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John oʹGroat


with his two brothers Malcolm and Gavin, came from Holland in the reign of James IV. of Scotland, and purchased the lands of Warse and Dungisbay. In process of time their families increased, and there came to be eight families of the same name. They lived together amicably, and met once a year in the original house; but on one occasion a question of precedency arose, who was to, go out first, and who was to take the head of the table. John Groat promised them the next time they came he would contrive to satisfy them all. Accordingly he built an eightsided room, with a door and window in each side, and placed a round oak table in the room. This building went ever after with the name of John Groat’s House. The site of this house is the Berubium of Ptolemy, in the vicinity of Duncansby Head.


Hear, land oʹcakes and brither Scots,

Frae Maidenkirk to Johnny Groat’s …

A chield’s amang you takinʹ notes,

And, faith, heʹll prent it.”

Burns: Captain Grose.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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John Company
John Doe
John Dory
John Dory
John Long
John Roberts (A)
John Thomas
John Drum’s Entertainment
John in the Wad
John of Bruges
John oGroat
John of Hexham
John of Leyden (the prophet)
John the Almoner
John the Baptist
John Tamson’s Man
John with the Leaden Sword
Johnny Crapaud
Johnny Raw
Johnson (Dr. Samuel)