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CHAPTER XLIV.

THE CASTLE OF FORFAR.

"The castell of Forfar was then,
Stuffit all with Englishmen."

Barbour.

THE old castle of Forfar was of great but uncertain antiquity All vestiges of the original building have long since disap peared, and with them all record of the date of its erection, or the particular form of the structure itself. Boyce says that Forfar had a castle at the time of the Roman invasion unde: Agricola, which is considered to be altogether apocryphal The castle, however, is recorded to have been the scene of the parliament which was held in the year 1057, by Malcolm Canmore after the recovery of his kingdom from the usurpa tion of Macbeth, and in which surnames and titles were first conferred on the Scottish nobility. It is quite certain that within one hundred and fifty years after the death of that King, Robert de Quincy made over to Roger de Argenten what he designates, "my place of the old castle of Forfar, which our Lord King William gave to me in lieu of a toft, to be held of me and my heirs by him and his heirs, well and peacefully, freely and quietly." (Reg. Prioratus S. Andrae). It is evident from this charter, that there must then have been more than one castle at Forfar; and this view is confirmed by Boyce (Hollinshed's Chron.) who says, that Forfar strengthened with two roiall castles as, (he continues) the ruins doo yet declare."

was

It is supposed that the old castle given over by De Quincy was that of King Malcolm, which tradition states to have stood

upon an island on the north side of the loch, called Queen Margaret's Inch, and that it was there King Malcolm held his first parliament, as already noted. The more recent castle would, on this hypothesis, have been the one that stood on the rising ground to the north of the town, called the Castlehill, some traces of which existed down to the end of the last century. William the Lion held a court at this castle between 1202-7; and Alexander I. held a parliament there in person, in 1225, and another in 1227, but from which the king was absent.

King Edward and his retinue entered Forfar on Tuesday the 3d of July 1296, and resided in the castle until Friday the 6th. It would appear, however, that during the English monarch's stay at Forfar, only two churchmen and four barons from various parts of the kingdom went there and owned his superiority over Scotland. After Edward's departure, it was held by Brian Fitzadam, one of his retainers, from whom it was captured by Sir William Wallace. It soon fell again into the hands of the English, who kept possession of the fort until its re-capture by Robert the Bruce.

Barbour assigns the merit of this capture to Philip, the forester of Platane, near Finhaven :

"The castell of Forfar was then
Stuffit all with Englishmen,

But Philip the forestar of Platane
Has of his frendis with him tane,
And with ledderis all prevely
Till the castell he can him by,
And clam out our the wall of stane,

And saget has the castell tain
Throu falt of wach with litill pan
And syn all that he fand his slane.
Syn yhald the castell to the King,
That mad him richt gude rewarding,
And syn gert brek down the wall,
And fordid the castell all.
And all the towris tumlit war
Down till the erd "-

The castle, thus so completely demolished, was never

rebuilt, and the court afterwards resided, on its occasional visits to the neighbourhood, either at the Castle of Glamis, or at the Priory of Rostinoth. As not a vestige now remains of this fort on the Castlehill, no conception can be formed of its elevation or extent. The only representations of one or other of these ancient castles which now exist are the figure cut upon the top of the old market cross, and the device which forms the common seal of the burgh. These devices, however, apparently only give a representation of a very inconsiderable portion of what originally must have been a very palatial and extensive stronghold. Like the burghers of Coupar, the "sutors of Forfar seem to have turned the ruins of the ancient edifice into a quarry, for it furnished them with the materials, it is affirmed, for the building of the old steeple, the west entry to the old church, and a large portion of the houses which formed the streets of the old county town!

Not a legend or tradition have I been able to trace in connection either with the castle on St Margaret's Inch, or the more kingly residence and stronghold on the castle hill. This is the more remarkable as interesting memorials of royal residences poetically survive in the names of some localities, such as, the King's muir, the Queen's well, the Queen's manor, the Palace dykes, and the Court road; and in the vicinity, the King's burn, the King's seat, and the Wolf law where the nobles were wont to meet for hunting the wolf. Some bronze celts and cabinet ornaments, preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; and a few warlike swords and battle axes, in Glamis Castle, are all that remain to posterity of the royal palaces and castles of Forfar. Even the traditionary story of the armour found in the loch as being that of the murderers of Malcolm II., is rudely falsified by the more prosaic probability, that the swords and battle-axes had rather belonged to the soldiers who fell at the capture of the Castle of Forfar in 1308.

Disappointed by the paucity of legendary lore, we must be content to note the more prosaic yet not less interesting

historical facts. The first record of these is undoubtedly due to the liberality of the brothers Strang, merchants in Stockholm, and natives of Forfar, who, in 1657 presented to the town three very handsome bells, of which the citizens are justly proud. They were originally hung in the old crazy tower which, until 1814, occupied the site of the present handsome steeple, to which they were then with all due formality transferred. The inscriptions on the largest of the three bells is worth transcribing: viz

"THIS BELL IS PERFECTED AND AUGMENTED BY

WILLIAM STRANG AND HIS WYFE MARGRET PATTILLO IN STOCKHOLM ANNO 1656.

The other inscription is on the east side of the bell—viz :

FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

AND LOWE HE DID BEARE TO HIS NATIVE TOUNE,
HATHE VMQ' ROBERT STRANG, FRIELY GIFFTED THIS BELL
TO THE CHURCHE OF THE BURGHE OF FORFAR,

WHO DECEASED IN THE LORD IN STOCKHOLM THE 21 DAY OF APRIL,
ANNO 1651.

The following quotations from the Evangelist and Psalmist, surround the rim of the bell, at the top and bottom respectively:

"GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO

ANNO 1656. "

ET IN TERRA PAX HOMINIBUS BONA VOLUNTAS. "LAETATUS SUM IN HIS QUÆ DICTA SUNT MIHI IN DOMUM DOMINI IBIMUS STANTES ERANT PEDES NOSTRI IN ARTRIIS TUIS Jerusalem.

ME FECIT GEROT MEYER. 1656.”

In the letter of William Strang to the magistrates of Forfar accompanying the gift, he naively says. "Pay the skipper his reasonable fracht for I behowed to gift him 2 bells for his ship, and hous wse befor he would grant to take it in.—Per skipper whom God preserve."

Forfar had always stood firm to the cause of Episcopacy, its magistracy and council boldly protesting when occasion required against the pretensions of the covenanters. In the reign of Charles II. the following remarkable declaration

against the legality of the Solemn League and Covenant, was fulminated from the Council Chamber :

"Wee Prowest, Baillies, and Counsellers of the burghe of Forfar, under subscryvand and evry ane of Ws Doe sincerly affirme and declaire That we judge it wnlawfull To subjects vpon pretence of reformatione or other pretence whatsoever, To enter into Leagues and Covenants, or to take vp armes aganest the King or theise commissionated by him. And all theise gatherings, conwocations, petitiones, protestationes, and erecting and keiping of counsell tables, that wore used in the beginning, and for careing on of the late troubles, wer wnlawfull and seditious; And particularlie that theise oathes wherof the one was comonlie called The Nationall Covenant (as it wes sworne and explained in the jm vje and thirtie eight, and therefter, and the vther entituled A Solemne League and Covenant, wer and are in themselfes unlawful oaths, and wer taken by, and imposed vpone, the svbjects of this kingdome aganest the foundamentale Laws and Liberties of the same: And that ther lyeth no obligations vpone ws or any of the subjects from the saids oathes, or aither of them, to endeavoure any change or alteratione of the government, aither in churche or state, as it is now established by the Lawes of this Kingdom: In witnes whereof wee put owr handis heirto att Forfar this tuentie one day of December jm vje thriescore thrie yeares.

CHARLES DICKESON, prouest. | JHONE MORGAN.

T. GUTHRIE, bailie.

TH. BENNY, Consoler.

CHARLES THORNTOUNE, balzie. MR. WILLIAM SUTTIE, cown

A. SCOTT, counseller.

DA. DICKSON, counseller.
JAMES BENNY, counseller.
Ro. HOOD, counsellar.

JAMES BENNY, counsellor.

cellar.

H. CUTHBERT, coonceller.
JOHNE AIRTH, JS. BROWNE, jr.
JOHN COOK, JHON BRANDORE

The "Sutors" of Forfar are equally distinguished in ancient annals as those of their neighbours, the "Weavers" of Kirrie

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