15
Nov
09

Friends of Grampian Stones All Hallows newsletter 2000 vol.XII # 1

All Saints Newsletter Vol. XII number 1 November 1st 2000
(Includes scheduling of Auchmaliddie all-quartz stone circle by Rt.Hon. Alex Salmond, M.P. & obit for Rt. Hon. Donald Dewar, First Minister for Scotland)

stpirancross

Picts were converted to Christianity by early Brittonic saints

SAINTS AND ANCESTORS
WITH AUTUMN rolling into winter and little hope of a reprieve to help us through the impending dark, it is not difficult to see why early-mediaeval faith had its focus in the Celtic saints whose prayers, blessings and shield (lorica) could guide, protect and give light and whose relics – staff (Ir. bachuill, Lat. baculum), cloak and gospel book – held a power as potent as the saint himself to heal and give strength.

In an early Celtic society which believed more colourfully in the intercession by God and all saints with man, the faith shared by simple monks who travelled the realm to convert and preach to the people of Pictland was a tangible belief for people who already had respect for age and listened to wisdom. Ancestors were after all, only the wise ones in another place and the recitation of one’s genealogy kept that sacred connection alive.

Latin manuscripts which survive from early-Historic (or so-called ‘Dark Age’) times are redolent with terms which mean little in today’s usage, but which reveal the importance of ancestry to people then. Most of us understand the use of Lat. filius, son and nepos, grandson (sometimes used as a general term for ‘descendant’), but probably only modern genealogists would get excited about any generation further back than a third great.

It is therefore illuminating to see in the 9thC Pictish Chronicles frequent use of terms such as Lat. atavus for fifth-time ancestor, or, translated into a family history context: one’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

Alexander III coronation at Scone being regailed by the bard

Alexander III was greeted at his coronation with recitation of her genealogy


When John of Fordun wrote his Kronikill in 1363, he gave an elaborate account of (for him) a recent historical event: the coronation of Alexander III in July 1249. This was notable not only because the king was a seven-year old boy, but also because of a striking occurrence at Scone. After the boy was consecrated on the coronation stone and had received homage by earls and nobles, he was suddenly hailed by a ‘mountain-man’ who saluted him in his mother tongue:

‘Benach de Re Alban Alexander mac Alexander mac William mac Henri mac David mac Malcolm.. (‘blessing on king of Scots’) repeating his royal lineage back to its source.’

If we have forgotten this connection or feel no need for saints or our ancestral roots, is it not our own loss?

Elizabeth Allan & Donald Dewar
IT IS WITH sadness that we note a joint achievement by a member and our first First Minister, who both died this year, no doubt wishing their deeds to be unsung. However because of their interest, progress was made:Mrs Allan pointed out the awesome beauty of the abandoned quartz stone circle of Auchmaliddie in New Deer. [See newsletters Vol.X no.4 &Vol.XI number 1, Jan. 2000]. Following our request to the First Minister to have it scheduled, the Rt.Hon. Donald Dewar initiated the process which resulted in its becoming a priority for scheduling on Historic Scotland’s list. We mourn their passing but thank them both for making a difference.

RCAHMS to lose Royal Warrant
Following exclusive coverage in our spring newsletter and your many letters to Parliament in support of RCAHMS, within the Scottish Executive review of Public Bodies, FOGS may have been instrumental in saving the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from becoming disbanded or ‘un-departmentalised’. However we, among hundreds of individuals and heritage groups who wrote to the Scottish Executive in support of RCAHMS, have been unable to preserve it intact. In a thank you letter received from the Royal Commission, FOGS’ support is acknowledged, along with others who appreciate RCAHMS’ unique archival status, but a national outcry [albeit an esoteric one] was unable to save the Commission from losing its royal patronage. It appears that the Scots Parliament, while maintaining the important role which RCAHMS plays in recording the archaeological and historic man-made environment, believes that ‘further consideration be given to exploring a modern alternative to executive non-departmental public body status’. Procedures are already in hand for removal of the Royal Warrant. The reason given to the Commission by Allan Wilson is that ‘Royal Commission status is, I believe, only appropriate for bodies set up to undertake specific tasks over a finite period.’ For some reason, Ministers also believe a change of name would be ‘helpful in order to achieve greater transparency for the public both in understanding the important work it carries out and to encourage wider access to valuable public facilities.’ One wonders whether the gross funding required to implement this ‘visibility’ review and name change could not have been better spent in a large grant to continue the Commission’s dedicated work. It is also worthy of note that the Scots minister writing to the Commission does not even get its title right, so perhaps a dumbing down was felt necessary for some in office. In the tone of the ministerial letter, is it only our impression that the review body could find no fault in 95 years of meticulous recording, but felt it had to change something, and so concocted the removal of Royal status? Whatever our regrets may be, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Scots Parliament chose not to merge it with any other public body, nor to dilute its work by some other arbitrary means. RCAHMS Chairman Kathleen Dalyell feels our written support categorically made a difference. She states: ‘your support was, quite clearly, material in achieving this result and for that I offer you Commissioners’ best thanks.’

HISTORIC SCOTLAND is conducting a survey on the state of carved stones in Scotland, hoping to find solutions to prevent further decay. Volunteers may telephone 01313 668 8668 for free methodology handbook or Email cbrown.hs.scb@gtnet.gov.uk

©2000-2009MCY

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Friends of Grampian Stones All Hallows newsletter 2000 vol.XII # 1”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Cleopas

archives from Friends of Grampian Stones webpage

stones, historical

Blog Stats

  • 12,588 hits

NaNoWriMo 2010

November 2009
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Dec »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

NaNoWriMo


%d bloggers like this: