From roots in Saxon England and the French provinces of Anjou and Normandy, the Simpsons found themselves at the forefront of Scotland’s bitter Wars of Independence with England and later rallied to the doomed cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
In the Borders, a family of Simpsons gained a fearsome reputation as lawless raiders, while in the distant north they forged a kinship with the clansmen.
In more peaceful times and pursuing a more constructive pursuit, Sir James Young Simpson, born in 1811, was the Scottish surgeon who pioneered the use of anaesthetics. This was 1847, when he became the first to apply ether as an anaesthetic to reduce the pain of childbirth.
After experimenting with ether, he discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform, the use of which became hugely popular after he administered it to Queen Victoria during the delivery of Prince Leopold in 1853.
Chronicled here is the inspiring tale of the Simpsons.