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Between the Ochils and Forth; a description, topographical and historical, of the country between Stirling bridge and Aberdour online

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



BETWEEN THE OCHILS AND FORTH



BETWEEN THE OCHILS AND FORTH



A DESCRIPTION, TOPOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL,

OF THE

COUNTRY BETWEEN STIRLING BRIDGE
AND ABERDOUR



BY



DAVID BEVERIDGE

AUTHOR OF
'CULROSS AND TUULIALLAN '



WITH A MAP



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MDCCCLXXXVIII




PREFACE.



IN the History of Culross and Tulliallan the
author endeavoured to present a monograph of
two Scottish parishes occupying a somewhat se-
cluded situation on the northern shore of the
Firth of Forth. He also sought to exhibit a
picture of the domestic life of a bygone day, as
elucidated from the kirk-session records of the two
parishes, and the minutes of town council of the
ancient burgh of Culross. The present under-
taking may be characterised as having to a con-
siderable extent a similar object in view, though
the illustration of the theme by extracts from the
municipal and ecclesiastical archives has not been
attempted. A much wider field, however, is in-
cluded, and at the same time a minute and careful
description has been furnished as far as possible of
every locality and event of interest belonging to
the district under notice. It is a region which,

868696



vi PREFACE.

though neither inaccessible nor remote, is still
comparatively unknown to, and unvisited by, the
majority of Scottish tourists. Yet it is connected
with some of the most important events in Scottish
history, and as regards natural beauty, it will in
many places vie in richness with the finest speci-
mens of English rural scenery.

Whilst the work in question aims rather at a
picturesque and historical delineation of that por-
tion of the upper shores of the Forth lying between
Stirling Bridge and Aberdour, than at the formal
and business-like character of a guide-book, it is
nevertheless hoped that in the latter capacity
it may not be found wanting in attraction or de-
void of practical utility. The distances between
the different places have all been set down with
special care, as ascertained both by personal in-
vestigation and a careful comparison with the maps
of the Ordnance Survey. The line and direction
also of the various public roads, as well as the prin-
cipal inns in the different towns and villages, have
all been indicated. The author has trodden him-
self almost every foot of the district, with the most
of which he has been familiar from childhood, and
he has, moreover, quite recently made a pilgrimage
through and investigated the particular localities
with great care and minuteness. He would thus
fain hope that the completed work, the outcome in
great measure of these wanderings, may prove in-



PREFACE. Vll

teresting and useful both to travellers and general
readers.

Of late years locomotion by means of bicycles
and tricycles has come greatly into vogue, and one
of the results has been that the old coach-roads,
long deserted, have again been largely utilised.
For travellers on such vehicles it is also hoped
that this work may be found to contain some use-
ful information and directions both as to the line
of route and the objects of interest by the way.



ROSEHILL, TORRYBURN,

May 1888.



CONTENTS.



INTRODUCTORY.

PAGE

General view of the district Its early history and inhabitants, \



ALONG THE GREAT NORTH ROAD.
i.

NORTH QUEENSFERRY AND INVERKEITHING.

The Forth Bridge and its vicinity Island of Inchgarvie
North Queensferry and its peninsula Rosyth Castle
The town of Inverkeithing Its history and objects of
interest, ......... 13

II.

FROM INVERKEITHING TO ABERDOUR.

Victory of Cromweirs army near Inverkeithing Road to
Aberdour The Moray family and estate Inchcolm,
Donibristle, and Dalgety Village of Aberdour Otter-
ston, 38



CONTENTS.



III.

FROM INVERKEITHING TO CROSSGATES,
COWDENBEATH, AND LOCHGELLY.

The Great North Road House and grounds of Fordel Vil-
lage of Crossgates The Hill of Beath Great conven-
ticle fold there Moss Morran and Lochgelly, . . 48



IV.

FROM COWDENBEATH TO BLAIRADAM
AND CLEISH.

The drained site of Loch Ore Its ancient island castle
Ancient Roman station Interest attaching to Loch Ore
in connection with Sir Walter Scott Approach to Blair-
adam Its classic associations Benarty Hill and Paran-
well Ballingry church First vino of Loch Leven
Village and barony of Cleish History of its ancient
lords, the Colvilles of Ochiltree Ruined castle of Dowhill
Gairney Bridge and its associations The first Seces-
sion Synod Michael Bruce, 54



V.
KINROSS AND LOCHLEVEN.

Town of Kinross and its environs Kinross House Loch
Leven and its history The Castle Island and its memo-
rials of Queen Mary The Isle of St Serf and its priory, 68



VI.
ROUND LOCH LEVEN.

The loch and its surrounding scenery Levenmouth and the
sluices Scotlandviell and the Bishop Hill Portmoak
church and village of Kinnesswood Michael Bruce and
his poetry Hamlets of Easter and Wester Balgedie
The old church of Orwell, . 8 1



CONTENTS. xi

VII.
FROM KINROSS TO GLEN FARG.

Further progress on Great North Road Village of Milna-
thort Parish of Orwell Castle of Burleigh and its
proprietors History of the Balfour family Road from
Milnathort to Damhead Church of Arngask Glen
Farg and the Bein Inn Old road from Damhead to
Perth The Wicks of Baiglie Sir Walter Scotfs account
of distant view of Perth from that neighbourhood Old
drove-road to the Kirk of Dron The Rocking-stone
Mill and hamlet of Dron, ...... 89



BETWEEN DUNFERMLINE AND ALLOA.



THE CITY OF DUNFERMLINE.

Leading features of the "city" Its ancient history Mal-
colm Canmore and Queen Margaret The monastery
and its church Dunfermline as a royal residence
Remains of the Abbey and Palace Relations of Edward
I. with Dunfermline King Robert Bruce interred there
Its first Protestant minister, David Ferguson The
Earls of Dunfermline Visits of Charles I. and II.
Events during insurrection of 1715 Introduction of the
damask manufacture Dunfermline the cradle of the
Secession movement History of the F.rskine family
Churches and public buildings, ..... IO2



II.
FROM DUNFERMLINE TO TORRYBURN.

Old and new roads from Dunfermline to the west Urquhart
Cut Berrylaw Top Villages of Crossfordand Cairney-
hill Conscience Bridge Village of Torryburn The
Colville family and the estate of Crombie Torryburn
witches, . . 137



Xii CONTENTS.



III.

FROM TORRYBURN TO CULROSS AND
KINCARDINE.

Village of Newmills Newmill Bridge and its vicinity
Western limit of Fife Detached district of Perthshire
Approach to Culross Valleyfield House and the Preston
family Upper road to Kincardine Tulliallan woods
Bardie and the Standard Stone Town of Culross Its
early history in connection with St Serf and St Mungo
Sir George Bruce and his descendants, the Earls of
Kincardine Ancient monastery and church of Culross
Mansion of Culross Abbey The "Colonel's Close"
and Sir George Bruce 's ' ' Moat " Lower road to Kin-
cardine Dunimarle and Blair Castle Blair and Lon-
gannet quarries and their traditions Phenomena of the
" lakies" TOT.VH of Kincardine- on- Forth, . . .154



IV.

FROM KINCARDINE TO CLACKMANNAN
AND ALLOA.

The old castle and estate of Tulliallan The Blackadder
family Kilbagie and its distillery Kennet village
Towtt of Clackmannan Clackmannan Tower and the
Bruce family Approach to Alloa Alloa and the Earls
of Mar,



V.
ANOTHER WAY FROM DUNFERMLINE TO ALLOA.

Road from Dunfermline to Carnock Baldridge Luscar
Village and church of Carnock Their associations with
Scottish ecclesiastical history John Row and Thomas
Gillespie Sacramental occasions at Carnock Road from
Carnock to Clackmannan and Alloa, . . . .217



CONTENTS. Xlll

VI.
OTHER EXCURSIONS FROM DUNFERMLINE.

Road from Dunfermline to Rumbling Bridge Village and
parish of Saline Road from Dunfermline to Queensferry
St Leonards Hospital Pitreavie and the Wardla'M
family Broomhall and Pitliver, ..... 234



THE VALE OF THE DEVON.
i.

FROM LOGIE CHURCH TO ALVA AND
TILLICOULTRY.

The Ochil Hills Road along their base from Bridge of Allan
Logie church and Blair Logie Ascent of Dunmyat
Menstrie and its glen Alva and its silver-mines Ascent
of Ben Cleuch Tillicoultry and its glen, . . . 247



II.

FROM TILLICOULTRY TO DOLLAR AND
YETTS OF MUCKHART.

The Colville family as Lords of Tillicoultry Harvieston and
its associations with Burns Town of Dollar Castle
Campbell and its surroundings Road from Dollar to the
Yetts of Muckhart, 269



III.

GLEN DEVON, CROOK OF DEVON, AND
RUMBLING BRIDGE.

General account of the Devon and its vale Glen Devon and
Glen Eagles Parish of Fossoway The Crook of Devon
and Tullicbole The DeviFs Mill, Rumbling Bridge,
and Cauldron Linn, 287



xiv CONTENTS.

IV.
ALDIE CASTLE AND SOUTH FOSSOWAY.

Road from Powmill to Cleish Aldie Castle and its traditions
Ancient connection of the Athole family with Fossoway
Blairingone The " Monk's Grave" . . . .301

V.
FROM THE CAULDRON LINN TO THE FORTH.

The Vicar's Bridge Lower course of the Devon Sauchie
Tower Tullibody Its church and other objects of in-
terest Farm of the " King tf the Muirs," . . . 307



CONCLUSION,

CAMBUSKENNETH, THE ABBEY CRAIG, AND THE BRIDGE

OF ALLAN, 312



INDEX, 319



BETWEEN THE OCHILS
AND FORTH.



INTRODUCTORY.

General view of the district Its early history and inhabitants.

T N the ancient nomenclature of Scotland, among dis-
-^ tricts whose limits may have been perfectly well un-
derstood in their day, but are now extremely hazy and un-
defined, the territory of Fothrik, Fothriff, or Fothreve is
frequently mentioned. Thus David I. endows the Abbey
of Dunfermline with a tenth part of all the gold which
may accrue to the royal treasury from the districts of Fife
and Fothrif ; the deanery of Fothrik, in the diocese of St
Andrews, is referred to ; and Fothrik or Fatrig Moor is
spoken of as a locality somewhere in the western region
of Fife, and extending from Dunfermline to Alloa.
The title seems distinct from, at least not convertible
with, that of Fortrenn, which adjoined it on the west and
north, and denoted a tract of country, afterwards com-
prised in the districts of Menteith and Strathearn, now

A



2 INTRODUCTORY.

belonging chiefly to the southern division of Perthshire,
and extending from Callander along the north side of
the Ochils to the mouth of the Tay.

Though it is thus not possible to lay down with pre-
cision the outlines of the ancient Fothreve, there is a
general consensus of opinion as to the territory which
it actually comprised. This may be stated generally as
the country extending from Loch Leven to Stirling from
east to west, and between the Ochil Hills and the Forth
from north to south. From the direction taken by the
course of the last-named river and its estuary, as well as
the contour of the Ochils, the breadth of this tract in-
creases considerably in proceeding from west to east,
there being little over a mile at Blair Logic between the
hills and the water, whilst a straight line drawn from
Glen Farg to North Queensferry would extend to up-
wards of twenty miles. The shape assumed by this
tract is triangular, or perhaps may be described more
exactly as that of a cone, of which the apex is at Stirling,
the two sides being formed respectively by the Forth and
the Ochils, whilst the line from Glen Farg to North
Queensferry represents the base.

The Firth of Forth was anciently known as the Mare
Fresicum or Frisian Sea, whilst its northern coasts re-
ceived the name of the Fresicum littus, or Frisian Shore,
having apparently been colonised by Frisians from North
Holland and Germany. The monastery of Culross is
referred to by early historians as lying between the
Ochil Hills and the Sea of Giudi, another primitive
designation for this estuary. These Frisian or Teutonic
settlers were afterwards dispossessed by the Picts, into
whose territory they had intruded, and the Forth for ages
subsequently remained the boundary between Celtic
Scotland and the Saxon region of Lothian. North of its
waters the Picts and Scots, rivals for supremacy, but



GENERAL VIEW OF THE DISTRICT. 3

kindred in blood and language, reigned unchallenged,
and their sway was also acknowledged by several tribes
of the same race in the central and south-western Low-
lands south of the Forth.

The ancient inhabitants of the British Islands are
believed to have been of Iberian or Basque origin that
primeval Turanian race which inhabited the countries
adjoining the Mediterranean, and is supposed to have
formed a large portion of the population of Britain in
the early days of the Phoenician traders. They were
invaded and overpowered by colonies of Celts, who had
gradually forced their way from the east to the west of
Europe, and had afterwards in their turn to retreat be-
fore the Gothic or Teutonic and Scandinavian races. A
marked characteristic in the physique of the Iberians
was their dark hair and complexion, their comparatively
low stature, and the length of their skulls, as exhibited
in the remains that have been discovered.

These are of the dolichocephalic or long-headed sort,
as distinguished from the brachycephalic (short or broad
skulled) type which marks their Celtic conquerors, who
were, moreover, a fair-haired ruddy race, of greater stat-
ure. Besides these two descriptions of skulls, there is
the orthocephalic (straight or oval-headed) type, which
seems to form a connecting-link between the races.

By the time of the Roman invasion of Britain the
aboriginal Basques had almost disappeared, or retreated
to remote regions of the country, where, as in the case
of the Silures, they seem, among other localities, to have
composed a large part of the population of South Wales.
They have left few traces of their presence in local no-
menclature, though some names, like the Coquet river
and island in Northumberland, and " Urr " and " Ore,"
as terms for water, are maintained to be derived from
their language, which is still spoken in the north of



4 INTRODUCTORY.

Spain and south of France, and believed also to be the
basis of the ancient Maltese tongue.

The Celtic race comprehends two leading branches
the Gaelic and the Cymric and it is not yet quite de-
termined which of these two is to be regarded as the
elder. In South Britain the latter exhibits itself in the
principality of Wales, and also in Cornwall, where a cog-
nate dialect to Welsh, now obsolete, used to be spoken.
Ireland, on the other hand, and the Scottish Highlands,
belong to the Gaelic stock ; whilst the ancient Manx
language, not yet extinct in the Isle of Man, may be
regarded as an intermediate stage between the Gaelic
and Cymric. It has been claimed by the respective
advocates of each, that the language of Great Britain has
been at one time either wholly Gaelic or wholly Welsh ;
but there seems a general agreement that the latter
tongue was never developed in Ireland, which, as regards
the native population, has been exclusively Erse or
Gaelic since the days when the Celtic colonists first
set foot on its shores, and supplanted the aboriginal
Basques.

More than a century elapsed from the first invasion of
Britain by Julius Caesar before the Roman armies pene-
trated into the northern division of the island, the inhab-
itants of which are spoken of by classic authors under
the appellation of Caledonians the earliest writer who
makes use of the epithet in question being the poet
Lucan. They are also referred to as the Picts, a desig-
nation which has given rise to an immense amount of
controversy, but in all probability signifies nothing more
than the Picti, or painted people, from the custom of
staining their bodies, which attracted the attention of
their invaders as a special characteristic. Unlike what
took place in England, the Romans established no colo-
nies north of the Tweed, though they occupied in mili-



GENERAL VIEW OF THE DISTRICT. 5

tary fashion the country to the south of the Firths of
Forth and Clyde, and built a wall across the isthmus
between these estuaries, to protect themselves from the
inroads of the Caledonians living beyond. Even thither
also they carried their arms, erected camps and military
stations, and constructed roads to connect these, and
furnish themselves with the means of advancing into the
country. Thus, from the station at Camelon on the
Roman wall near Falkirk, they constructed a direct high-
way to Stirling, which has always been regarded as the
pass or key of communication between the low country
and the Highlands. Thence, through the dense forest
which then occupied the site of Blair Drummond and
Kincardine mosses, they laid down a road which led
northwards by the valley of the Allan to the great camp
at Ardoch, and so eastwards, on the north side of the
Ochils, into Strathearn and the basin of the Tay. Here
converged another highway, which seems to have been
carried from the neighbourhood of Stirling eastwards
through Clackmannan, the west of Fife, and Kinross-
shire, across the Ochils to the neighbourhood of Aber-
nethy and Perth. They had probably a station on the
north bank of the Forth near Alloa, which may thus have
been the " Alauna " of Ptolemy ; and they had certainly
a large encampment, called Victoria, at the north-west
extremity of Loch Ore, in the parish of Ballingry, in
Fife.

At the period of the Roman invasion the peninsula
between the Tay and the Forth, as well as a large tract
of country to the south of the latter, was occupied by
the Damnonii, a tribe which, from the similarity of the
name, Mr Skene considers as related to the ancient
inhabitants of Devon and Cornwall, and as such to have
probably spoken a Celtic dialect akin to the ancient
Cornish. They inhabited the whole of the district of



6 INTRODUCTORY.

Fife and Fothreve, besides the adjoining territories of
Menteith and Strathearn. They must thus have been
among the novce gentes, or freshly discovered tribes, which
Tacitus represents Agricola as invading on the occasion
of his third campaign, in which he advanced as far as
the banks of the Tay. Subsequently the Damnonii,
with other tribes of North Britain, were merged in two
leading nations the Meatae, 1 or people of the plains,
occupying the low country to the south of the Forth, as
distinguished from the Caledonians, 2 or dwellers in the
woods and mountains to the north of that estuary. These
North Britons were subdued by the Emperor Severus in
the beginning of the third century of our era, but shortly
afterwards rose in insurrection. To punish this revolt
the Roman monarch prepared energetically for a new
campaign against them ; but before he could make any
progress in it, he was attacked by a mortal illness, and
expired at York in A.D. 211. To him must be ascribed a
large portion of the Roman military roads still existing
in Great Britain, including, in the opinion of Mr Skene,
the wall between the Firths of Forth and Clyde, which
he believes to have been erected by Severus on the lines
of that constructed by Lollius Urbicus.

The same district of Fothreve, which was peopled by
the Damnonii, included at a later period a portion of the
territory of Manau, or Manann, which extended along
the shores of both sides of the Forth, and has left traces
of its existence in Slamannan, Clackmannan, and prob-
ably also Presmennan, in East Lothian, near Dunbar.
The etymology of this term appears to be the Gaelic mu
'n ann, 3 as denoting a region or locality occupying an

1 From Gaelic niagh, a plain.

2 From Gaelic eoille, a wood, and dun, a hill or fortress.

s From the preposition mu, on or above, the definite article ',
and art, an obsolete form of amhain, water.



GENERAL VIEW OF THE DISTRICT. 7

elevated position above water. It seems to embody the
same philological idea as " Mona," or the Isle of Man,
and " Emonia," the ancient name for Inchcolm. There
was also comprehended in Fothreve the district of Athran,
or Athren, now Airthrey, adjoining Stirling and the
Bridge of Allan. The whole of the region known by
this designation belonged exclusively to "Pictavia,"
Cruithentuath, or the land of the Picts, and was long
the southern border of Alban, or the Scotland of the
Gaels. The Lothians and Berwickshire were regarded
as belonging to the ancient Saxon kingdom of Northum-
bria ; whilst the west Lowlands, from the Clyde to the
Solway Firth, and across it into Cumberland and West-
moreland, formed the British sovereignty of Strathclyde,
which had its capital at Alcluith or Dumbarton.

As already mentioned, the Celtic and Saxon territories
were separated by the Firth of Forth, which was an-
ciently known by the various designations of the " Frisian
Sea," the " Mirk " or " Dark Fiord," l and the " Sea of
Giudi." This last epithet refers to a so-called city of
Giudi, which, Bede informs us, was situated in the midst
of the estuary (in media sui}, and a considerable amount
of controversy has arisen as to the actual locality. Some
have identified it with Inchkeith, some with Camelon,
near Falkirk, whilst Mr Skene, in a paper contributed
by him to the Proceedings of the Scottish Society of
Antiquaries, inclines to the belief that Giudi is Fidra, a
small island off the East Lothian coast, not far from the
Bass. More recently, however, in his treatise on the
' Four Ancient Books of Wales,' he expresses his opinion
that the site of Bede's Giudi and Nennius's ludeu is to
be sought in one of the islands on the south shore of the
Forth, between Carriden and the mouth of the Esk.
Adopting this view, we have the choice of Inchkeith, of
1 Icelandic myrka> dark.



8 INTRODUCTORY.

Cramond Island, and of Inchgarvie ; and I believe that
in the first of these we shall make, as has been pretty
generally done, the most likely and best warranted selec-
tion. Inchkeith is generally explained as Innis-cheo, the
Island of Mist ; but it may, with as great probability, be
rendered Innis-gaoithe, the Island of Wind ; and here we
have in gaoithe the genitive of the Gaelic gaoth (wind), a
word very nearly resembling " Giudi," or " ludeu."

The Scots who invaded and settled in Argyleshire in
the end of the fifth century, and ultimately gave their
name to the whole of North Britain, seem for a long
period to have confined themselves to their little settle-
ment of Dalriada, in the West Highlands, and to have
made no endeavour to enlarge their territory. The Picts
governed the remainder of Alban, and had their capital
and royal residences at Abernethy and Forteviot in
Strathearn. Down to the middle of the eighth century
the two dynasties seem to have reigned together over
their respective territories (that of the Picts being much
the larger) without any serious attempts at dispossession
on the part of either. About the period last named,
however, the Scots were completely subjugated by the
Picts, who for nearly a hundred years remained masters
both of Alban and Dalriada. Then a Scottish prince,
named Alpin, laid claim to the Pictish throne, but was
overthrown and put to death by his rival Drust or Drest.
Alpin's son Kenneth resolved to avenge his father's death,
and reassert his claim to the crown. He encountered the
Pictish monarch near Tullibody, in Clackmannanshire,
routed and scattered his forces, and established himself
in 844 as sole king of the Picts and Scots. In the
seventh year of his reign he is said to have transferred
part of the relics of St Columba to a church which he
had built an incident which seems to mark the trans-
ference of the ecclesiastical metropolis from lona to



GENERAL VIEW OF THE DISTRICT. 9

Abernethy on the south bank of the Tay. The name of
the Picts gradually disappears after this from history,
and the Scots are the rulers of Alban, or the country to
the north of the Forth. It is not till nearly two hundred
years afterwards, under Malcolm II., a descendant of
Kenneth, that we find Alban, or Albany, coexistent with
Scotland, as we now understand the term. This in-
creased extent of sovereignty arose in consequence of
the incorporation with the realm of Alban, partly by
transfer, partly by conquest, of the British kingdom of
Strathclyde, and the portion of the Saxon kingdom of
Northumbria lying to the north of the Tweed.

I have considered it advisable to give this prefatory
sketch of the early history of Scotland, as an introduction
to a more detailed account of the territory which forms
the subject of the following work, and with which the
district anciently bearing the appellation of Fothreve
very nearly coincides. I have only to add now a few



Online LibraryDavid BeveridgeBetween the Ochils and Forth; a description, topographical and historical, of the country between Stirling bridge and Aberdour → online text (page 1 of 28)