10 things you shouldn’t miss at Scotland’s History Festival

Bruce Fummey. Picture: contributed
Bruce Fummey. Picture: contributed
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PREVIOUSLY... Scotland’s History Festival returns to the Capital next week with a unique and entertaining look back into the past.

Over ten days, an eclectic programme of events including comedy, walks, talks, food, seminars and healthy debate will tackle topics as diverse as the mysterious knights known as The Templars, Flyting, the ancient Scottish forerunner to rap and the life and times of Elsie Inglis, as well as offering the opportunity to explore the Dean Village and cemetery.

Now in its fifth year, the festival was founded by Evening News columnist Susan Morrison in 2012 and is back after a year off in 2016.

Morrison, who presents BBC Radio Scotland’s history magazine programme, Time Travels, which has just been commissioned for a third series, says, “It’s a really exciting relaunch that we like to think is dynamic and bold, and far more inclusive than other festivals of this kind.

“Once again, Edinburgh is blazing a trail, after all, history is the new rock and roll”.

So, if you’re now ready to have history made fun, here are 10 things you really shouldn’t miss at Previously... The Scotland’s History Festival.

Dean Village. Picture: Scott Louden

Dean Village. Picture: Scott Louden

THE TEMPLARS: DAN JONES

THE Order of The Templars were the wealthiest, most powerful, and most secretive, of the military orders that flourished during The Crusade.

Their story has left a comet’s tail of mystery that continues to fascinate historians, novelists and conspiracy theorists.

Best-selling historian Dan Jones all this as he talks about his latest book, The Templars.

Edinburgh-born suffragette and doctor Elsie Inglis. Picture: contributed

Edinburgh-born suffragette and doctor Elsie Inglis. Picture: contributed

Methodist Church Halls, Nicolson Square, 24 November, 7.30pm, £5

STUART COSGROVE: DETROIT 67, MEMPHIS 68

DETROIT ‘67: Motown, The Supremes and the implosion of the most successful African-American record label, against a backdrop of urban riots and police corruption.

Memphis ‘68: The home of soul music in the year of the assassination Martin Luther King in the city.

Stuart Cosgrove explores two US cities in two crucial years, with the music that created the soundtrack to those momentous years.

The Bongo Club, 23 November, 8pm, £8

COMEDY WITH BOB THE GOB & AAAAAAARGH! MACBETH

A FOOTBALL pundit and a murderous monarch, not the usual history festival fodder. However, the brains behind the laughs at these two shows really know their stuff.

Bob the Gob Doolally is a legend not just in footie but also comedy, and he’s being cross-examined by Phil Differ.

Bruce Fummey, meanwhile takes a seriously funny look at the truth behind MacBeth.

Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, Blair Street, 19 November, 8.30pm, £5

GAMING HISTORY DAY

SCOTLAND is a global leader in the computer games industry, ransacked history to ensure many of these console controlled fantasies are rooted in remarkably accurate reality.

But who are the people behind the pixels? Do you think you really could hack it as a Viking or a pirate?

Gaming History is series of events over one afternoon about the history of the reality in the X-box!

Methodist Church Halls, Nicolson Square, 19 November, throughout the afternoon, £3 per event

DEAN VILLAGE & DEAN CEMETERY TOURS

THE tours of Dean Cemetery will take you to the grave of Dr Elsie Inglis, a truly great Scottish hero, who died one hundred years ago this year.

Dean village is a gem, as we all know, and bursting with history.

Dean Village & Cemetery, various dates, £5

THE FLYTING

DISCOVER this riotous and uproarious celebration of the Scots language .

Flyting is an art form invented in Scotland - two poets at the court of James IV roundly insulted each other, swinging from glorious alliteration and high-flown metaphor to down and dirty sweary words.

Two actors take the stage to recreate this most Scottish of art forms... the ancestor of rap.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Royal Mile, 17 November, 7.30pm, £8

AN AFTERNOON WITH ELSIE INGLIS

IN 1917, the funeral of Dr Elsie Inglis brought Edinburgh to a standstill. The woman the War Office told to ‘go home and sit still’ had added the title of war hero to her remarkable achievements.

To mark the centenary of this remarkable Scotswoman, hear guest speakers rediscover this truly exceptional woman.

Methodist Church Halls, Nicolson Square. 26 November, 3pm, £5

FAMILY TREE BOOTCAMP

ONCE only the titled knew who their great-great-great-grandfather was, but now anyone with the right training can find the roots of their families.

This unique event will take would be genealogists through the three vital branches of building a family tree - finding people, places and inheritance records.

Monkey Barrel Comedy, Blair Street, 26 November, 1.30pm, £10

MARY SOMERVILLE

IS Mary Somerville Scotland’s greatest woman scientist?

Self-educated in Musselburgh, Somerville was acclaimed as the Queen of Science.

She graces the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £10 note, the first non-royal woman to do so, but who was she and what did she actually do? Join historian Ruth Boreham to discover more.

Methodist Church Halls, Nicolson Square, 26 November, 2.30pm, £3

THE REVENANTS

THE fear of the walking dead was once so great that when confessed witch Lillias Adie died before she could be executed, a massive stone was put over her corpse to stop her rising and walking among us.

Dr Louise Yeoman, recently part of the team that resurrected the image of Adie from her skull, has uncovered stories that give a glimpse into a world where the dead walked.

Methodist Church Halls, Nicolson Square. 23 November, 6.30pm, £3

Previously... Scotland’s History Festival runs from 17 to 26 November.

The festival has already drawn praise for its vibrant and diverse line-up and also has two of Scotland’s biggest names to complete an impressive programme of speakers - Alex Salmond will be in conversation with Professor Sir Tom Devine on 25 November at the Methodist Church Halls on Nicolson Square.

Festival Director Susan Morrison says, “These are two of the biggest beasts roaming Scotland’s modern history.

“One stood in the very eye of a political storm and the other has been responsible for shaping a new view of our national story.

“Think of it as a bit like watching Godzilla face Kong. Only noisier.”

For full programme, venues, and details of ticket and times visit www.historyfest.co.uk