Thursday, June 04, 2020

First Paragraph

"I am descended from eight or ten generations of agricultural laborers. Therefore I feel quite equal to the Cecil family, with this difference, that none of my ancestors stole church funds." Thus William Maxwell Aiken, first Lord Beaverbrook, assessed his family background, with a touch of romantic exaggeration which was characteristic of him. The family tree of the Aikens, taken in 1948 from the baptismal register at Linlithgow by the editor of The Scottish Daily Express, goes back six generations, not eight or ten. The Aikens were tenant-farmers and small businessmen, not agricultural labourers, and they, too, looted church property, though on a small scale. Their farm-dwelling, Silvermine, has a few shaped stones that were no doubt quarried from the Hospital of the Knights of St. John at Torphichen after the Order was dissolved at the Reformation.

- From Beaverbrook: A Biography by A.J.P. Taylor

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