Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Auld Dubrach, Jacobite Soldier and Survivor?

Never trust the stories of an old soldier.  Well, that maxim certainly applies to the modern world which seems to be full of fake veterans who are exposed as fantasists who never served in the armed forces.   But what about centuries ago when people were more honest (and no one locked their doors)?

Step forward Auld DubrachPeter Grant, known sometimes as Dubrach after the Aberdeenshire farm he once tenanted, died in 1824, just four years after he was ‘rediscovered’ as an ancient Jacobite relic and survivor of the Battle of Culloden at his daughter’s house in Glen Lethnot in Angus.  His tombstone in the churchyard of Invercauld near the castleton of Braemar gives a brief summary of his remarkable life:

† Erected to the memory of Peter Grant, sometime farmer in Dubrach, who died at Auchendryne the 11th of Feb., 1824, aged 110 years. His wife Mary Cumming, died at West-side, parish of Lethnot, in Forfarshire, on the 4th Feby., 1811, aged 65 years, and lies in the churchyard of Lethnot.

   Grant, the alleged last combatant Jacobite, lies not far from the farm of Dubrach (An Dubh-bhruach) in Deeside (where he was born), in the graveyard at Braemar.  His biography runs as follows.  Apprenticed as a weaver and tailor, Grant took up arms with the rebels in the ’45 uprising (serving in Monaltrie's and Balmoral regiment) and was made a sergeant following his outstanding bravery at the Battle of Prestonpans.  After the disaster of Culloden, where he is said to have killed a dozen men, he was captured by Hanoverian forces and imprisoned at Carlisle Castle, but he somehow managed to escape by scaling the castle’s walls and he walked all the way back to Deeside.  There he enjoyed a quiet life, once again employed as a tailor, and in 1763 married Mary (or Marion) Cumming(s). He is said to have made the cap in which Mary was christened, and indeed even attended the actual christening. They had six children:  sons John, Peter, and William, and daughter Jean, Annie, plus one other whose name has been lost.

   Later Peter Grant tenanted the farm of Dubrach, reputedly the highest farm in Scotland, until the lease was about to run out.  Then he moved with his wife and son John to the steading of Westside, in Lethnot parish, Angus, where his wife died.  Little is known about his initial years in Angus, but while there he was pleased to greet the new minister, Rev Alex Symers, whose wife Clementine was a Carnegie of Panbride and related to Dubrach’s old army commander.

   Fame came to the old campaigner in 1820, at the ripe age of 106.  Two gentlemen named Smart, who were Montrose corn merchants,  were rambling through Glen Lethnot in hunting season when they stumbled across this astonishing looking survivor at his cottage door.  Dubrach invited them into his cottage and regaled them with tales about his Jacobite past, sung the rebel song ‘Wha Widnae fecht for Charlie’,  and swung about his broadsword in an impressive manner.  According to the account of Andrew Jervise (in Land of the Lindsays):

Interested in the patriarch, one of the gentlemen (Mr George Smart, now in Montrose), waited on the parish minister, and suggested that something might be done for the comfort of Grant, were his history laid before the King.  The suggestion was cordially received, and a petition, containing an epitome of his history, was immediately drawn up and signed by Grant himself, as ‘His Majesty’s oldest enemy,’...and being presented to George IV., he was graciously pleased to command that a pension of a guinea a week should immediately be given to old Grant during the remainder of his life, remarking... 'that there was no time to lost in the matter.'  But, as was to be expected, the gift did not in the least abate his Jacobite ardour...

  The two men were staying with their sister at Drumcairn farm and William Smart of Cairnbank (near Brechin) interceded with William Maule (1771–1852), who later became Lord Panmure.  One version of events states that Maule presented the king with the petition when he visited Edinburgh in 1822.  Part of the supplication reads:

Educated a Roman Catholic, and in all the prejudices of the times, he drew his sword on behalf of another family, and fought with all the energy of a Highlander; but time and experience have corrected his views. Under the mild administration of your royal predecessors, he has seen the nation flourish, and its glory upheld by their wise, able, and vigorous measures. With equal zeal, then, would he gladly draw the sword in defence of that monarch, who now tills the throne, and who he trusts in God, for the good and happiness of his people, will continue to do so for many years to come! But, alas! my royal sire, though the soul of the aged Highlander is still ardent, the frost of age has chilled his vigour. He who in former times had experienced all the luxury of a comfortable independence, is now, in the evening of his age, reduced to poverty and want; for he has not even strength left to travel in search of his daily bread: and to aggravate his distress, to one affectionate daughter, Ann, the only solace of her aged and surviving parent, your petitioner can only bequeath poverty and rags. May it, therefore, please your majesty to take your petitioner’s case into your royal consideration, and to grant such relief as his circumstances may seem to merit; and your petitioner shall ever pray. 
   An alternative story has the unlikely scenario of the ancient man making it to Edinburgh himself in August 1822 and encountering the head of the House of Hanover face to face.  According to this, the king made a friendly gesture by exclaiming, ‘Ah, Grant, you are my oldest friend.’ And Dubrach is reported to have replied,  ‘Na, na, your majesty, I’m your auldest enemy.’  The delighted king awarded him a pension of 52 guineas.

  William Maule commissioned the Brechin born artist Colvin Smith (1795–1875), R. S. A., to paint a portrait of Peter Grant, which is now in the National portrait Gallery of Scotland.  It shows an old man to be sure, but someone who looks a lot younger than a hundred  plus years old. Two articles in the periodical Caledonia (collected in 1895)  give details of Auld Dubrach.  The first is by an old lady, above ninety, who remembered Grant at the time he was having his portrait painted in the studio in Pearce Street, Brechin, sixty-eight years previously.  The sitter was residing at the time in Airlie Street in the town, in a house belonging to a joiner named John Chalmers.  She often met Peter Grant and enjoyed having a crack with him.  She also visited the ‘neat’ cottage in Lethnot which he shared with Ann, though she coukld not remember whether Anne was Dubrach’s sister or wife.  (Anne, to be fair, must have been over sixty at the time.)  This article mentions only two children from the marriage of Mary Cumming and Peter Grant, Peter and Anne, plus then detail that the family only moved back to Dubrach some time after the marriage.

   The first article in Caledonia has Maule trying to dress up the old veteran in respectable garb, though the old curmudgeon refused and wore his old fighting apparel before the astonished and frightened king in Edinburgh.  In almost pantomime fashion the Hanoverian king asked Dubrach, ‘Are you now sorry that you were so very foolish and disloyal in your young days as to enter the service of the Pretender?’

   King or no king, it was the wrong thing to say.  Dubrach’s eyes flashed with fire.  His chest heaved with emotion.

   ‘Be ma faith, sir,’ he exclaimed, ‘I wad fecht for him yet:  and yell ne’er be a man like bonnie Prince Charlie.’

   It is almost a pity that such an encounter did not in fact happen.

   The second account in Caledonia is also the more credible.  It mentions the fact that William Maule was presented to King George IV in Edinburgh on 20th August 1822, and there is no mention in the comprehensive records of the king’s visit that the astonishing Dubrach put in an appearance.  Furthermore, the writer states that Auld Dubrach was not a giant of a man as described in other accounts, but rather small, though still striking in appearance.  Another valid point made in this second account is the supposed fact that Dubrach still had his ‘genuine’ Highland garb seventy-odd years after Culloden.  Even more remarkably, how did this blatantly attired rebel escape capture dressed like that all the way back to Aberdeenshire from Carlisle after his cunning escape?  While there is not enough evidence to convince that Auld Dubrach was a Jacobite fake, some elements of the story he wove about himself seem open to question.

   Another jarring fact about Dubrach is that he was surprisingly well travelled in his very last years, at a great age, even though he might not have made it to Edinburgh.  Lord Archibald Campbell, in researching his Records of Argyll in 1883, asked John Campbell what he knew about Auld Dubrach.  John had encountered the old man in the Glendaruel district in 1822 and had published a piece in the Oban Times about this.  His own father was under-gardener at Dounans in 1822, and Peter Grant, son of Auld Dubrach was head-gardener,  Shortly after receiving his pension, the old man visited Peter for some weeks in Argyll and would spend several hours each day in the Campbell household.  John Cambell describes him:
He was about six feet in height, stout and well formed, with small feet but large hands, a fine open brow and dark piercing eyes, and long hair, which hung in curls...and was as white as the snow on his native mountains.  The dress he had on him...was the same as that he wore at Culloden...I well remember that he exhibited an air of independence; his spirit would not brook opposition of any kind, and his whole bearing was majestic and heroic-like.
   For the servants of the local houses, Dubrach happily sang and acted out his experiences at Culloden.  Interestingly, his performance may have been inspired or at least enhanced by two books he carried with him.  One was a full account of Prince Charlie’s time in Scotland; the second was a volume of Jacobite rebel ballads.  Several letters from John Campbell to Lord Archibald concentrate on the detail and correctness of the old gentleman’s Highland dress.  He also states that Dubrach received a warm welcome at Dounans because the Fletcher family who owned the house were also Roman Catholics and Jacobite sympathisers. The veteran reacted with explosive rage when a piper played the tune, ‘The Campbells are Coming’, because it reminded him that so many of that clan fought on behalf of the Hanoverians.

   After Dubrach moved back north from Angus  to his native region and the steading of Dubrach now farmed by his son, his daughter Anne Smith lived on in Lethnot.  Jervise states that she had to rely on the charity of her neighbours, but she later had her father’s pension continued to her.  Lord Panmure later built a house for her near the bridge of Lethnot (Bridgend Cottage).  But fame and money turned her head and she became, to herself at least, Lady Anne.  She reluctantly accepted the company of her fellow parishoners, remarking ‘There’s nae body but the minister’s folk near me worth mindin’, an’ although it be sair against my wull, i doubt I’ll hae to mak them a kind o’ cronies.’   She died in 1840 and was buried alongside her mother in the kirkyard of Lethnot.

   When Dubrach himself died on 11th February 1824, his funeral was attended by upwards of three hundred people, who consumed over four gallons of whisky.  Three pipers played the Jacobite tune 'Wha Wadna Fecht For Charlie'. A stone near his grave is inscribed; ‘The old, loyal Jacobite was at peace. He had kept faith with those whom he thought were his rightful Monarchs all of his life, a hero and man of honour to the last.’ 

Dubrach's grave.

   Dubrach’s son William Grant for a time tenanted the farm his father had occupied and was therefore also known as Dubrach.  He appears rather briefly in literature, in his old age, when he was encountered by the father of the author of Oor Ain Folk, walking unsteadily towards him and two friends at Ballater Fair:  ‘He was, under certain circumstances, rather a quarrelsome man, and sometime brought no little trouble on his friends by his boastful vauntings and vapourings.’ The three men feared Dubrach would lead them into drinking, then a challenge of strength or combat that would inevitably lead to a fight.  So they decided to teach him a lesson by clasping his hand in as strong a handshake as each could muster when he drunkenly accosted them.  Up he staggered, ‘with his unkempt hair flaunting in tawny  locks over his broad shoulders’.  The three men each gripped his hands so mercilessly that his face was contorted in pain by the last greeting and he left them in peace.

   But even here, with the son, the Dubrach legend is confused and contrary.  The anonymous writer of the first account in Caledonia magazine states that the youngest boy,William, was the son who most resembled his father, although he ‘possessed neither his father’s piercing eye, nor his force of character, being a quiet,canny man’.  Perhaps time and circumstances altered William Grant of Dubrach considerably.

   Whatever truth there was in the legend of Auld Dubrach, he was well remembered in his own district of Deeside.  Folklorists Calum Maclean and Dr John MacInnes a local man, John Lamont, in 1959 and he recounted details of the hero as if he was a current day character.


Caledonia, A Monthly Magazine of Literature, Antiquity, and Tradition, Mostly Northern, ed. Alexander Lowson, Aberdeen,1895, pp. 55-76.

Land of the Lindsays, Andrew Jervise, Edinburgh, 1853, 109-10.

Oor Ain Folk, James Inglis, Edinburgh, 1894, 75-77.

Records of Argyll, Lord Archibald Campbell, Edinburgh & London, 1885, 456-462.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Forgotten Sons of Angus: The Strange Avenues of Hector Boece

The intellectual reputation of Hector Boece (1465–1536) has been in low esteem for a long, long time.  Within a century of his death his major work, Historia Gentis Scotorum (History of the Scottish People), was heavily criticised for its inaccuracy and invention.  More on that later.

A Family of Many Names

   The historian’s kin had longstanding links with the parish and barony of Panbride (anciently Balabride).  An ancestor, Hugh de Boath, is supposed to have been granted these lands (though marriage with the heiress)  by the crown following his bravery at the Battle of Dupplin in 1332. King David II appointed a council at Perth to reward those loyal men who had served him at Dupplin and the Battle of Hallidonhill. This barony grant, prompted by military courage, may in fact be a Boece family myth as the barony was in the hands of the Meaden family for much of the 15th century.  The first record of a member of the family here is in a charter from the Earl of Huntly in 1492, which mentions Alexander Boyes as a part proprietor of Panbride.  The family of Boece were still landowners of some part of the parony in the middle of the 16th century, though the records are confusing.  Local historian Alexander Warden states that someone called Ramsay married the Boece heiress in 1495, though this is likely only to relate to a portion of the family’s lands (Angus or Forfarshire, vol. 5, 71).

   Hugh de Boath’s grandson was the historian and the family history is complicated by the variety of spellings which the surname had, including Boath, Boiss, Boyis, Boece, Boyce.  He may have Latinised his name as Boethius as a nod to Roman writer similarly called who was executed in 524 AD.  Yet another variation was Boys, which someone in the family may have conjured up because of a similarity to the French work bois, wood.  There is record of a certain Alexander Boys of Panbride, whose seal is appended to a charter of the noble Panmure family in 1505. Like the pretensions of other native families, the supposed French origin may be a conceit.

Education in Dundee, Aberdeen and Paris, Work in Aberdeen

   Hector was, by his own admission, born in the burgh of Dundee:  ‘the toun quhair we wer born’, reputedly in a place in the Overgate beside the Long Wynd (known in the 15th century as Seres Wynd).  He also received his earliest education in the burgh where his father Alexander Boyis was a burgess of the town.  Afterwards Boece styled himself Deidonanus as a reference to his origins.  His education continued at Aberdeen, then he went abroad to study philosophy at Paris, becoming Bachelor of Divinity.  Also there, in 1497, he became a professor of philosophy at the College of Montacute (Montaigu).  A measure of his esteem among his contemporaries is that he gained the friendship of Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), the most brilliant continental scholar of his time.  In 1509, or earlier, Boece accepted the invitation of Bishop Alexander Elphinstone to return to Scotland and become the Principal of King’s College, Aberdeen.   As a new foundation, the financial rewards of the office were limited (forty merks a year), but his income was bolstered by income from a canonry at Aberdeen and of the vicarage of Tullynessle.  In 1527 he was granted a pension of £50 by the Sheriff of Aberdeen, which was later increased.  The following year he became a Doctor of Divinity and was voted a most likely welcome gift by the magistrates of Aberdeen:  a tun of wine when the new wines should come into port, or, should he choose, the sum of £20 to purchase bonnets.  One of Boece’s closest associates at Aberdeen was his fellow Angus native and former schoolfriend, William Hay, who had also studied with Boece at Paris. Hector’s own brother Arthur was also employed at the fledgling university.  (Arthur Boece had been Chancellor of the Cathedral of Brechin and became Chair of Canon Law at King’s College, and in 1535 he became a judge of the Court of Session.)
   At Aberdeen Boece gave lectures on medicine and on divinity.  Towards the latter part of 1534 he was appointed Rector of Tyrie, and he died in Aberdeen two years after that. He was buried before the high altar at King's College, beside the tomb of his patron Bishop Elphinstone.


Major Literary Works and Reputation

   Following Elphinston’s death in 1514, Boece started his first major work, published in Paris in 1822.  It was a history of the bishops of Murthlac and Aberdeen, written in honour of his patron, and entitled Vitae Episcoporum Murthlacensium et Aberdonensium. Although the accounts of the earlier bishops are deemed unhistorical, the work is valued as a source for the life and works of Elphinstone.   His second work, also written in Latin and published in Paris, was the Scotorum Historiae a prima gentis origine cum aliarum et rerum et gentium illustratione non vulgari (Scotorum Historiae), a seventeen book work which first appeared in 1526, giving the story of Scotland until the year 1438.  (The second edition, published in Paris in 1574, contained a continuance of the work - to the end of the reign of King James III - by the Italian scholar Giovanni Ferrerius.  The Scots translation by John Bellenden appeared in 1536.).  Precursors and influences of Boece in writing the history of his country include John Mair or Major, a tutor of the Sorbonne, and principal of the college of St Salvadore at St Andrews, whose history of Greater Britain, in six books, was published at Paris in the year 1521. The Chronica Gentis Scotorum of John of Fordun and Walter Bower’s version called  the Scotichronicon were further examples, as was the Chronykil of Scotland by Andrew Wyntoun prior of Lochleven,  in the early 15th century.

   In the immediate decades after the publication of his history, Boece had a considerable influence over other historians.  Polydore Vergil utilised Boece for his 1534 Historia Anglica. David Chalmers of Ormond in his Histoire abbregĂ©e (1572), and Ralph Holinshed heavily relied on him, as did the Scot George Buchanan  in his Rerum Scoticarum Historia (1582).  But early critics of Boece soon came to the fore, including the historians Humphrey Lhuyd and John Twyne, while the Scotsman Thomas Innes virtually demolished his historical credibility in the 18th century.  Lord Hailes reckoned that the Scots were reformed from popery, but not from Boece, and John Pinkerton also despised the blatant inventions of incidents and speeches which abound in Boece’s book.  But to dismiss the History out of hand is to misunderstand his intention, which was to follow the path of the Latin master Livy and construct a great patriotic national epic.  Such a reminder of the glorious story of Scotland was much needed in the wake of the shattering event of Flodden.  Some- but by no means all – of the criticism levelled at Boece came from Englishmen who scoffed at the supposed glories of the Scottish past.
   A more telling castigation comes from the great modern Scottish historian A A M Duncan, who divines Boece's motives for composing both his major literary works: the Lives of the Bishops of Aberdeen he calls 'the first insurance policy taken out for his own advancement'; the History is called a book  written 'to bring himself to the notice of the king and the archbishop of St Andrews and to benefit from their patronage'. ('Hector Boece and the Medieval Tradition,' in Scots Antiquaries and Historians, 1-11, Abertay Society, Dundee, 1972.)

Angus in the History.  Iona and Restenneth

   A major historian might be expected to have some insight, or at least access to local traditions about his native area.  But unfortunately Boece’s mentions of Angus are hardly more credible than any other part of his early history.  Boece relates, for instance, that the town of Forfar had a castle at the time of the arrival of the Roman general Agricola in the first century AD.  Similarly, his account of the (fictitious) Pictish king Caranach fighting the invaders and barricading himself in his castle at Dundee seems more than dubious.  Further shadowy Scottish and Pictish luminaries such as Galdus, Alpin and also assorted Danes, romp across the hills and plains in Boece’s imagination and pages.  By the time of the Wars of independence his work settles down into semi-believability, but by then the damage is done.

   Hector Boece might be forgiven for his well-intentioned inventions, but there is a more serious question about whether he deliberately misled his readers and claimed sources which did not exist. The historian claimed to have secured certain lost histories from the island of Iona, passed to him by the Earl of Argyll and his brother, John Campbell of Lundy.  Among these fabled texts was a Latin history of Scotland composed by the Spaniard Veremund(us), archdeacon of St Andrews in the 11th century.  No trace of this history exists and its author is not mentioned by John of Fordun, who might be expected to have used such a source for his own history if it had been available.   Should Boece have invented this history of Veremundus it would put him in the company of Geoffrey of Monmouth who claimed as a source for his historical work a certain old book written in the ancient British tongue, which almost certainly did not exist.  Weighed against the accusation is the statement of the esteemed Erasmus who stated that his friend Boece ‘knew not what it was to tell a lie’.

     Linked with the claims of a false source are Boece’s strange tales about the lost library of the monks of Iona.  On the prompting of Bishop Elphinstone the books from Iona, together with the history of Veremund, were brought via the Campbell sources to Aberdeen in 1525.  Some of the ancient written treasures unfortunately crumbled away to nothing.  Another intriguing tradition links these documents, or some other books rescued from the holy island, with the ancient priory of Restenneth in Angus.  It is plausible that Restenneth was originally founded in the 8th century, though actual records of the place do not mention it until centuries later.  Boece uses the locality in his work as the scene of a great battle between Picts and Scots, in which the Pictish overlord Ferideth was slain.  In his preface to the history of the bishops of Aberdeen, Boece weaves the story that the Scottish king Fergus II was present as an ally or mercenary in the army of Alaric the Goth at the sack of Rome in 409 AD.  While other barbarians busied themselves looting as much gold and portable artefacts that they could carry, Fergus carted away a library of ancient books which he took back with him and deposited in Iona.  Centuries later, for the sake of convenience and access, King Alexander I transported this whole library to Restenneth.  King Edward I of England is rumoured to have maliciously torched this priceless collection at the end of the 13th century.

   Belief in the lost or hidden literary treasures was allegedly famous far and wide, so that when the papal legate Aeneus Sylvius (who later became Pope Pius II) visited Scotland in the 15th century he aimed to journey to Iona to find the lost books of Livy which he heard were deposited in the library there.  The search for these lost literary treasures was resumed by Boece and he was at least partially successful, according to himself; and though it seems unlikely, the tale may contain some element of truth.  The lure of the lost books was still so tantalising that there was a faint hope during the 1950s, during excavation of the Treshnish Islands, that a horde of manuscripts, hidden by monks in the Viking age, might be rediscovered.  But alas, no such treasure was found.  Would a similar archaeological dig be justified at Restenneth, I wonder?

Heckenbois Path

  We are on firmer ground (pardon the pun) when we consider a more tangible, though still mysterious trace of the historian  which still exists faintly in the Angus landscape, as reported by the Old Statistical Account for the parish of Arbirlot in the late 18th century:
It is confidentially reported, that a road was made through part of this parish, by Hector Boethius, the Scotch historian, which still bears his name, though somewhat corrupted. It is called Heckenbois-path.

    Hector Boece is said to have constructed the road soon after his return from Europe to Scotland, when he inherited the barony of Panbride.  His intention was to link the coastal parish with the maim arterial road running between Dundee and Aberdeen.  Traces of the ancient route were evident in the 19th century to the north of Panbride, on the Moor of Arbirlot (some state it was most obvious on the moor between the farms of Fallaws and Kellyfield) , and it was known as Heckenbois or Heckenboys Path, apparently a corruption of its maker’s name.  On the north side of the same moor is the farm called Hunter’s Path, which was formerly Hector’s Path.  As pointed out to surveyors of the Ordnance Survey in the Victorian age, the sourthern end of the path in Arbirlot parish was distinct and measured twelve links wide, though in some parts arable farming had obliterated it.  Locals pronounced it Eck-en-bow.

   According to David G. Adams in The Ha'ens o' Panbride (1990), the route of the path likely continued past Guynd (and Hunter's Path farm), north of Panbride, northwards via Redford and Cononsyth, meeting the King's Great Road near Milldens.

   One tradition states that Boece worked in conjunction with – or at least gained the consent of – the barons of Carmyllie and Panmure to create his highway.  Such construction had an obvious economic benefit and the tradition may reflect a laudable, prosaic truth.  But the motif of scholars leaving superhuman, sometimes supernatural marks on the landscape is an older one still and reflects a time when scholars were thought of as bona fide magicians.  The path may have existed in some rudimentary form at an earlier period as there are records of routes in this area in the charters of Arbroath Abbey.

Woodcut from Boece's History

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Whit? Kirriemuir’s ‘Ball’ (With Knobs On)

Consider this original chorus from an old  and coarse bothy ballad, and excuse me for being coy:

Wi’ a fa’ll dae it this time,

Faill dae it noo?

The yin that did it last time
Canna dae it noo.

This truly is a monstrous subject.  Put it a different way:  the topic of this post has achieved  life of its own, like no other, in the hundred and thirty odd years since its inception by an anonymous hand.  Its fame is world wide, yet it is only known in certain circles.  If we were to say that it is the prime example of the popular Scots ballad from the 19th century we would be vastly underestimating its uncouth and rampant appeal.

What?  Nae Dancing?

   What are we talking about?  ‘The Ball o’Kirriemuir’.  For those not in the know  this ballad charts the surreal  orgy which encompassed a substantial section of the town’s population in the late Victorian era, details in ribald and bare-cheeked detail.  No one version is the same as the next and it has grown – mutated perhaps – in the years since.  It is a living, throbbing organism, and it is reckoned that some mutated versions stretch to an astounding 200 verses (the original being perhaps 20 odd verses).  In a non-adult-orientated blog it is almost entirely unpublishable (though I will give some samples below), and it is even claimed to be based on true events.

   The popularity and scope of the ballad is astonishing.  When Winston Churchill visited the victorious Highland Division in Tripoli after their victories in Tobruk during  World War Two, the troops greeted him with a refrain that he did not recognise at first.  As soon as he recognised the obscene refrain however his expression changed from a puzzled frown to a broad grin.  It was perhaps the war which disseminated ‘The Ball o’ Kirriemuir’ to a wider audience than just bawdy Scots.  An officer in that conflict, later to be an MP and minister, could boast that he knew a version of the epic in Latin, guaranteed to slip beneath the radar of censorious prudes.  His name?  Denis Healey.  Even in ‘mainstream’ performing arts the names of some of those who gave us versions of the Ball are surprising:  who would have suspected the upright national icon Kenneth McKellar of leaving his semi-secret rendition to posterity?  (You may readily find it on YouTube these days.)  Another unlikely singer to grace us with it was the late, lamented American singer songwriter Jim Croce.

   In recent times the song has become popular with rugby clubs the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and beyond.  But its influence even extends into the arena of the high brow.  The great American poet T. S. Eliot entered into the arena in 1996 when some of his unpublished bawdy verses came to light.  (Or rather, some critics entered the arena, Eliot being long dead.)  It was argued by some that the poet had adapted some lines in his ‘Fragment’ from either ‘The Ball o’Kirriemuir’ or else the equally ribald ‘The Jolly Tinker’.

   What is the truth of the ballad?  Several works have aimed at finding a genuine event at the root of the song, insisting there really was a barn dance which ended up in a veritable orgy.  The most widespread version of this ‘founded in fact legend’ runs as follows:  prior to the dance some wily character had sprinkled rose hip seeds on the open floor, designing to target the women present who wore ‘free trade’ open crotch drawers.  The resultant intimate itching, combined with the aphrodisiac qualities of spanish fly deposited in the punch bowl resulted in an orgy of epic proportions.  To cap it all - so to speak - some canny body put turds in the lamps to effect a useful blackout when things got out of hand.

Oh, the ball,
The ball o' Kirriemuir,
Where folk o' high and low degree
Were screwin' on the floor.

Singin' "Wha'll dae ye, lassie,
Wha'll dae ye noo?
The mon wha did ye last nicht
Cannae dae ye noo."
'Twas on the first of August
The party, it began.
Noo, ne'er shall I forget, me lads,
The gatherin' o' the clans.
 'Twas the gatherin' o' the clans, mon,
And everyone was there
A-playin' wi' the lassies
An' twinin' curly hair
*   * *
The chimney sweep was also there,
But soon he got the boot,
For every time he farted,
He filled the room with soot.
* * *
Four and twenty virgins
Came doon frae Inverness,
And when the ball was over
There were four and twenty less.
* * *
And when the ball was over,
The opinion was expressed:
The music was exquisite but
The screwin' was the best.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Angus Calendar: Fairs and Markets, Part One

Violence at the Fair, and Fairs and Markets of Dundee.

   It is easy to imagine that the pre-industrial past was unchanging, but in fact patterns of life did evolve, albeit at a slower pace than in modern times.  Some markets reflected the changing economy by altering the range of goods sold.  So, in the mid Victorian era, there were two major annual fairs held in Arbroath, at which ‘ready-made shoes and sweetmeats’ were the major things peddled.  The Rev. Doig also noted another, less welcome social trend.  In the evenings, on these fair days, he reported that ‘the public houses are crowded with the idle and intemperate’.  There was always probably an element of rowdiness at fairs and markets, not always reported.  

   In earlier times weekend fairs were common, with King Robert I for instance  granting a charter to Alexander Seyton, authorizing a market to be held on Sunday in Seatown.  But by 1504 an Act had been passed to ensure that no gatherings were held on holidays, plus at no times in kirks or their vicinities.  After the Reformation  fairs and markets held on Saturdays were frowned upon because of the added risk that revellers could profane the Sabbath if they prolonged their jollity.  But markets were occasionally held on Sundays also, such as the one which took place at the North Water Bridge, in the parish of Pert.  The records for the Presbytery of Brechin under the sate 12th October 1643 state that ‘the Sabbath was profaned by ane market holden at the North Water Brig’.  This authority appointed the local minister, the Rev Mongomerie, ‘to take notice off those that frequents that market, and acquaint ther ministers therewith, that they may be punished as Sabbath breakers’.

   At Dunnichen’s Saturday market in 1832 the unruly jollity spilled over into the following Sabbath.  A man was killed and the guilty party pled guilty to culpable homicide and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.  This fair had been a great one in former times, but had diminished to the point where very little business was conducted and ‘only a few idle people assemble at it for amusement’.  In the 18th century, St Causnan’s Fair at Dunnichen had the distinction of being a toy fair, rather than an agricultural one.

   Another homicide occurred at Stobs Fair, a mile and a half north of Dundee, in 1830 (a fair which had been instituted in the early 18th century).  The fair thereafter moved from Stobs Muir to a site near Strathmartine Road (now Fairmuir Park, Dundee.  Stob’s fair had earlier supplanted a market held at Market gait in Dundee.)  Long before this fair came under the control of Dundee, it had a reputation for outlawry.  In 1824 there was another killing when a young mason named John Allan was killed by a mob or gang.  The masons had been employed at work in Duntrune and had come to the Stob’s Fair to collect their wages from their employer, Mr Scott.  When some of the men tried to gain entrance to the Toll House to have a drink, not only were they refused entry but they were immediately attacked by a gang of fourteen men from inside.  The year before this, twelve constables had been dispatched by Dundee to quell the unruly mob.  Before this date the burgh officials employed street porters to regulate the annual event, but on one occasion an unfortunate porter had his skull sliced with a sword.

  Violence also broke out in 1814 and was witnessed by the English  poet Thomas Hood (1799-1845), who was visiting the town and relatives in the Carse of Gowrie.  Hood’s poetic ‘Guide to Dundee’ was never finished, but one fragment describes the following depiction of the riotous Stob’s Fair:

Some large markets for cattle, or fairs, are held here,
On a moor near the town, about thrice in a year.
So I went to the last, found it full, to my thinking,
Of whisky and porter, or smoking and drinking.
But to picture the scene there presented, indeed
The bold pencil and touches of Hogarth would need.
Here you’d perhaps see a man upon quarrelling bent,
In short serpentine curves wheeling out of a tent,
(For at least so they call blankets raised upon poles,
Well enlightened and aired by numerous holes),
Or some hobbling old wife, just as drunk as a sow,
Having spent all the money she got for her cow.
Perhaps some yet unsold, when the market has ceased,
You may then see a novelty, beast leading beast!

   Further back, on 21st July 1809, there was an ‘unofficial’ battle at the Stob’s Fair between a band or artillery soldiers and a recruiting party from the 25th Regiment of Foot. Such parties often targeted gatherings such as fairs and markets, hoping to find new recruits. Fighting broke out when a drum head belonging to the latter was broken. Bayonets, swords and stones were used in the fighting. One young man was assaulted with a stone and died the next day. In 1803 it was noted that ‘The fair concluded a usual with much noise; many black eyes and bloody noses. The mob from Dundee has from time immemorial claimed a proscription right of riot and outrage towards the close of this market.’

In medieval times the major fair or market of Dundee had been perhaps held in honour of the mariner St Clement, but the first known and organised fair was actually named after the saint who displaced Clement, the Virgin Mary. This fair was held on the Assumption Day of Marymas, the 15th of August. An additional fair was instituted by the Scrymgeours, Constables of Dundee and held on 8th September, Old Style, the nativity of the Virgin, and called the Latter Fair.

Saints and Patrons

   There were more than several fairs held in honour of saints in old Angus, such as ‘Truel Fair at the Kirk of Kinnethmont and at the Kirktown of Monifieth’.  This was mentioned in 1706.  But tracing the history of these gatherings would be a lengthy and convoluted business as the records are scattered through multiple sources and the fairs and markets themselves were instituted by local burghs, landowners, or evolved through other means.  A market named after a saint has no legitimacy in being any more ancient than another named after a place, per se.  But plenty of saint’s day markets persisted after the Reformation.  An example is the Laurence Fair, held at the Kirktown of Lundie in the Sidlaws, north-west of Dundee.

   One  fair which was named after the patron of a parish was Simmalogue’s Fair (also written as Symaloag’s Fair).  St Moluag (feast date 25th June) was honoured at Ruthven, where the fair named after him was held until the end of the 18th century.  The fair was then transferred over the country border to Alyth in Perthshire and Alyth paid the kirk of Ruthven some land which was added to the glebe in compensation for the loss of dues.  

Changing Times, Movable Feasts:  Glasterlaw and Cullow

   Not only did the dates and functions of fairs and markets evolve in tune with changing times, so did their locations, sometimes even moving to different parishes. Sometimes also the dues for some fairs were paid to other places.  The New Statistical Account for Strathmartine tells us that there were two extant fairs in the parish in the mid 19th century (26th August and 15th September); the dues of one fair was due to the burgh of Dundee.
 Up till the middle of the 19th century the two fairs in the parish of Dun were held (on the Tuesday before the first Wednesday in May, Old Style, and on the third Wednesday in June) on Dun’s Muir.  Then they were moved a mile north to some waste ground in the parish of Logie Pert.

   The four yearly markets at Glasterlaw (or Glesterlaw) were held at a fairly unpopulated site on the estate of Bolshan.  It was originally held in the 18th century at Glester, in the parish of Carmyllie, and was moved to its later site on an ‘excambion of lands’ between the proprietors of Panmure and Southesk.  One section of the lands exchanged was Meikle Carcary .  The new site of the fair was on Montreathmont Muir, afterwards called Glaster Law.  The Eastern Forfarshire Agricultural Association held their Lammas meeting at the Glesterlaw, for the showing of hoses, cattle, and other beasts, plus the display of ‘improved or newly invented implements of husbandry’. 

   A description of the heyday of this festival is contained in Glimpses of Men and Manners About the Muirside by D H Edwards (1920):

Glasterlaw market was a great gathering in former days. Horses, cattle and sheep covered the stance on the lee side of the fringe of whins and broom around the mysterious "Law", with flag staff on summit. Tents drove a brisk trade, but the principal attractions for the young folks were the cartloads of young pigs, squealing and poking their noses into each others ribs, or into the nets that covered the cart.   The cooper from Brechin had what seemed to be the result of a years labour before him - tubs, and waterstoops; cheese presses and "chessarts", milk basins of all kinds; cogs, horn spoons, stoups, and prints for butter, ("nicket" and plain); clothes, bettles and pins; bickers, luggies, corn and potato measures and brose caps; egg cups and creepie stools, and other wooden wares for domestic and farm use.   The cooper’s wife was head saleswoman. The custom of "priggin' doon" was universal, and a higher price was always asked than was expected to be given. Glib was her tongue and "gleg" was her eye as she hooked a customer, or let her go, knowing that she was sure to come back.   During the forenoon a large crowd hangs around the sale ring. but all are not likely purchasers, for many have come out of curiosity, some for amusement, and still others because there is a temporary public house on the stance. The latter class are fairly numerous, for by the time the market is over not a few are inclined to have "an evening of it", and when at last the shelt is yoked for the homeward journey, or the bicycles mounted in wobbly fashion they seem to require more than their fair share of the road in their attempts to ride straight.   However, in some respects, the tent from Brechin, with a plentiful supply of "eatables" and "drinkables", in addition to a hearty warm dinner, serves a useful purpose. Here, accounts are squared ower a dram for the terms of sale are cash down to the clerk in attendance. Here also, the crofters settle their yearly bills with the seed and manure merchants, the iron-mongers for tools, impliments, etc.  And, Piper Maclaren, from his encampment in Montreathmont Muir - in tartan trousers made out of an old kilt - who has been present during the greater part of the day, is now skirlin' somewhat intermittently and incoherently.

   Another market not held in a population centre was the bi-annual sheep market at Cullow Farm in Cortachy.  The October market was established first and was one of the best attended markets of its kind in the north and east of Scotland, with between 8 and 12,000 sheep sold there in the mid Victorian era.  People came far and wide to attend Cullow, as evidenced by a gravestone in Glenesk kirkyard, commemorating David and Archibald Whyte of Glenbervie.  The brothers accidentally died in 1820 in a dangerous ravine in Glen Mark, taking their flock to Cullow market.
   Other fairs in the north of Angus included St Colm’s Fair, or the market of Muirsketh, also held at one time at Cortachy.  The antiquity of this market is unknown, though there is a record dated 28th July1681 the Earl of Airlie obtained a license to hold two fairs yearly at Alyth and Cortachy, plus a ‘ a weekly market to be kept at the kirkton of Cortachy each Thursday weekly, with power to the said earl, and his foresaids, or such as they shall appoint, to exact and uplift the tolls and customs of the said fairs and market, with all other duties, liberties, privileges and immunities pertaining to or accustomed in any other fairs or markets.’

   While there was a long established statutory fair at the Kirktown of Glenisla, in the year of 1581 and for long afterwards the nearest yearly market was held at the ‘brig end of Luntrethin’ on the 11th November. This gathering attracted not only denizens of Glenisla, but those from ‘Badzenochis, Bray of Angus, Mar, Straspey, and vtheris parties thairabout’ (according to the Acts of Parliament).

   The old market in Glenesk was held on the Market Muir in the glen and was described by James Inglis in Oor Ain Folk (1909): these fairs great flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, droves of swine, and long strings of horses, might have been seen converging from all points, in charge of their respective drovers and attendants, for several days before the actual date of the fair.  At stated periods too, uncouth hordes of farm labourers found their way to the ‘feeing market,’ as they called it, to negotiate with a fresh master or mistress, for the hire of their services for the ensuing term.
   Hardy, hulking bothy hands, with heavy hob-nailed boots, corduroy trousers, rough woollen coats, and not unfrequently a rather flash calfskin waistcoat, would perambulate the fair in noisy gangs, or, ranging themselves in line against the long black northern wall of the inn, wait there for the farmers to enter into negotiations with them.  The clamour of confused sounds was perfectly bewildering.  The plaintive bleating of sheep in the crowded pens...prolonged bovine bellow from some frightened or angry herd of Highland horned cattle...the shrill note of the neighing horses, the grunting of discontented pigs, and the shouts or oaths of eager buyers or anxious attendants.  The shrill exclamations of excited spectators, of the cries of keen pedlars vaunting their wares, mingled in sharp staccato notes with the all-pervading hum of a vast assemblage of busy, agitated, human beings, culminating in a medley of sound such as could be equalled nowhere else in the world but at a ‘term market’ of the olden time.

   Inglis commented further on the necessity of these markets to isolated communities, especially in the pre-railway days, but he noted (from his point of view as a son of the manse) that the markets had outlived their usefulness and

degenerated into an orgie pure and simple, where unbridled passions held full sway, and where many a sad evidence of the depravity of human nature was manifested in its naked ugliness.  No doubt it was picturesque to see the lines of snowy tents rising in the early morning on the dewy grass...The columns of steam from the bright burnished tin or brass cauldrons, in which [food was prepared]... The ‘sweetie stands’ too, and toy booths, looked very pretty in the morning...By the afternoon the ugly, repulsive features came more into prominence...The all-pervading odour of stale tobacco and the dead fumes of sodden whisky seemed to hand about the booths like a subtle opiate.  Sounds of quarrelling and drunken revellings, fierce oaths and maudlin cries, penetrated the thick atmosphere, mingling with the depressing din of the weary beasts that all around made plaintive protest against the inhumanity that had kept them foodless and waterless all the long, dusty day.
   Women with flushed faces and dishevelled finery waited anxiously about, wondering when their husbands, brothers, sweethearts, or neighbours would think it time to leave ‘the market’...

   The Rev Inglis, the author’s father, tried to counter the debauchery by preaching at the various booths and organising more anodyne amusements such as picnics in the vicinity, but in time the markets generally died natural deaths instead of succumbing to the efforts of social reformers. 

Forfar’s Fairs and Markets

   Forfar’s fairs and markets evolved considerably over the years.  An Act of Parliament in 1593 gave the burgh the grant of changing its weekly market from ‘Sondaie to Fridaie, with the like priviledges and freedomes’ as previously, then the weekly market was shifted to Friday.  Fairs held in Forfar included St Valentine’s, All Saints’, plus St Peter’s (which may have originated in association with the nearby ancient Priory of Restenneth, which was dedicated to St Peter).  St James’ Fair was named after the patron of the old church of Forfar.  In olden times this fair lasted a whole ten days, from the 20th to the 30th of July, and there must have been a recognised fear of rowdiness during that period as the town magistrates authorised ‘to arme with halberds twenty foure men duering the time of the faire, for keeping the peace, and collecting the customes thereof.’ 

   Privileges, rights and custom duties at fairs and markets could also cause agitation among the authorities who were in charge, or thought they were in charge, of these events.  In 1671, William Gray of Invereighty, Hereditarary Constable of Forfar, got on the wrong side of the magistrates and burgesses of the town by proclaiming the market and riding through the streets.  He also gathered four score of men who attacked the town’s officials ‘by fyreing of pistols, beating of them with drawen swords, and tradeing their bailies under foot’.  The matter was so serious it was brought to the attention of the Privy Council.

  The town also acquired Rescobie’s fair, which was dedicated to St Triduana or St Trodlin (reputed to have resided there once) was formerly held near the manse.  Its site was marked  near the east door of Rescobie kirk by a stone near the kirk-stile within a triangular piece of ground where the superior of the fair, Lord Strathmore, or his deputy, held their baronial court on fair days.  The fair was moved to Forfar, probably in the 18th century, after Lord Strathmore became Constable of Forfar.  Further Forfar fairs were dedicated to St Margaret and St Ethernan (also called Tuetheren).  Although the association with all of these saints with Forfar was undoubtedly ancient, the associated fairs and markets were not always necessarily so old.

   The size of larger burghs attracted more trade, and more business meant more centralised fairs and markets. The Rev. Robert Lunan of Kinnettles reported, possibly with a touch of envy, that seven or eight markets were held in nearby Forfar each year.  Besides that, a cattle market called the crafts was held every Wednesday from Martinmas to the middle of April, plus a weekly Saturday market for butter, cheese, eggs, and poultry.

   As a postscript to Forfar’s fairs we can have a look at the ballad of ‘Forfar Fair, or Tam an’ Meg’, as sold at Dundee’s ‘Poet’s Box’ in the late 19th century:

When I was a prentice in Forfar,
I was a braw lad an' a stout;
My master was auld Tailor Orquher,
That lived at the fit o' the Spout.
His wife's name was gleyed Gizzie Miller:
And 0 ! she was haughty an' vain,
For the bodies had plenty o' siller ;
Forbye a bit house o' their ain.
Nae affspring had they but ae dother,
A blinkin' bit bodie was she ;
An' just 'cause she had a wee tocher,
The jade she thought naething o' me.
She ca'd me a poor shachlin' tailor,
That couldna do naething but sew ;
My conscience ! she said I wad fyle her,
Gin I but just preed her bit mou'.
I gat tea ilka mornin' for porritch,
An' O ! but I liket it fine ;
Wi' skelps o' saut-ham just for forage,
To mak it lie sad i' my wime.
Auld Gizzie I tried aye to gain 'er,
By snodly heel-capin' her hose;
Sae gat ilka day to my dinner,
A caupfu' o' cabbage-kail brose.
Five years I was bund by indenture,
For fear that I sud rin awa;
An' durstna as muckle as venture,
To speak to the lasses ava.
Fell hard indeed was my condition,
My master at wark keept me sair:
But I bought him twa unce o' black sneesnim
An' syne I gat leave to the fair.
Fast, fast thro' the green then I yarkit,
An' past the wind-mill I did fly;
Syne when I gat into the market,
"A feg for indenture," said I ;
"For I'se hae a bouse wi' the lasses,
The auld cock may say what he will ;
I'll try for to meet Meg as she passes,
That lives wi' John Robb o' the mill.
Syne just i' the glowr o' the gloamin,
As I sauntert in to the town
I keppit Meg down the Spout comin',
Poor thing she was lookin' sair down ;
But I filled her pouch fu' o' sweeties,
An' back to an ale-house we cam' ;
I thougnt 'twad be ten thousand pities
To let her hame wantin' a dram.
There tailors an' weavers sat cockin ;
Wi' masons an' souters an' a';
Sic laughin', sic snuffin', an' smokin',
Some cried to 'bring in the braw lassie,
But ithers for fechtin' were keen,
An' rapped on the table till glasses
An' bickers were dancin their lane.
The wife brought her kebbuck aye handy,
Wi' brown scouthert bannocks enew;
Sae we drank at punch an' French brandy.
Till Meg an' me bath were near fou.
I whistled an' sang like a lintie,
But Maggie began to think shame,
An' said O ! dear Tam, now we've plenty,
I'm fleyed that we tyne the gate hame.
Syne north thro' the town we baith stoitot,
But devil a stym could I see,
The brandy had made me sae doitet,
An' Meg was nae better than me.
We stummelt an' belged upon ither,
Till Meggy she tint her braw mucht ;
Ae stane took our feet baith thegither,
An' ower we played skelp in a ditch.
Sair, sair did my Maggy misca' me.
When she raise an shook her new gown,
An' said sure nae gued could befa' me,
But Maggy gat hame to her mither,
An' I to my needle again ;
But faith I was aye in a swither,
For fare the auld tailor sud ken.
He thoucht I wid merry his dother,
I kent that was aye his intent ;
An' gin I had made but ae offer,
Auld Gizzie wid gi'en her consent.
But my ain lass I winna beguile her,
For I'll marry sweet Maggy Jack,
As sun's I'm a braw master tailor,
An' syne we'll get waens in a crack.

The Fairs and Markets of Brechin

Brechin’s Trinity or Taranty Muir market was held four times a year, a mile outside of town, with the gathering in June being the best attended.  In the streets of the burgh, at Whitsunday and Martinmas, there were markets for the hiring of servants, plus the sale of goods.  Cattle and horse markets occurred during the winter and spring on Tuesdays (the weekly market day).  The Trinity markets were regulated by the magistrates in Brechin, with the spring market being established by an act of council in 180.  But there was a long pedigree in organised trade in the burgh.  Until 1466 weekly markets were held on Sunday, when they were altered to Monday. In 1640 the day was changed to Wednesday.  Around 1647  it was altered again to Tuesday.

   The market at Lammas Muir was established by Act of Parliament in 1695 and continued originally for eight whole days. Trinity fair was for a long time held in the town before moving outside and in the 19th century still lasted three days, trading sheep, cattle, and horses. At the market the town magistrates went there in procession, preceded by a guard of two free members from each of the incorporated trades of the burgh. These were armed with halberts of various devices, and had precedence in the procession according to the dates of their respective incorporations. But the marching of the guard, became obsolete some time in the age of Victoria.

Winter Cattle Markets

     Letham sustained a market throughout the year, once a fortnight on a Thursday.
 Brechin’s winter cattle markets were held every Tuesday, from the first Tuesday after Michaelmas tryst until Trinity Muir Tryst.  A horse market was held the same day, from the last Tuesday of February until the first Tuesday of April.  At Carnoustie the cattle market was held on the third Monday of every month, from Martinmas to Whitsunday.  Coupar’s cattle market was every alternate Thursday from the first Thursday of November until the last Thursday of May.  Dundee’s winter cattle market day was also Monday, every week from November until May.   The equivalent market in Kirriemuir ran from the last Friday in December, once a month, through to the last Friday in April.  Leysmill’s monthly cattle market ran from the first Monday of October until first Monday in May.

Corn Markets

   Weekly corn markets in Angus were held on Saturday (Arbroath), Wednesday (Brechin), Tuesday (Coupar), Tuesday and Thursday (Dundee),  Wednesday and Saturday (Forfar), Wednesday and Saturday (Kirriemuir), Wednesday (Montrose).


31st:  Arbroath (At one time held on last Saturday. The feast day of St Vigean or Fechin was 20th January.)

Second Thursday:  Colliston Mill (near Arbroath)
Last Wednesday:  St Valentine’s, Forfar
Tuesday before third Thursday:  Petterden

Last Wednesday (Old Style):  Chapelton Lady Market (near Kinblethmont)
Third Thursday:  Coupar Angus
Second Wednesday (Old Style):  Dunnichen (One source states it was the third Wednesday of March, old style).
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Glenisla (Mainly a horse fair.)

Second Tuesday: Brechin (At one time the Trinity Tryst cattle market was held on the third Wednesday.)
First Thursday before Easter:  Coupar Angus
Last Tuesday:  Carmyllie (Other sources state 1st Tuesday.)
Last Friday:  Cullow (Sheep market.)
Second Wednesday:  Forfar (Pasch cattle market.)
First Wednesday:  Glamis (Cattle.)
Last Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (near Friockheim.  Cattle market.)
Last Wednesday:  Kirriemuir (Some sources state first Friday after Good Friday.)
First Friday after Good Friday:  Letham (Some sources state first Thursday.)


Third Tuesday (Old Style):  Coupar Angus (At one time, first Thursday after 26th.)
First Thursday:  Drumscairn (near Arbroath)
Day before Forfar:  Dun’s Muir (Cattle market.)
First Monday:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Forfar (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday and Wednesday after the 26thGlamis
First Wednesday after Glamis:  Kirriemuir
First Tuesday (Old Style):  Montrose
Second Tuesday:  Petterden

Third Wednesday:  St Ninian’s Fair, Arbroath (Some time before the late 18th century it was held on the first Wednesday after Trinity Sunday.  The birth-date of St John the Baptist was 24th June, and Sir James Balfour Paul notes a market in Arbroath at this date in 1599. )
Second Wednesday (sheep); second Thursday (cattle); second Friday (horses):  Trinity Market, Brechin
Third Thursday:  Dun’s Muir (Cattle market.)
26th:  Forfar (At one time it was the day after the second Wednesday.)
Last Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday after Glamis (?):  Kirriemuir (Cattle market.)
26th:  Lundie
Third Thursday:  Letham
Second Tuesday after the 11th:  Monifieth

18thArbroath (The feast of St Thomas Beckett, to whom the abbey was dedicated, was 7th July.)
Friday after Aikey Fair in the Mearns:  Brechin (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Coupar Angus (At one time third Wednesday.  Cattle  market.)
Second Tuesday:  Stob’s Fair, Dundee (At one time the Cattle Market here was held on the Tuesday after the 11th.)
Friday after Aikey Fair:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle. The feast of the locally honoured saint, St Laurence, was 10th July.)
First Tuesday and Wednesday:  St Peter’s, Forfar
Day before Stob’s Fair:  Glamis (Cattle market.)
24th, or Wednesday after:  Kirriemuir (Cattle market, sheep day before.)
Saturday before the third Wednesday:  Reedie (Cattle market.)
First Wednesday after 12th:  Brechin (Lammas market for cattle, at one point held on the second Thursday.)
15thDundee (A cattle market was also once held on the 26th, though not if this date was a Saturday or a Monday.)
First Wednesday after 26th‘Auld Eagil’s Market’, Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)

First Tuesday:  Forfar (At one time St James’ market for sheep was on the first Tuesday; cattle first Wednesday; horses first Thursday.)
Second Wednesday:  Glasterlaw (Some sources state third Wednesday.)
First Wednesday (Old Style):  Glenisla (Mainly sheep and cattle.)
First Tuesday (Old Style):  Lundie
The day after Glasterlaw:  Letham
Tuesday before Dundee:  Petterden
26th:  Strathmartine

16th:  ? Arbroath (Balfour-Paul notes the feast of St Ninian, commemorated here in 1599.)
Tuesday before last Wednesday:  Brechin (Cattle market.)
19thDundee (Cattle market, not held on a Saturday or a Monday.)
Last Wednesday: St Triduana’s, Forfar (Cattle market.)
29th:  ? Kinkell (Balfour Paul notes the feast day of St Michael the Archangel was on this date.)
26th:  Strathmartine

First Tuesday:  Coupar Angus (Cattle market.)
Monday before Kirriemuir (or fourth Monday):  Cullow (Sheep market.)
Last Thursday:  Drumscairn
22nd:  Dundee
Friday before Kirriemuir:  Edzell (Sheep and cattle.)
29thForfar (St Margaret’s, once held for cattle on second Wednesday.)
12th or Wednesday after:  Glasterlaw (Cattle market.)
19th, or Wednesday after:  Kirriemuir (Cattle and horses, once held on the 18th or the first Wednesday after.)
Second Tuesday after 11thMonifieth (Feast day of St Rule or Regulus was 21st October.)
Third Tuesday:  Petterden
8th October:  ? Rescobie

Second Tuesday (Old Style):  Arbirlot (At one time second Wednesday.)
First Tuesday after 21stBrechin
First Thursday after 21st:  Coupar Angus
23rd:  Dundee (St Clement, Recorded 1491.)
First Wednesday: St Ethernan’s,  Forfar
First Wednesday after 22ndGlamis (Feast day of St Fergus was 18th November.)
14th November:  Milton of Glenesk (St Devenick.)
Second Tuesday after Martinmas (Old Style):  Kirriemuir (At one time first Wednesday after Glamis.)
First Thursday:  Letham
The day after Glamis:  Monikie

First Wednesday after the 11th (Old Style):  Chapelton Lady Market
Second: ? Forfar (St Ethernan.)

   Not all on list of course concurrent and the list may not be comprehensive.  Sources for dates:  Dundee Delineated (1822),  The Dundee Directory for 1818, New Statistical Account, Arbroath, Dun, Dunnichen, Edzell, Glenisla, Kinnell, Kinnettles, Rescobie, Strathmartine, Old Statistical Account, Forfar, St Vigeans, ‘The Incidence of Saints’ Names in Relation to Scottish Fairs,’ Sir James Balfour Paul.