important facts

Mini-Timeline of Scottish History

"Dark Birthright" takes place during 1619-1637 in Northeast Scotland.

1597 Scottish Protestant Reformation, led by John Knox, occurs at a grassroots level.

1597 The future James VI of Scotland writes a treatise on witchcraft and demons called "Demonology", which fuels the hysteria about alleged "witches" and results in many witch burnings. This continues on well into the 1600’s.

1603 Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland on the death of Queen Elizabeth I, and the succession of James VI of Scotland. This was not a welcome move in much of Scotland or England. James VI leaves Edinburgh to live in London.

1615 St. John Ogilvie, a Banffshire-born Jesuit priest is hanged for refusing to renounce the supremacy of the Pope.

1617 James VI, on his only return to Scotland, tactlessly lectures his countrymen on the "superiority of English civilization". Articles of religion, introducing Anglican principles into Scottish worship, are endorsed by Scottish parliament.

1618 The "Five Articles of Perth". James VI imposes Bishops on the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in an attempt to integrate it with the Church of England. This move was unpopular with the Scots.

1625 King James VI dies, to be succeeded by his son, King Charles I. Though born in Scotland, Charles had no interest in the country and dealt with Scottish affairs with less tact than his father, causing discontent.

1637 "Book of Common Prayer" introduced to Scotland. Charles I attempts to further Anglicanize the Church of Scotland with an English prayer book that creates social unrest and disorder.

Administration of Justice 1619-1637

Unless a crime was determined to be against the Crown, justice was administered locally by nobles such as Earls and Dukes. The common man was at a disadvantage, whereas a man of stature expected special considerations if charged with a crime. Lesser disputes could be handled by the clans or families themselves.

State of Medicine and Healing

If you lived in a major city like Edinburgh and had money and stature, you could have engaged a trained physician. Healers, midwives, and bonesetters would have been available for common folk.

In most of Scotland, local women served the population as healer, midwife, and bonesetter. This was a trade passed down from mother to daughter, or in rare cases from mother to son. They were skilled in the use of herbs and other natural materials such as tar or honey to cure disease or treat wounds.

In the book, I tried to make the healing and midwifery scenes authentic, given the time and place and resources available. However, my advice to the reader is to not try them at home without formal training or investigation.

The seventeenth century was a dangerous time to be a healer. The witchcraft hysteria created a climate where neighbor accused neighbor if they hated them or desired their property. A healer was especially vulnerable, as she affected lives and used seemingly magical medicines. In Scotland alone, thousands were accused, tortured, and burned or hanged.


“Dark Lord” takes place during 1637-1639 (with the epilogue advancing to 1646), and is set in Scotland and England.

It is about the struggle between religions that precipitated the first Bishop’s War This novel was not meant to be an endorsement or criticism of any religion.  The religious and political upheaval in “Dark Lord” was true to that period.  It couldn’t be ignored.  The ideas that pervaded the culture would have effected every Scot, from the loftiest lord to the lowliest peasant.  The Reformation was fresh in their minds as it had occurred in the previous century.  There was a great struggle between Catholicism and the various sects of Protestantism.  Some may think it strange that Christians would seek to destroy each other.  Others may find the speeches of Minister Henderson or the text of the Covenant confusing.  They were based on historical records, listed in the bibliography.      

From another perspective, it was the story of an arrogant King who was convinced that he was the hand of God.  Charles I was willing to go to any lengths to impose his religious beliefs on his subjects.  I have done my best to make it authentic. 


“Dark Destiny” takes place during 1648-1660, and is set in Scotland, England, and the British Colony of Virginia.        


Family names, places, and things in the first book  (there are many more in books two and three)


Clans and tartans

Hay Family Tartan


Gordon Family Tartan


Drake Family Tartan



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