Essay Competition Questions

Questions:

 

Fair Maid of Perth

1896 Fair Maid of Perth - 19 Schools entered. 1000 children read the book and 250 submitted essays. 

Questions: 

For Elementary Schools

I. Write an Essay on either of the following subjects - not both: 

1. Describe the Funeral Procession of the Chief of the Clan Quhele and the subsequent banquet; or

2. Describe the trial by ordeal in St. John's Church. 

II. Sketch the character of either - 

(a) Oliver Proudfute; or

(b) The Glee Maiden 

For Secondary Schools 

I. Write an Essay on either of the following subjects - not both:

1. An estimate of Scott's skill as a writer of romance from his treatment of historical facts on which The Fair Maid of Perth is founded; or

2. Describe the scenery of the Highlands and the manners and customs of the Highlanders as revealed in The Fair Maid of Perth. 

II. 

1. Compare and contrast the characters of Henry Gow and Conacher in relation to the plot of The Fair Maid of Perth; or

2. On the power of the Scottish nobles and their treatment of the lower orders, as evidenced by the actions of Douglas, March, and their followers. 

 

Quentin Durward

1897: Quentin Durward - 25 schools entered. Over 1000 read the book and 350 submitted essays. 

Questions: 

For Secondary Schools. 

I. Write a short Essay on- 

(a) Feudalism and the close of the Mediaeval Europe versus Diplomacy and the beginnings of Modern Europe, as illustrated in the persons of Charles of Burgundy and Louis XJ.; or

     (b) The part played by the Bohemians in the novel of Quentin Durward  

II. 

(a) Write and appreciation of King Louis' Scottish Archers; or

(b) Sketch the character of Ludovic Lesly

For Primary Schools 

I. 

(a) Give an account of the investigation as to the causes of the capture of the Castle of Schonwaldt; or

(b) Describe the scene in the Banquet Hall of Peronne, when the death of the Bishop of Liege was reported. 

II. Sketch the character of - 

(a) William de la Marck; or

(b) The Duke of Burgundy

 

The Heart of Midlothian

1898: The Heart of Midlothian - 26 schools entered. Over 1000 read the novel. 375 Essays were submitted. 

Questions: 

For Primary Schools

I. Write a description of-

(a) The Porteous Mob; or

(b) The Trial of Effie Deans

II. Describe - 

(a) The visit of Jeanie Deans to the Laird of Dumbiedykes, on her way to London; or

(b) Her experience in the Outlaws' Hut

For Secondary Schools

I.   (a) Describe the Edinburgh of Scott's Heart of Midlothian; or

(b) Write an estimate of this Novel as a portrait-gallery of Scottish character 

II. Sketch the part played in the Novel by - 

(a) Jeanie Deans; or

(b) Madge Wildfire

 

Kenilworth

1899: Kenilworth - 30 schools entered. Over 1200 read the work and over 500 submitted an Essay

Questions: 

For Primary Schools 

Section A- 

1. Tell how Walter Raleigh gained the favourable notice of Queen Elizabeth; or

2. Describe the meeting of the Queen and Amy Robsart in the Pleasaunce. 

Section B- 

1. Describe the scene where Tressillian first meets Wayland Smith; or 

2. Give an account of the reconciliation of Sussex and Leicester at Greenwich Palace. 

For Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Write an appreciation of Elizabeth - the Woman and Queen - as portrayed in the novel; or 

2. What light does Kenilworth throw on the manners and customs of the time? 

Section B-

1. Sketch the character of Richard Varney; or

2. State your impressions of the Earl of Leicester

 

Guy Mannering

1900: Guy Mannering - 33 schools entered. Almost 1500 children read the novel. Over 600 handed in Essays. 

Questions:

For Secondary Schools

Section I-

(a) Describe the Social Life of the Border Districts as depicted in Guy Mannering; or

(b) Illustrate from Guy Mannering that Scott is often most successful with his minor characters.

Section II-

Sketch the part played in the Novel by-

(a) Meg Merrilies; or

(b) Dominie Sampson

For Primary Schools 

Section I-

Give a short account of-

(a) Henry Bertram in hiding at the Kaim of Derncleugh; or 

(b) Counsellor Pleydell's "High Jinks"

Section II- 

Describe-

(a) The Death of Meg Merrilies; or 

(b) The Capture of Dirk Hatteraick

 

Old Mortality

1902 Old Mortality - 33 schools took park. Nearly 1500 children read the work. 650 handed in Essays. 

Questions:

For Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Write an appreciation of Old Mortality as a Chronicle of Covenanting Times; or

2. What do we learn about the past from such types as Cuddie Headrigg, Neil Blane, and Sergeant Bothwell; and from such scenes as the Wappen-schaw and the Siege of Tillietudlem?

Section B-

1. Sketch the parts played in the novel by Colonel Graham of Claverhouse and Balfour of Burley; or

2. Make a study of the old world of rank and fashion as represented by Lady Bellenden and her brother-in-law, the Major. 

For Primary Schools 

Section A- 

1. Describe Lady Bellenden's visit to the Cottage of Mause Headrigg after the Wappen-schaw; or 

2. The first visit of Henry Morton in Milnwood after his return from exile. 

Section B-

1. Tell us clearly as you can the circumstances of the death of Cornet Grahame; or

2. Select as the subject of your second essay the scene or incident in Old Mortality you like best. Add your reasons for taking the subject. 

For Evening Schools

Section A- 

1. Describe the Battle of Drumclog; or 

2. The Siege of Tillietudlem

Section B-

1. Give a sketch of Mause Headrigg and the part played by her in the novel; or 

2. Describe the final interview between Henry Morton and Balfour of Burley. 

 

Redgaunlet

1903 Redgaunlet - 36 schools took part. Over 1950 pupils read the work and upwards of 800 wrote essays. 

Questions:

For Secondary Schools

Section A-

1. Describe, as fully as you can, the character of Redgauntlet; or

2. Illustrate from the Novel Scott's fondness for the picturesque and the supernatural in human life. 

Section B-

1. Contrast, as types of youth, Alan Fairford and Darsie Latimer; or

2. Mention points in Alan Fairford's circumstances which may be considered as related to Sir Walter Scott's personal history. 

For Primary Schools

Section A- 

1. Describe the first Meeting of Regauntlet and Darsie Latimer on the Sands of Solway; or 

2. Describe the lifting of the gauntlet of the King's Champion. 

Section B-

1. Give a brief account of Wandering Willie's Tale; or 

2. Give an account of the voyage of Alan Fairford on the "Jumping Jenny" 

For Evening Schools 

Section A- 

1. Describe the scene where Peter Peebles, Joshua Geddes, and Nanty Ewart are brought together at the inn; or 

2. Tell of the adventures of Darsie Latimer at the "blithe birling" at Brokenburn-foot. 

Section B-

1. Sketch the characters of Tam Turnpenny and Saunders Fairford; or 

2. Describe some of the typical Jacobites assembled at Father Crackenthorp's inn. 

 

The Fortunes of Nigel

1904 The Fortunes of Nigel - 41 schools took part. Over 2050 scholars read the work. 926 handed in Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A- 

1. Write and appreciation of Lord Glenvarloch and Richie Moniplies as typical "Scots Abroad" 

2. "Of all great portrayers of character, Scott most persistently present men in their habits as they lived." Illustrate this from the picture we get of George Heriot in The Fortunes of Nigel.

Section B-

1. Discuss Scott's delineation of the character of King Jame I. How far is it historically accurate?

2. Describe the Manners and Customs of Society in the early Stuart Period. 

For the Primary Schools

Section A-

1. Describe the Company invited by George Heriot to meet Nigel Olifaunt.

2. Tell what you know of the London apprentices of the Reign of James I. 

Section B-

1. Give an account of the scene in the Ordinary, or of that in Greenwich Park 

2. Describe Alsatia and Nigel Olifaunt's experiences there. 

For the Evening Schools 

Section A- 

1. Describe the company at the dinner given by George Heriot in honour of Lord Glenvarloch; or

2. Give an account of the circumstances attending the meeting of King James and Glenvarloch at the hunt in Greenwich Park.

Section B- 

1. Sketch the characters of Richie Moniplies and Jenkin Vincent, the apprentice; or 

2. Give an estimate of the character of James I. 

 

Rob Roy

1905 Rob Roy - 41 Schools entered. 2539 pupils read the novel. 1174 wrote Essays. 

Questions:

For the Secondary Schools

Section A- 

1. Discuss Bailie Nicol Jarvie and Andrew Fairservice as types of Scottish character; or

2. Write a short Essay on the character of Rob Roy as a product of the times in which he lived. 

Section B-

1. Show from the Novel Scott's power of dealing with the picturesque and the romantic in fiction; or

2. Discuss the statement -"Diana Vernon is the most charming of Scott's heroines" 

For the Primary Schools

Section A-

1. Contrast the characters of the cousins Francis and Rashleigh Osbaldistone; or

2. What have you learned of the condition of the Highlands from reading Rob Roy?

Section B-

1. Give an account of the fight between Captain Thornton and the Highlanders at the Pass of Loch Ard; or

2. Describe Bailie Nicol Jarvie's visit to Glasgow Tolbooth

For the Evening Schools

Section A-

1. Give an estimate of the character of Bailie Nicol Jarive; or 

2. Describe the encounter between Rashleigh and Francis Osbaldistone in the College Grounds.

Section B-

1. Give a description of life at Osbaldistone Hall; or

2. Tell briefly the story of the fight at the Pass of Loch Ard and Rob Roy's escape from his captors.

 

Woodstock

1906 Woodstock - 49 Schools entered. 3374 pupils read the prescribed novel. 1275 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Primary Schools

Section A- 

1. Tell the part played in the story of Woodstock by Roger Wildrake

2. Give an account of the stay of Louis Kerneguy at Woodstock. 

Section B-

1. Describe the experience of the three Commissioners at Woodstock Palace. 

2. Narrate the circumstances attending the search of Woodstock Palace by Cromwell. 

For the Evening Schools 

Section A-

1. Give your impressions of Sir Henry Lee, and refer to the scenes in which her plays a part. 

2. Describe the scene where Wildrake makes an attempt on the life of Cromwell. 

Section B-

1. Describe the manner of circumstances of Albert Lee's return to his home at Woodstock.

2. Narrate the circumstances which led up to the scene under the King's Oak, where Charles discovered himself to Everard.

For the Higher Grade Schools

Section A- 

1. In an Essay on Cromwell and his policy, dwell particularly on Scott's conception of his character and aims. 

2. "Self interest and view of ambition were the principal moving springs." Apply this saying to whom it is applicable among the followers and supporters of Cromwell. 

Section B-

1. Show the value of faithful service in the humblest lives, as exemplified in Phoebe Mayflower and Jocelyne Joliffe. 

2. Give and account of Everard's relations with Cromwell on the one hand and with the Royalist Lee family on the other side. 

For the Secondary Schools

Section A-

1. In an Essay on Cromwell and his policy, dwell particularly on Scott's conception of his character and aims. 

2. "Self interest and views of ambition were the principal moving springs." Apply this saying to whom it is applicable among the followers and supporters of Cromwell. 

Section B-

1. Describe as fully as you can Charles II. as he appears in Woodstock.

2. Illustrate from the various scenes in the novel the loyalty of the Cavalier party to the Stuart cause. 

 

Ivanhoe

1907 Ivanhoe - 60 schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered, ten Secondary, seven High Grade, twenty-six Primary and seventeen Evening Continuation School. Of the 4934 pupils who read the prescribed novel, 2647 actually wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools

Section A-

1. Write an appreciation of Scott's presentment of the England of Coeur de Lion.

2. "My thread is spun out; thy task is yet to begin." Supply the narrative to which these words of Dame Ulrica to Rebecca may serve as a motto.

Section B-

1. Describe, with the immediately preceding incidents, the combat before the Preceptory of Templestowe. 

2. Narrate the more picturesque incidents related of Locksley and his outlaws. 

For the Higher Grade Schools

Section A-

1. Write an Essay on the Social life of England as illustrated in Ivanhoe. 

2. Describe the main incidents of the assault-at-arms in the lists at Ashby. 

Section B-

1. Give an account of the obsequies of Athelstane of Coningsburgh.

2. Relate the story of the Black Knight's Carouse with the Clerk of Copmanhurst. 

For the Primary Schools

Section A-

1. Describe the part played by Ivanhoe in the Tournament at Ashby.

2. Narrate a few of the more stirring incidents in the attack on Torquilstone Castle

Section B-

1. Give an account of any one of the forest scenes of Ivanhoe. 

2. Outline the trials and final triumph of Rebecca. 

For the Evening Schools

Section A-

1. Describe, with their surroundings, the chief actors in the banqueting-hall at Rotherwood. 

2. Narrate what you consider to be the most animated and picturesque incidents in Ivanhoe. 

Section B-

1. Sketch the part played in the story by the Disinherited Knight. 

2. Describe the death-agony of Front-de-Boeuf.

 

Quentin Durward

1908 Quentin Durward - 62 schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered, ten Secondary, six High Grade, twenty-eight Primary and eighteen Evening Continuation School. Of the 5496 pupils who read the novel, 3201 wrote Essays. 

Questions:  

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Describe the character and policy of Louis XI., as presented by Scott in Quentin Durward

2. Contrast the Court of King Louis with that of Duke Charles of Burgundy. 

Section B-

1. "After all, it is sense, firmness and gallantry which have put him in possession of wealth, rank and beauty." Keeping this estimate in view, give your impression of the titular hero of the novel. 

2. Galeotti and Haydraddin. - Add to a short description of these types some account of the part each plays in the story. 

For the Higher Grade Schools 

Section A-

1. What estimate have you formed of Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and of his Court from your study of Quentin Durward?

2. Give an account of the household, counsellors, and chief officers of Louis XI. Give also some reason for his having such a Court.

Section B-

1. Why did Louis determine to risk a visit to Duke Charles? Summarise the story of his experiences in Peronne. 

2. Narrate the circumstance leading to, and the chief incidents in Durward's journey from the Plessis-les-Tours to Liege. 

For the Primary Schools 

Section A-

1. Describe the circumstances under which the young hero of the novel is introduced to the reader. 

2. Tell the events which led to the enrolment of Durward as an archer of the Scottish Guard. 

Section B-

1. Give and account of the exposure of the "Herald" of Wlliam de la March, and of the end of Hayraddin. 

2. Relate the particulars of the scene which impressed you most in the description of the visit of King Louis to the Court of Duke Charles at Peronne. 

For the Evening Schools 

Section A-

1. Describe the scene where Louis XI. receives in audience the envoy of the Duke of Burgundy. 

2. Describe the adventure of Durward in Liege when he is taken by the citizens as the envoy of King Louis. 

Section B-

1. Narrate the circumstances of the murder of the Bishop of Liege. 

2. Sketch the part played by Hayraddin in the novel. 

 

Waverley

1909 Waverley - 69 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 31 Primary, 19 Evening Continuation and 12 Secondary and Intermediate Schools. Of the 5655 pupils who read the novel 3329 actually wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools

Section A-

1. "Scott first showed how national character, national dialect, national characteristics generally, could be made a substantive element in the interest of fiction." Illustrate from Waverley the truth of this statement. 

2. Write an appreciation of Scott's presentment of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the '45. 

Section B-

1. Describe, with its immediate consequences, the "Creagh" or raid on Tully-Veolan. 

2. Relate the incidents connected with Waverley's visit to Cairnvreckan. 

For the Intermediate Schools

Section A-

1. Contrast the characters of Fergus MacIvor and Edward Waverley. 

2. Write an appreciation of the Baron of Bradwardine.

Section B-

1. Describe the Banquet at Tully-Veolan, and the Drinking-bout in Widow Macleary's Change-House. 

2. Narrate a few of the incidents connected with Waverley's stay in Edinburgh as a follower of Prince Charlie. 

For the Primary Schools

Section A-

1. Give an account of Tully-Veoln and its Baron.

2. Write a brief account of the banquet and stag-hunt at Glennaquoich.

Section B-

1. Relate the incidents connected with Edward Waverley's visit to Cairnvreckan. 

2. Describe the Fight at Prestonpans. 

For the Evening Schools 

Section A-

1. Write on the social life of the Highlands as revealed in the pages of Waverley.

2. Describe the most noteworthy incidents connected with Edward Waverley's attendance at the Court of Holyrood. 

Section B-

1. Give an account of the Trial and Execution of Fergus MacIvor.

2. Narrate the exploits of Donald Bean Lean. 

 

The Abbot

1910 The Abbot - 72 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 31 Primary, 22 Evening Continuation, 12 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 6821 pupils who read the novel 4689 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Write an essay on Queen Mary as presented by Scott. 

2. Sketch the development of the love story in The Abbot.

Section B-

1. "Nobody rises from his works without a most vivid idea of what is related." Illustrate the quotation by reference to scenes in the Novel; and give some description of Scott's prose style. 

2. Narrate briefly Roland's adventures in Edinburgh

For the Intermediate Schools 

Section A-

1. Describe Queen Mary as presented by Scott. 

2. Give your impression of the lovers in the story- Catherine Seyton and Roland Graeme. 

Section B-

1. Relate Roland's experiences in Holyrood Palace. 

2. Contrast the scene at Niddrie House with that described in the last chapter. 

For the Primary Schools. 

Section A- 

1. Describe the first meeting between Roland Graeme and Catherine Seyton. 

2. Roland's adventures on his ride with Adam Woodcock down the Canongate. 

Section B-

1. Give an account of Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven Castle. 

2. The Battle of Langsyde. 

For the Evening Schools 

Section A- 

1. Give some account of Roland Graeme's position and experiences in the Castle of Avenal, and of the cause of his leaving he service of the lady of that household. 

2. Narrate, without going into details, the chief incidents in Roland's stay in Edinburgh. 

Section B-

1. Sketch the appearance and character of Magdalen Graeme, and say on what occasions she figures in the Novel. 

2. Describe the household of Queen Mary in Lochleven Castle, and the scene there which has impressed you most. 

 

The Fair Maid of Perth

1911 The Fair Maid of Perth - 73 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 34 Primary, 22 Evening Continuation, 10 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 7031 pupils who read the novel 4528 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Summarise Scott's account of the audience given by King Robert in the Dominican Convent to the Prior and the Earl of March. In his conception of the King's character, is the novelist at variance with historical facts?

2. Write a character sketch of Henbane Dwining the Pottinger.

Section B- 

1. Show in relation to the plot of The Fair Maid of Perth the importance of the Duke of Rothesay, or Sir John Ramorny. 

2. What, in brief, was the part played by Henry the Smith in the trial by ordeal and the combat on the North Inch? 

For the Intermediate Schools. 

Section A-

1. Give in outline the part played by Henry the Smith in The Fair Maid of Perth

2. Indicate how the Duke of Rothesay left the custody of the Earl of Errol, and narrate, in outline, the tragedy at Falkland.

Section B- 

1. Describe the trial by ordeal of "bier-right" in St. John's Church. 

2. Write a character sketch of Henbane Dwining. 

For the Primary Schools.

Section A-

1. Describe the attack on Simon Glover's house on St Valentine's eve.

2. Narrate the chief incidents connected with the visit of the glee-maiden to the Monastery of the Dominicans. 

Section B-

1. Give an account of the circumstances connected with the death of the Duke of Rothesay. 

2. Narrate the main facts in the clan fight on the North Inch of Perth. 

For the Evening Schools. 

Section A-

1. Give the chief incidents connected with Conachar's stay in the household of Simon Glover. 

2. Narrate the scene in the Monastery of the Dominicans, in which the King, Albany, and March play a part. 

Section B-

1. Sketch the character of Oliver Proudfute or Henbane Dwining. 

2. Give your impressions, from reading The Fair Maid of Perth, or the customs connected with St Valentine's Day and Fastern's Eve.

 

Guy Mannering

1912 Guy Mannering - 75 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 34 Primary, 22 Evening Continuation, 9 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 6404 pupils who read the novel 4584 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Describe the various aspects of Edinburgh life seen by Colonel Mannering on his visit to the city. 

2. "Scott's conception of women of his own, or a higher, class was always too romantic. With women of an inferior class he had not this feeling." Criticise this statement, and illustrate from Guy Mannering

Section B- 

1. Describe the capture of Dick Hateraick and his subsequent fate.

2. Describe the meeting of Dandie Dinmont and Brown, the household at Charlieshope, and the sports engaged in during Brown's stay.  

For the Intermediate Schools. 

Section A-

1. "Scott was less successful with his heroes and heroines than with his minor character." Criticise this statement, and illustrate from Guy Mannering. 

2. Write a character sketch of Dandie Dinmont, and note how his actions influence the course of the story. 

Section B- 

1. Write a short account of the eviction from Derncleuch and the kidnapping of Harry Bertram. 

2. Describe Colonel Mannering's Saturday evening visit to Counsellor Pleydell. 

For the Primary Schools.

Secton A-

1. Tell what you know of the disappearance of Harry Bertram as a boy, and sketch his career till his re-appearance as a man. 

2. Which of the characters in Guy Mannering appears to you most vivid and life-like? Give reasons for your answer.

Section B-

1. Describe the death-scene of the Laird of Ellangowan. 

2. How did Captain Brown and Dandie Dinmont first meet? Narrate their joint adventure. 

For the Evening Schools. 

Section A-

1. Describe the home of Dandie Dinmont and the various country sports engaged in during Captain Brown's stay there. 

2. Write an account of the events attending the funeral of Mrs Margaret Bertram of Singleside.

Section B-

1. What was the object of the attack on Portanferry Jail? Describe the scene. 

2. Give an account of the appearance and character of Dominie Sampson.  

 

The Fortunes of Nigel

1913 The Fortunes of Nigel - 75 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 34 Primary, 24 Evening Continuation, 10 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 6510 pupils who read the novel 4050 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Criticise Scott's presentment of his fellow countrymen in The Fortunes of Nigel

2. Write on Alastia- its life and people

Section B- 

1. Describe the household on David Ramsay, the King's horologer. 

2. Relate as vividly as you can the incident 

For the Intermediate Schools. 

Section A-

1. Write an appreciation of Scott's treatment of historical facts and characters in The Fortunes of Nigel

2. Write a character sketch of Richie Moniplies.

Section B- 

1. Describe Lord Glenvarloch's first visit to Monsieur de Beaujeu's Ordinary

2. Give an account of the most striking incidents during Glenvarloch's stay in Alastia. 

For the Primary Schools.

Section A-

1. Describe the first meeting of Richie Moniplies with George Heriot and King James. 

2. Give, in outline, the part played in The Fortune of Nigel by George Heriot.  

Section B-

1. Describe the scene in the presence-chamber at Whitehall on Glenvarloch's first visit to Court. 

2. Give an account of the appearance and character of either Sir Mungo Malagrowther or Richie Moniplies. 

For the Evening Schools. 

Section A-

1. Describe as vividly as you can Lord Glenvarloch's first visit to the house of George Heriot. 

2. Write an account of Glenvarloch's stay in Alsatia

Section B-

1. Describe the episode in Greenwich Park. 

2. Give the impression of London apprentices and their masters which you have got from The Fortunes of Nigel. 

 

The Legend of Montrose

1914 The Legend of Montrose - 72 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 32 Primary, 23 Evening Continuation, 10 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 6038 pupils who read the novel 4602 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. Argyle and Montrose -an appreciation and a contrast.

2. Relate the incidents attending Duglad Dalgetty's visit to Inverary Castle

Section B- 

1. Tell the story of Allan M'Aulay

2. What episode in The Legend of Montrose has impressed you most by its vivacity of narration and truth of presentments? Narrate it in your own words, and try to retain the merits of the original. 

For the Intermediate Schools. 

Section A-

1. Write an appreciation of Dugald Dalgetty. 

2. Describe the visit of Sir Duncan Campbell of Ardenvohr to Darnlinvarach Castle. 

Section B- 

1. Write on the Children of the Mist and Ranald MacEagh. 

2. What episode in The Legend of Montrose has impressed you most by its vivacity of narration and truth of presentment? Narrate it in your own words, and try to retain the merits of the original. 

For the Primary Schools.

Section A-

1. Describe the scene in which we are first introduced to Lord Menteith and Dugald Dalgetty. 

2. Tell the story of Annot Lyle.  

Section B-

1. Describe, as vividly as you can, any one of the stirring incidents enacted at Darnlinvarach Castle. 

2. Give an account of the meeting between the Marquis of Argyle and Dugald Dalgetty in the Dungeon at Inverary. 

For the Evening Schools. 

Section A-

1. Give a clear and vivid account of the first evening spent by Dugald Dalgetty at Darnlinvarach Castle. 

2. State fully the incidents connected with the birth of Allan M'Aulay. What was the distinguishing feature in his character?

Section B-

1. Describe the rout of "the Campbell clan by Inverlochy's shore"

2. Write on the Children of the Mist, and the part they play in The Legend of Montrose. 

 

The Antiquary

1915 The Antiquary - 67 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 28 Primary, 22 Evening Continuation, 10 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 5808 pupils who read the novel 3618 wrote Essays. 

Questions: 

For the Secondary Schools 

Section A-

1. "Scott has nowhere displayed his highest art -that of skilful contrast- in greater perfection that in The Antiquary. Discuss this statement with special reference to the households of Glenallan, Monkbarns, and the Mucklebackits.

2. "I am a bad hand at depicting a hero, properly so called, and have an unfortunate propensity for dubious characters of a Robin-Hood description." Is this confession of Scott true in respect of The Antiquary? Justify your answer by comparing Lovel with other characters in the novel. 

Section B- 

1. Outline clearly the part played by Dousterswivel in the plot. Does Scott, in your opinion, succeed in making him a life-like character?

2. Describe the funeral of Steenie Mucklebackit, and remark on the mastery of pathos and tragedy shown by the novelist in that scene. 

For the Intermediate Schools. 

Section A-

1. "Scott could scare have scrupled about recognising a quaint caricature of himself in the inimitable portraiture of the Laird of Monkbarns." Sketch the character of Mr Oldbuck, and estimate from your knowledge of Scott's life the justice of the remark quoted. 

1. "Scott's conception of women of his own or higher class was always too chivalrous. He hardly ventured to look deeply into their weaknesses. With women of an inferior class he had not this feeling." Discuss this statement, and apply it to the female characters in The Antiquary

Section B- 

1. Outline the part played by Edie Ochiltree in the plot, and mention some of the traits of character which make him one of its central figures. 

2. Describe the scene in The Antiquary which has most vividly impressed you, trying throughout to retain the merits of the original. 

For the Primary Schools.

Section A-

1. Describe the meeting of Mr Oldbuck (Monkbarns) and Edie Ochiltree at the Kaim of Kinprunes. 

2. Relate the midnight adventure of Edie Ochiltree and Dousterswivel at the ruins of St Ruth. 

Section B-

1. Give, in brief, the story told to Lord Glenallan by Elspeth Mucklebackit. 

2. State your impressions of Scottish fisher-folk as revealed in the pages of The Antiquary. 

For the Evening Schools. 

Section A-

1. Explain how Sir Arthur Wardour and his daughter were caught by the tide in Knockwinnock Bay, and describe their rescue. 

2. Give an account of the duel between Lovel and Hector M'Intyre in the valley of St Ruth.

Section B-

1. What is your favourite character in The Antiquary? Account for your preference, and tell the part he (or she) plays in the story. 


An account of the Prize from other years: 

1920 The Heart of Midlothian - 54 Schools in Edinburgh and Leith entered. 21 Primary, 15 Evening Continuation, 11 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 5039 pupils who read the novel 2641 wrote Essays.  

1921 Quentin Durward - 53 Schools entered. 19 Primary, 15 Evening Continuation, 12 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 5134 pupils who read the novel 3190 wrote Essays.  

1922 The Fair Maid of Perth - 56 Schools entered. 22 Primary, 14 Evening Continuation, 13 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools. Of the 5409 pupils who read the novel 2553 wrote Essays.  

1923 Ivanhoe - 61 Schools entered. 31 Primary, 8 Evening Continuation, 14 Secondary and 8 Intermediate Schools. Of the 6471 pupils who read the novel 3159 wrote Essays.  

1924 The Fortunes of Nigel - 19 Primary, 16 Evening Continuation, 14 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4275 pupils read the novel - 1856 wrote Essays.  

1925 The Antiquary - 5 Primary, 14 Evening Continuation, 20 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4551 pupils read the novel - 1967 wrote Essays.  

1926 Guy Mannering - 7 Primary, 13 Continuation, 19 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4168 pupils read the novel - 1672 wrote Essays.  

1927 Rob Roy - 6 Primary, 13 Continuation, 20 Secondary and 10 Intermediate Schools Entered. 5337 pupils read the novel - 1649 wrote Essays.  

1928 The Bride of Lammermoor - 2 Primary, 16 Continuation, 22 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4320 pupils read the novel - 1686 wrote Essays.  

1929 Redgaunlet - 5 Primary, 14 Continuation, 20 Secondary and 7 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4551 pupils read the novel - 1967 wrote Essays.  

1930 The Legend of Montrose - 3 Primary, 15 Continuation, 21 Secondary and 9 Intermediate Schools Entered. 4047 pupils read the novel - 1568 wrote Essays.  

1931 Old Mortality - 2 Primary, 15 Continuation, 21 Secondary and 9 Intermediate Schools Entered. 3831 pupils read the novel - 1482 wrote Essays.  

1932 The Heart of Midlothian - 3 Primary, 11 Continuation, 22 Secondary and 9 Intermediate Schools Entered. 3183 pupils read the novel - 1439 wrote Essays.  

1933 Ivanhoe - 6 Primary, 9 Continuation, 17 Secondary and 11 Intermediate Schools Entered. 

1934 The Antiquary - 2 Primary, 7 Continuation, 19 Secondary and 11 Intermediate Schools Entered. 

1935 Kenilworth - 4 Primary, 6 Continuation, 19 Secondary and 12 Intermediate Schools Entered. 

1936 Waverley - 2 Primary, 5 Continuation, 20 Secondary and 6 Intermediate Schools Entered. 

1937 Rob Roy - 2 Primary, 5 Continuation, 20 Secondary and 6 Intermediate Schools Entered. 

1938 Quentin Duward - (1939 report missing)

1947 Ivanhoe - 17 schools entered.

1948 The Fortunes of Nigel - 19 schools entered.

1949 Rob Roy - 19 schools entered.

1950 Old Mortality - 18 schools entered.

1951 The Heart of Midlothian - 22 schools entered.

1952 The Heart of Midlothian, Guy Mannering and The Fair Maid of Perth - 23 schools entered.

1953 Redgauntlet, Kenilworth and Quentin Durward - 23 schools entered.

1954 The Antiquary, The Talisman and Waverley - 26 schools entered.

1955 The Heart of Midlothian, Rob Roy and Marmion - 19 schools entered.

1956 The Legend of Montrose, Old Mortality and The Lady of the Lake - 25 schools entered. 

1957 Not reported

1958 Ivanhoe, Guy Mannering and The Lady of the Lake - 20 schools entered. 

1959 The Pirate, The Fair Maid of Perth and Marmion - 17 schools entered. 

1960 Redgauntlet, Quentin Durward and The Antiquary - 19 schools entered. 

1961 Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Lady of the Lake - 19 schools entered. 

1962 The Legend of Montrose, Rob Roy and Marmion - 17 schools entered. 

1963 Ivanhoe, Guy Mannering and The Lady of the Lake - 14 schools entered. 

1964 The Fortunes of Nigel, Kenilworth and The Lord of the Isles - 10 schools entered. 


Efforts made to revive the Essay Prize: 

Efforts were made to revive the Essay Prize in the late 1970s.  A much smaller Competition was held for just one chosen school. A prize was presented to a senior and a junior winner. They were also invited to the Annual Dinner with their Headteacher. 

1977 St. Margaret's School for Girls. 

1978 George Watson's College

1979 Mary Erskine School 

1980 St. Margaret's School 

1981 report missing 

1982 The Royal High School - The Senior Prize winner, Elizabeth J. Thomson, had her Essay on "What do we learn from a visit to Abbotsford on Scott's attitudes and aspiration." was printed in the Bulletin 


At the end of the 1980s the second attempt at reviving the Essay Prize was focused on Students at Edinburgh University. 

Essays of upto 5,000 words. £100 prize. The first being presented by Sir Eric Anderson at our inaugural Public Lecture. 

1989 Question: 

1. Discuss the impact of the Gothic Novel on Scott's fiction 

2. Choose ANY ONE novel by Scott and analysis the relevance of its social and political material to today's society. 

Winner: Dorian Vogel, a postgraduate student from Stanford University, California

1990 Question: 

Sir Walter Scott is currently being re-assessed as an important critic of his society. Discuss this aspect of his work using not more than three novels. 

Winner: Ron Walker, MSc. a post graduate student at Edinburgh University. 

1991 The competition was opened up to all Scottish Universities and jointly organised by The Association for Scottish Literary Studies but failed to gain any interest. 

2002 We simply awarded Edinburgh University student Richard Hill £250 for his essay on Turner’s Illustrations to the Work of Sir Walter Scott.  It can be read in our 2003 Bulletin


2014 We attempted once more to reboot the Club Essay Prize but after meeting with various School Children we discovered several things. Firstly, it is futile attempting to re-introduce Scott into Schools at a curriculum level. The teachers only want results. They will choose the simplest text that will ensure those results. Scott is too difficult for Children - many of whom rarely read engaging novels and get their information from Magazines and the internet.... 

So, instead we organised Outreach Workshops of Young Lochinvar. They were rolled out to over a dozen Schools in Midlothian. Using a freelance Drama Teacher the workshop brought the poem to life by getting the children to take roles and act it out. Afterwards, when the poem read it had a meaning that the Children could associate with... it even made them think that they had lived the poem. (Photos at Loanhead PS) (Photos at St. David's) - A Schools Pack and Clothing for the participants to wear is available for other schools if they wish to reenact this themselves.