« PoprzedniaDalej »
falls into the Isla, as already noticed, at Cupar Grange. There are five bridges in the parish, viz. the Bridge of Blairgowrie, across the Ericht ; the Bridge of Craighall, where it recrosses the river; the Bridge of Cally, where it crosses the Ardle; the Bridge of Carsie, by which it crosses the water of Lunan, and the Bridge of Lornty, where the old military road crossed the the Lornty. Of castles, we have Craighall, Lady Lindsay's Castle, of which more anon; Newton Castle, situated close to the town, commanding one of the finest prospects of the great valley of Strathmore; Drumlochy Castle, on the north side of the Lornty Burn, the ruins of a once noble fortress; and at a short distance to the west of Drumlochy Castle on the opposite side of a deep ravine, the imposing ruins of the ancient Castle of Glasclune, which played no inconsiderable part in the bloody feuds between the Herons of Drumlochy and the Blairs of Glasclune.
The scenery around Craighall is of the most romantic and magnificent description, and although confined to a comparatively small compass can nevertheless scarcely be excelled not only as an enchanting but perfect embodiment of all that constitutes the essential elements of grandeur and beauty. Wood, water, chasm, rock are finely intermingled in all the light and shade so dear to the lover of Nature in her grandest displays of panoramic sublimity. There, through a deep ravine of savage rocks, their steep acclivities interspersed with the beautiful foliage of the hazel and oak, dark and sullen flows the gloomy river; up yonder on the higher verge of the cliff like the eyrie of the eagle, stands, or rather hangs, in its lone majesty the picturesque, and now classic Craighall, the prototype of the Tully-Veolan of Waverley. All around the scene is most enchantingly beautiful, and while encompassed with the mystical halo of the past, is pregnant with the tragic events of the present; for while our thoughts revert at first to the Baron of Bradwardine, they converge in the end on that fatal catastrophe by which, a few years ago, a young and blooming maiden met a horrible and untimely death by falling from that
precipitous cliff to the rocky bed of the yawning chasm, full three hundred feet below!
"Another resting-place," says Lockhart, in his Life of Sir Walter Scott, in allusion to the great enchanter's visit to this part of the country-" was Craighall, in Perthshire, the seat of the Rattrays, a family related to Mr. Clerk, who accompanied him. From the position of this striking place, as Mr. Clerk at once perceived, and as the author afterwards confessed to him, that of Tully-Veolan was very faithfully copied, though, in the description of the house itself and its gardens, many features were adopted from Bruntsfield and Ravelstone."
It is rather singular, however, and scarcely in accordance with this confession, that Sir Walter makes no allusion whatever to Craighall in his notes on Waverley. "There is no particular mansion described," he says, "under the name of Tully-Veolan; but the peculiarities of the description occur in various old Scottish seats. The house of Warrender, upon Bruntsfield Links, and that of old Ravelstone, belonging, the former to Sir George Warrender, the latter to Sir Alexander Keith, have both contributed several hints to the description in the text. The House of Dean, near Edinburgh, has also some points of resemblance with Tully-Veolan. The author, has, however, been informed, that the House of Grandtully resembles that of the Baron of Bradwardine, still more than any of the above." As to the garden,-which presented "a pleasant scene"-Sir Walter adds-" At Ravelstone may be seen such a garden, which the taste of the proprietor, the author's friend and kinsman, Sir Alexander Keith, Knight Mareschal, has judiciously preserved. That, as well as the house, is, however, of smaller dimensions than the Baron of Bradwardine's mansion and garden are presumed to have been." The explanation seems simply to be, that, with a few notable exceptions, the great Necromancer, either in his descriptions of men or places, did not slavishly copy any particular person or place, but filled in the details of his pictures from every fitting available source that came under his practised, ever watch
ful eye. And hence, his baronial castles with their inmates, his lowland scottish homes with their sturdy yeomen or peasant proprietory are rather the types of the prevailing styles of architecture, and general features of society in a given age, than photographs of particular structures, or portraits of individual characters.
On the west side of the river, and rising perpendicularly to the height of 300 feet, is the famous precipice of Craig Liach or "The Eagle's Craig." At the base of this rock there is a low, dark, gloomy cave, and the scenery around is romantic and grand. Casting our eye upwards to the extreme verge of the precipice, we can discern the crumbling ruins of a circular tower, still popularly known as Lady Lindsay's castle. The scene would not be complete without some legend or traditionary story to invest with human interest these grey old walls and their savage yet romantic surroundings. Lord Lindsay, in the time of James III., occupied as his residence the Castle of Inverqueich, near the kirk of Ruthven. He was a lawless, unprincipled desperado, at one time renewing the family feuds with the house of Glamis, and at another fighting against his father in his struggle for the king. He was wounded in a duel, or single combat, by his younger brother, John. Removed to the Castle of Inverqueich, he is said by some to have died there of his wounds. Others assert that he was smothered in his bed with the knowledge and connivance of his wife. The evidence in support of the latter view of the case is certainly very strong, if not conclusive. In the MS. genealogy of the family, ante 1580, Haigh Muniment-room, it is said that popular rumour accused her of having smothered her first husband, Lord Lindsay, with a down pillow in the Castle of Inverqueich: :- "He was smorit be his wife." It is also recorded in the "Genealogy of 1623," ibid, as likewise in Sir James Balfour's "Genealogy," in the Advocates' Library, that "he was smored in his bed at Inverqueich, and, as was thought, not without knowledge of his wife."
This took place on the 16th September 1489, and the
countess was Janet Gordon of the Huntly family, granddaughter to James I. She must have been a very different character from her sister, Catherine Gordon, celebrated for her beauty as "The White Rose of Scotland." This lady was given in marriage by her cousin-german, James IV., to Perken Warbeck, then believed to be the real Duke of York, and whom she never deserted in all his subsequent misery. Their mother was the Princess Annabella, daughter of James I.
Tradition saith, that although Lady Lindsay had other two husbands, and survived both, her spirit, when she died, haunted for ages the castle and surroundings of Inverqueich, and points out that high table rock in this romantic glen of Craighall, as the scene of the penance imposed for murdering her husband, which was, that she should sit upon it and spin night and day till the thread should reach the river beneath.
Assuming this task not to be impossible of execution within a given time, a much severer penance has been imposed, or rather added, by subsequent traditions, id est, that Lady Lindsay shall live out her punishment on this Craig Liach, or the Eagle's Rock, at Craighall, being doomed to spin a long unbroken thread,-sufficiently long to reach from the remotest part of her rocky habitation up to the heavens, by which, when accomplished, she is to be permitted to mount to the spheres, and enjoy for ever the society of her injured lord!
Do you not pity the fair yet pining prisoner in that lonely tower, as in imagination you picture her dreary monotonous misery, or listen to her faintly-heard plaintive supplications for mercy. But I forbear-the sullen river weeps not, the sultry breezes sigh not; no sympathetic response comes from the leaden air above, no answering echo issues from the gloomy depths below-all is silence-darkness-gloom; the voiceless birds hide themselves in fear among the branches, the very denizens of the woods are startled by the ominous sound of their own footsteps!
Newton Castle, in the immediate vicinity of the town, as lready noticed, and occupying an elevated site, is a very
picturesque object of itself and is visible from a great distance. The whole structure is very imposing, being considered a good specimen of the castellated style of baronial residences which prevailed in the seventeenth century. The only legend connected with this ancient mansion is in the shape of a ghostly apparition-the "Green Lady," so named because of her dress being that of green silk. This mysteri ous personage, it is averred, haunted in days of old, the grounds around, and the apartments within the Castle, but as no authentic records of her movements have been preserved, it is left to the individual fancy of her admirers to fill up and finish the sketchings of her exploits, which otherwise might evaporate in the undefined mists of a superstitious antiquity.
The parish church occupies a commanding situation on the summit of the Hill of Blair. Behind the church there is a finely wooded ravine, descending almost perpendicularly to the bed of the river on the east. The prospect from the church-yard embraces the whole valley of Strathmore from its extreme boundary on the west to the Hunter Hill of Glamis on the east; a prospect of unparalleled sublimity and beauty combining the luxuriant loveliness of the richly wooded, cultivated valley, with the magnificent grandeur of mountain scenery in all its varied aspects of light and shade so dear to the lover of Nature, and so highly prized by the painter and the poet.
The parochial registers of this parish, like those of Bendochy are curious and instructive, and throw a startling light on the manners and customs of our fathers. From these ancient Sessional records, unearthed by Mr William Shaw Soutar, I may be permitted to give a few specimens.
First, as to strictness of discipline :-" October 15, 1648, The minister asking if there was any new scandal, the session declare that George Clyde, Andrew Keay, and Walter Butchart, were shearing corne the last Sabbath, and George Watson did threshe the said Sabbath. The kirk-officer ordained to summon them against ye next day." In obedience