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politician and agriculturist George Dempster, who wrote an inscription on the grave of a favourite green-linnet, buried by the side of the loch. He quaintly hopes the epitaph may
"place on the rolls of fame
The bird, his master's and his mistress' name,
Mr Dempster was long M.P. for the Fife and Forfar district of Burghs, and is celebrated by Burns, as "a true-blue Scot," in his address to the Scottish representatives.
The Loch of Forfar, on the other hand, is full of the most stirring historical associations. In remote times there seems to have been an island in the middle, or at the northern end of the Loch, for we find that Alexander II., by deed, dated at Kinross, 18th July 1234, provides that five merks be given for the lights at the monastery of Cupar, and ten for the support of two monks of that house, who shall abide and celebrate divine service on the island in the Loch of Forfar, to which were added, for the benefit of the officiating monks, the common pasture of the King's lands of Tyrbeg, for six cows and a horse. Subsequently, by a charter of Adam White of Forfar, the monks were constituted his heirs after his death, if he should die without issue (Brev. Reg. de Cupro). It was also on this island, or more probably on the peninsula or inch on the north side of the Loch, called Queen Margaret's Inch, that Margaret, Queen of Malcolm Canmore, had a royal residence, the foundations of which are still visible.
The assassins of Malcolm II., after committing the foul murder, endeavoured to escape, but in crossing Forfar Loch, then imperfectly frozen over, the ice gave way, and they all miserably perished.
The draining of the Loch has long formed the subject of debate among the wise men in the county town and the practical agriculturists of the country. It is in reference to this prolific source of dispute that the following amusing story is told of Patrick, Earl of Strathmore. After listening for some
time to an animated and scientific debate on the best means of effectually draining the Loch, in order to make it fit for agricultural purposes, his Lordship abruptly wound up the discussion by naïvely observing that in his opinion the only really practical mode left open to them was to empty a few hogsheads of whisky into the Loch, for in that case he wittily added, "The writers of Forfar would not be long in draining up the Loch!"
The most prominent object on the Sidlaw range of mountains is an observatory on the summit of Kinpurnie Hill, to the south-east of the village of Newtyle. This building was erected by the Hon. James Mackenzie, Lord Privy Seal, who, previous to his death in 1800, resided at Belmont Castle, as proprietor of the lands of Keilor, since then become the property of Lord Wharncliffe. The walls of the Observatory still defy the blasts of time, and form a well-known landmark ⚫ for the mariner voyaging on the Northern Sea or entering the estuary of the Tay.
The most classical and historically interesting, as well as the grandest spot in Strathmore, is undoubtedly, however, the Castle of Glamis and its world-famed magnificent surroundings. I shall confine my dissertations, therefore, in these introductory chapters to the parishes of Glamis and Kinnettles, as forming the centre from which the Tales and Legends of the subsequent chapters will uniformly diverge.
Strathmore being my native vale, and Airniefoul farm, in the immediate neighbourhood of Glamis, the place of my birth, the Howe having been besides the birthplace of my ancestors for many centuries, and where many of their descendants tenant the farms of their fathers to the present day, I shall ever feel surrounded by an atmosphere of song, and of deeply-cherished sunny memories, while endeavouring to open up the legendary lore, and to portray the more salient and attractive features of a district in every sense so dear to my heart, and so worthy of being commemorated by an abler though not less loving pen than mine.
Glamis means noise or sound; and in similar situations, where there are ravines in the district, the affix iss, yss, eis, signifying an obstruction or barrier, is common in the names of places with some descriptive appellation prefixed. The name Glamis, or Glammis, therefore, seems to be descriptive of the most striking natural features of the parish. A sweet sparkling rivulet called "Glamis Burn" flows down its centre for some miles, rushing, immediately to the south of the village, through the rugged ravine, the rush of water along its bottom producing a subdued murmuring sound. There is another derivation of the name, however, which seems more applicable to the parish in general, viz., that Glamis is probably a corruption of the Gaelic Glamhus, which means a wide open, or champaign country.
It is much to be regretted that, although still retaining some of its former features, the natural beauties of this picturesque and romantic dell have been utterly destroyed by the erection of a huge structure of solid masonry which stretches across the ravine, damming up the waters of the burn to form an immense reservoir of water, which stretches away among the trees to the south nearly as far as the eye can reach. As the temporary cause for the erection of this rude obstruction of the waters of the burn and the formation of the reservoir has now passed away, it is to be hoped this lovely and romantic spot will soon be restored to its natural and pristine beauty.
The hamlet or village of Glamis, apart altogether from the historical and classical associations of its neighbourhood, is one of the most beautifully-situated of our Scottish villages. Built on the banks of a mountain rivulet, and at the base of a lofty pine-clad hill, surrounded by scenery of the most beautiful and attractive description, and nestling amongst ancient and extensive woods, it presents a scene of retired and quiet seclusion from the busy world quite refreshing to the pent-up denizen of the crowded city.
Standing on the bridge, beneath which pleasantly flows the
burn already noticed, the view on either side, although necessarily somewhat contracted, is very pleasing and beautiful. To the north appear the barley mill, the church, churchyard, and manse, the village stretching away to our left, and a beautifully wooded dell, with the water of the burn flowing fretfully through its midst, opening up its romantic beauties to our right. Southward-the brook, the rocky ravine, the smithy, a few straggling cottages amidst their trim gardens and kailyards, and the ruins of a modern, unromantic factory are the principal objects which attract the eye; while high above, the Hunter Hill, in all its luxuriant sylvan beauty, crowns the scene as with a diadem of emerald, the happy birds meanwhile comingling their thrilling notes of gladness with the merry voices of the rustic urchins at roystering play on the village green. The dens and ravines in the parish are very rich in their display of wild flowers during the season in particular of the avens, geraniums, and anemones. Among the more rare plants may be noticed the orobus sylvaticus, and in the marshes along the Dean the yellow water-lily may be seen in all its beauty.
John de Logy-supposed to have been the father of the Queen of David II.-received the reversion of the thanedom of Glamis from that monarch in the year 1363. The reddendo was a red falcon to be delivered yearly at the feast of Pentecost. This thanedom was afterwards given to Sir John Lyon, ancestor of the Earls of Strathmore, in dowry with his wife, Jane, daughter of Robert II.
The oldest castles in Angus are undoubtedly those of Red Castle and Guthrie, both occupied in 1306, and supposed to have been built some centuries previous. It is true, Sir David Guthrie of Kincaldrum, and Treasurer to James II., acquired the Barony of Guthrie in 1465, and became the founder of the family of that ilk, but the castle, and name, and family had been in existence many centuries before that period.
Although from a remote era there was a royal residence at Glamis, or in its immediate neighbourhood, first noticed in
connection with the death of Malcolm II., in 1034, the present Castle was only begun to be built in the time of the first Earl of Kinghorn, who succeeded his father in 1578. This nobleman did not live to finish the work, the muchadmired ceiling in the great hall not being completed until 1620.
The chapel is a most interesting and beautiful apartment, the paintings on the walls and ceiling having been executed in 1688 by Jacob de Witt, the Dutchman, who a few years previous painted the Kings in the Picture Gallery of Holyrood Palace. The paintings in the chapel, however, are very much superior to those of Holyrood.
In the agreement between the Earl of Kinghorn and the artist, it was expressly stipulated that each of the fifteen large panels in the roof of the chapel should contain “ a full and distinct storie of our Blessed Saviour, conforme to the cutts in a Bible here in the house, or the Service Booke;" while the lesser pannels were to be filled" with the angels in the skie, and such other things as he [De Witt] shall invent and be esteemed proper for the work." The altar-piece was to be the Crucifixion, "and the doore-piece the Ascencione." Our Saviour and His Twelve Apostles were to form the subjects of the paintings in the panels around the chapel, “in als full stature as the panels will permit."
For this work De Witt made a claim of 200 merks, which the Earl disputed, and wrote to the artist as follows:
"I would give now, after full deliberation, for the roof of the chapel, £15 sterling; for our Saviour, the Twelve Apostles, the King's father, the two Martyrs, St Paul and St Stephen, the altar and door-pieces, £20 sterling."
It is said that the chapel at Glamis is the only one besides Roslin in which the exclusive use of the Liturgy dates from a period preceding the Revolution of 1688. Roslin and Glamis thus link the Episcopal Church of the present with that of the past. It was first consecrated in 1688, on the eve of that Revolution which hurled the last of the Royal Stuarts