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Weekly Mailing List Archives
10th October 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
Merchant and Craft Guilds
History of Glasgow
Reminiscences of a Highland Parish
The Scottish Historical Review

WOW... things are sure going down hill rapidly in the world. I used to work many years ago with the Hill Samuel Merchant Bank and it's amazing how much you can make if you keep investing in the stock market through these troubled times. This is by no means the first time that stock markets have gone steeply downhill. They have always recovered and gone on to make new highs. The savy investor will have quickly switched to safer investments and as the market settles down it will be a good time to jump back in.

Should you be saving amounts on a regular monthly basis then your money is now buying many more shares and when we come out of this you're going to make a fortune!

Pensions will be safe and money that has gone into them will be safe.

Many years ago I also worked for Carnation Foods for some 7 years. The company was bought out by Nestle and as I didn't have the required 10 years of pension service my pension contributions were put into a large Pensions company. I got a statement from them recently that showed at 65 I would have sufficient to live on with that pension alone. My pension interest had been buying shares all those years through thin and thick times and obviously made a good deal more money for me.

This is not just an American problem as it's now a world problem and I'm quite sure we'll work our way out of this mess. It seems to me that the problem has been caused by banks not doing what banks should have been doing and that is to ensure any loans they make are sensible. Seems they all assumed that the property prices would keep going up and didn't take any position on what would happen if they went down.

Anyway... I'm no expert in all of this but it's good news in some ways for the young people as they might actually be able to afford to purchase a house now and of course they have many years before they get near retirement age.


Got in an email from Diane Madsen telling me of this article and thought I'd share it with you...

Bob Dylan's greatest creative inspiration is not Woody Guthrie, Little Richard or Odetta. It's even not Picasso or Cézanne. Instead, Dylan has revealed his greatest inspiration is Scotland's favourite son, the Bard of Ayrshire, the 18th-century poet known to most as Rabbie Burns.

As part of an advertising campaign this year, Dylan was asked to name the lyric or verse that had the greatest impact on his life. Rather than quoting his idol Woody Guthrie or poet Dylan Thomas, from whom it is thought that Robert Zimmerman took his name, Dylan selected A Red, Red Rose, written by Robert Burns in 1794.

"O, my luve's like a red, red rose," the poem begins, "That's newly sprung in June. / O, my luve's like the melodie, / That's sweetly play'd in tune."

The selection was made as part of HMV's My Inspiration campaign. The adverts were launched two years ago with a spot by David Bowie, who chose lyrics written by Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. Dylan is the 100th artist to participate, after contributions from the likes of Morrissey, Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher and, er, actress Audrey Tautou.

"[Rabbie Burns] was a hugely committed artist who dealt with everyday emotions and big emotions so, in that sense, it's not a surprise he's influenced Dylan," Dr Gerard Carruthers, director of the Centre for Burns Study at the University of Glasgow, told the Glasgow Herald. "I imagine Dylan will still be loved in 200 years as much as Burns is."

Dylan's advocacy for the poet is in stark contrast to that of Jeremy Paxman, the BBC journalist who earlier this year called Burns's writing "no more than a king of sentimental doggerel".

The celebration of the Scotsman's work by an American music legend coincides with research by Dr Ferenc Morton Szasz. In work recently published, the US academic found a strong link between Burns and Abraham Lincoln. The legendary president could apparently recite Burns's poetry by heart, and his politics might have been influenced by the Scotsman's liberal views.

Maybe Lincoln even used A Red, Red Rose in a love letter - wooing a lady with the same words used by Burns in Ayr, or Bob Dylan several hundred years later.


I noticed a wee article that I thought might be of interest...

For the first time, Scotland's tartans are all being given formal protection. MSPs have backed plans for an official register of the designs, both old and new.

New and old patterns would be held at a central database in Edinburgh. It would be created and maintained by the National Archives of Scotland with input from industry experts.

Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor steered the Register of Tartans Bill to its final stage with cross-party support - despite disagreement over the way designs should be submitted.

The register aims to capitalise on the tartan industry which is currently worth around £350 million a year. Those in the industry are welcoming the new register, which aims to preserve, promote and protect Scotland's tartan designs.


As to the books I mentioned in last weeks newsletter I only got a small response for which many thanks to those that did respond... but even with that... all but one book was asked for. Kind of amazing that. Just goes to show the wide spread of interests you all have :-)

Electric Scotland is really my own personal journey through the history of Scotland and the Scots. I thus try to fill in gaps in my knowledge and hence the range of material I try to put up. Sometimes I'll put up a book that I feel needs to go up although I'm sure most of you won't read it. For example one book I'm looking to add is about the Public Administration of the Highlands. Right now I have nothing on the site about that and so this fills one of those gaps I mentioned.

I will say that all books I mentioned last week will go up on the site but I just thought I'd let you choose which ones would go up first :-)

I have decided that I'll do the Jewish book next as that is a small one and after that go for "Notes and Sketches illustrative of Rural Life in the 18th Century" By Wm. Alexander (1877) as that was the only book asked for twice. I should start on these this coming week.


Our new site search engine should be up on the site over this coming weekend in what we call beta mode. In other words it will be our first attempt at bringing this online. We'd certainly appreciate any feedback or suggestions you may have.

We do know that there are any number of options we can build in and we still need to figure out how to index pdf files. The thought is that we'll have a simple search on all pages of the site but may create a special search page at a later date to give you more advanced options.

Using the site search will in fact find anything on, and

We still have to figure out how to bring in our Article Service, Forums, etc into the search.

Reading the manual the normal search terms will work but it looks like wild cards can also be used. This means if you were looking for MacIntyre, McIntyre or M'Intyre you could do a search for *intyre and that should find all of them.

There is obviously more to do but it will be great to get started :-)


We now have a fixed date for our move to Michigan which means the site will go down after lunch on the 26th October (Sunday). We'll then drive our servers up to our new address and they should be online by 9am EST on the 27th (Monday). It might of course take up to 24 more hours for you to find the site depending on where you are. As we have to have a new set of IP addresses that means that domain name servers around the world will need to pick these up and while the large companies usually update every 2 hours smaller companies might only update every 24 hours. The very last thing we'll do before shutting down is to propigate those new IP addresses so that there is a good chance by the time we get our servers back on line most of you will be able to get to them right away.

I might add that as part of installing this site search software it does report on the download times and frankly these are just terrible and so getting more bandwidth when we move to Michigan will be a big bonus.

so do keep your fingers crossed for us that all goes well :-)


Also.. while all the above is going on I'll be at the Scottish North American Leadership conference in Chicago giving a talk there on the morning of the 25th. Given that and our move likely nothing new will go up on the site 24th through to 26th.

Should you wish to know more about the conference you can download the pdf file at


And just as I was finishing this newsletter I got send a url for a new book about the Knights Templar which you can get to 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. I was delighted to hear that he is also a fan of pie, baked beans and fries :-)

I also noted the interest in making BBC Alba more available across Scotland. This is the Gaelic channel. I would make an observation that it would also be great to make it available across the world!

In Peter's cultural section he's talking about Halloween...

There were two occasions in the year when bairns in Scotland traditionally went guising - Halloween and Hogmany ( this custom has now died out ). We are now nearing Halloween and can expect Guisers to come chapping on the door - not begging, but merely "thigging"; that is, soliciting gifts on special occasions. Apples, nuts and copper coins ( now silver! ) were the appropriate gift to "help the guisers". In her splendid book "Halloween" the late F Marion McNeill, one-time Vice-President of the Scottish National Party and well known Scottish cookery writer, explains the origin of this festival.

'Halloween or All Hallows' Eve ( October 31 ), appears in the Christian Calendar at the festival of All Saints, which commemorates the "blessed dead" who have been canonised. But how comes it, you may ask, that a solemn religious festival is associated with bonfires, guisers, witches, ducking for apples, burning hazel-nuts and such-like ploys?

The answer is quite simple. It was the policy of the early Christian Church to graft a Christian festival upon each pagan one, so as to disturb the customs of the people as little as possible; and, just as they grafted Christmas, the feast of the Nativity, upon Yule, the great festival of the Nordic peoples that celebrated the winter solstice, so they grafted Halloween upon the ancient Celtic festival of Samhuinn ( pronounced approximently Sah'-win ), which marked the entry of the Celtic year........ The religion of Scotland at the coming of the first Christian missionaries was Druidism, a form of sun-worship peculiar to the Celtic peoples. The doctrines of the Druids were secret. They were never written down, but were committed to memory, generation after generation, by the priestly caste. But the rites were public, and many survived as folk-customs for centuries after their original significance was forgotten. Some survive to this day as Halloween frolics.'

Next week we will look at some of the ploys and games associated with Halloween and towards that end you might consider enjoying one of the splendid dishes with Halloween significance - Cloutie Dumpling. Mind you, it is a treat at any time of the year!

Cloutie Dumpling

Ingredients: 12 oz flour ( or half flour and half breadcrumbs ); 6 oz shredded beef suet; 6 oz moist sugar; 4 oz currants; 4 oz sulanas; 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or mixed spices; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda; 1 egg ( optional ); buttermilk or thick sour milk to mix.

Method: Mix the dry ingredients together in a basin. Stir in enough buttermilk to make a rather thick batter - that is, one of dropping consistency. Dip a pudding-cloth into boiling water. Wring it out, then dredge lightly with flour and sink it into a bowl large enough to hold the mixture. Spoon in the batter. ( The bowl will give it a round shape, like a dumpling. ) Gather up the cloth, making sure that the folds are evenly distributed. Tie up tightly with string, leaving room for the dumpling to swell ( about one quarter of total bulk ). Place an old thick plate in the bottom of a large pan. Lift the dumpling on to it, and pour in boiling water to cover. Cover closely, replenishing the water when necessary. Boil for about three hours. Untie and turn out carefully on to a heated serving-dish. When removing the cloth, take care not to break the "skin". Dredge with castor sugar and serve with hot custard sauce.

Note - The spice may be varied to taste, and oatmeal may be substituted for breadcrumbs. The dumpling is very good made with ale instead of milk, an egg being added and the spice omitted.

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 Strathavon, Stratheden, Strathern, Strathmore, Struthers, Stuart, Sutherland, Suttie and Swinton.

A good account of Sutherland which starts...

SUTHERLAND, a surname derived from the county of that name in the north-east of Scotland. The Norse sea kings, who in ancient times held the sovereignty of the Arcades, styled the region south of the Ord mountain, Sudrland or Southerland, as lying south from Caithness, which for a long time was their only possession on the mainland of Scotland.


The clan Sutherland had for their badge what is vulgarly called Butcher’s broom. According to Skene, the ancient Gaelic population of the district now known by the name of Sutherland were driven out or destroyed by the Norwegians when they took possession of the country, after its conquest by Thorfinn, the Norse Jarl of Orkney, in 1034, and were replaced by settlers from Moray and Ross. He says, “There are consequently no clans whatever descended from the Gaelic tribe which anciently inhabited the district of Sutherland, and the modern Gaelic population of part of that region is derived from two sources. In the first place, several of the tribes of the neighbouring district of Ross, at an early period, gradually spread themselves into the nearest and most mountainous parts of the country, and they consisted chiefly of the clan Anrias. Secondly, Hugh Freskin, a descendant of Freskin de Moravia, and whose family was a branch of the ancient Gaelic tribe of Moray, obtained from King William the territory of Sutherland, although it is impossible to discover the circumstances which occasioned the grant. He was of course accompanied in this expedition by numbers of his followers, who increased in Sutherland to an extensive tribe; and Freskin became the founder of the noble family of Sutherland, who, under the title of earls of Sutherland, have continued to enjoy possession of this district for so many generations.” (Skene’s Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 301.) We do not altogether agree with this intelligent author that the district in question was at any time entirely colonized by the Norsemen. There can be no doubt that a remnant of the old inhabitants remained, after the Norwegian conquest, and it is certain that the Gaelic population, reinforced as they were undoubtedly by incomers from the neighbouring districts and from Moray, ultimately regained the superiority in Sutherland. Many of them were unquestionably from the province of Moray, and these, like the rest of the inhabitants, adopted the name of Sutherland, from the appellation given by the Norwegians to the district.

The chief of the clan was called the great cat, and the head of the house of Sutherland has long carried a black cat in his coat-of-arms. According to Sir George Mackenzie, the name of Catta was formerly given to Sutherland and Caithness, (originally Cattu-ness,) on account of the great number of wild cats with which it was, at one period, infested.

The earl of Sutherland was the chief of the clan, but on the accession to the earldom in 1766, of Countess Elizabeth, the infant daughter of the eighteenth earl, and afterwards duchess of Sutherland, as the chiefship could not descent to a female, William Sutherland of Killipheder, who died in 1832, and enjoyed a small annuity from her grace, was accounted the eldest male descendant of the old earls. John Campbell Sutherland, Esq., of Fors, was afterwards considered the real chief.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Got in the Clan Leslie of Australia newsletter which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "City Of The Rock" 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)
I have now started on the Lanark volume with the Parish of Lanark.

Name and Boundaries.—Some trace the origin of the name of this parish to the Latin terms Lana and area, quasi the wool-chest; others to Lan-arig, the bank of the river; or to the Gaelic words Lan, signifying a house, repository, or church, and deare, a bilberry. A derivation equally probable is that given by Chalmers in his Caledonia; namely, from Llannerch, which in several places in Wales is applied to a slip of level ground, or a vale. [Several places in North Britain have the same name; thus Lendrich in Kilmadock; Lendrich in Dumblane; Lendrich in Callander; Lendrich Hill in Fossaway; and Drumlanrig, the former seat of the Duke of Queensberry; all these accord with the colloquial name of Lanerk, and are probably from the same British source.]

The parish lies pretty nearly in the centre of the county to which it gives its name. It is of an irregular oblong form; in the south about 3, in the north about 5 miles broad. It is from 6 to 7 miles in length; and stretches along the eastern bank of the river Clyde, which separates it on the south from Pettinain and Carmichael, and on the west from Lesmahagoe. The adjacent parish on the north is Carluke, from which it is partly divided by Mashoch burn. Carstairs bounds it on the east. The town of Lanark is situated in 550 34' of north latitude, and 3° 5' of west longitude from Greenwich. It may be considered as the central town of the Lowlands, being 31 miles distant from Edinburgh, 35 from Stirling, 23 from Glasgow, and 47 from Ayr.

In 1244, Lanark was burnt to the ground; a fate which befell several other towns at the same period, and to which they were liable from having been then built of wood. In 1297 it was the scene of the first military exploit of Sir William Wallace, who there slew William de Hesliope or Heselrigg, the English she-, riff, and expelled his soldiers from the town. It seems to have been a garrisoned place in 1310, for we read of its having then surrendered to King Robert Bruce, with Dumfries, Ayr, and the We of Bute. On the 12th of January 1682, the Covenanters here published a declaration, which Wodrow calls the first essay of the "societies united into a correspondence." This act roused the indignation of the Privy-Council, who fined the town 6000 merks, and issued processes against the freeholders for not preventing it, nor seizing the parties concerned in it. Several persons were executed at the place about the same time, and among the rest William Hervie, who was charged with being at Bothwell Bridge, and publishing Wood's declaration. The grave of this person is still seen in the churchyard of the parish, and is an object of great reverence.

You can read this account at

The index page for the New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845) can be found at

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

This week have added...

The Covenanters

This is a large story and so we have Chapter 1 up now which starts...

During the persecutions in Scotland, consequent upon the fruitless attempt to root out Presbyterianism and establish Episcopacy by force, there lived one Allan Hamilton, a farmer, at the foot of the Lowther mountains in Lanarkshire. His house was situated in a remote valley, which, though of small extent, was beautiful and romantic, being embosomed on all sides by hills covered to their summits with rich verdure. Around the house was a considerable piece of arable ground, and behind it a well-stocked orchard and garden. A few tall trees grew in front, waving their ample foliage over the roof, while at each side of the door was a little plot planted with honeysuckle, wallflower, and various odoriferous shrubs. The owner of this neat mansion was a fortunate man ; for the world had hitherto gone well with him, and if he had lost his wife—an affliction which sixteen years had mellowed over-he was blessed with an affectionate and virtuous daughter. He had two male and as many female servants to assist him in his farming operations ; and so well had his industry been rewarded, that he might be considered as one of the most prosperous husbandmen in that part of the country.

Mary Hamilton, his only child, was, at the time we speak of, nineteen years of age. She was an extremely handsome girl, and, though living in so remote a quarter, the whole district of the Lowthers rung with the fame of her beauty. But this was the least of her qualifications, for her mind was even fairer than her person; and on her pure spirit the impress of virtue and affection was stamped in legible characters.

Allan, though a religious man, was not an enthusiast; and, from certain prudent considerations, had forborne to show any of that ardent zeal for the faith which distinguished many of his countrymen. He approved secretly in his heart of the measures adopted by the Covenanters, and inwardly prayed for their success ; but these matters he kept to his own mind, reading his Bible with his daughter at home, and not exposing himself or her to the machinations of the persecuting party.

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read at

Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades by Ebenezer Bain (1887)

More chapters up this week including...

Chapter IX
Wright and Cooper Trade—Masons—Coopering in Aberdeen—Seals of Cause—Essays—Funds

Chapter X
Tailor Trade—Seal of Cause—Statutes—Admission of Females—Upholsterers—Hours and Wages—Strike, 1797—Trust Funds—Property

Chapter XI
Shoemaker Trade—Appointment of Searchers—Seal of Cause—Prices of Boots and Shoes, 1586—The "Schoon Mercat"—Hides and Bark —Statutes—Cobblers —Corners—Property

Chapter XII
Weaver Trade—Early Mention—Price of Work—Old Aberdeen Weavers—Statutes—Essays—Property

Chapter XIII
Flesher Trade—Appreciatores Carnum—Early Regulations—Seal of Cause —Price of Beef and Mutton, 1576—Flesh Market—Statutes Amalgamation with the Six Trades

Chapter XIV
The Burgh Reform Movement—Abolition of Exclusive Trading Privileges —Rights to Property Reserved

Chapter XV
The Funds of the Seven Trades—Tables of Entry Monies—Widows' Fund--Supplementary Widows' Fund—Trades School

Here is how the account of the shoemakers starts...

THE shoemakers, long known as cordwainers or cordiners (from cordonnier [f.], a worker of leather), were early associated under a deacon. They had evidently taken advantage of the Act of 1424 authorising craftsmen to elect "ane wise man of the craft," and the following entry in the Council Register shows that even as early as 1484 the Magistrates had come into conflict with them regarding their deacon :-

27th May, 1484.—The same day the alderman, baillies, and counsall, because thai have fundin n ete faute in the craft of the cordinaris, at this tyme thai have put down the deacons of the said craft, annulland all powaris that thai gif to thaim of befor, and will fra hynce furth tak the correction of thaim all in tyme to cum, and to puniss thaim after thair demerits that sal be committit in tyme command.—Council Register, vol. vi., p. 848.

This arrangement, however, by which the Magistrates were to take the correction of the work of the cordiners into their own hands, does not seem to have worked well, for we find from an entry, a few years after, that two visitors were appointed with the same powers and functions as the deacons of the other crafts. These men were, no doubt, members of the cordiner craft, and the powers conferred on them are similar to those conferred by the formal Seals of Cause granted about thirty years afterwards to most of the craftsmen in Aberdeen :-

31st September, 1495.—The saide day the Alderman and diuerss of the counsall and communitie present for the tyme thought it expedient for ye commone proffit, for the correction of evil werk maid be ye cordinaris and cersing and reforming of it yat William Tamsone and Thomas Meldrum sal vesie, consider, and understand ye craftsmen of thar craft within this burghe, yat yai werk diligentlie, and to correct evil werk, and insufficint stuff as the vyss is of uyiris burrowis, and gif ony dissobeis the saidis William and Thomas, heirintill, in contrar to the common profit, yai sal present ye falt to ye alderman and balzeis, quhilkis sal punis them efter ye laws of ye realme, and consuetude of uyiris burrowis.—Council Register, vol. vii. p. 663.

In 1501 a more explicit order was issued by the Magistrates, with consent of the cordiners, for the appointment of "tua mene of thar craft to serce ande consider ye wirk of thar craft," a warrant that may be regarded as the first formal Seal of Cause that was granted to this craft, a Seal of Cause being, as has already been pointed out, a recognition or confirmation granted to a particular craft of the right to elect a deacon. The powers of the deacons were more specifically set forth in the Seals of Cause of certain crafts than in others ; but once the right was conferred on a particular body of craftsmen, they considered themselves entitled to make and pass by-laws for carrying on all the affairs of their craft or society. The right to choose a deacon was originally acquired in virtue of Royal Charters and Acts of Parliament; all that was afterwards required was a recognition of that right by the local Town Council, whose consent had to be obtained.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The index page can be found 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're make a start at the second volume.

Chapter V
Superintendent Willocks—Archbishop Porterfield

Chapter VI
Archbishop Boyd—Allotment and Feuing of Lands—Arrival of Andrew Melville and Esme Stewart

Chapter VII
Archbishop Montgomerie—Conflict with General Assembly—Raid of Ruthven

Chapter VIII
Archbishop Erskine—Rise of Walter Stewart, Lord Blantyre Feuing and Selling of Lands

Chapter IX
Parsons and Ministers—Archibald Douglas—David Wemyss

Chapter X
The Churches of Glasgow

Chapter XI
The University

Here is how chapter VII starts...

So far, the alienation of the temporal possessions of the archbishopric had not proceeded to any great extent. A more determined effort was now, however, made. Notwithstanding the acts of the General Assembly, which probably expressed the feeling of a large number of the burgess and the lower classes of the people, the king strongly desired to continue the episcopal system of church government. In this he was supported by a large proportion of the nobility, partly, no doubt, from desire for the orderly conduct of religion and from dislike of the republican temper of the presbyterian church courts, but partly also, there is good reason to believe, from desire to profit by the transference of church property which the episcopal dignitaries had power to carry out. Foremost in supporting the young king in this policy was the now all-powerful Lennox, and it has been made quite clear that he proceeded of set purpose to exploit for his personal profit to the fullest possible extent the appointment of a new archbishop at Glasgow.

A suitable tool for his purpose lay to his hand in the person of Robert Montgomerie, minister at Stirling. Montgomerie must have been well known to the king and court, who would be among his constant hearers in the noble old kirk under the walls of Stirling Castle. So far he had been a vehement supporter of the party which opposed episcopacy, [Spottiswoode, ii. 281.] but he was evidently a poor creature, and Lennox had recognised this. The duke made a pact with him by which, if appointed archbishop, he was to receive an annual sum of £1000 Scots, with some horse corn and poultry, while all the remaining revenues were to be made over to the duke and his heirs. [Richard Hay's MS., quoted in Chalmers's Caledonia, iii. 626.]

You can read the rest of the Preface at

The index page of the book is at

Reminiscences of a Highland Parish
By Norman MacLeod D.D. (1871)

Made some good progress on this book and have up the following chapters...

Tacksmen and Tenants
Mary Campbell's Marriage
Churchyards and Funerals
The Old Stone Coffin; or The Tomb of the Spanish Princess
The Grassy Hillock; or The Grave of Flory Cameron
The Schoolmaster

Here is how the story of "The Grassy Hillock" starts...

WE might expect to find peculiar types of character among a people who possess, as the Highlanders do, a vivid fancy, strong passions, and keen affections; who dwell among scenery of vast extent and great sublimity, shut up in their secluded valleys, separated even from their own little world by mountains and moorlands or stormy arms of the sea; whose memories are full of the dark superstitions and wild traditions of the olden time; who are easily impressed by the mysterious sights and sounds created by mists and clouds and eerie blasts, among the awful solitudes of nature; and who cling with passionate fondness to home and family, as to tic very life and soul of the otherwise desert waste around them But I never met, even in the Highlands, with a more remarkable example of the influence of race and circumstances than Flora, or rather Flory Cameron.

The first time I saw her was when going to the school of "the parish," early on an autumnal morning. The school was attached to the church, and the churchyard was consequently near it. The churchyard, indeed, with its headstones and flat stones, its walled tombs, and old ruined church, was fully appreciated by us, as an ideal place for our joyous games, especially for "hide and seek," and "I spy." Even now, in spite of all the sadder memories of later years. I can hardly think of the spot without calling up the blithe face of some boy peering cautiously over the effigy of an old chief, or catching the glimpse of a kilt disappearing behind a headstone, or hearing a concealed titter beside a memorial of sorrow.

As I passed the churchyard for the first time in the sober dawning of that harvest day, I was arrested by seeing the figure of a woman wrapt in a Highland plaid, sitting on a grave, her head bent and her hands covering her face, while her body slowly rocked to and fro. Beside her was a Highland terrier that seemed asleep on the grave. Her back was towards me, and I slipped away without disturbing her, yet much impressed by this exhibition of grief.

On telling the boys what I had seen, for the grave and its mourner were concealed at that moment from our view by the old ruin, they, speaking in whispers, and with an evident feeling of awe or of fear, informed me that it was "Flory the witch," and that she and her dog had been there every morning since her son had died months before; and that the dog had been a favourite of her son's, and followed the witch wherever she went. I soon shared the superstitious fear for Flory which possessed the boys; for, though they could not affirm, in answer to my inquiries, that she ever travelled through the air on a broomstick, or became a hare at her pleasure, or had ever been seen dancing with demons by moonlight in the old church, yet one thing was certain, that the man or woman whom she blessed was blessed indeed, and that those whom she cursed were cursed indeed. "Is that really true?" I eagerly asked. "It is true as death!" replied the boy Archy Macdonald, shocked by my doubt; "for," said he, "did not black Hugh Maclean strike her boy once at the fair, and did she not curse him when he went off to the herring fishery? and wasn't he and all in the boat drowned? True! ay, it's true." "And did she not curse," added little Peter M`Phie, with vehemence, "the ground officer for turning old Widow M'Pherson out of her house? Was he not found dead under the rock? Some said he had been drunk; but my aunt, who knew all about it, said it was because of Flory's curse, nothing else, and that the cruel rascal deserved it too." Ana then followed many other terrible proofs of her power, clinched with the assurance from another boy that he had once heard "the maister himself say, that he would any day far rather have her blessing than her curse!"

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be found at

The Scottish Historical Review
I have added several more articles from these publications...

Superstition in Scotland of Today
Probably few of those who year by year visit the northern counties of Scotland have any notion of the fairy lore and superstitions which, notwithstanding our modern wholesale education, are still cherished and believed in by the natives. The isolation of the crofter communities and the mystic temperament of the Celt are probably the chief contributory causes for these survivals elsewhere relegated to the limbo of forgotten things, and as every year, with the spread of education from one source or another, they will become less vigorous, it seems desirable to place on record the following instances which have come under observation within recent years.

Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families
THE editor is indebted to Mr. John S. Samuel for these biographical and historical Notes of Scotsmen in Sweden. They were prepared by Herr Eric E. Etzcl, D.Ph., Upsala, partly from information in Anrep.: Svenska Adelns Aettartaflor, and partly from researches in the private archives of members of the Swedish nobility, who trace their descent from Scotsmen who migrated to Sweden, for the most part during the Thirty Years' War. That prolonged struggle attracted a large number of Scottish soldiers of fortune, who at its close settled in Sweden, and afterwards made for themselves a name in its military and industrial annals.

Helenore, or The Fortunate Shepherdess
THIS manuscript volume is, so far as I know, the only copy in existence in Alexander Ross's autograph of one of the finest Pastorals in the Scottish vernacular—a poem which, in the counties of Forfar, Kincardine, Aberdeen, and so along to Inverness, easily holds in public estimation a place equal, if not superior, to that held by Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd in the Lothians and other lowland counties of Scotland. In one respect it is undoubtedly superior—as a genuine and faithful record of the habits, customs and common speech of the locality and period the poet professes to describe.

John Bruce, Historiographer 1745-1826
Mr. Bruce's intellectual powers were of the very highest order. He was equally distinguished as an accurate historian and an elegant scholar. The extent, the variety, and the correctness of his general information was astonishing.... In the more vigorous period of his life he was eminently distinguished by that qualification which is so rarely to be met with, in which great knowledge is combined with a shrewdness and pleasing urbanity of manners which rendered his communications agreeable to everyone. His conversational powers were captivating in the extreme, and his sallies of innocent humour and flashes of wit were irresistibly entertaining.

Scots in Poland
This article gives many Scottish names in Poland.

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


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