Langholm, the traditional seat of Clan Armstrong, presented the spaceman with an extraordinary honor, which he accepted. Onlookers gathered in awe to see the greatest hero in space exploration strolling through their cobblestone streets. But did you know there is a peculiar law in Langholm, Scotland?
Neil Armstrong visited the Scottish town of Langholm in 1972. In which he was read a 400-year-old law that stated any Armstrong caught in town would be hanged.
The Moon Man’s Connection to the Scottish Town
Eddie Armstrong, the clerk of Langholm, invited astronaut Neil Armstrong to become the Dumfries and Galloway town’s first and only Freeman in the early 1970s, shortly after the first moon landing.
To the surprise of the town’s residents, the spaceman accepted and paid a personal visit to the Muckle Toon in 1972 to receive the honor.
The media flocked to Langholm, which has a population of just under 2,500 people from all over the world, and Americans continued to visit for years after to trace their ancestors.
Langholm was teeming with anticipation for Neil Armstrong’s arrival. The streets were festooned with bunting, and a local piper had composed a new song called Commander Neil Armstrong’s Moonstep. People took to the streets to wave and cheer as the American astronaut arrived.
Everyone in town wanted to attend the ceremony, but the parish church was too small to accommodate the crowds, and people spilled out onto the streets.
The catering had to be done by a company from Edinburgh because the job was too large for any Langholm-based company.
Neil Armstrong was welcomed into the church by an organ playing See The Conquering Hero Come, and a scroll was presented to him in a carving of Clan Armstrong’s home, Gilnockie Tower, made by a local craftsman.
The most difficult place to be recognised is in one’s home town. And I consider this now my home town.Neil Armstrong, NASA Astronaut
Every year, Langholm hosts a series of events to commemorate the life of Neil Armstrong, who died on August 25, 2012, at 82. Neil Armstrong Week will be held at the Buccleuch Centre in Langholm from July 16 to 21. (Source:Common Place Facts)
The 400-Year Law
When Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, he immediately became a celebrity and was welcomed almost everywhere on the planet. He had to overcome a 400-year-old law before he could be welcomed in his ancestral home in Scotland, much to his surprise, and alarm.
Armstrong paid a visit to Langholm, Scotland, the seat of Clan Armstrong, in 1972. Locals were eager to welcome the hero, and they were overjoyed when he declared the town to be his permanent residence.
The justice of the peace was one person who wanted to greet Armstrong, but there was one small problem. He was required to hang any Armstrong found in town under a 400-year-old law that was still officially on the books.
The astronaut, known for his steely nerves in the most trying of situations, was caught off guard. The justice of the peace read from the law, which arose from James VI’s efforts to reduce border violence. James (known in Scotland as James VI and in England as James I) was the first Scot to sit on the English throne, and he was well aware of the Clan Armstrong’s reputation.
Fortunately, there was no indication that the justice of the peace intended to carry out the 400-year-old commandment. Instead, he was given the opportunity to become the town’s first and only Freeman, the rough equivalent of being given the keys to the city. (Source:Common Place Facts)
Image from Scotsman