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Every once in a while a book is published which is truly a revelation in the information which it contains. Many authors re-hash what is already in print, repeating the errors of previous writers. Sometimes, an author emerges who has spent a great deal of time and trouble ignoring secondary and tertiary sources and finding primary source information to write about. Only by being thorough can all the many threads of history be brought together to give a full tapestry of the events and influences of any given period in time. It is too easy to show history from a specific point of view. To show the full panorama of history takes time, research, dedication and the ability to look at circumstances at every level and from every angle. To embark on an attempt to accomplish such an undertaking is ambitious in the extreme, to then get it right, takes balance and judgement.

That anyone should want to try and show history in this manner is rare and quite remarkable, not least because in order to achieve it, the author has had to spend more than one decade (and closer on two), to assemble all the relevant information for this monumental work. It is a monument, to the struggles of lives past, to the culture and heritage which we cherish and preserve for the future and to the country, county and village which people live in today which exist, in their present form, only because of the lives of the people who have gone before us. The “hand” of men and women past is evident all around us, from the layout of fields and roads, to the location of mature trees to the dwellings in which we live, to the names, mostly ancient which the many places in the parish have.

Greg Ross has achieved all of this and something else besides, he has brought the past back to life again with a fascinating account of a parish in a changing world and a world viewed from a constantly evolving village. This is not just the magnus opus of one man but the record of the life’s work of a whole community.

I hope that you find this book as useful and as informative as I have done and that you enjoy reading it as much as I did. I shall be waiting with interest to see what other works Greg produces in the future.

Yours aye,

Roddy Oliphant of Oliphant, younger.

Roddy Oliphant at the Condie Mill, the first property of his forebears

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