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Nairne, Carolina
Napier, Sir Charles
Napier, John
Neilson, James Beaumont
Nithsdale, William Maxwell


Heroes & Famous Scots (N)


NAIRNE, CAROLINA , Baroness (1766-1845)

Is there a Scottish person on this planet who has not heard or does not know the songs, "Charlie is my Darling," "The hundred Pipers," "The Land o' the Leal" and the haunting lament of "Will Ye No Come Back Again."? That question prompts another, how many know who the author of these songs was? They were actually composed by Carolina Nairne, the poetess, songwriter and laureate of the doomed Jacobite cause for truth and justice.

Carolina 's father, Laurence Oliphant was exiled from 1745-63. She began writing her patriotic songs in the Scottish folk tradition, following the example set by Scotland 's Bard the famous Robert Burns. When the Jacobite families had their titles restored in the year of 1824, she became Baroness as she was married to the 5th Baron Nairne.
Baroness Carolina Nairne was known as "The Flower of Strathearn." Her songs quickly found their way into the folk repertory of Scotland and have remained immensely popular ever since. They first appeared in The Scottish Minstrel in the years 1821 until 1824, under the pseudonym "Mrs Bogan of Bogan." In the year1846, a collected edition was published as Lays from Strathearn.
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NAPIER, SIR CHARLES (1786 -1860)

Sir Charles Napier was born at Falkirk , Stirling in the year 1786. He was known in Britain as "Black Charley" and "Mad Charley," he rose from midshipman to Admiral in both the Portuguese and British Navies. Napier began his ascent to the top of the ranks by serving in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 against the fledgling republic of the United States of America . He then served Portugal as Commander of its loyalist navy, destroying the fleet of Dom Miguel, pretender to the Portuguese throne, when he was against the claims of Princess Maria da Gloria, who was to later become Queen Maria II. He also helped defend the city of Lisbon against the "Miguelites."

Sir Charles Napier
In the year of 1836, Napier rejoined the British Navy, taking part in the Syrian Expedition of 1840-1844. He next commanded the Channel Fleet until the start of the Crimean War in the year 1853, when he was appointed to head the Baltic Fleet. Charles Napier's, refusal to attack the Russian naval base at Kronshtadt led to his recall and forced retirement. He was truly an amazing sailor and a great credit to his Scottish roots.
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NAPIER, JOHN (1550-1617)

John Napier was a brilliant Scotsman, and if it had not been for his amazing mathematical mind the world would be a different place today. He was the inventor of Logarithm tables which made mathematical calculations possible. He had been born at Merchiston Castle near Scotland 's Capital city of Edinburgh .

He was often referred to in Mathematical circles as ‘The Marvellous Merchiston' The amazing thing about him is that he had went to St. Salvators college in St. Andrews when he was thirteen but left without graduating. Napier was also responsible for the introduction of the decimal point. He devised another method of calculating which with the use of metal plates became known as,

(Rabdologiae) Napier's Rod's or Bone's. They are also the earliest known form of mechanical calculation, which may even be the forefather of the modern day calculator. John Napier was a wonderful Mathematician, and a truly amazing Scotsman.

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Neilson. James Beaumont (1792-1865)

James Neilson was born in the town of Shettleston , Glasgow, on the twenty-second day of June 1792. He began work at the age of fourteen in the coal and gas industry of Glasgow . His father before him was also an engineer in the same industry. He joined the Glasgow Gas Works (which was the first one ever in the area) in the year 1814 and slowly moved through the ranks before becoming Manager, and Chief Engineer.

He done his studying at the Andersonian Institute, and developed several improvements in the gas industry. He was the person who invented the famous smokeless ‘Swallow-Tail Burner'.

Neilson was also actively working on the process of iron smelting and production.

James Neilson
He realised that the problem stemmed from the actual air that was used to blast oxygen into the hot metal. Neilson devised and patented the ‘Hot Air Blower' which was to revolutionise the iron industry. In recognition of his services to industry, Neilson was elected to the Institution of Civil Engineers, to the Chemical Society and, in 1846, the Royal Society of London. He died on his estate at Queenshill, near Kirkcudbright, on 18 January 1865 . Neilson was a fantastic designer and inventor ands a truly great Scotsman.
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NITHSDALE, WILLIAM MAXWELL, 5th Earl (1676-1744)

William Maxwell was a staunch supporter of the Jacobite struggle for truth and justice; he believed that the usurped throne should be returned to the Stuarts, who were the rightful owners. He was captured at Preston in the year 1715 and condemned to death by the English Government, on the ninth day of February with the execution to take place on the twenty-fourth, of the same month, this was happening to him because of his Jacobite beliefs.

Tower of London
His wife on hearing the sentence went before George I and pleaded for her husband's life. The German speaking George ignored her and as he walked away she held on to the hem of his cloak. Her begging was to be in vain and the execution was to go ahead as planned. His wife devised a plan to extract him safely from the grim Tower of London which has seen so much bloodshed and tears for England 's cause. She and another two companions, a Mrs. Morgan and a Mrs. Mills, visited the imprisoned Maxwell and dressed him in female attire. He walked past his guards without a second look. He and his beloved wife headed for France and the Jacobite court which was situated there. Unfortunately for the devoted couple they ended their days in poverty but at least they were together. Both these people were hero's one a proud Scot and the other a remarkable Welsh woman. The picture is of the Bloodytower where the amazing escape took place.

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© Crann Tara 2006