July in Scottish History

July 1st

  • On this day in 1999, the reconvened Scottish Parliament was officially opened. After a devolution referendum showed resounding support for the reconvening of the Scottish parliament, plans were put into motion for the creation of such a body. The parliament would sit in the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. Elections were held on May 1 1999 and the first sitting of the body took place on May 12 of that year. The official opening on July 1 saw the Queen transfer full constitutional powers to Edinburgh.
  • This date in July 1731 saw the birth of Admiral Adam Duncan, the Scottish sailor. A native of Dundee, Duncan was born into a mercantile family but left home at fifteen to become a midshipman in the navy. Duncan went on to command ‘HMS Blenheim’ at the relief of Gibraltar in October 1782, but his greatest moment was the victory over the Dutch at the battle of Camperdown in 1797. Camperdown was a disaster for the Dutch, with their fleet being crushed and their commander, Admiral de Winther, being captured. Duncan returned to great acclaim and was awarded the title of Viscount Duncan of Camperdown.
  • On this day in 1884 Allan Pinkerton, the Scottish-born detective, died. The son of a Glasgow policeman, Pinkerton trained as a cooper before emigrating to the USA in 1842. Rumour has it that he fled for fear of imminent arrest. After serving as a sheriff in Chicago, he set up the Pinkerton detective agency. He was responsible for guarding Abraham Lincoln and saved him from assassination in 1861. Pinkerton also served as chief of US Secret Service during the American Civil War. The Pinkerton company logo was “We Never Sleep”, and emblazoned above the logo on the company headquarters was a huge black and white eye, which gave rise to the expression private eye.

July 2nd

  • On 2 July 1903 Scottish Conservative policitian, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, was born. The aristocrat, who entered No.10 from the Lords and lasted less than a year, was the last Premier to “emerge” from a mysterious system of consultations dubbed the ‘Magic Circle’. His appointment, on the advice of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan from his hospital bed, caused a furore. Two leading Tories refused to serve in his administration and he later scrapped the appointment process, introducing leadership election ballots. He was the only man since the Marquess of Salisbury in 1895 to become Premier from the House of Lords. He resigned his six peerages just four days later and, after a by-election, returned to the Commons as MP for Kinross and West Perthshire. His short-lived period of office lasted less than a year from October 1963 to October 1964, spanning the period of the assassination of US President, John F.Kennedy. Following his resignation, he took the title, Lord Home of the Hirsel.
  • On this day in 1938 Sir John Burnett, the renowned Scottish architect, died. His most famous commissions include the Royal Institute of Fine Arts; the Alhambra, and the Athenaeum, all in Glasgow, and the the North front of the British Museum, the Institute of Chemistry, and the extenstion to Selfridges, all in London.

July 3rd

  • On this day in 1728 Robert Adam, the Scottish architect, furniture and interior designer, was born. Adam is regarded as a leading exponent of the neoclassical revival in the latter part of the 18th Century. As equally well-regarded for the interior designs of his buildings as the exteriors, the Old Quad of the University of Edinburgh is a good example of his work in Scotland.
  • On 3 July 2001 Billy Liddell, the Scottish international footballer, died. During his career with Liverpool during the 1940-50s he scored 229 times in 537 games for the club. He also played for Scotland 28 times and was one of only two players who appeared in the Great Britain side that faced a team from the rest of Europe in both 1947 and 1955, the other being Stanley Matthews.
  • On 3 July 1883, the Clyde shipyards suffered their worst accident when the SS Daphne capsized at her launch. The packet steamer had been built by the Linthouse yard of Alexander Stephen and Sons and immediately sank into the River Clyde, taking the lives of the 195 workmen on board. It was later discovered that the 460-ton ship had little stability when it was launched, and rolled over forty-five degrees, taking huge amounts of water through a large deck opening.

July 4th

  • On this day in 1913 Scottish novelist, Oswald Wynd, was born. Wynd was born in Japan to Scots missionary parents. He lived there for most of his youth and acquired joint citizenship. During the war, Wynd’s regiment was ambushed in Malaysia by Japanese forces and he was held in Japan as a prisoner. He was released after the war and left Japan, vowing never to return, although the country loomed over many of his works as an author. Wynd’s most well-known work is ‘The Ginger Tree’, the tale of a Scotswoman’s life in Japan in the early part of the century. He is also known as the writer of thrillers under the pseudonym Gavin Black.
  • 4 July 1899 saw the birth of Roy Henderson, the Scottish operatic baritone. Henderson sang the role of Count Almaviva in Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ at the inauguration of Glyndebourne Festival Opera on 28 May 1934.

July 5th

  • On 5 July 1530 Border reiver, John Armstrong of Gilnockie, and 50 of his men were hanged for blackmail by James V. Armstrong was a well-known laird in the Borders area, and although a frequent marauder in England, he is not known to have attacked in Scotland. However, his wealth and power in a troublesome region brought the resentment of James V. Armstrong was tricked into attending a royal hunt only to be seized on his arrival. He faced the king, and volubly remonstrated with him that he had “asked grace at a graceless face.” Legend has it that the trees at Carnlanrig, where Armstrong and his followers were hanged, withered, and none have grown there since.
  • Today in 1820, William Rankine, the engineer and physicist, was born. Rankine is noted for his work in thermodynamics. He devised the ‘Rankine Cycle’, a theoretical ideal process for the operation of turbines and steam engines, in which a condensing vapour is the working fluid. He served as the first President of the Institute of Engineers in Scotland.

July 6th

  • On 6 July 1747 Scottish naval figure, John Paul Jones, was born. He was born John Paul in a small, white-washed cottage at Arbigland near Kirkbean, Kircudbrightshire. Regarded as the founder of the American navy, Jones became an American national hero during the War of Independence. As captain of the ‘Bonhomme Richard’, on 23 September 1779, he scored one of America’s greatest sea victories against Britain when he attacked a Baltic merchant fleet protected by the British warships, ‘HMS Serapis’ and ‘HMS Countess of Scarborough’. When he was asked “Do you ask for quarter?”, he made his famous reply, “I have not yet begun to fight!”. He was victorious but his ship sank two days later. In later life he was appointed a Rear-Admiral in the Russian navy, although he was later relieved of his post after a quarrel with Catherine the Great’s lover, Potemkin.
  • At around ten o’clock in the evening of July 6th 1988 the Piper Alpha oil platform in the North Sea was rocked by a huge explosion. Blasts continued on the platform throughout that night, and by morning 167 men had died. Only 61 men were taken from the platform alive, and two seamen on the rescue vessel, Sandhaven, also died.

July 7th

  • On this day in 1814 the novel ‘Waverley’, by Sir Walter Scott, was published. Waverley was Scott’s first novel, and written mainly as a way of proving himself a superior literary talent to Byron. Although it was published anonymously as a safety net against its failure, it was an open secret who the author was. Scott needn’t have worried: the book was a runaway success and Scott became regarded as the leading author in Europe.
  • On 7 July 1307 King Edward I of England died on his last punitive expedition to Scotland at Burgh-on-Sands, near Carlisle. The epitaph to him in Westminster Abbey, London, reads “Edwardus Primus Scotorum Malleus hic est.” – “Edward the First, hammer of the Scots.” His successor, Edward II, was to prove less successful in dealing with Scotland.

July 8th

  • On 8 July 1647 Frances Stuart, Scottish aristocrat and mistress of Charles II, was born. A favourite of King Charles II, she became known as “la belle Stuart”. She survived a scandal engineered by the king’s number-one mistress, the duchess of Cleveland, who was worried she might be supplanted in the king’s affections. She was briefly banished from court, but returned to favour when the king nursed her back to health after catching smallpox. Stuart earned an enduring place in history when she was chosen by the King to sit as the model for Britannia, her profile appearing on British coins into the modern day.
  • On this day in 1823, the renowned artist, Sir Henry Raeburn, died. Raeburn was known as the “Scottish Reynolds”, and became famous for his portraits of Scottish notables. Aside from his portrait of “Rev Robert Walker skating”, his other well-known works include “Colonel Alasdair Mcdonnell of Glengarry” and “Portrait of Neil Gow.”

July 9th

  • On this day in 1867 Queens Park Football Club was formed, the first senior club in Scotland. The club dominated the early days of Scottish football, supplying all 11 players to the first ever Scottish international side. With the advent of professionalism, the club determined to retain its amateur status and as a result slid down the leagues. Nicknamed the Spiders, Queen’s Park are still the only amateur team in the Scottish senior football set-up, and still play their games at Hampden Park, Glasgow, the home of the Scottish national side.
  • On 9 July 1845 Gilbert, Lord Minto, the Scottish colonial politician, was born. Minto served as Governor-General of Canada between 1898 and 1905, and as Viceroy of India, 1905-1910. His reform of the electoral laws in India, by providing for separate Hindu and Muslim electorates, was seen as enlightened policy at the time, but has since been criticised for hastening the partition of the sub-continent into two states.
  • Today in 1911 saw the birth of Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, the Chief of Clan Fraser, Scottish aristocrat and soldier. Fraser, a Second World War hero, played a key role in the development of the commandos and was actively involved in both the Dieppe Raid, 1942, and D-Day landings, 1944.

July 10th

  • On 10 July 1989 Glasgow Rangers signed Maurice Johnston. One of the last bastions of Scottish Protestant sectarianism, Rangers shocked many of its supporters when the club, under manager Graeme Souness, signed Maurice Johnston from the French club, Nantes, for £1.50m. Johnston had not only played for arch-rivals Celtic, but was the first well-known Roman Catholic player to sign for Rangers in modern times.
  • On 10 July 1802 Robert Chambers, the Scottish naturalist and publisher, was born. Author of ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’, a pioneering work on the theory of evolution, he was also co-founder, with his brother William, of ‘Chambers Encyclopaedia.’

July 11th

  • On 11 July 1274 Robert the Bruce was born in Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire. The heir of the Earl of Carrick, Bruce’s father was one of Scotland’s leading nobles and his grandfather was one of the leading contenders to the throne left empty by the death of Margaret of Norway. After the death of William Wallace, Bruce led the campaign to regain Scottish independence, culminating in his stunning victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314.
  • On the 11 July 1370 Marjory Stewart, the daughter of King Robert II, married John Dunbar, the first Earl of Moray, against her father’s consent. Dunbar died after injuring himself at a tournament in London in 1391, but their son Thomas succeeded the title.

July 12th

  • On July 1 1803 Rev Thomas Guthrie, founder of the Ragged Schools, was born. After founding a savings bank at his first parish in Angus, Guthrie, shocked by the poverty surrounding his new charge in Edinburgh’s old town, founded a “Ragged School”, a privately funded school intended to give the poor a good education on Protestant lines. This model was succesfully copied across the country and provided the basis for the state industrial schools. Guthrie was also active during the Disruption, becoming a leading light in the new Free Church and serving as its moderator in 1862.
  • On July 12th 1698 a small fleet of five ships set out for the Isthmus of Darien in Panama carrying Scotland’s hopes of founding a new empire on board. The driving force behind the expedition was William Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England. The expedition arrived on 30th October 1698 and the first act of the pioneers was to bury those among them who had died en route. Within seven months of their arrival a third of the 1200 who had travelled were dead and the consensus among those left was to abandon the venture.

July 13th

  • On this day in 1249 Alexander III, King of Scots, was crowned at Scone. Crowned at the age of eight, Alexander ruled Scotland for 35 years. His reign became known as “The Golden Age” as it was a largely peaceful and prosperous time for the Scots, with only a minor conflict with Norway over the Inner Hebrides to mar it. The end to his reign was a disaster for the nation, however, as he died without issue, and the subsequent infighting amongst the nobility led to English overlordship.
  • Today in July 1820 saw the commencement of the trial, in Stirling, of the Radicals captured at the Battle of Bonnymuir. All those accused faced the charge of High Treason and two of the accused, John Baird and Andrew Hardie, were subsequently executed on 8 September 1820.

July 14th

  • On 14 July 1820 John Gibson Lockhart, the Scottish biographer, was born. Lockhart’s first venture into the world of literature was as co-editor of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine which he transformed into one of the leading periodicals of its day. Son-in-law of the novelist, Sir Walter Scott, he himself was also a noted novelist, writing, among other works, a depiction of the temptation of a rural minister, Adam Blair. However, he is best known as a biographer, particularly of his father-in-law, Walter Scott, although he also wrote noted biographies of Burns and Napoleon.
  • On 14th July 1648 Cavalry units from the Scottish Engager army clashed with Lambert’s Parliamentarian cavalry at Penrith. The Engager forces were commanded by the Duke of Hamilton, who made several mistakes in planning and executing his advance south, and quickly made themselves unpopular with the local population for their plundering and excesses.

July 15th

  • On 15 July 1914 Gavin Maxwell, the Scottish novelist and naturalist, was born. Maxwell was born into a family of minor aristocracy and grew up in rural Wigtownshire, where he acquired a lifelong love of nature. During the war, Maxwell served as a Commando instructor on Arisaig, which fired a love for the Highlands. Following the war he turned to writing, after the failure of a basking shark fishery. He is best known as the author of ‘Ring of Bright Water’, a touching tale of his attempts to establish an otter sanctuary in Sandaig.
  • On this day in 1909 William Gemmell Cochran, Scottish mathematician, was born in Rutherglen. Cochran is highly regarded in the field of statistics, having carried out fundamental work on the design of agricultural experiments, forecasting the effects of weather on crop yields and sample survey design. During the Second World War he worked in America, examining probabilities of hits in naval warfare, and by 1945 he was working on bombing raid strategies.

July 16th

  • On 16 July 1832 31 Shetland “sixerns” and a total of 105 crewmen were lost in a storm. The event is still remembered as “The Bad Day”. A London Distress Fund was set up and raised the sum of £3000.95 The money was raised for the dependants of the crofter-fishermen lost. The crew of one boat did manage a lucky escape from the storm as they were picked up by a passing American sloop. However, the Captain of the American vessel refused to alter his course to Philadelphia and so, despite passing close to Orkney, the survivors had to cross the Atlantic and endure a further six months away from home before returning.

July 17th

  • On July 17 1790 economist, Adam Smith, died in Edinburgh. Regarded as the father of the science of Economics and author of the pioneering work, ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations’, Smith was a leading exponenent of free-market economics, arguing that the “invisible hand” of self-interest guides the most efficient use of resources in an economy, and that unbridled market forces would bring about a balanced society.
  • On 17 July 1695 the Bank of Scotland was established under an Act of the Scottish Parliament. Fittingly, it was a Scot, William Paterson, who founded the Bank of England, since it was an Englishman, John Holland, who was largely responsible for the foundation of the Bank of Scotland. Holland was a successful merchant in the City of London, and was responsible for drawing up the Constitution of the bank and the Act which was passed into the Statute Book. He also served as the Bank’s first Governor.

July 18th

  • On 18 July 1593 King James VI was taken prisoner by the Earl of Bothwell at Holyrood. The king remained as Bothwell’s prisoner throughout July and August, as Bothwell enjoyed the support of Elizabeth of England. However, once James had managed to extricate himself from Bothwell’s clutches, he determined to exact revenge, issuing a strong rebuke to Elizabeth for supporting his rival and crushing Bothwell’s forces on the field of battle.
  • July 18 1948 saw the birth of Jim Watt, Scottish boxer. After a successful amateur career, Watt turned professional in 1968 and quickly rose to the top of the lightweight division before adding British and European titles to his collection during the 1970s. The pinnacle of his career came when he became world lightweight champion between 1979 and 1981. On his retiral Watt had won 38 of his 48 professional bouts.

July 19th

  • On 19 July 1896 AJ Cronin, the Scottish novelist, was born. Cronin is most fondly remembered as the creator of the hugely popular character, Dr.Finlay. He also achieved acclaim as the author of the novels ‘The Keys to the Kingdom’, ‘The Stars Look Down’ and ‘The Citadel’.
  • The 19 July 1333 saw the Battle of Halidon Hill at Berwick, where an English army, led by Edward III and Edward Balliol, defeated the Scots forces under the command of Sir Archibald Douglas. The defeat was mainly down to the English archers who devastated the Scottish ranks, inflicting terrible losses, including six earls, 70 barons and over 500 knights.

July 20th

  • On this day in 1811 James Bruce, the 8th Lord Elgin, Scottish Liberal statesman and diplomat, was born. During his career he served as Governor-General of Canada, 1847-54, and India, 1862-63, and was also special envoy to China and Japan. During a visit to China he burnt down the emperor’s famous Summer Palace in Beijing, destroying thousands of priceless works of art, in order to intimidate the Chinese emperor and force him to sign an unratified treaty.
  • On this day in 1819 geologist, John Playfair, died. Playfair pioneered the theory that rivers carve out their own valleys. He was a close friend of geologist, James Hutton, and wrote ‘Illustrations of the Huttonion Theory of the Earth’, which amplified and expanded upon Hutton’s revolutionary ideas about how the Earth was formed.

July 21st

  • On 21 July 1796 Robert Burns died in Dumfries. Burns was aged only 37 at his death. The cause of death appears to have been heart failure, probably brought on by the hard physical work done in his youth. His widow, Jean Armour, gave birth to a son on the day of her husband’s funeral. However, Maxwell, named after Burns’s doctor, died in infancy.
  • On 21 July 1827 Archibald Constable, the Scottish publisher, died. Responsible for printing many of Sir Walter Scott’s works, Constable was the owner of the Encyclopaedia Britannica for a decade and was responsible for the commissioning of the 6th edition.

July 22nd

  • Today in 1298 the Battle of Falkirk took place. King Edward I of England defeated the Scots under Sir William Wallace. The defeat caused Wallace, the “Guardian of Scotland”, to leave the country in self-imposed exile while the English continued to exercise overlordship.
  • On 22 July 1793 Alexander MacKenzie, the Stornoway-born explorer, reached the Pacific Ocean from Canada by land in the first crossing of the North American continent. Mackenzie marked his triumph by carving the words “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by Land 22 July 1793” on a rock.
  • On this day in 1902 Marion Wilberforce, the pioneering Scottish aviatrix, was born. One of the first eight women pilots to be recruited by the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1940, her job was to fly new aircraft from the factories to the squadrons. This work was originally done by men, generally pilots who were not fully fit for operational flying and who were nicknamed “Ancient and Tattered Airmen”. The women were nicknamed “Atagirls”. In order to do the job the women had to overcome the deeply ingrained sexual prejudices of men in politics and the armed forces.

July 23rd

  • On July 23 1637 Jenny Geddes threw a stool at the Dean of St. Giles Cathedral, sparking the movement to the Covenant. Geddes was objecting to the use of the new prayer book authorised by Charles I, her immortal words being “Dost thou say Mass in my lug?” There is a lot of doubt as to the veracity of the story, although it is true that the prayer book, as with all of Charles’ attempts to introduce Episcopacy ino Scotland, made him hugely unpopular and led to the signing of the National Covenant in 1638.
  • On 23 July 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stewart, ‘The Young Pretender’, landed in Eriskay with only seven men. Charles soon managed to talk round Cameron of Lochiel to his cause and within a month had raised his standard at Glenfinnan. The last Jacobite Rising was to follow.
  • On this day in 1946 James Maxton, the Scottish Socialist politician, died. Maxton was born into a middle-class family in Glasgow, but was converted to Socialism while working as a teacher, joining the Independent Labour Party soon after. Elected as MP for Bridgeton in 1922, he retained the seat until his death. He often criticised the government of Ramsay MacDonald for its moderate policies, and when the National Government was formed by MacDonald he successfully persuaded the Independent Labour Party to break away from the Labour Party.

July 24th

  • 24 July 1411 saw the Battle of Harlaw, near Inverurie. The battle was fought between the Crown forces under the Earl of Mar and a Highland army led by Donald, Lord of the Isles. Heavy casualties were inflicted on both sides but victory went to the Royal forces as the Highlanders withdrew. The city of Aberdeen suffered heavy losses with the death of Provost Robert Davidson and many of the City Burgesses fighting on the Crown side.
  • On the 24 July 1567 Mary, Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate the throne. Lords Ruthven and Lindsay visited Mary while she was held at Loch Leven castle and threatened her with immediate execution if she did not sign the abdication papers there and then. Unsurprisingly, Mary abdicated, leaving her infant son James as monarch and her half-brother Moray as Regent.

July 25th

  • On this day in 2002 George Bruce, the Scottish poet, broadcaster and critic, died at the age of 93. Bruce was one of the poets of the Scottish literary renaissance, initiated by Hugh MacDiarmid in the 1920s, which brought to prominence Sorley Maclean, Norman MacCaig, George Mackay Brown, Hamish Henderson and Iain Crichton Smith. He became well-known as the producer of ‘Counterpoint’, Scotland’s first television arts programme. In 1970 he left the BBC, becoming Glasgow University’s first fellow in creative writing. As well as publishing poetry and anthologies, he was for 12 years a theatre and literary critic for ‘The Sunday Times’. Over a period of 60 years he was to publish eight books of poetry in both English and Scots; he also edited six anthologies of poetry, and seven books on Scottish art and culture.
  • On 25 July 1843 Charles Macintosh, inventor of the plastic mac, died. Macintosh discovered the first rainproof cloth in 1818, by joining two sheets of fabric together with dissolved indiarubber. Although Macintosh is best known for his eponymously titled coats, he made significant advances in many fields of chemistry. As well as inventing a revolutionary bleaching powder with Charles Tennant, he also discovered a fast method of using carbon gases to convert iron to steel, and devised a hot-blast process which produced high quality cast iron.

July 26th

  • On 26 July 1513 James IV responded to pleas for assistance from France and declared war on England. Aside from assisting the French, who had been invaded by an English army, James was also aggrieved at England’s seizing of two Scottish ships and the non-payment of part of the dowry for his wife, Margaret Tudor. The war did not go to plan, however, and the Scots suffered probably their greatest military defeat at Flodden in September where James was killed.

July 27th

  • 27 July 1689 saw the Battle of Killiecrankie. The battle occurred when the government sent north an army to deal with Viscount Dundee and his newly formed Jacobite army in its Atholl heartland. However, at Killiecrankie the Jacobites delivered a crushing blow to the government troops under General Mackay, but at the loss of Dundee. Without Dundee’s leadership, the uprising foundered after meeting strong resistance from Cameronians at Dunkeld. During the battle, one of Mackay’s soldiers, a Donald MacBean, is said to have jumped 18ft across the River Garry to safety at what is now known as the ‘Soldier’s Leap’.
  • On 27 July 1913 John Cairncross, Scottish spy, was born. Cairncross was the so-called “fifth man” in the ring of spies recruited at Cambridge University in the 1930s to work for Moscow. Soviet double-agent, Oleg Gordievsky, who defected to Britain in 1985, had publicly named Cairncross, a former Foreign Office and Treasury official, as the fifth man, but this was denied by Cairncross. However, in 1991 he admitted to being the fifth man in the spy ring comprising Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt. In 1995, he returned to Britain after 40 years of self-imposed exile to write his memoirs. He died before they were completed.

July 28th

  • On 28 July 1683, Queen Anne Stuart married Prince George of Denmark. Anne was the second daughter of the catholic King James II, Duke of York (1685-88), but was raised a protestant under the guidance of her uncle, King Charles II. Her marriage to George was devoted but politically unremarkable. Of her 18 pregnancies between 1683 and 1700, five children were born alive and only one, a son, outlived infancy, but he did not survive to take the throne, and she remained heirless.
  • On 28th July 1645 at Dunkeld, Perthshire, the Royalist Marquess of Montrose beat General Baillie in a skirmish which was part of the English Civil War. For a war of positions the Highlanders had neither aptitude nor inclination, and at Dunkeld the greater part of them went home.

July 29th

  • 29 July 1946 saw the birth of Bill Forsyth, Scottish film director and screenwriter. Born in Whiteinch in 1946, the son of a plumber, Forsyth wrote the script of Gregory’s Girl (1981) to showcase the talents of Glasgow Youth Theatre. Lack of funding prompted him to make That Sinking Feeling (1979) instead, the success of which led to him being given the go-ahead to make Gregory’s Girl. The quirky and touching tale of teenage love became one of the true classics of Scottish cinema, and Forsyth received the British Academy Award for Best Screenplay. He further explored his distinctive style of gentle, character-driven humour in the internationally acclaimed Local Hero (1983).
  • On this day in 1567 King James VI was crowned at Stirling. Regarded as ‘The Wisest Fool in Christendom,’ he succeeded to the English throne in 1603. He subsequently only revisited his northern kingdom once. One-year-old Charles James was crowned King James VI of Scotland in a Protestant ceremony in the Church of the Holy Rude, close to Stirling Castle; John Knox preached a sermon. It was exactly two years since Mary married Darnley.

July 30th

  • On this day in 1547 the Protestants responsible for the murder of Cardinal David Beaton surrendered St Andrews Castle to French forces. Beaton’s execution in 1546 of the popular preacher, George Wishart, sparked a rebellion of Protestant lairds who seized the castle and killed Beaton. They held the castle for a year but were forced to surrender to the French army. John Knox, who had joined the Castilians, as they were known, served 19 months on French galleys, but eventually he and the other prisoners, except for one who died in captivity, regained their freedom through escape or release.
  • Today in 1971 saw the beginning of the work-in at John Brown’s Clydebank Shipbuilding Yard, organised by stalwart Socialist, Jimmy Reid. This was in response to the Ted Heath Tory government’s plans to liquidate the yard – Reid exposed these as unethical. As a result, Heath was forced to admit defeat and closure was delayed for a number of years.

July 31st

  • On this day in 1999, the reconvened Scottish Parliament was officially opened. After a devolution referendum showed resounding support for the reconvening of the Scottish parliament, plans were put into motion for the creation of such a body. The parliament would sit in the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. Elections were held on May 1 1999 and the first sitting of the body took place on May 12 of that year. The official opening on July 1 saw the Queen transfer full constitutional powers to Edinburgh.
  • This date in July 1731 saw the birth of Admiral Adam Duncan, the Scottish sailor. A native of Dundee, Duncan was born into a mercantile family but left home at fifteen to become a midshipman in the navy. Duncan went on to command ‘HMS Blenheim’ at the relief of Gibraltar in October 1782, but his greatest moment was the victory over the Dutch at the battle of Camperdown in 1797. Camperdown was a disaster for the Dutch, with their fleet being crushed and their commander, Admiral de Winther, being captured. Duncan returned to great acclaim and was awarded the title of Viscount Duncan of Camperdown.

And so ends July in Scottish History