Friday, March 14, 2008

Stirling. A Wedding and Stirling Castle; History of Stirling

Stirling, Scotland, traditional wedding

Love around the world. Enjoy this happenstance photo of a couple, kilts and all in the family, and the bagpiped processing up the cobblestones to their reception at Stirling Castle.

Stirling, like so many castles, rents itself out to banquets and special events. See its formidable location here, at In 1299, Robert the Bruce reclaimed it from the English. Short-lived. See its timeline at, and history at ://

Stirling Castle, on its high outcrop of rock, stands vigil over the lowest point for crossing the River Forth. Records are paltry for prior to 1100 AD. Then, things begin. A Chapel is dedicated there, Cambuskenneth Abbey is built on the grounds below, by the river, and William the Lion sets up a hunting park at Stirling.

British hunting parks were an early land-management idea, geared, however, for the benefit of the local lord. A monarch or ruler would set aside lands for fostering herds of game animals, but included in the concept were laws governing forest management, and restricting access by common people, see Encyclopedia of World Environmental History at page 979 here, at this Google book. The book also describes and compares uses of "commons" and later public parks.

Then William I was captured, and his release was conditioned upon the English getting Stirling. Then the British give it back, and William ultimately dies there. See Timeline at Read there of the series of building programs, murders, sieges, all the stuff of England vs. Scotland and aspiring ruler vs. aspiring ruler at that site. Use these sites that offer timelines - quick reference for an overview.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Culture. Travellers in Scotland - Roma, Romani

Hardly visible when you are there, just looking like "poor people," but no indication from dress that these are "gypsies." Or Travellers. No caravans on the roads, just shantytowns off to the side, a distance away. See the Scottish Traveller Education Program or STEP at :// for an overview. There is also a Travellers Times at :// that serves Great Britain's Travellers.

Their identity may be different from mainland Europe's groups.

Language: a "non-standard Scots" says STEP. Also contains Gaelic and Old Scots. A Travellers' Cant.

Groups: Some call themselves "Newkins" or "Nachins" says STEP. They have cultural elements in common with Europe's groups, but are not recognized as an ethnic group in Scotland. There are Occupational Travellers, New Travellers, Scottish Gypsies/ Travellers, Travellers from elsewhere in Europe or Britain.

Interest: mention of Welsh Kale gypsies at the STEP site - and mention of Cale gypsies in Spain at a site (have to look it up) at the England Travellers post, where there is a migration map. Did the Spanish Cale get up to Wales? By boat? How? Any connection?

Cultural connect: Johnny Faa - the Gypsy Laddie, 17th Century, ballad, lured off the Lord's Lady - see // There is a John Faa in the film, "The Golden Compass," see Gypsies, Roma, posts on Johnny Faa.