exhibition of photographs and memories of the SWRI – contributions from Stobo, Kailzie, Eddleston, Lindean, Caddonfoot, Fountainhall, Glendouglas, Roberton, Langshaw, Lilliesleaf, Whitsome, Chirnside, Leithholm. Grantshouse, Foulden, Fogo, Cockburnspath, Reston. At Borders Family History Society, 52 Overhaugh St, Galashiels, TD1 1DP
Filter Borders Shoutouts
Margaret’s Book Launch Party took place on 19th July at Blackhall Library, Edinburgh. Many thanks to Staff there for their help with the event. A Library has the right ambience for such an occasion, especially when supplemented with wine and nibbles. Thanks too to all the friends who came and participated and bought the book. One friend commented with awe on the educated crowd who really knew their Scottish history! It was a pleasure to speak to such a gathering and I wish I could do it every week.
“A gripping tale set in the Scottish Borderlands which gives an interesting explanation of historical events at Soutra just south of Edinburgh on the Fala Moors. All that remains of the original monastic buildings today is a small building called Soutra Aisle.”
“Margaret Cook expertly captured the essence of 15th century monastic and secular life. Border Brothers drew me in from page 1, transported me to a bygone age and kept me spellbound. I admit to staying up in the wee sma’ hours to finish reading. This book is well researched and skillfully written. A real find.”
“Border Brothers is the convincing but, by the author’s own admission, fictional account of the downfall of the Augustinian Abbey of Soltre in the Scottish Borders. While the archaeological record reveals much about the herbal remedies in use at this mid fifteen century centre of medical excellence, little is known about the circumstances surrounding the destruction of this rich, land-owning abbey.
The book opens with a chilling account of the burning at the stake of a “witch”. The narrative then shifts to a point in time some thirty years earlier to the beginning of the story, which leads up to the grisly scene described in the opening chapter.
The book is a real page turner, setting the story of the principal character, Fergus the “medicus” at the abbey, in the context of the more colourful features of late mediaeval society. There is the avarice of kings and the venality of clerics, heresy and superstition and the collaboration of church and state to the enrichment of both. There is also romantic love, illicit sex and rape. Equally absorbing are the accounts of the ground-breaking midwifery practices being developed at Soltre and of the healing techniques used in conjunction with the herbal remedies deployed in the treatment of ailments, such as henbane, opium poppy, mandrake, hemlock and foxglove.
One could have wished for more in this vein, but on the other hand the author lifts the medical aspects of the narrative to a higher plane altogether by setting two opposing philosophies of medicine against each other. The belief in conservative religious communities of the day was that sickness is caused by sin. At Soltre, Fergus the medicus openly espouses the Islamic belief that each disease is sent into this world with its cure (but the means of treatment may not be known to everyone). Surely this was the cause of the downfall of Soltre rather than Fergus’ passionate love affair with a young woman. The reader is left to decide.”
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Special Offer for Border Brides – 20% Off your photography! This month only!
You may have seen me on the BBC documentary earlier this month that included my photoshoot with the Royal Family. Would you like your own special day photographed to the same high standard with all your precious memories captured perfectly and be guaranteed that you look amazing in all your pictures? If your photographs matter to you then give me a call or email and we can arrange to discuss your own wedding. To coincide with the TV exposure I am offering 20% Off all bookings taken this month! Here’s a link to more info: July Only – Wedding Offer
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