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will be the apology for quoting it entire. Indeed
it is so "fearfully and wonderfully made" that
some modern " universal providers" have madcap-
plication for it for advertising purposes, but it is to
be hoped that old John's memory will be respected
so far as to prevent modem journalism laying hold of
the bill. John's son went to Aberdeen audlearuedthe
baking tfade, in which he seems to have succeeded
very well ; while his grandson settled in business in
London, where he made his fortune. The latter
was educated in Drumlithie School, and used to
pay frequent visits to his father's native parish, as
well as to the parish of Benholm, where some of his
relatives resided. In 1891 he presented to Johnshavcn
a lifeboat named the " Glenbervie," and at
the launching ceremony Mr James Badeuach
Nicolson of Gleubervie made an interesting speech
in which he referred to Mr Davidson's connection
with Glenbervie.

The following is the advertising bill, the right of
reproducing which is reserved :

My customers, both great and small

I thank you kindly one and all ;

Your favors shown to me before

I still esteem, and beg for more ;

I will you serve, both air and late,

With new brought goods, genteel and neat ;

And if you'd know what things I've got

Look down betowt-and read by rote.

Here's Riga,>Dutc]j, and Memel llai,

With good lorigtow, and sacking backs ;

Powder- sugar, coarse and fine,

Tar and iron, ropes and twine,

Iron hoops, baith auld and new,

Pearl ashes, starch, and blue ;

Birse, rosin, and canary seeds,

Rattlers, rings, and children's beads.

Stock indigo, brimstone, and spice,

Barley, currants, tigs and rice ;

Good wool, cards, and story books,

English hops and corn hooks ;

Metal pots and good brass pans,

Butter jars and honey cans.

Raisins, needles, nails, and tacks,

Garden spades and virgin wax ;


Sugar candy, hemp, and glue,

Wheeling wire, and fingering too ;

Buckram, buttons, thread, and hair,

Good mouse traps and earthen ware ;

Garden seeds, and leather laces,

Spectacles, and also cases ;

Good vinegar, and pocket books,

Salt herrings, and the best trout hooks ;

Gunpowder, too, and good sheet lead,

Button moulds, and clover seed ;

Train oil to burn till it be late,

Durham mustard, and dry skate ;

Salt butter, cheese, and Florence oil,

Will keep twelve months before they spoil ;

Chopin bottles, phial glasses,

Things fit for wives as well as lasses ;

I've Indian herbs, both black and green,

As good 's you'll get in Aberdeen ;

There's fine snuff boxes no doubt,

With iv'ry mulls turned staff about ;

Cards and trappings, tapes and storingings,

In winter I sell Haudie's ingans,

Tobacco, fit to chew or puff,

And I always sell John Coghnie's snuff.

Gimblets here, wi' boxen heads,

Gingerbread, and anise seeds ;

Alum, gum-stones, and writing paper,

And here's sweet sack, none sells it cheaper ;

Ind and wafers, both red and black,

With playing cards, sold by the pack ;

I've Rowley's snuff of British herbs,

Good common Bibles and Proverbs ;

New Testaments, prayer books, and pens ;

Women's thimbles here, and Men's ;

Weavers brushes and whale fins,

English cloth and well dress'd skins ;

Tobacco pipes, bone combs and horn,

And shears wherewith the sheep are shorn

I sell dram glasses, of sev'ral sorts,

With well dressed flax, and also shorts.

Salt bottles here, for those who smells,

Hartshorn drops, and nipple shells ;

All kinds of bread, both neat and clean,

(I learn'd to bake in Aberdeen ; )

At marriage, feast, or funeral,

I'll do my best to please you all ;

I keep my oven always warm

And bake their meal who brings me barm,

White iron work may here be seen,

Just finished off in Aberdeen ;

All sorts off skillet pans and kettles,

And money down for your old metals ;

Newcastle ware, too, plates and jugs,

With sev'ral sorts of doctors drugs ;


Wade's famous balsam, fennel seed,
Spermaciti, and white lead ;
Bole of borax, Spanish flies
Oil of roses, and anise,
Bitter aloes, and rose water,
Oxecrotion, fit for batter ;
Saffron, mace, and staughtou too,
Vitroil, both white and blue ;
Physic, and vomiters by dozes,
Camphor, and conserves of roses,
British oil, cried up by some.
Fine nutmegs and shining gum,
Bostock's cordial, gemu'ne,
And Godfrey's, too, if you incline ;
I've Batenian's drops and salves for cuts,
With powders for all griped guts ;
Speannent water, hyssop fine,
Penny royal and spirits of wine ;
Syrups here and things that's rare,
Bones of violet and maiden hair,
Oils of Unseed here and spect,
And twenty things I must neglect,
Ointments too, both white and yellow
With holy-tincture, and marsh mallow.
Hungary waters in a glass,
Eye salve, pomatum, more or less ;
Nit- salve I sell to cure the itch ;
Quicksilver and Burgundy pitch.
I keep fine drops, it's not a jest,
Will cure the toochache, or on-beast ;
Worm cakes I sell, and fine rose-honey,
And all my drugs for ready money;
And lassies all, if 'tis you will,
I've factory lint from Gordon's mill.
I hope you'll all come flockin' here,
My price is good, you needna' fear ;
Liquorice root and verdrigrise,
Brazil, and madder, if you please ;
Empty casks and mats of segs,
Combed wool and jocktalegs ;
Black-sugar, pins, and bottle corks,
Women's muffles, knives and forks ;
Tow, cards, and more things may be scc-u,
With junipers, both black and green ;
Ginger, silk, and good white thread,
Pray then come here for what you need ;
No man shall serve you with less prigging,
And my name is

JOHN DAVIDSON, at Newbigging.


though not a native of Glenbervie yet began his
artistic career, and developed his powers in o\ir
little parish that it seems but graceful and fitting


that some notice should be taken of one who, under
many difficulties gave promise of a future which
unfortunately was early cut short. An invalid
from infancy, Bremner early showed a great liking
for drawing and colouring. In this he was judi-
ciously guided by an intelligent mother, and in a
short time his little sketches attracted the attention
of a few friends in the district, including Mrs
Nicolson of Glenbervie, and Mr Stuart of Inchbreck
by whom he was encouraged to pursue his studies.

Beginning with the simplest flower studies, he
thereafter attempted andvery successfully, landscape
and rustic pieces. The thatched house by the way-
side, the mossy bank and wimpling brook had a
great fascination for him, and in these he was
generally successful. "His drawing," says an
artistic friend, " was almost invariably accurate,
and his touch delicate. His treatment is essentially

In portraiture he did good work both with brush
and pencil. Commissions readily came to him, but
Bremner had almost a morbid distrust of his own
power. He was prone to torment himself by trying
to distinguish between patronage due to his circum-
stances, and recognition due to appreciation of his
art. Through the kindness of local friends he was sent
up to the Eoyal Institution, Edinburgh, where he
studied under the best masters and improved his
knowledge of art, besides having access to the
works of the great masters. Bremner's reputation
was bound therefore to spread beyond the confines
of his own little world. He exhibited in Dundee
and Aberdeen, and was represented in the Mon-
trose Fine Art Exhibition of 1890. His work was
also known at local bazaars and attracted always a
considerable amount of attention from connoisseurs.

Besides his powers as an artist Bremner also
possessed a mind well stored by extensive reading,
and could converse intelligently on art and art
subjects, the discrimination and judgment which
he displayed being for one in his position remark-
able. " Of Mr James Bremner, artist, Drumlithie,"
says the art critic of the Montrose Standard, " it may
be said in conventional phrase, with perfect truth,
that he lived and died in obscurity. Reflec-
tion upon the interest which centred in him
and his career shows, however, how wide the bounds
of an obscure life may in reality be. The interest
manifested in him was by no means wholly due


either to his position among artists or to his con-
tributions to art. It attached to him primarily .as
an indmchial, and was heightened by the fact of his
being an artist. He presented an attractive per-
sonality. The paralysis of his lower limbs, and
generally delicate health, served to bring into relief
the moral strength which inspired him to strive to
overcome infirmity. To one fresh from the cease-
less battle of the outside world the war of giants
and pigmies, heroes and cowards peace seems the
ruling spirit of the village where Bremner lived. It
seemed almost necessary that peace should lap the
cottage by the roadside and be the controlling
element in the lives of its inmates. The greater
the pity once more to feel that perfect peace rarely
abides with genius ! Amiable, intelligent, and
possessed of much true culture a rare possession,
condiicive to modesty and self-repression Bremner
was precisely the man to attract the attention which
fans without feeding the fires of ambition. He felt
the restlessness of genius. He could know no repose
until he had found expression for the heart-feeling
which looked out of his eyes and made his sensitive
fingers quiver. His struggle was not like that of
the world, ' where to live is to brawl and to battle,'
but it was no less incessant. It went on daily in
the recesses of his heart. To me he is a living and
fragrant memory, pure, and inspiring ; a memory
of patient courage untinged with grief. He had
delivered part of the message with which he was
entrusted. His fate is less sad than their' s ' who
die with all their music in them.' As a matter of
fact his art had hardly passed from bud to blossom.
It is not to be judged absolutely. It was full of
promise. It was tender rather than virile, delicate
rather than strong, and at its full developement
would probably have inclined more to penetration
than breadth more to subtlety than cither brilliancy
or force. He was no mere mechanic in art. His
mind was radically poetic, and the idyllic quality is
present in all his landscapes. Into what unknown
region of art he might have passed none can tell.
Perhaps he might have taken rank with other great
artists of the north-east of Scotland Colvin Smith,
George Paul Chambers, James Irvine, and Sir
George Reid. He needed time to develop, and
mayhap development goes on elsewhere."




Most of us have heard of the man who wrote a
book containing a chapter, headed, " Snakes in
Iceland," in which the first sentence was " There
are no snakes in Iceland." So might we begin
our chapter on the antiquities of the parish, and say
" There are no antiquities in Glenbervie." Thus,
it is stated in the first statistical account, but ex-
ception might be taken to that statement now,
because since it was written one or two relics of the
past have been unearthed, and on these we intend
to give a few notes. There are, of course, also the
monuments in the Douglas vault in the churchyard,
but these have been already noticed.

Neighbouring parishes, such as Fordouu, Dun-
nottar, and Fetteresso, are rich in antiquities and
legendary lore, but Glenbervie in this respect is
singularly destitute. Old people there are in the
parish who will give you a traditionary tale con-
nected with one or two local spots, but they are at
best merely " pious opinions " which they will not
willingly let die, but which they are utterly unable
to substantiate by actual facts.

In common with many other places, Gleubervie
has its


to which a pilgrimage is made on the first Sunday of
May in each year, by the young men and maidens
in the district. The inevitable three pins are duly
thrown over the shoulders of the devoted pilgrims,
whilst the silent wish is revolved in the mind, but
we have never heard whether or not the wishes there
propounded have been attended by a happy realisa-
tion. The well is dedicated to St Conau, and is
situated in the thick plantation which runs along
the north slope of " Drumlithie Den."

From time to to time specimens illustrative of


have been found, whorl-stones, stone axes and
hammers, as well as stone cists being amongst the
" finds." Whilst the Caledonian llailway was in
course of construction a considerable number of
stone coffins were unearthed in a mound on a field


on Broombank farm. The field lies on the south
side of the railway ; between it and the 'pays de
france ' road which leads to the old tollhouse at
Mondynes. The spot where they were found is no
distance away from the Court Stone on the farm of
Mondynes and is in an almost direct line to the east
of it.

In February 1878, on a declivity on the farm of
Cleugh-head, in the i;]>i>. r pert ox the parish, a d.-t
rontuminL; calcined bones was found, and a per-
forated stone hammer which was sent to the National
Museum of Antiquities, Endinburgh.

Specimens of the bronze period in the shape of
two swords were found on 30th April, 1880, in
the lower part of the farm of Jacksbank, in the
estate of Lawgavin in the parish" A drain was
being cut by Mr Robert Smith, Ijuruhcacl, and the
swords (leaf -shaped in form) were found close to-
gether lying across the bottom of the drain,
which ran from north to south. They were
lying between the vegetable or mossy
matter and a bed of sand, and were
about three feet from the surface. In the
course of removal the sword which was first seen
was broken into three pieces, but an examina-
tion of the fractured surface showed that till then
it was entire. The second sword was removed with
care, and had a smooth even surface. The whole
length was almost 26 inches, including the handle
plate which measured about 4 inches ; the breadth
of the leaf was If inches. There was no appear-
ance of wood, bone, or horn attached to the handle,
but the pins there were standing out on either side,
but broke off at once when touched. The blade
was considerably bent on removal, and was found
to be considerably oxidised. The sword weighed a
little over 20 ozs. The entire sword and the two
pieces were presented to the Edinburgh Museum
also by Mr John Burnet, farmer, Jacksbank.

"It is worthy of note " says the Rev.
James Gammack, to whom we are obliged
for these notes on the discovery, " as
at least suggestive of thought, though
without attempting to define the coincidence or the
sequence of the stone and bronze ages in Scotland,
that the spot where the swords were found is within
half-a-mile of the place where the Cleughhead cist
and hammer were found." On the same estate
(Lawgavin) there is a stretch of ground which goes


by the name of Muir of Germany, and tradition has
it that a battle was fought there. But no one has
been able either to trace the origin of the above
name or to tell when the battle is said to have been

Though not actually in the parish, but a very
short distance beyond it. The


may be mentioned hei-e as one of the most striking of
the ancient buildings in the district. It must be of
very ancient date. The walls are seemingly in no
way impaired by the ravages of time, although the
moss has gathered (hick on the grey -slated roof.
It is said to have been built for a dower-house, and
Ihe situation cho&en for it commands a wide view
of the country to both east and west. Its ; look
would suggest to one now-a-days rather the
character of a stronghold or keep, which in the
olden days would have served as a watch tower.
To-day the lower partof the castle has been converted
into a shed for the stock on the farm of the same

It is in the legend connected with it that its
chief interest to us lies. As is well known, it was
the scene of the adventures of


" TimrsiMY CAP."

This legend has long onjioyed a great popularity in
the North of Scotland. It was written by John
Burness, cousin-german to llobert Burns, the poet,
he being a son of the last William Buruess, who
tenanted Bogjorgaa.

Well known as the legend is we make no apology
for here giving a short outline of it.

The story takes its title from one of two men who
"forgather'd o' the way" about " a hunder miles
ayont the Forth," on a stormy winter day.
" Ane was a sturdy bardoch chiel,
An' fmo the weather happit weel,
Wi' a mill'd plaiding jockey coat,
An' eke ho on his lieid had got
A Thrum my cap, baith large and stout,
Wi' flaps alnnt, as weel's a snout
Whilk buttoned close aiioath his chin
Taekeep the cauld fme gettin' in."
The second one was the reverse of Thrummy in his

" For duds upo' him they were scarce,
An unca f rich tit glowin' body,
Ye'cl taen him for a rin-tho-wuddy."

Tn this condition they were overtaken by a storm
of snow-drift, and agreed to seek shelter at the
first house they came to.
" Syne they a mansion-house did spy
Upo' the road a piece afore.

On going up to the door they received a salutation
from a " meikle dog" which caused Thrummy " to
handle well his aiken staff."

The landlord soon appeared on the scene and
began to " speir the case."
' Quo Thrummy, " Sir, we hae gaen rill,
We thocht we'd neer a house get till ;
We near were smo'red amo' the drift,
And sac gudeman ye'll mak' a shift,
To gie us quarter's a' this nicht
For woo we dinna hao the licht
Farer to gang, tho' it were fair,
Sae gin ye ha'e a bod to spare,
What'eer you chairpe, we canna grudge,
But satisfy ye, ere we budge,
Sae gang awa' an' fan 'tis day
We'll pack oor a' an' tak the way."

The landlord, however, informed them that there
was not a bed to be got, as he had scarcely suffi-
cient for his " ain fowks."


" But " was his alternative to them
" gin ye'll gan but twa miles forrit,
Aside the Kirk dwalls Robbie Dorrit,
Wha keeps a change-house, sells gude drink ;
His hoose ye may mak' oot I think."

The Kirk here mentioned is the Kirk of Glen-
bervie, and Hobbie's " change-house" stood on the
left hand side of the road leading from Drumlithie
to the Kirk. The house, like many another one,
has disappeared.

After a good deal of parleying in whieh the land-
lord expressed his reluctance to let the two travellers
stay overnight, and Thrunimy his " positiveness "
to stay, the former at last agreed to take them in,
at the same time telling them that there was only one
room unoccupied, and ' ' haunted by a fearfu'
ghaist." But Thrummy knew no fears, and tried
to screw up the courage of the other.
" Fling by your fears, and come be cheery,
Landlord, gin ye'll make up that bed,
I promise I'll be verra gled
Within the same a' nicht to lie
If that the room be warm and dry."

The landlord saw to their comforts and gave
them a parting salutation and
" bade them gang
To bed whenever they did think lang."

Sleep deserted the pillow of poor John, but
Thrummy slept soundly until midnight,
" Preserve's," quo' he, ' I'm like to choke
Wi' thirst, and I maun hae a drink,
I will gang doon the stair, I think,
And grapple for the water pail.
O' for a waucht o' caller ale ! "

So down he goes, promising to bring to the
terrified John " a little drap."
But, reader, judge o' his surprise.
"When there he saw, wi' winderin' eyes,
A spacious vault weel stored wi' casks,
0' reamin' ale, and some big flasks
An' stride legs ower a cask o' ale,
He saw the likeness o' hiinsel'
Just iu the dress that he cuist aff
A Thrummy cap and aiken staff,
Gammashes, and the jockey coat,
An' in its hand the ghaist had got
A big four-leggit timmer bicker,
Filled to the brim wi' nappy liquour.

Repeated draughts of the beer were quaffed ; and
this had the effect of " composing themsel to rest."

An oor in bed thoy hndnn been,
And scarcely well Imd closed their pen,
When just into the ueighbourin' chamm'er
They heard a drcadi'u' din and clamour.

Thrummy ever forward goes to see what was
wrong, and saw apparitions twa.
The speerits seemed to kick a ba'
The ghnist against the ither twa,
"\Vhilk close they drave baith back and fore
Atween the chimney and the door.

Two against one did not not commend itself to
Thrurnmy's sense of fair play, and so he joined in
the sport.

When the play was finished Thrummy is inter-
cepted on going to bed by the ghost, and for his
bold behaviour was to be troubled no more, on con-
dition of doing a certain thing. This was to take
out a stone in the wall , when a leather ball would
be found containing the rights of the estate sewed
Tip within it. Thrummy was to hand these over to
the laird on receipt of fifty guineas, the Laird on
his part being thus freed from a complicated law suit
he was then engaged in regarding the rights of his
estate. In the morning the Laird hinted to them
t ) go, but Thrummy replied,
" Sir, mind what I tell,
I've mair richt here than you y< rsel'
Saetill I like I here shall bide."
The laird at this began to chide :
Says he, "my friend, ye're turnin' rude,"
Quo Thrummy " I'll my claim niak guid,
For here, I just before ye a',
The richts o' this estate can show.
And that is mair than ye can do."

The parchments were duly produced, and
Thrummy told him all his tale.
" The laird at this was fidgiu' fain,
That he had got his richts again ;
And fifty guineas douii did tell.
Besides a present frae himsel.' "

Thrummy departed with his treasure his neighbour
receiving none of the spoil, for
"While I at the footba' played
The coward lay trimlin' in his bed.




Very few in the present day can realise the
alarm and strong feelings of disgust created by the
actions of those who, almost two generations ago,
went by the significant name of " resurrectionists."
In those days young men in training for the
medical profession were required to provide a ' ' sub-
ject" on which to operate in order to learn the
practical part of their work. " Bodies " were not,
however, to hand when required, and consequently
recourse was had to the revolting practice of
despoiling the graves of those who were newly
buried. Hence the term "Resurrectionists" was
applied to them.

The disgusting practice spread great alarm all
over the country, and the quiet parish of Gleu-
bervie shared this fear in common with others.
Indeed, the more remote and deserted the spot was,
the greater likelihood there was of its being an
attractive spot for the sacrilegious work of the
despoiler of graves. When the angel of death has
passed over a household, our natural feelings would
prompt us to say a sympathetic word, or do a kindly
action, but in those days, to the sorrow and
grief felt at snch a time, was added the
dread that the loved' father or mother, or brother or
sister might be removed f rom " the long home."
Hence precautions were taken to guard against the
malicious work of the " Resurrectionist."

In many cases heavy iron gratings or logs of
wood were fixed over the graves, only to be removed
at the lapse of a month or two, when all danger of
the removal of the body was past. Straw, thatqh,
and heather were also used. When the body had
been " laired," the process of filling in the grave
was begun by a layer of earth, after which
came a layer of thatch or heather, and so
on alternately. The heather or thatch proved
an effective barrier to the spade of the " Resur-
rectionist." Besides, the friends or relations of the
deceased would often through " the silent watches
of the night" place themselves on guard at the
grave side.

Considerable feeling was aroused in Glenbervie
over the matter. A grave had been opened and a


body .snatched. Speculation was rife. This, that,
and the other story had gone abroad, and was
noised over the parish. Public opinion had sifted
the matter thoroughly, and suspicion was at last fixed
on the worthy beadle and grave -digger, John Clark.
These offices had been long in the hands of members
of the Clark family, and now here it was publicly
reported than John had thrown away the traditions
of the family for upright and honourable, conduct !
What made the matter look worse was the fact that
John was a servant of the kirk, and as such, should
have been the staunch opponent of any one who,
with sacrilegious purpose, sought to enter the sacred
spot where the " rude forefathers of the hamlet"

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Online LibraryGeorge Henderson KinnearHistory of Glenbervie → online text (page 9 of 12)