Roy has published seven titles between 2001 and 2013. These are as follows:

 

The Deil’s Ain (The Devil’s Own): The Story of Witch Persecution in Scotland (1563-1727)

Synopsis

Published 2001

The Scotland of the sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries was a dangerous place to live.

Superstition was rife among the common people, a characteristic exploited by unscrupulous

People, including the authorities of the Church of Scotland reformed in 1560 from Roman

Catholicism. The Kirk pursued its extreme form of Calvinism (Presbyterianism) with

fanatical zeal. It turned particular attention on those who were suspected of practising

witchcraft (witches and warlocks); the diktat in Exodus Chapter 22 Verse 18 ‘Thou shalt not

suffer a witch to live’ became the Eleventh Commandment in Scotland. Between 1563 and

1727, between 3,500 and 4,500 women and men were put to death for the imaginary crime of

Witchcraft; in England, with a population ten times that of Scotland, the figure was 1,500.

The Deil’s Ain follows the development of the witch hunt north of the Border, listing over

2,000 victims. Readers may find their own names in the list; this may suggest that an

ancestor was perhaps burnt as a witch!

 

Swords, Loaves and Fishes: A History of Dunbar

Synopsis

Published 2003

A major work which took ten years to research and three years to write, this is the first

History of Dunbar since 1830. It is a comprehensive and in-depth study of Dunbar and its

Environs from earliest times to the present day. The title is deliberate; ‘Swords’ covers the

military aspects (Dunbar Castle, Dunbar Barracks, battles and other conflicts); ‘Loaves’ deals

with the agricultural revolution in a very productive farming district; ‘Fishes’ covers the

fishing industry, particularly the annual Herring drave or harvest, the htree harbours, sea

trade and so forth; and ‘Loaves and Fishes’ conveniently includes the religious orders,

churches and in particular the Church of Scotland and its control of the population – witch

hunting, Kirk discipline for misdemeanours, fornication trials and so on. These are by no

means exhaustive topics in the book; there are other subjects such as education, trade and

industry, social commentaries as well as investigations of the past ages – Mesolithic, Bronze,

Iron, Roman-Iron, Dark, Middle and modern Ages and how these impinged on Dunbar.

There are fascinating aspects of the part the town played in Scotland’s history, including

several firsts, including the first medal to be struck for ordinary soldiers (battle of Dunbar

1650), among the very first towns and before Edinburgh to introduce street lighting, first

town in Scotland to possess a lifeboat (1808) years before the RNLI., first town to

recommend the introduction of decimal currency (mid 19th century) and others.

Swords, Loaves and Fishes has been described as the most comprehensive history of a small

Scottish town ever published.

(Out of print)

 

Penny for the Gas: Growing up in Dunbar in the 1940s and 1950s

Synopsis

Published 2006

The book encapsulates memories of the author’s happy childhood. Readers throughout the

UK will be familiar with the street games, street rhymes included in this story of many

moods – nostalgic, romantic, decidedly humorous and on occasion downright rude! There

are descriptions of and references to what today would be deemed not politically correct but

the aim of the book is to portray life in a small Scottish town, things as they were nearly 70

years ago. It is an account of what was happening in a world observed by a young,

developing mind, with all its prejudices, ignorance and painful discoveries. We all know how

complex and often traumatic that world can be, with not only warts but acne as well!

 

Off the Wall Art in Prestonpans

Synopsis

Published 2008

Roy shares this publication, a compendium of scripts of plays by acclaimed playwrights John

Lindsay, Andrew Dallmeyer and Ian Nimmo. Roy’s contribution is a trilogy of witch plays

depicting actual witch trials in East Lothian and Edinburgh. Roy’s three plays are entitled

Witch! And deals with the confessions of Prestonpans dwellers Agnes Kelly and Marjorie

who were executed in 1678; The Cauldron, a play about 8 Prestonpans witches who met their

deaths; and The Devil’s Craft, a play about the infamous North Berwick Witches, a coven of

between 120 and 140, 50 of which came from Prestonpans. Led by Francis Hepburn, 5th

Earl of Bothwell, the coven was accused of making an attempt on the life of King James VI

in 1589-90. Five of the six ringleaders went to the stake, along with countless others.

Other plays in this compendium are The Battle of Pots and Pans by Andrew Dallmeyer, The

Greening of David Balfour (Kidnapped) by Ian Nimmo, Alan Breck, The Man With the Belt

also by Ian Nimmo and a series of poems by John Lindsay entitled This Poet’s Angst.

 

The White Rose and the Thorn Tree

Synopsis

Published 2008

Roy’s first attempt at a historical novel, although it is more of a drama-documentary

as the majority of the characters are historical figures who speak for themselves rather

than the author’s approach to them. The White Rose follows the arrival of Charles Edward

Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in Scotland in July 1745 to head the last Jacobite Rebellion.

The events are seen through the eyes of a young Highlander Roderick MacDonald from

South Uist and Major John Whittle sent from England to spy on Sir John Cope until he is

killed at the battle of Prestonpans. The book charts the progress of the Highland army in

England and the retreat from Derby, culminating in the battles of Falkirk (a Jacobite victory)

Then the tragic defeat at Culloden in 1746.

 

Wingate Pasha: The Life of General Sir Francis Reginald Wingate (1861-1953)

Synopsis

Published 2011

Many people interested in military history have heard of the name Wingate, chiefly Orde

Charles Wingate , defender of the Jewish settlers in Palestine, then Emperor Heile Selassie in

Abyssinia against Mussolini in the early Second World War and most famously, as founder

of the Chindits, who operated behind the Japanese lines in Burma in 1944-45. Less is known

of his great or second cousin Francis Reginald Wingate, a Victoria soldier -statesman who

was Lord Kitchener’s spymaster during the campaign to recover the Sudan from the

Dervishes led by the Mahdi between 1885 and 1898, culminating in the decisive battle of

Omdurman. For his bravery and resourcefulness, Reginald (Rex) Wingate was appointed

Governor General of the Sudan and Sirdar (Commander) of the Egyptian army between

1889 and 1917. Wingate Pasha examines his career in the Sudan, which he loved and strove

to improve both economically and socially. During the Great War, he master-minded the

Arab Revolt against Turkish domination in Saudi Arabia, although his subordinate T E

Lawrence (of Arabia) received the credit for this achievement. Appointed High

Commissioner of Egypt in 1917, Wingate repeatedly asked the British government of the day

to clarify its status as a British Mandated territory as Whitehall had promised to give Egypt

her independence in exchange for support during the Great War. Despite his efforts, Wingate

was sacked in 1919 and retired from public service as First Baron Wingate of the Sudan, the

most highly decorated officer in the British Army. He made his home in Dunbar and spent

the remainder of his life as a businessman, chiefly managing companies in Africa and the

Belgian Congo, for which he received the African Star medal.

Wingate Pasha is the first biography of the man who came to Dunbar for its excellent golf

course; he never held public office again after 1919 but contributed much to his adopted

home’s public life – he was involved in the RNLI and the British Legion, donating money

to various charities. On his death, he received a full military funeral, honoured not only by

those who knew him in Dunbar but in the Middle East. A ‘must read’ for students of the

Middle East between 1885 and 1919.

 

The Killing Fields of Scotland AD 83 to 1746

Synopsis

Published 2013

Most people who enjoy reading about Scotland’s history are familiar with the iconic

Battlefields of Bannockburn and Culloden but these are but two of the many conflicts fought

on Scotland’s soil during its long and colourful history. Killing Fields begins during the

Roman-Iron Age with the battle of Mons Graupius between the legions of Agricola and the

Pictish hordes led by Calgacus in AD 83. The book then travels through the so-called

Dark Ages, covering the battles between AD 603 to 1000 AD which includes the battle of

Dun Nechtain or Dunnichen Moss, known to the Angles of Northumberland as

Nechtansmere and fought between the Anglian king Ecgfrith and the Pictish king Bredei mac

Bili (AD 685) and the iconic battle of Athelstaneford (AD 832) fought between the Scottish-

Pictish army of Echoiad and Oengus and the Northumbrian king Athelstan. It was during this

Battle that the saltire appeared in the sky and became Scotland’s national flag.

After the Dark Ages came the Middle Ages and the Wars of Independence, with the battles of

Dunbar, Stirling Bridge and Wallace against Edward I, then Falkirk and the several battles of

Robert the Bruce until Bannockburn vanquished Edward II. The independence struggle continued into the 16th century, then the English Civil Wars and the battle of Killiecrankie, followed by Dunbar (1650) and Inverkeithing after which Scotland became part of Cromwell’s Protectorate and Commonwealth. The final period came in the 18th century with the conflicts of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715, 1719 and 1745. The ’45 ended the Jacobite

Bid for supremacy at Culloden in 1746 which broke the Clan system and all that it meant.

The Killing Fields cover no fewer than 88 conflicts; it has been described as a handy reference book for students of Scotland’s history.