Events in Scottish History
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1 December 1768

First lighthouse lit at Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh.
2 December 1837
Dr Joseph Bell, inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characted "Sherlock Holmes", born.
2 December 1848
Mary Slessor, missionary, born at Gilcomston, Aberdeen.
3 December 1894
Robert Louis Stevenson died in Samoa.
4 December 1649 William Drummonds Tomb at Lasswade
Image © AA Young
William Drummond, poet of Hawthornden, Midlothian, died.
5 December 1560
Francis II of France, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, dies, leading to her return, the following year, to Scotland.
6 December 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart's Jacobite Army began their retreat north from Derby.
7 December 521
St Columba born.
7 December 1545
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, born.
7 December 1784
Allan Cunningham, Scottish Poet, born.
8 December 1542

Mary Queen of Scots, born at Linlithgow.
9 December 1165
Malcolm IV "The Maiden" died.
9 December 1578
Robert Kerr, 1st Earl of Ancram died after this date in poverty, in the Netherlands.
10 December 1540 Act of Annexation of the lordships, lands and castles, with pertinents of Orkney and Shetland.

Records of the Parliaments of Scotland

See also The Annexation of the earldom of Orkney and lordship of Shetland to the Crown, 20th February 1472

10 December 1747
Duncan Forbes of Culloden died. Scots statesman, and loyal to the Government, he persuaded many not to join the Jacobite cause in 1745 and also sought mercy for the Jacobites after their defeat.
10 December 1941 The sinking of HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HMS REPULSE in 1941 by Japanese aircraft off the Malayan coast in the events leading to the fall of Singapore. HMS PRINCE OF WALES had a crew of 1,612 and 20 officers, 280 sailors and 27 marines were lost. The dead included Admiral Sir Tom Phillips, CinC of the Eastern Fleet, and PRINCE OF WALES commanding officer, Capt John C. Leach. .HMS REPULSE was built on the Clyde.
11 December 1899
The Highland Brigade under Maj Gen Wauchope took part in the Battle of Magersfontein in the South African War.  The Brigade included  1st Bn The Highland Light Infantry (now 2 SCOTS) 2nd Bn The Black Watch (now 3 SCOTS), 1st Gordon Highlanders and 2nd Bn The Seaforth Highlanders (now 4  SCOTS),and 1st Bn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (now 5 SCOTS).  The Brigade advanced to within 400 yards of the Boer positions when they hit a trip wire. The Boers opened fire, General Wauchope was killed and the Brigade held up by wire and rifle fire, taking heavy casualties, and ultimately withdrew. The action is remembered in the pipe tune "The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein".MP3

11 December 1936

Edward VIII's instrument of abdication took effect.
12 December 1574
Anne of Denmark, wife of James VI and I born.
13 December 1585
William Drummond, poet of Hawthornden, Midlothian, born.

14 December 1542
James V died at Falkland Palace. Regency eventually passed to his widow, Mary of Guise.
14 December 1730
James Bruce, Scots Explorer, and discoverer of the source of the Blue Nile, born at Kinnaird House in Stirlingshire.
15 December 1900
An investigation subsequently concluded that it was on this day, probably in the afternoon that the three Keepers of the year old Flannan Isles Lighthouse disappeared.  The work of the forenoon had been completed and no light was visible that night.  No trace of them was ever found. WW Gibson wrote an epic poem  on the mystery, "Flannan Isle".
15 December 1951

James Eric Drummond, 7th Earl of Perth, died. He was a diplomat and the first General Secretary of the League of Nations.
16 December 1263
© Copyright David Wyatt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Haakon the Old of Norway, died in the Bishop's Palace, Kirkwall,Orkney after his defeat at the Battle of Largs.

17 December 1669
Act for annexation of Orkney and Shetland to the Crown as Dependencies following centuries of dispute over the control of the Islands, which referred to previous annexation in 1540 and 1612.

Records of the Parliaments of Scotland

See also The Annexation of the earldom of Orkney and lordship of Shetland to the Crown, 20th February 1472

17 December 1907
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin died. He was outstanding in theory as well as practice.  His nephew died at sea and caused him to work for safety at sea; his compass was adopted worldwide; his tide gauge was in use for many years. He provided solutions for the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cables. A system of temperature and make of refrigerator are named after him.
18 December 1661 The "ELIZABETH" of Burntisland sank off the English Coast, returning Scottish Records to Scotland, which had been removed to the Tower of London by Cromwell in 1651.
18 December 1745
Skirmish at Clifton Moor, near Clifton, the last action on English soil, between Lord George Murray, commanding the rearguard of the Jacobite forces and the Duke of Cumberland's advancing army left 6 Jacobites and 10 Government soldiers dead.
Ref:1745 A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising by Stuart Reid ISBN 1-86227-130-5
19 December 1887
Balfour Stewart, physicist, died.
20 December 1560
First General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
21 December 2016
The Winter Solstice. The gently sloping passageway entering the monumental Maeshowe chambered tomb in Orkney is aligned so that at sunset during the three weeks before and after this the shortest day of the year so the light of the setting sun shines straight down it to illuminates the back of the central chamber. The sun’s rays align with a standing stone, the Barnhouse Stone, standing 800 m SSW of Maeshowe. Built around 5,000 years ago, Maeshowe is the finest Neolithic building in North West Europe. It is a masterpiece of Neolithic design and stonework construction, not least for its use of massive individual stones.
21 December 1805
Thomas Graham, Chemist, born in Glasgow.
22 December 1715  


James Francis Edward Stuart "The Old Pretender", landed at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, but by 10 February 1716 the Jacobite Rising of 1715 was  over, and he returned to France.
22 December 1820 Convicted radicals of the Radical Revolt of 1820 deported to New South Wales on the vessel "SPEKE".
22 December 1930
Neil Munro, novelist and poet, perhaps best known for his "Para Handy" stories, died at his home, "Cromalt" in Craigendoran, Helensburgh.
23 December 2000
Jimmy Shand, musician and band leader, died.
24 December 1165
William the Lion crowned at Scone. He became known as "The Lion" as he was the first to adopt the Lion Rampant as his heraldic symbol.
24 December
Christmas Eve
25 December 1251
Alexander III knighted by Henry III of England. Born in 1241, he had become King on his father Alexander II's death in 1249, at the age of 7.
26 December 1251 Alexander III  married to Henry III of England's eldest daughter, Margaret. He was 10 years old.
26 December 1647
Charles I while imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight enters the Engagement with the Scots.  A Scots Army was to invaded England in support of the King in exchanged for the establishment of Presbyterianism in England.
  26   December   1760   "Roebucks, Garbett and Cadells", later The Carron Company IronWorks,  near Falkirk, brought its first blast furnace into operation.
  26   December       Boxing Day  
27 December 1800
Dr Hugh Blair, Doctor of Divinity, died.
27 December 1927
J M Barrie's "Peter Pan" premiered at the Duke of York Theatre, London.

28 December 1734 Rob Roy statue Peterculter, Aberdeenshire
Rob Roy MacGregor died in Old Balquhidder Glen .
Telegraph | News | Rob Roy was 'conman who spied for England'

Banff and Buchan Arts Forum - Art in the Environment - Artefact Details
28 December 1879
The Tay Bridge Disaster. During a violent storm at night the bridge, which had only been opened just over 2 years before collapsed and a train went into the Tay, with the loss of over 70 people.  There were no survivors.  This disaster is remembered in William McGonagall's poem.
29 December 1766
Charles Macintosh who patented the waterproof cloth he was using
to make raincoats, born.
30 December 1915
"HMS NATAL"   sank in Cromarty Harbour after an explosion in her magazine with the loss of 421 lives.
31 December 1720

Charles Edward Stuart, "The Young Pretender", "Bonnie Prince Charlie" born in Rome. It has been suggested that the Christmas Carol "Adeste Fideles", "O Come All Ye Faithful", was a coded message to Jacobites to celebrate his birth
31 December
Hogmanay in Scotland.







Updated 09/12/2023