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The forgotten cave-dwellers of Scotland’s far North

Cave dwelling has stone age connotations for most people today , but in Scotland living in caves only ceased 100 years ago when it was outlawed in 1915. Alison Campsie looks back at the mysterious people who lived in Wick’s Tinker’s Cave at the end of the the 19th Century.

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The people of Tinker’s Cave in Wick, who were visited by Dr Arthur Mitchell, an expert in mental illness, in 1886.

ALISON CAMPSIE Email 14:28Tuesday 13 October 2015 16

Cave dwelling has stone age connotations for most people today , but in Scotland living in caves only ceased 100 years ago when it was outlawed in 1915. Alison Campsie looks back at the mysterious people who lived in Wick’s Tinker’s Cave at the end of the the 19th Century.

They were found resting in a cave, 24 men women and children, some naked and scarred, and all making the most of the dying embers of the fire.
These were the cave dwellers of Wick, documented by Dr Arthur Mitchell, a physician who studied mental illness and who led several commissions into “lunacy” in 19th Century Scotland.

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In August 1886, Dr Mitchell’s studies took him and a colleague to the “great cave” at the south side of Wick Bay at a time when caves were not uncommonly inhabited across the north and west of Scotland.

The two reached the cave in falling light, around nine o’clock at night, and found the cave in a cliff with its mouth close to the sea, with high tides encroaching on the rugged habitation.

Dr Mitchell, in his account of the visit, said: “They received us civilly, perhaps with more than mere civility, after a judicious distribution of pence and tobacco. To our great relief, the dogs, which were numerous and vicious, seemed to understand that we were welcome.”

The spot at Wick became known locally as Tinker’s Cave, due to the folk living there being involved in the tin trade.

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Broken noses and scars were a common disfigurement, and a revelation at the same time of the brutality of their lives Dr Arthur Mitchell, 1886. Dr Mitchell found the cave dwellers lying on “straw, grass and bracken” spread over the rocks and shingle, with each having “one or two dirty, ragged blankets.” Two of the beds were next to a peat fire, with more further back in the shelter of the cave.

His account added: “On the bed nearest the entrance lay a man and his wife, both absolutely naked, and two little children in the same state. “On the next bed lay another couple, an infant, and one or two elder children. Then came a bed with a bundle of children, whom I did not count. A youngish man and his wife, not quite naked, and some children, occupied the fourth bed, while the fifth from the mouth of the cave was in possession of the remaining couple and two of their children, one of whom was on the spot of its birth.

“Far back in the cave-upstairs in the garret, as they facetiously called it-were three or four biggish boys, who were undressed, but had not lain down. One of them, moving about with a flickering light in his hand, contributed greatly to the weirdness of the scene.”

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Sir Arthur Mitchell, the physician with an interest in mental illness who visited Tinker’s Cave near Wick in the 1800s Dr Mitchell was told of another birth and also of the recent death of a child from typhus.

The physician added: The Procurator-Fiscal saw this dead child lying naked on a large flat stone. Its father lay beside it in the delirium of typhus, when death paid this visit to an abode with no door to knock at.”

On his visit, and according to his account, men and women – “naked to their waists” – gathered to speak to Dr Mitchell and his colleague – and showed “no sense of shame.”

A boy brought a candle from the garret and a woman tended the fire, lit her pipe – and then “proceeded to suckle her child,” he wrote.

The following day, Dr Mitchell returned to find 18 “inmates” eating an early supper of porridge and treacle, which he noted as “well-cooked and clean.”

Three fires warmed the cave, each surrounded by women and “ragged” children. Stones were used as tables and chairs at the cave, which Dr Mitchell found was occupied during both summer and winter, depsite there being no cover at the cave mouth, to protect from the “fierce” winds.

In his account, Dr Mitchell wrote: “I believe I am correct in saying that there is no parallel illustration of modern cave life in Scotland.”

He added: “The Tinkers of the Wick caves are a mixed breed. There is no Gipsy blood in them. Some of them claim a West Island origin. Others say they are true Caithness men, and others again look for their ancestors among the Southern Scotch. They were not strongly built, nor had they a look of vigorous bodily health. Their heads and faces were usually bad in form.

“Broken noses and scars were a common disfigurement, and a revelation at the same time of the brutality of their lives. One girl might have been painted for a rustic beauty of the Norse type, and there was a boy among them with an excellent head.”

Despite his welcome reception to the cave, Dr Mitchell was unflinching in his conclusions. He noted them as illiterate and with no religious belief, and added: “These cave-dwellers of Wick were the offscourings of society, such as might be found in any town slum. Virtue and chastity exist feebly among them, and honour and truth more feebly still.”

Cave dwelling in Scotland formally came to an end in 1915 under the Defence of the Realm Act, possibly to keep coastlines free from fires during World War 1. However, research has found that 55 people were still listed as living in caves in the 1917 government census.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/people-places/the-forgotten-cave-dwellers-of-scotland-s-far-north-1-3915730

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The forgotten links between Highlanders and Native Americans

Despite an ocean separating their ancestral homelands, Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans encountered each other frequently on America’s wild frontier, fighting, trading and even living together. Both cultures were treated as tribal societies and driven from their lands by British authorities who would later romanticise the very ways of life they had destroyed.

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Despite an ocean separating their ancestral homelands, Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans encountered each other frequently on America’s wild frontier, fighting, trading and even living together. Both cultures were treated as tribal societies and driven from their lands by British authorities who would later romanticise the very ways of life they had destroyed.

The two peoples on the edge of Britain’s Empire underwent similar experiences at the hands of colonial powers.

Changing Times

American Indians and Highland Scots encountered colonisers in eras of major change on both sides of the Atlantic. The cliff of St Kilda Island. Over the centuries warfare and forced removal pushed many Highlanders across the Atlantic ocean.

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In the eighteenth century Scotland’s Gaelic speaking Highlanders and the Indians of North America were facing increased pressure and aggression from a rapidly expanding Great Britain, that was fast becoming the most powerful nation on earth. In Scotland there was a clash between two cultures, one that was based on ancient obligations of honour and kinship and the other, an aggressive pursuit of progress and profit. British and American governments believed the Highlands and Indian lands had to be pacified before they could be civilised. This view led to several brutal and bloody confrontations as both sets of peoples – who were fiercely independent – resisted the tide of colonialism.

Historian and author Colin Calloway explains: “Both groups of people experienced displacement and other forms of colonial assault on their social and political structures, their cultures, language, and ways of life. “Highlanders and Indians organised their societies around clan and kinship, occupied land communally as tribal homelands rather than as real estate, and found themselves in the way of an expanding capitalist world that stressed individual ambition, private ownership, and aggressive exploitation of resources for profit.”

While Highlanders had been travelling to American since the 1600s, one of the first major waves of migration came after the major Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1745, when many Highlanders left (or were sent) across the Atlantic.

Despite differences between clan and tribes, eighteenth century observers viewed Highland and Indian ways of life as basically the same. They both came from rugged lands, had a strong warrior tradition within a tribal society and were used to hardship and it wasn’t long before the two cultures met. As a result the two peoples often filled roles in colonial American society such as hunters and fur traders where interactions were common.

“The most common, extensive, and enduring interactions occurred in areas where Scots were active in the fur and deerskin trades,” says Calloway. “The beaver trade among the northern tribes across Canada and the deerskin trade among the south eastern (USA) tribes like the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws lasted long into the eighteenth century.”

Trading with Indian tribes was commonplace and relations between Highland men and Native women ranged from casual encounters to enduring relationships. Intermarriage between Highlanders and Indians reached all across North America and entire Scots-Indian families were produced from these unions. Most of these Scots-Indians lived a quiet simple life but some played a significant role in American history.

Alexander McGillivray was the son of a Scottish trader father and a Creek-French mother. He was the dominant chief of the powerful Creek confederacy in the late eighteenth century, and played a pivotal role conducting the tribe’s foreign policies with Britain, Spain, and the United States. In 1790 George Washington even invited him to the temporary federal capital in New York City, where he negotiated the first treaty made by the United States after the adoption of the Constitution.

Scots-Indian, John Ross was the principal chief of the Cherokees during the era of Indian Removal around 1830, when the United States expelled 80,000 Indian people from their homelands east of the Mississippi to new lands in the West. Ross led the majority of Cherokee people in opposing Removal, wrote letters and petitions, lobbied in Congress and led them in rebuilding the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.

Legacy

With prominent ancestors like Ross, perhaps the Highland influence is most keenly felt today among Native Americans in the Cherokee clan. It is believed that up to a half of the Cherokee Nation could be descendants of Ludovick Grant, a laird’s son from Creichie in Aberdeenshire. Grant was captured while fighting for the Jacobite army in the battle of Preston in 1715 and was due to be hanged but he escaped death and instead was transported to South Carolina, where he was an indentured servant. Following his release from his seven years of servitude, he began working as a trader for the Cherokee people and ended up marrying into the tribe and producing a daughter who became the ancestress of a huge proportion of Cherokees.

In 2004 Cree families from Canada traveled to the Orkney Islands tracing a 200-year genetic link back to the Scottish Islands. Although the traditional ways of life of both peoples were all but wiped out by colonisation and industrialisation, Highland and Native American culture endured. Even as Britain and the USA destroyed tribal societies they created romantic images of the people. Highland culture was no longer a byword for savagery but came to represent Scottish culture as a whole in the eyes of people inside and outside Scotland.

Native Americans were transformed by paintings and literature into a heroic foe, defeated by a great nation and the barbarity of what happened to them was glossed over in favour of an imagined, nostalgic past. Colin Calloway is the author of White People, Indians and Highlanders.

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The Highlands of Scotland proved to be a natural recruiting ground for emigrants that were to help build North America during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The Highlander immigrants who helped build America

The Highlands of Scotland proved to be a natural recruiting ground for emigrants that were to help build North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. The breakdown of Highland society and culture created bleak prospects on home soil for ordinary folk while the revered fighting powers of the clans made their men sought after recruits for the British Army fighting the American Revolution.

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The breakdown of Highland society and culture created bleak prospects on home soil for ordinary folk while the revered fighting powers of the clans made their men sought after recruits for the British Army fighting the American Revolution.

Highlander migration to America in the 18th century.

Highlands Immigration to America

From Georgia to North Carolina and New York, here we look at those from the North of Scotland who were tempted across the Atlantic – whether through desperate need or the dream of a better life. THE FIRST ARRIVALS Wanted: Industrious, laborious and brave Gaelic speaking Highlanders to populate the newly established colony of Georgia.

THE FIRST ARRIVALS

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Wanted: Industrious, laborious and brave Gaelic speaking Highlanders to populate the newly established colony of Georgia.

It was 1735 with two Scots, Lieutenant Hugh Mackay and Captain George Dunbar, issuing the rallying call after being hired by Georgia’s trustees to find men suitable to defend frontiers against Spain and France and to make their 20-acre lands productive. The Highlands, whose men had been both feared and lauded for their strength and fighting power, was a natural hunting ground for the soldiers.

The Provost of Inverness, John Hossack – also a merchant and trader – was to help fund the boats to transport the men with Mackay launching a successful recruitment campaign in his home patch of Caithness and Sutherland. Dunbar successfully recruited from Clan Chattan.

Professor Marjory Harper, author and historian, said 260 men sailed to North America in three contingents between 1735 and 1741 with the first lot setting up the township of Darien on the Altamaha River – named possibly in defiance of the failed Panama scheme.

Professor Harper said; “The Highlanders did pretty well there and the trustees were pleased with what they did. A second contingent went in 1737 and a third in 1741.

“This all helped to publicise opportunity in this magical new land across the Atlantic.”

CAPE FEAR – OR THE ARGYLL COLONY

Cape Fear in North Carolina become home to around 1,200 Jacobite prisoners following the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. The fighters were the bedrock of this new community later to be known as the Argyll Colony, which attracted an estimated 20,000 Scots in the eight years before the American Revolution.

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The Scottish clans looking to appoint new chiefs

MANY of Scotland’s ancient clans are without a chief. Perhaps you have the lineage to take up one of these ceremonial roles, writes Chris McCall THE days of clan chiefs wielding claymores and dispensing justice are long gone. Modern chieftains are purely ceremonial figures, more likely to be employed as landscape gardeners than live in Highland castles.

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Picture: Hamish Campbell/TSPL CHRIS MCCALL 16:04Thursday 04 August 2016 2

MANY of Scotland’s ancient clans are without a chief. Perhaps you have the lineage to take up one of these ceremonial roles, writes Chris McCall THE days of clan chiefs wielding claymores and dispensing justice are long gone. Modern chieftains are purely ceremonial figures, more likely to be employed as landscape gardeners than live in Highland castles. A series of laws passed in the aftermath of the final Jacobite rebellion in 1746 effectively stripped chiefs of any authority. While some remain substantial landowners and local worthies, by the 20th century chieftains were largely forgotten figures. Many clans became armigerous – having no recognised chief – as family lines died out. But an increasing interest in family history, especially among those whose ancestors had emigrated from Scotland, prompted a revival in clan societies from the mid-20th century onwards.

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Ranald Alasdair MacDonald spent 30 years fighting to be recognised as the 32nd chief of the MacDonalds of Keppoch, a battle he finally won in 2006. Scotland’s newest clan chief, Iain Alexander Gunn, was appointed in April this year. He became the first recognised head of Clan Gunn since 1785.

There are currently more than 150 armigerous clans. Some have recognised ‘commanders’, a rank below chief which must be renewed every 10 years. All chiefs and commanders must be recognised by the Lyon Court – an ancient legal office in charge of all heraldic symbols and state ceremonies in Scotland.

MacQuarrie

This ancient family once owned the islands of Ulva, Staffa and Gometra in the Inner Hebrides, as well as large parts of Mull. Among its most famous members was Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, often referred to as ‘The Father of Australia’. He served as the last autocratic governor of New South Wales until 1821 and oversaw the settlement’s transformation from a penal colony to a free settlement. Although there is an active Clan MacQuarrie society, the last recognised chief died in 1818 and no one has claimed the title since.

Maxwell 

One of Scotland’s oldest clans appoint new chief Maxwell The impressive Caerlaverock Castle on the south coast of Scotland was built by the Maxwells, a powerful lowland clan, in the 13th century. Robert Maxwell, 9th Lord Maxwell, was created Earl of Nithsdale in 1620, reflecting the family’s prestige. The last clan chief, the fifth Earl of Nithsdale, was a fervent Jacobite supporter and was captured following the battle of Preston in 1715. He was sentenced to death and imprisoned in the Tower of London, but somehow managed to escape – while dressed as a maid – with the help of his wife. The earl fled to Rome and died without issue.

MacFarlane

Descendents of the ancient earls of Lennox, the MacFarlanes principally lived on the north-western shore of Loch Lomond. They played a key role in the battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, and later supported the forces which defeated Mary, Queen of Scots, at the battle of Langside in 1567. Such was their reputation for cattle rustling and fighting, the clan was denounced by the Scottish Parliament in 1594 and its clansmen were often persecuted. Several hundred later immigrated to Ireland as a result. The 20th and final chief, William Macfarlane, died in 1866.

Pringle

A common name in the Scottish Borders to this day, the Pringles have had no clan chief since John Hoppringle died in 1737. An active Clan Pringe society encourages members of the family to trace their ancestry as part of a concerted effort to appoint a new chief.

Buchanan

This family, whose principal seat was in Stirlingshire, proves the complex nature of legally identifying a new chief for the first time in more than 350 years. John Buchanan of Buchanan, the last chief, died around 1680. The clan was once a powerful force in central Scotland. Buchanans fought at Flodden in 1513 and were firm supporters of the Covenanters in the mid-1600s. The Buchanan Society, which traces its origins to a charity founded in Glasgow in 1725, remains active and claims to be the oldest clan-related society in the world.

(2)   cambayne 1:05 PM on 09/08/2016 In ancient times I believe that the position of Clan chief was an elected position. The gradual introduction of the feudal system perhaps at that time aided by the greed of incumbent toiseachs led to these positions becoming hereditary. As the feudal system is now generally in desuetude we can dispose of the Lord Lyon and return to the historic procedure. (0)

(1)   J Fife 7:24 AM on 06/08/2016 Clan MacDuff (Dhuibh) — the first clan so recognized by Scottish Parliament. To us belongs the right to crown the King on the Stone of Scone; and that the Earl of Fife should lead the vanguard when the King gives battle. There must be a Chief reinstated.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/people-places/the-scottish-clans-looking-to-appoint-new-chiefs-1-4194405

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http://www.historicalfirearms.info/post/97915547775/the-union-between-scotland-england-the

Union between Scotland and England

The Union Between Scotland & England

The relationship between England and Scotland has been a long and tempestuous one.  Even if we simply examine the last 300 years the relationship between the two has been uneasy.  The first joining of nations came in 1603, with the union of the two crowns when James VI of Scotland succeeded the heirless Elizabeth I to become James I of England.  Despite numerous calls for a union of the two countries’ parliaments over the next century, and the brief union of the two nations imposed by Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth during the 1650s, it would not be until 1707 that the political union would take place following the economic impact of Scotland’s failed Darien Expedition.

Even once united politically the Union remained tenuous as political crisis gripped Britain during the late 17th century.  In 1715 and again in 1745 major rebellions took place in aid of the Jacobite cause, these however were brutally suppressed by Britain.  By the late 18th and early 19th Century the political landscape had settled with Scots becoming some of the period’s key figures including General James Abercrombie, Admiral Thomas Cochrane, Chancellor Henry Brougham and Keir Hardie among innumerable others from almost every field from the arts to law, from architecture to science.

Despite a number of moves during the mid 20th century by the British government to devolve power north it was not until 1999, that the first Scottish Parliament was formed.  2007 saw the Scottish Independence Party come to power for the first time and by 2011 the calls for a referendum on independence had gained momentum.  In 2012 it was agreed by both governments to hold a vote to allow the people of Scotland to decided their future.  The referendum saw the Scottish people vote in favour of remaining within the Union.  However, increased devolution was promised by the British Government and the next nine months will see negotiation over the details of increased home rule.  In turn the referendum has spurred calls for increased local powers and franchise for both England and Wales with calls for each to have their own individual parliaments deciding on regional matters while the Union Parliament decides on matters of national and international importance. With next year’s general election this is likely to become a key issue in deciding the political landscape.

Image:  Treaty of Union which agreed the terms of the Union between England and Scotland, it was made law when the Acts of Union were assented to by the English and Scottish parliaments in 1706 and 1707 respectively. (source)

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http://www.thenational.scot/news/jacobites-to-rise-again-with-re-enactment-at-highlands-stronghold-fort-george.20938

OL season 2

BATTLE re-enactors will take up swords this weekend for a new event exploring the historic Jacobite Risings.

Highlands stronghold Fort George will host the two-day “Stuarts’ Struggle” event, with costumed actors recounting the 60 years of civil war and unrest.

Living history camps and guided tours will help teach visitors about the risings of 1689, 1715 and 1745 as Stuart supporters fought to restore the exiled King James VII and his descendants to the throne.

Fort George was built in response to the Jacobite threat, commissioned by the government following the disastrous Battle of Culloden to put a stop to any further show of arms.

The military base was strategically positioned and held more than 80 guns, with accommodation for a garrison of 2,000 redcoats.

Fran Caine of Historic Environment Scotland said: “The Jacobite Risings form an important period in Scottish history.

“Spanning around 60 years, these events shaped the Scotland, and in particular the Highlands, of today and their legacy is still visible in battlefields and defences – such as Fort George.

“The Stuarts’ Struggle event, which is new for this year, will offer an insight into the three main rebellions, as visitors discover the history behind this period of unrest and civil war in 18th-century Scotland.

“There will also be opportunities to discover what life could have been like for Jacobite soldiers during the Risings of 1689, 1715 and 1745 as well as learning about Fort George itself, which was built by the government in a strategic move to stop any further risings by the Jacobites.”

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