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Message In A Bottle Found In Scotland Is One Of Oldest Ever Discovered

This is an exceptionally old message in a bottle – perhaps the oldest ever found.

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockNov 21 2022, 16:26 UTC
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A glass bottle with a message in it found another a floorboard.
It's thought the note was discovered under what would have been a maid's room when the house was first built. Image courtesy of Peter Allen.

A 135-year-old message was recently found beneath the floorboards of a house in Scotland. Although the note did not disclose the location of any rare treasure, nor any words of wisdom from Sting, it did contain a funny message from two (definitely not drunk) Victorians. 

The whiskey bottle and note were recently discovered by Paul Allan, owner of the WF Wightman Plumbing company, while carrying out some work at a house in the Morningside area of Edinburgh, as first reported by BBC Scotland.

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Amazed by his chance discovery, Allan rushed downstairs to tell the owner of the house, Eilidh Stimpson. She decided to wait until her two kids returned home from school before smashing open the bottle with a hammer to reveal the note itself.

“We were desperately trying to get the note out with tweezers and pliers, but it started to rip a little bit. We didn't want to damage it further, so regrettably had to smash the bottle," Stimpson, the mum-of-two doctor, told Edinburgh Live.

They unraveled the ripped sheet of paper that was covered in scrawled handwriting, which read: "James Ritchie and John Grieve laid this floor, but they did not drink the whisky. October 6th 1887.”

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"Whoever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road."

Allan suspects the note was discovered under what would have been a maid's room when the house was first built, but little else is known about the identity of the note’s authors. 

At 135 years old, this is an exceptionally old message in a bottle – perhaps the oldest ever found. 

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Prior to this discovery, the record holder was a 132-year-old bottle found in Australia. In 2018, the bottle was found by a family walking along the beach in West Australia. It turned out, the bottle was a genuine Dutch gin bottle from the late 19th century. Inside they found a rolled-up note written in German, explaining that it had been dropped off by a boat around 950 kilometers (590 miles) from the coast in the Indian Ocean. Most incredible of all, the note was dated June 12, 1886.

If this recent find in Scotland is authentic and dated accurately, however, then it could steal the title for the world's oldest message in a bottle. 


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  • tag
  • history,

  • Scotland,

  • message in a bottle,

  • Victorian era

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