An Interview With Thomas Greenlaw About The History of Scotland and The Hume Family

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I recently reviewed “Lions of Scotland” by Thomas Greenlaw. I absolutely loved reading the book and the author was extremely kind and allowed me to do an interview with him.

1- How did the lion become the symbol of Scotland?

I believe that the yellow lion rampant developed into a Scottish symbol over many centuries. A heraldic symbol, it was adopted in the twelfth century by King William the Lion. Who reigned for almost 50 years. It subsequently became part of the Scottish Coat of Arms and the centerpiece of the Royal Standard.

2- Could you tell us a bit about the Hume family and their history?

The Home or Hume family is said to be descended from the Earls of Dunbar, who, in turn, were the progeny of Cospatrick, Earl of Northumberland, who sprang from the Kings of Bernicia, a territory that once straddled the borders of England and Scotland.

Second names were not commonly used in those days. The earliest recorded use was that of a grandson of the Earl of Dunbar, Sir William of Home, whose name appears in a charter in 1268, when he acquired the land from which he took the name Home. It was on this land that he built Hume Castle.

3- What is the history of the Hume family’s castle?

Hume Castle was probably built in the early thirteenth century and, set on a hill, it was almost impregnable at that time. Near the bottom of the hill lies Hume Village, which can still be seen today. With the advent of cannons, it was often under threat and, for a time, it was captured by the English General Lord Somerset. While it was recovered by the Humes, it was finally destroyed in the mid- eighteenth century by Oliver Cromwell.  The seat of the Homes/Humes is now the manor house called The Hirstle.

To get a truly panoramic from the castle view visit: http://www.360cities.net/image/hume-castle-uk#155.00,0.00,70.0

  4- Could you tell us something about your meeting with Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home?

 

I had written to The Hirsel to obtain permission to view any portraits that they may have had of the early Homes. We, my wife and I, were invited to visit sometime after lunch and were surprised to be greeted by Lady Home herself who led us into their drawing room. Minutes later we were joined by Lord Hume. Before long I was in a deep discussion with Lord Hume, mainly about the Hume family, while Lady Hume showed my wife some of her enormous collection of photographs all organised into many volumes. They took us on a tour of the manor and drove us to their nearby museum, after which we returned to have afternoon tea and more discussion. Suddenly I realized we were in danger of missing our 5 o’clock train back to Edinburgh. Consequently, Lord Home summoned his chauffeur who drove us at breakneck speed to the station in Berwick-upon-Tweed and we caught our train back. I must add that we found them to be exceptionally warm and friendly, giving us a day we will never forget.

 

5- What research did you do to write “Lions of Scotland”?

 

Most of the books and documents that I used are listed at the back of the book. In particular, I am indebted to the Rev. George Ridpath’s epic Border History printed in 1848. In addition, I made frequent trips to Scotland exploring every nook and cranny of this amazing part of the country, so quiet and calm today; so bloody in yesteryear. Though I lived in Canada, I returned to Scotland staying there for eighteen months.   I was many times at Hume Castle, whose panoramic view of all the land around is amazing (see above referenced site) , and I saw the last ruins of Fast Castle.  I also visited the site of the infamous Battle of Flodden and virtually every town and hamlet in that remarkable area they call The Merse.

   

6- What writings are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a nonfiction book with as yet, no firm title. It is an unusual mix of particle physics and sociology with sorties into law, government, theology, education, business, conflict, etc. It is my hope to have it completed this year. If I have time to return to historical fiction, it would probably be centered on a countess called Black Agnes who is famous for her defense of Dunbar Castle.

Thomas Greenlaw-Author of Lions Of Scotland

Born in Scotland, with Scottish and Irish forefathers, the author has worked in various professions ranging from designing to manufacturing, accounting to publishing, and has interests extending from music to philosophy, art to quantum mechanics.

He began writing at the age of 10, after the death of his father, with a four-verse poem. He earned a certificate of merit from the Burns Federation.

At 18, he emigrated to Canada to work as a clerk, but continued to write poems, songs, letters to the editor, articles, short stories and an eclectic range of books both fiction and nonfiction. During his career, he held executive and management positions in banking, manufacturing, radio and television broadcasting, drug addiction, the Red Cross and the United Church as well as many entrepreneurial enterprises.

He returned frequently to Scotland, where he met Lord Home a.k.a. Sir Alec Douglas Home, pronounced “Hume,” the former Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister of Great Britain.  It was during these discussions that the Hume/ Home ancestry came to the fore. It is no coincidence that he went on to write the saga, Lions of Scotland (Lords of Hume Castle) which depicts Lord Home’s most colourful early ancestors. This work comes in two volumes: the first entitled Ghosts of Flodden covers the events leading up to the Battle of Flodden, the battle itself and the immediate aftermath.  The sequel, The Knights of Edinburgh Castle follows the life of the fifth Lord Hume in his many loves, his fight to retain his ancestral holdings, and his resistance to the Reformation.

(Author Bio and all photos other than Hume Castle credit to the author’s website, www.greenlawbooks.com)

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