Saturday, 26 September 2015

Additional Ogilvy-Lindsay Trouble and the Last of the Lindsays

The Ogilvy-Lindsay family hatred flared up, after earlier trouble, in the late 16th century when Ogilvy of Inverquharity killed Lindsay of Blairriefeddan.  The next notable killing occurred around 1585, when Sir John Lindsay of Woodwray slew Ogilvy of Ballinshoe Castle near Kirriemuir and occupied his lands.  Sir John's brother David, 11th Earl of Crawford, stayed out of the blood-letting and befriended the Master of Ogilvy, paying a bond for his good behaviour.  But the earl's youngest brother Alexander, who was created Lord Spynie, was dragged into the violence.  Two Ogilvy associated - Reid John and Black Sandy - attacked Spynie's house at Kinblethmont.  A few days later, Spynie allegedly killed two Ogilvy men at Leys, though he claimed that actually they had attacked him and left him for dead.
   In the winter of 1599-1600, a group of Ogilvys led by the Master accidentally encountered Lord Spynie in a narrow pend in Arbroath.  A fight inevitably occurred, echoing the lamentable Battle of Arbroath, after which the Lindsay party took to their heels.  The two parties were put under house arrest and the king arranged a temporary truce and acted as arbiter in their dispute.  He gave his judgement on New Year's Day, 1601, finding that the Arbroath skirmish had been accidental, but that the Ogilvys had been illegally armed.  He told both factions to 'forgive uthers all slauchter and blood...and to keep in future guid friendschip and neighbourhood as becomes kinsmen and friends...'
   But the hatred was too deeply ingrained to be easily solved. On Sunday, 18th July 1603,  another of the Master's brothers, David Ogilvy, was walking with his valet to Holyrood Abbey Church in Edinburgh.  Unknown to them, they were stalked by David Lindsay, a bastard son of the Earl of Crawford, who had sworn revenge on every Ogilvy.  Following the service Lindsay and his men followed Ogilvy back to the Canongate, then attacked them  from behind.  'After many deidly wounds,' the Privy Council report said,'...William Innes [Ogilvy's valet] immediately departed this lyfe, and the said David Ogilvy is in grit hazard and peril of his lyfe, without any hope of recoverie.'
   But David Ogilvy did recover and in November 1603 he and his brothers, Sir John of Craig, George of Friock and Francis of Newgrange, joined the Master of Ogilvy's violent raid on Lord Spynie.  The Ogilvys gathered at Bolshan and made their way to Kinblethmont House, blasting the gates and firing cannons at the windows.  They managed to break in and searched the house for their enemy.  But Lord Spynie had been forewarned of the attack and had removed his family to Brechin Castle.  The raiders had to be content with ransacking the property and removing all the gold and silver they could find. As previously stated, Spynie ironically met his end when he tried to break up a brawl between members of his own family.

   The Crawfords were crippled by misfortune throughout the 17th century.  The 12th Earl of Crawford expired in Edinburgh Castle in 1620, having been placed there by his family to prevent financial ruin.  Then George Lindsay, the 13th earl, sold Finavon Castle and estate to Lord Spynie and was killed by a fellow officer in the Dutch army.  Alexander Lindsay, his brother and the next earl, died insane.  The 16th earl, named Ludovic, was a keen supporter of Montrose and was eventually forced to hand over the earldom to his distant Fifeshire relative, Lord Lindsay of the Byres.  The Lindsays of Edzell Castle also went into terminal decline.  The curse of Cardinal Beaton had put an end to the Lichtsome Lindsays in Angus.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

More On The Lindsays and the Families of Stirling and Auchterhouse Castle

Something has already been written previously about the prominent Lindsay family, who were for a number of centuries one of the most important and numerous ruling families in Angus and, on and off, deadly enemies of the Ogilvys.  One of the Lindsay's proudest castles, Edzell, was actually built by the Stirling family and passed to Sir Alexander Lindsay when he married Catherine, daughter of John Stirling around 1357.  Their son, Sir David Lindsay, became the first Earl of Crawford.

   Catherine Stirling was co-heiress with her sister, but local lore added a brother, Jackie Stirling.  Small and deformed though he was, Jackie was well liked in the neighbourhood.  When he made a match with the daughter of a local laird, Catherine and her scheming husband realised that this threatened their inheritance.  They hired an assassin to kill poor Jackie as he took his regular evening stroll near Edzell Castle.  Thus Edzell passed in a bloody fashion to the Lindsays.

   Sir David Lindsay cannily married a daughter of King Robert II and became High Chancellor of Scotland.  One of his friends was John Lyon of Glamis Castle, secretary to the king.  But when Lyon was promoted to Great Chamberlain, Lindsay became jealous , believing that his friend's advancement was at the expense of his own.  The two men fought a duel on the Moss of Balhall, in Menmuir parish.  Glamis was slain and Lindsay was forced into exile in England in 1382.

   After he returned to Scotland, Sir David fought bravely at the battles of Otterburn and Homildon.  He earned wider fame by fighting in single combat on London Bridge in May 1390.  His opponent was the English champion, Lord Wells.  Twice the mounted men charged at each other without advantage and on the third charge the Englishman was unseated.  The spectators yelled out that Lindsay had cheated by tying himself to his saddle.  Sir David promptly rode up to the royal pavilion, jumped out of his saddle, then vaulted back into it.  The fight recommenced on foot and ended with the Scot throwing his opponent to the ground.  King Richard II gave him permission to kill Lord Wells if he wished, but Lindsay gallantly refused.  The monarch was impressed and gave Sir David the hospitality of his court for three months.

   In 1392 Lindsay was one of sixty Angus men under the command of Sir Walter Ogilvy of Auchterhouse, Sheriff of Angus, was fought at the Battle of Glasclune.  Their opponents were a band of here hundred Highland marauders, mostly Robertsons, led by Duncan Stewart, a son of the notorious Wolf of Badenoch.  After ravaging the Braes of Angus the invaders were tracked west to Glasclune in Perthshire.  Ogilvy, his brother and many others were slain early in combat.  Lindsay managed to pierce one Highlander with his lance, driving it into the ground.  But the dying man lifted himself up and caught Lindsay with his broadsword, cutting through his stirrup leather and steel boot right to the bone.  Sir David was nearly killed, but survived to found the great dynasty of Angus.  It seems ironic that Lindsay nearly lost his life supporting Ogilvy, for a generation later the two families were deadly enemies.

   Auchterhouse had become n Ogilvy property through marriage and changed hands again in 1446, passing to James Stewart, Earl of Buchan.  According to the Rev. James Inglis the ballad of 'Sir John the Rose' had its original setting at Auchterhouse (though extant versions of the poem do not set it in Angus).  The ballad relates the rivalry of two suitors, Sir James Ross and Sir John Graeme, competing for the hand of Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Buchan.  Ross and Matilda met each night beneath a large saugh tree in the garden.  But Lord Buchan favoured Graeme and forbade his daughter meeting Ross.  At their final meeting they were spied by Graeme's brother.  Ross slew him and prepared to flee, but Sir James Graeme found out and rode swiftly to Auchterhouse.  Following a fight, Ross was fatally wounded , tough with a final effort he stabbed Graeme through the heart.  Matilda was grief stricken and killed herself with the sword which had slain her lover.
   Auchterhouse was an unhappy place for the Buchan women.  In 1665, Marjory Ramsay, Countess of Buchan, was charged by the Presbytery of Dundee with having fornicated with her chaplain, James Campbell.  He was absolved after 'being thrice in the pillare' at Auchterhouse, wile the countess had to perform public repentance in the kirk.

                                  SIR JAMES THE ROSE

                                  Oh have you heard Sir James the Rose,
                                 The young heir of Loch Laggan?
                                  For he has killed a gallant squire
                                 And his friends are out to take him.
                                 And he's gone to the House of Mar,
                                 The Nurse there did befriend him.
                                 And he has gone upon his knees
                                 And begged for her to hide him.
                               “Where're you going Sir James?” she said,
                               “Where now are you riding?”
                               “Oh I am bound to a foreign land
                                 But now I'm under hiding.”
                                Where shall I go?
                                Where shall I run?
                                Where shall I go for to hide me?
                                For I have killed a gallant squire
                                And they're seeking for to slay me.
                               Then he's turned him right and round about
                               And rolled him in the bracken,
                               And he has gone to take a sleep
                               In the lowlands of Loch Laggan.
                               He had not well gone out of sight
                               Nor was he past Milstrethen
                              When four and twenty belted knights
                              Came riding o'er the leathen.
                             “Have you seen Sir James the Rose,
                              The young heir of Loch Laggan?
                               For he has killed a gallant squire,
                              And we're sent out to take him.”

                             “You'll see the bank above the mill
                               In the lowlands of Loch Laggan,
                              And there you'll find Sir James the Rose
                              Sleeping in the bracken.”
                            “You must not wake him out of sleep,
                              Nor yet must you afright him,
                              Just run a dart right through his heart
                              And through the body pierce him.”
                             They sought the bank above the mill
                              In the lowlands of Loch Laggan,
                              And there they found Sir James the Rose
                              Sleeping in the bracken.

                              Then up and spake Sir John the Graeme
                             Who had the charge a-keeping,
                            “It'll never be said, dear gentlemen,
                             We killed him while he's sleeping.”
                             They seized his broadsword and his targe
                             And closely him surrounded,
                             And when he woke out of his sleep
                             His senses were confounded.
                             Now they have taken out his heart
                             And stuck it on a spear,
                             They took it to the House of Mar
                             And gave it to his dear.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Guthries of Guthrie

The Guthrie family were one of those fortunate kindreds who managed to keep their possessions (or most of them) and their integrity through the centuries.  More importantly perhaps, they managed to avoid the type of violent notoriety which afflicted those other notable Angus family mobs, the Ogilvys and Lindsays.  There is something comfortingly old-fashioned about the Scottish appellation 'of that ilk', a sense of belonging of a family being settled for a long time in a place which bears their surname.  The Guthries cannily spread out from the settlement of Guthrie to other Angus possessions, which this rhyme remembers:

                                                 Guthrie o Guthrie,
                                                 Guthrie o Gaigie,
                                                 Guthrie o Taybank
                                                 An Guthrie o Craigie.

   King James III granted his treasurer Sir David Guthrie a warrant to construct the yett of Guthrie Castle in 1468, along with the barony, though the family may have already inhabited the site for a long period.  Gagie House, near Dundee, dates from 1614 and was traditionally inhabited by the eldest Guthrie son, who usually took possession of the residence when he first got married.  The family also owned the mansion houses of Kirkbuddo and Colliston.

   Although the family and settlement name of Guthrie likely derive from the Gaelic word gaothair, meaning 'windy place', there are two competing legends about the origin of the family surname.  The family invented a noble Scandinavian named Guthrum, supposedly a 9th century Viking prince as their progenitor.  But a tale from north of Angus, in the Mearns, offers an even more dodgy explanation of the surname.  According to this story, King David I and his queen were shipwrecked on the Bervie Brow.  Seeing a local fisherman on the beach, the king asked him to 'gut twa' fish for him.  When the man generously offered to 'gut three' fish, the king delightedly declared, 'Well, Gut-three forever thou shalt be!'

    Guthrie Castle passed into the ownership of an American family named Pena in 1984, and now functions as a wedding and functions centre.  The building once had a ghost which haunted the original West Bedroom.  In 1620 a former bishop of St Andrews woke one morning to see a black clad lady with a bunch of keys at her waist walk into his chamber and sit down on the bed.  The spirit was identified as a servant who followed an 'extravagant' Mrs Guthrie around the castle each night, locking everything up.  It is otherwise and more mundanely supposed that the ghost is a former Lady Guthrie who constantly checks that anyone who sleeps in the room is comfortable.  The figure was allegedly seen by one of the last Guthries to occupy the castle in the late 20th century, when she was a small child.

Gagie House