Volume 35 of the Forth Naturalist and Historian is now out and it includes a paper by Nigel Bishop on King's Park Football Club.
Nigel gave a fascinating talk to Stirling Local HIstory Society on this topic on 29 March 2012. The club was a significant local institution from the 1870s until its stand was destroyed by an German bomb in 1940. Researching the history of local football clubs so often depends of collecting material from scattered newspaper reports - a time-consuming task. But football and other sports have been an important aspect of many people's lives and of local identities, too.
So, Nigel and colleagues are to be congratulated on gathering and publishing material which would otherwise remain scattered.
If you have further information about the club, memorabilia or stories, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Earlier this week, John Harrison, chair of the Society, attended a meeting hosted by Historic Scotland about the future of the King's Park. A group of academic historians and archaeologists who were present have issued a statement about the park's future at this period when ownership is in question.
The matter is of the gravest importance. For 900 years, the park has belonged to The Crown - basically, it has been in public ownership. The threat is that the Crown Estate Commissioners might sell the land to a diversity of new owners.
Divided ownership would inevitably make long-term protection of these unique historic landscapes more difficult - perhaps impossible. They have long been (and remain) a vital national and local asset.
The group, which included Chris Smout, Historiographer Royal, agreed that the best solution is transfer to ownership by Scottish Ministers as is already the case for the Castle itself and for the King's Knot. Scottish ministers would pass effective management to Historic Scotand and existing stakeholders (including the Golf Club and the general public of Stirling) would continue to be involved in day to day management.
It would be really good to have your comments on this issue, either by email or, best, via the comment facility on the blog.
You can see the statement which we issued here.
Something over a dozen people turned up for the visit to the King's Knot on the morning of the 15th and another ten or so in the afternoon.
As is always the case with visits to these landscapes, people are amazed and delighted to find out that so much of interesting has been going on under their noses without them knowing about it. There is a real eagerness to know more - not just about the Knot but about its wider setting.
As ever, the question was raised about returning the Knot to 'how it used to be'. But most people recognise that there are too many unanswerable questions for that to be possible - and that, in any case, the Knot has not had one state in the past but has evolved over time. Which time do we want to return it to?
Let's hope that, before too long, we have more information based on sound research and that, one day, the entire area will be better presented and interpreted.
Here is a picture of one of the groups, in the glorious sunshine, too!
A useful link drawn to my attention today
This provides a basic timeline of the major events from the death of Alexander III to the execution of William Wallace, including the known events of Wallace's life and some useful, reliable references. It does not pretent to be 'new' information but is a useful starting point if you wish to learn more.
If you have other links to reliable information, why not post them here as comments?
The timeline has been developed in association with the forthcoming exhibition on the Wallace Letters, organised by National Records of Scotland and to be held in the parliament between 10th and 31st Aug 2012
A splendid blog post on the Herald website by Andy Wightman, well-known expert on land ownership in Scotland on a subject of great importance to Stirling and to SLHS, the King's Park. http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/bloggers/why-is-an-ancient-scottish-royal-park-about-to-be-flogged-off-for-a-million-quid.20120356
The park has been crown land since the twelfth century and most of it is still in crown hands. It is by far the finest medieval royal landscape in Scotland and of European importance. There is huge potential for further research, for interpretation and to integrate the park with the newly-presented royal lodgings of Stirling Castle.
Control and ownership of the crown estate in Scotland is one of the issues being considered in the current Scotland Bill; within weeks, ownership could pass to Scottish ministers. But, as Wightman points out, the Crown Estate Commissioners are prepared to sell the park to Stirling Council who would then lease a large part to the private Stirling Golf Club, effectively giving them control of much of the area. The Council appear to be willing to spend up to £1m for this - even though they might get more effective control and management by simply waiting a few weeks for the Scotland Bill to pass.
Many private individuals and Kings Park Community Council have expressed concerns and such a move would certainly not help Stirling Local History Society in their plans to investigate these crucial landscapes. Have you been aware of widespread local discussion of this crucial issue? What do you think should happen. Do feel free to comment here or elsewhere.
Following the succesful conference held by Historic Scotland at Stirling University (noted earlier on this blog) the online Caledonian Mercury has picked up on informal comments by John Harrison about the importance of the Stirling Castle Historic Landscapes (see link below).
These landscapes are unique in Scotland and of European importance as surviving medieval royal landscapes with rich surviving archaeology and documentation. As Ruth Parsons, Chief Executive of Historic Scotland said, in her introductory remarks at the conference, they provide a magificient setting for the castle; they were also key assets to Stirling as a royal residence.
The landscapes are not scheduled and have little protection from fragmentation or even development; their status as part of the Crown Estate is under review. So, perhaps now is the time to act. Stirling Local History Society has set the ball rolling with a geophysical survey in summer 2011 (see the Projects and Developments page of this website). There is a clear need to research the landscapes thoroughly and then to manage and interpret them for a modern audience. This could have a huge impact on Stirling, encouraging visitors to explore and spend more time (and cash!) in the area. And it could save landscapes as precious as any Crown Jewels.
If you agree, why not take a look at the article - and then comment or tweet.
If you have a reader's ticket for National Library of Scotland (and it is easy and free to get one) you can now access their Licensed Digital Collections.
This is a vast and valuable resource and includes Parliamentary Papers, Dictionary of National Biography and British nineteenth century Newspapers, all just a click away.
Access the service via; http://www.nls.uk/