A Strange Reflux

This contemptuous loathing lasted till the year 1745, and was then for a moment succeeded by intense fear and rage. England, thoroughly alarmed, put forth her whole strength. The Highlands were subjugated rapidly, completely, and for ever. During a short time the English nation, still heated by the recent conflict, breathed nothing but vengeance. The […]

Argylls in Jerusalem

Pray that Jerusalem may have peace and felicity: let them that love you and your peace still have prosperity. First verse of Hymn 82 in Church Hymnary, 4th ed.; Psalm 122 is invariably sung annually at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at Edinburgh.

Conflation: Gàidhealtachd & Jacobitism

The simple question “who were the Gaidheil (Gaels)”? Might seem like a surprising point of departure. When the Comunn Oiseanach (Ossianic Society) started meeting at the University of Glasgow some eighty years later, from 1831, one of their primary functions was as a debating society. They discussed, in Gaelic, a wide range of topics but […]

Black Duncan of the Cowl and Buchanan of Bochastle

Once when Black Duncan of the Cowl was in the house of Buchanan of Bochastle (Bochaisteil), the food that was customary at the time was put before him — milk, bread, and cheese. Black Duncan liked the cheese well, and he said to Buchanan, “Where was this cheese grown (made), laird of Bochastle?” “It grew […]

Finlay of Colonsay

Robert Adamson (1821 – 1848) was a pioneer photographer whose subjects included Archibald McNeill (1803 – 1870), Sir John McNeill and “Finlay of Colonsay, a deerstalker in the employ of Campbell of Islay.” There are three images of this Finlay, taken on 17 April 1846. Adamson established his studio in Rock House, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, […]

Formalities Observed

Every Heir or young Chieftain of a Tribe was oblig’d in Honour to give a publick Specimen of his Valour before he was own’d and declar’d Governor or Leader of his People, who obey’d and follow’d him upon all Occasions. This Chieftain was usually attended with a Retinue of young Men of Quality, who had […]

Tha sinn ‘san t-sean-nàdur

Tha sinn ‘san t-sean-nàdur A bhà sinn roimh am an achda, Am pearsanna ‘s an inntinn, ‘S ‘bar rìoghalachd, cha tèid lagadh. We’re still of our old nature As were we ere the Act was passèd, Alike in mind and persons And loyalty, we will not weaken. Am Breachan Uallach, Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair.

The Birth of a Blade

I have commissioned Adriaan Gerber to forge a new sgian dubh (Scots-Gaelic “black knife”; a small Scottish knife most often worn as part of Highland Dress, tucked into the hose on the outside of the right leg.) Today he sent me a picture of the blade in its early stages. The forged blade survived the […]