Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Stuart Henry was born in Edinburgh and trained as an actor. By chance one of his first role as a professional actor was to play a DJ. He liked it so much he joined Radio Scotland as pirate jock.
Chronic sea sickness prevented him from broadcasting from the ship (Comet) so many of his programs were pre-recorded or broadcast from the mainland. Stuart’s show was immensely popular and he was selected to join the Radio 1 stable when private radio was made illegal.
Stuart was the master of understatement and spoke with a gentle East Coast accent which endeared him to his audience. He presented 'Midday Spin' (1967 -1974) as well as the Saturday Morning show (1966 -1967). When Stuart began to slur his words regularly on air his superiors thought he was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Somewhat controversially, Stuart’s contract with BBC was not renewed and he left to join Radio Luxembourg in 1974. Soon after the DJ was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
The Edinburgh Academical Football Club is the oldest football club of any code in Scotland (rugby football) and was founded in 1857. As late as the 1860s, football was still played in Scotland with players allowed to handle the ball, whereas in England, only the goalkeeper was permitted to use their hands and then only in his own area.
Scotland's oldest soccer club was Queen's Park (formed 1867) and in the absence of official rules developed their own unique code. Initially they affiliated to the (English) Football Association then after helped form the Scottish FA in 1873. Queens Park played in the English FA Cup and reaching the final twice.
Scottish Association football was enthusiastically taken up by the working class particularly in the central belt of Scotland. By contrast English Association football had been the prerogative of public school boys.
The world’s first official international match under the new Football Association rules took place between Scotland and England in 1872. Bad weather caused the first fixture to be cancelled but a rescheduled game took place at the West of Scotland, Cricket Ground in Patrick, Glasgow. The game ended in a nothing each draw.
Hibernian FC was formed in 1875 by impoverished Irish émigrés living in Edinburgh and sporting the green and white to celebrate their Irish roots. Hearts formed two years later and played in red white and blue. The Edinburgh derby match is the oldest regularly played derby match in the world. Sectarianism was strong in the Scottish cities at that time and only decades later when sectarian affiliations faded did things change. The main exception was the intense rivalry between Rangers (1872 rowing enthusiasts) and Celtic (1887).
The Scottish Cup is the world’s oldest national cup competition and was first contested in 1873. The Scottish Football League was formed in 1890 and in the inaugural season of competition was between 10 teams: Abercorn (Paisley) , Cambuslang, Celtic, Cowlairs (Glasgow) , Dumbarton, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, St. Mirren, Third Lanark and Vale of Leven (Dumbarton).
Scottish players soon developed and mastered a ‘passing and running’ play which became known as the “combination game”. Greater reliance was placed on fast wingers to bring the ball forward before passing to the striker. This technique was pioneered by Queen's Park FC and in order to distinguish colleagues from opponents distinctive self coloured strips were introduced. Players had to cover their knees by the rules and wore “knickerbockers” or "knickers". Socks were initially self-coloured but quickly design features such as contrasting rings ("cadet stripes") on the turnover began to appear. In early days players had to buy their own kit.
Towards the end of the 19th century illicit inducements were offered to Scottish players to join English clubs. Fergie Suter ( Partick Thistle) was the first to cross the border to join Darwen FC (Lancashire) for an undisclosed incentive in 1878. Rows over broken time payments, poaching, financial inducements or the offer of a job (with paid time off for training) became a serious issue and led in 1885 to a decision by the FA to recognise professionalism in England. Payments to players were not permitted in Scotland until 1893. One of the consequences of the introduction of professionalism in England was that the best players in Scotland moved south to play for wages.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Scotland has a strong association with Witchcraft (or Wicca), which became a statutory crime in 1563 (Witchcraft Act). During the Reformation (16th and 17th centuries), several thousand cases of alleged witchcraft were bought to trial. It is considered approximately 67% of those accused of witchcraft were executed and, unlike in England where witches were hanged, the Scots preferred to burn their witches, usually following torture and strangulation. The last documented case of death through witch-burning was recorded in 1722 in Sutherland. Many of the accused who met their unjust end were midwives or victims of malicious gossip and neighbourhood quarrels.
There were five separate sets of witch trials in Scotland. The first took place in 1590 in North Berwick and involved a number of people from East Lothian, accused of witchcraft in the St Andrew's Auld Kirk in North Berwick. The trials ran for two years and seventy people were implicated, including Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell on charges of high treason. The confessions were extracted by torture in the Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh.
King James VI married princess from Denmark who had a fear of the Black art. After they experienced treacherous storms on their journey home to Scotland thought to be caused by practitioners of the Occult, James VI launched a campaign against witches. Suspicion fell on a group of witches from North Bewick. Seventy (70) people accused of being witches in the North Berwick area between 1590-1592. Horrendous torture was used to gain confessions and it was not uncommon for those accused to name others. Under duress Geillis Duncan gave the name of Agnes Sampson, a local midwife. Although Agnes doggedly denied the charges against her, however, the torture was too much for her take and it broke her spirit. Sleep deprived and exhausted by being bound in a witch's bridle, an instrument that inserted four prongs in the mouth and was attached to a wall, she confessed to being allies with Satan and conspiring to kill the King. She was strangled and burned to death.
Another witch trial took place in Edinburgh in 1596, after Christian Stewart was accused of having bewitched Patrick Ruthven to death. These events would foreshadow the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597. An estimated 400 people were put on trial for witchcraft and various forms of diabolism. Trials were conducted by local courts under the supervision of royal commissions, but these were not documented by central authorities, and local records were frequently lost or mislaid. Hence the exact number found guilty and executed is unknown, but is believed to be about 200. According to available records the most frequent witch hunts were in Fife, Perthshire, Glasgow, Stirlingshire and particularly Aberdeenshire. The 1597 with trials started in Slains north of Aberdeen, followed by a larger witch trial in Aberdeen against Janet Wishart and her accomplices. Wishart was alleged to have used a cantrip (spell) to cause one victim to alternately shiver and sweat, bewitched other victims so that they died or nearly died, raised storms via the throwing out of live coals, used "nightmare cats" to inflict horrible dreams, and dismembered a corpse hanging at the gallows. She was executed by burning along with another witch.
The most celebrated case was Margaret Aitken, The Great Witch of Balwearie who was arrested in Fife in1597. After torture she plead guilty and offered to help the Commission to identify other witches in all parts of the country in exchange for her life. For the next four months, the Aitken commission visited several parts of Scotland and many people were arrested, put on trial and executed. Eventually Aitken was discredited as expert witness and the commissions were ordered to end the trials until the claims could be better examined. The witch hunt was stopped in October of 1597.
The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1628–1631 is less well documented According to Robertson (2009) the number of commissions granted in the summer of 1628 was considerable. Witch hunts took place across Scotland but absence of documentation prevent detailed analysis. During July and August, three commissions for the trials of thirteen women from Prestonpans was granted. At least one of the accused, Janet Boyd was executed. More commissions followed and trails were set in Niddrie. The fate of most suspects remains unknown, and the motivations of their commissioners are equally unclear. The seventeen women named in these commissions may have been accused of acts of malefice by their neighbours, or perhaps they were denounced by other suspects. It is possible that some or all of them confessed and provided more names for investigation and trial, but with no further mention of them in the records, there is no way to confirms this. More commissions followed in Midlothian. In the main witch hunts were Protestant-dominated and at a time when there was a great deal of support among secular authorities to enforce anti-papism laws, there was clear evidence prominent Catholics were participating possibly as a way to secure their social position, while appearing to fulfil their duties as a good Catholic in the battle against Satan. By 1632 the peak in witch-hunting had ended and the unwillingness of kirk sessions and the Privy Council to believe accusations of witchcraft showed a departure from the fervour in witch-hunting that began in the second half of 1628. The final witch trials concluded in 1631.
Determined to enforce godliness on the Scots, the Covenanter regime embraced the new witchcraft act in 1649 and extended it to deal with consulters of "Devils and familiar spirits", who would now be punished with death. In the same year the Committee of Estates passed an Act to prevented torture in cases of witchcraft, but it was never implemented. The introduction of the Witchcraft Act of 1649 saw a record number of executions in a single year. The commission of the General Assembly coordinated presbyteries in their pursuit of "fugitive witches" and individual members of parliament and other leading Covenanters took a proactive role in witch hunts. The 49/50 witch hunts were largely confined to the Lowlands (Lothian and Fife) and 612 records of accusations of witchcraft are known to exist with over 300 accused executed after trial. The Devil featured rarely in witchcraft trials, which were mainly concerned with perceived harm through witchcraft. However, there were total of 69 confessions of demonic pacts in court records and five women were executed after admitting to have sexual intercourse with him. The vast majority of witches were women and most of these of relatively low social status. Scottish witchcraft trials were notable for their use of pricking of a Devil's mark through which they could not feel pain. This process undertaken by professional witch prickers could turn into a form of torture in which a subject could be repeatedly pricked until they confessed. The period of rule by the Kirk party ended when Cromwell led an army across the border in July 1650. After this witch trials entered a new phase, with a reduction in the total number of trails and the abandonment of local trials in favour of mixed central-local trials.
The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661–62 took place across the whole of Scotland with at least 660 people tried for witch craft and various forms of diabolism. The exact number of those executed is unknown, largely because they were tried by different legal courts, but is believed to number in the hundreds. The witch hunt started in Midlothian and East Lothian east of Edinburgh, where 206 people were accused of sorcery between April and December 1661. Subsequently the authorities appointed commissions to examine the existence of witchcraft in every part of the country. The most infamous case was Isobel Gowdie, a young housewife living at Auldearn, outside Nairn. Her tales of shape-shifting and cavorting with the devil and his unnaturally cold penis have inspired music, plays, paintings and books. She was tried for witchcraft in 1662. It is unclear whether she had fallen under suspicion of witchcraft but when interrogated she gave a detailed confession which differed considerably from the common pattern of witch confessions. During the process she used the term coven, confessing that in her experience witches met in covens of thirteen. Despite being found guilty there is no record of her being executed.
Robertson E.J., (2009) Panic and Persecution: Witch-Hunting in East Lothian, 1628-1631 MSc by Research in Scottish History : University of Edinburgh
Sunday, October 22, 2017
In 1780 an obscure Scots poet by the name of John Mayne published a poem in Ruddimans Weekly Magazine on the subject of Halloween. In the twelve stanzas the poet makes note of the Scots ‘fearful’ pranks and supernatural associated with All Hallows Eve. Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) later revelled in similar pagan beliefs that still survived well into the modern age with his poem Halloween in1785 and published in the Kilmarnock volume. The night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands. The Burns poem is written as a combination in both Scots and English and is accompanied by extensive footnotes.
The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.-R.B.1785
Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans 2 dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the Cove, 3 to stray an' rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;
[Footnote 1: Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary,.-R.B.]
[Footnote 2: Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-R.B.]
[Footnote 3: A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a favorite haunt of fairies.-R.B.]
Amang the bonie winding banks,
Where Doonrins, wimplin, clear;
Where Bruce 4 ance rul'd the martial ranks, An' shook his Carrick spear;
Some merry, friendly, countra-folks
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
An' haud their Halloween
Fu' blythe that night.
[Footnote 4: The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-R.B.]
The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,
Mairbraw than when they're fine;
Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin':
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs
Weel-knotted on their garten;
Some uncoblate, an' some wi' gabs
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin
Whiles fast at night.
Then, first an' foremost, thro' the kail,
Their stocks 5maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and grape an' wale
For muckleanes, an' straughtanes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
An' wandered thro' the bow-kail,
An' pou't for want o' better shift
A runt was like a sow-tail
Sae bow't that night.
[Footnote 5: The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a "stock," or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with: its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root, that is "tocher," or fortune; and the taste of the "custock," that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the "runts," are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts," the names in question.-R. B.]
Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar an' cry a' throu'ther;
The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther:
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour,
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Synecoziely, aboon the door,
Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them
To lie that night.
The lassies staw frae 'mang them a',
To pou their stalks o' corn; 6
But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippit Nelly hard and fast:
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-picklemaist was lost,
Whan kiutlin in the fause-house 7
Wi' him that night.
[Footnote 6: They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at three different times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid.-R.B.]
[Footnote 7: When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, etc., makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind: this he calls a "fause-house."-R.B.]
The auld guid-wife's weel-hoordit nits 8
Are round an' round dividend,
An' mony lads an' lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle couthie side by side,
And burn the gither trimly;
Some start awa wi' saucy pride,
An' jump out owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.
[Footnote 8: Burning the nuts is a favorite charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and according as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.-R.B.]
Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;
Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, an' this is me,
She says in to hersel':
He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,
As they wad never mair part:
Till fuff! he started up the lum,
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.
Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compar'd to Willie:
Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling,
An' her ain fit, it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.
Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel an' Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin:
Nell's heart was dancin at the view;
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stownlins, prie'd her bonie mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.
But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell:
She lea'es them gashin at their cracks,
An' slips out-by hersel';
She thro' the yard the nearest taks,
An' for the kiln she goes then,
An' darklins grapit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue 9 throws then,
Right fear't that night.
[Footnote 9: Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the "pot" a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, toward the latter end, something will hold the thread: demand, "Wha hauds?" i.e., who holds? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse.-R.B.]
An' ay she win't, an' ay she swat-
I wat she made nae jaukin;
Till something held within the pat,
Good Lord! but she was quaukin!
But whether 'twas the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She did na wait on talkin
To spier that night.
Wee Jenny to her graunie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, graunie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass, 10
I gat frae uncle Johnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin,
She notic't na an aizle brunt
Her braw, new, worset apron
Out thro' that night.
[Footnote 10: Take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjungal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.-R.B.]
"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin,
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune:
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
An' liv'd an' died deleerit,
On sic a night.
"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,
I mind't as weel'syestreen-
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I was na past fyfteen:
The simmer had been cauld an' wat,
An' stuff was unco green;
An' eye a rantin kirn we gat,
An' just on Halloween
It fell that night.
"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever, sturdy fallow;
His sin gat EppieSim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed, 11 I mind it weel,
An'he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel',
He was sae sairly frighted
That vera night."
[Footnote 11: Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and then: "Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee." Look over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions say, "Come after me and shaw thee," that is, show thyself; in which case, it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say: "Come after me and harrow thee."-R.B.]
Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck,
An' he swoor by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense:
The auld guidmanraught down the pock,
An' out a handfu' gied him;
Syne bad him slip frae' mang the folk,
Sometime when naeanesee'd him,
An' try't that night.
He marches thro' amang the stacks,
Tho' he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks,
An' haurls at his curpin:
And ev'ry now an' then, he says,
"Hemp-seed I saw thee,
An' her that is to be my lass
Come after me, an' draw thee
As fast this night."
He wistl'd up Lord Lennox' March
To keep his courage cherry;
Altho' his hair began to arch,
He was saefley'd an' eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
An' then a grane an' gruntle;
He by his shouthergae a keek,
An' tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.
He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
An' young an' auld comerinnin out,
An' hear the sad narration:
He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Till stop! she trotted thro' them a';
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!
Meg fainwad to the barn gaen,
To winn three wechts o' naething; 12
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
[Footnote 12: This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger that the being about to appear may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which in our country dialect we call a "wecht," and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times, and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.-R.B.]
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
An' twared cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That vera night.
She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,
An'owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawniegies a ca',
Syne baudly in she enters:
A ratton rattl'd up the wa',
An' she cry'd Lord preserve her!
An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a',
An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night.
They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanc'd the stack he faddom't thrice 13
Was timmer-propt for thrawin:
He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak
For some black, grousome carlin;
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
[Footnote 13: Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a "bear-stack," and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.-R.B.]
A wanton widow Leezie was,
As cantie as a kittlen;
But och! that night, amang the shaws,
She gat a fearfu' settlin!
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin;
Whare three lairds' lan's met at a burn, 14
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.
[Footnote 14: You go out, one or more (for this is a social spell), to a south running spring, or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake, and, some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.-R.B.]
Whiles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As thro' the glen it wimpl't;
Whiles round a rocky scar it strays,
Whiles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whiles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickerin', dancin' dazzle;
Whiles cookit undeneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel
Unseen that night.
Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up an' ga'e a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool;
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit,
But mist a fit, an' in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.
In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies 15 three are ranged;
An' ev'ry time great care is ta'en
To see them duly changed:
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys
Sin' Mar's-year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heav'd them on the fire
In wrath that night.
[Footnote 15: Take three dishes, put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty; blindfold a person and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by chance in the clean water, the future (husband or) wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.-R.B.]
Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks,
I wat they did na weary;
And unco tales, an' funnie jokes-
Their sports were cheap an' cheery:
Till butter'd sowens, 16 wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin;
Syne, wi' a social glass o'strunt,
They parted aff careerin
Fu'blythe that night.
[Footnote 16: Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween Supper.-R.B.]