Tag Archives: Scotland

Those damn Presbyterians!


doc2Presbyterianism is proving to be an important factor in the lives of some of my ancestors, so I’ve been learning more about it.

My great grandmother’s mother was born into an Ulster Presbyterian family. They came to America from Northern Ireland in 1790 and likely migrated from Scotland before that, settling in Ireland.

The Hill family, based on oral traditions and DNA evidence, likely came from Scotland during America’s colonial days. We are closely related to the Johnsons-Johnstons-Johnstowns of southwest Scotland.

August 25, 1560: Led by John Knox, the reformed Church of Scotland is established on Protestant lines. The Scottish parliament accepts the Calvinistic Scots Confession, forbids the mass, and declares the pope has no jurisdiction in Scotland.

But the story doesn’t end there!

The following year things were complicated (to say the least) by the return from France of Mary Queen of Scots to assume her throne and adhere personally to the Catholicism in which she had been raised.



“Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.” Or world.

A mistake etched in stone.

This is etched on a wall at the Scottish Parliament. It is often misattributed to a Scottish writer and artist named Alasdair Gray. Gray credits Dennis Lee, a Canadian poet. A paraphrase of this quote — “Work as if you live in the early days of a better world.” — is on a mural in a subway station in Glasgow.


Three hundred and ninety-two years ago — March 2̶5̶ 27?, 1625 — King James dies.



I signed up to get a daily history email from the folks at the magazine Christianity Today.

March 25 is an important date for me. (It’s my birthday.) So, I like to read about it, that particular day, such as who share a birthday with me.

Well, then I learned that King James died on that day in 1625, only to realize that it is probably a mistake. Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica put his death date as March 27.

I was typing away, nearly ready to publish when I discovered this discrepancy.

Three hundred and ninety-two years ago, King James I of England died — on March 25, 1625. Twenty-one years previously, in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference, he had authorized the translation project that produced the King James translation (KJV) of the Bible.


Straight Outta Scotland


Billy Connolly was great in Dustin Hoffman’s film about aging, retired singers. It’s called Quartet. It’s a fun, little film. I enjoyed it.

I watched an awards show clip on YouTube a week or two ago with Hoffman presenting Connolly with some such thing. It was moving. I didn’t quite understand why Hoffman was there, somewhere in Britain. Now, after seeing the movie, I get it.

Billy Connolly is one of the best. He’s one of my favorites to come out of Scotland — him & Craigy Ferg.