Photo Hunt: “Written”

This week’s Photo Hunt challenge is “Written”.

My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in Dumfries, Scotland. After his death, when my mother and grandmother moved from the manse, amongst the many things in his office was a collection of documents from the General Synod. How they came into his possession, I don’t know. They were originally sent out in 1842 by The Reverend Dr. Henry Duncan to the ministers in the parishes in Dumfrieshire to collect information about incidents of “Fornication or Adultery between April 1, 1841 and April 1, 1842”.

Quite apart from their social import, the person who sent them is a fascinating historical character.

The Reverend Dr. Henry Duncan (1774-1846) was not just a parish minister (Ruthwell Parish). a few facts about Dr. Duncan

  • As a boy he met the poet Robert Burns, who visited Dr. Duncan’s father at Lochrutton Manse. Duncan was educated in Dumfries at the Academy.
  • In 1810 Duncan opened the world’s first commercial savings bank, paying interest on its investors’ modest savings. The Savings Bank Museum tells the story of early home savings in Britain.
  • In 1818 Duncan restored the Ruthwell Cross, one of the finest Anglo-Saxon crosses in Britain, now in Ruthwell church. This late 7th/early 8th century cross is remarkable for its runic inscription, which contains excerpts from The Dream of the Rood, an Old English poem.
  • In 1828 Duncan presented a paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh describing fossil footprints found in Permian red sandstone at Corncockle Muir, Dumfriesshire. The paper, published in 1831, was the first scientific report of a fossil track. A cast of the tracks of Chelichnus duncani can be found in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
  • In 1839 Duncan became Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and at the time of the Disruption of 1843 became one of the founding ministers of the Free Church of Scotland.
  • Henry Duncan was visited by Robert Murray M’Cheyne during his vacations in Ruthwell


  1. Jerry said,

    November 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Fascinating reading – I love the old script. Shame that handwriting like that, an art form really, has died out.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Maya said,

    November 28, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Perfect for this week’s theme.

  3. Luna Miranda said,

    November 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    fascinating! a marvelous find for today’s theme.

  4. Marites said,

    November 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    gee wow..such rich history! it’s quite amazing that those letters are really, really old and still well-preserved!

  5. gengen said,

    November 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Good choice for the theme…

  6. Manang Kim said,

    November 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Wow this writing is a treasure. And the case that is heavy. Happy weekend!

  7. upto6only said,

    November 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    that is something. That is a treasure already.

  8. November 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Fascinating. Those old Scots Churchmen were an interesting lot.

  9. Kay said,

    November 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Wow! Those are some realy old written words …

    I’m up at

  10. YTSL said,

    November 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Wow, through the miracle of the internet (and scans, etc.), I’m able to see a letter that’s over 150 years old and is physically situated thousands of miles away. So cool! 🙂

  11. azahar said,

    November 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Unusual and interesting!

  12. magiceye said,

    November 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    that was an interesting take on the theme!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: