« PoprzedniaDalej »
in abeyance, but was restored in 1826, to David, the late Earl, and father to the present nobleman who so worthily bears the titles and honours of this ancient house.
The Ogilvys of Inverquharity trace their descent from Walter Ogilvy of Auchterhouse, and had conferred on them the lands and barony of Inverquharity in 1420. The members of this family have generally distinguished themselves, and have held, in different reigns, the highest military and civil appointments. Captain Ogilvy, son of Sir David Ogilvy of Inverquharity, is said to have been the author of the once popular song "It was a' for our rightful King." present representative of this ancient family is Sir John Ogilvy of Baldovan, who ably represented Dundee in Parliament, from 1857 to 1874. Sir John, by his dignified and courteous bearing, combined with continuous assiduity in the discharge of his parliamentary duties, was always regarded by his constituents with the highest respect and esteem, and general regret was felt at the unexpected result of the late election, by which the union which had so long subsisted between him and the community, was so suddenly dissolved.
The Kirriemuirians, if undistinguished by their martial prowess in the field of battle, were noted for the fervour with which they pursued their inglorious feuds with the Souters of Forfar. There is a tradition or legend, that Drummond of Hawthornden visited Forfar in the summer of 1645, while on a tour through the north of Scotland, and that he was inhospitably refused shelter for the night. The plague was then raging in many parts of Scotland, and this might have. been the reason of their uncourteous and unfriendly treatment of the sensitive bard. Stung by such ungenerous treatment, the poet disdainfully shook the dust from off his feet, and betook himself to the neighbouring town of Kirriemuir, where he at once received a hearty welcome. Having become acquainted with the pending feud betwixt the inhabitants of the two places, respecting a piece of ground called the Muir Moss, which was claimed by both parishes, Drummond resolved
to be revenged for the affront put upon him by the burghers of Forfar. The Estates of Parliament were then sitting at St Andrews, and Drummond contrived to send a very formidable official-looking document to the Provost, with the intention that his honour might suppose it came from that august body. The bait took so amazingly well, that the chief magistrate immediately convened the council and clergyman of the burgh to hear and deliberate upon the contents of the document. All being assembled, with eager haste the mysterious missive was opened, when much to their chagrin and disappointment they found it only contained the following severe philippic against themselves :
"The Kirriemairians an' the Forfarians met at Muir Moss,
Fye upo' Forfar, Kirriemuir bears the gree!"
The rivers or streams in this parish are the South Esk, which takes its rise at the mountains of Clova, and falls into the sea at Montrose; the Prosen, which runs through Glenprosen, and after receiving the waters of several rivulets, falls into the South Esk, near Inverquharity; the Carity, which rises at Balintore, and also falls into the South Esk, near Inverquharity.
Some rare birds are found in this parish, such as the Golden Eagle, (Falco Chrysäetos); the Blue hawk, (F. cyaneus); the Merlin, (F. Esalon); the Missel thrush, (Turdus viscivorus); the Ring or rock-ousel, (T. torquatus) the Snow-bunting, (Emberiza nivalis); the Mountain finch, (F. montifringilla); the Wood-lark, (Alanda arborea); the Golden-crested wren (M. regulus) the least of all European birds; the Wood-cock (Scolopax rusticolo); the Wild-swan (Anus cygnus ferus); the Spotted fly-catcher (Muscipula grisola) &c.
Catlaw, the foremost mountain of the Grampian ridge, supposed to be the Mons Grampius of Tacitus, rising to the height of 2,264 feet above the level of the sea, is partly situated in the parish of Kirriemuir, and partly in the parish of Kingoldrum. The only eminences of any consequence in the
southern division of the parish, are the braes of Inverquharity, and the hill of Kirriemuir. The view from the latter hill is very extensive and beautiful in the extreme. To the east is seen the hills of the Mearns, which extend to the German Ocean; and nearer at hand, the bold undulating heights of Finhaven. To the north, the scene that meets the eye is inexpressibly wild and sublime, hill rising upon hill, and mountain upon mountain, stretching grandly away with their cloud-covered summits, to the mystic confines of classic Lochnagar, enshrouded with "its steep frowning glories," and casting around its gloomy shadow, like the surging, troublous life of the unhappy yet noble poet, who loved in youth to sing of its weird-like sublimity and awful grandeur, till its changing moods and fitful shades were photographed in unfading lines upon the rugged fretwork of his dark tumultuous soul. Far away in the west, backed by the mountains of Perthshire, amidst a flood of classic glory, bright and beautiful in the golden sunshine, rise Birnam wood and lofty Dunsinane hill, associated for evermore with the matchless fancy and transcendent genius of the bard of Avon. To the south, beneath our feet and on either hand, lies in all its unparalleled beauty, the lovely valley of Strathmore, bright with its glittering streams and daisied meadows, luxuriantly fruitful in its orchard woods, and waving fields of corn; and supremely rich in all the delicate tints and gorgeous hues of an eastern landscape, blent with the wilder beauties of mountain scenery as a fitting background of Alpine magnificence.
A very attractive object to the antiquarian is the "Standing Stone," on the hill of Kirriemuir, which, although it has no inscription of any kind, is, nevertheless, deeply interesting as a voiceless relic of the past. The stone, since its erection, has evidently been split into two, one part left standing, the other lying on the ground. Above the surface of the ground, the standing part is nine feet in height, and the lying part of the stone nearly thirteen feet in length. The purpose for which the stone was erected is unknown. Regarding the cause of
the stone having been split into two, tradition saith, that after a most daring robbery had been committed by them, the robbers sat down beside the stone to count their gold, when the stone suddenly split into two, the falling part burying the robbers and their booty underneath together. It is currently believed, that by lifting the stone, the treasure would be found, but to this day no one has had the courage to test the experiment !
Of Rocking Stones, or as the Highlanders call them Clacha Breath, that is, the stones of judgment, there are two a short distance to the north-west of the hill of Kirriemuir. The one is of whinstone, and the other of porphyry, being three feet three inches in height, nine feet in length, and four feet ten inches in breadth; and two feet in height, eight feet in length, and five feet in breadth, respectively. The most interesting feature in connection with these stones, is this, that whereas Mr Huddlestone, in his learned and elaborate notes to his edition of Tolland, authoritatively asserts, that no two rocking stones are ever found together, these stones are in close proximity to each other.
Several "Weem's Holes," or caves in the earth, have been discovered in the parish; one on the top of the hill of Mearns, and another at Auchlishie. That on the hill is built of stone, and is about sixty or seventy yards in length. The other is a long subterranean recess in which, when it was opened, a currah and some querns were discovered.
Descending from the hill of Kirriemuir, let us take our evening walk along the Den which extends to the east of the town, and where in my boyhood I loved to wander, when on occasional visits to a near relative at Denmill, during the short holidays then allowed at the Academy of Montrose. During the daytime I wandered up and down the ravine in golden reveries, building mystic shrines and gossamer “castles in the air," and wondering whether in after-life my youthful dreams would ever be realised.
The sweet little burn called the Garie takes its rise in the
loch of Kinnordy, and runs with a pleasant sound through the den. An excavation, or cave, in the red rock on the north bank of the stream, is called "The King's Chamber," beside which I often mused in dreamy reflectiveness. What was the origin of the name; and what legend or tradition associated with it, could unravel somewhat of its history, were questions more easily put than answered. My grandfather voted it a myth; but the fact was, the shrewd old man was, for once, quite at fault, for all his ingenuity completely failed to give an ordinary or extraordinary solution of the mystery.
Left, therefore, entirely to my own resources, it was my delight to produce and reproduce all sorts of legendary fancies, quite satisfactory to myself if not to others. Taken in connection with the admitted facts, that the lonely den was the chosen resort of the Spunkies, and that the neighbouring farm of Glasswell was nightly haunted by ghosts and hobgoblins, I came at last to the sage conclusion, that as the elfins and fairies were presided over and ruled by a queen, the cave in the rock had been, and was the presence-chamber of the King of the Evil Spirits, where he, in royal state, gave audiences to his mythical subjects, and from whence were promulgated those terrible fiats of vengeance and destruction, which made men's hearts to quake with fear, and the material world to upheave in volcanic throes of expiring dissolution!
In the gloaming the good old man invariably accompanied me, and with his warm hand in mine, would relate with dramatic power, as we went along, the mystic stories of bygone. days;—of fairies in their robes of green at their wild incantations beneath the silvery beams of the harvest moon; of spunkies and waterkelpies, brownies and witches, each at his or her particular vocation; of love-sick swains and brokenhearted maids; making me tremble, and laugh, and weep by turns, till my young heart beat high with feelings strange and new, and my innermost soul was deeply stirred alternately with gushing joy or pensive sorrow, emotions which, at this distance of time, are as fresh and strong as when at first