Events in Scottish History
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1 October 1788
Deacon William Brodie, respectable citizen by day, by criminal at night executed at the Tolbooth in Edinburgh.

2 October 1263
The Battle of Largs.  Haakon the Old of Norway is defeated by the Scots and the Kingdom of Norway loses its territory in Argyll and the Western Isles. It is also the source of one of the versions of the origin of the Thistle as emblem of Scotland. (The most likely being the Viking raid at Luncarty on the Tay).
Largs Viking Festival
2 October 1854
Sir Patrick Geddes, "Father of Town Planning" born in Ballater.
3 October 1357 Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys from Alliance France-Ecosse where David II was held
The Treaty of Berwick released David II from English captivity.  The Scots paid 100,000 merks for the release of their King.
3 October 1594
The Battle of Glenlivet.  A force of 2,000 with cavalry and artillery led by the Catholic Earls of Errol and Huntly rout 10,000 Highland infantry under the Duke of Argyll.
Bonnie George Campbell

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3 October 1721 The Rev. John Skinner, author  of  "Tullochgorum",  described by Robert Burns  as "the best Scotch song ever Scotland saw", born. 
4 October 1821
John Rennie, engineer and builder of bridges, roads and canals, including the Crinan Canal, died.
4 October 1883
The Boys' Brigade was founded by William A, Smith in the North Woodside Mission Hall Glasgow.
5 October 1922
Jock Stein, manager of Celtic and latterly the Scotland Team, born in Burnbank, Lanarkshire.
6 October 1811
Ebenezeer Henderson formed the first Congregational Church in Sweden.
7 October 1796
Thomas Reid, philosopher, lecturer on mathematics and physics as well as logic and ethics, died.
8 October 1774
Henry Duncan, minister, geologist and founder of the first savings bank born in Ruthwell, Dumfrieshire.
9 October 1995
Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Conservative Politician, and British Prime Minister in 1963, died.
10 October 1802
Hugh Miller, geologist, born in Cromarty.
11 October 1297
Andrew Moray and William Wallace write to the merchants of Lübeck and Hamburg, advising that "...that they can now have a safe access with their merchandize to all harbours of the Kingdom of Scotland, because the Kingdom of Scotland has, thanks be to God, by war been recovered from the power of the English."
12 October 1511

The "GREAT MICHAEL" was launched for the James IV's  Navy.
At 1,000 tons she was twice the size of England's "MARY ROSE".
12 October 1609
A contract was signed by which Lady Mary Erskine, born 1597 would marry William Keith, 5th Earl Marischal and become Countess of Marischal. She died after 1626.
13 October 1506
James IV ratified the charter of the seal of cause of the Guild of Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh, forerunner of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
14 October 1633
James VII and II born at St James' Palace, London.
14 October 1881 Eyemouth Fishing Disaster: a storm killed 129 of the East Berwickshire town's fishermen.
14 October 1939 Memorial to HMS ROYAL OAK in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney
German submarine U47 commanded by Gunther Prien sank HMS ROYAL OAK in Scapa Flow, Orkney, with the loss of 833 lives. Shortly before 0100 hrs Prien fired his first salvo, causing minor damage to the bow. 20 minutes later, having reloaded the second salvo hit amidships. The U47 escaped through the narrow channel through which she had entered.
15 October 1686
Poet Allan Ramsay born in the village of Leadhills, Lanarkshire. He was the father of portrait painter, Allan Ramsay.
16 October 1430
James II born. His father, James I, was murdered when he was 6. He was crowned at Holyrood in 1437, and killed by an exploding cannon at the siege of Roxburgh Castle in August 1460.
17 October 1346
The Battle of Neville's Cross.  The English Army of about 700 men at arms, 10,000 archers and other troops had picked the favourable ground and the Scots invaders, between 10 and 15,000 were at a disadvantage from the start.  About 1,000 Scots were killed and many captured, including David II. He wore the Black Cross of Scotland to the Battle and lost it to the English. For the next 200 years the cross was given pride of place in Durham Cathedral's relic collection.
17 October 1821  


Alexander Gardner, renowned photographer of the American Civil War, born in Paisley.
17 October 1921 George Mackay Brown, Orkney poet, author and dramatist born.  He died on 13th April 1996.
18 October 1541
Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII of England and wife of James IV, died.
19 October 1914
The first day of the First Battle of Ypres. The 7th Division (which included 2nd Bn The Scots Guards, 2nd Bn The Gordon Highlanders and 2nd Bn The Royal Scots Fusiliers) fought the advancing German Army to a standstill during the Battle.
20 October 1713 Archibald Pitcairn, physician, died in Edinburgh. He was buried at Greyfriars.
21 October 1805
The Battle of Trafalgar. 7% of Nelson's force were Scots.  5 of his 27 captains were Scots, the surgeon who attended his fatal injury was Scots, as was the woman who embalmed his body, and the youngest sailor a 10 year old cabin boy from Leith.  Many of the fleet’s sails were from the jute mills in Dundee, and a number of the fleet’s cannon were from the Carron iron works in Falkirk.
22 October 1775 Dr Alexander Murray, distinguished orientalist,  born Dunkitterick, Kirkcudbright.
23 October 1295
The 'Auld Alliance' treaty was signed between John Balliol, King of Scots, and Philippe IV of France. It provided for mutual military help against the English and was renewed by Robert The Bruce in 1326.  It was a military and diplomatic alliance but for most it brought benefits such as pay as mercenaries in France's forces and trade which brought French wine to Scotland.
23 October 1612 Annexation of the lands of Orkney to the Crown.

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

24 October 1765 Sir James Mackintosh born at Aldourie, near Inverness. He trained as a doctor and barrister, but also became a journalist, judge, administrator, professor, philosopher and politician.
25 October 1761
The Coronation of George III.

25 October 1415
The Battle of Agincourt (Azincourt).  A smaller English Army (about 9,000) lead by Henry V defeated a larger French Army  (about 12,000) including, it is said, some Scots and Bretons, following which the French invoked the "Auld Alliance".  Sir Alexander Buchanan was sent over with a force of 7,000, and six years later the Franco-Scottish Army defeated the English at the Battle of Baugé, where Buchan killed the English King's brother, the Duke of Clarence. The Scots fought with the French against the English to the end of the "Hundred Years War". Shakespeare has Capt Jamy, a Scot, in Henry V's Army. James I was a captive in England at the time and with Henry V at the Siege of Melun, in 1420, when he tried to persuade the Scots to surrender.
25 October 1854
The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders fought in what became known as the "Thin Red Line" at the Battle of Balaclava.
26 October 1327

Elizabeth de Burgh, Queen Consort of Robert the Bruce  died at Cullen Castle, Banffshire, and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey.
(other sources say 27th October).
26 October 1845
Carolina Oliphant, Baroness Nairne, died. Writing as Mrs Bogan of Bogan she adapted Scottish airs, many with Jacobite themes, and amongst her most popular are "Charlie is my darling" and "Will ye no come back again?".
26 October 1911
Sorley MacLean, poet, born on the Island of Raasay.  He died on the 24th November 1996.
27 October 1797 Dr Andrew Combe, physiologist, born in Edinburgh.
27 October 1854
William Alexander Smith, founder of The Boys' Brigade, born in Thurso.
28 October 1562
The Battle of Corrichie, Aberdeenshire. The Earl of Moray defeated the Earl of Huntly for Mary Queen of Scots at Corrichie by the Meikle Tap of the Hill of Fare and went on to sack Huntly Castle.
28 October 1644
The Battle of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire. The Marquis of Montrose resists the Marquis of Argyle.
Historic Scotland
28 October 1794
Robert Liston, surgeon, born in Ecclesmachan, Linlithgow.
29 October 1650 David Calderwood, Scottish Historian, born 1575, died at Jedburgh.
29 October 1740
James Boswell, writer, born in Edinburgh.
30 October 1756
James Perry, editor of the "Morning Chronicle", born Aberdeenshire.
30 October 1842
Allan Cunningham, Scottish Poet, died.
31 October 1860
Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, died.  A naval hero, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.
31 October 1914
The London Scottish saw its first action "Hallowe'en".  They were the first Territorial Battalion to see action in WWI. They held the Wytschaete-Messines ridge against German regulars for hours sustaining 400 casualties.



Updated 28/10/2023