Kinneil House Welcome to Bo'ness Welcome to Bo'ness Welcome to Bo'ness Bo'ness Harbour SRPS Bridgeness Tower Carriden Blackness Castle in East
Kinneil House Find out more about Bo'ness History of Bo'ness Search Bo'ness site and Internet Community Groups & Links Business In and around Bo'ness Contact information

General Quintus Lollius Urbicus

There is very little known about this Roman General, Indeed according to Burton "The meagreness of all ancient record, of the achievements of Lollius Urbicus is worthy of emphatic mention and recollection, because his name has got into the ordinary abridged histories which speak of it, and of 'his campaign in the north', as well-known events, of which people naturally expect fuller information elsewhere. The usual sources for reference regarding him will however be found utterly dumb."

The only certain piece of information is that Lollius Urbicus was given the task of linking the forts established by Agricola in 80 AD between the Forth and the Clyde by building Antonine Wall. This was mainly built by the II, IX & XII Legions, but undoubtedly they utilised a considerable amount of slave labour.

It has also been claimed that a Roman Province named Vespasiana was also established by Lollius Urbicus. The Province was said to have comprised of the land between the Forth & Clyde and the Moray Firth. There is of course several Roman Forts within this vast area of ground, but there is very little evidence to link them with any northern expeditions made by General Quintus Lollius Urbicus.

From what records there are it seems very unlikely that by 140 AD the Romans wanted to establish any colony further north than Antonine Wall. Indeed the Romans found the Caledonians so troublesome that Antonine Wall had been temporarily abandoned in 154-5 before finally being abandoned in 161 AD.

To examine this unlikely claim it is perhaps worth scrutinizing what happened between 80 AD and 139 AD when work on Antonine Wall commenced.

It is however clear that after the Governor of the Province of Brittania, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, came to Caledonia in A.D. 80 he reached the River Tay with an army of about 20,000 men. He built a string of forts between the Rivers Forth & Clyde, while being supplied by the Roman fleet, to keep out the northern tribesmen. At Inchtuthil on the river Tay the IX Legion built Pinnata Castra: described as a “great fortified camp”. Agricola was recalled to Rome, but returned three years later to conquer Morayshire and Galloway. Having strengthened his armies with British auxiliaries from the south Agricola returned in the summer of 84 AD intent on conquering Northern Caledonia. At a place, which Tacitus calls Mons Grampius,  near the Fort of Ardoch the Caledonian army, amounting to some 30,000 men, under the command of  Galgacus was sited. Numbering 20,000 to 30,000 the Roman Army consisted of 8,000 British Auxiliary Infantry, occupying the centre, the wings consisting of 3,000 horse. The Roman Legions mainly consisted of Romanians, better suited to the climate, and not Romans, but nevertheless they were situated to the rear as a reserve to remain inactive unless specifically required to take part, in order to avoid spilling “Roman” blood.

After the battle of Mons Grampius, which Archaeologists believe to be in the north-east near Raedykes, the Roman fleet went sailed north to Orkney, Fair Isle, the Western Isles through the British channel and back to the River Forth and Tay to investigate the topography of the British Isles and for the first time proving Britain to be an island

Within a year of the Roman victory at Mons Grampius the 53 acre fort at Inchtuthil, which was to be the centre of the Province of Vespasiana, was abandoned and the Roman Army fell back using the natural barrier of the River earn as their front line.

Some 30 years passed until 114 AD when the Caledonian without warning attacked the IX Legion forts killing many of the unprepared soldiers and scattering the rest. Without leadership the Romans tried to make their way south, but within a week all were killed. Four years later in 118 AD a new Roman IX Legion marched north, but no trace of them or their equipment has ever been found.

It is therefore highly implausible that any attempt would have been made by General Quintus Lollius Urbicus to march north to conquer the Caledonian tribes. Forts were however built north of the Antonine Wall, such as at Duntocher in the west and Bertha on the Earn at the eastern edge, to protect its flanks

However the fact that there were several Roman Forts in the area of what is now Bo’ness means that there would almost certainly have been a large local indigenous community living in and farming the area. There would most probably be a port in the local area and another at Cramond where one can speculate that merchants would barter for goods, slaves would be sold, soldiers and Tribunes would travel back and forward to England and Europe.

It was once speculated that Bridgness was at the most eastern end of Antonine Wall because an elaborately decorated Roman tablet, measuring 9 feet two inches long by three feet eleven inches high, was found there in 1868.  The nature of the inscription on the tablet may indicate that Antonine Wall started at Bridgeness instead of terminating there. The Augustan or Second Legion responsible for building this “first section” of Antonine Wall (Wall of 139 completed in 142 AD) completed 4652 passus of wall or Vallum. Since the Roman pace of two steps was 4.84 feet the extent of their portion of wall was four miles 465 yards. This is the distance from Bridgeness to Inveravon on the Avon where one might expect to find the matching tablet since one would almost undoubtedly have been erected at each end of the Augustan section of the Wall. Whether Antonine Wall ended or started at Bridgness or Carriden it is almost certain that the military way would have continued eastward to reach Edinburgh.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Serf

St. Serf (St Servanus) reached the south shore of the Forth (where Bo’ Ness is now) and on seeing a sunbeam light up the Ochil Hills on the opposite side took this as a good omen and founded St Serfs Monastery on the north bank of the Forth (Culross Abbey was built on land gifted by Malcolm, 7th Earl of Fife, in 1217, during the reign of Alexander II).  Another version is that St. Serf, standing at Kinneil, threw his staff over the Forth. It landed in Culross and blossomed and as a result the Saint founded a monastery. St. Serf arrived at Culross around 520AD as the first Christian missionary to this wild untamed area. Brude, a Pictish king, sent men to slay St. Serf and his followers. The saint’s life was spared when a sudden illness overtook the king and St. Serf cured him. The king was converted to Christianity and allowed St. Serf and his followers to live in peace.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bede or *Baeda, St
(known as the Venerable Bede)

(b. 673, d. 735)

Although I would speculate that a village at Kinneil dates back to at least the time of the building of Antonine Wall and the Roman occupation of the area, we can be sure that it existed  by the 8th Century. This is because the Venerable Bede mentions Kinneil in the 8th Century; "called in the Pictish language Peanfahel but in the English tongue Pennulton".

Anglo-Saxon scholar, theologian, and historian, born near Monkwearmouth, Durham, NE England. At the age of seven he was placed in the care of Benedict Biscop at St Peter’s monastery at Wearmouth, and in 682 at the age of thirteen he moved to the new monastery of Jarrow in Durham, where he was ordained priest in 703 and remained a monk for the rest of his life, studying and teaching. His devotion to Church discipline was exemplary and his industry enormous. He wrote homilies, lives of saints, lives of abbots, hymns, epigrams, works on chronology, grammar and physical science, and commentaries on the Old and New Testaments; and he translated the Gospel of St John into Anglo-Saxon just before his death. His greatest work was his Latin Historia ecclesiastica gentis anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People), which he finished in 731, and which is the single most valuable source for early English history, earning him the title “Father of English History”.  Our fundamental measure of time the BC/AD dating system, based on the birthdate of Christ, was popularised by Bede. Bede was canonized in 1899; feast day 25 May.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Di Vipont
(William de Vetereponte)

Monks of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, were granted a tithe by William Di Vipont during the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214) to dig a tenth of the coal from his Carriden Estate, which was then carried to Holyrood in panniers strapped to the backs of their horses; later it was taken to Leith by sailing ship. The tithe was significant as it first recorded the coal-mining or more correctly at the time the digging of coal in Scotland. He also gave Holyrood “Karedyn Church”. In 1291 monks from Dunfermline Abbey were also given the right to dig coal from outcrops around Bo'ness.

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Gilbert Hamilton

Sir Gilbert Hamilton fought on the side of Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn as one of the seven Royal Knights or bodyguards and is even reported to have slain the “Great Lieutenant of England”.  In 1329 it was Sir Gilbert Hamilton that gave the funeral oration at the burial of King Robert the Bruce at Dunfermline Abbey. History is not clear whether Kinneil Estate was given to Sir Gilbert or his son Sir Walter, but the Hamilton family history seems to err on the side of Sir Walter. However it is my belief that since Sir Gilbert clearly outlived King Robert, was his bodyguard at Bannockburn (while Sir Walter sided with King Edward) and was chosen to give King Robert’s funeral oration I tend to think that Kinneil Estate was gifted to Sir Gilbert Hamilton although it may be that some paperwork was done afterwards officially giving ownership to Sir Walter.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

The barony of Kinneil is one of their most ancient possessions, and is associated with many interesting events in the history of the family. According to “Ffrier Mark Hamiltonis Ristorie” King Robert the Bruce gave all the lands of Kinneil to Sir Gilbert Hamilton “for his trew service and greit manheid,” and especially for having slain “for King Robertis pleasour the great lieutennand of Yngland upon Kynnale Muir.” Sir Gilbert had been with the Bruce on the field of Bannockburn, and was one of the seven knights that kept the King’s person. For Sir Gilbert’s exploit upon Kynnale Muir, he tells us, “King Robert gaif till him his armis till weir in Scotland thre sink fuilzies2 in. ane bludy field.” in connection with the alleged “exploit” on the muir, Mr. M’Kenzie has stated that in a place formerly known as Kinneil Muir a remarkable stone lay near the road, which was at one time used as a thoroughfare between Linlithgow and Falkirk or Stirling. It was seven feet long, live feet broad, and three feet thick. Its upper surface bad been roughly dressed, a groove had been cut round the border with a cross in the centre. The stone had a monumental appearance, but there was no vestige of tradition regarding it.The only explanation that occurs is that it might have been meant to mark the resting-place of “the great lieutennand of Yngland,” whoever that worthy was. Early in the nineteenth century the stone, being an obstruction to the plough, was blown to pieces and removed. But to return to “Schir Gilbert.” We are told he persevered continuallv with Ring Robert “in trew service on till ye end of his dayis, and was at his buriing in ye Abbay of Dunfermling. He appears to have been “ane naturall oratour.” and gave the funeral oration on that occasion.

We have no desire to discredit the alluring narrative of the learned “Ffrier” concerning Sir Gilbert and his adventures at Bannockburn, and on Kinneil Muir, but his statements do not accord with the information given in Anderson’s “Memoirs of the House of Hamilton,” or in the recent work of the Lyon King, Sir J. Balfour Paul.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Walter Hamilton

It is recorded that, in 1323, Walter Hamilton, the son of Sir Gilbert Hamilton, was gifted Kinneil Estate by Robert the Bruce, and although Hamilton House was the family's main seat, their house at Kinneil became an important residence, conveniently located for Edinburgh and the Royal Court. Walter fought on the side of the English at Bannockburn, but changed allegiance after the capture of Bothwell Castle, for which he was in charge of the defence, by King Roberts's soldiers. Robert later knighted him.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

The present Duke is the twenty-third possessor, and the first of the family is given in both these authorities as Walter Fitz-Gilbert (Walter son of Gilbert). He appears under that designation in 1294 or thereabouts. Walter is reported to have sworn fealty to King Edward 1. in 1296 at Berwick, and remained an English partisan till the capture of Bothwell Castle by a detachment of the Scottish army after Bannockburn. Quite evidently there was a Gilbert; but it is difficult to believe that Walter, his son, should have been on King Edward’s side at the time of Bannockburn whilst the father, according to the “Ffrier” was with Bruce in that battle, and “am of the seven knights that kept the King’s person.” This may have been possible, but it does not seem very probable.

Walter is reported to have joined the Bruce after his capture at Bothwell Castle, and was knighted. Later, King Robert made him several grants of land, and among those the lands of Kinneil. Sir Walter was twice married, and the grant of Kinneil in 1323 was to him and Mary Gordon, his second wife, and to his heirs by her.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Pious 11
(Aeneas Syluvious Piccolomini)
 
(b. 1405, d. 1446)

At the age of 30 Aeneas Sylvius, the future Pope Pius II, visited the area and wrote in his journal "the poor, who almost in a state of nakedness begged at the church door, depart with joy in their faces on receiving stones as alms!" This account reveals that although coal was commonly used as fuel in Scotland it was yet unknown in many parts of Europe. This is reinforced as in another account of his visit to Scotland the future Pope wrote, "A sulphurous stone dug from the earth is used by the people as fuel." Although Aeneas rode through the Lothian's it is not clear that he visited Carriden, although as an area mined by the monks of Dunfermline and Holyrood it is entirely possible. His voyage to Scotland in 1435 was not without incident, he met with severe weather in the North Sea and void that if spared he would walk from where he landed to the nearest shrine of Our Lady. In this case he landed at Dunbar, at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, and made a 10-mile pilgrimage through snow and ice to the sanctuary of Whitekirk. In doing so he contracted gout, which plagued him for the rest of his life. This visit also indicated that he had not yet received Holy orders because of his low moral standards and debauched life style. The record is unclear about how long he stayed in Scotland, but it was certainly long enough to make acquaintances and father an illegitimate child. That he freely indulged his passions was endorsed by fathering a second child while visiting Strasbourg.

By: Ken Wright

The following is by: N.A. WEBER
Transcribed by Herman F. Holbrook  Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.

Born at Corsignano, near Siena, 18 Oct., 1405; elected 19 Aug., 1458; d. at Ancona, 14 Aug., 1464. He was the eldest of eighteen children of Silvio de' Piccolomini and Vittoria Forteguerra. Although of noble birth, straitened circumstances forced him to help his father in the cultivation of the estate which the family owned at Corsignano. This village he later ranked as a town and made an episcopal residence with the name of Pienza (Pius). Having received some elementary instruction from a priest, he entered, at the age of eighteen, the University of Siena. Here he gave himself up to diligent study and the free enjoyment of sensual pleasures. In 1425 the preaching of St. Bernardine of Siena kindled in him the desire of embracing a monastic life, but he was dissuaded from his purpose by his friends. Attracted by the fame of the celebrated Filelfo, he shortly after spent two years in the study of the classics and poetry at Florence. He returned to Siena at the urgent request of his relatives, to devote his time to the study of jurisprudence. Passing through Siena on his way to the Council of Basle (q.v.), Capranica, Bishop of Fermo, invited Enea to accompany him as his secretary. Bishop and secretary arrived there in 1432, and joined the opposition to Pope Eugene IV.

Piccolomini, however, soon left the service of the impecunious Capranica for more remunerative employment with Nicodemo della Scala, Bishop of Freising, with Bartolomeo, Bishop of Novara, and with Cardinal Albergati. He accompanied the latter on several journeys, particularly to the Congress of Arras, which in 1435 discussed peace between Burgundy and France. In the same year his master sent him on a secret mission to Scotland. The voyage was very tempestuous and Piccolomini vowed to walk, if spared, barefoot from the port of arrival to the nearest shrine of Our Lady. He landed at Dunbar and, from the pilgrimage of ten miles through ice and snow to the sanctuary of Whitekirk, he contracted the gout from which he suffered for the rest of his life. Although on his return from Scotland Cardinal Albergati was no longer at Basle, he determined to remain in the city, and to his humanistic culture and oratorical talent owed his appointment to different important functions by the council. He continued to side with the opposition to Eugene IV, and associated particularly with a small circle of friends who worshipped classical antiquity and led dissolute lives. That he freely indulged his passions is evidenced not only by the birth of two illegitimate children to him (the one in Scotland, the other at Strasburg), but by the frivolous manner in which he glories in his own disorders. The low moral standard of the epoch may partly explain, but cannot excuse his dissolute conduct. He had not yet received Holy orders, however, and shrank from the ecclesiastical state because of the obligation of continence which it imposed. Even the inducement to become one of the electors of a successor to Eugene IV, unlawfully deposed, could not overcome this reluctance; rather than receive the diaconate he refused the proffered honour.

He was then appointed master of ceremonies to the conclave which elected Amadeus of Savoy to the papacy. He likewise belonged to the delegation which was to escort to Basle in 1439 the newly- elected antipope, who assumed the name of Felix V and chose Piccolomini as his secretary. The latter's clearsightedness, however, soon enabled him to realize that the position of the schismatic party could not fail to become untenable, and he profited by his presence as envoy of the council at the Diet of Frankfort in 1442 again to change masters. His literary attainments were brought to the attention of Frederick III, who crowned him imperial poet, and offered him a position in his service which was gladly accepted. On 11 Nov., 1442, Enea left Basle for Vienna, where he assumed in January of the following year the duties of secretary in the imperial chancery. Receding gradually from his attitude of supporter of Felix V, he ultimately became, with the imperial chancellor Schlick, whose favour he enjoyed, a partisan of Eugene IV. The formal reconciliation between him and this pope took place in 1445, when he came on an official mission to Rome. He was first absolved of the censures which he had incurred as partisan of the Council of Basle and official of the antipope. Hand in hand with this change in personal allegiance went a transformation in his moral character and in March, 1446, he was ordained subdeacon at Vienna. The same year he succeeded in breaking up the Electors' League, equally dangerous to Eugene IV and Frederick III, and shortly afterwards a delegation, of which he was a member, laid before the pope the conditional submission of almost all Germany. In 1447 he was appointed Bishop of Trieste; the following year he played a prominent part in the conclusion of the Concordat of Vienna; and in 1450 he received the Bishopric of Siena. He continued, however, until 1455 in the service of Frederick III, who had frequent recourse to his diplomatic ability. In 1451 he appeared in Bohemia at the head of a royal embassy, and in 1452 accompanied Frederick to Rome for the imperial coronation. He was created cardinal 18 Dec., 1456, by Calixtus III, whose successor he became.

The central idea of his pontificate was the liberation of Europe from Turkish domination. To this end he summoned at the beginning of his reign all the Christian princes to meet in congress on 1 June, 1459. Shortly before his departure for Mantua, where he was personally to direct the deliberations of this assembly, he issued a Bull instituting a new religious order of knights. They were to bear the name of Our Lady of Bethlehem and to have their headquarters in the Island of Lemnos. History is silent concerning the actual existence of this foundation, and the order was probably never organized. At Mantua scant attendance necessitated a delay in the opening of the sessions until 26 Sept., 1459. Even then but few delegates were present, and the deliberations soon revealed the fact that the Christian states could not be relied on for mutual co-operation against the Turks. Venice pursued dilatory and insincere tactics; France would promise nothing, because the pope had preferred Ferrante of Aragon for the throne of Naples to the pretender of the House of Anjou. Among the German delegates, Gregory of Heimburg (q.v.) assumed an ostentatiously disrespectful attitude toward Pius II; the country, however, ultimately agreed to raise 32,000 footmen and 10,000 cavalry. But the promise was never redeemed, and although a three years' war was decreed against the Turks, the congress failed of its object, as no practical results of any importance were attained. It was apparent that the papacy no longer commanded the assent and respect of any of the Powers. This was further demonstrated by the fact that Pius, on the eve of his departure from Mantua, issued the Bull "Execrabilis", in which he condemned all appeals from the decisions of the pope to an oecumenical council (18 Jan., 1460).

During the congress war had broken out in southern Italy about the possession of the Kingdom of Naples. The pope continued to support Ferrante against the Angevin claimant. This attitude was adverse to ecclesiastical interests in France, where he aimed at the repeal of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. At his accession to the throne in 1461, Louis XI suppressed indeed that instrument; but this papal success was more apparent than real. For Louis's expectation of support in southern Italy was not realized; and opposition to the suppression manifesting itself in France, his dealings with the Church underwent a corresponding change, and royal ordinances were even issued aiming at the revival of the former Gallican liberties. In Germany Frederick III showed readiness to comply with the obligations assumed at Mantua, but foreign and domestic difficulties rendered him powerless. Between Pius II and Duke Sigismund of Tyrol, however, an acute conflict developed concerning the Bishopric of Brixen (q.v.). Likewise the refusal of the Archbishop of Mainz, Diether of Isenburg (q.v.) to abide by the pope's decree of deposition led to civil strife. Diether was ultimately defeated and supplanted by Adolf of Nassau, who had been appointed in his stead. More difficult to adjust were the troubles in Bohemia. Hussitism was rampant in the kingdom, which was governed by the wily George Podiebrad, a king seemingly devoid of religious convictions. He had promised in a secret coronation oath personally to profess the Catholic faith and to restore, in his realm, union with Rome in ritual and worship. This was tantamount to a renunciation of the "Compact of Basle", which, under certain conditions subsequently not observed by the Bohemians, had granted them communion under both kinds and other privileges. The pope, deceived for a time by the protestations of royal fidelity, used his influence to bring back the Catholic city of Breslau to the king's allegiance. But in 1461 Podiebrad, to further his fanciful schemes of political aggrandizement, promised his subjects to maintain the Compact. When in 1462 his long- promised embassy appeared in Rome, its purpose was not only to do homage to the pope, but also to obtain the confirmation of that agreement. Pius II, instead of acceding to the latter request, withdrew the misused concessions made by Basle. He continued negotiations with the king, but died before any settlement was reached.

The prevalence of such discord in Christendom left but little hope for armed opposition to the Turks. As rumours had been circulated that the sultan doubted the faith of Islam, the pope attempted to convert him to the Christian faith. But in vain did he address to him in 1461 a letter, in which were set forth the claims of Christianity on his belief. Possibly the transfer with extraordinary pomp of the head of St. Andrew to Rome was also a fruitless attempt to rekindle zeal for the Crusades. As a last resort, Pius II endeavoured to stir up the enthusiasm of the apathetic Christian princes by placing himself at the head of the crusaders. Although seriously ill he left Rome for the East, but died at Ancona, the mustering-place of the Christian troops.

There have been widely divergent appreciations of the life of Pius II. While his varied talents and superior culture cannot be doubted, the motives of his frequent transfer of allegiance, the causes of the radical transformations which his opinions underwent, the influences exercised over him by the environment in which his lot was cast, are so many factors, the bearing of which can be justly and precisely estimated only with the greatest difficulty. In the early period of his life he was, like many humanists, frivolous and immoral in conduct and writing. More earnest were his conceptions and manner of life after his entrance into the ecclesiastical state. As pope he was indeed not sufficiently free from nepotism, but otherwise served the best interests of the Church. Not only was he constantly solicitous for the peace of Christendom against Islam, but he also instituted a commission for the reform of the Roman court, seriously endeavoured to restore monastic discipline, and defended the doctrine of the Church against the writings of Reginald Peacock, the former Bishop of Chichester. He retracted the errors contained in his earlier writings in a Bull, the gist of which was "Reject Eneas, hold fast to Pius". St. Catherine of Siena was canonized during his pontificate.

Even among the many cares of his pontificate he found time for continued literary activity. Two important works of his were either entirely or partly written during this period: his geographical and ethnographical description of Asia and Europe; and his "Memoirs", which are the only autobiography left us by a pope. They are entitled "Pii II Commentarii rerum memorabilium, quae temporibus suis contigerunt". Earlier in his life he had written, besides "Eurialus and Lucretia" and the recently discovered comedy "Chrysis", the following historical works: "Libellus dialogorum de generalis concilii auctoritate et gestis Basileensium"; "Commentarius de rebus Basileae gestis"; "Historia rerum Frederici III imperatoris"; "Historia Bohemica". Imcomplete collections of his works were published in 1551 and 1571 at Basle. A critical edition of his letters by Wolkan is in course of publication.

CAMPANUS, Vita Pii II in MURATORI, Rer. Ital. script., III, ii, 967-92; PLATINA, Lives of the Popes, tr. RYCAUT, ed. BENHAM (3 vols., London, 1888); WOLKAN, Der Briefwechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolomini in Fontes rerum Austriacarum (Vienna, 1909-); VOIGT, Enea Silvio de' Piccolomini als Papst Pius II und sein Zeitalter (Berlin, 1856-63); CREIGHTON, History of the Papacy, III (new ed., New York, 1903), 202-358; WEISS, Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini als Papst Pius II (Graz, 1897); PASTOR, History of the Popes (London, 1891-94); BOULTING, Aeneas Silvius (Pius II), Orator, Man of Letters, Statesman, and Pope (London, 1908); The Cambridge Modern History, I; The Renaissance (New York, 1909), passim.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James First Duke of Hamilton

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

James succeeded at the age of nineteen. For the next three years he remained in Scotland. He then received ~ pressing message from King Charles to come to Court. This he did, and had the Order of the Garter and a number of other offices bestowed upon him. He was afterwards sent abroad, by the King’s desire, to assist Gustavus Adolphus in invading Germany. When Charles visited Scotland in 1633 the Marquis accompanied him and took part in the Coronation ceremonies. After this he seems to have retired from public life, until the people began to openly resist the order to use Laud’s Service-Book in all the churches. Charles then specially commissioned the Marquis to settle these disorders; and in this task he naturally incurred a marked degree of popular odium. His efforts were useless, and he was obliged, after many negotiations and two journeys to London, where he seriously consulted and advised with Charles, to proclaim the meeting of the famous General Assembly at Glasgow in November, 1638. Hamilton then went south again, but returned in a year as General and Commander of a fleet with which the King meant to silence the Covenanters. It is related of his mother, Marchioness Anna Cunningham, that when her son the Marquis arrived with his fleet in the Forth she rode up and down the sands of Leith, carrying pistols in her holsters, and threatening to blow out the brains of her son should be cross her path to molest the Covenanters. Whether this scared him we do not know, but at any rate a truce was before long agreed to at Dunse Law, and the Marquis again retired into private life.

In 1641 Charles made his second visit to Scotland, and Hamilton, who was with him, was one of the intended victims of a plot known as “The incident,” whereby Argyll, Hamilton, and Lanark, his brother, were to be seized and carried on board a Royal frigate at Leith. The plot was discovered, and these lords withdrew to Kinneil House, and refused to meet the King. It is not clear, however, whether Charles was involved in the affair or not.

In April, 1643, the King, by a charter dated at Oxford, created the Marquis Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale, Earl of Arran and Cambridge, Lord Avon and Innerdale, with remainder to himself an~ the heirs-male of his body; whom failing, to his brother William and the heirs-male of his body; whom failing, to the eldest heir-female of the Duke’s body, without division; and it was under this destination that his daughter, the Duchess Anne, in time succeeded. The Duke and his brother Lanark were slandered to the King, and the former was for a time imprisoned.

It must be remembered that during all this time the Duke’s old mother was still alive. Her son’s association with the King against the Covenanters, of whom she was a strong supporter, not only aroused her wrath, as we have seen, but caused her great grief. This can be gathered from her Will.” That document was written with her own hand at Holyrood House on 4th November, 1644, and in the introduction she explains that she considers it her duty to put her house in order, lest she “should be chapit at on ane soudentie.” Referring apparently to this imprisonment of her son, my lord douck,” she, in making him her executor and heir, leaves him her blessing, and prays the Lord to direct him and to grant that he may make the right use of this visitation” that is laid upon him; also that he may have God’s glory before his eyes, and look more to that than to all this world can give him. Then she says, there is one thing that she would beseech him to do above any other earthly thing, if ever he got out of prison, and that was to “mack chois of soum good woman to mache with,” so that if it pleased the Lord his father’s house might stand in his person, which she prayed the Lord might be. (Hi. first wife had died some years before, and their two sons had died young.) In her bequests she leaves him her right, and leases of her coal of Kinneil, and mentions that it had cost her much money, and servants did reap the profit; but now it was in so good ease that he could not but make great benefit out of it. She counsels him to put faithful servants to it, and never to put it Out of his own hands. She leaves him all her salt-pans, and advises him to build more, for she believes the profit will be great if God sent peace. She also leaves him the plenishing in her house in Kinneil, her new tapestry, and all other movables she either made or bought, except her silver saltfit and some little silver porringers which she left to her “dochtir.” She further requested him to be “caynd to his sister and hir childring,” for she believed she was a good woman and feared the Lord.

As for her son Lanark, who had also been, as a Royalist, opposed to the Covenanters, she prayed the Lord to hold his heart upright before Him, and make him now, after his past wanderings, a faithful servant in His cause, and let him never fall back from Him, lest his last state be worse than his first; she prayed God also to take a grip of his heart and reveal Himself, and let him know that in the day of death there is no comfort to be found but in Him, for all the monarchs and monarchies in the world could not give one moment’s ease. A blink of the face of a reconciled God was a sweet thing; therefore, for Christ’s sake, he was to seek Him in time, and away with the follies of Courts, for their ways were but wicked, and all their delights and sweetness in the end would bring bitterness. These maternal solicitations concluded with, “Remembir this is the last saying of ane louing mother.”

The closing events in the reign of King Charles are all so veil known that they need not be recalled here. We must remember, however, that when the King was captured the Duke did all ho could to obtain his release, just as he before that had—hopelessly, however, because of the King’s obstinacy in repudiating the Covenant—done what he could to advance the King’s interests. And we must also remember that when a last effort was made to rescue the King from the hands of Cromwell, the “Engagers” or band of Scottish Royalists who did so were led by the Duke. Cromwell easily defeated this force near Preston in 1648. The Duke was taken and imprisoned in various places, Windsor Castle being the last. He had an affecting interview with the King here on the Latter’s last journey to London. After the King’s execution in January, 1649, the Duke escaped, but was re-taken. He was then tried at Westminster, and beheaded in the Palace Yard on 9th March. His remains were first sent to his house of Kinneil, and from there taken to Hamilton, where they were buried. He is said to have been of an affectionate and kindly temperament, and strongly attached to his brother. It was a good thing that his poor old mother was spared the grief of his trial and execution, she having been “chapit at,” and left this troublesome world some little time before. The Duke did not marry a second time. He Left two daughters—Anne, who became Duchess of Hamilton in her own right, and Susanna, who married the seventh Earl of Cassillis.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Tam Dalyell (b. 1615, d. 1685)

Between the 14th & 18th Century many Scots served as mercenaries in Europe, most were soldiers or low ranking officers, but a few such as General Tam Dalyell of The Binns were very influential and well educated. General Dalyell was captured at the Battle of Worcester and imprisoned in the Tower of London by Cromwell. One of the few prisoners ever to escape from the Tower Tam fled to Russia where he became a noble and took a Russian wife while training the army when in the service of Czar Alexei Mikhailovitch: father of Peter the Great.

General Dalyell (or Dalziel) (1615-1685), the scourge the Covenanters who called him "Bluidy Tam" (for his suppression of the Pentland Rising at Rullion Green) is probably the most famous or infamous local character about which much has been written.  Returning home from service in Russia, while in exile, to fight against the Covenanters for Charles II, the Muscovite De'il (a pun on his name) was also known as 'The Muskovia Beast who used to roast men in the baking ovens of The Binns.

After the Restoration of Charles II Tam was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the King’s forces in Scotland and made a Privy Councillor.

It is interesting to note that after the defeat of the Covenanters forces at Rullion Green in 1666 Tam received a letter of congratulations from the King only to resign his commission for 10 years because 30 women and children camp followers were massacred by the King’s troops after Rullion Green. This protest was because of the action of his troops against his specific instruction not to.

The Dalyell’s have inhabited the Binns for over 300 years and have had a great influence on local history: Sir Tam (Thomas) Dalyell Baronet (Bt  NS 1685) 10th Laird of the Binns MP being the current inhabitant. Like the apes of Gibraltar it is said that while peacock’s parade on the lawns of the Binns (which is Gaelic for hills) it will remain in the hands of the Dalyell family.

Eerie tales about the Commander-in-Chief of the King’s forces in Scotland (1666 – 1685) have transcended the years since his death. It was said that Tam and the devil played cards on a regular basis. Auld Nick usually beat Tam but one night the General won. The devil was so enraged that he hurled the heavy marble table that they were playing on at Tam's head. The table missed the General and landed in a pond, which lay outside the house.

Tam had added a west wing to the building creating a "U" shape around the cobbled courtyard. He had also added turrets to the corners of the Binns, which puzzled his tenants, as they couldn't figure out exactly what the fortified towers were for.

Rumour said that Tam had had an argument with his old friend the devil. Auld Nick had threatened to blow the Binns down and the General had replied that he would make sure he wouldn't by fortifying the building with walls. The devil had said Tam's walls wouldn't be strong enough to protect the Binns, but the General replied that he would reinforce the building's corners with turrets to anchor his property down.

In August 1685 Lieutenant-General Tam Dalyell died at his town house just off John Street in the burgh of the Canongate where he lived with his fourth wife Marion Abercrombie. Following military tradition his boots were hung in reverse from the saddle of his horse while his martial baton was carried on the top of the coffin. Troopers of the Royal Scots Dragoons, the red-coated Scots Guards and six field guns escorted his funeral procession. Watched by hundreds of citizens, who lined the route, the sombre military procession with muffled drums beating wound its way slowly up the hill through Portsburgh leaving the city by the west gate.

"Old Tom of Muscovy" as he had been nick named by King Charles II was buried beside his parents in the family vault at Abercorn Church not far from The Binns. Tam's third son John took his father's cavalry boots back to his home at Lingo in Fife but he was forced to return them to The Binns. Every night when he took them off they wakened the sleeping household as they marched round the house. It was said that if cold water was poured into them, it would quickly come to a boil.

Although he was gone, Tam's legend continued to grow. On pitch black nights the General mounted on a white charger could be seen entering his estate by the Black Lodge situated on the road between Bo’ ness and Queensferry. Clattering across the ruined bridge over the Errack Burn, the ghostly horse and rider would gallop up the old road to the Binns.

During the long hot summer of 1878 nearly two hundred years after the General's death, the Sergeant's Pool outside the Binns where the troopers of the Greys had watered their horses dried up.

A heavy table of carved marble that Tam might have used when he was playing cards was found buried in the mud.

General Dalyell raised the Scots Greys in 1681 after he noted while in Russia that it was much more difficult to spot Russian soldiers than traditional "British Red Coats". Therefore the Scots Greys wore grey uniforms as camouflage, which was successfully used against the Covenanters. He had also raised a regiment of infantry in 1666, but no records of the foot regiment exist today.

By: Ken Wright

The following is the official Biography of General Dalyell written by: Lady Kathleen Dalyell, daughter of Lord Wheatly

The story of The Binns is dominated by one man —General Tam Dalyell, born in 1615 to Thomas Dalyell and his wife Janet Bruce. The general was a leading figure in the turbulent times of seventeenth-century Scotland.

Like his father, Tim signed the National Covenant in 1638, but became a Royalist, fighting for Charles fin the Civil War. When Charles was executed in 1649 Tam took an oath never to cut his hair until the Stuarts were restored to the throne.

When Charles 11 was crowned in Scotland in 1650, General Tam joined the army raised to invade England and was captured at the Battle of Worcester the following year. Cromwell imprisoned him in the Tower of London, but he escaped — one of the very few prisoners ever to do so.

He fled to the Continent, where he became a mercenary in the service of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, father of Peter the Great. For ten years, General Tam trained the Tsar’s army: he became a Russian noble and took a Russian wife. He returned home after the Restoration in 1660 to become Commander-in-Chief of the king’s forces in Scotland in 1666.

Charged with the suppression of the Covenanters, Tam defeated their forces in 1666 at Rullion Green in the Pentlands, and received a letter from the king commending him for ‘the happy success you have had against the rebels in Scotland’.

From his exploits in Russia and from the Covenanting historians the General gained his reputation as ‘Bloody Tam, the Muscovy Brute’. Yet when thirty women and children camp followers were massacred by the king’s troops after Rullion Green, against Tam’s express instructions, the General resigned his commission in protest. He retired from public office for ten years, devoting himself to his estate and garden at The Binns.

But by 1678 General Tam was back in the king’s service to combat a renewed threat from the Covenanters. In 1681, he was appointed Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons, later to become the Royal Scots Grey’s (and now amalgamated into the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards).

The first muster of the recruits was held at The Binns. At the Barns on the estate the building they used as a barracks is still visible, although in ruins. The pond to the left of the drive
up to the house was widened and deepened to water the horses,

It is interesting that General Tam sent to Flanders for grey cloth for uniforms for his regiment. Having seen in Russia how effectively the Poles had used white uniforms as camouflage against the snow, he decided that grey could be used in the same way in Scottish surroundings. So the regiment wore grey instead of the traditional scarlet, and became known as the Royal Scots Greys.

General Tam died in 1685 in his house in the Canongate in Edinburgh. After a military funeral his corpse was buried in the family vault in the ancient church of Abercorn near The Binns, site of one of the earliest Christian settlements in Scotland in the seventh century, and mentioned by Bede.

Charles II had intended to grant a baronetcy to General Tam for his services, but they both died before this could be finalised. Instead, James II conferred the title on General Tam’s son. By a special disposition, it can descend through ‘heirs male and of tailyie’ — that is, through the female line in default of male heirs. This has happened three times in the family’s history.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Duchess of Hamilton (b. ~ 1636, d. 1716)

Hamilton family had already been connected with Kinneil for 336 years at the time of the Restoration when Charles II returned from France and was restored to kingship at Whitehall in May 1660. In 1661 the King re-granted Duchess Anne all the lands and baronies of Hamilton, Kinneil and others that had previously belonged to her uncle William second Duke of Hamilton. Of all the members of the Hamilton family it is Duchess Anne or Anna that the people of Bo’ ness are most obligated. In January 1668 King Charles II granted a charter, in favour of Duchess Anne and her heirs, creating the lands and baronies of Kinneil, Carriden, and others, and the town of Borrowstounness into a Regality. This charter named the Borrowstounness as the head burgh of the Regality. An Act of the Scots Parliament in 1669 embodied the aforementioned charter and additionally gave the burgh the privilege of a free port and harbour. In addition to this it was Anna that enlarged and restored Kinneil Palace to become the grand house that we now see today. There is also evidence that the Palace was going to be further enlarged to include a southern wing, which speculation predicts may have been a mirror image of the existing northern wing. Anna may also have been responsible for creating 4 annual fairs in Bo’ness about 1668, certainly she petitioned parliament and brought forward the date of the fourth fair from 18th November to the second Tuesday of July. This may have been because of inclement weather in November or to compete commercially with Linlithgow’s Marches Day since it was at these country fairs that much business was done!

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon
We have now reached that member of the Hamilton family whose interest in Kinneil and Borrowstounness was very great. This was Anne, Duchess of Hamilton in her own right. As her uncle William left no male issue, she succeeded him, in terms of the destination in the charter of Charles I. to her father.

The Duchess Anne, or Anna as she is sometimes named, was born about 1636, and so was about fifteen when her uncle died. She lived to the long age of eighty, but her long and useful life was not without its heavy sorrows. When she was thirteen her father, the first Duke, was executed, and she lived to bemoan the termination of the career of her son, the. Fourth Duke, in a duel with Lord Mohun. She was a lady of great constancy of mind, evenness of temper, solidity of judgment, and unaffected piety. In April, 1656, she married William Douglas, eldest son of the second marriage of William, first Marquis of Douglas.

Four years after the marriage came the Restoration, when Charles II. returned from France and was restored to kingship at Whitehall, amid great rejoicing, in May, 1660. Duchess Anne and her husband soon came under Royal favour, and in September of the same year the King bestowed upon the latter for life the titles of Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale, Earl of Arran, Lanark, and Selkirk.

A year later the Duchess received from the King a re-grant of all the lands and baronies of Hamilton, Kinneil, and others which had been resigned by her uncle to the King when they were together at The Hague in 1650.The Duke’s first business was to remove the burden of debt under which the Hamilton estates lay. He then gave some attention to public affairs.

To Duchess Anne and Duke William, her husband. much credit is due for the early development of “the village” of Borrowstounness. With them commenced a thoroughly practical interest in the struggling town and in their own House of Kinneil. On the latter they made very considerable alterations, greatly enlarging and embellishing it. And there is no doubt whatever that they made it a frequent place of residence.

The reign of Charles 11., as we know, was full of bitterness and bloodshed for Scotland over religious difficulties. In all this the inhabitants of the young town and of the surrounding district had their share: and, loyal as the Duke had originally been to the King, he seems to have resented the repeated attempts of Charles to pat down Presbyterianism. Hamilton most strongly and openly opposed the Duke of Lauderdale, who had become Secretary for Scotland, and was, unfortunately, exercising a remarkable influence over the King. Lauderdale, in the former reign, had been a zealous Covenanter.>He now turned about and became as bitter and severe against Covenanters and conventicles as he had hitherto been zealous for them.

There is good evidence locally to show that Duke William was a keen practical business man, and we are not surprised to find that he strongly condemned Lauderdale’s Government, setting forth a variety of grievances in the law, revenue, and commerce. This attitude lost him all favour at Court. On the accession of James II. that monarch was anxious to get the Duke’s support for his schemes Of toleration during his short reign of three years, but he does not appear to have succeeded.

On the contrary, it is stated that the Duke was one of the first in Scotland to welcome the coming of William, Prince of Orange. Moreover, he was President of the Convention of Estates, which met in 1690, and accepted William and Mary as King and Queen of Scotland. He died in April, 1694, at Holyrood, and was buried at Hamilton. William, we read, was not of polished manners; he was rough, but candid and sincere. His temper was boisterous, less calculated to submit than to govern. He wrote well, but spoke ill. It is said also that he had an expert knowledge of the families, laws, and history of his country.

To revert to their local connection, we will find in the first chapter on the Regality that King Charles II., in January, 1668, granted a charter in favour of Duchess Anne and her heirs, creating the lands and baronies of Kinneil, Carriden, and others, and the town of Borrowstounness, into a Regality, and naming the town to be the head burgh of the Regality. This was the first important step towards the proper local government of the district.

An Act of the Sects Parliament ~n 1669, doubtless on the supplication of the Duke and Duchess, embodied the above charter, and, in addition, gave the burgh the privilege ~of a free port and harbour. There can be no doubt that the Regality Charter was obtained by the Duchess on her own and her husband’s initiative in the interests of a town and district which seemed full of possibilities for superior and vassal alike.

Then, in 1669, we discover the Duke and Duchess Anne supplicating Parliament and getting the Kirk and Parish of Kinneil suppressed and included in the Parish of Bo’ness, the Kirk of Bo’ness declared to be the Kirk of the United Parish, and appointing the Duke and Duchess to provide a manse and glebe in Bo’ness in place of the old manse and glebe of Kinneil. Again, we find an Act of the Sots Parliament in favour of Duchess Anne changing the fourth fair of Borrowstounness from 18th November to the second Tuesday of July.

Another Act is also found in 1672 authorising the Duke and Duchess to appropriate the vacant stipend to the repair of the Kirk and manse of Bo’ ness. And in the “Register of Bandes” of our Regality Court there is recorded in October, 1717, an Obligement by the Duchess Anne to contribute £5 sterling yearly for defraying the expense of the communion elements at the celebration of the sacrament in the Kirk of Bo’ness.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel James Gardner (b. 1687, d. 1745)

James Gardner was born at Burnfoot cottage on the banks of the River Forth on 10th January 1687. The cottage is aptly named because it is situated immediately to the west of Carriden Burn where the burn exits Carriden Glen to join the shoreline. The cottage also lies immediately north of Cat Craig Ridge also to the west of Carriden Glen and about half a miles walk due east of Carriden Church. Little still stands of the cottage, but the one remaining window is said to be that of the room in which Colonel Gardner was born. Thomas Salmon, extensively using Colonel Gardner’s biography, written by Dr Philip Doddridge, composed the following.

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

Built into a wall at Burnfoot, Carriden, is a tablet with this inscription:-

To the memory of Colonel James Gardiner, born here

January 10th, 1687; mortally wounded at the Battle

of Prestonpans, September 21st, 1745.

     A brave soldier and a devout Christian.

I  have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith.”—

Tim. iv. 7.

Readers of Scott will remember that Colonel Gardiner was Edward Waverlev’s commanding officer. The reverence which Waverley gave to his chief, the horror with which he witnessed his death, and the unavailing efforts he made to get near to help him when cut down by the Highlanders, form part of the graphic description of the battle.

His pious character recalls Hedley Vicars and Chinese Gordon.

Philip Doddridge, the famous divine and hymn-Writer, was On terms of the closest intimacy with Gardiner, and about two years after Prestonpans he wrote Gardiner’s biography. There he gives a vivid and lengthened account of his friend’s spiritual experiences. Jupiter Carlyle, also, in his autobiography gives frequent glimpses of him. Thus abundant material is at the disposal of any one who wishes to make the acquaintance of this brave and pious soldier. Doddridge is evidently in doubt as to the year of his birth, as he gives 1687-8, but the tablet at Carriden has 1687.

Gardiner’s father was Captain Patrick Gardiner, of the family of Torwood Head. and his mother Mary Hodge, of the family of Gladsmuir. The Captain served in the Army in the time of William and Queen Anne, and died with the British forces in Germany shortly after the battle of Hochset.

The eon, afterwards Colonel Gardiner, was educated at the Grammar School of Linlithgow. He served as a cadet very early, and at fourteen years of age obtained an ensign’s commission in a Scots regiment in the Dutch service, in which he continued till 1702, when he received an ensign’s commission from Queen Anne. At the battle of Ramillies, where he specially distinguished himself, he was wounded and taken prisoner, but was soon after exchanged. We are told that at this battle, while calling to his men to advance, a bullet passed into his mouth, which, without beating out any of his teeth or touching the forepart of his tongue, went through his neck. The young officer, like so many of the wounded engaged with the Duke of Marlborough’s army, was left on the field unattended, and lay there all night, not knowing what Me fate might be. His suspicions at first were that he had swallowed the bullet, but he afterwards made the discovery that there was a hole in the back of his neck, through which it must have passed. In the morning the French came to plunder the slain, and one of them was on the point of applying his sword to the

breast of the young officer when an attendant of the plunderers, taking the injured lad by his dress for a Frenchman, interposed, and said, Do not kill that poor child.” He was given some stimulant, and carried to a convent in the neighbourhood, where he was cured in a few months. He served with distinction in the other famous battles fought by the Duke of Marlborough, and rose to the rank of colonel of a new regiment of Dragoons.

As a young man he was what would now be called fast; but he was at all times so bright and cheerful that he was known as the “happy rake.” His remarkable conversion occurred when waiting till twelve o’clock on a Sunday night to keep a certain appointment. To while away the time he took up a book which his mother had placed in his portmanteau. This was “The Christian Soldier; or Heaven Taken by Storm.” The result was that he forgot his appointment, and became converted. Nor was the change either fanatical or temporary. Gardiner was still as careful, active, and obedient a soldier as ever, but now he tried in his private life to avoid even the appearance of evil. He was specially anxious to appear pleasant and cheerful lest his associates might be led to think That religion fostered a gloomy, forbidding, and austere disposition. At the same time, he set himself sternly against infidelity and licentiousness.

The circumstances connected with Colonel Gardiner’s death at the Battle of Prestonpans are very tragic, and have been frequently treated in history and fiction. The brutality connected with his death cannot be excused and scarcely palliated by the ignorance of his assailants. By all who knew him - military friend or foe - his death was deplored.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Wishart

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

WILLIAM WISHART, TWELFTH PRINCIPAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, 1716-1729

Mr. Wishart was a son of the last minister of Kinneil. There is no available evidence as to date and place of birth, but it ishighly probable that it was Kinneil. The eldest son, afterwards Sir George, entered the Army, and ultimately acquired the estate of Cliftonhall, Ratho; the next, afterwards, Sir James, of Little Chelsea, was a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy, and died in 1723; and the third became one of the ministers of Edinburgh and Principal of the University.

William Wishart succeeded the great William Carstares in the Principalship, and it is thought that the Latter recommended him to the Town Council, with whom the appointment lay. William graduated at Edinburgh in 16Th, and afterwards proceeded to Utrecht to study theology. Like his father, he had to suffer imprison­ment, for on his return from Holland (1684) he was imprisoned by the Privy Council in the “Iron House” on the charge of denying the King’s authority. He was released the next year under bond, with caution of 5000 merks, to appear when called. Ho then became minister of South Leith (it will be recalled that his father also was minister in Leith after the suppression of Kinneil), and afterwards of the Tron Church. Wishart was five times Moderator of the General Assembly, and has been described as “a good, kind, grave, honest, and pious man, a sweet, serious, and affectionate preacher whose life and conversation being of a piece with his preaching made almost all who knew him personal friends.” Two volumes of his sermons were published. His career as Principal seems to have been uneventful.

We may mention here also that on the 10th November, 1736, the Edinburgh Town Council proceeded to elect to the fifteenth Principalship William Wishart secundus, son of the above. The induction, however, was postponed till November of the next year, a charge of heresy evidently barring the way. When called to be Principal he also received a call from New Greyfriars. The Edinburgh Presbytery interposed and objected to the doctrine of some sermons published by him while minister of a Dissenting congregation in London. in which he had maintained “that true religion is influenced by higher motives than self-love.” After a keen debate the General Assembly absolved Wishart from heresy, and he entered upon his charges. He is said to have been more of a scholar and man of letters than his father, and of an original turn of mind, adopting a different style of preaching from that formerly in vogue. He was less stiff and formal, dealt more with moral considerations, and used more simple and, at the same time, more literary language. His first act as Principal was to start a library fund for the University. He also made an attempt to improve the system of graduation in Arts by demanding literary theses from the graduates. The Principal took a great interest in the more promising of the students, constantly visited the junior classes, and used all means in his power to improve scholarship in the University.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Cadell of Cockenzie (b. 1708 d. 1777)

William Cadell (1708-1777) first moved to Bo'ness from Cockenzie, East Lothian, in 1759. Mr Caddell was a member of a merchant family whose main business was the import of iron from Russia and Sweden. The Seven Year's War meant a high demand for weapons made from iron, but it also disrupted the iron Baltic trade, thus the idea of Carron Iron Works was born. It was therefore in a venture to mine and smelt ironstone, and not, as often thought, primarily coal, that Caddell approached Dr Roebuck. Carron Company was established as: Roebuck, Garbett & Cadells in 1759. Dr Roebuck and Mr William Cadell agreed to locally mine and smelt iron ore. The location was decided because of its proximity to wood (charcoal), water for power, iron ore, coal and water for transportation. What is not so well known is that the first choice for the sighting of the iron works was not Stenhousemuir, but a site near Jinkabout Mill. This choice was abandoned because a lease was only available for 99 years. New Year's Day 1760 saw the opening of Carron Company Iron Works, by Dr Roebuck

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr John Roebuck (b. 1718, d. 1794)

Dr John Roebuck was born (b. 1718 d. 1794). Despite having a proven ability at school he could not go to Oxford or Cambridge, as he was not a member of the Church of England. He therefore studied medicine at Edinburgh before completing his studies in 1742 at Leyden University in Holland. The Seven Year's War meant a high demand for weapons made from iron, but it also disrupted the iron Baltic trade, thus the idea of Carron Iron Works was born. It was therefore in a venture to mine and smelt ironstone, and not, as often thought, primarily coal, that Cadell approached Dr Roebuck.  Roebuck had initially came to Scotland from Sheffield to manufacture Vitriol (Sulphuric Acid) at his works in Prestonpans, where he had erected large leaden chambers to  produce the acid using his new process. The process was so secret that large walls were built around the factory perimeter and no stranger was allowed access. Carron Company was established as: Roebuck, Garbett & Cadells in 1759. Dr Roebuck and Mr William Cadell agreed to locally mine and smelt iron ore. The location was decided because of its proximity to wood (charcoal), water for power, iron ore, coal and water for transportation. What is not so well known is that the first choice for the sighting of the iron works was not Stenhousemuir, but a site near Jinkabout Mill. This choice was abandoned because a lease was only available for 99 years. New Year's Day 1760 saw the opening of Carron Company Iron Works, by Dr Roebuck. Dr Black first introduced James Watt (b.1736, d. 1819) to Dr Roebuck in 1765. This period was to almost bankrupt Dr Roebuck and Watt was unfortunately forced to Birmingham to perfect his steam engine with the firm Boulton, Watt & Co. Although he was declared bankrupt in 1773 Roebuck did manage to survive his financial embarrassment founding Scotland's first large commercial pottery at Bo'ness in 1787 under his son's name.  He was also responsible for the town's first fresh water supply.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

DR JOHN ROEBUCK (b. 1718 d. 1794)
John Roebuck was born in Sheffield where his father was a manufacturer of cutlery. He possessed a most inventive turn of mind; studied chemistry and medicine at Edinburgh; obtained the degree of M.D. from Leyden University in 1742; established a chemical laboratory at Birmingham; invented methods of refining precious metals and several improvements in processes for the production of chemicals, including the manufacture of sulphuric acid, at Prestonpans, in 1749, where he was in partnership with Mr. Samuel Garbett, another Englishman.

In 1759, he, along with his, brothers, Thomas, Ebenezer, and Benjamin, William Cadell, sen., William Cadell, jun., and Samuel Garbett, founded the Carron Ironworks, which at one timer were the most celebrated in Europe. His connection with Borrowstounnees began about the same time when he became the lessee of the Duke’s coal mines and saltpans, and took up residence at Kinneil House. The history of his partnership with James Watt, the part which he played in the government of the town, and the unfortunate collapse of all his plans are elsewhere referred to. In I773 the doctor, owing to his financial misfortunes here, had not only to give up his interest in Watt’s patent, but had also to sever his connection with the Carron Company. His spirit and business enterprise, however, were undaunted, and, in 1784, we find him founding the Bo’ness Pottery. He died here in 1794, and was buried in Carriden Churchyard.

From the various works which he projected, all of a practical nature; from his generous and kindly treatment of James Watt, and his keen desire to promote the interests of the inhabitants of Bo’ness, we readily conclude that, in ability and real goodness, he was far above the average man. This is attested by the monument to his memory which his friends erected over his grave. The inscription is in Latin, but we give below a translation :-

Underneath this tombstone rests
no ordinary man,
John Roebuck, M.D.

who, of gentle birth and of liberal education, applied his mind to almost all the liberal arts. Though be made the practice of medicine his chief work in his public capacity to the great advantage of his fellow-citizens, yet he did not permit his inventive and tireless brain to rest satisfied with that, but cultivated a great number of recondite and abstruse sciences, among which were chemistry and metallurgy.

These he expounded and adapted to human needs with a wonder­ful fertility of genius and a high degree of painstaking labour; whence not a few of all those delightful works and pleasing structures which decorate our world, and by their utility conduce to both public and private well-being he either devised or promoted.

Of these the magnificent work at the mouth of the Carron is his own invention. In extent of friendship and of gentleness he warn surpassing great, and, though harassed by adversity or deluded by hope and weighed down by so many of our griefs, he yet could assuage these by his skill in the arts of the muses or in the delights of the country.

For most learned conversation and gracious familiarity no other was more welcome or more pleasant on account of his varied and profound learning, his merry games, and sparkling wit and humour. And, above all, on account of the uprightness, benevolence, and good fellowship in his character.

Bewailed by his family and missed by all good men, he died on the Ides (i.e., 15th) of July. A.D. 1794, aged 76, in the arms of his wife, and with his children around him.

This monument—such as it is—the affection of friends has erected.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Watt (b. 1736, d. 181

Born in Greenock, Inverclyde James Watt was to become one of the world’s greatest engineers. In 1754 Watt went to Glasgow to learn his trade as a mathematical-instrument maker and after working in London for a year he set up business in Glasgow. Although Watt is remembered as the inventor of the steam engine most people ignore that it was he who laid out the master plans for the Forth & Clyde Canal, which was built in 1768-1790. Another of his major achievements was the deepening of the River Clyde as it approached Glasgow: this work was to be extended later by Telfer and Rennie when they extended his initial channel further down river. In fact it is actually a misconception that Watt invented the steam engine. It was when he was repairing a Newcomen Engine in about 1763-4 that he found he could improve its performance by using a separate steam condenser. Undoubtedly it was Watt that developed the steam engine into a practical source of power. Although Watt was first introduced by Dr Black to Dr Roebuck in 1765 it was 1768 before he arrived in Bo’ ness with an engine that was deemed by both to be worthwhile taking out a patent on. True because of the financial situation of Dr Roebuck’s mines, by the early1970’s he was bankrupt and could no longer invest in developing steam as a motive force.

Nevertheless Watt went into partnership with Mathew Boulton, forming Boulton, Watt & Co. in Birmingham. Watt’s new engine was manufactured in 1774 and the rest is history.

His further inventions included the double-acting engine, parallel motion linkage, the centrifugal governor for automatic speed control, and the pressure gauge. Watt first used the term horsepower, and the SI unit of power is named after him.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

JAMES WATT (b. 1736, d. 1819)
The name and fame of this celebrated natural philosopher and civil engineer are so well known that they require little mention here. He was born in Greenock, but Glasgow and Birmingham were the chief centres of his labours. Bo’ ness, however, has a right to claim more than a passing interest in his early endeavours to improve the steam engine. He had been struggling as a mathematical instrument maker to the University of Glasgow when his friend Professor l3lack spoke of him to Dr. Roebuck, who was engaged sinking coal pits.

Roebuck had been time and again thwarted in his attempt to reach the coal by inrushes of water, his Newcomen engine having proved practically useless. Therefore, when Dr. Black informed him of this ingenious young mechanic in Glasgow who had invented a steam engine capable of working with a greater power, speed, and economy, Roebuck immediately entered into correspondence with Watt. Roebuck was at first sceptical as to the principle of Watt’s engine, and induced him to revert to the old principle, with some modifications. Against his convictions Watt tried a series of experiments, but abandoned them as hopeless, Roebuck being also convinced of his error. Up to this time Watt and Roebuck had not met, but. In September, 1765, Roebuck urged him to come with Dr. Black to Kinneil House and fully discuss the subject of the engine. Watt wrote to say that he was physically unable for the journey to Kinneil, but would try to meet him on a certain day at the works at Carron, in which the doctor had an interest. Even this, however, had to be postponed. Roebuck then wrote urging Watt to press forward his invention with all speed, “whether you pursue it as a philosopher or as a man of business.” In accordance with this urgent appeal, Watt forwarded to Roebuck the working drawings of a covered cylinder and piston, to be cast at the Carron Works. This cylinder, however, when completed, was ill bored, and had to be laid aside as useless. The piston rod was made in Glasgow, under his own supervision, and when finished he was afraid to forward it on a common cart lest the workpeople should see it, and so it was sent in a box to Carron in the month of July, 1766.

This secrecy was necessary to prevent his idea being appropriated by others. Roebuck was so confident of Watt’s success that in 1767 he undertook to give him £1000 to pay the debts already incurred, to enable Watt to continue his experiments, and to patent the engine. Roebuck’s return was to be two-thirds of the property in the invention. Early in 1768 Watt made a new and larger model, with a cylinder of seven or eight inches diameter, but by an unforeseen misfortune “the mercury found its way into the cylinder and played the devil with the solder. This throws us back at least three days, and is very vexatious, especially as it happened in spite of the precaution I had taken to prevent it.” Disregarding the renewed demands of the impatient Roebuck to meet and talk the matter over, Watt proceeded to patch up his damaged engine. In a month’s time he succeeded, and then rode triumphantly to Kinneil House, where his words to Roebuck were, “I sincerely wish you joy of this successful result, and I hope it will make some return for the obligations I owe you.”

The model was so satisfactory that it was at once determined to take out a patent for the engine, and Watt journeyed to Berwick, where he obtained a provisional protection. It had been originally intended to build the engine in “the little town of Borrowstounness.” For the sake of privacy, however, Watt fixed upon an outhouse in a email enclosure to the south of Kinneil House, where &n abundant supply of water could be obtained from the Gil burn. The materials required were brought here from Glasgow and Carron, and a few workmen were placed at his disposal. The cylinder—of eighteen inches diameter and five feet stroke—was cast at Carron. Progress was slow and the mechanics clumsy. Watt was occasionally compelled to be absent on other business, and on his return he usually found the men at a standstill. As the engine neared completion his anxiety kept him sleepless at nights, for his fears were more than equal to his hopes. He was easily cast down by little obstructions, and especially discouraged by unforeseen expense. About six months after its commencement the new engine, on which he had expended so much labour, anxiety, and ingenuity, was completed. But its success was far from decided. Watt himself declared it to be a clumsy job. He was grievously depressed by his want of success, and he had serious thoughts of giving up the thing altogether. Before abandoning it, however, the engine was again thoroughly overhauled, many improvements were effected, and a new trial made of its powers. But this did not prove more successful than the earlier one had been. “You cannot conceive," he wrote to Small, “how mortified I am with this disappointment. It is a damned thing for a man to have his all hanging by a single string. If I had the wherewithal to pay the loss, I don’t think I should so much fear a failure; but I cannot bear the thought of other people becoming losers by my schemes, and I have the happy disposition of always painting the worst.” Bound therefore by honour not less than by interest, he summoned up his courage and went on anew. In the principles of his engine he continued to have confidence, and believed that, could mechanics be found who would be capable of accurately executing its several parts, success was certain. By this time Roebuck was becoming embarrassed with debts and involved in various difficulties. The pits were drowned with water, which no existing machinery could pump out, and ruin threatened to overtake him before Watt’s engine could come to his help. The doctor had sunk in his coal works his own fortune and part of that of his relations, and was thus unable to defray the expense of taking out the patent and otherwise fulfilling his engage­ment with the inventor. In his distress Watt appealed to Dr. Black for assistance, and a loan was forthcoming; but, of course, this only left him deeper in debt, without any clear prospect of ultimate relief. No wonder that_ he should, after his apparently fruitless labour, have expressed to Small his belief that, “Of all things in life, there is nothing more foolish than inventing.” The unhappy state of his mind may be further inferred from his lamentation expressed in a letter to the same friend on the 31st of January, 177O—” To-day I enter the thirty-fifth year of my life, and I think I have hardly yet done thirty4lve pence worth of good to the world; but I cannot help it.” By the death, also, of his wife, who cheered him greatly in his labours, an unfortunate combination of circumstances seemed to overwhelm him. No further progress had yet been made with his steam engine, which, indeed, lie almost cursed as the cause of his misfortunes Dr. Roebuck’s embarrassments now reached their climax. He had fought against the water until he could fight no more, and was at last delivered into the hands of his creditors, a ruined man. His share in Watt’s invention was then transferred to Matthew Boulton, of Birmingham.

This was the turning-point for Watt. Birmingham was an excellent trade centre, and within it were to be found experienced mechanics. The firm of Boulton, Watt & Co. was formed in 1774, and Watt’s success was thenceforward ensured.

Although Roebuck had to give in, there is no doubt that Watt was so much indebted to him at the beginning that, without his aid and encouragement, he would never have gone on. Robinson says, “I remember Mrs. Roebuck remarking one evening, C Jamie is a queer lad, and without the doctor his invention would have been lost, but Dr. Roebuck won’t let it perish.’”

Watt’s connection with Kinneil and Bo’ness must have lasted a number of years. There are many stories concerning his engines, probably mostly experimental, which were in use at the local pits. These, no doubt, were in operation, and attained a considerable degree of success before he removed to Birmingham, but too late to be of any practical assistance to his partner Roebuck. Of the engine at Taylor’s pit the workmen could only say that it was the fastest one they ever saw. From its size, and owing to its being placed in a small timber-house, the colliers called it the “box bed.” The one at the Temple pit was known as Watt’s spinning wheel. The cylinder of his engine at the Schoolyard pit lay there for many years. It was in the end purchased by Bo’ness Gas Company, in whose possession it now is. The outhouse at Kinneil in which Watt constructed his first engine and conducted his many experiments still remains, but it is in a dilapidated condition. Undoubtedly Watt’s mental endowments were great, but he was called upon to suffer disappointment after disappointment and bitter reverses of fortune. His courage, force of character, and mechanical genius ultimately carried him towards complete success, so that he retired with a handsome fortune.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dugald Stewart (b. 1753, d. 1828)

Undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most famous philosophers Dugald Stewart retired to Kinneil Palace, Bo’ ness in 1809, at the invitation of his friend the Duke of Hamilton. He resided at Kinneil, until his death, while visiting a friend in Edinburgh on 11th June 1828. As such his family were the last occupants of Kinneil Palace. Born in the precincts of Edinburgh University where his father, the Professor of Mathematics resided, Dugald first studied at Edinburgh, but was attracted to Glasgow University to study under the famous Professor, Thomas Reid. He succeeded to his father's chair at the age of 22 in 1775, although due to illness he had already been working as his fathers substitute for about two years. He also undertook the work of Professor Adam Ferguson, who held the Chair of Moral Philosophy, when Professor Ferguson made his visit to America. In the year of his father’s death, 1785, he officially exchanged Chairs with Ferguson and was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh until his retirement in 1810. A prolific author; his major work is Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind. From Kinneil he dated his Philosophical Essays 1810, 1813, 1821, 1826 and 1828, while living at Kinneil. A large monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, attests to his fame at the time of his death.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

DUGALD STEWART (b. 1753, d. 1828), PROFESSOR OF MORAL

PHILOSOPHY IN THE EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY
After relinquishing the duties of his Chair in 1809 this eminent Scotsman retired to Kinneil House, which his friend the Duke of Hamilton had placed at his disposal. Here he spent the twenty remaining years of his life in philosophical study. From Kinneil he dated his Philosophical Essays, in 1810, the second volume of the Elements, in 1813; the first part of the Dissertation, in 1821, and the second part in 1826; and, finally, in 1828, the Philosophy o/ the Active and Moral Powers, a work which he completed a few weeks before the close of his life.

Dugald Stewart was born in the precincts of Edinburgh University, where his father, the Professor of Mathematics, resided. He studied at the University there, but after a time was attracted to Glasgow University, like a good many others, by the fame of Professor Reid, who occupied the Chair of Moral Philosophy. At the age of nineteen he was accepted by the Senatus as his father’s substitute during the latter’s illness, and returned to Edinburgh. Two years later he was appointed assistant and successor. With three days’ preparation he, in 1778, undertook the work of the Chair of Moral Philosophy when Adam Ferguson made his visit to America. In 1785, the year of his father’s death, he exchanged Chairs with Ferguson. It was a happy exchange for Stewart. He was so versatile that he could, at a moment’s notice, occupy any Chair in the University, said there is no doubt that as Professor of Mathematics he discharged the duties with distinction. But his reading, his studies, and the natural bent of his mind peculiarly fitted him to be the popular exponent of Dr. Reid’s commonsense philosophy. His fame became so great that he drew young men of family and fortune to attend his classes. He was in the habit of boarding students, and it has been said that noblemen did not grudge £400 for the privilege of having their sons admitted to Professor Stewart’s charming home. Among those who attended his class were the young men who afterwards became Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, Lord Brougham, Lord Cockburn, and Lord Jeffrey.

Lord Cockburn has left us some very vivid and sympathetic recollections of Stewart as a lecturer, and of the influence he exercised over his students. Entrance to Dugald Stewart’s class was, he says, the great era in the progress of young men a minds. To him his lectures were like the opening of the heavens, lie felt that he had a soul; and the professor’s noble views, unfolded in glorious sentences, elevated him into a higher world. Stewart, ho affirms, was one of the greatest of didactic orators, and had he lived in ancient times his memory would have descended to us as that of one of the finest of the old eloquent sages. Flourishing, however, in an age which required all the dignity of morals to counteract the tendencies of physical pursuits and political convulsions, he had exalted the character of his country and of his generation. Without genius or even originality of talent, his intellectual character was marked by calm thought and great soundness. His training in mathematics may have corrected the reasoning, but it never chilled the warmth of his moral demonstrations.

All Stewart’s powers were exalted by an unimpeachable personal character, devotion to the science he taught, an exquisite taste, an imagination imbued with poetry and oratory; liberality of opinion, and the highest morality. His retiral made a deep and melancholy impression on his students and on all those interested in the welfare of mental philosophy.

In his earlier years Mr. Stewart had resided at Catrine House. Catrine, originally the country-house of his maternal grandfather, and there he met and entertained the poet Burns. This friendship was renewed on the poet’s visit to Edinburgh.

His biographer” has told us that Mr. Stewart’s time at Kinneil was almost exclusively devoted to his literary labours. He, however, relieved these by friendly intercourse, and by the calls of those strangers whom the lustre of his name led to pay a passing visit to Kinneil. Among his friends was Sir David Wilkie, the painter. He was always in search of subjects for his pictures, and Mr. Stewart found for him in an old f arm-house in the neighbourhood the cradle chimney introduced into the “Penny Wedding.” . Other friendly visitors at Kinneil included Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell. A detailed account of the life and writings of his father, which abounded in anecdotes and notices of the many distinguished men with whom he was on terms of intimacy, was prepared by Mr. Stewart’s son. Most unfortunately this memoir and the greater part of the professor’s correspondence and journals were unwittingly destroyed by the son in a fit of mental aberration brought on by sunstroke. Little record, then, is left of his long and interesting occupancy of Kinneil. In 1822 he was struck with paralysis. The attack affected his power of utterance and deprived him of the use of his right hand. Happily, it neither impaired any of the faculties of his mind nor the characteristic vigour and activity of his understanding. It, however, prevented him from using bile pen, and Mrs. Stewart became his amanuensis. From a letter written by her to a friend in 1824 we find that Mr. Stewart’s health was as good as they could possibly hope after the severe attack three years previously, and that he walked between two and three hours every day.

In 1828 Mr. and Mrs. Stewart went to Edinburgh on a brief visit to their friend Mrs. Lindsay, No. 5 Ainslie Place. Here Mr. Stewart was seized with a fresh shock of paralysis, and died on 11th June. He was buried in the Canongate Churchyard. A monument to his memo7, erected by his friends and admirers, stands upon the Calton Hill.

Mr. Stewart was twice married. His lint wife was Helen, daughter of Neil Bannatyne, Glasgow, and the marriage took place in 1783, after a long courtship. She died in 1787, leaving an only child, Matthew, on whom his father centred all his affections. He in time entered the Army, and rose to distinction. The professor’s second wife was Helen d’Arcy Cranstoun, third daughter of the Hon. George Cranstoun, youngest son of William, fifth Lord Cranstoun. This marriage took place in 1790. Mrs. Stewart, we are told,12 was a lady of high accomplishments and fascinating manner—uniting with vivacity and humour depth and tenderness of feeling. She sympathised warmly with the tastes and pursuits of her husband, and so great was his regard for her judgment and taste that he was in the habit of submitting to her criticism whatever he wrote. Mrs. Stewart also held a high place among the writers of Scottish song. She died in 1838. There were two children of this marriage—a son, George, a youth of great promise, whose death, in 1809, occasioned the deepest affliction to his parents, and led to Mr. Stewart’s retirement from professorial duty—and a daughter, Maria d’Arcy, who survived her father and mother, and died in 1846. Miss Stewart was endeared to a very extensive circle of friends by the charms of a mind of great vigour and rich culture, manners the most fascinating, and a heart full of warmth, tenderness, and affection.

Mrs. and Miss Stewart were the last occupants of Kinneil House, and their departure after the professor’s death was much regretted by every inhabitant of the parish. The active benevolence of the family was extensive, and was long and gratefully remembered.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Potter (b. 1756, d.  ?  )

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

In one of the privatelv enclosed burial-places alongside the east wall of the lower churchyard lie the mortal remains of Donald Potter, captain of the Royal Navy. This is almost all that can be gathered of this worthy, for the lettering on the memorial tablet is so eaten away as to be indecipherable. On the top of the stone there is still to be seen a splintered cannon ball hooped with iron. Beneath are carved a crown and an anchor.

Donald Potter was a native of the parish of Livingstone, in this county. His father was James Potter, and his mother Katherine Mitchell. At an early age he joined the Royal Navy, and by good conduct, gallant deeds, and long and efficient service rose to an important position. He specially~ distinguished himself under Admiral Howe in his crushing defeat of the~ French fleet off Brest on the 1st of June, 1794. In October, 1809, Potter received a commission as lieutenant of His Majesty’s ship the “Bellona,” and in February, 1811, was appointed to the same position on board the “Princess.” Much to his regret he had to retire about 1814, when he settled in Borrowstounness, where he had some relatives. Upon the mantelpiece of his sitting-room he kept an interesting relic of the famous battle in the shape of a cannon ball. On every recurrence of “the glorious first of June” he had the ball gaily decorated with ribbons, and, dressing himself in his full naval uniform, paraded the town. Thus arrayed he would call at various inns to drink to the memory of his old admiral and success to the British Navy. In 1829—some years before his death—the date of which is not now ascertainable—he appears to have purchased his burial-place, erected his headstone, and left instructions for the fixing of his much-prized curio upon it after his death. The following year—November, 1830—he was appointed to the rank and title of a commander in His Majesty’s Fleet (retired). He was then seventy-four, and from all accounts lived for some years afterwards.

Mr. William Thomson, of Upper Kinneil, was one of the captain’s intimate friends. To Mr. Thomson he left the portrait (a photograph of which we reproduce) and his sword and pistols. Mr. William Miller received other relies from a grand-nephew of Potter’s many years ago. Among these are a miniature of the captain painted on ivory, and his three commissions, two of which bear the signature of Lord Palmerston.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Cadell  (b. 1737 d. 1819)

One of two sons William was one of the original partners in the Carron Company and at the age of 23 its first manager. In 1770 William and his brother John took a lease on the Grange Coalfield & Salt Works from William Belchier. They also leased Pitfirrane and other local coalfields and as well as large ironworks at Cramond, which were managed as the Grange Coal Company. In 1788 they were able to become joint owners when the proprietor  (William Belchier) had to sell grange as part of his bankrupt estate. They now began to develop the coalfield in earnest and sunk moat pits 1, 2 and 3 before going on to sink 4 and 5 on the shore where coal hadn’t previously been mined. In order to ship the coal successfully they also practically re-built Bridgeness Harbour.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Husband Baird
Eighteenth Principal of Edinburgh University (b. 1761, d. 1840)

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

This distinguished divine was born in 1761 in a now-demolished house attached to the holding of Bowes, in the hollow to the west of Inveravon farm-house, in the Parish of Borrowstounness. His father, James Baird, while a considerable proprietor in the county of Stirling, at that time rented this farm from the Duke of Hamilton. Young Baird received the rudiments of his education at the Pariah School of Borrowstounness. Upon his father removing to the property of Manuel the boy was sent to the Grammar School at Linlithgow, It has been said of him that as a schoolboy be was more plodding, persevering, and well-mannered than brilliant. In his thirteenth year he was entered as a student in Humanity at Edinburgh University. There he speedily evoked favourable notice because of his devotion to his classwork and the progress which he made. In 1793 he succeeded Principal Robertson in the Principalship at the early age of thirty-three. Baird had married the eldest daughter of Lord Provost Elder, who had paramount influence in the Council, and exercised it for the election of his youthful and untried son-in-law. We believe it used to be jocularly said that his chief claim to the Principalship was as “Husband” of the Lord Provost’s daughter. Nevertheless the appointment turned out well, although lie was at a distinct disadvantage in succeeding a man of high literary fame like Principal Robertson. Baird held the Principalship for the long period of forty-seven years, maw the students increase from 1000 to 2000, new University building. erected, the professoriate augmented, and great developments in other ways. He lived through many long strifes and litigation., and died leaving the Senatus still at war. He was one of the ministers of the High Church of Edinburgh.

But Baird did most excellent work, and made a lasting name for himself outside the University. Towards the close of his life he threw his whole soul into a scheme for the education of the poor in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. He submitted his proposals to the General Assembly in May, .1824, advancing them with great ability and earnestness. Next year the Assembly gave its sanction to the scheme, and it was launched most auspiciously. So intense was his interest in this work that in his sixty-seventh year, although in enfeebled health, he traversed the entire Highlands of Argyll, the west of Inverness, and Ross, and the Western Islands from Lewis to Kintyre. The following year he visited the Northern Highlands and the Orkneys and Shetlands. Through his influence Dr. Andrew Bell, of Madras, bequeathed £5000 for education in the Highlands of Scotland. In 1832 the thanks of the General Assembly were conveyed to him by the illustrious Dr. Chalmers, then in the zenith of his oratorical powers. He died at his family property at Manuel, and is buried in Muiravonside Churchyard.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admiral Sir George Johnstone Hope KCB
(b. 1767, d. 1818)

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

ADMIRAL SIR GEORGE HOPE, K.C.B. (b. 1767, d. 1818).

We have elsewhere dealt with the Hope family in connection with their ownership of Carriden estate. The notable careers of the two admirals, however, claim some mention.

Sir George was the eldest son by the third marriage of the Hon. Charles Hope Vere, and fifth child of his father, who was the second son of the first Earl of Hopetoun. He entered the Navy at the age of fifteen, and after passing through the usual gradations attained the rank of captain in 1793, and that of rear-admiral in 1811. During the interval he had commanded successively the “Romulus,” “Alcmene,” and “Leda” frigates, and the Majestic,”  “Theseus,” and “Defence,” seventy-fours. At the battle of Trafalgar he was present in the latter vessel. He served as captain of the Baltic fleet from 1808 to 1811. In 1812 he went to the Admiralty, and the following year held the chief command in the Baltic. In the end of the same year he returned to the Admiralty, where he remained as confidential adviser to the First Lord till his death on 2nd May, 1818.

He was a very distinguished officer, and highly appreciated in the service for his exemplary discipline, his decision, promptitude, and bravery, and his veneration for religion.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Bell  (b. 1767, d. 1830)

The "Comet" (one of the first practical steam powered boat), was launched on the Clyde, designed by Henry Bell (b. 1767 d. 1830) who, born at Torphichen Mill and a native of Torphichen, learnt his trade in Bo'ness.

He left Bo’ness to work as a builder in Helensburgh and there his wife ran the newly founded public baths and kept an inn. He crossed over to Port Glasgow to persuade John Wood & Co to build him a ship to be powered by his steam engine. He called the vessel the Comet probably because astronomers at the time were excited by one then visible and it was successfully launched on the Clyde on 12/8/1812. It regularly sailed between Greenock and Glasgow.

It came to Bo'ness from the Clyde via the Forth and Clyde Canal in 1813 for an overhaul to be carried out by Henry's old employers, Shaw & Hart.

By: Ken Wright

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

HENRY BELL (b. 1767, d. 1830).

At the ruins of Torphichen Old Mill, on the banks of the river Avon, about six miles from Bo’ness, there was unveiled, on a blustery afternoon in November, 1911, a tablet bearing the following Inscription:-

Henry Bell,

Pioneer of Steamship Navigation in Europe.

Born in the Old Mill House near this spot, 1767 AD.

Died at Helensburgh, 1830 A.D.

The tablet, which is of Aberdeen granite, is placed in the centre of the old gable, the only remaining part of the original structure. It bears a representation of the “Comet,” showing how the funnel of the ship was also used as a mast.

This worthy son of Linlithgowshire had an interesting connection with our seaport. For many years shipbuilding was extensively carried on at Bo’ness. A great many of the vessels were built for Greenock merchants for the West India trade. The business was owned by Messrs. Shaw & Hart, and with them Henry Bell, when about nineteen years of age, found employment. It is said that when here his attention was directed for the first time towards the idea of the propulsion of ships by steam. His connection with Bo’ ness extended over a period of two years, after which he settled in Glasgow. For a number of years pressure of business kept him from pursuing his idea of propelling ships by steam. At length he designed, engined, and launched the “Comet” on the Clyde in 1812. The little vessel was herself in Bo’ ness in 1813, and the event was one indelibly imprinted on the memories of that generation. She probably came down from the canal at Grangemouth, and when first seen was thought to be on. fire.

Bell, it seems, had sent her round to the yard of his old masters to be overhauled. When she resumed her sailings several local gentlemen took advantage of the first trip by steamboat from Bo’ ness to Leith. Her speed was six miles an hour, and the single fare 7s. 6d.

The Bell family have been well known in and intimately identified with the Linlithgow district for many centuries. Some of the older members were burgesses of the burgh, and many of them were engaged in the millwright industry in the district. They were also tenants of Torphichen Mill, Carribber Mill. and Kinneil Mill. Another family of Bells were owners of Avontown, and were connected at different times with the ministerial and 1egal professions, one of them having been town-clerk of Linlithgow.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Robert Hughes

Bridgeness Windmill/Tower was purchased by Mr Robert Hughes it in the early 19th Century, he changed the upper part of it into an observatory, purchasing a six-inch telescope for £1,000, on his death this was sold to Piazza Smith, the Astronomer Royal. Unable to install the telescope himself Hughes hired an English Astronomer Mr Clark to install it for him. Clark was originally to stay in the tower for 6 months, but stayed 28 years. Hughes also built the "Secret Factory" at the bottom of Links Braes where Vitriol (Sulphuric Acid) and Iodine extracted from seaweed was manufactured. It was called the secret factory because the processes involved in extracting iodine and making sulphuric acid were closely guarded secrets.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Anderson (b. 1794, d. 1870)

Merchant and Banker (b.1794 d.14th April 1870), "the King of Bo'ness" was born at Bo'ness in 1794, the only son of John Anderson (teacher) and Jean Paterson, he had a sister Margaret who was a Cloth Merchant and Postmistress. He was probably Bo'ness's most successful businessman. Interested in education he erected the Anderson Academy. He was buried beside his father, mother and sister in the lower churchyard on the Wynd, but his trustees erected a monument to him and his aforementioned family at the entrance to the new cemetery, which was unveiled on 24th December 1904.

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

JOHN ANDERSON (b. 1794, d. 1870)

John Anderson was known in his day and generation as “the King of Bo’ ness,” and his name has been perpetuated in the Anderson Trust, the Anderson Academy, and the Anderson Buildings, lie was the only eon of John Anderson, teacher, Bo’ ness, and of Jean Paterson, his spouse, and was born and lived all his days in the seaport. Possessing shrewd business capacity, he in time became merchant, shipowner, and, later in life, agent for the Royal Bank of Scotland. He conducted his businesses with ability and success, and rose to considerable influence in the place. In addition, he was connected officially for many years with the local friendly societies, and devised many schemes for their improvement. Mr. Anderson was a man of strong will and tenacity of purpose, and left his mark on every project with which he was associated.

Always fully alive to business possibilities, lie, to meet the increase in the population which followed the establishment of Kinneil Furnaces, converted his extensive cellarages in Potter’s Close (now demolished) into dwelling-houses. The consequent growth of the town at this time, coupled with a renewal of the Greenland whale-fishing, led to a great period of prosperity, in which he, as its principal merchant, almost enjoyed a monopoly. He owned the whalers “Success,”    Alfred,” and “Jean,” and had a large share in the boiling-house at the top of the Wynd. On the formation of Bo’ness Gas Company, in 1842, he was appointed its first chairman. To use a common phrase, Mr. Anderson was very lucky. He did not, however, concentrate all his powers upon self-aggrandisement. In him the poor of the town had a good friend during his lifetime, and by his will lie provided pensions to deserving persons. Interested all his life in education, he advanced its cause by erecting and endowing the Academy which bears his name. The foundation-stone of this building was made the occasion of a great Masonic demonstration on the 12th of June 1869. Another function in which, a decade before, he played a prominent part was the visit of the eleventh Duke of Hamilton and his wife, Princes. Marie of Baden. They were received in great style by Mr. Anderson, and entertained to cake and wine on board the Greenland ship. Their Graces afterward proceeded to the Town House, and there gave a handsome donation towards the erection of the Clock Tower.

Mr. Anderson died on 14th April, 1870, and was buried beside his father, mother, and sister Margaret in the lower churchyard at the Wynd. This burial-place is covered by a large, flat stone bearing some appreciative words concerning his mother and sister. The former is described as “active, cheerful, and constantly occupied,” and as having “sought pleasure nowhere and found happiness and content everywhere.” Of the latter he says, “Active in her habit, kindly in her disposition, she was a sister highly to be prized.”

Some years ago Mr. Anderson’s trustees, who had been instructed to renew and keep the family tombstones in order, resolved to erect a new monument to his memory in the cemetery, as the lower churchyard was now practically abandoned. So, upon Saturday, 24th December, 1904, Mr. William Thomson of Seamore, one of the original trustees, performed the ceremony of unveiling a handsome granite block, suitably inscribed, which stands near the main entrance to the new cemetery.

Below we reproduce a somewhat humorous, but, we believe, quite accurate genealogy and character sketch of Mr. Anderson, which is prefixed to a presentation volume of the poetical works of Robert Burns (London, 1828), in the possession of Masonic Lodge Douglas. It refers to Mr. Anderson’s initiation into Lodge No. 11. Ancient Brazen, Linlithgow, which apparently met at Bo’ness for the purpose. The volume was presented by Mr. Anderson, and, either out of compliment to him or at his own desire (but, in either event, with his knowledge and consent), the chronicle we refer to was prefixed.

Here is what the scribe has written -

"1. And in the days of the Kings called George and William and of Queen Victoria, mighty Sovereigns of Scotland, there dwelt in the ancient town of Bo’ness a virtuous man called John, of the tribe of Anderson.

2. Now, the genealogy of this Jolm of Bo’ness is as follows:- There was a pious man called John the Preacher, of this tribe of Anderson, who took unto himself Agnes, the daughter of Bryson. (This is evidently his grandfather, who was a Burgher minister at Elsrickle, near Biggar.)

3. And she bore him a son, John, who waxed strong in knowledge, and in process of time taught the people many things out of the law and the prophets. (This was his father.)

4. And John, the teacher, took unto himself an excellent wife, called Jane, of the tribe of Paterson, whose ancient progenitors were mighty rulers in Italy in the latter days of the Caesars and the Apostles, and hence is derived their Roman name of ‘Pater’ and ‘filius’ —father-son, now Paterson.

5. And this daughter of the tribe of Pater bore unto the teacher, John of Bo’ness. and also Agne., who married Robert. of the tribe of White, who is a dealer in things that are hard in the royal city of London, and Margaret, a fair maiden of good understanding. and much esteemed and respected by all who knew her.

6. And John of Bo’ness is a man that deals in all kinds of merchandise. He ‘takes heed to his ways,’ as reminded by the wise men of old and the prophets, therefore he has gold and silver end menservants and maidservant., and also divers ships that go far off for riches, even unto the borders of the Holy Land. Moreover, this merchant was much respected for his wisdom and for his upright ways. Wherefore he was made a ruler among the people, who bowed down their heads before him when he sat in the judgment seat; and his good name went abroad, so that there was none like unto him in 13o’nesa for skill in shipping."

The chronicle then concludes by recording Mr. Anderson’s initiation on the 14th of September, 1849.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admiral Sir James Hope KCB (b. 1808, d. 1881)

Admiral Sir James Hope was born at Carriden House (b.1808  d.1881). His father, who died when James was only 10, was Admiral Sir George Hope who commanded the H.M.S. Defence at the Battle of Trafalgar and was Commander-in-Chief of the British Baltic Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. Sir George was the second son of the first Earl of Hopetoun. James joined the Navy when 15 and by 1838 had reached the rank of Captain. When retired he founded a model village at Muirhouses.

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

ADMIRAL SIR JAMES HOPE, K.C.B. (b. 1808, d. 1881).

James Hope was a child of ten when his father, Admiral Sir George, died. His youth therefore was spent under the direction of his mother and of his father’s trustees. Anxious to follow in his father’s footsteps, he entered the Navy, and had an equally distinguished career. He has been described by one who served under him abroad as a brave gentleman and a good-hearted soul, and this is borne out by all who knew him in this neighbourhood. When in command of the “Firebrand” he opened the passage of the Parana, in the River Plate by cutting the chain at Obligado in 1845. He was Commander-in-Chief in China, and brought about the capture of Peking. On two occasions he was seriously wounded. The first was during the attack on the Peiho forts in 1859. He was directing operations from the budge of the Plover” when a shell struck the funnel chainstay. A fragment glanced off, and, striking Hope, became deeply embedded in the muscles of his thigh. This entirely disabled him for four months. His recovery was very slow, and he was lame ever afterwards. The ship’s surgeon was able, after some trouble, to extract the splinter; and a photograph of it is preserved, with a note giving full particulars of the occurrence. The second occasion was near Taeping. Hope, because of his disabled condition, was directing movements from a sedan chair, and was in consultation with the French Admiral. A shell from the guns of the enemy struck the latter under the chin and decapitated him. Hope himself was violently thrown from his seat, and his old wound reopened. He was gallantly rescued by the late Tom Grant, of Bo’ ness, who was all through this campaign with the Admiral. In later years his old chief succeeded in getting Grant a pension, although he had scarcely completed his twenty-one years’ service.

The late Tom Thomson, of Carriden, another old naval man, was with Hope while on the “Majestic” when she was with the fleet in the Baltic under Sir Charles Napier. Hope was an out-and-out Scot, and in his younger days agitated for the introduction into the Navy of a Scotch uniform, especially the Balmoral bonnet. The experiment was tried, but given up as unsuitable.

He took great interest in his men on or off duty, and arranged many private theatricals on the main deck for their amusement, taking a special delight in the presentation of “Rob Roy” and other Scottish pieces. Thomson spoke highly of his discipline and the thoroughness with which he instructed and drilled his men.

After the Pekin Treaty, in 1862, Admiral Hope was engaged as an adviser at the Admiralty. He afterwards resigned his command, and went into retirement. For some time he lived in London, and afterwards settled at Carriden. In conjunction with Lady Hope he associated himself in his later years with many religious and philanthropic movements in the district. He bought up some of the old properties in the Muirhouses, and remodelled and rebuilt the village, including the old school and schoolhouse. He was twice married, but had no family. The Admiral died in Carriden House, and was buried in the north­west corner of the churchyard at Cuffabouts. A cable from one of his old ships surrounds the grave. His tombstone bears the inscription, “Sir James Hope, G.C.B., Grand Commander of the Bath, Admiral of the Fleet. Born 8th March 1808; died 8th June, 1881.”

The late Sir John Lees, private secretary to the Marquis of Townshend when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and who afterwards filled the office of Secretary to the Post Office in Dublin, was in his youth brought up, Mr. Fleming says, in Carriden parish. He was eminently successful in life, and afforded a memorable example of the distinguished place in society to which the careful cultivation and judicious application of superior talents may raise their possessor. He was created a baronet on the 21st June, 1804.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Burton Stephens (b. 1835 d. 1902)

The Following is by: Thomas James Salmon

JAMES BRUNTON STEPHENS (b. 1835, d. 1902)

To Bo’ness belongs the honour of being the birthplace of James Brunton Stephens, the poet of the Australian Common­wealth. His father was John Stephens, who filled the office of parochial schoolmaster of Borrowstounness from 1808 to 1845 with much dignity and ability. The school and schoolhouse were then situated in what is now known as George Place. James was born in August, 1835. His early education was received from his father, and among his schoolmates were John Marshall and John Blair, who became well-known doctors, the first in Crieff, and the latter in Melbourne, Australia. On completing his school education he proceeded to Edinburgh University. In all his classes he secured an honourable place, but abandoned his course witbout taking a degree. He was tempted away from the mere diploma by an offer to become a travelling tutor, and with the son of a wealthy gentlemarn be travelled for three years to Paris, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Asia Minor, Palestine, and Sicily. On returning to Scotland be became an assistant master in Greenock Academy. In 1866, his health having given way, he was advised to emigrate to Australia. Arriving in Queensland, he obtained a tutorship in an up-country station, arid spent several years in learning the sports and occupations of the bush. During this time he wrote “Convict Once,” his best poem, and later “The Godolphin Arabian,” a humorous and racy account of the sire of modern thoroughbreds. In 1874 Mr. Stephens received an appointment as a teacher under the Department of Public Instruction in Brisbane. Here he began to contribute to the local Press, and in 1876 won a prize of £100 offered by the Quee#~1anier for the best novelette. At this period he married and settled in one of the Brisbane suburbs. In 1880 he published a volume of miscellaneous poems containing many~ humorous pieces that strongly appealed to the public. Mr. Stephens latterly filled the position of Chief Clerk in the Colonial Secretary’s Office at Brisbane, and was greatly esteemed for his geniality and wit. Ho was very Australian in the selection of his themes, his inspiration being found in his immediate surroundings. Among the humorous poets of Australia he held a first place, but, like Hood, he could be serious on occasion. In this vein he was equally successful. He was keenly alive to the importance of uniting all the Australian States, and in 1871 his poem, “The Dominion of Australia,” did a great deal to stimulate flagging interest in federation. On the 1st of January, 1901, he published a poem in the Argus entitled “Fulfilment,” which was dedicated, by special permission, to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

In June of the following year Mr. Stephens died in his sixty-seventh year, and was survived by his widow, a son, and four daughters.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Cadell Stewart

George Stewart is principally remembered in the town as the man who founded the Bo’ ness Children’s Fair in 1897, but his major contribution to the town is most definitely the formation of the Pit Prop Industry, which for over half a century had a profound effect on the towns trade and industry.

From about 1840 the stoop and room method of mining which left pillars of coal to hold up the mine roof was replaced with the longwall system. This system replaced the pillars of coal with timber props (pit props) which meant a much greater yield of coal from the seams. The drawback was that before each shift each miner had to cut his own props from imported tree trunks which left a considerable amount of waste wood: a practice that may have been deliberate since the miners were allowed to keep the waste as firewood. Grange Colliery cashier and future Bo'ness Provost George Cadell Stewart noticed this waste and went into partnership with James Love, a Glasgow business man, setting up the first pitwood yard in Bo'ness on reclaimed foreshore. They imported the props in a variety of lengths and diameters from Scandinavia and other Baltic countries. Other companies soon followed and this led to the new dock being built by the North British Railway Company, to be completed in 1881. In its hay day there were 120 acres of storage yards served by ten miles of railway sidings employing about 1,000 people. Eventually the yards were fitted with cutting equipment capable of producing vast quantities of mining timber at short notice. By 1935 more than 140,000 tons of pit props were imported per annum.

As aforementioned  the Bo'ness Children's Fair was founded by one of the towns first Provosts George Cadell Stewart, who was Provost of the Burgh from 1894 to 1904. Modelled on Lanark's Lanimer Day, and probably greatly encouraged by Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Provost Cadell for the first time introduce the children of the town into the festivities replacing the hose racing with a programme of revels more suitable for children. Grace Strachan, from Anderson Academy, was the first of many Bo'ness Fair "Queens" to chosen by their fellow pupils. Unfortunately due to a dispute about the order of precedence the Newtown miners boycotted the Children's Fair taking no part in the proceedings. In fact the Newtown Miners carried on the old style miners march up until the beginning of WWI.

By: Ken Wright

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Moubray Cadell (b. 1860, d. 1934)

Author of “The Story of the Forth” (1913), Scientist Henry Cadell of the Grange in West Lothian was a noted geologist and geographer. He was Chairman of Council of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society from 1919 to 1924 and a Vice-President from 1927 until his death. He published extensively on the geology of Scotland, especially the oil-shale fields of the Lothians, and travelled extensively overseas. In 1899 he travelled the length of the Irrawaddy River, Burma.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas J Salmon

Thomas salmon was a Bo’ness Solicitor and Clerk to the Public Library Committee. As an Author he wrote “BORROWESTOUNESS AND DISTRICT being Historical Sketches of Kinneil, Carriden, and Bo’ness”. Without his work we would know very much less about Bo’ness and it’s history. He has made a great contribution to the Bo’ness Web Site, Other local historians and writers would have been at a great loss to complete their works without the very extensive foundation work done by Mr Salmon to whom the town and inhabitants irrefutably owe their written and well documented heritage.

By: Ken Wright

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maj.Gen. David Robertson Duguid MBE

At present I have no information about General Duguid, except that he was probably the highest-ranking Bo’nessian to serve in WW II.

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Harcus Strachan (b. 1889 d. 1982.)

Victoria Cross and Captain Strachan. Captain Harcus Strachan had immigrated from Bo'ness to Canada by the time WWI was declared and thus enlisted by joining the Fort Garry, Canadian Cavalry. In the early years of the war he was awarded the Military Cross for "conspicuous valour": on a cold and snowy day, 27 March 1917, Lt. Harcus Strachan  was awarded a Military Cross for his actions at Somerville Wood.

It was for bravery at the Battle of Cambria on the 20th November 1917 that Lt. Strachan received the Victoria Cross. Having taken command of the regiment when his Commanding Officer was killed Lt. Strachan killed seven of the enemy with his sword, destroyed an important gun emplacement, cut communications and returned to his lines with prisoners.

Prior to winning the V.C. Harcus Strachan was initiated into freemasonry at the Douglas Lodge on 22nd January 1917.

It seems that Harcus made the rank of Major by the end of WWI, but also saw service in WWII where he had the rank of a Colonel.

By: Ken Wright
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathew Steele

Mathew Steele was the architect responsible for the design of the Hippodrome Cinema, Masonic Lodge. No. 11 South Street (Now S&J Studios) was designed by Mathew Steele for John Paris. He is also famous for his joint proposal with John Jeffrey to dam the Forth in the 1930’s.

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Jeffrey

During the work starved pre-war years of the early 1930's there was a proposal put forward by John Jeffrey (a Bo'ness hotel owner) and Mathew Steel to dam the Forth at Queensferry. Mathew Steel was the architect responsible for the design of the Hippodrome Cinema, Masonic Lodge and No. 11 South Street (Now S&J Studios) was designed by Mathew Steel for John Paris.

At the time this would have: - employed thousands of labourers; given Bo'ness Harbour a new lease of life, since shipping could leave and enter at any time; encouraged shipbuilding at Grangemouth; created a semi-tidal waterway in Britain, larger than Loch Lomond, and which could rival any Swiss lake for amenities; produced hydro-electric power for use in all Forth Valley towns; be used as a landing facility for sea-planes which were being considered for commercial flights at that time.  Alas when war broke out all thoughts of this proposal were forgotten.

Note: I would like to hear from any reader who could contribute information on the above named character.
Back Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tam Dalyell (b. 1932, d.    )

The Dalyell's have inhabited the Binns for over 300 years, Sir Thomas Dalyell Baronet (Bt  NS 1685) 10th Laird of the Binns MP being the current inhabitant. Thomas Dalyell, better known to us as Tam, was however born on 9th August 1932 as Thomas Loch. His father, Lt. Colonel Grodon Loch C.I.E changed his name to Dalyell on 1st March 1938. Tam’s succession to the Baronetcy was through his mother Eleanor Isabel Dalyell (only child and heiress of Sir James Wilkie Dalyell of the Binns, Baronet).  By a special disposition the title can descend through “heirs male and of tailyie” or more clearly through the female line should there be no male heirs. This is the third occasion in the history of the Dalyell Baronetcy where this has happened. Tam was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, before returning to train as a teacher at Moray House Edinburgh. Before becoming a member of Parliament in 1962 “Sir Tam” taught English at Bo’ness Academy and was also Director of studies on the school ship “Duners”. He was a West Lothian MP until 1983 when he became the MP for Linlithgow, a position that he still holds and which makes him one of the longest serving MP’s in the House of Commons.

Like fellow left-wing veteran MP Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell  aged 66, has earned a reputation as a dogged MP who has campaigned on a variety of high-profile issues which have brought him into conflict with his own party on numerous occasions.

These have included the sinking of the Argentinian ship, the Belgrano, by a British submarine during the Falklands conflict, the Lockerbie bombing and the Kosovo bombings.

A Thorn in Blair's side, “Old Etonian” Tam, has been at odds with the government over three of the biggest issues that they have faced since Tony Blair swept to power: namely, Iraq, Kosovo and devolution.

Tam was also the "inventor" in 1977 of the West Lothian Question, named after his former constituency, which asks why, even in the light of a Scottish Parliament, a full quota of Scottish MPs at Westminster can still be allowed to vote on purely English matters.

By: Ken Wright

 Compiled by: Ken Wright

 

Bo'ness Today
Tell Us What You Think about Bo'ness Website!
Have Your Say and Air Your Views on Local and International Concerns or Just Keep in Touch!! Keep in Touch with Family & Friends.
Add/Remove Your Name from Mail List.
In Association with Amazon.co.uk
Shopping Online with some fo Bo'ness Groups and Business
Listen On-line to Radio Scotland - Scotland's National Radio Station
 
 
Calor Scotland
Scottish Community of the Year 2002
WEBSITE COMMENDED
| BACK | HOME | TOP |
Design / Build - WebMedia
:: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION BY SEO-P ::