Holds degrees in philosophy, psychology and mathematical science. Head of mathematics in five schools and colleges in three countries, served on the Scottish Mathematical Council whose Chairman, Prof Patterson, Aberdeen, together with Prof Sir Hermann Bondi, Master of Churchill College Cambridge, sponsored William's fellowship of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications, 1985. Hermann offered to coauthor a book, declined, moved intellectual territory. Over 100 articles and papers on mathematical education published. Invited to serve on the British Mathematical equivalent, declined: agreed to work abroad. Asked in Sante Fe to write the biography of Philip Brooke who should have been 4th Rajah of Sarwak, declined. Attended university courses in Classics and several summer schools; cartography, self taught. The work on psychology and philosophy was invaluable in the historical research. Mathematical science too was instrumental: disproving all the previous speculation was essential. Advocate, Sheriff and Historian David B. Smith sponsored William's fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Interests? Polymathic: philosophy, politics, physics, psychology, poetry, writing and reciting, psychology novels, mathematics, history, writing articles and books. Takes exercise seriously. Swam a 25 yard length in 18 seconds in 1952, 17 seconds in 2005, a 25 m length, no dive, about 20 secs, 2018. 4 phds were offered and considered: Philosophy, Edinburgh 1971, the Foundations of Mathematics Glasgow, c1984, Mathematical Education, Dunedin,1988, History, Stirling, 1998. I regret not doing the first two. They would have been a suitable challenge.
The Bannockburn Years
" ...a brilliant storyteller ... I shall expect to see your name writ large hereafter."
~ Nigel Tranter
" Stirring and well researched account."
~ Scotland on Sunday
A Bute Crucifixion
" Award winning author William Scott explores the relationship in a small community with sensitivity and conviction and produces a superb novel of power and devastating consequences in a titanic struggle between good and evil." ~ David Torrie, an editor, DC Thomson Publications
This research on the Battle of Bannockburn is full of arguments and insights. The author's life-long involvement with mathematical science and philosophy are chiefly responsible for the success in solving the Bannockburn Problems which first occurred in Bannockburn Revealed in the year 2000. The focus on arguments there and sources and maps was total. It was no narrative, which presented a problem for historians unused to that depth and quantity of argument: they are not trained in thinking. Two sources were translated there for the first time in print where they were instantly invaluable. Why had this not been done before? Because no historian before believed proof was possible, a fatal obstacle to its achievement. A mathematical scientist expects to prove anything and will find ways of doing it. Collecting and translating all the sources is just the beginning. The second book, Bannockburn Proved, (out of print, copies in good libraries, George IV Bridge, National, Mitchell, Ayr, etc) took history out of the realms of narrative and even argument into the exact demand for proofs. Half a dozen proofs of the battle site were given there and Irvine Smith QC was very approving of them. The Genius of Bannockburn goes further still and demolishes the speculations that have been allowed to stand, as if holy writ, for over half a century. These three books are necessary because each advances the subject in important ways. Sixty pages of field work were necessary to demolish the speculations that held up the proofs. In a paper not yet published, these are reduced to five lines of text. A Eureka moment. BGB and Bannockburn the Poem also have original insights discovered late. This research is not better known because of obstruction by those in control who knew they would lose face when their errors were exposed in this deeper work.
Honour Killing in Argyll & Bute
" A riveting read, showing how religious and culture differences can be overcome and how the idea of paradise can change... the shocking and gruesome events in the final chapter leave the reader totally overwhelmed. A gripping and inspiring tale." ~ Christine Boyd, Primary Teacher, Glasgow
William is an idealist who believes his function in life is to make the world a better place. He has degrees in philosophy, mathematical science, education and psychology; and fellowships in mathematical science and history. William was elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, 1985, sponsored by Professor Sir Hermann Bondi, world class scientist, Master of Churchill College, Cambridge and Head of the Natural Environment Research Council. He offered a foreword for a book on mathematical education William had written and when a publisher could not be found, to co-author a book, declined (he had moved to new intellectual territory.)William was also sponsored by Prof Ed Patterson, Aberdeen, Chairman of the Scottish Mathematical Council, William then served on the Mathematical Challenge Committee. Setting, marking and awarding prizes to the ablest students of Scotland. An offer to serve on the British Mathematical Council was declined because he had agreed to work abroad. Elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries sponsored by Sheriff, Advocate and Historian, David B Smith, 1998, after the publication of 'The Bannockburn Years' which won the Constable Trophy in 1997 for a novel published by Luath Press, reprinted 2003.
William became Head of Maths in 5 schools and colleges, (he declined an invitation to join Brunei University in 1986 because he believed his expertise more useful in a sixth form college.) Invited by The Scottish Mathematical Council he gave lectures at Jordanhill College and Dundee University c1982. The Maths department at Edinburgh University invited him to address the staff and research students c1983 and a London Borough had him give several lectures to teachers about his original methods of inspiring students by teaching them advanced ideas. By then, he had published over 100 articles and papers from 1978, many in the Times Educational Supplement, Scotland, [eg 'Teaching Philosophy in School' reprinted in 'Thinking', a Rockefeller-Funded journal run by Prof Lipman, New York c1983 (before certificates were awarded in schools for philosophy)], Teaching Mathematics (an IMA Journal) [eg 'Problem Solving', 9,000 words, 1985], The Herald [Eg 'Redefining God' a Herald Essay, 20.7.1966] and the Scotsman [ Eg 'The White Rajahs of Sarawak', 1991, also the subject of a lecture to the North Bute Literary Society'; 'Enquiries into the Illanun Pirates of North Borneo' The Sarawak Museum Journal Vol XXIX No 60 (New Series) 1988. [Eg 'Piracy in the 19th century (in the Borneo Region) 1989.
Full time writing dated from 1990 when education was given up while there was still time to develop as a novelist. By then, publishing papers was seen as ephemeral contributions to the world. The aim was to try to solve some of the difficult problems of the world and to do so in the novel form in the belief that answers would be more accessible, more useful and longer lasting. All the books have been driven by the ambition to find arguments to solve problems. The novels do this by the creation of characters who by their conflicts of ideas reveal the answers. The drama makes the activity more accessible and interesting. 'The Gun Genius' won second prize at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference in 1991, unpublished, about the IRA and revenge: was there ever justification (as the IRA claimed) for blowing up innocents? Or revenge? Then, the IRA were not allowed to speak in public which William regarded as a serious obstacle to peace) their views ought to be stated and attacked, he thought. A BBC producer, Andy Park, made a screenplay of this but the BBC closed down its drama department in Northern Ireland about this time and that stopped it. A screenplay by William won second prize for drama c1993. Another novel came second in the Constable before 'The Bannockburn Years' won in 1997. This was the result of research into the battle begun in 1991 on return to the UK which had produced a story and a play, 'The Brithers Bruce', unpublished. This was combined with the question of Scottish Independence to produce a novel which had several original features. Historians who read it thought their work had not been studied. It had, but rejected. Reviews in newspapers at the time were not wholly complementary (partly because 4 arguments against independence were found), though Nigel Tranter had declared William on the cover to be 'a brilliant storyteller whose name would be writ large hereafter'. That this was not so was due to the discovery that the traditional history was incompetent, for the moral decision was then taken that it was a duty to clear up the mess and that his training (unusual in a historian) in mathematical science, philosophy and psychology might be decisive. A couple of years away from writing novels seemed enough of a price to pay. In fact, it has taken every year since, only three novels being written in all that time [he wrote a novel in 3 or 4 weeks]. Full time research into the Bannockburn Problems began at the end of 1998 and was not completed until 2012, though a few important things have been discovered since, one of them an argument of singular beauty and elegance which resolves everything in minutes. Indeed, the effort on Bannockburn continues, refining the earlier work.
The work on the Bannockburn Problems has been successful beyond imagining, because of the science, maths, philosophy and psychology; the rigour, above all. Every written source was collected, translated, examined minutely, analysed in a single volume and the outcome was dazzling. The Scots all fought on foot because seven reports, half of them written in the year of the battle, say so, repeatedly! That insight first appears in Quill in an essay by William in 1993 [ISBN 0952191008]. It is proved in Bannockburn Revealed (BR) (pub 2000) on p254, Bannockburn Proved (BP)(2004\5) p54,55, The Genius of Bannockburn (GB) (2012) on p31-34. BR is the first book to print all the relevant sources, two of which, Trokelowe and Le Baker, had never been translated in any book before. How could you solve the Bannockburn Problems without all the sources? No wonder the problems had defied solution for seven centuries. [Why was this? Because historians did not believe a solution was possible. So they failed to make the necessary effort]. Dozens of maps are also necessary. The ground was visited several hundred times to understand the changes that had taken place. A map of the battle area was created in three stages. The first took Roy's brilliant maps of Stirlingshire in 1754, made a single map of the overlapping pair and then excised all the changes that had taken place between 1314 and 1754 using Miller's 4 papers on the charters of land from the earliest times and all the other ancient documents, such as the statistical analyses (1755, 1792, 1845), inventories by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments etc. Roy's was taken as the base because it was brilliant as to details, as all the years since have shown with all the other maps as confirmation, such as Jefferys', Edgar's, Thomson's, Grassom's and the first OS map surveyed in 1860, pub 1865, and revisions, but most of all the ground itself, the finest source of all, if historians had but realised it. Roy's maps are shown to be brilliant as to details in BP p1-12; 12-21; GB Ch IV esp p87, p83 (Newmarket). In fact, Roy's maps are even better than this: the map of Bute, though with a variable scale! is nearly identical to the modern one; a marvel, it is.
BR settled all the important questions. The site of battle, the tactics that led to victory, the place where Bruce slew de Bohun (Milton Ford, the only possible crossing place since there was no bridge until 1516; and, decisively, the road from Stirling went along St Ninians Main Street beside which in 1242 the Kirk was built, to Milton Ford. Of course the English came along the road in 1314. There was no other road northwards until 1930. Milton Ford is Scotland's Thermopylae: a narrow place; only a few riders at a time can cross the burn which is impassable for a mile up and downstream; chronicles confirm this completely). Historians in control of the subject did not want their speculations exposed and buried BR, refused reviews, though one was given in Scottish Local History, Spring 2006 by Patrick Cadell, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, decisively in favour. BR did one thing that any scientist would regard as marvellous: the Charisma-Population Argument which shows that the numbers of Scots on the field must have been at least twice (and probably thrice) as many as believed for centuries. Historians, not equipped for such elementary, yet elegant logic, still cannot give up their long standing 'belief' (all it is) that the Scots were a third of the English. Eg Barrow, line 21 p273, 4th edition, (2005): 5,000-6000 Scots, +500 cavalry - Barrow, Classic edition 2013: the same numbers! But Barrow does say there and in the 2005 edition on p273 line 22: 'On the other hand, we can scarcely put the Scots total any lower, for we know that the English cavalry was in fact repulsed by mere foot soldiers.' In 2013, Barrow still has '500 light horse under the Marischal, Sir Robert Keith. p272 (Robert Bruce, Classic ed 2013, line 28). Thus, Barrow learnt nothing from Bannockburn Revealed about all the Scots being on foot. Yet there it is on BR p254. All the statements are highlighted just before it (Barbour) and in Ch 15 where Vita, Lanercost, Scalacronica, Le Baker, Trokelowe, Baston etc are highlighted and counted. And nothing about the Scots numbers, for which he still has 6,000 p273 line 21. The acquisition of status and gravitas, leads to a constructive inability to learn from one's mistakes.
This was the stimulus for Bannockburn Proved (2004\5]; the only way forward was to prove it. A duty, once again. There is not one proof but half a dozen, from a sentence with a page of quotation from chronicle sources, to one of 8 pages and one far longer and a discussion of its status as science. Eg pxxv-xxx; p8-67; 70-77; 83-88. BP too was ignored. Entered for the Saltire Society Research Award it was not even read by the judge despite Irvine Smith QC’s name on the front cover extolling its excellence. Irvine Smith, a celebrated advocate and sheriff, had taught history at Glasgow University for 12 years. He had also appeared as a speaker on the same panel as the judge of the award who affronted supporters of this work when a year or two later he published an article in the Scotsman on Bannockburn in 2006/7 with a catalogue of errors all disproved in BP. He had read none of it and admitted it later in an interview. His map was so bad that Gillies Hill was south and not west of Coxet Hill. When you cannot even draw the modern map you know nothing. In this manner, newspapers publish papers by incompetents because they do not know any better who care only to flaunt themselves, careless of the truth which for them remains an undiscovered land in which they have yet to set foot. Finally, having read it at last because of criticism, they are unable to promote it without serious loss of face. So the truth which has been discovered does not get to the public because the mediocrities in charge of history who have no originality must conceal it to preserve their status.
In Santa Fέ in 1987, William was invited, and offered every assistance with all the papers, to write the biography of Philip Brooke, who would have been 4th Rajah of Sarawak. By that time, all the history of that country and its surroundings had been studied by William down to the naval dispatches of the time in the Rajah's library in Kuching and a research paper on Sarwawak, Sabah and The Philippines published. This offer was declined. Though it would have taken only a month or two, a novel was being written: the greatest creative challenge always comes first. The Bute Witches was written to answer a few questions: Why were 6 women burnt for witchcraft in Bute in 1662 and 1673? Who was responsible? And why did one escape and, returning 12 years later, then was burnt? All these were answered. Every relevant history paper was printed in the book. A reconstruction in the form of a narrative by the principal characters was the outcome, every part of it closely connected to the papers, especially the pre-trial confessions of the witches, The Inverary Document, so named by William. This had not been made use of before. Many readers have understood this. The few historians who had something to lose by it were not among them. Insight is a quality best inculcated in subjects which depend on it such as mathematics, science, philosophy and psychology. Most of them never saw a proof of anything nor ever tried to make one. How could they prove anything, with that sort of training! Or understand the proofs of those who deal in nothing else? Yet most ordinary folk can understand them so historians' failure is due to indoctrination, arrogance and prejudice, mostly, and subservience to perceived authorities because they have titles. That is a fundamental defect of the history community: correcting their mistakes is not done. They bury anyone who does.
'A Bute Crucifixion' is about the conflict between a minister in a small community and a local businessman, manipulator: how is goodness defeated? As it often is. Is there a God? Is a question of immense interest herein. 'How is poetry written? What does the education of a young genius feel like to those around her? The many characters here are interesting. There is no happy ending. 'Honour Killing in Argyll & Bute' is a novel about two young people from a local and an immigrant Muslim community who are drawn together by their intelligence and education with alarming but illuminating consequences for the current problems of our time. 'Bruce's Genius Battle' is a reconstruction of the battle and the training beforehand, in the person of one of the soldiers, based on all the research. 'Bannockburn: The Poem' is a half hour read which gives all the main aspects of the battle in verse. Both of these have maps and proofs of important matters.
William likes films, newspapers, puzzles, classical music (detests noise), takes a mild interest in rugby and cricket and exercises regularly in gym and pool. He has published hundreds of letters in newspapers. Like most writers he suffers from a dearth of good conversation. He swam a 25 yard length aged 10 in 18 seconds. In Dublin, aged 65, in an old 25 yard pool he swam a 25 yard length in 17 seconds. Today, ten years on, he swam a 25 metre length in about 20 seconds. He is a practising Christian, a pilgrim of long standing, but without the beliefs necessary for full membership. He attended St Giles, under Gilleasbuig then, for many years, from Bute or Pitlochry, and has attended eight conferences on theology, the latest in 2019.