at Kinghorn Loch. At the Ecology Centre is the Earthship House, a unique building made entirely from recycled materials. Old car tyres, glass jars and drink cans are among the reclaimed material used in a house which is self-sufficient in electricity, water and sewage treatment. The Ecology Centre and Earthship House are among the many buildings open in Fife during Doors Open Days 2008. Sunday 14 September is the date for your diary to visit Kinghorn and the opening times, free entry, is from 10am to 4pm.

Fife, like Angus and Perthshire, is famous for strawberry and raspberry growing, and you have just time before the end of the present season to use either in this week’s recipe – Apple and Berry Compote.

Apple and Berry Compote

Ingredients: 4 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and bruises removed: 100ml orange or apple juice; handful of strawberries or raspberries; a pinch of cinnamon

Method: Put the apples, orange juice and cinnamon into a heavy based pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until just tender, stir in the berries and serve with dropped scones (see last week’s recipe).

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

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for this week did not arrive.

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

We're now onto the S's with Shank, Sharp, Simpson, Simson, Sinclair, and Skene

A substantial account of Sinclair this week which starts...

SINCLAIR, a surname of Norman origin, the first who bore it in Britain, Walderne, Count de Santo Clara, having come into England with William the Conqueror. His son, by Margaret, daughter of Richard, duke of Normandy, William de Sancto Claro, was one of the many Anglo-Norman barons who settled in Scotland in the reign of David I. From that monarch he obtained a grant of the barony of Roslin, Mid Lothian. He was called, in allusion to his fair deportment, the seemly St. Clair. His descendants became possessors, besides Roslin, of Cousland, Pentland, Catticune, and other lands. They afterwards obtained also the earldom of Orkney. From the same stock sprung the earls of Caithness. Another branch of the Sinclairs, those of Herdmanston, deriving their origin from a settler, under the Morvilles, constables of Scotland, are represented by the Lords Sinclair (see next article).

William de Saint Clair, above mentioned, progenitor of

“The lordly line of high Saint Clair,”

Had a son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, who got a confirmation of that barony in 1180. His son, Sir Henry Sinclair of Roslin, witnessed many charters of Alexander II. The son of Sir Henry, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, witnessed a donation of the same monarch to the monastery of Newbottle in 1243, and died about 1270. The following year, his son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, was appointed sheriff of the county of Edinburgh for life. He sat in the parliament of Scone 5th February 1284, when the succession to the crown of Scotland was settled, in the event of the death of Alexander III. The same year he was one of the commissioners sent to France to obtain a wife for his sovereign, then a widower. They fixed upon Joleta, daughter of the count de Dreux, whom Alexander made his queen. Sir William de St. Clair was in the assembly at Brigham, 12th March 1290, when the marriage of the princess Margaret of Scotland with Prince Edward of England was proposed. In the competition for the crown of Scotland in 1292, he was one of the nominees on the part of Baliol. He swore fealty to Edward I., 13th June that year, and he was present in the following November, and again in December, when Baliol did homage to the English king. On the 28th of the latter month, Edward addressed a letter to him to pay certain sums to Eric, king of Norway. He was summoned to attend the imperious Edward into France, 1st September 1294. He died about 1300, leaving three sons: 1. Sir Henry, his successor. 2. William, consecrated bishop of Dunkeld about 1312; and, 3. Gregory, ancestor of the Sinclairs of Longformacus, Berwickshire, baronets.

The second son is historically known by his spirited conduct in repelling an invasion of the English in 1317. The latter had landed in considerable numbers at Donnybristle in Fife. The fighting men of the county appear to have been at this time with Douglas, who was ravaging the English borders, and the sheriff of Fife had great difficulty in gathering together a force of 500 cavalry. With these he made an attempt to encounter the invaders, but, intimidated by their superior numbers, they disgracefully took to flight. Sinclair, bishop of Dunkeld, was at the time residing at Auchtertool, in the neighbourhood. Like other churchmen of the period, he had as much of the soldier as the ecclesiastic about him, and receiving notice of his countrymen’s retreat, he put himself at the head of sixty of his servants, and with a linen frock or rochet cast over his armour, threw himself on horseback and rode off to meet the fugitives. “Whither are ye flying?” said he, addressing their leaders, when he came to them; “ye are recreant knights, and ought to have your spurs hacked off.” Then seizing a spear from the nearest soldier, and calling out, “Turn for shame! Let all who love Scotland follow me!” he furiously charged the enemy. Encouraged by his gallant example, the Fifemen instantly rallied, and the attack was renewed. The English, who had not completed their landing, speedily gave way, and were driven back to the ships, with the loss of 500 men, besides many who were drowned by the swamping of one of their vessels. On his return from Ireland, where he was at the time, Bruce highly commended the spirit which Sinclair had shown, and declared that he should be his own bishop. Under the appellation of the king’s bishop, this brave churchman was long afterwards affectionately remembered by his countrymen. For all his patriotism, however, he preformed the ceremony of crowning Edward Baliol, the puppet king, in 1332. The St. Clair family favoured the claims of the Baliols from the beginning of the contest for the crown. The bishop died in 1337.

Sir Henry St. Clair of Roslin, Sir William’s eldest son, swore fealty with his father, to Edward I., 13th June 1292, and appears at first to have been on the English side in the great struggle for the independence of the Scottish monarchy. ON 30th September 1307, and again on 20th May 1308, letters were addressed to him and others of Edward’s friends in Scotland, calling upon them to assist in suppressing “the rebels.” Subsequently he gave in his adherence to Robert the Bruce, from whom, in 1317, he obtained a grant of all his majesty’s lands in the moor of Pentland, in free warren for the service of the tenth part of a knight’s fee. He was one of the patriots who in 1320 signed the letter to the pope, asserting the independence of Scotland, and one of the guarantees of a truce with the English, 1st June 1323. He held the office of Panetarius Scotiae, of chief butler of the kingdom.

His son, Sir William St. Clair, was the adventurous knight of whom the following romantic hunting story is told. King Robert the Bruce had been repeatedly baulked by a fleet white deer which he had started in his hunts among the Pentlands; and having asked an assembled body of his nobles whether any dogs in their possession could seize the game which had escaped the royal hounds, Sir William St. Clair promptly offered to pledge his head that two favourite dogs of his, called ‘Help and Hold,” would kill the deer before she crossed the March-burn. The king instantly accepted the offer, and pledged himself to give the forest of Pentland moor, -- which included the northern division of the great Mid Lothian hill-range, -- in guerdon of success. A few slow-hounds having been let loose to beat up the deer, the king stationed himself on the best vantage-ground for commanding a view of the chase. Sir William, on his part, after slipping his dogs, prayed earnestly to St. Katherine, to give the deer up to them, and, on a fleet-footed steed, went in full chase after the deer. Arriving at the March-burn, he threw himself from his horse in despair. ‘Hold,’ just in the crisis of fate, stopped the deer in the brook, and the next instant ‘Help’

Came up, drove her back, and killed her on the winning side of the stream. The king, who had witnessed the result, came speedily down from his vantage-ground, embraced Sir William, and granted him in free forestry the lands of Logan-house, once a favourite hunting seat of the Scottish kings, Kirton, and Earncraig. In gratitude for the fancied interference of St. Katherine in his favour, the knight, in the superstition of the times, built the chapel of St. Katherine in the Hopes, parish of Penicuick. Sir William accompanied Sir James Douglas on his expedition to the Holy Land with the heart of Bruce, and was killed with him fighting against the Moors in Spain, 25th August 1330. His tomb is said to be still seen in Roslin chapel, and it appropriately represents the person of a knight in armour, attended by a greyhound. Sir Walter Scott, in ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ says,

“There are twenty of Roslin’s barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle;”
…”And each St. Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell.”

He left an infant son, who was also Sir William St. Clair. By the marriage of this knight of Roslin, with Isabel, one of the daughters and coheiresses of Malise, earl of Strathern, Caithness, and Orkney, his elder son, Henry St. Clair, became earl of Orkney, and in 1379 obtained a recognition of his title from Haco IV., king of Norway (see ORKNEY, earl of).

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "Dream Waukin" which you can read at

We also have some new poems and articles from Donna, Alastair and others in our Article Service 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 Lumphanan

Name.—The etymology of Lumphanan, which is spelled in the most ancient writings, Lunfanan, Lonfanan, and Lanfanan, cannot be ascertained with certainty. We may conjecture that it comes from three Celtic words, Llan or Lan, a church—Fan, a descent—and An, water, [Chalmers's Caledonia, Vol. i. p. 54, 23, and Vol. iii. p. 3.]—a derivation which might naturally suggest itself to those who observed that the principal stream in the parish passes near the church, in its descent from the mountains to the Loch of Auchlossan.

Situation, Extent, and Boundaries.—The parish is situate between the Dee and the Don, in the district of Mar, twenty-four miles from Aberdeen.

Historical Notices.—Macbeth was killed and buried in Lumphanan. It is necessary to record the evidence of this fact, furnished by history and tradition, as Shakspeare has represented Dunsinane in Perthshire as the scene of his slaughter.

"Macbeth, the son of Finleg, reigned seventeen years; he was slain at Lunfanan by Malcolm, the son of Duncan;"—is the brief notice of the event in the register of St Andrews. [Regist. Sti. Andr. apud Johnstone's Antiq. Celt. Norm. p. 148.]

"Macbeth seeing his own forces," says Fordun, "daily diminishing, and those of his adversary increasing, suddenly left the southern parts of the kingdom, and fled to the north, in whose narrow passes, and in the depths of whose forests, he hoped to find safety. Malcolm, however, quickly followed him across the mountains to Lunfanan, where he slew him, in a skirmish, with his few followers, on the 5th December 1056." [Forduni Scotichronicon, lib. v. c. vii.]

You can read 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...

The Headless Cumins by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder

Here is how it starts...

In the parish of Edinkellie, a place towards the centre of Morayshire, in the northern part of Scotland, there is a romantic and fearful chasm, supposed to have been at one time the bed of the river Divie. It has two entrances at the upper end, and the ancient courses which led the river into these successively are easily traceable. The lower extremity of the ravine terminates abruptly about forty feet high above the Divie, that flows at its base. This spot is one of a very interesting nature. Its name in Gaelic signifes "the Hollow of the Heads;" a name originating, it is said, in the following transaction :—

Near the upper end of the ravine there is a curious cavern, formed of huge masses of fallen crags, that cover the bottom of the place. It enters downwards like a pit, and the mouth, which is no more than wide enough to admit a man, is not easily discovered. Here it was that the brave Allister Bane secreted himself after the Battle of the Lost Standard. At this time the Castle of Dunphail was besieged by Randolph, Earl of Moray; and Allister Bane, who could no longer make head against him in the open held, contented himself with harassing the enemy. Knowing that his father and his garrison were reduced to great want, he and a few of his followers disguised themselves as countrymen, and, driving a parcel of horses, yoked in rude sledges, laden with sacks, they came to the edge of the glen where Randolph’s beleaguering party lay, and, pretending to be peasants carrying meal from the low country to the Highlands, they entreated their protection from one Allister Bane, of whom they were afraid. Their prayer being granted, they unyoked their horses, and took care to leave their sledges at the brink of the precipice, so that, on a given signal agreed on with the garrison, they tumbled sledges, sacks, and all over into the glen below, and the garrison, making a sally at the same time, each man bore off a sack on his back, whilst the pretended peasants sprang on their horses, and were out of sight before the astonished sentinels of the enemy had well given the alarm.

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read at

Scottish Gardens
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell

We've now completed this book with...

Appendix A
Species Of Rhododendron Suitable To The Climate Of The West Of Scotland

Appendix B
Other Shrubs Which Have Proved Hardy In Scotland

Appendix C
Decorative Shrubs, Herbs And Bulbs

You can read these at

The Life of John Duncan
Scotch Weaver and Botanist with Sketches of his Friends and Notices of the Times
By William Jolly (1883)

Have now added more chapters from this book...

Chapter XXVII - John's Life and Habits at Droughsburn
His style of living; the Allanachs with whom he boarded; relations with chilly Allanach; with genial Mrs. Allanach; with couthy Mrs. Webster: his extreme care of his possessions; of his chests; of his books; of his clothes: John at church; Botany on Sunday; his flowers in church; his appearance there; his short-sight and snuffing there; on way home after church: keeps Halloween and raises bonfires; keeps Yule; at other merry-makings; sings at a soiree. 1852-1877.

Chapter XXVIII - General Studies in Later Years
Theology; Astronomy; Meteorology; Ornithology; Entomology; Natural History; Geology; Phrenology; John Adam, the phrenologist and antiquarian; General knowledge; Gardening; John's relations to the McCombies of Cairnballoch; his horticultural practices; his contempt for "florist flowers"; James Black's "monstrosities"; John's herbalism; his politics; his oratory: the Milton of Cushnie as it then was; John and Willie Williams, the shoemaker; John and George Williams, the merchant: the Alford Literary Society; John at its meetings: his dislike of gossip. 1852-1880.

Chapter XXIX - His Botanical Studies in Old Age
Botany still dominant; still harvesting and botanising; his modes of gathering plants; his travelling fare; his use of technical words; his pronunciation of them; his depending on his memory; his associations round flowers: visited by lady in his eighty-fourth year; searches for the Linna'a for her; out all night in a thunder-storm; his extraordinary ardour and self-denial; his flashes of old humour: his wild flower garden; its decay: presented with the portrait of Linnaeus; wins two prizes for wild plants; list of wild plants in his garden. 1852-1878.

Chapter XXX - The Misunderstandings under which John Lived
Penalties for social deflection from one's neighbours; the need of being interpreted to them: reasons for the common misunderstandings of John; his eccentricities; his good temper under attack; counted a madman by schoolboys; scepticism regarding his acquirements; his consistency in nomenclature tested by youngsters; his relations to the bucolic "Johnnie Raws": the berriless juniper bush and the ploughmen; John prophesies berries for it; berries produced but once; his delight at the experiment: depreciated by many who should have known better; accused of idling his time; "what's the use of it?"; the utilitarianism of Aberdeenshire; John's answer once to this question; it should be asked on a higher level. 1836-1878.

Chapter XXXI - His Disciples and Sympathisers at Droughsburn
his influence over others; his disciples: John Taylor, the ploughman; visits John and begins Botany; his botanical studies with John; his later knowledge of Botany; his other studies; his after life: William Deans, farm-servant; goes to college; becomes a teacher; introduced to Botany; makes John's acquaintance at Alford market; his first visit to the weaving shop; his after studies under John; his present position: Samson, the Swede; comes to learn farming; introduced to John; studies plants with him; his subsequent history: Dr. Williams visits Droughsburn; his impressions of the place and the man: Rev. George Williams gets plants described by John; his visits to John's cottage; their conversations there on insects, plants, weavers and ministers; Rev. David Beattie's visits to John and his impressions of him. 1852-1878.

Chapter XXXII - His visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Eccentricity
Visits Aberdeen regularly; growth of the city; visits to Raeden: visits to James Black; their early journeys about Tough; John's appearance in town, and its effects; John's search for "Jamie Black"; James carries one of John's bundles; James martyrised in a shop window: last meeting of John with Charles Black; he becomes beatified; their talk and parting: John consents to be photographed; preparations for the event; he refuses to stand; successfully taken; portraits of him: International Botanical Congress: John visits William Beveridge; their previous intercourse; they examine the museum; their evenings at home: John's obliviousness of "the genteel." 1824-1877.

Chapter XXXIII - John's visits to Aberdeen - Friendship and Botany
Meets James Taylor; James begins study with Charles Black; he goes to college and studies medicine; sails to the Arctic regions and explores their natural history and botany; later studies and work; settles at Clashfarquhar; John's visits to him; they botanise together; John begins the more difficult sections of the subject; Taylor's impressions of him; visits John at Droughsburn with Dr. Sutherland; John finds the Limestone Polypody; visits Clashfarquhar; his last visit there; botanises at the cliffs: John's connection with Professor Dickie. 1849-1877.

These can all be viewed at

The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes (1921)

We are now making progress with these volumes and this week we have up...

Chapter XX
Lands in the Barony of Glasgow and Bishopforest

Chapter XXI
Arrival of the Friars

Chapter XXII
Kings and Bishops—Cathedral Canons and Vicars

Chapter XXIII
Burgh Court—Sales of Heritage—Bridge over Clyde—Steeple and Treasury of Cathedral—Taxation of Benefices

Chapter XXIV
Transfers of Properties—St. Mary's Chapel—St. Enoch's Chapel —Monks' House

Chapter XXV
National Calamities—War of Independence—Wallace and the Battle of the Bell o' the Brae—Bishop Wischart—English Occupation

And here is a bit from Chapter XXV...

BY a series of misfortunes in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, the prosperous condition of Scotland was completely arrested, and for a long time the story which the annalist has to tell is one of overbearing oppression on the one side and of patriotic and ultimately successful resistance on the other. Through the loss of his children, two sons and a daughter, who all died within the years 1281-3, King Alexander III., when accidentally killed on 19th March, 1285-6, left as his successor to the Scottish throne an infant grand-daughter, Margaret the Maid of Norway, who survived him for no more than the short period of four years. On account of the divided interests of the claimants to the crown, chiefly in consequence of their landed estates being spread over both countries, and those situated in England being held of King Edward as feudal superior, that monarch's ambitious scheme for the union of the two kingdoms was not devoid of Scottish support, and but for the patriotism of some of the lesser barons and the feeling of sturdy independence which pervaded large masses of the people, his purpose might have been accomplished. During this critical period Glasgow must have had its share of the country's prevailing troubles, and though many of its citizens, barony men and churchmen, may have had their names inscribed on the Ragman Roll, it is known that Robert Wischart, the warrior bishop, was not without local followers in his valiant contest for freedom.

Bishop Wischart was appointed one of the guardians of Scotland after the death of King Alexander, and throughout subsequent events, the interregnum of 1290-2, the inglorious reign of John Balliol, 1292-6, the interregnum of 1296-1306, Wallace's protectorate and the early years of Bruce's reign, the bishop took a prominent part in public affairs. He was keenly patriotic.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The index page of the book is at

History of Banking in Scotland
By Andrew William Kerr (1908)

We now have up several chapters from this book...

Chapter VII
Development of Banking in Glasgow and the Provinces

Chapter VIII
Note-Issuing Mania and the Act of 1765

Chapter IX
Douglas, Heron & Co., and the Crisis of 1772

Chapter X
Resuscitation of Private Banking, and Rapid Development of Joint-Stock Banks

Chapter XI
Forgeries and Illicit Coinage

Chapter XII
The Crisis of 1793 and 1797

Chapter XIII
Conflict of Joint-Stock and Private Banking - The Commercial Bank of Scotland

Chapter X starts...

THE crisis of 1772, which formed the subject of our last chapter, although sharp and disastrous in its immediate effects, passed off more quickly and easily than might have been expected. Several causes conduced to this. The old banks, and the three private banking houses of Forbes, Mansfield and Cuming, who were almost the sole surviving representatives of what had been a large community of financial establishments, had foreseen and provided for the approaching catastrophe; and, being themselves unentangled in the speculations and grotesque banking indulged in by Douglas, Heron & Co., and their clique, they not only themselves rose lightly on the wave of adversity, but were able to afford the necessary banking accommodation to bona fide traders and the public. It was remarked at the time that the forbearance of creditors largely aided the recovery from the crisis; but this was only an unphilosophic way of stating that business was in the main sound, and that money was fairly plentiful. Coin, it is true, was scarce, but the notes of the public banks were in full credit. The crisis was essentially a banking one; and although it was necessarily directly associated with trade, it would appear that that connection was, as far as Scotland was concerned, limited to a comparatively small section of the community. The resolution of the banks, in 1773, to accept the notes of the Ayr Bank in payments, when that establishment finally agreed to give up business, was a further assistance in the restoration of confidence. The harvest of 1773 was fairly good, the fisheries excellent, the cattle trade active, and money cheap.

Hardly had affairs resumed a satisfactory aspect, when the dark cloud of war cast its shadow over the land. Complications with the American Colonies arose, and rapidly drifted into open rupture. In January 1774, hostilities commenced, which did not end until 1782, when the independence of the United States, who had formally thrown off their allegiance to their tyrannical parent six years previously, was acknowledged by Great Britain. Meanwhile the latter country was at war with France, Spain, and Holland; had to sustain repeated reverses in India, at the hands of the victorious Hyder Ali; had to stamp out sedition and open rebellion in Ireland; and had to check discontent and riots within its own borders. It does not concern us here to discuss the policy of the British Government during those events; but the events themselves are potent factors in the history of banking. The national expenditure had assumed enormous proportions; and although increased taxes were laid on the much-suffering public, the warlike and aggressive rulers of a commercial people year by year dragged their subjects deeper into debt. The American war alone cost 129 millions sterling, besides the loss of 50,000 men. The financial result of the eight years of warfare, ending with the peace of January 1783, was that the national debt was increased from 136 to 238 millions sterling, even after exhausting efforts to balance expenditure and income.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia
By Mrs Flora McDonald Williams (1911)

Realizing some years ago how little effort had been made to preserve the records of the McDonald family, since the first member of it came to this country in 1746, and discovering—as I searched further into the matter—what an honorable and generous measure each generation had contributed to the history of the country, I determined to do what I could to rescue from obscurity, and put in some permanent form, a record of those men who had been so busy doing things that no time had been found to write them up.

Little of the data preserved in family and personal papers had escaped the ravages of time, to say nothing of two wars; hence I found myself much restricted along those lines. But a persistent following up of every clue, led finally to the unearthing of much that was hitherto unknown of their distinguished ancestor, by the descendants of the original Angus, who came here in 1746.

Strange to say, I found in the Library of the State historical Society of Wisconsin, more valuable and reliable information of his early activities in the French and Indian wars, than anywhere else. And I am much indebted to Dr. Reuben G. Thwaite, Librarian, for his assistance and courtesy in furnishing much that was not procurable elsewhere. I also found in "American Archives" many references to his life and work.

It has always been the commonly received belief among the majority of his descendents, that he would have entered the Revolutionary army, but for his untimely death soon after the beginning of hostilities; his hesitation at first, resulting from a disinclination to serve under a man who had had no military experience, but Washington's great anxiety to have him in the field, as shown by his letter to him from Morristown, N. J., would, most likely, have resulted in his assignment to another command, had he lived. McDonald's lack of a knowledge of "wire-pulling," had, in all probability, a good deal to do with "the parson's" betting ahead of him.

Angus McDonald had been trained, like his forebears to service in the field, and had been an officer in the battle of Culloden, though but eighteen years of age. Macaulay says of his ancestors: "As military men the McDonalds have ever supported their high renown; the names of those distinguishing themselves, being truly far too numerous to mention, and had they been only as wise and prudent as they were brave and generous, there would never have been another clan equal to it."

A record of a more recent date, preserved in "Coyner's Diary," who served as Captain under Ashby, in the war between the States, furnishes additional testimony to their soldierly qualities. It has this to say:

"The McDonald that Ashby followed and the McDonalds who followed Ashby were alike brave and gallant soldiers, and stand beside the noblest names on the pages of history."

I have no doubt that some errors will be found but I have taken every pains to verify my statements, when given as facts. I have found my work most engrossing and interesting and close it with regret, for I shall miss the companionship of those whose activities I have recounted in the following pages. They have seemed very real and near to me.


We now have several chapters up and they can be read at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Beth's September issue is now available and here is her Editors Page for you to read...

As much as some games organizers wish it wasn’t...the Clan Tents at a games are very much a part of the “show” and what draws individuals and families to pay their hard-earned money to come through the gates on game day.

It is important that the Clan Tents are interesting to see, fun to visit and a place where friends, strangers, family and just everyone will enjoy visiting.
Since the little letter about “How to have a happy, successful and vibrant Scottish clan organization,” I’ve had numerous folks ask me to write about clan tents and give a few ideas on how they can be wonderful.

In the south, almost every Clan Tent provides some kind of food for their members and friends. It may be that someone brings a grill and cooks right there - or many of the members bring lunch fare and snacks and treats to share. I can testify in court that Scots at South-Eastern Highland Games are some of the best cooks in the world!

To me, this is a grand idea and wonderful tradition. What better way to welcome clansmen and clanswomen to the tent than to be able to say, “Join us for lunch!” What better way to have time to chat and visit than to share someone’s wonderful shortbread or cookies or cakes or pies...

This tradition doesn’t go as far as the west coast. I’ve been surprised at the absence of picnics at the games out there. If there is a rule about it or some reason why it’s not done, I would like to know about it.

I don’t think the picnics at the games affect any food vendors who have hour-long lines at the Southeastern Games in spite of the clansfolk bringing their own.

Thinking about Clan Tents, I have to think of Clan Keith - who has a wonderful antique “throne” chair sitting in the middle of a very nice oriental rug. Any person who signs up to become a new member of Clan Keith is invited to sit in the chair to have their photograph taken!

Clan Keith’s tent always is wonderful. You’ll see armor for “Steel Bonnets” and armor for their horses. You’ll see flowers and tartan and books and paintings and maps and souvenirs of Clan Keith’s romantic and glorious history.

Visit the Clan Henderson tent most anywhere and you’ll see little sleeves of Henderson tartan which cover those plebeian tent posts! There’s always lots of books and educational material, always handsome table covers featuring the Henderson tartan - and, if you are fortunate, George Henderson will have his rare and beautifully painted Henderson motorcycle on display - featuring painted Henderson tartan on the gas tank and in fact all over the bike! There are always plenty of chairs and flowers and food...a welcoming and friendly place to be.

Clan Lockhart’s tent features an almost life- sized banner with their castle inviting folks to have their photograph made with the castle as a backdrop... wonderful idea! Clan Lockhart always has a small “flock” of toy sheep just in front of their display (It is tradition that I “tip” at least one sheep!). The youngsters flock (pun intended) to the soft and cuddly creatures...and their parents stay to visit.

At the Clan Home tent, you’re likely to see Clyde, the Stealth Camel - well, his halter anyway. As the home of the Clan Home Air Force (Yes, you can join!) there are many artifacts attesting to the proud Clan Home Air Force and their “fly-overs” at many Highland Games. The Air Force flies Stealth Sopwith Camels. (If you’d like more information, just email < > )

Clan Montgomery has given away red and purple Mardi Gras beads for years and years. Their tent is always filled with tartan, flowers, beautifully arranged displays of books and photographs and more.

I can’t tell you the numbers of creative folks you’ll find at Highland Games. Just look at the paperweights next time you visit clan tents. There are painted rocks made to look like tartan, sheep, haggis, you-name-it - but all great fun - and useful too.

Clan Donald probably has the biggest “feast” of most games...with many clansfolk bringing about anything that tastes good. The tent is always attractively set up with tartan and flowers and books and more.

Recently, a Clan Hunter member had made three huge panels featuring something like 66 Hunter Coats-of-Arms. These panels are to be used as a backdrop in the Clan Hunter tents!

Clan Wallace in the Southeast always arrives early to Highland Games as it takes hours and hours to set up the walls of their tent and the display of weaponry and books and paintings and more.

I must mention the Clan - and I am embarrassed that I can’t remember which it is - who has a “Sword in the Stone” for the little ones to try and magically pull from the stone. The gentleman tells the youngsters about being brave and courageous and honorable and good...and when the kids agree to working on having all of those qualities...the magic occurs and the sword slides out of the stone. (It’s all safe...and those children will never, ever forget it!)

I haven’t scratched the surface of all the creative things to be seen at Clan Tents at the games.

There are so many more wonderful things. We’ll do this again.

I haven’t mentioned either, the naked tables with nothing except the little bit of paper that the games provide to let you know which tent is whose...and not anything else.

Tom and I have been talking about some way to award creativity at games. I’ll let you know when we figure out what we can do...

But, if you’re going to a Highland Event - please think about your Clan Tent and how you can make it better! It simply adds to the fun of it all!

Beth Gay

You can read this issue at

Banffshire Maritime Heritage Association Newsletter
Stan sent me in a copy of this first ever newsletter from the Association and am pleased to be able to let you read it at

Strange Secrets of Ancient Scotland
This is a book by Stuart McHardy who has kindly donated to us several stories from his book which make great reading.

The account starts by telling us...

Scotland is a country rich in mementoes of the past. The regular shapes of hill-forts catch the eye from miles away, standing stones and circles stand by roadways or in fields, stark and timeless. History tells us little of such places and archaeology can give us only technical data. Yet many such ancient sites are not mute. Legends and stories have survived about them and offer us tantalising glimpses of how our distant ancestors lived and thought.

Legends which survive because people continue to tell them show us different aspects of our past. By their survival, like our folk music, such tales are part of a living continuity with the past.

Some of the tales in this book might even be thousands rather than hundreds of years old. What they all have in common is that in one way or another they reflect the underlying Celtic nature of Scottish culture. The stories range from legends told about Pictish symbol stones to tales of the great Celtic warrior heroes Finn mac Coul and Arthur.

There is the curious yarn of the nine maidens — were they all slain by a dragon or were they saints who had churches and wells all over Scotland dedicated to their honour? Where can we see a portrayal of a Queen's punishment for being unfaithful to her husband and what curse did it unleash on generations of wives? Where was Satan's bride turned to gold? Why did Kirk ministers say islanders had been turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath and where can we see these stones today? How did flames of fury kill off a race of giants? What are the incredible secrets of the three bells that have supernatural powers? What conditions did a ghost impose in return for revealing the hiding place of priceless treasure?

After reading these dramatic stories you will want to waste no time in visiting the places covered. Stuart McHardy gives you directions on how to get there.

And then he goes on to share some of the stories in the book which you can read at

Ranald's Humour
Ranald McIntyre from Scotland is an old time friend of the site and we have a collection of his sayings and verses up on the site at

He has sent in a wee humour story for us and here it is for you to enjoy...

Stictly Correct

A good-natured old Scots farmer entered a tramcar one afternoon and found himself seated beside a small boy returning from school.

"An dae ye like the schuil, my mannie?" asked the farmer.

"Ay" said the boy bashfully.

"That's graun" continued the farmer "an I'm shair ye'll be a guid scholar. But hou dae ye staun in yir class?"

"Saicont dux" promptly replied the boy.

"Saicont dux! did ye say? Weill ye deserve something for that" and he thrust sixpence into the boy's hand.

"An hou monie's in yir class?" continued the farmer.

"Me an a wee lassie" came the unabashed reply.

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


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