John Damien

John Damien

John Damien

Abbot of Tungland and Alchemist

It should be obvious to all good Scots that this guy wiz a foreigner. There is no mention of drink spurring him on to his absurd place in history.

It, it happened in Stirling Castle in 1507, and that's good enough for the FirstFoot history department.

John Damien, Abbot of Tungland, an Italian alchemist and a court favourite of James IV, was responsible for Scotland's earliest recorded attempt to fly.

He announced that due to his prowess in alchemy, he had discovered a method of flying through the air. Believing his own propaganda, he foolishly claimed that he would prove this in a public demonstration by flying to France from the ramparts of Stirling Castle.

There may not have been any drink concerned, but FirstFoot has a wee sneaking suspicion that magic mushrooms might have been involved somewhere.

On the appointed day, the Abbot appeared on the battlements complete with outsize wings made from chicken feathers. Having launched himself on his epic journey to France, he immediately crashed to the ground.

Luckily for the good Abbot, he fell into the communal pig shit heap and escaped, somewhat lightly, with a broken leg.

His excuse for his failure was that he should not have used chicken feathers, as chickens could not fly.

Maybe he should have thought of that first.

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