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 8 of 37)
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practice or the statutes requii'ing meetings for the exhibi-
tion or the exercise of arms were introduced. The turbu-
lent state of society in ancient times generally raised a
village in the vicinity of every castle, for the mutual
security which both the fortress and the ])eople afforded
to each other: but in the peaceful security which the
wisdom and energy of the present constitution has so
long maintained, it is more pleasant to have the palace
environed by the ornamented grounds of an extensive
park. In this regard, the Duke of Gordon, several years
ago purchased the property of the town, then situated
not far from his gate, and feued off" the present village, at
a handsome yet commodious distance. This new town is
a clean neat burgh of barony ; all its streets are straight,
crossing each other at right angles ; and the great road to
London conducted through the centre of its grand square ;
three sides of which, pretty uniformly built, are the man-
sions of tlie inhabitants. The fourth is occupied by the


public buildings, the church, detached in the middle
between two large handsome houses of uniform exterior,
one occupied as the manse, the other containing the
parochial school and town hall.

Oti" the highway, between the west end of the town
and the rivei-, is the great gate to Gordon Castle, consist-
ing of a loft}' arch between two neat domes, elegantly
finished, with neat square lodges upon the abutments.
Its front bears some resemblance to the outline of the
castle, and it is similarly embellished by a handsome
battlement. Within the gate the road winds about a
mile through a green parterre, skirted with flowering
shrubbery and groups of tall spreading trees, till it is lost
in an oval before the front of the castle. There is,besides
this, another approach from the east, sweeping for several
miles through the varied scenery of the park, enlivened
by different pleasant views of the country ai-ound, the
river, and the ocean, till it also terminates at the great
door of this princely mansion.

The situation of the Castle is on the lowest of the fiats
that have been described. It commands a long extended
view of the whole plain, with all its wood, and a variety
of sheets of the river glittering onwards to the sea; com-
]U'ehending also the town and shijiping of Garmacli, or
Garmouth, and a large handsome editice that terminates
the plain on the shore, the hall and other buildings for
the accommodation of the salmon fishery.

The Castle was originally built b}' George the 2nd Earl
of Huntly ; altered and enlarged in every succeeding age.
It has of late been almost built of new by his Grace, in
all the elegant magnificence of modern architecture. It
extends in front to the goodly length of 5G8 feet, from
east to west ; being however of difi'urent depths, the breaks
make a variety of light and shade, which takes off the
a})])earance of excess in uniformity. The body of the
building is of 4 storeys ; and in its southern front stands
the six-storeyed tower entire of the original castle, by
much ingenuity making a part of the modern palace, and
rising 84 feet high. The wings are magnificent pavilions
of two lofty storeys, connected by galleries of two lower
storeys ; and beyond the i)aviIions, buildings are extended,
efpially to either hand, of one floor and an attic storey.
I'lic whole of tliis vast edifice, designed by Baxter, archi-


tect, Edinburgh, externally is of white hard Elgin free-
stone, smoothly cut in the most elegant manner in the
quarries of Drainie, or Duffus, and finished all around,
like the gate, by a rich cornice and a handsome

The hall of this magnificent structure is embellished by
a copy of the Apollo Belvidere, and of the Venus de
Medicis, beautifully executed of statuary marble, by
Harvvood. Here also, by the same ingenious statuary,
are busts of Homer, Caracalla, M. Aurelius, Faustina, and
a Vestal. At the l^ottom of the great stairs, are busts
also of J. Csesar, Cicero, and Seneca, all raised on elegant
pedestals of Sienna marble. With these last, stands a
bust of Cosmo III. Duke of Tuscany, a connexion of the
family of Gordon, on an elevated pedestal of painted
timber. The stairs and passages are kept warm by a
stove placed in this sumptuous apartment.

Two spacious halls for the different ranks of servants,
with two baths, cellars, and other requisite accommoda-
tions, occupy the rest of the ground floor.

The first floor contains the dining-room, drawing-room,
breakfast-room, the bed-chamber of state, with its dressing-
room, and several other elegant apartments. All the
rooms are judiciously proportioned, sumptuously finished,
and the distribution of light managed to the greatest
advantage. The sideboard is within the recess of the
dining-room, separated b}^ loftj^ Corinthian columns of
Scagliola, in imitation of verd antique marble.

In this room are copies, by Angelica Kauflman, of
Venus and Adonis, and of Danae, by Titian ; of Abraham
and Hagar, of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, by Guercino ;
of Dido and St. Cecilia, by Domenichino ; besides several

In the drawing-room is a portrait of the Duke by
Raeburn, and of the Duchess by Sir Joshua Reynolds,
and some beautiful screens done by the young ladies.

In the breakfast-room is a copy, by Angelica KauftVnan,
of the celebrated St. Peter and St. Paul, the masterpiece of
Guido Rheni, esteemed the most valuable in the Sampieri
palace at Bologna, and one of the best paintings in the
world : 10,000 sequins, it is said, had been offered for it.
It represents St. Paul rebuking the Apostle for his base
dissimulation with the Jews, respecting the obligation of


the ceremonial law, and concealing his communications
with the uncircumcised, related in the Epistle to the
Galatians ; and the Apostle is represented as much
ashamed of his mean hypocrisy. By the same master,
tliere is also a copy of Herodias and the Baptist's head in
the charger: and a copy by Guercino of the Persian
Sibyl. On each side of the chimney is an original paint-
ing by Kautlman, Ulysses and Calypso, Bacchus and
Ariadne. Ojiposite to these is a highly finished full-
length portrait of the Duke, leaning on a horse, a gun in
his liand, and dead game lying near, by Pompeijo Battoni
of Rome. A fine small original of the Abbe d'Aubignie
in his study, and a strikingly expressive head of St. John
receiving the Revelation in Patmos, contribute also their
embellishment to this magnificent room.

The upper storeys are occupied by bed-ch;imbers, except
the library in the third, and the music-room in the fourth
floor, both directly over the dining-room, and of its
dimensions. In all these numerous apartments are valu-
able paintings, many of them family portraits, descripti\ e
of the dresses of their respective times ; some fine hunting
and pastoral pieces by Rosa de Tivoli; beautiful ruins,
and a curious caricature group of Scots and English
travellers, acquainted with the Duke, who happened to
meet at Florence.

The library contains several thousand volumes, and is
well furnished with geographical and astronomical instru-
ments. There is a folio MS. of the Vulgate Bible, and
two MS. Missals, elegantly illuminated. There is also a
very clean MS. of Bernard Gordon's Lillium Medicime,
mentioning at the end the names of the copiers, and the
year 1319.

Gordon Castle being situated on that range of flat
ground where the sea had formed a semicircular bay, or
where the river had winded in a wide-bending sweep, is
of course environed on one side by the second range of
higher ground. This bank, wherd nature has done much,
is also highly ornamented by the embellishments of art,
being on the side of a great park, containing 10 or 12
square miles. The wood, without the appearance of
design, is prettily disposed upon the plain, and on the
mountain above : it s])reads a boundless forest, afibrding
cover for vast numl)ers of mountain deer, and containing


in its skirts an ample inclosure flocked with fallow deer.
These ornamented grounds, which spread so far on every
side around the castle, occupy the upper part of the
parish, the town of Fochabers included, with what may
be called its borough lands, but which are held from the
Duke only from year to year.

The lower part is parcelled out into small farms, partly
occupied in detached acres, intermingled with each other's
possessions, and several of the tenants along the river pay
their rents by the wages of their employment in the
fishery. In the higher ranges of the district, the farms
are less hampered, but none so large as to admit of the
most advantageous system of agriculture. The average
rent from the acre, including the lands and meadows in
the park of Gordon Castle, may be estimated at £1 3s.

At Gordon Castle there is a plank, cut from near the
root of a tree in the celebrated forest of Glenmore, 6 feet
broad. A brass plate upon it bears the following In-
scription : —

"In the year 1783, William Osborne, Esq., merchant, of
Hull, purchased of the Duke of Gordon the forest of Glen-
more, the whole of which he cut down in the space of 22
years, and built during that time, at the mouth of the river
Spey, where never vessel was built before, 47 sail of ships, of
upwards of 19,000 tons burthen. The largest of them of
1000 tons, and three others but Httle inferior in size ; one now
in the service of His Majesty, and the Harbles East India
Company. This undertaking was completed at the expense
(for labour only) of above £70,000. To His Grace the Duke
of Gordon this plank is offered as a specimen of the growth
of one of the trees in the above forest, by His Grace's most
obt. servt., W. Osborne, Hull, Sept. 26, 1806."

State Ecclesiastical. — The Church, until of late, was
near the Roman Camp, about a mile northward from the
Castle, and nearer to the sea. It is now placed in the town
of Fochabers : a building that would be ornamental to
any city of the empire. It was designed and executed
by the celebrated architect, Mr. Baxter of Edinburgh : it
is built of freestone from the Drainie quarries, neatly cut.
In its front is an elegant portico, raised on Doric columns,
and from behind the pediment springs a light and hand-


some steeple, about 100 feet in height. Within, it is pro-
vided with a stove, and fitted up and finished in the most
complete and neatest manner for the accommodation of
1,200 people, and at the cost of £2,000 sterling.

The stipend, including the allowance for the Communion,
is £72 Os. 4kl. and a glebe near the town of 13 acres. It
is hardly necessary to mention, that the right of patronage
appertains to his Grace, or that the burying-ground is
continued where the old church stood.

To this parish appertains a portion of the Enzie mission.
The chapel is situated about 5 miles from the town, on
the confines of the parish of Rathvcu. For this establish-
ment, two general contributions were made over all the
Church of Scotland, before or about the j^ear 1730 ; and
though at present the amount would be accounted trifling,
yet by the tlirifty management of the Presbytery of
Fordyce, under whose care it was originally placed, it
accumulated to a capital sufficient to purchase a glebe of
8 acres, with a house, and a provision of £50 3"early, for
the minister, besides a fund for keeping the buildings
always in repair. The Duke of Gordon sold the ground
for this accommodation, and gave security for the capital,
for which pious concern the General Assembly voted to
him the thanks of the Church. The management has
been since preposterously placed under a committee of 7
clergymen, mostly of Edinburgh, and 7 laymen of the
profession of the law, continued from one General
Assembly to another — unconnected with this country,
unacquainted also and unconcerned about its particular

In the town of Fochabers there is a neat Roman Catholic
chapel, and another about 4 miles distant, where the
clergyman of this communion resides. His income is
supposed to be paid in part from funds in the disposal
of foreign universities.

[A handsome Roman Catholic Church was erected in
1828, an E])iscopal in 1834, and a Free in 1844.

Milne'fi Inditutlov. — A free school, built in 1846, was
from a bequest of 100,000 dollars, or £20,000, left by a
native, Alexander Milne, a servant at Gordon Castle, who
died at Louisiana in 1839.] — (Ed.)

Schools, a radical branch of the state of this realm,
both civil and ecclesiastic, may be regarded as the work-


shops in which mankind are formed of the raw material.
Much, therefore, among the middle and lower orders of
society must ever depend upon the discretion and abilities
of a schoolmaster. 13ut how little ought to be expected
in the man, whose most assiduous toil scarcely earns £20
in the year, and who, although the efficient parent of all
that distinguishes civilization from barbarism, and govern-
ment from anarchy, is nevertheless neglected, despised,
starved. The salary of the parochial school is 14 bolls
of meal, with the other statutory dues ; the number of
scholars generally GO.

In the vicinity of the Enzie Chapel, the Society for
Christian Knowledge have established a School, with an
appointment of £10 yearly to the master, and a temporary
allowance of £5 yearly to his wife, for her attention to
the female pupils. The scholars in all are accounted
about 100. The Duke bestows the accommodations
which the Society require.

The provision for the poor is considerable. Besides the
money contributed by the families which attend the
church, there is a sum bearing yearly interest : both are
divided among the poor, without regard to their being-
Dissenters from the National Church : and in addition to
these, there is a pension by the Duke to 10 decayed
labourers, who had been employed in the service of
his Grace.

The members of the Established Church are 1,100;
those of the Church of Rome are 650 ; there are a few of
the Scots Episcopalians, and some Antiburgher Seceders,
amounting together to the number of 20.

Miscellaneous Information. — Upon the farm of Upper
Dallachy, about a mile from the shore, there lately was a
low conical mount. It was known by the name of " the
Green Cairn." Tradition recognized it as the tomb of a
chief of ancient renown ; and it remained unviolated,
through all the changes of many generations, until a few
years ago. It consisted of about 12 feet deep of rich
mould, incumbent on an accumulation of small fragments
of stone, nearly of the same height, surrounded at the
base by a double row of stone erect, similar to the circles
of the Druid temples. Among this great accumulation of
fragments, was a stone coffin of unpolished flags : a small
quantity of black ashes was its whole contents. Near the


circumference, about two feet under the surface, was also
found an urn, the rude workmanship of the potter, about
eight inches in diameter, and one foot in height; and on
shaking out the mould with which it was filled, a piece
of polished gold appeared, in form like the handle of a
vase. It was 3-lOths of an inch thick, its ends about an
inch asunder; on them the solder, or the appearance of
silver, remained, wliich by the application of aquafortis
was dissolved. To form a conjecture of its use is in vain :
its value in bullion was about £12 sterling.

Besides the salmon fishery in the river, which by its
valued rent must appertain to Speymouth, although tlie
buildings for its accommodation are on the coast of this
})arish, there is also still a salmon fishery in the salt water
of some consideration.

A small proportion of the parish, answering to £242 8s.
Scots of the valued rent, on which also a part of Gordon
Castle stands, is in the county of Moray : the greater part
of the Castle and of the Parish are within the sheritl'dom
of Banff'. In its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, it is in the
Synod and Commissariot of Moray, and in the Presbytery
of Strathbogie.] — {Survey of Province of Moray.)

[The patronage of the Kirk of Bellie belonged to the
Priory of TTrqubart, in consequence of a grant of territory
by David I. about 1150-3, which included Finfans, on the
west of the Spey, and Fochoper (Fochabers), on the east,
with a conunon for pasturage and a fishing on the S]iey.

As to the ])roprietary history of the district, it appears
that, about 1238, King Alexander acquii-ed the second
teinds of the lands of Fochobyr and others from the
Bishop of Moray in exchange for lands and teinds in
another part of that province. At a later date other
parts of Fochabers were exchanged for the lands of W^^nn
(? Whinnyhaugh) and Bynin (^ Binns). From the Chartu-
lary of Moray it appears that in 13u2 John the Hay of
Tulybothuyl (Tillibody) had a charter of the whole lands
from the Spey to the Burn of Tynet, which are described
as lying within the Forest of Awne or Enzie. About 12
years later the same Baron, with consent of his son,
founded a Chapel at " the Gcth " (Gycht) in honour of
God and of the blessed Virgin Mary and of all Saints.
This was endowed witli an annuity of £20 and 4 acres of


land at Ladardach, with a horse for the chaplain, and
pasture for 12 cows and a bull, GO sheep and lambs, 2
horses, " one of which, being the chaplain's palfrey, was to
have pasture in the same field with the lord's own stud,"
while the jurisdiction of the foundation was given to the
Bishop and Chaj)ter of Moray. This chapel appears to
have been situated somewhere about Gordon Castle,
The old fairs or markets of SS. Catherine and Mungo,
and the Holyrood, long held in the neighbourhood of
Fochabers, seem to indicate that there were either altar-
ages within the chapel, or that chapels in difierent parts
of the parish were dedicated thereto.

George Chalmers, the author of "Caledonia," &c., was a
native of Fochabers. Born, 1742. Died in Loudon. 1825,

The Eldest Son of the Great Montrose. — It is scarcely
known in the north that the dust of a son of the great
Marquis of Montrose sleeps inside the old Parish Church of
Bellie, near Fochabers. The fact is alluded to in the
Report made by Mr. William Fraser on the papers belong-
ing to the Duke of Montrose in the recently issued Report
of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Mr.
Fraser, in quoting the Bond of Union subscribed on 30th
January, 1G45, at Killiwheen, now Fort-Augustus, says —
"The first signature [to the Boud] is that of Montrose,
and the second that of the Earl of Seaforth. The third
signature is that of Lord Graham, eldest son of the
Marquis, then a youth of 15 years of age, who accon^-
panied his father in this winter campaign, during which
he became suddenly indisposed at the Bog, near Gordon
Castle, where he died after a few days' illness. He was
buried in the Parish Church of Bellie." The above
jmssage is quite corroborated by the great chronicler of
the " Trubles," John Spalding of Aberdeen, who says —
" Ye heir on the uther leaf how Montrose comes to the Bog,
His eldest sone, the Lord Gi-ahame, was in his company, a
proper youth — about 10 yeiris old, and of singular ex-
pectatioun. He takis seiknes, dels in the Bog in a few
dayis, and is bureit in the Kirk o' Bellie, to his fatheris
gryt greif" It might have been thought the Marquis
would have seen that some stone should have been placed
to tell where reposed the remains of the hope of his
house ; but the pressure of public aftairs had probably


been too great, the struggle too intense, to permit him to
attend to the gratification of his own feelings. At all
events, if any memorial ever Avas erected, it now no
longer exists. The Rev. Robert Cushny, minister of
Bellie, having applied to the oldest and most intelligent
of the inhabitants of Bellie, some of them persons who
had in their youth worshipped in the old Parish Church,
wliich stood in the church3-ard, about two miles from
Fochabers, found none who had any recollection of having
ever seen any record or mark of the interment of the
^larcpiis of Montrose's eldest son there. It seems that
Dr. Bremner, Banff, made inquiries about the matter 20
years ago, at the instance of some of the members of the
Spalding Club. William Sievcwright, mason in Focha-
bers, the person to whom Dr. Bremner applied, questioned
the gravedigger, who had held the office for -iO years, on
the subject, and was informed by him that he had never
come upon any stone, or fragment of a stone, which he
could imagine to have marked the grave of such a person;
although he had carefully examined any stone that had
the appearance of having been placed as a gravestone, for
the purpose of preserving such. The foct that he was
interred, not in the Churchyard, but in the Kirk of Bellie,
may account for the circumstance of there being now no
visible record of the interment, supposing there had ever
been such ; as there is a quantity of what had no doubt
been debris of the old church, in which interments had
afterwards taken place. It seems clear from Sjialding's
narrative that Lord Graham's death had occurred between
the 4th and 10th of March, 1G45, probably on the oth or
()th ; for Montrose had reached Turriff about the 10th of
March, after sundry plunderings at Cullen, the ravaging
of the land around the Craig of Boyne, and making that
visit to Banff, when, in terms of the old chronicler, the
relentless Montrose " plundered the same pitifully, leaving
neither merchandise, goods, nor gcir; they saw no man
on the streit, bot was stript naikit to the skin."] — (Fd.)


Is next to Bellie, up the river : so called from
D/in a bill, Diir water, and Cos foot, for there


the river runneth at the foot of the hill. It is
situated on both sides of the river.

On the west side, the Church * standeth about
half a mile from the south end of the parish,
about 3^ miles south of Speymouth Church, and
1 mile north of Kothes.

North from the church lie the lands of Garbaty,
the property of Sir Eobert Gordon of Gordonston,
and below these, on the river, are the lands of
Orton, lately belonging to a branch of the family
of Innes, and now to the Earl of Fife. Near to
the church is a part of the Lordship of Rothes,
and now the property of the Earl of Findlater.

On the east side of the river the parish stretches
about 4 miles in length, and in some parts more
than a mile in breadth. In the north end is
Ordewhish, pertaining to the Duke of Gordon.
South of which, on the river side, is Cairntie,
lately purchased by Sir Ludovick Grant from
Alexander Hay, whose ancestors had been for
some generations heritors of it. And south and
east of Cairntie is the barony of Mulben, the
freehold of Sir James Grant. This, it is said,
was the first land that the family of Grant had
on the River Spey, and which they obtained by

* The roofless Church still stands. The Avorkmen who were
employed to take oft' the slates, &c., on its suppression, were
stoned into the Spey by the ireful Abigails of the Kirkton ;
and one young man, while fording the river in trying to
escape, was drowned. The old Manse is now a well-kept
farm-house. — (Ed. )


mamage with the daughter and heir of Wiseman

of Mulben, about 350 years ago.

A brook that falleth into the river at the
passage-boat, called the Boat of Bridge, was
formerly called Orkil ; and the lands on the
banks of it were called Inverorkil, which lands
Muriel de Polloc mortified, in the 13th century
ineiniie, for building an hospital there, of which
hospital some vestiges still remain. And at the
mouth of this brook there was a bridge of wood
over the river, the pier of wliich, on the east side,
is yet to be seen. It was called Pons de Spe (the
Bridge of Spey), and was the only bridge I have
found upon that river till of late.

[At the beginning of the 13th century, Muriel de
Pollock, daughter of Peter de Pollock, heiress of Rothes,
bequeathed her estate of Inverorkil, or Inverlochtie, where
a bridge was first built by her, for an Hospital to God, the
blessed Virgin Mary, and S. Nicholas (the patron Saint
of all who travel by water) for the reception of poor

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 8 of 37)