Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story
The pageant was organised by Forfar Town Council.
Place: Reid Hall (Forfar) (Forfar, Angus, Scotland)
Number of performances: 8
7–15 May 1965, 7.15pm.
The pageant opened on Friday 7 May and closed on Saturday 15 May. According to the commemorative booklet, it had eight stagings; this suggests that it probably was not held on Sunday 9 May. On Saturday 8 May the performance was described as a 'gala night' with members of the town council and the provosts of many local towns in the audience. Also invited were Lord and Lady Airlie and representatives from HMS Condor, Arbroath, and the US navy installation at Edzell.1
The pageant took place in the town's concert hall.
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Director [Pageant Master]: Douglas, Harry
- Assistant Producers: Susan Roberts; Eve MacMillan; Alasdair Dalgety
- Stage Director and Chief Electrician: Bull Shiells
- Stage Manager: Don Milne
- Wardrobe Mistress: Molly Galloway2
The pageant master was commissioned to direct the pageant; he was a well-known actor who had been born in Angus. His residence in Edinburgh at the time was noted in the programme.3
Names of executive committee or equivalent
- Chairman: John Roberts
- Secretary: Miss A. Ross
- Other members: Harry Douglas; Robert Kemp; C.W. Renilson; C.M.H. Rodger; W.S. McCulloch
- Representatives from organisations as follows:
- Operatic Society: J. Machray; Miss S.H. Esson; George O'Donnell
- Dramatic Society: F.A. Milne, Miss M.C. Copeland; W. Shiells
- Townswomen's Guild: Mrs C. Potts; Mrs W. Mackintosh; Mrs W. Burrell
- Women Citizens: Miss M.M. Hourie; Mrs M.J. Sampson
- B & P Club: Mrs E. Strachan; Miss H.W. Langlands
- Forfar and District Junior Agricultural Club: Miss M. Wilson; Miss M.J. Wilson; Mr D.G. Jolly
- Forfar Instrumental Band: J.G. Waddell; R.J. Thompson
- Forfar Academy: A.C. Gillespie; D.J. MacMillan
- Boys' Brigade: J. Ritchie
- Chairman: Mrs M. Galloway
- Other Members: Mrs E. MacMillan; Miss M. Nicoll; Mrs D. Piggott; Mrs G. Stephen; Miss M. MacLeod; Mrs E. Elrick; Miss W. Millikin; Mrs C. Kerr
The pageant committee and the costumes sub-committee were two of a larger number of committees overseeing the centenary celebrations. These also included an Executive Committee (nine members including the chairman of the pageant committee), a Public Events Committee (twenty-one members), a Publicity Committee (six members), a Finance Committee (seven members), a Bazaar Committee (thirty-one members including seven women who were the wives of local councillors). Most of the membership of all these bodies were likely councillors (unfortunately council designations are not given) or representatives from a variety of local institutions.5
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Kemp, Robert
Robert Kemp was then a well-known and prolific scriptwriter for the theatre, radio and television. He also contributed journalism to a variety of magazines and newspapers and was the Glasgow Herald's television critic during the 1960s. He was the author of other historical pageants, notably the Ayr Centenary Pageant, 1952. The Forfar pageant was his last foray into this genre. Kemp was commissioned to write the pageant by Forfar Town Council as early as December 1961. His fee was £750 paid in three instalments.6
Names of composers
- Davie, Cedric Thorpe
- Bernard, W.D.
Numbers of performers300
Performers came from many local organisations including local amateur dramatic and operatic societies, a country dancing society and the young farmers' club. Photographs included in the commemorative booklet show men, women and children taking part.
Object of any funds raised
No financial information has been recovered; however, it is likely that this event raised a profit as all tickets were sold.
Linked occasionThe tercentenary of Forfar receiving its burgh charter.
- Grandstand: No
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: 6000
The pageant was held indoors in a concert hall which had capacity for 850 spectators. The local press reported that all eight shows were full houses and that many prospective spectators were unable to obtain tickets.10
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Tickets cost 7s. 6d. and 5s. for adults; children's tickets cost 5s. and 3s. On Friday 7, Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May, old age pensioners could purchase tickets for 3s.11
Associated eventsThere was a lengthy programme of attractions to celebrate the centenary. Over the year, there were many sporting events (golf, cricket, football, fishing, sailing, bowling, badminton, swimming and a gymkhana) as well as motor and caravan rallies. A 'Charter Commemoration Day' was held (9 May). This involved the 'Kirking of the Council' and a thanksgiving service at which the Moderator of the Church of Scotland gave the sermon. There were exhibitions held at different times in the year of embroidery, art, industries, hobbies, photography, 'local antiquities' and 'Forfar Past and Present'; a 'grand Bazaar' and a 'World Pipe Band Championship Contest' were held in June. During this month, there was also a festival of the 'Riding of the Marches'. Royalty visited twice during the year: in July, HRH Princess Alexandra opened a new guide dogs centre in the town; and in August HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, opened a new secondary school. A further high point was a concert in the Reid Hall in September, featuring the Halle Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli.
The National Anthem
‘God Save the Queen’ was sung.
This had two scenes followed by the first of several interludes. In the first of these, Enthronement of the Queen of the Revels, a ceremonial fanfare is played on two trumpets; the musicians are lit by single spotlights. A voice is heard and his call is taken up by others who cry 'make way for her Serene Highness'.15 The band then starts up a ceremonial march, and the Queen of the Revels and her party enter to take up their positions on the stage. A 'bit of a commotion' follows as the jester arrives late. The pageant's scriptwriter described this central character as 'a tatterdemalion figure'.16A herald then tells the queen that 'various masques' have been prepared for her enjoyment and explains that they are to celebrate the centenary of the charter renewed by Charles II. While this is going on the jester constantly attempts to interrupt; finally, he has his say:
the history of Farfar wasna all kings and queens. For every day a king or queen passed here, we've had to spend tens of thousands without the benefit of royalty...
The jester proceeds to explain that people enjoyed themselves with music and dancing, fairs and feeing markets. He also mentions the local delicacy of the Forfar bridie (a savoury pasty). The queen agrees with the jester that the entertainment should not be too solemn. The herald’s announcement of a procession of kings and queens, ‘who, in the distant past, bestowed their regality upon our burgh', is the signal for the start of Scene two: The Kings and Queens of Yore. The first monarch to arrive is Feredeth, king of the Picts17. After describing who he is in a humorous verse, Feredith then gives way to King Malcolm II who similarly delivers a descriptive verse about his life. During his recitation, he walks round, followed by Feredeth who joins in for the chorus. Malcolm Canmore then appears, joining in the chorus in his turn. Queen Margaret then enters; her verse is:
And then I came upon the scene,
Queen Margaret, later saint,
When first I married Canmore there,
I felt a little faint,
Because the Scots, a drunken race,
Were careless of religion
And had the morals of barnyard fowls,
I made reform my pigeon.
The three kings then deliver the refrain that Margaret was 'aye fond o' Farfar / And rested here while we were out / On rapine and on warfare. The scene ends with all on the stage reciting the verse that states Margaret's work was in vain because maybe the Scots 'don't like interference'. The monarchs then dance off stage.
The interlude proceeds from here, and in this the queen begins by addressing the herald and stating that these were somewhat 'curious monarchs'. The herald then announces that more monarchs are to be presented. The assembled court groans loudly at this, and the jester states: 'Is it no' time that we heard about the folk o' Farfar?' A trumpet sounds, and the jester introduces the next episode.
Episode. The Medieval Guilds
The first episode opens onto a scene showing the 'Old Mercat Cross' and a maypole. Children run on, then sing and dance around ‘the merry-metanzie'. The dance ends boisterously as the Town Officer appears. He tries to disperse the children, but they tease him, holding on to his coat tails. After a struggle, he chases them off. The procession of provost, bailies and tradesmen then arrives; after coming to a halt, the provost asks:
How is Farfar to be Farfar still at the end o' the day if we stand by and see her trampled on?...There are some birkies ca'in' themsel's lairds hereaboots in Angus that seem to think we lack smeddum. They wad encroach upon our right and privileges...The marches and bounds of the burgh lands have been laid doon by nae less than the King o' Scots, but are they honoured by they theivin' neighbours o' ours?
There is general agreement with the provost, and all call for their horses. Hobby horses are brought on, and mounting these the performers from the town procession then leave the stage and move in formation around the perimeter of the hall, while on the stage women and children look on. While they travel, they sing a song the chorus of which is:
Haud aff, ye greedy Angus lairds,
Haud aff, ye gangrel bodies,
And dinna think us simpletons,
Mere feckless trading cuddies...
As the song ends and the riders retake the stage, Sir Peter Young and his henchmen appear; they have come to cut peat from Forfar land. An altercation takes place, with Young and the henchmen being routed to cheers. The episode concludes by all singing another chorus of the song, which ends:
For what we have we mean to hold,
So dinna hope for gain, sirs,
And if ye try to steal our lands,
We'll fecht for what's our ain sirs.
A drummer and piper play while they all march off triumphant.
The Queen and her court reappear. The herald complains of the 'vulgar' content of the previous episode, stating that it makes us 'seem a dour, aggressive people', and that 'we are proud of our connection with the great houses of Angus' – which he then proceeds to list. The herald then suggests that the ballads of the district should be celebrated as more fitting than past 'undignified squabbles'. He further requests that the troublesome jester should be removed. The queen assents to both these requests, and the jester is sent off temporarily, giving a 'dirty look' to the herald as he goes. The lights go down on the queen and court.
Episode. The Bonnie Hoose O' Airlie
This episode opens with soft music and darkness on the stage except for a spotlight on the herald. He announces Charles I as the first 'personage in his ballad'. Another spot reveals Charles who appears in his likeness within the famous portrait by Van Dyck; he is brooding on his troubles. Yet another spotlight shines on a group of Covenanters. Into the light around the king comes James Graham, Earl and later Marquis of Montrose, who kneels in obeisance. He is described by the herald as one who 'has signed the Covenant but who now believes that the Covenanters have forgotten their religion and are striving only to bring down the King'. Another character steps into the circle of light surrounding the Covenanters; this is Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, and the group receives him with reverence. The two parties 'turn menacingly to one another'. The herald then introduces Lord and Lady Ogilvie from the 'Bonnie House o' Airlie' in Angus. Stage directions specify that a 'cut-out' of the house should be suddenly illuminated. A mime then takes place showing Ogilvie taking leave of his wife to travel to England and pledge allegiance to the royalist cause. The mime proceeds with a Covenanter giving the Earl of Argyll a 'commission of fire and sword against the Bonnie House o' Airlie', which Argyll readily accepts because he has a grievance against them. A female choir is then revealed which sings a ballad recounting the revenge of Argyll on the Ogilvies. The stage is left in darkness as the song ends.
When the lights come up, the queen and her court are again on stage. All the women are weeping and in the midst of this, the jester returns. The queen asks where he has been, and he replies that he slipped away for 'a nip and a half-pint'. The jester states that 'the tragic and noble happenings' so beloved of the herald have nothing to do with 'common folks like me'. The herald again protests that the jester is lowering the tone of the pageant, but the queen says that he has a point. The jester explains:
Campbell might harry Ogilvie because he was wi' Montrose and the King, and Ogilvie might rejoice when Montrose gied Campbell a hammering at the battle o' Inverlochy. But what were the common folk daein' a' this time?
The herald dismisses the work of common folk, but the queen asks to hear more. At this, the herald begs to be excused for he also stands 'in need of refreshment'. The jester proposes the next episode has to do with the very same subject, that is, the 'important' matter of 'refreshment' and proceeds to tell 'an auld Farfar story'.
Episode. The Standing Drink
Under a single spotlight, the jester introduces the characters of his story: an 'Ale-Wife', her neighbour, the neighbour's cow and a bailie 'of our Royal and Ancient Burgh'; as each is announced a spotlight reveals them to the audience but then is dimmed. The general scene is then revealed as 'Old Forfar', and the jester withdraws. The ale-wife re-enters and tells the audience the beer she has just brewed is her best ever and that it will prove more than usually popular but that it must cool first. She decides the best place for this is at her own front door. She leaves 'in a beatific state, perhaps swaying a little'. The neighbour then appears on the scene leading her cow. She tells the cow to get on with eating grass so that she can milk her later. In comic fashion, the cow looks round and spots the pail of beer. Loud gulping ensues, and the pail is drained; the cow then does a drunken dance. The ale-wife returns and sees the cow and the empty pail. There is more comedy as the ale-wife tries to smell the cow's breath. She sets about the cow, and the neighbour comes running back. A further comic scene ensues as the two quarrel and the cow sways gently from side to side; eventually a full-blown brawl takes place between the women.
At the height of the fight, a bailie and two officers appear on their way to court; the officers separate and hold back the women while the bailie tries to establish the facts. Eventually, after listening to the women, he states that 'this is a ticklish case...I dinna see hoo the coo itsel' can gie evidence'. The ale-wife points to the drunken state of the cow and demands payment for the beer it has drunk; the neighbour refuses. The cow then gives the bailie a butt, and he agrees that this is proof that 'the beast's as fou as a piper'. The bailie then asks the ale-wife if the cow drank the beer standing up. The ale-wife is incredulous at this question, but at this the cow again sticks its head in the pail, and the bailie states this is proof enough. His verdict is that:
A drink ta'en stannin' outside the door is no to be confused wi' a drink ta'en sittin' doun inside an inn, alehouse or tavern. It is a deoch an doruis, a farewell draft at the door, a stirrup cup... by the ancient custom o' Scotland, nae chairge can be made for a drink supped stannin' at the door. It wad be a breach o' our maist venerable and sacred laws o' hospitality.
He then proclaims that given this, the cost is not recoverable. He further warns the neighbour to be more careful for 'we have enough trouble wi' the men when they're in liquor, but if the kye start in as well, we'll never be at an end'. The ale-wife marches off in fury, the neighbour chases the cow berating it, and the bailie takes his leave for court pleased that he has maintained the ancient 'Scottish laws'.
The lights come up on the queen and her court laughing, and comic banter takes place again between the jester, the queen of the revels and the herald who remains as pompous as ever. He makes a plea that the levity must stop as players are waiting to enact for the queen the 'the occasion which it was your desire to celebrate'. This is the story of the loss of Forfar's ancient charter through 'the vengeful hatred of Cromwell' and its eventual renewal by Charles II. He asks that the jester be quiet through this; the jester asks to be excused for more refreshment, but the queen commands him to stay.
Episode. Provost Strang's Protest
A shoemaker's booth is shown. The shoemaker (Provost Strang) sits at its door; he greets Mrs Gray, who asks for a pair of 'rullions' having ruined her previous pair by sitting too close to the fire. The provost measures her foot, complimenting her for having the 'neatest foot in all Forfar'. She teases him for being a flatterer; at this, Deacon Broun arrives. He congratulates the pair for staying cheerful when trouble is brewing and explains that he has heard the English are offering the Scots money to hand over Charles I, then encamped at Newcastle. The Provost says the three estates of Scotland will never succumb to such an offer, but Broun claims the clergy simply want rid of Charles and will gladly take the reward. A solemn, black-clad minister then appears; he confirms the view that Charles should be handed over. The others are shocked, stating that he was king of Scotland before he was king of England. The minister then marches off. Horses’ hooves are then heard, and the deacon goes to see who is coming, before returning in the company of a government messenger. The latter hands Strang a summons to attend a meeting of the three estates of Scotland in Edinburgh. Strang tells his maidservant, Jeanie, to give food to the exhausted messenger. He gives Mrs Gray her shoes and takes off his apron while asking the messenger about the plot to sell the king; the messenger responds that this is a doubtful rumour. The provost and the messenger retire to eat, and the other two are frustrated that they have to take their leave and are party to no more gossip.
Episode. The Three Estates
The stage is in darkness, and there is suddenly a fanfare of trumpets. The lights come up on standard bearers carrying all the flags of the burghs and noble families. The three estates are then seen assembled down stage.
The following are assembled: the Duke of Argyll, Pursuivant, Noblemen, Merchants, Clergy and Provost Strang.18 The'pursuivant' makes a proclamation stating that they are there to discuss 'sundry matters' but especially 'an Act to be passed anent the person of the King.' He then announces the Marquis of Argyll, who addresses the assembly stating that so long as Charles I does not cooperate with the church in Scotland, then Scotland wishes 'none of him'. He then makes a plea that they should accept the money offered by the English. Many voices speak agreement with this, but Provost Strang steps forward to disagree 'in the name of Forfar'. However, a majority support Argyll noisily. The stage returns to darkness.
Episode. The Destruction of the Charter
The lights come up on the scene of old Forfar; citizens appear. A conversation involving the town jailer reveals that they have one of Cromwell's men—Captain Buchan—imprisoned. Provost Strang enters in a jaunty mood and converses with a woman who remarks on his good spirits despite the fact that Cromwell's forces are at Dundee. Strang replies that 'there's nae tax on good spirits...though if we let the English Cromwell and his Puritans hae their way, there soon may be'. The provost is defiant about the imprisonment of Buchan and strides off; the townsfolk, however, are apprehensive that Cromwell will hear of their prisoner. A drum march is heard, and Cromwellians arrive led by Colonel Ocky who establishes that this is the 'disaffected and rebellious town of Forfar' and asks to speak with the jailer who reluctantly approaches. Ocky demands the keys to the tolbooth. A sergeant and two men march off with the jailer. Ocky then demands to speak with the provost. While they wait for him to arrive, Ocky announces that the king has been executed. The people are shocked. Strang comes on, decrying this as 'bloody murder'; to Ocky's fury, all the people agree. The soldiers return with Buchan who states that he has been well treated while in prison; Ocky says that lives will be spared because of this but that, even so, the town must be punished. He demands the charter chest and states that he intends to 'lower your civic pride'. Soldiers bring on the chest. Strang protests, but Ocky proceeds to remove the charter and soldiers aim their firearms at the people who try to defend their provost. Ocky and the soldiers leave with the chest. As they go, Strang cries:
Remember ye vile Cromwellian incendiary, whatever ye dae to the toun's Royal Charter, Farfar will be Farfar still!
The stage darkens, but a red glow is seen from the wings, indicating the destruction of the town's papers.
Episode. The New Charter
This episode begins with singing of an 'old Cavalier song' toasting the health of the king. The lights then come up on a scene of Charles II and his court. Charles is congratulated on his restoration to the throne. Lord Airlie steps forward and asks for an audience; this is granted. He asks the king to reward Forfar. The king says he is aware of Forfar's loyalty and that of its provost. Airlie describes the destruction of the charter, and Charles announces that he will grant another. The king and lords withdraw to attend to this business leaving the ladies who announce themselves as 'four ladies in King Charles's life'. They perform a rhyme which ends with the line 'here tonight we're spurned for Forfar's Charter'. At this, they flounce off the stage.
Episode. Forfar's Rejoicing
The scene opens on old Farfar once more, and Provost Strang and townspeople are seen. Strang announces that he has great news; there is general uproar, and he has to call for silence. He then holds up the new charter. There is a loud cheer, and piping begins; all dance a riotous reel. While the curtain begins to descend, the queen and her court march out through the auditorium.
The queen and her entourage enter accompanied by fanfares as for Part I, but this time more speedily; the episode again has three scenes. In the opening scene, the herald states that he regrets there are no more monarchs, but there is 'no shortage of great folk and families'. The jester interrupts and states that Forfar is, 'when a' is said and done...but a country town'. The herald responds by saying he regrets that he is in agreement and introduces the next scene as a 'simple, rustic festival' which might have taken place a hundred years before at harvest time.
The Harvest Home
The setting for this scene is a country barn; a farmer's wife 'bustles in' accompanied by a 'bevy of farm lasses' who are laughing and chatting. The wife calls for quiet and instructs them to clean out the barn for the coming celebration. The girls talk among themselves as they work and tease one of their group (Jeannie) about her love interest (Sandy Guthrie). This ends in a mock battle which is interrupted by the return of the farmer's wife who breaks up the argument by taking the other girls away and leaving Jeannie to her sweeping up. Jeannie then sings a love song; as she concludes, Sandy appears. Jeannie drops her broom, and the two embrace. Jeannie tries to break away but cannot resist, and at this the farmer's wife returns again and enquires as to the reason Sandy is here. He states he has come to warn her that the harvest is in and the men are on their way back. The farmer's wife quickly issues instructions before taking Jeannie away to other work. The farm lasses return with food and ale; they tease Sandy, join hands, and dance around him so that he cannot get away. They sing a song while doing so. As this ends, the farm workers are seen through the entrance to the barn; they are in a procession led by a musician. Jeannie and the farmer's wife rush in from the other side of the stage carrying bottles. The procession arrives and there is great jollity all round as they announce a good harvest. There is then a pause for a prayer of thanks. The party then begins, and Sandy is asked to sing 'the Angus Doddie'. A 'bothy ballad' style song is sung at the end of which everyone applauds. The girls then call for dancing. Following the dance, all join in with the song 'Corn Rigs' which ends quietly as the lights are dimmed.
The lights come up again on the court of the Queen of the Revels. There is more comic chat between the queen, the jester and the herald in which the jester is again accused of coarseness. The herald is permitted to introduce the next episode which he describes as a 'black and shameful chapter in our Burgh's history'. He further states this show is justified because 'the light in the picture would not shine were it not for the shadow.' He goes on to say that this chapter affected all Scotland.
Episode. The Witches' Howe
The scene opens onto three stakes surrounded with faggots; the lighting is dimmed and the scene shown in silhouette. A minister, the provost, a bailie and elders enter. They discuss witchcraft and sinister local goings-on; they appear afraid. They wait for the arrival of the 'guilty ones'. A party of men then drag in three witches; two are old, but the third, called Helen Guthrie, is 'young and pretty'. The men describes their struggle to arrest the three. The minister and his party shrink back. They call for John Kincaid to be sent for; he arrives in the company of another character called Maister Heich. Kincaid is an unpleasant man and proceeds to describe how he discovers guilt in a woman accused of witchcraft by pricking the skin of her neck. He calls for the witches to be held fast while he performs this torture. The women are terrified; two faint on his approach and therefore fail to respond in any way to Kincaid's torture, this response condemns them to being declared guilty. The young one, Helen, pleads not to be pricked and admits to witchcraft. She is asked to state that the other two women are also witches. They are each accused of being responsible for several local misfortunes and admit to all until, at last, Helen is accused of being behind the death of her own half-sister. She denies this at first until Kincaid threatens to beat her violently with a stick, and at this she gives in. The provost calls for the women to be tied to the stakes. The episode ends with the lights going down as the men set about lighting the faggots. While this takes place, the figure of 'Auld Nick' appears in 'diabolic dress' and the elders scream and run off in all directions.
The court of the queen is again seen in a short interlude. The usual banter takes place involving the jester and the herald who bemoan the superstition evident in the previous episode before the herald introduces the subject of the town's industry. For this he announces the 'archetype of the Forfar weavers', called Tammy Traddlefeet.
Episode. Tammy Traddlefeet
A handloom weaver—Tammy Traddlefeet—is shown seated at the treadles. He sings a weaving song, and as this ends a group of young women mill workers rush on laughing. They talk with Tammy and tell him he is behind the times before rushing off to seek work at the new mill. At the end of their conversation, the girls say that weaving is women's work now and tell Tammy that it is he who will 'hae to bide at hame' now. Tammy bemoans his fate and that henceforth he will no longer be a breadwinner. His wife then enters and asks why he is so miserable; he explains that his 'ancient craft has just been held up to mockery'. Mrs Traddlefeet then announces that she too is heading for the mill because Tammy's work cannot compete with the cheaper cloth produced there. Before leaving, she tells Tammy to check the broth on the stove and bring in the washing from the line. Tammy, outraged, then runs into the minister who enquires about what has so upset him. Tammy explains and says he must find another life, perhaps by enlisting or going to sea on a whaler. The minister advises he should instead head to Dundee for six months and gain experience in the new jute mills for 'before long we'll see it in Forfar'.
On the stage the lights dim, and a new scene opens onto a cut-out of a mill chimney. Mrs Traddlefeet and the young women from earlier enter. They congratulate themselves on being mill workers and no longer dependent on 'men for ilka bawbee'. Mrs Traddlefeet describes how this has saved her since her husband went off suddenly without saying a word (and without taking the broth from the stove or bringing in the washing). The factory horn then sounds, and the women prepare to return to work, but at this their manager appears and states he has an announcement. He tells them that their mill is to be turned over to jute and that a new overseer has been employed. The overseer is none other than Tammy, now dressed as a manager instead of a labourer. His wife is furious and sets about him. Tammy tries to explain where he has been but eventually has to take to his heels with the women in pursuit. The episode ends with the entrance of singers dressed as weavers; they sing a song praising the work of the weavers.
The queen and her court are again on stage. The queen states that she has sympathy with Mrs Traddlefeet for it 'is indeed galling that men should invariably find themselves raised to the highest points of responsibility'. The jester points out that the queen herself contradicts this argument; the queen responds that she 'is not amused'. She also states that she has been pleased to learn that Forfar was not 'outfaced by the new power of steam and machines' but hopes that 'the hard facts of economy' will not be the only thing Forfar's history has to offer. The herald then introduces the next episode.
Episode. The Birth of a Dictionary
This episode takes place amid scenery that suggests an eighteenth-century drawing room and includes a harpsichord. A party is taking place; two young men are trying to persuade a young woman—Miss Lindsay—to sing. She suggests some Handel or a Haydn aria, but another character called Dempster states that their special guest, Professor Thorkelin from the University of Copenhagen, will want something Scottish. At this, Thorkelin expresses his agreement. Miss Lindsay, flattered, asks one of the young men to accompany her on the harpsichord while she sings 'The Yellow-haired Laddie'. The professor enquires as to the meaning of the word 'laddie' and a host of other Scots words are offered to explain this, resulting in some hilarity. A minister called Jamieson then comes forward to offer explanation. Meantime Miss Lindsay thinks her song is forgotten, but the company again asks to hear it. She sings the song, and on the conclusion of this the discussion again revolves around the Scots language. Thorkelin examines the words of the song in the book of music used and is adamant that Scots is no mere dialect but a language by itself.
A maidservant then comes in and announces the new infusion called 'tay' and 'pettycoat tails' will be served in the next room. Jamieson is forced to explain that that pettycoat tails means shortbread, an expression that perhaps comes from the 'French petites gatelles'. Jamieson explains that this description is maybe a 'relic of the Auld Alliance with France' and so not used in English. Thorkelin says that this all strengthens his case and argues that a record should be kept for the future. He asserts that since Jamieson has 'a natural inclination towards philology' he should undertake this challenge. Jamieson clarifies that what is being suggested is a dictionary in Scots such as that produced by Samuel Johnson in respect of English. The others return from tea; Thorkelin explains what he has suggested, and he and Jamieson then go off arm in arm to get their tea. The two young men suggest a dance to 'shake down the petty-coat tails'.
The stage is returned to the court of the Queen of the Revels. The queen enquires if the dictionary was ever completed and is told that it was and that the Rev. Jamieson remained in Forfar for sixteen years. More tomfoolery takes place with the jester after which the herald urges speed so that he can introduce the next episode, stating that Forfar was strongly on the side of the Stuarts at the time of the 1745 rebellion. The jester retorts that they got little in return for their loyalty. The queen asks if this episode will all be about fighting, and the herald replies no, it will instead be 'all song, the loveliest song at that ever to be heard in Scotland'.
Episode. The Forty-Five
Stage directions indicate that this episode was 'intended as the big occasion for all the choral and musical forces engaged throughout the evening' and advised that the stage be draped in symbols of the Jacobite cause such as tartan and white roses. A series of songs told the story of the Jacobites in 1745 and began with the song 'Wha'll be King but Charlie'. The series involved several soloists, the choir (split into male and female singers) and a bagpipe player. Following the first song, the cycle moved on to 'Hey Jonnie Cope', 'Charlie Is My Darling', 'The Hundred Pipers' and 'The Lovely Lass o' Inverness'. The episode ended with the singing of 'Will Ye No' Come Back Again'. During this, the lighting altered for each new song, and the singers moved around the stage according to whether a soloist or male or female choir was most prominent in the singing of each individual song. The scene ended with the piper playing a lament as the lights dimmed and only a spotlight held the piper in silhouette. The piper then moved off, with the 'effect of pipes dying away in distance, not of stopping playing'.
The queen and her court are again on stage, and the jester is seen 'blubbering and blowing his nose with an outrageous coloured handkerchief'. Even so, he goes on to claim that though the songs are affecting, Prince Charlie would have better to have remained in France. Discussion over what to show next is concluded with the jester suggesting they learn something about 'a worthy gentleman named John Fyfe' who had been a councillor in Forfar for over forty years and ended his career as provost. The jester proposes to show him in his heyday when he was a bailie and 'did justice in the court-house' a hundred years previously.
Episode. Bailie John Fyfe on the Bench
The stage is set to appear as a courtroom. The clerk of court enters and shuffles papers at his desk, and two lawyers—Sanders and Wylie—then stroll in arm in arm. They all greet each other, and the clerk tells the lawyers that Bailie Fyfe sits that day but that as he is 'up for provost' he might not be seen in court for much longer. He further tells them that since the bailie's career as a judge is likely coming to an end, there is a plan afoot to have a joke at the bailie's expense that day. He asks them if they want to be in on it. They assent enthusiastically, and all three enter a huddle to discuss the proposed hoax. Meantime Bailie Fyfe and a policeman enter. Fyfe proclaims it a lovely day, waxing lyrical on the beauties of nature using broad Scots language. The policeman agrees with all the bailie says, and then the clerk introduces the two 'solicitors'. The world-weary bailie who is clearly well versed in all of Forfar's progress over the years and familiar with its people responds by stating:
When I kent ye first, ye were ‘writers’, then ye became ‘agents’ an' noo ye ca' yersel's ‘soleecitors’...I shouldna wonder if ye'll sine hae the impidence to say ye're honest men.
The two lawyers laugh but look uneasy. The bailie takes his seat, and the clerk calls the first case. Two farmers in conflict over a bargain they made for grazing appear. It is clear the bailie is all too familiar with them and is their drinking crony on occasion. He pores scorn on their argument stating that it only provides an income for the lawyers. He settles the case without recourse to any further legal instruction. The second case—a woman accused of stealing wood from a council-owned plantation—is settled similarly with the bailie's common sense prevailing. The third case is a man brought before the bench for being drunk; he is also well known to the bailie who admonishes him for being daft enough to drink on an empty stomach. He fines the drunk fifteen shillings, not for drinking but for his idiocy.
The clerk then states that one more difficult case requires to be heard, and he winks at the lawyers. He explains that this is a case of 'disrespect to the town's dignitaries'. Thomas Ormonde, a local poet, is brought up.19 Ormonde is clearly part of the joke, but the case is duly read with all solemnity. The poet is accused of composing a satirical song entitled 'Bailie Nae Mair'. The bailie, recognising that this song is likely about him, demands to hear it. Ormonde feigns reluctance but in the end gives way, singing the song to the tune of 'The Laird of Cockpen'. The bailie enters into the joke and rises from the bench to join in with the last chorus. The episode ends with laughter all round.
The Queen of the Revels addresses the audience directly, saying 'how could we better end...than with the sound of laughter'; she then decorates the herald and the jester for their services. The queen and her entourage take their leave with the queen reminding the audience that the pageant has striven to honour the anniversary of the charter and 'give you cause to remember it'. The stage is then plunged into darkness allowing all to withdraw.
According to Kemp's stage directions, the finale then begins quickly afterwards so that there is no room for prolonged applause. It begins with the tapping of a single drum and after a moment the drummer is revealed by a spotlight. Other drummers join in and are also illuminated. Suddenly bagpipes are heard at the back of the hall, and the band marches in and progresses towards the stage. All groups then make their final entrance with the queen and her court last to regain the stage. Kemp suggests that children then come onto the stage in formation and that a change of lighting should reveal them wearing clothing with letters on that spell out 'Farfar Will Be Farfar Still'. Evidence that this last item was included has not been recovered, but it is likely that it was. The finale ends with all joining in to sing the song 'Farfar Will Be Farfar Still'.
Key historical figures mentioned
- Malcolm III [Mael Coluim Ceann Mór, Malcolm Canmore] (d. 1093) king of Scots
- Margaret [St Margaret] (d. 1093) queen of Scots, consort of Malcolm III
- Charles I (1600–1649) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
- Graham, James, first marquess of Montrose (1612–1650) royalist army officer
- Campbell, Archibald, marquess of Argyll (1605x7–1661) nobleman and politician
- Ogilvy, James, second earl of Airlie (1611–1704) royalist army officer
- Charles II (1630–1685) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
- Walter, Lucy (1630?–1658) mother of James, duke of Monmouth
- Palmer [née Villiers], Barbara, countess of Castlemaine and suo jure duchess of Cleveland (bap. 1640, d. 1709) royal mistress
- Stuart [Stewart], Frances Teresa, duchess of Lennox and Richmond [called La Belle Stuart] (1647–1702) courtier
- Gwyn, Eleanor [Nell] (1651?–1687) actress and royal mistress
- Jamieson, John (1759–1838) antiquary and philologist
- Charles Edward [Charles Edward Stuart; styled Charles III; known as the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie] (1720–1788) Jacobite claimant to the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones.
Musical productionThe orchestra for most pieces was the Forfar Instrumental Band; this was conducted on alternate nights by W.D. Bernard and John Grant, musical director of Forfar Amateur Operatic Society which also provided singing. The Burgh Pipe Band also provided music for some pieces.
Some music was original and commissioned for the pageant, but W.D. Bernard, LRAM, ARCM, also made musical arrangements of many traditional tunes for the pageant. The musical programme was as follows:
- Ceremonial March.
- ‘The Bonnie Hoose o' Airlie’.
- Ceremonial Fanfare.
- ‘Here's a Health Unto His Majesty’.
- ‘We Are Four Ladies in King Charles's Life’.
- ‘I Lo'e Ne'er a Laddie but Ane’.
- ‘Broun's Reel’.
- ‘Corn Rigs’.
- ‘Weavers' Lilt’.
- ‘Tammy Traddle Feet’.
- ‘Waur Na the Weavers’.
- ‘The Yellow Haired Laddie’.
- ‘Wha'll Be King but Charlie’.
- ‘Charlie is My Darling’.
- ‘The Lovely Lass o' Inverness’.
- ‘Will Ye No' Come Back Again?’
- Pipe Band Selection.
- Ceremonial March.
- ‘Farfar Will Be Farfar Still’.
Newspaper coverage of pageantForfar Dispatch
Scottish Daily Record
Book of words
A book of words was not produced, but a copy of the original script by Robert Kemp is available to consult in the National Library of Scotland's special collections (see Archival Holdings section).
Other primary published materials
- Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story. Souvenir Programme. No publication details stated.
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Miscellaneous photographs in relation to the pageant and other centenary celebrations in 1965, call number: F/5/338.
- Digitised copies of the commemorative booklet for the Forfar centenary, Forfar 65, call number: MS17/257.
- One copy of the souvenir programme and a copy of Robert Kemp's script for the pageant, call number: MS302.
- Angus Archives, Forfar:
- A copy of the commemorative booklet for the Forfar centenary, Forfar 65, is in the collection of Kemp's personal papers, call number: 7622, Box 38, folder marked 'Pageant/Forfar'.
- A copy of Robert Kemp's original script for the pageant, shelfmark: Doig.58.
- Two copies of the Souvenir Programme: one in the Collection of Angus Books donated by Dr A.T. Doig, shelfmark: Doig 77; and one in the Kemp accession, call number 7622, Box 38, folder marked 'Pageant/Forfar'.
- The National Library of Scotland:
Sources used in preparation of pageant
- Reid, Alan. The Royal Burgh of Forfar. Paisley, 1902.
Correspondence between the writer Robert Kemp and Forfar Town Council suggests that the text by Reid was used. However, it also suggests Kemp made other enquiries about particular aspects of the town's history and that councillors consulted council minutes to furnish him with this information.23
One of the county town of Forfar's neighbours in Angus is the coastal township of Arbroath, which by 1965 had hosted no fewer than twelve historical pageants, the first having being held in 1947. Rivalry between nearby towns is nothing new, of course, but on the face of things, Forfar was brave indeed to take up pageantry in the light of their bigger neighbour's long record in this field. However, in 1965 Forfar was set to celebrate its charter tercentenary and so the town seized the day! Unlike Arbroath, Forfar had no grand ruined abbey in which to stage its history, and in line with other pageants at the time opted not to risk the Scottish weather and held their pageant indoors. On this matter they may have received some advice from the pageant's scriptwriter, Robert Kemp; for another pageant he penned for Rothesay in 1951 had fallen foul of rain in a serious way. Kemp had gone on in 1952 to write a pageant for the town of Ayr, which was held indoors and was a great deal more successful. In addition to being held on an indoor stage, Forfar's pageant would turn out to be altogether a very different type of event from that of Arbroath. While the latter capitalised on sombre narration, religious music and stately ceremony, Forfar's show was a comedic romp through history that was unafraid to use many of the well-worn tropes of Scottish popular culture such as a pipe band, tartan and couthy Scots dialogue. This suggests that Forfar did not enter into local competition but went its own way when it embraced pageantry. When Forfar's pageant was first planned, the town could have had no way of knowing that Arbroath's pageant, at that time an annual event, would in fact not be put on in 1965, but there was perhaps an intention not to brook comparison, and for this reason the pageant enacted celebrated the past in an unashamedly populist way.
The choice of Robert Kemp as scriptwriter showed some confidence by Forfar Town Council, which unanimously chose and commissioned him to write the pageant as early as December 1961.24 His fee was £750, a fairly large outlay for a mostly amateur production, but by the early 1960s Kemp was an established and successful writer for (among others) the BBC, and Forfar Council clearly wanted only the best for their theatrical commemoration.25 The pageant master, Harry Douglas, was also a professional and was likely paid for his services, although no record of this fee has been recovered; Douglas was an experienced actor and musician who had been born in Angus, but, like Kemp, he was living in Edinburgh in the 1960s. It seems probable that he and Kemp would have been known to one another. The employment of these two reveals the ambition the town had for this theatrical pageant. From April through to October, a plethora of special events was held to mark the anniversary, but the pageant was the 'principal celebration' among all of these.26
The show that Kemp prepared adapted the traditional pageant format for modern tastes and had an undoubted political edge to it. The title he chose, Farfar Will Be Farfar Still, is attributed to a verse by Thomas the Rhymer which goes as follows:
Bonnie Monross will be a moss,
Brechin a braw burgh toon,
Burgh Farfar will be Farfar still
When Dundee's a' dung doon.27
This use of an archaic verse—albeit one well known to locals—encapsulates Kemp’s approach to the pageant, which celebrated the past by highlighting local knowledge; while Forfar might have had some national significance, Kemp did not place this at the centre of the drama. Moreover, while Farfar Will Be Farfar retained much of the original structure of modern pageantry with chronological episodes, monarchs alongside local legend, and traditional music and dance, it is more than clear that Kemp wanted to put the ordinary citizens of Forfar at centre stage rather than the great and the good from years gone by.
Kemp also was keenly aware of what worked for audiences and capitalised on a fast-moving pace and a great deal of humour in order to entertain spectators who by now were well used to cinema and television dramas. The approach Kemp took used much that would have been familiar to the audience from variety theatre, as well as from television shows that, very commonly in this period, simply reworked this older format within the new media. In an initial treatment prepared for Forfar Town Council by Kemp, the writer informed them that his intention was:
To provide a gay, fast-moving, brightly coloured entertainment which will work in some of the history without making it seem over-ponderous and will also reflect the lives of the plain folks who don't get mentioned much in books but leave their songs and music behind them.28
To this end, he advised a minimal amount of scene changes in order to prevent the attention of the audience from flagging. Indeed, the stagecraft applied was very cleverly executed to achieve this. It employed imaginative use of lighting, prop changes that could be easily executed to suggest different settings, and a wider use of the auditorium within some scenes that allowed the performers to move off stage into the body of the theatre, all of which created a more exciting atmosphere. Kemp also gave the pageant a framework through which history could be gradually revealed in short scenes; for example, instead of an omniscient narrator, the prologue supplied a continuity device in the shape of the court of the Queen of the Revels. This provided a backdrop to the whole production with other scenes and their props being placed to the front of the stage. At intervals throughout the show, the court would repeatedly be the central feature during 'interludes' that provided commentary on what had just been enacted and what was still to come. For the most part this interpretive strategy was presented as comedic skits involving the queen, a pompous herald and an irreverent jester. The episodes in this pageant are unnumbered—a device perhaps meant to minimise any awkward chronology as there are many gaps in time within this pageant. Instead, the episodes are given titles that explain the action of each.
Even so, Kemp stuck with pageant tradition in the prologue by introducing 'the Kings and Queens who gave Forfar her royal origins' beginning with the Pictish King Feredith.29 In this, he weaved a processional element into the piece while also making it into a riotous and very funny song and dance number. However, the first episode concerning the trade guilds moved the drama away from monarchs by concentrating on the civic history of Forfar; in this, the experiences of the medieval workers of the town were stressed, and the drama showed the long-established occupations of shoe making and weaving. The second episode was centred on a traditional ballad, 'The Bonnie House o' Airlie', that revisited Covenanting times and the divisions created in Scotland in this period but with a clear bias towards the royalist cause. In this tale, religious zeal is not seen in a good light. The next drama leavened the tragedy of the previous episode with a comic fable involving a drunken cow which was meant to show that while landed families pursued power through exploiting religious divisions with disastrous consequences, life simply went on for the common folk.
The following four scenes returned the drama to its central purpose. The first of these invoked the destruction of Forfar's records by Cromwellians. This event gave rise, following the Restoration, to the promulgation of the charter celebrated by the pageant. The tale of the burgh charter was told over four consecutive episodes and ended with a scene of rejoicing when the town's charter was finally restored. This allowed the first half of the show to end on a high note. Of particular interest was a scene depicting Charles II following his restoration to the throne. Clearly, this was not set in Forfar. However, it was an excuse to link the burgh charter with popular aspects of British history. In this scene, the character of the king and his colourful personal life are foregrounded in a sketch that involves four of his best-known mistresses. The quartet complain in an entertaining rhyme that Forfar has deprived them of the king's company by forcing him to go off to create a new charter to reward the loyal town.
Following an interval, part two of the pageant returned the drama to the Queen of the Revel's court and then moved on to a 'spectacular opening number to get the second half off to a good start, with song and dancing and stooks of corn…to emphasise the importance of agriculture in Forfar's story'.30 As an antidote to too much merriment, the pageant then moved into an episode detailing a dark moment in Scottish history: the witch trials. In this, John Kincaid of Tranent was brought in to discover the town's witches. The remaining episodes are among the most inventive in terms of narrative. In 'Tammy Traddlefeet', the growth of the weaving industry in Angus and this industry's dependence on female labour are highlighted through a tale of marital strife with a great deal of humour. Yet underneath this is a novel exploration of changes in gender relations wrought through industrialisation in a part of Scotland which went on to have a famously formidable female workforce. Salon society is then explored in the next episode which tells the story of the Scots dictionary penned by the Reverend John Jamieson which was first published in 1867. This episode portrays a probable scene of provincial, polite society in Scotland in the early Victorian period and provides the platform for a loving depiction of the continuing utility of the Scots language. The latter was a feature of this entire pageant, mostly communicated in the person of the jester.
The debacle of the 1745 rebellion in which Forfar sided with the Jacobite cause is then dealt with through performance of well-known songs associated with this time. This spectacle involved some of the most familiar items of Scottish popular iconography, including bagpipe playing, country dancing and tartan. Within the context of the mid-1960s, the choreography and music used would have been familiar to an audience that could regularly view similar types of treatments in popular television shows such as the White Heather Club, presented by a famous son of Angus, the kilted entertainer Andy Stewart.31 Though the songs were mostly sentimental, this romanticised view of the Jacobites was undercut via some critical commentary delivered by the jester in the following interlude when he remarked that Prince Charlie would really have done better to remain on the continent. The final episode returned the pageant to the local past, and a hilarious skit set in the local courtroom recalled one of Forfar’s famous former provosts, John Fyfe. Bailie Fyfe was depicted on the eve of his ascendancy to the status of provost and shown to be a man of the people, with much of the humour made at the expense of the legal profession.
Kemp declared that what places such as Forfar were able to celebrate through looking to their own past was 'a victory of continuity and civilisation'. He went on to write that the town's example in holding a pageant to celebrate its centenary could be 'copied widely', for in his view this type of local celebration strengthened national loyalties at an important moment in time:
Our national identity is often under fire...Scotland must be kept aware of itself, not in terms of the shifting present but in terms of time. The pageant reminded us that there were times when Forfar and her people played their parts on a larger stage...‘Farfar will be Farfar Still,’ says the old verse, voicing the sturdy local patriotism that forms the backbone of all the larger patriotisms and allegiances. We can't be much use as citizens of the world if we do not first feel the reality of the community in which we live.32
When the Forfar pageant was written, Kemp was at the height of his powers as a playwright, and his abilities ranged widely, including contemporary drama, adaptations of classics, and history plays. Although he made every effort in this piece to entertain and kept the educational content of the pageant low-key, it is clear that he had a commitment to pageantry as a democratic form of theatre. He similarly communicated contemporary politics in a low-key way, often using comedy in the pageant. Kemp had nationalist sympathies, and from at least 1960 he was a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party.33 Bearing this in mind makes it easier to see where and why humorous jibes about being ruled from Westminster were inserted into the script.
The Forfar pageant was a hugely successful local event which played to sold out houses at every one of its performances. The director, Harry Douglas, was quoted in an article in the Scotsman as saying that 'this sort of thing does a lot for community spirit', and the paper concluded that the pageant was 'monumental theatre of its kind'.34 This pageant's triumph underlines the fact that even at the nadir of modern pageantry's popularity such events could still command an enthusiastic audience and willing participants. Furthermore, any notion that such a theatrical event was shoring up archaic class structures is more than refuted; in this show, the lairds and their lackeys are given very little respect! Kemp's talent for the theatre as well as his own politics ensured that what on the surface of things seems like a lightweight treatment of the past was, in fact, imbued with many layers of meaning. Chief among these was a respect for the importance of local identities and an awareness that these were especially meaningful for wider expressions of national identity. Its success shows that the historical pageant was, for many, still the perfect medium in which to express such sentiments.
- These dates are included in the programme; see Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story, Souvenir Programme, np, and Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 64–65.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 65.
- Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story, Souvenir Programme, frontispiece. For details about the career of Harry Douglas, see The Scottish Theatre Archive, accessed 23 June 2016, http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/sta/search/detailp.cfm?NID=8027&EID=14703&DID=&AID=
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet, (Forfar, 1965), 58.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 58–59.
- Kemp wrote to the council on 18 December 1961 accepting this writing assignment. He was paid £250 in March 1962, with a further instalment due in May 1963 and the final payment to be made when he delivered the script, which, as a letter indicates, was accomplished on 14 April 1964. Correspondence between the town council and the author can be consulted in the collection of Kemp's personal papers held in the National Library of Scotland Special Collections. Call number: 7622, Box 38, folder marked 'general'.
- Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story, Souvenir Programme, np.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 64.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 64.
- 'Farfar Still', Forfar Dispatch, 20 May 1965, 3.
- Advertisement, Forfar Dispatch, 6 May 1965, 4.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 60–62.
- See image of Barbirolli and caption in Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 11.
- The titles of the scenes are included in the original script of the pageant but not detailed with titles in the pageant programme.
- All quotations in the proceeding synopses are from Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story by Robert Kemp [typed script]; this is held in Special Collections at the National Library of Scotland, shelfmark: Doig.58.
- Summary treatment for the pageant which was sent to Forfar Council and included in Robert Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland. Call number: Acc. 7622, Box 38.
- Feredeth is given no mention in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His career is briefly written about in the New Statistical Account. See The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol. XI: Forfar–Kincardine (Edinburgh, 1845), 605–606.
- Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story, Souvenir Programme, np.
- Thomas Ormonde (or Ormond, 1817–1879) was a real-life character and known as a poet in Angus and, in particular, in Forfar where he worked as a weaver; for biographical details, see Alan Reid, The Bards of Angus and the Mearns: An Anthology of the Counties (Paisley, 1897), 365. Whether he did compose such a comic song is unknown.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 64.
- Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story, Souvenir Programme, np.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 67.
- See letters dated 22 January 1964 and 6 February 1964 from the Town Clerk in Forfar to Robert Kemp in the collection of Kemp's personal papers held at the National Library of Scotland Special Collections. Call number: 7622, Box 38, folder marked 'general'.
- See letter to Robert Kemp from Forfar Town Council dated 16 December 1961 in the author’s papers held in the National Library of Scotland. Call number Acc. 7622, Box 38.
- Information about Kemp's fee is included in a letter of reply to Kirkintilloch Council which approached Kemp to write a pageant; the letter is dated 31 December 1963. See Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland. Call number Acc. 7622, Box 38.
- Forfar 65, Commemorative Booklet (Forfar, 1965), 65.
- Ibid., 4.
- This summary, which was sent to the council, is included in Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland. Call number Acc. 7622, Box 38, folder marked: ‘Pageant/Forfar’.
- Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland. Call number Acc. 7622, Box 38, folder marked: ‘Pageant/Forfar'.
- Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland, call number Acc. 7622, Box 38, folder marked: ‘Pageant/Forfar’.
- The White Heather Club ran from 1958–68 and was a hugely successful popular show for the BBC; see BBC, accessed 22 March 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/aboutus/wirelesstoweb/decades/clip_display.shtml?decade=50s&clip_name=heather_club_v&size=v&media_type=video.
- Note written by Kemp in Forfar 65, 69.
- Kemp's papers in the National Library of Scotland include a letter dated 21 November 1960 acknowledging his membership payment. See call number: Acc. 7622, Box 38, folder marked B.
- See the feature article on Forfar and its centenary celebrations, including mentions of the pageant, 'Forfar '65', The Scotsman, 11 May 1965, 12.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Farfar Will Be Farfar Still: A Cavalcade of Forfar's Story’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1343/