9th October : 3.30, United Reformed Church, West Princes Street, Helensburgh


St Andrew and the Emperor Constantine

Dr Michael T. R. B Turnbull


Dr Turnbull has held Visiting Fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study of the Humanities and at New College, both University of Edinburgh, and has been awarded two Scottish Arts Council Writers bursaries, a Glenfiddich Living Scotland Award, and a Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship. He has also worked as a presenter, interviewer and actor for BBC Radio Scotland. He is a trustee of the Scottish Flag Trust based at Athelstaneford, which is linked to the Saltire society.

He is author of 20 books, with his latest the second edition of Saint Andrew: Myth, Legend and Reality1. His talk will concentrate on linksbetween the Battle of Athelstaneford in East Lothian (dated 832 AD) where the St Andrews cross (Saltire) flag was traditionally adopted, and the Battle of Milvian Bridge outside Rome on 28 October 312 AD, was won by the Roman emperor Constantine and associated with his conversion to Christianity. There was a legendary king of Britain, three kings of Alba and even a St Constantine, all named after the Emperor Constantine, presumably because the political stability of his status was widely admired. The Emperor himself campaigned against the Picts in 305 AD before being acclaimed Roman Emperor at York on his father's death in 306 AD. This discussion will offer new insights into a derivation of the Saltire from the Emperor Constantine's worship of the sun god Sol as a Christian light-feature.

1 Publishers’ information:

Michael T.R.B. Turnbull, 2015, Saint Andrew: Myth, Legend and Reality (2nd Edition). Castle Douglas: Neil Wilson Publishing Ltd. http://www.nwp.co.uk/ISBN 978-1-906000-78-3Saint Andrew and the Saltire have contributed much to the culture and identity of Scotland over the centuries. As early expressions of commercial and intellectual dynamism, communication and diplomatic skills they encouraged Scots to seek and develop closer ties with Europe. Not only are the Saint and the Saltire venerated mechanisms of reconciliation for the diverse strands of Scottish society, the author argues that they also offer a potent opportunity for commercial expansion in the future. This book brings the story of the country's Patron Saint bang-up-to-date and incorporates many of the opinions of Scotland's most influential people as well as worldwide reports from the many Scots who celebrate Saint Andrew's Day on 30th November.



13h November: 3.30, United Reformed Church, West Princes Street, Helensburgh

2015 – Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink

Fiona Richmond, Project Manager, Scotland Food & Drink


2015 is designated Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink,a celebration of the country’s outstanding natural larder. From artisan cheeses and world-renowned whiskies, to succulent seasonal berries, Scotch Beef, Arbroath Smokies and oat products, Scotland has a wealth of delicious produce made by dedicated producers.


Fiona will outline some of the year’s highlights, from events, festivals and food tourism projects, touching on the wider ambitions to continue the task of developing Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink and the industry’s continued success.


This is particularly important as Scotland aims to become a Good Food Nation, and tackle the paradox between the country’s excellent produce on the one hand and poor health record on the other.


Fiona will also share her own culinary heritage, too, and encourage us all to treasure our food memories and build a positive food culture in Scotland.


To mark Hearty & Heart-warming month, some tasty samples will be on offer to enjoy too!



0131 335 0940

@fionarichmond8 @Eat_Scottish




11h December: 3.30, United Reformed Church, West Princes Street, Helensburgh

'Bring hither the fatted coo.' How the Glasgow accent is changing

This talk presents some findings from a project looking at how the Glasgow accent has changed (or not). The Sounds of the City project http://soundsofthecity.arts.gla.ac.uk/ has collected a large electronic corpus of texts and speech which enables us to carry out fine-grained analysis of speech, and to track variation and change over time. In this talk, we look at Glaswegian across the span of the 20th century, by considering an additional set of recordings, the Berliner Lautarchiv collection, which were made in German Prisoner of War camps during World War I. We find that some aspects of the accent are indeed showing subtle changes over time, though how fast change progresses varies according to the sound undergoing change.