Thinking Scotland? Think donuts! Join Moe’s Donuts on Saturday, July 16 in Look Park for the 23rd Annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival! Bring the family and friends for a day of fun, music and sport – and of course, a variety of tasty treats including our indescribable signature donuts!
Now we know what you’re saying: “What exactly is the connection between poaching in the King’s Forest, Rob Roy, a 19th century New England ship’s captain, the hole in the donut and that dapper guy slinging batter under the Moe’s Donuts tent?” Read on as we connect the dots that bring clarity to this murky bit of donut history.
The Clan Gregor
The Clan Gregor were descended from the ancient Celtic royal family through the hereditary Abbots of Glendochart, a descent which is proclaimed in the motto, ‘S Rioghal Mo Dhream translated as “Royal is my Race.” Tradition holds that Gregor was the son of Kenneth MacAlpin, however he may have been Griogair, son of Dungal, who is said to have been a co-ruler of Alba, the kingdom north of Central Scotland, between AD 879 and 889. In 1589 John Drummond, the King’s forester, was murdered after hanging some MacGregors for poaching. The Chief, Alasdair MacGregor of Glenstrae, took responsibility for the act and was condemned by the Privy Council. King James VI, issued an edict proclaiming the name MacGregor “altogidder abolished,” meaning that those who bore the name must renounce it or suffer death. A translation of the Scottish Parliament in 1617 doesn’t pull any punches:
It was ordained that the name of MacGregor should be abolished and that the whole persons of that name should renounce their name and take some other name and that they nor none of their name and that they nor none of their posterity should call themselves Gregor or MacGregor under pain of death …. that any person or persons of the said clan who has already renounced their names or hereafter shall renounce their names or if any of their children or posterity shall at any time hereafter assume or take to themselves the name of Gregor or MacGregor …. that every such person or persons assuming or taking to themselves the said name …. shall incurr the pain of death which pain shall be executed upon them without favour.
The Legend of Rob Roy
Robert Roy MacGregor, (March 7, 1671 – December 28, 1734) more commonly known as just “Rob Roy”, was a famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century. Having been forced to take his mother’s name “Campbell”, Rob Roy was a humble cattleman until times turned and he engaged in years of plundering and looting and being a general pain in the backside of the government. He died in 1734, and in 1774 the proscription against the Clan Gregor was repealed. The name of MacGregor, Gregory and other variations could now be borne without pain of death.
Captain Hanson Gregory and the Stormy Seas
Although “donut anthropology” is not an exact science, history tells us that in the mid 1800’s donuts did not exist in the form of which we are accustomed. Rather, they were slabs, balls or discs of various blobs of fried breads and dough. Clan Gregor descendant and New Englander Elizabeth Gregory used cinnamon and other spices from her son Hanson’s merchant ship to create an incredible fried dough that he would then take on his voyages. Since Elizabeth was concerned about the dough not cooking all the way through, she would pack the center with nuts…”dough-nuts”! We see what you did there, Elizabeth. Anyhow, it seems that Hanson one-upped his Mom and although details tend to be sketchy, Captain Gregory devised an ingenious plan to keep his Mom’s pastries from cooking through, not scattering and also be able to keep his hands on the ship’s wheel during storms – he used a tin pepper box lid to cut a hole in the middle of the “dough-nut”, a functional alteration that defines the donut to this day.
The Moe’s Donuts Connection
So now we have gone from the clan Gregor to persecution, rebellion, survival and the innovations of an intrepid sailor in the mid-1800’s. A short 150 years or so later, you find yourself drawn by the aroma of a fresh-cooked cider donut to an unassuming canopy at a local fair, where Moe is ready to set you up with some of these incredible treats. As she puts your order together take a look back at the guy out back cooking and there you have the son of Dorcas MacGregory. We are proud of our heritage and even more proud to offer our customers a donut that represents this noble history.