David Wedderburn (writer)

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David Wedderburn (c.1580 – 23 October 1646) was a writer, and schoolmaster at Aberdeen Grammar School. Though his date of birth is not known, he was baptised on 2 January 1580, and was educated in Aberdeen.

In April 1602 he started working at Aberdeen Grammar School. He had a number of publications, including his 1633 work Institutiones grammaticae; and Vocabula, first published in 1636.[1] He died in Aberdeen.


This was a Latin grammar, using sporting exemplars to help teach Latin.

The golf section was titled Baculus, a stick. Wedderburn believed that this was the derivation of the term golf as meaning 'club'. There were a number of other golf terms including the first clear mention of the golf hole.[2]

Vocabula is also notable for an early reference to schoolboy football and contains a sentence to "keep goal". The account was first published in 1938 by Francis Peabody Magoun, an American historian. Magoun gives the original Latin text (see later) and his English translation:

"Let us choose sides pick your man first Those on our side come here How many are against us? Kick out the ball so that we may begin the game Come, kick it here You keep the goal Snatch the ball from that fellow if you can Come, throw yourself against him Run at him Kick the ball back Well done. You aren't doing anything To make a goal This is the first goal, this the second, this the third Drive that man back The opponents are, moreover, coming out on top, If you don't look out, he will make a goal Unless we play better, we'll be done for Ah, victory is in your hands Ha, hurrah. He is a very skilled ball player Had it not been for him, we should have brought back the victory Come, help me. We still have the better chance"

(The original Latin cited with minor corrections by Magoun (1938): Sortiamur partes; tu primum socium dilige; Qui sunt nostrarum partium huc se recipient; Quot nobis adversantur; Excute pilam ut ineamus certamen; Age, huc percute; Tu tuere metum; Praeripe illi pilam si possis agere; Age objice te illi; Occurre illi; Repercute pilam; Egregie. Nihil agis; Transmittere metum pila; Hic primus est transmissus. Hic secundus, hic tertius est transmissus; Repelle eum, alioqui, adversarii evadunt superiores; Nisi cavesjam occupabit metam; Ni melius a nobis ludatur, de nobis actum est. Eia penes vos victoria est; Io triumphe. Est pilae doctissimus; Asque eo fuisset, reportassimus victoriam; Age, subservi mihi; Adhuc potiores habemus, scilicet partes)


  1. ^ "Wedderburn, David", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ "Origin and meaning of the word "golf"". Scottish Golf History. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-03-05.