01 August

1798: Battle of the Nile:  ‘There were some of the women wounded, and one woman belonging to Leith died of her wounds, and was buried on a small island in the bay. One woman bore a son in the heat of the action; she belonged to Edinburgh.’ John Nicol, HMS Goliath

1747: Proscription Act banned tartan and the carrying of weapons, penalty for first offence was six months in jail and second offence meant 7 years transportation

1849: David Livingston discovered Lake Ngami

02 August

 1922: Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, died in Nova Scotia.

03 August

1460: King James III killed by exploding cannon at siege of Roxburgh

04 August

1914: First World War started. Before it ended in 1918, around 150,000 Scotsmen would be killed and tens of thousands wounded.


05 August 1388

James, Earl Douglas defeated Henry Percy and English at Otterburn, but died in the battle. Percy surrendered to  a dead man.

1704: The Scottish Parliament established a General Post Office.


06 August 1812:

The steamboat Comet sailed the 20 miles from Port Glasgow to Broomielaw in three and a half hours

1678: First Glasgow/Edinburgh coach service began from White Horse Inn, Edinburgh.

1820: Donald Alexander Smith – later Lord Strathcona – born in Forres. A pioneer of the Hudson Bay Company in the North-West, he later championed the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada and drove the last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia.

1881: Birth of Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.


08 August

1296: King Edward Plantagenet removed to England the Stone of Destiny on which generations of Scottish kings had been crowned.

1503: King James IV married Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England. The marriage was known as the Union of the Thistle and the Rose.


09 August

1757 Civil engineer Thomas Telford born in Dumfries.


11 August

1560:  Latin Mass prohibited in Scotland by Parliament as Protestant faith gained the ascendancy.


12 August 1812

Advertisement in the Glasgow Chronicle for what was the first regular steamship service in Europe

‘The Steamboat Comet

Between Glasgow, Greenock and Helensburgh

For passengers only

‘The subscriber, having at much expense, fitted up a handsome vessel to ply upon the river Clyde from Glasgow, to sail by the power of air, wind and steam, intends that the vessel shall leave the Broomielaw on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays about mid-day, or such an hour thereafter as may suit the state of the tide and to leave Greenock on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning to suit the tide.

The terms are for the present fixed at 4s for the best cabin and 3s for the second.

The subscriber continues his establishment at Helensburgh Baths (Hotel) and a vessel will be in readiness to convey passengers by the Comet from Greenock to Helensburgh.

Henry Bell’

13 August

1826: Gordon Laing, Edinburgh born explorer, reached and rediscovered Timbuctu

1888: Birth of John Logie Baird, developer of television.


15 August 

1771: Sir Walter Scott born

1856: John Keir Hardie born , coal miner and founder of the Labour Party

1963: The last hanging in Scotland – 21-year-old Henry Burnett who was executed at Craiginches Prison in Aberdeen for the murder of seaman Thomas Guyan.


17 August

1947: First Edinburgh International Festival opened.


18 August

1685: The Privy Council sat in Leith Tolbooth to interrogate 72 Covenanter prisoners. While those who took an oath of allegiance to the Crown were freed, the people who refused were banished to ‘His Majesty’s Plantations and charged never to return to the kingdom without the king’s or council’s special leave.’ They were sent to the infant Scottish colony of New Jersey.

1966: Tay road bridge opened

19 August

1561: Mary, Queen of Scots arrived in Leith after a five-day voyage from Calais.  John Knox recorded her arrival: ‘Tthe nineteenth day of August, the year of God 1561, betwixt seven and eight hours before noon, arrived Marie Queen of Scotland, then widow, with two galleys forth of France…the very face of heaven, the time of her arival, did manifestly speak what comfort was brought unto this country with her, to wit, sorrow, dolour, darkness and all impiety…the mist was so thick and so dark that scarce might any man espy another the length of two pair of boots.’

1745: raising of the Standard at Loch Shiel as Prince Charles Edward Stuart begins the 1745 Rising

1932: Scottish aviator Jim Mollinson landed after the first East/West solo flight of the Atlantic from Portmarnock, Ireland to Pennfield, New Brunswick.

1994: Graham Obree, from Irvine in Ayrshire, broke the world record and became the world pursuit cycle champion over 4,000 metres in Hamar, Norway.



20 August

1640: Battle of Newburn, Covenanters invade England when King Charles tried to impose bishops on Scotland. They brushed aside an English force at Newburn and advance toward Newcastle.

1897: Ronald Ross, the first Scot to win a Nobel prize (in 1902) dissected a mosquito and established the link with malaria.


21 August

1689: Battle of Dunkeld; ameronians repelled the Jacobite Highlanders.

1917: armed trawlers Jacinta, Thomas Young and Chirkata sink German submarine Ub-41 in the Firth of Tay

1754: birth of William Murdoch who pioneered the use of coal-gas lighting in 1792 in partnership with James Watt and Mathew Boulton.

1937: birth of Donald Dewar, former Secretary of State for Scotland and First Minister in the new Scottish Parliament.

22 August

1282: Devorgilla, Countess of Galloway founded Balliol College, Oxford. She was mother of John Balliol (who acceded to the Scottish throne in 1292).

23 August

1305: after a mockery of a trial, where he was accused of treason against King Edward Plantagenet of England, the monarch of a foreign and enemy nation, William Wallace ‘a Scotsman born in Scotland’ was murdered by being tortured to death.

1914: four Scottish battalions involved in the battle of Mons


24 August

1482:  Berwick Upon Tweed finally ceded to England (Edward IV) after changing hands 12 times.

1776: the philosopher David Hume died.

1819 James Watt, developer of steam power, died.

25 August

1819: birth in Glasgow of Alan Pinkerton, founder of the Chicago-based detective agency which bore his name.

1930:  Sean Connery born.

26 August

1875: novelist and statesman John Buchan born in Perth.

27 August

1784: first balloon ascent in Britain by James Tytler, Edinburgh

28 August

1296: Edward Plantagenet of England receives homage and fealties of some 2000 freeholders in Scotland

29 August

1930: St Kilda evacuated.

1901: Scottish born Hubert Cecil Booth patented his design for a vacuum cleaner which sucked in the dust and retained it by means of a filter.

30 August

1793: Thomas Muir trial for sedition; he supported parliamentary reform:

“I have devoted myself to the cause of the people. It is a good cause – it shall ultimately prevail – it shall finally triumph.”

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 Australia, Battles,, Books, Edinburgh, Exploration, First World War, history, Military history, Scotland, Scottish battles, Uncategorized, Walter Scott and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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