The town of Melrose sits snugly in the heart of the Scottish Borders, just an hour south of Edinburgh. As I’ve mentioned time and again on Traveling Savage, the Borders are tragically under-visited. Along with nearby Jedburgh and Kelso, Melrose leads this triumvirate of classy lowland towns oozing Scottish charm.
Melrose lies wedged between the River Tweed and the Eildon Hills and is home to the greatest of the ruined Border abbeys, Melrose Abbey. The town is full of shops, pubs, and restaurants and near to the highest density of interesting sites the Scottish Borders has to offer. From the abbeys to Abbotsford and Smailholm Tower to Scott’s View, Melrose is the perfect base for your time in the region, especially since a new train line serving the Borders recently opened — it hasn’t been this convenient to visit in well over a hundred years!
His only education was the Bible. At the age of 16, he was apprenticed for six years to the shipbuilders “Robert Steele & Sons” of Greenock. After he had completed his apprenticeship he returned to Wick and started his own shipbuilding yard in Pulteneytown, near Wick Harbour, where he built 56 or more vessels, ranging in size from 45 tons to 600 tons. At this time, he also became well known throughout the United Kingdom for his skills in rescuing sunken and stranded vessels. When there was an insurrection in Wick he treated the injuries of combatants from both sides and was tried for Sedition as a consequence. His peers found him Not Guilty and he was carried from the court on the shoulders of the cheering local populace.
A monument to James Bremner, Naval Architect, overlooking Wick Bay and harbour.
When, in 1846, Brunel‘s SS Great Britain went aground on the sands of Dundrum Bay, Ireland, it is to his son, Alexander Bremner, that Brunel turned for help after various leading salvage experts had either declared the salvage impossible or failed in an attempt. Alexander called in his father to develop a successful methodology. The method used by Bremner was later used to refloat her off a beach in South Georgia over a century later, after which she was brought back to her final resting place as a tourist attraction in Bristol. He frequently corresponded with Thomas Telford and was employed by Brunel as an engineering consultant when he built the Thames Tunnel under the Thames.
His career involved the rescue of perhaps 236 or more stricken vessels. As well as building and rescuing ships, he worked on 19 harbour structures in Scotland, not least an extension to Telford‘s harbour in Wick Bay. He had watched Winter gales destroy harbour walls by lifting and working loose the horizontally laid stones. When he rebuilt the walls he simply relaid them on their ends to eliminate this structural weakness.
Bremner married early in his life and had numerous sons and daughters. His wife died in 1856 and Bremner himself died in the August of the same year. In 1903 a tall obelisk was erected to his memory on high ground overlooking Wick Harbour, where it stands to this day.
He was born Oskar Josef Leschziner in Oppeln, Upper Silesia, Germany, to a Jewish family. Around 1893, possibly to evade military service, he moved to London, where he purportedly worked as a bookmaker using various names, including Anderson, before settling on Slater for official purposes. He was prosecuted for alleged malicious wounding in 1896 and assault in 1897 but was acquitted in both cases.
In 1899, Slater moved to Edinburgh and by 1901 was living in Glasgow. He was known to be a well-dressed dandy, who billed himself variously as a dentist and a dealer in precious stones, but was believed to earn his living as a gambler.
In December 1908, Marion Gilchrist, a spinster aged 83 years, was beaten to death in a robbery at West Princes Street, Glasgow, after her maid, Helen Lambie, had popped out for ten minutes. Although she had jewellery worth £3,000 (equivalent to £330,000 in 2021) hidden in her wardrobe, the robber, who was disturbed by a neighbour, had rifled through Mrs. Gilchrist’s personal papers and taken only a brooch. Slater left for New York five days after the murder and came under suspicion, as apparently before the murder, a caller to Gilchrist’s house had been looking for someone called “Anderson”, and Slater had coincidentally previously been seen trying to sell a pawn ticket for a brooch.
The police soon realised that the pawn ticket was for an entirely different brooch and a false lead, but notwithstanding the contradictory evidence, still applied for Slater’s extradition. While Slater was advised that the application would probably fail anyway, he voluntarily returned to Scotland to clear his name of the alleged crime.
Trial of Oscar Slater
At his trial presided over by Lord Guthrie, whose summing up was highly prejudicial, defence witnesses provided Slater with an alibi and confirmed that he had announced his trip to America long before the date of Mrs. Gilchrist’s murder. He was convicted by a majority of nine to six (five “not proven” and one “not guilty“). In May 1909, he was sentenced to death, with the execution to take place before the end of that month. However, Slater’s lawyers organised a petition that was signed by 20,000 people,and the Secretary of State for Scotland, Lord Pentland, subsequently issued a conditional pardon and commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Slater was to serve nineteen years at Peterhead Prison.
The following year, the Scottish lawyer and amateur criminologist William Roughead published his Trial of Oscar Slater, highlighting flaws in the prosecution. The circumstantial evidence against Slater included his alleged “flight from justice”. The prosecution’s evidence and witnesses identifying Slater as a suspect, including maid Helen Lambie, were also criticized as fleeting and otherwise unreliable, prejudiced, tainted, or coached. In particular, Slater was conspicuously contrasted with nine off-duty policemen in a rigged identification parade.
Slater received little support from within Glasgow’s Jewish community, which was attributed towards concerns around drawing attention to Slater’s Jewish identity in light of the case’s notoriety and the potential for a rise in antisemitism as a result.
In 1914 Thomas McKinnon Wood ordered a Private Inquiry into the case. A detective in the case, John Thomson Trench, provided information which had allegedly been deliberately concealed from the trial by the police. The Inquiry found that the conviction was sound, and instead, Trench was dismissed from the force and prosecuted on trumped-up charges from which he was eventually acquitted.
Criminal Appeal (Scotland) Act 1927
1927 saw the publication of The Truth about Oscar Slater by William Park. The contents of the book led the Solicitor General for Scotland, Alexander Munro MacRobert, to conclude that it was no longer proven that Slater was guilty. An Act (17 & 18 Geo. V) was passed to extend the jurisdiction of the then recently established Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal to convictions before the original shut-off date of 1926. Slater’s conviction was quashed in July 1928 on the grounds that Lord Guthrie had failed to direct the jury about the irrelevance of allegations relating to Slater’s previous character.
After serving an almost two-decades long prison sentence of hard labour, Slater received only £6,000 (2019: £364,170) in compensation.
Detective-Lieutenant Trench died in 1919, aged fifty, and never lived to see justice done.
In the 1930s, Slater married a local Scottish woman of German descent thirty years his junior and settled in the seaside town of Ayr where he repaired and sold antiques. As an enemy alien (born German), Slater and his wife were interned for a brief time at the start of World War II, though Slater had long since lost his German citizenship and never returned to Germany. Most of Slater’s surviving family, including his two sisters, ultimately were murdered in the Holocaust. He died in Ayr in 1948 of natural causes.
Edward Bruce, Earl of Carrick, invaded Ireland on 26 May 1315, with the full support of his brother, Robert the Bruce. A number of MacDougalls and their allies had fled to Ireland and the Bruces saw it as another front in the ongoing war against Norman England. Edward’s 6,000 troops landed unopposed near Larne He defeated an of his brother’s father-in-law, Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, led by Thomas de Mandeville, before moving on to take the town of Carrickfergus.
In late June, Edward proceeded from Carrickfergus along Magh Line (Six Mile Water), burning Rathmore, near Antrim town, which was a holding of the Savages. He then went south by way of the Moiry Pass. Here he was met by Mac Duilechain of Clanbrassil and Mac Artain of Iveagh, both of whom had submitted to him at Carrickfergus. Their attempted ambush ended in their defeat, and Bruce gained some supplies from the fleeing Anglo-Irish. According to the 14th-century account by John Barbour, the Scottish troops were led in the battle by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, who had them fight on foot as was typical. 
Moving southwards, they burned Rathmore and destroyed De Verdon’s fortress of Castleroache near Dundalk. Outside the town Bruce encountered an army led by John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 4th Lord of Offaly, his son-in-law Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick and Maurice FitzGerald, 4th Baron Desmond. The Scottish push them back towards Dundalk and lay waste to the town and its inhabitants. At Ardee they set fire to the church in which a number of people had taken refuge and all were burned to death.
Although Bruce had a large army, he was losing large amounts of forces at every battle he was involved in. By 1318, Bruce had only 2,000 men left. At the Battle of Faughart, Bruce fought the lordship with all of his surviving men. Bruce was killed by John de Bermingham at the battle and Bruce was buried at a cemetery above Faughart.
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After the Act of Union, growing prosperity in Scotland led to a spate of new building, both public and private. The threat of Jacobite insurrection or invasion meant that Scotland also saw more military building than England in this period, relying on the strength of inclined and angled engineered masonry work combined with the ability of earthen toppings that could deflect and absorb artillery fire. This culminated in the construction of Fort George, near Inverness (1748–69), with its projecting bastions and redoubts. Scotland produced some of the most significant architects of this era, including: Colen Campbell (1676–1729), James Gibbs (1682–1754), James (1732–94), John (1721–92) and Robert Adam (1728–92) and William Chambers (1723–96), who all created work that to some degree looked to classical models. Edinburgh‘s New Town was the focus of this classical building boom in Scotland. From the mid-eighteenth century it was laid out according to a plan of rectangular blocks with open squares, drawn up by James Craig and built in strong Craigleith sandstone which could be precisely cut by masons. Most residences were built as tenement flats, where, in contrast to contemporary building in England where buildings were divided vertically into different houses, they were divided horizontally, with different occupants sharing a common staircase. The smallest might have only one room, the largest several bedrooms and drawing rooms. This classicism, together with its reputation as a major centre of the Enlightenment, resulted in the city being nicknamed “The Athens of the North”. The gridiron plan, building forms and the architectural detailing would be copied by many smaller towns, although rendered in locally quarried materials. Despite this building boom, the centralisation of much of the government administration, including the king’s works, in London, meant that a number of Scottish architects spent most of all of their careers in England, where they had a major impact on Georgian architecture.
Rear view of a nineteenth-century Scottish tenement, Edinburgh
Colen Campbell was influenced by the Palladian style and has been credited with founding Georgian architecture. Architectural historian Howard Colvin has speculated that he was associated with James Smith and that Campbell may even have been his pupil. He spent most of his career in Italy and England and developed a rivalry with fellow Scot James Gibbs. Gibbs trained in Rome and also practised mainly in England. His architectural style did incorporate Palladian elements, as well as forms from Italian baroque and Inigo Jones, but was most strongly influenced by the interpretation of the Baroque by Sir Christopher Wren.
William Adam, was the foremost architect of his time in Scotland, designing and building numerous country houses and public buildings. Among his best known works are Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, and Duff House in Banff. His individual, exuberant, style was built on the Palladian style, but with Baroque details inspired by Vanbrugh and Continental architecture. After his death, his sons Robert and John took on the family business, which included lucrative work for the Board of Ordnance. Robert emerged as leader of the first phase of the neo-classical revival in England and Scotland from around 1760 until his death. He rejected the Palladian style as “ponderous” and “disgustful”. However, he continued their tradition of drawing inspiration directly from classical antiquity, influenced by his four-year stay in Europe. An interior designer as well as an architect, with his brothers developing the Adam style, he influenced the development of architecture, not just in Britain, but in Western Europe, North America and in Russia, where his patterns were taken by Scottish architect Charles Cameron. Adam’s main rival was William Chambers, another Scot, but born in Sweden. He did most of his work in London, with a small number of houses in Scotland. He was appointed architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III, and in 1766, with Robert Adam, as Architect to the King. More international in outlook than Adam, he combined Neoclassicism and Palladian conventions and his influence was mediated through his large number of pupils.
Thurso is mainland Scotland’s most northerly town, and home to the country’s most northerly railway station. Located on the north coast of Caithness, its seaward views are dominated by the distant cliffs of Dunnet Head to the north-east, and those of the island of Hoy, one of the Orkney Islands, to the north.
Modern Thurso tends to be seen as a stepping stone en route to somewhere else rather than as a destination in its own right, although in recent years the sometimes turbulent seas of the Pentland Firth have led to the town becoming an unlikely focus for fans of surfing from all over the world.
Thurso is also a point of departure for those embarking on the best scenic route Scotland has to offer, the 140 miles taking in the north and west coasts via Durness to Ullapool. In the 1970s this route comprised sometimes tortuous single track roads the whole way and included a ferry crossing (or a 100 mile detour along more single track roads) at Kylesku.
The arrival of the Kylesku Bridge and many stretches of road wide enough to boast white lines down the middle have made the far north-west much more accessible. But the utterly superb scenery the area has to offer remains: and there also remain some stretches of single track road to add interest to the trip, especially around Durness. If you are intending to go this way, make sure you have filled up with fuel before heading west from Thurso. In more recent times this route, albeit usually travelled in the opposite direction, has formed part of the North Coast 500.
Thurso’s origins are revealed in its name, which comes from the Old Norse for Bull’s River. The Vikings were well established here from as early as the 900s, using the river mouth as a port and a fishing base. After Caithness became more securely part of Scotland in medieval times, Thurso continued to grow around its fishing and trade, in a triangular area formed by the River Thurso to the south-east and the shore of Thurso Bay to the north. This area is still known as Old Thurso or the old town.
Not a great deal remains of medieval Old Thurso except for the roofless Old St Peter’s Church. Parts of this date back to the early 1100s and it seems to have been expanded and altered at various points over the next seven centuries before being abandoned in 1832. After a period of closure, Old St Peter’s Church and the surrounding churchyard are again open to the public, and are well worth a visit.
Nearby Shore Street is very picturesque, and Thurso’s seafront is well worth exploring. From here you can see the rather sad remains of Thurso Castle on the eastern side of the river mouth. On the site of earlier castles dating back to the 1100s, this was largely replaced by a grand Scots Baronial mansion in the 1870s. It caught fire and was subsequently partly demolished in 1952.
If you follow the pedestrianised High Street and Rotterdam Street. This was created in the years from 1798 by Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, using wide streets laid out on a regular grid. This grid remains in place today. At its heart is what is now known as Sir John’s Square, in which you find a statue of Sir John Sinclair. This is slightly eclipsed by the impressive war memorial at the south-east or lower end of the square. The upper end of the square is filled by the Gothic splendour of St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church. This was completed in 1832 by the architect William Burn, at which point Old St Peter’s Church became redundant.
Other things to look out for in the new town include Meadow Well, a circular wellhouse completed in 1823, and the fine public library, originally the Miller Institution, which since it was completed in 1862 has terminated the view down the length of Traill Street, one of Thurso’s main through streets. Less obvious is the impressive Janet Street overlooking the River Thurso close to Thurso Bridge.
Thurso’s most recent bout of growth followed the establishment from 1954 of the Dounreay Nuclear Power Development Establishment at a disused wartime airfield eight miles to the west of the town. At its peak in the 1970s Dounreay employed 3,500 people, many of whom lived in Thurso. Employment levels have declined since then, but the task of decommissioning the establishment will ensure a significant contribution to the economy of the area for decades to come.
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse. Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero, Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question… Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, And seeing that it was a soft October night, Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— [They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”] My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin— [They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”] Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all— Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all— The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all— Arms that are braceleted and white and bare [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!] Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress? Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. And should I then presume? And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! Smoothed by long fingers, Asleep… tired… or it malingers, Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me. Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter, I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all, After the cups, the marmalade, the tea, Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me, Would it have been worth while, To have bitten off the matter with a smile, To have squeezed the universe into a ball To roll it toward some overwhelming question, To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— If one, settling a pillow by her head, Should say: “That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all, Would it have been worth while, After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor— And this, and so much more?— It is impossible to say just what I mean! But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: Would it have been worth while If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, And turning toward the window, should say: “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old… I grow old… I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
St. Margaret of Scotland, or Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess born in Hungary to Princess Agatha of Hungary and English Prince Edward the Exile around 1045. Her siblings, Cristina and Edgar the Atheling were also born in Hungary around this time.
Margaret and her family returned to England when she was 10-years-old and her father was called back as a potential successor to the throne. However, Edward died immediately after the family arrived, but Margaret and Edgar continued to reside at the English court.
Margaret’s family fled from William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her widowed mother set out to take her children north to Northumbria.
Tradition says, Agatha decided to leave Northumbria and return to the continent, but her family’s ship got caught in a storm. The storm drove their ship even more north to Scotland, where they were shipwrecked in 1068. The spot they landed on is now known as “St. Margaret’s Hope.”
Malcolm Canmore III, the king of Scotland, welcomed Margaret and her family and put them under his protection. He soon fell deeply in love with the beautiful and kind princess. Margaret and Malcolm became married in 1070 at the castle of Dunfermline.
Together, they had eight children, six sons and two daughters. All of whom were raised with deep Catholic Christian faith. They lived as a holy family, a domestic church.
Margaret’s kind-nature and good heart was a strong influence on Malcolm’s reign. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous King of Scotland. Together they prayed, fed the hungry, and offered a powerful example of living faith in action. Margaret was placed in charge of all domestic affairs and was often consulted with state matters, as well.
She promoted the arts and education in Scotland. She encouraged Church synods and was involved in efforts to correct the religious abuses involving Bishops, priests and laypeople.
Her impact in Scotland led her to being referred to as, “The Pearl of Scotland.”
She constantly worked to aid the poor Scotland. She encouraged people to live a devout life, grow in prayer, and grow in holiness. She helped to build churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the true Cross is kept. She was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She set aside specific times for prayer and to read Scripture. She didn’t eat often and slept very little so she would have more time for her devotions. She lived holiness of life as a wife, mother and lay woman; truly in love with Jesus Christ.
Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much he had her books decorated in jewels, gold and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library after it was miraculously recovered from a river.
In 1093, Malcolm and their oldest son were killed during the Battle of Alnwick. Already ill and worn from a life full of austerity and fasting, Margaret passed away four days after her husband, on November 16, 1093.
Her body was buried before the high alter at Dunfermline.
In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized Margaret as a Saint, acknowlegeing her life of holiness and extraordinary virtue. She was honored for her work for reform of the Church and her personal holiness.
In 1259, Margaret’s and Malcolm’s bodies were transferred to a chapel in the eastern apse of Dunfermline Abbey. In 1560, Mary Queen of Scots came into possession of Margaret’s head. It was kept as a relic. She insisted that it, and Margaret’s prayers from heaven, helped assist her in childbirth. Her head later ended up with the Jesuits at the Scots’ College, Douai, France, but was lost during the French Revolution.
Motherwell FC was born on 17 May 1886, when representatives of the two main Motherwell works teams Glencairn FC and Alpha FC met in Ballie’s pub in the town’s Merry Street, and decided to merge the two teams with the aim of creating a club to represent the town as a whole at a higher footballing level. Motherwell’s debut fixture proved to be a successful one as they overcame Hamilton Academical 3–2.
The early years proved somewhat chaotic as the club had little regular competition to play in, and matches would often start with players short, as men failed to turn up on time after their shifts in the local ironworks. On 5 August 1893 the decision was made to turn professional, and the club was consequently elected to the league, then being the only Lanarkshire side to compete at national level.
Up until 1895 the club had played at a few different venues, including a site at Roman Road, and Dalziel Park. The small pitch and muddy conditions at Dalziel Park were deemed unsuitable and Lord Hamilton granted a lease on a plot of land on his Dalzell estate. This new ground was named Fir Park and has remained the club’s home for over 120 years.
The following years saw the club grow, appointing their first and longest serving manager to date, John ‘Sailor’ Hunter, who would go on to steer the club into its most successful period.
In 1913 the decision was made to change the club’s colours from blue to the now signature claret and amber. It is thought this was inspired by the success of Bradford City, who also sport claret and amber, although a more romantic version of events claims them to have been Lord Hamilton of Dalzell’s racing colours.
Motherwell enjoyed a successful period in the aftermath of World War I, managed by John Hunter. The club placed third in the 1919–20 season and, although narrowly avoiding relegation in 1924–25, they steadily climbed the table and enjoyed seven successive seasons finishing in the top three.
In the summer of 1927, the club made a very successful tour of Spain, winning six out of the eight games they played and losing only one. These results included an emphatic 3–1 victory over Real Madrid and a 2–2 draw with Barcelona. Following their success in Spain, the club went on another summer tour, this time of South America. After losing only three of their previous ten games, the tour culminated in a 5–0 defeat by a Brazilian League Select side.
Motherwell’s first (and to this day, only) Scottish League championship came in 1931–32 – with 30 wins in 38 fixtures, scoring 119 goals – a record 52 of which were scored by Willie MacFadyen, who remains to this day the record holder for most goals scored in a single season and one of the club’s all-time top goalscorers with 251 goals. The championship was sealed on 23 April 1932, when Rangers could only draw at home against Clyde, handing Motherwell the title without kicking a ball. This was also the only League title won by a club outside the Old Firm between 1904 and 1947. In the two seasons following the league title win (1933–34 and 1934–35), ‘Well finished runners-up, as they had also been in 1926–27 and 1929–30. They also contested three Scottish Cup finals in this period – in 1931, 1933 and 1939, but lost them all.
Following their return to the First Division, Bobby Ancell took management of the club in 1955 and presided over an era in which highly regarded Scotland stars including Ian St. John and Charlie Aitken played for the club. However, Motherwell were unable to keep their assets, and no trophies were won in Ancell’s era. His resignation came in 1965 amidst a downturn in form which eventually saw the club relegated back to the Second Division at the conclusion of the 1967–68 season.
1970s recovery and the McLean era
Motherwell were immediately promoted back to the First Division in 1969, maintaining a mid-table position. The 18-team First Division was superseded by a new 10-team Premier League for the 1975–76 season, at which time they were managed by Willie McLean and his assistant Craig Brown (who would become manager almost 35 years later). Under their management, Motherwell improved to fourth in the table with players such as Bobby Graham, Willie Pettigrew and Bobby Watson. The most notable cup run of that period was the 1975-76 Scottish Cup where they eliminated Celtic and lost out in the semi-final to Rangers.
1980 and 90s
Tribute to Motherwell’s 1991 Scottish Cup winning side.
Relegation down to the now-First Division and promotion back to the Premier League occurred twice in the early 1980s, before a decade under manager Tommy McLean (brother of Willie) culminated in a Scottish Cup win in 1991. However, similarly to the Ancell era, Scotland internationalist Tom Boyd was sold in the close season after the cup win. Results faded for two years before reaching another two season zenith immediately following the signing of Paul Lambert with third (1993–94) and second-placed (1994–95) Premier League finishes. The 1995 runners-up finish was the club’s highest finish since 1933–34.
With Tommy McLean’s departure to Hearts in 1994, much of his squad was broken up; a large fee in particular was paid by Celtic for Phil O’Donnell. Much of this money was reinvested in the squad, while the club cycled through managers including Alex McLeish and Harri Kampman. At this point, in August 1998, John Boyle bought the club, taking over from John Chapman. Billy Davies was appointed as manager, and large transfer fees were paid for prominent players including ex-Scotland internationals John Spencer and Andy Goram. The investment though failed to provide results on the pitch.
By the end of Davies’ tenure the club were in financial trouble. Eric Black was briefly in charge with the club floating near the foot of the table before it was placed in administration in April 2002 with losses approaching GBP 2 million yearly. Black resigned, and was replaced by Terry Butcher. The club’s outlook remained bleak as they were forced to make redundant or release 19 players and replace them with younger players; Boyle also placed the club up for sale. Relegation in 2002–03 – normally automatic following a last-place finish in the league – was avoided on a technicality, as First Division winners Falkirk lacked a stadium meeting Premier League regulations.
Despite the lack of resources, a number of young talented players were found to play for the club; crucially, when many of these moved on, including Stephen Pearson and James McFadden, they brought revenue in the form of transfer fees, and with John Boyle waiving the club’s personal debt to him, its financial future was assured by the conclusion of the 2004–05 season with the club’s yearly losses falling to one of the lowest figures in the Premier League and the club coming out of administration in time to avoid a ten-point Premier League penalty which was being phased in for teams in administration. On the field, the club also managed to reach the League Cup final, although they were comprehensively defeated by Rangers. Butcher moved on to Sydney at the end of the 2005–06 season, and was succeeded by his assistant Maurice Malpas. Malpas’ stint at the club lasted just one season before his resignation in May 2007. After a short period with Scott Leitch as caretaker manager, Mark McGhee was appointed to the position. In his first season as manager McGhee would take the club to 3rd in the league and thus qualify for the UEFA Cup for the first time in 13 years where they would be beaten by French side AS Nancy 3–0 on aggregate. Mark McGhee left Motherwell for the vacant managerial position at Aberdeen in June 2009 to be replaced by Jim Gannon. Former Scotland manager Craig Brown took over when Gannon left.
Brown helped the club finish 5th in the SPL and qualify for Europe. The 2010–11 season saw the club in the Europa League and they defeated Breidablik and Aalesunds before losing in the Play-off round to Odense preventing them from reaching the group stages of the competition. Brown left Motherwell for Aberdeen on 10 December 2010. Stuart McCall was named as his successor. This season saw the club reach the Scottish Cup Final where they were defeated 3–0 by Celtic.
The 2011–12 season saw Motherwell reach the qualifying round of the Champions League for the first time. They finished third, one place outside the normal two spots allocated to the SPL for the Champions League. However the club was awarded a place because the club that had finished above them, Rangers, went into liquidation and were prevented by UEFA from playing in European competitions. In the draw for the 3rd qualification round of the Champions League Motherwell were drawn against Greek heavyweights Panathanaikos. This ended in disappointment as Motherwell were knocked out after losing 2–0 at home and then 3–0 away. The 2012–13 season brought even greater success in the SPL as the club finished 2nd in the table and once again qualified for the Europa League. It also saw striker Michael Higdon win the PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year award. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph (second year running), defender Shaun Hutchinson and midfielder Nicky Law were selected for the PFA Scotland Team of the Year.
A panoramic view of Fir Park, pictured during a Scottish Premiership fixture between Motherwell and Dundee United.
Motherwell were granted associate membership of the European Club Association in June 2013, becoming the fifth Scottish club to join the Association. The club were invited to join after consistent qualification for European competition between 2008 and 2013. In season 2013–14 Motherwell were knocked out of the Europa League by Russian side Kuban Krasnodar 3–0 on aggregate in the third qualifying round. On 22 January 2014 Motherwell won their 40th Lanarkshire cup beating Hamilton Academical 1–0 thanks to a 54th-minute goal by 19-year-old youngster Jack Leitch. On the final day of the 2013–14 Scottish Premiership, Motherwell won 1–0 at Aberdeen with a dramatic 93rd-minute winner, leapfrogging Aberdeen in the process to seal a second successive runners-up spot in the league. Despite conceding the most goals (60) out of the top six teams, European football was delivered for the sixth time in seven seasons, with a record points total (70). It was a season that also saw a first ever competitive defeat to Lanarkshire neighbours Albion Rovers, sitting third bottom of Scottish League Two at the time, 1–0 in the Scottish Cup.
Despite three successful consecutive league campaigns, Motherwell made a poor start to the 2014–15 Scottish Premiership, which ultimately led to the resignation of manager Stuart McCall on 2 November 2014. Despite the appointment of Ian Baraclough in December 2014, Motherwell were eventually consigned to a Scottish Premiership relegation play-off spot after a defeat at St Mirren in the penultimate league match of the 2014–15 season. In the 2014–15 relegation play-off finals, Motherwell faced Rangers. The first leg, at Rangers’ home ground, Ibrox Stadium, saw Motherwell run out as winners with a score of 1–3. In the second leg, Motherwell celebrated staying in the top division by winning, 3–0. On 23 September 2015, Motherwell parted ways with manager Ian Baraclough. Mark McGhee returned in October 2015 before being sacked in March 2017 after a poor run of results.
On 28 October 2016, Motherwell became a fan-owned club when supporters club Well Society’s £1 deal with Les Hutchison was concluded. On 13 October 2017, Manager Stephen Robinson extended his contract until May 2020. On 31 December 2020, Robinson resigned as manager, with Keith Lasley taking interim charge.
In Popular Culture and Literature
In the crime novel The Greenock Murders by Kieran James (2021), a 10-year-old autistic boy, Wee Robbie, moves from Motherwell to Greenock with his family. He refuses to give up his support of Motherwell FC despite repeated abuse and bullying. In the closing stages of the novel, Motherwell beats Rangers 2–1 in a fictional 2022 Scottish Cup Final, involving real players’ names on both sides.
19th century Scottish double inkwell by Arthur Medlock with two hoof inkwells with metal covers centred by a facet citrine, on a wooden base, the inkwells stamped Medlock Inverness. Dimensions Height 7 Inches Width 12.5 Inches Depth 7.5 Inches
The Scottish royal tapestry collection was a group of tapestry hangings assembled to decorate the palaces of sixteenth-century kings and queens of Scotland.
Tapestry at the Royal Court of Scotland.
Henry VIII seated beneath a tapestry cloth of state.
Like other European monarchs, the kings and queens of Scotland sought to impress their subjects and diplomatic visitors in costly surroundings. At Château de Fontainebleau in 1540, the King of France himself helped the English ambassador onto a bench so he could examine and admire the ‘antique borders’ of the tapestry in his bedchamber, and this was seen as a sign of special favour. In Scotland, James V’s tapestries were listed in two inventories, along with the crown jewels and fine clothes. These tapestries were used to hang the best chambers and halls in the palaces, and were transported with the monarch between residences and lined, fixed and hung by specialists on the court pay-roll. The rooms were decorated with a painted frieze at the top of the wall and plain beneath where the tapestries hung. Henry VIII of England had nearly 2000 tapestries and James V had 200.
Eleven pieces of royal tapestry were destroyed in the explosion at Kirk o’ Field in February 1567 that killed the King Consort of Scotland, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. None of the original Scottish tapestries are known to exist now, but the names of many of them were recorded, and the subjects are the same as those listed in other royal collections, and some examples survive in museums around the world. Some of the tapestries showed Biblical themes, or subjects with medieval roots, but most were stories from classical antiquity, reflecting Renaissance taste, and some were scenes from the hunting field.
The reception of Margaret Tudor at Holyroodhouse.
James IV owned tapestries, which are usually called the “arras” in records of his court. The tapestries were frequently carried between the palaces, especially to impress foreign diplomats. In January 1495 tapestries were put in the king’s chamber at Holyrood Palace to impress the Chancellor of Denmark by James Dog, a wardrobe servant described in two poems by William Dunbar, Of James Dog and He Is Na Dog, He Is a Lam. Soon after, the tapestries were packed up and taken to Stirling Castle, where the king celebrated Easter. Ripped and torn tapestries were mended in 1497 by a priest John Kilgour of Dunblane. In March 1498 James IV ordered a suite of tapestry for his new lodging at Stirling Castle from James Makysone, a merchant based in Leith.
In preparation for the arrival of his bride Margaret Tudor at Holyroodhouse on 8 August 1503, James IV bought new tapestries. A group was bought from a merchant called James Hommyll, who imported textiles from Flanders, which cost £160 Scots. These were a piece with the subject of Hercules, two pieces of Susanna sewn together, a Susanna bed cover, a Solomon, and a Marcus Coriolanus. The total measurement which, combined with quality, dictated the price, was 209 square ells. The tapestries were lined with canvas. A set of six verdure tapestries were bought for hanging in the gallery and on the stairs, each costing £3. Five other smaller verdures of various sizes cost £11-4s. Ten fine verdures were bought from John Stewart; three with ‘beasts’ cost £4-10s each, seven with no beasts cost £4 each (the ‘beasts’ may have been unicorns). Four other verdures bought for beds were in quality, ‘nocht sa gude’, and cost only 40 shillings each.
Before Margaret left England, the tapestry agent of Henry VII of England, Cornelius van der Strete, had been paid £7-8s (English money) for making or supplying 74 Flemish ells of tapestry for the Scottish Consort Queen. The historian and curator Thomas P. Campbell suggests these may have been simple armorial tapestries or borders to be attached to figural tapestries purchased elsewhere.
James Dog fixed hooks in the rooms of Holyrood Palace for tapestry. The English Somerset Herald, John Young, described some of the tapestry at Holyroodhouse on the two days of celebration. Young noted the hangings in the two outer rooms of the King and Queen’s suites where meals were served. The Queen’s hall was hung with the History of Hercules, and her great chamber with the History of Troy Town. The King’s hall was hung with the History of Old Troy, and his great chamber with Hercules and other stories. Possibly some of these tapestries were brought to Scotland by Margaret, perhaps with new borders including Tudor heraldry supplied by Cornelis van der Strete.
The royal treasurer’s accounts record payments for carrying tapestry between the palaces: six dozen hooks were bought for hangings in the new Great Hall of Stirling Castle in November 1503; in February 1506, the ‘Cloths of Hercules’ were taken from Edinburgh to Linlithgow Palace. There was a fire in October 1506 and burnt tapestries were packed in barrels and taken to Leith. The Italian merchant Jerome Frescobaldi, who was based in Bruges, made arrangements for their repair in Flanders. The merchant James Hommyl hosted the king’s African servants including Ellen More in the winter of 1504.
Two inventories of 1539 and 1543 list the tapestries of James V. Some of these had belonged to James IV, though Gavin Douglas said that Regent Albany had cut up royal crimson and purple hangings to make clothes for his servants and pages, but many were bought by James V, or were presents from Francis I of France on his marriage to Madeleine of Valois. An inventory of September 1561 made by Servais de Condé lists tapestries and other hangings belonging to Mary of Guise, and another compiled on 25 November lists Mary, Queen of Scots‘ collection. These lists have marginal notes describing the later locations of the tapestries. Mary Queen of Scots added to the royal collection by confiscating 45 tapestries belonging to the Earl of Huntly at Huntly Castle in October 1562. These included one set of large leaf verdures and other set with leaves and birds. Five of the eleven tapestries destroyed at Kirk o’ Field were from Huntly, the other were from a suite depicting a “Rabbit Hunt”.
Regent Moray and Mary’s goods
After the battle of Langside in May 1568, the Regent Moray took back from Hamilton Palace rich silk tapestry and beds that had belonging to James V. Packing canvas bought for goods seized from the castle at Hamilton (Cadzow Castle), including some of the royal tapestries. Packages and trunks from Hamilton were carried to Edinburgh by horses supervised by the gunner Harry Balfour. Mary had loaned some tapestry and furnishings to James Sandilands, 1st Lord Torphichen, which had been taken to Hamilton. Later, he was questioned about these items, he said that Servais de Condé had received, “so many books, and such moveables, which were all dispersed, dimembered, and spoilt by the soldiers, and [by] harling them on sleds through the foul moors and taking no accompt of the keeping of them when they were in Hamilton”.
An inventory of March 1579 made by George Douglas of Parkhead lists tapestries stored in Edinburgh Castle and those hanging at Stirling Castle, where James VI was resident. Tapestries at Stirling included eight pieces of the Judgement of Paris, four pieces of the Hunt of the Unicorn, four or five pieces of Roboam, five pieces of the “Triumph of Verity”, four pieces of the Count of Ravenna, four pieces of the History of Aeneas, a piece of the Story of Tobit, and a hanging with the arms of the Dukes of Longueville. Other furnishings in use at Stirling at this time include a cloth of estate made of alternate strips of gold and crimson velvet, a cloth of estate of “high colour” crimson velvet, a crimson satin cloth of estate, and a cloth of estate of cloth of gold. These cloths of estate were suspended above the chairs and thrones used by James VI. There were three state beds; one of red velvet embroidered with love knots and a “I.I” motif, another bed of cloth of gold and silver embroidered with pots of flowers, and another of “high colour” crimson velvet. These beds and cloths of estate were positioned in the three principal rooms of the king’s royal lodging.
Some of the tapestries then displayed in Stirling Castle may have been in place for decades, others had recently been storage in Edinburgh Castle with Mary’s goods. In June 1578 “certain great pieces of tapestry” and coffers of furnishings were loaded on a boat at Leith and shipped to Cambuskenneth and the castle.
An inventory of Stirling Castle made on 6 May 1584 records a set of five tapestries hanging in the king’s audience chamber in the palace with the red damask or satin “dais” cloth, and seven tapestries in the bedchamber with cloth of estate of gold and the red velvet bed. The other furnishings used in the king’s minority years at Stirling were probably taken to Holyroodhouse.
Mary Queen of Scots in England
When Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle in February 1569, three suites of tapestries and carpets were delivered from the Removing Wardrobe at the Tower of London to furnish her rooms. These included six pieces of the Passion, six pieces of the History of Ladies, and seven pieces of Hercules; the latter two subjects are found in the earlier Scottish inventories. At Sheffield Manor in February 1577 she had her own tapestries of Aeneas and Meleager. In January 1585, when Mary was again being moved to Tutbury, Queen Elizabeth recalled that Regent Moray had sent plate, hangings and other items to Mary while she was in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury. The Earl wrote (to Lord Burghley) that this was not the case and Elizabeth was mistaken: “to my knowledge since her commynge she never received any stuff or other things from him.” Mary used tapestry to line her bedchamber at Tutbury against the cold, making a kind of tent. At Fotheringhay in 1587 she had six pieces of Meleager and six of the Battle of Ravenna which she wished to be sold to pay for her servants’ journeys home.
James VI and Anna of Denmark
Tapestries and hangings were carefully repaired in 1594 for the baptism of Prince Henry at Stirling Castle. After the Union of the Crowns, King James inherited the tapestries belonging to the English crown, and bought new tapestries from merchants and manufacturers, including Francis Spiring, or Spierincx of Delft (1550-1630) who supplied a suite of three or five pieces for £251-10s sterling in September 1607.
Among the remaining contents of the Royal Wardrobe at Holyroodhouse in 1617, three pieces of green velvet embroidered with gold holly leaves and the Longueville arms, which had belonged to Mary of Guise (Duchess of Longueville by her first marriage), were repaired by Nicolas Elsmeere for use during James’s return visit to Scotland. These Longueville hangings had been repaired in 1594 by the embroiderer William Betoun for the baptism of Prince Henry. In 1635, Charles I wrote to John Stewart, 1st Earl of Traquair, Treasurer of Scotland, insisting on the payment of the wardrobe servants, so that hangings, cloths-of-estate, and beds could be aired. The remaining tapestries at Holyrood would have been seized by Commonwealth troops in 1650. In April 1656, soldiers retrieved and sent to Whitehall four pieces of the Labours of Hercules, perhaps the latest mention of tapestry from the Scottish royal collection.
The tapestry collection
Bought in Paris
The six pieces of the Triumphant Dames or City of Dames were bought in Paris in 1537 or 1538 for 883 francs 10 sous during James V’s trip to marry Madeleine of Valois. The pieces varied slightly in size with a total area of 147 square ells, each square ell costed at six francs, to a total of 883 francs 10 sou. The set was finished with canvas, cords, and ribbons, and sent to Rouen by boat and then to Newhaven in France for shipping, along with another set called the Old and New Stories. The area of the tapestry which “covers both the stories” was 250 square ells, at 5 francs 10 sou the ell, and cost 1,375 francs. The cost of a new tapestry per unit area is probably a good indication of quality.
A set with a similar name, the New Law and the Old, was listed among Catherine of Aragon‘s effects in February 1536. The Scottish suite was probably the ten-piece Old Testament listed in the inventory of 1539. Only one piece was noted in 1542, and none was heard of again in Scotland. James V’s servant George Steill was sent to Flanders from Paris on 3 February 1537 to acquire more tapestries. At the same time James V hired a new French tapestry-man, William, and gave him 20 crowns to bring his wife and children to Scotland. Two pieces from a set of the Old and New Law were in the wardrobe of Hampton Court in 1658, taken down from the queen’s privy chamber and another nine pieces were listed the king’s privy chamber.
The other tapestry bought in Paris and packed for shipping to Rouen was the Creation of World, of which nine pieces were at Holyroodhouse in 1561, and in Edinburgh Castle in 1578. In 1616, Alexander Seton had some ‘auld and worne’ pieces described as the Storie of Mankynd at Dunfermline Palace. The set could possibly have been The World series, depicting various moral allegories and including a globe. There was a set of the History of the Creation of the World at Hampton Court in 1613, in which God was represented as three persons in bishop’s costumes with crowns and sceptres. This could have been a design known as the Redemption of Man known to have been owned both by Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey. There were several weavings.
A list of wedding gifts from Francis I adds four suites of rich Arras hangings, and eight suites of coarser Arras, all ‘ret verey good.’ These gifts would have been included among the tapestries named in the Scottish inventories mentioned below.
In October 1546, a merchant from Antwerp or Lille, Eustace de Coqueil, wrote to Mary of Guise offering her histories and other tapestries, but it seems unlikely that any were bought during this brief period of peace in the war of the Rough Wooing. Another member of this family, Ogier de Coqueil, set up as a merchant in Edinburgh and sold silverware. On 20 February 1557, Mary of Guise granted Eustace de Coqueil, his wife Barbara Bullestraitt and several other members of the family trading rights in Scotland.
Tobias and the Angel and the Tint Barne
The Tint Barne, the History of the Lost Child, might appear to be the same subject as the History of Tobias. However the five-piece Tobias was listed in 1539 and also in 1542, along with the seven-piece Tint Barne. The subject of the tinte barne was probably the Prodigal Son, a subject listed many times in the inventory of Henry VIII, and Cardinal Wolsey had seven pieces.
Chamber of the Antique history
These were delivered by a William Schaw in 1539, costing 2466 écu au soleil (crowns of the sun) . It was a group of five (or six) sets of seven pieces, and included seven Sundry pieces histories of Chambers in fine stuff listed in 1539. Additions for this Chamber of Antique History were bought by a servant of John Moffet, conservator of Flanders in April 1541. The word ‘chamber’ referred to the suite of tapestry rather than any actual room in the palaces. Subjects supplied by William Schaw listed in 1539 include; seven pieces of Poesy; seven pieces of Jason and Golden Fleece; and seven pieces of Venus, Pallas, Hercules, Mars, Bacchus, and Gaia (Mother of the Earth), with the Biblical History of Solomon. Only six pieces of the Jason were listed in 1542. Four pieces of the Solomon were listed in September 1561, and noted circa 1568 to be at Stirling. The others are not heard of again. The Little Solomon was also noted in September 1561, another set, or perhaps three of the seven scenes pieces bought by William Schaw.
The seven-piece History of Perseus was presumably of this group, though not linked in the inventories of 1539 and 1540 to William Schaw’s purchase. James IV had bought one piece of a History of Hercules, and nine were listed in 1542. This was a suite separate to the Hercules in the ancient god series of the Chambers.
Similarly, a three piece History of Romulus was listed in 1542. The Old History of Troy of eight or nine pieces listed in 1539 and 1542 was perhaps a Stewart inheritance, old and already described as worn out, so distinguished from the Aeneas. The family of Mary of Guise’s first husband, Louis II d’Orléans, Duc de Longueville, had Troy tapestries at their Château de Châteaudun as early as 1468.
The thirteen pieces of the History of Aeneas were carried from Edinburgh Castle to St. Andrews in May 1539, and are listed in the inventory of 1539. Eight pieces described as the Sailing of Aeneas are listed in November 1561 at Holyroodhouse, with a note, presumably of c.1568, locating them at Stirling Castle. In 1578 there were eight Sailing pieces and four others at Edinburgh Castle. The extra tapestry may have been a piece from the Old History of Troy, or possibly the Sailing of Aeneas set, first listed in November 1561, was newly brought from France by Queen Mary and not part of James’s Aeneas. Alexander Seton had some of the Aeneas and Troy at Dunfermline among his 10 old pieces in 1616. An area of the garden of Holyroodhouse was called the Sege of Troy, and there may have been a connection, perhaps only that the tapestries were aired there.
A separate subject from the Jason, listed in 1539 as the History of Maliasor, this six-piece tapestry of Meleager was at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587 as Mary’s own possession. At Fotheringay, Mary, Queen of Scots, also had the six pieces of the History of Count Foix and the Battle of Ravenna, from the Scottish collection, but as this set was only previously listed in November 1561 it might not have belonged to her parents. An eighteenth-century engraving of Gaston de Foix was said to derive from a similar tapestry. Amias Paulet, her gaoler, spent £113-10s in English money on lining, packing, and hanging eight pieces of her tapestry during her move from Chartley to Fotheringhay Castle. Mary wished the Meleager and Ravenna to be sold after her death, with cloths-of-estate, to fund the return journeys of her physician and Mr Melville Like the Meleager, the biblical Roboam which appears in most inventories also dates from 1539.
Triumph and Assault of a Town
This may have been a copy of the famous tapestry commissioned by François Ier from designs by Giulio Romano, the Gestes of Scipion, the story of Scipio Africanus, which includes the scene Siege of Carthagena. However, like the Battle of Ravenna, the five pieces are first listed in November 1561 and so this too might not have belonged to James and Mary of Guise, unless they were among the unspecified tapestries bought by William Schaw in 1539. However, there are other tapestries with the subject Siege of a Town in late medieval style which answer the description. Another possibility is that these were scenes of the Siege of Troy, a subject found in Henry VIII’s collection. Possibly, this tapestry was in mind when Mary of Guise, according to John Knox, remarked that the aftermath of the failed assault on Leith of 7 May 1560 was the fairest tapestry she had ever seen.
James V’s other named tapestries included the six Great and eight Little Unicorn pieces. The Great Unicorn set has been identified as another version of the famous tapestries, The Hunt of the Unicorn, now in The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Faithful copies using the original technique are being made for display in the Palace of Stirling Castle. These unicorn tapestries had belonged to his father, James IV, but the subject was still popular in 1540, when Pierre de Clanquemeulle, companion tapestry maker, was hired by Léon Brocart, master weaver in Paris, to complete two pieces of La Chasse à la licorne.
Seven pieces of the History of the Apis and uther Bestis were recorded in 1539. Six pieces of the History of Apes were recorded in 1561. In January 1563 three pieces of this tapestry with monkeys, the tapisserie des singes, were given by Mary Queen of Scots to Pierre Marnard the court “fruictier”, a kitchen officer who took part in masques.
Listed in the September 1561 inventory, ten pieces of History of Hunting and Hawking may have been a separate item originally belonging to James V, and perhaps distinct from the six-piece set of the Hunting of the Sanglier (Wild Boar), and seven-piece Coningars (the Rabbit Hunt), listed in later inventories. One scene from this Rabbit Hunt, otherwise called the L’histoire des Chasseurs de Cogny in an inventory written in French, was said to have been lost at Linlithgow during the 1566 baptism of James VI at Stirling. However this loss had already been recorded in 1565, as having occurred at Linlithgow during the keepership of James Sandilands, perhaps the one later said to have been cut by “Andro Cockburn fule.” The other six pieces were destroyed at the Kirk o’Field explosion. Another tapestry of the “Rabbit Hunt” had been made into bed curtains. The Burrell Collection in Glasgow has an example of a tapestry of this subject, dated from c. 1475.
James IV bought one scene of Marcus Coriolanus, which may be the Mathiolus tapestry mentioned in later inventories, and a Solomon, which may be Judgement of Solomon noted in September 1561, of worsett with gold. Alternatively, Susan Groag Bell wonders if this Mathiolus was the first scene of the City of Ladies suite bought in 1538, featuring the name of the author Matheolus as a protagonist illustrating the works of Christine de Pisan.
The subject of the History of the Shepherds of seven pieces and the History of Calveris and Moris of four pieces noted in 1561 may be obscure. The eight-piece Triumph of Verity also noted in November 1561 may have come to Scotland with Mary in 1561, unless perhaps this was yet another name for the City of Dames.
The tapestry men
Margaret Tudor’s English yeoman of the wardrobe was Harry Roper, who made her bed sheets and window curtains, washed clothes, mended her tapestries and scarlet hangings and perfumed them with violet powder. Hooks for hanging tapestry cost two shillings for a hundred, larger hooks called “crochattis” were five shillings the hundred.
The gatehouse at Holyrood Palace was converted into tapestry workshop in 1537.
James IV built a gatehouse at Holyrood Palace on the street now called Abbey Strand. He installed a glazier, Thomas Peebles, who made windows for the royal palaces, in the rooms above the passageway or pend. In 1537 James V moved the glazier’s workshop, and the gatehouse was refurbished for mending tapestry.
A French tapestry worker, Guillaume, moved to Scotland with his wife and children in 1538. When James V moved around Scotland the tapissiers or ‘tapestry men’ packed up the tapestries and set them up at his destination, and carried out running repairs. George Steill bound up twelve scenes of the History of Aeneas with cords and carried them from Edinburgh to St Andrews in May 1539 for the marriage of Joanna Gresmore to Robert Beaton of Creich. The “tapesar” came with the wardrobe servant Malcolm Gourlay to furnish tents for James V and Mary of Guise in Glenartney and Glen Finglas for the hunts in September 1539.
Eight pieces of tapestry were specially repaired for the coronation of Mary of Guise in January 1540, and others were often relined with new canvas. Jacques Habet, William Edbe, and George Steill lined the rough or newly plastered walls of the castle at Crawfordjohn to save wear on tapestries in July 1541. Apart from this work, the men also made up and embroidered state beds with luxury imported silks and taffetas with hanks of gold thread, finished with passementerie and ostrich feather trimmings. Guillaume, hired in France in 1538, Habet, and the embroiderer Robinet, were doubtless Frenchmen, but William Edbe was Scottish. Habet may have been the “Jacques Hebert” later hired by the Parisian master weaver Girard Laurens in 1564.
There was extra work when the tapestry was taken out of the castles and used on other occasions. In May 1544, when an English army burnt Edinburgh, the tapestries were carried up the Royal Mile from Holyroodhouse to the Castle for safety and watched by Regent Arran’s wardrobe servant Malcolm Gourlay. Regent Arran borrowed the royal tapestry for his daughter Barbara Hamilton’s wedding to Lord Gordon in February 1549, and after it had been cleaned by six apprentices it was brought out for the visit of Mary of Guise’s brother, the Marquis de Maine.
On 7 October 1584, the Master of Gray was made Keeper of the Wardrobe, including the tapestry, with all officers of the household commanded to reverence, acknowledge and obey him. George Strathauchin (d. 1604), an embroiderer, was James’s “tapiser” with annual salary of £40 and lodgings. In October 1589 Strathauchin packed up tapestries in chests to ship to Norway and Denmark with James VI when he went to meet his bride Anne of Denmark, and travelled with the king to furnish the royal lodgings. Strathauchin and the master of workWilliam Schaw decorated St Giles Kirk with tapestry for the coronation of Anne of Denmark. In September 1598 he was paid for transporting Anne of Denmark’s beds and tapestry to Falkland Palace and hanging her bedchamber.
In 1624, John Auchmoutie of Scoughall was Master of the King’s Wardrobe in Scotland. He petitioned the king for better pay for the four tapestry keepers and workers in Scotland, and the replacement of the deceased Nicolas Elmar with Martin Leache.
It is possible that the order of “no mercy” had not reached Robert because he resorted to a chivalric tradition and called on de Valence to come out from the walls of Perth and do battle. De Valence, who had the reputation of an honorable man, made the excuse that it was too late in the day to do battle and said he would accept the challenge on the following day. The king bivouacked his army some six miles away in some woods that were on high ground near the River Almond. At about dusk as the Bruce’s army made camp and many disarmed, the army of de Valence fell upon them in a surprise attack.
The king unhorsed the Earl of Pembroke in the first onslaught but was unhorsed himself and nearly captured by Sir Philip Mowbray only to be saved by Sir Christopher Seton. Outnumbered and taken by surprise, the king’s force had no chance. Bruce was twice more unhorsed and twice more rescued. At the last, a small force of Scottish knights including James Douglas, Neil Campbell, Edward Bruce, John de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, Gilbert de Haye and the king formed a phalanx to break free and were forced to flee in a shattering defeat, leaving many of the king’s most loyal followers dead or soon to be executed.
The battle is depicted in the Netflix original film, Outlaw King.
Airdrie’s name first appeared in the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland (Registrum Magni Sigilii Regum Scotorum) in 1373 as Ardre. By 1546 it had become Ardry and by 1587 it was known as Ardrie. In 1630 it finally appeared in the Register as Airdrie. Given the topography of the area, the most likely interpretation is that the name derives from the Gaelic An Àrd Ruigh meaning a level height or high pasture land. Another possibility is that it is from the Gaelic An Àrd Àirighe meaning a sheiling, a summer pasture/shepherd’s hut. A third possibility is the Gaelic Ard Reidh meaning a high plain. A further, non-Gaelic alternative is the Brythonic, i.e. Cumbric or North Welsh, ard tref (becoming ardre by process of assimilation), meaning a high steading or farmstead, which would date back to the times of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, before the expansion of Gaelic or English speech into the region. Airthrey Castle in Stirlingshire may have a similar derivation.
There is no evidence to support the claim (George Chalmers, Caledonia) that Airdrie is the site of the ancient battle of Arderyth. Under the patronage of King Malcolm IV of Scotland Cistercian monks established an abbey at Melrose in 1136. Five years later a daughter house was founded at Newbattle Abbey in Lothian. In 1160, Malcolm granted lands in central Scotland to the monks of Newbattle. These became known as the “Munklands” (Register of the Great Seal 1323).
Malcolm’s Charter constitutes the oldest documentary record of place-names in the Monklands. The area of land granted by the Charter is clearly defined by direct reference to geographical and topographical features thus: Dunpeldre by its right boundaries, namely with Metheraugh and Mayeuth and Clarnephin as far as Dunduffes in the east. The name Dunpeldre is found in the modern name Drumpellier, Metheraugh is Medrox; Mayeuth is Myvot and Clarnephin refers to the North Calder Water in the east of the parish (from old Brittonic name claur n afon meaning plain of the river). Dunduffes has become directly translated into the modern Black Hill which, as the Charter states, lies at the eastern extremity of the parish. The Charter does not mention anything resembling Airdrie, although this is where Airdrie is located.
Airdrie owes its existence to its location on the ‘Hogs Back’ – a ridge of land running from east to west. One very important aspect of the town’s history was the Cistercian monks of Newbattle Abbey, which is why the area is called the Monklands. The monks were farmers and some of their place names survive, e.g., Ryefield and Whifflet (the wheat flats). Much of the land they used is known today as ‘The Four Isles’ (a housing estate named after four Scottish islands): Mull, Islay, Iona and Luing in the Petersburn area of modern Airdrie. The monks of Newbattle had numerous establishments throughout the area including a farm grange at Drumpellier, Coatbridge, a court house at Kipps, a chapel in the area of Chapelhall and a number of corn mills. The Monks were also expert in the construction of roads. In the 12th century, they established the original Glasgow to Edinburgh road via Airdrie and Bathgate, to link up with their lands in Newbattle in East Lothian.
The Robert Hamilton Memorial.
Definitive evidence of the existence of Airdrie as a tenantry was only made clear in 1503. The old monks’ road was via Cliftonhill (an area now in neighbouring Coatbridge), Airdrie House (now the site of Monklands Hospital), Aitchison Street, High Street, Hallcraig Street, Flowerhill Street and Colliertree Road. The first houses in Airdrie were built along this road. Development was slow and it was only around 1650 that evidence of the number of inhabitants was known at around 500 for the Airdrie area. A large contingent of Airdrieonians fought at the Battle of Bothwell Brig during the Covenanter Rebellion of 1679; their banner can still be viewed at the local library.
A significant event in Airdrie’s history was the 1695 passing of a special Act of Parliament in the Scottish Parliament allowing Robert Hamilton of Airdrie to hold four fairs yearly and a weekly market in the town of ‘Airdry’. This helped develop Airdrie from a ‘farm town’ into a thriving ‘market town’.
However, Airdrie really came to prominence through its weaving industry. Airdrie Weavers Society was founded in 1781 and flax was being grown in sixteen farms in and around the burgh. In the last decade of the eighteenth century, coal mining was in progress and around thirty colliers were employed. Weaving continued to flourish making up a substantial part of the population of over 2,500 around the turn of the 19th century.
Given its large number of weavers, its geographic location and a large number of unemployed soldiers following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Airdrie became a major centre of support for the Radical War of 1820. The rapid pace of population growth continued and by 1821 there were 4,862 inhabitants. At this time, the number of houses being built increased dramatically and in 1821, by a private Act of Parliament, Airdrie became a free and independent Burgh of Barony.
Voting in the early part of the nineteenth century was rather hit or miss as not only locals but residents outside the burgh were allowed to vote. In 1821, the first election of a town council took place and by August it had appointed an assessor, procurator fiscal, master of police and a town crier. Anyone who had paid their 3 guineas was allowed to vote; there is even a record of a John Mackay voting despite being under 10 years old.
In 1824, it was decided to build the Airdrie Town House, originally designed by Alexander Baird and now a local landmark known as the ‘town clock’. In 1832, the Town House was used as a hospital due to the cholera outbreak of this year.
The enormous growth in population was not due to high birthrate, but instead due to an influx of residents from the Highlands and predominantly Ireland. This followed the Highland potato famine of the mid-1840s and also reflected the change from cottage industry to heavy industry in the area. Most of the Irish immigrant population were involved with mining and labouring. This led to an increase in ironwork foundries around the area. Because of this explosion in industry, railway links were established starting in 1826. By 1862, the Airdrie and Bathgate Junction Railway provided a direct link to Edinburgh with Airdrie South Station providing the starting point for trains to Glasgow.
The dramatic rise in population and industry prompted the need for more accessible water supplies. Until the mid-1800s, various wells were put in place feeding from surrounding streams in the area. These served to provide many houses with private wells. By 1846 Airdrie and Coatbridge Water Company was founded to construct (along with Forth and Clyde Canal Company) the reservoir at Roughrigg.
Journalism in Airdrie began with “The Airdrie Literary Album” in 1828. Several local newspapers began appearing around this time notably the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser in 1855, which is still the most popular local paper today. The prison was legalised in 1859 and had 51 cells.
Airdrie Working Men’s Club was established in 1869. Also around this time, football and cricket began to emerge as popular sports. Following the codification of association football rules a local team called Excelsior was formed in 1878 which would later be renamed Airdrieonians. Horse race meetings were also held in the town (1851–1870) but this land became the golf course for the newly formed Airdrie Golf Club in 1877.
Education posed a major problem with severe overcrowding in the few schools available, therefore three new school boards were established. In the early 1830s there were about 800 pupils while the town had about 7000 residents. Fees were routinely charged within the schools with the belief they should be self-supporting until a parliamentary act of 1889 relieved some of the infant classes in schools of this burden. Airdrie Academy was built in 1849 and by 1919 all school boards were dissolved and Lanarkshire Education Authority took over responsibility for education throughout Lanarkshire.
Airdrie Public Observatory, one of only four public observatories in the UK (Second Oldest and Smallest)- all in Scotland, was founded in the first library building in 1896, and is still operated in the present building by the Airdrie Astronomical Association a Scottish astronautic and astronomy society and registered charity.
By the turn of the century variety shows were becoming popular in the area and by 1911 the Pavilion in Graham Street was built which after initially being used as a music hall started showing cinematographic pictures. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1917 but was rebuilt in 1919 and finally closed in 1970. The New Cinema was opened in 1920 in Broomknoll Street but it too has since closed. The town had no suitable venue for larger functions so in 1912 the Sir John Wilson Town Hall was opened (following an offer of £10,000 from Sir John Wilson).
On 9 July 1918 nineteen miners died in the Stanrigg Pit Disaster. The pit was situated in boggy land and collapsed after being saturated by heavy rainfall.
Airdrie War Memorial
At the end of the First World War, Airdrie was hard hit with many casualties from the war. Unemployment reached 30% in the local area. After years of moving from one site to another, the first purpose built library in Airdrie was opened in Anderson Street in 1895. However, this only lasted 30 years until the current Airdrie Library building was erected in 1925.
Conditions in the town did not really improve until well after the Second World War but in 1949 the Bootspharmaceutical company and Banner Textiles Ltd were attracted to the town (between them employing 1200). With this impetus, new companies began to consider Airdrie as a viable option for business and in 1958 Pye opened employing over 1000 people. The emergence of industrial estates was also prevalent around this time (Newhouse, Chapelhall, and Brownsburn). The Airdrie Arts Centre opened in 1967 in the former Airdrie Library building, and was a popular venue for concerts and plays, but was closed in 2012 by North Lanarkshire Council.
Between 1964 and 1991, the town was the location of a Royal Observer Corps monitoring bunker, to be used in the event of a nuclear attack. No trace remains today.
During the turbulent era of Civil Wars and the English occupation of Scotland, significant building in Scotland was largely confined to military architecture, with polygonal fortresses with triangular bastions at Ayr, Inverness and Leith in the style of the trace italienne. After the Restoration in 1660, large scale building began again, often incorporating more comprehensive ideas of reviving classicism.Sir William Bruce (1630–1710), considered “the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland”, was the key figure in introducing the Palladian style into Scotland, following the principles of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–80). Palladio’s ideas were strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and associated in England with the designs of Inigo Jones. Bruce popularised a style of country house amongst the nobility that encouraging the move towards a more continental, leisure-oriented architecture. He built and remodelled country houses, including Thirlestane Castle and Prestonfield House. Among his most significant work was his own Palladian mansion at Kinross, built on the Loch Leven estate which he had purchased in 1675. As the Surveyor and Overseer of the Royal Works he undertook the rebuilding of the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in the 1670s, which gave the palace its present appearance. After the death of Charles II, Bruce lost political favour, and later, following the Glorious Revolution, he was imprisoned more than once as a suspected Jacobite. These houses were predominantly built using well-cut ashlar masonry on the façades, while rubble stonework was used only for internal walls.
This week we learned Edinburgh Zoo’s much-loved giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang will be returning home to China. Since arriving in December 2011, the beautiful animals have drawn thousands of people to see them.
It was hoped the pair would have a cub together to help preserve the future of the species – but this wasn’t to be. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland was granted the pandas by the China Wildlife Conservation Association as a 10-year loan to Edinburgh Zoo. They are the only giant pandas in the whole of the UK. The Covid pandemic extended their stay, but it has been announced Tian Tian and Yang Guang will be leaving the Capital in around Autumn 2023.
John Cronin (born 18 July 1971) is a repeat-offence Scottish convict. Imprisoned for running up a 140,000 kronor (US$20,500) bill in one of Sweden’s top restaurants and then refusing to pay, Cronin is infamous for a string of sex offences against women, most notably against “Judy X”, a Conservative Party worker, in May 1992. On 20 March 2013 at Antrim Crown Court, Cronin pleaded guilty to the burglary of Drumalis House (a Retreat and Conference Centre in Antrim) on 15 February 2012 and the theft of money belonging to the Church.
Cronin is also the centre of current debate in Scotland over the reporting and handling of sex offenders and how they are dealt with once out of prison.
Cronin was born in Edinburgh, the son of Michael Cronin (of Limerick, Ireland) and Jeanette Cronin (of East Lothian, Scotland). Cronin’s early years were marked with frequent moves between East Lothian, Limerick, and the U.S. (where the elder Cronin was a member of the U.S. Army). In 1978, the Cronins moved back to East Lothian to care for Jeanette’s father, who was ill. It was about this time they discovered that Cronin was in need of assistance.
By the age of three, he was already difficult for his parents to control, smashing light bulbs and breaking various things in the home. At age five, he was enrolled in a private school, but was expelled shortly thereafter for disruptive behaviour, including overturning desks, urinating on the floor and attacking teachers.
The remainder of his school years were said by Cronin to be filled with repeated difficulties; the exception to this pattern was between the ages six to eight, where he was educated by nuns at St Margaret‘s convent in Edinburgh, where he developed a deep respect for the nuns. He went through several schools, where he built up a record for repeat offences at the schools, from theft and assault to openly urinating and defecating on school property.
Cronin finally obtained four O-grades at a boarding school in Newton Stewart in 1989. Shortly after leaving the school he committed his first criminal act, sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female classmate, for which he served a three-month sentence.
Around this time Cronin discussed with a social worker his plans to take his father’s military records and alter them so that he could join the IRA; it was later revealed that he tried to join another Irish terrorist group around that time.
There was a period between 1990 and 1992 that he served short prison sentences in Ireland for various crimes.
Sometime in the early 1990s, he began to pass himself off as a visiting Irish Catholicpriest. His skill was competent enough that he was able to celebrate Mass with and to exploit genuine priests, often stealing from them after being given hospitality. In one case, he stole the purse of a janitor at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh after having fooled the monsignor present.
It was this guise he used when entering the home of Judy X, a Conservative Party activist on 21 May 1992. Posing as a priest who wished to donate money to the party, he came in and sexually assaulted her repeatedly as well as beating her with a fireplace poker. Arrested shortly afterwards, his trial was brief, and in August 1992, having been called by the Scottish High Court a “Walter Mitty gone mad”, Cronin was sentenced to life in prison for the crime. A December 1992 appeal resulted in a six-year prison sentence.
Shortly after release from prison in 1997, he was jailed again, this time for making harassing phone calls and threats to various female politicians. By May 2005, he had been jailed repeatedly on various charges from petty theft to fraud to bank robbery in 2001. Cronin was severely bullied by other prisoners whilst serving a two-year sentence in Ireland’s Cork Prison for the bank robbery, spending much of the time in voluntary solitary confinement. He was arrested for petty theft only hours after his release.
In August 2007 he ran up a $20,500 bill at the exclusive Operakällaren restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden. He ordered a three course meal, with a different bottle of wine for each course. When presented with the bill, he told waiters that he could not pay it, and asked them to call the police. He was sentenced to four months jail to be served in Sweden, after which he was deported, and banned from re-entering Sweden for 5 years.
He was considered enough of a threat that the East Lothian Police set up a special unit to deal exclusively with tracking Cronin.
From the earliest points of childhood, Cronin had been involved with mental health specialists.
At the age of four, he was sent to a child psychologist who later wrote that even from the beginning, “it was clear he was not one of us.” Two years later, at age five, he was referred to the family psychiatry department of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, where he was considered to be highly aggressive and mercurial.
Cronin’s school years expanded his psychiatric profile, with numerous instances of disruptive behaviour, most notably a 1987 incident when he was interned for a night at a psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh, after threatening to burn down a homeless shelter. In the case of the hospital stay, he became agitated and repeatedly threw faeces at a nurse.
Robert Waite, a psychiatrist who assessed Cronin in the wake of his first offence, found marked discrepancies in Cronin’s intellectual abilities; his verbal skills operated at the university level, while his visual-spatial skills were below average. Cronin had revealed to Waite that he had felt suicidal while serving his sentence for the initial assault. Waite later concluded: “It is clear he has a severe disorder of his personality, which has grossly interfered with his social adjustment and might be expected to do so for some considerable time.” During his discussions with the social worker, Cronin was said to be defiant and arrogant, interested in politics and expressing admiration for Nazism and dictatorship, which he felt was a form of true leadership.
Dr. John Baird, whose report on Cronin was instrumental in the initial 1992 life sentence, did a study on him. By this time, Cronin had a long criminal record and was considered by some psychiatrists as untreatable. Baird later wrote: “Regarding the question of dangerousness, his life-long behaviour pattern has been one of senseless, dishonest, unreliable and unacceptable behaviour. I have not been able to find any evidence of other behaviour similar to that which he displayed on 21 May 1992, when he committed a very serious and sustained sexual assault, nor have I been able to find any reason for his behaviour on that day.”
Of the 1992 assault on Judy X, Cronin told Baird that in his mind, she had not been there, but instead, he was imagining an assault on his maternal grandfather, with whom he had a lengthy love-hate relationship. He did talk at length about his parents; though he knew he didn’t have a good relationship with them, he described his father as a hero, while disparaging and almost disowning his mother.
Of other issues, Cronin told Baird of his need for prostitution and alcohol. Baird noted Cronin grew distressed only when discussing the 1992 attack or past abuse. Cronin also discussed with Baird his beliefs that he was reincarnated, that he’d been a soldier with the Charge of the Light Brigade. He also believed himself to be Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, as well as other persons in history.
Ultimately, Baird wrote that Cronin suffered no mental disorder that would justify institutionalising him. However, in his final notes, he added:
“[Cronin] has never, while in the community, lived in a calm, uneventful manner. The likelihood is that for a considerable time to come, he will, when in the community, behave again as he has done in the past…Personality disorders can cover a range of ills and affect different people in different ways. If a psychiatrist says such a condition is untreatable, it means there is no medication to help, but I don’t accept that any condition is entirely untreatable. There is work that could be done with John Cronin. The stumbling block is that he needs to want to be helped.”
There has been some controversy over Cronin’s case both with Cronin’s treatment himself and the issues surrounding him.
The initial criticism comes from neighbours of the Cronins during John’s childhood, in that one neighbour reported that “[f]or the first few years of his life, his mum dressed him up as a girl. She wanted a girl so she dressed John in bows and frilly blouses. No wonder he’s such a mess now”, a condition that persisted until the Cronins had a daughter in 1978.
There have also been questions regarding his relationship with his grandfather, whom Cronin claims sexually abused him during the ages of 5 to 12. This has been contradicted somewhat in cases where Cronin also referred to his grandfather as a confidant and friend.
Additionally, there has also been some controversy over his conversion to Islam while in prison. While some British Muslims welcomed his conversion, others have recalled that the 1992 Judy X incident was done while Cronin pretended to be a priest, and that conversion could be no more than a smokescreen. In particular, Dr Prem Misra, a psychiatrist at Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow, said: “He has used religious pretence to commit crime and nothing suggests that this will be different. He is remorseless.”
In a similar vein is his response to his love of politics. Though initially involving himself with the Tories, in his later years he involved himself with the British National Party, though due to issues in 2003 regarding fraud charges the BNP announced that they had denied him membership and would campaign to have him evicted from his then-residence.
Lastly is media controversy. Several Scottish media outlets have followed his case, leading to some criticism of overzealotry and stalking. Scottish News of the World reported that vigilantes threatened to lynch him, while reporters from The Sun exposed his home, reporting that they found “the monster in hiding” and printed a picture of where Cronin was “holed up.” Another tabloid printed on its front page a plea to “HELP US KEEP TABS ON THE BEAST. Women and children are living in fear because sick Cronin is to walk free. Help us to keep them safe by telling us what you know of his whereabouts.”
According to legend, the Pictish Maiden Stone in Aberdeenshire (carved more than 1,200 years ago) is actually a woman who was turned stone after losing a wager with the Devil. She bet that she could bake bannocks before he could build a road to the top of the nearby hill of Bennachie. He finished the road before the bread was ready and when she fled, he transformed her into the Maiden Stone.
William and Mary became king and queen regnant. Mary mostly deferred to her husband – a renowned military leader and principal opponent of Louis XIV – when he was in England. She did, however, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful, firm, and effective ruler. Mary’s death from smallpox at the age of 32 left William as sole ruler until his death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary’s sister, Anne.
The Duke of York converted to Roman Catholicism in 1668 or 1669 and the Duchess about eight years earlier, but Mary and Anne were brought up as Anglicans, pursuant to the command of Charles II. They were moved to their own establishment at Richmond Palace, where they were raised by their governess Lady Frances Villiers, with only occasional visits to see their parents at St James’s or their grandfather Lord Clarendon at Twickenham. Mary’s education, from private tutors, was largely restricted to music, dance, drawing, French, and religious instruction. Her mother died in 1671, and her father remarried in 1673, taking as his second wife Mary of Modena, a Catholic who was only four years older than Mary.
From about the age of nine until her marriage, Mary wrote passionate letters to an older girl, Frances Apsley, the daughter of courtier Sir Allen Apsley. Mary signed herself ‘Mary Clorine’; Apsley was ‘Aurelia’. In time, Frances became uncomfortable with the correspondence, and replied more formally. At the age of fifteen, Mary became betrothed to her cousin, the Protestant Stadtholder of Holland, William III of Orange. William was the son of the King’s late sister, Mary, Princess Royal, and thus fourth in the line of succession after James, Mary, and Anne. At first, Charles II opposed the alliance with the Dutch ruler—he preferred that Mary wed the heir to the French throne, the Dauphin Louis, thus allying his realms with Catholic France and strengthening the odds of an eventual Catholic successor in Britain—but later, under pressure from Parliament and with a coalition with the Catholic French no longer politically favourable, he approved the proposed union. The Duke of York agreed to the marriage, after pressure from chief minister Lord Danby and the King, who incorrectly assumed that it would improve James’s popularity among Protestants. When James told Mary that she was to marry her cousin, “she wept all that afternoon and all the following day”.
William and a tearful Mary were married in St James’s Palace by Bishop Henry Compton on 4 November 1677. The bedding ceremony to publicly establish the consummation of the marriage was attended by the royal family, with her uncle the King himself drawing the bedcurtains. Mary accompanied her husband on a rough sea crossing to the Netherlands later that month, after a delay of two weeks caused by bad weather.Rotterdam was inaccessible because of ice, and they were forced to land at the small village of Ter Heijde, and walk through the frosty countryside until met by coaches to take them to Huis Honselaarsdijk. On 14 December, they made a formal entry to The Hague in a grand procession.
Mary’s animated and personable nature made her popular with the Dutch people, and her marriage to a Protestant prince was popular in Britain. She was devoted to her husband, but he was often away on campaigns, which led to Mary’s family supposing him to be cold and neglectful. Within months of the marriage Mary was pregnant; however, on a visit to her husband at the fortified city of Breda, she suffered a miscarriage, which may have permanently impaired her ability to have children. Further bouts of illness, that may have been miscarriages, occurred in mid-1678, early 1679, and early 1680. Her childlessness would be the greatest source of unhappiness in her life.
From May 1684, Charles II’s illegitimate son, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, lived in the Netherlands, where he was fêted by William and Mary. Monmouth was viewed as a rival to the Duke of York, and as a potential Protestant heir who could supplant the Duke in the line of succession. William, however, did not consider him a viable alternative and correctly assumed that Monmouth had insufficient support.
While the pair started out somewhat distant, they became quite close and trusting of each other over the course of their marriage. Their mutual fervour for Protestantism additionally helped bind them together.
Mary’s father, James II and VII, was the last Catholic monarch in Britain. Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c 1686.
Upon the death of Charles II without legitimate issue in February 1685, the Duke of York became king as James II in England and Ireland and James VII in Scotland. Mary was playing cards when her husband informed her of her father’s accession, with the knowledge that she was heir presumptive.
When Charles’s illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth assembled an invasion force at Amsterdam, and sailed for Britain, William informed James of the Duke’s departure, and ordered English regiments in the Low Countries to return to Britain. To William’s relief, Monmouth was defeated, captured and executed, but both he and Mary were dismayed by James’s subsequent actions.
James had a controversial religious policy; his attempt to grant freedom of religion to non-Anglicans by suspending acts of Parliament by royal decree was not well received. Mary considered such action illegal, and her chaplain expressed this view in a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, on her behalf. She was further dismayed when James refused to help when the Catholic king of France, Louis XIV, invaded Orange and persecuted Huguenot refugees there. In an attempt to damage William, James encouraged his daughter’s staff to inform her that William was having an affair with Elizabeth Villiers, the daughter of her childhood governess Frances Villiers. Acting on the information, Mary waited outside Villiers’s room and caught her husband leaving it late at night. William denied adultery, and Mary apparently believed and forgave him. Possibly, Villiers and William were not meeting as lovers but to exchange diplomatic intelligence. Mary’s staff was dismissed and sent back to Britain.
Disgruntled Protestant politicians and noblemen were in contact with Mary’s husband as early as 1686. After James took the step of forcing Anglican clergymen to read the Declaration of Indulgence—the proclamation granting religious liberty to Catholics and dissenters—from their churches in May 1688, his popularity plunged further. Alarm amongst Protestants increased when his wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son—James Francis Edward—in June 1688, for the son would, unlike Mary and Anne, be raised a Roman Catholic. Some charged that the boy was “supposititious”, having been secretly smuggled into the Queen’s room in a bed-warming pan as a substitute for her stillborn baby. Others thought the father was someone other than James, who was rumoured to be impotent.[b] Seeking information, Mary sent a pointed list of questions to her sister, Anne, regarding the circumstances of the birth. Anne’s reply, and continued gossip, seemed to confirm Mary’s suspicions that the child was not her natural brother, and that her father was conspiring to secure a Catholic succession.
On 30 June, seven notable English nobles, later called “the Immortal Seven” secretly requested William—then in the Dutch Republic with Mary—to come to England with an army to depose James. William may have been jealous of his wife’s position as the heiress to the English Crown, but according to Gilbert Burnet, Mary convinced her husband that she did not care for political power, and told him “she would be no more but his wife, and that she would do all that lay in her power to make him king for life”. She would, she assured him, always obey her husband as she had promised to do in her marriage vows.
William agreed to invade and issued a declaration which referred to James’s newborn son as the “pretended Prince of Wales”. He also gave a list of grievances of the English people and stated that his proposed expedition was for the sole purpose of having “a free and lawful Parliament assembled”. Having been turned back by storms in October, William and the Dutch army finally landed in England on 5 November 1688, without Mary, who stayed behind in the Netherlands. The disaffected English Army and Navy went over to William, and on 11 December the defeated King James attempted to flee, but was intercepted. A second attempt at flight, on 23 December, was successful; William deliberately allowed James to escape to France, where he lived in exile until his death.
Mary was upset by the circumstances surrounding the deposition of her father, and was torn between concern for him and duty to her husband, but was convinced that her husband’s actions, however unpleasant, were necessary to “save the Church and State”. When Mary travelled to England after the New Year, she wrote of her “secret joy” at returning to her homeland, “but that was soon checked with the consideration of my father’s misfortunes”. William ordered her to appear cheerful on their triumphant arrival in London. As a result, she was criticised by Sarah Churchill among others, for appearing cold to her father’s plight.
In January 1689, a Convention Parliament of England summoned by the Prince of Orange assembled, and much discussion relating to the appropriate course of action ensued. A party led by Lord Danby held that Mary should be sole monarch, as the rightful hereditary heir, while William and his supporters were adamant that a husband could not be subject to his wife. William wished to reign as a king, rather than function as a mere consort of a queen. For her part, Mary did not wish to be queen regnant, believing that women should defer to their husbands, and “knowing my heart is not made for a kingdom and my inclination leads me to a retired quiet life”.
On 13 February 1689, the English Parliament passed the Declaration of Right, in which it deemed that James, by attempting to flee on 11 December 1688, had abdicated the government of the realm, and that the Throne had thereby become vacant. Parliament offered the Crown not to James’s son, who would have been the heir apparent under normal circumstances, but to William and Mary as joint sovereigns. The only precedent for a joint monarchy dated from the sixteenth century: when Queen Mary I married Philip of Spain, it was agreed that the latter would take the title of king, but only during his wife’s lifetime, and restrictions were placed on his power. William, however, would be king even after his wife’s death, and “the sole and full exercise of the regal power [would be] executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives.” The declaration was later extended to exclude not only James and his heirs (other than Anne) from the throne, but all Catholics, since “it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a papist prince”.
On the same day, the Convention of the Estates of Scotland—which was much more divided than the English Parliament—finally declared that James was no longer King of Scotland, that “no Papist can be King or Queen of this Realm”, that William and Mary would be joint sovereigns, and that William would exercise sole and full power. The following day, they were proclaimed king and queen in Edinburgh. They took the Scottish coronation oath in London on 11 May. Even after the declaration, there was still substantial support for James from the Nonjuring schism in all three kingdoms, particularly in parts of Scotland. Viscount Dundee raised an army in the Scottish Highlands and won a convincing victory at Killiecrankie on 27 July. The huge losses suffered by Dundee’s troops, however, coupled with his fatal wounding, served to remove the only effective resistance to William and the uprising was quickly crushed, suffering a resounding defeat by Scottish Covenanters the next month at the Battle of Dunkeld.
In December 1689, Parliament passed the Bill of Rights. This measure—which restated and confirmed many provisions of the earlier Declaration of Right—established restrictions on the royal prerogative; it declared, among other things, that the Sovereign could not suspend laws passed by Parliament, levy taxes without parliamentary consent, infringe the right to petition, raise a standing army during peacetime without parliamentary consent, deny the right to bear arms to Protestant subjects, unduly interfere with parliamentary elections, punish members of either House of Parliament for anything said during debates, require excessive bail, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments. The Bill of Rights also confirmed the succession to the throne. Following the death of either William III or Mary II, the other was to continue to reign. Next in the line of succession would be any children of the couple, to be followed by Mary’s sister Anne and her children. Last in the line of succession stood any children William III might have had from any subsequent marriage.
From 1690 onwards, William was often absent from England on campaign, each year generally from the spring until the autumn. In 1690, he fought Jacobites (who supported James) in Ireland. William had crushed the Irish Jacobites by 1692, but he continued with campaigns abroad to wage war against France in the Netherlands. Whilst her husband was away, Mary administered the government of the realm with the advice of a nine-member Cabinet Council. She was not keen to assume power and felt “deprived of all that was dear to me in the person of my husband, left among those that were perfect strangers to me: my sister of a humour so reserved that I could have little comfort from her.” Anne had quarrelled with William and Mary over money, and the relationship between the two sisters had soured.
When her husband was away, Mary acted on her own if his advice was not available; whilst he was in England, Mary completely refrained from interfering in political matters, as had been agreed in the Declaration and Bill of Rights, and as she preferred. However, she proved a firm ruler, ordering the arrest of her own uncle, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, for plotting to restore James II to the throne. In January 1692, the influential John Churchill, 1st Earl of Marlborough, was dismissed on similar charges; the dismissal somewhat diminished her popularity and further harmed her relationship with her sister Anne (who was strongly influenced by Churchill’s wife, Sarah). Anne appeared at court with Sarah, obviously supporting the disgraced Churchill, which led to Mary angrily demanding that Anne dismiss Sarah and vacate her lodgings.
Mary fell ill with a fever in April 1692, and missed Sunday church service for the first time in 12 years. She also failed to visit Anne, who was suffering a difficult labour. After Mary’s recovery and the death of Anne’s baby soon after it was born, Mary did visit her sister, but chose the opportunity to berate Anne for her friendship with Sarah. The sisters never saw each other again. Marlborough was arrested and imprisoned, but then released after his accuser was revealed to be an impostor. Mary recorded in her journal that the breach between the sisters was a punishment from God for the “irregularity” of the Revolution. She was extremely devout, and attended prayers at least twice a day.
Mary was tall (5 foot 11 inches; 180 cm) and apparently fit; she regularly walked between her palaces at Whitehall and Kensington, and it appeared likely she would outlive her husband and sister, both of whom suffered from ill-health. In late 1694, however, she contracted smallpox. She sent away anyone who had not previously had the disease, to prevent the spread of infection. Anne, who was once again pregnant, sent Mary a letter saying she would run any risk to see her sister again, but the offer was declined by Mary’s groom of the stool, the Countess of Derby. Several days into the course of her illness, the smallpox lesions reportedly disappeared, leaving her skin smooth and unmarked, and Mary said that she felt improved. Her attendants initially hoped she had been ill with measles rather than smallpox, and that she was recovering. But the rash had “turned inward”, a sign that Mary was suffering from a usually fatal form of smallpox, and her condition quickly deteriorated. Mary died at Kensington Palace shortly after midnight on the morning of 28 December, at the young age of 32.
Mary was depicted by Jacobites as an unfaithful daughter who destroyed her father for her own and her husband’s gain. In the early years of their reign, she was often seen as completely under the spell of her husband, but after she had temporarily governed alone during his absences abroad, she was portrayed as capable and confident. Nahum Tate‘s A Present for the Ladies (1692) compared her to Queen Elizabeth I. Her modesty and diffidence were praised in works such as A Dialogue Concerning Women (1691) by William Walsh, which compared her to Cincinnatus, the Roman general who took on a great task when called to do so, but then willingly abandoned power.
A week before her death, Mary went through her papers, weeding out some, which were burnt, but her journal survives, as do her letters to William and to Frances Apsley. The Jacobites lambasted her, but the assessment of her character that came down to posterity was largely the vision of Mary as a dutiful, submissive wife, who assumed power reluctantly, exercised it with considerable ability when necessary, and willingly deferred it to her husband.
The Roman army placed a lookout and signal station on Eildon North Hill in the Scottish Borders almost 2,000 years ago, but we’re not sure who they were watching out for. Hundreds of years later, Thomas the Rhymer was said to have been sitting beneath the Eildon Tree near Melrose when the Fairy Queen whisked him away to a hollow in the hills and off to her world.
Right in the centre of the iconic Grassmarket lies Biddy Mulligans, best known around the world for bringing Ireland to the heart of Edinburgh. Whether you are hosting a small gathering in the ‘Wee Pub’, visiting the grocery store for those favourite Irish treats or looking for a drink in the sun in the paddock, Biddy Mulligans has a space to suit everyone.
Open 7 days a week, Biddy’s menu features a selection of small plates, a full Irish breakfast, loaded tater tots and a variety of sweet treats which can all be washed down with a cold pint of beer. Also on offer is an extensive list of classic cocktails, perfect serve gin and tonics and a wide selection of Whiskeys which can be sampled at Biddy’s whiskey tasting.
Live music is also on every night in the main bar so head on down for a cold refreshing drink accompanied by some live entertainment, with the chance to watch some live sport too.
It’s said that whoever moves the standing stone near the village of Murthly in Perthshire will find a chest guarded by a black dog. The stone in the legend is probably the large prehistoric monument in the grounds of Murthly Castle. Thousands of years later in the mid-9th century, someone carved a person being chased by a large beast onto a sandstone slab, which was found near the village in 1886.
Newton Mearns (Scots: The Mearns; Scottish Gaelic: Baile Ùr na Maoirne[ˈpalə ˈuːɾ nə ˈmɯːrˠɲə]) is a suburban town and the largest settlement in East Renfrewshire, Scotland. It lies 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Glasgow City Centre on the main road to Ayrshire, 410 feet (125 m) above sea level. It has a population of approximately 26,993, stretching from Whitecraigs and Kirkhill in the northeast to Maidenhill in the southeast, to Westacres and Greenlaw in the west and Capelrig/Patterton in the northwest.
Until the 20th century, the land around Newton Mearns was primarily agricultural. Ownership passed from the Pollocks (whose name is perpetuated in the nearby Glasgow housing estate of Pollok) to the Maxwells of Caerlaverock around 1300. It then passed to the Maxwells of Nether Pollok in 1648 and then the Stewarts of Blackhall in 1660. A new turnpike road from Eastwood Toll, now the main Ayr Road, was constructed in 1832. By the end of the 18th century quarrying had developed and more importantly numerous textile mills and finishing works became established availing themselves of the numerous rivers and lochs for water supply. The 1893 ‘Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland’ describes it as “pleasantly situated on a rising ground 410 feet above sea-level”. It also reveals that it was a ‘burgh of barony‘ which bestowed the right to hold a weekly market and two annual fairs. However, the Gazetteer also describes the village as being only a “single street on the Glasgow and Kilmarnock highroad”.
From the early 20th century, with the introduction of improved roads and railways to the area, it gradually became a growing commuter suburb of Glasgow. In the 1930s, between speculative and local authority housing ventures, a further 6,000 houses were added to the area and after a lull during the war years, in the 1950s, house building began again in earnest. Unfortunately, the old core village suffered neglect during and after World War II and was all but derelict by the 1960s. It was purchased and turned into a shopping centre which was later to become ‘The Avenue at Mearns’ in 1990.
Historical buildings in the area include the 15th century Mearns Castle, Greenbank House owned by the National Trust for Scotland (just inside neighbouring Clarkston) and the 1813 Mearns Kirk.
Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook work on the Pollok Castle site, and history in 2000.
Pollok Castle, built 2003
The castle appears to be noted by Pont’s sixteenth-century map. The castle was demolished and rebuilt as a large stately house 1686 by Sir Robert Pollok. It was completely destroyed by fire in 1882 (after remaining empty for some while) and then rebuilt again shortly after in the Scottish Baronial style. It was finally abandoned in the 1940s and fell into ruin. Some of the ruins were dynamited in the 1970s and a large prefabricated house erected on the castle foundations. The prefabricated house was removed and the site cleared in the early 1990s, and the castle was again rebuilt in 2003, in the Scottish Adam style. Some of the original foundations and castle walls remain.
John Abell was born in 1653 in Aberdeenshire and by 1 May 1679 he had become a member of the Chapel Royal. He was listed as a singer, lutenist and violinist for King Charles II. He was sent to Venice by the king as an example of a high quality English voice, returning by 1682. Between 1679 and 1688, he received large amounts of money from the king to study. During this time he graduated from Cambridge with a MusB and married Lady Frances Knollys on 29 December 1685.
During the Glorious Revolution of 1688 he fled to continental Europe, where he won fame and wealth by his singing. There are several anecdotes relating to his travels from this time, several from the writings of Hawkins.
Upon his arrival at Warsaw, the king having notice of it, sent for him to his court. Abell made some slight excuse to evade going, but upon being told that he had everything to fear from the king’s resentment, he made an apology, and received a command to attend the king next day. Upon his arrival at the palace, he was seated in a chair in the middle of a spacious hall, and immediately drawn up to a great height; presently the king with his attendants appeared in a gallery opposite to him, and at the same instant a number of wild bears were turned in; the king bade him then choose whether he would sing or be let down among the bears: Abell chose the former, and declared afterwards that he never sang so well in his life.
— J. Hawkins
Daniel Purcell attempted to coax Abell back to England in 1696 for a salary of £500 per year (worth over £1 million in 2019) however, he declined. In Kassel he was made Intendant of Music (1698–1699), before returning to England around 1700, where in 1701 he performed the title role in Daniel Purcell’s The Judgment of Paris: in the following year his coronation song for Queen Anne, Aloud proclaim the cheerful sound, was performed.
He also gave public and private concerts, and taught music. Furthermore, he wrote and compiled songs in the Italian style of the time, with a collection of his being published in 1701 and another posthumously in 1740. He lived his later years in Cambridge, where he is thought to have died, some time after 1716.
Patrick Carraher (1906 – 6 April 1946) was a notorious criminal from Glasgow.
Known as “the Fiend of the Gorbals”, he was a well-known figure at the time of fights between rival Glasgow razor gangs. Born into a respectable working-class family in the Gorbals area, he loved to fight; the first time he spent in a borstal at 14, the first of many imprisonments.
Carraher was arrested on 13 August 1934 for stabbing to death James Shaw, a soldier. At his trial he pleaded that he did not understand what he was doing because he was drunk. However he was convicted of culpable homicide, which meant he served only three years in prison. The jury’s verdict surprised many people in the legal establishment, and was seen as a sign of reluctance by juries to send someone to the gallows.
Carraher relished the experience of prison, as lifestyles there were tough and often involved prisoners being subject to knife crime, this being one of his specialities. For the majority of the inmates at the time, the objective was to claim bigger and better objects by stealing, but for Carraher his main objective remained fighting, the case from a very young age. His actions were often influenced by alcohol, as he had developed a serious addiction to it which constantly fuelled his anger and inspiration for malicious acts.
Even after his release, he continued his murderous and gruesome acts and was charged again with razor slashing and assault. His final act of terror was on 23 November 1945, when he murdered another young soldier, John Gordon, during a drunken altercation. One of Carraher’s few friends, Daniel Bonnar, the brother of Carraher’s girlfriend at the time, had a dispute with one of the Gordons. When Carraher learned this, he went on the hunt for the Gordons, looking to settle the long lasting feud. He found John Gordon with his brother-in-law, and launched a sharp chisel into the soldier’s neck. He was arrested and at his trial, Daniel Bonnar and his girlfriend provided evidence against him, and the jury found him guilty within twenty minutes and convicted him of murder.
The Dwarfie Stane is a 5,000-year-old chambered tomb which was hollowed out before the invention of metal tools. Orcadian legend claims that the residents were giants who once had to gnaw their way out through the roof, but the narrow entrance and two small bed-like spaces inside suggest otherwise.
A former village serving several farms and estates in the area, in the 19th century it developed as a residential suburb, thanks to the arrival of a railway service and other transport improvements.
Morningside is now a local government ward with a population of around 33,000 people living in a mixture of villas, tenement flats and more modern housing – all centred around the main shopping street of Morningside Road.
We’ve trawled through our picture archives to bring you photos of Morningside through the years.
William I, byname William The Lion, (born 1143—died Dec. 4, 1214, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scot.), king of Scotland from 1165 to 1214; although he submitted to English overlordship for 15 years (1174–89) of his reign, he ultimately obtained independence for his kingdom.
William was the second son of the Scottish Henry, Earl of Northumberland, whose title he inherited in 1152. He was forced, however, to relinquish this earldom to King Henry II of England (reigned 1154–89) in 1157. Succeeding to the throne of his elder brother, King Malcolm IV, in 1165, William joined a revolt of Henry’s sons (1173) in an attempt to regain Northumberland. He was captured near Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1174 and released after agreeing to recognize the overlordship of the king of England and the supremacy of the English church over the Scottish church.
Upon Henry’s death in 1189, William obtained release from his feudal subjection by paying a large sum of money to England’s new king, Richard I (reigned 1189–99). In addition, although William had quarreled bitterly with the papacy over a church appointment, Pope Celestine III ruled in 1192 that the Scottish church owed obedience only to Rome, not to England. During the reign of King John in England, relations between England and Scotland deteriorated over the issue of Northumberland until finally, in 1209, John forced William to renounce his claims.
In his effort to consolidate his authority throughout Scotland, William developed a small but efficient central administrative bureaucracy. He chartered many of the major burghs of modern Scotland and in 1178 founded Arbroath Abbey, which had become probably the wealthiest monastery in Scotland by the time of his death. William was succeeded by his son Alexander II.
Spirits resented human interference when stones from the Mains of Hatton Recumbent Stone Circle in Aberdeenshire were removed to form gateposts. Horses seemed to sense their anger and avoided the gate, so the farmer decided to return the stones to their original site. The spirits approved of this change of heart: “while two horses with difficulty dragged each stone downhill to the gate, one only found it easy work to pull a stone uphill from the gate to the circle”.
Kilmarnock Football Club is currently the oldest football club in the Scottish Premiership, and also the second-oldest professional club in Scotland. Home matches are played at Rugby Park, a 17,889 capacity all-seater stadium situated in the town itself. Kilmarnock took part in the first-ever official match in the Scottish Cup against the now-defunct Renton in 1873. The club have qualified for European competitions on nine occasions, their best performance coming in the 1966–67 Fairs Cup when they progressed to the semi-finals, eventually being eliminated by Leeds United. The club is also one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in three European competitions (European Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup).
Kilmarnock has a long-standing football rivalry with fellow Ayrshire side Ayr United, with both teams playing frequently in the Ayrshire derby in which both sides first met in September 1910. Kilmarnock have long been the most successful side in the Ayrshire derby, winning 189 times in 256 meetings. The club nickname, Killie, is the Scottish term for the town of Kilmarnock.
A history of Kilmarnock FC’s overall league position from 1895 to 2019.
The club’s foundation dates back to the very earliest days of organised football in Scotland, when a group of local cricketers looking for a sporting pursuit to occupy them outside of the cricket season looked to form a football club. On 5 January 1869 the club was founded during a general meeting at Robertson’s Temperance Hotel on Portland Street. Originally they played a game more similar to rugby and these origins are reflected to this day by the name of the club’s home ground – Rugby Park. The difficulty in organising fixtures under this code and the growing influence of Queen’s Park soon persuaded them to adopt the association code instead. At this time, the club played games in a number locations including Holm Quarry, the Grange on Irvine Road and a location close to the current Rugby Park.
Following the formation of Scotland’s earliest football clubs in the 1860s, football experienced a rapid growth but there was no formal structure, and matches were often arranged in a haphazard and irregular fashion.
Queen’s Park, a Glasgow club founded in 1867, took the lead, and following an advertisement in a Glasgow newspaper in 1873, representatives from seven clubs – Queen’s Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanark, Eastern and Granville – attended a meeting on 13 March 1873. Furthermore, Kilmarnock sent a letter stating their willingness to form the Scottish Football Association.
That day, these eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association, and resolved that: The clubs here represented form themselves into an association for the promotion of football according to the rules of The Football Association and that the clubs connected with this association subscribe for a challenge cup to be played for annually, the committee to propose the laws of the competition.
Kilmarnock also competed in the inaugural Scottish Cup tournament in 1873–74. Their 2–0 defeat against Renton in the First Round on 18 October 1873 is thought to have been the first match ever played in the competition.
Kilmarnock joined the Scottish League in 1895 and after winning consecutive Second Division titles were elected to the top flight for the first time in 1899. In 1920 Kilmarnock won the Scottish Cup for the first time, beating Albion Rovers at Hampden Park. This was followed by their second success in 1929 where they beat massive favourites Rangers 2–0 at the national stadium in front of a crowd of 114,708 people. They soon reached another final against the same opposition in 1932 but this time were beaten after a replay, and the same outcome followed in the 1938 final against East Fife, Killie this time the team on the receiving end of an upset.
Late 20th century
In 1964–65Heart of Midlothian fought out a championship title race with Willie Waddell‘s Kilmarnock. In the era of two points for a win Hearts were three points clear with two games remaining. Hearts drew with Dundee United meaning the last game of the season with the two title challengers playing each other at Tynecastle would be a league decider. Kilmarnock needed to win by a two-goal margin to take the title. Hearts entered the game as favourites with both a statistical and home advantage. They also had a solid pedigree of trophy-winning under Tommy Walker. Waddell’s Kilmarnock in contrast had been nearly men. Four times in the previous five seasons they had finished league runners-up including Hearts’ triumph in 1960. Killie had also lost three domestic cup finals during the same period including the 1962 League Cup Final defeat to Hearts. Hearts had won five of the six senior cup finals they played in under Walker. Even the final they had lost was in a replay after drawing the first game. Hearts’ Roald Jensen hit the post after six minutes. Kilmarnock then scored twice through Davie Sneddon and Brian McIlroy after 27 and 29 minutes. Alan Gordon had an excellent chance to clinch the title for Hearts in second half injury time but was denied by a Bobby Ferguson diving save pushing the ball past the post. The 2–0 defeat meant Hearts lost the title by an average of 0.042 goals. Subsequently, Hearts were instrumental in pushing through a change to use goal difference to separate teams level on points. Ironically this rule change later denied Hearts the title in 1985–86. This is the only time to date Killie have been Scottish champions.
Decline in the 1980s brought relegation to the Second Division. Killie returned to the top division with promotion in 1993. They lifted the Scottish Cup for the third time in 1997 thanks to a 1–0 victory over Falkirk in the final.
The club have qualified for European competitions on nine occasions, their best performance coming in the 1966–67 Fairs Cup when they progressed to the semi-finals, eventually being eliminated by Leeds United. The club is also one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in all three European competitions (European Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup).
Kilmarnock reached the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final, but suffered a 5–1 defeat in the final by Hibernian. After selling Steven Naismith to Rangers for a club-record fee in August 2007, Killie struggled in the 2007–08 Scottish Premier League, finishing in 11th place with 40 points. In January 2010, Kilmarnock were second bottom of the 2009–10 Scottish Premier League, with last placed Falkirk just two points behind. On 11 January 2010, Jim Jefferies left the club by “mutual consent” and Jimmy Calderwood was appointed manager. Kilmarnock then achieved a first win in nine years against Celtic. Continued poor form, however, meant a final day showdown at Rugby Park with Falkirk for SPL survival. Kilmarnock began the game with a two-point advantage over their rivals and a goalless draw on the day was good enough to secure top-flight football for another year. They ended the season with just 33 points, their worst points finish in the SPL.
After Calderwood left at the end of the season, Mixu Paatelainen was appointed manager for the next two years with an option for a third. Despite being the favourites for relegation that season, Kilmarnock finished the season in fifth position. Paatelainen left the club to become manager of Finland and his assistant Kenny Shiels was appointed manager. Kilmarnock progressed to the 2012 Scottish League Cup Final with wins against Queen of the South, East Fife and Ayr United in an Ayrshire derby at Hampden. Kilmarnock won the League Cup for the first time, as they defeated Celtic 1–0 in the final; Dieter van Tornhout scored the only goal six minutes from time, with goalkeeper Cammy Bell named Man of the Match. In June 2013, after three years at Kilmarnock, manager Kenny Shiels was sacked by chairman Michael Johnston after a “mutual agreement” between the two.
Allan Johnston signed a two-year contract and was appointed manager on 24 June 2013, with Sandy Clark as the assistant manager. Clark left his role in the summer of 2014 with the club looking to go in a new direction, and ex-Killie player and former Hearts manager Gary Locke was appointed as his assistant. Johnston was sacked in February 2015 after informing the press of his intention to leave in the summer, before discussing this with the board. Locke was placed in interim charge, before signing a three-year deal in April 2015. Kilmarnock went on to lose seven of their final eight games of the season, but were spared the play-off spot after a 4–1 win over Partick Thistle.
The 2015–16 season would prove difficult for the team. Locke was removed from his position as manager in February 2016, with Lee Clark being appointed as his replacement. Despite a small uplift in form, the team finished in 11th place and faced a relegation play-off against Championship side Falkirk in order to stay in the top flight. Despite losing 0–1 in the first leg, Killie fought back and comfortably won the second leg 4–0 (4–1 on aggregate), securing the club’s status in the Scottish Premiership for another season. Clark would leave Kilmarnock for a return to England with Bury in February 2017, exactly a year after his arrival. Former Rangers player Lee McCulloch, assistant to both Locke and Clark, was placed in temporary charge until the end of the season, achieving an eighth place finish. The following season saw another poor start, with an early defeat to rivals Ayr United in the league cup group stages, followed by a disappointing start to the league campaign. McCulloch was sacked in September 2017 with the club rooted to the bottom of the table.
In an unexpected move, Kilmarnock appointed former Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion coach Steve Clarke. It was Clarke’s first involvement with the Scottish game in 30 years and his appointment preempted a dramatic upturn in form, with the club ultimately finishing in fifth place, earning him the SFWA Manager of the Year award in the process. The 2018–19 season saw Kilmarnock celebrate their 150th anniversary, and the team continued their strong form in the league, both home and away, culminating in a final day fixture against Rangers at Rugby Park. Kilmarnock won the match 2–1 and the result secured a third place finish in the league, which guaranteed European football for the first time since 2001. The season’s results also set a new record points total for the club and their highest placed finish in the league since 1966. The following day, Clarke was signed by the Scottish FA to become the head coach of the Scotland national team.
Following the departure of Steve Clarke, Kilmarnock had three managers whose spell in charge was brief, beginning with former Juventus and Chelsea assistant coach Angelo Alessio. In Alessio’s second match in charge, Kilmarnock lost in Europa League qualification to Welsh Premier League club Connah’s Quay Nomads. Alessio was sacked in December 2019, with the team sitting in fifth place. Following his departure, Alex Dyer, assistant coach to both Alessio and Clarke, was appointed on an initial caretaker basis until the end of the season, before all football was abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dyer’s services were retained by the club and he signed a new contract extension in June 2020. However, following a poor start to the new season, he left the club by mututal consent in January 2021. In February 2021, former St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was appointed as the club’s third manager in two years.
Relegation and promotion
On 24 May 2021, following a play−off defeat to Dundee, Kilmarnock were relegated to the Scottish Championship, bringing an end to their 28 year stay in the top flight. Tommy Wright was sacked in December 2021 with the team sitting fourth place in the Championship. Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was quickly appointed as his successor. Results improved, and by the end of the 2021–22 seasonKillie were promoted back to the top flight of Scottish football at the first attempt, defeating closest challengers Arbroath 2–1 on the penultimate matchday with a dramatic last-minute winner from Blair Alston.
Ownership and finances
Since June 1906, Kilmarnock F.C. has been owned by the private limited company The Kilmarnock Football Club Ltd.
Since 2014, the majority shareholder of the club is Ayrshire businessman Billy Bowie, who oversees all operations of the club. Kilmarnock became debt-free under Bowie’s control in 2017 after several years of financial difficulty.
In May 2018 Kilmarnock made a landmark move by appointing Phyllis McLeish, commercial director of the QTS Group, to the club’s board and in doing so became the first female board member in over 20 years. Later that same month, the club appointed its second female board member in Cathy Jamieson, former MP for the Kilmarnock and Loudoun district and a life-long Killie fan. Her appointment came after being nominated by The Killie Trust Initiative l, who raised over £100,000 to have a member of the trust on the board.
Kilmarnock’s biggest rivalry is with their South Ayrshire neighbours Ayr United and together they contest the Ayrshire derby. The fixture has been played 256 times since their first meeting on 14 September 1910. Killie have won on 189 occasions. This fixture will be revived in season 2021–22, as both clubs will be in the same division following Kilmarnock’s relegation to the Scottish Championship.
Colours and badge
The 150th Anniversary Badge from 2018–2019
The earliest known Kilmarnock kit from 1879 consisted of an all-blue jersey with white trousers. The shirt bore a crest which was described as “a hand, index and second fingers upright, thumb outstretched, other fingers enclosed over a palm” (an adoption of the historic Clan Boyd chief’s heraldic crest). The hand rested on a bar over a ball marked KFC. Between 1887-1890 Kilmarnock wore black and white striped tops. Thereafter, the club has predominantly played in blue and white striped or hooped shirts with either blue or white shorts. The club have also occasionally played in plain blue and plain white tops; this was suggested by Ross Quigley who, at the time, was one of the first directors of the club, although the kit was later changed to the hooped style in 1920. The club’s away colours have varied greatly over time. Yellow is generally regarded as the club’s main third colour; but white, red and purple away kits have also appeared in recent years.
Between 2008 and 2014, the club manufactured their kits under their own sportswear brand, 1869. Following this, Italian company Erreá was the manufacturer. Kilmarnock kits were manufactured by American company Nike between 2016–2020. The current kit manufacturer is Danish company Hummel; it can only be bought from the store at Rugby Park.
The club badge is a modernised version of previous club badges. It features a ball bearing a hand in a blessing position, flanked by two red squirrels. The club’s Latin motto, confidemus (we trust), is written above the badge (similar to the Clan Boyd heraldic motto, confido (I trust)). The club adopted the badge in 1992 after The Lord Lyon decreed that the previous badge, based heavily upon the town crest, was in breach of ancient Scottish heraldic rules.
In October 2018 the club unveiled a special badge for the club’s 150th anniversary.
The club’s mascot is a squirrel named ‘Captain Conker’ after the squirrels found on the club’s crest and the Boyd coats of arms. In the past the ‘Killie Pie’ mascot was also a regular at Rugby Park on matchdays. Previously the mascot was Nutz the squirrel, played by long-time Kilmarnock fan Ian Downie who died in 2020.
Rugby Park stadium, situated on Rugby Road, home of Kilmarnock FC
Kilmarnock first played football matches at the present Rugby Park site in 1899. Despite this, the venue is actually Kilmarnock’s fourth home ground. The Grange, Holm Quarry and Ward’s Park all hosted matches before the club moved to Rugby Park in 1877. This was not the present stadium, but one situated close by near South Hamilton Street. This ground was shared by cricket and rugby teams – sports which Kilmarnock had played previously – and the connection with rugby gave the ground its name. This name was taken with the club when they moved to their present stadium.
During the 1994–95 season the stadium capacity was significantly reduced as three new stands were constructed; the Moffat Stand, the Chadwick Stand and the East Stand. Their completion brought the capacity of the stadium to 17,889. The stadium opened on 6 August 1995, in a friendly match against English champions Blackburn Rovers. Mike Newell hit a hat-trick as the home team lost 5–0.
A FIFA 2 star FieldTurfartificial pitch was installed at Rugby Park for the start of the 2014–15 season. The pitch is capable of hosting rugby matches as well as football. A new artificial hybrid surface was installed during the 2019 close season.
In February 2019 Kilmarnock received approval to install a new safe-standing section in areas of the East and Moffat stands. The installation process was completed in early December of that year.
The Ghillie Dhu is a male faerie who lives alone in the forest and camouflages himself using leaves and moss. It’s believed that he lives around Gairloch in the Highlands – also home to a prehistoric vitrified fort, medieval island stronghold and “Creag an Fhomhair” (“the Giant’s Rock”).
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