Saturday, 31 October 2015

Jacobite Characters - Part Two

The Angus Jacobites who rose up in 1745 were led by twenty year old Lord David Ogilvy, whose force of around 600 men came from his father's estates.  His father and Sir David Kinloch later managed to raise another 400 men from Angus and the Mearns.  Following the disaster of the Battle of Culloden, Ogilvy captured a ship in the River Tay off Broughty Ferry and managed to escape to Norway.  He was eventually pardoned and returned to Scotland in 1778.  His sword, still preserved in the family castle at Cortachy, is inscribed with this legend:  'The man who feels no delight in a gallant steed, a bright sword, and a fair ladye, has not in his breast the heart of a soldier.'

   Those Jacobite rebels who were lucky enough to escape the carnage at Culloden were hounded by the Kirk.  Many common soldiers claimed that they had been forced into joining the insurgents.  Some said they had been paid by farmers to join up in their place.  The government's list of rebels from the districts of Brechin, Arbroath and Montrose came to 338 men.  When the Duke of Cumberland arrived in Montrose, in February 1746, he issued an order demanding that all rebels 'lurking in the Country' should deliver themselves to a magistrate or a minister, 'and submit entirely to His Majesties Mercy'.  He also threatened to have certain townsfolk whipped at the Cross because they ad allowed their children to light bonfires to celebrate the birthday of the Pretender.  Some bold Jacobite ladies on that occasion had donned white dresses adorned wit white roses and marched through the streets.

   The questions put to suspected rebels by the kirk sessions within the Presbytery of Forfar were as follows:

             1.  Was you in ye Rebellion by bearing arms in the service of the Pretender?
             2.  Do you contribue men or moe to ye rebels, and in what inducement?
             3.  Did you in your conversation or talking with your neighbours say anything to 
                  encourage ye Rebellion, or against His Majesty and ye great establishment?
             4.  Did you attend a non-juring meeting-house during ye time of ye Rebellion?

   Among the 72 Brechiners to be interrogated was one Peter Logie, a crippled tailor from Tigerton of Balnamoon, who fought at Preston, Falkirk and Culloden.  When he was asked about what position he had held in the Jacobite army he glanced at his club foot and replied, 'I had the honour to be his royal highness's dancing master.'  He was subsequently freed.
   Peter Logie's laird was mentioned in the lists compiled by the Montrose excise:

                   James Carnegy of Findourie, Brechin, acted as Lord Lieutenant Deput  of
                   the County of Angus, appointed Governors of towns and factors upon the
                   forfeited estates...[he] raised himself men and money out of these estates.

   Carnegie, better known from his official estate of Balnamoon (Bonnymun), collected the cess - or land tax - on behalf of the exiled Stuart 'king'.    Balnamoon arrived home from Culloden the day after Peter Logie.  The redcoats were extremely anxious to discover this important outlaw, so he went into hiding in the wilds of Glen Mark and Glen Esk.  His principal hiding place and refuge was Balnamoon's Cave, near the foot of Cannaud Hill. (Those searching for the cave can find it about a mile and a half beyond the Queen's Well, 75 feet above the river bank.)  Although the kirk elders of Lochlee parish smugly reported that their parishoners 'had behaved themselves very well during the unnatural rebellion', most people here were still sympathetic to the Jacobite cause and did not reveal Balnamoon's bolt hole.

   The glens filled up with government troops looking for the laird.  A large reward was offered for Carnegie's capture, but he was secretly welcomed at many upland farms.  One cold and miserable night he arrived at James Mill's home at Auchronie and was well settled by the hearth when a group of soldiers arrived.  While they were asking Mill if he had any knowledge of the fugitive, the man himself was too terrified to move.  Fortunately he was disguised as a hind (farm labourer), so he did not immediately attract the search party's attention.  The farmer declared that he had not caught sight of Balnamoon for a considerable time.  Then he gruffly ordered his 'servant' to go and attend to the cattle in the byre.  Balnamoon hurried out and ran the four miles back to his cave.  He was later betrayed by a Presbyterian minister and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  But his luck held good and he was freed because of a 'misnomer'.  He returned to Balnamoon and often entertained James Mill when the farmer ventured south.

   Many tales are told of Balnamoon's subsequent misadventures in peacetime, usually involving alcohol.  One he attended a dinner party where he had been given sherry brandy instead of his usual port and was quite far gone when he climbed into his coach to go home.  As the jig crossed Montreathmont Moor and the wind blew off his hat and wig.  Carnegie bellowed to his servant, Harry Walker, to retrieve his headgear.  After a search, back came Harry with both items.  The hat met with the laird's approval, but the laird did not recognise the other item.

   'It's no' my wig, Hairry, lad,' he told his exasperated servant.
   'Ye'd better tak it, sir,' Harry replied sourly, 'for there's nae waile [choice] o wigs on Monrummon Moor.'


   Wigs, incidentally, also feature in a story of the eccentric Jamie Sim, Laird of Finlathie.  During a drinking session a young laird threw his hairpiece in the hearth and cried, 'Wigs i' the fire for a guinea.'  The company heaped the fire with wigs.  Another drinker cast his coat into the flames and called, 'Coats in the fire for five guineas.'  Then Jamie coolly removed his dentures and shouted, 'Teeth i' the fire for thirty guineas.'  None of the others wore false teeth, so they had to pay up.

   Carnegie's alleged intemperance seems to have been the norm among men of his class at the time.  But there were exceptions.  Two gentlemen were invited to Balnamoon's house one Sunday.  One of them, a stranger, was impressed when his host conducted an eloquent religious service after lunch.  The other man, who knew Carnegie well, said nothing in response.  That night after dinner, Carnegie got both men hopelessly drunk.  The stranger gave a revised opinion the next day, admitting that he'd never been subjected to such a spate of drinking and of praying in his whole life.
   If Balnamoon was perhaps not quite the champion drinker of legend, neither was he illiterate, as some people claimed.  His position of Lieutenant-Deputy of Angus must surely have involved scrutinising some paperwork.  He also turned his hand occasionally to composing music; the popular ballad 'Low Down The Broom' has been ascribed to him.  James Carnegie of Balnamoon eventually died in 1791.
   The minister who betrayed Balnamoon was the Reverend Scott of Lochlee.  He also had his Episcopalian rival, Reverend David Rose, arrested and imprisoned in a ship lying off Montrose.  Among his other unpopular acts was inviting the redcoats into Gen Esk and banning the kilt there in 1748.  In 1749 he was riding towards a meeting of the Presbytery of Brechin when his horse stumbled and threw him as he passed the church of Rowan, an Episcopalian kirk he had caused to be destroyed.  Scott was killed by the fall, which many people saw as divine retribution.
    Legend has been also tarnished the reputation of a contemporary of Scott, John Row, who was the first Presbyterian of Lethnot and Navar.  On Christmas Eve, 1745, the minister allowed the body of a suicide to be buried in the kirkyard.  The locals said that this act would bring evil upon them, but Row leapt thrice over the grave to show how little he cared for superstition.  When he returned to his manse he saw a pair of malicious eyes staring at him in the darkness.  Then he saw it was a cat and, thinking it was Satan in disguise, he ran after it.  At the top of the stairs he flew over the bannister and broke his neck on the floor below.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Jacobite Characters - Part One

James VIII, the Old Pretender, was proclaimed as king by James Maule, 4 the Earl of Panmure, at the Market Cross of Brechin in 1715.  Panmure went on to lead the Jacobites of Angus through the unsuccessful military campaigns of that year.  Among the prominent men in is contingent was David Lindsay, Laird of Edzell, who sold his castle and estate to Panmure in order to finance a group of soldiers.  For a while he lived at Newgate, Arbroath. but after the uprising failed he visited Edzell one last, unhappy time.  The laird and a single retainer rode up to the house at night.  Once inside, they worked until dawn, burning every incriminating document they could find.  They rode off again at first light, laden with a few salvaged belongings.  Lindsay died in poverty forty years later, aged around eighty, working as an ostler in a public house in Kirkwall, Orkney.
   When Panmure's estates were seized by the avenging government, troops occupied Edzell Castle and did much damage.  Its destruction was completed after an English company bought the building in 1764.  Local people believed that the last laird had failed to remove his secret horde of treasure, which was rumoured to be hidden somewhere within the tumbledown walls.  A man from Arnhall who firmly believed  this tale set off to find the loot one Saturday evening.  High on the north side of the building he spotted an odd coloured stone and gave it a mighty blow with his mattock.  Half of the wall and the whole staircase in the turret collapsed, stranding the treasure seeker on a landing.  He was rescued by a farmer next morning.  Edzell's reputed concealed treasure has still not seen the light of day.

   Another noted Jacobite rebel of this period was James Carnegie, 5th Earl of Southesk.  A colonel in the Angus Horse, he was a famous plotter and folk-hero, the subject of the song 'The Piper o' Dundee', which recounts a secret rebel meeting in the town:

                                         There was Tullibardine and Burleigh,
                                         and Struan, Keith and Ogilvy,
                                         and brave Carnegie, wha but he,
                                         the Piper o' Dundee.

   Like so many others, Southesk fled to France and died there in 1730.

   John Lyon, 5th Earl of Strathmore, raised a battalion of foot for the Stuart cause and his bravery is remembered in another anti-Hanoverian ballad:

                                           Strathmore and Clanranald
                                           cried still 'Advance, Donald,'
                                           till both these heroes did fa, man.
                                           There was such hashing,
                                           and broadswords a clashing,
                                           brave Forfar got a claw,man;
                                           And we ran and they ran.

   Lyon was wounded and captured at the inconclusive Battle of Sheriffmuir in December 1715.  While his captors' backs were turned he managed to seize their colours, but he was slain by a dragoon.  When the Earl of Argyll saw Strathmore's richly attired corpse that night he asked a man bending over it, 'Wha's that man there?'  The dead man's companion answered soberly,'He was a man yesterday.'
   Another unfortunate local Jacobite who was out in the '15 was Lord James MacLartin.  A few days before he was captured by English soldiers he had been followed down the road by a phantom black dog.  He instantly recognised it as his family's personal omen:  sight of the dog foretold death on a dung hill.  Sure enough, after being hanged at Arbroath, his body was thrown onto a midden.

   By the time the Old Pretender landed at Peterhead in December 1715 he was too late to benefit his cause.  After being entertained by Panmure at Brechin, he moved on to Strathmore's home, Glamis Castle.  Here he administered his touch to some locals who hoped he could cure them of scrofula, the 'King's Evil'.  He also dismayed his supporters by showing a singularly sullen disposition.  The Pretender left his watch at the castle and it was lifted by a maid whose great-great-great-grand-daughter returned it to Glamis.
   King James proceeded to Dundee and was soon crowned at Scone.  But he was soon forced to flee back through Angus when Argyll's troops pursued him.  After much persuasion he finally agreed to return to France and boarded a frigate at Montrose in February 1716, never to return.

   Even before the fighting commenced in 1715 there was dissent and trouble in the county.  Many Jacobites were 'non-juring' Episcopalians who refused to swear allegiance to the Hanoverian monarchy in 1712, unlike more compliant 'qualified' Episcopalians who did pledge their loyalty.  The ministers of Lethnot and Monikie were fiery 'non-jurists'.  In other places Presbyterian clergymen, loyal to the state, were threatened and sometimes expelled.  Newtyle's minister was prevented from preaching by armed men who occupied his manse, obliging him to flee into hiding.  The same ting happened at Stracathro, while the Rev. Joseph Ballantyne of Monifieth was violently expelled on the same day as the Battle of Sheriffmuir.  An Episcopalian usurper occupied his kirk for several months.  The Rev. Anderson of Oathlaw was humiliated one Sunday when a mob of pro-Jacobite women 'pulled him out of the pulpit...and forced him to leave off worship'.  His attackers later had to perform public repentance in the kirk, dressed only in sheets.
   In the three decades between the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the county's loyalties continued to be divided.  On Thursday 9th May, 1728, Forfar was full of lairds attending the funeral of Carnegie of Lour's daughter.  Lour entertained Charles Lyon, 6th Earl of Strathmore, in a tavern, along with the earl's kinsman, Lyon of Brigton, and Lour's own brother, John Carnegie of Finavon Castle.  During dinner Brigton grossly insulted John Carnegie, who had gained local notoriety by switching loyalties from the Stuarts to the government after the '15.  It was openly said that he had been bought off by an enormous bribe.  His infamy had even inspired a satirical Jacobite song entitled 'He Winna Be Guidit By Me'.
    Following the meal, Lyon of Brigton drunkenly continued to taunt Carnegie outside in Castle Street.  When he was pushed into the gutter, Carneguie flew at his provoker with a drawn sword.  At the last minute Strathmore tried to avert the blow and was run through.  The earl died on the following Saturday.  Carnegie was tried for the earl's murder in Edinburgh but was acquitted.  Ironically, James Carnegie switched sides once again and fought for the Jacobites in the '45 uprising.  There is some confusion about Carnegies, with some people stating that Carnegie of Finavon was the figure mentioned in 'The Piper o' Dundee.'

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Brownie of Fern Den

Here's a story about the Brownie of Fern Den.  But, although the story is almost certainly true, it begs the question, shouldn't it be a ghost rather than a brownie?  Brownies were said to be a domestic spirit attached to one particular family or building, while this supernatural being is definitely more the outdoors type.  Anyway, enough nit-picking pedantry, here's the tale.

   There was a brownie who was reputed to frequently haunt Fern Den.  The poor creature may ave been confused with a ghost whose origins are recorded.  It seems that a wicked Laird of Brandy condemned one of his vassals to death and threw him in a dungeon.  When the prisoner died in his chains the laird had his body secretly buried near Balquharn.  But Brandy Den became haunted; doors and windows flew open and hideous screams reverberated around the house.  The laird became despondent and soon met with a strange death.  This appears to have prompted the ghost to become a reformed character, helping local farmers perform their daily work.

Fern Kirk

   A stone still to be seen in the burn beside Fern Kirk is still called The Ghaist's Stone, to which this poor spirit was once chained.  On one farm the ghost, or brownie, did the work of twenty-four men and even helped an unsuspecting midwife deliver the child of a farmer's wife.  A ballad written about the episode states that the supernatural being vanished forever after the baby was born, though an alternative tradition insists that when the boy grew up he encountered the ghost one night near Farmerton.  The spectre told the story of his life and confessed a long series of sins.  The man was less interested in the spirit's well being than in protecting himself with magic, addressing the being with the following chant:

                                      About himsel wi hazel staff,
                                      he mad ane roundlie score;
                                      and said,'My lad, in name of Gude,
                                      what doe you wander for?

   One version of the ballad concerning the brownie was published in the Vale of Strathmore, by  James Guthrie in 1875:
                                        There liv'd a farmer in the north
                                       (I canna tell you when),

                                       But just he had a famous farm

                                       Nae far frae Feme-den.
                                       I doubtna, sirs, ye a’ hae heard,
                                      Baith women folks an’ men,
                                     About a muckle, fearfu’ ghaist —
                                     The ghaist o’ Ferne-den!
                                     The muckle ghaist, the fearfu’ ghaist,
                                     The ghaist o’ Ferne-den;
                                     He wad hae wrought as muckle wark
                                     As four-au’-twenty men!

                                     Gin there was ony strae to thrash,

                                     Or ony byres to clean,

                                     He never thocht it muckle fash
                                     0′ workin’ late at e’en!
                                    Although the nicht was ne’er sae dark,
                                    He scuddit through the glen,
                                    An’ ran an errand in a crack —
                                    The ghaist o’ Ferne-den!

                                    Ane nicht the mistress o’the house

                                    Fell sick an’ like to dee,—

                                  “O! for a oanny wily wife!”
                                   Wi’ micht an’ main, cried she!
                                   The nicht was dark, an’ no a spark
                                   Wad venture through the glen,
                                   For fear that they micht meet the ghaist —
                                   The ghaist o’ Ferne-den!

                                   But ghaistie stood ahint the door,

                                   An’ hearin’ a’ the strife,

                                   He saw though they had men a score,
                                   They soon wad tyne the wife!
                                  Aff to the stable then he goes,
                                  An’ saddles the auld mare,
                                  An’ through the splash an’ slash he ran
                                  As fast as ony hare!

                                  He chappit at the Mammy’s door—

                                  Says he — “mak’ haste an’ rise;

                                  Put on your claise an’ come wi’ me,
                                  An’ take ye nae surprise!”
                                “Where am I gaun?” quo’ the wife,
                                “Nae far, but through the glen —
                                 Ye’re wantit to a farmer’s wife,

                                  No far frae Ferne-den!”
                                 He’s taen the Mammy by the hand

                                 An’ set her on the pad,

                                Got on afore her an’ set aff
                                As though they baith were mad!
                                They climb’d the braes—they lap the burns—
                                An’ through the glush did plash:
                                They never minded stock nor stane,
                                Nor ony kind o’ trash!

                               As they were near their journey’s end

                               An’ scudden through the glen:

                              “Oh!” says the Mammy to the ghaist,
                              “Are we come near the den!
                               For oh! I’m feared we meet the ghaist!”
                             “Tush, weesht, ye fool! “quo’ he;
                              “For waur than ye ha’e i’ your arms,
                               This nicht ye winna see!”

                               When they cam to the farmer’s door

                               He set the Mammy down:—

                              “I’ve left the house but ae half hour—
                               I am a clever loon!
                               But step ye in an’ mind the wife
                               An’ see that a’ gae richt,
                               An’ I will tak ye hame again
                              At twal’ o’ clock at nicht!”

                             “What maks yer feet sae braid?” quo’ she,

                             “What maks yer een sae sair?”

                              Said he, — “I’ve wander’d mony a road
                              Without a horse or mare!
                             But gin they speir, wha’ brought ye here,
                             ‘Cause they were scarce o’ men;
                             Just tell them that ye rade ahint
                             The ghaist o’ Ferne-den!”

   The brownie or ghost of Fern was just one of many other-worldly inhabitants of the parish, making Fern a contender for the most haunted parish in Angus (in contention with perhaps Carmyllie and Glamis):

                            There's the Brownie o Bal'quhan
                            an the Ghaist o Brandie Den,
                            but of a the places i the parish,
                            the Deil burns up the Vayne.