Annals of Aberdeen

In today’s strange times, it’s not too difficult to remember happier times when we could go for a run along the beach, visit friends at relatives in Peterculter or Peterhead, go to Pittodrie, or just go out for a meal and generally enjoy ourselves.  However, cooped up in the house, all sorts of other activities now take precedence, and not just drinking and eating too much.  After “discovering” Kelly’s Cats (see last blog) I thought it would be instructive to do some more digging and see what else I could find out about our great city that I didn’t previously know.

Of course, with Google it’s easy (how could we cope in lockdown without it?), but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  There is free access to the “Annals of Aberdeen,” an historical record of the city from the reign of King William the Lion (c. 1142 – 1214) to the end of 1818.  To put it mildly, it’s fascinating, partly because of the archaic language used but largely because it tells in detail much of the history of the city.  For example, here is the record of Aberdeen’s contribution to the fateful battle of Flodden, on 9th September 1513:

About this time, the unfortunate expedition against England being undertaken by King James, Aberdeen furnished twenty spearmen and six horses to the army, at the expense of £200, raised by assessment upon the inhabitants.  The disastrous result of this enterprise, in the fatal field of Flodden, so well known, was long remembered in Scotland; and Aberdeen participated in the general calamity of that unpropitious day. In this rash and fatal battle, King James terminated his reign, having fallen, with many of his nobles and barons.”

We can also read about the way justice was dispensed, with a footnote from 1540 recording:

George and John Faws were tried before the baillies, 28th January, 1540, and convicted by jury for wounding Alex. Barron to the effusion of his blood. They were ordered to pay the barber for leeching him, and fined a crown for the amends of blood.

Katharine Autarene was convicted, and ordered to be pilloried in the Goffis till six o’clock at night, for stealing two pecks of green bear, 6th March, 1540.”

I hope you find this as interesting as I do.  I’ll have a few more stories from the Annals of Aberdeen in our next RGUjobs blog

Julie Skinner, Resourcing and Benefits Specialist, RGU