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Weekly Mailing List Archives
14th November 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 It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

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
History of Glasgow
The Scottish Historical Review
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Reminiscences of Cromar and Canada
The Story of the Scots Stage
Grand Lodge comes to Logierait
A Sermon on the occasion of the death of Hon. Archibald McIntyre
Roberton, Hugh Stevenson

Nothing to report this week other than me working hard on some technical stuff on the site.  I did get some new pictures in from David Hunter which you can see 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 Jim Lynch. As usual Jim gives us a great read covering all kinds of areas. His section also includes articles in the Scots language and also in Gaelic. And he's also included a "Good News" section :-)

I note his opening article states...

While watching events unfold over the past few weeks and months, I have had an awful feeling that at the end of the day the American people would vote for a male, white Caucasian, rather than a black man for President. I also thought it would have been the same result if Hillary Clinton had been standing. I have no great disregard for John McCain, I think he is an honourable and honest man, but made a bad choice for a running mate. Also he is a Republican, and America is aghast at the mess the Republicans have created.

When George Bush was elected, he inherited an economy in credit – he leaves it with trillions of dollars in debt, and with no apparent contribution to the common weal. It is difficult to see where the money went, it couldn’t have all gone on Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has gone and America is in hock up to its eyes, and this was before the credit crunch and the recession.

However, America took its courage in both hands and voted for Barak Obama; he has a tremendous task before him, probably the worst any American President has faced, and we wish him every success. As they say, when America sneezes we get the cold.

In Peter's cultural section he's telling us about BBC Alba...

In this week’s Scottish Quotations (see above) Sir Sean Connery remind us of the importance of reading – books upon a window to the world. It exercises your imagination as does my favourite media – the wireless. Like Sir Sean, I have been a life-long reader as well as being a radio addict, with a wireless in every room! Television, in spite of being invented by a Scot (John Logie Baird) has never had the same attraction, until now. Since 19 September 2008 and the launch of the first-ever Gaelic television digital station – BBC Alba – I have finally found a television channel I can relate to. Scottish programmes made by Scots for Scots but encompassing a Scottish window on the wider-world with an excellent breadth of subjects. Sport, music and song, comedy, news, discussion programmes, cookery, crofting news are all to be found on BBC Alba, with English sub-titles for non-speakers of the language of the Gael.

For Scottish football fans there is the added bonus of seeing a full Scottish Premier League on a Saturday night only hours after the final whistle, but more importantly for those of us who follow the lower leagues is the new channel’s backing for the Challenge Cup. Not only is the channel sponsoring the Challenge Cup but the first live game shown on BBC Alba was the semi-final of the Alba Challenge Cup from Firhill as Partick Thistle did battle with Airdrie for a place in the final. Airdrie won through 1-0 and this Sunday (16 November 2008) face Dingwall side Ross County in the final which will be broadcast on television for the first time. The programme on BBC Alba starts at 2.45 pm with a 3 pm kick-off at Perth’s McDiarmid Park. It should be a close gnd exciting game and although strictly neutral, I did wish the Ross County players good wishes for the final when they played East Fife in a Reserve League Cup game earlier this week!

Although there are only some 60,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, a survey of the first week of the new channel’s viewing found that some 600,000 people tuned in to BBC Alba. As digital television spreads throughout Scotland, I am sure that many more Scots will find and enjoy this splendid channel.

This week’s recipe - Simple Shortbread – makes an ideal accompaniment to a cuppa whilst watching BBC Alba (or indeed listening to Radio Scotland). Do try and catch a programme or two on the new channel – you won’t be disappointed.

Simple Shortbread

Ingredients: 12oz (350g) plain flour; 4oz (110g) cornflour; 4oz (110g) caster sugar; 8oz (225g) butter

Method; Sift the flours together. Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly and then work in the flours. Knead until smooth and without cracks and shape into a round onto a baking sheet. Pinch the edges and prick with fork. Alternatively, press the mixture into a flat tin, or mould, and prick with fork. Bake in a slow oven, 325F/160C/Mark 3 Gas for about 45 minutes. Cut into wedges or fingers, and sprinkle with caster sugar.

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

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

We're now onto the W's with Ure, Urquhart, Vans, Vedder, Vere, Vipont, Waldie
Wallace, Wardlaw, Warrender, Watson and Watt.

An interesting account of Watt which starts...

WATT, JAMES, a celebrated natural philosopher and civil engineer, the great improver of the steam-engine, was born at Greenock, January 19, 1736. His great-grandfather, a farmer of Aberdeenshire, was killed in one of Montrose’s battles, when his property, being forfeited, was lost to the family. The son of this man, Thomas Watt, established himself in Greenock as a teacher of mathematics and the elements of navigation, and was baron bailie of the burgh of barony of Crawford’s Dyke. He had two sons, the elder, John, a teacher of mathematics and surveyor in Glasgow, died in 1737, at the age of fifty, leaving a ‘Survey of the River Clyde, from Glasgow to the Point of Toward,’ which was published by his brother several years afterwards. The younger son, James, the father of the celebrated engineer, was a builder and merchant in Greenock, of which town he was for a quarter of a century councilor, treasurer, and one of the magistrates. He died at the age of 84, in 1782.

James Watt, the subject of this notice, was the elder and only surviving child of the latter, his brother, John Watt, a youth of promising abilities, being lost at sea soon after he came of age. He received his first instructions in reading from his mother, whose name was Agnes Muirhead, whilst his father taught him writing and arithmetic. He was afterwards placed at the elementary public school of Greenock, but the delicacy of his health interfered with his regular attendance on the classes, and for the greater part of his time he was confined to his chamber, where he devoted himself to unassisted study. He early displayed a partiality for mechanics, and when only six years of age he was observed at work with a piece of chalk upon the floor of a room drawing a geometrical problem. While still a mere boy, his attention began to be attracted to the great power of steam, as the following interesting anecdote will show: -- His aunt, Mrs. Muirhead, sitting with him one evening at the tea-table, said, “James, I never saw such an idle boy! Take a book, and employ yourself usefully; for the last half hour you have not spoken a word, but taken off the lid of that kettle and put it on again, holding now a cup and now a silver spoon over the steam, watching how it rises from the spout, and catching and counting the drops of water.” It appears that when thus reproved, his active mind was engaged in investigating the condensation by steam. We are told that he prosecuted almost every branch of science with equal success, and especially took so much interest in reading books on medicine and surgery, that he was one day detected conveying into his room the head of a child which had died of some obscure disease, that he might take occasion to dissect it.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Have added the Summer 2008 newsletter of the Clan Thompson newsletter which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
Another poem from John Henderson called "Garred Tae Lea Hame For Aye" which you can read at

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

I might add that I post up a story or two each week about things happening in Scotland.

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
We have now added the Parish of Newbattle to the Edinburgh volume.

Modem Buildings. - Newbattle Abbey, the seat of the Marquis of Lothian, is a modern building; and the plan of it, especially within, discovers the taste and judgment of the architect, as it is exceedingly commodious. In the library, which is voluminous and valuable, are several manuscripts in folio, written upon vellum, and every page of them is adorned with pictures, emblematic of the respective subjects of which they treat. Of these the most highly finished are the following: Jean Boccace des cas des noble Hommes et F. Famines, 1409: John Tikyt hymni: Titus Livius, per P. Berceun: Augustin de la Cite de Dieu.

In all of them, the figures are coloured and gilded with so much delicacy and richness, as to afford an excellent specimen of the labour and elegance with which they have been executed. These manuscripts had, in former times, belonged to the Abbey, the monks of which were of the Cistertian order. It was founded and endowed by David I. A copy of the original grant is still in existence. A wall surrounded it, which retains the name of the Monkland wall, but it is now far from being entire. The present house is built upon the spot which was formerly occupied by the monaster, and stands surrounded by a level lawn, containing from thirty to forty acres of ground. It is watered on the one side by the river South Esk, the only river in the parish, which, after descending through the rocks of Arniston and Cockpen, flows along the park in a quiet stream, and is overhung with flourishing plantations. On the other side, it is skirted by a waving line of woods, which, complying with the ascents and swellings of the banks, are seen rising above one another, and exhibit a beautiful variety of shades. These woods, nearly meeting at each end, form the lawn into a kind of amphitheatre, in the middle of which, as you approach from the south, there is an avenue 520 yards long, lined on each side with trees of the most majestic size. On this approach, where it crosses the village of Newbattle, there stands a venerable looking gate, whose antique appearance is greatly admired by every stranger.

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 Villagers of Auchincraig

And here is how it starts...

In one of the eastern counties of Scotland, there is a pleasant secluded valley, known by the name of Strathkirtle. It is well cultivated, growing good grain crops, abounding in rich pasture-land, and beautified by the water of Kirtle, which winds smoothly along between its fertile banks, and loses itself at last in the German Ocean. Strips and roundels of woodland, snug farm steadings, and the sheltering hills on either side, impart an air of peace and an aspect of comfort to this secluded Scottish strath, such as may rarely be witnessed in other countries. Spring nurses there her sweetest wild-flowers, on the meadows, in the woods, and by the water-courses; summer comes early with choirs of singing-birds, and the voice of the cuckoo ; autumn adorns the fields with the mellowest beauty, and touches the green leaves into gold ; and winter ever spares some gladsome relics of the sister seasons, to cheer the hearts of the inhabitants at Strathkirtle.

In the centre of the valley, and close beside the stream, there formerly stood the ancient village of Auchincraig; but the progress of improvement has, I am told, almost swept its last vestiges away. It was, without exception, the oddest, old—fashioned place in which I ever resided for any length of time. The dwelling-houses were of all shapes and sizes, and they had been built, whether solitary, in rows, or in batches, in utter contempt of all order and regularity. One might almost have imagined that they had fallen down in dire confusion from the clouds, and been allowed to stand peaceably where they fell. Some had their gables to the street, some were planted back to back, some frowned front to front. The roofs of not a few rose in ridges like the back of a dromedary, while the appearance of others betokened a perilous collapse and sudden downfall. Auchincraig could boast of styles of architecture unknown to Grecian and Roman fame. The primitive builders had not been particular regarding the situation of the doors, and evidently considered windows as useless breaks in the walls. Houses two storeys high, with weather-worn and weather-stained slate roofs, stood beside humbler dwellings, low and long, and covered with thatch. The parish church was situated in the burial ground at the east end of the village. It was an old edifice, with ivy-mantled a spire, which seemed ready to sink down and mingle with the dust of the many generations who slept around. Jackdaws congregated on its summit, and swallows, unmolested, built their nests in all the windows of the hoary pile. The parish manse, which appeared scarcely less ancient than the church, stood about a stone's cast from the place of graves. Primeval trees hung their foliage over it in summer, shading its roof and windows from the sunrays, and groaned mournfully throughout all their bare bulk when the bitter blast of winter swept over the exposed churchyard. A beechen hedge encircled the manse and the garden attached. The residence of the minister was by far the pleasantest abode in Auchincraig.

You can read the rest of this at

The other stories can be read at

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

We are now onto the final 3rd volume and added this week are the following chapters...


Chapter I
After the Revolution: Glasgow a Free Burgh

Chapter II
Clearing Old Scores

Chapter III
John Anderson, younger, of Dowhill

Chapter IV
The Darien Expedition

Chapter V
Land Purchases and Municipal Trading

Chapter VI
Domestic Annals

Here is what the Preface has to say of this volume...

THIS is the third volume of the History of Glasgow, produced under the aegis of the Corporation of the city in pursuance of their resolution of 6th September, 1917. The three volumes cover the period from the earliest times to the passing of the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1833 and afford a detailed account of the origin and development of burghal life in Scotland. The first volume dealt with the burgh as a possession of the bishopric. The second volume, covering the period between the Reformation and the Revolution, detailed the change from an ecclesiastical dependency to a trading community. The third volume tells the story of the free burgh and the men who, during nearly a century and a half, by their genius and energy, built up its fortunes and reputation and made Glasgow one of the great cities of the world.

Of these men the present volume takes particular account. There is tragedy in the fact that so few of these makers of prosperity have representatives in the community to-day. We still have a Speirs of Elderslie, an Oswald of Auchencruive, a Buchanan of Drumpellier, and a few more. But of Walter Gibson of Balgray and Balshagrie, John Anderson of Dowhill, William Macdowall of Castle Semple, Allan Dreghorn of Ruchill, Patrick Colquhoun of Kelvingrove, and a score of others, hardly more than a memory now remains. Each of them gave notable service in his time, and in each case the story of endeavour and achievement, and sometimes, alas, of ultimate catastrophe, forms a human document of real and permanent interest.

In those years the story of Glasgow was not the story of Glasgow alone. The city played its part stoutly in the general affairs of the kingdom. From the first it supported strongly the Revolution Settlement and the House of Hanover. Its fortunes were deeply involved in events like the Darien Expedition and the revolt of the American colonies. Its development of the steam engine and the steam ship contributed more than anything else to the making of modern Britain. And if its contribution, by riot and mass meeting, to the passing of the Reform Acts was not entirely a matter to be proud of, that contribution affords a typical illustration of the spirit of the time.

It was long a popular and plausible complaint that history dealt too exclusively with matters of battles, dynasties, and statecraft, and too little with the life, actions, and achievements of ordinary folk. To that reproach the annals of Glasgow go a long way to provide an answer. The records of the Town Council itself, which furnish the main source of information for the narrative contained in this volume, afford a close and intimate picture of burgess life in Scotland in the eighteenth century. Full use has also been made in these pages of sidelights furnished by such works as Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, Henry Grey Graham's Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, and The Social and Industrial History of Scotland, by Professor James Mackinnon, as well as the colourful descriptions of such first-hand recorders as Daniel Defoe, "Jupiter" Carlyle, James Strang, the author of Glasgow and its Clubs, and Senex, author of Glasgow Past and Present. From such materials an impression may be got, in fairly abundant detail, of the character, habits, and circumstances of the burgess life of the period.

For valuable suggestions, elucidations, and information the writer has been indebted to a number of friends, notably to Mr. A. C. Scott, Town-Clerk Depute and Keeper of the Sasines; to ex-Bailie Ninian MacWhannell; and to Dr. Harry Lumsden, Clerk to the Trades House, whose scholarly edition of the Trades House records forms the most recent addition to the printed materials of Glasgow's history. Most especially must be acknowledged the interest and extreme kindness of the Town Clerk, Mr. David Stenhouse, whose careful reading of the whole work, as it passed through the press, has been of the utmost value. To these gentlemen I tender my most grateful thanks.


The index page of the book is at

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

Journal to Arran in [Buteshire] Argyle-Shire
A continuation of the previous article.

Peasant Life in Argyllshire in the End of the Eighteenth Century
I was born in the year 1774 at Barichreil, a small village of Nether Lorn. My father was a descendant of that McCallum of Colagin, the sight of whom, as he entered Kilbride Church one Sunday, followed by his twelve sons in order of their age, provoked the Lady of Dunollie to exclaim: A third of Albyn were none too much for McCallum of Colagin!

You can read these articles at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
This week have added...

Chair, Chair Bed, Chair Rail, Chalk, Chalk Stones, Chambermaid, Chambertin, Chamfering, Chamois Leather, Champagne, Chandelier, Change of Life, Chaperon, Character: The Legal Aspect, Charades, Charcoal, Charlotte Russe, Charpie, Charr, Chartreuse, Charwoman, Chaudfroid Sauce, Chauffeur, Cheddar, Cheese and Cheese Making.

You can see these at

The index page for this publication is at

Reminiscences of Cromar and Canada
By Donald Robert Farquharson

Chapters added so far are...

Chapter I
The Dawn of History in Logie-Coldstone

Chapter II
The First of the Farquharsons

Chapter III
The Early Eighteenth Century

Chapter IV
The Later Eighteenth Century

Chapter V
The Fairy Doctor and the Curse

Chapter VI
My Grandfather

Chapter VII
My Father

Chapter VIII
The Fletcher Family

Chapter IX
The Stewart-Maitland Families

Chapter X

Chapter XI
Proprietors and Tenants

Here is how Chapter VI - My Grandfather, starts...

THE echoes of the rebellion of 1745, had scarcely ceased from the highland hill, and the new order by which the feudal system had been replaced had scarcely begun to function, when in 1764 and on either the easterly or the westerly "half pleuch of Knocksoul," our grandfather Robert Farquharson was born. He would seem therefore to be representative of the last generation of Scottish men born into the old conditions. These conditions, as has been stated, implied the necessity of the co-operation of two independent tenants in operating one only plough, probably under obligation, in terns of their respective leases, to contribute two men and six oxen or their tractive equivalent in working the two farms fairly, justly and harmoniously as between themselves, awl yet without unity of interest.

Of my great grandfather who seems to have been the grandson of The Fairy Doctor I know nothing further than what has been already stated, except that he had two sons besides my Grandfather, one of whom, whose name I have forgotten, was the father of my father's cousins, William Farquharson of the Newton of Melguni, Donald Farquharson late of Tollyhill, and Mrs. John Forbes of Kinhattoch, who was the mother of Harry Forbes late of the Township of Tilbury East. His third son Andrew went to Jamaica as a young man, where he seemed to proper, but in a few years took ill and died.

The time of my grandfather's birth was momentous in the history of the world. In March of the next succeeding year was passed by the British government the unfortunate Stamp Act, which though only four months in operation became the occasion, though not the cause, of lighting a train of events that shook the world. First came the rebellion 1776 and the secession of the Thirteen American Colonies. From that rebellion issued the spark that produced the French Revolution whose repercussion roused to activity the awakening intelligence of the British people, among whom had already commenced murmerings of discontent. In earlier times the conflict for liberty in Great Britain had been carried on exclusively by the nobles against the king. Now had come to be heard the voice of the more wealthy of the untitled classes, who, with the extension of commerce and enterprise consequent largely on the introduction of laboursaving machinery, had been rapidly increasing in numbers, wealth and influence. On these had been falling increasingly the burden of taxation, and already they were knocking at the door of the House of Commons, loudly demanding a voice in its deliberations.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

The Story of the Scots Stage
By Robb Lawson (1919)

Chapter III - The Origin of Drama in Edinburgh
James II. grants use of Greenside for sports—The Town Pipers—Harpers. Fiddlers, and Pipers—Pageants—Masques and Tournaments—Dunbar, playwright—Robin Hood Plays—Lyndsay's Satire—Parliament put down Robin Hood Plays and May Queen—Mob attack the Magistrates—Pageant for Queen Mary—The Pomp of the God--The Censor--Penalty for Actors, to be hung as thief.

Chapter IV - Edinburgh's Early Drama
Pageant to James VI.—Reformation helped by Plays—King takes Players under his patronage—Shakespeare's Dancing Horse — Rope-walking — Kirk denounces Plays, and King intervenes—English Players at Holyrood—James VI. demands revival of May games, etc.—Ben Jonson in Edinburgh —Siamese Twins—Dromedary, Quack Doctor, and Rope-Walker—The Fountains proclaimed Masters of the Revels—Dancing Schools licensed—Irish Players—Parliament patronise The Spanish Friar—Macbeth at Holyrood — Allan Ramsay — Aston's Theatre—Plays at Taylor's Hall—Edinburgh Freemasons patronise the Players—John Ryan at Canon-gate Theatre—High Life Below Stairs Riot.

Chapter V - The Edinburgh Stage
Fire at Canongate Theatre—Production of Home's Douglas—The Kirk takes action—A storm of abuse and ridicule—The Cape Club—The New Theatre Royal—George Whitfield objects-Samuel Foote, lessee—Digges and Bland, lessees—Mrs. Yates--John Jackson, lessee — Mrs. Siddons — Stephen Kemble, lessee—"The Circus"—Henry Erskine Johnstone — Barker's Panorama — Master Betty—Walter Scott and Henry Mackenzie granted patent of Theatre Royal—Henry Siddons fits Corn's rooms as Theatre—Command performance of Rob Roy by George IV.—The Pantheon—Adelphi Theatre—Henry Irving in "Stock."

Chapter VI - The Arbroath and Dundee Stage
Scott describes Fairport Theatre—The New Theatre —Corbett Ryder's company in Arbroath—"Stars" who visited there—First Dundee dramatist—Shakespeare and Dundee—Dundee Freemasons in procession to theatre — Dodging the Act — Edinburgh Comedians at Trades Hall—Council bans the Players —Yeaman Shore Theatre built—The Pretty Girl of Dundee—Opening of Theatre Royal—Mr. and Mrs. Henry Siddons—Stephen Kemble—W. H. Murray —Corbett Ryder's Company in Rob Roy—Mathews —Johnston—Clara Fisher, 9-year-old prodigy—Macready—Mrs. Faucit—Braham—David Bell, aged 13 —Paganini—Charles Kean—Samuel Phelps—The great Mackay—The African Roscius—Thistle Hall —G. V. Brooke—Dog-drama—A quintuple Richard III.—Tom Powrie—Helen Faucit— 'Wee Scott.'

Chapter VII - Early Glasgow Drama
Town Drummers and Town Minstrels--Vain plays at Ruglen—The Council decide to imprison strolling Players—The Temple of Beelzebuh—Giddy young Glaswegians—Teaching of dancing—The Beggar's Opera—BurreII's Close—The first Glasgow Theatre -George Whitfield gets angry—The mob burn the Theatre—Alston Street Theatre—Fanatical mob set fire to it- Bellamy—Dunlop Street Theatre erected, 1781—Mrs. Siddons—John Jackson, lessee —The School for Scandal—Master Betty—Jackson's economies.

You can read these chapters at

Grand Lodge comes to Logierait
An interesting article which concerns a historic event which occurred in Logierait on 10 August, 1865, the day the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland came to the village to lay the foundation stone for the memorial to be erected in memory of the 6th Duke of Atholl. You can read this at

A Sermon on the occasion of the death of Hon. Archibald McIntyre
This is an unusual book in that I confess not to have found one like it in all my years of historical research. I suppose that other sermons have been given for individuals but it would seem that it is rare that any of these have been printed and made available to the public.

You can read this at

Roberton, Hugh Stevenson
Father and Son, the father being the creator of the Orpheus Choir and the son a famous farmer and politician in Australia.

Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in. The article can be read at

And that's it for this week and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend :-)


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