July 9, 1885: Cameronian Colours displayed in Glasgow Cathedral




In Mary Norton's book The Borrowers, Arietty has a calendar diary associating with each day of the year a saying or exhortation, plus a reminder of a historical event. The event for the ninth of July is: "July 9th, 1885: Cameronian Colours displayed in Glasgow Cathedral."

I was asked by my wife, who was assisting in a translation of the book from English to Chinese, to help discover which event was being referred to, in case it had some significance to the story.

Searching online quickly revealed a wealth of fascinating historical material on the Cameronians, but no explanation of a connection to the Glasgow Cathedral. I was able to discover that the cathedral had a Bishop Cameron in the 1400's, but this seemed like a red herring. The Cathedral staff, when contacted, replied that the regimental colours were still on display, but didn't know why.

Eventually the answer was provided by Barrie Duncan of the Low Parks Museum, run by the South Lanarkshire Council.

Thank you very much for your enquiry regarding reference to the Cameronian Colours in Glasgow Cathedral. In 1881 the 26th (Cameronian) Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry were amalgamated to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). As a Rifle regiment, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) ceased to carry Colours. In 1885, both the 1st and 2nd Battalions (formerly the 26th and 90th Regiments respectively) deposited their last set of Colours; the 1st Bn (26th) in Glasgow Cathedral, the 2nd Bn (90th) in St. Mary's Church, Hamilton.

The Colours that were deposited in Glasgow Cathedral had been presented to the Regiment (26th) in 1862 by Lady Belhaven; they were last carried on June 26th, 1882, in a special service where they were officially retired from service. Volume I of the Regimental History states that:

"The last scene in the history of the 26th as a regiment of the old dispensation took place on 26th June, 1882, at Shorncliffe. In its new green uniform the regiment paraded with its colours, which rifle regiments did not carry. Lieutenant-Colonel Hale led his regiment past the colours and saluted them. The whole regiment then advanced in line towards the colours and gave them a Royal Salute. The colours were then marched off parade for the last time while the band played 'Auld Lang Syne'."

A foot note adds "These colours were deposited in Glasgow Cathedral on 9th July, 1885. The offer to receive them here had been made in June 1881 by the Lord Provost of Glasgow and accepted at once by Colonel Hale."

Barrie Duncan
Assistant Museums Officer
South Lanarkshire Council
Museum Development
116 Cadzow Street
Hamilton
ML3 6HP
Tel: 01698 452289

So now the answer to this question is online, hopefully readily available to curious readers of The Borrowers.

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