Inverclyde Times

A Magic Torch Production.

Did you know Greenock was the birthplace of the infamous Captain Kidd, the pirate who inspired Treasure Island? Was he as evil and dastardly as the history books suggest, or was he simply a misunderstood ship’s captain and businessman?And what about the seventeenth century witch trials of Inverkip village? Did a coven of witches really try to curse ships on the Clyde? Was the mysterious Auld Dunrod really a warlock who flew across Greenock on his broomstick casting evil spells and charms on everyone below? Who was the strange Bogle who lived on the moors between Port Glasgow and Kilmacolm? How many weary travellers disappeared on that road if they failed to answer his riddles?

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund

Winter 2005

The forgotten history that no one wants you to know

But the history of Inverclyde isn’t all monsters and villains. Discover the heartbreaking story of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet and Highland Mary, the Greenock lass he loved. See how Greenock born inventor James Watt changed the world forever. And how Inverclyde was at the forefront of trade and exploration of “the new world”. Read on for a history lesson you won’t forget.

Town prepares for party of the year
500 BC Patrons from the Sun Worship Association are inviting all to their annual Solstice Party at the Serpent Mound.
This annual event is being held in Skelmorlie, in honour of the Sun god Baal, in thanks for the sun appearing the sky every day. Big Chief Rottentotty from the Association spoke briefly about the new improved location for this years festivities. He said “the mound was the result of careful planning and a range of fundraising activities including druid racing and a sponsored celebrity wrestling match featuring ‘The Boulder’ and ‘Irish Mac’. We also had a bake sale.” “This allowed us to build the Mound to our own specifications for our unique purpose. We got in a team of experts who aligned the serpent shaped mound with the rising of sun on the Solstice. We had a state of the art altar fitted and even a paved platform installed for the sacrifices to sun god Baal.” One noisy onlooker responded when asked about the Mound “It is an amazing piece of architecture and worth every penny”. Solstice party preparations were in full swing this morn with food and drink arriving along with an array of livestock and prisoners for the Solstice sacrifice. Event organiser Sidix Salmon promises the event to be ‘bigger and better then last years” and encourages all to “come along have an ale, have a jig, and watch some quality sacrifices”. Festivities begin at sunrise on the Solstice so come along early to get a spot, this is one not be missed even by Baal himself!

Travellers Take Heed
How to Avoid Death this Summer While Travelling

Notice to all fishermen, adventurers and seafaring types. While travelling out and about in these rough waters remember to take the necessary precautions against sea sickness, shipwreck, and certain death. Before embarking on a journey one should always take these steps to ensure a safe and prosperous trip. 1. Go to the shore and heap up a bucket full of sand. 2. Take this bucket of sand to our most beloved landmark the Granny Kempock 3. Walk round Granny Kempock seven times still holding bucket of sand. 4. Remember to sing and chant while still circling Granny Kempock with the aforementioned sand bucket. 5. Finally you are ready to hit the road/river in search of adventure/fish with the full blessing of our sacred stone.

Next week newlyweds and Granny Kempock

Romans - “We Was Robed!”
FINGAL 1 – ROMANS 0 200 AD The local Roman auxiliaries were on their knees once again yesterday after a crushing defeat at the hands of Celtic hero Fingal and his followers in a crucial battle for control of the Clyde area. The atmosphere on Lurg Moor was electric, and despite heavy downpours causing marsh near the cow pens, and flooding on the Roman road, the locals were out in force to watch these two old rivals clash. Fingal and his warriors were welcomed onto the battlefield by chants of “the boys are back in town”, while the Romans, scared off by the sight of Fingalasaurus, were met with a verse of “In your Roman Slums.” The battle result was a forgone conclusion, with Fingal trying out some new tactics, pushing Gaul up front and moving Toscar into a more defensive position, replacing the currently injured Ossian, who simply sat on the bench and took notes. Afterwards, Fingal was asked how he thought the battle had gone, answering: “It was a battle of two halves, and we dominated them both. We were all over them, proving once and for all that it takes more than big spears and stupid hats to win a battle.” Fingal declined to discuss his future plans for the Romans, though his new armour does sport the motto “Romans go home.” Roman manager Idious Maximus was unavailable for comment, but one can’t help wonder whether he and his team will still be on the Clyde next season if they continue to produce results like this.

Druids Fear Saint Influx
Local leaders met early today to discuss the religious divides currently affecting the community, following further clashes between Pagans and Christians at a local night spot. Elders are critical of the new religion, saying “it will never catch on.” Followers of Saint Blaine and Saint Fillan dismissed the elders as “godless”, yet Fillan himself is modest about his achievements thus far, and keen to extend the hand of friendship to local religions. Blaine in particular is looking into establishing a church in the Greenock town centre area.

Town shaken by sudden arrival of 200 angry Vikings!
21st September 870

In a defiant display of “barelegged” cheek, Olaf the White brought his Norse Powered siege machine to the Clyde yesterday in the form of 200 Viking Ships. Trouble had been brewing between the Kingdom of Strathclyde and the Norse for sometime, and many observers commented that it was only a matter of time before the Vikings made a move on the ancient capital, Dumbarton. Artgal, King of the Britons exhausted the last of the citadels water supplies by running yet another particularly deep morning bath. In response to mounting criticism over this irresponsible habit, the King angrily responded “you try wearing chain mail 12 hours a day Olaf, whose family rules both Dublin and see how stiff your muscles are.” and the Outer Hebrides, has been Onlookers confirmed it had been raiding the lands of the Strathclyde a very long day at the siege. Britons for some years now, but with the support of his comrade Ivar the One thing’s for sure, if this siege Boneless, he now seems intent of taking goes on for much longer, King “the rock of the clyde” for himself. Artgal will continue to find himself in hot water, in more ways than one. Yesterday our reporter revealed that things inside the fortress weren’t looking Inside - get to grips with Norse good, with food supplies running out Code in our special 4 page and morale at an all time low. Today Rune pullout! things took a turn for the worse when

Rourke, Joyce & Marr Estate Agents
This impressive four floor Castle has been recently refurbished and is in good decorative order with views beyond surrounding borough to the River Clyde. Apartments comprise: Entrance Hallway, bay windowed hall, well with murky water, 2 doubles Bedroom with ensuite bucket. Ample nooks and crannies. Partially glazed. Wall and portcullis proved adequate security. Internal viewing advised.

An opportunity to purchase a 1/2 share of this stylish TOP FLOOR TOR which is in good decorative order and lies convenient for transport facilities including a stables with regular weekly horses to Glasgow. This impressive starter castle comprises: massive banquet hall for all your feasting needs, dank cellar/ kitchen, master bedroom and refuse pit. Candles and fireplaces throughout.

Easter Greenock
Offered to the market in walk through condition, the property requires some modernisation, including new walls to meet current siege regulations. Sure to appeal to a wide variety of lairds, the property is ideally located for a host of amenities, including blacksmiths and piggeries. Enjoys aspects beyond surrounding property to open hillside and bog.

This charming ruin offers ideal opportunites for those looking to invest. Lying exposed in a remote rural location, this dank fortification would make a perfect development project for the Knight with extra time on his hands. Accommodation comprises; three walls open plan living space, no drawbridge, evil haunting monk

That Auld Black Magic

There were scenes of mayhem and devilment in the Auld Kirk today as reputed local warlock Alexander Lindsay of Dunrod was finally brought before the session to answer crimes against his neighbours. A blanket was draped over the self styled witchlord’s head as he was escorted into the kirk in order to avoid any local pressmen making woodcuts of his face. Many people of Inverclyde will be well aware of Dunrod’s many deeds; in particular his habit of stealing cows milk by some devious fashion has made him the enemy of many farmers of the area. Mr Archie McArthur told us: “Aye, he’s ayways aboot wi’ his boutrie pin, sticking it in the wa’ and such, and dryin up a’ ma guid kyes milk. Tha’ man a ghoustie carl.” This paper would very much like to hear from any readers who can decypher Mr McArthurs statement. Being questioned by the Rev V Joyless, Dunrod was seen to smile evily as he was stood before the session at the Kirk

and his many charges were read out. When confronted with the allegation that he had “milkit the laird o’Kellys kye” and “gat far mair milk than wad mak’ a gabbert sim”, the warlock merely stroked his beard and gave a sinister chuckle. The Kirk was told of the dramatic broomstick chase which lead to the witchlord’s arrest. Refusing to allow members of the Kirk to question him, Auld Dunrod he muntit his stick - his broomstick muntit he - and he flew three times about, and through the air did flee. Determined to catch their man, members of the Kirk pursued Dunrod awa’ by auld Greenock tower, And by the Newark ha’. The Warlock was finally cornered after he lost control of his broomstick and collided with local lore stone, the Bogle Stane. The trial continues P Pagans concerned by sharp rise in number of Witchcraft trials. Government claims it is due to a change in the way incidents are recorded.

Lamont Confesses!
March 8th 1662 Inverkip villagers have been shocked and stunned by the claims of Miss Mary Lamont, a local girl long suspected of involvement in witchcraft. Miss Lamont (18) came to trial yesterday. In a lengthy confession, Lamont detailed five years of dark deeds and black magic, including stealing milk, dancing, and being rude to a local minister. “I’m not in the least bit surprised” said local farmer John McElwee. “There was always something about her. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But it must have been that she was in league with Satan.” Cheese Victims of Lamont’s evil magic are pleased that she will at last be brought to justice. “Well I would see her out on misty mornings...muttering.” Said Agnes Lochrie “And then I’d go out to milk the cows and there would be nothing! Absolutely nothing! Yet she would have plenty of milk and butter. At one point there was actually talk of her opening a cheese shop because she had so much milk. It just wasn’t right.” Party Lamont claims she was first introduced to the devil at a party in Katherine Scott’s house. It was around this time that the devil asked her to join his service and gave her a new nickname “Clowts”. Her most damning confessions related to the recent events at Ardgowan Estate. “Five

weeks ago, we met at the back gate of Ardgowan Estate, and the devil was with us. He told us to fetch sand from the shore and cast it about the gates. After we had done this, the devil turned us into cats.” Cats Local folk are particularly horrified by this claim. “The devil turned them into cats! Can you believe that?” said Michael Docherty “I mean, I quite like cats. But I certainly won’t be nice to them in future. You never know who you might be letting into your house.” Lamont also detailed the Inverkip Coven’s recent activities in

Gourock. “We met at the Kempock Stone. We wanted to push the stone into the river to destroy boats and ships. We also danced there, and the devil kissed us when we went away.” Gourock Community Council are not impressed by the witches. “Well the last thing Gourock needs is black magic and vandalism.” Said May McIntosh “They never really had a chance at shifting that stone though. It’s really heavy. I don’t know what they were thinking.” Lamont’s sentence has yet to be passed, but as she has confessed to being a witch she will most probably be burned at the stake. If she’s lucky.

On the eve of his trial, we talk to infamous pirate Captain William Kidd. Is he really all that bad?
23rd May 1701 Captain Kidd, how are preparations going for the trial? In a word…can I swear? No Right. Well, not great. A lot of the papers that would prove my innocence just seem to have mysteriously disappeared. Know what I mean? “Disappeared” as in stolen by the British Admiralty to stitch me up like a kipper. That’s a bold claim sir. Just one of the many surprises I’ve got in store for the jury tomorrow. And I’ve a whole team of star witnesses who’ll help get me off. Can you tell us about any of them? There’s Hugh Parrot, Darby Mullins, Richard Barlicorn… Aren’t they members of your crew who are also on trial for piracy? Aye, well, beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, they’re basically good guys. They wouldnae do ye a bad turn. Unless you were on a ship full of gold. Then there might be bother… You are accused of murdering William “Gunner” Moore by striking him with a bucket… I just chucked it at him! I never actually hit him with it. He’d been threatening mutiny, calling me all sorts of rude names. And I just picked up the bucket in a bit of a temper and threw it at him. The ship’s doctor suggests he died later as a result of this blow to the head. It was just a wee bump! Anyway what does the doctor know? Liked his rum that Bradinham. Plus, Gunner Moore had been feeling dodgy for weeks. He was on his way out the moment he stepped aboard the Adventure Galley. Total waste of space. Let’s talk about your early days. You’re from Dundee originally… No. No who said that? Somebody from Dundee told me that you were…. No chance. I’m frae Greenock. Mighty mighty Greenock. And proud of it. I don’t live there right enough. I’ve got a nice big house in New York. And it was while in New York that you were approached by Lord Bellamont? He’s another one him. It’s him that’s got all the papers that would prove I was allowed to raid French ships. The British government asked me to raid French ships. So all this nonsense about me being a pirate… It’s not true then? Well…bits of it are true. Nobody’s perfect. But there’s nothing in the world that could make it appear I was guilty of piracy. For my part I am the innocentest person of them all.

There were sensational scenes today at Execution Dock, as Captain William Kidd was finally hanged for treason and murder. A drunken Kidd staggered to the gallows and spent his final moments cursing everyone he ever knew before rather optimistically asking God to forgive him. At the first attempt, the hangmans rope snapped, but the pirate was simply strung up and hanged again.

Kidd - available for public viewing.

A new broadside ballad which details the lurid exploits of Captain Kidd has become a massive hit across London’s East End. The jaunty sea shanty is loosely based on an apparent “final confession” given by Kidd before he took to the gallows. “The punters just can’t get enough” says John Wilson, a printer. “And it’s taken on a life of its own, people keep adding in new verses all the time…I can’t keep up. I’m sure most of it’s true. I’m not sure about some of the newer verses though, I don’t honestly know if he actually fed his own gran to a killer whale, or if he sent a giant squid to attack His Majesty’s Navy. I suppose he might have. He’s a nasty piece of work.” You can hear a recording of the ballad on the “Downriver” cd or at www.

Big Ballad

Kidd in court. Yesterday.

WATT A GREATBoils Kettle IDEA! Scotland Goes Loco as Inventor
October 14th 1764 The Industrial Revolution came to the boil last night as Greenock born engineer James Watt finally broke his silence about the origin of his revolutionary invention – the Steam Engine. Steamy Secrets Pressure had been building on the young inventor and last night the press turned up the heat with the revelation of Watts “steamy secret” that while he may have made one of the greatest inventions if our time, he had in fact only set out to make a cup of tea! “Its true” confessed the 28 year old steamer. “I was only trying to make the tea – not start a revolution.” It seems that at a young age, Watt had sat by the fire in his mother’s cottage, Greenock, and had noticed with great interest the steam rising from the mouth of the kettle. Little did he realise that his observations would spark a revolution which would change the world forever, and make him an international star. “Yeah – its pretty good” admitted Watt, “but fame has its downsides. I can’t even get on a train anymore without being noticed.” Watt, who is currently working at the University of Glasgow, is hoping to go into buisness for himself. With his latest invention, this we’re sure he can do WATT-ever he wants! Don’t miss tomorrows 4 page special steam pullout. James “Jimmy” Watt. Yesterday. But Bell hasn’t let his lack of maritime expertise get in the way. He’s hired young Port Glasgow engineer John Wood to help him build his boat. Speaking at his yard in the Port yesterday, Wood (23) said; “It’s mental. This thing can really clock up the speed – I’ve souped her right up so that noo she can dae nearly five miles an hour against the head wind. It’s pure mad.” Bell and Wood hope to launch their ship later this month, making it the first commercial steam ship in Europe. By September the ship will be making regular trips to Oban in four days. Overcoming the strength of winds on the open sea may seem like one step too far for science, but we reckon this Comet is certainly one to watch.

Bell causes alarm

A ship without sails that could go where it pleased regardless of the weather? It may sound ridiculous, but if Helenburgh based “inventor” Henry Bell has his way, this could soon become a reality. Bell (45), came up with the idea while in the bath. “I was splashing away with my little model sail boat, and I suddenly thought – what if you made a boat without sails. What would that be like? Pretty good I thought.” According to the inventor, his ship, named the “Comet”, after the great comet of 1811, will allow people “to sail by the power of air, wind, and steam.” Not only that, Bell says it will make the trip up the Clyde to Glasgow in less than 6 hours! Until recently Bell was regarded as something of a crank by the majority of folk. Even his wife wondered if her husband had taken leave of his senses: “I just don’t know what he’s prattling on about. I thought he was talking about a model boat, I didn’t realise he was going to build a real one. He doesn’t know the first thing about boats – he can’t even swim. ”

19th October 1786 Local love rat and poet Robert Burns is at it again according to sources. This time Burns has apparently set his sights on local Dunoon lass Mary Campbell or Highland Mary as she is know to her friends. The couple have embarked in a whirlwind affair, reputedly sharing more than ae fond kiss or two, and today we can exclusively reveal that two have married in a secret wedding ceremony in the country. Sources close to the newlyweds claim the two took part in a secret ceremony by the banks of the Fail declaring their love and devotion to one another. ARMOUR These latest revelations will no doubt shock and infuriate the bards ex girlfriend who is at this moment in time pregnant with his child in Paisley. The girl, Jean Armour was reportedly whisked off to live with distant relations to avoid scandal. Fortunately this did not work as local gossips contacted the press. It has been widely known that Jean’s parents were no great fans of Burns and severely disapproved of his relationship with their daughter, and indeed Jean’s father was reported to have fainted on hearing of his daughter’s predicament and had to be revived by his wife’s cordial. JAMAICA Burns and Mary seem the picture of wedded bliss and have mentioned that they may be soon leaving our fine shores for the sunnier climate of Jamaica. Mary has recently gone into hiding with family in Greenock, and while Burns has left behind him a string of broken hearts and fatherless children perhaps she will be the one to finally tame the playboy poet. Or perhaps not. Both parties declined to comment.

The west coast’s PREMIER seaside holiday resort. The place QUEEN VICTORIA called “BETTER THAN LARGS” BATHE in the soothing waters of the glorious Clyde – believed by many to be a CURE for all manner of AILMENTS. ENJOY the bracing river air on a stroll along the romantic promenade. PLAY bowls or croquet on our hillside lawns! VISIT the mysterious “Granny Kempock Stone”. New CRAZY GOLF opening soon. Hilarity guaranteed.

Life After Death! Hear messages from beyond the ether! See apparitions! Touch unearthly ectoplasm!* MISS ABBY McGHEE using her MOST REMARKABLE SKILLS as a MEDIUM will contact all DEARLY DEPARTED family members and pets. Pass on INTIMATIONS OF GOODWILL. Discover the whereabouts of LOST LEGACIES. Be reassured that your loved ones are safe and well in the hereafter. Miss McGhee will be LEADING A SÉANCE on the 27 th November in the GAMBLE HALLS in Gourock. Come one, come all.

*appearance of ectoplasm not guaranteed

Marvellous New Invention! Steam powered trousers. For the gentleman on the go. Inspired by the REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS of Greenock’s most famous son, these STEAM PROPELLED PANTALOONS will make short work of any journey. No more need for cabs and carriages! VULCANISED INTERIOR CHASSIS to avoid scalding. Be the envy of friends and family, leave elderly relatives in your wake.

Gentlemen warned after disagreement
Two Greenock gentlemen were yesterday thrown out of the “White Hart Inn” following a disagreement over a ladyfriend. Mr David Buchanan questioned the good manners of Mr Ronald Campbell’s companion, a mutual acquaintance. Buchanan is reported to have replied “You sir, are a tumshie! Please be quiet.” Campbell took tremendous offence at this, apparently proclaiming “How dare you sir! I must insist that you join me outside. You are getting it.” A slightly inebriated Buchanan then rose to the bait, saying “Indeed! Come ahead!” Both gentlemen tumbled into the town square and fisticuffs commenced. The constabulary arrived shortly thereafter. Both gentleman have received a warning, a small fine and are barred from the White Hart Inn for a period of four days.

Artists impression of the stramash or stooshie.