Scotland's rich past and varied landscape have inspired an extraordinary array of legends and beliefs, and in The Lore of Scotland Jennifer Westwood and Sophia Kingshill bring together many of the finest and most intriguing: stories of heroes and bloody feuds, tales of giants, fairies, and witches, and accounts of local customs and traditions. Their range extends right across the country, from the Borders with their haunting ballads, via Glasgow, site of St. Mungo's miracles, to the fateful battlefield of Culloden, and finally to the Shetlands, home of the seal-people. More than simply retelling these stories, The Lore of Scotland explores their origins, showing how and when they arose and investigating what basis - if any - they have in historical fact. In the process, it uncovers the events that inspired Shakespeare's Macbeth, probes the claim that Mary King's Close is the most haunted street in Edinburgh, and examines the surprising truth behind the fame of the MacCrimmons, Skye's unsurpassed bagpipers. Moreover, it reveals how generations of Picts, Vikings, Celtic saints and Presbyterian reformers shaped the myriad tales that still circulate, and, from across the country, it gathers together legends of such rewned figures as Sir William Wallace, St Columba, and the great warrior Fingal. The result is a thrilling journey through Scotland's legendary past and an endlessly fascinating account of the traditions and beliefs that play such an important role in its heritage.
Jennifer Westwood was born in 1940 and studied English Language at Oxford, followed by Medieval Icelandic at Cambridge. A long-time member of the Folklore Society, she served as editor of FLS Books and also the journal Folklore. Her books include Albion: A Guide to Legendary Britain (1985), Gothick Cornwall (1992), Lost Atlantis (1997), On Pilgrimage (2003) and The Lore of the Land (2005, with Jacqueline Simpson). Sadly, she died in 2008. Sophia Kingshill is a writer, editor and researcher. She has contributed to folklore publications and her plays have been performed in Scotland, England and Norway. She lives in London.