Found under floorboards..(13 Posts)
Hello, looking for some advice really.
Does anyone know about how to figure out how old paper is? My dad has given me some old papers that he found under a floorboard in an old Scottish house of ours, though we have since moved. They are badly deteriorated, though that is how they were found, but I am storing them carefully to stop it getting any worse. So on closer inspection it appears that they are 5 pages of handwriting, some sort of ghost story! Sadly I only have these few pages to go on and where they were found to figure out who wrote them and when.
The paper has a red margin on the left hand side and a water mark visible when help up to the light that says 'Superior Bath Vellum', though when I search for this company I get nothing. The house was built in the 1600's, but the story mentions Bonnie Prince Charlie going into Edinburgh with Highlanders, so must have been written after 1745. I don't think it is quite so old as that though.. the writing is Scots English, such as 'Ghaist' for ghost, and 'tak care o him for ye' ...
Does anyone know what institutions/people might be good to get in contact with for investigating further? I thought I could contact the National Records of Scotland (NRAS) for the house history and families that lived in it..
Also there was a small piece of paper found with it, blank except for a picture of what looks like a Club symbol (similar to the suit from a of cards) drawn in black ink.
Thanks in advance
I would start with your local museum or archive (or library?). The folks there may be able to make a good guess simply from long exposure to such.
Or there may be a MNer who'd know. Could you put up a photo of a page?
My own feeling, just from exposure to old documents, is that pre-printed margin suggests 1800 or later.
Here is a pic of the symbol and one of the pages
Thanks for the advice TressiliansStone.
There is only writing on one side of the paper, and the handwriting is quite neat.
Just realised this thread will likely out me but never mind...
Here is another pic. sadly the writing is faded so they don't photograph that well.
From what I can see of the handwriting, my very inexpert opinion would be that's someone who learned to write in the C19th - and could have written the story much later than that.
Can you see any words with a double s? If the "ss" is written looking like "f", that's a style from the early C19th and before.
What are the horizontal lines visible on the page with the club? Are they printed ruled lines?
My gut feeling on what I can see so far is that these are pages from a ledger or school exercise book. I'd guess the club was intended to be the title page, and was ripped out to keep with the rest of the story.
But I could be wildly wrong!
I bet someone at the National Library of Scotland could help.
Sorry I have to go out so will reply properly later on. I wouldn't be surprised if you were right- as they look like they may have been attached together at some point. I will have to look again but here is some of what I have deciphered..
"" Eve daurua
They’ll cook piss
Au! After dark
Somehow quietly up xxxx to the
Top room o’mean
Nor maid aboot the place but myself will gang near itin fear of the ghaist.
“if one o’them hears a sound there nicht or day the ghaist will get his credit o’ts so better lodging couldna be found for puir Ms Haudal; Kie mair by when at that doltrel Andrew will ha’it the brown stol aboot again, for that twa nichts at the darkeinn’ he saw the laug horus aut the glowerin een o’t an heard it lowinaboot the stackyaird!”
“Aye” said Elspeth a gleam of intelligence in her wild eyes; “Them the Ghaist will tak care o him for ye. Huck ye get him by the Tower! An nee Day aul Elspeth will haud awa the solgers, they
Take ra shais to
Loons so they
On the tower
Spey wife: as folk called Elspeth, xxx
Hardly liked the idea of the young laird of Hedderwick being protected by the gaim ghosts and mad Elspeth and she knew the truth of the womans words that their sole hope of safety and concealment lay in the universal horror of the haunted lower common in the neighbourhood. A dread said she shared by the Laird of Gaim himself, who, though he furiously pooh poohed any allusion made to the family spectre was never known to go up to the haunted chamber or indeed to approach the tower after nightfall and if the report of eoer mysterious footstepsxeet fade place soile a kaume he would scream and ''
this is what I could make out from two of the pages. The x's are letters or words that I couldn't make out and there are gaps where the paper has deteriorated..
I was browsing the History topic and found this thread. Any further luck, OP? What do you know about the history of the house/the previous owners?
Depending on where you are in Scotland, there might be old town/city directories you could use to look up your house and perhaps find some names - maybe cross-reference them with census returns accessed via Scotland's People? I've done similar before in a former flat of ours, and we managed to find some info on previous owners ... but I can't remember whether it's possible to search the census records by address without a name.
AgentProvocateur's idea about approaching the NLS is kind of exciting. Imagine if it turned out to be a lost draft of something significant
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