silent watch

Beneath Craig Dhu, which to the clouds doth rise, Beside the Spey, a grassy graveyard lies. The great grey hill its silent watch doth keep O'er those lying in their last long sleep. Many men of the pen and of the sword came out of Badenoch, a history of battles fought and lost; great Clan... Continue Reading →

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an axe wound, mass murder and lust

St Clement’s church, Rodel, Isle of Harris St Clement’s was built as a catholic church under David I, probably by one of the MacLeods of Harris but falling into disuse soon after completion. The Reformation had put an end to Catholicism on the island. It had most likely been a priory, two allegedly excisted on... 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 →

the mourning girl’s grave

The last Laird of Foyers was born in 1760. The estate still belonged to the family then because his grandfather had bequeathed it to his son, the last Laird's father, before he joined the Jacobite Rising in 1745. It was therefore safe, most of the other rebel properties in Scotland had been confiscated by the crown.... Continue Reading →

bullets, burnings and bread

There are three holes in the gravestone of Donald Fraser of Erchite, remains of a funeral that ended in a shooting, the holes are the marks the bullets left. It must have been the second half of the year 1745. The tragic battle of Culloden had left its mark on Scotland and indeed the area... Continue Reading →

historic murder comic

There are many Pictish stones in Moray, most of them stand lonely in some field or other somewhere along the roadside, often fenced-in with a small sign giving a few an explanations. They usually do not differ very much to the untrained eye, prior knowledge of Pictish symbolism often helps. The Sueno stone is an... Continue Reading →

chosen isolation

Isolation – the absence of others. A state of mind and body very much sought after by the early Christians. This was not the (splendid) isolation of the 19th century. This was the decision to live as a hermit, a recluse, a man alone with his faith and God. Nothing splendid about that.  Muthill was one... Continue Reading →

death and old age

  Killin Old Kirkyard is not in use anymore, the last burial took place in March 1994. Then the graveyard was closed; no more bodies to be interred here. On the banks of the River Lochy, behind the Killin Hotel, Killin graveyard is entered through an old gate. Sometimes hotel staff sneak out here for... Continue Reading →

deadly woman

This is an old and bloody story, told among the people of Brig o’ Turk about a brave Scottish woman fighting an English soldier. The woman was one Ellen Stewart or Stuart, and she defended herself and the other women of the glen in a true Highlands way. Ellen Stewart’s great grandson, who lived in Brig... Continue Reading →

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