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Scotland's Forgotten Past

A History of the Mislaid, Misplaced and Misunderstood

Alistair Moffat


A charming, lively and often amusing tour of 36 forgotten episodes and overlooked people and places of Scottish history

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Scotland’s history is full of famous kings, queens, saints and warriors. But what about its lesser-known places, people and events? In this collection of half-forgotten tales, Alistair Moffat brings their stories out of the shadows, from the clashes of proud Picts and ‘pirate kings’ in the early medieval period to the invention of tartan, whisky, Aberdeen Angus and Peter Pan. Each surprising or scandalous twist sheds a new light on the history of Scotland.


'Illuminating … this book deserves a place on the school curriculum'
Allan Massie, The Scotsman

'Engaging ... beautifully written believe-it-or-not episodes from Scottish history'
The Wee Review

'It’s enough to make you rethink everything you thought you knew about Scotland'
Daily Mail

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 37

Publication date: 25 January 2024

ISBN: 9780500297803

Contents List

1. The Primeval Pile-Up
2. The Great Halls
3. The Cave of the Headless Children
4. High Noon on Lewis
5. Nailed
6. Bad Spelling
7. The Problem of the Picts
8. The Pirate Kings
9. English Scotland
10. The Islands of the Strangers
11. The Lost Cities
12. Fatal Attraction
13. Wallace, Moray and Bruce
14. Smarter Scots
15. Whaur’s Yer Wullie Shakespeare Noo?
16. The Chapel
17. Robert Carey’s Ride
18. The Chosen People
19. 1707
20. Frankenstein
21. The Brilliant Blacksmith
22. The Man in Tights
23. The Fire of the Dram
24. Aberdeen Angus
25. Tweed
26. Peter Pan
27. Ugly Scotland
28. The Stop Line
29. The Scottish Nazi
30. The Battle Rant
31. Tom Johnston
32. Stone Broke
33. Scotch Irish
34. The Scottish Cringe
35. Margot’s Man
36. Reconvened

About the Author

Alistair Moffat was born in Kelso, Scotland. He is an award-winning writer and historian, and was Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is former Rector of the University of St Andrews. He is founder of Borders Book Festival and Co-Chairman of The Great Tapestry of Scotland. His many books include The Highland Clans (also published by Thames & Hudson), To the Island of Tides: A Journey to Lindisfarne and The Hidden Ways: A History of Scotland’s Forgotten Roads.