Scottish Bands-Music. Deacon Blue.

This band were very popular in the 80’s folks, had a few hits which you may know but here is one of my favs.. enjoy.


Deacon Blue are a Scottish pop rock band formed in Glasgow during 1985. The line-up of the band consists of vocalists Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, keyboard player James Prime and drummer Dougie Vipond. The band released their debut album, Raintown, on 1 May 1987 in the United Kingdom and in the United States in February 1988. Their second album, When the World Knows Your Name (1989), topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks, and included “Real Gone Kid” which became their first top ten single in the UK Singles Chart.

Deacon Blue released their fourth album, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, in 1993. The band split in 1994, following which Vipond began a career in television. Five years later, the band held a reunion gig, and this led on to a new album, Walking Back Home, with the band now working on a part-time basis. The band released another album, Homesick, in 2001. Though Graeme Kelling died from pancreatic cancer in 2004, the band has continued and 2006 saw Deacon Blue returning to the studio to record three new tracks for a Singles album – including the track “Bigger than Dynamite”. Deacon Blue’s next album was The Hipsters, in 2012. The band released another album, A New House, in September 2014. Believers, was released in September 2016. A concert recording of their return to the Barrowlands, Glasgow, was released on 31 March 2017.

As of 2012, Deacon Blue’s total album sales stood at six million, with twelve UK top 40 singles, along with two UK number one albums.

The album City of Love was released on 6 March 2020.


1985–1987: Formation and early years

Taking their name from the 1977 Steely Dan song “Deacon Blues”, Deacon Blue were formed in 1985 following Ricky Ross’s move from Dundee to Glasgow. Along with Ross, the group originally consisted of Lorraine McIntosh, James Prime, Dougie Vipond, Ewen Vernal and Graeme Kelling.

Ross, a former school teacher originally from Dundee, was the group’s frontman, penning the majority of Deacon Blue’s songs. He married vocalist Lorraine McIntosh in 1990. In 1986, the band contributed a track (“Take the Saints Away”) to a compilation cassette entitled “Honey at the Core”, featuring then up-and-coming Glasgow bands, including Wet Wet Wet and Hue and Cry.

1987–1991: Raintown and When The World Knows Your Name.

The band’s debut album, Raintown, produced by Jon Kelly was released in 1987. It spawned the singles “Dignity”, “Chocolate Girl” and “Loaded”. The city that the album’s title refers to is Glasgow and the cover art of the album is a photograph (by the Scottish-Italian photographer Oscar Marzaroli) of the River Clyde’s docks taken from Kelvingrove Park. It proved a commercial success and has to date sold around a million copies, peaking in the UK Albums Chart at no. 14 and remaining in the charts for a year and a half. On 27 February 2006, Raintown was reissued as part of Columbia’s Legacy Edition series. The reissue was expanded to two CDs, the first of which featured the original 11 track album. The second CD featured alternate cuts of all 11 album tracks, as well as the two original CD bonus tracks “Riches” and “Kings of the Western World”. The new edition did not include the varied bonus cuts (remixes and b-sides) that were found on the singles from the album.

The second album, 1989’s When the World Knows Your Name, was the band’s most commercially successful, reaching No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart and generating five UK top 30 hits, including “Real Gone Kid”, “Wages Day”, and “Fergus Sings the Blues” (all five singles from the album were top 10 hits in Ireland). The following year saw the band play in front of an estimated 250,000 fans at the free concert on Glasgow Green, “The Big Day”, which was held to celebrate Glasgow being named that year’s European City of Culture. The band also played Glastonbury and the Roskilde festivals that summer, as well as released Ooh Las Vegas, a double album of B-sides, extra tracks, film tracks, and sessions which reached No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart.

1991–1994: Continued success and split.

Jon Kelly returned to the producer’s chair in 1991 for the album Fellow Hoodlums. The album was met with more critical approval and peaked at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart. Fellow Hoodlums was followed up by 1993’s Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, a much more experimental album. The album was not as commercially successful as the previous two albums, peaking at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. Changing from producer Jon Kelly to the team of Steve Osborne and Paul Oakenfold, this album presented a change in musical style for Deacon Blue. While the band’s songwriting remained based in rock and blues, many of the tracks moved into alternative rock territory in their presentation.

The band embarked on another sold out UK tour in 1994, after recording new material for their greatest hits compilation album, Our Town. This saw the band return to No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart and was one of the year’s top sellers, while “I Was Right and You Were Wrong” and a re-release of “Dignity” saw the band re-enter the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart. The album contained the previous singles from the band, minus “Closing Time” and “Hang Your Head”. The album also contained three new tracks. “I Was Right and You Were Wrong”, the first single from this album, was an alternative rock track that continued and expanded the musical direction the band had taken with Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. “Bound to Love” and “Still in the Mood” were pop songs in the tradition of Deacon Blue’s earlier albums. The vinyl LP version of the album contained a fourth new track, “Beautiful Stranger”. “Dignity” was released, now for the third time, as the second single from the album.

With Vipond’s decision to quit the group in favour of a career in television, Deacon Blue split up in 1994.

1999–2006: Re-formation and new material.

Five years later, the band held a reunion gig in 1999, and this led on to a new album, Walking Back Home, with the band now working on a part-time basis. The Walking Back Home album combined eight songs that were brand new compositions, previously unreleased tracks, or released only with limited availability, with nine previously released Deacon Blue songs. This as followed by another album, Homesick, in 2001.

Graeme Kelling died from pancreatic cancer in 2004, but the band continued and recorded three new tracks for a Singles album – including the track “Bigger than Dynamite” in 2006.

2006–2012: Touring and side projects.

The band performed at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, as the pre-match entertainment for the Rugby league Super League Grand Final on 14 October 2006, and continued on to a full UK tour in November. They were also due to open Stirling’s New Year party in 2006, but this was cancelled at the last minute due to extreme weather. A further tour followed in November 2007 and the band then provided support for Simple Minds in 2008. They also appeared at Stirling’s Hogmanay in 2008.

Deacon Blue appeared at The Homecoming Live Final Fling Show, at Glasgow’s SECC on 28 November 2009, and headlined Glasgow’s Hogmanay on 31 December 2009. The band performed several gigs, including Glastonbury, and the Liverpool Echo Arena on 29 July 2011.

Ross, who had released a solo album before the formation of Deacon Blue, released two solo albums during the time between Deacon Blue’s breakup in 1994 and reformation in 1999. Due to Deacon Blue’s part-time status after reformation, Ross released additional solo albums in 2002 and 2005 and has written for and with other recording artists. In 2009, Ross and McIntosh recorded an album together under the name ‘McIntosh Ross’.

2012–2013: New record label and The Hipsters.

The album The Hipsters was released on 24 September 2012 and was produced by Paul Savage. A 25th anniversary tour, starting in October 2012, followed.

All of the band’s studio albums were reissued as deluxe editions by Edsel Records in October 2012, as well as a new compilation entitled The Rest.

2013–present: A New House and Believers.

Deacon Blue arranged dates in 2014 for a comeback tour. It was announced in April 2014 that their seventh studio album, A New House, would be released on 8 September that year. Ross later said the album had “come off the energy of getting back together, playing live”, referring to their touring during 2012. Deacon Blue also performed at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony on 3 August 2014, performing their hit, “Dignity”.

A new studio album, Believers, was released on 30 September 2016. Three promo singles, the title track, “This Is A Love Song” and “Gone” have been released. A tour was undertaken to promote the album, culminating in a return to the Glasgow Barrowlands on 4 December 2016, which was recorded for a live album as well as video. This was released on 31 March 2017 on vinyl, CD, DVD, Blu-Ray as well as digital download of both audio and video versions. A special screening event was held, the day before, at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Between February and March 2018, Deacon Blue embarked on a tour of Spain, marking the first time that the band has played a series of live shows in Spain. The band described the shows as “an incredible experience for us all”, and later confirmed that Deacon Blue will be returning to Spain in 2019 for another series of live shows, claiming that “Spain has a very special place in our hearts”.

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Kings-Queens of Scotland. Duncan 1rst.

Donnchad mac Crinain (Modern Gaelic: Donnchadh mac Crìonain; anglicised as Duncan I, and nicknamed An t-Ilgarach, “the Diseased” or “the Sick”; ca. 1001 – 14 August 1040) was king of Scotland (Alba) from 1034 to 1040. He is the historical basis of the “King Duncan” in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.



He was a son of Crínán, hereditary lay abbot of Dunkeld, and Bethóc, daughter of king Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Malcolm II).

Unlike the “King Duncan” of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the historical Duncan appears to have been a young man. He followed his grandfather Malcolm as king after the latter’s death on 25 November 1034, without apparent opposition. He may have been Malcolm’s acknowledged successor or Tànaiste as the succession appears to have been uneventful. Earlier histories, following John of Fordun, supposed that Duncan had been king of Strathclyde in his grandfather’s lifetime, between 1018 and 1034, ruling the former Kingdom of Strathclyde as an appanage. Modern historians discount this idea, although it is supported by the ODNB.

An earlier source, a variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba (CK-I), gives Duncan’s wife the Gaelic name Suthen, and John of Fordun suggests that she may have been a relative of Siward, Earl of Northumbria. Whatever his wife’s name and family connections may have been, Duncan had at least two sons. The eldest, Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) was king from 1058 to 1093 after assassinating and usurping Lulach, Macbeth’s stepson. The second son Donald III (Domnall Bán, or “Donalbane”) was king afterwards. Máel Muire, Earl of Atholl is a possible third son of Duncan, although this is uncertain.

The early period of Duncan’s reign was apparently uneventful, perhaps a consequence of his youth. Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) is recorded as having been his dux, today rendered as “duke” and meaning nothing more than the rank between prince and marquess, but then still having the Roman meaning of “war leader”. In context — “dukes of Francia” had half a century before replaced the Carolingian kings of the Franks and in England the over-mighty Godwin of Wessex was called a dux — this suggests that Macbeth may have been the power behind the throne.

In 1039, Duncan led a large Scots army south to besiege Durham, but the expedition ended in disaster. Duncan survived, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth’s domain, apparently on a punitive expedition against Moray. There he was killed in action, at Bothnagowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth, probably on 14 August 1040. He is thought to have been buried at Elgin before later relocation to the island of Iona.

Depictions in fiction

Anachronistic depiction of Duncan I by Jacob de Wet, 17th century

Duncan is depicted as an elderly king in the play Macbeth (1606) by William Shakespeare. He is killed in his sleep by the protagonist, Macbeth.

In the historical novel Macbeth the King (1978) by Nigel Tranter, Duncan is portrayed as a schemer who is fearful of Macbeth as a possible rival for the throne. He tries to assassinate Macbeth by poisoning and then when this fails, attacks his home with an army. In self-defence Macbeth meets him in battle and kills him in personal combat.

In the animated television series Gargoyles he is depicted as a weak and conniving king who assassinates those who he believes threaten his rule. He even tries to assassinate Macbeth, forcing Demona to ally with the Moray nobleman, with Duncan’s resulting death coming from attempting to strike an enchanted orb of energy that one of the Weird Sisters gave to Macbeth to take Duncan down.

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My Poetry. Positive thoughts.

When your in a good mood
the World is alive
but when times are bad
You struggle to survive.
It depends on your night
if you had a good rest
when your brain is fully charged
And at its best.
You can make your day harmonious
if your mind is bright and ready
not burdened with negativity
if its peaceful and steady.
Negativity as always can breed contempt
as your day ebbs and flows
dragging you down to a negative state
Bitterness slowly grows.
Go with the flow
be powerful, survive
keep your mind on the good things
Be thankful, your alive.
In the end your a winner
of the battle, and the war
if you want to live on
you give it "what for"
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Kings-Queens of Scotland. Lord Darnley.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (7 December 1545 – 10 February 1567) was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. From his marriage in 1565, he was king consort of Scotland. He was created Duke of Albany shortly before his marriage. Less than a year after the birth of his and Mary’s only child, King James VI of Scotland and I of England, Darnley was murdered at Kirk o’ Field in 1567. Many contemporary narratives describing his life and death refer to him as Lord Darnley, his title as heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox, and it is by this appellation that he is known in history. On his mother’s side he was a great-grandson of King Henry VII of England.

He was the second but eldest surviving son of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, by his wife Lady Margaret Douglas. Darnley’s maternal grandparents were Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and Lady Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England and widow of King James IV of Scotland.

Early life.

Younger Days.

Lord Darnley aged about nine, by Hans Eworth. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was born at Temple Newsam, Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, in 1545. However, this date is uncertain as his parents were not together in early 1545 and a letter of March 1566, from Mary Queen of Scots, indicates Darnley was then nineteen years old. Therefore, the date 1546 would seem probable. A descendant of both James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England, Darnley had potential claims to both the Scottish and English thrones.

In 1545, his father, Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, was found guilty of treason in Scotland for siding with the English in the War of the Rough Wooing, in opposing Mary of Guise and Regent Arran. The family’s Scottish estates were forfeited and his father went into exile in England for 22 years, returning to Scotland in 1564. The Countess of Lennox Margaret Douglas, his mother, had left Scotland in 1528.

The young Henry was conscious of his status and inheritance. Well-versed in Latin and familiar with Gaelic, English and French, he received an education befitting his royal lineage, and he excelled in singing, lute playing, and dancing.[citation needed] The Scottish scholar John Elder was among his tutors. Elder advocated Anglo-Scottish union through the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots and Prince Edward. His advice to Henry VIII in 1543, was termed the Advice of a Redshank. Another schoolmaster to the young heir was Arthur Lallart, who would later be interrogated in London for having gone to Scotland in 1562. Henry was said to be strong, athletic, skilled in horsemanship and weaponry, and passionate about hunting and hawking. His youthful character is captured somewhat in a letter of March 1554 to Mary I of England from Temple Newsam, where he writes about making a map, the Utopia Nova, and his wish that “every haire in my heade for to be a wourthy souldiour”.

Succession crisis

There was a political dilemma in England arising from the dynastic ambition of the Lennoxes: Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, was third in line to the Scottish throne, and his wife Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was a niece of Henry VIII, making her a potential successor to the English throne if Elizabeth should die. As Roman Catholics, they posed a threat to English Protestants, Although Elizabeth was bright, witty, and well-educated for her position, as a female she had to prove herself. As she was a Protestant, many Roman Catholics would have liked to have seen the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, take the throne. They regarded Elizabeth as illegitimate, her parents’ marriage not having been recognised by the Catholic Church. Darnley, as a male descended from Henry VII, was also a contender for the English throne. All of these interrelationships made for complex intrigues, spying, strategising and manoeuvering for power at the various courts.

When Henry II of France died in July 1559, Lennox’s brother John, 5th Sieur d’Aubigny, was elevated in the French court as kinsman of the new French queen, Mary, already Queen of Scots. Aubigny arranged for Darnley to be dispatched to the French court to congratulate Mary and Francis II of France on their accession and seek restoration for Lennox. Mary did not restore Lennox to his Scottish earldom, but she did give 1,000 crowns to Darnley and invited him to her coronation. Lennox’s plan was to appeal directly to the Queen of Scots via her ambassador, over the heads of Elizabeth and the Guise. The mission of Lennox’s agent, one Nesbit, appears to have been a desperate one; not only was Lennox willing to hand over Darnley and his brother Charles as hostages for his restoration, but he supplied pedigrees of Darnley, indicating his right to the inheritance of England and Scotland and the houses of Hamilton and Douglas. Aubigny was also later accused of supporting Mary’s title to the throne of England and hinting that even his nephew had a stronger claim than Elizabeth.

Lennox set Nesbit to watch Mary, Darnley and Darnley’s tutor, John Elder. In 1559 Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador in Paris, warned Elizabeth that Elder was “as dangerous for the matters of England as any he knew.” Lord Paget in March 1560 wrote of the ‘well founded’ fear that Catholics would raise Darnley to the throne on Elizabeth’s death.

Francis Yaxley was a Catholic spy discovered in 1562 whose activities led to the arrest of the Lennox family. He had been a clerk of the Signet and from 1549 was employed by William Cecil travelling in France. Yaxley was employed by the Countess of Lennox. He placed Mabel Fortescue and other ladies as servants in the Lennox household at Settrington in November 1560. His interrogation at the Tower of London in February 1562 revealed that he had obtained intelligence about the English Court from the Spanish ambassador, and the ambassador had entrusted him and Hugh Allen with messages and tokens for the Lennoxes and Darnley. Yaxley admitted that his missions were intended to arrange the marriage of the Queen of Scots with Darnley, that Darnley’s religion guaranteed him greater success in his suit than the Earl of Arran, and that the countess had many friends in the north. Although the Lennox threat never died out, Elizabeth did not convict the family of treason in 1562 after their arrest nor did she encourage efforts to annul the countess’s claim to her throne. Perhaps Elizabeth feared that these investigations could also be directed at herself, or her inaction was intended to ensure the survival of the monarchy by not reducing the number of potential heirs. The Lennox family were released in February 1563, and within a few months, Darnley and his mother were conspicuous by their presence at Court and the favour they received there, although Elizabeth would not accommodate the earl at Court.

Sarah Macauley notes three outcomes of the court’s decision in the Lennox trial:

“Their elevation at Court was, as it turned out in 1563, a useful complication in the succession issue. First, it presented a public statement that the preferences of Parliament (the claim of Catherine Grey in the succession crisis) could not dictate her own policy. Secondly, favouring the Lennoxes could serve as some kind of appeasement of the English Roman Catholics, who, like the Spanish ambassador, might foresee Elizabeth naming Darnley as her successor … Such speculation would also distract them from favouring the more alarming claim of the Queen of Scots … Thirdly, and most significantly, the elevation of the Lennoxes presented an obstacle between the Queen of Scots and the English throne. Thus was Darnley’s uniquely ‘British’ inheritance put to use at last … The subsequent release of Darnley into Scotland and the restoration of his father at the Scottish Court were part of this policy: the political disaster of the Darnley marriage as yet unforeseen.”

3100898 Henry Stuart Lord Darnley, Mary Queen Of Scots (litho) by English School, (17th century) (after); Private Collection; ( Henry Stuart Lord Darnley, Mary Queen Of Scots. Postcard, early 20th century.); Look and Learn / Rosenberg Collection; English, out of copyright.

In September 1564, the Scottish Parliament restored Matthew Stewart’s rights and titles as Earl of Lennox, and listened to a lengthy speech from the Queen’s secretary William Maitland, who offered;

“[I]t may be affirmid Scotland in na manis age that presentlie levis wes in gritter tranquillitie.”

Marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots

Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots (painting circa 1565, now at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire).

James VI and I(right) depicted aged 17 beside his mother Mary (left), 1583. In reality, they were separated when he was still a baby.

On 3 February 1565, Darnley left London and by 12 February, he was in Edinburgh. On 17 February, he presented himself to Mary at Wemyss Castle in Fife. James Melville of Halhill reported that “Her Majesty took well with him, and said that he was the lustiest and best proportioned long man that she had seen.” After a brief visit to his father at Dunkeld, Darnley returned with Mary and the court to Holyrood on 24 February. The next day, he heard John Knox preach, and he danced a galliard with Mary at night. From then on, he was constantly in Mary’s company.

Darnley was his wife’s half-first cousin through two different marriages of their grandmother, Margaret Tudor, putting both Mary and Darnley high in the line of succession for the English throne. Darnley was also a descendant of a daughter of James II of Scotland, and so also in line for the throne of Scotland.

As a preliminary to the marriage, Darnley was made Lord of Ardmanoch and Earl of Ross at Stirling Castle on 15 May 1565. An entourage of 15 men were made knights, including one of Mary’s half brothers, Robert Stewart of Strathdon, Robert Drummond of Carnock, James Stewart of Doune Castle, and William Murray of Tullibardine. In England, a concerned Privy council debated the perils of the intended marriage on 4 June 1565. One of their resolutions was to relax the displeasure shown to Lady Catherine Grey, another rival to Mary Stuart for the English throne. Mary sent John Hay, Commendator of Balmerino, to speak to Elizabeth; Elizabeth demanded Darnley’s return, and gave John Hay plainly to understand her small satisfaction.

On 22 July, Darnley was made Duke of Albany in Holyrood Abbey, and the banns of marriage were called in the parish of Canongate. A proclamation was made at the Cross of Edinburgh on 28 July that government would be in the joint names of the king and queen of Scots, thus giving Darnley equality with, and precedence over, Mary. This was confirmed in the circulation of a silver ryal in the names of Henry and Mary.

On 29 July 1565, the marriage took place by Roman Catholic rites in Mary’s private chapel at Holyrood, but Darnley (whose religious beliefs were unfixed – he was raised as a Catholic, but was later influenced by Protestantism) refused to accompany Mary to the nuptial Mass after the wedding itself.


Soon after Mary married Darnley, she became aware of his vain, arrogant and unreliable qualities, which threatened the wellbeing of the state. Darnley was unpopular with the other nobles and had a violent streak, aggravated by his drinking. Mary refused to grant Darnley the Crown Matrimonial, which would have made him the successor to the throne if she died childless. By August 1565, less than a month after the marriage, William Cecil heard that Darnley’s insolence had driven Lennox from the Scottish court. Mary soon became pregnant.

Mary’s private secretary, David Rizzio, was stabbed 56 times on 9 March 1566 by Darnley and his confederates, Protestant Scottish nobles, in the presence of the queen, who was six months pregnant. According to English diplomats Thomas Randolph and the Earl of Bedford, the murder of Rizzio (who was rumoured to be the father of Mary’s unborn child) was part of Darnley’s bid to force Mary to cede the Crown Matrimonial. Darnley also made a bargain with his allies to advance his claim to the Crown Matrimonial in the Parliament of Scotland in return for restoring their lands and titles.

When the Spanish Ambassador in Paris heard this news, the headlines were that Darnley “had murdered his wife, admitted the exiled heretics, and seized the kingdom.” However, on 20 March, Darnley posted a declaration denying all knowledge of or complicity in the Rizzio murder. Mary no longer trusted her husband, and he was disgraced by the kingdom. On 27 March, the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven, who were both present at Rizzio’s murder and had fled to England, wrote to Cecil claiming that Darnley had initiated the murder plot and recruited them, because of his “heich quarrel” and “deadly hatred” of Rizzio.

Birth of son

Mary is said to have nursed the smallpox-stricken Darnley under this Plane tree at home at Darnley, now a suburb of Glasgow.

Mary and Darnley’s son James (the future King James VI of Scotland and I of England) was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle. He was baptised Charles James on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle. His godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England and Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews, whom she referred to as “a pocky priest”, spit in the child’s mouth, as was then the custom. In the entertainment, devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez, men danced dressed as satyrs and sporting tails; the English guests took offence, thinking the satyrs “done against them”.

Following the birth of James, the succession was more secure, but Darnley and Mary’s marriage continued to struggle. Darnley, however, alienated many who would otherwise have been his supporters through his erratic behavior. His insistence that he be awarded the Crown Matrimonial was still a source of marital frustration.


The Murder of the King of Scots Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, from an 1886 antique book “British Ballads Old and New” by George Barnett Smith.

1567 drawing of Kirk o’ Field after the murder of Darnley, drawn for William Cecil shortly after the murder.

Darnley was murdered eight months after James’ birth. On the night of 9–10 February 1567, his body and that of his valet were discovered in the orchard of Kirk o’ Field, in Edinburgh, where they had been staying.

During the weeks leading up to his death, Darnley was recovering from a bout of smallpox (or, it has been speculated, syphilis). He was described as having deformed pocks upon his face and body. He stayed with his family in Glasgow, until Mary brought him to recuperate at Old Provost’s lodging at Kirk o’ Field, a two-story house within the church quadrangle, a short walk from Holyrood, with the intention of incorporating him into the court again. Darnley stayed at Kirk o’ Field while Mary attended the wedding of Bastian Pagez, one of her closest servants, at Holyrood. Around 2 A.M. on the night of 9–10 February 1567, while Mary was away, two explosions rocked the foundation of Kirk o’ Field. These explosions were later attributed to two barrels of gunpowder that had been placed in the small room under Darnley’s sleeping quarters. Darnley’s body and the body of his valet William Taylor were found outside, surrounded by a cloak, a dagger, a chair, and a coat. Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt, suggesting he had fled in some haste from his bedchamber.

Darnley was apparently smothered. There were no visible marks of strangulation or violence on the body. A post-mortem revealed internal injuries, thought to have been caused by the explosion. John Knox claimed the surgeons who examined the body were lying, and that Darnley had been strangled, but all the sources agree there were no marks on the body and there was no reason for the surgeons to lie as Darnley was murdered either way.


Suspicion quickly fell on the Earl of Bothwell and his supporters, notably Archibald Douglas, Parson of Douglas, whose shoes were found at the scene, and on Mary herself. Bothwell had long been suspected of having designs on the throne, and his close relationship with the queen gave rise to rumours they were sexually intimate. This was viewed as a motive for Bothwell to have Darnley murdered, with help from some of the nobility and seemingly with royal approval. Mary had been looking at options for removing Darnley, though her ideas were for divorce, and none were suitable.

Soon after Darnley’s death, Bothwell and Mary left Edinburgh together. There are two points of view about the circumstances: in the first, Bothwell kidnapped the queen, took her to Dunbar Castle, and raped her. In the second, Mary was a willing participant in the kidnapping, and the story of rape was a fabrication, so her honour and reputation were not ruined by her marriage to a man widely suspected of murder. Mary later miscarried twins by Bothwell.

Suspicions that Mary colluded with conspirators in her husband’s death or that she took no action to prevent his death were key factors in the downward spiral that led to her loss of the Scottish crown. The Casket letters, alleged to have been written by Mary, seemed to indicate her support for the killing. The letters were purportedly found by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, in Edinburgh in a silver box engraved with an F (supposedly for Francis II), along with a number of other documents, including the Mary-Bothwell marriage certificate. Before Morton’s execution in 1581, he admitted having knowledge of the murder plot, and that Bothwell and Archibald Douglas were “chief actors” in Darnley’s murder.

A soldier under the pay of Bothwell, William Blackadder of the Clan Blackadder, was allegedly the first non-participant to happen upon the scene, and for that reason was treated as a suspect. Although initially cleared of any involvement in the murder, he was offered up by the conspirators and convicted at a show trial, after which he was executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered before each of his limbs was nailed to the gates of a different Scottish town.[citation needed]

Bothwell was put on trial in Edinburgh and found not guilty. In 1568 Mary’s involvement in the murder was discussed in England in conferences at York and Westminster which ended with no definitive findings. Mary was kept in captivity until she was implicated in the Babington plot against Elizabeth, after which she was convicted of treason and executed.

Burial and missing remains.

Darnley was buried in the Royal Vault in Holyrood Abbey in 1567 alongside the bodies of several royals: King David II, King James II, Arthur, Duke of Rothesay, Madeleine of Valois, James, Duke of Rothesay, Arthur, Duke of Albany and King James V. In 1668 the vault was opened by mobs and sometime later between 1776–8 the vault was raided and the skull of Lord Darnley stolen.

In 1928 a paper was published by Karl Pearson, detailing his vast research into the skull of Lord Darnley. In his paper, Pearson discussed the possibility of Darnley’s skull residing in the Royal College of Surgeons’ museum. In 2016 at the request of the University of Edinburgh research was undertaken to identify whether a skull in the University’s collection could be Darnley’s stolen remains. Pearson’s skull and the University’s were examined and compared to portraits of Darnley by Emma Price at the University of Dundee. The conclusion was that the Edinburgh skull could not be Darnley’s, but the Royal College of Surgeons’ one (which had been destroyed in the Blitz) was a good match. A historical facial reconstruction was then produced.

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My Poetry. Tunnel Vision.

Swimming in a sea of despair
darkness all around
tempted again by the “other side”
The voices bear the sound.
One battle, too many wars
showing all the scars
endless music in ghostly symphonies
Egotistically marred.
Walking along a darkened tunnel
not even a “crack of light”
walls so cold with dampness rife
I will not face the fight.
Charred ruins of “come what may”
echo near your face
touching, prodding, beckoning you
In your own dark space.
Escape this torture, give in to me
the light you may never find
just as you exist and face the music
I know your in my mind.
Darkness falls the light is near
I can feel the warmth on my hand
let me walk inside your heaven
I am now outside the land.
I waited till you came for me
happiness fills the air
reaching, beckoning, supporting,
relieved from this nightmare.
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Kings-Queens of Scotland. Malcolm II.

Malcolm II (Gaelic: Máel Coluim; c. 954 – 25 November 1034)  was King of the Scots from 1005 until his death. He was a son of King Kenneth II; the Prophecy of Berchán says that his mother was a woman of Leinster and refers to him as Forranach, “the Destroyer”.

To the Irish annals which recorded his death, Malcolm was ard rí Alban, High King of Scotland. In the same way that Brian Bóruma, High King of Ireland, was not the only king in Ireland, Malcolm was one of several kings within the geographical boundaries of modern Scotland: his fellow kings included the king of Strathclyde, who ruled much of the south-west, various Norse-Gael kings on the western coast and the Hebrides and, nearest and most dangerous rivals, the kings or Mormaers of Moray. To the south, in the Kingdom of England, the Earls of Bernicia and Northumbria, whose predecessors as kings of Northumbria had once ruled most of southern Scotland, still controlled large parts of the southeast.

Early years

Malcolm II was born to Kenneth II of Scotland. He was the grandson of Malcolm I of Scotland. In 997, the killer of Constantine is credited as being Kenneth, son of Malcolm. Since there is no known and relevant Kenneth alive at that time (King Kenneth having died in 995), it is considered an error for either Kenneth III, who succeeded Constantine, or, possibly, Malcolm himself, the son of Kenneth II.[6] Whether Malcolm killed Constantine or not, there is no doubt that in 1005 he killed Constantine’s successor Kenneth III in battle at Monzievaird in Strathearn.

John of Fordun writes that Malcolm defeated a Norwegian army “in almost the first days after his coronation”, but this is not reported elsewhere. Fordun says that the Bishopric of Mortlach (later moved to Aberdeen) was founded in thanks for this victory over the Norwegians.


Malcolm demonstrated a rare ability to survive among early Scottish kings by reigning for twenty-nine years. He was a clever and ambitious man. Brehon tradition provided that the successor to Malcolm was to be selected by him from among the descendants of King Aedh, with the consent of Malcolm’s ministers and of the church. Ostensibly in an attempt to end the devastating feuds in the north of Scotland, but obviously influenced by the Norman feudal model, Malcolm ignored tradition and determined to retain the succession within his own line. But since Malcolm had no son of his own, he undertook to negotiate a series of dynastic marriages of his three daughters to men who might otherwise be his rivals, while securing the loyalty of the principal chiefs, their relatives. First he married his daughter Bethoc to Crinan, Thane of The Isles, head of the house of Atholl and secular Abbot of Dunkeld; then his youngest daughter, Olith, to Sigurd, Earl of Orkney. His middle daughter, Donada, was married to Finlay, Earl of Moray, Thane of Ross and Cromarty and a descendant of Loarn of Dalriada. This was risky business under the rules of succession of the Gael, but he thereby secured his rear and, taking advantage of the renewal of Viking attacks on England, marched south to fight the English. He defeated the Angles at Carham in 1018 and installed his grandson, Duncan, son of the Abbot of Dunkeld and his choice as Tanist, in Carlisle as King of Cumbria that same year.


The first reliable report of Malcolm II’s reign is of an invasion of Bernicia in 1006, perhaps the customary crech ríg (literally royal prey, a raid by a new king made to demonstrate prowess in war), which involved a siege of Durham. This appears to have resulted in a heavy defeat by the Northumbrians, led by Uhtred of Bamburgh, later Earl of Bernicia, which is reported by the Annals of Ulster.

The second war in Bernicia, probably in 1018, was more successful. The Battle of Carham, by the River Tweed, was a victory for the Scots led by Malcolm II and the men of Strathclyde led by their king, Owen the Bald. By this time Earl Uchtred may have been dead, and Eiríkr Hákonarson was appointed Earl of Northumbria by his brother-in-law Cnut the Great, although his authority seems to have been limited to the south, the former kingdom of Deira, and he took no action against the Scots so far as is known. The work De obsessione Dunelmi (The siege of Durham, associated with Symeon of Durham) claims that Uchtred’s brother Eadwulf Cudel surrendered Lothian to Malcolm II, presumably in the aftermath of the defeat at Carham. This is likely to have been the lands between Dunbar and the Tweed as other parts of Lothian had been under Scots control before this time. It has been suggested that Cnut received tribute from the Scots for Lothian, but as he had likely received none from the Bernician Earls this is not very probable.


Cnut, reports the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, led an army into Scotland on his return from a pilgrimage to Rome. The Chronicle dates this to 1031, but there are reasons to suppose that it should be dated to 1027. Burgundian chronicler Rodulfus Glaber recounts the expedition soon afterwards, describing Malcolm as “powerful in resources and arms … very Christian in faith and deed.” Ralph claims that peace was made between Malcolm and Cnut through the intervention of Richard, Duke of Normandy, brother of Cnut’s wife Emma. Richard died in about 1027 and Rodulfus wrote close in time to the events.

It has been suggested that the root of the quarrel between Cnut and Malcolm lies in Cnut’s pilgrimage to Rome, and the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II, where Cnut and Rudolph III, King of Burgundy had the place of honour. If Malcolm were present, and the repeated mentions of his piety in the annals make it quite possible that he made a pilgrimage to Rome, as did Mac Bethad mac Findláich (“Macbeth”) in later times, then the coronation would have allowed Malcolm to publicly snub Cnut’s claims to overlordship.

Cnut obtained rather less than previous English kings, a promise of peace and friendship rather than the promise of aid on land and sea that Edgar and others had obtained. The sources say that Malcolm was accompanied by one or two other kings, certainly future King Mac Bethad, and perhaps Echmarcach mac Ragnaill, King of Mann and the Isles, and of Galloway. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle remarks of the submission “but he [Malcolm] adhered to that for only a little while”. Cnut was soon occupied in Norway against Olaf Haraldsson and appears to have had no further involvement with Scotland.

Orkney and Moray

Olith a daughter of Malcolm, married Sigurd Hlodvisson, Earl of Orkney. Their son Thorfinn Sigurdsson was said to be five years old when Sigurd was killed on 23 April 1014 in the Battle of Clontarf. The Orkneyinga Saga says that Thorfinn was raised at Malcolm’s court and was given the Mormaerdom of Caithness by his grandfather. Thorfinn says in the Heimskringla that he was the ally of the king of Scots, and counted on Malcolm’s support to resist the “tyranny” of Norwegian King Olaf Haraldsson. (Thorfinn’s older stepbrother had died while a hostage to King Olaf.) The chronology of Thorfinn’s life is problematic, and he may have had a share in the Earldom of Orkney while still a child if he was indeed only five in 1014. Whatever the exact chronology, before Malcolm’s death a client of the king of Scots was in control of Caithness and Orkney, although, as with all such relationships, it is unlikely to have lasted beyond his death.

If Malcolm exercised control over Moray, which is far from being generally accepted, then the annals record a number of events pointing to a struggle for power in the north. In 1020, Mac Bethad’s father Findláech mac Ruaidrí was killed by the sons of his brother Máel Brigte. It seems that Máel Coluim mac Máil Brigti took control of Moray, for his death is reported in 1029.

Despite the accounts of the Irish annals, English and Scandinavian writers appear to see Mac Bethad as the rightful king of Moray: this is clear from their descriptions of the meeting with Cnut in 1027, before the death of Malcolm mac Máil Brigti. Malcolm was followed as king or earl by his brother Gillecomgan, husband of Gruoch, a granddaughter of King Kenneth III. It has been supposed that Mac Bethad was responsible for the killing of Gille Coemgáin in 1032, but if Mac Bethad had a cause for feud in the killing of his father in 1020, Malcolm too had reason to see Gille Coemgáin dead. Not only had Gillecomgan’s ancestors killed many of Malcolm’s kin, but Gillecomgan and his son Lulach might be rivals for the throne. Malcolm had no living sons, and the threat to his plans for the succession was obvious. As a result, the following year Gruoch’s brother or nephew, who might have eventually become king, was killed by Malcolm.

Strathclyde and the succession.

It has traditionally been supposed that King Owen the Bald of Strathclyde died at the Battle of Carham and that the kingdom passed into the hands of the Scots afterwards. This rests on some very weak evidence. It is far from certain that Owen died at Carham, and it is reasonably certain that there were kings of Strathclyde as late as 1054, when Edward the Confessor sent Earl Siward to install “Malcolm son of the king of the Cumbrians”. The confusion is old, probably inspired by William of Malmesbury and embellished by John of Fordun, but there is no firm evidence that the kingdom of Strathclyde was a part of the kingdom of the Scots, rather than a loosely subjected kingdom, before the time of Malcolm II of Scotland’s great-grandson Malcolm III.

By the 1030s Malcolm’s sons, if he had any, were dead. The only evidence that he did have a son or sons is in Rodulfus Glaber’s chronicle where Cnut is said to have stood as godfather to a son of Malcolm. His grandson Thorfinn would have been unlikely to be accepted as king by the Scots, and he chose the sons of his other daughter, Bethóc, who was married to Crínán, lay abbot of Dunkeld, and perhaps Mormaer of Atholl. It may be no more than coincidence, but in 1027 the Irish annals had reported the burning of Dunkeld, although no mention is made of the circumstances. Malcolm’s chosen heir, and the first tánaise ríg certainly known in Scotland, was Duncan.

It is possible that a third daughter of Malcolm married Findláech mac Ruaidrí and that Mac Bethad was thus his grandson, but this rests on relatively weak evidence.

Death and posterity.


19th-century engraving of “King Malcolm’s grave stone” (Glamis no. 2) at Glamis

Malcolm died in 1034, Marianus Scotus giving the date as 25 November 1034. The king lists say that he died at Glamis, variously describing him as a “most glorious” or “most victorious” king. The Annals of Tigernach report that “Malcolm mac Cináeda, king of Scotland, the honour of all the west of Europe, died.” The Prophecy of Berchán, perhaps the inspiration for John of Fordun and Andrew of Wyntoun’s accounts where Malcolm is killed fighting bandits, says that he died by violence, fighting “the parricides”, suggested to be the sons of Máel Brigte of Moray.

Perhaps the most notable feature of Malcolm’s death is the account of Marianus, matched by the silence of the Irish annals, which tells us that Duncan I became king and ruled for five years and nine months. Given that his death in 1040 is described as being “at an immature age” in the Annals of Tigernach, he must have been a young man in 1034. The absence of any opposition suggests that Malcolm had dealt thoroughly with any likely opposition in his own lifetime.

Tradition, dating from Fordun’s time if not earlier, knew the Pictish stone now called “Glamis 2” as “King Malcolm’s grave stone”. The stone is a Class II stone, apparently formed by re-using a Bronze Age standing stone. Its dating is uncertain, with dates from the 8th century onwards having been proposed. While an earlier date is favoured, an association with accounts of Malcolm’s has been proposed on the basis of the iconography of the carvings.

On the question of Malcolm’s putative pilgrimage, pilgrimages to Rome, or other long-distance journeys, were far from unusual. Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Cnut and Mac Bethad have already been mentioned. Rögnvald Kali Kolsson is known to have gone crusading in the Mediterranean in the 12th century. Nearer in time, Dyfnwal of Strathclyde died on pilgrimage to Rome in 975 as did Máel Ruanaid uá Máele Doraid, King of the Cenél Conaill, in 1025.

Not a great deal is known of Malcolm’s activities beyond the wars and killings. The Book of Deer records that Malcolm “gave a king’s dues in Biffie and in Pett Meic-Gobraig, and two davochs” to the monastery of Old Deer.He was also probably not the founder of the Bishopric of Mortlach-Aberdeen. John of Fordun has a peculiar tale to tell, related to the supposed “Laws of Malcolm MacKenneth”, saying that Malcolm gave away all of Scotland, except for the Moot Hill at Scone, which is unlikely to have any basis in fact.

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My Poetry. Nancy Smith. (A ghostly tale)

Whilst walking along 
the street one night 
I came across a wondrous sight 
A lady aglow in an aura of light. 
She looked so very real 
I walked towards her shaking 
her charm was mesmerising 
Could my eyes be faking? 
Her dress was of a distant past
hair was long and dark
the street was lit from her glow
Whilst heading for the park.
She walked along a darkened path
apparel trailing on the ground
smiling beautifully as she walked
did she want to be found?.
I walked close behind her
the moonlight shone the way
I tried to stop and talk to her
still shocked with nothing to say.
Her bodice was coloured blood red
barely clad but felt no cold
wondering how she managed to walk
how will this mystery unfold.
Stunned by her beauty
I followed her for hours
glancing around now and then
she engulfed me with her powers.
Eventually she would stop and stare
at a decrepit abandoned shack
still floating as if magical
she did not leave a track.
Eyes fixed on the shack
tears ran from her eyes
she pointed to an inscription
and looked in shocked surprise.
Directed by her trance
to the notice on the door
the light was slowly fading
 it was hard to read once more
Reaching for a match
the message was unclear
the writing was of scripture
how long had this been here?
Her name was Nancy Smith
she died in a tragic way
in 1840 at this time
her life was taken away.
She died from a horrible fire
no one had tried to assist
human life was worth nothing then
death was always dismissed.
Knowing she needed someone to help
she strolled the streets at night
but until now she never got her wish
she could not reach the light.
I said a prayer for Nancy
to allow her soul to rest
then set fire to the remaining shell
I felt it was for the best.
Three nights later I returned
flowers covered the spot
Nancy at rest peacefully now.
the remains of her forgot.
Nancy's soul was rested
she eventually won her fight
to this day no girl was seen
with a glow of yellow light.
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Scottish Towns-Cities.(Inverness.)

Inverness (/ɪnvərˈnɛs/ (listen); from the Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis [iɲɪɾʲˈniʃ], meaning “Mouth of the River Ness”; Scots: Innerness) is a cathedral city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Historically it served as the county town of the county of Inverness-shire. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird, and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen (Gleann Mòr) at its northeastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim (King David I) in the 12th century. The Gaelic king Mac Bethad Mac Findláich (MacBeth) whose 11th-century killing of King Duncan was immortalised in Shakespeare’s largely fictionalised play Macbeth, held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross.

The population of Inverness grew from 40,969 in 2001 to 46,969 in 2012, according to World Population Review. The Greater Inverness area, including Culloden and Westhill, had a population of 56,969 in 2012. In 2018, it had a population of 69,696.  Inverness is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, with a quarter of the Highland population living in or around it, and is ranked fifth out of 189 British cities for its quality of life, the highest of any Scottish city. In the recent past, Inverness has experienced rapid economic growth: between 1998 and 2008, Inverness and the rest of the central Highlands showed the largest growth of average economic productivity per person in Scotland and the second greatest growth in the United Kingdom as a whole, with an increase of 86%. Inverness is twinned with one German city, Augsburg, and two French towns, La Baule and Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

Inverness College is the main campus for the University of the Highlands and Islands. With around 8,420 students, Inverness College hosts around a quarter of all the University of the Highlands and Islands’ students, and 30% of those studying to degree level.

In 2014, a survey by a property website described Inverness as the happiest place in Scotland and the second happiest in the UK. Inverness was again found to be the happiest place in Scotland by a new study conducted in 2015.


Inverness was one of the chief strongholds of the Picts, and in AD 569 was visited by St Columba with the intention of converting the Pictish king Brude, who is supposed to have resided in the vitrified fort on Craig Phadrig, on the western edge of the city. A 93 oz (2.9 kg) silver chain dating to 500–800 was found just to the south of Torvean in 1983. A church or a monk’s cell is thought to have been established by early Celtic monks on St Michael’s Mount, a mound close to the river, now the site of the Old High Church and graveyard. Inverness Castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III (Malcolm III) of Scotland after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Mac Bethad mac Findláich (Macbeth) had, according to much later tradition, murdered Máel Coluim’s father Donnchad (Duncan I), and which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east.

The strategic location of Inverness has led to many conflicts in the area. Reputedly there was a battle in the early 11th century between King Malcolm and Thorfinn of Norway at Blar Nam Feinne, to the southwest of the city.

Inverness had four traditional fairs, including Legavrik or “Leth-Gheamhradh”, meaning midwinter, and Faoilleach. William the Lion (d. 1214) granted Inverness four charters, by one of which it was created a royal burgh. Of the Dominican friary founded by Alexander III in 1233, only one pillar and a worn knight’s effigy survive in a secluded graveyard near the town centre.

Engraving of Inverness from A Tour in Scotland by Thomas Pennant, 1771.

Medieval Inverness suffered regular raids from the Western Isles, particularly by the MacDonald Lords of the Isles in the 15th century. In 1187 one Domhnall Bán (Donald Ban) led islanders in a battle at Torvean against men from Inverness Castle led by the governor’s son, Donnchadh Mac An Toisich (Duncan Mackintosh). Both leaders were killed in the battle, Donald Ban is said to have been buried in a large cairn near the river, close to where the silver chain was found. Local tradition says that the citizens fought off the Clan Donald in 1340 at the Battle of Blairnacoi on Drumderfit Hill, north of Inverness across the Beauly Firth. On his way to the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, Donald of Islay harried the city, and sixteen years later James I held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were arrested for defying the king’s command. Clan Munro defeated Clan Mackintosh in 1454 at the Battle of Clachnaharry just west of the city. Clan Donald and their allies stormed the castle during the Raid on Ross in 1491.

In 1562, during the progress undertaken to suppress Huntly’s insurrection, Mary, Queen of Scots, was denied admittance into Inverness Castle by the governor, who belonged to the earl’s faction, and whom she afterwards caused to be hanged. The Clan Munro and Clan Fraser of Lovat took the castle for her. The house in which she lived meanwhile stood in Bridge Street until the 1970s, when it was demolished to make way for the second Bridge Street development.

Beyond the then northern limits of the town, Oliver Cromwell built a citadel capable of accommodating 1,000 men, but with the exception of a portion of the ramparts it was demolished at the Restoration. The only surviving modern remnant is a clock tower.

Inverness played a role in the Jacobite rising of 1689. In early May, it was besieged by a contingent of Jacobites led by MacDonell of Keppoch. The town was actually rescued by Viscount Dundee, the overall Jacobite commander, when he arrived with the main Jacobite army, although he required Inverness to profess loyalty to King James VII.

In 1715 the Jacobites occupied the royal fortress as a barracks. In 1727 the government built the first Fort George here, but in 1746 it surrendered to the Jacobites and they blew it up. Culloden Moor lies nearby, and was the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which ended the Jacobite rising of 1745–46.

The Rose Street drill hall was completed in around 1908.

On 7 September 1921, the first British Cabinet meeting to be held outside London took place in the Town House, when David Lloyd George, on holiday in Gairloch, called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Ireland. The Inverness Formula composed at this meeting was the basis of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

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Famous Scots. Henry Bell. Scottish Engineer.

Henry Bell (7 April 1767 – 14 March 1830) was a Scottish engineer known for introducing the first successful passenger steamboat service in Europe.

Early career

Bell was born at Torphichen, near Bathgate, West Lothian in 1767 and pioneered the development of the steamship. He was the fifth son of Patrick Bell and Margaret Easton, themselves members of a family well known at the time as millwrights, builders and engineers. Their work included the design and construction of harbours, bridges, etc., in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom. Henry Bell was educated at the local parish school and was apprenticed to a stonemason in 1780. Three years later, he was apprenticed to his uncle, a millwright. He later learned ship modelling in Borrowstounness and in 1787, pursued his interest in ship mechanics in Bell’s Hill with the engineer Mr James Inglis. This was followed by several years in London.

He returned to Scotland around 1790, and moved to Glasgow, where he worked as a house-carpenter. His ambition was to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and become a civil engineer, and to this end, he joined the Glasgow corporation of wrights on 20 October 1797. He was unsuccessful, apparently due to either lack of money, or lack of application or skill on his part. According to one contemporary:

“Bell had many of the features of the enthusiastic projector; never calculated means to ends, or looked much farther than the first stages or movements of any scheme. His mind was a chaos of extraordinary projects, the most of which, from his want of accurate scientific calculation, he never could carry into practice. Owing to an imperfection in even his mechanical skill, he scarcely ever made one part of a model suit the rest, so that many designs, after a great deal of pains and expense, were successively abandoned. He was, in short, the hero of a thousand blunders and one success.”

Interest in steam power for shipping

The idea of propelling vessels by means of steam early took possession of his mind. “In 1800 (he writes) I applied to Lord Melville, on purpose to show his lordship and the other members of the Admiralty, the practicability and great utility of applying steam to the propelling of vessels against winds and tides, and every obstruction on rivers and seas, where there was depth of water.” Disappointed in this application, he repeated the attempt in 1803, with the same result, notwithstanding the emphatic declaration of the celebrated Lord Nelson, who, addressing their lord-ships on the occasion, said, “My Lords, if you do not adopt Mr Bell’s scheme, other nations will, and in the end vex every vein of this empire. It will succeed (he added), and you should encourage Mr Bell.” Having obtained no support in this country, Bell forwarded copies of the prospectus of his scheme to the different nations of Europe, and to the United States of America. “The Americans,” he writes, “were the first who put my plan into practice, and were quickly followed by other nations.” The various attempts which preceded that of Bell are briefly noticed in the “Fifth Report of the Select committee of the House of Commons on Steam-Boats, June, 1822, Sir Henry Parnell, chairman.” Mentioning the following as experimenters, namely, Mr Jonathan Hulls, in 1736; the Duke of Bridgewater, on the Manchester and Runcorn canal; Mr Miller of Dalswinton; the Marquis de Jouffroy (a French nobleman), in 1781; Lord Stanhope, in 1795; and Mr Symington and Mr Taylor, on the Forth and Clyde Canal, in 1801-2; the Report proceeds—”These ingenious men made valuable experiments, and tested well the mighty power of steam. Still no practical uses resulted from any of these attempts. It was not till the year 1807 when the Americans began to use steamboats on their rivers, that their safety and utility were first proved. But the merit of constructing these boats is due to natives of Great Britain. Mr Henry Bell of Glasgow gave the first model of them to the late Mr Fulton of America and corresponded regularly with Fulton on the subject. Mr Bell continued to turn his talents to the improving of steam apparatus, and its application to various manufactures about Glasgow; and in 1811, constructed the Comet steam-boat.”

In 1808, Bell moved to the modern town of Helensburgh, on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde, where his wife undertook the superintendence of the public baths, and at the same time kept the principal inn, whilst he continued to prosecute his favourite scheme, without much regard to the ordinary affairs of the world. In 1809 Henry Bell was elected as the first Provost of Helensburgh.

In 1812 he and John Robertson built the steam-boat the PS Comet, of 30 tons burthen, with an engine of three horsepower. The Comet, named after a great comet which had been visible for several months in 1811–12, was built by Messrs John Wood and Co., at Port Glasgow which lies 3 miles to the east of Greenock, as adjacent towns on the south bank of the River Clyde as it widens into the Firth of Clyde. The Comet made a delivery voyage from Port Glasgow 21 miles upriver to the Broomielaw, Glasgow, then sailed from Glasgow the 24 miles down to Greenock, making five miles an hour against a head-wind. (some sources give a date of 18 January 1812 for a trial trip, McCrorie gives 6 August 1812 for the delivery, with the historic trip a day or so later.) In August Bell advertised a passenger service on the Comet between Glasgow, Greenock and Helensburgh three times a week, returning on alternate days, “to ply upon the River Clyde from Glasgow, to sail by the power of air, wind, and steam.”

Bell briefly tried a service on the Firth of Forth. Then he had the Comet lengthened and re-engined and from September 1819 ran a service to Oban and Fort William (via the Crinan Canal) a trip which took four days, but on 13 December 1820 the Comet was shipwrecked in strong currents at Craignish Point, near Oban. Bell built another vessel, Comet II, but, on 21 October 1825, she collided with the steamer Ayr off Kempock Point, Gourock. Comet II sank very quickly, killing 62 of the 80 passengers on board. After the loss of his second ship, Bell abandoned his work on steam navigation.

Later life

Bell lived to see his invention universally adopted. The Clyde, which first enjoyed the advantages of steam navigation, became the principal seat of this description of ship-building. Bell reaped no personal advantage from the widespread adoption of steam-powered ships and spent many of his later years in abject poverty.

Touched by his condition, the late Dr Cleland, and a number of other benevolent individuals, commenced a subscription on his behalf, by which a considerable sum was raised. The trustees on the river Clyde granted him an annuity of £100, which was continued to his widow. This was but a becoming acknowledgement of the value of his great invention on the part of the trustees of a river whose annual revenue was greatly increased by it.


Bell died at Helensburgh in 1830, aged 62. He was interred in the Rhu churchyard. An obelisk to his memory was erected on the rock of Dunglass, a promontory on the Clyde, about 2½ miles above Dumbarton. There is a memorial stone and obelisk on the seafront at Helensburgh.

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My Poetry. The Bus Journey!

Boarding the bus you see lots of faces
tired, and ashen Grey
parents with kids being dragged to school
Starting a brand-new day.
Tossed around on a bumpy ride
shattered before you tackle a new day
some faces angry, fearful, desperate
Amidst the drunken foray.
No one getting off, the bus gets full
people are standing in the aisles
looking around on this tired old bus
Searching for anonymous smiles.
On it goes as well as it can
speed is never an issue
chugging along the bumpy roads
As a boy sneezes into his tissue.
Heads bobbing up and down 
trying to grab a short snooze
some peoples head banging off the window
while some try to shake off the booze.
Humans plugged into various sounds
no one willing to communicate between stops
Alone in a World of their technology
Umbrellas and all kind of props.
The journey progresses slowly
people get off en masse
no matter how much stature you have
Everyone is equal in class.
Pensioners board
the bus is full
you give up your seat
That's the rule!
On it goes we are getting there 
the end is almost near
you can rely on public transport it seems
Well yes, except not here.
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Infamous Scots.Maggie wall’s Memorial.

On the north side of the B8062 a little under a mile west of Dunning, a gap in the stone wall and some steps give access to one of Scotland’s spookier monuments. This is the memorial to Maggie Wall, who, it says, was burned here in 1657 as a witch.

It’s a pretty imposing monument. It stands nearly 20ft high and is made of large stones held together by hefty iron staples. As the photographs show, it comprises a square tapering base on which is placed a stone pillar, and the whole thing is topped off by a stone cross.

Witch-hunting in Scotland (and more widely across Europe) began in the mid-1500s, but it received a boost here when King James VI took a personal interest and published a book on the subject. During the period between 1563 and 1736 not far short of 4,000 people, mainly women, were tried for witchcraft in Scotland, and an unknown number, perhaps two-thirds of those accused, were executed as witches. It’s easy to leap to the conclusion that Maggie Wall was one of them. (Continues below image…)

Viewed from Across the Road
maggie walls.

Or perhaps not… The odd thing is that no-one has ever been able to find out anything about Maggie Wall, and there are a number of issues about the monument itself which are very mysterious.

Although detailed records were kept of many witch trials, nothing has ever turned up mentioning Maggie Wall. Records show that six alleged witches were executed near Dunning in 1663, and that an alleged warlock, Johnnie Gothrie, was tried here in 1657. But of the elusive Maggie Wall, nothing at all is known.

Then you have to ask who built such an imposing monument here, and also when, and why. One school of thought is that it was erected not long after the event it commemorates by the local landowner, Lord Rollo. Others feel that the way the stones are fixed together suggests the monument was erected in the early 1800s, over a century and a half later. It’s also been suggested that there are echoes in the monument of the storyline of Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Ivanhoe”, in which the hero saves Rebecca after she is accused of being a witch. The novel was first published in 1820, so if there is a link, then the monument must have been erected after that date. The truth is that no-one knows, and no-one is ever likely to.

Whatever the timing of the monument’s erection, and the reasons for it, the local landowner must at least have given permission for its erection. Building it would have taken some effort and cost. Two further mysteries surrounding the memorial have a continuing resonance. The painted lettering is said to be reapplied periodically to ensure it remains fresh and legible. No-one seems to know who does the repainting. And the significance, if any, of a number of children’s toys and other objects wedged in place on the memorial is also unclear.

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Scottish Architecture. Aberdour Castle.

Aberdour Castle lies close to Aberdour’s railway station. It is a building that over a five hundred year period slowly moved from west to east with the successive building of new stages of accommodation more suited to the needs and aspirations of the owners of the day.

The castle started life some time before the year 1200 as a two story tower house built by the de Mortimer family. The evidence for this comes in part from a dispute in 1180 between William de Mortimer and the Priory of Inchcolm about filling a vacancy for chaplain in the neighbouring church, now known as St Fillan’s.

The remains of the original tower house can still be seen within the complex of ruins at the west end of the castle, though parts collapsed (and still lie where they fell) in 1844 and 1919. What is left of the original tower house is thought to be one of the oldest masonry castles still standing in Scotland. (Continues below image…)


The first expansion of the castle took place in the fifteenth century, by which time it had come into the ownership of the Douglas family, the Earls of Morton. This increased the size of the tower house, and built a range of other buildings around a defended service courtyard. Remnants of the bakehouse and brewhouse can still be seen. Some of the outer defences from this time were lost (together with the original entrance to the castle) when the railway was built along the north side of the site in 1890.

The first major move east took place under James Douglas, Earl of Morton, who was Regent of Scotland from 1572 to 1578. In August 1576, Aberdour’s new central range (as it is known today) hosted a meeting of the Privy Council, who could at the same time have admired Morton’s brand new terraced gardens, which are now being restored to their former glory.

Morton was tried and executed in 1581 for his alleged involvement in the murder of Lord Darnley, husband to Mary Queen of Scots thirteen years earlier. Ownership of the castle – and title – passed to his nephew, and so stayed with the Douglas family.

The central range was built on top of earlier buildings associated with the tower house, and marked the transformation of Aberdour from a primarily defensive structure into a primarily domestic one. It had three storeys and was linked to the accommodation in the tower house, which continued in use.

The final move east came in the 1630s. The Seventh Earl of Morton, who was at the time the Lord Treasurer of Scotland, built what is now called the east range to provide more modern family accommodation. This comprised an L-shaped extension that today is the only complete part of the building, housing the gallery on the upper floor and the tea shop and stable on the ground floor.

Outside the castle are extensive gardens. To the east is the walled garden whose outer wall in part encloses nearby St Fillan’s Church.

To the south are the terraced gardens. These were only rediscovered in the 1970s and are now being fully restored. They are formed from four L-shaped levels descending in walled steps towards the sea. At their lower end lies the site of an orchard created in 1690.

At the far end of the upper terrace of the garden is the spectacular beehive-shaped dovecot built at the end of the sixteenth century. This still contains over 600 stone nesting boxes. The purpose of the dovecot was to provide the household with a reliable supply of meat. It seems likely that rabbits were farmed near the dovecot for the same purpose.

Aberdour Castle’s demise started when it caught fire, probably in the 1680s. Ambitious plans for full repairs and a major expansion to the north into the inner courtyard were shelved. Instead only the east range was restored by 1703, leaving the central and west ranges in ruins. Rather than extend again or remove the ruins, the family decided to buy the neighbouring Aberdour House, and by 1725 they had effectively abandoned what was left of Aberdour Castle and moved into Aberdour House.

The east range saw a number of uses including as barracks and a school over the following 200 years, and in 1924 Aberdour Castle passed into the care of the state as an ancient monument. It is now cared for by Historic Environment Scotland.

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Famous Scots. Robert Louis Stevenson.

Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist and travel writer, most noted for Treasure IslandKidnappedStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Born and educated in Edinburgh, Stevenson suffered from serious bronchial trouble for much of his life, but continued to write prolifically and travel widely in defiance of his poor health. As a young man, he mixed in London literary circles, receiving encouragement from Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, Leslie Stephen and W. E. Henley, the last of whom may have provided the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island. In 1890, he settled in Samoa, where he died in 1894.

A celebrity in his lifetime, Stevenson’s critical reputation has fluctuated since his death, though today his works are held in general acclaim. He is currently ranked as the 26th most translated author in the world.

Childhood and youth

Stevenson was born at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland on 13 November 1850 to Thomas Stevenson (1818–1887), a leading lighthouse engineer, and his wife Margaret Isabella (born Balfour, 1829–1897). He was christened Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson.At about age 18, he changed the spelling of “Lewis” to “Louis”, and he dropped “Balfour” in 1873. Lighthouse design was the family’s profession; Thomas’s father (Robert’s grandfather) was civil engineer Robert Stevenson, and Thomas’s brothers (Robert’s uncles) Alan and David were in the same field. Thomas’s maternal grandfather Thomas Smith had been in the same profession. However, Robert’s mother’s family were gentry, tracing their lineage back to Alexander Balfour who had held the lands of Inchyra in Fife in the fifteenth century. His mother’s father Lewis Balfour (1777–1860) was a minister of the Church of Scotland at nearby Colinton, and her siblings included physician George William Balfour and marine engineer James Balfour. Stevenson spent the greater part of his boyhood holidays in his maternal grandfather’s house. “Now I often wonder what I inherited from this old minister,” Stevenson wrote. “I must suppose, indeed, that he was fond of preaching sermons, and so am I, though I never heard it maintained that either of us loved to hear them.”

Lewis Balfour and his daughter both had weak chests, so they often needed to stay in warmer climates for their health. Stevenson inherited a tendency to coughs and fevers, exacerbated when the family moved to a damp, chilly house at 1 Inverleith Terrace in 1851.  The family moved again to the sunnier 17 Heriot Row when Stevenson was six years old, but the tendency to extreme sickness in winter remained with him until he was 11. Illness was a recurrent feature of his adult life and left him extraordinarily thin.  Contemporaneous views were that he had tuberculosis, but more recent views are that it was bronchiectasis  or even sarcoidosis.

Stevenson’s parents were both devout Presbyterians, but the household was not strict in its adherence to Calvinist principles. His nurse Alison Cunningham (known as Cummy) was more fervently religious. Her mix of Calvinism and folk beliefs were an early source of nightmares for the child, and he showed a precocious concern for religion.  But she also cared for him tenderly in illness, reading to him from John Bunyan and the Bible as he lay sick in bed and telling tales of the Covenanters. Stevenson recalled this time of sickness in “The Land of Counterpane” in A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885), dedicating the book to his nurse.

Stevenson was an only child, both strange-looking and eccentric, and he found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at age 6, a problem repeated at age 11 when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy; but he mixed well in lively games with his cousins in summer holidays at Colinton. His frequent illnesses often kept him away from his first school, so he was taught for long stretches by private tutors. He was a late reader, learning at age 7 or 8, but even before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse, and he compulsively wrote stories throughout his childhood. His father was proud of this interest; he had also written stories in his spare time until his own father found them and told him to “give up such nonsense and mind your business.” He paid for the printing of Robert’s first publication at 16, entitled The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666. It was an account of the Covenanters’ rebellion which was published in 1866, the 200th anniversary of the event.


In September 1857, Stevenson went to Mr Henderson’s School in India Street, Edinburgh, but because of poor health stayed only a few weeks and did not return until October 1859. During his many absences, he was taught by private tutors. In October 1861, he went to Edinburgh Academy, an independent school for boys, and stayed there sporadically for about fifteen months. In the autumn of 1863, he spent one term at an English boarding school at Spring Grove in Isleworth in Middlesex (now an urban area of West London). In October 1864, following an improvement to his health, he was sent to Robert Thomson’s private school in Frederick Street, Edinburgh, where he remained until he went to university. In November 1867, Stevenson entered the University of Edinburgh to study engineering. He showed from the start no enthusiasm for his studies and devoted much energy to avoiding lectures. This time was more important for the friendships he made with other students in the Speculative Society (an exclusive debating club), particularly with Charles Baxter, who would become Stevenson’s financial agent, and with a professor, Fleeming Jenkin, whose house staged amateur drama in which Stevenson took part, and whose biography he would later write. Perhaps most important at this point in his life was a cousin, Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson (known as “Bob”), a lively and light-hearted young man who, instead of the family profession, had chosen to study art. Each year during vacations, Stevenson travelled to inspect the family’s engineering works—to Anstruther and Wick in 1868, with his father on his official tour of Orkney and Shetland islands lighthouses in 1869, and for three weeks to the island of Erraid in 1870. He enjoyed the travels more for the material they gave for his writing than for any engineering interest. The voyage with his father pleased him because a similar journey of Walter Scott with Robert Stevenson had provided the inspiration for Scott’s 1822 novel The Pirate. In April 1871, Stevenson notified his father of his decision to pursue a life of letters. Though the elder Stevenson was naturally disappointed, the surprise cannot have been great, and Stevenson’s mother reported that he was “wonderfully resigned” to his son’s choice. To provide some security, it was agreed that Stevenson should read Law (again at Edinburgh University) and be called to the Scottish bar. In his 1887 poetry collection Underwoods, Stevenson muses on his having turned from the family profession:

Say not of me that weakly I declined
The labours of my sires, and fled the sea,
The towers we founded and the lamps we lit,
To play at home with paper like a child.
But rather say: In the afternoon of time
A strenuous family dusted from its hands
The sand of granite, and beholding far
Along the sounding coast its pyramids
And tall memorials catch the dying sun,
Smiled well content, and to this childish task
Around the fire addressed its evening hours.

In other respects too, Stevenson was moving away from his upbringing. His dress became more Bohemian; he already wore his hair long, but he now took to wearing a velveteen jacket and rarely attended parties in conventional evening dress. Within the limits of a strict allowance, he visited cheap pubs and brothels. More importantly, he had come to reject Christianity and declared himself an atheist. In January 1873, his father came across the constitution of the LJR (Liberty, Justice, Reverence) Club, of which Stevenson and his cousin Bob were members, which began: “Disregard everything our parents have taught us”. Questioning his son about his beliefs, he discovered the truth, leading to a long period of dissension with both parents:

What a damned curse I am to my parents! As my father said, “You have rendered my whole life a failure”. As my mother said, “This is the heaviest affliction that has ever befallen me”. O Lord, what a pleasant thing it is to have damned the happiness of (probably) the only two people who care a damn about you in the world.

Early writing and travels

Stevenson, c. 1877

Stevenson was visiting a cousin in England in late 1873 when he met two people who became very important to him: Sidney Colvin and Fanny (Frances Jane) Sitwell. Sitwell was a 34-year-old woman with a son, who was separated from her husband. She attracted the devotion of many who met her, including Colvin, who married her in 1901. Stevenson was also drawn to her, and they kept up a warm correspondence over several years in which he wavered between the role of a suitor and a son (he addressed her as “Madonna”). Colvin became Stevenson’s literary adviser and was the first editor of his letters after his death. He placed Stevenson’s first paid contribution in The Portfolio, an essay entitled “Roads”.

Stevenson was soon active in London literary life, becoming acquainted with many of the writers of the time, including Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, and Leslie Stephen, the editor of the Cornhill Magazine who took an interest in Stevenson’s work. Stephen took Stevenson to visit a patient at the Edinburgh Infirmary named William Ernest Henley, an energetic and talkative man with a wooden leg. Henley became a close friend and occasional literary collaborator, until a quarrel broke up the friendship in 1888, and he is often considered to be the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.


Stevenson was sent to Menton on the French Riviera in November 1873 to recuperate after his health failed. He returned in better health in April 1874 and settled down to his studies, but he returned to France several times after that. He made long and frequent trips to the neighborhood of the Forest of Fontainebleau, staying at Barbizon, Grez-sur-Loing, and Nemours and becoming a member of the artists’ colonies there. He also traveled to Paris to visit galleries and the theatres. He qualified for the Scottish bar in July 1875, and his father added a brass plate to the Heriot Row house reading “R.L. Stevenson, Advocate”. His law studies did influence his books, but he never practised law; all his energies were spent in travel and writing. One of his journeys was a canoe voyage in Belgium and France with Sir Walter Simpson, a friend from the Speculative Society, a frequent travel companion, and the author of The Art of Golf (1887). This trip was the basis of his first travel book An Inland Voyage (1878).


Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, c. 1876

The canoe voyage with Simpson brought Stevenson to Grez in September 1876 where he met Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne (1840–1914), born in Indianapolis. She had married at age 17 and moved to Nevada to rejoin husband Samuel after his participation in the American Civil War. Their children were Isobel (or “Belle”), Lloyd, and Hervey (who died in 1875). But anger over her husband’s infidelities led to a number of separations. In 1875, she had taken her children to France where she and Isobel studied art.

Stevenson returned to Britain shortly after this first meeting, but Fanny apparently remained in his thoughts, and he wrote the essay “On falling in love” for the Cornhill Magazine. They met again early in 1877 and became lovers. Stevenson spent much of the following year with her and her children in France. In August 1878, she returned to San Francisco and Stevenson remained in Europe, making the walking trip that formed the basis for Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1879). But he set off to join her in August 1879, against the advice of his friends and without notifying his parents. He took second-class passage on the steamship Devonia, in part to save money but also to learn how others travelled and to increase the adventure of the journey. He then traveled overland by train from New York City to California. He later wrote about the experience in The Amateur Emigrant. It was good experience for his writing, but it broke his health.

French Hotel (now “Stevenson House”), Monterey, California where he stayed in 1879

He was near death when he arrived in Monterey, California, where some local ranchers nursed him back to health. He stayed for a time at the French Hotel located at 530 Houston Street, now a museum dedicated to his memory called the “Stevenson House”. While there, he often dined “on the cuff,” as he said, at a nearby restaurant run by Frenchman Jules Simoneau, which stood at what is now Simoneau Plaza; several years later, he sent Simoneau an inscribed copy of his novel Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), writing that it would be a stranger case still if Robert Louis Stevenson ever forgot Jules Simoneau. While in Monterey, he wrote an evocative article about “the Old Pacific Capital” of Monterey.

By December 1879, Stevenson had recovered his health enough to continue to San Francisco where he struggled “all alone on forty-five cents a day, and sometimes less, with quantities of hard work and many heavy thoughts,” in an effort to support himself through his writing. But by the end of the winter, his health was broken again and he found himself at death’s door. Fanny was now divorced and recovered from her own illness, and she came to his bedside and nursed him to recovery. “After a while,” he wrote, “my spirit got up again in a divine frenzy, and has since kicked and spurred my vile body forward with great emphasis and success.” When his father heard of his condition, he cabled him money to help him through this period.

Fanny and Robert were married in May 1880, although he said that he was “a mere complication of cough and bones, much fitter for an emblem of mortality than a bridegroom.”He travelled with his new wife and her son Lloyd north of San Francisco to Napa Valley and spent a summer honeymoon at an abandoned mining camp on Mount Saint Helena (today designated Robert Louis Stevenson State Park). He wrote about this experience in The Silverado Squatters. He met Charles Warren Stoddard, co-editor of the Overland Monthly and author of South Sea Idylls, who urged Stevenson to travel to the South Pacific, an idea which returned to him many years later. In August 1880, he sailed with Fanny and Lloyd from New York to Britain and found his parents and his friend Sidney Colvin on the wharf at Liverpool, happy to see him return home. Gradually, his wife was able to patch up differences between father and son and make herself a part of the family through her charm and wit.

Attempted settlement in Europe and the US

Stevenson’s “Cure Cottage” in Saranac Lake, New York

Stevenson searched in vain between 1880 and 1887 for a residence suitable to his health. He spent his summers at various places in Scotland and England, including Westbourne, Dorset, a residential area in Bournemouth. It was during his time in Bournemouth that he wrote the story Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, naming the character Mr. Poole after the town of Poole which is situated next to Bournemouth. In Westbourne, he named his house Skerryvore after the tallest lighthouse in Scotland, which his uncle Alan had built (1838–44). In the wintertime, Stevenson travelled to France and lived at Davos Platz and the Chalet de Solitude at Hyères, where he was very happy for a time. “I have so many things to make life sweet for me,” he wrote, “it seems a pity I cannot have that other one thing—health. But though you will be angry to hear it, I believe, for myself at least, what is is best.” In spite of his ill health, he produced the bulk of his best-known work during these years. Treasure Island was published under the pseudonym “Captain George North” and became his first widely popular book; he wrote it during this time, along with KidnappedStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (which established his wider reputation), The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two RosesA Child’s Garden of Verses, and Underwoods. He gave a copy of Kidnapped to his friend and frequent Skerryvore visitor Henry James.

His father died in 1887 and Stevenson felt free to follow the advice of his physician to try a complete change of climate, so he headed for Colorado with his mother and family. But after landing in New York, they decided to spend the winter in the Adirondacks at a cure cottage now known as Stevenson Cottage at Saranac Lake, New York. During the intensely cold winter, Stevenson wrote some of his best essays, including Pulvis et Umbra. He also began The Master of Ballantrae and lightheartedly planned a cruise to the southern Pacific Ocean for the following summer.


Stevenson believed in Conservatism for most of his life. His cousin and biographer Sir Graham Balfour said that “he probably throughout life would, if compelled to vote, have always supported the Conservative candidate.” In 1866, Stevenson voted for Benjamin Disraeli, future Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, over Thomas Carlyle for the Lord Rectorship of the University of Edinburgh. During his college years, he briefly identified himself as a “red-hot socialist”. He wrote at age 26: “I look back to the time when I was a Socialist with something like regret…. Now I know that in thus turning Conservative with years, I am going through the normal cycle of change and travelling in the common orbit of men’s opinions.”

Journey to the Pacific

In June 1888, Stevenson chartered the yacht Casco and set sail with his family from San Francisco. The vessel “plowed her path of snow across the empty deep, far from all track of commerce, far from any hand of help.”  The sea air and thrill of adventure for a time restored his health, and for nearly three years he wandered the eastern and central Pacific, stopping for extended stays at the Hawaiian Islands, where he became a good friend of King Kalākaua. He befriended the king’s niece Princess Victoria Kaiulani, who also had Scottish heritage. He spent time at the Gilbert Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, and the Samoan Islands. During this period, he completed The Master of Ballantrae, composed two ballads based on the legends of the islanders, and wrote The Bottle Imp. He preserved the experience of these years in his various letters and in his In the South Seas (which was published posthumously). He made a voyage in 1889 with Lloyd on the trading schooner Equator, visiting Butaritari, Mariki, Apaiang, and Abemama in the Gilbert Islands. They spent several months on Abemama with tyrant-chief Tem Binoka, whom Stevenson described in In the South Seas.

Stevenson left Sydney, Australia, on the Janet Nicoll in April 1890 for his third and final voyage among the South Seas islands. He intended to produce another book of travel writing to follow his earlier book In the South Seas, but it was his wife who eventually published her journal of their third voyage. (Fanny misnames the ship in her account The Cruise of the Janet Nichol.)  A fellow passenger was Jack Buckland, whose stories of life as an island trader became the inspiration for the character of Tommy Hadden in The Wrecker (1892), which Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne wrote together. Buckland visited the Stevensons at Vailima in 1894.

Last years

In 1890, Stevenson purchased a tract of about 400 acres (1.6 km²) in Upolu, an island in Samoa where he established himself on his estate in the village of Vailima after two aborted attempts to visit Scotland. He took the native name Tusitala (Samoan for “Teller of Tales”). His influence spread among the Samoans, who consulted him for advice, and he soon became involved in local politics. He was convinced that the European officials who had been appointed to rule the Samoans were incompetent, and he published A Footnote to History after many futile attempts to resolve the matter. This was such a stinging protest against existing conditions that it resulted in the recall of two officials, and Stevenson feared for a time that it would result in his own deportation. He wrote to Colvin, “I used to think meanly of the plumber; but how he shines beside the politician!”

He also found time to work at his writing, although he felt that “there was never any man had so many irons in the fire”.  He wrote The Beach of FalesaCatriona (titled David Balfour in the US),  The Ebb-Tide, and the Vailima Letters during this period.

Stevenson grew depressed and wondered if he had exhausted his creative vein, as he had been “overworked bitterly” and that the best he could write was “ditch-water”. He even feared that he might again become a helpless invalid. He rebelled against this idea: “I wish to die in my boots; no more Land of Counterpane for me. To be drowned, to be shot, to be thrown from a horse — ay, to be hanged, rather than pass again through that slow dissolution.” He then suddenly had a return of energy and he began work on Weir of Hermiston. “It’s so good that it frightens me,” he is reported to have exclaimed.  He felt that this was the best work he had done.

On 3 December 1894, Stevenson was talking to his wife and straining to open a bottle of wine when he suddenly exclaimed, “What’s that?”, asked his wife “does my face look strange?”, and collapsed. He died within a few hours, probably of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 44 years old. The Samoans insisted on surrounding his body with a watch-guard during the night and on bearing him on their shoulders to nearby Mount Vaea, where they buried him on a spot overlooking the sea on land donated by British Acting Vice Consul Thomas Trood.  Stevenson had always wanted his Requiem inscribed on his tomb:

 Under the wide and starry sky,
 Dig the grave and let me lie.
 Glad did I live and gladly die,
 And I laid me down with a will.
 This be the verse you grave for me:
 Here he lies where he longed to be;
 Home is the sailor, home from sea,
 And the hunter home from the hill.

Stevenson was loved by the Samoans, and his tombstone epigraph was translated to a Samoan song of grief.

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Infamous Scots. Ian Brady.

Hello folks… Please be advised that this post may contain sensitive Material and may upset some readers. I advise you to be careful if you decide to read this. I am posting this as a part of my “Infamous Scots” series.


The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England. The victims were five children—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—aged between 10 and 17, at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. Two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered there in 1987, more than twenty years after Brady and Hindley’s trial. Bennett’s body is also thought to be buried there, but despite repeated searches it remains undiscovered.

The pair were charged only in the deaths of Kilbride, Downey and Evans, and received life sentences. The investigation was reopened in 1985, after Brady was reported as having confessed to the murders of Reade and Bennett. After confessing to these additional murders, Brady and Hindley were taken separately to Saddleworth Moor to assist in the search for the graves.

Characterised by the press as “the most evil woman in Britain”, Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was diagnosed as a psychopath in 1985 and confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He made it clear that he never wished to be released, and repeatedly asked to be allowed to die. He died in 2017, at Ashworth, aged 79.

The murders were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, called a “concatenation of circumstances”.  The trial judge, Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson, described Brady and Hindley in his closing remarks as “two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity”. Their crimes were the subject of extensive worldwide media coverage.


Saddleworth Moor, viewed from Hollin Brown Knoll. The bodies of three of the victims were found in this area.

Pauline Reade

On 12 July 1963, Brady told Hindley that he wanted to commit the “perfect murder”. After work he instructed her to drive a borrowed van around while he followed on his motorcycle; when he spotted a likely victim he would flash his headlight.

Driving down Gorton Lane, Brady saw a young girl and signalled Hindley, who did not stop because she recognised the girl as an 8-year-old neighbour of her mother. Sometime after 7:30 pm, on Froxmer Street, Brady signalled Hindley to stop for 16-year-old Pauline Reade, a schoolmate of Myra’s sister Maureen on her way to a dance; Hindley offered Reade a lift. At various times Hindley gave conflicting statements about the extent to which she, versus Brady, was responsible for Reade being selected as their first victim, but said she felt that there would be less attention given to the disappearance of a teenager than to a missing 8-year-old.

Once Reade was in the van, Hindley asked her help in searching Saddleworth Moor for an expensive lost glove; Reade agreed and they drove there. When Brady arrived on his motorcycle, Hindley told Reade he would be helping in the search. Hindley later claimed that she waited in the van while Brady took Reade onto the moor. Brady returned alone after about 30 minutes, and took Hindley to the spot where Reade lay dying; Reade’s clothes were in disarray and she had been nearly decapitated by two cuts to the throat, including a four-inch incision across her voice box “inflicted with considerable force” and into which the collar of her coat and a throat chain had been pushed. When Hindley asked Brady whether he had raped Reade, Brady replied, “Of course I did.” Hindley stayed with Reade while Brady retrieved a spade he had hidden nearby on a previous visit, then returned to the van while Brady buried Reade. In Brady’s account, Hindley was not only present for the attack, but participated in the sexual assault.

John Kilbride

In the early evening of 23 November 1963, at a market in Ashton-under-Lyne, Brady and Hindley offered 12-year-old John Kilbride a lift home, saying his parents might worry that he was out so late; they also promised him a bottle of sherry. Once Kilbride was inside Hindley’s hired Ford Anglia car, Brady said they would have to make a detour to their home for the sherry. En route he suggested another detour, this time to search for a glove Hindley had lost on the moor. When they reached the moor Brady took Kilbride with him while Hindley waited in the car; Brady sexually assaulted Kilbride and tried to slit his throat with a six-inch serrated blade before strangling him with a shoelace or string.

Keith Bennett

Early in the evening of 16 June 1964, Hindley asked twelve-year-old Keith Bennett, who was on his way to his grandmother’s house in Longsight, Manchester, for help in loading some boxes into her Mini Pick-up, after which she said she would drive him home. Brady was in the back of the van. She drove to a lay-by on Saddleworth Moor and Brady went off with Bennett, supposedly looking for a lost glove. After about 30 minutes Brady returned alone, carrying a spade that he had hidden there earlier, and, in response to Hindley’s questions, said that he had sexually assaulted Bennett and strangled him with a piece of string.

Lesley Ann Downey

Brady and Hindley visited a fairground on 26 December 1964 and noticed that 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey was apparently alone. They approached her and deliberately dropped some shopping they were carrying, then asked her help in taking the packages to their car, and then to their home. At the house Downey was undressed, gagged, and forced to pose for photographs before being raped and killed, perhaps strangled with a piece of string. Hindley later maintained that she went to fill a bath for Downey and found her dead when she returned; Brady claimed that Hindley killed Downey. The following morning Brady and Hindley drove Downey’s body to Saddleworth Moor, and buried her‍—‌naked with her clothes at her feet‍—‌in a shallow grave.

Edward Evans

The empty plot where 16 Wardle Brook Avenue in Hattersley once stood. Manchester City Council decided in 1987 to demolish the house.

On the evening of 6 October 1965, Hindley drove Brady to Manchester Central railway station, where she waited outside in the car whilst he selected a victim. After a few minutes Brady reappeared in the company of 17-year-old Edward Evans, an apprentice engineer who lived in Ardwick, to whom he introduced Hindley as his sister. They drove to Brady and Hindley’s home at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, Hattersley, Cheshire, where they relaxed over a bottle of wine.

At some point Brady sent Hindley to fetch David Smith, the husband of Hindley’s younger sister Maureen. The Hindley family had not approved of Maureen’s marriage to Smith, who had several criminal convictions, including actual bodily harm and housebreaking, the first of which, wounding with intent, occurred when he was 11. Throughout the previous year Brady had been cultivating a friendship with Smith, who had become “in awe” of Brady, something that increasingly worried Hindley, as she felt it compromised their safety.

Hindley returned with Smith and told him to wait outside for her signal, a flashing light. When the signal came, Smith knocked on the door and was met by Brady, who asked if he had come for “the miniature wine bottles”,[18] and left him in the kitchen saying that he was going to collect the wine. Smith later told the police:

I waited about a minute or two then suddenly I heard a hell of a scream; it sounded like a woman, really high-pitched. Then the screams carried on, one after another really loud. Then I heard Myra shout, “Dave, help him,” very loud. When I ran in I just stood inside the living room and I saw a young lad. He was lying with his head and shoulders on the couch and his legs were on the floor. He was facing upwards. Ian was standing over him, facing him, with his legs on either side of the young lad’s legs. The lad was still screaming … Ian had a hatchet in his hand … he was holding it above his head and he hit the lad on the left side of his head with the hatchet. I heard the blow, it was a terrible hard blow, it sounded horrible.

Smith then watched Brady throttle Evans with a length of electrical cord.  Brady sprained his ankle in the struggle, and Evans’s body was too heavy for Smith to carry to the car on his own, so they wrapped it in plastic sheeting and put it in the spare bedroom.


Smith agreed to return the following morning with his baby’s pram, for use in transporting Evans’s body to the car before disposing of it on the moors. He arrived home around 3 am and asked his wife to make a cup of tea, which he drank before vomiting and telling her what he had witnessed. At 6:10 am, having waited for daylight and armed himself with a screwdriver and bread knife – in case Brady was planning to intercept him – Smith called police from a phone booth on the estate. He was picked up by a police car from the booth and taken to Hyde police station, where he told officers what he had witnessed in the night.

Superintendent Bob Talbot of the Stalybridge police division went to 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, accompanied by a detective sergeant. Wearing a bread deliveryman’s overall on top of his uniform, he asked Myra Hindley at the back door if her husband was home. When she denied that she had a husband or that a man was in the house, Talbot identified himself. Hindley led him into the living room, where Brady was lying on a divan, writing to his employer about his ankle injury. Talbot explained that he was investigating “an act of violence involving guns” that was reported to have taken place the previous evening.

Hindley denied there had been any violence, and allowed police to look around the house. When police asked for the key to the locked spare bedroom, Hindley said it was at her workplace; but after police offered to take her to retrieve it, Brady told her to hand it over. When police returned to the living room they arrested Brady on suspicion of murder. As Brady was getting dressed, he said “Eddie and I had a row and the situation got out of hand.”

Initial investigation

Though Hindley was not initially arrested, she demanded to go with Brady to the police station, taking her dog.  She refused to make any statement about Evans’s death beyond claiming it had been an accident, and was allowed to go home on the condition that she return the next day.  Over the next four days Hindley visited her employer and asked to be dismissed so that she would be eligible for unemployment benefits. On one of these occasions, Hindley found an envelope belonging to Brady which she burned in an ashtray; she claimed she did not open it but believed it contained plans for bank robberies. On 11 October, she too was arrested and taken into custody, being charged as an accessory to the murder of Edward Evans and was remanded at Risley.

Police searching the house at Wardle Brook Avenue found an old exercise book with the name “John Kilbride”, which made them suspect that Brady and Hindley had been involved in the disappearances of other youngsters. Brady told police that he and Evans had fought, but insisted that he and Smith had murdered Evans and that Hindley had “only done what she had been told”. Smith said that Brady had asked him to return anything incriminating, such as “dodgy books”, which Brady then packed into suitcases; he had no idea what else the suitcases contained or where they might be, though he mentioned that Brady “had a thing about railway stations”. A search of left-luggage offices turned up the suitcases at Manchester Central railway station on 15 October; the claim ticket was later found in Hindley’s prayer book.

Inside one of the cases were—among an assortment of costumes, notes, photographs and negatives—nine pornographic photographs taken of Lesley Ann Downey, naked and with a scarf tied across her mouth, and a 16-minute audiotape recording of a girl screaming and pleading for help.  Downey’s mother later confirmed that the recording, too, was of her daughter.

Officers making inquiries at neighbouring houses spoke to 12-year-old Pat Hodges, who had on several occasions been taken to Saddleworth Moor by Brady and Hindley, and was able to point out their favourite sites along the A635 road. Police immediately began to search the area, and on 16 October found an arm bone protruding from the peat, which was presumed at first to be Kilbride’s, but which the next day was identified as that of Lesley Ann Downey, whose body was still visually identifiable; her mother was able to identify the clothing which had also been buried in the grave.

In this photograph taken by Brady in November 1963, Hindley crouches over John Kilbride’s grave on Saddleworth Moor with her dog, Puppet.

Also among the photographs in the suitcase were a number of scenes of the moors. Smith had told police that Brady had boasted of “photographic proof” of multiple murders, and officers, struck by Brady’s decision to remove the apparently innocent landscapes from the house, appealed to locals for assistance finding locations to match the photographs. On 21 October they found the “badly decomposed” body of Kilbride, which had to be identified by clothing. That same day, already being held for the murder of Evans, Brady and Hindley appeared at Hyde Magistrates’ Court charged with Downey’s murder. Each was brought before the court separately and remanded into custody for a week. They made a two-minute appearance on 28 October, and were again remanded into custody.

The investigating officers suspected Brady and Hindley of murdering other missing children and teenagers who had disappeared from areas in and around Manchester over the previous few years, and the search for bodies continued after the discovery of Kilbride’s body, but with winter setting in it was called off in November.

Presented with the evidence of the tape recording, Brady admitted to taking the photographs of Downey, but insisted that she had been brought to Wardle Brook Avenue by two men who had subsequently taken her away again, alive. By 2 December 1965, Brady had been charged with the murders of Kilbride, Downey and Evans. Hindley had been charged with the murders of Downey and Evans, and being an accessory to the murder of Kilbride. At the committal hearing on 6 December, Brady was charged with the murders of Evans, Kilbride, and Downey, and Hindley with the murders of Evans and Downey, as well as with harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had killed Kilbride. The prosecution’s opening statement was held in camera rather than in open court, and the defence asked for a similar stipulation but was refused. The proceedings continued before three magistrates in Hyde over an 11-day period during December, at the end of which the pair were committed for trial at Chester Assizes.

Many of the photographs taken by Brady and Hindley on the moor featured Hindley’s dog Puppet, sometimes as a puppy. To help date the photos, detectives had a veterinary surgeon examine the dog to determine his age; the examination required a general anaesthetic, from which Puppet did not recover. Hindley was furious, and accused the police of murdering the dog  – one of the few occasions detectives witnessed any emotional response from her. Hindley wrote to her mother:

I feel as though my heart’s been torn to pieces. I don’t think anything could hurt me more than this has. The only consolation is that some moron might have got hold of Puppet and hurt him.


The fourteen-day trial, before Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson, began on 19 April 1966. The courtroom was fitted with security screens to protect Brady and Hindley, who were charged with murdering Evans, Downey and Kilbride. The Attorney General, Sir Elwyn Jones, led the prosecution, assisted by William Mars-Jones. Brady was defended by the Liberal Member of Parliament Emlyn Hooson QC, and Hindley was defended by Godfrey Heilpern QC recorder of Salford from 1964; both were experienced Queen’s Counsel. 

David Smith was the chief prosecution witness. Before the trial, the News of the World offered Smith £1,000 for the rights to his story; the American People magazine made a competing offer of £6,000 (equivalent to about £20,000 and £110,000 respectively in 2019). When Smith accepted the News of the World offer—its editors had promised additional future payments for syndication and serialization—he agreed to be paid £15 weekly until the trial, and £1,000 in a lump sum if Brady and Hindley were convicted.  During the trial, the judge and defence barristers repeatedly questioned Smith and his wife about the nature of the arrangement. At first, Smith refused to name the newspaper, risking contempt of court; when he eventually identified the News of the World, Jones, as Attorney-General, immediately promised an investigation. However, comparing Smith’s testimony with his initial statements to police, Atkinson—though describing the paper’s actions as “gross interference with the course of justice”—concluded it was not “substantially affected” by the financial incentive. Jones decided not to charge the News of the World on similar grounds.

Both entered pleas of not guilty; Brady testified for over eight hours, Hindley for six. Brady admitted to striking Evans with the axe, but claimed that someone else had killed Evans, pointing to the pathologist’s statement that Evans’s death had been “accelerated by strangulation”; Brady’s “calm, undisguised arrogance did not endear him to the jury [and] neither did his pedantry”, wrote Duncan Staff. Hindley denied any knowledge that the photographs of Saddleworth Moor found by police had been taken near the graves of their victims.

A 16-minute tape recording of Downey, on which the voices of Brady and Hindley were audible, was played in open court. Hindley admitted that her attitude towards Downey was “brusque and cruel”, but claimed that was only because she was afraid that someone might hear Downey screaming. Hindley claimed that when Downey was being undressed she herself was “downstairs”; when the pornographic photographs were taken she was “looking out the window”; and that when Downey was being strangled she “was running a bath”.

On 6 May, after having deliberated for a little over two hours, the jury found Brady guilty of all three murders, and Hindley guilty of the murders of Downey and Evans. As the death penalty for murder had been abolished while Brady and Hindley were held on remand, the judge passed the only sentence that the law allowed: life imprisonment. Brady was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences and Hindley was given two, plus a concurrent seven-year term for harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had murdered Kilbride. Brady was taken to Durham Prison and Hindley was sent to Holloway Prison.

In his closing remarks, Atkinson described the murders as “truly horrible” and the accused as “two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity”; he recommended they spend “a very long time” in prison before being considered for parole, but did not stipulate a tariff. He called Brady “wicked beyond belief” and said he saw no reasonable possibility of reform for him, though he did not think the same necessarily true of Hindley once “removed from [Brady’s] influence”. Throughout the trial Brady and Hindley “stuck rigidly to their strategy of lying”, and Hindley was later described as “a quiet, controlled, impassive witness who lied remorselessly”.

Later investigation

In 1985, Brady allegedly told Fred Harrison, a journalist working for The Sunday People, that he had killed Reade and Bennett, something the police already suspected as both lived near Brady and Hindley and had disappeared at about the same time as Kilbride and Downey. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) reopened the investigation, now to be headed by Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Topping, head of GMP’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Since Brady and Hindley’s arrests, newspapers had been keen to connect them to other missing children and teenagers from the area. One such victim was Stephen Jennings, a three-year-old West Yorkshire boy who was last seen alive in December 1962; his body was found buried in a field in 1988, but the following year his father William Jennings was found guilty of his murder. Jennifer Tighe, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from an Oldham children’s home in December 1964, was mentioned in the press some 40 years later but was confirmed by police to be alive. This followed claims in 2004 that Hindley had told another inmate that she and Brady had murdered a sixth victim, a teenage girl.

On 3 July 1985, DCS Topping visited Brady, then being held at Gartree Prison, Leicestershire, but found him “scornful of any suggestion that he had confessed to more murders”. Police nevertheless decided to resume their search of Saddleworth Moor, once more using the photographs taken by Brady and Hindley to help them identify possible burial sites. In November 1986, Bennett’s mother wrote to Hindley begging to know what had happened to her son, a letter that Hindley seemed to be “genuinely moved” by.  It ended:

I am a simple woman, I work in the kitchens of Christie’s Hospital. It has taken me five weeks labour to write this letter because it is so important to me that it is understood by you for what it is, a plea for help. Please, Miss Hindley, help me.

Police visited Hindley – then being held in Cookham Wood in Kent – a few days after she received the letter, and although she refused to admit any involvement in the killings, she agreed to help by looking at photographs and maps to try to identify spots she had visited with Brady. She showed particular interest in photos of the area around Hollin Brown Knoll and Shiny Brook, but said that it was impossible to be sure of the locations without visiting the moor. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd agreed with Topping that a visit would be worth risking despite security problems presented by threats against Hindley.  Writing in 1989, Topping said that he felt “quite cynical” about Hindley’s motivation in helping the police. Although Winnie Johnson’s letter may have played a part, he believed that Hindley, knowing of Brady’s “precarious” mental state, was concerned he might co-operate with the police and reap any available public-approval benefit.

On 16 December 1986, Hindley made the first of two visits to assist the police search of the moor. Police closed all roads onto the moor, which was patrolled by 200 officers‍—‌some armed. Hindley and her solicitor left Cookham Wood at 4:30 am, flew to the moor by helicopter from an airfield near Maidstone, and then were driven, and walked, around the area until 3:00 pm. She had difficulty connecting what she saw to her memories, and was apparently nervous of the helicopters flying overhead.  The press described the visit as a “fiasco”, a “publicity stunt”, and a “mindless waste of money”  but Topping defended it, saying “we needed a thorough systematic search of the moor … It would never have been possible to carry out such a search in private.”

On 19 December, David Smith, then 38, spent about four hours on the moor helping police identify additional areas to be searched. Topping continued to visit Hindley in prison, along with her solicitor Michael Fisher and her spiritual counsellor, Peter Timms, who had been a prison governor before becoming a Methodist minister.  On 10 February 1987 she formally confessed to involvement in all five murders, but this was not made public for more than a month. The tape recording of her statement was over 17 hours long; Topping described it as a “very well worked out performance in which, I believe, she told me just as much as she wanted me to know, and no more”. He added that he “was struck by the fact that [in Hindley’s telling] she was never there when the killings took place. She was in the car, over the brow of the hill, in the bathroom and even, in the case of the Evans murder, in the kitchen”; he felt he “had witnessed a great performance rather than a genuine confession”.

During the 1987 search for Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett, Hindley recalled seeing the rocks of Hollin Brown Knoll silhouetted against the night sky.

Police visited Brady in prison again and told him of Hindley’s confession, which at first he refused to believe. Once presented with some of the details that Hindley had provided of Reade’s abduction, Brady decided that he too was prepared to confess, but on one condition: that immediately afterwards he be given the means to commit suicide, a request with which it was impossible for the authorities to comply.

At about the same time, Winnie Johnson sent Hindley another letter, again pleading with her to assist the police in finding the body of her son Keith. In the letter, Johnson was sympathetic to Hindley over the criticism surrounding her first visit. Hindley, who had not replied to the first letter, responded by thanking Johnson for both letters, explaining that her decision not to reply to the first resulted from the negative publicity that surrounded it. She claimed that, had Johnson written to her 14 years earlier, she would have confessed and helped the police. She also paid tribute to Topping, and thanked Johnson for her sincerity. Hindley made her second visit to the moor in March 1987. This time, the level of security surrounding her visit was considerably higher. She stayed overnight in Manchester, at the flat of the police chief in charge of GMP training at Sedgley Park, Prestwich, and visited the moor twice. She confirmed to police that the two areas in which they were concentrating their search—Hollin Brown Knoll and Hoe Grain—were correct, although she was unable to locate either of the graves. She did, though, later remember that as Pauline Reade was being buried she had been sitting next to her on a patch of grass and could see the rocks of Hollin Brown Knoll silhouetted against the night sky.

In April 1987, news of Hindley’s confession became public. Amidst strong media interest Lord Longford pleaded for her release, writing that continuing her detention to satisfy “mob emotion” was not right. Fisher persuaded Hindley to release a public statement, which touched on her reasons for denying her guilt previously, her religious experiences in prison, and the letter from Johnson. She said that she saw no possibility of release, and also exonerated David Smith from any part in the murders other than that of Evans.

Map of Saddleworth Moor showing where three of the victims’ bodies were found, and the general area searched for the body of Keith Bennett

Over the next few months interest in the search waned, but Hindley’s clue had focused efforts on a specific area. On 1 July, after more than 100 days of searching, they found Reade’s body 3 feet (0.9 m) below the surface, 100 yards (90 m) from where Downey’s had been found. Brady had been co-operating with the police for some time, and when this news reached him he made a formal confession to Topping, and in a statement to the press said that he too would help police in their search. He was taken to the moor on 3 July but seemed to lose his bearings, blaming changes in the intervening years; the search was called off at 3:00 pm, by which time a large crowd of press and television reporters had gathered on the moor.

Hoe Grain leading to Shiny Brook, the area in which police believe Bennett’s body is buried

Topping refused to allow Brady a second visit to the moor  before police called off their search on 24 August. Brady was taken to the moor a second time on 8 December, and claimed to have located Bennett’s burial site, but the body was never found.

Soon after his first visit to the moor, Brady wrote a letter to a BBC reporter, giving some sketchy details of five additional deaths that he claimed to have been involved in: a man in the Piccadilly area of Manchester, another victim on Saddleworth Moor, two more in Scotland, and a woman whose body was allegedly dumped in a canal. Police, failing to discover any unsolved crimes matching the details that he supplied, decided that there was insufficient evidence to launch an official investigation. Hindley told Topping that she knew nothing of these killings.

Although Brady and Hindley had confessed to the murders of Reade and Bennett, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided that nothing would be gained by a further trial; as both were already serving life sentences no further punishment could be inflicted.

In 2003, the police launched Operation Maida, and again searched the moor for Bennett’s body, this time using sophisticated resources such as a US reconnaissance satellite which could detect soil disturbances. In mid-2009, the Greater Manchester Police said they had exhausted all avenues in the search for Bennett, that “only a major scientific breakthrough or fresh evidence would see the hunt for his body restart”;  and that any further participation by Brady would be via a “walk through the moors virtually” using 3D modelling, rather than a visit by him to the moor.  Donations from the public funded a search by volunteers from a Welsh search and rescue team in 2010.  In 2012, it was claimed that Brady may have given details of the location of Bennett’s body to a visitor; a woman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of preventing the burial of a body without lawful excuse, but a few months later the Crown Prosecution Service announced that there was insufficient evidence to press charges.  In 2017, the police asked a court to order that two locked briefcases owned by Brady be opened, arguing that they might contain clues to the location of Bennett’s body; the application was declined on the grounds that no prosecution was likely to result.

Brady’s and Hindley’s backgrounds

Ian Brady

Brady was born in Glasgow, Scotland as Ian Duncan Stewart on 2 January 1938 to Margaret “Peggy” Stewart, an unmarried tea room waitress.  The identity of Brady’s father has never been reliably ascertained, although his mother said he was a reporter working for a Glasgow newspaper, who died three months before Brady was born. Stewart had little support, and after a few months was forced to give her son into the care of Mary and John Sloan, a local couple with four children of their own. Brady took their name, and became known as Ian Sloan. His mother continued to visit him throughout his childhood. Various authors have stated that he tortured animals, although Brady objected to such accusations.  Aged nine, he visited Loch Lomond with his family, where he reportedly discovered an affinity for the outdoors, and a few months later the family moved to a new council house on an overspill estate at Pollok. He was accepted for Shawlands Academy, a school for above-average pupils.

At Shawlands his behaviour worsened; as a teenager he twice appeared before a juvenile court for housebreaking. He left the academy aged 15, and took a job as a tea boy at a Harland and Wolff shipyard in Govan. Nine months later, he began working as a butcher’s messenger boy. He had a girlfriend, Evelyn Grant, but their relationship ended when he threatened her with a flick knife after she visited a dance with another boy. He again appeared before the court, this time with nine charges against him,  and shortly before his 17th birthday he was placed on probation, on condition that he live with his mother.  By then, she had moved to Manchester and married an Irish fruit merchant named Patrick Brady; Patrick Brady got Ian a job as a fruit porter at Smithfield Market, and Ian took Patrick Brady’s surname.

Within a year of moving to Manchester, Brady was caught with a sack full of lead seals he had stolen and was trying to smuggle out of the market. He was sent to Strangeways for three months. As he was still under 18, he was sentenced to two years in a borstal for “training”. He was sent to Latchmere House in London, and then Hatfield borstal in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After being discovered drunk on alcohol he had brewed he was moved to the much tougher unit in Hull.  Released on 14 November 1957, Brady returned to Manchester, where he took a labouring job, which he hated, and was dismissed from another job in a brewery. Deciding to “better himself”, he obtained a set of instruction manuals on book-keeping from a local public library, with which he “astonished” his parents by studying alone in his room for hours.

In January 1959, Brady applied for and was offered a clerical job at Millwards, a wholesale chemical distribution company based in Gorton. He was regarded by his colleagues as a quiet, punctual, but short-tempered young man. He read books including Teach Yourself German and Mein Kampf, as well as works on Nazi atrocities. He rode a Tiger Cub motorcycle, which he used to visit the Pennines.

Myra Hindley

Hindley was born in Crumpsall on 23 July 1942  and raised in Gorton, then a working-class area of Manchester. Her parents, Nellie and Bob Hindley (the latter an alcoholic), beat her regularly when she was a young child. The family house was in a poor condition and Hindley was forced to sleep in a single bed next to her parents’ double. Their living situation deteriorated further when Hindley’s sister, Maureen, was born in August 1946, and about a year later Hindley, then 5, was sent to live with a grandmother nearby.

Hindley’s father had served with the Parachute Regiment and had been stationed in North Africa, Cyprus and Italy during the Second World War. He had been known in the army as a “hard man” and he expected his daughter to be equally tough; he taught her to fight and insisted that she “stick up for herself”. When Hindley was 8, a local boy scratched her cheeks, drawing blood. She burst into tears and ran to her father, who threatened to “leather” her if she did not retaliate; Hindley found the boy and knocked him down with a series of punches. As she wrote later, “at eight years old I’d scored my first victory”. Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, has written that Hindley’s “relationship with her father brutalised her … She was not only used to violence in the home but rewarded for it outside. When this happens at a young age it can distort a person’s reaction to such situations for life.”

One of Hindley’s closest friends was 13-year-old Michael Higgins, who lived nearby. In 1957, he invited her to go swimming with friends at a local disused reservoir, but Hindley instead went out with another friend; Higgins drowned in the reservoir. Hindley‍—‌a good swimmer‍—‌was deeply upset and blamed herself. She collected for a wreath, and his funeral at St Francis’s Monastery in Gorton Lane—where Hindley had been baptised a Catholic in 1942—had a lasting effect on her. Hindley’s mother had agreed to her father’s insistence that Hindley be baptised a Catholic, but only on the condition that she not be sent to a Catholic school; her mother believed that “all the monks taught was the catechism”.  Hindley was increasingly drawn to the Catholic Church after she started at Ryder Brow Secondary Modern, and began taking instruction for formal reception into the Church soon after Higgins’s funeral. She took the confirmation name of Veronica, and received her first communion in November 1958.

Hindley’s first job was as a junior clerk at a local electrical engineering firm. She ran errands, made tea, and typed, and was well liked enough that when she lost her first week’s wage packet the other girls took up a collection to replace it.  At 17 she became engaged after a short courtship, but called it off several months later after deciding the young man was immature and unable to provide her with the life she wanted. She took weekly judo lessons at a local school but found partners reluctant to train with her, as she was often slow to release her grip. She took a job at Bratby and Hinchliffe, an engineering company in Gorton, but was dismissed for absenteeism after six months.

As a couple

In January 1961, the 18-year-old Hindley joined Millwards as a typist. She soon became infatuated with Brady, despite learning that he had a criminal record.  She began a diary and, although she had dates with other men, some of the entries detail her fascination with Brady, to whom she eventually spoke for the first time on 27 July. Over the next few months she continued to make entries, but grew increasingly disillusioned with him, until 22 December when Brady asked her on a date to the cinema.  (Many sources state that the film was Judgment at Nuremberg but Hindley recalled it as King of Kings)  Their dates followed a regular pattern: a trip to the cinema, usually to watch an X-rated film, then back to Hindley’s house to drink German wine. Brady then gave her reading material, and the pair spent their work lunch breaks reading aloud to one another from accounts of Nazi atrocities. Hindley began to emulate an ideal of Aryan perfection, bleaching her hair blonde and applying thick crimson lipstick.  She expressed concern at some aspects of Brady’s character; in a letter to a childhood friend, she mentioned an incident where she had been drugged by Brady, but also wrote of her obsession with him. A few months later, she asked her friend to destroy the letter. In her 30,000-word plea for parole, written in 1978 and 1979 and submitted to Home Secretary Merlyn Rees, Hindley said:

Within months he [Brady] had convinced me that there was no God at all: he could have told me that the earth was flat, the moon was made of green cheese and the sun rose in the west, I would have believed him, such was his power of persuasion.

Hindley began to change her appearance further, wearing clothing considered risqué such as high boots, short skirts and leather jackets, and the two became less sociable to their colleagues. The couple were regulars at the library, borrowing books on philosophy, as well as crime and torture. They also read works by the Marquis de Sade, Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Although Hindley was not a qualified driver (she passed her test on 7 November 1963 after failing three times), she often hired a van, in which the couple planned bank robberies. Hindley befriended George Clitheroe, the President of the Cheadle Rifle Club, and on several occasions visited two local shooting ranges. Clitheroe, although puzzled by her interest, arranged for her to buy a .22 rifle from a gun merchant in Manchester. She also asked to join a pistol club, but she was a poor shot and allegedly often bad-tempered, so Clitheroe told her that she was unsuitable; she did though manage to purchase a Webley .45 and a Smith & Wesson .38 from other members of the club. Brady and Hindley’s plans for robbery came to nothing, but they became interested in photography. Brady already owned a Box Brownie, which he used to take photographs of Hindley and her dog, Puppet, but he upgraded to a more sophisticated model, and also purchased lights and darkroom equipment. The pair took photographs of each other that, for the time, would have been considered explicit. For Hindley, this demonstrated a marked change from her earlier, more shy and prudish nature.

As murderers

What they were doing was out of the scope of most people’s understanding, beyond the comprehension of the workaday neighbours who were more interested in how they were going to pay the gas bill or what might happen in the next episode of Coronation Street or Doctor Who. In 1960s Britain, people did not kidnap and murder children for fun. It was simply beyond the realms of most people’s comprehension, and this is why they managed to get away with it for so long.

Chris Cowley

Hindley claimed that Brady began to talk about “committing the perfect murder” in July 1963, and often spoke to her about Meyer Levin’s Compulsion, published as a novel in 1956 and adapted for the cinema in 1959. The story tells a fictionalised account of the Leopold and Loeb case, two young men from well-to-do families who attempt to commit the perfect murder of a 12-year-old boy, and escape the death penalty because of their age.

By June 1963, Brady had moved in with Hindley at her grandmother’s house in Bannock Street, and on 12 July 1963, the two murdered their first victim, Reade, who had attended school with Hindley’s younger sister, Maureen, and had also been in a short relationship with David Smith, a local boy with three criminal convictions for minor crimes. Police found no one who had seen Reade before her disappearance, and although the 15-year-old Smith was questioned by police, he was cleared of any involvement in her death. Their next victim, Kilbride, was killed on 23 November 1963. A huge search was undertaken, with over 700 statements taken, and 500 “missing” posters printed. Eight days after he failed to return home, 2,000 volunteers scoured waste ground and derelict buildings.

Hindley hired a vehicle a week after Kilbride went missing, and again on 21 December 1963, apparently to make sure the burial sites had not been disturbed. In February 1964, she bought a second-hand Austin Traveller, but soon after traded it for a Mini van. Bennett disappeared on 16 June 1964. His stepfather, Jimmy Johnson, became a suspect; in the two years following Bennett’s disappearance, Johnson was taken for questioning on four occasions. Detectives searched under the floorboards of the Johnsons’ house, and on discovering that the houses in the row were connected, extended the search to the entire street.

David and Maureen Smith around the time of the murders. David’s statement to the police led to Brady’s arrest.

Maureen Hindley married David Smith on 15 August 1964. The marriage was hastily arranged and performed at a register office. None of Hindley’s relatives attended; Myra did not approve of the marriage, and her mother was too embarrassed—Maureen was seven months pregnant. The newlyweds moved into Smith’s father’s house. The next day, Brady suggested that the four take a day-trip to Windermere. This was the first time Brady and Smith had met properly, and Brady was apparently impressed by Smith’s demeanour. The two talked about society, the distribution of wealth, and the possibility of robbing a bank. The young Smith was similarly impressed by Brady, who throughout the day had paid for his food and wine. The trip to the Lake District was the first of many outings. Hindley was apparently jealous of their relationship, but became closer to her sister.

In 1964, Hindley, her grandmother, and Brady were rehoused as part of the post-war slum clearances in Manchester, to 16 Wardle Brook Avenue in the new overspill estate of Hattersley. Brady and Hindley became friendly with Patricia Hodges, an 11-year-old girl who lived at 12 Wardle Brook Avenue. Hodges accompanied the two on their trips to Saddleworth Moor to collect peat, something that many householders on the new estate did to improve the soil in their gardens, which were full of clay and builder’s rubble. She remained unharmed; living only a few doors away, her disappearance would have been easily solved.

Early on Boxing Day 1964, Hindley left her grandmother at a relative’s house and refused to allow her back to Wardle Brook Avenue that night. On the same day, Downey disappeared from a funfair in Ancoats. Despite a huge search, she was not found. The following day, Hindley brought her grandmother back home. By February 1965, Patricia Hodges had stopped visiting 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, but David Smith was still a regular visitor. Brady gave Smith books to read, and the two discussed robbery and murder. On Hindley’s 23rd birthday, her sister and brother-in-law, who had until then been living with relatives, were rehoused in Underwood Court, a block of flats not far from Wardle Brook Avenue. The two couples began to see each other more regularly, but usually only on Brady’s terms.

During the 1990s, Hindley claimed that she took part in the killings only because Brady had drugged her, was blackmailing her with pornographic pictures he had taken of her, and had threatened to kill her younger sister, Maureen. In 2008 Hindley’s solicitor, Andrew McCooey, reported that she told him:

I ought to have been hanged. I deserved it. My crime was worse than Brady’s because I enticed the children and they would never have entered the car without my role … I have always regarded myself as worse than Brady.



Ashworth Hospital, where Brady was incarcerated from 1985

Following his conviction, Brady was moved to Durham Prison, where he asked to live in solitary confinement. He spent 19 years in mainstream prisons before being diagnosed as a psychopath in November 1985 and sent to the high-security Park Lane Hospital, now Ashworth Psychiatric Hospital, in Sefton; he made it clear that he never wanted to be released.

The trial judge recommended that his life sentence should mean life, and successive Home Secretaries agreed with that decision. In 1982, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Lane said of Brady: “this is the case if ever there is to be one when a man should stay in prison till he dies”. The death, in November 2007, of John Straffen, who had spent 55 years in prison for murdering three children meant that Brady became the longest-serving prisoner in England and Wales.

Although he refused to work with Ashworth’s psychiatrists, Brady occasionally corresponded with people outside the hospital‍—‌subject to prison authorities’ censorship‍—‌ including Lord Longford, writer Colin Wilson and various journalists.In one letter, written in 2005, he claimed that the murders were “merely an existential exercise of just over a year, which was concluded in December 1964”. By then, he claimed, he and Hindley had turned their attention to armed robbery, for which they had begun to prepare by acquiring guns and vehicles.

During several years of interactions with forensic psychologist Chris Cowley, including face-to-face meetings, Brady told him of an “aesthetic fascination [he had] with guns”, despite his never having used one to kill. He complained bitterly about conditions at Ashworth, which he hated. In 1999, his right wrist was broken in what he claimed was an “hour-long, unprovoked attack” by staff. Brady subsequently went on hunger strike, but while English law allows patients to refuse treatment, those being treated for mental disorders under the Mental Health Act 1983 have no such right if the treatment is for their mental disorder. He was therefore force-fed and transferred to another hospital for tests, after he fell ill. He recovered, and in March 2000 asked for a judicial review of the legality of the decision to force-feed him, but was refused permission.

Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition, whilst I have to fight simply to die. I have had enough. I want nothing, my objective is to die and release myself from this once and for all. So you see my death strike is rational and pragmatic. I’m only sorry I didn’t do it decades ago, and I’m eager to leave this cesspit in a coffin.

While at Ashworth, in 2001 Brady wrote The Gates of Janus, which was published by Feral House, an underground US publisher. The book, Brady’s analysis of serial murder and specific serial killers, sparked outrage when announced in Britain. According to Chris Cowley, Brady regretted Hindley’s imprisonment and the consequences of their actions, but not necessarily the crimes themselves. He saw no point in making any kind of public apology; instead, he “expresse[d] remorse through actions”. Twenty years of transcribing classical texts into Braille came to an end when the authorities confiscated his translation machine, for fear it might be used as a weapon. He once offered to donate one of his kidneys to “someone, anyone who needed one”, but was blocked from doing so. According to Colin Wilson, “it was because these attempts to express remorse were thrown back at him that he began to contemplate suicide”. In 2006 officials intercepted 50 paracetamol pills hidden inside a hollowed-out crime novel sent to him by a female friend.

The mother of the remaining undiscovered victim, Bennett, received a letter from Brady at the end of 2005 in which, she said, he claimed that he could take police to within 20 yards (18 m) of her son’s body but the authorities would not allow it. Brady did not refer directly to Keith by name and did not claim he could take investigators directly to the grave, but spoke of the “clarity” of his recollections.

In 2012, Brady applied to be returned to prison, reiterating his desire to starve himself to death. At a mental health tribunal in June the following year, Brady claimed that he suffered not from paranoid schizophrenia, as his doctors at Ashworth maintained, but a personality disorder. His application was rejected and the judge stated that Brady “continues to suffer from a mental disorder which is of a nature and degree which makes it appropriate for him to continue to receive medical treatment”.

After receiving end-of-life care, Brady died of restrictive pulmonary disease at Ashworth Hospital on 15 May 2017; the inquest found that he died of natural causes and that his hunger strike had not been a contributory factor. Brady had refused food and fluids for more than 48 hours on various occasions, causing him to be fitted with a nasogastric tube, although his inquest noted that his body mass index was not a cause for concern. He was cremated without ceremony, and his ashes disposed of at sea during the night.


Hindley lodged an unsuccessful appeal against her conviction immediately after the trial.  Brady and Hindley corresponded by letter until 1971, when she ended their relationship. The two remained in sporadic contact for several months, but Hindley had fallen in love with one of her prison warders, Patricia Cairns. A former assistant governor claimed that such relationships were not unusual in Holloway at that time, as “many of the officers were gay, and involved in relationships either with one another or with inmates”. Hindley successfully petitioned to have her status as a category A prisoner changed to category B, which enabled Governor Dorothy Wing to take her on a walk round Hampstead Heath, part of her unofficial policy of reintroducing her charges to the outside world when she felt they were ready. The excursion caused a furore in the national press and earned Wing an official rebuke from the then Home Secretary Robert Carr. With help from Cairns, and the outside contacts of another prisoner, Maxine Croft, Hindley planned a prison escape, but it was thwarted when impressions of the prison keys were intercepted by an off-duty policeman. Cairns was sentenced to six years in jail for her part in the plot.

Hindley was told that she should spend 25 years in prison before being considered for parole. The Lord Chief Justice agreed with that recommendation in 1982, but in January 1985 Home Secretary Leon Brittan increased her tariff to 30 years. By that time Hindley claimed to be a reformed Catholic. Downey’s mother was at the centre of a campaign to ensure that Hindley was never released from prison, and until her death in February 1999, she regularly gave television and newspaper interviews whenever Hindley’s release was rumoured. In February 1985, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told Brittan that his proposed minimum sentences of 30 years for Hindley and 40 years for Brady were too short, saying “I do not think that either of these prisoners should ever be released from custody. Their crime was the most hideous and cruel in modern times.”

In 1987, Hindley admitted that the plea for parole she had submitted to the Home Secretary eight years earlier was “on the whole … a pack of lies”, and to some reporters, her co-operation in the searches on Saddleworth Moor “appeared a cynical gesture aimed at ingratiating herself to the parole authorities”.Then Home Secretary David Waddington imposed a whole life tariff on Hindley in July 1990, after she confessed to having been more involved in the murders than she had admitted. Hindley was not informed of the decision until 1994 when a Law Lords ruling obliged the Prison Service to inform all life sentence prisoners of the minimum period they must serve in prison before being considered for parole. In 1996, the Parole Board recommended that Hindley be moved to an open prison. She rejected the idea and in early 1998 was moved to the medium-security Highpoint Prison; the House of Lords ruling left open the possibility of later freedom. Between December 1997 and March 2000, Hindley made three separate appeals against her life tariff, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but each was rejected by the courts.

When in 2002 another life sentence prisoner challenged the Home Secretary’s power to set minimum terms, Hindley and hundreds of others, whose tariffs had been increased by politicians, looked likely to be released.  Hindley’s release seemed imminent and plans were made by supporters for her to be given a new identity. Home Secretary David Blunkett ordered Greater Manchester Police to find new charges against her, to prevent her release from prison. The investigation was headed by Superintendent Tony Brett, and initially looked at charging Hindley with the murders of Reade and Bennett, but the advice given by government lawyers was that because of the DPP’s decision taken 15 years earlier, a new trial would probably be considered an abuse of process.

On 25 November 2002, the Law Lords agreed that judges, not politicians, should decide how long a criminal spends behind bars, and stripped the Home Secretary of the power to set minimum sentences. On 15 November 2002, aged 60, Hindley died from bronchial pneumonia at West Suffolk Hospital. She was a 40-a-day smoker who in 1999 had been diagnosed with angina and hospitalised after suffering a brain aneurysm. Camera crews “stood rank and file behind steel barriers” outside, but none of Hindley’s relatives were among the small congregation of eight to ten people who attended a short service at Cambridge crematorium. Such was the strength of feeling more than 35 years after the murders that a reported 20 local undertakers refused to handle her cremation. Four months later, her ashes were scattered by her ex-partner, Patricia Cairns, less than 10 miles (16 km) from Saddleworth Moor in Stalybridge Country Park. Fears were expressed that the news might result in visitors choosing to avoid the park, a local beauty spot, or even that the park might be vandalised.


Smith became “reviled by the people of Manchester” for financially profiting from the murders. During the trial, Maureen—eight months pregnant—was attacked in the lift of the building in which she and David lived. Their home was vandalised, they regularly received hate mail, and Maureen wrote that she could not let her children out of her sight when they were small.  After declining to prosecute the News of the World, Jones came under political pressure to impose new regulations on the press, but was reluctant to legislate on “chequebook journalism”. Instead, he accepted the offer of the Press Council to produce a “declaration of principle”, which was published in November 1966 and included rules forbidding criminal witnesses being paid or interviewed—but the News of the World promptly rejected the declaration and the Council had no power to enforce its provisions.

After stabbing another man during a fight, in an attack he claimed was triggered by the abuse he had suffered since the trial, Smith was sentenced to three years in prison in 1969. That same year his children were taken into the care of the local authority. Maureen moved from Underwood Court to a single-bedroom property and found work in a department store. Subjected to whispering campaigns and petitions to remove her from the estate where she lived, she received no support from her family—her mother had supported Myra during the trial. On his release from prison, Smith moved in with a 15-year-old girl who became his second wife and won custody of his three sons. Maureen managed to repair the relationship with her mother and moved into a council property in Gorton. She divorced Smith in 1973 and married a lorry driver, Bill Scott, with whom she had a daughter.

Maureen and her immediate family made regular visits to see Hindley, who reportedly adored her niece. In 1980, Maureen suffered a brain haemorrhage; Hindley was allowed to visit her in hospital but arrived an hour after her death. Sheila and Patrick Kilbride, who were by then divorced, attended Maureen’s funeral thinking that Hindley might be there; Patrick mistook Bill Scott’s daughter from a previous relationship for Hindley and tried to attack her. Shortly before her death at the age of 70, Sheila said: “If she [Hindley] ever comes out of jail I’ll kill her”. It was a threat repeated by her son Danny, and Ann West.

In 1972, Smith was acquitted of the murder of his father, who had been suffering from terminal cancer. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to two days’ detention. He remarried and moved to Lincolnshire with his three sons, and was exonerated of any participation in the Moors murders by Hindley’s confession in 1987. In 2011, he co-authored the book Witness with biographer Carol Ann Lee. He died in Ireland in 2012.

In 1977, a BBC television debate discussed arguments for and against Myra Hindley’s release, with Lord Longford, a Roman Catholic convert, on the side who argued that Hindley should be released, and Downey’s mother arguing against Hindley being released, and threatening to kill her were the release to occur.

Reade’s mother was admitted to Springfield Mental Hospital in Manchester. She was present, under heavy sedation, at the funeral of her daughter on 7 August 1987. Five years after their son was murdered, Sheila and Patrick Kilbride divorced. Downey’s mother died in 1999 from cancer of the liver. Since her daughter’s death, she had campaigned to ensure that Hindley remained in prison, and doctors said that the stress had contributed to the severity of her illness. Bennett’s mother continued to visit Saddleworth Moor, where it is believed that Bennett is buried. She died in August 2012.

Manchester City Council decided in 1987 to demolish the house in which Brady and Hindley had lived on Wardle Brook Avenue, and where Downey and Evans were murdered, citing “excessive media interest [in the property creating unpleasantness for residents”.

Lasting notoriety

The photographs and tape recording of the torture of Downey exhibited in court, and the nonchalant responses of Brady and Hindley helped to ensure their lasting notoriety. Brady, who said that he did not want to be released, was rarely mentioned in the news, but Hindley’s insistent desire to be released made her a figure of public hate—especially as she failed to confess to involvement in the Reade and Bennett murders for 20 years. Hindley’s role in the crimes also challenged gendered norms: her betrayal of maternal stereotypes fed public perceptions of her inherent evil, and made her a “poster girl” for moral panics about serial murder and paedophilia in subsequent decades. Her often reprinted photograph, taken shortly after she was arrested, is described by some commentators as similar to the mythical Medusa and, according to author Helen Birch, has become “synonymous with the idea of feminine evil”. Given Hindley’s status as co-defendant in the first serial-murder trial held since the abolition of the death penalty, retribution was a common theme among those who sought to keep her locked away. Even Hindley’s mother insisted that she should die in prison, partly for fear for Hindley’s safety. Some commentators expressed the view that of the two, Hindley was the “more evil”.

Lord Longford, a Catholic convert, campaigned to secure the release of “celebrated” criminals, and Hindley in particular, which earned him constant derision from the public and the press. He described Hindley as a “delightful” person and said, “you could loathe what people did but should not loathe what they were because human personality was sacred even though human behaviour was very often appalling”. Tabloid newspapers branded him a “loony” and a “do-gooder” for supporting Hindley, whom they described as “evil”. She became a long-running source of material for the press, which printed embellished tales of her “cushy” life at the “5-star” Cookham Wood Prison and her liaisons with prison staff and other inmates.

The case has been dramatised on television twice: in See No Evil: The Moors Murders and the award-winning Longford (both 2006).

The book The Loathsome Couple by Edward Gorey (Mead, 1977) was inspired by the Moors murders.

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Scottish Bands-Music. Flower O Scotland.

More Music folks, this is the famous Flower O Scotland, beautifully sung by the Corries. Enjoy.

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Scottish places of Interest. Arthur’s Seat. Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano which is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh, Scotland, which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”.It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 m (822 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the east, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch. At a spur of the hill, Salisbury Crags has historically been a rock climbing venue with routes of various degrees of difficulty, but due to hazards, rock climbing is now restricted to the South Quarry and a permit is required.

It is sometimes said that its name is derived from legends pertaining to King Arthur, such as the reference in Y Gododdin. Some support for this may be provided by several other hilltop and mountaintop features in Britain which bear the same or similar names, such as the peak of Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) in the western highlands, sometimes known as Arthur’s Seat, and Arthur’s Chair on the ridge called Stone Arthur in the Cumbrian lake district. There is no traditional Scottish Gaelic name for Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, but William Maitland proposed that the name was a corruption of Àrd-na-Said, implying the “Height of Arrows”, which over the years became Arthur’s Seat (perhaps via “Archer’s Seat”). Alternatively, John Milne’s proposed etymology of Àrd-thir Suidhe meaning “place on high ground” uncomfortably requires the transposition of the name elements.

Natural heritage

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is the largest of the three parts of the Arthur’s Seat Volcano site of special scientific interest (the other parts being Calton Hill and the Castle Rock) which is designated to protect its important geology (see below), grassland habitats and uncommon plant and animal species.

Like the rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system of Carboniferous age (lava samples have been dated at 341 to 335 million years old), which was eroded by a glacier moving from west to east during the Quaternary (approximately the last two million years), exposing rocky crags to the west and leaving a tail of material swept to the east. This is how the Salisbury Crags formed and became basalt cliffs between Arthur’s Seat and the city centre. From some angles, Arthur’s Seat resembles a lion couchant. Two of the several extinct vents make up the ‘Lion’s Head’ and the ‘Lion’s Haunch’.

Aerial footage of Arthur’s Seat and the George Square area of. Edinburgh.

Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags adjoining it helped form the ideas of modern geology as it is currently understood. It was in these areas that James Hutton observed that the deposition of the sedimentary and formation of the igneous rocks must have occurred at different ages and in different ways than the thinking of that time said they did. It is possible to see a particular area known as Hutton’s Section in the Salisbury Crags where the magma forced its way through the sedimentary rocks above it to form the dolerite sills that can be seen in the Section.

The hill bears a strong resemblance to the Cavehill in Belfast in terms of its geology and proximity to a major urban site.

Human history

Hill fort defences are visible round the main massif of Arthur’s Seat at Dunsapie Hill and above Samson’s Ribs, in the latter cases certainly of prehistoric date. These forts are likely to have been centres of power of the Votadini, who were the subject of the poem Y Gododdin which is thought to have been written about 600 AD. Two stony banks on the east side of the hill represent the remains of an Iron Age hill-fort and a series of cultivation terraces are obvious above the road just beyond and best viewed from Duddingston.

On 1 May 1590 to celebrate the safe return of James VI of Scotland and Anna of Denmark, a bonfire was lit that night on the Salisbury Crags fuelled with ten loads of coal and six barrels of tar.

A track rising along the top of the slope immediately under Salisbury Crags has long been a popular walk, giving a view over the city. It became known as the Radical Road after it was paved in the aftermath of the Radical War of 1820, using the labour of unemployed weavers from the west of Scotland at the suggestion of Walter Scott as a form of work relief.

In 1836 five boys hunting for rabbits found a set of 17 miniature coffins containing small wooden figures in a cave on the crags of Arthur’s Seat. The purpose has remained a mystery ever since the discovery. A strong contemporary belief was that they were made for witchcraft, though more recently it has been suggested that they might be connected with the murders committed by Burke and Hare in 1828. There were 16 known victims of the serial-killers plus the first person sold “to the doctors”, namely a man who had died of natural causes. However, the murder victims were primarily female, while the eight surviving figures are male. Alternatively, the coffins may have represented the 16 bodies sold to the doctors, plus that of the final victim who remained unburied at the time of the duo’s arrest, but was, as a destitute beggar, very likely dissected in any case. The surviving coffins are now displayed in Edinburgh’s Royal Museum.

The prominence of Arthur’s Seat over Edinburgh has attracted various groups and has a particular significance to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because this is where the nation of Scotland was dedicated in 1840 “for the preaching of the gospel”. The apostle, Orson Pratt, arrived in Scotland in early 1850 and climbed the hill to pray to God for more converts.

In 1884, alpine mountain guide Emile Rey visited Edinburgh where he climbed Arthur’s Seat, local tradition stating that before doing so he estimated it would take much of the day to reach the top.


Arthur’s Seat is often mentioned as one of the possible locations for Camelot, the legendary castle and court of the Romano-British warrior-chief, King Arthur.

Tradition has it that it was at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, covered by the forest of Drumselch, that Scotland’s 12th-century king David I encountered a stag while out hunting. Having fallen from his horse and about to be gored, he had a vision of a cross appearing between the animal’s antlers, before it inexplicably turned away, leaving him unharmed. David, believing his life had been spared through divine intervention, founded Holyrood Abbey on the spot. The burgh arms of the Canongate display the head of the stag with the cross framed by its antlers.

The slopes of the hill facing Holyrood are where young girls in Edinburgh traditionally bathe their faces in the dew on May Day to make themselves more beautiful. The poem “Caller Water” (fresh cool water), written by Robert Fergusson in 1773, contains the lines:

On May-day, in a fairy ring,
We’ve seen them round St Anthon’s spring,
Frae grass the caller dew draps wring
To weet their een,
And water clear as crystal spring
To synd them clean

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Infamous Scots. Henry John Burnett.

Warning some of this material may upset or may be unsuitable for young children.

Henry John Burnett (5 January 1942 – 15 August 1963) was the last man to be hanged in Scotland, and the first in Aberdeen since 1891. He was tried at the high court in Aberdeen from 23–25 July 1963 for the murder of merchant seaman Thomas Guyan. His execution, at HM Prison, Craiginches, Aberdeen, was performed by hangman Harry Allen.


On 2 February 1957, Thomas Guyan married Margaret May, and a year later they moved into a first floor flat at 14 Jackson Terrace, Aberdeen, a house owned by May’s grandmother Annie Henderson.

A son was born in September 1958, followed by a second in February 1961; however, the father of this second child was not Thomas. This led to marital problems which came to a head in 1962 when Margaret consulted a solicitor about the possibility of a divorce which her husband refused. Then, in December of that same year she went to work at John R. Stephen Fish Curers where she met a new admirer, Henry Burnett.

A relationship soon developed and, by May 1963, Margaret had moved out of Jackson Terrace with her younger son Keith to share a new address in Skene Terrace with Burnett.

Events of 31 May 1963.

Henry Burnett came to believe that, given the chance, Margaret would leave him, so he took to locking her in the house whenever he went out. This was not a state of affairs which Margaret relished so when by chance she met her estranged husband on 31 May, she agreed to go back to him.

Margaret Guyan arrived at 40 Skene Terrace at 4.00 pm, to collect her son Keith. A family friend, Georgina Cattanagh, went with her for moral support. As soon as Margaret announced her intention to go back to her husband, Burnett cried “Margaret, Margaret, you are not going to leave me!” He then drew a knife to Margaret’s throat, closing the door behind them.

Fearful of what was happening inside, Cattanagh banged repeatedly on the front door and demanded the release of Margaret. Minutes later, Burnett threw open the door and ran off down the street. Margaret was shaken, but relatively unhurt. The two women made their way back to 14 Jackson Terrace.

Burnett went to his brother Frank’s workplace and told him what had happened; his brother urged him to go to the police. But Burnett, still set on revenge, instead went to Frank’s house in the city’s Bridge of Don area to borrow his brother’s shotgun. Because Frank’s wife had been told never to lend the gun to anyone, Burnett forced the cabinet open and stole the gun, along with some cartridges, after which he boarded a bus to 14 Jackson Terrace.

He arrived at the Guyans’ flat and forced his way in. After Cattanagh screamed “You can’t come in here!”, Thomas Guyan jumped to his feet to see what the problem was. As he opened the kitchen door, he was met by Burnett, carrying the gun. A shot rang out and Guyan fell dead, having been shot in the face at close range. Burnett then took Margaret out of the flat at gun point; on the way down the stairs, he threatened a young boy from a neighbouring flat.

Burnett dragged Margaret down a lane and as far as a garage on Seaforth Road, near the main route north out of Aberdeen. John Innes Irvine was filling his car with petrol at the garage when Burnett demanded his car. Irvine tried to stop Burnett from stealing the car, but was threatened with the shotgun. The police were soon notified of the theft and began following the car, which was driving north towards Peterhead. After driving for about 15 miles, Burnett pulled the car over near the town of Ellon and offered no resistance as he was arrested by Constable James G. Raeper and Constable Mitchell.


At his trial, Burnett’s defence was that at the time of the crime he was insane or alternatively, that this was a case of diminished responsibility.  Both defences failed after the jury had considered the evidence for 25 minutes. The court had heard expert witness evidence from three psychiatrists: A. M. Wylie, the Physician Superintendent of the Royal Cornhill Hospital, Professor Miller and Ian M Lowit, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, all of whom agreed that Burnett should be reprieved on psychiatric grounds. In letters later sent to the Scotsman newspaper, Professor Miller and Dr Lowit explained that their evidence suggested that Burnett displayed what Miller described as psychopathic tendencies, for which he had received treatment in a hospital in the past.  It was revealed in court that he had been violent in the past and had also attempted suicide.

In correspondence with The Scotsman and the Howard League for Penal Reform, it appears that the expert psychiatric evidence was mocked by the press and discounted by the Crown. The argument for Capital Punishment hinged upon the use of a firearm: Murder by firearm was a Capital Offence, to deter criminals from deeds like armed robbery, but the expert witnesses indicated that Burnett’s use of the weapon better fitted an impulsive crime of passion than a crime motivated by intentions that Capital Punishment was supposed to deter. His mother and father both appeared in the witness box and his mother broke down in the court.

After he was sentenced to death, both his own family and that of the victim petitioned for his reprieve.

However, there was no appeal from Burnett and at 8.00 am on Thursday, 15 August 1963, the 21-year-old was executed on Britain’s newest gallows (built-in 1962 to Home Office-approved specifications) as a crowd of 200 people gathered outside the prison. Executioner Harry Allen and his assistant Samuel Plant performed the hanging. Shortly afterwards, Burnett’s body was buried in an unmarked grave within the walls of the prison, as was customary.

Craiginches Prison closed permanently in January 2014 and the grounds were earmarked for redevelopment. In early August 2014, the remains of Burnett were exhumed from the prison and taken to Aberdeen Crematorium, where a private ceremony was held on 7 August.

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Famous Scots. J.K. Rowling.

J.K Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury, July 31st, 1965. Her childhood was generally happy, although she does remember getting teased because of her name, “Rowling” – She recalls often getting called “Rowling pin” by her less than ingenious school friends. J.K. Rowling says she never really warmed to her own name, although, she does remember having a fondness for the name Potter from quite an early age. J.K.Rowling studied at St Michael’s Primary School in Gloucestershire, before moving to Chepstow, South Wales at the age of nine.

From an early age, J.K. Rowling had the ambition to be a writer. She often tried her hand at writing, although little came from her early efforts. Aged six she wrote a book about a rabbit with measles. After her mother praised her effort. Rowling replied ‘well get it published then.’ She admits it was a ‘Bit of an odd thing for a child of six to think. I don’t know where it came from…”

In her own autobiography, she remembers with great fondness, when her good friend Sean became the first person to give her the confidence that one day she would be able to make a very good writer.

“he was also the only person who thought I was bound to be a success at it, which meant much more to me than I ever told him at the time”

Sean was also the owner of a battered old Ford Anglia, which would later appear in one of the Harry Potter series as a flying car.

After finishing school, her parents encouraged her to study French at the University of Exeter. She slightly regretted choosing French, saying she would have preferred to study English. However, it was her parents wish that she study something “ more useful” than English.

After having spent a year in Paris, J.K.Rowling graduated from university and took various jobs in London. One of her favourite jobs was working for Amnesty International; the charity, which campaigns against human rights abuses throughout the world. Amnesty International, is one of the many charities, which J.K.Rowling has generously supported since she attained a new found wealth.

It was in 1990 that J.K.Rowling first conceived of the idea about Harry Potter. As she recalls, it was on a long train journey from Manchester to London when she began forming in her mind, the characters of the series. At the forefront, was a young boy, at that time not aware that he was a wizard. The train was delayed for over four hours, but she didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask for one nothing,

“To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one.”

But she remembers being very enthusiastic, and excited about the ideas which were filling her mind.

On arriving at her flat in Clapham Junction, she began work on writing the book immediately, although, it would take several years to come to fruition.

It was also in December of 1990 that J.K.Rowling lost her mother, who died of Multiple Sclerosis. J.K.Rowling was very close to her mother, and she felt the loss deeply. Her own loss gave an added poignancy to the death of Harry Potter’s mother in her book. She says her favourite scene in the Philosopher’s Stone is, The Mirror of Erised, where Harry sees his parents in the mirror.

In 1991, J.K.Rowling left England to get a job as an English teacher in Portugal. It was here that she met her first husband, Jorge Arantes – and together they had a child Jessica. However, after a couple of years, the couple split after a fierce argument; where by all accounts J.K.Rowling was thrown out of the house.

In Dec 1993, Rowling returned to the UK, moving to Edinburgh where she tried to finish her first book. She was surviving on state benefits and bringing up her daughter as a single parent. She would often go to Edinburgh cafes to work on the book whilst her child had a nap.

Eventually, she finished her first copy of “The Philosopher’s Stone ”, and sent it off to various agents. She found an agent, Christopher, who spent over a year trying to get a publisher. It was rejected by 12 major publishing houses. But, eventually, a quite small publisher, Bloomsbury agreed to take the book on. The editor Barry Cunningham also agreed to pay her an advance of £1500. The decision to take on the book was, in large part, due to his eight-year-old daughter’s enthusiastic reception of the first chapter (However she was advised to continue her training as a teacher because she was told writers of children’s books don’t tend to get very well paid.)

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

– J.K.Rowling

Within a few weeks of publication, (1996) book sales really started to take off. The initial print run was of only 1,000 – 500 of which went to libraries. First editions are now said to be worth up to £25,000 each. She also received a grant from the Scottish arts council, which enabled her to write full time. After the books initial success in the UK, an American company Scholastic agreed to pay a remarkable £100,000 for the rights to publish in America. In 1998, Warner Bros secured the film rights to the books, giving a seven-figure sum. The films have magnified the success of the books, making Harry Potter into one of the most recognisable media products. Under the close guidance of J.K.Rowling, the films have sought to stay close to the original plot; also at J.K.Rowling’s request, all the actors are British and are filmed in Britain.

On the 21st December 2006, J.K.Rowling finished her final book of the Harry Potter Series – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Amazon). The book was released in July 2007, becoming one of the fastest selling books of all time. J.K.Rowling has said the book is her favourite, and it makes her both happy and sad. She has said she will continue writing but there is little chance of continuing the Harry Potter Series. She has published a dictionary of things related to Hogwarts and Harry Potter, that were never published in other books.

Since the end of her Harry Potter series, she says she has finished some short stories, she also hinted on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1st October 2010, that an 8th book in the Harry Potter series is a possibility.

On 27 September 2012, Rowling released the ‘Casual Vacancy’ an adult novel – to mixed reviews. In 2013, The Cuckoo’s Calling was published. Initially, the author was stated as being Robert Galbraith. But, this was a pseudonym used by J.K.Rowling. After her authorship was discovered, sales went through the roof.

J.K.Rowling and Media

J.K.Rowling has sought to protect her children from media intrusion. In 2011, she gave testimony to the Leverson enquiry about how unscrupulous reporters sought to intrude into her family’s privacy. After her books became best-sellers, reporters would often be camped outside her home. J.K. Rowling said:

“However, as interest in Harry Potter and myself increased, my family and I became the target of a different kind of journalistic activity. The effect on me, and our family life, truly cannot be overstated. We were literally driven out of the first house I had ever owned (which faced almost directly onto the street) because of journalists banging on the door, questioning the neighbours and sitting in parked cars immediately outside the gate. Old friendships were tested as journalists turned up on their doorsteps, and offered money for stories on me. “(J.K.Rowling’s Testimony to Leveson Enquiry Nov 2011.)

After finding a letter from a journalist in her child’s satchel, she remarked:

“It’s very difficult to say how angry I felt that my 5-year-old daughter’s school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists.”

J.K.Rowling currently lives in Scotland, on the banks of the River Tay, with her 2nd husband Neil Murray; J.K.Rowling has three children, two with husband Neil.

Inspiration to write

Speaking on a BBC Radio Programme “The Museum of Curiosity”, 23 December 2019, Rowling talked about the process by which she writes. She says she imagines she walks through a forest towards a lake. At the lake, she waits for an inspiration to emerge from its depth. Then she takes this back to her cottage where she has to polish the dream-like inspiration until it is in a fit state to publish. To Rowling, writing is a dual process – gaining inspiration from an unknown source and then working on the inspiration to make it a solid reality. She prefaced the story by saying she was reluctant to explain her process as it was difficult to explain.

Wealth of J.K.Rowling

In 2017, according to Forbes, her estimated wealth stands at $650 million, it would be higher but she has donated substantial sums to charity. The global Harry Potter brand is estimated to be worth £7 billion.

Charity Work of J.K.Rowling

J.K.Rowling has contributed considerable sums to charities she supports. This includes:

  • Anti-Poverty. She is President of the Charity – One Parent Families
  • Multiple sclerosis. She has contributed money to the research and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, which her mother suffered from.
  • Lumos – helping institutionalised children in Eastern Europe

Political Views

She has publically supported the Labour party. In 2008, she donated £1 million to the Labour party, saying she felt vulnerable families would be better off under a Labour government. She describes her political hero as Robert F.Kennedy.

Religious Views

J.K.Rowling states that she considers herself a Christian, and attends a local Church of Scotland congregation. She said, that unlike other members in her family, she often had a deep interest in religion, and would go to churches alone. However, she also says that although she believes in God, at times she doubts her faith.

“I feel very drawn to religion, but at the same time I feel a lot of uncertainty. I live in a state of spiritual flux. I believe in the permanence of the soul.”

– J.K.Rowling (2008, interview in El Pais – a Spanish Newspaper)

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Scottish Battles. Prestonpans .

Hanoverian General Cope landed at Dunbar on September 17, 1745.  Along with approximately 2,500 troops, he marched toward Edinburgh.  With forces somewhat equal in number to the Jacobites, Cope decided to make a stand at Prestonpans and wait for Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who he knew would inevitably march to meet him in battle.  The Hanoverian defensive position was thought to be ideal, with two stone walls on their right, a bog on their left, the sea behind and a deep moat-like ditch in front.  In addition to Cope’s well-armed foot soldiers and dragoons were six 1 1/2 pounder galloper guns and six small mortars.  Considering the Highlander’s “poor” weapons (mismatched guns, broadswords, Lochaber axes, pitchforks…) and their lack of artillery, the English Commander was quite confident.

The Jacobites came within sight of Cope’s men by mid-afternoon, September 20 and paused to reconnoiter their offense and survey the area.  Quartermaster and Adjutant-General John William O’Sullivan, a man neither respected nor liked by the Highland chiefs, sent a contingent of Camerons to the Tranent churchyard, at the village’s northwestern extremity.  Without delay they were observed by Cope’s men, who used two of their 1 1/2 pounder guns to bombard them, wounding some.  At this point Donald Cameron of Lochiel, XIX Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron became enraged that his men were being risked so and asked O’Sullivan’s rival, the well thought of Lord George Murray to withdraw them.  Over O’Sullivan’s protests the Camerons were removed by Murray, who, acting on information that he had received, decided that the Jacobite attack must come from the east, not the west.

Murray’s decision, contrary to Prince Charles’ plans, came about from information that he had received from a local gentleman, Robert Anderson.  Anderson had known the area since childhood and told Murray of a hidden path through the unguarded bog, which would lead the Highlanders to the plain below.  By this route they might take the Hanoverians by surprise.

battle of Prestonpans.

That evening, when the details of the impending attack were being finalized, a dangerous dispute took place between the Camerons and MacDonalds.  Ever since the Battle of Bannockburn, with King Robert the Bruce in 1314, the honor of fighting on the right flank had belonged to the MacDonalds.  This right was challenged by the Camerons.  Earlier, because of a similar conflict, the Clan chiefs had arranged to settle such disputes by drawing lots.  The outcome favored the Camerons.  Unfortunately, the MacDonald fighting men erupted into near mutiny, essentially refusing to fight unless they were granted the right hand position.  The situation was tactfully defused by Lochiel, who ceded the right flank to the MacDonalds if the battle didn’t take place until the next day, which it didn’t.

At three A.M. on September 21 the Jacobites silently mobilized their army (which must not have been easy, since the opposing camps were a mere 400 yards apart) even leaving the few horses that they possessed behind and headed toward Anderson’s hidden path.  In the meanwhile a detachment of sixty Camerons, under Clanranald, was sent to quietly seize the enemy baggage train at Cockenzie.  The Camerons easily overcame two companies of the Black Watch and forty additional infantrymen.  The baggage would later prove to be of great value to the Jacobites, supplying them with 4,000 English pounds, ample weapons, supplies and most of General Cope’s personal accoutrements.  The main body of the Jacobite forces weaved single file through the bog and formed their ranks in the darkness just 200 paces from the Hanoverians, who discovering their enemy’s tactic had hastily swung their forces around and formed their ranks.  Just after the break of dawn the attack began.

The left flank, consisting of the Camerons, Stewarts of Appin, the Atholl Brigade and the MacGregors began a silent march toward the Hanoverian cannons and Colonel Gardiner’s dragoons.  Under Lord Murray’s aggressive command the 800 Camerons were in action long before the rest of the Highland army, firing a few shots at the enemy ordinance guard as they advanced.  The guard replied with two volleys, which did little to impede the Cameron’s progress.  At this point Colonel Whitefoord managed to fire off somewhere between five and eleven shots from the heavy mortars and 1 1/2 pounder guns, which killed one private and wounded an officer in Lochiel’s regiment.  This volley also killed Major James MacGregor, the son of the famous Rob Roy MacGregor.  The artillery didn’t intimidate the Camerons, it only managed to enrage them.  They sounded their war cry “Chlanna nan con thigibh a so’s gheibh sibh feoil” and “ran on with undaunted speed and were first up to the front of the enemy.”  At this point the right flank also streaked into action, charging the English and engaging them in the style of combat suited to the Highlander, hand-to-hand, with targes held firm.

“The victory began, as the battle had done, among the Camerons.”  They carried everything before them, rushing forward past the now deserted and silent artillery to engage the dragoons.  Clan Cameron’s tactic was to strike at the noses of the horses, as to get the better of their masters.  This ruse wasn’t very effective, since the majority of the calvary chose to retreat in every which direction well before the Highlanders were upon them.  Those Hanoverians who were able to actually escape were few and far between, for it seems that the “ideal” defensive area that General Cope had chosen had one serious shortcoming, it caged them in and allowed the Highlanders to take out their rage upon them.

Incredibly, the action lasted only about fifteen minutes, ending in a total overthrow and almost entire destruction of Cope’s army.  The Camerons stayed in the thick of the battle during this time, engaging numerous pockets of Hanoverian foot soldiers, one of which Colonel Gardiner had attached himself to when his men fled for their lives.  As he shouted “fire on my lads, and fear nothing,” a Cameron dealt him a “terrible” blow to the head with his Lochaber axe, the ancient weapon of choice amongst Clan Cameron.  Elsewhere the enemy forces were being decimated.  Prince Charles was galloping across the battlefield, pleading with the Highlanders to stop killing the enemy, that they too were his father’s subjects.  Unfortunately, the majority of the soldiers only spoke Gaelic and couldn’t understand the Prince nor any plea for mercy by the Hanoverians.  “It would be far from true to say that none of the Highlanders gave quarter.  The Camerons took many prisoners; so did Lord George Murray…”  The Camerons gave many of Cope’s men the chance to surrender with dignity after the obvious tide had been turned in battle.  Lochiel himself authorized that the medicine chests, captured in Cope’s baggage train, were to be utilized for Hanoverian wounded, possibly earning him for the first time the name “Gentle Lochiel.”  

Very few Redcoats escaped.  The number has been placed somewhere between 175 and 200, with General Cope leading their way to Berwick, where he  was maligned as being the only General who had ever brought first news of his own defeat.  Depending on whose official count one chooses to believe there were between 300 and 500 Hanoverians killed that early morning, approximately 1,400 were taken prisoner, of which 900 were wounded.  Only about 40 Jacobites were killed and 75 wounded. Among the dead were two Cameron officers, Lieutenant Allan Cameron of Lundavra and Ensign James Cameron, both of Lochiel’s regiment.

After such a complete and relatively easy victory, Prince Charles believed that he and his Highlanders were invincible and that the victory had been God’s will. His thoughts began turning to the south, toward England.

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Scotland and its History. (Ghost Tour)

Hey folks if you ever Visit Edinburgh I highly recommend this tour, not for the faint hearted lol.

The best of the spooky and haunted side of the historic Scottish capital

In the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, one of Edinburgh’s most famous literary sons, ‘Only a few inches separate the living from the dead.’ And nowhere is that more true than in the Old Town. From Burke and Hare to Half-Hangit Maggie , the city has more than its fair share of murderers, ghosts, haunted locations and downright scare-you-senseless stories. Explore the spooky city that inspired classics such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the catacomb of hidden vaults and chambers beneath the South Bridge to Greyfriars Kirkyard, after which you’ll be glad that there are a number of nearby pubs in which to steady your shattered nerves with a stiff drink.

At the Edinburgh Dungeon, 500 years of the capital’s dark history are crammed into one very scary space and delivered by a team of actors and spine-tingling special effects. Aimed at the whole family, the attractions include two heart-in-the-mouth rides: the Drop Ride to Doom and a boat trip into the blood-spattered cave of cannibal Sawney Bean.

Piling on the tales of witches’ persecution, body-snatching and local superstition are Auld Reekie Tours, one of several operating in the Old Town. As well as visiting the vaults under the High Street, this tour has a grisly torture museum, tells tales of the Niddrie Wynd poltergeist and ends up in Nicol Edwards’ pub, reputed to be the most haunted in Scotland – the spirits don’t promise to stay in your glass.

At the Real Mary King’s Close, you’ll see a historically accurate interpretation of life in Edinburgh from the 16th to the 19th centuries, focusing on the closes under the Royal Mile. Visitors are guided by one of the ‘characters’ who lived in this time capsule of four closes with real rooms and streets that date back to the 1600s. Dramatic episodes and extraordinary apparitions from the past are revealed, including hair-raising ghost stories over 300 years old.

Black Hart Entertainment, meanwhile, organises haunted graveyard and underground City of the Dead walks. These give a taste of the history and legends of the capital and lead you into the Covenanters’ Prison and the Black Mausoleum in Greyfriars Cemetery, lair of the Mackenzie Poltergeist, a possible encounter with which is the highlight of the tour. Hundreds claim to have been attacked by this malevolent entity, who is most definitely not to be confused with sweet little Greyfriars Bobby, also buried near the gates, and this tour is not for those of a nervous disposition.

The Cadies and Witchery Tours’ lighthearted look at witchcraft, plague and torture focuses on the Royal Mile’s ghostly goings-on and have been scaring people around the Old Town for two decades. Mercat Tours also organises spooky walking tours that have earned it five stars from the Scottish Tourist Board and feature more ghosts than you can shake a crucifix at.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Scotland and its History. the Mackenzie Clan.

Clan Mackenzie (Scottish Gaelic: Clann Choinnich [ˈkʰl̪ˠãũn̪ˠ ˈxɤɲɪç]) is a Scottish clan, traditionally associated with Kintail and lands in Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands. Traditional genealogies trace the ancestors of the Mackenzie chiefs to the 12th century. However, the earliest Mackenzie chief recorded by contemporary evidence is Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail who died some time after 1471. Traditionally, during the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Mackenzies supported Robert the Bruce, but feuded with the Earls of Ross in the latter part of the 14th century. During the 15th and 16th-centuries the Mackenzies feuded with the neighboring clans of Munro and MacDonald. In the 17th century the Mackenzie chief was made Earl of Seaforth in the peerage of Scotland. During the Scottish Civil War of the 17th century the Mackenzies largely supported the Royalists. During the Jacobite rising of 1715 the chief and clan of Mackenzie supported the Jacobite cause. However, during the Jacobite rising of 1745 the clan was divided with the chief, Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Fortrose, supporting the British-Hanoverian Government and his relative, George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie, supporting the Jacobites.

The surname Mackenzie in Scottish Gaelic is MacCoinneach which means son of the fair bright one. The Mackenzies are believed to have the same ancestry as the Clan Matheson and Clan Anrias. All three are said to be descended from Gilleoin of the Aird, a Gaelic dynast who lived in the early 12th century. Another theory is that all three are descended from the thirteenth century Kermac Macmaghan. The chiefs of the Clan Mackenzie are said to have been settled at their great stronghold on Eilean Donan by 1297.

All of the earliest traditional Clan Mackenzie histories claim descent from a Fitzgerald progenitor. These histories include those by John Mackenzie of Applecross (died c.1684/5), George Mackenzie first Earl of Cromarty (died 1714) and the unpublished Letterfearn, Ardintoul and Allangrange manuscripts. It is believed that all of these histories ultimately derive from a single manuscript created by William MacQueen, Parson of Assynt in 1576, now lost.  Alexander Mackenzie followed the Fitzgerald scheme for the first edition of his History of the Mackenzies in 1879, but abandoned it in his later 1894 edition based on the intervening publication of genealogies contained in MS 1467.  MS 1467 was compiled 200 years before the earliest surviving Mackenzie traditional history. The Mackenzie and Matheson genealogies in MS 1467, which end c.1400, both derive from a Gilleoin of the Aird, but make no mention of Fitzgerald. The genealogies in MS 1467 have been interpreted as in part a census of the military resources available to Domhnall lord of the Isles in a period when he was seeking to make good his wife’s claims to the earldom of Ross, culminating in the battle of Harlaw in 1411. Based on MS 1467 and a series of charters associated with Beauly Priory, it has been suggested that the Mackenzies and Mathesons were junior branches of the Del Ard family, heirs to Gilleoin of the Aird. The senior line of this family, prominent in the 13th and 14th centuries, terminated in the heiress Margaret del Ard, the Lady of Erchless, who married Alexander Chisolm of Cromer c.1350.

In the 14th century during the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Mackenzie is said to have been among the clans who fought on the side of Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Inverurie (1308) against the forces of the Clan Comyn who were rivals to the throne. Chief Iain Mac Coinnich is said to have led a force of five hundred Mackenzies at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 where the English were defeated.

Later in the 14th century the Mackenzies are said to have become involved in battles against their powerful neighbour the Earl of Ross and his allies. This resulted in the capture and subsequent execution of chief Kenneth Mackenzie in 1346. Soon after this it appears that his successor as chief of the clan Mackenzie was living in an island castle in Loch Kinellan near Strathpeffer in Easter Ross and it was from this base that the clan was to advance westward once again to Kintail.

Recorded origins

The earliest likeness of a Mackenzie – the effigy of Kenneth Mackenzie, 7th of Kintail (d. 1491/ 1492) located at Beauly Priory.

An early genealogy of the Mackenzies appears in MS 1467, but the earliest contemporary record of a living Mackenzie is of Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail (Alexandro McKennye de Kintaill) who appeared in two supplications for papal dispensation in 1465 and 1466 and was listed as a witness to a charter by John of Islay, Earl of Ross, and Lord of the Isles on 4 November 1471. The earliest known likeness of a Mackenzie is that of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie (d. 7 February 1491/1492), whose effigy can be seen at Beauly Priory. He is the first Mackenzie to be buried at Beauly Priory. There is no reliable evidence to support the traditional assertion that previous members of his family were buried at Iona.

15th century and clan conflicts

In 1452 a force of tribes loyal to Mackenzie of Kintail took hostage a relative of the Earl of Ross. This resulted in the Battle of Bealach nam Broig which was fought to the north-west of Ben Wyvis.  The Clan Munro and their septs the Dingwalls rescued the Ross hostage but won a hollow victory, with a great loss of their own men.

In 1488 the Clan Mackenzie fought at the Battle of Sauchieburn led by Hector Roy Mackenzie but after the defeat of the King’s forces there, Hector narrowly escaped, returning to Ross-shire where he took Redcastle from the Clan Rose, for the rebels.

In 1491 the Battle of Blar Na Pairce was fought between the Mackenzies and the MacDonalds. This was followed by the Raid on Ross also in 1491 when the Clan Mackenzie clashed with a number of clans including the Clan MacDonald of Lochalsh, Clan MacDonald of Clanranald, Clan Cameron and the Chattan Confederation of Clan Mackintosh.

In 1497 Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh and his clan rebelled against the King. MacDonald invaded the fertile lands of Ross-shire where he was defeated in battle by the Mackenzies at the Battle of Drumchatt (1497), after which he was driven out of Ross-shire.

16th century and clan conflicts

During the Anglo-Scottish Wars John Mackenzie, 9th of Kintail led the clan at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. John was lucky enough to escape but many of his followers lost their lives. John Mackenzie also fought at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 where he was captured by the English. However, his clan paid a ransom of cows for his release.

The growing importance of the Clan Mackenzie was vividly demonstrated in 1544 when the Earl of Huntly, the Lieutenant of the North, commanded chief John Mackenzie to raise his clan against Clan Ranald of Moidart. The Mackenzie chief refused and Huntly’s supporters, the Clan Grant, Clan Ross and Clan Mackintosh declined to attack the Mackenzies. From that time the Mackenzies were recognised as a separate and superior force in the north-west.

On 13 December 1545 at Dingwall, the Earl of Sutherland entered into a bond of manrent with John Mackenzie of Kintail for mutual defence against all enemies, reserving only their allegiance to the youthful Mary, Queen of Scots. At the Battle of Langside in 1568 the Mackenzies fought on the side of Mary, Queen of Scots, against the forces of her half-brother James Stewart, Earl of Moray. Their chief, Kenneth Mackenzie, 10th of Kintail died soon afterwards.

In 1570 a feud broke out with the Munros over the Castle Chanonry of Ross. Andrew Munro of Milntown defended it for 3 years against the Clan Mackenzie, at the expense of many lives on both sides. The feud was settled when the castle was handed over to the Mackenzies by an “Act of Pacification”. In 1597 the Battle of Logiebride took place between the Mackenzies and MacLeods of Rassay against the Munros and the Bain family of Tulloch Castle.

17th century and Civil War

Commemorative stone to the Mackenzies of Seaforth on the Isle of Lewis. The Mackenzie chief’s title of Earl of Seaforth took its name from Loch Seaforth between the Isles of Lewis and Harris

By the beginning of the 17th century, the territory of the Mackenzies extended from the Black Isle in the east to the Outer Hebrides in the west. They took over the Isle of Lewis from its former Clan MacLeod of Lewis rulers and also Loch Alsh from the MacDonells.The Battle of Morar in 1602 was fought between the Clan Mackenzie and Clan MacDonell of Glengarry.

In 1623, the clan chief Colin Mackenzie was made Earl of Seaforth, a title in the peerage of Scotland, taking his title from a sea loch on the Isle of Lewis.

In 1645, Lord Seaforth, fighting as a Covenanter, led a force against the royalist James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, at the Battle of Auldearn where the Covenanters were defeated. Montrose followed up his success by destroying many houses that belonged to people who had opposed the royalist cause, including that of Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine. Later in 1649 Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine adopted the royalist cause and led his own uprising in the Siege of Inverness (1649).

In 1672, the Mackenzies were granted a commission of “fire and sword” against the MacLeods of Assynt who were a branch of the Clan MacLeod of Lewis and were seated at Ardvreck Castle, which was attacked and captured by the Mackenzies, who took control of the lands of Assynt.

In 1688, Kenneth Mackenzie of Suddie was killed leading a government backed Independent Highland Company in support of Mackintosh of Mackintosh against the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch who were supported by the Clan Cameron at the Battle of Mulroy. During the Williamite War in Ireland the Clan Mackenzie (led by their chief Kenneth Mackenzie, 4th Earl of Seaforth) are believed to have supported King James at the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

18th century and Jacobite Risings

During the Jacobite rising of 1715 chief William Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth led the Clan Mackenzie in support of the Jacobite rebels. However, during the Jacobite rising of 1745 the Clan Mackenzie was divided: The chief, Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Fortrose, did not support the Jacobites and raised several Independent Highland Companies from the Clan Mackenzie to support the British Government. However, during the 1745 rising a large part of the Clan Mackenzie followed the chief’s cousin, George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie who was a Jacobite.

1715 to 1719 Jacobite Rising

In what is known as the Skirmish of Alness in 1715 the Earl of Seaforth, chief of Mackenzie led a force of 3000 men that forced the retreat of a smaller force loyal to the British Government, which was commanded by the Earl of Sutherland and included the clans Sutherland, Munro, Ross and Mackay. Much of the Ross’s and Munro’s lands were ravaged, but they retaliated by raiding the Mackenzie lands in what is known as the Siege of Brahan.

The Siege of Inverness (1715) came to an end when the town, which was being held by the Mackenzies was surrendered to Simon Fraser of Lovat. Soon after this Colonel Sir Robert Munro, 6th Baronet of Foulis marched into the town of Inverness with 400 Munros and took over control as governor from Fraser. Government troops arrived in Inverness towards the end of February, and for some months the process of disarming the rebels went on, led by a Munro detachment under George Munro of Culcairn.

The clan rivalries which had erupted in rebellion were finding an outlet in local politics. The Mackenzie’s position as Earl of Seaforth came to an end in 1716, and it seems to have been arranged that while the Clan Ross held the county seat the Munros would represent the Tain Burghs. To secure the burghs, control of three out of the five was necessary. Ross ascendancy was secure in Tain, and from 1716 to 1745 the Munros controlled Dingwall.

The Clan Mackenzie fought at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719 where they were defeated by Government forces and the Mackenzie chief was wounded, afterwards retreating to the Western Isles and from there to the Continent. In 1721 the Clan Mackenzie, led by Donald Murchison, defeated Government supporters from the Clan Ross at the Battle of Glen Affric. This was followed by the Battle of Coille Bhan where again, led by Donald Murchison and also his relative Kenneth Murchison, the Clan Mackenzie defeated Government forces. General Wade’s report on the Highlands in 1724, estimated the clan strength at 3,000 men.

1745 to 1746 Jacobite Rising

George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie led the Jacobite Mackenzies at the Battle of Falkirk (1746) where they were victorious in helping to defeat British Government forces. The Mackenzies then went on to lay waste to the lands of the Munros who supported the government and burn down Foulis Castle. They also went on to lay waste to the lands of the Clan Sutherland and the Earl of Sutherland who also supported the government and captured Dunrobin Castle, although the Earl of Sutherland himself escaped through a back door. However soon after this as the Earl of Cromartie and his forces were travelling south to meet Charles Edward Stuart they were attacked by the Mackay and Sutherland Independent Highland Companies who supported the British Government in what became known as the Battle of Littleferry and the Jacobite Mackenzies were prevented from joining the Jacobite army at the Battle of Culloden. Soon after George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie and his son were captured at Dunrobin Castle. The Earl of Cromartie’s titles were then forfeited.

Other Mackenzies took the side of the British Government: the chief, Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Fortrose had in fact raised three Independent Highland Companies to support the British Government. In one of the Independent Highland Companies under Captain Colin Mackenzie, it is recorded at Shiramore in Badenoch in June 1746 and it included many of them from Kintail as well as more than sixty men from the Clan MacRae.

War, France, and India

A number of famous regiments have been raised from the Mackenzie clan, including the Highland Light Infantry (raised in 1777), the Seaforth Highlanders (raised in 1778), and the second battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders, known as the Ross-shire Buffs (raised in 1793). All those regiments wore the MacKenzie tartan. Born in 1754, Chief Francis Mackenzie, 1st Baron Seaforth, the last Lord Seaforth raised a regiment for the British Army in 1778, the 72nd, and the clan produced another the 78th in 1793. Both had distinguished records fighting against Napoleon and were later amalgamated into the Queen’s Own Highlanders.

The 78th Regiment, as it was first called, was raised in 1778 from men on the Seaforth and other Mackenzie estates. The Earl of Seaforth, having raised his men, sailed with them to India in 1781, but died there a few months later. During the Wars in India, Colin Mackenzie (1754–1821) was Surveyor General of India, and an art collector and orientalist. He produced many of the first accurate maps of India, and his research and collections contributed significantly to the field of Asian studies. In 1799, he was part of the British force at the Battle of Seringapatam. He also fought in the Napoleonic Wars.

Modern history

Clan Mackenzie tent at the 2005 Bellingham Highland Games

Throughout the 19th century Clan, Mackenzie was without a chief that was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. In 1979, Roderick Grant Francis Blunt-Mackenzie, 4th Earl of Cromartie, legally changed his surname to Mackenzie and was widely recognised as Chief of the clan (for example by Clan Mackenzie Societies around the Commonwealth). Although not descended from a Mackenzie in the male line (his father was born a Blunt and later changed to Blunt-Mackenzie after marrying Sibell Lilian Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Countess of Cromartie) he inherited his titles and Mackenzie descent through his mother (even she only claims a Mackenzie descent as a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie). On his death in 1990 his son John Ruaridh Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Cromartie succeeded as chief of Clan Mackenzie. The Earl of Cromartie still owns lands in clan country however, the largest remaining Mackenzie landowner by some margin is Mackenzie of Gairloch, with an estate which extends to over 50,000 acres (like the clan chief, Mackenzie of Gairloch has inherited his clan name and lands through the female line). The current chief is a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

The current chief of Clan Mackenzie lives at Castle Leod, which is thought to date from the 16th century. The chief has leased the unoccupied old tower to the Clan Mackenzie Charitable Trust (CMCT) for 99 years. In 1991 it was announced that the castle was planned to be restored. The restoration was to include a clan genealogical centre that would be open to the public. During the 1990s there was extensive work done on the tower. In 2002 the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust (HBPT) was contacted, to carry out a feasibility study to investigate the potential for the re-use of the upper floor space of the tower, which deemed public funding to be sought to cover the costs of restoration. Because of concerns of physical and legal separation between the clan chief and the tower, the chief decided that the conditions of public funding were too onerous.

A romanticised Victorian-era illustration of a Clan Mackenzie clansman by R. R. McIan from The Clans of the Scottish Highlands published in 1845.


Main article: Chiefs of Clan Mackenzie

Clan chief: John Ruaridh Grant Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Cromartie (b. 1948), Viscount Tarbat of Tarbat, Baron Castlehaven, Baron MacLeod of Castle Leod, Chief of Clan Mackenzie. Chiefs of Clan Mackenzie are titled as Caberféidh (translation from Scottish Gaelic: “Deer’s antlers”). This Gaelic title is derived from the stag’s head charge on the former chief, the Earl of Seaforth’s Coat of Arms.


Castle owned by the Clan Mackenzie have included:

  • Eilean Donan Castle was long held by the Mackenzies of Kintail and it may have been given to them after they helped to defeat the Norsemen at the Battle of Largs in 1263. William Mackenzie, 5th Earl of Seaforth had the castle garrisoned with Spanish troops during the Jacobite rising of 1719, although the castle was battered into submission by three frigates, and it was then blown up from within with barrels of gunpowder. The ghost of one of the Spanish soldiers who was killed is said to haunt the castle. The castle was left very ruinous before being completely rebuilt in the twentieth century.
  • Brahan Castle, about three miles south-west of Dingwall has now been completely demolished except for one wall.It was held by the Mackenzies of Brahan who were patrons of the Brahan Seer.
  • Castle Leod which is a few miles west of Dingwall is an L-plan tower house that dates from the seventeenth century with later additions. The current Castle Leod was built by Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Coigach in about 1610. His descendant was George Mackenzie, 3rd Earl of Cromartie who was forfeited for his part in the Jacobite rising of 1745 after being captured at Dunrobin Castle.
  • Ardvreck Castle was built by the MacLeods of Assynt but it later passed to the Mackenzies who sacked the castle in 1672.
  • Kilcoy Castle near Muir of Ord, Ross and Cromarty, is a Z-plan tower house that was held from 1618 by Alexander Mackenzie, son of the eleventh Baron of Kintail, chief of the clan. It was once ruinous but has now been restored and is still occupied.
  • Redcastle near Muir of Ord, near Ross and Cromarty, is a ruined L-plan tower house that was held by the Mackenzies from 1570 to 1790.It was burned in 1649 and later passed to the Ballies of Dochfour. The castle is now a shell.
  • Tarbat House was erected by John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod with work starting in 1784. It was built on the site of a previous mansion which had been built for George Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Cromartie in the late 17th century, replacing Milntown Castle. When George Mackenzie bought the Milntown estate in 1656, he renamed it New Tarbat after Tarbat Castle, the family’s original seat near Portmahomack. Some of the remains of George Mackenzie’s mansion were incorporated into the new one. Concurrent with the construction of the new house, Lord MacLeod planted thousands of new forest and fir trees on the estate. Some of the final building work on the house was unfinished when he died in 1789 after a year-long illness. The remaining work was completed to his plans by his cousin and successor, Kenneth Mackenzie.


The Mackenzie dress tartan is a modern tartan.

The Mackenzie tartan, otherwise known as the regimental tartan of the Seaforth Highlanders.

Tartans associated with the name Mackenzie include :

  • Mackenzie.The tartan is the regimental tartan of the Seaforth Highlanders, which was raised in 1778 by the Earl of Seaforth. The tartan is recorded in the Collection of the Highland Society of London in 1816.The tartan is worn by members of the Royal Military College of Canada Pipes and Drums band.

  • Mackenzie dress.
  • Mackenzie hunting.
  • Mackenzie Millennium, also known as Mackenzie 78th Highlanders.This tartan, according to the Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland and the UK website, was recently “discovered” and recreated for the “Millennium Gathering”. The society currently sells this tartan.
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Infamous Scots. Ewan MacPhee

Ewan (or Ewen) MacPhee lived from around 1785 to 1850. Born and brought up in Lochaber, he is remembered as Scotland’s last great outlaw, a man who lived beyond the reach of the authorities in Scotland for 40 years before finally being brought to justice.

MacPhee was born and brought up in the Glengarry area of Lochaber. Some time around 1807 he was conscripted into the British Army at the behest of the local laird, and against MacPhee’s own will. Initial training took place at Stirling Castle. During his stay there, riots broke out in the local coalfields and the army was called upon to help suppress them. MacPhee was amongst those stationed in Stirling who threatened to mutiny if ordered to use force against fellow Scots, and in the end troops stationed in Edinburgh were used instead.


MacPhee found himself in Spain during the Peninsula War against Napoleon’s French troops. He proved himself a highly effective soldier and had a particular role in liaising with Spanish guerillas. He rose to the rank of Sergeant, but being unable to read or write was unlikely ever to rise any further, despite suggestions he was told he would get a commission. After MacPhee was disciplined over money that went missing en route to fund guerilla activities (which he said he had hidden to avoid a French search), he killed his commanding officer and deserted his regiment: both crimes that would have seen him hung.

Fast forward a little, and MacPhee was able to make his way back to Scotland, still evading the authorities’ efforts to capture him. Soon after his return to Glengarry, MacPhee was arrested at his sister’s house by soldiers sent from Fort William for the purpose. He escaped from them as they were boarding a ship at Corpach and spent the following two years in the area around Loch Arkaig.

He then took possession of an island in Loch Quoich, which was later named after him (the island disappeared when the level of Loch Quoich was raised as a result of a hydro scheme in the 1900s). Finding island life a little quiet, he constructed a house and abducted a 14 year old girl to become his wife. They subsequently raised a family and lived as many other crofters across Scotland at the time.

MacPhee was a physically imposing man and never left his island unarmed: he also let it be known that he would never be taken alive by the authorities. The general response was to turn a blind eye and leave him be, still more so after the Inverness Chronicle ran a number of sympathetic stories abut him in the 1820s. By this time he was held in great respect and awe by many living in the area, and was regarded as something of a local seer, able to cast spells and cure sick animals.

In 1830 the Loch Quoich estate was sold to the English millionaire Edward Ellice. He took a close and positive interest in his estates and made the acquaintance of Ewan MacPhee when the latter marched into Glenquoich Lodge offering payment of ewe’s milk in lieu of rent and threatening to defend the island if this was not acceptable to Ellice. In the event Ellice and MacPhee coexisted harmoniously for some years.

In the latter part of the 1840s, however, MacPhee increasingly took to stealing sheep from neighbours, on one occasion leaving his tracks in the snow as clear evidence. Two sheriff’s officers who tried to row across to MacPhee’s island to investigate were shot at by his wife (MacPhee was away at the time). A week later the authorities returned in greater strength and arrested MacPhee after tallow and skins were discovered hidden on his island. MacPhee was imprisoned to await trial in Fort William where, shortly afterwards, he died.

Hello fellow bloggers.

As you all know I have a PUBLIC POETRY PAGE and share work WORLDWIDE. some famous poets, some friends work. I am asking the poet writers who visit my blog to allow me to post one of your poems on my page, this, of course, would be copy-written so your work would remain safe. If you allow me to post one of your poems I will advertise it on twitter, so the World can view your amazing work. I am asking anyone who writes poetry to leave your name and simply comment YES, in my comments box and then I will visit your site and pull a poem from it, then it will be posted.

There is so much talent out there, why not let the World see it… I look forward to hearing from you.

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Famous Scots Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and medical doctor. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 when he published A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and more than fifty short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.

Doyle was a prolific writer; other than Holmes stories, his works include fantasy and science fiction stories about Professor Challenger and humorous stories about the Napoleonic soldier Brigadier Gerard, as well as plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels. One of Doyle’s early short stories, “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” (1884), helped to popularise the mystery of the Mary Celeste.

Doyle is often referred to as “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” or “Conan Doyle”, implying that “Conan” is part of a compound surname rather than a middle name. His baptism entry in the register of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, gives “Arthur Ignatius Conan” as his given names and “Doyle” as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather. The catalogues of the British Library and the Library of Congress treat “Doyle” alone as his surname.

Steven Doyle, the editor of The Baker Street Journal, wrote, “Conan was Arthur’s middle name. Shortly after he graduated from high school he began using Conan as a sort of surname. But technically his last name is simply ‘Doyle’.” When knighted, he was gazetted as Doyle, not under the compound Conan Doyle.

Early life.

Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 at 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England, of Irish Catholic descent, and his mother, Mary (née Foley), was Irish Catholic. His parents married in 1855. In 1864 the family dispersed because of Charles’s growing alcoholism, and the children were temporarily housed across Edinburgh. In 1867, the family came together again and lived in squalid tenement flats at 3 Sciennes Place. Doyle’s father would die in 1893, in the Crichton Royal, Dumfries, after many years of psychiatric illness. From his early ages throughout his life Doyle wrote letters to his mother, many of them remained.

Supported by wealthy uncles, Doyle was sent to England, at the Jesuit preparatory school Hodder Place, Stonyhurst in Lancashire at the age of nine (1868–70). He then went on to Stonyhurst College until 1875. While Doyle was not unhappy at Stonyhurst, he did not have any fond memories since the school was run on medieval principles, with subjects covering rudiments, rhetoric, Euclidean geometry, algebra and the classics. Doyle commented later in his life that the academic system could only be excused “on the plea that any exercise, however stupid in itself, forms a sort of mental dumbbell by which one can improve one’s mind.” He also found it harsh, citing that instead of compassion and warmth, it favoured the threat of corporal punishment and ritual humiliation.

From 1875 to 1876, he was educated at the Jesuit school Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, Austria. His family decided that he would spend a year there with the objective of perfecting his German and broadening his academic horizons. He later rejected the Catholic faith and became an agnostic A source attributed his drift away from religion to the time spent in the less strict Austrian school He also later became a spiritualist mystic.

Medical career

From 1876 to 1881, Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, including periods working in Aston (then a town in Warwickshire, now part of Birmingham), Sheffield and Ruyton-XI-Towns, Shropshire. During that time, he studied practical botany at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.  While studying, Doyle began writing short stories. His earliest extant fiction, “The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe”, was unsuccessfully submitted to Blackwood’s Magazine. His first published piece, “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley”, a story set in South Africa, was printed in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal on 6 September 1879.  On 20 September 1879, he published his first academic article, “Gelsemium as a Poison” in the British Medical Journal  a study which The Daily Telegraph regarded as potentially useful in a 21st-century murder investigation.

Professor Challenger by Harry Rountree in the novella The Poison Belt published in The Strand Magazine

Doyle was the doctor on the Greenland whaler Hope of Peterhead in 1880. On 11 July 1880 John Gray’s Hope and David Gray’s Eclipse met up with the Eira and Leigh Smith. Photographer W.J.A. Grant took a photograph aboard the Eira of Doyle along with Smith, the Gray brothers, and ships surgeon William Neale. This was the Smith exploration of Franz Josef Land that on 18 August resulted in the naming of Cape Flora, Bell Island, Nightingale Sound, Gratton (“Uncle Joe”) Island, and Mabel Island.

After graduating as Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery (M.B. C.M.) from the University of Edinburgh in 1881, he was ship’s surgeon on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree (an advanced degree beyond the basic medical qualification in the UK) with a dissertation on tabes dorsalis in 1885.

In 1882, Doyle joined former classmate George Turnavine Budd as his partner at a medical practice in Plymouth, but their relationship proved difficult, and Doyle soon left to set up an independent practice.  Arriving in Portsmouth in June 1882, with less than £10 (£1000 today to his name, he set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. The practice was not successful. While waiting for patients, Doyle returned to writing fiction.

Doyle was a staunch supporter of compulsory vaccination and wrote several articles advocating for the practice and denouncing the views of anti-vaccinators.

In early 1891, Doyle attempted the study of ophthalmology in Vienna. He had previously studied at the Portsmouth Eye Hospital to qualify to perform eye tests and prescribe glasses. Vienna was suggested by his friend Vernon Morris as a place to spend six months and train to be an eye surgeon. Doyle found it too difficult to understand the German medical terms at the classes in Vienna and quickly quit his studies there. For the rest of his two-month stay in Vienna, he pursued other activities, such as ice skating with his wife Louisa and drinking with Brinsley Richards of the London Times. He also wrote The Doings of Raffles Haw.

After visiting Venice and Milan, he spent a few days in Paris observing Edmund Landolt, an expert on diseases of the eye. Within three months of his departure for Vienna, Doyle returned to London. He opened a small office and consulting room at 2 Upper Wimpole Street, or 2 Devonshire Place as it was then. A Westminster City Council commemorative plaque is over the front door. He had no patients according to his autobiography and his efforts as an ophthalmologist were a failure.

Literary career

Sherlock Holmes

Doyle struggled to find a publisher for his work. His first work featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, A Study in Scarlet, was written in 3 weeks when he was 27 and taken by Ward Lock & Co on 20 November 1886, giving Doyle £25 (equivalent to £2,700 in 2019) for all rights to the story. The piece appeared one year later in the Beeton’s Christmas Annual and received good reviews in The Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald.

Holmes was partially modelled on his former university teacher Joseph Bell. In 1892, in a letter to Bell, Doyle wrote, “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes … round the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man”, and in his 1924 autobiography he remarked, “It is no wonder that after the study of such a character [viz., Bell] I used and amplified his methods when in later life I tried to build up a scientific detective who solved cases on his own merits and not through the folly of the criminal.”  Robert Louis Stevenson was able, even in faraway Samoa, to recognise the strong similarity between Joseph Bell and Sherlock Holmes: “My compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes. … can this be my old friend Joe Bell?” Other authors sometimes suggest additional influences—for instance, the famous Edgar Allan Poe character C. Auguste Dupin.  Dr. (John) Watson owes his surname, but not any other obvious characteristic, to a Portsmouth medical colleague of Doyle’s, Dr James Watson.

Sherlock Holmes statue in Edinburgh, erected opposite the birthplace of Doyle, which was demolished c. 1970

A sequel to A Study in Scarlet was commissioned, and The Sign of the Four appeared in Lippincott’s Magazine in February 1890, under agreement with the Ward Lock company. Doyle felt grievously exploited by Ward Lock as an author new to the publishing world and he left them. Short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes were published in the Strand Magazine. Doyle wrote the first five Holmes short stories from his office at 2 Upper Wimpole Street (then known as Devonshire Place), which is now marked by a memorial plaque.

Doyle’s attitude towards his most famous creation was ambivalent. In November 1891 he wrote to his mother: “I think of slaying Holmes, … and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things.” His mother responded, “You won’t! You can’t! You mustn’t!”  In an attempt to deflect publishers’ demands for more Holmes stories, he raised his price to a level intended to discourage them but found they were willing to pay even the large sums he asked.  As a result, he became one of the best-paid authors of his time.

In December 1893, to dedicate more of his time to his historical novels, Doyle had Holmes and Professor Moriarty plunge to their deaths together down the Reichenbach Falls in the story “The Final Problem”. Public outcry, however, led him to feature Holmes in 1901 in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Holmes’ fictional connection with the Reichenbach Falls is celebrated in the nearby town of Meiringen.

In 1903, Doyle published his first Holmes short story in ten years, “The Adventure of the Empty House”, in which it was explained that only Moriarty had fallen, but since Holmes had other dangerous enemies—especially Colonel Sebastian Moran—he had arranged to also be perceived as dead. Holmes was ultimately featured in a total of 56 short stories—the last published in 1927—and four novels by Doyle, and has since appeared in many novels and stories by other authors.

Jane Stanford compares some of Moriarty’s characteristics to those of the Fenian John O’Connor Power. “The Final Problem” was published the year the Second Home Rule Bill passed through the House of Commons. “The Valley of Fear” was serialised in 1914, the year Home Rule, the Government of Ireland Act (18 September) was placed on the Statute Book.

Other works

Doyle’s first novels were The Mystery of Cloomber, not published until 1888, and the unfinished Narrative of John Smith, published only in 2011.  He amassed a portfolio of short stories including “The Captain of the Pole-Star” and “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement”, both inspired by Doyle’s time at sea. The latter popularised the mystery of the Mary Celeste and added fictional details such as the perfect condition of the ship (which had actually taken on the water by the time it was discovered) and its boats remaining on board (the one boat was in fact missing) that have come to dominate popular accounts of the incident.  Doyle’s spelling of the ship’s name as Marie Celeste has become more common in everyday use than the original form.

From 1888 to 1906, Doyle wrote seven historical novels, which he and many critics regarded as his best work.  He also authored nine other novels, and later in his career (1912–29) five narratives, two of novel length, featuring the irascible scientist Professor Challenger. The Challenger stories include what is probably his best-known work after the Holmes oeuvre, The Lost World. His historical novels include Sir Nigel and its follow-up The White Company, set in the Middle Ages. He was a prolific author of short stories, including two collections set in Napoleonic times featuring the French character Brigadier Gerard.

Doyle’s stage works include Waterloo, the reminiscences of an English veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, the character of Gregory Brewster being written for Henry Irving; The House of Temperley, the plot of which reflects his abiding interest in boxing; The Speckled Band, after the short story “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”; and the 1893 collaboration with J.M. Barrie on the libretto of Jane Annie.

Sporting career

While living in Southsea, the seaside resort of Portsmouth, Doyle played football as a goalkeeper for Portsmouth Association Football Club, an amateur side, under the pseudonym A. C. Smith.

Doyle was a keen cricketer, and between 1899 and 1907 he played 10 first-class matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He also played for the amateur cricket teams the Allahakbarries and the Authors XI alongside fellow writers J. M. Barrie, P. G. Wodehouse and A. A. Milne.  His highest score, in 1902 against London County, was 43. He was an occasional bowler who took just one first-class wicket, although one of the highest pedigree as it was W. G. Grace.

Doyle was an amateur boxer. In 1909, he was invited to referee the James Jeffries–Jack Johnson heavyweight championship fight in Reno, Nevada. Doyle wrote, “I was much inclined to accept…though my friends pictured me as winding up with a revolver at one ear and a razor at the other. However, the distance and my engagements presented a final bar.”

Also a keen golfer, Doyle was elected captain of the Crowborough Beacon Golf Club in Sussex for 1910. He had moved to Little Windlesham house in Crowborough with Jean Leckie, his second wife, and resided there with his family from 1907 until his death in July 1930.

He entered the English Amateur billiards championship in 1913.

Family life

In 1885 Doyle married Louisa (sometimes called “Touie”) Hawkins (1857–1906). She was the youngest daughter of J. Hawkins, of Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, and the sister of one of Doyle’s patients. Louisa suffered from tuberculosis  In 1907 he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie (1874–1940), whom he had first met and fallen in love within 1897. He had maintained a platonic relationship with Jean while his first wife was still alive, out of loyalty to her. Jean died in London.

Doyle fathered five children. He had two with his first wife: Mary Louise (1889–1976) and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (1892–1918). He had an additional three with his second wife: Denis Percy Stewart (1909–1955), second husband of Georgian Princess Nina Mdivani; Adrian Malcolm (1910–1970); and Jean Lena Annette (1912–1997). All of Doyle’s five children died without issue, leaving him with no grandchildren or direct descendants.

Political campaigning

Following the Second Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century and the condemnation from some quarters over the United Kingdom’s role, Doyle wrote a short work titled The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct, which argued that the UK’s role in the Boer War was justified, and which was widely translated. Doyle had served as a volunteer doctor in the Langman Field Hospital at Bloemfontein between March and June 1900. Doyle believed that this publication was responsible for his being knighted as a Knight Bachelor by King Edward VII in the 1902 Coronation Honours, (he received the accolade from the King in person at Buckingham Palace on 24 October that year). Also in 1900 he wrote another book on the war, The Great Boer War.

He stood for Parliament twice as a Liberal Unionist—in 1900 in Edinburgh Central and in 1906 in the Hawick Burghs—but although he received a respectable vote, he was not elected. Doyle was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1903 and was a Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey from 1902.

Doyle was a supporter of the campaign for the reform of the Congo Free State, led by the journalist E. D. Morel and diplomat Roger Casement. During 1909 he wrote The Crime of the Congo, a long pamphlet in which he denounced the horrors of that colony. He became acquainted with Morel and Casement, and it is possible that, together with Bertram Fletcher Robinson, they inspired several characters in the 1912 novel The Lost World. When Casement was found guilty of treason against the Crown after the Easter Rising, Doyle tried unsuccessfully to save him from facing the death penalty, arguing that Casement had been driven mad and could not be held responsible for his actions.

Justice advocate

Doyle was also a fervent advocate of justice and personally investigated two closed cases, which led to two men being exonerated of the crimes of which they were accused. The first case, in 1906, involved a shy half-British, half-Indian lawyer named George Edalji who had allegedly penned threatening letters and mutilated animals in Great Wyrley. Police were set on Edalji’s conviction, even though the mutilations continued after their suspect was jailed. Apart from helping George Edalji, Doyle’s work helped establish a way to correct other miscarriages of justice, as it was partially as a result of this case that the Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907.

The story of Doyle and Edalji was dramatised in an episode of the 1972 BBC television series, The Edwardians. In Nicholas Meyer’s pastiche The West End Horror (1976), Holmes manages to help clear the name of a shy Parsi Indian character wronged by the English justice system. Edalji was of Parsi heritage on his father’s side. The story was fictionalised in Julian Barnes’s 2005 novel Arthur and George, which was adapted into a three-part drama by ITV in 2015.

The second case, that of Oscar Slater, a Jew of German origin who operated a gambling-den, convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in Glasgow in 1908, excited Doyle’s curiosity because of inconsistencies in the prosecution case and a general sense that Slater was not guilty. He ended up paying most of the costs for Slater’s successful appeal in 1928.

Spiritualism, Freemasonry

Doyle had a longstanding interest in mystical subjects. He was initiated as a Freemason (26 January 1887) at the Phoenix Lodge No. 257 in Southsea. He resigned from the Lodge in 1889, but returned to it in 1902, only to resign again in 1911.

Also in Southsea in 1887, influenced by a member of the Portsmouth Literary and Philosophical Society, Major-General Alfred Wilks Drayson, he began a series of psychic investigations. These included attending around 20 seances, experiments in telepathy and sittings with mediums. Writing to Spiritualist journal Light, that year, he declared himself to be a Spiritualist and spoke of one particular psychic event that had convinced him.

Though he later wavered, he remained fascinated by the paranormal. He was a founding member of the Hampshire Society for Psychical Research in 1889 and joined the London-based Society for Psychical Research in 1893. He joined Sir Sidney Scott and Frank Podmore on a poltergeist investigation in Devon in 1894. Nevertheless, during this period, he remained, in essence, a dilettante.

During 1916, at the height of World War I, a change came over Doyle’s beliefs prompted by the apparent psychic abilities of his children’s nanny, Lily Loder Symonds. This, combined with the deaths he saw around him, made him rationalise that Spiritualism was a “New Revelation” sent by God to bring solace to the bereaved. The New Revelation was the title of his first Spiritualist work, published two years later. In the intervening years, he wrote to Light magazine about his faith and lectured frequently on the truth of Spiritualism.

War-related deaths close to him certainly strengthened his long-held belief in life after death and spirit communication, though it is wrong to claim that the death of his son, Kingsley, turned him to Spiritualism, as is often stated. Doyle came out as a Spiritualist to the public in 1916, a full two years before his son’s death. It was on 28 October 1918 that Kingsley died from pneumonia contracted during his convalescence after being seriously wounded in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Doyle’s brother Brigadier-general Innes Doyle died, also from pneumonia, in February 1919. His two brothers-in-law (one of whom was E. W. Hornung, creator of the literary character Raffles) and his two nephews also died shortly after the war. His second book on Spiritualism, The Vital Message, appeared in 1919.

Doyle found solace supporting spiritualism and its attempts to find proof of existence beyond the grave. In particular, according to some, he favoured Christian Spiritualism and encouraged the Spiritualists’ National Union to accept an eighth precept – that of following the teachings and example of Jesus of Nazareth. He was a member of the renowned supernatural organisation The Ghost Club.

In 1919 the magician P. T. Selbit staged a séance at his own flat in Bloomsbury, with Doyle in attendance. Some later commentators have stated that he declared the clairvoyance manifestations to be genuine. However, the contemporary report by the Sunday Express quotes Doyle as saying: “I should have to see it again before passing a definite opinion on it,” and: “I have my doubts about the whole thing”. In 1920, Doyle debated the claims of Spiritualism with the notable sceptic Joseph McCabe at Queen’s Hall in London. McCabe later published his evidence against the claims of Doyle and Spiritualism in a booklet entitled Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? which claimed Doyle had been duped into believing Spiritualism by mediumship trickery.

Doyle believed that many cases of diagnosed mental illness were the result of spirit possession. He debated the psychiatrist Harold Dearden, who was diametrically opposed to Doyle’s views. He travelled to Australia and New Zealand on spiritualist missionary work in 1920, and continued his mission all the way up to his death, speaking about his spiritualist conviction in Britain, Europe, and the United States.

One of the five photographs of Frances Griffiths with the alleged fairies, taken by Elsie Wright in July 1917

Doyle was also inspired by his Spiritualist beliefs to write a novel on the subject, The Land of Mist, featuring the character Professor Challenger. He wrote many other non-fictional Spiritualist works; perhaps his most famous being The Coming of the Fairies (1922)  which reveals Doyle’s conviction in the veracity of the five Cottingley Fairies photographs. He reproduced them in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies and spirits. Initially suspected of being falsified, the photos were decades later determined to be faked (along with admissions from the photographers).

Doyle was friends for a time with Harry Houdini, the American magician who himself became a prominent opponent of the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s following the death of his beloved mother. Although Houdini insisted that Spiritualist mediums employed trickery (and consistently exposed them as frauds), Doyle became convinced that Houdini himself possessed supernatural powers—a view expressed in Doyle’s The Edge of the Unknown. Houdini was apparently unable to convince Doyle that his feats were simply illusions, leading to a bitter public falling out between the two.[84] A specific incident is recounted in memoirs by Houdini’s friend Bernard M. L. Ernst, in which Houdini performed an impressive trick at his home in the presence of Doyle. Houdini assured Doyle the trick was pure illusion and that he was attempting to prove a point about Doyle not “endorsing phenomena” simply because he had no explanation. According to Ernst, Doyle refused to believe it was a trick.[85][86]

In 1922, the psychical researcher Harry Price accused the spirit photographer William Hope of fraud. Doyle defended Hope, but further evidence of trickery was obtained from other researchers. Doyle threatened to have Price evicted from the National Laboratory of Psychical Research and claimed if he persisted to write “sewage” about spiritualists, he would meet the same fate as Harry Houdini.Price wrote “Arthur Conan Doyle and his friends abused me for years for exposing Hope.” Because of the exposure of Hope and other fraudulent spiritualists, Doyle led a mass resignation of eighty-four members of the Society for Psychical Research, as they believed the Society was opposed to spiritualism.

Doyle and spiritualist William Thomas Stead were duped into believing Julius and Agnes Zancig had genuine psychic powers, both claiming that the Zancigs used telepathy. In 1924 Julius and Agnes Zancig confessed that their mind reading act was a trick and published the secret code and all the details of the trick method they had used, under the title Our Secrets!! in a London newspaper.  Doyle praised the psychic phenomena and spirit materializations produced by Eusapia Palladino and Mina Crandon, who were both exposed as frauds.

Doyle’s two-volume book The History of Spiritualism was published in 1926. W. Leslie Curnow, a spiritualist, contributed much research to the book. In 1926, Robert John Tillyard wrote a predominantly supportive review of Doyle’s book The History of Spiritualism in the journal Nature. This caused controversy and several critics such as A. A. Campbell Swinton pointed to the evidence of fraud in mediumship and Doyle’s non-scientific approach to the subject. In 1927, Doyle spoke in a filmed interview about Sherlock Holmes and spiritualism.

Richard Milner, an American historian of science, has presented a case that Doyle may have been the perpetrator of the Piltdown Man hoax of 1912, creating the counterfeit hominid fossil that fooled the scientific world for over 40 years. Milner says that Doyle had a motive—namely, revenge on the scientific establishment for debunking one of his favourite psychics—and that The Lost World contains several encrypted clues regarding his involvement in the hoax. Samuel Rosenberg’s 1974 book Naked is the Best Disguise purports to explain how, throughout his writings, Doyle left open clues that related to hidden and suppressed aspects of his mentality.

In 2016, however, DNA evidence discovered by researchers at the Natural History Museum and Liverpool John Moores University puts the blame on the amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson who originally found the remains. He was initially not considered the perpetrator of the hoax because it was seen as too elaborate for him. DNA evidence, however, showed that the tooth discovered in 1915 by Charles Dawson at an entirely different site came from the same jaw as the original skull and jawbone of the Piltdown Man, suggesting he had planted them both. The tooth discovered in 1915 has also since been proven to be a hoax.

Dr Chris Stringer, an anthropologist from the Natural History Museum, was quoted as saying: “Conan Doyle was known to play golf at the Piltdown site and had even given Dawson a lift in his car to the area, but he was a public man and very busy and it is very unlikely that he would have had the time [to create the hoax]. So there are some coincidences, but I think they are just coincidences. When you look at the fossil evidence you can only associate Dawson with all the finds, and Dawson was known to be personally ambitious. He wanted professional recognition. He wanted to be a member of the Royal Society and he was after an MBE. He wanted people to stop seeing him as an amateur.”


Façade of Undershaw with Doyle’s children, Mary and Kingsley, on the drive

Doyle commissioned a newly-built home from Joseph Henry Ball, an architect friend, in 1895, and played an active part of the design process. He lived in Undershaw which is near Hindhead in Surrey from October 1897 to September 1907. It was a hotel and restaurant from 1924 until 2004, when it was bought by a developer and stood empty while conservationists and Doyle fans fought to preserve it. In 2012, the High Court in London ruled the redevelopment permission be quashed because proper procedure had not been followed, but it is now due to become part of the Stepping Stones school for children with disabilities and additional needs.

Doyle was staying at the Lyndhurst Grand Hotel during March 1912 and made his most ambitious foray into architecture: sketching the original designs for a third storey extension and altering the front facade to the building.[109] Work began later that year and the building was a near-perfect expression of Doyle’s plans. Superficial alterations have been subsequently made, but the essential structure is still clearly Doyle’s.

In 1914, on a family trip to the Jasper National Park in Canada, he designed a golf course and ancillary buildings for a hotel. The plans were realised in full, but neither the golf course nor the buildings have survived.

In 1926, Doyle laid the foundation stone for a Spiritualist temple in Camden, London. Of the building’s total £600 construction costs, he provided £500.

Honours and awards

 Knight Bachelor (1902)

 Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (1903)

 Queen’s South Africa Medal (1901)

 Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy (1895)

 Order of the Medjidie – 2nd Class (Ottoman Empire) (1907)


Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham Manor, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He died of a heart attack at the age of 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: “You are wonderful.”  At the time of his death, there was some controversy concerning his burial place, as he was avowedly not a Christian, considering himself a Spiritualist. He was first buried on 11 July 1930 in Windlesham rose garden.

He was later reinterred together with his wife in Minstead churchyard in the New Forest, Hampshire.  Carved wooden tablets to his memory and to the memory of his wife, originally from the church at Minstead, are on display as part of a Sherlock Holmes exhibition at Portsmouth Museum. The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard reads, in part: “Steel true/Blade straight/Arthur Conan Doyle/Knight/Patriot, Physician and man of letters”.

A statue honours Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where he lived for 23 years. There is a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, close to the house where Doyle was born.

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Blog/Web Promotions.(Ingrid. D.)

Ingrid .D.

Hello folks, Promotions time, There are many travel blogs out there but I like the personal ones, the ones that give you many graphics and stories so I feel this Blog is worth a mention, plus Ingrid is lovely and visits Blogs regularly, so pop over and support her.

Here is a sample of Ingrids work, please note her photographs are copywritten.

There was a restaurant nearby where we bought delicious tuna sandwiches. That’s actually it: we worked on our tan, swam, admired the stunning views and ate. A lot.

In the evening, we had dinner in the same waterside restaurant. What a romantic setting!

Please visit Ingrids Blog here for more info, share the love.

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Famous Scots. Chic Murray.

This was one of the funniest Men alive , in his day, his Scottish humour was loved.

Charles Thomas McKinnon “Chic” Murray (6 November 1919 – 29 January 1985), was a Scottish comedian and actor. He appeared in various roles on British television and film, most notably in the 1967 version of Casino Royale, and portrayed Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly in a musical. In 2005, he was named in The Comedian’s Comedian.

Life and career

Murray was born in Greenock, Inverclyde. He began his career as a musician in amateur groups such as “The Whinhillbillies” and “Chic and His Chicks” while an apprentice at the Kincaid shipyard, Inverclyde, in 1934. Maidie Dickson(1922-2010) was already a seasoned star in her own right (having worked since she was 3 with many of the great stars of the time), when she was playing the Greenock Empire. Chic’s mother was the welfare officer and put Maidie up in her home. Subsequently, Maidie gave Chic parts within her own act and he formed a double-act with her. Billed as “The Tall Droll with the Small Doll” (he was 6’3″ tall, she was 4’11”) and also as “Maidie and Murray”, their combination of jokes and songs made them popular on television and in theatres throughout the country. Their success peaked in 1956 when they were selected to appear in the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium, but, due to the Suez Crisis, the show was cancelled. Maidie and Chic had had much success at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.

Later, working as a solo act, with a forbidding expression and omnipresent bunnet, Murray offered a comic vision of the world that was absurd and surreal. One example was his early-1970s BBC Scotland series Chic’s Chat, where his version of acting as DJ for the (occasional) records he played was unique. The show also featured surreal dialogues with a “man at the window” of his studio, played by Willie Joss, who invariably referred to Murray by the name of “Chips”. Another was his eccentrically decorated hotel in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh, which did not outlive the 1980s.

Murray acted in films such as Casino Royale and Gregory’s Girl, in which he played a Scottish secondary school headmaster. He also played former Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly in the musical play You’ll Never Walk Alone. Just prior to the show opening, Murray claimed to have telephoned the switchboard at Anfield using his Shankly voice, causing the receptionist – who had worked there in the Shankly years – to burst into tears on hearing the great man’s voice once more. He also made cameo appearances as an itinerant poacher in a few episodes of STV’s soap Take The High Road (1984) and appeared alongside Judi Dench in Saigon: Year of the Cat (1983). He died in Edinburgh in 1985 at the age of sixty-five, next door to his former wife Maidie’s bedroom (they had divorced in the 1970s but remained on good terms). Maidie died peacefully at the home she had shared with Chic for many years on 10 May 2010; her family were with her.

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Famous Scots. Margaret Tudor.

Birthday: November 28, 1489. 

Nationality: Scottish

Famous: Empresses & Queens Scottish Women

Died At Age: 51

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Born In: Westminster Palace, London, Middlesex, Kingdom Of England

Famous As: Queen Consort Of Scotland


Spouse/Ex-: 1St Lord Methven (M. 1528), Henry Stewart, 6Th Earl Of Angus (M. 1514; Div. 1527), Archibald Douglas, James Iv Of Scotland (M. 1503; D. 1513)

Father: Henry Vii Of England

Mother: Elizabeth Of York

Died On: October 18, 1541

Margaret Tudor was an English princess who later became the Queen Consort of Scotland through her marriage to James IV of Scotland. After his death, she served as the regent for their son, James V of Scotland. Known to be whimsical and passionate in nature, Margaret’s biggest concern, throughout her life, was her own survival. However, she also sought to bring a better understanding between her native kingdom and her adopted one. She was one of the daughters of Henry VII and his wife, Elizabeth of York. Her father arranged her marriage with James IV hoping that the union would end Scotland’s support for a pretender named Perkin Warbeck who had his eyes on the English throne. James IV and Margaret were subsequently married by proxy in January 1503 and met in person when Margaret came to Scotland later that year. After James IV’s death in 1513, Margaret assumed the role of a regent for her underage son. She played an instrumental role in the conflict between the pro-French and the pro-English factions in the Scottish court and often changed her allegiances in accordance with her financial interest. She married twice more and came to hate both of her husbands. Margaret eventually lost control over her son. Despite this, she spent the remainder of her life maintaining a prominent presence in the court.

Childhood & Early Life

Margaret Tudor was born on November 28, 1489, in Westminster Palace, to Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. She was one of Henry VII’s eight legitimate children. She had four brothers: Arthur, Prince of Wales; Henry VIII, King of England; Edward; and Edmund; and three sisters: Mary, Queen of France; Elizabeth; and Katherine. Edward, Edmund, Elizabeth, and Katherine did not survive infancy.

Her parents named her after Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, who was her paternal grandmother. Her baptism took place at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster.

According to contemporary views, the daughters of kings were invaluable assets to be used for financial, political, diplomatic, and social gains for the family. Her father was considering a union between her and James IV even before she turned six.

James IV (born March 17, 1473) was considerably older than her. However, England needed Scotland to cease backing Perkin Warbeck, who was pretending to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, one of the sons of Edward IV, and claiming that he was a legitimate heir to the English throne.

It was also possible that Henry VII was looking for a way to unite the English and Scottish crowns one day. On September 30, 1497, a truce was finally reached between the kingdoms and the marriage was being considered seriously once more.

Some among the English royalty questioned the match, fearing that it might one day lead to a Stewart being the king of England. Henry VII brushed aside such a notion, saying that if such a thing were to happen, England would not be absorbed by Scotland, but rather Scotland by England.

The Treaty of Perpetual Peace was concluded between the kingdoms on January 24, 1502, and the marriage treaty was signed the very day. Margaret and James IV were married by proxy precisely a year later, on January 25, 1503, at Richmond Palace.

The wedding was a lavish affair. The new queen of Scotland was allocated a large wardrobe of attire and James IV declared that a considerable amount of land and a number of houses would be transferred to her possession.

Accompanied by a large group of courtiers, Margaret entered Scotland in 1503. She met her husband and the rest of the Scottish court at Berwick upon Tweed on 1 August. A week later, on 8 August, their marriage was confirmed in person at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh.

Margaret and James had six children together: James, Duke of Rothesay (February 21. 1507 – February 27, 1508); Unknown Daughter (died shortly after birth on July 15, 1508); Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (October 20, 1509 – July 14, 1510); James V (April 10, 1512 – December 14, 1542); Unknown Daughter (died shortly after birth in November 1512); and Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross (April 30, 1514 – December 18, 1515). None of her children except for James V made it through infancy.

James IV was a very able king. He was also a true Renaissance royalty with a deep love for science and mechanics. Furthermore, he was highly-educated, a fluent polyglot, and according to various sources, a very handsome man. Not much is known about the relationship between him and Margaret but her father provided a scanty dowry for her which did not help in improving relations between Scotland and England.

Following the death of Henry VII in 1509, his son Henry VIII became the new king of England. He had neither his father’s patience nor intelligence and promptly started preparing for a war against France. The Treaty of Perpetual Peace did not last a decade since its conclusion as James IV was forced to attack England to honour the Auld Alliance. He was killed on September 9, 1513, at the Battle of Flodden.

Regent of Scotland

Margaret was very vocal in her opposition to the war but James IV still named her as the regent for their son. The only stipulation was that she had to remain a widow. The Battle of Flodden did not only cause the death of the king, but it was also an utter disaster for Scotland itself.

The Parliament was held at Stirling shortly after the king’s death and Margaret’s status as the regent was confirmed. Things were quite complicated for her. In addition to being the first woman to hold such power in Scotland, she was also the sister of an enemy king.

The Scottish court became divided into two clear factions. One group clearly favoured France’s influence on Scotland. They believed that John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, should be the regent for the infant prince instead of Margaret. He was the closest male relative of the king. To the pro-French group among the nobles, he represented the very essence of the Auld Alliance.

Margaret, almost by default, became the leader of the pro-English faction. Initially, she demonstrated all the necessary skills needed to be a successful administrator. She managed to bring a temporary end to the conflict between the parties and successfully pursued tentative peace with England. However, she then undid all that good work by letting her emotion override her good sense when she became deeply attracted to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.

Margaret needed allies and so she became closer to the powerful House of Douglas. Angus did not have a great reputation. Even his uncle, the cleric and poet Gavin Douglas, dubbed him a “young witless fool”. Margaret and Angus married secretly on August 6, 1514, in the parish church of Kinnoull, near Perth.

The marriage ended up deteriorating an already strained relationship between Margaret and the Scottish nobility. Furthermore, as she did exactly what she was not supposed to do by the terms of the late king’s will, she lost the regency.

Albany was called back to Scotland and he officially was appointed as the regent in July 1515. Margaret attempted a minor rebellion by keeping James V and Alexander with her but this was unsuccessful. Albany took charge of the princes and Margaret, who was pregnant with Angus’ child at the time, went to live in Edinburgh. Their daughter, Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was born on October 8, 1515.

Henry VIII had been intending to get involved in Scottish politics for a while. He wanted his sister to live in England with her children but Margaret refused several times, well aware of the possibility that such a measure might result in James V losing his crown. However, after her children had been taken away from her, she escaped from Scotland. Angus did not accompany her. Instead, he reached out to the regent to make peace.

Margaret was in England for about a year and returned to the north in 1517. She was allowed limited access to her children. While initially, she seemed to have mended her relationship with her estranged husband, it began to grow sour again.

She found out about his affairs and heavily hinted about a possible divorce in her correspondence to her brother. Henry VIII, however, was against the idea, as Angus had proved himself to be useful against the pro-French faction.

Moreover, the young Henry VIII was conservative and puritanical in his beliefs and was staunchly against the concept of divorce. Frustrated by this, Margaret sought to become an ally of the pro-French faction and joined others in requesting Albany to return from France as soon as possible to resume his duties as the regent. However, he had no intention of doing so and simply told her that she could act as the regent herself.

Her actions in the next few years caused much bewilderment. The bitter dispute between the husband and wife continued and it played a central role in Scottish politics. Albany’s hold on power was threatened by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran. Margaret switched sides between them back and forth to suit her interests.

Albany returned to Scotland in November 1521 and was greeted by the Queen-Dowager. Albany soon started to bring about changes in a political system that was in complete disarray after years of infighting. He had the full support of Margaret, whose husband was sent into exile right after the regent landed in Scotland.

Soon enough, the rumours of a possible romantic relationship between Margaret and Albany began to spread. Angus and his allies were responsible for this. However, as the later events would show, their collaboration was driven purely by self-interest.

In the 1520s, Scotland was engaged in border wars with England that proved to be catastrophic for the country. Albany finally lost his grip on power in 1524 when Margaret led a successful coup d’état against him. Albany left for France and Margaret, supported by Arran and the Hamiltons, got her son back in Edinburgh. She had the people’s support as well.

In August 1524, the parliament formally ended the regency and the 12-year-old James V was handed the full kingly powers. However, others, including his mother, would continue to exercise control over him for years to come.

Margaret still had several issues that needed her attention. Her over-reliance on the Hamiltons displeased other nobles and her brother had let Angus come into Scotland once more. Instead of dealing with such urgent matters, she began a passionate relationship with Henry Stewart, one of the younger brothers of Lord Avondale.

Stewart received rapid promotions whereas her dispute with her husband further degraded into a murderous farce. On November 23, 1524, while Angus was trying to force his way into Edinburgh, Margaret used cannons to fire upon his forces.

Despite Margaret’s efforts, Angus was successful in getting into the city and securing a spot for himself in the council of regency in February 1525. In July 1526, Angus was entrusted with James V’s guardianship. He virtually held him prisoner and ruled in his stead.

Margaret had kept her correspondence with Albany despite the coup and he eventually helped her getting the approval for a divorce from Pope Clement VII in March 1527. She and Stewart married on March 3, 1528.

A few weeks after Margaret’s third marriage, James V managed to escape from Angus and went straight back to Margaret. Angus, after fortifying himself in Tantallon Castle for almost a year, fled to England once more.

In James V’s new administration, both Margaret and her husband held important positions. She continued her efforts to improve the relations between England and Scotland and even once tried to arrange a meeting between her brother and son but it did not eventually take place. James V was deeply suspicious of Henry VIII because of his continuous support for Angus. It frustrated Margaret who even divulged state secrets to Henry VIII.

Later Life & Death

In time, Margaret became frustrated with Stewart as well. She wanted another divorce but her son was opposed to it. She thought James V had been bribed by Stewart and tried to run off to England but was caught at the border.

She eventually reconciled with Stewart and developed a relationship of excellent understanding with her new daughter-in-law, Marie de Guise. She maintained a significant presence in the court throughout the rest of her life.

On October 18, 1541, Margaret passed away at Methven Castle, in Perthshire, after reportedly suffering from palsy. She was interred at the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth. James V was not at her bedside when she died. He arrived later and confiscated all her properties.

Her father’s line, the Tudor dynasty, ended with her niece Elizabeth I of England. Later, her great-grandson, James VI of Scotland or James I of England unified the crowns.

In the BBC historical drama ‘The Tudors’ (2007-10), the character of Margaret Tudor was an amalgamation of Margaret and her sister, Mary. The producers did not want the viewers to confuse Princess Mary, sister of Henry VIII, with Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. English actress Gabrielle Anwar portrayed the role.


James IV named a Scottish warship Margaret in her honour.

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Infamous Scots Sir James Wylie.

Sir James Wylie lived from 13 November 1768 to 2 March 1854. Born and brought up in Tulliallan, now effectively part of Kincardine on Forth, he was a doctor who rose to become the Russian imperial court surgeon. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.

James Wylie was the second of five children of the parish minister William Wylie and his wife Janet Meiklejohn. When he finished school he became an apprentice to a local doctor. He then studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1786. What happened next is a little murky, but it seems likely that in 1790 Wylie fell foul of the authorities before completing his studies, possibly for stealing sheep, and found it expedient to leave Scotland in a hurry.

The ship on which Wylie left Leith was bound for Riga in Latvia, and once there Wylie signed up for service as a surgeon in the Eletsky Infantry Regiment of the Russian army. He took part in the Polish–Russian War of 1792 and in military operations against the Kościuszko Uprising, culminating in the Second Battle of Warsaw of 1794. It was during this period that Wylie first tried to improve the standard of medical services in the Russian army. Until then it had been the norm only to treat wounded officers, leaving other ranks to fend for themselves, which in practice meant they usually died.

In 1794 Wylie was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine from King’s College, Aberdeen. He left the Russian army and set up in practice as a doctor in Saint Petersburg. Here his reputation as a successful surgeon grew rapidly. One operation, on Count Ivan Kutaisov, the closest confidant of Tsar Paul I, resulted in Wylie’s appointment as surgeon to the court of the tsar. On 23 March 1801, Paul I was murdered by a group of army officers who wanted to replace him with his son, who became Alexander I as a result. Wylie agreed to sign a death certificate that incorrectly gave the cause of death as “apoplexy”.

In 1804 Alexander I invited Wylie back into military service as Medical Inspector of the Imperial Guard. On 2 December 1805 he accompanied the Tsar during the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1808 Wylie was elected President of the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy in Saint Petersburg. He was appointed Inspector General for the Army Board of Health in 1806, and became Director of the Medical Department of the Imperial Ministry of War in 1812. During this period he succeeded in transforming the medical services in the Russian army, which he had found so inadequate during his first spell in military service. He also played an important personal role as a surgeon. It is said that at the Battle of Borodino on 7 September 1812 he performed some 80 operations in the field.

Wylie accompanied Tsar Alexander I on a visit to England in 1814, and at the Tsar’s request was knighted by the Prince Regent and created a baronet. Wylie was with Alexander I when he died at his summer palace in southern Russia on 1 December 1825. The tsar had long suffered from depression and it was rumoured at the time (and has been rumoured ever since) that Wylie faked the tsar’s death certificate in order to allow him to retreat to a life as a monk.

Whatever the truth of that, Wylie continued to serve the Russian court under Alexander’ successor and brother, Tsar Nicholas I. He also continued to play an active role in Russian’s military campaigns up to and including the the Russo-Turkish war of 1828/9, taking part in some 50 battles in all. Sir James Wylie died in Saint Petersburg on 2 March 1854 and was buried at the Volkovo Lutheran Cemetery in the city.


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My Poetry. Scottish Gossip.

Aye hen the bairn is oot
Caught this laddie full o soot
Ben the skullery wash yer nut
Efter yer dad has kicked yer butt.
Yer sister kens the lassie Betty
Her mans iy oot and awfy sweaty
Eyes like peeholes in the snaw
The Police came he shot the craw.
Dinny sniff yer granda’s soaks
Stinks awe fish and artichokes
Canny smell his nose is wasted
Like the chicken efter its basted.
The wee man sings his awfy song
Thank the lord he’ll no be long
Toneless deef and full o whiskey
Eyeing the women up and awfy frisky.
He’s no awa tae the bookies again
That auld chancer has gone insane
Bets his shirt on an auld lame hoarse
Canny run or finish the course.
Gonny put the kettle oooon
Invite auld aggie and cousin Joan
Talk eh knitting oot the back
Hae a bun and have a crack.

Good luck if you can understand this lol.
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Famous Scots Andrew Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist, and philanthropist. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and became one of the richest Americans in history. He became a leading philanthropist in the United States and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away $350 million (conservatively $65 billion in 2019 dollars, based on percentage of GDP) to charities, foundations, and universities – almost 90 percent of his fortune. His 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848 at age 12. Carnegie started work as a telegrapher, and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges, and oil derricks. He accumulated further wealth as a bond salesman, raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303,450,000.[6] It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next several years.

Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall in New York, NY, and the Peace Palace and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others.


Andrew Carnegie was born to Margaret Morrison Carnegie and William Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland, in a typical weaver’s cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor, which was shared with the neighbouring weaver’s family. The main room served as a living room, dining room and bedroom. He was named after his paternal grandfather. In 1836, the family moved to a larger house in Edgar Street (opposite Reid’s Park), following the demand for more heavy damask, from which his father benefited. He was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline, which had been a gift to the town by the philanthropist Adam Rolland of Gask.

Carnegie’s maternal uncle, George Lauder, Sr., a Scottish political leader, deeply influenced him as a boy by introducing him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Lauder’s son, also named George Lauder, grew up with Carnegie and would become his business partner. When Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on very hard times as a handloom weaver; making matters worse, the country was in starvation. His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother (a cobbler), and by selling potted meats at her “sweetie shop”, leaving her as the primary breadwinner. Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies then decided to borrow money from George Lauder, Sr and move to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life.  Carnegie’s migration to America would be his second journey outside Dunfermline – the first being an outing to Edinburgh to see Queen Victoria.

In September 1848, Carnegie arrived with his family at their new prosperous home. Allegheny was rapidly populating in the 1840s, growing from around 10,000 to 21,262 residents. The city was very industrial and produced many products including wool and cotton cloth. The “Made in Allegheny” label used on these and other diversified products was becoming more and more popular. For his father, the promising circumstances still did not provide him with any good fortune. Dealers were not interested in selling his product, and he himself struggled to sell it on his own. Eventually, the father and son both received job offers at the same Scottish-owned cotton mill, Anchor Cotton Mills. Carnegie’s first job in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week ($35 by 2019 inflation).

His father quit his position at the cotton mill soon after, returning to his loom and removing him as breadwinner once again. But Carnegie attracted the attention of John Hay, a Scottish manufacturer of bobbins, who offered him a job for $2.00 per week ($59 by 2019 inflation). In his autobiography, Carnegie speaks of his past hardships he had to endure with this new job.

Soon after this Mr John Hay, a fellow Scotch manufacturer of bobbins in Allegheny City needed a boy and asked whether I would not go into his service. I went and received two dollars per week, but at first, the work was even more irksome than the factory. I had to run a small steam-engine and to fire the boiler in the cellar of the bobbin factory. It was too much for me. I found myself night after night, sitting up in bed trying the steam gauges, fearing at one time that the steam was too low and that the workers above would complain that they had not power enough, and at another time that the steam was too high and that the boiler might burst.


In 1849, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week ($77 by 2019 inflation) following the recommendation of his uncle. He was a hard worker and would memorize all of the locations of Pittsburgh’s businesses and the faces of important men. He made many connections this way. He also paid close attention to his work and quickly learned to distinguish the different sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced. He developed the ability to translate signals by ear, without using the paper slip, and within a year was promoted to the operator. Carnegie’s education and passion for reading was given a boost by Colonel James Anderson, who opened his personal library of 400 volumes to working boys each Saturday night. Carnegie was a consistent borrower and a “self-made man” in both his economic development and his intellectual and cultural development. He was so grateful to Colonel Anderson for the use of his library that he “resolved, if ever wealth came to me, [to see to it] that other poor boys might receive opportunities similar to those for which we were indebted to the nobleman”.His capacity, his willingness for hard work, his perseverance and his alertness soon brought him opportunities.

Starting in 1853, when Carnegie was around 18 years old, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company employed him as a secretary/telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week ($123 by 2019 inflation). Carnegie accepted the job with the railroad as he saw more prospects for career growth and experience there than with the telegraph company. At age 24, Scott asked Carnegie if he could handle being superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. On December 1, 1859, Carnegie officially became superintendent of the Western Division. Carnegie then hired his sixteen-year-old brother, Tom, to be his personal secretary and telegraph operator. Not only did Carnegie hire his brother, but he also hired his cousin, Maria Hogan, who became the first female telegraph operator in the country. As superintendent Carnegie made a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year ($43,000 by 2019 inflation). His employment by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company would be vital to his later success. The railroads were the first big businesses in America, and the Pennsylvania was one of the largest of them all. Carnegie learned much about management and cost control during these years, and from Scott in particular.

Scott also helped him with his first investments. Many of these were part of the corruption indulged in by Scott and the Pennsylvania’s president, John Edgar Thomson, which consisted of inside trading in companies that the railroad did business with, or payoffs made by contracting parties “as part of a quid pro quo”. In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express, which contracted with the Pennsylvania to carry its messengers. The money was secured by his mother’s placing of a $600 mortgage on the family’s $700 home, but the opportunity was available only because of Carnegie’s close relationship with Scott.  A few years later, he received a few shares in Theodore Tuttle Woodruff’s sleeping car company, as a reward for holding shares that Woodruff had given to Scott and Thomson, as a payoff. Reinvesting his returns in such inside investments in railroad-related industries: (iron, bridges, and rails), Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success. Throughout his later career, he made use of his close connections to Thomson and Scott, as he established businesses that supplied rails and bridges to the railroad, offering the two men a stake in his enterprises.

1860–1865: The Civil War

Before the Civil War, Carnegie arranged a merger between Woodruff’s company and that of George Pullman, the inventor of the sleeping car for first-class travel, which facilitated business travel at distances over 500 miles (800 km). The investment proved a success and a source of profit for Woodruff and Carnegie. The young Carnegie continued to work for Pennsylvania’s Tom Scott and introduced several improvements in the service.

In spring 1861, Carnegie was appointed by Scott, who was now Assistant Secretary of War in charge of military transportation, as Superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union Government’s telegraph lines in the East. Carnegie helped open the rail lines into Washington D.C. that the rebels had cut; he rode the locomotive pulling the first brigade of Union troops to reach Washington D.C. Following the defeat of Union forces at Bull Run, he personally supervised the transportation of the defeated forces. Under his organization, the telegraph service rendered efficient service to the Union cause and significantly assisted in the eventual victory. Carnegie later joked that he was “the first casualty of the war” when he gained a scar on his cheek from freeing a trapped telegraph wire.

Defeat of the Confederacy required vast supplies of munitions, as well as railroads (and telegraph lines) to deliver the goods. The war demonstrated how integral the industries were to American success.

Keystone Bridge Company

In 1864, Carnegie was one of the early investors in the Columbia Oil Company in Venango County, Pennsylvania. In one year, the farm yielded over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and petroleum from oil wells on the property sold profitably. The demand for iron products, such as armour for gunboats, cannons, and shells, as well as a hundred other industrial products, made Pittsburgh a centre of wartime production. Carnegie worked with others in establishing a steel rolling mill, and steel production and control of industry became the source of his fortune. Carnegie had some investments in the iron industry before the war.

After the war, Carnegie left the railroads to devote his energies to the ironworks trade. Carnegie worked to develop several ironworks, eventually forming the Keystone Bridge Works and the Union Ironworks, in Pittsburgh. Although he had left the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he remained connected to its management, namely Thomas A. Scott and J. Edgar Thomson. He used his connection to the two men to acquire contracts for his Keystone Bridge Company and the rails produced by his ironworks. He also gave the stock to Scott and Thomson in his businesses, and Pennsylvania was his best customer. When he built his first steel plant, he made a point of naming it after Thomson. As well as having good business sense, Carnegie possessed charm and literary knowledge. He was invited to many important social functions, which Carnegie exploited to his advantage.

Carnegie, c. 1878

Carnegie believed in using his fortune for others and doing more than making money. He wrote:

I propose to take an income no greater than $50,000 per annum! Beyond this, I need ever earn, make no effort to increase my fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes! Let us cast aside business forever, except for others. Let us settle in Oxford and I shall get a thorough education, making the acquaintance of literary men. I figure that this will take three years’ active work. I shall pay especial attention to speaking in public. We can settle in London and I can purchase a controlling interest in some newspaper or live review and give the general management of it attention, taking part in public matters, especially those connected with education and improvement of the poorer classes. Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character. To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery. I will resign business at thirty-five, but during these ensuing two years I wish to spend the afternoons in receiving instruction and in reading systematically!


1885–1900: Steel empire

Bessemer converter

Carnegie did not want to marry during his mother’s lifetime, instead choosing to take care of her in her illness towards the end of her life. After she died in 1886, the 51-year-old Carnegie married Louise Whitfield,  who was 21 years his junior.  In 1897,  the couple had their only child, a daughter, whom they named after Carnegie’s mother, Margaret.

Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations ever owned by an individual in the United States. One of his two great innovations was in the cheap and efficient mass production of steel by adopting and adapting the Bessemer process, which allowed the high carbon content of pig iron to be burnt away in a controlled and rapid way during steel production. Steel prices dropped as a result, and Bessemer steel was rapidly adopted for rails; however, it was not suitable for buildings and bridges.

The second was in his vertical integration of all suppliers of raw materials. In the late 1880s, Carnegie Steel was the largest manufacturer of pig iron, steel rails, and coke in the world, with a capacity to produce approximately 2,000 tons of pig metal per day. In 1883, Carnegie bought the rival Homestead Steel Works, which included an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a 425-mile (684 km) long railway, and a line of lake steamships. Carnegie combined his assets and those of his associates in 1892 with the launching of the Carnegie Steel Company.

By 1889, the U.S. output of steel exceeded that of the UK, and Carnegie owned a large part of it. Carnegie’s empire grew to include the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, (named for John Edgar Thomson, Carnegie’s former boss and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad), Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works, the Lucy Furnaces, the Union Iron Mills, the Union Mill (Wilson, Walker & County), the Keystone Bridge Works, the Hartman Steel Works, the Frick Coke Company, and the Scotia ore mines. Carnegie, through Keystone, supplied the steel for and owned shares in the landmark Eads Bridge project across the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri (completed 1874). This project was an important proof-of-concept for steel technology, which marked the opening of a new steel market.

1901: U.S. Steel

In 1901, Carnegie was 66 years of age and considering retirement. He reformed his enterprises into conventional joint stock corporations as preparation for this. John Pierpont Morgan was a banker and America’s most important financial deal maker. He had observed how efficiently Carnegie produced profits. He envisioned an integrated steel industry that would cut costs, lower prices to consumers, produce in greater quantities and raise wages to workers. To this end, he needed to buy out Carnegie and several other major producers and integrate them into one company, thereby eliminating duplication and waste. He concluded negotiations on March 2, 1901, and formed the United States Steel Corporation. It was the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization over $1 billion.

The buyout, secretly negotiated by Charles M. Schwab (no relation to Charles R. Schwab), was the largest such industrial takeover in United States history to date. The holdings were incorporated in the United States Steel Corporation, a trust organized by Morgan, and Carnegie retired from business.  His steel enterprises were bought out for $303,450,000.

Carnegie’s share of this amounted to $225.64 million (in 2019, $6.93 billion), which was paid to Carnegie in the form of 5%, 50-year gold bonds. The letter agreeing to sell his share was signed on February 26, 1901. On March 2, the circular formally filing the organization and capitalization (at $1.4 billion – 4 per cent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) at the time) of the United States Steel Corporation actually completed the contract. The bonds were to be delivered within two weeks to the Hudson Trust Company of Hoboken, New Jersey, in trust to Robert A. Franks, Carnegie’s business secretary. There, a special vault was built to house the physical bulk of nearly $230 million worth of bonds.

Scholar and activist


Carnegie continued his business career; some of his literary intentions were fulfilled. He befriended the English poet Matthew Arnold, the English philosopher Herbert Spencer, and the American humorist Mark Twain, as well as being in correspondence and acquaintance with most of the U.S. Presidents, statesmen, and notable writers.

Carnegie constructed commodious swimming-baths for the people of his hometown in Dunfermline in 1879. In the following year, Carnegie gave £8,000 for the establishment of a Dunfermline Carnegie Library in Scotland. In 1884, he gave $50,000 to Bellevue Hospital Medical College (now part of New York University Medical Center) to found a histological laboratory, now called the Carnegie Laboratory.

In 1881, Carnegie took his family, including his 70-year-old mother, on a trip to the United Kingdom. They toured Scotland by coach, and enjoyed several receptions en route. The highlight was a return to Dunfermline, where Carnegie’s mother laid the foundation stone of a Carnegie library which he funded. Carnegie’s criticism of British society did not mean dislike; on the contrary, one of Carnegie’s ambitions was to act as a catalyst for a close association between English-speaking peoples. To this end, in the early 1880s in partnership with Samuel Storey, he purchased numerous newspapers in England, all of which were to advocate the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of “the British Republic”. Carnegie’s charm, aided by his wealth, afforded him many British friends, including Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

In 1886, Carnegie’s younger brother Thomas died at age 43. While owning steel works, Carnegie had purchased at low cost the most valuable of the iron ore fields around Lake Superior. The same year Carnegie became a figure of controversy. Following his tour of the UK, he wrote about his experiences in a book entitled An American Four-in-hand in Britain.

Carnegie, right, with James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce in 1886

Although actively involved in running his many businesses, Carnegie had become a regular contributor to numerous magazines, most notably The Nineteenth Century, under the editorship of James Knowles, and the influential North American Review, led by editor Lloyd Bryce.

In 1886, Carnegie wrote his most radical work to date, entitled Triumphant Democracy. Liberal in its use of statistics to make its arguments, the book argued his view that the American republican system of government was superior to the British monarchical system. It gave a highly favorable and idealized view of American progress and criticized the British royal family. The cover depicted an upended royal crown and a broken scepter. The book created considerable controversy in the UK. The book made many Americans appreciate their country’s economic progress and sold over 40,000 copies, mostly in the US.

In 1889, Carnegie published “Wealth” in the June issue of the North American Review.  After reading it, Gladstone requested its publication in England, where it appeared as “The Gospel of Wealth” in the Pall Mall Gazette. Carnegie argued that the life of a wealthy industrialist should comprise two parts. The first part was the gathering and the accumulation of wealth. The second part was for the subsequent distribution of this wealth to benevolent causes. Philanthropy was key to making life worthwhile.

Carnegie was a well-regarded writer. He published three books on travel.


While Carnegie did not comment on British imperialism, he strongly opposed the idea of American colonies. He opposed the annexation of the Philippines almost to the point of supporting William Jennings Bryan against McKinley in 1900. In 1898, Carnegie tried to arrange for independence for the Philippines. As the end of the Spanish–American War neared, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain for $20 million. To counter what he perceived as imperialism on the part of the United States, Carnegie personally offered $20 million to the Philippines so that the Filipino people could buy their independence from the United States.  However, nothing came of the offer. In 1898 Carnegie joined the American Anti-Imperialist League, in opposition to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Its membership included former presidents of the United States Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison and literary figures like Mark Twain.

1901–1919: Philanthropist

Main articles: Carnegie library, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

See also: Carnegie Hall, Tuskegee Institute, and Hooker telescope

Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy. Puck magazine cartoon by Louis Dalrymple, 1903

Carnegie spent his last years as a philanthropist. From 1901 forward, public attention was turned from the shrewd business acumen which had enabled Carnegie to accumulate such a fortune, to the public-spirited way in which he devoted himself to utilizing it on philanthropic projects. He had written about his views on social subjects and the responsibilities of great wealth in Triumphant Democracy (1886) and the Gospel of Wealth (1889). Carnegie bought Skibo Castle in Scotland and made his home partly there and partly in his New York mansion located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue. The building was completed in late 1902, and he lived there until his death in 1919. His wife Louise continued to live there until her death in 1946.

The building is now used as the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The surrounding neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has come to be called Carnegie Hill. The mansion was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Carnegie devoted the rest of his life to providing capital for purposes of public interest and social and educational advancement. He saved letters of appreciation from those he helped in a desk drawer labeled “Gratitude and Sweet Words.”

Carnegie Hall, NY

He was a powerful supporter of the movement for spelling reform, as a means of promoting the spread of the English language.[28] His organization, the Simplified Spelling Board,[50] created the Handbook of Simplified Spelling, which was written wholly in reformed spelling.[51][52]

3,000 public libraries

Among his many philanthropic efforts, the establishment of public libraries throughout the United States, Britain, Canada and other English-speaking countries was especially prominent. In this special driving interest of his, Carnegie was inspired by meetings with philanthropist Enoch Pratt (1808–1896). The Enoch Pratt Free Library (1886) of Baltimore, Maryland, impressed Carnegie deeply; he said, “Pratt was my guide and inspiration.”

Carnegie turned over management of the library project by 1908 to his staff, led by James Bertram (1874–1934).[53] The first Carnegie library opened in 1883 in Dunfermline. His method was to provide funds to build and equip the library, but only on condition that the local authority matched that by providing the land and a budget for operation and maintenance.

To secure local interest, in 1885, he gave $500,000 to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a public library, and in 1886, he gave $250,000 to Allegheny City, Pennsylvania for a music hall and library; and $250,000 to Edinburgh for a free library. In total, Carnegie funded some 3,000 libraries, located in 47 US states, and also in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies, and Fiji. He also donated £50,000 to help set up the University of Birmingham in 1899.

As Van Slyck (1991) showed, during the last years of the 19th century, there was the increasing adoption of the idea that free libraries should be available to the American public. But the design of such libraries was the subject of prolonged and heated debate. On one hand, the library profession called for designs that supported efficiency in administration and operation; on the other, wealthy philanthropists favoured buildings that reinforced the paternalistic metaphor and enhanced civic pride. Between 1886 and 1917, Carnegie reformed both library philanthropy and library design, encouraging a closer correspondence between the two.

Investing in education

Carnegie Mellon University

In 1900, Carnegie gave $2 million to start the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) at Pittsburgh and the same amount in 1902 to found the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D.C. He later contributed more to these and other schools.  CIT is now known as Carnegie Mellon University after it merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Carnegie also served on the Boards of Cornell University and Stevens Institute of Technology.

In 1911, Carnegie became a sympathetic benefactor to George Ellery Hale, who was trying to build the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson, and donated an additional ten million dollars to the Carnegie Institution with the following suggestion to expedite the construction of the telescope: “I hope the work at Mount Wilson will be vigorously pushed because I am so anxious to hear the expected results from it. I should like to be satisfied before I depart, that we are going to repay to the old land some part of the debt we owe them by revealing more clearly than ever to them the new heavens.” The telescope saw first light on November 2, 1917, with Carnegie still alive.

Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline

In 1901, in Scotland, he gave $10 million to establish the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. It was created by a deed which he signed on June 7, 1901, and it was incorporated by Royal Charter on August 21, 1902. The establishing gift of $10 million was then an unprecedented sum: at the time, total government assistance to all four Scottish universities was about £50,000 a year. The aim of the Trust was to improve and extend the opportunities for scientific research in the Scottish universities and to enable the deserving and qualified youth of Scotland to attend a university. He was subsequently elected Lord Rector of University of St. Andrews in December 1901 and formally installed as such in October 1902,  serving until 1907. He also donated large sums of money to Dunfermline, the place of his birth. In addition to a library, Carnegie also bought the private estate which became Pittencrieff Park and opened it to all members of the public, establishing the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust to benefit the people of Dunfermline. A statue of him stands there today.

He gave a further $10 million in 1913 to endow the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, a grant-making foundation.  He transferred to the trust the charge of all his existing and future benefactions, other than university benefactions in the United Kingdom. He gave the trustees a wide discretion, and they inaugurated a policy of financing rural library schemes rather than erecting library buildings, and of assisting the musical education of the people rather than granting organs to churches.

Carnegie with African-American leader Booker T. Washington (front row, center) in 1906 while visiting Tuskegee Institute

In 1901, Carnegie also established large pension funds for his former employees at Homestead and, in 1905, for American college professors.  The latter fund evolved into TIAA-CREF. One critical requirement was that church-related schools had to sever their religious connections to get his money.

His interest in music led him to fund construction of 7,000 church organs. He built and owned Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Carnegie was a large benefactor of the Tuskegee Institute for African-American education under Booker T. Washington. He helped Washington create the National Negro Business League.

April 1905

In 1904, he founded the Carnegie Hero Fund for the United States and Canada (a few years later also established in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany) for the recognition of deeds of heroism. Carnegie contributed $1,500,000 in 1903 for the erection of the Peace Palace at The Hague; and he donated $150,000 for a Pan-American Palace in Washington as a home for the International Bureau of American Republics.

Carnegie was honored for his philanthropy and support of the arts by initiation as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity on October 14, 1917, at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The fraternity’s mission reflects Carnegie’s values by developing young men to share their talents to create harmony in the world.

By the standards of 19th century tycoons, Carnegie was not a particularly ruthless man but a humanitarian with enough acquisitiveness to go in the ruthless pursuit of money. “Maybe with the giving away of his money,” commented biographer Joseph Wall, “he would justify what he had done to get that money.”

To some, Carnegie represents the idea of the American dream. He was an immigrant from Scotland who came to America and became successful. He is not only known for his successes but his enormous amounts of philanthropist works, not only to charities but also to promote democracy and independence to colonized countries.


Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts, at his Shadow Brook estate, of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $76.9 billion, adjusted to 2015 share of GDP figures) of his wealth. After his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners.  He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The gravesite is located on the Arcadia Hebron plot of land at the corner of Summit Avenue and Dingle Road. Carnegie is buried only a few yards away from union organizer Samuel Gompers, another important figure of the industry in the Gilded Age.

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Scottish Towns-Cities. Edinburgh.

Hi friends.

I was able to visit family a few years back and took this video off my phone, I was on a ride on the Trams. These were just in the early stages when I lived there, but now complete. Hope you enjoy.

Edinburgh a Journey on the Trams.
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Blog/Web Promotions.(Dracul Van Helsing)

Dracul Van Helsing.

Hi friends, Another great blogger with fantastic stories definitely worth a visit, and all-round nice person who takes an interest in everyone’s work.

Here is a sample of CHRISTOPHER MILNER’s work.

The April Fool

The following poem was written by a friend of mine Father Jacob Boddicker SJ a Jesuit priest (a rare breed of Jesuit for these times – one who’s actually a Christian and not a Marxist) whose parish consists of serving several communities on the Lakota Sioux reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

I first came to know Father Jacob (we’ve never met in person) when he was a young seminarian and noviciate in the Jesuit order when he had a blog at the Xanga blogging site back in 2009 where I also had my primary blog at the time.

When my dad died from cancer in June of 2010, every few days for the next year I’d get a message from Jacob asking me how I was doing.

We still keep in touch.

He was finally ordained a priest about 3 or 4 years ago.

And has been serving the people of the Lakota Sioux First Nation ever since where he was assigned after ordination.

This is his poem that he wrote today and posted on his Facebook page entitled The April Fool:

The April Fool 

By Father Jacob Boddicker SJ

“Tear down this temple,” the April Fool cried,
“And on the third-day shalt I raise it up.”
On an ass did he come, crowd-hailed then hied 
to a quiet place with his friends to sup.
“This bread is my Flesh; this wine is my Blood,” 
yet to all ’twas no change in look or taste.
Though claimed he divine, heeded not ill-brood 
of one there, silver-swayed, who’d lay him waste.
The Fool, who dared to trust, abandoned was to mock and spit, blood and bone, agony, 
then though innocent bore he his own cross 
‘fore enthroned a sad lord on Calvary.
“The jester king!” laughed they, those people cruel;
but on day three proved they the April fools.

Please visit Dracul Van Helsing here.

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Famous Scots. The Loch Ness Monster.

Hey folks, A great part of Scottish tradition is the famous Loch Ness Monster, fact or fiction, you decide, it certainly has driven millions of visitors to the great loch, and to be honest it is a beautiful part of Scotland.

Loch Ness monster


Alternative Title: Nessie

Loch Ness monster, byname Nessie, a large marine creature believed by some people to inhabit Loch Ness, Scotland. However, much of the alleged evidence supporting its existence has been discredited, and it is widely thought that the monster is a myth.

Loch Ness monster: “surgeon’s photograph”

Photograph that allegedly showed the Loch Ness monster, 1934. The image, known as the “surgeon’s photograph,” was later revealed to be a hoax.

Reports of a monster inhabiting Loch Ness date back to ancient times. Notably, local stone carvings by the Pict depict a mysterious beast with flippers. The first written account appears in a biography of St. Columba from 565 AD. According to that work, the monster bit a swimmer and was prepared to attack another man when Columba intervened, ordering the beast to “go back.” It obeyed, and over the centuries only occasional sightings were reported. Many of these alleged encounters seemed inspired by Scottish folklore, which abounds with mythical water creatures.

In 1933 the Loch Ness monster’s legend began to grow. At the time, a road adjacent to Loch Ness was finished, offering an unobstructed view of the lake. In April a couple saw an enormous animal—which they compared to a “dragon or prehistoric monster”—and after it crossed their car’s path, it disappeared into the water. The incident was reported in a Scottish newspaper, and numerous sightings followed. In December 1933 the Daily Mail commissioned Marmaduke Wetherell, a big-game hunter, to locate the sea serpent. Along the lake’s shores, he found large footprints that he believed belonged to “a very powerful soft-footed animal about 20 feet [6 metres] long.” However, upon closer inspection, zoologists at the Natural History Museum determined that the tracks were identical and made with an umbrella stand or ashtray that had a hippopotamus leg as a base; Wetherell’s role in the hoax was unclear.

The news only seemed to spur efforts to prove the monster’s existence. In 1934 English physician Robert Kenneth Wilson photographed the alleged creature. The iconic image—known as the “surgeon’s photograph”—appeared to show the monster’s small head and neck. The Daily Mail printed the photograph, sparking an international sensation. Many speculated that the creature was a plesiosaur, a marine reptile that went extinct some 65.5 million years ago.

The Loch Ness area attracted numerous monster hunters. Over the years, several sonar explorations (notably in 1987 and 2003) were undertaken to locate the creature, but none were successful. In addition, numerous photographs allegedly showed the beast, but most were discredited as fakes or as depicting other animals or objects. Notably, in 1994 it was revealed that Wilson’s photograph was a hoax spearheaded by a revenge-seeking Wetherell; the “monster” was actually a plastic-and-wooden head attached to a toy submarine. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, the Loch Ness monster remained popular—and profitable. In the early 21st century, it was thought that it contributed nearly $80 million annually to Scotland’s economy.

Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster?

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Infamous Scots Sir Robert Graham.

Sir Robert Graham of Kinpont (died 1437) was a Scottish landowner, and one of the key conspirators in the assassination of King James I of Scotland in 1437.


Robert Graham was the third son of Patrick Graham of Kincardine. He attended the University of Paris in the 1390s, potentially in preparation for entering the priesthood. In 1399 he married Marion Oliphant, daughter of John Oliphant of Aberdalgie.  Robert’s brother Sir Patrick Graham (died 1413) acquired the Earldom of Strathearn through his 1406 marriage to Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn. Robert became tutor to his nephew, Malise Graham. He is described as “a grete gentilman… a man of grete wit and eloquence, wounder suttilye willyd and expert in the lawe”.

The Grahams were supporters of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, and his son Murdoch. When Murdoch and his two sons were executed by James I in 1425, Robert Graham was imprisoned in Dunbar Castle but was free by 1428.  Around 1425, James I deprived Malise Graham of the Earldom of Strathearn, on the pretext that he had inherited from his mother. At the time, Malise was a minor and was also being held hostage in England. Some say this action which turned Robert Graham against his King although others question such a motivation.  The earldom was granted to Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, the uncle of James I, and Robert appears to have continued in the service of the new Earl.

Walter was next in line to the throne, and, though a distant relation, Graham’s nephew – Malise – was the next in line after Walter. Walter and Robert both had further grievances against the King, and worked together to bring about his murder which was carried out by Graham.

The assassination of James I

 … Yitte dowte I nott but theat yee schulle see the daye and tyme that ye schulle pray for my sowle, for the grete good that I have done to yow, and to all this reume of Scotteland, that I have thus slayne and deliverde yow of so crewell a tyrant…

 … Yet I do not doubt but that you shall see the day and time that you shall pray for my soul, for the great good that I have done to you, and to all in this realm of Scotland, that I have thus slain and delivered you of so cruel a tyrant…

   — Sir Robert Graham

In 1436, after a disastrous military expedition to Roxburgh, Sir Robert denounced the monarch in Parliament and attempted to arrest him.  He was arrested and imprisoned, but escaped. A conspiracy was formed between Sir Robert, the Earl of Atholl, and Atholl’s grandson Robert Stewart.

On the night of 20 February 1437, James was lodging in the Dominican Friary in Perth. Robert Stewart allowed the conspirators, including Sir Robert Graham and his son Thomas, into the lodging. Although the King attempted to hide in a drain, he was discovered and stabbed to death. Sir Robert is said to have dealt the fatal blow. The assassins escaped, but without killing the Queen, Joan Beaufort, who quickly assumed power as regent for the young James II. There was no wider support for the conspiracy, and the King’s assassins were soon rounded up and brutally executed. Sir Robert was discovered in Perthshire and brought to Stirling, where he was executed in April.

In 17th-century litigation surrounding the Earl of Airth and his claim on the Earldom of Strathearn, it was argued by the Crown that to recognise the Earl of Airth’s claim would be a justification of Sir Robert Graham’s murder of the King.  However, more recent historians have doubted that the deprivation of Malise Graham was such a strong motivation for Sir Robert’s actions.

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Blog/Web Promotions.(Regina Castejón)

Regina Castejón

Hi friends.

When I switched over to WordPress from Blogger I had no idea the number of great blogs that were out there, so with a lot of searching I managed to find many and now I am friends with most of them.

Today I would like to promote the lovely Regina Castejón, Regina has a couple of websites but this particular one is fab because she shares her work in Poetry.

Here is a sample of her work.

I see behind the window
 The tears no longer matter I know
 that the sun illuminates,
 More I'm cold ... 
 Like  an ice floe

 I can understand
 Time has accompanied me;
 The reasons today are superfluous,
 They seem like hollow words ... Nonsense
 have to be

 Love ...
 plays everything or perhaps nothing.
 Today I just want
 you to hold me, to
 blur my soul.

 But I'm cold ... 
 Like  an ice floe.
 I remember when you said:
 "Our love is invincible"
 and I can't stop thinking ... 

Please visit Reginas Blog here and give her some support.

Reginas Blog.

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Infamous Scots Jamie Macpherson.

James Macpherson (1675–1700) was a Scottish outlaw, famed for his Lament or Rant, a version of which was rewritten by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. The original version of the lament is alleged to have been written by Macpherson himself in prison on the eve of his execution.

Early life

Macpherson was the illegitimate son of a Highland laird, Macpherson of Invereshie, and a beautiful Tinker or gipsy girl that he met at a wedding. The gentleman acknowledged the child and had him reared in his house. After the death of his father, who was killed while attempting to recover a “spread” of cattle taken from Badenoch by reivers – the boy was reclaimed by his mother’s people. The gipsy woman frequently returned with him, to wait upon his relations and clansmen, who never failed to clothe him well, besides giving money to his mother. He grew up “in beauty, strength and stature rarely equaled.” Macpherson is reported as being a man of uncommon personal strength. He became an expert swordsman and a renowned fiddler, and eventually became the leader of the gipsy band. The tinker-Gypsies then lived by buying and selling horses and seem to have been quite popular with the ordinary country folk.

Outlaw career

Though his prowess was debased as the exploits of a freebooter (pirate), it is certain, says one writer, that no act of cruelty or robbery of the widow, the fatherless, or the distressed was ever perpetrated under his command. Indeed, it is alleged that a dispute with an aspiring and savage man of his tribe, who wished to rob a gentleman’s house while his wife and two children lay on the bier for interment, was the cause of his being betrayed to the vengeance of the law. Thus he was betrayed by a man of his own tribe and was the last person executed at Banff previous to the abolition of heritable jurisdictions.

Macpherson had incurred the enmity of the rich lairds and farmers of the low country of Banff and Aberdeenshire, and especially of Duff of Braco, who organised a posse to catch him. “After holding the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray in fear for some years”, says Chambers, “he was seized by Duff of Braco, ancestor of the Earl of Fife, and tried before the Sheriff of Banffshire (8 November 1700), along with certain Gypsies who had been taken in his company.

Before ultimately being brought to trial, Macpherson was captured several times but always escaped from his enemies. In Aberdeen, his cousin, Donald, and a gipsy named Peter Brown, aided by the populace, rescued him from prison. Shortly afterwards, he was again captured but was once more rescued, this time by the Laird of Grant.

Capture and trial.

Macpherson’s career of robbery had culminated in a “reign of terror” in the markets of Banff, Elgin and Forres. Apparently, under the protection of the Laird of Grant, he and his band of followers would come marching in with a piper at their head. Perhaps he became too powerful for comfort for he was hanged at Banff in 1700, for bearing arms at Keith market. At the Saint Rufus Fair in Keith Macpherson was attacked by Braco’s men, and was captured after a fierce fight in which one of Jamie’s crew was killed. According to the traditional account penned by Jamie himself, a woman dropped a blanket over him from a window, and he was disarmed before he could get free of it. Duff and a very strong escort then took him to Banff prison.

It was still at that time a criminal offence merely to be an Egyptian (Gypsy) in Scotland, and it was under this statute that Macpherson was tried in November 1700. Macpherson and three others were brought to trial at Banff before Sheriff Nicholas Dunbar, Sheriff of Banffshire (who allegedly was a close friend of Duff’s), on 8 November 1700, accused of: “Being ye mercats in yr ordinary manner of thieving and purse-cutting, or of the crimes of theft and masterful bangstree and oppression”, and they were found “Fyllen, culpable, and convick” and sentenced “For sae muckle, as you, James Macpherson, are found guilty of being Egyptians and vagabonds and oppressors of his free lieges. Therefore, I adjudge and decern you to be taken to the cross of Banff to be hanged by the neck to the death”.

The actual procès-verbal of his trial is still extant; the following is the text of the death sentence:

“Forasmeikle as you James Macpherson, pannal [accused] are found guilty by ane verdict of ane assyse, to be knoun, holden, and repute to be Egiptian and a wagabond, and oppressor of his Magesties free lieges in ane bangstrie manner, and going up and down the country armed, and keeping mercats in ane hostile manner, and that you are a thief, and that you are of pessimae famae. Therfor, the Sheriff-depute of Banff, and I in his name, adjudges and discernes you the said James Macpherson to be taken to the Cross of Banff, from the tolbooth thereof, where you now lye, and there upon ane gibbet to be erected, to be hanged by the neck to the death by the hand of the common executioner, upon Friday next, being the 16th day of November instant, being a public weekly mercat day, betwixt the hours of two and three in the afternoon…

Macpherson’s Lament

While under sentence of death in the jail, during the week between his trial and his execution, Macpherson is said to have composed the tune and the song now known as Macpherson’s Lament or Macpherson’s Rant. Sir Walter Scott says that Macpherson played it under the gallows, and, after playing the tune, he then offered his fiddle to anyone in his clan who would play it at his wake. When no one came forward to take the fiddle, he broke it – either across his knee or over the executioner’s head – and then threw it into the crowd with the remark, “No one else shall play Jamie Macpherson’s fiddle”. The broken fiddle now lies in the Macpherson Clan museum near Newtonmore, Inverness-shire. He then was hanged or, according to some accounts, threw himself from the ladder, to hang by his own will. This was allegedly the last capital sentence executed in Scotland under Heritable Jurisdiction, taking place on 16 November 1700.

The traditional accounts of Macpherson’s immense prowess seem justified by his bones, which were found not very many years ago, and were allowed by all who saw them to be much stronger than the bones of ordinary men.  He was assuredly no ordinary man, that he could so disport himself on the morning of his execution.

It is universally believed in the North-East of Scotland that a reprieve was on its way to Banff at the time of the execution. The legend has it that Duff of Braco saw a lone rider coming from Turriff and correctly assumed that he carried a pardon for Jamie from the Lord of Grant. As the story goes, he then set about turning the village clock 15 minutes ahead and so hanging Macpherson before the pardon arrived. The magistrates allegedly were punished for this and the town clock was kept 15 minutes before the correct time for many years. Even to this day, the town of Macduff has its west-facing town clock covered so the people of Banff can’t see the correct time!

A text (and there are many variations) of “Macpherson’s Lament or Rant” follows:

I've spent my life in rioting,
 Debauch'd my health and strength,
 I squander'd fast, as pillage came,
 And fell to shame at length.


 Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
 Sae dauntingly gaed he;
 He play'd a tune, and danc'd it roon'
 Below the gallows-tree.
 My father was a gentleman,
 Of fame and honour high,
 Oh mother, would you ne'er had borne
 The son so doom'd to die.


 Ach, little did my mother think
 When first she cradled me
 That I would turn a roving boy
 And die on the gallows tree


 Farewell, yon dungeons dark and strong,
 The wretch's destinie!
 Macpherson's time will not be long
 On yonder gallows-tree.


 O what is Death but parting breath?
 On many a bloody plain
 I've dar'd his face, and in this place
 I'll scorn him yet again.


 But vengeance I never did wreak,
 When pow'r was in my hand,
 And you, dear friends, no vengeance seek,
 It is my last command.


 Forgive the man whose rage betray'd
 Macpherson's worthless life;
 When I am gone, be it not said,
 My legacy was strife.


 It was by a woman's treacherous hand
 That I was condemned tae dee
 Aboon a ledge at a windae she stood
 And a blanket she threw o'er me


 Untie these bands frae aff o' my hands
 And gie tae me my sword
 There's no a man in a' Scotland
 But I'll brave him at his word


 There's some come here tae see me hang
 And some tae buy my fiddle
 But afore that I dae part wi' her
 I'd brak' her through the middle


 He took his fiddle into both of his hands
 And he brak' it o'er a stone
 Said, Nae ither hands shall play on thee
 When I am deid and gane


 Now farewell light, thou sunshine bright, "
 And all beneath the sky!
 May coward shame distain his name,
 The wretch that dares not die!


 A reprieve was coming o'er the brig o' Banff
 Tae set Macpherson free,
 But they pit the clock a quarter afore
 And they hanged him from a tree.


 Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
 Sae dauntingly gaed he;
 He play'd a tune, and danc'd it roon'
 And they hanged him from a tree. 
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Scottish Bands-Music “Abide with me “

Beautiful bagpipes playing “Abide with me” enjoy. Apt for this scenario we are all facing.

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Famous Scots. Sir Jackie Stewart.

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

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

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

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

Early life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racing career.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racing safety advocate.

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

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

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

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

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Infamous Scots. Lady Emily Gordon Cathcart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Famous Scots Flora MacDonald.

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

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

Early life

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

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

The escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart

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

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

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

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

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

Emigration to North Carolina.

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

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

Return to Skye.

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

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

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

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