February 2013

In this Issue:

 The Games are Coming  Coming Events
 Celtica Concert  February Celebrations
 Scottish Brownies  Society Officers
 Robert the Bruce - Part 1  Flowers of the Forest
 Know the Clans  

The Games are Coming

The 49th Annual Arizona Scottish Gathering & Highland Games - Mar 23-24 - Steele Indian School Park—300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix

Pipe bands, highland dancing, country dancing, re-enactors, vintage British car exhibit, venders, entertainment, wee lads and lassies area.

Tickets--$15 Adult (16 & over)  $10 Seniors (60 & over)  $5 children (5-15) Kids under age 5 are free) -    Add second day for just $5 per ticket
Early discount tickets available on our website Games page at arizonascots.com

Take the Valley Metro light rail to Central Avenue and Indian School Rd.  It stops right at our gate.


Celtica Concert

Enjoy a day at the Arizona Highland Games, Saturday March 23, then join us for the concert by CELTICA that evening.  This high energy group will perform at 8 pm at the Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix.      

Scottish Browies

There was a time in parts of Scotland when it was not at all uncommon for householders to claim that their home harboured a resident brownie, or broonie.  He was never seen in daytime but after dark, when everyone was in bed, he would be heard washing the dishes, cleaning pots and pans, scrubbing and polishing.  In the morning all would be spick and span.

What did they look like, these obliging creatures?  They were small men, usually about three feet high, and covered in shaggy reddish-brown hair.  Their clothing was brown too and sometimes ragged.  They often had wrinkled faces and some folk said they had no noses, only holes to breathe through.

Brownies were rarely seen, for they valued their privacy.  They hid in secret places in daylight hours and it was best not to look for them.  Having a brownie about the house was not all a bed of roses.  You had to tread carefully if you did not want him to leave.  They were notoriously touchy and quick tempered.  If you wanted him to stay you had to be very careful not to offend.  Do anything to arouse his anger and he would leave. 

The odd thing was that acts of kindness toward him annoyed him more than anything.  A simple gesture of generosity would drive him mad with rage and before you knew it, he was gone.  Sir Walter Scott knew about brownies.  He described them as "a class of beings distinct in habit and disposition from the freakish and mischievous elves."

A brownie's wants were simple, but had to be supplied regularly.  Some housewives left him break and milk every night, others a bowl of porridge.  If you wanted to heave him something extra as a treat, you had to leave it where he would find it but not think it was intended for him. Most brownies made themselves so useful and were so harmless that no one seems to have had any fear of them.

If, however, you wanted to be rid of him it was not too difficult.  To "lay" or "hire away" a brownie you simply left him a small present.  Another method was to ask a minister to try to baptize him.  Brownies were terrified of Christian symbols and would   be out of the house like a shot.

How did all these stories about brownies arise?  One interesting theory is that the brownie tradition springs out of an ancient folk memory of a lone member of a defeated tribe who, with his people scattered, would hang around the fringes of the victors, performing menial tasks for scraps flung to him or furtively stolen.  In folklore, which has a language of its own, brownies and other creatures who attach themselves to families or groups are known as tutelary beings.  In some cultures there are or were house spirits watching over property, valuables and so on.

Robert the Bruce - King Robert 1st of Scots - Part 1

The death of Scotland's able King Alexander III in the fall from his horse in 1286, and the subsequent death of the recognized heir, his granddaughter, threw the succession into confusion. Thirteen "competitors" pursued their claims to the Scottish throne, of whom the two most convincing were those of Robert Bruce, Earl of Annandale, and John Balliol, both descendants of King David I.

King Edward I of England was called in to adjudicate the issue and selected Balliol; but when Edward claimed overlordship of Scotland based on Scottish submissions of the past, this was not accepted and Edward set out northwards to chasten them, humiliating Balliol and sending him into exile in France. The Bruce faction had hitherto been on Edward's side, holding as they did considerable land in England.  However, Bruce's grandson Robert, Earl of Carrick (later to become King Robert I) joined the popular revolt at the time of William Wallace, though always in the interests of his own family's claim and not that of Balliol.

The apparent contradictions in loyalty and changing of sides, which took place during this period seem strange to us today; but the concept of Nationalism as we know it was not such an issue at that time.   Most of the Scottish nobility shared Anglo-Norman origins with their English counterparts, held lands in England and frequently intermarried. 

After the defeat of the Scots at Falkirk in 1298, the younger Bruce continued with the resistance forces and was in fact made one of the joint Guardians of the realm in an uneasy alliance with mostly pro-Balliol supporters including the powerful Comyn family.  However in 1302, Bruce submitted to Edward and soon found himself back in favor.  He may have been willing to do this because at this stage personal and family ambitions still dominated rather than any wider patriotism. 

The thought of gaining the throne of Scotland was always in Bruce's mind however, and not succeeding in obtaining it with Edward's aid, he finally committed himself to gaining it on his own when he killed John Comyn, a former joint Guardian and first Balliol supporter at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries.  This killing on sacred ground rendered Bruce to automatic excommunication from the church.

Bruce took the initiative and acted quickly, gathering his followers and being crowned at Scone near Perth, but the events of the following months must have seem like a judgment from heaven. As well as a series of military defeats, three of his four brothers were captured and executed, his wife and daughter and other female relatives were imprisoned, and he only just escaped himself.  Determined not to be disheartened by his disastrous start, Bruce regrouped and started to campaign again and gradually recovered some of the towns and castles that had been lost.  These castles were deliberately destroyed after their recapture in order that they could not be retaken by the English, which is why so little remains today of the original medieval buildings of the great Scottish castles.

Next month, Part 2.  King Robert I battles "The Hammer of the Scots".

Flowers of the Forest

Pam Allan, a member of the Caledonian Society for many years, passed away on December 12, 2012.  She was an advocate for people with disabilities and often organized disabled people to help with the Highland Games, taking tickets at the gate or other activities that were within their abilities.  She always worked at the Games herself, doing anything she was able to do.  We send our sympathies to all her many friends.

Know the Clans:
What's in a Name?
By Ron Dempsey, FSA Scot


Located in central Scotland is the old town of Stirling which was originally named Strivelyn, meaning place of strife.  Stirling castle sits atop a rocky promontory which gave a view of the surrounding countryside for miles.  As a fortified edifice it saw its share of strife.  The family name was de Strivelyn, later Stirling after the town and they held land in Cadder commencing with a grant of land by King David I in 1147.  The same family hold some of these lands today, quite a rare occurrence for a family after over eight centuries

John de Strivelyn inherited the Cadder Estates in the 14th century by being the grandson of a younger brother of a previous Lord.  He held the post of governor of Dumbarton castle and sheriff of Dumbartonshire in the reign of James I.  He was as well armour bearer for this monarch.  For all this he was knighted in 1430.

In the 15th century a branch of the Stirling family acquired the lands of Keir in Perthshire.  This branch did well by supporting James IV in his rebellion against his father James III.  Other descendants also supported the Stewarts. 

James Stirling came out in favor of the Jacobite cause in 1715 and lost his estates as a result but was able to have them restored to the family..  The Stirling name has made its impact on Scottish history with many members of it's various houses having held important posts in the running and the defense of the Scottish and British realms.  They have served as judges, admirals, Lord Provosts, shire reeves and colonial governors.  Their connection with Dumbarton castle was still in tact when in 1927 Sir George Stirling, ninth baronet of Glorat was make keeper of this castle.   

Coming Events

February 2    Burns Supper - Fiesta Inn - Tempe
February 14 Vvalentine's Day - NO MONTHLY MEETING FOR FEB
March 22 Pipe Jam - Westin Kierland
March 23 Celtica Concert - Crescnet Ballroom
March 23-25 Scottish Gathering and Highland Games

February Celebrations
If you would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information by email to anjrams@cox.net and it will be included in our Celebration list.

February 2 Elizabeth Reich - Birthday
February 7 Jo Ramsdell - Birthday
February 9 Alexandra Cheek - Birthday
February 13 Pam Stweart - Birthday
February 18 Jean Latimer - Birthday
February 19 John Beatty - Birthday
February 27 Hope Singleton - Birthday
February 28 Jason Temple - Birthday
February 29 Greg & Kim Duprest - Anniversary

Caledonian Society Officers
Area Chairperson
President: (2012 – 2014) Wendy Hurley
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
1st Vice President: Mark Clark
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Membership and Programs Chair Don Finch
Trustee: Mark Pelletier
Trustee: Andy Walker
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell