Around the 20th August (date t.b.c.) representatives from the Slovak Embassy in London will be visiting Abernethy to mark 140 years since the birth of Robert W. Seton-Watson whom they, and others in that part of Europe, hold in high regard. Their visit will be more widely advertised nearer the time.
Robert’s family lived in Ayton House, Aberargie, and he is buried in the walled compound of Abernethy cemetery.
He was a distinguished historian, politician and writer, and he campaigned vigorously for the self-determination of ethnic groups long subjugated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, he was thanked for his efforts on their behalf by the delegates from Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia after the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, although he was considerably less popular with the major powers (UK included) whom he described as the ‘pygmies of Paris’. Later, too, he opposed Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler, as Czechoslovakia was sacrificed. Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1993.
R. W. Seton-Watson died in 1951 on Skye.
More information, including an image of Robert on a postage stamp, is available in the Museum of Abernethy. Just another prominent individual connected to the village!