17th century goings on in Scotland
Changed Times is part one of a trilogy which gives the theme ‘be careful what you wish for’ a 17th century Scottish twist; a time and place where religion and politics become a lethal mix allowing scope to explore the consequences of this old adage. The story is a mix of reality and imaginings but firmly based on extensive research.
John Steel says a bit more about Changed Times
Lik ah said afore Lucas Brotherstane is no quite whit he seems. He’s the meenister in oor village an weel liked, him an his young wife. She’s a bonnie lass an kind wi it. We aw like her.
The maister, weel he’s a kennin high minded in ma opeenion. Mind ye he’s a guid enough preacher. Aince in yon pulpit he gaes it his aw .. haunds wavin, een starin, voice up an doon, sometimes persuadin, ither times accusin. Whiles he seems lik some prophet lecturin tae the children o Israel. That’s when ah wunner if it’s mair fur effect, playin some pairt raither than giein us the truth as written in the Bible. Maist folk lap it up but ah’d raither hear the words richt an then think aboot it insteid o gettin cairried awa wi sic a grand performance. Ah’ve seen him aften enough mairchin up an doon his back gairden practisin his Sunday, sermon, een shut as if he’s imaginin … an that’s whit worries me.
Whiles we huv arguments aboot his pronouncements. Tae tell the truth ah think he enjoys me tacklin him, jist as lang as we dae it in private an naebody else hears me criticisin him.
A few months back he got mair brave wi his words, moothin oot aboot the King demandin us here in Scotland wur tae fa intae line wi England an worship the Lord in the same way. That didna gang doon weel wi the Scottish Kirk.
We aw agreed wi whit the maister said but fur masel ah thocht he cuda been a bit mair circumspect in the way he went aboot it.
Onyway, no lang aifter a clerk arrives frae the sheriff at Lanark wi an order that he’s tae stop this speakin oot. An of course Maister Brotherstane refused. The clerk wisna pleased an warned him aboot the consequences but the maister bein the maister wudna listen an went intae his high an michty mode. That’s hoo it aw began an is wisna pleasant. If ye luk at this wee pictur ye can see the effect it hud on him.
ME. Somehoo ah got masel sucked intae whit followed. Ah felt sorry fur the man an me bein me weel…. But ye’ll need tae read aboot that tae unnerstaund whit ah mean.
17th century Scotland
BACKGROUND When Charles 11 told his Scottish kirk to change its ways and become Episcopalian he opened a proverbial can of worms in his northern kingdom.
17th century Scotland was stoutly Presbyterian. The answer was a loud no. The king insisted. The kirk refused so laws were passed to make this happen. Ministers who resisted lost their charge and were replaced by English style curates.
Resentment grew, church attendance dropped as many people began to attend secret open-air meetings and worship in their own way. These meetings were deemed illegal and labelled as conventicles. Those attending became known as covenanters, treated as rebels, open to torture or even death for their belief.
AND NOW FOR THE STORY’S CAST
John Steel is the main character in my scottish novel Changed Times. He’s a lowland farmer. The time is 1679. Life is pleasant and comfortable but it’s about to change. His sense of right and wrong, mixed with a kind nature, will take him down the road to rebellion against his king and government.
This is John Steel in his own words-
Mornin. Ah unnerstaund ah’m aboot tae hae ma story tellt in a book cawed ‘Changed Times.’ Weel so it is. Ye cudna mak it up. Neither wud ah wish whit happens on ma worst enemy. When ah luk back naethin surer but ah’d dae things a bit different.
But first things first. Ower amang the trees is ma farm. Ahint that the moor an hills. A bonny place tae be. No far frae the village o Lesmahagow in the county o Lanark. Nooadays ye’ll see ane o they wind-mill things on the sky line. In ma day it wis different.
Ah hae a wife Marion, twa wee lads William an Johnnie, an the best sheep dug in the world cawed Fly. The farm’s ma ain an a rent oot anither twa which brings in extra siller. Lik ma writer says we‘re dain aricht an lik she says it’s aboot tae chainge an no fur the better.
It aw stairts wi oor meenister. He’s cawed Lucas Brotherstane. Nice enough man but very high minded. No in the real world if ye git ma meanin. If ye tak a luk at this wee pictur ye’ll see fur yersel.
Whit a bother he causes an whit a sufferin he’ll git. Ye canna but feel sorry fur him. Ye’ll read it aw in the book but ah’ll gie ye a few hints next time ah speak tae ye. Richt noo ah’m awa, places tae go things tae dae.
Speak again soon.