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Scottish Places and History

Declaration of Arboath
Declaration of Arbroath, another site

Letter of Scottish barons to Pope John XXII dated 6th April 1320, affirming their determination to maintain Scottish independence and support Robert I unless he showed signs of yielding. "For as long as but one hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule, It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

On April 6, 1320, Scotland's leading nobility and clergy gathered at the Abbey of Arbroath to place their signatures on a document drafted by the Bernard de Linton, the Abbot of Arbroath. This Latin language declaration was addressed to Pope John XXII and called on the pontiff to officially recognize the independent Kingdom of Scotland under King Robert Bruce. This event occurred six years after the decisive Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, which had, at least temporarily, concluded the war waged against Scotland by the English Kings Edward I (known as "The Hammer of Scotland") and his son Edward II.

This document stands as one of history's landmarks in the struggle for the Liberty of Mankind. Contrary to the views of contemporary history books, it is the Declaration of Arbroath, not the 1225 real estate contract drafted by the English landed-nobility known as the Magna Carta, which is the precursor to the 1776 American Declaration of Independence.

One of the main Scottish ports for departure was "Greenock," which is near Glasgow. But many of the Scottish emigrants departed from Liverpool, England also.

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There are ALWAYS boundary changes in Scotland, at least that's the way it seems! Boundaries are mostly based on old church parish boundaries, which have remained fairly intact over the centuries. While parishes as local organisational units have been dropped, the boundaries have continued to be utilised for County boundaries, District boundaries, Parliamentary constituency boundaries, and so on.
County boundaries have had oddities, such as detached portions, whereby a small part of one county is stuck like an island inside the area of another county! Most of these have been sorted out during the last hundred years, but still cause confusion for genealogists who don't know the details.

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Scotland in divided into three parts.
The Highlands, The Lowlands, and the Southern Uplands. There are sub regions within these, and the islands are usually considered in the the Highlands.
The three divisions are because in the middle there is a rift valley. To the North there is the Highland Fault, running roughly from Stonehaven to Hellensburgh,
To the south roughly from Dunbar to Ardrossan or Ayr is the Lowland Fault, - Don't take this literally and draw lines on the map and say that anywhere to the North and West of these lines is absolutely in whatever area.
BBC Scotland The stylized Logo of BBC Scotland will give you the idea.

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"Some of the Celts wore 'bronze helmets with figures picked out on them, even horns, which made them look even taller than they already are . . . while others cover themselves with breast-armour made out of chains. But most content themselves with weapons nature gave them: they go naked into battle.' Before it began, however, they indulged in a performance that was bound to confuse their enemies more than anything they had seen before. It started with one or more of them leaving the ranks and challenging the bravest of the enemy to a duel.

As Diodorus recounts: 'At the same time they swing their weapons about to intimidate their foe; if anyone accepts the challenge, the Celtic warriors break into a wild singing, praising the deeds of their fathers and their own prowess, while insulting and belittling their opponents, to take the edge off them before the battle begins.' It was a ritualized psychological warfare, of a kind still employed in pub-brawls in Alpine village-inns or Breton fishermen's taverns. But there was more to it. After this prelude, the Celts would begin their own moral preparation:

'Weird, discordant horns were sounded', there was a chorus of shouting from their 'deep and harsh voices', swords were beaten rhythmically against shields, rage and war-lust were systematically whipped up. At last the first warrior broke ranks and stormed forward. At the same time, on the flanks, squadrons of four-wheeled war-chariots started moving, usually manned by two warriors. One drove the horses, while the other hurled javelins at the enemy cavalry. When he had thrown them all, he would jump out and join the battle on foot, while the chariot was turned around, to be kept ready in case a retreat was necessary."
(From The Celts by Gerhard Herm)

In the periods prior to the modern era, kilts were generally removed before battle and left behind the lines. Typically, a man wore the peasant-type long shirt which came nearly to his knees and it was in this garment that he fought.

Trews were worn by the horsemen who were generally chiefs, chieftans and lesser nobility, the common soldier having no horse.

A dirk is single-edged, a dagger two edged. A dirk was primarily an armour piercing device. Daggers have cross bars between the haft and the blade, dirks do not as it would tangle in the tartan.

Edward Longshanks is known as the hammer of the Scots. Perhaps there is an allusion here to the war hammer. Large blocks of wood were banded together with a copper strap and mounted on an axe-like handle. Picture a huge mallet. The hammer was swung in a circular plane horizontal to the ground to gain momentum and then targeted to smash and buckle the knees of horses and men to bring them down.

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Picts were the indigenous folk covered in Blue Woad but nothing much else who came after the ice age (10,000 BC) presumably from Continental Europe/Asia and whom ancients and modern anthropology might link to Scythians (its a stretch). The Romans tried to kill them off, failed to finish the job and built two walls instead.

Scots were an IRISH tribe who settled/invaded the Lowlands, Vikings came along after that taking over a good part of Ireland and much of the Highlands and adding their blond/blue-eyed/big body genes--also giving us Highland Games. Somewhere in there the Picts bit the dust.

Laing and Laing "The Picts and the Scots" (Alan Sutton Pub 1994 ISBN 0-7509-0677-4)suggests that the Romans invented term "PICT" and used it broadly, to describe any north Briton who was struggling against Roman domination. That they might not have been tribal groups as such, but the ruling class of certain Celtic tribes in the north. The Gaelic Irish knew them as Cruithni which in Brythonic Celtic was Pritani or Priteni in which the word Britain originates. If I'm not mistaken there were also Cruithni or Picts in north Ireland. This culture in north Britain can be traced to the Bronze Age. The language of the Picts seems to have been essentially British Celtic, like that of the rest of the island.

In the New Stone Age, two colonizing groups settled Scotland: Mediterraneans and Europeans from the continent across the North Sea. In the centuries before the birth of Christ, new settlements were made by the Celtic tribes, who worked with iron. Their chieftains built hill forts, in defence against the Romans Before the withdrawal of the Roman legions Scots from Ireland were establishing power in what is now Argyll. Soon after the Angles (germanic tribes) began to occupy Lothian and the Britons who had lived under Roman rule were driven westward. Thus by 600 A.D. four peoples were living on the Scottish mainland The Picts occupied most of the Highland, (except for the Scots colony in Dalriada (later Argylle) The Western lowlands called Strathclyde were held by partially romanized Britons and the s.e. lowlands (Lothian) held by the Angles.
Encyclopedia Americana - International edition.

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Anglo Saxon Chronicles.
These were written by Anglo Saxon monks in England, documenting a thousand years of history, ending with Henry II. There are seven manuscripts and two fragments. They begin in pre-Roman time.

Here is the beginning: "The island of Britain is eight hundred miles long and two hundred miles broad. Here on this island are five languages: English, Brito-Welsh, Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants of this land were the Britons, who came from Armonica, and at first occupied the south of Britain. Then it happened that the Picts came from Scythia in the south, with longships, not many, and came at first to Northern Hibernia [Northern Ireland]. They asked the Scots if they might live there, but they would not let them, because they said that they could not all live together there. The Scots said, "We can give you advice, nevertheless; we know of another island east of here where you may dwell if you wish, and if anyone withstands you, we will help you, so that you may accomplish it." Then the Picts went into this land, to the north, and in the south the British had it. The Picts asked for wives from the Scots and this was granted on the condition that their royal ancestry always be traced from the woman's side; they have long since held to this. After some years it happened that some of the Scots went from Hibernia to Britain and overcame part of the land. Their war-leader was named Reoda, and because of him they are called Daelreodi." (p 18)

"The Anglo Saxon Chronicles" Translated and collated by Anne Savage, published 1997 by CLB, copyrighted 1984 by CLB International, Goldalming, Surrey ISBN 1-85833-478-0

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Lynch, Michael: Scotland A New History ISBN 0-7126-9893-0 Smout T.C: A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830 ISBN 0-00-632954-3

Smout A Century of the Scottish People 1830 -1950 ISBN 0-00-686141-5

Manufacture of Scottish History, Ed Ian Donnachie & Christopher Whatley. Polygon 1992 ISBN 0 7486 6120 4. This not only has an extensive Bibliography - though only minimal references - but it also critically examines the development of Scottish Historiography, and attempts to examine various ideas which are more complicated than are often believed.

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Highland Papers - edited by J.R.N. MacPhail, K.C. A selection of Donald Gregor's materials as well as documents from other sources comprise this volume (a publication of the Scottish History Society), whose purpose was to make available "some of the original material and recorded tradition on which knowledge of Highland history is based."

Vol. III - (1920) reprint, 338 pp., index, paper, $27.00 #M018

Vol. IV - Numerous writs (1334-1632) of the Campbells. (1934) reprint, 290 pp., index, paper, $27.00 #M019

Available at:
1540-E Pointer Ridge Place
Bowie, MD 20716
1-800-276-1760 FAX

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If you do a search using "highland clearances" you will find a wealth of information - other places would be "Clan Sutherland" or "Clan McKay". They have links to a lot of Highland data.

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If you can rent microfilm from a Family History Center, the LDS in Utah have the following about Airdrie:
#0874250 John MacArthur, "New Monkland parish, its history . . ." (1890)
#1239003 "The Book of Airdrie" by many contributors, 1954

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Angus and Forfarshire

There was, certainly until recently, a very active Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society which did a lot of work on local history. You will be able to get details of this and other societies from Clackmannanshire Council's main library which will be listed at:

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Fife Family History Society
Kirkaldy Book - Kingdom of Fife
The Parishes of Fife Scotland

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About Galloway

Galloway is the southwestern part of Scotland, it borders Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dumfriesshire. Some of the hills are over 2,000 ft high. Some miscellaneous material extracted from various sources:
  • 397-432 AD St. Ninian evangelized from Whithorn in what is now Wigtownshire. Stone church ruins there
  • 400-500s AD Kirkmaiden stones, earliest stone memorials to Christians, at Drummore, Mull of Galloway, Wigtownshire. On view at Kirkmaiden church
  • 600s Galloway. Christian Britons in Galloway overcome by Northumbrian Angles Late 600s after the Synod of Whitby the Roman practice was set up at Whithorn in the old Celtic monastery
  • 900s Galloway. Norsemen overran coastal lands and gave place-names like Wigtown, Gaitgil, Borness...
    King David I of Scotland addressed a proclamation to "my whole Kingdom Scottish, English, Anglo-Norman, and Gallovidian."
  • 1100s Fergus, Lord of Galloway, had castle on high rock with clay and wattle hurdles, overlooking the Solway Firth Galloway men joined David I in the invasion of ENG although the Galloway men had no armor
  • 1161 Galloway Fergus of Galloway, d. at Holyrood as a canon. Fergus endowed monastic foundations at Whithorn, Soulseat, Tongland, etc.
    Galloway invaded 3 times by Malcolm IV; Galwegians were Gaelic speaking and had hated the feudal system
    Malcolm IV succeeded by his brother William the Lion (1214)
    Gilbert son of Fergus killed older brother Uchtred and later Roland son of Uchtred assumed the lordship of Galloway and in 1200 accompanied King William to London to do homage to King John. Roland's son Alan also did homage to King John. Alan was one of leading barons at Runnymede in 1215 signing of Magna Charta. Alan was last of the native Lords of Galloway, d. 1234, son John d.; Alan left 3 daughters all married to Norman barons, also a natural son, Thomas, whom the Galwegians declared for. Conquest followed and the lands of Galloway passed from the native owners to others. It had been against Brehon law for daughters to inherit lands and have lands pass out of the father's family
  • 1297 Scots defeat ENG at Stirling Bridge
  • 1300 Edward I "the Hammer of the Scots" invaded Scotland In Galloway, William Wallace took Wigtown Castle and Cruggleton Castle. Wallace betrayed, captured, turned over to English by Sheriff of Dumbarton
  • 1305 Execution of Wallace by English
  • 1307 Loudoun Hill battle; almost all Scottish castles in hands of ENG; garrisons at Stirling, and in south, Dumfries, Caerlaverock, Dalswinton, Lochmaben, Tibbers, Buittle, Kirkcudbright, Wigtown, Stranraer
    Robert I captured Turnberry Castle, cleared his earldom of Carrick, went south into Galloway to headquarter at Glentrool. Bruce's father was Lord of Annandale and the earldom of Carrick (in Galloway s. of Ayr) was inherited through marriage. Bruce had castle on Loch Doon.
    Bruce's hiding place in Glentrool (Galloway hills) was discovered and Edward I's Gallovidian governor, Sir Symer de Valence took offensive but Bruce won his first victory, 1307 Glentrool
    Edward I hanged Robert I's brothers Neil Bruce at Berwick and Thomas and Alexander at Carlisle.
  • 24 June 1314 Battle of Bannockburn: Robert I's Scots rout the English under Edward II; 30,000 of their number dead upon the field, 2/3 as many Scots died
  • 1320 The Arbroath Declaration, letter to the Pope asserting Independence of Scotland, nobles affixed seals
    Robert I visited Whithorn to pray; he d. 1329
    Scottish Kings were main pilgrims to Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Galloway, because there were no roads to the great abbeys in the region
    Lordship of Galloway was settled on Margaret of Denmark, widow of James II and she and son James III visited St. Ninian's church, Whithorn
  • 1497 James IV visited Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Galloway, by way of Loch Ryan James IV visited Whithorn, traveled on foot, prob. came by Dalry, (means the Royal Vale)
  • 1511 Whithorn made a royal burgh by James IV
  • 1513 James IV of Scotland d. age 40 at Battle of Flodden against English; succeeded by his infant son James V for whom his mother Margaret Tudor assumes regency
    Galloway James V visited Whithorn, age about 14. 1533 James V visited Whithorn
    Battle of Solway Moss on southern border of Scotland; Henry VIII defeated James V. Mary Queen of Scots b. Aug 12, ascended throne 6 days later, after death of her father James V
  • 1560 Church of Scotland founded. Treaty of Berwick between Elizabeth I and Scottish reformers.
  • 1561 Mary Queen of Scots returned to Scotland from France to rule after her husband died
    Mary visited Whithorn; son James VI visited St. Ninian's church, Whithorn, Wigtownshire
  • 1603 Elizabeth I (1533-1603) d., James VI of Scotland, her cousin, became James I of ENG and IRE reigned to 1625. 1609 James I obtained n. IRE fr. certain nobles. Proclamation for Invitation to Settlers, 28 Mar 1609 Scots to Ulster were fr. Dumbarton, Renfrew, Ayre, Galloway, Dumfries. Chief seat was County Londonderry
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Last updated June 16, 2000