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Galt, John
Golf, The Love Of
Gordon Highlanders
Gordon, Patrick
Gow, Neil
Gregory, James


Heroes & Famous Scots (G)


Galt, John (1779-1839)

John Galt was another Scot who was an exceptional writer, and was very diverse in his approach to his craft. He could be very funny or very serious and this was a unique way of writing at that particular period in Scotland's literary history.

John Galt had been born in Irvine on the West Coast of Scotland.

John Galt
He became a businessman and traveller, combining this with his many stories which depicted country life, he was a busy man. He moved to Canada and built a road between the great Lakes Huron and Erie , he was also the founder of the city Guelph in the year 1812. He returned to Scotland when his business venture turned sour. This set-back did not deter him from his writing career and he wrote one of his best books at that time. He wrote about Canada in his books Lawrie Todd, and they seemed to be very realistic and humorous but in a way that showed the true rural way of life. He also wrote biographies and these actually affected the Social and cultural histories of Scotland . He penned the book about Lord Byron and also the ostentatious cardinal Wolsley. He wrote stories and biographies of the Covenanters too. John Galt was a truly great Scot.
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Golf, The Love Of (15 th century)

We all know Golf is not a person, but it played a huge part in making Scotland what it is today. The game can be traced right back and even King James II worried that too many of his subjects were playing the game and were not getting enough archery practice. He ordered that Golf and Fute-ball be ‘Cryed Downe'. Another King James IV described the beloved game as an “unprofitable sport” The Monarchy seemed to have their Golf lovers too. It was said that Mary Queen of Scots was an avid Golfer, and when King James VI went to London to be crowned along with the rest of the paraphernalia went his Golf Clubs. He also had a Golf Club maker named William Mayne by appointment.

Old Course St Andrews

The Honorary Company of Edinburgh , (originally: The Company of Gentlemen Golfers) has the oldest Golf Records in existence and they date back to 1774 when a tournament was held on the Leith Links. John Rattery a Surgeon in Edinburgh was made “Captain of Golf” in 1775.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which was formerly known as the Society of St. Andrew's, was formed in 1754 along with the Gentleman's Club. The Society was to play a major role in the development of Golf in Scotland . The first US golf club was founded in 1786, at Charleston 's Green, South Carolina by local clergyman Henry Purcell.

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Gordon, Highlanders (1794-2006)

The famous Gordon Highlanders were raised on the tenth of February 1794 , by the fourth Duke of Gordon, aided by his wife. There is a popular story that the Dukes wife would offer a kiss to any man who would sign on to the regiment. She would hold a guinea in her lips and await the troopers eager to sign on. The story of the good-looking blacksmith is one of the best. They had been trying unsuccessfully to get this man to join the regiment when the Dukes wife, the Duchess Jean, made her usual offer. The blacksmith could not resist the temptation and kissed Jean. As he retrieved the guinea from his mouth, he threw it into the crowd to let them know that he had not joined for the money.

The regiment was mainly raised in the huge Gordon estate of Badenoch, Lochaber, and Strathspey. There was also plenty of recruitment in the Aberdeen , Banff and Elgin areas.

The Gordon Highlanders were first given the legend 100 th Regiment of Foot. In the year 1778 they became the 92 nd under this number they were to win their very first battle honours. They would be known by this number until the time they would be amalgamated in 1881, with the 75 th Regiment. The Gordon Highlanders went on to win battle honours all over the world and were said to be Winston Churchill's favourite Regiment of fighting men. Their biggest fight is yet to come as they await an English parliamentary decision as to the future of the Scottish Regiments.

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Gordon, Patrick (1635-1699)

Patrick Gordon was a soldier of fortune, he had been born in a small Aberdeenshire town named Auchleuchries, and he was famed throughout Europe for his daring exploits and for being loyal to the highest bidder. He was to go on to become a General and publishing his diary which promoted his tiny birthplace to world renown. He fought in the Swedish/Polish war between the years 1635-1660. The strange thing is that at different times he fought for both sides and that is how he earned his reputation as a great fighter. After that war was over he went looking for something else to join up to, and found himself in the Russian Army. He fought against the Turks at Chigirin and defeated them, he was then sent to England on a diplomatic mission, by the regent Sophia, who he helped Peter overthrow. He helped the Tsar, during political struggles and crushed a rebellion by Sophia and her supporters in 1698.

Wax model of Peter I
Patrick Gordon was given the go ahead to build a Catholic Church in the Russian capital of Moscow . Patrick Gordon was a great ferocious fighting Scot, and a patriot to his country of birth. The picture depicts a wax model of Peter I, who Patrick Gordon fought for.
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Gow, Neil (1727-1807)

If you wanted a Strathspey, a jig or indeed a hornpipe then Neil Gow was your man. He was one of Scotland's best ever musicians and was revered throughout the land. He was a master of the fiddle and his type of fiddling has been passed down through the years, and is still used as much today as it was then. Neil Gow was fiddler to the famous Duke of Athol and his Strathspey were legendary. Although a great performer with the fiddle, he was also an inspired creator of music, and composed and published many well known tunes. Nathaniel who was Neil's son was also a gifted composer, player, and publisher, bringing to the public domain many of his father's reels. The Gow family were all very gifted musicians and Neil's other three sons, namely, John Andrew and William, were all at one time public figures in the music business. Neil Gow and his family were truly remarkable Scotsmen.

Neil Gow
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Gregory, James (1638-1675)

James Gregory was an amazing mathematician and astronomer. He was born in a small village called Drumoak, in Aberdeenshire. He was the person to first publish and then prove the fundamental theory of Calculus, thus enabling the possibility of working in higher mathematics. During the period of 1667 he again proved that the True Squaring of the Circle and of the Hyperbola, were fact, and was able to draw a distinction between a convergent and a divergent series. He went on to give rules for finding the area of curves and the volumes of the solids of revolution.

He was twice a professor of mathematics, first at St. Andrews , and latterly at Edinburgh University .

James Gregory
He was also a bit of an inventor and in fact had produced a telescope which was the first practical reflecting scope in the world. He went on to introduce a means of measuring stellar distances using photometric methods. There is no doubt that James Gregory had a fantastically superior mind, and was indeed an amazing example of Scottish thinking and invention.

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© Crann Tara 2006