Archive for 'Scotland'

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Eight: Dundee

St Peter's Free ChurchSt. Peter’s Free Church, Dundee. geograph: Dan / Creative Commons

In keeping with her usual hectic schedule while in Scotland, Harriet Beecher Stowe arrived in Dundee on the afternoon of April 22, 1853, attended an anti-slavery meeting that evening, rode around the city by carriage the next day and left by 2:00 in the afternoon to return to Edinburgh. As her brother Charles noted in his diary, Stowe and her party had now visited the four principal cities of Scotland: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee (Harriet Beecher Stowe in Europe, Stowe-Day Foundation, 1986, p. 53). › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Seven: Aberdeen

ScotlandCropped image from Wikimedia

It was towards the close of the afternoon that we found ourselves crossing the Dee, in view of Aberdeen. My spirits were wonderfully elated: the grand sea scenery and fine bracing air; the noble, distant view of the city, rising with its harbor and shipping, all filled me with delight.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe in Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Vol. 1

Crossing the River Dee on April 21, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe was reminded of a ballad that she had learned in childhood that begins:

The moon had climbed the highest hill
That rises o’er the banks of Dee,

She did not know the author of the ballad, but it was written by John Lowe (1750-1798), a native of Kenmure in Galloway. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Six: Journey To Aberdeen


I enjoyed this ride to Aberdeen more than any thing we had seen yet, the country is so wild and singular.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s next journey in Scotland was by train to Aberdeen, on April 21, 1853. Passing Bannockburn, she is reminded of Robert Burns’ poem about the famous 1314 Battle of Bannockburn. She writes, in the first volume of Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands:

Nothing to be seen there but broad, silent meadows, through which the burn wimples its way. Here was the very Marathon of Scotland. I suppose we know more about it from the “Scots wha ha’ wi’ Wallace bled,” than we do from history; yet the real scene, as narrated by the historian, has a moral grandeur in it. › Continue reading…

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Five: Edinburgh

Linlithgow Palacegeograph: Alistair McMillan / Creative Commons

On April 19, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe and her party left Glasgow by train for Edinburgh. 15 miles west of Edinburgh are the ruins of Linlithgow Palace. A royal palace of the Stewart kings, Linlithgow fell into decline after James VI & I moved the royal court to London. It was devastated by a fire in 1745. Seeing the ruins in the distance, Stowe is reminded of the palace’s connection to Mary, Queen of Scots and of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem Marmion (published 1808), which is about the 1513 Battle of Flodden Field. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Four: Along the River Clyde

Dumbarton CastleDumbarton Castle, Source: Library of Congress.

On Monday, April 18, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe and her party went down the River Clyde on a small steamer. In the first volume of Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, she writes:

It has been a very, very exciting day to us. It is so stimulating to be where every name is a poem. For instance, we start at the Broomielaw. This Broomielaw is a kind of wharf, or landing. Perhaps in old times it was a haugh overgrown with broom, from whence it gets its name; this is only my conjecture, however.

› Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Three: Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle

On April 16, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe and her party visited Bothwell Castle. The ruins of the castle are located on a high bank above a bend in the River Clyde, in South Lanarkshire. Today the castle is still a “Great day trip from Glasgow.” The castle played an important role in the Scottish Wars of Independence. From 1362 to 1455, Bothwell Castle was the stronghold of the Black Douglas family. In his diary of their travels, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s brother Charles noted that his sister quoted lines from Sir Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake,” where Douglas is called “Bothwell’s Lord” (p. 37 of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Europe, edited by Joseph S. Van Why and Earl French, published by the Stowe-Day Foundation in 1986). › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Two: Glasgow

002Glasgow Cathedral. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Licence:, resized, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0). Also compare the image of the Cathedral from Sunny Memories with a recent photo).

Having arrived in Glasgow the night before, Harriet Beecher Stowe awoke in Scotland for the first time on April 14, 1853. In Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Vol. I (1854), she describes her breakfast:

The next morning I awoke worn and weary, and scarce could the charms of the social Scotch breakfast restore me. I say Scotch, for we had many viands peculiarly national. The smoking porridge, or parritch, of oatmeal, which is the great staple dish throughout Scotland. Then there was the bannock, a thin, wafer-like cake of the same material. My friend laughingly said when he passed it, “You are in the ‘land o’ cakes,’ remember.” There was also some herring, as nice a Scottish fish as ever wore scales, besides dainties innumerable which were not national.

Later that day, she and her entourage visited Glasgow Cathedral. › Continue reading…

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