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Friends of the TartanBlog, welcome back. It feels like, well not that long since I last spoke to you really, but long enough to leave me wanting get back in touch. This time around we will be delving into the history of Clan Scott
and I truly couldn’t be more excited, seriously Clan Scott are a darn interesting bunch.
A wee bit of History
The Scott family name comes from the Latin word Scotti,
a word used to describe the Celts of Ireland but eventually came to describe anyone of Gaelic stock, hence Scotland I guess. The first recorded use of Scott as a family name in Scotland is by Uchtred Filius Scott in around 1120. It is not long after this that the family acquired lands in the Borders through the marriage of Sir Richard Scott to the heiress of Murthockstone in 1296, he made his home at Buccleuch which would also give its name to the estate. The Scotts of this time showed great loyalty to the crown, first supporting Robert the Bruce in the wars of independence and then assisting the crown in their struggles against Clan Douglas. Their loyalty was rewarded with Douglas Lands and other assets in the Borders thus making the Scotts one of the most powerful Clans in the region by the end of the fifteenth century, obviously creating enemies along the way, but then again who didn’t in those days?
Of all the enemies of the Scotts, the Kerrs were the most notable; the two clans ended up having a long standing feud. The feud began when Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch launched an operation to rescue James the fifth who was being held captive at Darnick, not too far from Melrose. In the ensuing fight, Kerr of Cessford was killed but the King was rescued and plaudits were showered upon the brave Sir Richard, increasing his power and influence in the area and country as a whole. If you were thinking that the Kerrs were going to let that slide, then you’d be quite wrong indeed. Oh no, the Kerrs waited for twenty six years before exacting their revenge on Sir Richard. Rich was standing on Edinburgh High Street (The Royal Mile) when a mob of Kerrs pounced upon him and put him to death. The feud continued to smoulder away until the Marriage of Sir Thomas Kerr and Janet Scott (sister of the 10th
laird). That’s a little bit of history and I hope it tides us over for now because I have other things I want to talk about and as you are here, I assume you want to hear them.
What I really want to get into is the nature of the people who make up this clan. A good starting point for this is the clan motto; Amo
, the Latin for I love. This motto definitely sums up the Clan, as large a gathering of romantics as you will ever come across. When I say romantic I mean it in its very broadest and all-encompassing sense: lovers, swashbucklers, warriors, wizards, art collectors and writers all make up the Clan’s history.
Perhaps the most fascinating, and somebody that was unknown to me before writing this post, is Michael Scot (not Steve Carrell’s character in the American version of The Office) possibly one of the most highly educated men of his age. Scott studied at Durham, Oxford and the Sorbonne where he focussed on Philosophy, maths, astrology and theology becoming so well respected in the latter that he was recommended for the role of Archbishop of Cashel by Pope Honorius III. Michael Scott turned down this role, as he would again in 1227 when he was offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury, opting instead to wander the continent. He became fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic and published many works across a broad range of topics. Scott was fascinated by alchemy and the occult which led to him being described as a wizard by many of his contemporaries who often attributed bizarre powers to him. Of the powers he was said to possess were things such as transporting food from French and Spanish kitchens by means of spirits, turning witches to stone and vanquishing an unstoppable demon.
Another romantic figure in the Clan is Walter Scott, 1st
Lord Scott of Buccleuch
. This Walter was made the Keeper of Liddesdale in 1594 and two years after that, led the rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong, an infamous Reiver. Armstrong had been captured in violation of a truce and taken to Carlisle Castle to be incarcerated. Scott gathered some men and stormed the castle and freed Armstrong without causing casualty to either side. Unfortunately this caused something of a diplomatic incident between England and Scotland and war looked imminent, to calm the situation Walter gave himself over to the authorities. He was arrested and sent to England where he was supposedly presented to Queen Elizabeth I who questioned him on how he could dare to do something so desperate, Scott’s response was to ask the monarch “What is it that a man dare not do?” this seemingly pleased the Queen so much that she is said to have proclaimed “with ten thousand such men, our brother in Scotland might shake the firmest throne of Europe.” When peace reigned in the Borders, Walter headed to the continent to fight in the Dutch Revolt.
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Sir Walter Scott, Author responsible for the 18th century interest in Scottish culture[/caption]
Ok, ok, ok, I get it let’s talk about Walter Scott, not the one we just spoke about but the truly famous one. Sir Walter Scott, the author of such seminal Scottish classics as Waverly, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and The Heart of Midlothian was indeed a member of this clan and had very close ties to the Scottish Borders, the clan’s native lands. Scott was born in Edinburgh in 1771 and was struck two years later by polio, which he obviously survived but also left him lame. In an attempt to cure his affliction, Walter was sent off to live with his grandparents in the Scottish Borders where he learned much of the area’s folklore. Scott went on to train as a lawyer before discovering his literary talents and embarking on a career as a professional writer at the age of 25. As well as being a well-received author in his own time, Scott was responsible for re-discovering the Crown Jewels of Scotland (apparently they were misplaced somewhere inside Edinburgh Castle) as well as managing King George IV’s visit to Scotland in 1822. It was this visit to Scotland that boosted the interest in Scottish culture and heritage as Scott had King George dress in tartan when he met his subjects.
Notable Scotts in recent years
The Scott tradition for romanticism has been carried on by some of the following.
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Bon Scott, the original voice of AC/DC[/caption]
– the late, great frontman of AC/DC. Bon Scot was born in Scotland before moving to Australia at a young age. After playing in several smaller bands, Scott was introduced to Angus and Malcolm Young and was invited to join their band. Bon Scott performed the vocals on such classics as Highway to Hell, It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) and T.N.T. Sadly Bon Scott passed away in 1980.
– Carrying on the adventurous spirit of the clan, David Scott was born in 1932 near San Antonio Texas. He attended
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Davis Scott, the seventh man on the moon[/caption]
the University of Michigan and West Point Military Academy before choosing a career in the Air Force. In the Air Force where he took part in the Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School and the Aerospace Research Pilot School before becoming an astronaut. As a member of NASA, Scott was the seventh person ever to walk on the moon.
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Ridley Scott - director of classic films[/caption]
Sir Ridley Scott
– Born in the north of England, Ridley Scot has lived up to the story telling reputation of his famous ancestor Walter. Ridley Scott has directed some of the most famous movies of all time. From Blade Runner and Thelma &Louise to Gladiator and The Martian, it would be hard to find somebody who hasn’t seen one of his movies.
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Sean William Scott, Steve Stifler in the American Pie movies[/caption]
Sean William Scott
– Sean, born in 1976, is an American actor most famous for his role as Steve Stifler in the American Pie movie series. Clearly entertainment runs through the veins of Clan Scott.