August 2014

In this Issue:

 The King James Bible  Coming Events
 Meet Our Members  August Celebrations
 Oliphant Plaque at Stirling Castle  Society Officers
 Kilts and Yardage  

The King James Bible

In 1601, the story goes, that King James VI (or James 1 of Scotland) was afraid to cross the stormy Firth Of Forth so he called his nobles and ministers to Burntisland, Fife for a General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Another source says that, while staying at Rossend Castle, he injured his shoulder while out riding so the Assembly was swapped to Burtisland from St. Andrews. A third account indicates a St. Andrews/Burntisland switch was the result of there being plague at St. Andrews. Take your pick.

The kirk at Burntisland is the oldest post-Reformation church still in use and after some years of restoration is now a showpiece. It was that Assembly's decision to make a plain translation of the Bible into English. (The minutes still exists.) This became the authorized or King James Version, the king and court and the ministers all being assembled at Burntisland—whatever the reason. This version has entered our language, a work which as never been equaled. Modern versions may be more precise and up to date (language changes over centuries), but none captures the flavor of the King James or so wins its readers' hearts.

Burntisland Church was begun in 1592 to a novel design, being built four square, all the pews facing inwards to emphasize "the equality of all believers". But soon, of course, a highly-decorated laird's pew and the marked pews of families and trade guilds indicated the Orwellian fact that "some are more equal than others".

The King James Bible, begun in 1601 finally appeared in 1611. Although not at first well accepted, this version has found an immortal place in hearts as well as history.

Meet Our Members

Wendy Hurley - Past President

Wendy & Richard HurleyMy husband Richard and I came to Arizona about ten years ago on a vacation.  During a further trip he was asked to come here to work—he tunes pipe organs.  Soon we were in the throws of moving and I looked up any Scottish organizations in Phoenix.  We attended a meeting in Scottsdale where we met the Ramsdells.  We were invited to a Burns Night at the San Marcos Resort as their guests.  Thus our connection to the Caledonian Society began.

We attended meetings, offered help where required and enjoyed the time therein.  I especially enjoyed helping with the planning of Burns Nights as memories of years gone by came flooding back.  Being born in Scotland (Fife) and attending boarding school (Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire) I felt very much at home. Burns Nights were the highlight of our school year.

I became President three years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the position, the planning, the meetings and all it entailed.  Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to resign after a year.  Taking a step back, a deep breath and time out, I feel now ready, once again to assist where needed and look forward to many exciting evenings with fellow Scots and those of Scottish lineage and those who just love Scotland…and who wouldn't?

Jackie Carro - Long-time Member

Jackie Carro Jackie Carro is the owner of Marketing Ideals Company, a Tempe-based boutique agency offering marketing, public relations and video production services.  Celebrating 20 years, the company serves an array of corporate clients, non-profits and also provides cultural, Valley events.

In 1995, Jackie was presented with an opportunity to work with The Caledonian Society of Arizona and has had the distinct pleasure of playing a small role in its continued growth and success over the years.  Born and raised in a New Jersey, Italian-American household, Jackie wears her honorary badge of CSA membership with great pride.

When asked about one of her fondest memories or cherished moments as a Society member, Jackie replied, "There have been too numerous to count over the years, and I've enjoyed friendships with so many special people—lasting ones that I value and hold close to my heart today.  I think the brightest moments I enjoy with my Scottish friends and family are the ones we share every time we get together.  They are indeed a fun (and rowdy) group."

Tom and Ginni Caldwell - New Members

We live in Arizona from December to May of each year, and in Michigan from May to December…thereby living the best of both worlds!  Tom is a retired school superintendent and past Director of Commerce for the State of Arizona.  Ginni is a retired high school teacher.

Tom & Ginni CaldwellWe joined CSA in 2011.  We originally joined to become more in tune with Tom's Scottish heritage.  We have not held any CSA positions.  Tom is the newly elected Administrator of Clan Oliphant in all of North America.  He was elected at the Clan Conference held in Scotland this month.  Ginni is charged with maintaining the Clan website.

Tom is an Oliphant.  The history and Scotland properties are extensive.  We just got back from a two week visit to the properties and the Clan Gathering.  One notable figure in Clan Oliphant's history is Sir William Oliphant who, in 1304, held Stirling Castle with only 140 men against all of King Edward II's army of 3000+.  King Robert the Bruce gave his youngest daughter, Elizabeth to Sir Walter Oliphant (Sir William's son) in gratitude for his service to himself and Scotland.

We have several favorite memories of CSA…Burns' Night, the Highland Games, helping with the Phoenix Open.

The picture of us is from the Clan March and Pipe Fest through the streets of Stirling from the Castle to the King's Knob and a photo of the plaque on the wall of Stirling Castle dedicated to Sir William Oliphant.


The Oliphant Plaque at Stirling Caastle
This is how the plaque reads under the statue in the middle of the field where King Robert fought King Edward II and won.  The Scots army was outnumbered nearly three to one.

  For God and St. Andrew
  Robert the Bruce King of Scots
  Planted His Standard near this spot
  When the Scottish Patriots under his command
  Vanquished the Army of Edward II of England
  At the Battle of Bannockburn
  24th June 1314

It was the 700th anniversary of this battle that Ginni and Tom Caldwell attended—a 2-day celebration where the actors literally lived their persona.  The Caldwells were photographed with King Robert.  When Ginni told him that Tom is of Scottish blood but that she was a bloody Englishwoman, he said, "No worries….it's what is in the heart that truly matters." 

Kilts and Yardage
By Matthew Newsome FSA Scot

Some say that a "true kilt" (whatever that is) must contain eight yard of cloth, no more, no less.  Or that the feileadh-mhor (the 'belted' kilt' of old) contained at least nine yards of cloth, hence the phrase "the whole nine yards" (a saying that actually was born in the trenches of WWI, referring to ammunition belts).  In reality, the cloth that went into the making of a feileadh-mhor was only 25 (or so) inches wide.  The length of cloth was cut in half, and then the selvedge edges stitched together to get a piece half as long but twice as wide.  So, a "nine yard" belted plaid would actually only be four and a half yards long and 50 (or so) inches wide. 

Kilts often contained even less cloth than this.  Surviving orders for military tartans sometimes request as little as six and a half yards, meaning the finished product would have been but three and a quarter yards in length.  The trouble arises when a misguided but well intentioned re-enactor decides to don the belted plaid with a full nine yards of 60 inch wide tartan cloth—no wonder people often say the feileadh-moh was much too cumbersome for soldierly wear.

And what about modern kilts?  To begin with, not all men are created equal.  The size of the gentleman does have some bearing on the amount of cloth used in a kilt.  But also important is the size of the "sett" (the tartan pattern) of the cloth.  Kilts today are typically either pleated to sett or to stripe (where a particular line of the tartan is centered on each pleat).  Either style requires the pleats to be a certain depth, depending on the repeat of your tartan pattern.  A tartan with a small repeat will have more shallow pleats.  So an "eight yard kilt" may contain six, seven, eight or nine yards of cloth, depending. 

Is there anything wrong with a four yard kilt?  Absolutely not!  In fact, history shows us that when the kilt was being worn by the Highland people, as an everyday garment, the typical amount of cloth used was about four yards.  It was not until the kilt became the stuff of ceremonial wear that tailors began to go overboard with the cloth. 

The original feileadh-mhor contained, on average three and a half to four and a half yards of cloth (this included the lower part of the kilt plus the long plaid which was thrown over the shoulder).  When this garment evolved into the feileadh-beag (little kilt) sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century, we find  that the length of the cloth was consistent.  The feileadh-beag was simply the lower half of the feileadh-mhor.  The feileadh-beag began to be tailored into the modern kilt at the very end of the 18th century and contained about four yards of cloth.  The Scottish Tartans Museum of Franklin, NC has two early kilts on display c.1800, both box pleated.  One is just seven inches shy of four yards and the other contains four yards of cloth pleated into only six very wide box pleats. 

 Reducing the amount of cloth from eight yards to four, reduces the cost of the finished product.  Having a lower priced kilt to bring to market is one of the motivating factors behind the 'casual kilt' offered by today's kilt makers.  But more importantly, a four yard kilt is simply more comfortable to wear.  The myth needs to be dispelled that the recent trend towards a four yard kilt is a modern innovation, a novelty that will pass.  In actuality it is the eight yard kilt that is the novelty.  As late as 1870 a typical regimental kilt only contained about five yards of cloth.

Coming Events

August 2-3 Monterey CA Games
August 9-10 Highland Ranch CO Games (Denver area)
August 14 Membership Meeting
August 30-31 Pleasanton CA Games (San Francisco area)
September 4-7 Estes Park CO Games
September 20 Fresno CA Games

SOCIETY MEETING Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. Beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to

August 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.

August 14 Carol Kuna - Birthday
August 29 Steve & Gail Wylie - Anniversary

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President, & Membership Chair Don Finch
Secretary: John Clinkenbeard
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg

Newsletter Editor:

Jo Ramsdell
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller