names and nemesis

Yarrow kirkyard Names locate people, especially in Scotland. Many of the big names are names from the Highlands, like MacDonald. In the south of Scotland, the picture looks different, other surnames established: Armstrong, Scott, Maxwell, for example. All over Scotland nicknames were given generously and just like in the Highlands, each Border clan has a... Continue Reading →

seven slain brothers

The Douglas clan was a powerful one in ancient Scotland, respected and sometimes feared. Mothers would use the name to pressure their children: Be good or the black Douglas will get you. They were called Black Douglas, for their inclination as well as their complexion; they were a rather dark-skinned family. One of the many... Continue Reading →

Campbell in Kilmartin

Many impressive gravestones are on display in Kilmartin graveyard, not to mention the famous crosses. But Kilmartin is also worth a closer look, one that takes you further back in history. There is one name that pops up on many of the gravestones is Campbell and the Campbells have a long and eventful history. If there... Continue Reading →

a hero’s graveyard

Zecharia’s Cemetery (Cill Sgàire) in Bragar, Isle of Lewis Zechariah or Zacharay Macaulay’s father was the Chamberlain of Lewis and owned the land around Valtos, Kneep and Reef. Zachary lived in the first part of the 18th century. He grew up to be a hero and well remembered in the oral tradition of Lewis. The... Continue Reading →

at the end of the road

Harris and Lewis are connected by one long major road, the backbone of the Longisle, really. Any time you detour from it, be it towards the West or towards the East, you are bound to discover things. Heading north from Tarbert, the first junction takes you to the western most point of Harris – Hushinish... Continue Reading →

the disemboweled judge

The clan Morrison was strong on the Isle of Lewis, mainly in the area around Ness and Barvas. They held the hereditary office of brieve, meaning they were the judges in the area; a station of absolute power but not always absolute integrity. One John Morrison, brieve of Lewis, had come to the conclusion that... Continue Reading →

The Fife Adventurers

Towards the end of  the 16th century, the Isle of Lewis was a wild, unruly, unhealthy and recalcitrant place. At least according to its King, James VI. It might have been quite a few of these things but educating his people was not what was really on the King’s mind when he took measures to... Continue Reading →

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