Month: August 2017

Dr. William Hunter

Hunter’s relationship with his brother and fellow anatomist John was famously strained so it is not surprising that John was not a trustee for Hunter’s estate. Hunter’s nephew, Matthew Baillie, along with Hunter’s business partner William Cruikshank, were the main beneficiaries in Hunter’s will with Hunter leaving them the use of his collections and library […]

via William Hunter’s Library: who were the Trustees? — University of Glasgow Library

The famous Bayeux Tapestry

The Hunters did not fight at the side of William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings, but followed him later to England.

The wife of one of the descendants of the Hunters who later settled in Scotland was a lady-in-waiting to William the Conqueror’ spouse, and is thought to have been one of the ladies who worked on the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

This linen strip, 223ft long and 1.5ft wide, graphically depicts the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the actual battle itself.

By the late eleventh to early twelfth century the Hunters had found a new home in Scotland, and close on 1,000 years later, are still to be found on the land in the north of Ayrshire where they first settled.

Hunters in Print

Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston, became the 27th Laird of Hunterston following the death of his mother in 1911.

During the campaign to win the Sudan back from Egypt that culinated in the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 and the and the Boer Wars of 1899 to 1902, he served on the staff of Kitchener, while he was divisional officer to Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France from 1914 to 1915.

In charge of the British Army’s VIII Corps, he also played a leading role in the ill-fated Dardanelles Campaign, a bloody exercise in attrition that dragged on throughout most of 1915 to January 1916.

The disastrous campaign involved a brave but futile attempt by British, French, and Dominion forces to seize the Turkish Dardanelles Strait that connected the Aegean with the Sea of Marmara, in the hope it would knock Turkey out of the war.

Troop landings were made on the Gallipoli peninsula in April of 1915, but between December of that year and January of the following year they had to be withdrawn, after more than 250,000 casualties had been sustained.

The debacle forced future Second World War Prime Minister Winston Churchill from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Following Gallipoli, Hunter-Weston later commanded VIII Corp on the Western Front, and after the war was the recipient of many honours, including that of the Ditinguished Service Order.

A Conservative and Unionist Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire and Bute from 1916 until 1935, he was responsible for commissioning the architect Sir Robert Lorimer to restore Hunterston Castle, north west of West Kilbride, on the Ayrshire coast.

Sir Aylmer died in a fall from a turret in his ancestral home in March of 1940.

Royal Huntsmen

A family known as Venator served as huntsmen to the Dukes of Normandy, in France, and following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 they settled in England.

A Willieme le Venator, or William the Hunter, had by 1116 built a timber stronghold on the land that would later take the name of Hunterston, or ‘Huntarstoun’, in Ayrshire, and by the middle of the hirteenth century this land been replaced with a much stronger structure built from stone.

From that time the Hunters were named Royal Huntsmen to the Royal Court.

Famous Hunters

Blog post by Ellie King, MSc Museum Studies Placement Student, William Hunter’s Library: A Transcription of the Early Catalogues. Ellie worked on the Hunter Library Project from May to July 2017 to help with background research and book history enquiries, and also assisted in work with sale catalogues to determine where Hunter acquired his books. […]

via William Hunter’s Library: Auctions and Americana — University of Glasgow Library