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Brougham Castle Lake District England

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today I visited Brougham Castle in England. This castle dates from Norman times and is actually located on the site of a Roman fort which would pre- date the castle by about 1000 years.



Very briefly, the castle was founded by a Norman family and was passed to Robert Clifford who strengthened the defences. His descendant, Lady Ann Clifford inherited the castle and died there in 1676 subsequent to which the castle fell into ruin.



The site is very appealing with a river running close by and new born lambs gamboling in the sunshine.


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Mackintosh Scotland Street School Glasgow

Monday, March 30, 2009

This afternoon, I visited one of architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's buildings namely the Scotland Street School Museum which dates from 1903-1906.

This building is located at 225 Scotland Street, Glasgow and represents Mackintosh's last major commission. Note the impressive leaded glass towers, tiled entrance hall, unique stonework and the interplay of light and space.

Inside, the museum tells the story of education in Scotland from 1872 to late 20th century.


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Glasgow in the sunshine

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Inspired by unseasonal bright sunshine, this morning I cycled around the outer southern suburbs of Glasgow and obtained some good video images of Glasgow and environs.

Video 1 shows images of Barrhead (with reservoir in foreground), Paisley and Clydebank with the Kilpatrick Hills and Campsie Fells in the background.

Video 2 is a view from Rouken Glen golf course showing the centre of Glasgow with the Campsie Fells in the background.

Very unusual visibility for Glasgow at this time of year!




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Atholl Highlanders at Dunkeld Scotland

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This afternoon, I visited Dunkeld, a small town which sits in the centre of Scotland. The reason was to witness a march by the Atholl Highlanders, the only legal private army in Britain (and Europe), to commemorate the 200th anniversary of completion of the bridge over the River Tay at Dunkeld. There are a couple of issues of significance here, viz:

  1. As stated above, the Atholl Highlanders are a private army. They were originally authorised by Queen Victoria in 1839 and 'belong' to the Eleventh Duke of Atholl who has a castle nearby at Blair Atholl. The regiment is about 100 strong but has never seen active service. However, many of the regiment served with the Scottish horse in both World Wars.
  2. The bridge was designed by one of Britain's leading engineers, Thomas Telford, originally for horse and cart traffic but today comfortably accommodates 40 ton trucks and its robustness is testimony to the skills of Telford and the builders.

Here is the regiment marching over the bridge.

Local ladies in period costume

Ladies with the bridge in background


Atholl Highlanders
Atholl Highlanders

Video of the Highlanders marching across the b ridge.

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Aspects of the Necropolis Glasgow Scotland

Friday, March 27, 2009

This evening, I am posting an image of a couple of elaborate memorials located at Glasgow's famous Necropolis (City of the Dead).

In the foreground is the John Houldsworth of Cranston Hill Mausoleum, designed by John Thomas in 1845.

This is a Graeco-Egyptian style monument made in marble with two statues at the entrance. On the left stands Hope and the right stands Charity.

John Houldsworth (1807-59) was a prominent local politician and founder of the Anderston Foundry and Machine Works. He was the son of a Nottingham cotton-spinner and educated at Glasgow, Geneva and Heidelberg. He was keen on art and sailing.

To the right of the picture is a memorial to Charles Clark Mackirdy, the owner of a large cotton spinning company who lived 1811-1891. The monument was designed by James Thomson of Baird & Thomson with David Buchanan being responsible for the finely detailed choragic Corinthian rotunda.

The Necropolis contains a vast array of elaborate monuments dedicated to the wealthy Glasgow business community of Victorian times and is well worth a visit as such offers a combination of social history and design work.

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John Knox and Glasgow Necropolis Scotland

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This afternoon, I cycled into the centre of Glasgow with prime aim of visiting the Necropolis (City of the Dead). Visibility was mixed with some rain in the air.

Here is an image of Glasgow Cathedral taken from the Necropolis. This building dates from the 13th century but on the site of much older places of worship, possibly dating back to the 6th century.


View from high point of the Necropolis looking south towards the industrial city of Glasgow.



Here is a video clip of the stunning John Knox Monument which is positioned at the highest point of the Necropolis and overlooks the Cathedral. In fact, the monument (designed 1825) pre-dates the Necropolis. The monument is some 70 feet high high and comprises a 58 feet high Doric column surmounted with a 12 foot statue of Knox in his Geneva gown with bible in right hand.

Knox lived 1512-72 and, in fact, had little connection with Glasgow, he was more closely associated with Edinburgh (where he died) and St. Andrews (where he studied) on the east coast of Scotland.

Knox was famous for his role in leading the Protestant Reformation and famously denounced the Catholic, Mary Queen of Scots from the pulpit of St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.


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Spring blooms at Rouken Glen Glasgow Scotland

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This afternoon, I a paid a visit to Rouken Glen, south of Glasgow. This is a public park adjacent to which is a Victorian walled garden associated with a former mansion. Both in the park and garden are signs of the colours of Spring, principally crocus, daffodils and polyanthus all of which served to brighten up a rather dull afternoon.

Here are crocus in the park area.


Inside the walled garden. This is very well maintained and In can imagine will be full of colourful plants in a month or so.

Close up of crocus



Video clip taken inside the walled garden. Now formally laid out but in Victorian times would have been planted with vegetables and fruit trees.

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New bridge over Clyde at Glasgow Scotland

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This evening, I am posting some video and still images of a new footbridge over the River Clyde close to the centre of Glasgow. The architecture is quite distinctive but I cannot locate its name. Clearly, the bridge is near completion. It would be helpful if the contractors erected a sign stating the name and opening date of the bridge! Unfortunately, visibility was poor at time of my visit with rain in the air.






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Art Lover Garden Bellahouston Park Glasgow

Monday, March 23, 2009

This morning, I was inspired by the sunshine to pay a short visit to the walled garden at House for Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. This is a very well maintained garden and it was a pleasure to view the diverse colours of the emerging bulbs and flowers. Images and video clip are provided below.








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Hutcheson's Hall Glasgow Scotland

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This morning, I decided to cycle down to Ingram Street, Glasgow to view Hutcheson's Hall, a heritage building which was originally a hospital founded by George and Thomas Hutcheson of Lambhill in 1639 and 1641 and subsequently rebuilt in 1805. Externally, there is an impressive 1805 facade complete with statues of the founders from an earlier building.

I was motivated to visit the site following press comment that the Hall is one of the properties under care of National Trust for Scotland which is scheduled to be a casualty of a cost cutting exercise.

The Hall has been available for conferences and other function but is now on the market seeking a long-term tenant.

Inside is a magnificent staircase which leads to a Grand Hall.


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Signs of Spring at Greenbank Garden Glasgow Scotland

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This morning, I cycled up to Greenbank Garden which is located in Clarkston, some six miles south of Glasgow city centre.The garden is connected with Greenbank House, a heritage property dating from the 18th century. The walled garden was originally designed for fruit and vegetables but in the 1960s was transformed into an ornamental garden by the then owner, W.P. Blyth.

Greenbank now contains about 4000 named cultivars and is a centre for plant trials; it holds the National Collection of bergenias and a large narcissus collection.

The images and video clip below exhibit the emerging colours of Spring.

This garden is something of a hidden gem and somewhere to visit for quiet reflection all the year round.







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Private Whiskey Tour Scotland

Friday, March 20, 2009

This evening, I am posting some images of a recent tour of distilleries located in the Highlands region and Speyside.

We commenced at Tullibardine, Perthshire.

Here is the guide describing the barley.

Distillation at Tullibardine


On banks of the River Tay at Dunkeld.


Loading the draff at Edradour, Scotland's smallest distillery. This material is used for cattle feed.

The stills at Edradour
View of Edradour with burn ( stream) in foreground

Stills at Glenfiddich
Glenfiddich
Tour guide at Glenfiddich. He was very good with a passion for his distillery's product.

Macallan Distillery. (No pics allowed inside.)

Glen Grant
Sampling Glen Grant. This was a young and somewhat 'harsh' spirit. Not our favorite! However, very popular in Italy, Greece and Spain.

River Spey at Aberlour. Dots in the river are fishermen.

Tree blackened by alcohol fumes at Aberlour

Sampling the product at Aberlour. The quality of this tour was excellent.


Bottling own whiskey at Aberlour

Coopers building and repairing casks at Speyside Cooperage. These oak casks are vital for the Scotch Whisky industry.

Overall, a good tour affording a useful insight into the whiskey industry.

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Whisky Tour Craigellachie Scotland

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This evening I am posting a record of our visit to the famous Quaich Bar at the Craigellachie Hotel, Speyside.We were mesmerised by the selection of over 600 different single malts on shelves all around the walls of the cosy bar .Excellent attention from the bar staff. Recommended.

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Whiskey Tour Highlands Region

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The image is of the stills at Tulliardine.

Today, we commenced a private tour to connect with Scotland malt whiskey distilleries. Our first stops were Tullibardine and Edradour both being located in Perthshire.

Both of the distilleries were in production and afforded us a good insight into the method of production. Samples were also provided which added to the experience.


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David Hume Scottish Enlightenment Edinburgh

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This evening, I am posting some images of a memorial to David Hume in the cemetery off Regent Road, Edinburgh.

David Hume (1711-77) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. His main work was Treatise of Human Nature published 1739-40. Hume became Keeper of the Advocates Library and was a founder member of the Select Society, established 1754. He made his fortune from the six volume History of England which was published 1754-62. Hume returned to Scotland (from Paris) in 1769.





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Abraham Lincoln Statue Edinburgh Scotland

Monday, March 16, 2009

This evening I am posting an image of a unusual find, namely a memorial to Scottish American Soldiers (presumably American Civil War) atop of which is a statue of former U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln.

This memorial is one of many to the great and good of Victorian (19th century) Edinburgh which can be found in Calton Cemetery, Regent Road which is located at the eastern end of Princes Street, not far from the Balmoral Hotel.

Definitely worth a visit for those interested in connecting with the past.





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Historic Edinburgh Royal Mile Scotland

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This evening, I am posting a selection of images following my visit to Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Firstly, the Royal Mile sits atop an ancient volcanic lava flow linking the Castle at top to the Palace of Holyrood House at the bottom. This is the oldest and most historic part of Edinburgh.

First image is that of a profile of John Knox House. John Knox was in the vanguard of the 16th century Protestant Reformation and may have died here in 1572. The unusual overhang dates from about 1508 when, as an incentive to clear a surplus of local timber, inhabitants were allowed to extend the frontage of their houses.


This is the Abbey Strand and Sanctuary, close to the Palace at foot of the Royal Mile. Strand is name for a small stream which used to run across the road at this point. Until 1880, the buildings were, in effect, a debtors prison of the aristocracy.


This is the World's End pub the name of which originates from medieval times when this was the City boundary and, effectively, 'end of the world' to inhabitants who would rarely venture outside the City gates.


Street trader

This is Reids Court or the Canongate Manse. Dating from 1690 the building was originally a coaching inn and later served as a manse from 1789-1832. The building is now the home of the minister for the nearby Canongate Kirk.


Here is an aspect of the Parliament Hall and High court of Justiciary dating from 1632-9. This was the home of the independent Scottish Parliament until union with England in 1707. Parliament Hall ( debating chamber) dating from this period still exists and can be visited by the public. The statue depicts King Charles II.


Here is the Mercat Cross with the High Kirk of St Giles in the background. The shaft is a 1970 copy of a 15th century original. The cross house dates from 1885.


Here is an aspect (from the west) of the High Kirk of St. Giles whose origins date back to the 12th century.

Here are the City Chambers ( civic offices) which date from 1753-61 when built as the Royal Exchange.

This is the famous Deacon Brodie's Tavern which dates from 1703. William Brodie aka Deacon Brodie led a double life combing pillar of community by day with robbery by night and was the role model for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Brodie was hanged on Oct 1st 1788. Good pub fare can be obtained here.


The above images are just a snapshot of the wide range of historic buildings and places to see. To do the Royal Mile justice would take at least one full day.

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Edinburgh Skylines Scotland

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Earlier today I visited Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, to lead a walking tour for a group of ladies. Weather was blustery but dry which facilitated some reasonable pics. Some of the images below were taken from atop the Scott Monument in Princes Street, a viewpoint which did not afford much room for manoeuvre in very windy conditions.

Here is an image looking east towards Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags with the 5 star Balmoral Hotel in the foreground. Lats year I climbed both the peaks in the picture.


Here is a view of Princes Street looking west. This is area is mired in controversy at present due to the road being closed for construction of a new tramway, a process which has ground to a halt due to disputes with the contractor.


Here is a view of Calton Hill with its famous 'Athens of the North' skyline. The tower ( inverted telescope) on the left is the Nelson Monument (1816) whilst the building in the centre is the Royal High School ( no longer in use for teaching) which dates from 1829. Foreground is Dunbar's Close Garden, a fascinating little find which is open to the public and laid out in the character of an Edinburgh 17th century garden-with interesting aromas from the herbs!



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Private Tour Glasgow Cathedral Scotland

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today, I escorted a small group walking tour of central Glasgow which included a visit to Glasgow Cathedral.

The origins of this religious site are closely linked with St. Mungo or St. Kentigern ( one and same person) dating back to the 6th century AD. The present building mainly dates from the 13th century and is the only Scottish medieval Scottish cathedral to have survived the Reformation.

Here is a view taken from the Choir looking towards the Nave.

St. Kentigern's Tomb


This is the Blackadder Aisle which dates form the late 15th century and is named after Archbishop Blackadder. The Aisle was originally intended as a crypt but is now, effectively, a side chapel and a popular venue for weddings. The ceiling is covered by a fascinating collection of carved medieval bosses.

This is the Nave where, in medieval times, layfolk would have assembled and worshipped. Originally, the Nave contained at least 14 alters the existence of which can be detected today by marks on the stone pillars.

Stained glass over the entrance door.

This video shows stained glass windows dating from 1951 which were installed by the Trades House and the fourteen incorporated trades of Glasgow:

  • Cordiners ( shoemakers)
  • Skinners
  • Glovers
  • Masons
  • Maltmen
  • Wrights
  • Gardeners
  • Weavers
  • Coopers
  • Woodbinds
  • Barbers
  • Bakers
  • Fleshers ( Butchers)
  • Bonnet makers and Dyers.

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Eaglesham Wind Farm Scotland

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This evening, I am posting some images of the biggest wind farm project in the U.K., namely the GBP300M Whitelee Project near Eaglesham, south of Glasgow. Notwithstanding this massive project, extending to 140 turbines, is still under construction, it is possible to visit the site unhindered by officialdom. The scale of the project has to be seen to be appreciated.

When operational, the project will generate some 322MW of electricity, a major contribution to the U.K.s renewables target.



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Dunwan Hill Historic Site Glasgow Scotland

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This evening, I am posting some still images to record my visit Dunwan Hill, a prominent feature which lies in open moorland south of Eaglesham and in turn south of Glasgow.

This is an historic site which was thought to be an iron-age hill fort but latest thinking suggests something less defensive in nature and perhaps a high status homestead of the first millennium AD.

Access to this site is quite an ordeal, via a very boggy landscape-resulting in two very wet feet! However, I was rewarded with stunning views on reaching the 300m summit. At the base of the hill I encountered a rectangular sheepfold with the foundations of ruined farm buildings.

Image taken atop Dunwan Hill looking towards Glasgow with Dunwan reservoir in the foreground.


Two aspects of Dunwan which now sits in the midst of an emerging giant wind farm. An interesting combination of ancient and modern!


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Scottish Deer at Eaglesham Scotland

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This afternoon I came across this herd of deer on a farm near Eaglesham, south of Glasgow. They seemed used to people and were expecting me to feed them-hence they maneuvered quite close to me and one started eating my jacket! I did manage to obtain a few close up images, including the magnificent stag, which are provided below.






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Lochs and Highland Cows

Monday, March 09, 2009

Today, I visited some rugged farming country south of Glasgow. Here I encountered two small herds of Highland Cattle who are well suited to these conditions. Note that snow still lingers on the higher ground.



Here is a short video of a small loch in the same area. Light conditions were poor with intermittent rain an d cloud.

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Mains Castle East Kilbride Scotland

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This morning I visited the James Hamilton Heritage Park in Stewartfield, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

Here is locted Mains Castle which dates from AD 1450. Feaures of this Grade 'A' listed Tower House are:

  • Three stories
  • > 3 metre thick walls
  • Incorporates a Great Hall, Spiral Staircase and Minstrels Gallery.
  • Located about 1 mile from East Kilbride.
  • Restored from a ruin in 1976 and now privately owned.
Images were taken in poor light conditions (during a snow storm).




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Glasgow Industrial History at Maryhill Locks

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This morning I visited a site of historical industrial significance as represented by the Kelvin Aqueduct and Maryhill Locks in the city of Glasgow. A sequence of five locks were built 1787-90 to facilitate the drop of the Forth and Clyde Canal down to the valley of the River Kelvin and at time of construction was the largest engineering project of its kind in Britain. Associated with the locks is the Kelvin Aqueduct comprising a number of massive stone arches to carry the canal across the road and river.

This is a stunning site and witness to late 18th century engineering skills and human muscle power.

Light conditions were poor with light rain in process.


One of the locks

View of the locks. In immediate foreground is the dry dock and slipway of the Old Kelvin Dock (1789)
Aqueduct over Maryhill Road.

Video of the locks ( in poor visibility).

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Chatelherault Scotland

Friday, March 06, 2009

This evening, I am posting some images of my visits to Chatelherault, near Hamilton.

The building was designed by William Adam and dates back 250 years when it was built as the hunting lodge and summer house for the Dukes of Hamilton.

Benefiting from a high elevation (and stunning views to Glasgow and the Trossachs), Chatelherault was originally placed at the end of a long avenue of trees that ran from Hamilton Palace in context of a 'Great Design' conceived by Duchess Ann.

However, subsequent coal mining and sand quarrying resulted in subsidence and demolition of the Palace. But Chatelherault survived and was restored 1979-1987 by Historic Scotland and Hamilton District Council. Both buildings and surrounding countryside are now open to the public.

Being mid-winter with snow on the ground, light conditions at time of my visit were poor.



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Viking Hogback Tombstone Dalserf Scotland

Thursday, March 05, 2009

This morning, I visited the small Clydesdale village of Dalserf. In the snow covered graveyard attached to the 17th C church lies a 'hogback' gravestone which indicates a somewhat surprising Viking presence in this area. Hogbacks date from around the 10th century, although the Dalserf specimen may be 11th century. There are other examples in the West of Scotland, e.g. at Govan and Luss.

The hogback stone at Dalserf was discovered buried by a gravedigger in 1897.


Churchyard view

Hogback
Video of church and hogback

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Glasgow Industrial History Port Dundas Scotland

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

This morning I delved into the legacy of Glasgow's industrial past as manifested in the Port Dundas canal basin. Port Dundas was Glasgow's most important port until the Clyde was deepened in the early 1800s. This was the west coast terminus of the Forth and Clyde Canal which, when opened in 1790, was the main highway across Scotland and a focus for industry and invention at time of the Industrial Revolution.

Here is an image of a cormorant which seemed quite at ease fishing in what appear to be murky waters but in reality must be relatively clean in order to sustain the fish stocks on which the bird feeds.


This is an image of Spier's Wharf, a seven story building built in 1866 as the Port Dundas Sugar Refinery and later taken over by the whisky industry. The original cobbled wharves and mooring rings remain today as evidence of the commercial activity which once took place here. The building has now been converted to upscale private apartments.


This video clip shows the derelict area of the canal basin which in its 19th century heyday was a hive of activity and trade.


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The Lady Well Glasgow Scotland

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

This morning I discovered a small remainder of medieval Glasgow. In Ladywell Street, off John Knox Street, I located the Lady Well. This well was refurbished in the 19th C but is said to date from the 13th C. I saw no evidence of running water. Behind the well is the famous Necropolis ( City of the Dead) and close by is Glasgow Cathedral. An interesting find!



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Tolbooth Steeple Glasgow Cross Scotland

Monday, March 02, 2009

This morning I visited one of Glasgow's most historic buildings, namely the Tolbooth Steeple at foot of the High Street. This dates back to the early 17th century ( 1625-7) when it part of a much larger multi-purpose building whose functions included:

  • Office of the Town Clerk
  • Council Hall
  • City Prison
  • Public Platform from which official, public announcements were made.
The Tolbooth is also known as Glasgow Cross and sits at the junction of five important roads dating from medieval times: High St., Gallowgate, London Road, Saltmarket and Trongate.





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Castle Semple Collegiate Church Scotland

Sunday, March 01, 2009

This evening I am posting some images consequent upon my visit to the above-captioned church which is located in the vicinity of Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire.

The castle was demolished in 1727 but the ruins of the Collegiate Church still stand. These date from 1504.The function of the Church was to provide perpetual prayers for the souls of the founder ( John Semple) and his family. Catholic worship took place in the church until 1675 at which time the Protestant 8th Lord Semple inherited the estate. In the 18th century the church was modified for agricultural use.

Inside the church is John Semple's magnificent tomb. Also, a stone memorial recording the death of "Gabriel Semple brother to Robert Semple".



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