Friday, March 02, 2012

Minutes of Note by Lynne JM Longmore

Minutes of Note by Lynne J.M. Longmore

The Royal Burgh of Lochmaben could boast two curling clubs in the nineteenth century, namely The Lochmaben Curling Society and The Royal Bruce Curling Club. Those two clubs amalgamated towards the end of that century. The new club was named the Lochmaben Castle Curling Club and is still known by that name today.

Minute books belonging to both those original clubs are still in existence, having been kept safely all those years. They are a wonderful record of not only the curling exploits that took place on a regular basis but also of the social life of the local inhabitants of Lochmaben. The curlers of Lochmaben past had an indomitable reputation far and wide and were renowned for their feats of strength and curling prowess.

Lynne Longmore has successfully managed to transcribe the two minute books which belonged to the oldest club, The Lochmaben Curling Society. A somewhat daunting task, as these books are in extremely fragile condition, the flamboyant hand script not always easy to decipher and the ink now badly faded.

On completion of those transcripts Lynne decided to proceed with a small publication which would appeal to, not only local residents of Lochmaben and family members past and present, whether curlers or not, but also to those who have an interest simply in the history of outdoor curling and to those who have an interest in the general social Scottish life of the nineteenth century in a rural community. However, curling wasn’t possible every year, when several winters might pass before conditions were suitable.

Minutes of Note is a fascinating summary of the minutes recorded in the first of those minute books of the Lochmaben Curling Society which covers the period from 1823-1863. This account brings together in a beautifully case-bound publication, the more notable minutes and aims to give an insight into the importance of this winter pastime to the residents of Lochmaben and those from neighbouring parishes. Local tradesmen and local dignitaries would come together on frozen lochs and spend a highly enjoyable day in friendly combat and then dine together at a local inn and spend a convivial evening recounting the day’s events.

Results of the games and Parish bonspiels against the neighbouring parishes which would take place on all the Lochmaben lochs including the Castle Loch, the Kirk Loch, the Upper Loch and the old Halleaths or Broomhill Loch, are thoroughly recorded by the various club Secretaries. Names of members present at each meeting are listed in great detail at the start of each minute together with names of the club President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. This in itself becomes a valuable source of information for those undertaking local family research.

Supplementary information which relates to the history of Lochmaben has been included as a result of research into a beautifully engraved silver curling medal, dated circa 1830, which was specifically made for the curlers of Lochmaben to compete for and which is still played for by the current members. The beautifully engraved decoration upon the surface of this medal provides a highly significant visual link to the Royal Burgh’s fascinating past.

A limited number of copies of the book are available, priced at £20. Contact Lynne Longmore directly by email:

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