November in Scottish History

01 November

1889: A Belgian named Professor Albert attempted to become the first man to swim the Firth of Forth. Setting off from the shore of Fife, he reached about half way to Inchkeith before he gave up, disappointing the crowds gathered at Portobello who hoped to cheer his arrival.


1695: Bank of Scotland founded


02 November

1869:   Bad weather drove an 82-foot long whale ashore at Longniddry, East Lothian. Local men promptly shot it dead and the North British Railway organised special trains to view the dead whale, with one train on the 8th having 40 carriages and 1200 passengers. However, by the 11th the whale smelled so badly that it had to be auctioned off.

1792: United Societies of Paisley held a parliamentary reform meeting at the Saracen’s Head Inn

1698: Darien Expedition landed at New Caledonia in what is now Panama


04 November 1803

Extract was taken from the Journal of Jessy Allan, published in the Book of the Old Edinburgh Club:

‘There is now little else talked on than the French invasion and everyone seems to think they will attempt to land at Leith very shortly from Holland. I have heard much of the same subject all summer but never took alarm till now; however I must say I feel extremely anxious about it particularly on account of my Husband and Brother, who I fear will be called out to fight against these hell-hounds…but God Almighty in His infinite Goodness will, I hope, protect us all.’


05 November 1877

Opening of the original Mitchell Library, Glasgow, now the largest public reference library in Europe.

05 November 1879

Death of Edinburgh-born mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell.


06 Nov 1746:

James Reid execited at york for playing the bagpipes

1887 Celtic Football Club formally constituted in Calton, Glasgow, to alleviate poverty in Glasgow’s East End parishes.

08 November 1308

Scholar and philosopher  John Duns Scotus died. His dry subtleties led to the word “Duns” or “dunce” meaning dull and incapable of learning. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

09 November  1847:

In Edinburgh, Sir James Young Simpson delivered Wilhelmina Carstairs while chloroform was administered to the mother, the first child to be born with the aid of anaesthesia. November 9 1841 Edward VII, eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was born.

10 November 1528

James V issued letters of fire and sword against Clan Chattan, who had been causing trouble in Moray. The king ordered the various authorities in the north to gather their men and move ‘upon the said Clanquhattane, and invaid thame to thair uter destructioun, be slauchtir, byrning, drowning, and uthir wayis; and leif na creatur levand of that clann, except preistis, wemen, and barnis.’

( upon the said Clan Chattan, and invade them to their utter destruction, by slaughter, burning, drowning, and ither ways; and leave no creature living of that clan, except priests, women and bairns).

1871 Journalist Henry M Stanley found the missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone with the classic “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”


11 November 1918

Armistice Day. At eleven o clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh hour, hostilities ceased in the Great War, the First World War that had been fought to end all wars. Scotland had lost around 150,000 men killed, plus scores of thousands maimed and wounded. The death rate alone was about 10 percent of all male Scots between 16 and 50


November 12 1869

Edinburgh University became the first in Britain to allow women to study medicine (though not graduate). But a woman, masquerading as Dr James Barry, actually took a medical degree at Edinburgh University in 1812 and became an army surgeon


13 November 1715

Battle of Sherrifmuir. The Earl of Mar’s 8000 strong Jacobite army met the Earl of Argyll’s 3000 redcoats at Sherrifmuir. The right wing of each army was successful but as the Jacobites withdrew, Argyll could claim the victory although he had over 700 casualties to Mar’s 232.

1850, Robert Louis Stevenson born

1939 The first bombs dropped on British soil in the Second World War fell on the Shetland Islands.


14 November 1770. The Town Council of Glasgow offered ‘a bountie of 42dhillings sterling, or two guineas, to each able-bodied seaman not under 20 nor above 50 years of age, who shall, betwixt now and the 16 December next, voluntarily inlist himself as a sailor in His Majesties Navy with Captain Pasley, commander of His Majesties ship the Pomona, now at Greenock.’

1770 James Bruce discovered the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana in north-west Ethiopia.

1896 Speed limit for horseless carriages was raised from 4mph (2mph in towns) to 14mph.


16 November 1248, a meeting of six Scottish and six English knights met ‘and corrected, according to the ancient and aproved custom of the March, such matters as required to be addressed.’ The first recorded day of truce on the Borders


17 November 1292:

English court pronounced judgement in favour of John Balliol as King of Scotland

1959 Prestwick and Renfrew airports in Scotland became the first in the UK to offer duty free goods for sale.



1941, break-out of British garrison at Tobruk, 35 officers and 300 men of the 2nd battalion Black Watch killed or wounded


November 19 1672:

Entry in a note book of Sir john Foulis, Bart, of Raverstoun:

‘lost at Golfe with the Chancellour, Duke Master of Saltoun, etc …£5 10/-

Golf had long been a popular, and democratic game in Scotland, being banned by an act of parliament in 1457 for interfering with archery practise. Sir John Foulis seems to have played on Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh, where there is still putting, and the Golf Tavern exists. Wagers were not uncommon.


20 November 1788:

Glasgow magistrates appointed an inspector of police. He had a clerk and eight men under him. The ex-bailie Richard Marshall was appointed inspector. He had a gold chain and carried a white rod while on duty. His men wore a red uniform with badges numbered and inscribed ‘police’ they had to take an oath for  their good behaviour and were paid 1/6d a day.



21 November 1918 German High Seas Fleet ails into internment in Scapa Floe. The German officers were later to scuttle the ships as a protest against the Versailles peace treaty.

24 November 1331 David II (aged 7) crowned at Scone November 24 1542

25 November 1835 Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie born in Dunfermline.



29 November 1681: Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, granted its charter by King Charles II.



30 November 1335: Battle of Culblean. A crucial battle in the Second War of Independence, when Sir Andrew Murray and William Douglas defeated a pro-English force led by David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl.


1872, first international football match between Scotland and England played at the West of Scotland Cricket ground at Partick. The result was a nil-nil draw

1996: Stone of Destiny, stolen from Scone by King Edward I of England in 1296, returned to Scotland and installed in Edinburgh Castle.

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 Dundee, Edinburgh, Exploration, First World War, folklore, Glasgow,, Historical Crime, history, Inventions, Military history, November, People, police, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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