Story: Working on the Land


Men’s night on Working on the Land

School and work for children

Jimmy – Ploughing at 10 years old

Teacher – brought me chocolates when I was 5 and broke my leg.

Parish bairns – people took them in. ‘they went all day wi’out a piece’

Travellers’ children.Children who wore boots to school. Some had to muck out the byre before school.

Bill – left school at 12 and a half. Lived at the K-now – correct name ‘Woodend’ next to the Glen. Road was up past


“I was telling Dad, Jimmy, that you had said that you learned to plough when you were 10 years



“Oh aye. We was working all the time, us little ‘uns.

“Aye, the school teacher could see me out of the window. My teacher was Mrs Mairston.

“She was alright. She was always very straighish, ken. ?????????????

“It was’nae always bad news though. It would’nae go on. The collars go a way back on the neck.

“Miss Grey [Grave?], Miss Hunter – they were the other ones.

“I broke my leg when I was about five and she came over with chocolate and stuff. after she left the

school. I mind lying in a wee low bed and looking up at her. “


“Did the teachers understand that you had to work?”

“She understood that I had to work – we didn’t get into trouble. Well – got into trouble all right.

Mind the Stewarts that were here – mind they used to come to school with shar on their boots. But

they had to muck the byre out. Went all day without a piece. Issac and Davey. The Stewarts …”

“Two people came here – to the house – when Mum and Dad were here. One from Canada and one

from somewhere in Scotland and said that they had lived here when they were children. And they

had gone to Lumsden School. And you were saying that’s who they must have been.

“They were parish bairns, you see. And travellers bairns. And both their grannies and

grandfathers lived just the other side of Alford ???. Aye – parish bairns, they’d be.”

“Was it common for people to take in parish bairns? “

“Oh yes quite a few were taken in. There were a few kids. Down the village, there was a few good

bairns. There was a boy, and Jimmy. And a girl – Rebecca. That was the tink. When Issac left the

school he took all the rest away. And I saw Issac when I was about 24 and I saw him. And he said

that Davie was about Aberdeen somewhere. But he didn’t know where. She wore ??? to school?”

“????????? up Smiddie Lane.

“When I started school I left from ??? I come from ??? Willie Yates has it now. A ruin now. I came

over the hill from there. “

“I’ve never walked up there but Mum … I would like to walk up there but Mum was saying there

were a few people that lived up there. Grannie and Granded …. Woodend was the right name of it.

Two parks down …. Up past Boghead. “

“They were all up there. I left the school at 12 1/2. You were a working man by the time you were

12. Came here in 44. Came to Deskie in 44.

Worked at the pub at that time. Not Lumsden – Kildrummy.”