« PoprzedniaDalej »
Neither Campsey, with an carriage man to bring hame the fishe frae the samyn; with sufficient wax to St Hannand's lyght and chapel And also, that the said place should at all times be patent and ready to him and his successors, brethren, and familie, as often as should happen him, or any of them to come therto, furnisht with four feddir beddis, and four other beddis, convenient for servandes, with all the sundry necessaries pertaining to said awcht beddis; and also upholding said place of Campsey in sclates, and biggin; and attour, finding burd claithis, towalis, pottes, pannys, plates, dishes, and other necessaries convenient for his hall, kitchen, panntre, bakehouse, brewhouse, and celler, as effeirs to his honesty and familie alenarlie, with elden of sawn wood and browme." Old Stat. Acct. of Scot.)
The extent of the Abbey buildings must have been great, and its external appearance imposingly grand, as were all the monasteries of Scotland in the heyday of the Papal jurisdiction. Fanciful plans of the edifice were constructed by a working mason some hundred and twenty years after,—when according to Spottiswoode, the abbey was "nothing but rubbish." The only fragment of the building now remaining stands at the south-west corner of the churchyard, a venerable and much-prized relic, as this ivy-covered archway, some old stone coffins, imperfect pieces of pillars, and a few mutilated patches of ornamental masonry in the Early English and decorated styles of architecture, are all that remain of the once famous and magnificent Abbey of Cupar. It is understood to have been one of the first monastic houses destroyed in Scotland. But painfully complete as was its destruction by the infuriated biggots of the fanatical John Knox, under whose ill-timed orders they acted; the good citizens of Cupar ruthlessly demolished what remained, including an arch of singular beauty, and other valuable relics-" for the purpose," as Dr Stevenson informs us, "of furnishing stones for building the present church!" Worse than this, it was literally turned into a quarry; from which unhallowed hands sacrilegiously
carried off the precious remains wherewith to build, forsooth! the ungainly houses and garden walls of the burghers! Many ancient carved stones may yet be seen built into dykes and ruinous walls throughout the town, very sad and deeply instructive memorials of the past. A finely cut shield also, bearing the royal lion of Scotland in excellent preservation, forms part of a common wall opposite the parish church, on the west side of the turnpike road leading to Dundee.
When last in Cupar, an old residenter of the town related to me the following tradition. An underground communication formerly existed between the solitary remaining arch of the ancient Abbey, already alluded to, and the neighbouring south-western Sidlaws. It was discovered by some workmen who were employed in the construction of a very deep drain, somewhere between the extreme points of the subterraneous roadway. One of the workmen more courageous than the rest, volunteered to explore the tunnel to the north, which he found to terminate immediately beneath the old crumbling archway; from which exploration he returned skaithless to his anxious and wonder-stricken comrades. Emboldened by his first successful attempt to unravel the mystery, he had the hardihood to attempt a solution of the remaining part of the mystical passage; and for this purpose to the great regret and consternation of his fellows, he fearlessly entered the dark unknown pathway leading to the south. All that day and night, and many succeeding days and nights they, as well as others, patiently watched and waited for his return. He never returned! Whether killed outright by the noxious vapours of the vault, or spirited away by the Evil One, as a punishment for his temerity, tradition averreth not. After a long time of weary watching, the entrance to the dreaded tunnel was, with fear and trembling, closed for ever, and the poor forlorn voyageur left mournfully to his fate!
"Can we love Nature over-much? In youth,
Upon her rich vermillion lips, aglow,
And then I'd wander 'mong the leafy groves,
WE shall now leave the shadow of the grand old Abbey of Cupar, and proceed to the quiet sequestered village of Kettins in its immediate vicinity. Part of this parish is situated in Forfarshire, and part in Perthshire, its whole extent stretering along the southern part of the valley of Strathmore, at the base of the Sidlaw hills. The situation and surroundings of the village are extremely beautiful. Standing on the bridge, beneath which the placid streamlet runs gently on in its winding course to the Isla, the scene presented to the eye on a cloudless summer evening-the pretty little cottages with their flower and kitchen gardens; the tree-embossomed villa of Newhall on our left, the old-fashioned church and manse on our right; the finely wooded surroundings of Haliburton House in the distance; with the sweet begowaned village green between-could scarcely be surpassed for rich luxuriant beauty
With only one word of alteration, to Kettins, the fine line of Goldsmith might be aptly applied—
"Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain !"
Passing some flower-embowered cottages to the south, we enter the beautiful avenue which leads to Haliburton House. The seat of the ancient and historic family of Halyburton, a family intimately associated with the Scottish Reformation, is a fine old structure, embosomed among ancient woods, and is in every way worthy of its present much respected and very popular occupant. In some respects, it may be matter of regret, that at the death of its present owner, Admiral, Lord J. F. G. Halyburton, the estate passes away to the Marquis of Huntly, the next heir of entail.
The great grandfather of a highly esteemed friend of the writer, held the stirrup to "Great Pitcur," when mounting for the battle of Killiecrankie, and it was considered a bad omen that his horse's back broke when about half a mile from his own door, from the extreme weight of his armour. This omen was sadly verified by his falling, with his famous leader, in the battle. He, and his friend Claverhouse, were buried in the little churchyard of Blair, a short distance from the spot where they fell. The old church of Blair-Athole is now in ruins, but their burial places are still prominently to be seen -instructive memorials of that terrible conflict, when—
"Horse and man went down like driftwood,
When the floods are black at Yule;
And their carcasses are whirling
In the Gary's deepest pool.
"Horse and man went down before us,
On the field of Killecrankie,
When the stubborn fight was done."
Two miles to the south of the village, are the ruins of the Castle of Pictur, which gave title to the family. Still further to the south, on the summit of the hill, stood in ancient times
the Castle of Dores, one of the many fabulous residences of Macbeth.
The outlines of a Roman camp can still be traced at CampMuir. A very ancient upright stone, some six or seven feet in height, said to have been erected by the Danes, is to be seen at Baldowrie, about two miles to the south-east of the village. The sculptured figures on this monument are very much defaced, so that nothing with certainty can be learned of its history.
In the churchyard, beside the burying place of the Murrays of Lintrose, stands another upright stone about the same size, and similar in shape to those at Meigle and Glamis, but not in such a good state of preservation, the sculpture being almost entirely obliterated. The carving seems to have originally been of a very elaborate character. With the exception, however, of the figure of some animal on the right of the stone, the other figures are not recognisable to the extent of forming any just opinion of the original symbolic signs referring to its history and purpose of erection. The indifference and positive sacrilege of the burghers of Cupar, alluded to in the preceding chapter, seem to have extended their baneful influence to the quiet, unobtrusive villagers of Kettins, for, until very lately, this sacred relic of the past lay ingloriously in the bed of the placid rivulet, a degraded stepping-stone to either side of the village green, and irreverently trod upon by every clownish, unhallowed foot in the parish!
Some very handsome modern monuments adorn the quiet, secluded burying-place of Kettins, which is now religiously kept in the best order, standing out in this respect, in favourable contrast with most of the churchyards in our country parishes, where nothing is apparently so lovingly cultivated as docks and nettles and other noxious weeds! There are besides, some finely ornamented ancient stones, the monograms being as sharp in outline as when chiselled at first by the sculptor. Two flat stones at the entrance to the manse