one holy and two frightened men

The year 566 is long, long gone. So long, one can no longer imagine what people's lives were like back then. But every now and then, often in very surprising places, Scotland gives us a little look back in time, such as in Mortlach (Dufftown). A small, inconspicuous place in the middle of never ending... Continue Reading →

the failed resurrection of Mother Buchan

Fordyce is beautiful. If you had to paint an idyllic Scottish village, it would look exactly like that: stone houses, winding streets and well-kept gardens. There is nothing here that disturbs the idyll, not even a pub. There used to be a boisterous annual market, but not anymore. A small castle on the corner of... Continue Reading →

silver darlings

The Banff and Buckie districts were legendary for herring fishing, once a huge source of income in Scotland. In any case, nowhere was as much herring fished as in Scotland and Banff was the most successful of all the herring-fishing regions.   At the beginning of the 20th century, when countless fishing boats caught the... Continue Reading →

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

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