March 2013

In this Issue:

 Why the Welsh Wear Leeks  Coming Events
 Patron Staint of Ireland is a Scot?  March Celebrations
 Scottish Weather  Society Officers
 Robert the Bruce - Part 2  Flowers of the Forest
 Know the Clans  

Why do the people of Wales wear leeks on their lapels on March 1?

It may seem strange to us to have a relative of the onion pinned on your lapel or sticking from your hat, but there is a very good reason for this in Wales. First of all, March 1 is St. David's Day in Wales. St. David is the patron saint of Wales, just as St. Andrew is of Scotland and St. Patrick is of Ireland. Tradition has it that St. David died on March 1 in 589. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

To celebrate the day the Welsh people wear either a daffodil, (a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or a leek (which was St. David's personal symbol). Wearing the leek arises from an occasion when a troop of Welshmen were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemies dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks on their helmets. Also daffodils and leeks have similar names in Welsh—Cenhinen (leek), Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil).

Why do the people of Ireland have a Scotsman for their patron saint?

March 17 is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and it is celebrated by the Irish all over the world. Strange, perhaps, since St. Patrick was born in Scotland (Roman Britain at the time). St. Patrick was born ca.387 and died on March 17, 460 (according to tradition). He lived in his native Scotland until he was about 16 when he was captured by Irish raiders and taken, as a slave, to Ireland. After six years serving as a herds man, he escaped and returned to Scotland and his family.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he became a cleric and returned to Ireland as a missionary, an ordained bishop. Little is known about his work but by the 17th century he had become revered as a saint and later chosen for the patron saint of Ireland.

Scottish Weather

40 Degrees – Arizonans shiver uncontrollably. People in Scotland sunbathe.
35 Degrees — Italians cars won't start. People in Scotland drive with windows open.
20 Degrees — Floridians wear coats, gloves, hats. People in Scotland throw on a t-shirt.
15 Degrees — Californians begin to evacuate the state. Scots go swimming.
Zero Degrees — New York landlords finally turn up the heat. Scots have the last BBQ before it gets cold.
10 Below — People in Miami cease to exist. Scots lick flagpoles.
20 Below — Californians fly away to Mexico. Scots throw on a light jacket.
80 Below — Polar bears begin to evacuate the artic. Scottish boy scouts postpone winter survival classes until it gets cold enough.
100 Below — Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Scots pull down their ear flaps.
173 Below — Ethyl alcohol freezes. Scottish cows complain of farmers with cold hands.
460 Below — All atomic motion stops. Scots say, "Chilly, isn't it?"
500 Below — Hell freezes over. Scots support England in the World Cup

Robert the Bruce - King Robert 1st of Scots - Part 2

Edward I, the "Hammer of the Scots" had no intention of tolerating the set backs his forces had endured from Robert the Bruce and his Scottish troops using skilled leadership and guerilla warfare to win victories and gradually recover much of what had been lost to the English early on. Edward set forth northwards once again. However, the now aged king died in Cumbria, within sight of the Scottish border and the removal of this feared adversary gave additional encouragement to the Scots.

By the time Edward's successor, his son Edward II, led a huge English army northwards again, Bruce had not only gained supremacy over the English occupying forces, but had won a virtual civil war against the Comyn and Balliol supporters. By 1314 he could face Edward's approach to relieve Stirling Castle (the last remaining English hands) strongly and loyally supported by an army from all over Scotland united as never before. Bruce's personal struggle for the crown of Scotland had now extended itself into a more universal and symbolic patriotic fight for the freedom of the Realm of Scotland.

The Scottish forces took up a strong site on the slopes above the Bannock Burn a few miles East of Stirling. On the evening before the main battle King Robert himself slew the English knight Henry de Bohun, who had charged towards him to offer single combat. The King's hard-won battle experience was put to good use in the ensuing battle. He did not make the same mistake that Wallace had at Falkirk, and the small but mobile Scottish cavalry force was given the priority task of eliminating the deadly English archers.

This accomplished, the battle became a long, hard slog, with the heavily armoured English knights bogged down in the swampy terrain and the Scots at last gaining the upper hand. Edward managed to escape to Dunbar and thence into England, but large ransoms were gained from many other high ranking English prisoners.

Although Bannockburn was the decisive battle of the war, it is often forgotten that many years of struggle and misery followed the death of Robert I in 1328. There followed a series of underage or ineffectual succeeding kings leading to both internal strife and many battles lost against the "Auld Enemy" of England.

It had always been Robert Bruce's ambition to venture on a crusade, and tradition maintains that after his death his heart was taken in a casket by one of his staunchest supporters, Sir James Douglas, who threw it ahead of him before being cut down in battle against the Moors on his was to Jerusalem.

The heart was later retrieved and taken back for burial in Melrose Abbey.

Flowers of the Forest

Joan Shelbourne, a leading light of the Caledonian Society for many years, passed away February 8. Joan, along with her late husband Terry, were instrumental in forming and leading the Society in its early years. Both were Society Officers and contributed greatly in making our Society and Games the success they are today. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

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


This is a toponym name from lands of the same name in Midlothian. Pronounced "cry ton", it has had many variations in spelling over the centuries which include Creiton, Kreytton, Creighton, etc. First record of the name is Turstan de Crechtune who witnessed a document for King David in 1128

Forest / Forrest

Another place name, self explanatory for one who lived near a forest. It could also be a shortened name for the office of Forrester. 1376 is the oldest record of someone bearing this name. Kirkwood, a fairly generic name that is found in quite a few areas, is also a place name. No origin is offered but one would probably see it as the woods belonging to or nearby the church.

Wood / Woods

This is a generic name from the Old English Wudu to Wode and then the modern Wood that was found all over Scotland since there would be someone who lived near or owned woods in almost every neighborhood. Wood was recorded in 1295 when one William Wod witnessed the transfer of lands. Andrew Wood, a seafarer and ship owner was employed by James III to protect the Scottish trade with Holland. James granted him lands at Largo and bestowed a Knighthood upon him.

Coming Events

March 14 Monthly Meeting
March 22 Pipe Jam - Westin Kierland
March 23 Celtica Concert - Crescent Ballroom
March 23-25 Scottish Gathering and Highland Games
April 11 Monthly Meeting

March 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 and it will be included in our Celebration list.

March 2 Glenn Bell - Birthday
March 5 Roger Dawson - Birthday
March 6 William H. Wallace - Birthday
March 6 Ruth Johnston - Birthday
March 9 Sheila Thatcher - Birthday
March 12 Richard & Christine Cameron - Anniversary
March 17 Paul Smith - Birthday
March 20 Richard Thorton - Birthday
March 23 Dan Miller - Birthday
March 25 Mark Pelletier - Birthday
March 31 Jim Groves - Birthday

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