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The Brimses of Brims

The book, 'The Brimses of Brims', that is in my families possession is a copy of the original. My Great Grandfather William Brims wrote it about 1910. As far as I know, it was not published commercially but a few copies distributed around the family.

The original (copy) that we have, has been well read over the years and is becoming worn, plus the quality of the carbon copy was never good and so it was quite difficult to read. I decided in 1986 to retype the book so that future generations of Brims' would be able to enjoy it. Back then it was a lengthy task on an old typewriter, in the late '80s my father had a decent computer so I laboriously re typed it for the second time. This was a busy period in my life, and I never completed the task.

By the time I came to resume the job, computer technology had progressed so far that I had to transfer the files into MSWord format and I lost some of the information and one whole file. Ho hum, by the time I finished I had copied it out about three times!

In the year 2000, my brothers and I arranged for the original copy of The Brimses of Brims to be recovered and rebound for my fathers birthday. It is now as good as new and ready for the Brimses in the future.

The photograph on the left was probably taken about 1873, the boy is William Brims, born 1866 (my great grandfather) who wrote the book, the man is his father, Charles Brims, born 1826, and the elderly man is Charles Brims snr, born 1790.

Family legend has it that William actually went broke because of his relentless pursuit of our family history.

William Brims wrote his book in the form of a letter to "My dear Nephew Charlie", it is informal, often mentioning family members and events of the day. It is also a dedicated account of the history of the Brimses that must have taken him years to compile.


The book is in roughly three sections:

  • The first a letter to his nephew Charlie, answering his earlier question 'Who were the Brimses?'
  • The second, an account of his own holidays in Thurso, including hunting and fishing which seem quite old fashioned today and
  • Thirdly lists and lists of births/marriages and deaths copied from parish registers. (This part is not recreated in the download below)

The Port of Brims in 1910
This picture of the Port of Brims, taken some time before 1910, appeared in the original copy of Brimses of Brims.

This picture of the same spot was taken in 1985.

William deduced that the Brimses are descendants of the Vikings that invaded Scotland in older times. He quotes other headlands that are known to be named after Vikings and says:

"This gives colour to the notion that the promontory which bears our family name may have been called after some invincible invader from Norrland Shore"

However one of the myths I relate gives the indication that we are related to the native Celts instead.

Sketch of Brims CastleWilliam is incredibly romantic in his vision of the past, discussing the current Castle at Brims :

"....the supposition does not preclude the likelihood that on the same site there stood a castle that was of an older day by far and that within its walls some ancient Brims, his family and dependants, held high revelry and quaffed the mead in true sea rover fashion."

The book is now an historical document in its own right. William talks of the 'futurists' and hopes that no Brimses will join them (they were 'down on all things old'). He urges Charlie to come and visit Brims for himself and hopes that in the future Brimses will visit in 'ships aerial' (aeroplanes presumably).

Again urging Charlie to visit , he says:

"Are you aware that there are people there who will welcome you to Thurso, because of your Grandfather Charlie Brims and your Grandmother Curstie Oman. Folks will welcome you home, Yes "Home!". Poor they may be but warm is their welcome. Won't you put on an old suit and risk it some day?"

When I first visited Thurso in 1985, an old man, upon hearing my name was Brims, said "So you've come home!"

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