Ye maggots, feed on Nicol's brain, For few sic feasts you've gotten; and fix your claws in Nical's heart, For deil a bit o' t's rotten.   Raymond Lamont- Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Cahmbers, Edinburgh, 1990   William Nicol was a friend of Robert Burns. The poet named oone of his sons after the highly intelligent... Continue Reading →

the Burns connection

The Church of Crosbie has a very special connection with the poet Robert Burns. Its roof collapsed on the stormy January night of 1759, in which the poet was born. Crosbie is just under 40 miles away from Alloway. The ruin was never rebuilt and has now been made inaccessible. Unfortunately, the entire cemetery is... Continue Reading →

Kirkconnel – a poet and a partisan

a partisan for the pretender When Charles Edward Stuart came to Scotland in 1745 to conquer his crown and his realm, the young king-to-be landed in the Western Highlands, where he could count on most supporters. There were not many in the Borders who would have given him unwavering support, with one big exception: James... Continue Reading →

Scottish epitaphs: Gordon Fraser from Wigtown

O bury me at Wigtown, And o'er me raise a modest stane, Tae tell the folks when I am gane, The cauld mools wrap the banes o' ane Wha wrote and sang o' Wigtown. Scottish words: mools = earth, cauld = cold, banes = bones Raymont Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

the shepherd and the poet

James Hogg was one of Scotland’s major writers and is (especially in the Scottish Borders) a celebrated author of poetry, essays and novels, his books belong to the curriculum in the upper grades at schools and literature courses of universities. But internationally he is far less known as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns or Robert... 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 →

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 →

beautiful Beauly

Beauty of decay, stillness of remembrance,  solitude amongst headstones, what is it people seek on graveyards? It had become popular with the Victorians to drink in the beauty of old graveyards: mist shrouding the past, breathtaking light on ancient stone, the remoteness of hidden places. It was all part of the sublime and the beautiful.... Continue Reading →

beauty and reality

Ballachulish, the town at the straights of Loch Leven, has always been synonymous with slate. The famous quarry was established in the late 17th century and is not used any longer, but during the heights of the Industrial Age about 800 men worked in the quarry and the connected businesses. They were mainly producing roof tiles. ... Continue Reading →

death ye mercat

This world is a citie Ful of streets, And death ye mercat That al men meets. If lyfe were a thing, That monie could Buy, the puir could Not live, and ye rich would not die. (Elgin) Hamish Brown: A Scottish Graveyard Miscellany. Birlinn, Edinburgh; 2008        

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