March 2020

Famous Scots. Sir Jackie Stewart.

Sir John Young “Jackie” Stewart, OBE  (born 11 June 1939) is a British former Formula One racing driver from Scotland. Nicknamed the “Flying Scot”, he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers’ Championships, and twice finishing as runner-up over those nine seasons. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.

Outside of Formula One, he narrowly missed out on a win at his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in 1966 and competed in the Can-Am series in 1970 and 1971. Between 1997 and 1999, in partnership with his son, Paul, he was team principal of the Stewart Grand Prix Formula One racing team.

Stewart was also instrumental in improving the safety of motor racing, campaigning for better medical facilities and track improvements at motor racing circuits.

After John Surtees’ death in 2017, he is the last surviving Formula One World Champion from the 1960s.

Early life.

Stewart was born in Milton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, a village fifteen miles west of Glasgow. Stewart’s family were Austin, and later Jaguar, car dealers and had built up a successful business. His father had been an amateur motorcycle racer,  and his brother Jimmy was a racing driver with a local reputation who drove for Ecurie Ecosse and competed in the 1953 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Jackie attended Hartfield primary school in the nearby town of Dumbarton and moved to Dumbarton Academy at the age of 12. He experienced learning difficulties owing to undiagnosed dyslexia, and due to the condition not being understood or even widely known at the time, he was regularly berated and humiliated by teachers and peers alike for being “dumb” and “thick”.  Stewart was unable to continue his secondary education past the age of 16 and began working in his father’s garage as an apprentice mechanic. He was not actually diagnosed with dyslexia until 1980 when his oldest son Mark was diagnosed with the condition. On learning that dyslexia can be genetically passed on, and seeing very similar symptoms with his son that he had experienced himself as a child, Stewart asked if he could be tested, and was diagnosed with the disorder, by which time he was 41 years old.  He has said: “When you’ve got dyslexia and you find something you’re good at, you put more into it than anyone else; you can’t think the way of the clever folk, so you’re always thinking out of the box.”

At the age of 13, he had won a clay pigeon shooting competition and then went on to become a prize-winning member of the Scottish shooting team, competing in the United Kingdom and abroad. He won the British, Irish, Welsh and Scottish skeet shooting championships and twice won the “Coupe de Nations” European championship. He competed for a place in the British trap shooting team for the 1960 Summer Olympics but finished third behind Joseph Wheater and Brett Huthart.

Stewart’s first car was a light green Austin A30 with “real leather [covered] seats” which he purchased shortly before his seventeenth birthday for £375, a detail he was able to recall for an interviewer sixty years later. He had saved up the purchase price from tips received from his job at the family garage.

He took up an offer from Barry Filer, a customer of the family business, to test in a number of his cars at Oulton Park. For 1961, Filer provided a Marcos, in which Stewart scored four wins, and competed once in Filer’s Aston DB4GT. In 1962, to help decide if he was ready to become a professional driver, he tested a Jaguar E-type at Oulton Park, matching Roy Salvadori’s times in a similar car the year before. He won two races, his first in England, in the E-type, and David Murray of Ecurie Ecosse offered him a ride in the Tojeiro EE Mk2, and their Cooper T49, in which he won at Goodwood. For 1963, he earned fourteen wins, a second, and two-thirds, with six retirements.

In 1964, he again signed with Ecurie Ecosse. Ken Tyrrell, then running the Formula Junior team for the Cooper Car Company, heard of the young Scotsman from Goodwood’s track manager and called up Jimmy Stewart to see if his younger brother was interested in a tryout.  Jackie came down for the test at Goodwood, taking over a new, and very competitive, Formula Three T72-BMC which Bruce McLaren was testing. Soon Stewart was bettering McLaren’s times, causing McLaren to return to the track for some quicker laps. Again, Stewart was quicker, and Tyrrell offered Stewart a spot on the team.

Racing career.

In 1964 he drove in Formula Three for Tyrrell. His debut, in the wet at Snetterton on 15 March, was dominant; he took a 25-second lead in just two laps before coasting home to a win by 44 seconds. Within days, he was offered a Formula One ride with Cooper, but declined, preferring to gain experience under Tyrrell; he failed to win just two races (one to clutch failure, one to a spin) in becoming F3 champion.

After running John Coombs’ E-type and practising in a Ferrari at Le Mans, he took a trial in an F1 Lotus 33-Climax, in which he impressed Colin Chapman and Jim Clark.  Stewart again refused a ride in F1, but went instead to the Lotus Formula Two team. In his F2 debut, he was second at the difficult Circuit Clermont-Ferrand in a Lotus 32-Cosworth.

While he signed with BRM alongside Graham Hill in 1965, a contract which netted him £4,000, his first race in an F1 car was for Lotus, as a stand-in for an injured Jim Clark, at the non-championship Rand Grand Prix in December 1964; after qualifying in pole position the Lotus broke in the first heat, but he won the second and claimed the fastest lap.  On his World Championship F1 debut in South Africa, he finished sixth. His first major competition victory came in the BRDC International Trophy in the late spring, and before the end of the year, he won his first World Championship race at Monza, fighting wheel-to-wheel with teammate Hill’s P261. Stewart finished his rookie season with a win, three seconds, a third, a fifth, and a sixth, and third place in the World Drivers’ Championship. He also piloted Tyrrell’s unsuccessful F2 Cooper T75-BRM and drove the Rover Company’s revolutionary turbine car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Graham Hill.

At the start of the 1966 season, Stewart won the Tasman Series from his BRM teammate Graham Hill in two-litre BRMs and also raced closely with his great rival and friend Jim Clark who was somewhat disadvantaged by an unreliable Lotus 39 which was let down by its old 2.5-litre Climax engine.

In F1, after his promising start the previous year, 1966 was a poor year for Stewart; the 3-litre H16 BRMs were unreliable, although Stewart did win the Monaco Grand Prix in a 2-litre engined car. The most significant event in that year was his accident at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, which sparked his campaign to improve safety in F1 and caused him to miss the French Grand Prix at Reims.

Stewart had some success in other forms of racing during the year, winning the 1966 Rothmans 12 Hour International Sports Car Race and almost winning the Indianapolis 500 on his first attempt, in John Mecom’s Lola T90-Ford,  only to be denied by a broken scavenge pump while leading by over a lap with eight laps to go. However, Stewart’s performance, having had the race fully in hand, sidelined only by mechanical failure, won him, Rookie of the Year honours, despite the winner, Graham Hill, also being an Indianapolis rookie. Stewart appeared at 24 Hours of Le Mans test day on 3 April 1966 driving a Ford GT40 Mk II version of Holman & Moody and the Ford GT40 owned by Alan Mann Racing.

BRM’s fortunes did not improve in 1967, despite closely contesting the Tasman Series with Jim Clark who probably raced closer and harder with him than at any time in their careers. While Clark usually won, Stewart won a victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix with Clark attempting to run him down in the last laps with bodywork flying off his Lotus. In F1 the BRMs were still struggling with reliability problems and Stewart came no higher than second, at Spa, while having to drive one-handed while holding the car in gear with the other. In F2 he won events at Karlskoga, Enna, Oulton Park, and Albi in a Tyrrell-entered Matra MS5 or MS7. He also placed 2nd driving a works-entered Ferrari driving with Chris Amon at the BOAC 6 Hours at Brands Hatch, the 10th round of World Sportscar Championship at the time. Stewart also attempted to run the 1967 National 500 NASCAR race but did not qualify for the race.

For 1968 in Formula One, he switched to Tyrrell’s Matra International team, where he drove a Matra MS10-Cosworth. After a promising start in South Africa with the Matra MS9 development mule, he missed Jarama and Monaco due to an F2 injury at Jarama and his first win of the season was in heavy rain at Zandvoort. Another win in rain and fog at the Nürburgring followed, where he won by a margin of four minutes. He also won at Watkins Glen but his car failed at Mexico City, and so he lost the drivers’ title to Hill.

In 1969, driving the Matra MS80-Cosworth, Stewart had a number of races where he completely dominated the opposition, such as winning by over two laps at Montjuïc, a minute in front at Clemont-Ferrand and by more than a lap at Silverstone. With additional wins at Kyalami, Zandvoort, and Monza, Stewart became world champion. Until 2005 he was the only driver to have won the championship in a car built by a French constructor and remains the only driver to win the world championship in a car built in France as well as in a car entered by a privateer team. Also that year, Stewart led at least one lap of every World Championship Grand Prix, and remains the only driver to achieve this feat.

For 1970, Matra insisted on using their own V12 engines, while Tyrrell and Stewart wanted to continue with the Cosworth and maintain their connection to Ford, which conflicted with Matra’s recent connections to Chrysler. Tyrrell decided to build his own car and in the interim bought a chassis from March Engineering; Stewart took the March 701-Cosworth  to wins at the Daily Mail Race of Champions and Jarama, but development on the car stalled and it was soon overcome by the Lotus team’s new 72. The new Tyrrell 001-Cosworth, appeared in August and suffered problems but showed promise. Tyrrell continued to be sponsored by French fuel company Elf, and Stewart raced in a car painted French Racing Blue for many years. Stewart also continued to race sporadically in Formula Two, winning at Crystal Palace and placing at Thruxton. A projected Le Mans appearance, to co-drive the 4.5 litre Porsche 917K with Steve McQueen, did not come off, due to McQueen’s inability to get insurance.[14] He also had a one-off race in Can-Am, in the revolutionary Chaparral 2J. Stewart qualified third, in what was the car’s first outing, but brake failure ended his race.

Stewart went on to win the Formula One world championship in 1971 using the Tyrrell 003-Cosworth, winning Spain, Monaco, France, Britain, Germany, and Canada. He also did a full season in Can-Am, driving a Carl Haas sponsored Lola T260-Chevrolet.  During the 1971 season, Stewart was the only driver able to challenge the McLarens driven by Denny Hulme and Peter Revson. Stewart won two races, at Mont Tremblant and Mid Ohio, and finished 3rd in the championship.

The stress of racing year-round and on several continents eventually caused medical problems for Stewart. He won the 1971 world championship despite suffering from mononucleosis and crossing the Atlantic Ocean 186 times due to media commitments in the United States.  During the 1972 Grand Prix season, he missed the Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles due to gastritis, and had to cancel plans to drive a Can-Am McLaren, but won the Argentine, French, U.S. and Canadian Grands Prix, to come second to Emerson Fittipaldi in the drivers’ standings. Stewart also competed in a Ford Capri RS2600 in the European Touring Car Championship, with F1 teammate François Cevert and other F1 pilots, at a time where the competition between Ford and BMW was at a height. Their best result was at the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard, finishing second. In 1972 Stewart also received the OBE.

Entering the 1973 season, Stewart had decided to retire. He nevertheless won at South Africa, Belgium, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Austria. His last and then record-setting 27th victory came at the Nürburgring with a 1–2 for Tyrrell. “Nothing gave me more satisfaction than to win at the Nürburgring and yet I was always afraid.” Stewart later said. “When I left home for the German Grand Prix I always used to pause at the end of the driveway and take a long look back. I was never sure I’d come home again.” After the fatal crash of his teammate François Cevert in practice for the 1973 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Stewart retired one race earlier than intended and missed what would have been his 100th Grand Prix. Stewart had already won the Drivers’ Championship at the Italian Grand Prix two races previously; this was a race where Stewart had to come into the pits to change a flat tyre and drove from 20th to finish 4th.

Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years until Alain Prost won the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the record for most wins by a British Formula One driver for 19 years until Nigel Mansell won the 1992 British Grand Prix. In his commentary work for race broadcaster, Channel 9 during qualifying for the 1988 Australian Grand Prix, Stewart said that he had been asked numerous times if he was unhappy about losing his record to Prost, going on to say that he was happy that his record had been taken by someone of the calibre of Prost, as he believed him to be the best driver in Formula One.

Racing safety advocate.

At Spa-Francorchamps in 1966, Stewart ran off the track while driving at 165 mph (266 km/h) in heavy rain, and crashed into a telephone pole and a shed before coming to rest in a farmer’s outbuilding. His steering column pinned his leg, while ruptured fuel tanks emptied their contents into the cockpit. There were no track crews to extricate him, nor were proper tools available. There were no doctors or medical facilities at the track, and Stewart was put in the bed of a pickup truck, remaining there until an ambulance arrived. He was first taken to the track’s first aid centre, where he waited on a stretcher, which was placed on a floor strewn with cigarette ends and other rubbish. Finally, another ambulance crew picked him up, but the ambulance driver got lost driving to a hospital in Liège. Ultimately, a private jet flew Stewart back to the UK for treatment.

After his crash at Spa, Stewart became an outspoken advocate for auto racing safety. Later, he explained, “If I have any legacy to leave the sport I hope it will be seen to be an area of safety because when I arrived in Grand Prix racing so-called precautions and safety measures were diabolical.” By Stewart’s reckoning, a driver who raced for five years had a two-thirds chance of being killed in a crash.

Stewart campaigned with Louis Stanley (BRM team boss) for improved emergency services and better safety barriers around race tracks. “We were racing at circuits where there were no crash barriers in front of the pits, and fuel was lying about in churns in the pit lane. A car could easily crash into the pits at any time. It was ridiculous.”  As a stop-gap measure, Stewart hired a private doctor to be at all his races and taped a spanner to the steering shaft of his BRM in case it would be needed again. Stewart pressed for mandatory seat belt usage and full-face helmets for drivers, which have become unthinkable omissions for modern races. Likewise, he pressed track owners to modernize their tracks, including organizing driver boycotts of races at Spa-Francorchamps in 1969, the Nürburgring in 1970 is joined by his close friend Jochen Rindt, and Zandvoort in 1972 until barriers, run-off areas, fire crews, and medical facilities were improved.

Some drivers and press members believed the safety improvements for which Stewart advocated detracted from the sport, while track owners and race organizers baulked at the extra costs. “I would have been a much more popular World Champion if I had always said what people wanted to hear. I might have been dead, but definitely more popular.”, Stewart later said.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Infamous Scots. Lady Emily Gordon Cathcart.

Lady Emily Eliza Steele Gordon Cathcart (née Pringle) was born in 1845. Her father was John Robert Pringle. Her first marriage was to Captain John Gordon in 1865.  The natural son of Colonel John Gordon “the richest commoner in the northern kingdom” he had inherited his father’s extensive assets, valued at £2-3 million in 1858, on the lower estimate equivalent to £203,000,000 in 2019. The estate included Cluny Castle, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra.

When Captain Gordon died without legitimate issue in 1878, Emily Gordon inherited the estates.  Her second husband was Sir Reginald Archibald Edward Cathcart (d. 1916) whom she married in late 1880 at St George’s Hanover Square, London. He was the sixth baronet of Cathcart, succeeding to the title in 1878. The Cathcart family seat was Killochan Castle near Girvan in Ayrshire but the couple lived mainly in Titness Park, Sunninghill, Berkshire.

Known for her stance against Catholicism, she played a leading role in the Highland Clearances as she continued the clearances initiated by her father-in-law.  Many crofters on her lands were re-settled to the North-West territories of Regina and Wapella in Canada, possibly due to the shares she held in the Canadian Pacific Railway.

In 1891 Lady Cathcart commissioned Old Tom Morris to design a golf course at Askernish on South Uist. She included a clause in the crofters tenancy agreements retaining the right to allow golf to be played on the land.

Lady Cathcart never lived in the highlands and is thought to have visited only once; she took ten Vatersay crofters to court in 1908 after they refused to vacate their cottages. They were sentenced to serve two months imprisonment but released two weeks early.

She died on 8 August 1932 at Margate in Kent.  Her will included instructions for a Long Island, United States emigration fund to be set up but this was never undertaken as the trustees refused to carry it out for fear of repercussions.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots Flora MacDonald.

Flora MacDonald (Gaelic: Fionnghal nic Dhòmhnaill); (1722 – 5 March 1790) was a member of the Macdonalds of Sleat, who helped Charles Edward Stuart evade government troops after the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. Her family supported the government during 1745 Rising and Flora later claimed to have assisted Charles out of sympathy for his situation.

She was arrested and held in the Tower of London but released under a general amnesty in June 1747. She later married Allan MacDonald and the couple emigrated to North Carolina in 1773. Their support for the British government during the American War of Independence meant the loss of their American estates and they returned to Scotland, where Flora died in 1790.

Early life

Flora was born in 1722 at Milton on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, third and last child of Ranald MacDonald (d. 1723) and his second wife Marion. Her father was a member of the minor gentry, being tacksman and leaseholder of Milton and Balivanich; she had two brothers, Angus, who later inherited the Milton tack and Ronald, who died young.

Her father died soon after her birth and in 1728, her mother remarried Hugh MacDonald of Armadale, Skye. Flora was brought up by her father’s cousin, Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat and suggestions she was educated in Edinburgh have not been confirmed. While some MacDonalds remained Catholic, particularly in the Islands, her family was part of the Presbyterian majority.

The escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Flora was visiting Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides when Prince Charles and a small group of aides took refuge there after the Battle of Culloden in June 1746. One of his companions, Captain Conn O’Neill from County Antrim was distantly related to Flora and asked for her help.

MacDonald of Sleat had not joined the Rebellion and Benbecula was controlled by a pro-government militia commanded by Flora’s step-father, Hugh MacDonald. This connection allowed her to obtain the necessary permits but she apparently hesitated, fearing the consequences for her family if they were caught. She may have been taking less of a risk than it appears; witnesses later claimed Hugh advised the Prince where to hide from his search parties.

Passes were issued allowing passage to the mainland for Flora, a boat’s crew of six men and two personal servants, including Charles disguised as an Irish maid called Betty Burke. On 27 June, they landed near Sir Alexander’s house at Monkstadt, near Kilbride, Skye. In his absence, his wife Lady Margaret arranged lodging with her steward, MacDonald of Kingsburgh, who told Charles to remove his disguise, as it simply made him more conspicuous. The next day, Charles was taken from Portree to the island of Raasay; Flora remained on Skye and they never met again.

Two weeks later, the boatmen were detained and confessed; Flora and Kingsburgh were arrested and taken to the Tower of London. After Lady Margaret interceded on her behalf with the chief Scottish legal officer, Duncan Forbes of Culloden, she was allowed to live outside the Tower under the supervision of a “King’s Messenger” and released after the June 1747 Act of Indemnity. Aristocratic sympathisers collected over £1,500 for her, one of the contributors being Frederick, Prince of Wales, heir to the throne; Flora allegedly told him she helped Charles out of charity and would have done the same for him.

On 6 November 1750, at the age of 28, she married Allan MacDonald, a captain in the British army and Kingsburgh’s eldest son. The couple first lived at Flodigarry, Skye and inherited the family estate after Kingsburgh died in 1772. The writer Samuel Johnson, who met her in 1773 during his visit to the island, described her as “a woman of soft features, gentle manners, kind soul and elegant presence”. He was also the author of the inscription on her memorial at Kilmuir: “a name that will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour”.

Emigration to North Carolina.

Allan MacDonald served in the 114th and 62nd Regiments of Foot during the 1756–1763 Seven Years’ War but was a poor businessman. After quarrelling with his clan chief over rent, he and Flora emigrated to Anson County, North Carolina in 1774 where they settled on an estate near Mountain Creek, named ‘Killegray’.  When the American War of Independence began in 1775, Allan raised the Anson Battalion of the Loyalist North Carolina Militia, a total of around 1,000 men, including his sons Alexander and James. En route to the coast for collection by British transports, they were attacked by an American force at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge on 28 February 1776 and Allan was taken, prisoner.

In April 1777, the North Carolina Provincial Congress confiscated Loyalist-owned property and Flora was evicted from Killegray, with the loss of all her possessions. After 18 months in captivity, Allan was released in September 1777; he was posted to Fort Edward, Nova Scotia as commander of the 84th Regiment of Foot where Flora joined him in August 1778.

Return to Skye.

After a harsh winter in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September 1779 Flora took passage for London in the Dunmore, a British privateer; during the voyage, she broke her arm and ill-health delayed her return to Scotland until spring 1780.

She spent the next few years living with various family members, including Dunvegan, home of her son-in-law Major General Alexander Macleod, the largest landowner in Skye after the MacDonalds. The compensation received for the loss of their North Carolina estates was insufficient to allow them to settle in Nova Scotia and Allan returned to Scotland in 1784. Since Kingsburgh was now occupied by Flora’s half-sister and her husband, Flora and Allan settled on the nearby tack of Penduin.

She died in 1790 at the age of 68 and was buried in Kilmuir Cemetery, her husband following in September 1792. They had seven surviving children, two daughters and five sons, two of whom were lost at sea in 1781 and 1782; a third son John made his fortune in India, enabling his parents to spend their last years in some comfort.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Scottish Architecture Lauriston Castle.

Hi friends, this is an absolutely beautiful piece of architecture which wasn’t far away from where I lived.

Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century tower house with 19th-century extensions overlooking the Firth of Forth, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It lies on Cramond Road South, between Cramond, Davidson’s Mains, and Silverknowes. The substantial grounds, Lauriston Castle Gardens, operate as a local park. The castle was bequeathed to the Edinburgh Corporation (post-1975 known as Edinburgh City Council) and hosts the Lord Provost’s annual Garden Party.  The house is a Category A listed building and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Lauriston Castle stood on this site in medieval times but was almost totally destroyed in the raids on Edinburgh in 1544 by the Earl of Hertford’s troops.

A tower house was re-built around 1590 by Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, father of John Napier, for his first son by his second marriage, also named Archibald (1575–1600), known as Napier of Woolmet. Logically, this would be no earlier than 1596, the age of legal majority then being 21. There is no evidence that he ever occupied Lauriston Castle, and he was murdered in 1600 returning to his home, Woolmet House, south of Edinburgh. It is likely that Lauriston was instead occupied by William Napier (c.1577–1622), the second son of his second marriage. What is certain is that in 1622 the property was inherited by Alexander Napier (the third son of the second marriage) who four years later adopted the title “Lord Laurieston”. Lord Laurieston died in 1629, but the house continued to be occupied by his widow and three young children.

In 1683, the estate was purchased by ,and financier William Law, father of infamous economist John Law (1671–1729), shortly before his death. John Law then inherited the estate and it stayed in the family until 1823 when sold to banker and mineralogist Thomas Allan. There is no evidence that the Law family ever resided at Lauriston during their 140 years of ownership. In 1827, Allan commissioned William Burn (1789–1870) to extend the house in the Jacobean style. Subsequent owners were the Right Hon. Andrew Lord Rutherfurd (1791–1854), and Thomas Macknight Crawfurd of Cartsburn and Lauriston Castle, 8th Baron of Cartsburn from 1871 to 1902.


On 3 December 1827 Sir Walter Scott wrote in his journal: “Went with Tom Allan to see his building at Lauriston where he has displayed good taste; supporting instead of tearing down or destroying the old Chateau which once belonged to the famous Mississippi Law. The additions are in very good taste and will make a most comfortable house.”

William Robert Reid, proprietor of Morison & Co., an Edinburgh cabinetmaking business, acquired Lauriston Castle in 1902, installed modern plumbing and electricity, and he and his wife Margaret filled the house with a collection of fine furniture and artwork. The Reids, being childless, left their home to Scotland on the condition that it should be preserved unchanged. The City of Edinburgh has administered the house since Mrs Reid’s death in 1926, which today offers a glimpse of Edwardian life in a Scottish country house.

In 1905, during one of its numerous refurbishments, a stone carving of an astrological horoscope was installed in the outer wall, on the southwest corner. The horoscope was reputedly done by John Napier for his brother. It can be seen in some pictures on the front wall, beneath the left-most stair tower, near the ground.

In 2013 it was suggested that the castle could be renovated and turned into an official residence for the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, but the proposal did not go ahead due to costs and other reasons.

Lauriston Castle was originally a four-storey, stone L plan tower house, with a circular stair tower, with two-storey angle turrets complete with gun loops. A Jacobean range was added in 1827, to convert it to a country manor. This was designed by the prominent architect William Burn.

Japanese Garden at Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh.

The extensive gardens at Lauriston are open to the public at no charge and include a number of different styles and forms. The most recent addition is a notable Japanese garden of one hectare. The garden, built by Takashi Sawano, and dedicated as the Edinburgh–Kyoto Friendship Garden, opened in August 2002.

At the back of the castle there are beautiful views of the Firth of Forth and beyond to Fife, which is enjoyed by members of the Edinburgh Croquet Club on the three croquet lawns laid out on the castle grounds between 1950 and 1955.

To the north-east, the gardens include some excellent mature examples of monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana).

The site is also famed for its bluebell wood but the size of this was much reduced by the formation of the Japanese Garden.


Lauriston Castle, like so many other Scottish castles, is reputedly haunted. It is said that the sound of ghostly footsteps can be heard.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Scottish Architecture. Victoria and Albert. Museum.

V&A Dundee is a design museum in Dundee, Scotland, which opened on 15 September 2018. The V&A Dundee is the first design museum in Scotland and the first Victoria and Albert museum outside London. The V&A Dundee is also the first building in the United Kingdom that has been designed by Kengo Kuma.

The plan for a V&A museum in Dundee originated at the University of Dundee in 2007 when Professor Georgina Follett (then Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design) suggested it to University Principal, Sir Alan Langlands. Subsequently, Joan Concannon, the university’s director of external relations, made a 20-minute pitch to Sir Mark Jones, then director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in which the case for Dundee was made including its potential as an anchor for the urban regeneration of the waterfront. A design competition took place in 2010 to decide what the museum would look like. The Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the competition; his design was inspired by the eastern cliff edges of Scotland.

BAM Construction carried out the construction work beginning in April 2014. The original completion date was 2017 but it was delayed to 2018. During construction, a cofferdam was installed to allow the outer wing to expand onto the River Tay and 780 tonnes of pre-cast grey concrete slabs were added to the outside of the building. It cost £80.1 million to complete.

The V&A Dundee opened to the public on 15 September 2018 with international and national press previews taken place beforehand from 13–14 September 2018. The opening was celebrated with a 3D Festival which featured acts such as Primal Scream, Be Charlotte and Lewis Capaldi and had featured a light show and a firework display. The opening highlights were broadcast on BBC Two Scotland in a programme hosted by Edith Bowman. The museum attracted 27,201 visitors during its first week and 100,000 in its first three weeks.

The museum was officially opened by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in a private official opening which was held on 28 January 2019. On 30 March 2019, the museum achieved its target of 500,000 visitors within a year, six months earlier than expected. 

Exhibition Dates
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style 15 September 2018 – 24 February 2019
Video Games: Design/Play/Disrupt 20 April 2019 – 8 September 2019
Hello, Robot: Design Between Human and Machine 2 November 2019 – 23 February 2020

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room was originally completed in 1908 after being commissioned by Catherine Cranston for use as a tearoom on Ingram Street in Glasgow. The 13.5-metre long double-height room now forms a part of the permanent Scottish Design Gallery at the museum. The Oak Room was restored from over 700 original parts that were stored by Glasgow City Council for over 50 years. The room took 16 months to install and the total cost of the restoration and conservation was £1.3 million (2018).

V&A Dundee has also been criticised by architects who have criticised the unused space and called the building “boring”.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Infamous Scots.Elizabeth -leveson-Gower

Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland (née Sutherland; 24 May 1765 – 29 January 1839), also suo jure 19th Countess of Sutherland, was a Scottish peer from the Leveson-Gower family, best remembered for her involvement in the Highland Clearances.

Elizabeth was born at Leven Lodge near Edinburgh, to William Sutherland, 18th Earl of Sutherland and his wife Mary (c. 1740–1766), daughter and coheir of William Maxwell. Her parents died of “putrid fever” in Bath in 1766, a few weeks after her first birthday. As the younger and only surviving child, she succeeded to her father’s estates and titles. Her title of Countess of Sutherland was contested by Sir Robert Gordon, Bart., a descendant of the 1st Earl of Sutherland, but was confirmed by the House of Lords in 1771.

Childhood and marriage

Lady Elizabeth Sutherland spent most of her childhood living in Edinburgh and London, where she was educated between 1779 and 1782. On 4 September 1785, at the age 20, she married George Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham, who was known as Earl Gower from 1786 until in 1803 he succeeded to his father’s title of Marquess of Stafford. In 1832, just six months before he died, he was created Duke of Sutherland and she became known as Duchess-Countess of Sutherland.

Under the terms of the marriage contract, control, but not ownership, of the Sutherland estate passed from Elizabeth to her husband for life. The couple also purchased additional land in Sutherland between 1812 and 1816, so bringing the proportion of the County of Sutherland owned by them to around 63% (as measured by rental value). At the time of Lady Sutherland’s inheritance of the estate, there were a large number of wadsets (a type of mortgage) on much of the land – and further wadsets were taken out to finance, among other things, the time that Lady Sutherland and her husband spent in France when he was ambassador there.

Highland clearances.

The Highland Clearances were part of the Scottish Agricultural Revolution. The old run-rig arable areas were replaced with more modern farming methods, new crops and land drainage systems were introduced and, controversially, the mixed farming tenants in the inland straths and glens were evicted and their former tenancies were used for, most commonly, extensive sheep farms. Evicted tenants were often resettled in newly created crofting communities which, in many cases, were in coastal regions. These changes occurred over virtually all the Highlands and Islands region, mostly over the period 1790 to 1855. This provided higher rental income and lower running costs for the individual estates concerned.

The Sutherland Estate made a slow start in this process, though some removals were made in 1772 whilst Lady Sutherland was still a child and the estate was managed by her tutors. Attempts were made to dislodge many of the tacksmen on the estate at this time. Notable emigrations of tenants had taken place and plans were considered for new fishing villages to provide employment for tenants moved from the interior. However, the estate was handicapped by a serious shortage of the capital needed, and these large plans were not proceeded with until money became available.

When in 1803 George Leveson-Gower inherited the huge fortune of the Duke of Bridgewater, funds were available for the Sutherland Estate to proceed with a program of improvement. Many of the estate’s leases did not end until 1807, but planning was started to restructure the estate. Despite the conventions of the day and the provisions of the entailment, Leveson-Gower delegated overall control of the estate to Lady Sutherland; she took an active interest in its management. As the major part of the Sutherland Clearances began, Lady Sutherland and her advisors were influenced by several things. Firstly a substantial population increase was underway. Secondly, the area was prone to famine – and in these years it fell to the landlord to organise relief by buying a meal on the open market and importing it into the area. The degree of severity of famine is a matter of debate among historians now and also within the Sutherland Estate management in their near-contemporaneous analysis of the clearances in 1845. The third driving force was the whole range of thinking on agricultural improvement. This took in economic ideas expressed by Adam Smith as well as those of many agriculturalists. For the Highlands, the main thrust of these theories was the much greater rental return to be obtained from sheep. Wool prices had increased faster than other commodities since the 1780s. This enabled sheep farmers to pay substantially higher rents than the current tenants.

Now that capital funding was available, the first big sheep farm was let at Lairg in 1807, involving the removal of about 300 people. Many of these did not accept their new homes and emigrated, to the dissatisfaction of the estate management and Lady Sutherland. In 1809, William Young and Patrick Sellar arrived in Sutherland and made contact with the Sutherland family, becoming key advisors to the owners of the estate. They offered ambitious plans which matched the wish for rapid results. Lady Sutherland had already dismissed the estate’s factor, David Campbell, in 1807 for lack of progress. His replacement, Cosmo Falconer found his position being undermined by the advice offered by Young and Sellar. In August 1810 Falconer agreed to leave, with effect from 2 June 1811, and Young and Sellar took over in his place.

Young had a proven track record of agricultural improvement in Moray and Sellar was a lawyer educated at Edinburgh University; both were fully versed in the modern ideas of Adam Smith. They provided an extra level of ambition for the estate. New industries were added to the plans, to employ the resettled population. A coal mine was sunk at Brora, and fishing villages were built to exploit the herring shoals off the coast. Other ideas were tanning, flax, salt and brick manufacturing. 

The first clearances under the factorship of Young and Sellar were in Assynt in 1812, under the direction of Sellar, establishing large sheep farms and resettling the old tenants on the coast. Sellar had the assistance of the local tacksmen in this and the process was conducted without unrest – despite the unpopularity of events. However, in 1813, planned clearances in the Strath of Kildonan were accompanied by riots: an angry mob drove prospective sheep farmers out of the valley when they came to view the land, and a situation of confrontation existed for more than 6 weeks, with Sellar failing to successfully negotiate with the protesters. Ultimately, the army was called out and the estate made concessions such as paying very favourable prices for the cattle of those being cleared. This was assisted by landlords in surrounding districts taking in some of those displaced and an organised party emigrating to Canada. The whole process was a severe shock to Lady Sutherland and her advisers, who were, in the words of historian Eric Richards, “genuinely astonished at this response to plans which they regarded as wise and benevolent”.

Further clearances were scheduled in Strathnaver starting at Whitsun, 1814. These were complicated by Sellar having successfully bid for the lease of one of the new sheep farms on land that it was now his responsibility, as a factor, to clear. (Overall, this clearance was part of the removal of 430 families from Strathnaver and Brora in 1814 – an estimated 2000 people.) Sellar had also made an enemy of the local law officer, Robert Mackid, by catching him poaching on Sutherland’s land. There was some confusion among the tenants as Sellar made concessions to some of them, allowing them to stay in their properties a little longer. Some tenants moved in advance of the date in their eviction notice – others stayed until the eviction parties arrived.As was normal practice, the roof timbers of cleared houses were destroyed to prevent re-occupation after the eviction party had left. On 13 June 1814, this was done by burning in the case of Badinloskin, the house occupied by William Chisholm. Accounts vary, but it is possible that his elderly and bedridden mother-in-law was still in the house when it was set on fire. In James Hunter’s understanding of events, Sellar ordered her to be immediately carried out as soon as he realised what was happening. The old lady died 6 days later. Eric Richards suggests that the old woman was carried to an outbuilding before the house was destroyed. Whatever the facts of the matter, Sellar was charged with culpable homicide and arson, in respect of this incident and others during this clearance. The charges were brought by Robert Mackid, driven by the enmity he held for Sellar for catching him poaching. As the trial approached, the Sutherland estate was reluctant to assist Sellar in his defence, distancing themselves from their employee. He was acquitted of all charges at his trial in 1816. The estate was hugely relieved, taking this as a justification for their clearance activity. (Robert Mackid became a ruined man and had to leave the county, providing Sellar with a grovelling letter of apology and confession.

Despite the acquittal, this event, and Sellar’s role in it, was fixed in the popular view of the Sutherland Clearances. James Loch, the Stafford estate commissioner was now taking a greater interest in the Northern part of his employer’s holdings; he thought Young’s financial management was incompetent, and Sellar’s actions among the people deeply concerning. Both Sellar and William Young soon left their management posts with the Sutherland estate (though Sellar remained as a major tenant). Loch, nevertheless, also subscribed to the theory that clearance was beneficial for the tenants as much as for the estate.

Lady Sutherland’s displeasure with events was added to by critical reports in a minor London newspaper, the Military Register, from April 1815. These were soon carried in larger newspapers. They originated from Alexander Sutherland, who, with his brother John Sutherland of Sciberscross, were opponents of clearance. Alexander, after serving as a captain in the army had been thwarted in his hopes to take up leases on the Sutherland estate and now worked as a journalist in London. He was therefore well placed to cause trouble for the estate.

The (effective) dismissal of Sellar placed him in the role of scapegoat, thereby preventing a proper critical analysis of the estate’s policies. Clearances continued under the factorship of Frances Suther and the overall control of James Loch. Through 1816 and 1817, famine conditions affected most of the inland areas and the estate had to provide relief to those who were destitute. This altered policy on emigration: if tenants wanted to emigrate, the estate would not object, but there was still no active encouragement.

In 1818 the largest part of the clearance program was put into effect, lasting until 1820. Loch gave emphatic instructions intended to avoid another public relations disaster: rent arrears could be excused for those who co-operated, time was to be taken and rents for the new crofts were to be set as low as possible.

The process did not start well. The Reverend David Mackenzie of Kildonan wrote to Loch on behalf of the 220 families due to be cleared from his parish. He categorically challenged the basic premise of the clearance: that the people from an inland region could make a living on their new coastal crofts. Loch was adamant that the removals would go ahead regardless of objections. Yet, at the same time, Suther and the local ground officer of the estate were pointing out to Loch that few of the new crofts were of acceptable quality. Some tenants were considering moving off the estate, either to Caithness or emigrating to America or the Cape of Good Hope, which Suther encouraged by writing off their rent arrears. More positively for those with eviction notices, cattle prices were high in 1818. Ultimately, that year’s clearances passed without serious protest.

Over the next 2 years, the scale of clearance increased: 425 families (about 2,000 people) in 1819 and 522 families in 1820. Loch was anxious to move quickly, whilst cattle prices were high and there was a good demand for leases of sheep farms. There was no violent resistance in 1819, but Suther, despite precise instructions to the contrary, used fire to destroy cleared houses. This came after a spell of dry weather, in which the turf and stone walls of the houses had dried out, so that even the turf in the walls ignited, adding to the blaze of the thatch and roof timbers. Multiplied over the large number of properties that were cleared, this made a horrific impression on those who observed it. The public relations disaster that Loch had wished to avoid now followed, with the Observer newspaper running the headline: “the Devastation of Sutherland”. 1819 became known as “the year of the burnings” (bliadhna na losgaidh)

In the autumn of 1819, the Sutherland Estate management received reports of growing hostility to further clearances. The Sutherland family were sent anonymous threatening letters to their house in London. The Transatlantic Emigration Society provided a focus for resistance to the clearances planned in 1820, holding large meetings and conducting extensive correspondence with newspapers about the situation of Sutherland tenants. This publicity caused great concern to Loch, and the comment in the press increased as Whitsun 1820 increased. Lady Sutherland felt that her family was being particularly targeted by critics of the clearances, so she asked Loch to find out what neighbouring estates had done. The answer was that Lord Moray in Ross-shire had, on occasion, bought the cattle owned by evicted tenants, but otherwise had made no provision for them: they had simply been evicted with no compensation or alternative tenancies offered. The tenants of Munro of Novar were also simply evicted, with many of them emigrating. As the 1820 Sutherland clearances approached, there was notable rioting at Culrain on the Munro of Novar estate, protesting at their clearance plans. Loch worried that this would spread to the Sutherland tenants, but no violent physical resistance occurred, with those cleared demonstrating (in the words of Eric Richards) “sullen acquiescence”. In June there was serious resistance to clearance in another nearby estate, at Gruids. Richards attributes the lack of violence in the Sutherland Estate to the resettlement arrangements in place there, stating: “In this sense, the Sutherland estate was, despite its reputation, in strong and positive contrast to most other clearing proprietors.”

1819 and 1820 represented the main clearance activity on the Sutherland Estate. The much smaller clearance in the spring of 1821 at Achness and Ascoilmore met with obstruction and the military had to be called in to carry out evictions by force. Complaints were made against the estate of cruelty and negligence, but an internal enquiry absolved the factor of any wrongdoing,. However, it is highly likely that this conclusion glossed over the suffering experienced by those evicted.

Figures gathered by the estate give some information on where tenants, sub-tenants and squatters went after the evictions in 1819. For tenants, 68% became tenants elsewhere on the estate, 7% went to neighbouring estates, 21% to adjoining counties and 2% emigrated. The remaining 2% were unaccounted for. The sub-tenants and squatters were divided up into 73% resettled on the coast, 7% in neighbouring estates, 13% to nearby counties and 5% emigrated. 2% were unaccounted for. This survey does not pick up information on those who subsequently travelled elsewhere.

Loch issued instructions to Suther at the end of 1821 that brought the major clearance activity of the estate to an end. Some small-scale clearance activity continued for the next 20 years or so, but this was not part of the overall plan to resettle the population in coastal settlements and engage them in alternative industries.

Lady Sutherland twice raised a volunteer regiment, the “Sutherlandshire Fencibles”, in 1779 and 1793, which was later deployed in suppressing the Irish rebellion of 1798.

In 1790 her husband was appointed Ambassador to France and she accompanied him to Paris. She was able to witness the revolutionary events first-hand and wrote descriptions about the political turmoil in France at that time. Lady Sutherland and her husband had difficulty obtaining permission to leave Paris and did not finally travel to London until 1792.

During the 1790s, Lady Sutherland became a leading figure of the social season in London. Her dinner parties and balls were attended by royalty, nobility and leading politicians, both foreign and domestic. She and her husband became close friends with George Canning who considered her beautiful, intelligent, and charming – a view not shared by members of her own class and sex, who thought her overbearing.

When not in public, Lady Sutherland’s interests included corresponding with Sir Walter Scott and, as she was a gifted artist, painting watercolour landscapes of the Sutherland coast and of Dunrobin Castle, among other subjects. She was also an accomplished oil painter. She drew and etched a series of views in Orkney and the northeast coast of Scotland, which were published between 1805 and 1807.

Lady Sutherland spent a lot of time raising her four children. She placed a special emphasis on maximising the wealth of her sons and (as was common at the time) obtaining the best possible marriages for her daughters. Eric Richards observes that she “dominated her sons and probably her husband as well”.

Shortly before his death in July 1833, her husband was created Duke of Sutherland and Lady Sutherland became the Duchess of Sutherland. After her husband’s death, her Scottish estates were managed for her on her behalf. She died, aged seventy-three, on 29 January 1839 at Hamilton Place, Hyde Park, London. She was buried on 20 February 1839, with great pomp at Dornoch Cathedral, in Sutherland. Her comital title passed to her eldest son, George.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots. Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788) was the elder son of James Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII, and the Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain after 1766 as “Charles III”. During his lifetime, he was also known as “the Young Pretender” and “the Young Chevalier”; in popular memory, he is “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 rising; his defeat at Culloden in April 1746 effectively ended the Stuart cause, and subsequent attempts failed to materialise, such as a planned French invasion in 1759.  His escape from Scotland after the uprising led to his portrayal as a romantic figure of heroic failure.

Charles was born in Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy, on 31 December 1720,  where his father had been given a residence by Pope Clement XI. He spent almost all his childhood in Rome and Bologna. He was the son of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart James, son of the exiled Stuart King James II and VII, and Maria Clementina Sobieska, the granddaughter of John III Sobieski, most famous for the victory over the Ottoman Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna.

He had a privileged childhood in Rome, where he was brought up Catholic in a loving but argumentative family. As the legitimate heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland—according to the Jacobite succession—his family lived with a sense of pride and staunchly believed in the divine right of kings.

His grandfather, James II of England, Ireland and VII of Scotland, ruled the countries from 1685 to 1688.  He was deposed when Parliament invited the Dutch Protestant William III and his wife, Princess Mary, King James’s eldest daughter, to replace him in the Revolution of 1688. Many Protestants, including a number of prominent parliamentarians, had been worried that King James aimed to return England to the Catholic fold. Since the exile of James, the “Jacobite Cause” had striven to return the Stuarts to the thrones of England and Scotland, which were united in 1603 under James VI and I, with the parliaments joined by the Acts of Union in 1707 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Charles Edward played a major part in the pursuit of this goal.

In 1734, Charles Edward observed the French and Spanish siege of Gaeta, his first exposure to war. His father managed to obtain the renewed support of the French government in 1744, whereupon Charles Edward travelled to France with the sole purpose of commanding a French army that he would lead in an invasion of England. The invasion never materialised, as the invasion fleet was scattered by a storm. By the time the fleet regrouped, the British fleet realised the diversion that had deceived them and resumed their position in the Channel. Undeterred, Charles Edward was determined to continue his quest for the restoration of the Stuarts.

In December 1743, Charles’s father named him Prince Regent, giving him authority to act in his name. He led a French-backed rebellion 18 months later intending to place his father on the thrones of England and Scotland. He raised funds to fit out the Elisabeth, an old man-of-war of 66 guns, and the Du Teillay (sometimes called Doutelle), a 16-gun privateer which successfully landed him and seven companions at Eriskay on 23 July 1745. He had hoped for support from a French fleet, but it was badly damaged by storms and he was left to raise an army in Scotland.

Many Highland clans still supported the Jacobite cause, both Catholic and Protestant, and Charles hoped for a warm welcome from these clans to start an insurgency by Jacobites throughout Britain. He raised his father’s standard at Glenfinnan and gathered a force large enough to enable him to march on Edinburgh. Lord Provost Archibald Stewart controlled the city, which quickly surrendered. Allan Ramsay painted a portrait of Charles while he was in Edinburgh, which survived in the collection of the Earl of Wemyss at Gosford House and, as of 2016, was on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

On 21 September 1745, Charles defeated the only government army in Scotland at the Battle of Prestonpans, led by General Sir John Cope, and their disastrous defence against the Jacobites is immortalised in the song “Johnnie Cope”. By November, Charles was marching south at the head of approximately 6,000 men. Having taken Carlisle, his army progressed as far as Swarkestone Bridge in Derbyshire. Here, despite Charles’s objections, his council decided to return to Scotland, given the lack of English and French support and rumours that large government forces were being amassed. The Jacobites marched north once more, winning the Battle of Falkirk Muir, but they were later pursued by King George II’s son Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, who caught up with them at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746.

Charles ignored the advice of general Lord George Murray and chose to fight on flat, open, marshy ground where his forces would be exposed to superior government firepower. He commanded his army from a position behind his lines, where he could not see what was happening. He hoped that Cumberland’s army would attack first, and he had his men stand exposed to the British Royal artillery. Seeing the error in this, he quickly ordered an attack, but his messenger was killed before the order could be delivered. The Jacobite attack was uncoordinated, charging into withering musket fire and grapeshot fired from the cannons, and it met with little success.

The Jacobites broke through the bayonets of the redcoats in one place, but they were shot down by the second line of soldiers, and the survivors fled. Cumberland’s troops allegedly committed a number of atrocities as they hunted for the defeated Jacobite soldiers, earning him the title “the Butcher” from the Highlanders. Murray managed to lead a group of Jacobites to Ruthven, intending to continue the fight. Charles thought that he was betrayed, however, and decided to abandon the Jacobite cause. James, the Chevalier de Johnstone, acted as Aide de Camp for Murray during the campaign and briefly for Charles himself, and he provided a first-hand account of these events in his “Memoir of the Rebellion 1745–1746”.

Charles’s subsequent flight is commemorated in “The Skye Boat Song” by Sir Harold Edwin Boulton and the Irish song “Mo Ghile Mear” by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill. He hid in the moors of Scotland, always barely ahead of the government forces. Many Highlanders aided him, and none of them betrayed him for the £30,000 reward.  Charles was assisted by supporters such as pilot Donald Macleod of Galtrigill, Captain Con O’Neill who took him to Benbecula,  and Flora MacDonald who helped him escape to the Isle of Skye by taking him in a boat disguised as her maid “Betty Burke”. He ultimately evaded capture and left the country aboard the French frigate L’Heureux, arriving in France in September. The Prince’s Cairn marks the traditional spot on the shores of Loch nan Uamh in Lochaber from which he made his final departure from Scotland. With the Jacobite cause lost, Charles spent the remainder of his life on the continent, except for one secret visit to London.

While back in France, Charles had numerous affairs; the one with his first cousin Marie Louise de La Tour d’Auvergne, wife of Jules, Prince of Guéméné, resulted in a short-lived son Charles (1748–1749). In 1748, he was expelled from France under the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle that ended the War of the Austrian Succession.

Charles lived for several years in exile with his Scottish mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw, whom he met, and may have begun a relationship with, during the 1745 rebellion. In 1753, the couple had a daughter, Charlotte. Charles’s inability to cope with the collapse of the cause led to his problem with drink, and mother and daughter left Charles with his father James’s connivance. Charlotte went on to have three illegitimate children with Ferdinand, an ecclesiastical member of the Rohan family. Their only son was Charles Edward Stuart, Count Roehenstart. Clementina was suspected by many of Charles’s supporters of being a spy planted by the Hanoverian government of Great Britain.

After his defeat, Charles indicated to the remaining supporters of the Jacobite cause in England that, accepting the impossibility of his recovering the English and Scots crowns while he remained a Roman Catholic, he was willing to commit himself to reigning as a Protestant. Accordingly, he visited London incognito in 1750 and conformed to the Protestant faith by receiving Anglican communion, likely at one of the remaining non-juring chapels. Bishop Robert Gordon, a staunch Jacobite whose house in Theobald’s Row was one of Charles’s safe-houses for the visit, is the most likely to have celebrated the communion, and a chapel in Gray’s Inn was suggested as the venue as early as 1788 [Gentleman’s Magazine, 1788]. This rebutted David Hume’s suggestion that it was a church in the Strand.  Unusually, the news of this conversion was not advertised widely, and Charles had seemingly returned to the Roman Catholic faith by the time of his marriage.

In 1759, at the height of the Seven Years’ War, Charles was summoned to a meeting in Paris with the French foreign minister, the Duc De Choiseul.  Charles failed to make a good impression, being argumentative and idealistic in his expectations. Choiseul was planning a full-scale invasion of England, involving upwards of 100,000 men —to which he hoped to add a number of Jacobites led by Charles. However, he was so little impressed with Charles, he dismissed the prospect of Jacobite assistance. The French invasion, which was Charles’s last realistic chance to recover the British throne for the Stuart dynasty, was ultimately thwarted by naval defeats at Quiberon Bay and Lagos.

In 1766, Charles’s father died. Pope Clement XIII had recognised James as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland as “James III and VIII” but did not give Charles the same recognition.

In 1772 Charles married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern. They lived first in Rome and in 1774 moved to Florence, wherein 1777 he purchased for his residence the Palazzo di San Clemente, now known also in his memory as the Palazzo del Pretendente. In Florence, he began to use the title “Count of Albany” as an alias. This title is frequently used for him in European publications; his wife Louise is almost always called “Countess of Albany”.

In 1780, Louise left Charles. She claimed that Charles had physically abused her; this claim was generally believed by contemporaries even though Louise was already involved in an adulterous relationship with the Italian poet Count Vittorio Alfieri.

In 1783, Charles signed an act of legitimation for his illegitimate daughter Charlotte, born in 1753 to Clementina Walkinshaw (later known as Countess von Alberstrof). Charles also gave Charlotte the title “Duchess of Albany” in the peerage of Scotland and the style “Her Royal Highness”, but these honours did not give Charlotte any right of succession to the throne. Charlotte lived with her father in Florence and Rome for the next five years.

John Hay Allen and Charles Stuart Allen, later known as John Sobieski Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart, revived the unsubstantiated claim that their father, Thomas Allen, was a legitimate son of Charles and Louise.

Charles died in Rome of a stroke on 31 January 1788, aged 67. He was first buried in Frascati Cathedral near Rome, where his brother Henry Benedict Stuart was bishop. At Henry’s death in 1807, Charles’s remains (except his heart) were moved to the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican where they were laid to rest next to those of his brother and his father near the monument to the Royal Stuarts. His mother is also buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. His heart remained in Frascati Cathedral, where it is contained in a small urn beneath the floor under a monument.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Kings-Queens of Scotland. Macbeth.

Macbeth (Medieval Gaelic: Mac Bethad mac Findlaích; Modern Gaelic: MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh; nicknamed Rí Deircc, “the Red King”;  c. 1005 – 15 August 1057) was King of Scots from 1040 until his death. He ruled over only a portion of present-day Scotland.

By John Hall –

Little is known about Macbeth’s early life, although he was the son of Findláech of Moray and may have been a grandson of Malcolm II. He became Mormaer of Moray – a semi-autonomous lordship – in 1032 and was probably responsible for the death of the previous mormaer, Gille Coemgáin. He subsequently married Gille Coemgáin’s widow, Gruoch, although they had no children together.

In 1040, Duncan I launched an attack into Moray and was killed in action by Macbeth’s troops. Macbeth succeeded him as King of Alba, apparently with little opposition. His 17-year reign was mostly peaceful, although in 1054 he was faced with an English invasion, led by Siward, Earl of Northumbria, on behalf of Edward the Confessor. Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 by forces loyal to the future Malcolm III. He was buried on Iona, the traditional resting place of Scottish kings.

Macbeth was initially succeeded by his stepson Lulach, but Lulach ruled for only a few months before also being killed by Malcolm III, whose descendants would rule Scotland until the late 13th century. Macbeth is today best known as the main character of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth and the many works it has inspired. However, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is based on Holinshed’s Chronicles (published in 1577) and is not historically accurate.

Macbeth’s full name in Medieval Gaelic was Mac Bethad mac Findlaích. This is realised as MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh in Modern Gaelic and anglicised as Macbeth MacFinlay (also spelt Findlay, Findley, or Finley). The name Mac Bethad, from which the anglicised “Macbeth” is derived, means “son of life”. Although it has the appearance of a Gaelic patronymic it does not have any meaning of filiation but instead carries an implication of “righteous man”  or “religious man”.  An alternative proposed derivation is that it is a corruption of macc-bethad meaning “one of the elect”

Royal ancestry.

Some sources make Macbeth a grandson of King Malcolm II and thus a cousin to Duncan I, whom he succeeded. He was possibly also a cousin to Thorfinn the Mighty, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Nigel Tranter, in his novel Macbeth the King, went so far as to portray Macbeth as Thorfinn’s half-brother.  However, this is speculation arising from the lack of historical certainty regarding the number of daughters Malcolm had.

Mormaer and dux

When Cnut the Great came north in 1031 to accept the submission of King Malcolm II, Macbeth too submitted to him:

… Malcolm, king of the Scots, submitted to him, and became his man, with two other kings, Macbeth and Iehmarc …

Some have seen this as a sign of Macbeth’s power; others have seen his presence, together with Iehmarc, who may be Echmarcach mac Ragnaill, as proof that Malcolm II was overlord of Moray and of the Kingdom of the Isles. Whatever the true state of affairs in the early 1030s, it seems more probable that Macbeth was subject to the king of Alba, Malcolm II, who died at Glamis, on 25 November 1034. The Prophecy of Berchán, apparently alone in near-contemporary sources, says Malcolm died a violent death, calling it a “kinslaying” without actually naming his killers.  Tigernach’s chronicle says only:

Máel Coluim son of Cináed, king of Alba, the honour of western Europe, died.

Malcolm II’s grandson Duncan (Donnchad mac Crínáin), later King Duncan I, was acclaimed as king of Alba on 30 November 1034, apparently without opposition. Duncan appears to have been tánaise ríg, the king in waiting, so that far from being an abandonment of tanistry, as has sometimes been argued, his kingship was a vindication of the practice. Previous successions had involved strife between various rígdomna  – men of royal blood.  Far from being the aged King Duncan of Shakespeare’s play, the real King Duncan was a young man in 1034, and even at his death in 1040 his youthfulness is remarked upon.

Duncan’s early reign was apparently uneventful. His later reign, in line with his description as “the man of many sorrows” in the Prophecy of Berchán, was not successful. In 1039, Strathclyde was attacked by the Northumbrians, and a retaliatory raid led by Duncan against Durham turned into a disaster. Duncan survived the defeat, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth’s domain, apparently on a punitive expedition against Moray.  There he was killed in action, at Bothnagowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth, probably on 14 August 1040.

High King of Alba.

On Duncan’s death, Macbeth became king. No resistance is known at that time, but it would have been entirely normal if his reign were not universally accepted. In 1045, Duncan’s father Crínán of Dunkeld (a scion of the Scottish branch of the Cenél Conaill and Hereditary Abbot of Iona) was killed in a battle between two Scottish armies.

John of Fordun wrote that Duncan’s wife fled Scotland, taking her children, including the future kings Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) and Donald III (Domnall Bán mac Donnchada, or Donalbane) with her. On the basis of the author’s beliefs as to whom Duncan married, various places of exile, Northumbria and Orkney among them, have been proposed. However, E. William Robertson proposes the safest place for Duncan’s widow and her children would be with her or Duncan’s kin and supporters in Atholl.

After the defeat of Crínán, Macbeth was evidently unchallenged. Marianus Scotus tells how the king made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, where, Marianus says, he gave money to the poor as if it were a seed.

Karl Hundason.

The Orkneyinga Saga says that a dispute between Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney, and Karl Hundason began when Karl Hundason became “King of Scots” and claimed Caithness. The identity of Karl Hundason, unknown to Scots and Irish sources, has long been a matter of dispute, and it is far from clear that the matter is settled. The most common assumption is that Karl Hundason was an insulting byname (Old Norse for “Churl, son of a Dog”) given to Macbeth by his enemies.  William Forbes Skene’s suggestion that he was Duncan I of Scotland has been revived in recent years. Lastly, the idea that the whole affair is a poetic invention has been raised.

According to the Orkneyinga Saga, in the war which followed, Thorfinn defeated Karl in a sea-battle off Deerness at the east end of the Orkney Mainland. Then Karl’s nephew Mutatan or Muddan, appointed to rule Caithness for him, was killed at Thurso by Thorkel the Fosterer. Finally, a great battle at Tarbat Ness.  on the south side of the Dornoch Firth ended with Karl defeated and fugitive or dead. Thorfinn, the saga says, then marched south through Scotland as far as Fife, burning and plundering as he passed. A later note in the saga claims that Thorfinn won nine Scottish earldoms.

Whoever Karl Hundason may have been, it appears that the saga is reporting a local conflict with a Scots ruler of Moray or Ross:

[T]he whole narrative is consistent with the idea that the struggle of Thorfinn and Karl is a continuation of that which had been waged since the ninth century by the Orkney earls, notably Sigurd Rognvald’s son, Ljot, and Sigurd the Stout, against the princes or mormaers of Moray, Sutherland, Ross, and Argyll, and that, in fine, Malcolm and Karl were mormaers of one of these four provinces.

Final years.

In 1052, Macbeth was involved indirectly in the strife in the Kingdom of England between Godwin, Earl of Wessex and Edward the Confessor when he received a number of Norman exiles from England in his court, perhaps becoming the first king of Scots to introduce feudalism to Scotland. In 1054, Edward’s Earl of Northumbria, Siward, led a very large invasion of Scotland (Duncan’s widow and Malcolm’s mother, Suthed, was Northumbrian-born; it is probable but not proven that there was a family tie between Siward and Malcolm). The campaign led to a bloody battle in which the Annals of Ulster reported 3,000 Scots and 1,500 English dead, which can be taken as meaning very many on both sides, and one of Siward’s sons and a son-in-law were among the dead. The result of the invasion was that one Máel Coluim, “son of the king of the Cumbrians” (not to be confused with Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, the future Malcolm III of Scotland) was restored to his throne, i.e., as ruler of the kingdom of Strathclyde.  It may be that the events of 1054 are responsible for the idea, which appears in Shakespeare’s play, that Malcolm III was put in power by the English.

Macbeth did not survive the English invasion for long, for he was defeated and mortally wounded or killed by the future Malcolm III (“King Malcolm Ceann-mor“, son of Duncan I)  on the north side of the Mounth in 1057, after retreating with his men over the Cairnamounth Pass to take his last stand at the battle at Lumphanan. The Prophecy of Berchán has it that he was wounded and died at Scone, sixty miles to the south, some days later.  Macbeth’s stepson Lulach was installed as king soon after.

Unlike later writers, no near contemporary source remarks on Macbeth as a tyrant. The Duan Albanach, which survives in a form dating to the reign of Malcolm III, calls him “Mac Bethad the renowned”. The Prophecy of Berchán, a verse history which purports to be a prophecy, describes him as “the generous king of Fortriu”, and says:

The red, tall, golden-haired one, he will be pleasant to me among them; Scotland will be brimful west and east during the reign of the furious red one.

Life to legend.

Macbeth’s life, like that of King Duncan I, had progressed far towards legend by the end of the 14th century, when John of Fordun and Andrew of Wyntoun wrote their histories. Hector Boece, Walter Bower, and George Buchanan all contributed to the legend.

William Shakespeare’s depiction and its influence.

Macbeth and the witches by Henry Fuseli (Johann Heinrich Füssli) (1741–1825)

V0025894 Macbeth meets the three witches; scene from Shakespeare’s ‘M Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Macbeth meets the three witches; scene from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Wood engraving, 19th century. after: William ShakespearePublished: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

In Shakespeare’s play, which is based mainly upon Raphael Holinshed’s account, Macbeth is initially a valorous and loyal general to the elderly King Duncan. After being flattered by Three Witches and his own wife, Macbeth rationalizes that murdering his king and usurping the throne is the right thing to do. Ultimately, however, the prophecies of the witches prove misleading, and Macbeth alienates the nobility of Scotland and is defeated in battle by Prince Malcolm. As the King’s armies disintegrate he encounters Macduff, a refugee nobleman whose wife and children had earlier been murdered by Macbeth’s death squads. Upon realizing that he will die if he duels Macduff, Macbeth at first refuses to do so. But when Macduff explains that if Macbeth surrenders he will be subjected to ridicule by his former subjects, Macbeth vows, “I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, to be baited by a rabble’s curse.” He chooses instead to fight Macduff to death. Macbeth is then slain and beheaded and the play ends with Prince Malcolm planning his coronation at Scone.

The likely reason for Shakespeare’s unflattering depiction of Macbeth is that King James VI and I was descended from Malcolm III via the House of Bruce and his own House of Stewart, whereas Macbeth’s line died out with the death of Lulach six months after his step-father. King James was also thought to be a descendant of Banquo through Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland.

In a 1959 essay, Boris Pasternak compared Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Pasternak explained that neither character begins as a murderer, but becomes one by a set of faulty rationalizations and a belief that he is above the law.

Lady Macbeth has gained fame along the way. In his 1865 novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Nikolai Leskov updated The Tragedy of Macbeth so that it takes place among the Imperial Russian merchant class. In an ironic twist, however, Leskov reverses the gender roles – the woman is the murderer and the man is the instigator. Leskov’s novel was the basis for Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1936 opera of the same name.

Other depictions.

In modern times, Dorothy Dunnett’s novel King Hereafter aims to portray a historical Macbeth but proposes that Macbeth and his rival and sometime ally Thorfinn of Orkney are one and the same (Thorfinn is his birth name and Macbeth his baptismal name). John Cargill Thompson’s play Macbeth Speaks 1997, a reworking of his earlier Macbeth Speaks, is a monologue delivered by the historical Macbeth, aware of what Shakespeare and posterity have done to him. Scottish author Nigel Tranter based one of his historical novels, MacBeth the King, on the historical figure. David Greig’s 2010 play Dunsinane takes Macbeth’s downfall at Dunsinane as its starting point, with his just-ended reign portrayed as long and stable in contrast to Malcolm’s. British Touring Shakespeare also produced in 2010 A Season Before the Tragedy of Macbeth by dramatist Gloria Carreño describing events from the murder of “Lord Gillecomgain”, Gruoch Macbeth’s first husband, to the fateful letter in the first act of Shakespeare’s tragedy

Macbeth appears as a character in the television series Gargoyles with the Gargoyle Demona playing a crucial role in both his rise and fall as King of Scotland. He was voiced by John Rhys-Davies.

Thank you for Sharing me.

My Poetry. Self Harming Son.

Why do you look so pale today? 
yesterday you were glowing 
you look so sad sitting there 
my concern for you is growing. 
Its as if you were a million miles away 
nothing around you matters 
your life is torn, sorrowful and sad
around you all is in tatters.
What turned this boy into a raging soul?
fighting the ones he adores
did someone treat you badly before?
your arms all scratched with sores.
Arms are bruised bright red coloured
trying to hide the scars
you sit there quiet in your own little World
looking up at the stars.
Scratches deep not far from a vein
but not quite reaching your goal
done in privacy so no one knows
desperate to save your soul.
Why are you doing this? what's wrong with you?
we need to discuss this now
I promise to listen and be calm
I give you my solemn vow.
If I cannot help you, lets see someone
who can advise and show you the way
your life cant continue to be so sad
for now or another day.
Three months ago you were a lively lad
hardly a care in the World
now this misery has entered your body
and terror quickly unfurled.
Talk with me now, tell me what's wrong?
I cannot guess the way you feel
I try to be here for you day and night
my love for you is real.
Maybe in time you will get well
we will fight this evil together
with the help of doctors and from me
we will storm this hideous weather.

So many kids nowadays are turning to self harm,
it is easy to recognise the symptoms, talk to your kids,
make sure they have no issues, get to the matter quickly,
before it is too late.
Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots. Greyfriars Bobby.

Greyfriars Bobby (May 4, 1855 – January 14 1872) was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known in Scotland, through several books and films. A prominent commemorative statue and nearby graves are a tourist attraction.

A year later, the English philanthropist Lady Burdett-Coutts was charmed by the story and had a drinking fountain topped with Bobby’s statue (commissioned from the sculptor William Brodie) erected at the junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row (opposite the entrance to the churchyard) to commemorate him.
Several books and films have since been based on Bobby’s life, including the novel Greyfriars Bobby (1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).

The accuracy of stories of Greyfriars Bobby has been challenged many times: for instance, in Forbes Macgregor’s Greyfriars Bobby: The Real Story, at Last, Jan Bondeson’s Greyfriars Bobby: The Most Faithful Dog in the World, and Richard Brassey’s “Greyfriars Bobby The Most Famous Dog in Scotland”.

Questions about the story’s accuracy are not new. In a newspaper article in The Scotsman, “Greyfriars Bobby A Dog’s Devotion” (11 August 1934), Councillor Wilson McLaren responds to contemporary questions about the accuracy of the stories by describing his own conversation, in 1871, with “Mr Traill” of “Traill’s Coffee House” in relation to the dog he himself was then feeding, reassuring readers about the story Mr Traill had given him, and describing responses in 1889 to questions about the story’s accuracy. A sense of the difficulty of determining accuracy is gained from two opposing letters to The Scotsman newspaper on 8 February 1889 (part of the debate referred to by McLaren), both from people claiming close links to Greyfriars Kirk, both claiming to have known of the dog personally but with opposing views over the accuracy of stories.
A common discussion is over which of two people named John Gray was the real owner of Bobby (one being a night watchman and the other a farmer). In Councillor McLaren’s account, Mr Traill in 1871 had spoken about John Gray the farmer.

Jan Bondeson’s book advances the view that fundamental facts about the dog and its loyalty are wrong. Bondeson states as background that in 19th-century Europe, there are over 60 documented accounts of the graveyard or cemetery dogs. They were stray dogs, fed by visitors and curators to the point that the dogs made the graveyards their home. People began to believe that they were waiting by a grave and so the dog has looked after. Bondeson claims that after an article about Bobby appeared in The Scotsman, visitor numbers to the graveyard increased, which supposedly created a commercial benefit for the local community. Bondeson also speculates that in 1867, the original Bobby died and was replaced with a younger dog, and which explains Bobby’s supposed longevity.

Thank you for Sharing me.

My Poetry. WHAT AM I?

 I need you to survive
 You keep me alive
 I swallow you each day
 You help in your own Kinda way.
 Your sometimes heaven sent
 And no need to repent
 The aches and pains are real
 Of which I often feel.
 You stabilise my mind
 And for that your one of a kind
 What would happen to me today
 If you left and didn’t stay?
 Would I become a nervous wreck?
 A joke?, a pain in the neck?
 So for now I will need to depend
 On you to be my friend
 Make me well in this uncertain day
 Work your magic in your own special way.

 What am I ?
Thank you for Sharing me.

Scottish Architecture. Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey is an abbey located on the island of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland.

It is one of the oldest Christian religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata. Saint Aidan served as a monk at Iona, before helping to re-establish Christianity in Northumberland, on the island of Lindisfarne

Iona Abbey is the spiritual home of the Iona Community, an ecumenical Christian religious order, whose headquarters are in Glasgow. The Abbey remains a popular site of Christian pilgrimage today.

In 563, Columba came to Iona from Ireland with twelve companions and founded a monastery. It developed as an influential centre for the spread of Christianity among the Picts and Scots.

The prime purpose of the monastery was to create ‘a perfect monastery as an image of the heavenly city of Jerusalem’ – Columba wanted to ‘represent the pinnacle of Christian virtues, as an example for others to emulate’ – rather than explicitly missionary activity.[3] The monks worshipped and worked daily, following Celtic Christianity practices and disciplines. They also managed assets and were involved with the local and wider community.

Like other Celtic Christian monasteries, Columba’s monastery would have been made up of a number of wattle and timber, or wood and thatch, buildings. These would have included a central church or oratory, the common refectory or kitchen, the library or scriptorium, monk cells or dormitories, and a guest house for visitors including pilgrims.  It is believed that around 800AD the original wooden chapel was replaced by a stone chapel.

Columba’s monastery was surrounded by a ditch and earth bank, part of which is believed to have pre-existed Columba’s arrival, and part of which can still be seen to the north-west of the current abbey buildings.

Adomnán describes a building on a small mound, Torr an Aba, in the monastery grounds where St Columba worked and wrote. Charred wood has been dated from what is believed to be this site, and a socket to hold a cross (which is believed to have been erected later) is visible there.

The production of Christian manuscripts, books and annals was an important activity in the Iona monastery. The Chronicle of Ireland was produced at Iona until about 740. The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript, is believed to have been produced by the monks of Iona in the years leading up to 800.

Stone crosses, both standing and lying, were used to mark graves in the Iona monastery. Large stone crosses were also erected, perhaps to broadcast key Christian messages, particularly in 800-1000.  Their design reflected precious metal crosses. Some were carved from stone imported 50 miles by boat from Loch Sween.

Remains of wood-turning and metal-working have been found at Iona, and of glass (windows and beads) that may date from the 600’s.

The Iona monastery’s position in what was then a well-used seaway would have facilitated trade, as would St Columba’s personal aristocratic background. Pigments from the south of France were used in Iona.

The building at Kells took from 807 until the consecration of the church in 814. In 814, Cellach, Abbot of Iona, retired to Kells, but, contrary to what is sometimes claimed, it is clear from the Annals that Iona remained the main Columban house for several decades, despite the danger of Viking raids.

In 825, St Blathmac and those monks who remained with him at Iona were martyred in a Viking raid, and the Abbey was burned. But only in 878 were the main relics, with Columba’s reliquary shrine specified in the records, moved to Ireland, with Kells becoming the new main Columban house. Though not mentioned, this might well have been when the Book of Kells came to Kells. However, Iona Abbey was probably not deserted as its continued importance is shown by the death there in 980 of Amlaíb Cuarán, a retired King of Dublin.

St Columba established several monasteries, although he was mainly based at Iona.

Other monks from Iona moved to the Continent and established monasteries in Belgium, France, and Switzerland.

In 1114 Iona was seized by the King of Norway, who held it for fifty years before Somerled recaptured it, and invited renewed Irish involvement in 1164: this led to the construction of the central part of the cathedral. Ranald, Somerled’s son, now the ‘Lord of the Isles’, in 1203 invited the Benedictine order to establish a new monastery, and an Augustinian Nunnery, on the Columban Monastery’s foundations. Building work began on the new abbey church, on the site of Columba’s original church. The following year, in 1204, the site was raided by a force led by two Irish bishops. This was a response by Ireland’s Columban clergy to the loss of its connections and influence at this significant site founded by St Columba

The Iona Nunnery, a foundation of the Augustinian Order (one of only two in Scotland – the other is in Perth), was established south of the abbey buildings. Graves of some of the early nuns remain, including that of a remarkable prioress, Anna Maclean, who died in 1543. Clearly visible under her outer robe is the rochet, a pleated surplice denoting the Augustinian Order. The nunnery buildings were rebuilt in the fifteenth century and fell into disrepair after the Reformation.

The abbey church was substantially expanded in the fifteenth century, but following the Scottish Reformation, Iona along with numerous other abbeys throughout the British Isles were dismantled, and abandoned, their monks and libraries dispersed.

In 1899 the Duke of Argyll transferred ownership of the ruined remains of the Abbey and Nunnery sites to the Iona Cathedral Trust, which undertook an extensive restoration of the Abbey church. In 1938, the inspiration of Reverend George MacLeod led a group which rebuilt the abbey and founded the Iona Community. The reconstruction was organised by the architect Ian Gordon Lindsay having generously been passed the project from his senior mentor and friend Reginald Fairlie. The surrounding buildings were also reconstructed during the 20th century by the Iona Community. This ecumenical Christian community continues to use the site to this day.

The simple square font was added in 1908 and dedicated to the memory of the Very Rev Theodore Marshall DD, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in that year.

In 2000 the Iona Cathedral Trust handed over the care of the Abbey, Nunnery, and associated sites to Historic Scotland.

Many early Scottish kings (said to be 48 in total), as well as kings from Ireland, Norway and France, are said to be buried in the Abbey graveyard. However, modern scholars are sceptical of such claims, which were likely mythic associated with increasing the prestige of Iona. Numerous leading Hebrideans, such as various Lords of the Isles and other prominent members of West Highland clans, were buried on Iona, including several early MacLeod chiefs. The site was much loved by John Smith, a 20th-century leader of the Labour Party, who was buried on Iona after his death in 1994.

Several high crosses are found on the island of Iona. St Martin’s Cross (dated to the 8th century) still stands by the roadside. A replica of St John’s Cross is found by the doorway of the Abbey. The restored original is located in the Infirmary Museum at the rear of the abbey.

The contemporary Jedburgh-based sculptor Christopher Hall worked for many years on carvings on the cloisters of the abbey, which represent birds, flora and fauna native to the island. He also was commissioned to carve John Smith’s gravestone.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Kings-Queens of Scotland .James 1.

The turbulent life of James I started as it meant to go on. In 1406 James’ father, King Robert III, fearing for his infant son’s safety as internal factions vied for control of the kingdom, attempted to send the child to safety in France. The plan backfired disastrously as the boat was intercepted by the English and James, future monarch of Scotland, was taken captive. Robert, already an ill man, is said to have died from the shock on hearing the news. For the next 18 years, James would be a prisoner of the English king, Henry IV (and later Henry V).

During this absence, the Scottish court was dominated by James uncle, Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany. The Duke resolutely refused to pay the ransom demanded by the English for the return of James. While the Albany Stewarts prospered, the captive James enjoyed life at the English court and plotted revenge on the Albany Stewarts.

During his years of captivity, James pursued his cultural passions. It was during this time that James wrote poems such as The Kingis Quair and Good Counsel. At the English court, James received an education befitting a king and by the time of his release, James was well-schooled in matters of philosophy, theology and law. James also brought a different type of architecture back to Scotland with him. James was instrumental in the building of Linlithgow Palace – a royal residence that was designed to be decorative rather than defensive in nature.

It was only on the death of Robert Duke of Albany that James’ ransom was finally paid. In 1424 James finally returned to Scotland to wreak his revenge on the Albany Stewarts, executing the leading members of the family. From observing life at the English court during his captivity, James tried to reform Scotland along similar lines. His works in changing financial and political arrangements were effective in modernising Scottish procedure but not always popular. In his absence, and under the influence of the Albany Stewarts, a culture of greed and corruption had bred. James the new brush was sweeping too clean.

The biggest challenge faced by James, however, was the enduring question of the legitimacy of his right to be king. James’s grandfather, Robert II, had married twice and had numerous children. The children from the first relationship (from which James was descended) were widely held to be illegitimate. The question of the validity of James’s rule became increasingly heated until it finally resulted in open rebellion.

A faction of the Scottish nobles who supported the claims of the offspring from Robert II second marriage attacked the king while he stayed at Friars Preachers Monastery in Perth. In a desperate attempt to escape James smashed through the floorboards of his apartment and leapt into the sewers. In a cruel irony, days earlier James had ordered the sewers blocked to stop his tennis balls from being lost in them. The assailants caught up with him and stabbed him to death. James’ queen, Joan escaped with their son, James, to Stirling Castle.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Scottish places of Interest. Princess Street Gardens Edinburgh.

Hi folks, Edinburgh is a Beautiful City, at the Centre of the City, are lovely gardens overlooked by the Castle. I spent many a time here when I was young.

Princes Street Gardens are two adjacent public parks in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, lying in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770s and 1820s following the long draining of the Nor Loch and building of the New Town, beginning in the 1760s.

The loch, situated on the north side of the town, was originally an artificial creation forming part of its medieval defences and made expansion northwards difficult. The water was habitually polluted from sewage draining downhill from the Old Town.

In 1846 the railway was built in the valley to connect the Edinburgh-Glasgow line at Haymarket with the new northern terminus of the North British line from Berwick-upon-Tweed at Waverley Station.[1]

The gardens run along the south side of Princes Street and are divided by The Mound, on which the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy are located. East Princes Street Gardens run from The Mound to Waverley Bridge and cover 8.5 acres (3.4 ha). The larger West Princes Street Gardens cover 29 acres (12 ha) and extend to the adjacent churches of St. John’s and St. Cuthbert’s, near Lothian Road in the west.

The Gardens are the best-known parks in Edinburgh, having the highest awareness and visitor figures for both residents and visitors to the city.

In 1846, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Company constructed a sunken railway line along the southern edge of the Gardens to join its Haymarket terminus to a new General Station adjoining the North British Railway Company’s North Bridge terminus (both stations later renamed Waverley Station). This involved constructing the Haymarket Tunnel (comprising separate north and south tunnels), 910 metres long, between the western end of the gardens and Haymarket Station. A shorter tunnel (again comprising two separate tunnels) was also dug through the Mound dividing the East and West Gardens.

PB3X9P The restored Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh Scotland with Edinburgh Castle in the background.

East Princes Street Gardens originated after a dispute between Edinburgh Corporation (town council) and the early New Town proprietors, among whom was the philosopher David Hume who resided in St. David Street, a side street off Princes Street. In 1771 the council acquired the land as part of the First New Town development. It began feuding ground on the south side of Princes Street (on the site of the current Balmoral Hotel and Waverley Mall) for the building of houses and workshops for a coach-builder and a furniture-maker. After a failed petition to the council, the proprietors raised two actions in the Court of Session to halt the building and to condemn the Corporation for having contravened their feuding terms by which they had pre-supposed open ground and a vista south of the street. After the Court found in favour of the council on the first point the decision was quickly appealed to the House of Lords and overturned, but when the Court again supported the council on the second point, the matter was submitted to judicial arbitration. This resulted in a judgement that the houses could be completed which later allowed the North British Hotel (Balmoral Hotel) to be built on the site, that the adjacent furniture-maker’s premises must not rise above the level of Princes Street (which is the reason the roof of the Waverley Mall is at street level) and that the ground westwards for half the length of Princes Street “shall be kept and preserved in perpetuity as pleasure-grounds to be dressed up at the expense of the town council as soon as may be.”

Along the south side of Princes Street are many statues and monuments. In the East Gardens, most prominent is the Scott Monument, a Neo-Gothic spire built-in 1844 to honour Sir Walter Scott. Within East Princes Street Gardens there are statues of the explorer David Livingstone, the publisher and Lord Provost Adam Black and the essayist Professor John Wilson, who wrote under the pseudonym Christopher North. There is also a small commemorative stone honouring the volunteers from the Lothians and Fife who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Every year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the East Gardens are transformed into ‘Winter Wonderland’. This includes a variety of amusement park rides and the Christmas Market, which has food and gifts from all around the world. The most notable attractions are the ice rink and the 33 metres (108 feet) high Ferris wheel, often dubbed ‘The Edinburgh Eye’.

West Princes Street Gardens were originally the private property of “the Princes Street Proprietors” who overlooked them from their houses on the western half of the street. This was passed to them from the council in 1816[4] and the gardens were opened to subscribers generally in the New Town in 1821.

Dogs, cricket, perambulators and smoking were prohibited under their rules, and people using bath-chairs had to present a doctor’s certificate to the Committee of the garden attesting to their ailment not being contagious. An application by the Scottish Association for Suppressing Drunkenness that the gardens be opened during Christmas and New Year “with the object of keeping parties out of the dram shops (i.e. illegal drinking premises)” led eventually to them being opened to the general public on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and one other day in the year.

The Gardener’s Cottage of West Princes Street Gardens in 2014, before it was restored by the Ross Development Trust

In 1876, despite much opposition from residents, the town council reacquired the ground for use as a public park. The new park was laid out by the City Architect Robert Morham including the building of a very picturesque gardeners cottage at the east end of the West Gardens. As part of a later agreement (c.1880), the council widened Princes Street (resulting in a far steeper embankment on that side). A series of statues were erected along the edge of the widened road.

Modernization of the gardens is currently under discussion with the launch of The Quaich Project fundraising campaign from the Ross Development Trust. The new design will improve accessibility and provide new pathways and connections across the city.

In 1939 four huge air-raid shelters were created within this northern embankment. The distinctive shelters now on the upper walkway date from 1950 and were designed by Alexander Garden Forgie. As with most structures in the gardens, they are listed buildings.

The Ross Bandstand of 1935 that the Ross Development Trust propose to replace

The Ross Bandstand in the centre of the West Gardens is named after William Henry Ross, Chairman of the Distillers Company Ltd., who gifted the first bandstand on the site in 1877. The present building and terraces date from 1935. The Princes Street proprietors contributed £500 as a goodwill gesture to the cost of the bandstand.  Various concerts and other events are held at the Ross Bandstand including the Festival Fireworks Concert, Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, and during the city’s Hogmanay celebrations. The Ross Development Trust proposed to rebuild the bandstand as a Ross Pavilion based on a design by architects wHY following an international competition in 2017.

The Ross Fountain is the focus of the western end of the gardens. Gifted by Edinburgh gunsmith Daniel Ross, it was originally installed in 1872 and restored in 2018 with the help of the Ross Development Trust.

Along the south side of Princes Street are statues of the poet Allan Ramsay, the church reformer Thomas Guthrie, and the obstetric pioneer James Young Simpson. Other monuments are the Royal Scots Greys Memorial, the Scottish American War Memorial, the Norwegian Brigade War Memorial, and Wojtek the Bear.

The statuary group on the lower path represents The Genius of Architecture crowning the Theory and Practice of Art and is by William Brodie originally for the garden of Rockville, the home of his maverick architect son-in-law Sir James Gowans. It was moved here in the 1960s following the demolition of Rockville.

The Swedish runestone U 1173 was located beneath the Castle walls (grid reference NT25267352), however, due to security concerns, it was removed from its location in November 2017 and is being prepared to move to George Square, outside the school of Scandinavian studies.

At the eastern entrance to the Gardens, there is the world’s first floral clock dating from 1903.

The large curved monument to the Royal Scots stands slightly hidden just south of the gardener’s cottage. It was designed by Sir Frank Mears with sculpture by Pilkington Jackson. Described as a “modern henge” it dates from 1950 but was added to and “finalised” in May 2007 following the termination of the Royal Scots in 2006. This added additional Battle Honours gained since the 1950s.

East Princes Street Gardens

Thank you for Sharing me.

Scotland and its History. Ancestry.

There are about 50 million people worldwide who claim Scottish ancestry. From Australia and New Zealand, through Europe to the USA and Canada.

There are people all over the world with ancestral roots, affinity or connections to Scotland – and thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier for Scots to trace their ancestry back to the glen or village where they began.

Scotland is a world leader in providing family history information on the internet, partly because written records go back a long way. The main examples are registers of births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1553, Census records from 1841 to 1911 and wills dating back to 1500 – all available online.

The National Records of Scotland is responsible for the registers of births, marriages and deaths, and the taking of the Census. These historic records are publicly available and, since 1998, anyone can access the records through the genealogical website –  Scotland’s People. Around 100 million individual records are available and records are added regularly.


If you’re in Edinburgh and want to trace your ancestors, try Scotland’s People Centre which has been helping people trace their roots since 1953. The National Library also has a number of publications dealing with early data including the International Genealogical Index with some records going back to the Middle Ages, old parochial records; monumental inscriptions; and census information. The National Records of Scotland also has family, business and church records, testaments, registers of property and records of the government of Scotland. If you’re in Glasgow,  The Mitchell Library has extensive family histories, voters’ rolls, street directories and graduation and emigrants lists.

Want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

Find out how to get started on


“Scotland’s Diaspora” is used to describe the many people around the world who consider themselves to have an affinity or a connection with Scotland. So whether you have a family connection to Scotland, have lived, studied or visited, or have a love for all things Scottish, you may very well consider yourself part of the Scottish diaspora!

For generations, Scots have travelled the globe and settled abroad. These people have helped build Scotland’s international reputation and celebrated and supported Scottish culture and heritage, and helped establish the iconic recognition it enjoys today.

Today, Scotland’s diaspora includes Scots who have moved away from home, are working abroad, and are helping to share the idea of today’s Scotland. Scotland itself is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and people from other places, and while some have come to live in Scotland permanently, others who have previously lived, studied or worked in Scotland for a period of time have returned home or moved elsewhere across the world.


Let’s be friends! If you consider yourself part of the Scottish diaspora and are keen to stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Scotland, we have just what you’re looking for. Our social media channels are a one-stop-shop for the latest Scottish news. They are regularly updated with great content; from interesting features about Scots past and present to celebrate Scotland’s achievements around the world. If you love Scotland, keep in touch!

Would love to hear from you if you have Scottish connections.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Blog/Web Promotions.(Brian Lageose)

Brian Lageose

Good afternoon friends.

Today I would like to Promote the following blog.

This Blog is amazing, Brian captures the Early days really well and his articles are amazing, he also has more than one Blog/Website information can be gained from visiting his awesome blog.

Here is a taster of Brians work. Condensed.

Past Imperfect – #582

Fair warning: This one is twisted, even for me

Daughter, far left: “Mother, he’s doing it again.”

Mother, near left: “Who is doing what, dear?”

Daughter: “Father. He’s staring at me again. In that way that we talked about.”

Mother: “Dear, we talk about a lot of things. Which thing are you hovering over now?”

Daughter: “You know. The one where he makes me feel like the last cupcake in the box?”

Mother: “Oh right, right. Whew! The gin had me a bit foggy there for a minute. I’ll handle this.” She turns her head. “Darling?”

Father Darling, near right: “….”

Please pop over to Brians to view his Blogs.

If you want YOUR site promoted FREE , email me here and I will endeavour to post your blog.

Blog/Website Promotions

Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots. Sir Alexander Fleming.

Hey folks, another hero of Scottish inventions takes a look at Sir Alexander Fleming, the man who made it possible to fight virus and diseases through Penicillin.

Sir Alexander Fleming FRS FRSE FRCS (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist  physician  microbiologist, and pharmacologist. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the world’s first antibiotic substance benzylpenicillin (Penicillin G) from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. He wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy.

An advertisement advertising penicillin’s “miracle cure”.

Fleming was knighted for his scientific achievements in 1944. In 1999, he was named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century. In 2002, he was chosen in the BBC’s television poll for determining the 100 Greatest Britons, and in 2009, he was also voted third “greatest Scot” in an opinion poll conducted by STV, behind only Robert Burns and William Wallace.

Early life and education

Born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield farm near Darvel, in Ayrshire, Scotland, Alexander was the third of four children of farmer Hugh Fleming (1816–1888) from his second marriage to Grace Stirling Morton (1848–1928), the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Hugh Fleming had four surviving children from his first marriage. He was 59 at the time of his second marriage and died when Alexander was seven.

Fleming went to Loudoun Moor School and Darvel School and earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London, where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution.  After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Alexander Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His elder brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to him that he should follow the same career, and so in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in Paddington; he qualified with an MBBS degree from the school with distinction in 1906.

Fleming, who was a private in the London Scottish Regiment of the Volunteer Force from 1900  to 1914, had been a member of the rifle club at the medical school. The captain of the club, wishing to retain Fleming in the team, suggested that he join the research department at St Mary’s, where he became assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer in vaccine therapy and immunology. In 1908, he gained a BSc degree with Gold Medal in Bacteriology and became a lecturer at St Mary’s until 1914. Commissioned lieutenant in 1914 and promoted captain in 1917, Fleming served throughout World War I in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was Mentioned in Dispatches. He and many of his colleagues worked in battlefield hospitals at the Western Front in France. In 1918 he returned to St Mary’s Hospital, where he was elected Professor of Bacteriology of the University of London in 1928. In 1951 he was elected the Rector of the University of Edinburgh for a term of three years.


Work before penicillin

During World War I, Fleming witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds. Antiseptics, which were used at the time to treat infected wounds, often worsened the injuries. In an article he submitted for the medical journal The Lancet during World War I, Fleming described an ingenious experiment, which he was able to conduct as a result of his own glass blowing skills, in which he explained why antiseptics were killing more soldiers than infection itself during World War I. Antiseptics worked well on the surface, but deep wounds tended to shelter anaerobic bacteria from the antiseptic agent, and antiseptics seemed to remove beneficial agents produced that protected the patients in these cases at least as well as they removed bacteria, and did nothing to remove the bacteria that were out of reach.  Sir Almroth Wright strongly supported Fleming’s findings, but despite this, most army physicians over the course of the war continued to use antiseptics even in cases where this worsened the condition of the patients.

At St Mary’s Hospital Fleming continued his investigations into antibacterial substances. Testing the nasal secretions from a patient with a heavy cold, he found that nasal mucus had an inhibitory effect on bacterial growth. This was the first recorded discovery of lysozyme, an enzyme present in many secretions including tears, saliva, skin, hair and nails as well as mucus. Although he was able to obtain larger amounts of lysozyme from egg whites, the enzyme was only effective against small counts of harmless bacteria, and therefore had little therapeutic potential.

Accidental discovery

Main article: History of penicillin

One sometimes finds, what one is not looking for. When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I suppose that was exactly what I did.

— Alexander Fleming.

By 1927, Fleming had been investigating the properties of staphylococci. He was already well known from his earlier work and had developed a reputation as a brilliant researcher, but his laboratory was often untidy. On 3 September 1928, Fleming returned to his laboratory having spent August on holiday with his family. Before leaving for his holiday, he had stacked all his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. On returning, Fleming noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus and that the colonies of staphylococci immediately surrounding the fungus had been destroyed, whereas other staphylococci colonies farther away were normal, famously remarking “That’s funny”. Fleming showed the contaminated culture to his former assistant Merlin Pryce, who reminded him, “That’s how you discovered lysozyme.” Fleming grew the mould in pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. He identified the mould as being from the genus Penicillium, and, after some months of calling it “mould juice”, named the substance it released penicillin on 7 March 1929. The laboratory in which Fleming discovered and tested penicillin is preserved as the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.

He investigated its positive anti-bacterial effect on many organisms and noticed that it affected bacteria such as staphylococci and many other Gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, which is caused by Gram-negative bacteria, for which he was seeking a cure at the time. It also affected Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea, although this bacterium is Gram-negative.

Fleming published his discovery in 1929, in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology, but little attention was paid to his article. Fleming continued his investigations but found that cultivating Penicillium was quite difficult and that after having grown the mould, it was even more difficult to isolate the antibiotic agent. Fleming’s impression was that because of the problem of producing it in quantity, and because its action appeared to be rather slow, penicillin would not be important in treating infection. Fleming also became convinced that penicillin would not last long enough in the human body (in vivo) to kill bacteria effectively. Many clinical tests were inconclusive, probably because it had been used as a surface antiseptic. In the 1930s, Fleming’s trials occasionally showed more promise, but Fleming largely abandoned penicillin work, leaving Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford to take up research to mass-produce it, with funds from the U.S. and British governments. They started mass production after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By D-Day in 1944, enough penicillin had been produced to treat all the wounded in the Allied forces.

Purification and stabilisation

3D-model of benzylpenicillin

In Oxford, Ernst Boris Chain and Edward Abraham were studying the molecular structure of the antibiotic. Abraham was the first to propose the correct structure of penicillin. Shortly after the team published its first results in 1940, Fleming telephoned Howard Florey, Chain’s head of department, to say that he would be visiting within the next few days. When Chain heard that Fleming was coming, he remarked “Good God! I thought he was dead.”

Norman Heatley suggested transferring the active ingredient of penicillin back into the water by changing its acidity. This produced enough of the drug to begin testing on animals. There were many more people involved in the Oxford team, and at one point the entire Dunn School was involved in its production.

After the team had developed a method of purifying penicillin to an effective first stable form in 1940, several clinical trials ensued, and their amazing success inspired the team to develop methods for mass production and mass distribution in 1945.

Fleming was modest about his part in the development of penicillin, describing his fame as the “Fleming Myth” and he praised Florey and Chain for transforming the laboratory curiosity into a practical drug. Fleming was the first to discover the properties of the active substance, giving him the privilege of naming it: penicillin. He also kept, grew, and distributed the original mould for twelve years, and continued until 1940 to try to get help from any chemist who had enough skill to make penicillin. But Sir Henry Harris said in 1998: “Without Fleming, no Chain; without Chain, no Florey; without Florey, no Heatley; without Heatley, no penicillin.”


Modern antibiotics are tested using a method similar to Fleming’s discovery.

Fleming’s accidental discovery and isolation of penicillin in September 1928 marks the start of modern antibiotics. Before that, several scientists had published or pointed out that mould or Penicillium sp. were able to inhibit bacterial growth, and even to cure bacterial infections in animals. Ernest Duchesne in 1897 in his thesis “Contribution to the study of vital competition in micro-organisms: antagonism between moulds and microbes”, or also Clodomiro Picado Twight whose work at the Institut Pasteur in 1923 on the inhibiting action of fungi of the Penicillin sp. genre in the growth of staphylococci drew little interest from the directors of the Institut at the time. Fleming was the first to push these studies further by isolating the penicillin, and by being motivated enough to promote his discovery at a larger scale.

Fleming also discovered very early that bacteria developed antibiotic resistance whenever too little penicillin was used or when it was used for too short a period. Almroth Wright had predicted antibiotic resistance even before it was noticed during experiments. Fleming cautioned about the use of penicillin in his many speeches around the world. On 26 June 1945, he made the following cautionary statements: “the microbes are educated to resist penicillin and a host of penicillin-fast organisms is bred out … In such cases, the thoughtless person playing with penicillin is morally responsible for the death of the man who finally succumbs to infection with the penicillin-resistant organism. I hope this evil can be averted.” He cautioned not to use penicillin unless there was a properly diagnosed reason for it to be used and that if it were used, never to use too little, or for too short a period, since these are the circumstances under which bacterial resistance to antibiotics develops.

Personal life

Grave of Alexander Fleming in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

On 24 December 1915, Fleming married a trained nurse, Sarah Marion McElroy of Killala, County Mayo, Ireland. Their only child, Robert Fleming (1924–2015), became a general medical practitioner. After his first wife’s death in 1949, Fleming married Dr Amalia Koutsouri-Vourekas, a Greek colleague at St. Mary’s, on 9 April 1953; she died in 1986.  Fleming was a Roman Catholic.

From 1921 until his death in 1955, Fleming owned a country home in Barton Mills, Suffolk.


On 11 March 1955, Fleming died at his home in London of a heart attack. His ashes are buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots. Stanley Baxter.

Hi friends.

In the ’70s and 80’s I grew up with this very funny man, he was on TV every Saturday night, and his show was amazing. I think he deserves a mention here, he is in his 90’s now, long live Stanley Baxter.

Stanley Baxter (born 24 May 1926) is a Scottish actor and impressionist, known for his popular British television comedy shows The Stanley Baxter ShowBaxter On…Time For BaxterThe Stanley Baxter Picture ShowThe Stanley Baxter Series and Mr Majeika.

Baxter began his career as a child actor on BBC Scotland. He has also written a number of books based on Glasgow.

Early life.

The son of an insurance manager, Baxter was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow, and schooled for the stage by his mother. He began his career as a child actor in the Scottish edition of the BBC’s Children’s Hour. He developed his performing skills further during his national service with the Combined Services Entertainment unit, working alongside comedy actor Kenneth Williams, film director John Schlesinger and dramatist Peter Nichols, who used the experience as the basis for his play Privates on Parade.

After the war, Baxter returned to Glasgow taking to the stage for three years at Glasgow’s Citizens’ Theatre. Following success on the radio with Jimmy Logan, Howard & Wyndham Ltd invited him to star in pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow followed by the Half-Past Eight Shows, and their successors the Five Past Eight Shows at Glasgow’s Alhambra Theatre. He moved to London to work on television in 1959.

In 1969 he performed in the original production of Joe Orton’s then-controversial farce What the Butler Saw at the Queen’s Theatre in the West End with Sir Ralph Richardson, Coral Browne and Hayward Morse. Baxter nurtured the stage careers of Alyson McInnes and John Ramage. Baxter remained a great favourite on the Scottish pantomime circuit, especially at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, up until his retirement in 1992. He starred, in pantomime, with popular Scottish stars, Jimmy Logan and Una McLean.


During the 1960s, Baxter had his own show on BBC Radio Scotland. In 1994 he returned to radio, taking the role of Noël Coward in the BBC World Service Play of the Week, Marvellous Party  directed by Neil Cargill. Written by Jon Wynne-Tyson, it also starred Dorothy Tutin as Coward’s lifelong friend, Esme Wynne-Tyson (Jon’s mother). Also with Cargill, he read Whisky Galore  and Jimmy Swan – The Joy Traveller  for BBC Radio, providing the voices of all the characters.

After a lengthy spell in self-imposed retirement, he appeared in 2004 in a series of four half-hour radio sitcoms for BBC Radio 4, entitled Stanley Baxter and Friends;  the success of this has led to further series entitled The Stanley Baxter Playhouse in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and Two Pipe Problems with Richard Briers in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Two further plays in this series were broadcast in 2013 with Geoffrey Palmer taking the Richard Briers role. In 2009 Eddie Izzard presented The Stanley Baxter Story on BBC Radio 2.  A further series of ‘Playhouse’ commenced airing on BBC radio four in November 2018.


Baxter was known for his impressions of famous people, particularly the Queen (referred to in the context of the shows as ‘the Duchess of Brendagh’). The Stanley Baxter Show ran between 1963 and 1971 on BBC One, and the Stanley Baxter Picture Show from 1972 to 1975 on ITV; the six-part Stanley Baxter Series was made by LWT in 1981. Eight one-hour TV specials were made by LWT and the BBC between 1973 and 1986.

Baxter guest-starred in an episode of The Goodies and later appeared in the lead role in Mr Majeika, developed from the books by Humphrey Carpenter, a children’s show about a magic teacher, expelled from Walpurgis (the wizard land) for failing his professional examinations. He later stated that he had wanted to retire after his spectacular hour-long shows had been axed and that the move to children’s television was a “purely financial” arrangement. In Bing Crosby’s final Christmas special, taped for CBS in the UK just a few weeks before Crosby’s death in 1977, Baxter played multiple roles, including a butler, cook and – in one skit opposite a cracking-up Crosby – the ghost of Bob Hope’s court jester ancestor. Having retired in 1990, Baxter returned for a one-off Christmas 2008 special for ITV, containing a mix of archived and new material, with celebrity comedians commenting on Baxter’s influence on their lives and careers.


Baxter appeared in a number of films, including Geordie (1955), Very Important Person (1961), The Fast Lady (1962), Crooks Anonymous (1962) and Father Came Too! (1963), the last four alongside James Robertson Justice, together with the animation Arabian Knight (1995).


He has written a number of books based on the language of Glasgow, as developed in his Parliamo Glasgow sketch, and on the humour of the city;[11]

Bedside Book of Glasgow Humour ISBN 978-0094672703, may be same as ISBN 978-1841582467

Parliamo Glasgow Omnibus ISBN 978-1841587745 and ISBN 978-1874744009

Let’s Parliamo Glasgow Again – Merrorapattur ISBN 978-0862280734

Stanley Baxter’s Suburban Shocker : Featuring Rosemary Morningside and the Garrulous Glaswegian Mr. Ballhead

Personal life.

Baxter was brought up in the West End of Glasgow, in a tenement. He lived there from the age of five until he married Moira Robertson at 26 years of age. He later lived in Highgate, north London. He was married for 46 years until his wife’s death in 1997.

In August 2014, Baxter was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September’s referendum on that issue.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Famous Scots. Admiral Thomas Cochrane.

Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM, OSC(14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831,  was a British naval flag officer of the Royal Navy, mercenary and radical politician. He was a daring and successful captain of the Napoleonic Wars, leading Napoleon to nickname him Le Loup des Mers (‘The Sea Wolf’). He was successful in virtually all his naval actions.

He was dismissed from the Royal Navy in 1814 following a controversial conviction for fraud on the Stock Exchange. He helped organise and lead the rebel navies of Chile and Brazil during their respective successful wars of independence through the 1820s. While in charge of the Chilean Navy, Cochrane also contributed to Peruvian Independence through the Freedom Expedition of Perú. He was also asked to help the Greek Navy but was prevented by events from having much impact.

In 1832, he was pardoned by the Crown and reinstated in the Royal Navy with the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Blue. After several more promotions, he died in 1860 with the rank of Admiral of the Red, and the honorary title of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom.

His life and exploits inspired the naval fiction of 19th- and 20th-century novelists, particularly the figures of C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O’Brian’s protagonist Jack Aubrey.

Thomas Cochrane was born at Annsfield, near Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Archibald, Lord Cochrane (1748-1831), who later became, in October 1778, The 9th Earl of Dundonald, and his wife, Anna Gilchrist. She was the daughter of Captain James Gilchrist and Ann Roberton, the daughter of Major John Roberton, 16th Laird of Earnock.[4]

Thomas, Lord Cochrane, as he himself became in October 1778, had six brothers. Two served with distinction in the military: William Erskine Cochrane of the 15th Dragoon Guards, who served under Sir John Moore in the Peninsular War and reached the rank of major; and Archibald Cochrane, who became a captain in the Navy.

Lord Cochrane was descended from lines of Scottish aristocracy and military service on both sides of his family. Through his uncle, Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, the sixth son of The 8th Earl of Dundonald, Cochrane was cousin to his namesake, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas John Cochrane (1789-1872). Sir Thomas J. Cochrane also had a naval career[5] and was appointed as Governor of Newfoundland and later Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom. By 1793 the family fortune had been spent, and the family estate was sold to cover debts.

Early life.

Lord Cochrane spent much of his early life in Culross, Fife, where his family had an estate.

Through the influence of his uncle Alexander Cochrane, he was listed as a member of the crew on the books of four Royal Navy ships starting when he was five years old.[7] This common (though unlawful) practice called false muster was a means of acquiring the years of service required for promotion, if and when he joined the Navy. His father secured him a commission in the British Army at an early age, but Cochrane preferred the Navy. He joined it in 1793 upon the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Service in the Royal Navy.

On 23 July 1793, aged 17, Cochrane joined the navy as a midshipman, spending his first months at Sheerness in the 28-gun sixth-rate frigate HMS Hind commanded by his uncle Captain Alexander Cochrane.  He transferred to the 38-gun fifth-rate HMS Thetis, also under his uncle’s command. While aboard Thetis, he visited Norway and next served on the North America Station.  In 1795, he was appointed acting lieutenant. The following year on 27 May 1796, he was commissioned lieutenant after passing the examination. After several transfers in North America and return home in 1798, he was assigned as 8th Lieutenant on Lord Keith’s flagship HMS Barfleur in the Mediterranean.

During his service on Barfleur, Cochrane was court-martialled for showing disrespect to Philip Beaver, the ship’s first lieutenant. The board reprimanded him for flippancy. This was the first public manifestation of a pattern of Cochrane being unable to get along with many of his superiors, subordinates, employers, and colleagues in several navies and Parliament, even those with whom he had much in common and who should have been natural allies. His behaviour led to a long enmity with Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl of St Vincent.

In February 1800, Cochrane commanded the prize crew taking the captured French vessel Généreux to the British base at Mahón. The ship was almost lost in a storm, with Cochrane and his brother Archibald going aloft in place of the crew who were mostly ill. Cochrane was promoted to commander and took command of the brig-sloop HMS Speedy on 28 March 1800. Later that year, a Spanish warship disguised as a merchant ship almost captured him. He escaped by flying a Danish flag and fending off a boarding by claiming that his ship was plague-ridden. On another occasion, he was being chased by an enemy frigate and knew that it would follow him in the night by any glimmer of light from Speedy, so he placed a lantern on a barrel and let it float away. The enemy frigate followed the light and Speedy escaped.

In February 1801 at Malta, Cochrane got into an argument with a French Royalist officer at a fancy dress ball. He had come dressed as a common sailor, and the Royalist mistook him for one. This argument led to Cochrane’s only duel. Cochrane wounded the French officer with a pistol shot and was himself unharmed.

The Action and Capture of the Spanish Xebeque Frigate El Gamo, Clarkson Frederick Stanfield

One of his most notable exploits was the capture of the Spanish xebec frigate El Gamo on 6 May 1801. El Gamo carried 32 guns and 319 men, compared with Speedy‘s 14 guns and 54 men. Cochrane flew an American flag and approached so closely to El Gamo that her guns could not depress to fire on Speedy‘s hull. The Spanish tried to board and take over the ship but, whenever they were about to board, Cochrane pulled away briefly and fired on the concentrated boarding parties with his ship’s guns. Eventually, Cochrane boarded El Gamo and captured her, despite being outnumbered about six to one.

In Speedy‘s 13-month cruise, Cochrane captured, burned, or drove ashore 53 ships before three French ships of the line under Admiral Charles-Alexandre Linois captured him on 3 July 1801. While Cochrane was held as a prisoner, Linois often asked him for advice. In his autobiography, Cochrane recounted how courteous and polite the French officer had been. A few days later, he was exchanged for the second captain of another French ship. On 8 August 1801, he was promoted to the rank of post-captain.

After the Peace of Amiens, Cochrane attended the University of Edinburgh. Upon the resumption of war in 1803, St Vincent assigned him in October 1803 to command the sixth-rate 22-gun HMS Arab. Cochrane alleged that the vessel handled poorly, colliding with Royal Navy ships on two occasions (Bloodhound and Abundance). In his autobiography, he compared Arab to a collier. He wrote that his first thoughts on seeing Arab being repaired at Plymouth were that she would “sail-like a haystack”.  Despite this, he intercepted and boarded the American merchant ship, Chatham. This created an international incident, as Britain was not at war with the United States. Arab and her commander were assigned to protect Britain’s important whaling fleet beyond Orkney in the North Sea.

In 1804, Lord St Vincent stood aside for the incoming new government led by William Pitt the Younger, and The 1st Viscount Melville took office. In December of that year, Cochrane was appointed to the command of the new 32-gun frigate HMS Pallas. He undertook a series of notable exploits over the following eighteen months.

In August 1806, he took command of the 38-gun frigate HMS Imperieuse, formerly the Spanish frigate Medea. One of his midshipmen was Frederick Marryat, who later wrote fictionalised accounts of his adventures with Cochrane.

In Imperieuse, Cochrane raided the Mediterranean coast of France during the continuing Napoleonic Wars. In 1808, Cochrane and a Spanish guerrilla force captured the fortress of Mongat, which straddled the road between Gerona and Barcelona. This delayed General Duhesme’s French army for a month. On another raid, Cochrane copied codebooks from a signal station, leaving behind the originals so that the French would believe them uncompromised. When Imperieuse ran short of water, she sailed up the estuary of the Rhone to replenish. A French army marched into Catalonia and besieged Rosas, and Cochrane took part in the defence of the town. He occupied and defended Fort Trinidad (Castell de la Trinitat) for a number of weeks before the fall of the city forced him to leave; Cochrane was one of the last two men to quit the fort.

While captain of SpeedyPallas, and Imperieuse, Cochrane became an effective practitioner of coastal warfare during the period. He attacked shore installations such as the Martello tower at Son Bou on Menorca, and he captured enemy ships in harbour by leading his men in boats in “cutting out” operations. He was a meticulous planner of every operation, which limited casualties among his men and maximised the chances of success.

In 1809, Cochrane commanded the attack by a flotilla of fire ships on Rochefort, as part of the Battle of the Basque Roads. The attack did considerable damage, but Cochrane blamed fleet commander Admiral Gambier for missing the opportunity to destroy the French fleet, accusations that resulted in the Court-martial of James, Lord Gambier. Cochrane claimed that, as a result of expressing his opinion publicly, the admiralty denied him the opportunity to serve afloat. But documentation shows that he was focussed on politics at this time and, indeed, refused a number of offers of command.

Political career.

In June 1806, Lord Cochrane stood for the House of Commons on a ticket of parliamentary reform (a movement which later brought about the Reform Acts) for the potwalloper borough of Honiton in Devon. This was exactly the kind of borough which Cochrane proposed to abolish; votes were mostly sold to the highest bidder. Cochrane offered nothing and lost the election. In October 1806, he ran for Parliament in Honiton and won. Cochrane initially denied that he paid any bribes, but he revealed in a Parliamentary debate ten years later that he had paid ten guineas (£10 10s) per voter through Mr. Townshend, local headman and banker.

Portrait of Lord Cochrane in 1807 by Peter Edward Stroehling

In May 1807, Cochrane was elected by Westminster in a more democratic election. He had campaigned for parliamentary reform, allied with such Radicals as William Cobbett, Sir Francis Burdett, and Henry Hunt. His outspoken criticism of the conduct of the war and the corruption in the navy made him powerful enemies in the government. His criticism of Admiral Gambier’s conduct at the Battle of the Basque Roads was so severe that Gambier demanded a court-martial to clear his name. Cochrane made important enemies in the Admiralty during this period.

In 1810, Sir Francis Burdett, a member of parliament and political ally, had barricaded himself in his home at Piccadilly, London, resisting arrest by the House of Commons. Cochrane went to assist Burdett’s defence of the house. His approach was similar to what he used in the navy and would have led to numerous deaths amongst the arresting officers and at least partial destruction of Burdett’s house, along with much of Piccadilly. On realising what Cochrane planned, Burdett and his allies took steps to end the siege.

Cochrane was popular with the public but was unable to get along with his colleagues in the House of Commons or within the government. He usually had little success in promoting his causes. An exception was his successful confrontation of a prize court in 1814.

His conviction in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 resulted in Parliament expelling him on 5 July 1814. However, his constituents in the seat of Westminster re-elected him at the resulting by-election on 16 July. He held this seat until 1818. In 1818, Cochrane’s last speech in Parliament advocated parliamentary reform.

In 1830, Cochrane initially expressed interest in running for Parliament but then declined. Lord Brougham’s brother had decided to run for the seat, and Cochrane also thought that it would look bad for him to be publicly supporting a government from which he sought pardon for his fraud conviction.

In 1831, his father died and Cochrane became the 10th Earl of Dundonald. As such, he was no longer entitled to sit in the Commons.

Marriage and children.

In 1812, Cochrane married Katherine (“Katy”) Frances Corbet Barnes, a beautiful orphan who was about twenty years his junior. They met through Cochrane’s cousin Nathaniel Day Cochrane. This was an elopement and a civil ceremony, due to the opposition of his wealthy uncle Basil Cochrane, who disinherited his nephew as a result. Cochrane called Katherine “Kate,” “Kitty,” or “Mouse” in letters to her; she often accompanied her husband on his extended campaigns in South America and Greece.

Cochrane and Katherine remarried in the Anglican Church in 1818, and in the Church of Scotland in 1825. They had six children;

Thomas Barnes Cochrane, 11th Earl of Dundonald, b. 18 April 1814, m. Louisa Harriett McKinnon.

William Horatio Bernardo Cochrane, officer, 92nd Gordon Highlanders, b. 8 March 1818 m. Jacobina Frances Nicholson d. 6 February 1900.

Elizabeth Katharine Cochrane, died close to her first birthday.

Katharine Elizabeth Cochrane, d. 25 August 1869, m. John Willis Fleming.

Admiral Sir Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane KCB (Commander of HMS Niger), b. 24 September 1824, d. 20 August 1905.

Captain Ernest Gray Lambton Cochrane RN (High Sheriff of Donegal) b. 4 June 1834, d. 2 February 1911 m. 1. Adelaide Blackall 2. Elizabeth Frances Maria Katherine Doherty.

The confusion of multiple ceremonies led to suspicions that Cochrane’s first son Thomas Barnes Cochrane was illegitimate. Investigation of this delayed Thomas’s accession to the Earldom of Dundonald on his father’s death.

In 1823 Lady Cochrane sailed with her children to Valparaiso on Sesostris to join her husband. On 13 June Sesostris stopped at Rio de Janeiro where she discovered that he was there, having in March taken command of the Brazilian Navy.

Great Stock Exchange Fraud.

Main article: Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814

In February 1814, rumours began to circulate of Napoleon’s death. The claims were seemingly confirmed by a man in a red staff officer’s uniform identified as Colonel de Bourg, aide-de-camp to Lord Cathcart and British ambassador to Russia. He arrived in Dover from France on 21 February bearing news that Napoleon had been captured and killed by Cossacks. Share prices rose sharply on the Stock Exchange in reaction to the news and the possibility of peace, particularly in a volatile government stock called Omnium which increased from 26

12 to 32.  However, it soon became clear that the news of Napoleon’s death was a hoax. The Stock Exchange established a sub-committee to investigate, and they discovered that six men had sold substantial amounts of Omnium stock during the boom in value. The committee assumed that all six were responsible for the hoax and subsequent fraud. Cochrane had disposed of his entire £139,000 holding in Omnium (equivalent to £9,790,000 in 2019) – which he had only acquired a month before – and was named as one of the six conspirators, as was his uncle Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone and his stockbroker Richard Butt.  Within days, an anonymous informant told the committee that Colonel de Bourg was an imposter; he was a Prussian aristocrat named Charles Random de Berenger. He had also been seen entering Cochrane’s house on the day of the hoax.

A caricature created in 1815 titled Things as they have been. Things as they now are. The left side of the image depicts Cochrane as a heroic naval officer. The right side depicts him as a disgraced civilian imprisoned within the walls of the King’s Bench Prison.

The accused were brought to trial in the Court of King’s Bench, Guildhall on 8 June 1814. The trial was presided over by Lord Ellenborough, a High Tory and a notable enemy of the radicals, who had previously convicted and sentenced to prison radical politicians William Cobbett and Henry Hunt in politically motivated trials.  The evidence against Cochrane was circumstantial and hinged on the nature of his share dealings, his contacts with the conspirators, and the colour of uniform which De Berenger had been wearing when they met in his house.  Cochrane admitted that he was acquainted with De Berenger and that the man had visited his home on the day of the fraud, but insisted that he had arrived wearing a green sharpshooter’s uniform rather than the red uniform worn by the person who claimed to be de Bourg. Cochrane said that De Berenger had visited to request passage to the United States aboard Cochrane’s new command HMS Tonnant. Cochrane’s servants agreed, in an affidavit created before the trial, that the collar of the uniform above De Berenger’s greatcoat had been green. However, they admitted to Cochrane’s solicitors that they thought the rest had been red. They were not called at trial to give evidence. The prosecution summoned as key witness hackney carriage driver William Crane, who swore that De Berenger was wearing a scarlet uniform when he delivered him to the house. Cochrane’s defence also argued that he had given standing instructions to Butt that his Omnium shares were to be sold if the price rose by 1 per cent, and he would have made a double profit if he waited until it reached its peak price.

On the second day of the trial, Lord Ellenborough began his summary of the evidence and drew attention to the matter of De Berenger’s uniform; he concluded that witnesses had provided damning evidence. The jury retired to deliberate and returned a verdict of guilty against all the defendants two and a half hours later. Belatedly, Cochrane’s defence team found several witnesses who were willing to testify that De Berenger had arrived wearing a green uniform, but Lord Ellenborough dismissed their evidence as inadmissible because two of the conspirators had fled the country upon hearing the guilty verdict.  On 20 June 1814, Cochrane was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, fined £1,000, and ordered to stand in the pillory opposite the Royal Exchange for one hour. In subsequent weeks, he was dismissed from the Royal Navy by the Admiralty and expelled from Parliament following a motion in the House of Commons which was passed by 144 votes to 44. On the orders of the Prince Regent, Cochrane was humiliated by the loss of his appointment Knight of the Order of the Bath in a degradation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. His banner was taken down and physically kicked out of the chapel and down the outside steps.  But, within a month, Cochrane was re-elected unopposed as the Member of Parliament for Westminster. Following a public outcry, his sentence to the pillory was rescinded for fears that it would lead to the outbreak of a riot.

The question of Cochrane’s innocence or guilt created much debate at the time, and it has divided historians ever since.  Subsequent reviews of the trial carried out by three Lord Chancellors during the course of the 19th century concluded that Cochrane should have been found not guilty on the basis of the evidence produced in court.  Cochrane maintained his innocence for the rest of his life and campaigned tirelessly to restore his damaged reputation and to clear his name. He believed that the trial was politically motivated and that a “higher authority than the Stock Exchange” was responsible for his prosecution. A series of petitions put forward by Cochrane protesting his innocence were ignored until 1830. That year, King George IV (the former Prince Regent) died and was succeeded by William IV. He had served in the Royal Navy and was sympathetic to Cochrane’s cause.  Later that year, the Tory government fell and was replaced by a Whig government in which his friend Lord Brougham was appointed Lord Chancellor.[30] Following a meeting of the Privy Council in May 1832, Cochrane was granted a pardon and restored to the Navy List with a promotion to rear-admiral.  Support from friends in the government and the writings of popular naval authors such as Frederick Marryat and Maria Graham increased public sympathy for Cochrane’s situation. Cochrane’s knighthood was restored in May 1847 with the personal intervention of Queen Victoria, and he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Only in 1860 was his banner returned to Westminster Abbey; it was the day before his funeral.

In 1876, his grandson received a payment of £40,000 from the British government (equivalent to £3,800,000 in 2019), based on the recommendations of a Parliamentary select committee, in compensation for Cochrane’s conviction. The committee had concluded that his conviction was unjust.

Service with other navies

Chilean Navy.

Lord Cochrane left the UK in official disgrace, but that did not end his naval career. Accompanied by Lady Cochrane and their two children, he reached Valparaíso on 28 November 1818. Chile was rapidly organising its new navy for its war of independence.

Cochrane became a Chilean citizen (unrecognized state), on 11 December 1818 at the request of Chilean leader Bernardo O’Higgins. He was appointed Vice-Admiral and took command of the Chilean Navy in Chile’s war of independence against Spain. He was the first Vice Admiral of Chile.  Cochrane reorganised the Chilean navy with British commanders, introducing British naval customs and, formally, English-speaking governance in their warships. He took command in the frigate O’Higgins and blockaded and raided the coasts of Peru, as he had those of France and Spain. On his own initiative, he organised and led the capture of Valdivia, despite only having 300 men and two ships to deploy against seven large forts. He failed in his attempt to capture the Chiloé Archipelago for Chile.

In 1820, O’Higgins ordered him to convoy the Liberation Army of General José de San Martín to Peru, blockade the coast, and support the campaign for independence. Later, forces under Cochrane’s personal command cut out and captured the frigate Esmeralda, the most powerful Spanish ship in South America. All this led to Peruvian independence, which O’Higgins considered indispensable to Chile’s security. Cochrane’s victories in the Pacific were spectacular and important. The excitement was almost immediately marred by his accusations that he had been plotted against by subordinates and treated with contempt and denied adequate financial reward by his superiors. The evidence does not support these accusations, and the problem appeared to lie in Cochrane’s own suspicious and uneasy personality.

Loose words from his wife Katy resulted in a rumour that Cochrane had made plans to free Napoleon from his exile on Saint Helena and make him ruler of a unified South American state. This could not have been true because Charles,the supposed envoy bearing the rumoured plans, had been killed two months before his reported “departure to Europe”.Cochrane left the service of the Chilean Navy on 29 November 1822.

Chilean naval vessels named after Lord Cochrane.

The Chilean Navy has named five ships Cochrane or Almirante Cochrane (Admiral Cochrane) in his honour:

The first, Almirante Cochrane, was a battery ship that fought in the War of the Pacific (1879–1884).

The second Almirante Cochrane was a dreadnought battleship laid down in Britain in 1913. The Royal Navy acquired the unfinished ship in 1917, converting her into the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.

The third ship, Cochrane, was a Fletcher-class destroyer, the former USS Rooks, commissioned into the Chilean Navy in 1962 and scrapped in 1983.

The fourth ship, Almirante Cochrane, was a County-class destroyer, the former HMS Antrim, which the Chilean Navy acquired in 1984 and decommissioned in 2006.

The fifth and current ship to bear the name, Almirante Cochrane (FF-05), is a Type 23 frigate, the former HMS Norfolk, which the Chilean Navy commissioned in 2006.

Imperial Brazilian Navy.

Brazil was fighting its own war of independence against Portugal. In 1822, the southern provinces (except Montevideo, now in Uruguay) came under the control of the patriots led by the Prince Regent, later Emperor Pedro I. Portugal still controlled some important provincial capitals in the north, with major garrisons and naval bases such as Belém do Pará, Salvador da Bahia, and São Luís do Maranhão.

Lord Cochrane took command of the Imperial Brazilian Navy on 21 March 1823 and its flagship Pedro I. He blockaded the Portuguese in Bahia, confronted them at the Battle of 4 May, and forced them to evacuate the province in a vast convoy of ships which Cochrane’s men attacked as they crossed the Atlantic. Cochrane sailed to Maranhão (then spelt Maranham) on his own initiative and bluffed the garrison into surrender by claiming that a vast (and mythical) Brazilian fleet and army were over the horizon. He sent subordinate Captain John Pascoe Grenfell to Belém do Pará to use the same bluff and extract a Portuguese surrender. As a result of Cochrane’s efforts, Brazil became totally de facto independent and free of any Portuguese troops. On Cochrane’s return to Rio de Janeiro in 1824, Emperor Pedro I rewarded the officer by granting him the non-hereditary title of Marquess of Maranhão (Marquês do Maranhão) in the Empire of Brazil. He was also awarded an accompanying coat of arms.

As in Chile and earlier occasions, Cochrane’s joy at these successes was rapidly replaced by quarrels overpay and prize money and an accusation that the Brazilian authorities were plotting against him.

In mid-1824, Cochrane sailed north with a squadron to assist the Brazilian army under General Francisco Lima e Silva in suppressing a republican rebellion in the state of Pernambuco which had begun to spread to Maranhão and other northern states. The rebellion was rapidly extinguished. Cochrane proceeded to Maranhão, where he took over the administration. He demanded the payment of prize money which he claimed he was owed as a result of the recapture of the province in 1823.  He absconded with public money and sacked merchant ships anchored in São Luís do Maranhão.  Defying orders to return to Rio de Janeiro, Cochrane transferred to a captured Brazilian frigate, left Brazil on 10 November 1825, and returned to Britain.

Greek Navy.

Cochrane went to Greece to support its fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire, which had deployed an army raised in Egypt to suppress the Greek rebellion. He took an active role in the campaign between March 1827 and December 1828 but met with limited success. His subordinate Captain Hastings attacked Ottoman forces at the Gulf of Lepanto, which indirectly led to intervention by Great Britain, France, and Russia. They succeeded in destroying the Turko–Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino, and the war was ended under the mediation of the Great Powers. He resigned his commission at the end of the war and returned to Britain.

Return to Royal Navy

Lord Dundonald’s residence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, while Commander-in-Chief, North America Station (1848–1851)

Lord Cochrane inherited his peerage following his father’s death on 1 July 1831, becoming The 10th Earl of Dundonald. He was restored to the Royal Navy list on 2 May 1832 as a Rear Admiral of the Blue. The full return of Lord Dundonald, as he was now, to Royal Navy service was delayed by his refusal to take command until his knighthood had been restored, which took 15 years. He continued to receive promotions in the list of flag officers, as follows:

Rear-Admiral of the Blue on 2 May 1832

Rear-Admiral of the White on 10 January 1837

Rear-Admiral of the Red on 28 June 1838

Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 23 November 1841

Vice-Admiral of the White on 9 November 1846

Vice-Admiral of the Red on 3 January 1848

Admiral of the Blue on 21 March 1851

Admiral of the White on 2 April 1853

Admiral of the Red on 8 December 1857.

On 22 May 1847, Queen Victoria reappointed him Knight of the Order of the Bath. He returned to the Royal Navy, serving as Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station from 1848 to 1851. During the Crimean War, the government considered him for a command in the Baltic but decided that there was too high a chance that Lord Dundonald would risk the fleet in a daring attack. On 6 November 1854, he was appointed to the honorary office of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, an office that he retained until his death.

In his final years, Lord Dundonald wrote his autobiography in collaboration with G.B. Earp. He twice had to undergo painful surgery for kidney stones in 1860 with his health deteriorating. He died during the second operation on 31 October 1860 in Kensington.

Dundonald was buried in Westminster Abbey where his grave is in the central part of the nave. Each year in May, representatives of the Chilean Navy hold a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave.

Innovations in technology.

Convoys were guided by ships following the lamps of those ahead. In 1805, Lord Cochrane entered a Royal Navy competition for a superior convoy lamp. He believed that the judges were biased against him, so he re-entered the contest under another name and won the prize.

In 1806, Cochrane had a galley made to his specifications which he carried on board Pallas and used to attack the French coast. It had the advantage of mobility and flexibility.

In 1812, Lord Cochrane proposed attacking the French coast using a combination of bombardment ships, explosion ships, and “stink vessels” (gas warfare). A bombardment ship consisted of a strengthened old hulk filled with powder and shot and made to list to one side. It was anchored at night to face the enemy behind the harbour wall. When setting off, it provided saturation bombardment of the harbour, which would be closely followed by landings of troops. He put the plans forward again before and during the Crimean War. The authorities, however, decided not to pursue his plans.

In 1818, Cochrane patented the tunnelling shield, together with engineer Marc Isambard Brunel, which Brunel and his son used in building the Thames Tunnel in 1825–43.

Cochrane was an early supporter of steamships. He tried to take the steamship Rising Star from Britain to Chile for use in the war of independence in the 1820s, but its construction took too long; it did not arrive until the war was ending. Rising Star was a 410-ton vessel adapted to a new design at Brent’s Yard at the Greenland Dock at the Thames: twin funnels, a retractable paddle wheel, and driven by a 60-horsepower engine. Similarly, he suffered delays with the construction of a steamship which he had hoped to put into use in the Greek War of Independence. In the 1830s, Lord Dundonald, as he now was, experimented with steam power, developing a rotary engine and a propeller. In 1851, Lord Dundonald received a patent on powering steamships with bitumen.  He was conferred with Honorary Membership in the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland in 1857.

Burial and memorial.

Lord Dundonald was interred in Westminster Abbey in the floor of the nave directly before the choir. His epitaph, written by Sir Lyon Playfair, reads:

‘Here rests in his 85th year Thomas Cochrane Tenth Earl of Dundonald of Paisley and of Ochiltree in the Peerage of Scotland Marquess of Marenham in the Empire of Brazil GCB and Admiral of the Fleet who by his confidence and genius his science and extraordinary daring inspired by his heroic exertion in the cause of freedom and his splendid services alike to his own country, Greece, Brazil, Chile and Peru achieved a name illustrious throughout the world for courage, patriotism and chivalry. Born Dec 14 1775. Died Oct 31 1860’

Thank you for Sharing me.

My Poetry. Fight Cancer Today.

 I am speedily coming to get you
 Your life is now in my control
 I will make your existence miserable
 And take your very soul.
 It isn’t just about the pain
 Or the way you feel inside
 At times you will feel brilliant
 But you will depreciate and slide.
 My force is over powering
 I am here to make you sad
 The illness I have given you
 Is the worst and very bad.
 The Doctors will try to comfort you
 Nurses will be at your side
 The days and nights will be long
 I will take away your pride.
 The treatments will be gruelling
 It will take away all you desire
 From appetite to losing weight
 The worry will make you perspire.
 You will turn to skin and bones
 Mostly stuck in your own bed
 The drips will be attached to you
 And will make sure you are fed.
 As of now no one can beat me
 Unless there’s a miracle cure
 But till then I will Destroy humanity
 And you will die for sure.
 So make sure there are plenty of funds
 To make me go away
 Tackle this dreadful disease urgently
 Hope for a brand new day. 


Thank you for Sharing me.

Scottish History. Massacre at Glencoe.

The Massacre of Glencoe (Scottish Gaelic: Murt Ghlinne Comhann) took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland on 13 February 1692, following the Jacobite uprising of 1689–92. An estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by government forces billeted with them, on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland and Mary II.

Main article: Glorious Revolution in Scotland

In March 1689, James II of England and VII of Scotland landed in Ireland in an attempt to regain his throne and John Graham, Viscount Dundee, recruited a small force of Highlanders for a supporting campaign in Scotland. Despite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July, Dundee was killed and organised Jacobite military resistance ended with defeats at the Battle of Dunkeld in August 1689 and Cromdale in May 1690.

The continuing need to police the Highlands used resources William needed for the Nine Years’ War. A peaceful Scotland was important since links between Irish and Scottish branches of the MacDonalds, as well as Scottish and Ulster Presbyterians, meant unrest in one country often spilled into the other.

The Glencoe MacDonalds was one of three Lochaber clans with a reputation for lawlessness, the others being the MacGregors and the Keppoch MacDonalds. Levies from these clans served in the Independent Companies used to suppress the Conventicles in 1678–80 and took part in the devastating Atholl raid that followed Argyll’s Rising in 1685. They also combined against their Maclean landlords in the August 1688 Battle of Maol Ruadh, putting them in the unusual position of being considered outlaws by both the previous Jacobite administration and the new Williamite one.

Oath of allegiance to William

After Killiecrankie, the Scottish government held a series of meetings with the Jacobite chiefs, offering terms that varied based on events in Ireland and Scotland. In March 1690, the Secretary of State, Lord Stair, offered a total of £12,000 for swearing allegiance to William. They agreed to do so in the June 1691 Declaration of Achallader, the Earl of Breadalbane signing for the government; in July, the Battle of Aughrim ended the War in Ireland and immediate prospects of a Restoration.

On 26 August, a Royal Proclamation offered a pardon to anyone taking the Oath prior to 1 January 1692, with severe reprisals for those who did not.  Two days later, secret articles appeared, cancelling the agreement in the event of a Jacobite invasion and signed by all the attendees, including Breadalbane.  Breadalbane claimed these were manufactured by Glengarry, the MacDonald chief; but Stair’s letters reflect his belief that forged or not, none of the signatories intended to keep their word. Enforcement became a key concern.

In early October, the chiefs asked James for permission to take the Oath unless he could mount an invasion before the deadline, a condition they knew to be impossible. His approval was sent on 12 December and was received by Glengarry on the 23rd, but was not shared until the 28th. It is suggested delays were caused by intrigue between Catholic Jacobites, led by Glengarry, and the Protestant majority.

As a result, MacIain of Glencoe only left for Fort William on 30 December to take the Oath from the governor, Lieutenant Colonel John Hill. Since he was not authorised to accept it, Hill sent MacIain to Inverary with a letter for the local magistrate, Sir Colin Campbell confirming his arrival before the deadline. Sir Colin administered the Oath on 6 January, after which MacIain returned home. Glengarry did not swear until 4 February, with others doing so by proxy, but only MacIain was excluded from the indemnity issued by the Scottish Privy Council.

Stair’s letter of 2 December to Breadalbane shows the intention of making an example was taken well before the deadline for the Oath but as a much bigger operation; …the clan Donell must be rooted out and Lochiel. Leave the McLeans to Argyll…  In January, he wrote three letters in quick succession to Sir Thomas Livingstone, military commander in Scotland; on 7th, the intention was to ….destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Locheal’s lands, Kippochs, Glengarrie and Glenco…; on 9th …their chieftains all being papists, it is well the vengeance falls there; for my part, I regret the MacDonalds had not divided and…Kippoch and Glenco are safe. The last on 11 January states; …my lord Argile tells me Glenco hath not taken the oaths at which I rejoice….

Parliament passed a Decree of Forfeiture in 1690, depriving Glengarry of his lands, but he continued to hold Invergarry Castle, whose garrison included the senior Jacobite officers Alexander Cannon and Thomas Buchan. This suggests the Episcopalian Glencoe MacDonalds only replaced the Catholic Glengarry as the target on 11 January; MacIain’s son John MacDonald told the 1695 Commission the soldiers came to Glencoe from the north ‘…Glengarry’s house being reduced.’

After two years of negotiations, Stair was under pressure to ensure the deal stuck, while Argyll was competing for political influence with his kinsman Breadalbane, who also found it expedient to concur with the plan. Glengarry was pardoned and his lands returned while maintaining his reputation at the Jacobite court by being the last to swear and ensuring Cannon and Buchan received safe conduct to France in March 1692.  In summary, the Glencoe MacDonalds were a small clan with few friends and powerful enemies.


In late January 1692, two companies or approximately 120 men from the Earl of Argyll’s Regiment of Foot arrived in Glencoe from Invergarry. Their commander was Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, a local landowner whose niece was married to one of MacIain’s sons.  Campbell carried orders for ‘free quarter’, an established alternative to paying taxes in what was a largely non-cash society. The Glencoe MacDonalds themselves were similarly billeted on the Campbells when serving with the Highland levies used to police Argyll in 1678.

Highland regiments were formed by first appointing Captains, each responsible for recruiting sixty men from his own estates. Muster rolls for the regiment from October 1691 show the vast majority came from Argyll, including Cowal and Kintyre, areas settled by Lowlander migrants and badly hit by the Atholl raids of 1685 and 1686.

On 12 February, Hill issued orders instructing Hamilton to take 400 men and block the northern exits from Glencoe at Kinlochleven. Another 400 men from Argyll’s Regiment under Major Duncanson would join Glenlyon’s detachment in the south and sweep northwards up the glen, killing anyone they found, removing property and burning houses.

On the evening of 12 February, Glenlyon received written orders from Duncanson carried by another Argyll officer, Captan Thomas Drummond; their tone shows doubts as to his ability or willingness to carry them out. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fitt to carry Commissione in the Kings service. As Captain of the Argylls’ Grenadier company, Drummond was senior to Glenlyon; his presence appears to have been to ensure the orders were enforced since witnesses gave evidence he shot two people who asked Glenlyon for mercy.

MacIain was killed, but his two sons escaped and the 1695 Commission was given various figures for total deaths. The often-quoted figure of 38 was based on hearsay evidence from Hamilton’s men, while the MacDonalds claimed ‘the number they knew to be slaine were about 25.’  Recent estimates put total deaths resulting from the Massacre as ‘around 30’, while claims others died of exposure have not been substantiated.

Casualties would have been higher, but, whether by accident or design, Hamilton and Duncanson arrived after the killings had finished. Duncanson was two hours late, only joining Glenlyon at the southern end at 7:00 am, after which they advanced up the glen burning houses and removing livestock. Hamilton was not in a position at Kinlochleven until 11:00; his detachment included two lieutenants, Francis Farquhar and Gilbert Kennedy who often appear in anecdotes claiming they ‘broke their swords rather than carry out their orders.’ This differs from their testimony to the Commission and is unlikely since they arrived hours after the killings, which were carried out at the opposite end of the glen.

In his letters of 30 January to Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton and Colonel Hill, Stair expresses concern the MacDonalds would escape if warned and emphasises the need for secrecy. This correlates with evidence from James Campbell, one of Glenlyon’s company, stating they had no knowledge of the plan until the morning of 13 February.

In May, fears of a French invasion meant the Argylls were posted to Brentford in England, then to Flanders, where they remained until the Nine Years’ War ended in 1697 and the regiment was disbanded. No action was taken against those involved; Glenlyon died of disease in Bruges in August 1696, Duncanson became a Colonel and was killed fighting in Spain in May 1705, while Drummond featured in another famous Scottish disaster, the Darien Scheme.


The killings first came to public attention when a copy of Glenlyon’s orders, alleged to have been left in an Edinburgh coffee house, was smuggled to France and published in the Paris Gazette of 12 April 1692.  Despite criticism of the Scottish government, there was little sympathy for the MacDonalds; the military commander in Scotland, Viscount Teviot wrote that ‘it’s not that anyone thinks the thieving tribe did not deserve to be destroyed but that it should have been done by those quartered amongst them makes a great noise.’ The impetus behind an inquiry was political; as a member of James’ administration, Stair was unpopular with Jacobites and supporters of the new regime.

The killing of the De Witt brothers, The Hague 1672; the Massacre first appeared as a minor issue in a broadsheet accusing William of complicity in their murder

Various observers argued Glencoe showed the Highlands could not be controlled purely by force, including Colonel Hill, who was generally sympathetic towards Highlanders and claimed even in Lochaber, a single person may travell safley where he will witout harme. He argued lawlessness was deliberately encouraged by leaders like Glengarry but that ‘the midle sort of Gentrey and Commons….never got anything but hurt’ from it. The 1693 Highland Judicial Commission tried to solve this by making it easier to use the law to resolve minor issues like cattle-theft. As Hill predicted, it was undermined by the clan chiefs, since it diminished control over their tenants and clansmen.

In 1695, the massacre was referenced in a pamphlet written by Charles Leslie, a nonjuring Church of Ireland Episcopalian priest who moved to London in 1690 and produced pro-Jacobite articles until his death in 1721. This focused on was William’s alleged complicity in the 1672 death of Dutch Republican leader Johan de Witt, with the additions of Glencoe and a number of other crimes.

A Parliamentary Commission was set up to determine whether there was a case to answer under the charge of ‘Slaughter under trust.’ This 1587 law was intended to reduce endemic feuding by requiring opponents to use the Crown to settle disputes and applied to murder committed in ‘cold-blood’, i.e., once articles of surrender had been agreed or hospitality accepted.  This was subject to interpretation; in 1597, James MacDonald was charged under the law for assembling 200 men outside his parents’ house, locking them inside and setting fire to it but this was later judged ‘hot-blooded’ and excluded.

As both a capital offence and treason, it was an awkward weapon with which to attack Stair, as William himself signed the orders and the intent was widely known in government circles. The Commission, therefore, focused on whether participants exceeded their orders, not their legality; it concluded Stair and Hamilton had a case to answer but left the decision to William.  While Stair was dismissed as Secretary of State, he returned to government in 1700 and was made an earl by the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne.  An application by the surviving Glencoe MacDonalds for compensation was ignored; they rebuilt their houses and participated in both the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite risings.


Despite its reputation, Glencoe was not particularly unusual; other examples involving the MacDonalds include the 1578 Battle of the Spoiling Dyke and the Dunaverty Massacre in 1647. Breach of hospitality was less common, but far from unique; the charge of ‘Slaughter under trust’ was first used in 1588 to prosecute Lachlan Maclean, whose objections to his new stepfather, John MacDonald, resulted in the murder of 18 members of the MacDonald wedding party.

Its continuing significance derives from being used as a symbol of post-1688 oppression; in 1745, Prince Charles ordered Leslie’s pamphlet and the 1695 Parliamentary minutes to be reprinted in the Edinburgh Caledonian Mercury.  It faded from view until 1859, when it re-appeared in Macaulay’s History; Macaulay sought to exonerate William from every charge made by Leslie, including the Massacre and is the origin of the claim it was part of a Campbell-MacDonald feud.

After the Massacre of Glencoe by Peter Graham, 1889; the survivors seek refuge.

Victorian Scotland developed values that were pro-Union and pro-Empire, while also being uniquely Scottish.  Historical divisions meant this was largely expressed through shared cultural identity, while the study of Scottish history itself virtually disappeared from universities.  Glencoe became part of a focus on ‘the emotional trappings of the Scottish past…bonnie Scotland of the bens and glens and misty shieling, the Jacobites, Mary, Queen of Scots, tartan mania and the raising of historical statuary.’

Even when Scottish history re-emerged in the 1950s, Leslie’s perspectives continued to shape views of William’s reign as particularly disastrous for Scotland. This meant Glencoe became part of a series of incidents, including the Darien scheme, the famine of the late 1690s, and ultimately Union in 1707.

The Massacre is the centre of an annual ceremony initiated in 1930 by Mary Rankin from Taigh a’ phuirt, Glencoe, and continued by her family.  On 13 February each year the Clan Donald Society holds a wreath-laying ceremony attended by members from around the world at the Upper Carnoch memorial; this is a tapering Celtic cross designed in 1883 by MacDonald of Aberdeen and located at the eastern end of Glencoe village, formerly known as Carnoch.

Its continuing emotional power was demonstrated in 1998, when a plaque was installed at a granite boulder south of Carnach.[45] Originally known as the ‘Soldier’s Stone’,  in the late 19th century, it was renamed Clach Eanruig, or ‘Henry’s Stone’. It is currently named the Henderson Stone, after the family reputed to be pipers to MacIain.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Kings-Qeens of Scotland. Kenneth MacAlpin.

Kenneth MacAlpin (Medieval Gaelic: Cináed mac Ailpin, Modern Scottish Gaelic: Coinneach mac Ailpein;  810 – 13 February 858), known in most modern regnal lists as Kenneth I, was a king of the Picts who, according to national myth, was the first king of Scots. He was thus later known by the posthumous nickname of An Ferbasach, “The Conqueror”. He became the apex and eponym of a dynasty—sometimes called Clann Chináeda—that ruled Scotland from the ninth- to the early eleventh century.

Disputed kingship

Main article: Origins of the Kingdom of Alba

The Kenneth of myth, conqueror of the Picts and founder of the Kingdom of Alba, was born in the centuries after the real Kenneth died. In the reign of Kenneth II (Cináed mac Maíl Coluim), when the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba was compiled, the annalist wrote:

So Kinadius son of Alpinus, first of the Scots, ruled this Pictland prosperously for 16 years. Pictland was named after the Picts, whom, as we have said, Kinadius destroyed. … Two years before he came to Pictland, he had received the kingdom of Dál Riata.

In the 15th century, Andrew of Wyntoun’s Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, a history in verse, added little to the account in the Chronicle:

Quhen Alpyne this kyng was dede, He left a sowne wes cal’d Kyned,
Dowchty man he wes and stout, All the Peychtis [Picts] he put out.
Gret bataylis than dyd he, To pwt in freedom his cuntre!

When humanist scholar George Buchanan wrote his history Rerum Scoticarum Historia in the 1570s, a great deal of lurid detail had been added to the story. Buchanan included an account of how Kenneth’s father had been murdered by the Picts and a detailed, and entirely unsupported, account of how Kenneth avenged him and conquered the Picts. Buchanan was not as credulous as many and he did not include the tale of MacAlpin’s treason, a story from Gerald of Wales, who reused a tale of Saxon treachery at a feast in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s inventive Historia Regum Britanniae.

Later 19th-century historians, such as William Forbes Skene, brought new standards of accuracy to early Scottish history, while Celticists, such as Whitley Stokes and Kuno Meyer, cast a critical eye over Welsh and Irish sources. As a result, much of the misleading and vivid detail was removed from the scholarly series of events, even if it remained in the popular accounts. Rather than a conquest of the Picts, instead, the idea of Pictish matrilineal succession, mentioned by Bede and apparently the only way to make sense of the list of Kings of the Picts found in the Pictish Chronicle, advanced the idea that Kenneth was a Gael, and a king of Dál Riata, who had inherited the throne of Pictland through a Pictish mother. Other Gaels, such as Caustantín and Óengus, the sons of Fergus, were identified among the Pictish king lists, as were Angles such as Talorcen son of Eanfrith, and Britons such as Bridei son of Beli.

Later historians would reject parts of the Kenneth produced by Skene and subsequent historians while accepting others. Medievalist Alex Woolf, interviewed by The Scotsman in 2004, is quoted as saying:

The myth of Kenneth conquering the Picts – it’s about 1210, 1220 that that’s first talked about. There’s actually no hint at all that he was a Scot. … If you look at contemporary sources there are four other Pictish kings after him. So he’s the fifth last of the Pictish kings rather than the first Scottish king.”

Many other historians could be quoted in terms similar to Woolf.

A feasible synopsis of the emerging consensus may be put forward, namely, that the kingships of Gaels and Picts underwent a process of gradual fusion, starting with Kenneth, and rounded off in the reign of Constantine II. The Pictish institution of kingship provided the basis for a merger with the Gaelic Alpin dynasty. The meeting of King Constantine and Bishop Cellach at the Hill of Belief near the (formerly Pictish) royal city of Scone in 906 cemented the rights and duties of Picts on an equal basis with those of Gaels (pariter cum Scottis). Hence the change in styling from King of the Picts to King of Alba. The legacy of Gaelic as the first national language of Scotland does not obscure the foundational process in the establishment of the Scottish kingdom of Alba.


Kenneth’s origins are uncertain, as are his ties, if any, to previous kings of the Picts or Dál Riata. Among the genealogies contained in the Rawlinson B 502 manuscript, dating from around 1130, is the supposed descent of Malcolm II of Scotland. Medieval genealogies are unreliable sources, but many historians still accept Kenneth’s descent from the established Cenél nGabráin, or at the very least from some unknown minor sept of the Dál Riata. The manuscript provides the following ancestry for Kenneth:

Cináed son of Alpín son of Eochaid son of Áed Find son of Domangart son of Domnall Brecc son of Eochaid Buide son of Áedán son of Gabrán son of Domangart son of Fergus Mór …

Leaving aside the shadowy kings before Áedán son of Gabrán, the genealogy is certainly flawed insofar as Áed Find, who died c. 778, could not reasonably be the son of Domangart, who was killed c. 673. The conventional account would insert two generations between Áed Find and DomangartEochaid mac Echdach, father of Áed Find, who died c. 733, and his father Eochaid.

Although later traditions provided details of his reign and death, Kenneth’s father Alpin is not listed as among the kings in the Duan Albanach, which provides the following sequence of kings leading up to Kenneth:

Naoi m-bliadhna Cusaintin chain,
a naoi Aongusa ar Albain,
cethre bliadhna Aodha áin,
is a tri déug Eoghanáin.
Tríocha bliadhain Cionaoith chruaidh,

The nine years of Causantín the fair,
The nine of 
Aongus over Alba,
The four years of 
Aodh the noble,
And the thirteen of 
The thirty years of 
Cionaoth the hardy,

It is supposed that these kings are the Constantine son of Fergus and his brother Óengus II (Angus II), who have already been mentioned, Óengus‘s son Uen (Eóganán), as well as the obscure Áed mac Boanta, but this sequence is considered doubtful if the list is intended to represent kings of Dál Riata, as it should if Kenneth were king there.

That Kenneth was a Gael is not widely rejected, but modern historiography distinguishes between Kenneth as a Gael by culture and/or in ancestry, and Kenneth as a king of Gaelic Dál Riata. Kings of the Picts before him, from Bridei son of Der-Ilei, his brother Nechtan as well as Óengus I son of Fergus and his presumed descendants were all at least partly Gaelicised.  The idea that the Gaelic names of Pictish kings in Irish annals represented translations of Pictish ones was challenged by the discovery of the inscription Custantin filius Fircus(sa), the Latinised name of the Pictish king Caustantín son of Fergus, on the Dupplin Cross.

Other evidence, such as that furnished by place-names, suggests the spread of Gaelic culture through western Pictland in the centuries before Kenneth. For example, Atholl, a name used in the Annals of Ulster for the year 739, has been thought to be “New Ireland”, and Argyll derives from Oir-Ghàidheal, the land of the “eastern Gaels”.


Compared with the many questions on his origins, Kenneth’s ascent to power and subsequent reign can be dealt with simply. Kenneth’s rise can be placed in the context of the recent end of the previous dynasty, which had dominated Fortriu for two or four generations. This followed the death of king Uen son of Óengus of Fortriu, his brother BranÁed mac Boanta “and others almost innumerable” in the battle against the Vikings in 839. The resulting succession crisis seems if the Pictish Chronicle king-lists have any validity, to have resulted in at least four would-be kings warring for supreme power.

Kenneth’s reign is dated from 843, but it was probably not until 848 that he defeated the last of his rivals for power. The Pictish Chronicle claims that he was king in Dál Riata for two years before becoming Pictish king in 843, but this is not generally accepted. It is also said that his reign began in 834 and ended in 863, this is especially predominant in the 17th and 18th centuries where many depictions of Kenneth would state his reign as either 834-863 or 843-863.  In 849, Kenneth had relics of Columba, which may have included the Monymusk Reliquary, transferred from Iona to Dunkeld. Other than these bare facts, the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports that he invaded Saxonia six times, captured Melrose and burnt Dunbar, and also that Vikings laid waste to Pictland, reaching far into the interior. The Annals of the Four Masters, not generally a good source on Scottish matters, do make mention of Kenneth, although what should be made of the report is unclear:

Gofraid mac Fergusa, chief of Airgíalla, went to Alba, to strengthen the Dal Riata, at the request of Kenneth MacAlpin.

The reign of Kenneth also saw an increased degree of Norse settlement in the outlying areas of modern Scotland. Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man, and part of Ross were settled; the links between Kenneth’s kingdom and Ireland were weakened, those with southern England and the continent almost broken. In the face of this, Kenneth and his successors were forced to consolidate their position in their kingdom, and the union between the Picts and the Gaels, already progressing for several centuries, began to strengthen. By the time of Donald II, the kings would be called kings neither of the Gaels or the Scots but of Alba.

Kenneth died from a tumour on 13 February 858 at the palace of Cinnbelachoir, perhaps near Scone. The annals report the death as that of the “king of the Picts”, not the “king of Alba”. The title “king of Alba” is not used until the time of Kenneth’s grandsons, Donald II (Domnall mac Causantín) and Constantine II (Constantín mac Áeda). The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland quote a verse lamenting Kenneth’s death:

Because Cináed with many troops lives no longer
there is weeping in every house;
there is no king of his worth under heaven
as far as the borders of Rome.

The Irish Annal ‘Ireland’s Battle with the Foreigners’ refers to him as ‘High King of Alba.’

Kenneth left at least two sons, Constantine and Áed, who were later kings, and at least two daughters. One daughter married Run, king of Strathclyde, Eochaid being the result of this marriage. Kenneth’s daughter Máel Muire married two important Irish kings of the Uí Néill. Her first husband was Aed Finliath of the Cenél nEógainNiall Glúndub, the ancestor of the O’Neill, was the son of this marriage. Her second husband was Flann Sinna of Clann Cholmáin. As the wife and mother of kings, when Máel Muire died in 913, her death was reported by the Annals of Ulster, an unusual thing for the male-centred chronicles of the age.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Infamous Scots. Patrick Sellar.

Patrick Sellar (1780–1851) was a Scottish lawyer, factor and sheep farmer. In 1811, he was employed as a factor by the Sutherland Estate in a joint (but subordinate) position with William Young. The estate had started some clearances, integral to their program of agricultural improvements. Whilst clearances in 1812 went reasonably smoothly, in 1813 Sellar failed to successfully negotiate with angry resistance in the Strath of Kildonan. A state of confrontation existed for more than six weeks and concessions ultimately had to be made by the estate to defuse the situation. In 1814, Sellar had the job of clearing some of the residents of Strathnaver. His actions here gave rise to a number of charges brought by the Sheriff-substitute Robert McKid, who was an enemy of Sellar’s. The most serious of these was a culpable homicide. Sellar was acquitted at his trial in April 1816 but has remained as the focus for much of the anger and indignation arising from the clearances. Sellar and Young were replaced by a new factor later in 1817, and Sutherland estate continued with even larger clearances, particularly in 1818-1820.

Sellar remained on the Sutherland estate as a tenant sheep farmer, becoming successful and well respected by others in the sheep and wool sector. In 1838 Sellar bought a sheep farm at Morvern in Argyll, thereby becoming a landowner.

Sellar was keen to express his opinions on the management of the Highlands, writing highly emphatic letters on the subject. He never deviated from his view that the Highland clearances were the correct course of action. As a lawyer he had had a very confrontational manner, clearly enjoying dispute and, by his own admission, being too willing to break someone in the courts. His precise view of the law is, in the eyes of some historians, his most believable defence against the charges on which he was tried – that he would always follow the process of law precisely.

Early life and career

Patrick Sellar was born in Elgin in Morayshire, in December 1780. This low-lying coastal agricultural area was at the forefront of an agricultural experiment in northern Scotland, and Sellar’s family was involved in agricultural improvement in the Northeast of Scotland between 1760 and 1800. Sellar’s father, Thomas, was the son of a Banffshire stonemason who, in the more accessible Scottish education system, was able to send Thomas to Edinburgh University to study law. Thomas then returned to Elgin as a trained solicitor and found work in the country estates of the region. He soon became the leading solicitor of the area, building up a fine reputation and a status much advanced from his father’s lowly origins.

Patrick Sellar also studied law at Edinburgh. He then trained in his father’s law practice, engaged in work for landowners who were improving and rearranging their farmlands, putting in drainage and building new farm buildings – especially on the cereal farms. Here Sellar saw in operation the theories he had learnt at Edinburgh University. The ideas of Adam Smith and Dugald Stewart were becoming dominant when the younger Sellar was a student. Given this educational environment, Sellar came to think of himself as a man of science and a product of the enlightenment. 

His father’s business provided some degree of training for the factors on the Seafield estate, a major client of Thomas’s law firm. Among these trainees were Cosmo Falconer and Robert Mackid, both of whom Patrick encountered when he moved to Sutherland.

Patrick Sellar was clearly influenced by the upwardly mobile story of his family; his grandfather had been a cottar in the hills of Banff but was cleared by an improving landlord. Patrick interpreted this as a moral tale (which he was known to share with others): the shock of eviction setting his family on the path of self-improvement.

Move to Sutherland.

The Sellar family were involved in the building of a harbour at Burghead, Thomas as an investor and Patrick carrying out legal work. As the building work finished in 1809, some of the investors travelled on the harbour’s new packet service to Dunrobin Bay in Sutherland. Patrick Sellar accompanied the group, which included William Young. Young was 16 years older than Sellar, and had an impressive practical record of agricultural improvement in Morayshire. The two of them were looking for new business opportunities; Young was hoping to persuade Lord and Lady Stafford, owners of the Sutherland Estate, to invest in this new shipping service for Sutherland, which they did.

Although on a clear day, the hills of Sutherland are visible from the coast of Moray, Young and Sellar had never been there before. They were surprised to see the antiquated, unimproved farming techniques which contrasted with the modernised farms in their home county. They soon made contact with the Staffords. To prove the seriousness of their interest in Sutherland, Young and Sellar took a lease (in Sellar’s name) for Culmaily, a farm in the Southeast of the estate. They agreed to pay above the rent that was usual in the area causing concern among the neighbouring tenants. They then set about using this property as a model for modern agricultural improvement. An up-to-date drainage scheme was installed, though some marshy areas were used to grow flax (which had not previously been grown in Sutherland). A lint mill was erected to process the flax, as was a new house and other agricultural buildings. The drainage resulted in greatly increased crops of potatoes, oats and wheat. The reorganisation of the farm involved the eviction of 213 people out of a total of 253 who had previously lived and worked there. Young and Sellar expected them to be employed in industries being set up elsewhere on the estate. Whilst applying their energies to demonstrating their methods, the pair offered much free advice on improvement to Lady Stafford, which she was keen to hear. This happened at a key moment for the estate, which had recently started on a large program of improvement.

The Sutherland estate.

In 1809, when Patrick Sellar first visited the county of Sutherland, the Sutherland estate was the major landowner in the county. Some purchases between 1812 and 1816 increased the holding, calculated on rental value, to 63% of the county. It was managed from Dunrobin Castle, with the estate factor usually taking one of the farms in the immediate vicinity of the castle.

Whilst Lady Stafford was a child, her guardians had made some modest progress at improving the rental income by modernisation. Some tenants were cleared in 1772 and some of the tacksmen were removed at about that time. The establishment of fishing villages and the introduction of sheep, though considered, were not done due to a lack of the necessary capital to invest in these changes. This shortage of money continued in the early years of Stafford’s marriage, however, in 1799 some clearances were carried out, together with rent increases. Then, in 1803, her husband inherited the huge fortune of the Duke of Bridgewater. This made Lord Stafford arguably the richest man in Britain and he was happy to channel a large part of that wealth into his estates in Sutherland, one of the poorest parts of the country.

Despite the conventions of the day, much of the Sutherland estate’s decision-making was delegated to Lady Stafford by her husband. She was impatient for progress. Most of the leases on the estate did not expire until 1807, but planning got underway immediately. The plans centred around establishing large sheep farms in the interior, eliminating the tacksman class, and establishing alternative occupations for the displaced tenants, housing them in crofts on the coast. These included fishing, for which harbours and villages had to be built, new coal workings at Brora and associated salt pans. The estate went through a sequence of factors: David Campbell was hired in 1802, but Lady Stafford was critical of his lack of progress. He left in 1807. The replacement was Cosmo Falconer. After Young and Sellar’s arrival in 1809 and their frequent advice to Lady Stafford, Falconer’s position was being steadily undermined. Eventually, in August 1810 he tendered his resignation, with effect from Whitsun 1811.

Appointment as factor

After Falconer’s resignation, William Young and Patrick Sellar were appointed in the position of factor, as a joint role. From the outset, this arrangement was poorly defined. Sellar had a sequence of letters with Lady Stafford over this, trying to establish an equal status with Young. His persistence led her to consider terminating his employment when he had just taken up his duties. Lady Stafford’s frustration over her new employee is evidence of Sellar’s poor interpersonal skills. The conclusion was that Young had the senior position and was responsible for ‘progressive improvements’ on the estate, whilst Sellar collected rents, kept accounts, drafted leases, ensured tenants complied with the terms of their leases and enforced the protection of plantations and game on the estate.


The first clearances under the factorship of Young and Sellar were in Assynt in 1812, under the direction of Sellar, establishing large sheep farms and resettling the old tenants on the coast. Sellar had the assistance of the local tacksmen in this and the process was conducted without unrest – despite the unpopularity of events. However, in 1813, planned clearances in the Strath of Kildonan were accompanied by riots: an angry mob drove prospective sheep farmers out of the valley when they came to view the land, and a situation of confrontation existed for more than 6 weeks, with Sellar failing to successfully negotiate with the protesters. Ultimately, the army was called out and the estate made concessions such as paying very favourable prices for the cattle of those being cleared. This was assisted by landlords in surrounding districts taking in some of those displaced and an organised party emigrating to Canada. The whole process was a severe shock to Lady Stafford and her advisers, who were, in the words of historian Eric Richards, “genuinely astonished at this response to plans which they regarded as wise and benevolent”.

Further clearances were scheduled in Strathnaver taking effect at Whitsun, 1814.  These were complicated by Sellar having successfully bid, in December 1813, for the lease of one of the new sheep farms on land that it was now his responsibility, as a factor, to clear.[f] In later years, Sellar claimed that he had bid for this lease on the spur of the moment.  In his role as a factor, he was legally precise in issuing the required notices of eviction to those being resettled, doing this in January 1814 in conjunction with rent collections. In March, Sellar’s shepherds started to burn the heather on the hillsides that would soon make up his sheep farm. This was a standard management technique to promote new grass growth to feed sheep. It caused consternation among the outgoing tenants, as it deprived their cattle of food, so putting them in poor condition for their imminent sale. A further problem was that Young was slow in organising the setting out of the new coastal lots, and in March and April, those under the notice of eviction had no details on where they were to go: each needed time to build a house. At Young’s request, Sellar made concessions to some tenants, allowing them to stay in their properties a little longer – but this just created confusion among those evicted. The delay was a problem for Sellar – his newly purchased flock of sheep was temporarily housed at his farm at Culmaily, but were short of food due to the level of overstocking and started to die.

Some tenants moved in advance of the date in their eviction notice – others stayed until the eviction parties arrived. As was normal practice, the roof timbers of cleared houses were destroyed to prevent re-occupation after the eviction party had left. On 13 June 1814, this was done by burning in the case of Badinloskin, the house occupied by William Chisholm. Accounts vary, but it is possible that his elderly and bedridden mother-in-law was still in the house when it was set on fire. In James Hunter’s understanding of events, Sellar ordered her to be immediately carried out as soon as he realised what was happening. The old lady died 6 days later. Eric Richards suggests that the old woman was carried to an outbuilding before the house was destroyed.

Robert Mackid.

Sellar had made an enemy of the sheriff-substitute of Sutherland, Robert Mackid, by catching him poaching on the Sutherland estate. This incident in the winter of 1813-1814 was actually a second offence – Sellar had warned Mackid about poaching in the spring of 1811.[4]:115, 178 Lady Stafford decided to deal with the embarrassment of the county’s law officer breaking the law by declaring an amnesty for 24 poachers, with Mackid’s name included. Mackid now intended to discredit Sellar in any way he could. Sellar’s precise view of the law meant he felt Mackid had no right to his legal position. The two were now implacable enemies.

The trial.

Sellar was charged by Mackid with culpable homicide and arson. As the trial approached, the Sutherland estate was reluctant to assist Sellar in his defence, distancing themselves from their employee.  He was acquitted of all charges at his trial on 23 April 1816. The estate was hugely relieved, taking this as a justification for their clearance activity. (Robert Mackid became a ruined man and had to leave the county, providing Sellar with a grovelling letter of apology and confession.

Dismissal and famine.

William Young was keen to relinquish his role on the Sutherland Estate. After an extensive review of the estate over the summer of 1816 by James Loch, Young’s resignation was accepted. This left the problem of Sellar, and now Loch was prepared to lay out the deficiencies of Sellar’s personality for the role of estate factor to the Staffords. To some extent, this put Sellar in the role of scapegoat for all the problems on the estate, rather than just those of Sellar’s own creation. The intended replacement was Frances Suther as a factor, but he was not immediately available, so Sellar remained in post until Whitsun 1817.

The winter of 1816/17 was severely affected by famine (as was much of Western Europe). As a factor, Sellar was responsible for buying relief supplies for the tenantry. Rent collections fell as the famine struck. Sellar’s plans for the purchase of supplies were regarded as over-generous by the estate, so there was great hardship in many parts of Sutherland. Sellar started advocating emigration of the impoverished population and eventually, Loch started to adopt the same thinking. It could be considered paradoxical that Sellar was working hard to provide famine relief to the tenants of the interior regions who he believed should be removed to provide a more economically rational method of management of the estate. The famine relief was provided as a loan to tenants, and Loch became depressed that it was unlikely that this would ever be paid off.

Sellar as a sheep farmer.

Sellar remained as the tenant of the new sheep farm in Strathnaver, Rhiloisk. The delays in moving his stock into Strathnaver in 1814 had cost him dearly. However, the death of Sellar’s father in August 1817 meant that he inherited a rental of about £1,000. With this extra income available, he applied his enormous energy to sheep farming and soon became much respected in the industry. He was a major tenant of the Sutherland estate, and he continued an extensive correspondence with them over the details of his tenancy. Further clearances added to his property in 1819, but he was specifically forbidden to take any part in the clearance activity.

Sellar died in Elgin, Moray in 1851 and is buried in Elgin Cathedral.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Infamous Scots. Maggie Dickson.

Margaret Dickson was hanged on the 2 September 1724 at Edinburgh.  Her crime was that of infanticide, namely that she had murdered her newborn baby.  She worked as a domestic and it was her story that she had become pregnant by one of the sons of the household, a common enough occurrence.  So that she would not lose her job she concealed the fact she was pregnant and gave birth in secret.

According to her, the child was born dead and so she had disposed of the body on the banks of the local river Tweed.  The small body was discovered later that same day.  Investigations led back to Margaret Dickson and when questioned she admitted the baby had been hers but maintained that it had already been dead and her only crime was in the way in which she tried to conceal the body.

She was tried at Edinburgh and although the evidence was weak was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.  As was usual in those days a large crowd gathered to witness the passing of Margaret Dickson and were not disappointed.  She was hanged and her body left suspended for the customary 30 minutes.  Her body was cut down and taken away in a coffin on a cart to be buried several miles away.  At one stage the driver of the cart had stopped for a break and thought he heard noises coming from the coffin.  He was right, for some unknown reason Margaret was not dead and had revived and was now trying to get out of the coffin.

This was perhaps seen as divine intervention and she was given a full pardon, she went on to live another 25 years.

The Hanging of Margaret Dickson

The true tale of a woman who survived a public hanging

By Alison J. Butler

In an age when women are expected to know their place, be submissive, dutiful and chaste, Maggie Dickson, a Musselburgh fishwife, is often in trouble. She’s outspoken, promiscuous and vituperative. While her husband’s at sea she sells her fish sleeps with men for pleasure or money and looks after her two bairns’. In time, her husband abandons her. Maggie quits Musselburgh and heads for Newcastle to stay with relatives.

During the winter of 1723, a fisherman finds the dead body of a naked, baby boy. Fingers are soon pointing in the direction of a stranger working in a local tavern, a woman recently estranged from her mariner husband. It is rumoured that she’s been having a passionate affair with the innkeeper’s young son, William Bell and that he is the father of the dead child.

Maggie is arrested and taken to Edinburgh tollbooth to await trial, she is found guilty and sentenced to death. The news spreads like wildfire, and as Maggie languishes in jail the whole city speculates whether or not she killed her child. Will she take her secret to her grave? The Hanging of Maggie Dickson is a heartrending tale of sexual obsession and unrequited love. Synopsis Maggie Dickson is a free spirit, with a love of life and a love of men, in particular, young, handsome men. There are two obstacles. The year is 1723, and Maggie is a married mother of two children.

The Hanging of Margaret Dickson is based on the true story of a hanging went wrong in Edinburgh, Scotland on September 2nd 1724. It highlights the plight of peasant fisherwomen and their admirable ability to survive. Tough, resourceful, indisputably feminine, Maggie’s voice speaks to us across the centuries with shocking familiarity. Coastal Scotland and the bleak life of fishery folks are the cultural settings for this incredible tale. Maggie Dickson, a flawed character of great drama, courage and lustful heart, is born to an alcoholic, philandering father and a disillusioned mother. On her wedding day, she swears that she will be mastered by no man, not even her husband.

Her fisherman husband goes to sea and leaves her alone with two children to a starving subsistence. Maggie has no option but to use her considerable charms and looks to survive. One day when she is selling her fish at the market, she discovers a new and licentious source of secret income in nearby Edinburgh and embarks on a career of vice and debauchery. When her husband is press-ganged into the navy she abandons her children to a friend and begins her calamitous journey. She heads from Musselburgh to relatives in Newcastle to find her husband.

With an adventurous spirit, she discovers a new feeling of freedom and seeks her decadent destiny. After almost freezing to death along the way she ends up in a tavern in Kelso. The landlady likes her and asks Maggie to work there for board and lodgings. The life of a tavern wench suits her well and Maggie thrives for months until she develops a sexual obsession for innkeeper’s son, William Bell. She is swept away into a deep and all-consuming love by the tall and attractive young man, yearns for him and finally begs for his attention. In the heat of the moment, there is one passionate interlude that tears her world apart. The young man walks away knowing she is married and off-limits. Her forbidden love festers to the point where Maggie completely loses her mind.

She finds herself pregnant with William’s child and contrives to conceal her condition. Risking her own life she delivers the secret child prematurely. After a few days, hidden under her bed, the baby dies. Heartbroken, Maggie determines to throw the baby in the River Tweed, to avoid implicating William, but loses her nerve and places it at the water’s edge. A local fisherman discovers the body and notifies the magistrate.

Maggie is arrested and taken to Edinburgh for trial, found guilty and sentenced to death. She dwindles away in the most horrible prison conditions, common to the time, chained to a rail with the dead and dying. After her dramatic trial, Maggie is hanged by the executioner, John Dalgliesh, and death is pronounced by the attending doctor. Her body is cut down and placed in a coffin.

The funeral party in charge of the corpse stop at a tavern for refreshments, leaving the coffin and cart outside. Meanwhile, two passing joiners hear noises coming from inside the coffin and inform the father and friends. When the lid is taken off the corpse rises, alive! Spectators run for their lives but her father, Duncan, holds her in his arms. She is taken to Musselburgh and recovers full health where she is reunited with her husband. He forgives her and marries her for the second time. They have a son, James Spence, ten months after her trial. True to form, the infamous and shameless Margaret Dickson remains unrepentant and runs an alehouse in Berwick, Scotland where she lives until as late as 1753.

1724: Half-Hangit Maggie Dickson

Allegedly on this date in 1724, a young woman was hanged at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket for concealing her pregnancy.

Any number of details in this horrible/wonderful story is shaky, including the date: some sources make it 1728, a few say 1723, and only a handful attest a specific calendar date. Nobody seems to doubt the tale in the main, however — and it’s certainly excellent enough lore to deserve even a heavily asterisked entry.

Deserted by her husband, young Maggie Dickson took lodgings at an inn in exchange for work and became pregnant by either the innkeeper or his son. (Again — details in the various sources available read like a game of telephone.) Since single pregnant working-class women had about as many employment options like birth control options, Maggie kept quiet about her condition in the interest of keeping her job.

And since male parliamentarians figured their job was to keep young lasses of loose character and modest means on the straight and narrow by criminalizing their options, Maggie’s sleight-of-womb put her in violation of a law against concealing a pregnancy. (The same situation was playing out elsewhere in the British sphere at this time.)

When the resulting infant turned up dead, the trail led straight to Dickson … but the concealment of the pregnancy and birth were capital crimes on their own, making it immaterial whether it had been a miscarried pregnancy, an act of infanticide, or simply one of the many early 18th century babies to die in the cradle. The law was an indiscriminate instrument to prevent women from terminating their pregnancies.

Nothing noteworthy about the hanging itself is recorded; it seems to have been one of the routine public stranglings of the age, and even the scuffle over the body between family and medical students hunting dissection-ready cadavers was a normal occurrence.

The family won. And en route to Musselburgh for burial, Maggie started banging on the inside of the coffin and was forthwith revived. Officials decided the sentence of hanging had already been carried out … and her awestruck neighbours suddenly started seeing Maggie sympathetically

And they all lived happily ever after. This day’s principal, at any rate, gained a foothold in adequate prosperity, bore more children, and answered to the nickname “Half-Hangit Maggie Dickson” all the many more years of her life.

The story of Maggie Dickson

Maggie Dickson lived in the Early Eighteenth-century as a fish hawker and would certainly have remained an anonymous figure had she not been the subject of a public hanging.

Her misfortune began when her husband deserted her in 1723 forcing her to leave the city and move further south to Kelso near the Scottish Borders. Here, she worked for an innkeeper in return for basic lodgings.

Soon after she started an affair with the Innkeeper’s son which led to her becoming pregnant, not wanting the innkeeper to discover this as it would surely lead to her instant dismissal she concealed her pregnancy as long as possible. However, the baby was born prematurely and died within a few days of being born. Still hiding the baby’s existence she planned to put the baby into the River Tweed, but couldn’t bring herself to and finally left it on the riverbank.

The same day the baby was discovered and traced to Maggie. She was charged under the contravention of the Concealment of Pregnancy Act and she was taken back to Edinburgh for trial and execution – the latter taking place in public in the Grassmarket on the 2nd September 1724.

After the hanging, she was pronounced dead and her body was bound for Musselburgh where she was to be buried, however, the journey was interrupted by a knocking and banging from within the wooden coffin.

The lid was lifted to the sight of Maggie, quite alive. The law saw it as God’s will and she was freed to live for a further forty years. She became something of a local celebrity and the locals gave her the nickname ‘Half Hangit’ Maggie.’

Some said that she had seduced and manipulated the ropemaker, to engineer a weaker noose.

A pub in the Grassmarket is named Maggie Dickson’s after her memory, which means her name and story will be remembered for some time yet.

Thank you for Sharing me.

Scotland and its History. (Poll Tax)

The introduction of the Poll Tax in Scotland.

The Community Charge, commonly known as the poll tax, was a system of taxation introduced in replacement of domestic rates in Scotland from 1989, prior to its introduction in England and Wales from 1990. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the local authority. The charge was replaced by Council Tax in 1993, two years after its abolition was announced.


The abolition of the rating system of taxes (based on the notional rental value of a house) to fund local government had been unveiled by Margaret Thatcher when she was Shadow Environment Secretary in 1974, and was included in the manifesto of the Conservative Party in the October 1974 general election. In the 1979 elections the Conservative manifesto stated that lowering income tax took priority. The Government published a green paper in 1981 under the title Alternatives to Domestic Rates. It considered a flat-rate per-capita tax as a supplement to another tax, noting that a large flat-rate ‘poll tax’ would be seen as unfair.

The 1980s saw a period of general confrontation between central government and Labour-controlled local authorities, which eventually led to the abolition of the Greater London Council and the six metropolitan county councils. The commitment to abolish the rates was replaced in the 1983 general election manifesto with a commitment to introduce the ability for central government to cap rates which it saw as excessive. This was introduced by the Rates Act 1984.


Although the rates system was supposed to have regular revaluations to minimise discrepancies, the revaluations in England and Wales had been cancelled in 1978 and 1983. The Scottish revaluation of 1985/1986 led to a great deal of criticism and gave added urgency to rates reform or replacement.

The green paper of 1986, Paying for Local Government, produced by the Department of the Environment from consultations between Lord Rothschild, William Waldegrave and Kenneth Baker, proposed the poll tax. This was a fixed tax per adult resident, hence the term ‘poll tax’, although there was a reduction for poor people. This charged each person for the services provided in their community. Owing to the variations in the amount of local taxes paid and the amount of grant provided by the central government to individual local authorities, there were differences in the amount charged between councils.

This proposal was contained in the Conservative manifesto for the 1987 General Election. The legislation introducing the poll tax was passed in 1987, 1988[2] and the new tax replaced the rates in Scotland from the start of the 1989/90 financial year and in England and Wales from the start of the 1990/91 financial year. Additionally, the Uniform Business Rate, levied by local government at a rate set by the central government and then apportioned between local authorities in proportion to their population, was introduced.

The tax was not implemented in Northern Ireland, which continued, as it still does as of 2018, to levy the rating system, despite some unionists calling for the region to have the same taxation system as Great Britain.


The poll tax when implemented encountered a number of administrative and enforcement difficulties. Some renters did not pay, knowing they would have left Scotland when the bills arrived. Councils of towns with highly mobile populations, such as university towns, were faced with big storerooms of unprocessed “gone-aways”. The initial register, which was based on the rates register for “owned” houses, contained many irregularities from supplementary data sources such as housing benefit recipients.

The big collection issue was 20%/100% split. People in employment had to pay 100%, while students and the registered unemployed paid 20%. The nature of the shared house market meant that not even the landlord knew exactly who was living there; tenants were replaced and may have shared a “single” room with their partner. So the local council did not know who was living where and when.

Councils were burdened with the task of pursuing the large numbers of defaulters, many of whom were acting as part of organised resistance to the charge. There is also some evidence that the poll tax had a lasting effect of people not registering themselves on the electoral register to evade collection attempts. This may have had an effect on the results of the 1992 general election, which ended in a fourth successive Conservative victory, despite most opinion polls pointing to a hung parliament or narrow Labour majority.

Opposition (‘Can’t Pay! Won’t Pay!’)

The change from payment based on the worth of one’s house to a poll tax was widely criticised as being unfair, and needlessly burdensome on those less well-off. Mass protests were coordinated by the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation, other national networks such as 3D (Don’t Register, Don’t Pay, Don’t Collect) and by hundreds of local Anti-Poll Tax Unions (APTUs), which were not aligned to any particular political grouping. In Scotland, where the tax was implemented first, the APTUs called for mass non-payment. As the tax neared its implementation in England, protests against it began to increase. That culminated in a number of Poll Tax riots. The most serious of those was on 31 March 1990 – a week before the implementation of the tax – when between 70,000 and 200,000 people demonstrated against the tax. The demonstration around Trafalgar Square left 113 people injured and 340 under arrest, with over 100 police officers needing treatment for injuries. There were further conflicts and protests, but none on the scale of the Trafalgar Square riot.

As the amount of the poll tax began to rise and the inefficiency of local councils in their collection of the tax became apparent, large numbers of people refused to pay. Local councils tried to respond with enforcement measures, but they were largely ineffective given the huge numbers of non-payers. According to the BBC, up to 30% of former ratepayers in some areas refused to pay.

The anti-poll-tax organisations encouraged non-payers not to register, to clog up the courts by contesting local council attempts to gain liability orders, and ultimately, not to attend court hearings arising from their non-compliance. In November 1990, South Yorkshire police said they were planning to refuse to arrest poll tax defaulters, even when instructed to by the courts because it would be “physically impossible for the police because of the large number of defaulters”.

The opposition Labour Party, at its 1988 annual conference, decided against support for a non-payment campaign. In July 1991, Terry Fields, Labour MP for Liverpool Broadgreen, and a member of the Militant Tendency was imprisoned for sixty days for refusing to pay. At the time of Fields’ jailing, Labour leader Neil Kinnock commented: “Lawmakers must not be lawbreakers.”

In popular culture, the punk band The Exploited featured the song “Don’t Pay The Poll Tax” in their album The Massacre, which was released on 15 April 1990.

Political consequences.

After the poll tax was announced, opinion polls showed the Labour opposition opening a strong lead over the Conservative government. After the Poll Tax Riots, Conservative ministers contemplated abolition of the tax but knew that, as a flagship Thatcherite policy, its abolition would not be possible while Thatcher was still Prime Minister. Kinnock had vowed to abolish the poll tax if he won the next general election.

For this, among other reasons, Thatcher was challenged by Michael Heseltine for the Conservative leadership in November 1990. Although she prevailed by a margin of fifty votes, she narrowly missed the threshold to avoid a second vote, and on 22 November 1990 she announced her resignation after more than a decade in office. All three of the contenders to succeed her pledged to abandon the tax.

The successful candidate, John Major, appointed Heseltine to the post of Environment Secretary, responsible for replacing the poll tax. In early 1991 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, announced a rise in Value Added Tax from 15% to 17.5% to pay for a £140 reduction in the tax. The abolition of the poll tax was announced on 21 March 1991.

The Conservative government was re-elected for a fourth successive term in office at the 1992 general election, shaking off the strong challenge from the Labour Party. This election defeat prompted the resignation of Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.


By the time of the 1992 general election, legislation had been passed  replacing the poll tax with the Council Tax from the start of the 1993/1994 financial year. The VAT rate of 17.5% remained despite an earlier policy of charging a higher poll tax.

Council Tax strongly resembled the rates system the poll tax had replaced. The main differences were at the tax’s inception: that properties were placed in bands, thereby capping the maximum amount, and it was levied on capital value, rather than the notional rental value of a property. Households with only one occupant were also entitled to a 25% discount. The only substantial change since the introduction of the Council Tax form of direct taxation is the gradual introduction of certain exemptions and discounts.

Thank you for Sharing me.
%d bloggers like this: