Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Taking of the Stone of Destiny

While looking for an historic event that happened on Christmas Day in Scotland, the first thing that came to my mind was that Christmas Eve night in 1950 when four young people broke into Westminster Abbey, liberated the Stone of Destiny, and drove it back over the Border of Scotland.

The Stone of Destiny; the symbol of sovereignty in Scotland. Wherever the stone rested, there would Scotland be ruled, said the old legends. It was taken by Edward Longshanks during the Wars for Independence and brought to England, resting there for nearly seven centuries until a young man, Ian Hamilton, and three compatriots decided to take it back.

If you read Ian Hamilton's biography, Stone of Destiny, you find that he had grown up with stories of Bruce and Wallace and the devastation Scotland had suffered through the ages by many English rulers. Times in Scotland in the mid 20th century were hard, pleas for home rule kept being denied by Parliament; the people of Scotland needed a symbol to bring back their pride and Ian Hamilton and his three companions, Alan Stewart, Gavin Vernon and Kay Matheson decided they were going to take back the Stone of Destiny.

They planned for months, studying maps and layouts of the Abbey and procuring funds and everything they would need to do it. The entire story of the taking of the Stone is something right out of a fiction thriller, in fact, I've read fiction with less exciting plots! Going down to London in middle of winter, sleeping in freezing cars, nearly getting caught on more than one occasion, struggling to drag the stone out of the Abbey into their waiting vehicle... I'm not going to attempt to tell the whole story for I could not do the it justice here, so I would suggest highly that you all go and find a copy of Ian Hamilton's book. There's no better way to describe it than he does, for, obviously, he was there, and he lived it.

When they drove the Stone back over the Border, it was the first time the Stone had been back in Scotland since Longshanks took it in 1296. That Christmas Day in 1950 was one Scotland will remember for centuries to come as the day that true Patriots of Scotland won a victory as big as Bannockburn and brought hope back to the people.

They eluded the police for months, and probably never would have been found by them if they hadn't given the Stone back, putting it in Arbroath Abbey where the famous Declaration of Arbroath was signed by Robert the Bruce and his followers in 1320. The Stone was sent back to England, Ian and his friends were arrested, but never were put in prison, and Scotland was given the hope it needed to thrive once again.

And of course, now the Stone is back in Scotland where it belongs, having come over the Border in 1996 to much exaltation; then 1997 brought the Yes-Yes vote and Scotland's own Parliament.

So at the end of this post, I wish to quote that famous passage from the Declaration of Arbroath:

"For as long as a hundred of us remain alive, we shall not submit to the domination of the English. It is in truth not for glory, or honor, or riches that we fight, but for Freedom alone. Which no honest man gives up but with life itself."


Go read Ian Hamilton's book Stone of Destiny and also watch the wonderful film of the same name. Both are spectacular, and the fact that it's a true story only makes it more so.

Merry Christmas, and a Guid Hogmany to you all!

Alba gu Brath

Slainte, Hazel

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shortbread Galore

I just wanted to post a quick thanks to the people who sent me shortbread recipes, particularly, Karen and Mara who's recipes I tried yesterday and found they turned out quite wonderful! I even tried them on friends and we shared them over hot chocolate. Again, thank you very much! If anyone still has any recopies, you may send them, even any other traditional Scottish/Irish/English desert, especially surrounding the holidays would be a treat. =)

I feel terribly awful for not posting anything historical in a long time, but I have truthfully been so busy I have not had time to research. I usually wrote along the lines of what I was writing in novel form, but I have not been working on any particularly Scottish novels in a long time. However, I am planning a special Christmas post this week about a very wonderful, and amazing true story that happened on Christmas Eve and was to change Scotland forever. So keep a look out for that, and do have a wonderful holiday!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wanted: Shortbread Recipes!

It's that time of year again. Autumn, Winter and--baking season! Because everyone needs a little extra fat to stay warm (and as long as you're diligent with your sword practice, there should be no blame!) Anyway, for a long time, I have been looking for the perfect shortbread recipe. I have one that tastes very good, but it's not the right consistency. It's too caky and not crispy or flakey enough. This holiday season, I'm asking everyone to share shortbread recipes or tips that will help me make the perfect shortbread! Because shortbread is at the heart of Scottish tradition and it's also very good with coffee!

If you want to share, just post it here, or if it's online, post a link. I'll be willing to try any suggestions that come in! I might even share a couple recipes this year as well!

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Own Q&A!

Hey dear readers! I wanted to let everyone know that I just started a Q&A Discussion Board on Goodreads where you can ask me anything you really want about my books as long as it fits under the discussion topics. I heartily invite all my readers to come and visit it, and if you don't have a Goodreads account, get one, it's free! And it's a lot of fun to. Anyone who gets a Goodreads account, has right to get a friend invite from me. (Feel special, people--just kidding!)


Feel free to invite any of your friends as well. Get as many people as you can! Remember that if you are joining the discussions, check in to the introductions first! 

Hope to see you there!

Slainte, Hazel

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ballad of the Highwayman: ON SALE NOW!!!!

Huzzah, everyone! After a horrid week of editing and dealing with technical (as in technology) difficulties and waiting around for the website to work right, I am happy to announce that, after long last, Ballad of the Highwayman is up for sale!


Or down at the bottom of the page with my collection of book links. It will also be available on Amazon within a few days, I'll be sure to let you know when it gets there.

Please at least take a look at it and tell me if you do decide to read it.
So Stand and Deliver your gold and you'll get a good swashbuckler to read in return!

(Learn more at my author's blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Note to Bloggers All

All Right, so I've been trying to get my blogs out there through some of these blogsites like Stumbleupon and stuff like that. Stumbleupon is a good site and I have gotten several people from there already. Last night I tried to Fuel My Blog. As a word of advice, don't. They are "blog snobs" and they won't let you put your blog up for no apparent reason at all. I get the part about them asking if it contains adult content and all that, but they seemed snobby and rude and they don't even have a section for history blogs. They also say they need to review your blog before they put it on like it's some elite group or something and if they see this post, let them, I'm canceling my register. Yah, this is a rant, sorry, I just wanted to let you all know about this if you get the same idea.

Slainte, Hazel

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stirling: Proud Eddie's Army Gets Sent Home

So, aye, everyone, it's once again the anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Exciting stuff there to be sure. I did a post on the actual story of it last year, so if you want to go read that, please do!

I still can't believe this is my second year of writing posts for you everyone, and I'm still not giving up, even though I've been a little slow lately. I've started an author's blog now and I've been trying to write for that. If you haven't already seen that, go and take a look, it's good fun ;)

But anyway, the Battle of Stirling. This was the first real battlefield victory in the Scottish Wars for Independence and truthfully the last until Bannockburn almost seventeen years later. Both proved many points. Wallace's victory at Stirling caused men to flock to his banner, hearts warmed to the fact that they could actually win against the English. Unfortunately, the disaster at Falkirk the year after, struck them back down to guerrilla warfare which, again, was not a total loss. Bannockburn, of course, won Scotland's freedom, but if Wallace had never fought on Stirling that day at the River Fourth, the Scots probably would not have had a hero to look up to in years to come. It is still, to this day, one of the Scots' greatest victories, made even more so in 1997 during the Yes-Yes vote that won Scotland a parliament of their own. Odd how history connects itself. This is why you remember your heroes, all my dear people.

So that's all I really have to say for now. Please, my friends, I'm still taking in Thoughts for Wallace so do not think you are too late. At any given moment, I would love to hear what you have to say about him.

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My New AStore

Okay, so my cousin thought I should start an Amazon.com AStore which is something like this:

I choose things I like to put on it from Amazon.com and if you buy them through my store, I get a percentage of the selling. So I've put on some books I have talked about on my blog, and others that are some favorites of mine. There's a Scottish section that has books I recommend in history and historical fiction. I will be adding more things soon too, so there's not a lot on there right now, but there will be more soon. :) Please go and take a look anyway, and if you see anything you have wanted, buy it thorough my store!

Here's the link: Hazel's Picks

So, I'll be back some other time. If you have not looked at my new Author's Blog yet, please do.

Slainte, Hazel

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Author's Blog

Well, since I published my first book, I decided to start an author's blog now! It's mainly just for fun and laughs, but I hope to teach people a little bit about the history surrounding my novels and also share some of my favorite books and authors with you. I am also going to be giving out writing tips on occasion in a fun and very unacademic way.

The really fun part about my blog is that I'm going to be writing some of the posts from the point of view of my characters. I've even had them comment on the posts to make it more fun for you readers. The blog is also for you to get to know the characters more and have a chance to interact with them. (Truthfully, it's not as weird as it seems. It's all just for fun!)

So hop over to by new blog at hazelwest.blogspot.com 

Also, you know what I'm going to say, but I'm disappointed I only got one thought on Wallace for Wallace Day. Very sad about that. So I've decided to be nice (again) and give you another chance. If you can think of anything now, just let me know. Even if you just say something like "William Wallace is really awesome" I'll be happy. Because remember, Wallace is a character I used in my latest book and he's going to be writing in on my author's blog, so he would like to see what you say about him. ;-)

All right, I'll be back when I can think of what I want to write about next. Don't forget that the Battle of Stirling was fought on the 11th of this month! Hey, that's another good chance to write in about thoughts of Wallace!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wallace Day & 100th Post!

Well, here's a good Wallace Day to everyone! And also, this is my 100th post on Bonnets and Broadswords! I really can't believe I have written 100 posts, as it's only been about a year and a half since I started. But enough about all my wee sentiments, today is for Wallace, and I think we all need to give a few minutes to remember how he gave his life for the freedom of Scotland.

Last year, I posted a poem I wrote and some of my feelings on Wallace. For want of repeating myself, I'll just suggest for you to look at last year's post and read it for yourself if you have not already.

This year, I have another poem for you. I hope to eventually get together a poem book, and maybe it will be out by Christmas, I don't know yet, but until then, here's a Wallace poem I wrote called Freedom's Champion

It was not for glory that he fought

Our Wallace, brave and true.

For he had only thoughts of freedom

When he stood under the White and the Blue.


Nor was it for fame he risked his life

And fought when no one else would

To free his land from the English tyrant,

For Scotland, he did all he could.


And neither was it for riches he defied

Cruel Longshanks the English king.

He rose and fought for his mother land

Like a valiant eagle on the wing.


Our Wallace was the bravest of men,

He fought with no reserve.

He defied England and its tyranny

For no false king would he serve.


Wallace was betrayed by Menteith

Who prized gold over his native land.

And sad was that awful day

When he was delivered into the Tyrant’s hand.


But Wallace was defiant to the last,

He would never give in.

He vowed to fight to his last breath

Never mind what they would do to him.


It was because of all this

That the men followed him true.

They followed him faithfully to the death

And made the English their deeds to rue.


And it was because of his noble deeds

That we remember him still.

The brave man who fought for his country

And never gave in to Longshanks’ will.


For, William, you were never forgotten,

No matter your thoughts back then.

You’re still very much in Scotland today

And fill the hearts of all the men.


This is a poem that will eventually grace the end of my upcoming novel, Freedom's Sword. If you haven't looked at my recent book about young Wallace, Freedom Come All Ye please do.

On another note, I am still looking for thoughts and I have only gotten one! I want to collect ten by the end of the month, so please tell me what you think about William Wallace. I spilled my heart last year, it's your turn this year!

So at least take the time to read a bit about Wallace today, read some poems, watch Braveheart or something and think for a few minutes about Scotland National Hero.

Alba gu Bragh

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stuff for Wallace Day


Well, Wallace day is next Tuesday, which for people who don't want to do the math is one week away. And I have still only gotten ONE thought from you readers regarding William Wallace (see post below) My goal is ten, so please don't be shy and tell me what you think!

But besides giving me thoughts, maybe you should treat yourself this Wallace Day with a bit of his legacy. You could buy my new book Freedom Come All Ye for example! (shameless plugging on my part, but hey, we all have to make a living.) If you have read all the other Wallace books like I have, then you should definitely add this one to your collection.

You could also get yourself a Team Wallace t-shirt from my Cafepress store. I just got mine yesterday, and am excited to wear it for Wallace Day. I regret the fact that I was too busy to add any more Wallace shirts, but Wallace never goes out of season, so I will definitely add some later on.

Also, I would like to give you a few book suggestions that are not written by me ;-)

Nigel Tranter's The Wallace for one. If you have not read this yet, go get a copy now, because it is the best Wallace novel ever written. Very accurate, and a good protrayal of the characters.

Another good one, though less known is Jane Porter's The Scottish Chiefs. I read this one a couple years ago and thought it was good. Several flaws: Wallace was blond. (I've nothing against blonds, just when they are William Wallace) Why? I don't know. But the book was written in the early 1800s, and that was the time when Wallace had resurfaced to become the "darling" of the time period. He was thought of more as an epic hero such as Beowulf than a national hero. It was this that bothered Sir Walter Scott. He loved Wallace as any true Scotsman does, but he did not like them practically worshiping him. Wallace would not have wanted that anyway. But the Scottish Chiefs is a very good book, you just have to remember the time period it was written in. Oh, but I did forget to mention that girl who fainted about twenty times...

So anyway, one last suggestion. David R. Ross' For Freedom a lovely combination of Wallace's legacy and David's own together. Talks about the Walk for Wallace in 2005 when David Ross walked from Robroyston to London on the rout Wallace was taken when he was captured and the commemorations the people of Scotland held for their national hero. Beautiful book, and if you don't have this one on your shelf either, you're sadly lacking.

Anyway, remember my dead line for Wallace thoughts is at the end of the month, so give me nine more at least! I write all this history for you and you never thank me! Just kidding (not really) :-)

So I'll be back later, hopefully before Wallace Day, but if not, I will be back then.

Slainte, Hazel




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wanted: Your Thoughts

Okay, everyone, I have to admit that I was very disappointed last year when I asked for your thoughts on William Wallace for Wallace Day and got nothing from you. This year, I hope, will be different (that was a non-subtle hint) My goal it to AT LEAST gather ten thoughts about William Wallace from my readers. I know people read my blog, but you seem afraid to comment. Why? I don't bite!

But getting back to Wallace. Everyone with any poetry in their soul loves William Wallace. He's a hero that has touched not only Scotland, but the world (due in part to Randall Wallace of course). So I want you to help me with my Wallace Day goal this year and tell me your thoughts on William Wallace. Even if it's just a short comment, I would love to hear it! By thoughts, I also include poems, personal experiences, short stories, or even a book review. See if you can find a book about Wallace I haven't read! (Maybe that should be another goal for you!)

I want to hear your thoughts by the end of the month, and if I don't get ANY people to write in, I'm just going to try again next year anyway, so you may as well do it this year! At least comment. But if you do happen to have any stories or poems (which I would really love to read) please email them to me at sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com

I would like to post all the thoughts I get on my blog, but if you do not want your thoughts published, just let me know and I will keep them to myself.

But really, my dear readers, I dare you to think of Wallace not not feel some form of amazement for what he did. He is one of the most inspiring people in history. So you see now why I want to hear what you think about him?

I'll be back later with more Wallace things and, hopefully some comments! ;-)

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Update

Okay, I'm going to apologize to anyone who tried to look at my book webpage in the last couple days and couldn't get onto it. I didn't realize that I had password protected it. Not enough coffee in the last few days, I'm afraid!

So that's all fixed now, and you should be able to order a copy of my book if you so wish. You will have to make an account to do so, but it's not really anything different than Amazon or any other website that you order from. Besides, if you do, then you can buy my other books more easily!

So, I hope you're all having a good summer, especially you people who live in places where it doesn't get above 70F. (wish I lived there!) I will be back later to do some Wallace things, so keep checking back!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Freedom Come All Ye: UP FOR SALE!!!


Well, I am incredibly excited to announce that my first book is now up for sale! (YAY! play a peppy bagpipe tune everyone!) I talked about my book on my other blog The First Scribbles a while ago (too long ago) and now I have finally put it up for sale and before Wallace Day like I promised! This book is about William Wallace as a teenager and it will be a great thing to buy for yourself or a friend for Wallace Day (hint hint) It's really a young adult book, but there's no reason why anyone couldn't read it. There's nothing stupid or childish about it. It's simply my take on Wallace as a young man. A lot of my stuff from it is taken from Blind Harry because he's the only one who really talks about Wallace before Stirling Bridge. I added my own villain though, because I wanted a plot line! I think it's a good story, I'm happy with it, which means a lot, believe me, and I feel strongly about the characters. There's more historical people in it as well like John Graham, Marion Braidfoot and several others. So if you'd like to give it a go, it would make me really happy!

You can get my book from this link off of Createspace where I have it published:

It will also be available from Amazon in about a week, but it's the same price for you and I make more if you buy is from Createspace! Everyone likes to make money, you know.

So at least take a look at it, and if you do buy it, tell me what you think. If you really like it, maybe you can even go on Amazon and write me a nice review! Don't mean to ask too much, ye ken.

Well, I'll be back soon with some Wallace Day posts, I've been a slacker lately.

Slainte, Hazel

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Hey, everyone, here's a happy Fourth of July to all my American readers! Take a look at my post from last year where I talked about the similarities on the Declaration of Independence and the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath. It's always been amazing to see the likeness between the American and Scottish wars for independence. As a treat, I will be posting a short story I wrote a while ago on my other blog, The First Scribbles. Go read it and tell me what you think :)

Happy Independence Day, and let us not forget all those men who fought and died in the American Revolution and who signed their lives away on this back in 1775.

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Noble Heart

Well, This is the last day of June and thus, I am going to wrap up my Bruce month with one more post. I have been having a very good time writing these story posts this last month, and I think I will do more of these in the future.

Today, I'm going to give you another Douglas story. James Douglas died in Spain on a crusade, carrying Robert the Bruce's heart in a casket as he had asked him to. Bruce's heart now lies in Melrose Abbey where a round memorial stone reads: "A Nobel heart hath no ease if freedom fail."


The Moors had invaded southern Spain, and Douglas had gone to fight. A long time ago, he and Robert, now dead, had talked about going on a crusade. Robert had always wanted to go on one, but he had passed away before he had a chance to make that possible. Before he died, though, he asked Douglas if he would take his heart with him. So Douglas had a small casket made that he could carry with him and he set off on the crusade alone.

They had reached a small town called Teba in Spain where they were supposed to meet with reinforcements, but something went wrong and the Scots were attacked. Douglas thought in those few minutes that he was granted before he had to fight, that it was most likely foul play. But before he could think anymore, he turned to his men and raised his sword.
"Come, let us fight this day, companions. For Robert." He then took the casket from his tunic and, standing in the path, threw it toward the oncoming army. "Go forward brave heart!" he shouted. "Douglas shall follow you or die!"

The men shouted in agreement and they followed Douglas into the charge.

The Scots were horribly outnumbered and before long, James Douglas fell, wounded beyond recovery. He clasped the casket he had found again and sighed.

"It's a good thing we did not do this poorly winning Scotland, back, my friend," he said then closed his eyes.

Douglas's body was taken back to Scotland and laid in St Brides while Bruce's heart was put in Melrose Abbey and is still there to this day.

fin

I hope everyone has enjoyed Bruce Month as much as I have! I'll be back some next month and then I'm going to have to start thinking about August and Wallace again. I'd love to do a story request for the life of Wallace, so please tell me what your favorite Wallace story is and I'll try my best at telling it.

For now, though, I'm going to go back to my novel writing!

Slainte, Hazel




Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Bannockburn!

Hello, everyone, and Happy Bannockburn to you all! For those of you who missed it last year, here is the post where I wrote about the battle. Now, today as my surprise to you, I decided to give you a wee sneak peak into one of my books that is going to be published very soon. This one is titled Freedom's Sword and is my novel about William Wallace. It's one I wrote a couple years ago, but it's now undergoing heavy revision and when I'm done with that, I'm going to self publish it. If everything goes as planned, it will be up for sale by Wallace Day. If not, you will still have my other Wallace book, Freedom Come All Ye, to read by then, because that one will definitely be done.

So anyway, this scene I chose takes place at the Battle of Falkirk where Wallace's army is loosing against the English and he suddenly looks up and realizes that Robert the Bruce is fighting on the English side. (And as a historical note: This I took from Blind Harry's version of Wallace's story and, for some parts, I paraphrased his wording. Historians have been at odds as to whether Bruce was actually ate Falkirk or not. Historically, I don't really think he was either, but it makes for a good story plot and a good defining line. I think that if Bruce had encountered Wallace on the battlefield, he would have changed his allegiances pretty quickly.)

But I'll just wheesht and let you read it now! ;-)

He didn’t know how long he knelt there before he heard a horse galloping toward him. He looked up and saw that it was an English knight with a lance leveled at him. But it was not the lancer who had caught his eye. It was another horseman who was riding out of the Scottish ranks. At first, Wallace searched to see who it was, for the stance of the man and his device seemed familiar to him, then he was left in no doubt when he saw the golden hair curling from underneath the helmet.

“Bruce!” Wallace spat, his eyes flashing as he leapt up, forgetting his sword, and grabbed the surprised lancer, throwing him from the saddle. He leapt on the horse and tore after the retreating knight.

“ROBERT BRUCE!” Wallace shouted out, his voice so full of hatred and anger that Bruce looked back over his shoulder. His heart actually clenched in fear as he saw Wallace, vengeance clouding his eyes, as he rode the traitor Scotsman down.

Wallace urged his horse onward until he was neck-and-neck with Bruce’s mount, then he leapt sideways, grabbing Bruce’s arm and bringing them both crashing to the ground. Bruce fell on top of Wallace, crushing his ribs with his heavy armor. Wallace didn’t seem to notice the weight crushing him and shoved the other man away. His helmet had fallen off and Wallace grabbed him around the throat, glaring into his eyes.

“Robert, ye’re a bloody traitor!” he shouted at him.

Bruce wrenched Wallace’s hands away from his throat and shoved him backwards, standing up as he glared at the other man..

“Traitor, is it? Where do you get your gall to oppose the king of England?!”

Wallace stood up as well, his hands clenching into fists. “Robert! It’s your unwillingness to act and yer cowardice that cause me to fight to free a land that is yours by right!” he shouted. “Have they brainwashed ye sae much that ye believe what Longshanks has to say? It’s ye Bruce, who have driven me to such drastic and perhaps even foolhardy measures, because ye, Scotland’s rightful leader, wouldn’t wake up and lead them against the English tyranny!” Wallace shook his head in disgust and quieted his voice a bit. “I told ye several months ago that I would follow ye if only ye would take the lead,” he motioned to his dilapidated army. “They would follow ye, Robert, but they need to know that they can trust ye, and nothing I say will make them decide that. So ye need to choose if you are going to serve Edward and hope he doesna spike yer head on London Bridge, or if ye want to be the man who will lead the Scots to freedom.”

“I would fight, Wallace!” Robert began. “It’s just complications. I want what you want, William: Freedom. But there are other ways to get it than fighting useless wars!”

“So ye would make a pact with our worst enemy instead?!” Wallace cried, disgusted almost to the loss of words. “That’s not freedom, Robert. You don’t have the gall to stand up and fight for a country that is yours by right! You think Longshanks will set ye on the throne? He want’s it for himself! Ye’d be nothing but a puppet, Robert, a lackey bent to his will like Toom Tabard! I have seen Baliol, Robert. And he’s a broken man. No, you would not rule Scotland, Bruce, and I think deep down inside ye know that.”

“I don’t have a choice, Wallace!” Bruce protested, his voice hoarse with feeling and anger. “I...”

“There’s always a choice!” Wallace shouted, stopping his words. “Do you not see that? I would have followed you! As my brother, Robert!” He paused and then lowered his voice to an earnest whisper. “As my king.” Then without another word, he turned and stumbled off, leaving a flabbergasted Bruce standing open-mouthed, watching his back as he walked off. The Scottish knight felt his mind clear then and suddenly, he knew where his allegiances lay and where, now, they always would.


So, tell me if you liked it and also, for the rest of the month, tell me some of your thoughts on Bruce and Wallace's acquaintance. I'd like to know what you think. Also, as I said before, if you have any other stories about Bruce you would like me to tell before the end of the month, or even into next month, please let me know! I am planning at least one more for next week, so let me know by then.

Happy Bannockburn Day. Alba gu Bragh!

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bruce and Sir Henry de Bohun

This is a favorite story from the Battle of Bannockburn and has been immortalized in a lot of paintings of Robert the Bruce. This was a fight that happened just before the battle started on the first day, when Robert was getting his men ready. Sir Henry de Bohun (rhymes with bafoon) was an English knight who decided to try his hand at fighting the King of Scots. To dire consequences.

Robert the Bruce, King of Scots rode his small sturdy garron pony in front of his men, seeing that they were all in good order. He was not really expecting to fight that day, but keeping up appearances would show the English that the Scots were not just barbarians. That they could turn out in style.

It was not long before the English army began to come over the hill, banners flying gayly in the air. Robert looked at them and spoke to his general, Sir James Douglas.

"What think you of the day, Jamie?" he asked him.

"I think the English have only pomp on their side while we have the want of freedom," the young man replied and Bruce smiled at him.

"Let us pray it is enough then." He started again down the line of his men, talking to them, reassuring them of the fight to come.

On the English side, Sir Henry de Bohun watched the Scottish king ride in front of his men. His battle horse shifted eagerly under him, knowing action was close, but restless for it. de Bohun looked again at King Robert. He was not even paying attention. He could ride over to his quickly and be done with him before anyone cold stop him! He only seemed to be armed with a battle axe as well while Bohun had a lance. He smiled to himself. Aye, it would be easy. Before he could think against it, he urged his horse forward, charging toward the man who wore the gold circlet over his helmet.

Bruce heard him coming and swung his pony around, grasping his battle axe in the same movement. He did not hesitate to charge the oncoming horseman and spurred the garron into action. Douglas and his other commanders stared in horror as they saw him charge, but they could not get out to help him before he was already engaged.

De Bohun had lowered his lance at the king as soon as Bruce had begun to charge him and he smugly urged his horse forward even faster, eager to prove his valor and win single combat against the rebel king of Scots. But before he knew what was happening, Robert the Bruce jerked his garron to the other side of Bohun's horse and, standing in his stirrups, he swung his battle axe down with huge force onto the English knight's head. The blow was so powerful, that it split Bohun to the breastbone and shattered the axe haft in Bruce's hand.

Without another thought, Bruce swung his pony around and headed back to his lines, holding the shattered haft in his hand and looking at it grimly. As he got back, Douglas met him with a speachless, wide-eyed look. He finally gained his voice and choked out:

"What were you thinking? You could have been killed! That was a foolish thing to do, Robert!"

Bruce nodded. "I know. I broke my good axe."

fin.

And that was what he was actually reported to have said :) Good old Scottish humor!

So, Friday is Bannockburn and I promised you all a special treat! (I hope you'll think it is anyway ;-) so I'll be back then.

Slainte, Hazel

Saturday, June 18, 2011

James the Good

All right, then, today, I'm going to give you a story about Sir James Douglas, one of Bruce's faithful followers and closest friends. He was also known as James the Good or The Black Douglas for his dark complexion--not because he was cold-hearted, for he was a very chivalrous knight.

The story I'm going to tell you today is about how Douglas took an English occupied castle in the middle of the night with hardly any problem whatsoever!

James Douglas watched the soldiers on the wall top as they marched back and fourth, studying their patterns. He beckoned to his men.

"They do not look down," he told the men. "We will sneak up on them that way."

"But they will see us coming from afar!" one of the men protested.

"They will see us. Be we will crawl. In the mirk, no one will know the difference between us and cows!"

The men approved this wisdom and they set out to cross the field, wrapping their weapons under their dark cloaks and some taking light rope ladders upon their backs.

Up on the wall top a woman sat with her baby, singing gently to it a lullaby that all the English mothers were singing at the time:

"Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,
The Black Douglas shall not get thee."

She looked up as the guards spoke to each other then, pointing below to the grounds.

"What's that?" one asked his companion.

"Looks to be some cows runaway, man," the other guard replied. "If they're still there tomorrow, we can make a meal out of them."

They did not notice the ladders slipping over the battlements and as they continued their patrol, a dark clothed figure slipped over the wall top just as the mother finished singing to her babe the lullaby again.

"The Black Douglas shall not get thee."

"Do not be sure of that," Douglas said as he dropped down beside her.

"You!" the woman almost cried, but Douglas put a hand over her mouth.
"Wheesht!" he hissed and beckoned to one of him men now over the wall top. "He will stay with ye and keep ye safe. No harm will come to you and the bairn." And then he was gone along the wall. He rushed down the steps and opened the gates before any of the English could stop him, letting in the rest of his army. They quickly took the castle and before the English could do anything the Scots had won. And the woman and her baby were saved by one of the most hated enemies the English ever had.

Fin.

Tell me how you are liking my stories and also if there are any you want me to tell about :) This next week, I hope to get at least two posts done as Friday will be Bannockburn when I have a special treat planned for you! ;-)

Slainte, Hazel

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bannockburn T-shirts!

I just put up a new Bannockburn t-shirt on my Cafepress store, History Buffs Unlimited! Go take a look! It has the date of the battle on the front along with the Lion Rampant and on the back it has a quotation from the Declaration of Arbroath! Besides that I am really excited to be telling you that two of my books that I am self-publishing are going to be out before Wallace Day this year! Both of them feature William Wallace and will be a perfect companion to comorate Wallace Day. Once I get them ready for sale, I will be sure to tell you when and where you can get them!

Slainte, Hazel

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bruce and the Spider

This is probably one of the most well-known stories about the great Hero King Robert the Bruce but yet, it probably never really happened. But as I said before, history is made up of things that mostly didn't happen. But these are the stories that we remember and I for one have nothing against them.

So this is how the story goes:

It was during Bruce's war with the English and his army had been having the worst of luck. They had been driven back six times on the field of war and Robert was beginning to loose hope of ever seeing his country free. He himself had to go into hiding or risk being taken by his enemies and meet the same fate as his proceeder, William Wallace.

Bruce wandered hopelessly with his small group of men and one night they came on a deserted old barn. Dead weary, they decided to stay there for the night as it was raining and they were already soaked to the bone. Bruce lay down in some straw and tried to rest, but rest would not come to him. His heart was sore for the want to free his people and the seeming fact that it would never be.

But as he lay there, he happened to look up and see a spider on the ceiling. He found that he pitied her as he watched her try to swing to the next rafter to weave her web. It was six times that he watched her, seeing then that it had been six times he had fought the English and had been driven back. He watched her stop and thought she had given up. Bruce's heart was even heavier now.

"It seems we have both failed," he said softly with a deep sigh.

But the spider had not given up. She tried again working carefully this time and as Bruce watched, she swung over to the next rafter. Elated at the sight, Bruce leapt up and, full of hope once more, he smiled up at the spider.

"You have given me hope, wee spider," he told her happily. "I too, shall try again!"

And so he gathered his men and sent word for any loyal Scot to join him and eventually they met the English on the fields of Bannockburn and won their freedom.

And so that was my wee version of Bruce and the Spider. If you have any particular Bruce story you would like me to write about this month, please ket me know. I am going to try to write them all in story form, so you can pretend I'm playing story-teller this month :) Don't be shy to let me know what you want to hear about. Drop me a comment or email me at sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com

I'll be back again soon with more Bruce stories!

Slainte, Hazel

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Robert the Hero King

I had wanted to have a Bruce month this year like I did for Wallace last year, but it's come up on me faster than I expected, and I have not had the time to do any real research on Robert the Bruce. Wallace, I didn't really have to do any research on because I've read so many things on him and written two books about him to boot, but Robert, while I know his story, do not know enough to spontaneously write a bunch on posts on! However, instead of a history lesson you can find in any book, I have decided to focus more on the legends surrounding Robert the Bruce and his companions. Stories like Bruce and the Spider and some about James the Good the Black Douglas. I'm come to the conclusion over the years that historians may try to write the truth, but it's always the folklore in history that people remember and those are the stories that have gone down the generations.

So that's what I am going to do for you this month. I'll probably not get as much writing in as I had wanted, but I will definitely enjoy writing some of my favorite stories from Robert the Bruce's time period. If there's any particular thing you would like me to write about, please let me know.

Now, the reason I chose June for my Bruce month is because the Battle of Bannockburn in on the 24th. I talked about that last year, so this year, I want to tell more about Bruce. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

I'll go for now, I'll be back soon with another post! =)

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I got my Plaid!



Well, I finally got my plaid! It's an Ancient Campbell set, authentically woven and very hot to wear in the middle of summer in Florida! I put it on tonight to take some pictures for my profile and I wished for Highland weather!

And, no, you cannot put a greatkilt on by yourself! It's not possible, and now I know why the Scotsmen fought in only their sarks, because they obviously would never get it on quickly to join a battle in the morning! I ordered my kilt from The Celtic Croft and if you really want to get a real greatkilt, I would get it from them. They have pretty much every tartan you could imagine and at really good prices for the quality you get. Mine, I think would last a lifetime, even if I was on campaign and sleeping in the heather.

My traditional saffron sark (which my mom made me ;-) is a rustic homespun weave I amazingly found at Jo Anne's craft store! (love it when I can find authentic stuff there!) And I do have a plain penannular broach on as well that I got with my kilt. My bonnet is also authentic; it's made from a knitting pattern from the seventeen hundreds and is what the Jacobites would have worn. It's felted too, by the way. No, it's not my blue bonnet, but it has my Clan Wallace hat pin in it! And of course, I'm wearing my medieval/WWI boots. How they can look perfect for either time period is really beyond me. And yes, I do have a broadsword. Why would anyone think differently? ;-)

So, aye, this is what I do for fun, dress up in historic costumes and stage fight scenes for my books and such. Fight scenes are really no good unless you can act them out, ye know!

Just to let you all know, I'm sorry I have not been writing, yes, I'm still alive! I've been very busy writing my novels and am hopefully going to be self publishing one by the end of the month or by next month at the latest, so I'm very excited to be able to share with you some of my fiction at last! If you want to read an excerpt for my book, go here to my other blog. I will be sure to tell you when my book comes out and where you can get it!

So, slainte, and I will be back some other time, hopefully!
ALBA GU BRATH!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Post Script

Well, this was something I was going to say in my post the other day, but I forgot about it until now. :)

Anyway, I was going to say that I have added lots of new stuff to my online store History Buffs Unlimited and I think you should go and take a look at that! It's not just Scottish stuff either, there's a lot of other things.

I have t-shirt commemorating the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916 and if you order now, it might even get to you by Easter! ;-) I also have shirts up for the famous Red Baron's birthday that is on May 2nd, so if you love the Red Baron, go pick one up. I've ordered mine :)

Take a look at the other stuff too, and if you visit the store, let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions, let me know those too.

Slainte, Hazel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

General Announcements and Stuff

Well, there have been several things I have wanted to post about within the past week, but I haven't felt like doing any writing, so I put it off. However, today I just want to write a little bit about several things that have been going on lately.

First off, today is the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. You can read my last year's posts on the history here and here. Think of some way to honor the Jacobites today. Tell me what you come up with. I'll be wearing my blue bonnet and my white cockade today for sure!

Next, For those of you who have followed my posting of the Wallace Safe Conduct Letter, or those of you who have followed it in Scottish news, I'm happy to say that it looks like they will be getting it back on loan for at least a time!!! I personally believe though, that, since they have found that it is actually the original document, eventually, the Scots will find a way to keep it in Scotland where it belongs. But this small victory is just a footstep to that. You can read about it on the Society of William Wallace website.

And also, I would like to give you a wee bit of a review on a fantastic movie! The other night I watched Stone of Destiny, which is a movie about the young people who stole the Stone of Destiny (the stone the Scots kings were crowned on) from Westminster Abbey where it still resided in the 1950s when the movie took place. It's a true story, and it was played wonderfully by real Scottish actors and a lot of it was filmed on location. There's some wonderful views of Arbroath Abbey in the end of the movie. I can't really describe how much I loved that movie. It was filled with a wonderful sense of Scottishness and it was very heartfelt and invigorating. It had a good sense of humor as well :) I know, for my part, a few tears were shed in the end. I think this is the best Scottish movie since Braveheart and I'm truthfully surprised it's not more widely known. See if you can find a copy of this movie to watch. Anyone who loves Scotland would love this movie!

Anyway, that was pretty much all I wanted to say for now, I don't know what I will write about next. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dundee (The Other John Graham)

So, since I am a little pressed for time, and I just realized that it is already the 30th of the month (:O) and I have still not posted all I wanted to, instead of writing a whole new thing about Dundee I would just post something I had already written on him. A while ago I wrote a short story (A VERY short story) about him for a contest. (I actually won that one too :) But this is a little different, but I thought you all might enjoy this wee story that's my tribute to the great man. John Graham. Bonnie Dundee!

Tale of a Hero




Roderick MacGregor piled more wood onto the fire to stave off the chill of the autumn night in the Highlands. Orange sparks flew into the air as the logs settled into place. He looked out at the glen now purple with the heather of the season that glowed in the setting sun. He closed his eyes for a minute and breathed deeply, remembering days long past when he had grown up in this same glen as a bairn.

He suddenly heard the sound of footsteps behind him and turned with a smile to see his twin son and daughter running toward him.

“Da, we want to help wi’ the fire!” said the little lad, Jamie.

“Of course ye do,” Roderick said and took the lass, Flora, into his arms. “And when ye’re done, I’ll tell ye a story before ye go to bed.”

“What kind of story, Da?” asked Flora as Roderick put her down again.

“Ye’ll just have to wait and see,” Roderick told her and smiled at the two again as they each took one of his hands and went off with him to pick up more kindling for the fire.

Once they got back and tossed all the branches and twigs onto the fire, the night had settled in, that gentle gloaming time when the earth held onto the last of the day’s light before letting it go until the next morning. Flora and Jamie danced around the fire, watching the sparks fly off into the night. Their mother came out of the cottage they lived in and stood with a small smile as she watched her children play.

“Shouldna ye two be in bed?” she asked them, raising an eyebrow.

“But Ma, Da said he would tell us a story!” Jamie said and stuck his bottom lip out.

“Please can we stay up?” Flora begged.

“Let the wee ones stay up for a few minutes, Aileen,” Roderick told his wife. “I think they need to hear this story.”
Aileen smiled at the young ones and nodded her head. “All right, ye young rogues, ye can listen to yer da’s story.”

“Yeah!” Flora and Jamie ran to Roderick as he sat on a log by the fire and he took them up upon each knee.

“I want to hear a story about fairies, Da!” Flora said.

“No fairy stories tonight,” Roderick said.

“Is it a story about William Wallace?” Jamie asked excitedly.

“Not about Wallace,” Roderick told him. “This is a story about another great Scottish hero. One who always did what he thought was right for his king and country. Now, ye have to understand, my wee bairns, that some people may tell ye he was the villain, but they never knew the real story; never knew who he really was.”
“Are ye going to tell us the real story, Da?” Jamie asked, his eyes already wide.

“Aye, I am,” Roderick told him. “Ye see, this story happened when I was about your age. Yer Granda fought in the war that came about because of the trouble brewing in Scotland around that time. Ye see, my wee ones, Scotland was in a bit of a mess with the controversy of the Covenanters and all that, but ye’re too young to understand all the politics behind it so I’ll just tell ye what happened. Ye’ve heard my stories about the great Montrose who fought for good King Charles, havena ye?”

“Oh aye,” Jamie shook his curly head. “He was a great warrior.”
“Aye, that he was,” Roderick smiled. “Well, the hero of this story is his descendant. He was a great military commander and started off his career fighting in Holland until war with the Covenanters brought him back to his own country. Our hero loved Scotland, so he gathered all the loyal men he could find and fought for her right.”
“Just like Wallace,” Flora said excitedly. “Right, Da?”

“Aye, just like Wallace, mo chridh,” he said and kissed her on the nose. “And just like Wallace, he refused to serve a false king. His king, Scotland’s king, was James, and he fought for his right to the throne. When he was called to the banner of his rightful king, he knew he would never give up until the war was over or death took him.”

“Like a true Scotsman!” Jamie cried and grinned.

“Aye, lad. He certainly had a true Scottish heart. When King James tried to get the throne, it resulted in many battles, eventually causing the king to have to leave Scotland and sail for Ireland.”

“Oh, Da, he came back didna he?” asked Flora.

“I have to finish the story,” Roderick told her with a grin. “Our hero never gave up hope though. He still fought with his loyal men, having all kinds of adventures. Once he even scaled the rocky face of Edinburgh castle to talk to the man who was holding it for King James.”

“That must have been hard!” Jamie exclaimed even though he had never seen Edinburgh castle before.

“Aye, it was, lad,” Roderick told him. “But our hero did it. Before long he was outlawed for fighting against the English king and a price was put on his head. This didn’t stop him from fighting for what he knew was right, though. He gathered more men from the Highlands, Camerons under the Chief Lochiel, and marched out to meet the foe.”

“Was there a big battle, Da?” Jamie asked excitedly.

“I’m getting to that,” Roderick assured his son. “The English were scared at the force he had gathered and sent a regiment under the command of MacKay to send them packing. They met at the Pass of Killiecrankie, our hero appearing to the traitors over the top of the hill. He and his men, having the high ground and a strong cavalry charge, made it immediately clear to MacKay that they had the upper hand.”
“Because a Scotsman can always fight better with a hill at his back, right Da?” Jamie asked. “You always told me that.”

“Aye, that’s right. And they did have a braw charge at that! MacKay’s troops tried to hold them off, but as soon as the Highlanders charged down the hill, the Sassenachs lost their nerve and ran away.”
“So the Scots won, right Da?” Flora asked.

“They did,” Roderick told her. “But their victory came with a price. Many of the men were killed and our hero unfortunately was shot in the charge.”
“No!” Jamie cried and Flora grabbed Roderick’s hand.

“He died,” Roderick told them. “But he died leading his men intae battle, and there is nothing unworthy about that. His men carried him off the field and the piper played him a fine pibroch called Lochaber No More, you’ve probably heard it before. And he had a hero’s funeral.”

“But what happened to the war, Da?” Flora asked. “Did James ever become king?”

Roderick shook his head. “Nae lass. But I dinna want ye two to despair. Someday, Scotland will have her own king again and it will be men just like the ones I just told ye about who will make it happen.”

“What was the hero’s name, Da?” Jamie said suddenly. “Ye never said!”

“He’s known by many names,” Roderick told them. “The English called him ‘Bloody Claver’se’ because they made up rumors that he was a butcher and killed men mercilessly.”

“That’s no’ true though, is it, Da?” Flora asked.

“Of course no’,” Roderick shook his head. “The Scots wouldna follow someone like that. The Highlanders liked to call him the Gaelic name Ian Dhub Nan Cath, which means Black John of the Battles because of his black hair and his courage on the battlefield.”
“But what does everyone else call him?” Jamie asked.

“The normal people?” Roderick raised an eyebrow. “Well, his real name is John Graham, but ye know what the men who fought under him always called him?”

“What?” the two little ones asked with wide eyes.

“Isna it time ye get into bed?” Their mother, Aileen came out of the cottage and beckoned to them.

“Aw Ma!” Jamie whined.

“I let ye stay up long enough,” she said with a concealed smile. “It’s time for bed.”
Roderick stood up and took the two into his arms, carrying them back to the house. “Come on ye two. It willna do tae get yer mother mad!”

They complained as he tucked them into bed and kissed them goodnight. “Have sweet dreams my wee bairns,” he said to them.

“Da, wait!” Flora cried grabbing his hand. “What was his name? What did his men call him?”
“John Graham?” Roderick said. “For what he did for his country and his kindness, the men all called him Bonnie Dundee.”

And I have probably already told you this before, but read Rosemary Sutcliff's book Bonnie Dundee. As far as fiction goes, I don't think his story could be bettered.


Have a good day my feres and if I can, I will be back tomorrow with a post about Montrose. Weather it will be some heartfelt comments and drabbles or a little information, I don't know yet.


Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sir John Graham

Sir John Graham (not to be confused with John Graham of the 17th century, who I usually refer to as Dundee to avoid confusion!) was the lad who fought alongside William Wallace and would have gone with him all the way, to the Smithfield itself if it had not been for his untimely death.

John Graham was born in Dundaff Ayrshire. His exact birthdate, as usual for common people of this time period, was not known. I also do not know when he met Wallace, I personally like to think that they met somewhat early on, seeing as they grew up about forty miles apart from each other. This was a long distance back in the 1300s, but at the same time, if hardship came up, families would get together so they could make a stronger stand. Nigel Tranter, the famous Sottish novelist, had Wallace and Graham become friends not long before his campaign after John's father refuses to help the young patriot. As a lot of Wallace's life, much is speculation. That is why, though I love William Wallace, he is a very hard person to write about accurately. Everyone seems to have their own ideas and stick to them until death!

However, their friendship started, it was very strong. They were true comrades in arms and they stood shoulder to shoulder in the many fights of Wallace's campaign for freedom. After the death of Wallace's other companion, Andrew Murray, I believe that Graham worked even harder.

Not much more is known about John, except that he died on the fields of Falkirk in that fateful battle where Edward Longshanks beat the Scots back using brute force. John Graham was left for dead, when Wallace found him and it is well known that he wept over the body of his dear friend.

In Blind Harry's epic, The Wallace, there is a segment for Wallace's lament for John Graham. I remember reading it a while ago, but I was not able to find a link for it on the internet, so if you want to look for it, be my guest. After John's death, he was taken to the churchyard of Falkirk and buried there. The gravestone on his tomb, bears this inscription:

Here lies Sir John the Grame, baith wight and wise
And of the chiefs who reschewwit (rescued) Scotland thrice
Ane better knight not to the world was lent
Nor was gude Grame of truth and hardiment

There's an area in Falkirk called Grahamston and it is named after Sir John Graham. There's also a monument to him at Victoria Park, with a block of granite at the base and a Lion Rampant on the top of it. This was put there in 1912 and paid for by Robert Dollar. The inscription says that John Graham fell in the spot, but it is unlikely.

So, John Graham was a great hero of Scotland's Wars for Independance and he should be remembered along with all the others as a true son of Scotland!

I'll be back later this month (hopefully before it ends!) to talk about Montrose and Dundee!

Slainte, Hazel

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day 2011!

Have a grand St Patrick's Day out there any of you Irish who might be reading! Even if you're not Irish, remember that St. Patrick was actually Scottish!

Next year, you can wear one of my lovely t-shirts from my online store, History Buffs Unlimited!

I also suggest you treat yourself this St Patrick's Day and buy The High King's new album "Memory Lane". It's very good, and I suggest it highly!

Here's a couple other Irish songs for you to enjoy in the meantime:


And one of my favorites at the moment:

Highland Paddy (It's about the Irish who had been living in Scotland and went back over to Ireland to fight for their own people)

Share your favorite Irish song with me this week! Drop me a comment or email and let me know!

Erin Go Bragth Everyone!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clan Graham

Well, I said I would try to write more than I did last month and things just keep preventing me (mostly myself!) I've been working on too many things, and I was not home all weekend, so it builds up after a while. However, today I am going to tell you about the Clan Graham.

Whenever there was a battle to be fought for the good of Scotland, you could find a Graham there. Sir John Graham who fought with Wallace, James Graham the Great Marquis of Montrose and his descendent, John Graham known as Bonnie Dundee. They were fearfully loyal, would fight to the death as many of them did, and would never give Scotland up to tyranny.

The Grahams actually came from Norman stock like the Bruces, and the first Graham in Scotland was Sir William de Graham. The names derives from Grantham in Lincolnshire. Sir William de Graham accompinied David I on his way to claim the Scottish crown and also witnessed the charter founding the Abbey of Holyrood in 1128. His line of Grahams were that of Montrose. Those who have always fought for the king.

Tha Grahams took no part in the Jacobite troubles of '45 however, but James Graham 3rd Duke of Montrose pleaded with parliament to repeal the Disarming Act; the law that forbid the Highlanders to wear their tartan.

The Graham's badge shows a falcon Proper killing a stork Argent. For those of you who do not know heraldry, you can see a picture of it here as well as other information regarding Clan Graham. The clan motto is Ne Oublie. It's French, likely something from Sir William being a Norman, and means "Do not Forget". This was also the Graham's war-cry when going into battle.

The clan plant badge is the spurge-laurel, I couldn't find a picture of that, but I'm sure you can look it up. The Graham tartan, as registered in the Vestiarium Scoticum is a green tartan with black plaid stripes. A very simple tartan by comparison to others.

The Chief of Clan Graham is known in the Gaelic as An Greumach Mor or The Great Graham. The Chief resides at Buchanan Castle now, though in the old days, he lived in Mugdock. However, most of them owed several different places. Montrose did for example.

I will promise to at least be back next week to tell about some famous Grahams. If you think of any famous Grahams would would like to know more about, please let me know and I will do my best!

Slainte, Hazel

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gallant Grahams

Well, I apologize for the not very epic petering out of the MacGregor month. That's what you're just going to get when I'm writing! ;-) But I did a lot of Rob Roy last year, so if you want to read about the most famous MacGregor, look back to some of my earlier posts.

This month, however (and I will try to write a bit more this time) I am going to focus on Clan Graham. Right now I am reading Nigel Tranter's amazing novels on James Graham, the first Marquis of Montrose and I wanted to share a little bit of his story with everyone, so I decided to do a Graham month. We will also be talking about the many John Grahams and how they turned the tide at many battles. (I will also try to tell you a good way to keep them strait!)

The next post, I will write a little of quick information about the clan itself. If you have any questions or comments, are from Clan Graham or you want to know about a particular Graham, just let me know, and I will do my best!

Slainte, Hazel

Friday, February 18, 2011

History Buffs Unlimited! Open for Business!

I finally started a store on CafePress.com, and I'd love you all to come and take a look at it! I am still adding things, and will be for as long as I can come up with them, but right now I have a good selection of Scottish things and other things pertaining to everything historical! My shop is called History Buffs Unlimited and it's mainly a place to get fun novelty t-shirts and items for history buffs. I also have a section for literature as well for those of you who love the classic authors! Please go and take a look, even if you are just window shopping! Drop me a comment here to tell me what you think. The store itself is lacking but I will get to that later. Let me know if you have any suggestions, questions or anything particular you might be looking for! I'd love to hear your ideas! Here's the link: History Buffs Unlimited (You can also find it in the link bar to the left where you can check out my cousin's store on Zazzle as well!)

Have fun! And again, please let me know what you think! I'd like some feedback!

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kenneth mac Alpin

Well, I know I said I would be talking about the Macgregors this month, but frankly, I have been busy with so many other things that I have had very little time for post writing or simply writing in general. But since I have been feeling guilty, I plan to post a few more things in the last couple weeks of February.

So today, we are going to talk about Kenneth mac Alpin. As I said in my previous post, he was the first of the MacGregor race. He lived in 800AD in Scotland, during the time the vikings were raiding the country. Scotland was kind of in a continuos state of Civil War, the Scots and Picts never having really liked each other very much. But they began to realize that in order to fight off the enemy vikings, they were going to have to get together.

This was helped along by Kenneth mac Alpin. He was the first joint king between the Scots of Dalriada and the Picts. His father was a Scot and his mother was a Pict so that might have had something to do with it. He was created King of Dalriada in 840 and was known as Kenneth I. When the Pictish royal family was crushed by the viking invasions, he became king of the Picts as well, thus bringing the two nations together. Well, there was this one folk tale that says he actually did away with them himself, but we have no idea if that's true or not!

However, he obviously brought the two together to make Scotland stronger and able to withstand the vikings. Kenneth mac Alpin was also the one the establish the royal seat at Scone which from that day on would be where the Scottish kings were crowned. Scone became his capital and he ruled the people from there. He was buried on the island of Iona where most of Scotland's early kings were entombed.

So he brought together the Scots of Dalriada and the Picts of Pictland and eventually, they became a whole nation, that mac Alpin named Alba, the old Gaelic name for Scotland. So the MacGregors are obviously fiercely proud of being related to this man as he was the one who really created the Scotland we know today.

I will try to be back later as always. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about the MacGregors, or a famous MacGregor you with me to do a small bio on. Don't be afraid to tell me!

Slainte, Hazel

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Royal Race

This month is the first month that I will be giving a clan the center stage. For February, we have the MacGregors!

Last year, I talked a lot about Rob Roy in February in honor of his birthday, but this year, I decided to honor his whole clan. So we are going to be talking a little bit about the history of Clan MacGregor and some of the famous men and woman (besides Rob) and at the end, I will give you a list of research books and novels that you can enjoy for further research.

Today, I am going to introduce their clan. The motto of Clan MacGregor is: S Rioghal Mo Dhream which means "Royal is my Race". From Gaelic though, it actually translates as "My Blood is Royal, but that's pretty much the same thing. You may be wondering about that because the Stuarts are the traditional royal family of Scotland, but the MacGregors can tie their lines way back to Kenneth MacAlpin. (For those of you reading Magnusson, that was chapter three) Their plant badge is the Scots Pine which they would stick in their bonnets to tell what clan they were from before clan tartans came into being. Here's a link to a site that will show you pictures of the arms and plant badge of the MacGregors.

That's all I'm going to talk about today, but I will be back later to talk a little bit about the history of the MacGregor clan!

Slainte, Hazel