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I’ve been browsing the British Newspaper Archive and stumbled across this fantastic little article and sketch of my great grandfather William WATSON that was published in The Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday 7 September 1905.

william winner sketchI think the artist of the sketch achieved a real likeness to William. Compare the sketch to the photos below.

william winner photowilliam thane of fife

The Dundee Courier published the following article on Monday 4 September 1905.

dundee courier articleIn case, like me, you don’t know what a guinea is – here’s a description from a “British Life and Culture” website:

1 guinea = £1-1s-0d ( £1/1/- ) = one pound and one shilling = 21 shillings

1 guinea could be written as ‘1g’ or ‘1gn’.

A guinea was considered a more gentlemanly amount than £1. You paid tradesmen, such as a carpenter, in pounds but gentlemen, such as an artist, in guineas.

A third of a guinea equalled exactly seven shillings.

Why guinea?

Because the Guinea coast was fabled for its gold, and its name became attached to other things like guinea fowl, and New Guinea.

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I have said before that William WATSON loved to fish and that didn’t change once he arrived in New Zealand. His Angling Register shows that on the opening day of the 1906 fishing season (October 1st), less than three months after arriving in New Zealand, he was fishing in the Manawatu River.

Angling Register belonging to William WATSON

The Marlborough Express, Wednesday, 30 September 1908 printed the following article written by their Picton correspondent.

The Marlborough Express - Wednesday 30 September 1908

Now, just in case you are like me and don’t have a single clue as to what ‘become disciples of Isaac Walton‘ means, here’s a little bit about Mr Walton from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/635163/Izaak-Walton (It’s worth reading, as the article gives a description of The Compleat Angler.)

Izaak Walton,  (born Aug. 9, 1593, Stafford, Staffordshire, Eng.—died Dec. 15, 1683, Winchester, Hampshire), English biographer and author of The Compleat Angler (1653), a pastoral discourse on the joys and stratagems of fishing that has been one of the most frequently reprinted books in English literature. Since the late 18th century, more than 300 editions of The Compleat Angler have appeared…

And land o’ cakes?? Well, I went here http://www.robertburns.org/encyclopedia/LandoCakesThe.504.shtml and found this:

The Land o’ Cakes 

Burns used this expression to describe Scotland in the opening line of his poem ‘On the Late Captain Grose’s Peregrinations Thro’ Scotland’:

“Hear, Land o’ Cakes and brither Scots”.

Robert Fergusson had already used the expression in his poem ‘The King’s Birthday in Edinburgh’:

“Oh, soldiers! For your ain dear sakes
For Scotland’s, alias, Land o’ Cakes.”

About the middle of the 14th Century Froissart visited Scotland, and in his Chronicles, described the staple diet of the Scots soldier: ‘Under the flap of his saddle, each man carries a broad plate of metal; behind the saddle, a little bag of oatmeal. When they have eaten too much… sodden flesh, and their stomach appears weak and empty, they place their plate over the fire, mix with water their oatmeal, and when the plate is heated they put a little of the paste upon it, and make a thin cake, like a crackenel or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs; it is therefore no wonder that they perform a longer day’s march than other soldiers.’

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Here’s the Angling Register for 1908. And, yes, William managed to go fishing on the opening day of this fishing season too.

Angling Register belonging to William WATSON

It’s interesting to see that the additions to the Terminus Hotel had already commenced by the time William became licensee in 1908.  I have discovered that they were to continue for quite some time.

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Just in case we needed more proof that William was a great fisherman, here’s a newspaper report from 1901.

The Dunfermline Journal - 10 August 1901

Transcribed:

SPORTS AND PASTIMES IN WEST FIFE

ANGLING

DUNFERMLINE CLUB COMPETITION ON LOCH LEVEN

Good sport was again got on Wednesday forenoon when a drizzling rain fell till noon, with a good breeze from the south-west. The wind freshened when the rain ceased, and with a deal of sunshine. In the afternoon, and squally wind, fish did not take. The Dunfermline Club competed, when 14 members took part, and captured 111 trout, 83lb. 12oz. Prize-winners:-

1. Mr Wm. Watson, Cowdenbeath………… 19 trout 17lb 8 ozs

2. Mr N. Nasmyth……………………………… 15 trout   9lb 8 ozs

3. Mr G. Whyte …………………………………. 14 trout    8lb 5 ozs

4. Mr J. Fortune, Cowdenbeath …………..    6 trout  7lb 6 ozs

For heaviest trout –

Mr J. Fortune…………………………………… 1 trout    2lb 11 ozs

Mr Watson’s catch was the heaviest in a competition this season. The best fished boats were out with:-

Messrs W. and G. Watson………………………24 trout  21lb 2 ozs

Messrs G. Whyte and N. Nasmyth………….. 20 trout 17lb 13 ozs

Messrs J.S. Stenhouse and J.T. Smith ……..14 trout 12lb 12 ozs

Mrssrs J. Fortune and J. Dick ………………..10 trout  10lb 7 ozs

This being the best competition by the club this season, the following special prizes fell to be decided:- Patron’s prizes for four heaviest trout at any one of the four competitions – Won by Mr W. Watson with 7lb 2 1/2 ozs caught at Wednesday’s competition. Second, Mr J Morris, 5lb 7 ozs, caught at July competition – President’s prize for heaviest basket of trout caught with fly during season – Mr W. Watson with 17lb 8 ozs, got at Wednesday’s competition. For greatest number of trout caught with fly at any of the four competitions, was gained by Mr W. Watson with 30, caught at the June competition. Mr W. Watson will represent the club at the national and championship competitions, having the highest aggregate with 44lb over the season. Among the private parties on the loch were Mr Williamson, Dunfermline and Mr G. Watson, Kelty, who had a catch of 9 trout, weighing 6lbs.

And here’s the report from his Angling Register.

Angling register belonging to William WATSON

This postcard shows a group of fishermen on Loch Leven. Loch Leven Castle is shown in the background, on an island in the centre of the loch.

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William WATSON loved fishing. And by all accounts he was a great fisherman. While we do not know exactly when William began fishing, a reference to his prowess was reported on Saturday 12 August 1899 in The Dunfermline Journal. He won the Dunfermline Angling Club’s President’s prize for ‘greatest number of trout caught with fly at any competition (13)’. By 1901 he had purchased an Angling Register to record his catches.

Here’s an article from The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday August 12, 1905.

The Dunfermline Journal, Saturday 12 August 1905

And, yes, the Mr G. Watson from Kelty was William’s younger brother George.

This is the page from William’s Angling Register that records the results in the above newspaper article.

Page from William WATSON's Angling Register

The next article is from The Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 7 September 1905 – reporting on the championship competition referred to in the previous article. The loch the article refers to is Loch Leven in Kinross.

The Kinross-shire Advertiser, Saturday 7 September 1905

And, again, William recorded the results in his Angling Register.

Page from William WATSON's Angling Register

I found a book called “A Lay of Loch Leven” by William O’ Ye West [published in 1887] in the Dunfermline Carnegie Library.  In it was this great poem about fishing on Loch Leven. I can just picture William as one of those anglers with ‘hopes swelled high, Bright gleaming in each eager eye;’

In jocund mood the Club drew near;

The boatmen busied on the pier;

The glistening rods in morning sun,

The glee, the banter, and the fun;

Kind greetings thrown from boat to boat,

Ere yet they from the pier had shot;

Sights such as these, too seldom seen,

So bright, so brief; too rare, I ween –

Fain would I linger o’er this scene.

 

The air was warm, and hopes swelled high,

Bright gleaming in each eager eye;

The gilding sun ‘mong clouds arrayed,

Lent to the Loch a softened shade;

Mild eastern breezes gently blew,

Slight ripples o’er the waters threw;

 

Light fleecy clouds of sober grey –

Auspicious promise for the day –

Hung high o’erhead, o’erspread the lift,

Lent to each bay, each bank and drift,

That sheen so dear to angler’s eyes –

A sheen which only anglers prize.

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