|Peacock Close - c.1900|
Most folk in Aberdeen have heard the name Peacock Court, either because of a local art studio or the city’s first dancing master, Francis Peacock after whom the lane is named. The next one off Castlegate is Peacock Close, its old name, however, was Skipper Scott’s Close.
‘Skipper’ Alexander Scott was a Jacobite, a supporter of the exiled Catholic dynasty of Britain. It would be he who gave hospitality to the ‘highest Stuart o them aa’ on a dank, foggy night two days before Christmas 1715. Scott was a ship owner and lived in the large tenement which stretched all the way back to what was then a great expanse called the King’s Meadow; now East North Street. He and fellow Jacobites including George Keith, the 10th Earl Marischal, were delighted and honoured to receive ‘The Old Pretender’ aka Prince James Edward Stuart, to the city.
|Door lintel showing Alexander Scott and Janet Kinear's initials|
Very recently, I took a wander up Peacock Close and discovered a very interesting sight: On the left wall halfway down the close, you will find a lintel stone with two sets of initials: AS, IK and the date 1710. Parish records reveal the marriage of Alexander Scott and Janet Kinear in 1696. Could the ‘I’ be a ‘J’ which was not uncommon in late medieval script? If so, then the couple moved in five years before Prince Jamie came to call, and perhaps it was Mrs Janet Scott who brought the ‘uisge beatha’ for His Royal Highness to drink almost three centuries ago.