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Patrick Bell (1799–1869) by unknown engraver, pubd 1868 (after E. Strachan) © National Portrait Gallery, London


Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...


Blackadder, Adam (b. 1659, d. in or after 1696), merchant and writer on covenanting, was probably born in the parish of Troqueer, near Dumfries, the second son of John Blackadder (1615/1623?–1686), the minister there, and his wife, Janet Haining (d. 1688). Among his brothers were ...


Shaw, Christian (b. c. 1685, d. in or after 1737), witch accuser and thread manufacturer, was the daughter of the laird of Bargarran, Renfrewshire, whose first name is unrecorded. According to a contemporary account (A True Narrative), when she was eleven years old she began to experience alarming symptoms, not only suffering mysterious fits, during which her body became as stiff as a board, her belly swelled, and her eyes rolled back into her head, but also vomiting balls of hair, pins, and hot embers. She had hallucinations too. The devil himself reportedly appeared before her and to the amazement of all beholders she engaged in complicated theological arguments with him, citing biblical texts with surprising accuracy. She also had lengthy discussions with a series of invisible tormentors whom she described as witches. They nipped and bit her, she said, pointing to the marks they had left. Questioned as to their identity, she named various local men and women, and this was to have catastrophic consequences....