Dugald Semple, Scottish Apostle of Simple Living

by Roger Griffith
  • The old dwelling house at Davie's o'the Mill
  • An old outhouse at Davie's o'the Mill

Dugald Semple was born in 1884 and died in Edinburgh in 1964, aged 79. He was a Scottish advocate of 'simple living', a naturalist, prolific author, and fruitarian. He thought that he would live until at least 120 and believed that it wasn't old age that killed people, they died from their own 'knives and forks'.

He lived in the now ruined Davie's o'the Mill Farm near Mill o'Beith from 1930 to circa 1950, however he is said to have given up living in houses in 1907 and dwelt in an army style tent or caravan instead. Dugald preached self-responsibility and care for others. He was known locally as the 'Bird Man' being a naturalist and was an enthusiast for outdoor living. He welcomed walkers and cyclists who often camped on his land.

He began by cutting out not only all meat or flesh foods, but also milk, cheese, eggs, butter, condiments, tea and coffee. He then adopted a fruitarian diet of uncooked nuts, fruit, cereals and vegetables, living on this diet for some ten years, and found that his health and strength were greatly improved. He never tasted cheese and in 1912 Dugald stated that milk and eggs were not natural foods for man, saying that "Eggs were meant to produce chickens and not omelettes; and cow's milk is a perfect food for a calf, but most assuredly not for a grown-up human being." He advised the Government in WWI on dietary substitutes for meat.

Dugald served as the President of the Scottish Vegetarian Society, Vice-President of the Vegetarian Society, Chairman of the Vegan Society and Vice-president of the International Vegetarian Union. He lectured on his beliefs and way of life in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, spoke at World Vegetarian Conferences in India, Norway, and Paris and regularly spoke on the radio..

Dugald was fond of quoting Robert Burns, appealing for a more widespread appreciation of the real values in life - more sunshine for the body, more love for the soul, peace for every living creature the world over.

His published books include 'Joys of the simple life', 'A free man's philosophy', 'Be Your Own Doctor Natural Cures for Common Ailments', 'Joy in Living', 'The Sunfood Way to Health', and 'Be Your Own Doctor: Natural Cures for Common Ailments'.


Roger Griffith says

Donald L Reid and myself took Dr Steven Sutcliffe of Edinburgh University down to find Davie's of the Mill and had a pleasant adventure and discussion about Dugald. Eventually a book may be written about this eccentric and inovative character.

Have your say...

Add your own comment

Add

You need to be logged in to add memories & pictures. If you haven't already, it's quick & easy to Sign up.

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with. If you have forgotten your password we can send you a reminder.

Sign In
  1. Forgotten Password?

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with.

Password reminder
  1. If you have forgotten your password, simply enter the email address associated with your account below and we will send you a link to reset it.

    Please note for security reasons the link will expire within 1 hour. After that you will need to request another link.

  2. <<Return to Login

Your sign in details have been retrieved and an email is on its way to you!

<<Return to Login

Contribute
  1. By posting on s1beith youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy. Your email address wonít be displayed to the public.

  1. Here's your chance to make sure your contribution is exactly as you'd like it.

  2. Your photos will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your photos and video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

  3. By clicking 'send it' youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy.

Memories, Nostalgia & History

History doesn't have to be in black & white

Your memory of a local character or a school photo from the last ten years can be just as interesting as wars and Victorians.

Add

You need to be logged in to add memories & pictures. If you haven't already, it's quick & easy to Sign up.

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with. If you have forgotten your password we can send you a reminder.

Sign In
  1. Forgotten Password?

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with.

Password reminder
  1. If you have forgotten your password, simply enter the email address associated with your account below and we will send you a link to reset it.

    Please note for security reasons the link will expire within 1 hour. After that you will need to request another link.

  2. <<Return to Login

Your sign in details have been retrieved and an email is on its way to you!

<<Return to Login

Contribute
  1. Write as much or as little as you like. Sometimes just a picture says it all, although please give enough detail for people to know what it is.

    Posting Tips
  2. If your contribution is about a specific location, please enter the nearest postcode (if known)

  1. Here's your chance to make sure your contribution is exactly as you'd like it.

  2. Your photos will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your photos and video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

  3. By clicking 'send it' youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy.

More beith Memories

Want a site like this for your community? Suggest a new location
© Herald & Times Group. All rights reserved.
Contact us | Terms of use | Privacy policy | How we use Cookies | Newsquest Media Group