Scott, Webs and Banknotes

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)


As I walked out one misty morning, I saw a whole field of cobwebs glittering in the sun – caught there on the wire netting of the football field!

Naturally, the quotation above came to mind as it if so familiar.

And true.

Do you know why Sir Walter Scott appears on Scottish banknotes?
Because back in 1826, the UK Parliament threatened to get rid of any notes under the value of £5, provoking an outrage in Scotland. Using the pseudonym Malachi Malagrowther (quite a mouthful!), Scott penned a series of letters explaining why Scottish banks should retain the right to issue their own banknotes. There was such a strong reaction to these letters that the government was forced to allow Scottish banks to print their own £1 notes.

So, in order to commemorate Scott’s efforts, he still appears on banknotes issued by the Bank of Scotland to this very day.


It might also be wise, however, to remember this:

“In the spiderweb of facts, many a truth is strangled.”

– Paul Edridge

Words on Wednesday (but probably a lot shorter than this one) – inspired by Muddy Boot Dreams

15 thoughts on “Scott, Webs and Banknotes

  1. I didn’t realise that was Scott – that opening quotation. I know he must be good because he was one of Lord Byron’s favourite authors (my benchmark)


  2. What a great spiderweb photo; and the quote, perfect!
    Really interesting to learn about Scott on the banknotes!

    I’m enjoying browsing your past posts now too…


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