Or, Facts and My Fiction
Terms and Miscellany
The clinging vine at Cloak Tower is Armand’s Clematis – it’s a white clematis that blooms early in the spring.
Cottar/Crofter – A person who farms a croft. A croft is a small landholding with farmland as well as grazing land for cattle and sheep, which is generally held by a community of crofters.
Drover – A person who moves animals (sheep and cattle) over long distances.
Gretna Green – Gretna Green is a village in Scotland where many young couples, who were not able to marry in England and Wales without parental consent, fled. It was, at one time, the first village in Scotland, following the old coach route from London to Edinburgh. Although at one time the age of consent in Scotland was 14 for boys and 12 for girls, by 1960, it was 16 for both parties. The couple also had to live in the village for 21 days – villagers were generally happy to help – and marry in the registrar office.
Laird – Laird is technically a generic – hereditary – title for someone who owns a large Scottish estate. It is not a title of nobility, and does not guarantee a spot in the House of Lords. Traditionally, from the 16th century on, it applied to the head chief of a highland clan who would then have obligations to the community. “Bonnet laird” was a term applied to those who owned smaller estates, but wore bonnets like non-landowning classes.
Technically, Ross McAlister and Martin McAndrew are not lairds, but bonnet lairds – their laird is William Urquhart of Meldrum – but for simplicity’s sake, I referred to them both as lairds.
Manrent – A Scottish contract, used in the mid-15th-to-early-17th centuries. It was a way by which a weaker individual or family could align themselves with a stronger clan – thus they would become the vassals of the larger, stronger clan.
Ms. White – When Maureen takes Sean’s picture while they’re climbing the ridge, Sean calls her “Ms. White.” He is referring to Margaret Bourke-White (1904 – 1971) who was the first female war photographer, and the first female photographer attached to the United States military.
The Jacobite Rising of 1745, Sheep, and the Lairds who kept them
The Jacobite Rising was Bonnie Prince Charlie’s – Charles Edward Stuart – attempt to regain the British throne for the Catholic House of Stuart. The Stuarts’ reign in England began in 1603 with James I & VI of England and Scotland, and ended – officially – with the death of Queen Anne 1714.
Queen Anne, however, was a Protestant, and all those who followed her would be Protestant too, thanks to the Act of Settlement in 1701. The Catholic James II & VII of England and Scotland had been forced to abdicate in favour of his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William, of the Dutch House Orange, in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II & VII died in 1701, but his son took up the Jacobite push to reinstate the House of Stuart on the English throne. The French king, Louis XIV, and Pope Clement XI formally recognized the Catholic monarch as King James III & VIII of England and Scotland.
With the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the throne passed onto George I of the House of Hanover, a German royal line descended of James I’s daughter, Elisabeth Stuart. Government forces opposed to the dynastic change encouraged Charles’ father, James III & VIII, to invade – which he did unsuccessfully in 1715. Charles, born in 1720, continued his father’s attempt to restore the Stuarts in 1745.
As it happens, the war to put Bonnie Prince Charlie back on the British throne is just a backdrop to the story of the Changelings and Nuada’s war. As Dubh says, “for a king to rise, a battle must commence, to test his soul and mettle, even his life. 1960 Scotland had no such testing ground.” Well, perhaps it did, but there was no testing ground quite like the battle of Culloden Moor. Because the war was a backdrop, I did not find it necessary to mould it to my needs. Rather, I moulded that part of the story to the history of Charles’ journey after he landed at Glenfinnan.
There are a great many historians who have detailed the Jacobean Rebellion of 1745-46 in greater detail and historical accuracy than me. To start I suggest The ’45 by Christopher Duffy (Cassel, 2003) and 1745, edited by Robert C. Woosnam-Savage (HMSO PB, 1995).
Sheep on the Rise
While sheep farming has long been a part of the Scottish economy, their numbers dramatically increased after 1760 as they became a more economically profitable use of the land. The great increase in the number of flocks in Scotland contributed to the Highland Clearances as good agricultural land was reduced in favour of good grazing land for the sheep. People were shifted into smaller crofts or townships, and eventually left Scotland altogether.
Life and times of a Highland Laird
As to the lifestyle of Highland lairds during the 1740s, it is true that Cloak Tower and Dunn Ussie are probably a bit more cosmopolitan than their historical counterparts, but young Highland gentry were often sent off to France and Rome to complete their educations.
Considering the atmosphere in the time between Jacobean revolts, I suspect Martin’s father wanted him away from dangerous mindsets who could endanger the clan’s fortunes – while, at the same time, as Charles was reared in Rome, foster his son’s loyalty to the Stuarts. It is this contradiction, the loyalty to the cause coupled with the canniness, that makes writing about the Scots – and this generation of the McAndrew family – so much fun.
Ross McAlister’s early life in London could also explain the relative modernity of the estates. There, he would have been made aware of sheep farming and the growing need for industry – the Industrial Revolution was right around the corner. Furthermore, a little ingenuity could very well have led a small clan holding to invest in milling and weaving, especially if the Crown had stripped their best farmland in 1715.
Meanwhile, in Ireland
Between the 17th and early 20th centuries, Ireland was under the control of the British Crown. The Protestant Ascendancy – often simply called the Ascendancy – was the political, economic, and social domination the Crown, the Church of Ireland, the Protestant clergy, and the Protestant landowners – the Anglo-Irish had over the native Catholic or Gaelic.
The Big House & Landlords
The Big House – called so because these manors, country homes, estate houses, and mansions were comparatively so much larger than anything the tenants of these estates were afforded – were, in addition to their physical presence, symbolic of the Ascendancy. They, and their Anglo-Irish owners, were often the targets of Catholic/Gaelic rebellion.
The laws by which the British and Anglo-Irish maintained the Ascendancy in Ireland. The Penal Laws were first applied following the establishment of the Church of England, but were first truly enforced after 1607 to quell Catholic and Gaelic rebellion. The restoration of a Catholic monarch, Charles II, on the British throne brought a reprieve in 1660-93, but the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and subsequent dynastic changes and disputes over the throne led to their reestablishment. The Penal Laws, though reformed after 1778, remained in some form until the Government of Ireland Act of 1920.
Examples of Penal Laws:
Catholics were banned from…
- Most public offices (since 1607), Presbyterians were also barred from public office from 1707 onwards.
- Intermarriage with Protestants
- Owning firearms or serving in the armed forces.
- Membership in either the Parliament of Ireland or the Parliament of England
- The legal professions and the judiciary.
- Receiving education abroad.
- Buying land under a lease of more than 31 years.
- Owning a horse valued at over £5.
- Teaching privately, or publicly.
The Penal laws were enforced throughout Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales – however, in Scotland, the major religion was Presbyterianism, and while the Highlanders were generally Catholic, enforcement of the Penal Laws was lax.
Myths and Legends
In the Appendix of Changelings: Into the Mist, I detailed how I mangled the myths and histories of the Tuatha Dé Danann – at once old gods and an ancient Irish race – but one thing bears repeating: the history and myth of Lugh, an Irish god of, among other things, storms, trickery, and war.
Lugh joined Nuada’s court after Bres joined forces with the Fomorian, Balor to subjugate the Tuatha De Danann and steal Nuada’s throne. In Into the Mist, Sean recounted the method by which Lugh gained entrance to Nuada’s stronghold: while the Tuatha had a wright, a silversmith, a champion, a swordsman, a harpist, a hero, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman, they did not have one who was all those things at once.
Nuada appointed Lugh the Chief Ollam – or official bard – of Ireland and abdicated the throne in his favour. Lugh led the Tuatha into battle against the Fomorians, where Balor killed Nuada. Lugh avenged the former king’s death by killing Balor, and eventually claimed victory over the Fomorians.
As with Into the Mist, I have had my way with Ireland’s myth and legends. The basics are there. Áine is the embodiment of queenliness, and the bloodlines of the Fae follow similar lines, but since these myths are mostly symbolic, I used them as I could, and where it felt appropriate.
Ban síde (Ban-shee)
Literally: Woman of the faerie mound. Also known as the Banshee of Irish folklore, I use it in its semi-literal and historical capacity, as a woman – in this case Niamh – who mourns a death. In Irish folklore, the Banshee’s wail is the first warning a household has of a death.
Also known as Fachan, Fachin, or Peg Leg Jack. The Fachen exists in Scottish and Scots-Irish Folklore as a creature with only half a body – one eye, one leg, one arm and one very wide mouth. Its body is covered in hair and feathers – which are tufted at the top of its head. The single arm is said to carry a chain which can destroy an orchard in a single night. Its visage is so frightening, it is reputed to cause heart attacks.
Fear Dearg (Far Dur-ig)
An Irish Faerie, also known as Far Durrig or Rat Boys due to their long snouts and skinny tails. The words Fear Dearg mean Red Man, and they are said to wear a red coat and cap. Practical jokers, they are said to be the faeries responsible for replacing human babies with faeries, i.e. Changelings. They are also said to be the cause of nightmares.
Fuath, which means “hate” in Scottish Gaelic, is a general term for Highland water spirits, who are often malicious.
The Sleeping Kings
The Sleeping Kings are a riff on the “King in the Mountain” myths. These myths are pervasive throughout the world. They involve legendary heroes who – waiting for a summons to rise and defend their imperilled nation – sleep in remote locations such as caves, mountaintops, islands, or the “otherworlds” of the Fae. In Ireland, Finn McCool was the only warrior associated with this myth, but others include King Arthur and Merlin in England.
In none of the myths I read was it described that in their last moments they could step between the realms and fight one war as they died in another – but that is why I picked the warriors I did. All of them, bar Finn, died on their feet and I couldn’t resist the image of the battalions of Niamh’s army led by each of the warriors I’d grown up hearing about.
As for the kings themselves, I did little to manipulate their stories beyond using Dubh to infiltrate their ranks. After that, it was simply a matter of abbreviating them and narratively rearranging what was already there.
The spirits of the restless dead in Irish and Scottish folklore. They are said to be sinners/evil people who were not welcome in heaven or hell, or the Faerie Otherworlds and were doomed to walk the earth. They are considered troublesome and destructive. Some folklore has them flying in groups, like flocks of birds, coming from the west.