Paisley’s Gaelic Graveyard 🪦

🗓️ Following on from my previous blog post on the cleared village of Boreraig, I think Gaelic week is a good time to write about the former St Columba’s Gaelic Chapel Graveyard in Paisley, which I was also able to visit but much more recently – in December 2022! One of the destinations for those forced off of their land due to the Clearances was of course Scotland’s towns and cities, so this is where many ended up whether directly or after having to leave poorer land they were first pushed on to due things like famine. Below I’ll detail some of the history of Paisley’s Gaelic population, the graveyard and highlight some gravestones in particular with photos.

Information Board on the wall of the former graveyard, unfortunately in a poor state…

ℹ️ The above photo shows the information board on the wall of the former St Columba’s Gaelic Chapel Graveyard in the Oakshaw area of Paisley. Unfortunately the Scottish Gaelic information was a bit too obscured by the graffiti to try to transcribe, but I’ll quote the English information below so it’s easier to read:


This plaque marks the location of a former gateway into St. Columba’s Gaelic Chapel Graveyard which was in use for more than 150 years from 1795 to 1949.

Many who were buried here were Gaelic speakers who worshipped in the Chapel. They came to Paisley from 1770 onwards to find work in the booming textile and manufacturing industries and to escape famine in the Highlands and Islands.

Rates of infant mortality were particularly high in the first half of the 19th Century when the town’s population increased rapidly but sanitation remained very basic. Many people buried here died young. One wealthy family lost five of their seven children.

A number of gravestones from the Gaelic Chapel Graveyard can be seen at Hawkhead Cemetery. Inscriptions show that Gaelic people brought skills with them from the Highlands or learned new skills to adapt to an industrial town. More than 30 jobs are mentioned and it is clear that Gaelic people helped enrich the lives of people in Paisley and beyond.

The chapel was built in 1793 and the last service was held in 1958. The building was then converted into flats.

The graveyard has developed into a wildlife sanctuary with woodland providing undisturbed nesting sites for songbirds like Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Chaffinches and Wrens. The damp, shady conditions are ideal for woodland flowers like Bluebells, Enchanter’s Nightshade and the Wild Orchid, Broad-leaved Helleborine.”

From info board put up by Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council
Looking up the road that runs alongside the graveyard turned wildlife sanctuary and leads to the former Gaelic chapel.
The former St Columba’s Gaelic Chapel, now converted into flats with the former graveyard behind them. To find it turn right at the top of the hill in the previous photo and walk along the street on the opposite side of Oakshaw Trinity Church, then you’ll see it on your right.
The former graveyard, now gone back to nature after many of the gravestones being moved to Hawkhead Cemetery after the 1949 closure.
Back down the hill again – Paisley has many of these old, interesting streets to explore.
Information Board at Hawkhead Cemetery, where many of the gravestones were moved to.

ℹ️ The information board at Hawkhead Cemetery was thankfully in a better state, though a bit dirty. I think I’ve been able to get both the Scottish Gaelic and English this time so I’ll put both below – scroll down to the relevant language for yourself and for more photos, including some of the gravestones:


Anns an sgìre seo tha clachan-uaighe bho sheann Chladh Cill Ghàidhlig Naoimh Chaluim Chille ann an Oakshaw, Pàislig.

Bha cladh na Cille Gàidhlig air a cleachdadh còrr air 150 bliadhna, eadar 1795 gu an tiodhlacadh mu dheireadh ann an 1949.

Ged a bha a-Chill Ghàidhlig air a stèidheachadh airson Gàidheil a bho air gluasad a Phàislig bhon Ghàidhealtachd agus na h-Eileanan, cha robh ach beagan chlachan-uaighe sgrìobhte sa Ghàidhlig.

Bha còrr air 30 dreuchdan air ainmeachadh air na clachan-uaighe, mar chomharra air farsaingeachd sgilean nan Gàidheal agus mar a ghabh iad ri beatha bhailteil Phàislig agus gnìomhachasan soirbheachail.

Tha cuid de na dreuchdan sin gun atharrachadh mòran ann an 150 bliadhna, gu sònnaichte feadhainn togail leithid sgleàtair, sglàibeadair agus criadh-chlachair. Tha cuid cha mhòr air falbh gu tur ann an Alba m.e: feadhainn ceangailte ri muilleannan clò, leithid glanadair clò agus dathadair agus cuideachd feadhainn eile leithid uaireadairiche agus ròpadair. Tha cuid eile, leithid breabadair, greusaiche, diolladair is gobha staoin ann fhathast mar obair dhualchas no làmh-cheàrd sonràichte.”

From info board put up by Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council
To find the gravestones, turn left after entering Hawkhead Cemetery from Hawkhead Road. Go along to the wall you’ll see ahead of you, then turn left again and follow that same wall along until you find them in the far corner of that section of the cemetery.


This area contains gravestones retrieved from the former St. Columba’s Gaelic Chapel Graveyard in Oakshaw, Paisley.

The Gaelic Chapel Graveyard was in use for more than 150 years from 1795 until the last burial in 1949.

Although the Gaelic Chapel was founded for Gaelic speakers who had moved to Paisley from the Highlands and islands, only a small proportion of the stones were inscribed in Gaelic.

More than 30 jobs are mentioned on the gravestones, indicating the diversity of skills held by Gaelic speakers and how they adapted to their new urban life in Paisley’s booming industries.

Few of these jobs have changed in 150 years, particularly building trades like slater, plasterer and bricklayer. Some have virtually disappeared from Scotland – those associated with textile mills, like cloth lapper and dyer, but also watchmaker and ropemaker. Others survive as heritage of luxury handcrafts – weaver, shoemaker, sadder and tin-smith.”

From info board put up by Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council
As mentioned in the info there were only a few gravestones actually inscribed with Scottish Gaelic – this was the only one I could find, at least that was semi-legible, not covered in water etc.
A closer look at the same stone – from what I can see it’s for a man called Gileasbaig McCaog. Quite difficult to make out all of the words due to erosion & my Gaelic isn’t good enough to translate them fully, so I’m not sure what’s written in italics – I suspect it means the stone was erected for him by his wife Anna NicDhonuil. Not sure exactly where they came from either. It’s nice though we can clearly see the wife’s surname as women in Scotland traditionally didn’t change theirs after marriage, & of course in the female form too with “Nic” instead of “Mac/Mc”. As far as I can tell the year spelled out rather than in numerals at the bottom is 1817. UPDATE: thank you very much Peter MacDonald Tartan Historian for letting me know about a good online translation that also explains things such as issues with how the Mr McCaog’s job is spelt. The translation is given as follows: “This stone was set up by Gillespie McCaig, Tailor, and Anne McDonnell his Spouse, from Upper Kintyre. Year eighteen hundred and seventeen.” (With the Gaelic being: “Tha chlach so air a cur suas [le?] Gileasbaig McCaog, Taighlear, agus Anna NicDhonuil a Bhean, o Bhraigh Cheantire. Aon mhile, ochd ceud, agus seachd bliana deug.”) Please do have a look at the Geograph site where this was quoted from for more details.
Most of the stones were inscribed in English – here’s a slightly older, but less eroded one that reads: “This is the burying plot of Robert McAusland and Agnes Robson his Spouse; and their Heirs 1799. No 116” – interesting mix of older & newer style Ss.
A very sad memorial of a father & 2 children – Malcom McIntyre died only 48 years old on 13th October 1812 after his infant son Alex died on 8th. The next August they were joined by daughter Elora who was only 3.5 years old. Perhaps this was some kind of sickness that caused this? The stone was erected by Marg (?) McKingie, the wife & I assume also the mother.
This stone seems to have been shared – first the property of John Campell, a weaver, erected for his wife Margaret Wright who died in 1809. Then property of a Fergus Ferguson & Margaret Campbell – maybe John’s daughter? – in memory of their deceased 7 year old daughter Eliza.

🍂 Those were just a few of the surviving gravestones that I wanted to highlight – many of the older ones were of a similar, quite plain design with some more recent ones being a bit bigger and a bit more ornate. Have a look at the gallery below for more photos:

🪦 Thank you for reading! It was very interesting looking into this being from Paisley myself, as well as being interested in Scottish Gaelic and death customs in general 🔍

📸 Featured Photo & all other photos credit: me and my dad. We went to look for the graveyard and graves along with my husband and mum. My dad instilled a love of history in me from a young age and took us to lots of sites as we were growing up, so it was really nice to be back in Scotland after travel restrictions were eased to do something like that again 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

🌱Happy St Bride’s Day/Là Fhèill Brìghde or Imbolc/Imbolg to those celebrating 🔥

💧Have a watch/listen to a story about St Brìde in Scottish Gaelic or English from the wonderful, new Map of Stories website:

📰 More folklore & folk customs can be found in this great article from the West Highland Free Press.

🐍 Also, for people interested in our native adders, some seasonal folklore associated with them may be of interest – read here. You also might want to have a look at last year’s Là Fhèill Brìghde post.

✨Lastly, some brilliant thoughts on Brìde/Brigid that are well worth the read so I’m re-sharing this year from Monumental Ireland’s FB page. It’s fantastic that in Ireland, as of this year, St Brigid’s Day has been made a Bank Holiday with the aim of celebrating women there 🥳

📸 Featured Photo Credit: Pexel

🎅🏻Merry Christmas🎄Nollaig Chridheil ⭐️Blythe Yule to all celebrating!

Hope everyone had a great day ☺️

🎧 Anyone who likes a chilling Christmas ghost story should have a listen to the latest Christmas Special of the Uncanny podcast – in it we’ve got someone from Scotland telling us about his experiences that centre around Christmas time – listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

(⚠️The above mentioned Uncanny is a brilliant podcast in general, though for this particular episode I would flag one thing – Evelyn, who to be fair isn’t a folklore expert, unfortunately mashes together genuine traditional Scottish folklore/practices such as ”charring the old wife” & “the Cailleach” with imported modern Neopagan concepts such as ”the triple goddess/maiden-mother-crone” & “pagan sabbats” which have nothing to do with native Scottish traditions…This is obviously disappointing not only in terms of misinformation, but also in terms of horror/potential folkloric explanations for what happened – if you look beyond the imported “the Cailleach is the winter crone aspect of the triple goddess” & go into the traditional Gaelic lore, you’ll find various entities with the Cailleach titles that can be quite scary, dangerous & even deadly. This, imo, would make much more sense than any goddess in the scenario presented as well as avoiding misrepresentation of Gaelic culture 💭)

🏷️ Have a look at the “The Cailleach” topic tag for more info, folklore & resources regarding these Scottish Gaelic entities.

📚 There was also brief mention of the Scottish Witch Trials, so if you want to learn more about those you can look at the topic tag & resources section.

🔍 Lastly, you might want to search for previous posts on Christmas customs, folklore etc 🐍

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

🔥 Oidhche Shamhna Shona Dhuibh & Happy Hallaeen/Halloween if you’re celebrating ☺️!!

👻 This is one of my absolute favourite times of the year, filled with great memories! If you’re the same then you might be interested in reading some wee facts about Halloween if you haven’t already here ⬅️

🎧 Additionally, if you enjoy a good chilling story – & some comedy too – you might want to have a listen to these Irish stories as they contain many similar elements to Scottish Gaelic stories. The first story in particular has elements of how to protect your household from any dangerous Otherworldly denizens that will be very familiar to anyone aware of Scottish lore – for example carefully smooring the fire & making sure any dirty water used for washing etc was thrown outside before bed. Another fascinating thing is that linguistically this story is thought to be over 1000 years old! Hopefully that’s got you interested – listen on the Story Archaeology website or wherever you usually listen to podcasts 🎙

💧 Then if you fancy more listening Tobar an Dualchais has some brilliant vintage recordings to listen to, such as this one about using an egg for traditional seasonal divination in Shetland & this one about Halloween traditions such as guising in South Uist👂🏻

🍬 P.S. If you get any guisers coming to your door I hope you get them doing their party pieces/turns, none of this “trick-or-treat” only lol! There are some brilliant vintage photos of some South Uist costumes in 1932, that may be similar to what the boys wore in the above mentioned recording, on The National Trust FB page 📷

📸 Featured photo credit: Pexel

Cochno vs Kilmartin – fascinating talk on major rock art sites now available on YouTube (plus some Scot Arch Month 2022 Highlights) 📺

A fabulous talk given by Dr Kenny Brophy from University of Glasgow for Kilmartin Museum is now available to watch for free online, running time approx. 120 mins including Q&A. In it he talks about his work on the Cochno Stone & West Dunbartonshire sites, the value of archives for not only historians but archaeologists too, & how important contributions from well-informed amateurs can be. He then compares this to better known rock art sites in Kilmartin Glen. I’ll embed the video below & I highly recommend you have a look at the Kilmartin Museum YouTube channel to see their other interesting talks as well ⬇️


It’s brilliant this kind of information is available to the public for free & hopefully it’ll encourage people to – responsibly – visit these sites. A general guide for doing that can be found here ⬅️

Also, if you’re interested in this particular form of cup & ring style rock art, you may want to have a look at previous posts here & here where you can read, watch more videos, interact with 3D models etc 🐍

Speaking of information available for free here are some more highlights from Scottish Archaeology Month (September) 2022:

Hopefully this wee round-up was of interest ☺️ For more archaeology have a look at the Archaeology topic tag 🏷

📸 Featured Photo credit: Me, Kilmartin Glen – Achnabreck rock art featuring distinctive “cup & ring” marks

Corn Dollies at Lammas & Lughnasadh/Lùnastal – “The Clyack” & “The Cailleach” 🌾

🌾Just a wee post to highlight a couple of contrasting beliefs about seasonal corn dolls (actually made of wheat or similar grain plants) in Scotland. I feel it’s interesting & is a good example of how there wasn’t, & isn’t, a singular pan-Scottish culture – cultural & linguistic influences vary by area 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

📖 I’ll start with “The Clyack” as at least in my personal experience she is less well known nowadays. The Dictionaries of the Scots Language is a wonderful resource for both language & culture – which should be no surprise given how closely they’re interlinked – so here’s an extract from an entry on making a “Clyack”, an old custom for Scots speakers at this time of year:

“…“The last sheaf of corn to be cut at the harvest” (e.Rs.1 1929; Mry.1 1912), gen. cut by the youngest person on the farm. It was dressed to represent a maiden, or decorated with ribbons and carried home in triumph. At “Aul' Eel Even” it was given to the oldest (or sometimes to the best) animal on the farm, or to a mare in foal. Usually in phr. to tak, get (Abd. 1863 G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod xi.) or hae clyack. In the south of Scot. this is called the kirn (see Kirn, n.2, 2), elsewhere the Maiden. Sometimes used attrib. with sheaf…”

To read the full entry plus examples of use in extracts from old books newspapers etc see the DSL website ⬅️

❄️ In Scottish Gaelic culture however this last sheaf wasn’t considered in such a positive light. It was referred to as a “Cailleach” (hag, the spirit of the harvest) & having to look after her all winter was undesirable as it was thought to be a bad sign. Folklorist John Gregorson Campbell asserted that no-one wanted to have to take in & feed this “Cailleach” over winter. I suppose a surprise extra mouth to feed, even symbolically, over the harshest time of year wasn’t a welcome thought. He also states that this harvest hag spirit is the same as the one being taunted in the New Year rhyme chanted by groups of boys as the went round the houses – there appear to be 3 Cailleachan mentioned in that rhyme, so I’m guessing it’s the one with sharp sticks in her eyes & stomach. You can read the rhyme & translation here in this article I wrote earlier this year, along with more info on Campbell’s indispensable writings on Scottish Gaelic culture, now put together in one book: The Gaelic Otherworld 📜

🔥 You can read more about Scottish Gaelic Lùnastal customs & see photos etc online at The Cailleach’s Herbarium – have a look at their great article on wheat weaving in general too ⬅️

🐍 Additionally you might want to have a look at the Language & Folklore, Folk Customs & Folk Magic sections of the Resource Pages, &/or related topic tags that can be found either the the bottom or on the right-hand side of any page depending on your device 🏷

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

🔥Happy Lùnastal &/or Lammas to those celebrating 🌾

🗓 1st August is the modern fixed date of the Scottish Gaelic fire festival of Lùnastal/Lughnasadh & the Scots festival of Lammas, associated with the first harvests of the year (though the actual harvesting often happened later depending on local climate) 🌾

📰 Here’s a nice wee article by Raghnall MacilleDhuibh on some songs & folk traditions associated with this old Gaelic fire festival such as divination, saining & visiting holy wells in the hope of healing both physical & mental health issues – well worth a read ⬅️ Like any fire festival it’s a time when supernatural forces were/are thought to be more active than usual, so things like saining for protection are a feature 🌫

💧If you’re planning on visiting any wells yourself, have a look at this helpful guide before you go from the Woven Land Network 🌱

🎧 You can also listen to some 1st August events that happened in Barra in Scottish Gaelic & read an English summary on Tobar an Dualchais 🐴

🔥 It’s interesting to note that large fires traditionally lit at this time of year later came to be known as ‘Baal Fires’. Why ‘Baal-Fire’? As the DSL puts it: “Bale and bale-fire are mod. revivals of the 19th cent. The spelling baal is due to a fanciful connection with the pagan god, Baal.” – people have also tried to make this connection with the Phoenician God Baal & Bealltainn, but it’s just as fanciful & isn’t backed by any evidence 📖

🐍 Lastly, for anyone that missed it – a recent article on St Enoch mentioning a sadly now lost healing well in what’s now the centre of Glasgow can be read here

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

St Thenue or Enoch, mother of the patron Saint of Glasgow – conversion, miraculous survival, witchcraft accusations & a healing well 🐟

🗓 Today, 18th July, is the Feast Day of St Thenue (spelled various different ways) or St Enoch. She was mother of the much more well known St Kentigern or Mungo, the patron Saint of Glasgow. For this day I thought I’d write a wee bit about her story & places dedicated to her, especially since many who regularly pass through places like St Enoch Square in Glasgow aren’t aware of the legends behind the name.

⚠️ Trigger Warning for sexual violence in story below ⬇️ Given these events are said to have taken place in the 6th century some details vary from source to source, so I’ve tried to make a basic summary based on the versions I’ve read & I’ll link them all at the end:

Thenue is thought to have been a 6th Century Brittonic princess, daughter of the King of the Goddodin in what’s now East Lothian, who converted to Christianity. After converting, she went against her father’s wishes by refusing to marry the son of the King of North Rheged (now Galloway) because he hadn’t converted & was still following the native pre-Christian religion, as was her father & most of those around her.

Thenue is then thought to have been exiled by her angry father to live as a poor animal herder, where she was later found & raped by the man she had refused to marry. She tried to keep the resulting pregnancy a secret but her father somehow found out, blamed her for the attack, & tried to have her executed by having her thrown from Traprain Law.

Miraculously she & her unborn child survived, making her father think she was some kind of witch. Even pre-Christian belief systems had a concept of “witch” being someone who used magic for selfish, evil ends to harm their community. (The Romans are another infamous example of a pre-Christian society that used to burn “witches” before the Christian Satanic ideas came into being). Despite Thenue obviously having done nothing wrong her father was convinced she was trying to bring shame upon her family & people, even refusing to be put to death, which in his mind would have been the “right” thing to do. Therefore it was decided that she should be set adrift in a coracle up the River Forth to eventually die at sea. However she was rescued by St Serf at Culross & survived, with some stories telling of her coracle being guided by a shoal of fish against the current in order for this to happen.

It was at Culross that Thenue gave birth to Kentigern, who she nicknamed Mungo, meaning “dear one”. When Mungo grew up he travelled around various places in Scotland, preaching & converting people, before ending up in Glasgow where he became a Bishop. Both he & Thenue are thought to have died in Glasgow, with Thenue’s grave thought to be near or even possibly under the present day St Enoch Shopping Centre.

As said at the beginning of this story, the purported events happened so long ago that there are many slightly different versions, none of which we can verify with any certainty. The people involved do seem to have existed at least. The events also fit in with the general early history of Christianity in Scotland – it was spread slowly by individual or small groups of monks, not by force, with people choosing to convert at various times for various reasons. It’s also known that, while not as misogynistic as Greek & Roman societies, pre-Christian “Celtic” societies weren’t exactly bastions of equality either sadly.

💧 St Enoch Shopping Centre, St Enoch Square & St Enoch subway station are well-known modern places in Glasgow city centre. The reason for them being named as such was mentioned above – Thenue’s grave is thought to have been in the vicinity. There are records from the 15th century indicating that there was a chapel housing her bones in the middle of a burial ground, later replaced on maps by a church in the 19th century, before that in turn was replaced by St Enoch Square as we know it today. There was also a street recorded as St Thenue’s Gait, now replaced by Argyll Street & the Trongate, & a St Tenue’s Well which has also sadly been lost. Records show some interesting traditions that were associated with this healing well when it was still in use:

“It was shaded by an old tree which drooped over the well, and which remained till the end of the last century. On this tree the devotees who frequented the well were accustomed to nail, as thank-offerings, small bits of tin-iron probably manufactured for that purpose by a craftsman in the neighbourhood representing the parts of the body supposed to have been cured by the virtues of the sacred spring such as eyes, hands, feet, ears, and others a practice still common in Roman Catholic countries.”

From Saints in Scottish Place Names – see links at end to read full info available

🎨 There are also 2 beautiful murals in Glasgow depicting St Thenue. One is on the corner of High Street & George Street, depicted by street artist Sam Bates as a modern woman with her baby. A wee robin perches on her arm in reference to St Mungo’s first miracle, said to have been bringing his pet robin back to life. The other mural was painted by Mark Worst for Thenue Housing association, just off London Road. This mural includes the fish that are said to have saved Thenue & also features 29 motifs on her shawl in memory of the Glasgow women who died in the 1889 Templeton’s factory disaster nearby. The Thenue Housing Association also has a mask of Thenue carved from stone from the now demolished St Enoch hotel in their office. See links at the end for photos & further details.

📜 According to Medieval Glasgow, St Enoch Shopping Centre unveiled a plaque in 2019 to display the various names Thenue has been known as over time. These are:


The variations in spelling are due to these stories having originally been told orally, spreading across various areas with slightly different pronunciation etc before finally being written down. Hopefully this along with the murals will help to make more people aware of Thenue’s story – even if it was too long ago to establish exactly what the facts are, these stories have cultural value & tell us a lot about what people believed over time. In addition, modern historical fiction writer Nigel Tranter wrote a novel based on these events – I’ll link to a description below for anyone interested in reading a fleshed-out & well-researched imagining of Thenue’s life.

📚 Links & further Reading:

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

Abortion Access in Scotland – some recent history & the current situation

⚠️ After the disgraceful decision in the US to overturn Roe vs Wade, I think it’s important to remember that anti-choice sentiment is not an exclusively American thing – more than ever we need to make sure that access to abortion in Scotland is not only defended but improved. We’ve made hard-fought progress over the years, but we still have quite a way to go to make sure all people in Scotland can access this kind of healthcare when they need it. In fact, there’s no right to abortion recognised by law anywhere in the UK which many people don’t realise…

Did you know that although abortion has been a devolved issue since 2016, Scotland is still following the older – frankly outdated & extremely paternalistic – 1967 Abortion Act, which is regarded as one of the most restrictive in Europe?

This means that instead of the right to choose to end pregnancy being enshrined in law as recommended by international human rights organisations, it actually remains an illegal act for which both the abortion seeker & provider can be prosecuted for *unless* they meet very stringent guidelines, such as the agreement of 2 separate doctors. This ultimately takes the choice away from the pregnant person & puts it in the hands of doctors, which not only causes delays but also puts them at the mercy of individual doctors’ personal views on abortion, & in some cases even lack of knowledge about local abortion services. Scotland in particular has unfortunately had issues historically with doctors deliberately delaying or refusing to approve abortions due to their personal beliefs, even in big cities like Glasgow where you might not expect it.

Another issue is the provision of late-term abortions. While abortions can be performed at up to 24 weeks according to the Act, in Scotland they are not performed after 18-20 weeks (depending on area) for non-medical reasons. This means that although the facilities are there – you can get them for medical reasons – people seeking abortions for non-medical reasons later on, such as rape victims who may not have sought help sooner due to trauma, are forced to make the decision to either pay to travel to England for one or continue with an unwanted pregnancy. While there is a process in place for claiming back these expenses later, it’s difficult to navigate & the upfront costs can be prohibitive, especially for people on lower incomes. While most abortions in Scotland take place before pregnancy reaches 9 weeks, the situation is obviously unacceptable for those who have not been able to seek help until later for whatever reason.

🌈 As mentioned in the beginning there have been some positive changes in Scotland, & abortion being devolved along with widespread public support for the right to choose means we have a real chance to change things for the better. For example, while the “abortion pill” used to only be available to take at home for those suffering miscarriages, it’s now allowed to be taken at home for abortions, either after collecting in person or via telemedicine. Before this the pill had to be taken in a medical setting, so risked the abortion process starting before reaching home for those who lived further away &/or relied on public transport. This is a good example of an existing framework, in this case for miscarriages, being adjusted to include abortions. So, why not adjust the current framework for late-term abortions due to medical reasons to accommodate non-medical reasons too, so no-one has to travel to England? I feel in Scotland we often like to think of ourselves as being more progressive than other places so it’s ridiculous that our abortion access is still not up to par, especially for a healthcare service that is accessed by 1 in 3 women in their lifetimes globally. It clearly needs to be decriminalised & made accessible for all on the NHS in Scotland.

⭐️ Links for sources of info, further reading & action you can take:

Answer the *current* consultation on establishing ‘safe zones’ around healthcare sites that provide abortions in Scotland on the Scottish Parliment’s website – see Back Off Scotland for more info

Current NHS Scotland information on abortion services can be found on NHS Inform Scotland

Engender report & recommendations to the Scottish Government – a brilliant, comprehensive read (though from 2016 so at least we can say that at least one of the recs, to be able take the “abortion pill” at home, has now been enacted) – can be read here

Fantastic paper published in 2020 on the Scottish Abortion Campaign (SAC) from 1975-1990 – it covers feminism, trade unions, national identity, & wanting to improve things in Scotland – such as removing the need for 2 doctors, which sadly still hasn’t happened yet – rather than just defending the 1967 Act is available through Open Access online here

News article telling the stories of women who had to travel to England for an abortion in The Scotsman

2020 report comparing abortion rights & access across Europe here

⬆️ “You can’t make people use their body to keep someone else alive” – bang on. Even if we’re dead we have to have given prior consent for organ donation, plus certainly when we’re alive no-one would argue that we should be forced to donate organs, give blood etc against our will to keep someone else alive (& that would be a fully formed, conscious person). So why when it comes to pregnant people who don’t wish to be pregnant is this any different? That anti-choicers would give them less rights than a corpse is mind-blowing to me 🤯

🏷 I’ve tagged this post under the “History” & “Religion & Spirituality” tags as it’s very much part of social history & access is very much affected by religious views. In future I’m planning to write about older abortion methods & birth control too.

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel

“Proposed Witchcraft Convictions (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill” – Public Consultation now live 📄

💥 Please consider voicing your support for a legislative pardon for all those convicted under the Witchcraft Act 1563-1736 – with apologies from both the State & the Kirk being given earlier this year, it’s now time to pursue the next step in achieving justice for these innocent people. You can read the proposal document & fill out the consultation online here ⬅️

⛏ A similar bill pardoning those convicted during the miners’ strikes was passed recently, so there’s a real chance of success if we can show public support for those unjustly convicted of witchcraft too.

🐍 For previous articles related to the Witches of Scotland campaign for justice see the “Scottish Witch Trials” & “Witchcraft” Topic Tags 🏷

📚 For more background information, links, podcasts, books etc on the trials see the “Witchcraft Beliefs & The Witch Trials” page in the Resources section 🔍

📸 Featured Photo credit: Pexel