In this week in Scottish history

19 January 1736; James Watt was born in Greenock. An engineer and inventor, he surveyed the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Caledonian Canal and in 1764 invented the separate condenser, air pump and double acting engine. In 1774 he began the manufacture of an engine that revolutionised steam power and made the industrial revolution possible. The unit of power called the ‘watt’ is named after him, and he was first to use the term ‘horsepower.’

1594, there was a ‘tulzie’ in Edinburgh’s High Street when the Earl of Montrose and his followers fought Sir James Sandilands and his men. Sandilands was killed, along with Crawford of Kerse. Many others were wounded.

1845, Old Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh burned. 1644 A Scottish army under the Earl of Leven crossed the river Tweed into England. It remained in England for three years playing an important part in the Civil War.



20 January

1756, Glasgow council take steps for building a lighthouse on the island of Little Cumbrae. At this period Glasgow was becoming an important commercial centre, mainly concerned with the tobacco trade. The lighthouse was to guide ships from the Americas into the channel between Cumbrae and Bute. An Act of Parliament passed that year gave permission for the lighthouse, which was an open beacon in which coal burned

1507, James V born in Holyrood House, 1583 John Maxwell, 4th baron Herries, commander of Mary’s cavalry at Langside, died. 1936, King George V died, succeeded by Edward, who abdicated 325 days later to marry the American  Mrs Simpson. 1937, Benny Lynch world flyweight champion.
21 January 1863; After John McDouall Stuart succeeded in crossing Australia from south to north and returning without losing a man, a public holiday was declared in Adelaide. There were Great Stuart Demonstrations ‘in honour of the gallant Scotchman’ and the exploring party, wearing their tattered bush clothes, rode through the town to cheering crowds. The South Australian Advertiser wrote that ‘Stuart said he would go and see, and he went and returned to tell us.’

1356; Edward Balliol resigned his kingship in favour of Edward III of England; 1721, James Murray, governor of Quebec [1760 – 1768] born in Ballencrieff, East Lothian; 1833 Edinburgh agitation against annuity or stipend tax; 1970, Fraserburgh lifeboat sank, only one survivor; 1290, Devorguilla, mother of John Balliol founded Sweetheart abbey.


22 January 1732: After twenty years of marriage and several children, Lord Grange, a Lord of Session with a reputation for piety, sent a party of Highlanders to kidnap his wife. Rachel Chielsey, Lady Grange, came from a violent family and there were rumours that she had forced her husband into marriage at the point of a pistol after he had seduced her. Now separated and possibly stalking her husband, some said that Lady Grange was drunken and violent, but that day she was abducted and taken to the West Highlands, eventually to be kept prisoner on St Kilda. She died in Skye in 1749, having never returned home.

1689, Convention Parliament meets to depose James VII; William of Orange and Mary become joint sovereigns of Scotland and England 1816, new jury court in Edinburgh; 1898, Peoples Palace museum opened in Glasgow ; 1788 Lord Byron born.

January 1446: Battle of Arbroath when the Lindsays defeated the Ogilvies and Sir Alexander Seton. Sir Alexander Lindsay, Master of Crawford was Bailie of the Regality of Arbroath but the Chapter disliked his conduct so appointed Alexander Ogilvy of Inverquharity as his successor. When Lindsay refused to leave, both sides gathered their men. By chance Sir Alexander Seton, Lord of Gordon was visiting the Ogilvies and by Scottish tradition the host’s quarrel became the guest’s quarrel. Lindsay’s mother was an Ogilvie and tried to make peace, but the Lindsays charged and won the day.

1649, Act of Classes banned many people from public office including those given to ‘’brybery, swearing, drunkenness’ and other ungodly behaviour. In essence, the clergy were purging those not up to their standard.

1685, Robert Pollock, an East Kilbride shoemaker, hanged in Edinburgh for supporting the Covenant;  1570, James Stewart, Regent Moray, murdered in Linlithgow. Civil war started



About malcolmarchibald

Happily married for 34 years to Cathy, I have three grown children and live in the depths of Moray in northern Scotland. I was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee and work as a lecturer in Inverness, while writing historical books, both fiction and fact.
This entry was posted in Abduction, crime, Crime; History, Edinburgh, Glasgow,, Historical Crime, history, life experience, maritime, People, politics, Scotland, Shipping, Uncategorized, War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s