Following the decisive Scots victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots had recovered all their strongholds, with the exception of Berwick. In September 1317, King Robert Bruce attempted a siege of Berwick, which lasted until November before he withdrew. The following April, Peter Spalding helped followers of Robert the Bruce enter and seize the town of Berwick from the English. He was English and a burgess of the town, but he was married to a cousin of Sir Robert Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland.The raiding party, led by Sir James Douglas, and possibly the Earl of Dunbar, took the town after a fight. The castle was warned when they lost control of their men, who began to plunder and failed to capture the castle. King Robert soon arrived with an army, and after an eleven-week siege, the castle garrison capitulated due to a lack of supplies. The English burgesses were expelled, and King Robert re-established Berwick as a Scottish trading port, installing his son-in-law Walter Stewart as Keeper.
The retaking of Berwick was a significant victory for the Scots. Historian Michael Brown notes that “symbolically, the capture of town and then castle marked the completion of King Robert’s realm and kingship.” However, Berwick would change hands several more times in the years to come, before permanently becoming part of England when the town was captured in 1482.
Forty-five years ago, on the evening of October 15, 1977, teenagers Christine Eadie and Helen Scott entered the World’s End pub on the Royal Mile, ready to celebrate their new jobs and the start of what they saw as their adult lives.
But less than 24 hours later, police would launch a double murder investigation after the bodies of both 17-year-olds were discovered six miles apart, both having been bound, raped and strangled.
It was a crime that shook Edinburgh to its core, not only in the immediate days, weeks and months to follow but for the almost 40 years it would take for the man responsible to be brought to justice for the senseless killings of the girls.
The Night of The Murders.
Although a far cry from the bustling, tourist-driven city centre we know today, back in the 70s the Royal Mile still offered a choice of traditional pubs at which friends could meet and chat over a pint.
And that’s what the night of October 15 was meant to hold for Helen and Christine who, along with their friends Jacqueline and Toni, had been on a pub crawl before walking through the doors of the World’s End, just as last orders were looming.
Jacqueline and Toni decided soon after to head to a house party to continue the night’s celebrations but Christine, along with Helen who was normally expected back at her parents’ Swan Spring Avenue home at around 11.30pm, decided to call it a night and head back.
It was a decision that would seal their fates, robbing them of all that was ahead of them to look forward to, and change the lives of all those who knew and loved them forever.
The dark nights and colder temperatures were already setting in, ready for winter to hit, so it was onto a gloomy high street that the girls stepped at around 11.15pm, ready to make their ways back to the warmth of their homes and their beds.
The pair were met by policeman John Rafferty who stopped to help when Christine stumbled on the cobbles. He would later tell his colleagues how he watched the two young friends disappear into the night with two shadowy strangers.
The discovery of the bodies
Morain and Margaret Scott, Helen’s parents, had waited for their precious daughter to return home on the Saturday evening, but when there was still no sign of her the following morning, panic began to set in. They called Jacqueline and later Toni, with the both girls having confirmed that neither Helen nor Christine had been seen or been in contact since the previous night.
The group gathered at the Scotts’ family home, desperately awaiting answers from the police. And their worst nightmares would be realised a short time later, after a couple’s Sunday morning walk in East Lothian ended in a grisly and tragic discovery.
Christine’s body was found on Gosford beach, near Aberlady. The teenager had been gagged, underwear stuffed in her mouth, and she had been strangled with her own clothing. Four hours later, Helen’s body was discovered on farmland near Haddington. Like her friend, Helen had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled; her body dumped, left for someone else to find.
A manhunt was launched immediately after the girls’ lifeless bodies were found, with roadblocks installed and people in the area questioned. Punters who had drank beside the girls on the Saturday night were also tracked down but all lines of enquiry led police to dead ends.
It was old-fashioned police work and, without the advances in DNA profiling and forensic testing which would come years later, officers were forced to scale down the investigation with the question of who killed the teenagers still without a hint of an answer.
The first sign of hope came in 1997, 20 years after Helen and Christine were murdered, when traces of DNA found on Helen’s raincoat were used to pinpoint a profile. Later, scientists would discover the DNA of two men on the jacket, though their identities remained mysteries, with no matches appearing on the police database.
It wasn’t until 2004 that the DNA database produced a result and a name – Angus Sinclair. It was a name that the force knew all too well, with Sinclair already having been put behind bars three years earlier for the murder of Glasgow teenager Mary Gallacher, who had been killed one year after Helen and Christine.
He had also spent time in jail as a teenager, after he was convicted of raping and killing a seven-year-old girl, whom he strangled with the inner tube of a bike tyre.
Later, police were able to match the second DNA profile to Angus’ brother-in-law Gordon Hamilton who had died of liver failure in 1996. And an extensive search for the Toyota which Sinclair had driven at the time of the murders led police to be able to match fibres found on the girls’ bodies to the upholstery inside the vehicle.
It was old-fashioned police work and, without the advances in DNA profiling and forensic testing which would come years later, officers were forced to scale down the investigation with the question of who killed the teenagers still without a hint of an answer.
The first sign of hope came in 1997, 20 years after Helen and Christine were murdered, when traces of DNA found on Helen’s raincoat were used to pinpoint a profile. Later, scientists would discover the DNA of two men on the jacket, though their identities remained mysteries, with no matches appearing on the police database.
In 2014, Sinclair became the first person in Scotland to stand trial a second time for the same crime under the new double jeopardy laws, and this time a jury found him guilty of the murders of Christine and Helen in just two and a half hours.
The 69-year-old was convicted at the High Court at Livingston and sentenced to 37 years in jail – the same length of time both girls’ families and friends had been left without answers, closure or justice.
Branded a “beast” by Helen’s father, Sinclair died in his cell in 2019 at the age of 73.
Speaking outside the court on the day he watched his sister’s killer be found guilty and led to a cell, Helen’s brother Kevin said the two girls’ legacy was to have “changed Scotland’s justice system for the better”.
“We have waited 37 years for justice. Today that wait has ended and we finally have justice for Helen and Christine,” he said.
Saltire Courts’ sweeping colonnade and grand circular tower form a memorable city landmark that unites the Exchange district and the restaurant and retail destinations of Princes Street and George Street.
Geographically at the interchange of the city’s Old and New Towns, Saltire Court accesses the best of both worlds. The main Castle Terrace entrance looks directly over Edinburgh Castle and provides a link, through Princes Street Gardens, to the dining and shopping amenities of the New Town. An additional entrance leads directly through the Traverse Theatre into the business and amenity of Lothian Road.
Scotland is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world’s first international football match in 1872. Scotland has a long-standing rivalry with England, whom they played annually from 1872 until 1989. The teams have met only eight times since then, most recently in a group match during Euro 2020 in June 2021.
Scotland have qualified for the FIFA World Cup on eight occasions, and the UEFA European Championship three times, but have never progressed beyond the first group stage of a finals tournament. The team have achieved some noteworthy results, such as beating the 1966 FIFA World Cup winners England 3–2 at Wembley Stadium in 1967. Archie Gemmill scored what has been described as one of the greatest World Cup goals ever in a 3–2 win during the 1978 World Cup against the Netherlands, who reached the final of the tournament. In their qualifying group for UEFA Euro 2008, Scotland defeated 2006 World Cup runners-up France 1–0 in both fixtures.
Scotland supporters are collectively known as the Tartan Army. The Scottish Football Association operates a roll of honour for every player who has made more than 50 appearances for Scotland. Kenny Dalglish holds the record for Scotland appearances, having played 102 times between 1971 and 1986. Dalglish scored 30 goals for Scotland and shares the record for most goals scored with Denis Law.
Scotland lost just two of their first 43 international matches. It was not until a 2–0 home defeat by Ireland in 1903 that Scotland lost a match to a team other than England. This run of success meant that Scotland would have regularly topped the Elo ratings, which were calculated in 1998, between 1876 and 1904. Scotland won the British Home Championship outright on 24 occasions, and shared the title 17 times with at least one other team. A noteworthy victory for Scotland before the Second World War was the 5–1 victory over England in 1928, which led to that Scotland side being known as the “Wembley Wizards“. Scotland played their first match outside the British Isles in 1929, beating Norway 7–3 in Bergen. Scotland continued to contest regular friendly matches against European opposition and enjoyed wins against Germany and France before losing to the Austrian “Wunderteam” and Italy in 1931.
Scotland, like the other Home Nations, did not enter the three FIFA World Cups held during the 1930s. This was because the four associations had been excluded from FIFA due to a disagreement regarding the status of amateur players. The four associations, including Scotland, returned to the FIFA fold after the Second World War. A match between a United Kingdom team and a “Rest of the World” team was played at Hampden Park in 1947 to celebrate this reconciliation.
The readmission of the Scottish Football Association to FIFA meant that Scotland were now eligible to enter the 1950 FIFA World Cup. FIFA advised that places would be awarded to the top two teams in the 1950 British Home Championship, but the SFA announced that Scotland would only attend the finals if Scotland won the competition. Scotland won their first two matches, but a 1–0 home defeat by England meant that the Scots finished as runners-up. This meant that the Scots had qualified by right for the World Cup, but had not met the demand of the SFA to win the Championship. The SFA stood by this proclamation, despite pleas to the contrary by the Scotland players, supported by England captain Billy Wright and the other England players. The SFA instead sent the Scots on a tour of North America.
The same qualification rules were in place for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, with the 1954 British Home Championship acting as a qualifying group. Scotland again finished second, but this time the SFA allowed a team to participate in the Finals, held in Switzerland. To quote the SFA website, “The preparation was atrocious”. The SFA only sent 13 players to the finals, even though FIFA allowed 22-man squads. Despite this self-imposed hardship in terms of players, the SFA dignitaries travelled in numbers, accompanied by their wives. Scotland lost 1–0 against Austria in their first game in the finals, which prompted the team managerAndy Beattie to resign hours before the game against Uruguay. Uruguay were reigning champions and had never before lost a game at the World Cup finals, and they defeated Scotland 7–0.
After Tommy Docherty‘s brief spell as manager, Willie Ormond was hired in 1973. Ormond lost his first match in charge 5–0 to England, but recovered to steer Scotland to their first World Cup finals in 16 years in 1974. At the 1974 World Cup finals in West Germany, Scotland achieved their most impressive performance at a World Cup tournament. The team was unbeaten but failed to progress beyond the group stages on goal difference. After beating Zaïre, they drew with both Brazil and Yugoslavia, and went out because they had beaten Zaïre by the smallest margin.
Scotland appointed Ally MacLeod as manager in 1977, with qualification for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina far from assured. The team made a strong start under MacLeod by winning the 1977 British Home Championship, largely thanks to a 2–1 victory over England at Wembley. The Scotland fans invaded the pitch after the match, ripping up the turf and breaking a crossbar. Scotland’s form continued as they secured qualification for the World Cup with victories over Czechoslovakia and Wales.
During the build-up to the 1978 FIFA World Cup, MacLeod fuelled the hopes of the nation by stating that Scotland would come home with a medal. As the squad left for the finals in Argentina, they were given an enthusiastic send-off as they were paraded around a packed Hampden Park. Thousands more fans lined the route to Prestwick Airport as the team set off for South America. Scotland lost their first game 3–1 against Peru in Córdoba, and drew the second 1–1 against newcomers Iran. The disconsolate mood of the nation was reflected by footage of MacLeod in the dugout with his head in his hands. These results meant Scotland had to defeat the Netherlands by three clear goals to progress. Despite the Dutch taking the lead, Scotland fought back to win 3–2 with a goal from Kenny Dalglish and two from Archie Gemmill, the second of which is considered one of the greatest World Cup goals ever; Gemmill beat three Dutch defenders before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed into the net. The victory was not sufficient to secure a place in the second round, and Scotland were eliminated on goal difference for the second successive World Cup.
Scotland qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, their fourth in succession, in traumatic circumstances. The squad went into their last qualification match against Wales needing a point to progress to a qualifying playoff against Australia. With only nine minutes remaining and Wales leading 1–0, Scotland were awarded a penalty kick, which was calmly scored by Davie Cooper. The 1–1 draw meant that Scotland progressed, but as the players and fans celebrated, Stein suffered a heart attack and died shortly afterwards. His assistant Alex Ferguson took over. Scotland qualified by winning 2–0 against Australia in a two-leg playoff, but were eliminated from the tournament with just one point from their three matches, a goalless draw with Uruguay following defeats by Denmark and West Germany.
In July 1986, Andy Roxburgh was the surprise appointment as the new manager of Scotland. Scotland did not succeed in qualifying for Euro 1988, but their 1–0 away win over Bulgaria in the final fixture in November 1987 helped Ireland to a surprise first-place finish and qualification for the finals in West Germany.
Scotland qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup in 1990 by finishing second in their qualifying group, ahead of France. Scotland were drawn in a group with Costa Rica, Sweden, and Brazil, but the Scots lost 1–0 to Costa Rica. While they recovered to beat Sweden 2–1 in their second game, they lost to Brazil in their third match 1–0 and were again eliminated after the first round.
By a narrow margin, Scotland qualified for the UEFA European Championship for the first time in 1992. A 1–0 defeat by Romania away from home left qualification dependent upon other results, but a 1–1 draw between Bulgaria and Romania in the final group match saw Scotland squeeze through. Despite playing well in matches against the Netherlands and Germany and a fine win against the CIS, the team was knocked out at the group stage. Scotland failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The team finished fourth in their qualifying group behind Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. When it became clear that Scotland could not qualify, Andy Roxburgh resigned from his position as team manager.
New manager Craig Brown successfully guided Scotland to the 1996 European Championship tournament. The first game against the Netherlands ended 0–0, raising morale ahead of a much anticipated game against England at Wembley.[Gary McAllister missed a penalty kick, and a goal by Paul Gascoigne led to a 2–0 defeat. Scotland recovered to beat Switzerland 1–0 with a goal by Ally McCoist. England taking a 4–0 lead in the other match briefly put both teams in a position to qualify, but a late goal for the Netherlands meant that Scotland were knocked out on goals scored.
Brown again guided Scotland to qualification for a major tournament in 1998, and Scotland were drawn against Brazil in the opening game of the 1998 World Cup. John Collins equalised from the penalty spot to level the score at 1–1, but a Tom Boydown goal led to a 2–1 defeat. Scotland drew their next game 1–1 with Norway in Bordeaux, but the final match against Morocco ended in an embarrassing 3–0 defeat.
During the qualification for the 2000 European Championship, Scotland faced England in a two-legged playoff nicknamed the “Battle of Britain” by the media. Scotland won the second match 1–0 with a goal by Don Hutchison, but lost the tie 2–1 on aggregate.
Berti Vogts, the only foreigner to coach Scotland to date.
Scotland failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, finishing third in their qualifying group behind Croatia and Belgium. This second successive failure to qualify prompted Craig Brown to resign from his position after the final qualifying match. The SFA appointed former Germany manager Berti Vogts as Brown’s successor. Scotland reached the qualification play-offs for Euro 2004, where they beat the Netherlands 1–0 at Hampden Park, but suffered a 6–0 defeat in the return leg. Poor results in friendly matches and a bad start to the 2006 World Cup qualification caused the team to drop to a record low of 77th in the FIFA World Rankings. Vogts announced his resignation in 2004, blaming the hostile media for his departure.
Walter Smith, a former Rangers and Everton manager, was brought in to replace Vogts. Improved results meant that Scotland rose up the FIFA rankings and won the Kirin Cup, a friendly competition in Japan. Scotland failed to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, finishing third in their group behind Italy and Norway. Smith left the national side in January 2007 to return to Rangers, with Scotland leading their Euro 2008 qualification group. New manager Alex McLeish guided Scotland to wins against Georgia, the Faroe Islands, Lithuania, France and Ukraine, but defeats by Georgia and Italy ended their chances of qualification for Euro 2008. These improved results, particularly the wins against France, lifted Scotland into the top 20 of the FIFA world rankings.
After the narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008, McLeish left to join Premier League club Birmingham City. Southampton manager George Burley was hired as the new manager, but he came in for criticism from the media after the team lost their first qualifier against Macedonia. After Scotland lost their fourth match 3–0 to the Netherlands, captain Barry Ferguson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor were excluded from the starting lineup for the following match against Iceland due to a “breach of discipline”. Despite winning 2–1 against Iceland, Scotland suffered a 4–0 defeat by Norway in the following qualifier, which left Scotland effectively needing to win their last two games to have a realistic chance of making the qualifying play-offs. Scotland defeated Macedonia 2–0 in the first of those two games, but were eliminated by a 1–0 loss to the Netherlands in the second game. Burley was allowed to continue in his post after a review by the SFA board, but a subsequent 3–0 friendly defeat by Wales led to his dismissal.
The SFA appointed Craig Levein as head coach of the national team in December 2009. In UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying, Scotland were grouped with Lithuania, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic and world champions Spain. They took just four points from the first four games, leaving the team needing three wins from their remaining four games to have a realistic chance of progression. They only managed two wins and a draw and were eliminated after a 3–1 defeat by Spain in their last match. Levein left his position as head coach following a poor start to 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, having taken just two points from four games.
Gordon Strachan was appointed Scotland manager in January 2013, but defeats in his first two competitive matches meant that Scotland were the first UEFA team to be eliminated from the 2014 World Cup. Scotland finished their qualification section by winning three of their last four matches, including two victories against Croatia.
UEFA Euro 2016 expanded from 16 teams to 24. After losing their first qualifier in Germany, Scotland recorded home wins against Georgia, the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar. Steven Fletcher scored the first hat-trick for Scotland since 1969 in the game with Gibraltar. Later in the group, Scotland produced an “insipid” performance as they lost 1–0 in Georgia. A home defeat by Germany and a late equalising goal by Poland eliminated Scotland from contention. After a win against Gibraltar in the last qualifier, Strachan agreed a new contract with the SFA
In qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Scotland were drawn in the same group as England, facing their rivals in a competitive fixture for the first time since 1999. On 11 November 2016, England beat Scotland 3–0 at Wembley. The return match saw Leigh Griffiths score two late free-kicks to give Scotland a 2–1 lead, but Harry Kane scored in added time to force a 2–2 draw. A draw in Slovenia in the final game of the group ended Scottish hopes of a play-off position, and Strachan subsequently left his position by mutual consent. In February 2018, Alex McLeish was appointed manager for the second time The team won their group in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League, but McLeish left in April 2019 after a poor start to UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying, including a 3–0 loss to 117th-ranked Kazakhstan.
The clan system of the Highlands and Islands had been seen as a challenge to the rulers of Scotland from before the 17th century. James VI’s various measures to exert control included the Statutes of Iona, an attempt to force clan leaders to become integrated into the rest of Scottish society. This started a slow process of change which, by the second half of the 18th century, saw clan chiefs start to think of themselves as commercial landlords, rather than as patriarchs of their people. To their tenants, initially this meant that monetary rents replaced those paid in kind. Later, rent increases became common. 11–17 In the 1710s the Dukes of Argyll started putting leases of some of their land up for auction; by 1737 this was done across the Argyll property. This commercial attitude replaced the principle of dùthchas, which included the obligation on clan chiefs to provide land for clan members. The shift of this attitude slowly spread through the Highland elite (but not among their tenants).: 41 As clan chiefs became more integrated into Scottish and British society, many of them built up large debts. It became easier to borrow against the security of a Highland estate from the 1770s onwards. As the lenders became predominantly people and organisations outside the Highlands, there was a greater willingness to foreclose if the borrower defaulted. Combined with an astounding level of financial incompetence among the Highland elite, this ultimately forced the sale of the estates of many Highland landed families over the period 1770–1850. (The greatest number of sales of whole estates was toward the end of this period.): 105–107 : 1–17 : 37-46, 65-73, 131-132
The Jacobite rebellion of 1745 gave a final period of importance to the ability of Highland clans to raise bodies of fighting men at short notice. With the defeat at Culloden, any enthusiasm for continued warfare disappeared and clan leaders returned to their transition to being commercial landlords. This was arguably accelerated by some of the punitive laws enacted after the rebellion. These included the Heritable Jurisdictions Act of 1746, which removed judicial roles from clan chiefs and gave them to the Scottish law courts. T. M. Devine warns against seeing a clear cause and effect relationship between the post-Culloden legislation and the collapse of clanship. He questions the basic effectiveness of the measures, quoting W. A. Speck who ascribes the pacification of the area more to “a disinclination to rebel than to the government’s repressive measures.” Devine points out that social change in Gaeldom did not pick up until the 1760s and 1770s, as this coincided with the increased market pressures from the industrialising and urbanising Lowlands.: 30-31
41 properties belonging to rebels were forfeited to the Crown in the aftermath of the ’45. The vast majority of these were sold by auction to pay creditors. 13 were retained and managed on behalf of the government between 1752 and 1784.
The changes by the Dukes of Argyll in the 1730s displaced many of the tacksmen in the area. From the 1770s onwards, this became a matter of policy throughout the Highlands. The restriction on subletting by tacksmen meant that landlords received all the rent paid by the actual farming tenants – thereby increasing their income. By the early part of the 19th century, the tacksman had become a rare component of Highland society. T. M. Devine describes “the displacement of this class as one of the clearest demonstrations of the death of the old Gaelic society.”: 34 Many emigrated, leading parties of their tenants to North America. These tenants were from the better off part of Highland peasant society, and, together with the tacksmen, they took their capital and entrepreneurial energy to the New World, unwilling to participate in economic changes imposed by their landlords which often involved a loss of status for the tenant.: 50 : 173
Agricultural improvement was introduced across the Highlands over the relatively short period of 1760–1850. The evictions involved in this became known as the Highland clearances. There was regional variation. In the east and south of the Highlands, the old townships or bailtean, which were farmed under the run rig system were replaced by larger enclosed farms, with fewer people holding leases and proportionately more of the population working as employees on these larger farms. (This was broadly similar to the situation in the Lowlands.) In the north and west, including the Hebrides, as land was taken out of run rig, Crofting communities were established. Much of this change involved establishing large pastoral sheep farms, with the old displaced tenants moving to new crofts in coastal areas or on poor quality land. Sheep farming was increasingly profitable at the end of the 18th century, so could pay substantially higher rents than the previous tenants. Particularly in the Hebrides, some crofting communities were established to work in the kelp industry. Others were engaged in fishing. Croft sizes were kept small, so that the occupiers were forced to seek employment to supplement what they could grow.: 32-52 This increased the number of seasonal migrant workers travelling to the Lowlands. The resulting connection with the Lowlands was highly influential on all aspects of Highland life, touching on income levels, social attitudes and language. Migrant working gave an advantage in speaking English, which came to be considered “the language of work”.: 135, 110–117
In 1846 the Highland potato famine struck the crofting communities of the North and West Highlands. By 1850 the charitable relief effort was wound up, despite the continuing crop failure, and landlords, charities and the government resorted to encouraging emigration. The overall result was that almost 11,000 people were provided with “assisted passages” by their landlords between 1846 and 1856, with the greatest number travelling in 1851. A further 5,000 emigrated to Australia, through the Highland and Island Emigration Society. To this should be added an unknown, but significant number, who paid their own fares to emigrate, and a further unknown number assisted by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission.: 201–202, 207, 268 : 320 : 187-189 This was out of a famine-affected population of about 200,000 people. Many of those who remained became even more involved in temporary migration for work in the Lowlands, both out of necessity during the famine and having become accustomed to working away by the time the famine ceased. Much longer periods were spent out of the Highlands – often for much of the year or more. One illustration of this migrant working was the estimated 30,000 men and women from the far west of the Gaelic speaking area who travelled to the east coast fishing ports for the herring fishing season – providing labour in an industry that grew by 60% between 1854 and 1884.: 335-336
The clearances were followed by a period of even greater emigration from the Highlands, which continued (with a brief lull for the First World War) up to the start of the Great Depression.: 2
The use of the term ‘Glencoe Village’ is a modern one, to differentiate the settlement from the glen itself.
Glencoe from the west.
The village is on the site of the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, in which 38 members of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by forces acting on behalf of the government of King William III following the Glorious Revolution. Treachery was involved, since the Clan had fed the soldiers and given them shelter for nearly two weeks before they turned on their hosts. The glen is sometimes poetically referred to as “The Weeping Glen”, in reference to this incident, although the Glencoe name was already in place well before the time of the massacre, as the GaelicGleann Comhann, the Comhann element of which may predate the Gaelic language, its meaning being uncertain.
The village occupies an area of the glen known as Carnoch. Native Gaelic speakers who belong to the area always refer to the village itself as A’ Chàrnaich, meaning “the place of cairns”. Even today there is Upper Carnoch and Lower Carnoch. There was formerly a small hospital at the southern end of the village just over an arched stone bridge. This has since been converted into an upmarket guest house, and the nearest hospital is now the Belford in Fort William, some 26 kilometres (16 mi) away.
Culture and community
Within Carnoch there is a small village shop, a Scottish Episcopal Church, Glencoe Folk Museum, Post Office, Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team centre, an outdoor centre, a number of bed and breakfast establishments, and a small primary school. The small Museum was started after a resident discovered “a cache of 200-year-old swords and pistols hidden there from the British Redcoats after the disastrous battle of Culloden”.
Several eating establishments are around including the Glencoe Hotel, Glencoe Cafe and The Clachaig Inn. Glencoe is also a popular location for self-catering holidays; with many chalets, cottages and lodges available for weekly and short break rental. Also located in the village, but along the A82, is the Glencoe Visitor Centre, run by the National Trust for Scotland. This modern (constructed in 2002) visitor centre houses a coffee shop, store, and information centre. Nearby memorials sites are the Celtic cross at the Massacre of Glencoe Memorial, and plaque at Henderson Stone (Clach Eanruig).
The village is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and is popular with serious hill-walkers, rock and ice climbers. Travel writer Rick Steves describes the area as exhibiting “the wild, powerful and stark beauty of the Highlands … dramatic valley, where the cliffsides seem to weep with running streams when it rains”. The area has been seen in numerous films, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the home of Hagrid, and the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.
Edgar or Étgar mac Maíl Choluim (Modern Gaelic: Eagar mac Mhaoil Chaluim), nicknamed Probus, “the Valiant” (c. 1074 – 8 January 1107), was King of Scotland from 1097 to 1107. He was the fourth son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex but the first to be considered eligible for the throne after the death of his father.
Edgar claimed the kingship in early 1095, following the murder of his half-brother Duncan II in late 1094 by Máel Petair of Mearns, a supporter of Edgar’s uncle Donald III. His older brother Edmund sided with Donald, presumably in return for an appanage and acknowledgement as the heir of the aged and son-less Donald.
Edgar received limited support from William II of England as Duncan had before him; however, the English king was occupied with a revolt led by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, who appears to have had the support of Donald and Edmund. Rufus campaigned in northern England for much of 1095, and during this time Edgar gained control only of Lothian. A charter issued at Durham at this time names him “… son of Máel Coluim King of Scots … possessing the whole land of Lothian and the kingship of the Scots by the gift of my lord William, king of the English, and by paternal heritage.”
William Rufus spent 1096 in Normandy which he bought from his brother Robert Curthose, and it was not until 1097 that Edgar received the further support which led to the defeat of Donald and Edmund in a hard-fought campaign led by Edgar Ætheling.
Although Geoffrey Gaimar claimed that Edgar owed feudal service to William Rufus, it is clear from Rufus’s agreement to pay Edgar 40 or 60 shillings a day maintenance when in attendance at the English court that this is untrue. In any event, he did attend the court on a few occasions. On 29 May 1099, for example, Edgar served as sword-bearer at the great feast to inaugurate Westminster Hall. After William Rufus’s death, however, Edgar ceased to appear at the English court. He was not present at the coronation of Henry I.
Edgar died in Edinburgh on 8 January 1107 and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. Unmarried and childless, he acknowledged his brother Alexander as his successor. Edgar’s will also granted David an appanage in “Cumbria” (the lands of the former Kingdom of Strathclyde), and perhaps also in southern parts of Lothian. David would later be known as Prince of the Cumbrians
Contradictory account of his death.
There is a contradictory account of his death, recorded by Orderic Vitalis (12th century). According to this account, Edgar was killed by his uncle Donald III, while Donald III was killed by Alexander I. This account reports: “On the death of Malcolm [III], king of the Scots, great divisions rose among them, in reference to the succession to the crown. Edgar, the king’s eldest son, assumed it as his lawful right, but Donald, King Malcolm’s brother, having usurped authority, opposed him with great cruelty, and at length the brave youth [Edgar] was murdered by his uncle. Alexander [I], however, his brother, slew Donald, and ascended the throne; being thus the avenger as well as the successor of his brother…”.
Benjamin Hudson dismisses the story as “completely false”. But its existence points to the circulation of “incorrect” tales about the monarchs of the late 11th century. Verses of The Prophecy of Berchán allude to the murder of another Scottish king: “Alas a king will take sovereignty for four nights and one month; I think it is grievous that the Gaels will boast, woe to him who celebrates him. … A son of the woman of the English… I think it is wretched, that his brother will kill him.” The English woman is obviously Saint Margaret, the consort of Malcolm III. But none of her children, male or female, are known to have been killed by one of their own siblings. The confusion probably derives from the murder of their half-sibling Duncan II of Scotland, son of Malcolm III and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir. A note in the Annals of Ulster claims that Duncan II was murdered by his brothers Donmall [Donald] and Edmund. As Duncan had no brothers by these names, the text probably points to his uncle Donald III and half-brother Edmund of Scotland, though later texts identify a noble by the name of Máel Petair of Mearns as the actual murderer.
Walter John Buchanan (2 April 1891 – 20 October 1957) was a Scottish theatre and film actor, singer, dancer, producer and director. He was known for three decades as the embodiment of the debonair man-about-town in the tradition of George Grossmith Jr., and was described by The Times as “the last of the knuts.” He is best known in America for his role in the classic Hollywood musical The Band Wagon in 1953.
Buchanan was born in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, the son of Walter John Buchanan Sr (1865–1902), auctioneer, and his wife, Patricia, née McWatt (1860–1936). He was educated at the Glasgow Academy.
After a brief attempt to follow his late father’s profession and a failure at acting in Glasgow, he became a music hall comedian under the name of Chump Buchanan and appeared on the variety stage in Scotland. Moving to London and adopting the name “Jack Buchanan”, he first appeared on the West End in September 1912 in the comic operaThe Grass Widow at the Apollo Theatre. Hardship dogged him for a while before he became famous whilst on tour in 1915 in Tonight’s the Night. He produced and acted in his own plays both in London and New York City.
Buchanan’s health was not robust, and, to his bitter regret, he was declared unfit when he attempted to enlist for military service in the First World War. He appeared with some success in West End shows during the war, attracting favourable notices as a “knut” in the mould of George Grossmith Jr, and achieved front rank stardom in André Charlot‘s 1921 revue A to Z, appearing with Gertrude Lawrence. Among his numbers in the show was Ivor Novello‘s “And Her Mother Came Too”, which became Buchanan’s signature song. The show transferred successfully to Broadway in 1924. For the rest of the 1920s and 1930s he was famous for “the seemingly lazy but most accomplished grace with which he sang, danced, flirted and joked his way through musical shows…. The tall figure, the elegant gestures, the friendly drawling voice, the general air of having a good time.” During the Second World War he starred in his own musical production It’s Time to Dance, whose cast included Fred Emney. The musical show was based on a book by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose, and was staged at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
Film career and later years
He made his film debut in the silent cinema, in 1917 and appeared in about three dozen films in his career. In 1938, Buchanan achieved the unusual feat of starring in the London stage musical This’ll Make You Whistle while concurrently filming a film version. The film was released while the stage version was still running; thus the two productions competed with each other. Other starring roles included Monte Carlo (1930), Smash and Grab (1937) and The Gang’s All Here (1939). He also produced several films including Happidrome (1943) and The Sky’s the Limit (1938), which he also directed. He continued to work on Broadway and the West End and took roles in several Hollywood musicals, including The Band Wagon (1953), his best-known film, in which he plays camp theatre director Jeffrey Cordova opposite Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. He suffered from spinal arthritis, though this did not stop him from performing several dance numbers with Astaire in The Band Wagon.
Buchanan was a frequent broadcaster on British radio, especially during the Second World War. Programs included The Jack Buchanan Show and, in 1955, the hugely popular eight-part series Man About Town.
On 12 June 1928, Buchanan participated in the first-ever transatlantic television broadcast. It was conducted by Scottish engineer John Logie Baird, an important figure in the technological development of television. At the time, the few television sets that existed had been custom-built by engineers and were not available for purchase by the general public in the United Kingdom or the United States.
American television shows on which Buchanan appeared during the era of stores selling television sets included Max Liebman’s Spotlight in 1954 and The Ed Sullivan Show.
In a British tradition of actor-management, Buchanan frequently produced his own shows, many of which were premiered in the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow. He was also heavily involved in the more commercial side of British show business. He was responsible, with partners, for the building and ownership of the Leicester Square Theatre, London, and the Imperial in Brighton. He also controlled the Garrick Theatre in the West End of London and the King’s Theatre in Hammersmith. Jack Buchanan Productions (in which his partners were J. Arthur Rank and Charles Woolf) owned Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.
He had been at school with the pioneer of television John Logie Baird and with him co-owned Television Limited, which manufactured and rented televisions.
Not all his business ventures were profitable, and at his death his estate was valued for probate (in 1958) at £24,489 (equivalent to £609,000 today).
Buchanan’s image was that of the raffish eternal bachelor, but he was, unknown to most, married to Saffo Arnau in 1915. She was a singer. This marriage was annulled in 1920.
Later in life, he married Susan Bassett, an American, in 1947; he was her second husband. Through her he had a stepdaughter, Theo, who lived with him and his wife. He had no children of his own.
He had previously had a relationship with Australian actress Coral Browne, and during her meeting in Moscow with Soviet spy Guy Burgess in the late 1950s she informed Burgess, on mentioning Buchanan, that “we almost got married’. “And…?” “He jilted me.” Burgess, previously at the British Foreign Office, had defected to Moscow a few years earlier, and one of the few mementoes of his earlier life that he had been able to keep was one 78rpm Jack Buchanan record—”Who?“—which, when Browne visited his Moscow flat, he played repeatedly. This event is portrayed in Alan Bennett‘s play An Englishman Abroad.
Buchanan was noted for his portrayals of the quintessential English gentleman, despite being a Scot. He was known for his financial generosity to less prosperous actors and chorus performers. Sandy Wilson recalled that each year during the running of the annual Grand National horse race, Buchanan would cancel that day’s performance of his current musical and charter an excursion train to the racecourse and back, supplying meals for the entire cast and crew of his show, in addition to giving them £5 each for a “flutter” on the horse of their choice.
Aitken was born in Edinburgh in 1752, the son of a whitesmith and the eighth of twelve children.
The early death of his father allowed Aitken to enter the charitable school for impoverished children at George Heriot’s Hospital, which was founded to care for the “puir, faitherless bairns” (Scots: poor, fatherless children) of Edinburgh.
Upon leaving school at age 14, he tried his hand at a variety of low-paying trades, including painter apprenticeship in 1767, before finding that the world of criminal activity offered him more immediate rewards. He admitted in his testament to being a highwayman, burglar, shoplifter, robber, and (on at least one occasion) a rapist:
… I made the best of my way through Winchester to Basingstoke, intending to return to London. Going over a down near Basingstoke, I saw a girl watching some sheep, upon whom, with some threats and imprecations, I committed a rape, to my shame it be said.
Career as a saboteur
Fearful that his crimes would soon be detected, Aitken negotiated an indenture in exchange for a voyage to Jamestown, Virginia. He had no real intention of serving the terms of the indenture, and soon escaped to North Carolina. His next two years in the colonies were spent in such locales as Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, and Perth Amboy, New Jersey. It was during this period that he became exposed to revolutionary rhetoric, and Aitken claimed that he had been harassed by British troops for being a suspected Whig. At some point after a 1775 return trip to England he developed his scheme of political arson. Some historians have speculated that Aitken was motivated by a desire to escape his life of insignificance and poverty, and that by striking a blow on behalf of the American revolutionaries, Aitken would be recognised and handsomely rewarded for his role.
The British dockyards, Aitken believed, were vulnerable to attack, and he was convinced that one highly motivated arsonist could cripple the Royal Navy by destroying ships in the harbours, but more importantly the dockyards and ropewalks used to build, refit and repair the massive Royal Navy. Despite being a wanted criminal for his other crimes, Aitken travelled freely to several dockyards to determine their vulnerability. Additionally, he travelled to Paris where he eventually forced himself into a meeting with American diplomat Silas Deane. Although Deane was sceptical that Aitken would be successful, Aitken left the meetings believing that he had the full backing of Deane and the American revolutionary government. What is clear is that Aitken never received remuneration beyond a few pounds that Deane lent him.
Aitken returned to England with Deane’s instruction to meet the American expatriate, spy, and double-agent Edward Bancroft; Aitken disclosed to him at least some of his intentions. Using his training with mixing chemicals and paint solvents from his trade as a painter, Aitken solicited the help of several others in constructing crude incendiary devices with the intention of burning down the highly flammable buildings in the Royal Dockyards. Over the course of several months Aitken attacked facilities in Portsmouth and Bristol, creating the impression that a band of saboteurs was on the loose in England.
Manhunt, capture and imprisonment
Aitken’s exploits, though only marginally successful at causing actual damage, did succeed in generating a significant amount of panic among the British public and government. Unsurprisingly, other fires detected during the same time period were incorrectly attributed to Aitken, fanning the alarm. At the height of the crisis, King George III was receiving frequent briefings and groups such as the Bow Street Runners were sent after the trail of Aitken. Eventually, through the help of Sir John Fielding, a description of Aitken naming him John the Painter and a reward for his capture were posted. Soon after, Aitken was arrested while travelling through the country.
Over the course of his imprisonment, British authorities were initially unsuccessful in gaining sufficient evidence. However, they soon co-opted a young man, John Baldwin, a former Philadelphia painter, who visited Aitken frequently in prison and eventually gained his trust.Aitken soon provided a great deal of incriminating information to this agent, which was subsequently used in locating witnesses and strengthening the state’s case against him.
Trial and execution
British authorities hanged John the Painter on 10 March 1777 from the mizzenmast of HMS Arethusa for arson in royal dockyards after he was caught setting the rope house at Portsmouth on fire. The mast was struck from the ship and re-erected at the dockyard entrance so as many people as possible could watch the execution. It was the highest gallows ever to be used in an execution in England. Some 20,000 people reportedly witnessed the hanging. His remains were gibbeted and displayed at Fort Blockhouse for several years.
Runrig were a Scottish Celtic rock band formed on the Isle of Skye in 1973. From its inception, the band’s line-up included songwriters Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald. The line-up during most of the 1980s and 1990s (the band’s most successful period) also included Donnie Munro, Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and Pete Wishart. Munro left the band in 1997 to pursue a career in politics and was replaced by Bruce Guthro. Wishart left in 2001 and was replaced by Brian Hurren. The band released fourteen studio albums, with a number of their songs sung in Scottish Gaelic.
Initially formed as a three-piece dance band known as ‘The Run Rig Dance Band’, the band played several low key events, and has previously cited a ceilidh at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow as their first concert. Runrig’s music is often described as a blend of folk and rock music, with the band’s lyrics often focusing upon locations, history, politics, and people that are unique to Scotland. Songs also make references to agriculture, land conservation and religion.
Since 1999, the band has gained attention in Canada, following Nova Scotian singer Bruce Guthro’s entry to the band. In 2016, the band announced that it would retire from studio recording after the release of its 14th studio album, The Story and announced their final tour The Final Mile in 2017. In August 2018, Runrig performed the final shows of their farewell tour, entitled The Last Dance, in Stirling City Park beneath the castle ramparts. An estimated 52,000 fans attended The Last Dance.
Formation and early years (1973–1987)
The band was formed in 1973 with brothers Calum and Rory Macdonald and their friend Blair Douglas. Donnie Munro joined the following year and they started to expand outside their native Isle of Skye. Douglas left the band in late 1974 and was replaced by Robert Macdonald. This line-up continued until 1978, when Douglas re-joined and Malcolm Jones became guitarist, both displacing Robert Macdonald.
In the same year, Runrig’s first album, entitled Play Gaelic, was released. All the songs were in Gaelic. It was re-released in 1990 as Play Gaelic, the first legendary recording.
In 1979, Blair Douglas left Runrig again to pursue a solo career. 1979 also saw the release of Runrig’s second album, The Highland Connection on the band’s own label, Ridge Records. A somewhat transitional album, it features wailing electric guitars and ballads. The album also included the original version of “Loch Lomond“. A later version was to become their signature song and closing song at concerts.
The third Runrig album, Recovery (released in 1981), was a thematic record dealing with the rise and politics of Scotland’s Gaelic community. 1980 saw the arrival of drummer Iain Bayne (from Scottish folk/rock band New Celeste) and keyboard player Richard Cherns.
In 1982, Runrig re-recorded “Loch Lomond” as their first single. They signed to a small label called Simple Records in 1984, and two singles were released. The first was “Dance Called America”. A longer version of the second single “Skye” appeared on the Alba Records compilationA Feast Of Scottish Folk Music, Volume One along with an early version of “Lifeline”, both of which were previously unreleased on albums, and “Na h-Uain a’s t-Earrach” which was the B-side to “Dance Called America”.
Original lead singer Donnie Munro left the band in 1997 to pursue a career in politics
The band then engaged the services of producer Chris Harley who brought to their recordings the benefit of his experience as a solo artist and a singer with The Alan Parsons Project and Camel. Runrig’s fourth independent studio album, Heartland (released in 1985), combined Gaelic sounds with anthemic rock music.
The period from 1987 to 1997 marked Runrig’s most successful run, during which they achieved placings in both the UK albums and singles charts, and toured extensively.
With (for the first time) major-label support (from Chrysalis), Runrig’s fifth studio album, The Cutter and the Clan (1987), which had originally been released on the independent Ridge Records label before being re-released on Chrysalis, brought the band wider audiences in the United Kingdom, as well as in other parts of Europe.
From 1987 to 1995, Runrig released a total of five studio albums through Chrysalis Records. Along with The Cutter and the Clan, the other four albums were: Searchlight (1989), The Big Wheel (1991), Amazing Things (1993), and Mara (1995).
On 22 June 1991, the band attracted around 50,000 people to an outdoor concert held in Balloch Country Park, near Loch Lomond. This was the largest number of people to attend a Runrig concert.
Following the release of Mara, lead singer Donnie Munro grew more involved in politics. In 1997, he left Runrig to stand for a seat in the House of Commons for the Labour Party. However, he was not elected.
Runrig began searching for a new frontman, and in 1998 they announced their selection of Bruce Guthro, a singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia.
Transitional challenges (1997 to 2001)
Runrig’s tenth album, In Search Of Angels (1999), was released amidst some uncertainty about the band’s future.
Since their contract with Chrysalis had ended, Runrig chose to release In Search Of Angels on their own label, Ridge Records. As a result, the record received much less promotion than the previous five, and sales were considerably smaller. Runrig was also faced with the challenge of acclimatising their fans to a new lead vocalist. The band toured extensively in support of the record, and in 2000, they also released a live album called Live at Celtic Connections 2000, allowing fans to hear older Runrig songs sung by their new frontman.
The year 2000 concluded with the release of an authorised songbook, Flower of the West – The Runrig Songbook. The book included lyrics, sheet music, photographs, and background information for 115 of Runrig’s songs – nearly every album track and single from the band’s first ten studio albums.
Having established that they could continue without Donnie Munro, Runrig set to work on their eleventh studio album.
Among their independently-released studio albums, The Stamping Ground (2001) was Runrig’s most successful. Moreover, critics who had given mixed reviews to In Search Of Angels, praised The Stamping Ground as the quintessential Runrig album. The band continued to enjoy support in the UK, Germany, and Denmark. However, with a Canadian frontman, Runrig began finding new fans in Canada and the United States.
In August 2003, Runrig played their 30th Anniversary concert on the esplanade at Stirling Castle, celebrating 30 years since the band’s formation, and including visitors from previous line-ups, as well as guest artists including the Glasgow Islay Choir and Paul Mounsey.
Runrig played their first U.S. concert, a benefit for the charity “Glasgow the Caring City”, on 4 April 2006 at the Nokia Theatre in New York City. Founding member Blair Douglas joined the band onstage, playing accordion on several numbers. In the audience were fans from as far away as Texas, Alabama, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Norwich (England) and Scotland.
Runrig performing live in Germany, July 2004
While the bulk of their 2007 tour was scheduled for Denmark, Germany, and England, an outdoor show, titled “Beat The Drum”, was held at Loch Ness on 18 August 2007. It was staged at Borlum Farm, Drumnadrochit and attended by 18,500 people in heavy rain. Because of the unusually large number of support acts, it had been likened to an all-day music festival, Runrig being the headline act. This was the first in what was to become a staple for Runrig – annually staging big outdoor shows in Scotland in summer.
“Loch Lomond (Hampden Remix)” was named “The Best Scottish Song Of All Time” in November 2008. The band were presented the award by Lulu. On 5 December 2008, during the penultimate tour date at The Barrowlands, Glasgow, the band was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame, by the Scottish Traditional Music Awards Director.
On 29 August 2009, Runrig performed at Scone Palace for their third annual outdoor summer show (the second being at Edinburgh Castle in 2008). They were supported by acts such as the Peatbog Faeries, piper Fred Morrison, King Creosote, Kathleen Macinnes, and Blair Douglas (a former member of the group) and his band. Attendance numbered ~15,000. The show was part of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2009. To underline this, First Minister Alex Salmond made an appearance on stage (introduced by his SNP colleague and former band member Pete Wishart), and launched an initiative called ‘SconeStone.’ This aims to promote Scotland as a kind and compassionate nation through the “journey of kindness” made by the SconeStone across the world. Its keepers, each holding it for a week before passing it on, are expected to undertake a good deed. Its first keeper was the Reverend Neil Galbraith, who was presented with the stone on the same day.
Health concerns (2009–2010)
In March 2009, guitarist Malcolm Jones suffered a heart attack in Edinburgh whilst running to catch a train. This forced the band to cancel a sizable tour of Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany. After undergoing minor surgery, he took to the stage with Runrig again in May of the same year. During a routine check up with his doctors in June 2009, he was strongly advised to have heart bypass surgery, which forced the band to cancel a tour of Denmark. The operation was a success and, although the band was forced to cancel their show at the 35th Tønder Festival in Tønder, Denmark, Malcolm returned to the stage in late August 2009, at the band’s big outdoor Scottish Homecoming show for 2009 at Scone Palace, Perthshire, Scotland. However, on 28 February 2010, just a week prior to an extensive German tour, it was announced that Malcolm would have to have yet another operation which in turn forced the band to cancel/postpone their Spring dates in Germany, due to start on 3 March 2010. In a statement released by the band on their official website they noted that Malcolm’s health was “good” and that the problem was “purely a technical one”. They also emphatically stated that “All other concerts planned for 2010 will go ahead.” It was announced that the winter tour scheduled for winter 2010 would be the last tour for a year with the band planning no concerts in 2011 so that they could focus on other projects. The final date for 2010 was in the Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow which is traditionally where the band finishes their Scottish tours. In a statement released by the office, they promised it to be “quite a party”.
On 1 November 2010, the band released a four-disc compilation, entitled 50 Great Songs. The release includes both studio and live performances, focusing primarily upon Bruce Guthro’s time within the band.
Year off and Rewired (2011–2012)
After the end of the 2010 tour the band collectively made the decision to take a year off. Calum and Rory had been concentrating on a long-gestating project outside of Runrig. The duo call themselves The Band from Rockall and released their debut album outside of Runrig at the end of April 2012. Keyboardist Brian Hurren also released his debut solo album, which he wrote, performed and produced himself, under the name A Hundred Thousand Welcomes, the inspiration for the name coming from Bruce Guthro shouting the Gaelic equivalent of the phrase during “Beat the Drum” at Loch Ness. Guthro released another solo album, while drummer Iain Bayne was appointed manager of English folk-rock band Coast. The band re-united as a six-piece again in the summer of 2012 for the Rewired Tour, with the big Scottish outdoor show held in August at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness.
40th anniversary (2013–2014)
In November 2012, ahead of their planned Rewired Tour, the band announced a special 40th Anniversary Concert at the Black Isle Show Ground in Muir of Ord, near Inverness. The 40th Anniversary show was a weekend of live entertainment featuring ‘special guests’, entitled “Party on the Moor”. Shortly after that they announced another “special” concert at Edinburgh Castle in July, entitled “Celebration in the City”. On 28 April 2013 (to mark Runrig’s first ever concert 40 years earlier) Runrig released their first single in 5 years entitled “And We’ll Sing”. At Party on the Moor former members Donnie Munro and Pete Wishart performed onstage alongside the current lineup and Blair Douglas made an appearance via a short video highlighting the changes in the band’s lineup since 1973. This was the first time Munro had performed with Runrig since 1997, and for many it was a powerful statement seeing Guthro and Munro singing together as there had been heated debates about who should be the band’s frontman, and who was the better frontman among many fans and critics. The gig was hailed as a success by fans and critics many calling it one of the best concerts Runrig have ever staged. Bassist, Rory Macdonald said that “in many ways, it was the perfect Runrig gig” whilst drummer, Iain Bayne called it “the culmination of a lifetime’s work”.
In late 2013 it was announced that Runrig would embark on a Spring 2014 tour of England to continue the 40th Anniversary celebrations. Entitled “Party on the Tour” it would “draw inspiration” from the Party on the Moor show. Alongside the English dates, several European music festivals were announced for 2014. In December 2013 it was officially confirmed that Party on the Moor would be released on DVD. In January further details for the DVD were released. On 31 March 2014 Runrig released the full, uncut concert on both DVD, CD and, for the first time ever for Runrig, Blu-ray.
The Story (2014–2017)
Runrig on stage during The Last Dance in Stirling
The band announced in issue 74 of The Wire magazine and on their official Twitter feed that they had begun work on their 14th studio album. It was also announced (informally) that to accommodate for the time it takes to write, record and produce an album they would not be playing any further live shows in 2014 after the Tønder Festival, due to be held on 28 and 29 August 2014. In the summer 2015 issue of The Wire it was revealed that the album would be called The Story, and would be released in spring 2016.
On 12 November 2015 the title track, and lead single, received its first radio play on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. During an interview with the show’s host Derek Murray, Calum Macdonald said that the upcoming album would likely be the last studio album that the band would release, also confirming the album’s release date as 29 January 2016. On 13 November 2015, the single was released in both CD and digital download form accompanied by a music video. Shortly after the single was released, the band announced that along with a sizeable tour of the UK and Europe in 2016 they would both be headlining the 21st HebCelt Festival on the Isle of Lewis and staging an outdoor show at Edinburgh Castle in July 2016.
The Last Dance and disbandment (2017–2018)
On 26 September 2017 Runrig announced that after 45 years they would be “pulling the curtain down” on their music careers. The band announced one final tour named The Final Mile, taking part in Germany, Denmark and UK, ending with one final show in Stirling‘s City Park called The Last Dance. Tickets for The Last Dance sold out in minutes and, after a few days of behind the scenes planning, Runrig announced another concert in the same location the night before. Tickets for this night sold out in less than six hours. It was a very emotional farewell, and the uncertain Scottish weather held out for their final rendition of “Loch Lomond.”
Scottish Potato Soup, otherwise known as Tattie Soup, is a heart-warmingly delicious but simple recipe that is perfect for a winter’s day lunch. In fact, one of our Scottish suppliers we interviewed even used to have it before school to warm up!
There are so many different potato soup recipes around the world. Potato and leek is popular, as is creamy potato soup, but of course, we think Scottish Potato Soup is the best, and we’re excited to share our own Tattie Soup recipe!
Surprisingly, the humble potato was only introduced to Scotland in the early 1700s, with potato gardens springing up around Edinburgh in the 1720s and near Stirling in 1739. It wasn’t until 1743 that it was first introduced to the Highlands and Islands, but by the 1800s they were 80% of the diet of Highlanders.
King Stephen of England, fighting rebel barons in the south, had sent a small force (largely mercenaries), but the English army was mainly local militia and baronial retinues from Yorkshire and the north Midlands. Archbishop Thurstan of York had exerted himself greatly to raise the army, preaching that to withstand the Scots was to do God’s work. The centre of the English position was therefore marked by a mast (mounted upon a cart) bearing a pyx carrying the consecrated host and from which were flown the consecrated banners of the minsters of Durham, York, Beverley and Ripon: hence the name of the battle. This cart-mounted standard was a very northerly example of a type of standard common in contemporary Italy, where it was known as a carroccio.
King David had entered England for two declared reasons:
Advancing beyond the Tees towards York, early on 22 August the Scots found the English army drawn up on open fields 2 miles (3 km) north of Northallerton; they formed up in four ‘lines’ to attack it. The first attack, by unarmoured spearmen against armoured men (including dismounted knights) supported by telling fire from archers failed. Within three hours, the Scots army disintegrated, apart from small bodies of knights and men-at-arms around David and his son Henry. At this point, Henry led a spirited attack with mounted knights; he and David then withdrew separately with their immediate companions in relatively good order. Heavy Scots losses are claimed, in battle and in flight.
The English did not pursue far; David fell back to Carlisle and reassembled an army. Within a month, a truce was negotiated which left the Scots free to continue the siege of Wark castle, which eventually fell. Despite losing the battle, David was subsequently given most of the territorial concessions he had been seeking (which the chronicles say he had been offered before he crossed the Tees). David held these throughout the Anarchy, but on the death of David, his successor Malcolm IV of Scotland was soon forced to surrender David’s gains to Henry II of England.
Some chronicle accounts of the battle include an invented pre-battle speech on the glorious deeds of the Normans, occasionally quoted as good contemporary evidence of the high opinion the Normans held of themselves.
David had gained the Scottish throne largely because of the support of his brother-in-law Henry I of England, and he had attempted to remodel Scotland to be more like Henry’s England. He had carried out peaceful changes in the areas of Scotland over which he had effective control and had conducted military campaigns against semi-autonomous regional rulers to reassert his authority; in administration, in warfare, and in the settling of regained territory, he had drawn on the talent and resources of the Anglo-Norman lands. The death of Henry I in 1135, weakening England, made David more reliant on his native subjects, and allowed him to contemplate winning control over substantial areas of northern England.
Henry I had wished his inheritance to pass to his daughter Matilda, and in 1127 made his notables swear an oath to uphold the succession of Matilda (David was the first layman to do so). Many of the English and Norman magnates and barons were against Matilda because she was married to Geoffrey V, count of Anjou. On Henry’s death, Stephen, younger brother of Theobald, count of Blois, seized the throne instead.
When Stephen was crowned on 22 December, David went to war. After two months of campaigning in northern England, a peace treaty ceding Cumberland to David was agreed.Additionally, David’s son Henry was made Earl of Huntingdon, David declining to swear the required oath of loyalty to Stephen, since he had already sworn allegiance to Matilda.
In spring 1137, David again invaded England: a truce was quickly agreed. In November, the truce expired; David demanded to be made earl of the whole of the old earldom of Northumberland. Stephen refused and in January 1138 David invaded for a third time.
Campaigning in 1138 before the battle.
David invades Northumberland.
David first moved against English castles on the Tweed frontier. Norham Castle belonged to the Bishop of Durham and its garrison was under-strength; it quickly fell. Having failed to rapidly seize the castle at Wark on Tweed, David detached forces to besiege it and moved deeper into Northumberland, demanding contributions from settlements and religious establishments to be spared plunder and burning.
Scots slave-raiding and Anglo-Norman alarm.
The actions of the army that invaded England in early 1138 shocked the English chroniclers. Richard of Hexham records that:
“an execrable army, more atrocious than the pagans, neither fearing God nor regarding man, spread desolation over the whole province and slaughtered everywhere people of either sex, of every age and rank, destroying, pillaging and burning towns, churches and houses”.
Monastic chroniclers often deplore depredations made by foreign armies and sometimes even those of their own rulers but some Scots forces were going beyond normal Norman ‘harrying’ by systematically carrying off women and children as slaves. In the contemporary Celtic world this was regarded as a useful source of revenue, like (and not significantly more reprehensible than) cattle-raiding.
“Then (horrible to relate) they carried off, like so much booty, the noble matrons and chaste virgins, together with other women. These naked, fettered, herded together; by whips and thongs they drove before them, goading them with their spears and other weapons. This took place in other wars, but in this to a far greater extent.”
The practicalities of this would support the chroniclers’ tales of sexual abuse of the slaves and casual slaughter of unsalable encumbrances:
“For the sick on their couches, women pregnant and in childbed, infants in the womb, innocents at the breast, or on the mother’s knee, with the mothers themselves, decrepit old men and worn-out old women, and persons debilitated from whatever cause, wherever they met with them, they put to the edge of the sword, and transfixed with their spears; and by how much more horrible a death they could dispatch them, so much the more did they rejoice.”
In February, King Stephen marched north with an army to deal with David. David successfully evaded him, and Stephen returned south.
Scots raid into Craven and the Battle of Clitheroe.
By late July David had crossed the river Tyne and was in “St Cuthbert’s land” (the lands of the Bishop of Durham). With him were contingents from most of the separate regions of his kingdom, amounting to more than 26,000 men (many sources say this is wrong, that it was more like 16,000). Eustace fitz John had declared for David and handed over to him Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. The garrison of Eustace’s castle at Malton to the North East of York began to raid surrounding areas in support of David (or Matilda).
The magnates of Yorkshire gathered in York to discuss the worsening crisis:
However, urged by the 70-year-old Thurstan (‘Lieutenant of the North’ in addition to his ecclesiastical duties; Walter Espec was High Sheriff of Yorkshire), to stand and fight and if needs be die in a holy cause, they agreed to gather their forces and return to York, where they were joined by reinforcements from Nottinghamshire under William Peverel and Geoffrey Halsalin, and from Derbyshire led by Robert de Ferrers. They advanced to Thirsk, from where they sent Robert de Brus and Bernard de Balliol (recently arrived with a few mercenaries sent by King Stephen) on an embassy to David, whose army was now approaching the River Tees and North Yorkshire.
The emissaries promised to obtain the earldom of Northumberland for Henry, if the Scots army withdrew. Ailred of Rievaulx gives de Brus a speech in which he tells David that the English and the Normans have always been his true friends (against the Gaels), and without their help he may not be able to keep his kingdom together. Whatever was initially said, it ended in hard words being exchanged. Having failed to persuade David to withdraw, the emissaries returned to Thirsk, with de Brus angrily withdrawing his homage to David. David’s forces crossed the Tees and moved south. The English forces moved northwards and took up a defensive position to the north of Northallerton.
Battlefield and English dispositions.
Moving south from the Tees David’s army would have had the high ground of the North Yorkshire Moors on its left, and the River Swale on its right. Nearing Northallerton, the distance between hills and river is about 8 miles (13 km), much of it low-lying and (then) poorly drained. The road to Northallerton from the Tees (the Great North Road) therefore approaches the town along a ridge of slightly higher ground running north–south. Minor ups and downs break the line of sight along the ridge, but the ‘ups’ are hills only in relation to the low ground on either side of the ridge. The English army deployed across this ridge about 2 miles (3 km) north of Northallerton in a single solid formation with the armoured men and most of the knights (who had dismounted, and sent their horses to the rear) to the front supported by the archers and the more lightly equipped men of the local levies. The barons stood with the remaining dismounted knights at the centre of the line around the standard. Their left is thought to have straddled the road, with its flank protected by a marsh; it is not known if the low ground to the east of the ridge was similarly boggy, or if the English formation extended that far.
Scots arrive and deploy.
John of Worcester says that David intended to take the English by surprise, there being a very close mist that day. Richard of Hexham says simply that the Scots became aware of the standard (and by implication the army underneath it) at no great distance.
“In front of the battle were the Picts [ie the Galwegians]; in the centre, the king with his knights and English; the rest of the barbarian host poured roaring around them. The king and almost all his followers were on foot, their horses being kept at a distance.”
Ailred of Rievaulx gives the eventual deployment of the Scots as being in four ‘lines’. The Galwegians [from Galloway in South-West Scotland] – described by a later chronicler as
” men agile, unclothed, remarkable for much baldness [shaven heads?]; arming their left side with knives formidable to any armed men, having a hand most skillful at throwing spears and directing them from a distance; raising their long lance as a standard when they advance into battle”
– were in the first line. “The second line the King’s son Prince Henry arranged with great wisdom; with himself the knights and archers, adding to their number the Cumbrians and Teviotdalesmen … The men of Lothian formed the third rank, with the islanders and the men of Lorne [in the South-West Highlands]. The King kept in his own line the Scots and Moravians [men from Moray in North-East Scotland]; several also of the English and French knights he appointed as his bodyguard.”
Henry of Huntingdon‘s account of the battle would imply that the men of Lothian with their ‘long spears’ were in the first line; however, the generally accepted view is that the long spears were those of the Galwegians.
Ailred says (but this may be a literary device) that this order of battle was decided at the last minute; David had intended to attack first with his knights and armoured men-at-arms, but had faced strong protests from the Galwegians that they should be given the honour of attacking first, since they had already demonstrated at Clitheroe that the vigour of their attack was sufficient to rout Normans in armour. David, however, paid more attention to the counter-argument of his Normans; that if the Galwegians failed the rest of the army would lose heart. The Galwegians resumed their protest, and the debate was not aided by a mormaer (one of David’s native ‘great lords’) asking why David listened to ‘foreigners’ when none of those with armour on would this day outdo the mormaer who wore no armour.
And Alan de Percy, base-born son of the great Alan – a most vigorous knight, and in military matters highly distinguished – took these words ill; and turning to the earl he said, ‘A great word hast thou spoken, and one which for thy life thou canst not make good this day.’ Then the king, restraining both, lest a disturbance should suddenly arise out of this altercation, yielded to the will of the Galwegians.
Both Ailred and Henry of Huntingdon report a speech made to the Anglo-Normans before battle was joined. The speech may well be a literary device of the chroniclers, to present the reasons why it was fit and proper that the Normans should win, rather than accurate reportage of an actual speech. Ailred of Rievaulx says the speech was made by Walter Espec, Sheriff of York (and founder of Rievaulx). Henry of Huntingdon and after him Roger of Hoveden say the speech was made by Radulf NovellBishop of Orkney as the representative of Thurstan.
The speaker first reminds the Normans of the military prowess of their race (especially when compared to the Scots):
“Most illustrious nobles of England, Normans by birth, … consider who you are, and against whom, and where it is, you are waging war; for then no one shall with impunity resist your prowess. Bold France, taught by experience, has quailed beneath your valour, fierce England, led captive, has submitted to you; rich Apulia, on having you for her masters, has flourished once again; Jerusalem so famed, and illustrious Antioch, have bowed themselves before you; and now Scotland, which of right is subject to you, attempts to show resistance, displaying a temerity not warranted by her arms, more fitted indeed for rioting than for battle. These are people, in fact, who have no knowledge of military matters, no skill in fighting, no moderation in ruling. There is no room then left for fear, but rather for shame, that those whom we have always sought on their own soil and overcome ..have …come flocking into our country.”
He next assures them that God has chosen them to punish the Scots:
“This .. has been brought about by Divine Providence; in order that those who have in this country violated the temples of God, stained the altars with blood, slain his priests, spared neither children nor pregnant women, may on the same spot receive the condign punishment of their crimes; and this most just resolve of the Divine will, God will this day put in execution by means of your hands. Arouse your spirits then, ye civilized warriors, and, firmly relying on the valour of your country, nay, rather on the presence of God, arise against these most unrighteous foes”
Any keenness of the Scots to attack is because they don’t understand the superiority of Norman equipment:
“And let not their rashness move you, because so many insignia of your valour cause no alarm to them. They know not how to arm themselves for battle; whereas you, during the time of peace, prepare yourselves for war, in order that in battle you may not experience the doubtful contingencies of warfare. Cover your heads then with the helmet, your breasts with the coat of mail, your legs with the greaves, and your bodies with the shield, that so the foeman may not find where to strike at you, on seeing you thus surrounded on every side with iron.”
Furthermore, the Scots’ advantage in numbers is no advantage at all, especially when they are up against properly trained Norman knights:
“[I]t is not so much the numbers of the many as the valour of the few that gains the battle. For a multitude unused to discipline is a hindrance to itself, when successful, in completing the victory, when routed, in taking to flight. Besides your forefathers, when but few in number, have many a time conquered multitudes; what then is the natural consequence of the glories of your ancestry, your constant exercises, your military discipline, but that though fewer in number, you should overcome multitudes?”
These preliminaries over, the battle began.
Galwegian attack is held and fails.
The battle began with a charge by the Galwegian spearmen who
“after their custom gave vent thrice to a yell of horrible sound, and attacked the southerns in such an onslaught that they compelled the first spearmen to forsake their post; but they were driven off again by the strength of the knights, and [the spearmen] recovered their courage and strength against the foe. And when the frailty of the Scottish lances was mocked by the denseness of iron and wood they drew their swords and attempted to contend at close quarters”
The English archery caused disorganisation and heavy casualties in the Scottish ranks. Ailred records the bravery and determination of the Galwegians, together with its ineffectiveness:
“like a hedgehog with its quill, so would you see a Galwegian bristling all round with arrows, and nonetheless brandishing his sword, and in blind madness rushing forward now smite a foe, now lash the air with useless strokes”.
The Galwegians finally fled after the death of two of their leaders (Domnall and Ulgric); the men of Lothian similarly broke after the earl of Lothian was killed by an arrow
The King retreats; Prince Henry attacks.
David wished to stand and fight, but was forced onto his horse and compelled to retire by his friends. Ailred simply says that the English were advancing; Henry of Huntingdon says that David’s ‘line’ had been progressively melting away. Prince Henry led mounted men in a charge on the Anglo-Norman position, as or just after the Scots foot broke. According to Ailred, Henry successfully broke through and attacked the horse-holders in the rear of the Anglo-Norman position; the ‘unarmed men’ (i.e. unarmoured men) were dispersed, and only rallied by a claim that the Scottish king was dead. Since Prince Henry was unsupported and the rest of the army was withdrawing, for the most part in great disorder, he hid any banners showing his party to be Scottish, and retreated towards David by joining the English pursuing him. Henry of Huntingdon is keener to stress Henry’s inability to shake the armoured men; again the attack ends in flight
“Next, the king’s troop … began to drop off, at first; man by man, and afterwards in bodies, the king standing firm, and being at last left almost alone. The king’s friends seeing this, forced him to mount his horse and take to flight; but Henry, his valiant son, not heeding what he saw being done by his men, but solely intent on glory and valour, while the rest were taking to flight, most bravely charged the enemy’s line, and shook it by the wondrous vigour of his onset. For his troop was the only one mounted on horseback, and consisted of English and Normans, who formed a part of his father’s household. His horsemen, however, were not able long to continue their attacks against soldiers on foot, cased in mail, and standing immoveable in close and dense ranks; but, with their lances broken and their horses wounded, were compelled to take to flight.”
Scots rout and casualties.
The battle lasted no longer than between prime and terce, i.e. between daybreak and mid-morning. In Northern England at the end of August sunrise is roughly 6 a.m. and hence the battle lasted no more than 3½ hours; by not long after 9 a.m. all elements of the Scottish army were in retreat or flight. No numbers are given for total English losses but they are said to have been light; of the knights present, only one was killed. Scottish casualties during the battle proper cannot be separated from losses whilst fleeing in the 10 or so hours of daylight remaining. The chroniclers talk variously of the fugitives scattering in all directions, of their attempting to cross the Tees where there was no ford and drowning, of their being found and killed in cornfields and woods, and of fighting between the various contingents. Richard of Hexham says that of the army which came forth from Scotland, more than ten thousand were missing from the re-mustered survivors. Later chroniclers built upon this to claim 10–12,000 Scots killed. John of Worcester gives more details on the fortunes of the Scots knights
“But of [David’s] army nearly ten thousand fell in different places, and as many as fifty were captured of his picked men. But the king’s son came on foot with one knight only to Carlisle, while his father scarce escaped through woods and passes to Roxburgh. Of two hundred mailed knights whom [David] had, only nineteen brought back their hauberks; because each had abandoned as booty to the foe almost everything that he had. And thus very great spoils were taken from his army, as well of horses and arms and raiment as of very many other things”.
Carlisle Castle was rebuilt by King David, and became one of his chief residences.
End of the campaign.
David regrouped his forces at Carlisle; the nobles of Yorkshire did not move North against him, and their local levies dispersed to their homes rejoicing at the victory. Thus, although militarily the battle was a “shattering defeat”, it did not reverse David’s previous gains. David had the only army still under arms and was left to consolidate his hold on Cumberland and Northumberland. On 26 September Cardinal Alberic, bishop of Ostia, arrived at Carlisle where David had called together his kingdom’s nobles, abbots and bishops. Alberic was there as a papal legate to resolve a long-running dispute as to whether the bishop of Glasgow was subordinate to the archbishop of York. However, Alberic also addressed more temporal matters: he persuaded David to refrain from further offensive action until Martinmas (11 November) whilst continuing to blockade Wark to starve it into submission, and the ‘Picts’ to (also by Martinmas) return their captives to Carlisle and free them there. At Martinmas, the garrison of Wark surrendered on the orders of the castle’s owner (Walter Espec), conveyed by the abbot of Rievaulx. The garrison had eaten all but two of their horses; King David rehorsed them and allowed them to depart with their arms.
Another peace agreement.
Negotiations between David and Stephen continued over the winter months, and on 9 April David’s son Henry and Stephen’s wife Matilda of Boulogne met each other at Durham and agreed a settlement. Henry was given the earldom of Northumberland and was restored to the earldom of Huntingdon and lordship of Doncaster; David himself was allowed to keep Carlisle and Cumberland. However, King Stephen was to retain possession of the strategically vital castles of Bamburgh and Newcastle, and Prince Henry was to perform homage for his English lands, while David himself was to promise to “remain loyal” to Stephen at all times. Stephen released those who held fiefs in the lands Henry now held to do homage to Henry, saving only their fealty to Stephen.
Northern England under Scottish rule.
This arrangement lasted for nearly 20 years, and would appear to have been beneficial to both sides. David was able to benefit from the resources of Northern England (for example, the lead mines of the northern Pennines gave him silver from which he was able to strike his own coinage). Northern England did not become involved in the civil war between supporters of Stephen and those of Matilda, although magnates with holdings further south were drawn in. This included David, who despite his promise to Stephen was a loyal supporter of Matilda, but he did not go South with a Scottish army.
The new southern border of David’s realm appeared to be permanently secured in 1149, when Matilda’s son Henry was knighted by David at Carlisle
he having first given an oath that, if he became king of England, he would give to [David] Newcastle and all Northumbria, and would permit him and his heirs to possess in peace without counter-claim for ever the whole land which lies from the river Tweed to the river Tyne.
Status quo restored.
However, Prince Henry died in 1152, King David in 1153, and King Stephen in 1154. This brought to the throne of Scotland a 14-year-old Malcolm IV of Scotland now facing a young Henry II of England who had at his command the resources not only of an England free from civil war, but also of much of Western France. In 1157, Malcolm travelled to Chester to do homage to Henry who declared that “the king of England ought not to be defrauded of so great a part of his kingdom, nor could he patiently be deprived of it …”
“And [Malcolm] prudently considering that in this matter the king of England was superior to the merits of the case by the authority of might ..restored to him the .. territories in their entirety, and received from him in return the earldom of Huntingdon, which belonged to him by ancient right. Things being so arranged, England enjoyed for a time her ease and security in all her borders. And the king ruled more widely than all who were known to have ruled in England till that time, that is from the furthest bounds of Scotland as far as to the Pyrenees“.
Significance of the battle.
The Battle did not stop David achieving his declared war aims. We now know that achieving those aims while England was in turmoil did not prevent all David’s gains having to be surrendered when Henry II made the Scottish monarch an offer he could not refuse. Unless David had other undeclared aims and ambitions which defeat at the Standard thwarted, therefore, the battle had no long-term significance.
Elgin is first documented in the Cartulary of Moray in 1190 AD. It was created a royal burgh in the 12th century by King David I of Scotland, and by that time had a castle on top of the present-day Lady Hill to the west of the town. The origin of the name Elgin is likely to be Celtic. It may derive from ‘Aille’ literally signifying beauty, but in topography a beautiful place or valley. Another possibility is ‘ealg’, meaning both ‘Ireland’ and ‘worthy’. The termination ‘gin’ or ‘in’ are Celtic endings signifying little or diminutive forms, hence Elgin could mean beautiful place, worthy place or little Ireland.
The discovery of the Elgin Pillar, a 9th-century class II Pictish stone, under the High Street in 1823 suggests there may have been an Early Christian presence in the area of the later market, but there is no further evidence of activity before Elgin was created a Royal Burgh in the 12th century. In August 1040, MacBeth’s army defeated and killed Duncan I at Bothganowan (Pitgaveny), near Elgin. Elgin is first recorded in a charter of David I in 1151 in which he granted an annuity to the Priory of Urquhart. David had made Elgin a royal burgh around 1130, after his defeat of Óengus of Moray. During David’s reign, the castle was established at the top of what is now Lady Hill. The town received a royal charter from Alexander II in 1224 when he granted the land for a new cathedral to Andrew, Bishop of Moray. This finally settled the episcopal see which had been at various times at Kinneddar, Birnie and Spynie. Elgin was a popular residence for the early Scottish monarchs: David I, William I, Alexander II and Alexander III all held court there and hunted in the royal forests.
Of these kings, Alexander II was Elgin’s greatest benefactor and returned many times to his royal castle. He established the two religious houses of the town, the Dominicans or Blackfriars on the west side and the Franciscans or Greyfriars in the east. Further to the east stood the Hospital of Maison Dieu, or House of God also founded during the reign of Alexander II for the reception of poor men and women.
On 19 July 1224, the foundation stone of the new Elgin Cathedral was ceremoniously laid. The cathedral was completed sometime after 1242 but was completely destroyed by fire in 1270. The reasons for this are unrecorded. The buildings now remain as ruins date from the reconstruction following that fire. The Chartulary of Moray described the completed cathedral as “Mirror of the country and the glory of the kingdom”.
Edward I of England travelled twice to Elgin. During his first visit in 1296, he was impressed by what he saw. Preserved in the Cotton library now held in the British Library is the journal of his stay, describing the castle and the town of Elgin as “bon chastell et bonne ville”—good castle and good town. By his second visit in September 1303, the castle’s wooden interior had been burned while held by the English governor, Henry de Rye. As a result, he only stayed in Elgin for two days and then camped at Kinloss Abbey from 13 September until 4 October. King Edward was furious when David de Moravia, Bishop of Moray, joined Scotland’s cause with Bruce, and Edward appealed to the Pope who excommunicated the bishop, thus removing papal protection, causing him to flee to Orkney, then to Norway, only to return after Robert Bruce’s victories against the English. After Edward’s death in July 1307, Robert the Bruce retook Scotland in 1308, slighting castles to keep them out of English hands. David de Moravia, the Bishop of Moray at the head of his army, joined with Bruce and they slighted the castles of Inverness, Nairn and Forres before seizing and slighting Kinneddar Castle, which also housed English soldiers. He attacked Elgin castle to be twice repulsed before finally succeeding.
In August 1370 Alexander Bur, Bishop of Moray began payments to Alexander Stewart, Wolf of Badenoch, King Robert III’s brother, for the protection of his lands and men. In February 1390, the bishop then turned to Thomas Dunbar, son of the Earl of Moray, to provide the protection. This action infuriated Stewart and in May he descended from his castle on an island in Lochindorb and burned the town of Forres in revenge. In June he burned much of Elgin, including two monasteries, St Giles Church, the Hospital of Maison Dieu and the cathedral. Andrew of Wyntoun‘s Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland (a 15th-century history of Scotland) described this action by “wyld, wykked Heland-men”. The rebuilding of the cathedral took many years; but much of it has since crumbled away due to the inferior quality of the stone made available to the 15th- and 16th-century masons, while the 13th-century construction still remains. In 1506, the great central tower collapsed and although rebuilding work began the next year it was not completed till 1538.
From the Reformation to the eighteenth century
The citizens of Elgin and surrounding areas did not seem to object to the new religion following the Reformation. In 1568 the lead was stripped from the roof of the cathedral, by order of the Privy Council of Scotland. The lead was to be sold and the proceeds to go to the maintenance of Regent Moray’s soldiers, but the ship taking the lead cargo to Holland sank almost immediately on leaving Aberdeen harbour. Without this protection, the building began to deteriorate. In 1637, the rafters over the choir were blown down and in 1640 the minister of St Giles along with the Laird of Innes and Alexander Brodie of Brodie, all ardent Covenanters, removed and destroyed the ornately carved screen and woodwork that had remained intact. The tracery of the West window was destroyed sometime between 1650 and 1660 by Cromwell‘s soldiers. On Easter Sunday 1711 the central tower collapsed for the second time in its history but caused much more damage. The rubble was quarried for various projects in the vicinity until 1807 when, through the efforts of Joseph King of Newmill, a wall was built around the cathedral and a keeper’s house erected. Mountains of this rubble were cleared by one John Shanks, enabling visitors to view the ornate stonemasonry. Shanks was presented with an ornate snuffbox by the authorities, it is now in Elgin Museum, he is also honoured with a large tombstone in the eastern Cathedral precincts.
When Daniel Defoe toured Scotland in 1717, he visited Elgin and said:
In this rich country is the city, or town rather, of Elgin; I say city, because in antient time the monks claim’d it for a city; and the cathedral shews, by its ruins, that it was a place of great magnificence. Nor must it be wonder’d at, if in so pleasant, so rich, and so agreeable a part of the country, all the rest being so differing from it, the clergy should seat themselves in a proportion’d number, seeing we must do them the justice to say, that if there is any place richer and more fruitful, and pleasant than another, they seldom fail to find it out. As the country is rich and pleasant, so here are a great many rich inhabitants, and in the town of Elgin in particular; for the gentlemen, as if this was the Edinburgh, or the court, for this part of the island, leave their Highland habitations in the winter and come and live here for the diversion of the place and plenty of provisions; and there is, on this account, a great variety of gentlemen for society, and that of all parties and of all opinions. This makes Elgin a very agreeable place to live in, notwithstanding its distance, being above 450 measur’d miles [725 km] from London, and more, if we must go by Edinburgh.
The cathedral is known as the Lantern of the North. When Bishop Bur wrote to King Robert III, complaining of the wanton destruction done to the building by the King’s brother, the Wolf of Badenoch, he describes the cathedral as “the ornament of this district, the glory of the kingdom and the admiration of foreigners.” Chambers, in his Picture of Scotland, says:
It is an allowed fact, which the ruins seem still to attest, that this was by far the most splendid specimen of ecclesiastical architecture in Scotland, the abbey church of Melrose not excepted. It must be acknowledged that the edifice last mentioned is a wonderful instance of symmetry and elaborate decoration; yet in extent, in loftiness, in impressive magnificence, and even in minute decoration, Elgin has been manifestly superior. Enough still remains to impress the solitary traveller with a sense of admiration mixed with astonishment.
Lachlan Shaw in his History of the Province of Moray was equally impressed when he wrote
the church when entire was a building of Gothic architecture inferior to few in Europe.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart travelled to Elgin from Inverness in March 1746 and, falling ill with a feverish cold, stayed for 11 days before returning to await the arrival of the king’s army. He stayed in Elgin with Mrs Anderson, a passionate Jacobite, at Thunderton House. She kept the sheets that the Prince slept on and was buried in them a quarter of a century later. The Duke of Cumberland passed through the town on 13 April, camping at Alves on the way to meet the Prince in battle on Drummossie Muir. After the battle, William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock, one of the Prince’s generals, was captured and taken to London and eventual execution, but he wrote to his friend from prison about his indebtedness to the shoemakers of Elgin:
Beside my personal debts mentioned in general and particular in the State, there is one for which I am liable in justice, if it is not paid, owing to poor people who gave their work for it by my orders. It was at Elgin in Murray, the Regiment I commanded wanted shoes. I commissioned something about seventy pair of shoes and brogues, which might come to 3 shillngs or three shillings and sixpence each, one with the other. The magistrates divided them among the shoemakers of the town and country, and each shoemaker furnished his proportion. I drew on the town, for the price, out of the composition laid on them, but I was afterwards told at Inverness that, it was believed, the composition was otherwise applied, and the poor shoemakers not paid. As these poor people wrought by my orders, it will be a great ease to my heart to think they are not to lose by me, as too many have done in the course of that year, but had I lived I might have made some inquiry after but now it is impossible, as their hardships in loss of horses and such things, which happeened through my soldiers, are so interwoven with what was done by other people, that it would be very hard, if not impossible, to separate them. If you’ll write to Mr Innes of Dalkinty at Elgin (with whom I was quartered when I lay there), he will send you an account of the shoes, and if they were paid to the shoemakers or no; and if they are not, I beg you’ll get my wife, or my successors to pay them when they can …
Dr Grays Hospital.
In the 19th century, the old medieval town of Elgin was swept away. The first major addition to the town centre was the Assembly Rooms, built in 1821 by the Trinity Lodge of Freemasons, at the corner of High Street and North Street. In 1819, Dr Gray’s Hospital was built on unused ground. The building has imposing columns and distinctive dome. Dr Alexander Gray, a doctor who worked for and made his fortune with the East India Company, endowed £26,000 for the hospital. In 1828 the new parish church of St Giles was built at a cost of £10,000. L. General Andrew Anderson, born in Elgin, also of the East India Company, died in 1824 and bequeathed £70,000 to the town to found an institution for the welfare of the elderly poor and for the education of orphans. The Anderson Institution was built in the east end of the town in 1832 with accommodation for 50 children and ten elderly people. The Burgh Court House was built in 1841, the museum was completed in 1842 and the Sheriff’s Court Complex was built in 1866.
The Morayshire Railway was officially opened in ceremonies at Elgin and Lossiemouth on 10 August 1852, the steam engines having been delivered to Lossiemouth by sea. It was the first railway north of Aberdeen and initially ran only 5+1⁄2 miles (9 km) between Elgin and Lossiemouth. It was later extended south to Craigellachie. The Great North of Scotland Railway took over the working of the line in 1863 and bought the company in 1881 following the Morayshire Railway’s return to solvency from crippling debt. The railway and Lossiemouth harbour became very important to Elgin’s economy.
The town was becoming prosperous, and by 1882 it had a Head Post Office with a savings bank, insurance and telegraph departments, and branches of the Bank of Scotland and the British Linen Company, Caledonian, Commercial, North of Scotland, Royal and Union Banks, and the National Securities Savings Bank, offices or agencies of 48 insurance companies, five hotels, and a newspaper. It was not until the 20th century, however, that the separate villages of Bishopmill and New Elgin would be incorporated into the town.
The war memorial in Elgin dates from 1921 and represents “Peace and Victory”. It was designed by Percy Portsmouth.
Geography and geology
The modern town straddles the River Lossie, with the suburbs of Bishopmill to the north and New Elgin to the south. Permo–Triassic rocks, rare in Scotland, are commonly found around Elgin. These are composed of aeolian sandstone formed when this area was subjected to desert conditions. Quarry Wood, on the town’s edge, has a formation nicknamed Cuttie’s Hillock which produced the internationally known fossils called the Elgin Reptiles. In the Elgin district, boulders belonging to the lowest group of Jurassic strata, Oxford clay and chalk are found both in glacial deposits and on the surface of the ground. The largest of these deposits is at Linksfield, where limestone and shale lie on boulder clay. There is a large hill in Elgin’s town centre, often viewed as the highlight of the Elgin tourist trail.
The influence of the Renaissance on Scottish architecture has been seen as occurring in two distinct phases. The selective use of Romanesque forms in church architecture in the early fifteenth century was followed towards the end of the century by a phase of more directly influenced Renaissance palace building. The re-adoption of low-massive church building with round arches and pillars, in contrast to the Gothic Perpendicular style that was particularly dominant in England in the late medieval era, may have been influenced by close contacts with Rome and the Netherlands, and may have been a conscious reaction to English forms in favour of continental ones. It can be seen in the nave of Dunkeld Cathedral, begun in 1406, the facade of St Mary’s, Haddington from the 1460s and in the chapel of Bishop Elphinstone’s Kings College, Aberdeen (1500–9). About forty collegiate churches were established in Scotland in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Many, like Trinity College, Edinburgh, showed a combination of Gothic and Renaissance styles.
The extensive building and rebuilding of royal palaces probably began under James III, accelerated under James IV, reaching its peak under James V. These works have been seen as directly reflecting the influence of Renaissance styles. Linlithgow was first constructed under James I, under the direction of master of work John de Waltoun. From 1429, it was referred to as a palace, apparently the first use of this term in the country. This was extended under James III and began to correspond to a fashionable quadrangular, corner-towered Italian seignorial palace of a palatium ad moden castri (a castle-style palace), combining classical symmetry with neo-chivalric imagery. There is evidence of Italian masons working for James IV, in whose reign Linlithgow was completed and other palaces were rebuilt with Italianate proportions.
James V encountered the French version of Renaissance building while visiting for his marriage to Madeleine of Valois in 1536 and his second marriage to Mary of Guise may have resulted in longer-term connections and influences. Work from his reign largely disregarded the insular style of Tudor architecture prevalent in England under Henry VIII and adopted forms that were recognisably European, beginning with the extensive work at Linlithgow. This was followed by rebuildings at Holyrood, Falkland, Stirling and Edinburgh, described as “some of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Britain”. Rather than slavishly copying continental forms, most Scottish architecture incorporated elements of these styles into traditional local patterns, adapting them to Scottish idioms and materials (particularly stone and harl). Work undertaken for James VI demonstrated continued Renaissance influences, with the Chapel Royal at Stirling having a classical entrance built in 1594 and the North Wing of Linlithgow, built in 1618, using classical pediments. Similar themes can be seen in the private houses of aristocrats, as in Mar’s Wark, Stirling (c. 1570) and Crichton Castle, built for the Earl of Bothwell in the 1580s.
New military architecture and the trace italienne style was brought by Italian architects and military engineers during the war of the Rough Wooing and the regency of Mary of Guise including Migliorino Ubaldini who worked at Edinburgh Castle, Camillo Marini who designed forts on the borders, and Lorenzo Pomarelli who worked for Mary of Guise. The unique style of great private houses in Scotland, later known as Scots baronial, has been located in origin to the period of the 1560s. It kept many of the features of the high walled Medieval castles that had been largely made obsolete by gunpowder weapons and may have been influenced by the French masons brought to Scotland to work on royal palaces. It drew on the tower houses and peel towers, which had been built in hundreds by local lords since the fourteenth century, particularly in the borders. These abandoned defensible curtain walls for a fortified refuge, designed to outlast a raid, rather than a sustained siege. They were usually of three stories, typically crowned with a parapet, projecting on corbels, continuing into circular bartizans at each corner. New houses retained many of these external features, but with a larger ground plan, classically a “Z-plan” of a rectangular block with towers, as at Colliston Castle (1583) and Claypotts Castle (1569–88).
Particularly influential was the work of William Wallace, the king’s master mason from 1617 until his death in 1631. He worked on the rebuilding of the collapsed North Range of Linlithgow from 1618, Winton House for George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton and began work on Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh. He adopted a distinctive style that applied elements of Scottish fortification and Flemish influences to a Renaissance plan like that used at Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This style can be seen in lords houses built at Caerlaverlock (1620), Moray House, Edinburgh (1628) and Drumlanrig Castle (1675–89), and was highly influential until the Scots baronial style gave way to the grander English forms associated with Inigo Jones in the later seventeenth century.
From about 1560, the Reformation revolutionised church architecture in Scotland. Calvinists rejected ornamentation in places of worship, with no need for elaborate buildings divided up by ritual, resulting in the widespread destruction of Medieval church furnishings, ornaments and decoration. There was a need to adapt and build new churches suitable for reformed services, with greater emphasis on preaching and the pulpit. Many of the earliest buildings were simple gabled rectangles, a style that continued to be built into the seventeenth century, as at Dunnottar Castle in the 1580s, Greenock (1591) and Durness (1619). The church of Greyfriars, Edinburgh, built between 1602 and 1620, used this layout with a largely Gothic form while that at Dirleton (1612) had a more sophisticated classical style. A variation of the rectangular church that developed in post-Reformation Scotland was the “T”-shaped plan, often used when adapting existing churches as it allowed the maximum number of parishioners to be near the pulpit. Examples can be seen at Kemback in Fife (1582) and Prestonpans after 1595. The “T” plan continued to be used into the seventeenth century as at Weem (1600), Anstruther Easter, Fife (1634–44) and New Cumnock (1657). In the seventeenth century a Greek cross plan was used for churches such as Cawdor (1619) and Fenwick (1643). In most of these cases one arm of the cross was closed off as a laird’s aisle, with the result that they were in effect “T”-plan churches.
Scottish Steak Pie is THE dish to have on New Year’s Day. Who knew?
Well, not us, until we saw everyone buying them on New Year’s Eve here in Scotland and wondered what was going on. This is a different, larger pie to the traditional Scotch Pie. If you want to make one of those you can find our recipe here.
If you don’t know, New Year’s in Scotland is a pretty big deal. It even has its own name, Hogmanay, and the party lasts for more than just the one night!
The Cairngorms is the UK’s largest national park (twice the size of the Lake District), reaching from Aviemore in the North to the Angus Glens in the south. It’s also home to five out of six of the highest peaks in Scotland. How greedy.
The landscape in the Cairngorms is diverse; with mountainous horizons, pristine rivers, heather flushed moors, deep forests and wetlands. The climate here, as it’s up to 1200 metres above sea level in places, is arctic-alpine. This means, obviously, it gets cold and the lowest temperature ever recorded was -27.2 °C. It also means the Cairngorms is home to artic wildlife species such as snow buntings.
Robert Crichton, 8th Lord Crichton of Sanquhar, (d. 1612) was a Scottish peer executed for the murder of a fencing teacher. He was the son of Edward, Lord Sanquhar. Robert is often styled “6th Lord Sanquhar.”
In October 1590 Robert Crichton decided to travel abroad for his education. His advisors, including Sir John Carmichael tried to persuade him to stay in Scotland and get married. James VI gave him a licence to travel. Carmichael’s son Hugh went to London to hasten his return.
Robert Crichton was rumoured to have been in Rome in the company of Jesuits and to have spoken with the Pope in 1593. The Jesuit missionary to Scotland, William Crichton, was his kinsman.
Crichton was a noted swordsman. In June 1596 he challenged Patrick, Earl of Orkney to a duel. James VI forbade him to issue the challenge, called a “cartel.” However, they arranged to fight, but the King was able to prevent their combat. The English diplomat Robert Bowes heard that Sanquhar alleged the quarrel was Sanquhar’s loss of a court appointment, but according to rumour Sanquhar had been encouraged to fight the Earl by another powerful figure.
On 27 May 1602 he returned from his travels and was welcomed by James VI at Dunfermline Palace, and attended the christening of Robert Stuart, Duke of Kintyre. Robert had met Elizabeth I of England at the insistence of the French diplomats in London. According to one who spoke to him there, Robert had resolved to serve the Spanish king. In June 1602 Robert, who was a friend of Anne of Denmark‘s favourite, Barbara Ruthven, was granted the Gowrie House lodging in Perth, which the Ruthven family had forfeited in 1600, with the offices of Constable and Keeper of the town.
In July he was appointed to attend the French ambassador, the Baron de Tour, who arrived before Lord Sanquhar knew it. Subsequently Sanquhar acted as an interpreter between the Baron de Tour and the English diplomat George Nicholson.
Sanquhar spoke to Sir Robert Cecil asking if he would speak to Barbara Ruthven in person, but Cecil was unwilling. It is unclear if this discussion occurred in May 1602 or in the autumn of 1602.
London, a fencing accident, and murder.
Lord Sanquhar followed King James to England after the Union of Crowns. He was involved in the reception of Venetian ambassadors at Wilton House in December 1603. On 10 August 1604, while staying with Lord Norreys, he went to practice swordsmanship with a fencing master called John Turner at Rycote. By accident, Sanquhar was hurt in the eye.
After some years, and following teasing for his disfigurement by the King of France, Sanquhar’s followers murdered the fencing master. Turner was killed by a pistol shot on 11 May 1612, while he was drinking with some of Lord Sanquhar’s followers. One called Carlisle fired the fatal shot. After four days Lord Sanquhar went to the Archbishop of Canterbury and declared that he was innocent of the murder. King James issued a proclamation of a reward of £500 for Sanquhar alive, and £300 dead. For Carlisle, the reward was £100 alive and £50 dead. Soon afterwards, another of Sanquhar’s servants, a Scotsman called Gray, was arrested at Harwich where he was embarking on a ship for Denmark. Gray confessed that Lord Sanquhar had previously asked him to kill Turner.
Lord Sanquhar was brought before the justices of the King’s Bench. Not being a peer of England, he was tried under the name of Robert Crichton, although a baron of three hundred years’ standing. Francis Bacon delivered the charges against him. Bacon suggested his offence was caused by Italian manners he had picked up on his travels, rather than English or Scottish custom. His wife Anne Fermor divorced him, and later married the Irish nobleman Barnabas O’Brien, 6th Earl of Thomond.
He was executed by hanging on 29 June 1612 in Westminster Palace yard, confessing that he had offended England and Scotland, and declared he was a Roman Catholic.
His body was taken by Lord Dingwall and Robert Kerr, Lord Roxburgh to be sent to Scotland.
By his marriage at St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, 10 April 1608, to Anne, daughter of Sir George Fermor of Easton, he had no issue. All his property was left to his natural son, Robert Crichton, but the heir male, William, seventh lord Sanquhar, disputed the succession, and on the matter being referred to James VI Robert Crichton was served heir of entail to him in the estate of Sanquhar 15 July 1619.
He had another son, William, who was 21 or near that age in 1616, when the Earl of Roxburghe was one of his curators.
Alexander Grant – founder of National Library of Scotland
Name : Grant
Born : 1864
Died : 1937
Category : Other
Finest Moment : Helping the formation of the National Library of Scotland, 1925
Born the son of a railway guard in Forres, 1864. Grant began working in an office, but the crucial event was being apprenticed to a local baker. Immersed in the heady aromas of yeast and rising dough, he moved to Edinburgh, gaining employment with Robert McVitie. Here he had found his niche, and his rapid rise saw him managing the new factory built in Gorgie Road then establishing another plant in London.
McVitie’s partner, Price retired, then McVitie himself died in 1910, Grant then acquiring control of the company. It grew to feed the urban population, hungry for variety and convenient snacks to take in the tea parlours springing up everywhere. With Grant as Chairman and Managing Director, McVitie & Price became a world leader.
Probably aware of his modest beginnings, Grant initiated charitable funding for many projects. A sum of £100,000 helped in no way found the National Library for Scotland for example. He was awarded a baronetcy in 1924. There were some awkward questions asked about this, as the newly-elected Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, had been given a present from Grant of £30,000 worth of shares in the company and a new Daimler. Let it be known that the baronetcy had already been put in motion by the previous government. He also provided a further grant of £100,000 towards the new Library.
In the 1980s the company established the McVitie Prize for the Scottish Writer of the Year, Scotland’s foremost literary award. Alexander Grant died in 1937, the same year as his close friend Ramsay MacDonald.
Anne was born in the reign of Charles II to his younger brother and heir presumptive, James, whose suspected Roman Catholicism was unpopular in England. On Charles’s instructions, Anne and her elder sister Mary were raised as Anglicans. Mary married their Dutch Protestant cousin, William III of Orange, in 1677, and Anne married Prince George of Denmark in 1683. On Charles’s death in 1685, James succeeded to the throne, but just three years later he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Mary and William became joint monarchs. Although the sisters had been close, disagreements over Anne’s finances, status, and choice of acquaintances arose shortly after Mary’s accession and they became estranged. William and Mary had no children. After Mary’s death in 1694, William reigned alone until his own death in 1702, when Anne succeeded him.
During her reign, Anne favoured moderate Tory politicians, who were more likely to share her Anglican religious views than their opponents, the Whigs. The Whigs grew more powerful during the course of the War of the Spanish Succession, until 1710 when Anne dismissed many of them from office. Her close friendship with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, turned sour as the result of political differences. The Duchess took revenge with an unflattering description of the Queen in her memoirs, which was widely accepted by historians until Anne was reassessed in the late 20th century.
Anne was plagued by poor health throughout her life, and from her thirties she grew increasingly ill and obese. Despite 17 pregnancies, she died without surviving issue and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the Act of Settlement 1701, which excluded all Catholics, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover.
As a child, Anne had an eye condition, which manifested as excessive watering known as “defluxion”. For medical treatment, she was sent to France, where she lived with her paternal grandmother, Henrietta Maria of France, at the Château de Colombes near Paris. Following her grandmother’s death in 1669, Anne lived with an aunt, Henrietta Anne, Duchess of Orléans. On the sudden death of her aunt in 1670, Anne returned to England. Her mother died the following year.
As was traditional in the royal family, Anne and her sister were brought up separated from their father in their own establishment at Richmond, London. On the instructions of Charles II, they were raised as Protestants, despite their father being a Catholic. Placed in the care of Colonel Edward and Lady Frances Villiers, their education was focused on the teachings of the Anglican church. Henry Compton, Bishop of London, was appointed as Anne’s preceptor.
In 1673, the Duke of York’s conversion to Catholicism became public, and he married a Catholic princess, Mary of Modena, who was only six and a half years older than Anne. Charles II had no legitimate children, and so the Duke of York was next in the line of succession, followed by his two surviving daughters from his first marriage, Mary and Anne—as long as he had no son. Over the next ten years, the new Duchess of York had ten children, but all were either stillborn or died in infancy, leaving Mary and Anne second and third in the line of succession after their father. There is every indication that, throughout Anne’s early life, she and her stepmother got on well together, and the Duke of York was a conscientious and loving father.
In November 1677, Anne’s elder sister, Mary, married their Dutch first cousin William III of Orange, at St James’s Palace, but Anne could not attend the wedding because she was confined to her room with smallpox. By the time she recovered, Mary had already left for her new life in the Netherlands. Lady Frances Villiers contracted the disease, and died. Anne’s aunt Lady Henrietta Hyde (the wife of Laurence Hyde) was appointed as her new governess. A year later, Anne and her stepmother visited Mary in Holland for two weeks.
Anne’s father and stepmother retired to Brussels in March 1679 in the wake of anti-Catholic hysteria fed by the Popish Plot, and Anne visited them from the end of August. In October, they returned to Britain, the Duke and Duchess to Scotland and Anne to England. She joined her father and stepmother at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh from July 1681 until May 1682. It was her last journey outside England.
Anne’s second cousin George of Hanover visited London for three months from December 1680, sparking rumours of a potential marriage between them. Historian Edward Gregg dismissed the rumours as ungrounded, as her father was essentially exiled from court, and the Hanoverians planned to marry George to his first cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle as part of a scheme to unite the Hanoverian inheritance. Other rumours claimed she was courted by Lord Mulgrave, although he denied it. Nevertheless, as a result of the gossip, he was temporarily dismissed from court.
With George of Hanover out of contention as a suitor for Anne, King Charles looked elsewhere for an eligible prince who would be welcomed as a groom by his Protestant subjects but also acceptable to his Catholic ally, Louis XIV of France. The Danes were Protestant allies of the French, and Louis XIV was keen on an Anglo-Danish alliance to contain the power of the Dutch. A marriage treaty between Anne and Prince George of Denmark, younger brother of King Christian V, and Anne’s second cousin once removed, was negotiated by Anne’s uncle Laurence Hyde, who had been made Earl of Rochester, and the English Secretary of State for the Northern Department, Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland. Anne’s father consented to the marriage eagerly because it diminished the influence of his other son-in-law, William of Orange, who was naturally unhappy at the match.
Bishop Compton officiated at the wedding of Anne and George of Denmark on 28 July 1683 in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. Although it was an arranged marriage, they were faithful and devoted partners. They were given a set of buildings, known as the Cockpit, in the Palace of Whitehall as their London residence, and Sarah Churchill was appointed one of Anne’s ladies of the bedchamber. Within months of the marriage, Anne was pregnant, but the baby was stillborn in May. Anne recovered at the spa town of Tunbridge Wells, and over the next two years, gave birth to two daughters in quick succession: Mary and Anne Sophia.
Accession of James II and VII
When Charles II died in 1685, Anne’s father became King James II of England and VII of Scotland. To the consternation of the English people, James began to give Catholics military and administrative offices, in contravention of the Test Acts that were designed to prevent such appointments. Anne shared the general concern, and continued to attend Anglican services. As her sister Mary lived in the Netherlands, Anne and her family were the only members of the royal family attending Protestant religious services in England. When her father tried to get Anne to baptise her youngest daughter into the Catholic faith, Anne burst into tears. “The Church of Rome is wicked and dangerous”, she wrote to her sister, “their ceremonies—most of them—plain downright idolatry.” Anne became estranged from her father and stepmother, as James moved to weaken the Church of England’s power.
In early 1687, within a matter of days, Anne miscarried, her husband caught smallpox, and their two young daughters died of the same infection. Lady Rachel Russell wrote that George and Anne had “taken [the deaths] very heavily … Sometimes they wept, sometimes they mourned in words; then sat silent, hand in hand; he sick in bed, and she the carefullest nurse to him that can be imagined.” Later that year, she suffered another stillbirth.
Public alarm at James’s Catholicism increased when his wife, Mary of Modena, became pregnant for the first time since James’s accession. In letters to her sister Mary, Anne raised suspicions that the Queen was faking her pregnancy in an attempt to introduce a false heir. She wrote, “they will stick at nothing, be it never so wicked, if it will promote their interest … there may be foul play intended.” Anne had another miscarriage in April 1688, and left London to recuperate in the spa town of Bath.
Anne’s stepmother gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, on 10 June 1688, and a Catholic succession became more likely. Anne was still at Bath, so she did not witness the birth, which fed the belief that the child was spurious. Anne may have left the capital deliberately to avoid being present, or because she was genuinely ill, but it is also possible that James desired the exclusion of all Protestants, including his daughter, from affairs of state. “I shall never now be satisfied”, Anne wrote to her sister Mary, “whether the child be true or false. It may be it is our brother, but God only knows … one cannot help having a thousand fears and melancholy thoughts, but whatever changes may happen you shall ever find me firm to my religion and faithfully yours.”
To dispel rumours of a supposititious child, James had 40 witnesses to the birth attend a Privy Council meeting, but Anne claimed she could not attend because she was pregnant (which she was not) and then declined to read the depositions because it was “not necessary”.
Engraving of William and Mary
William of Orange invaded England on 5 November 1688 in an action known as the Glorious Revolution, which ultimately deposed King James. Forbidden by James to pay Mary a projected visit in the spring of 1687, Anne corresponded with her and was aware of the plans to invade. On the advice of the Churchills, she refused to side with James after William landed and instead wrote to William on 18 November declaring her approval of his action. Churchill abandoned the unpopular King James on the 24th. Prince George followed suit that night, and in the evening of the following day James issued orders to place Sarah Churchill under house arrest at St James’s Palace. Anne and Sarah fled from Whitehall by a back staircase, putting themselves under the care of Bishop Compton. They spent one night in his house, and subsequently arrived at Nottingham on 1 December. Two weeks later and escorted by a large company, Anne arrived at Oxford, where she met Prince George in triumph. “God help me!”, lamented James on discovering the desertion of his daughter on 26 November, “Even my children have forsaken me.” On 19 December, Anne returned to London, where she was at once visited by William. James fled to France on the 23rd. Anne showed no concern at the news of her father’s flight, and instead merely asked for her usual game of cards. She justified herself by saying that she “was used to play and never loved to do anything that looked like an affected constraint”.
In January 1689, a Convention Parliament assembled in England and declared that James had effectively abdicated when he fled, and that the thrones of England and Ireland were therefore vacant. The Parliament or Estates of Scotland took similar action, and William and Mary were declared monarchs of all three realms. The Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689 settled the succession. Anne and her descendants were to be in the line of succession after William and Mary, and they were to be followed by any descendants of William by a future marriage. On 24 July 1689, Anne gave birth to a son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who, though ill, survived infancy. As King William and Queen Mary had no children, it looked as though Anne’s son would eventually inherit the Crown.
William and Mary
Soon after their accession, William and Mary rewarded John Churchill by granting him the Earldom of Marlborough and Prince George was made Duke of Cumberland. Anne requested the use of Richmond Palace and a parliamentary allowance. William and Mary refused the first, and unsuccessfully opposed the latter, both of which caused tension between the two sisters. Anne’s resentment grew worse when William refused to allow Prince George to serve in the military in an active capacity. The new king and queen feared that Anne’s financial independence would weaken their influence over her and allow her to organise a rival political faction. From around this time, at Anne’s request she and Sarah Churchill, Lady Marlborough, began to call each other the pet names Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman, respectively, to facilitate a relationship of greater equality between the two when they were alone. In January 1692, suspecting that Marlborough was secretly conspiring with James’s followers, the Jacobites, William and Mary dismissed him from all his offices. In a public show of support for the Marlboroughs, Anne took Sarah to a social event at the palace, and refused her sister’s request to dismiss Sarah from her household. Lady Marlborough was subsequently removed from the royal household by the Lord Chamberlain, and Anne angrily left her royal lodgings and took up residence at Syon House, the home of the Duke of Somerset. Anne was stripped of her guard of honour; courtiers were forbidden to visit her, and civic authorities were instructed to ignore her. In April, Anne gave birth to a son who died within minutes. Mary visited her, but instead of offering comfort took the opportunity to berate Anne once again for her friendship with Sarah. The sisters never saw each other again. Later that year, Anne moved to Berkeley House in Piccadilly, London, where she had a stillborn daughter in March 1693.
When Mary died of smallpox in 1694, William continued to reign alone. Anne became his heir apparent, since any children he might have by another wife were assigned to a lower place in the line of succession, and the two reconciled publicly. He restored her previous honours, allowed her to reside in St James’s Palace, and gave her Mary’s jewels, but excluded her from government and refrained from appointing her regent during his absences abroad. Three months later, William restored Marlborough to his offices. With Anne’s restoration at court, Berkeley House became a social centre for courtiers who had previously avoided contact with Anne and her husband.
According to James, Anne wrote to him in 1696 requesting his permission to succeed William, and thereafter promising to restore the Crown to James’s line at a convenient opportunity; he declined to give his consent. She was probably trying to ensure her own succession by attempting to prevent a direct claim by James.
Act of Settlement
Anne’s final pregnancy ended on 25 January 1700 with a stillbirth. She had been pregnant at least 17 times over as many years, and had miscarried or given birth to stillborn children at least 12 times. Of her five liveborn children, four died before the age of two. Anne experienced bouts of “gout” (pains in her limbs and eventually stomach and head) from at least 1698. Based on her foetal losses and physical symptoms, she may have had systemic lupus erythematosus, or antiphospholipid syndrome. Alternatively, pelvic inflammatory disease could explain why the onset of her symptoms roughly coincided with her penultimate pregnancy. Other suggested causes of her failed pregnancies are listeriosis, diabetes, intrauterine growth retardation, and rhesus incompatibility. Rhesus incompatibility, however, generally worsens with successive pregnancies, and so does not fit the pattern of Anne’s pregnancies, as her only son to survive infancy, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, was born after a series of stillbirths. Experts also believe syphilis, porphyria and pelvic deformation to be unlikely as the symptoms are incompatible with her medical history.
Anne’s gout rendered her lame for much of her later life. Around the court, she was carried in a sedan chair, or used a wheelchair. Around her estates, she used a one-horse chaise, which she drove herself “furiously like Jehu and a mighty hunter like Nimrod“. She gained weight as a result of her sedentary lifestyle; in Sarah’s words, “she grew exceeding gross and corpulent. There was something of majesty in her look, but mixed with a gloominess of soul”. Sir John Clerk, 1st Baronet, described her in 1706:
under a fit of the gout and in extreme pain and agony, and on this occasion everything about her was much in the same disorder as about the meanest of her subjects. Her face, which was red and spotted, was rendered something frightful by her negligent dress, and the foot affected was tied up with a poultice and some nasty bandages. I was much affected by this sight …
Anne’s sole surviving child, the Duke of Gloucester, died at age 11 on 30 July 1700. She and her husband were “overwhelmed with grief”. Anne ordered her household to observe a day of mourning every year on the anniversary of his death. With William childless and Gloucester dead, Anne was the only person remaining in the line of succession established by the Bill of Rights 1689. To address the succession crisis and preclude a Catholic restoration, the Parliament of England enacted the Act of Settlement 1701, which provided that, failing the issue of Anne and of William III by any future marriage, the Crown of England and Ireland would go to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and her Protestant descendants. Sophia was the granddaughter of James VI and I through his daughter Elizabeth, who was the sister of Anne’s grandfather Charles I. Over 50 Catholics with stronger claims were excluded from the line of succession. Anne’s father died in September 1701. His widow, Anne’s stepmother, the former queen, wrote to Anne to inform her that her father forgave her and to remind her of her promise to seek the restoration of his line, but Anne had already acquiesced to the line of succession created by the Act of Settlement.
Anne became queen upon the death of King William III on 8 March 1702, and was immediately popular. In her first speech to the English Parliament, on 11 March, she distanced herself from her late Dutch brother-in-law and said, “As I know my heart to be entirely English, I can very sincerely assure you there is not anything you can expect or desire from me which I shall not be ready to do for the happiness and prosperity of England.”
She took a lively interest in affairs of state, and was a patron of theatre, poetry and music. She subsidised George Frideric Handel with £200 a year. She sponsored high-quality medals as rewards for political or military achievements. They were produced at the Mint by Isaac Newton and John Croker. She knighted Newton when she visited Cambridge in 1705.
While Ireland was subordinate to the English Crown and Wales formed part of the kingdom of England, Scotland remained an independent sovereign state with its own parliament and laws. The Act of Settlement 1701, passed by the English Parliament, applied in the kingdoms of England and Ireland but not Scotland, where a strong minority wished to preserve the Stuart dynasty and its right of inheritance to the throne. Anne had declared it “very necessary” to conclude a union of England and Scotland in her first speech to the English Parliament, and a joint Anglo-Scots commission met at her former residence, the Cockpit, to discuss terms in October 1702. The negotiations broke up in early February 1703 having failed to reach an agreement. The Estates of Scotland responded to the Act of Settlement by passing the Act of Security, which gave the Estates the power, if the Queen had no further children, to choose the next Scottish monarch from among the Protestant descendants of the royal line of Scotland. The individual chosen by the Estates could not be the same person who came to the English throne, unless England granted full freedom of trade to Scottish merchants. At first, Anne withheld royal assent to the act, but she granted it the following year when the Estates threatened to withhold supply, endangering Scottish support for England’s wars.
In its turn, the English Parliament responded with the Alien Act 1705, which threatened to impose economic sanctions and declare Scottish subjects aliens in England, unless Scotland either repealed the Act of Security or moved to unite with England. The Estates chose the latter option; the English Parliament agreed to repeal the Alien Act, and new commissioners were appointed by Queen Anne in early 1706 to negotiate the terms of a union. The articles of union approved by the commissioners were presented to Anne on 23 July 1706 and ratified by the Scottish and English Parliaments on 16 January and 6 March 1707, respectively. Under the Acts of Union, England and Scotland were united into a single kingdom called Great Britain, with one parliament, on 1 May 1707 A consistent and ardent supporter of union despite opposition on both sides of the border, Anne attended a thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Scot Sir John Clerk, 1st Baronet, who also attended, wrote, “nobody on this occasion appeared more sincerely devout and thankful than the Queen herself”.
Anne supported the Occasional Conformity Bill of 1702, which was promoted by the Tories and opposed by the Whigs. The bill aimed to disqualify Protestant Dissenters from public office by closing a loophole in the Test Acts, legislation that restricted public office to Anglican conformists. The existing law permitted nonconformists to take office if they took Anglican communion once a year. Anne’s husband was placed in an unfortunate position when Anne forced him to vote for the bill, even though, being a Lutheran, he was an occasional conformist himself. The Whigs successfully blocked the bill for the duration of the parliamentary session. Anne reinstituted the traditional religious practice of touching for the king’s evil that had been eschewed by William as papist superstition. After the Great Storm of 1703, Anne declared a general fast to implore God “to pardon the crying sins of this nation which had drawn down this sad judgement”. The Occasional Conformity Bill was revived in the wake of the storm, but Anne withheld support, fearing its reintroduction was a ruse to cause a political quarrel. Once again it failed. A third attempt to introduce the bill as an amendment to a money bill in November 1704 was also thwarted.
The Whigs vigorously supported the War of the Spanish Succession and became even more influential after the Duke of Marlborough won a great victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Many of the High Tories, who opposed British involvement in the land war against France, were removed from office. Godolphin, Marlborough, and Harley, who had replaced Nottingham as Secretary of State for the Northern Department, formed a ruling “triumvirate”. They were forced to rely more and more on support from the Whigs, and particularly from the Whig Junto—Lords Somers, Halifax, Orford, Wharton and Sunderland—whom Anne disliked. Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough, incessantly badgered the Queen to appoint more Whigs and reduce the power of the Tories, whom she considered little better than Jacobites, and the Queen became increasingly discontented with her.
In 1706, Godolphin and the Marlboroughs forced Anne to accept Lord Sunderland, a Junto Whig and the Marlboroughs’ son-in-law, as Harley’s colleague as Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Although this strengthened the ministry’s position in Parliament, it weakened the ministry’s position with the Queen, as Anne became increasingly irritated with Godolphin and with her former favourite, the Duchess of Marlborough, for supporting Sunderland and other Whig candidates for vacant government and church positions. The Queen turned for private advice to Harley, who was uncomfortable with Marlborough and Godolphin’s turn towards the Whigs. She also turned to Abigail Hill, a woman of the bedchamber whose influence grew as Anne’s relationship with Sarah deteriorated. Abigail was related to both Harley and the Duchess, but was politically closer to Harley, and acted as an intermediary between him and the Queen.
The division within the ministry came to a head on 8 February 1708, when Godolphin and the Marlboroughs insisted that the Queen had to either dismiss Harley or do without their services. When the Queen seemed to hesitate, Marlborough and Godolphin refused to attend a cabinet meeting. Harley attempted to lead business without his former colleagues, and several of those present including Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset refused to participate until they returned. Her hand forced, the Queen dismissed Harley.
The following month, Anne’s Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart, attempted to land in Scotland with French assistance in an attempt to establish himself as king. Anne withheld royal assent from the Scottish Militia Bill 1708 in case the militia raised in Scotland was disloyal and sided with the Jacobites. She was the last British sovereign to veto a parliamentary bill, although her action was barely commented upon at the time. The invasion fleet never landed and was chased away by British ships commanded by Sir George Byng. As a result of the Jacobite invasion scare, support for the Tories fell and the Whigs were able to secure a majority in the 1708 British general election.
The Duchess of Marlborough was angered when Abigail moved into rooms at Kensington Palace that Sarah considered her own, though she rarely if ever used them. In July 1708, she came to court with a bawdy poem written by a Whig propagandist, probably Arthur Maynwaring, that implied a lesbian relationship between Anne and Abigail. The Duchess wrote to Anne telling her she had damaged her reputation by conceiving “a great passion for such a woman … strange and unaccountable”. Sarah thought Abigail had risen above her station, writing “I never thought her education was such as to make her fit company for a great queen. Many people have liked the humour of their chambermaids and have been very kind to them, but ’tis very uncommon to hold a private correspondence with them and put them upon the foot of a friend.” While some modern commentators have concluded Anne was a lesbian, most have rejected this analysis In the opinion of Anne’s biographers, she considered Abigail nothing more than a trusted servant, and was a woman of strong traditional beliefs, who was devoted to her husband.
At a thanksgiving service for a victory at the Battle of Oudenarde, Anne did not wear the jewels that Sarah had selected for her. At the door of St Paul’s Cathedral, they had an argument that culminated in Sarah offending the Queen by telling her to be quiet. Anne was dismayed. When Sarah forwarded an unrelated letter from her husband to Anne, with a covering note continuing the argument, Anne wrote back pointedly, “After the commands you gave me on the thanksgiving day of not answering you, I should not have troubled you with these lines, but to return the Duke of Marlborough’s letter safe into your hands, and for the same reason do not say anything to that, nor to yours which enclosed it.
Anne was devastated by her husband’s death in October 1708, and it proved a turning point in her relationship with the Duchess of Marlborough. The Duchess arrived at Kensington Palace shortly before George died, and after his death insisted that Anne leave Kensington for St James’s Palace against her wishes. Anne resented the Duchess’s intrusive actions, which included removing a portrait of George from the Queen’s bedchamber and then refusing to return it in the belief that it was natural “to avoid seeing of papers or anything that belonged to one that one loved when they were just dead”.
The Whigs used George’s death to their own advantage. The leadership of the Admiralty was unpopular among the Whig leaders, who had blamed Prince George and his deputy George Churchill (who was Marlborough’s brother) for mismanagement of the navy. With Whigs now dominant in Parliament, and Anne distraught at the loss of her husband, they forced her to accept the Junto leaders Lords Somers and Wharton into the cabinet. Anne, however, insisted on carrying out the duties of Lord High Admiral herself, without appointing a member of the government to take George’s place. Undeterred, the Junto demanded the appointment of the Earl of Orford, another member of the Junto and one of Prince George’s leading critics, as First Lord of the Admiralty. Anne appointed the moderate Earl of Pembroke, on 29 November 1708. Pressure mounted on Pembroke, Godolphin and the Queen from the dissatisfied Junto Whigs, and Pembroke resigned after less than a year in office. Another month of arguments followed before the Queen finally consented to put Orford in control of the Admiralty as First Lord in November 1709.
Sarah continued to berate Anne for her friendship with Abigail, and in October 1709, Anne wrote to the Duke of Marlborough asking that his wife “leave off teasing & tormenting me & behave herself with the decency she ought both to her friend and Queen”.On Maundy Thursday 6 April 1710, Anne and Sarah saw each other for the last time. According to Sarah, the Queen was taciturn and formal, repeating the same phrases—”Whatever you have to say you may put in writing” and “You said you desired no answer, and I shall give you none”—over and over.
War of the Spanish Succession
Allegory of the victory of the Grand Alliance at Schellenberg in 1704. The bust of Queen Anne at the top is surrounded by Allied leaders.
As the expensive War of the Spanish Succession grew unpopular, so did the Whig administration. The impeachment of Henry Sacheverell, a high church Tory Anglican who had preached anti-Whig sermons, led to further public discontent. Anne thought Sacheverell ought to be punished for questioning the Glorious Revolution, but that his punishment should only be a mild one to prevent further public commotion. In London, riots broke out in support of Sacheverell, but the only troops available to quell the disturbances were Anne’s guards, and Secretary of State Sunderland was reluctant to use them and leave the Queen less protected. Anne declared God would be her guard and ordered Sunderland to redeploy her troops. In line with Anne’s views, Sacheverell was convicted, but his sentence—suspension of preaching for three years—was so light as to render the trial a mockery.
The Queen, increasingly disdainful of the Marlboroughs and her ministry, finally took the opportunity to dismiss Sunderland in June 1710. Godolphin followed in August. The Junto Whigs were removed from office, although Marlborough, for the moment, remained as commander of the army. In their place, she appointed a new ministry headed by Harley, which began to seek peace with France. Unlike the Whigs, Harley and his ministry were ready to compromise by giving Spain to the Bourbon claimant, Philip of Anjou, in return for commercial concessions. In the parliamentary elections that soon followed his appointment, Harley, aided by government patronage, secured a large Tory majority. In January 1711, Anne forced Sarah to resign her court offices, and Abigail took over as Keeper of the Privy Purse. Harley was stabbed by a disgruntled French refugee, the Marquis de Guiscard, in March, and Anne wept at the thought he would die. He recovered slowly. Godolphin’s death from natural causes in September 1712 reduced Anne to tears; she blamed their estrangement on the Marlboroughs.
The elder brother of Archduke Charles, Emperor Joseph I, died in April 1711 and Charles succeeded him in Austria, Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire. To also give him the Spanish throne was no longer in Britain’s interests, but the proposed Peace of Utrecht submitted to Parliament for ratification did not go as far as the Whigs wanted to curb Bourbon ambitions. In the House of Commons, the Tory majority was unassailable, but the same was not true in the House of Lords. The Whigs secured the support of the Earl of Nottingham against the treaty by promising to support his Occasional Conformity bill. Seeing a need for decisive action to erase the anti-peace majority in the House of Lords, and seeing no alternative, Anne reluctantly created twelve new peers, even though such a mass creation of peers was unprecedented. Abigail’s husband, Samuel Masham, was made a baron, although Anne protested to Harley that she “never had any design to make a great lady of [Abigail], and should lose a useful servant”. On the same day, Marlborough was dismissed as commander of the army. The peace treaty was ratified and Britain’s military involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession ended.
By signing the Treaty of Utrecht, King Louis XIV of France recognised the Hanoverian succession in Britain. Nevertheless, gossip that Anne and her ministers favoured the succession of her half-brother rather than the Hanoverians continued, despite Anne’s denials in public and in private. The rumours were fed by her consistent refusals to permit any of the Hanoverians to visit or move to England, and by the intrigues of Harley and the Tory Secretary of State Lord Bolingbroke, who were in separate and secret discussions with her half-brother about a possible Stuart restoration until early 1714.
Anne was unable to walk between January and July 1713. At Christmas, she was feverish, and lay unconscious for hours, which led to rumours of her impending death. She recovered, but was seriously ill again in March. By July, Anne had lost confidence in Harley; his secretary recorded that Anne told the cabinet “that he neglected all business; that he was seldom to be understood; that when he did explain himself, she could not depend upon the truth of what he said; that he never came to her at the time she appointed; that he often came drunk; [and] last, to crown all, he behaved himself towards her with ill manner, indecency and disrespect.” On 27 July 1714, during Parliament’s summer recess, she dismissed Harley as Lord Treasurer. Despite failing health, which her doctors blamed on the emotional strain of matters of state, she attended two late-night cabinet meetings that failed to determine Harley’s successor. A third meeting was cancelled when she became too ill to attend. She was rendered unable to speak by a stroke on 30 July 1714, the anniversary of Gloucester’s death, and on the advice of the Privy Council handed the treasurer’s staff of office to Whig grandee Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury.
Anne died around 7:30 a.m. on 1 August 1714. John Arbuthnot, one of her doctors, thought her death was a release from a life of ill-health and tragedy; he wrote to Jonathan Swift, “I believe sleep was never more welcome to a weary traveller than death was to her.” She was buried beside her husband and children in the Henry VII Chapel on the South Aisle of Westminster Abbey on 24 August.
Drop Scones, Scottish pancakes, Scotch Pancakes, or even Pikelets; whatever you call them, these little fluffy circles of deliciousness are easy to make and so tasty to eat!
Whether you eat them for breakfast or as a snack, drop scones are so flexible. My grandma used to serve hers with jam and a dollop of cream on each one, or sometimes just a slathering of butter. In our house, we’re partial to a bit of honey or golden syrup too.
Why are they called Drop Scones?
Drop Scones get their name from the action of dropping the mixture onto the hot griddle or into a pan.
They’re also called Scotch Pancakes or Scottish Pancakes, and although they are similar in ingredients and rise to American-style pancakes they’re usually smaller in size.
To confuse things even more, we have even seen these called crumpets, as another regional variation.
Ground-breaking, chart-topping, genre-bending, globetrotting, instantly enthralling… it’s little wonder that Talisk rank highly amongst the most in-demand folk-based groups to emerge from Scotland in the last decade and more.
Mohsen Amini (BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year), Graeme Armstrong and Benedict Morris (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) fuse concertina, guitar and fiddle to produce a ground-breaking, multi-layered signature that has captivated audiences around the globe. At its core, three seemingly acoustic instruments – but in the hands of three master craftsmen; one unmistakable, bold sound and captivating live show.
Talisk have toured the world, stacking up major awards for their explosively energetic, artfully woven sound – including Folk Band of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, and the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation. Appearances at leading festivals across multiple continents have amassed a die-hard following – including closing out Saturday night’s main stage at the 2019 Cambridge Folk Festival, Denmark’s Tønder Festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysian Borneo, WOMADs UK, Chile and Las Palmas, Edmonton Folk Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, three back-to-back years at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and six appearances at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.
Following their critically acclaimed debut, Abyss, Talisk’s sophomore album, Beyond, quickly amassed five star reviews and rose to No.1 in the iTunes world music charts upon its late 2018 release. With streaming figures into multiple millions, and new music on the horizon in 2022, audiences worldwide are hotly anticipating the latest chapter from a group lauded by leading world music magazine Songlines as: “incredibly infectious and endearing… fresh, invigorating, accomplished.”
Dear friends, a very good and close friend of mine, who wrote this poem sadly passed away a few days ago, she was a great friend to me, She lived in America, R.I.P Viola, we will all miss your soul xx
Depression Trials and tribulations were too much for her to bear. The war she fought inside no one seems to care. Depression took over her mind, all she did was cry. She felt life wasn’t worth living, and she wanted to die. Before she left this world, her sins she needed to atone. Her heart was dark and empty cold as a stone. On the beach that night, there were footprints in the sand. When she tries to take her life, Jesus carried her in His hands.
Opened in 1890, the Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over as the most famous of cantilever designs. The world’s first major steel structure, the Forth Bridge represents a key milestone in the history of modern railway civil engineering and still holds the record as the world’s longest cantilever bridge.
A full-scale restoration project to return the bridge to its original construction condition was completed in 2012.
In July 2015, UNESCO inscribed the Forth Bridge as the sixth World Heritage site in Scotland.
An Anglo-Scottish truce expired on 30 November 1302, and the English prepared for a fresh invasion of Scotland, with John Segrave as the king’s lieutenant in Scotland. King Edward I ordered Segrave to carry out a large-scale reconnaissance as far as Kirkintilloch, before the king himself fought a larger campaign. This force assembled at Wark on Tweed and moved north.
The English advanced in three divisions, harassed by the Scots. At night, they camped in three divisions, several miles apart. The two commanders, John Comyn and Simon Fraser, led a Scots force on a night march, fell on the English, capturing Segrave and several others. Robert Neville led his division towards the action. The English eventually freed Segrave, but the English paymaster Manton was killed.
…there never was so desperate a struggle, or one in which the stoutness of knightly prowess shone forth so brightly. The commander and leader in this struggle was John Comyn, the son… But John Comyn, then guardian of Scotland, and Simon Fraser with their followers, day and night, did their best to harass and to annoy, by their general prowess, the aforesaid kings officers and bailiffs… But the aforesaid John Comyn and Simon, with their abettors, hearing of their arrival, and wishing to steal a march rather than have one stolen upon them, came briskly through from Biggar to Rosslyn, in one night, with some chosen men, who chose rather death before unworthy subjection to the English nation; and all of a sudden they fearlessly fell upon the enemy.
The battle was the subject of a fictional account written by Walter Bower in the mid-15th century. Like Fordun, Bower seriously exaggerated the size and importance of what was really a victory over a large-scale raid rather than an invading army. The distorted impression of Roslin has lingered in the public imagination to this day.
A monument cairn erected by the Roslin Heritage Society at the end of the 20th century marks the site of the battle. At the start of the 21st century, the battlefield was under research to be inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009.
The Romans struggled to hold onto even a small part of Scotland.
Rome first invaded Britain in 55 BC and reached Scotland by 79 AD. The Gaels used Scotland’s mountainous terrain to their advantage, and together with the Romans’ own struggles with supplying their armies, held them off for decades. This eventually led Emperor Hadrian to build Hadrian’s Wall in 122 AD. Stretching coast to coast across the island, it fenced Roman Britain off from Scotland in the north.
That said, the Romans did continue with small attempts to expand into Scotland afterward. Emperor Antoninus Pius did succeed in conquering Southern Scotland, and like Hadrian, built his own wall, the Antonine Wall, in 142 AD to protect his conquests. The small portion of Scotland that the Romans conquered would also see the introduction of Christianity to Scotland.
For many centuries continual strife characterized relations between the CelticScots of the Highlands and the western islands and the Anglo-Saxons of the Lowlands. Only since the 20th century has the mixture been widely seen as a basis for a rich unified Scottish culture; the people of Shetland and Orkney have tended to remain apart from both of these elements and to look to Scandinavia as the mirror of their Norse heritage. Important immigrant groups have arrived, most notably Irish labourers; there have also been significant groups of Jews, Lithuanians, Italians, and, after World War II, Poles and others, as well as a more recent influx of Asians, especially from Pakistan. The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 led to a dramatic increase in immigration from the countries of eastern Europe.
Haddingtonshire has ancient origins and is named in a charter of 1139 as Hadintunschira and in another of 1141 as Hadintunshire. Three of the county’s towns were designated as royal burghs: Haddington, Dunbar, and North Berwick.
As with the rest of Lothian, it formed part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bernicia and later the Kingdom of Northumbria. Popular legend suggests that it was at a battle between the Picts and Angles in the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford in 823 that the flag of Scotland was conceived. From the 10th century, Lothian transferred from the Kingdom of England to the authority of the monarchs of Scotland. It was a cross-point in battles between England and Scotland and later the site of a significant Jacobite victory against Government forces in the Battle of Prestonpans. In the 19th century, the county is mentioned in the Gazetteer for Scotland as chiefly agricultural, with farming, fishing and coal-mining forming significant parts of the local economy.
Following the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, Lothian was populated by Brythonic-speaking Ancient Britons and formed part of the kingdom of the Gododdin, within the Hen Ogledd or Old North. In the 7th century, all of the Gododdin’s territory fell to the Angles, with Lothian becoming part of the kingdom of Bernicia.
Alexander Aikman (23 June 1755 – 6 July 1838) was a Scottish printer, newspaper publisher, planter, and member of Jamaica’s House of Assembly. From 1805 to 1825, he was a member of the House of Assembly as the representative of Saint George parish.
His older brother was William Aikman (1751-1784). William immigrated to the British Colony of Jamaica in 1775. There, he became involved in the printing business with David Douglass. William died childless at the age of 33.
His older sister was Marion Aikman (1753- ). Marion married Alexander Henderson in 1782 and raised their family in Scotland.
After his mother passed, his father married Janet Nimmo in 1766. Together they had three sons: (John, Andrew, and James) and two daughters (Janet and Mary), all of whom remained in Scotland.
In British America, Robert Wells was a major book-trading, printer, and newspaper publisher. By 1764, Wells ran his own newspaper, the South Carolina and American General Gazette. By 1775, Wells claimed to have the largest stock of books for sale in America. While in Charleston, Wells wrote and published his version of “Travestie of Virgil.” Wells was a “fervent Loyalist.” Consequently, at the opening of the American Revolutionary War, Wells left the colonies and relocated to London.
At the American Revolutionary War, Alexander, in common with several other Loyalists, left British America and immigrated to the British Colony of Jamaica. He arrived in Saint George Parish, about 1777, at the age of 22. Soon after his arrival, he purchased the printing business of Robert Sherlock of Spanish-Town. In 1779 he founded The Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser with David Douglass (d. 1786). In 1780 it became The Royal Gazette. It was published weekly in Port Royal Street, but soon afterward in Harbour Street. Alexander’s older brother William operated a book and stationery store on King Street.
In 1780 Douglass and Aikman became printers to the House of Assembly and the King’s Printer. In addition, they printed “Almanac and Register,” “Observations on the Dysentery of the West Indies,” “A Brief History of the Late Expedition against Fort San Juan,” and other books. After Douglass died in 1786, Alexander Aikman became the printer. In 1803 Alexander Aikman & Son were the printers. In 1809 it was Alexander Aikman Jr. After his son’s death in 1831, Alexander, for a short time, resumed his printing and publishing businesses before retiring.
From 1805 to 1825, Alexander represented the old parish of Saint George as a member of British Jamaica’s House of Assembly. During that period, he owned three properties, two of which were in Saint George Parish.
Aikman visited England in 1796 to hire a pressman (in which voyage he was taken by a privateer, and had to repurchase his property at Philadelphia). He visited again in 1801, in 1803, and in 1814, but from that time had remained at home.
En route to his 1796 London visit, it appears Alexander experienced another incident. His daughter’s gravestone describes surviving a shipwreck off Isle of Wight’s coast. Others confirm the passage of a significant storm in the English Channel, which caused significant damage, injuries, and death. From Susannah Aikman’s altar tomb (see: Louisa Susanna Wells’ page for detail):
In the memorable Storm of Novr. 17th and 18th 1795, she escaped shipwreck, together with her Father, Mother, and infant Sister when above 2000 of their fellow creatures met a watery grave near the back of this Island.
Alexander was a wealthy man. He owned four properties, each of which initially relied on slaves. Those properties were “Birnam Wood” in Saint George (257 enslaved), “Wallenford” in Saint George (58 enslaved), “Prospect Pen” in Saint Andrew (39 enslaved), and his printing office in Kingston (3 enslaved). In 1831, approximately 60,000 of Jamaica’s 300,000 slaves initiated a strike, which escalated and became the Baptist War. In 1834, slavery was abolished throughout Jamaica, British West Indies, and the British Empire. In Jamaica, former slaves transitioned to an apprenticeship program, with full freedom in 1838.
Prospect Pen was also known as Prospect Park, which subsequently became Vale Royal. Later, Vale Royal became the official residence of the Colonial Secretary.
He married at Kingston, Jamaica, on 14 January 1782, Louisa Susannah Wells (1755-1831), second daughter of his former master Robert Wells. She joined him from England after no little peril, having twice attempted the voyage: on the first attempt, she was captured by the French, by whom she was detained for three months in France, and on the second by a King’s ship, in consequence of taking her passage in a slave vessel. By this lady who died on 29 November 1831 (and of whom a brief memoir will be found in the Gentleman’s Magazine vol. CI pt. ii, p. 571), Aikman had two sons and eight daughters. Of their ten children, six died as infants. All six infants are buried near his brother, Andrew, at The Strangers’ Burial Ground in Kingston.
His three surviving daughters were Mary Ann (1782-1844), the wife of James Smith of Saint Andrews, Jamaica, Ann Hunter (1788-1841), the widow of John Enright, Surgeon R.N (1795-1817), and Susanna (1791-1818).
His only surviving son and successor in business was Alexander Aikman Jr. (1783-1831). In 1805, Alexander Aikman Jr. married Charlotte Cory (1781-1810). Together, they had two children: Alexander Wells Aikman (1808-1869) and Amelia Ann Aikman (1809-1818). After Charlotte’s passing, Alexander’s two children were raised by his mother, Louisa Susannah Aikman. Four years later, in 1814, Alexander Aikman Jr. married Mary Bryan (1787-1850) and had seven more children: four daughters and three sons. Alexander Aikman Jr. died on April 1831 at the age of 47, leaving several young children. After his son’s death, Alexander Aikman Sr. returned to the family printing business.
Alexander’s wife, Louisa, removed to Cowes, Isle of Wight, presumably to be with her daughter, Susannah. It was in Cowes where she raised her grandchildren Alexander Wells and Amelia Ann. In 1831, Louisa died in Isle of Wight, thirteen years after her daughter.
Aikman died on 6 July 1838 at Prospect Park, Saint Andrew, Jamaica, aged 83. He is buried at St. Andrew’s Parish Church, commonly called “Half-Way-Tree Church.” His son and daughter-in-law Charlotte Cory Aikman is buried in the same cemetery. In an obituary notice, published in Gentleman’s Magazine, it was said that “he was a truly honorable, worthy and charitable man, and his death is much lamented.”
Born as a child alonewho could not find a friend?parents who worked too hardAlice was left to defend.At school Alice was a masterbright for her ageher tutors were always proud of herand in studies she would engage.But in-home life she was lonelyall she had was Jennyshe liked her friend so muchand it did not cost a penny.Jenny was always therewhen times were tough and hardshe always knew just what to sayand produced the winning card.Alice became withdrawnher parents wondered whyJenny was all she spoke ofand it made her poor mom cry.All Alice wanted was to be listened toobut her parents were always awayperhaps if they took some time for hershe would be alive today.Jenny told Alice her life should now endbecause being alone is unhealthysometimes having everything in this worlddoesn’t always make someone wealthy.
MacCalzean married Patrick Moscrop or Moscrope, who served as a Justice deputy, but the relative power of their families meant that Patrick took her father-in-law’s surname of MacCalzean. This was normal practice where trying to preserve a family name where the sole heir was female. They were married by December 1579 when they made a joint contract with a Canongate burgess.
In 1586 Eufame and Patrick were involved in a dispute with Edinburgh town council. During an outbreak of plague, on Christmas Day 1585, the council had moved the quarantined and infected people from the Borough Muir, or modern Meadows, to her property at “Quhytehous”, or Whitehouse, without permission or compensation. The Privy Council found in her favour.
The cause of the events that led to the North Berwick Witch Trials was the behavior of a maid named Geillis Duncan. Duncan had ostensibly cured illnesses, raising suspicions, in November 1590. Her employer became suspicious that she was deriving her powers from the Devil. Duncan confessed, possibly under duress, to witchcraft and she implicated others including John Cane and Euphame MacCalzean.
MacCalzean, Agnes Sampson and several others were accused of witchcraft. It was alleged that they had killed the Earl of Angus by witchcraft, and planned to murder the first king of England and Scotland, James VI. James was a king by divine right and he was seen as the chief defender against the Devil. James was convinced that magic was involved when Agnes Sampson recounted details of James’ first night with his wife Anne of Denmark. The prosecutors cast MacCalzean as a controlling personality who used magic to bewitch her husband. She allegedly tried to cause the deaths of her husband, his father, and his extended family.
The charges included the accusation that she had used her skills to relieve the God-ordained pain of women giving birth. Macalzean was said to have caused the death of her cousin and her nephew. She had argued with her uncle over the ownership of some land at Cliftonhall in Kirkliston and it was alleged that she had killed his son, her nephew, because of this dispute. MacCalzean was said to have attended an assembly of witches at Acheson’s Haven where an image of James VI was given to the devil for the destruction of the king.
Witches’s plaque, Castle Esplanade
MacCalzean was found guilty and burnt alive on 25 June 1591 on the southern slope of the Castle Hill below Edinburgh Castle. The fire was built with materials bought by the town council for the execution of Barbara Napier, which was deferred.
A plaque on the Castle Esplanade remembers the event.
Britannia was the first Royal Yacht to be built with complete ocean-going capacity and designed as a Royal residence to entertain guests around the world. When she was decommissioned in 1997, it marked the end of a long tradition of British Royal Yachts, dating back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II.
There is additional information about Britannia’s specifications and construction contained in the technical paper.
victoria & albert iii
Britannia’s predecessor was the Victoria & Albert III – the first Royal Yacht not to be powered by sail. It was built for Queen Victoria, but she never stepped on board, concerned about the yacht’s stability. King Edward VII did sail on the Victoria & Albert, mainly in local waters and the Mediterranean. Having served four sovereigns over 38 years and not left Northern Europe since 1911, the Victoria & Albert was decommissioned in 1939. She was eventually broken up for scrap at Faslane in 1954
the last royal yacht
It was decided that a new Royal Yacht should be commissioned that could travel the globe and double as a hospital ship in time of war. It was also hoped a convalescence cruise would help the King’s ailing health. The John Brown & Co shipyard in Clydebank received the order from the Admiralty for a new ship on 4 February, 1952. Sadly King George VI, The Queen’s father, passed away two days later. Not only did The Queen now have to prepare for her new role, but she also had responsibility for the commissioning of the new Royal Yacht.
built in scotland
John Brown & Co was one of the most famous shipyards in the world, having built the famous liners Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. The keel of the new, as yet unnamed, Royal Yacht was laid down in June 1952. One of the last fully-riveted ships to be built with a remarkably smooth painted hull, she was finally ready to be launched on 16 April, 1953. The ship’s name was a closely guarded secret, only being revealed when The Queen smashed a bottle of Empire wine (Champagne was considered too extravagant in post-war Britain) and announced to the expectant crowds “I name this ship Britannia… I wish success to her and all who sail in her”. You can read more about getting Britannia ready for Royal service by downloading Letters from a Fish to his Admiral (below), a series of notes and letters written by Acting Captain J S Dalglish, the Officer in charge of commissioning Britannia. John Brown continued as a shipyard until they sadly closed in 2001.LETTERS FROM A FISH TO HIS ADMIRAL (PDF)
After the launch, Britannia’s building work continued as her funnel and masts were installed, before beginning sea trials on 3 November 1953 off the West Coast of Scotland. On successful completion, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 11 January 1954. On 22 April, Britannia sailed into her first overseas port as she entered Grand Harbour, Malta. During 44 years in Royal service Britannia sailed the equivalent of once round the world for each year, calling at over 600 ports in 135 countries, including the United States of America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Britannia was an ideal Royal honeymoon venue. The Royal Yacht was very private and could sail to secluded locations. Four Royal honeymoons were enjoyed on board, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones being the first in 1960.
the first day at sea
As well as hosting state functions, Britannia was an ambassador for British business, promoting trade and industry around the globe. These British overseas trade missions were known as ‘Sea Days’ and an invitation to come aboard proved irresistible to the world’s leading business and political figures. The Overseas Trade Board estimated that £3 billion was made for the Exchequer as a result of commercial days on Britannia between 1991 and 1995 alone.
evacuation of aden, south yemen
At 20:00 on 17 January 1986, the Yacht dropped anchor at Khormaksar Beach. Civil war had broken out in South Yemen and ships were urgently required to evacuate British nationals and others trapped by fighting. As a non-combatant Royal Navy ship, Britannia would be able to enter territorial waters without further inflaming the conflict.
“Looking back over forty-four years we can all reflect with pride and gratitude upon this great ship which has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction.” – Her Majesty The Queen. View the entire Paying-Off Ceremony letter from the Queen below.THE QUEEN’S PAYING-OFF CEREMONY LETTER (PDF)
Andrew StewartMBE (30 December 1933 – 11 October 1993) was a Scottish singer entertainer and songwriter. He presented the BBC TV variety show The White Heather Club throughout the 1960s, and his song “Donald Where’s Your Troosers?” was a hit in both 1960 and 1989. Internationally, the song most closely associated with Stewart is “A Scottish Soldier“.
Early life and education.
Stewart was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1933, the son of a teacher. When he was five years old, the family moved to Perth and then, six years later, to Arbroath. Even in early childhood, he loved imitating people and amazed his parents with impersonations of famous singers and actors. He attended Arbroath High School, where his father taught science.
In 1950, at the age of 16, he participated in the Arbroath Abbey Pageant, taking the part of “A Knight in Shining Armour”. Up until this time, he had not thought seriously about a career in entertainment, as he had aspirations of becoming a veterinary surgeon. He then decided to train as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where he studied until 1954. During his first year at the college, he obtained First Prize for Comedy; he also excelled in fencing, particularly at the foil.
Stewart himself attributed his “breakthrough” onto the international stage to the success of his “A Scottish Soldier” recording, which became a no. 1 hit in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, spent 36 weeks in the UK singles charts (1961), reached no. 69 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and also achieved hit status in South Africa and India. His other international hit singles included “Come in-Come in”, “Donald Where’s Your Troosers?“, “Campbeltown Loch“, “The Muckin’ O’ Geordie’s Byre”, “The Road to Dundee“, “The Battle’s O’er” (No. 1 on the Australian charts in July 1961), “Take Me Back”, “Tunes of Glory”, and “Dr. Finlay” (1965). He is also remembered for being the compere of The White Heather Club. This was a BBC Scotland television programme that existed as an annual New Year’s Eve party (1957–1968), and also as a weekly early-evening series (1960–1968). At the height of its popularity, the show had a viewership of 10 million.
“Donald Where’s Your Troosers?” was a hit in late 1960 and again when reissued in 1989. Stewart is said to have written the song in 10 minutes as he sat, minus trousers, in the lavatory of a recording studio. It was also featured in the US TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, sung by one of the Terminators, played by Garret Dillahunt. Stewart included an Elvis Presleyimpersonation halfway through the song. On the strength of this comedy hit, Stewart toured Australia and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968, doing impersonations of Dean Martin. His skill with different accents is also evident on “The Rumour”, where the rumour moves across Scotland and into Ireland, with Stewart speaking in a different accent for each place. Stewart’s stage shows often included his impersonations of other famous singers, including Tom Jones, Billy Eckstine, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Johnnie Ray, Elvis Presley, Petula Clark and Johnny Cash.
His albums, such as Scottish Soldier, The Best of Andy Stewart and Andy Stewart’s Scotland, were also popular internationally. In 1973 he recorded a “live” album in Johannesburg, South Africa, entitled Andy Stewart in South Africa – White Heather Concert, which also featured accordionist Jimmy Blue, singers Alexander Morrison and Anna Desti and pianist Mark Simpson.
His international appeal was well-illustrated by his appearance at the World Fair, New York in 1964, attended by many thousands of people. From the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, he frequently and successfully toured Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. He appeared in concert throughout South Africa in 1968, 1971 and 1973. He also performed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong. Coming out of retirement in 1991, he began tours at home and abroad once again.
A prolific lyricist, he penned words to many traditional Scottish tunes, e.g. “Green Hills of Tyrol” (which he called “A Scottish Soldier”), “The Black Bear” (“Tunes of Glory”), and “The Battle is Over”(“The Battle’s O’er”) etc. He wrote his first lyric at the age of 14 (to a tune composed by his father) and called the song “My Hameland”, which in 1969 (21 years later) became the title track of one of his albums.
Scotch Corner, a Scottish television series (1972–1976) featured Andy Stewart and various guest singers and musicians. Some of the artists included in these broadcasts accompanied Stewart on his international White Heather concert tours during the 1970s. Andy’s Party was another popular TV series on Grampian Television in the late 1970s.
From 1973 onward, recurrent ill-health took its toll on his voice and stage vitality. Frequently hospitalised in the 1970s and 1980s, he underwent several heart and stomach operations, including triple heart bypass surgery in 1976 and again in 1991.
Retirement and death.
In retirement, he moved back to Arbroath. “Donald Where’s Your Troosers” was a surprise hit when reissued in late 1989. Marketed as a novelty song ideal for Christmas parties, it was actively promoted by BBC Radio OneDJSimon Mayo and reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. In response, Stewart provided a jingle for Mayo, “Simon, where’s your troosers?”.
Coming out of retirement in 1991, he began touring once again and recorded two CDs on the Scotdisc label. In 1993 a summer season at the Capitol Moat House Hotel in Edinburgh was cut short because of a back injury. A further long season for the following year was planned at the same venue. Shortly before he died in 1993, he gave a small concert at Arbroath High School for the pupils. He was also due to appear in The “Pride of the Clyde” at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre and other tours and concerts were planned. A sheltered housing scheme in Arbroath, ‘Andy Stewart Court’, was named in his memory.
Stewart died the day after a performance at a Gala Benefit Concert for Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) at Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Stewart suffered a fatal heart attack at his home. Stewart’s funeral took place at St Andrew’s Church (Church of Scotland) in Arbroath on Friday 15 October. His family were joined by many stars and friends from the entertainment world. A large crowd gathered outside the church to pay their respects to “The Tartan Trooper”, while a piper played “A Scottish Soldier” and “The Battle’s O’er”.
Awards and family.
Stewart was awarded an MBE in 1976. He received the Freedom of Angus in 1987.
Stewart’s grandson Harris Beattie played the title role of Billy Elliot in the eponymous West End production. In 2017 Harris won the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance Gold medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition and currently is a dancer with Northern Ballet based in Leeds. Another grandson, Alistair Beattie, currently tours internationally as a dancer in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (2018-2020).
David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, was the unfortunate victim of a royal family feud. His father was Robert III, the King of Scots. Unfortunately, when Robert took the throne in 1390, he lacked the backing he needed to rule effectively. Support among the nobility was for Robert’s younger brother, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. (That’s not a mistake—both brothers were called Robert at that point. Robert III had been born John Stewart, but he changed his name to Robert when he became king.) In 1399, David was appointed by his father to lieutenant of the kingdom, but his uncle wasn’t too pleased about the young lad gaining so much power. In order to maintain his stranglehold on Scotland, the younger Robert had his nephew arrested in 1401.
No one knows exactly what happened to David Stewart after that. It’s believed that he may have been starved to death in the dungeons. One story claims that he ate his own hands in a desperate bid to survive. The Duke of Albany claimed that David had simply died of dysentery. Either way, it’s believed that he was buried in an unmarked grave in Lindores Abbey, and the current owners of the land are using underground imaging in an attempt to locate the body. If they find it, they plan to use DNA to confirm it is the prince and set the record straight about how he died.