a holy well and generous offspring

One thing seems to be peculiar about places in Banffshire: they tend to change names over time. This applies to Macduff and Gardenstown as well as to Botriphnie. The name of the village is of Pictish origin (Both Draighnigh), locals still use it to denote the parish. The place itself is now called Drummuir wich... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

sin-eatings, dead days, and waulking the dead

The churchyard in Inch in the southwest of Scotland is in no way exraordinary. The parish church austere and grey, the graves ordered and well kept even though the village of Inch doesn't exist anymore. Old funeral customs in Dumfries and Galloway were elaborate and in parts rather strange. One custom, was known as the... Continue Reading →

death and healing waters

Penpont takes ist name from a wooden bridge over the River Nith where a penny had to be paid for building and upkeep.  Penpont also was the seat of the Presbytery. There are no more traces left of the medieval church that once stood within the graveyard. There were headstones dating back as far as... Continue Reading →

gravestone mistake

The place name already suggests graves, Glencairn, the valley of the stones, cairns having been used in the past as markers and for burials. There are various cairns in the area. The Earl of Glencairn was a fervent supporter of the Reformation. The old family seat was known as Maxwell House. In 1591 the King... Continue Reading →

Adam and Eve Stone

An intricate Adam and Eve stone displays the figures of Adam and eve, angels playing the trumpet, an hour glass, a bible and a plough with oxen complete this interesting example dating back to 1758. The symbolism is complex, the first awareness of death came according to the Bible to mankind through Adam and Eve.... Continue Reading →

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