| Jan 10, 2024 | Uncategorized | |      

The phrase is still used today in Scotland and elsewhere, sometimes with a humorous or ironic tone, to express solidarity, diversity, or identity.  

The phrase “Jock Tamson’s bairns” is a Scots expression that means “we’re all the same” or “we’re all God’s children”. It is used to convey a sense of equality, fellowship, or common humanity. 

The origin of the phrase is uncertain. The earliest reference quoted in the Dictionary of the Scots Language is from 1847, where it describes the phrase as “an expression of mutual good fellowship very frequently heard in Scotland.” 

One possible source is the Reverend John Thomson, minister of Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh, from 1805 to 1840. He was a popular and respected pastor who called his congregation “ma bairns” (my children). His nickname was Jock Tamson, and people outside his church would say “we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns” to show their admiration or affiliation. 

Another possible source is John Thompson, an innkeeper and smuggler in Montrose, who lived in the late 18th and early 19th century. He had a large family and many associates who were involved in illegal activities. His daughter would tell the authorities that “there’s nobody here, we’re all Jock Thompson’s bairns” to hide the fugitives in the house. The phrase became a way of identifying smugglers, poachers, and outlaws, and later, by extension, all Scots. 

Source(s)  

  1. Jock Tamson’s bairns – Wikipedia
  2. In Scotland, it is common to hear the phrase, “We”re all Jock Tamson …
  3. Jock Tamson’s Bairns – Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
  4. Jock Tamson’s bairns – WikiMili, The Best Wikipedia Reader
  5. http://www.leopardmag.co.uk/feats/tamson.html
  6. https://wikimili.com/en/Jock_Tamson
  7. en.wikipedia.org