CHRONICLES of STRATHEARN
COVER DESIGNED BY
A. L. RANKIN
PUBLISHED BY DAVID PHILIPS
[Transcriber's note: the errata below has been applied to this etext.]
The arched stone (Forteviot) does not appear, p. 77 having, through inadvertence, been printed off without allowing space for it.
In note at the foot of p. 89, "scallop-shel" should be scallop-shell."
In note at the foot of page 90, "1896" should be "1890."
INTRODUCTION By Rev. JOHN HUNTER, M.A., Crieff.
CELTIC SAINTS AND ANCIENT CHURCHES OF STRATHEARN By Rev. JAMES RANKIN, D.D., Muthill.
NEAR THE PICTISH CAPITAL By Rev. P. THOMSON, B.D., Dunning.
THE HISTORIC PRESBYTERY OF AUCHTERARDER By Rev. G. D. MACNAUGHTAN, B.D., Ardoch.
MEMORIES OF GASK By Rev. JAMES MARTIN, Gask.
AT THE HEAD OF STRATHEARN By Rev. JOHN MACPHERSON, Comrie.
ON THE BANKS OF THE DEVON By Rev. E. B. SPEIRS, B.D., Glendevon.
BY THE WELL OF ST. FILLAN By Rev. THOMAS ARMSTRONG, Dundurn.
THE PLAIN OF THE BARDS By Rev. A. GORDON, M.A., Monzievaird.
BETWEEN STRATHALLAN AND STRATHEARN By Rev. J. MACGIBBON, B.D., Blackford.
THE ABBEY OF INCHAFFRAY By Rev. JAMES BROWN, M.A., Maderty.
A SOUTHERN OUTPOST ON THE EDGE OF THE HIGHLANDS By Rev. HUGH M. JAMIESON, Monzie.
THE CASTLE, BARONY, AND SHERIFFDOM OF AUCHTERARDER By A. G. REID, F.S.A., Scot., Auchterarder.
AT THE GATE OF THE HIGHLANDS By Rev. JOHN HUNTER, M.A., Crieff.
GATEWAY, FOULIS CHURCH
[Transcriber's note: The illustration captions below were those in the source book. The captions above match the actual illustrations.]
AULD HOUSE OF GASK
CHURCH GATE AT FOULIS
This book has been written in connection with a Bazaar held in Crieff in the month of August, 1896, for the better endowment of the Parishes of ARDOCH, CRIEFF WEST, GLENDEVON, and MONZIE. The Editorial Committee venture to hope that the contents will be of some interest to the dwellers in Strathearn, especially those within the bounds of the Presbytery of Auchterarder. The warm thanks of the promoters of the Bazaar are due to the ladies and gentlemen who composed the various Committees. To them, as representing many hearty sympathisers and willing workers, the "CHRONICLES OF STRATHEARN" is respectfully dedicated.
In name of the Editorial Committee,
JOHN HUNTER, M.A., CRIEFF. HUGH M. JAMIESON, MONZIE.
THE OPENING UP OF STRATHEARN
By Rev. JOHN HUNTER, M.A., Crieff
Quite recently it was said to me by a man who had been holiday-making in Switzerland, that he greatly missed the Alps in every home landscape. The remark was made on the Knock of Crieff, one beautiful afternoon in the late autumn, when the sun was setting and the after-glow lay like a purple semi-transparent mist all along Glenartney from Ben Ledi to Comrie. I felt rich enough in the enjoyment of the surpassing loveliness of our own Strath to say "Laich in"—(I would not hurt any person's feelings for the world)—"Plague take your Alps, with their sky-scraping ridges and peaks and winding sheets of snow,—we don't want them here; they would simply spoil a scene like that before us." I don't know, and may never know, the meaning my companion read into my silence. Having shortly before made the frank confession that I had never seen the Alps, he may have intended to excite envious feelings within me, and imagined he had succeeded. But I can deny the fact with a good conscience, and until some benevolent person shall give me the opportunity of making a comparison between home and foreign landscapes, I shall continue to assert—happy in my ignorance, it may be, but still happy—that there is no fairer prospect upon earth than the Strath of Earn from the Knock of Crieff. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."
Let me adventure to describe it. Right opposite to the south-west is Turleum—rising to the height of 1300 feet—the highest hill in Scotland wooded to the top, as our local boast was—shorn of its beauty somewhat in recent years, but, although bare, still picturesque enough with its comb of sturdy fir-trees, survivors from the destructive gale of November, 1893. To the right of it, and running due west, is the pass into the misty hill country by Comrie and St Fillans—the glen of Bonnie Kilmeny and Dunira. Midway between us and the mouth of the pass is a miniature Turleum—Tomachastel to wit, the site of the old Castle of the Earn, famous in the days when the Celtic Earls of Strathearn were a power in the land. Lovers of the old ways were these proud and wily Earls—fiercely impatient of the incoming Saxon customs which found favour at the Court of Malcolm Canmore and his sons—genuinely pious men, too, in some instances—(did not Earl Gilbert found or endow Inchaffray, so that masses might be said for his soul?)—of a keen courage as with Earl Malise, who at the Battle of the Standard dared his mail-clad fellows—the barons of King David—to show themselves a single foot in advance of his naked breast. Right worthy and most noble men they were in their noblest—they were not all so—cherishers of the national spirit in the dreary times that followed upon the death of Alexander III. at Kinghorn, like the one who gave a fair daughter of the house and land in tocher to the son of Sir Andrew Moray, patriot and friend of Wallace, in whom the Morays of Abercairny find their origin. Such were the men; and over there on Tomachastel was their home—a place famous then, and very noticeable still, with its gleaming memorial obelisk to "oor Davie" of Ferntower, the hardy soldier who overcame the fierce Tippoo Sahib at Seringapatam. Beyond lie the Aberuchill Hills, with the flat pyramidal face of Ben Voirlich filling up a gap, and sending its roots, on one side, down into "lone Glenartney's hazel shade," and, on the other, into Loch Earn—sixteen miles away. Further off, and only to be seen on rare days, when the sun's rays are dancing to be dry after rain, are sturdy, broad-shouldered Benmore, and slender, graceful Binnein, the twin guardians of the enchanted region beyond, where Beauty lies in the lap of Terror, and the Atlantic surf sings lullaby. There are the Monzievaird hills to the right, rising in Benchonzie to the height of 3048 feet, and to something under this figure in the Cairngorm or Blue Craig, upon which you see the stone-heap of Cainnechin—memorial, as it is said, of a battle fought within what are now the policies of Ochtertyre, and as the result of which Malcolm II. came to the throne of Scotia, having defeated and slain his rival Kenneth Duff or Don—Kenneth, the swarthy—"at a place where two valleys meet." Many battles have been fought out in the Strath, for it must always have been a rich prize; but this one has a special historical interest, inasmuch as it connects us with one of the great tragedies in our annals, in which the genius of Shakespeare found material for one of his masterly delineations of the strange workings of human passion. It is said that Fraoch, wife of Macbeth Maormor of Moray, had a good claim to the throne as the grand-daughter of this Kenneth Duff, and, prompted by ambition and revenge, instigated her husband to the murder of his Sovereign and guest—the gracious Duncan, grandson of Malcolm II., at Bothgowan, near Elgin. Loch Turret lies in the gorge that separates Benchonrie from the Blue Craig. It is likely enough that the descendants of the wild fowl that Robert Burns scared on the occasion of his visit to Ochtertyre still nest and pair in the solitude.
To the left of Turleum is a wider expanse, that carries the eye to the Moor of Orchill, which overlooks the plain of Ardoch—the Lindum of the Romans—traditional scene of the battle of Mons Grampus. Some miles away Stirling finds shelter under its rock,—not visible to us, however, where we stand, and only audible across the intervening twenty-two miles when birthday and other honours are paid to Royalty.
The Ochil range—memorial of fierce volcanic action when the lower old red sandstone was being deposited in the inland lake which stretched from east to west across the Lowlands of Scotland, and away southward without a break to the southern uplands, close to the border of England;—this Ochil range, which means high ground, as Glenogle means high glen, bounds our view to the south-east. It has no towering peaks, but Bencleuch and its neighbour, King Seat, command magnificent panoramic views to north and south from an elevation of 2000 feet. The gap before us is Gleneagles,—Glen-eccles—Kirk glen—one of the passes into the Lowlands of Fife and Kinross, by which, it may be, Agricola found his way into Strathearn after the conquest of Fife. In the very heart of the Ochils its name changes from Gleneagles to Glendevon. Here again we are upon classic ground—in the vale of the clear winding Devon, which more than any other stream recalls Yarrow with its hills green to the top and its pastoral melancholy. And let me note the fact that here, too, is the tiniest and daintiest parish church in Scotland—the outpost of the Presbytery of Auchterarder in this direction.
Between us and the gap, but much nearer the gap, is a bit of rising ground, running eastward almost parallel with the Ochils, with a downward slope from west to east, upon which may be seen, if the atmosphere is clear, smoking chimneys and a faint ruddy hue, as if with the memory of tiles now discarded for the prosaic if more permanent roofing slate. That is the "lang toon" of Auchterarder, climbing up the slope somewhat after the fashion of the Canongate and High Street of Edinburgh, not so conspicuously or hurriedly, however, as if aware that there was no Castle Rock from which to view the fertile Strath below. An ancient place, truly, pedigreed, but by no means penniless, the Presbytery seat, famous in ecclesiastical annals for its creed, crotchets, and conflicts; resonant, too, in profane history for its fifty drawbridges—the gift of the imagination and pawky Scotch humour of George Buchanan, Latinist, publicist, and tutor to that high and mighty Prince, the British Solomon, James I. of England and VI. of Scotland. The drawbridges are no more, for the "lang toon" is a burgh now, with a douce Provost of its own, and Bailies, and such like novel things and persons. But this we cannot tell from our present standpoint, and we might easily persuade ourselves this afternoon that Auchterarder has suffered no sea change, were it not that every now and again the columns of our local newspaper foam under the rage of its municipal contendings.
In the far east, the Strath seems to be shut off by the Moncrieffe Hill—wooded still, as in the days when it was first named. But the Earn slips between this seeming obstacle and the spurs of the Ochils, making such haste as it can through carse-like land to join the lordly Tay hard by Abernethy—the ancient capital of the Southern Picts—the centre of missionary enterprise, when darkness was thick upon the land after Ninian had died at Whithorn, on the Solway, and before Columba had set foot upon Iona. The valley at our feet, the limits of which I have attempted to mark off, is Strathearn—a right noble expanse of fertile soil, richly wooded, abundantly watered, dotted over with villages and guardian Parish Churches, like that of Muthill; bright with Castles that have left their names in history, and with mansion-houses of hardly less fame, that gleam from among their ancestral trees—a Strath that may be fitly characterised as the Scottish Esdraelon, in which many things have happened, and many men have been well worthy of being held in remembrance.
I had intended in this paper to give an account of some early inroads into Strathearn, but the exigencies of space have determined for me that I can deal with only one—the earliest of all—the Roman invasion. I should have liked to have told the story of the invasion by Egfrid of Northumbria, which ended so disastrously for him at Nechtansmere—most likely Dunnichen, in Forfarshire, in the year 685 A.D., and of which it may well be that we have a solitary trace in the name Abercairny—plainly identical with Abercornig—Abercorn in the Lothians—where the Angles founded a monastery under Abbot Trumuini, who, being engaged in Strathearn advocating the adoption of the Roman in opposition to the prevalent Columban cult, had to beat a hasty retreat beyond the Forth when disaster came to Egfrid. The larger subject would have included also the invasion by Siward, Earl of Northumberland, in support of the claims of Prince Malcolm, afterwards Malcolm Canmore, in opposition to Macbeth, the usurper, as he is commonly, perhaps unfairly, called. The first stage of the inroad ended with an encounter at Tula Amon—at the junction of the Tay and the Almond, near Perth. The result was not decisive, for it would seem that for a little while Macbeth kept possession of the country north of the Forth, being especially strong in Fife, where he had powerful family connections and friends in the Culdee brotherhood at Lochleven, while Malcolm reigned in the Lothians. And a little later, in connection with the complications into which Malcolm was forced through his fortunate marriage with Margaret, sister of the Atheling, we have traces—somewhat indistinct, truly, but still historical—of an inroad by the grim conqueror of England—William, and of a meeting between him and Malcolm at Forteviot. All this might have proved instructive in detailed exposition, but I must content myself with this condensed reference. My subject is, therefore, the earliest historical inroad into Strathearn—the Roman inroad, which I have called, in the heading of this paper, the Opening Up of Strathearn.
Everybody knows that Julius Caesar set foot in Britain and conducted a campaign against the native tribes in 55-54 B.C. He made no permanent impression. But successive expeditions were sent out, and the tide of conquest flowed further and further east and west and north till it reached the Solway. The details of the conflict do not concern us here. But it would be unpardonable to omit mentioning Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, in the East, and of Caractacus, leader of the Silures, in the West, both of whom offered strenuous opposition to the Roman advance. The powerful tribe of the Brigantes, who possessed the country between the Humber and the Solway, made a stout defence in the North, but by the year 70 A.D. the Roman province was coterminous with the present southern boundary of Scotland. It was now that the Romans heard the name of a new tribe—the Caledonian Britons, who, according to report, lived upon fish and milk, clearly indicating a less advanced stage of civilisation than that of the tribes they had encountered hitherto. The unexplored territory in which they dwelt was vaguely called Thule. Tacitus, the historian, and son-in-law of Julius Agricola—the discoverer of Strathearn—imagined it to be an island formed by the meeting of the Firths of Forth and Clyde. But the time was now come when more accurate information was to be obtained concerning Caledonia and its inhabitants. Some external characteristics had been noted. The Caledonians were described as Caerulei, from the green colour with which they stained their bodies. It was also said that they fought with chariots like the Britons of the interior, whom Caesar heard of 125 years before.
Julius Agricola was the man who first brought the Caledonians within the ken of distinct history. He came to Britain in 78 A.D. His first campaign was on the Welsh border, his second in the territory of some outlying Brigantian tribes along the northern shores of the Solway. These were the Selgovae, who occupied what is now the county of Dumfries, and the Novantes further to the west in the modern counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigton. To the north of these lay the great nation of the Damnonii—of the same stock as those who occupied Devonshire in the south of England. They held extensive territories in the centre of Scotland, including the counties of Ayr, Lanark, Renfrew, south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, and, north of these estuaries, the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling and the districts of Menteith, Stratherne, and Forthreve, or the western half of the peninsula of Fife. They were the "novae gentes," or new nations, whose territories Agricola ravaged as far as the "Tavaus," or Tay, in his third campaign. They were somewhat civilised, having towns, of which we know the names of six—three lying south of and three north of the Firths. The chief of the southern towns was Coria—Carstairs, near Lanark, on the Clyde. North of the Forth there were Alauna, where the Allan joins the Forth; Lindum—that is Ardoch, at our own doors; and Victoria, in Fife, situated on a small lake. The lake has disappeared, but the name Lochore remains, and is otherwise famous than as a town of the Damnonii. The natural division line between the Selgovae, Novantes, and Damnonii was the hilly country which separates the waters that flow north from those that find their way into the Solway—the Ituna Aestuarium, as its name then was. Crossing this mountain barrier, Agricola struck into the valley of the Clyde, passed with his legions through Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire, then by the fords of the Forth and the Vale of the Allan into Strathearn, thence onward to the Tay. There was an alternative route. A fleet accompanied his movements. He might have crossed the Firth of Forth—the Bodotria Aestuarium—and penetrated through Fife to the Tay. But Tacitus usually mentions the crossing of estuaries, and he omits it in this case. Besides, he states that the natives on the north shore of the Forth were new to him in the fifth campaign.
It was, therefore, in the year 80 A.D., during his third campaign, that Agricola entered Strathearn by way of Alauna. He did not effect a permanent conquest. His operations rather resembled a reconnaisance in force. But he meant serious business. He planted forts in commanding situations, choosing so wisely, from a strategic point of view, that not one of them was ever taken or surrendered. They were placed so as to command the principal passes into the Highlands. They form a ring-fence round the territory hastily overrun by Agricola in this third campaign. Beginning in the west with Bochastle, at the Pass of Leny, near Callander, we come successively to Dalginross, at Comrie; Fendoch, at the mouth of the Sma' Glen; the camp at the junction of the Almond and the Tay; and, Ardargie, in the parish of Forgandenny, on the River May, commanding an extensive prospect of the Ochils, and along the course of the road from the Tay to the great camp at Ardoch. Here was evidently the base of operations, with accommodation, if need arose, for the entire Roman army in Scotland.
Having thus viewed the land and pegged out his claim by means of forts, Agricola returned to winter quarters. In the following summer—the summer of 81 A.D., he made no forward movement. But he was meditating a great enterprise—no less an enterprise than to penetrate beyond the Tay and break the power of the Caledonians in their remote fastnesses. It behoved him to be cautious, so he constructed the chain of forts which afterwards became the Wall of Antonine—from Borrowstonness, on the Forth, to Old Kilpatrick, on the Clyde. Meantime he was laying his plans with admirable foresight. He entrusted the forts in Strathearn to the courage of their slender garrisons, and the issue proved that he could do so safely. But there was unexplored territory westward and eastward. Nobody knew what dangers might be lurking there, ready to assail him in rear the moment he left the security of his fortified place. So we find him in the summer of 82 A.D., in Argyll and Kintyre, with a small force, not fighting so much, as simply exploring, at one point feasting his Roman eyes, greedy for conquest, upon the coast of Ireland, seen dimly in the distance, and perhaps scheming in his heart and head to add it also at a fitting time to the Roman domains.
Returning from the west country, Agricola entered upon the campaign of three years' duration, which issued in the Battle of Mons Grampus, the crowning glory of his arms in Scotland, and the immediate occasion of his recall. He chose the alternative route this time. From his chain of forts he could see the broad expanse of the Firth of Forth, the coast of Fife, the central Lomonds, and the distant hill-country, whose acquaintance he had already made. That distant point was the goal of his endeavour, and the shortest way to it was across the Firth of Forth, through the western division of Fife, and on by one of the Ochil passes—Glendevon, or some other further east into Strathearn. There was no time to lose. For, while he was engaged in the subjugation of Fife, the fleet, after exploring the harbours, had doubled the East Neuk, passed safely through St Andrews Bay, and entered the Firth of Tay. Its unexpected appearance caused the greatest consternation among the Caledonians. The immediate result was to greatly increase the peril in which the devoted garrisons in Strathearn stood. So great was their danger, and so well was it known, that there were those with Agricola who advised a retreat to the chain of forts between the Firths. But Agricola was not to be shaken in his resolve, which was to finally break the power of the tribes who dwelt to the north and east of the Grampians, and who, so long as they remained free and unchastised, were a standing menace to the Strath of the Earn and to the garrisons who held it at the hazard of their lives. He formed a camp to winter in at a place called Grassy Walls, on the east side of the Tay, near to Perth. But there was still time, before the winter set in, for a little exploration and a brush with the enemy to revive the courage of his soldiers, which had begun to droop a little. Advancing northward on the left bank of the river, Agricola reached the Isla, and not caring to cross it so late in the year, in the face of the enemy who were massed upon the Hill and Muir of Blair beyond, he diverged to the right, following the course of the Isla until he came to the place where Coupar Angus stands now. Here he paused. He had marched from Perth in three divisions to prevent surprise, and in this neighbourhood there are three positions marked by Roman remains that correspond with these divisions. The main force was stationed at Coupar Angus; the Ninth Legion at Lintrose, two miles south-east; a third small body at a place two miles south-west, overlooking the Tay, and guarding the passage. These details are important, as helping to determine the true site of the Battle of Mons Grampus. It may be taken for granted that the Roman General made good use of his opportunity to survey the ground upon which the decisive battle was fought. Before retiring to winter quarters at Grassy Walls, the Roman soldiers had a chance given them of testing the strength and valour of the Caledonians. The Ninth Legion was stationed at Lintrose, and here the enemy delivered their attack under cover of night. They had penetrated into the camp ere they were discovered, and it might have gone hard with the Legion if help had not been at hand. But the alarm quickly spread to where Agricola was stationed with the main body. On his arrival the Caledonians took to flight. With the first touch of winter the march southward was begun, and when the summer came the legionaries and the auxiliaries clamoured impatiently to be led northward to the final encounter.
The theory maintained in this paper regarding the last campaign of Agricola, and the site of the Battle of Mons Grampus was first broached in the Statistical Account of the parish of Bendochy, published in 1797. It has been since adopted by Skene in his classical work on Celtic Scotland, to which I desire in this place to acknowledge my great indebtedness. Other sites have been fixed upon, but there are none that can fairly be put in comparison with the neck of land at the junction of the Isla with the Tay. What may be called the traditional view of the site of the battle locates it at Ardoch, in the vicinity of the great camp. No doubt, good authorities can be quoted in favour of the correctness of the traditional view. But there are several reasons which render it highly improbable that the great battle was fought at Ardoch. The very name Mons Grampus implies the existence of some conspicuous eminence in the near neighbourhood. There is no such eminence near Ardoch. Further, we know that Agricola's scheme of operation embraced joint action on the part of the fleet and land forces. There could have been no such co-operation if the movement of the legions had been west of the Tay. And it is a fatal objection to the Ardoch site that there are not three stations corresponding to those which we have seen the three divisions of Agricola's force occupied on the night of the surprise. General Roy, indeed, has tried to turn the edge of this objection by placing the Ninth Legion at Dalginross, the main body under Agricola at Ardoch, and the other division at Strageath, overlooking and guarding the Earn. But it has been retorted upon him that Agricola could have made no worse disposition of his forces, from a strategic point of view, than to have stationed his weakest division at Comrie, nine miles distant from the main body, in the very heart of the enemy's country, close to the hills, from which they could rush down upon any favourable opportunity, and to which they could retreat in the event of a repulse.
Besides, help came from the main body in the course of a few hours—between night and morning. It would be a difficult task even now for a body of men to cover the ground between Ardoch and Comrie in the dead of night; and we must remember that in the time of Agricola the country was a pathless wild, rough with woods in the higher parts, and covered with treacherous morasses in the valleys. The Damnonii—within whose territories Ardoch, Comrie, and Strageath lay—were more highly civilised than the Caledonians beyond the Tay and the Grampian range. They had towns, as we have seen; they probably engaged to some extent in agriculture; their food did not altogether consist of fish, milk, and the produce of the chase. But their towns were few and far between, and the means of communication very imperfect. The native tribes were not road-makers, and the Romans had not been long enough in possession, nor had leisure been granted them to form the solid and straight lines of communication upon which, everywhere, their power was based. We have Roman roads in Strathearn, and I daresay a careful student of the district could walk every foot of the way from Ardoch to Perth along these roads—street-roads, they are called locally, as I discovered one night to my surprise on making inquiries as to the shortest route between the manses of Gask and Trinity-Gask. But these roads were not in existence when the Battle of Mons Grampus was fought. Much rough pioneering work had to be gone through ere it was possible to lay them down. Meantime, the respective positions of the Romans and Caledonians had changed somewhat. The tide of conquest did not remain at the high-water mark of Agricola's advance. The Roman garrisons were withdrawn from Strathearn and from Ardoch. The Wall of Hadrian, between the Solway and the Tyne, was substituted for the frontier chain of forts between the Forth and Clyde, and, in consequence, the native tribes kept pressing ever southward. Hadrian's Wall checked their progress, but their presence in ever-increasing numbers was a danger to the province. They had now come to be known as the Caledonii and the Meatae—the men of the hills and the men of the plains. At length the spirit of Rome revived in the Emperor Severus, who determined to revisit the scene of Agricola's early conquests. He came to Britain in 208 A.D., fully one hundred and twenty years after the Battle of Mons Grampus had been fought and won. He moved slowly, but did his work effectively. It was a costly process both in treasure and human life; but, from the point of view of permanent conquest, it was well done. Roads were formed, bridges built, and the habits of civilisation introduced into the wilds of Strathearn, and far away in the North. For, marching by way of Forfar, Kincardine, and Aberdeen, Severus reached the Moray Firth, and got from the Caledonians a cession of land to the north of the Tay. It has been conjectured that he returned south by way of Fortingall and Fendoch and Ardoch, where are Roman remains of a peculiar kind, of which no more satisfactory explanation can be given than that they mark the sites of his stations. Severus was borne on a litter in his northward march, frail and aged. He accomplished his purpose, but the undertaking was greater than his strength had warranted. He died at York in 211 A.D.
But to return to Agricola—to whom the honour belongs of opening up Strathearn. He had gone into winter quarters near Perth, after his autumn expedition to the Isla. All hesitation had vanished from the minds of his soldiers. They were impatient to try conclusions with the barbarian Caledonians; and so soon as the season permitted, the camp was broken up. They retraced their steps to the Isla, and found the enemy occupying the old position on the lower slopes of the Hill of Blair—battle-hill; probably so called in memory of the big fight now impending. It was a well-chosen position, showing no little military skill on the part of Galgacus, the Caledonian chief. From the foot of the hill a plain extended southward to the junction of the rivers. The Isla bounded the plain on the east, while a series of morasses, moors, and small lochs stretched to the west, in the direction of the Grampian range. Upon their defeat, the Caledonians made their escape this way. The Roman army boldly crossed the Isla this time, and began to throw up entrenchments. Traces of a rampart are to be seen extending from Meikleour on the Tay across country to the Isla. In connection with this a fort was constructed and a triangular bit of ground enclosed, capable of containing the whole force. The local name of the rampart is Cleaven Dykes, and all the while the Caledonians were gathering from all parts—from the distant Highlands and from the siege of the Strathearn forts. The Buzzard Dykes, on the lower slopes of the Hill of Blair, marks their position. At length they thought themselves strong enough to begin the attack. A defensive policy would have been wiser. But the concentrated power of a trained army—the very regularity of its motions always draws the attack of a less highly disciplined force. Probably the Caledonians deceived themselves into thinking that fear was the cause of the inaction of their opponents. It was not so. Agricola had come so far in order to fight, and his soldiers were impatient to be led against the enemy. They had gained confidence from the experience of the year before—they were hungry as wolves for the honour of victory. They knew that upon their valour depended the lives of their fellow-soldiers, who had been fighting for well nigh four years against tremendous odds away west in Strathearn. And when the Caledonians came on, Agricola promptly advanced to meet them, having 8000 auxiliaries in his first line, protected on the wings by 3000 cavalry. The legionaries were stationed behind these—veteran Roman soldiers, upon whose steadiness he could rely if there should come repulse and panic. The rampart at Meikleour was in the rear of the reserve force—to serve as a last defence if the worst happened. Agricola himself went to the front with the colours. As usual, the battle began with a discharge of missiles from a distance. The darts and stones flew thick, and all the while the Caledonians were edging away to right and left in the hope of surrounding the Romans. Agricola strained his thin line almost to breaking point, but his opponents had the advantage of numbers, and still pressed him. The danger of a gaping centre grew imminent. The crisis of the conflict came. Three Batavian and two Tungrian cohorts charged sword in hand. The issue was not long in doubt. The small shields and long swords of the Caledonians were ill-fitted to encounter the straight home-thrust of the finely-tempered blade, 19 inches in length, with which the Roman soldiers were armed. They wavered, and then the end came quickly. The whole line of the auxiliaries charged uphill and carried everything before them, and although the war chariots, armed with scythe-blades, were brought into action, they did more harm than good. The ground was rough, and unsuitable for the effective use of these murderous weapons of warfare. Their own men, now in hopeless confusion, were the chief sufferers from them. And although the Caledonian reserve succeeded in getting behind the Roman first line, they were promptly checked by a cavalry attack. It was never necessary to bring the Roman reserves of legionary soldiers into action. The fight was over, and the Caledonians sought safety in headlong flight among the morasses which stretched westward in the direction of the Grampian range.
Agricola did not push his advantage further. He was content with the victory he had gained, He could now hope that there would be peace in Strathearn, bringing with it the opportunity of extending the boundary of the Roman province to the Tay. His eager Roman spirit was planning other enterprises. He had seen the coast of Ireland from Kintyre, and doubtless courted the distinction of annexing it to the Empire. One can't help thinking what a pity it was that the opportunity of doing so was not given him. Had the distressful country got the benefit of the firm and civilising Roman rule, a happier history might have been hers. From his winter quarters behind the Firths of Forth and Clyde, Agricola sent his fleet to explore the distant northern parts. His sailors visited and took possession of the Orkney Islands—sighted a distant peak, which became the "Ultima Thule" of history; noted the peculiar feature of the West Coast of Scotland—the sea-lochs now so well known to the tourists of every land; circumnavigated the island till they reached the Trutulensian harbour—Dover, as we call it now; and then returned to their station in the Firth of Forth. It was not permitted to Agricola to turn the information thus acquired to practical use. His brilliant success in Scotland had excited the jealousy of the Emperor Domitian, and he was recalled under the pretence of appointing him to a higher command. The traces of him in Strathearn and elsewhere were speedily obliterated. The Roman province shrank to the wall of Hadrian between Tyne and Sol-way; civilisation was beaten back, and kept back for four generations.
CELTIC SAINTS AND
ANCIENT CHURCHES OF STRATHEARN
S. FILLAN, DUNDURN S. RONAN, STROWAN S. BEAN, KINKELL AND FOULIS S. SERF, DUNNING AND MONZIEVAIRD S. KESSOG, COMRIE AND AUCHTERARDER S. PATRICK, STROGEATH S. FERGUS, MUTHILL S. CATTAN, ABERUTHVEN S. BRIDE, ABERNETHY
CELTIC SAINTS AND ANCIENT CHURCHES OF STRATHEARN
By Rev. JAMES RANKIN, D.D., Muthill
The vale or strath of the Earn may best and simplest be said to extend from the head of Loch Earn along the course of the River Earn to its junction with the Tay, two and a quarter miles above Newburgh. The distance from top to bottom as the crow flies is about thirty-six miles, and the direction is very nearly due west and east. The valley may be sub-divided into four portions. The uppermost is Loch Earn itself, which is six and a half miles long and 306 feet above sea-level, so that the descent of the river in its thirty miles of course is not much. The surface of Loch Earn, James' Square in Crieff, and the Manse of Muthill, across the valley, are as nearly as possible on the same level. The Earn may be sectioned as follows:—From Loch Earn to the Bridge of Comrie; thence to the Bridge of Crieff; thence to the Bridge of Kinkell; thence to Bridge of Earn; thence to junction of Earn with Tay. For our present purpose we may stop near Forteviot, at the Earn boundary of the Presbytery of Auchterarder.
Before we can rightly appreciate the more or most ancient Christian history of the Strath, we require to lay aside, and partly reverse, certain modern associations as to lines of travel. We think of Strathearn as running westward from Auchterarder, which lies on both the turnpike and railway route from Stirling to Perth. But in the days of our early Christianity it was mainly the sea on each coast that joined north and south of Scotland; whereas the more frequented routes were across country from west to east, because the west was then the seat of government and source of culture. Our early Christianity came from Ireland, and the route was by the Firth of Clyde, where Kintyre, Arran, Cumbrae, Bute, Kilmun, Dumbarton, Luss, and Balquhidder were all already provided with places of worship. The Vale of Leven and Loch Lomond were the natural approaches from the west to the upper end of Loch Earn and Strathearn. Another route connecting Perthshire with Iona was by Loch Etive, Dalmally, Tyndrum, and Glendochart. But the Leven and Loch Lomond route, judging by the saints to whom the oldest churches were dedicated, was the actual one usually traversed in reaching the valley of the Earn.
The oldest settlement is that of S. Fillan, at Dundurn. His day in the Kalendar is June 22, and he died about 520 A.D. Dundurn=Dun d'Earn. In the martyrology of Donegal (for he was a pure Irish Celt) he is called of Rath Erann—i.e., the fort on the Earn. Besides the old chapel and burial-ground, a memorial of the Saint is in Dunfillan, where are his chair and well. A fine eye for the picturesque the good man must have had to select a hill of so striking aspect and commanding so charming a landscape as Dunfillan. A little later Dunfillan became a king's seat or fort. S. Fillan is called an lobar, leper, or perhaps stammerer, to distinguish him from S. Fillan the abbot, connected with Strathfillan and Killin, whose day is January 9, and who died about 703, nearly 200 years after his namesake the leper. He of Dundurn was of the race of AEngus, King of Munster, and was trained under S. Ailbe of Emly. Dr. Marshall, in his "Historic Scenes in Perthshire," in company with several other writers, mixes up the two S. Fillans. Bishop Forbes, in his "Kalendars of Scottish Saints," gives a clear account of each, mentioning that Aberdour, in Fife, is dedicated to him of Dundurn, as was also Cill or Kil-Faelin, in Leinster.
Tullichettle and Comrie may be taken together, the distance between them being only one mile; the former meaning "The Vale of Sleep," now known mainly by its little kirkyard, having once been the more important of the two. The proof of this is seen in an extract from the Register of Ministers and Readers in the Miscellany of the Wodrow Society. In 1574, where our Presbytery has now sixteen parishes, there were only four ministers and sixteen readers, thus grouped:—Auchterarder—Stipend, L100, and kirk-lands—had readers at Auchterardour, Kinkell, Abirruthven, and Dunnyng. Strogeith—L60, and kirk-lands—had readers at Strogeith, Muthill, and Strowane. Foulis—L80, and kirklands—had readers at Foulis, Madertie, Trinite-Gask, and Findo-Gask. Tullichettil—L100, and kirk-lands—had readers at Tullichettil, Cumrie, Monivaird, Monzie, and Crieff. The system of readers was a beggarly makeshift for the Christian ministry, and shows the sore straits to which the Reformed Church was reduced after what was supposed to be the grand victory of 1560. Then Tullichettle was more than Comrie, as Strageath was more than Muthill. The dedication of Tullichettle does not appear in any record that I have seen, but that of Comrie is evident from its fair, which bears the name of S. Kessog. There is also a Tom-na-chessaig, just behind the old Free Church, now a public hall. The old name has a modern recognition in a local Freemasons' Lodge of S. Kessack. What is known of the Saint is given further on under Auchterarder.
Downwards on Earn the next ancient riverside church is Strowan, which, being a small parish, was united to Monzievaird before 1662. The site is one of remarkable beauty and quiet, almost ideal as a place of worship and burial. Ronan or Rowan was a bishop and confessor under King Maldwin, Feb. 7, 737, according to Adam King's Kalendar. He was of Kilmaronen or Kilmaronoc, in Lennox. Other dedications to him are Kilroaronag, in Muckairn; Teampull Ronan of Ness, in Lewis; Port Ronan, in Iona. At his death in 737 A.D., S. Ronan was abbot of Kingarth, in Bute. Connected with the church of Strowan is a Ronan pool on the Earn, and a bell remains from the old days. An adjacent farm is called Carse of Trowan.
The old church of Monzievaird on the east avenue to Ochtertyre, and now the private burial-place of the Murrays, is dedicated to S. Serf. But his legend may be reserved till we reach Dunning, at the end of our narrative.
The next in order of the old Celtic Churches on the Earn is that at Strogeit, or usually Strageath. This church and churchyard are close on the Earn, at a very picturesque spot, where are two very old mills—one on each side of the river—and a mill-dam between, and serving for both. The church is dedicated to S. Patrick, of Ireland, and was planted by an Irish missionary called S. Fergus.
Patricius was bishop and confessor—his day of death and commemoration, March 17, 493. He was the son of Calphurnius, a Roman decurio or magistrate at Dumbarton, his mother being Conkessa, sister or niece of the great S. Martin of Tours. He was born at Kilpatrick, on the Clyde, and called Succat=Succoth, the name of a neighbouring estate. At sixteen, Patrick was carried off to Ireland by pirates, and sold to a chief, Michul of Antrim, where he served six years, when he escaped to Scotland. He then went to S. Germanus of Auxerre for forty (more probably four) years' study. After becoming monk with his uncle S. Martin, he visited Rome, and was sent to Ireland, where he laboured sixty years, consecrating 365 churches and bishops, and ordaining 300—some say 3000—presbyters. Writings of S. Patrick are his "Confessions"—"Hymn before Tara," called "Breastplate," in eleven verses, and "Letter to Caroticus, Caradoc, or Ceretic Guledig," from whom the kings of Alcluith, Patrick's birthland, were descended. (See Christian Classics—The Writings of Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland. Religious Tract Society, London.) S. Patrick's churches in Scotland are sixteen, of which three are in Muthill—viz., Strogeit, on the Earn; S. Patrick's, at Blairinroar; and S. Patrick's, at Struthill; each of the two latter having a S. Patrick's Well, anciently used in baptism. At Blairinroar, five miles west from Muthill, two or three cot-houses still bear the name S. Patrick's, but I don't know that the site of the original chapel is identifiable. At Struthill, two miles south of Muthill, both chapel walls and ancient burial-ground remained till about 50 years ago, when they were shamefully turned—the one into dyke material, and the consecrated soil and remains into top-dressing for corn land. The sacred well was also run off into a drain, and the site marked by a modern cattle trough. The burial-ground at Strageath is still in use, but the corner stones of the old church have been brutally abstracted for use in neighbouring buildings. These desecrations ill agree with what is truly stated by my predecessor in the New Statistical Account, that "the inhabitants of Muthill, until very lately (i.e., about 1835), held S. Patrick's name in so high veneration that on his day (March 17) neither the clap of the mill was heard nor the plough seen to move in the furrow." Across the Earn from Strageath is a farm called Dalpatrick, and a ford known as Dalpatrick Ford.
This well-deserved honour to the patron saint of Ireland is traceable here to the presence of one of his disciples and countrymen, S. Fergus, whose work, however, must have been about 150 years after S. Patrick's death. After his work of chapel building in Muthill, S. Fergus quitted his hermitage at Strageath and went northward to Caithness and Buchan, on the same gospel errand, where, after good work again, he moved southwards to Glamis, the scene of his death and burial. The churches dedicated to him are six—viz., Wick, Halkirk, S. Fergus or Lungley, Inverugy, S. Fergus, at Banff; Dyce. Glamis has S. Fergus' cave and well. There was a S. Fergus chapel in the church of Inchbrayock, at Montrose, and a chapel and well at Usan, three miles south-east of Montrose. His head was preserved at Scone in a silver casket, his arm in a silver casket at Aberdeen, and his staff, baculus or bachul, at S. Fergus, in Buchan. In 721, Fergustus Epis. Scotiae Pictus signed at Rome canons as to irregular marriages. He belonged to the party that conformed to Rome as distinguished from the strict adherents of the old Celtic ritual.
About one mile below Strageath is the old Collegiate Church of Innerpeffray, dedicated to S. Mary, mentioned in 1342, and made collegiate in 1508 by the first Lord Drummond. But as this belongs to a later ecclesiastical system (1200-1560) it may be passed over for the present.
About two miles lower than Innerpeffray is Kinkell Church, dedicated to S. Bean. Here we come on a group of three, the next being Aberythven, three miles east of Kinkell, dedicated to S. Cathan; and Auchterarder, one mile south of Aberuthven, dedicated to S. Makessock. These three churches, along with Strageath and Madderty, have this in common at a later date—viz., 1200 A.D., that they were granted by Earl Gilbert of Strathearn and his Countess Matildis, as endowment to the newly-founded Abbey of Inchaffray. A few years later the Church of S. Bean of Foulis and the Church of the Holy Trinity of Gasc were added to the same endowment. Although now desolate, and appearing as a pendicle to an adjacent farm-steading, the old Kirk of Kinkell occupies a beautiful site in the valley, on a knoll, close by the river, and the kirkyard is still occasionally used. S. Bean, who was bishop and confessor, died about 920, and his day in the Kalendar is 26th October. He was uncle of S. Cadroe, who was taught at Armagh, and whose mission in Scotland marks the origin of the Culdees, strictly so-called, as is traced in Skene's Celtic Scotland, II., 346, in connection with Kinkell and Abernethy.
Particularly interesting is the Church of Aberuthven, now in the parish of Auchterarder. The eastern end of the building is evidently of extreme antiquity, with two narrow windows, between which would stand the altar, probably of stone. The dedication was to S. Cathan or Cattanus, bishop, May 17, 710. Cathan was uncle of S. Blain, of Bute, whom he ordained and consecrated bishop. Cathan is most closely associated with Bute, his original chapel having been on the south side of Kilchattan Bay. Cattan, the Pict, planted a church in Gigha, then went to Colonsay, which has another S. Cattan's, and to Iona, and settled at Scarinche, in Lewis, where his remains were preserved, and where, after Bannockburn (1314), a church was built and dedicated to S. Cattan, and affiliated to Inchaffray. There was also a Clan Chattan. (See Hewison's Bute, I., 136-8.)
Kessog, Kessogus, or Makessock, was born at Cashel, the capital of Munster, of the line of the Kings of Ireland, and miracles are attributed to his early years. He is depicted with bow and arrow as patron of the warriors of Leven and patron saint of Cumbrae. He lived as hermit in the island of Inch-ta-vanach, in Loch Lomond, and was martyred at Luss, where a cairn, Cam Machaisog, remained till 1796. (Anderson's Early Christian Times, I., 212). His day is 10th March, and the date of martyrdom, 520. Coming between the times of S. Patrick and S. Columba, S. Kessog and several saintly contemporaries are the fruits of the fervour of the former and the pioneers of the latter. The doctrines and rites of these earlier missionaries are described in Hewison's Bute, I., 118-131. S. Kessog's bell was preserved and honoured in Lennox in the 17th century. Besides Auchterarder, the Churches of Comrie, Callander, Luss, and Cumbrae were dedicated to S. Kessog. Callander has a fair on the 21st March=10th March (old style), called Fel-ma-chessaig, and the site of the old kirk, on a conical hill, is called Tom-na-chessaig. Cumbrae has a Kessog's Fair on the third Wednesday in March. Kessog Ferry, at Inverness, is another memorial of the Saint; so is the Strathearn name of M'Isaac, Makisaig, and Kessack. The old Kirk of S. Makessok lies in a hollow to the north of modern Auchterarder, whose church dates only from about 1660, and was enlarged in 1811. Makessock's Well still exists on the farm of East Kirkton, beside the old glebe and manse, which are now part of that farm, having been "excambed" about 1800.
There is a dedication to S. Mungo connected with Auchterarder, but as it seems not to have been a distinct building, we may consider it to have been only an altar, or side chapel, in the Church of S. Makessog. (The evidence for the S. Mungo dedication is "Historians of Scotland, Vol. V., p. xc."; also New Statistical Account, Perth, 290.) Craigrossy paid dues to S. Mungo's altar in Glasgow. (Historians of Scotland, V., 357, and Orig. Par., I., 2.) The name Mungo has a marked currency in Strathearn. I have known six examples.
Before passing to Dunning, allusion may be made to Gask and Trinity-Gask, both of which are bounded by the Earn, the latter especially to a great extent. Gask was anciently known as Findo-Gask, the dedication being to S. Findoka, Fincana, or S. Fink, one of the nine daughters of S. Donevald or Donaldus, who led a religious life in the Glen of Ogilvie, in Forfarshire. S. Donevald's day is 12th July, and he died in 712. The Churches of Bendochy and Innishail (in Glenorchy) were also dedicated to S. Fink; while Finhaven, Strathmartin, and Touch were dedicated to S. Donevaldus. Trinity-Gask is mentioned under this name in a charter of Inchaffray shortly after 1200. To the Holy Trinity was a favourite dedication of the Culdees, who held firmly by the Apostles' Creed. The Cathedral of Brechin was dedicated by King Kenneth (971-995) to the Holy Trinity, and Culdee abbots continued in Brechin till 1219, although the See was founded in 1150 by David I., and re-dedicated to the Trinity. Thus the very name carries back the Church of Trinity-Gask to the times of the Culdees, if not to the Celtic Church directly.
The patron saint of Dunning is S. Servanus or Serf, who appears in the Kalendar as bishop and confessor, his day being July 1. He is said to be the son of Alma, daughter of a Pictish King; was ordained by Palladius, and dwelt at Culross in a monastery, where his most famous scholar was Kentigern, of Glasgow. Palladius died in 432, and Kentigern in 603, so that the same man in an ordinary life-time could not be ordained by Palladius and teach Kentigern. To escape this difficulty, the Aberdeen Breviary makes two S. Serfs. The legend runs—"In a place called Dunnyne the inhabitants were harassed by a dreadful dragon, which devoured both men and cattle and kept the district in continual terror. S. Serf, armed with a breastplate of faith, attacked the monster in his lair, and slew him by a blow of his pastoral staff." In proof of this legend, and in memory of this event, the scene to this day is called the Dragon's Den. The oldest part of the Church of Dunning, which dates between 1200 and 1219, would be the successor of the humbler Celtic building of the original dedication. If there were two S. Serfs, he of Dunning is the later, and is the same who is associated with Airthrey, Tillicoultry, Alva, Culross, and especially Pitmook, or Portmoak, and S. Serf's Isle, in Loch Leven. Other dedications are Monzievaird, Creich, Dysart, Redgorton. A S. Serf—probably the earlier, if there were two—was associated with Orkney. In the west of France, near St. Malo, is a town of St. Servan. The neatest of all the S. Serf legends, probably invented to suit some prehistoric soiree at the foot of the Ochils, tells of a robber who had stolen and eaten a pet lamb of the Saint, and who, having cleared himself by an oath taken over the Saint's staff, was immediately contradicted from within by a ba, ba, in response to the Saint's voice and the false oath. In Glasgow on the Thursday of the Fair week is a horse market known as Scairs, Skeers, or Sair's Thursday, Sair being one of the forms of Serf. There is a S. Sares Fair in Aberdeenshire, at Monkedge or Keith Hall, which has been removed to Culsalmond.
Although lying beyond our Presbytery limits, allusion may be made to the very ancient religious house at Abernethy, one mile south of the Earn, and near its junction with the Tay. The dedication of Abernethy is to S. Brigid or Bride. About 590, when Abernethy was the seat of the Pictish rule, Columban monks were planted here under King Lartnaidh. In 717 they were expelled by Nectan III. for non-conformity to Rome; but in 865 the old order was re-established by Abbot Kellach, of Iona. This continued to 908, when the See was transferred to St. Andrews. Culdees appear at Abernethy in the reign of Edgar (1097-1107), and they still held the old nunnery associated with S. Brigid in 1189-1198; and in 1272 the Culdees were changed into a priory of Augustinian monks. The famous Round Tower is assigned by Dr Petrie to 712-727, under Nectan III.; by Dr Skene to 865, the year of Kellach's visit; Dr Muir makes it later than Brechin, i.e., 950; while Mr Anderson makes it one or two decades later still. For our purpose here the most important fact relative to Abernethy is the original dedication to S. Brigid. She was Abbess of Kildare, and died Feb. 11, 523 (Feb. 1 in Irish Kalendars). She received the veil from S. Mel, nephew of S. Patrick; wore a leathern belt over a white kirtle, and had a veil over her shoulders. Her cell was under a large oak, Kildara = cell of the oak, and she founded communities of women; died at the age of 70. Many miracles are ascribed to her, one of which reveals a very ancient ecclesiastical usage, parallel to the buns and ale associated with Scottish communions of three generations ago, as described in "The Holy Fair." From one barrel, S. Bride supplied beer to eighteen churches, the beer lasting from noonday, Thursday, in Holy Week, till after Easter.
Reviewing these primitive local churches and churchmen, we see that the general Christianisation of our Strath began about 500 A.D., and has continued and grown ever since. The three earliest dates above, given are S. Fillan, +520; S. Kessog, +520; and S. Brigid, +523. The three latest are S. Cattan, +710; S. Rowan, +737; and S. Bean, +920; all these being dates of death. This Celtic form of church began earlier in Scotland, and especially in Ireland, but in this district we see it in considerable strength from 500 onwards, and we know that it continued in vigour till about the year 1200, when it was superseded by a better organised and more developed form of Christianity, with direct recognition of Rome as the seat of authority.
The difference between the Roman and the Celtic or Culdee Church consisted in such matters as these:—The Celtic Church, while acknowledging many of the saints common to Christendom—especially those of the East—had in addition a very extensive local calendar, deeply venerated, which outnumbered the Roman element. It had also peculiarities in a frontal instead of a coronal tonsure for monks; in a shorter Lenten fast, which made up the forty days by including Sundays, and began on Monday instead of Wednesday; in a different time for Easter, dependent on a more ancient method of reckoning; in the absence of special or obligatory Easter communion; in the regular celebration of the Holy Supper with what were by Romanists called "barbarous rites."
The most marked features of the Celtic Church were its government and orders, where monasteries took the place of dioceses, where abbots were above bishops, where bishops were without dioceses, where ordination was conferred occasionally, if not habitually, by one single bishop instead of three, where bishops were too numerous to be diocesan, and where (latterly at least) abbots were frequently married, making church lands hereditary in their families.
A further characteristic of the Celtic Church was the rudeness and smallness of its buildings, which were of three styles—wattle and daub, timber beams, and unhewn stones. No examples of the two former survive, but the third and more solid style is still visible in Teampull Bennachad, in Lewis; Tempull Ronan, in North Rona; and the Beehive Cells, in Eilan na Naoimh (Nun's Island.) These old Strathearn churches would seldom be larger than 12 feet wide by 20 long, built of undressed land stones (like a field dyke), and thatched with heather, bracken, or sedge. The great storehouse of reliable material with minimum of controversy relative to the early Christianity of Scotland is Warren's Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church. (Clarendon Press, 1881.)
The view given by Mr Hewison in "Bute in the Olden Time" (Vol. I., p. 119) of the doctrine and ritual of the Celtic Church in Ireland in the days of S. Patrick may safely be accepted as generally applicable to the Celtic Church in Scotland from 500 to 1000 A.D.:—
"We are dependent upon the 'Tripartite Life of S. Patrick' for definite information regarding the teaching and modes of worship in the Church in his day. It is clear the early teachers faithfully maintained the Holy Scriptures as the rule of faith, and used the version of the Bible prepared by S. Jerome. There are substantial reasons for believing that they also possessed a vernacular version, if not of all, of some of the books of the Bible, the Greek portions of which were studied by the more famous evangelists, like S. Brendan. A liturgy was also used, and, from surviving fragments, it appears to have been related to the 'Ephesine,' rather than to the 'Petrine' family of liturgies—that is to say, it was different from the Roman, and if not identical with the Gallican liturgy, was similar to it. Of the co-equality of the Trinity they had no doubt. In the 'Tripartite Life,' Baptism and Eucharist are mentioned as sacraments, but penance, marriage, holy orders, and extreme unction are not referred to as sacraments; while confirmation, if not accepted as of divine institution, was esteemed to have an imperative importance. There is only a slight trace of the honours paid to the Virgin Mary in the same work. According to the editor, 'The Blessed Virgin Mary is never mentioned either by Patrick, or Secundinus, Muirchu, or Tirechan.' Communion was partaken of in both kinds, the wine being mixed with water in the chalice, and sucked through a fistula. Prayers and fasting on behalf of the dead were indulged in, and much virtue was attached to severe fastings and ascetic mortifications of body and soul. Every day was consecrated to unremitting labours in the Gospel. Sunday was, indeed, a day of worship, divided into eight watches, like the other days of the week, and was fully observed in the saying of mass, the chanting of the 150 psalms, and preaching to the people. The clergy—deacons, presbyters, and bishops—were married. A notable feature of consecration of bishops was the practice of consecration by a single bishop, sometimes at a leap, without the candidate having received orders as a deacon or priest. Priests and virgins had a 'roving commission' to 'sing and say' over the land. It is interesting to find that the catacombs in Rome have preserved the monuments of 'virgines peregrinae,' like those of the Celtic Church. The size, importance, and influence of a complete ecclesiastical establishment (muintir), such as that presided over by S. Patrick, may be inferred from the functions of the 24 persons who were in office along with him—viz., bishop, priest, judge, bishop-champion (polemic), psalmist, chamberlain, bell-ringer, cook, brewer, two waiters, charioteer, fire-wood man, cow-herd, three smiths, three artizans, and three embroideresses."
II.—RELATION OF AUCHTERARDER PRESBYTERY TO THE DIOCESE OF DUNBLANE.
Of the thirteen dioceses in Scotland, that of Dunblane was the smallest. In its Parochiale, or list of parishes, were 43 entries; but 3 of these were not parishes at all, but prebends, representing respectively the Abbots of Cambuskenneth, Arbroath, and Inchaffray. Of the churches and parishes proper that constituted the diocese, no fewer than 18 are now included in the Presbytery of Auchterarder; while 12 constitute the Presbytery of Dunblane, and 6 are in the Presbytery of Perth. Thus quite one half of the old diocese finds its corporate representative in Auchterarder, while the other half is subdivided between Perth and Dunblane.
Dunblane was formed into a bishopric by David I. out of the old Pictish Bishopric of Abernethy, which in the division was allotted as a parish to Dunblane. The date of erection was previous to 1150—some say 1140. Dunblane was already a Columban, and (notwithstanding Dr. Skene's argument to the contrary) also a Culdee settlement. The church dates back to the seventh century, and was an offshoot of the Church of Kingarth, in Bute, for its founder was St. Blane. He was of the race of the Irish Picts, and nephew of that Bishop Cathan who founded Kingarth; he was himself bishop of that church, and his mother was a daughter of King Aidan of Dalriada. Dunblane and its church were burnt under Kenneth MacAlpin (844-860) by the Britons of Strathclyde, and in 912 were ravaged by Danish pirates, headed by Rognwald.
"At Dunblane," says Goodall, "the Culdees continued near a hundred years longer than at Dunkeld. Cormac Malpol, their prior, with Michael, parson of Mothil, and Macbeath, his chaplain, are witnesses to a confirmation by William, bishop of Dunblane (1210 ——), of a gift of the Church of Kincardine to the monks of Cambuskenneth, to be seen in their chartulary, fol. 80; and Malpol, the prior, and Michael and Malcolm, Culdees, are witnesses to a charter by Simon, bishop of Dunblane (1170 ——), one of William's predecessors.
"At last, in the year 1240, the election of the bishop of that See was devolved upon canons-regular, by a mandate of Pope Gregory IX., which was obtained in this manner: Clement, bishop of Dunblane, went to Rome, and represented to that Pope, how of old time his bishopric had been vacant upwards of a hundred years, during which period almost all the revenues were seized by the seculars; and although in process of time there had been several bishops instituted, yet, by their simplicity or negligence, the former dilapidations were not recovered, but, on the contrary, the remainder was almost quite alienated; so that, for near ten years, a proper person could not be found to accept of the charge; that the case having been laid before the Pope, he had committed the trust of supplying that vacancy to the bishops of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Brechin, who made choice of this Clement; but he found his church so desolate that he had not where to lay his head in his cathedral: there was no college there, only a rural chaplain performed divine service in the church that had its roof uncovered; and the revenues of the See were so small that they could hardly afford him maintenance for one half of the year.
"To remedy these evils, the Pope appointed William and Geoffry, the bishops of Glasgow and Dunkeld, to visit the Church of Dunblane; and if they should find these things to be as represented, he authorised them to cause the fourth part of the tithes of all the parish churches within that diocy to be assigned to the bishop thereof; who, after reserving out of these tithes so much as should be proper for his own sustenance, was, by the advice of these two bishops and other expert persons, to assign the rest to a dean and canons, whom the Pope enjoined to be settled there, if these matters could be brought about without great offence; or, if otherwise, he ordered that the fourth of the tithes of all such churches of the diocy as were in the hands of seculars should be assigned to the bishop, and that the bishop's seat should be translated to St. John's monastery of canons-regular (i.e., Inchaffray) within that diocy, and appointed that these canons should have the election of the bishop when a vacancy should happen thereafter."
As the bishop's seat was not transferred from Dunblane to Inchaffray, we may infer that the former part of the alternative was carried out—viz., that dean and canons were found for Dunblane, and the bishop also provided for out of the fourth of the tithes of all churches in the diocese. The decay of clerics at Dunblane in Bishop Clement's time (1233-1258) may as well have applied to Keledei declining there, and does not imply that they never were there, but existed only at Muthill (13 miles to the north), and that the Culdees of Muthill, being in the diocese of Dunblane, were called Culdees of Dunblane. "We find," says Skene, "the Keledei with their prior at Muthill from 1178 to 1214, when they disappear from the records, and Muthill becomes the seat of the dean of Dunblane, who had already taken precedence of the prior of the Keledei. It is probable that, under the growing importance of Dunblane as a cathedral establishment, the possessions of the Keledei had fallen into secular hands." This would be the more easy, as the monastery of the Culdees was a distinct institution about a mile south of the church and village of Muthill.
The foundation of the present cathedral is attributed to Bishop Clement, originally a monk, who received the tonsure from St. Dominic himself. The cathedral which he has left has since his day been extended both to east and westward; and what he built he joined on to the more ancient square and perpendicular tower. The cathedral consists of an aisled, eight-bayed nave (130 by 58 feet, and 50 feet high), an aisleless choir (80 by 30 feet), with a chapter-house, sacristy, or lady chapel, to the north. The nave is almost entirely pure first-pointed. In the clerestory the windows are of two lights, with a foiled circle set over them, plainly treated outside, but elaborated by a range of shafted arches running continuously in front of the windows within, so much apart from them as to leave a narrow passage round the building in the thickness of the wall. The east window is a peculiar triplicate, with the centre light much taller and wider than the others. The west front has over the doorway and its blind arch on either side three very long and narrow two-light windows of equal height, with a cinquefoil in the head of the central window and a quatrefoil in the head of the side windows; whilst above is a vesica, set within a bevelled fringe of bay-leaves, arranged zigzag-wise, with their points in contact—the last the subject of a well-known rhapsody by Ruskin. The root of the cathedral history in this case lies in the tower. It stands awkwardly a little out of line in the south aisle of the nave, an evident remnant of an older church, exactly like the similar tower in Muthill, of the eleventh century, retained in a church built c. 1430. A tower, almost exactly similar, but more ornate, probably twenty or thirty years later in date, exists at Dunning, in the same diocese, and also a Celtic Church settlement associated with St. Serf. The old Culdee Church of Markinch has a tower of the same peculiar style, originally with a square, upright, saddle-backed roof, and crow-stepped gables. Some vestiges remain of the bishop's palace, overlooking the Allan on the south-west of the cathedral; and the triangular space in front of the south side of the cathedral, and forming the end of the High Street, has some old houses which are believed to have been canons' manses.
The chapter consisted of—Dean (Muthill), praecentor, chancellor, treasurer, archdeacon; Prebendaries—Abbot of Cambuskenneth in 1298, Abbot of Arbroath for Abernethy from 1240; Crieff primo (probably parish of), Crieff secundo (probably St. Thomas at Milnab), Logie, Fordishall, Kinkell, Kippen, Monzie, Comrie. Eighteen finely carved oak stalls of the dignitaries and canons belonging to the sixteenth century still survive. Other carved work was destroyed in 1559 by the Prior of St. Andrews and the Earl of Argyll. The line of bishops ended with three of the neighbouring family of Chisholm of Cromlix. Bishop James Chisholm was eldest son of Edmund Chisholm, and was a good administrator. Bishop William Chisholm, his half-brother, was an ecclesiastic of the worst possible type for fornication, church robbery, and persecution of so-called heretics. Bishop William Chisholm, nephew of the robber-bishop, became, after the Reformation, a Carthusian monk at Lyons. He is supposed to have taken with him the writs of the See, which have been lost. Marshall gives an account of this branch of Chisholms. The same writer says: "Among the sepulchral monuments in the cathedral is that of Malise, eighth Earl of Strathearn, and his countess. It is in the vestry of the choir, and is a flat block of gritstone, having on it full-sized figures of the Earl and Countess. When discovered in the choir, the block was above a coffin of lead with date 1271. In the centre of the choir is the dust of Lady Margaret Drummond, mistress (but probably privately married) of James IV., and her sisters the Ladies Euphemia and Sybilla, daughters of Lord Drummond, who were poisoned (apparently to clear the way for the King's marriage to the Princess Mary of England in 1503). Their remains were deposited here by permission of their uncle, Sir William Drummond, then Dean of Dunblane. Three blue slabs covered and marked their resting-place. The recumbent figure attired in pontifical vestments and mitre, and which is in a niche of the wall under a window of the choir, on the right of the pulpit, is supposed to represent Bishop Finlay Dermock, and to be his sepulchral monument. The other recumbent figure under one of the windows of the nave represents Bishop Michael Ochiltree, who greatly added to the rich adornments of the cathedral."
BISHOPS OF DUNBLANE.
Laurence, attests a charter of Malcolm IV., 1160.
Jonathan, archdeacon, buried at Inchaffray. Great endowment of the See by Gilbert, earl of Stratherne, c. 1195-1210.
William de Bosco, chancellor, 1210.
Abraham, 1220 to c. 1223.
Osbert, abbot of Cambuskenneth, +1231.
Clement, a Dominican friar, consecrated by Bishop William of St. Andrews at the Stow Church of Wedale; founded cathedral; made exaggerated wail of poverty to the Pope, who in 1238 appointed a commission of inquiry, 1233-1258.
Robert de Prebenda, dean, ambassador in 1277 to Edward I.: in 1265 was Conservator of Council at Perth, 1258-1283.
William, one of the arbiters between John Baliol and Bruce, 1290 to c. 1292.
Nicholas de Balmyle, monk of Arbroath, parson of Calder, lord chancellor, 1307-1320.
Maurice, abbot of Inchaffray, Bruce's chaplain at Bannockburn with crosier of St. Fillan; a brave patriot priest, with the old piety that reverenced relics, yet was true and fervent, 1320-1347.
Walter de Cambuslang or Conentre, 1362-1370.
Andrew, seals Act for succession of crown at Scone, 1st April, 1373.
Dougal, c. 1380-1399.
Finlay Dermoch, built bridge over Allan Water, tomb in cathedral on north side of nave, 1400-1419.
William Stephen, divinity-reader in 1411 at St. Andrews, Conservator of Council at Perth, 1420, 1420-1429.
Michael Ochiltree, dean in 1425, built Knaik Bridge at Ardoch, Bishop's Bridge at Culdees, rebuilt Culdee Church at Muthill; crowned James II. in 1437 at Holyrood, 1429-1447.
Robert Lauder, sent on several embassies, founder of several prebends, 1448-1458.
John Hepburn, a lord of session, 1467 to c. 1479.
James Chisholm, son of Edward Chisholm of Cromlix, chaplain to James III., 1534; a careful administrator and good bishop, 1489-1527.
William Chisholm, half-brother of the preceding, who resigned in his favour; a shameless wretch, who wasted the See by fraudulent tacks to his three bastards and his nephew, and who burned men for heresy, 1527-1564.
William Chisholm, nephew of the robber bishop, appointed by Papal brief of 2nd June, 1561, and nominated by Queen Mary in 1564; was in exile Bishop of Vaison in France, became a Carthusian of Grenoble, and died at Rome, 1564-1593.
Dunblane, St. Blain. Chapelry of Kilbride at Kilbride Castle.
Aberfoyle in Menteith. Dependent on Inchmahome. Has five lakes.
Abernethy, St. Brigid. Arbroath. Prebend, 1240. In See of Dunkeld in 1446. For four vicars. Probable date of round tower, 854. At first had Dron, Dunbulg, and Erole as chapels.
Auchterarder, St. Mungo. Inchaffray. Old church in a valley, one mile westward. Mackessock in charter of Innerpeffray.
Aberuthven, St. Cathan. Inchaffray, 1200. Later to Arbroath. Now joined to Auchterarder. Very ancient church survives.
Tullibardine. A collegiate church. Now in parish of Blackford.
Bondington or Boddington. Arbroath. In 1369 the lands of Boddington belonged to Peter de Innerpeffry. Bonnyton, near Montrose. (Jervise, 93.)
Blackford, St. Patrick. Original church was Strogeith, now in Muthill.
Dundurn, or St. Fillans. St. Fillan the Leper. Church here since c. 550. Associated with a fortress on Dunfillan. Now in Comrie.
Comrie, St. Kessog, R. Paisley Abbey. Prebend. Chapel at Tullikettle. Had St. Kessog's Fair, third Wednesday of March.
Dron. Once chapel under Abernethy. Now includes Pottie, at the mouth of Glenfarg (see deanery of Gowrie, St Andrews), and Ecclesia Macgirdle ("Exmagirdle") at Glenearn.
Dunning, St. Serf, c. 1200.
Dupplin. Family chapel of castle. In 1618 joined to Aberdalgie.
Foulis, St. Methven and St. Bean (Foulis-Wester.) Inchaffray. Chapel of St. Methven at Buchanty Bridge. Also chapel at Gorthy, 1266. Renewed in 1454 by agreement between Abbot of Inchaffray and Tristam of Gorthy.
Fordishall or Ferdshaw. Prebend. Again under Dunkeld.
Gask, Holy Trinity (Trinity-Gask). Inchaffray.
Innerpeffray, St Mary. Mentioned 1342. Collegiate, 1508, by first Lord Drummond. In Monzie, quoad sacra to Muthill. Had Lady Fair on 25th March.
Kilmadoc, St. Madocus or Aidus (Doune.) Inchmahome Priory.
Kincardine, St. Latan or Lolan. Mentioned c. 1190 (Kincardine in Menteith). Cambuskenneth. Old parish of Lany in Kincardine, and chapelry of Balquhapple.
Kinkell, St. Bean. Prebend. Inchaffray. Now in Trinity-Gask. Minister of Kinkell hanged at Crieff, 1682.
Logie, St. Woloc (Logie, Stirling). Prebend.
Kippen, St. Davius or Movean. In Menteith. Prebend.
Lecroft or Leckraw, St Moroc or Maworrock (Lecropt, Bridge of Allan). Cambuskenneth.
Monzie in Stratherne. Prebend. St. Laurence Fair, 22d August. Included Logiealmond. Chapel at Tomenbowie, and Stuck Chapel with burial-grounds.
Monedie. Included Logiealmond, detached from Monzie.
Monyvaird, St. Serf, with Strowan (St. Rowan or Ronan). United before 1662.
Madertie, St. Ethernan (Maderty). An old abthane. Has Abbey of Inchaffray.
Capeth Moothill (Muthill). The Dean. Chapels and wells of St Patrick at Struthill and at Blairinroar; also, Dalpatrick across the Earn, from St. Patrick's of Strageath; Easter and Wester Feddal and Bennie (now in Ardoch), belonged to Lindores Abbey from 1198.
Port [of Monteith]. Included old parish of Lany or Leny.
St. Madocus or Aidus (St. Madoes, Perth), R. Also Samadoss.
Tullicultrie, St. Serf. Cambuskenneth. Colvilles of Tillicoultry, 1483-1634.
Crieff, St. Michael, R. Prebend. Religious house—St. Thomas at Milnab (= Abbot's Mill), belonging to Inchaffray. Besides Crieff primo and Crieff secundo in Strathearn, there was also a Crieff tertio in Perthshire, probably the outlying portion of the parish in Glenalmond round Corrymuckloch.
Logie-Airthray, St. Serf (Airthrey, Bridge of Allan). Nuns of North Berwick.
Strogeyt or Strageith, St Patrick. Once church of Blackford, now in parish of Muthill. Inchaffray. Planted by St. Fergus c. 700.
Callender, St. Kessaig. Chapel of Kilmahog or St. Chug.
Fyndogask, St. Findoca (Gask). Inchaffray.
Tuelliallan (Tulliallan), R. Seat of the Blackaders, who gave an archbishop to Glasgow.
Glendovan (Glendevon), R. Old church in Gleneagles (= Glen Eglise). Cambuskenneth.
Fossowy (Fossoway). Cupar Angus, c. 1310. Included Tullibole, Culross Abbey. United in 1614.
Buffuder, St. Angus (Balquhidder). Has Strathyre and Glenogle.
Prebendary, 1298, Abbot of Cambuskenneth ex officio.
Prebendary, 1240, for parish of Abernethy, Abbot of Arbroath ex officio.
Preceptor or Provost of Dunblane, Abbot of Inchaffray ex officio.
 II. 403.
 Preliminary Dissertation in Keith's "Bishops," iv.
 See Crawford's "Officers of State," vi.
 II. 404.
 Reeves' "British Culdees," Evidences, S., 141.
 "Hist. Scenes in Perthshire," 346.
 Ibid., 343.
NEAR THE PICTISH CAPITAL
By Rev. P. THOMSON, B.D., Dunning
The title is retained as it was given. But it would be more correct to say, "Near a Pictish Capital," for, as is well known, of such capitals there were more than one. Nobody, however, who keeps in mind the origin and range of the present volume will need to be told that "The Pictish Capital" here meant is Forteviot—or, as it is often otherwise spelt in legends, and chronicles, and charters—Fertebeith, Ferteuioth, Fertenyoth, Ferthevioth, Fetherthauethn, Fethirthant, Fothuirtabaicht, Fortewyot, Fetherteviot.
When Forteviot attained the dignity of being a royal abode cannot be definitely ascertained. Dr Stuart gives it as his opinion that the royal residence is to be identified with the "Dun Fothir" mentioned in the Irish annals, which is recorded to have been twice besieged—in 681 and 694 A.D.; and it has been suggested by the same authority that probably the name means "the dun of the district, or of the men, or of the King of Fortren," which term latterly meant the kingdom of the Southern Picts.
Whatever probability there may be in the above suggestion, when we refer to the Legend of S. Andrew, we find what appears to be corroborative evidence that Forteviot was the residence of Pictish kings from a very early period. According to this legend, it was to Forteviot, in the hope of seeing the King there, that S. Regulus and certain of his followers made their way with the relics of the most holy Apostle Andrew, after their landing at Muckros or Kylrimont (now Saint Andrews). It so happened that the King (Hungus, or Ungus, or Angus, who died A.D. 761) was not at home, having gone on an expedition into Argyle (Argathelia). But they found his three sons residing at Forteviot, and these princes gave the tenth part of the town to God and S. Andrew, the holy men blessing the place and the royal family who abode there. They then went in further search of the King himself, and having met him at Kindrochet, in Braemar, and subsequently at Monichi (Monikie), they returned in company with him to Forteviot, where he built a church ("basilica") to God and S. Andrew.
But these are not the only references that we have. According to one of the Pictish chronicles, it was at Fothuir-tabaicht that Drust (Filius Ferat), the last King of the Picts, was killed. It was here—"in palacio suo de Fothuir-tabaicht"—where Kenneth MacAlpin, the first of the Scotic dynasty (formed by the union of the lines of the Picts and the Dalriadic Scots), died in 860. It was here, in Fothuir-tabaicht, where Donald I., Kenneth's brother and successor, established with his council the mode of succession to the throne, confirming "the rights and laws of the kingdom of Aodh, son of Eocha."
According to Skene, Forteviot continued to be a royal residence until the reign of Donald II., the son of Constantine, when the capital was transferred to Scone. But it would appear that the ancient "palace" at Forteviot was subsequently restored by Malcolm Canmore, and that his successors at least occasionally came to live in it. Malcolm the Maiden (1153-1165) is found to have granted at Fetherteviot a charter conveying certain lands—the names of Ada, the King's mother, and of William, his brother, appearing as witnesses. And even so late as 1306, during the English invasion, there is mention of a letter, dated from Forteviot by Edward, Prince of Wales.
The traditional site of the "palace," which would, no doubt, correspond also with the site of the early church dedicated to S. Andrew, as before mentioned, is still pointed out a little to the west of the village, and is known as the Halyhill or Holyhill. Whether this first church was built of stone is not known. But that there was a stone church at Forteviot at an early date is made comparatively certain by the discovery, in 1830 or thereby, of a large semi-circular and arched stone lying in the bed of the River May, and directly under the Halyhill. How long this most interesting arch had been hid away no one can tell; but it was a fortunate "spate" that washed it bare and exposed it to the light of day. It is now in the Antiquarian Museum in Edinburgh, where the writer recently made an inspection of it. An excellent engraving of it is contained in J. Romilly Allen's Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland, and with the kind permission of that gentleman it is here reproduced.
The arch is 4 feet in span and 21 inches high. Carved in relief in the centre of the stone is a cross, on one side of which is an animal—very probably intended for the Agnus Dei; while, on the same side, a little below the Agnus Dei, there are three figures with helmets on their heads and swords in their right hands. On the other side of the cross there is a robed figure in a sitting posture, with a sword across his knees, and with one foot resting on the back of a horned animal.
It has been erroneously supposed by some that this arch must have formed part of the principal doorway of the "palace," but from the fact of its bearing such symbols as the Cross and the Agnus Dei, there is no doubt that it belonged to an early church. Bearing in mind the legend of the founding of a church to S. Andrew in the time of Hungus, perhaps the suggestion of Dr Joseph Anderson has great probability—viz., that the four figures are "not contemporary, but early representations of King Hungus and his three sons."
All lovers of antiquarian lore will be interested in knowing that, a few years ago, there was brought to light at Forteviot, and through the kindness of the parish minister, Dr Anderson, exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries a fine specimen of a bronze bell of Celtic type (the fifth of the kind known in Scotland), whose date is believed to belong to about the middle of the 10th century.
NEAR THE PICTISH CAPITAL would be found, as a matter of course, the royal hunting-grounds. Very probably these were on both sides of the Earn—stretching westward into the neighbouring parish of Dunning, the northmost part of which is still called Dalreoch or Dailrigh, a word which, in Gaelic, means the King's haugh or field.
To DUNNING, or rather to some of the objects in it, that are of the greatest archaeological or antiquarian interest, the remainder of this chapter will be devoted.
In many ways that we can readily conceive, traces of the proximity of Dunning to a royal residence must have existed from an early period. The existence of hill forts, as at Rossie-Law, and the discovery, from time to time, of arms and stone coffins, indicate that the parish must have been often the theatre of strife and bloodshed. Duncrub, or, as it is called in a Pictish chronicle, "Dorsum Crup," is said to have been the scene of a battle, which is thus referred to by Robertson in his Early Kings—"The reign of Duff, the eldest son of Malcolm the First, and representative of the senior branch of the Royal family, appears to have been passed in a continued struggle against the pretensions raised by the now rival line of Aodh in the person of Indulf's son Colin, and, though at first successful, defeating Colin at the Battle of Duncrub (A.D. 965), in which the Mormaor of Atholl and the Abbot of Dunkeld, partizans apparently of the defeated prince, were numbered amongst the slain, he was subsequently less fortunate, and was driven by his rival from the throne, losing his life on a later occasion at Forres ... where his body is said to have been hidden under the bridge of Kinloss, tradition adding that the sun refused to shine until the dishonoured remains of the murdered monarch received the burial of a king." Part of the ground which is believed to have been the site of the Battle of Duncrub now forms the village tennis-ground and the village bowling-green, and yearly are witnessed on it fightings still—though of a very different kind. The traditional spot where the Abbot (by name Doncha) was slain is marked by the "Standing-Stone," on "the acres," a little to the east of the tennis-ground, while a similar "standing-stone," on the farm of "The Knowes," is said to mark the place where the Mormaor met his doom.
The spelling of the name Dunning, at various times, and in various records and charters, is rather interesting—Donyng, Dunnyne, Dunyne, Dinnin, Dunin, or (as e.g., in the inscription on the Communion cups presently in use, of date 1702) Duning. The word is generally thought to be derived from the Gaelic term dun (already referred to), which means a hill, or a hill with a fort.
On first appearing on the page of tolerably trustworthy history, Dunning formed part of the Stewartry or Earldom of Strathearn, which dates back to a remote period. Among the ancient Earls of Strathearn there were some very notable figures. Particularly so was Malise, the Earl of Strathearn, who figured prominently in the Battle of the Standard. But, more particularly notable still, was his grandson, Gilbert, who held the Earldom in the reign of David I. Like his King—proverbially known as the "sair sanct for the crown"—Gilbert was most lordly in gifts to the Church, which was then fast rising into power. Dr Wilson quotes an old writer to the effect that, at this time, the Earldom of Strathearn included "the haill lands lying betwixt the Cross of MacDuff, at Newburgh, and the west end of Balquhidder, in length, and the Ochil Hills and the hills called Montes Grampii, or the Grampians, in breadth." Even though we make some reduction as to all this, and regard as somewhat legendary what Fordun tells us—viz., that Gilbert divided all his huge territory into three equal parts, giving two to the Church, and keeping only one to himself, still there cannot be a doubt but that he was one of the most liberal and extensive church-endowers on record. It was by him that the Bishopric of Dunblane was founded; it was by him that the Abbey of Canons-regular, at Inchaffray, was richly endowed through his attaching to it the tithes of many of the neighbouring parishes. The foundation charter of the Abbey, dated 1200 A.D., in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of William, records the giving and making over to the Abbey of the Church of S. Kattan, at Aberuthven; the Church of S. Ethirnin, at Madderty; the Church of S. Patrick, at Strageath; the Church of S. Mockhessoc, at Auchterarder; and the Church of S. Bean, at Kynkell. It will be seen that Dunning is not in this list. But it appears along with some other parishes in a second charter granted by the same Gilbert in 1217, which charter confirmed the grant of previously gifted parishes, and adds "the Church of S. Serf at Monzievaird, S. Bean at Foulis, S. Bridget at Kilbryde, the Holy Trinity at Gask, Tullichettel at Comrie, and S. Serf at Dunnyne."
It is highly probable that between 1200 and 1219—say, about 1210—the Church of S. Serf at Dunning was built. And that we have a considerable portion of the original building still remaining is rendered almost certain from what is known of the style of architecture of the period referred to—viz., the Norman in transition—the Norman entering on a First Pointed. The grey Tower, with its quaintly-mullioned windows and saddle-back roof; the wall adjoining the Tower on the north, and containing a fine Norman doorway and an interesting line of corbels; the handsome arch rising from massive pillars, and showing beautifully scolloped mouldings, all afford corroborative proof of the date above assigned.
If Dunning Church was built about the time we have mentioned, it would, no doubt, be about the same time when the lands around it were erected into a parish. We have one or two very early references. In a charter of date 1247, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, granted 20 merks annually "de Thanagio de Dunnyne et Pitcairn." In 1283 we find that there was made to the Church of S. Serf a grant of "20 merks from our ferme at Dunin, to be paid half-yeirlie, at the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of S. Martin; and 10 merks of silver from our holding of Pitcairn, to be paid in the same manner." And in 1358 there is ratified a grant, previously made, of "42 merks yearly from the Thanage of Dunnyne"; also "the tithe of all the rents, cane, corn, cheese, flesh, fish, fowl, and game, and of all the food used in the Earl's Court, and 20 merks from our ferme at Dunnyne."
It may interest lovers of archaeological studies to know that when the Church of S. Serf at Dunning—originated and endowed as above described—was being re-floored some thirty-five years ago, there was dug up, from among earth and bones in the nave, a good specimen of a Celtic cross, which is now erected in a fitting place underneath the Tower. Mr A. Hutchison, F.S.A., Scot., Dundee (a reliable authority), has examined it, and has pronounced it "of the true Celtic type." He adds the opinion that "the fact that no mention is made in contemporary documents of an earlier church (i.e., earlier than 1210) does not prove that such a church did not exist.... It is a fair inference from the existence of this early cross that an earlier ecclesiastical settlement existed at Dunning, and that the present church superseded a pre-Norman, or Celtic Church, in all probability on the same site."
At the risk of its being regarded as an unpardonably wide digression, reference may here be made, not to another cross, but to a monumental stone of another kind and of a much later date (although no date is inscribed upon it.) It is what is known as the "Ebenezer" stone of the parish. Though at one time lying flat and covered with crop-bearing soil, it now stands erect, and on what is believed to have been its first site. It is placed on a field on the farm of Easter Gatherleys, and about three-quarters of a mile west of the farm-house. Its origin is said to have been this:—The farmer of Gatherleys of the time—who was also "laird" of the place—had for long been in doubt and spiritual darkness—to all appearance hopelessly perplexed. Sitting down, here, one day, he found comfort, peace, and light. Showing a most laudable example, he not selfishly received the blessing, but most gratefully acknowledged it, raising on the spot his "Ebenezer" of indebtedness to Him from whom our blessings flow. On the surface of the stone facing the east are inscribed in English the words of Is. l., 10; while on that facing the west we have the following:—
EBENEZER ======== Hic EX TENEBRIS LUX LUXIT ERGO PATER, FILIUS, ET SPIRITUS SANCTUS MEUS DEUS, ET NOMEN HUJUS LOCI LUX
Both as to size and shape the stone is similar to the quaint early 17th century "head-stones" in the older portion of the graveyard around Dunning Church.
Something must be written of the bells which have been connected, at one time or another, with the Church of Dunning. One bell, no longer in the Tower, came to sudden grief when discharging its duty on a certain happy occasion. The Master of Rollo of the time, who was living at Masterfield, having been blessed with four daughters, but no son and heir, was met one evening by a messenger bringing the welcome news that a son had just been born to him. "Go," he said, "and make the bell ring till it crack." The order was literally obeyed—a broken bell being the result. Its fragments having been taken to Duncrub, were, many years after, re-cast into a bell, now used in connection with the private chapel there. The inscription on the cracked bell, for a copy of which the writer is indebted to the present Lord Rollo, was of a very interesting and suggestive nature. Round the top were the words—"Soli Deo Gloria. Joannes Oaderogge me fecit. Roterodami, 1681"; and on the body of the bell, the following words placed thus:—
"HAEC AD EVANGELIUM HOC AD CHRISTUM HIC AD CAELUM VOCAT PBCCATORES."
His Lordship adds—"The bell, I believe, was in a vessel that was captured in the American War, and it was brought here by my predecessor, Andrew, fifth Lord Rollo.... It was broken in April, 1773, and I had it re-cast by Mears in 1860, with the original inscription replaced."
Of much interest, also, are the two bells still in the Tower of Dunning Church. The older and smaller bears the Dutch inscription:—"IC BEN GHEGOTEN INE IAER ONS HEEREN MCCCCCXXVI." But in addition to this, the bell shows a two-fold representation that seems to give it a value quite unique. What we have is—(1) a scallop-shell, on which are three figures—a central-seated figure, and two smaller figures kneeling alongside. The central figure seems to hold something, which may be a book, in the left hand close to the breast. The right hand is extended, and seems to hold a staff and a garland. The figure has a nimbus, and a curious triangular head-dress. (2) On the side opposite the shell and figures is what appears to be a representation of the Virgin and Child, alongside of which is a figure of the Crucifixion. This old bell is used to announce the half-hour as measured on the Steeple Clock, as also to tell the living that the mortal remains of some brother or sister are about to be laid beneath the turf.
The large bell—used to announce the services of the church, and, through the kindness of Lady Rollo, to ring at "matins" and at "even-song"—is of very full tone. It was a gift to the church by a highly-respected heritor of the parish, and bears this inscription:—
"T. Mears of London fecit.
"This Bell was presented to the Parish Church of Dunning by Mark Howard Drummond, Esq. of Kelty, Major of the 72nd Regiment of Albany Highlanders, in token of his attachment to his native parish, and of his zeal to promote religious, industrious, and early habits among the parishioners.—August 3d, 1825."
Mention has already been made of the fact that the patron Saint of Dunning was S. SERF. The same Saint had churches dedicated to him at Monivaird (Monzievaird), at Creich, and at Dysart. But, inasmuch as he seems to have lived for some considerable time at Dunning, and also to have died there, perhaps this is the most fitting place for a page or two as to his history.
That he was a real historic personage does not admit of doubt; but the exact time at which he acted his part on the world's stage is involved in great obscurity. The legends of him are very conflicting, so much so, that it has been supposed by some that there were two S. Serfs. It is the legends, however, that are two-fold, and not the Saint. According to the Aberdeen Breviary, and writers who follow its guidance, S. Servanus, or S. Serf, or S. Serb, or (in Aberdeenshire) S. Sair, belonged to the 5th century, and was the disciple of S. Palladius; others putting him a little further on, and making him out to have been the instructor of S. Kentigern at Culross. But most people who carefully read the pages of Skene will be satisfied that S. Servanus belongs to a later period still. It so happens that there is preserved in the Marsh M.S., Dublin, and printed in Skene's Chronicles of the Picts and Scots (p. 412, ff.), a Life of the Saint, which, notwithstanding some excessively wild and incredible-looking stories mixed up with it, is the only life of his that is consistent with itself and with otherwise-ascertained contemporary facts. This life makes the Saint contemporary with Adamnan, Abbot of Iona, who belonged to the 7th century, and with Brude, son of Dargart, King of the Picts. According to Skene, this Brude, son of Dargart, may be identified with Brude, son of Derile, who reigned from 697 to 706, and preceded that Nectan, son of Derile, who expelled the Columban monks from his kingdom. And confirmatory proof of this identification being correct is furnished by Gray's Scalacronica, which has under this Brude that we have been referring to—"En quel temps veint Servanus en Fine." Moreover, in the Chartulary of S. Andrews there is reference to an early charter of the Celtic period, by which "Brude, son of Dergard, gives the Isle of Lochlevine to the Omnipotent God, and to Saint Servanus, and to the Keledei hermits dwelling there, who are serving, and shall serve God in that island."