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Inner Hebrides

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  • cmoorewv
    Hello. I have been searching the net for a good cultural history of the inner hebrides (Mull and Ulva to be exact) and have been coming up enpty handed. I
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 10, 2002
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      Hello. I have been searching the net for a good cultural history of
      the inner hebrides (Mull and Ulva to be exact) and have been coming
      up enpty handed. I can find very generalized versions of the viking
      conquests, but that's about it. I would like to form an SCA persona
      based on the MacQuarrie clan around the eleventh or twelfth
      centuries. I have found out that for some of this period, the inner
      hebrides were under viking/norwegian control rather than scottish.
      What I need help figuring out is how a woman living on Ulva would
      have dressed in these centuries. Would the clothing be predominantly
      viking, perdominately highland, or an equal mix of the two? I am
      also running into a brick wall when it comes to names. If anyone can
      help me nail this topic down, whether it be direct assistance,
      sending me informative web links, name resources, etc., I would be
      eternally grateful.
      Thanks a lot
      Carole
    • Sharon L. Krossa
      ... If you really want to get at the accurate, reliable history, you need to search libraries, not the internet. I recommend you start with a sound general
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 11, 2002
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        At 5:37 AM +0000 3/11/02, cmoorewv wrote:
        >Hello. I have been searching the net for a good cultural history of
        >the inner hebrides (Mull and Ulva to be exact) and have been coming
        >up enpty handed.

        If you really want to get at the accurate, reliable history, you need
        to search libraries, not the internet. I recommend you start with a
        sound general history of Scotland (such as Lynch), then then start
        looking for modern (academic) histories (books and articles) that
        deal more specifically with the area and time of your interest.
        (Without the general background, however, more specialized works will
        simply not make sense -- the general history is needed for the
        context and to know what the authors of the specific works are
        assuming their readers already know.)

        You can find good books to start with at the Scottish Medieval
        Bibliography at my web site:

        http://www.medievalscotland.org/scotbiblio/general.shtml

        >I can find very generalized versions of the viking
        >conquests, but that's about it. I would like to form an SCA persona
        >based on the MacQuarrie clan around the eleventh or twelfth
        >centuries.

        Well, first you might want to ask whether the MacQuarrie clan existed
        in the 11th or 12th centuries. Most Scottish clans of the late
        medieval and early modern period -- the ones whose names we are
        familiar with today -- had name ancestors who lived in the 12th,
        13th, or 14th centuries, and name ancestors generally lived at least
        a generation _before_ the clan they are named after came into being.
        (A clan leader and ruling family don't start calling themselves the
        son of soinso and the children of soinso if soinso is still alive and
        kicking...)

        In fact, looking at the potted history for MACQUARRIE found in Way of
        Plean and Squire _Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia_, it says

        "The first chief that can be referred to with any certainty appears
        to be ... John Macquarrie of Ulva, who is believed to have died
        around 1473 and who appeared as a witness in an earlier charter."

        Looking at the 1467 MS, the genealogy for "clann Guaire" gives
        "Guaire" as the 6th ancestor back in the genealogy (so, the
        great-great-great-grandfather), which (assuming an average of 25
        years between generations) would put Guaire as living around 1300 or
        so, give or take some. These are very rough estimates, but taken
        altogether with the general pattern of clan formation, does rather
        cast doubt on the idea that there was a "Clann Guaire" in the 11th or
        even the 12th centuries.

        >I have found out that for some of this period, the inner
        >hebrides were under viking/norwegian control rather than scottish.

        Yes, but it would seem that although there was Norse influence and
        the islands were part of the Norse king's kingdom rather than the
        Scottish king's kingdom, most inhabitants of the Western Isles were
        primarily Gaels in culture. (Which is not to say there wasn't Norse
        influence -- but it seems the Norse who settled in the Western Isles
        tended to go native/Gaelic. Somerled is the name ancestor of one of
        the most culturally Gaelic of Gaelic clan groupings, despite his
        Norse name.)

        >What I need help figuring out is how a woman living on Ulva would
        >have dressed in these centuries. Would the clothing be predominantly
        >viking, perdominately highland, or an equal mix of the two?

        Note that "Highland" is a cultural concept that only really applies
        from the late 14th century. (In the 11th & 12th centuries, it just
        doesn't make any sense to talk about "Highland" anything.)

        As for clothing -- the answer is that we just don't know with any
        detail what women were wearing in the western isles (inner hebrides
        or outer) in this period. It may have been most like what Irish women
        were wearing (and what were they wearing?) or it may have been
        influenced by Norse style (but how much?). Unfortunately, there just
        aren't any good primary sources that give us the kind of information
        we would need to be able to say. One simply has to make ones best
        guess, based on what is known about what was worn in related
        cultures, etc. (Personally, I would speculate dressing like the Irish
        unless the persona had specific and strong ties to Norway.)

        >I am
        >also running into a brick wall when it comes to names. If anyone can
        >help me nail this topic down, whether it be direct assistance,
        >sending me informative web links, name resources, etc., I would be
        >eternally grateful.

        Have you looked at the articles available at my web site and the
        Medieval Names Archive? (See the addresses in my signature below). In
        fact, for the 12th century there is a really excellent article that
        will give a very useful list of names that can be used for your
        patronymic. For your own name, there are several names listed in my
        article on Scottish Gaelic Women's Names that are known to have been
        used around the 11th-12th centuries. (This list isn't very long yet,
        but other than this list pretty much your only option is to do
        original research with primary documents. As time goes on, the list
        will get longer as more research is done and so more names are found.)

        If you have specific questions, especially about names, I will do my
        best to answer them.

        Sharon
        --
        Sharon Krossa, krossa@...
        Medieval Scotland (including resources for names, clothing, history, & more):
        http://www.MedievalScotland.org/
        The most complete index of reliable web articles about pre-1600 names:
        The Medieval Names Archive - http://www.panix.com/~mittle/names/
        Consultations about re-creating historically accurate pre-1600 names:
        Academy of Saint Gabriel - http://www.s-gabriel.org/
      • Matthew A. C. Newsome
        ... In _Clan MacQuarrie: A History_ by R. W. Munro and Alan Macquarrie, the authors use MS1467 to trace the genealogy of the cheifs back to a contemporary (or
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 11, 2002
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          "Sharon L. Krossa" wrote:

          > Well, first you might want to ask whether the MacQuarrie clan existed
          > in the 11th or 12th centuries. Most Scottish clans of the late
          > medieval and early modern period -- the ones whose names we are
          > familiar with today -- had name ancestors who lived in the 12th,
          > 13th, or 14th centuries, and name ancestors generally lived at least
          > a generation _before_ the clan they are named after came into being.
          > (A clan leader and ruling family don't start calling themselves the
          > son of soinso and the children of soinso if soinso is still alive and
          > kicking...)
          >
          > In fact, looking at the potted history for MACQUARRIE found in Way of
          > Plean and Squire _Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia_, it says
          >
          > "The first chief that can be referred to with any certainty appears
          > to be ... John Macquarrie of Ulva, who is believed to have died
          > around 1473 and who appeared as a witness in an earlier charter."
          >
          > Looking at the 1467 MS, the genealogy for "clann Guaire" gives
          > "Guaire" as the 6th ancestor back in the genealogy (so, the
          > great-great-great-grandfather), which (assuming an average of 25
          > years between generations) would put Guaire as living around 1300 or
          > so, give or take some. These are very rough estimates, but taken
          > altogether with the general pattern of clan formation, does rather
          > cast doubt on the idea that there was a "Clann Guaire" in the 11th or
          > even the 12th centuries.

          In _Clan MacQuarrie: A History_ by R. W. Munro and Alan Macquarrie, the
          authors use MS1467 to trace the genealogy of the cheifs back to a
          contemporary (or near contemporary) or Somerled. Of course, the
          "Guaire" in question came two generations later. And tracing a cheifly
          line back so far doesn't mean that *clan* in question goes back that
          far. After all, though you can speak of Somerled as "founding" the Clan
          Donald, that doesn't mean that the clan existed while Somerled was
          alive.

          It would appear, from this history, that Guaire was the one to inherit
          Ulva and parts of Mull as his inheritance from his father, Cormac. He
          likely lived during the first half of the 13th century.

          So, if you wanted your persona to be in service to a "mac Guaire of
          Ulva" then it would have to be from this time or later. But if you just
          wanted your persona to be a Gael from Ulva, feel free to go earlier.

          Remember, the people on Ulva who were living there when Guaire inherited
          the island more than likely had been living there for generations.
          Their anscestry isn't neccesarily tied in to the cheif's. (Though if
          you go to Ulva and see how small it is, chances are everyone's anscestry
          would get tied in to everyone else's pretty quickly. ;-) lol....

          I'll try to scan the chapter from the above book entitled (the Early
          Clan) and put it on line soon at. I'll let you know when I get that
          done.

          Aye,
          Eogan
        • cmoorewv
          Thanks to both Sharon and Eogan. Your replies do help in narrowing my focus. My time period of interest is not fixed by any means. As you can probably tell,
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 11, 2002
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            Thanks to both Sharon and Eogan. Your replies do help in narrowing
            my focus. My time period of interest is not fixed by any means. As
            you can probably tell, I have been floundering a bit, and your
            direction is gladly accepted. I will check out some of the
            bibliographical resources. The problem is that the libraries here do
            not always have the largest selection of titles when it comes to this
            subject area. I may get lucky, though. I have also checked out the
            naming pages Sharon authored. My problem here is that I'm still
            pretty novice at the whole thing. I will keep you posted on my
            progress.
            Thanks again,
            Carole
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