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History Scotland - November-December 2017

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Vol.17 No.6 November/December 2017
EXPERT
INSIGHT
EVERY I IN
SSUE
? ARC
H
MARY
QUEEN SCOTS
AEOLO
GY
? HER
ITAGE
? HIST
ORY
Face to face
with an
ANCIENT
The causes and
consequences of the
Glenkens
Rising
of 1666
PICT
Creating a facial
reconstruction
OF
How today?s historians
view the queen?s rule
CRIME, TRADE
& POLITICS
IN 17TH-CENTURY
ST ANDREWS
p01 Cover.indd 13
TEA & EMPIRE
JAMES TAYLOR?S
TRAVAILS IN
VICTORIAN CEYLON
NEW RESEARCH
THE REAL STORY OF
FOLKLORIST ALEXANDER
CARMICHAEL?S YOUTH
03/10/2017 14:34
CELEBRATE WHAT MATTERS
TO YOU TODAY BY LEAVING US
A GIFT IN YOUR WILL.
Visit nts.org.uk/giftsinwills
or call 0131 458 0407
The National Trust for Scotland is a Scottish charity, SC007410
2
H I S TO RY SC OT LA ND - JA NUA RY / F E B RUA RY 2017
02.indd 2
26/09/2017 09:53
History
PATRONS
David Breeze
Christopher Smout Historiographer Royal
Elizabeth Ewan University of Guelph
EDITORIAL BOARD
FIND OUT MORE AT: HTTP://SCOT.SH/HIS-BOARD
Mr Derek Alexander
Archaeologist,
National Trust for Scotland
Dr John Atkinson
Managing Director
GUARD Archaeology Ltd
Medieval and post-medieval
settlement and industry
Dr Sonja Cameron
Historian, writer and editor
Prof Hugh Cheape
Sabhal Mor Ostaig College,
University of the Highlands
and Islands
George Dalgleish
Keeper, Scottish History
and Archaeology, National
Museums Scotland,
Edinburgh. Scottish decorative
arts, specifically silver, ceramics
& pewter; Jacobite collections
Dr Piers Dixon
Operations Manager at
the Royal Commission on
the Ancient and Historical
Monuments of Scotland
(RCAHMS), (rural settlement
and medieval archaeology)
Mr Andrew Dunwell
Director, CFA Archaeology,
Edinburgh (Later prehistory
and Roman)
Mark A Hall
History Officer (archaeology
collections) at Perth
Museum & Art Gallery.
Dr Kevin James
Dept of History and Scottish
Studies Programme,
University of Guelph, Canada
Prof S Karly Kehoe
Canada Research Chair
in Atlantic Canada
Communities, Saint Mary?s
University, Canada.
Dr Catriona MacDonald
Reader in Late Modern
Scottish History
University of Glasgow
Cynthia J. Neville
George Munro
Professor of History
and Political Economy,
Dalhousie University
Dr Aonghus Mackechnie
Principal Inspector of
Historic Buildings, Historic
Scotland (Architecture,
c.1600 - 1750)
Dr Ann MacSween
Principal Inspector, ?Historic
Scotland? (Prehistory)
Dr Colin Martin
Honorary Reader in
Maritime Archeology
University of St Andrews
history
SCOTLAND
Dr Allan Kennedy
Lecturer in History,
University of Dundee
Volume 17, Number 6
November/December 2017
FROM THE EDITOR
As many of you will know, History Scotland?s editor Dr Alasdair
Ross passed away at the end of August, following a short
illness. Alasdair will be greatly missed by his many friends and
colleagues, and in a special feature on page 6, Professor Richard Oram pays tribute to
Alasdair?s work, his many contributions to Scottish history and his legacy, part of which
is this magazine.
Having worked with Alasdair for many years, I was always inspired by his belief that
history should be enjoyed by everyone, whatever their level of knowledge and expertise.
Myself and the rest of the History Scotland team are determined that the magazine will
continue to reflect Alasdair?s love of the country?s history and archaeology, and this
issue contains a final group of articles which he selected.
In January/February History Scotland, we will publish the first instalment of a twopart article co-written by Alasdair earlier this year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy
this month?s articles, which take us from the Ceylon tea plantations of Sri Lanka, to
tales of notorious criminals which are preserved at National Records of Scotland.
Rachel Bellerby
Editor, History Scotland
editorial@historyscotland.com
Neil McLennan
Writer, education manager
and Past President of the
Scottish Association of
Teachers of History
MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS
Prof Angela McCarthy
Scottish and Irish History,
University of Otago
Sir T.M. Devine is Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography
Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh.
Dr Iain MacInnes
Lecturer in Scottish
History, University of the
Highlands and Islands.
Angela McCarthy is Professor of Scottish and Irish History and Director
of the Centre for Global Migrations at the University of Otago, Dunedin,
New Zealand.
Prof Richard Oram
Scottish Medieval History
& Environmental History,
University of Stirling
Matt Ritchie
Archaeologist,
Forestry Commission
Mr Geoffrey Stell
Architectural Historian
Dr Simon Taylor
Scottish place-names,
University of Glasgow
Dr Fiona Watson
Historian, writer
and broadcaster
Dr Alex Woolf
Senior lecturer in History,
University of St Andrews
History Scotland was launched in October 2001 at the Royal Museum
in Edinburgh by Professor Christopher Smout, Historiographer Royal,
who is now one of the magazine?s patrons. It is backed by the Scottish
history and archaeology professions with leading representatives from
a variety of different disciplines on the Editorial Board.
Articles appearing in this journal are abstracted and indexed in
Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life and the British
Humanities Index
p03 Eds intro.indd 3
SCOTLANDwww.historyscotland.com
Profesor Sir Tom Devine and Professor Angela McCarthy are co-authors of an
article to mark the 150th anniversary of Ceylon tea, which examines the life of
James Taylor, the Scottish progenitor of this global trade (see page 40).
Robert Hay has lived on the Isle of Lismore for ten years. He is the archivist for
the Lismore Historical Society/ Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mor.
In this issue (page 24), Robert examines the original, recently digitized,
notebooks of folklorist Alexander Carmichael, to untangle the myths the
folklorist created about his early life.
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H I S TO RY SC OT LA ND - JA NUA RY / F E B RUA RY 2017
27/09/2017 14:54
27/09/2017 16:15
CONTENTS
16
30
24
IN-DEPTH FEATURES
16 The Glenkens Rising
Professor Ted Cowan explains the causes and consequences of
the Glenkens Rising of 1666
24 Rewriting history: the childhood and youth of folklorist
Alexander Carmichael
An exploration of the recently digitised notebooks of Alexander
Carmichael, which give clues to the myths the folklorist invented
about his early life and origins
FEATURES
8
Mary Queen of Scots
Dr Anna Groundwater assesses the state of current scholarship on the Stewart queen
32 Charles Seton: the reluctant rebel, part III
We conclude our study of the earl of Dunfermline with a look at
his fortunes following the Restoration, as he faced the prospect
of financial ruin
40 Tea and Empire: James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon
To mark the 150th anniversary of the Ceylon tea enterprise, we
take a look at the life of James Taylor, the Scottish progenitor of
the trade
NEWS
6
History news
Dr Alasdair Ross obituary, a new
home for Gairloch Heritage Museum.
Plus: RSGS firsts - new series!
23 The reality of the Crimean War
Roger Fenton?s striking photographs of mid 19th-century warfare in the Crimea
30 The Burnwynd Project
A new project focusing on the burgh records of 17th century St Andrews focuses on crime, trade and politics
37 An artist?s war
The work of Morris and Alice Meredith Williams, whose sculptures appear on the Scottish National
War Memorial
29
46
Face of the Cramond murderer
A new facial reconstruction sheds light on a 19th-century murder
48
Project Reveal
National Trust for Scotland embarks on a major project to catalogue each of its 100,000 arfefacts
The Willow Tea Rooms
New funding allows major restoration project to go ahead
50 Hidden history
Neil McLennan visits Perth, ahead of its bid to be City of Culture 2021
ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS
10
The face of an ancient Pict
Forensic artist Hayley Fisher on digital reconstructions
12
Archaeology InSites
A year-long project to explore the country?s archaeological past
15
Medieval Aberdeenshire
Uncovering the complex history of a rural building from the Middle Ages
REGULARS? IN EVERY ISSUE
47
National Records of Scotland
Records relating to criminal cases
52Join History Scotland
Have the magazine delivered
and receive a free gift
53 Book reviews
The latest Scottish history
and archaeology titles
57
Glasgow Police Museum
A police bravery medal with a poignant history
58 Diary Dates
Lectures, exhibitions and festivals
taking place in November and
December, plus winter
archaeology events
60
Museum spotlight
The story of how a huge lighthouse lens came to be at the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright
61
Family history news
Spotlight on Banffshire Field Club. Plus, how to locate a World War I military ancestor
62
Final word
Tom Meade, digital director at Registers of Scotland, on the organisation?s digital transformation
HISTORY NEWS
We invite you to join us in a
Celebration of the Life and Career of Dr Alasdair Ross
(1962 ? 2017)
Wednesday 27th September, 2017
1pm -3pm (eulogy at 1.30pm)
Pathfoot Dining Room, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling
Alasdair was Reader in Scottish Medieval and Environmental History;
former Director of the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy,
Director of History Tomorrow and Editor of History Scotland
Magazine. This event will celebrate his life and career at Stirling.
Dr Alasdair Ross:
A tribute by
Refreshments
will be provided. Oram
Professor
Richard
RSVP to Simone Cilia simone.cilia@stir.ac.uk
No flowers. Donations to Scottish Mountain
Rescue
thelove
SNP.of the countryside of Kincardineshire and the Cairngorms
Alasdair
had aor
deep
I
t is painfully difficult to write a tribute to someone who has
been taken from us so suddenly and at such an early age, just
as he was coming into the full maturity of his career and where
the future held so much promise personally and professionally.
With the death of Alasdair (Ally) Ross, the world has lost a flash
of brilliance and warmth that touched the hearts of everyone
who came into contact with him. For me, I have not simply lost a
former student, one of the first whom I saw through the full degree
track from pre-university to doctorate, but also a colleague whose
skills, knowledge and experience I valued, welcomed and sought.
But above all I have lost a friend whose passions and interests ?
Scotland?s mountains and upland environments, history, musical
tastes (from Duncan Chisholm to Smashing Pumpkins), Indian
cooking, wine and whisky ? matched so closely with my own,
and who was always there to keep me grounded with his dry but
good-natured observations. I know that I have not even begun to
understand how much I will miss him.
Central to much of Ally?s work over the last decade was
Scotland?s environment and he understood well how much impact
environment had on individual experience and character-building.
He was the exemplar of that truth. Although he would often
label himself an Aberdonian to help the uninitiated understand
his north-eastern roots, Ally was a Kincardine man, born and
spending his early childhood in the coastal village of Newtonhill
and then later in Banchory on Deeside. It was in this beautiful
place, between the sea and the mountains, with the sandstones
and conglomerates of the Mearns? sea-cliffs and the granites of the
Cairngorms as his play-ground, that he found two of his enduring
loves ? the richness and diversity of Scotland?s environment and
the exhilarating risks of climbing. Those things informed so much
of his later research.
Despite his early love of history and nature, Ally did not pursue
an academic route after school but moved instead into business,
eventually setting up a fish merchant company in Aberdeen. But,
like many before and since, his growing interest in Scotland?s
past ? and future ? drew him back towards education and, aged
29, he decided to seek entry to university. Aberdeen University?s
Access Summer School introduced him to two of his deepest
loves, medieval Scottish history and his future wife, Sonja. He
was an outstanding student who took to academic study with flair
6
p06-07 News.indd 6
and brilliance. Having been talked out of his initial thoughts of
studying archaeology, he immersed himself in Scottish History and
Celtic Studies, securing a 1st Class degree. That interdisciplinary
grounding provided him with the platform for his PhD research
into the structures of lordship in early medieval Moray, delivering
a ground-breaking thesis which overturned decades of scholarship
and which forced a wholesale re-evaluation of what we thought we
understood about lordship, society and economies in the country
north of the Tay.
From there, the only way was upwards and onwards, meeting
new challenges just as he would have tackled a rock-face. In
2003 Ally joined the research staff at the University of Stirling
as a member of a project exploring environmental change in
the uplands around Loch Tay before becoming a permanent
member of staff in the Division of History and Politics in 2007
as one of four environmental history lecturers. In the previous
year, he had become Editor of History Scotland, taking on that
role at a critical point in this magazine?s development and using
his growing network of professional contacts to reinvigorate and
reorient its editorial style and content. Two years later, he became
Director of the Centre for Environmental History and Policy.
As his research and publication output grew, across a range of
topics from early Scottish kingship to grassland management
regimes or wood-production in Highland Scotland, further
promotion followed, first to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader
in Environmental and Medieval Scottish History. A Chair surely
lay just around the corner. But then fate, unexpected and cruelly
quick, intervened.
Ally?s illness and death came so fast that very few of us were able
to say our good-byes. His calmness and dignity when confronted
with his diagnosis was a comfort to those of us who were numbed
by the news, and his concern for us and for what he saw as the
inconvenience he was causing us was a humbling reflection of the
warmth and care that he showed for everyone. Sadly, there is now
a deeper poignancy to the toast he gave so often and which we
gave to him at his funeral:
Here?s tae us
Wha?s like us?
Damn few
An? they?re a? deid.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:12
Get daily news stories and expert articles at: www.historyscotland.com
New Highland
heritage centre
George VI in Edinburgh
The king?s first public broadcast was
delivered at the RSGS, while he was still
duke of York, writes Jo Woolf
Artist?s impression of the planned heritage centre
A new heritage centre at the home of the Braemar Gathering will
tell the story of Highland Games and Gatherings. Plans have been
approved for the first purpose-built centre of its kind, with construction
due to start this autumn.
The �2million development is to be funded by Braemar Royal
Highland Society and private donations, and a major fundraising
campaign is ongoing to help meet the final target. Incorporating a
gallery, exhibition hall and cafe, the centre will tell the story of Royal
links to Braemar and explore the early beginnings of Highland Games.
Exhibits will include paraphernalia from Highland Games and
Gatherings, such as medals and trophies, and partner The Scottish
Tartans Authority will also contribute to the collection.
Listen to a special episode of the History Scotland podcast recorded at the
2017 Games: scot.sh/his-podcast
Crowd funding project to
fund new home for Gairloch
Heritage Museum
A new crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise the final �,000
needed for a new museum, with stars of the TV time-travel drama
Outlander lending their support to the appeal and Adhamh O?Broin,
Gaelic consultant for the show offering Gaelic lessons as one of the
rewards to those who contribute to the project.
People will also be able to purchase inscribed metal plaques inspired
by the Gairloch Pictish fish, which will be part of a large installation
in the new museum. The local community has already raised over
�0,000 towards the total and it is hoped that the remaining �,000
will be raised through the crowdfunding campaign.
To make a donation, visit the project website: www.crowdfunder.
co.uk/gairlochheritagemuseum
Download History Scotland?s new, unofficial Outlander history guide:
scot.sh/HSoutland
Lord Meston, Lord Elphinstone, the duke of York, Lord Provost Sir William Thomson (from The
Scotsman, 25 October, 1934)
O
n 24 October, 1934 the Royal Scottish Geographical
Society (RSGS) celebrated its Golden Jubilee. A banquet
was held at the North British Station Hotel (now the
Balmoral) in Edinburgh, at which the duke and duchess of York
were guests of honour.
Earlier that day the royal visitors had attended a special meeting
of the Society in the Usher Hall. The duchess was photographed
carrying a bouquet of roses, and smiling radiantly. Now, as 350
dinner guests waited in anticipation, the duke rose to his feet and
prepared to speak.
Battling with an unfortunate stammer, he spoke gallantly and at
length about Scotland?s contribution to geography, and paid tribute
to Scottish explorers. He noted that good communication promoted
better feeling between nations: ?It is this truer understanding
between races, and a knowledge of mutual difficulties and
limitations, that can help us in our search for peace.?
The duke of York was, of course, the future George VI. In January
1936 his father, George V, died, and the abdication of Edward VIII
in December of that year forced him to accede to the throne. For
fifteen years he was Patron of the RSGS.
The significance of the King?s speech, however, has only just
become apparent. On the king?s death in February 1952, RSGS
President John ?Ian? Bartholomew observed that the banquet was
?the first occasion on which His late Majesty broadcast to the
public.? As duke of York, his address had been broadcast live on
national radio, which must have added even more pressure to the
occasion. Bartholomew recalled: ?Those who were present could
form some idea of the tremendous effort called for, facing the
microphone... They liked to think that the confidence he gained of
later years in his happy Christmas broadcasts had in no small way
its beginning in that first successful triumph in their midst.?
For more information about RSGS, visit: www.rsgs.org
Quotes: The Scotsman, 25 October, 1934;
The Scotsman, 15 February, 1952
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - JA NUA RY / F E B RUA RY 2017
p06-07 News.indd 7
7
27/09/2017 11:12
MARY QUEEN
OF SCOTS
THE CURRENT STATE
OF SCHOLARSHIP
With a major Hollywood film on the life of Mary Queen of Scots
currently in production, the public?s fascination with the life of the
Stewart queen shows no sign of abating. Anna Groundwater
takes a look at how modern-day historians now view Mary?s rule
?W
hat then
are we
to make
of Mary?
There
can be no doubt of her failure as
a ruler?. So wrote the late, great
Scottish historian, Jenny Wormald,
nearly 30 years ago. But in the years
since there have been many that
disagreed with her, while Mary?s
enduring popularity on stage, screen,
print and online forums indicates
a seemingly undimmed public
fascination with the lady herself, her
reign, and her disastrous, ultimately
tragic downfall.
This year, 2017, the Mary-related
production line is churning out
at least one major play, ?Glory on
Earth?; a Hollywood blockbuster
film; an independent dark comedy
during the Edinburgh Festival,
as well as a concert with newly
composed music inspired by
her life; and a festival in Kinross
dedicated wholly to the ill-fated
queen with jousting, music and
dance. You can now also read
Mary?s own words in translations
of her letters available online. No
doubt there will be an outburst of
popular publishing to accompany
the film, but first out of the blocks
is a republication of Wormald?s
incisive study that brought the
whole of her extensive scholarly
work in Scottish history to bear
upon a new understanding of Mary
Queen of Scots as monarch.
8
p8-9 MQS scholarship.indd 8
Marie reine d?Ecosse
by Janet, (fl. c.1570)
For decades,
Mary?s gender
has preoccupied
historians, who
have debated the
restrictions which this
placed both upon the
queen and those close
to her
You might ask why yet another
tome on Mary is needed? Quite
simply, the debate over her reign and
life continues. Scholarship remains
deeply divided, though most popular
accounts of her are romantically
sympathetic. Part of the problem
is that arguments have been overpersonalised in the figure of Mary
herself, typified as religious martyr,
wicked adulteress, or innocent
victim, in the debate over her ?guilt?
or otherwise in her second husband
Lord Darnley?s murder, and her
relationship with the earl of Bothwell.
Was she the author of the ?Casket
Letters? or not? Innocence or
guilt in these have overshadowed
work on whether she was an
effective monarch, particularly in
her personal rule (1561 to 1567)
following her return from France,
and until her forced abdication.
Innocence or guilt in her personal
affairs has been often read as ?good?
or ?bad? ruler, where the two are not
necessarily linked. It could indeed
be argued that complicity in her
husband?s murder was probably a
sensible thing for an early modern
ruler to do, when that husband was
actively plotting to undermine her.
Machiavelli would have approved.
Assessing Mary?s reign
So what is the current state of
scholarship on Mary? Wormald?s
work remains a key text, particularly
in her preoccupation with Mary?s
actions as monarch during her
personal rule ? and detaching this
from the guilty adulteress/innocent
martyr debate. She also insisted on
understanding that reign within its
longer term and Scottish contexts,
of Mary?s place in a line of relatively
successful Stewart kings ? and
the ways in which they governed,
the political and social structures
available for them to assert royal
power. Measured against them,
especially her father James V, and
her son, the very effective James VI,
Wormald found Mary lacking.
Another of her major criticisms
was of Mary?s failure to defend
her own religion, Catholicism, in
a kingdom in which the Protestant
Reformation was a recent and
fragile fledgling. But whether you
agreed or not with Wormald?s
interpretation, she reframed the
historical debate over Mary within
those Scottish contexts, and away
from over-concentration on the
drama of her life.
Julian Goodare?s subsequent
measured biographical entry on
Mary in the Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography (2004) did much
to put the case for a more positive
understanding of Mary?s reign,
and redressed the balance in the
argument. Goodare concludes that
she could only have succeeded by
?jettisoning ambitions, principles or
both?, yet is that not a requirement
for effective government in the early
modern age? And that ?[u]ltimately
one is left with a historical Mary
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:30
E
Mary Queen of Scots
remarkably close to the popular
image: a romantic tragedy queen?,
perhaps a somewhat romantic
conclusion? That said, all students of
Mary should read Goodare alongside
Wormald?s criticism, the combination
allowing one to get to grips with the
historical debate.
Since then many other works have
appeared, some more successful
than others. Top of the list is Retha
Warnicke?s engaging biography
of Mary, which makes good use
of the expanding body of work
being done not just on the queen
herself, but on the ?wide range of
cultural rituals, mores and behavior?
that shaped the female monarch?s
actions, such as court customs
and protocol, gender relations and
familial networks. She reminds us
?of the limited range of choices,
specific to their culture, which
individuals have when responding
to personal crises?, which, in
relation to Mary?s decisions, she
notes were unavoidably shaped by
her gender.
The gender question
Gender has been the hottest area
of recent debate in relation to
Mary?s life and reign. Wormald
sidestepped the issue by insisting
that Mary?s reign should be judged
on her abilities as a monarch,
not merely as a female monarch.
However, it would not be possible
now to ignore the effect of
Mary?s gender. Historians rightly
point to the difficulties posed by
Mary?s femininity and physical
vulnerability. Kristen Post Walton
uses the contemporary literature
of the Querelles des Femmes to
demonstrate the constraints within
which Mary acted. Within these
contexts Warnicke observes, for
instance, that Mary was forced
to acquiesce in the marriage to
Bothwell, following her abduction
by him, in order to ?suppress all
references to the sexual violation?,
because she ran the risk of
appearing to have brought the
attack on herself.
Moreover, Mary ran up against
a prevalent political mindset of
the unacceptability of female
rule over men (as so memorably
captured in John Knox?s notorious
tract, the First Blast of the Trumpet
against the Monstrous Regiment of
Women). Female rule was seen
as problematic because women
were thought to be governed by
their humours, especially, as Knox
cautioned of female rulers, that they
?burned with such inordinat lust?.
Mary?s decision-making was seen
to be problematically subject to her
female frailties. Thus the placards
that appeared on Edinburgh?s
streets shortly after Darnley?s
murder targeted Mary?s alleged
sexual immorality, one portraying
her as a mermaid (a symbol of
promiscuity), linking that to her
complicity in her husband?s killing.
Undoubtedly these social mores
bore heavily on the manner in
which Mary felt she should act,
and conversely others? expectations
of her. The strictures on wives are
evident in George Buchanan?s poetic
advice on wifely obedience to Mary
on her marriage to the Dauphin,
recommending that ?Although the
Dauphin should yield to you the
sceptre of royalty, and declare you
with tender countenance his [coequal] lady,
Yet acknowledge your station in life as
a woman, and accustom yourself to your
husband?s authority,
Putting your royal authority aside to
this extent.
Learn to bear the [marital] yoke, but
together with a beloved husband,
Learn to be subject to your husband?s
direction?
How difficult such tensions
between royal authority and wifely
obedience would make Mary?s
marriage to Darnley.
All this said, it is not possible
to conclude that Mary?s downfall
was attributable solely to the
consequences of her gender.
What was preached was not
always practiced, and women?s
experiences were not all the same,
changing according to social status
and wealth. We must beware of
generalisation in relation to Mary?s
gender, because Mary was not like
any other woman in Scotland. She
was a singular figure, with a different
upbringing, and with very different
expectations made of her. Almost
from birth she had been treated as a
monarch.
She had the examples of her
forceful mother Marie de Guise?s
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p8-9 MQS scholarship.indd 9
success in a stridently male world,
and Elizabeth I in England. Until
her politically disastrous union with
Bothwell, no one challenged her
right to rule though they may have
rebelled against its effects. Mary
certainly made bad decisions, but
these were not simply to do with
being female.
But ultimately, the more I read
about Mary, and the words of the
queen herself, my conclusion is that
the one thing that she was really
lacking, crucial to any successful
leader, was luck.
Dr Anna Groundwater is a cultural
and social historian of early modern
Scotland and Britain at the University
of Edinburgh.?Mary Queen of Scots:
A Study in Failure? by Jenny Wormald
with a new Foreword and Afterword
by Anna Groundwater is published by
John Donald (�.99, paperback)
www.birlinn.co.uk
FURTHER
READING
? Mary?s own letters in translation:
Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots, and
documents connected with her personal
history now first published, with an
introduction, ed. Agnes Strickland, vol.
1 (1942): https://archive.org/details/
lettersofmaryque01mary
? Vol. 2 (1843) https://archive.org/details/
lettersofmaryque02mary
? Vol. 3 (1843) https://archive.org/details/
lettersofmaryque03mary
? Mary Queen of Scots: a Study in
Failure, Jenny Wormald (John Donald:
Edinburgh, 2017)
? Mary Queen of Scots, Retha M.
Warnicke (London, 2006)
? My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary
Queen of Scots, John Guy (London,
2004)
? Mary Queen of Scots: An Illustrated
Life, Susan Doron (London, 2007)
? Julian Goodare, ?Mary (1542?1587)?,
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
(Oxford, 2004; online edn, May 2007)
9
27/09/2017 11:31
The face of an ancient Pict
Forensic artist Hayley Fisher talks about how she digitally recreated the face of an ancient
Pict using evidence from a burial discovered in Highland Perthshire in 1986
M
ore than thirty years
after the excavation, a
Pictish individual found
at Bridge of Tilt has been
reconstructed. The remains belong to
a male, aged mid-forties, five foot ten
inches tall, and well-built. This article
will briefly look at the process of a twodimensional facial reconstruction to
produce the resulting face.
10
p10 Archaeology Hayley Fisher.indd 10
The main goal of facial reconstruction
is to recreate a visual account of an
individual?s face that adequately resembles
how they would have looked in life. Facial
reconstruction is mainly used in two
contexts: forensic and archaeological.
In the forensic context, it assists in the
identification of the dead where DNA
cannot be obtained. In archaeological
investigations, it allows comparison
between contemporary faces and the faces
from our past. Regardless, both contexts
involve the same process.
The skull is a complicated structure,
the small disparities during growth and
development, combined with soft tissue
variations which produces the vast facial
differences seen amongst the human
population. Archaeological remains often
show bone loss, fragmentation and damage
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 12:18
Archaeology news
The process from applying muscles and facial features, through to the final skin layer
inflicted during their time in the ground.
As the facial bones are the most important
in the reconstruction process, a sufficient
amount is needed. Luckily, the remains
were in an excellent condition, mainly due
to good drainage of the sandy soil where
they were buried.
To determine the facial features, a
visual and palpable analysis of the skull
is carried out. By assessing bony detail,
a descriptive morphological profile can
be produced. Specific craniometrical
measurements are also carried out upon
the hard tissue to estimate some soft
tissue dimensions. Standards are used for
each facial feature during the analysis,
and many of the standards are related to
anatomical principles.
For example, we know that nasal
aperture will be smaller than the soft
tissue nose, otherwise airflow would be
obstructed. Furthermore, branching of
the nasal tip is associated with a bifid
nasal spine which was seen on the skull,
and therefore the reconstruction depicts
a bifid nose. There is also a positive
correlation between lip thickness and
dental enamel height; sets of regression
formulae can be utilized for white
European populations which has been
appropriated for this reconstruction.
Different occlusion patterns in the
dentition will affect the shape of the lower
face and lips. The remains demonstrated
an overbite when the dental arches were
correctly aligned, resulting in the upper
lip protruding past the lower. Lastly,
bony crests at the lower front of the
mandible in conjunction with strong
muscle attachments results in a cleft chin.
Therefore, the resulting face shows that the
individual had a slight over-bite, as well as a
cleft chin and a bifid nose.
Once the morphological profile has been
made, tissue depth pegs are applied. These
pegs provide an average tissue depth at a
certain anatomical point, in accordance
to specific age-ranges, ancestry groups
and sex, and act as some guidance when
applying soft tissues. If a peg does not fit
with the anatomical structure, it will be
removed, as it only provides an average
and therefore not appropriate for all skulls.
Only pegs relevant to the face in frontal
view were applied.
From this point the skull is orientated in
the Frankfurt- horizontal-place (mimicking
the natural position of the head in life) and
high-resolution digital photographs are
taken of the skull. These images are taken
into photo editing software and scaled to
the original size.
From here the application of muscles,
facial features and the final skin layer is
done within digital imaging software.
The resulting musculature will already
illustrate the basic facial proportions and
shape. Lastly, skin textures are applied
from high quality images, which can easily
be manipulated within the software to fit
exactly in accordance to age, sex, ancestry
and morphological information derived
from the skull analysis.
For more on Hayley?s work, visit:
www.hayleyfisherart.com
FURTHER
READING
? Making Faces: Using Forensic and
Archaeological Evidence, J. Prag and
R.A.H. Neave (London, 1997)
? ?A Long Cists Burial at Blair Atholl?,
Perthshire Society of Natural Science,
15 (1987), A. Reid and S.M.
MacLaughlin, 15-24
? Forensic Art and Illustration, K. Taylor,
(Boca Ratan, 2001)
? The Human Bone Manual, T.D. White
and P.A. Folken (London, 2005)
? Forensic Facial Reconstruction, C.M.
Wilkinson (Cambridge, 2004)
? ?Facial Reconstruction: Anatomical art
or artistic anatomy?, Journal of Anatomy,
216:2 (2010), C.M. Wilkinson, 235-50
Tissue depth pegs provide average tissue depth for a specifc age range, ancestry group and sex
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p10 Archaeology Hayley Fisher.indd 11
11
27/09/2017 11:30
Archaeology
InSites
?A
rchaeology
InSites? is
a year-long
celebratory
project
exploring the hidden treasures
of Scotland?s archaeological
past. The project is one of
Historic Environment Scotland?s
contributions to the Year of
History, Heritage and Archaeology
2017. Throughout the year we
are exploring the different ?Ages?
of Scotland?s archaeological past:
every week we share two features,
nominated and written by Historic
Environment Scotland staff or
12
p12 Arch Insights.indd 12
Above: Castle Sinclair
and Castle Girnigoe,
Caithness � HES;
Below, from left:
prehistoric cord rig
and settlement at
Hut Knowe North,
Scottish Borders �
HES ? cropmarks of
West Mains Fort, East
Lothian � HES
? cropmarks of
Holywood South
Neolithic cursus,
Dumfries & Galloway,
� HES
by specialists across the wider
archaeological sector. Each of the
features is written by someone
with expert knowledge, who
knows the site and has researched
its significance. Each feature
is unique, exploring a range of
subjects including: what we know
about the site, how it fits into the
wider archaeological landscape,
the related material we house
in our collections, what was
discovered during excavation, or
the significant people associated
with the site.
In January we started in the
depths of prehistory with the
Age of Stone, which investigated
the earliest evidence of human
activity: from scatterings of stone
tools found in South Lanarkshire
and prehistoric rock art in East
Ayrshire, to a chambered cairn
in Caithness. This Age gave rise
to monumental architecture and
the adoption of farming, and has
left a lasting legacy on Scotland?s
landscape to this day.
In February we ventured into
the Age of Bronze, when the
appearance of widespread trade,
metal working and the arrival
of settlers from the Continent
brought great change to Scotland?s
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:31
Archaeology news
archaeological landscape. New
burial practices and architectural
styles, including hut circles, henges
and field systems, were adopted
across the country. Featured
sites included a recumbent stone
circle from Aberdeenshire, a
Beaker burial from Caithness, a
3,000-year-old log boat from Perth
and Kinross and a prehistoric
village on South Uist.
In March we journeyed into
the Age of Iron, when increased
fortification and large tribal centres
dominated the land. This Age saw
the rise of a class of elites who
inhabited hillforts or immense
architectural structures. Featured
sites included a Mote from the city
of Aberdeen, a fort and enclosed
settlement ? now only visible
from the air ? in East Lothian,
an underground souterrain
from Sutherland, a broch from
Shetland and a crannog from West
Dunbartonshire.
The focus in April was the Age
of Invasion, when the Romans
? and the local response to their
arrival ? drastically changed the
landscape. This Age saw increased
fortification and the appearance
of new monuments including
our chosen features: a Roman
bathhouse in East Dunbartonshire,
a signal station, road and multiple
forts in the Scottish Borders, a
Roman camp in Dumfries and
Galloway and an altar on the
Above: aerial
photograph showing
cropmarks of Roman
fort at Glenlochar,
Dumfries and
Galloway � HES
Below: Excavation of
Viking ship burial on
Sanday, Orkney
� HES
Antonine Wall.
In May we delved into the Age
of Warriors, where we looked
at changes to early medieval
Scotland, with the Pictish and
Viking influences across the
country. We featured Pictish
cross slabs from Angus and
Aberdeenshire, a ?Viking? canal
from the isle of Skye, a barrow
cemetery from the Highlands, and
Pictish carvings from cave sites in
Moray and Fife.
We were enlightened by the
Age of Worship in June, where
we continued to explore the
influence of the Vikings and also
the emergence of Christianity.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p12 Arch Insights.indd 13
We featured monastic sites both
urban and rural, including a long
cist cemetery in Midlothian, a
Viking boat burial on Orkney,
multiple island based monastic
settlements in the small isles
Shetland, Bute and the Western
Isles, and a parish church on the
outskirts of Edinburgh.
July explored the Age of Kings,
of Queens and of their Castles.
The medieval era brought rise
to thousands of castles across
the Scottish landscape, many of
which are well known. However,
we wanted to feature lesser known
examples, including Roxburgh
Castle from the Scottish Borders,
Rosyth Castle in Fife, Castle
Sinclair Girnigoe in Caithness and
Sir John De Graham?s castle in
Stirlingshire.
August explored the Age of
Clans and Clearances, while
September focused on Industry.
For this current month, October?s
Age of Leisure and Pleasure
will contrast drastically with
November?s Age of War, and
we will round up the year with
the challenging topic of the
archaeology of This Age.
The project has featured guest
writers from across Scotland.
Matt Ritchie from Forestry
Commission Scotland has
kindly written several pieces
on sites within the Forestry
estate which have recently been
subject to new research and
13
27/09/2017 11:31
Clockwise from top left: aerial
photo of Tap O? Noth fort, Rhynie,
Aberdeenshire � HES ? General view of
Auchindrain township, Loch Fyne, Argyll
and Bute � HES ? Recumbent
stone circle at Loanhead of Daviot,
Aberdeenshire � HES ? Excavation
photograph of Knap of Howar Neolithic
house, Papa Westray, Orkney � HES ?
The ?Viking? canal at Loch na h-Airde,
Isle of Skye, Highland � Dr Colin & Dr
Paula Martin
Useful links:
canmore.org.uk/insites
twitter.com/HistEnvScot
http://scot.sh/HESxyoutube
recording. Contributions have
also been made by local authority
archaeologists in Aberdeenshire,
Highland, Scottish Borders,
Shetland and Stirling, as well as
from other organisations such as
the Caithness Broch project.
Every Tuesday and Friday
we will continue to promote a
different archaeological site.
The feature first goes live on the
Canmore website (https://canmore.
org.uk) and is then shared on
social media where thousands of
people are being reached on a
weekly basis.
You can join in, catch up or
14
p12 Arch Insights.indd 14
contribute your thoughts using
#ArchInSites on Twitter. The Age
of Stone and the Age of Bronze
came out top in a recent poll on
Twitter asking which ?Age? people
had enjoyed most so far this year;
the Age of Warriors and Age of
Worship came a close second.
As well as the Archaeology
InSites project, as a part of
the Year of History, Heritage
and Archaeology, Historic
Environment Scotland is also
running a lecture series, entitled
?A Journey Through Scotland?s
Past?. These hour-long lectures
tell Scotland?s story, from the
List of ?Ages?:
Jan: Age of Stone
Feb: Age of Bronze
Mar: Age of Iron
Apr: Age of Invasion
May: Age of Warriors
June: Age of Worship
July: Age of Kings
August: Age of Clans
Sep: Age of Industry
Oct: Age of Leisure
Nov: Age of War
Dec: This Age
deepest past to the present day, to
share and celebrate the wealth of
knowledge within our organisation,
and give people a chance to
learn about the archaeology and
history of Scotland. Each lecture
is presented by HES staff who
provide an introduction to the
period, insight into what ignites
their passion for their subject
area and give a flavour of the
sort of work that the organisation
undertakes in this area. The
lectures are being broadcast live
on Facebook and made available
on YouTube, to ensure they are
accessible to all.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:31
Archaeology news
GUARD Archaeologists
excavating the Kintore building
The complex history of a
rural medieval building
in Aberdeenshire
Newly published research by GUARD Archaeology has revealed the complex history of a turf and
stone-built medieval building of a type which is rarely identified within the landscape
S
herds of pottery obtained from the floor of the
structure suggest the building was in use during
the 14th and 15th centuries AD. However, its
construction is similar to other excavated buildings
dated to the early medieval period. Radiocarbon
dates obtained from several features and deposits ranged from the
Bronze Age, through the Iron Age to the medieval period. The
structure is an uncommon survivor of medieval rural settlement
that is rarely excavated in Scottish archaeology.
In 2013, GUARD Archaeology Ltd, in conjunction with Amey
and on behalf of Scottish and Southern Energy, conducted an
archaeological evaluation on an area of ground proposed as part of
the expansion of the Kintore Sub-Station, south-west of Kintore,
Aberdeenshire. The work exposed the remains of a large rectangular
enclosure with an adjacent small building. Further excavation and a
topographic survey were undertaken between June and August 2014.
The rareness of the Kintore medieval building is predominantly
due to the lack of identification of them in the landscape, the result
of their construction using perishable materials such as clay and
turf, and changes in land-use which have led to their destruction.
Often the stones from these buildings have been systematically
removed over time, or the buildings replaced with new structures,
or adapted to different uses. The survival of the Kintore building,
despite being partially damaged and robbed, might be due to the
marginal nature of the ground it sits on, which is very boggy in
places and contains a large amount of stone, both above and below
ground, which inhibited ploughing that might otherwise have
removed all traces of the building.
p15 Arch.indd 15
The wide range of radiocarbon dates obtained, from the second
millennium BC to the second millennium AD, might appear to
suggest long-lived occupation of the site. However, based on the
latest of the radiocarbon dates and fragments of a Scottish medieval
redware jug found within it, the building appears to have been
abandoned post-15th century AD. The lack of evidence of any earlier
structures or artefacts relating to the early medieval and prehistoric
dates indicates that their presence might be due to other factors,
such as the use of (older) peat as a fuel or building resource. Peat
deposits are known to exist locally, therefore its use as a fuel and
possible building material is not an unreasonable supposition.
Better preserved medieval buildings, such as at Pitcarmick in
Perthshire, retain clear divisions between a living end containing a
hearth, and byre end with a central drainage slot. No such internal
arrangements were apparent at Kintore but soil micromorphology
analysis of the soils within the building suggest that there were
differences between floor deposits at either end. The west end was
associated with domestic activities and the east end was richer
in livestock dung, which may indicate the internal division of the
house. While there was no central drain within the byre east end
of the building, this lay at a lower level than the west end, with the
slope aiding drainage if animals were housed there.
The full results of this research, which was funded by Scottish and
Southern Energy, ARO26: The complex history of a rural medieval
building in Kintore, Aberdeenshire by Maureen C. Kilpatrick has just
been published and is now freely available to download from ARO,
Archaeology Reports Online: www.archaeologyreportsonline.com
27/09/2017 11:32
www.historyscotland.com
The
GLENKENS
Rising
Professor Ted Cowan explains the causes and consequences of the Glenkens Rising of
1666, as he explores to what extent government atrocities impacted on the character and
attidude of the glen?s inhabitants, both before the rising and in the years which followed
G
lenkens in Galloway is
one of the least known
glens in Scotland,
displaying no signs
as to entry or exit. It extends
from the foot of Loch Ken some
25 miles northwards to Loch
Doon and the Ayrshire border.
The deanery of Glenkens, an
administrative subdivision of the
medieval kirk, is first mentioned in
a document of 1275, at which time
it comprised the parishes of Kells,
Dalry, Trevercarcou, Kirkandrews
Balmaghie and Kirkandrews Parton,
but curiously not Crossmichael.
Trevercarcou was presumably the
old name for the community which
16
p16 Glenkens.indd 16
Cairnsmore of
Carsphain, once
described as ?a very
desolate wilderness?
emerged as Balmaclellan in the 15thcentury, by which time Dalry was said
to be ?situated in the woods, far from
the habitation of other christian faithful
and among fierce men ill-versed in the
faith?. Carsphairn, described as ?a very
desolate wilderness?, was carved out of
Kells and Dalry in 1639-40,
[?] out of love to the salvation
of souls of barbarous and ignorant
people who has heretofore lived without
the knowledge of God, their children
unbaptized, their dead unburied and no
way of getting maintenance to a minister.
The glen was to enter the
mainstream of Scottish national
history due to the unprecedented
events which occurred in late 1666.
Contemplating Glenkens today,
it is difficult to imagine the dread
and horror which pervaded these
peaceful surroundings back in the
1660s, a period which generated
atrocities in the name of government
such as to impact indelibly upon
the character and attitudes of the
glen?s inhabitants. When Charles II
was restored to the throne, following
the Covenanting Revolution and
the Cromwellian occupation,
he immediately set about the
transformation of Scotland?s
Presbyterian church, re-introducing
bishops and Episcopalian
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:33
The Glenkens Rising
government. In 1663 ministers who
refused to conform were ordered to
remove themselves forthwith with
their ?wives, bairns, servants, goods
and gear? from their churches and
manses. Most in Galloway were in
this category, among them James
Buglos at Crossmichael, Thomas
Warner at Balmaclellan, John Cant
at Kells, Adam Alison at Balmaghie,
Thomas Thomson at Parton and
John M?Michan of Dalry.
These clergymen were replaced by
inexperienced and allegedly underqualified curates. All legislation
supporting the covenants was
rescinded and parishioners who
refused to attend the local church
were fined. Those who adhered to
the covenants and the principle
of the separation of church and
state sought spiritual solace in
conventicles, illegal meetings for
worship conducted by the displaced
ministers in houses, barns, or in the
open air, the latter favoured because
Christ himself could be regarded as
the first conventicler.
In order to collect the fines, to
monitor non-attendance, to enforce
laws proclaiming the covenants
treasonous and to create general terror
and mayhem, troops were sent into the
region. Thus the Scottish Government,
at the bidding of the king, declared war
upon its own subjects.
To make matters worse the
soldiers were quartered upon the
local population. An un-named
?gentleman of Galloway? reported
the inevitable consequences
to his friend in Edinburgh. He
declared that he was no fanatic
but he found himself becoming
radicalised by the sufferings of his
fellow countrymen and women,
due to the soldiers? ?inhuman and
atheistical deportment?, as they
arbitrarily preyed upon ?a desolate
people for their own private
gain?. Quartering was hated as
profoundly as it was dreaded.
The troops seemed to luxuriate
in needless waste, feeding whole
sheep to their dogs and destroying
crops, to alleged cries of, ?We came
to destroy, and we shall destroy you?.
Having consumed the resources of
the landlord they then descended
on the tenants. Men were attacked
and tortured, women and children
assaulted. Property was wilfully
The troops seemed to luxuriate in
needless waste, feeding whole sheep to
their dogs and destroying crops, to
alleged cries of ?We came to destroy,
and we shall destroy you?
damaged, informants were rewarded,
complaints and grievances ignored
by the authorities.
In addition to the levying of cess
(assessment or taxation) and the
considerable financial burden of
quartering, fines for non-attendance
at the kirk were imposed, though
sometimes they could be avoided
by bribing the soldiers. Supposedly
the dragoons made no attempt
to distinguish between those who
conformed and those who refused,
producing ?an universal outcry in
this country?.
Even worse, many loyal subjects
were fined for the non-obedience
of their wives. This was particularly
alarming ?for there are many wives
who will not be commanded by their
husbands in lesser things than this?,
occasioning much contention and
strife in families to the point that
some women fled their husbands
to seek shelter elsewhere, and so,
horror of horrors, the poor goodman
was ?doubly punished despite his
conformity?! The independence
of Galloway women is a recurring
theme in this period.
The total amounts of fines for
some parishes have survived,
(rounded to nearest pound):
Carsphairn, 49 families paid �65 (av. � per family)
Dalry, 43 families, �76 (�3 per family)
Balmaclellan, 49 families, �31 (�1 per family)
Balmaghie, 9 families, �6 (� per family)
Parton, 24 families, �38 (�8 per family)
Crossmichael, number of families unknown, �67
Kells, number of families unknown, �7
These figures are in pounds
Scots, twelve of which equated to
one pound sterling. They would be
paid by the head of the household.
Although we do not know the
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p16 Glenkens.indd 17
total number of families in any
parish since there was no Scottish
census until 1755, Dalry is clearly
the stand-out on this reckoning,
a veritable hotbed of resistance.
The sums may seem misleadingly
paltry. When converted from pounds
Scots, for example, the 47 families
in Balmaclellan owed, on average
�sterling each but according to
the National Archives Currency
Converter website, that equates
to spending worth �5 in 2005
money. By the same measure the
Carsphairn average is a hefty �4
and Dalry a staggering �94.
Although the figures may be
somewhat skewed these are colossal
sums by 17th-century standards.
Little wonder that the anonymous
Galloway gentleman opined that
the consequence of these ?grievous
and intolerant impositions? would
be the ?utter ruin? of a majority of
Galloway families. Furthermore,
these amounts were demanded from
a society that had limited experience,
if any, of cess or taxation, let alone
of fines for not attending church
and these were the first of a series
that would be levied relentlessly for
a generation through to 1688. Of
course most fines were never paid,
leading to the seizure of property
and imprisonment.
Government intention
was apparently the total
impoverishment of dissident
civilians. And the killing of ?The
Killing Times? was 20 years in the
future! Such notorious oppressors
as Bluidy Clavers and Grierson of
Lag were not yet savage blemishes
upon the landscape. How could the
hapless population defend itself?
In a clear example of how violence
breeds violence the situation
erupted on 13 November, 1666
in the unexpected and unlikely
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response of the ill-fated Glenkens
Rebellion of 1666, better known,
inaccurately, as ?The Pentland
Rising?. Robert Wodrow, for
example, in his invaluable History
of the Sufferings of the Church of
Scotland consistently dates events
to before and after Pentland,
because two weeks later (28
November) the rebels came to grief
at Rullion Green on the slopes of
the Pentland Hills near Penicuik.
The event was the subject of young
Robert Louis Stevenson?s first
publication, but ?Pentland? is a
misnomer since the rebellion was
inspired by the outraged men and
women of Glenkens.
Robert McClellan, laird of
Barscobe in Balmaclellan parish,
had been hiding out in the hills
with three associates (Wodrow
erred in naming this man John
and he has been followed by many
historians. There was no John in the
Barscobe branch of McClellans at
this time). They visited the Clachan
of Dalry seeking supplies, on the
way encountering, at Midtown,
Corporal George Deanes and three
other soldiers who were herding a
few labourers to the farm of a man
named Grier, whose corn they were
to thresh to pay his fine for nonattendance. While in the alehouse
at the Clachan they heard that the
soldiers were torturing Grier who,
having been bound hand and foot,
was threatened with being stripped
naked and spread-eagled on a hot
gridiron (used for baking bread).
Barscobe and his cohorts
intervened, tempers flared, loud
words were exchanged, soldiers
attacked with swords drawn, and
one of the local men fired his pistol
loaded with broken claypipes, the
only ammunition he had, wounding
Deanes. Grier was freed and the
soldiers captured. It is clear that
the situation was not premeditated.
Word of the affray reached nearby
Balmaclellan where a conventicle
was taking place. The minister,
Thomas Verner or Warner, who
had been outed in 1663, was under
investigation by the authorities;
he was currently surviving as a
farmer on the bleak, unproductive
moorlands of Lochinvar. In his
absence the service was conducted
18
p16 Glenkens.indd 18
The Crockett
memorial,
Laurieston.
Erected in 1932
and inscribed: ?To
the memory of
Samuel Rutherford
Crockett author
of the Raiders
and other tales of
Galloway, a native
of this parish, 24
September 1860
- 16 April 1914...?
Crockett?s year of
birth was
actually 1859
by Alexander Robertson, minister
of Urr. Since the conventiclers
were likely to be deemed complicit
in the Grier episode they joined
Barscobe and next day they attacked
sixteen other members of the Dalry
garrison, killing one.
Outright rebellion now seemed the
only option. The hated commandant
of the south-west, LieutenantColonel Sir James Turner, was based
at Dumfries. Much of the social
and political unrest in Galloway was
attributed to him and his pernicious
actions, but in his Memoirs he
claimed that he had never exceeded
his orders and, if anything, was
guilty of leniency. A self-admitted
drunkard, described as a butcher
and a bibulous despot by his
opponents, he confessed that:
I had swallowed in Germanie [where
he served as a mercenary] a very
dangerous maxim which military men
then too much followed, which was that
so we serve our master honestly it is no
matter what master we serve.
He frequently demonstrated a
humorous side, a kind of devilmay-care, plague on all your houses
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The Glenkens Rising
cynicism about himself and life
in general.
Locally, word spread rapidly.
When Barscobe entered Dumfries
to capture Turner the rebels had
been joined by some 50 horsemen
and 150 men on foot. His party
also included John Neilson of
Corsock, minister?s son Alexander
Robertson, McCartney of Blaiket
(north-east of Haugh of Urr), James
Callum, glover in Dumfries, and a
mysterious character named Andrew
Gray, an unknown who seemed
to appear from nowhere. Their
quarry appeared at the window,
?a vision of night cap, night gown,
drawers and socks?, begging for
mercy, to which Neilson assented.
When Gray wanted to shoot Turner,
Neilson interjected that he should
?as soon shoot me for I have given
him quarters?. For whatever reason
Gray took charge of Turner?s papers
and considerable amounts of cash
that he kept in a chest. Turner,
still ?in his flannels?, was placed
upon a Galloway pony barebacked,
while the covenanters, at the cross,
pledged their loyalty to the king and
their adherence to the covenants.
The belief of these simple men
was that Charles II?s counsellors,
rather than the king himself, were
responsible for the evils that beset
them, but ironically their best hope
lay in using Turner as a hostage
while they appealed to the merciless
royal Scottish advisors in Edinburgh.
In truth they had no real options and
almost no experience whatsoever of
the deadly situation in which they
now found themselves.
The covenanters marched up
the Cairn Water to Glencairn
Kirk at Kirkland, and on 16
November, 1666 returned to the
Clachan of Dalry where the whole
sad escapade began. Andrew
Symson, Episcopalian minister of
Kirkinner in Wigtownshire and
author of A Large Description of
Galloway (1684), cited a witness?s
manuscript journal:
At night Andrew Gray and Sir
James were lodg?d at Mr Chalmers of
Waterside?s house, being on the other
side of the river of Kenn, not far from
the Old Clachan.
About eleven at night, fearing
that the earl of Annandale and lord
Drumlanrig were approaching,
?Gray march?d immediately, though
the night was very dark and raining,
and the way very bad, eight miles
to Carsphairn?, where Turner was
lodged for one night in a country
house which also quartered sixteen
horsemen, spending a second
night at the house of Gordon of
Knockgray, who was then a prisoner
in Kirkcudbright. The mysterious
Gray absconded with Turner?s hoard
never to be seen again.
The question of whether Gray,
described in one source as an
Edinburgh merchant, was an
agent provocateur, has never been
satisfactorily answered. What was
certain was that the outlook for
the rebels was as grim as the wet
November weather. Rain was
present throughout the entire
tragic adventure.
They moved on to Dalmellington
as Turner was deaved with promises
of his imminent demise and a
tedious lecture on the covenant by
the radical minister, John Welch.
At Ayr they were joined by James
Wallace of Auchans who was
appointed commander. Next day,
21 November, a royal proclamation
These things have been all over
Scotland, but chiefly in the poor country
of Galloway at this day; and, had God
not prevented, it should have, in the
same measures, undoubtedly befallen the
rest of the nation ere long.
At Lanark the ragged little army
split, the main body heading for
Edinburgh while the rest made for
Glasgow. Wallace seems to have
hoped for some kind of parley with
the authorities but Edinburgh was
fortified and barred against him,
and worse, the ?Muscovite Beast?,
Lieutenant-General Tam Dalyell of
the Binns, was in close pursuit, a
man who had grown, and refused
to cut, a luxurious beard after the
execution of Charles I, seventeen
years earlier and who, in covenanting
mythology, beat the Devil at cards
by cheating! In desperation Wallace
led his diminishing force ? deserters
outnumbered recruits ? along the
The Whigs charged and for a time all
was confusion as the adversaries engaged
hand to hand
pronounced the insurrection to
be ?open, manifest and horrid
rebellion, and high treason?; the
rebels faced the ultimate penalty
if they failed to submit within 24
hours, much too short a period
for the word to travel throughout
Galloway where the covenanters
were attempting to recruit, without
a great deal of success.
At Lanark the force, now
numbering around 800, subscribed
anew the Solemn League and
Covenant of 1643, declaring that
they were acting in self-defence.
The whole world knew that
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Charles II had sworn to adhere to
the covenants and to defend the
Church of Scotland but instead had
established Episcopal government,
?in its height of tyranny?, with
subsequent fines, imprisonment,
quarterings of soldiers and abuse of
the people:
edge of the Pentlands to make a
stand at Rullion Green. The rebels
had tried to persuade Turner to
adopt the covenant to no avail;
Turner was not for turning! But he
did promise some of the covenanters
that if they protected him during the
ensuing battle he would ensure their
lives were spared, only to later betray
his cynical pledge.
The outcome was not in doubt.
Psalm-singing and the pious
utterings of preachers were no
defence against government
weaponry and an estimated 3,000
troops. The Whigs charged and
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for a time all was confusion as the
adversaries engaged hand to hand.
?Whig?, originating in Galloway
and Ayrshire as a term for a rural
buffoon, and later a Presbyterian or
Covenanter, is thought to have derived
from the Old Scots verb, whig, to
urge forward, whiggam being a cry
the driver used to control horses.
The two sides ?mixed like chessmen
in a bag? wrote one witness. The illarmed peasant army was demolished.
A contemporary poem stresses its
inadequacy. Their weapons included
halbards, dirks, slings, fl ails, spears,
pikes, spades, plough coulters, scythes,
arrowless bows and rusting guns.
The cleverest men stood in the van,
The Whigs they took to their heels and ran;
But such a raking ne?er was seen
As the raking o the Rullion Green.
Estimates of the numbers killed
in the battle differ widely. It was
claimed that only four or five died
on the government side while 50
rebels perished. Some suggested that
100 covenanters were slaughtered
on the field, including some 40
of ?the westland men?, while 300
were dispatched, allegedly by the
peasantry of Lothian, as they fled.
Barscobe?s brother Thomas was
killed in the battle. Upwards of 130
were captured and imprisoned in
Edinburgh. The victorious General
Dalyell preached a gospel of
extermination; all rebel supporters
were to be removed or destroyed.
Scotland?s chancellor, the duke of
Rothes, opined that those ?damd
incorrigeable phanaticks? whom
he characterised as ?nyaffs?, must
be suppressed and he set off on a
progress to pacify ?those parts where
the frenzy first took its rise?, namely
Glenkens and Galloway.
It is always difficult to ascertain
exactly what happened in history but
this period is particularly difficult
because Covenanting apologists
understandably took a completely
biased and one-sided view of their
heroes, while supporters of the Crown
exaggerated enemy atrocities and
motivations. We cannot always be sure
that the ?martyrdoms? depicted by
Wodrow in his History of the Sufferings
actually happened because we often
lack corroborative evidence.
He argued that the covenanters
20
p16 Glenkens.indd 20
Glenkens and the
Rhinns of Kells
were not guilty of treason because
they acted in self-defence, which is
rather a stretch, while government
officials were none too picky about
their victims, often accusing and
prosecuting folk who were nowhere
near Dalry or Rullion Green.
What cannot be doubted was the
vindictive punishment inflicted
on these ?poor naked country lads
who had never seen war? and their
families following the battle. Many
of those who initially escaped
execution were hounded for the rest
of their lives.
An example was to be made of
two rebellious participants: Hew
McKail, a 26-year-old minister
from Edinburgh who suffered from
tuberculosis and who pulled out of
the march before the battle to be
subsequently arrested by Dalyell,
and Neilson of Corsock, guarantor
of protection to the captive Turner,
who attempted unsuccessfully to
reciprocate on his behalf. Both
were brutally tortured, their legs
shattered by the vicious ?boot?, an
iron contraption into which the
leg was inserted, followed by the
hammering in of as many wedges as
were required to produce a result.
Both went bravely to their deaths.
Alexander Robertson, minister
of Urr, was also executed.
Remarkably McClellan of Barscobe
eluded capture until 1682 when
Claverhouse allegedly planned
to have him hung drawn and
quartered, a fate he averted by
rejecting the Covenant. A year
later he was murdered as a traitor
to the cause, strangled by fellowcovenanter William Grierson,
brother of Robert Grierson
of Mylnemark. Both brothers
were briefly imprisoned on the
supplication of Barscobe?s widow
Elizabeth Logan, but soon released.
Among those sentenced to
death at Ayr on Christmas Eve
1666 for their part in the revolt
were John Graham, James Smith
and John Short of Old Clachan
of Dalry and, from Carsphairn,
Alexander MacCulloch and John
McCoull. In 1667 the quartering
of troops led to further atrocities
at the properties of Gordon of
Holm of Dalry and Gordon of
Earlston. Specifically named in
commissions were the Cannons of
Barnchalloch and Barley, Gordon
of Garrery in Kells, Henry Grier in
Balmaclellan, Gordon younger of
Holm and Dempster of Corriedoo.
Even after the duke of Lauderdale
introduced an indemnity (1667) the
persecution continued.
In 1668 the authorities still
sought sixteen people in Dalry,
among them, unusually, two
women, Margaret Tod and
Bessie Gordon. The wanted list
included Robert Gaa, smith in
Clachan, and one each of McCall,
Chapman, McMichael, Douglas,
McAdam, Girvan, McCutcheon
and McNaught. Listing such
individuals may appear tedious but
many of the personal and placenames of those sought survive at
the present time, a circumstance
which, I would argue, brings those
folk of the past, and the terrible
fears they must have faced, much
closer to us, while also reinforcing
memories or reports of the actual
events to render historical events
immediate and relevant.
Thus wanted in Dalry were:
(original spelling retained)
Crichtoun in Knoksting and in
Fingland, Ferguson in Trostan,
McCall in Craigincore, Roan in
Stroanpatrick, Neilson in Clachan,
Gordon and MacMillan there,
MacMillan in Ardindarroch,
McQuhannel in Kirkland of Dalry,
Miller in Auchinshinoch and
Cannon in Blackmark. In Kells
were Bennoch in Strangfastnet,
McLeive in Barskelloch, McCall
in Airy, McAdam in Newtoun
and others there. Balmaclellan
parish: Milliken in Fell, Gordon
in Crogo, Dempster in Hill,
Kersan in Killochy and Raine in
Cubboks. In Carsphairn, Cannon
in Formartoun, McMitchell
in Knokinrioch, McMillans in
Stronggashell, Kiltarsan and
Bredinoch, McIlnay in Polundow,
Logan in Locheid, Crauford
in Drumjoan, Cunningham in
Longfoord, McAdam in Waterheid
and Hannay there, McAdam
in Bow, McMillan younger in
Brokloch, Ferguson in Woodhead,
Cubbison in Mosse, McAdam in
Knokgray, MacMillan in Bank,
Smith at Bridge of Deuch, Wylie in
Smeiton, Malcolm in Netherholm
and McColm in Netherglen. What
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The Glenkens Rising
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happened to them all we cannot
know but the names of these folk
who, for refusing to attend church
and resisting subsequent fines, were
treated like terrorists, should be
cherished in the annals of Glenkens
and of Scotland.
Galloway?s most famous novelist,
Samuel Rutherford Crockett,
wrote several stories about the
Covenanters. One of his least
understood novellas is entitled Mad
Sir Uchtred of the Hills, the anti-hero
of which, Uchtred, has been cast
out by God because although a
one-time Covenanter he has abjured
the covenants in the interests of
self-advancement to become a
persecutor of the faithful. He is
consumed with ?a still and deadly
hatred ? the hate that can let pass
ninety-nine opportunities and kill at
the hundredth?.
Crockett?s achievement was
to humanise these sometimes
forbidding, dour heroes of the
covenant, to show that they
enjoyed dialectic and humour.
The novelist himself was a failed
Free Church minister who quit to
become a writer.
When Uchtred is sent to eject
a non-conformist minister from
his kirk, he rides into the church
on his war horse. He orders the
burning of the minister?s possessions
but the reverend solemnly curses
him. Uchtred instantly reacts, ?as
a strained fiddle-string snaps, so
a chord twanged in his head?. He
flees away over the Galloway moors,
shedding his clothing as he does so,
becoming at one with the landscape
in returning to nature.
Upon Clashdan above Loch Dee
the madness came on him as,
[?] he fled along the shaggy tops of
the lonely hills, till on the bare scalp of
the Merrick, close under the lift with
all the other mountains crouched and
dwarfed beneath him,
he had a vision.
He saw himself like Lucifer, Star of
the Morning, flash out of the blackness
between the tingling points of light, for
a moment curve in trailing fire across
the firmament, and plunge into the lake
of eternal fire in which burn for ever all
the sins and despairs of the universe.
22
p16 Glenkens.indd 22
He has become a nature-spirit
who sits,
[?] with his feet bent down,
and the nails set into the ground to
give him foothold, even as a bird
turns its claws inward as it sits on a
branch [?]
naked save for a deer pelt round
his waist while much of his body
was covered by his matted hair
and beard.
His legs and arms were seamed
and scarred?shrunk to sinew and
shank-bone. The frost had opened
cracks in them. The dews of the night
clogged his hair. The red earth of his
den on the Wolf?s Slock was caked
hard upon him.
The folk at Laggan have a
vision, true to those actually
occurring in covenanting
literature, of ghostly troops
of horsemen on the slopes of
Clashdan, on the edge of the hills.
When first read, the story
seems as crazy as Uchtred
but on closer scrutiny it has a
certain charm in its blend of
local folklore and covenanting
tradition, not to mention
the spirits and devils that,
as everyone knows, inhabit
the Galloway wastelands in
the hours of darkness. The
piece is most memorable
as an essay on the age-old
relationship between nature
and Christianity, damnation
and redemption, life and death,
commitment and rejection.
Historically McClellan of
Barscobe was the hero of the
Glenkens Rising yet he later
abjured the covenant and
was murdered in 1683 as a
traitor to the cause, possibly
Crockett?s inspiration for his
story. The Galloway topography
is recognisable. The much-loved
wide open spaces provide succour
and inspiration for Uchtred?s
introspection and ultimate
salvation. The local traditions are
accurately described.
The Glenkens Rising
invites questions as to how
exactly a population should
react to a tyrannical, vindictive,
emotionally bankrupt government
pursuing an invincible sense of
its own righteousness. Out of the
desolation of 1666 a shrunken
Glenkens was born. In government
despatches and reports from
then on, only the parishes which
initially supplied the most men
for the revolt, and who were
consequently accorded the greatest
notoriety, were included in what
is now modern Glenkens, namely
Carsphairn, Dalry, Kells and
Balmaclellan. These were the
men and women who, almost
accidentally, resisted Stuart
tyranny during the struggle of the
later covenanting era and whose
actions would be vindicated by the
revolution of 1689.
Ted Cowan is Emeritus Professor
of Scottish History and Literature,
University of Glasgow.
FURTHER
READING
Edward J. Cowan, ?The Covenanting
Tradition in Scottish History?, in
Scottish History The Power of the Past,
eds. Edward J. Cowan and Richard J.
Finlay, (Edinburgh, 2002), 121-45.
The Scottish Covenanters 1660-88, Ian
B. Cowan, (London, 1976)
The Covenanters Under Persecution
A Study of their Religious and Ethical
Thought, Hector Macpherson,
(Edinburgh, 1923)
The Pentland Rising & Rullion Green,
C.S.Terry (Glasgow, 1905)
The McClellans in Galloway,
D. Richard Torrance, Scottish
Genealogy Society (Edinbugh, 2003)
Robert Wodrow, The History
and Sufferings of the Church of
Scotland from the Restoration to the
Revolution, ed Rev Robert Burns, 4
vols. (Glasgow, 1830)
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27/09/2017 11:33
The reality of the
Crimean War
Photographer Roger Fenton?s striking images of the Crimean War brought the details of the
conflict into the consciousness of the British public for the first time, as a new exhibition reveals
T
he progress of the
Crimean War (5
October, 1853 ? 30
March, 1856) was
avidly followed
by the public at home in the
UK, who were keen to know the
outcome of the various battles, the
military personnel involved, and
the geography of the battlefields.
In response to this demand for
information, Lancashire-born
photographer Roger Fenton was
despatched to the Crimea in
February 1855. Fenton was one
of the leading photographers
of the day; patronised by the
royal family and founder of
the Photographic Society.
His Crimea photographs are
currently on display at Palace of
Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
From the outset, Fenton would
have known that he was being
despatched to a war-torn region.
He arrived just weeks after major
battles such as the battle of Alma,
and whilst the siege of Sevastopol
had entered its sixth month. The
photographs that he took were
shared with the public back home,
featuring in UK newspapers as
woodcut engravings, where his
images were copied by skilled
engravers, whilst the original
photographs were displayed in
galleries across the UK.
Portraying a war
Roger Fenton was commissioned to
travel to the Crimea by the London
publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons,
who gave him two separate tasks ? to
take photos which told the story of
the Crimean War, and to photograph
as many senior officers as possible.
The latter was both to satisfy the
curiosity of readers about the
different personalities, and to help
create a huge work of art featuring
officers of the Crimea, which was
painted by Thomas Barker, based
largely on Fenton?s portraits.
Agnew & Sons saw the commission
largely as a commercial enterprise,
since they were able to sell Fenton?s
photographs on, simply by producing
prints from his negatives.
Fenton?s feelings about the war
come through in his photographs, as
exhibition curator Sophie Gordon
explains: ?I think that in the photos
Fenton took, he is commenting on
the war in a subtle way. He is moved
by what he sees and he is producing
emotional photos. There are some
of his portraits which show people
looking as if they?ve just come off the
battlefield, almost shell-shocked. And
his landscape views are completely
different to the colour and movement
which existed in poetry at the time.?
In producing his work in the
Crimea, Fenton was demonstrating
highly technical skills, which are
Background: Roger
Fenton, Valley of the
Shadow of Death, 23
April 1855
From left: Fenton?s
horse-drawn
photographic van,
with his assistant
Marcus Sparling
seated at the front?
Roger Fenton,
Council of War, 6
June 1855, 1855;
Fenton?s portrait of
Sir Colin Campbell
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p23 Crimean War.indd 23
particularly apparent in an elevenpart panorama of the plains of
Sevastapol which sweeps across
a landscape of army tents, a stark
battlefield and, in the final frames,
on to a hastily dug cemetery for
Britain?s war dead.
Fenton?s work not only reached
a wide audience through its display
in exhibitions across the country,
but drew the attention of Queen
Victoria, as one of the smallest
artefacts in the exhibition reveals.
Fenton?s photographic portrait of
Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863),
who famously commanded the
Highland Brigade at the battle of
Alma, was the inspiration for a
beautiful miniature painting of the
military commander.
This item, which was recently
identified as being inspired by the
photography of Fenton, was acquired
by Queen Victoria, who it seems,
like many of her subjects, had a keen
interest in following the news of the
thousands of men fighting overseas in
this long-running conflict.
Shadows of War: Roger Fenton?s
Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 is at
the Palace of Holyroodhouse until 26
November 2017.
The Queen?s Gallery, Palace of
Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh 0303 123
7606; website: http:scot.sh/HSXfenton
23
27/09/2017 11:34
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REWRITING
HISTORY
The childhood
and youth of
Alexander
Carmichael,
the folklorist
Robert Hay examines the original, recently digitised, notebooks of Alexander Carmichael,
to untangle the myths the folklorist created about his early life
P
sychologists affirm that,
during their lifetime, all
humans revise their life
history continuously
in the light of later
experience ? a process sometimes
inelegantly called reconstitution.
Some construct a story that fits
their aspirations, others may wish
to hide from unpalatable memories.
Knowing what is true can become
24
p24-30 Alexander Carmichel.indd 24
difficult. Most people keep these
revisions to themselves, reassessing
their behaviour in the light of
experience, but history is strewn
with the exposure of prominent
individuals who have claimed false
ancestors, ranks or qualifications.
Moving in polite society in
Edinburgh, Alexander Carmichael
(1832-1912, the compiler of
Carmina Gadelica) seems to have
Alexander
Carmichael pictured
at Lismore, c.1900
been motivated to rewrite the story
of his early life to enhance his social
status; he succeeded to the extent
that the obituary in the Celtic Review
after his death in 1912 asserted facts
about his life that were demonstrably
untrue. It is ironic that, in the
modern world, the successful son or
daughter of a modest crofter would
be more likely to boast about the
simplicity of his or her early life.
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27/09/2017 11:34
Folklorist Alexander Carmichael
The Carmichael family
The Celtic Review obituary lays
stress on Alexander?s distinguished
pedigree, claiming that his family
was related to a Bishop Carmichael,
who built the cathedral of Argyll,
beginning in the 13th century.
Medieval historians, documenting
the line of bishops from the
establishment of the diocese around
1190, have failed to identify this
cleric. The obituary goes on to
claim that his forebears had been
substantial landholders, tricked
out of possession by Donald
Campbell of Ardnamurchan in the
17th century; it is likely that this
story is conflated with the legend
of a similar event elsewhere on the
island of Lismore (the loss of half
of his land by the baron of Bachuil,
hereditary keeper of St Moluag?s
staff). Following this pattern of
claimed distinction in landed society,
the writer notes that the young
Alexander was on familiar terms
with some of the great Campbell
families of Argyll (Dunstaffnage,
Lochnell, Baleveolan and Barbreck)
and favoured by the duke of Argyll
himself.
In reality, the Carmichaels were
a very modest family, struggling
to make their livings in difficult
times. Alexander?s parents, Hugh
Carmichael and Betty MacColl,
belonged to indigenous families
from the farming townships in
the southern half of Lismore.
Hugh was born c.1784 to
Archibald Carmichael, one of
the joint tenants of the township
of Baligrundle (owned by the
Barcaldine Campbells), and Isabella
MacGregor. Betty was baptised on
30 May, 1791; her parents were
Donald MacColl, joint tenant
in Baleveolan, and Catherine
Campbell. After the death of their
father (sometime between 1800
and 1815), Hugh?s brothers Dugald
and James shared the tenancy at
Baligrundle, but there was no land
for Hugh. He and Betty began
married life there as cottars, where
Cathrine (1813), Archibald (1816),
Donald (1818), Mary (1820)
and (the first) Alexander (1822)
were born. Soon after, Hugh was
able to secure a small tenancy on
Portcharron township (Taylochan,
near Clachan, also on Barcaldine
land), where Dugald (1824), Bell
(1826) and a second Cathrine
(1829) were born.
Hugh Carmichael was never
more than a small tenant
farmer, really a crofter, and he
supplemented his income as a
cobbler. Of his first eight children,
only Archibald, Donald, Mary
and the second Cathrine survived
childhood; the last, the second
Alexander, the folklorist, arrived
at Taylochan in December 1832.
Family life for the Carmichaels
must have been affected deeply
by these losses, and tragedy was
to strike again with the death of
Archibald in 1837 at the age of
21. Mary and Cathrine lived on to
emigrate to Canada.
The 1841 census places Hugh
(55) in Portcharron, with a
household including his sons
Donald (20) and Alexander (7), as
well as a servant and two lodgers.
However, during the1840s, he
moved a short distance on to
the Lismore estate of Campbell
of Airds, to occupy part of the
township of Kilandrist. In 1851,
Hugh and Betty had 25 acres
there, and Alexander (18) was still
at home, listed as a ploughman.
The world of the young
Alexander Carmichael
The detailed documentation of the
Airds tenancies in the 1840s, drawn
up for the sale of the estate, gives
some insight into what was still a
very feudal society. The traditional
cain (rent in kind) due annually for
Hugh Carmichael?s holding included
80 eggs, four fowl, two chickens, one
pint of [seal] oil and four hanks of
yarn [linen or wool?], of total value
8s 2d. To this were added 5s for the
?wreck account? and 1s 3d for seeds,
and he was expected to deliver
three bolls of meal or the cash
equivalent at �per boll. Altogether,
Carmichael paid the equivalent of
�14s 5d for these items in addition
to a straightforward money rent of
�. For a holding of this size (25
acres), this was in line with rents
elsewhere on Lismore.
The very sparse remains of
the Carmichael house and farm
Overall, owing to clearance, the potato
famine and the lack of alternative
occupations, the population of
Lismore fell by over 30 percent during
Alexander?s first 20 years
Two years later, he was the winner
of the first island ploughing match.
In their last appearance in the
census records in 1861, Hugh,
now blind, was 76, his Kilandrist
holding had shrunk to fourteen
acres, and his daughter Mary
had returned to the island with
her husband and five children
(two of whom had been born in
Greenock). Hugh and his brother
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p24-30 Alexander Carmichel.indd 25
Dugald (aged 84) both died the
following year. This information
is in direct conflict with the
obituary statement that Carmichael
was prevented from taking up a
commission in the army (offered by
the duke of Argyll) because of the
early death of his father.
buildings at Kilandrist show that,
as for other small tenants in the
1840s, the house is likely to have
been drystone and thatched, with a
central hearth and an integral byre:
the Lismore version of the black
house. The deaths of so many of
Alexander?s siblings underline the
hardships of the times.
The population of Lismore
reached its peak of c.1500 in the
25
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early 1830s, but the pressure
of people, on an island with a
limited amount of land and few
opportunities for alternative
occupations, had been felt for
several decades. The first recorded
emigrants left the island for the
Carolinas in 1775 and, by the 1820s,
there were well-established Lismore
colonies on Cape Breton Island and
in the new settlements to the west
of Toronto in Ontario. In the 1840s
some of these, and fresh emigrants
from the island, were moving west
in the United States. Many more,
including Alexander?s sister Mary,
moved to seek work in Greenock,
Dumbarton, Paisley and Glasgow,
and there was a continual seasonal
movement of the young to the
Lowlands for harvest, fishing and
domestic employment.
The agricultural economy of the
island was in recession, not helped
by harvest failures in 1836 and
1837. Commodity prices had fallen
with the reduction in demand for the
war effort, but rents had not fallen.
In fact, the rents on Baligrundle
were increased by around fifteen
percent in 1824. Lismore?s
traditional role as a supplier of grain
was being undermined by the start
of cheap imports from the Americas
and improvements in transport. The
island was at the beginning of a long
transition from arable farming to
the livestock rearing enterprises that
were more appropriate to its climate.
(Islanders from the 1830s, when as
much of the island as possible was
under rig and furrow cultivation,
would find it difficult to recognise
the green grassy landscape of the
next century.)
Estate records show that tenants
were chronically in arrears and,
for many, the only solution was to
convert their bere (barley) crops
to whisky, which could be sold
clandestinely for cash. For a time,
Lismore was notorious for its illicit
stills and, in John MacCulloch?s
account of his travels in the West
Highlands, there is a particularly
poignant record of a raid by a
revenue cutter on an island township
engaged in whisky production.
Tenure varied across the island.
By the 1830s most of Barcaldine?s
holdings were let for nine years but
many Lismore tenants still leased
26
p24-30 Alexander Carmichel.indd 26
their land on an annual basis, based
on a verbal agreement. This was
certainly the case for the Campbell
of Airds tenants, including Hugh
Carmichael in Kilandrist. The terms
could be harsh. For example, it was
common for a widow to be evicted
on the death of a tenant, irrespective
of whether she had a son who could
fill the father?s place. In the summer
of 1843, following the death of
Archibald MacColl, the leading
tenant in Baligrundle, his family was
served a notice to quit.
Archibald?s 27-year old son
Malcolm appears to have resisted
the attempt of the authorities to
deliver the notice with violence
? the crime of deforcement. In a
subsequent riot at Achnacroish,
a crowd of 50 or 60 islanders
liberated MacColl from arrest,
and sent the police packing.
Two months later the procurator
fiscal, in person, arrested the
ringleaders, but the islanders
again protected MacColl. These
events must have made a great
impression on the eleven-year old
Alexander, particularly since the
MacColls had been neighbours,
and joint tenants with his uncles.
It is just possible that his parents
participated in the disturbances.
Clearance and the Highland
potato famine
The landowning class in Argyll
was also affected by the economic
recession, and several of the
Lismore landlords, none of whom
was resident, faced financial
ruin. Both the Barcaldine and
Airds estates were for sale around
1840. This led to nearly half of
the island being acquired by the
Edinburgh lawyer and accountant
James Auchinleck Cheyne, who
set about systematically converting
the townships of Fiart, Kilcheran,
Craignich, Baligrundle and
Portcharron from arable farming to
extensive grazing for sheep.
According to evidence given to
the Napier Commission (1833-34),
Cheyne?s strategy in clearing the
people from his lands was to compel
them to convert their arable fields
progressively to permanent grass
and then to move them on when the
conversion was complete. Detailed
analysis of census records has shown
Ruin of school
fireplace at
Kilandrist, Lismore.
Alexander and his
fellow students
benefited from a
broad education
that many of his tenants found land
elsewhere on the island, but most
of the landless cottars had to seek
new lives on the mainland. These
developments were on their way
before the arrival of the potato blight
epidemic in 1845-46.
By 1851, the community at
Baligrundle, where Hugh and Betty
had started married life, had been
dispersed. Of the tenants in 1841,
Donald MacColl, the miller, had
moved to farm 25 acres elsewhere
on the island; Archibald MacColl
had died and his family had been
evicted; Allan Black was a landless
labourer in the adjacent township
of Kilcheran; and Dugald MacColl
had left the island. Neither of
Hugh?s brothers appears in the
1851 Lismore census but Dugald
was a pauper in Achnacroish ten
years later, and James died in
Glasgow in 1871.
The tenants were replaced by
a shepherd and two new families
headed by men described as
labourers; they were presumably
brought in to do the draining and
dyking work funded by the 1848
government loan of �000 to
Cheyne under the terms of the
Drainage Act (1846). Some of the
cottars held on into the 1850s but,
by 1861, the entire population was a
shepherd and his widowed sister-
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:34
Folklorist Alexander Carmichael
in-law (down from a population of
44 in 1841). Cheyne?s programme
faltered with his death in 1853 but
not before most of the population
of the townships of Fiart, Kilcheran,
Craignich and Baligrundle,
amounting to 150 people, had been
moved to make way for sheep. Of
those not relocated on Lismore,
most ended up in the Central Belt of
Scotland rather than abroad.
Meanwhile, Phytophthora
infestans intervened to add to the
miseries of the time, causing the
destruction of potato crops in the
West Highlands from the autumn
of 1845, and its effects, accentuated
by a particularly harsh winter in
1846-47, persisted into the 1850s.
The impact of the disease on an
island that was still concentrating
on cereal growing was less than
elsewhere in the West highlands
but landless cottars, relying on
small potato patches, would have
been severely affected. This is
confirmed by the number of poor
families seeking emergency ?relief ?
during these years. Overall, owing
to clearance, the potato famine and
the lack of alternative occupations,
the population of Lismore fell by
View from the
Carmichael home,
Kilandrist, Lismore
in protecting the cottars, the most
vulnerable members of society;
his private record book, covering
his long service of nearly 50 years
on Lismore (1836-85) attests to
his continued interest in three
Alexander Carmichael, along with
several generations of island children,
benefited from a broad education,
which valued their first language
over 30 percent during Alexander?s
first 20 years (to 1,050 in 1851)
and most of these people had
migrated to the mainland.
The anchors of society
In the face of such acute
uncertainty, some individuals
provided a degree of stability. The
parish minister, Reverend Gregor
MacGregor, appears at first sight
to have been an establishment
figure, married into a family with
social aspirations, and one of only
two ministers in the Presbytery
of Lorn not to join the Free
Church at the Disruption in 1843.
However, correspondence with the
factor for the Baleveolan estate on
Lismore shows that he was active
generations of islanders; and he
was an enthusiastic participant in
the Lismore Agricultural Society.
History is, so far, silent about his
response to the potato famine and
the Cheyne clearances, although
he did establish a sheep flock on
part of the cleared Portcharron
township, and had social contact
with the Cheynes.
Whatever the influence of
MacGregor on the young Alexander,
there can be no doubt about the
role of another long-serving servant
of the parish. Samuel MacColl,
originally from Appin, came to
Lismore as session clerk and
schoolmaster in 1809, serving up to
his death at the age of 78 in 1862.
According to the New Statistical
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p24-30 Alexander Carmichel.indd 27
Account (1841), the approach
to education in the parish was
enlightened: ?Gaelic and English
reading, arithmetic and bookkeeping, also English Grammar
and Latin, and occasionally the
elementary parts of mathematics?.
Alexander Carmichael, along
with several generations of island
children, benefited from a broad
education, which valued their first
language; the influence of MacColl
must have been particularly strong
as the Carmichaels lived only a few
yards away from the schoolhouse in
Kilandrist. What we do not know
is how many months or years of
his youth he spent, lodging with
his sister, and attending school,
in Greenock. Together, his formal
schooling provided him with the
knowledge and skills to qualify for
employment as a civil servant.
Of equal importance to Alexander
in his later life was the realisation
that he had come from a community
with a rich tradition of Gaelic
culture. From an early age, he
would have known about the Book
of the Dean of Lismore, the earliest
surviving example of written Gaelic
in its distinctive orthography; and
there were people on the island
who could remember the Lismore
minister Reverend Donald McNicol
(1735-1802), who helped Duncan
27
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Remains of the well
at Kilandrist
Ban McIntyre commit his poems to
writing, and publicly defended James
McPherson from the criticisms of
Samuel Johnson.
The celebration of Gaelic culture
continued in the ceilidh houses of
his youth. His own records testify
to a rich heritage of song and story
across the island, but the modest
cottar house of the MacGregors in
Baligarve, around a mile from his
home, must have been a focus for
the young Alexander. In his later
life he described Isabella as ?the
most beautiful singer of Gaelic
songs he had ever heard. Not the
nightingale, at its best, had a more
sustained and beautiful voice than
had Miss MacGregor.?
Later, on a visit to the island in
1868, he visited Baligarve, where
her sister Se騨aid Mh騬 (Big
Janet) dictated to him the words
of the song Chunna mise bruadar
gl� shuaimhneach a-raoir (I saw a
very gentle vision last night), which
had been composed by Donald
MacNicol for his wife Lillias. Janet
MacGregor was the mother of Hugh
Anderson, the Lismore bard, and
Carmichael corresponded with, and
collected from, him around the turn
of the century.
Alexander Carmichael?s
early life
In summary, Carmichael was born
into relative poverty, to a family
that had pretensions about their
ancestry, but was blighted by
personal tragedy. Across the island,
people were leaving in their droves,
28
p24-30 Alexander Carmichel.indd 28
time in the company of older men,
and absorbing the stories that
feature in his notebooks: Moluag
cutting off his finger to forestall
Columba on Lismore; Campbell
of Ardnamurchan using the black
sheep of Alastrath to blackmail his
neighbour; the baron of Bachuil and
his red-haired daughters rescuing
the corpse of Stewart of Appin from
Duart in Mull. The digitising of
the notebooks allows us to revisit
these stories but also to pick up the
snippets of gossip and folklore which
he started to accumulate in these
early years. It seems a pity that he
indulged so actively in rewriting his
life story when his achievements in
the face of such hardship were so
From an early age, Carmichael would
have known about the Book of the
Dean of Lismore, the earliest surviving
example of written Gaelic in its
distinctive orthography
some evicted out of hand, others
choosing to seek their fortune on
the mainland or abroad. There was
a risk of losing a whole generation
of young men and women. At the
same time, the West Highlands were
flooded with new unsettling ideas
and experiences: men who had
seen the world, marching across
Spain with Wellington; letters from
Canada describing a hard life, but
freedom from landlords; young
men and women making a killing at
the herring fisheries; a devastating
crop epidemic that destroyed the
food of the poor; the ability to
leave Lismore by steamer and be in
Glasgow the same night. The forces
of modernisation were threatening
to annihilate the heritage of the area.
Meanwhile, Carmichael himself was,
on the one hand, being enriched by
the ceilidh house and, on the other,
being ?prepared for export? by the
education system.
We are left with images of the
boy looking out from his home at
Kilandrist across Balnagown Loch to
Tirfuir Broch and north to the twin
peaks of Beinn a? Bheithir; spending
outstanding. This personal mythmaking may well have contributed to
the reserve that some scholars have
had about the authenticity of his
records. Fortunately, the Carmichael
Watson Project has comprehensively
reinstated his reputation by
returning to the original notebooks.
Robert Hay is the archivist at
the Isle of Lismore Museum.
FURTHER
READING
The Life and Legacy of Alexander
Carmichael, D W Stiubhairt
(Islands Book Trust, 2008)
How an island Lost its People.
Improvement, Clearance and
Resettlement on Lismore, 1830-1914,
R K M Hay. (Islands Book Trust, 2013)
Obituary of Alexander Carmichael, LL.D.
Celtic Review 8 (1912/3), 112-5.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:35
� GRANT
to restore Charles
Rennie Mackintosh
Willow Tea Rooms
A historic Glasgow tea room, which is the only one in the world designed entirely by Charles
Rennie Mackintosh, has received a restoration award from the Heritage Lottery Fund
T
he restoration and
preservation of the
Charles Rennie
Mackintosh Willow
Tea Rooms Building
in Glasgow can now be completed,
thanks to a �579M award from
the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The tea rooms and new visitor
centre, at Sauchiehall Street in
Glasgow, are scheduled to open
for celebrations to mark the 150th
anniversary of Mackintosh?s birth on
7 June, 2018.
The HLF award will allow The
Willow Tea Room Trust to continue
their work restoring the original
tea rooms and famous Salon de
Luxe. The Trust also plans to
incorporate an interactive visitor
centre, education and learning suite,
conference facilities and shop.
The Willow Tea Rooms Building is
the only surviving tea room designed
in its entirety by Charles Rennie
Mackintosh. Mackintosh and his
wife, Margaret MacDonald, had
control over both the architecture
and decorative elements, from the
interior and the design of the cutlery
to the waitresses uniforms.
The achievements of Glasgow
businesswoman Miss Cranston, the
original owner who commissioned
the tea rooms designed by
Mackintosh in 1903 will also
be celebrated within the new
visitor centre. Miss Cranston?s
entrepreneurial spirit and business
acumen, as well as her enlightened
views on the role of women, social
enterprise and philanthropy, provide
an interesting reflection of Glasgow
at the turn of the 20th century.
Celia Sinclair, founder and chair
of The Willow Tea Room Trust,
said: ?Thanks to National Lottery
players the important cultural and
rich heritage of The Willow Tea
Rooms Building will be conserved.
Works to the exterior of the
building are almost complete. The
Heritage Lottery Fund award means
that our vision for restoring the
interior, commissioning furniture,
crockery, cutlery and building the
interactive visitor centre along with
an education and learning suite,
Every detail of the
restoration will
be checked by
the project?s
expert Mackintosh
Advisory Panel
Inset: artist?s
impression of the
new visitor centre,
due to open in
June 2018
H I S TO RY S C OT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p29 Willow Tea Rooms.indd 29
conference facilities and shop can
now forge ahead.?
Professor Pamela Robertson,
Emerita Professor of Mackintosh
Studies, added: ?The Heritage
Lottery Fund grant is a major
step for the refurbishment of
Mackintosh?s Willow Tea Rooms.
With this funding we will be able to
bring the Tea Rooms back to their
former glory.?
The Willow Tea Rooms Board
of Trustees are supported by an
expert Mackintosh Advisory Panel
who scrutinise every detail of the
restoration. The Trust has also
been supported by The Monument
Trust, Glasgow City Heritage Trust,
Historic Environment Scotland,
Glasgow City Council, Dunard
Fund, Scottish Enterprise, The
Architectural Heritage Fund, The
Hugh Fraser Foundation, Thomas
Tunnock Ltd, Robert Barr?s
Charitable Trust, The Dean of Guild
Court Trust and public donations.
For more on the project, visit www.
willowtearoomstrust.org/donate-1
29
27/09/2017 11:35
www.historyscotland.com
Crime, trade and politics in
17TH-CENTURY ST ANDREWS
Rory MacLellan charts the progress of a project focusing on the burgh records of St Andrews,
which in its first stage has created an index of thousands of names mentioned in craft and
council records, making these records accessible to a wider audience
?The Councill appoynts everie
Counsellor to make intimatione
of all reports that comes to ther
ears of the horride murdere
comittit upone our overlord on
Saturday last the third? that
any way may contribute to the
discoverie therof.?
This entry of May 1679 from
the minutes of the burgh council
of St Andrews describes the
council?s reaction to the murder of
Archbishop James Sharp days earlier.
Since 1662 Sharp had elected the
council?s chief officers, and this
association may have added extra
urgency to the council?s orders,
worried that they too could be
targeted. This text is one of the many
entries found in a current project
on the burgh records of St Andrews.
The first stage of this project,
?Following the Family: Creating
a Genealogical Index for the St
Andrews Burgh Records, c.155030
p30-31 17thC St Andrews.indd 30
1700?, has now been completed.
The resulting index includes
over 21,000 entries covering
800 pages of four volumes of
manuscript. Each entry features
the page, date, original surname,
modernised names, and context
of the appearance of every named
individual in these volumes.
Where described in the text,
individuals? occupations, offices,
and family relations are also
included. The four volumes
studied are the Convener?s Book
of the Seven Trades of 1594-1817
(B65/17/1), the Guildry Book
from 1604-1746 (B65/16/1), and
the council minutes of 16561671 (B6511/1) and 1673-1707
(B65/11/2). All four manuscripts
are held in the University of
Andrews Special Collections.
The size and poor hand of these
texts has thus far dissuaded detailed
study but it is hoped that the index
created by the Following the Family
Depiction of
the murder of
Archbishop Sharp
on Magus Muir
(in Fife)
Project will make these volumes
more accessible, opening them
up for further research. The index
serves as a valuable resource for
those interested in the local history
of St Andrews or tracing their own
family history. Its chronological
scope includes the tumult of the
Wars of the Three Kingdoms,
the Restoration and the Glorious
Revolution, supporting researchers
examining the effects of this political
and religious upheaval on urban life
in early modern Scotland.
The Following the Family
Project has been funded by the
Burnwynd Trust, a charity set up
to administer the estate of Alfred
and Catherine Forrest, which
was left to support postgraduate
students in history and art history
at the University of St Andrews.
The Trust?s St Andrews Local
History Foundation bursaries
support research into the history of
early modern St Andrews.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:37
Crime, trade and politics in 17th-century St Andrews
The craft records
Two of the volumes featured in
the index, the Guildry Book and
the Convener?s Book of the Seven
Trades, are records of courts
regulating trade and tradesmen in
St Andrews. The convener?s court
rarely met more than once a year,
and most of its entries just detail
the annual election of the deacon
convener and the officer. From
1634 to 1640 the convener?s court
saw no business beyond elections.
Normally these elections took place
on the Saturday after Latter Day (8
September), a faire held in Dundee.
The deacon convener was elected
from the deacons of the crafts, the
leaders of the burgh?s trade guilds.
St Andrews had seven such guilds,
the hammermen (smiths), baxters
(bakers), cordiners (shoemakers),
fleshers, tailors, weavers, and
wrights. The court?s jurisdiction was
limited and it seems to have only
had the power to pass acts against
individual guilds or resolve disputes
between them. Almost all other guild
matters fell to the guildry court.
The guildry court?s proceedings
were recorded in the Guildry Book
and were run by the dean of guild.
His court oversaw the admittance of
new guild-brethren, provided welfare
assistance for guild-members and
their families and ruled on matters
between the guild and the town. It
also administered fines for violations
of commercial regulations, such as
selling tobacco within the city walls.
As well as having a wider jurisdiction
within the craft community, the dean
of guild also had a greater status in
the town than the deacon convener.
The dean of guild was guaranteed a
seat on the town council, where he
was second only to the provost in
terms of status and responsibilities.
Contemporary
description of the
funeral of Archbishop
Sharp in May 1679
17th-century
Council records
The council records
The two volumes of council minutes
contain a wealth of information
about everyday life in the burgh. A
running theme in the 1650s was the
ongoing repairs to the town?s bridge
and pier with donations to this
coming from presbyteries all over
Scotland. In the 1680s the burgh?s
main local concern was attracting
ministers willing to stay and preach
in the town. On a more national
level, the minutes also preserve a
letter from General Monck to the
councillors written in December
1659, a few days before he arrived
at Coldstream. The general ordered
the council to maintain order and
to ?hold no correspondencie with
any of Charles Steuarts partie?. The
following year, Monck would cross
into England and eventually help
restore the Stuart monarchy. Crime
and public safety was also a concern.
John Barclay, returning from
Zeeland, was sent back to the
Netherlands in 1661, suspected
of carrying the plague. In 1658, a
Roland Muirhouse was murdered
by ?highlanders? near St Andrews,
leading to the town being fined for its
unspecified part in the event. After
the murder of Archbishop Sharp, the
minutes record that armed guards
were to attend the funeral. The
town?s defence was not always run
with the greatest efficiency however.
In 1691 the council seems to have
misplaced the city?s guns, asking
whoever had them to please return
them to the town clerk.
The council was elected yearly,
normally around Michaelmas.
The offices up for election were
the provost, who led the council,
the dean of guild, the treasurer
and four baillies, the council?s
judicial officers. The council?s
size fluctuated, its meetings could
range anywhere from fifteen to
30 councillors. If there was a
shortage of members, then ordinary
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p30-31 17thC St Andrews.indd 31
councillors were elected before
Michaelmas as well. There was a
large overlap between the leaders
of the craft community and the
leaders of the town. As well as the
dean of guild, the deacon convener
and the seven deacons of the crafts
were guaranteed membership of the
council. In total, guild-brethren made
up about a third of the council.
The role of councillor was taken
seriously. Thomas Barclay was
permanently barred from being
appointed councillor in 1661 on
account of his refusal to accept the
post. Leading councillors could
also be sanctioned. In 1662 the
deacon convener John Dounie was
barred from the council and fined
for attacking the sergeant at the
tollbooth door and stealing his keys.
From the Restoration onwards,
councillors were required to swear
an increasing number of oaths
to the Stuart kings and queens.
These oaths may have been behind
the refusal of some councillors to
take office. At least one councillor,
Andrews Carstairs, refused to give
the oath to William and Mary in
1691, barring him from standing in
future elections and costing him his
position as treasurer.
The next stage of the project will
add the St Andrews court book
for 1673-75, providing complete
coverage of the extant burgh
record books from 1650-1700. The
completed index will then be made
available as a searchable database
on the University of St Andrews
Special Collections? website
(www.st-andrews.ac.uk/library/
specialcollections) in summer 2018.
For further details on the Burnwynd
Trust, visit: www.st-andrews.ac.uk/
develop-2/burnwynd
Rory MacLellan is a PhD student
in Medieval History at the
University of St Andrews.
31
27/09/2017 11:37
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Charles Seton
2nd earl of
Dunfermline:
the Reluctant Rebel
Par t
3
O
n 13 July,
1646, nineteen
propositions were
sent to the king
at Newcastle (the
Newcastle Propositions) by the
English Parliament in the care
of two lords and four members
of the House of Commons.
King Charles, as was his wont,
prevaricated. He was under very
significant pressure to come to
some agreement with Parliament.
The earl of Callendar assured
him that his party could raise
4000 horse on his behalf-but only
if he accepted Presbyterianism.
The duke of Hamilton strongly
believed that only an alliance
with the English and Scottish
Presbyterians would save the
king his crown. Montreuil, who
was with the king in Newcastle
at this time, was also convinced
he would lose everything if
he rejected the propositions.
Sometime after the arrival of the
Propositions in July and before
12 August, the king ostensibly
sent Dunfermline and, depending
upon the source, Argyll and
Loudoun, to London to try and
32
p32 Main dunfermline.indd 32
Paul Christensen concludes his study of the earl of
Dumfermline, exploring the earl?s fortunes following
the Restoration, as he faced the prospect of
financial ruin
work out the basis for a new
compromise. But the king was
stalling, hoping for military help
from Ireland: the lords were
tasked with obtaining agreement
to allow the king to delay giving
an answer to the Propositions
until 16 September. According
to Burnet, they were also tasked
with persuading the English
Parliament to allow the king
to come near to London and
negotiate a personal treaty.
However, Gardiner states that
the king wrote to Belli鑦re (the
French ambassador, who arrived
in Newcastle on 9 August) saying
that he had no intention of
going to London unless he could
?preserve something of the state
and influence of a king?; Charles
added that he had already
sent Dunfermline to London
with a message to this effect.
Burnet recounts an interesting
interaction between the king and
the three lords before they left
for London. The king desired
that the lords promised secrecy
and fidelity. They agreed to
the latter, but asked the king
to promise secrecy on his part,
Obverse of the Sir
Richard Browne
medal. Sir Richard
was a parliamentary
general who
commanded a
small army in the
Abingdon area with
some success. He
was one of the
Commissioners sent
to watch Charles I
during his captivity
in Holdenby House
as they did not want the duke
of Hamilton or his brother the
earl of Lanark to learn of their
mission; the king saw no reason
not to agree. Interestingly, a
letter to queen Henrietta Maria
reveals that the king did not
think too highly of the fidelity
of the lords; this followed the
seizing of his correspondence
by Parliament. Thus, in August,
Montreuil was required by king
Louis XIV to return to France to
give an account of matters, and
was intercepted by Parliamentary
forces, and his despatches read,
before being allowed to continue
on his journey. Yet again, the
disparity between the public
utterances of the king and his
intentions reveal his duplicity.
The king was clearly troubled by
this event as he wrote in a letter,
dated 12 August, to the Queen:
The taking of Montrevil will give
us more trouble at this time than
otherwise needed. One of the chief
things that I bad him tell thee was,
that the ambassadour and Montrevil
so importune me for a second message
(in case the other should not be
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27/09/2017 11:38
n
:
Charles Seton and the Civil Wars
admitted), that I could not refuse
them, it being only to promise them a
particular answer to the propositions
by the 15th of September.
Charles continued to express his
opinion of Dunfermline and his
fellow lords:
This, I believe, had been rather
well than ill done, if confiding men
had carried it, but (considering the
persons) I was not for it, fearing they
would labour more for my second
than first message.
Dunfermline is often stated
to have been a Gentleman of
the Bedchamber to Charles I,
but there is no record of the
same in the royal archives,
and it is most likely that it was
only during Charles? captivity
in Newcastle that the earl had
this honour. As stated earlier,
Charles mentioned admitting
Dunfermline to his bedchamber
in August 1646, but that he was
not (yet) ?sworn?. However, in
the records of the Parliament of
Scotland for 27 March, 1647,
Dunfermline is referred to as ?one
of the gentlemen of his majesty?s
bedchamber? and Gardiner gives
the date of his appointment as a
Gentleman of the Bedchamber
as 13 January, 1647, stating
that Dunfermline had been won
over by the king at this time and
suggesting that his appointment
Dunfermline is often stated to have
been a Gentleman of the Bedchamber
to Charles I, but there is no record of
the same in the Royal Archives
was to secure access to the king
at any time. But for whom? As
his captors, the Scots would have
had free access to Charles. The
most likely answer is that the
earl was operating on behalf of
the English Parliament at this
point. He certainly was when the
king was detained at Holdenby
House, and the earl obtained
leave to attend the king from the
English Parliament (as on 18
May, 1647):
Small repouss�
counter of Charles
II. After his father?s
execution, Charles
went into exile
on the continent,
where the earl
of Dunfermline
followed him
Ordered by the Lords and
Commons in Parliament assembled,
that the Earl of Dunferlinge shall
have access to his Majesty at
Holdenby, according to the agreement
of both Houses with the Kingdom of
Scotland, signified in a letter dated
27 January last; but not to attend his
Majesty as a servant.
In the records of the Parliament
of Scotland (16 March, 1647)
there is a pass:
To all generals, admirals,
governors of towns and other
officers and soldiers whatsoever
by sea or land, and to all judges,
justices, magistrates and others of
his majesty?s subjects whom these do
or may concern.Whereas the earl of
Dunfermline is by warrant of the
parliament of Scotland to attend
his particular service about his
majesty?s person, these are therefore
to desire you and every one of you
to grant him free pass to himself and
his servants through your bounds
and grant to them your best aid and
concurrence for the furtherance of
their journey and not to make any
stop or trouble to them in their way,
coming or going.
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p32 Main dunfermline.indd 33
By now, the Scots were opposed
to the Independents in the
parliamentary army (and especially
Cromwell) and hence would be
prepared to operate in concert
with the (Presbyterian-dominated)
English Parliament to keep the king
out of the army?s clutches.
In May 1647 the king was
again using Dunfermline to
carry messages, this time from
his captivity in Holdenby
House. The king was aware
that the army intended to take
him away from Holdenby, in
direct opposition to the English
Parliament, and entered into
secret correspondence with
Dunfermline via Colonel Joseph
Bampfield. On 8 May the king
wrote to Bampfield expressing
his uncertainty as to what to do
and his suspicion of Parliament.
The latter may explain the king?s
varying view of Dunfermline?s
fidelity, as he would most likely
be aware of the latter holding a
commission from Parliament.
At the end of the letter, he
asked Bampfield to pass on two
enclosed letters to the queen and
Dunfermline. On 16 May the king
wrote again, ending with:
Make my excuses to the French
ambassador, for what he has written
to me in his last is of so little
concer nment that it is not worth
the pains to answer it in cipher to
himself. Assure him from me that
neither Dunfermline, who is now
here, nor anyone else saving you,
shall know what passes betwixt him
and me...
This perhaps suggests the king
did not completely trust the
earl. However, the Dictionary of
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27/09/2017 12:27
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National Biography states that
suspicions of Dunfermline?s
increasing loyalty to the king
were raised earlier, in August
1646, when Dunfermline was
suspected of being involved in a
plot with the French ambassador
on the king?s behalf,
presumably relating
to the taking of
Montreuil and
disclosure of his
despatches. Even
more tellingly,
in January 1647,
Leslie (as Lord Leven) forbade
Dunfermline access to the king.
It is clear that this ban was not
enforced, probably because it was
overturned by Parliament?s letter
of 27 January and the order of
the 18 May to the contrary.
On the evening of Wednesday
2 June, 1647, the king was
playing bowls near Holmby,
and then travelled to Althorp
with Dunfermline and Colonel
Graves, Commander of the
Guard at Holdenby House and
a Presbyterian. Masson suggests
that the English Parliament,
through Graves, was planning
to spirit Charles away and out
of the clutches of the army to
Oatlands. Bampfield writes that
the Parliament was regretting that
it had rejected the king?s peace
proposals and wanted to pass
a vote in both Houses inviting
Rare silver cross
Charles 1 memento
mori grave, 1649:
?FOR YE KING?.
urging the king to affect his
escape. Charles replied to this
letter, again via Dunfermline,
stating that he had sounded out
the commissioners put in charge
of him by Parliament (Lord
The king was aware that the army intended
to take him away from Holdenby, in
direct opposition to the English Parliament,
and entered into secret correspondence
with Dunfermline
the king to London, but feared
this would precipitate action by
the army. Parliament then urged
Bampfield to write to the king to
?know his inclination? and this
he did, enclosing his letter in
one to the earl of Dunfermline,
34
p32 Main dunfermline.indd 34
Montague of Boughton, Sir John
Coke, Mr Crewe and General
Browne) about escaping with
him to London, but two had
refused unless directly ordered
to do so by Parliament. The king
was going to try and persuade
the recalcitrant pair ?as soon as
Dunfermline returns?. Bampfield
briefed Dunfermline, and the earl
had also received some letters
from the Scottish Commissioners
in London confirming that the
king should escape. Unfortunately,
Cornet Joyce appeared at
Holdenby on 2 June and followed
the king and his party to Althorp.
Later that night Colonel Graves
made his escape, being suspected
of plotting with Dunfermline to
take the king to London. Graves?
men then fraternised freely with
Joyce?s troop. The following day,
at 2 pm, Joyce and his troopers
rode away from Holdenby with
the king and accompanied by the
commissioners. The earl, who had
witnessed the whole affair, ?posted
off to London?. On Saturday 5
June Dunfermline appeared in
the Little Lobby of the House of
Lords and stated that he had a
message to the House from the
king. The Lords asked that he put
it in writing ?so this House might
the more deliberately think of it.?
Hence Dunfermline wrote:
My Lords, I am sent, by His
Majesty, to the Honourable Houses
of Parliament; being commanded to
impart Three Things unto them: 1.
First, That His Majesty goeth from
Holdenby unwillingly. 2. His Majesty
desires that the Parliament will
neglect no Means for preserving the
Honour of the Parliament, and the
established Laws of the Land. 3. His
Majesty desires that they will believe
nothing that is said or done in His
Name against the Parliament, until
they send to Himself, and know the
Truth of it.
On 7 June, Montreuil wrote
that Dunfermline was being sent
to queen Henrietta Maria in
France, following the events at
Holdenby, to urge her to send the
Prince of Wales to Scotland to
lead an invasion of England. This
was at the urging of the English
Presbyterians and the Scots in
order to oppose the Independents
?and their army?. Montreuil also
wrote that:
It is necessary for me to state that
Dunfermline manifests a strong
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27/09/2017 11:38
Charles Seton and the Civil Wars
affection for the King of Great
Britain, he was even in the plot to
remove him away from Holmby,
yet he is strongly in the interests of
Scotland and depends absolutely on
the Marquis of Argyll, who is the
one of the subjects of this island that
has done most harm to his king.
This is an intriguing statement
suggesting a strong link between
the earl and the Machiavellian,
glae-eyed marquess. That this
could be true is supported by a
document in the papers of the
Forbes-Leith family of Fyvie. The
inventory reads:
Extract [dated 14 October 1653] of
bond by Charles, Earl of Dunfermline,
as principal, and Archibald, Earl of
Argyll, John, Earl of Rothes, and
John, Lord Hay of Yester, as his
cautioners, narrating a prior Bond of
26th December 1637 to Patrick Wood,
merchant, burgess of Edinburgh,
for fourteen thousand merks [the
earl of Argyll being then styled lord
Lorne] and in as much as it has been
assigned to George Sterling, promise
is made to pay the same to him; dated
at Edinburgh, 28th January 1640.
Witnesses Mr.William Colville, one
of the Justice Deputes, Mr. Robert
[missing] and Mr.William Oliphant.
Very rare English
17th century
antique, silver six
strand clasp for
bracelet or choker.
This is an evocative
piece of mourning
jewellery from the
mid-17th century
with a naively
engraved portrait of
Charles I wearing
the nightcap and
his characteristic
single pearl earring.
The design below
may represent the
basket. The king
tucked his hair
under a ?nightcap?
before the
executioner?s axe
fell. The pearls are
Victorian
not in conflict. However, in 1648,
he had to decide between his two
masters, the Kirk or King Charles.
A Royalist party had been steadily
growing in Scotland, coalescing
around the duke of Hamilton.
He led the Engager invasion of
England to rescue Charles from
imprisonment in Carisbrooke
Castle, crossing the border on 8
July. On 4 May, 1648, the Estates
had named Dunfermline a colonel
of horse in the Engager army, and
he rode with Hamilton. At this
time, the Estates were dominated
by Hamilton?s Royalists, and
the Kirk party were eclipsed,
until the Engager army, along
with Dunfermline?s regiment of
horse, was destroyed by Cromwell
on 3 September. This, and the
subsequent Whiggamore raid
on Edinburgh, re-established
Kirk supremacy. Dunfermline,
along with all Engagers, was then
debarred by the Act of Classes
The earl of Argyll was one of those
offering surety for Dunfermline?s
debts. Fourteen thousand merks
would be about �0 Sterling: a very
significant amount in those days. So,
as far back as 1637, the relationship
between the earl of Argyll (as lord
Lorne) and the earl of Dunfermline
was sufficiently close for the former
to guarantee to pay Dunfermline?s
debts in the event the earl could
not. It is also worthy of note that
Dunfermline appears to have
squandered his fortune within a very
short time of reaching manhood!
Thus, again, it is not possible
to unambiguously identify
Dunfermline?s motives for his
actions at Holdenby in plotting
the king?s escape, dashing to take
the king?s message to Parliament,
or the proposed visit to France,
whether as a loyal subject of the
king or loyal Covenanter. In any
case, this does not matter at this
point in time as his loyalties were
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p32 Main dunfermline.indd 35
from holding any office of public
trust. He subsequently went into
exile with Charles II after the
execution of Charles I.
There is an interesting entry
in the records of Dunfermline
presbytery for 13 April, 1649:
Paper given in by James Espline
in name of Earl of D acknowledging
his grief for giving offence to god
and his kirk by going on the sinful
engagement and his earnest desire to
be reconciled to God and this kirk.
As the Earl is out of the kingdom the
presbytery continues its reply until
he returns.
By then, the earl was in exile
with Charles II and had clearly
?burned his bridges?, so why
seek forgiveness from the Kirk?
Possibly to protect his estate?
He was not alone in seeking the
forgiveness of the Kirk: James,
the first earl of Callendar, and
Dunfermline?s stepfather, like
Dunfermline had ridden with
Leslie in the Bishops? Wars
and then with Hamilton in the
Engager invasion of England.
Dunfermline now remained
firmly and overtly Royalist until
his death. In June 1650, Charles II
travelled to Scotland, accompanied
by Dunfermline, and stayed eight
or ten days at the earl?s seat in
Dunfermline. Dunfermline did not
participate in the battle of Dunbar
and, whilst his regiment of horse was
at the battle of Worcester in 1653, he
remained behind in Scotland. The
earl was financially ruined, having
accumulated massive debts which
he started to incur at least as far
35
27/09/2017 11:38
www.historyscotland.com
The obverse of
one of the many
silver death and
memorial medals
commemorating
Charles I, by J. and
N. Roettier
his grovelling apology to the
Kirk, he was now firmly Royalist.
The apology harks back to the
early Dunfermline, lurking half
in the shadows of the Kirk and
Covenant, and half basking in the
light of his sovereign.
Paul Christensen is the Professor of
Pure and Applied Electrochemistry
at Newcastle University. He has
been an Electrochemist for 32
years. He has over 200 papers
in inter national Chemistry/
Electrochemistry journals and one
textbook: as well as two articles on
English Civil War coins in Spink?s
Numismatic Circular, was a
contributor to the Platt?s recent book
on English Civil War medals, which
he also reviewed for the Numismatic
Circular, and published his first
article in History Scotland in the
November/December 2016 issue.
back as 1635. The earl of Callendar
and Dunfermline?s brother-inlaw, the earl of Tweeddale, were
cautioners. Unfortunately, in 1649
whilst Dunfermline was in exile,
his creditors for this particular
debt issued a lawsuit against his
cautioners, and they were forced to
pay. As recompense, Dunfermline
made over to Callendar and
Tweedale the profits of the regality
of Dunfermline. In 1650, the earl
of Tweedale was also granted the
lordship of the regality. Dunfermline
may also have looked further afield
to recoup some of his losses, as there
is a rather odd entry in the records
of the St Andrews Institute of
Scottish Historical Research, stating
that the earl of Dunfermline signed a
three-year contract as Generalissimo
of the Russian Tsar?s forces on 20
January, 1659, but ?soon departed?.
At the Restoration, Dunfermline
was reinstated as a Privy Counsellor
in 1661, as an extraordinary Lord
of Session in 1667 and Lord Privy
Seal in 1671. He died in 1672, still
leaving the estate in severe debt.
It can be argued that the earl
of Dunfermline was always a
Royalist due to the affection and
gratitude he felt towards James
VI & I and Charles I on his own
behalf and that of his father;
36
p32 Main dunfermline.indd 36
his Royalism would also have
been strongly encouraged by his
wife. He concealed his loyalty
to Charles as best he could,
but was not the world?s best
dissembler. The motives behind
the English Parliament?s arrest
of Dunfermline after the battle
of Edgehill remain obscure; his
release in December 1642 and
encouragement to visit the king at
Oxford may have had something
to do with the overtures of peace
emanating from Parliament
during this period (the Commons
agreed with the Lords on 26
December that negotiations
should be opened with the king at
Oxford). His actions and motives
during the fighting in 1644
and 1645 are, at best, unclear.
However, once the Royalist party
in Scotland gained the upper
hand over the Kirk, and aligned
itself with the Presbyterian
faction in Parliament against the
Independent-led New Model
Army, the earl of Dunfermline
finally nailed his colours to the
mast. The disastrous failure of the
Engagement invasion followed
by the execution of the king were
the final straws, and he went
into exile with the new king,
Charles II. With one exception,
FURTHER READING
A large number of manuscript and published sources
were used. These include:
?Venice: April 1640?, in Calendar of State Papers Relating To
English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 25, 16401642, ed. Allen B Hinds (London, 1924), pp. 32-40
http://scot.sh/dunfer1, vol25/pp32-40 [accessed 9 March
2015].
Pamphlett E242[3], Thomason Collection, British
Library. ?A Continuation of Certain Speciall and
Remarkable Passages?, no. 17, 31st October -3rd
November 1642.
George Seton, Memoir of Alexander Seton, Earl of
Dunfermline (Edinburgh, 1882), pp.152-165.
?Charles 1 ? Volume 420: May 1 -14, 1639? in Calendar of
State Papers Domestic: Charles I, 1639, 143; Ed.
William Douglas Hamilton (London, 1873), pp103167. https://www.british-history.c.uk/cal-state-papers/
domestic/chas1/1639/ 103-167. Accessed 9 March 2015.
?House of Lords Journal Volume 9: 5 June 1647?,
in Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 9, 1646
(London, 1767-1830), pp. 239-243 http://scot.sh/
dunfer3 [accessed 15 March 2015].
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:38
War art
An
Artist?s
War
Phyllida Shaw explores the work of Morris and Alice
Meredith Williams, two of the artists who worked
on the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh
Castle, honouring all Scots who have died in war
since 1914
?T
he light is soft
and tinted. The
fan vaulting
sweeps up
above you like
solemn music; and from the stone
vault hangs the mighty figure
of St Michael in full armour,
the cross upon his brow and his
feet tramping the Spirit of Evil.
Round this Shrine is a miracle in
bronze; every type of Scotsman
and Scotswoman who took part
in the war has a place in the
long procession. They are seen
as they fought, neither glorified
nor debased, but with a kind of
dispassionate clarity. The surgeon
is there, his field boots beneath
his overall; the infantryman in
his war kit; the cavalryman; the
gunner; the airman; the sailor;
Morris Meredith
Williams?s drawing
for the bronze
monument to the
London, Liverpool,
Tyneside, Canadian
and South African
Scottish at the
Scottish National
War Memorial,
modelled in low relief
by Alice Meredith
Williams (1926)
the nurse; the W.A.A.C; the
V.A.D. Nothing that has been
done to commemorate the war
can compare for poignancy and
exactitude with this parade of
Scotland?s sons and daughters.?
H.V. Morton?s response to
the ?miracle in bronze? in the
Shrine of the Scottish National
War Memorial at Edinburgh
Castle, recorded in his book In
Search of Scotland (Methuen,
1929) captures the knowledge,
sensitivity and technical skill of
the two artists who created it.
Almost eighty years later, in his
foreword to An Artist?s War. The
Art and Letters of Morris & Alice
Meredith Williams the historian
Hew Strachan reflects on the fact
that ?visitors to Edinburgh Castle
see the work of Morris and Alice
Meredith Williams every day, and
do so in their thousands. And yet
both have been largely neglected
as artists of the First World War.?
Morris and Alice were two of
the eleven artists and more than
200 craftspeople and labourers
who, facilitated by the architect
Sir Robert Lorimer, created a
body of work that continues
to commemorate all Scots and
members of Scottish regiments
who have died as a result of war,
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p37-39 Artist's War.indd 37
since 1914. They were jointly
commissioned to make three works
? the frieze in the Shrine, with its
60 individual figures drawn by
him and modelled by her; the low
relief memorial to the London,
Liverpool, Tyneside, Canadian
and South African Scottish, in the
east transept and over the entrance
to the Hall of Honour, a gilded,
stone carving, the Pelican in her
Piety, with the words LEST WE
FORGET below. There are six
more pieces by Alice inside the
building: the bronze monuments to
all Scotswomen and to the nurses
and stretcher bearers; the figures
of St Margaret, St Andrew and
the angels on the steel and iron
casket containing the original roll
of honour; the quartet of bronze
kneeling angels around the casket
and above them, the wooden
sculpture of St Michael and the
dragon, suspended from a stone
boss of trumpeting angels. For the
outside, she designed the stone
figures of Knowledge and Truth, The
Calling of St Andrew and a pair of
angels holding a shield.
Alice and Morris met in Paris in
1903. She had spent several years
at Liverpool School of Architecture
and Applied Art, learning to draw,
design, model and sculpt, and in
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1900 she won a � scholarship
from the City Council. She took
herself to Paris and stayed almost
five years, living and working from
a studio in Montparnasse. Morris,
who was four years younger, had
studied drawing at the Slade School
of Fine Art and spent a year in Italy
before arriving in Paris in search of
a different style of teaching.
They probably met at
Colarossi?s, a small art school
where they were both taking
classes. A conversational startingpoint might have been that
they were both the children of
Welsh fathers called Williams.
They also shared a seriousness
about art and a determination to
make their living from it. When
they decided to marry, Morris
returned to Britain to look for a
job and found one as the part-time
drawing master at Fettes College in
Edinburgh. Alice joined him after
they married in 1906.
Their life in Edinburgh before
World War I was congenial.
Morris had a steady stream of
work producing pen and ink
illustrations, mostly for publishers
of history books for young readers.
He drew scenes of battles, sieges
and crusades, but was equally
at home working on Elizabeth
Grierson?s classic, The Scottish
Fairybook. Most of Alice?s work,
38
p37-39 Artist's War.indd 38
pre-war, was on a small scale:
she exhibited figures in clay,
plaster and bronze with titles like
Pan, Echo and Mischief and sold
designs for stained glass windows
to Guthrie and Wells in Glasgow.
The outbreak of war brought
this life to an abrupt halt. Morris
joined the Welsh Regiment in
April 1915 and after more than
a year in training he left for
France in June 1916. To make
it easier to meet when he had
leave, Alice moved to Peppard,
a village in Oxfordshire where
Morris?s father had been the vicar
and where there were still a few
friends and family members. She
worked on a farm and sent work
to exhibitions, but until 1918 she
had little opportunity to make
anything new.
Throughout his time in
France (1916-19), Morris kept
sketchbooks. First with the Welsh
infantry, then as map-maker for
the Heavy Artillery and finally
working on camouflage with
the Royal Engineers, he drew at
every opportunity, recording the
everyday sights in and behind
the lines. He did this because
of his insatiable visual curiosity,
but also because he and Alice
had little money and he hoped
there might be a market for his
drawings. A few were exhibited in
The frieze in the
Shrine of the
Scottish National
War Memorial, with
its 60 individual
figures drawn
by Morris and
modelled by Alice
Cardiff during the war and several
of his paintings were included in an
exhibition of work by camouflage
artists at the Royal Academy in
1919, but the real opportunity,
post-war, would be in the demand
for memorials, and in their working
relationship with Robert Lorimer.
On 28 October, 1920, Lorimer
wrote to Alice. ?Dear Mrs Meredith
Williams, I always intended to write
and tell you how greatly I admired
some of your coloured plaster reliefs
illustrating various activities in
connection with the War. I have
a memorial in hand for a place
in South Africa and there is an
opportunity of working in some panels
round the base. I will be very pleased
if you could call here tomorrow
forenoon and let us talk the
matter over.?
The plaster reliefs to which
Lorimer was referring were part of a
series commissioned by the Imperial
War Museum?s Women?s Work sub
committee to illustrate the roles
played by women during the war.
These confirmed Alice?s ability to
capture the movement and humanity
of people in action. Lorimer?s
Queenstown memorial featured four
low relief, bronze panels with scenes
of South Africans at war. The subject
matter was suggested by Lorimer,
drawn by Morris and modelled by
Alice. While the couple had worked
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:39
War art
together on book illustrations
and designs for windows, this was
their first collaboration in three
dimensions and on this scale.
Next came the Paisley War
Memorial. In 1921, Alice had
exhibited a small, painted, plaster
model of a crusader on horseback
accompanied by four British
soldiers moving forward, despite
their obvious weariness. Lorimer
suggested using this composition in
what turned out to be the winning
bid to design Paisley?s memorial.
Morris, although not credited with
any contribution on this occasion,
used his knowledge of uniforms and
equipment and of the demeanour
Right: The Pelican
in her Piety, a stone
carving above the
entrance to the Hall
of Honour of the
Scottish National
War Memorial,
designed by Morris
and Alice Meredith
Williams (1927). This
photograph was
taken before the
carving was gilded
Most of Alice?s work,
pre-war, was on a
small scale
of war-weary soldiers to create
the detailed drawings from which
Alice developed her models. By
the time the Paisley memorial
was unveiled, in July 1924, work
on the Scottish National War
Memorial was well under way.
On 22 December in a letter about
the proposed frieze for the shrine,
Lorimer wrote to Alice: ?I think
the great point about your war
work was that you [were] able
to see something picturesque in
modern warfare, and the bronze
panels you suggest in connection
with this portion of the work, if
skilfully modelled, ought to turn
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p37-39 Artist's War.indd 39
out well.? The consensus is that
they did.
An Artist?s War. The Art and Letters of
Morris & Alice Meredith Williams, by
Phyllida Shaw, great-niece of Morris
Meredith Williams, was published by
the History Press in May 2017.
39
27/09/2017 11:40
www.historyscotland.com
Tea and Empire
James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the
Ceylon tea enterprise. Angela McCarthy and
T.M. Devine examine the life of James Taylor, the
Scottish progenitor of this global trade
foundations for the transformation
of the country?s economy and
in the process helped to shape
the world?s drinking habits. He
also made major contributions to
Ceylon?s earlier coffee cultivation
and cinchona production. But
who was James Taylor, why did
his life end in tragedy, and why
does historical amnesia in the UK
surround his achievements?
J
ames Taylor is renowned
in Sri Lanka as the
?father of the Ceylon
tea enterprise?, with his
achievements leading
to what became a global trade in
Ceylon tea. As late as the early
1860s, little tea was cultivated
on the island but, by 1900, 150
million lbs of tea was exported and
the land devoted to its cultivation
had expanded to 384,000 acres.
Today, Sri Lanka is the world?s
fourth largest producer of tea and
second biggest when measured
by its share of global tea exports.
Taylor?s early efforts in Victorian
times therefore helped to create the
40
p40 Main Taylor.indd 40
James Taylor (in white
suit) and unidentified
friend in Ceylon, c.1863
Origins and achievements
Born in 1835 near the village of
Auchenblae in Kincardineshire,
James Taylor was the son of
a wheelwright. He grew to
manhood at a time when parts
of the northeast of Scotland had
become renowned as centres of
excellence for agriculture, not
simply nationally but further
afield. Taylor trained initially to
be a pupil teacher but left home
in 1851 at the age of sixteen.
The use of family networks in the
Scottish emigrant tradition was
crucial to his decision to opt for
Ceylon rather than other potential
destinations. His mother?s
cousin, Peter Moir, worked in the
employment of coffee agencies on
the island, having previously toiled
as a gardener on the Fettercairn
estate. Henry Stiven, another
relative who worked on the
Fettercairn estate, travelled with
Taylor to Ceylon.
In a sense they were fairly
typical of the countless number
of young Scots who sought their
fortunes in the British Empire
and beyond throughout the 19th
century. Yet Taylor?s particular
career merits special attention for,
unlike many British migrants who
were sojourners in Asia, he would
spend the rest of his days working
in Ceylon in coffee, cinchona and
tea cultivation.
Initially, Taylor?s key focus was
coffee, before the leaf disease
ruined the industry. In this field
he made contributions to debates
about pruning and manuring and
gave insights into micro-climates
and soil varieties. He also won
recognition for his engineering
talents. His experiments with
cinchona, from which the drug
quinine was extracted to treat
malaria, also won acclaim for his
system of sowing and seedling and
deep subsoil draining. Indeed,
Ceylon, for a short time, dominated
the world market of cinchona. It
is, however, Taylor?s pioneering
contributions to the tea economy
that really made his name.
The eventual disappointment
in cinchona cultivation and the
demise of the coffee industry
ensured that only tea could
eventually become the bedrock
of the Ceylon economy. Taylor
initially experimented with
making China tea from old bushes
in his garden, considering his
early efforts ?nearly rank poison?.
His employers then instructed
him to plant Assam hybrid tea
seed on the estate. At the end of
1867, when he was 32 years of
age, he cleared 20 acres of land
at Loolecondera and planted
them. This batch failed but his
next planting in 1869 succeeded,
becoming the first successful
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
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Ceylon tea 150th anniversary
Drummond
n
commercial tea clearing and
planting. Five acres of it remains
to this day on the estate, the
oldest tea field in Sri Lanka under
continuous cultivation. Taylor
was also renowned for his fine
plucking of two leaves and a bud
and had success in mechanising
The magnificent
scenery of
Loolecondera
Eventually, Ceylon tea was
overtly and systematically
marketed as a product of empire,
primarily in order to clearly
distinguish it from the longestablished favourite from China.
This is apparent in both its
packaging and advertising in the
Taylor initially experimented with
making China tea from old bushes
in his garden, considering his early
efforts ?nearly rank poison?
the tea production process.
It is undeniable, then, that Taylor
led the way in many developments
within the Ceylon tea economy.
But the transformation of Ceylon?s
economy from coffee to cinchona
and then tea was set within a
knowledge economy of practical
agricultural innovation.
press. A series of international
exhibitions were intended to
present a strong sense of exotic
allure to the millions who attended
the displays. Ceylon tea, including
Taylor?s, was presented there in
unambiguously patriotic terms as
supplied from the farthest reaches
of the British Empire. It was not
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p40 Main Taylor.indd 41
simply consumed in the mother
country but had a global reach
and infused the everyday lives of
Britons, both at home and abroad,
as much as it filled their teacups.
Triumph and tears
In 1891, the Planters? Association
of Ceylon publicly celebrated the
seminal achievements of James
Taylor, who had successfully
pioneered what had become by
then the vast new tea economy
of the colony. Taylor?s major
contribution had impressed many.
Among his supporters was Daniel
Morris, assistant director of the
Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew,
who, in the Tropical Agriculturalist
(1 March 1888), testified:
Mr Taylor, in his plodding, careful
way, worked out unaided, the details
of tea manufacture, and certainly
he deserves to be held in the highest
estimation as a pioneer of the
industry. The sudden transformation
which took place in Ceylon in a few
years from a large and flourishing
41
27/09/2017 11:40
www.historyscotland.com
coffee industry to the tea industry is
one of the most wonderful instances of
well-directed energy and perseverance
that has ever been known in the
history of any British colony. Having
made a special study of colonial
industries, I may say I do not
know of another instance of such a
transformation. The island was almost
in a state of ruin after the collapse of
the coffee industry, but the spirits of
the Ceylon planters never sank. They
have had difficulties that others have
not had to contend with, but they
have surmounted them all.
for the balance. The elation and
quiet satisfaction Taylor must
have felt, however, did not last
for long. On 2 May 1892, a mere
six months after this public
accolade, Taylor was dead and his
reputation sullied beforehand.
Aged 57, he had been dismissed
in disgrace from the post of
superintendent at the estate that
he had served for more than 40
years and where he had carried
out his famous and successful
Bust (thirteen foot) of
James Taylor at the
Mlesna Tea Castle at
Talawakelle,
Sri Lanka
In early 1891 Ceylon?s planters
decided to present Taylor with a
silver tea service to honour his
contributions. Procured from
Mappin and Webb at Sheffield, the
tea service was fashioned in the
Queen Anne pattern, and exhibited
in London before shipment to
Ceylon. A salver, tea pot, coffee
pot, milk jug, sugar basin and blue
cloth were shipped to Ceylon in a
fitted wooden box. The salver had
the following inscription engraved:
?To James Taylor, Loole Condura,
in grateful appreciation of his
successful efforts which laid the
foundation of the tea and Cinchona
Industries of Ceylon 1891.?
The Planter?s Association offered
Taylor the opportunity to receive
the gift in public, but he declined,
as he was not keen on giving a
public address of thanks. Since
only part of the fund was used for
the purchase of the silver service,
the Association sent him a cheque
42
p40 Main Taylor.indd 42
experiments in the cultivation of
tea. A neighbouring planter, C.E.
Bonner, provided an intimate
account of those last days. Bonner
told how the estate?s owners, the
Oriental Bank Estates Company,
had instructed Taylor to take six
months leave of absence from the
estate. Taylor, however, ?resented
being ordered away? believing the
estate intended to ?get rid? of him
and so he defied the directive. The
Company then demanded that he
should resign.
Bonner had been visiting his
friend when the firm?s instructions
arrived and recalled Taylor?s
confusion and utter despair at the
accusations levied against him:
[?] he seemed completely dum[b]
founded at receiving such a letter
& I may say from that day to the
day of his death he never held up
his head his one cry was what have
I done? & why dont the Co[mpany
give me a reason for getting rid of
me? He refused to resign & then was
summarily dismissed.
Bonner?s inconsolable wife,
Emily, wrote desolately of the
darkness that surrounded Taylor?s
last days declaring ?it was not
dysentery that killed Mr. James
Taylor of Loolecondura, but grief
at the idea of leaving the old
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:40
Ceylon tea 150th anniversary
Drummond
place, where he had lived for 40
years. He received notice to quit
a fortnight before he died, and he
never held up his head afterwards;
then dysentery attacked him, and
he pined away. I can speak from
personal experience as I frequently
went up to see him. He was a
dear and respected old friend of
mine, and it grieved me bitterly
to see him in this heart-broken
condition.? Her remarks found
public outlet in the Overland Times
of Ceylon (9 May 1892).
The possibility that in his
stricken condition Taylor may
have taken his own life cannot be
entirely dismissed out of hand,
though there is not a shred of
evidence in the contemporary
record that after his untimely
death suicide was even suspected.
But those who knew him well
were in no doubt that his
unexplained dismissal had shaken
him to the core. He faced the
certain prospect of leaving his
Ceylonese family and returning
to Scotland in disgrace. This
The children of Taylor?s
relative Henry Stiven
with local servants
would have been intolerable
for a man of his character and
personality. In Sri Lanka today,
the yellow oleander flower is
increasingly used as a method of
self-harm. Bloody diarrhoea and
cardiac abnormalities are among
the symptoms when taken. Its
poisoning capacities were also
known during Taylor?s time.
Nevertheless, in the absence
even of suspicion or rumour,
suicide remains an unlikely cause
of death. More probable is that he
died of acute stress on his heart
brought on by the shock and pain
of dismissal as some friends at the
time suggested. Recent medical
research, for instance, indicates
that physical damage to the heart
can arise from severe grief and
result in broken heart syndrome
(stress cardiomyopathy). A broken
heart was also occasionally linked
in the 19th century with dysentery.
Why, though, was Taylor
dismissed? Possibly his physical
inability to travel around the
estates was a factor. Certainly his
employers accused him publicly of
lethargy. Fellow planters, however,
counteracted these charges. But
it seems very likely also that his
employers were unimpressed
with falling profits and Taylor?s
determination to confront them
in public. What we do know for
sure is that they were contrite
and remorseful about their
actions after his death.Whatever
the circumstances surrounding
[?] the noblest of men. The
kindest of friends, the gentlest, the
wisest, and the most experienced
of planters ? simple, lovable,
charitable, and possessed of extreme
modesty ? such was the Father of
the Ceylon Tea enterprise; a man
whose kindnesses will live in many a
planter?s memory, and whose name
will stand high in the archives of this
Colony for ever.
James Taylor was buried at
Mahiayawa cemetery near Kandy,
his tombstone imported from his
native land. Other commemorations
also exist, including in Barbara
Cartland?s novel Moon Over Eden, in
exhibits at the Ceylon Tea Museum,
with a monument and memorial
garden at the Loolecondera estate
he superintended, and most recently
with an imposing 13-foot bust at the
entrance to a mock Scottish baronial
castle in the Sri Lankan highlands.
James Taylor did not achieve
wealth and, though earning a high
reputation and generous acclaim
among his peers in the cinchona
and tea economies of Ceylon
before he died, never received
recognition in the land of his
birth. To this day, his name stirs
little or no resonance in Scotland,
though he is a national figure in
Sri Lanka. Taylor has never been
recorded among the pantheon of
?Great Scots? whose remarkable
deeds in far off lands aroused such
Why, though, was Taylor dismissed?
Possibly his physical inability to travel
around the estates was a factor
Taylor?s dismissal, laudatory
obituaries and posthumous
recollections soon testified to his
character and standing. He was
praised for a life of ?unceasing
labour ? restless energy in
seeking out facts, and his telling of
them to his fellow-planters, freely,
and to the best of his knowledge?.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p40 Main Taylor.indd 43
Acquaintances recalled him as:
pride across the nation during
the heyday of empire. Indeed,
but for the chance survival of
his voluminous correspondence,
Taylor?s name, outside Sri Lanka
at least, might well have been lost
to history.
Several reasons might account
for this. He did not, for instance,
43
27/09/2017 11:40
www.historyscotland.com
Vol 18.1
In the next
issue of
ever return to his homeland. Nor
did his progeny, if they survived
to adulthood, maintain links
with their father?s country after
he died. Their mother, of either
Sinhalese or Tamil descent, would
probably have raised them within
her own ethnic family. The public
scandal surrounding Taylor?s
dismissal from his position as
superintendent at Loolecoondera,
followed by his mysterious death,
may also have played a part
in ensuring that any surviving
family members would maintain
a low profile both about him
and his achievements. Perhaps
even more relevant, however, was
Taylor?s self-effacing persona and
determination to avoid playing
any significant public role in
colonial affairs.
The legacy and reputation
of another Scot with famous
connections to 19th century
Ceylon, the world-renowned
Thomas Lipton, could also
have ensured that Taylor?s name
remained in the shadows. Taylor
had a diametrically opposite
personality to that of the
charismatic and energetic
Scottish grocer. Lipton relentlessly
promoted Ceylon tea and his
own name from the local high
street to the global market place.
During his lifetime and beyond,
Lipton and Ceylon tea almost
became synonymous. He was
the marketing man par excellence
who instinctively knew how to
catch the headlines and boost the
interest of the general public in
his many enterprises.
The riches he garnered enabled
him to move in the highest circles
of the land and he was eventually
created Knight Commander of
the Royal Victorian Order by King
Edward VII in 1901. Taylor, by
contrast, shunned the limelight
and was so unassuming that ?few
were aware of his high intellectual
attainments? in ?almost every
department of Natural Science?.
James Taylor?s legacy in Scotland
is only now being acclaimed.
Scotland?s Tea Festival in 2014
paid tribute to him and this
year at the Mearns Academy
in Laurencekirk, close to his
birthplace, a statue, funded
from Sri Lankan tea interests,
was unveiled. With the 150th
anniversary of Ceylon tea in
2017, this is an opportune time to
recover the life of a crucial figure
in the history of Sri Lanka and in
the story of Scottish emigration to
Asia in the 19th century.
Angela McCarthy is Professor of
Scottish and Irish History and
Director of the Centre for Global
Migrations at the University of
Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Professor Sir Tom Devine is Sir
William Fraser Chair of Scottish
History and Palaeography Emeritus
at the University of Edinburgh.
Jan/Feb 2018
On sale:
9 Dec 2017
history
SCOTLAND
This belongs to us!
Competition between
the royal burgh of
Stirling and the
Augustinian Abbey
of Cambuskenneth
We explore the value that
medieval communities placed
on salmon fisheries, which
was manifested in a violent
and centuries-long dispute
between a royal burgh and an
Augustinian Abbey.
World War I and
policing in the
Scottish Borders
A re-evaluation of commonly held ideas on crime
during wartime, with an exploration of the role of police
officers working in Borders communities during the
Great War, and a look at the impact of the war on local
police forces.
The orange tartan: Scottish influences on
the New Zealand Orange Order
By the mid 19th-century, the Orange Order had lodges
around the world, from Canada to South Africa, and
as far afield as New Zealand. But what prompted their
spread and in what ways can we discern a Scottish
influence on the Orange Order?
FURTHER READING
? The Scottish Experience in Asia, c.1700 to the Present: Settlers and
Sojourners, T. M. Devine and Angela McCarthy (eds) (Cham, 2017)
? A Hundred Years of Ceylon Tea, 1867-1967, D.M. Forrest (London, 1967)
? Tea and Empire: James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon, Angela McCarthy and T.M.
Devine (Manchester, 2017)
? National Library of Scotland, Papers of James Taylor, planter in Ceylon,
MS 15908
? The Early British Tea and Coffee Planters and their Way of Life, 18251900: The Pioneers, John Weatherstone (London, 1986)
? Tropical Pioneers: Human Agency and Ecological Change in the
Highlands of Sri Lanka, 1800-1900, James Webb (Athens, 2002)
44
p40 Main Taylor.indd 44
Plus: Curator review of the Scotland?s Early Silver
exhibition National Museum Scotland, report from
the Stobs Camp archaeology project, new visual
reconstructions of the Bass of Inverurie.
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26/09/2017 15:15
26/09/2017 15:31
The face
of the
Cramond
murderer
A recent collaboration between the
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
City Council and the Maltings at
Crammond has provided a glimpse
at the face of a 19th-century killer.
By Janet Philp
H
aving hung in the Anatomical Museum of the
University of Edinburgh since his execution in
1832, the skull of murderer John Howison has been
scanned and recreated as a 3D model. Average tissue
depth data and a degree of artistic license with regards
to hair and eye colour, have revealed what he may have looked like at the
time he commited the Cramond murder, in December 1831.
On the day of the killing, John Howison made his way into
Cramond, just outside Edinburgh. His face was covered with
a black handkerchief, a Bible was tied around his wrist and he
was looking for alms. A few weeks earlier, his usual landlady in
Edinburgh had noticed that he had begun to act strangely. He had
started chasing away imaginary flies and laying a salt ring around
his bed to ward off evil spirits. Shortly after this he left Edinburgh
and became a wandering vagrant.
As he entered Long Row in Crammond, Howison was looking
for money. He came to the house of Martha Mason, or Widow
Geddes as she was known, and went inside, leaving a few minutes
later empty handed. It was not until a few hours later, when her
neighbour entered the house, that the murder was discovered.
There was no sign of a struggle but Widow Geddes lay on the floor
with her skull cleft open, a blood covered spade beside her.
Howison was arrested the next day and although he protested his
innocence, he was tried for the murder. His lawyers put in a claim of
insanity. Howison protested that they should have fought the charge
on a complete lack of evidence. He insisted that he was two miles
away even though there were several eye witnesses to his being in
Crammond at the time. The partial insanity claim was pursued, a
condition that had recently been termed homocidal monomania. This
46
p46 Howison.indd 46
was the theory that someone could lose their reason over one aspect
only whilst appearing to maintain reason on other matters. At the
time this was a fairly new concept that has been used in France by the
school of medicin mentale but it was rejected by the Scottish courts,
leaving Howison to be executed.
Although seen by several doctors who declared him of sound mind,
Howison was also seen by others who confirmed he should have been
locked up in an asylum. Nowadays, he would most probably have
been deemed mentally unwell. In a particularly ironic twist, his sanity
was reasoned by the fact that he was denying the murder; had he been
insane he would have confessed.
Howison?s case differs little from many others in preceding years; he
becomes exceptional only because of the timing. The 1832 Anatomy
Act came into force on 1 August, 1832, a few months after Howison
was executed. The Act finally passed through Parliament following
the acts of Thomas and Bishop in London who attempted to emulate
Burke and Hare, the Edinburgh serial killers and suppliers of bodies to
the medical profession.
The Act made it possible for people to donate their bodies to science
and for medical schools to obtain the bodies of the unclaimed poor. It
also provided murderers with burials inside prison grounds. Howison
was the last person to be executed before the Act came into force, and
therefore the last murderer to be anatomised.
The facial reconstruction can be seen as part of an exhibition
at the Maltings Museum, Cramond, 6 Riverside, Cramond,
Edinburgh EH4 6NY; website: http://cramondheritage.org.uk
Dr Janet Philp is head of administration in the deanery of biomedical
sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:43
Inside the National Records of Scotland
True
crime
Tristram Clarke shares some of the fascinating stories which
await researchers among court, Crown Office, Scottish Office
and prison records in Register House, Edinburgh
S
ome criminal cases
which can be found in
the records at National
Records of Scotland
are already well-known:
the double life of William Brodie,
Edinburgh cabinetmaker by day
and housebreaker by night, who was
executed in 1788; Madeleine Smith,
the alleged poisoner who escaped
the noose in 1857 by virtue of a not
proven verdict in the High Court; and
Oscar Slater, a disreputable foreigner
who was jailed for murder in 1909,
but whose conviction was quashed in
1928.
A huge range of crimes of assault,
rape, theft, fraud and arson feature
in the 68,000 entries covering High
Court and Crown Office records
that are open for the period 1800 to
1932. As our cataloguing progresses,
endlessly fascinating details of
characters, circumstances and events
come to light. Of course the accused
are named, as well some of their
victims. Within the case papers and
other records, a host of witnesses,
jurors, court officials and police
officers appear and play their part.
In addition to prison registers,
we also hold fascinating albums of
prison photographs for Barlinnie,
Greenock and Perth prisons.
Surviving records of the lower courts
are mostly held in local archives.
In hindsight some historic crimes
are more comic than serious. A file
concerning the SS Politician contains a
letter concerning the eight men from
South Uist who were jailed for stealing
whisky from the wreck on the island
of Eriskay in 1943 ? the event that
inspired Compton Mackenzie?s novel
Whisky Galore! The essence of the real
story is captured in the memorable
explanation given by the crofter who
owned the boat that was used to
salvage the whisky: he went along ?to
ensure that his boat was not damaged
rather than to steal the whisky?.
Crime lends itself to storytelling,
and a master of the art was James
McLevy, a detective in Victorian
Edinburgh, whose droll tales of
catching criminals were widely-read
in his day, and thanks to reprints
and radio adaptations, have gained
new followers. The historical records
of the crimes he relates can add
sober but revealing details to his
personal accounts. For example in
The Blue-Bells of Scotland he related
how in 1843 he traced jewellery and
a musical box, stolen from a New
Town house, to the Old Town. The
box, one of whose tunes gives the
thieves away, is described in the trial
Wanted poster, 1909
(AD15/9/166)
papers as ?a Geneva musical box?.
The inventory of stolen valuables
also lists the names inscribed on
three gold mourning rings, reflecting
the historic custom of distributing
commemorative jewellery.
The declarations by the suspects,
their associates and other witnesses
usually contain the most interesting
and revealing details of daily life in the
home, at work and in public spaces.
In this instance, one of the accused
declared that McLevy arrested him on
his way home from a spirit shop. This
detail shows that McLevy increased
the dramatic effect of his story when he
wrote that he surprised the suspects in
their run-down lodgings.
He was perfectly accurate about
the sentences of ten years and
fourteen years transportation handed
to the two guilty men. More than
7,000 transportation cases of Scots
can be found in the NRS records,
just some of the 160,000 Britons
transported to Australia from the
1790s until 1857. Most people were
transported for theft aggravated
by ?habit and repute?. How repeat
offending was tackled in later decades
is one of the themes in an exhibition
at Register House this autumn.
?Rogues Gallery? brings together
remarkable police photographs from
the Lothians, 1870-1917, preserved
in Edinburgh City Archives, and
criminal case papers from NRS ?
true crime indeed.
Dr Tristram Clarke is archivist at
National Records of Scotland
Oscar Slater in
1909 and 1927
(HH15/20/11)
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p47 National Records column.indd 47
NRS research guide on crime and
criminals: http://scot.sh/HScrime
Details of Rogues Gallery exhibition:
http://scot.sh/NRSexhib
47
27/09/2017 11:44
PROJECT REVEAL
National Trust for Scotland is undertaking a huge cataloguing project to catalogue and photograph
every one of the 100,000 artefacts in its care. We spoke to Susanna Hillhouse at the conservation
charity to find out more
P
roject Reveal, which
is one of the biggest
heritage cataloguing
projects ever to take
place in Scotland, will
employ a team of 26 people and
cover all of the properties with
collections in the care of Scotland?s
conservation charity, from the
clifftop Culzean Castle in Ayrshire,
to the humble home of geologist
Hugh Miller in Cromarty.
Over the course of the project,
the team will not only learn a lot
about the pieces which are cared
for at Trust properties all over
Scotland, but will also, they hope,
discover ?hidden gems? which will
give an even greater insight into
the country?s history and heritage.
48
p48-49 NTS double page spotlight.indd 48
Sarah Heaton, Team
manager for West,
with John MacKenzie,
NTS team manager,
reveal inventory
project, South West
When the project is complete,
there will be one central record of
information and high resolution
photographs which can be
accessed by all NTS staff, and
which will enable members of
the public to learn more about
the collections. This central
information will then be able to
be used to create room-by-room
inventories, provide background
information for volunteer guides
and provide data for audits,
helping staff to manage and care
for the collections
more efficiently.
So why is now a good time
for such a large-scale project
to happen? Susanna told us:
?National Trust for Scotland
has been through a revamp and
restructure and this was seen as
a useful NTS-wide project where
everyone would have access to
consistent information, allowing
our people to be more creative
and tell the stories of the items
that we hold.?
Although NTS has records
of the thousands of items in its
care, these have been created
over many years and include
hard copy files, donation letters
and a card index system as well
as the modern database. But
inevitably there are some gaps
and inconsistencies. ?What I?ve
done,? said Susanna, ?is to ask
for an accurate picture of what?s
in each property and this might
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:46
Project Reveal
throw up some surprises.
So, for example, an item
in our collections might be listed
at a fairly basic level but we?ll be
taking a fresh look at that object
and might discover things that
we didn?t know we had.?
?Also, where an item might
have been logged as a single
piece of furniture, the team will
separately photograph everything
relating to that, so if there is
something contained within one of
the drawers, that will be listed
separately. And if an object is
hidden within something else,
it can be re-evaluated and may
take on a new significance.?
The logistics
This �3 million project covers
a huge area and takes in 47 of
the Trust?s properties covering
the whole of Scotland, from the
The Glenfinnan Monument in
the Highlands, to the tiny Robert
Smail?s print shop in the Borders.
The country has been split into
four regions, each of which has
a team manager, and within
that region, the properties are
tackled on what might seem to
be a random basis, but is actually
a carefully constructed plan,
as Susanna explained: ?Some
properties might have some
building or conservation work
scheduled, and so they might want
the team to visit before or after
that, and then there?s the weather
to consider for the more northerly
sites, as well as the fact that many
of our properties close for the
winter, through until Easter.?
Above: dodo claret jug
by Alexander Crichton,
from the collection at
Brodick Castle, Arran
Right: vase from Hill Of
Tarvit Mansion, Fife
Bottom, from left:
Indigo Carnie, team
manager for North, at
Hill of Tarvit Mansion;
banners introduce the
team to visitors at
Culzean Castle;
the Project Reveal
team at work in the
Hill House
With such a large-scale project and
a tight time schedule, much of the
cataloguing work will be carried out
during normal property
opening hours, giving
visitors the chance the
see the cataloguers at
work, ask questions and
see how historic items
are handled and logged.
This, said Susanna,
is a positive move for
NTS, engaging people
with Project Reveal and
helping to spread the
work about the Trust and its
work: ?Members of the public
are the very reason why we have
collections in the first place, and
doing a project on this scale means
we have no choice about carrying
on with the work in view of the
visitors. If people can see what
we?re doing it helps explain why we
need their support and also shows
the authenticity of our collections.
?Our room guides have been
briefed about the work that?s
going on and they will incorporate
this into their tours while the
team are at the property. We
also have promotional material,
pop-up banners and postcards to
explain what Project Reveal is and
what it involves.?
The Project Reveal team are
Susanna Hillhouse is collections
manager ? Curatorial &
Conservation Ser vices at NTS.
Follow the team on the NTS
?What We Do? blog at www.
nts.org.uk by searching
for Project Reveal or on
Twitter @NTSCollections
#ProjectReveal
Project Reveal in numbers
26 team members working around the country
129 NTS properties, including gardens, countryside and islands and built
heritage, of which 50 have collections
100,000 artefacts (give or take a few!) to be
catalogued and photographed
86 years of history to explore, from the time National Trust for Scotland
was established
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p48-49 NTS double page spotlight.indd 49
also blogging to the wider world
on the NTS website, telling the
story of the items they?ve been
cataloguing and sharing photos.
49
27/09/2017 11:47
www.historyscotland.com
Hidden
history
Paisley
patterns our past
In the last of his hidden history visits during the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology,
Neil McLennan takes a trip to Paisley, a candidate for UK City of Culture
E
arlier this year we
covered Perth in its bid
to become UK City of
Culture. The old capital
of Scotland offers great
history, heritage and hospitality. Now
in the final months of the Year of
History, Heritage and Archaeology
only one Scottish location has made
the final UK City of Culture shortlist.
So how does Paisley fare as a venue
for heritage trails and hidden history?
The town certainly has history
woven through it. Paisley?s
association with weaving saw it enjoy
global textile fame, however a later
economic downturn saw harder
p50 Hidden histories.indd 50
times for the people of Paisley. Now
the town is being revitalised by
the City of Culture bid and a new
interest in its past.
The town is an ideal day trip
from Glasgow. Many of the key sites
are in walking distance of Paisley
train station and the town has much
of historical interest.
Whilst the world famous
Paisley pattern has its origins in
Mesopotamia, it was the skill of
the weavers of Paisley which put
the town on the map; the towns
weavers were able to produce the
pattern in five colours and their
skills were highly valued. The design
The interior of
Paisley Abbey,
founded in the 12th
century and known
as the cradle of the
royal house
of Stewart
is called different things across
the world: palme in France, bota in
Netherlands and bootar in India.
For many it is the Paisley pattern.
Paisley?s origins
The town can be traced back to the
7th century and Paisley Abbey is a
great place to consider the span of
history long before weaving made
Paisley world famous. The building
was given abbey status in 1245 and
the church can be traced back
to 1163.
In 1315, a year after victory at
Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce?s
daughter, Marjory Bruce, married
27/09/2017 11:46
Hidden history
Drummond
- Paisley
the sixth High Steward, Walter.
Only a year later the pregnant
Marjory Bruce was to die in a
tragic riding accident. Almost by a
miracle, the baby was saved. Robert
II became the first of the Stewart
monarchs and thus the abbey and
town became known as the cradle
of the royal house of Stewart. The
abbey is also the resting place of
six High Stewards of Scotland and
textile money helped to pay for its
restoration.
Another building which
references Paisley?s textile history
is the Thomas Coats Church,
which is often referred to as the
Baptist Cathedral of Europe. This
dominant, Gothic figure on the
local skyline was made possible
by the philanthropic support of
Thomas Coats, co-founder of
J&P Coats textiles company. In
1910 Coats was the third biggest
company in the world after US
Steel and Standard Oil. Thomas
Coats?s support helped fund the
restoration of the abbey and the
construction of Coats Observatory
and Paisley Fountain Gardens.
After his death his family funded
the construction of this other
magnificent place of worship.
Much of the town?s other notable
architecture is connected to its textile
past. To find out more about the
town?s weaving industry a visit to
Sma Shot Cottages has to be on
the itinerary.
Entering from Shuttle Street
visitors take a step back in time to a
weaver?s cottage originally built in
the 1750s. Weaving expertise is still
part of life in the town today and
the Paisley Thread Mill Museum at
Abbey Mill is worth a visit.
We have visited many museums
both large and small as part of our
2017 podcast tour. Here in Paisley
we find Scotland?s first municipal
museum, opened in 1871 and
designed by John Honeyman. Again
the town?s thread mill connection
is woven through the very history
of the museum; Peter Coats,
Thomas?s partner at J&P Coats, was
the donor. This, together with the
considerable collections amassed
by the Paisley Philosophical society
since 1808, made the museum
venture possible.
As well as a museum the building
p50 Hidden histories.indd 51
also held a full library. By 1882,
art and sculpture galleries were
added. These were paid for by
donations from Sir Peter Coats.
Shawl galleries were added in 1974
extending the major collection
Coats Memorial
Church, financed
by textile magnate
Thomas Coats
to include the finest collection of
Paisley shawls in the world.
Listen to the latest episode of the
Hidden Histories podcast:
http:// scot.sh/his-podcast
Historic hotel
For our Paisley visit we stayed at the
Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
The iconic, imposing Victorian hotel
has recently been refurbished and
recreates the ambience of sophistication
that once saw the likes of Sir Winston
Churchill and Frank Sinatra welcomed
as guests. The hotel sits on Glasgow?s
?style mile? and is a much loved
landmark on the city?s skyline. It
opened in 1883 and was designed by
architect Robert Rowand Anderson in
the baroque Queen Anne style. Like
railway hotels of the era the hotel forms
part of the front of the station.
Earlier in our podcast series we
shared stories of Fraserburgh?s Marconi
1904 radio link and Gleneagles
Hotel hosting the first ever outside
broadcast in 1924. Well, three years
later Grand Central held a key role
in the transmission of the world?s
first long distance television pictures.
This historic event was carried out by
John Logie Baird who?d had success
in transmitting an image and in 1927
transmitted from London to Grand
Central Hotel.
My own recent research reveals that
ten years before this historic event the
hotel also hosted one of World War I?s
most famous poets. Craiglockhart War
Hospital patient Siegfried Sassoon
claimed to have played golf on every
golf course in Edinburgh when he
stayed there in 1917. However he
also travelled further afield to North
Berwick and Glasgow. A letter to Lady
Ottoline Morrell in August 1917 states
that he ?lunched ponderously? in the
city.
During our stay we were treated to
fine hospitality in historic surrounds.
The hotel is an atmospheric base for
any heritage travels on the west coast
of Scotland and beyond. What more
can you ask for? you have a railway
station right on your doorstep!
27/09/2017 12:33
FACES OF CRI ME
1870 ~ 1917
FREE EXHIBITION
25 OCTOBER ? 1 DECEMBER 2017
~ MONDAY ? FRIDAY 9.30 ? 4.30
NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND
GENERAL REGISTER HOUSE, 2 PRINCES STREET, EDINBURGH EH1 3YY
WWW.NRSCOTLAND.GOV.UK
WWW.EDINBURGH.GOV.UK/CITYARCHIVES
2
64.indd 2
H I S TO RY SC OT LA ND - JA NUA RY / F E B RUA RY 2017
26/09/2017 09:55
BOOKREVIEWS
By blood divided
Edited by Dr Allan Kennedy
reviews@historyscotland.com
Dr Allan Kennedy reviews a new book that aims to shed light on a long-forgotten clan feud
of the mid-16th century, which saw rival wings of the Cameron family tussle for pre-eminence
during the minority of Allan Cameron of Lochiel (d.1647)
The Erracht Feud: Internal Divisions
in Clan Cameron 1567-77
J.T. Ewing
Welkin Books, 2016
98 pages
Paperback, �99
ISBN: 978910075050
Readers coming to this
book for the first time
are likely to react with
blank incomprehension
to its title. The
?Erracht feud? was a
power-struggle within
the Cameron family
centred on who should
control the clan during
the minority of its 16th-century chief,
Allan Cameron of Lochiel. One faction
was led by Lochiel?s cousin, Donald
McEwan Beg, while the other was led
by his tutors, drawn from the Cameron
cadets, the McEwans of Erracht. It
can hardly be described as one of the
more recognisable stories from Scottish
history, and few will have much idea
about its course or significance. In this
slim volume, John Thor Ewing sets out to
explain what the feud involved and why it
is of interest.
The book is split into two sections.
The first is concerned with scene-setting,
offering the reader a brief account of Clan
Cameron?s history before 1567, as well as
critical appraisals of the main narrative
sources for the feud, both historical
and modern. The second section,
much the longer, provides as detailed a
reconstruction of the feud as the sources
will allow. This text is supported by a
meaty appendix reproducing, in whole or
part, all the major sources upon which
Ewing hangs his narrative. There is also a
second appendix discussing the meaning
of the Camerons? heraldic crest of a sheaf
of five arrows, but this is not related to the
rest of the book.
The primary strength of this book
is Ewing?s careful handling of some
challenging primary sources. Alert to the
dangers of taking family traditions and
contemporary narratives at face value, he
moves beyond such sources to bring in a
range of contemporary letters and legal
documents. Ewing wastes little effort on
the impossible task of shoe-horning this
disparate evidence-base into a linear story,
directing readers searching for narrative
towards John Drummond of Balhaldie?s
18th-century Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron
of Lochiell. His approach, instead, is to
examine each piece of evidence individually
and assess what it tells us about the general
course of the feud, the issues underpinning
it, and the means by which it was
prosecuted. As a methodology it is perhaps
a little dry, and moreover its claim to be
focused on ?new? material is shaky, since
all the sources used are available in print.
Ewing is to be commended for handling
his material with painstaking care,
resulting in an account whose fullness
seems unlikely to be surpassed
Nonetheless, Ewing is to be commended
for handling his material with painstaking
care, resulting in an account whose fullness
seems unlikely to be surpassed.
But while Ewing?s text is excellent at
dealing with the minutiae of the Erracht
conflict, it is less accomplished when it
comes to explaining why the story matters.
The bibliography cites some important
modern research on early modern Scotland,
particularly in the political sphere, and it
would have been stimulating to see some
exploration of how the Erracht episode
feeds into these historians? arguments.
Do the Camerons? travails tell us anything
about the development of the Scottish state,
or the structures of pre-modern power,
or the nature of elite authority, or the
dynamics of clanship, or the relationship
between Highlands and Lowlands? Linking
his subject to these sorts of debates would
have enhanced the wider interest of Ewing?s
book, and in not doing so, opting instead for
H I S TO RY S COT L A ND - NOV E MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p53-56 book reviews.indd 53
a traditional-feeling work of clan history, he
has arguably underplayed the significance of
his research,
On a more conceptual level, there
is some tension in Ewing?s decision to
classify the conflict as a ?feud?. ?Feuding?
in an early modern context does not
simply mean ?fighting?, but signifies a
semi-formal, often highly ritualised type
of competition between opposing groups.
Crucially, these struggles were normally
focused on control of resources, often
lands over which both sides claimed
control, or rights and privileges coveted by
all participants.
It is not entirely clear that the standoff narrated by Ewing, which essentially
involved temporary resistance to the
tutors of an underage clan chief, fits the
feuding paradigm. Ewing himself more or
less concedes this point towards the end
of his account, but readers? understanding
might well have been enhanced by
fuller reframing, conceptualising the
Erracht conflict not as a ?feud?, but as
a window on the nature of noble power
and Highland lordship in early modern
Scotland.
This, then, is an interesting little book
that sheds light on a largely unknown
episode in 16th-century Scottish
history. It will likely appeal principally
to those with a particular interest in the
Camerons and their cadets, which is
unfortunate because Ewing?s story has
the potential to offer stimulating insights
into the nature of early modern Scottish
society more generally.
Dr Allan Kennedy is Consultant Editor of
History Scotland and Lecturer in History at
the University of Dundee.
53
27/09/2017 11:46
Re-evaluating a radical
Dr Emma Macleod is impressed by a new collection of essays in commemoration of
Thomas Muir of Huntershill, whose fiery dedication to the cause of political reform
made him one of the most recognisable figures in the radical movement of the 1790s
Thomas Muir of Huntershill: Essays
for the Twenty-first Century
Gerard Carruthers and Don Martin (eds.)
Humming Earth, 2016
346 pages
Paperback, �.95
ISBN: 9781846220517
Gerard Carruthers
and Don Martin
present here a volume
of fifteen fresh and
varied essays with the
aims of reminding a
wider Scottish public
of the importance
of Thomas Muir of
Huntershill (1765-99),
martyr to the cause
of Scottish reform politics in the age of the
French Revolution, and of stimulating further
academic research into his life and career.
The collection originated in the revival of
Scottish interest in Muir from 2011 around
preparations for the 250th anniversary of his
birth in 2015. It includes chapters written by a
range of authors from local historians (Jimmy
Watson, Don Martin and Alex Watson),
through a variety of academic contributors
including T.M. Devine, to the veteran
nationalist politician Alex Salmond. Some are
transcripts of talks presented at events in 2015,
but most are contributions written specifically
for this book, which therefore conveys a sense
both of commemoration and of new research.
There is plenty to stimulate in this book.
One of its most important innovative
emphases, achieved by no fewer than three
essays with different angles on Muir, is the
importance of his evangelical Presbyterian
churchmanship. The chapters by Don
Martin, Gerard Carruthers and Carruthers
and Satinder Kaur not only present an
important element of Muir?s career and focus
that is missing from much previous writing
about him, but they do this with a nuanced
understanding of evangelicalism, and of the
spectrum of Presbyterian intellectualism in
Glasgow and Scotland in this period, which
are also too often absent.
The essays by Carruthers and Kaur, and
Ronnie Young offer valuable new material on
54
p53-56 book reviews.indd 54
Muir?s career at the University of Glasgow.
Rhona Brown?s chapter on the reciprocal
relationship between Muir?s political activities
and his trial and its aftermath, and the
short-lived but lively radical newspaper, the
Edinburgh Gazetteer, is suggestive of what
might be gained from a similar approach on
a wider canvas. Gordon Pentland?s elegant
chapter on Muir and the constitution raises
the important issue of what was really
meant by ?the constitution? by different
political groups in the 1790s. By his careful
comparison of different published reports
of the same trial, Pentland shows that
different political groups used Muir?s case
to press their own understanding of ?the
constitution? ? a point that Alex Salmond
illustrates with characteristic flair in his own
argument for continuities between Muir?s
political campaign and his own. This is not
just political opportunism. Salmond?s case
that Muir was genuinely concerned to foster
a literate and politically engaged population
is a serious claim worth interrogating, and it
is taken up later in the book by Don Martin?s
examination of Muir?s roots in the ideas of
the Scottish Enlightenment.
There are also valuable essays by Beverley
Sherry on Muir in Australia and by T.J.
Dowds on Muir?s successors in the campaign
for political reform in 1820; and one of
large number and wide range of images, from
recently produced works of art portraying
Muir to photographs of important sites and
even a 1790 handkerchief printed with ?a view
of Botany Bay? in support of Muir and his
fellow Scottish political martyrs.
David McVey?s fine essay on Muir?s
contemporary, the Whig lawyer John McFarlan
of Campsie (1767-1846), with which the
collection closes, makes the important point
that it is impossible for us to judge accurately
the real level of support for political reform
in Scotland in the 1790s, not only because
of distance but also because of the political
constraints of that turbulent decade. It is of
course unachievable; yet it ought not to be
ignored on that account. Thomas Muir of
Huntershill: Essays for the Twenty-first Century
achieves a good balance between focusing
on Muir himself, unearthing an impressive
volume of new material on him, and setting
him in a wider panorama of his 18th-century
context than we have previously had.
Yet I am left wondering whether, as well
as this book being rewarded with the further
research into Muir himself that it calls for, the
pendulum also needs to swing back to the
collective effort of 1790s Scottish reformers
so as to acknowledge more substantially the
contribution of more cautious but no less
admirable individuals such as John McFarlan,
One of the book?s most important
innovative emphases, achieved by no
fewer than three essays with different
angles on Muir, is the importance of his
Evangelical Presbyterian churchmanship
the most welcome aspects of the book is
Carruthers? acknowledgement of ?murky
elements? in Muir?s handling of the legal case
of the Cadder Church vacancy in 1790. It is
all too tempting in a book partly created to
commemorate a local hero of the history of
the campaign for political reform to present a
wholly sympathetic portrait, but recognition
of such ?murky elements? is essential to mature
biography. Finally, the book is enhanced by a
who helped to keep ?the light of democracy
and liberty alive? after bolder and more fiery
spirits such as Muir and the other Scottish
martyrs ?had departed the scene? (p. 302).
Dr Emma Macleod is Senior Lecturer in History
the University of Stirling. She has published widely
on aspects of 18th- and 19th-century British
political history, and is author of BritishVisions of
America, 1775-1820 (London, 2013).
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:46
Buy books at discounted prices with the History
Scotland Book Shop at: http://scot.sh/his-bookshop
The villagers? war
Dr James Smyth is struck by the poignancy and pathos of a new book offering a
detailed exploration of how the Great War impacted the small village of Bridge of Weir
in Renfrewshire, with a particular focus on how the tight-knit community coped with
the loss of so many of its young men
Supreme Sacrifice: A Small Village
and the Great War
W. Reid, with P. Birchand
and G. Masterton
Birlinn, 2016
224 pages
Paperback, �99
ISBN: 9781780273501
The centenary
of the Great War
has ushered in
a huge amount
of new writings,
exhibitions,
documentaries,
and so on and will
continue to do so
for a few years yet.
A common theme
across much of this effort is the desire to
focus on individual stories, to provide not
just the shocking lists of casualties, but
provide (where possible) personal detail,
even photographs of those who served,
but mostly those who died. This book on
the experience of the Renfrewshire village
of Bridge of Weir during the war is a very
welcome addition to the historiography.
The book is dedicated to those who
fell and who are commemorated in the
memorials of the village but also ?to the
memory of the families who bore their
loss.? While there are no footnotes and
little other academic apparatus, the
work itself, and the associated website
of the Bridge of Weir memorial society,
indicates the sorts of sources used to
tell both the collective and individual
tales. The approach is similar to that
undertaken by historians at Stirling
University in our exhibition ?A Stirling
100? which focused on the parish
memorials of Stirling district and detailed
the lives of a more or less random group
of 100 names on those memorials.
This work goes further, however, in
telling the story through those who fell,
starting with the death of the first ? James
Smellie, 22, Royal Navy, torpedoed on
22 September, 1914 ? through to the
last ? William Cairns, 28, King?s Own
Scottish Borderers, of septicaemia on 11
August, 1919. While this chronology is not
sustained completely it is only diverted
from occasionally and for good reasons,
and it does provide a unifying thread
between the experiences of the soldiers
themselves and between them and the
community they had left behind. It also
provides a very humane way of detailing
the military campaigns and progress of
the war. Most casualties occurred on the
Western Front, with each battle indicated,
but there were casualties elsewhere:
Gallipoli, Salonica, the Italian Front.
While the authors focus on the war
itself there is plenty of relevant and
interesting detail on the village, its
population, economy and wartime
experiences. The importance of the
local leather and tanning industry is
recognised, as is the role of Roland
Muirhead, local businessman, socialist
and later founder member of the
SNP. Bridge of Weir hosted a number
of Belgian refugees from October
1914 through to the end of hostilities
and though there was some local
disgruntlement the welcome offered was
overwhelmingly positive; so much so that
a number of the refugees chose to remain
after 1918.
A total of 72 men of the village died,
out of an estimated 452 who served.
All of their stories contain drama,
tragedy, and pathos. All sections of
what was a close-knit community were
affected. Men of all ranks, from private
to captain, died in the carnage. It is
invidious to select any single death but
the case of two young men stuck with
me. Born within days of each other
in 1895, Robert Barr MacDougall
and Robert Barr grew up together,
went to school together, took up golf
From left: The Cross, Main Street, Bridge of Weir, around 1911. Gryffe Place and Gryffe View on the left were home to three of the men killed; unveiling and dedication of
the Memorial on 26 June, 1921
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55
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RECENTLY
PUBLISHED
Black?s Guide to
Scotland: Picturesque
Tourist Guide 1840
By Adam Black and
Charles Black
Collins, �99
ISBN 9780008251147
A facsimile edition of
the famous Black?s Picturesque Tourist
Guide of Scotland originally published in
1840, as used by Paul Murton on the TV
series Grand Tours of Scotland.
The Andrew Family. Back left: John Andrew, killed 23 July, 1918 in the attack on Buzancy, next to Henry Andrew, who
died in Paisley, 4 January, 1917, after contracting fever in Salonika
together, both became professionals
shortly before the war, enlisted in the
same battalion of the Highland Light
Infantry, and were both killed together
on the same day (18 November, 1916)
on the Somme. On that date, Second
and unimaginative? as the military
doctrine may sound to us, it was ?Haig?s
achievement? to have won the war and
to have done so ?perhaps two years
earlier than it would otherwise? saving
countless lives in the process.?
The thought of Haig as a saviour of lives
will be shocking to many. Even at the
time of the Somme he was described as
?the butcher?
Lieutenant Ian Bannatyne of the same
regiment was killed also. United in grief,
the village was not, however, immune
to the petty prejudices of the time. The
memorial of the local golf club records
the names of members only, and does
not include the professionals who
worked there.
It is to the credit of the authors
that this is recorded and they are
scrupulously even-handed in their
accounts of all figures. Both the antiwar revolutionary John Maclean and
the ultra-patriotic industrialist William
Weir are treated positively. The same
approach is adopted towards the
military staff and Douglas Haig in
particular. As well as a social history
this is also a military history and
the viewpoint is that this was a war
that had to be fought; ?unappealing
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p53-56 book reviews.indd 56
The thought of Haig as a saviour of
lives will be shocking to many. Even at
the time of the Somme he was described
as ?the butcher?. If that epithet was
unfair then and now there is still the
awful casualness towards the mass
deaths that is difficult to fathom. At
the end of July 1916 as the bodies piled
up relentlessly, the authors here quote
Haig?s defence of his strategy; that
month?s losses were only ?120,000 more
than they would have been had we not
attacked.? Only 120,000.
Dr James J. Smyth is Senior Lecturer in
History at the University of Stirling. His
work incorporates social, political, and
cultural aspect of 19th- and 20th-century
Scotland, and he also researches the
commemoration and memorialisation of the
Great War.
The Hidden Ways:
Scotland?s Forgotten
Roads
By Alistair Moffat
Canongate Books, �
ISBN 9781786891013
In The Hidden Ways,
Alistair Moffat traverses the lost paths
of Scotland ? its Roman roads tramped
by armies, its warpaths and pilgrim
routes, drove roads and rail roads,
turnpikes and sea roads ? in a bid to
understand how our history has left its
mark upon our landscape.
The Clyde: Mapping
the River
By John Moore
Birlinn, �
ISBN 9781780274829
John Moore,
collections manager at University of
Glasgow looks at maps of the Clyde which
display the river itself from its source, to
the wide estuary which is as much a part
of the whole image. He discusses how
the river was mapped from its earliest
depictions and includes topics such as
navigation, river crossings, war & defence,
tourism, sport & recreation, industry &
power, and urban development.
On the Trail of Mary
Queen of Scots
By Roy Calley
Amberley Publishing, �
ISBN 9781445659428
An exploration of the
landscapes that Mary
Queen of Scots would have known,
with castles, towering cathedrals,
manor homes and chapels associated
with the life of the Stewart queen.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:47
Curator?s pick
Britain?s first police bravery medal
Alastair Dinsmor MBE, curator at The Glasgow Police Museum, showcases a favourite item
from the museum?s collection ? a medal awarded to a brave Glasgow constable
O
ne of the key
exhibits in The
Glasgow Police
Museum is a silver
medal presented
to Constable John Kerr of The
Glasgow Police by Glasgow City
Council in 1871. Related to the
medal are two interesting stories.
At 4.45am on 23 November,
1871, Constable No. 210 of ?A?
Division, Glasgow Police, was
patrolling Trongate, one of the
City?s main thoroughfares. He
turned into a dark passageway
called Old Wynd which led to a
number of dilapidated houses,
some dating from the 17th
century. As his lantern scanned the
buildings, the light picked out a
large crack in the gable-end of one
of the buildings.
Kerr?s previous training as a
fireman allowed him to quickly
assess that the situation was critical
and that the occupants of the fourstorey building were in great danger
should the building collapse.
He immediately went into the
building and awakened 68 people,
leading them from their houses
to safety. As he returned to the
building to make sure everyone
was out, the structure collapsed,
throwing him from the third to the
first floor, thankfully without injury.
When the story was reported in
the newspapers, � was donated by
readers, as a reward to the constable
in recognition of Kerr?s heroism.
The City Council also commissioned
the large silver medal (pictured above)
which was presented to him in early
1872. Subsequent research has shown
that this was the first bravery medal
awarded exclusively to a policeman.
The obverse of the medal is a
representation of the Glasgow Police
helmet badge while the reverse has
the following beautifully inscribed:
Presented by the Lord Provost,
Magistrates and Board of Police to John
Kerr, Constable, ?A? Division of the
Police Force of the City in recognition of
Meritorious Services rendered by him in
saving, by his intrepid conduct, the lives
of the inhabitants of a tenement, four
storeys in height, at Old Wynd, Glasgow,
immediately preceding the fall of that
tenement on 23 November 1871.
From left: Kerr
pictured in 1871,
the year he was
awarded the
bravery medal;
the two sides of the
medal; Jerry Platt
(right) presents
the medal to
Alastair Dinsmore
of Glasgow Police
Museum
The ribbon suspension ring has a
representation of a police helmet and
crossed truncheons.
The medal was handed down
within the family until the 1980s
when it was offered for sale.
Strathclyde Police, the regional
police force which incorporated
The City of Glasgow Police in
1975, received a copy of the auction
catalogue and decided to make a
bid on behalf of Strathclyde Police
& Fire Committee. However, the
Committee was outbid by a private
collector and the medal disappeared
into a private collection.
In 2001, I was chairman of the
Glasgow Police Heritage Society
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p57 Curator's pick.indd 57
and engaged with Society members
setting up The Glasgow Police
Museum. I knew of the John Kerr
medal and its story and had created
a display for the museum, with
a photograph of the medal and
portrait of Kerr. Efforts to trace the
original medal met with no success,
so disappointingly, a photograph of
the medal had to be used.
In 2004, I was ?on duty? at the
museum when a Mr Jerry Platt
from Florida, a medal collector,
called there to look at the bravery
medals. It soon transpired that
this collector had the original
medal in his safe deposit box in
Florida. After some discussion, he
agreed to a limited period loan of
the medal.
Two years later, Mr Platt
contacted the museum offered us
the opportunity to purchase the
medal. The value of the medal was
obtained from two medal auction
houses and a price agreed. Being
a charity, the museum applied to
the National Lottery ?Awards for
All? scheme and the medal was
purchased for the museum, where
it can be seen and appreciated by
visitors today.
Glasgow Police Museum, First Floor,
30 Bell Street, Glasgow
G1 1LG; tel: 0141 552 1818; e-mail:
curator@policemuseum.org.uk;
website: www.policemuseum.org.uk
Open year-round. See website for
summer and winter opening details.
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27/09/2017 11:48
Add your organisation or
society?s event to our website:
http://scot.sh/events-diary
DIARY DATES
EXHIBITION
History of Peebleshire, until 23 December
Tweeddale Museum & Gallery presents an
exhibition teling the story of Peeblesshire
using objects,maps and photos from ancient
times through to the present day
Chambers Institution, High Street,
Peebles EH45 8AG; tel: 01721 724820;
website: http://scot.sh/HStweed
TALK
Beginners in English Genealogy, 2 December
Genealogist and History Scotland columnist
Ken Nisbet presents a Scottish Genealogy
Society workshop on tracing English
ancestors, which is aimed at those who may
be confident in tracing their Scottish roots,
but would welcome advice on exploring
English family history records.
Scottish Genealogy Society, 15 Victoria
Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL; tel: 0131 220
3677; website: www.scotsgenealogy.com
Ring of Brodgar, part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney site, which Caroline Wickham-Jones explores in
the 2017 Buchan Lecture
EXHIBITION
The Truest Mirror of Life, until 21 January 2018
Described as an art of discernment, subtlety
and caustic wit, caricature features strongly
in the holdings of The Hunterian collection.
This display reflects the rising popularity of the
genre in 19th-century France.
Showcasing some of its greatest exponents,
most notably Honor� Daumier and Gavarni,
it also provides a look at aspects of 19th
century Parisian society at a time of great
change. Glasgow Hunterian, University of
Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow G12
8QQ; tel: 0141 330 4221;
website: www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian
EVENT
Previously: Scotland?s History Festival,
16 to 26 November
An annual history festival which takes place
at venues around Edinburgh, with talks,
workshops, debates, walks and tours. This year,
the festival will incorporate Elsie Inglis Day on
26 November, in honour of the centenary of the
death of the pioneering doctor and founder of
the Scottish Women?s Hospital.
e-mail: info@historyfest.co.uk;
website: www.historyfest.co.uk
Explore the latest
archaeology research
As the Year of History, Heritage &
Archaeology 2017 draws to a close,
there are still plenty of themed events
taking place around the country
Elgin Museum is hosting an
archaeology conference at the
Alexander Graham Bell Centre in Elgin
on 4 November, to showcase some of
Moray?s lesser known archaeological
and historic sites. Ten speakers have
been confirmed, including Professor
Ian Armit, Dr Fraser Hunter, Martin
Cook and Matt Ritchie. For more
information, visit scot.sh/elginconf
The Neon Digital Arts Festival (7
to 12 November) in Dundee uses the
medium of media archaeology to
uncover and reconsider the material
culture of the digital age, from
software algorithms to tiny media
chips. The festival proposes that we
should consider artists as future
media archaeologists, recording our
information-based society for future
generations. Find out more at: www.
northeastofnorth.com.
The annual Edinburgh, Lothians &
Borders Archaeology Conference on 18
November provides an opportunity to
hear and discuss first hand accounts
of the archaeological fieldwork and
research being undertaken in the
region. The venue is Queen Margaret
University in Musselburgh. For details
and booking, visit: scot.sh/HSarchevent
Caroline Wickham-Jones, lecturer
in the Department of Archaeology at
the University of Aberdeen, presents
the Buchan Lecture for Ayrshire
Archaeological & Natural History
Society on ?People and water in
Neolithic Orkney?. The lecture takes
place on 23 November at Ayr Town
Hall, 7.30pm to 9pm. For details, tel
07840 731110.
The re-created World War I trenches
at Pollok Park in Glasgow will be open
on 17 December, for walks and talks
aimed at showing how soldiers of the
Great War celebrated Christmas... and
the truth behind the famous festive
trenches truce.
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Subscribe to History Scotland save money
and receive a free Mary Queen of Scots
book, see page 52 for more details
EVENTS SPOTLIGHT
TALK
EXHIBITION
Encountering Africa:
Henry Gaden?s Life and Photography in
Colonial French West Africa (1894-1939),
until 25 February 2018
Henry Gaden was a French Colonial
Governor and soldier who lived in West
Africa for 45 years. He was also an
ethnographer and linguist and captured
on camera a rich variety of African life ?
from landscapes, architecture and trade
to colonial activities at a military outpost.
He documented military campaigns
and manoeuvres as well as everyday
village life, including music, dance
and ceremony. Gaden?s striking
photographic images, exhibited for
the first time at MUSA, provide a rare
glimpse of West Africa in colonial times
Their Name Liveth, 12 November
It?s 1927, the fighting is over by a decade and the
Scottish War Memorial is open for the first time.
Hear the true stories of two veterans ? a soldier
and a nurse ? as they recount their very different
tales of service across four years of war and
many battlefields and continents. Performances
at 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2pm & 3pm.
Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh
EH1 2YT; tel: 0131 226 7393;
website: www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk
Henry Gaden in Africa
EVENT
and the remarkable people he met.
Museum of the University of St
Andrews, 7 The Scores, St Andrews
KY16 9AR; tel: 01334 461660; website:
www.st-andrews.ac.uk/musa
Christmas 1910, 3 December
Come along to Lauriston Castle and
experience what Christmas may have been
like in the Edwardian era. Meet Mr and Mrs
Reid and their special guests to see how
preparations are progressing for Christmas.
Tickets: Adult � child � family �.50.
Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Road South,
Edinburgh EH4 5QD; tel: 0131 529 3963;
website: www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/
Venues/Lauriston-Castle
CONFERENCE
Scottish Records Association Annual
Conference, 10 November
This one-day conference (at New Register
House in Edinburgh) explores the subject of
court records in Scotland, from the earliest
times through to the present day. Topics
will include local courts, military courts,
ecclesiastical courts, and legal registers.
For tickets and the full programme, visit the
Scottish Records Association website: www.
scottishrecordsassociation.org/conference
LECTURE
From top: a Royal Collection Trust member of staff views an enamelled gold and jewel encrusted crown,
presented to the Prince of Wales by Taluqdars of Awad in 1876; a set of small brass military figures
presented to the Prince during his visit to Madras in South India
EXHIBITION
Splendours of the Subcontinent:
A Prince?s Tour of India (1875-76), 15
December 2017 to 15 April 2018
In October 1875, the Prince of Wales set
out on a four-month tour of the Indian
subcontinent, visiting 21 locations. This
exhibition tells the story of this grand
tour through some of the finest Indian
treasures from the Royal Collection
that were presented to the Prince
during his visit.
Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
EH8 8DX; tel: 0303 123 7606;
website: www.royalcollection.org.uk/
visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse
The Middle Ages & the Movies, 11 December
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is the venue
for the Sir Walter Scott Lecture by Robert
Bartlett FBA FRSE, Bishop Wardlaw Professor
of Mediaeval History Emeritus, University of
St Andrews. Professor Bartlett looks at the
different ways history, specifically medieval
history, can be presented on the page and
on screen, using nationalism as a case study.
Runs 6pm-7.30pm.
To book, visit: www.rse.org.uk/event/themiddle-ages-and-the-movies/
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www.historyscotland.com
Little Ross
Lighthouse
Lens
L
ittle Ross is an Island
off the coast of south
west Scotland near
Kirkcudbright. In 1842
it became the home
of a lighthouse which has guarded
the mouth of Kirkcudbright bay
unceasingly ever since.
In 2004 the lighthouse was upgraded
and refurbished and the lens, which
was itself a replacement installed in the
late 1800s, was removed. But instead
of disposing of this amazing piece of
glass technology, Northern Lighthouse
Board decided to donate it to The
Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright.
It took an exciting and laborious route
by helicopter and flatbed truck to travel
the few miles to the town, but once in
the mussum, the lens was too heavy
to remove from its crate and there it
languished for the next ten years.
It was not until 2015 when a change
in museum staffing brought Stranraer
Museum?s exhibition specialist Alan
McFarlane to Kirkcudbright that the
lens was able to be displayed. Alan
built a reinforced plinth with a custom
made Perspex cover to house the lens.
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The story of how a huge lighthouse lens came
to be at the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright,
allowing visitors the chance to enjoy
19th-century lighthouse technology
The wooden crate in which the lens
had lived since its removal from the
lighthouse was dismantled and with
the help of all the staff, and a hand fork
lift, the Little Ross Lighthouse lens was
gently settled to its new display.
Now, instead of peeking into a
huge wooden box to glimpse the
top of the metal and glass structure,
visitors are often treated to a
fascinating light display when, in the
right light, the lens refraction fills it
with rainbows.
The lens was taken
to the Stewartry
Museum by
helicopter and
flatbed truck in 2004,
however it wasn?t
until 2016 that the
lens was able to be
displayed fully
History of Little
Ross Lighthouse
The first navigational aids on Little
Ross comprised two emergency
beacons set on site in 1819 on the
orders of a local ship captain, James
Skelly. Then in 1842 the present
lighthouse was built to the design
of Robert Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stevenson?s grandfather. At the time
it was lit by paraffin vapour with a
clockwork mechanism controlling the
lighthouse beam.
It was the first lighthouse in the
world where the beam was focused
with both lenses and mirrors, and
was considered to be the pinnacle of
technological innovation. The lens now
in the museum was made in Paris in
1896 by Barbier & Benad, the world
leader for lighthouse construction at
the time, and installed as part of the
19th-century upgrade.
The lighthouse was automated in
1960 and the mechanism was removed,
also now housed in The Stewartry
Museum. Up until that time, the
lighthouse had been manned by two
keepers and was the site of a murder
that has become part of local legend.
In August 1960 two relief lighthouse
keepers were on duty during the
holiday of the principal keeper. A local
man and experienced sailor arrived
by boat with his father for lunch and
a walk and discovered the island quiet
and unattended. On searching the
cottages, they found the body of one
of the keepers. After a nationwide
hunt the other relief keeper was
arrested and found guilty of murder
for which he was initially sentenced
to hang, a sentence subsequently
changed to life imprisonment.
The Stewartry Museum
St Mary Street, Kirkcudbright,
DG6 4AQ; tel: 01557 331643;
e-mail: stewartrymuseum@
dumgal.gov.uk; website: www.
dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/
stewmuse.html
Open, Winter: 1 October to 15
April, Monday to Saturday 11am
to 4pm; Summer: 16 April to 30
September, Monday to Saturday,
11am to 5pm and Sunday 2pm to
5pm. Admission free.
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Local and family history
Spotlight on...
Banffshire Field Club
Founded in 1880, Banffshire Field Club?s founding statement ?to
explore the district? enquiring into its geology, botany, natural
history, archaeology, etc? remains true today, with a programme of
lectures and excursions exploring this historic county in the northeast of Scotland.
The Club was originally part of the Northern Association
of Literary and Scientific Societies and its founder members
and associates included historian William Cramond, naturalist
Thomas Edward and geologist John Home. In the 1920s, Dr
Douglas W Simpson, librarian at King?s College, University
of Aberdeen, led excursions and published articles, many
of which are still available through the Club?s transaction
publishing programme.
The Club was in abeyance between 1939 and 1958, after
which it was reformed as the Banffshire Field Club, quickly
gaining more than 200 members. The Club holds an archive of
printed lectures, from the foundation through to 1939, when the
practice ceased. These cover a wide range of topics, including
the social history and archaeology of the region. The lectures are
available to purchase on the group?s website and the Club is also
currently working on a project to digitise these.
Membership of the Banffshire Field Club is �per annum (though that
will rise in 2018) and the club meets between September and April (except
January) at 2.15pm on the second Saturday of the month at St Rufus Hall
in Keith. The meeting fee is �members/ �non-members, and the Club
also organises two excursions during the summer months.
The group has lately brought out several books on Banffshire
topics. The latest was Alex McKay?s Cullykhan, Troup Castle and Fort
Fiddes. The above photo shows some of the Club members on a very
enlightening summer outing to see Cullykhan from the sea.
For more information, contact Alistair Mason, Organising Secretary on
e-mail: Alistair.mason@btinternet.com; tel: 01261 812941; website: http://
scot.sh/HSbanff
Locating a World War I
military ancestor
Discover more about family history
at: www.family-tree.co.uk the online
home of Family Tree magazine
Ken Nisbet presents a selection of online resources which can help you find out where
your World War I ancestor died and was buried
On 31 July this year, the
100th year anniversary of the
commencement of the series of
battles known as 3rd Ypres or
more commonly as Passchendaele
was commemorated. Some of
the television programmes on the event
mentioned the work of the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission (CWGC).
One of the questions that is often asked
is how can one find where a relative was
initially buried or died? On the CWGC
website (www.cwgc.org) amongst the
original records the commission have
digitised are the Concentration of Graves
(Exhumation and Reburial) records. These
records are for individuals whose remains
were either removed from another cemetery
or found on the battlefield and then reburied in a CWGC Cemetery.
For example, 2nd Lieutenant Cyril T
Broom, the son of the Minister of the United
Free Church at Leuchars, was moved from
Salome Churchyard German Extension to
Rue Petilllon Military Cemetery and the
means of identification was a cross and his
officer?s shirt and puttees. 2nd Lieutenant
Samuel Smiles, who was killed on 16 August,
1917 is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery,
Zonnebeke. His body was recovered at Map
Reference D.19.a.1.9 and he was able to be
identified by his identity discs.
For soldiers who could not be identified,
the resource also shows where the body was
found. Unfortunately circumstances of death
records have not survived for British soldiers.
However, they have survived for men who
served in the Australian divisions (http://
scot.sh/HSXcwgc) and for the Canadian
Expeditionary Force for names from A-SIP
(http://scot.sh/HScanadaregister). The
Canadian records include information on the
circumstances of death with particulars of the
initial grave site.
The Australian records, which are officially
named ?Australian Red Cross Society
Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files,
1914-1918 File?, also give very detailed and
sometimes quite graphic descriptions of
the circumstances of death and note if the
soldier was buried or no burial took place.
For British soldiers who have no known
place of burial, regimental and unit histories
can be useful and it is worth looking at Unit
War Diaries which can be found on the
commercial sites www.ancestry.co.uk and
http://scot.sh/HSnavalmil and through
the UK National Archives http://scot.
sh/HSnadiaries. Whilst these very rarely
mention individual burials, they will give
information on the actions or circumstances
on the day your relative was killed and where
his unit was located.
Ken Nisbet is
Secretary of the
Scottish Genealogy
Society and of the
Scottish Association of Family History Societies
and is on the user group for the Family History
Centre in Edinburgh. He is a regular lecturer to
Scotland?s family history societies. He has written
a number of books, all of which are published by
the Scottish Genealogy Society, and tutors some of
the classes the society runs.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
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Volume 17, Number 6
November/December 2017
www.historyscotland.com
EDITORIAL
Editor: Rachel Bellerby
rachelb@warnersgroup.co.uk
Tel: 0113 2002922
editorial@historyscotland.com
Consultant Editor: Dr Allan Kennedy
editorial@historyscotland.com
School of Humanities, University of
Dundee, DD1 4HN
Reviews Editor: Dr Allan Kennedy
reviews@historyscotland.com
Submission guidelines:
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IMAGE CREDITS: Cover and pg 8 Habit of Mary
Queen of Scots in 1570. Marie reine d?Ecosse, The
Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and
Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New
York Public Library; p3 Professor Sir Thomas Devine
� The University of Edinburgh; p6 Dr Alasdair Ross �
University of Stirling, Cairngorms � Peter Mulligan;
p10-11 � Hayley Fisher; p15 � GUARD Archaeology;
� p16-22 Professor Ted Cowan; p23 Royal Collection
Trust / � Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017; p24 �
National Museums Scotland; p26-28 � Robert Hay;
p32-36 � Paul Christensen; p37-39 � Phyllida Shaw;
p40 and p43 courtesy of Tom Barron, p41, p42 �
Angela McCarthy; p47 � National Records of Scotland;
p48-49 � Peter Sandground/NTS Media pics; p57 �
Glasgow Police Museum; p59 subcontinent exhibition
� Royal Collection Trust / � Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II 2017, Henry Gaden � Museum of the
University of St Andrews; p60 Little Ross Lighthouse
� David R Collin.
FINAL WORD
Digital first
Tom Meade, digital director of Registers of Scotland, which holds the world?s
oldest land register, talks to History Scotland about the challenges of leading the
Registers towards its goal of becoming a fully digital organisation by 2020
R
egisters of Scotland (RoS)
is the keeper of the Register
of Sasines, a chronological
list of land deeds, which
marked its 400th anniversary
this year. It also compiles and maintains a
further seventeen public registers, including
the Register of Great Seal, the Crofting
Register and the Land Register of Scotland,
introduced in 1981.
With many heritage organisations aiming to
increase their digital output and offerings, we
asked Tom what it was like to help transform
centuries-old data into something which can
be used by modern-day customers.
What were the initial challenges when
rolling out a ?digital first? approach?
Originally we put together a three-year
strategy which focused in year one on making
our IT systems more secure and stable, then
understanding the very valuable data that we
hold, and how we sell it to other people and
use it ourselves. The following year was about
becoming more efficient, for example we used
to receive signed registrations which had to
be sent around the building, but now these
are dealt with through a high-quality scanning
system and there are no longer people pushing
trollies of documents around RoS.
This third year is about being dynamic and
trying new things, such as our new mapbased view of Scotland (ScotLIS) where
users will be able drill down to get details
of things such as land registration titles and
places of historical interest. This has just
gone through its external testing phase and
we?ve had very positive feedback.
Are there any individuals or organisations
whose digital approach has inspired you?
Definitely. The UK Government?s gov.uk
website [launched 2012-15] worked on an
initial suggestion from Martha Lane Fox that
public sector organisations could learn from
methods used in the private sector. Places
such as Amazon, Facebook and Google had
been using this digital approach for years
and had rapid release systems which allowed
them to change quickly.
The use of a new ?agile? methodology on
the Government website meant that projects
could be delivered better, customers would
get less frustrated and changes could be
made quickly when needed.
Are there any groups of people you?d like
RoS to reach to?
Well, we?ve been working quite a bit with
modern apprentices and have taken on some
very enthusiastic people through that scheme.
We?re also keen to foster relationships with
local universities as another way to recruit
people. And internally, we?d like people within
RoS to consider our IT roles and not to be
afraid to apply to join us.
From a collaborative point of view, we
work with the Scottish Government and are
building new registries for them and in the
future we hope to engage with different parts
of government, such as Historic Environment
Scotland, the Scottish Environment
Protection Agency and local councils.
How would you like to see RoS develop
over the coming five years?
Our objective is to become a fully digital
organisation by 2020, which means that by
then, all default interactions with us should
be digital ? either through a website or IT
systems. We?re making more and more of our
data available and the hope is that eventually
other organisations will be able to use our
data to create their own applications.
Internally, we?re changing from being very
specialised people whose jobs were defined
by an inability to change systems, to people
who are problem solving, are more able to
help customers and can look ahead to new
commercial opportunities.
I love working at RoS, the organisation is
very ambitious ? we?ve achieved a lot over
the past few years, which has enabled us to
set our bar even higher.
Registers of Scotland website: www.ros.gov.uk
H I S TO RY SC OT LA ND - NOV E MB E R/D E C E MB E R 2013
__________________
62
p62 Final word.indd 62
27/09/2017 11:50
Charity SC045925
A REMARKABLE NEW
HISTORY OF SCOTLAND IN
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H I S TO RY SC OT LA ND - JA NUA RY / F E B RUA RY 2017
26/09/2017
31/07/2017 09:54
10:05
he fact that he was denying the murder; had he been
insane he would have confessed.
Howison?s case differs little from many others in preceding years; he
becomes exceptional only because of the timing. The 1832 Anatomy
Act came into force on 1 August, 1832, a few months after Howison
was executed. The Act finally passed through Parliament following
the acts of Thomas and Bishop in London who attempted to emulate
Burke and Hare, the Edinburgh serial killers and suppliers of bodies to
the medical profession.
The Act made it possible for people to donate their bodies to science
and for medical schools to obtain the bodies of the unclaimed poor. It
also provided murderers with burials inside prison grounds. Howison
was the last person to be executed before the Act came into force, and
therefore the last murderer to be anatomised.
The facial reconstruction can be seen as part of an exhibition
at the Maltings Museum, Cramond, 6 Riverside, Cramond,
Edinburgh EH4 6NY; website: http://cramondheritage.org.uk
Dr Janet Philp is head of administration in the deanery of biomedical
sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:43
Inside the National Records of Scotland
True
crime
Tristram Clarke shares some of the fascinating stories which
await researchers among court, Crown Office, Scottish Office
and prison records in Register House, Edinburgh
S
ome criminal cases
which can be found in
the records at National
Records of Scotland
are already well-known:
the double life of William Brodie,
Edinburgh cabinetmaker by day
and housebreaker by night, who was
executed in 1788; Madeleine Smith,
the alleged poisoner who escaped
the noose in 1857 by virtue of a not
proven verdict in the High Court; and
Oscar Slater, a disreputable foreigner
who was jailed for murder in 1909,
but whose conviction was quashed in
1928.
A huge range of crimes of assault,
rape, theft, fraud and arson feature
in the 68,000 entries covering High
Court and Crown Office records
that are open for the period 1800 to
1932. As our cataloguing progresses,
endlessly fascinating details of
characters, circumstances and events
come to light. Of course the accused
are named, as well some of their
victims. Within the case papers and
other records, a host of witnesses,
jurors, court officials and police
officers appear and play their part.
In addition to prison registers,
we also hold fascinating albums of
prison photographs for Barlinnie,
Greenock and Perth prisons.
Surviving records of the lower courts
are mostly held in local archives.
In hindsight some historic crimes
are more comic than serious. A file
concerning the SS Politician contains a
letter concerning the eight men from
South Uist who were jailed for stealing
whisky from the wreck on the island
of Eriskay in 1943 ? the event that
inspired Compton Mackenzie?s novel
Whisky Galore! The essence of the real
story is captured in the memorable
explanation given by the crofter who
owned the boat that was used to
salvage the whisky: he went along ?to
ensure that his boat was not damaged
rather than to steal the whisky?.
Crime lends itself to storytelling,
and a master of the art was James
McLevy, a detective in Victorian
Edinburgh, whose droll tales of
catching criminals were widely-read
in his day, and thanks to reprints
and radio adaptations, have gained
new followers. The historical records
of the crimes he relates can add
sober but revealing details to his
personal accounts. For example in
The Blue-Bells of Scotland he related
how in 1843 he traced jewellery and
a musical box, stolen from a New
Town house, to the Old Town. The
box, one of whose tunes gives the
thieves away, is described in the trial
Wanted poster, 1909
(AD15/9/166)
papers as ?a Geneva musical box?.
The inventory of stolen valuables
also lists the names inscribed on
three gold mourning rings, reflecting
the historic custom of distributing
commemorative jewellery.
The declarations by the suspects,
their associates and other witnesses
usually contain the most interesting
and revealing details of daily life in the
home, at work and in public spaces.
In this instance, one of the accused
declared that McLevy arrested him on
his way home from a spirit shop. This
detail shows that McLevy increased
the dramatic effect of his story when he
wrote that he surprised the suspects in
their run-down lodgings.
He was perfectly accurate about
the sentences of ten years and
fourteen years transportation handed
to the two guilty men. More than
7,000 transportation cases of Scots
can be found in the NRS records,
just some of the 160,000 Britons
transported to Australia from the
1790s until 1857. Most people were
transported for theft aggravated
by ?habit and repute?. How repeat
offending was tackled in later decades
is one of the themes in an exhibition
at Register House this autumn.
?Rogues Gallery? brings together
remarkable police photographs from
the Lothians, 1870-1917, preserved
in Edinburgh City Archives, and
criminal case papers from NRS ?
true crime indeed.
Dr Tristram Clarke is archivist at
National Records of Scotland
Oscar Slater in
1909 and 1927
(HH15/20/11)
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p47 National Records column.indd 47
NRS research guide on crime and
criminals: http://scot.sh/HScrime
Details of Rogues Gallery exhibition:
http://scot.sh/NRSexhib
47
27/09/2017 11:44
PROJECT REVEAL
National Trust for Scotland is undertaking a huge cataloguing project to catalogue and photograph
every one of the 100,000 artefacts in its care. We spoke to Susanna Hillhouse at the conservation
charity to find out more
P
roject Reveal, which
is one of the biggest
heritage cataloguing
projects ever to take
place in Scotland, will
employ a team of 26 people and
cover all of the properties with
collections in the care of Scotland?s
conservation charity, from the
clifftop Culzean Castle in Ayrshire,
to the humble home of geologist
Hugh Miller in Cromarty.
Over the course of the project,
the team will not only learn a lot
about the pieces which are cared
for at Trust properties all over
Scotland, but will also, they hope,
discover ?hidden gems? which will
give an even greater insight into
the country?s history and heritage.
48
p48-49 NTS double page spotlight.indd 48
Sarah Heaton, Team
manager for West,
with John MacKenzie,
NTS team manager,
reveal inventory
project, South West
When the project is complete,
there will be one central record of
information and high resolution
photographs which can be
accessed by all NTS staff, and
which will enable members of
the public to learn more about
the collections. This central
information will then be able to
be used to create room-by-room
inventories, provide background
information for volunteer guides
and provide data for audits,
helping staff to manage and care
for the collections
more efficiently.
So why is now a good time
for such a large-scale project
to happen? Susanna told us:
?National Trust for Scotland
has been through a revamp and
restructure and this was seen as
a useful NTS-wide project where
everyone would have access to
consistent information, allowing
our people to be more creative
and tell the stories of the items
that we hold.?
Although NTS has records
of the thousands of items in its
care, these have been created
over many years and include
hard copy files, donation letters
and a card index system as well
as the modern database. But
inevitably there are some gaps
and inconsistencies. ?What I?ve
done,? said Susanna, ?is to ask
for an accurate picture of what?s
in each property and this might
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:46
Project Reveal
throw up some surprises.
So, for example, an item
in our collections might be listed
at a fairly basic level but we?ll be
taking a fresh look at that object
and might discover things that
we didn?t know we had.?
?Also, where an item might
have been logged as a single
piece of furniture, the team will
separately photograph everything
relating to that, so if there is
something contained within one of
the drawers, that will be listed
separately. And if an object is
hidden within something else,
it can be re-evaluated and may
take on a new significance.?
The logistics
This �3 million project covers
a huge area and takes in 47 of
the Trust?s properties covering
the whole of Scotland, from the
The Glenfinnan Monument in
the Highlands, to the tiny Robert
Smail?s print shop in the Borders.
The country has been split into
four regions, each of which has
a team manager, and within
that region, the properties are
tackled on what might seem to
be a random basis, but is actually
a carefully constructed plan,
as Susanna explained: ?Some
properties might have some
building or conservation work
scheduled, and so they might want
the team to visit before or after
that, and then there?s the weather
to consider for the more northerly
sites, as well as the fact that many
of our properties close for the
winter, through until Easter.?
Above: dodo claret jug
by Alexander Crichton,
from the collection at
Brodick Castle, Arran
Right: vase from Hill Of
Tarvit Mansion, Fife
Bottom, from left:
Indigo Carnie, team
manager for North, at
Hill of Tarvit Mansion;
banners introduce the
team to visitors at
Culzean Castle;
the Project Reveal
team at work in the
Hill House
With such a large-scale project and
a tight time schedule, much of the
cataloguing work will be carried out
during normal property
opening hours, giving
visitors the chance the
see the cataloguers at
work, ask questions and
see how historic items
are handled and logged.
This, said Susanna,
is a positive move for
NTS, engaging people
with Project Reveal and
helping to spread the
work about the Trust and its
work: ?Members of the public
are the very reason why we have
collections in the first place, and
doing a project on this scale means
we have no choice about carrying
on with the work in view of the
visitors. If people can see what
we?re doing it helps explain why we
need their support and also shows
the authenticity of our collections.
?Our room guides have been
briefed about the work that?s
going on and they will incorporate
this into their tours while the
team are at the property. We
also have promotional material,
pop-up banners and postcards to
explain what Project Reveal is and
what it involves.?
The Project Reveal team are
Susanna Hillhouse is collections
manager ? Curatorial &
Conservation Ser vices at NTS.
Follow the team on the NTS
?What We Do? blog at www.
nts.org.uk by searching
for Project Reveal or on
Twitter @NTSCollections
#ProjectReveal
Project Reveal in numbers
26 team members working around the country
129 NTS properties, including gardens, countryside and islands and built
heritage, of which 50 have collections
100,000 artefacts (give or take a few!) to be
catalogued and photographed
86 years of history to explore, from the time National Trust for Scotland
was established
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p48-49 NTS double page spotlight.indd 49
also blogging to the wider world
on the NTS website, telling the
story of the items they?ve been
cataloguing and sharing photos.
49
27/09/2017 11:47
www.historyscotland.com
Hidden
history
Paisley
patterns our past
In the last of his hidden history visits during the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology,
Neil McLennan takes a trip to Paisley, a candidate for UK City of Culture
E
arlier this year we
covered Perth in its bid
to become UK City of
Culture. The old capital
of Scotland offers great
history, heritage and hospitality. Now
in the final months of the Year of
History, Heritage and Archaeology
only one Scottish location has made
the final UK City of Culture shortlist.
So how does Paisley fare as a venue
for heritage trails and hidden history?
The town certainly has history
woven through it. Paisley?s
association with weaving saw it enjoy
global textile fame, however a later
economic downturn saw harder
p50 Hidden histories.indd 50
times for the people of Paisley. Now
the town is being revitalised by
the City of Culture bid and a new
interest in its past.
The town is an ideal day trip
from Glasgow. Many of the key sites
are in walking distance of Paisley
train station and the town has much
of historical interest.
Whilst the world famous
Paisley pattern has its origins in
Mesopotamia, it was the skill of
the weavers of Paisley which put
the town on the map; the towns
weavers were able to produce the
pattern in five colours and their
skills were highly valued. The design
The interior of
Paisley Abbey,
founded in the 12th
century and known
as the cradle of the
royal house
of Stewart
is called different things across
the world: palme in France, bota in
Netherlands and bootar in India.
For many it is the Paisley pattern.
Paisley?s origins
The town can be traced back to the
7th century and Paisley Abbey is a
great place to consider the span of
history long before weaving made
Paisley world famous. The building
was given abbey status in 1245 and
the church can be traced back
to 1163.
In 1315, a year after victory at
Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce?s
daughter, Marjory Bruce, married
27/09/2017 11:46
Hidden history
Drummond
- Paisley
the sixth High Steward, Walter.
Only a year later the pregnant
Marjory Bruce was to die in a
tragic riding accident. Almost by a
miracle, the baby was saved. Robert
II became the first of the Stewart
monarchs and thus the abbey and
town became known as the cradle
of the royal house of Stewart. The
abbey is also the resting place of
six High Stewards of Scotland and
textile money helped to pay for its
restoration.
Another building which
references Paisley?s textile history
is the Thomas Coats Church,
which is often referred to as the
Baptist Cathedral of Europe. This
dominant, Gothic figure on the
local skyline was made possible
by the philanthropic support of
Thomas Coats, co-founder of
J&P Coats textiles company. In
1910 Coats was the third biggest
company in the world after US
Steel and Standard Oil. Thomas
Coats?s support helped fund the
restoration of the abbey and the
construction of Coats Observatory
and Paisley Fountain Gardens.
After his death his family funded
the construction of this other
magnificent place of worship.
Much of the town?s other notable
architecture is connected to its textile
past. To find out more about the
town?s weaving industry a visit to
Sma Shot Cottages has to be on
the itinerary.
Entering from Shuttle Street
visitors take a step back in time to a
weaver?s cottage originally built in
the 1750s. Weaving expertise is still
part of life in the town today and
the Paisley Thread Mill Museum at
Abbey Mill is worth a visit.
We have visited many museums
both large and small as part of our
2017 podcast tour. Here in Paisley
we find Scotland?s first municipal
museum, opened in 1871 and
designed by John Honeyman. Again
the town?s thread mill connection
is woven through the very history
of the museum; Peter Coats,
Thomas?s partner at J&P Coats, was
the donor. This, together with the
considerable collections amassed
by the Paisley Philosophical society
since 1808, made the museum
venture possible.
As well as a museum the building
p50 Hidden histories.indd 51
also held a full library. By 1882,
art and sculpture galleries were
added. These were paid for by
donations from Sir Peter Coats.
Shawl galleries were added in 1974
extending the major collection
Coats Memorial
Church, financed
by textile magnate
Thomas Coats
to include the finest collection of
Paisley shawls in the world.
Listen to the latest episode of the
Hidden Histories podcast:
http:// scot.sh/his-podcast
Historic hotel
For our Paisley visit we stayed at the
Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
The iconic, imposing Victorian hotel
has recently been refurbished and
recreates the ambience of sophistication
that once saw the likes of Sir Winston
Churchill and Frank Sinatra welcomed
as guests. The hotel sits on Glasgow?s
?style mile? and is a much loved
landmark on the city?s skyline. It
opened in 1883 and was designed by
architect Robert Rowand Anderson in
the baroque Queen Anne style. Like
railway hotels of the era the hotel forms
part of the front of the station.
Earlier in our podcast series we
shared stories of Fraserburgh?s Marconi
1904 radio link and Gleneagles
Hotel hosting the first ever outside
broadcast in 1924. Well, three years
later Grand Central held a key role
in the transmission of the world?s
first long distance television pictures.
This historic event was carried out by
John Logie Baird who?d had success
in transmitting an image and in 1927
transmitted from London to Grand
Central Hotel.
My own recent research reveals that
ten years before this historic event the
hotel also hosted one of World War I?s
most famous poets. Craiglockhart War
Hospital patient Siegfried Sassoon
claimed to have played golf on every
golf course in Edinburgh when he
stayed there in 1917. However he
also travelled further afield to North
Berwick and Glasgow. A letter to Lady
Ottoline Morrell in August 1917 states
that he ?lunched ponderously? in the
city.
During our stay we were treated to
fine hospitality in historic surrounds.
The hotel is an atmospheric base for
any heritage travels on the west coast
of Scotland and beyond. What more
can you ask for? you have a railway
station right on your doorstep!
27/09/2017 12:33
FACES OF CRI ME
1870 ~ 1917
FREE EXHIBITION
25 OCTOBER ? 1 DECEMBER 2017
~ MONDAY ? FRIDAY 9.30 ? 4.30
NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND
GENERAL REGISTER HOUSE, 2 PRINCES STREET, EDINBURGH EH1 3YY
WWW.NRSCOTLAND.GOV.UK
WWW.EDINBURGH.GOV.UK/CITYARCHIVES
2
64.indd 2
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26/09/2017 09:55
BOOKREVIEWS
By blood divided
Edited by Dr Allan Kennedy
reviews@historyscotland.com
Dr Allan Kennedy reviews a new book that aims to shed light on a long-forgotten clan feud
of the mid-16th century, which saw rival wings of the Cameron family tussle for pre-eminence
during the minority of Allan Cameron of Lochiel (d.1647)
The Erracht Feud: Internal Divisions
in Clan Cameron 1567-77
J.T. Ewing
Welkin Books, 2016
98 pages
Paperback, �99
ISBN: 978910075050
Readers coming to this
book for the first time
are likely to react with
blank incomprehension
to its title. The
?Erracht feud? was a
power-struggle within
the Cameron family
centred on who should
control the clan during
the minority of its 16th-century chief,
Allan Cameron of Lochiel. One faction
was led by Lochiel?s cousin, Donald
McEwan Beg, while the other was led
by his tutors, drawn from the Cameron
cadets, the McEwans of Erracht. It
can hardly be described as one of the
more recognisable stories from Scottish
history, and few will have much idea
about its course or significance. In this
slim volume, John Thor Ewing sets out to
explain what the feud involved and why it
is of interest.
The book is split into two sections.
The first is concerned with scene-setting,
offering the reader a brief account of Clan
Cameron?s history before 1567, as well as
critical appraisals of the main narrative
sources for the feud, both historical
and modern. The second section,
much the longer, provides as detailed a
reconstruction of the feud as the sources
will allow. This text is supported by a
meaty appendix reproducing, in whole or
part, all the major sources upon which
Ewing hangs his narrative. There is also a
second appendix discussing the meaning
of the Camerons? heraldic crest of a sheaf
of five arrows, but this is not related to the
rest of the book.
The primary strength of this book
is Ewing?s careful handling of some
challenging primary sources. Alert to the
dangers of taking family traditions and
contemporary narratives at face value, he
moves beyond such sources to bring in a
range of contemporary letters and legal
documents. Ewing wastes little effort on
the impossible task of shoe-horning this
disparate evidence-base into a linear story,
directing readers searching for narrative
towards John Drummond of Balhaldie?s
18th-century Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron
of Lochiell. His approach, instead, is to
examine each piece of evidence individually
and assess what it tells us about the general
course of the feud, the issues underpinning
it, and the means by which it was
prosecuted. As a methodology it is perhaps
a little dry, and moreover its claim to be
focused on ?new? material is shaky, since
all the sources used are available in print.
Ewing is to be commended for handling
his material with painstaking care,
resulting in an account whose fullness
seems unlikely to be surpassed
Nonetheless, Ewing is to be commended
for handling his material with painstaking
care, resulting in an account whose fullness
seems unlikely to be surpassed.
But while Ewing?s text is excellent at
dealing with the minutiae of the Erracht
conflict, it is less accomplished when it
comes to explaining why the story matters.
The bibliography cites some important
modern research on early modern Scotland,
particularly in the political sphere, and it
would have been stimulating to see some
exploration of how the Erracht episode
feeds into these historians? arguments.
Do the Camerons? travails tell us anything
about the development of the Scottish state,
or the structures of pre-modern power,
or the nature of elite authority, or the
dynamics of clanship, or the relationship
between Highlands and Lowlands? Linking
his subject to these sorts of debates would
have enhanced the wider interest of Ewing?s
book, and in not doing so, opting instead for
H I S TO RY S COT L A ND - NOV E MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
p53-56 book reviews.indd 53
a traditional-feeling work of clan history, he
has arguably underplayed the significance of
his research,
On a more conceptual level, there
is some tension in Ewing?s decision to
classify the conflict as a ?feud?. ?Feuding?
in an early modern context does not
simply mean ?fighting?, but signifies a
semi-formal, often highly ritualised type
of competition between opposing groups.
Crucially, these struggles were normally
focused on control of resources, often
lands over which both sides claimed
control, or rights and privileges coveted by
all participants.
It is not entirely clear that the standoff narrated by Ewing, which essentially
involved temporary resistance to the
tutors of an underage clan chief, fits the
feuding paradigm. Ewing himself more or
less concedes this point towards the end
of his account, but readers? understanding
might well have been enhanced by
fuller reframing, conceptualising the
Erracht conflict not as a ?feud?, but as
a window on the nature of noble power
and Highland lordship in early modern
Scotland.
This, then, is an interesting little book
that sheds light on a largely unknown
episode in 16th-century Scottish
history. It will likely appeal principally
to those with a particular interest in the
Camerons and their cadets, which is
unfortunate because Ewing?s story has
the potential to offer stimulating insights
into the nature of early modern Scottish
society more generally.
Dr Allan Kennedy is Consultant Editor of
History Scotland and Lecturer in History at
the University of Dundee.
53
27/09/2017 11:46
Re-evaluating a radical
Dr Emma Macleod is impressed by a new collection of essays in commemoration of
Thomas Muir of Huntershill, whose fiery dedication to the cause of political reform
made him one of the most recognisable figures in the radical movement of the 1790s
Thomas Muir of Huntershill: Essays
for the Twenty-first Century
Gerard Carruthers and Don Martin (eds.)
Humming Earth, 2016
346 pages
Paperback, �.95
ISBN: 9781846220517
Gerard Carruthers
and Don Martin
present here a volume
of fifteen fresh and
varied essays with the
aims of reminding a
wider Scottish public
of the importance
of Thomas Muir of
Huntershill (1765-99),
martyr to the cause
of Scottish reform politics in the age of the
French Revolution, and of stimulating further
academic research into his life and career.
The collection originated in the revival of
Scottish interest in Muir from 2011 around
preparations for the 250th anniversary of his
birth in 2015. It includes chapters written by a
range of authors from local historians (Jimmy
Watson, Don Martin and Alex Watson),
through a variety of academic contributors
including T.M. Devine, to the veteran
nationalist politician Alex Salmond. Some are
transcripts of talks presented at events in 2015,
but most are contributions written specifically
for this book, which therefore conveys a sense
both of commemoration and of new research.
There is plenty to stimulate in this book.
One of its most important innovative
emphases, achieved by no fewer than three
essays with different angles on Muir, is the
importance of his evangelical Presbyterian
churchmanship. The chapters by Don
Martin, Gerard Carruthers and Carruthers
and Satinder Kaur not only present an
important element of Muir?s career and focus
that is missing from much previous writing
about him, but they do this with a nuanced
understanding of evangelicalism, and of the
spectrum of Presbyterian intellectualism in
Glasgow and Scotland in this period, which
are also too often absent.
The essays by Carruthers and Kaur, and
Ronnie Young offer valuable new material on
54
p53-56 book reviews.indd 54
Muir?s career at the University of Glasgow.
Rhona Brown?s chapter on the reciprocal
relationship between Muir?s political activities
and his trial and its aftermath, and the
short-lived but lively radical newspaper, the
Edinburgh Gazetteer, is suggestive of what
might be gained from a similar approach on
a wider canvas. Gordon Pentland?s elegant
chapter on Muir and the constitution raises
the important issue of what was really
meant by ?the constitution? by different
political groups in the 1790s. By his careful
comparison of different published reports
of the same trial, Pentland shows that
different political groups used Muir?s case
to press their own understanding of ?the
constitution? ? a point that Alex Salmond
illustrates with characteristic flair in his own
argument for continuities between Muir?s
political campaign and his own. This is not
just political opportunism. Salmond?s case
that Muir was genuinely concerned to foster
a literate and politically engaged population
is a serious claim worth interrogating, and it
is taken up later in the book by Don Martin?s
examination of Muir?s roots in the ideas of
the Scottish Enlightenment.
There are also valuable essays by Beverley
Sherry on Muir in Australia and by T.J.
Dowds on Muir?s successors in the campaign
for political reform in 1820; and one of
large number and wide range of images, from
recently produced works of art portraying
Muir to photographs of important sites and
even a 1790 handkerchief printed with ?a view
of Botany Bay? in support of Muir and his
fellow Scottish political martyrs.
David McVey?s fine essay on Muir?s
contemporary, the Whig lawyer John McFarlan
of Campsie (1767-1846), with which the
collection closes, makes the important point
that it is impossible for us to judge accurately
the real level of support for political reform
in Scotland in the 1790s, not only because
of distance but also because of the political
constraints of that turbulent decade. It is of
course unachievable; yet it ought not to be
ignored on that account. Thomas Muir of
Huntershill: Essays for the Twenty-first Century
achieves a good balance between focusing
on Muir himself, unearthing an impressive
volume of new material on him, and setting
him in a wider panorama of his 18th-century
context than we have previously had.
Yet I am left wondering whether, as well
as this book being rewarded with the further
research into Muir himself that it calls for, the
pendulum also needs to swing back to the
collective effort of 1790s Scottish reformers
so as to acknowledge more substantially the
contribution of more cautious but no less
admirable individuals such as John McFarlan,
One of the book?s most important
innovative emphases, achieved by no
fewer than three essays with different
angles on Muir, is the importance of his
Evangelical Presbyterian churchmanship
the most welcome aspects of the book is
Carruthers? acknowledgement of ?murky
elements? in Muir?s handling of the legal case
of the Cadder Church vacancy in 1790. It is
all too tempting in a book partly created to
commemorate a local hero of the history of
the campaign for political reform to present a
wholly sympathetic portrait, but recognition
of such ?murky elements? is essential to mature
biography. Finally, the book is enhanced by a
who helped to keep ?the light of democracy
and liberty alive? after bolder and more fiery
spirits such as Muir and the other Scottish
martyrs ?had departed the scene? (p. 302).
Dr Emma Macleod is Senior Lecturer in History
the University of Stirling. She has published widely
on aspects of 18th- and 19th-century British
political history, and is author of BritishVisions of
America, 1775-1820 (London, 2013).
H I S TO RY S COT LA ND - NOVE MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2017
27/09/2017 11:46
Buy books at discounted prices with the History
Scotland Book Shop at: http://scot.sh/his-bookshop
The villagers? war
Dr James Smyth is struck by the poignancy and pathos of a new book offering a
detailed exploration of how the Great War impacted the small village of Bridge of Weir
in Renfrewshire, with a particular focus on how the tight-knit community coped with
the loss of so many of its young men
Supreme Sacrifice: A Small Village
and the Great War
W. Reid, with P. Birchand
and G. Masterton
Birlinn, 2016
224 pages
Paperback, �99
ISBN: 9781780273501
The centenary
of the Great War
has ushered in
a huge amount
of new writings,
exhibitions,
documentaries,
and so on and will
continue to do so
for a few years yet.
A common theme
across much of this effort is the desire to
focus on individual stories, to provide no
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