bleedy pits

It was at the beginning of the last millennium, the Danes were still threatening the Scottish coast, and the clanchiefs were busy fighting off invaders after invaders. In 1004, the Danes invaded Banffshire and were received with horror as well as courage by the locals. There were not many places along the coast where a... Continue Reading →

Funny Scottish Epitaphs: John Sullen

Here lies John Sullen, and it is God's will He that was sullen, should be sullen still; He is sullen, if truth ye seek; Knock until Doomsday, Sullen will not speak. Raymond Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

The rise of Keith

The reign of King Robert saw the second major division between Aberdeenshire and Banffshire and the rise of the de la Keith family. After the war and the long period of securing his power, the king owed many. In addition to the long-established nobles, new families now came to influence and wealth, lands were freshly... Continue Reading →

heirs and honours

Anyone who has ever tried to google a Scottish town is likely to have made a similar experience: there is always another one with the same name, often significantly larger, in the United States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. This also applies to the Royal Burgh of Banff in Scotland. There is another one in... Continue Reading →

leper deaths in Wigtown

The Middle Ages were for many in Scotland a time of poverty and deprivation, a meager diet and dangerous illnesses, low or non-existent sanitary standards, little medical knowledge. Eels were the standard food around Wigtown and the Galloway coast. They were salted and kept in barrels for winter. The poor were the first to catch... Continue Reading →

The Talkative Maid of Dalry

Beneath this silent tomb is laid A noisy antiquated maid, who from her cradle talked till death And ne'er before was out of breath. Raymond Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

linen law

kistin The process of laying a corpse in a coffin is called kistin in Scotland. This was more than a necessary act in a funeral parlour, it was a religious ceremony and either the minister himself or one of his elders was performing the solemn task. The reason being, there was a law concerning the... Continue Reading →

marriage and death in Portpatrick

Portpatrick is a village in the Dumfries and Galloway council area, formerly Wigtownshire at the southwestern end of Scotland. It has an old burial ground (Old Portpatrick) and an older part to the new cemetery . As the name suggests, the local harbour has for a long time been trading with Ireland, there was a... Continue Reading →

abandoned kirkyard Stoneykirk

Kirkyards all over Scotland have been abandoned for various reasons, some after the Reformation, others because the Parish or village boundaries were changing or because the churches were too old or the kirkyards too full. Whatever the reason, an abandoned churchyard has a sad and slightly eerie quality, especially on a dreich day. Stoneykirk in... Continue Reading →

Where’s the grave?

'Tis here that Tibby Allan lies, 'Tis here, or here about, But no one till the Resurrection day, Shall the very spot dispute. Raymont Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh 1990

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