Tinkers’ Heart

Rab Scott, my grandfather, was a fruit farmer and kept several orchards in Stirlingshire. He used to reminisce about the travelling folk – “tinkers” – who camped on Sheriffmuir and sometimes in his orchard at Drumdruills.

My grandfather showed me where the travelling folk set up camp by the Cox burn [red arrow below]:

The 1891 census records that beside ‘Drumdruils Lane, Coxburn’, in a tent, was the family of Andrew Cameron, travelling Tinsmith, aged 31 years, born in Dunkeld. His wife Ellen was a few years younger. Their four children: Ellen, May, James and Peter were aged between 9 and 3 years, and each child had been born in a different pairt of Scotland. The grandfather of this family was by then lang deid.  His name was Richard Cameron and he was a weel kent Tinker. He died aged 47 years on the Abbey Craig in the woods beside the newly raised Wallace Monument:

Sept 1874: A few years before Richard Cameron’s death, he was in Court [once again] along with his brothers/cousins:

February 1881: His son, Andrew Cameron [who appeared before the Court almost as many times as his faither]:

July 1884: Dundee. Helen McFee [who was soon to become Andrew Cameron’s wife]:

Helen McFee was born in this cave, Pultneytown, Wick:

10th October 1887, St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth: Richard marries Hellen ‘Ellen’ [Neither bride nor groom were able to sign their name]:

April 1886: The year before, and this sibling/in-law, died  in most tragic circumstances:

February 1895: Andrew Cameron and family are in Fife [and Andrew appears before the Courts yet again]:

February 1895: The same month as above [but this time in Clackmannanshire]:

This, the same road that I used to take to work, when I worked as a doctor in Sauchie:

June 1896: A year later [Andrew Cameron and family are in Blairgowrie]:

September 1899: South Street, Perth [Andrew’s wife, Helen]:

November 1901: Johnnie Marshall’s Loan, Fife:

Johnnie [or Johnny] Marshall’s Loan was a favourite encampment for tinkers: it can still be found west of the village of Thornton:

“SAVAGES” [a short film by Peter made many years ago – and long before learning of Johnny Marshall’s Loan]:

August 1948: The death in Dundee of Peter, the son of Andrew and Ellen Cameron:

Watt Street, Dundee [Ordnance Survey Book]: “The houses are mean in appearance and dirty”:

Have a heart! We are a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns:

A photograph of Peter Whyte Cameron with his wife [Peter, being the youngest son of Andrew and Ellen – a family, that long ago and ‘almost’ forgotten, camped in my Grumpa’s orchard]

A fallen monolith in a field [a short film by Peter]:

[Important note: this film shares a distressing story of a child lost in infancy]

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