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Weekly Mailing List Archives
12th September 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
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
The Life of John Duncan
History of Glasgow
History of Banking in Scotland
The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia
The Highland Host of 1678 (New Book)
The Goddess in the landscape
Birth of the NHS Service in Scotland
The Scottish Historical Review (New Series)

Steve said to tell you that he'll be working on the Servers again over the weekend so we might be down for a few minutes from time to time. I might add that we've put in place a new system of daily backups which will hopefully reduce the down time should our server system drive go down.


Had a few emails in from folk that have tried to list their companies on our site. We do have a problem on permissions so when we approve the new links we are currently unable to build them onto the site. Steve is working on this and hopefully he'll have it fixed shortly.

And just to also say that Steve said he'd do his best to get our new site search engine working by this coming weekend. I know it's been some months since I first mentioned this but hopefully success is in sight :-)


A wee bit of news from the University of Guelph.

Ossian - Fragments of Ancient Poetry is a Collection of digital images by artist Calum Colvin on loan from the National Gallery of Scotland. Previously featured at UNESCO in Paris, Scotland House in Brussels and the Scottish Parliament in

Monday September 29 to Friday October 24
University of Guelph McLaughlin Library: Guelph, Ontario
Open to the Public - Free of Charge


I note America was commemorating the 9/11 attack today (Thursday) and should it be of interest we still have available our own initial tribute at

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 Mark Hirst.

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

The climax of the farming year is the harvest - hairst in Scots. The bringing in of the harvest, especially if it was a good one, was a time of great celebration and ritual. Unlike today, the harvest needed a large workforce of both men and women in the "good" old days. As the reapers gathered they drank a toast and the farmer would lay his bonnet on the ground, lift his stickle, face the sun and cut a small handful of corn. This was moved sunwise three timesoo around his head and a chant set up as a blessing on the harvest. Obviously a ceremony stretching back into more Pagan times. The harvesters worked as a team and a kiss could be claimed from the girl bandster, who made the bands to tie the sheaves, if the band broke.

It was working at the hairst which moved our National Bard, Robert Burns, to pen his first lyric. At the age of fifteen he worked in tandem with Nelly Kilpatrick at the hairst and wrote "My Handsome Nell" in tribute to the bonnie lass -

"But Nelly's looks are blythe and sweet,
And what is best of a',
Her reputation is complete,
And fair without a flaw.

She dresses aye sae clean and neat,
Both decent and genteel;
And then there's something in her gait
Gars ony dress look weel."

But not only farmers are busy with the hairst, now is the season to pick one of Autumn's most delightful hedgerow fruits - brambles. This week's recipe - Bramble Wine - requires patience, six months to a year, but is well worth the wait.

Bramble Wine

Ingredients: 1 gallon brambleberries; 1 gallon water; 2 lb sugar to each gallon of fruit; a little brandy (optional).

Method: The berries should be gathered on a fine day and must be ripe and dry. Pick them over carefully and place in an earthware crock. Bruise the fruit with a wooden spoon and pour the boiling water over it. Cover and allow to stand for six days, stirring every day. Skim, and strain through linen or fine muslin. Measure the juice and the proportionate amount of sugar. Return the juice to the rinsed crock, add the sugar, and stir until it has dissolved. Cover the crock lightly and leave until fermentation ceases (a week or longer). Add the brandy if desired. Pour into bottles, corking them loosely at first; then tighten up and leave for not less than six months, and preferably for twelve to mature.

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 can be read at

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

We're now onto the S's with Smibert, Smith, Smollett, Smyth, Smythe, Snell, Solway, Somerville, Sorby and Soulis.

An interesting account of Soulis which starts...

SOULIS, an ancient surname, borne by a once potent family which seems to have left no representative. The first of the name was Ranulph de Sules, an Anglo-Saxon baron of Northamptonshire, who accompanied David I. into Scotland, and received from him a grant of lands in Liddesdale, with the manor of Nisbet in Teviotdale, as well as other lands in East Lothian. He is a witness to several of the charters of that monarch. He and his successors were lords of Liddesdale; in charters they were often styled Pincerna Regis. Ranulph built a fortalice in Liddesdale, called Hermitage castle, which gave rise to the now extinct village of Castletown. In 1271 William de Soulis was knighted at Haddington by Alexander III., and under the same monarch he became justiciary of Lothian. He was one of the magnates Scotiae who, in 1284, engaged to support the succession of the princess Margaret to her grandfather, Alexander III.

In 1290, he and Sir John Soulis were present in the meeting of the Estates of Scotland at Brigham, now Birgham, a village on the northern bank of the Tweed, when the proposal for a marriage between the heiress of Scotland and the prince of Wales was agreed to. Sir John de Soulis was one of the ambassadors to France to arrange the marriage of Joletta, daughter of the count de Dreux, with Alexander III. IN 1294, he again went to France, to negotiate the marriage of Edward Baliol with a daughter of Charles, brother of the French king. IN 1299 he was appointed by John Baliol custos regni Scotiae, keeper of the Scottish kingdom. In 1300 he commanded at the siege of Stirling castle, which was surrendered to him by the English. In 1303 he was one of the Scots commissioners at Paris. At the capitulation of Strathurd, 9th February 1304, he was excepted by Edward I. from the ignominious conditions imposed on the vanquished, and it was provided that he should remain in exile for two years. He joined Robert the Bruce, and for his services to that monarch, was rewarded with a grant of the baronies of Kirkandrews and Torthorwald, and the lands of Brettalach, Dumfries-shire. Accompanying Edward Bruce to Ireland, he was slain with him in battle near Dunkalk, 5th October, 1318.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Clan MacKenzie Newsletter for September is now available as a .pdf file at

I might add also that the MacKenzie DNA database has been updated.

We have received a Synopsis of the book “Learmonths-Lermontovs. Origin & History of the Surname and Families 1057 – 2007” by Tatiana Molchanova, Russia & Rex Learmonth, Great Britain, 2008. You can read about this book at

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

John has also sent in another pdf file in his "Village Cricket" series 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 Leochel and Cushnie

And as it happens this is the final Parish. There is some additional information from the Appendix that I'll be adding to complete this volume.

Accounts of the Parish.—There are short notices both of Leochel and Cushnie in a View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, MS. in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh; and a brief description of Cushnie contained in Macfarlane's Geographical Collections, MS. in the same repository, was published in the Edinburgh Magazine for 1761, Vol. v, p. 187.

Proprietors of Land.—The first possessors of land in the parish of Leochel, so far as can be ascertained from ancient records, were the Earls of Mar. Between the years 1165 and 1170, Gilcrist, Earl of Mar, gave to the church of St Mary of Monymusk and the Culdees there, the church of Leochel, with all its tithes and offerings, together with the half-davach of land in which the church is situated. The date is fixed by the terms of the gift which is said to be for the safety and prosperity of his Lord King William and those dear to him. Now William the Lion came to the crown, Dec. 9, 1165, and Gilcrist, the donor, died about 1170. This gift of Gilcrist was twice confirmed by John, Bishop of Aberdeen, from 1200 to 1207; it was renewed by Duncan Earl of Mar, son of Morgrund, and as it seems, grandson of Gilcrist, in the reign of Alexander II. about 1234, and this king confirmed it by a royal charter; Colin Durward, the Lord of Oneill, in that century, granted to the same Culdees of Monymusk, the said half-davach of land in which the church of Loychell was situated, with all its pertinents and privileges, and among others the common pasturage of 15 cows and 100 sheep, with their following of two years old, and of 4 horses; and this was confirmed by Anna, daughter and heiress of the said Colin, and her husband, Philip de Monte Scicheter. In a rental of the priory of Monymusk, in 1260, the value of the church of Loychell is stated at 15 chalders and 12 bolls meal, and of the land of Loychell at 2½ merks. [The charters relating to all these grants and confirmations are printed at length from the chartulary of St Andrews, in the appendix to Jamieson's History of the Culdees, 4to, Edinburgh, 1811, pp. 390-395]

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 Desperate Duel

Here is how it starts...

It was on a fine summer morning, somewhere about four o’clock, when I waukened from my night’s rest, and was about thinking to bestir mysel, that I heard the sound of voices in the kail-yard, stretching south frae our back windows. I listened—and I listened—and I better listened—and still the sound of the argle-bargling became more distinct, now in a fleeching way, and now in harsh angry tones, as if some quarrelsome disagreement had ta’en place. I hadna the comfort of my wife’s company in this dilemma; she being awa, three days before, on the top of Tammy Trundle the carrier’s cart, to Lauder, on a visit to her folks there; her mother (my gudemother, like) having been for some time ill, with an income in her leg, which threatened to make a lameter of her in her old age; the twa doctors there, no speaking of the blacksmith, and sundry skeely old women, being able to mak naething of the business; so nane happened to be wi' me in the room, saving wee Benjie, who was lying asleep at the back of the bed, with his little Kilmarnock on his head, as sound as a top. Nevertheless, I lookit for my claes; and opening one-half of the window-shutter, I saw four young birkies well dressed; indeed three of them customers of my ain, all belanging to the toun ; twa of them young doctors; ane of them a writer’s clerk; and the ither a grocer; the hale looking very fierce and fearsome, like turkey cocks; swaggering about with their hands and arms as if they had been the king’s dragoons; and priming a pair of pistols, which ane of the surgeons, a speerity, out-spoken lad, Maister Blister, was haddin’ in his grip.

I jaloused at ance what they were after, being now a wee up to firearms ; so I saw that skaith was to come o’t, and that I wad be wanting in my duty on four heads—first, as a Christian; second, as a man ; third, as a subject; and fourth, as a father, if I withheld mysel frae the scene, nor lifted up my voice, however fruitlessly, against such crying iniquity as the wanton lefting out of human blood; sae furth I hastened—half-dressed with my gray stockings rolled up my thighs, over my corduroys, and my auld hat aboon my cowl—to the kail-yard of contention.

I was just in the nick of time, and my presence checked the effusion of blood for a little;—but wait a wee. So high and furious were at least three of the party, that I saw it was catching water in a sieve to waste words on them, knowing, as clearly as the sun serves the world, that interceding would be of no avail. Howsomever, I made a feint, and threatened to bowl awa for a magistrait, if they wadna desist, and stop from their barbarous and bluidy purpose; but, i’fegs, I had better have keepit my counsel till it was asked for.

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read 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 the concluding chapters and appendix which now completes this book.

Chapter XL - Duncan's Characteristics and Character
His constitution; appearance; head; countenance; short-sight and its effects; simple fare; keen appetite; John at dinner at James Black's; eats pickle whole and its results; excessive estimate of money; spends it on books, his one luxury; command of temper; kindliness of heart; John and the hare; John and the idiot; John and the coals; obliging helpfulness; delight in sharing his knowledge; gratitude for benefits; rigid honesty; orderliness in all things; tidiness in person and dress; extreme retiringness; backwardness in company; secretiveness; want of emotive utterance; manner in meeting friends; style of shaking hands; his feelings deep and strong; causes of his apparent callousness; John in the field with a friend; innocent simplicity of his nature; John and the madman; his mother-wit and humour; "damn the riddle!"; cloth "with a bone in it"; siller and its potency; sarcastic replies; John and his oil bottle; the terribly honest gardener; the botanists in hell; his recherche Doric; its poetry; the songs he sang; his opinion of Robert Burns; his deficiency of poetic feeling; its real nature; his non-perception of the artistic; his capacity for high friendship; his wonderful love of Charles Black; religiousness of his nature; its depth and character.

Chapter XLI - The Secret?
The school did nothing for Duncan; his mother's extreme poverty; the extraordinary disabilities under which he lived; his remarkable successes; John's opinion of these disabilities and the value of learning; his love of knowledge, a true scientific thirst; Botany in its relation to culture; his wise union of intellectual and humanitarian studies; his practical use of all knowledge; his glimpses of higher philosophy; his opinion of his achievements in study; the effects of early influences on Duncan's life; their vital importance in every life; the value of natural pursuits in youth; Duncan's poor and hard lot and serene contentment; the character of his happiness; his simple tastes; the wisdom of plainness; his opinion of outside pity; his cultivation of "the internals"; his study of Natural Science; the felicity he extracted from it; his very happy life under untoward conditions; the happiness open to all in nature; our eyes have no clear vision of nature; our imperfect education in relation to it; the need of educational reform in view of this; "a man all his own wealth."

List of Plants gathered or verified by John Duncan

Part I.—Plants found in the Vale of Alford and the surrounding districts of Aberdeenshire.

Part II.—Introduced plants found in a semi-wild condition in the same region.

Part III.—Plants in Duncan's Herbarium not indigenous to the North of Scotland, but growing in the South of Scotland, England or Wales, or in other parts.

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 XXXII
Reign of James II.—Bishops Bruce and Turnbull—Market Customs—Freedom of St. Mungo—Barony and Regality

Chapter XXXIII
Founding of the University of Glasgow

Chapter XXXIV
Bishop Andrew de Durisdere—Vicars of the Choir—St. Nicholas Hospital

Chapter XXXV
Friars Preachers of Glasgow and their Endowments

Chapter XXXVI
The River Clyde and Foreign Trade—The Elphinstones in Glasgow—Election of Bailies and other Officers in Burghs

Chapter XXXVII
Bishops Andrew "Muirhead" and John Laing—University Privileges—Friars Minlasgow Glasgow—Chapels of St. Thomas and St. Tenew—Chaplainries—Forfeiture of Unproductive Tenements

Kings James III. and IV.—Bishops Carmichael and Blacader —Archbishopric of Glasgow—Grant of Free Tron—Burgh Privileges—Lollards of Kyle

And here is a bit from Chapter XXXVI...

IN conformity with earlier usage a statute of James II., passed in 1457, ordains that sailors engaged in merchandise should be freemen of burghs and indwellers within the burgh; and by an Act passed in the reign of James III., on 31st January, 1466-7, it is more specifically provided that none of the king's lieges should sail or pass with merchandise for trading purposes, furth of the realm, except freemen of the merchant class dwelling within burgh. But stringent conditions were imposed with the view of ensuring that those engaged in foreign trade should be financially able to implement their engagements. [Ancient Laws and Customs, ii. pp. 26, 30, 31.] Though the Scottish shipping ports at this time were still chiefly on the east coast and the trade with Flanders was far in advance of that in any other quarter, some share of shipping activity was manifesting itself in the Clyde estuary before the end of James the Third's reign. This is shown by a Precept of James IV., in 1490, whereby he confirmed an undated decree by the Privy Council, in his father's time, ordaining that all manner of ships, strangers and others, should come to the king's free burghs, such as Dumbarton, Glasgow, Ayr, Irvine, Wigtown, Kirkcudbright and Renfrew, and there make merchandise, strangers being required to buy merchandise only at free burghs, and to pay their duties and customs there. [Lanark and Renfrew, pp. 188-9; Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. pp. 87-88.]

Notwithstanding its inland position and the incommodious state of the river for miles below its site, [The unnavigable condition of the river Clyde at Glasgow is shown by the provisions of an agreement dated 14th May, 1507, whereby Thomas Tayt, burgess of Ayr, sold to the archbishop a quantity of lead, part of which he undertook to deliver either at the burgh of Renfrew, or at the shallow of Govan if his ship could be conveniently brought to the latter place (Diocesan Reg. Prot. No. 233). The editors of the Register suggest that the lead may have been destined for the south transept of the Cathedral which the archbishop began but did not live to complete (Ibid. i. p. 16).] Glasgow was not content to confine its seaward enterprise to traffic in salmon and herrings, but was ready to compete with its neighbours for a share of foreign trade. With four burghs having an interest in the narrow part of the river between Rutherglen and the eastern bounds of Dumbarton there was need for careful diplomacy if seaboard advantages were to be equally distributed, and a few isolated particulars of such negotiations have been preserved. The liberties of the burgh of Renfrew, embracing its shire, took in both sides of the river, and accordingly between it and Dumbarton arrangements connected with both land and water required consideration. To provide for the settlement of questions likely to arise, twelve representatives from each burgh met in the kirk of St. Patrick (Kilpatrick), on 29th August, 1424, and resolved that for the maintenance of friendship, six persons from each burgh, making twelve in all, with an oversman to be chosen alternately by the one and the other, should decide all complaints that might be made.

Anything that might happen, either by sea or land, which it was not in the power of this body to determine, was to be referred to the quartet where the earliest competent decision could be got. It was also agreed that no one in the burghs should forestall or buy within the shire or freedom of the other without obtaining the requisite permission, but that all should intercommune with each other within their burghs to buy and sell freely and in good neighbourhood. Five years later questions arose between the burghs as to certain freedoms and fishings, and these were settled by an assize which met at Glasgow on 22nd November, 1429, in presence of the great chamberlain of Scotland, who pronounced his decree on 3rd January, thereafter. Renfrew was found to be in possession of fishings called the Sandorde and of the midstream of the Water of Clyde, and also to have the custom and anchorage of the river to a place called the Blackstane. Below that point the profit was to be divided between the burghs. [Lanark and Renfrew, pp. 282-4.]

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 XX
First Break-Down of the Banking Settlement - Exchange Companies

Chapter XXI
The Crisis in 1857 - The Western Bank of Scotland

Chapter XXII
Consolidation of Scottish Banking - The Crisis of 1866

Chapter XXIII
The Institute of Bankers in Scotland

Chapter XXIV
The Raid on England

Chapter XXV
The City of Glasgow Bank

Chapter XXVI
Limitation of Liability

Chapter XXIII starts...

IT will be proper, at this point, to devote some consideration to the establishment of an institution which has exercised an important influence on the banking world of Scotland during the quarter of a century of its existence, and which, if prudently conducted, is calculated to materially benefit future generations of bank officers, and to elevate banking to a position partaking somewhat of the nature of a scientific profession.

Up to the time of the formation of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland, the education of bankers in the theory and practice of their profession—nay, even the ascertainment of their most ordinary educational acquirements—was of the most haphazard description. Not the smallest attempt was made either to encourage, or to provide means for, the study of the theory of banking. It may be thought that the practice, at all events, would be learnt in the discharge of daily duties; and to some extent this was necessarily the case. But no effort was made to induce young bankers to acquire any but a mechanical knowledge of details; and from the thorough way in which their interests were neglected by their superiors, there was instilled into their minds a conviction of the uselessness of efforts at self-improvement. Their directors and managers virtually—sometimes actually—told them that they need not hope for promotion. The more active-minded of the young men, who would think and study in spite of all discouragements, were either snubbed or left to cool their ardour in the shade of neglect.

It was the practical experience of this state of matters which led the present author to write an article, which appeared in the Money Mar/ et Review of 2nd May 1874, advocating a more systematic consideration of the interests of young bankers, as at once advisable from motives of justice and of policy. Among other suggestions it was proposed that a system of examinations should be established, in connection with which certificates would be issued to the more proficient candidates. It is highly probable that these suggestions would not have produced any practical result, had not the idea been taken up by a gentleman possessing the influence and energy necessary for conducting it to a successful issue. To Mr. John Gifford, late cashier of the National Bank of Scotland, belongs the credit of inaugurating and effectively conducting the desired reformation. Mr. Gifford addressed a letter to a literary society of bankers, of which he had at one time been president, urging them to consider the advisableness of establishing a system of classes, courses of lectures, and examinations, and the provision of libraries, bursaries, and all necessary accessories for the acquirement of financial and general knowledge. The society took the matter up warmly, and referred it to a committee to consider and report as to the feasibility of such a scheme. In the capacity of secretary to that committee, it devolved on the present writer to lay some practical scheme before the members. He accordingly proposed that the society should not attempt to undertake such responsible duties, but should promote the institution of a new association, which would be representative of the profession as a whole, in all its grades, throughout the country, and therefore, commanding an amount of authority and influence sufficient to give confidence in its diplomas, and to secure general interest in its proceedings.

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)

We have some more chapters up...

Chapter 15
William Naylor McDonald, His Diary
Chapter 16
His War and other Experiences
Chapter 17
Marshall McDonald
Chapter 18
United States Commissioners of Fish and Fisheries
Chapter 19
Craig Woodrow McDonald

Obviously a talented person and one that did a lot for his country...

In 1875, he was appointed Fish Commissioner for the State of Virginia and his successful efforts in the development of fish culture in the State brought him into very great prominence, and Professor Baird, with whom he had had a long acquaintance—having sent "Specimens" to the old Smithsonian, since his early boyhood—invited him to join the U. S. States Fish Commission; which greatly enlarged his field for research, and brought him wide recognition. His superior fitness was recognized from the first and he had largely the control of the work.

He was finally appointed United States Fish Commissioner by President Cleveland, and to quote from a Washington paper which made the first announcement of his appointment: "Under the terms of the first bill passed by the Fiftieth Congress, President Cleveland has appointed a person of scientific and practical acquaintance with the fish and fisheries to be a Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries. The new Commissioner, Col. Marshall McDonald, is to hold no other office and he is to be paid a salary of $5,000 a year. * * * * Marshall McDonald has received gold medals for improvements in fish culture from the International Fisheries Commissions at Berlin and London, a silver medal from the Societe d'Acclimatation de France, and a special medal for a fishway devised for the river Vienne in France.

"In 1881, he devised the automatic hatching jars now in general use by the United States Fish Commission, the several State Commissions and in Europe and Japan. This invention first made possible the vast extension of the work of shad propagation accomplished in late years and rendered the work of the U. S. Fish Commission practical from a commercial standpoint. It was in the winter of 1882 that he developed at Wood's Holl, the tidal apparatus now in use, for catching the floating eggs of cod, halibut and other marine species. The vast work of distribution now carried on by the United States Fish Commission has been developed by using this apparatus, its methods perfected, and the cost of the work cheapened, so that vastly greater results are now obtained without any increase of cost.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

The Highland Host of 1678
By John Rawson Elder (1914)

A new book I've started and here is how the Preface starts...

No period of Scottish history stands out more clear than that which owes its character to the indomitable resolution of those men of the West Country who were determined that neither concession nor repression should turn them aside from their allegiance to Presbyterianism. The dramatic incidents in their long struggle with the forces of Episcopacy—Loudon Hill, the murder of Sharp, Drumclog, Bothwell Bridge—are confined to the period, 1669-1679, during which Lauderdale was at the head of the administration of the country. His rule was marked by a long series of measures of coercion adopted against the religious recusants of the West, but no incident in that history of maladministration produced such bitterness of feeling and stern determination to resist the government as the bringing down of the clans to live at free quarter upon the Covenanting malcontents.

The descent of the Highland Host marks the turning point in the struggle. Lauderdale had now asserted that the situation was one demanding armed intervention if uniformity of worship in Scotland were to be secured. This culminating act of oppression, on the other hand, so changed the temper of the Whigs that they determined no longer to resist merely passively. The real effect of the Highland Host, therefore, was to render subsequent events inevitable.

We now have the first four chapters up and we'll complete this book next week. You can start reading at

The Goddess in the landscape
An article by Stuart McHardy

Scotland’s story has long been clouded due to a few particular historical events. One is that little early written material about ancient times survives due to various raids and invasions. The earliest of these started in the 9th century with the Vikings who often raided monasteries - the natural home for written materials as well as the precious metals they were seeking. Later came the invasion of the English king Edward Longshanks in the 13th century, and the Reformation 300 years later. Edward destroyed all documents he could find as they were sure to undermine his opportunistic and dishonest claims to be the sovereign lord of Scotland. What he didn’t destroy was taken south to England and disappeared. Later the Reformation saw the unleashing of fanatical mobs who burned books and destroyed great art under the guise of it all being Papist. Because of this and because of the close links between Ireland and Scotland the situation has arisen where Scottish culture is presented as being primarily imported from Ireland through Gaelic or from England through the medium of Anglo-Saxon which developed into Scots north of the Border. All of this ignores what can be clearly seen in the light of modern archaeological and historical learning - that Scotland was inhabited by people capable of sophisticated thinking with considerable mathematical and engineering powers from the time of the great stone circle of Calanais was raised about five thousand years ago.

Because of the lack of sources and the bias of historians towards both Christianity and an Oxbridge view of the world much Scottish folklore is ignored or misunderstood. This applies particularly to the Goddess in our landscape.

All of the pagan religions in Europe are accepted as having come through a Goddess phase and there is no reason to think Scotland should be any different. In fact behind tales of witches, supernatural females and Christian saints lies a reality that is still manifest in our landscape - that the Goddess walked these lands, and perhaps still does. In ancient religions it was natural to see life itself as emanating form a female source - after all do we not all come from our mothers - and the landscape of Scotland is dotted with referents to the female principle in its nurturing, life-giving sense, though we also have dark, violent females representing the destructive aspect of the Goddess, in short life and death.

You can read the rest of this article at

Birth of the NHS Service in Scotland
an interesting account of the NHS Service which starts...

Scotland in 1948

How the NHS came into being in Scotland is a story that isn't widely known. It had its own strong and distinctively Scottish roots well before 1948.

Looking back at 1948 largely through the black and white filters of film and photos seems to capture a grim era of austerity when basic items like food were still subject to the rationing imposed in war time.

But daily life in Scotland also had its fun, excitement and even colour.

- Glamour had returned to Edinburgh with its new Festival.
- Oor Wullie on his upturned bucket offered weekly cheer along with the Broons.
- Hibs had won the League, Rangers the Cup and East Fife the League Cup. Henry Cotton had just won his third British Open at Muirfield.
And Cathie Gibson from Motherwell was about to head off to the London Olympics where she became the only British swimming medallist.
- Millions went to the pictures . . . to see a stunning Moira Shearer dance ballet in the Red Shoes. And the prospect of Whisky Galore then being filmed in the Western Isles during a summer of flash floods.

What made Scotland different?

The NHS didn’t suddenly appear from nothing on July 5 1948.

It also did not create a single new nurse, doctor or bed.

Health Minister Aneurin (also known as Nye) Bevan merely nationalised the existing system across the UK. The revolutionary change was to make all services freely available to everyone.

Half of Scotland’s landmass was already covered by a state-funded health system serving the whole community and directly run from Edinburgh. The Highlands and Islands Medical Service had been set up 35 years earlier.

In addition, the war years had seen a state-funded hospital building programme in Scotland on a scale unknown in Europe. This was incorporated into the new NHS.

Scotland also had its own distinctive medical tradition – centred on its medical schools rather than private practice. And a detailed plan for the future of health with the Cathcart report.

Through the writings of AJ Cronin, the creator of Dr Finlay, it also shaped public opinion in favour of a National Health Service by exposing the injustices of existing provision.

You can read the rest of this account at

The Scottish Historical Review
I came across a number of issues of this publication and it's my intention to bring you a selection of articles from it. I am just scanning in the pages as images but each one is a large thumbnail and can be clicked on to bring up a larger image.

The first article I've added is "Life in a Country Manse about 1720" which I hope you'll enjoy.

You can read this at

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


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