« PoprzedniaDalej »
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,
Living foe there tarried none,
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 symbolie 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
exhibit some fine specimens of the symbolic signs in vogue a century ago-Death-heads, sand-glasses, cross bones, &c., the one of date 1770, and the other with the motto-Pulvis et
In my late cursory ramble through this favourite "restingplace," the oldest date on the grave-stones I could recognise, was 1722; and the oldest recorded sleeper below, that of Louis Pedrana, who died 29th April 1844, at the great age of ninety-one years. There must doubtless, however, be older memorials than those of the last century, in this very ancient churchyard, did the crumbling moss-covered stones allow of their being minutely deciphered.
On the finely-wooded estate of Lintrose, formerly called Todderance, and once a seat of a lateral branch of the Halyburton family, situate about a mile south-west of the village, there was lately discovered a cave about fifty feet long, with built sides, paved floor, and two fireplaces. Various conjectures were hazarded as to the origin and uses of this singularly primitive dwelling-place; some supposing it to have been a winter retreat of the ancient Caledonians; and others, a hiding-place of the persecuted Covenanters.
Lintrose is interesting in another respect, inasmuch as it is indirectly connected with one of Burns' finest songs:
"Blithe, blithe and merry was she," &c.
The heroine of this song was Miss Euphemia Murray of Lintrose, distinguished by her sprightliness and beauty, as the "Flower of Strathmore." The poet met her in June 1787, while on a visit to the seat of her uncle, Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre. Beauty and affability combined in woman, had always a great charm for Burns, and this lovely and fascinating creature being then in her eighteenth year, seems to have captivated him exceedingly, and hence this favourite effusion of his muse. Miss Murray subsequently became the wife of Mr Smythe of Methven, one of the judges of the Court of Session.
In connection with the religious order of the Red or
Trinity Friars, Sir James Lindsay of Crawford, according to Jervise, granted, about the year 1390, to the brethren of the Holy Trinity, his house or tenement in Dundee to be an hospital or Maisondieu in which the old and infirm might reside. In confirming this charter of Lindsay's foundation of the hospital, according to the same authority, King Robert enriched it with a gift of the Church of Kettins and its
Among the many donors to the hospital, William Duncan, proprietor of Templeton of Auchterhouse, stands unenviously conspicuous, inasmuch as the deed conveying a donation from these lands, is attested thus :-"Villiame Duncane, with my hand twitching ye pen, led by ye notar becaus I can nocht vryte myself."
In the rental of the lands belonging to the Priory of Rostinoth in the "Miscellanea Aldbarensia," occur these characteristic entries in reference to the parish of Kettins,
Item de terris de baronia de Kethenys, iiij lib.
Item de molendino de de Kethynnes xis.
Item de terris de baldowry iiijs. iiijd.
In the reign of James VI., by a charter dated 15th November 1558, subsequently confirmed by another charter dated 24th May 1585, the Kirk lands of Kettins, now called Newhall, were disponed, according to Mr Gibb, by Friar Gilbert Brown, minister of the Holy Cross of Peebles, to James Small of Kettins, and Elizabeth Blair, his wife. It would thus appear, that prior to the Reformation, the church and kirk lands had been transferred to the ministry of Peebles. Anciently there were six chapels dependent on the Church of Kettins, viz., one at Peatie, another at South Corston, a third at Pitcur, a fourth at Muiryfaulds, a fifth at Denhead, and a sixth on the south side of the village of Kettins. Not a vestige of these chapels now remains.
The parish contains some rare plants, amongst which may be noticed the Geranium Sanguineum; Parnassia palustris ;
Trientalis Europæa; Vinca Minor; Saxifraga Granulata; Anemone Memorosa; Hypericum humifusum; Trollius Europæus; Lobelia Dortmanna; Pilularia globulifera; and the Gymnadenia canopsea.
Returning at eventide from our pleasant excursion to this lovely and delicious neighbourhood, what sweet rural sounds salute our delighted ears:-The lowing of oxen on the plain, the bleating of sheep on the hills; the drowsy hum of the honey bees, the even-song of the happy birds; the cheerful lilt of the sturdy peasant returning from his labour in the fields, the distant bark of welcome home from his faithful watch-dog at the cottage gate; the plaintive sighing of the balmy winds among the rustling branches of the ancient trees, blent softly with the lapping silver sound of the gently flowing burn; and
Hark! 'tis the cheerful thrilling song
Of happy children, who prolong
In yonder sylvan solitude,
With glist'ring dew-drops on their feet,