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Thomas Pennant

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Appendix II: Of Elgin and the Shire of Murray

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A P P E N D I X.



By the Rev. Mr. SHAW, Minister of ELGIN.

THE parish of ELGIN can afford little matter for answering Mr. Pennant's queries, and therefore I extend my view thro' the whole province or country of Murray , extending by the coast from the river of Spey to the East, to the river of Beauly to the West, which is the boundary of the province of Ross : and extending to the South-West as far as the North end of Loch-Lochy , and comprehending the countries of Strathspey, Badenoch, Strathern, Strath-nairn , and Strath-nerick , all which were the seats of the antient Moravienses . I shall make my answers to the queries in order, and advance nothing but what consists with my personal knowledge, or for which I have unquestionable authority.

I. This province is naturally divided by the rivers of Spey, Lossey, Findern, Nairn, Ness , and Beauly . The river of Spey rising on the borders of Lochaber is more than sixty Scotch miles, or a hundred English in length, but too rapid to be navigable. Upon this river great floats of fir and birch wood are carried down to the firth; the float is guided by a man sitting in a Courach , of which Solinus , Cap. 22. says of the Irish , "Navigant viminois alvois, quos circumdant ambitione tergorum bubulorum" a short but exact description of the Courach . It is in shape oval, about four feet long and three broad, a small keel from head to stern, a few ribs cross the keel, and a ring of pliable wood round the lip of it, the whole covered with the rough hide of an ox or a horse. The rower sits on a transverse seat in the middle, and holds in his hand a rope, the end of which is tied to the float, and with the other hand he manages a paddle, and keeps the float in deep water and brings it to shore when he pleases. The rivers of Lossey, Findern and Nairn have nothing remarkable in them, but the river of Ness is observable on the following accounts, viz. It runs from Loch-Ness , a lake 23 miles long, and from 2 to 3 broad; this Loch is fed by a river running from Loch-Eoch into which a river falls from Loch-Garrie , into which a river enters from Loch-Quoich: Loch-Ness and the river running from it never freeze, but the water is warm in the keenest frost. There are many other lakes in this province, of which one called the lake Dundelchack is remarkable: the inhabitants of the neighborhood told me that this lake is never covered with ice before the month of January , but in that month and February one night's strong frost covers it all over with ice: this lake stands in the parish of Durris , within two miles of Loch-Ness . On the East side of Loch-Ness , a large mile above the Loch, is the water fall of Foher , where the river Feach Len falls over a steep rock about 80 feet in height; and the water breaking upon the shelves, rarifies like a fog. In this province are several chalybeat mineral springs, as at Tinland in Lambride parish, at Auchterblare in Duthel parish, at Relugos in Edenkeely parish, at Muretown in Inverness parish.

II. In the parish of Drainie there is a large cave open to the sea, of a considerable length, breadth and height. There are many natural caves in the hills, within which hunters, herds and thieves take shelter in time of storm: there is an artificial cave in the lands of Raits in Badenoch , in which fugitives and thieves, were wont to rest; but it is now demolished in part. Of the mountains in this province I shall name but two or three: the Carngorm in Strathspey is remarkable for its height, and for the stones found upon it; I have seen these stones of blue, green, yellow, and amber colors; some so large as to make big snuff boxes or small cups; some of a hexagonal or pentagonal figure, and tapering to a point at each end. These are now well known to the curious, and to jewellers. Another mountain is Benalar in Badenoch , which I imagine is the highest ground in Scotland , for waters running from it fall into the sea at Dundee , at Inverlochy , and at Garmoch in Murray . On the West side of Loch-Ness there is a hill called Measuarvoney : Mr. Gordon the geographer was imposed upon by being told that it is two miles perpendicular above the lake, and that on the top of it, there is a small lake which could never be sounded, and communicates with Loch-Ness : but I can assure you it is not near one mile above the Loch, and there is no such lake on the top of it. For picturesque scenes, worth drawing, I know none except Loch-Ness , with the rocks, woods, cascades of rills of water, and some plots of corn land, on both sides of the Loch, which make a delightful scene to one sailing the Loch in the King's Yacht, or in a barge.

III. No earthquake, that I can learn, was ever felt in this province. No whirlwind any way remarkable: there are several echoes, but scarcely worth the mentioning. About the year 1733 or 4, flashes of lightning so struck the house of Innes near Elgin , as by entering into crevises in the wall to drive out some big stones, likewise to rent a considerable long vault, and to toss a large cap-stone above forty yards from the house, as the late Sir Harry Innes of that ilk told me.

IV. The common diseases in our country are fevers, rheums, cold, scrofula, hysteric and hypocondriac; bites of serpents, and mad dogs. Our natural physicians cure fevers, by making the patient drink plentifully of barley water or wangress, and when the fever rises high the patient drinks a large draught of cold water which brings out a profuse sweat, that ends in a crisis. For rheums, they twice a-day bath the part affected, pouring cold water upon it, and after it is dried, rubbing it till it is warm, and covering it with plaiding or flannel. For colds, they keep bed for two days, drinking warm, and if they sweat not, they take the cold bath in a river or brook, which produces sweat. The scrofula they find incurable, but in young persons, by washing often with lime water, it cures in a few years. Hysterics and hypocondriacs, in my opinion, are the effects of tea, coffee, sloth and laziness, but these diseases are never known in our highlands. When one is bit by a serpent or snake, if he can reach the wound, he sucks the blood, covers the wound, and often foments the part wounded, and members round it, with a decoction of the buds and leaves of ash trees. When one is bit by a mad dog, as often happens in the highlands, he with a razor immediately cuts out the flesh of the part wounded, sucks the blood in plenty, and covers the wound with a handful of cobwebs: or if he has not courage to cut out the flesh, and thereby to prevent the poison from mixing with the blood, he causes the wound to be well sucked, and then foments it with warm oil or melted butter. I have seen these cures performed with remarkable success. We have had, fifty years ago, a terrible disease called the Civans , which broke out into blotches in several parts of the body, and often turned into a gangrene in the face: this disease was brought by the military returning from Flanders , and was cured only by a plentiful salivation with mercury, but now we are happily free from it.

V. In the parish of Elgin, William Calanch a farmer died about the year 2740, at the age of about 119 years; we have had many who lived to an 100 years; we have some who have two thumbs on each hand, or two great toes on each foot.

VI. and VII. In this town of Elgin the number of inhabitants increases, occasioned by strangers living in the borough and many poor people coming from the country into it. But in the parish to landward the number appears to decrease, by reason of tenants taking up larger farms than formerly: the number now is above 5000.

VIII. The corns raised in this province are wheat, barley, oats, peas and beans, and rye. Of these, in good years we have enough to serve the country, and to export above 20,000 bolls, besides serving the Highland countries. Our manufactures are linnen in considerable quantities, wool and common stuffs, and now at Inverness a flourishing sail manufactory, and a ropery. Our fishery is considerable, for of white or sea fish there is great plenty to serve the country and towns, and sometimes to export a little. And our salmon on the rivers of Spey, Findern, Ness , and Beauly , serves the towns and country, and we export annually to the value of about 12,000 l.

IX. Near the frith, the farmers manure with sea ware or weeds, which produces richly; in other parts they use marble, lime, dung of cattle, and in the Highlands tathing , i. e. keeping their cattle in summer and autumn within pinfolds on barren or rested ground, that by their dung they may enrich the foil; and in many parts they use green earth mixed with the dung of black cattle and horses.

X. We cultivate some hemp, much flax, of which we not only make linnen for home consumption, and have three bleaching fields within the province, besides private bleaching, but we sell great quantities of linnen yarn to the merchants of Glasgow and others. We likewise cultivate potatoes in great plenty to serve the country.

XI. From the Lowlands of the province few or no cattle are sent out of the country, but from the highland glens and valleys, several hundreds of black cattle, some horses, but no swine, are annually fold into England and the Southern counties of Scotland .

XII. There are in this province several small mounts or motes of which I cannot determine whether any of them be artificial or not: they generally stand about 40 paces one from another; I shall name only the following, viz. Near the town of Elgin are two little mounts called the shooting buts, and two of the same kind are near the Kirk of Petty . I am inclined to think, that before the invention of fire arms, these were marks for shooting at with bows and arrows: but that in time of Druidism , they were the seats on which the Druids met to determine questions in law and property; and they are in the Galic language called Tomavoed , i. e. the Court hill; and in the South they are called Laws , as North Berwick Law, Largo Law , &c. I may add the Omnis terra or Mote hill at Scoon . We have few military entrenchments worth the mentioning, as the Romans encamped little, if at all, so far North. Druidical circles have been very frequent in this province. The stones were generally about four feet in length, and eighteen inches in breadth: for the most part the stones are removed by the country people, and I shall name but one or two, viz. At Stonny field near Inverness , there was a large circle about thirty feet diameter, some of the stones as yet stand. In Durris at the North end of Loch-Ness is a Druid temple of three concentric circles: in all of these druidical circles, there was an altar stone at the centre, but that at Durris is taken away, and near the centre is a hollowed stone, which either was a laver to wash in, or a bason to receive the blood of the sacrifice. Besides circles, there were many Druidical cairns in this country, on which at their solemn festivals, they offered their sacrifices; these cairns were about five feet high, and about thirty feet in circumference, and hedged around with stones pitted in the earth to prevent the falling out of the stones of the cairn: such a cairn stands in the parish of Alves , four miles from Elgin ; another in the parish of Birney , two miles from that town; and two or three near Avemore, , in the parish of Duthel in Strathspey . From these circles and cairns many churches are to this day called CLACHAN, i. e. a Collection of Stones; and as they stood in time of Druidism in groves and woods, a church in Wales was called LHAN, probably from Lhuin a grove. There is within a half-mile to the East of the town of Forres , an obelisk, called Seven's stone. The height of it cannot now with certainty be known, it is said to be twelve feet sunk in the corn field. When some years ago it was likely to fall, the Countess of Murray caused it to be erected, and much sunk to prevent falling: it is about 23 feet above ground, about 4 feet broad: what is above ground is visibly divided into seven parts, whereof the lowest is almost hid by the stones supporting it; the second division contains many figures, but much defaced; in the third compartment, are figures of men, and some of beasts with human heads; the fourth contains ensigns and military weapons; and in the fifth, sixth and seventh, the figures are scarce discernible: on the reverse, there is a cross, beneath which are two human figures of a gothic form: this seems to be a monument of a battle fought in that place, by K. Malcolm the II. of Scotland against the Danes , about the year 1008. There are about two or three obelisks of 6 or 7 feet high below the Kirk of Alves , probably as monuments of skirmishes and the burying of men of some figure.

XIII. In this province we had two bishopricks, one abby, three priories, one præceptory, and several convents. The first bishoprick was that of Murthlack , now Mortlich , erected by K. Malc . II. An . 1010, when he had given a total defeat to the Danes in that valley: the diocese consisted only of three parishes, and after three bishops had served there it was translated to Aberdeen, An . 1142. As an account of it will be fully given by others, I insist not further.

The second bishoprick was that of Murray . In the fourth century the bishop affected a pre-eminence over his fellow presbyters, and an equality in many things to sovereign princes: as princes had their thrones, were crowned, wore crowns, had their palaces, their ministers of state, their privy council, and their subjects; so bishops had a solium, a consecration, a mitre, palaces, dignified clergy, chapter, and inferior clergy. The episcopal bishoprick of Murray , was in my opinion erected by K. Alex . I.; and the bishops of it were, in succession,

(1.) Gregorius , who is a witness in a charter of K. Dav . I. to Dumfermline , confirming K. Alexander's charter to that abby; there he is called Gregorius Moraviensis Episcopus : and in the foundation charter of the priory of Schoon, An . 1115, Gregorius Episcopus is a witness, who probably was the same with the formerly mentioned.

(2.) William was made apostolic legate An . 1159, and died 1162. I find not what time he was consecrated.

(3.) Felix , is a witness in a charter by K. William, Wilielmo filio fresken, de terris, de Strablock, Rosoil, Inshkele, Duffus Machare, et Kintray . He died about An . 1170.

(4.) Simeon de Toney , Monk of Melrose , elected 1171, and died An . 1184, he was buried in Birney .

(5.) Andrew , consecrated An . 1184, and died 1185.

(6.) Richard , consecrated Idi. Martii, An . 1187, by Hugo bishop of St. Andrew's , and died An . 1203, and was buried in Spynie .

(7.) Bricius , brother of William lord of Douglas , and prior of Lessmahego , elected An . 1203, and died An . 1222, and was buried at Spynie . He had represented to the pope that the former bishops had no fixed see, or cathedral, some residing at Birney , some at Kinnedar , and some at Spynie ; and he obtained that Spynie should be be the bishop's see: he appointed the dignified clergy and canons, and founded a college of canons, eight in number.

(8.) Andrew (son of William Murray of Duffus) Dean of Murray , consecrated An . 1223. He founded the cathedral church at Elgin , added 14 canons to the college, and assigned manses and prebends for them, and for the dignified clergy, and died An . 1242.

Here it will be proper to give some account of the cathedral church at Elgin , for it does not appear that Briceus built any church at Spynie . Bishop Andrew was not pleased with the situation of Spynie for a cathedral, and therefore petitioned the pope that because of the distance from the burgh of Elgin , which would divert the canons from their sacred functions to go and buy provisions in the burgh, that he might allow the cathedral to be translated to the Ecclesia sancta Trinitatis prope Elgin : Pope Honorius granted his request, and by his bull dated 4to . Idun . Aprilis 1224 empowered the Bishop of Cathness , and the Dean of Rosemarky , to make the desired translation. These met at the place desired, on the 14 of the kalends of August, An . 1224: and finding it "in commodum Ecclesiæ," declared the church of the holy Trinity to be the cathedral church of the diocese of Murray in all times coming: it is said that bishop Andrew laid the foundation stone of the church on the same day above-mentioned, but it does not appear what the form or dimensions of that first church were.

(9.) Simon Dean of Murray succeeded and died 1252, and was buried in the choir of the cathedral near to bishop Andrew .

(10.) Archibald Dean of Murray , consecrated An . 1253, and died December 5th, An , 1298, and was buried in the choir. This bishop having no palace built one at Kinnedar , and lived there. In his time William Earl of Ross having done great harm to the parson of Petty , was obliged to do pennance, and for reparation gave the lands of Catholl in Ross to the bishops of Murray in perpetuum.

(11.) David Murray consecrated at Avignon in France , by Boneface VIII. anno 1299, and died January 20th, anno 1325 .

(12.) John Pilmore , consecrated 3ti Kal. Aprilis, anno 1326, and died at Spynie on Michaelmas eve, 1362.

(13.) Alexander Bar, Doctor decretorum , consecrated by Urban V. An . 1362, died at Spynie, May 1397. In his time, viz. An . 1390, Alexander Stewart (son of king Robert II.) Lord Badenoch , commonly called the Wolf of Badenoch , keeping violent possession of the bishop's lands, in that country, was excommunicated in resentment, in the month of May, An . 1390. He with his followers burnt the town of Forres , with the choir, of that church, and the Arch-Deacon's house; and in June that year burnt the town of Elgin , the church of St. Giles , the hospital of Maison-Dieu , the cathedral church, with eighteen houses of the canons in the college of Elgin . For this he was made to do pennance, and upon his humble submission, he was absolved by Walter Trail bishop of St. Andrews , in the black-friars church of Perth (being first received at the door, barefoot, and in sackcloth, and again before the high altar in presence of the king and his nobles) on condition that he would make full reparation to the bishop and church of Murray , and obtain absolution from the Pope. Bishop Bar began the rebuilding of the church, and every canon contributed to it, as did every parish in the diocese.

(14.) William Spynie , Chanter of Murray , D. I. C. consecrated at Avignon by Benedict the IX. Sept . 13th, 1397, and died Aug . 20th, An . 1406. He carried on the reparation of the cathedral, but the troubles of the times caused it to make slow advances. On July 3, An . 1402, Alexander III, son of the Lord of the Isles, plundered Elgin , burnt many houses, and spoiled the houses of the canons: he was excommunicated, and offered a sum of gold, as did every one of his captains, and he received absolution: this money was applied for erecting a cross and a bell in that part of the canonry which lies next the bridge of Elgin .

(15.) John Innes , Parson of Duffus , Archdeacon of Cathness , and L. L. D. was consecrated by Benedict the XIII, Jan . 23d. An . 1406, and died April 25th, An . 1414, and was buried in his own isle in the cathedral, where his statue at large still remains with this inscription, "Hie jacet reverendus in Christo Pater & Dominus" D. Joannes Innes de Innes, hujus ecclesiaæ Episcopus, qui hoc notabile opus incepit, et per Septennium ædificavit." He built that isle and a part of the great steeple or tower. After his death, the chapter met and all were sworn that on whomsoever the lot should fall to be bishop, he should annually apply one third of his revenues until the building of the cathedral should be finished.

(16.) Henry Leighton , parson of Duffus , and L. L. D. was consecrated in Valentia by Benedict XIII. March 8th, An . 1415; he diligently carried on the building, and finished the great tower, and was translated to Aberdeen, An . 1425. The cathedral church having been completely finished in the time of this bishop, I shall here describe that edifice, which was all in the gothic form of architecture. It stood due East and West, in the form of a passion or Jerusalem cross: the length of it 264 feet: the breadth 35 feet: the length of the traverse 114 feet. The church was ornamented with five towers, whereof two parallel towers stood on the West end, one in the middle, and two at the East end: the two west towers stand entire in the stone work, and are each 84 feet high: what the height of the spires was I do not find; probably they were of wood, and fell down long since. The great tower in the centre of the nave stood on two arched pillars crossing at top, and was, including the spires, 198 feet in height: the two turrets in the East end are still entire, and each has a winding stair-case leading to a channel or passage in the walls round the whole church. The height of the fide walls is 36 feet. The great entry was betwixt the two towers in the West end: this gate is a concave arch, 24 feet broad in base, and 24 in height, terminating in a sharp angle: on each side of the valves in the sweep of the arch are 8 round, and 8 fluted pilasters, 6½ feet high, adorned with a chapiter, from which arise 16 pilasters that meet in the key of the arch. Each valve of the door was 5 feet broad, and about 10 feet high. To yield light to this large building, besides the great windows in the porticos, and a row of windows in the wall above, each 6 feet high, there was above the gate a window of an acute angled arch 19 feet broad in base, and 27 in height: and in the East end between the turrets, a row of five parallel windows each 2 feet broad and 10 high: above these five more each 7 feet high, and over these a circular window near 10 feet diameter: the grand gate, the windows, the pillars, the projecting table, pedestals, cordons, are adorned with foliage, grapes, and other carvings. The traverse, in length as above, seems to have been built by the families of Dunbar and Innes , for the North part of it is called the Dunbar's isle, and the South part the Innes' isle.

The chapter house, in which the bishop's privy council met, stands on the North side of the choir: it is a curious piece of architecture communicating with the choir by a vaulted vestry. The house is an exact octagon, 34 feet high, and the diagonal breadth within walls 37 feet: it is almost a cube arched and vaulted at top, and the .whole arched roof supported by one pillar in the centre of the house. Arched pillars from every angle terminated in the grand pillars, which is 9 feet in circumference, crusted over with 16 pilasters^ and 24 feet high: adorned with a chapiter from which arise round pillars that spread along the roof, and join at top; and round the chapiter are engraved the arms of several bishops. There is a large window in each of seven sides, the eighth side communicating, as was said, with the choir; and in the North wall are five stalls cut in nitches for the bishop's ministers of state, viz. the dean, chapter, archdeacon, chancellor, and treasurer, the Dean's Stall raised a step higher than the other four. This structure of the cathedral came to decay in the manner following, viz. The Regent Earl of Murray being obliged to levy some forces, and being straitned in money, appointed by his privy council February 14, 1567, 8, the sheriffs of Aberdeen and Murray , with other gentlemen, to take the lead, thatch or covering off the cathedrals of Aberdeen and Murray, , and to sell it for paying the troops, which was done, and shipped, for Holland ; but the ship soon after launched in the sea, sunk with the lead, which it is thought was done by a superstitious Roman catholic, who was captain of it. Of this whole edifice, the chapter house, the walls of the choir, the Western steeples, and the Eastern turrets remain as yet entire, but the side walls of the nave and the traverse are most part fallen, and Peace Sunday, An . 1711, the great tower or steeple in the middle fell from the foundation.

The cathedral stood within the precinct, of the college, near the river side of Lossey : this precinct was walled round with a strong stone wall, and was about 1000 yards in circumference, a part of the walls still remains entire; it had four gates, every one of which probably had (as is apparent the Eastern had) an iron gate, a port-cullis, and a porter's lodge: within the precinct the dignified clergy and all the canons had houses and gardens, and without the precinct, towards the town of Elgin , there was a small burrow with a cross, where the church men purchased their provisions. The bishop's palace stood at Spynie , a large mile from Elgin : when it stood entire, it was the most lately I have seen in any diocese in Scotland . The area of the buildings was an oblong square of 60 yards; in the South-West corner stood a strong tower vaulted, the wall 9 feet thick, with an easy winding stair-case, a cape house at top, with a battlement round it. In the other three corners are small towers with narrow rooms. In the South side of the area, there was a chapel and tennis court: and in other parts were stables and all necessary offices. The gate or entry was in the middle of the East wall, secured by an iron grate and a port-cullis: over the gate stand the arms of bishop John Innes , and the initial letters of his name, which affords a conjecture, that he was the first who built any part of this court. Around the palace was a spacious precinct, with gardens, and walks, and which now pay twelve pounds sterling to the crown. The lands of Spynie and the precinct were granted by the crown to one gentleman after another till the revolution, and since that time, the precinct continues in the crown, and the lands belong to Mr. Brodie of Spynie , now of Brodie : but the iron grate, the roof, the joists, and all the timber work were carried off by the former lessees, and now all is in decay.

The diocese of Murray comprised the counties of Murray and Nairn , and the greatest part of the counties of Bamff and Inverness , and had 56 pastoral charges. What the revenue of this bishoprick was before the reformation cannot now be well known; for Patrick Hepburn , the last popish bishop, fewed and sold at least a third part of the lands of the bishoprick, including what he was obliged to give to the Regent of Scotland, An . 1568, for harbouring his intercommuned uncle James Earl of Bothwell , who married our unfortunate Q. Mary, An . 1563, when an account of all dignified clergy's revenues was called in by the parliament, the revenues of the bishoprick of Murray , as then given up, were as follows; viz. In money, £1649 : 7 : 7 Scots : wheat, 10 bolls : barley, 77 chalders, 6 bolls, 3 firlots, and two pecks: oats, 2 chalders, 8 bolls: salmon, 8 lasts: poultry, 223. Besides the emoluments of the regality of Spynie , and of the commissaries of Spynie and Inverness , and the great teinds of the parish of Elgin , and of St. Andrew's in Murray, Ogston, Laggon , and the bishop's share of the revenues of the common kirks.

The only abby we had was that at Kinloss , which stood in what is now called the parish of that name. It was founded by K. David I. 10mo Kal. Januarii, An. 1150. The abbot was mitred, and had a seat in parliament: the monks were of the Cistercian order, called Monachi Albi . K. David endowed it, as did K. William , with many lands. Aselinus was the first abbot, and Robert Reid was the last. The revenues of the abby, An. 1561, were found to be, in money, £. 1152 : 1 : 0, Scots : barley and meal, 47 chalders, 11 bolls, 1 firlot, and 3 pecks: oats, 10 bolls 3 firlots: wedders, 34; geese, 41 : capons 60: and poultry, 125. The abbot had a regality within the abby lands: Mr. Edward Bruce was made commendator, and afterwards lord of Kinloss, An . 1604: from whom Alexander Brodie of Lethen purchased the lands of Kinloss , and the superiority of the other abby lands. The ruins of the building are so small, that it cannot be known what it was when entire; for, An . 1651 and 1652, the stones of it were sold, and carried to build Cromwel's fort at Inverness , and nothing now remains but confused ruins.

The oldest priory we had in this province was at Urquhart , three miles East of Elgin . It was founded by K. David I. An . 1125, in honor of the Trinity. It was a cell of Dumfermline with Benedictine monks. K. David endowed it liberally. The revenues thereof were not given up in An. 1563, and so I can give no account of them. The priory lands were erected into a regality, but no vestige of the buildings now remains. In 1565, Alexander Seton was made commendator, and 1591, created Lord Urquhart , and An . 1605 Earl of Dumfermline ; but the honors being forfeited in 1690, Seton of Barns claimed the lordship, and about An . 1730 it was purchased by the family of Gordon .

The next priory was at Pluscarden , founded by K. Alexander II. An . 1230, and named Vallis Sancti Andreæ . It was planted by Monachi Vallis Caulium ; None but the prior and procurator were allowed to go without the precinct; the monks becoming vicious were expelled, and other monks brought from Dumfermline . The lands of this priory were very considerable, and they had a Grangia and a cell of monks at Grange hill . The revenue of this priory, given up An . 1563, was in money £525 : 10 : 1½, Scots: wheat, 1 chalder, 1 boll, 2 firlots: malt, meal and barley, 51 chalders, 4 bolls, 3 firlots, 1 peck: oats, 5 chalders, 13 bolls: dry multures, 9 chalders, 11 bolls: salmon 30 lasts. The buildings stood 4 miles S. W. from the town of Elgin , in a warm valley called the glen of Pluscarden . The walls of the precinct make a large square, and are pretty entire. The church stands about the middle of the square, a fine edifice in the form of a cross, with a square tower, all of hewen ashlar. The oratory and refectory join to the South end of the church, under which is the dormitory. The chapter house is of curious work, an octagonal cube, vaulted roofs supported by one pillar, all as yet entire. They had a regality in the priory lands and a distinct regality in Grange hill , called the regality of Staneforenoon . At the reformation Sir Alexander Seton was, An . 1565, made commendator. The lands of Pluscarden and Old Milns near Elgin passed through several hands, and are now the property of James Earl of Fife .

The third priory was at Kingusie , founded by George Earl of Huntly , about Am 1490. Of what order the monks were, or what were the revenues of the priory, I have not learned. The few lands belonging to it being the donation of the family of Huntly , were at the reformation re-assumed by them, and continue to be their property.

There were likewise within this province several convents of religious orders. In the town of Elgin were Grey Friars, Black Friars, Red Friars, Templars Houses , and a Nunnery of the religious of St. Katherine of Sienna . There were other convents at Forres and Inverness .

Close by the town of Elgin stood the præceptory of Maison Dieu . It was a hospital for entertaining strangers, and maintaining poor infirm people. The buildings are now gone to ruins. They had considerable lands in the parishes of Elgin, Lanbride, Knockando , and Dundurkus , all which were by K. James VI. and Charles I. granted to the town of Elgin , and now hold few of them.

In this province we had four royal forts; the first stood on a round hill that overlooks the town of Elgin ; and some of the walls, all of run lime, do as yet remain. The Earls of Murray since the year 1313 were constables of it, and had considerable lands for their salary. Their office continued till 1748, when heritable offices were annexed to the crown, and now they have no more but the hill called Lady hill , which yields a small rent annually. Another fort stood in the town of Nairn , but no vestiges of it now remain. Mr. Campbell of Calder (and formerly the Thanes of that ilk) was constable, and in 1748 was paid a compensation for that office. The third fort was at Inverness , of which the Earls of Ross were formerly constables; and after their forfeiture, the Earl of Huntly obtained the office of constable, with very considerable lands as a salary, and continued to be constable till 1629. I need not here speak of Cromwell's fort at Inverness , of which no doubt others will give a full account. The fourth fort was at Urquhart , on the West side of Loch-Ness: the buildings were pretty large, and in a great part as yet stand. In the time of David II. Alexander Boes was governor of this fort; afterwards, Chisolm of that ilk was governor: but since the middle of century fifteenth I do not find it had any governor, and now the lands of Urquhart are the property of Sir Ludowick Grant of Grant . Besides these forts we had many old castles within this province commonly called Fortalicia . One stood at Duffus , three miles North of Elgin , and was the seat of the chief of the Moravienses as early as the eleventh century. The castle stood on a green mote, on the bank of the Loch of Spynie : it was a square, the wall about 20 feet high, and 5 feet thick, with a parapet, a ditch, and a draw bridge: within the square were buildings of timber for accommodating the family, and also necessary offices. The walls are as yet pretty entire. Such Fortalices were also at Balveny in the parish of Murtlich , at Abernethy in that parish, at Lochindorb in the parish of Cromdil , at Raet in Nairn parish, and at Ruthven in Kingusie parish. All which were large squares, and many rooms built with timber within the walls.

I shall give no account of the modern forts of Fort George at Arderseir , or Fort Augustus at the South end of Loch-Ness , and shall only describe a promontory in the parish of Dufus , four miles from Elgin . Our historians call it Burgus , it juts into the frith, and rises above low water about sixteen yards. To the West and North it is a perpendicular rock, to the East the ascent is steep but grassy, to the South towards land the ascent is more easy. The area on the top is near a rectangular figure, in length about 100 yards, and in breadth about 50. After the Danes had defeated the Scots army at Forres about An . 1008, they sent for their wives and children, and made this promontory an asylum to them and a place of arms. It was at top surrounded with a strong rampart of oaken logs, of which some are as yet digged up: by a trench cut on the South side, they brought the sea round the promontory, and within this, had other trenches, and they fortified it to the East. The trenches are now filled up. After the battle of Mortlich in the year 1010, the Danes abandoned it, and left the country of Murray . To return.

(17.) Columba Dunbar succeeded, and died An. 1435.

(18.) John Winchester ; L. B. and chaplain to king James II, was consecrated, 1438, and died 1458. In 1452, the king erected the town of Spynie into a free burgh of barony, and erected all the lands of the bishoprick into the regality of Spynie .

(19.) James Stewart , dean, consecrated 1458, died An . 1460.

(20.) David Stewart , parson of Spynie , succeeded in 1461, built the high tower of the palace, and died An . 1475.

(21.) William Tulloch , translated from Orkney, An . 1477, was Lord Privy Seal, and died 1482.

(22.) Andrew Stewart , Dean of Murray and Privy Seal, succeeded An . 1483, and died 1498.

(23.) Andrew Forman , commendator of Dry Burgh , succeeded, An . 1501, and was translated to St. Andrew's, An . 1514.

(24.) James Hepburn succeeded, and died An . 1524.

(25.) Robert Shaw , son of Sauchy , and abbot of Paisly , was consecrated 1525, and died 1528.

(26.) Alexander Stewart , son of the Duke of Albany , succeeded, and died An . 1535.

(27.) Patrick Hepburn uncle to James Earl of Bothwell , and commendator of Scoon , was consecrated An . 1537. He dilapidated, fewed, or set in long leases a great part of the church lands, and died An . 1573, on the 20th June .

I have seen several catalogues of the popish bishops of Murray , both printed and manuscript, but all imperfect; comparing these with the writings of Sir James Dalrymple , Sir Robert Sibbald , Bishop Keith , the chartulary of Murray , and the chronicle of Mel Ross , the above catalogue may I think be depended upon. To return to the quæries.

XIV. There are in this province manuscript histories of several families, which might be of some service in compiling a general history; as of the families of Dunbar, Innes, Brodie, Calder, Kilravock, M'Intosh , and Grant . With regard to antient weapons, I have seen in the house of Grant , of Kilravock , and in other houses, steel helmets, habergeons, and coats of mail, and of buff leather. Adder stones, glass beds, &c. are but amulets not worth regarding.

XV. I know not one picture worth regarding, except a picture of the Virgin Mary in the house of Castle Grant .

XVI. No battle in the parish of Elgin , but many within this province, as at Forres , about An . 1008, betwixt the Scots and Danes ; at Mortlich, An . 1010, between the same; at Spey-mouth, An . 1078, the King against the Moravienses ; again, An . 1110, against the same people; and, An . 1160, on the Muir of Urquhart , king Malcolm IV. against the same Moravienses ; at Ceanlochlochie, An . 1544, betwixt the Frazers and M'Donalds ; at Glenlivet, An . 1594, the King against the Earls of Huntly, Errol , and Angus ; at Auldearn, An . 1645, the Covenanters against Montrose ; at Cromdel, An . 1690, the King's troops against the Highlanders; and at Culloden, An. 1745, the Duke of Cumberland against the Rebels.

XVII. Druidism having been the form of religion in this country before Christianity, the people still retain some superstitious customs of that Pagan religion. As Bel-tein : on the first of May the herds of several farms gather dry wood, put fire to it, and dance three times Southways about the pile. In the middle of June farmers go round their grounds with burning torches, in memory of the Cerealia . On Hallow even they have several superstitious customs. At the full moon in March , they cut withes of the misletoe or ivy, make circles of them, keep them all year, and pretend to cure hecticks and other troubles by them. And at marriages and baptisms they make a procession around the church, Deasoil , i. e. sunways, because the sun was the immediate object of the Druids' worship.

XVIII. Their sports are hunting, firing at marks, foot-ball, club-ball, &c. And the only annual festival they observe is Christmas ; spent more as the Saturnalia were of old, than as Christ's birth ought to be.

XIX. We have no true marle in this country, nor any asbestus : but we have granite, talcum, lapis specularis, and at Stadtfield within four miles of Elgin there was lately found lead ore, and in Glen-garry they have for several years had an iron forge and made pigs of iron; likewise about 40 years ago, a company from England set up a mill and forge for iron in Abernethy in Strathspey , and made very good bars of iron, but through their own extravagance they abandoned it. There is through all this province great plenty of iron ore. I have often seen the ignis fatuus , which is a piece of rotten birch wood, lying in a mire, and shining in a dark night, like a flame of firs: likewise ignis lambens , which is an unctuous vapour falling upon a man's wig, or mane of a horse, which shines bright, but by a slight rub it is extinguished.

XX. Great plenty of the particulars in the 20th quæry may be found on the sea coast in this province; if any will take the trouble to collect them.

XXI. I know no species of wood remarkable, and peculiar to this province, except Red Saugh , or fallow, which is no less beautiful than mahogany, and is much more firm and tough, and not so brittle; it receives a fine polish, and in color resembles light-colored mahogany; it grows in rocks, and is very rare. But we have great forests of firs and birches: and as the Grampian hills divide in Athol into one branch running Northward, and another Eastward; in the former branch are great woods of fir and birch in Breadalbane, Rannoch, Strathspey, Badenoch, Glen-moriston, Strathglass , and Strath-carron in Sutherland ; and in the other branch are such forests in Brae-mar, Glen-Muik, Glen-Tanner , &c. I am inclined to think that these are the remains of the antient Sylva Caledonia . Among other vegetables, we have in great plenty, in the heaths and woods, the following berries, viz. wild rasps, wild strawberries, blueberries, bugberries, urva ursæ , &c. And we have one root I cannot but take notice of, which we call Carmele : it is a root that grows in heaths and birch woods to the bigness of a large nut, and sometimes four or five roots joined by fibres; it bears a green stalk, and a small red flower. Dio , speaking of the Caledonians , says, "Certum cibi genus parant ad omnia, quem si ceperint quantum est unius fabæ magnitudo, minime esurire aut sitire solent." Cæsar de Bel. Civ . lib. 3tio. writes, that Valerius's soldiers found a root called CHARA, "quod admistum lacte multam inopiam levabat, id ad similitudinem panis efficiebant." I am inclined to think that our Carmele (i. e. sweet root) is Dio's Cibi genus , and Cæsar's Chara : I have often seen it dried, and kept for journeys through hills where no provisions could be had: I have likewise seen it pounded and infused, and when yest or barm is put to it, it ferments, and makes a liquor more agreeable and wholesome than mead. It grows so plentifully, that a cart load of it can easily be gathered, and the drink of it is very balsamic.

XXII. Sea fowl in this province resort in winter to lakes and lochs, as Loch of Spynie, Loch-Ness, Loch Nadorb , &c. Eagles and Falcons breed in high rocks and inaccessible mountains, as Scorgave in Rothemurchus . There are some species of fowls, if not peculiar to this province, at least rare in other countries: such as, the Caperkyly , as large as the domestick Turkey ; it frequents the fir woods, and perches in the top of very tall trees, but the hen breeds in the heath. Another fowl is the Black Cock , which frequents birch woods in hills, is of the size of a capon, of a shining blue color: it is by some authors called Gallus Scoticanus . A third fowl is Tarmagan , of the size of a Partridge, haunts the high rocky hills, is of a color spotted brown and white. These three fowls are very harmless, and make delicious food.

N. B. In answering query IV. it is omitted that our natural physicians, when they find a toe or a finger hurt, and beginning to corrupt, they strike it off with a chisel and sere the wound with a hot iron, and soon cure it. Instead of bleeding by lancets, they scarify the flesh about the ancle, and they take blood from the nasal vein by cleaving the quill of a hen and binding it into four branches, and scarifying the nostrils thereby. For vomits, they use a decoction of groundsill, of the bark of the service tree, and a decoction of Holborn saugh; and for purgatives, the decoction of service bark and a decoction of mugwort boiled in new whey. In answering quæry I. I omitted to say, that the river of Bewly was antiently called Farar : it rises in the hills towards Glenelg , and runs through Glenstrathfarar ; and I am inclined to think that in Ptolemy's Geographical Tables the Murray frith is called Æstuarium Vararis from the river Farar (changing the F into V) that falls into the head of it. And the river was called Bewly when, An . 1230, a priory of the monks Vallis Caulium was settled there, who called their seat Beaulieu, . i. e. Bello loco ; and then the old name of Farar was discontinued, except among the Highlanders.

Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland 1769 (London: Benjamin White, 1776)

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