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Hail! Castle Guthrie's turrets high
LEAVING the princely mansion of Kinnaird, the first place of historic importance we reach, as we retrace our steps through the beautiful vale of Guthrie, is Guthrie Castle, the chief seat of the ancient family of that ilk.
The lands of Lour, situated in the barony and parish of Inverarity, were erected into a barony by Alexander III., and before the year 1464, they became the property of George first Earl of Rothes. On the 18th October of that year, the earl granted a charter of the barony of Lour, the lands of Muirtown, and half of the lands of Carrate, with the superiority of the barony, all in the shire of Forfar, in favour of Sir David Guthrie of Kincaldrum, Treasurer to James II. To much the same age as Redcastle, which was occupied down to about the close of the sixteenth century, probably belongs the tower or older portion of Guthrie Castle. Sir David Guthrie of Kincaldrum and Lour, acquired the barony of Guthrie from the Earl of Crawford, about the year 1465, and became the founder of the family of that ilk. The new dormitory of the Abbey Church, Arbroath, was erected about 1470, during the time of Abbot Guthrie.
The barony of Guthrie was probably Crown property when William the Lion granted the church and its patronage to the Abbey of Arbroath. Sir David Guthrie, when he
acquired the barony, purchased the church and patronage of Guthrie from the Abbey of Arbroath, and erected it into a Collegiate Church, with a provost and three canons, to which number his son added five. Sir David Guthrie was designed in the charters of King James III., in the public records, first, Captain of the King's Guard, afterwards Comptroller, then Register, and afterwards, Lord Treasurer, and last of all, Lord Justice General of Scotland. He was the son of
Alexander Guthrie, laird of Kincaldrum, and brother to Abbot Richard of Arbroath, and appears to have been the most illustrious of his family. His grandson James was the parent of James Guthrie, the famous martyr who was executed at the Grassmarket of Edinburgh in 1651.
The celebrated William Guthrie, minister of Fenwick, author of the "Christian's Great Interest," was a son of the laird of Pitforthy, a collateral branch of the Guthrie family. He was born at Pitforthy in 1620, and died October 10, 1655. His ashes repose in the south aisle of the Cathedral of Brechin. William Guthrie, the historian of a later date, was a member of the same family.
In the charter by Sir John Erskine of Dun to Walter of Ogilvy, of the lands of Carcarry, 18th March 1400, occurs the name of John de Guthry. In the year 1506 the Abbot and Convent of Arbroath, granted to Thomas, Lord of Innermeith and Baron of Inverkeilor, by an indenture made between them, the free use of that haven for fishing purposes during his lifetime. To this document, Alexander Guthrie of that ilk, subscribes his name and designation as a witness. In the same year Sir Alexander Guthrie of that ilk, adhibits his name to the retour of the service of James, Lord Ogilvy, as heir of his father, Lord Ogilvy, in the lands and mill of the Kirkton of Kynnell. Andrew Guthrie of that ilk, subscribes his name to the retour of the service of James, Lord Ogilvy of Airlie, as heir to James, Lord Ogilvy, his uncle, in the lands of Brekko and Ballischan, 31st August 1558.
"Deidlie feuds" continued to rage for generations between
the Gardynes and their neighbour and rival, Guthrie of that ilk. In 1578, Patrick Gardyne of that ilk, fell by the hand of William Guthrie. Ten years afterwards, doubtless out of revenge for the death of their chief, the Gardynes attacked and killed the head of the family of Guthrie; and according to the charge preferred against them, the deed was committed "beside the place of Innerpeffer, vponne sett purpois provisioune, auld feid and foirthocht fellony." These disastrous feuds became so serious, that the king was called upon to interpose his authority between them; and not long thereafter, the estates of both families were reduced and broken up, those of Guthrie passing into the hands of Bishop Guthrie of Moray, who was descended from John Guthrie of Hilltown, fourth son of Sir Alexander Guthrie.
Guthrie anciently spelt Guthery, Guthre, and Guthryhas been a name of distinction in Scotland as far back as the records of the country extend. It is believed that the family of Guthrie is the most ancient of the County of Angus. It is matter of undoubted fact, that they were men of rank and property long before the time of James II. of Scotland, and that many of the house were distinguished by their talents, enterprise and valour. Sir Alexander Guthrie, with one of his sons and three brothers-in-law, fell at Flodden Field. is true Sir David Guthrie of Kincaldrum acquired the lands of Guthrie in 1465, but the family, as will afterwards appear, were men of eminence and distinction centuries before that era. The Kincaldrum, or more properly the Brigton Guthries, where the ancestors of the writer have resided for centuries, are the most ancient of the clan, all the other direct or collateral branches having originally sprung from this the most ancient stock of which we have any record.
Guthrie Castle, the principal residence of the chief of the family of that name is of great antiquity. Sir David Guthrie, already mentioned, obtained warrant under the great seal to build the present Castle in 1468, but the old Castle was in existence centuries before that period. It is still in good preservation
and must formerly, when surrounded by water, have been a place of considerable strength. The fact has already been alluded to, that, in 1299, when Sir William Wallace had resigned the guardianship of Scotland and retired to France, the Northern lairds of Scotland sent Squire Guthrie to request his return, in order to assist in opposing the English.
The Castle of Guthrie to which the present laird has added a spire and other castellated embellishments viewed from the south, with the gently undulating hill of Guthrie as a fitting back-ground to the pleasant picture, has a very grand and imposing appearance. Although the antique towers are only seen at a distance, uprearing their lofty pinnacles above the umbrageous woods, the effect produced on the mind is pleasing and classical in the extreme. The castellated gateway is one of the most magnificent in the country. It is a fine gothic structure composed of a graceful arch, flanked with towers and bearing a fine sculpture of the family arms. Guthrie Junction is now one of the most important stations on the great line of railway from London to Aberdeen. In the southern division of the parish, is a Roman Camp, situate about five miles southeast from Forfar. It is one of the most entire of any of the Roman temporary camps that have been discovered. Its length is about 2280 feet by 1080, close to the south-east angle is an enclosure, situated on the highest ground, whence all the rest of the camp is seen. Its gate is covered with a straight traverse, like that of the camp. This camp, on the Polybian system, would hold, it is supposed, 10,000 men.
The church and manse are very pleasantly situated, being on the verge of a declivity, sloping down into the valley through which the Lunan flows peacefully on its course to the sea. The Guthrie arms surmount the gateway of the churchyard, with the initials and date-"G: B. G: 1637." There are some curious mottos on the graveyard stones, not the least curious being the following over the burying ground of a family named Spence :
"Beside this stone lyes many Spences,
And where they lived, if that ye speir,
In Guthrie's ground four hundred year."
Under the head "Brigton," I have given the legend of Sir David Guthrie and Ladye Douglas, and alluded to the fine memorial window erected in the Episcopal church of Forfar by the present esteemed laird of Guthrie, in memory of his father and mother, Joannis Gvthrie de Gvthrie, and Annæ Douglas de Brigton.
Dr Jamieson gives Guthrie as a Pictish name, and shews its affinity to some Icelandic and Danish names. This derivation of the name is borne out by other authorities, who aver that the Guthries are descended from Guthrum, a royal prince of Denmark, who came to, and settled in Scotland in the earliest era of her history. The oldest spelling of the name is "Guthryn," and the Gaelic Gath-erran, means "a dart-shaped division," being singularly expressive of the form of the parish.
Francis Guthrie of Gaigie married his cousin, Berthia Guthrie, only child of Bishop Guthrie. This Francis Guthrie being a grandson of Alexander Guthrie of Guthrie, thus, as the direct lineal descendant of the Guthries of Guthrie, reinstated the direct line of the family in their ancient possessions. The provincial couplet still applies to the properties alluded to:
"Guthrie of Guthrie,
And Guthrie of Gaigie,
And Guthrie of Craigie."
The Guthries are connected by marriage with some of the noblest families in the county, including those of Panmure, Southesk, Strathmore, and Airlie.
GUTHRIE ARMS-Quarterly: 1st and 4th or, a lion, rampant, gu.. armed and langued, az. ; 2d and 3d az., a garb, or.
CREST-A dexter arm, issuing, holding a drawn sword, ppr.
SUPPORTERS -Two knights, armed at all points, with batons in their dexter hands, and the vizors of their helmets up, all ppr. MOTTO (Above the Crest)-Sto Pro Veritate.