ALLEN COUNTY PUBUC LIBRARY
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HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE
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VALLEY OF THE DEE
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE PRESENT DAY.
JOHN MACKINTOSH, LL.D.
AUTHOR OF " THE HISTORY OF CIVILISATION IN SCOTLAND
" THE STORY OF SCOTLAND "
" THE REVOLUTION OF 1688 AND VISCOUNT DUNDEE "
" THE VALLEY OF THE DEVERON," a^c, dfc.
TAYLOR AND HENDERSON
LITHOGRAPHERS AND PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN
THE RIGHT OF TRANSLATION RESERVED.
Watershed — Source of the Dee — Glen Dee — Course of the River — Page.
Aspect of the Valley — Tributaries of the Dee — Soil — Climate
—Plan of the Work 1—9
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION.
Early Race — Stone Age People — Chambered Cairns — Earth-
houses — Cremation — Urn Interment — Hill Forts — Crannogs
— Stone Weapons — Condition of the People . . . 10 — 19
Harbour of Aberdeen — Diversion of the Dee — Improvements —
Old Bridge of Dee — Lands of Pitfodels — Deeside Railway —
Cults - . . 20—33
Lands of Banchory granted to the Abbey of Arbroath — Subsequent
Proprietors — Banchory House — Church — Ardo Estate —
Ardo House — Heathcot House — Shannaburn — Auchlunies. 34 — 44
MURTLE— EDGEHILL— CULTER HOUSE-
Lynwood — Bieldside — Murtle House — Lands of iMurtle--Edgehill,
Dr Webster — Camphill — Culter House — Lands of Culter —
Peterculter Church — Village of Culter — Paper Works — Snuff
Manufactory — William M'Combie 45 — 55
The Knights Templars at Maryculter — Blairs — St. Mary's College
— Marybank — Kingcausie House — Lands of Kingcausie —
Maryculter House — General Gordon — Royal Forest — Crown
Lands — Durris, Families connected with it — Durris House — Page.
Kirktown, Church of Durris, 56 — 67
IRVINES OF DRUM— HISTORIC INCIDENTS.
Scenery — Loch of Drum — Old Church of Drumoak — William
Irvine, and Robert Bruce — Feud between the Irvines and
Keiths — Battle of Harlaw — Sir Alexander, Battle of Pinkie
— The Irvines involved in the Covenanting Struggle — Drum
Castle taken — Change in the Succession — Alexander Forbes
Irvine, Francis H. F. Irvine — Drum Castle. . . . 68 — 77
PARK— BURNETTS OF LEYS— CRATHES CASTLE.
Lands of Park, House — Andrew Penny — ^James Penny — Tradition
of the Burnett Family — Grant of Lands to Alexander Burnett
— Gilbert — Robert, Lord Crimond — Sir Thomas, a Cove-
nanter, and a Patron of Learning — The Baronet's Daughter —
Sir Robert, Sir Thomas — Crathes Castle — Court Book of
Leys — Loch of Leys — Normandikes . . . - . 78 — 85
BANCHORY-TERNAN— SCENERY— BURGH-
Scenery — St. Ternan, Old Church — Kirktown — New Village —
Wood-floating — Burgh of Banchory — Dr. George Campbell
— Dr. Francis Adams, Dr. Andrew Leith Adams — ^James
Cuthbert Hadden 86—93
VALLEY OF THE FEUGH— STRACHAN--
Bridge of Feugh — Old Castle of Tilquhillie — Walter Ogston,
Thomas, Janet — Douglas of Tilquhillie — Invery House —
Village of Strachan — Cairn o' Mounth Road — Birse, Church,
Graveyard, Free Church — Forest of Birse — Lands of
Finzean, House, Farquharsons of Finzean — Ballogie —
Balfour — Eminent Natives of Birse ..... 94 — 104
BLACKHALL— KINCARDINE O'NEIL—
Blackhall House — Inchmarlo — Glassel — Campfield — Opening of
the Aberdeen Water Works — Village of Torphins — Craig-
myle House, Lands — Learney House, Innes of Raemoir —
Findrack House — Potarch Bridge — Borrowstone House, Page.
Old Hamlet of Borrowstone — Scenery — Village of Kincar-
dine O'Neil, Barony of Kincardine O'Neil, Old Church,
New Church — Kincardine Lodge — Carlogie House — Dess-
wood House — Distinguished Natives — Village of Lumphanan
— Glenmillan House — Lands of Auchlossan — Auchenhove —
Halton, Pitmurchie — Peel Bog — The Houff— Conflict
between King Duncan and Macbeth — Malcolm HL and
Macbeth, Battle of Lumphanan 105 — 119
ABOVNE— GLENTANNER— CULBLEAN.
Charlestown of Aboyne — Castle of Aboyne — Old Church —
Tillphoundie, Balnacraig, Families connected with it —
Glentanner — Smugghng — Sir William Cunliffe Brooks —
Mansion House of Glentanner, Chapel — Dinnet Church —
John G. Michie — Dee Castle — Ballaterich — Byron — ^James
Neil — Dinnet House — Loch Kinnord — Glendavan House —
Battle of Culblean — Families associated wdth Aboyne . . 120 — 137
Scenery — Cambus o' May — Old Church and Graveyard of Tullich
— Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie — Old Village of Tullich
Pass of Ballater — Burgh of Ballater — Monaltrie House —
Craigendarroch Lodge — Bridge of Ballater — Alex. Troup . 138 — 146
Churchyard — Families connected with Glenmuick — Old Castle of
Braickley — Ruins of Knock Castle — Traditions associated
with it — Birkhall House — Glenmuick House, St. Nathalan's
Church — Falls of Muick — Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge — Loch
Muick — Glasallt Shiel • — Glasallt Falls — Scenery — Loch
Dubh — Summit of Lochnagar — Byron .... 147 — 153
GLENGAIRN— STRATHGIRNOCK— ABERGELDIE.
Scenery — Old Church of Glengairn, Graveyard — Roman Catholic
Chapel — Burial Ground of Dalfad — Macdonald of Rineaton
— Quoad Sacra Church — Old Castle of Gaim — Abergaim —
Mining operations — Corndavon Lodge — Polhollick — Strath-
girnock — Craig-na-Ban — Colliecriech Wood — Geallaig —
Micras — Castle of Abergeldie — Families connected with
Abergeldie — Clachanturn — Lochnagar Distillery — Easter Page.
Balmoral — Crathie Churchyard — Old Church of Crathie,
New Church — ^John Bruce — Alexander Downie — William
Blair— Peter Coutts— John Ross 154—168
Statues and Monuments within the Castle Grounds — Prince
Albert's Cairn — Families connected with Balmoral — Battle
of Falkirk — Earl of Fife — Sir Robert Gordon — The Queen
and Prince Albert — Old Castle of Balmoral — The Royal
Domain, Forest, Falls of Garbhallt — Laying the Foundation
Stone of the New Castle, Progress of its Erection, Finished
— A Fete at Balmoral — Castle of Balmoral — The Queen's
Excursions in the Highlands — Her Majesty's Annual
Sojourn at Balmoral 169—182
Site of the Old House of Monaltrie — Carn-na-Cuimhne — Aberarder
— Bridge of Invercauld — Invercauld House — The Farquhar-
sons a Branch of the Clan Chattan, Original Possessions of
this Clan — Farquharson of Invercauld, Donald Farquhar,
Findla Mor — Robert Farquharson — John forced to join
Mar's Rising — James — ^James Ross Farquharson — Colonel
James — Lieutenant Alexander H. Farquharson . . . 183 — 190
CASTLETOWN OF BRAEMAR.
Craig Clunie — Clunie Cottage — Charter Chest — The Lion's Face
— Altdowrie Cottage — Braemar Castle — Old Churchyard,
St. Andrew's Chapel — Surroundings of Castletown —
Description of the Town— Glen Clunie— Glen Callater . 191—197
GLEN QUOICH— INVEREY— GLEN EY— GLEN
LUI— MAR FOREST.
Aspect of the Valley — Carr Burn — Water of Quoich — Linn of
Quoich — "Earl of Mar's Punch Bowl" — Corriemulzie Falls
— New Mar Lodge — Old Mar Lodge — Village of Inverey —
John Farquharson of Inverey — Water of Ey — Glen Ey —
AUt Connie Falls — The Colonel's Cave — John Farquharson
joined Viscount Dundee — Alltanodhar Shieling — Glen Lui —
Falls of Lui— Mar Forest— Deer— Linn of Dee — White
Bridge— Glen Geldie — Geldie Lodge— Bynack Lodge —
Chest of Dee— Glen Geusachan ....'. 198—210
EARLDOM OF MAR— EARLS OF MAR.
Extent and Chief Seat of the Earldom — Mormaer of Mar — Early Page.
Earls of Mar, Ruadri, Morgund, Gratney, Duncan, William
— Thomas, the last Earl of the Celtic line — His sister suc-
ceeded to the Earldom ; her daughter, Isabel, became
Countess of Mar and Garioch ; her unhappy life, tragic, and
violent incidents — Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, exclud-
ing the Erskines' Claim — Earldom annexed to the Crown —
Erskine's Claims rejected — Members of the Royal Family
made Earls of Mar — The period in which there was no
Earl of Mar 211—218
EARLS OF MAR-RISING OF 1715.
The Earldom of Mar and Lordship of Garioch restored to John,
Lord Erskine — A long struggle to reclaim the alienated
possessions of the Earldom — Efforts of John, second Earl of
Mar — ^John, third Earl — ^John, fourth Earl of Mar — Charles,
fifth Earl of Mar — John, sixth Earl, after the accession
of George I., concerted a Rebellion — Meetings of his
supporters at Braemar and Aboyne — The Standard Raised,
and Mar's Army Marched — Arrival of James VIII. —
Retreat and Disbandment of the Army — Royal Troops sent
into Braemar 219—227
DISARMING THE PEOPLE— RISING OF 1745.
The People of Braemar subjected to suffering — Disarming Acts —
Causes of the Rising — Arrival of Prince Charles in the
Western Isles — Muster in Glenfinnan — Raising the Standard
— Proclamations — ^Jacobite feeling in Braemar — Advance of
Charles southward — Capture of Edinburgh — Defeat of
General Cope — Prince Charles' difficulties — Braemar and the
Valley of the Dee impHcated in the Rising — Conclusion . 228 — 234
HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
At the outset it seems necessary to indicate some of
the general features of the subject, and the method of
The watershed of Scotland runs southward from Cape
Wrath to the head of Loch Quoich. Thence it turns
eastward between Lochs Lochy and Oich ; then sweep-
ing round the top of Strathspey and over the hills above
the head of Loch Laggan ; thence following a curving
southerly course past the west end of the Moor of
Rannoch and the Brae Lyon mountains to Crianlarich ;
whence across Ben Lomond, and south-eastward over the
Campsie Fells into the broad Lowland Valley. The
sources of the Spey and the Dee lie on the highest point
of the watershed.
The widest region of the wildest scenery in Britain is
contained in the one hundred square miles of rugged
mountain and corry lying between Glen Feshie and Glen
Quoich, which comprises the summits of Ben Muich Dhui,
Cairngorm, and other mountains, and the great corries of
Braeriach and Ben-na-Bhuird.
The springs and head streams of the Dee rise from
three high mountains on the confines of Aberdeenshire
and Inverness-shire, namely, Braeriach, Ben Muich Dhui,
2 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
and Cairn Toul, in the immediate vicinity of each other,
and forming the highest mountain-land in Scotland.
Two perennial springs of clear water issue from a
declivity near the summit of Braeriach, at a height of
over 4000 feet above sea level. They unite and form a
stream which flows a short distance ; and then it descends
the rocky face of a great corry — forming a series of
beautiful cascades of 1000 feet in height. The stream
enters a narrow aud rugged ravine, called Glen Garchary,
tumbles down through it, and receives other rills in its
course. Another stream issues from underneath huge
masses of stones and debris of rock, between Ben Muich
Dhui and Braeriach, in the hollow of Larig, where several
pools are formed. This stream is called the Larig Burn,
and runs through an elevated and narrow glen for about
a mile and a half, and then joins the Garchary Burn.
The united stream is called the Dee, and it flows south-
ward along the base of Cairn Toul ; and further on it
receives from that mountain the Geusachan Burn.
Glen Dee, through which the infant river winds its
way, is very narrow, rugged, and deep, bounded on both
sides by lofty mountains. These mountains present
many features of grandeur and sublimity. The scenery
of the region is on a grand scale, consisting of mountain
rising above mountain, huge precipices, deep corries,
crags and serrated rocks, and large bleached boulders,
which vividly recall the echoes of the mighty power of
nature. Hogg touched on the region thus : —
" Beyond the grizzly cliffs which guard
The infant rills of Highland Dee,
Where hunter's horn was never heard,
Nor bugle of the forest bee ;
INTRODUCTORY SKETCH. 3
'Mid wastes that dern and dreary lie,
One mountain rears its mighty form,
Disturbs the moon in passing by,
And smiles above the thunderstorm."
The Geldie Water, a pretty large stream, rises
between the mountains of An Sgarsoch and Carn an
Fhidleir, on the confines of the counties of Aberdeen,
Inverness, and Perth. It flows through a glen of the
same name a distance of twelve miles, and joins the Dee
at Dubrach. From this point the Dee flows in an
easterly direction, though it winds in many parts of its
The river runs through or alongside the Parishes of
Braemar and Crathie ; Glengairn, Glenmuick, and Tullich,
now united into one parish ; Aboyne, Birse, Kincardine
O'Neil, Strachan, Banchory-Ternan, Durris, Drumoak,
Maryculter, Peterculter, Banchory-Devenick and Nigg.
After a winding and beautiful course of over 87 miles the
river falls into the sea at Aberdeen.
Considered as a whole, the Valley of the Dee is com-
paratively narrow ; but the river receives the drainage of
a wide and extensive tract of country. On its south side
there is a continuous chain of mountains (part of the
Grampian range), which reach their greatest elevation at
the summit of the far-famed Lochnagar ; thence the
height of the mountains gradually declines onward to the
Girdleness. On the north side, in the upper stretch of
the Valley, the mountains are also high ; but the con-
tinuous mountain-land terminates in the plain of the
Moor of Dinnet. The Dee emerges from the Highlands
by the narrow Pass of Cambus o' May. From this point
to the sea at Aberdeen, the northern side of the Valley is
4 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
partly bounded, and often intersected, by hills of no
great elevation ; and below Banchory-Ternan the ground
presents finely-undulated heights, sloping towards the
bed of the river.
Many glens, passes, and ravines open into the Valley
of the Dee, with their fine rippling streams, which con-
tribute much to form the exquisite variety and contrast so
characteristic of its scenery. The beautifully-diversified
series of mountains and hills, glens and streams, crags,
rocks, and falls, pine and larch forests, and birch woods,
present resplendent scenes when viewed in a fine summer
day in all their natural glory.
From the confluence of the Dee and the Geldie, the
tributary streams of the river generally flow in a direction
inclined eastward, which renders some of them of con-
siderable length. The principal tributaries of the Dee on
the south side of the Valley are the following:— The
Water of Ey rises from Ben Uarns, and flows through
Glen Ey in a northerly direction, with a curve to the east
in one part, and after a course of eight miles it falls into
the Dee four miles below the confluence of the Dee and
the Geldie. The Water of Clunie rises on the Cairnwell,
and runs through Glen Clunie. It receives the Burn of
Baddoch, and four miles further down the W^ater of
Callater, and after a northerly course of about ten miles
it joins the Dee below Castletown of Braemar. The
Water of Muick issues from a small loch near the
mountain of Cairn Taggart. It runs south-east through
a narrow and deep ravine, with high precipices on both
sides, and dashes against the boulders which strew its bed.
It then expands into a loch of considerable extent and
striking grandeur. On issuing from the loch it flows
INTRODUCTORY SKETCH. 5
north-east a course of about ten miles, and joins the Dee
a Httle above Ballater, Glenmuick is remarkable for the
variety and beauty of its scenery. The Water of Tanner
rises from the Hare Cairn, and runs in a north-easterly
direction through Glentanner a distance of fourteen
miles, and enters the Dee about a mile above Aboyne.
The Water of Feugh rises on the southern slopes of the
parish of Birse, at a height 1800 feet above sea level, and
flows rapidly in an east-north-eastward direction through
the Parishes of Birse, Strachan, and a part of Banchory-
Ternan. It has a beautiful course of nearly twenty miles,
and falls into the Dee below Banchory. The Burn of
Sheeoch rises on the high hill of Kerloch, and flows
very rapidly a distance of twelve miles, and joins the
Dee at the church of Durris. Below this there are
several small streams which enter the river on the south
side, but they present nothing very peculiar.
Turning to the north side of the Valley, the chief
tributaries of the Dee are: — The Water of Lui, the Water
of Ouoich, several small streams, and the comparatively
large Water of Gairn ; but the burns below the mouth of
the Gairn are not of much volume, owing to the lower
elevation of the stretch of country drained by the river on
the north side of the Valley. The Water of Lui rises
among the mountains on the east side of Glen Dee, and
it is mainly formed of two streams, the Lui Beg and the
Derrv, which issue from the south and north-east of Ben
Muich Dhui. Four miles from their sources the streams
unite, and form the Water of Lui, which then flows in a
south-easterly direction through the glen of the same
name, a distance of over six miles, and falls into the Dee
a little below the Linn. About three miles eastward, the
6 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Water of Ouoich rises from two main sources, one on the
western extremity and near the summit of Ben-na-Bhuird,
and the other from a small loch at the eastern end of the
mountain. The two streams unite, and the Quoich flows
rapidly over a rocky and stony bed — it is remarkable for
its narrow gorge and rock cavities. On emerging from
its glen, it spreads over a considerable portion of the level
haugh in the Valley, and mars its continuity and beauty.
The Water of Gairn has its sources from rills which come
down from the mountains of Ben Avon and Craigandal.
It flows through its glen, in an east-south-eastward
direction, a distance of twenty miles, and falls into the
Dee a mile and a half above Ballater. Glen Gairn in its
upper stretch is rather bleak, bounded by high hills on
either side, covered with heath and some patches of grass :
but in its lower portion there are fine grassy pastures
and cultivated fields. Its scenery, though not specially
striking, is in some parts attractive, and presents pleasing
contrasts. The streams below this are comparatively
small — The Burn ofDinnet ; the Burn of Tarland, which
runs eastward and joins the Dee below Aboyne Castle ;
the Burn of Dess, remarkable for its romantic cascade ;
the Burn of Beltie flows through the Parish of Kincardine
O'Neil, and enters the Dee on the west side of the Parish
of Banchory ; and the Burn of Culter. The streams
noticed in the preceding paragraphs comprise the chief
tributaries of the Dee, though there are many other burns
and streamlets which fall into the river.
It was mentioned that the highest sources of the Dee
are over 4000 feet above the sea level, and the gradual
fall of the river in its course seaward may be indicated.
At the junction of the Dee and the Geusachan Burn, the
INTRODUCTORY SKETCH. 7
height above sea level is 1640 feet ; at the confluence of
the Dee and the Geldie, 1304 ; at the Linn of Dee, 12 14;
at Castletown of Braemar, 11 80; the old Bridge of
Invercauld, 1054 ; Balmoral Castle, 926 ; Abergeldie
Castle, 840; the Bridge of Ballater, 780; the Manse of
Aboyne, 417 ; the Bridge of Potarch, 270 ; the Bridge of
Banchory, 172 ; and at the mouth of the Burn of Culter,
60. The fall from the Linn of Dee to the sea averages
eighteen feet per mile ; of course the fall is greater in the
upper stretch than in the lower. In its higher stretch the
river flows rapid and clear upon a bed of rocks and amid
boulders ; in the lower stretch it glides along upon a bed
of stones and pebbles, which tends to purify the water.
Above Ballater the water of the Dee is comparatively
pure, and almost free of animal or sewage contamination.
Although the Valley of the Dee is not naturally very
fertile, yet the skill and industry of its inhabitants have
greatly improved it. There are considerable stretches of
haughs and plains in the Valley, still there are no very
extensive tracts of good deep soil, or very rich fields.
Generally boulders and pebbles of granite, gneiss,
hornblende, and porphyry, form the prevailing soil. The
pastures in the mountain districts are comparatively good,
but small in extent ; the green-topped hills are limited,
and consist of the Coyle hills, the serpentine range of
Glenmuick, and a portion of Morven. Most of the hills
and mountains, however, which bound the Valley are
interspersed with stripes and patches of green grass even
to their summits. Heath, pine, and birch are the prevail-
ing plants. The Valley is well wooded. The chief
native trees are the birch and the pine, but here and there
many other varieties of trees have been planted. Oak
8 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
is not very common, but it covers a part of the hill
of Craigendarroch, in the vicinity of Ballater. Large
woods of larch, intermixed with spruce and some other
trees, are frequently seen in various parts of the Valley.
There are still several pretty extensive forests such as
Glentanner, Ballochbuie, and Mar.
In the present century great industry and much art
has been expended in many parts of the Valley to im-
prove and beautify it. There are stretches in the Valley,
which, both in nature and in art, are unrivalled anywhere.
The usual crops raised in the Valley are oats, barley,
turnips, and potatoes, ryegrass and clover. There were
good crops along the Valley in the year 1893. ^ observed
excellent fields of corn. The industry of the people has
made fruit-growing a success in various places, not merely
in gardens, but also in the fields. About Banchory-
Ternan may be seen fine fields of strawberries ; and in
the Parish of Strachan this fruit is cultivated in the fields ;
and also in Kincardine O'Neil I have seen fields of straw-
berries growing beautifully. Many of the gardens
attached to the mansions in the Valley, under experienced
gardeners, are admirably kept and cultivated ; and they
produce abundance of fruit and vegetables. Flowers of
many kinds and varieties are also reared and culti-
vated with remarkable success. Many years ago I ob-
tained information on this subject from my brother,
James Mackintosh, who served his apprenticeship as a
gardener at Banchory House. He was afterward
engaged at Desswood House, and assisted in laying out
the garden and the grounds. He had charge of the
garden at Glassel for six years. Subsequently he
went to Corsindae, in Mid mar, and had charge of the
INTRODUCTORY SKETCH. 9
garden for thirty years. He died at Corsindae House
The Valley of the Dee has been recognised as one of
the healthiest regions in Britain. It is a nerve-giving and
inspiriting Valley; and amongst its inhabitants there have
been many instances of great longevity.
Having thus briefly indicated some of the general
features of the Valley, and system of streams and glens
connected with it ; in the subsequent chapters, after
dealing briefly with the traces of prehistoric inhabitation,
I will commence at the estuary of the river, proceed up
the Valley, and touch on its scenery, and also that of the
glens opening into it ; the mansions and castles and the
families associated with them ; historic and traditional
incidents ; the villages and towns which have been
erected in the Valley ; antiquities, and other objects of
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION.
In this chapter the traces of prehistoric structures, relics,
and remains will be briefly treated.
The earliest prehistoric race in Britain, of whom we
have any evidence, was a long-headed people of com-
paratively short stature. Their physical characteristics
resembled the Berber race and North African tribes ;
they appear to have spread over the Spanish Peninsula,
the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean, Southern
Italy, and a great part of France. This race arrived in
the south of Britain about the beginning of the polished
stone period, and gradually spread over the whole
Island. They were sometimes called Iberians, Basques,
and other names; and they appear to have inhabited the
country alone for a very long period. They were a
stone age people, using stone tools and weapons. They
usually fixed their settlements on elevated ground and
moderate heights ; and their dwellings consisted of
circular huts — sometimes with stone foundations, on
which a slight structure formed of wood was erected.
Some of these hut foundations still remain, but many of
them have been removed by the progress of agricultural
improvement. This people constructed the long barrows
of England, and the chambered and horned cairns of
Caithness, Argyle, and Orkney. They also constructed
the curious and interesting structures called " earth-
houses " ; and some specimens of these were known to
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION. 11
have existed in Birse and Kincardine O'Neil. In many
parts of Aberdeenshire, and especially on the higher
stretch of the basin of the Don, in the Parishes of
Kildrummy and Auchindoir, within a space of a mile in
diameter, there are upwards of forty of these " earth-
houses." The chief characteristics of these underground
structures are : — I, They are all under the natural level of
the ground ; 2, a narrow and low entrance apt to escape
notice, and a narrow passage ; 3, a curved chamber
gradually winding inwards, and usually terminating with
a rounded end ; 4, the internal characteristics of the
chamber, which is usually single, but in some specimens
small chambers run off the main one to the right and
left ; 5, converging side walls which support a lintelled
roof; 6, they are built without mortar or cement of any
kind. The walls are massive, and usually built of large
stones. They vary greatly in size, some being over
seventy feet in length, seven feet in width, and six feet
in height ; while others are of much smaller dimensions.
After research and comparison, I arrived at the
conclusion that these underground structures were
originated by the stone age people, and that they
constructed a considerable number of those specimens
which are still known to exist, though not necessarily
the whole of them. It appeared to me that the under-
ground structures were in harmony with the genius, the
condition, and the circumstances of the stone age people,
who constructed the chambered aud horned cairns of
Caithness, which, in several of their characteristics,
strikingly resemble the " earth-houses." It may also be
observed that the " earth-houses " were never con-
tinuously occupied as common dwellings, but only at the
12 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
seasons of extreme cold and frost, when the people of
the stone age resorted to them in order to protect them-
selves in some measure from the inclemency of the
weather. Traces of over-grown huts in close association
with the "earth-houses," show that the people lived
above ground, excepting in the extreme emergencies just
This people practised cremation, and usually interred
the remains of the dead under chambered stone cairns.
Though there are many cairns in the area under
consideration, few of them have been systematically
explored ; while the common traditions regarding them
are of little or no value whatever. In cairns broken into
for building purposes, or removed for improvements,
human remains have usually been found in them along
Traces of early occupation on the elevated ground of
Pitfodels and Cults on the north side of the Valley, and
on the high grounds on the opposite side of the river,
have frequently been discovered. In the vicinity of
Cults House, there were several cairns, one of which has
been entirely removed for building purposes, and in it
two stone arrow heads were found. In 1850, two stone
cists were found near Cults House, which contained
human bones. On the south side of the Dee, in 18 17, a
stone cist was discovered, in repairing a road on the farm
of Clashfarquhar. The cist was formed of eight
stones — one at each end, two at each side, and two form-
ing the cover ; and it contained the bones of a human
skeleton, much decayed, and two urns. In 1847, near
the same place, in a gravel hillock, two urns were found,
in one of which was a gold ring. When forming part of
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION. 13
the turnpike road on the estate of Ardo, a stone cist was
discovered, which contained an urn and a human skull.
In the Parish of Maryculter there were a considerable
number of cairns in which human remains have been
found. On the property of Auchlee there were two
stone circles entire in 1839; and it has been ascertained
that many of the areas of stone circles in Scotland were
places of prehistoric interments.
A short distance below the church of Durris, on the
south bank of the Dee, in 1829, the Rev. Robert Copland,
when removing a large round cairn of stones, discovered
that the stones merely covered an artificial mound of
earth ; and, on opening it, some bones, partly burnt, and
a number of sharp flint stones of different sizes were
found. Afterwards, a more thorough excavation was
made, and at a depth of three feet under the surface of
an adjoining field, a stone cist, over seven feet in length,
was discovered. It contained the bones of a human
skeleton mixed with charcoal. In other parts of Durris
there are a number of cairns overgrown with heath and
whins ; and also stone circles, most of which are
On the north side of the Valley, in the Parish of
Drumoak, there were once a considerable number of
cairns, but the progress of agriculture and other improve-
ments has removed the most of them. One on the top
of the Hawkhillock was removed to make way for the
summer house within the grounds of Park House ; and
in the operations, three stone cists were discovered,
containing an urn, human bones, and ashes.
In Banchory-Ternan there are several places which
present the characteristics usually associated with the
14 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
prehistoric sites of human habitation. It seems probable
that the high ground above the old church was a pre-
historic site ; and no doubt there was a settlement on
this ridge above the river, before the introduction of
Christianity. There are still a number of cairns at the
foot and on the sides of the hills, and many others once
existed in the central parts of the parish. Some of them
which were opened, contained stone cists and human
bones. When the turnpike road to Aberdeen was
making, the workmen found a stone cist at a point near
the manse, which contained an urn and some ashes A
mile and a half farther westward, in the wood of
Inchmarlo, between the road and the Dee, there are the
remains of a stone circle ; forty years ago one of the
stones was standing, eight feet above the ground, and
thirteen feet in circumference. It is said that the circle
was entire about the end of the last century.
In 1828, at Newton of Tilliecairn, in the Parish of
Aboyne, several urns containing calcined human bones
were dug up in trenching a piece of ground. About fifty
yards from where the urns were discovered, the soil
presented a blackish appearance, indicating that it had
been under the action of a strong fire, as small bits of
charcoal were embedded in it ; and it is supposed that
the bodies had been burnt here, and the calcined remains
subsequently placed in the urns.
About a mile to the east of Newton, on the summit
of a ridge, there are several small cairns, and one large
cairn, called Cairnmore. In 181 8, the large one was
partly opened for building purposes, when a quantity
of bones were found in it, and a small gold chain
of four links attached to a pin. The bottom of
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION. 15
the cairn was neatly paved, but only a tenth part of it
was then explored. On the estate of Glenmillan, in
Lumphanan, there were once a number of sepulchral
cairns, in one of which two bronze rings were discovered.
There are still a number of cairns on Perkhill, and in
their vicinity stone weapons have been found. Cairns
and tumuli are to be found on every hill and moor in the
district. And the prehistoric modes of disposing of the
dead prevailed, namely, urn interment and cairn inter-
Traces of hill forts, more or less distinct, are still
numerous. Prehistoric hill forts may be divided into
three classes: — i, Those formed of earth; 2, those
formed partly or wholly of stones ; 3, those formed of
stones, and partly vitrified. Elsewhere I have explained
how " the movement of the tribes from the southern
parts of the Island, inwards and outwards, issued in the
first creation of historic conditions in Britain ; and the
consequent necessity of efforts for self-preservation and
defence." It seems evident that many of these defensive
works were constructed several centuries before the
The first class of hill forts, which were probably the
earliest, consist of a number of low mounds of earth
drawn round the brows or summits of natural heights.
They are mostly circular or oval in form, but this was
often modified by the nature of the sites selected ; and
the number of the enclosing mounds of earth vary for
similar reasons ; sometimes there are two, three, four,
or more, which enclose a central space. They differ
from most of the other early constructions, inasmuch
as they are adaptations of naturally elevated sites for
16 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
purposes of defence. They are numerous, and extend
over the whole area of Scotland. Traces of them may
be seen on the hills and heights of Aboyne and Kinnord.
On the summit of the Hill of Mortlich there is a large
At Cairnton, on the east side of the wooded Hill of
Trustach, near a steep bank of the Dee, there is a
slightly hollow space, overgrown with birch, about
150 yards square, and at its north and only open side,
it has two ramparts of earth, each 300 yards long, from
10 to 15 feet high, and 16 feet broad. They converge
from the bank on each side, and form two sides of
a square, the rest of which is formed by the conformation
of the ground. There is an entrance at the angle
20 yards wide. The position is elevated, and commands
a pass between the heights of Inchmarlo and the Dee,
through which the present road runs. It overlooks almost
every approach, with the river immediately behind it,
and the Canny Burn in the haugh below.'
Traces and remains of the second class of hill forts
are numerous. There were several of them on the
slopes of Morven, and traces of two or three have been
discovered on the north-west of Culbean. At Knockice,
along the south side and base of MuUoch Hill,
there was a semi-circle of forts connected with each
other. The westmost one was 140 yards by 8S, the next
one longer, and the eastmost one 280 yards by 176 ; and
a short distance from the north-west corner of the
smallest one, on a steep rising ground, there were two
smaller forts, of from 12 to 18 yards diameter, which
I Mackintosh's " History of Civilisation in Scotland," New Edition, Vol. I.
PP- 43-45, 65-70, 88-89.
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION. 17
overlooked the whole. These and many others of a
similar character, at a later stage of development,
became connected with the crannogs constructed in
Loch Kinnord. So far as has been ascertained, there
were two ancient crannogs on Loch Kinnord, formed
by great labour and surprising skill and intelligence.
Crannogs were often used in connection with hill forts
on the summits or slopes of the neighbouring hills, as at
Kinnord, to which the lake dwellers could have gone
when the lochs were frozen and the crannogs open to
From time to time four primitive canoes have been
discovered in Loch Kinnord — all hollowed out of single
oak logs. On the i6th of June, 1859, a canoe, measuring
22|- feet in length by 3^ feet wide at the stern, and
tapering to a point at the prow, was brought to land.
Two were recovered on the loth of August, 1875, o^c of
which was 29 feet long and the other 30 feet.
Regarding prehistoric tools and weapons recently in
the grounds of Lynwood, Murtle, a stone axe head was
found, which is 8^ inches in length, and nearly 3 inches in
breadth. Along the Valley, on both sides, numbers of
flint arrow-heads and other stone tools and weapons
have been found, and some bronze weapons and tools
have occasionally been discovered.
Few stone relics have been found in Loch Kinnord.
But stone tools and implements have occasionally
been found in various parts of Aboyne and the
neighbouring district. A bronze vessel and a bronze
spear-head were found in the loch ; and an iron crowbar
and an iron axe-head were also discovered in it.'
I J. G. Michie's History of Loch Kinnord, 1877.
18 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
It is, however, known that a considerable number of
prehistoric rehcs and objects have been found in and
around Loch Kinnord, of which no accurate description
has been preserved. If any inference might be drawn
from the rehcs and tools found in the loch, it might seem
that the site and the crannogs had not been occupied in
the stone age. The evidence and the known circum-
stances, however, would not warrant such a conclusion ;
for the simple fact that the largest island in the loch and
the fort on it was frequently occupied in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, would account for the dis-
appearance of many of the relics and objects associated
with its early occupation. Further, considering the
length of time which has elapsed since the district was
inhabited by man, probably three or four thousand years,
and then the wasting powers of frosts, storms, thaws,
rains, and floods in such a valley as the Dee, it will
not appear surprising that the far greater part of the
handiwork of our prehistoric ancestors should have
been swept out of view.
Yet, from the traces and ruins of structures and
fragments of their works which still remain, we can
perceive that there was an active and industrious
population in the Valley at a far-gone period. We can
discern and trace the evidence of mind and of thought
even in such ruins and fragments of their handiwork ;
and we may fairly picture in imagination our early
ancestors of the prehistoric age as living and moving in
a state of comparative safety and comfort. They
possessed herds of domesticated animals — cattle, sheep,
horse, and swine — and they cultivated grain to some
extent. They manufactured some kind of woollen cloth.
TRACES OF PREHISTORIC INHABITATION. 19
and made pottery. Their food consisted chiefly of the
flesh of domestic animals and of the milk derived from
them, and to a less extent of fish, the products of grain,
and wild animals. Their dress consisted partly of
animals' skins prepared for the purpose, and partly of
the cloth above-mentioned. Thus far, the material
and social condition of the prehistoric people appears
to have been well advanced.
At present the estuary of the Dee presents a very
different appearance from what it had at a quite recent
period. As the river approached the sea it flowed
through a wide basin, extending from the foot of the
Castle Hill on the north side to the lands of Torry on the
south. The harbour of Aberdeen then consisted of a
channel near the north side of the basin, separated from
the estuary of the Dee by the Inches — a number of low
sandy patches, usually covered with water at high tide.
The quayhead was erected where the old weigh-house
once stood, and access to it from the town was obtained
by the Shore Brae. The entrance to the harbour was
extremely bad, owing to a bar at the mouth of the river,
and at low tide the water was only a few feet deep. In
1608 an attempt was made to improve it by the erection
of a bulwark on the south side of the entrance ; and in
161 8 a large stone lying near the middle of the estuary
was removed. In 1658, the quay was extended eastward,
and a considerable stretch of ground was reclaimed below
the Castle Hill. Another quay was erected in 1755,
farther down and opposite the village of Torry. Subse-
quently, from time to time, other improvements were
effected. But only about twenty years ago the Dee
wound round the south side of the Inches ; and the Fish
Market now stands on the old bed of the river. At that
time, the whole of the space known as the Reclaimed
ESTUARY— CULTS. 21
Ground was covered with water at high tide. The
diversion of the Dee into a new channel was a very great
improvement ; and was finally consummated by the
erection of the beautiful granite bridge which spans
the river in line with Market Street. Standing on the
centre of the bridge and looking toward the Suspension
Bridge, the river in its new bed presents a beautiful sheet
of water ; and the slight curve in the channel lends to
the scene a peculiar grace of form.
The transformation of the locality is complete. The
large extent of space formerly covered by the tidal waters
is now taken up with offices, stores, warehouses, fishcuring
establishments, and works of various kinds, presenting a
busy scene of industry and business; while along both
sides of the river there are very pleasant walks.
There is a tradition that Wallace had a castle on or
near the headland of the Girdleness ; but no trace of it
remains. The lighthouse on the Girdleness was erected
in 1 83 1 -3, and is a prominent object in the landscape.
Subsequently an artillery battery was erected. More
recently in this locality a new breakwater was constructed
by the Harbour Board for improving the harbour, and
rendering the entrance safer for vessels at the mouth of
William the Lion granted the Church of Nigg to the
Abbey of Arbroath, of which he was the founder.
Alexander II. granted the whole of the lands of the
Parish of Nigg to the Abbey of Arbroath, which included
the lands and village of Torry. The Church of Nigg was
in the diocese of St. Andrews. There is a tradition that the
Abbots of Arbroath had a residence upon a haugh on the
south side of the Dee, but all trace of it has disappeared.
22 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
In 1312, Sir Alexander Fraser had a lease of the lands
of Torry from Bernard, the Abbot of Arbroath. In the
latter part of the fourteenth century, Paul Crabb had a
lease of the lands of Kincorth from the Abbot ; and in
1380, he gave an annuity out of these lands toward the
support of the road leading from Stonehaven to Aberdeen,,
through the " Moor of Drumnawhacket," to the ferry on
In 1495, James IV. erected the village of Torry into a
burgh of barony, and authorised the inhabitants to deal
in all kinds of commodities, to hold weekly and yearly
markets, and to erect a cross. It seems probable that
there was then a chapel at Torry ; but it appears that the
privileges of the burgh fell into abeyance. In modern
times the inhabitants of Torry were chiefly engaged in
fishing. In 1837, the town had three fishing boats, with
six men to each ; since then the number of fishing boats
belonging to Torry has greatly increased as well as its
population. For a generation or two it has been an
active and busy centre of line fishing and herring fishing.
Under the recent Extension Act, Torry was incorporated
with the city of Aberdeen.
Since the diversion of the Dee into its new channel
and the erection of the Victoria Bridge, new streets have
been formed upon the ground on the south side of the
river. A considerable number of dwelling-houses, shops,,
and offices have been built ; in short, the locality is
rapidly developing and becoming a busy quarter of the
city. Upon the elevated ground called Craiginches, a
new prison was recently erected.
Half a mile above the Victoria Bridge is the
Wellington Suspension Bridge, erected in 1829. A short
ESTUARY— CULTS. 23
distance up the Valley the Railway Bridge spans the
Dee. The arches of this bridge are of iron, and rest
upon strong stone piers. Beyond the bridge, on the
north side of the river, lies the large and beautiful
Duthie Park, which was gifted by the late Miss Duthie
of Ruthrieston to the citizens of Aberdeen. The work
of forming the approaches to the park and the enclosing
walls was executed by the late Mr. James H. Bisset,
builder. The park was opened by Princess Beatrice in
1883. It is in a very fine situation, having the rippling
river in front and the rising ground on the opposite side.
The park is admirably laid out, and presents many
In the immediate vicinity of the park is the well-kept
cemetery of Allen vale. In it there are a great number
of granite headstones and monuments, many of which
present fine specimens of monumental art. The Ruthrie-
ston locality is now within the city boundary.
The Loch of Loirston lies on the south side of the
Dee, on an elevated hollow in the west quarter of the
Parish of Nigg. It is an oblong sheet of water, and
covers twenty-seven acres.
About two miles from the mouth of the river stands
the Old Bridge of Dee. It was one of the many good
works promoted by the estimable Bishop Elphinstone,
who founded and began it in 1 5CX). At that period the
erection of such a bridge was a great undertaking, and it
is not surprising that the structure was not completed in
Elphinstone's life-time ; but one of his successors. Bishop
Dunbar, continued the work, and it was finished in 1527.
After a protracted negotiation between the Bishop and
the Town Council of Aberdeen, in which the Council
24 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
manifested much caution, the charge of the bridge was
formally conveyed to the town in 1529, on the condition
that " the Council would uphold it and keep it in repair."
As originally constructed, the bridge consisted of seven
groined arches, which had a total span of 432 feet, but
its width was only i6}r feet. Various dates and brief in-
scriptions on the bridge itself give some particulars
touching the building and repairing of it. It was
thoroughly repaired between 1720-3. It was again
repaired and widened in 1841-2, to render it fit for the
increased traffic. A chapel dedicated to St. Mary was
built at the north end of the bridge, but no vestige of it
This bridge was of great importance for several
centuries. It was the leading entry to Aberdeen from
the south, and on the line of the chief post road between
Aberdeen and Edinburgh. It was also sometimes
selected as one of the points for the defence of the city
against enemies advancing from the south. In this
relation the bridge is associated with interesting historic
In 1589, the Catholic lords, headed by the Earls of
Huntly, Errol, and Crawford, mustered their followers,
and rebelled against the King. They assembled at
Aberdeen in April. The King in person with an army
marched northward, advancing to within ten miles of
Aberdeen. The insurgent Earls had posted their men at
the Bridge of Dee. As the Royal army approached,
however, they seemed to have lost heart at the last
moment, and dispersed. The rebellion for a time was
quelled ; but Huntly and the Catholic nobles again rose
in revolt, and in 1594 they met the Royal army under
ESTUARY— CULTS. 25
Argyle, and completely routed him at Glenlivet. The
King, however, with another army, advanced to Aberdeen,
and onward to Strathbogie, and Huntly retired to
During the Covenanting struggle the bridge was a
rallying point. Montrose on his first campaign in the
north entrapped the Marquis of Huntly, and conveyed
him and his eldest son as captives to Edinburgh ; but
Viscount Aboyne, Huntly's second son, a brave youth,
having received a commission from the King, immediately
proceeded to muster the clan to defend the Royal
authority against the Covenanters. He assembled an
army of about three thousand foot and five hundred
horse, and re-took Aberdeen. On the 14th of June, 1639,
he resolved to march southward ; advancing along the
coast, he descried Montrose's army posted on the heights
above Stonehaven. A skirmish ensued, in which
Aboyne's men were defeated, and retired, Aboyne re-
turned to Aberdeen ; and Montrose continued to advance
northward. On the 17th, Aboyne ordered his men to re-
muster, only a small number assembled ; but it was
resolved to defend the passage of the bridge. A barri-
cade was hastily thrown up at the south port of the bridge.
On the 1 8th of June, Aboyne marched to the bridge
with one hundred musketeers and a number of horse.
Montrose's army was encamped on the heights above
Banchory House ; and his force numbered two thousand
men and some pieces of cannon. He commenced the
attack on the defenders of the bridge by a cannonade.
In spite of the cannon and musket shot, the defenders
held the bridge for two days. Several attacks were made
at close quarters, which were repulsed. Montrose's
26 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
battering-rams were tried, but they had no effect on the
barriers, and the gloom of night closed the first day's
fighting. At break of day the struggle was re-commenced
and continued. At last Montrose sent a body of men
and horse up the south side of the river, moving as if
they intended to ford it. This had the desired effect.
Aboyne, with a company of the defenders left the bridge,
and advanced up the north side of the river ; then
Montrose's men opened fire on them, and at the same
time redoubled the attack on the bridge.'. At four in the
afternoon the bridge was taken. Montrose then marched
in triumph into the city, imposed a heavy contribution
upon the citizens, and subjected many of them to dis-
graceful indignities. Several rude ballads on the conflict
at the bridge, and the subsequent action of the Covenan-
ters, are extant ; and the following lines are from one
said to have been written when the bridge was taken : —
" The Covenanters that ye see
Come marching alongest the Green :
Wer't not for feare of God, they say,
They would plunder Aberdeine."
After the Covenanting movement had developed,
Montrose changed sides, and joined the King and
the Royalist party. In 1644, he gathered an army and
raised the Royal standard against the Covenanters. The
citizens of Aberdeen were then under the Covenantinsr
leaders ; and when tidings of Montrose's march north-
ward reached the city, they resolved to guard the bridge,
and mustered three thousand men to contest the passage
of the river. But Montrose outwitted them, and forded
the Dee at Crathes. On the 19th of September, 1644,
he inflicted a severe defeat on the citizens of Aberdeen.
ESTUARY— CULTS. 27
On the east front of the wall of the bridge a stone
is inserted showing how far the water of the great flood
of August, 1829, came up. This flood was extremely
disastrous to many of the bridges on the Dee, and also to
many of those on its tributary streams.
Standing on the Bridge of Dee and looking up the
Valley the view is limited by the rising ground on the
north side and the winding of the river ; still the scenery
presents a pleasing aspect. After crossing to the south end
of the bridge, a good road running in a westerly direction
along the south side of the Valley passes through a
stretch of lovely scenery all the way up to Banchory-
Ternan. There is very little traffic on this road, a
circumstance which to many lends a special charm to
the serene beauty of nature around. The highway on
the north side of the Valley commences at the termin-
ation of Great Western Road. Near the suburb
of Mannofield are the lower reservoirs connected
with the supply of water for the city ; and there
are other two reservoirs — Slopfield and Hillhead, con-
nected with pumping stations erected in the Den of Cults.
After passing the second milestone, a number of
beautifully-situated mansions and villas attract the eye.
They occupy the space from the north bank of the river
to the top of the rising ground on the north side of the
road. This ground from an early period was called the
lands of Pitfodels, which extended from the Bridge of
Dee on the east to Cults on the west, running along the
north bank of the Dee, thence stretching northward over
the high ridge on the north side of the turnpike road.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century Pitfodels was
held by a branch of the Moray family. In 1390,
28 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
William Reid, a burgess of Aberdeen, acquired Pitfodels
from William Moray ; and the Reids held it till the early
part of the sixteenth century. The family of Menzies
had obtained some portions of Pitfodels about the middle
of the fifteenth century ; and Thomas Menzies married
Marion, the only daughter of Alexander Reid of Pitfodels,
and by her the Menzies family acquired the whole of the
lands of Pitfodels.
The Menzies for a long period were closely associated
with the municipal government of Aberdeen. It is said
that they were a branch of the Menzies of Weem, in
Perthshire, and in the fourteenth century they appeared
as burgesses of Aberdeen. In 1426, Gilbert Menzies
became Provost of Aberdeen ; and in 1436 he was
elected to represent the city in Parliament. He died
about 1459. Another member of the family who suc-
ceeded to Pitfodels in 1508, Gilbert Menzies, held the
Provostship of Aberdeen for 24 years — between 1505 and
1536. In 1535 he acquired the lands ofBlairs. He died
in 1542, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas.
He was elected Provost of Aberdeen in 1525, and held
office for many years; he died in 1576. Thomas was
succeeded by his eldest son, Gilbert, born in 1522. He
was elected Provost of Aberdeen in 1576, and held office
to 1588. He died in 1589, and was succeeded by his son
George. He married Margaret, a daughter of Irvine of
Drum, by whom he had issue. George Menzies died in
1622, and was succeeded by his son, Gilbert, who attained
some distinction. In harmony with the tradition of the
family, he was a firm Roman Catholic, a loyal and warm
supporter of Charles I., and strongly opposed to the
Covenanters. As a consequence of this attitude he was
ESTUARY— CULTS. 29
much oppressed. He was knighted by Charles I. In
the unfortunate rising by Montrose in 1650 Menzies'
eldest son acted as standard-bearer ; and at the skirmish
of Invercharron he declined to retire, and was slain on
In 1745, Gilbert Menzies of Pitfodels joined the Rising,
and equipped a detachment of twenty-five men to support
the cause of Prince Charles. John Menzies, in 1805, ex-
posed the lands of Pitfodels for sale. No purchaser
however, appeared ; and he then feued several portions
of the lands ; and the remainder was purchased by a
joint stock company, who have feued off and sold it in
separate lots. John Menzies died at Edinburgh, in 1843,
at the advanced age of eighty-seven years ; and he was
the last of the male line of the family.
Mr. Menzies was a cultured gentleman. He be-
queathed the greater part of his wealth to the Roman
The site of Menzies Castle was on a spot near the
east side of Norwood Hall, but not a vestige of it
i\s indicated above, the greater part of the lands of
Pitfodels is now studded with beautiful mansions and
villas, each of which stands amid v/ell laid out and
carefully kept grounds. They mostly belong to manu-
facturers and gentlemen engaged in business in Aberdeen,
and retired gentlemen. A few of them may be
mentioned. Norwood Hall is the residence of Mr.
James Ogston, a partner of the well-known firm of soap
manufacturers ; Garthdee, the residence of the late Mr.
Alexander Edmond, advocate, Aberdeen ; Inchgarth,
the residence of the late Captain George S. Tayler ;
30 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Woodlands, the residence of Mr. Robert Collie, advocate ;
Cliff House, the residence of Mr. James Catto, merchant ;
and Viewbank, the residence of Mr. James Collie,
The Deeside Railway has contributed much to the
development of the resources of the Valley, and to the
increase of the population of its villages and towns.
This line was opened for traffic to Banchory-Ternan in
September, 1853 ; and between Aberdeen and Banchory
there are seven intermediate stations.' Afterwards, the
line was extended to Charlestown of Aboyne, and
opened for traffic in December, 1859. It was farther
extended to Ballater, and opened in 1866. The entire
length of the line from Aberdeen to Ballater is forty-
three-and-a-half miles. The railway has drawn to itself
the traffic on both sides of the Valley, and the turnpike
roads are comparatively little used.
The suburban village of Cults has rapidly extended
in recent years. It stands on a fine situation with a
southern exposure. The villas and cottages are neat
and clean, and present the features of convenience and
comfort. A considerable number of excellent dwelling-
houses have been erected on both sides of the line in the
vicinity of the station. The village has beautiful and
attractive surroundings, and is a charming locality.
The communication between the north and south
sides of the parish was carried on by the use of a boat
until 1837. In that year a foot-bridge was erected
across the river by Dr. Morison, the minister of the
parish. The bridge cost ;^I400, and Dr. Morison also
I In connection with the suburban trains between Aberdeen and Culter, several
new side stations were opened in 1894.
ESTUARY— CULTS, 31
left a sum of money " to maintain and uphold it in time
coming." He was popular among his congregation, and
died in 1845. He was succeeded by Rev. William Paul,
who received the degree of D.D. from the University of
Aberdeen. Dr. Paul is the author of several works —
on the Book of Genesis ; " The Scriptural Account of
Creation " ; the " Books of Moses " ; and a small
interesting volume entitled " The Past and Present of
Aberdeenshire." Dr. Paul died in 1884, and was
succeeded by Rev. William F. Lawrence, M.A., the
present minister of the parish.
Owing to the rapid increase of the population of
Cults, it was resolved to erect a mission hall, which
stands on the north side of the road a short distance to
the west of the village. Afterwards, it was formed into
a mission church ; and, in 1888, Rev. Charles S. Christie
was appointed to the charge.
Shortly after the Disruption it was deemed necessary
to erect a Free Church at Cults. On a site about
three hundred yards north of the highway, near the
village, a church was erected, and opened in 1844. For
a number of years probationers discharged the func-
tions connected with the church. But in 1861 the
Rev. William Anderson was appointed. He performed
his duties to the congregation with much acceptance,
and was greatly esteemed in the locality. Failing health
constrained him to relinquish his work, and he died in 1879.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles A. Salmond, who
continued to minister to the congregation until 1881.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Robert W^ Barbour.
Mr. Barbour was an exceedingly kind-hearted and
scholarly man. He worked very hard, and took a keen
32 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
interest in everything relating to the welfare of the
congregation. Unhappily, owing to failing health, he
resigned the charge, much to the regret of his congrega-
tion, the inhabitants of Cults, and many others in the
neighbourhood, who appreciated the character and worth
of Mr. Barbour. He died recently at Bonskeid, in
Perthshire. The Rev. Hugh Morrison was appointed to
the charge of the Free Church congregation of Cults
In 1650, the lands of Cults belonged to Mr. Alexander
Thomson, advocate, Aberdeen. He was succeeded in
1674 by his son, John, who was served heir to " the lands
of Cults, the mill, mill lands, and multures, with the
fishings on the water of Dee belonging thereto in the
Parish of Banchory-Devenick, and the sheriffdom of
Aberdeen, held in chief from the king and his successors
for service of ward and relief." In 1679, Thomson sold
the estate to Robert Irvine, a son of John Irvine of
Murtle. In the Poll Book of 1696, the lands of Cults
were entered at ;^286, on which Irvine for himself and
his wife was taxed £(^ 12s., and also a tax of ;^2 2s. for
his six children. For many years Irvine acted as a
Commissioner of Supply. He died in 1728, at the
advanced age of eighty-nine years.
In 1750, Alexander Livingstone, Provost of Aberdeen,
purchased the estate of Cults from the Irvines. Shortly
after he entered into partnership with John Dingwall,
William M'Kenzie, and Andrew Walker, and under the
name of the Porthill Company, erected a linen manu-
factory. This undertaking did not prosper; the company
suspended payment in 1763, and the ex-provost was
deeply involved. He sold off all his assets, including the
ESTUARY— CULTS, 33
lands of Cults, Countesswells, and Loanhead, and thus
satisfied the creditors. Livingstone then went to Rotter-
dam, and engaged in business there as a merchant and a
banker, and shortly amassed a considerable fortune. He
died in 1783.
George Chambers, a merchant in Edinburgh, in 1763,
purchased the lands of Cults for ;^io,5oo. He did not
hold the estate long, for in 1774 William Durward was
returned as the owner of it. Toward the close of the last
century the lands of Cults and Bieldside were held by
John Burnett of Countesswells. In 1804, he sold them
in separate lots ; and George Symmers, merchant,
Aberdeen, purchased two of the lots, which are now
known as the estate of West Cults. Mr. Symmers
executed a deed of entail, and after his death, in 1839,
the lands went to Mr. George Shirra Gibb. Mr. Gibb
was a quiet, homely, and exceedingly genial gentleman.
He enlarged the mansion house, and erected a number
of new houses on the estate. Mr. Gibb disentailed the
estate in 1876. He died in 1880, leaving the estate to be
managed by his trustees, who have been feuing it off
The lands of Banchory lie on the south side of the
Valley, in the Parish of Banchory-Devenick, Kincardine-
shire. In 1 163, Malcolm IV. granted the Church of
Banchory-Devenick, with its lands and pertinents, to the
See of Oldmachar — the Church was a prebend of the
Cathedral. Alexander II. gave the superiority of the
lands of Banchory-Devenick to the Abbot of the
Monastery of Arbroath in 1244, subject to an annual tax
of one hundred shillings and other services. In 1256,
Abbot Walter granted a charter of the lands of
Banchory to Alan Durward, the Justiciary of Scotland.
During the minority of Alexander III., Alan Durward
was one of the most powerful nobles in the south of
Scotland. Having married a natural daughter of
Alexander II., he even aspired to the throne of Scotland.
The Abbot of Arbroath gave the lands of Banchory-
Devenick to Alan Durward, to be held by him and his
heirs, in return for his homage and service ; and " for
confirming his claim more peacefully, freely, and
honourably, he and his heirs paying to our successors
three marks of silver, and giving to the King such
service as pertains in all things to the said lands."
After the death of Alexander III., and during the
"War of Independence, a large portion of the land of the
kingdom changed owners ; and the Valley of the Dee
had its share of these changes. It appears that Alan
Durward and his successors did not manage to retain
the lands of Banchory very long, and they reverted to
the Abbacy of Arbroath. :L3352J,_7
In 1333, it was agreed among the religious men and
the Abbot of Arbroath, on the one hand, and William
Meldrum, son of John Meldrum, on the other hand : —
" That the Abbot and Convent of the Monastery unani-
mously consent to give over, to be held in feu, their
whole lands of Banchory-Devenick, with pertinents, to
William Meldrum ; and to be held by him and his heirs
from the Abbot and Convent and their successors in feu
for ever, with all the liberties thereto belonging. That
the said William, for the whole period of his life, shall
pay to the Monastery yearly for this land six marks
sterling ; but his heirs shall pay yearly to the Monastery
for this land forty shillings sterling. Besides, the said
William and his heirs shall be bound to pay to the King
;!^5 yearly for this land, and shall make payment in the
Court of Aberdeen for the same, and render all services
which are incumbent, or in the future may be incumbent,
on this land. That the said William, nor his heirs, shall
in nowise sell, assign, or give over to be held in feu, or
alienate this land in any way without the special licence
of the men of the Monastery ; that, if they do so,
then, they shall lose all claim to this land." In 1346,
William Meldrum received another charter confirming
the above, which repeated the prohibition to sell the
This William Meldrum was the ancestor of the
Meldrums of Fyvie. The Meldrums continued to hold
the lands of Banchory till past the middle of the
1 6th century. In 1555, Sir George Meldrum of Fyvie
36 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
granted a charter, by which George Garden of
Dorlaithers acquired the lands of Banchory. George
Garden was one of the embassy sent by James VI. to
Denmark in 1589, in connection with the marriage of
the King and Princess Anne. He was succeeded in
1590 by his son, Arthur. He married a daughter of
Gordon of Gight, by whom he had issue. Arthur was
succeeded by his son, Alexander, but he became
embarrassed in circumstances. In 1623, he sold the
lands of Banchory to William Forbes of Monymusk.
In 1626, William Forbes was knighted by Charles
I. He granted a wadset of the lands of Ban-
chory for a sum of 13,840 marks, advanced by his
brother, John Forbes of Leslie, and William and
Alexander, his own sons. The agreement provided that,
in the event of the Forbeses of Leslie paying a further
sum of 6000 marks within seven years, then they should
obtain the lands of Banchory as if they had purchased
them. A lawsuit ensued, touching the lawful rights
of parties ; and, finally, it was settled in favour of
John Forbes of Leslie, and he thus secured the lands of
Banchory ; and Parliament ratified his title. He had
acquired the lands of Leslie in 1620 by paying the debts
then lying upon them ; and he managed to obtain
several other estates on easy terms. He was a great
Covenanter, and engaged in the conflicts of his time.
John Forbes was succeeded by his son, William. He
married a sister of Lord Duffus, by whom he had issue.
William Forbes died in 1670, aged fifty-five years ; and
^was succeeded by his son, John. In 1682, he sold the
lands of Banchory to Robert Cruickshank, merchant,
Aberdeen. Mr. Cruickshank was Provost of Aberdeen
from 1693 to 1696. He also represented the city in Parlia-
ment from 1693 to 1702. In 1724, Mr. Cruickshank
sold the estate of Banchory to James Gordon, merchant,
In; 1743, Mr. Gordon sold the lands of Banchory to
Alexander Thomson, advocate, Aberdeen. In 1768,
Mr. Thomson mortified a sum of £<, for behoof of the
poor of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick, payable
annually after his death, from the lands of Kirkton of
Banchory. He entailed the whole of his estates, and
gave ample reasons for this to guide his trustees : — " It
may be proper to let my friends knov/ some of the
reasons for executing the deed of entail of my lands of
Banchory I have many times considered
the circumstances of my ancient friends and relations
now dead, that those who made any figure in the world,
and acquired a competency of means, their eldest sons
and successors squandered away their estates, and spent
the same in a foolish, profuse, idle way.'" He then
proceeds to give illustrative instances. He died in 1773,
at the age of eighty-two years.
He was succeeded by his nephew, Andrew Thomson.
Andrew married Mary, a daughter of Dr. Skene, of
Aberdeen, and had issue — two sons and one daughter.
He died in 1781, aged thirty-four years. He was
succeeded by his eldest son, Andrew, who was born in
1 77 1, and educated at the University of Aberdeen. He
married Helen, a daughter of Dr. Robert Hamilton,
Professor of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College.
He died in 1806, aged thirty-two years, and was succeeded
I Henderson's History of Banchor^'-Devenick ; Register of the
Monastery of Arbroath.
38 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
by his son, Alexander, a boy of eight years. Alexander
was educated at the Grammar School of Aberdeen, and
Marischal College, and graduated in 1816. He then
proceeded to Edinburgh, and studied for the Scottish
Bar, and in 1820 he passed as advocate, but never
entered into practice.
He directed his attention to the improvement of his
estates, and to county business. He erected the present
mansion house of Banchory on the site of the old one.
The house stands on a fine elevated position, and is a
pretty large and commodious structure, with the front
and entrance towards the south. The gardens are large,
and enclosed with very high walls. There are two
approaches to the house — one on the east and the other on
the west — and the pleasure grounds are extensive.
In the Disruption struggle, Mr. Thomson took an
active part, and spent time and means in promoting
the cause of the Free Church. Dr. Chalmers visited
Mr. Thomson at Banchory House in September, 1843 5
and on the lOth Dr. Chalmers preached on the lawn to
a great assemblage. In the General Assembly of the
Free Church of 1844, Mr. Thomson proposed a scheme
for providing manses to the ministers; and the institution
of a Theological Hall in Aberdeen was warmly supported
by him. He occasionally directed his attention to
antiquarian and geological subjects, and also inquiries
touching the social condition of the people. Whatever
matter he took up, he pursued it earnestly and honestly.
In 1859, when the late Prince Consort presided at the
meeting of the British Association held at Aberdeen,
Mr. Thomson had the honour of entertaining the Prince
at Banchory House. In commemoration of this event,
he erected a granite obelisk on the Cotcraig Rock at
Tollo Hill. Though his health began to fail, he still
continued to pursue the subjects which interested him,
and published a number of pamphlets on antiquarian
and scientific subjects. He died on the 20th May, 1868,
at the age of seventy years. Under his trust settlement
he bequeathed to the Free Church College of Aberdeen,
i^i6,ooo, and also the very valuable Library and Museum
which he had collected at Banchory House. He was
the founder of the Thomson Science Lectureship in the
In 1872, Mr. Thomson's trustees sold the lands of
Banchory for £y6,ooo, to the late Mr. John Stewart, comb
manufacturer, Aberdeen. Mr. Stewart was a man of
exceptional ability and energy.
In 1830, Mr. John Stewart and Mr. Joseph Rowell
commenced business as comb manufacturers in Meal-
market Lane, Aberdeen, as equal partners, under the
name of Stewart, Rowell, & Co. Both men possessed
excellent and rare business abilities ; and their arduous
and united efforts led to signal success. In 1835, the
manufactory was removed to larger premises in Hutcheon
Street, where the works and business were admirably
managed and developed. Mr. Rowell was gifted with
a methodical and organising faculty, and ingenious
mechanical skill ; and the firm succeeded by the novel
introduction of steam power and machinery, in producing
an unprecedented quality of goods at prices which soon
commanded the markets of the world ; while Mr.
Stewart's commercial genius and tact, able and indomit-
able enterprise successfully introduced the products of
the firm ; and, in short, the two men were the counter-
40 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
part of each other, in the founding and developing of this
world-famous firm of comb manufacturers. Although
Mr. Rowell retired in 185 1, and the firm then became
Stewart, Rowell, Stewart, & Co., the establishment and
the business continued to be conducted by Mr. Stewart
on the same well founded lines ; and the works have
been extended from time to time, and now occupy a
large space of ground.
Mr. John Stewart also entered into railway and
shipping enterprises. For a number of years he was
a director and also chairman of the Great North of
Scotland Railway. Personally, he was a kind and
warm-hearted gentleman. He died on the 25 th of
He was succeeded by his eldest son, David, the
present head of the firm. Mr. Stewart is an active and
able business man, and much respected in the com-
munity. In 1889 he was unanimously elected Lord
Provost of the city of Aberdeen ; and he was re-elected
for a second term of office.
The Parish Church stands within the graveyard, on
the south bank of the Dee, and was erected in 1822.
It is a plain structure. The burial ground has been
recently extended. There is a large number of tomb-
stones and headstones in the churchyard, but none of
them of an early date. A Free Church was erected in
1844, about a mile to the south of the Parish Church.
The remains of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomson of
Banchory were interred in it.
The scenery on the south side of the Valley, when
viewed from the opposite side, presents a pleasing
prospect. There is a charming variety and contrast of
level haugh, gentle slope, moderate heights, woods, and
cultivated fields. Ardo House, amid plantations and
pleasure grounds, is a striking object in the landscape,
while Heathcot also attracts the eye, Nature and Art
having co-operated to enhance the external beauty. On
the north side of the Valley the ground is undulated and
intersected with slight heights, which are cultivated or
covered with woods. There is also a greater number of
villas and cottages on the north side of the river than on
the south side.
The estate of Ardo was held by the Meldrums of Fyvie
in the fifteenth century, and in 1582, George Meldrum
of Fyvie granted a charter of the lands of Ardo to David
Mar. Mr. Mar was one of the Bailies of Aberdeen, and
he also represented the city in Parliament. He sold
Ardo in 1586, and subsequently the estate passed through
a number of different owners. In 17 14, John Gordon
acquired Ardo through his great-grandfather, James
Gordon. He sold the lands in 1747 to John
Fordyce, merchant, Huntly, for the sum of ;^2 1,400
Mr. Fordyce married a daughter of Irvine of Cults,
by whom he had a daughter. He greatly improved the
estate and the condition of the tenants. He died in 1794,
and was succeeded by his only daughter, Agnes. She
lived in a quiet style, and was exceedingly kind to the
tenants on the estate. Miss Fordyce died in 1834, at the
age of seventy-six years, and was interred in the parish
church of Banchory-Devenick. She bequeathed ^lOO to
the poor people of the parish; and left the estate of Ardo
to Andrew Watson, advocate, Aberdeen, who was her
law agent, but in no way related to her. He then
42 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
assumed the name of Fordyce ; but he died in 1837, aged
only twenty-six years.
His representatives in 1839 sold Ardo to the late Mr.
Alexander Ogston, soap manufacturer in Aberdeen. In
1853, Mr. Ogston sold the portion of the estate called
Cotbank, to the Rev. Dr. James Gillan, who never resided
on the lands. Mr. Ogston died on nth October, 1869.
His son, Mr. Alexander M. Ogston, purchased the estate
from the trustees of his father in 1870, and in 1873, he
bought the lands of Cotbank from the Rev. James Gillan,
a son of the Dr. Gillan above mentioned. In 1880, Mr.
Ogston also purchased the estate of Heathcot, which lies
adjacent to Ardo.
In I'^'j'j-'jZ, Mr. Ogston erected the new mansion
house of Ardo. It stands on a fine elevated situation,
and is an imposing structure, built in the Scottish
baronial style of architecture. The grounds are admir-
ably laid out, and the mansion is sheltered by thriving
plantations, which lend a shade of serenity to the
Heathcot once formed a part of the estate of
Auchlunies, but in 1793 it was sold by Mr. Ogilvie,
collector of customs at Aberdeen, to Thomas Gordon of
Premnay. He was succeeded in 1820 by his sister.
Lady Mary Bannerman, widow of Sir Alexander B.
Bannerman, who was a Professor of Medicine in King's
College, Aberdeen, in the later part of the last century.
In 1822, Mr. John Garioch acquired the estate of
Heathcot. He erected a new mansion house, planted
wood, and otherwise improved the lands. He was suc-
ceeded by his sister, Margaret, and after her death, her
trustees sold the estate to James Fraser, merchant,
Aberdeen. After his death, the estate was purchased by
the late Mr. i\dam Mitchell, builder.
Mr. Mitchell was a native of the Parish of Kenneth-
mont, and served his apprenticeship with the firm of
Macdonald & Leslie, Aberdeen Granite Works. He
carried on business as a builder for upwards of twenty
years, and executed many important contracts. One of
his large undertakings was the construction of the
Denburn railway and the Joint Station at Aberdeen.
He erected bridges over the Don at Strathdon and
Kinaldie, built the mansion houses of Glenmuick, Corse,
Lochinver, and others, and the Palace Buildings,
Aberdeen. It was during Mr. Mitchell's proprietorship of
Heathcot that the mansion was converted into a hydro-
pathic establishment. Mr. Mitchell died on the 28th of
Heathcot House stands on a fine level plain, about a
quarter of a mile from the south bank of the Dee. It is
a pretty large structure, built in the cottage style, and it
is well sheltered by woods. Rev. Dr. Alex. Stewart has
conducted the popular hydropathic establishment with
remarkable success for a period of seventeen years.
A short distance west of Heathcot is the mansion of
Shannaburn, on the bank of a stream. Shannaburn once
formed a part of the lands of Auchlunies. In the early
part of the present century Shannaburn belonged to
George Hogg, merchant in Aberdeen. He died in 1826,
at the age of seventy-eight years. Shannaburn was the
property and residence of the late John Reid, advocate,
Aberdeen. About three-quarters of a mile to the south
is the house of Auchlunies. In 18 10, the estate of
Auchlunies was purchased by Alexander Gordon. He
44 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
held it till 1834, and then sold it to Mr. Peter Duguid,
merchant, Aberdeen. Mr. Duguid died in 1838, and was
succeeded by his son, Peter, the present owner of the
estate. Mr. Duguid resided for many years at the house
of Auchlunies, but he now resides at the fine old mansion
on his estate of Bourtie, while his brother, William,
occupies the house of Auchlunies. Mr. Peter Duguid is
a cultured and exceedingly genial gentleman.
MURTLE— EDGEHILL— CULTER HOUSE— PAPER WORKS.
Turning to the north side of the Valley, immediately
beyond Cults House there are a considerable number of
very fine villas and cottages, on both sides of the road
nearly all the way to the village of Culter. On the north
side of the road is Lynwood, the residence of the late Mr.
George D. Rutherford, advocate. It is a very fine villa.
In the immediate vicinity, on the same side of the road, is
the residence of General Brown. The General has lived
a quiet life in this beautiful spot for a number of years.
He has seen many parts of the world, his range of infor-
mation is wide and varied, and his conversation is exceed-
ingly interesting and instructive. A short distance
onward is Fernielee, the residence of Mr. M'Laren,
merchant. On the south side of the road is Newton Dee,
the residence of Colonel Johnston.
Bieldside lies between Cults and Murtle, and is in the
Parish of Peterculter. It was purchased by Mr. Corbet
in 1805, and the mansion house was erected in 181 1. He
died in 1844, and was succeeded by his son, the Rev. Dr.
Adam Corbet. He was minister of Drumoak from 1826
until his death in 1876. He bequeathed the estate in
life-rent to his half-brother, Dr. James Corbet, who died
Dalhibity House stands on the east side of the Den of
Murtle, and is the residence of Mr. John Whyte, advocate,
Binghill lies on the west of the Den of Murtle ; and in a
46 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
wood on this estate there are a stone circle and a large
cairn. The aqueduct of the Aberdeen Waterworks is
carried across the Den of Murtle.
Murtle House stands on a fine site — an elevated bank
on the north side of the Dee, and close to the east side of
the Den. The house was erected by the late Mr. John
Thurburn about sixty years ago. It is a pretty large
structure, built in the Grecian style of architecture. It is
well sheltered by woods, and the whole surroundings are
exceedingly picturesque. The garden is situated in the
sheltered Den, and it produces excellent fruit.
In 1 163, Malcolm IV. granted the barony ol Murtle
to the Bishop of Aberdeen, with its pertinents and
common pasturage. This was confirmed by William the
Lion. A curious incident afterward occurred in connec-
tion with this grant. In 1383, the land of Murtle was
occupied by John Crab, and an attempt was then made to
reclaim it from him. A lawsuit ensued under rather
suspicious forms. The Bishop held a Court for the
examination of charters, from which Crab appealed to the
Sheriff on the ground that it was incompetent for the
Bishop to act in the character of judge and party in the
case. The civil and the common law, and the laws and
constitutions of the Kingdom were appealed to, but in
the end the Church prevailed. In 1388, Bishop Adam
granted the barony for life to William Chalmers, on the
condition that he should pay a yearly rent of ten marks ;
and in 1402 this agreement was renewed to his son,
Thomas Chalmers. Shortly after. Bishop Henry, in
recognition of a sum of money paid by Chalmers to the
fabric of the Cathedral, and at the request of the Earl of
Mar and Lord Gordon, extended Chalmers' lease for the
life-time of his two successors. His son, Alexander
Chalmers, succeeded, and he was twice Provost of
Aberdeen — in 1443 and 1446. He died in 1463, and was
interred in St. Nicholas Churchyard. In 1488, another
Alexander Chalmers received a lease of the barony for
life from the Bishop of Aberdeen, at an annual rent of
In 1550, the Bishop granted a feu charter to Andrew
Buk of all the lands of Millton of Murtle, for an annual
feu-duty of ;^3 lis. Scots, eight bolls of barley and meal
in equal parts, four sheep, and twenty-four capons. His
son, Thomas Buk, sold the lands to William Strachan.
Afterward the lands passed through the hands of several
persons. In 1659, Dr. William Guild's widow bequeathed
the lands of Millton of Murtle to the Magistrates of
Aberdeen, along with other lands, for the purpose of
maintaining bursars at Marischal College and the
Shortly after, the remainder of the lands of Murtle
came into the possession of a branch of the Irvine family.
In 1695, Alexander Irvine sold the Mains of Murtle,
Oldfold, Stonegavel, Binghill, and Newton of Murtle to
the Master of Mortifications of Aberdeen at the price of
;^9463 Scots. In 1758-59, the Town Council divided the
lands for feuing at the following rate of feu-duties —
Binghill, £j 15s sterling and twelve bolls of meal;
Oldfold, ^11 los sterling and sixteen bolls of meal ;
Mains, £\^ and sixteen bolls of meal ; and Newton, £\6
and eleven bolls of meal. These properties, subject to
the above feu-duties, have often changed hands.
At the beginning of the present century, the lands of
Murtle attached to the mansion house were held by John
48 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Gordon. He left large sums of money for charitable and
religious objects, one of which was a sum of fifty pounds
per annum for founding lectures on practical religion in
the University of Aberdeen.
In 1 82 1, Mr. Gordon's executors sold Murtle to Mr.
John Thurburn. He was a native of Keith, Banffshire.
As mentioned before, he erected a new mansion house
and otherwise greatly improved the estate. Mr. Thurburn
died on the 31st of January, 1861, at the advanced age of
eighty years. Mrs. Thurburn survived him, and she
founded the Thurburn Cooking Depot in Aberdeen for
the benefit of working people. She died at Murtle on the
24th of December, 1872.
Mr. Thurburn's daughter, Anna, married Mr. William
O. Maclaine, and had issue — two sons and one daughter.
Mrs. Maclaine died on the loth of October, 1882, and her
son, Mr. Thurburn Maclaine, succeeded to the estate.
He was born in 1853, and married Miss Rachel Hay, a
daughter of the Rev. Patrick L. Miller. In 1892, Mr.
William Dunn, advocate, Aberdeen, purchased Murtle,
and has been making improvements on the estate.
Beaconhill stands on a fine elevated site on the south
side of the turnpike road, and is the residence of
Mr. William Yeats, advocate. It was erected about
fourteen years ago, and is a pretty large mansion,
surrounded with a fine variety of growing trees and
beautiful pleasure grounds.
Avondow House lies on the south side of the
road, and is the residence of Mr. Alexander Skene,
merchant. Farther on there are a number of fine
About three hundred yards from the north side of
the road, an elegant and massive mansion attracts the
eye. It is Edgehill, the residence of the late Dr. John
Webster. It is built of clear, light-coloured granite, and
stands on a fine elevated site with a southern exposure.
Dr. Webster took an active interest in the municipal
affairs of Aberdeen ; he was a Town Councillor and
Provost of the city. He also took a keen interest in
the University of Aberdeen, and for thirty years he
acted as assessor to the Lord Rector.
Dr. Webster was a keen politician, and an active
member of the Liberal Association, of which he was for
several years president. On the death of Mr. Farley
Leith, M.P., Dr. Webster came forward, in 1880, as the
Liberal candidate for the city of Aberdeen. His opponent
was the late Mr. James Shaw, who contested for the
third time the honour of representing his native city in
Parliament, Great efforts were made on Mr. Shaw's
behalf, and he was hopeful of winning the seat ; he was,
however, defeated by a large majority. Dr. Webster
represented the city for five years, and proved in every
respect an excellent member. He was specially attentive
to all matters affecting the interest and honour of the
city of Aberdeen, and to the requests of his constituents.
Although he did not often speak in the House of
Commons, when he did address the House, he was
always listened to with the utmost respect. He was a
man of rare tact, and admirably qualified to win con-
fidence and influence. He retired on the dissolution of
Parliament in 1885. After the adoption of Home Rule
for Ireland, Dr. Webster, notwithstanding his admiration
for Mr. Gladstone, and the warm personal friendship
which had long existed between them, separated from
50 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
the Liberal party, and became a Unionist, and there is
not the least doubt that he acted on the most con-
Personally, Dr. Webster was an unpretending gentle-
man, and at all times easily accessible. Yet he had a
characteristic polish and tact rarely met with even
among the most cultured class of men. His genial
company and conversation were widely known ; and
many distinguished men who came to visit Aberdeen
enjoyed and highly appreciated his hospitality at
Edgehill. In the course of a long life he had collected
a valuable library and a number of rare MSS. and
letters ; he also manifested a taste for art, and the walls
of his mansion were graced with many fine, valuable,
and rare paintings. He was generous to charitable and
benevolent institutions, and to all movements calculated
to improve the condition of mankind. He died on the
31st of May, 1 89 1, and was interred in the churchyard of
St. Nicholas, Aberdeen.
Camphill House stands on an elevated bank, a few
hundred yards from the north brink of the Dee. It is a
fine site, and the house is embosomed amid trees.
Culter House is upon the rising ground to the north
of the turnpike road. There is a tradition that it was
built in the reign of Queen Mary. It is, however, an
antiquated-looking structure, and was probably erected
about the middle of the seventeenth century.
In the early part of the thirteenth century the lands
of Culter were held by the Durwards. In 1247, Robert
Wauchope obtained Culter from Alexander II. ; but the
lands of this family were forfeited at an early stage of
the War of Independence ; and about the end of the
thirteenth century, Culter came into the hands of the
Comyns, who continued in possession of it till 1729.
James Comyn of Culter was one of the jury on the trial
of the Master of Forbes for conspiracy against the life of
James V. in 1537. During the Covenanting struggle,
Sir Alexander Comyn and his family were subjected to
severe persecution. In 1640, he was seized by General
Munro, and conveyed to Edinburgh and imprisoned.
He was detained in prison six months, and at last
liberated on the payment of a heavy fine. In 1644,
the Parliament empowered Lord Fraser to uplift the
rents pertaining to Sir Alexander Comyn, who was
described in the commission as a malignant, and as
having aided the Irish rebels in this rebellion !
In 1672, Sir Alexander Comyn, the fourteenth laird
of Culter, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia. The
last Scotch Parliament passed an Act empowering him
and his heirs to hold markets upon the Moor of Beans-
hill, on the second Thursday of March and October yearly,
for the sale of all kinds of goods. He was succeeded by
his son, Alexander, who became an advocate. But he
appears to have been an extremely eccentric character ;
and engaged in wild and bootless projects, which resulted
in his becoming helplessly involved in debt ; and he died
in the Charter House, London.
Large sums of money had been lent on the security
of the lands of Culter by Patrick Duff of Premnay, a
scion of the Duffs of Craigston. As the conditions of
the loan had not been implemented by the borrower, in
1729 Mr. Duff obtained the lands of Culter by a decree
of sale of the Court of Session. Patrick Duff died in
1763, leaving no issue. He was succeeded by his brother
Robert, Admiral Duff.
52 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
He had rendered important service to his country.
Admiral Duff was commander-in-chief of the Mediter-
ranean Squadron for some years, and he successfully
defended Gibraltar in the great seige of 1779-83. He
married Helen, a daughter of the first Earl of Fife, and
had issue, three sons and one daughter. He acquired the
estate of Fetteresso in 1782. He died in 1787, and was
interred in a fine tomb at Culter. He was succeeded by
his son, Robert W. Duff of Fetteresso. Robert married
Mary, a daughter of George Morison of Haddo, a grand-
daughter of General James Abercromby of Glassaugh,
and had issue. He was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the
Forfarshire Militia. He died in 1834, and his son,
Robert W. Duff succeeded to the estates of Culter and
Fetteresso. Mr. Duff died in 1861, and was succeeded
by his nephew, Robert W. Duff. He is proprietor of
Culter, Glassaugh, and Fetteresso. He was elected
member of Parliament for Banffshire in 1861, and con-
tinued to represent the county till the spring of 1893.
He then retired on being appointed Governor of New
South Wales. Having received the honour of knighthood,
Sir Robert sailed for his new home to assume the
functions of Governor of the colony.
The Parish Church of Peterculter stands on the
north bank of the Dee, and was erected in 1779, and
contains 550 sittings. The original church was dedicated
to St. Peter. The Free Church stands at the southern
base of Beanshill.
The village of Culter has arisen in connection with
the paper works on the Burn of Culter. It contains a
few shops, and a public hall on the north side of the
road. Most of the houses are occupied by the people
engaged at the works. The Burn of Culter is crossed
by a bridge at a rather romantic and picturesque spot.
Above the bridge there are projecting crags on either
side of the narrow den, but the crags are highest on the
east, and there a wooden statue has been placed —
dressed in the character of Rob Roy ! A Httle further
up, the Den has been turned into a reservoir, and the
water used for motive power. The paper works are
on a haugh below the bridge.
In 1750, Bartholomew Smith obtained a long lease
of a site for a paper work from Patrick Duff of Culter,
on the banks of the Culter Burn. For a long time the
works were on a small scale. Mr. Smith was succeeded
by his son, Richard, and Lewis Smith continued the
manufactory ; but only about six men were employed at
the works towards the end of the last century. In 1820,
the works were acquired by Alexander Irvine, and car-
ried on under the name of Irvine & Company till 1837,
when the mills were purchased by Messrs. Arbuthnot &
M'Combie. In 1840, the machinery was driven by two
large water wheels ; and sixty hands were employed at
the works. The papers then produced in the establish-
ment were browns, cartridges, and all kinds of wrapping
papers. In 1856, the Messrs. Pirie, of Stoneywood, pur-
chased the mills; but, in 1865, they sold them to the
Culter Mills Paper Company. The production was then
about fifteen tons per week. Recently the works have
been greatly extended, new machinery and improved
appliances requisite for the various processes of the
manufactures have been introduced ; and the weekly
produce of paper is upward of sixty tons — or about
thirty-two hundred tons per annum. The motive power
54 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
for the machinery is mainly suppHed by steam engines,
and partly by water, which make a total of over one
thousand horse power. There are two paper-making
machines, each seventy-two inches wide, a number of
cutting, burnishing, super-calendaring, and folding
machines, &c. The electric light is fitted into the
principal rooms ; and the gas consumed by the Com-
pany is also made at the works. The works are built
of granite, and now cover a large space of ground.
The railway siding runs into and through the mill,
round the building, through the grass sheds and
dust house, passing close to the steam boilers, and
thus coal can be tipped from the trucks. The manu-
factures of the Company consists of various qualities and
styles of the finest writing papers, excellent printing
papers, and other kinds of papers ; and the products of
the Company have attained a high reputation in the
markets of the world. Between four and five hundred
hands are employed at the works.
Farther down the Burn, and near its junction with
the Dee, there was once a snuff manufactory, which
belonged to the late William M'Combie of Easter Skene.
In 1843, the factory consisted of a small square thatched
building. The machinery was driven by a water-wheel
of eight-horse power ; and three hundred weight of snuff
was produced per week — or about eight tons per annum.
This factory was worked by one man, who attended to
The M'Combies are a branch of the Clan Mackintosh.
Their original ancestor was Adam Mackintosh, a son of
William, the seventh chief of the Clan Mackintosh. The
Mackintoshes had possessions in Glenshee, Strathardle,
Glenisla, and Birse in the fourteenth century. The
M'Combies settled at Finnegand, in Glenshee, about the
end of the fourteenth century ; and they had also
possessions in Glenisla. They migrated to Aberdeen-
shire in the latter half of the seventeenth century, and
settled first in the parish of Tough ; and rose from the
position of farmers to landed proprietors.
William M'Combie, the eldest son of Thomas
M'Combie of Easter Skene, was born at Aberdeen in
1802. He was educated at Marischal College, and
graduated in 1820. On the death of his father in 1824,
he succeeded to the estate of Easter Skene, and com-
menced to make improvements, which were continued
to his death. He planted trees, and erected the spacious
mansion house of Easter Skene, which is built in the
Elizabethan style of architecture. It stands on a fine
elevated site, amid wood and belts of trees, commanding
a wide prospect of the surrounding country, having the
Loch of Skene and the lower range of the Grampians
for the front view. He was a skilful farmer, and a
successful breeder of cattle. Mr. M'Combie had a keen
literary and antiquarian taste ; and he spent much time
and attention in investigating the history of his ances-
tors ; and he rejoiced exceedingly when their descent
from the Clan Mackintosh was successfully established.
He had a well-selected and very valuable library in his
mansion of Easter Skene ; and he had a rare store of
interesting and curious information. Mr. M'Combie was
a man of remarkable stature, being over six feet in height,
and well built. Personally, he was a very kind and
warm-hearted man, and easily accessible. He died on
the 4th July, 1890, at the advanced age of eighty-eight.
Mr. Peter Duguid, advocate, Aberdeen, succeeded to
the estate of Easter Skene.
On the south side of the Valley, the scenery appears
more beautiful as we proceed upward ; while the historic
facts and incidents associated with special localities and
families become more interesting.
In 1 1 87, the greater part of the parish of Maryculter
was granted by William the Lion to the Knights
Templars ; on their suppression by the Pope in 1 3 1 2, the
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem succeeded to the lands,
which they retained until the middle of the sixteenth
century — a period when a considerable part of the land of
Scotland passed into the hands of new owners.
About the middle of the thirteenth century, Walter
Bisset founded a preceptory of the Knights Templars ;
and they erected a chapel dedicated to St. Mary, which
was consecrated in 1288. This chapel stood on the south
bank of the Dee, in the immediate vicinity of Maryculter
House, where its ruins may still be seen. It was a long,
narrow structure of eighty-two feet in length and twenty-
eight feet in width, with walls three feet thick. The old
graveyard is beside the ruins of the chapel. About a mile
to the south a new church was erected, on an elevated
site, in 1787 ; and a new churchyard was formed.
The Templars abandoned their home and chapel in
Maryculter in the year 1548. In 1563, the whole lands of
the order of St. John Templars were erected into a
temporal barony for Lord Torphichen. Afterwards these
lands passed through other hands, which will be indicated
as I proceed.
The extent of the estate of Blairs is eleven hundred
acres, extending from the banks of the river southward to
the limit of the Parish of Maryculter. The soil along the
river side is good and well cultivated. In 1535, Gilbert
Menzies of Pitfodels acquired this estate from the religious
order before mentioned ; and the transaction was con-
firmed in 1542 by a charter under the great Seal. The
estate, however, fell into other hands before the end of
the sixteenth century. But toward the end of the last
century it was again acquired by Captain David Menzies.
He was succeeded by his nephew, John Menzies,
mentioned in a preceding chapter ; and he bequeathed
the mansion and lands of Blairs to the Roman Catholic
Bishops of Scotland in 1827, for the establishment of a
Roman Catholic College. A few years later the institu-
tion was opened, under the name of St. Mary's College.
The College has a resident president and a staff of
professors ; and at present over eighty students, all of
them in residence. Candidates for the priesthood com-
mence their course in the institution, and after passing in
the arts classes, they then proceed for the study of
divinity and philosophy to the Scots Colleges at Paris,
Rome, or the Diocesan Seminary at Glasgow.
The library of St. Mary's College contains a consider-
able number of rare and very valuable works, and also
historic MSS. of much interest. Numerous paintings of
merit and rare interest grace the walls of the institution.
There are two portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots, one a
full length, a striking picture ; and the other a three-
quarter size ; and both are greatly admired. Portraits of
58 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Cardinal Beaton, Prince Charles Edward, and of several
Scottish Bishops form a part of the invaluable treasures
of the College.
A little further up the Valley, on the south side of the
road, stands Marybank, the residence of William
Mackintosh. During the trenching and laying out of
the grounds a stone cist and urn were found.
The mansion house of Kingcausie is situated on the
rising ground, about a quarter of a mile from the south
bank of the river. The house and lawn front the Dee.
The background is sheltered with trees ; and the pleasure
grounds are beautiful. A little to the west of the
mansion is a romantic little waterfall called the Corbie
Linn, on a small stream. The locality is noted for its
In 1535, Henry Irvine, a son of Alexander Irvine of
Drum, acquired the lands of Kingcausie from the Knights
Templars ; and John Irvine was the proprietor of the
estate in 1592. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander
Irvine, and this branch of the Irvine family continued to
hold the estate. James Irvine of Kingcausie joined the
Earl of Mar in the Rising of 171 5 ; and he accompanied
Earl Marischal when the Pretender was proclaimed King
at the Cross of Aberdeen. The succession in the male line
having failed, the estate passed to Anne Irvine; and in 1783
she married Claude Boswell, advocate, subsequently Lord
Balmuto, by whom she had a son and two daughters.
Their son, John Irvine-Boswell succeeded to the estate.
He married Margaret, a daughter of Mr. Christie of
Durie. Mr. Irvine-Boswell died in i860, at the age of
seventy-five years ; and a massive granite monument was
erected to his memory by his widow, which stands upon
the hill of Auchlunies. He left no issue, and one of his
sisters died unmarried ; while his other sister married
Mr. Syme, drawing-master at Dollar Academy, by whom
she had a son and a daughter. The son succeeded to
Balmuto, in Fife, and the daughter became heiress of
Kingcausie. She married Mr. Archer Fortescue of
Swanbister, in Orkney, the present proprietor.
The mansion house of Maryculter is placed on a bank
overhanging the south side of the Dee, and embosomed
amid wood. The natural beauty of the site and the
scene around it is serene and pleasing to the eye. The
avenue leading to it runs west along the south side of the
river for a mile, and on either side it is lined by fine old
trees. A portion of the house was probably built in the
seventeenth century, and it was thoroughly repaired and
considerably enlarged in the first quarter of the present
century by General Gordon.
In 1618, the house of Maryculter and the adjoining
lands were purchased by George Menzies of Pitfodels.
In 181 1, the estate was bought by General Gordon from
John Menzies. This General, the Hon. William Gordon,
was a son of the Earl of Aberdeen ; and in 1746, when a
boy, he succeeded to the lands ofFyvie. He entered the
army, and attained distinction. He was Colonel of
the 2 1 St Fusiliers, a Groom of the Bedchamber to George
III., and a Member of Parliament for a number of years.
He erected the fourth tower of the Castle ofFyvie in 1777,
called the Gordon Tower ; formed the beautiful lake
which stretches along the east side of the avenue, and
laid out the fine policies ; planted extensive tracts of
ground in the parish, encouraged agriculture, and took a
keen interest in the welfare of his tenantry. General
60 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Gordon died at Maryculter in 1816, and was succeeded
by his son, William Gordon ; and he carried on the
improvements which his father had commenced. It
appears that Mr. Gordon occasionally resided at Mary-
culter ; but in 1839, he sold the greater part of the estate.
He died in 1847, and was succeeded by Captain Charles
Gordon, who died in 1851. He was succeeded by his
son, Captain William Cosmo Gordon. In 1848, he
married Mary Grace, a daughter of Sir Robert
Abercromby, Bart, of Birkenbog and Forglen, but had
no issue. He was a popular landlord, and took a warm
interest in his tenantry. He died in 1879, and was suc-
ceeded by his brother. Captain Alexander H. Gordon, of
the Indian Navy. Captain Gordon was a considerate
and generous landlord, and a warm-hearted gentleman.
He died suddenly at Aberdeen, in March, 1884. Dying
without issue, he was succeeded by his cousin, Sir
Maurice Duff Gordon ; but the estate of Fyvie was
recently purchased by Mr. Leith.
A mile to the west of Maryculter House is the house
Considerable portions of the Parish of Maryculter are
covered with wood. The trees which appear to be most
congenial to the soil are the birch, fir, larch, spruce, and
beech. The district is comparatively rich in plants of
botanic interest ; some rare species are found among the
Proceeding up the Valley, it is said that Durris was
a Royal forest at an early period, but there is little or no
I. A new Steel Bridge across the Dee at Maryculter is erecting, and was expected to
be finished in 1804 ; but a severe thunder storm occurred on the night of the 2nd and
morning of the 3rd of August, which greatly injured the preparations for the erection of
the Bridge. Great damage was also done to the Crops in the Valley.
evidence of this. In the thirteenth century, during the
reign of Alexander III., a portion of the lands of Durris
appears to have been in the hands of the Crown ; and at
that period a considerable extent of land throughout the
kingdom was in the Crown. This meant that the Sheriff
of the county, the steward or bailie of a district, accounted
to the national Exchequer for the rents in money and
kind payable to the Crown for such lands. But
some confusion appears to have often arisen in the minds
of popular writers touching the terms " Royal forest," " in
forest," " free forest" : such words frequently occur in
early charters, and require some explanation. The ex-
pression " Royal forest " did not necessarily mean that
the territory to which it was applied was under wood or
uninhabited by man ; at the utmost it only imported that
when the King thought fit he could traverse such terri-
tory and hunt in it ; and there is no evidence that these
territories in early times were uninhabited or unused as
pastures for sheep and cattle. But the Royal parks — the
enclosed grounds — were strictly limited as real Royal
and Crown property ; and altogether different from what
was vaguely called a forest. Further, the term " in forest"
was connected with a form of feudal tenure in Scotland,
and did not mean in general, that the territory granted in
the charter was quite wooded or in any way wooded at
all, or uninhabited or uncultivated. Then a grant of " free
forest " by charter was a form of tenure a degree higher
than a grant of " free barony," and it had no special con-
nection whatever with trees or a forest, but it conveyed to
its holder such a stretch of power and jurisdiction over
the inhabitants of the lands within the limits of the grant
as approached to the feudal rights and privileges of an
62 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
earldom. Thus, the term " Royal forest " in early times
had a vague meaning, while the expression " Royal park"
was quite definite ; the phrase " in forest " was used in
connection with a form of feudal tenure ; and a grant of
" free forest" was a higher form of feudal tenure than a
grant of " free barony."
It appears that the territory of Durris was in the hands
of Robert I. in 1308. William Fraser, a son of Sir
Alexander Fraser, held the lands of Durris in the reign
of David II. His father. Sir Alexander, married Lady
Mary, a sister of Robert the Bruce, and through her the
family obtained many grants of lands. William married
Mary, a daughter of the national patriot. Sir Andrew
Moray of Bothwell. William Fraser was actively en-
gaged in the national struggle against the English during
the minority of David II. ; while his father. Sir
Alexander, was slain at the battle of Dupplin in 1332.
It seems that he received the honour of knighthood from
David II., who, after his return from France, frequently
visited Aberdeen and the surrounding country. Sir
William was in the army under the King which invaded
England in 1346, and he fell in the disastrous battle of
Durham. He left two sons, mere boys, and the lands of
Durris were placed in ward under the Crown during the
minority of the eldest son. Alexander Fraser, the eldest
son, obtained full possession of the lands in 1363. In
1369, David II. granted to him the whole lands of the
thanage of Durris — transformed into the tenure of free
barony, to be held, under the Crown, by him and his heirs
on the condition of three annual attendances at the
Head Court of the Sheriffdom of Kincardineshire and
the service of one archer in the Royal army.
He was present at the Coronation of Robert II. at
Scone, on the 26th of March, 1371 ; and he was also
present at the more memorable meeting of Parliament
at Scone, on the 4th of April, 1372, when the succession
to the Kingdom of Scotland was limited to the male
line. On this great occasion, after the document settling
the succession had been approved and passed by
Parliament, all present, each individually touched the
" Holy Gospels and sworn their bodily oath that they
would inviolably observe these declarations and statutes
for themselves and their heirs, and cause them to be
observed to the utmost of their power." One would have
thought this was sufficient, but Robert II. thought other-
wise ; and what was instantly enacted to complete the
validity of the proceedings is of great historic interest and
significance. The record goes on to state : — " And im-
mediately thereafter the whole multitude of the clergy
and the people in the Church of Scone, before the great
altar, being specially convened for the purpose, the
aforesaid declaration, ordinance, and statute being ex-
plained to them in a loud and public voice, each raising
his hand, after the manner of faith-giving, in token of the
universal consent of the whole clergy and people, publicly
expressed and declared their consent and assent. In
witness of all which, our Lord the King ordered his Great
Seal to be affixed to the present writing." There is no
doubt that the latter part of the proceedings — the manner
of obtaining " the consent and assent of the people " —
was even at that date an extremely ancient custom in
Sir Alexander Fraser, in 1375, married Johanna,
I. National MSB. Part II., Nos. 43 A, 43 B.
64 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
younger daughter of William, sixth Earl of Ross ; and
Sir Walter Leslie married the elder daughter of the Earl.
In due time, Sir Walter Leslie became Earl of Ross in
risfht of his wife ; and Sir Alexander obtained with his
wife a number of estates in Buchan, which were formed
into the lordship of Philorth. In 1388, he fought at the
battle of Otterburn. This Sir Alexander Eraser of
Durris and Philorth died about 14 10, and was succeeded
by his son, William. The Erasers continued in the
possession of Durris and their kinsmen in the lordship of
As the chief of the Erasers became a Covenanter in
1639, the lands and House of Durris were plundered by
the Royalists. In 1645, Montrose, on his march through
the district, set Durris House on fire, and destroyed the
corn, horses, cattle, sheep, and other goods. Shortly
after, Durris passed into the hands of the Philorth branch
of the family — Lord Eraser. But in 1669, Sir Alexander
Eraser, a descendant of the old branch, purchased the
estate of Durris from Lord Eraser.
Sir Alexander had several sons and daughters ; and one
of his sons, Sir Peter Eraser, was the last laird of Durris
of that name. His daughter and heiress, named Carey,
was a maid of honour to Catherine, Queen of Charles II.
She married General Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough
and Monmouth, by whom she had an only daughter,
Henriett Mordaunt. This lady married the second Duke
of Gordon ; and thus the lands of Durris ultimately
passed into the hands of this ancient and honourable
When the lands of Durris became the property of the
Duke of Gordon great improvements were made. A
large tract of territory was planted, and a better method
of husbandry was introduced into the district. On a
rounded height near the south side of the Dee, and the
Bridge of Park, there stands an octagonal tower, nearly
eighty feet in height, which was erected in 1825 by the
Duke of Gordon to commemorate his coming into the
possession of Durris as heir of entail to the Earl of
Towards the end of the last century, the lands of
Durris were held under a long lease by John Innes,
Sheriff-Substitute of Kincardineshire. He died in 1852,
aged eighty years. His son, Cosmo Innes, was born at
Durris House. He became an advocate ; held the
appointment of Clerk in the Court of Session ; and sub-
sequently he was appointed Sheriff of Elginshire, and
Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh. He
is the author of a number of works, chiefly relating to the
early and middle periods of Scottish history. One of his
latest and best volumes was entitled " Legal Antiquities."
Mr. Innes also edited and wrote prefaces to a very large
number of volumes for the Bannatyne Club, Maitland
Club, and the original Spalding Club. Further, he
prepared and edited the greater part of the very valuable
work entitled " The National Manuscripts of Scotland " ;
and his labour and research in connection with the
editing of the first volume of the " Record Edition of the
Acts of the Scottish Parliament " is a great monument of
record scholarship, and industry. Mr. Innes died in
Under an Act of Parliament the entail of Durris was
transferred to property in the vicinity of Gordon Castle.
In 1834, the lands of Durris were sold to Anthony
66 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Mactier. He died on the 5th of August, 1854, at the
advanced age of eighty-one years. He was succeeded by
his son, Alexander, who married, but had no children.
In 1 87 1, he sold the estate to Dr. James Young of Kelly,
paraffin oil manufacturer, for a sum of ^^"300,000.
Dr. Young gained his wealth by his own efforts. He
was descended from parents in humble circumstances,
and he worked as a joiner at an early stage of his life in
Glasgow. He soon became intensely interested in the
study of chemistry, and attended the chemical classes in
the Andersonian College. Subsequently he went to
London, and continued his studies in London University,
under Professor Graham. Afterward he became manager
of chemical works at Liverpool ; thence he proceeded to
Manchester, and was engaged in the branch of the St.
Rollox Works in that city. On leaving Manchester he
commenced a series of experiments in connection with
the manufacture of mineral oil. After much hard and
continuous work, his efforts culminated in the discovery
of paraffin. From this and other enterprises, he amassed
great wealth. Dr. Young died on the 13th of May, 1883.
In 1890, Henry R. Baird purchased the lands of Durris.
The mansion house of Durris stands on the east bank
of a sequestered and picturesque narrow dale. It consists
of two portions, an old and a new. The old mansion was
probably built in the later part of the seventeenth
century, and presents some of the characteristics of the
Scottish baronial style. A portion of the modern
structure was erected in 1824, and additions were made
to it in 1835-38. The two portions of the structure are
connected by a colonnade. It is built of granite. The
grounds extend to over two hundred acres, and are well
laid out ; the ornamental trees and shrubs are varied and
The hamlet of Kirkton of Durris is beside the bridge
which spans the Sheeoch Burn, and it consists of a few
neat cottages, with some trees in its vicinity. A short
distance down on the east side of the stream, and the
south bank of the Dee, stands the Parish Church and
Manse of Durris, in a pleasant situation. The church is
a plain structure, and was erected in 1822, by the fifth
Duke of Gordon. It affords accommodation for five
hundred and fifty sitters. From a date on the ruins of
the old church, it appears to have been built in 1537.
The Free Church is about a mile to the south-west. A
mile and a half to the west of the Parish Church, the Dee
is spanned by a bridge, which was erected in 1862 by the
late proprietor of Durris, Mr. Mactier.
A quarter of a mile below the church, overhanging a
rather steep bank of the river, is a small height, called the
Castle Hill. It has a ditch at the base, and a small rill of
water runs close past it, which might easily have been
diverted to fill the ditch. There is a tradition that it had
been a fort.
IRVINES OF DRUM— HISTORIC INCIDENTS.
Proceeding up the Valley, the scenery appears more
striking and varied. On the south side, the summits of
the mountain range gradually increase in elevation, while
trees and plantations give hue and shade to the scene ;
on the north side, the undulating surface of the ground,
the knolls and heights covered with wood, present land-
scapes of touching beauty.
The Loch of Drum lies about a mile west of Park
Station. It is an oblong sheet of water, covering eighty-
four acres, with a depth of from three to four feet. Its
margin is fringed with alders, and on three sides it is
bounded by woods. It once covered three hundred
acres, but its area was reduced by drainage in the early
part of this century. On the north-east side is the
"King's Well." There is a tradition that the early
Kings of Scotland often resorted to the Forest of Drum
to enjoy the chase.
The old church of Drumoak stood within the grave-
yard upon a rising space on the north bank of the Dee.
It is now a roofless ruin. It was a long and narrow
structure, with outside stairs upon the north and east,
and had two doors and five windows. A flat slab near
the east end is ornamented with an incised cross. The
present church stands on a flat site, about a quarter of a
mile from Park Station, and was erected in 1836. It is
an elegant structure, in the Gothic style, designed by the
late Mr. A. Simpson, Aberdeen.
IRVINES OF DRUM. 69
There is no lack of legend and romance associated
with the Irvine family. It is supposed by some that
Drum was in the possession of the Crown prior to the
fourteenth century, and formed part of a Royal forest.
There is, however, no evidence of this, though there is
■evidence of a park — an enclosed space of ground which
belonged to the Crown.
The Irvine family trace their descent back to a very
remote period. At the opening of the fourteenth century
the family was settled in Dumfries-shire. William Irvine
of Bonshaw had a son, William, who enrolled himself
under the banner of Robert Bruce as one of the small
party who formed the forlorn hope of the Scottish nation.
Irvine was so faithful to Bruce, and acted so well in the
desperate struggle which ensued, and culminated in the
memorable Battle of Bannockburn, that Robert I., in
1323, granted to him by charter the forest lands of
Drum ; but reserved the Park — that is, the enclosed
ground — the real hunting seat. Shortly after, Irvine
received another charter from the King, conferring on
him a more complete jurisdiction over the inhabitants
of the land.
The feudal enemies of the Irvines in the south of
Scotland were the Maxwells and the Bells ; while in
the north they had to do battle with the Keiths and the
Forbeses. Tradition has transmitted a tale of one of the
conflicts between the Irvines and the Keiths, which took
place on a moor on the north side of the Dee, in the
Parish of Drumoak. In this encounter the Irvines were
victorious, and drove their enemies across the river at a
deep, rocky part of the channel, which is called *' Keith's
Pot " ; and a rock which occasionally appears a few
70 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
inches above the water, on which one of the fugitives
had taken refuge, and was killed, yet retains the name
of " Keith's Stone." The feud between the two families
rose to such a height that Parliament had to interfere,
and induced Alexander Irvine, the fourth laird of Drum,
to marry Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Robert Keith,
Marischal of Scotland. It is said that Irvine formed
this marriage alliance more from a spirit of loyalty than
any desire to wed the daughter of his feudal enemy.
In 141 1, when the family quarrel between the Lord
of the Isles and the Duke of Albany — then Regent of
Scotland — came to a crisis, Alexander Irvine of Drum
joined the Earl of Mar, and fought at the Battle of
Harlaw. Irvine of Drum and a considerable number of
the chief men of the counties of Aberdeen, Kincardine,
and Forfar were slain at Harlaw. Thus the Battle of
Harlaw was a very important local event ; but it had no
real political, or national, or racial significance whatever,
for it was entirely a family quarrel between the Duke of
Albany and the Lord of the Isles, touching the right of
succession to the Earldom of Ross. Further, the Duke
of Albany was completely on the wrong side in the quarrel
which led to the Battle of Harlaw ; for Donald of the Isles
retained possession of the Earldom of Ross, and his son,
Alexander, succeeded him ; and James I. granted a charter
to him confirming his right to the Earldom of Ross. In
1425, on the 27th of May, in the palace of Stirling, when
the Duke of Albany (the Regent's son) was tried and
sentenced to death, Alexander, Earl of Ross and Lord of
the Isles, was one of the jurymen on the trial.
Robert Irvine, a brother of Alexander, who fell at
Harlaw, succeeded to the family estates, and assumed
IRVINES OF DRUM. 71
the name of Alexander. In 1423, he was one of the
commissioners who went to England to negotiate with
the English Government for the liberation of James I.
When the King returned home in 1424, he conferred on
Irvine the honour of knighthood. He attended the
Parliament held at Perth on the 12th of March, 1425 ;
and on the ninth day of the Parliament, the King
arrested and imprisoned twenty-nine nobles and knights,
and Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum was one of them.
The King's object was to secure the Duke of Albany,
and he imprisoned the others to prevent them from
assisting him or attempting his rescue ; and they were
released in a few days. The Irvine family have always
been remarkable for loyalty to the Crown. Sir Alex-
ander's second son acted so bravely at the Battle of
Brechin in 1452, under the Earl of Huntly, that his
lordship afterwards granted to him the lands of Belty, in
Kincardine O'Neil, as a reward for his service.
Sir Alexander was succeeded by his son, Alexander
Irv'ine. In 1470, he held the office of Sheriff-Depute of
Aberdeenshire. He married a daughter of Abernethy of
Saltoun, and had issue. The family continued to be
loyal and powerful ; and, in 1527, James V. conferred
upon the eldest son of the then Alexander, a gift of
non-entry to the lands of Forglen, which purported to
be given " on account of Drum, his said son, and their
friends, their good and thankful service done to the
King in searching for, taking, and bringing the rebels to
justice." The young man thus referred to entered into
the midst of the struggle in the early part of the
minority of Queen Mary. He marched southward with
a company of the citizens of Aberdeen, joined the
72 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Regent near Musselburgh; and on the loth of September,
1547, he fell facing the enemy on the disastrous field
He left six sons and three daughters ; and his eldest
son, Alexander, succeeded to the estates on the death
of his grandfather. He married Elizabeth Keith, a
daughter of Earl Marischal, by whom he had a large
family. Their eldest son. Sir Alexander, succeeded to
the lands in 1583. He became a warm patron of learn-
ing, and benefactor to the poor. In 1629, he devised a
sum of ;^io,(X)0 Scots for the maintenance of four
bursars in philosophy, and two in divinity at Marischal
College ; and four at the Grammar School of Aberdeen ;
and vesting the right of presentation to all of them in
the family of Drum. Further, he mortified thirty-two
bolls of meal to persons living on his property in Drum-
oak, viz. : — Twelve bolls to poor scholars, eight to the
parochial schoolmaster for teaching them, and twelve to
decayed tenants — all of which are divided annually at
the sight of the kirk-session. He married Marian
Douglas, a daughter of the Earl of Buchan, by whom
he had issue. This lady, in 1633, mortified a sum of
three thousand marks to endow an hospital in Aberdeen
for widows and aged daughters of decayed burgesses, of
which the Town Council had the patronage.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Alexander.
He married Magdalen, a daughter of Sir John Scrym-
geour of Dudhope, Constable of Dundee. Sir Alexander
was Sheriff-Principal of Aberdeenshire in 1634, and in
several subsequent years. At this period the family of
Drum possessed extensive and valuable estates in the
counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Forfar ; and the house
IRVINES OF DRUM. 73
had then attained the zenith of its wealth and influence.
The family suffered severely for their adherence to the
Royal cause in the Covenanting struggle.
On the 2nd of June, 1640, General Munro and Earl
Marischal advanced to besiege the Castle of Drum. The
laird was then from home, but his Lady, accompanied
by a few determined men, held the Castle, which was
well supplied with provisions and ammunition. When
the attacking army came within range, it was saluted by
a volley, which killed two men, and induced the Cove-
nanting general to try the effect of a parley. He sum-
moned the Lady to surrender the Castle ; she requested
time to form a decision, and twenty-four hours was
granted that she might obtain her husband's opinion.
Before the expiry of this time, the Lady resolved to
surrender, on the condition that her soldiers should be
permitted to march out with their baggage ; and herself,
her children, and female servants should be permitted to
remain and occupy apartments in the place. Those
conditions were accepted. Monro left a garrison of forty
men in the Castle to live at free quarters, commanded
the Lady to send her husband to him on his return
home ; and on the 5th he left Drum, and proceeded
triumphantly to Aberdeen.
The succeeding laird was subjected to greater per-
secution. In his father's life-time, Alexander married
Lady Mary Gordon, a daughter of the second Marquis
of Huntly. Throughout all the changes of the time,
Alexander Irvine adhered to the Royal cause ; and, in
1644, he joined the standard of Montrose. The same
year, he and his brother, Robert, were excommunicated,
and a reward of eighteen thousand marks was offered
74 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
for the head of the Laird of Drum. This rendered their
position extremely perilous, and they resolved to leave
Scotland. The two brothers embarked on a small vessel
at Fraserburgh, intending to sail for England ; but they
were driven by adverse winds on the coast of Caithness.
They landed at Wick, where a committee of Covenanters
was sitting ; and, being recognised, they were im-
mediately seized and conveyed to Edinburgh, and
imprisoned. Robert sank under the rigorous confine-
ment, and died in prison. His brother, Alexander, was
lying in Edinburgh Castle under the sentence of death.
But the Battle of Kilsyth saved him and a number of
others from the gallows ; as Montrose, by a rapid march,
threatened Edinburgh, the prisoners in the Castle were
In 1646, Irvine of Drum with a troop of horse, and
Farquharson of Inverey with two hundred foot, beat up
the quarters of the Covenanters in the Valley of the Dee
to within a few miles of Aberdeen. They captured
seventy prisoners, with all their horses, baggage, and
After the Restoration, Charles II. offered Alexander
Irvine a peerage. But placed as the family then were,
from confiscation of their property, heavy fines, and
other disasters which had befallen them, he wisely
declined the proffered honour. He died in 1687, and
was interred in Drum's Aisle, St. Nicholas Church,
Aberdeen. By his wife, Lady Mary Gordon, he had
three sons and four daughters ; and his eldest son,
Alexander, succeeded to the lands. He had no issue,
and died in 1695.
Alexander Irvine of Murtle then succeeded to the
IRVINES OF DRUM. 75
lands of Drum. He married, and had issue, and died
in 1 7 19. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander, who
having died unmarried in 1735, the lands then passed
into the possession of his uncle, John Irvine. He died
in 1737, leaving no issue ; and the male line of the
Murtle branch became extinct. The succession then
reverted to the descendants of John Irvine of Artamford,
fifth son of Alexander Irvine of Drum, who inherited the
estates in 1553, and whose great-grandson, Alexander
Irvine of Crimond, by the failure of heirs-male in the
senior branches, became Laird of Drum. He also, in
1744, became heir-of-line, on the death of Irvine of
Saphock without male issue. His eldest son died
without issue, but his second son, Alexander, succeeded
to the estates of Drum and Crimond. He married
Mary, a daughter of James Ogilvie of Auchiries, by
whom he had issue — three sons and three daughters.
He died in 1761, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
Alexander. In December, 1775, he married Jane, only
daughter of Hugh Forbes of Chivas. Their eldest son,
Alexander Forbes Irvine was born in 1777. He became
an advocate at the Scottish Bar ; and on the death of
his father, succeeded to the lands of Drum. He was
succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander Forbes Irvine.
He was for thirty years Convener of the County of
Aberdeen ; and Sheriff-Principal of Argyllshire for
many years. He died on 4th April, 1892, and was
succeeded by his son, Francis H. F. Irvine, the
twenty-first laird of Drum. He was a popular landlord,
and very kind to the tenants on his estate. Mr. Irvine
was a member of the County Council for the Drumoak
district, a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner
76 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
of Supply for the County. He was chairman of Drum-
oak School Board. He took an active part in the
movement for the erection of the bridge over the Dee at
Maryculter ; and, indeed, he was ever willing to promote
any movement calculated to benefit the community.
After a few days illness he expired on the evening of the
25th July, 1894, in the fortieth year of his age. He was
survived by his wife, and two sons, both of whom are
The Castle of Drum stands upon the east side of an
eminence, surrounded by woods, and presents a striking
and picturesque appearance. The Tower of Drum is the
greatest structure, and the most interesting object of
antiquity in the Parish of Drumoak. It is oblong in
form, and rounded at the angles, a massive specimen of
the early defensive tower. It is fifty feet six inches in
length, and thirty-eight feet six inches in width, and
seventy feet six inches in height to the top of the
battlement. The walls are twelve feet in thickness
above the ground and still thicker in the vault below.
The interior consists of three vaulted chambers,
each forming an entire storey, with a small recess in the
wall of each of the two uppermost. The original entrance
seems to be the one near the south-east corner of the
tower, twelve feet from the ground, and on entering it
there are two inner doors in front. From one of these a
narrow stair of nineteen steps leads down to the under-
ground vault or first storey, which is an apartment of
twenty-eight feet six inches by fifteen feet six inches,
and eleven feet high ; and in one corner of it there is a
draw-well nine feet deep. The other inner door opens
into the second chamber or storey, which is thirty-two
IRVINES OF DRUM. 77
feet by twenty feet nine inches, and twenty-three feet in
height. From this apartment a narrow stair within the
wall winds up to the third chamber, which is twenty-four
feet nine inches high, and of nearly the same area as the
one below it. In the east end of the vaulted roof, a
small door leads out to the battlement. The windows
are small, few, and far from the ground. This great
defensive tower, presents the main characteristics of the
earlier specimens of the class to which it belongs^
and was probably built about the middle of the thir-
The mansion adjoining the tower is a large and
spacious structure, and was erected in 1619. Important
alterations have from time to time been made upon it,
but its original style has been preserved. In the
immediate vicinity of the house, at the south-west corner,
there is a neat small chapel, which internally is very
beautiful. The family tomb is within the chapel.
PARK— BURNETTS OF LEYS— CRATHES CASTLE.
The lands of Park were granted by charter from David
11. to Walter Moigne in 1359 ; and he was succeeded by
his son, John. In 1389, John Moigne concluded an agree-
ment with Alexander Irvine, "lord of Drum," reserving
for his own life-time a chalder of meal, which Irvine was
wont to pay for upholding the Park, the half of the profits
arising from the barony courts, and the sale of wood ;
he agreed that Alexander of Drum and his heirs should
succeed to the Park at his demise. Park continued in
the possession of the Irvine family until 1737, when the
estate was sold to Mr. Patrick Duff of Culter. In 1807,
the estate was purchased for ^9000 by Thomas Burnett,
advocate, Aberdeen ; and in 1821 he sold it to Mr.
William Moir. He erected, in 1822, an elegant mansion
house, in the Grecian style of architecture ; and laid out
the grounds and the garden in an admirable form. In
1839, Park was purchased by Mr. Kinloch for a sum
In 1888, Mr. Andrew Penny, silver mine owner,
purchased the estate of Park from Mr. Kinloch's trustees.
Mr. Penny was a native of the Parish of Birse, and
naturally much attached to the Valley of the Dee. By
his own energy and industry, he had amassed a consider-
able fortune ; and he had intended to make Park his
residence in the evening of his days. He was rapidly
improving and still further beautifying the seat ; but on
BURNETTS OF LEYS. 79
his way home from South America he died on the i8th
of May, 1889, without issue. He was succeeded by his
brother, Mr. James Penny, who is also making improve-
ments on the estate. The chief objects of interest
in the vicinity of this beautiful seat are the Loch of Park,
the King's Well, the Priest's Well, and the Prophet's
Well ; a sculptured stone found on Keith's Moor in 1822,
and the fine policies. The Railway Company erected a
bridge over the Dee in the neighbourhood of Park.
The family of Burnett of Leys, according to tradition,
is of great antiquity. Without attaching much weight to
the legend that they came over to England with William
the Conqueror ; yet it appears that there were several
persons of note in the south of Scotland bearing the name
of Burnard as early as the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, whose names occur as witnesses to charters of
the period. In 1324, Robert I. granted by charter to
Alexander Burnett the lands of Killienach Clerach, in the
Parish of Drumoak, and other lands in Banchory-Ternan,
within the Forest of Drum, but outside the Park of this
forest. This grant was confirmed in 1358 by David II.,
by a charter under the Great Seal. Alexander was suc-
ceeded by his son, Robert. John Burnett succeeded his
father ; and in his time — the beginning of the fifteenth
century — the lands were erected into a barony, under the
title of Leys. His son, Robert Burnett, succeeded to the
lands. In 1557, John, the Commendator of Arbroath
and the Convent, signed a charter of resignation of the
lands of Pittenkerrie, Brathens, Invery, and the Kirk
lands of Banchory in favour of Alexander Burnett and
his heirs-male ; and in 1595, all these lands were incorpor-
ated into the barony of Leys, by a charter of James VI.
80 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
The fourth son of this laird, Gilbert Burnett, was educated
at the University of Aberdeen. Subsequently he became
a Professor of Philosophy at Basle, and afterwards at
Montauban. He was held in great esteem among the
Protestants of France ; and he is the author of a book on
Alexander Burnett, the eleventh laird in succession,
married Katherine, a daughter of Gordon of Lismore, and
they had six sons and seven daughters. Their third son,
James of Craigmyle, was the ancestor of the Burnetts of
Monboddo, in Kincardineshire. Their fourth son,
Robert, became Lord Crimond — a lord of Session. Their
eldest son predeceased his father, and the second son,
Thomas, succeeded to Leys. He was knighted by James
VI. In 1626, he was created a baronet of Nova Scotia by
Charles I. ; and in 1642, the King granted to him the
lands and barony of Strachan.
He was a warm Covenanter, and one of the strongest
opponents of the policy of Charles I. in the north of
Scotland. In company with the Lairds of Dun, Morphey,
and Carnegie he proceeded through various districts as a
Commissioner ; aud they accompanied the Marquis of
Montrose to Aberdeen, where they subscribed the
Covenant. Sir Thomas, however, lived on friendly terms
with the heads of the opposite party ; and at last, finding
that both sides were unreasonably resolved on extre-
mities, he retired from public life.
Sir Thomas was a cultured man and a patron of
learning. He mortified to King's College, Aberdeen, four
crofts for three bursars in philosophy ; the annual revenue
of which had increased in 1842 to ;^3i8 6s. yd. He also,
conjointly with Dr. Alexander Reid, erected and endowed
BURNETTS OF LEYS. 81
two schools in the village of Banchory, a grammar school
for boys and a sewing school for girls. He further
erected and endowed with 6300 marks an hospital for six
poor men or women, which was afterwards commuted
into an annual allowance in money to the poor on the
barony of Leys. Some of his papers and letters
preserv^ed in MS. indicate a cultured mind and a warm
sympathy with the religion, liberty, and learning of his
As indicated above, the first Baronet of Leys was a
Covenanter, and one of his daughters married Andrew
Cant of Glendye, in Strachan ; it was from this family of
Glendye that the famous Andrew Cant, minister of
Aberdeen, was descended. There is a spirited ballad
which makes the baronet's daughter marry the Rev. A.
Cant instead of his relative in Glendye. According to
the ballad, the lady was first wooed by Montrose, but
after his defection from the Covenant she consented to
marry the reverend gentleman. A few verses of the
ballad may be quoted : —
The sun shines bright upon bonnie Dee,
And bright on its birken bowers,
And steals thro' the shade of the chestnut tree,
On the Baron's old grey towers.
And many a flower in the summer tide
Springs up by the silvery water :
But the fairest flower on all Deeside
Was the Baron's youngest daughter.
Her step was light, her eye was bright,
Her cheek like summer rose,
And she was wooed by a gallant knight,
The young and brave Montrose.
" Make ready, make ready my good grey steed,"
The trusty Baron said ;
" For we must ride with spur and speed,
The Covenant to aid."
82 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Montrose rode forth with the Baron's band —
He wore a scarf of blue ;
And he has vowed by his lady's hand
To bear him well and true.
And Margaret's eyes of azure light
"With watching and tears were dim : ^
She asked for news of her own true knight,
And heard strange news of him.
And every finger in scorn was raised
To point at the traitor Montrose ;
For where the Covenant banner blazed
He fought among its foes.
The moonbeams lay on the castle wall,
And slept upon hill and lea,
When Margaret stole from her father's hall
To weep 'neath the chestnut tree.
A steed is standing in the wood,
A knight is by its side ;
A scarf of blue, with stains of blood,
Upon his arm is tied.
He listened with a beating heart,
Then sprang that step to greet,
And ere the lady could depart
He kneeled down at her feet.
" Margaret ! thy father's stern decree
Forbids our hopes of bliss ;
But there are lands beyond the sea,
And fairer homes than this.
My steed shall bear thee far away
Safe to some friendly bower.
And place thee ere the break of day
Beyond thy father's power."
She listened with a tearful eye.
Her colour came and went :
She glanced upon the silent sky.
And strength from heaven was sent.
And passed the tear-drop from her eye.
The colour from her face.
And she spoke with spirit strong and high-
The pride of her ancient race —
" Oh ! they may lay me 'neath the sod,
Bound in my white grave clothes,
Ere I deny my father's God,
Or wed with false Montrose."
The lady fled to her lonely bower—
The knight rode on his way.
BURNETTS OF LEYS. 83
And Margaret stood at eventide
Beneath the chestnut tree,
A dark stern man was by her side ;
A Covenanter he.
" I never thought to wed," she said,
" Oh trusty Andrew Cant ;
But my sire's command shall give my hand
For love of the Covenant."^
Sir Thomas Burnett, the third Baronet, and grand-
son of the above, represented Kincardineshire in the last
Scottish Parliament, and keenly opposed the Union. Sir
Robert, the fifth baronet, died unmarried, and the title
passed to his cousin, Sir Thomas Burnett. He married
Catherine, a sister of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain,
and had issue. He died in 1783, and was succeeded by
his eldest son, Sir Robert, seventh baronet. Sir Robert,
in the early stage of his career, entered the army, and
served throughout the first American War. He died in
1835, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Thomas,
who died in 1849. His brother, Sir Alexander, then suc-
ceeded as ninth baronet. He died unmarried in 1856,
and his next brother, Sir James H. Burnett, became tenth
baronet Sir James was Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardine-
shire, and he died in 1876. He was succeeded by his
son, Sir Robert Burnett. He was an able and enterpris-
ing business man. Sir Robert died on the 15th of
January, 1894, in the sixty-first year of his age ; and was
interred in the family vault at Banchory-Ternan Church-
yard. He was succeeded by his brother, Colonel Thomas
Burnett, who is the twelfth baronet of Leys.
The Castle of Crathes, the family seat of the Burnetts,
stands on a fine green bank at the edge of a rocky ridge,
and it is completely surrounded by fine old trees and
I. Legends of Leys. R. M. Ramsay, 1856.
84 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
woods. It is on the north side of the turnpike road, and
may be seen from the railway at two points — a short
distance east and west on either side of Crathes Station.
The castle was built in 1528, and presents the charac-
teristics of the Scottish baronial style of architecture ;
consisting of a high square tower with ornamental turrets
and massive walls. Additions have been made to it from
time to time. The old hall is still preserved, and on its
walls are a number of family portraits, some of which are
The Court Book of the Barony of Leys for the period
between 1621 and 1709 is still extant ; and it contains
some valuable and curious information of much local
interest. The greater number of the suits which came
before the court referred to pecuniary matters, a number
of petty offences, and some public and private arrange-
The Loch of Leys lay in the middle of a long hallow
stretching from the Loch of Drum westward ; and in
early times it covered a large space of ground. There
was a small island near its southern shore, on which
traces of a crannog were found. About the middle of the
present century, the loch was drained, and during the
progress of the work a canoe hollowed out of a single
losf of wood was discovered, which crumbled when ex-
posed to the air ; and a few bronze vessels were found.
On the north side of the Dee and in the south-west
corner of the Parish of Peterculter, on a rising ground,
there are traces of an old camp, locally called the
" Normandikes." Only a small part of it remains ; but
originally it was of an oblong form, and enclosed an area
of forty-eight Scotch acres. Colonel Shand examined this
BURNETTS OF LEYS. 85
structure in 1801, and thought it was a Roman camp, and
several other men who afterward examined it were of the
same opinion ; but there is not the least evidence that the
Romans ever were in the Valley of the Dee ; indeed, there
is no evidence that they ever advanced twenty miles to
the north of the Tay. The Romans did not conquer
Fife and Perthshire, or Forfarshire and Kincardineshire.
In short, the Romans had quite enough of work to
maintain their line of defence between the Forth and
Clyde. It is incredible that the Roman legions encamped
in the Valley of the Dee, more than a hundred miles from
their line of defence, with a hostile country behind them.
This hill-fort or earthwork was probably of prehistoric
origin, and may have been formed centuries before the
Roman invasion of Britain.
BANCHORY-TERNAN— SCENERY— BURGH-
The scenery of the Valley in the Banchory district is
very beautiful, the landscape in every direction is
pleasingly diversified. The haughs and moderate
heights which skirt the river on the north side are inter-
sected by woods, belts, and plots of trees, and cultivated
fields ; while the most attractive spots are studded with
elegant villas and mansions, surrounded with pleasure
grounds and excellent gardens. Farther north from the
river, for several miles, the ground presents a succession
of ridges and heights, not rising above five or six hundred
feet, excepting the Hill of Fare ; these heights in some
places form a high upper bank along the course of the
river, gently sloping towards it, or broken and diversified.
On the south side of the river, and opposite Banchory,
the first ridge slopes gradually down to the banks of the
Dee for nearly a mile, and at its west end there is an
extensive haugh. The highest point of this ridge is
about one thousand feet, and it has a steep northern
aspect facing the valley of the Feugh. This stretch is
wooded and cultivated in nearly equal proportions. On
the highest part of the ridge, called the Hill of Scolt}%
there stands a tower erected to the memory of General
Burnett of Banchory, " a public-spirited gentleman and
kind landlord, whose memory will be long and gratefully
cherished in this neighbourhood." Farther off southward
is the Kerloch Hill and Clochnaben. A lover of scenery
will find in this locality much to interest him, in single
views of special and delightful spots, and in wider
prospects, many of which present strikingly picturesque
features, and others charm by their rich and harmonious
beauty. The green and shady banks along which the
Dee glides are enchanting.
A little below the burgh of Banchory, the Dee is
spanned by a somewhat singular bridge. It was erected
by public subscription in 1798, and consisted of a central,
wooden span of one hundred and seventy-five feet, two
stone arches, each about eighty-five feet, and one at the
south end of nineteen feet. After the great flood of
1829, it had fallen into an unsafe condition, and an iron
truss arch was then substituted for the wooden one. A
short distance below the confluence of the Dee and the
Feugh, two small islands divide the stream of the river.
The largest one is a low flat of about nine acres, some-
times nearly submerged by high floods ; the smaller
islet is more elevated above the stream ; it consists
mostly of sand, and is covered with trees, which give it a
St. Ternan was the patron saint of Banchory, who,
according to legend and tradition, flourished about
440 A.D., and was a native of the Mearns ; and a number
of churches were dedicated to him. From an early
period the lands in the neighbourhood of Banchory
belonged to the monastery of Arbroath, and also the
church and tithes of the parish. The old church stood
in the burying ground on the brink of the Dee. It was
rebuilt in 1775. But it had become inadequate to
accommodate the parishioners ; and, in 1824, it was
88 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
removed a few hundred yards to a higher site on the
north side of the turnpike road. It is a plain structure,
built in the Gothic style, with its tower too low.
The old village of Banchory — the Kirktown — latterly
called Townhead, stood above the old church and
churchyard, in the immediate vicinity of the manse. It
is mentioned as a village in 1324. A stone cross once
stood in the centre of it, a fragment of which recently
remained in position. The main road from Aberdeen
passed though the village, and in the last century it had
a good inn. The Barony Court of Leys was usually held
at it. In 1 841, the village consisted of the old manse,
two endowed schools, eight labourers' cottages, and a
farmhouse and steading.
The new village, at first called Arbeadie, was begun
by three men in the years of 1805, 1807, and 1809, who
successively took in feu from one of the local proprietors,
in all about twenty Scotch acres of ground, at the rate
of 2s, 6d., 3s., and £1 per acre, for which they continued
to pay in whole i^ii 4s. 6d. Thirty years later this
ground was sub-feuing at the rate of ;^I2 to i^i20 per
acre ; and subsequently at a higher rate. In 1841, there
were fifty houses in the town, occupied by seventy-two
families, forming a population of about three hundred
and fifty. It was then a burgh of barony, and I knew
one of its Provosts. At that time the burgh had a post-
office, a prison, an Episcopal chapel, two schools, a
branch of the Bank of Scotland, and three inns ; and
there were also in the burgh — one doctor, a constable, a
dancing master, a watchmaker, a baker, two plasterers,
four carpenters, four shoemakers, four tailors, three
weavers, two gardeners, one road contractor, four
sawyers, three floaters, thirteen labourers, and twenty
servants. The mail coach passed through the burgh
daily ; and for one half of the year a stage coach ran
daily between it and Aberdeen ; several carriers also went
weekly between it and Aberdeen.
Large quantities of wood were then transmitted from
Banchory in rafts when the state of the river was favour-
able, and from the upper stretches of the Valley, to
Aberdeen. For a long period the wood cut in the
Valley, was floated in rafts down the river to Aberdeen.
I have often seen the rafts floating past Banchory ; and
also numbers of rafts lying at the river-side, south-west
of Market Street, before the diversion of the Dee into its
new channel. The occupation of the wood-floater on
the Dee was a difficult and dangerous one, and attention
and skill had to be exercised to keep the raft about the
centre of the river. Since the extension of the Deeside
Railway to Ballater, the floating of wood down the
river gradually fell off, and about twenty years ago
The burgh of Banchory continued to increase and
prosper. The opening of the railway in 1853 has
tended greatly to extend and enhance the importance of
the burgh, and since, its progress has been rapid. Many
fine villas and houses have been erected in it and its
immediate vicinity. Its attractions are many and great,
and it has long been a favourite resort of visitors in the
summer months. It stands on a fine elevated and dry
site, with a southern exposure, while the Hill of Fare
shelters it from the cold north winds.
In 1885, the community of Banchory adopted the
Lindsay Act ; and its municipal affairs then came under
90 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
the administration of a Board of Police Commissioners.
Under the direction of this Board, an ample supply of
clear spring water was brought from the Hill of Kerloch,
on the south side of the Valley, and an efficient system
of sewerage and sanitary arrangements has also been
introduced into the burgh. A beautiful public park, at
the west end of the town, was presented to the citizens
by the late Sir Robert Burnett, and opened in 1887.
This park affords ample facilities for outdoor amuse-
ments and games, and at all times a quiet and pleasing
retreat to the citizens and sojourners.
The burgh of Banchory has a population of fourteen
hundred and fifty inhabitants, whose local and municipal
affairs are under the control of their own Provost,
Magistrates, and Commissioners. It is a centre of con-
siderable trade and traffic. It has eight annual markets,
three branch banks, a post-office and savings bank, and
three hotels, a commodious town hall at the west end
of the town, excellent schools, and four churches and
chapels, which all form features of this attractive town.
The citizens are very industrious, quiet, and exceedingly
The eminent Dr. George Campbell was minister of
the Parish of Banchory-Ternan from 1747 to 1757. It
was in Banchory that he formed the plan of translating
the four Gospels, which he afterwards published. It was
here also that Campbell thought out and began to
compose his celebrated treatise, " The Philosophy of
In the autumn of 1855, I commenced to work in
Banchory for the late Mr. Fraser, shoemaker ; he
employed six or seven hands, and occupied a house and
shop which belonged to the late Dr. Adams. Owing
to this connection, Eraser's men were invited on the
evening of Hogmanay to the doctor's house, on the
opposite side of the street, to dance in the New Year.
Thus it happened that I danced in the year of 1856
under the roof of the genial and kindly Dr. Adams.
Dr. Francis Adams was born at Lumphanan in 1796.
When a boy, he manifested a keen taste for classical
studies. He attended classes at King's College,
Aberdeen ; and having resolved to follow the medical
profession he took the London degree of the College of
Surgeons. Shortly after, he settled at Banchory and
commenced to practice.
Although he soon obtained a good practice, he was
exceedingly assiduous, and continued to pursue his
classical studies. The result of this appeared in his
translation of Paulus ^gineta, the Greek physician, in
three volumes, with notes and annotations. Afterwards
he rendered an excellent translation of the works of
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in two volumes.
Further, he translated the extant works of Aretaeus. He
also gave material assistance in the drawing up of
Dunbar's Greek Lexicon. These works established his
reputation as one of the foremost Greek scholars of his
time ; but Dr. Adams was more than a Greek scholar ;
he was a gentleman of wide and varied culture. He
received the degree of LL.D. from the University of
Glasgow. On the occasion of the Burns' centenary cele-
bration he wrote an admirable and appreciative essay on
the poet and his works, which was published. In con-
junction with his son, Dr. Andrew Leith Adams, he
published a pamphlet entitled " Ornithology considered
92 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
as a branch of Liberal Education, containing Notes on
Birds which have been discovered in Banchory-Ternan,
with Remarks on those found in India." This, or a part
of it, was read at the meeting of the British Association
held at Aberdeen in 1859.
A number of years before his death, some of the
leading men of Banchory were anxious to show their ap-
preciation of the work which the doctor had often done
gratuitously, and they proposed to get up a subscription
for him ; but whenever he heard of it, he absolutely
declined to permit anything of the kind, and said that
the satisfaction which he felt in having done his best to
alleviate human suffering, was ample remuneration to him.
He died on the 26th of February, 1861, in the sixty-fifth
year of his age.
The people of Banchory and the locality erected the
fine granite monument to his memory which stands at the
south-west corner of the grounds around the house. The
inscription on it was written by Sir William Geddes.
His son, Dr. Andrew Leith Adams, was a distin-
guished graduate of Aberdeen University. He entered
the army as a surgeon in the 21st foot regiment. While
serving in the army, he worked assiduously, and produced
several interesting works: — (i) A volume entitled
" Wanderings of a Naturalist in India " ; (2) *' Field
Rambles in Canada" ; (3) '' Pygmy Elephants in Malta,"
an account of an extinct class of diminutive elephants.
On retiring from the army, he was appointed Professor
of Natural History in the new College of Science at
Dublin. Afterwards he was appointed Professor of
Natural History, Mineralogy, and Geology in Queen's
College, Cork. In 1881, the University of Aberdeen con-
ferred on him the degree of LL. D. ; he was also elected
a member of the Royal Society. He was an accom-
plished and successful professor. Besides the works
mentioned above, he contributed many valuable papers
to reviews on scientific subjects. Personally, he was an
unassuming and kind-hearted gentleman. He died in
James C. Hadden was born in Banchory-Ternan in
1 86 1. He was for sometime a message boy in Aberdeen ;
but he soon directed his attention to music and literature,
in which he has already attained distinction. In 1889,
he was appointed Organist for St. John's Parish Church,
Edinburgh ; and there he has worked earnestly and
enthusiastically. He occasionally gives musical lectures
and organ recitals ; and he instituted musical Sunday
evenings for the people in St. John's church. For a number
of years he has been a contributor to various magazines ;
and he is a member of the staff engaged by Mr. Leslie
Stephen on the " Dictionary of National Biography."
He has written a " Life of Handel," and a " Life of
Mendelssohn," both of which appeared in 1888. His
style is very clear and flowing.
VALLEY OF THE FEUGH— STRACHAN-BIRSE.
Crossing the bridge of Banchory and proceeding a short
distance, a road on the left leads to the Bridge of Feugh.
It is a plain, narrow structure, built of granite, with three
arches ; but it spans the stream at a picturesque and
romantic spot. The Feugh flows rapidly, and when it
enters the opening of the ridge of hills which skirt the
south side of the Valley of the Dee, above the bridge, it
runs between precipitous and wooded banks, dashing
from pool to pool over naked rocks. As it nears the
bridge the stream forms a linn and falls over the rocks, a
height of eighteen feet, into a deep basin below, and
sweeps on through similar rocks and sand, and enters the
Dee opposite Banchory Lodge. Along this stretch of the
Feugh the scenery on both sides is very picturesque and
beautiful, and there are few that will not see something
to admire and interest them here.
On the east side of the Feugh lie the lands of
Tilquhillie, and the old Castle standing on the slope of the
elevated ridge. The Castle consisted of several massive
buildings, communicating with each other, and appear
to have been erected at different times ; the earliest
portion was probably erected about the beginning of the
sixteenth century, and another part was built in 1575. It
contained many apartments, and had a dark vault ; but
when it ceased to be the family residence of the
Douglases it fell into ruins, and it is now occupied by the
tenant of the lands around it.
In the fifteenth century the lands of Tilquhillie were
held by Walter Ogston of Ogston and Fettercairn, under
the Abbot of i\rbroath as the superior. It appears that
David Douglas, a son of a younger brother of the first
Earl of Morton, married Janet, a daughter of Thomas
Ogston of Kirklands of Fettercairn, in 1479 ; and that
through this marriage the lands of Tilquhillie passed into
the possession of David Douglas's descendants. Janet
Ogston survived her husband and also their son, and her
grandson, Arthur Douglas, succeeded to Tilquhillie in
1533. He married Janet, a daughter of the laird of
Balmanno, and had issue, two sons, John and Archibald.
John held the post of Constable of Edinburgh Castle
during Morton's regency. Arthur Douglas was suc-
ceeded by his son John ; and in 1576 he married Giles, a
daughter of Robert Erskine of Dun, by whom he had two
sons and two daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest
son, John Douglas, who married Mary, a daughter of Sir
Peter Young of Seaton, and they had seven sons and
three daughters. Their three eldest sons entered the
army, and the fourth son, James, acquired the estate of
Inchmarlo. John, the eldest son, fell in battle in 1632 ;
and his brother. Sir Archibald Douglas, succeeded to
Tilquhillie. He died without issue, and his brother. Sir
Robert Douglas, succeeded to the estate in 1647. He
was a warm supporter of the Royal cause, and sacrificed
his estate to promote it ; and Tilquhillie for a time was
lost to the family ; but in 1684 John Douglas of
Inchmarlo recovered Tilquhillie from his uncle's (Sir
Robert Douglas) creditors. John Douglas was twice
96 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
married, and had issue. He died in 1723, and was suc-
ceeded by his second son, John Douglas of Tilquhillie and
Inchmarlo. He died in 1749, and was succeeded by his
only son, John. He married Mary, a daughter of the
Hon. John Arbuthnott of Fordun, and had issue, two
sons and three daughters. In 1767, their eldest daughter,
Margaret, married William Young of Sheddocksley,
Provost of Aberdeen. John Douglas succeeded to the
family estates on the death of his grandfather in 1 791.
He devoted much of his means to local and public
objects, and died in 1812. His trustees sold Tilquhillie
and Inchmarlo, and Henry Lumsden purchased
But John Douglas left an only son, John — a man of
great energy and marked ability. He entered into
manufacturing business in the Tyrol, concentrated his
attention on it, and won a considerable fortune. He
married Jane, a daughter of James Kennedy, a manu-
facturer in Manchester, by whom he had two sons and
a daughter. Mr. Douglas repurchased the estate of
Tilquhillie, and also the adjoining estate of Invery, before
1865. He died in 1870, and his son, John S. Douglas,
succeeded him. In 1874 he lost his life by a fall from a
precipice in the Tyrol ; deeply regretted by all who
knew him. His eldest son, John Douglas, succeeded to
Tilquhillie and Invery on coming of age in 1886 ; and he
is the fourteenth in lineal descent from David Douglas
and Janet Ogston of Tilquhillie.
It appears that the Douglas family were much
respected in the locality, and by the tenants on their
lands ; and a few lines from one connected with the
family may be quoted —
On every road we find the abode
Of a friend, be he young or old —
And Douglas still has the leal good will
That belongs to the good and the bold.
Tilquhillie stands on the old, old lands,
And the name of Douglas is there ;
And the weak and the poor may ever be sure
To have tender and Christian care.'
On the west bank of the Feugh stands the mansion
house of Invery, on a beautiful site, surrounded with
woods, and the rippling water of Feugh in front.
Proceeding up the fine Valley of the Feugh, there is a
considerable space of well-cultivated land, in which
patches of strawberries are grown in the fields, and good
crops of grain. The Feugh is spanned by a stone bridge,
and a little above it is the village of Strachan. It stands
on a fine site, and consists of a few houses, the Public
Schools, the Established Church, and the Free Church.
The old church stood within the graveyard, and a new
church was erected in 1866. In 1865 a drinking fountain
was erected in front of the church, to the memory of
William B. Ramsay of Banchory Lodge. A short
distance above the village the Water of Dye joins the
The old road across the Cairn o' Mounth passed
through Glen Dye. About a hundred years ago, this
road was sometimes infested by robbers, and at an earlier
period it was more dangerous. There is a ravine about
four hundred yards from the top of the Cairn Hill on the
north side, and close by the side of the road, which still
retains the name of the " Thieves' Bush." Travellers
crossing the " Mounth " when possessed of money always
I The Feugh and the Dee. By William Brown, F.R.C.S.E. Mr. Brown was
married to Ann Douglas, of the Tilquhillie family. She died in 1886 at the advanced age
of eighty-three years, and Mr. Brown died in 1887.
98 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
carried defensive weapons. Two centuries ago, a
Highlander passing to the south on horseback was
obliged to stop at a smithy, near the ford of Dye, to have
his horse shod ere he ascended the hill. A man of
suspicious appearance was sitting in the smithy, who
proved to be the chief of a gang, though unknown to the
Celt. While the smith was shoeing the horse, the
Highlander took a pistol from his pocket and commenced
cleaning it ; and the smith remarked that the weapon
was old and useless. The Celt replied that the night
was dark and the road dangerous, that he had a trifle
of money which he would not like to lose, and should he
be attacked, if his pistol " widna fell, it might maybe
fleg." The smith sought in vain for an opportunity of
warning him of the character of the stranger who was
sitting in the smithy. The horse having been shod, the
Celt proceeded on his journey ; but he had not advanced
far when he heard the noise of a horse behind him at full
speed. On turning round he at once recognised the man
whom he saw at the smithy. This fellow sternly
demanded his money, backing the demand with a
cudgel raised over the Celt's head, which he no doubt
thought an over-match for the old rusty pistol. But the
sly Celt had a better weapon, and drawing out another
pistol from under his plaid, shot the robber dead, and
proceeded safely over the Cairn.
About three miles above the village of Strachan is
Whitestones, where there is an inn, usually called
Feughside Inn. In the period before the railways this
inn and locality was for many centuries a halting-place
of cattle dealers and drovers, as it was on the road
running southward to Forfar and Perth, and northward,
through West Aberdeenshire, to the Highlands. Many
hearty and glorious nights were spent here by the cattle
dealers and drovers in the good days of old. The greater
part of the cultivated land in the Parish of Strachan lies
on either side of the Valley of the Feugh. From the
form of the Valley in Strachan, it has been supposed that
at a remote period a large part of it had been a loch.
Advancing up the Valley the Parish of Birse is
entered. The surface of the country appears hilly and
mountainous, and the scenery in many parts of Birse is
wild, striking, and picturesque. When viewed from the
highest ground on its western side, it is seen to consist of
two Valleys, running eastward toward the Dee, and
separated from each other by ranges of hills. The Valley
of the Feugh, on the south side, is the larger; the Valley
of Glen Cat is much smaller, and the Burn of Cattie,
which drains and intersects it, is shorter. A third district
of the parish lies along the south side of the Dee.
The Parish Church and manse of Birse stand in the
north-west side of the parish, on the bank of the Burn of
Birse, and about a half-a-mile south of the Dee. The
church was built in 1779, and is a plain structure, con-
taining about six hundred sittings. When the old
church was demolished, a cist slab was found in the
foundations, on which were incised a double-handled
sword, an axe, and a cross. The slab is five feet nine
inches in length, and is preserved in the south wall of the
churchyard. The burial place of the Farquharsons of
P'inzean is on the site of the old church, enclosed by a
wall and iron railing.
In 1 1 57 it is recorded that the Church of Birse
belonged to the Bishopric of Aberdeen, and it was the
100 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
seat of the Chancellor of the Diocese. On the south side
of the Feugh, at Eastclune, on an eminence, there are
some ruins of a square tower, which, according to
tradition, was a hunting seat of the Bishop of Aberdeen ;
but it is more probable that the tower had been the seat
of some small landlord. In its vicinity, there was once a
chapel and a small burying ground.
A Free Church was erected in 1843, which stands on
the south side of the road leading to Aboyne, in the
Birsemore district. There is another Free Church towards
the other end of the parish, and a Roman Catholic
Chapel near Potarch.
On the south-west corner of the parish lies the
Forest of Birse, which is not now under wood, and what
is called the forest is the upper part of the glen through
which the Feugh runs. Near the upper end of the
glen are the ruins of a square tower, which is said to
have been built in the sixteenth century by Sir Thomas
Gordon of Cluny ; some, however, say that it was a
hunting seat of the Bishop of Aberdeen. The length of
the tower over the walls was thirty feet, its width
twenty- two feet, and its height about thirty-three feet.
The tower was built of granite, and seems to have been a
pretty complete structure.
At Woodend, the Water of Feugh rushes down from
the elevated ground, between hills studded with granite
rocks rising abruptly from the narrow valley, in which
there are patches of cultivated land amid natural birches
and other trees. This is a romantic and beautiful spot.
The lands of Finzean cover a considerable space on
the south and east quarters of Birse, and mainly lie in
the Valley of the Feugh, with the Grampian range on
the south, and the lower chain of hills on the north,
which separate the Feugh from Glen Cat. Finzean
House stands on an elevated slope, with a southern
exposure, nearly a mile north from the Feugh. The
mansion was built at different times. The principal
part of it was erected in 1686, the north wing was added
in 1747, and in 18 50 the whole house was thoroughly-
repaired. The pleasure grounds are beautiful, embel-
lished with various kinds of trees and shrubs, among
which are oaks, beeches, and elms of large dimensions.
A grand hedge of holly wood runs along both sides of
the approach to the front door, and also along the south
side of the garden. This hedge is over twelve feet high,
and six feet wide, and has a striking appearance.
The Farquharsons of Finzean were descended from
the Invercauld family. Robert Farquharson, a son of
Donald Farquharson of Castletown, received a grant of
Tilliegarmont, in Birse, by charter from the Bishop of
Aberdeen in 1580. In the beginning of the seventeenth
century Robert Farquharson purchased the lands and
barony of Finzean from Gordon of Cluny. Robert mar-
ried Margaret Mcintosh, and had issue, four sons and one
daughter. He died in 1632, and was succeeded by his
eldest son, Alexander Farquharson. He married Mary,
a daughter of Alexander Keith of Altrie, Brucklay, by
whom he had two sons and one daughter. Through his
wife he obtained the lands of Migvie, in Cromar. He
was succeeded by his eldest son, Francis. Donald, his
second son, purchased the lands of Balfour. Francis
was succeeded by his son, Robert, who was succeeded
by his son, Francis. He made several additions to the
estate of Finzean, and was succeeded by his son,
102 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Archibald. He was succeeded by his son, Archibald,
who died in 1841, without issue, and was succeeded by
In 1849, E)r. F. Farquharson succeeded to the estates
of Finzean ; and he died in 1876, leaving three sons;
and the eldest, Dr. Robert Farquharson, then succeeded
to the estates, the present proprietor, and the member of
Parliament for West Aberdeenshire.
The lands of Ballogie lie on the north side of the
Burn of Cattie. In the middle of the seventeenth
century the lands of Ballogie were held by Charles Rose,
and he married a grand-daughter of the chief of the
Farquharsons. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander;
and, in 1720, he was succeeded by his son, Hugh. After-
wards, the estate passed through several hands ; but, in
1 8 14, Lewis Farquharson became heir to Ballogie. He
died in 1830, and was succeeded by his only son, Lewis.
He died at Aberdeen in 1844 ; and the estate then fell
to his sisters. They sold it in 1852 to Mr. James
Mr. Nicol greatly improved the estate. He erected a
new mansion house in 1856, which stands on a fine
elevated site, and has a striking appearance. The
pleasure grounds are extensive and attractive. Mr. Nicol
was elected member of Parliament for Kincardineshire in
1 864, and he continued to represent the county until his
death in 1872. He was succeeded by his son.
It was stated before that Donald Farquharson pur-
chased the lands of Balfour, and his descendants held
the estate till the latter part of the last century, when
Francis Farquharson sold it to the Earl of Aboyne. In
1840, it was sold to Francis J. Cochran, advocate in
Aberdeen. The lands of Balfour lie to the south-west
of the Kirkton of Birse. Mr. Cochran built an elegant
mansion in 1845, laid out a beautiful garden and pleasure
grounds, and planted wood around the mansion. He
greath' improved the estate, and the whole of it is
now cultivated or under wood. Mr. Cochran died in
1870, and was interred in the churchyard of Birse, where
a monument was erected to his memory ; and there is
also an inscribed tablet to his memory within the church.
He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Cochran. This
gentleman was for upwards of twenty years the head of
the firms of Cochran & Smith, Cochran & Macpherson,
advocates in Aberdeen. Mr. Cochran was an able
lawyer, and an excellent business man ; and personally
an exceedingly genial and kind-hearted gentleman. He
died on the 8th June, 1893.
The Rev. John Skinner, the well-known author of
" TuUochgorum," many other fine poems, and other
works, was born at Balfour in 1721. Among other
eminent men born in Birse, may be mentioned Dr.
Alexander Garden, a son of the Rev. Alexander Garden,
minister of Birse from 1726 to 1777, who was a dis-
tinguished physician at Charleston, South Carolina, an
able naturalist, and a correspondent of Linnaeus ; Dr.
Gilbert Ramsay, who was rector of Christ's Church,
Barbadoes, and who bequeathed ;^500 to the poor of his
native parish, ;^500 to endow a free school in it, and a
sum of money to erect a bridge over the Feugh at its
eastern end. Robert Dinnie was a native of the Parish
of Birse. He was a mason to trade ; and was the
father of the world-wide famous athlete, Donald
Dinnie. He is the author of several small, interesting,
104 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
and useful works. " An Account of the Parish of Birse,"
published in 1865; "Songs and Poems," which ap-
peared in 1876; "The Deeside Guide," 1879; "Anecdotes
of the Rev. Joseph Smith of Birse," 1882; and "A
History of the Parish of Kincardine O'Neil," 1885.
The most distinguished native of Strachan was Dr.
Thomas Reid, the philosopher of " Common Sense,"
and a successful professor in the Universities of Aber-
deen and of Glasgow.
The Rev. Alexander Garden, mentioned before, was
a violinist, poet, and composer. David Mortimer was
born in Birse, on the 1 3th of June, 1 8 1 5. He was a famous
violin player in his day. He died in 1892. His son,
Peter Mortimer, born on the 26th July, 1849, is also an
excellent violinist ; and he was a pupil of the celebrated
The inhabitants of the Valley of the Feugh and of
Birse are a vigorous people. They are quiet, and very
industrious, kind to one another, and remarkably
BLACKHALL— KINCARDINE O'NEIL— LUMPHANAN.
The estate of Blackball lies on the south side of the Dee,
and the mansion house stands on a fine broad haugh,
near the south bank of the river, two miles above
Banchory. The old mansion was built in the castellated
style. It was once a seat of the Bannerman family. Sir
Alexander Bannerman died, leaving an only daughter,
who married Mr. Robert Russell, and the lands of Black-
hall passed into his hands. They had a daughter, who
married Archibald Farquharson of Finzean, and he
became owner of the lands of Blackball. But, in 1828,
the estate was sold by his trustees, and it was acquired
by Colonel John Campbell. He was succeeded by his
son. About ten years ago Blackball was purchased by
Mr. James T. Hay, and he has made great improvements
on the estate. The old mansion house was demolished.
A new mansion was built of granite — a large and massive
structure, which presents a striking appearance. The
interior of the mansion is exquisite. The internal
arrangement is admirable, and the ornamental painting
on the walls is executed w^ith fine symmetry and har-
mony, elegant and beautiful. The mansion is well
sheltered by wooded ridges on both sides of the Valley.
In 1889 the avenue was entirely reconstructed. The
porter lodge, at its entrance, is on the south-west side of
the Bridge of Banchory, and the avenue runs along the
south bank of the Dee two miles.
1(>6 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Inchmarlo House stands on a beautiful green bank on
the north side of the river, nearly opposite Blackball. It
was indicated in a preceding chapter that Inchmarlo once
belonged to a branch of the Douglas family. Mr. Walter
Davidson, a son of the Rev. Dr. Patrick Davidson,
minister of Rayne, became a successful banker in London;
and in 1813 he purchased Inchmarlo from the trustees of
John Douglas. He held the estate for a number of years,
and afterwards sold it to Mr. Duncan Davidson of Tilly-
chetly, advocate, Aberdeen. He was descended from
a family of Davidsons who had been resident in Tarland
for several centuries, and he was a son of John Davidson
of Tillychetly, in the Parish of Alford. Mr. Duncan
Davidson died at Aberdeen on the 8th of December,
1849, and was succeeded by his son, Patrick Davidson,
advocate. He was Professor of Law in the University of
Aberdeen for a period of forty-eight years. He died in
1 88 1, and was succeeded by his son, the present
About two miles to the north-west lies the estate and
house of Glassel. The house is small, but the gardens
and grounds are extensive ; there are fifteen miles of
walks in the grounds, and the estate is well wooded.
Campfield House stands on a fine elevated site on the
lower slope of the Hill of Fare, facing the south.
At Invercanny there is a small hamlet. Further
westward, at Cairnton, is the intake for the water from
the Dee, which is conveyed through a rock tunnel to the
large reservoir at Invercanny — which contains the storage
water in connection with the water supply of Aberdeen.
On the 1 6th of October, 1866, the Queen performed the
ceremon}^ of opening the waterworks. After the usual
KINCARDINE O'NEIL. 107
address to Her Majesty, which was read by Sir Alexander
Anderson, Lord Provost, and presented, Her Majesty
read her reply. " Then," the Queen says, " came the
turning of the cock, and it was pretty to see the water
rushing up." The Queen returned home by way of
Inchmarlo House, and thence by Ballater to Balmoral.
The sun was shining bright when Her Majesty turned on
the water. I was standing on the opposite side of the
reservoir. The volume of water rose clear, and the sun-
beams rendered it beautiful. This was one of the great
days of Sir Alexander Anderson's life ; he drove from
Aberdeen in a carriage drawn by four horses to meet
Advancing up the Valley the scenery becomes more
striking, and the hills increase in elevation. A village has
recently sprung up at Torphins, in the vicinity of the
railway station, and is rapidly developing. It has an
Established Church and public schools, a post-office, and
branch bank, several shops and an excellent hotel. The
Free Church is about a mile east from the station.
Craigmyle House stands on an eminence, amid
patches of wood, a mile to the east of Torphins. It was
stated in a preceding chapter that a member of the Burnett
family of Leys acquired Craigmyle in the middle of the
seventeenth century, and it was subsequently sold by the
Burnetts to Alexander Farquharson of Monaltrie. He
erected the present mansion house, and afterwards sold
the estate to Mr. John Gordon. He left the estate to a
relative, Mr. Peter Laing, who then assumed the name of
Gordon. His son, John L. Gordon, succeeded to the
estate. The estate of Craigmyle extends to twenty-
seven hundred and sixty acres, of which about thirteen
hundred are cultivated and two hundred under wood.
108 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
The mansion house of Learney stands on an elevated
site in the bend of the Hill of Fare, and is well sheltered by
the wooded heights around it. The house was accidentally
burnt in 1838, but it was rebuilt. It is a comparatively
large and massive structure. Learney once belonged to
the Forbeses, and at a later period to the Brebner family.
Alexander Brebner of Learney had two daughters, and
Jane, the elder one, married William Innes of Raemoir,'
and had issue, two sons and one daughter, Alexander
Innes of Cowie, in Kincardineshire ; and Thomas Innes,
who was born on the 31st of October, 18 14. Thomas
studied law and became an advocate. In 1839 he
married Helen Christian, daughter of Thomas Burnett,
Esq., of Aberdeen, and has issue. He is proprietor of
Learney, and he has for many years taken an active and
intelligent part in the business of the county of Aberdeen.
Findrack House lies on the bank of the Burn of Beltie,
on the west side of Learney Hill. It is a comparatively
small structure, but elegant and commodious. The hill
on the west and north of the house is wooded, and
around it on the grounds there are belts and plots of trees.
In 1670 Francis Fraser purchased Findrack from Sir
Robert Forbes of Learney, and this branch of the Fraser
family have continuously possessed the estate to the
The Valley in this stretch is well wooded, and at
Potarch the scenery is picturesque. The Bridge of
Potarch, which spans the Dee, was erected in 181 2, and
cost i^3500, one half of which was paid by the Govern-
ment and the other half by subscription. It consists of
I The Inneses of Raemoir are a branch of the Balvenie family, Banffshire, and
lineally descended from Innes of Edingight, in the Parish of Grange.
KINCARDINE O'NEIL. 109
three stone arches, the centre one of sixty-five feet, and
the other two of sixty feet each. When all the piers were
built, and two of the arches thrown, the \vhole was
destroyed by rough trees which were floated down the
river. The contractor, William Minty, received i^ 1200 of
damages off the owners of the wood. The great flood of
1829 greatly injured two of the piers, which were after-
wards thoroughly repaired and bolted with iron bars by
the original contractor. This bridge is in the line of the
old road leading from Perth by Brechin over the Cairn o'
Mounth, and the ford at Inchbaire is a little below the
bridge. The bridge is founded on rock. Seventy yards
above the bridge the channel of the river is narrowed by
rocks to a linn, which at its narrowest point is about
seventeen feet. It is said that John Young, one of a gang
of tinkers, while fleeing from justice, leapt over the river
above the bridge and escaped for a time — a feat not
impossible for a young, athletic man, though the risk must
have been considerable.
On the southern side of the river at the bridge there
is a good inn with a fine large lawn in front. Feeing
markets are held here twice a year.
Borrowstone House stands on the north side of the
Valley, near the north Deeside road. It is a spacious
mansion, surrounded with trees, shrubs, and hedges, a
garden, and a small steading. Not many years ago there
was a hamlet at Borrowstone, consisting of a number of
small cottages. The chief inn of Kincardine O'Neil stood
there for a long period. The Justice of the Peace Courts
and Presbytery meetings were held at the inn from 1748
till 1822. The Justices of Peace before proceeding to
business were required to sign their names to the Oath of
110 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Abjuration, in order to show that they were loyal subjects
to His Majesty King George.
From this point looking up the Valley a stretch of
beautiful scenery meets the eye. The river stretches
away westward through a fine level plain, highly culti-
vated, while the wooded heights on either side of the
Valley givQ varied hues of colour and contrast to the
The village of Kincardine O'Neil stands on the north
side of this comparatively broad plain ; below it the river
glides; on its east and west there are wooded heights, and
on the north the ground rises gently. The village con-
tains upwards of forty dwelling houses, and a population
of over two hundred inhabitants. It is a site of great
antiquity, and was inhabited in the prehistoric ages.
Even its recorded history stretches back to an early
period. It was originally within the Earldom of Mar ;
but in the thirteenth century the barony of Kincardine
O'Neil included a part of Lumphanan, and it was held
by Allan Durward. He erected a hospital at Kincardine
O'Neil in 1233, and granted to it the patronage of
Lumphanan with its chapel of Forthery and other portions
of land. Afterward the hospital was attached to the
Bishopric of Aberdeen, and raised to a prebend of the
Cathedral. The last of the Durwards connected with the
barony of Kincardine O'Neil was a female, Anna
In 1389 the barony of Kincardine O'Neil and Coull
was confirmed by Robert 11. to his son Robert, Earl of
Fife and Menteith. Afterward it was acquired by a
branch of the Forbes family ; and John Forbes sold it to
John Grant ; and toward the end of the last century it
KINCARDINE O'NEIL. Ill
was purchased by Francis Gordon. He died in 1861,
and was succeeded by his grand-daughter ; and on her
death by his great-grandson, Mr. Henry K. Scott.
Recently, Mrs. Pickering purchased the estate of Kincar-
dine O'Neil, and is erecting a new mansion house.
The roofless walls of the old church stand on the
south side of the village, and are covered with ivy in the
churchyard. The area within the walls of the old church
is used as a burial ground for the heritors of the parish.
The present Parish Church stands on the north side of the
road, and was erected in 1862 ; it is a chaste and com-
modious structure. The manse is on a slight eminence
in the vicinity of the church, and was erected in 1846.
At the west end of the village is an Episcopal Church,
with a manse and a graveyard.
Prior to the opening of the Deeside Railway, the
village of Kincardine O'Neil was a bustling place, as all
the traffic between Aberdeen and Braemar passed
through it. For a long period it was a halting-place of
the cattle dealers and drovers, when driving their herds
of cattle and sheep to the southern markets. About half-
a-mile to the north-west of the village, on a moor, two
annual markets, in May and August, are held. Below
the village there is a ferry-boat for conveying persons
across the river.
There are several excellent mansions in the neighbour-
hood of the village. Mr. John Grant purchased the
estate of Kincardine O'Neil in 1780, and erected the
mansion house on it, now called Kincardine Lodge. This
house stands on the slope of a ridge in a fine elevated
position, with a southern exposure, and about a half-a-
mile eastward from the village. The height on the east
112 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
and north of the house is covered with wood, and around
it there are various kinds of trees and ornamental shrubs.
It is a pretty large and commodious house, and com-
mands an extensive view of the surrounding district. Mr.
Grant planted a large quantity of wood, and executed
many other improvements on the estate. He was origin-
ally a tailor, but a relative left to him a large sum of
money, with which he purchased the estate. While he
was proprietor, Kincardine Lodge was usually in the
locality called " Needle Ha'," in allusion to his former
occupation. There is a flat stone at the east door of the
old church with this inscription — " Sacred to the memory
of John Grant, Esq. of Kincardine O'Neil. Ob. 9 May,
1799. yEtatos 63."
A mile above the village, on the south side of the
Dee, Carlogie House stands on a fine haugh, amid trees
and ornamental shrubs. It is built in the cottage style of
architecture, with the river in front, about a hundred
and fifty yards off, and the beautifully-wooded and
sloping heights behind it. In summer, when woods and
the face of nature are clad with verdure, Carlogie and its
surroundings vividly recall the thought of a veritable
paradise. It is truly a charming and delightful spot.
On the opposite side of the river, Desswood House
stands on the slope of an eminence, embosomed by
woods, the residence of Mr. Alexander Davidson,
advocate. The site is elevated, with a southern exposure,
and is exceedingly fine and picturesque. Forty years
ago, new gardens were formed, and the pleasure grounds
planned and laid out with fine taste and rare skill. In
the 2"rounds various kinds of ornamental trees were
planted at intervals, and on the south and east of the
KINCARDINE O'NEIL. 113
mansion there are belts of fine growing trees ; while on
the north side of the house, the summit of the hill which
rises above it is covered with fir trees. The house itself
is an elegant and symmetrical structure, and everything
about it is kept in admirable order. The estate was pur-
chased by' Mr. Duncan Davidson in the early part of this T^"^
centu!^, and he was succeeded by his son, the present '
proprietor. ■' , f^^^
About the middle of the present century there were _ ^
nine licensed houses in the parish ; now there are only
two inns — one at Torphins, and another in the village of -'--vv^
Kincardine O'Neil. The inhabitants of Kincardine O'Neil U^^
are sober, industrious, excellent cultivators of the land,
and very intelligent. In 1842, there were three circulat-
ing libraries in the parish.
The parish has produced some distinguished men.
Alexander Ross, the author of " Helenore," and other
poems in the Scottish dialect, was the son of a farmer in
this parish. He followed the honourable and useful
profession of a parochial schoolmaster, and died at
Lochlee in 1784, at the advanced age of eighty-five
years. Mr. John H. Anderson, better known under the
title of the " Wizard of the North," was a native of the
parish, and born in 18 14. He began life as a herd-boy.
Afterwards, he became a famous and successful per-
former of sleight-of-hand and conjuring tricks. He
travelled through many quarters of the globe, and every-
where drew large and distinguished audiences. Mr.
Anderson died at Darlington in 1874. Peter Milne, a
native of Kincardine O'Neil, was born on the 30th of
September, 1824. He was one of the foremost violin
players in the north of Scotland. In 185 1, he succeeded
114 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
James Young, as musical leader of the Theatre Royal,
Aberdeen. He was specially famous as a player of reels
and strathspeys. He also attained distinction as a
teacher, and composed a number of pieces. James
Gerrie, a native of Lumphanan, was born on the 3rd
of March, 1852. He is a notable harmoniumist and
Lumphanan has many interesting historic associa-
tions ; and in it and the locality of Kincardine O'Neil
there are some traces of prehistoric occupation.
The village of Lumphanan has sprung up in connec-
tion with the railway in the immediate vicinity of the
station. The Parish Church is a short distance south-
west of the station, on the south side of the railway ; and
the Free Church and Manse stand on the north side of
the railway. There is a hotel and a branch of the North
of Scotland Bank in the village.
Glenmillan House is nearly a mile to the north-east
of the village. It was the residence of the late Mr.
Robert Smith, advocate. The estate of Glenmillan,
under the name of Cloak, was in 1330 granted, along
with other lands, by Randolph, Earl of Moray, to Sir
James Garioch. From his son, Andrew Garioch of
Caskieben, Robert Chalmers obtained these lands, to be
held of the Earl of Moray. From this Robert Chalmers
w^ere descended the Chalmerses of Balnacraig and
In 1363, Andrew Rose, a son of the second baron of
Kilravock, obtained the lands of Auchlossan. This
branch of the Roses appear to have gradually extended
their possessions in the district. In 1544, a feud arose
between the Forbeses and Strachans of Lenturk, owing
to the supposed guilt of Strachan in betraying the con-
spiracy of the Master of Forbes against the Hfe of
James V. Nicholas Rose of i\uchlossan was one of the
jury who found the Master of Forbes guilty. He joined
the laird of Lenturk, and in one of the conflicts with the
Forbeses, Rose was slain. In 1643, the possessions of
the Roses consisted of the barony of Auchlossan, the
lands of Bogloch, Deray Croft, and Croft of Alderan.
On the nth of September, 1709, Captain Francis Rose
fell at the Battle of Malplaquet, in France ; and, in 171 5,
his estate was sold by his creditors.
The Duguids of Auchinhove, in 1534, pleaded, in an
action raised by the Earl of Mar against his vassals, that
*' they and their predecessors had been infeft in their
lands holding of the King, for a period of two hundred
years." In 1656, Francis Duguid purchased from
George Forbes of Corse the part of the barony of O'Neil
which lay in Lumphanan, comprising Easter and Wester
Kincraigie, Knowhead-Hillock, and Bogloch ; and, in
1675, they had also lands in other parishes. The head
of the family, in 1745, joined Prince Charles. He was
an officer in the rebel army, and very active in raising
large sums of money in the district ; and Duguid's
mansion house was burned by a company of the Duke
of Cumberland's troops. After the suppression of the
rising, the greater part of the estate was sold. In 1699,
Robert Duguid married Teressa Leslie of Balquhain ;
and their son, Patrick Leslie Duguid, succeeded to the
estate of Balquhain as heir of entail, after a protracted
lawsuit. The Duguids of Auchinhove trace a direct
male line from 1400.
In the last century the Farquharsons of Finzean pur-
116 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
chased Auchlossan, which had belonged to the Roses,
and the greater part of Auchinhove. The Forbeses of
Craigievar obtained possession of Kintocher in 17 12.
This branch of the Forbeses was descended from
Patrick, the third son of James, the second Lord Forbes.
The lands of Halton, Pitmurchie, and Craigamore, in
Lumphanan, were granted by James III. to Thomas
Charteris in 1487 ; and his grandson, Thomas Charteris
of Kinfauns, was served heir to the barony of Lumphanan,
lying within the barony of O'Neil, in 1546. In 1655,
Patrick Irvine succeeded his grandfather, John Irvine, in
the lands of Halton, Pitmurchie, and Craigton, lying
within the barony of Lumphanan. John Irvine of
Pitmurchie was appointed Chancellor of an Assize held
on the 25th April, 1597, for the trial of witches.
Turning to traces of ancient structures, the Peel Bog
lies in a marshy hollow near the church. It is a circular
earthen mound, forty-six yards in diameter, eleven feet
above the level of the bog, and surrounded by a moat.
The Burn of Lumphanan supplied the water for the
moat. It is conjectured that a wooden fort was erected
on the mound at an early period. This structure seems
to have been superseded by a stone building, erected in
the fifteenth century. The ruins of the stone structure
existed on the top of the mound in the latter part of the
last century ; at that time the walls and southern gable,
though decayed and defaced, were quite visible, and it
was then called Haaton House. About a century ago,
the tenant of the farm of Bogloch razed the crumbling
structure to the foundation, and used the stones for
building purposes in the neighbourhood.
The Houff is about a mile from the Peel Bog, and it
seems to have been a place of defence in early times ;
some traces of the structure are still visible. At a later
period, according to tradition, it became the burial
ground of the Duguids. The ruins of the Castle of
Auchinhove lie about a mile to the south-west of the
Peel Bog ; it was the stronghold of the Duguid family.
The ruins of the old Tower of Maud stand at the
west end of Moss Maud. It was a small structure, only
twenty feet over the walls both ways. The remaining
walls are only a few feet in height, but very thick and
strong. It was probably erected in the fifteenth century.
Two hundred years ago the Loch of Auchlossan
probably covered an area of six hundred acres ; but
subsequently its outlet at Drumduan was deepened,
which reduced its extent to under three hundred acres.
The loch was a great resort of snipes and other water
fowls. Nearly forty years ago, Mr. James W. Barclay,
ex-M.P., completely drained the loch by diverting the
streams which fed it, and excavating a tunnel which
carried the surface water into the Burn of Dess. Thus,
by the enterprise of one man, the area of the loch was
turned into dry land, and is now a cultivated farm.
The most interesting and important historic
event in Lumphanan is associated with Macbeth,
which I will now present. Upon the death of
Malcolm II., the lineal descendants in the male
line of Kenneth M'Alpin, the founder of the Scot-
tish dynasty, became extinct, and he was succeeded
by his grandson, Duncan, a son of one of Malcolm's
daughters. But other aspirants to the throne disputed
Duncan's right, and he soon became involved in a
desperate struggle with the local chiefs beyond the Spey.
118 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Duncan appears to have been a very able prince ; but
when the other local chiefs beyond the Spey joined
Macbeth, they proved too strong for him, and after a
severe struggle, Duncan was slain by Macbeth near Elgin.
Macbeth then marched southward, crossed the Dee,
proceeded by Brechin, and mounted the throne at Scone
in 1040. For five years he reigned undisturbed. He
was descended from one of the Kings of Dalriada, and
Gruoch, his wife, was a daughter of Bode, son of Kenneth,
and thus related to the Royal line. In 1045, Crinan, father
of Duncan, and lay Abbot of Dunkeld, mustered all his
followers and the opponents of Macbeth, with the
intention of driving him from the throne. A severe
battle ensued, in which Crinan was slain, and Macbeth
gained a complete victory. He was an able and
vigorous ruler, and the kingdom seems to have enjoyed
unusual tranquillity and prosperity under his sway.
The late King, Duncan, left two sons — mere children
at the time of his death — their mother being related
to Siward, the Earl of Northumberland. In 1054,
Siward mustered a large and well equipped army, and a
naval force to co-operate with it, and invaded Scotland to
drive Macbeth from the throne. This army marched
northward in quest of Macbeth, crossed the Forth at
Stirling, and proceeded towards the Tay. Macbeth
posted his army around the Hill Fort of Dunsinnane. A
great battle ensued, which raged with the utmost fury,
and many were slain on Doth sides. But the result was
not decisive, as Siward retired southward, and returned
home to Northumberland, and died in 1055. The
expedition, however, had enabled Malcolm, son of
Duncan, to obtain possession of the country between the
Forth and the Tweed ; but Macbeth was still King of
the country beyond the Forth, and young Malcolm had
to depend on his own resources to recover the kingdom
from the grasp of his opponent. Malcolm III. was a prince
of great energy ; after feeling his way, and gaining the
support of the people, in 1057 he resolved to try issues
Malcolm marched northward, and crossed the
Mounth, and approached the Dee. Macbeth posted
his followers on a height — probably Perkhill — and there
stood on the defensive. On discovering his enemy's
position, Malcolm determined to cross the Dee and risk
a battle. Macbeth's army was probably as large as that
of Malcolm. Nevertheless, Malcolm advanced and
attacked Macbeth, and on the 15th of August, 1057, a
fierce battle was fought, in which Macbeth and many
of his followers were slain. Yet the war was not
terminated, as it appears that the remnant of Macbeth's
followers had retreated north towards the Don ; and
then rallied round Lulach, who continued the struggle
for the throne of Scotland. The war was carried on in the
region between the Dee and the Deveron ; and it thus
appears that the people of this district were supporters
of Macbeth and his successor, Lulach. On the 17th of
March, 1058, Lulach was defeated and slain at Essy, in
Strathbogie. Shortly after, Malcolm III. mounted the
throne of Scotland at Scone. Macbeth's Cairn stood on
Perkhill, but the stones have been removed, and the site
planted and enclosed.
At the foot of the Hill of Corse there was, in 1842,
an earthen rampart or hill fort, three hundred and thirty
yards long ; and opposite to it, a quarter of a mile
distant, at the foot of the Hill of Milmahd, there was
another fort of a similar description.
ABOYNE— GLENTANNER— CULBLEAN.
The stretch of the Valley from the Burn of Dess to Loch
Kinnord presents many varied features. On both sides
of the river the scenery is finely diversified. The surface
of the country on the north side is rather hilly, but not
mountainous. The highest points are the Hill of
Mortlich, 1248 feet, and Culblean, 1567 feet; while, on
the south side, the highest summits of the mountain
range rise to 3000 feet. On both sides the Valley is
Aboyne, with its castle and burgh of barony, is a
centre of great historic interest and importance, and
several notable families have been connected with it ;
while from a prehistoric standpoint the district is ex-
The village of Charlestown of Aboyne stands on a fine
esplanade on the north bank of the Dee, encircled by
woods [and groups of different kinds of trees, which
afford shelter and enhance its beauty. It chiefly con-
sists of spacious villas and terraces, situated to the west
and north-west of the railway station, and the business
part of the burgh. There [is a fine large Green, which
lends a charming feature to the amenity of the village.
It affords ample space for all kinds of outdoor amuse-
ments and games ; while it is also used as the market-
stance. The Public Hall is on the south side of the Green,
and it contains a library, a reading-room, and a billiard-
room. The Parish Church was erected in 1842, and
stands at the top of the Green. It is a chaste and well-
built structure, and affords room for six hundred and
thirty sitters. The manse is a short distance west from
the church, and situated in a beautiful and retired spot
amid the woods. The Free Church stands on the east
side of the village ; it is built in the Gothic style, with a
chaste spire, and forms a pleasing feature in the beautiful
landscape. Walking from the village westward, towards
the Suspension Bridge, and looking up and down the
Valley and across the river, the scenery is exquisitely fine,
charming, and serene.
Three-quarters of a mile north from the village is the
Castle of Aboyne, the residence of the Marquis of Huntly.
The site seems to have been occupied by a defensive
structure at a very early period, and surrounded by a
moat. The present castle stands on a small eminence in
a fine vale, at a height of four hundred feet above sea
level. It is a large and massive structure, erected at
different times. The west wing was built in 1671, by
Charles Gordon, first Earl of Aboyne ; the east wing was
erected in 1 801, by the fifth Earl ; and another addition
was made to the castle in 1869. The castle is surrounded
by extensive w^oods, which cover about three thousand
acres of land. The out-lying woods mostly consist of
pines and larch, but in the immediate vicinity of the
castle there are a variety of beautiful trees — oak, elm,
beech, ash, spruce, and birch — some of which are of great
age and size. The pleasure grounds and gardens are ex-
tensive, and embrace an artificial loch, which covers
thirty-two acres — forming a beautiful sheet of water.
122 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
There are several wooded islets on it. In the policies
near the castle, a sculptured stone, six feet six inches
high, with a cross on it, stands on a knoll ; it originally
stood on the bank of Loch Kinnord, and about eighty
years ago it was removed to its present site for more
Two miles eastward of the castle are the ruins of the
mansion house of Tillphoudie, which in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries was the residence of a branch of
the Gordons of Aboyne.
The old church of Aboyne stood near the end of the
loch, and in the old churchyard there are some interest-
ing monuments. There is a fragment of a sculpture
stone with an Ogham inscription on it ; only other four
specimens of this class of inscriptions are known on the
mainland of Scotland ; the fragment here is, therefore, of
great interest. Here, within an inclosure, lie the remains
of the Inneses of Balnacraig and Ballogie.
Balnacraig lies on the east extremity of the Parish of
Aboyne, and on the south side of the Dee. Balnacraig
House stands high on the south shoulder of a hill, and
on the north a rocky and wooded eminence rises abruptly
above the house. The site is beautiful and picturesque,
and the view from it along the Dee westward, and of the
mountains to the south, is very fine. The greater part of
the estate is covered with wood.
A family of the name of Chalmers held the estate of
Balnacraig at an early period. Subsequently it was ac-
quired by the Davidsons, from whom it was purchased
by the Inneses about 1725, The Innes family made
additions to the mansion house, and being Roman
Catholics, they formed a chapel in the east wing. It does
not appear that the head of the family joined the Rising
of 1745 ; but shortly after the battle of Culloden, a com-
pany of soldiers arrived with the intention of burning the
house. This, however, seems to have been prevented by
the hospitality shown to the soldiers. One soldier thrust
his head into an earthen jar which contained honey, and
when satisfied with its contents, he found, amid the
jeering of his comrades, that his head could only be ex-
tricated by breaking the mouth of the jar. The soldiers
merely set fire to the poultry-house, and then retired.
The honey jar, with its broken mouth, was long preserved
by the representatives of the family. The Inneses of
Balnacraig and Ballogie became extinct in the early part
of this century, and were succeeded by their relative,
Lewis Farquharson, who assumed the name of Innes on
becoming heir to their property. He died in 1834, and
his heir sold Balnacraig to James D. Nicol in 1852, who
was succeeded by his son, William E. Nicol.
The Suspension Bridge which spans the Dee above
Aboyne was erected by the Earl of Aboyne in 1828 and
1 83 1, and it was reconstructed by the Road Trustees in
1 87 1. Near the bridge, on the south side of the river,
stands Auldinnie Tower, on a wooded eminence. A burn
of the same name runs past it and enters the Dee a little
above the bridge. About a mile above the bridge the
water of Tanner joins the Dee. The ruins of the old
church and graveyard of Glentanner lie on the south
bank of the Dee, on the farm of Cobleheuch. Glentanner
is comparatively narrow, but the hills on either side are
not of great elevation. The glen was long famed for its
pine trees, and there are still long stretches of woods on
both sides of the glen. Portions of the lower part of the
124 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
glen are suitable for cultivation, but only a small part is
under tillage. About fifty years ago the glen was turned
into a deer forest.
The water of Tanner is spanned by the Bridge of Ess,
at a romantic spot half-a-mile above the confluence of
the Tanner with the Dee. A square loop-holed tower
guards the bridge, and here the bed of the stream is rocky
and its banks finely fringed with trees. The old Fir
Mounth road crosses Glentanner, and thence to the ford
or ferry of the Dee near the railway station of Dinnet.
Edward I., in 1296, when returning south on his triumphal
progress through Scotland, called at Rothes, Kildrummy
Castle, and Kinnord, crossed the Dee at Boat of Dinnet,
and marched through Glentanner, and onward to Brechin.
During the last century and the first quarter of the
present one, Glentanner was a great centre of smuggling.
The making of whisky was then considered by the in-
habitants as a natural right and an honest industry,
although, especially since the Union, the Government of
the country had decreed otherwise. This view of smug-
gling was not confined to the natives of Glentanner or
the Valley of the Dee, for it prevailed throughout
Scotland. Indeed, for a considerable time after the
Union, the struggle with the excisemen and the revenue
officers was universal over the kingdom, and it led to
many lively scenes and tragic deeds. It is said that
thirteen smuggling brewing-houses were often working at
the same time in Glentanner, which is quite likely, for I
have frequently observed in the north of Scotland the
sites and remains of a dozen smuggling brewing- houses
within a much more limited area than Glentanner.
Many years ago, Sir William Cunlifife Brooks, Bart.,
took a lease of Glentanner from his son-in-law, the
Marquis of Huntly, and subsequently Sir William
purchased the Glen. He effected many improvements,
and greatly enhanced the beauty of the region. The
deer in the glen sometimes made inroads on the crops of
the farmers in the locality, and to prevent this Sir
William has erected many miles of strong iron-wire fenc-
ing. He has also directed special attention to the
introducing of an ample supply of the purest water,
erecting healthier houses for the tenants and workmen on
his estate, and making good roads, and thus greatly im-
proving the sanitary conditions.
The mansion house of Glentanner, Sir William's
residence, stands on a fine site on the left side of the glen,
and was erected by him. It is a chaste and artistic
structure, both externally and internally. The gardens
and the grounds are extensive and admirably laid out,
and above the mansion house there are several artificial
lakelets which enhance the beauties of the landscape.
The farm-steading and offices are all admirably planned
and kept in excellent order. On the right bank of the
stream is the Episcopal Chapel of St. Lesmo, which was
consecrated by the late Bishop Suther, of Aberdeen, in
1 87 1. There is a graveyard connected with the chapel,
and in its immediate vicinity is St. Lesmo's Well,
inscribed — " Drink, weary pilgrim ; drink and pray.'*
The sanctuary of the forest surrounds the chapel, and
within it no animal may be slain or hurt, and the deer
seem to recognise this great privilege. The scene is
Sir William is a most hospitable gentleman. Every
year many strangers, and frequently large companies of
126 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
ladies and gentlemen, are all heartily welcomed to view
his remarkable residence, and its striking and well-
Up the glen there are no dwelling-houses beyond the
mansion house, and the carriage road terminates seven
miles above it, at a trim and picturesque shiel.
Proceeding up the Valley, at Dinnet, an iron bridge
spans the Dee, which was erected by the Marquis of
Huntly, and superseded the ferry boat mentioned before.
A church has been erected at Dinnet, which stands on
the south side of the railway, and the manse of Rev.
J. G. Michie, minister of Dinnet, is situated in a beautiful
spot at the north-west end of the bridge.
Mr. Michie is a native of the Parish of Crathie. He
has keen literary and archselogical tastes, and has a rare
store of traditional lore and other information touching
the state of the inhabitants of the Valley of the Dee and
its glens in bygone ages. He is the author of an exceed-
ingly interesting and valuable volume of tales and
traditions of the people of the upper stretch of the Valley
of the Dee. This volume embodied in a popular form
much valuable information, which would soon have been
lost for ever. He is also the author of a very instructive
work entitled " History of Loch Kinnord," published in
1877, and I have been much indebted to him for various
Mr. Michie doubtless would have given the public
other works from his store of accurate knowledge, if the
misfortune of weak health had not overtaken him. I
believe few men are so well qualified to write the history
of the Valley of the Dee as Mr. Michie.
About two miles westward from Dinnet Bridge, on
the south side of the river, is the site of Dee Castle, on a
small eminence. Its original name was Kandychyle. It
seems to have been chiefly used as a hunting seat by the
Huntly family, when they visited their Deeside estates.
It was burned in 1641, and afterwards became a ruin. A
fragment of its wall forms part of the modern house
erected on the site.
A little further up the Valley, on the same side of the
river, is the farmhouse of Ballaterich, where Lord Byron
lived for some time when a boy. It appears that the
surrounding scenery and the mountains had a wonderful
fascination over his youthful and glowing imagination.
Morven occurs in several of his poems, and Mary
Robertson, the farmer's second daughter, had certainly
won the warm boyish affection of the young poet, and
many years after, her image was not effaced from his
memory. A few lines from the poet may be quoted : —
When I roved a young Highlander o'er the dark heath,
And climbed thy steep summit, O Morven of snow ;
To gaze on the torrent that thundered beneath,
Or the mist on the tempest that gathered below ;
Untutored by science, a stranger to fear,
And rude as the rocks where my infancy grew,
No feeling, save one, to my bosom was dear,
Need I say, my sweet Mary, 'twas centred in you ?
James Neil was born in the Parish of Aboyne in 1800.
He was an excellent violin-player, and instrumental
composer. He was very popular in the locality. He
died in 1868, and left three sons, all of whom showed
musical talents. James Neil, born in 1832, was a fine
violin-player. He died in 1890, and left a number of
excellent violins. Alexander, born in 1837, was a good
violin-player. He entered the army, and attained the
128 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
rank of Surgeon Major in the medical service. He died
in 1879. George Neil, born in 1839, is a violin-player,
and a good teacher of music.
On the north side of the Valley, a short distance
westward from the railway station, stands Dinnet House,
which was recently erected by Charles Wilson, M.P.,
who purchased the lands in the neighbourhood. It is a
pretty large structure, and a prominent feature in the
Loch Kinnord and Loch Davan are about half-a-mile
to the north-west of Dinnet railway station ; they are
only one hundred yards apart from each other. Loch
Kinnord covers an area of 225 acres. Loch Davan is
much smaller. On Loch Kinnord there are several islets,
finely wooded, and the margins of both lochs are beauti-
fully skirted with birchwood, alder, and juniper bushes.
The Hill of Culblean slopes down to their western shores,
and the burn of Vat issues from the hill and enters Loch
Kinnord. The Vat, a short distance west of Loch
Kinnord, is a kind of cave in the bed of the burn of the
same name, formed by the rocks over which the stream
falls, and present a very pretty scene.
On a small eminence near the margin of Loch Davan,
is Glendavan House, the residence of Dr. Alexander
Ogston, Professor of Surgery in the University of
During the minority of David H., Edward Baliol
aspired to the throne, and supported by a few English
nobles, who claimed lands in Scotland, he invaded the
kingdom in 1332. The following year Edward HI.
threw off the mask, and openly assisted Baliol. In the
space of five years, Edward III. led in person four
successive invasions into Scotland, and reduced the nation
tothegreatest extremities. David Strathbogie, ninth Earlof
Athole, wavered in his allegiance, and repeatedly changed
sides. At last, in the service of Edward III., he be-
sieged the Castle of Kildrummy. The garrison, though
few in number, was brave and determined, and made a
heroic defence for the national cause. When Sir Andrew
Moray, the Regent, received tidings of Athole's attack on
Kildrummy, he immediately marched northward to raise
the siege. Athole prepared to face the Regent, and
leaving Kildrummy, he marched his army to a position
on the wooded slope of Culblean. The Regent was ac-
companied by William Douglas, Sir Alexander Gordon
of Strathbogie, the Earl of Dunbar, Ramsay of Preston,
and other leading men ; the army numbered eight
hundred fighting men. Athole's following was probably
much larger, as his territorial power was then very ex-
tensive. The battle was fought on the 30th of November,
1335. William Douglas led the vanguard with a strong
company of stalwart men, and advanced with consummate
tact, watching his opportunity, and at the proper
moment ordered his men to couch their spears and
charge the centre of the enemy's line, and a furious hand-
to-hand combat ensued. Sir Andrew Moray then rapidly
advanced with the main body, and assailed the enemy in
flank with unbearable fury. Athole fell on the field ; his
followers were completely defeated, and fled in confusion.
This battle was a very important national event. It
formed a turning point, as the national party at the time
were reduced to dire extremity, while Athole was the
most powerful noble in Scotland, owing to his extensive
territorial possessions and his connection with the Comyns
130 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
through marriage ; thus his continued opposition would
have proved ruinous to the national cause. From this
time the King's party steadily gained ground, and in 1339
Baliol finally fled from Scotland, and assumed his natural
position as a pensioned dependant on England.
In early times the whole Valley of the Dee was
within the Earldom of Mar, but in the later part of the
twelfth century and the early part of the thirteenth the
greater portion of the stretch of the Valley below Cambus
o' May was cut off from the Earldom. A considerable
portion of this land was assigned to the Church and the
monasteries ; small parts of it were retained for a time
in the hands of the Crown, and a large part of it was
given to the Durward family.
In the early part of the thirteenth century, the Bisset
family had obtained possession of Aboyne, and in 1242
Walter Bisset was lord of the barony. It appears that a
feud existed between Bisset and Patrick, Earl of Athole,
who was burnt to death at his residence in Haddington.
Walter Bisset was suspected of having instigated this
deed, although he cleared himself in a trial at Edinburgh;
yet he retired to England, and was protected by Henry
III. Another Walter Bisset received a charter of the
lands of x^boyne from Robert I., which was confirmed to
his son, Thomas Bisset, by a charter of David II. The
male line of the Aboyne Bissets terminated in an heiress,
and she married John Eraser, a nephew'of Robert I., soon
after the battle of Culblean. Thus the lordship of
Aboyne passed into the hands of the Eraser family.
But the eldest daughter of John Eraser, Margaret,
married Sir William Keith, the Marischal of Scotland,
and he received with her Aboyne and other lands,
including the thanedom of Durris, the baronies of
Strachan, Culperso, Johnstone, and many other estates.
They had three sons and four daughters, and the
youngest daughter, Elizabeth Keith, married Sir Adam
Gordon of Huntly. The eldest son, John Keith, married
a daughter of Robert II.; but John died shortly after,
leaving an only son, who also died before his grandfather,
leaving an only daughter. Lady Jane Keith. This lady
married Alexander Gordon, first Earl of Huntly, and
with her he received the lands of Aboyne, Glentanner,
Cluny, Tullich, and Glenmuick.
Towards the close of the fifteenth century, Adam
Gordon, second son of the second Earl of Huntly, married
Elizabeth Sutherland, and the Earl then assigned to them
the barony of Aboyne. They resided at Ferrar, where
their son, Alexander, was born, who became the first Earl
of Sutherland of the name of Gordon. The Countess
succeeded to the Earldom of Sutherland in 1515 ; still
the family continued to reside mostly at i\boyne ; as they
were much attached to their Deeside residence. The
Countess died at Aboyne in 1535, and was interred there ;
and her husband died at Ferrar in 1537, and was interred
beside the Countess. Their eldest son, Alexander, suc-
ceeded to the Earldom, as first Earl of Sutherland of the
name of Gordon.
George, the fourth Earl of Huntly, was too much
engaged in the public affairs of the nation to look after
the improvement of this portion of his wide territories.
In his personality the power and influence of the house
of Huntly reached its culmination. In fact, he was for
some time King of Scotland, north of the Tay ; but the
rising power and ambition of James Stuart, Earl of Mar,
132 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Earl of Moray, and Regent of Scotland, for a brief period
greatly injured the Huntly family.
Moray had resolved to crush the Earl of Huntly, and^
for a time, he was successful. On the 28th of October,
1562, the Earl of Huntly fell at the battle of Corrichie.
His titles and estates were forfeited to the Crown ; but in
truth, the Crown had not sufficient strength to
carry the forfeiture into effect, even with Moray and
Lethington as its instigators. In 1565 the titles and
estates were restored by Queen Mary to his son, the fifth
Earl of Huntly. He took an active part in the stirring
events and scenes of the period. He died in 1576, and
was succeeded by his son, George, the sixth Earl, and
first Marquis of Huntly. As he was a minor, the
management of the estates and the leadership of the clan
fell to his uncle. Sir Adam Gordon — the hero of many a
a ballad, under the title of " Edom o' Gordon." When
the young Earl attained his majority, he manifested some
rashness and extravagance, but the sobering influence of
experience and years produced a marked improvement
on his character. In 1599 he was created first Marquis
of Huntly. He then retired from politics, and devoted
his attention to the improvement of his estates. He
covered many a rough moor with plantations, repaired
and built mansions, not for warlike purposes, but to add
to the comforts and conveniences of civilised life. Dee
Castle then became the chief residence of the Marquis
and his family when they sojourned at their Deeside
The Aboyne peerage commenced in 1627 when
Charles I. created Lord John Gordon, second son of the
first Marquis, Viscount of Melgum and Lord Aboyne.
Unhappily, the young Lord was burned to death in the
house of Frendraught, on 8th October, 1630, which termi-
nated this peerage. In 1632, George, Lord Gordon, eldest
5on of the first Marquis, was created Viscount of Aboyne
during the life of his father, and if he should survive his
father and succeed to the Marquisate, the title of Viscount
should then descend to his second son, James, and his
heirs male. On the death of his father in 1636, he suc-
ceeded to the lands as second Marquis of Huntly, while
the Aboyne peerage descended to his second son, James,
who then became second Viscount of Aboyne. He soon
after engaged in the Covenanting struggle on the side of
the King. His father and elder brother were then
prisoners in Edinburgh, and he mustered the clan in
order to repel an invasion of their territories by the Earl
of Montrose, and the battle, which occured at the Bridge
of Dee, has already been noticed.
In the summer of 1640 the Covenanters, under Argyle,
visited the Valley of the Dee, but they did little damage
to the lands of the Gordons on that occasion. The
Marquis of Huntly had the Royal commission of
Lieutenancy of the North, and mustered his clan and
vassals and fixed his headquarters at Aboyne. At this
time Viscount Aboyne was in England with the King,
and Lord Gordon was with the Covenanters. On the
approach of an army of six thousand men under Argyle,
Huntly disbanded his men and retired to Strathbogie,
and afterwards to a sequestered isle in Strathnaver, in the
north-west of Sutherlandshire, where he lay concealed for
a considerable time.
Meantime eight hundred Argyleshire men came to
Cromar, Aboyne, Strachan, and the districts around,
134 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
where they had a daily allowance off the country of
twenty-four bolls of meal, one hundred and twenty sheep,
and a number of cattle, and sixty dollars of money. They
drew the rents, and lived upon the Marquis of Huntly's
lands of Cromar, Glentanner, Glenmuick, and other
districts, from May to the ist of July.
As the Marquis of Huntly at the commencement of
the Covenanting struggle had been entrapped by
Montrose, he never could;trust him ; but his sons, Lord
Gordon and Viscount Aboyne, joined Montrose, and
fought under him against the Covenanters. They were
both engaged at the battle of Auldearn ; and at the
battle of Alford on the 2nd July, 1645, Lord Gordon was
slain. He was twenty-eight years of age, a comely,
brave, and magnanimous gentleman, and his death was
greatly and deeply lamented. When the Marquis heard
of the death of his eldest son he returned from Strath-
naver to his own country. The Marquis himself was
always a supporter of the Throne ; even after the King
was a prisoner with the Scottish army, Huntly made an
attempt to assist him, which failed. He then disbanded
his followers, and fled to Lochaber for safety. The Com-
mittee of Estates offered a reward of ;^iooo sterling to
any person who should apprehend him. He succeeded
in eluding the pursuit of his enemies for several months,
living in caves and the recesses of forests in the wildest
parts of the Highlands. Aided by a few faithful attend-
ants, he was lying concealed at the farmhouse of Dalnabo,
three miles below Inchroy, when his hiding place was
discovered by the agents of the Government. Toward
the end of December, 1647, Colonel Menzies, with a com-
pany of troops at midnight surrounded Dalnabo ; the
Marquis had only ten men around him, some of whom
were servants, yet they made a heroic stand to protect
their master against fearful odds. Six of them were
killed on the spot and the rest mortally wounded.
Menzies immediately conveyed the Marquis to Blairfindie,
in Glenlivet, and afterward he was carried to Edinburgh
and imprisoned. He was confined in prison from the
end of December, 1647, till March, 1649. A sad fate
waited him, more heartrending, because at the time, his
brother-in-law, Argyle, was at the head of the Scottish
Government. The Marquis of Huntly was executed on
the 22nd of March, 1649, ^t the cross of Edinburgh.
There is no evidence that Argyle made any effort to save
the Marquis' life ; although there is evidence of another
character, namely, that Argyle made profit to himself off
the Marquis' estates.
The Marquis' surviving sons managed to escape; the
eldest, James, Viscount Aboyne, and Lord Lewis Gordon
fled to Paris ; Charles, the third son, narrowly escaped
with his life ; and Henry, the youngest, went abroad and
entered the serv^ice of the King of Poland. Viscount
Aboyne died in the spring of 1649, and leaving no issue,
the Viscounty of Aboyne became extinct. Lewis died in
1653, leaving an infant son, George. This boy, after the
Restoration, had the estates and titles restored to him,
and some twenty years later he was created first Duke of
Charles Gordon, uncle of the preceding, was created
Earl of Aboyne and Lord Gordon of Strathavon and
Glenlivet in 1660. A portion of the family property was
then conveyed to him, consisting of all the lands and
lordship of Aboyne. Thus, Charles was the first Earl of
Aboyne. For many years he had full charge of the
136 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Huntly estates, when his nephew, the Marquis, was a
minor, and he did much to restore the fortunes of the
The Earl married Margaret Irvine, a sister of the
laird of Drum, and by her he had an only daughter.
Margaret was a lady of great attractions, and poetically
commemorated as " bonny Peggie Irvine." She died in
1664. Afterward the Earl married Elizabeth Lyon, a
daughter of the Earl of Kinghorn, by whom he had
three sons and one daughter. The Earl was a man of
great energy, and occasionally indulged in writing verses.
Several of his pieces occur in manuscript collections of
this period, and he produced a satire on the Duke of
Lauderdale. He died in 1681.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, second
Earl of Aboyne. He died in 1702, and was succeeded
by his son, John, third Earl of Aboyne. He married
Grace, a daughter of Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath, a
well-known Jacobite, and a keen opponent of the Union.
The Earl joined in Mar's Rising in 171 5, which involved
him in many difficulties. He died in 1732. He was suc-
ceeded by his son, Charles, a boy of six years, fourth
Earl of Aboyne.
The Earl had acquired strong Jacobite feelings, and
probably he would have joined the Rising of 1745, if his
friends had not wisely conveyed him to Paris under
colour of completing his education. On attaining his
majority, he found the property heavily burdened, and in
order to clear off the debt, in 1749 he sold the Glenmuick
portion to John Farquharson of Invercauld. He then
became afraid that, owing to the limits of his estates, he
would be unable to live in Scotland, and sent his baggage
to Paris, intending shortly to follow and live abroad. His
love for the land of his birth, however, prevailed, and he
ordered his baggage to be brought back.
He then earnestly directed his attention to the im-
provement of his lands. He planted woods, erected
about forty miles of stone fences five feet in height, and
induced his tenants to adopt improved means of agricul-
ture ; and he soon cleared the lands of debt. In 1759 he
married Margaret Stewart, a daughter of the Earl of
Galloway, and by her he had a son and two daughters.
She died at Aboyne Castle, on the 12th of August, 1762.
In 1774, the Earl married Mary Douglas, a daughter of
James, ninth Earl of Morton, and by her he had a son.
After a very active and upright life, he died at Edinburgh,
on the 28th of December, 1794, in the sixty-eighth year
of his age.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, George, fifth
Earl of Aboyne. In 1791, he married Catherine, a
daughter of Sir Charles Hope of Brewern, and by her he
had issue, six sons and three daughters. In 181 5 he was
created a British peer under the title of Baron Meldrum
of Morven, and in virtue of this he sat in the House of
Lords. On the death of George, fifth Duke of Gordon,
and eighth Marquis of Huntly, in 1836, the Earl of
Aboyne succeeded to the title of Marquis of Huntly.
The Marquis died on the 17th of June, 1853, at the great
age of ninety-two years.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles Gordon,
tenth Marquis of Huntly. In 1844, he married Mary
Antoinette, a daughter of the Rev. P. W. Pegus, by whom
he had issue seven sons and seven daughters. He died
on the 1 8th of September, 1863, in the seventy-first year
of his age, and was succeeded by his eldest son, the
present Marquis of Huntly.
The real Highland stretch of the Valley commences at
the moor of Dinnet, thence upward the mountains con-
tinuously rise in elevation ; while the Dee itself emerges
from the Highlands by the narrow Pass of Cambus o'
May. The general aspects of the Valley are mountainous
and woody, ridges and hills rising in elevation as they
recede from the river. On the south side the highest
mountains are Mount Keen and Lochnagar, which are
a considerable distance off; and the intervening space
between them and the river presents a fine succession of
hills and ridges, which are partly covered with natural
woods and bushes, and planted trees. On the north side
the highest mountains are Culblean and Morven, and a
succession of lower hills and ridges. From Cambus o'
May northward along the eastern slopes of Culblean and
Morven, far up the crags and hill sides, and uncultivated
ground, natural birch, alder, juniper bushes, and scots fir
are found. The margins of the river from Cambus o' May
to the water of Gairn are fringed with natural birch, ash,
alder, and aspen trees. The woods of Tullich, Monaltrie
House, and Craigendarroch consist of a variety of
different kinds of trees.
The railway station of Cambus o' May stands on a
beautiful spot at the base of Culblean amid a grove of
natural birches and close to the edge of the Dee. The
beauty of Cambus o' May has been celebrated in
poetry : —
*' Ye may wander at will, from the sea to Glen Lui,
The grey Silver City to heath clad Braemar ;
Seek shelter and silence, on stern Ben Muich Dhui,
Or woo the wild grandeur of dark Lochnagar :
Yet ne'er in your roaming, from morn -break till gloaming,
Shall scene more endearing ere lighten the way,
Than where the Dee gliding, through beauty abiding,
Salutes with soft murmur sweet Gammas O'May.
The breezes blow round me from steep Cragendarra' ;
The owrecome o' sangs I hae gladsomely sung ;
I hear the loud pibroch, nae music can marrow
Save the soul-warming thrill o' my auld mither tongue :
I hae rowed o'er the ferry, for hazel and berry.
Sailed aften sinsyne across ocean and bay ;
But thocht ne're would sever from Dee, childhood's river.
And hours I hae spent at sweet Gammas O'May." '
Westward from the station are the ruins of the old church
and graveyard of Tullich. The church was dedicated to
St. Nathalan, and the churches of Glenmuick and
Glengairn were vicarages belonging to Tullich. The
ruins of the old church present some features of antiquity,
and it was probably erected about the middle of the
fifteenth century. Within the walls of the church is the
burial ground of the Farquharsons of Whitehouse and
Shiels. To the eastward of the old church, on a birch-
clad eminence, there is an obelisk of Aberdeen granite,
erected by his widow, to the memory of William
Farquharson of Monaltrie, who died on the 28th of
November, 1828. She died in 1857, and was interred
in Tullich Churchyard.
Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, locally known as
Baron Ban, joined the Rising of 1745. He led the
I Under Lochnagar, p. i6o.
140 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Farquharsons at the battle of Culloden, where he was
taken prisoner, conveyed to London, tried, and condemn-
ed to death ; but he received a reprieve, and afterwards
a pardon. His estates, however, were confiscated ;
although after the passing of the Act for restoring the
forfeited estates in 1784, Mr. Farquharson received his
lands on the payment of ;^i6i3. He was a very liberal-
minded and enterprising landlord, and did much for the
improvement of the district by erecting bridges and
forming roads. Mr. Farquharson also utilised the mineral
springs at Pannanich, which are on the opposite side of
the river, and where he erected dwelling-houses, and
public and private bathrooms. He died in 1790. The
wells of Pannanich became famous for curing certain
maladies, and many persons resorted to them. They lie
on the south side of the Dee nearly two miles below
Ballater, and in 1842 the following notice of them was
given in the " Statistical account" : — " By chemical
analysis these wells, four in number, and all near to one
another, have been found not exactly alike in their
properties, but all containing carbonates of iron and lime,
with small proportions of other ingredients. They are
all chalybeate, stimulant, and tonic, of a cold temperature,
but very agreeable to the taste ; and although injurious
to consumptive patients, they are allowed to be bene-
ficial to those afflicted with gravelly and scrofulous
complaints. For the accommodation of water drinkers,
there are comfortable, well-aired lodgings at those wells,
and also hot, cold, and shower baths ; and in the summer
season a great many people resort to them from all parts
of the country." The establishment in connection with
the wells is still carried on, and in the summer season a
vehicle runs between it and Ballater. There is a very
nice hamlet at Pannanich.
The old village of Tullich stood in the immediate
vicinity of the ruins of the old church ; and in the middle
of the last century it was the capital of the district, where
the post-office and inn were located, and in which the
weaver, shoemaker, and tailor had their workshops ; but
the success of Pannanich suggested the idea of commenc-
ing to build at Ballater ; hence the origin of this thriving
burgh, which soon outstript its older neighbour.
A few yards to the west of the ruins of the old church,,
the Burn of Tullich is crossed by a bridge, and from this
standpoint a grand view of the surrounding mountains
and scenery is presented to the eye. Indeed, the entrance
to the Highlands of Braemar by the Pass of Ballater
presents many features of surpassing variety and sublim-
ity. The greatest artist could produce but an imperfect
representation of the landscapes, which in turn attract
the eye of the beholder. Who could paint the distant
mountains, rising in rugged grandeur over the peak of
the range of green hills, with its scarred front dazzling
dim in the sunshine that throws its fissures into deep
shade ? "A magnificent mass, truly, is Lochnagar, as
many a one has felt, and said before now. It may not be
the king of Scottish mountains, but at this moment, at
least, I am almost inclined to accord it that pre-eminence.
There are higher mountains in Scotland, but mere height
hardly merits supremacy." ' But Lochnagar does not
alone form the scene. From its broad mass and pictur-
esque outline there is a continuous lower range of moun-
tains, and, intervening between us and its base, a beautiful
I Dr. MacGillivray's Deeside, p. 32.
142 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
green range of hills. Stretching out before us is the
plain of Ballater, presenting cultivated fields and thickets
of birch. " On this side of it is a long rugged range of
granite hills, the furthest of which seems to have been
rent by an earthquake, leaving the deep gap, called the
Pass of Ballater." The river sweeps along the base of the
steep banks, covered with weeping birches and firs, and
winds round the promontory and into the plain.
Near the Bridge of Tullich the road divides into two,
one road going direct through the Pass of Ballater, and
the other passing through the burgh of Ballater. Until
recently the road through the Pass of Ballater was the
only entrance to the Braemar Highlands. The Pass is a
a deep and narrow gorge, with Craigendarroch on its
south side, and Creagant-Seabhaig on the north, and these
two craggy heights rise very steeply on either side of the
gorge. It forms an exceedingly curious and picturesque
feature of the scenery.
The burgh of Ballater is situated in a fine plain on
the north side of the Valley, at an elevation of seven
hundred and fifty feet above sea level, and amid beautiful
scenery. The Dee sweeps round in a curving form, and
encompasses the west and south sides of the plain on
which the town stands ; while the rocky, precipitous, and
well-wooded hill of Craigendarroch shelters it on the
north. As the town is of comparatively recent origin,
none of the houses are old, the greater part of it having
been built in the present century. The town is laid out
on a regular plan : the streets and lanes cross the main
street at right angles, in so far as the original plan has
been carried out ; but quite recently new terraces and
streets have been formed, and houses built on them. A
considerable number of excellent villas and cottages
have also been erected in the immediate vicinity of the
burgh. The Parish Church stands in the square, and was
built in 1875. It is a pretty, large, and chaste structure,
with a spire and a clock in it. The Free Church is at
the north-west side of the town, and is a pretty, handsome
building. The Albert Memorial Hall is opposite the
Railway Station, and it contains the Post and Telegraph
Offices, a Library, which contains a considerable number
of well-selected and important works ; a reading room,
and a billiard room. This building was erected by Mr.
Alexander Gordon, London, a native of the parish, and
cost a sum of about ^^3000. The Barracks lie at the
northern extremity of the town, and were erected to
accommodate the Queen's guard of honour when Her
Majesty is at Balmoral. The Invercauld Arms — a large
hotel — is at the south-east end of the town, on the north
bank of the river. There is also a Temperance Hotel
near the Square.
In 1842 the population of the village of Ballater was
271. It had then a circulating library and a savings
bank. In 1875 the population had increased to 400; and
the population of the town now exceeds 1000, and is still
rapidly increasing. Since 1863 the town has been
lighted with gas ; and it is now supplied with pure spring
water from a reservoir on the slope of Glengairn. A few
years ago the inhabitants adopted the Police Act, and the
burgh of Ballater has its own Provost, Magistrates, and
municipal organisation. The sanitary arrangements are
excellent ; the burgh has a clean appearance, bracing air,
and the aspect of health and comfort.
At Ballater, on the 26th of September, 1876, Her
144 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Majesty the Queen presented new Colours to the Royal
Scots Regiment of Foot. On the occasion the Queen said :
— "I have been associated with your Regiment from my
earliest infancy, as my dear father was your Colonel, I
now present these^, Colours to you, convinced that you
will always uphold the glory and reputation of my First
Regiment of Foot — the Royal Scots."
Monaltrie House stands on a fine lawn at the base of
the south-east extremity of Craigendarroch, about half-a-
mile from Ballater. It is well sheltered by old oak trees,
and the grounds are intersected with charming walks.
The lands and the house now belong to Mr. Farquharson
Craigendarroch Lodge is on the western slope of this
hill, a short distance from Ballater. It belongs to Mr.
J. M. Keiller, Dundee, who purchased the estate of
Morven. Along the south-western slope and the base of
Craigendarroch, a number of fine villas and cottages have
recently been erected
Opposite to Ballater a bridge spans the Dee, but the
bridges at this point have been very unfortunate. An
excellent stone bridge of five arches was swept away by a
high flood in August, 1799. Another massive stone bridge
of five arches was shortly after erected, which cost nearly
;^5000. It stood till the great flood of August, 1829, and
had it not been that a great quantity of trees and brush-
wood and other debris brought down by the flood blocked
up the arches the bridge would have stood ; but the
arches became so jammed with wood and other things,
including cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry, that the water
was dammed up to such a height that nothing could
withstand it. A loud crack was heard, instantly the
strong masonry was seen to sway, and with a crash like
thunder the material burst into pieces, and was hurled
into the river. In 1834 a strong wooden bridge of five
arches was erected on the site of the former stone one,
which cost upwards of ;^2000 ; but it has been superseded
by a new granite bridge erected on the same site.
This locality is remarkable for the notable musicians
associated with it. Francis Gordon was born in this
neighbourhood on the 7th of November, 1773. He was
an excellent violin-player, and a man of reputation.
James M. Cattanach was born in Glengairn in 1779. He
was a noted violinist, a composer, and a dancing master.
He died in 1839.
James Ross was born in the later part of the last
century, and resided in Tullich. He was a violin-player
of note in his day : and he had three sons, all of whom
were violinists. James, born in Tullich on the 4th of
December, 1818, was a celebrated violin-player. He
often played with the famous Archibald Menzies. Ross
especially excelled in playing reels and strathspeys; his
style was very stirring. He died at Edinburgh in 1882.
His brother, John, was born in Tullich on the 12th of
January, 181 5. He was a good violinist, and often played
on public occasions. William, another brother, was a
violin-player of note.
George Stewart was born near Ballater on the 4th of
December, 1793. He was an excellent violin-player. In
1850 he went to Australia, where he died in 1866. Rev.
James M'Naughton was born at Ballater on the 17th of
September, 1835. He was a fine violin-player; and
he died at Aberdeen on the 25th of October, 1879.
John Knowles was born at Ballater on the 5th of
146 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
October, 1865. He is a popular player and teacher of
Alexander Littlejohn was born in Glenmuick, on the
20th of December, 1854. He is a good violin-player, and
is the eldest of six brothers, all of whom are musicians : —
William plays the violin and cornet, John plays the violin,
Charles the flute, James the violincello, and Andrew the
violin. They have occasionally played at the Queen's
balls at Balmoral, and at other gentlemen's balls in the
surrounding district ; and their services are often in
Alexander Troup was born at Dalbadgie, in the vicinity
of Ballater, on the 15th of September, 1835. He is an
excellent musician — a violinist and musicographer. He
has often acted as a judge at pipe and violin competitions ;
has a wide and accurate knowledge of the works of
Scottish violin composers ; and possesses a valuable
collection of works on Scottish music and musicians. He
is esteemed as one of the highest living authorities upon
all points relating to Scottish music. He has played on
various occasions at Balmoral. He is also a good vocal
musician. In his twenty-first year, he led the psalmody
in the church of Crathie before Her Majesty the Queen.
He is a man of rare gifts and energy. His elder
brother, James, who went to Australia, is also a fine violin
I Musical Scotland Past and Present. By David Baptie, 1894.
The Water of Muick is one of the largest tributaries of
the Dee from the south side of the Valley, while
Glenmuick itself contains very fine, diversified, and
sublime scenery. In its lower part the Glen is pretty
The water of Muick is spanned by a stone bridge, a
little above its junction with the Dee. Near the bridge
the manse of the united parish stands on a beautiful spot.
The Churchyard of Glenmuick is at the north-west end of
the bridge, and the old church stood in the graveyard,
and was dedicated to St. Mary, but not a vestige of it
now remains. The burial ground of the Gordons of
Abergeldie is in the churchyard, enclosed with an iron
railing, and within it is a square monument with inscrip-
tions, to the memory of several members of the family.
At a very early period the lands of Glenmuick were
under the Mormaers of Mar, and afterwards the old
Celtic Earls of Mar : but gradually the central authority
on the banks of the Tay, at Scone, encroached upon the
Earl's Kingdom. From 1125 to 1286 the Scottish Kings
greatly extended their power by grants of lands to
bishoprics, monasteries, and churches ; and also by grants
of lands to new Crown vassals under feudal tenure. Thus
it was that the Bisset family became the landlords of
Glenmuick in the thirteenth century. They were super-
seded by the Eraser family, and, after a generation,
148 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Glenmuick passed, by marriage, to Sir William Keith,
Great Marischal of Scotland. The Keiths held it for
about seventy years, but the grasping Duke of Albany,
when Regent of Scotland, attempted to deprive them of
these lands, in favour of his own kin, the Earl of Buchan.
In the middle of the fifteenth century, the lands of
Glenmuick passed, by marriage, into the hands of the
Earl of Huntly.
As stated in a preceding chapter, Glenmuick was pur-
chased by John Farquharson of Invercauld from the
Earl of Aboyne. In 1863 the south-east side of
Glenmuick was purchased from Farquharson of Invercauld
by the late Sir James T. Mackenzie, Bart, but the left or
west side of Glenmuick is now attached to the Balmoral
estates, the lands of Birkhall having been purchased for
the Prince of Wales from Gordon of Abergeldie.
The old Castle of Braickley stood on the east side of
the glen, but scarcely a fragment of it now remains. It
was occupied by a Gordon in the seventeenth century, and
some traditions are associated with it. A story is told of
an encounter between the Baron of Braickley and
Farquharson of Inverey, in which the former was slain.
There is also a ballad which gives an account of a con-
flict between the Farquharsons and the Gordons, when a
Baron of Braickley is said to have been killed. The
modern house of Braickley is in the vicinity of the site of
the old castle.
The ruins of the old Castle of Knock stand on an
eminence amid trees, on the west side of the glen, a short
distance above the bridge of Muick. The ruins show
that it had been a keep of considerable strength. From
its elevated position it commands a wide view of the
surrounding country; but a much earlier tower once existed
near the same site. Alexander, the third Earl of Huntly,
appointed one of his own sons to the command of Knock
Castle. George, the fourth Earl of Huntly, granted the
lands and Castle of Knock to a brother of the laird of
Abergeldie, a kinsman of his own. A feud arose between
the Gordons and the Forbeses, and after the battle of
Corrichie, in 1 562, it became more embittered. Conflicts
took place between the Gordons of Abergeldie and the
Forbeses of Strathgirnock, whose lands intervened
between Knock and Abergeldie. In 1571, a fight
between the Gordons and the Forbeses, led by the laird
of Strathgirnock, occurred at the Crabstane, Aberdeen, in
which Alister Gordon took Forbes a prisoner. He was
conveyed to Auchindoun, and imprisoned in Sir Adam
Gordon's Castle on Glenfiddich. After a time Forbes
was liberated ; but the feud continued.
Henry Gordon of Knock was killed in a raid by a
company of the Forbeses and the Clan Chattan. He was
succeeded by his brother, Alexander Gordon, who, about
the beginning of the seventeenth century, erected the
Castle of Knock, the ruins of which still remain. It ap-
pears, however, that he did not live long in peace.
According to tradition, his seven sons were casting peats
one day, and quite unaware of any hostile movement,
when a party of the Forbeses led by Strathgirnock, sud-
denly attacked and slew them. Their father, on receiving
tidings of this, was completely unnerved, and when
leaning on the banister of the stair, he fell over it and
was killed. Forbes was summarily condemned, and
executed in his own house. His lands were then added
to Abergeldie, and while Knock Castle continued to be
150 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
inhabited it was a seat of the Abergeldie family, or oc-
cupied by some members of that family.
About a mile further up the glen, and on the west side^
Birkhall House stands on a fine site amid trees and near
the bank of the stream. It is a plain three-storey house,
but its charming and serene surroundings render it a
desirable residence. It was erected in 171 5, but it was
On the opposite side of the glen the late Sir James T.
Mackenzie, Bart, erected Glenmuick House in 1873. It lies
on a beautiful situation amid extensive plantations, and
from Ballater it presents an exceedingly attractive appear-
ance. It is built of granite,and forms three sides of a square^
and the north wing is surmounted by a very thick tower,
seventy-five feet in height ; but this massive structure, on
a near view, looks extremely heavy. Sir James erected
an Episcopal church in 1875, called St. Nathalan's, which
stands within the grounds a little below the mansion
house ; and beside the church he built a vault in which
the remains of several members of the family are interred.
Sir James T. Mackenzie was a son of a silk mercer in
Aberdeen, and he made money abroad. He died very
rich, leaving an elaborate will, which in coming genera-
tions may give work to lawyers and Courts. He was
succeeded by his son. Sir Allan Mackenzie.
The glen is almost continuously wooded to the Royal
lodge of Alltnaguibhsaich. About five miles up, the glen
becomes narrow, and the scenery varied and beautiful.
At the falls of Muick the hills that bound the glen
approach each other on either side, and form a craggy
pass, where the stream falls over a slanting rock in two
currents, forming a cascade of forty feet in height, and at
its bottom a deep, eddying pool is formed, with a rocky
wall on the southern side, and on its shelves and recesses
several trees and a variety of plants. The Fall is very
beautiful, and the scene charming and picturesque.
Proceeding upward, the glen widens out, and about a
mile above the Falls, is the small farm of Inschnabobart,
the only cultivated land now in this stretch of the glen.
A mile further up stands the sequestered Lodge ot
Alltnaguibhsaich, which belongs to Her Majesty the
Queen, It was built in the life-time of the late Prince
Consort. The lodge consists of two large rooms and
six or seven bedrooms. It is well sheltered by plantations,
and is an exceedingly picturesque and charming spot. It
is on the Abergeldie estate, and the Gordons had a
cottage here previous to the erection of the present
lodge. Loch Muick is a mile above the lodge.
The loch is 1310 feet above sea level. It is over two
miles in length and half-a-mile in breadth, and in some
parts it is sixty fathoms in depth. It is a fine sheet of
water, covering an area of 960 acres. It has one islet.
The loch occupies the upper part of a narrow plain, and
it is bounded on the northern side, by a steep scarred
bank formed by a spur of Lochnagar, and on the southern
side by a high ridge, with a deep gap in the middle and
precipices near the lower end. On both sides of the loch
there are trees and bushes, chiefly in crevices and by the
rills which rush down the ribs of the hills. The trees
consist mostly of birch, aspen, alder, rowan, and some
willows. For its sequestered aspect, grandeur, and sub-
limity, combined with its picturesqueness, the scenery of
Loch Muick is unsurpassed anywhere in Scotland. Her
Majesty the Queen refers to it, and is a great admirer of
152 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
The Glasallt Shiel is near the upper end of the loch,
on the bank of the Glasallt Burn at its entrance into the
loch. It was erected for the Queen in 1868, and is the
most remote and sequestered of Her Majesty's Highland
residences. It is a chaste structure of two storeys, sur-
rounded by fir trees, mostly planted since it was built.
The Glasallt Burn rises near the summit of Lochnagar.
Half-a-mile above its entrance into the loch, the burn has
a grand and beautiful Fall over granite rocks ; the Falls
are one hundred and fifty feet in height.
From the Glasallt Shiel to Loch Dubh, a distance of
nearly two miles, the water of Muick flows amid grand
scenery. On both sides of the stream the mountains rise
steep and high, and present magnificent aspects. Loch
Dubh is 2091 feet above sea level, three-quarters of a mile
in length, and covers an area of sixty acres. Two high
mountains encompass the loch on the south and south-
west, which present great granite rocks and precipices
overhanging the sheet of water ; at the highest point their
perpendicular height is eight hundred feet ; the rocks on
the north-east side of the loch are not so steep, and do
not come so near the edge of the water. There are plenty
of trouts in Loch Dubh. On the Lochnagar group of
mountains there are other lochlets and great corries.
A very extensive view of the surrounding country is
obtained from the summit of Lochnagar. A number of
persons have recorded the extent of their view from this
elevated point. I will quote Dr. Macgillivray, who says
his view extended : — " As far as the Lothians, Stirlingshire,
the southern Grampians, many of the Perthshire moun-
tains, those of the upper extremity of Aberdeenshire,
beyond them some of the great prominences of the
counties of Argyll and Inverness ; ridges and hills even
beyond the Moray Firth, as well as the lower eastern
tracts, extending to Aberdeen." '
It seems appropriate to close this chapter with
Byron's poem on Lochnagar —
Away, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses !
In you let the minions of luxury rove ;
Restore me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
Round their white summits though elements war ;
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valley of dark Lochnagar.
Ah ! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd.
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid ;
On chieftains long perish'd my memory pondered.
As daily I strode through the pine-cover'd glade ;
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright Polar star ;
For fancy was cheer'd by traditional story.
Disclosed by the natives of dark Lochnagar.
*' Shades of the dead ! have I not heard your voices
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale? "
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices.
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Lochnagar while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car ;
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers ;
They dwell in the tempests of dark Lochnagar.
" Ill-starred, though brave, did no visions foreboding.
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause ? "
Ah ! were you destined to die at Culloden,
Victory crown'd not your fall with applause ;
Still were you happy in death's earthly slumber.
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar ;
The pibroch resounds to the piper's loud number.
Your deeds on the echoes of dark Lochnagar.
Years have rolled on, Lochnagar, since I left you,
Years must elapse ere I tread you again ;
Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you.
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
England ! thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved o'er the mountains afar ;
O ! for the crags that are wild and majestic —
The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar !
I Deeside, pp. 43-46.
GLENGAIRN— STRATHGIRNOCK— ABERGELDIE.
Almost throughout the stretch of the Valley from
Ballater to Braemar, the scenery is charming and ex-
quisitely beautiful when viewed in a fine summer day in
all its variant glories. Hills of moderate elevation and of
varied forms, some conical and round-topped, others of
different forms, and very steep, rocky and craggy; and
these hills are generally covered for a considerable way
up their ribs, and sometimes to their summits, with woods
of Scotch fir, birch, and here and there several other
varieties of trees interspersed. The Valley bounded by
these hills, though comparatively narrow, is highly cul-
tivated or closely wooded, and through it the clear and
beautiful river winds onward in its stony bed. Farm-
steadings and cottages appear at intervals on the haughs
along the river side, and on the most beautiful and
pleasant sites magnificent mansions attract the eye.
Proceeding upward from Ballater, the road passes
along the south-western base of Craigendarroch amid
plantations and fine villas on both sides of the road, and
on the opposite side of the river the green-topped Colyes
of Muick appear. A mile and a half above Ballater, the
water of Gairn is spanned by a stone bridge, and about
a quarter of a mile below it, this large stream enters the
A little below the bridge, on the east side of the water
of Gairn, the ruins of the old Church of Glengairn stand
on a haugh within the churchyard. The church was
dedicated to St. Kentigern, better known as St Mungo.
Part of the front and gable walls of the church are still
standing, and several ash trees are growing within its area.
There are a considerable number of gravestones with in-
scriptions in it, but none of a very early date. The remains
of some of the Mackenzies of Dalmore are interred in it,
and Dalmore was once the name of Mar Lodge. There is a
tradition that the first of this family was a natural son of
Kenneth, the ninth Earl of Kintail, who received a grant
of Dalmore on account of the services of his father to
James IV. Several gravestones present long ages. A
headstone has the following inscription to the memory of
a Roman Catholic priest, a native of Glengairn : — " Pray
for the soul of Lachlan M'Intosh, priest, who, having
faithfully discharged the duties of his pastoral office in
this mission of Glengairn, for about sixty-four years, died
worn out with age and infirmities, on the lOth of March,
1846, in the ninety-third year of his age. May he rest in
Two miles above the bridge, on the north side of the
Gairn, there is a Roman Catholic chapel and mission
house ; and a little further up the glen is the burial
ground of Dalfad. It is within an enclosure, in which are
the ruins of an old Roman Catholic chapel. There are
four or five tombstones in it, which mark the graves of a
family of the name of M'Gregor, who were proprietors of
the lands of Dalfad in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. The M'Gregor clan were excessively and
savagely persecuted and hunted down by the authority
of the Government from the later part of the sixteenth
century till past the middle of the seventeenth. The
156 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
M'Gregors of Dalfad and other natives of the glen,
mustered on a haugh on the south side of the Water of
Gairn to the number of twenty-four men, and marched to
the Moor of CuUoden, where they fought for Prince
Charles ; and eighteen of them fell on that fatal field.
About four miles further up the glen is the burial
ground of the Macdonalds of Rineaton, which occupies a
rising ground about half-a-mile west of the old mansion
house of Rineaton. It contains half an acre of ground,
and is enclosed by a stone wall, and surrounded by larch
trees. In its centre there is a square vault ^with tomb-
stones inscribed. A perpetual right to this burial ground
was acquired by the Macdonalds for the payment of a
nominal feu-duty of i^d. per annum.
The Macdonalds of Rineaton trace their descent from
the Lord of the Isles. The first Macdonald of Rineaton
was taken a prisoner at the battle of Harlaw, and shortly
after that event, the Earl of Mar granted to him the lands
of Rineaton. They held this property till the present cen-
tury, when it was sold by William Macdonald to
Farquharson of Invercauld. The mansion house of
Rineaton consists of two storeys, and is now usually occu-
pied by a gamekeeper.
The quoad sacra church is about five miles up the
glen, and stands on the left bank of the Gairn.
There is not much planted wood in Glengairn. At
the Bridge of Gairn there are small clumps of Scotch firs
and larch, and at Gairnshiel, five miles up the glen, there
are belts of larch ; but the margins of the stream and the
lower slopes of the hills are covered with clusters of
natural birch, alders, and here and there groups of Scotch
firs, rowan, and aspen trees.
The site of the old Castle of Gairn lies on a small ' * *^
eminence, half-a-mile north-east from the bridge, but only k.w>.^C^
small fragments of its walls remain. t^A-'-^ «-
The farm-steading of Abergairn stands on the east -
side of the glen, a little above the bridge. In this locality
it has been believed that there were lead mines. Toward
the end of last century it was stated in the old Statistical
Account that many pieces of lead had been found near
the Castle of Glengairn, and that "it is believed there is a
lead mine there." Owing, however, to the expense of
working it, no efforts had then been made to discover the
vein of the metal. Afterwards, various attempts were
made to open the lead mines of Glengairn, and much
labour was expended by workmen unskilled in mining
operations, and it seems that little result was obtained.
Still an opinion prevailed that there were veins of metal
in the locality. Twenty years ago, the Marquis of
Huntly directed investigation and trials to be made in
order to discover if there were mineral veins in the
district. The Marquis engaged Mr. Belt, an expert in
mining operations, and a man of great experience. Mr.
Belt made a survey of the locality, and on receiving his
report, the Marquis resolved to mine the ground.
Skilled workmen and miners were engaged, and
operations were commenced at the edge of a hollow
between the castle-hill and the more elevated ridge, just
behind the farm-steading of Abergairn. The operations
were systematically continued for a considerable time,
and at first gave much promise of ultimate success. In
the course of the operations several veins were discovered,
but they were not of sufficient richness and continuity,.
and after considerable expenditure, the enterprise had to
158 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
There is a considerable extent of cultivated land in
Glengairn, chiefly in its lower stretch ; and also in some
parts of the glen grassy meadows and stripes of fine
green pastures. The upper stretch of the glen to Loch
Builg is occupied as a sheep farm.
Five miles up the glen, on the side of the stream, is
Gairnshiel, a shooting-box. Five-and-a-half miles further
up is Corndavon Lodge, also a shooting-box, for the deer
forest of Ben Avon, belonging to Farquharson of
Invercauld. The lodge is 1450 feet above sea level.
About two-and-a-half miles further up is Loch Builg
Cottage, which is also connected with the shooting.
Farquharson of Invercauld is the chief proprietor of
the north side of the Valley of the Dee, from below
Ballater to the west of Castletown of Braemar, where the
Duke of Fife's territory commences. Invercauld also
possesses a considerable stretch of ground on the south
side of the Dee.
Returning to the Valley, half-a-mile beyond the
Bridge of Gairn, the Dee is spanned by an elegant sus-
pension bridge for foot passengers, which superseded the
PolhoUick ferry-boat. The bridge is one hundred and
ninety-five feet in length and four feet wide. It was
a gift from Mr. Alexander Gordon, who was mentioned
in a preceding chapter as a benefactor of Ballater. A short
distance above it, the burn of Girnock joins the Dee on
the south side.
Strathgirnock lies between the wooded hills of Creag
Phiobaidh and Creag Ghiubhais, and the glen is not of
great extent. The tradition connected with it was
already noticed. At the bridge which crosses the
Girnock burn there is a small hamlet and a post-office.
The old mansion house of Strathgirnock stood at the
foot of Creag Phiobaidh, but not a vestige of it remains.
Before the days of compulsory and free education, the
late Prince Consort was instrumental in erecting a school
for boys and girls at Strathgirnock ; also a school near
the village of Crathie, and another near Birkhall. There
are a few farms in the glen, but the inhabitants are not
Farther westward is the beautifully wooded hill slop-
ing down to the river, called Craig-na-ban "the Women's
Craig." It is said that the witches were burnt on its
summit. The tradition of the burning of the witches is,
however, vague and of the weird character.
On the north side of the river, the Coillecriech wood,
which chiefly consists of birch trees, extends along both
sides of the road for about two miles. The white silvery
stems of the trees are very beautiful. It is exceedingly
pleasant to traverse a birch wood in the morning, inhale
the sweet fragrance of the trees, and to listen to the
charming songs of the birds as they fly from twig to
twig, rejoicing in the sunshine, and observe the various
hues of the wild flowers which grow amidst the grass on
which we tread. " What tree is more graceful than the
slender birch, which, springing from a rift in the rugged
and lichen-patched crag that overhangs the mountain
torrent, rears its white stem aloft, and spreads all around
its branches, dividing into countless twigs, which become
more and more delicate, until at last they almost
resemble slender cords, hanging in separate groups, as if
drawn down by the weight of the numberless tiny and
glancing leaves that flutter in the breeze. . . . If it
is associated with other trees of native growth, it will
160 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
appear more beautiful by contrast. There it stands in
its simple beauty, pre-eminent among the dark-leaved
alders, and the light green bushy hazel. . . . Glad-
ness, and patient endurance, and quiet sorrow find
sympathy in the birch or emanate from it. The pine
is a gloomy and stubborn tree ; but the birch responds
in its graces to the gentler emotions." '
The birch attains only a moderate size, seldom
exceeding forty feet in height and three feet in girth.
It grows at an elevation of about two thousand feet,
beyond which it is succeeded by the dwarf birch. The
birch tree exhibits many variations of form ; its stem is
generally erect, but sometimes the stems are compound,
six or more rising from the same root, crooked and
distorted. They sometimes degenerate into thick
spreading bushes. There are many varieties of birch
in Braemar ; one of the most characteristic is called
" the weeping birch."
The birch forms a large portion of the wood of
Braemar. In some places it forms considerable forests,
as at Coillecriech, in the vicinity of Abergeldie, and
at Balmoral, and one extending from the mouth of
Glen Clunie westward between the Dee and Morrone.
On the north side of the Valley, the highest mountain
between Ballater and Balmoral is Geallaig — " the white
mountain " — which attains an elevation of two thousand
four hundred and thirty-nine feet. At its base, on the
north side of the road near the forty-seventh milestone,
there are some traces of the site of the old Roman
Catholic Chapel of Micras. An ancient standing stone,
I Dr. Macgillivray's Deeside, p. 176.
supposed to have formed part of a circle, now indicates
the site of the chapel.
A few small detached cottages stand on the lower
slope of Geallaig, called the village of Easter Micras. It
is said that this village half-a-century ago, presented
a genuine specimen of a Highland clachan. About a
mile further westward is Wester Micras — a similar
collection of cottages. Very few of the old style of huts,
however, are now to be seen ; although it is not long
since they disappeared, as the following sentence
shows — " More characteristic specimens of Highland
huts than those you see occupying very picturesque
stations on the hillside at Micras, one seldom meets
with. . . . Their inhabitants are Gaelic-speaking
Celts.'" It is about forty years since the above was
written, but a marked change has taken place — for
instance, very few people in Braemar now speak Gaelic,
and the rising generation are not learning it at all.
The Castle of Abergeldie stands on the south bank
of the Dee, and very near the edge of the river. It
stands east and west, with its front to the south, and the
Geldie Burn on the west, which joins the Dee a little
above the castle. There is a considerable space of level
ground on the south side of the castle, well wooded ;
while on the south-east there are extensive woods,
growing to the summits of lofty ridges. The Birks of
Abergeldie have been long celebrated in song, and
universally admired. The castle itself is a compara-
tively plain structure, with a round tower ; but its
picturesque site renders it a charming residence. The
Castle and estate of Abergeldie are leased by Her
I Dr Macgillivray's Deeside.
162 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Majesty the Queen, from Mr. H. M. Gordon, the pro-
prietor. The Queen's mother, the Duchess of Kent,
occupied the castle for a number of years as a summer
residence. The Prince of Wales has sometimes resided
In former times, communication between Abergeldie
and the north side of the Valley was maintained by a
cradle worked on a rope suspended by posts at each side
of the river. Accidents occasionally occurred, and a
newly-married couple, while crossing the Dee in the
cradle, were drowned. An elegant suspension bridge
for foot passengers was erected by the Queen in 1885.
The estate of Abergeldie, in early times, formed a
part of the Earldom of Mar ; and about the middle of
the fourteenth century, Thomas Gartney, Earl of Mar,
granted the lands of Abergeldie to Duncan, son of
Roger ; and Duncan, as the Earl's vassal, had to attend
three Head Courts annually at Migvie, in Cromar. In
the latter part of the fifteenth century, when the
Earldom of Mar was in the hands of the Crown, an
attempt was made to reclaim Abergeldie. The case
came before the Privy Council, and the Council decided
that the lands of Abergeldie were distinct from the
Earldom of Mar.
It appears that Sir Alexander Gordon of Midmar,
second son of the first Earl of Huntly, had acquired
Abergeldie in the latter part of the fifteenth century.
Sir Alexander married Beatrice, a daughter of the
Earl of Errol, by whom he had two sons and four
daughters. His eldest daughter married Lord Lovat ;
the second married Mortimer of Craigievar ; the third
married Oglivy of Clova; and the fourth married Gordon
of Dorlaithers. William, his second son, became laird of
Netherdale — a fine estate in the Valley of the Deveron.
Sir Alexander died in 1504, and was succeeded by his
eldest son, George Gordon. He married Grizel Stuart,
a daughter of the Earl of Buchan, and had issue — one
son and three daughters. George died in 1530, and was
succeeded by his son, James. He was a man of great
energy, fought at the Battle of Pinkie in 1 547, and was
slain on the field. His son, Alexander, succeeded to
He married a daughter of Irvine of Drum, by whom
he had six sons and six daughters. He acted as baillie
over the Earl of Huntly's estates in the Valley, and
wielded much power in the locality, and extended the
territory of the family. His fourth son, George Gordon,
laird of Knock, fought under Huntly at the Battle of
Glenlivet in 1594, and fell on the field. Alexander died
at Abergeldie in 1596, and was succeeded by his eldest
son, Alexander. He died in 1601, without issue, and
was succeeded by his brother, William. He married
Miss Seton, and had issue — five sons and two daughters.
His eldest daughter married Donald Farquharson of
Monaltrie ; and the second daughter married Gray of
Shivas. William died at Abergeldie in 1630, and was
succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander. He engaged
in the civil war against the Covenanters ; and in 1644
the Castle of Abergeldie narrowly escaped destruction.
H«^ -married a daughter, of Rose of Kilravock ; and
having died about 165-5, he was succeeded by his son,
John, who died, without issue in 1701, and the succession
then reverted to his sister, Rachel. *^
She married Captain Charles Gordon, a son of **
104 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Gordon of Minmore, and had issue. Their son, Peter
Gordon, succeeded to Abergeldie. He was thrice
married, and was succeeded by his son, Charles. He
married a daughter of Hunter of Burnside, and had
issue. Charles died in 1796, and was interred in the
churchyard of Glenmuick, where there is a tablet to his
memory, and " Alison Hunter, his spouse." He was
succeeded by his son, Peter, who was a captain in the
8 1 St Highland Regiment. Captain Gordon married,
first, Mary, a daughter of Foulis of Blackford, by whom
he had a daughter, who died in 1802 ; and, secondly,
Elizabeth, a daughter of Leith of Freefield. He died
in 1 8 19, without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,
David, who died in 1831, and was succeeded by his son,
Michael F. Gordon. He made improvements on the
Castle of Abergeldie. Mr. Gordon died in i860, and
was succeeded by his brother. Admiral Robert Gordon.
Admiral Gordon having died unmarried, his nephew,
Hugh Mackay Gordon, Esq., succeeded to the estate,
the present representative of the family.
Nearly a mile further up the Valley from Abergeldie
Castle is the site of the hamlet of Clachanturn, but there
are few houses in it now. There is a suspension bridge,
which was erected in 1834, and superseded the ferry
boat at Clachanturn. It is only used for foot passengers,
since the Balmoral Bridge was erected over the river
about half-a-mile further up. A little to the south, on
the rising ground, stands the Free Church of Crathie,
on the Abergeldie property. It is a pretty, chaste
structure, with a spire. In this locality also is the far-
famed Lochnagar Distillery, the property of Mr. J. Begg.
A little further up the Valley, on the south bank
of the river, and in the immediate vicinity of the
suspension bridge, is the beautiful little village of Easter
Balmoral. It has been mainly erected since the Queen
came to Balmoral. A little to the westward on the
rising ground, there are three or four houses standing at
some distance from each other, on very fine sites, amid
plantations, which are usually occupied by some of
Her Majesty's officials.
Nearly opposite, on the north side of the river, is the
parish manse of Crathie, on a fine site by the river side.
In its vicinity is the churchyard, and the ruins of the old
church of Crathie. The churchyard is kept in excellent
order. There are a considerable number of tombstones
and headstones in it, with inscriptions, many of which
bear Gaelic names. The burial aisle of the Farquhar-
sons of Monaltrie is within the churchyard. Here also
stands a tombstone erected by Her Majesty the Queen,
to the memory of John Brown, her faithful personal
attendant, which has a long inscription. John Brown's
ancestors had been resident in the parish for a long
period, and he erected a stone to the memory of his
parents and other relatives. The Queen has erected
gravestones in memory of several royal servants who
have died at Balmoral.
A short distance northward, the church of Crathie
stood on an eminence amid trees, and was erected in
1806. It was a pretty large and plain structure, and con-
tained accommodation for about fourteen hundred sitters.
Until recently Her Majesty the Queen worshipped in
this church every Sunday during her stay at Balmoral.
The late Dr. Norman Macleod often preached at Crathie,
and he was highly respected, admired, and trusted by
166 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
the Queen. Her Majesty, in her diary, frequently refers
to Dr. Macleod, and the service in the church.
But it has been resolved to build a new church at
Crathie, on the site of the old one. In 1893, the old
church was removed. A new church has been designed
by Messrs. Matthews & Mackenzie, architects, Aberdeen,
estimated to cost from ;^50oo to £6000, and which pre-
sents elegant and striking architectural characteristics ;
and, when finished, it will be a prominent feature in the
landscape of the locality. On the nth of September,
1893, the foundation stone of the new church was laid by
Her Majesty the Queen. Naturally, on this occasion,
there was a large assemblage of people. Portions of
Scripture were read, and prayer offered up ; then the
Rev. Mr. Campbell, the minister of the parish, stepped
forward, and read the address to the Queen, which Her
Majesty was graciously pleased to accept ; and, in reply,
the Queen said — " It gives me great pleasure to be
present on this occasion, and to lay the foundation stone
of the new church of Crathie, which is to be erected on
the spot where the old church stood, in which we have
worshipped together for so many years. I need scarcely
assure you of my warm attachment to the Church of
Scotland, which so largely represents the religious
feelings of the people of this country. I thank you
sincerely for the kind expressions you have used towards
me in the loyal address which has been presented to me
on the part of my co-heritors and parishioners of Crathie,
and of others who have shown their interest in this
The ceremony of laying the foundation stone was
then proceeded with ; a silver trowel was handed to the
Queen, and Her Majesty deftly applied it to the mortar.
When the stone was placed, and the level showed that
it was all right, with a small ivory-handled mallet, the
Queen gave three taps on the stone, and said — " I declare
this stone well and truly laid." Dr. Donald Macleod
said the prayer of consecration, and the proceedings
concluded with the singing of the second Paraphrase.
It was a fine day, and the whole programme was
admirably carried out.
The Parish of Crathie has the honour of being the
birthplace of a considerable number of notable musicians.
John Bruce was born in Braemar in the early part of the
eighteenth century, and was a celebrated violinist. He
was a warm Jacobite, and joined the Rising of 1745.
Afterwards, he resided for many years in Dumfries,
where Robert Burns knew him well. Burns says that
Bruce always claimed the lively air, " O, whistle and I'll
come to ye, my lad," as one of his own composition.
He died at Dumfries on the 31st December, 1785.
Alexander Downie was born in Crathie about 1760.
He was a notable violinist and dancing-master ; and
especially celebrated as a player of jigs. He had a son
who was also a fine player. James Forbes was born in
Crathie in 1777. He was an excellent violinist. He
was accidentally drowned near Ballater in May, 1837.
William Blair was born in Crathie on the 26th of
October, 1793. He was a famous violinist and composer.
He belonged to the school of Neil Gow ; and as a player
of dance music he was surpassed by few in Scotland.
In the later part of his life he was usually called the
" Queen's Fiddler," from his having played at festive
assemblages and balls at Balmoral for upwards of thirty
years. He was originally a house carpenter ; and died
168 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
at Belnacroft on the 12th of November, 1884, at the
advanced age of ninety years. Shortly after his death,
his musical compositions were published by desire of
Her Majesty the Queen ; and a tombstone was erected
to his memory in the churchyard of Crathie. He left
two sons, both of whom are excellent violinists.
Peter Coutts was born in Crathie in 18 14. He was a
celebrated piper, and was for many years piper to the
Farquharsons of Invercauld. He had a thorough know-
ledge of music, and composed a number of tunes for the
bagpipe. Peter Robertson was born in Crathie on the
nth of February, 1834, and is a notable piper. He was
for twenty-six years in the service of the Prince of Wales.
At present he is in the service of Sir Allan Mackenzie
of Glenmuick. John Ross was born in Crathie in 1853.
He was a famous piper, having studied under William
Ross, the Queen's piper. Aftewards, he was successively
piper to the late Colonel Farquharson of Invercauld, the
late Sir James T. Mackenzie of Glenmuick, and the late
Duchess of Sutherland. He was greatly esteemed by
all good judges of pipe-playing. He died in 1887.
William Ross, a native of Ross-shire, was born in
1 81 5. He served his country for twenty-five years in
the famous 42nd Regiment (Black Watch). In 1854, he
was appointed piper to Her Majesty the Queen. He
published, in 1876, a large collection of pipe music,
embracing forty-one piobaireachds, and four hundred
and thirty-seven marches, strathspeys, and reels, to
which was prefixed an " Essay on the Bagpipe and its
Music," by the late Dr. Norman Macleod. The work
was dedicated to the Queen ; and a second edition
appeared in 1885. Mr. Ross died in 1891.
In passing along the north side of the Valley, the Castle
of Balmoral is seen from a considerable distance, both
from the east and the west. About a mile westward
from the church of Crathie, the river takes a beautiful
curving sweep northward, and on its southern bank
stands the Castle of Balmoral. Communication between
the castle and the north side of the Valley is maintained
by a cast-iron bridge.
Within the castle grounds, which are very extensive,
there is a considerable number of statues and monu-
ments. A bronze statue, placed on a rustic base, was
erected by the Royal Family to the memory of the late
Prince Consort ; and also an obelisk placed on a small
eminence, which was erected to his memory by the
Royal tenantry and the servants. A fine bronze statue
of the Queen was also erected by the Royal tenantry
and the servants of the Household. There are other
monuments relating to members of the Royal Family.
The Hill of Craig Gowan rises directly to the south
of the castle, and is fourteen hundred and thirty feet
above sea level. After the lamented death of the late
Prince Consort, a cairn and monument was erected to
his memory on the summit of this hill. On the 2ist of
August, 1862, the Queen visited the spot, and wrote : —
" Here, at the top, is the foundation of the cairn — forty
feet wide — to be erected to my precious Albert, which
170 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
will be seen all down the Valley. I and my six orphans
all placed stones on it ; and our initials, as well as those
of the three absent ones, are to be carved on stones all
round it. It is to be thirty-six feet high, and the
following inscription to be placed on it : —
To the Beloved Memory
Albert, the Great and Good,
Raised by his Broken-hearted Widow,
August 21, 1862.
The form of the cairn is pyramidal, and built of granite
without any mortar. The inscription is well cut on the
tablet. A good path was made, which winds up to the
summit of the hill." '
In early times the lands of Balmoral were attached
to the Earldom of Mar. Afterwards, they were acquired
by the Farquharsons, the descendants of the family of
Inverey. The fourth son of Donald of Inverey died in
the reign of James VI., and was succeeded by his eldest
son, William. He married a daughter of Gordon of
Abergeldie, and had issue. Their son, Charles, became
the first laird of Balmoral of the name of Farquharson.
After the Revolution of 1688, Charles Farquharson of
Balmoral j joined Viscount Dundee, and fought at the
Battle of Killiecrankie for the cause of James VII., in
which he was wounded. His wound was so severe that
he was unfit for active service.
On Charles Farquharson's death, Balmoral reverted
to his brother ; and he married a daughter of Leith of
I More Leaves from the Journal of a Life in the Highlands, pp. 1-4.
Overhall, and had Issue. Their son, James Farquharson,
succeeded to Balmoral, and also to Auchlossan on the
death of his brother. He married Jane, a daughter of
William Leith, of Aberdeen. James Farquharson of
Balmoral joined Mar's Rising in 171 5 ; and after the
suppression of the Rising, he suffered severely until the
general indemnity was proclaimed.
James Farquharson of Balmoral joined the Rising of
1 745, and led the clan. Shortly before the Battle of Falkirk,
the following conversation is said to have taken place : —
" Balmoral," said Lochiel, " why did you not bring
Invercauld with you ? "
" Invercauld, you see, thinks differently from us," said
Balmoral ; " but there is the less to regret, as I see his
daughter, the Lady Mackintosh, here ; and some of the
men following her, I could swear, live not ten oxgangs
The Battle of Falkirk was fought on the 17th of
January, 1746. Balmoral drew up his men in the form of
of a wedge, thus — He marched at their head, two men
followed in the second rank, three in the third, and so on
to the rear. " Now, my lads," said he, " march in silence.
Fire not a shot till you can decern the colour of the horses*
eyes, then give one volley altogether ; throw down your
guns, and rush upon them, cut the horses' bridles, and we
will then deal with the men."
As they advanced, a bullet hit Balmoral in the
shoulder. " Four men," cried his henchmen, " to carry
our wounded chief to the rear ! " " Never ! " cried
Balmoral ; " four men to carry your chief at the head of
his children into the thickest of the fight."
After the Battle of Falkirk, Balmoral retired with his
172 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
wife to the estate of Auchlossan, where he remained in
hiding till his death. The estate of Balmoral, of course,
was forfeited after the suppression of the Rising.
About the middle of the last century, Balmoral was
acquired by the Earl of Fife. In the second quarter of
the present century, the Earl of Fife's trustees leased the
old castle and estate of Balmoral to the Right Hon. Sir
Robert Gordon, a brother of the Earl of Aberdeen. Sir
Robert was engaged in the diplomatic department of the
Government, and held the appointment of Ambassador
at the Court of Vienna. When not actively engaged in
the service of his country, he sought a quiet residence in
the upper stretch of the Valley of the Dee. He repaired
and made large additions to the old castle ; and also
extended and greatly improved the garden and the
pleasure grounds, and thus rendered the site more
beautiful and attractive. Sir Robert Gordon returned
from Vienna in 1846, and intended to reside at Balmoral;
but he did not live to enjoy it long, having died in the
autumn of 1847.
Her Majesty the Queen, at an early period of her
reign, commenced to visit various quarters of the High-
lands, and from the first she enjoyed and highly
appreciated the grand and romantic scenery of the
mountains, valleys, and glens. Associated, as these regions
are, with many important historic events, closely connected
not only with the Throne of Scotland, but also with the
Throne of Britain, in some of the most momentous crises
which it has ever passed through ; these early visits
inspired Her Majesty with a desire to have a residence
in this part of her dominions — a desire which was fully
shared by the Prince Consort
After the death of Sir Robert Gordon, Balmoral
was recommended to the Royal couple by the Earl of
Aberdeen as a very suitable locality. Sir James Clark,
the Queen's physician, having declared that the climate
of the Valley of the Dee was one of the healthiest in
Scotland, it was then decided to adopt the Earl's advice.
Early in September, 1848, the Royal Family landed at
Aberdeen, and received a hearty and warm welcome from
the citizens. They proceeded up the Valley of the Dee,
and on the 8th of September took possession of their new
home. The Queen recorded her first impressions of
Balmoral thus — "On the 8th of September, we arrived at
Balmoral at a quarter to three. It is a pretty little
castle in the old Scottish style. There is a picturesque
tower, and a garden in front, with a high wooded hill ;
at the back there is a wood down to the Dee ; and hills
rise all around.
" There is a nice little hall, with billiard-room ; next
to it is the dining-room. Upstairs, immediately to the
right, and above the dining-room, is our sitting-room
(formerly the drawing-room), a fine large room — next to
which is our bedroom, opening into a little dressing-
room, which is Albert's. Opposite, down a (qw steps,
are the children's and Miss Hildyard's three rooms. The
ladies live below, and the gentlemen above.
" At half-past four we walked out, and went up to the
top of the wooded hill opposite our window, where there
is a cairn, and up which there is a pretty winding path
The view from here, looking down upon the house, is
charming. To the left you look towards the beautiful
hills surrounding Lochnagar ; and to the right, towards
Ballater, to the Valley, along which the Dee winds,
174 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
with beautifully-wooded hills. It was so calm, and so
solitary, it did one good as one gazed around ; and the
pure mountain air was most refreshing. All seemed to
breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the
world and its sad turmoils.
" The scenery is wild, and yet not desolate ; every-
thing looks more prosperous and cultivated than at
Laggan. Then the soil is delightfully dry. We walked
beside the Dee, a beautifully rapid stream, which is close
behind the house. The view of the hills toward Inver-
cauld is exceedingly fine."
A few years later, Prince Albert purchased the Castle
and the estate of Balmoral from the Earl of Fife's
trustees. In 1852, a cairn was erected on the top of
Craig Gowan to commemorate the taking possession of
Balmoral by the Royal Family. The estate of Balmoral
extends from the banks of the Dee southward to the
summit of Lochnagar, where it is joined by the Aber-
geldie and the Birkhall estates. Afterwards, Her
Majesty increased its extent on the west by purchasing
the Forest of Ballochbuie from Farquharson of Inver-
cauld. Thus the Royal domain stretches from the
Water of Muick westward along the south banks of
the Dee for upwards of twelve miles.
Balmoral Forest, including Ballochbuie, is pretty
extensive. Both forests lie between the south banks of
the Dee and the Lochnagar range of mountains ; and
both contain considerable stretches of woods and planta-
tions. On the lower grounds of Balmoral, the woods
consist of a great variety of different kinds of trees, laid
out in fine belts and clumps for shelter and ornament ;
I Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands, pp. 101-102.
and on the higher ridges and hills, such as Craig Gowan
and Canup Hill, the trees chiefly consist of pine and larch,
native birch and aspen. The Gelder Burn issues from
the Loch of Lochnagar, flows through Glen Gelder and
round the base of Craig Gowan, and joins the Dee
near Invergelder — the home farm of Balmoral. The
Queen has a nice little shiel near the middle
of the glen. The woods of Garmaddie stretch
from Invergelder westward along the south side of the
Valley, and consist of fir, birch, larch, and some other
trees. After these woods come the Forest of Balloch-
buie, which extends from Connachat Cottage along the
Dee to the Bridge of Invercauld, a distance of three
miles, and from one to three miles in breadth southward.
There is some birch in the lower parts of the forest, and
here and there among the hills ; but the pine trees pre-
dominate. Some of the pines are of great age and size,
while others are young and much smaller.
The fine stream called the Garbhallt rises on
Lochnagar, flows through the Forest of Ballochbuie, and
enters the Dee about a mile below the Bridge of Inver-
cauld. Nearly a mile up the stream are the celebrated
and picturesque Falls of Garbhallt. The scenery in many
parts of these forests is grand and striking. The Queen
has a small lodge in Ballochbuie forest. Deer and other
kinds of game are abundant in the forests.
After a few years' residence, the old castle was found
to be too small, and quite inadequate for the accom-
modation of Her Majesty and the Royal Family. It was
therefore resolved that a new castle should be erected.
The foundation-stone of the new structure was laid by the
Queen on the 28th of September, 1853. ^^^ Majesty
176 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
was accompanied by the Prince Consort, the Royal
children, and other members of the Royal Family. The
chief points of the ceremony on the memorable occasion
were as follows : — " The stone being prepared and sus-
pended over that upon which it is to rest, in which will be
a cavity for the bottle containing the parchment and the
coins ; the workmen will be placed in a semi-circle at a
little distance from the stone, and the women and home
servants in an inner semi-circle Her
Majesty, the Prince, and the Royal Family will
stand on the south side of the stone, the suite being on
each side of the Royal party. The Rev. Mr. Anderson
will then pray for a blessing on the work. Her Majesty
will affix her signature to the parchment, recording the
day on which the foundation-stone was laid. Her
Majesty's signature will be followed by that of the Prince
and the Royal children, the Duchess of Kent, and any
others that Her Majesty may command, and the parchment
will be placed in the bottle. One of each of the current
coins of the present reign will also be placed in the bottle,
and the bottle, having been sealed up, will be placed in the
cavity. The trowel will then be delivered to Her Majesty
by Mr. Smith of Aberdeen, the architect, and the mortar
having been spread, the stone will be lowered. The level
and square will then be applied, and their correctness
having been ascertained, the mallet will be delivered to
Her Majesty by Mr. Stuart, clerk of the works, when Her
Majesty will strike the stone and declare it to be laid.
The Cornucopia will be placed upon the stone, and oil
and wine poured out by Her Majesty. The pipers will
play, and Her Majesty, with the Royal Family will retire.
As soon after this as it can be got ready, the workmen
will proceed to their dinner. After dinner the following
toasts will be given by Mr. Smith : — ' The Queen,' ' The
Prince and Royal Family,' 'Prosperity to the House and
Happiness to the Inmates of Balmoral.' The workmen
will then retire from the dining-room, and amuse them-
selves upon the green with Highland games till seven
o'clock ; and concluding with a dance in the ball-room,
which was performed with the greatest spirit." '
When the Queen arrived at Balmoral on the evening
of the 7th of September, 1855, the erection of the new
castle was well advanced. On that occasion Her Majesty
says : — "Strange, very strange, it seemed to me to drive
past, indeed through the old house ; the connecting part
between it and the offices being broken through. The
new house looks beautiful. The tower and the rooms in
the connecting part are, however, only half finished, and
the offices are still unbuilt . . . there is a long
wooden passage which connects the new house with the
offices. An old shoe was thrown in after us into the
house, for good luck, when we entered the hall."
The following day Her Majesty recorded : — " The
view from the windows of our rooms, and from the library
and the drawing-room, of the Valley of the Dee, with the
mountains in the background, which we could never see
from the old house, is quite beautiful. We walked about,
and along the river, and looked at all that had been
done ; and afterwards we went over to the poor, dear old
house, and to our rooms, which it was quite melancholy
to see so deserted ; and settled about things being brought
When the Queen returned to Balmoral on the 30th of
I Leaves from Our Life, etc., pp. 144-46.
178 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
August, 1856, the castle was completely finished : — "We
found the tower finished, as well as the offices, and the
poor old house gone. The effect of the whole is very
fine." The following day Her Majesty " walked along
the river and outside the house. The new offices and
the yard are excellent ; and the little garden on the west
side ... as well as the flower beds under the walls of
the side which faces the Dee." On the 13th of October,
the Queen wrote : — " Every year my heart becomes more
fixed in this dear Paradise, and so much more so now,
that all has become my dearest Albert's own creation,
own work, own building, own laying out, as at Osborne ;
and his great taste and the impress of his dear hand have
been stamped everywhere." '
On the occasion of the meeting of the British Associa-
tion at Aberdeen, in September, 1859, the Prince Consort
was president. He delivered an excellent and luminous
address, which was universally admired and highly
appreciated. On the 22nd of September, a fete came off
at Balmoral, which was attended by a number of the
distinguished members of the Association. Her Majesty
records that — " The Highlanders in their brilliant and
picturesque dresses, the wild notes of the pipes, the band,
and the beautiful background of mountains, rendered the
scene wild and striking in the extreme. The Farquharson's
men were headed by Colonel Farquharson, the Duffs by
Lord Fife, and the Forbeses by Sir Charles Forbes — had
all marched on the grounds before we came out, and were
drawn up just opposite us, and the spectators (the people
of the country) behind them. We stood on the terrace,
the company near us, and the servants also on either side
I Leaves from our Life, etc., p. 158.
of us, and along the slopes on the grounds. The games
began about three o'clock — throwing the hammer, tossing
the caber, and putting the stone. We gave prizes to the
three best in each of the games. We walked along the
terrace to the large marquee, talking to the people, to
where the men were putting the stone ; after this returned
to the upper terrace to see the race — a pretty wild sight ;
but the men looked very cold, with nothing but their
shirts and plaids on ; they ran beautifully. They wrapped
plaids round themselves, and then came to receive the
prizes from us. Last of all came the dancing — reels and
Ghillie Galium. On the latter the judges could not make
up their minds ; and at last they left out the best dancer
of all. They said he danced too well. The dancing
over, we left amid the loud cheers of the people. . . .
We watched from the window, the Highlanders march-
ing away, and four weighty omnibuses filled with the
scientific men. We saw and talked to Professor Owen,
Sir David Brewster, Sir John Bowring, Mr. J. Roscoe,
and Sir John Ross. When almost all were gone, we took
a short walk to warm ourselves, much pleased at every-
thing having gone off well.
" The Duke of Richmond, Sir R. Murchison, General
Sabine, Mr. Thomson of Banchory House, and Professor
Phillipps, secretary of the Association, all of whom slept
here, and were additions to the dinner party. . . . All
the gentleman spoke in very high terms of my beloved
Albert's admirable speech, the good it had done, and the
general satisfaction it had caused."
The Castle of Balmoral stands on a level space of
ground amid trees, and a background of wooded ridges
1 Leaves from our Life, etc., pp. 177-79.
180 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
and hills, rising in elevation as they recede southward to
Lochnagar ; while on the other side the clear and rapid
river flows on its rocky bed. Opposite the castle, on the
north side of the Valley, is Craig Mhor and other
picturesque hills. All around the scenery is attractive
and characteristically Highland.
The castle is built of finely-dressed Crathie granite of
a light grey colour. The main features of the structure
were designed by the late Prince Albert, and the plans
were supplied by the late Mr. William Smith, who was
for many years city architect of Aberdeen. The castle
is in the Scottish baronial style of architecture, but shows
many modifications and improvements on it, which were
introduced to provide ampler accommodation and more
convenient arrangement in the interior of the building.
It is composed of two main parts, connected by wings.
A striking feature of the castle is the massive tower at
its eastern extremity, which is thirty-five feet square and
about one hundred feet in height, surmounted by a
flag tower, and three ornamental turrets at the corners.
The main entrance is on the south front. The north
and west fronts are embellished by elegant mould-
ings, and the south and east fronts are characterised
by a symmetrical simplicity of treatment. The masonry
and workmanship of the whole structure are excellent.
The internal arrangement of the numerous apartments of
the castle is admirable. The largest single apartment,
the ball-room, is sixty-eight feet long and twenty-five feet
wide. There is a fine clock in the square tower, which
regulates the time over the whole district. The light
colour of the granite imparts to the castle an exceedingly
During her long and happy reign, Queen Victoria has
visited almost every quarter of the Highlands of Scotland.
Her Majesty often started from Balmoral on excursions
to Perthshire — Dunkeld, Blairs Castle, and Loch Tay,
through the Passes of Killiecrankie and Glencoe ;
Sutherlandshire, Glenlivet, and Glen Fiddich in Banff-
shire, and to many other places.
On the 7th of October, 1859, the Queen and Prince
Albert made the ascent of Ben Muich Dhui. In descend-
ing, Her Majesty rode part of the way, and walked
wherever it was very steep. " I had a little whisky and
water, as the people declared that pure water would be
too chilling. We then rode on without getting off again,
Albert talking so gaily with Grant. Upon Brown ob-
serving to me in simply Highland phrase, ' It's very
pleasant to walk with a person who is always content.'
. . . Brown said — ' Everyone on the estate says there
never was so kind a master ; I am sure our only wish is
to give satisfaction.' I said they certainly did. We
were always in the habit of conversing with the High-
landers, with whom one comes so much in contact in the
Highlands. The Prince highly appreciated the good
breeding, simplicity, and intelligence which makes it so
pleasant, and even instructive, to talk to them." '
Touching Glencoe, Her Majesty wrote — " Glencoe,
at the opening, is beautifully green, with trees and
cottages dotted about along the verdant Valley. There
is a farm belonging to a Mrs. Macdonald, a descendant
of one of the unfortunate massacred Macdonalds. The
Cona flows along the bottom of the Valley, with green
haughs, where a few cattle are to be seen, and sheep
which graze up some of the wildest parts of this glorious
I Leaves from Our Life, etc., p. 187.
182 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
glen. A sharp turn in the rough, very winding, and, in
some parts, precipitous roads brings you to the finest,
wildest, and grandest part of the pass. Stern, rugged,
precipitous mountains, with beautiful peaks, and rocks
piled one above the other, two and three thousand feet
high, tower and rise up to the heavens on either side,
without any signs of habitation, except where, half-way
up the Pass, there are some trees, and near them, heaps
of stones on the side of the road, remains of what once
were houses, which tell the bloody, fearful tale of woe.
The place itself is one which adds to the horror of the
thought that such a thing could have been conceived
and committed on innocent sleeping people. How and
whither could they fly? Let me hope that William III.
knew nothing of it." ' I have quoted this to show the
Queen's humanity and sound judgment.
During the Queen's annual sojourn at Balmoral,
covering a period of nearly fifty years, she has become
endeared to all classes of the people. Her Majesty has
always shown great kindness and much sympathy to
the tenants on the lands of Balmoral, and the whole
neighbourhood. The Queen has many touching and
noble features of character, which have rendered her the
most popular and beloved Sovereign in Scotland since
the days of James IV., who fell on the field of Flodden
in 1 5 13. To conclude —
" Amid our mountain scenes sublime,
Afar from courtly care,
Oh, may the loftiest of the land,
Life's noblest blessings share !
Safe in her princely Highland home,
May she live blithe and free,
And Britain's honoured Queen long bless.
The beauteous banks o' Dee ! "
I Leaves from Our Life, etc., p. 260.
Proceeding up the north side of the Valley, amidst
woods and mountains, the Feardar Burn joins the Dee,
and above it rises, to the height of fifteen hundred and
ninety-eight feet, the picturesque, rocky, and wooded hill
of Craig Nortie. A little farther on, immediately above
the Invercauld Arms Inn, is Craig-na-Spaine, another
striking, rocky, and wooded hill, which in bygone times
was a famous smuggling centre. Then comes a beauti-
fully wooded tract, and on the north side of the turnpike
road is Meall Alvie, rising to an elevation of eighteen
hundred and forty-one feet, a fine rocky and wooded hill,
which stretches along the Valley for a considerable
distance ; while the river below is surging and foaming
as the water dashes against the rocky ledges, stones, and
boulders which strew its course. Looking to the south,
the Forest of Ballochbuie is seen on the opposite side of
the river, and extending our vision further southward, an
amphitheatre of hills, covered half-way up their ribs with
pine and birch, still higher hills rear their peaks in the
distance, some of which are sprinkled with trees and
bushes ; and, beyond them, Lochnagar, which seems to
descend in continuity with the nearer ridges. In a
fine clear day, the scene is magnificent, beautiful, and
glorious to behold.
Near the fifty-first mile-stone, and a short distance
to the north of the road on the rising ground, is the site
184 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
of the old house of Monaltrie, a seat of a branch of the
Farquharsons, which was burned to the ground the year
after the Battle of CuUoden, and it was subsequently re-
built near Ballater. A little farther westward, on the south
side of the road, is Carn-na-Cuimhne — the cairn of remem-
brance ; it is surmounted by a flagstaff, and enclosed by
a stone dyke. " Carn-na-Cuimhne " was the war cry of
the Farquharsons, and the tradition associated with the
cairn is : — That when the clan resolved on any warlike
enterprise, they mustered in the vicinity of the cairn,
and when all were assembled, each clansman laid a stone
on a clear space, forming a small heap. On their
returning home, each survivor took a stone from this
heap, and carried it away, then the stones left told their
own tale, viz., the number of the slain, and these were
carefully placed on the Cairn of Remembrance. It is
simply a rough cairn of comparatively small stones.
The glen through which the Feardar Burn flows,
is called Aberarder, and it contains several small farms
and crofts. It appears that the glen was once more
populous ; its elevation, however, is not favourable to
cultivation. There are various traditions associated
with this locality which chiefly relate to a feud and
encounters between the Stewarts and Farquharsons. In
early times there were a considerable number of Stewarts
Fifty-five miles from Aberdeen, the old Bridge of
Invercauld spans the Dee. It was erected in 1752 under
the direction of General Wade, and in connection with
his system of military roads in the Highlands. This
bridge was directly connected with the road starting
from Blairgowrie onward by Cardarff, Grantown, and
thence to Inverness. The bridge looks grey with age,
and bushes are picturesquely growing out of its sides.
It is now the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The
new Bridge of Invercauld, which carries the north road
to the south side of the Valley, is about one hundred
and fifty yards above the old one. It is a massive
structure built of granite, and was erected at the expense
of the late Prince Albert, on the closing up of the old
bridge and the Ballochbuie road on the south side of
Nearly opposite the old bridge is the entrance gate
to Invercauld House, on the north side of the road.
Invercauld House stands on a fine elevated terrace, amid
beautiful and charming scenery, about four hundred
yards from the north bank of the Dee. The house is
eleven hundred and fifty feet above sea level, but it is
admirably sheltered by trees and woods, with a magnifi-
cent lawn stretching down to the edge of the river, which
here winds beautifully in the form of the letter S. The
view from the house up and down the Valley is exceed-
ingly fine, while on the opposite side of the river towards
the south, a grand scene of rocky and wooded hills,
rugged and steep craigs, is presented to the eye. Behind
the house a picturesque range of wooded hills form a
befitting and harmonious background to a site of sur-
passing natural beauty. The mansion itself is built in
the Scottish baronial style of architecture, but it exhibits
various modifications. The main feature of the struc-
ture is the tower, seventy feet in height, surmounted
with battlements and staircase, other turrets, and a flag
tower. In 1875, a series of additions and alterations
were completed, in the execution of which two or three
186 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Storeys were added in some parts ; but the old historic
dining-hall is preserved. A broad staircase ascends to
an upper hall, which is thirty feet long and fifteen feet
wide ; and at the end of it is the drawing-room, from the
windows of which a grand view of the upper stretch of
the Valley is obtained.
The Farquharsons were a branch of the Clan Chattan,
and came to Braemar at an early period. There is a
mass of traditions connected with the history of the
Clan Chattan, which in recent years has been well
scrutinised and thoroughly sifted. The derivation of the
old Clan Chattan, hovv^ever, is still uncertain ; but it
seems to have consisted of one or two strong clans, and
at a later period of five or six septs, who came under the
protection of the chief clan. In modern times the Clan
Chattan, who followed Mackintosh as chieftain and
leader of the clan, consisted of sixteen septs. The
original possessions of the old Clan Chattan were mainly in
Lochaber, Badenoch, and Rothiemurchus; while branches
of the chief clan and septs under the protection of the
chief settled in other parts of the Highlands. In the
fourteenth century the Clan Chattan extended from
Badenoch to the Parish of Birse ; and branches of the
tribe settled in Glentilt, Glenshee, and Glenisla.
It may be observed that the Earldom of Mar was
practically in the hands of the Crown or a member of
the Royal Family from 1435 until 1561 — a period of
one hundred and twenty-six years ; and there is no
doubt that this was favourable to the settlement of the
Farquharsons in Braemar, and also to members of many
other families in the Valley of the Dee.
In 1464, Alexander Mackintosh was chief of the
Clan Chattan ; and one of his younger sons, named
Farquhar, from Rothiemurchus, settled in the Braes of
Mar. He left a son, Donald Farquhar, who entered the
service of Duncan Stewart, the laird of Invercauld, and
subsequently he married the laird's daughter. On the
death of Stewart, his son-in-law succeeded to a portion
of the lands of Invercauld. Donald Farquhar was
succeeded by his son, Findla, commonly called Findla
Mor. He was a man of great energy and force of
character, and the circumstances of the time were
favourable to him. As already observed, the Earldom
of Mar was then in the hands of the Crown. Thus the
King had ample power, and many opportunities of
rewarding faithful service to his Government, by grants
of land within the Earldom ; and Findla Mor had the
good fortune to be appointed Bailie of Strathdee. For
his vigorous and effective administration of justice, he
was rewarded (in accordance with a common practice)
by several grants of land.
He was twice married, and had a large family. In
1547, he fought at the Battle of Pinkie, and fell on that
disastrous field. Findla Mor was the ancestor of the
Farquharsons of Invercauld, Castletown, Inverey, Fin-
zean, Balmoral, Monaltrie, and Whitehouse.
Findla Mor's son, Robert Farquharson, succeeded
to Invercauld, and he died in the latter part of the six-
teenth century. He was succeeded by his son, John
Farquharson, who was succeeded by his son, Robert
Farquharson. Robert married a daughter of Erskine of
1 It seems to be uncertain which of Findla RIor's sons succeeded to Invercauld. But,
I understand, that Captain James F. Macpherson has been making a careful research
touching this point, and no doubt will throw more light upon it.
188 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Pittodrie, and had issue. He acquired the barony of
Wardes, in the Parish of Kennethmont, but afterwards
sold it. His daughter, Marjory, married George Leith
of Overhall. Robert died in the reign of Charles II.,
and was succeeded by his son, Alexander Farquharson.
He married a daughter of Mackintosh, chief of the
Clan Chattan, and had issue. But their eldest son,
William, having died unmarried, he was succeeded by
his brother, John Farquharson. He was in possession
of Invercauld when the Earl of Mar raised the Standard
of Rebellion in 1715.
John Farquharson of Invercauld disapproved of
Mar's movement, and was extremely unwilling to join
it. But he had no alternative, as the Earl was his
feudal superior. Thus Invercauld was compelled to
take an active part in the Rising. He was taken a
prisoner at the surrender of Preston in November, 171 5,
imprisoned, and confined till 17 17. His liberation was
facilitated by the efforts on his behalf of the Rev. Mr.
Ferguson, minister of Logierait, who had once been
minister of Crathie. Mr. Ferguson was the father of
Dr. Adam Ferguson, the philosopher and historian.
John Farquharson was still alive at the time of the
Rising of 1745. He entirely disapproved of this new
attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty : while his eldest
son, James, an officer in the service of the Government,
also refrained from joining in the Rising. It is well
known, however, as one of the many romantic features
associated with this Rising, that Invercauld's eldest
daughter, Anne, the wife of Mackintosh of Mackintosh,
exerted herself to the utmost in the cause of Prince
Charles, With much courage and tact, she defeated an
attempt of the Earl of Loudon to capture the Prince at
Moy House, shortly after the Battle of CuUoden.
John Farquharson died in 1750, at the advanced age
of eighty years. He was succeeded by his son, James,
who was a man of great energy and sagacity. He
directed his attention to the improvement of his estates,
which, shortly before his accession, had been greatly
extended by the purchase of the lands of Castletown,
and a portion of Mar Forest, a part of the forfeited
estates of the Earl of Mar ; and the reversion of Monal-
trie on the forfeiture of Francis Farquharson, his
kinsman. James married the widow of Lord Sinclair,
who was a daughter of Lord George Murray, Lieutenant-
General of Prince Charles' army. All his children
predeceased him, except one daughter, who married
Captain James Ross, second son of Sir John L. Ross of
Balnagowan. James Farquharson died in 1806, and
Captain Ross then assumed the name of Farquharson.
His son, James R. Farquharson, succeeded to the estates
of Invercauld. He was an excellent landlord. He died
in 1862 ; and, on the north side of the Dee, near the
mouth of the Sluggan Burn, on a small wooded eminence,
there stands a granite obelisk, fifty feet high, erected to
his memory by the tenantry. He was succeeded by his
son, Colonel James R. Farquharson. He was succeeded
by his son, Lieutenant Alexander H. Farquharson, the
present proprietor of Invercauld.
On the occasion of the home-coming of Mr. and Mrs.
Farquharson after their marriage, great preparations
were made to give them a hearty and enthusiastic
welcome. This fete occurred on the 2nd of August,
1893. In Castletown of Braemar, bunting was displayed
190 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
on almost every house, and flags floated beautifully from
both the Fife and Invercauld Arms, Mar Castle, and
Altdowrie, while the front of Invercauld House was
decorated with a triple row of banners. Along the road
from Ballater to Invercauld, there were many signs of
welcome — flags, floral devices, and strings of bannerettes
hung across the road. At Ballater, Provost Barnett,
representing the commissioners, the feuars, and house-
holders of the burgh, presented an address to Mr. and
Mrs. Farquharson of Invercauld, heartily welcoming
them to their home on Deeside. When they reached
the grounds of Invercauld, they received a most en-
thusiastic ovation from the tenants on the estate, who
had assembled to meet them.
CASTLETOWN OF BRAEMAR.
The new Bridge of Invercauld carries the north road to
the south side of the Dee, and along this stretch of the
Valley to the Castletown of Braemar, a distance of three
and a half miles, all the way the scenery is exquisitely
grand and picturesque ; on the south side, overhung by
craggy hills and precipitous rocks, finely wooded along
their bases, up their steep faces, and even to their
Near the bridge on the north side of the road, is a
huge stone called " The Muckle Stane o' Clunie," which
seems to have fallen from Craig Clunie — a rocky hill on
the opposite side of the road. According to tradition,
it was once a famous haunt of the fairies. Clunie Cottage
is on the north side of the road, near the site of the old
house of Clunie — now demolished. A little farther on
is the " Charter Chest," a recess in the rocky and steep
face of Craig Clunie ; it is about three hundred yards up,
and very difficult of access. There is a tradition that the
lairds of Clunie, in times of danger, used to hide their
Charter Chest in it. It is also said that after the Battle
of Culloden, Farquharson of Clunie hid himself in this
cave for some time. About three-quarters of a mile
farther on, is the picturesque mass of rock called " The
Lion's Face," a spot which has long been much frequented
by visitors. These precipitous rocky and craggy hills
present exceedingly striking scenes, as trees and bushes
192 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
are seen growing beautifully on naked masses of rock.
One feels amazed as to how the roots of the trees can
fix themselves in the mere slits of steep rocks, and so
withstand the severe blasts and the fierce gales of winter.
Westward from Invercauld House, on the north side
of the Valley, is Altdowrie Cottage, amid trees, the
residence of the factor of Invercauld. It is a pretty
structure, and stands on a fine site.
On the south side of the river, on a small grassy
eminence, stands the Castle of Braemar, amid a beautiful
haugh, lying between Creag Choinnich and the Dee. The
old castle was built in the latter part of the fifteenth cen-
tury, when John Stuart, the third son of James III., was
Earl of Mar. In 1689, the year after the Revolution,
the castle was burnt by General Mackay's dragoons,
when in pursuit of Viscount Dundee, who escaped to
Lochaber. It was afterwards repaired. But after the
Rising of 171 5, the Earldom of Mar was forfeited to the
Crown, and John Farquharson of Invercauld purchased
the castle and its lands. And in 1748, he leased the
castle and fourteen acres of ground to the Government
for a period of ninety-nine years ; and the Government
then erected the present castle, which for a number of
years was used as a barracks for the soldiers stationed
in the district. Since, great changes have occurred in
Braemar ; for nearly a century, athletic games and
Highland dancing have been annually held under the
shadow of the old castle.
A short distance beyond the castle, on the north side
of the road, is the parish churchyard, in which once
stood St. Andrew's Chapel, but not a vestige of it now
remains. Near the centre of the churchyard is the burial
CASTLETOWN OF BRAEMAR. 193
aisle of the Farquharsons of Invercauld — a neat, square
building. In 1893, the churchyard was enlarged, and
the enclosing wall rebuilt and heightened.
Castletown, the capital of Braemar, is situated at an
elevation of eleven hundred and ten feet above sea level.
It stands on a fine plain formed by the widening out of
Glen Clunie. The Water of Clunie, a beautiful stream
with a rocky channel and steep banks, flows through the
town, and a stone bridge of one arch, erected in 1863,
connects the two portions of it. Castletown is entirely
surrounded by high, picturesque, and well wooded hills.
The high and massive hill of Morrone stretches down
on the south-western side of Castletown ; while Creag
Choinnich rises on its eastern side ; and on its north
side is the plain, the rippling Dee, and, beyond, the
wooded hills. Thus the scenery around Castletown
presents a panorama of scenes and landscapes of rare
variety and characteristic beauty.
The portion of the town on the east side of the
Water of Clunie is called Castletown, of which Farquhar-
son of Invercauld is superior ; and the portion on the
west side of the stream is called Auchendryne, of which
the Duke of Fife is superior. But it is becoming com-
mon to apply the name Castletown of Braemar to the
Castletown of Braemar is a place of great antiquity.
According to tradition, Kenneth II. had a hunting
seat here, but no trace of it remains. It is said that
Malcolm III., Canmore, erected a castle on the east
bank of the Clunie, near the bridge, and some ruins of
an old structure still remain. Whatever historic truth
there may be in this tradition, it is a well-ascertained
194 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
fact that Malcolm Can more was in the Valley of the
Dee in the summer of 1057, when he defeated and slew
Macbeth at Lumphanan. If he built a castle at Brae-
mar, it must have been after the above date.
In the last century, most of the houses in Castletown
of Braemar were small, and covered with thatch ; but in
the present century it has made rapid progress. In
1842, the population of Castletown of Braemar was
two hundred and fifty ; since that date the population
of the town has increased to over six hundred ; and in
the summer season, there are sometimes nearly two
thousand people living in it and its immediate vicinity.
Castletown of Braemar is now a pretty town, with
well-built houses, all of which are slated, and a consider-
able number of excellent and beautiful villas. It is well
supplied with pure spring water from a reservoir on the
Moor of Morrone ; and the town presents an aspect of
health and comfort.
In the west side of the town, through which the main
street runs, there are several very fine terraces branching
off it. Pretty well up the slope of Morrone, there are
seven or eight excellent cottages, recently erected, on
The town has two public halls — one built of timber
in the west division of the town ; and the other in the
east division or Invercauld side of the water. The latter
stands on a fine site near the bank of the stream, built
of granite, and is a pretty large and massive structure.
On the same side of the Clunie, a little further south-
ward, there is a very pretty house, called Canmore. It
is built in the cottage style, with a fine lawn and an
ornamental space of ground around it. A little nearer
CASTLETOWN OF BRAEMAR. 195
the base of Creag Choinnich, there are nine or ten excel-
lent villas and cottages, placed on charming and beautiful
sites, amid trees and plantations.
On the same side, but nearer the stream and the
bridge, there is a terrace of exceedingly neat little
cottages. Near this terrace is the Meteorological
Observatory. It has a set of good instruments, gifted
to it by the late Prince Consort, who was always ready
to promote scientific observation, and advance the happi-
ness of mankind. The Observatory is under the charge
of Mr. James Aitken, the agent of the Union Bank of
Scotland, whose office and residence is on the opposite
side of the street. Observations, including the force of
ozone, are taken every day, and the results published
The Roman Catholic Chapel stands on a fine elevated
site at the western extremity of the town. It is a pretty
large and elegant structure ; and the residence of the
officiating priest is beside the chapel. The Free Church
and the Manse are in the west side of the town, and
stand on a slightly elevated space, within an enclosure.
The congregation obtained a lease of this space of
ground from the late Earl of Fife. The church is a
chaste and elegant structure. It is built of limestone,
faced with light-coloured granite. It stands east and
west, and at the east end there i? a fine, tapering spire,
and a clock in it. The interior of the church is beauti-
ful. The windows have stained glass, and the internal
arrangement is excellent and pleasing, and affords ample
accommodation for the congregation — an active one —
doing good work in the locality. The first Free Church
minister of Braemar was the Rev. S. M'Crie, who became
196 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
pastor of the congregation in 1843. He was succeeded
by the Rev. Hugh Cobban in 1853. ^^' Cobban
ministered to the congregation for seventeen years, and
died in 1870. He was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas
Siddie, who was inducted in 1871 — the present pastor
of the congregation.
The Established Church is on the east bank of the
Clunie. It is a chaste building, with a spire and a clock.
The Episcopal Church is also on the east side of the
Braemar has good schools ; and there is a Public
Library in the town, which contains a considerable
number of well-selected and useful books. There are
two large hotels — one on either side of the Water of
Clunie — the only licensed premises in the locality.
Not many years ago, most of the natives of Braemar
spoke Gaelic. But it is not now spoken, although the
older inhabitants can speak it ; the children and the
rising generation are not learning Gaelic, and it is rapidly
becoming extinct in the district. The people of Castle-
town of Braemar are quiet, sober, very intelligent, and
ready to communicate any reasonable information.
Glen Clunie is bounded by hills of moderate eleva-
tion, stretches southward about nine miles, and meets
the upper end of Glenshee. Some of the hills are
rounded, others of various forms, and on either side of
the glen are green patches and stripes of grass on the
hills from their bases to their summits, interspersed
among the heather. Above Castletown, for some
distance, the hills are partly wooded. In the lower part
of the glen, there is a considerable space of cultivated
ground, which yields good crops of grain, turnips, and
CASTLETOWN OF BRAEMAR. 197
grass. The stream which drains it is pretty large, and
glides rapidly on its rocky bed. In some places beds of
slaty rock project on either side of the steam. About a
hundred yards above the farm-steading of Auchallater,
the rocks, projecting on both sides, run across the bed of
the stream, dividing it into two, and the water rushes
through two rents in the rock for fifteen yards, and at
the end of the rents form a deep pool. About two miles
above Castletown the wood ceases, excepting straggling
plants and bushes along the margins of the stream. A
considerable part of the glen is under sheep.
Two miles above Castletown, Glen Callater opens
upon Glen Clunie. Glen Callater extends nearly nine
miles in a south-easterly direction ; it is narrow, and in
its lower stretch, bounded by hills of moderate elevation,
but in its upper part, the hills are higher. A stream of
considerable size rushes through the glen on a very rocky
and stony channel, and joins the Clunie near the farm
steading of Auchallater. Loch Callater is three miles
up the glen ; it is about a mile long, and is fed by rills
rushing down from the outlying ridges of Lochnagar,
and two rapid streamlets which issue from the mountains
at the head of the glen. There is no wood on the margins
of the loch, or in the glen, excepting a few scattered
small trees and some bushes. The glen is uninhabited ;
the only house in it is the gamekeeper's lodge. The
scenery of the glen is wild and rugged, and it terminates
in a hollow amid high mountains.
GLEN QUOICH— INVEREY— GLEN EY— GLEN LUI—
From Castletown of Braemar to Glen Ey the scenery is
very picturesque. At the bottom of the Valley there is a
fine stretch of level haughs, which are cultivated or under
grass ; and on either side of the river the hills are well
wooded. On the south side of the Valley there is a
beautiful stretch of woods consisting of birch, pine, larch,
and other trees interspersed here and there. Many rills
descending from Morrone form small cascades as they
rush down the slaty rocks by the roadside. One of
these, a streamlet called the Carr Burn, in its course
between the north side of the road and the Dee, has a
series of very pretty Falls, the highest of which is about
On the opposite side of the Valley is Glen Quoich.
The Water of Quoich, a stream of considerable size, on
emerging from the glen, spreads over a portion of the
fine haugh and greatly mars its beauty. Glen Quoich is
well wooded, and at its mouth there is a sawmill. A
short distance up the glen is the Linn of Quoich. Steep
cliffs and rocks overhang the stream on either side, while
its channel at the commencement of the fissure in the
rock is narrowed to about three feet, through which the
water rushes with great force, surging and foaming into a
deep pool below. The narrow ravine is finely fringed
with birch and pine trees, and various wild flowers, which
GLEN QUOICH. 199
greatly enhance the picturesqueness of the scene. The
action of the ice and water has formed a number of
circular cavities in the rock, which have some resemblance
to a cup ; and one of the largest of these is called the
" Earl of Mar's punch bowl." The tradition associated
with this has a reference to the memorable meeting im-
mediately before the Rising of 171 5. The Earl and his
followers having mustered at Quoich, he ordered that
several ankers of whisky, some ankers of boiling water,
and a quantity of honey, should |be poured into the
natural cup at the Linn, and then as each man passed, he
dipped his horn into the flowing bowl, and drained it to
the success of the coming James VIII. Since that time
the bowl has lost its bottom.
The feudal superiority of Glen Quoich and other
lands in Braemar was purchased by Duff of Braco, the
ancestor of the Duke of Fife, after the suppression of
Mar's Rising. Afterwards he purchased the glen itself.
In former times several families lived in Glen Quoich ; it
is now uninhabited, and forms part of the Forest of Mar.
On the south side of the Valley the Corriemulzie
Burn rises on Cam na Drochaide, two miles southward
from the Dee. Three miles from Castletown this stream
flows through a narrow ravine, which the road crosses by
a bridge, but there is little to be seen from the bridge to
indicate the existence of the Falls, excepting the sound
of the falling water. The ravine rapidly deepens, the
stream dividing into two, falls down the face of a steep
rock, at the bottom of which it again unites and forms a
seething pool ; emerging from the pool, it rushes over
several other rocks, and winds its way through the ravine
and onward to the Dee. The height of the Fall is about
200 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
thirty feet. Both sides of the ravine are covered with
trees and plants and a variety of wild flowers. The whole
scene is very pretty and picturesque. A narrow footpath
leads down the side of the stream, from which a good
view of the Falls is obtained.
A little further west, on the south side of the road, is
New Mar Lodge, the summer residence of the Duke of
Fife. It is situated at an elevation of 1250 feet on the
side of Creag an Fhithich, " The Raven's Crag," a beauti-
fully-wooded rocky hill. It is built in the cottage style,
a pretty large structure, almost hidden amid the wood.
Half-a-mile further on, the Dee is spanned by the
Victoria Bridge, a wooden structure belonging to the
Duke of Fife, which was substituted for the stone bridge
destroyed by the great flood of 1 829. The road across it
leads along an avenue to Old Mar Lodge, which was
once the principal residence of the Fife family in Braemar.
Old Mar Lodge is situated at the base of Creag a' Bhuilg,
a steep and thickly-wooded hill, and in front, between it
and the Dee, is a fine broad lawn. It is a very plain
structure, but the surrounding scenery is picturesque and
The original name of the place was Dalmore, and the
territory in the neighbourhood on the north side of the
Valley belonged to the Mackenzies. According to
tradition, the first laird of Dalmore was a natural son of
Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, who received a grant of
it from James IV., on account of services rendered to the
King by his father. After the suppression of Mar's Rising,
Mackenzie of Dalmore fell into embarrassed circum-
stances, and the result was that his lands were sold to the
first Earl of Fife.
The village of Inverey is about five miles from Castle-
town of Braemar. It is divided into two portions by the
Water of Ey ; the hamlet on the east side of the Ey is
called Muckle Inverey, and the one on the west side Little
Inverey. In Muckle Inverey there are twelve houses, most
of them recently erected and slated, but three or four of
the old thatched ones still remain. There is about the
same number of houses in Little Inverey, five of which are
thatched, some of the others in ruins, and four or five are
slated. In the vicinity of the straggling hamlets on
either side of the Water of Ey, there is a considerable
space of cultivated ground. The Ey joins the Dee a
short distance below Inverey. Formerly, Inverey and
Glen Ey belonged to a branch of the Farquharson family.
At Muckle Inverey on the north side of the road is the
public school. Near it lies the ruins of the old Castle of
Inverey, which seems to have been a structure of some
strength. There are traditions associated with the castle.
After the Battle of Killiecrankie it was burned by a party
of Royal troops, when John Farquharson, its owner and
occupier, narrowly escaped with his life and fled to the
cave in Glen Ey. Behind the ruins of the castle is a
On the rising ground, on the south side of the road, is
Inverey Cottage, occupied by the Duke of Fife's forester.
Alongside of it runs the road through Glen Ey.
The Water of Ey is a fine large stream, and the road
crosses it by a bridge between the two Invereys. The
margins of the stream are beautifully fringed with trees,
the branches of which in some places meet and form a
pretty arch above the rippling water. In the lower part
of Glen Ey there is a pretty stripe of cultivated ground
202 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
which yields good crops of grain. For a short distance
up the glen the hills on either side are wooded, and
farther up all the hills are interspersed with stripes and
patches of green grass.
About a mile up the glen there is a rounded hill, and
on each side of it a stream comes rushing down a narrow
ravine amid rocks. The stream on the west side is the
AUt Connie Burn, a tributary of the Ey ; and on the
east side of the ravine through which this stream descends,
the rocks are quite perpendicular for several hundred
yards, and so smooth that they resemble a well-built wall.
This stream has a series of very beautiful Falls, making
together a Fall of over sixty feet. Immediately below the
Falls, the Allt Connie joins the Ey.
Proceeding up the west side of Glen Ey, about half-a-
mile above the junction of the Allt Connie with the Ey,
there is a deep and rugged rent in the rocks, through
which the stream rushes. On the east side of the road
a narrow path among the heather leads down to the
rocky gorge. Then descending a steep and rocky bank
overgrown with trees and herbage, we stand on a ledge
of slaty rock ; beneath us is a black, eddying pool,
formed by the stream which a few yards farther up comes
rushing, tumbling, and foaming through the rocky gorge.
From the pool the stream flows over broken ledges and
fragments of rock ; and here its channel is from ten to
eighteen feet in breadth. The rocks on either side are
high, with perpendicular cliffs, covered with ferns and
various flowering plants, and trees and shrubs growing in
the rifts of the rocks.
The ledge of rock mentioned above is only a few feet
above the level of the stream. It is nearly one hundred feet
GLEN EY. 203-
in length, from four to twelve feet in breadth, and at its
base there is a recess, formed by the overhanging and
projecting rock, which is twelve feet in length, from two
to four feet in breadth, and about three feet in height.
This is the " Colonel's Cave," in which it is said that
John Farquharson of Inverey hid himself for some time
after the Battle of Killiecrankie.
This John Farquharson was locally called the Black
Colonel, and there are many traditions relating to him.
It is said that he joined Viscount Dundee before the Re-
volution, and fought under him at the Battle of Bothwell
Bridge. In 1689, when Viscount Dundee raised the
Standard of James VII., he commissioned the Black
Colonel to muster the men of Braemar. The Black
Colonel sent the fiery cross through the glens, and a
company of men assembled, joined Dundee, and fought
at the Battle of Killiecrankie. After the battle the Black
Colonel still declined to render his submission to the
Government ; in consequence his Castle of Inverey was
burned (as stated before), when he fled for his life to the
cave in Glen Ey.
The Black Colonel died about the end of the seven-
teenth century, and was succeeded by his son, Peter
Farquharson. It is said that he was of a quiet disposition,
not at all like his father ; but he joined Mar's Rising, and
was present at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. After the sup-
pression of the Rising, he escaped to France, where he
remained for some time, and his lands were not forfeited^
owing to an error in the charge against him. James
Farquharson, the last laird of Inverey, sold the lands to
the Earl of Fife in the latter part of the last century.
In the summer of 1893, on the east side of the glen, I
204 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
observed a number of cattle grazing opposite the Colonel's
Cave. At one time a portion of the glen farther up than
the Colonel's Cave, was under village, and eight families
once lived in it. The glen is seven miles in length, and
near the middle of it there is a stretch of fine green
pasture. It now forms a part of the deer forest of Mar,
Toward the head of the glen is Alltanodhar Shieling, a
-small shooting lodge in connection with the forest.
Between Inverey and the Linn of Dee there is a limited
space of level ground on the south side of the river ; and,
in the summer of 1893, I observed good crops of corn,
potatoes, and turnips in this locality. On the north side
•of the Dee is the Forest of Mar.
The Water of Lui enters the Dee about half a mile
below the Linn. A short distance above its junction
with the Dee, the stream is spanned by a bridge, which
carries the north road across it. A little above this
bridge, the Lui has two very pretty Falls. The stream
rushes through a narrow gorge on a rocky bed, with high
rocks on either side, and presents a beautiful scene.
Glen Lui is pretty wide and open, bounded by rounded
hills of modern elevation, which are interspersed with
patches and stripes of green pasture. There is a consider-
able space of level ground in the glen, which on both
sides of the stream is covered with fine natural grass ;
and parts of it seem to have once been under cultiva-
tion. Some traces of the ruins of houses may still be
seen, and at one time the glen was inhabited ; at present
the only inhabitants in it are the gamekeeper and his
At a distance of about five miles from its mouth.
Glen Lui branches off into two glens — Glen Lui Beg and
MAR FOREST. 205
Glen Derry. The latter runs in a northward direction
for nearly five miles, and for about two miles it is well
wooded. The aspect of the surroundings is solemn and
sombre — the dark green foliage shows little variation of
hues ; while the reigning silence is only broken by the
rippling sound of the stream rushing rapidly over its
stony bed, the occasional croak of the raven, and the
notes of the cuckoo. Pine trees are the prevailing wood
in the forest, with sprinklings of birches here and there.
The pine trees of Braemar attain a height of from fifty
to sixty feet, and a girth of ten feet, and sometimes
more, but many, of course, never reach this growth. The
straightest and finest trees, most valued for timber, have
conical tops ; but the most beautiful send out great
irregular branches. There is a considerable variety of
form among pine trees, and the least beautiful are the
densely crowded trees, which have sprung up into slender
spars almost denuded of branches up to their tops. Up
the hillsides the trees gradually diminish in size, and are
intermixed with birch. In many places there are stumps
and decayed trees, which seems to indicate that in former
times the forest had been more extended. Along the
upper stretch of the forest many dead and naked trunks
are scattered among the living trees ; and on the out-
skirts of the forest the trees are stunted, bent, and
twisted, and quite stripped of their bark ; while many
old trees are lying on the ground, decayed, and reduced
to dusty soil, covered with vegetation.
After the continuous wood ceases, in the upper part
of Glen Derry, there is a long and pretty wide level
space, covered with natural grass. The glen is well
adapted for pasture, and affords excellent grazing for the
!206 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
deer. A few scattered trees grow on the plain and the
hillsides, and some traces of the ruins of houses are still
discernable. Further up, the Derry Water turns west-
ward, and leads to its main source — Loch Etchachan,
which lies on Ben Muich Dhui at an elevation of thirty-
one hundred feet. Loch Etchachan is a sheet of water
about a mile in circumference. The scenery around it
is somewhat bleak and bare ; but there are plenty of
trout in the loch. A fine view of Loch Avon may be
obtained at a point a short distance north from Loch
The track running northward in line with Glen Derry
leads over an elevated ridge to Loch Avon, in Banffshire,
and by which the Spey may be reached.
Glen Lui Beg and its stream extend a distance of
nearly five miles from its junction with the Derry to
Lochan Uaine — a tarn on the south side of Ben Muich
Dhui. The lower part of the glen is wooded, but the
trees gradually become fewer, scattered, and disappear.
These glens are included in the deer forest of Mar.
This deer forest is very extensive, and covers a wide
extent of territory on both sides of the Dee. The
greater part of it, however, is not wooded, but consists of
hills, moors, glens, ravines, and corries.
There are two species of deer in the Forest of
Braemar — the red deer and the roe deer. The red deer
live among the hills and the woods, usually in large
herds. They are more esteemed for the quality of their
flesh than the roe deer ; also as animals which afford
much excitement in hunting. In size and form the stag
is a fine and beautiful animal, remarkably swift, muscu-
lar, and strong. The most peculiar feature of the
LINN OF DEE. 207
physical organism of the stag is the antlers which adorn
its head. Usually, during the hunting season, the red
deer are exceedingly difficult to approach within shoot-
The roe deer is a beautiful animal, but much smaller
than the red deer, having shorter legs and horns. They
do not live in large herds, but in twos or threes, and may
occasionally be seen singly, bounding through the woods.
They live among the woods and thickets, and rarely
venture upon the hills, except in passing from one wood
to another. They are very swift, and it is a fine sight to
see two or three of them at full speed.
The golden eagle was once common among the moun-
tains of Braemar, but it is now rarely seen, and seems
to have ceased breeding in this region. Various species
of hawks and owls may occasionally be seen in the
district. On the moors, red grouse is common, and up
to a considerable height on the hills ; while the grey
ptarmigan, with its changing plumage, may sometimes
be seen on the summits of the highest mountains.
On the south side of the Dee there are a few cottages on
the road side not far from the Linn. The bridge which
spans the Dee at the Linn was erected by the late Earl
of Fife, and opened by Her Majesty the Queen, on the
8th of September, 1857. The Queen and Prince Consort,
and other members of the Royal Family, started from
Balmoral at mid-day, and proceeded to the Linn, where
a triumphal arch was erected in honour of the occasion.
The road was lined with Duff men — the pipers playing ;
and the Earl of Fife and Lady Fife received the Queen
and Royal Party. On the bridge they all drank, in
whisky, " prosperity to the bridge." It is built of granite,
208 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
and has only one arch, formed upon solid rock at either
side. It is a very elegant structure, and shows excellent
workmanship. From the bridge a good view of the
Linn can be obtained, as it stands nearly over the
middle of the gorge.
The Linn may be briefly described. Above the
bridge a ledge of rock runs across the bed of the river,
and rising a little, causes a continuous ripple of the
water. The river rushes with great force into a deep
crevice, making three beautiful cascades, the highest of
which is about five feet ; as the crevice between the
rocks become narrower, the water seethes and tumbles
with tremendous force onward to the end of the fissure in
the rock ; after escaping, the water forms a very dark
pool, and then glides away. The Linn is over three
hundred yards in length, and at the narrowest point,
which is a little below the bridge, the opening between
the rocks is about three feet broad. The rocks above on
either side, and especially below the bridge on the south
side, are o( considerable height, and overhanging. A
very striking feature of the Linn, is the number of cup-
like cavities formed in the solid rock on both sides of the
fissure, into which the water dashes, eddying and swir-
ling beautifully. These cavities in the rock are as
smooth as the finest polished stone.
On the south side of the bridge, in the immediate
vicinity of the Linn, there is a pretty large hunting
lodge, amid thriving young trees, which belongs to the
Duke of Fife. The late Earl of Fife occasionally stayed
a few days at this delightful spot in the summer time.
Above the Linn there is not much wood, but here
and there straggling small trees and clusters of bushes.
LINN OF DEE. 209
About a mile and a half above the Linn, on the south
side of the Dee, there is " the big and little lord's haugh,"
on which there were once buildings — now in ruins.
Farther westward, at Dubrach, where the Geldie joins
the Dee, a party of soldiers was stationed after Mar's
Rising. A few yards above the junction of the Geldie
and the Dee, the latter is spanned by a wooden structure,
called White Bridge.
Glen Geldie in a limited part of its lower stretch, is
grassy, and contains good pasture ; but the greater part
of the glen appears rather bleak, mostly consisting of
moorland and mosses, while the hills on either side of it
are bare, and of no great elevation. About four miles
from White Bridge, on the banks of the Geldie, is Geldie
Lodge — a hunting seat connected with the Glen Geldie
part of the deer forest of Mar. About a mile above the
mouth of Glen Geldie, Glen Bynack opens upon it, and
the latter is a good pastoral glen. Bynack shooting
lodge is on the bank of the burn, about two miles from
the junction of the Geldie and the Dee.
Half-a-mile westward from the confluence of the Dee
and the Geldie, there is a striking rapid, called "The
Chest of Dee." It is a narrow and rocky part of the
river, about one hundred yards long, through which the
water rushes with great force into a pool, from which
the river flows quietly on. A little farther up, on the
south bank of the Dee, there are some traces of a build-
ing, said to have been the uppermost hunting lodge of
the Earl of Mar. Above this, a path leads up Glen Dee,
passing the Pools of Dee, and onward to Coylum Bridge
on the Spey.
As stated in the introductory chapter. Glen Dee is
210 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
narrow, rugged, and wild, with lofty mountains on both
sides. It has one opening on the east side — the entrance
into Glen Lui Beg, which was treated before ; and nearly
opposite, on the west side, is the mouth of Glen Geusachan.
This glen is narrow at its mouth, where it branches off
from Glen Dee ; but it winds round the Devil's Point to
the south-west of Cairn Toul. As it bends northward
towards the summit of the mountain, it gradually widens
out, and at a distance of three miles it loses its features
as a glen, where its stream approaches an elevation of
thirty-five hundred feet.
Thus we have reached the high mountain-land, and
so far completed the proposed task. Yet, any history of
the Valley of the Dee would be quite inadequate without
some account, however brief, of the Earldom and Earls
of Mar, and the Risings of 171 5 and 1745. Mar is not
only one of the most ancient of Scottish Earldoms,
but also in many respects the most remarkable and
interesting one in the Island. So a few chapters on
these will be an appropriate conclusion to the preceding
account of the Valley of the Dee.
EARLDOM OF MAR— EARLS OF MAR.
The ancient district of Mar was very extensive. It
commenced in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen and ex-
tended all the way to Badenoch, comprising almost the
whole of the Valleys of the Dee and Don, and the
territory lying between them. It seems probable that the
whole of this district was under the Mormaer of Mar. In
Celtic times the Mormaer was the head and leader of the
tribe of the land. The old Earls of Mar were descended
from the Mormaers of Mar, and can be traced from the
tenth century onward.
From an early period the Castle of Kildrummy was
the principal seat of the Earldom of Mar. It is one of
the oldest castles in Scotland, and was a place of great
strength ; but it is now ruinous. The castle, with its forti-
fications, covered three Scotch acres of ground.
It may be observed that the Gaelic name Mormaer
was superseded by the title Earl. In 1014, Donald
Mormaer of Mar proceeded to Ireland to assist the Irish
in repelling the Danes ; and he was slain at the Battle of
Clontarf In the reign of Alexander I., Ruadri was the
Mormaer of Mar ; and he became first Earl of Mar. He
was succeeded by Morgund, second Earl of Mar, who
appears as a witness to a number of charters granted
between 1147 and 1178. Morgund was succeeded by
Gilchrist, third Earl of Mar, who witnessed charters
granted between 1170 and 1204. He was succeeded by
212 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Gratney, fourth Earl of Mar ; and about the year 1225 he
was succeeded by Duncan, fifth Earl of Mar. Duncan
was succeeded by his son, William, sixth Earl of Mar,,
This Earl, during the minority of Alexander III., came
into conflict with Alan Durward, who was Justiciary of
Scotland. Durward had married a natural daughter of
Alexander II., and he desired the Earldom of Mar, and
even aspired to the Throne of Scotland. Although
Alan Durward failed in his main aim, yet he actually
obtained possession of large portions of the Earldom of
Mar in the Valley of the Dee, and in other quarters of
Aberdeenshire. A kind of compromise was thus effected
between the Earl of Mar and Alan Durward.
William was succeeded by his son, Donald, seventh
Earl of Mar. In 1290, during the Interregnum, Donald,
Earl of Mar, and Duncan, Earl of Fife, appeared before
the Bishop of St. Andrews and John Comyn, guardians
of Scotland, and protested against any unwarranted
action on their part touching the appointment of a King^
or placing themselves and their rights under the protection
of Edward I. ; and also protesting against the choice of
Baliol in favour of Bruce to the Throne of Scotland,
This protest, unfortunately, was disregarded, as the Bishop
of St. Andrews even invited the interference of Edward L
in the question of the disputed succession to the Throne
This Donald, Earl of Mar, had a son, Gratney, and a
daughter, Isabel. Gratney married Christiana Bruce, a
sister of King Robert Bruce ; while King Robert married
Isabel, Gratney's sister. Gratney obtained with his wife
the Earldom of Garioch, to be held in free regality. Thus
EARLS OF MAR. 213
the Earls of Mar and Robert I. were closely allied.
Gratney succeeded his father as eighth Earl of Mar. At
his death, he left a son, Donald, who succeeded as ninth
Earl of Mar ; and also two daughters, of whom the
eldest, Ellen, married Sir John Menteith — their daughter,
Christian Menteith, married Sir Edward Keith — their
daughter, Janet Keith, married Sir Thomas Erskine;and
from this relationship sprung the claim and the right of
the Erskine family to the Earldom of Mar, a century later.
Earl Donald was confined a prisoner in England
during the War of Independence. After the death of
Robert I., the Earl of Mar joined the cause of the young
Prince David II., his own cousin. On the death of
Randolph, Earl of Moray, Mar was appointed Regent of
Scotland. Shortly after, he fell at the disastrous Battle
of Dupplin in 1332.
He was succeeded by his son, Thomas, the tenth and
last Earl of Mar of the Celtic line. His sister, Margaret,
married William, the first Earl of Douglas. David II.
granted to Earl Thomas a charter of confirmation of the
Earldom of Garioch to him and his heirs. He married
Margaret Stuart, Countess of Angus in her own right; but
he died in 1377, leaving no issue.
His sister, the Countess of Douglas, then succeeded
to the Earldoms of Mar and Garioch. She had a son and
a daughter to her husband, the Earl of Douglas, who died
in 1384. He was succeeded by his son, James, Earl of
Douglas and of Mar. He fell at the Battle of Otterburn
in 1388; and having left no legitimate issue, his sister,
Isabel, succeeded to the Earldoms of Mar and Garioch,
her mother's heritage. She also succeeded to the unen-
tailed lands of the house of Douglas. This Isabel,
214 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Countess of Mar and Garioch in her own right, and also
owner of other lands of wide extent, naturally became an
object of intrigues, and a network of plots was woven
She married Sir Malcolm Drummond, a brother of
Annabella — Queen of Robert III. ; but there was no issue
of the marriage. Her husband. Sir Malcolm, was attacked
by a party instigated by Alexander Stewart (the hero of
Harlaw) and murdered. Tytler, the historian, says —
" There seems to have been little doubt that the successful
wooer and the assassin of Drummond was one and the
same person." After the murder of her husband, Isabel
was residing at the Castle of Kildrummy, a widow,
childless, and unprotected. In the summer of 1404,
Alexander Stewart, a leader of broken men, and the
terror of the country, swooped down upon the Castle and
his victim. He captured the Countess' castle, seized her
person, and then extorted from her, under covenant of
future marriage, a charter dated 12th of August, 1404, by
which she gifted to Alexander Stewart the Earldoms of
Mar and Garioch, and all the other lands and superiorities
belonging to her by hereditary right. The immediate
effect of this charter was to cut off the Erskines, and
others who had hopes of succeeding to the Earldom of
This outrage on the Countess' person and property,
and extortion of the charter, were too flagrant to stand
unredressed ; but Stewart's relation to the Royal family
appears to have saved him from actual punishment
Accordingly a compromise was arranged, by which the
rights of other parties were secured. The matter assumed
a dramatic form.
EARLS OF MAR. 215
On the 9th of September, 1404, the Countess, accom-
panied by the Bishop of Ross, Sir Andrew LesHe, and
other gentlemen of the district, and a multitude of the
people, assembled upon a meadow outside the great gate
of Kildrummy Castle ; and then Alexander Stewart came
out of the castle, advancing to where the Countess stood,
and in the presence of the assemblage delivered over to
her the castle with its charters, the silver vessels and
other jewels, and everything therein, placing the keys in
her hands, to dispose of the castle as no longer under any
constraint. This having been done, the Countess, holding
the keys in her hands, then made choice of Alexander
Stewart as her husband before all the people, and gave
him in free marriage the castle and the Earldoms of Mar
and Garioch, and all the lands that she 'possessed. Im-
mediately after this ceremony the charter of the 12th of
August was renounced by Stewart in favour of the
Countess, to be reconveyed by her to him, which was
done by a similar charter of the 9th December ; and this
was confirmed by a charter of Robert III. on the 21st of
January, 1405, under the Great Seal. Thus x'\lexander
Stewart, natural son of the Earl of Buchan (the " Wolf of
Badenoch") became Earl of Mar.
The Countess Isabel, the unhappy victim of many
intrigues, and such violence as indicated above, died about
three years after her marriage, and left no issue by
Alexander Stewart ; but he continued to hold the
Earldom, and endeavoured to secure the succession to his
natural son, Thomas Stewart.
On the return of James I., Alexander Stewart resigned
the Earldom of Mar into the King's hands, and received
it back by charter on the 26th of May, 1426, to himself
216 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
for life — and to his natural son, Thomas, in fee, with
destination to the heir male of Thomas, and with a final
reminder to the Crown. Thus the Erskines, the real
heirs to the Earldom were ignored ; but Thomas Stewart
died childless in his father's lifetime, and on the death of
Earl Alexander himself, in 1435, James I. annexed the
Earldom of Mar to the Crown, still ignoring the claim of
After the death of James I., however, Sir Robert
Erskine took steps in 1438 in the usual form, to secure his
right of succession to the Earldom of Mar as the lawful a
heir — a descendant from Ellen, the eldest daughter of
Donald, Earl of Mar, and Regent of Scotland, who fell at
the Battle of Dupplin in 1332, as before mentioned. In
1438, Sir Robert obtained two special retours of service,
on which he was inducted into the chief messuage of the
Earldom — the Castle of Kildrummy. He assumed the
title of Earl of Mar and Lord Erskine, under which he
granted various charters to vassals of the Earldom, among
others, a charter dated loth May, 1440, granting the lands
of Davachdore to Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum. Erskine
was at once recognised as Earl of Mar in Aberdeen, as
appears from an entry in the records of the city, dated
28th December, 1439.
But the Crown soon began a struggle with the Earl,
which terminated in depriving him and the Erskine
family of the Earldom of Mar for a long period. During
the minority of James II., various arrangements were
entered into between Lord Erskine and the Government,
the drift of which was to delay the settlement of his claim
to the Earldom until the King attained his majority. In
1452, James II. granted the Earldom of Gariochto Mary,
EARLS OF MAR. 217
his Queen, by charter for life. Robert Erskine, Earl of
Mar and Garioch, died about the beginning of 1453, but
his son, Thomas, Lord Erskine insisted on his claim to
the Earldom of Mar. A court was held at Aberdeen on
the 15th of May, 1457, at which the King was present as
prosecutor in his own cause, with the Lord Chancellor as
his advocate ; and there and then Thomas, Lord Erskine's
demand for a retour of service to his father in the
Earldom of Mar, in virtue of the retours of 1438, and the
infeftment thereupon was rejected; and the retours of 1438
were set aside on the ground that, on the death of
Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, in 1435, the Earldom
then reverted to James L, and was the property of his
successor, James II., in consequence of the illegitimacy of
Earl Alexander and his son, Thomas Stewart.
In 1459, James II. granted the Earldom of Mar to his
own youngest son, John, then an infant. He became a
manly and promising prince ; but being obnoxious to
the favourites of James III., he was arrested and im-
prisoned in the Castle of Craigmillar, and it is said, bled
to death. Earl John having died unmarried, the Earldom
lapsed to the Crown. In 1482, James III. granted the
Earldom of Mar to his brother, Alexander, Duke of
Albany. In 1485 he was killed by the splinter of a lance
while looking on at a tournament in Paris. James III.
then granted the Earldom of Mar to his third son, John,
a mere boy, and he died at the age of seventeen. The
Earldom again reverted to the Crown, and continued in
its possession for upwards of sixty years ; during this
period there were no Earls of Mar.
But large portions of the lands of the Earldom were
from time to time granted to favourite vassals of the
218 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
Crown. John Elphinstone of Elphinstone received grants
by charter from James IV., in 1507, 1509, and 15 10, of
the lands of Invernochty, and other lands in Strathdon
and Cromar, the lands of Kildrummy, and also the custody
of the castle — the chief seat of the Earldom. In 15 10,
Alexander Elphinstone, who had succeeded his father,
was created a Lord of Parliament under the title of Lord
James IV. and his successor James V. retained the
remainder of the territory of the Earldom of Mar in their
own hands. Thus the matter continued until the return
of Queen Mary from France, in 1561.
EARLS OF MAR— RISING OF 1715.
In the year 1562, Queen Mary granted what remained
of the lands of the Earldom of Mar in the hands of the
Crown to her half-brother, James Stewart, Prior of
St. Andrews, afterwards the Regent Moray. Shortly
after, the Queen, however, became aware of the claim of
the Erskine family to this Earldom ; accordingly, she
resolved to restore it to the legitimate heirs. In 1565,
Queen Mary granted by charter the Earldom of Mar and
the Lordship of the Garioch to John, Lord Erskine, upon
the ground that he was the legitimate heir to this Earl-
dom and Lordship as possessed from ancient times by the
Countess Isabel. Among the lands specified as in the
Earldom of Mar are Strathdee, Braemar, Cromar, and
Strathdon, being portions of the Earldom then in the
hands of the Crown. But seeing that the Barony and
Castle of Kildrummy, the chief seat of the Earldom, had
been alienated by the Crown (as indicated in the pre-
ceding chapter), the Manor of Migvie was declared to
be a proper place for the infeftment in the entire Earl-
dom of Mar ; while the Castle of Dunnideer was to serve
the same purpose for the Lordship of Garioch. The
Earl at once received possession of the lands still in the
hands of the Crown, but it was long ere the other lands
were recovered, and considerable portions of them were
John, Earl of Mar, was appointed guardian of the
220 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
infant King James VI. ; and, on the death of the Regent
Lennox in 1571, Mar was elected Regent of Scotland.
He died on the 29th of October, 1572, and was succeeded
by his son, John, second Earl of Mar.
This Earl was a man of much energy and ability.
He made great and prolonged efforts to recover the
territorial possessions of the Earldom. In 1587, an
Act of Parliament was passed in favour of John, Earl of
Mar, protecting his right of regress on legal warrant
against prescription, on the statement of the rights
recognised in the charter of restoration of 1565. This
Act was opposed in Parliament ; the Earl of Huntly,
Lord Elphinstone, and others interested, protested
against it. John Wishart, laird of Pittarrow (in the
Parish of Fordoun, Kincardineshire), protested that " he
was heritable feuar and immediate tenant to our
sovereign lord of the lands of Strathdee and Braemar."
It appears that Wishart's claim originated in a disposi-
tion granted by James Stewart, the Regent Moray, while
he was Earl of Mar. Although the Earl of Mar had
obtained an Act of Parliament to enable him to recover
the chief seat, and other alienated lands of the Earldom,
yet this was an extremely difficult process, and many
years elapsed ere he made much progress.
I^ I593> he commenced proceedings before the Court
of Session against William Forbes of Corse, the represen-
tative of his great-grandfather, Patrick Forbes, a younger
son of the second Lord Forbes, to whom the lands of Corse
Muretown, and other lands, which had been granted in
feu farm to be held of the King, by James III., in 1482.
This case was ultimately decided in Mar's favour in
1 62 1. The Earl then renewed his efforts to obtain the
EARLS OF MAR. 221
lands and Castle of Kildrummy. The trial of the case
was very long and difficult ; and the final decision was
delivered in 1626, by which the lands and Castle of
Kildrummy were declared to belong to John, Earl of Mar,
by heritable right from Sir Robert Erskine — legitimate
heir of Isabel, Countess of Mar and Garioch. After this
decision, Alexander, Lord Elphinstone, and the Master of
Elphinstone, agreed to an arrangement whereby John,
Earl of Mar, undertook to pay to them forty-eight
thousand merks, on receipt of which the Elphinstones
should ratify the decree of reduction, and renounce all
right to the lands and castle in question.
There were, however, many other estates and rights of
superiority, though less important than Kildrummy, which
had been alienated from the Earldom of Mar and
Lordship of the Garioch by preceding Kings of Scotland,
and also by Crown vassals ; and the Earl pushed on pro-
ceedings for the recovery of these possessions and rights.
But he died in the end of December, 1634. He held the
office of Treasurer in the Government of Scotland from
161 5 to 1630. He was succeeded by his son, John, third
Earl of Mar, and the processes which were pending, were
determined in favour of the Earl on the 26th of March,
1635, three months after the death of his father.
These processes involved a prosecution against
upwards of one hundred and fifty proprietors in possession
of lands or superiorities within the Earldom of Mar and
Lordship of Garioch ; and among whom may be
mentioned the Earls of Crawford, Kinghorn, and Earl
Marischal, Lord Forbes, Lord Deskford, and Lord
Wemyss, Irvine of Drum, Burnett of Leys, Leslie of
Balquhain, many Gordons, Forbeses, Leiths, and others.
222 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
All these were to be reduced, so far as the lands specified
were parts and dependencies of the Earldom of Mar, and
decision given in favour of the Earl of Mar. No wonder
that there was a great stirring up of rights and claims,
much searching in the massive iron chests, with their com-
plicated locks and secret drawers, which were the
repositories of the charters in the old Scottish castles and
towers. Some of those involved in the process had
possessed their lands for centuries, and many for several
generations. A considerable number succeeded in
proving their right to the property in question, or to the
superiority and property both ; but in the majority of
cases the superiority was found to belong to the Earl of
Mar. In a few cases the Earl withdrew his claim.
Earl John died in 1654, and was succeeded by his
son, John, fourth Earl of Mar. In the Covenanting
struggle and the Civil War of the seventeenth century,
the Earls of Mar adhered to the Royal cause ; and in
consequence of this, the family suffered serious loss, as the
debts contracted in the cause of Charles I. and Charles II.
necessitated the sale of many of their estates. Earl John
died in 1668, and was succeeded by his son, Charles, fifth
Earl of Mar. He died in 1689, and was succeeded by
his son, John, sixth Earl of Mar.
This Earl was a scheming politician. He was
appointed Secretary of State for Scotland in 1706.
Although he had often avowed Jacobite views, yet he
assisted the Government to carry the Treaty of Union
through the Scottish Parliament. Lockhart of Carn-
wath, one of the ablest Jacobites of the time, said —
" Mar gained the favour of all the Tories, and was by
many of them esteemed an honest man, and well inclined
EARLS OF MAR. 223
to the Royal family. Certain it is he vowed and pro-
tested so much many a time ; but no sooner was the
Marquis of Tweeddale and his party dispossessed than he
returned, as the dog to his vomit, and promoted all the
Court of England's measures with the greatest zeal
imaginable His great talent lay in the cun-
ning management of his designs and projects in which it
was hard to find him out." Mar embraced the earliest
opportunity of offering his service to George I. ; but on
the 24th of September, 17 14, he was dismissed from his
office of Secretary of State for Scotland, and succeeded
by the Duke of Montrose. Yet Mar remained for some
time about the Court ; no special favour, however, was
granted to him by the new King, and at last Mar resolved
to be revenged.
He left London in the beginning of August, 171 5,
landed in Fifeshire, and proceeded to Braemar, issuing
intimations as he advanced northward to the Highland
chiefs and his friends to join him at a great hunting party
in the Forest of Mar. He reached Invercauld on the 19th
of August, and immediately commenced preparations for
the gathering, which met on the 26th of August at
Braemar. The party assembled round the Earl of Mar
included the Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the
Duke of Athole ; the Marquis of Huntly, eldest son of the
Duke of Gordon ; the Earls of Seaford, Southesk, Errol,
Marischal, Linlithgow, Carnwath, Traquair, and Nithsdale;
the Lords Duffus, Rollo, Drummond, Stormont, Strath-
allan, Ogilvie, and Nairn ; the Viscounts Kinmure,
Kilsyth, and Kingston ; Gordon of Glenbucket, the lairds
of Auldbar and Auchterhouse ; and other twenty men of
note and influence in the Highlands. The number of
224 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
men then assembled at Braemar was about eight hundred.
On the 3rd of September a meeting was held at
Aboyne Castle, to deliberate on the projected Rising. At
this meeting there were present — the Marquis of Tulli-
bardine, Earl Marischal, the Earl of Southesk, and Lord
Huntly ; Glengarry from the clans, Glenderule from the
Earl of Breadalbane, and gentlemen of Argyleshire ;
Lieutenant-General Hamilton, Major Gordon, and a few
The final resolution having been taken, the die was
cast. On the 6th of September, 171 5, the Standard was
raised on the spot where the Invercauld Arms Hotel now
stands in Castletown of Braemar. From this originated
the spirited Jacobite song, adapted to the reel tune called
the *' Braes o' Mar." The ballad itself may be quoted : —
The standard on the Braes of Mar
Is up and streaming rarely ;
The gathering pipe on Lochnagar
Is sounding lang an' sairly.
The Highland men,
Frae hill and glen, j
In martial hue, 1
Wi' bonnets blue,
Wi' belted plaids,
An' burnished blades,
Are coming late and early.
Wha wadna join our noble chief,
The Drummond and Glengary,
Macgregor, Murray, RoUo, Keith,
Panmure, and gallant Harry ?
The Lowlan' men
Of Cal lender and Airly.
RISING OF 1715. 225
Fy ! Donald up an' let's awa',
We canna longer parley,
WTien Jamie's back is at the wa',
The lad we lo'e sae dearly.
We'll go, we'll go,
An' seek the foe,
An' fling the plaid.
An' swing the blade,
An' forward dash,
An' hack and slash,
An' fleg the German carlie !
A large number of the Braemar men, and men from
other parts of the Valley, joined the Rising. Mar
assumed the place of commander-in-chief ; and his fol-
lowers, and those of the chiefs, immediately commenced
to move southward by Spittal of Glenshee. The army
marched through Moulin and Logierait to Dunkeld,
receiving large reinforcements as it proceeded ; and at
Dunkeld the army numbered five thousand men. While
the mustering and marching of the men proceeded, the
accession of James VIII., was proclaimed at Aberdeen,
the northern towns, and other places. On the i6th of
September, a detachment took possession of Perth ; and
to this centre the whole army marched, and Mar made it
his headquarters. By the month of November, the force
under Mar exceeded fifteen thousand men.
It would be out of character in this work to enter into
the details of the Rising. But it may be stated that Mar
himself was a very poor commander, and manifested no
military genius whatever. He remained inactive at
Perth, with the greater part of his army ; and the only
battle which he attempted was the indecisive action of
James VIII., the Pretender, landed at Peterhead on
the 22nd of December, and reached Perth on the 6th of
226 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
January, 1716. But his presence inspired no new hopes ;
as this representative of the ancient Stuart line had not
the mein of a personage likely to lead his followers to
victory and glory. He took up his state in the Palace of
Scone, the historic spot associated with the coronation
of the Scottish Kings. Preparations were made to have
him crowned on the 23rd of January ; but ere that day
came, the Stuart King was seriously thinking of retiring
from the advance of his enemies.
Argyle was lying at Stirling Castle with the Royal
army. On the 23rd of January he commenced his
march upon Perth, but his progress was very slow, owing
to the depth of snow upon the ground.
On the 30th of January, at midnight, the insurgents
commenced to retreat; they crossed the Tay on the ice,
and marched to Dundee, thence to Montrose. On the
3rd of February, the Pretender, along with the Earl of
Mar, went aboard a small French vessel and sailed for
France. This incident caused many of the men in the
army to disperse to their homes. General Gordon was
left in command, and marched the fast diminishing army
northward, when on reaching Aberdeen, on the 7th, the
remainder of the army dispersed ; but a considerable
number of those who joined the Rising, never returned to
their homes, being either slain or taken prisoners. Many
of the prisoners were executed, and others exported to
the plantations in the West Indies. The estates of up-
wards of forty families were forfeited in Scotland.
After the suppression of the Rising, the Government
sent a body of troops into Braemar, which they wasted
and burned. For a time troops were stationed at
Dubrach, Mar Castle, and Abergeldie.
RISING OF 1715. 227
The Earl of Mar's estates were, of course, forfeited,
but some years afterwards they were repurchased for the
benefit of the family ; and the lands belonging to the
Earldom in the Valley of the Dee were acquired by the
parties indicated in the preceding chapters, and, after the
year 1739, the Erskine family, and the subsequent Earls
of Mar possessed no lands in the Valley of the Dee.
The forfeited Earl left an only son, Thomas, usually
styled Lord Erskine ; and a daughter, styled Lady
Frances Erskine. Lord Erskine died in 1766, leaving no
issue. Lady Frances then became heir of the Earls of
Mar ; and she married her cousin-german, James Erskine,
a son of Lord Grange — the forfeited Earl's younger
brother. Lady Frances and her husband left a son, John
Francis Erskine, and to him the title of Earl of Mar was
restored in 1824.
DISARMING OF THE PEOPLE— RISING OF 1745—
After the suppression of Mar's Rising, for some time
the inhabitants of Braemar were subjected to much
suffering, until the general Indemnity was proclaimed in
17 17. Soon after, the Government passed measures to
secure the peace of the country. An Act was passed for
disarming the Highlanders, embracing the counties on the
north of the Forth and the Highland districts of the west. i
The Act imposed severe penalties, rising on the repetition
of the offence to transportation, against those convicted of
appearing in arms. This Act, however, failed to attain
its object, as it provided no means for a regular disarma-
ment of the inhabitants. General Wade reported to the
Government that the Act was quite inoperative ; as it
gave compensation to those who voluntarily gave up their
arms, he said that the public money was freely given
away for old useless arms, while the effective weapons
were kept out of sight.
In 1725, another disarming Act was passed. It
ordered that each clan should be summoned to appear at
a specified place and deliver up their arms. The carrying
out of this Act was entrusted to General Wade. The
clans all over the Highlands gave up very large numbers
of arms, and the General naturally imagined that he had
performed his task effectively. He even assured the
King that the Highlander had now become a simple
RISING OF 1745. 229
peasant with his staff in his hand. The General further
explictly assured the King that if the system of roads and
fortresses planned by him were carried out, any future
Rising of the Highlanders against His Highness would be
quite impossible ; but subsequent events proved that the
General's sanguine anticipations were utterly futile.
Indeed, it is a painful truth that neither the Govern-
ment of the time nor its General had the intelligence or
sagacity to see the real root of the danger of another
Rising in Scotland. The core of the matter lay in this —
that so long as the nobles of Scotland and the Highland
chiefs possessed their feudal jurisdiction over their vassals
and tenants there could be no security against another
Rising ; and the Government utterly failed to see this
until after the second Rising. A feudal Earl was the
military head of the Earldom, and his vassals and tenants
were, according to the law of Scotland at that time, bound
to obey and follow his commands without question. The
law was different in Royal burghs, as every citizen was a
subject of the Crown; whereas in an Earldom, a Lordship,
or a Barony, every man was a subject of the Earl, the
Lord, or the Baronet. A Lord of a regality in any
quarter of Scotland had quite as much despotic power
over his vassals as any Highland chief. So long as these
conditions continued a Jacobite rebellion might arise at
When Prince Charles arrived at the Western Isles in
July, 1745, his prospects of success were not very bright ;
as the Highland chiefs whom Charles first met and con-
sulted were opposed to his enterprise ; but the young
Prince was full of hope and faith in his destiny, and by
his persistent efforts overcame the scruples of the chiefs.
230 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
It was resolved to muster the clans at Glenfinnan on the
19th of August. Glenfinnan is a comparatively narrow
vale, bounded on both sides by lofty and craggy
mountains, and nearly twenty miles north from Fort-
William. On the appointed day Charles arrived in the
glen at eleven in the forenoon, and found only a few in-
habitants of a hamlet to say — " God save him." At last,
about four o'clock, the shrill sound of the pibroch was
heard over the summit of an opposite hill, and imme-
diately the Prince was cheered by the sight of a strong
body of Highlanders marching down the slope. It was
the Camerons under Lochiel, numbering eight hundred
men, marching in two columns of three men abreast.
On a small eminence in the centre of the glen, the
Standard was raised by the aged Marquis of Tullibardine.
It was a large banner of fine red silk, and its appearance
was hailed by the stirring strains of the bagpipes, waving
of bonnets, and loud shouts which re-echoed from the
surrounding hills. Then Tullibardine read aloud a
manifesto in the name of James VI 1 1., which presented a
summary of the public grievances of Britain, expressing
an earnest intention to do the utmost to redress them,
and, for this great aim, calling on all his loyal subjects to
join his Standard, and promising, in the event of his
restoration, to respect all existing institutions and rights.
The King had appointed his son, Charles, to be Prince
Regent, and in this position the Prince's manifesto an-
nounced that he was come to execute the will of his father
by raising the Royal Standard, and asserting his unim-
peachable right to the throne of his ancestors, and offering
pardon for all treasons to those who should now join him,
and assist him to recover his just rights and their own
RISING OF 1745. 231
liberties. An hour or two after these documents were
read, Macdonald of Keppoch arrived with three hundred
men, and in the evening some more men joined the
Prince. The force mustered in Glenfinnan numbered one
thousand and two hundred fighting men. Charles stayed
two days in Glenfinnan.
Tidings of the arrival of Prince Charles in Scotland
reached Braemar in the end of July. The people of this
district were warm Jacobites. Indeed, it has been said
that, excepting Lord Braco and Invercauld, "the whole of
the district was Jacobite — rich and poor, young and old,
men and women ; and be opinions what they may, all
must allow that the heroes of the '45 were a noble, disin-
terested, brave, and gallant band."
On leaving Glenfinnan, the Prince and his army
moved to the head of Loch Eli — the country of Lochiel,
the chief of the Camerons. He was daily receiving in-
telligence of the march of the Royal army northward,
under the command of General Sir John Cope, whose aim
was to crush the Rising in the bud ; but he was too late.
When he was marching through the Highlands to Inver-
ness, the Prince resolved to invade the Lowlands, which
were left entirely defenceless. The Prince and his army
marched through Badenoch to Blair Castle, where he re-
viewed his troops. Thence he proceeded down the plain
of Athole, and reached Dunkeld on the 3rd of September,
increasing his force as he advanced. On the following
day he entered Perth and took possession of it. Charles
stayed eight days in Perth, and there his army received
considerable reinforcements. He became exceedingly
popular, and an object of intense interest. On the nth of
September he commenced his march upon Edinburgh,
232 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
crossed the Forth at the Ford of Frew, and reached
Falkirk on the 14th ; continuing his advance southward,
he took possession of Edinburgh on the morning of the
17th, without any loss of human life on either side. After
entering the capital, as he rode toward the Palace of
Holyrood, he was loudly cheered by the crowd of people
on the street.
About one o'clock the reign of James VIII. was pro-
claimed at the Cross of Edinburgh. A great multitude
of people witnessed this scene, and hearty cheers were
raised. The same day General Cope, who had returned
from the futile march to "Inverness, was landing his troops
at Dunbar. Cope's aim now was to recapture Edinburgh
from the insurgents, but again he was too late, as the
Prince at the head of his army marched from Edinburgh
to meet him, and on the morning of the 21st of September
attacked the Royal army at Preston, and completely
defeated it. After the utter rout of his army, Cope fled
to Berwick, everywhere bringing the first tidings of his
After the battle, the Prince and his army re-entered
Edinburgh in triumph. For some time he held Court at
Holyrood. Yet his real difficulties were only beginning.
The possession of Edinburgh was of little avail, as he was
unable to take the Castle, while comparatively few of the
Lowland people joined his Standard.
Returning to the more pertinent part of my subject, it
appears that James Farquharson of Balmoral was a
lieutenant-colonel in Prince Charles' army. He was with
the army in the march through England to Derby. He
was engaged at the Battle of Falkirk, where he was
wounded ; and he was one of those excluded from the
indemnity of 1747.
RISING OF 1745. 233
Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie was a colonel in the
Prince's army. He was very active in raising men in
Cromar and Aboyne. He was engaged at the Battle of
Falkirk, and at the Battle of Culloden he led the
Farquharson clan. He was taken a prisoner, and confined
for some weeks at Inverness ; and thence he was con-
veyed to London in June, 1746. In September he was
brought to trial and convicted, and on the 15th of
November sentenced to death ; but on the evening before
the day fixed for his execution he was reprieved, and
shortly after pardoned. In 1775 he petitioned the
Commissioners on the forfeited estates, requesting liberty
to rent a portion of his former estate, on which to spend
his old age. After some time this was granted. As
stated in a preceding chapter, his estate was restored to
him in 1784, on payment of a sum of money. He was
locally known as " Baron Ban," and he died at Ballater on
the 22nd of June, 1790, at the advanced age of eighty-one
John Burnett of Campfield was a captain of artillery
in Prince Charles' army. He was taken prisoner at
Carlisle. David Lumsden, farmer of Auchlossan in
Lumphanan joined the Rising, and was a captain in the
army. He was dead before May, 1746.
Gilbert Menzies of Pitfodels joined the Rising, while five
of his sons also joined — James and William Menzies were
in the insurgent army during the whole of the Rebellion ;
John and David accompanied the army in the march to
Derby, and fought at the Battle of Culloden; and Gilbert
also fought at Culloden.
A considerable number of farmers, labourers, and
tradesmen in the Valley of the Dee and its glens joined
234 HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF THE DEE.
the Rising. After the Battle of Culloden, they were all
subjected to great suffering ; but this has been often told,
and I have no desire to dwell upon it.
During the century and a half which has elapsed since
the suppression of the last Rising in this Island, great
changes have taken place over the whole country. In the
Highlands the people have long ago become as loyal
subjects as in any quarter of the Queen's dominions. If
there is any region in Britain more loyal than another to
the Royal family, that region is Braemar and the Valley
of the Dee.
Since the middle of the last century, as shown in the
preceding chapters, great progress has been made in the
Valley of the Dee. Important improvements have been
effected in the cultivation of the soil, and in the breeding
of cattle and live stock of every kind. Many new villages
have arisen, and others which were mere hamlets in the
last century have been developed into considerable
towns — centres of business and traffic. Large numbers
of excellent villas and cottages have been erected through-
out the Valley ; while roads and bridges and other means
of communication have been greatly improved and ex-
tended. Finally, education and culture have been
rendered easily accessible to all the people.
Aberarder . . . .184
Aberdeen 3, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28,
32, 36, 39, 42, 43, 48, 49,
58, 62, 73, 89, 103, 149, 173
Harbour of . . 20
University of 47, 48, 72, 80
Aberdeen, Earl of . . 59, 173
Aberdeenshire 11, 31, 55, 71, 72,
75, 99, 151
Abergairn . . . .157
Abergeldie Castle, 161 ; Lands of
Aboyne, 120-21 ; Castle of, 121-22;
Viscount of, 25, 132-35 ;
Earl of . - 135-37
Adams, Dr. Francis, 91-92 ; Dr.
Andrew L. . . 92-93
Albany, Robert, Duke of, 70, 148
Alexander . . 217
Alexander I. . . .211
Alexander II. . . 21, 34, 50
Alexander III. . . 34, 61
Allt Connie Burn . . 202
Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge . 151
Altries House ... 60
Anderson, Rev. William, 31 ; Sir
Alexander, 107 ; John H.,
An Sgarsoch ... 3
Arbeadie .... 88
Argyle, Earl of, 25 ;
Athole, Earl of, 129 ; Duke of
21, 22, 34, 35
79, 87, 95
114, 117, 171, 172
. . . 48
Baddoch Burn ... 4
Baird, Henry R. . . • 66
Balfour . . . 101-3
Ballater, Pass of, 141-42 ; Burgh of,
142-44 ; Bridge of 144-4S
Ballaterach . . . .127
Ballochbuie Forest . 8, 174-75
Ballogie .... 102
Balmoral, Grounds of, 169-70 ;
Lands of, 170-72; Old
Castle, 172-73 ; Forest of,
174-75 ; New Castle, 175,
Balnacraig . . . 122-23
Banchory, 3, Lands of . 34-39 ;
House of, 38 ; Church of 40
Banchory-Ternan, 86 ; Bridge of 87 ;
Church of 87-88; Old Village,
88 ; New Village, _88 ;
Burgh of, .
Bannerman, Sir Alexander
Barbour, Robert W. .
Barclay, James W.
Ben Muich Dhui
Bisset, James H., 23
Borrowstone House .
Braemar, 3 ; Castle of
B — Continued.
Braickley . . . 148
Brebner, Alexander . . 108
Brooks, Sir William C. 124-26
Brown, General, 45 : John, 165, 181
Bruce, John . . . 167
Buchan, Earl of . 77, 148, 215
Builg Loch . . . 158
Buk, Andrew ... 47
Burnett of Leys, 79-83 ; Burnett of
Craigmyle, 80, 1 07 ; General
Burnett . . 86
Bynack Burn . . . 209
Byron . . . 127, 153
Cairn o' Mounth . . 97
Cairn Toul ... 2
Cairngorm ... i
Cairnton . . . 16, 106
Cairnwell ... 4
Callater Burn, 4 ; Loch . 197
Cambus o' May . 3, 138-39
Cameron of Lochiel 171,230-31
Campbell, George . . 90
Campfield House . . 106
Camphill ... 50
Canny Burn . . . 16
Canoes .... 17
Cant, Andrew . . . 81-83
Canup Hill . . . 175
Carlogie House . . 112
Carnegie .... 80
Cam an Fhidleir . . 3
Cam na Cuimhne . . 184
Castletown of Braemar . 193-97
Cattanach, James, M. . 145
Cattie Burn ... 99
Chalmers, William, Alexander 47;
Robert . . 114
Chambers, George . . 33
Charles E. Stuart, Prince 229-32
Charlestown . . . iao-21
Charter Chest . . . 191
Chest of Dee . . . 209
Clachanturn . . . 164
Clochnaben ... 87
Clunie Water, 4; Bridge of 193
C — Continued,
Cochran, Francis, 102
Comyn, Sir Alexander
Cope, Sir John .
Crab, Paul, 22 ; John
Craig na Spaine
Craig Nortie .
Creag an Fhithich
169, 174, 175
. . 183
. . 183
142 ; Lodge of
Culblean Hill, 120; Battle of, 128-130
Culloden . 140, 156, 189, 233-34
Cults, .... 30-33
Culter House, 50 ; Village of 52 ;
Paper Works . 53-54
Dalfad . . . . 155
Dalhibity House . . 45
Dalmore .... 155-200
Dalnabo . . . . 134
Davan, Loch of . . 128
David H. . . 62, 79, 128, 130
Davidson, Walter, Duncan, John,
Patrick, 106 i Alexander, 112
Dee, Sources of, 1-3 ; Course, 2-3
Dee Castle . . . 126-127
Deer Forests . 124, 174-75, 206
Deeside Railway, 30, 84, 89, 107,
D — Continued.
Dinnet, Bridge of, Church,
126 ; House .
Dinnie, Robert .
Douglas of Tilquhillie
Drum, Loch of, 68 ; Castle of 76
Drummond, Sir Malcolm 211
Drumoak Church . . 68
Dubrach . . . -3, 209
DuffofCulter . . . 51-2
Duguid of Auchenhove 115 17 ;
Peter, 44; Peter M'Combie, 55
Dunbar, Earl of, . . 129
Duncan, King . . . 117-18
Dunsinnane . . . 118
Durris, Lands of, 60-66 ; House of,
66 ; Kirkton, Church, Castle
Hill ... 67
Durward, Alan . . 34, 50, no
Dye, Water of . . . ,97
Errol, Earl of .
Erskine, Sir Thoma
Ess, Bridge of .
Ey Water, 4 ; Bridge
Fare Hill .... 86-89
Farquharson of Finzean . 101-102
of Monaltrie, William, 139 ;
Francis, 139-40, 233 ; of
Balmoral, Charles, 170;
James, 171-72, 232 ; of
F — Continued.
Invercauld, Findla Mor,
187 ; Robert, 187-88 ; John,
188-89; James, 189; James,
R., 189; Alexander H., 189-
190; oflnverey 201, 202
Feardar Burn . . . 184
Ferrar . . . . i^j
Feugh, Water of, 5, 94 ; Bridge, 94
Valley of, . . 97, loi
Fife, Earl of, 172, 195, 200, 203, 207
208 ; Duke of 158, 193, 200
Findrack House . . 108
Finzean House . . . joi
Fir Mounth . . . 124
Forbes, John, William . 36
John, no; Master of Forbes,
115 ; Forbes of Strathgir-
nock, 149 ; WMUiam, Patrick
Fraser of Durris, Sir Alexander, Sir
William, 62 ; Sir Alexander,
62-4 ; Lord Fraser, Sir
Alexander, Sir Peter, 64 ;
Lady Carey, 64 : Fraser of
Findrack, 108 ; James, 42-3 ;
John, ... 130
Gairn, Water of, 6; Bridge of, 154.
Garchary . ... 2
Garden, George, 36 ; Arthur,
Alexander, 36 ; Dr. Alex-
ander, 103 ; Rev. Alexander,
Garioch, Earldom of, 212, 213, 215
216; Lordship of 219,221
Geddes, Sir William
Gibb, George, S.
Girdleness, 3 ; Lighthouse
Glen Callater 197 ; Glen Cat, 99 ';
Glen Clunie, 4, 196 ; Glen
Dee 2, 209; Glen Derry, 205
Glen Dye, 81, 97 ; Glen Ey,
G — Continued.
4, 201-4 ; Glen Gairn, 6,
154-58 ; Glen Gelder, 175 ;
Glen Geldie, 3, 209 ; Glen
Geusachan, 210 ; Glen Lui,
204; Glen Lui Beg, 204, 206
Glen Muick, 4, 5, 147-153 5
Glen Quoich, 198-99 ; Glen
Tanner, 5, 8, 123-126;
Glenfinnan . . 230, 231
Glenlivet . . .25, 163
Glenmillan House . . 114
Glenmuick House . . 150
Glentanner House . . 125
Gordon, Duke of, 64, 65, 135, 137
223 : James, 37 ; John, 41 ;
Thomas, 42 ; John, 47, 48 ;
Hon. Wilham, 59, 60; Capt.
Charles, 60; Captain William
C., Alexander H., 60 ; John,
John L. , 107 ; Francis, 1 1 1 ;
Sir Alexander, 129 ; Adam,
131; Sir Adam, 132; Charles,
Henry, 135; Alexander, 143,
158; Henry, Alexander, 149,
of Abergeldie, 162-164 ; of
Cluny 100,101, Sir Robt. 172
Grant, John, . . 110-12
Hadden, James C. . . 93
Hamilton, Dr. Robert . 37
Harlaw, Battle of . . 70
Hay, James, T., 105 ; Beatrice, 162
Hawkhillock ... 13
Heathcot, 42 ; House of 43
Hill Forts . . . 15-17
Hogg, James, 2 ; George 43
Houff .... 116
Huntly, Earl of, 131-32, 162 ;
Marquis of, 25, 132-35, 137
Inchbaire . . . 109
Inchmarlo House . . 106
Innes, John, Cosmo, 65 ; William,
Alexander, Thomas, 108 ;
Innes of Balnacraig, 122-23
I — Continued.
Inschnabobart . . 151
In ver canny . . . 106
Invercauld, Bridge of, 184-85 ;
House of . 185-86
Inverey . . . . 201
Invery House ... 97
Invergelder . . . 175
Irvine of Drum, William, 69 ; Alex.
Robert, Sir Alexander, 70-74;
Alexander, F., Francis H. F.
74-76; of Cults, 32; of Murtle,
47 ; of Kingcausie, 58 ; of
Pitmurchie . . 116
70, 71, 215-16
. 116, 217
. 22, 217
71, 115, 218
24, 80, 220
James VIII., Pretender 225-26, 230
Keiller, J. M. . . 144
Keith, Sir William . . 130
Earl Marischal 58, 72-3, 223
Sir Edward . . 213
Kerloch ... 5, 87, 90
Kildrummy Castle 129, 218, 219, 221
Kincardine O'Neil, 109, Village of,
no ; Barony of, no ;
Church of, in ; Lodge of
. . 58
Knowles, John .
Learney House .
Leith of Freefield
Leslie, Patrick .
L — Continued.
Leys, Barony of, 79 ; Baronets of,
80-4 ; Court Book of, 84 ;
Loch of . . 84
Linn of Dee . . . 207-208
Lion's Face . . . 191
Littlejohn, Alexander, William,
Charles, James, Andrew 146
Livingstone, Alexander . 33-2
Lochnagar . 3, 138, 141, 152-53
Loirston Loch . . . - ^3
Lord of the Isles, Donald, Alexander
Lui Water . . • 5) 204
Lulach . . . . 119
Lumphanan, . . . 1 14- 119
Lumsden, Henry, 96 ; David 233
Macbeth .... 117-119
M'Combie, William . . 54-5
M'Gregor of Dalfad . . 155-56
M'Intosh, Lachlan . . 155
Macdonald of Rineaton, 156 ; of
Glengarry, 224 ; of Keppoch
Mackay, General . . 192
Mackenzie of Dalmore . 155-200
Mackintosh, Clan . 54-5, 186-87
Mackintosh, James, 8 ; William 58
Macleod, Norman . . 165
Malcolm in. . . .118-19
Malcolm IV. . . . 34-46
Mar, Earldom of, no, 170, 211
Early Earls of, 162, 21 1-2 18
Erskines, Earls of, 219-227 ;
Lodge . . 200
David ... 41
Maud, Old Castle . . 117
Meall Alvie . . . 183
Meldrum, William, John, 35 ; Sir
George . . . 35-6
Menteith, Sir John . . 213
Menzies, Gilbert, 28 ; John, 29
Captain David, 57 ; James,
William . . 233
Michie, John G. . . 126
Micras . . . . 164
M — Continued
Milne, Peter . . . 113
Mitchell, Adam ... 43
Moigne Walter, John . . 78
Monaltrie, House . 144-183-84
Montrose, Marquis of, 25-6, 64, 73-4,
Moray, William, 27-8 ; Sir Andrew,
Regent, . . 62, 129
Randolph, Earl of, 114
James Stuart, Earl of. Regent
Morison, Dr., 30 ; Hugh . 32
Mortlich Hill .
Morton, Regent .
Muick, Water of
Mullach Hill .
Murtle House, 46 ; Lands of
Neil, James, Alexander,
160, 193, 198
. 16, 120
7, 127, 138
■ 4, 5» 147
Newton of Tilliecairn,
Ogilvie, .... 42
Ogston, James, 29 ; Alexander, 42 ;
Walter, Thomas, Janet,
95-6 ; Dr. Alexander, 128
Overhall, . . . 188
Pannanich Wells, . . 140-41
Park House, Lands, Bridge of, 78-9
Pass of Ballater, . . 141-42
Paul, William. . . . 31
Peel Bog, . . . . 116
Peterculter, 3, 45 5 Church of,
88, 90, no, 143
Quoich Water, 5, 6 ; Falls of 198
Ramsay, R. M., 83; William, B. 97
of Preston, . . 129
Reid, William, Alexander, 27-8
Thomas, . . 104
Rineaton, . . • • 156
Robert I., . . 62, 69, 79, 130
Robert II., • • . 63, no
Robertson, Mary, 127 ; Peter 168
Rose, Andrew n4; Nicholas, Francis
Ross, James, John, William 145
William . . 168
Rowell, Joseph . . 39
Russell, Robert . . 105
Rutherford, George, D. . 45
Ruthrieston ... 23
St. Andrews, 21 ; Chapel . 192
St Lesmo's Chapel . . 125
St. Mary's Chapels 24, 56, 147
St. Mary's College . . 57
St. Mungo's Church . . 154-55
St. Nathalan's Churches, 139, 150
Schools, 80-81-88, 90, 103, 107, 159
Scolty Hill ... 86
Shannaburn Burn . . 43
Sheeoch Burn . . . 5 5 67
Skene, Dr. 37 ; Alexander 48
Skene, Loch of . . . 53
Smith, Bartholomew, Richard, Lewis,
53 ; Robert . . n4
S — Continued.
Strachan . . . . 3, 97.9
Smuggling . . . 124, 183
Stewart, John, 39, 40 ; David, 40 ;
Dr. Alexander, 43 ; Duncan
Strathgirnock . . . 158-59
Suburban Stations . . .30
Tanner, Water of . . . 5
The Queen, 106, 143, 151, 152, 162,
165-67, 169-70, 172-73, 175,
177, 181-82, 207
The Prince Consort, 152, 169, 170,
172, 178, 180, 181, 185, 195
Theives Bush . . . .97
Thomson, Alexander, 32 ; Alexan-
der, 37 ; Andrew, 37 ; Alex-
. . 38-9
. 46, 48
. . 56
Vat Burn .
• . I
27, 46, 106-7
Webster, John .
White Bridge .
. . 50
. 48, 50
Wilson, Charles .
Wishart, John .
Yeats, William ... 48
Young, James, 66 ; Sir Peter, 95 ;
William . . 96