In 1507, there was a genuine wave of excitement as a small crowd, including King James IV and his court, gathered outside Stirling Castle.
They were here to witness the ‘Birdman of Stirling Castle’, Father John Damian, attempt to ‘fly’ from the battlements. Damian then appeared upon the castle walls, flourishing ‘wings’ made of feathers, before proceeding to throw himself skyward. The crowd gasped as he plummeted to the ground, uncertain whether to mourn his demise or marvel at his daftness.
Luckily, the ‘Birdman’ did not die and only managed to break his thigh bone. When asked how he had failed, Damian promptly blamed the feathers he had used for his wings (wings apparently based upon Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs); he had use hens’ feathers instead of the recommended eagle feathers, and exclaimed that he had realised too late that chickens are creatures who ‘covet the middens and not the sky’.