Thursday, 17 April 2014

O for Oxford-Borders Connections in "My Scottish Borders"

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"


O is for:
OXFORD-BORDER CONNECTIONS


James-Murray.jpg
Sir James Murray




The Oxford English Dictionary was first compiled by a Bprderer, Sir James Murray. (1837-1915).  He was born in the village of Denholm, near Hawick, Roxburghshire, the son of a tailor.  He left school at 14 and became a teacher and founder member of the Hawick Archaeological Society  which is still flourishes today as the local history organisation.

Like so many Victorians, James Murray pursued  activities focusing on self educaiton. Following a move to London,  he developed an interest in languages and etymology  and wrote "A Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland" - the first scientific study of dialect.  

In 1879 he took on the role of the principal  editor of the proposed Oxford English Dictionary, with the task of capturing  all the words then extant in the English speaking world in all their various shades of meaning -  a massive project.    He was knighted in 1908 and  was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by nine universities.

He died before the Dictionary itself was completed, but he left a legacy of work and inspiration for those compiling it.  In fact, when the final results were published in 1928, it ran to twelve volumes, with 414,825 words defined and 1,827,306 citations employed to illustrate their meanings.  It quickly became established as the standard for the English language.  A tribute to Sir John Murray noted: 

"When the remaining part of the last volume is finished, the Oxford English Dictionary will stand unrivalled in its completeness as a record of the history of the vocabulary of a living language, and it is to Murray far more than to any other man that the honour of this great achievement will belong".



Thomas Phillips - Mary Fairfax, Mrs William Somerville, 1780 - 1872. Writer on science - Google Art Project.jpg
Mary Somerville
The Oxford College of Somerville  was named after another  Borderer - Mary Somerville, nee Fairfax (1780-1872)  who was born in the abbey town of Jedburgh, Roxburghshire.  

She quickly developed her intellectual interests, notably in mathematics and science.  Following her marriage she moved to London and there  in 1831 published her first book, The Mechanism of the Heavens.   In 1835 she became one of the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society, and in 1869, she was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society - remarkable achievements  in a time when women in science were almost unknown.

Having little formal schooling herself, she was a firm advocate of education for women,   and in 1868 she was the first person to sign John Stuart Mill’s petition to Parliament in support of women’s suffrage - sixty years before this became a reality! 

So it was perhaps not surprising that in 1879 the founders of a new college at Oxford for women students chose the name of Somerville in recognition of her example.

Mary Fairfax Somerville died at the age of 92, and an obituary notice in London's Morning Post in 1872 described  as the "Queen of Nineteenth Century Science."





[With acknowledgement to Wikipedia].

Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

P is for:
Pele Towers & Princely Connections


The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire

Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders
Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick  
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  
A-Z Challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 
A-Z Challenge N - Newark Castle and Nature  

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

N for Newark Castle & Nature in "My Scottish Borders"

                             Welcome to a Look Around 

"My Scottish Borders"


  N is for:
NEWARK CASTLE and NATURE 








Newark Castle high above the Yarrow Water, south of Selkirk was also the setting for Sir Walter Scott's  ""Lay of the Last Minstrel"  with the lovely description:

"He passed where Newark's stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower". 

Thought to be a royal hunting lodge, Newark was referred to in a charter granted to Archibald,  Earl of Douglas in 1423.  It later fell into the hands of the Scotts of Buccleuch.  Last to live there was the Scott heiress Ann who married  the ill fated Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles ll,  beheaded in 1685 for treason. 


NATURE

The heron here is a familiar site on the Slitrig Water in Hawick. 


Cowdenknowes Wood, Earlston, Berwickshire


Nature's autumn colours in Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick 
With grateful thanks to Louise for letting me feature this stunning photograph
Copyright © 2012 · Louise Wallace.    All Rights Reserved. 


Sunset over Hawick 


Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
through the Scottish Borders

O is for:
OXFORD CONNECTIONS

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose  



M for Muckle Mou'ed Meg & Melrose in "My Scottish Borders""

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

M is for: 
 "MUCKLE MOU'ED MEG"& MELROSE





The story of 'Muckle Mou'd Meg' is told in the ballad  "The Fray of Elibank" by Borders poet James Hogg.  

Sir William Scott of Harden  (an ancestor of writer Sir Walter Scott) was captured on a raid  to the Murray stronghold of Elibank Castle above the River Tweed,

Soon weapons were clashing, an’ fire was flashing,
An’ red ran the bluid down the Ashiesteel brae:
The parties were shouting, the kye they were rowting, 
An’ rattling an’ galloping aff frae the fray

 [kye  - cattle] 

William was given the choice of being hanged or marrying the Laird's notoriously plain daughter  Muckle Mou'd Meg' (big mouthed Meg). He decided on marriage!  

Now Meg was but thin, an her nose it was lang,
An’her mou it was muckle as ane could weel be;
Her een they were gray, an her colour was wan
But her nature was generous, gentle, and free. 

 "My Meg, I assure you, is better than bonnie;
I rede you, in choicing let prudence decide;
Then say which ye will; ye are welcome to ony;
See, there is your coffin, or there is your bride.”

He fand the last gleam of his hope was a fadin
The green braes o Harden nae mair he wad see.
The coffin was there, which he soon must be laid in;
His proud heart was humbled,—he fell on his knee

So Willie took Meg to the forest sae fair,
An’ they lived a most happy an’ social life;
The langer he kend her, he lo’ed her the mair,
For a prudent, a virtuous, and honourable wife.


The small town of MELROSE  is noted for its famous abbey, as the home of 19th century writer Sir Walter Scott at nearby Abbotsford, the birthplace of the game of Rugby Sevens,   and a winner of Beautiful Scotland in Bloom. 

Nestling under the triple Eildon Hills, it on the route of several long distance walks - the Border Abbeys Way, St. Cuthbert's Way and the Southern Upland Way.


Melrose Abbey, founded in 1136 by David I, was the first monastery of the Cistercian order established in Scotland. The heart of King Robert the Bruce is  said to be buried there.  The exterior of this  ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and a bagpipe playing pig. 



More fascinating facts on the Scottish Borders
  • The only silver staircase in the world you will find  at Manderston, Berwickshire -  an opulent Edwardian country house which epitomizes the "upstairs/downstairs" lifestyle at the time, with extensive kitchens and pantries, a marble dairy and sumptuous stables.  
                            
  •  Mellerstain House in Berwickshire is an 18th century  masterpiece by William and Robert Adam. 

     
  • The small village of Morebattle  on the edge of the Cheviot Hills has a Teapot Street.  The name is thought to be a corruption of "Tip -it  Street" after the midden (rubbish dump) at the end of the road. 
  • The Mill towns of Hawick, Selkirk and Galashiels were the centre of the Scottish Borders knitwear and tweed industry.  By the mid 19th century, over 2000 of Scotland's 2600 knitting frames were located in the Borders, over half in Hawick producing  over a million pairs of stockings a year.  This hosiery trade gave way tothe fine outerwear garments that we know today. 
  • Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
    through the Scottish Borders

    N is for:
    NEWARK TOWER AND  NATURE

    The Scottish Borders 
    The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
    Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

    Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders
    A-Z Challenge Preview
    A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
    A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
    A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
    A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus & The Douglas Tragedy 
    A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
    A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
    A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
    A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick

    A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
    A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
    A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  
    A-Z challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

L for the Fair Lilliard

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

L is for:
THE FAIR LILLIARD and 
LEADERFOOT VIADUCT



Lilliardsedge is a high point on the main road north to Edinburgh and takes its name from The Fair  LILLIARD.   She fought with the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum and her grave carries the rather gory inscription:  

Little was her stature
But muckle was her fame
Upon the English loons
She made many thumps
And when her legs were cuttit off
She fought upon her stumps  

["muckle" means"big"]


Three miles form my home is LEADERFOOT VIADUCT spanning the 90 mile long River Tweed  near its junction with one of its many tributaries - the Leader Water.  The viaduct, built to carry the Berwickshire Railway,   stands 116 feet  above the river bed and each of its 19 arches has a 43 foot span.  The railway bridge opened in 1865 with the last  train running over it  just a hundred years later.   


          

          

More Fascinating Facts on the Scottish Borders:

  • Henry Francis LYTE (1793-1847)  wrote two of the most popular hymns still sung today - "Abide with Me"  and "Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven" - and he was a  Borderer born at Ednam, near Kelso, Roxburghshire.  After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, he took Anglican holy orders and served in parishes across the south of England. 
  • The Lee Enfield Rifle - the supreme weapon of infantrymen  was designed by Borderer James Paris LEE (1831-1904). He was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire and emigrated with his parents to Canada where initially he followed in his father's footsteps to become a watchmaker.  He then  set up the Lee Firearms Company. The Lee Enfield  - bolt-action, magazine fed  and repeating rifle - was the main firearm of Britain and the Empire, adopted in 1895  and used until 1957.    

 Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey
through the Scottish Borders

M is for 
Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 


The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders


A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail

A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 

A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus & the Douglas Tragedy 

A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero  & Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

K for Kaleidoscope, Kelso & Kinmont Willie

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

K is for: 
KALEIDOSCOPE, KELSO
and  KINMOUNT WILLIE





Did you know that the children's colourful toy the KALEIDOSCOPE was invented by a Borderer?  

David Brewster (1781-1868), was born in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire,   and became  a leading physicist renowned for his work on optics and polarisation. 

The word "Kaleidoscope" is derived from the ancient Greek -
"Kalos" - beautiful,
"Eidos" - form or shape

"Skopea" - to look at or examine -
 

Thus observation of beautiful forms. 

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaleidoscope]





The town of KELSO, Roxburghshire was described by writer Sir Walter Scott as "the prettiest if not the most romantic town in Scotland".   It lies in a picturesque setting at the junction of the Tweed and Teviot rivers and is full of architectural features with street names such as Woodmarket and Horsemarket reflecting the local economic interests.

The ruined abbey (one of four in the Borders)  was built in 1128 and witnessed the coronation of the young King James III in 1460, following the death of his father at the siege of nearby Roxburgh Castle. 

The spacious town square claims to be the largest in Scotland, with  the elegant Georgian Town House built in 1816.  The graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed, built by John Rennie in 1803, was the model for London's Waterloo Bridge.

Floors Castle, Scotland's largest inhabited house, stands in parkland overlooking the Tweed.   It was built by the architect William Adam, for the 1st Duke  of Roxburghe in 1721 and later embellished by William Playfair.  Despite its name, it is a large country house - not a castle fortress built for defence.

 Massed pipe bands at Floors Castle

The lively programme of local events reflects the predominantly agricultural community, with the Border Union Agricultural Show, ram and horse sales, Kelso Races, point-to-point and the Scottish Championship Dog Show.

Heavy horses at the Border Union Agricultural Show

The story of Kinmont Willie  is one the best documented episodes in the exploits of the Border Reivers. 

William Armstrong of Kinmont was captured by the forces of the English Warden  in violation of a truce day in 1596 and imprisoned in Carlisle Castle across the Border in England. Fellow Reiver Walter Scott of Buccleuch (known as "The Bold Buccleuch" - pronounced Buck-loo)  led a band of men on a daring raid and broke Kinmont Willie out of the castle.  Kinmont Willie Armstrong was never recaptured.

Here are a few verses from the 46 verse ballad to get a flavour of both the language and the story 


They band his legs beneath the steed, 
They tied his hands behind his back; 
They guarded him fivesome on each side 
And brought him ower the Liddle-rack.

My hands are tied, but my tongue is free, 
Ands whae will dare this deed avow? 
Or answer by the Border law? 
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch?

“And have they ta’en him Kinmont Willie, 
Against the truce of Border tide 
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch 
Is keeper here on the Scottish Side? 

We crept on knees, and held our breath, 
Till we placed the ladders against the wa’ 
And sae ready was Buccleuch himself 
To mount the first before us a’. 

“Buccleuch has turn’d to Eden water, 
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim, 
And he has plunged in wi’ a’ his band, 
And safely swam then thro’ the stream. 

 ***********
Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 

through the Scottish Borders



  L is for
The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire 
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail

A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 

A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 

A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg and Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice and Jethart Snails