Lachlan Shaw.

The history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties online

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Online LibraryLachlan ShawThe history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties → online text (page 2 of 37)
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was given of the boulder clay and other superficial deposits
found overlying the silurian and old red sandstone rocks of
the district, and of the traces of ice in connection with the
rocks and boulders. All the recent formations, in their various
forms, the writer was disposed to ascribe almost entirely to the
operation of ancient glaciers. The Nairn valley runs in a
north-easterly direction, and is 30 miles long, by from 2 to 7-^
miles wide. Its eastern watershed is formed by a high range
of hills, composed of gneiss, rising to a maximum height of
2,637 feet, all giving evidence of glacial denudation in their
smooth-rounded tops and icescratchings. The western watershed
is formed in great part of a low ridge of old red sandstone, the
extreme south end of this Avatershed being a series of hills and
gaps. In discussing the boulder clay and the overlying gra-
velly till and sand, Mr. Fraser indicated the opinion that the
large accumulations of sand found at, and for some distance
above, Daviot and Craggie originated in great measure from
floods diverted from the Findhorn to the Nairn by way of
Loch Moy and Craggie. Travelled boulders of granite, gneiss,


red porphyry, conglomerate, and sandstone, of all shapes and
sizes, up to 500 or GOO tons, are found in great numbers over
the district, and, -vnth a few unaccounted-for exceptions, are
found in a north-easterly direction from the par('nt rocks.

The Paper Avas illustrated by carefully-prepared diagrams.

The Corrections, Emendations, and Addenda " to the Minis-
ters of the Protestant Church " have been laborious, and this
Compartment, i^er se, much needed, was worth republishing. The
trustworthy Fasti Ecdesice Scoticanm of the late Kev, Dr. Hew
Scott, Anstruther Wester, has been consulted and collated,
parish after parish.

Some idea of the labour and continuous research involved in
preparing the Fasti may be formed, when the author states that
he has "visited all the Presbyteries in the Church and above
7G0 different parishes, for the purpose of examining the exist-
ing records. In this way he has had an opportunity of search-
ing 860 volumes of Presbytery and 100 volumes of Synod
records, besides those of the General Assembly, along with the
early Registers of Assignations and Presentations to Benefices,
and about 430 volumes of the Testament Kegisters in the
different Commissariats."

"Annals of the Parish and Burgh of Ehjin," tSrc, by Robert
Young, solicitor, appeared a few months after his death in
January, 1879. Although inconvenient and bulky in form,
3^et the volume is well executed by the industrioi;s author, who
for many years Avas preparing so large a mass of reliable history.
A very limited impression of his first literary labours was
printed in 1868, titled "Notes on Burghcad : Ancient and
Modern, with Appendix, containing Notices of Families con-
nected with the place at different periods, and other informa-
tion. (For private circulation)," pp. 106. Captain Dunbar
Dunbar sent as a contril)ution to the thin volume an Inven-
tory of the furniture, plate, and effects Avhicli belonged to
James, second Lord Duffus, at the period of his death in
1705, in his houses at Elgin and Duffus. The apartments
.show the size of "The Lodgeing Att Elgin": — Hall, dyn-
ing room, drawing room, moydiair room, my lady's room,
back room, green room, laigh or east room, blew room, oratry
chamber, oratry, second table room, dressing room, brew house.
In "The Lodgeing Att Duffus": — Low parlour, parlour
<hamber, my lady's room, sec(jnd table room, dyning room, my
lord's closet, my lady's closet, east room, nurcery room, gentle-
man's room, liggatter room, green closet, painted room, the
oratry, fyre closet, woman-house, sta])les, garden chamber,
plate, tl-c, horses, kc, kitchin and fyre vessel.

In 1870 Mr. Young published a small Edition of 250 copies
of a ''History of Spijuir" compiled with his usual accuracy.



TN vain shall one expect to find a rational
-^ account of the ancient state of Scotland or
North Britain, unless he consult the Eoman
writers. Geoffrey of Monmouth [born 1110,
died 1154] will have North Britain called Al-
bania, from Albanactus, son of Brutus, the
grandson of iEneas the Trojan. And Hector
Boece"" calleth the same country Scotia, from
Scota, the daughter of one of the Pharaohs, kings
of Egypt. These, and the like, are fables below
the dignity of history, and fit only for venal

* Hector Boece, Boyce, or Boetbius, was boi-n at Dundee in
1470. He was aji pointed Principal of King's College, Aber-
deen, about 1500. He wrote Lives of the Bishops of Aberdeen^
but his great production is the History of Scotland (Scotorum
Historia ab illius gentis oriyine), 1526, which has been altei'-
nately abused and complimented, especially by Lloyd and
Stillingfleet, both Bishops of Worcester. His Scottish History
is indeed full of natural eloquence, although tinctured with
fanciful miracles })retended to signalise every public revolution.
He died about 1550.— (Ed.)

VOL. I. 1


In describing the ancient state of the southern
pro\dnces of this kingdom, the Roman wiiters
are sm-e guides that may he rehed on. Tacitus'
account of the expeditions of Juhus Agricola,
Herodian, Dion Cassius, Ammianus Marcellinus,
Claudian/"' and others, throw much hght upon
our history, give an account of the actions of the
Eomans in Britain during 400 years, describe
their colonies, forts, camps, pra^tentures, naval
stations, and military ways; and give some

* 1. Cuius Cornelius Tacitus was born about 61, at Interamna
(now Terni), and died about 117. He was successively Pra-tor
and Consul, and was on intimate friendship with Pliny. His
principal works are his " Annals," containing the History of
Rome, from the death of Augustus to that of Nero ; a His-
tory, embracing a period of 28 years, from 69 to 96 ; a Life
of his father-in-law, Cn. Julius Agricola ; and his Treatise on
the manners of the Germans.

2. Cneius Julius Agricola was born about 37, and died in
93. His father, Julius Gra^cinus, was i)ut to death by Calig-
ula, and his mother afterwards was murdered in a piratical
excursion by the fleet of Otho. The Romans had never been
able to conquer Britain ; hence this charge was committed to
Agricola, Avho arrived in Britain in 78, and extended his in-
roads as far as the Tay. He crossed the Forth in Si at Queens-
fei-ry, and subjected whole regions unknown to the Romans.
Domitian, the Roman emperor, gets the credit of having
poisoned him.

3. Ilerodian was a Greek historian of the Roman empire
about 236.

4. Dion Cassius was born about 155, and died about 229.

5. Ammianus Marcellinus was born at Antioch. At an
early age he became a soldier. Although a Greek, he ^vrote
his History at Rome, embracing a period from the reign of
Nerva to the death of Valens. He died about 390.

6. Claudian or Chnidius Claudianus flourished in the fourth
century. Authors difler in his birth-place, mentioning Florence,
Gaul, Spain, and Alexandria in Egypt. No jioet has ap-
proached nearer to Virgil. He died about 401. — (Ed.)


account of the natives with whom the Eomans
had any intercourse, and whom they cah in the
general, Britanni, Britones, and Caledonii ; and
more particularly Scoti, Picti, Altacoti, Vecturi-
ones, Dicalidones, Yacomagi, Ladeni, &c. But
it was the misfortune of the northern parts of
Scotland that the Eomans (from Julius CaBsar's
first descent into Britain to about a.d. 426, that
tiiey abandoned the island) never, that I have
found, penetrated into them, excepting once in
the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus, in
the beginning of the third century, of whom
Xiphilinus writeth, that he marched into the
northmost extremity of the island. " Ingressus
est in Caledonian!, eamque dum pertransiret,
habuit maxima negotia, quod sylvas CtTderet, et
loca alta perfoderet, quodque paludes obruerit
aggere, et pontes in iluminibus faceret : Nee ab
inceptis desiit, quousque ad extremarn partem
insulse venit ; ubi diversum, quam apud nos sit,
cursum solis, itemque noctium et dierum, tam
aestivormn quam hybernorum, magnitudinem dili-
gentissime cognovit." * In this expedition Sev-
erus lost 50,000 of his army, without once fighting

* Translation. — He invaded Caledonia, and in his progress en-
<lured the heaviest labour in cutting his passage through woods,
levelling obstructions, in raising mounds through marshes, and
in making bridges on rivers. He did not relinquish his under-
taking, until he came to the farthest end of the island, where
he most studiously remarked the difference in the course of the
sun, and also the greater length both of the summer days and
of the winter nights than it is with \is. — (Ed.)


the Caledoniaus, being overcome by cold, hunger,
and fatigue. And after him no Roman marched
so far into the noiih.

I have said it was the misfortune of the north-
ern coimtries that the Romans were so httle
acquainted with them ; for wherever they settled
they softened the rough temper and civilised the
rude manners of the natives. They introduced
letters, arts, and sciences. They taught agricul-
tm-e, and laid the foundations of cities and toTsus,
navigation and commerce. Hence the many
towns and villages on both sides of the Frith of
Forth had their rise from the Roman colonies,
forts, and naval stations. And the foundation of
the culture and fertility of the Lothians was laid
by their industry ; while the western coast, from
the Clyde northw^ard, into which the Romans
never entered (though better fm-nished by nature
with bays, harbours, and creeks), remained long
uncivilised, without towns, trade, or commerce.

It is true, Julius Agricola sent a fleet of ships
to sail round the island, of whicli Tacitus says —
" Hanc Oram novissimi maris tunc primmn Ro-
mana classis circumvecta, insulam esse Britan-
niam affirmavit, ac simul incognitar ad id tcmpus
insulas, quas Orcades vocant, invenit, donniitque;
dispecta est et Thyle.""^" To this navigation, I

* Tacit. Villi A'jriculce, cap. 10 sect. 5. — Trundation — The
Eoman ileet then first sailed round the coast of this wholly
unknown sea, afcccrtr.ined that Britain was an island, and at


question not, we owe the geographical Tahles of
Ptolemy in the second century ; which tables, as
Gerard Mercator observeth, are pretty exact, if
what he placeth towards the east is turned to
the north. In their descents the captains of
these ships described the coasts, discovered the
people inhabiting them, and gave them the names
we have in Ptolemy's Tables — not new Latin
names (the Romans seldom, if ever, gave such to
any place or people they discovered or conquered),
but the names the natives gave them in their
own language, and to which these sailors, or per-
haps Ptolemy, gave a new termination, and soft-
ened some British words, by the change of one
or more letters. Such names are — Vernicones,
or the inhabitants of the Mearns ; Morini, of
Mar ; Tazali, of Buchan ; Gantini, of Ross ;
CantcB, of Caithness ; Cornavii, of Strathnaver ;
and ^sturium Vaiuris, the Frith of Moray. iVll
these are British words, with Latin inflexions ;
and, let me add, that as these navigators could
only discover the coasts, so Ptolemy only de-
scribeth the coasts, and not the inland parts.

In the middle ages of oiu" nation we have men-
tion, and little more than mention, of Moray and
the inhabitants thereof. A manuscript, De Situ
AlhanicB (a trifling perfonnance in the twelfth

the sanie time discovered and subdued tlie unknown islands,
which they call the Orkneys ; and even Thule was descried. —


centmy), speaking of the ancient division of
Albania into seven kingdoms, says — " Sexto div-
isio est Miu'ef et Eos." Excerpta ex veteri clironico
Begum Scotorum bearetli — " Donevaldus, filius
Constantini, apiid oppidiun Fother occisus est a
gentibus." " Malcolmns Ulius Domnail cum ex-
eicitn perexit in Moreb." Nomina Begum' Scot-
oruvi ex Begistro Prioratus St. Andrecc^ says —
'' Dovenal Mac Constantin mortims est in Fores."
" Malcolnms Mac Dovenald interfectus est in
Ului'n (forte Aldern) a Moraviensibus." " Duff
Mac Malcolm interfectus est in Fores, et abscon-
ditns sub ponte de Kinlos, et sol non apparuit
quamdiu ibi latuit."* After the tenth century
we have so frequent accounts of Mora}' that I
shall not descend to pju'ticulars.

There are few countries in Scotland (except
Moray) but descriptions of them may be met
with in print or in manuscript. Even in the
northern parts, Dr. Nicolson, in his Scottish His-
torical Lihrarg, mentions descriptions of Shet-
land, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Buchan,

* Innes' Critical Essay, vol. ii., Appendix. — I'ranslatioii —
" The sixtli division is Moray and Ross. Extracts from the
old chronicle of the Kiw is of Scotland bearetli — "That Donald,
the son of Constantin e, was murdered near the town of Forres
by the savages." "Malcolm, the son of Domnail, proceeded
with an army to INloray." llie Names of the Kimjs of Scotland
from the Jicj/ister of the Priori/ of St. Andrews—^'' Dovnal Mac
Constantin died in Forres." " Malcolm Mac Dovenald was
slain by the people of jMoray in Ulurn (probably Auldearn)."
" DulT jMac Malcolm was murtlcred in Forres, and concealed
uniler the brid.Lje of KLnloss; and the sun did not shine as
long as he lay hidden there." — (Ed.)


Mearns, and others. But I have not been so
fortunate as to have read or heard of a descrip-
tion of the country of Moray. This renders the
task I have cut out for myself the more difficult.
I walk on untrodden ground, having no author,
ancient or modern, to conduct me ; and I must
rest contented v^ith v^hat materials my sphere of
reading, and the testimony of credible persons,
have fm-nished me.

The sequel is drawn from Ptolemy of Alexandria,
Richard of Cirencester, The Chartulary of Moray, Fordun,
Ferrerius, History of the Abbey of Kinloss, and the vviit-
ings of Sir James and Sir David Dalrymple, and Sir
William Jones.


The wandering tribes and barbarous clans who occupied
the country in remote times gave little attention to
their own history, and had few advantages for preservinor
accounts of their state and actions. This limits the
knowledge of the Aborigines of our country in early
periods to a few facts conveyed to us, through the medium
of foreign language and manners, from a lettered people,
who, by trade or conquest, had acquired some acquaint-
ance with them ; or to conjecture and reasoning, founded
on a few public monuments, with remains of their langu-
age, and some ancient usages that were observed, until
history became established on positive evidence.

The conjectural part of our history is highly uncertain,
if not in many particulars fabulous. Before the use of
letters, neither the names nor the actions of men could be
preserved little more than a century after their death.
Our insular situation exposed us to every invading foe,
and colonies of various nations were established amonfj


US. This weakens the evidence of our national traditions :
it gives us au unstable heterogoDeous mass of circum-
stances, to. which we neither can assign original or date ;
nor can we often separate them so as with an absolute
degree of precision to determinate what part of these
indigested materials belong to the Aborigines or to the
colonies who at different periods settled in the island.
After every degree of selection and accuracy, darkness
and uncertainty attend the conclusions, that by no means
banish doubt from the human mind.

But, amidst all this obscurity in which our antiquities
are involved, a dawn appears that throws a portion of
light on even the ancient part of our history. By this
we can ascertain in a certain degree from the local situa-
tion of the neighbouring countries, from the present
evidence of language, and from ancient authors, who
Avere the original inhabitants of Britain, and the distin-
guished colonies that established themselves in it at
different periods. It is impossible to ascertain the eras
of these events exactly : it can be only asserted that they

It is evident to a demonstration that the west was
peopled from the east. Modern researches have in a
great measure established it, that Iran, or Persia in its
largest extent, was the centre of population, knowledge,
languages, and arts, which, from the earliest autiquit}^
spread out in all directions to all the regions of the world.
From that country Hindoos, Arabs, Tartars issued; as
did, in the direction from north-east to south-west, those
myriads that at first peopled the wilds of Europe and
afterwards at different times invaded it. They are
descended of an older nation, from whom the Hindoos,
Goths, Szc, had a common origin, as the simihxrity of
language and religion fully evinces, and from whom they
also received their arts and sciences.

This might be proved ])y analytical investigation, in as
convincing a manner as historical facts of so high anti-
<[uity are capable of receiving, was this the proper place.
Suffice it to mention that the Hindoos, Greeks, Tuscans,
Scythians, or Goths, Celts, Chinese, and Japanese, pro-
ceeded from one central countr}^ — Iran at large. There
is great affinity between the primeval languages of Asia
and those spoken in Europe, particularly in the British


isles. The language of the first Persian empire was the
mother of the Sansci-it as well as of the Gothic, Greek,
and Latin. Pliny observed that the British religious
€eremonies were similar to those of Persia. Strabo
mentions that the Samothracian institutions were prac-
tised in Britain.

It is more than probable that the Druids of this island
were the immediate descendants of a tribe of Brahmins
who emigrated from Thibet into Tartary, and there
uniting with the Celto-Scythians introduced the Bramin
religion, which, mingling with the tenets of the Celto-
Scythians, spread over Europe.

The Brahmanic original of the Druids appears from their
doctrine of transmigration, their knowledge of astronomy,
their abstinence from certain kinds of food as unclean,
and belief of the destruction of the world by fire, ifec.
The Druid circles were solar temples, of which Stone-
henge was the most distinguished. These circles were
also employed for public deliberation and the distribution
of justice. In Norway and Iceland they are named Dom
Thing, Ting, or judicial circles. They were used fo}'
these different purposes, as the ancients alwaj's o]5ened
their meetings for civil affairs with acts of religion.
From this eastern source we are to derive those hierogly-
phical representations of serpents, elephants, and other
figures on the obelisks in Angus-shire, Similar figures
are carved on obelisks in Japan.

The most ancient inhabitants that can be traced in
Europe are the Celts who, in remote antiquity, occupied
all the Continent from the mouth of the Oby to Cape
Finisterre. They were the Aborigines of Gaul, which
was early and powerfully peopled, and from Gaul they
penetrated into Britain. It is uncertain how long they
preserved the undisturbed possession of Europe ; but, in
time, another immense body, called Scythians, came from
Iran, and making an irruption, drove the Celts before
them and occupied a great part of the Continent. At
length they penetrated into Britain, which produced the
first mixture of inhabitants in that island. But, inde-
pendent of this general evidence that the Celta3 and
Scythians came from the east, there is also evidence in
the antiquities of Britain and Ireland that establishes it
with a high degree of probability. The worship of the


sun, with many other practices, proves this, as do the
names of hills, rivers, and promontories, which last long,
and can only be deciphered on the principles of Bryant's
Analysis of ancient Mythology. These Scythians, and
the tribes afterwards called Teutons and Goths, were the
same people, and early established themselves in Germany
and penetrated into Gaul. They gradually confined the
ancient Celt;\3 into a corner of Gaul, and, under the name
of Belga?, took possession of the o{)posite shores of Britain,
and pushed the Celta? to the northern parts of the island.
Yet, so low as Augustus Qrsar's time, the Celta?, at large,
were a powerful people in Europe, and are never to be
confounded with the Scythians, though both came origi-
nally from the east.

These Scythians also established themselves in Scandi-
navia, on the Baltic, and becoming bold adventurers at
sea, settled many colonies on the coasts of Europe, particu-
larly on the north and east of Britain, from the Orknej's
to the mouth of the Humber.

The Phcenicians early carried on trade with Britain
and Ireland, where they spread their religion and com-
municated some of their arts to the inhabitants. They
also, for the benefit of their commerce, colonised some of
the southern maritime parts of these islands. They came
from Spain, as did the Iberians, and in conjunction with
them occupied a considerable part of Ireland, as appears
from the remains of their language and many other

This emigration of Phoenicians and Iberians from Spain
probably happened when the Chaldeans, under Nebu-
chadnezzar, conquered part of Africa and Spain, about
the year 571 before Christ. The irruption of the Chal-
deans is mentioned by Strabo, who names their king
Nauocodrosorum. It is also related by Josephus. There
is the more probability in this expedition, as it happened
after the Chaldeans had taken Tyre and subdued Egypt,
who at that period carried on an extensive commerce
with Spain and Africa, and had founded Leptis, Utica,
Carthage, Gades, and other cities. Pliny gives an account
from Varro that Persians, Phcvnicians, Iberians, and Celts
had settled in Spain.

The great mass of the ancient ]iopulation of Britain and
Ireland originated from these races of men. This appears


by comparing the various languages and their structure
which as yet prevail in these countries. The Celtic and
Gothic are radically different, even in their modern
dialects, Erse, Welch, English, and broad Scotch.

The Iberno-Scythian, or Irish language differs from
these in many particulai's, and abounds with Punic words,
introduced by the Iberians and Phoenicians ; and in Ire-
land they once used the eastern Boustrophedon manner
of writing. The Irish call one of their dialects herla
fene, the Phoenician speech.

Tacitus informs us that in the age of Agricola, our
island was inhabited by the people of Caledonia, the
Silures and Cumbri. He estimated the Caledonians to
be of German extraction from their appearance and size ;
the Silures, he judged, came from Spain, and therefore
were Iberians and Phoenicians, and that the Cumbrians
were of Gallic extract, from their similarity in language
and religious institutioDs. The Caledonians probably
spoke one of the Gothic dialects, mingled with the langu-
age of the Celtse, who retreated northward on the irruption
of the Belg?e and Romans, and relinquishing their Sylva
Caledonia, on the banks of the Thames, preserved that
name in Caledonia, afterwards Scotland.

The united body of these Celt?e and the Scandinavian
colonies formed that nation afterwards called Picti by the
Romans. The Cumbrians spoke a dialect of the Celtic
and Gothic languages, and were those Celtte, Belgoe, Picti,
and other Britons who, after the Saxon invasion, occupied
the western coast, from Antoninus' Wall to Land's-End.

Bede, who died in 735, informs us that, in his age, there
were five languages used in Britain, — the Saxon, British,
Scottish, Pictish, and Roman. The Saxon and Pictish
were dialects of the Gothic, being spoken by people of
the same origin. The British language was composed of
the Celtic and Gothic dialects, introduced by the Belg?e.
The Scottish was partly Celtic and partly Irish, the Scots
and Irish being one and the same people. When the
Romans conquered a nation, they introduced their langu-
age among them ; but, before Bede's time, it had ceased
to be in common use in this island, and was only adopted

Online LibraryLachlan ShawThe history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties → online text (page 2 of 37)