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N A I B N: 



P E E F A C E. 

ALTHOUGH Nairnshire is one of the smaller counties of 
Scotland, it is in many respects a most interesting part of 
the country. Its Prehistoric Kemains have proved a rich 
field for the Antiquarian, whilst the charter-chests of 
Cawdor, Kilravock, and Brodie have furnished materials 
which have enriched the History of Scotland. It has been 
thought that a consecutive narrative of the events which 
have occurred within the County, with some account of 
the families and persons more prominently associated with 
its history, may not be uninteresting to the general reader, 
whilst it is believed that those who by birth or residence 
are connected with the County or its ancient Eoyal Burgh 
will welcome a work relating to scenes and places with 
which they are more or less familiar. 

The Author has availed himself of the materials stored 
up in the Family Papers of the district, and has reproduced 
from the Sheriff Court Books and Burgh Eecords such 
matters as appeared to be of interest. It was intended to 
have given some original documents in an Appendix, but 
the length to which the work has extended has precluded 
this being done, beyond a list of the Provosts of Nairn. 

To the custodiers of the Official Eecords and to the 
gentlemen who gave him access to their books and papers, 
the Author tenders his grateful thanks. 

NAIRN, July 1893. 




ABOUT four miles south of the town of Nairn, a round-shaped 
hill rises to the height of some 700 feet and occupies an area 
of several square miles. It is known as the Hill of the Ord, 
("Ord" in Gaelic meaning the "Bound Height.") At its 
northerly base there is a platform of granite, but the hill 
itself consists mainly of a mass of gneiss, the surface of which 
is very much broken, and the ground strewn with fragments 
of rocks and travelled boulders. Its aspect is softened to 
some extent by the thick firwood that crowns its heights, but 
it still presents conditions typical of a favourite haunt for 
wild animals, in its numerous rocky retreats and grassy 
ravines. Near the foot of one of its easterly slopes lies the 
small farm of Slagachorrie a Gaelic name meaning "Hollow 
of the Corrie," which very accurately describes its situation. 
Many relics of Prehistoric Times have been found there. 
Stone axes and manufactured flints have been picked up in 
considerable number. Some of the axes are finely shaped 
and beautifully polished, and the flints, in the form of arrow- 
heads, saws, and scrapers, exhibit a very high degree of finish. 


One flint found there (now in the Nairn Museum) has a 
finely serrated edge of thirty teeth in the space of one inch. 
It is sliced on the back to enable the worker to hold it 
firmly between the thumb and fore-finger. A hollow 
in the neighbourhood is known as the " Flint Pit," from 
the number of flint chips taken out of it. The ground in 
which it occurs is now planted, but it used to be a common 
for the adjacent properties. Until recently, remains of 
small cairns and circles formed of gneiss and conglom- 
erate blocks studded the fields, and one boulder on the 
slope retains the name of "The Cromlech." The evidence 
unmistakeably points to the spot having been a hunter's 
settlement at a time when men cut down the trees with stone 
Axes, tipped their arrows with sharpened flints, and dressed 
their articles of common use with flint tools. 

Slagachorrie is but an illustrative example of settlements 
Common to the district in early times. The settlers in the 
district who used stone implements were not confined to this 
particular spot, but roamed over hill and dale, settling 
on the rising ground, and leaving behind them traces of their 
presence in the shape of these celts and arrow-heads on 
almost every field and hillside. Unfortunately no collec- 
tion worthy of the name has been made of these relics 
of the Stone Period in the district, but the specimens 
preserved show a considerable variety in their colour and 
form. One arrow-head found at Broomhill, Cawdor, is 
of pure white cherty rock, whilst examples have been 
found of almost jet black flint. A vast number many 
thousands of chipped flints in various forms have been 
found at the Culbin Sands, a region on the seaboard a few 
miles beyond the eastern boundary of the County of Nairn* 
They have been mostly derived from a spot to which the 


name of " The Armoury" has in consequence been given, and 
the question has been raised whether the manufactory at that 
locality supplied the adjacent districts. The Culbin flints- 
have certain prevalent characteristics which render them 
recognisable as a class, but so far as the specimens found on 
the lands to the west of that region are concerned, they do- 
not appear to have been derived from that source. Each, 
tribe in each locality probably manufactured its own flint 
implements. A flint core found in the district bears the 
exact outline of an arrow-head on its surface, showing that 
the flint workers knew how to remove the flint flake from the 
nodule nearly in the shape required. These flint implements 
in their manufacture show a considerable amount of skill and 
taste on the part of the artificers, and in them we have 
probably the first and earliest examples of handicraft in 
Prehistoric Times. 

A remarkable feature of the district is the numerous- 
remains of Cairns and Stone Circles. Many of these interest- 
ing memorials have been cleared away by the cultivation of 
the land, but examples exist, or recently existed, at Moyness r 
Auldearn, Urchany, Ballinrait, Dalcross, Croy, Clava, Daviot r 
and the upper reaches of the river Nairn. In the Valley 
of the Nairn some thirty sites of circles are known, and the 
existence of many others are preserved in the place-names. 

The Moyness Stone Circle has been dismantled, but it was. 
unique in one respect. One of the boulders of which the 
circle was composed was said to have been a rocking stone or 
loggan, and according to traditionary belief was used as an 
ordeal stone for determining the innocence or guilt of a person 
accused of crime. If the stone rocked when the person was 
placed upon it, guilt was established ; if it remained unmoved,, 
innocence was declared. Considerable sanctity, as may be 


supposed, attached to this tell-tale stone, with its mysterious 
movements, but the school children of later times, with \ 
irreverent familiarity, were wont to play upon it. A mason 
one night took his hammer and struck at the supports 
underneath, and the stone lost its poise in consequence. It 
was subsequently broken up. The centre cairn on being; 
opened about the year 1860 was found to contain an urn and 
ashes, .but the pick that disclosed the urn unfortunately 
smashed it. Mr Stables, at the request of the Secretary of 
the Antiquarian Society of Scotland, examined the " rocking 
stone" in the year 1856, after the circle had been partially 
dismantled, and he reported that " the supposed rocking stone 
consisted of one of the upright pillars which had fallen over 
some smaller ones, leaving an end unsupported, and by 
jumping on this end a heavy man could just move it." This 
prosaic explanation does not, however, accord with the 
traditions of the countryside. 

The Moynesa Standing Stone is the only one in the district 
with which a-ny popular beliefs were associated. They stand 
apart alike from the traditions and history of the country 
a proof probably of their great antiquity. The solitary pillar 
of the circle at Ballinrait is said to have served the purpose of 
a sun dial, just as a tree or post in the same neighbourhood 
was the clock of the clachan. The other stones of the circle 
were broken up some sixty years ago. It is related that one 
old man used every morning to walk round the circle three 
times before beginning work, from the belief that his so doing 
would bring him good luck. A mound without, however, 
any cairn or circle in the neighbourhood of Clunas, Cawdor, 
is called " Dundeasil," preserving the record of the same old 
custom of going round with the sun. But these are the 
only instances of these circles having been in any way con- 


nected with the ordinary life of the community within the 
historical period. 

The highest development of these structures is attained in 
the group of- chambered Cairns and Stone Circles at Clava on 
the South bank of the river Nairn, nearly opposite Culloden 
Moor. The river flows softly and sweetly in the valley 
between its favourite fringe of alders, and a hundred yards to 
the South, in a piece of uncultivated ground, are these remark- 
able memorials of remote times. They consist of three very 
large cairns, the hearts of which have been dug out, having 
been opened from the top ; also the remains of some smaller 
cairns; and a number of standing stones ranged in circles 
more or less complete the huge stones standing like gaunt 
sentinels round the iron-grey cairns. 

The western cairn has in its centre the remains of a stone- 
built chamber of circular form, 12 J feet in diameter the 
stones laid vertical for a few feet from the foundation, and 
then built on the concentric ring in courses inclining inwards ; 
that is to say, each course projects a little beyond the one 
below it, and thus, as the building is carried up, it assumes 
the form of a dome, which when complete would have given 
the chamber the height of an ordinary sized room, some 10 or 
12 feet. The top of the dome is now removed, having been 
taken down when the cairn was opened in the year 1828. 
The builders of the chamber, of course, never intended that 
access should be gained to the interior by the top, for they 
had provided a regularly-built entrance, from 2 to 3 feet wide 
and 4 to 5 feet high, from the south-west. This entrance or 
opening was concealed by the mass of stones which was 
heaped over the chamber, and was only disclosed when the 
top had been demolished. The late Miss Campbell, residing at 
the time at Kilravock, who was at the opening of it, states 


that they found two urns. One was smashed, but the other 
contained a quantity of burnt bones, and similar ashes were 
found about it, no doubt the contents of the broken urn. The 
urns were found exactly in the centre of the chamber, enclosed 
in a little bed of clay, whilst the remainder of the floor was 
strewn with gravel. The description of the vase is that of a 
rude cinerary urn, and there is no reason to doubt the accuracy 
of the details as noted by Miss Campbell at the time. The 
next point of interest is the concentric circle of standing 
stones which goes round the base 'of the cairn. The stones 
of it are placed close together, and are very much of the same 
character as the ring foundation of the chamber. The ring 
itself is 53 feet in diameter. The outer ring is also concentric. 
It is double the diameter of the intermediate ring, with two 
feet to spare. The exact measurement is 108 feet. The 
stones form a row of twelve pillars, or eleven and a vacant 
space. They stand apart from each other, nearly, but not 
quite, at regular intervals. The height of these pillars varies 
from 6 to 12 feet, the tallest being on the south side, and 
their size gradually diminishing towards the north. The 
main points in the structure and form of this western circle, 
are found almost exactly reproduced in the third or eastern 
circle. There is no authentic account of the opening of this 
third cairn. It took place somewhere about the year 1850, but 
it is said to have contained " a few bones " the mere mention 
of that circumstance affording a presumption that its contents 
were similar to those of the western circle. The middle 
circle differs in some points from the other two. The cham- 
ber is larger, being 22 feet in diameter, but its interior is in 
so much disorder from the falling-in of the stones that it is 
difficult to arrive at any certainty as to its structure whether 
it was built similarly to or differently from the others. Mr 


James Fraser, C.E., who took measurements, found that its 
separate rings were not true concentrics ; it appeared to him 
that the builders had slightly lost the true centre in the course 
of the construction. The most remarkable feature is three 
causeways of small stones, 7 feet in width, which lead from the 
pillars in the outer ring to the stones of the intermediate ring 
which goes round the base of the cairn. One of these points 
to E. 10 deg. S., another to S. 10 deg. E., and the third to 
W. 25 deg. N. 

From these details some conclusions r may be arrived at in 
regard to their purpose. 

In the first place, there is here evidence of the burning of 
the bodies proof of the practice of cremation. In the second 
place, there is clear evidence that the people who built these 
cairns were no rude barbarians. They had, it is apparent, 
some knowledge of the potter's art, as is shown in the manu- 
facture of the urn. They had acquired some little skill in 
masonry, and could design and execute a vaulted chamber and 
dome roof. The concentric circle is familiar to them. Further, 
they were capable of taking accurate measurements if not to 
mathematical exactitude, at least to remarkable precision. 
They knew something of the cardinal points of astronomy or 
of direction, as is shown by the similarity of the two built 
entrances and the position of the taller pillars in the outer 

Why was there the expenditure of all this skill, labour, and 
knowledge ? Unquestionably, it points to its being all done 
in honour of the ashes enclosed in the heart of the cairn to 
the remains enshrined in the urn like something very 
precious in a costly casket. Dr Joseph Anderson, from this 
point of view, aptly describes the rows of pillars as stone- 
settings to the cairns. The evidence considered in detail, and 


the design of the structure viewed as a whole, lead to the 
conclusion that we have embodied here the one great idea of 
reverence for, and exaltation of, the dead, passing, it may be, 
into its higher phase of ancestral worship. They are the 
tombs of " the mighty dead of a past age " the burial-places 
of their kings or chiefs. 

But whilst burial and a species of ancestral or hero-worship 
was the main purpose of these circles, that statement of their 
primary use does not exhaust their interest or significance. 
It has been noticed that they are circular in form. The circle 
or ring has, among ancient peoples, been regarded as a 
sacred symbol sometimes as an emblem of the Deity, a 
symbol of eternity, a sign of completeness and of unity, and a 
figure of the Sun, the great Ruler of Nature. It as truly and 
distinctively marks the pre-Christian period in any country 
as the Cross does the Christian era. 

Here we have the whole structure pervaded by the ring 
principle not one ring only, but a series of rings, and one of 
these not a mechanical ring but an ideal ring, and all of them 
as nearly as may be concentric circles, that is, having a com- 
mon centre. It is impossible to overlook this fact in the 
examination of these remains, and the inference may be drawn 
from it that the circular form was intended to embody and 
express some definite idea. The intermediate ring of stones 
might doubtless have served to keep the stones of the cairn 
together, just as a row of stones placed around an earth mound 
keeps the soil from being scattered. But it is quite clear the 
outer row of pillars, standing some distance apart, could 
answer no such purpose. 

The whole controversy, indeed, is practically narrowed to 
the question, "What mean these outer standing stones?" 
The description of them as the " stone-settings of the cairns" ! 


is appropriate enough in one sense, but it does not cover the 
whole ground. Are they to be regarded as purely ornamental,, 
like ordinary settings ? It has been suggested that they may 
have served the further purpose of marking the boundary of 
the burial ground. But if that object had been all that was 
in view, the end could have been accomplished by simpler 

There is one feature which none of these theories explain. 
In these three circles and in every similar circle in the district 
the tallest pillars are placed to the south, the row diminishing 
in height towards the north, where they are smallest. They 
are put there clearly of design, and at the expenditure of 
much labour and care. And they never could have been 
placed at the different sites in such a position without some 
observation and knowledge of the sun's course. It must have 
been necessary for the men who set up these huge stones to 
have watched and noted the sun's shadow most carefully ere 
they could have determined their position. These tall pillars 
do not always, it is true, point due south in all the circles 
scattered over the district. They often vary several degrees 
east or west from the true point. But the amount of variation 
is so trifling as compared to the extent of their accuracy, that, 
if for no other reason, it may be due to the comparative defect 
of their observations and not to a want of intention, which 
certainly appears to have been to have these tall stones 
pointing in a southerly direction. This being the case, another 
fact is gained that, in placing these large stones to the south, 
the builders did so with some reference to the sun's course. 

.The question arises Had the other stones of the ring a 
similar reference to the sun's course ? Unfortunately, several 
of these pillars in each of the three circles are awanting, and 
it is doubtful whether some of those remaining are standing 


in their original position ; while, as regards others, they are 
plainly out of position in the ring. Still, if it could be shown 
in any one instance that they were set up on such a principle 
as indicated, it may safely be concluded, from their similarity 
of feature, that the same idea dominated the whole group, 
either actively or conventionally. 

Now an examination of the outer circle of the middle 
cairn has brought out some remarkable results. Some six 
or seven out of the nine stones are apparently in their 
original positions, and the diagram prepared by Mr Fraser 
tested in this connection gives the following results 

1. The Southern Causeway. The stone at this point marks 
noon each day, subject of course to ordinary equation of time. 
The true line strikes on the inner edge of the causeway, 
cutting the exact centre of the cairn, and the arc between 
the stone A and the causeway exactly measures the sun's 

2. The point E (stone restored) is as near as may be to 
the first point of Aries the point at which the sun departs 
from the Equator towards the North, and which we call the 
Spring Equinox. 

3. The Eastern Causeway marks the sun's entrance into 
Libra on 21st September. 

4. A point midway between stones A and B would mark 
the south limit of the setting sun on December 21, the 
shortest day of the year, or winter solstice. There is no 
stone at this point, but, as the ring was evidently composed 
of ten or twelve stones, and only nine are shown, it may have 
been one of those removed. This is supported by the 
circumstance that stone D stands almost opposite the point 
where it would have been if so placed. 


5. The stone standing between G and F gives the bearing 
of the sun as it rises on 22nd September. 

6. The Western Causeway gives the bearing of the sun a& 
it sets on 21st April and 21st August. As these dates do not 
correspond to any change in the sun's course, it is probable 
they may stand for some division of the seasons. 

These are precisely the facts which could, by mere observa- 
tion of the sun's shadow alone, be observed and recorded, and 
it is almost beyond belief that these stones could have been 
set up in that order by mere accident, giving, as they do, 
noon time, the solstices, and the equinoxes. 

The several conclusions arrived at from an examination of 
the Clava circles are (1) that these cairns and circles were 
primarily intended for, and used as, sepulchres, and were 
raised in honour of men of rank ; (2) that, by their form, 
they were intended to express some religious idea, probably 
of homage to the sun ; (3) that the outer ring probably 
served the purpose of a sun-circle. 

The next question is, "Who built them?" They are 
evidently of great antiquity. There is no mark of hammer or 
chisel on the stones, and no particle of iron has been found 
connected with them. The bronze articles and the character 
of the pottery associated with similar structures over the 
country, and also the form of burial, have led Dr Anderson 
to the conclusion that they belong to the Bronze Age that 
is, before iron came into use and after stone implements ceased 
to be exclusively used. 

In the Kinsteary Parks, at Auldearn, are several gravel 
ridges or kames, in which from time to time cist graves have 
been found. So numerous are they that the old workmen 
about the place when requiring gravel for the walks are said 


to avoid taking it from certain of the ridges from their know- 
ledge that they would come upon and disturb these interments, 
of which they have a superstitious dread. These graves 
were formed of three slabs, and almost invariably an Urn was 
found at one end of the bed. In one cist opened in the year 
1888, a very finely ornamented urn or vase, (now in possession 
of Lady Gordon Cathcart at Cluny Castle) was discovered, and 
along with it a necklace of glass beads, or " bugles " as they 
are locally called from their tubular shape. The custom of 
burying grave goods, such as ornaments, weapons, and imple- 
ments, marks off all such graves as belonging to Prehistoric 
or Pagan Times. 

In one instance, an interment of this kind was found 
-associated with flint implements. About the year 1873, the 
tenant of Nairnside in the Parish of Croy in reclaiming some 
waste land proceeded to level down a small sand hillock. 
The workmen in doing so came upon a large collection of 
flints of various shapes and sizes, and in the heart of the 
hillock was found a cist grave with fragments of an urn and 
.some black ash. The Hints had been buried in the same 
knoll as the cist, but it is not quite certain whether any of 
them had been deposited in the grave. 

In another instance manufactured flints were, however, 
found in the cist. There are several small knolls, artificial 
looking in appearance, known as Shian or Fairy Hills, in the 
district. One of these is near the Ardclach road on the farm 
of Mid-Fleenas. In the year 1862 an excavation was made 
in it, and the fragments of an urn were found, also small bits 
of charred bones, and two small manufactured flints. 

Some of the finest examples of this ancient sepulchral 
pottery have been found at Cawdor. Two urns, one entire, 
.the other broken, found in a cist grave at Cawdor are in the 


local Museum. But a still finer specimen is preserved at 
Cawdor Castle. It is in perfect preservation and is beauti- 
fully ornamented. 

The discovery of several cist graves was made by Sir 
Henry Macandrew in the year 1878 at Auchindoune, 
near Cawdor, of which place he was at the time the 
tenant. The cist graves were situated on the eastern and 
lower slope of the hill known as the Doune or Dunevan. The 
existence of the graves was discovered in the course of 
ploughing. Some of the graves were within a few inches of 
the surface, and the stones, which were marked by the 
ploughshare, must often have been shaken and disturbed. 
Owing to this, three of the four^graves were filled with sand 
and gravel mixed with human bones, some pieces of pottery, 
and some black charred substance. There were no imple- 
ments or ornaments of any kind. The fourth grave was at a 
greater depth, and had never been disturbed. The covering 
was formed of two large flat stones, and inside was a skeleton 
almost entire, lying on the left side facing the south-west, 
with the knees bent up to the chest. Beside it was a pottery 
urn quite entire, but containing no ashes or remains of food. 
This vessel is about nine inches in height, five inches in 
diameter at the top, and three at the bottom. The outside is 
ornamented by markings made in the clay by a sharp instru- 
ment. The only other thing found in the grave was a white 
pebble of irregular shape, which seemed to have been placed 

Similarly all over the district specimens of this ancient 
pottery have been dug up. So far as has been ascertained, 
these remains do not differ in any essential respect from 
similar remains in other parts of the country. They merely 
illustrate the burial customs and practices common to the 


primitive race which inhabited these northern regions in 
Prehistoric Times. But two things may be noted in regard 
to them, namely, their extraordinary abundance, and the high 
degree of art m mifested in the ornamentation and form of 
some of the urns further proof that the district in these 
early times was thickly peopled, and that by tribes or 
communities skilled in the highest art of the time. 

The number of cup-marked stones in the district of Nairn 
is very remarkable. At the request of Sir James Simpson, 
Dr Grigor examined the Clava stone circles in the hope of 
discovering some examples of these cup-marks, and succeeded 
in finding several. Mr Jolly subsequently made an exhaust- 
ive search in every direction for cup-marked stones, and his 
diligence was rewarded by the discovery of an amazing 
number. Mr Eomilly Allen, in tabulating the number of 
known examples of cup-marked stones in Great Britain 
according to their localities, gives the pre-eminence to 
Nairnshire. He finds that the total number of stones 
bearing cup-marks in Nairnshire is 46 ; in Inverness-shire 
43 ; Perthshire 24 ; Forfar 23 ; Argyll 17 ; other counties 4 
or under the total for Scotland 204. In England there are 
102 known examples ; in Ireland 42 ; France 21 ; Switzer- 
land 32 ; Norway, Sweden, and Denmark 42. The number 
assignable to the Valley of the Nairn, is really larger 
than is represented by Mr Allen's figures, for he gives to 
Inverness-shire those examples occurring at Daviot, Gask, and 
Dunlichty, which places, although within the County of 
Inverness, are situated on the banks of the Nairn, forming 
upper Strathnairn. Deducting from Nairnshire those 
occurring in its " detached portions," such as Ferin- 
tosh, locally situated in 'Ross-shire, and adding those 
which occur along the banks of the upper reaches of the 


river Nairn, we arrive at a total of 60 for the Valley of 
the Nairn, or nearly one-third of the whole number in 

At Clava alone there are 22 cupped stones. In the 
western cairn, in the inner end of the passage on the left- 
hand side looking inwards, there is a stone with seven well 
marked cups. In the middle cairn one of the stones in the 
outer circle between the causeways is cup-marked ; two 
stones standing side by side in the base ring of the cairn 
contain in all 13 cups, most of them very well formed. 
Another stone in the ring has some 20 cups grouped in 
clusters. The standing stone at the outer end of the western 
causeway of the middle circle is unique in respect that it has 
an immense number of apparently artificial carvings on the 
inner side pointing to the cairn, consisting of small shallow 
cups, of size sufficient to let in the point of the finger. In 
the eastern circle, a number of cup-marks also occur. They 
are also to be found on stones of dismantled cairns in the 
immediate neighbourhood. A stone (formerly in the fire 
place of the old kitchen at Balnuran at Clava), now built 
into the garden wall in front of the new house, contains 
a number of well formed cups. Several stones dug up at 
Milton of Clava are cup-marked. One of these is the finest 
ot the group. It contains thirty cups, most of them good, 
and several distinct evidences of being dug out by some sharp 
pointed instrument. Others, being first picked out in this 
way, have afterwards been smoothed. Several of the cups are 
oval in shape, and some are connected with each other by 
grooves or curved channels. A stone discovered in a pig- 
stye at the same farm of Milton has the peculiarity of being 
cupped on both sides on one side there are 16 cups, on the 
other 11. It is a small stone, about 18 inches thick. Cup- 


marks are found on stones built into dykes, bridges, and 
cottages in the neighbourhood. 

Cup-marked stones are also found at Barevan Churchyard. 
" On the 10th of May, 1880," says Mr Jolly, " I visited 
Barevan to examine its ruins and the surrounding churchyard, 
in the hope of finding something interesting in its ancient 
gravestones as indicated at a previous visit a year or two 
before, but in no hope of discovering these cups there, these 
being then unknown in such a connection." In the interior 
of the church, the floor of which is covered with gravestones, 
close to the middle of the north wall, he noted one cup on a 
stone. Except the portion exposed, it was covered completely 
with moss and matted grass. A speedy exposure of the 
whole surface revealed a cup-marked slab, having twelve 
fully formed cups, and two or three imperfect ones on its 
lower edge an unexpected and surprising discovery. This 
led to the examination of other stones all over the church- 
yard, and the disinterment of about a dozen examples of 
cupped stones in various parts, all of them, with one exception, 
being buried from sight under moss and grass, so old that it 
was with difficulty broken open and the surface exposed. 
This, it seems, was the first discovery in Britain of such 
carvings in connection with churchyards. 

Since the discovery of cupped stones at Barivan, examples 
have been found in Breaklich Churchyard near Fort-George 
Station, Daviot Churchyard on the Nairn, and in other 
churchyards in Inverness-shire. It is noted that all the 
cup-marked stones in these churchyards are of the same 
yellowish sandstone, beds of which occur at Holme Rose and 
Kilravock on the river Nairn. 

Two remarkable cup-marked stones remain still to be 


When the old farm buildings at Little Urchany (West) 
fell, a stone which had been built into the wall was found to 
have 12 fully formed cups on it, and two or three imperfect 
ones. They are from 3J to 2 inches wide and from half-an- 
inch to an inch deep. They are very distinct and well 
formed. Like the Hill of the Ord, the western spurs of the 
Urchany Hill bear evidence of having been early settlements, 
flint implements, cists, remains of cairns and stone circles 
being found. The Urchany slab is now at the entrance court 
of Cawdor Castle. 

Another stone, unique in many respects, was found at 
Broomtown, near Moyness. It is a yellowish sandstone, very 
soft, like much of the sandstone of the district, 3 feet 5 
inches by 2 feet 3 or 4 inches broad. It contains, first, 
numerous cups, most of them distinct; secondly, curious 
grooves in various parts, some of them radiating from a 
centre ; third, a round oblong hollow basin 10 inches long by 
5J inches broad and 2 inches deep ; fourth, several cups on 
its sides. The surface of the stone is irregular, and full of 
various carvings. It was found in connection with a stone 
circle and cairn, which had been removed in reclaiming the 
land. The tenant at the time came upon several urns and other 
relics which he buried in a deep hole, the site of which 
cannot now be ascertained. The stone circle at Moyness 
formerly described, the large cairn on the neighbouring farm 
of Golford, and other remains of tumuli show that the district 
is rich in Prehistoric relics. The Broomtown cup-marked 
stone is now at Cawdor Castle. 

As to the use or origin of these singular cup-marks, nothing 
is really known, though there are numerous theories regarding 
them. It has been suggested (1) that they had to do with 
sun-worship, or astronomy ; (2) that they are records of time 


or occurrences, of births in the family or numbers in the 
tribe ; (3) that they are sacrificial cups ; (4) that they are 
relics of a degraded worship of the reproductive powers of 
nature. Their existence in Christian places of burial is no 
doubt as purely accidental as their presence in the walls of 
modern dwellings or dykes. They have simply been utilised. 
Probably the same may be true as regards their existence in 
the circle and cairn. Their occurrence on stones within the 
covered chamber shows that they are as old as the cairns. 
It is quite evident from the variety of positions in 
which they were placed that they served no definite 
function in any ritual connected with these remains. 
That they were made, many of them, with a sharp pointed 
instrument is apparent from the smallness of some of the 
"pits," whilst, on the other hand, the larger cups generally 
show effects of being rubbed and smoothed by a polishing 

They are sometimes associated with small concentric ring- 
marks, sometimes connected with small channels, and in one 
or two instances they appear to have been gouged rather than 
bored. They occur singly, they occur in pairs, they occur in 
threes, fours, fives, and all sorts of numbers, and in groups 
reaching as high as 82 on a single surface as at Bare van, and 
69 on the Broomtown stone. No definite conclusion as to their 
nature or significance can be drawn from the position, form, 
or number of these cups. The evidence will not safely carry 
the investigator further than the statement that they are in 
.all probability mystic symbols of a superstition of a very 
remote antiquity. 

The dwellings in Prehistoric Times, having been built of 
turf or wattles, have disappeared, but hut-circles can still be 


traced on numerous hillsides where the surface is undisturbed. 
But they do not call for any particular description. 

A Lake Dwelling or Crannoge was discovered in 1863, at 
the Loch of the Clans. This loch, which lies to the south of 
the great kame which stretches from Kildrummie, near Nairn, 
to Dalcross (nearly parallel to the Eailway line), has 
been greatly diminished by drainage operations, but at 
one time it must have been of considerable extent. Dr Grigor 
having understood from a small farmer in the neighbourhood 
of the loch, that, whilst ploughing a bit of new ground some 
time before, he had turned up a few flints, arrow-heads and 
flakes, and being anxious to possess some of them, he got the 
farmer to accompany him to the spot of ground. In the 
course of the walk, Dr Grigor came upon a cairn which 
differed from all those he had ever seen before, both in 
situation and appearance. It was raised on the edge of a 
small ploughed field within the margin of the loch. This 
cairn or its situation must have formed an islet in the loch. 
At different places around and through the mound he 
observed oak beams and sticks cropping out, much charred 
and decayed. On a closer inspection, he found that the 
greater portion of the wood inclined upwards towards the 
summit of the cairn, and on removing a considerable number 
of the stones from one side, he reached a few rafters with 
cross sticks, which appeared to have been originally parts of 
an upright roof. Underneath the stones and wood, and 
resting on the mud bottom of the ancient loch, he found in 
some places from six to twelve inches of charcoal and burned 
vegetable matter, along with small bits of bone, and this 
particularly at the south side, where the tenant farmer had 
some time before removed a part of the cairn, along with 


many loads of piles and half -burned wood, and, whilst doing 
so, several stone articles of antiquity had been found, none of 
which were now forthcoming, with the exception of the half 
of a stone cup, two whetstones, and an iron axe. The Rev. 
Dr. Gordon of Birnie and Sir John Lubbock afterwards 
visited the spot, and the latter gentleman picked up a 
.sharp-pointed piece of bone, such as are got sometimes in 
tumuli. Some forty years before, a canoe described as 
made out of the hollowed trunk of a tree had been dug up 
between the cairn and the sloping hill on the north. 

In the autumn of the same year, Dr Grigor, accompanied 
by Mr Cosmo Innes and Major Rose of Kilravock, made 
further explorations in the island dwelling, and a minute 
.account of the structure was furnished to the Society of 
Antiquaries of Scotland. Nothing of any interest was found 
in the work of clearance, but the remains were, in Dr Grigor's 
opinion, clearly that of a primitive Lake Dwelling. The 
mound had been artificially made in the loch, an irregular 
square of walls about three feet high had been constructed of 
oak trees, piled horizontally above each other, on one side 
mixed with small boulders. Rafters in three tiers and having 
different angles of inclination were carried up, and bound 
down by beams crossing and re-crossing in all directions, 
imparting greater strength, and the lower ones keeping out 
the water. The structure when intact would have had its 
upright roof covered with turf. 

About 150 feet in a south-easterly direction from the place 
above described and in marshy ground were found a great 
many pile heads covered with grass and vegetable matter- 
no doubt the foundations of another crannoge or lake dwelling. 
In the neighbourhood of Loch Flemington, and in the east 
end of the small pond called Loch-an-Dunty, about two miles 


in a westerly direction from that of Flemington, are also to 
be observed vestiges of piles. 

Rev. Thomas Fraser, then minister of Croy, a very able 
naturalist and antiquarian, refused, however, to accept the 
theory that this island dwelling was an ancient Crannoge, 
and contended that it was the prison-house of Kilravock. 
" Taking no account," he says, " of the cinders or ashes which 
might have been modern, though the building itself were 
ancient, what shall we say to the oak beams exposed to the 
air and yet sound and strong ? Is it not as likely from its 
easily-guarded position, that it may have been the prison- 
house of the Kilravock barony, in days when every baron had 
the power of imprisonment and death within the bounds of 
his domain, and in days before the old Tower of Kilravock 
and its dungeon were erected ? In the immediate neighbour- 
hood we have the place of execution Tom-na-Croiche where 
offenders within the Barony who were doomed to death 
suffered on the gallows. Nearer still we have Tom-Limquhart 
the " Hill of Fetters " where less heinous offenders and 
Highland reivers were kept in chains or fetters, and if we 
allow the conjecture that the Crannoge was the prison, or 
place of confinement, we have all the paraphernalia of 
primitive justice centered within one short mile of one 

A third theory is that the island was a Leper-house. 
There is no tradition to account for the name Loch of the 
Clans, and it has been suggested that it is a corruption of 
Loch-na-Cloimhean Loch of the Lepers. Another version 
gives it the name of Loch Clamant the Loch of the Kite. 

Mr Fraser's objection that the oak beams were ton sound 
and strong to have formed the framework of an ancient Lake 
Dwelling is an objection that would equally apply to all 


other Lake Dwellings admitted to be of very ancient 

On the whole, the evidence goes to prove that this was 
really an ancient Lake Dwelling, which, however, may have 
been, and probably was, used in more recent times for other 
purposes, such as a prison or even a leper-house. It may be 
noted that a small hillock in the immediate neighbourhood is 
known as " The Castle." 

The Kev. James Graves, who was familiar with the remains 
of Lake Dwellings in Ireland, considered from the description 
given of it that it was identical in character with those so 
common in the lake districts of Ireland, and Dr Munro, who 
made a special study of this class of remains in Scotland, also 
regarded it as a Lake Dwelling. 

Another class of interesting remains is the vitrified hill- 
forts of Dunevan, Dunearn, and Castle Finlay. The occur- 
rence of these singular structures in the Highlands was first 
called attention to in 1777 by John Williams, a mining 
engineer, sent North by the Government Commissioners to 
survey the Forfeited Estates in this district. Williams gave 
a particular description of the vitrified remains on Knockfarrel 
and Craig Phadrick ; and the vitrified forts which occur in the 
Nairn district, as far as the remains of them left would 
indicate, are of the same nature. 

Dunevan, or the Doune of Cawdor, is a hill 800 feet in 
height, standing out distinctly and separately from the range 
in which it occurs a general characteristic of the hills on 
which these remains are to be found. It is not wooded, nor 
does it ever appear to have been so. It commands a wide 
view of the surrounding country and of the Moray Firth. Its 
sides, which are very steep and when bare would have been 


difficult to climb, are for the most part covered with loose 
stones, over which the soil arising from decayed mosses and 
other vegetation has partially gathered. Near the top, how- 
ever, the soil is of a rich black loam, due evidently to the 
debris of the food thrown out by those who had occupied the 
fort, the soil being largely intermixed with bones of swine and 
other domestic animals. The contents of these deposits would 
indicate a late date in the Prehistoric Period for the occupation 
of these hill forts, and point to the conclusion that they were 
the regular strongholds of the people who had settled on the 
fertile plains below, and who retired to these fortifications 
when danger was impending. A few special features may be 
noted. A cutting or track can be traced along. the west 
.and south sides of the hill. The vitrification appears to have 
been confined to the wall assumed to have enclosed the space 
on the top of the hill, but nearly all traces of vitrification 
have now disappeared. Some openings were made in the 
level space on top in the hope of finding some structural 
remains, but the only discovery made was that of a roughly- 
constructed dry well, or cistern. It is on record that the 
Doune of Cawdor was frequently used for beacon fires 
for summoning the clans in feudal times, but it has all the 
characteristics of having been the site of an ancient vitrified 

Dunearn, the second vitrified fort enumerated, occupies an 
inland position, being about 12 miles distant from the sea- 
board. It stands on the south bank of the river Findhorn, 
within a mile of Dulsie Bridge, on the verge of an extensive 
moor. This table-land stretches away to the south to the foot 
of Cam Glass (2162 feet), and is bounded on the south-east 
by a range of hills of which the Hill of Aitnoch (1326 feet) 
is the most conspicuous, separating Dunearn from Dava. 


Besides the expansive view to the south, the Doune from its 
position dominates the valley of the river Findhorn (anciently 
the river Earn, from which the Doune receives its name). The 
Doune is now thickly wooded with birch, pine, and alders, and 
the level area on top which extends to about two acres, has in 
recent years been cultivated and cropped. In reclaiming the 
ground considerable quantities of loose rounded stones had to 
be removed, and amongst them were found masses of vitrified 
stones. These were all cleared off. Little or no vitri- 
fication is now to be seen, and the Doune wears a somewhat 
soft, sylvan aspect, as if it had been at one time the retreat of- 
a recluse who had bestowed some care and pains in 
improving and beautifying the grounds. That this impression 
may not be altogether unfounded is seen from the fact that on 
descending on the eastern side of the hill, we come upon a 
piece of cleared ground which bears the name of the Chapel- 
field. There is an outline in the green turf of the foundation of 
a building of rectangular form, but there are no remains of the 
chapel, nor is there any record or tradition regarding it. Its 
name and history have alike perished. 

As a vitrified fort Dunearn, like its neighbour Dunevan, 
appears to have been in ancient times a place of safety for the 
dwellers in the valley to resort to when danger threatened. 
It was admirably suited for the purpose. It is an isolated 
hill, has steep sides difficult to scale, and with a defensive 
wall around the top, the occupants would be perfectly secure 
from any assault. 

Castle Finlay differs in several material respects from the 
two previous hill-forts. Its position is less conspicuous, and 
its dimensions are of smaller extent. It lies at the foot of the 
Geddes Hill, near its westmost corner. It has the peculiarity 
of being defended by ditches on both sides. A streamlet carry- 


ing a portion of the drainage of the Geddes Hill descends upon' 
its upper end. At present the water flows past in a runlet' 
on the south side, but the least overflow would send it down 5 
the north channel. Both water courses are distinctly marked' 
by deep cuttings. The one separates Castle Finlay from the'; 
Geddes Hill, the other from the high ground to the west. In 
addition to these natural defences, it appears to have been' 
still further protected by two ring trenches, which can' 
be 'distinctly traced, the one at the natural base of the } < 
Hill, the other at the foot of the mound which forms the 
citadel proper. On the height itself are to be found the' 
remains of an enclosing wall, now in ruins and represented by- 
an accumulation of loose stones, mixed with earth, and for the 
most part grass-grown. Amongst the d&bris on the sides of 
the hill, vitrified stones are to be found in considerable 
abundance, and the merest scratching of the surface of the old 
foundation brings up additional pieces completely fused 
together, having a skin of a brownish metallic lustre, with 
blisters, blotches, and blow holes, resembling iron slag from a 
furnace. As far as appears, the vitrification was carried 
round the whole enclosure, though only a certain proportion 
of the stones, and these the smaller ones, was fused by the : 
heat. The accumulation of earth and stones is larger at the' 
north and south ends than at any other part. The collapse 
of the wall is so complete that it is difficult to arrive at any 
definite conclusions as to its construction, but certain appear- 
ances suggest that after the stone-work was vitrified it may' 
have been further protected on the outside by an earthwork. 
It is a curious feature that a small portion of the hill- top at 
the south end has been left outside the enclosing wall, but 
probably the morass formed by the accumulation of the water 
before it fell into the channels already described may have 


been considered sufficient protection against an assault from 
that quarter. The level space within the vitrified wall- 
foundation, extending to about a quarter of an acre, is oval- 
shaped, and the soil for the most part is remarkably rich. It 
is now a thicket of bramble and raspberry bushes, ferns, and 
long grass, with a few fairly grown fir trees. In the digging 
out of the roots of some older trees, the ground has been a 
good deal disturbed, which may account for the flattening out 
of portions of the hill-side, thus rendering them less steep. 

In Castle Finlay we have undoubtedly the remains of a 
small vitrified hill-fort, with indications of its having been 
protected by ditches and earth-works. How this vitrified 
fort came to be called Castle Finlay is unknown. In Gaelic it 
is Caisteil Fhionnlaidh, Castle of Finlay (the Fair-haired Hero). 
There are four saints in the Irish Calendar of the name of 
Finnligh, and Finlay was the name of Macbeth's father. Both 
father and son were Maormers or Kings of Moray. It is a 
curious circumstance that the Gaelic name for the high ground 
a few hundred yards to the west is Ri-goull, "The King's Place." 

The theory that these vitrified hills were merely the sites 
of beacon fires will not apply to Castle Finlay on account of 
its inconspicuous position. It is quite evident that it was a 
stronghold. The circumstance that vitrified stones are to be 
found in every part of the foundation of the wall proves that 
the vitrification was done by design, and not by accident. 
These remains do not throw any light on the method by 
which the stones were fused, but there is nothing inconsistent 
in their appearance with the theory that the enclosing wall 
was built of stones mixed with faggots and peat and then 
fired, the interstices acting as powerful draughts to the flame 
and raising the heat to a degree sufficient to melt many of 
the stones and consolidate the mass. 


About a mile from Castle Finlay in a south-easterly 
direction on the Geddes Hill there are remains of another hill- 
fort. But it bears no mark of vitrification. It is the highest 
point on the Geddes or Urchany Hill. It is known as " The 
Cairn," and has been used in recent times as the site of a 
bonfire. The north and west sides are formed by the gniess 
rock, rising straight up some eight feet high like a wall, and 
the south and east sides are apparently made up with stones, 
many of them of larger size than is usually found in a cairn. 
The platform, which is quite level, is covered with greensward 
and an abundant crop of broom. It is quite a small place, 
but its situation is exceedingly bold and defiant. 

A further class of remains, interesting from their associa- 
tions, has to be noticed. These are a series of artificial-looking 
mounds supposed to be Moot Hills, where justice was 
dispensed by the chief in association with the headmen of the 
tribe. Two mounds from forty to fifty feet high to the west 
of the Church of Petty are known as Tom mJibit, that is, the 
Court-hill. A mound cut through by the railway between 
Culloden and Dalcross also bore the name of Tom mhbit. 
Cantraydoune, in the same district, is a hill of a similar 
form. At the Loch of the Clans, a round-shaped hill of the 
same character (as formerly noticed) goes by the name of 
"The Castle." At Auldearn a mound now known as the 
Doocot-hill was formerly called " The Castle." Similar 
mounds are associated with fairies and witches. The 
hillock at Mid-Fleenas is known as the Shian or Fairy 
Hill, and a road leading across the valley to Urchany 
is called the Shian road. This mound is the only one 
that appears to have been excavated. As already noticed, 
an opening was made in it about the year 1860, and 


jt was previously excavated in 1845. On both occasions 
Pagan interments were disclosed. A Shian hillock exists 
.at Dulsie, and it is supposed to have given its name to 
that lovely spot. Tula-Slth means the Fairy's Hill. In a 
remote corner in the southern extremity of Nairnshire, there 
is a small loch which bears the name of Loch-an-Tutach (the 
Loch of the Silver Horn), and at one end of it there is a mound 
called Shian a Titiach. At Moyness, the people grimly call 
a similar mound " The Deil's Hillock," whilst an artificial- 
looking knoll on the sea-bank, a little to the west of the town 
of Nairn, probably also a moot- hill, is called both " The Fairy 
Hillock," and the "Witches' Hillock." It is referred to in 
old writings by the latter name. Two moot-hills occur at 
Tearie, near Brodie. 

All these mounds bear traces, more or less, of having been 
artificially rounded, and in some instances there is a trench 
round the base, and in others of a cutting round the middle 
of the hill. The fact that interments of a Pagan form. have 
been found, in at least one instance, indicates a Prehistoric 
origin, although they may have had later associations. ) 


From the foregoing account of the remains that have come 
..down to us of Prehistoric Times in JSTairnshire, some idea may 
be formed of the social conditions of the inhabitants. It is 
probable that the earliest settlers here, as elsewhere in these 
northern parts, were hunters, living on the fruits of the chase, 
using for all their wants the rude implements of flint and 
stone, examples of which have been discovered: The condi- 
tions of life would necessarily be of the simplest character r 
wattled huts in which they slept and prepared their food; 
in the neighbourhood . of their huts they dressed the skins 
which clothed them, and fashioned the weapons and imple- 


inents they used. These settlements, by natural growth or 
by the arrival of fresh colonists, developed into tribes, and 
hunting, the occupation of the pioneers, gave place to pastoral 
pursuits, and cattle became their chief interest and wealth. 
The land as a whole remained untilled, but, from the presence 
of the food-urn in some of the graves, and the occurrence 
of numerous querns associated with these remains, corn must 
have been grown. Probably it was confined to patches on the 
sunny slopes of the lower district and the fertile haughs along 
the course of the streams. The country for the most part must 
have been an uncultivated waste, differing in no essential 
respect from the waste-ground and moorland which the 
modern plough has not yet broken up. To what extent it was 
wooded it is impossible to say. That there were great forests of 
oak in the lower district in primeval times there is abundant 
proof ; thickets of alders then as now doubtless fringed the 
water courses, whilst the heights of the uplands were crowned 
with firs and ash. There was no drainage, and large 
bogs occupied the place of much of the ground now under 
cultivation. From a general view of similar remains 
throughout the country, it is pretty clearly established 
that the early race were of Pictish or Celtic origin. The 
form of burial, the weapons, the structures, and the personal 
ornaments are referable to only one race, and that the Celtic. 
The old place-names, except on the coast, are intensely Celtic 
both in language and idea. That there was in these long ages, 
progress or development in civilisation is clearly proved. 
Skill and ingenuity, however, of a surprising degree is 
manifested in the implements they fashioned in the Stone 
4ge, no less than in the ornaments they constructed after 
bronze came into use. Their burial places are a testimony 
to their attachment to their honoured ancestors, and at the 


same time a proof of their remarkable skill. Their selection 
of places well adapted for the safety of their households in 
time of danger, and their unique employment of the agency 
of fire in strengthening the stone ramparts, are characteristics 
of a people possessed of considerable intelligence and 
power. The entire absence of those abject underground 
dwellings the earth-houses to be found in some parts of the 
country, significant of a timid, cowed, and craven people, 
may be taken as an indication that the tribes settled in this 
district were sufficiently powerful and numerous to hold their 
own in the open field against their enemies. The institution 
of moot-hills shows the existence of an authority to admin- 
ister justice between man and man. All these are indications 
of a people far removed from at least the lowest stage of 
barbarism. And if we try to form a picture of these early 
times and localise it in the Valley of the Nairn, we may 
imagine little communities settled here and there all along 
the fertile lands adjacent to the river and its tributaries, 
from the seaboard to the heights of Strathnairn, dwelling 
in huts and booths, and following primitive, pastoral pursuits ; 
obeying the authority of their chiefs, honouring the remains 
of their distinguished ancestors with rites of cremation and 
interment in stone-built tombs ; recognising the sun as their 
principal deity, but worshipping the powers of nature as 
their personal gods, accepting phenomenal circumstances as 
omens of good or evil, peopling their little world with evil 
spirits whose anger had to be averted and their favour 
conciliated according to the observances laid down by the 
* ( wise men " or priests of the time a system of belief which 
.after the lapse of centuries of Christian teaching has not been 
wholly extirpated. 



THE first glimpse we get in history of this district is in the 
First Century in connection with the Eoman occupation of 
Great Britain. In the year 86 the Eoman Fleet was 
despatched from the Firth of Forth by Agricola at the 
close of his last campaign against the Northern Picts in 
the peninsula between the Forth and Tay. The Fleet was 
sent to explore the coast and circumnavigate the island 
with a view to future military operations. They skirted 
the coast, noting the headlands, promontories, firths, rivers, 
and towns. The results of these observations were com- 
municated by the sailors on their return to Ptolemy, the 
geographer. Whilst the work of Eichard of Cirencester on 
the Eoman progress in the North has proved to be a forgery, 
Ptolemy's chart may be accepted as fairly reliable. 
There are three editions of the chart, and whilst they 
agree in the main outline of the coast, they unfortunately 
differ in some of the details. In what is known as the 
Strasburg edition, a river called the Loxa is placed at Nairn. 
In the Ulm edition it is placed at Lossiemouth, whilst 
the Wilberg edition places it at the Dornoch Firth the 
latter clearly a mistake. What appears certain is that the 
Eoman Fleet on entering the Moray Firth skirted the south 
shore. They noted the river Deveron, to which they gave 
the name Celnius, and proceeding came to the Spey, which 
they named the Tuessis. Coming to the bold promontory 


of Burghead, they found a native settlement upon it, which 
they called Alata Castra, or the Winged Camp, probably an 
enclosed camp with wooden pallisades stretching seaward 
and landward on the promontory. Passing Burghead, the 
rivers Findhorn and Nairn would have been visible, but they 
are not noticed by Ptolemy, if the Loxa be Lossiemouth, 
which the similarity of the name would indicate. In view of 
the undoubted existence of a numerous population on the" 
banks of the Nairn in Prehistoric times, it is probable that 
on the high ground known as the Castle Hill, a settlement/ 
existed, and it may be permissible to imagine that the' 
appearance of the Koman galleys with their great banks of 
oars as they swept along the bay must have filled the minds 
of the ancient inhabitants of these parts with wonder and 
consternation. There is no record of any previous ships' 
having penetrated the firth. The Celts were not a maritime 
people. Canoes, skiffs, and coracles or skin boats, were 
doubtless in use along the shores, and an occasional Norse 
vessel may have found its way or been driven into the firth 
But no such ships as the great Koman vessels of war, some 
of them capable of carrying 500 men, had ever been seen 
there before. It is on record that the Koman sailors occa- 
sionally landed and pillaged the native settlements on the 
coast. It is reasonable to suppose that as careful navigators' 
they would select landing places in the sandy bays rather 
than on the rock-bound coasts, and it is not at all improbable 
that the first visitors from the outer world who ever stepped 
on the shores of Nairn were these Roman sailors. There has 
always been a tradition though tradition on such a point 
is not of much value of a Koman camp at Delnies near Nairn, 
and a peculiar round earthwork used to be pointed out as 
its remains, (it is now the site of a salmon fishery ice-house)- 


It is recorded in Gough's Camden's Britannica (vol. iii. p. 430) 
that " some years ago was dug up in a common near Nairn 
an urn containing a series of Roman silver coins of different 
Emperors." " At Inshoch in the parish of Auldearn, about 
three miles east of Nairn, there were found in a moss several 
remains of Roman coins, two heads of a Roman hasta or 
spear, two heads of the Roman horseman's spear, as described 
by Josephus, Lib. iii., c. 3, and a round piece of thin metal, 
hollow on the underside, all of ancient Roman brass." 
(Chalmer's Gale. vol. I. p. 179 ; Transactions of the Society 
of Antiquaries, part IT., pp. 70-136). In Roy's Military 
Antiquities it is stated (vol. I., p. 88) that " Roman coins 
have been found at several places along the coast of the 
firth, particularly at Nairn. Near to Ardersier [Delnies] 
a few miles west of Nairn, were dug up about forty years 
ago a very curious Roman sword and the head of a spear." 
These relics, if correctly described which is open to some 
doubt, most of the authorities cited being strongly biased in 
favour of the view of a Roman occupation in the North are 
interesting so far as they go, though perhaps hardly conclusive 
of the actual presence of the Romans in the district. The 
older antiquarians generally classed all the leaf-shaped swords 
and bronze weapons as Roman, and in the same way called 
these earthworks Roman camps or Danish forts. They 
could not, however, mistake the coins. 

The Roman Fleet appears to have sailed up the Beauly 
Firth, no doubt in the expectation of finding an open water- 
way. It is named the Varar, which name is preserved in 
the river Farar and Glenfarar, and later geographers have 
applied the name Vararis estuarium to the whole Moray Firth. 
A town named Banatia is placed on the east side of the mouth 
of the river Ness. Returning, they explored the Dornoch 


Firth. The high bank at Little Ferry they named Eip Alta. 
Beyond, they found the river Ila, corresponding in situation 
with the Helmsdale river, termed the Ulie in Gaelic. The 
three great promontories, Veruviurn, Vervedrum, and 
Travedrum, on Ptolemy's chart, are doubtless Noss Head, 
Duncansbay Head, and Dunnet Head (Skene's Celtic Scot.). 
The Eoman Fleet then visited the Orkneys, passing round to 
the West Coast, and ultimately made the complete circuit of 
the British Coast, returning to their anchorage in the Firth 
of Forth. They described the various tribes then inhabiting 
Scotland. The name they gave to the people on the Moray, 
Firth coast was Vacomagi, the border people, while to the 
north-west they placed the Caledonii. 

Before the Fleet returned, Agricola had been recalled 
by the Emperor Domitian, and although subsequent Roman, 
Generals attempted to carry out his plans of conquest, 
they failed, and in the year 410 the Roman Army finally 
retired from Britain,*and the Roman Government came to an 
end. The existence of the Roman Empire on the Continent 
was threatened, and every Roman soldier was needed for its 
defence. A vast mass of " barbarians " from the North of 
Europe had descended upon the plains, and they speedily 
landed upon the coasts of England, cutting off for nearly two 
centuries all further intercourse with Rome. South Britain 
was eventually over-run and conquered by these Northmen, 
and the light of the Christian faith kindled in the time of 
the later Romans was extinguished. Paganism became the 
dominant and almost exclusive religion throughout the whole 
territories formerly subjugated by the Roman Army. The 
early British Church, even in the days of its greatest strength, 
had never been able to make any progress north of the Tay, 
probably not beyond the Forth. Hence the Caledonian 


Highlands retained its original Pagan faith, and these 
changes in the south did not affect it. , Although the 
Eomans had plans in view of subjugating Ireland, they 
never carried out their intentions, but some of the missionaries 
crossed over and founded Christian Churches in Ireland ; and 
whilst the light went out or became very dim in England, it 
burned brightly during this period of seclusion in Ireland. 
In the South of Scotland, one of the great missionary 
preachers of the first British Church, as it may be called, was 
St. Ninian. He was the son of a Southern Pictish chief. He 
travelled to Rome, visited St. Martin of Tours, and on his 
return from the Continent built the first stone church in 
Scotland at Whithern, in Wigtonshire. His fame was 
great, and for centuries after his death his memory was held 
in the highest veneration. He is supposed to have been one 
of the earliest missionaries to Ireland, but his name did not 
reach the northern division of Scotland till a much later 

When the veil of obscurity is partially lifted on the 
introduction of Christianity by Saint Columba in the middle 
of the Sixth Century, we get our .next view of these Northern 
parts. King Brude, son of Maelchon, reigns over the Kingdom 
of the Northern Picts, which extends from the Firth of Tay 
in the south to the Orkneys in the north. His residence is at 
Inverness, and his nobles and chiefs, his military leaders and 
men of rank, would doubtless be in attendance at his court 
or settled in the neighbourhood. The old Castle-hill of 
Inverness, all things considered, best answers to the descrip- 
tion of the site of his palace, which was probably a wooden 
structure protected by a pallisade enclosing the hill. At 
the gateway, Columba and his two companions demanded 


admittance, but on the guard refusing to open, they started 
to sing a psalm. Columba had a magnificent voice, and the 
unwonted sound of psalm-singing reaching the Castle, orders 
were apparently given to admit the strangers. The gate was 
immediately flung open, and they entered and were ushered 
into the presence of the King. The visit of the Irish 
missionaries to Inverness, so picturesque and interesting in 
its features as an incident of missionary enterprise, really 
marks a turning point or epoch in the history of the Celtic 
nation. It was probably the year 565 in which this visit 
was made. Columba had come from Ireland to lona in the 
year 560. King Brude, who was in the eighth year of his 
reign, embraced the new faith, and gave the missionaries the 
fullest liberty to evangelise the country. The only opposition 
they met with was from the Magi or Wise Men, the priests 
of Paganism, who claimed to have power over the winds and 
the waves and other forces of nature through the agency of the 
spirits of darkness. But the influence of Broichan, the Pagan 
priest at the court, was not sufficient to prevent the spreading 
of the new faith. Columba addressed large crowds in the 
neighbourhood of Inverness. Doubtless Inverness became a 
centre for missionary labour. Whether Columba himself made 
any excursions eastward of Inverness on his first visit is 
uncertain, but if he made his journey to Deer in Aberdeen- 
shire on a subsequent occasion from Inverness, he would have 
probably taken the coast road through Nairn and Moray. 
In tracing the influence of the Early Celtic Church, it has to 
be kept in view that it was a peculiarity of the Celtic system 
" that the saints whose memory was held in veneration 
were in every instance the planters of the churches in 
which they were commemorated, or the founders of the 
monasteries from which the planters came," a rule quite 


different from later dedications. It is in vain now to look 
for the remains of their places of worship. At first their 
cells or oratories were made of wattles, which soon decayed. 
Latterly they built small dry-stone chapels shaped like bee- 
hives. Few of these structures have survived the hand of 
time, and none are known to exist in this quarter. The 
sites of some of these chapels can, however, be identified by 
the names of the saints preserved in the dedications, or in 
fairs, or place-names. 

There is a dedication to Saint Columba at Petty. At 
Auldearn, the memory of Columba is preserved in St. Colm's 
fair, held on 20th June. Originally observed as a Church 
festival in honour of the Saint, it became in course of 
centuries a fair. It was regarded as one of the most 
important markets in the North, and till quite recently the 
day was observed as an annual holiday throughout the 
district. About the year 1880, having dwindled to small 
dimensions, it ceased to be held. 

An interesting point arises in regard to Cawdor. The 
old ecclesiastical dedication in the parish was to St. Evan, 
hence Barevan, Dunevan, &c. It is mentioned by Dr. Joseph 
Anderson that at Kingussie there is an undoubted dedica- 
tion to St. Columba, and in the neighbouring parish of 
Insh there is a bell known as " Eunan's Bell." It is of a 
pattern peculiar to the period of the Celtic Church, and 
he concludes that the bell belonged to a Church at Insh 
dedicated to Saint Adamnan, a successor to Columba as 
Abbot of lona and his biographer. The two dedications 
are frequently found in pairs in this way in other parts of 
Scotland, and the name " Eunan " was one of the many forms 
of Adamnan's name. Precisely similar facts occur in reference 
to the parish of Cawdor. There is the undoubted dedication to 


St. Colm at the neighbouring parish of Auldearn, and 
there is preserved at Cawdor Castle a bell of the identical 
Celtic Church type a square-sided, iron-hammered, loop- 
handled bell. The name is Evan or Ewen, and that it may 
be a corruption of Adamnan, like " Eunan," is not so im- 
probable as might at first appear, as in the parish of Dull, 
a fair held on October 6th is called Feil Eonan ; the Tober 
Eonan (Well of Eonan) is in the garden of the manse ; 
while further down the glen, there is Craig Euny, and 
Market Euny. Dr Anderson says it is not known to whom 
the Church of Insh was dedicated, but he appears to have 
overlooked the fact that Shaw in his " History of Moray " 
states, that the vicarage of Insh is dedicated to St. Ewen, the 
same as at Cawdor. That appears to settle the identity of the 
two dedications. Adamnan is " Little Adam," and his name 
assumes at least a dozen forms. Whoever the saint 
may have been who founded the church at Cawdor, the bell 
is an undoubted relic of the- Celtic Church period. All that 
is known of it is that it belonged to an old church in the 
parish, and there is no foundation for the statement that it 
was the bell of the private chapel at Cawdor Castle. It is 
vastly more ancient than the Castle itself. In all likelihood, 
it belonged to the earliest Church of Barevan, and having 
been blessed by the saint whose name it bore, was so venerated 
by the people that it was preserved when all else connected 
with the original church had perished. So precious were 
these relics regarded that a special keeper of them was often 
appointed ; he was called the Dewar, and his place of abode 
Baile-an-deoradh. About a mile south of Cawdor Castle, on 
the road leading towards Barevun Church, is a small croft 
known as Ballindore. It was probably there that the heredi- 
tary custodier of the old Celtic- Church bell dwelt. A 


judicial as well as a religious significance attached to these 
relics down to a pretty late date. It is recorded that in 
1518, Sir John Campbell of Calder received the services of 
some of the small clans on the West Coast, " who were 
sworn upon the mass buik and the relic callit the Arwacliyll, 
at the isle of Kilmobuie," and there is a township there 
called Ballindore. 

The site of a small chapel occurs near Lochloy, on the 
carse land, within a short distance of the western end of 
Lochloy. It bears marks of such extreme primitiveness that 
it may possibly be an early Columban chapel. The mound 
upon which it was built was also used as a burying place. 
The foundations of the wall, as far as can be seen, are built of 
dry-stone, and the headstones are undressed and unmarked. 
The well close by is known as the chapel-well, but the name 
of the saint to which it was doubtless dedicated is lost. The 
circumstance that the villagers of Lochloy and the fishers of 
Mavis town had their burial places in more recent times at 
Auldearn favours its remote antiquity. Its existence had 
been almost forgotten until in forming the road down to 
the Loch, fragments of human bones were disclosed, and 
the proprietor stopped further interference with it. 

Chapels built in proximity to cairns and circles are 
generally of early Columban origin, and there are two 
instances of these one at Urchany and another at Clava. In 
this latter case the dedication is to Saint Dorothy a Greek 
saint which is very remarkable, and may be a reminiscence 
of a very early association. At Eosemarkie there was an 
early Columban settlement, which was re-dedicated to a 
later Eoman Catholic saint. The exposed promontory at 
Burghead was also chosen as a monastic settlement, and 
the saint's name is probably preserved in " Saint Ethan's 


Well," about a quarter of a mile to the east of the village 
of Burghead. St. Ethernanus, a Columbah saint, founded 
several churches on the eastern sea-board of Scotland. 

The place-names yield a few slight suggestions of probable 
early dedications. Kilravock is apparently the name of some 
forgotten saint. The traditionary site of the chapel is occupied 
by a pigeon house. Kildrummie is not, as might be supposed, 
a modern adoption of the name of the historical castle of 
Kildrummie in Aberdeenshire ; it is one of the oldest place- 
names in the district. It is derived from Gil, church, Druim, 
a ridge. The name Belivat, according to tradition, preserves 
the memory of a saint. Buaile Ichid means " the enclosure of 
a priest called Ichid," but all that the name will yield in its 
present form is " Town of the Twenty." "Fichid's Fair" was 
held at Belivat down to the middle of the eighteenth century, 
when, according to common report, it was transferred to 
Grantown in Strathspey, where it was called " Figgit's Fair." 
A well at Wester Belivat is known as Ichid's Well, and a 
stone there used to be called Ichid's Chair. The name of one 
of the Abbots of Lismore was Eochaidh. His death is 
recorded in the year 635. The Abbots of Lismore had a 
not very distant connection with the neighbourhood. The 
Columban settlement at Eosemarkie was originally founded 
by Maluog of Lismore, and the church of Mortlach was also 
dedicated to him. He was described as " the pure, the 
bright, the pleasant, the sun of Lismore." 

Relics of the Celtic Church have been found in another 

When the missionaries came from Ireland they brought 
with them copies of the Scriptures written on vellum, 
having generally the figure of a cross drawn outside, the 
cover l>emg also decorated with silver-work and ornamented 


with designs of a peculiar character. The form of the cross 
is so distinct that it has been styled the Celtic cross, and 
the pattern is so unique that it is now known as Celtic 
ornamentation. From the manuscripts the peculiar form 
of cross and the characteristic ornaments were after a time 
carried on to the stone-pillars and slabs which the people 
erected either in honour or in memory of the preachers. 
On these stones were also carved a series of peculiar symbols, 
confined to the period of the Celtic Church. 

There are three of these Celtic Church monuments in the 
district. The one stands on the bank above the Carse of 
Delnies, and an idle legend has given it the name of the 
Kebbock Stone. The story is that two chiefs and their 
clans fought a great battle there for possession of a kebbock 
of cheese. Hence the name Kebbock Stone. A heap of 
stones, probably the ruins of an oratory, lay beside the 
pillar, but has been removed. The slab is very much 
wasted from the effects of weathering and ill-usage, but 
the faint outline of a Celtic cross can still be traced 
upon one side of it. It is a cross of the earliest form 
incised and undecorated, and it would have been a most 
interesting memorial of early Christian times had it been 
better preserved. 

The next example of a Celtic monument is to be found in 
the romantic reach of the river Findhorn, on the south side of 
the river below Glenferness. Legend has also been busy with 
it. It is known as the Princess Stone, and the story is told 
that a Danish Prince, detained as a hostage at the court of the 
native King, fell in love with the King's daughter. The father 
refused him the hand of his daughter, on the ground that he 
was a son of his greatest enemy. The Dane, however, per- 
suaded the young Princess to escape with him. They were 


missed, pursued and discovered in the Dulsie wood. The 
river was in flood, but preferring the risk of drowning to the 
pain of captivity, they rode on the one horse to the brink of 
the river, and plunged boldly into the rushing torrent. They 
were swept down by the foaming stream, and drowned, their 
bodies, locked in each other's arms, being found next morning 
on the sandy beach of the river below Ferness. Here, in this 
haugh they were interred, a cairn raised over their grave, and 
this monument erected to perpetuate their memory. The 
great Flood of 1829, which proved so disastrous to the lands 
lying along the banks of the Findhorn, spared the grave of the 
unfortunate lovers, its waters dividing, leaving it an island. 
The channel of the river has since returned to its old bed, and 
the grave is now beyond its reach. Such is the story. The 
monument itself, whatever be the occasion of its erection, is 
unmistakeably a sculptured stone of the Celtic Church period. 
It has suffered considerably from the hand of time, and is but 
a remanent of its former greatness, but many of the sculptures 
on its lichen-covered surface can still be traced. The upper 
part of the stone is gone, but the lower portion of a cross of 
the Celtic type is visible. The cross was decorated with the 
chain pattern, and at the corner of the arms at their intersec- 
tion with the shaft are four bosses one at each corner. "With 
the exception of a space in the centre where the carving 
has become obliterated, the main portion of the slab is filled 
with the spiral ornament. At the foot, in a panel, there 
are two human figures one much stouter than the otheF 
embracing each other. On the reverse side of the stone, the 
chain pattern is again visible at the top. It is much wasted, 
but there would seem to be a serpent in the toils of the chain 
ornament an unusual subject in Celtic art. Immediately 
below, the figure of a man on one knee drawing the .cross-bow 


is visible, but the object at which he aims his arrow cannot 
be deciphered. , Behind him is - : what is known as the 
,." elephant "^a creature with huge jaws, scroll-shaped feet, 
.iand a trunk springing from the -back .pf his head. Below it 
.occurs the symbol of the crescent and bent-rod or sceptre 
*both< rather small in size. The main subject, lower down is a 
magnificent bent-rod, with sceptre ends richly carved, com- 
bined with the double disc or spectacle ornament, resting upon 
the back of a large " elephant " figure, and apparently crushing 
it to the ground. The drawing is full of animation. 

The ; .key to the meaning of : these mysterious .emblems 
and: figures has been lost-. Tfrey-ifrccur chiefly on slabs 
found in the North Eastern counties of Scotland. They 
illustrate one phase of the religious thought of the early- 
Christian Church. Everything was symbolised. The, very 
animals were taken as types of moral qualities. The goat was 
the. type of the proud, the wild boar of the wicked, and so on. 
A conflict between the Christian and his spiritual enemies as 
represented by these animals is a constant subject. The archer 
in the Ferness slab is probably aiming at a wild boar, thus 
destroying the wicked. The figure of the, " elephant " occurs 
upon over thirty stones in Scotland. It has been suggested that 
it embodies the conception of a Celtic artist who had heard of 
but hatf. never seen an elephant. More probably it is a repre- 
sentafeiQn.of an ugly, hateful beast i.e., the Evil One. It is 
significant that in this picture the large bent-rod and double- 
disc are pressing the animal to the ground. The bent-rod 
with- -sceptre-like ends may be intended to represent a rod of 
power and a sceptre of mercy, the double disc of perfect 
. vision^ .; the .crescent shape the vault of t .heaven. .It .is note- 
1 worthy, that the bosses enclosed within the disc are seven. 
in number. The same thing occurs on several other 


stones in Scotland. They are probably seven stars. The 
interpretation of these symbols has not, however, got much 
beyond the region of guessing. This old weather-wasted 
monument, clasped together with iron rods and supported 
by buttresses, must have been a rich piece of sculpture 
in its day, fraught doubtless with lessons of interest 
and importance to the generations who understood its 

About a mile south of the Princess Stone, occurs another of 
the places bearing the name of Ballintore an ecclesiastical 
.association which would indicate that a Columban chapel had 
existed not far from the spot. Some two miles lower down 
the river, the haugh has the name of Dalnaheigleish 
Dal-na-Eaglais, " Field of the Church." 

The most perfect example of these ancient Celtic cross- 
bearing slabs is at Brodie Castle, in the avenue near the East 
Lodge. It formerly stood in the centre of the old village of 
Dyke, and is known as Eooney's Stone from the circumstance 
that for a time it lay neglected in the garden of a man of that 
name. On the reverse side is a perfect little cross of the 
Celtic type, recessed at the intersection of the arms. It is 
decorated all over with the chain-pattern. On the obverse side 
there occur two figures with bird-like beaks. Underneath 
there is a characteristic representation of the "elephant" 
symbol, the body of which is worked in the chain-pattern. 
Several other Celtic symbols occur. An additional point of 
interest in this slab is that on the raised border around the 
stone an Ogham inscription is traceable. Several experts in 1 
Ogham writing, which consists of dashes or strokes divided 
into groups to represent the alphabet, have been at work 
upon it, but as yet no satisfactory reading has been arrived' 
at by them. 


Similar cross-bearing slabs have been found, as might be 
-expected, at Eosemarkie and Burghead. One of the stones at 
Eosemarkie is a beautiful specimen of fretwork, in combina- 
tion with the divergent spirals. Several small slabs with 
incised bulls cut on them have been found at Burghead. 
They are not properly speaking Celtic symbolic animals, and 
one explanation of their origin is that they are a remanent of 
the old Pagan worship, executed within the early Christian 
period. At Elgin a decorated cross of Celtic character wa& 
dug up a few years ago in the High Street there, and has been 
placed within the Cathedral grounds. 

The magnificent sculptured pillar at Torres, the crowning' 
glory of the school of art of the Celtic Church period, bears on 
one side a very beautiful cross of the Celtic type. It is richly 1 
decorated with the Celtic ornament, resembling the designs : 
on the " Book of Lindisfarne " a manuscript of the Seventh 
Century. Beneath the cross there are two gaunt human 
figures, apparently in an attitude of peace-making or recon- 
ciliation. The other side of the pillar presents a series of 
representations in panels or divisions: in the top panel a 
troop of cavalry, the horses prancing proudly ; in the second 
division, foot soldiers brandishing their weapons and shouting 
for the battle; in the third division, captives, naked and 
chained, making their submission; in the fourth, an execu- 
tioner, with armed attendants, at work beheading prisoners,, 
the headless bodies being piled up horizontally ; immediately 
below, there appears to be a single combat going on, 
while an officer advances with trumpeters; in the next 
division, foot soldiers have put to flight a troop of cavalry ; 
the final scene represents the horses caught, the riders 
beheaded, their bodies piled up or hung in chains, one head 
being apparently enclosed in a frame all this appearing 


on front of an arch-way or canopy. The remainder of the 
pillar is sunk in the masonry supporting it, but a row of 
grave faces is visible, probably representing a council or 
Senate. The picture is one of mortal combat, and in ordinary 
circumstances would be accepted as a record of a battle, but 
from the intensely symbolic character of all similar subjects on 
monuments bearing the Celtic cross and ornaments, it is more 
probable that there is locked up in these wonderful carvings 
some literary conception of the predominating religious idea 
of the age of life being a dire conflict with evil. The Torres 
pillar differs from other Celtic monuments only in that the 
Celtic emblems and typical animals are awanting. 

Two important finds of ornaments belonging to the Early 
Celtic Church period were made at Croy. In the year 1875 
some young people were engaged planting potatoes in a field 
near the Church of Croy, when in turning over the soil 
one of the girls found a number of curious articles and 
brought them home with her. They were examined by 
the Eev. Thomas Eraser, who at once discerned their 
great antiquarian value, and had them sent up to the 
Edinburgh Antiquarian Museum. The hoard consisted of a 
silver brooch, two coins, some silver wire thread, part of a 
bronze balance beam, and a number of beads. The brooch 
is of penannular form that 'is, has an opening in the 
ring. The body of the brooch is plain, 3 inches in diameter, 
the ends expanding in the form of circular discs, in which are 
amber settings surrounded by a double rope-like moulding. 
The ends of the circular ring or body of the brooch are 
finished in a way suggestive of the head of an animal 
holding the disc in its widely-extended jaws. The centre 
of the ring forming the upper part of the brooch has an 
oblong sunk panel with a circular amber setting and inter- 


laced -ornaments on either side. The brooch was broken, and 
the pin was not found. Dr Anderson says that while it is an 
undoubted Celtic brooch, it is noticeable that the art of this 
brooch does not possess the special characteristics of the art 
of the manuscripts. The inference is " that in the Croy brooch 
we have an example of the style of the earlier portion of the 
period of the type of these penannular brooches before the 
characteristic decoration of that period had fully developed." 
Only one of the coins was preserved. It is a penny of Coen- 
wulf, King of Mercia, who reigned from 795 to 818. The 
time when this hoard was deposited was therefore subsequent 
to the close of the eighth century, and this gives an 
approximate indication of the period of the type of these 
penannular brooches. The bronze balance beam of a small 
pair of scales was a common equipment of the travelling 
merchant at a time when the country possessed no coinage of 
its own and all barter was by bullion weight of the precious 
metal. The silver wire was of the thinness of fine thread, 
and the chain or band about half-an-inch diameter and knitted 
with the ordinary stocking stitch. Of the four beads pre- 
served two were of glass with spots of coloured enamels, and 
two of amber. 

The spot where the hoard was found was at the time dili- 
gently searched, but nothing further was discovered, but one 
day, several years later, the tenant of the farm came upon frag- 
ments of two similar brooches, but of much finer manufacture. 
They are decorated with the Celtic pattern. One of the 
brooches is of marvellously beautiful design and workmanship. 
It has plates of gold and filigree work. It closely resembles 
the fragment found at Dunbeath, of which it has been said 
that " if it had been entire it would have had few competitors 
in the world as a work of art." 


That many other relics of this period may exist, though 
still undiscovered, is shown by the fact that in 1890 a portion 
of a slab was dug up at Achareidh, near Nairn, bearing 
carvings of the fretwork pattern similar to what appears in 
such perfection on the Kosemarkie stone. It is evidently the 
corner of a cross-bearing slab with raised border. A further 
search may yet reveal other portions of the ancient 
monument to which it belonged. 

For a century and a half, the Celtic Church held undivided 
fiway over the Northern Kingdom of the Picts. The services 
of the missionaries were welcomed by the native chiefs, who 
gave them sites for their oratories in or near their own 
raths, and corn lands for their sustenance in the vicinity, 
and gifts of land were at subsequent times added to the 
original endowments. The doctrine and ritual of the 
church corresponded to the doctrine and ritual of the 
Christian Church of the Fourth Century. It was the 
Church of Augustine and Jerome, not the Church of 
Kome of the Seventh Century. Certain elements im- 
pressed upon the church in Ireland were reproduced 
in Celtic Scotland. The system of belief was coloured 
and animated by the thoughts and feelings of the period 
in which it took its rise. Hence it came that Chris- 
tianity was introduced in the purely monastic form. 
In broad outline and essential features, these monastic 
institutions bore a striking resemblance to our modern 
missionary settlements in Central Africa, with, however, 
severer discipline and greater austerity of life. They had 
little or nothing in common with the mediaeval monastic 
cloisters. There were three orders of clergy bishops, pres- 
byters, and lay brethren but the bishops had no dioceses, 
and exercised no special jurisdiction, their pre-eminence 


being confined to purely spiritual functions ; whilst, on the 
other hand, a presbyter generally ruled as Abbot or head 
of the institution, to whom all the brethren irrespective of 
their standing gave obedience. The most distinguishing 
characteristic of this early church was its fervent faith and 
burning zeal. Since Apostolic times, it has probably had 
no equal in the intensity of its devotion or in the self- 
denying spirit of its enterprise. Columba, the great central 
figure, was unquestionably a man of commanding genius, 
His biographers unfortunately have interwoven in the narra- 
tive of the events of his life, legends of marvel and miracle. 
Many of the incidents, freed of their exaggerated 
colouring, are obviously but the result and outcome of 
the exercise of the splendid intellectual powers and rare 
spiritual gifts of the man. His one absorbing idea was 
the overthrow of Paganism and the establishment of a 
higher faith and better life, and his impelling motive was 
his love to Christ, who, as he says in one of his poems, was 
to him "all in all." His brethren were of a like spirit. 
They were men of learning and of varied accomplishments, 
and commended their religion by the purity of their lives. 
Their settlements were centres of religious influence, semin- 
aries of education, and schools of art and industry. They 
practised music, painting, and engraving. They wrought in 
silver work, and did not despise the handicraft of the smith 
or the occupation of the tiller of the ground. They inspired 
the people with deepest reverence and affection, and every- 
thing connected with them became sacred and hallowed. No 
place was too obscure or remote for them to penetrate to, 
and no journey too arduous for them to undertake. When 
the new faith gained the ascendancy, it stopped cremation as 
a form of disposing of the bodies of the dead, and introduced 


the Christian practice of burial along with the Christian 
hope of the Kesurrection ; it substituted the cross for the 
ring as a religious symbol ; it directed the minds of the 
people from the sun to the Creator of the sun ; it cast out 
the evil spirits, the demons, and introduced the good spirits, 
the angels. It delivered the people from the bondage of a 
crushing terrorism, and placed them under the reign of peace 
and good will toward men, and taught them that human life 
was not to be governed and regulated by puerile omens and 
mystic signs or magic spells, but was to be placed on the sure 
foundations of truth, love, faith, and hope. It freed the 
slave, and offered a sanctuary to the oppressed. A 
day of rest was established on the Seventh Day (Saturday), 
and the First Day of the week was observed as the Lord's 

The Celtic Church ended in a Disruption. Two causes are 
assigned for its overthrow. The British Church having 
revived under Continental influences came into collision with 
the Celtic Church about the end of the Eighth Century. 
Differences arose as to the time of keeping Easter, and the 
form of priestly tonsure. The matters in dispute were trivial 
enough, but the principle underlying them was important. 
The British Church appealed to the example of the Church 
of Rome as authoritative on these points. The Celtic Church 
refused to accept the authority of the Church of Rome, and 
took its stand upon the custom and practice ordained and 
established by Columba and its other fathers. Nechtan, 
King of the Picts, sided with the Romanising party, and 
expelled from his territories the Columban brethren who 
would not conform. A change of dynasty for a time restored 
the outed Columban clergy to their former positions, but the 
current of events eventually proved too strong for them. 


The tendency to asceticism, early manifested in the Celtic 
Church, developed as time went on, and when the day of 
trial came proved a weak point. The recluses and hermits, 
good and holy men as they were, were not fit to cope with the 
organised ecclesiastical system of the South. They lingered 
on for two centuries less or more in different parts of the 
country, and were known as the Culdees, having here and 
there collective settlements, but these were eventually 
suppressed and the Church died out. " And thus," as Dr Skene 
eloquently puts it, " the old Celtic Church came to an end, 
leaving no vestiges behind it, save here and there the roofless 
walls of what had been a church, and the numerous old 
burying grounds to the use of which the people still cling 
with tenacity, and where occasionally an ancient Celtic cross 
tells of its former state. All else has disappeared, and the 
only records we have of their history are the names of the 
saints by whom they were founded, preserved in old calendars, 
the fountains near the old churches bearing their name, the 
village fairs of immemorial antiquity held on their day, 
and here and there a few lay families holding a small portion 
of land as hereditary custodiers of the pastoral staff or other 
relic of the reputed founder of the church, with some small 
remains of its jurisdiction." 



XING BRUDE died at Inverness in the year 584. In the 
early years of his reign, he had waged war with the 
Scots, as they were called, from Ireland who had settled on 
the coasts of Argyle, but after his acceptance of Christianity 
he lived at peace with them. They eventually formed the 
Kingdom of Dalriada. Where King Brude was buried is 
unknown. On the assumption that the chambered cairns at 
Clava were the tombs of his immediate ancestors, the sugges- 
tion has been made that he may have been buried with 
Christian rites within the precincts of Saint Dorothy's 
chapel at Clava, but apart from the consideration that 
these sepulchral remains appear to be of much greater 
antiquity than that period, it is more probable that his 
bones would have been interred at some more famous 
Christian sanctuary. Saint Columba outlived his royal 
convert by twelve or thirteen years, and retained his in- 
fluence at the royal courts both of Dalriada and Pictland. 
King Nectan's expulsion of the Columban monks who 
would not conform to the Romish or British Church led to 
frequent wars between the two Kingdoms, the Irish Scots 
resenting the treatment received by their brethren the 
missionaries. In the year 844, however, a most important 
event happened. The two kingdoms were united under 
Kenneth Macalpine, who, while an Irish Scot, was of the 
Northern Pictish race on his mother's side. He was styled 


King of Alban, and his successors assumed the title of King 
of the Scots. Through this union of the two kingdoms the 
sevenfold division of the country, corresponding to the great 
tribal divisions described by the Eomans, was destroyed, 
and the original name of the Picts lost. 

The seat of the united kingdom being no longer 
Inverness but Fortrenn, the men of Moray had only a 
distant connection with the events transpiring. The change 
of dynasty probably in nowise affected them. They had 
their own race of rulers, sometimes called the Maormer, but 
nearly as often Hi, or King. Moray during these early 
centuries was really an independent Principality. For a 
considerable period after the Macalpine dynasty was 
established, almost the only references to be found in the 
history of these times to Moray are to the effect that the 
King of the Scots was slain there. According to some 
accounts, three Kings of the Scots at different periods 
met their death in the neighbourhood of Forres. The 
later chroniclers state that Donald, King of Alban, son 
of Constantine, was slain at Forres. King Malcolm First, 
King of Alban, 942-54, endeavoured to push the power 
of his kingdom benorth the Spey, and crossed the river with 
an army. He slew Cellach, who was probably the native 
Ei, but he was himself slain some few years afterwards by 
the people of Moray at Ullern. This place has naturally 
been supposed to be Auldearn, but recent writers identify it 
with Blervie, near Forres, an identification supported by the 
occurrence of the name Ullern in a list of castles in the 
district of Forres at a later time. Skene doubts whether the 
deaths both of Donald and his son Malcolm took place so far 
north as the neighbourhood of Forres, but he admits that 
Malcolm's son Duff was probably killed at Forres, where he 


had fled after defeat by a rival for the throne. The story is 
that he was slain by the governor of the Castle of Torres, 
and his body hidden under the bridge of Kinloss, and that 
the sun did not shine upon the place till it was found and 
given kingly burial. The fact that an eclipse took place on 
10th July, 967, may account for the tradition. Duff's body 
was taken to lona for burial. 

The extent of territory of the Kingdom of Moray was very 
considerable. It varied at different periods. It first appears 
with the name Moreb, then Murief or Moravia, signifying 
apparently " The Realm by the Sea." It included within its 
limits the whole of the Counties of Elgin and Nairn, the 
greater part of the mainland division of Inverness, and a 
portion of Banff. The province of Mearn was sometimes 
conjoined with it, and " Moray and Eos " was also a common 
combination. At one time, it appears, it must have 
stretched across the island from sea to sea, for in one of 
the statutes of William the Lion, Ergadia, i.e., Aregaithol, 
or the whole district west of the watershed between the 
German Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and extending from 
Loch Broom on the North to Cantyre on the South, is 
divided into Ergadia which belongs to Scotia and Ergadia 
which belongs to Moravia. 

Counting Cellach as the first, there are nine native Kings 
of Moray whose names appear in history. In accordance 
with Celtic custom, the office was hereditary as regards the 
family, but elective as regards the individual. A further 
peculiarity, which- led to frequent strife, was that the 
succession was held to pertain to two branches of the 
family, each alternately having the right to elect. A third 
peculiarity was that when any break occurred, the right of 
succession reverted to the female side of the house. The 


same principles ran through the whole tribal organization, 
of the Celtic people. Next to the King or Ei, who was 
the head of a mortuath or combination of tribes, came the 
Toshech, head of the tuath or tribe. Four of these tuaths 
lay between the Cawdor Burn and the Dyke Burn, namely, 
Calder, Moyness, Brodie, and Dyke. A fifth embraced the 
district from Darnaway to the Lossie. The tuath was the 
immediate predecessor of the thanage of a later century. 

The native tribes of Moray had another enemy to contend 
with besides the King of the Scots. 

About the year 872, Harold Fairhair having acceded to the 
throne of Norway, sought to reduce the Norwegians from the 
position of freeholders of their land, to that of vassals paying 
scat or land tax. A vast number of the people refusing to 
submit left their lands and literally took to the sea. They 
infested the Western Islands and the Orkneys. Their winter 
homes were there, but their domain was the North Sea. 
They became a nation of vikings or sea-rovers, and their long 
ships scoured the coasts. Some fifty years before, the Danes 
and Norwegians the former called the Dulhgaill (or Dark- 
haired Strangers) and the latter the Finngaill (or Fair-haired 
Strangers) had plundered on the east and west coasts of 
Scotland, and this new hord of buccaneers added fresh 
terrors to life to the inhabitants of Moray. King Harold 
himself was forced to fit out a fleet of warships against these 
rebellious subject of his, and he is credited with having swept 
the seas clear of them, burning and destroying every ship and 
boat he could capture. In truth, he merely made the Orkneys 
and Shetland a permanent settlement or colony of his kingdom, 
under some princeling of Norway, and organised attempts at 
conquest were then added to privateering by the vikings. 

The Moray Firth still retains reminiscenses of these old days 


of the vikings in its place-names. The Eomans had given 
names to the coast when their fleet visited it. A fresh set of 
names now appears. The Norseman calls the Moray Firth 
Breidqfiord (the Broadfirth), and Bcefiord is applied to the 
Dornoch Firth, though sometimes it was used for part of the 
Moray Firth. The old Celtic name of Moreb or Moravia, the 
Norseman makes Mcerhcefui. The bays become wicks, and 
the promontories or headlands neses. Hence come Tarbetness, 
Tor/ness (Burghead), Binsness, (at Findhorn), Whiteness (west 
of Delnies), and Blackness, (the sand spit on which Fort- 
George is built, the name of the old village was Blacktown.) 
Inverness is the mouth of the Nessa a name which was in 
existence before the times of Norse invasion, and therefore 
cannot be included in the category. Delnies (Delneish) is 
probably also Celtic. Dingwall, however, is a pure Norse 
name, and so is Helmsdale and many others. There are 
also numerous l>ys and hoys on the north side of the Firth. 
In Caithness, itself a Norse name, a majority of the old place- 
names, both on the coast and inland, are of Norse derivation. 
Sutherland (the Southland, that is, south from Caithness or 
the Orkneys), though less affected, still bears traces of the 
presence of the Scandinavians. 

King Harold Fairhair before his return to Norway after 
subjugating the vikings offered the Earldom of the Orkneys 
to Eognvald, one of his Earls, in Compensation to him for the 
loss of his son who was killed in an affray with the vikings, 
but he passed the honour to his brother Sigurd. This Earl 
Sigurd, according to the Sagas, soon after invaded Scotland, 
and obtained possession of all Caithness and " much more of 
Scotland Moray and Boss" and "he built a borg on 
the southern border of Mserhsefui." In another account, it is 
said that he carried his conquest "as far as Ekkialsbakki." 


The borg has been identified as Burghead, but the site of 
Ekkialsbakki has not been determined. The earlier notices 
of it favour the opinion that it is the river Oykell in Suther- 
landshire that is intended, but subsequent references clearly 
place it on the south side of the Moray Firth, near Burghead, 
and apparently to the west of it. Dr Skene has come to the 
conclusion that the river Findhorn is meant, and supposes 
Ekkialsbakki to be somewhere between Findhorn and Forres. 
The name Bakki is Icelandic, and means the bank or high 
bank of , the river, but is sometimes used as a term for the 
sea-coast. Anciently the river Findhorn ran much further 
west than it does at present. The Old Bar within four miles 
of Nairn marks its channel and outflow at one time. The 
great sand-drift has changed the course of the river, and 
greatly altered this part of the coast. A deep channel 
extends for some distance along the inner side of the outer 
extremity of the Old Bar, and has still a depth of water of six 
or eight feet at ebb tide, when the sands all around are bare. 
This strype, as it is called, probably marks the old mouth of 
the river. With a spring tide, the water still runs easterly 
on the inner side of the Bar for a couple of miles until it 
meets the tidal current which comes through at the opening 
known as the E'e. That this creek was not unknown to the 
Norsemen is shown by the fact that in 1196 the Earl of 
Orkney landed at the port of Lochloy, close to this very spot. 
It is a singular coincidence that if a Norseman ran his ship 
under the lee of the Old Bar and got safely anchored a mile 
or a mile and a half up the stream and went ashore, the first 
high ground he would reach bears in the present day the name 
of Bank Head. No traditions or remains, however, can be- 
cited in support of Bank Head being the Norseman's Ekkials- 
bakki. Culbin, the name of the estate overwhelmed by the- 


sand-drift, appears to be of Norse origin, a Culbin-burgh in 
Shetland appearing during the Norse occupation. The two 
older villages of Findhorn have been destroyed the site of the 
one is in the bed of the river, while the other is covered by the 
sea. If " Bakki " meant merely the side of the river without 
implying a high bank, circumstances might point to a certain 
."Spot to the east of the active region of the sand-drift, close to 
the old channel of the river, as a possible .site. It is 
now known as the "Armoury" (as mentioned in a former 
chapter), a name given to it by modern archaeologists, in 
consequence of the vast number of arrow-heads, manufac- 
tured flints, bronze articles, rivets, cuttings and parings of 
bronze, coins, pins, bits of pottery, crucibles, spear heads, and 
various other weapons and articles indicative of a centre of 
population of an early time. Near to it, there is a singular- 
looking mound, covered with small stones, like road melal, 
which appear as if they had been broken by having been first 
subjected to intense heat and then water poured over them. 
The mound, which is known as Macbeth's Hillock, has been 
partially excavated, without, however, anything of importance 
having been discovered. The promontory of Burghead is in 
full view from it, and is distant across the bay about a couple 
of miles. 

While the exact site of Ekkialsbakki is thus uncertain, the 
finely sheltered bay of Findhorn, whether approached from its 
former mouth at the Old Bar or by its present short cut to 
the sea, would have been a most advantageous resort for the 
ships of the Norsemen. The whole region is now extremely 
desolate and lonely, but it must have been at the time when 
the Norsemen made their summer visits to the Moray Firth, 
earning the nickname of Summarlidi (Summer Visitors), the 
scene of many a stirring event. 


It was not far from Ekkialsbakki, that the first recorded 
engagement between Malbrigda Tonn (Tooth), Maormer of 
Moray, and Sigurd the Powerful, Earl of the Orkneys, took 
place. The story as told in the Norse Sagas is that Mal- 
brigda, described as a Scottish Earl, and Earl Sigurd made an 
arrangement to meet in a certain place with forty men each, 
in order to come to an agreement regarding their differences. 
On the appointed day, Sigurd, suspicious of treachery on the 
part of the Scots, caused eighty men to be mounted on forty 
horses. When Malbrigda saw this, he said to his men, " Now 
we have been treacherously dealt with by Earl Sigurd, for I 
see two men's legs on one side of each horse, and the men, I 
believe, are thus twice as many as the beasts. But let us be 
brave, and kill each his man before we die." Then they 
made themselves ready. "When Sigurd saw it, he also 
decided on his plan, and said to his men " Now, let one 
half of our number dismount and attack them from behind, 
when the troops meet, while we shall ride at them with all 
our speed to break their battle array. There was hard 
fighting immediately, and it was not long till Earl Malbrigda 
fell and all his men with him. Earl Sigurd and his men 
fastened the heads of the slain to their saddle straps in 
bravado, and so they rode home triumphing in their victory. 
As they were proceeding, Earl Sigurd, intending to kick at 
his horse with his foot, struck the calf of his leg against a 
tooth protruding from Malbrigda's head which scratched him 
slightly ; but it soon became swollen and he died of it. 
Sigurd the Powerful was buried in a mound at Ekkialsbakki." 

The " borg " which Sigurd the Powerful built at Burghead 
was a fort of extraordinary strength. Whether he was the 
original builder or merely built on foundations laid by other 
men cannot now be determined. Eeference has already been 


made to Burghead at the time of the visit of the Eoman 
Fleet, and also to its having been the site of a Columban 
chapel. Recent explorations among the remains of the 
ramparts by Mr H. W. Young have revealed walls of the 
most formidable character. The rampart walls were built 
on a foundation of boulders laid like pavement, the sea face 
constructed of solid built masonry but without lime. The 
land or inner face was also built of stone. Between the 
two walls there was a hearting of alternate layers of large 
stones and oak planks, joined and strengthened by log oaks, 
riveted to the planks by iron bolts. The wall thus con- 
structed was twenty-two feet thick, and the fortification 
when intact was probably not less than twenty feet high. 
It is calculated by Mr Young that it would have taken a 
thousand oak trees for every hundred yards, or an acre of 
an oak wood for every three yards of the wall. No similar 
wall exists so far as is known in Britain. Strange to 
say, no relics of Eoman, Celtic, or Norse antiquity of a 
sufficiently distinctive character have been found in connec- 
tion with it, to throw any light upon its origin. The 
Norwegians were by this time famous ship-builders, and 
there is no improbability in the supposition that Sigurd's 
men built these ramparts. 

The year 976 was a memorable date in the annals of this 
period. Through some vagary of the seasons, the summer 
became winter. Snow fell in midsummer, and the weather 
was terrible in the extreme. There were no crops or grass 
that year, and the " muckle hunger," as it was called the 
worst of famines extended all over Northern Europe. In the 
.simple language of the time, it is stated that " men ate much 
that was not meet for food." Old people were thrown over 
the cliffs into the sea to lessen the number of the hungry. 


Many were starved to death, and bands of men took to the 
waste and robbed, and were outlawed and slain therefor. A 
comet .of fearful omen appeared in the sky all that winter. 
The population seemed doomed to destruction, but relief 
came from an unexpected quarter. Vast shoals of herrings 
made their appearance on the shores. The lives of the 
Northern nations were saved by the herrings. A Northern 
poet of the time, who parted with all his valuables for a 
few herrings, calls them " the silver arrows of the sea." 

A famine of another kind at this period distressed the 
Norsemen in Orkney. They experienced a great scarcity 
of fuel, but Earl Einar who succeeded Sigurd the Powerful 
made the happy discovery that peat would burn and that 
there were plenty of peats to be had at a particular part of 
the Moray Firth, namely, Burghead, and the promontory 
consequently got the name of Torfness. Between Burghead 
and Findhorn, the sea has scooped out a bay, but in olden 
times a forest grew where the tide now rolls, and the stumps 
of the trees have only disappeared within the present 
century. Deposits of peat of immense thickness are to be 
found below the sand-drift now washed by the tide, and 
the country behind, to the south and east, abounds with 
peat mosses. 

During the next century, there was comparative rest from 
Norse invasion, but in the dissensions between the grandsons 
of Einar, the turf king, Melbrigda, son of Euaidhri (Eory), 
Maormer of Moray, espoused the cause of Skuli against Liot. 
The name of Liot is associated with a hideous picture of the 
social life among the Norsemen of the time. Eagnhild, a 
beautiful but infamous woman the daughter of a no less 
beautiful and infamous mother was then his wife. She 
had married his eldest brother Arnfinn, but killed him. She 


then married his brother Havard, and tiring of him, got his 
nephew to kill him on the promise of her marrying him. 
This he did, but the false though fair Eagnhild hired 
another lover, under the same promise, to murder the 
nephew, which was accomplished. She dealt as deceitfully 
with the second assassin, and married instead Liot, the 
brother of her first two husbands. Liot in this engage- 
ment was successful, and Skuli was slain. On the death 
of Malbrigda, his brother Finlay, son of Rory, became ruler 
of Moray. He invaded Caithness with a large army, and 
challenged Sigurd the Stout, who now held Caithness, to 
meet him at Skida Myre. Finlay's force outnumbered 
Sigurd's by seven to one, and the Orkney men were only 
induced to fight in such a forlorn hope by the promise of 
their lands being restored to them as freeholds. Sigurd is 
said to have consulted his mother whether he should 
fight, and she gave him a* charmed banner with a raven 
worked in mysterious enibroiderings, which, according 
to the belief of the time, obtained him the victory. 
He followed up his success by over-running Moray. 
Malcolm II., King of the Scots, appears to have encouraged 
rather than discountenanced these attacks on Moray, 
and he showed his regard for Sigurd by giving him his 
daughter in marriage an alliance which eventually worked 
mischief of which Malcolm had never dreamt. His eldest 
daughter he had no son was married to Crinan, lay Abbot 
of Dunkeld. The office of Abbot had become secularised 
by this time, and was held hereditarily by some member 
of the family of a local chief. 

In 1014, Sigurd the Stout fell at the battle of Clontarf 
fighting against Brian, King of Munster the great struggle 
between the Pagan and Christian faiths, between the native 


King and the Danish invader and Finlay resumed his 
rule over Moray and reigned until 1020, when he was 
slain by his two nephews, sons of his brother Malbrigda, 
who doubtless regarded his assumption of power as illegal. 
Malcolm, one of his brothers, succeeded him, and ruled to 
his death. 

Two notices of interest occur with respect to Finlay and 
Malcolm. The " Ulster Annals " and Tighernac's Chronicle 
in recording their deaths designate them as Ki Alban a 
title indicating that their rule extended beyond the bounds 
of Moravia proper. In the Book of Deer a manuscript 
of the eleventh or twelfth centuries, it is recorded 
amongst other entries of gifts of land from maormers and 
tossechs that " Malcolm, son of Malbrigda, gave the Deleric." 
What land is meant by the Deleric it is impossible to say, 
but the entry illustrates the connection between the 
Columban monasteries and the native chiefs of Moray at 
this time. 

On the death of Malcolm of Moray, his brother Gilcomgan 
succeeded him, but his reign was cut short by an act of 
terrible retribution, at the instance apparently of Macbeth, 
in revenge for the murder of his father Finlay. Gilcomgan 
and fifty of his followers were burned to death in his castle. 
Macbeth then married Gilcomgan's widow, and took under 
his charge her infant son Lulach. 

Macbeth, having thus cleared his path to the supreme rule 
in Moravia, was not long in asserting his power. His first 
act, however, was one of policy. King Canut the Great in 
1031 invaded Scotland, and it is recorded in the Saxon 
Chronicle that he received the submission, not only of the 
King of Scotland, but also of two other Kings, Mielbathe 
(Macbeth), and lemarc (of the Western Highlands), another 


proof of the recognised position of independence of the Ei of 

The Macbeth of Shakspeare and the Macbeth of authentic 
history are very different personages. The chronicles followed 
by Shakspeare were to a very large extent fictitious alike as 
to the dates, events, places, and persons introduced. The 
scene of the most stirring events, however, remains, after all, 
in this neighbourhood. The facts of history are these. On 
the death of Malcolm II., Duncan, son of his eldest daughter, 
claimed the throne, and his claim was admitted by the 
Southern portion of the Kingdom. Malcolm's other daughter 
who had married Sigurd the Stout, had a son Thorfinn who 
was now Earl of Caithness. Thorfinn refused to pay tribute 
to Duncan. Duncan then conferred the title of Earl of 
Caithness upon a kinsman named Moddan, who came north 
to take possession, but Thorfinn was supported by his uncles 
the Earls of Orkney and offered battle. Moddan returned 
to the King, who on hearing of this rebellious conduct on the 
part of one whom he considered his subject, organised a more 
formidable expedition. The plan of attack was skilfully laid. 
Moddan was sent by land with an army to operate in the 
south of Caithness. Duncan himself sailed from Berwick 
with a fleet of eleven warships and a numerous army to 
begin the attack on the north, thus cutting Thorfinn off 
from any reinforcements from Orkney, and placing him 
between two armies. Thorfinn was on the watch at Dun- 
cansbay, and on seeing the King's fleet, he set sail for 
Orkney to prevent communication being interrupted. He 
arrived off Deerness late in the evening, and despatched a 
messenger to his uncle to send him troops. At daybreak, 
the Scottish fleet closed in upon him. Although Thorfinn 
had but five ships against the King's eleven galleys, he 


determined to fight him. Not waiting for the attack, he 
ordered his men to row hard down upon the galleys, to 
fasten them together, and to be the first to attack. A 
fierce fight ensued. The Celtic King was no match for the 
Sailor Prince. The Orkneyinga Saga preserves minute 
details of the fighting. "The Scots in the King's ships 
made but a feeble resistance before the mast, whereupon 
Thorfinn jumped from the quarter deck and ran to the 
fore deck, and fought fiercely. When he saw the crowd 
in the King's ships getting thinner he urged his men to 
board them. The King perceiving this, gave orders to his 
men to cut the ropes and get the ships away instantly ; to 
take to their oars and bear away. At the same time 
Thorfinn and his men fastened grappling hooks in the 
King's ship. Thorfinn called for his banner to be borne 
before him, and a great number of his men followed it. 
The King jumped from his ship into another vessel, with 
those of his men who still held out, but the most part had 
fallen already. He then ordered them to take to their oars 
and the Scots took to fiight Thorfinn pursuing them south 
of Orkney." Duncan made off to the Moray Firth, and 
landed at Torfness (Burghead). He proceeded south, and 
gathered an immense army together from all parts of 
Scotland, which was augmented by forces that came over 
from Ireland to join Earl Moddan who had gone to Caith- 
ness. Poor Earl Moddan, waiting for the fight to begin 
according to the original arrangement, was surprised one 
night in Thurso by Thorkell (Thorfinn's uncle), who set his 
house on fire and slew him. His men retreated to Moray. 

The coast of the Moray Firth becomes again the scene of 
warfare. The whole forces at the command of the King 
of Scotland are arrayed against the Norsemen of Caithness 


.and Orkney. Duncan has on his side Macbeth, with the 
men of Moravia, and all the great chieftains of Scotland 
with their followers. Macbeth would doubtless have suc- 
ceeded Moddan as next in command at King Duncan's 
side. Earl Thorfinn had taken possession of the stronghold 
<of Burghead, the borg built by Sigurd on the promontory. 
Thorfinn (says the Saga) was a man of tall stature and noble 
spirit, though his visage was frightful and his body lean. He 
had been inured to hardships from his earliest years. When a 
lad of fifteen he had gone to sea, and joined in viking raids. 
His father had been converted to Christianity in a strange 
way. Olaf, the great King of Norway, threatened to put to 
-death his boy unless he became a Christian. As he stood on 
the shore at Findhorn bay on the morning of the great battle, 
Thorfinn must have formed a very striking figure. He 
had a gold-plated helmet on his head, a coat of mail for 
his armour, a sword at his belt, and a spear in his hand. 
His banner was the magic " Raven." We have no companion 
picture of the " gracious Duncan," but the account which 
represents him as " meek and hoary" is entirely mistaken. 
Both cousins were young men. Duncan was but a few 
years older than Thorfinn. He was equally brave, had 
fought a desperate battle under the walls of Durham, and 
had an unconquerable spirit. He showed his pluck by 
fighting at sea. The Scottish monarchs as a rule were no 
.sailors, but Duncan brought up on the banks of the Tay 
was not unaccustomed to boat sailing. Thorfinn is the 
.author of the expression, " The unexpected frequently 
happens," and in going into this battle at Burghead, he 
-could have had little expectation of what did happen. 
His followers were greatly outnumbered by the Scots. It 
was on a Monday this fight began as nearly as can be 


calculated it was the 12th of August of the year 1040. 
The battle field was south of Ekkials (the Findhorn). 
Thorfinn first attacked the Irish division, and so fiercely 
did he assail them that they were immediately routed and. 
never regained their position. Thorfinn fought at the head 
of his men, using both hands in wielding his sword. King 
Duncan, seeing the Irish contingent giving way, ordered his 
standard bearer to the front, and directed his attack upon 
Thorfinn. A fierce struggle continued for a while, but it 
ended in the flight of the King. There is no record of the 
part taken by Macbeth in the battle. The interest centres- 
around the two cousins as the principal figures, to the 
exclusion of all others. Macbeth accompanied Duncan in his 
flight, and it may have been in that ride through the heath, 
whether prompted by witches' prophecy or not, that Macbeth 
conceived the idea of murdering King Duncan and usurping 
his throne. The traditional site of the Hillock where 
Macbeth (in Shakspeare's tragedy) met the witches lies a 
good many miles off the direct line from Burghead or 
Findhorn to Elgin, but if the story related by the later 
chroniclers were correct in other particulars, allowance 
might be made for a circuitous flight. It must fall, 
however, with the other traditions. 

The weary King, twice unsuccessful in war, seeks rest in 
the Smith's Bothy (Bothgounan, now Pitgavenie) and during 
the night is treacherously slain, one contemporary account 
says by Macbeth, who goes over immediately thereafter to 
Thorfinn's side, and joins with him in conquering and laying 
waste the- country as far south as Fife. They then divide the 
Kingdom Macbeth taking Duncan's territory and becoming 
King of the Scots, and Thorfinn retaining Moray and the 
northern portions of the kingdom, along with his Caithness- 


-and Orkney Earldoms. For a time, therefore, Moray was a 
Norse colony and virtually annexed to Norway. 

Macbeth, the hereditary King of Moray, was now King of 
the Scots, and had his palace at Scone, the capital of Alban. 
Lady Macbeth, Gruoch, daughter of Bode, and widow of Gil- 
comgan, was of royal descent, being related to the Duff 
branch of the Macalpine family, and had thus some claim to 
the allegiance of the Scots. Macbeth in personal appearance 
is described as tall in stature, yellow haired and of fair com- 
plexion, and while so fierce in war as to earn the name of the 
" Red One," he appears to have been of a generous disposition 
and of pleasing manners. A Culdee monastery still held out 
at Loch Leven, and the record is preserved in the Register of 
St Andrews of two donations of lands by Macbeth and his 
wife. The first entry runs " Macbeth, son of Finlay, and 
Gruoch, daughter of Boclhe, King and Queen of the Scots, 
give to God Omnipotent and the Kdedei (Culdees) of the said 
island of Loch Leven, Kyrkenes;" and the second entry 
states that " Macbeth gives to God and Saint Servanus of 
Loch Leven and the hermits there serving God, Bolgyne." It 
is recorded that he visited Rome, and distributed charity to 
the poor of that city. 

Several attempts were made to drive Macbeth from the 
Scottish throne. The first was led by Crinan, father of the 
unfortunate Duncan, but he was slain and the rebellion put 
down with a high hand. Duncan's infant son had been 
removed for protection to the Court of Siward, Earl of North- 
umbria, his maternal uncle. When the boy came of age, 
Siward made an attempt to place him on the throne, entering 
Scotland with a powerful army, accompanied by a naval force. 
Thorfmn's son came to Macbeth's support with the Nor- 
wegians. A great battle was fought at Scone, but Siward 


had to retire, after great slaughter on both sides. Three 
years later, young Malcolm renewed the attack, and succeeded 
in driving Macbeth out of Alban. Macbeth fled to Moray, 
his native country, but was overtaken and slain at Lumphanan. 
The sudden fall of Macbeth is accounted for in a measure by 
the absence of the Norwegian force on this occasion, Thorfinn 
having died about this time. Young Malcolm, who became 
known as Malcolm Caenmore, thus restored the crown to 
the Athole line. He married Ingibiorg, the widow of 
Thorfinn, his father's conqueror. She must have been very 
much his senior. She bore him a son Duncan, but died soon 
after. His second wife was Margaret of Northumbria the 
saintly Queen Margaret, who did much to soften and 
sweeten the court life of the time. 

Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach. He is 
called "Lulach the Simple/' and he met his death, four 
months after he came into power, at Essie, in Strathbogie, 
where he appears to have been betrayed or taken through 
stratagem of the enemy. His son Malsnechtan succeeded and 
assumed the title of King of Moray, but he appears to have 
had but a slender hold of the lowlands of Moray, and having 
lost all his best men and all his treasure and his cattle, his 
mother also having been taken prisoner by Malcolm Caenmore, 
he was content to end his days in peace in the fastnesses 
of Lochaber. Like Malcolm, son of Malbrigda, he was a 
benefactor to the Monastery of Deer, for it is recorded that 
he "gave Pett-Maldub to Drostan." Malsnechtan died in 
1085. And thus came to an end the line of native 
Kings of Moray. The names of nine of these Kings have 
been preserved. They alone were powerful enough to meet 
and give battle to the Norsemen, and if on occasion some 
Norwegian Earl, more powerful than another, succeeded in 


planting his foot on Moray soil, his hold was but for a brief 
period. Except during the subsistence of the arrangement 
between Thorfinn and Macbeth, which was doubtless 
acquiesced in by the lesser chiefs, the Norsemen acquired no 
lengthened possession. Macbeth is the greatest figure 
amongst these native Kings. Ambitious he undoubtedly was. 
Cruel and bloody to those who stood between him and the 
objects of ambition he proved himself to be. The burning of 
his cousin in his castle may be regarded as but a due requittal 
and punishment for the murder of his own father, and the 
Maormership was his of right according to Celtic law, but his 
slaying of the defenceless Duncan in the Smith's Bothy was an 
act of treachery of the deepest dye, which even the rude 
character of the age will not justify. His reign as King of 
the Scots brought prosperity .to the territories over which he 
ruled. His benefactions to the Church and his visit to Eome 
were perhaps indications of contrition for the blood he had 
shed. His being driven from his throne by the son of the 
King he slew, his flight as a fugitive, and his fall at the 
threshold of his native country are incidents fully as dramatic 
as the fictitious situations presented in Shakspeare's Tragedy 
of Macbeth. 

The tradition that Macbeth had his principal castle at 
Inverness is probably correct. The site of King Brude's 
old palace on the Crown would have been a fitting abode for 
the native Kings of Moray. It would have been a stronghold 
difficult to attack, and would have been a convenient centre 
for mustering troops for service in Eoss or for expeditions 
into Caithness. Having no ships of' any size, they would 
perforce have to use the ferry at Kessock, or the old Stock- 
Ford at Beauly. The more stirring incidents of the time, 
however, lay in scenes more to the east. Inverness was not 


in the track of the Norsemen, and was too far removed for 
convenient attack by the Scots. The districts on the 
southern shore of the Moray Firth appear to have been the 
sphere of greatest activity, and doubtless there were strong- 
holds or castles even thus early at Nairn, Forres, and Elgin. 
The name of Macbeth is associated with numerous mounds 
and remains, and is a common surname still in the district. 
His father's name Finlay occurs (as already noticed) at the 
vitrified fort at Geddes under circumstances of some signifi- 
cance. It is found again at Auchindoune, in Tober Monnlaidh 
{Finlay's Well) at the foot of the vitrified hill-fort of Dunevan. 
A lofty peak of the hill range at Speyside is known as 
Finlay's Seat. The circumstance that local tradition appears 
to be quite ignorant of any historical association with the 
name thus preserved strengthens rather than weakens the 
surmise that Macbeth's father may be the Finlay of these old 
place-names. According to ancient Celtic custom, the King or 
Chief of the mortuath was bound to have seven castles or 
residences. The connection of the Moray family with the 
Monastery of Deer in Buchan is curious. It is not im- 
probable that the explanation may be that the sons were 
sent there for their education, just in the same way as the 
young nobles of Scotia and Northumbria were educated 
at lona. Under their rule, Moravia became a great and 
powerful Province. Scottish history in later times is in a 
large measure the history of the South of Scotland. During 
the tenth and eleventh centuries, Moray was the centre of 
greatest interest and influence in Scotland, and its Maormers 
were really the Kings of the North. 

The Norwegian connection with Scotland lasted for nearly 
four hundred years. Hostile invasions gave way to marriage 
alliances. The fair maids of Norway, half heathenish as they 


were, appear to have had considerable attractions for Celtic 
Maormers. The enormous wealth in gold and silver, the 
.spoils of centuries of viking raids, accumulated in the 
possession of the principal Norse families in Orkney and 
the Western Isles, may have been a strong inducement. 
Duncan, the Celtic chief of Caithness, was the first to show 
the example of taking a wife from amongst the alien race, 
and in turn he bestowed his daughters upon viking leaders. 
Duncansby (named after him), the northern portal of the 
entrance to the Moray Firth, thus became a friendly haunt 
for all the roysterers and buccaneers of the time. 

The last and greatest of the Vikings was undoubtedly 
Swein Aslifson. His father Olave was burnt to death in 
the house at Duncansbay by Oliver Eosta, another piratical 
chief, where he had been entertaining much company at the 
feast of Yule. Two of Swein's brothers were lost at sea 
about the same time, and for some reason Swein was thence- 
forward called after his mother, Aslif Swein Aslifson. He 
was the hero of a hundred sea fights, and was a frequent 
visitor to the coasts of Moray. On ' one occasion he arrived 
at Ekkialsbakki with a boat rowed by thirty men, bringing 
Earl Paul, one of the Orkney Earls, as a prisoner. He had 
picked him off the island of Eousay where the Earl was 
otter hunting, at a time when a family feud existed. 
Leaving twenty men in charge of his ship, Swein pro- 
ceeded to Athole with Earl Paul. Earl Maddad of Athole 
was married to Earl Paul's sister Margaret, but, while 
pretending much sisterly affection, she conspired with 
Swein to put her brother to death, so as to open up a way 
for her son to succeed to the Earldom of the Orkneys. It 
was believed that Earl Paul's eyes were torn out, and he was 
never again heard of. 


On another occasion (according to the Saga) Swein arrived 
at Dufyrar (Duffus), said to be a trading place in Scotland. 
From there " he passed Moray to Ekkialsbakki, and from 
there he went to Earl Maddad at Athole. He gave Swein 
guides who knew the way across the mountains and forests 
wherever Swein wished to go, and he went through the 
interior of the country over mountains and through woods, 
away from all habitations, and down in Strath Helmsdale 
near the middle of Sutherland." His object was to surprise 
Oliver Eosta who had burned his father in his house at 
Duncansbay. Oliver, however, escaped, but Swein burned 
the houses with their inmates, one of whom was Frakork,. 
Oliver's sister, and aunt iaf Margaret of Athole. She was a 
reputed sorceress, and a very fiend in cruelty. " Swein and 
his men committed many ravages in Sutherland before they 
went to their ships. After that they were out on raids 
during the summer and ravaged in Scotland" their ordinary 
occupation. Swein's life was a succession of adventures, 
His last escapade was to go a-viking on the coast of Ireland,, 
and seeing the wealth of Dublin, he attacked and overcame 
the inhabitants and took the city. Next day, however, he 
fell into a trap laid for him, and he and most of his men, 
were slain in the streets of Dublin. Swein was a genuine 
product of the Viking period. He lived by plunder and 
piracy, and was unconscious of any wrong. With all his 
faults and vices, the bold sea-robber was a veritable hera 
in dauntless courage, performing deeds of reckless daring on 
sea and land that gained him the name of the greatest viking 
among all the wild sea-rovers of his time. 

As Christianity gained influence amongst the .Norsemen, 
they settled down into steadier and more civilised ways of 
life, but their inborn love of the sea, with its life of danger 


and adventure, remained with them. In the year 1152 
a fleet of some fourteen splendid ships appeared off the 
coast of Moray. It was the fleet of Earl Kognald, Earl of 
Orkney, on his way to the Holy Land. Although bent on a 
religious pilgrimage, the Earl does a good deal of fighting on 
the way, landing on the coast of Spain, and burning towns 
and villages. He and his men are right royally entertained 
in a Moorish city at the Queen's palace, and Earl Eognald is 
on the point of marrying the young and beautiful Queen, 
when he bethinks him it would be wiser to postpone the 
ceremony until his return from Jerusalem. He had besides 
a wife at home. In the Mediterranean they fall in with a 
magnificent vessel belonging to a rich Moor, which they burn. 
After many adventures they arrive at Jerusalem, bathe in the 
river Jordan, and tie mystic knots amongst the bulrushes. 
They visit Constantinople on their return, and some of the 
company getting drunk are killed on the streets. Earl 
Eognald visits Koine, and is entertained wherever he goes as a 
mighty Prince. Eventually, however, he has to sell his ships, 
and returns overland through Denmark, and arrives at Norway 
in a sorry plight. The King of Norway fits out two ships 
with which he sends him on his way to Orkney, but Eognald 
finding the season far spent, lands at Torfness (Burghead) and 
spends the winter in the Moray Firth. 

The Norsemen eventually withdrew from Moray altogether, 
leaving behind them a few Norwegian fishermen, who settled 
in villages along the coast. The surname of "Main" borne by 
so many fishermen's families at Nairn and neighbouring 
villages is simply the Norse "Magnus," and is probably a 
survival from the old viking days in the Moray Firth. Many 
of the old customs and superstitions among the fishing com- 
munities are derived from the same source. Burghead, their 


great landing place, sank into insignificance after their with- 
drawal, but the strange practice of " Burning the Clavie," still 
adhered to, is in all probability the Scandinavian ceremony of 
taking possession of territory by encircling it by fire and 

The Norsemen owed their power in a large degree to 
their skill as shipbuilders and their daring as seamen. They 
had several types of ships namely, sloop, bus, scaffy, and 
galley. The galley or war-ship was dragon-shaped, the stem 
and stern springing high into the air, resembling the head 
and tail of a dragon or serpent. The body or waist of the 
ship was the most vulnerable part, and to make boarding as- 
difficult an enterprise as possible, rows of shields were bound 
together on top of the rail or bulwark. Behind these shield- 
rows, there was protection against the arrows and missiles of 
the enemy. The sailors during action wore helmets and 
chain armour. In a hand-to-hand encounter spears and 
swords were the principal weapons. Apparently by the 
acknowledged rules of warfare, naval engagements were fought 
inshore, and not on the high seas. Their ships had foresails, 
with which they could sail right before the wind, but they 
depended mainly on their oars, of which they would have 
sometimes as many as twenty and thirty pair. So perfect 
was their rowing that it was a feat of Swein Aslifson to walk 
on the oars outside the ship, as they swept fore and aft in one 
movement like a huge fan. The favourite names for their 
vessels were "The Serpent," "The Snake," "The Dragon/ 
"The Adder," and the "Bison," "never sped more famous 
ship under more glorious king," is a description of the latter. 
The king or prince steered the ship. Every youth was sent 
to sea. The ceremony of launching their vessels was some- 
times attended by human sacrifices, the ship receiving a. 


baptism of blood as she slid down the ways over the bodies of 
:serfs doubtless the origin of the existing custom of breaking 
a bottle of wine on the ship's bow as she is launched. Fierce, 
-cruel, and bloody in war, as they were, the Norsemen had 
many noble qualities, and the degree of civilisation to which 
they had attained long before Christianity had influenced 
their character and life, is surprising. They had poets to 
rehearse their brave deeds, and philosophers to teach them 
wisdom in proverb or aphorism. In personal appearance they 
were tall, yellow haired, fair in complexion, and had blue eyes. 
A Norwegian poet failed to win the affection of his lady-love 
because he had black curly hair ! a blemish in her eyes, 
supposed to be due to his mother having been of a Gaelic 
family. The "spear side" and "spindle side" were the 
phrases of the time which denoted the male and female 
branches of the family. Ancestor worship was the common 
religion, and their heaven was a Valhalla where fighting, 
feasting, and drinking went on for ever. 



MALSNECHTAN was the last of the native rulers who claimed 
and used the title of Maormer or Ei, but the race of native 
chiefs was not yet extinct. Angus, who was styled Earl 
Angus, the son of a daughter of Lulach, threw off the yoke of 
the King of the Scots. Alexander I., who succeeded Malcolm 
Caenmore, entered Moray with a powerful army and drove 
Earl Angus across the Firth into hiding amongst the fastnesses 
of Eoss and Sutherland. On the death of Alexander L, and 
the accession of David I., a fresh outbreak, headed by Angus, 
occurred. He carried the war as far south as Stracathro in 
Forfarshire, but he was met and defeated by Edward, Earl of 
Mercia, David's cousin, with the loss of five thousand men. 
Angus himself was amongst the slain. The Scots army then 
entered Moray, and took possession of the whole district. 
David himself came North, and was the first monarch of the 
Scottish line who personally engaged in the administration of 
affairs in Moray. Feudal ideas of land tenure had in a great 
measure taken the place of the old tribal arrangements in the 
southern kingdom, and David sought to introduce these into 
Celtic Moray, and to some extent succeeded. Brought up in 
England, he had become familiar with the advantages of 
settled industry and regular commerce, and his first step was 
to encourage trade in towns or communities. Markets were 
established, and monopolies and privileges granted to merchants 
for their encouragement. Laws were promulgated and enforced 


for the protection of life and property. Shipbuilding sprung 
up at Inverness, and the herring fishing became an important 
industry in the Moray Firth, with Inverness as the great 
centre. Trade was opened with the Continent and the 
Southern ports of Scotland, and Flemish merchants frequented 
the northern markets. In short, a new era of commercial 
prosperity dawned under the beneficent rule of King David. 

It is probably to David that Nairn, in common with the 
Burghs of Aberdeen, Elgin, Forres, and Inverness, owes its 
existence as a burgh. No formal charter possibly was granted 
that is to say, the grant was not reduced to writing. The 
oldest burgh charters in Scotland are only of the reign of 
William the Lion, but King William's charters are confirma- 
tions of rights and privileges existing in his grandfather's 
time. In his Aberdeen charter, William confirms to the 
burgh of Aberdeen and to all his burgesses of Moray and to 
all his burgesses benorth the Munth their free hanse, their 
right of convention, to be held when they chose and where 
they chose as freely and honourably as they held it in the 
time of his grandfather King David. The oldest extant 
charter of the Burgh of Nairn is dated in 1597, by James VI., 
but it is a deed of confirmation of a former charter " granted 
by our most noble ancestor the late Alexander of good memory, 
King of Scots, and divers others our most noble and most 
ancient predecessors," which erected and confirmed Nairn 
" into a free royal burgh and with all the liberties, privileges 
and immunities pertaining to any other free burgh of this 
our realm." Written evidence exists that Nairn was a royal 
burgh in the time of William the Lion, for Alexander II. 
granted certain lands to the Bishop of Moray " in excambium 
illius terre apud Invernaren quam Dominus Hex Willelmus, 
pater meus cepit de episcopo Moraviensi ad firmandum in ea 


Castellum et burgum de Invernaren." The old name of the 
town was not Nairn, but Invernarne, namely, the mouth of 
the river Name, derived from the Gaelic Usige-Nearn " The 
Eiver of Alders." The alder tree still forms the distinguishing 
badge of the stream. The Gaelic name Arnes for alders was 
applied, and is still sometimes given, to the clumps of alder 
trees on the right bank of the river near the town. Up 
to comparatively recent times, there was a dense thicket 
of alders extending for several miles up the river, and 
wherever the bank of the stream remains undisturbed, both in 
the upper and lower valley, the alder tree makes its appear- 
ance. The name " Eiver of Alders " was therefore singularly 

The first of a series of strong measures adopted against the 
independence of Moray was the forfeiture of the Earldom of 
Moray by David. The Earldom represented more than a 
title or family possessions. The Earl of Moray was the 
hereditary ruler of a vast territory, the successor of the 
Maormers or Kings of Moravia, and even laid claim to the 
Crown of Alban. The estates and revenues pertaining to the 
old hereditary rulers were appropriated by David, and lands 
were henceforward held of the Crown. David had, however, 
so far overcome the prejudice entertained by the men of Moray 
to the rival house of Athole which he represented, that when he 
led the Scottish army into England his force embraced a contin- 
gent from Moray, and the King himself commanded in person 
the division composed exclusively of Scots and Moravensis. 
But the peace thus established was not permanent. In the 
later years of his reign, Moray men were again in insurrection. 
Their strong attachment to their own native ruling family was 
successfully worked upon by an impostor, an ex-monk, named 
Wymund, who gave himself out to be a son of Earl Angus of 


Moray. They flocked to his standard, and joined him in 
ravaging in the Kingdom of the Scots. Wymund is described 
as being a man of an eloquent tongue, fine address, tall and of 
athletic make. He adopted the Celtic name of Malcolm Mac 
Eth. He got the King of Norway to believe in him, and 
Somerled, chief of Argyle, gave him his daughter in marriage. 
Wymund was eventually taken prisoner by David, and during 
his lifetime was kept in confinement. His son was at a later 
time imprisoned with him. Both were liberated in the next 
King's reign, and Wymund given apparently the Earldom of 
Koss, where he behaved so cruelly to the inhabitants that 
they rose against him, deprived him of both his eyes, and 
otherwise mutilated him. He retired to a Monastery after a 
life of extraordinary vicissitudes and adventures, and dis- 
appears from history. 

David before his death took all means in his power to 
secure to his grandson Malcolm peaceable possession of the 
Crown, his own only son Henry of Egremont having died, to 
the great grief of the nation, but the accession of Malcolm was 
the signal for Moray to throw off once more its allegiance to 
the House of Athole. Malcolm now took measures of an un- 
precedentedly strong character against the turbulent natives of 
Moray. It is stated that he transported the men of Moray and 
distributed them in the southern parts of the kingdom. The 
chief authority for this statement is Fordun, and his words are 
that " he removed them all from the land of their birth, and 
scattered them throughout the other districts of Scotland 
both beyond the hills and on this side thereof, so that not 
even a native of that land abode there, and he installed 
his own peaceful people." The historians have sought to 
minimise or explain away this extraordinary statement. 
Skene says " this statement is probably only so far true that 


he may have repressed the rebellions inhabitants of the 
district and followed his grandfather's policy by placing foreign 
settlers in the low and fertile land on the south side of the 
Moray Firth extending from the Spey to the Findhorn, and 
here he certainly did grant the lands of Innes to Berowald 
the Fleming, by a charter granted at Perth." " Such a story 
of wholesale immigration," says Cosmo Innes, " cannot be true 
to the letter." Probably not, but it is clear that large 
numbers of the leading men in the district and their followers 
must have been removed, because their lands are given by 
David and his immediate successors to strangers, who held 
them thereafter in undisputed possession. The Celtic chiefs 
of Moray holding land were now for the most part replaced by 
Norman knights and Northumberland squires serving in the 
army of the King of the Scots. Such a revolution, it is 
obvious, could not have been effected without great violence 
and cruelty. English troops would have scoured the district, 
and hunted down the natives like wild beasts. The captives, 
chained and guarded, would have been formed into bands, and 
despatched over the frontier in droves. A pathetic story of 
enforced exile is evidently involved in this obscure transaction. 
It is probable that the difference in language between the low- 
lands of Moray and the territories to the west and south- 
west originated in this deportation and planting. Gaelic 
appears to have been as entirely the speech of the Laich of 
Moray up to this time as of any other part of the Highlands. 
The older place-names, and the names of Maormer and 
Toshech, are purely Celtic. There is no physical boundary, 
such as mountain or stream, to account for the difference of 
tongue, nor is there any subsequent event in history to which 
such a change can be attributed. The line of diversity of 
language can still be traced from the town of Nairn on the 


seaboard, passing between Auldearn and Ardclach, across 
the river Findhorn into Moray, separating Dyke from 
Edinkillie, and, bending round, crossing the Spey at Lower 
Craigellachie. The native population west of the town of 
Nairn still remains Celtic, while the inhabitants to the east 
are English-speaking. 

The policy of planting Moray with Southerners inaugurated 
by Malcolm was continued by several of his immediate 
successors, and the lower district of Moray in its modern or 
restricted sense became within the next century or two as 
purely English as it had previously been Celtic. The erection 
of King's Burghs, peopled to some extent by lowlanders, and 
the foundation of great Church establishments at Kinloss, 
Elgin, and Pluscardine, manned by southern ecclesiastics, 
tended still further to establish English and to supersede 
Gaelic as the common language of the people in the centre of 
the Province. 

Malcolm, who transported the natives of Moray from their 
homes, was succeeded by his brother William the Lion, in 
1165. He was crowned at Scone on Christinas eve of that 
year, but was taken prisoner by the English at York in 1174 
in attempting to take possession of Northumberland, which 
had been assigned him as an appanage by his father. He was 
liberated the next year on what were thought to be humiliating 
-conditions, and insurrections broke out in various parts of 
Scotland where the Celtic element predominated. In the 
year 1179, William with a large army came to the North for 
the purpose of putting down the insurrection in Eoss, and of 
strengthening his hold upon Moray. He was accompanied by 
his great earls and barons. While military operations were 
being conducted against the insurrection in the North, King 
William took up his abode at Inverness, but frequently 


visited Nairn, Forres, and Elgin, spending a considerable 
time at each of these places. 

The Royal Castle of Nairn which William the Lion 
occupied was no doubt the Castle on the high bank of the 
river, known as the Constabulary or Castle Hill. The 
tradition that there was an older castle at the shore, and that 
the ruins of it were seen by some fishermen during the 
occurrence of a very low ebb a century ago, rests on no good 
foundation. Any castle of an earlier date would have been 
constructed of wood ; even if stones were used, the building 
would not have stood a winter's storm. What the fishermen 
saw was probably the remains of the anchorage constructed as 
late as the seventeenth century. The tradition that an 
underground passage existed between the lloyal Port on the 
hill and the castle at the seashore at the north-west corner of 
the Links has been proved to be destitute of any truth, by the 
simple fact that cuttings of considerable depth have been 
made at various points right across the track which the 
subterannean passage must necessarily have gone, and no such 
passage has been found. Shaw, the historian of Moray, states 
that he had never heard of any such castle. The origin of 
these traditions, however, may be accounted for by the 
probability that a communication between the castle and the 
shore at the point in question did exist at one time, but it was 
a water-way and not an underground passage. The river at 
one time ran westerly. After passing the high ground upon 
which the castle is built, it swept round to the west, and 
flowing through the low ground now forming the Links, which 
would have been perfectly flat before the sand-drift and 
quarrying operations had affected its surface, made its exit at 
the western corner of the Links where the tidal rocks appear. 
The name of this reef of rocks is ! given on the Admiralty 


Chart as the " Fearn Eocks," but it is invariably called by 
the fishermen the " Fearn Head," that is, the head of the 
river of Alders. At a later time, the river flowed in an 
easterly direction, but it appears to have ran westerly at 
a much earlier period, and the name " Fearn Head " probably 
preserves a faint reminiscence of the fact. The name 
?' Invernairne " given to a modern residence on the terrace 
nearly opposite this point thus happens to be singularly 

What William in all probability did was to substitute a 
stone- built fort for the wooden castle of an earlier time. The 
site lent itself readily to the purposes of a military stronghold. 
It was protected by the river on the one side, and if the 
palissade or wall was brought to the edge of its rocky bank, 
it would be unassailable to attack from that quarter. William 
appears to have protected the north and west sides by ditches 
and ramparts, and the only entrance was by a drawbridge. 
The castle ground extended down as far as the present Bridge 
Street, probably near to the old ford at the Brochar's Brae, 
and was enclosed by a stout palissade and earthwork. The 
castle itself had a central keep, doubtless a square Norman 
tower, and its grand hall was plastered. In the Chamberlain's 
Accounts for 1264, credit is given to the governor for twenty- 
one shilings and threepence paid by him on account of repairs 
to the Castle of Nairn. The account sets forth that it was 
incurred in plastering the hall, in placing locks on the doors 
of the keep or tower, and in providing two cables for the 
drawbridge. King William and his great officers of state, 
with their retinue of servants and their military guards, as 
they passed to and from the castle, must have caused no small 
stir among the inhabitants of the little town, which was by 
this time beginning to assume a corporate existence. 


King William having built the Castle at Nairn, erected the 
County into a separate Sheriffdom. King David had included 
it in the Sheriffdom of Inverness, but William appointed a 
Sheriff to itself. The first governor of the Castle and Sheriff 
of the County was William Pratt. He had the rank of a 
baron, and was descended from a Northumbrian family. 

While William was in the north, either on this or 
subsequent occasions, he superintended the erection of two 
other royal forts. One was on the Moray Firth near Cromarty. 
It stood on the brink of a ravine which intersects the high 
ground behind the site of the old town of Cromarty, and was 
called the Castle of Dunscaith. On a clear day it would 
have been visible from the Castle of Nairn. The other fort 
was built on the Beauly Firth, and is now known as Eedcastle. 
It was called " Edderdover." In each of these forts or 
castles, a regular garrison was placed, the object being to 
hold the country for King Williajn. These stone-built castles 
must have been a source of great wonder and awe to 
the native population, as their construction marked a great 
advance on the science of fortification as known in those 
times in the North. The possession of these forts in the 
state of the armaments of the time necessarily gave to their 
holder the key of the military position of the district. 

William warmly interested himself in the Burghs his 
grandfather had established in Moray, and many of his 
charters still exist. In one he grants "this liberty to my 
burgesses of Moray, that none whatever in my realm shall 
take a poinding for the debt of any one, unless for their own 
proper debt." It is granted at Bonkill, but without 
date. The great charter of the Burgh of Inverness was 
written at " Eren," the old form of Auldearn. It can hardly 
be a mistake for Nairn, as the names of the two places were 


quite different in the writings of the period. The " Doocot 
Hill" at Auldearn still retains the name of "The Castle" 
(as formerly noticed), and it probably at that time had 
a building of sufficient accommodation for the require- 
ments of the King and his court. There were with him 
at the time the deed was executed, the Bishop of Aberdeen, 
Earl Duncan, Justiciar of Scotland; Kichard Moreville, 
the High Constable; Walter Olifard, Philip de Valoniis, 
and Koberto de Berkeley. In this Auldearn charter 
to Inverness, the King announces that "I have for ever 
discharged all my burgesses of Inverness from toll and all 
custom." Further, it prohibits any one from buying or selling 
in that burgh or in that sheriffdom, beyond the Burgh, unless 
he shall be a burgess of the said burgh or stallager, or shall 
do this by permission of the burgesses. He granted certain 
lands for the support of the burgh. "Moreover the whole 
burgesses have agreed with me that I shall make a fosse 
around the foresaid burgh, that they shall enclose the whole 
burgh within the fosse with a good paling and shall uphold 
that paling by which it is enclosed and always keep it good 
and entire." These palissades existed as a defence as late as 

King William possessed lands in Auldearn, and it may have 
been on this occasion that he granted a part of them to endow 
the Bishopric of Moray. Richard, Bishop of Moray, had 
been his tutor in his young days, and he entertained great 
affection for him. He gave him a "toft at Auldearn," and 
also the Church and benefice of Auldearn, along with similar 
tofts in Inverness, Torres, and Elgin. These endowments 
will be particularised when the history of the Church is dealt 

A third charter is granted at Elgin, which mentions the 


name of the first burgess of Inverness " Geoffrey Blund, our 
burgess of Inverness." The earliest burgess of Elgin whose 
name is preserved is William Wiseman. The earliest name 
of a Nairn burgess is Andrew Gumming. All these names 
are of southern origin, a proof of English influence in burghal 
communities in the north. The charter to Geoffrey Blund is 
peculiar. It begins by setting forth that the King grants to 
him and to his heirs and to all burgesses of Inverness and 
their heirs, "perpetual liberty that they shall never have 
combat amongst them nor shall any other burgess or any 
other man of our whole kingdom have combat with our said 
burgesses of Moray or with their heirs save only on oath." 
The deed thus widens its application from Geoffrey Blund and 
the burgesses of Inverness, to the burgesses of Moray. What 
appears to be aimed at by this provision of the charter is the 
abolition of the old custom of deciding disputes by " wager of 
battle." It goes on to declare that he has granted to his said 
burgess of Moray and their heirs " that they make half oath 
and half forfeiture which my other burgesses make in my 
whole kingdom, and they shall be free of toll throughout my 
whole kingdom ever." 

A fourth charter of King William's appoints " a market day 
in my burgh of Inverness, viz., the Sabbath day (diem 
Sabbati) in every week," which means, however, the seventh 
day or Saturday, and grants his sure peace to all who 
shall come to his market of Inverness. It confirms to Inver- 
ness the burgess laws and customs established by his 
grandfather King David, as to making or selling cloth outside 
the burgh, and forbids any tavern being kept in any country 
town beyond this burgh, with the following curious exception 
" unless in a town where a knight laird of the town may be 
staying and then a tavern may be kept." 


On the occasion of William the Lion's last visit to the 
north, he had again important business to transact. Harold, 
Earl of Caithness and Orkney attempted to throw off his 
allegiance to the King, and William sent him an ultimatum. 
An English contemporary historian, Kichard of Hoveden, 
gives the following account of the affair : 

" In the year 1196, William King of Scots, having gathered 
a great army, entered Moray to drive out Harold MacMadit, 
who had occupied that district. But before the King could 
enter Caithness, Harold fled to his ships, not wishing to risk 
a battle with the King. Then the King of Scots sent his 
army to Thurso, the town of the aforesaid Harold, and 
destroyed his castle there. But Harold, seeing that the King 
would completely devastate the country, came to the King's 
feet and placed himself at his mercy, chiefly because of a 
raging tempest in the sea, and the wind being contrary, so 
that he could not go to the Orkneys ; and he promised the 
King that he would bring him all his enemies when the King 
should again return to Moray ; on that condition, the King 
permitted him to retain a half of Caithness, and the other 
half he gave to Harold, the younger, grandson of Eognald, a 
former Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Then the King- 
returned to his own land, and Harold to the Orkneys. The 
King returned in the autumn to Moray as far as Invernairn, 
in order to receive the King's enemies from Harold. But 
though Harold had brought them as far as the port of Lochloy, 
near Invernairn, he allowed them to escape, and when the 
King returned late from hunting Harold came to him, bring- 
ing with him two boys, his grandchildren, to deliver them to 
the King as hostages. Being asked by the King where were 
the king's enemies whom he had promised to deliver up, and 
where was Thorfinn his son, who he had also promised to give 


as a hostage, he replied, ' I allowed them to escape, knowing 
that if I delivered them up to you they would not escape out 
of your hands. My son I could not bring, for there is no- 
other heir to my lands.' So, because he had not kept the 
agreement which he had made with the King, he was adjudged 
to remain in the King's custody until his son should arrive 
and become a hostage for him. And because he had permitted 
the King's enemies to escape, he was also adjudged to have 
forfeited those lands which he held of the King. The King 
took Harold with him to Edinburgh Castle, and laid him in 
chains until his men brought his son Thorfinn from the 
Orkneys ; and on their delivering him up as a hostage to the 
King, Harold was liberated." 

The "Port of Lochloy" is here mentioned for the first 
time. The loch in the present day is separated from the 
seashore by a marsh, which is now in parts planted. There 
is no very distinct mark as to any channel between the loch 
and the sea of the nature of a port or entrance, but the- 
indications as far as they go point to the outflow of the water 
of the loch and the probable inflow of the sea having been at 
the west end of the sheet of water. The sand-hills which skirt 
the beach terminate when they come under lee of the point 
of the Old Bar, and although the sand-drift is no guide, its 
corner probably marks the old entrance of the Port of Loch- 
loy. The village of Lochloy was certainly at the west end of 
the loch, in the ground immediately below the present public 
road opposite the new house of Lochloy. About the year 
1859, a number of hearthstones and querns and other remains 
of dwellings were dug up at this spot. As formerly noticed,, 
there is the site of an old chapel a little further to the west^ 
A fishing village existed about three quarters of a mile to the 
east, which bore, and the place still bears, the name of Mavis- 


town apparently a modern name, if it be not a corruption of 
the Norse Maestown. The fishermen may have used the port 
^f Lochloy for their boats, while they had their houses and 
crofts at Mavis town. Practically, however, any vessel once 
under lee of the Old Bar would be safe, and a landing easily 
effected on the flat shore, and the place might thus get the 
name of the port of Lochloy. 

Poor Harold and his two grandsons would no doubt have 
come to Nairn along the shore, and having crossed the river 
.at the ford below the castle, would be taken in charge by the 
guard as they sought entrance to the royal fort by its draw- 
bridge. Ushered into the great hall, they would be in 
presence of Earl Duncan, the Justiciar, or Chief Justice of the 
realm, and other high officers of state. The King himself is 
away hunting at the Darnaway Forest or other sporting 
ground in the neighbourhood, and on his return late in the 
-evening Harold's case is adjudged by the King and his peers 
.and barons in council. The decision is adverse to him, for who 
would lend an ear to the incredulous tale he had to tell 
that he brought the King's enemies almost to his door and then 
.allowed them to escape ? It would have added to the King's 
displeasure the thought that Thorfinn, Harold's son, who had 
-on more than one occasion headed a revolt and had claims to 
much more than the Earldom of Caithness or Orkney, was not 
yet within his power, for his step-mother was none other than 
a daughter of Malcolm Mac Eth, the Impostor. During the 
stay of the court at Nairn, Harold and his grandsons would 
have been close prisoners in the castle, and we may fancy they 
cast many a wistful glance at Morven and the Ord of Caith- 
ness, visible across the firth from their prison windows in the 
tower. At a subsequent period, Harold was given the offer of 
half of Caithness if he would only put away his wife, the 


daughter of Malcolm Mac Eth, and take back his first wife 
Afreka, sister of Duncan, Earl of Fife, but he refused. 
Thorfinn eventually fell a victim to the King's anger, for he 
had his eyes torn out while a hostage at the Court, in 
retaliation for some outrage committed by his friends in 

William the Lion had to contend against another set of 
rivals in the North, the family of Macwilliam, who claimed 
the Crown in virtue of their descent from Ingibiorg, Malcolm 
Caenmore's first wife. They were finally exterminated by 
Macintagart (" Son of the Priest,") the lay abbot of the old 
monastery of Applecross, who in recognition of his services 
was created Earl of Eoss. William the Lion, after a reign of 
forty-nine years, died at Stirling in 1214, and the heads of his 
enemies the Macwilliams were presented to his successor, his 
son Alexander, shortly after his accession to the throne, 
and he vigorously and successfully put down all rebellion 
throughout his realms. 

One effect of the policy of David and his successors 
Malcolm and William was to introduce into Moray a new set 
of families, foreigners they were, both as regards language 
and birth. The old Celtic families having been pretty well 
cleared out, the King of the Scots had most of the lands in 
his gift, and with them he liberally rewarded his knights and 
lords. There is a strong presumption, however, that the old 
Thanes whose names appear were a remnant of the original 
Celtic people. The title of " Thane " has been the subject of 
much discussion. On the whole, it appears to be a Saxon 
designation of minor importance in England applied to a 
higher grade in Scotland. Under Celtic rule the Maormer 
was chief of the confederate tribes ; the Toshech was chief of 
one tribe. The title of Earl having taken the place of Maormer,. 


it was found necessary to find an English title for the Toshech, 
.and that of Thane was given him. The names of Toshech, 
'Thane, and Chief are practically one and the same as regards 
rank. The Thanes of Cawdor, Brodie, Moyness, and Dyke 
were, in all probability, the successors of the Gaelic Chiefs of 
the district. This supposition is confirmed by the lands which 
they held being nowhere mentioned as changing hands during 
this transition period. Their tenure or title to the land 
-appears to have been changed to that of f euars holding of the 
Oown in conformity with the new feudal system. 

Of the Thane of Moyness we know very little. In a charter 
by Alexander II., to the Bishop of Moray in 1238, he grants 
twenty-four marks of the feu-duty of Moyness and sixteen 
marks of the feu-duty of Dyke and Brodie by the hands of his 
feodfirmii of these lands. In a valuation of the lands of Kil- 
ravock and Easter Geddes (1295) the name of William, Thane 
of Moyness, occurs among the jurors. The thanage of Dyke 
.appears to have been conjoined with that of Brodie. We 
read of Macbeth of Dyke in 1262, who may have been the 
Tosech at that date; but in 1311 an entry runs "Michael, 
son of Malcolm, thane of Dyke and Brodie." The Calders 
were thus at Calder and the Brodies at Brodie. 

Freskinus, a Fleming like Berowald, who got the lands 
of Innes extending from the Lossie to the Spey, came into 
possession of vast territories in the North. Freskinus came 
to Moray from Linlithgow, and settled at Duffus in King 
David's reign. His family assumed the territorial name of 
" de Moravia," a designation which in their case was no 
-empty boast. They probably held the old Thanage of Moray, 
in addition to the castle and extensive domain of Duffus, 
and hence their adoption of the name " de Moravia." Hugh 
son of Freskinus, was Lord of Duffus when William the 


Lion was in Moray, and he appears to have got a grant 
of Sutherland on the forfeiture of Harold of Caithness, who 
was so sharply dealt with at the Castle of Nairn. He became 
the founder of the House of Sutherland, and the ancestor 
of the Earls of Sutherland. He retained his lands in Strath- 
spey and Moray. Out of his patrimony, he gave large 
estates to his relatives. Gilbert de Moravia, a cousin 
apparently, who was Archdeacon of Moray, received from 
him Skelbo in Sutherland, and the lands of Culbin in Moray. 
Gilbert, having devoted his life to the Church, parted with 
these properties, and gave Culbin to Kichard de Moravia, his 
brother. William, the brother of Hugh of Sutherland, retained 
the family seat of Duffus, and added to his possessions the 
lands of Petty and others. He succeeded William Pratt as 
Sheriff of Invernairne, and held that office in 1204. His 
grandson, Walter, who was knighted, was Lord of Boharm, 
Petty, Brackley, Artrille, Croy, Daviot, and of numerous 
other lands. A son of this Walter acquired Bothwell in the 
south by marriage with the Olifards, and his descendants 
assumed the rather curious title of Lord of Bothwell and 
Petty a title which became famous in history when borne 
by his grandson, Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, the 
companion-at-arms of Sir William Wallace. 

A Norman knight, Sir Reginald Chien, makes his appear- 
ance in Moray and marries one of the heiresses of the house 
of Duffus, and succeeds to much of the family property in 
Moray and Nairn. He succeeds his brother-in-law as Sheriff 
of Nairn, whilst his son becomes Sheriff of Elgin. 

There are Stirlings at Cantray. Alexander of Stirling 
marries a daughter of the Morays of Petty, and gets Kerdale, 
Cantray, and Daviot. Cantray is given as a dower by 
Freskyn Cantray, Sir Alexander's widow, to her daughter 


Isobel between 1253-98 for an annual reddendum of a pair 
of gloves or a penny at the Feast of Pentecost. The great 
family of Douglas also takes its rise from association with 
the de Moravias. 

William de la Hay, a Northumbrian lord, is a courtier of 
William the Lion, becomes one of the hostages for the 
payment of his ransom, goes on a special mission to King 
John of England, and returns with William to the North, 
witnessing various deeds and charters. One of these Hays 
is said to have the distinction of being the first tenant 
farmer in Scotland that is, one who cultivates the land 
he does not own. A representative of the family gets the 
lands of Lochloy and becomes in 1296 Sheriff of Inverness. 
The family had large possessions at Errol and Scone. 

The ancient house of St. Sauveur in Normandy had, either 
as branches or as vassals, families of the name of de Bosco, 
de Bisset, and de Eose. They came over to England with 
William the Conqueror, and settled there, and frequent 
intermarriages take place amongst them. Eobert de Eos 
in 1227 married Isobel daughter of King William the Lion. 
Eepresentatives of the three families settle in the North 
Bisset has Kilravock in Nairnshire and the Lovat country ; 
Bosco (or Wood) gets Eedcastle (King William's fort of 
Edderdover) ; and Eose first appears at Geddes in 1230. 
The three names occur together in an early document 
Elizabeth Bisset of Kilravock is married to Sir Andrew 
Bosco of Eedcastle, and their daughter Marjory marries 
Hugh Eose of Geddes, and gets Kilravock from her mother 
as a dower; in 1293, Hugh Eose obtains a charter to 
Kilravock from the King ; and in 1295, the baronies of 
Kilravock and Geddes at the Valuation before referred to, 
are estimated, the first at 24, and the other at 12. 


Rose of Geddes had for his neighbour Sir Gervaise de 
Raite. Gervaise was a Cuming a family also of Norman 
origin and Northumbrian connection, which rose to great 
power in Scotland. The fortunes of the Cumings were 
made when William Cuming married Marjory, the daughter 
of the old Celtic Maormer of Buchan, and succeeded 
him in that position as Earl of Buchan. His son Walter 
obtained the Lordship of Badenoch, and when at the height 
of their power they could boast of four Earls, the Lord of 
Badenoch (a mighty potentate,) and thirty belted knights in 
the family, with lands far and near. Some doubt has been 
cast on the connection of Gervaise de Raite's family with 
the Castle of Raite at Geddes, it being thought more 
probable that Raite Castle in Badenoch was their seat, 
but a receipt which appears in the State Papers puts 
an end to all question on the point. It bears that 
Thomas de Braytoft, governor of the Castles of Nairn and 
Cromarty, receives his salary by the hands of Gervaise de 
Raite, constable of Invernairne. It is dated at Raite, March 6, 
1292, and cannot refer to any Raite but that of Nairn. 

The first Grant who comes into Scotland settled at Coul- 
mony. William Pratt, the first governor of the Castle of 
Nairn, owned the lands of Daltullich, in Ardclach, and his 
daughter received them as her dower when she married Sir 
Gilbert de Glencarnie, descended from the Earl of Strathern's 
second son. The Pratts also possessed Coulmony, and about 
the year 1258, Sir John Pratt bestowed on Sir Robert le Grant 
" the land of Cloumanche," now Coulmony. It would appear 
that a family of the name of Pratt held lands in Nottingham. 
The Bissets, Pratts, and Grants had thus been near neighbours 
in England before they came and settled together in the 
North of Scotland. The suggestion has been made, (and Sir 


William Fraser thinks with probable truth), that the Grants 
were brought to Scotland from England by John and Walter 
Bisset on their return from exile in 1242, the Bissets having 
been banished the country for their supposed complicity in 
the murder of the Earl of Athole. 

The Chisholms, who came from the south at the same 
time as the Bissets and the Lovels the latter family has 
long since been extinct also possessed lands in Nairnshire. 

Robert le Falconer, of Hawkerton, acquired Lethen, and 
John le Hunter also had a connection with the County. He 
is a witness at the Kilravock Valuation in 1295, and a 
place which in old charters bears the name of Hunterbog, 
was probably his property. The low ground between 
Kinnudie and Auldearn appears to have been the Hunter's 
Bog of the charters. 

Gilbert Durward (the hereditary Keepers of the King's 
Door) obtained in 1236 the lands of Both (now known as 
Highland Boath) and Banchor in the baliary or shire of 
Invernairn. A family of the name of Durward, in humble 
circumstances, still dwells at Highland Boath, a curious sur- 
vival, like that of Macbeth in the low country of Nairn and 
Moray, of a great historical name. The tradition that these 
lands belonged to Macbeth is unsupported by any evidence. 

In 1238 the Crown held the following lands in thaneage in 
the baliwick or shire of Nairn " The lands of Kildrummie, 
Aldheren, Balnecath, Geddes, Urchany, Eait, Moyness, and 
Lenedycoth." The holders of these lands were practically 
tenants of the Crown. A large extent of land had also 
been gifted by the Crown to the Church. 

The advent of these Norman and Anglo-Scottish families 
must have caused wonderful changes in the social life of the 
district. The only native family of any strength was that of 


Mackintosh (" Son of the Tosech "), but it appears to have 
been elbowed out of the lowlands, and at this time dwelt 
chiefly in the remoter regions of Lochaber. The Cumings 
dispossessed them of Eaite in Nairnshire, and the Leslies for 
the time occupied their lands in Strathnairn; Save some 
notices of the burgesses of the Royal Burghs, we learn 
nothing of the ordinary inhabitants of the district. They 
probably accepted service under their Saxon masters when 
their Celtic chiefs disappeared. The new comers brought 
immense wealth with them, and doubtless surrounded them- 
selves in their northern homes with Norman and English 
luxuries. The Moravia family built castles for themselves 
at Duffus, Petty, and Daviot, but the ordinary family mansion 
continued to be constructed of wood protected by earthworks. 
Orchards were planted in some instances, and the grounds 
embellished and beautified. The climate, fine even then, must 
have been an inducement to settlers accustomed to the 
sunny skies of the South. They still retained, many of 
them, their estates in England and the South of Scotland. 
Their favourite pastime was hunting in the adjacent forests, 
their common amusement riding and jousting. Chivalry and 
knight-errantry were the fashionable ideals of the time. The 
style of life in Nairnshire during the years embraced by the 
reigns of the Alexanders Second and Third when these families- 
were in the ascendant would have corresponded to that of the 
leading Counties of England in the same period. It was a time 
of comparative peace, and the districts of the country, such as 
Moray and Nairn, where the Norman gentry held sway must 
have advanced greatly in civilisation, warranting the statement 
of Mr Cosmo Innes that it reached a height not again attained 
to till the Eighteenth Century is reached. They were devoted 
churchmen, and gave largely of their wealth to the support of 


the clergy, many of whom were younger sons of their own 
families. The great family of Freskyn was connected with 
the Norman Court of Kouen as well as with the Eoyal 
Family of England. They were familiar with the art and 
science of the day, with the refinement and learning prevalent 
in the highest circles in Europe. "They seem" (says Kingsley) 
" to have been, with the instinct of true Flemings, civilisers 
and cultivators and traders as well as conquerors ; they were 
in those days bringing to order and tillage the rich lands 
of the north-east, from the Firth of Moray to that of the 

But political changes threw the kingdom into confusion 
and disorder, and the country was brought to the verge 
of ruin by contending factions. The presence of these nobles, 
however, linked on the district to the course of public affairs 
in Scotland, and many of them played a prominent part 
in the historical events of the time. 



ON the death of King Alexander Third, the Scottish Crown 
devolved on a grand-daughter Margaret, the Maid of Norway. 
She was the only child of Eric, King of Norway, by his late 
consort Margaret, the daughter of Alexander, and was but 
three years of age at the time of her grandfather's death. A 
provisional Government was formed, composed of Guardians 
of State, viz: Eraser, Bishop of St. Andrews; Wishart, 
Bishop of Glasgow ; Duncan, Earl of Fife ; Alexander, Earl 
of Buchan ; John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch ; and James, the 
High Steward of Scotland. Bishop Eraser, the Earl of 
Buchari, and the Earl of Fife were entrusted with the 
government of the kingdom north of the Forth. They 
ruled the country with considerable ability for eighteen 
months, but, after the death of the Earl of Buchan, and 
the assassination of the Earl of Fife in 1288, dissensions 
arose between the remaining regents and other nobles, and 
pretensions were advanced by Robert de Bruce of Annandale 
to the Crown, which necessitated steps being taken to bring 
the infant Queen from her home in Norway to Scotland. 
Edward I. of England acted the part of friendly councillor 
in the matter, but even at this early stage he appears 
to have set his heart upon a union of the two Kingdoms, 
thus establishing an absolute Sovereignty over Britain, and 
all his subsequent proceedings are traceable to this one 
absorbing desire. A ready means of accomplishing this 


purpose was to marry his eldest son Prince Edward to 
Margaret of Norway. They were second cousins, but the 
Pope's dispensation was easily procured to overcome the 
ecclesiastical difficulty. A State document was drawn up 
entitled the " Letter of the Community of Scotland," assuring 
Edward that the proposed alliance, which promised to be 
productive of so many advantages to both kingdoms, would 
have their unanimous and cordial assent. It was signed by 
the Guardians, Bishops, Earls, Abbots, Priors, and Barons 
constituting the Estates of the Kingdom, and confirmed at a 
meeting of Parliament at Brigham. The Chiens, the Moravias, 
William Hay of Lochloy, John Stirling, and Simon Frisel, are 
amongst the barons who sign the proclamation. 

Steps were immediately taken for bringing the little 
Maiden Queen home to Scotland. The Abbot of Welbeck, 
Henry de Eye (of whom more will yet be seen), and others 
were dispatched by Edward to make the preliminary arrange- 
ments for her departure from Norway. They return and 
report progress. A great ship is fitted out by Edward, the 
victualling and decoration of which were intrusted to the 
chief butler of his own household. " The stores were provided 
with no niggard hand. They consisted, among other matters, 
of 31 hogsheads and 1 pipe of wine, 10 barrels of beer, 15 
carcases of oxen (salted of course), 72 hams, 400 dried fish,. 
200 stock fish, 1 barrel of sturgeon, 5 dozen of lampreys, 50 
pounds of ' whale,' along with the very necessary accompani- 
ment of 22 gallons of mustard, with salt, pepper, vinegar, and 
onions, in proportion. A stock of little luxuries, suited to 
the more delicate palate and stomach of the baby princess, 
was not forgotten, such as 500 walnuts, 2 loaves of sugar, 
grits and oatmeal, with a corresponding allowance of ginger, 
citron, and mace, 2 frails of figs, the same quantity of raisins, 


and 28 pounds of gingerbread." (Preface to Historical Docu- 
ments.) The good ship, gaily painted, with banners flying, and 
manned by a crew of forty hands, sailed for Bergen, and in 
due time arrived there and embarked the Maiden of Norway. 
Edward anxious that the moment the young Queen reached 
Orkney, she should be well taken care of, despatched his 
trusted agents the Abbot of Welbeck, Henry de Eye, and 
Thomas Braytoft, to meet her. These royal commissioners 
started from Newcastle on September 15th. They reached 
St. Andrews on the 19th, but were delayed the next day there 
on account of a great tempest. They reached Aberdeen on 
the 23rd, next day they were at Bischoprenes, the following 
day at Duffus, and on the 27th at Nairn. The account (in 
the State Papers) from which these details are taken, states 
that they purchased a boll of wheat at Nairn, costing 4s Id. 
They arrived in a carriage and five horses. They left their 
carriage and horses at Nairn with two grooms, and proceeded 
by sea to Cromarty, taking a groom or attendant with them. 
Cromarty was reached the next day, the 28th, Dornoch on 
the 29th, and Skelbo on the 30th. Here they appear to 
have received the terrible tidings that the young Queen 
was dead, for they record " conferring with the Scottish 
Envoys." The Maid of Norway, a delicate child, crossing 
the North Sea in tempestuous weather, fell ill, and died 
just on reaching the Orkney Islands. The frail life, 
upon which the hopes of two nations centered, had vanished. 
The English agents continued their journey as far as Wick, 
and then sorrowfully retraced their steps. They cross over 
from Nigg and arrive at Nairn on October 10th, and remain 
for three days. Their expenses the first day were 4s 3d ; 
the second day 3s 9d ; and the third day 3s 2d. They also 
paid for the keep of the five horses and the two grooms 


foraging at Nairn for the fifteen days they were absent the 
sum of 4s lOd ; for shoeing their horses and for iron (repairs 
probably) to their carriage Is. The presence of the English 
envoys in Nairn would doubtless have thrown the quiet little 
town into great excitement, especially if it were intended that 
the infant Queen should have come by the same route as that 
taken by her English guardians, and thence proceed south- 
ward by the carriage left in readiness at Nairn. The 
envoys who had thus visited Nairn took their departure, but 
they were ere long brought on the scene again. 

The death of Margaret caused the deepest sorrow to the 
whole nation. No provision had been made for the succession 
to the Crown, and now Baliol, Bruce, and several other nobles 
formed rival factions. The country became divided into two 
political parties the one favouring Baliol and the other 
Bruce. Bishop Eraser of St Andrews and John Corny n, 
Lord of Badenoch, assumed supreme authority, to the exclusion 
of the other regents, and warmly espoused the cause of Baliol. 
They appear to have carried matters with a high hand against 
their opponents, and would probably have proclaimed Baliol 
King of Scotland without much further delay, had not the 
men of Moray taken a bold but very unpatriotic step. 
They appealed to Edward, King of England, to interfere, 
protesting that the territory of Moray was under " the 
immediate government of the King of Scotland," and that 
the Bishop of St Andrews and the Lord of Badenoch had 
usurped authority by appointing deputies. These deputies, it 
was stated, had destroyed and plundered the lands and towns 
of the freemen of the Lord, the King of Scotland, burnt the 
said towns and their barns full of corn, carried away with 
them all the property of the said men of Moray, and cruelly 
killed as many men, women, and little children as they could 


come at." This is a very dark picture of the state of the 
times, and the explanation of it may be that the Baliol 
deputies had endeavoured to oust out of their property all 
who adhered 'to Bruce. The leader of this appeal was the 
Earl of Mar. At first sight it is difficult to see what he had to 
do with Moray, but the explanation appears to be that in the 
preceding reign he had acted as one of the Custodiers of 
Moray, but had been deprived of his office by the regents. The 
" freemen of Moray " were the Crown tenants, who held their 
lands in thanage or otherwise directly from the King. They 
appear to have sided with Bruce, and included William la Hay 
of Lochloy and John Stirling (of Cantray) who had assumed 
the designation of Moravia. The supporters of Baliol were the 
more numerous in the district, and embraced the clergy, the 
burgesses, the Chiens of Duffus, the Moravias of Petty, and 
the Raites and other branches of the Cumings. The " Seven 
Earls of Scotland," headed by the Earl of Fife, also sent an 
appeal to Edward. The men of Moray and the Scottish 
nobles thus unwittingly played into the hands of the astute 
Edward. He wanted but a pretext for interfering in the 
affairs of Scotland, and it had now been given him. He held 
a conference with the prelates and nobles of Scotland on the 
10th of May 1291, at the church of Norham on the south 
bank of the Tweed, and before entering upon a discussion of 
the claims of the rival competitors, laid before them his claim 
to the title of Lord Paramount of Scotland. After some show 
of reluctance, one after another of the competitors and their 
friends acknowledged Edward as their Lord Paramount, having 
a right to adjudicate on their claims. Edward then demanded 
that the government of the country and the command of the 
royal fortresses be surrendered to him during the period of 
arbitration, and this was also agreed to. On the llth of 


June the Koyal Castles were formally handed over to him. 
They were twenty-three in number, comprising Aberdeen, 
Aboyn, Banff, Elgin, Forres, Nairn, Inverness, Dingwall, and 
Cromarty. The Castle of Nairn, along with the others, was 
handed over to Edward's officers and garrisoned by English 
troops. Thomas Braytoft, who had been at Nairn the year 
before as an envoy to bring the Maid of Norway home, was 
appointed governor of the Castles of Nairn and Cromarty ; 
Henry de Eye, his companion on that occasion, was appointed 
governor of the Castles of Elgin and Forres ; William Bray- 
toft, was put in charge of the Castle of Inverness; and 
Patrick Grant was made governor of Cluny Castle in Perth- 
shire. All earls, barons, thanes, and burgesses were ordered 
to make homage to Edward by swearing an oath of fealty, and 
William, Earl of Sutherland, (Hugh Freskyn of Moravia's 
grandson) administered the oath to all benorth the Spey at 
Inverness. The ceremony of swearing in the officers and 
people began on 13th July, and continued for fourteen days. 
At the expiration of that time, the proceedings were closed, 
and the peace of Edward, as Lord Paramount of Scotland, was 
proclaimed, as in other towns of the kingdom, at the market 
cross of Nairn, in due form by a herald. 

Thomas Braytoft continues in command of the garrisons at 
Nairn and Cromarty, and draws his pay from time to time. 
His receipt, already mentioned as being granted to Sir 
Gervaise de Raite, runs thus " To all who may see or hear 
of these presents, I, Thomas de Braytoft, Keeper of the Castles 
of Nairn and Cromarty, on behalf of the illustrious King, 
Lord Edward, by the grace of God, King of England, 
constituted Overlord of the Eealm of Scotland, greeting 
Know all men that I, on Thursday preceding the Feast of 
Pope St. Gregory, in the year of our Lord 1292, received 


by the hands of Sir Gervaise de Eaite, Knight, constable 
of Nairn, as the dues and arrears of the bailieship of Inver- 
nairn, for my service and custody of the Castles of Nairn 
and Cromarty, 11 sterling. In witness whereof I have 
granted these presents to Sir G. Given at Eaite, day and 
year foresaid." On June 27th of the same year he received 
28 17s in payment of the "balance of his wages for the 
custody of the Castles of Nairn and Cromarty," from the 
Chamberlain of Scotland. 

Edward, in pursuance of his function as arbiter in the 
dispute as to the succession to the Throne, appointed one 
hundred and four commissioners forty to be nominated by 
Baliol, forty by Bruce, and twenty-four by himself, to discuss 
the claims as a preparatory step to their being submitted to 
him for his final decision, and the following nobles connected 
with the north were chosen: By Baliol John, Earl of 
Buchan ; William, Earl of Koss ; Andrew de Moravia of 
Petty and Both well ; William de Moravia of Tullybarden ; 
Eeginald le Chien, senior ; Eeginald le Chien, junior ; and 
Henry le Chien, Bishop of Aberdeen. By Bruce Donald, 
Earl of Mar ; John, Earl of Athole ; John Stirling de Moravia; 
and William de la Hay. The Commissioners gave in their 
report, and Edward gave his award in favour cf Baliol, and 
he immediately issued letters to the commanders of the 
twenty-three royal castles for the surrender of these fort- 
resses. Thomas de Braytoft, governor of the Castles of Nairn 
and Cromarty, received a copy of this letter dated at Berwick, 
18th November, 1292, and immediately caused the colours of 
John Baliol to be hoisted upon the two fortresses under his 

Baliol was crowned at Scone twenty days later, but 
Edward continued to interfere in the internal affairs of the 


Kingdom, professedly on the principle that he had to bring 
to completion all matters originated during his tenure of 
office as Lord Paramount, and on this principle he made 
handsome presents to his friends out of the Scottish revenues. 
Amongst others, Edward ordered the payment of a pension 
of fifty marks out of the revenues of Inverness to Eeginald 
le Chien, junior, and Sir Robert Cameron, with two and a 
half year's arrears, and ordered Reginald le Chien, senior, 
Sheriff of Nairn, to pay to Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glas- 
gow, as a special mark of his favour, the sum of 500, out of 
the arrears of Crown revenues within the Counties of Nairn, 
Kincardine, Formartine, and Invery,and a sum of 195 19s 4d 
out of the balance of arrears in Elgin and Kintrae. The 
Cliiens, father and son, were continued by Baliol in their 
Sheriffdoms of Nairn and Elgin. Rose of Geddes, who had 
got possession of Kilravock by his wife Marjory Bisset, in 
the time of Alexander III., resigned the property into the hands 
of Baliol, in order to receive it back on the securer title of 
.a royal charter. The deed of resignation is witnessed by 
Lords Andrew de Moravia (of Petty), and Reginald le Chien, 
.and the King's charter of confirmation was duly granted. 
The original is now lost, having been destroyed in the burning 
of Elgin Cathedral in a later century, but the fact that it was 
sought for affords a proof that at the beginning of Baliol's 
reign, there was a general sense of security in the country. 

Baliol and the Scottish nobles having repudiated Edward's 
right to interfere in the affairs of Scotland, the English king 
crossed the Borders with an army of 30,000 infantry and 
4000 cavalry. Berwick was captured, and great loss inflicted 
on the Scots. A still more disastrous blow fell upon the 
Scottish cause when Edward captured the Castle of Dunbar. 
In it had gathered many distinguished leaders from the 


north, and amongst the prisoners taken were the Earls of 
Boss and Athole, and John Cuming, younger of Badenoch,. 
who were sent to the Tower of London in chains. Edward's 
progress North was practically unopposed, and the chief men 
of the districts through which he passed hastened to make 
submission to him. One of the first of these was a laird 
connected with Nairnshire, Gilbert de Glencarnie, a grandson 
of Marjory Pratt of Daltullich, the daughter of the first 
governor of the Castle of Nairn. Gilbert had become a great 
landlord by this time, possessing the estates of Fochabers, 
Ballindalloch, Duthil, and others on the banks of the Findhorn 
and Spey. He met Edward at Cluny in Perthshire, doubtless 
anxious to be on friendly terms with the powers that be. 
But he was not singular. The news of Edward's triumphant 
progress had reached the north, and knights and barons 
deemed it expedient to do him homage. Accordingly we 
find Stirling of Moravia leaving his house at Cantray and 
proceeding to Aberdeen to meet the King. The Ogilvies, 
great lords of Strathnairn, are there too. Reginald Chien, 
the Hays of Lochloy, Robert le Falconer, William de Moravia, 
and others, all hasten to Aberdeen and make their submission. 
Gervaise de Raite is not with them, but he appears and 
swears fealty when the King has come into Moray, and 
doubtless surrenders to him the royal Castle of Nairn. On 
the 25th of July, Edward and his army crossed the Spey 
by the ancient ford of Bellie, situated a little above 
the spot on which the Church of Speymouth now stands. 
It was a favourite crossing place for all the armies entering 
Moray. Following the King's Highway, he entered Elgin on 
the 26th and took up his residence in the Castle on 

The Sheriff of Nairn, Sir Reginald Chien, had died, and 


Edward graciously reinstates his wife as heiress of the 
family of Ochiltree in her estates. Eeports come in to 
Edward that the country to the north and west is quite 
peaceable, and he deems it unnecessary to advance further. 
He despatches, however, a detachment of his troops to 
occupy the Castles of Nairn, Inverness, Dingwall, and Crom- 
marty. William Hay of Lochloy inspires the King with so 
much confidence that he gives him authority over a wide 
district. He is made Sheriff of Inverness, and warder of Eoss- 
:shire. After a stay of four days, Edward returns to the south. 
In the autumn he summons a Scottish Parliament at Berwick, 
and amongst those who attend are Sir Keginald Chien, Sir 
Gervaise de Kaite and Sir Andrew de Kaite, from the County 
of Nairn ; Alan de Moravia from Culbin, and Sir Gilbert 
Glencarnie. Having, as he thought, completely subjugated 
the Kingdom, Edward proceeded to organise the government 
.according to English ideas. 

For the purposes of revenue, he divided the Kingdom into 
two portions by the line of the Forth, placing the northern 
division under Henry de Eye, (the companion of Braytoft at 
Nairn in 1292), as escheator, and appointed him Keeper of 
the Castles of Forres and Elgin. This civilian officer was 
immediately under and responsible only to Cressingham, the 
English Chancellor of the Exchequer, so that in fact Scotland 
had been reduced to the humiliating position of an English 
Province or Crown Colony. Henry de Eye dealt with the 
estates of the Scottish nobles with a free hand, forfeiting 
those who were supposed to be unfriendly to the English 
interest, and imposing severe taxes, claiming escheats, and 
levying fines and contributions, and imprisoning or outlawing 
every person who showed a disposition to resent this oppres- 
sion. It was in the midst of this prevailing discontent that 


William Wallace arose and boldly attempted to throw off the 
English yoke, and achieve the independence of his country. 
One of the first to join his standard of rebellion was Sir 
Andrew Moravia or Moray of Petty and Both well, along with 
his son and heir. They threw themselves heart and soul into 
the patriotic endeavour to deliver their country from English 
usurpation. Young Sir Andrew comes to Moray and Nairn, 
and calls out his own people. The free men of Moray who 
made the mistake of first appealing to Edward of England, 
redeem their character for patriotism, and flock to join the 
standard of rebellion. Moray is once more in insurrection. 
The Eoyal Castles are attacked and besieged, and many of 
the English soldiers slain. The Castles of Torres and Elgin, 
which were under the special guardianship of Henry de Eye, 
were burned. The Castle of Duffus, the residence of the 
Chiens, is set on fire, and the residences of others who held 
office under the English King, are destroyed. Henry Chien, 
Bishop of Aberdeen, the Earl of Mar, and the Countess of 
Eoss, attempt to put down the insurrection, but without 

Sir Andrew of Eaite appears to have taken an active part 
along with them, and he was sent south as the bearer of 
despatches to Edward, to give an account of the services 
rendered by these friends. The Bishop, in his letter of 
credence, mentions as they were " in. Launoy upon-the-Spey 
on the Tuesday before the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, there 
met us Andrew de Murray with a large body of rogues, the 
number of which Sir Andrew de Eaite, your bachelor, can 
show you according to what he heard from the people of 
their company. And the aforesaid rogues betook themselves 
into a very great stronghold of bog and wood, where no 
horseman could be of service." " It would be too long a 


business to write," says the Bishop, " but we pray you to have 
the goodness to give evidence to Sir Andrew de Kaite, your 
bachelor, who can tell you these affairs in all points, for he 
was in person at all these doings." Sir Andrew de Kaite was 
accompanied by Bernard de Monte Alto, and they carry a 
letter from Euphemia, Countess of Eoss, to Edward. Malis, 
Earl of Stratherne, also entrusts him with some business on 
his own account, and writes (in Norman French) to the King 
" Dear Sire, I pray you, if it please you, to have the good- 
ness to believe Sir Andrew de Eaite, the bearer of this letter, 
in the matter which he will tell you verbally from me." On 
his way south, the Knight of Eaite had an interview with 
Cressingham, the King's Chamberlain in Scotland, but did 
not impress him very greatly, for he wrote privately to 
Edward " Sir Andrew Eaite is going to you with a credence 
which he has shown me, and which is false in many points 
and obscure, as will be shown hereafter, as I fear ; and 
therefore, sire, if it be your pleasure, you will give little 
weight to it ! " The shrewd Chamberlain probably discerned 
that these friends were seeking important favours from 
Edward, namely, the estates of their rivals, by exaggerating 
the value of the services they had rendered. 

King Edward, however, at length realized that the insurrec- 
tion had become a formidable affair, and he despatched an 
army of 40,000 troops into Scotland. It proceeded to Ayrshire 
where the Scottish army under Wallace was gathered, but 
the Scottish nobles in his army, who were jealous of the 
position of Wallace, surrendered on conditions of a promise 
of free pardon and their estates. Wallace and Sir Andrew 
Moray, senior, refused to sign the treaty, and proceeded with 
a band of patriots to the north. Whether they came to the 
district of Moray on this occasion is doubtful. The people 


were already on their side, and they probably joined them in 
their raids in Aberdeen and Buchan in wasting the lands of 
the Earl of Buchan and the Chiens. Sir Andrew Moray and 
his son were at Wallace's side as he made his victorious 
journey southwards, capturing the Castles of Forfar, Brechin, 
and Montrose, and culminating in the great Battle of Stirling 
in which the English were completely routed. Sir Andrew 
Moray, the elder, falls at the Brig of Stirling, and Wallace, 
with that noble magnanimity which was his characteristic, 
appointed young Sir Andrew, the son, his associate in the 
supreme command of the Scottish Army, and all orders issued 
henceforward are in the names of Andrew de Moravia and 
William Wallace the latter giving precedence to his brave 
young knight. No more fascinating figures appear on the page 
of Scottish history than these two devoted companions-at- 
arms, the Knight of Petty and the Scottish Patriot. Sir 
Andrew's residence was at the old Castle Hill of Petty, and 
the family also had a house at Avoch. The title of " Bothwell " 
by which he is almost exclusively known in history, has been 
the means of concealing his identity as the Knight of Petty, 
Brackley, and Boharm, a descendant of the great house of 
Freskyn de Moravia, 

In 1303, Edward, enraged at the failure of all his attempts 
to subdue Scotland, prepared to invade the country once 
more, with the deliberate design (according to Fordun) of 
effecting its entire and final subjugation, or of reducing it, 
by the total extirmination of the inhabitants, to a state of 
utter and irrecoverable desolation. He summoned the whole 
strength of his dominions and invaded Scotland in two 
divisions. Edward himself in person commanded the right 
division. No resistance was offered to his advance, the 
inhabitants fleeing at the approach of the enemy, and the 


country is given up to devastation by fire and sword. 
Edward is at Elgin on the 10th of September, and resides 
in the manse of the Dean of Moray, at the north-west 
corner of King Street where it joins College Street. On 
the 13th he arrives at Kinloss Abbey, and from thence 
marches his army to Lochindorb, the stronghold of Sir 
John Cuming, who was in arms against him. The Castle 
stands in the loch in a small island. Probably in prehistoric 
times it was used as a Lake Dwelling. Kemains of piles 
have been found which indicate that its original construction 
was of this character. Its isolated position would easily 
recommend it as a secure retreat in times of trouble, and the 
Cumings had long before this fortified it. Here in this 
solitary abode, in the heart of a vast forest for the country, 
though now bare, was at the time densely wooded for many 
miles around Edward took up his abode, and enjoyed his 
favourite pastime of hunting. Dr Taylor, in his exhaustive 
account of Edward's visits to the North, thus picturesquely 
describes the scene " While the earlier part of the day was 
thus devoted to the pleasures of the chase, the later portion 
of it, no doubt, was not less agreeably spent within the walls 
of the royal residence. As the shades of evening set in, the 
battlements and watch-towers of the insular fortress, illumin- 
ated with torches on every side, sent forth a blaze of light 
over the surface of the lake. And while the soldiers who 
either bivouacked or occupied tents and temporary huts, 
constructed of branches of trees, on its banks partook around 
their camp fires of their evening meal before retiring to rest, 
the knights assembled in the banqueting hall of the Castle to 
pass the evening in convivality and social mirth. Here 
Edward presided at the festive board, dispensed his hospi- 
tality to his nobles, and listened while the wine cup went 


round, to the minstrels who strung their harps and sang of 
love, chivalry, and war." The support of so vast an army in 
so inhospitable a region as the forests of Leonach and 
Lochindorb must have been a matter of no small difficulty, 
and the neighbouring districts were requisitioned for provi- 
sions. The Sheriff of Nairn is able to send up to Edward 
26 cattle, 26 sheep, and 40 pigs, and similar droves were 
despatched from Inverness, Elgin, and Dingwall. 

Edward found his position at Lochindorb convenient for 
despatching troops in all directions. The Castles of Elgin, 
Forres, and Nairn, were again taken possession of by English 
troops in their march forward. Inverness Castle was also 
garrisoned anew. Urquhart Castle was next besieged, and 
it offered a determined defence under a gallant scion of the 
family of Bosco or Wood of Redcastle, but after holding out 
for several weeks, the brave garrison were put to the sword 
- the only one of all the besieged who was not slain being 
the wife of the commander, who contrived to make her 
escape disguised as a servant. Having brought the north 
country under subjection, Edward took his departure from 
Lochindorb on 4th October, having spent a fortnight there, 
and twenty-nine days altogether in Moray. 

The English troops, however, were not allowed to have it 
all their own way. While they were engaged reducing the 
Castle of Cromarty, which used to be under the command of 
the governor of the Castle of Nairn, a raid of the insurgents 
was made upon Nairn. Sir Climes of Ross, who figured 
shortly before in an attack on some English troops crossing 
the Stockford, is the hero of the taking of the Castle of Nairn. 
It was an evening in autumn. The burghers were about 
retiring to rest, when the sound of a troop of cavalry dashing 
down the High Street broke the stillness of the night and 


drew the inhabitants to their doors. These were no belated 
travellers making for the ford, for on reaching the top of the 
Redhill, as the Brae was called, the horsemen wheeled round 
and fronted the Castle. Each horseman dismounted, and 
having made his horse fast to the palissade, formed into line. 
Sir Climes of Ross (a Eraser, it is believed), Sir John Ranis- 
dean, his kinsman Sir Alexander Eraser, Lord of Philorth, 
and a warrior named Rowan, without a moment's parley, 
made a dash for the drawbridge. A trooper seized an oil 
lamp from the hand of a burgher who had come trembling on 
the scene, and declaring that they wanted a little more light, 
cast the burning oil rag on the thatched roof of an adjoining 
cottage, and in the midst of the glare and smoke of the 
blazing thatch, a fierce fight, with sword and spear hand-to- 
hand, ensued. The governor of the Castle and his English 
soldiers made a spirited defence, but they were no match for 
these redoubtable knights and their companions-at-arms. 
Sir Climes laid the governor low with a stroke from his 
broadsword, and his men took the Castle in a rush, over- 
powering and killing many of the guards. 

Blind Harry, in recording the episode, says that " the 
'good house of Nairn' that night was well taken, and its 
captain and many strong men slain." Wallace himself came 
north in the end. of the year 1304. If the Castle of Nairn 
remained in the hands of his followers it is possible he 
visited Nairn at that time. The " Wallace Butts and 
Crookedales " is a description of some property in the 
Burgh of Nairn in charters of the seventeenth century, 
but no tradition has come down as to the origin of the name. 
Wallace appears to have crossed the firth at Ardersier, and 
by a stratagem overcame a strong body of English troops at 
a hollow about four miles south of Cromarty, which retains 


the name of Wallack Slack or ravine. The little wooded 
eminence, visible from the coast at Nairn, which terminates 
towards the east in an abrupt cliff that overhangs the sea, 
and slopes away to the west in a marshy hollow, marks the 
spot. Hugh Miller describes the incident in his "Scenes 
and Legends." Wallace had laid an ambuscade for a body 
of English troops going to join another body at Easter 
Eoss, and completely vanquished them. He then relieved 
William de Monte Alto, who had held out bravely with 
only forty men for some time. But the tide in the 
fortunes of Wallace about this time turned. He is said 
by tradition to have had to seek refuge in one of the 
caves of Cromarty, within a short distance of his brilliant 
exploit. It was the beginning of his fugitive life, which 
ended in his capture and his being sent a prisoner to London, 
and executed with horrible atrocities. Edward appointed 
new officers for the government of the North. William 
Wiseman was made Sheriff of Elgin ; and Alexander 
Wiseman was made Sheriff of Torres and Nairn. John 
Stirling of Moravia was rewarded with the Sheriffship of 
Inverness, and William de Monte Alto, having made his 
peace with Edward, was reinstated in the Sheriffdom of 

These arrangements were shortly overturned by Bruce 
taking the field as the rightful King of the Scots. Moray 
declared unhesitatingly for Bruce. The Knight of Petty 
was again on his side. He was married to Bruce's sister 
and a kinsman of his, who was Bishop 'of Moray and had 
been minister of Bothwell, put himself at the head of the 
movement in favour of Bruce in the North. The Morays 
or Moravias of Culbin, Hay of Lochloy, Fenton of Beauford, 
William de Delias, whose family afterwards acquired Cantray- 


in Nairnshire, and several of the clergy of the Province 
warmly took up Bruce's cause. Sir Eeginald le Chien, the 
Earl of Eoss, and the Earl of Sutherland alone among the 
great magnates of the north remained true to Edward. 
Edward sent another army into Scotland with the usual 
result, that many nobles made submission, and asked for the 
estates of their neighbours who had become fugitives, but on 
its withdrawal insurrection again broke out. The death of 
Edward on the eve of leading in person his third army into 
Scotland, and the overthrow of the English army by Bruce 
at Bannockburn a few years after, brought to a close a period 
of internecine warfare, and re-established the Independence 
of Scotland. 



THE Roman Catholic Church, which supplanted the old Celtic 
Church, attained to a position of great magnificence in 
Moray. Fostered by the care of William the Lion and his 
successors, Alexander II. and Alexander III., it had also 
munificent benefactors in the Anglo-Norman families who 
had settled in the district. The Cathedral Church at Elgin 
was " the mirror of the land and the glory of the Kingdom," 
according to one of its Bishops. The Abbey of Kinloss, 
founded in 1150, was on a scale of great grandeur. Its 
mitred Abbot had a seat in Parliament, and on three 
occasions entertained within its walls the Sovereign and 
Royal Court with princely hospitality. The ruins of the 
Priory of Pluscarden still testify to the remarkable 
character of its original foundation. In addition to these 
three great religious establishments, there were several 
others of minor importance. It happens that none of 
these ecclesiastical institutions were situated within the 
bounds of Nairnshire, but the greater portion of its lands 
were devoted to their support. The County of Nairn might 
really have been designated the Church's Glebe, so large 
was the extent of the lands given over to it. 

The new Church does not appear to have come into any 
violent collision with the older Celtic institution in Moray. 
On the contrary, the names of the popularly-revered patron 
saints of the Columban Church are mostly retained and 


others added. The scanty endowments of the early Church 
were doubtless appropriated when the native clergy were 
superseded. There is one instance of kindly dealing with a 
recluse known as " John the Hermit," probably a survivor of 
the Culdees. The scene of his ministrations was in the 
remote region of Dunlichty in Strathnairn. John the Hermit 
appears to have been a man of remarkable character, and 
William the Lion on his first visit to the North hears some- 
thing of him, and instructs Simon, Bishop of Moray, to give 
him the island which is " in the Lake of Lunnin at the east, 
and half-an-oxgate of land in Daldauch," and on a subsequent 
visit King William, when Richard, his own chaplain, was 
Bishop of Moray, confirmed the gift by charter to John the 
Hermit. " Lunnin " is supposed to be Dunlichty, some- 
times it is called Lunlichty, but there is no island in the 
loch now. The Gaelic place-name, however, supplies re- 
markable confirmation of the supposition of Dunlichty 
having been the scene of John the Hermit's insular abode. 
The loch is known as " The Loch of the Church." There are 
frequent references to a Hermit's Croft in Ardclach in 
the Chartulary of Moray. It usually comes after Achagour 
in the list of places belonging to the Church in Ardclach, 
and is probably Daltra, the old form of which name is 
Daldarach (The Oak Wood). 

The diocese of Moray included the shires of Elgin, Torres, 
and Nairn, and extended over a large portion of the counties 
of Inverness and Banff. Along the coast, it stretched frem the 
Spey to the river Beauly. The Bishopric was probably 
founded in the reign of Alexander I., about 1122. When 
William the Lion came to Moray on his second visit his old 
friend Richard was Bishop of the diocese, and he be- 
friended his saintly instructor in many ways, enforcing his 


badly paid dues, granting him a tithe of the fines and escheats 
falling to the Crown, and giving him tofts of land in each of 
the burghs of Moray, excepting Nairn, in lieu of which he 
gave him a "toft" in Auldearn. Nairn was exempted on 
this occasion, for the reason that the Bishop had just parted 
with very considerable possessions in the Burgh of Nairn to 
King "William who wanted the ground for building or 
enlarging the Castle of Nairn. The wording of the writ of 
excambion seems to imply that previous to this exchange 
the lands of the Burgh of Nairn as well as of the Castle 
belonged to the Church. 

Bishop Richard was succeeded by Bricius, a Douglas, 
who had been Prior of Lesmahagow. He owed his promotion 
to this post to the influence of the family of de Moravia, and 
was probably related to them. The Cathedral Church prior 
to his time was sometimes at Birnie, Spynie, or Kimiedor 
indifferently, but he got it fixed at Spynie. He gave to the 
Cathedral a constitution founded on the " usage of Lincoln," 
and instituted a chapter of eight canons. He had five brothers, 
whom he settled in the district, and the rise of the great 
house of Douglas in Scotland is attributed to this connection. 
Andrew de Moravia, his successor, was a son of Hugh de 
Moravia, Lord of Duffus, who procured from his relatives of 
Duffus and Petty some munificent gifts for the Church. It 
was he who built the Cathedral Church at Elgin, and increased 
the number of canons from eight to twenty-three. King 
Alexander II. made the Church a gift of the lands of Kil- 
druinmie, along with tithes of the feu duties paid by the 
Crown tenants in Nairnshire. The lands of Coulmony and 
Daltulich were also assigned to the Church at an early date. 
The next Bishop of note was David de Moravia. He also 
owed his promotion to the Moravias of Petty, having been 


their minister at Bothwell, and probably a relative. He was 
both priest and warrior, and, as formerly mentioned, warmly 
espoused the cause of Bruce. He was accused by Edward of 
haranguing crowds and inciting them to throw off the English 
yoke and declare for Bruce. His patriotism, however, would 
have increased rather than diminished his popularity in 
Moray and Nairn. 

The Bishops of Moray drew revenues from Ferness, Lethen, 
Daldauch, Dunlichty, and Logie (or Tullydivie in Edinkillie). 

Auldearn was the most important parish from an ecclesias- 
tical point of view. The benefice was an exceedingly rich 
one, probably due to early benefactions of William the Lion, 
who possessed the lands of Auldearn. It was the benefice of 
the Dean of Moray. The Dean was a very great Church 
dignitary, and was provided with a house with garden of four 
acres in Elgin, where he resided, merely visiting Auldearn 
at such times as suited his convenience, and drawing the 
revenues of its lands. The lands of Penick, near Auld- 
earn, were at a very early period devoted to the Church. 
They appear to have belonged originally to the Priory 
of Urquhart, then to the Priory of Pluscardine, and 
latterly to the Deanery of Moray. A house of more than 
ordinary dimensions existed at Penick, and became the 
country seat of some of the later Deans. It was at one 
time known as the House of Penick and latterly as Penick 
Castle, and was ranked as one of the manor houses of the 
district. It is described as having been three stories high. 
The ruins of the old place have only recently disappeared, and 
tin avenue of stately trees leading up to its site still 
exists. The present Church of Auldearn no doubt occupies 
the original site of the ecclesiastical edifice. The Dean had 
a sub-dean, whose income was derived from the altarage of 


Auldearn, with the Chapel of Nairn and the Church and 
parish of Dallas (which latter was worth five chalders two 
bolls). The value placed upon the vicarage of Auldearn in 
the year 1561 is 40, which would be derived from dues and 
gratuities. The following is given as the Dean's rental in 
the year 1561 Mekill Penick set for 2 chalders, 14 bolls ; 
Little Penick 1 chalder, 14 bolls ; Golford set to the Sheriff 
for 2 chalders, 13 bolls 2 firlots ; Moyness set to the Sheriff 
for 2 chalders, 10 bolls, 3 firlots ; Lethenbar (1 chalder), by 
the rental 24 bolls, 2 firlots ; Brightmony 2 chalders ; Kin- 
steary 3 chalders ; Broadland 1 chalder, 1 boll ; Kinnudie 1 
chalder, 1 boll ; Petquhy win 8 bolls ; Park (auld) 3 chalders ; 
Easter Geddes 2 chalders, 8 bolls ; Wester Geddes 14 bolls ; 
Nairn set for 3 chalders, 11 bolls ; Bothill set for 4 bolls. 
The sum total of the victual, 31 chalders, 5 bolls, &c. For 
the merts (cattle) 26s 8d. Tiends set for money 114 13s 4d. 
Temporal land rents 14 Os lOd. Wedders, " callit kayne 
wedderis," five score and ten. Oats 6 bolls ; capons 24. In 
a later return namely, at the time of the Keformation the 
lands of Foynesfield appear as part of the Deanery lands and 
were let for 3 13s 4d, a quarter mairt, 2 bolls of dry multure, 
2 bolls of custom oats, and 2 horse days' work in harvest. 
There was at that time " ane great stone house biggit upon 
the lands of Bothill," which was set separately for 6s 4d ; 
and there was also " a great new stone house " on the lands 
of Boathill, which, with a fourth part of the town and lands 
of Little Penick and brewlands thereof in the barony of 
Penick and regality of Spynie," set for 5 12s 2d. Also 
" three fourth parts of the town and lands of Penick set 
for 3 13s 4d" with various custom gratuities. The Dean 
of Moray, as things went, was thus pretty well provided 


The Dean was the greatest of all the clergy within the 
Cathedral. Even the Bishop, though supreme in the rest of 
the diocese, had to give place to him there. The reverence 
due to the Dean was thus laid down for the guidance of the 
clergy of Moray All persons, members of the choir, great 
and small, shall bow to him in his stall on entering or leaving 
church. None of the choir, great or small, must be absent 
from the city a single night without his leave. When he 
enters or passes through the choir or chapter house all 
members of the choir are bound to rise. Service shall not 
commence before his coming or message of his not coming. 

In the troublous times of the War of Independence, Walter 
Herok, Dean of Moray, appears to have lost his fruitful 
heritage for a time, and Edward I. on his supplication directs 
a writ from Berwick to the Sheriff of Nairn ordaining him to 
restore his lands to the unfortunate Dean. The Vicarage 
of Auldearn was not the only place of worship in the 
parish. As formerly noticed, there are the remains of 
a little chapel or oratory at Lochloy. The Castle of 
Moyness also had its private chapel. At Easter Clune 
the site of a Catholic Chapel is still marked, and the place 
is known as the Chapelfield. 

A chapel, dedicated to Saint Mnian, existed at Foynesfield, 
and St. Mnian's Well, just within the dyke of Bognafuran 
at the road leading to the Park, enjoyed great celebrity. 
The Chapel was known by the Gaelic form of St. Ninian's, 
name, viz., St. Eingan, and the place is called "Kingan" 
by the Gaelic-speaking people to this day. A clump of 
ash trees alone remain to mark the site of the ecclesiastical 
settlement. The dedication of the Burgh of Nairn is 
also to St. Ninian, and the Burgh seal shows a figure 
of the saint in proper habit, holding in his right hand 


a cross fitche'e, and in his left an open book. There was 
a St. Mnian's chapel at Culbin, and an altarage of St. 
Ninian at Elgin Cathedral, which latter had an endowment 
of lands in Nairnshire. The pre-eminence of the name of 
the Galloway Saint in this district is certainly remarkable. 
A possible explanation might be that the family of 
Moravia who had been connected with the district which 
had been the scene of St. Ninian's labours, had brought with 
them the name and fame of the great missionary of the 
Southern Church, and when these free chapels were 
erected, they dedicated some of them to him. It is more 
probable, however, that the St. Mnian cult was due to the 
influence of the Abbey of Fearn, situate on the north side of 
the Moray Firth, directly opposite Nairn. An interesting 
notice of the founding of this Abbey is preserved by an old 
chronicler. It is stated that the first Earl of Eoss, called 
Farquhar Macintagart, made a vow to God if he overcame 
a famous Norman wrestler, named Dougall Duncanson, never 
before vanquished, "as God gave him the victory, that he 
should found an Abbey of the first religious men that he 
should happen to meet after his victory, within the Earldom 
of Ross." The wrestling match took place in presence of 
Edward I. of England and Alexander II. of Scotland and 
their courts. The Celtic Chief of Eoss obtained the victory 
over the Norman wrestler. Immediately after, " he chanced 
to meet with two ' white canons ' of Galloway, one called 
Malcolm with another brother, having certain of St. Mnian's 
relics with then, which Malcolm, with his brother, the said 
Earl brought with him into Eoss and founded an Abbey 
of that order and religion at Fame, beside Kincardin in 
Stracharrin where the situation thereof yet does appear 
whereof the said Malcolm was Abbot fifteen years and there 


he deceased and was buried there, who was holden after his 
death among the people as a saint." This story is quite 
consistent with historical facts. Farquhar Macintagart, who 
fought so bravely for William the Lion in Easter Eoss, and 
brought the head of Macwilliam, the Celtic claimant, to 
Alexander II., was employed by the King in his wars in 
Galloway and he accompanied him to London. The 
"Calendar of Fearn" is preserved at Dunrobin, and is a 
folio of vellum consisting of six leaves written on both 
sides. It bears no date, but Dr. Joass thinks it belongs 
probably to the close of the fifteenth century. It is in some 
parts written over by a later hand with various entries and 
memoranda of a local and personal character. At the foot 
of page 1 the following weather prophecy occurs 

"Giff Sanct Paul's day be fair and clear, 
Then shall be ane happy year, 
Giff it chancss to snaw or rain 
Then shall dew all kind of grain, 
And giff the wind do fly on loft 
Than war shall vex your country aft, 
And giff the clouds make dark the sky 
Baithe nowte and fowl that year shall die." 

Saint Paul's day is the 30th of June, and the rhyming 
prophecy of the old monk was no doubt well known in the 

Keith in his " Scottish Bishops " states that the Abbey of 
Fearn was founded by Ferquhard, the first Earl of Koss, in 
the reign of Alexander II. Forbes in his " Calendar of 
Scottish Saints," says the Abbey was founded about 1230 A.D. 
in the parish of Eddertown as daughter-house of the 
Praemonstratensian establishment at Whithorn, Malcolm 
of Galloway being the first Abbot. In the presidency of 
his successor Malcolm of Nigg, in consequence of the 


ferocity of the inhabitants, it was moved to another site 
12 miles S.E. from the first, when it came to be called 
Nova Farina or Nova Fernia. Twenty-one abbots presided 
over it whose names are still known, of whom the most 
remarkable was Finlay M'Fead, who died in 1485 and 
Donald Dunoon, a man of great learning who succeeded to 
Patrick Hamilton and died in 1540. The noble youth 
Patrick Hamilton was Abbot of Fearn, and was the first 
Scottish martyr at the dawn of the Keformation he was 
burnt at the gate of St. Salvator's College in St. Andrew's 
in the year 1527. Part of the ruins of the Abbey are still 
standing. It was the scene of a terrible catastrophe. The 
Abbey Church after the Eeformation was used for service 
until Sunday, the 10th October, 1742, when the roof fell 
down upon the congregation. The gentry, it appears, had 
seats in the niches and so were saved, and the minister 
David Ross, was protected by the sounding board, but vast 
numbers it is recorded " were wounded and forty were dug 
out whose bodies were so smashed and disfigured as that 
they could hardly be known, so that they were buried 
promiscuously without ceremony." The influence of the 
Abbey is clearly traceable in the dedications to St. Ninian at 
Fortrose, Kiltearn, Eosskeen, Urquhart, and Navidale in 
Sutherland, besides those already mentioned in Nairn and 
its neighbourhood. The lands of Delnies and Ardersier 
belonged to the Bishop of Ross, and the town and county 
of Nairn formed part of the Earldom of Ross for a consider- 
able period of time. There is thus very strong probability 
that the St. Ninian dedications in Nairn are due to the old 
Abbey of Fearn. 

An example of how lands came to be the Church's property 
is afforded in the case of Brightmony and Kinsteary. These 


lands were the property of Eobert de Lauder of Quarrelwood 
{now Quarry wood), near Elgin, and he by deed assigned an 
endowment out of Brightmony and Kinsteary with the mills 
and brewhouse of Auldearn, to the chapel and altar of St. 
Peter in Elgin Cathedral. Sir Eobert Lauder was a son of 
Lauder, Justiciary of the Lothians, and came north on mili- 
tary service to King David Bruce. A daughter brought 
as her marriage portion this little property in Nairnshire to 
the Chisholms, from whom it descended in like manner to 
the Sutherlands. The priest was enjoined to perform per- 
petually masses for the soul of the donor himself, the souls 
of his ancestors and successors, and in particular for the 
soul of his dear friend Hugh, Earl of Eoss. The charter 
is dated 1362. 

John Hay of Tullybothil founded a chapel at Kincraggie 
out of his lands of Lochloy, the house of Wester Eaite, and 
certain lands and pasturage. The charter is dated at Eaite 
in 1374. There is no " Kincraggie " in Nairnshire, but 
Craggie was a well-known possession which lay adjacent to 
and was generally included in the estates of Knockoudie and 
Park which belonged to the Hays of Lochloy and Tullybothil 
from a very early date. The name still occurs in the 
Valuation Eoll, though these places have been united into 
one farm. The site of the chapel was in all probability 
.at the head or high ground where the streamlet known 
as the Craggie Burn takes its rise. The chapel was dedi- 
cated to St. Mary, and the priest's duty was to say 
masses for the soul of Sir John himself, and the souls of 
his ancestors and successors. Sir John Hay was Sheriff of 
Inverness at the time he made this grant. He grants an 
annuity of four pounds usual money out of the lands of 
Lochloy, the one half to be paid at the Feast of Pentecost 


and the other at Martinmas, with two acres of land and 
the mansion in the town of "Wester Eait, with pasture in the 
same town for twelve cows and a bull, sixty sheep, and 
liberty of pasturing horses on the common pasturage no 
doubt the common on the Hill of the Ord adjacent. 

This was not the only connection Kaite had with the Church 
of Moray. In a charter by William the Lion to his beloved 
Kichard, in which he granted him, among other subjects, the 
Church of Auldearn with the Chapel of Nairn, the Chapel of 
Kaite is included, and it is mentioned in a subsequent charter 
of William's, along with the Chapel of Moyness. King 
Alexander II. confirmed to Andrew, Bishop of Moray, in 
1226, his right to various subjects in Kothiemurchus, Darna- 
way, Logie, and other places on the Findhorn, and to thirty 
acres " in Whitefield afe Bathe." A doubt may exist whether 
in this instance the chapel of Kaite in Badenoch may not be 
intended, but in the canonical statute a few years later 
assigning the benefices, it is stated the Dean of Moray is to 
have the lands and Church of Auldearn and Nairn, excepting, 
the half-davach of land at Kaite which belongs to the Epis- 
copate of Moray as a table pertinent. A davach was equal 
to what could be ploughed by a pair of oxen, and half-a- 
davach of land appears to have been the extent usually 
assigned to the brethren of the old Celtic Church. It is- 
incidentally mentioned in a Kilravock charter that the 
Chapel of Kaite was called the Hermit's Chapel, though 
re-dedicated to the Virgin. 

Within a short distance of Kaite was the Chapel of Geddes, 
said to have been built in 1220 by Kose of Kilravock, whose 
first possession was Easter Geddes. It was dedicated to the 
Holy Virgin. The oldest charter of the chapel extant bears 
the date 1473, and was then granted to Hugh Kose. It had 


an endowment of five pounds, together with a small croft or 
glebe on which to erect a manse. In return for the profits 
of his office, the priest was bound to offer prayers as usual 
for the soul of the founder, and the souls of his predecessors 
and successors. For some time previous to this endowment, 
service was performed by the vicar of the neighbouring 
parish of Dalcross, which was a living depending on the 
Priory of Urquhart, and a regular agreement was entered 
into in 1343 between the Prior of Urquhart and the Baron 
of Kilravock that the vicar should officiate on certain con- 
ditions specified. This economical arrangement does not 
appear to have been successful, as the Papal interest 
had to be enlisted on behalf of the chapel, and Pope 
Sextus IV. in the year 1475 issued a bull granting a discharge 
of one hundred days' penance to all who visited the chapel 
on specified festival days, and gave donations of a certain 
amount for the good of the chapel. 

The name of Geddes is supposed to have been derived from 
Gildas, a British saint, who lived in the sixth century. The 
name is very ancient, as it is found in deeds early in the thir- 
teenth century, and had then lost its original association, as 
is shown by its commonplace division into "Easter" and 
" Wester" Geddes. The indications point rather to there 
having been an early Columban cell either here or at Kaite, 
and the Celtic name of the hermit has become unrecognisable 
in its form of "Geddes." A fair is held at Geddes on or 
about the 5th April. Like St. Colm's market at Auldearn, 
it was frequented from far and near, and retained one trace of 
its origin as a church festival in respect that it was held 
within the precincts of the Church. The churchyard up to 
recent years was actually the site of the market, and the 
vendors of miscellaneous wares utilised the tomb-stones for 


tables, and the whisky sellers handed round glasses to their 
customers as they sat on the headstones of the graves of their 
forefathers. This desecration was put a stop to only within 
a few years ago. A memorandum is preserved at Cawdor 
Castle of purchases made at the " fair at the kirk of Geddes," 
about the year 1590, by the Thane of Cawdor 's steward. It 
includes purchases of eggs and cakes, ticking at 4s 6d the ell, 
a salmon for 7s, a comb, price Is, butter, tallow, black and 
white thread, needles, a pair of cards, and two black 
bridles. The name of the fair does not throw any 
light on its origin. It is sometimes called by Gaelic- 
speaking people "Lady Fair," but more generally Geddes 
market. As it is situated within the parish of Nairn, the 
authorities of the Burgh of Nairn, according to entries in 
their records of the seventeenth century, used to exercise 
police supervision of it which appears to have been much 
needed, as it had a bad reputation for disorderliness. The 
market is still held, confined to the village green and its 
approaches, but it has greatly declined. Bands of gipsies, in 
whose calendar it has from time immemorial been a gathering 
place, still regularly resort to it. 

The surname Geddes appears in Peebleshire at an early 
date. The Geddeses of Eachan, alleged to be the chiefs of the 
name, came into notice as proprietors there in the beginning 
of the fifteenth century. They endowed a chapel or altar in 
St. Andrew's Church, Peebles, which they designated the 
" Chapel of St. Mary del Geddes." 

At Little Urchany, about a mile distant from Geddes, are 
the remains of another church-yard and site of a chapel. 
Nothing is known of its history, save that in 1421, Henry, 
Bishop of Moray, gave (for a feu-duty of 13s 6d) to that 
"noble man, Henry Calder, Thane of that Ilk, our whole 


land of Little Urchany with its pertinents, lying in the 
Barony of Ferness," in consideration " of his advantage and 
support to us and our beloved Church." 

The most interesting chapel of the Catholic period in 
Nairnshire is that of St. Ewen (or Adamnan) at Barevan. 
The old fabric, though a roofless ruin, forms a very striking 
object on a platform of the high ground two miles behind 
Cawdor. The walls of the old church are, for the most part, 
still intact. They enclose a space of about 70 feet by 20 
feet. There is a piscina under an arch at the south side where 
the altar stood. The architecture of the windows and design 
generally "is that of a Gothic chapel of the First Pointed 
style without cusp, but there are apparently later and 
older portions." Some of the windows bear a close resem- 
blance to those occurring at Eait Castle. One window on 
the south of the choir is formed from the top of the arches 
and mullion of a single stone. It has been a double lancet 
outside- and semi-circular arched inside. A good many of 
the dressed stones have been taken away. The occurrence 
of numerous cup-markings on the stones within the chapel 
and its precincts, particularly on the curious row of slabs 
across the church where the choir and nave joined, has 
been already adverted to. Outside the chapel, on the north 
side of the churchyard, there is a stone coffin cut out of a 
block of the yellowish sandstone of the district, 6 feet long 
and 2 feet 8 inches in breadth vat the top, tapering to 1 J 
inches at the foot, with a circular space for the head con- 
tracted at the neck. It is said to have been used as a place 
of penance for ecclesiastical offenders. A rounded ball 
of reddish granite, 19 inches by 17 inches in diameter, and 
weighing 18 imperial stones, lies near the entrance to the 
chapel. According to tradition it was the " putting stone " 


of the neighbouring clachan, but it takes a strong man of the 
present day to lift it. 

Service ceased to be observed at Bare van after 1619 when 
the Parish Church of Cawdor was built. The prebend of 
Cawdor was applied to the common expenses of the Cathedral 
at Elgin, such as providing wax candles, &c. Hence the 
designation of Common Church. A portion of the land was, 
however, reserved for the support of the deacon or vicar who 
ministered in the Church of Ewen, when it was f eued to Walter 
de Moravia in 1239, along with the lands of Budgate. In 
1541, the church lands of Ewen and Dalquharne, with the 
brewhouse thereof, were feued to Hose of Holme for 9 11s 4d. 
The latter place is still retained by Holme Eose, while the 
other lands now form part of the Cawdor possessions. The 
hill to the south-west is known as Drumournie, or the 
" Hill of Prayer," an appropriate background for a religious 

To the south, at Daless in the Streens, on the Findhorn, 
was a Chapel of Ease, as it was called, which had a small 
glebe and the site of the chapel is still marked. It was 
disused after the Reformation. 

The churches and parishes of Croy and Dunlichty were 
assigned to the Bishop's vicar. The parsonage tithes of Petty 
and Bracholy were given to one of Bishop Andrew's canons, 
who employed a deacon. Daviot and Dyke, like Cawdor, 
were mensal or common churches. Private chapels existed 
at Cawdor and Kilravock Castles, and for permission to 
establish them a payment had to be made to the Bishop. 
St. Dorothy's Chapel at Clava, and the ecclesiastical site at 
Chapeltown of Kilravock have been already referred to. 
There appear to have been many other small places of wor- 
ship of which no notice has been preserved, an instance of 


which was the chapel at Galcantray discovered a few years 
ago by the farmer in reclaiming some land. 

Ardclach was not erected into a parish till a pretty late 
date, but the lands now comprised in the parish were included 
either in the barony of Ferness or Ardclach. A chapel 
existed at Lethen, and there were chapels at Logie, Altyre, 
and other places on the south side of the Findhorn. The 
Church's lands included Fleenasmore ; the lands of Ferness 
with fishing on the Findhorn ; the croft of Ferness ; the 
lands of Coulmony and Aitnoch ; Belivat, with the wood 
of Killinglair ; Torlocht ; Auchagour, with forest and fishing 
of the Findhorn ; the lands of Ardclach, with the fishing on 
the Findhorn, and the wood of Dalvening, and mill and brew- 
house of Ardclach ; the Hermit's Croft, and Daldareth. 
Among the lands on the south side of the Findhorn were 
Dallasbroughty, Cullernie, Logie, and Airdrie. In the low 
country, Kildrummie, Croy, Little Budgate and Little 
Urchany also belonged to the Church. The lands of Mid- 
Fleenas were devoted by some pious churchman to the 
chaplainries of St. James and St. Mnian, yielding 12 a 
year for that purpose. Many of these lands were feued out 
in perpetuity or sold for a substantial sum with a small 
reddendo. At the Eeformation the Bishop's lands were 
valued at 98 12s 3d with certain payments in kind, having 
been diminished to this extent by the land transactions of 
successive Bishops. In addition to the vast estates which 
belonged to the Church, the produce of the whole land was 
tithed. The tenth sheaf of corn was taken up by the 
Bishop's servants before the crop was removed from the 
harvest field and stored in granges. The vicar claimed 
tithes of the stock, lambs, calves, and dairy and garden 
produce. As a rule, he was but the collector of these for 


his canonical brethren in the Cathedral Church, he himself 
having merely a small salary. When a death occurred, the 
vicar took the best cow. When a baby was born, he took 
the coverlet of the bed. When the child was baptised, or 
the young man or maiden confirmed, he was entitled to make 
further demands for payments in kind or cash. 

The Episcopate of Moray was not the only ecclesias- 
tical body which drew support from Nairnshire. The Abbey 
of Kinloss had a small endowment, namely, six roods of land 
at Newton lying beside the burgh of Nairn, called " our 
Ladyland of Kinloss." The Priory of Pluscardine held the 
" town and lands of Fornighty with the brewhouse thereof," 
set to Falconar of Halkerton for 6 13s 4d, with the carriage 
of four horse and their leaders for leading peats, failing which r 
6s 8d for each horse. Another condition of the set of 
Fornighty was " And furnishing to the King's wars ane 

The Hospital of St. Nicholas, which had its house at the 
Boat of Bridge on the bank of the Spey, drew four marks 
yearly from the Mill of Invernairn a gift from King 
Alexander II. This hospital was one of the earliest 
organised forms of charity. When some poor wayfarer 
arrived at the ford or ferry at Spey he was received 
into the friendly hospice, and lodged and fed for a day or 
two. The Master of the Hospital, who drew the four merks 
from the Mill of Nairn, sold the endowment in 1471 to the 
Thane of Cawdor for an annual reddendo of 40s. 

The Knight Templars had considerable possessions in the 
County of Nairn in 1296. There is a writ extant granted in 
their favour at Berwick, addressed to the Sheriff of Invernairn 
to put them in possession of their lands, they having made 
submission to Edward I. This was no doubt done. From 


the deed of conveyance of the Temple lands in the North 
from Lord Torpichen, the last Master of the Order, it 
appears that the following were the lands held here " Those 
two roods of arable land lying within the territory of the 
Burgh of Nairn, in that part thereof called [left blank, 
provokingly !] possessed by John Eose, burgess of Nairn, and 
Ms sub-tenants ; those two roods of arable temple land and 
house lying within the said territory of Nairn, possessed by 
Hew Eose of Kilravock and his sub-tenants ; all and haill 
those our temple lands called the lands of Pitfundie lying in 
the said Sheriffdom of Nairn, betwixt the strype that conies 
from the lands of Brodie on the east, the fludder or myre 
upon the south side of the common muir called the Hard- 
niuir on the south side, the lands of Penick and wood of 
Lochlo;y on the west, and the Euchcarse of Culbyn on the 
north, for the most part possessed by the lairds of Brodie, 
and their sub- tenants." They had also lands at Ardersier, 
which are designated in old charters as Temple Land, Temple 
Cruik, Temple Bank, Bogschand. They lay partly in the 
vicinity of the town of Ardersier, between Connage and the 
sea, and between Flemington and the sea. A charter 
granted at Nairn refers to the locus trialis at Ardersier, 
doubtless an ancient place of trial by " wager of battle." 
The Temple lands of Ardersier were held by Davidsons and 
Mackays as portioners. They were acquired by Cawdor in 
1626. The Temple lands at Brodie and elsewhere appear 
to have been disposed of about the same time, as in a Brodiv , 
charter of date 1626 the lands of Pitfundie are included in 
the Brodie estate. The Templars were a religious and 
military order of Knights who escorted pilgrims to Jerusalem 
at a time when such pilgrimages were attended by dangers 
from robbers. They wore a white robe with a red Maltese 


cross on the breast, and at first were all of noble birth, 
The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem also had lands in 
Nairnshire. It is impossible now to identify them. When 
the Knights Templars were suppressed by Edward II. their 
property was given to the Knights of St. John. 

What had not been assigned of the lands of Ardersier to the 
Templars, belonged to the Bishop of Eoss. He also had the 
lands of Delnies to increase his revenues. The See of Moray 
disputed the right of jurisdiction by the See of Eoss over 
these lands, but in 1226 the dispute was settled by the 
Bishop of Eoss agreeing to give an annual donation of a 
stone of wax to Elgin Cathedral as an acknowledgment of its- 
superiority. The Bishop of Eoss's lands in Ardersier were 
acquired by Cawdor in 1574, and a small sum is still paid by 
Lord Cawdor to the Crown as Bishop's rent. 

The Abbey of Arbroath drew revenues from the 
Burghs of Nairn and Inverness. The Nairn endowment 
consisted of lands lying to the west of Millbank between the 
Kildrummie road and the river. The revenues from Inver- 
ness were of considerable amount. The payments were 
frequently in dispute between the Abbot of Arbroath and 
the magistrates of Inverness, backed by the Bishop of Moray, 
On one occasion at least, the Inverness Burgh paid its- 
dues to Arbroath in the form of barrels of salt herrings. 
The Abbey of Arbroath was founded in honour of Saint 
Thomas A'Beckett, the fashionable saint of the days of 
William the Lion, and had some thirty parishes given to it 
for its support. The Church at Nairn was dedicated to St. 

The Holy Eood Kirk of Nairn which stood near the 
Constabulary Garden, had an altarage to St. Modan, with a 
small endowment. 


The golden period of the Church's history was during the 
reigns of Alexanders II. and III. The presence of so large a 
"body of ecclesiastics in the Province of Moray, educated 
men who had seen the world and were abreast of the highest 
culture and learning of the time in this country and on the 
Continent, must have had a considerable influence on the 
social life and manners of the time. During the earlier 
years they were devoted to their Church, and appear to 
have been zealous and diligent in the discharge of their 
functions. In the testing time of the War of Independence, 
Kobert Wischart, Bishop of Glasgow, and Bishop Andrew of 
Moray stood true to Scotland, when many of its lay sons 
succumbed to the temptation of English gold and English 
largesses. They inspired and led the patriotism of the people. 
When the beautiful Cathedral of Elgin was burned, the 
canons showed a praiseworthy example in adopting a self- 
denying ordinance to devote two-thirds of their income to 
the rebuilding of the Church, whoever of them should be 
chosen bishop. They were powerful enough to befriend the 
poor against the tyranny of the barons, and to bring the 
proudest noble in the district to his knees for wrong-doing. 
The great Earl of Eoss for some mischievous act at the 
Church of Petty had humbly to sue for the Bishop's pardon, 
.and to make a grant in compensation of the estate of Cadboll. 
The Baron of Kilravock in 1596 was sent to Dumbarton 
prison for several years for waylaying the Abbot of Kinloss 
and detaining him at Kilravock. Even the Wolfe of 
Badenoch had eventually to succumb to the power of the 

Sometimes the Church crossed the line, and claimed inde- 
pendence in civil as well as spiritual matters. The extensive 
possessions of the Church being scattered up and down the 


Province, the Bishop was led to have them formed into a 
Regality of Spynie, and the Lord of Spynie administered the 
law among the tenants of the Church lands, as if he were a 
lay baron, supreme within his own jurisdiction. But one 
Bishop went much further. He attempted to enforce civil 
decreets by church censure and force. A dispute arose 
between the See of Moray and the Baron of Kilravock as to* 
their boundary at Croy and Kildrummie. The case was 
referred to a jury of arbiters, twenty-two in number, 
" evenly chosen " between the Bishop of Moray and 
the Baron of Kilravock. On the one side were the canons, 
chant or, and vicars ; on the other the neighbouring 
lairds and leading burgesses of Nairn. They sat in the 
Parish Church of Nairn. The year was 1492. After several 
meetings and much debate, the arbiters gave their award, 
ordering that " the houses biggit betwixt the kirk and the 
wood of Croy be cast down, the corn that grows in the 
ground pertaining to the said houses to be given to the poor 
men of the samen for this crop, and thereafter to be common 
pasture along with the wood of Croy to be evenly kept by a 
forester to be chosen by both parties. And, as touching the 
march betwixt Kilravock and Kildrummie, it was ordained 
that the march stone which was castin in the loch should be 
set up where it stood before and be in time coming for even 
march between the two properties." The Bishop sought 
to enforce the decreet arbitral in the ecclesiastical court, but 
the Baron appealed to the King, and the King ordered the 
Bishop to desist an order which had to be repeated ere it 
was complied with. The ground of objection to the Bishop's 
proceedings was that Kilravock held his lands of the 
King and nothing must be done to affect the interest of the 


The religious activity and life of the time centered in the 
Cathedral City of Elgin, while the intellectual and spiritual 
revivals which from time to time arose within the Church 
found expression in varied forms within it and the Abbeys and 
Priories. But it would be a mistake to suppose that the 
ordinances of religion in the prevailing form of the time were 
-awanting to the country districts. From Auldearn to Bari- 
van a distance of eight miles there was a line of chapels 
Tvithin sight of each other, and if Barevan Chapel be a fair 
example of the architectural style of the others, they must 
have formed a very picturesque feature in the valley. The 
picture of the times is a singular one. At Auldearn on St. 
Colm's Day, the people held high festival, the maidens of the 
district trooping to the village gathering, in white dresses a 
-custom kept up till the end of last century, and apparently a 
remnant of baptismal or confirmation rites. On the crest 
of the Craggie hill a solitary priest chanted masses 
night and day for the soul of Sir John Hay of Lochloy. 
Then in the midst of the hamlets which clustered on the 
patches of greensward among the obtruding gneiss knobs 
.and boulders at Foynesfield, a priest kept alive the hallowed 
memory of the great founder of the Celtic Church of the 
;South, and the people resorted to the cool spring dedicated to 
St. Kingan. The light of the Hermit's Chapel at Rait, an 
ideal site for the abode of a recluse, shone the clearer 
"because of the gloomy background of the Hill of the Ord 
.against which it is placed; while at Geddes, the penitent, 
albeit weary of his penance, sought by generous gifts to shorten 
the period of his probation. The Cawdor Valley opens up, 
and here we have a chapel on one of the spurs of Urchany, 
another in the valley below at Old Calder, and a third 
crowning the height of Barevan. 


And yet, with all its seeming attractiveness, the Church 
had its weakness and defects. While the canonical 
dignitaries lived in affluent circumstances at Elgin, the 
parish clergy who did the work in the country, starved on a 
pittance. The lands on every side of them belonged to the 
Church, but the fruits were not for them but for their 
superiors. The most frequent aspect which the Bishop or 
Dean or other dignitary presented to the people was that of 
rent gatherer or produce collector. The Prelate was to them 
but a great landowner, though possibly not a very hard land- 
lord. The exactions also of the lower ecclesiastics became very 
grievous. A spirit of worldliness appears latterly to have in- 
fected the clergy, with, it must be added, licentious and immoral 
conduct on the part of not a few. Bishop Patrick Hepburn, 
the last Bishop, professing to live a life of celibacy and purity, 
had a numerous family of sons and daughters, provision for 
whom he made by parting right and left with the Church 
lands. When the Eeformation came, the Koman Catholic 
Church in Moray and Nairn went down before the storm 
almost without a struggle and without a friend. 



THE death of Edward I. led to important changes in the 
^North. Many who had supported his interests now espoused 
the side of Bruce and the cause of Scottish nationality. A 
remarkable meeting at Auldearn a few months after Edward's 
death illustrates this. "William, Earl of Ross, and his two 
sons presented themselves at the Church of Auldearn on 8th 
October, 1308, to make their submission to King Robert 
Bruce. There were few enemies whom the King could have 
had more difficulty in forgiving than the Earl of Ross. The 
Earl had been Edward's leader in the North, holding the 
office of Guardian North of Spey. That could have been 
overlooked, for men changed sides rapidly in those days, but 
Bruce could not forget that in the darkest hour of his life, 
the Earl of Ross had treated the Queen with insult and 
contumely. While Bruce wandered as a fugitive on the 
shores of Kintyre, the Queen was forced to fly from Kil- 
drummie Castle in Aberdeenshire, and with a small escort 
.made her way to the shores of the Moray Firth, and crossing 
over by boat to Tain, took refuge in the Chapel of St. 
Duthac, a recognised sanctuary. Contrary to the custom of 
the time, the Earl of Ross with his men forcibly entered the 
*Church, dragged the Queen out, put to death her attendants 
before her eyes, and sent herself and her step-daughter 
Marjory prisoners to England, where they remained at the 
time of this meeting, not having been liberated till after the 


Battle of Bannockburn. But Bruce now accepted the Earl's 
services. He became a great favourite, and fought at 
Bruce's side on the field of Bannockburn. 

At the meeting at Auldearn at which the Earl of Ross 
made his submission, appeared Bruce's old and faithful 
friend, David, Bishop of Moray, who first set the Province 
of Moray on fire with enthusiasm for the Scottish King. A 
price had been set on his head by Edward, and the venerable 
Bishop had, like Bruce himself, many devious wanderings. 
Edward believed that David had made his escape to Norway, 
and demanded of the King of Norway instantly to seize him, 
but David during the evil days found secure concealment in 
Orkney, and now appears to witness the submission of the 
Earl of Ross and his sons. He lived for some seventeen 
years later and spent some years in France, on his death 
leaving money to build and endow a college in Paris for the 
education of his young countrymen the institution becoming 
the well-known Scots College, and old David's name as the 
founder is still to be seen in an inscription on the walls. 
The building, though no longer used as a seminary, remains 
the property of the Roman Catholic Church of Scotland. 
Another witness on the occasion was Walter Herock, the 
Dean of Moray, who, although under some obligations to 
Edward, followed his Bishop, as likewise did Cresswell, the 
sub-chantor. Wiseman, the Sheriff of Moray, was also 

The family which suffered most in the great struggle of 
the War of Independence was that of the Cumings. They 
emerge shorn entirely of their greatness. From being the 
most powerful of Scottish nobles, they sink into comparative 
insignificance, and never regain their former prestige. 
The vast estates they possessed were given to others, 


one branch of the family the descendants of the fourth son 
of the Earl of Buchan, Sir Eobert Cuming, who had been 
absent from the country during the troublous times settling 
chiefly on small properties on the banks of the Findhorn 
represented in the present day by the Cumings of Altyre 
and Dunphail in the latter case, singular enough, united 
with Bruce. 

The other families in the North were for the time over- 
shadowed by a new family that of Eandolph. Thomas 
Kandolph, Bruce's nephew, was created Earl of Moray about 
the year 1312, the old earldom, which had been in abeyance 
since the days of William the Lion, being revived in his 
favour as one of the rewards he for the services he 
had rendered to Bruce. It was no empty title, for the 
charter conferring it gave him the lands extending from the 
mouth of the Spey to the borders of Argyle and the marches 
of Eoss in fact, from sea to sea and invested him with 
supreme authority in all matters whatsoever. Thomas 
Eandolph was to all intents and purposes King of Moray, 
The Burghs of Nairn, Torres, and Elgin, which had formerly, 
held of the King, were deprived of that privilege and were 
handed over to be ruled by the new Earl of Moray. It was 
an unconstitutional proceeding to change the Burghal tenure 
from holding of the King to holding of a vassal. The proviso 
of the charter to this effect is as follows " We also will and 
grant that the Burghs and their burgesses of Elgin, Torres, 
and Invernairne have and exercise the same liberties which 
they had in the time of Lord Alexander, King of Scots, 
foresaid and in ours, reserving only this that they held of us 
without mediate, and now they hold of the said Earl (Thomas 
Eandolph) with said liberties." The burgh of Inverness is 
alone exempted. According to all accounts, the Earl of Moray 


ruled wisely and well, protecting the innocent and bringing 
the wrongdoers to judgment. He dispensed justice in his 
own court at Inverness, and when not leading the Scottish 
army in the field, or engaged in his public functions in the 
South, abode for the most part in Moray. It was he who 
built the first great Castle at Darnaway, but antiquarians 
have doubted whether the great hall known as Randolph's 
Hall can possibly be of so early a date. 

King Kobert Bruce granted a charter (which still exists at 
Cawdor Castle) to William, Thane of Cawdor, of his Thane- 
dom, in the year 1310. The charter confirms him in the 
thanedom of Cawdor in the sheriffdom of Invernairn, in feu- 
farm for payment of twelve merks sterling as was wont to 
be paid in the time of King Alexander III., and on condition 
of the Thane performing the service which used to be rendered 
therefor in the time of the said King Alexander. 

King Eobert Bruce also gave a charter to Michael, Thane 
of Brodie, about the years 1307-11, confirming him in his 
possessions as his father's heir, who (according to Shaw) was 
Malcolm, Thane of Brodie, in the reign of Alexander III., 
(which ended in 1285). This Malcolm is the first of the 
Thanes of Brodie whose name is recorded. 

About this time also, Robert Bruce knighted the Baron of 
Kilravock. Knighthood in those days was never conferred 
except for deeds of bravery, and Sir William Rose must have 
won his belt and spurs by meritorious conduct on the field 
of battle. The page of history does not record the part 
taken in the War of Independence by Cawdor, Brodie, or Kil- 
ravock, but as military service was one of the conditions of 
the ancient thaneage and knighthood the recognition of 
personal valour, it is unlikely that they remained idle at 
home when a national struggle so intense was going on. 


The dates of the two charters are a few years prior to the 
Battle of Bannockburn (1315). Bruce, it may be imagined, 
did not bestow his favours for nothing, and when so many of 
the Highland Chiefs were present at Bannockburn it would 
be strange indeed if Bruce's friends in Nairnshire did not go 
to his assistance. 

The peace established by the overthrow of the English Army 
at Bannockburn was not long maintained. On the death 
of King Kobert Bruce, Eandolph, Earl of Moray, became 
Kegent of Scotland, King David, who succeeded his father, 
being in his minority. While Kandolph lived, affairs were 
administered with a firm hand, but he died suddenly, just as 
Edward Baliol in July. 1330, at the instigation of the nobles 
who had lost their estates in Scotland, invaded the country 
with an army. The Scottish Parliament in a panic appointed 
Donald, Earl of Mar, as Eegent, but he possessed no military 
ability, and in a great battle between him and Baliol's troops 
at Dupplin, he was slain and his forces utterly defeated. 
Scotland was once more at the feet of Baliol, who was 
crowned at Scone in the autumn of the same year. But 
his triumph was short lived, for before the year was out he 
was driven across the Border. In the spring of the following 
year, Edward Baliol re-entered Scotland, this time with the 
approval and support of the English King, Edward III. On 
the 20th of July, 1333, the two armies met at Halidon Hill, 
and the Scottish Army sustained a crushing defeat. The 
flower of the Scottish nobility perished in this disastrous 
engagement. The list of the slain included the names of 
the Earls of Ross, Athole, Lennox and Sutherland. It is 
extremely probable that Sir William Rose, Baron of Kil- 
ravock, accompanied Hugh, Earl of Boss, to the fatal field, 
and as his name disappears from writs after the date of this 


battle, the Baron, it is supposed, must have shared the fate 
of the Earl. In the gravity of the national circumstances, it 
was deemed expedient to send the young King and Queen to 
France for safety. 

At this critical juncture Sir Andrew Moray of Petty and 
Bothwell once more comes to the front, and as on a former 
occasion, he rallies the patriotism of Scotland when at its 
lowest ebb. Sir Andrew was now an old man. He had 
fought side by side with Wallace. He had assisted Bruce to 
achieve the independence of Scotland. He alone among the 
Scottish nobles had never made submission to the King 
of England. His marriage with Christian, Bruce's sister, had 
strengthened the ties with the reigning family. During the 
later period of Bruce's reign, Sir Andrew was content to 
occupy the office of Panetarius of Scotland, leaving to 
younger men the more prominent positions in the State. 
But great national perils and disasters cause the veteran 
soldier to buckle on his armour and take the field once 
more. John, Earl of Moray, second son of Thomas Eandolph 
the eldest son had fallen at the Battle of Dupplin joins 
him, but unfortunately he is captured by the English and 
detained a prisoner for six years. With a handful of brave 
knights, Sir Andrew set out to relieve Kildrummie Castle, 
which was at the time besieged by the Earl of Athole, who 
had just bargained away the independence of Scotland to 
Edward for his own personal enrichment and aggrandisement. 
The success of the expedition was a matter of intense personal 
concern to Sir Andrew, because his wife, Christian Bruce, 
had taken refuge in the Castle and was now defending it. 
A desperate fight took place between the rival troops in a 
wood close by, ending in Athole's men being defeated, and 
himself with five knights slain in the wood. Sir Andrew 


had the joy of entering the grand old Snow Tower still 
magnificent in its ruins to receive the congratulations of 
his wife on her timely rescue. Shortly after, the veteran 
commander was elected by the Parliament Eegent of 

One of the Kegent's first military operations was to 
hesiege Lochindorb Castle. The old island fortress appears 
to have been greatly strengthened, if not entirely rebuilt, 
during the time of Edward I. The ruins which still exist 
show the remains of a Castle of the same type as that of 
Bothwell and Kildrummie both of which, it may be here 
recalled, were originally founded by the family De Moravia, 
represented by Sir Andrew, who now lays siege to it. 
Athole had besieged Kildrummie Castle in which Sir 
Andrew's wife had taken up her abode Sir Andrew was 
now besieging the Castle of Lochindorb in which the wife 
(now the widow) of Athole had taken refuge with her 
infant. She was an English lady, daughter of Henry 
Beaumont, who figured rather discreditably in the annals 
of the time. The place could not be easily taken, and the 
siege was becoming prolonged. It can readily be imagined 
that the young Countess of Athole must have felt her 
position very gruesome in the Castle of Lochindorb. Its 
form was that of a quadrilateral enclosure, with a round 
tower at each of the four corners, with curtain walls 
running down to the edge of the water, if not indeed 
extending into it, on the south and part of the east sides. 
"When the Countess looked out from her iron-stanchioned 
chamber window, she could see Moray's fierce men with 
their siege engines and catapults lining the shore, and she 
could witness the stones and missiles hurled across the 
narrower part of the lake, striking against the walls and 


plunging into the dark water in their rebound. But 
further she could descry no human habitation nothing but 
a vast forest backed by bare rugged hill tops. And when 
the shades of evening fell, the gloom and solitude of the 
island castle must have been intense in the extreme. It is 
not to be wondered at in these circumstances that the 
Countess wrote the most despairing letters to the King 
and to her father, imploring them to come to the help of 
herself and her infant in their dire distress. And we have 
next the singular spectacle of a great English Army with 
its Sovereign at its head rapidly marching furth the Kingdom 
of England into Scotland and making its way in all haste to- 
the relief of the lady in distress at Lochindorb. 

Sir Andrew Moray had failed to get a footing on the 
island. His engines of destruction were too feeble to break 
down the thick walls of the Castle at the long distance from 
which they were directed, and hearing of the advance of 
Edward and his army of relief, he prudently retires to the 
shelter of the woods. Edward advances with his army,, 
wasting by fire and sword the districts through which he 
marches. As he approaches the region of Lochindorb, word 
is brought to Edward that Sir Andrew Moray is encamped 
in the wood of Stronk-altere, (supposed to be Stroniviach, 
near the march between Altyre and Logic). Edward's army 
has thus cut off flight by the south or east, and the Findhorn 
river rushing between its iron-bound walls appears to present 
an impassable barrier to an escape by the north or west.. 
Edward becomes aware of his advantage and immediately 
orders an attack. The outposts of the Scots are driven in, 
and make haste to inform Sir Andrew. The general was at 
prayers, and although the danger was imminent, none dared 
to interrupt him till the service was concluded. On being 


told that Edward and his army were at hand in the forest, 
he observed there was no need of haste ; and when the 
squires brought him his horse, began quietly to adjust its 
furniture, and to see that the girths were tight and secure. 
When this was going on, the English every moment came 
nearer, and the Scottish knights around Moray showed many 
.signs of impatience. One of the straps which braced his 
thigh armour snapt as he buckled it, and the Regent turning 
to an attendant, bade him bring a coffer from his baggage 
from which he took a skin of leather, and sitting down 
leisurely on the bank, cut off a broad strip with which he 
mended the fracture. He then returned the box to its place, 
mounted his horse, arrayed his men in close column, and 
commenced his retreat in such order that the English did 
not think it safe to attack him, and having at last gained a 
narrow defile, he disappeared from their view without losing 
,a man. " I have heard," says Wyntoun, " from knights who 
were then present that in all their life they never found time 
to go so slow as when their old commander sat cutting his 
leather skin in the wood of Stronkaltere." 

The " Strait Road " or narrow defile is commonly supposed 
to be the spot known as Randolph's Leap a gorge where 
the rocks on both sides come so close together as to leave but 
six feet of a free passage for the water to rush through. Local 
tradition seems, however, to be at fault in this identification, 
for it is obviously impossible for horsemen to cross here. 
Foot soldiers by bridging the gap with trees might have 
succeeded in doing so, and even the feat performed by young 
Alastair Cuming of Dunphail according to the legend of the 
41 Battle of the Standard/' that of leaping from bank to 
bank could have been anticipated by Moray's men on foot, 
as it has been repeated in later times. But the boldest rider 


would shrink from spurring his horse to a leap from a 
slippery rock to a sloping ledge, with a foaming torrent 
rushing through the chasm. Sir Andrew and his horsemen, 
led by their guide, no doubt followed some path along 
the riverside, until they came to Sluie, where it is not 
entirely impossible to ford the river. Once across to the 
Darnaway side, they were in their own country. Edward 
finding that Sir Andrew had eluded him, and probably 
fancying that he still lurked in the forest, as the river 
was supposed to be unfordable so high up, came down to 
Blairs of Altyre and lay there, with the view of intercepting 
him. He at length relieved the beleaguered Castle of Loch- 
indorb and brought the distressed Countess away with him 
in his train. Before returning south, Edward devastated the 
district of Moray, Nairn, and Inverness, burning the towns 
and villages. He sought in vain to draw Sir Andrew Moray 
into an engagement in the open field, but no sooner was he 
gone than the Regent reappeared and retook many of the 
garrisons which Edward had fortified, and even sent foraging 
expeditions into England, being compelled to do so in order 
to avert a grievous famine that had followed upon the 
desolation of war. 

Sir Andrew Moray was at length compelled by the burden 
of years to quit the service of the nation and seek rest and 
repose. He came north to his own paternal property. The 
family Castle which stood on the Hallhill of Petty having 
doubtless been destroyed by the English in their raids, 
he crossed over to Avoch and spent his closing days in the 
old Castle on Orrnond Hill. He died there in the year 1338, 
and was buried at the Church of Rosemarkie. Fordun 
states that his body was raised and carried to Dunfermline, 
where it now mingles with the heroic dust of Bruce and 


Eandolph. However that may be, his son John ordered 
perpetual masses to be said for his soul at Elgin Cathedral,, 
and for that purpose made a deed of gift of money, which 
was confirmed by his brother Thomas two years after, and 
the terms of the directions issued by John of Inverness 
(formerly quoted) as to the four wax candles to be lighted 
on his tomb on his anniversary seem to imply that he was 
buried at Elgin Cathedral. Monteith, writing in 1704,. 
mentions that Sir Andrew Moray's monument at Elgin 
was a very handsome one and was upon the south pillar 
of the Cathedral, but even in his time it was in ruins. The 
practice of celebrating rites over the tomb in a Church while 
the body is buried elsewhere is, however, not uncommon in 
the Eoman Catholic Church. There is some doubt therefore 
whether it is at Eosemarkie, Dunfermline, or Elgin, that 
the dust of the Scottish hero Sir Andrew Moray lies. 
"Wyntoun, who had been a companion of some of the soldiers 
who had served under Sir Andrew Moray, extols his charac- 
ter as a noble patriot and warrior of great renown. Christian 
Bruce, by his death thrice a widow, lived to a great age. 
Occupying Kildrummie Castle, she had the pleasure of 
welcoming young King David II. and his Queen back to Scot- 
land and entertaining them more than once within the grand 
old Castle. Sir Andrew was succeeded by his son John, who 
got possession of the vast estates of Bothwell, Boharm, Petty, 
Ardmenach, and others. He died without issue and was 
succeeded by his brother Thomas, who also held the office 
of Pan tier of Scotland, and died in 1361 while in England 
as one of the hostages for King David, who was taken 
prisoner at the Battle of Durham. He left an only child,, 
a daughter Joan, and she married Archibald, third Earl of 
Douglas, known as Archibald the Grim, who succeeded to> 


the estates of Bothwell and Petty. Archibald appears to 
have merited the sobriquet of " Grim," for his oppressions 
were excessive even in a lawless age. It was said of him 
that his cord at Bothwell "seldom wanted a tassel" 
hanging was his favourite pastime. 

The old family of Moray of Petty is represented in the 
present day in the male line by the Morays of Abercairny. 
Sir Andrew had a brother John, who was their ancestor. 
The Morays of Athole are descended from a branch of the 
same family, and the Duke of Sutherland is the lineal 
descendant of Hugo Freskyn, a brother of William, founder 
of the family of Duffus and Petty. 

The family of Chien, who held the Sheriffships of Nairn 
and Inverness, also ended in the direct line. Unlike their 
kinsmen of Petty, the house of Duffus chose to attach itself 
to the English cause, and not till the death of Edward I. did 
it return to allegiance to the Scottish King. Its fortunes 
were diminished by losses in the wars, but the cause of the 
disappearance of the family name was the failure of male 
issue. It ended in two heiresses. Mary Chien married the 
second son of the third Earl of Sutherland, who got with her 
a portion of the Chien estates in Caithness and Moray and 
became the founder of the house of the Sutherlands of Duffus. 
Morella Chien, the second daughter, married Keith of Inver- 
ugie, from whom are descended the Marshal Keiths. An 
offshoot of the family, the Moravias of Culbin, outlasted the 
main line for several generations, but it too ended in an 
heiress. The good Bishop Gilbert Moray of Caithness, sprung 
from the family of Duffus, gave the lands of Skelbo to his 
brother Richard de Moravia of Culbin before 1235, and both 
properties remained in possession of the family till a late 
period. On 16th October, 1449, Thomas Tarrel renounced 


certain lands in the lordship of Skibo in favour of " the 
honourable lady Egidia Moray of Culbin." Egidia, heiress of 
Culbin, married Sir Thomas Kinnaird of Kinnaird, the estate 
descending to Walter Kinnaird their second son, in whose 
family it remained until its destruction by the great sand- 
drift of 1695. 

A change also took place in the destination of the Earldom 
of Moray. Thomas, the first Earl of Moray of the Eandolph 
family, usually designated Kandolph, left by his wife Isabel 
Stewart of Bonkill, two sons, Thomas and John, and a 
daughter Agnes. Thomas succeeded his father, but he 
enjoyed the title only twenty- three days, having fallen (as 
already stated) at the Battle of Dupplin when John Baliol 
first entered Scotland. John, the third Earl of Moray, was 
one of the young patriots who rallied to the call of Sir 
Andrew Moray when the fruits of the thirty years War of 
Independence seemed trampled under foot. Previous to this 
he had along with the Earl of Eoss led a division of the 
Scottish Army at the disastrous Battle of Halidon Hill, but 
was more fortunate than most of his compeers, having 
succeeded in making his escape to France. Keturning to 
Scotland in 1334, he was appointed along with the High 
Steward co-Regent of Scotland. The following year in per- 
forming an act of chivalry escorting some English nobles 
across the Border he was captured and detained as a 
prisoner in England till 1341. The Earldom of Moray 
was held by the Crown during his imprisonment. No 
sooner did he regain his liberty than he was once more in 
the field. He was with the Army of King David invading 
England in 1342, and he commanded the right wing at the 
Battle of Durham on 17th October, 1349. " It was nine in 
the morning," says Tytler, " and the whole English force had 


come up. A large crucifix was carried in the front of the 
line, around it waved innumerable banners and pennons,, 
gorgeously embroidered, belonging chiefly to the Church,, 
and the close battle immediately began, under circumstances 
discouraging to the Scots. The discharge of the archers had 
already greatly galled and distressed them, the division 
commanded by the Earl of Moray was fiercely attacked by 
the English men-at-arms, the ditches and hedges which 
intersected the ground broke his array and impeded his 
movements, and the English cavalry charged through the 
gaps in the line, making a dreadful havoc. At last Moray 
fell and his division was entirely routed." The King was 
taken prisoner, and the Scots lost fifteen thousand men an 
appalling defeat. 

It is with this Earl John that the legendary tales of the 
Findhorn are associated. In a short life crowded with events 
of greatest moment, it is somewhat difficult to conceive of 
him engaging in a petty warfare with his neighbours in 
Moray and Nairn. The Earl of Moray having left no issue, 
the Earldom, according to the original charter to Eandolph, 
should have reverted to the Crown, but Agnes, his sister, 
claimed it and her claim was conceded, as well it might, for 
she had at a critical time rendered important services to the 
State. She had married the Earl of March, and in her lord's 
absence, undertook the defence of their Castle of Dunbar 
against the English. For five months it was subjected to a 
fierce siege, with all the munitions of war known to the 
besiegers, but Agnes successfully repelled the assault. She 
would walk round the ramparts deriding the English 
artillerymen, and whenever any peril arose, she rushed 
to the point of danger, animating and directing her soldiers 
in person. Agnes's heroic conduct extorted the admiration 


of even her enemies. "Agnes's love-shafts go straight to 
the heart," exclaimed the Earl of Salisbury, as an English 
knight was struck down dead at his side by an arrow from 
the walls piercing his breast-plate. The Countess was of a 
dark complexion, and hence was playfully called "Black 
Agnes." The English had ultimately to raise the siege, 
having been completely foiled by the brave woman. Her 
second son John Dunbar, on her death and that of her 
husband's, succeeded to the Earldom of Moray, and thus a 
new line was inaugurated. 

Once again in David II.'s reign Lochindorb Castle is 
mentioned in history. It was used or converted into a 
State prison, and in the later period of David's reign, it 
received at least one distinguished prisoner. "William 
Bulloch, an ecclesiastic of obscure birth but of great mili- 
tary talent, had been John Baliol's chamberlain and was 
greatly trusted by the English party, but for an adequate 
consideration he was induced to sell himself to the Scots 
and deliver up the Castle of Cupar, which he commanded. 
Bulloch's zeal and efficiency raised him so high in the 
good graces of the Kegent that on a vacancy occurring he 
appointed him Chamberlain of Scotland. But confidence in 
a traitor is easily shaken. Suspicions arose that he had 
entered into a correspondence with England, and he was 
suddenly deposed from his office and thrown into a squalid 
dungeon in Lochindorb Castle, where he died of cold and 

The state of the country during the later part of the 
reign of David II. was melancholy in the extreme. To the 
desolating effects of the long continued war were super- 
added the horrors of famine and pestilence. Much of the 
land ceased to be cultivated, and many of the more enter- 


prising spirits left their native country for military service 
on the Continent. Heavy taxation paralysed commerce 
and crushed industry. David when restored to his country, 
which made so many sacrifices on his behalf in blood and 
treasure, turned out to be a mere lover of pleasure, selfish, 
indolent, and spiteful. Once only did he arouse himself to 
action. The Highlands were in a state of rebellion under 
the leadership of John of the Isles, and David came North 
with a considerable force and effectually suppressed it, 
receiving the submission of the Lord of the Isles and his 
wild chieftains at Inverness in November 1369. Three 
months later the King died at Edinburgh, in the forty- 
seventh year of his reign, and his death was regarded as a 
national deliverance, so unworthy a son did he prove himself 
to be of King Robert Bruce. He was succeeded by the 
Steward, son of Marjory Bruce (who was taken captive at 
Tain by the Earl of Ross), and he assumed the title of King 
Robert IT. 



FOR a considerable period of time the history of the town 
and county of Nairn is linked on to the fortunes of the Earls 
of Ross. 

The sons of the Earl of Ross who made their submission 
at Auldearn were received into high favour with King 
Robert Bruce, and Hugh, succeeding to the Earldom of 
Ross on the death of his father, was confirmed in his lands in 
the North and received the superiority of the town and county 
of Nairn, with the offices of Sheriff of the Shire and Constable 
of the Royal Castle of Nairn. This grant has greatly 
perplexed legal antiquarians. It is in direct conflict with the 
great charter to Thomas Randolph, first Earl of Moray, in 
whose possession these subjects and offices were at the time. 
The two charters cannot easily be reconciled. The charter 
of the Earl of Ross was, however, the effective one. An 
acre of land could not be sold, feued, or alienated in any way 
without the consent of the Earl of Ross, the Lord Superior 
of Nairn. Sir John Hay of Tullybothil, when he granted 
the endowment out of the lands of Lochloy and Wester Rate 
to found the Chapel of Kincragie, had to obtain the consent 
of the Earl of Ross, and when Sir Robert Lauder made a 
similar gift out of the lands of Brightmony and Kinsteary, 
he had also to procure the permission of William, Earl of 
Ross. The tenure of the lands of Cawdor, Kilravock, and all 
the other properties within the county was changed from 


Crown holdings to vassalage to the Earl of Eoss. Hugh, 
Earl of Ross, married Brace's daughter Maud, and as the 
King's son-in-law, his importance and influence increased. 
The Earl of Ross was undoubtedly the greatest Chief in the 
Highlands in the days of the Bruces, and he had an enor- 
mous following of clansmen. The Mackenzies, Macleans, 
and Macraes followed his banner. He went to battle in 
the magic chain shirt of St. Duthac, and was acknowledged 
to be a mighty warrior. When he fell, leading the Reserves 
at the disastrous Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, the mail 
shirt was found upon him, and was returned by the English 
to Tain. He was succeeded by his son William, whose 
daring exploit at the siege of Perth in cutting a subter- 
ranean passage under the walls of the fortress, which led 
to its surrender, is set forth in Scottish story. 

This William, Earl of Ross, appears at Nairn in the 
year 1338 (22nd November), when he signs a charter in 
favour of Malmoran of Glencairney (Duthil) of certain 
lands in Badenoch, the lordship of which was in his 
possession. A few years later he signs a charter at Urquhart 
Castle in favour of Reginald, son of Roderick of the Isles, of 
lands in Kintail, and exchanged his lands of Argyll with his 
brother Hugh for Hugh's lands in Buchan, forfeited by the 
Cumings. There was much formality and state connected 
with the Kintail charter, and an august assemblage of 
Prelates and nobles met on the occasion. The Earls of 
Ross claimed the lordship of the Isles and West Highlands, 
but this claim was frequently disputed, and the granting of 
the charter to Roderick may have been some pacific arrange- 
ment of old quarrels. If so, the peace did not last long, for 
a dispute between these two chiefs led indirectly to a great 
national disaster. On the eve of the Scottish army setting 


out from Perth for England in 1346, William, Earl of Ross, 
assassinated Eanald of the Isles in the monastery of Elcho, 
and dreading the King's vengeance, led his men back to the 
mountains. The Islesmen, whose leader had been thus 
murdered, also deserted, whilst many of the lesser High- 
land chiefs also forsook the Scottish Army. Before the battle 
of Durham was fought, the Highland Host had vanished. 
Thus weakened and discouraged, the Scots Army in this 
engagement was almost annihilated and King David taken 

Later on, the Earl of Ross, proudly absented himself 
from Parliament, and ruled his dominions as if he were 
an independent monarch. The rebellion of John of the 
Isles overthrew the power of the Earl at least in his 
Western possessions. When Eobert II. came to Inverness 
early in his reign the Earl in a document of date 24th 
June, 1371, states that " when my Lord the King came to 
the town of Inverness, he found me without any land or 
Lordship, my whole Earldom of Koss seized and recognosced." 
His official appointments in Nairn alone seem to have been 
retained by him, and he appears to have resided at the place. 
He had a daughter Euphemia who became a very notorious 
person. She married as her first husband Sir Walter Leslie 
of Rothes, and between them they greatly oppressed the old 
Earl, stripping him of his possessions, as set forth in the 
above complaint to the King. He died in 1372, and was the 
last of the old Celtic line of the Earls of Ross. A canonical 
obstacle to the marriage of Euphemia, Countess of Ross, 
and Walter Leslie existed, but the couple married first 
and got the Pope's dispensation two years afterwards. 

There was a son Alexander and a daughter Margaret 
of this marriage. Lady Margaret married Donald, Lord 


of the Isles. On the death of her husband, "Walter 
Leslie, the widowed Countess of Koss married Alexander 
Stuart, Earl of Buchan, better known as the Wolfe of 
Badenoch, fourth son of Eobert II. The Earldom of Koss, 
with the offices of Sheriff and Constable of Nairn, was 
bestowed upon him in right of his wife in liferent. No 
Earl was ever better endowed than he was, for the King's 
charter granted to him and his wife " the baronies or lord- 
ships of Skye and Lewes, all the lands in Caithness and 
Sutherland, all the lands within the Sheriffdoms of Nairn 
and Inverness, all the lands within the bounds of Athole 
and Sheriffdorn of Perth, the barony of Fythkill, with the 
pertinents within the Sheriffdom of Fife, all lands within 
Galloway, the lands of Forgrundtheny, and Kinfawnys 
within the Sheriffdom of Perth, and the thaneage of Glen- 
dorachy, and the lands of Deskford within the Sheriffdom 
of Banff, which belonged to the said Euphemia by heritable 
right." And this charter did not exhaust the list of his 
possessions. The Earl speedily quarrelled with the Bishop of 
Moray. As Lord of Badenoch, the Earl insisted that the lands 
of the Bishop of Moray in Badenoch were held of him. The 
Bishop maintained the contrary. The "Wolfe of Badenoch 
summoned the Bishop to a court he was holding at the 
Standing Stones of Easter Kingussie. A document drawn 
up at the time gives a vivid description of the scene. The 
Bishop, "accompanied by a becoming retinue, directed his 
steps to the Court, and standing without the court, after 
silence had been obtained, modestly offered " various pro- 
testations, one of which was that he refused to recognise him 
as Lord Superior of the lands belonging to the Church of 
Moray in Badenoch, and disclaimed him and his court. As 
a compromise he was willing to recognise him so far as 


Sheriff of Inverness, but this offer was not accepted. The 
Bishop then withdrew, and the court went on and the process 
was brought to an end. The Bishop returned and threatened 
with ecclesiastical censure any one who would dare to carry 
out the decreet of the court. Next day the Wolfe of Badenoch 
and the Bishop met in the Castle of Ruthven, and the con- 
troversy was renewed. There was a large company of the 
notables of the district, among whom were Andrew Falconer 
of Lethenvar, Hugh Rose of Kilravock, Barons John de 
Brodie, Gilbert de Glencharny, the Lords Patrick Crawford, 
Alexander Man, and Martin de Calder, Archdeacon and 
Chancellor of the Church of Ross, " and many others, cleric 
and laic." It was no doubt through the persuasion of these 
friends that the Wolfe of Badenoch was induced to hand over 
to the notary, one William of Spynie, the whole process, 
which he placed with his own hands in a large fire kindled 
in said chamber to be burnt, and devoured and consumed by 
fire it was in presence of the persons assembled, in token 
that the Lord of Badenoch cannot ask then or in future 
anything of the Bishop or Church in respect of the aforesaid 

The Wolfe of Badenoch was soon in trouble with his 
domestic affairs. He ill-treated his wife, the Countess of 
Ross, and she left him. He had taken up with a woman 
named Marion, daughter of Athyn, and the powers of the 
Church were invoked against him. It was eventually agreed 
that the Countess should go back, on condition that she was 
to be treated honourably with matrimonial affection, that 
Marion should be sent away, and that since Euphemia, the 
Countess, alleged fear of death, he find security for 200 that 
he shall treat the lady becomingly, without the fear of death, 
and shall not in any way surround her with his followers, 


slaves, nobles, and others, contrary to law." The Earl of 
Sutherland, the Laird of Culbin, and Thomas Chisholm 
became sureties for his better behaviour. In spite of his 
promises, however, he seized the Bishop's lands in Badenoch. 
The Bishop in turn excommunicated him. In retaliation he 
burned the town of Forres, with the choir of the church and 
the manse of the Archdeacon, and a month later, emerged 
out of his retreat of Lochindorb, with a band of followers, 
and burnt the whole town of Elgin, the Church of St. Giles, 
the Maisondieu, and the grand Cathedral, with eighteen 
noble and beautiful mansions belonging to the canons and 
chaplains, with all the books, charters, and other valuable 
records of the country therein kept. The deed was that of a 
madman. He was ultimately seized and imprisoned. He 
died at Dunkeld in 1394, and a monument still exists there 
to his "good memory." He left five illegitimate sons all 
of them being as ferocious and lawless as their father, 
though one of them, Alexander, who became Earl of Mar, 
redeemed his character in after years. 

Euphemia, Countess of Koss, bore no children to the 
Earl of Buchan, Lord of Badenoch, and the Earldom on 
her death went to her son Alexander by her first marriage. 
He married a daughter of Kobert, Duke of Albany, (elder 
brother of Alexander Stuart), and dying comparatively young, 
left a daughter Euphemia. In the midst of the wild crew of 
Lochindorb, it is singular to meet with a maiden of pious 
feelings and aspirations. But so it was, and Euphemia, 
(bearing the ill-famed name of her grandmother, the old 
Countess of Ross), on whom the succession to the vast estates 
of the Earldom of Koss devolved, sought and obtained refuge 
in the cloister and took the veil. In these circum- 
stances, she being a nun and hence dead to the world and 


incapable of holding property, the succession ought by right 
to have reverted to her aunt Lady Margaret, wife of Donald 
of the Isles. The Duke of Albany, however, refused to 
acknowledge Donald's claim. In 1411, the Lord of the Isles 
landed with an army of 10,000 men in Ross, and the people 
submitted to him as their rightful lord. The Chief of the 
Mackintoshes and other leaders of clansmen joined him. 
Donald had a fleet in the Moray Firth, and was carrying 
on negotiations with England for fie assistance of the English 
fleet. It is extremely probable Donald had designs on the 
Crown. He captured the town of Inverness and partly 
burned it. Here he assembled his forces. A combined 
movement on the part of the Highlanders was then made 
for the south. As Sheriff and Constable of Nairn in heredi- 
tary right of the Earl of Ross, he summoned the men 
of Nairn to follow him. He proceeded eastwards, over- 
running Moray, Banff, and Strathbogie. In his victorious 
march, Donald arrived at Aberdeen, and threatened to sack 
and destroy the city if it did not surrender. The Earl of 
Mar (illegitimate son of the "Wolfe of Badenoch) took 
the field against him, and without waiting for the Duke of 
Albany who was coming to his support, offered battle to 
Donald on the Moor of Harlaw near Inverurie. On the one 
side were arrayed the hordes of fighting men of the Highlands 
and Islands, on the other the less numerous but more discip- 
lined troops of Lowlanders from Buchan, Mar, Kincardine, and 
Angus, with a body of citizens from Aberdeen headed by 
their Provost. It was a struggle between Celt and Saxon. 
Its echoes have come down to us in heroic song and martial 
music. The fight continued with awful carnage till the sun 
went down. It resulted in a drawn battle. The Southerners 
were decimated to a mere handful, while a vast number of 


Highlanders lay slain on the field, among them being the 
Chiefs of the Mackintoshes and the Macleans. Donald drew 
off his men during the night and retreated to the North. 
The Duke of Albany in pursuit of Donald, came north with 
a, great army in the autumn, took the Castle of Dingwall and 
appointed the Earl of Mar to administer the affairs of the 
North. Mar had for his companion Brodie of Brodie of 
that day. Donald betook himself to the fastnesses of the 
Isles, where he was secure during the winter, but in the 
following summer, Albany penetrated to every corner of his 
dominions, and forced him to make his submission, and 
renounce his claims to the Earldom. 

The Duke of Albany got Euphemia re-established in the 
Earldom, and in the year 1415 she surrendered it to the 
Duke and received back from him a charter of the Earldom, 
(with the shire and Castle of Nairn and all pertaining,) for 
herself and the heirs of her body, and on her dying without 
heirs (which was to be expected of a nun), the Duke's sons, 
John Stuart, Earl of Buchan, and his brother, were declared 
to be heirs in succession. The Earl of Buchan on Euphemia's 
death became also Earl of Koss and Sheriff and Constable of 
Nairn. The new Earl was mostly engaged in the wars in 
France, and died at the Battle of Vernueil in 1424. 

Alexander, now Lord of the Isles immediately seized 
upon the Earldom of Koss. The state of the Highlands 
was exceedingly turbulent at the time, and King James L, 
who was now upon the Throne, came north to Inverness 
where he held a Parliament, to which he summoned the 
Highland Chieftains. They came, never doubting ; perhaps 
dreaming of riches and honours ; but as each Chief entered the 
hall alone, he was seized, bound, and cast into a separate 
prison. In this way James captured Alexander, Lord of the 


Isles, and his mother Margaret, the rightful Countess of Koss. 
Contemporary historians, in mentioning the names of the 
Chiefs, record the number of men they could bring into the 
field, which varied from four to one thousand men each. 
James Campbell was tried for the murder of John of the 
Isles, and hanged. John Macarthur and Alexander Mac- 
keiny, chiefs of a thousand men, were beheaded. After a 
year's confinement, Alexander, Lord of the Isles, and his 
mother received the clemency of the King, and were liberated 
on parole, but soon after the Lord of the Isles gathered an 
army of ten thousand men, and burnt the town of Inverness. 
The King coming against him next year, he was forced to seek 
for pardon in the most abject manner. It was again ex- 
tended to him. After the death of King James I., Alexander, 
Lord of the Isles, took possession once more of the Earldom, 
and he was allowed to retain it undisturbed. His power was 
acknowledged by the States appointing him Guardian of the 
North, and for many years he discharged his duties in the 
most exemplary manner. We find him granting charters to 
Cawdor, Kilravock, and others, and as superior of the lands 
in Nairnshire, exercising agreeably the rights of over-lordship. 
The Earl had a bailie or factor in Nairn, one William Fleming, 
who is styled Burgess of Nairn. One of his transactions was 
to convey absolutely to the Thane of Cawdor the lands of 
Belmakeith, from which he formerly drew a fixed annual 
rent of six merks. The Earl of Ross married Elizabeth 
Seton, a sister of the first Earl of Huntly, and his family 
formed matrimonial connexions with families in the district 
His son married a daughter of Livingston of Callender, one 
of the Scottish statesmen of the time. 

The Douglas Rebellion brought this happy state of matters 
to an end. The Earl of Douglas, the Earl of Crawford, and 


the Earl of Eoss, entered into a treasonable confederacy 
against James II., which shook the Throne to its foundations. 
The three conspirators were connected with the district. 
The Douglas family, which was exceedingly powerful in 
the South, was represented in the North by Archibald 
Douglas, who had become Earl of Moray. The line of 
the Dunbars as Earls of Moray had ended in two heiresses. 
The eldest daughter was married to James, Lord Crichton, 
the youngest to Archibald, third son of the Earl of Douglas. 
The nearest male heir was Sir Alexander Dunbar of West- 
field. The Earl of Douglas set the claims both of Lord 
Crichton and Sir Alexander Dunbar aside, and obtained 
from the Crown a charter of the Earldom in favour of 
Archibald Douglas, his brother. When the Eebellion took 
place, Archibald, Earl of Moray, and his brother the Earl of 
Ormond, became involved in it. The Earl of Crawford 
possessed the lands of Strathnairn, with the Castle of Daviot 
the marriage portion of King Eobert II. to his daughter 
Elizabeth, who married David, first Earl of Crawford. The 
county of Nairn, as already seen, formed a portion of the 
Earldom of Eoss, and John, Earl of Eoss, who had inherited 
the treason of his father Alexander along with the title, 
broke out into rebellion, seized the royal Castles of Inverness, 
Urquhart, and Euthven, in Badenoch. 

Archibald Douglas, who had begun extensive additions to 
Darnaway Castle, proceeded to fortify Lochindorb Castle 
against the King. He, along with his brother the Earl of 
Ormond, joined the Earl of Douglas, and took part in the 
Battle of Arkinholme. The Douglas troops were routed. 
The Earl of Moray was slain on the field, and his bleeding 
and mangled head was brought as a ghastly present to King 
James. The Earl of Ormond was taken prisoner. The 


Earldom of Moray was forfeited to the Crown, and its wide 
domains became Crown property. The Earldom of Ormond 
with the old Moray estates of Petty, Bracklie,and Ardmenache, 
was annexed to the Crown. The Earl of Crawford, known 
as the " Tiger " from his ferocity and his wearing an abnor- 
mally long beard, was defeated by Huntly, and his property 
in Strathnairn was confiscated. Crawford, however, made 
his peace with the King and had his great possessions 
restored to him, but he lived but for six months after his 
restoration to the King's favour, and the estates were held 
in ward for his son, a minor. The Earl of Ross escaped for the 
time, but proofs of his treason coming to light a year or two 
after, he was summoned to Parliament to answer for his 
conduct, a summons to that effect being sent to the Sheriff- 
Depute at Nairn. He did not obey the summons, but on 
the 10th of July, 1477, he made his submission to the King, 
who pardoned him, and he received a new charter to his 
lands and possessions, with the exception of the Earldom of 
Ross, the Lordship of Kintyre, and the offices of Sheriff of 
Inverness and Nairn, which are stated to be reserved in 
memory of his offence. And thus came to an end the 
connection of the great Earls of Ross with Nairnshire. The 
Prince of Wales has as one of his titles that of Earl of Ross, 
and he is also Earl of Ormond. 



THE Douglas Kebellion produced considerable changes in 
Nairnshire. It brought an accession of wealth to the houses 
of Cawdor and Kilravock, and while it occasioned the down- 
fall of the Earl of Ross and the Douglases, it led to the rise 
to great power and influence of the family of Gordon in the 
North. Alexander Seton married the heiress of Gordon, 
and assumed the name of his wife. His son, Alexander, 
who was styled Lord Gordon, was rewarded with large 
estates and important offices for the part he took in 
overthrowing the tiger Earl of Crawford, or as the King 
said, " for haudin' the Croon on our head." He was created 
Earl of Huntly, and his second son George, who succeeded 
him, virtually ruled the North. 

A transaction of Alexander, Lord Gordon, a few years 
before the Douglas Rebellion led indirectly to the extinction 
of the family of Raite of Raite. 

The history of Raite, though involved in some obscurity,, 
can be pretty accurately traced from existing writs. The 
earliest possessors of Raite were the Mackintoshes. Shaw 
Mackintosh, the fourth chief of the Clan, before 1265 obtained- 
a grant of Rothiemurcus and the lands of Meikle Geddes and 
Raite. He is said to have married Helen, daughter of 
the second recorded Thane of Cawdor. Ferquhard his son 
succeeded him, and dying in 1274, left an only child Angus. - 
During the minority of Angus, the Curnings took possession 


of Kaite and Meikle Geddes and other lands which belonged 
to Mackintosh. As Norman knights, they dropped their sur- 
name and appear in the records of the period simply with the 
territorial title " De Rathe." In the deed executed in the 
latter part of the reign of Alexander III. by Elizabeth Bisset, 
conveying the lands of Kilravock to Mary her daughter and 
Hugh Kose of Geddes her son-in-law, " Gervaise de Kate " is 
one of the witnesses. When Edward I. of England came 
North in the year 1296, one of the knights who made sub- 
mission during the King's stay at Elgin was Sir Gervaise de 
Raite. His letter tendering his loyalty and obedience on the 
occasion is published in Palgrave's Documents illustrating 
the History of Scotland. It is written in Norman-French. 
In the roll of the Parliament held at Berwick by Edward 
on his return South, the names of Sir Gervaise de Raite and 
Sir Andrew de Raite, father and son, appear. When the 
War of Independence broke out, Sir Andrew de Raite took 
the side of Edward against Bruce, and his mission to London 
in connection with Sir Andrew Moray's doings in the 
Province of Moray has been already narrated. The downfall 
of the powerful family of Cuming of which they were a 
branch, and the overthrow of the political party to which 
they had attached themselves, could not have left the Knights 
of Raite unaffected. Sir Andrew, as has been shown, filled 
the office of Constable of the Castle of Nairn, when Thomas 
Braytoft held it for Edward. Soon after the close of the 
War of Independence the Thane of Cawdor holds that office. 
The Mackintoshes, who greatly assisted Bruce at Bannock- 
burn, revived the claim" to Raite, but Angus, the Chief, for 
some reason, was not restored to his paternal estates, but was 
recompensed by other lands. The Mackintoshes, however, 
still remembered that Raite rightfully belonged to them 


they also pretended some claim to Kilravock and Alexander 
Lord Gordon, on oth October, 1442, granted a charter to 
Mackintosh of the lands of Raite and Meikle Geddes, which 
charter (says Mr Fraser Mackintosh) is still extant. A 
tradition exists that the name of Knocknagillean (now Skene- 
park) was given to it in consequence of the Cumings having 
hanged five young men of the Mackintosh clan on the trees 
on a little height Knock-na-gillean meaning the " Hill of 
the Lads." In the Statistical Account of the parish of Croy 
and Dalcross, the tragic incident which led to the abandon- 
ment of the Castle was first related, and the traditionary 
account in the locality differs from it only in fuller details 
The story is to the effect that Cuming of Raite, under the 
guise of a desire to bury former animosities and establish 
friendly relations, invited the Mackintosh and his followers 
to a grand banquet at Raite. The invitation was accepted ; 
the Mackintoshes, never doubting, prepared to attend. They 
were, however, timely warned that the Cumings in this had 
planned a foul plot, and that at a given signal each Cuming 
would rise and slay his defenceless guest. Old Cuming had 
put all his household under a solemn oath that they would 
not reveal the plot to any person, but his daughter, anxious 
for the safety of young Mackintosh, who was her lover, found 
a way to disclose the plot. She went to a large boulder some 
distance from the Castle, and told the whole story to the 
stone, but she knew her lover was behind it, as it was their 
usual trysting place, and he would hear every word. The stone 
to this day is called " The Stone of the Maiden." The 
Mackintoshes, notwithstanding the warning, resolved to 
attend the feast. When the night of the banquet came, 
each Mackintosh hid his dirk in his plaid, but gaily took 
his seat around the festive board of Cuming of Raite. The 


revelry ran high, and the walls of the old Castle resounded 
with the mirthful shouts of the carousers. At length the 
toast is given "The Memory of the Dead." This was the 
signal agreed upon for the slaughter of the guests. The 
Cumings rose and were about to draw their swords, but the 
Mackintoshes, being forewarned were forearmed, and with a 
yell of derision sprang to their feet, drew their daggers and 
thrust them into the hearts of the Cumings. Among the 
few who escaped death, it is said, was the Chief of the 
Cumings, who new to an upper chamber where his daughter 
was, whom he believed to have given the information, as he 
knew the girl and the young Mackintosh were lovers. Seeing 
the maddened state of her father, the young lady sought to 
escape from him by leaping out of the window, but before she 
could do so, he cut off both her hands with a broadsword. 
From the night in which the tragedy was enacted, the blood- 
stained walls of Kaite have been tenantless. So runs the 

Historically there is no improbability in the story, and the 
only difficulty is in reconciling it with the statement of Shaw 
that. " about the year 1404," in consequence of Eaite having 
killed Andrew, Thane of Cawdor, he was banished the County 
of Nairn, and settled in the Mearns where he founded the 
family of Eaite of Halgreen. There is a difference of forty 
years between the date given by Shaw and that of the charter 
to Mackintosh. The explanation may probably be that while 
the father was banished, a son may have remained who became 
the actor in the tragedy. The " half-lands of Eait " appear 
in the Cawdor titles for the first time in 1442, the very year 
of the tragic occurrence. The Mackintoshes never took 
possession of the lands. While Cawdor obtained the one 
half with the mill, the Setons retained the other half with 


the Castle and the lands of Meikle Geddes these latter 
properties some time after passing into the hands of the 
Ogilvies of Durn and Carnoussie, and ultimately to the 
Cawdor family, in whose possession they now are. 

The ruins of Eaite Castle which still remain are situated 
at the foot of the Hill of the Ord. The building, though 
roofless and completely gutted, exhibits several features of 
detail which have greatly perplexed antiquarians. It is in 
some respects almost unique in Scotland. The shape of 
the building is that of a simple oblong, 64 by 33 feet, with a 
round tower, 21 feet in diameter, at the south-west angle. 
Viewed from the outside, the building has a decidedly 
ecclesiastical appearance. The windows are not mere slits 
in the walls, but are three feet wide, with Gothic arches and 
mullions. M'Gribbon and Boss, who give a minute descrip- 
tion of the architectural details, say that the windows are of 
a form and design very uncommon in Scotland. This aspect 
of the exterior has led some writers to conclude that the 
building was an ecclesiastical edifice. An examination of the 
interior, however, does not support this view. The entrance, 
which is at the east end of the south wall, still shows the 
grooves of the portcullis by which it was protected. The 
doorway, which is in the form of an arch, was further pro- 
tected by a wooden door, as is evidenced by the jambs still 
remaining. "The form of the arch," say the architectural 
authorities already quoted, " is very unusual and the work- 
manship is superior to that of ordinary castles." The building 
is divided into two floors. The ground floor is provided with 
several small square windows, varying from 12 inches to 18 
inches in width. The one nearest the north-east angle is a 
loop with a pointed arch. There is no fireplace in the base- 
ment. The doorway led by a passage or guard-room, not to 


the ground floor, but to the hall above, which is lighted with 
the handsome windows already described. These windows 
are furnished with stone seats and the hall provided with a 
large fire-place. From the hall, the round tower is entered, 
and it is found to contain a private room. The remains of the 
tower rise a few feet higher than the existing walls, which 
are about 20 feet in height, and when entire doubtless 
terminated in battlements. The object of the tower is 
plainly to defend the building from attack from the mass 
of rock rising to the south the most easily assailable point. 
The tower bears a close resemblance to the round towers of the 
Edwardian period. There are no mouldings or ornaments to 
give a clue to the age of its erection. The walls are 5J feet 
thick, built mostly of fragments of the adjacent rocks, except 
where freestone is used for the door and window finishings, 
and all strongly cemented together. The general aspect of the 
building is that it unites features of elegance and comfort with 
the severest plainness in the materials used. The building 
appears to have been protected with an enclosing wall on three 
sides, the rocks on the south side forming a natural defence. 
The corners of the enclosing wall were probably furnished 
with protecting angle turrets. Within the court-yard, the 
retainers would find accommodation. That the building was 
not a church is abundantly evidenced by the character of the 
remains of the structure, and there are frequent references 
in the sixteenth century to " Eait with its fortalice," 
and to the " Castletown of Eait," proof that at that 
early period its castellated character was recognised. It is 
exceedingly probable that in these picturesque ruins we have 
the actual hall in which the tragic scene occurred between 
the Cumings and the Mackintoshes. A castle like this must 
have been built before the War of Independence. It is 


entirely different in style from the keeps which were built 
during the immediately succeeding centuries. 

It is mentioned in Cordiner's " Antiquities" that a burying 
ground near the Castle was visible when he visited the place 
in 1776, and that some stones placed to mark the graves 
bore the figure of a bow and arrow, but the green spot has 
been ploughed up and the stones broken. 

The original patrimony of the Thanes of Cawdor appears 
to have been limited to the fertile valley lying between 
Brackla and Barivan. The surrounding lands were in other 
hands, as appears from the charters of the period. The first 
addition to their early heritage was the lands of Highland 
Boath and Banchor a desirable summer pasturage, which 
at one time was held by charter from Alexander II. by the 
illustrious family of Durward. " The Thanes of Cawdor," 
says Shaw, the Historian of Moray, " as constables of the 
King's house resided in the Castle of Nairn, and had a 
country seat at what is now called Old Cawdor, a half 
mile north from the present seat. There they had a house 
on a small moat, with a dry ditch and a drawbridge, the 
vestiges whereof are to be seen " when he wrote in 1720. 
The earliest documentary notice by name of the Thane of 
Cawdor occurs in the Extent or Valuation of the lands of 
Kilravock and Easter Geddes at Nairn on the feast of St. 
Lawrence, 1295, when Donald, Thane of Kaledor is one of 
the assize. The name is variously spelled in old writs. The 
earliest form is Kaledor, but in a deed only fifteen years 
later, it is written Oaldor ; in the fifteenth century it is 
generally written Caudor or Calder, and in some instances it 
is strangely corrupted into Caddell. The root-meaning of the 
word is Col sound, (for water the sounding or calling 


water no doubt derived from the characteristics of the 
voiceful little brown burns which descend through narrow 
rocky ravines and joining their waters rush down to the 
plain below. 

The Cawdor genealogical tree gives (1) Donald, Thane of 
Cawdor, 1295 ; (2) William, Thane of Cawdor, who got a 
charter of the Thanage from Eobert I., 1310 ; (3) William, 
Thane of Cawdor, about 1350 ; (4) Andrew, Thane of Cawdor, 
who was infeft in the Sheriffship and Constabulary of Nairn 
and half of Dunmaglass, died about 1405, said to have been 
murdered by Sir Alexander Kaite of Kaite ; (5) Donald served 
heir to his father in 1405, and acquired the other half of 
Dunmaglass, Moy near Torres, and Little Urchany. For the 
first time a marriage connexion is mentioned in the genealogy, 
a daughter of Thane Donald having married John Hay of 
Lochloy. According to tradition, Shaw Mackintosh was 
married to Helen, daughter of the second Thane. It is 
extremely probable that the first half of Dunmaglass may 
have come as a wife's dower. Urchanybeg was purchased from 
the Bishop of Moray in 1421. The office of Sheriff of 
the shire and Constable of the Castle of Nairn carried with 
it considerable emoluments, as well as local influence. Calder 
at a very early date had considerable lands in and around 
the Burgh of Nairn, including Balmakeith, Millbank, the 
Gallowslands, and the Skateraw, and as Constable of the 
Castle he had a right to tithes of fish and ale. He had a 
charter also to the lands which belonged to Fergus the 
Dempster, which probably lay within the territories of the 

During the period of the superiority of the Earls of Eoss the 
position of the Thane of Cawdor was that of deputy sheriff. 
The thanage itself was held of the Earl, and during a temporary 


forfeiture of the Earldom it was renewed by King James I. 
as Earl of Ross. About the time of the ascension of James 
II. to the Throne, the young Calders appear to have sought 
public service in the South. A tradition exists that a 
younger son of Donald, fifth Thane, joined the Earl of 
Huntly in his attack on the Earl of Crawford at Brechin, 
and in recompense for his exploit of penetrating to the camp 
of the Earl, from whence he carried off the Tiger's drinking 
cup as a trophy before the battle commenced, he received the 
lands of Aussanly and became the founder of the Calders of 
Aussanly. Another son was founder of the Calders of 

William, who succeeded his father Donald, and who was 
Thane when the Douglas Rebellion occurred, also appears to 
have been when a youth an attendant at the court of James II., 
for the King in a charter extant designates him as his 
beloved familiar squire (dilectus familiaris scutifer noster). 
When King James came to the North, he took up his resi- 
dence chiefly at Darnaway Castle, and summoned William, 
Thane of Cawdor, to his side. The King, after viewing the 
work begun but not completed at Darnaway by the unfor- 
tunate Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, ordered the 
additions to be carried out, but granted a commission to 
the Thane of Cawdor to demolish the island fortress of 
Lochindorb, the fortifying of which and Darnaway against 
the King was the special charge on which Earl Archibald's 
estates were forfeited. The Thane was allowed a sum of 
24 for performing this work. Lochindorb was dismantled 
but not entirely destroyed, and one of the gates at Cawdor 
Castle is said to have been brought from Lochindorb on the 
occasion of the dismantling. The Thane appears to have 
been an excellent scholar and man of business, and die 


King appointed him as his Chamberlain North of the Spey, 
jointly with Thomas Carmichael, a canon of Elgin Cathedral. 
The administration of the lands and revenues of the Earldom 
of Moray, the Crawford estates in Strathnairn, and the Petty 
and Ormond possessions, with the Sheriffdoms of Elgin, 
Eorres, Nairn, and Inverness, and the maintenance and 
upkeep of the King's Castles situated therein, was a work 
of no inconsiderable character. The accounts kept by the 
Thane are still preserved at Cawdor Castle, and extracts of 
them have been published in " The Book of the Thanes of 
Cawdor," edited by Cosmo Innes for the Bannatyne Club. 
Deductions were made in the accounts to the King from the 
rents of Glencharny (Duthil), Knok (the forest at Lochindorb), 
Aitenach, and a part of Strathnairn, which had been pro- 
claimed waste by royal mandate for the purposes of sport. 

In the year 1454, the Thane received letters from King 
James II., granting him license to build his Castle of Cawdor r 
and to fortify it " with walls, moats, and iron portcullis, and 
to furnish it with turrets and other defensive armaments and 
apparatus, to appoint constables, janitors, and jailors to hi& 
castle, provided always that the King and his successors shall 
have free ingress and egress to and from the Castle." Local 
legend tells that the Thane was much perplexed as to 
where he should build it, but he was admonished in a dream 
to bind the coffer containing the treasure he had collected for 
the purpose on an ass, to set the animal free, and to mark the 
spot where the ass stopped and there to build his tower. 
The ass came to a hawthorn tree, and looked at it, but passed 
on. It came to a second hawthorn tree, and rubbed itself 
against it, but again passed on. When it came to the third 
hawthorn tree on the bank of the burn, it stopped and lay 
down with its burden. And around this tree the Thane built 


his Castle. " Be this as it will," says old Lachlan Shaw^ 
" there is in the lowest vault of the tower, the trunk of a 
hawthorn tree, firm and sound, growing out of the rock and 
reaching to the top of the vault. Strangers are brought to- 
stand round it, each one to take a chip of it, and then to 
drink to the hawthorn tree, i. e., ' Prosperity to the family of 

The old tree still remains firmly rooted in the donjon, but 
it is now a sapless trunk, and the ceremony of chipping has 
been forbidden. The treasure chest of the legend lies beside 
it in the donjon. The " first " and " second " hawthorn 
trees, which stood within a hundred yards of the Castle, have 
disappeared one about the beginning of the present century 
and the other in the year 1836. 

The Castle which Thane William built was a grim square 
keep, three storeys in height above the donjon, terminating 
in battlements, with a turret at each corner. The keep was 
45 ft. in length by 34 ft. in width, and was surrounded with a 
wall of enciente built on the edge of the rock on the south 
side next the burn, and close to the ditch on the other sides. 
The gateway and drawbridge then as now gave entrance to a 
small courtyard shut off from the northern and southern 
court yards by walls of defence, and commanded by the keep 
and battlements. The entrance doorway was in the north 
side and is on the ground floor an unusual circumstance in 
castles of the time, but the level of the ground may have 
-been altered. Eight above the door near the top of the wall 
.there was a corbelled projection with a recess in the adjoining 
.wall where stones and other projectiles were kept to hurl 
down upon the heads of hostile visitors who approached the 
.door. Each of the three storeys consisted of but one main 
.apartment, though small rooms or recesses were cut out of 


the thickness of the walls (which are seven feet thick), 
affording sleeping accommodation, garde-robes, &c. From the 
entrance doorway, a straight staircase in the thickness of the 
wall leads to the first floor, whence a wheel stair in the angle 
of the north and east walls conducts to the upper floors, and 
finally by another straight flight to the battlements. The 
top storey, like the donjon, was vaulted, the arch being high 
and pointed, and it was probably covered by a flat stone roof. 
Such are some of the features of the original building as 
distinguished from the more recent additions by the authors 
of " Castellated and Domestic Architecture in Scotland." 
The enclosing wall next to the burn appears to have 
been utilised for foundations for subsequent additions. In 
the Castle of Old Calder, there was a St. Mary's Chapel, 
and in the Castle built by Thane William, he founded a new 
chapel, also dedicated to the Virgin, which was endowed out 
of the rents of Auchindoune and Barivan. It was probably 
situated within the south court, but was removed when 
additions carne to be made in later times. 

Thane William, the builder of the Castle, looked out for a 
good match for William, his son. At this time there lived a 
very wealthy though untitled chieftain, Alexander Sutherland, 
at the old Castle of Dunbeath on the Caithness coast on the 
Moray Firth. He had great estates in land, and much gear in 
corn and cattle. He had several sons and daughters. His wife 
was a daughter of Donald, Lord of the Isles. The hand of 
his youngest daughter was sought by the young Thane of 
Cawdor, and about the year 1458 they were married. The 
old laird of Dunbeath, after making ample provision for the 
other members of his family, made Mariot, the young Thane's 
wife, his residuary legatee. " I give and assign to my 
douchter Marion all the lave of my lands that I have 


undisponyt upon." These lands were very considerable, 
embracing large possessions in the neighbouring districts. 
The young Thane was in truth " a prosperous gentleman." 
He made on his own account numerous purchases of land in 
the neighbourhood. The estate of the family of Cawdor at 
this period was undoubtedly one of the most valuable, if not 
the most extensive, in the north, and the house of Cawdor 
was correspondingly influential. A cloud for a brief time 
overshadowed the thanage. On the forfeiture of the Earl of 
Koss in 1475, the Thane felt it incumbent on him to make a 
fresh submission to the King, and in one of the two copies of 
his act of submission the Thane craves remission for past 
crimes. His wife, Mariot Sutherland, being a sister of John 
of the Isles, Earl of Eoss, the Thane of Cawdor may have 
been mixed up in some way with some of the Earl's treason- 
able designs which had just come to light. However that 
may be, he was freely forgiven, and a year later was gratified 
by having his thanage restored to its ancient tenure of being 
held direct of the Crown and not of the Earls of Ross. A 
charter under the Great Seal dated at Edinburgh, 29th May, 
1476, was granted to him of his whole lands and baronies 
united and incorporated into one Thanage, to be called the 
Thanage of Cawdor, and to be held of the King and his 
successors in fee and heritage for ever, with the privilege of 
pit and gallows, &c. The offices of Sheriff and Keeper of 
the King's Castle of Nairn were henceforward to be held 
hereditarily by him as principal officer and not as deputy. 

We get a glimpse or two of the social and domestic life at 
Cawdor Castle in the arrangements this Thane makes for 
settling his daughters in the world. The eldest daughter 
Marjory is disposed of in this way. Her father purchases 
from " ane noble and mychty lorde " William, Earl of Errol, 


Lord Hay, and Constable of Scotland, who (along with Sir 
Gilbert Keith of Inverugie), had bought the " haill marriage 
.and ward " of Alexander Fraser of Philorth, his part of the 
wardship for certain sums of money. Young Fraser becomes 
bound to espouse Calder's daughter, but because they are 
" god brother and god sister," a license -or dispensation from 
the Pope has to be procured before they can be married, and 
the Thane undertakes to pay the cost in the first instance, to 
be repaid when young Philorth comes into possession of his 
lands. The intended bridegroom is taken bound to "byde 
and remain daily in household " at Cawdor Castle until the 
dispensation comes home and he be lawfully married to 
Marjory. It is quaintly said in the contract that, " because 
the said Alexander Fraser has na seal present of his awne, he 
has procurit the seal of ane honourable lord, Hew, Lord 
Fraser of Lovat." The marriage of Philorth and Marjory 
Calder was duly celebrated. It was followed three years 
after by the marriage of the second daughter Marion with a 
young Mackintosh, designated Hugh Allanson. The contract 
is made in his case by the Thane with Duncan Mackintosh, 
" captain of the Clancattane," Farquhar Mackintosh, son and 
heir apparent, and Hugh Allanson himself. The same ecclesi- 
astical formalities had to be gone through, as Marion and 
Mackintosh are stated to be two-fourths kin, but on the 
Pope's dispensation arriving they were happily married. 
Calder's son-in-law enters into a bond of friendship with 
his father-in-law against all men, except his allegiance to 
his Sovereign Lord the King and his Chief Mackintosh. 
Clanship took precedence even of sonship. A third daughter, 
Margaret, married a near neighbour, William Dallas, heir to 

The Thane was not, however, without his troubles. His 


neighbour the Baron of Kilravock and he were frequently at 
strife about their marches. They had exchanged " the kiss of 
peace and friendship" more than once, only, however, to be at 
deadly feud shortly after. One day matters came to a crisis. 
The Thane seized Kilravock's eldest son, and put him in ward 
in the Castle donjon. The Baron, his father, complained to 
the Earl of Huntly, the King's Lieutenant in the North, but 
the wrathful Thane defied both Earl and Baron. Kilravock 
sought redress from the King, and a royal warrant was issued 
to the Earl of Huntly to command the Thane to set young 
Kilravock at liberty, which he eventually complied with. 

The Thane's mind had often been occupied with projects 
of putting an end to the strife between the two houses by a 
marriage alliance, and some curious covenants are in existence 
between the parties, one contract being to the effect that he 
should have the choice for his son of all the daughters of 
Kilravock, from the eldest to the youngest. The state of 
health of his eldest son and heir was a further cause of 
anxiety to Calder. His eldest son William was lame and 
weak of body. The Thane could not contemplate with satis- 
faction the Cawdor possessions passing into his hands at a 
time when the state of the country required firm adminis- 
tration. The young laird did not himself desire the succession. 
His mind lay in another direction than towards worldly wealth 
and position. He resigned his birthright that he might the 
more entirely devote himself to the service of God. His 
father accordingly procured a mandate under the Privy Seal 
dated 1488, settling the succession on his second son John, 
and his lawful heirs male, whom failing, on his other sons 
Andrew, Alexander, and Hugh, and their heirs-male succes- 
sively ; all of whom failing, to the said Thane William's 
nearest and lawful heirs-male. It would appear that the 


hereditary Sheriffship of Nairn could not be so easily 
diverted, and William, while he prepares for the Church, 
retains his right to that office and receives a pension of 20 a 
year from the estate, until such time as he gets a church- 
benefice. He ultimately becomes the Vicar of Barivan. The 
fact that Mariot, his mother, was dead by this time may have 
rendered it the easier to carry out these arrangements for dis- 
inheriting the rightful heir. John, a natural brother of the 
Thane's (afterwards legitimised), kept a watchful eye on these 
proceedings. He was a Churchman, but had acquired con- 
siderable property in Nairn and elsewhere. He was first 
Rector of Duthil and afterwards Precentor of Ross, and a 
leading man in the district. The Thane, however, was a resolute 
man, and no friendly counsel would turn him from his object. 
A matrimonial alliance is arranged on 10th May, 1492, between 
his son John, now the fiar or heir apparent to the Thanage, 
and Isabella Rose, daughter of the Baron of Kilravock. She 
brings as her marriage portion 900 merks secured on the 
reversion of the lands of Kinsteary and a quarter of 
Easter Geddes, and her husband is infeft in the lands 
of Cawdor as heir, " as sicker as men's wits can devise." 
About this time the Thane acquired in feu the other half of 
Raite and the adjoining lands of Meikle Geddes. The Thane 
married a second time, and with his second wife, Janet Keith 
of Inverugie, the widow of Alan Kinnaird of Culbin, he got 
the two Tullyglens, now part of Dunphail. 

An event happened about this time which would not have 
been expected to befall a shrewd, worldly, cautious man like 
the Thane of Cawdor, one too who held the official position 
of Sheriff of the shire. It was a time, however, of extreme 
violence. Clan raids or herships, as they were called, had 
come to be very common, and the Thane appears to have 


become involved in a serious affray. In the year 1492, 
King James IV. came north to Inverness, and amongst the 
charges he had to dispose of was one against the Thane 
of Cawdor and certain accomplices for the slaughter of 
Patrick Wiseman, Duncan M' Angus, William Blacklaw, 
and John Kede. No particulars are given of the occurrence, 
but it appears to have taken place at Inverness possibly a 
band of lawless men had stolen some of Calder's cattle, and 
he had taken the law into his own hands. The other parties 
involved with Calder were Thomas Hay, William Calder, 
John Mcolson, John Belgeam, Thomas Grant, and James 
Maliach. The King in the plentitude of his mercy granted 
them a remission, " provided that to the parents and friends 
of the said slaughtered individuals they make amends and 
satisfaction, and likewise satisfy others who have endured 
losses, so that regarding this matter we shall for the future 
hear of no just complaint." The Thane is no sooner well out 
of this scrape than he is into another. Along with his neigh- 
bours William Dallas of Can tray and William Dallas of 
Budgate, he comes within the scope of the law again. 
Matters look very serious. On 26th April, 1494, Calder 
and his two kinsmen the Dallases were tried at the Circuit 
Court at Aberdeen, accused of certain criminal actions alleged 
to have been committed by them. They were found guilty, 
and sentenced to be beheaded. The King's interest was 
sought on their behalf when he came to Inverness in the 
autumn, and on the 25th of October the King, " moved to 
pity, considering and understanding they were ever our true 
lieges and obedient to our laws, and never found guilty of 
before, granted to them their lives, heritages, and goods, to 
live and remain in time to come our true lieges, like as they 
did of before the giving of the said doom upon them," 


In the year 1493, the old Thane resigned his lands and 
Thanage personally in the King's hands, in favour of his son 
John, reserving his own life-rent, and a Royal Charter was 
granted the following year to John and his heirs without 

The marriage which the old Thane had set his heart so 
much upon did not turn out to his satisfaction. Two 
daughters were born of the marriage Jonet and Muriel 
but the father died some months before Muriel was born. 
There is some obscurity as to Jonet, and all that is known 
for certain is that Muriel alone survived to claim the 
succession ultimately. The Thane now exerted all his craft 
and skill in legal forms to get the child set aside and one of his 
other sons placed in the succession, but he had outwitted him- 
self. Had the entail of 1488 stood, the estates would have 
reverted to the nearest male heir of the Calders, but in his 
desire to "make sicker" the entail on John as against his eldest 
son William, he had by royal charter secured the succession to 
his issue male or female. A long legal fight ensued, and the 
old Thane had the mortification of seeing Muriel's right as 
heiress established at law in 1502. The following year 
he departed this life, leaving his sons to carry on the 
family quarrel for a time. The heiress Muriel, a few years 
before this, was carried off under romantic circumstances as 
narrated by Shaw " Argyle and Kilravock obtained a gift 
of tutors dative and the ward of her marriage was granted to 
Argyle by the King's gift, of date 16th January, 1495. The 
child was kept in the house of Kilravock ; and Argyle granted 
Kilravock a bond of maintenance and friendship dated 1st 
February, 1499 ; and in harvest thereafter sent Campbell of 
Inveriiver with sixty men, to receive the child to bring her 
to Inverary. The lady Kilravock, grandmother of the child, 


being told that she should soon be restored to her, that she 
might not be changed, seared or marked her hip with the key 
of her trunk or coffer. As Inverliver was near to Daltulich 
[in Strathnairn] in his way with little Muriel, he found him- 
self close pursued by Alexander and Hugh Calders (the child's 
uncles) with a superior party. Having sent off the child 
with an escort of six men, Inverliver faced about to stop the 
Calders ; and to deceive them, a sheaf of corn was dressed in 
some of the child's clothes and kept by one in the rear. The 
conflict was sharp, and several were killed, among whom were 
eight of Inverliver 's sons. When Inverliver thought that 
the child was out of the reach of her uncles, he retreated, 
leaving the fictitious child to the pursuers. Inverliver was 
rewarded with the 20-pound land of Inverliver. 'Tis said 
that in the heat of the skirmish with the Calders, Inverliver 
had cried 'S fkada glaodh o Lochoiv ! 'S fhada cobhair o 
Mown* dhocdne ! which has become a proverb signifying 
imminent danger and distant relief." 

John Calder, the uncle, the Precentor of Eoss, came to the 
assistance of the Calders, with the intention evidently of 
maintaining the old line. William, Vicar of Barivan, the 
eldest son, claimed the lands of Little Urchany, and in a deed 
repudiating some transactions of David Dunbar on his behalf, 
a curious custom is alluded to. In token of his revoking and 
annulling the " state " taken wrongfully by Dunbar " at the 
Broomhill between Meikle and Little Urchany," the vicar, in 
presence of his uncle and others, " breaks on the ground a 
dish with fire with his own foot, as custom is." On one 
occasion, a few years before this the old Thane in token of his 
" breaking the sasine " taken of the lands of Meikle Geddes 
and half Kait by the Ogilvies in violation, as he alleged, of his 
feu-charter from the Setons of Tullybody, employed the 


symbol of breaking a plate and throwing it into the fire in 
the hall of Meikle Geddes. 

John the Precentor also secured the lands belonging to 
the Calders in the Burgh of Nairn for his nephew the 
Vicar. The sympathies of the burgesses were evidently with 
the Calders. As the record of the proceedings is one of the 
earliest minutes of the Nairn Burgh Court extant, it is given 
in full, the spelling being partially modernised 

" Jhesus Maria" 

" The court of Nairn holden at Nairn by John the Eos and 
John Merchand, bailies of the sammyn burgh of Nairn, the 
16th day of August in the year of God one thousand five 
hundred and six years the sammyn day the judges sitting, 
the suits called, and the court lawfully affirmed. 

" Nomina Assize. 

John Merchand, John Buchane, Manne Clarke, Brande Fide, 
Thome Sandesoune, William Alexanderson, "Willie Crestesone, 
Sande Fyndlesone, John Clark, John M/Crowun, Kobe Thom- 
son, William Caulder, John Caulder. 

"The same day Master John Caulder, Chantor of Koss, 
presented an attorney in the name and behalf of Sir William 
Caulder, vicar of Evan, and the said Master John asked the 
said Sir William to be known and entered to the said rents and 
lands that his father William Caulder died last vest and seissit 
of as of fee, within the bounds of the said burgh, the which 
judges understanding that desire righteous, caused the said 
Master John to remove the court, and took inquisition of the 
freemen of the town by their oaths as the manner is in 
burghs, the which judges found by the assize of the hail town 
that the said William, thayne of Caulder, died vest and 
seissit of the crofts beside Belmakeithe, beyond the water of 
Nairn, forgayne the castle of the sammyn ; also, of six roods 


lying within the galois, two roods in the Millbank, and two- 
roods in the Skaytrawe, and also of 30d of annual of Cristane 
Flemyng's land, and of Criste Cummyng's bigging 2s of 
annual, and of Henry Dallas's land of Cantray 2s of annual, 
the which inquest foresaid found the said Sir William lawful 
heir of all the said lands and annuals, and passed in incon- 
tinent and entered the said Master John attorney for the- 
said Sir William by the deliverance of earth and stane, hesp 
and staple, as the manner of burghs is." The document is- 
certified to be a true copy extracted from the burgh books 
by Dominum Thomas Strathauchin, notary public. 

The Precentor looked next to the interests of Hugh, the 
next eldest surviving son, whom he destined for his heir. 
Hugh had married a daughter of the Laird of Culbin, getting 
a third of that property as dower, and the Precentor induced 
William, the vicar, to resign the Sheriffship in his favour, and 
in 1510 a Crown charter was granted to Hugh of the offices 
of Sheriff of Nairn, with the Constabulary of the King's 
Castle, and the assize of ale and fish. Argyle permits this to 
pass, but he takes care that the interests of Muriel and his 
son do not suffer prejudice therefrom, by getting himself 
appointed the King's crowner within the bounds of the shire 
of Nairn, thus securing his right to intervene if necessary, 
his powers being co-ordinate with that of the Sheriff. 

Andrew Calder was dead. A tradition states that he had 
become very ferocious, was outlawed, and defied capture for 
a time, but was shot in the forehead as he lay concealed 
behind a boulder at the water dam near Eaite. This tale is 
exceedingly doubtful. 

The youngest son, Alexander, remained to be provided for, 
and the thoughtful uncle first finds him a wife. A contract 
of marriage is drawn up at Auldearn on the 6th of May, 


1515, by Hugh Rose of Kilravock, and Mr John Calder, 
Chantor of Ross, in terms of which Alexander Calder is to 
marry Elizabeth Rose, her father giving " six score of merks 
of marriage gear and eight oxen to plenish a tack/' while the 
uncle gives to his nephew the west half of Easter Bracklie, 
which he had recently purchased from Sir William Ogilvy, 
and also a hundred merks of ready money to lay upon land. 
This he does, he states in the settlement, of his free will " for 
kindness of blood and helping of the said Alexander." 

By this time Lady Muriel had completed her twelfth year, 
and was then married to Sir John Campbell son of the Earl 
of Argyll. Of Muriel's residence in her west-country home 
nothing is known. From a gossiping remark it appears she 
was a red-haired lassie. No doubt she was tenderly brought 
up, and as after history shows, she had in Sir John Campbell 
a good husband. Except that she was an exile from her 
native home, the connexion was everything that could be 
desired. She could have found no better protection than in 
the noble house of Argyle, now risen to great power in the 

The marriage took place in 1510. The mantelpiece in 
one of the rooms of Cawdor Castle, appears to have been 
executed in commemoration of their marriage. It bears the 
arms of the Campbells and the Calders quartered, with the 
date 1510, and has the initials " S. J. C." (Sir John Campbell), 
and " M. C." (Muriel Calder), but from the style of the 
carvings with which it is adorned (one of which is a fox 
smoking a pipe) it is supposed to have been the work of a 
later generation. It bears a Latin inscription Ceri mani 
mcmoneris mane " Remember in the morning the good 
Creator." A year later, proclamation that her brieve was 
to be served at Edinburgh on a particular day was made 


at the cross of the burghs of Nairn, Forres, and Inverness. 
A Crown charter followed uniting all the possessions of 
Cawdor, with the Castle and fortalice, into one thanage 
and free barony in favour of Sir John Campbell and Muriel 
Calder. And thus the old line of succession was changed 
and continues to this day with the Campbells. 

The new Thane of Cawdor was cast in quite a different 
mould from the old Calders. They had been content to 
occupy a position, respectable and influential enough in its 
own district, but of comparatively little prominence in the 
country. Not so Sir John Campbell of Cawdor. Come of a 
race distinguished for its capacity to rule and govern, as well 
as to fight and conquer, the new Thane of Cawdor was 
aggressive, ambitious, and masterful. The proudest Chiefs 
in the Western Highlands and Isles sought his friendship 
and protection. The bundles of " bonds of friendship and 
man rent" in the charter-room of Cawdor testify to his 
power and influence. It was a turbulent age which needed 
men of strong character to meet force with force. The 
Chiefs of the M'Leans and Camerons, M'Leods, M'Dougalls, 
and M'Neills, did not, as the family historian remarks, disdain 
to take service with him. "When Sir John came to the north, 
the Chief of Clanchattan, the Baron of Kilravock, Munro of 
Foulis, MacDonald of the Isles and Sleat, all pressed their 
service upon him. 

Sir John appears to have been in Nairnshire in the autumn 
of 1521, as Lachlan Mackintosh, the Captain of Clanchattan, 
signs his bond at Banchor, on 10th August of that year, but 
it was not till 1524 that Lady Muriel and he took up their 
residence at Cawdor Castle. The home-coming of Lady 
Muriel must have been an interesting event in the county, 
but no scrap of information has been preserved regarding it. 


Her mother, Isabel Kose of Kilravock, was probably dead by 
this time. She resided for a time at Balivat the village of 
Bellivat, it is called of which the Roses were hereditary 
tenants. Her uncle Hugh was still Sheriff of Nairn, and her 
uncle Alexander was at Clunas. On her mother's side, her 
relatives at Kilravock were all in a flourishing condition, but 
the grandmother who had taken care that no red-haired 
changeling from Argyle should inherit Cawdor was not there 
to identify her marks. 

In truth, however, the new thane of Cawdor came north 
under a cloud. A dark tragedy had been enacted but a few 
months before on the shores of Argyle in which he was con- 
cerned. M'Lean of Duart, an inhuman wretch, had married 
Lady Elizabeth Campbell, the Thane of Cawdor's sister. 
Through some mad freak of temper, M'Lean took the lady 
out to sea in a boat and placed her on a bare rock in the 
ocean, covered at high tide, and there left her to perish. 
The story has been dramatised by Joanna Baillie in her 
"Family Legend," and the island is known to this day as 
" The Lady's Eock." The Lady Elizabeth when at the point 
of death was rescued from her perilous position by a passing 
boat. Sir John's indignation at this foul deed led him to 
revenge the insult. He laid waste the lands of Colinsay 
which belonged to M'Lean, and then followed him to Edin- 
burgh, and coming in the silence of night to his lodging 
there, he slew the wretched man in his bed. Eemission 
for the " slaughter " committed in circumstances of such 
exceptional provocation was granted by King James V., 
in December of the year Sir John and Lady Muriel took 
up their residence at Cawdor. They thereafter made it their 
home, merely visiting on occasions their possessions in 


Sir John's dealings with the old Calders were perhaps not 
over generous. The old Precentor was dead, and on the plea 
of illegitimacy, though the writ of legitimation existed, his 
property went to the Crown. This property Sir John got by 
paying to the Crown a small composition. The Vicar of 
Barivan had died some years before, and the old line was 
represented by Hugh the Sheriff, and Alexander Calder of 
Clunas. The Sheriff was induced to resign his office in 
favour of Sir John in exchange for the eight merks of land 
of Balmakeith, to be held in blanche ferm for a red rose 
annually if it be desired. While stripping him of his office, 
however, he continued to him the whole dues and profits of 
the town for his lifetime, which was not very long, He died 
the following year, leaving five daughters but no son, who 
inherited a portion of the old Calder properties in the Burgh 
of Nairn. One daughter, Muriel, married John Bayne, bur- 
gess of Elgin, and another, Janet, married Morrison, burgess 
of Nairn. They were served heirs in the Burgh Court and 
their properties touch upon King's Steps and Househill on 
the one side, and Millbank, Grieship, &c., on the other. 

Sir John acquired from the Ogilvies the lands of Meikle 
Geddes and half Eaite for 1300 merks his lands of Moy, 
near Forres, to count for 700 merks. Meikle Geddes and 
half Raite were previously held in feu-farm of the Setons, 
for an annual of 20. Sir John coveted the rich corn 
lands of Strathnairn, belonging to the Ogilvies, and being 
unable apparently to acquire them by purchase, sought to 
obtain them by force. He led an expedition against Daviot 
Castle, slew certain of the keepers, burned the Castle, spoiled 
the lands, and carried away the cattle and horses belonging 
to James Ogilvie. For this lawless Act, the Thane of Cawdor, 
Sheriff Principal of Nairn, stood his trial at Inverness Circuit 


Court. His near kinsman, Sir John Campbell of Lundy, was 
judge, (acting as Depute for the Earl of Argyle), and almost 
as a matter of course Sir John Campbell of Cawdor was 
acquitted. Soon after Sir John purchased the superiority of 
the Barony of Strathnairn, with the fortalice of Daviot, from 
David, Earl of Crawford, for 1000 usual money. 

It may have been this transaction which brought the Earl 
of Crawford into a closer relationship with the house of 
Cawdor. Sir John and Lady Muriel had five sons and three 
daughters. Archibald, the eldest, married Isabel, daughter 
of James Grant of Freuchie ; John, the second son, was put 
to fosterage in Argyle, and became Commendator of Ard- 
chattan and Bishop of the Isles ; Donald, the third son, was 
also settled in Argyle ; Duncan got Highland Boath as his 
portion ; and Alexander, the youngest, was settled at Fleenas- 
more and Eaite. The youngest daughter married Koss of 
Balnagown, and Duncan of Boath married a daughter of 
Balnagown. Janet was engaged to marry young Lochiel, 
but instead married Alexander, Lord Lovat. The eldest 
daughter, Katherine, had married young Alexander Dallas, 
the heir to Cantray, and he infeft his wife in Galcantray. 
He died early, however, and the young widow made another 
match she married the Earl of Crawford, and as the premier 
Countess of Scotland, it may perhaps hardly be wondered at 
if she is found putting on somewhat patronising airs towards 
some of her poorer relations. The Church half-lands of 
Fleenasmore, which had been let on tack to Cawdor, were 
finally granted to Sir John by the Bishop of Moray, and he 
settled them on his son Alexander along with the lands of 
Eaite. Some few years after, the Countess of Crawford, who 
was devotedly attached to her brothers, paid to Alexander 
1000 for the reversion of Baite. The property comes into 


her hands, and she grants to "her beloved David Hay of the 
Castletown of Raite, all and haill the two plough lands of the 
Castletown of Raite with the alehouse and alecroft thereof," 
for a period of five years, at an annual rent of six merks. 
One of the clauses of the lease is interesting while David 
may assign his lease to his heirs, assignees, and sub-tenants, 
it is expressly stipulated that they must be "of no higher 
degree nor himself." The descendants of Alexander Calder 
of Clunas occupied as kindly tenants the " Hilltown of 
Raite," and they were proving themselves rather trouble- 
some neighbours to Duncan Campbell, brother of the 
Countess. The Countess wrote from Edinburgh to the Baron 
of Kilravock to use his good offices with Janet Calder and 
her family so as to secure that her brother Duncan be not 
further molested, arid the postscript of her ladyship's letter 
is delightful. " If Janet be reasonable," she writes, " I will 
do her and her bairns sik pleasure as I can. Otherwise she 
may be assured that I will show no kyndness neither to her 
nor her bairns gif she continues in so obstinate ane mynd 
as I am informit she is presentlie !" These lands were 
redeemed by the Thane of Calder from David, the sixth 
Earl of Crawford, after his mother's death. 

Among other possessions Sir John acquired a tack of 
the lands of Stratherne, and also a tack of the Crown 
lands of Petty and Bracklie. Although spending most 
part of his time at Cawdor, Sir John did not cease to 
take part in the public affairs of the nation. He was 
apparently a devout Catholic, and had no sympathy with the 
Reformation principles then beginning to spread. His 
nephew, the Earl of Argyle, being unwell, Sir John repre- 
sents him at a meeting of Catholic Earls and Barons, Bishops 
and Abbots, who had met at Perth in March of the year 


1542, to take measures for repressing the new movement, 
and he is chosen to accompany Eobert Reid, the Bishop of 
Orkney, to submit certain proposals to the Parliament. It is 
easy to understand why the Bishop of Orkney was selected 
for this duty his personal character placed him above all 
the other Prelates of the time. It may have been for a 
similar reason that the Knight of Cawdor was appointed to 
accompany him. One of these proposals was that Cardinal 
Beaton should be liberated, and another that the New 
Testament should not be read in the vulgar tongue. The 
Parliament, however, refused both requests. Two years 
later, the Thane of Cawdor offers his sword to the Queen- 
mother, Mary of Guise, and signs a bond along with other 
nobles to support her against the Earl of Arran, who is at 
the head of the Government at the time. He was in several 
Parliaments one of the Committee of the Lords of the Articles. 
But Sir John's course had run. In the spring of the year 
1546 he died, "leaving vast possessions in his paternal 
country as well as in that of his adoption." 

Sir John was succeeded by his son Archibald, of whom 
little is known. He married the year before his father's 
death a daughter of James Grant of Freuchy, and died in 
1551, leaving a son John who succeeded him, and a daughter 
Beatrix, who married Patrick Grant of Glenmorriston. Dame 
Muriel outlived both her husband and her son. In the year 
1573 the old lady deems it expedient to settle her affairs, 
which she does by resigning the thanedom and baronies of 
Cawdor in favour of her grandson, John Campbell, who had 
just come of age. He married Mary Keith, daughter of the 
Earl Marishal, and sister of Annas Keith, Countess of Moray, 
and afterwards Countess of Argyle. Through this marriage 
connexion, John Campbell of Cawdor was drawn away from 


Cawdor to the shores of Argyle, and the story of his tragic 
end will fall to be related in the history of the Cawdor 
family in connection with their western possessions. 

The Eoses were early settled in Nairnshire. The date 
1230 is given by the family chroniclers, but while some 
doubt exists as to whether the document a charter of 
Beauly Priory in which the name occurs was genuine (it 
is now lost), there is documentary evidence of Eose being in 
possession of Geddes in the latter part of the reign of 
Alexander III., who died in 1286. Marrying a grandchild 
of Sir John Bisset, Mary Bosco, and getting the lands of 
Kilravock and Culcowie with her, Hugh Eose was then 
styled of Kilravock. 

" From their first settlement," says Cosmo Innes, " the 
family used for arms the the water bougets of " De Eoos," 
a very definite and peculiar cognizance used by all that name 
in England and Normandy. At a very early period, even 
before we have evidence of their lands being erected into a 
feudal barony, they took and were allowed the style of Baron, 
in a manner unusual in Scotland, and in the fifteenth cen- 
tury the family arms appear in the seals of successive lairds 
of Kilravock, circumscribed Sigillum Hugonis Rois Baronis 
the only instance of the kind I have met with in Scotland/' 
A Norman family first settled in England, the Eoses of Geddes 
probably came north about the same time as the Bissets, and 
like them hailed from Northampton. A peculiarity of the 
family has been that, with very few exceptions, the eldest 
son has been named Hugh, and to distinguish the one Baron 
from the other, the family historian has to designate them as 
" Kilravock the First," " Kilravock the Second," and so on 
down the long line of Barons. The second baron bore the 


title of Knighthood, and is supposed to have fallen at the 
Battle of Halidon Hill. He left two sons, Hugh who 
succeeded him, and Andrew, who received from his mother 
her part of the lands of Killayne and Pitfour, within the 
Barony of Avoch, with consent of John de Moravia of Both- 
well and Avoch, son of Sir Andrew Moray, the Scottish 
patriot. From Andrew, the second son, are descended the 
Roses of Auchlossin, who had lands on both sides of the river 
Nairn near the town, but sold them to Calder in 1457. 
Hugh, dying about the year 1363, was succeeded by his son 
Hugh, who increased the family possessions by his marriage 
with Janet Chisholm, daughter of Sir Kobert Chisholm of 
Urquhart Castle, who had inherited through his mother the 
lands of Quarrelwood at Elgin, Kinsteary and Brightmony 
at Auldearn, and lands in Strathnairn. Kilravock's portion 
with his wife was taken from the lands in Strathnairn 
namely, Cantraybruich, Little Cantray, and Ochter Urchills 
(near Clava). The destruction of the Kilravock title deeds 
and charters in the burning of Elgin Cathedral in 1390 
necessitated John, the sixth Baron, to make up fresh titles. 
Hugh, Lord Lovat, as Sheriff of Inverness, held an inquest on 
2nd February, 1431. Alexander Stuart, Earl of Mar, the 
hero of Harlaw, as King's Lieutenant in the North, attended 
the inquest, and cognosced two witnesses, William My kill and 
Hugh Adamson, apparently from Nairn, who deponed that 
they saw the King's confirmation upon the lands of Kil- 
ravock and Geddes shown to Alexander, Earl of Buchan, (the 
Wolfe of Badenoch) in area ecclesia de Nairn. In April 
following the Baron got himself served heir to his father at 
Nairn, before Donald, Thane of Calder and Sheriff of Nairn. 
He then resigned his whole lands into the hands of the King 
(James I.), and was confirmed in them as holding of the Earl 


of Eoss, and finally he resigned them into the hands of 
Alexander, Lord of the Isles, Earl of Eoss, and reserving 
his own liferent, gets a charter of them to his second son 
Hugh from the said Earl. The eldest son Lachlan became a 
priest, retaining the Strathnairn properties, but on his death 
they reverted to Hugh. It was from this John that the 
Roses of Dunearn sprung, from whom were descended 
the Eoses of Broadley, known as the " Provost of Nairn " 

Hugh, the seventh Baron, formed a twofold alliance with 
the Mackintoshes. He married Moir Mackintosh, daughter 
of Malcolm Begg Mackintosh, captain of the Clanchattan, 
and he entered into a bond or league with Mackintosh. A 
previous bond had been entered into between Lord Forbes 
and his kinsmen on the one part and Kilravock and Mackin- 
tosh on the other part. They were to defend each other 
against all and sundry in all causes and quarrels, saving their 
allegiance to the Sovereign, and on the part of Kilravock and 
Mackintosh, keeping their allegiance to the Earl of Eoss. 
This indenture is dated 1467. Seven years before this, in 
the year 1460, the Baron got a license from the Earl of Eoss, 
who is designated " Johne of Yle, Erie of Eoss, and Lord of 
the Isles," to build a tower at Kilravock. The license runs 
that he has full power to " found, big, and upmake a toure of 
fens, with barmkin, and bataling, upon which place of strength 
him best likis, within the Barony of Kylravock, without ony 
contradiction or demand, question or ony objection to put in 
contrar of him or his heirs for the said toure and barmkin- 
making, with the bataling, now or in tyme to cum." The 
building of Cawdor Castle had been authorised just two years 
before, and the Baron had doubtless some feelings of emula- 
tion and resolved not to be thrown into the shade by his 


neighbour on the opposite side of the water of Nairn. The 
Baron chose a high rocky bank by the river side a pictur- 
esque spot and there built his tower. Tradition states that 
the masons when finished with Cawdor Castle carried their 
tools across the river to Kilravock, and set to work to build 
the Baron's tower. Kilravock Castle, like its contemporary 
Cawdor, was simply a square keep, surrounded with high 
walls. The other buildings are subsequent additions. 

On the downfall of the Earl of Ross, the Earl of Huntly, 
as King's Lieutenant, becomes the potent lord in the North. 
Kilravock and he are fast friends, and the Earl grants him 
the extensive territory of Urquhart and Glenmorriston, which 
formed part of the great Lordship of Badenoch, now held by 
Huntly. Kilravock had some troubles with the Mackintoshes 
on this account. The Chief and his son swore amity, but the 
lesser leaders entertained feelings of deadly hostility to Kil- 
ravock, probably because they being kindly tenants on these 
lands apprehended that they were to be dispossessed by the 
Roses. However that may be, Lachlan Mackintosh of Galovy 
entered into a compact with a freebooter of the clan, Donald 
Angusson Mackintosh, to capture the Castle of Kilravock 
and deliver it over to him. The reason assigned is that it is 
known by " the oldest in the country " that Hugh the Rose, 
Baron of Kilravock, had no title of right to the castle nor to 
the ground it stands on. The terms of the contract were 
extraordinary. Lachlan was to come to receive the castle 
when it was taken. Then Donald was to be made constable 
and keeper of the castle under him, and was to have as his 
fee all the lands lying betwixt the new mill and the town of 
Holme, on the water side of Nairn, and all the lands that is 
betwixt the said castle and the Kirk of Croy, together with 
the said mill as long as the castle remained in their hands, 


with ten merks of land free for his lifetime, either in Petty or 
Strathnairn. In the event of such a contingency arising as 
that Lachlan should voluntarily give up the castle to Kilravock 
or any others, he was to make Donald "sicker" forthwith 
without any longer delay of ten pounds worth of land free in 
his fee for all the days of his life in such places as above 
mentioned, without fraud or guile. But a still more singu- 
lar reward for the capture of the castle was stipulated for. 
Donald was to marry Margaret, daughter of Lachlan the father 
to bring the dispensation out of Kome at his own expense. As 
soon, however, as the castle was taken Donald was to have the 
young lady, and the marriage would be celebrated when the 
dispensation came home. It is further stipulated that Lach- 
lan was to give a marriage portion of forty merks with her, 
to be paid in half yearly instalments of ten merks ; "that the 
said Lachlan shall clothe his daughter honestly as effeirs, and 
the costs thereof nocht to be comptit in the said forty merks, 
and he shall had and sustain his said daughter honestly in his 
own house two years, should it please the said Donald that 
she should remain so long with her father." The agreement 
is ratified by swearing " the great oath and the holy evangelist 
touched, all fraud, guile, cavillacione, and perwill exceptions 
being excluded and by put." Lachlan affixes his seal, and 
because Donald had no seal proper of his own, he procured 
the seal of ane honourable man, William, Thane of Calder, to 
be affixed for him at day and place before written. The 
Thane of Cawdor was on very bad terms with Kilravock at 
the time, otherwise it would be difficult to believe that he 
would have given his seal to so base a transaction if he were 
aware of its nature. The date corresponds within twenty- 
four hours with the time when Calder seized and imprisoned 
a son of Kilravock's. 


Donald's assault on the castle was successful. A night 
attack was made. The constable and watchmen were slain 
and the Baron taken in his bed. The head house of the 
tower was destroyed, and the great hall, with the kitchen, 
bakehouse, brewhouse, and other office houses damaged by 
fire to the extent of a hundred pounds. Kilravock was 
treated as a prisoner, and his clothes, victuals, and other 
necessary comforts withheld from him. How long the castle 
was in the possession of the enemy, or whether Donald got 
his bride and the other rewards under the agreement, cannot 
be positively stated. The only written information regarding 
the occurrence is that Donald and his accomplices were sum- 
moned a few years after by warrant of the King to answer for 
their misdeeds above narrated. Probably the castle was in 
the hands of the Mackintoshes only till such time as the Earl 
of Huntly could send a force to relieve his friend. The 
presumption is that Donald had to go without his bride, for 
Lachlan Mackintosh's six daughters had all husbands whose 
names are known, and Donald's name is not one of them. 

In the year 1482, the Baron of Kilravock was appointed 
Keeper or Captain of Eedcastle, (the old fortress of Edder- 
dour, built by William the Lion). This appointment he 
received from George, second Earl of Huntly and Lord of 
Badenoch. Two years later the Baron married Huntly's 
sister, and received as tocher 380 merks. As Captain of 
Eedcastle and tacksman of the King's lands in Ardmenache, 
Kilravock became involved in many and grievous troubles. 
His authority was disputed. In vain did Huntly assure him 
of his support. The Baron made over the difficult post to his 
son and heir, Hugh of Geddes, but he was not more successful. 
The Eedcastle was besieged by the Mackenzies of Kin tail, 
and the Eoses were for the time driven out of the Black Isle. 


A few years later, the third Earl of Huntly granted a com- 
mission to Kilravock, the Mackintoshes, and the Grants to 
invade the country of the Mackenzies. Their army numbered 
three thousand fighting men, and they were authorised to 
" burn, harry and slay " the Mackenzies in the King's name, 
in retaliation for the raids of the Mackenzies on the King's 
tenants of Ardmenache. 

A raid was made into Cromarty by certain of the Mack- 
intosh clan who carried off an enormous booty, consisting of 
" 600 cows and oxen, four score horses, fifty score sheep, 200 
swine, with plenishing of the farms, and twenty-five score 
bolls of victual, and 300 of the maills." Whether Kilravock 
and the Captain of Clan Chattan were cognisant of the raid 
or no, they became joint sureties to Urquhart of Cromarty for 
800 inerks for the raiders. Kilravock could get no satisfaction 
from Mackintosh for his part, and after many years of litiga- 
tion, the claim of Urquhart of Cromarty was settled, but in a 
peculiar way Kilravock paid one-half the sum in money, 
and for the remainder he accepted Urquhart's daughter Agnes, 
(a child at the time), as wife to his son, and young Hugh, who 
was alleged to have had a hand in the raid, was married to 
Agnes in the year 1510. Agnes is stated by the family historian 
to have been a pious lady, much given to charity and alms 
deeds, and it was with the view of convenience of her devotions 
at the Chapel of Geddes, that the house of Geddes was built 
on its present site. It formerly stood near the water of Nairn, 
probably at Alnaha. The Eoses were now spreading their 
wings far and near. Hugh, (he who was the Governor of 
Eedcastle), by his first wife, Isabel Sutherland, had but one 
child, Isabel of Kilravock, who married the last Thane of 
Calder under the circumstances already related. By his 
second wife, Margaret Gordon, sister of the Earl of Huntly, 


the line of Barons was carried on. Their second son John 
was founder of the branch of Roses of Belivat, and their third 
son Alexander was first of the family of Roses of Insch. In the 
next generation, there are four sons and nine daughters, and 
Agnes of Cromarty, their mother, had the satisfaction of 
seeing her sons thriving and her daughters all well settled in 
life by alliances with northern families of good repute. It 
was her husband who was taken prisoner and detained for 
several years in the prison of Dumbarton for capturing the 
Abbot of Kinloss. When he was liberated, he brought north 
with him Thomas Davidson, a gardener from Paisley, who 
introduced the art of gardening and planted an orchard at 

Several off-shoots of the Roses took root in STairnshire 
before the period of the Reformation, 

The oldest of these is the family of Rose of Holme (now 
designated Holme-Rose) who have had a residence at a sweet 
spot on the left bank of the Nairn, about a mile above 
Kilravock, since about the year 1460. The family was founded 
by Alexander Rose, second son of Hugh, the seventh Baron, 
by his wife Moir Mackintosh. The next Rose of Holme 
was Walter, who was succeeded by his son Alexander, who 
flourished about the time of the Reformation, and came in 
for a share of the Church lands when they were parcelled 
out. He and his wife Joneta Dunbar in 1546 got a feu of 
the ecclesiastical lands of Daldaucht in Ardclach for an 
annual of 10 13s 8d, and of Ewan and Dalquharne for 
9 11s 4d with certain personal services. They also got 
the lands of Drumournie. They had no doubt been kindly 
tenants of the pasture of these places, and the tenure 
of tenancy was converted into that of a feu holding. The 
succession was carried on by John, the second soil, who 


married Helen Rose, daughter of Kilravock the Eighth, and 
widow of Innes of Drynie. 

The Eoses of Belivat are a generation later than their 
cousins of Holme. John Rose of Belivat was the second son 
of the Eighth Baron, by his wife Lady Margaret Gordon, 
daughter of the Earl of Huntly. John was tacksman of 
Belivat, and on his marriage with Marjory Dunbar, daughter 
of James Dunbar of Cunzie, he got a liferent tack of the old 
heritage of the Erasers, then of the Dunbars, consisting of 
Glenernie, Dallasbrachtie, Craigroy, Logiegown, and Ardrie. 
He purchased the Church lands of Mid-Fleenas from the 
chaplains of the chaplainries of St. James and St. Ninian at 
Elgin in 1534. Shortly after, he acquired from the Bishop 
the lands of Belivat and others in Ardclach. The subsequent 
history of this turbulent sept of the Roses will afterwards be 

The arms of the Roses are Or, a boar's head, couped 
gules, betwixt three water bougets, sable. Crest A harp. 
Motto Constant and true. 

The early history of the Brodies as regards personal 
details is singularly meagre in consequence of the destruc- 
tion of their family papers. The grounds for believing 
that the Brodies are of Celtic origin and were possessed of 
the lands of Brodie before the advent of the Anglo-Norman 
families in the North, have already been stated. The 
following is the correct genealogy of the early Thanes 
whose names are recorded (1) Malcolm, Thane of Brodie. 
before 1285 ; (2) Michael, Thane of Brodie and Dyke, who 
had a charter of the thanage from Robert Bruce in 1311 ; 
(3) John de Brodie, who attended the Earl of Mar when he 
came north after the Battle of Harlaw, and was one of the party 


present at the Castle of Ruthven when the Wolfe of Bade- 
noch and the Bishop of Moray were reconciled in 1380 ; (4) 
Thomas de Brodie, who had two sons, the younger Alexander 
becoming Vicar of Dyke. The eldest son (5) John succeeds his 
father as Laird of Brodie. On the margin of a tombstone in 
the church of Dyke is recorded the name of (6) Richard 
Brodie and his wife, the date being 16th September, 1446. 
He is succeeded by (7) John Brodie of that Ilk, who grants 
in 1446 a right of thirlage of his thanage and estate of 
Brodie to the Mill of Grangegreen, owned by the Prior of 
Pluscardine, " for some rash act done by him." A story is 
preserved of his gallantry and bravery which rests on good 

The Mackenzies of Kintail had received a grant of 
part of the property belonging to the old Earldom of Ross. 
The Macdonalds of the Isles entertained a grudge against 
the Mackenzies on account of this, and an insult given by 
Kenneth of Kintail to Lady Margaret, his wife, who was a 
cousin of Macdonald's, brought the strife to a head. Lady 
Margaret, it appears, was blind of an eye, and to insult 
her cousin to the highest pitch, Kenneth sent her home on a 
one-eyed horse, accompanied by a one-eyed servant, followed 
by a one-eyed dog. To revenge this insult, Macdonald 
collected his friends, and advanced at the head of a large 
body of West Highlanders and other adherents; marched 
through Strathconan and wasted it ; and arrived at Contin on 
a Sunday morning and set fire to the Church in which the 
aged people, the women, and the children had taken refuge, 
all being burnt to ashes. At Kinellan, not far from Contin, 
the Mackenzies and the Macdonalds met in battle on a moor 
known as Blar-na-Pairc. The Mackenzies had only 600 men, 
whilst the Macdonalds had three times that number, but the 


Mackenzies won the fight, the Macdonalds being completely 
routed and put to flight, and most of them killed. The night 
before the battle, (according to the Earl of Cromartie's 
narrative), young Brodie of Brodie, accompanied by the 
accustomed train of retainers, was on a visit to Mackenzie 
at Kinellan, and as he was preparing to leave the next 
morning, he noticed Mackenzie's men in arms, whereupon 
he asked if the enemy were known to be so near that for a 
certainty they would fight before night. Being informed 
that they were close at hand, he determined to wait and take 
part in the battle in spite of Kenneth's persuasion that he 
should not, Brodie saying " that he was an ill fellow and worse 
neighbour that would leave his friend at such a time." He 
took a distinguished part in the battle, and behaved to the 
advantage of his friend and notable loss of his enemy. 
Immediately after the battle he went on his journey, but 
his conduct (says the chronicler) produced a friendship 
between the Mackenzies and the family of Brodie which 
continued between their posterity, being more sacredly 
observed than family ties amongst others. 

The Brodie of the Battle of Park was succeeded by (8) 
Alexander Brodie, who was the chief of the jury who served 
William Sutherland of Duffus heir to that estate, and was 
ordered to be summoned before the Lords of Council to 
answer for his verdict. His successor (9) John, Thane of 
Brodie, was one of the arbiters who sat in the Nairn Parish 
Church in 1492, to adjudicate between the Bishop of Moray 
and the Baron of Kilravock. He is also a signatory to the 
marriage contract of the last Thane of Calder of the old line 
with Isabella Rose of Kilravock. He is succeeded by his son 
(10) Alexander, whose name is mentioned as on inquests 
serving Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland as heir to her 


brother in 1514, and Hugh, Lord Lovat, as heir to his father 
in 1524. He died previous to 1540, when he was succeeded 
by (11) Thomas Brodie, who is at Nairn on 10th February, 
1546, serving Archibald Campbell of Calder heir to Sir John 
in the office of Sheriff of Nairn. He will be met with again 
at a later period. The old Castle of Brodie was destroyed in 
subsequent wars. It was probably of the keep plan. The 
arms of the Brodies are thus set forth in heraldic language 
Arms Argent, a cheveron, gules, between three mullets, 
azure. Crest A right hand holding a bunch of three 
arrows. Supporters Two savages wreathed about head and 
middle with laurel, each holding a club resting against right 
shoulder. Motto Be mindful to unite. 

The old knightly family of Hay of Lochloy, the near neigh- 
bours of the Brodies, acquired at a very early date lands in 
Nairnshire. It was one of the oldest branches of the Hays 
of Errol. At what period the Hays acquired Lochloy it is 
perhaps impossible to determine. The first mention of Loch- 
loy is in connection with the landing of Harald, Earl of 
Caithness, at the port of Lochloy, to make his submission to 
King William the Lion at the Castle of Nairn, as already 
related. Amongst the great nobles at the Eoyal Court when 
King William was in Moray was William de Hay. He is a 
signatory to some five different charters granted by the King 
and recorded in the Chartulary of Moray. The King had in 
his gift the lands of Auldearn, and it is extremely probable 
that the Sir William de Hay so frequently mentioned in the 
charters of the period may have received a grant of the lands 
of Lochloy in addition to his possessions elsewhere. When 
the crisis arises in regard to the succession to the Scottish 
Throne, William de la Hay adhibibs his seal to the " Letter 


of the Community of Scotland," 1289. During the time the 
Guardians of Scotland administered the affairs of the nation 
Sir John de Hay figures in the history of the period. When 
the claims of Bruce and Baliol to the Throne were submitted 
to Edward I., Bruce nominated William de la Hay as one of his 
Commissioners, and Dr Taylor, in his " History of Edward I. 
in the North of Scotland," states that this William was the 
representative of the family of Hay of Lochloy in the County 
of Nairn. In support of Eobert Bruce, he joined the Scottish 
nobles at Dunbar, and was taken prisoner and sent to the 
Castle of Berkhampstead. He was soon liberated, however, 
and in August 28th, 1296, he swore fealty to Edward and 
and came North with him. He was then appointed Sheriff 
of Inverness, and in that capacity he took the oaths of fealty 
of the principal officers in the North, amongst others that of 
William de Monte Alto, Sheriff of Dingwall. Sir William 
Hay was also appointed Warden of Koss, and was practically 
governor of the North. So valiant a knight was too valuable 
a soldier to be left in civil employment, and Edward sum- 
moned him to accompany him on his expedition to Flanders. 
He responded, and the payments made to him for service in 
Flanders are recorded in the Exchequer Rolls. We learn no 
more of Sir William, but his son joined the patriotic party 
and adhered to Bruce. In 1304, one Oliver Avenal peti- 
tioned Edward to give him the lands of John de la Hay in 
the County of Inverness, promised him in the late war. 
After the War of Independence, the Hays were reinstated in 
their lands in Inverness and Nairn. In the year 1334, 
Thomas Hay of Urchany in the County of Nairn founded a 
chaplainry in the Church of Kathven, for the weal of the soul 
of the founder and his wife, and Christian Cruickshank and 
others, the chaplain to receive five merks annually from the 


lands of Urchany in the County of Nairn. The deed is in the 
Eegister of the Bishop of Aberdeen. The Hays of Eannoch 
were a branch of the Errol family, and have a tomb in Rathven 
Church. In 1364, John de Hay, Lord of Tullybothil, was 
Sheriff of Inverness, and with the consent of his son John 
granted out of his lands of Lochloy and Wester Eaite, an 
endowment for the Chapel of Kincraggie. He also possessed 
the lands of Awn (the Enzie) and others. Mention is made 
of David II. having given in 1362, a grant of all the land 
lying between the Spey and the rivulet called the Tynot in 
the forest of Awne, to John de Hay of Lochloy and Tully- 
bothil, for the purpose of being cultivated. Out of these 
lands in 1374 he gave a donation of four pounds for the 
support of a chaplain in the Chapel of Geth. Sir John 
married a neice of King Eobert II., and had three sons. His 
second son William succeeded to the lands of Lochloy in 
Nairnshire, and married Janet Mackintosh. His monument 
is still to be seen at Elgin Cathedral the oldest tomb but 
one of a layman within the sacred precincts. The Hays were 
great benefactors of the Church, which may account for the 
place of honour given them. The monument is in the south 
transept. It consists of a stone chest or sarcophagus, with 
the colossal figure of a knight in complete armour, with dirk 
and spurs still visible. The feet rest upon a lion couchant, 
and the stone bears the following inscription " Hie jacet 
Wills, de la Hay, quonda ens. de Lochloy, qui obiit viiio die 
mensis Decembris anno Dom. MCCCCXXI." Mention is 
made of this old Knight at a great gathering of northern 
gentry at the Kirkyard of Chanonry of Kosemarkie in 16th 
August, 1420. Amongst those present were John, Bishop of 
Ross ; Dame Mary of the Isles, Lady of the Isles and of Ross ; 
Hugh Fraser, Lord Lovat ; John M'Leod, Lord of Glenelg ; 


Angus Gothrason of the Isles ; Sir William Eraser, Dean of" 
Boss ; Walter Douglas, Sheriff of Elgin ; Walter Innes, lord 
of that ilk; Urquhart of Cromarty ; Donald of Kaledor,, 
thane of that ilk ; Sinclair of Deskford ; John the Rose, lord 
of Kilravocke ; John of Nairn, lord of Ardmuthach, " with 
mony others." The object of the meeting was to witness 
the resignation of the lands of Kerdale, Inverness-shire, by 
" William the Grame," into the hands of " a noble lord and a 
michty, Thomas, Earl of Murray," over-lord of the Barony of 
Kerdale, and the Earl conveys back the said lands to Graham 
and his heirs male, failing which, to William Hay, his good- 
father, Lord of Lochloy, and his male heirs. The Grahams, 
like the Roses of Kilravock, had got part of the vast posses- 
sions of the Bissets through marriage. The proceedings at' 
Rosemarkie meant more than appears on the face of the deed, 
which is simply a regulation of succession. There was match- 
making in the business. The Earl of Moray had at this time 
a particular interest in the Hays of Lochloy, for John, 
younger of Lochloy, was engaged to marry the Earl's daughter. 
But John proved very fickle. He fell in love with a daughter 
of the Thane of Cawdor, and wished to be off with the old 
love. He received a communication from the Earl of Moray 
on the subject, and never did a disappointed father-in-law write 
a more tender, dignified, and generous letter in such delicate 
circumstances. The letter is among the Cawdor papers, and 
runs as follows : " Thomas, Earl of Murray, to our right well 
beloved squire, John the Hay, lord of Lochloy e, greeting: It 
is in fresh memory with you, as we understand, that through 
certain tailzie made betwixt us and your father, you are 
obliged to spouse a daughter of ours, for the which thing to- 
be done we confirmed to your father a tailzie betwixt him 
and the lord of Dallas upon the Lordship of Dallas and 


forgave him forty pounds, the which should have been paid 
to us for the relief of that land ; and also for that same 
marriage we confirmed to your father a tailzie of half the 
Ibarony of Kerdale, and received you to the same lands upon 
the said tailzie ; and now of new we have heard by certain 
relation of our loved cousin Donald, thane of Cawdor, that 
you would be released of your obligation to us of the said 
marriage and have our licence, freedom, and goodwill to 
: spouse a daughter of the said Donald, thane of Cawdor, 
with such commands, freedoms, and rewards as are fore- 
spoken, and as we granted to you beforetime. Wherefore, 
by the tenour of these our letters, of your obligation made 
to us of beforetime both by your father and by yourself, for 
the marriage of our daughter, we release you, discharge you, 
and quit claims you for ever, giving and granting to you our 
counsel, our license, freedom, and goodwill, to spouse and 
have to your wife the daughter of the said Donald, thane 
of Caldor, with such freedoms, profits, and rewards, as were 
forespoken in our first commands, together with our help, 
support, and maintenance in all our lawful and leaveful 
errands in all time to come : thereto we have granted and 
given, and by these our letters grants and gives, the said 
Donald, thane of Cawdor, forty rnerks of the relief of your 
lands of the half of the barony of Kerdale, which William 
the Hay, your father, was obliged to pay to us, of the which 
we quit claim you for ever by the tenor of these letters to 
the which our seal we have gert beput at Elgin the 15th day 
of February, the year of our Lord, 1422." 

The Hays of Lochloy in the course of a generation or two 
became extensive landowners. Besides Lochloy, they had 
Inshoch, Park, Kinnudie, Meikle Urchany, Wester Raite, 
Foynesfield, Dallas, and other possessions in the north 


and south. They were at the height of their prosperity 
about the close of the sixteenth century. David Hay 
of Lochloy married Mary Eose of Kilravock in 1605. She 
lived to see her eighty-eighth year, and when she died it is 
stated that there were descended of her no less than one 
hundred and ten persons then in life ! 

The Hays originally had a residence at Lochloy, on the 
site now occupied by the house of the Baillies of Lochloy, a 
position on the coast commanding a wide view of the Moray 
Firth. At a very early period, however, a second Castle was 
built more inland, namely, at Inshoch, and remains of it still 
exist. It was protected on the one side by an impassable 
peat moss, and as the name would indicate, Insh-acli, the 
island field, was surrounded with ditches formed by the over- 
flow of the bog. The Castle had its entrance on the ground 
floor, and a narrow staircase in one of the towers led to the 
hall on the first floor. On the landing of the stair adjoining 
the hall, a stone basin in a pretty little Gothic arch was 
provided for washing the hands, with a drain for carrying 
off the water. The hall itself was a handsome well-lighted 
apartment, 30 feet by 17 feet, with plastered walls, a large 
fireplace with moulded gambs, above which is a shield dis- 
playing the armorial bearings of the Hays of Lochloy the 
insignia that had floated on many a field of battle. The 
oldest part of the building shows a simple keep with 
round towers placed diagonally so as to command the 
four sides of the main building, and turrets in the angles. 
The original building appears to have been altered and 
additions made to it, doubtless to meet the requirements 
of a more advanced civilization. The ground floor was 
vaulted throughout and contained a kitchen with a very 
large fireplace, and numerous cellars. Except the kitchen 


window, which may have been enlarged, the basement 
was lighted with narrow loops. A stone sink is fitted into 
the kitchen window, connected by a drain to the outside. 
In the larger turret to the south-west, there is a very pretty 
little private room, commanding a charming view and provided 
with stone seats doubtless my lady's boudoir. The ruins 
are in a very dilapidated state, and a considerable portion 
fell in the great storm of 1879, (the night of the Tay Bridge 
disaster). Practical builders say that the masonry is bad 
work. Curiously enough, the larger courses of freestone 
bear the masons' private marks, some sixteen or seventeen 
different symbols being visible. The family rapidly declined 
in the middle of the seventeenth century, and the lands are 
now possessed by Brodie of Brodie. 

The Dallases played a considerable part in early times 
in the County of Nairn. The first person of the name 
in the records is Sir William de Dollas, Lord of Dollas, who 
is a witness to charters in 1280 and 1286. His successor, 
William de Doleys, took the field for King Eobert Bruce, 
along with the Knight of Petty and other patriots in the 
north, and had the honour of being declared a rebel by 
Edward I. When the English King came north in 1306, the 
Earl of Sutherland petitioned him for the estate of Dallas 
forfeited by his siding with Bruce. A person of the name 
of Alian petitioned the King for the lands of Thomas de Doles 
in Moray, no doubt a cadet of the family. His lands were 
stated to be worth only ten pounds a year. The family line 
of Dallas of Dallas is carried on until Archibald de Doles 
executes in 1398 a deed of tailzie of the Lordship of Dallas 
in favour of William Hay of Lochloy, which is confirmed to 
his son John Hay, Lord of Lochloy, by Thomas, Earl of Moray, 


in 1422. Archibald dies and leaves an only child, Elizabeth, 
who married Duncan Fraser, son of Hugh Fraser of Lovat, 
an ancestor of the Frasers in Moray. Elizabeth dispones, 
with her husband's consent, any right she may have in 
the Lordship of Dallas, to her uncle John, and he took 
some steps to get back the property, but the old heritage 
of Dallas was never recovered. John Dallas is mentioned 
as Thane of Cromdale and Lord of Cromdale as witness 
of some Lovat writs with the Bishop of Moray. John Dallas 
of Easterford became a very considerable landowner, acquiring 
lands in Kincardineshire, Haddington, and Forfar. His heart, 
however, appeared to be in the Highlands, and he entered 
into an excambion with David, Earl of Crawford, in the year 
1440, whereby, in exchange for lands in the south, he got 
Budgate in Nairnshire, and shortly after a family of the same 
name appears in possession of Cantray. Dallas of Cantray 
and Dallas of Budgate appear in various transactions in the 
fifteenth century. Both the Dallases of Cantray and Bud- 
gate stand their trial arid receive their doom at Aberdeen as 
accomplices of the Thane of Calder " in certain criminal 
actions," and share in King James III.'s pardon. 

Though of small estate, the family of Dallas intermarried 
with the principal families in the North. A remarkable 
characteristic was its singular devotion to the house of 
Cawdor. Generation after generation, a Dallas is found 
performing offices of friendship and kinship to the Thane 
of Cawdor. It is not quite clear which was the older line, 
the Budgate or the Cantray Dallases. 

Budgate had annexed to it, through purchase from the 
Ogilvies, the quarter lands or* Dallaschyle, Milton of Cantray- 
more, and Galcantray. The property became heavily mort- 
gaged to Cawdor in the beginning of the seventeenth century, 


and the family decayed thereafter, though its representatives 
may still exist. The armorial bearings indicate rather that 
Budgate was the chief. In 1410, Dallas of Budgate has the 
boar's-head in his coat-of-arms, probably from having married 
a Chisholm heiress. 

Cantray-Dallas was, however, the more potent house. One 
or two incidents in the history of the family may be recalled. 
Henry Dallas of Cantray whose lands paid an annual of two- 
shillings to William Calder, Vicar of Barivan, in 1506, had a 
brother Archibald who was murdered by Eobert Stuart of 
Clava. This Robert was a son of Robert Stuart of Abernethy, 
and purchased Clava in 1495. What led to the crime is not 
stated, but in 1513, Henry Dallas of Cantray, John Dallas, 
brothers-germane to the deceased Archibald, Walter Rose of 
Kinsteary, mother's-brother, and Hugh Rose of Kilravock 
and others, the kin and friends, grant letters of Assythment 
remitting the crime. Henry Dallas and his kinsmen joined 
the Mackintoshes and the Roses in the second hership of 
Petty, harrying and burning the Halhill of the Ogilvies, and 
carrying away an enormous quantity of household stuff, the 
inventory of which shows that the Ogilvies had surrounded 
themselves with comforts and luxuries very unusual at the 

Another tragedy occurred towards the close of the six- 
teenth century. Alan Shaw murdered Dallas of Cantray, and 
the atrocious character of the crime was heightened by the 
relation of the parties Dallas being his stepfather. The 
family continue in comparative affluence, however, and his- 
successor, having married a daughter of the Laird of Calder, 
built a new house at Cantray, and placed a stone in front 
bearing the initials of himself and his wife " W.D. I.C." 
(William Dallas Janet Campbell), and bearing the date 


"" 1641." In an after age when the house had outlived its 
day, it was taken down. The mason brought the tablet to 
Nairn and presented it to the representative of the family 
who lived in Church Street. It was built into the humble 
dwelling, and in 1891, after the decease of Elizabeth Dallas, 
the last of the race, it was taken down and sent to Mr 
Dallas- Yorke of Wallinsgate. Casts of it and of another 
stone bearing the three mullets were sent to Colonel Dallas 
of U.S.A., the representative of a branch of the family settled 
in America. 

The Frasers of Lovat had in early times some property in 
Nairnshire. In the year 1416, Hugh Fraser married Janet, 
sister of William de Fen ton, the then Lord of Beaufort, who 
granted to them and their heirs Guisachan and other estates 
in Strathglass, and Hugh Fraser for dowry was to give 20 
lands of the lordship of Golford, in the Sheriffdom of Nairn, 
and if any deficiency, it was to be made up by him out of his 
lands of Dalcross. Their eldest son Hugh married a daughter 
of the Earl of Moray, and was made a Peer of Parliament. 
The first document which styles him a peer is a contract 
with the Burgh of Nairn in 1472, which shows that he had 
considerable property in the neighbourhood of the town. 
The Frasers had also the " detached portion " of Nairnshire 
known as Glenernie in Edinkillie, and they were long the 
wadsetters of the lands of Daltullich in Strathnairn. 

The Mackintoshes, if not in the County of Nairn, were 
very near and somewhat troublesome neighbours. The Clan 
Ohattan, with Mackintosh as their Captain or Chief, was 
really a confederation of some sixteen different clans, 
embracing the Mackintoshes, Camerons, Macphersons, 


Kobertsons (or Dundonachie), Macbeans, Macgillivrays, 
Macphails, Farquharsons, Shaws, Smiths, Macqueens, Gil- 
landers, &c. Their raids into the lowlands of Moray and 
Nairn were of constant occurrence. They greatly oppressed 
the Ogilvies of Strathnairn, and were the means of driving 
them out of the country. In the year 1531 they attacked 
the Halhill of Petty, a new tower erected on the site of the 
old Castle of Sir Andrew Moray of Petty, by Sir William 
Ogilvie. They burned the Castle and killed young Ogilvie 
and eighteen of the garrison. Soon after, Hector Mackintosh, 
who was displeased with the Earl of Moray for having 
entrusted the care of Lachlan, the young heir of the Mac- 
kintoshes, to the Ogilvies of Findlater, made a raid upon 
Dyke, and wasted the lands and burned the whole houses in 
the parish of Dyke. They had the audacity to besiege 
Darnaway Castle, but not being able to take it, they contented 
themselves with the rich booty of cattle and corn which the 
fertile lands of Moray afforded. The Earl of Moray in punish- 
ment apprehended eighteen of the leaders concerned and put 
them to death. According to another account, it is stated 
that the Earl captured 200 of the Mackintoshes along with 
William, the brother of Hector. William he immediately 
hanged and quartered, his head was affixed to the cross at 
Dyke and his four quarters were distributed to be exhibited 
at Elgin, Forres, Auldearn, and Inverness. The two hundred 
who were taken were brought out, man by man, and offered 
life on condition that they revealed the hiding place of 
Hector their Chief, but every man refused the proffered 
conditions, and were put to death. The policy of successive 
Earls of Huntly had been to break up the confederacy 
and thus weaken their power. Huntly ultimately succeeded in 
gaining over the Macphersons by giving them charters to- 


their lands. The Mackintoshes made an effort to reunite the 
Clan Chattan, and in 1609 a great meeting of the " haill clan" 
was held at Termet (now known as Morayston) in Petty. 
The object of the gathering was to enter into a bond of unity 
and to acknowledge and support William Mackintosh of 
Benchar as principal Captain of the " haill kin of Clan 
Chattan," as having the full place thereof during the min- 
ority of Lachlan Mackintosh of Dunachton, his brother's son. 
The bond is signed or subscribed by the leading men of the 
septs, including Cluny Macpherson. The Provost of Inver- 
ness, the minister of Petty (Donald Macqueen), and the Town 
Clerk of Inverness, are there to add weight and authority to 
the solemn compact. In the deed drawn up at Termet, it is 
claimed that the Chieftainship was a gift of old from the 
King of Scotland, viz : from Kobert II. to Lachlan Mackin- 
tosh about the year 1330. The Clan Chattan in their bond 
recognised the authority of the King and the Earls of Huntly 
and Moray loyalty and obedience to their Chief coming 
next. But the League of Termet did not last long. Half-a- 
century later it had completely broken up. The Mackintoshes 
adhered to Moray as against Huntly. 

The Ogilvies were not alone in their desire to get rid of 
their property in the neighbourhood of such turbulent neigh- 
bours as the Mackintoshes. The Church lands of Ardersier 
and Delnies had passed into the hands of the Leslies of 
Ardersier, and they sold them to Cawdor in the year 1574, 
"having consideration of the great and intolerable damage, 
injury, and skaith done to them by Lachlan Mackintosh and 
others of the Clan Chattan, in harrying, destroying, and 
making herships upon the said hail lands of Ardersier and 
fishings thereof," and no apparent hope of reparation for the 
" customary enormities of the said Clan Chattan." It is 


charged against the Mackintoshes that they depauperised 
the tenants, debarred them from fishing at the stell of 
Ardersier, breaking their boats and cutting their nets. The 
Laird of Cawdor was not allowed to have peaceable possession, 
and he raised an action against Lachlan Mackintosh and his 
clansmen for the slaughter of several of his servants and 
tenants. In 1581, Lachlan renounced all claim to the 
Ardersier lands and to Wester and Easter Delnies, and the 
legal proceedings were dropped. 

For over three hundred years the Falconers of Hawkerton, 
the ancestors of the Earls of Kintore, possessed the lands of 
Let hen, and they appear to have resided there pretty con- 
tinuously during the period, judging from the frequent 
occasions on which Falconer of Hawkerton is a witness to 
transactions in the County of Nairn. They also formed 
several marriage connexions with the Roses and others. 
When the Reformation came they still sat on, but in the 
beginning of the seventeenth century they parted with their 
property to John Grant of Freuchie, leaving two branches 
one at Kincorth and the other at Downduff on the banks of 
the Findhorn, to carry on the family name in this district. 

There were Woods at Dunphail, and Mongumeries at 
Budgate, and a family of the name of " Nairne " flit across 
the pages of the old Chartulary of Moray between the town 
of Nairn and a possession in Cromdale, but personal details 
are a wan ting. John Belgeam, probably some English trooper 
who had settled in the district, had a considerable croft at 
Auldearn, known as Belgeam's Croft. It lay near the church, 
and was in later times known as the Smith's Croft. John 
Belgeam was associated with the Thane of Calder in his 


slaughter of Patrick Wiseman at Inverness, and stood his- 
trial along with him. The lands, as previously stated, formed 
part of the inheritance designed by Precentor John to his- 
nephew Hugh Calder, and they appear ultimately to have 
fallen to Sir John Campbell of Cawdor. The Dunbars possess 
Moyness, and Dunbars and Inneses are to be found at Penick 
and Boathill. 

From the enumeration thus given of the lands and land- 
owners in Nairnshire prior to the Reformation, it appears 
that the district was divided into a variety of small properties 
some held in fee, and a considerable number in feu or in 
tack from the Church. Broadly speaking, what are now 
large farms were then separate properties. The keen desire for 
possession of lands in Strathnairn manifested by southern 
families is accounted for by the scarcity of good corn land. 
The belt along the coast, widening out as the hills recede,, 
was early brought under cultivation, and when but a small 
proportion of the county was under crop, the value of the 
corn lands of upper and lower Strathnairn was relatively 
very considerable. 



No materials exist to show to what extent the principles 
of the Reformation as promulgated by the early Scottish 
Reformers permeated the Province of Moray. 

Once in the earlier period, the fighting men of Moray and 
Nairn were drawn to the South. In the year 1547, when 
Mary Queen of Scots was an infant of two years of age, the 
English Army crossed the Border with the object of seizing 
the infant Queen and carrying her to London. The Earl of 
Arran sent the fiery cross throughout the North. It was 
carried by one Mungo Stratherne through Moray and Nairn. 
Lowlander and Highlander responded to the summons. The 
Earl of Huntly marshalled the troops from the North. 
Alexander, the eleventh Laird of Brodie, went South with 
his retinue. His neighbours the Hays of Lochloy are not 
mentioned, but they were doubtless not awanting seeing 
that fighting was to be done. The Black Baron of Kilra- 
vock, who had but recently married the daughter of Falconer 
of Lethen, led his kinsmen to the field, and was accompanied 
by his relatives the Cuthberts of Inverness. The English 
and the Scots met on the field of Pinkie, near Musselburgh, 
on 10th September. The English cavalry hurled themselves 
on the solid square of steel presented by the vanguard of the 
Scottish Army, only to be speared, spiked, or unhorsed. The 
brilliant charge failed, and the Scottish troops cheered for 
victory. But they cheered too soon. The English infantry 


observing their formation had become disorganised in the 
moment of success, made another assault and turned the 
victory into defeat. The Scots were routed. Fourtee 
thousand were cut down in their flight. The Laird of 
Brodie was slain. The Cuthberts of Castlehill met the 
same fate. The Earl of Huntly and the Baron of Kilravock 
were taken prisoners. The fate of their humble followers 
is not recorded. Kilravock was carried a prisoner to England, 
but was ransomed on 23rd October by the Pringles of Tor- 
woodlee, who paid 100 nobles to his captors, John Ker of 
Wark and two Johnstons. On his return, the Baron raised 
the money and discharged the debt to his good friends the 
Pringles, who ever afterwards kept up a very close connection 
with Nairnshire. The Pringles were among the first families 
in Scotland who declared for the Keformation. The Earl of 
Huntly, after a year's confinement, escaped from his English 
prison, and on his return to Scotland was rewarded for his 
services by a grant of the Earldom of Moray. 

Kilravock, after the Battle of Pinkie, settled down to the 
peaceful avocations of country life, so far as these were 
possible, and though enjoying the confidence and friendship of 
the rival leaders in the stirring events of the time, he preserved 
an absolute impartiality and neutrality. Finding the accom- 
modation of his ancient keep inadequate for his household 
he had, between sisters and daughters, fourteen ladies in the 
establishment he employed John Anderson, the mason, to 
build him a manor house alongside the old tower. The 
contract is to the effect that John Anderson shall have 20s 
and his five masons 18s of weekly wages, with 10 of bounty 
to the master, and forty shillings to the men over and above. 
They are to sleep at Kilravock, bedding being provided for 
them, and are to be supplied with meal at 2s per boll. 


The three barrow-men employed have for wages 8s per 

At the memorable Convention of 1560 which sealed the fate 
of the Catholic Church and established the Protestant religion, 
the only representatives from this district who appear to have 
been present were John Grant of Freuchie and the Lairds of 
Innes and Duffus. The Earl of Argyle, who had cast in his 
influence with the Eeformers, would probably have brought 
his kinsman John of Calder along with him. Huntly was 
strongly opposed to the Eeformation, and was the recog- 
nised head of the Catholic party in the North. The fact 
that the youthful Abbot of the St. Mnian Priory of Fearn 
had been the first Protestant martyr in Scotland may have 
awakened an early interest in the doctrines and tenets he 
preached, but Patrick Hamilton himself does not appear 
ever to have laboured personally in the North. He was a 
non-reseidnt titular, and but a boy when he was appointed 
Commendator-Abbot. The head of the Abbey at the time 
of the Reformation was Nicholas Eoss, and he sat in the 
Parliament of 1560. He resigned his office in 1566, and his 
successor, Thomas Eoss of Alness, accommodated himself to 
the changed times, and married Isabel Kinnaird. The 
Abbot of Kinloss was Walter Eeid, a nephew of the dis- 
tinguished Prelate Eobert Eeid. He threw in his lot with 
the Eeformers, and was at the framing of the Act of 1560 
forbidding the celebration of the mass, and his name appears 
high up in the list appended to the Solemn League and 
Covenant of that year. While retaining the office of Prior, 
he took to himself a wife, marrying Margaret Collace of 
Balnamoon. The Abbot of Pluscardine, Eobert Dunbar, made 
haste to provide for his family of illegitimate children by 
portioning off the Abbey lands among them before his 


expulsion. The Bishop of Moray, the notorious Patrick 
Hepburn, continued to reside in Spynie Castle, and defied 
the Eeformation alike as to his estate and his morals. As 
late as the year 1567, Hugh Eose, Baron of Kilravock, 
(described as feuar and heritor of the town and lands of 
Ferness and Aitnoch), came under an obligation to the 
Bishop " to grant pasture to twenty-four kye and ane bull, 
with their followers, pertaining to the Bishop, for the time 
of the said reverend father's lifetime, upon the best and most 
commodious girss within the said bounds." Bishop Patrick 
Hepburn died in the year 1573. 

The process of disendowment was made easy for the 
existing incumbents. They were allowed to retain their 
emoluments whether or not they changed from the old 
to the new religion. The general principle of dealing with 
the Church lands was that the Crown should appropriate 
one-third of the entire ecclesiastical revenues, and the return 
made under the Act of 1561, shows the following valuations 
of lands in Nairnshire The Dean of Murray for Auldearn, 
Nairn, and lands, 130, equal to 650 bolls of grain 'at 
4s per boll ; the Vicar of Nairn 6, equal to 200 bolls ; 
the sub-chantor for Rafford and Ardclach 263 Os 8d, 
equal to 1316 bolls ; the Vicar of Ardclach 10, equal to 40 
bolls. Several causes account for the diminished value of 
the ecclesiastical revenues as compared with what they were 
a century before. The rent of land had fallen over Scotland 
nearly one half. The currency had become debased. The 
Church lands let to tenants at the earlier period had been 
feued out for a small annual payment and a considerable 
sum paid down. This latter proceeding was extensively 
practised in the county of Nairn. 

In May, 1545, a feu charter was granted to John Rose of 


Bellivat and Marjory Dunbar, his spouse, of the lands of 
Bellivat, with the woods of Killinglaer, Torlocht, 
Anchingour with the fishings on the Findhorn, Ardclach 
with the fishing on the Findhorn and the woods of Daldeven- 
ing and the mill and brewhouse of Ardclach, the Hermit's 
Croft and Daldareth. The annual payment to be 26 8s 8d. 
This charter is confirmed to him and his heir-apparent John 
Rose, at Nairn, 12th October, 1566. One of the witnesses is 
John Young, minister of Nairn. 

In 1527, a tack is given to Thomas Chisholm of the lands 
of Bothill, with the mills and a fourth part of Little Penick. 
Thomas Gaderar, vicar of Nairn, is one of the witnesses. 

In 1566, a feu charter is grant to John Mongumrie of the 
lands of Little Budzett for 100, and the annual payment of 
2 17s 4d. 

In 1568, Mr Alexander Campbell of Fleenas succeeds to 
John Mongumrie, and in 1570 Duncan Campbell of Boath 
gets a precept of dare constat from Bishop Patrick Hepburn 
as heir to his brother, Alexander. 

A feu of the Church lands of Croy was granted to 
Alexander Dallas of Can tray for 9 18s 8d, and it is confirmed 
to his nephew, Henry Dallas, in 1567, and renewed at Spynie 
in 1571. 

In 1546, the Church lands of Duldawacht, in the Barony 
of Ardclauch, were granted on feu charter to Alexander Rose 
of Holme and Joneta Dunbar, his spouse, and to their heirs. 

In 1566, Brodie gets the Stable Acre and other lands at 
Dyke from the Bishop. 

In 1541, Ewan and Dalcharne are feued to Alexander Rose 
and his spouse Joneta Dunbar, for 9 11s 4d. 

In 1564, John Wood of Tullydivies gets a feu of the lands 
of Ferness and Aitnoch with fishing on the Findhorn, by 


payment of 500 merks and 9 annually ; and in 1567, these 
subjects are conveyed by John Wood to Hugh Eose of Kil- 
ravock and Katherine Falconer, his spouse, who continue to 
pay 9 annually to the Episcopate. 

The Baron of Kilravock gave the Bishop in 1545 a bond 
for 595 merks for infeftment in Kildrummie with the fishings 
on the Nairn, and in Culmony and Daltulich with fishings on 
the Findhorn. 

John Knox's complaint against the nobles and gentry that 
they had " greedily grippit the possessions of the Kirk " was 
well founded. Besides its pecuniary embarrassments, the 
Church of the Keformation at its start found it difficult to 
obtain a sufficient number of persons qualified to become 
Protestant clergymen, and, accordingly in John Knox's own 
words, " to the kirks where no ministers can be had presently 
must be appointed the most apt men that distinctly can read 
the Common Prayers and the Scriptures, to exercise both 
themselves and the kirk till they grow to greater perfection." 
In the year 1570, Mr William Brown was appointed as Header 
in Ardclach with the third of the Vicarage allowed him, 
amounting to 3 6s 8d, and the Dean of Moray ordered to- 
pay the rest of his stipend. Ardclach remained joined with 
Edinkillie up till 1638. Mr James Vaux was Header in Croy 
and Moy. The first Protestant minister in Nairn was Mr 
John Young. He was minister or exhorter at Nairn in 1568,. 
and 40 is charged in the Books of Assignation as paid to- 
him. In the same year Mr Allan Mackintosh was exhorter 
at Cawdor and is styled parson in 1581 and 1586. In 1570, 
Mr William Reoch is employed as exhorter at Anldearn and 
Nairn, and 26 13s 4d is charged on his account. An 
endowment of 5 in connection with the Chapel of Nairn 
disappears in the general seizure of Church revenues. The 


Dean of Moray, Alexander Dunbar, retained the parish of 
Auldearn, and sat on at Penick. He was Dean of Moray in 
1560, 1574, and 1586. 

In the year 1562 an event occurred which must have 
excited great interest in this district. Mary Queen of Scots, 
now in her twentieth year, made a royal progress to Inver- 
ness. Her mother, the Queen Regent, had been in the North 
in 1555, but this was the first time the young Queen had 
visited her northern dominions. She set out accompanied 
by her natural brother James Stuart, then Earl of Mar, and 
the principal nobility of Scotland. Her route can be traced 
from the Book of the Queen's Master of the Household, who 
kept a diary written in French, a summary of which has been 
preserved. The royal party left Edinburgh on the llth of 
August, and after spending a few days at Stirling, set out 
from thence for the North. The Queen was at Aberdeen on 
1st September, and arrived at Elgin on the evening of the 
6th, where she remained till the 8th. After dinner on that 
day, she journeyed to Kinloss, and abode two days at the 
Abbey, where there was good accommodation for her court. 
On the 10th, after dining at Kinloss, she set out for 
Darnaway, where she supped and slept that night and 
held a State Council next morning. 

The Castle appears to have been in bad repair, the 
" house " or hall Randolph's Hall no doubt alone being 
reported to be in good order. A high-backed chair with 
needle-work cover said to have been wrought by the Queen 
is preserved in the hall to this day as a memento of the 
visit. Darnaway was left on the morning of the llth, 
and (says the journal) "she dined at 'Mernes'." This 
can only refer to Moyness. The corruption of the name is 
easily accounted for, its old pronounciatioh being " Meynes." 


The ruins of the old Castle of Moyness have now all but 
disappeared, but it appears to have been a place of consider- 
able strength a keep with round towers and surrounding 
walls. It adds to the interest of the spot that Queen Mary 
dined there. The old Castle stood on a ridge commanding 
a wide view, both of the country inland and of the coast 
seaward. Dinner at that time was a mid-day meal, and the 
$un was hardly in the zenith when Queen Mary was once 
more in the saddle and riding down the brae of Moyness 
towards Auldearn. Her host at Moyness was John Dunbar, 
of the family of Westfield, hereditary Sheriffs of Moray, and 
if the Dean of Moray was in his own parish at the time, the 
Queen would have made the acquaintance of another Dunbar, 
whose stately mansion, rising three storeys in height and 
surrounded by fine trees, must have attracted her attention. 
The old Kirk of Auldearn standing out on the high ground 
which the present edifice still occupies must have been a 
prominent object at the time. The village itself was a hamlet 
of detached houses and gardens on the slope, with the mill 
and brewhouse in the low ground in front. Kinnudie 
would have been visible from the high road, and on the slope 
further to the south were the homesteads of Knockaudie, 
Ballachraggan, and Park, with numerous cottar houses 
belonging to the Hays and their sub-tenants. Auchna- 
cloich was possessed at this time by a family of Eoses. 
A house of some repute Balmaceardach " the town of 
the smithy " was then standing near the highway as it 
approached within a quarter of a mile of Belmakeith. 
The Castle of Nairn on the high bank of the river still 
retaining some of the formidable features which caused it 
to be ranked as one of the great royal forts of Scotland, 
would probably have excited some meed of admiration. But 


a matter of practical pressing moment must very soon have 
-engaged her attention. How is she to enter the town ? 
There was as yet no bridge the first bridge was not erected 
till nearly a century later so there was nothing for it but 
to ford the river, which would have been easy or difficult 
according to the character of the season. As Queen Mary 
rode up the High Street of Nairn, was she saluted by the 
burghers ? Did the Provost and magistrates come out to 
meet her ? Curiosity on these points cannot be gratified. 
Neither history or the particular journal quoted from has 
preserved any details of the civic pageantry on the occasion. 
'The Provost at the time was John Eose of Broadley, and 
Angus and Andrew Eose were prominent burgesses. The 
Provost is described as "a bold, resolute man." There 
was but one street in the town, and the tolbooth a 
low straw-thatched building projected itself into the middle 
of the highway. The beautiful young Queen, with her gay 
cavalcade, riding through the town, must have been the topic 
of conversation for many a day after. 

Before nightfall, Queen Mary had reached Inverness. She 
demanded admittance to the Castle, but was refused, and she 
had to lodge for the night in a private house according to 
universal tradition the house at the foot of Bridge Street, 
long known as " the Wine Shop." This churlish and disloyal 
reception was due to the influence of the Earl of Huntly. 
He was Constable of the Castle, and the captain, a Gordon, 
was only acting up to his instructions. Huntly had come by 
this time to know that he was not in favour with the Queen, 
for she had declined to visit his Castle of Strathbogie, and he 
now apprehended that she meant to curb his power in the 
North, which was almost absolute. The Queen next morning 
was overjoyed to find that the Clan Chattan, the Erasers, and 


the Munroes, had come to welcome and aid her. The Chief 
of the Mackintoshes was but a youth of nineteen years of 
age, but he came to pay his devotion to his Queen. Lord 
and Lady Lovat, with characteristic grace and friendliness, 
came forward to do her homage. The Black Baron of 
Kilravock, who held the office of Justice Depute, appears to 
have been there also, doubtless adding weight and authority 
to the counsels given her. Mary was in the highest spirits, 
and merrily expressed the wish that she were a man " to 
know what life it was to lie all night in the fields or to walk 
upon the causeway with a jack and knapsack, a Glasgow 
buckler and broadsword ! " The Castle -was about to be 
attacked when the Gordons thought better of it and sur- 
rendered. The captain was immediately hanged at the 

Mary stayed four days at Inverness. On the 15th (says 
the diary formerly quoted) she left after dinner and " supped 
and slept at Quettra." The name is unrecognisable. The 
nearest approach to it is Can tray, but the tradition that it 
was at Kilravock that Mary stayed is too strong to be doubted. 
Chalmers, who had seen the original diary, states without 
any hesitation that it was Kilravock. One of the apartments 
in the Castle is to this day known as Queen Mary's room. 
The Baron had just finished his new manor-house, and would 
be able to accommodate becomingly his Sovereign and her 

The Queen next morning proceeded on her journey, reach- 
ing Darnaway in the evening, accompanied by Lovat and his 
men. On arrival at Aberdeen, James Stuart was made Earl 
of Moray by the Queen, and he wrote to Kilravock to come 
to him at Strathbogie, and to bring along with him his 
neighbour Donald (probably Mackintosh of Termet.) The 


Earl of Huntly had raised the flag of rebellion, and had called 
out his followers to dispute the Queen's passage South. It 
was a rash and foolish proceeding. The Queen's troops 
attacked his forces at Corrichie, near Aberdeen, and com- 
pletely routed them. Huntly himself was slain, his eldest 
son was imprisoned, his second son was executed, and the 
third son, on account of his youth, was pardoned. Gordon of 
Baldorny, a near relative of Huntly's, was outlawed. He had 
previous to the engagement hid his papers at Kilravock. He 
was Rose's son-in-law. The vast possessions of the Earl 
of Huntly were confiscated and the Earldom forfeited. By 
the downfall of the Gordons the greatest barrier to the 
progress of the Reformation in the North was thus removed. 
Amongst those who had joined the standard of rebellion 
was Alexander Brodie of Brodie. He was the son and 
successor of Thomas Brodie, the Laird of Brodie, who fell at 
Pinkie. He appears to have been present at the fight at 
Corrichie, but escaped. He was denounced a rebel, and his 
estates declared forfeited. This was not the first time he had 
come under the displeasure of the Crown. In 1550, he was 
put to the horn as a rebel for not appearing to a charge 
of waylaying, with 125 others, Alexander Cummin of Altyre, 
in order to slay him, but was pardoned the year following. 
His first wife, by whom he had one son David, was Marjory 
Dunbar, a daughter of Robert Dunbar of Durris, and Ms 
second wife, by whom he had five daughters, was Margaret 
Hay of Lochloy, widow of Dunbar of Bennetsfield. For four 
years the sentence of outlawry hung over his head, but in 
1566, the Queen having forgiven the Gordons for their dis- 
loyalty, included Alexander Brodie in the royal warrant 
remitting the sentence against them, and restoring them their 


Before leaving Aberdeen the Queen wrote the following 
letter to the Baron of Kilravock : " Traist friend, we grete 
you wele ; we doubt nocht bot ye have bene informit 
upoun quhat occasion we have been sa lang constrenit to 
remayne in their north partis. Now we have put an end 
to sum of our gretest bissiness and is myndid to retire us to 
the south, levand behind us sick ordour as we understand 
may keip tranquillite, rest and quietness amangis our trew 
subjectes ; Quhairupon we have thocht guid to wryte unto 
you as ane of our speciall friends that best may serve for 
that purpos, being assurit that ye ar of sufficient power gif 
ye will employ yourself that way, to do 'us service," &c. 
The letter then proceeds to request the Baron to concur with 
others in repressing malefactors and rebels in the district. 

A further proof of the estimation in which the Baron was 
held is afforded by the appointments conferred upon him, 
He was made Sheriff Principal of Inverness and Captain of 
the Castle of Inverness. He was entrusted by the Earl of 
Moray with the administration of his estates in Strathnairn 
and Kerdale, and was employed by the Earl of Argyle to look 
after the Cawdor property and to act as interim Sheriff of 
the County of Nairn during the minority of the Thane. The 
Baron heard of Queen Mary's engagement to Darnley, and of 
her creating him Earl of Eoss and Ardmenache on their 
betrothment, and probably wondered how the revival of these 
old Earldoms would affect local interests. Her marriage 
with Darnley takes place, and the King and Queen send him 
a letter in which they refer to the " defection of the Earl of 
Moray so unnaturally against us." The Baron is sorely dis- 
tressed by the daily cutting down and destroying of trees on 
his property of Coulmony and other lands on the banks of 
the Findhorn, as well as pasturing of cattle and burning of 


moorland, and he accordingly represents the matter to the 
Crown, and Mary Queen of Scots issues a proclamation to be 
made at the Market Cross of Nairn forbidding the same. A 
cautious note from the Earl of Huntly making an appoint- 
ment suggests some plotting on the part of the ambitious 
Gordon. The Eegent Moray comes into power, and a request 
is made by him that the Baron fail not to be at Inverness 
at a convention of the loyally affected on the first day of 
June of that year (1569) " substantially accompanied by his 
hail I kin, friends, servants, tenants, and all that will do for 

The good Regent meets his death, and his widow, Annas 
Keith, confirms to her traist friend, the Baron of Kilravock, 
his appointment in connection with the Moray estates, and 
carries on with him an extensive business correspondence. 
The Earl of Mar becomes Regent in Moray's place, and he 
addresses to the Baron a sympathetic letter, counselling him 
and his friends to take comfort and remain stedfast. The 
Earl of Morton is his next correspondent ; and amidst the 
exciting cares of state he writes a very pathetic little note 
" I am advertised of the slaughter of my kinsman and servant 
Hutchon Ros of Logy, whereof I am sorry, and since he is so 
taken away by the pleasure of God, I will request you maist 
heartily to stand guid friend to his wife and bairns and not 
to suffer them to receive wrang by ony, but that they may 
live peaceably and quiet upon the little roumes that is pro- 
vided unto them, and as you will do me pleasure suffer no 
man to do them harm." 

Annas Keith, the widowed Countess of Moray, was a 
prominent figure in the district. A kindly, shrewd, practical 
lady, she entered into the work of administering the Moray 
estates with great vigour and much good sense. On one 


occasion she acted as " overswoman " in the settlement of 
marches between Delnies and Kilravock, and her award 
was accepted by both parties. The Countess married the 
Earl of Argyle, but continued her management of the estates 
of the Earldom of Moray. 

Argyle also corresponds with Kilravock, and his letters 
form a link in the chain of historic events then taking 
place. The Countess of Crawford and her husband oc- 
casionally write to the Baron for counsel; and the Earl 
of Huntly, in all the vicissitudes of the fortunes of his 
house, never fails to fall back upon Kilravock for friendly 
service. The Earl of Lennox is at Elgin in 1594. His 
favourite charger falls sick and dies, and he writes Kil- 
ravock to send him another horse, his " black halknay 
nag," and he can have the choice of his stable some day 
to make up for it. 

Change follows upon change among the actors in the 
national drama, but the Black Baron of Kilravock lives 
on undisturbed ; and when James VI. has ascended the 
throne and made a royal progress to the North in the year 
1598, the venerable Baron is at Kilravock to welcome him. 
The family chronicler records that when the King asked him 
how he could live amongst such turbulent neighbours, he 
replied that they were the best neighbours he could have, for 
they made him thrice a day to go to God upon his knees, 
when perhaps otherwise he would not have gone once. The 
King addressed him as " Father," evincing a kindly interest in 
his aged baron. " He was of a venerable grave aspect ; his 
beard white and long in his old age, and he died full of days, 
not so much of sickness as nature being worn out." He was 
nearly ninety years of age when he died, having outlived all 
his family except his youngest son William, who succeeded him. 


The designation of " Black " Baron was given to him solely 
on account of his swarthy complexion. He was a genial, 
kindly man, with a dash of native humour, as witness his 
signing his name in a formal deed adjusting a dispute between 
two neighbours " Hugheon Eose, ane honest man, ill guided 
between you baith !" He forms a striking figure of stedfast- 
ness and constancy in a shifting scene of national trouble 
and disorder. 



ABOUT the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, the County 
of Nairn was in a most turbulent condition. The chief 
disturbers of the peace were the Roses of Belivat. John 
Rose, fourth of Belivat, had in 1588 to stand his trial for the 
murder of Hugh Rose in Auldearn. He was also accused of 
the slaughter of Robert Rose, who had come to his house 
with twenty-five others to compel him to give up a removal 
notice he had obtained. His father some years before 
appeared at Inverness, according to the family historian, 
with " fifty-five proper personal men, all descended of his 
own branch and were all cousins german, twice or at most 
thrice only removed from him." Two years later he quarrelled 
with Falconer of Lethen and Halkerton. John Rose's mother 
was a daughter of Lethen, but they were too near neighbours 
to be good friends. On May 27, 1596, Alexander Falconer 
of Halkerton and Hugh Falconer of Fleenas, complained to 
the Lords of Council against John Rose of Belivat, Alaster 
Rose in Clune, Walter Rose in Coulmony, Lachlan Rose in 
Levrattich, (spelt Leauwriddich), David Rose in Lyne, Hugh 
in Reurple, and others, for sorning, harrying, and wracking of, 
their tenants, and in particular for having violently reft from 
Robert Falconer in Lethenbar, certain horse and cattle. The 
Roses did not appear, and no immediate action having been 
taken against them, they came in a band one night in Septem- 
ber, armed with bows, swords, hagbuts and pistols, to Falconer 


of Lethen's lands of Meikle Dulsie, where his tenants were 
taking their night's rest, and broke open the doors of the 
houses and carried away their corn and goods with carts and 
sledges which they had brought with them. The Lords of 
Council denounced Belivat rebel. About the same time, his 
kinsmen had a feud with the Tullochs of Tannachie, and it 
took several years before the peace between them was restored. 
The Laird of Belivat was also complained against by William 
Sutherland of Duffus. Belivat had in tack from Sutherland 
a ploughgate of the lands of Brightmony, and the tack having 
expired Duffus sent an officer a relative of his own to warn 
out Belivat. The Eoses seized the officer and his assistants, 
beat them, and threatened to hang them. Belivat was again 
denounced rebel. The historian of Moray, Lachlan Shaw, 
says " the Eoses of Belivat were a bold, daring, and headstrong 
people, who put up with no injuries or affronts, but warmly 
resented any wrong, real or supposed." An instance of this 
occurred about this time. 

One David Eose, known as Macwilliam, was in the Clune. 
He was a descendant of a natural son, who had been legiti- 
mised by the Queen's letters, of the first Eose of Belivat. 
The Dunbars of Moyness claimed the Clune as theirs, but 
David Eose Macwilliam said he had a better right to it than 
any D unbar, as his forebears had occupied the tenement 
long before him. He put his fact of possession before and 
above their written title. His grandfather had certainly a 
charter to the Clune, but, curiously enough, it is not pled. 
Perhaps the Dunbars had acquired it. Legal processes were 
beginning to come into use at this time as between owners and 
occupiers, and David was ignominiously ejected by the Sheriff 
officer from Nairn, and two new tenants, George Dunbar and 
Eobert Falconer, were placed in possession. The hot blood of 


the Roses was roused at this unusual proceeding, and David 
found ready associates among his clan to resent the wrong 
done him. They came, a party of them two hundred strong, 
including many broken Highlandmen, to the Clune one night 
in the autumn of 1598, and a scene of great violence ensued. 
They drove out the new tenants and their wives to the hill, 
gathered together all the corn, victual and goods, and having 
set fire to the houses, made off with their plunder to the banks 
of the Findhorn. 

The Dunbars raised a criminal prosecution against David 
and his associates, but they disregarded their summonses, 
feeling quite safe in their retreats in upper Ardclach. They 
were outlawed, and officers sent to apprehend them. This 
greatly enraged them. They set the law at defiance and 
sought their revenge on the Dunbars whenever they got the 
chance. David, the evicted tenant of the Clune, associated 
with him a bold and desperate gang of his own name, 
particularly the M'Williams, M'Watties, and M'Conachies, 
and acting as outlaws, burned and spoiled the lands of Moy- 
ness, Dunphail, and Mundole, and lived upon plunder and 
rapine. Finding the law unable to cope with the Roses, three 
of the leading families of the Dunbars, namely Moyness, 
Tarbet, and Burgie, with their followers, made war upon the 
Roses. They laid waste the lands of Belivat, and came down 
and burned Kilravock's house of Geddes and destroyed the 
lands and even threatened the Baron's life. The town of 
Nairn was in considerable danger, on account of its connection 
with the Roses, and Provost John Rose of Broadley thought 
it prudent to remove his papers and valuables in his family 
chest for safe keeping to the Castle of Kilravock. Rose of 
Belivat had a house in Nairn situated near Millbank. 

The feud nearly came to a head one market-day in Nairn. 


The Dunbars came into the town in considerable number 
and challenged the Koses in the place to fight. The latter, 
though inferior in numbers, prepared for the combat, when 
the Baron of Kilravock (the peaceful William) and the Laird 
of Mackintosh " cam' with a great companie," and put an end 
to what might have turned out to be a bloody and disastrous 
fight. The evil day, however, was but postponed. 

For years the feud went on, increasing in violence. The 
Dunbars, unable to cope with the Eoses, called in a party 
of the Clanranald, from Lochaber, to their assistance. The 
Eoses strengthened their ranks by getting the assistance of 
a band of the McGregors from Strathspey, as violent and 
savage as the others. These robbers or reivers were paid by 
what they could spoil the enemy of. One of the M'Gregors, 
bribed by Dunbar, at length betrayed David the leader, and 
poor David was immediately hanged. The Belivat Eoses 
could not stand this. They .had hitherto confined their 
hostilities to injury to property, but they now attacked the 
Dunbars with serious intent and killed Dunbar, the Laird of 
Tarbet, who was also laird of Dunphail and resided there. 
The Government had now its attention called to the " Wars 
of the Eoses " in Ardclach, and an Act of Privy Council was 
passed to put down " the rebels." Kilravock was called upon 
to apprehend his outlawed kinsmen, but he declared that that 
was beyond his power, as they had now become a roving 
band in the wilds of Ardclach without fixed residence or 
abode. He was held responsible, however, and failing to give 
satisfaction, was imprisoned, both he and his .son, in Edinburgh 
and heavily fined. On the 23rd August, 1603, Kilravock was 
liberated by King James " to go home to his am house and do 
his lawful affairs and business," having doubtless given ample 
assurance that he would take no part with his kinsmen. The 


Roses now betake themselves to The Mackintosh's country, 
coming down from time to time from the heights of Strath- 
dearn to make a raid upon the lands of Moyness and carrying 
away booty. The Mackintosh was pretty sharply told by the 
Government that unless he cleared his lands of the Belivat 
Roses he would be held responsible, and an Act was passed in 
1611 ordaining him to do his duty. He was thus compelled 
to take action and drive them away. They, however, had by 
this time got quite used to the life of the bold outlaw, and 
continued harassing the Dunbars of Moray and Nairn. 

The Sheriff of Moray a Dimbar dealt very severely with 
the Laird of Belivat, who appears to have taken no direct part 
witli his kinsmen in regard to the Clune. He obtained a 
Commission from the Government to pursue and take him 
on the old charges formerly narrated. He found him living 
peaceably in his house at Fleenas, took him prisoner, 
and sent him in irons to Edinburgh. He then proceeded 
to Belivat, and burned down the house, with all its con- 
tents of goods, gear, and writs. He took the eldest son a 
prisoner, and also succeeded in capturing Rose of Levrattich 
and young Alaster of the Clune, and had them put into 
prison at Forres. The young laird was liberated on caution, 
and his father, after an exciting trial in Edinburgh, was sent 
down to be tried before the Sheriff of Moray and a jury on 
certain charges. The result of the trial was that Rose of 
Levrattich was executed. Alaster Rose shared the same fate. 
The young laird appears to have been acquitted, but his 
father was sent back to Edinburgh, and was finally liberated 
only after suffering imprisonment for some considerable time. 
He resumed possession of his lands of Belivat, but he soon 
after parted with them to Lethen and removed to Banffshire. 
His roving clansmen made their peace with the Dunbars of 


Moyness, but not before they had well nigh ruined them, and 
were allowed to settle on their old lands. Belivat's second 
son returned and settled at Blackhills, marrying a daughter 
of Sutherland of Kinsteary. A son in a later generation 
erected a monument in Geddes Churchyard to the memory of 
the Koses of Belivat and Blackhills. 

John Rose, the Provost of Nairn, was also the hero of a raid 
in the country of the Munroes in defence of a lady. He 
was a son of Rose of Dunearn, and his father had been Provost 
of Nairn. The first glimpse we get of the Provost is in 1537, 
when his grandfather conveyed to him while yet a boy certain 
lands in the parish of Auldearn, viz., Belgeam's Croft, otherwise 
called the Smiddie lands, and Bellsacre, both below the village 
of Auldearn, which he held of the Crown, for the annual pay- 
ment of "six horse's shoes made of iron," the number of 
shoes being increased to twelve when the property after going 
to the Cummings conies back to the Provost's son. His first 
wife was Isabel Gumming, daughter of William Gumming of 
the Bught, descended from the Altyre family. In 1589, 
Provost John went to Aberdeen, and subscribed the " band in 
defence of the true religion and his Majesty's Government." 
On his return, his wife being dead, he married a lady who 
had had four husbands Elizabeth Rose. She was a daughter 
of the Black Baron, and consequently a first cousin of the 
Provost's. Her husbands were successively Urquhart of 
Cromarty, Munro of Foulis, Gumming of Earnside, and 
M'Culloch of Plaids. The Provost having deposited his 
papers in the Tower of Kilravock, summoned his clansmen, 
the Roses of Ardclach, and led an expedition against the 
Munroes and Sinclairs, who sought to deprive his wife of her 
just dues and rents as Lady Foulis. He had afterwards to 
find heavy caution for his deeds against his wife's former 


connexions. After a bitter and protracted quarrel, the 
Provost found his marriage was illegal, and it was dissolved, 
whereupon .the Lady Foulis consoled herself with a sixth 
husband William Gordon of Broadland. It is remarkable 
to find that Lady Foulis could not write. For over forty 
years John Rose was Provost of Nairn, arid ruled the town 
with a firm hand. 

The Eoses were not the only disturbers of the peace. The 
Mackintoshes were only too glad of any excuse for a raid. 
Colin Campbell of Clunes sets forth his grievances against 
them in a petition extant. He states that Willian Mackin- 
tosh of Essich, and some twenty other persons, and a great 
number of Clan Chattan and broken Highlandmen thereabout, 
to the number of 200 persons, being all armed with bows, 
dorlupes, two-handed swords, dirks, hagbuts, dagis, pistols, 
and other forbidden weapons, in deadly feud against the 
complainer, his kith and friends upon the first day of 
September, 1599, came early in the morning, about six o'clock, 
to the lands of Dunachtane and to a barn where he was 
with certain of his friends, lying in their beds for the time, 
expecting no harm, and there besieged him for five hours, 
together with divers shots of hagbuts and pistols in at them, 
together with their arrows, and compelled him and his said 
company to surrender, with their weapons, into their merciless 
hands. The Mackintoshes promised faithfully to do them no 
harm, except to disarm them, but they slew his companions 
with their dirks, and took from Colin his sword and his 
purse containing one hundred pounds of gold, also a stand of 
cloth worth forty pounds, his horse and his gear worth a hun- 
dred pounds more. After putting violent hands on Colin, 
they kept him captive, carried him the first night to Kyllachie 
in Strathern, where they held him captive two days, thereafter 


they carried him to Borlum, and thereafter up and down the 
country to divers houses, and thereafter back again to 
Kyllachie, the space of fifteen days altogether, every hour 
threatening him with present death, until for fear of his life, 
lie was compelled to subscribe to them such unreasonable 
l3onds and conditions as they presented to him, tending to his 
great hurt. 

Two months previous, William Mackintosh in Urlathurst 
and some thirty broken Highlandmen, all armed, came to the 
lands of Easter and Wester Banchories, Dales, Terphogreene, 
Drynachan, and Meikle and Little Cullechar, (all in the 
"Streens), and sorned, reived, and oppressed the tenants, and 
-cut down twenty-three dozen young growing trees of the 
Wood of Easter Banchrie, called Torgarve, and transported 
them partly with his own men and horse and partly by 
-Calder's men and horse, whom he compelled to do the same, 
to his lands and steading of Urlathurst. Lachlan Mackintosh, 
their Chief, was cautioner for his clansmen for this latter 
action to the extent of 10,000 merks. 

The excuse given for this conduct of the Mackintoshes is 
that they were incensed at the Campbells on account of Sir 
Donald Campbell, Dean of Lismore (a brother of the Laird 
of Calder), having presumed to marry the widow of the Laird 
of Mackintosh. Colin himself, who was so badly used, had 
married a daughter of Lachlan Mackintosh of Corryborough, 
and was thus drawn into a closer connection with the Clan 
Chat tan than he found desirable for his comfort. 

The truth appears to be that the absenteeism of the Thane 
of Cawdor at that time encouraged depredations on the 
property. Cawdor Castle was deserted, and its roofs and 
walls were becoming dilapidated. 

John of Cawdor, the grandson of Lady Muriel, found 


Argyleshire a sphere more suited for his ambition. Having 
married Mary, a sister of Dame Annas Keith, now Duchess 
of Argyle, he was left by the Earl of Argyle one of the 
guardians of his son and administrators of his vast property. 
Several trustees had been appointed, but Cawdor and 
Campbell of Ardkinglass contrived to get all the power 
into their own hands Cawdor, after the death of the 
Countess, having charge of the heir, and Ardkinglass of 
the household. On the death of the latter, his son,, 
who expected to be received into the same position, became 
excessively jealous of Cawdor 's influence with young Argyle. 
He is said to have used the arts of witchcraft to gain the 
young Earl's affections, but in vain. He then entered into a 
plot, the mysteries of which have never been unravelled. 
One night, as the Thane of Cawdor was at Knepoch in 
Lorn, he was shot dead by three bullets fired through a 
window from a hagbut. The assassins were at once seized. 
They were two poor natives, who confessed they had been 
employed to do the deed by young Campbell of Ardkin- 
glass. He was arrested, and being threatened with torture,, 
confessed his own complicity, but averred that a bond had 
been entered into by the Earl of Huntly, the Earl of Glen- 
cairn, Lord Maxwell, the Earl of Morton, Campbell of 
Glenurchy, and other leading nobles of the time. The 
country at the time was ringing with indignation against 
Huntly for the murder of the Bonnie Earl of Moray at 
Donnibristle, and the belief was widespread that this was 
the first act in a new and terrible conspiracy by these 
cobles at the time high in favour with King James VI., to 
exterminate the house of Argyle. The young Earl of Argyle 
shared this view, and loudly demanded of the King that these 
nobles be brought to trial. Ardkinglass, however, soon after 


recalled his statement implicating these nobles and declared 
that he alone was concerned. This confession he repeated 
before a solemn assembly of the ministers of Glasgow. A 
suspicious feature in the proceedings is that although he was 
ostensibly at the King's instance arraigned for trial, when at 
length the case was called, none of the King's advocates 
appeared to prosecute, the diet was deserted, and he was 

Lady Margaret, the daughter of the murdered Thane, had 
married a Celtic Chieftain, Sir James Macdonald of the Isles. 
He was a remarkable character, engaged in the most sanguinary 
and bloody affairs on the West Coast, but he was no mere 
unlettered savage he had literary tastes and made himself 
a favourite in the best society of the time. His lawless con- 
quests had brought him under the displeasure of the Crown, 
and he had to stand his trial at Edinburgh. Popular passion 
was aroused against him, and all men forsook him. The 
advocate assigned him dared not undertake his defence, and the 
only support he had was that of his brave wife, who stood 
beside him at the bar. He eventually made his escape from 
this country to Spain, and his last note before quitting the 
country was addressed to a friend begging him to befriend 
his wife. He subsequently found favour at the Court in 

It was probably through this connexion that John Campbell 
of Cawdor when he came of age, had his thoughts turned to 
the acquisition of Islay an island which was believed to be 
of fabulous fertility and abounding in lead mines. His 
brother-in-law's father, the old Chief of Islay, granted to the 
Thane of Cawdor a renunciation of his rights for six thousand 
merks, and after much negotiation with the Government, Sir 
John fitted out a military expedition for the purpose of con- 


quering the island and capturing its Castles of Duniveg and 
Lochgorme. The Government furnished him with 200 
English troops and six cannon, in addition to his own 
followers. The expedition was completely successful. The 
rebellious subjects of Islay were subdued, and John of Calder 
ruled as a despotic island king. But the prize he had coveted 
and won proved a very costly acquisition. A heavy rent was 
extorted by the Government ; presents and largesses had to 
be made to those who had assisted him ; his visit to the 
English court, and the extravagant state he kept up, required 
much more money than Islay could produce. Twice-a-year 
immense droves of cattle were sent into England to be turned 
into cash. But still expenses could not be met. He meditates 
selling off the Cawdor estates in the North, but stops short of 
that, burdening them, however, to the last penny with wad- 
sets. .Previous to this the Barony of Ferintosh, which had 
come to the family through Mariot Sutherland of Dunbeath, 
who married Thane William, son of the builder of Cawdor 
Castle, was sold to Lord Lovat for 44,000. Durris and 
Borlum, &c., were purchased as an offset. But now Dunma- 
glass, the earliest acquisition of the Calders, is feued out to 
the M'Gillivrays, and wadsets laid upon every available acre 
of land. Even the household plenishing of the Castle is not 
spared. Sir John resigns the estate into his son John's hands, 
as advised by a meeting of his friends, but financial embarrass- 
ments increase. His son married a daughter of the eccentric 
Urquhart, Laird of Cromarty, and the marriage turns out to 
be a most unhappy one. A series of misfortunes befalls the 
house of Cawdor in rapid succession. The fiar or young laird 
who ruled in Islay turns morose and misanthropic and is at 
length declared insane and placed in confinement. Happily his 
brother Colin who was appointed Tutor was a man of capacity 


and business tact. He set himself to retrieve the fallen 
fortunes of the house of Cawdor, and though the times be 
unsettled and unprosperous, he succeeds in putting matters 
into a better condition, and even finds sufficient funds for 
repairing and enlarging the Castle of Cawdor. The young 
heir attending the Glasgow University is seized by the plague 
and dies at Irvine, whither he has been removed ; his grand- 
father, Sir John, dies ; and his unfortunate father, the fiar, 
follows a few years after leaving the whole possessions of 
Cawdor to devolve on Hugh, the Tutor's eldest son. 

The Government took various steps to strengthen the arm 
of the law, and suppress private feuds and clan raids. In 
1574, the old statute requiring the holding of Wappinshaws 
was re-enacted, and in the County of Nairn the carrying out 
of the provisions of the Act was entrusted to Hucheon Eose 
of Kilravock with the Sheriff Principal and deputies. An 
Act of Parliament for the purpose of suppressing the robberies 
and plundering carried on by " broken men," and " thieves 
and lymmaris of the Hielands," was passed in 1587, the year 
jln which James VI. came of age, requiring all noblemen and 
gentlemen who had estates in the neighbourhood of the 
Highlands, who had been accustomed either from fear or 
corrupt motives to harbour or protect disorderly and tur- 
bulent men, to give bail to the King that they would not do 
so in future. In this Act, amongst those enumerated are the 
Laird of Cawdor, Sheriff of Nairn, and Mackintosh. In 1594, 
the former Act not having been effectual, another Act is 
passed against the " thieves and lymmaris " who infested 
certain counties, and Nairn is mentioned as one. Circuit 
courts by the judges of the College of Justice were established 
in 1587 for the trial of offenders, to be assisted by commis- 
sioners chosen from amongst the proprietors in the different 


counties, and seven commissioners were ordered to be selected 
from the County of Nairn, and in the same year it was 
ordained that 200 officers of arms for the whole kingdom 
should be appointed and no more, and two were to be chosen 
from the County of Nairn. 

For their own protection, the proprietors in the district 
sought and obtained grants of baronage, which gave them 
jurisdiction over offenders within the bounds of their own 
possessions, and established rights of defence against aggres- 
sors from outside. In this way a number of baronies were 

Kilravock had long been a barony, and in 1600 the town 
of Geddes was erected by charter into a burgh of barony, 
with the power of creating bailies and burgesses, and of 
gelling wine and ale, with all the other merchandise what- 

In 1623, by a charter from the Great Seal, the thanedom 
of Calder and the barony of Durris (which had been recently 
acquired from Mark Dunbar) were erected into a Barony, 
called Campbelltown, with power to create bailies, constables, 
sergeants, and other officers, with liberty to buy and sell 
within the freedom, and to have a town-house and market 
cross, and a weekly market on Wednesday and an annual 
fair on 15th of July. The Baron Bailie of Cawdor exercised 
some functions down to a recent date, but the intention of 
forming a town was never carried into effect further than the 
erection of the present village. 

A few years after there was a similar attempt made to 
establish a Burgh of Moyness. By a charter in 1635 in 
favour of John Grant of Logie, Moyness, Broadland, and 
Auldearn, were erected into the Barony of Moyness, with a 
weekly market on Saturday and an annual fair at Christinas. 


Previous to this, the lands of Kinsteary and Brightmony, 
possessed by the Sutherlands of Duffus, formed part of the 
Barony of Duffus, whilst Budgate at Cawdor was declared to 
be in the Barony of Ardclach. A proprietor generally suc- 
ceeded in getting all his lands wherever situated included in 
one barony, convenient for his exclusive jurisdiction, and it 
was in this way that certain parts of one county were held 
to be for all public purposes in another county, and described 
as " detached portions " of it. 

Amidst all this turmoil it was only in the Royal Burghs 
that any settled industry flourished, and any regular enforce- 
ment of law and order was maintained. They were really 
centres of civilisation and organised trade, defective enough, 
no doubt, according to modern ideas, but in their constitu- 
tions and laws exhibiting features of social life and industrial 
organization far ahead of what prevailed in the country 
districts. The town of Nairn had enjoyed the privileges and 
immunities of a Royal Burgh for centuries, but its original 
charter had been destroyed in the depredations of the " Irish 
rebels," and in the year 1589 a new charter dated 16th 
October of that year, was granted by King James VI., and 
ratified by an Act of Parliament in 1597. The King was at 
Inverness about the year 1589, and passed through Nairn. It 
was probably on that occasion he was struck with a feature 
of the population of the Burgh of Nairn, namely, that it was 
divided into two sections, one speaking English and the other 
Gaelic a circumstance which in after years he is credited with 
having made a joke about to his English courtiers, that he 
had "a toon in Scotland the toon of Nairn so big that the 
people at the one end did not understand the language spoken 
by those at the other end." It is frequently represented that 
it was the fishermen who spoke Gaelic and the other inhabi- 


tants English. But this is a mistake. It was a colony of 
Gaelic-speaking Highlanders who had congregated at the 
west end of the town, and dwelt apart. The fishermen 
and the bulk of the inhabitants spoke English, and had 
no great love for the Highlanders, their language or their 
practices. The Burgh Eecords abound with expressions of 
contempt for " broken Hie'landmen," disturbing the peace of 
the burgh in time of market and other occasions. 

The comparative prosperity which prevailed in the Burgh, 
where all sorts of trades were carried on, appears to have 
excited the jealousy of the landed proprietors. Some of them 
secured properties within the burgh, and found it to their 
benefit to share in the trade, especially in corn, salmon, 
and herrings, and no doubt the attempts to start similar 
towns in the country arose to some extent from seeing the 
advantages of such, as exemplified in the Burghs. 



THE earlier changes from Presbyterianism to Episcopacy do 
not appear to have excited any popular feeling in the district, 
but there can be little doubt fchat the great bulk of the people 
were Puritans from the beginning. 

Some changes had taken place in the County of Nairn in 
the years immediately preceding the Covenanting times. 

The gentle family of Falconer of Lethen, probably sick of 
the feuds of their neighbours, sold off the lands of Lethen and 
retired to their paternal estates in the South. They had 
occupied Lethen from before the year 1295. A pass is pre- 
served at Kilravock which was granted by the Earl of Huntly 
charging all and sundry the Queen's officers and subjects, 
burgh as well as landward, to abstain from molesting or inter- 
fering with Alexander Falconer of Halkertoun, his wife, bairns, 
and family, either in their bodies or goods, in their passing, 
removing, or returning to and from the north parts of the 
realm." The final "flitting" took place in 1600. A tablet 
in the old choir of Auldearn Church, overagainst the Lethen 
tomb, preserves the record of their JSTairnshire habitation. 
It runs " The Sepulchre of the Honourable and Ancient the 
Laird of Halkerstown and Leatin and Dunearn and his 
familie. Blised . ar . the . dead . which . de . in . the . Lord. 
Hencefurth . is . laid . up . for . me . a . Crown . of . Righteous- 
ness. . death, . where . is . thy . sting, . O . grave . where 
is . thy . victory." It is undated. An old stone built into 


the wall near it bears a shield with three stars, two at the 
head and one at the foot of the figure of a hawk, and beneath 
are the letters " W. F." The base of the tomb is ornamented 
with capitals and devices. 

The new proprietor of Lethen was John Grdnt of Freuchy, 
who had by this time become one of the most extensive land- 
owners in the north. He built a large house at Lethen. No 
detailed description of this building has been preserved, but 
from various incidental references to it, the old house of 
Lethen appears to have been a place of great strength. The 
Grants retained Lethen for some thirty-four years, but on 
the accession of Sir John at his father's death, he sold it to 
Alexander Brodie, in 1634. 

This Alexander Brodie, the first of Lethen, was the second 
son of David, the thirteenth Laird of Brodie. David his father 
had made a curious marriage he married Janet Hay of 
Lochloy, who was a younger sister of his own stepmother. 
Her mother was one of the Sutherlands of Duffus. Old 
. David had had his fair share of the trials of the time, having 
run some risk from siding with the Earl of Huntly against the 
Earl of Moray, who were at deadly feud, but he managed 
during his long life to accumulate a good deal of wealth, and 
when he died, his family of six sons nearly all made 
.purchases of land and became the founders of families of 

Alexander, the second son, was not left dependent upon his 
father's means, but went in early life to Edinburgh to push 
his fortune. He became a burgess of the city, and married 
a grandchild of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Alexander 
Clerk of Balbirnie. His marriage connexion brought him 
into close contact with Thomas, Lord Bruce of Kinloss, 
who was his wife's eousin-german, and he was appointed 


his chamberlain in the North of the ecclesiastical lands and 
revenues which Bruce had obtained. 

Alexander Brodie's first purchase was a portion of Kinloss. 
He next advanced a thousand merks to James, Earl of Moray, 
as a wadset on Kinnudie, and he bought the lands of Pit- 
gavenie from Alexander Hay of Kinnudie, and the lands of 
East Grange and Little Earnside from Patrick Dunbar. In 
the year 1634 he bought the lands and barony of Lethen, 
including the feu-duties of Clune, for 105,000 merks (7,500 
sterling). His purchases did not stop there. In 1643, he 
bought the whole Abbey lands of Kinloss, with the Abbey 
itself and the mass of superiorities which belonged to the 
Abbey in the counties of Inverness, Eoss, Banff, Aberdeen, 
Moray, and Nairn, from Thomas Bruce, now Earl of Elgin. 
He was besides banker for many of the needy lairds of his 
day, and at a later time advanced considerable sums to the 
Government. The family of Brodie of Lethen at its outset 
was thus of consideration in the district, equalling, if it did not 
exceed, the old house of Brodie in the extent of its possessions. 
Alexander of Lethen, on the death of his eldest brother David, 
the thirteenth Laird of Brodie, succeeded to the management 
of the Brodie estates as Tutor to his brother's children. He 
lived through the stormy period of the Covenanting times, 
and warmly espoused, as will be seen, the cause of the Puritans. 
He married as his second wife Margaret Grant, cousin of the 
Laird of Grant. 

Alexander, the young Laird of Brodie, Lethen's nephew, 
who became Lord Brodie, had been sent into England when 
eleven years old for his education, and returned in 1632 on 
his father's death, and by special dispensation from the Lords 
of Council was declared of age (he was but nineteen years), 
and served heir to the estates in 1636, While yet a minor, 


he married Elizabeth Innes, widow of John Urquhart of 
Craigston, Tutor of Cromarty, and daughter of Sir Robert 
Innes of Innes, by Lady Grizzel Stuart, daughter of James, 
the Bonnie Earl of Moray. This worthy lady's influence over 
the young Laird deepened his religious tendency and con- 
firmed in him his bias towards Puritanism. His wife, who 
was the delight of his eyes, died suddenly at an early age, 
leaving him with one son and daughter. Brodie had hitherto 
taken little part in public affairs, but he now joined his 
neighbours in resisting the attempt of King Charles I. and his 
minister Laud to impose the obnoxious Service Book on the 
Church of Scotland. 

The Laird of Brodie and Brodie of Lethen, as might 
be expected, signed the National Covenant. David Hay 
of Lochloy also adhibited his name. David had had 
rather an adventurous career. He was the second son, and 
in the year 1600 succeeded his brother John. A letter of 
his has been preserved which gives a curious account of 
the upbringing of a Nairnshire laird in these early days. He 
says that in his minority, being under the government of 
Walter and Alexander Hay of Kinnudie, then his curators, 
he was transported from the County of Moray to Lothian for 
his education at the schools there. He remained there until 
the year of the Plague. He was left desolate, until Sir 
Alexander Hay, Clerk of the Register, at the earnest entreaty 
of Sir Alexander Hay of Fosterseat, removed him to Whitting- 
ham, where he was lovingly entertained for a year. The 
origin of the Hays of Fosterseat may be thus traced John 
of Lochloy, the hero of the breach of promise case, was 
succeeded by his son William, of Lochloy, Dallas, and Park ; 
he was succeeded by his son John in 1480 ; John's eldest son, 
William, succeeded him, marrying Katherine Urquhart of 


Cromarty, by whom he had John, who married Isobel Dunbar 
in 1554 and died in 1563, leaving several sons, John, who 
succeeded him, David and Alexander of Foynesfield, and 
George, who, dying before 1600, left a son Alexander, who 
married Catherine Skene, and became Sir Alexander Hay of 
Fosterseat. The Hays of Kinfauns, of Wariston, of Easter 
Kennet, of Mondon, of Woodcockdale in Kirkcudbright, and of 
Carriber, can all be traced to the Hays of Lochloy. 

It happened that when the young Laird of Lochloy came 
on a visit to Sir Alexander Hay at Kelso, he was just starting 
for London, and he invited him to accompany him, and (writes 
young Lochloy) " transported me with horse and abulments 
effeiring to my rank with him towards the said city of London, 
to the effect that I might see and understand good manners 
and fashions." His expenses in London for breakfast, dinner, 
supper, and bed, " conform to the order of England," were 36s 
Scots per day, his horse 6d, hay 6d, oats 2d, and bread 14s 
Scots. He remained in London from September till March, 
and thereafter till his marriage, and his kinsman Sir Alexander 
defrayed all his expenses, and when troubles arose with his 
uncles and cousins of Kinnudie and Foynesfield in regard to 
count and reckoning during his minority, his cousin of Foster- 
seat, helped him most lovingly to redeem his property, 
and to recover his woods, which were, he says, " the pleasure 
of my estate." David married Marie Eose of Kilravock and 
had a numerous family. 

All the leading men in the County of Nairn were staunch 
Presbyterians, and at the time were nearly all connected with 
each other by marriage. 

Colin, the Tutor of Cawclor, was married to Elizabeth, 
sister of the young Laird of Brodie. She became the mother 
of the next Thane of Cawdor. Colin was a member of the 


Glasgow Assembly which abolished the Bishops, and warmly 
espoused the Presbyterian cause. 

Hugh, Baron of Kilravock, succeeded his father, William 
the peaceful Baron, in 1611, and married Magdalen Eraser 
of Strichen, and was one of the gentlemen who met the 
Commissioners at Inverness for the signing of the Covenant 
in 1638. He took an active part along with his kinsmen and 
followers in opposing a party of Huiitly's men who had come 
to take possession of the Castle of Inverness, and under 
command of his father-in-law, Eraser of Strichen, he assisted 
in the blockade and capture of the Castle. He was also one 
of the gentlemen of quality who took part in the Trot of 
Turriff, as that somewhat inglorious episode is called. 

One of the most remarkable men of the time in the district 
was the Provost of Nairn. John of Dunearn, " the bold resolute 
Provost," was succeeded by Patrick his son in the Provostship, 
and possessed the lands of Broadley. But he died without 
issue, and his property went to John, fourth son of Kilravock. 
To the office of Provost was elected William Rose, the second 
son of the peaceful Baron. William is first styled of Fleenas, 
but he afterwards acquired the property of Clava. He married 
a daughter of Chisholm of Cromlix. He it was who built the 
first bridge of Nairn, and did so at his own expense. It was, 
for the time, a magnificent structure, of many arches, with a 
splendid gateway with high pillars, richly carved and orna- 
mented. When it was finished, a tablet was placed in it 
bearing the following inscription " Guliemus Rose de Clava, 
non est salus nisi in Christ. Soli Deo Gloria. 1631." He 
also built a bridge over the river Nairn at Cantray at his own 
expense. The site of the present Town and County Buildings 
appears also to have been a gift from Clava, as an entry 
occurs in the Burgh Records in 1669, giving a new charter 


" to the merchant booth under the Council-house," in respect 
it was sufficiently known that Hugh Eose of Clava, his ances- 
tors and predecessors, had undoubted right to the same, 
" because the ground upon which the Tolbooth is built was 
given by them of their own private patrimony." The Provost 
of Nairn was a member of the Glasgow Assembly and voted 
for deposing the Bishops. The Assembly appointed Mr John 
Hay, minister of Eafford, and Mr David Dunbar, minister of 
Edinkillie, with William Rose, the Provost of Nairn, to com- 
municate the sentence of deposition to Bishop Guthrie of 
Moray, which they did on their return at his Palace of 
Spynie. The Bishop's answer was to fortify Spynie Castle 
and lay in a store of gunpowder. He was the only one of the 
Scottish Bishops who did not fly the country, and he ulti- 
mately was prevailed upon to surrender his Palace peaceably 
and go into private life in another part of the country. 

Mr David Dunbar belonged to the family of Dunbar of 
Boath. The Boath family are descended from David Dunbar, 
Dean of Moray, of the Durris branch of the Dunbars. A 
stone in the choir of the Church of Auldearn, bears the 
following inscription " Heir lyis ane honorable man, Maister 
David Dumbar, Dean of Murray, quha departit in the 10 day 
of Februar, 1556 years, and Alexander Dumbar of Both, his 
sone, quha diet ye 13 of February, 1664, D.D., m.o., A.D.B.H." 
Underneath the inscription are two shields, on one of which 
are three diamond-shaped figures, and a lion rampant, the 
other shield bears three small shields. The armorial bearings 
of the family now exhibit a lion rampant within a bordure 
charged with eight roses. Along the edge of the stone is 
inscribed in two lines " Whaso fearis ye Lord it sal go weil 
with him and he sal find favor at ye last. The eyes of ye 
Lord in everi place behold ye evil and ye good." Mr David 


Dunbar was the second son of James Dunbar of Boath, and 
became minister of Nairn in 1638. A monumental stone 
above the west door of the Nairn Parish Church, records in 
Latin that he " with the highest character for fidelity, dis- 
charged during twenty years the duties of pastor in the 
Church of Nairn, and died in peace in the Lord, 22nd 
February, 1660." 

The Laird of Brodie, Brodie of Lethen, Hay of Lochloy, 
Kinnaird of Culbin, the Baron of Kilravock, the Laird of 
Innes, the Laird of Grant, and others, subscribed the Cove- 
nant. The Commissioners visited the Burgh of Nairn, and it 
is recorded that the people came forward most willingly, the 
magistrates being very zealous in the cause. Colin, the Tutor 
of Cawdor, was also a strong Covenanter, and when the 
Assembly of the Kirk met in Glasgow in November, Colin 
the Tutor was there. The minister of Bafford, Mr Thomas 
Hay, was a member of the Lochloy family, and received the 
thanks of the Assembly for an able work he had written, 
entitled " A Censure of the Service Book." William Falconer, 
minister of Dyke, was a member of Committee appointed to 
enquire into the conduct of the Bishops. The minister of 
Auldearn at the time was Mr John Brodie, an uncle of the 
Laird of Brodie's, and was a strong Puritan. He succeeded 
Thomas Dunbar, his maternal grandfather, who was appointed 
minister of Nairn in 1590, and the year after was transferred 
to Auldearn, dying about the year 1623. 

These were the leading men in the district when the 
troubles arose in connection with Laud's attempt to impose 
a liturgy. There is much excitement of Committees and some 
marching and manoeuvring of armed men, but there is no 
fighting in Moray at this time. The pacification is arranged, 
and the Covenanting camp formed at Elgin is broken up. 


An incident about the end of the year 1640 shows the 
young Laird of Brodie as overzealous in his hatred to 
everything that savoured of Popery and idolatry, according 
to his view. Service had been discontinued in the Elgin 
Cathedral many years before, but a carved screen which divided 
the Church from the Chancel, on which were paintings of the 
Crucifixion and the Day of Judgment, was destroyed by 
Brodie and his brother-in-law, the young Laird of Times, and 
the parish minister of Elgin. 

The year 1645 was a memorable year in the history of 
Nairnshire. Montrose had broken with the Covenanters, 
and had taken up the cause of King Charles I. when it was 
at its lowest ebb. In the month of February of that year, he 
made one of his sudden dashes into the Northern Highlands, 
and after winning the Battle of Inverlochy, appeared on the 
borders of Moray. The Earl of Seaforth was at the head of 
the Covenanting Committee assembled at Elgin, and so great 
was the terror of an invasion of Moray by Montrose, that a 
deputation of the leading men went to meet him to beseech 
him to spare the district. Seaforth, with his son-in-law 
the Laird of Grant, his brother Mackenzie of Pluscardine, 
and Sir Robert Gordon, actually went over to Montrose's 
side. The same absolute unanimity did not prevail as at the 
time when the Covenanters of Moray first took the field. 
Sympathy for the King existed to some extent, and probably 
Seaforth and others thought they might be Royalists and 
Covenanters at the same time. Whatever passed between 
Montrose and the deputation, he did not grant their request, 
but sent out bands of his men to burn, pillage, and waste the 
country. They went down to Culbin at the seaside the 
Laird had been one of the deputation and burned and 
plundered the still fair domain. Grangehall (now Dalvey) 


belonging to Ninian D unbar, was set on fire and pillaged. 
Brqdie Castle was given to the flames and plundered 
Montrose doubtless having particular pleasure in destroying 
the abode of one of the members of the Committee of 
Estates. Lethen House was not burned on this occasion, 
probably because it was too strong to take, but the lands 
were wasted. Burgie and Duffus were treated in a similar 
manner. Montrose's track could be traced by the smoke of 
burning homesteads and the wreck of wasted lands. 
. In May of the same year, Montrose was back to Nairnshire 
again. General Hurry, who was in command of the Cove- 
nanting troops operating against Huntly in the Enzie, hearing 
of Montrose's advance fell back in great alarm to Inverness. 
At Inverness, Hurry was reinforced by the troops in the 
garrison there, and the Covenanting Chiefs in the North 
rallied to his aid. 

Montrose halted at Auldearn. He appears to have been 
in some doubt whether he should risk a battle with Hurry, 
but General Baillie, the commander-in-chief of the States 
Army, being on his rear, he resolved to meet Hurry's attack, 
which he understood was now determined upon. According 
to Eoyalist authorities, Montrose had with him only 1500 
foot and 250 horse, but this is evidently an under-statement. 
Montrose made Boath his headquarters, and a well near the 
house is known to this day as Montrose's well. His position 
was a strong one, and in setting his forces in array he took 
full advantage of the natural defences of the ground. He 
resolved to put into execution a plan of battle which was 
boldly conceived. It was in effect to throw the main strength 
of his forces into the left wing, and to fight with no proper 
centre or right wing. He stationed Lord Lewis Gordon with 
his cavalry towards the south, approaching to Newmill, on the 


extremity of the left wing. His infantry under his own 
command were drawn up along the ridge, on the top of which 
the road now passes, the troops being placed a few yards back 
from that line on the broken ground of the Kinsteary Park, 
and thus partially concealed from view of the enemy. A 
hollow in th& park is said to be the place where the cavalry 
were stationed until brought into action. 

The village at that time occupied a somewhat different 
position from what it does now. The turnpike road, forming 
the main street of the present village, had then no existence. 
The village ran north and south, instead of as at present, east 
and west. The Boath road which intersects the village gives 
the general lie of the hamlet. The houses occupied the slope 
with their gardens and crofts running down to the flat ground 
bounded by the burn. The mill and its croft were in the 
same position as now. The brewhouse and croft (afterwards 
a granary), occupied the site of the present village hall. 
Immediately below the village, according to various charters 
of the period still extant, were " Bellislands, with crofts, 
domiciles, edifices, and the croft called Bellsacre, in the 
town of Auldearn." To the north of these were the 
Smiddie lands or Belgeam's croft " the toft lying below 
the village and the croft on the north side of the cemetery, 
extending from the wall or old ditch of the said cemetery 
between the lands of James Dunbar of Cumnock and adjoin- 
ing the lands of the Dean of Moray." These topographical 
details of the old charters throw some fresh light upon 
Montrose's disposition of the remainder of his troops, and 
place his right wing in a position further to the north 
than has usually been assigned to it. It seems to have been 
in John Belgeam's lands, between the old smith's toft and 
croft, at the mouth of the narrow ravine, that Montrose placed 


the Koyal standard, and stationed his Major-General Alex- 
ander Macdonald, generally known as M'Coll or Colkitto. 
The foot of the village was protected by some turf dykes 
answering the purpose of temporary ramparts, behind which 
were put a few men. Contemporary accounts state that 
Montrose placed a few picked musketeers with some cannon, 
on " the height directly in front of the village." As the 
main part of the village clustered below the Church-yard, 
the height in front of the village must be the old Castle 
Hill (or Doocot hill, as it is now called), though it might 
now be more accurately described as on the right front flank. 
No skilful general in a disposition of his forces would neglect 
to avail himself of the advantages of this knoll, which would 
be very difficult to scale. It is in fact a fort of considerable 
strength, with remnants of earthwork ramparts of some 
height, which half-a-dozen men could hold against a for- 
midable attack, and tradition states that this is what actually 
occurred. Having thus set his Army in position, Montrose 
waited the arrival of the Covenanters. One change took 
place, according to the Clanranald MS. When Macdonald 
was ordering his troops and arranging his defences by 
placing brushwood in front, a gentleman came to him with 
a message from Lord Gordon, in these words "Allaster 
Macdonald, I have heard that there was a bond of friendship 
between our forefathers, not to strike a blow against each 
other, whatever quarrel might be between them and the rest 
of Scotland, and none excelled them in deeds of honour ; 
therefore let us now renew that bond by exchanging foot 
soldiers, on this the first day of my doing battle for my King, 
send me your foot soldiers and take mine." Macdonald, 
whose vanity was flattered, at once agreed, and ordered 
ninety of his veterans, " tried in many a battle," to join his 


noble friend, who in return sent three hundred of his foot, 
brought from Strathbogie and the other northern possessions 
of Huntly. They were inexperienced levies, which Lord 
Lewis Gordon was only too glad to get rid of. Macdonald 
was left with only fifty veteran troops, and he placed twenty- 
five in front and twenty-five in rear of the Gordon recruits, 
to keep them from running away. 

The plan of battle was skilfully laid, whether it was 
designed by Montrose himself, or as some suppose, by his 
Major-General, Macdonald. His object was to draw the best 
fighting regiments of the Covenanters to attack Macdonald 
and the phantom centre in the village, while he would swoop 
down with the left wing as soon as they were engaged. 

The courtly Montrose, with the air of courage and command 
characteristic of him, as he paced the paved terrace beside 
the Churchyard, with the whole Covenanting force in view, 
so much superior to his own, must have felt the desperate 
character of the venture he was about to make, and probably 
steeled his heart with the sentiment of the couplet he wrote 
when a youth 

" He either fears his fate too much or his deserts are small, 
That dares not put it to the touch, to gain or lose it all." 

Distinguished in appearance as Montrose was, the rival 
commander, General Hurry, was the handsomer man of 
the two. Hurry is described as a robust, tall, stately fellow, 
with a long cut in his cheek, which, however, did not mar his 
aspect. He was a brave soldier, but as ready to draw his 
sword for the cause of the Eoyalists as for that of the 

The Army of the Covenanters, which had concentrated at 
Inverness, now moved forward. It was immensely superior 
in every respect to Montrose's ragged little army. It num- 


bered 3500 foot and 400 horse, all well equipped. Major 
Drummond led the van with the horse, 400 strong. The 
gallant Campbell of Lawers rode at the head of a body of 
veteran soldiers of the States. The Earl of Seaforth brought 
the Mackenzies to the field, albeit somewhat unwillingly. 
Lawrie, Loudon, and Buchanan had command of regiments of 
the garrison and States troops. The Earl of Findlater had also 
a command. The Earl of Sutherland came with his clansmen. 
Lovat brought the Erasers, Kilravock the Roses, and the 
Brodies, Inneses, Calders, and other Moray and Nairn clans- 
men followed their respective Chiefs, and all hurried forward 
to Auldearn. Doubtless many of the townspeople followed 
the Army on its way to Auldearn. That very morning a 
great sensation had been caused in the town by the arrival of 
a great ship built by one Captain George Scott at Inverness 
"a ship of a prodigious bigness for bulk and burden 
never such a one seen in our north seas," says the writer 
of the Wardlaw MS., the minister of Kirkhill, who had been 
aboard of her in the Roads of Kessock. She set sail the day 
before the battle of Auldearn, and had a number of passengers 
going south with her. " This ship rode at anchor in the river 
mouth of Nairn, when the Battle of Auldearn was fought in 
view." The vessel afterwards was turned into a frigate of 
war, and William, Captain Scott's brother, who commanded 
her, became Vice- Admiral of the Venetian fleet, and a marble 
statue was erected to his memory near the Rialto of Venice 
for his services against the Turks. 

It was on Friday morning, 9th May, the battle was 
fought. It began shortly before noon. The Army of the 
Covenanters appeared on the scene from behind Kinnudie. 
Hurry appears from the way in which he prepared for the 
attack to have had a pretty accurate idea of the general 


disposition of Montrose's troops, though probably ignorant of 
the relative strength of its ostensible divisions. He drew his 
forces up in three divisions, answering to those of Montrose. 
The engagement began by Loudou and Laurie, with their 
trained veterans, supported by some horse, being despatched 
to attack Macdonald's position on the north of the village. 
They followed the line of the Kinnudie Burn and in a few 
minutes were in front of Macdonald's quarters. The horse 
could not charge him, as the ground was broken and boggy, 
and he had the protection of the burn and the enclosures 
with the brushwood he had heaped up in front of his position. 
Shots were exchanged, and the cannon on the hill fired an 
occasional ball. The combatants came so near to each other 
that the Covenanters taunted the Major-General with the 
cowardice of fighting under cover. Macdonald's Highland 
blood was roused by these taunts, and although strictly 
enjoined by Montrose not to leave his defences but to keep 
the enemy occupied, he boldly sallied forth at the head of his 
men to give them battle in the open. A fierce fight now 
ensued, the like of it, says one who was present, had never 
been seen in the low country. But Macdonald's raw Gordon 
Highlanders would not fight. Whenever they heard the 
sough of an arrow or the whistle of a ball, they ducked their 
heads. Their officers had actually to shoot some of them to 
prevent a general flight. Macdonald was forced to fall back, 
but he fought his ground step by step. Defending his body 
with a large target, he resisted single-handed the assaults of 
the enemy. The pikemen were so close upon him as to fix 
their spears in his target, which he cut off with his broad- 
sword by threes and fours at a stroke. He was the last man 
to leave the field and seek the protection of the enclosures. 
When he had just reached the garden gate, Hay of Kinnudie, 


a tall powerful man, uncle of young Hay of Lochloy, pressed 
him hard (so local tradition runs), but he called out to 
him " I'll not deceive you, my men are coming up behind 
you." Hay turned round, and Macdonald seizing his advan- 
tage, cut him down with one swoop of his broadsword. 
Another minute and Macdonald's own sword was shivered 
to pieces. His brother-in-law, Davidson of Ardnacross, 
flew to his side, and handed him his sword. He saved 
Macdonald's life, but lost his own, for he fell mortally 
wounded in the very act. Macdonald at last got within 
the enclosure, but some of the enemy got in at the same 
time. Ranald Mackinnon of Mull seeing the pikemen about 
to enter, stood boldly a few paces in front of the entrance, 
his shield on his left hand and his gun in his other hand 
presented at them. Some bowmen coming up let fly their 
arrows with deadly effect among the retreating Gordon 
soldiers, and rushed past Ranald, and one of them turning 
round, shot him in the face, the arrow penetrating one cheek 
and appearing out at the other. The Clanranald chronicler, 
who relates the incident, says that Ranald, throwing away 
his gun and stretching out his shield to save himself from 
the pikes, attempted to draw his sword, but it would not 
come ; he tried it again, and the cross hilt twisted about ; a 
third time he made the attempt, using his shield-hand to 
hold the sheath, and succeeded, but at the expense of five 
pike wounds in his breast. In this state he gained the 
entrance to the garden, closely followed by one of the enemy, 
but as the latter bowed his head under the gate, Macdonald, 
who had been watching the passage at arms, with one swoop 
of his claymore severed the head from the body, the head 
falling between Ranald's legs and the body in the door- 
way. Macdonald's next act was to cut away the arrow that 


stuck in the young man's cheek and restored him speech. 
The Covenanters who had got inside the garden were speedily 
despatched and the entrance once more secured. Seventeen 
of Macdonald's officers lay wounded and many of the Gordon 
soldiers were slain in the desperate affray. 

Montrose watched the fighting from the Churchyard. 
When he saw Macdonald in his folly leave his well-pro- 
tected position and go out to the open he must have foreseen 
the result. Mortified at having had his plans frustrated by 
this rash movement, he rode off to take command of the left 
wing to the south of the village. He was followed a few 
minutes later by an orderly, who whispered to him, " Mac- 
donald is completely routed !" It was a critical moment. 
If the tidings of the disaster on the right reached the troops 
under his command, the day would be lost. He immediately 
shouted to Lord Gordon, " Macdonald is gaming the victory 
single-handed ! Come, come, my Lord Gordon, shall he carry 
all before him and leave no laurels for the house of Huntly ! 

The two divisions of the Covenanting force had meanwhile 
drawn slowly forward from Kinnudie. The main body, con- 
sisting principally of Seaforth's men, advanced towards the 
mill, partly on the high ground and partly on the fields below. 
The other division composed of the Erasers and Suther- 
land men crossed over the rough boggy land more to the 
south. Some firing had taken place, but a general advance 
in line had not yet been made. Just about the moment 
Montrose had ordered the charge of his cavalry, Drummond 
with his horse was commanded to advance and open the battle. 
He made one charge, but for some inexplicable reason, 
immediately wheeled round, broke through the ranks of 
the infantry supports behind him, and made off. Had there 


been no suspicion of treachery, this sudden movement might 
have been due to the discovery of the alarming strength of 
the enemy. It was then that Montrose's charge was made. 
It fell upon the already broken ranks of the wing before 
them. The Erasers and Sutherland men stood their ground. 
But the horse swept through them like a whirlwind. They 
fell thickly, mown down like grass. Montrose's infantry 
came on, and utterly defeated them. " Give no quarter !" 
shouted Montrose, and scarcely a man of the whole division 
but was slain. 

The Seaforth men on the high ground seeing Drummond's 
horse in full retreat, and their right wing overborne, instead 
of going to their aid, turned and fled, without striking a blow 
or firing a shot. Those in the plain below remained for a 
little time irresolute, not knowing what to do, but seeing 
their comrades in retreat, they followed the example and 
took to flight. There were, however, a few brilliant excep- 
tions. Eory M'Lennan, the Kin tail bannerman, tried to 
retain his kinsmen, and fastened the staff of the standard 
of the Mackenzies in the ground and protected it with his 
two-handed sword. Beside him stood three others his own 
brother, Malcolm Macrae, and Duncan Maclan Oig. They 
were speedily cut down by Lord Gordon's men. Captain 
Bernard Mackenzie, who had with him a company of his men 
from Chanonry, on seeing the rout, declared that he and his 
kinsmen would remain on the field while the standard of the 
Mackenzies floated, and remain they did, until they were cut 
down on the spot where they stood. Two men of some note 
among the Mackenzies refused to fly. They were Mackenzie 
of Kernsary, cousin-german to Seaforth, and Donald Bayne, 
a brother of Tulloch's and Seaforth's Chamberlain in the 
Lewis. The reason, however, assigned for their remaining 


detracts from their credit, as it is said they were too heavy 
and stout to run. 

Having swept the south field clear, Lord Gordon's horse, 
followed by Montrose and his Irish infantry, crossed over to 
attack Loudon and Lawrie's regiments. Macdonald, seeing 
his friends approaching, came out of his lair once more, and 
revenged his former repulse by a fierce onslaught upon his 
opponents. The combined attack fell disastrously upon the 
devoted regiments. They were outnumbered and anni- 
hilated. Campbell of Lawers, Sir John and Gideon Murray 
were slain. Alexander Drummond of Meedhope, the last of 
his house, along with many other brave officers, fell with 
his regiment. On the other side, young Napier of Merchis- 
town greatly distinguished himself. 

Montrose's victory was complete. He had crushed a 
splendid army, superior in all respects to his own. He now 
followed up the victory by indicting terrible punishment. 
Every fugitive overtaken was slain no prisoners were made. 
A wounded trooper named Grigor who had taken refuge at a 
hill now called Grigor's hill was barbarously mutilated and 
murdered in cold blood. Montrose's excuse was the assassina- 
tion of one of his officers, Gordon of Rhynie, some weeks 
before. The chase was continued as far as Nairn. Bands of 
Montrose's troops entered the town and set fire to a number 
of the houses, including Calder's house, which at the time 
was occupied by Bailie Tulloch, a strong Covenanter. 
Troopers were despatched to Cawdor to burn the houses 
and waste the lands, which they did, though the Castle does 
not appear to have been damaged. For five years after, so 
great was the ruin, the tenants were unable to pay a single 
penny of rent. Lethen House was besieged, but Montrose 
was unable to prevail, and according to the narrative of an 


old Act of Parliament, he " burnt his haill barnes, barne 
yairdes, and cornes ; plunderit ye haill insight and plenishing 
of his baronie, and tuick away 800 oxen and kyne, 1800 
sheep and goats, 200 horse and mares." Once more Brodie 
Castle received attentions from Montrose. The house was 
pillaged, and a great number of the family papers were burnt 
by Lord Gordon, who had charge of this work. 

To return to the battlefield. Sixteen colours, the whole 
baggage, ammunition, and money fell into the hands of the 
victors. The Covenanters left nearly two thousand men 
dead on the field. Montrose's loss was comparatively slight. 
Those who fell in the shock of the two wings on the 
south were buried in trenches in a piece of waste land, 
which has since been planted, and is known as the Dead 
Men's Wood. The men who were slain in front of Mac- 
donald's position were buried in the hollow below the Church- 
yard wall at the north-west corner, probably a part of the 
Smith's croft, and is now called the Dead Wood. Near the 
door of the present Church, a flat slab marks the place where 
Captain Bernard Mackenzie was buried, and bears the follow- 
ing inscription " Here lyeth Captaine Bernard Mackenzie, 
who in defence of his Religion and Country, f editing, diet at 
Aulderne, 9th May, 1645." A stone in the Church com- 
memorates the death of three other Covenanting officers. It 
was originally built into the steeple, but on its demolition, it 
was removed to the choir by the late Rev. Win. Barclay, 
Minister of the Parish, where it stood, much wasted, until it 
was replaced by a new monument by Sir Thomas D. Brodie. 
The inscription runs "This monument is erected by Sir 
Robert limes, younger of that Ilk, in memorie of Alexander 
Drummond of Meedhope, Sir John Murray, and Maister 
Gideon Murray, who lyes here intered, who fighting valiantly 


in defence of their Religion, King, and native Country, died 
at Aulderne, 9th May, 1645." Montrose set fire to a part of 
the village, and then fell back towards Elgin. General 
Hurry and the Covenanting leaders made their escape to 
Inverness, where Major Drummond was tried by court- 
martial, and shot, for the bad handling of the cavalry. 
Allegations of treachery were made against him, and he 
confessed that he had spoken to the enemy after the sign of 
battle was given. The popular belief is that Hurry and the 
Earl of Seaforth fought to lose and not to win at Auldearn, 
and the fact that they both went over to Montrose's side 
shortly after the disaster, confirmed the popular impression. 
There is, however, no conclusive evidence of such a plot. A 
few years after, Montrose and Hurry passed south bound as 
prisoners, and were executed together. 

Nairnshire again soon after felt the scourge of war. Lord 
Huntly and his sons entered the county with a force of two 
thousand horse and foot and besieged the strong House of 
Lethen, For no less than twelve weeks, the Gordons sat 
down before Lethen, and tried hard to take it. Its natural 
position does not afford it any great protection. It stands 
on a terrace of the hill-side, facing the south, and its garden 
in front slopes down to the burn side. The small stream, 
however, could be easily crossed, and the house must have 
depended for its security on the height and stoutness of its 
walls. It was strongly garrisoned, and its defenders appear 
to have given a good account of themselves against the 
Gordons, many of the latter having been killed. Enraged 
and disappointed, the Marquis of Huntly utterly burned and 
wasted the lands of Lethen, on which, it is stated, there were 
some eight score persons, and he left not ten of them to 
remain upon the lands. He burned Lethen's house at Kinloss, 


and pillaged it, lifting the hearth-stones in search of valuables, 
and unfortunately discovered the family charter chest with 
its writs and papers concealed beneath the fireplace, the 
contents of which were immediately destroyed. So long as 
the ammunition lasted, the Lethen people held out bravely. 
The Laird himself and all his friends in the district, (except- 
ing the Laird of Brodie, who was with the garrison at Inver- 
ness), were shut up in the beleagured fortress. Day after 
day during those twelve weeks, they were sustained by the 
hope of troops coming to their relief from Inverness or 
Darnaway. Secret messengers at dead of night had been 
despatched to tell their friends of their straits, and again 
and again tidings were brought that the soldiers were on 
their way. But none came, and famine stared them in the 
face. The plucky little garrison at length lost heart, and 
reluctantly resolved to capitulate, and with the object of 
getting the best conditions they could from the Marquis of 
Huntly, Mr Joseph Brodie, the minister of Auldearn, was 
deputed to open parley with the enemy. Huntly stipulated 
that a bond of money should be made payable to him in case 
Lethen and his friends did not conform to His Majesty's 
service. This done, Huntly raised the siege and took his 

About half-a-year later, the Highlanders made a raid on 
Lethen, and took away all that was left on the ground. 
Brodie of Lethen at this time represented the County of 
Nairn in Parliament, and he represented his losses to the 
Estates, estimating them 95,000 Scots. The Parliament 
granted him 10,000 for his subsistence and the support of 
the garrison in his house ; and he proceeded to replenish his 
lands with stock, but he had no sooner done so than the 
enemy "for his refusal to concur in the late unlawful engage- 


meut " " did eat up and destroy his haill corn, and plundered 
of new again his haill nolt and bestial and left the land in a 
worse condition nor it was before." Such are the statements 
set forth in an Act of Parliament dated 25th March, 1649. 

For the next thirty or more years, the most prominent 
figure connected with Nairnshire is the Laird of Brodie. He 
too had suffered severely in these " killing times." " We fell 
before the Wild Irishes six times without interruption/' he 
says in his Diary ; " my house and my mains and my bigging 
was burnt to the ground and my estate made desolate and no 
place left me nor means to subsist." A man of devout reli- 
gious feelings, Alexander Brodie of Brodie impressed his 
contemporaries no less by his earnestness in the cause of 
civil and religious freedom than by his great abilities and 
sound judgment. He was drawn away from his secluded 
heritage of Brodie, to the seat of Government at Edinburgh, 
and as a representative of the County of Elgin in the Parlia- 
ment, and a member of the General Assembly of the Kirk, 
he occupied the position of one of the foremost men of the 
day, and had some considerable hand in shaping the history 
of the time. Although he had no special training as a lawyer 
he was made a judge of the Court of Session, and was there- 
after styled Lord Brodie. The execution of Charles I. having 
taken place, the thoughts of the Scottish leaders turned 
towards his son. Charles II. was proclaimed King of Great 
Britain, and if only he would give satisfaction to the Kingdom 
" in these things that concern the security of Eeligion, the 
L^nion betwixt the Kingdoms, and the good and peace of this 
Kingdom, according to the National Covenant and the Solemn 
League and Covenant," he would at once be admitted to the 
exercise of his Koyal power. Lord Brodie was appointed by 
Parliament one of five Commissioners to proceed to Holland 


and treat with the young King. They found Charles at the 
Hague, but he was buoyed up with the hopes of winning by 
the sword the position independently of the Parliament and 
unfettered by their engagements, and therefore refused the 
overtures made to him by Lord Brodie and his fellow Com- 
missioners. Their negotiations failed, but next year (%lst 
February, 1650), Lord Brodie, the Earl of Cassillis, Lord 
Lothian, Sir John Smith, Alexander Jaffray, Provost of 
Aberdeen, and George Wynrame, were commissioned to treat 
with the King, who was represented to be in a more tract- 
able mood. His visions of military success had by this time 
vanished. The Commissioners met the King at Breda, but found 
him in so reckless a mood he was prepared to sign anything 
without the least appearance of a sense of the responsibility 
of what he was undertaking that some of the Commissioners 
hesitated to proceed further. Lord Brodie and Jaffray 
objected to the King being made to swear to a Covenant 
which they knew he hated in his heart. Brodie appears to 
have suggested as a compromise that the King's assent might 
be taken by word of mouth. But he and Jaffray were out- 
voted, and the King was ready to sign anything to secure 
Scotland. Lord Brodie's position among the Commissioners 
is shown by the circumstance that the drawing up of the 
papers was entrusted to him on behalf of the States. In his 
feelings of compassion for the young King, he appears to 
have omitted some things and softened down others, con- 
tained in the Parliament's Instructions, but upon debate 
next morning these were restored to their original severity. 
Lord Brodie returned with the papers signed by the King, 
and received the thanks of the Scottish Parliament. There 
had been some difficulty about the expenses, and as the 
Parliament had no public credit abroad, Lord Brodie became 


surety for a large share of the 100,000 merks borrowed in 
Holland, and was never repaid, though he made frequent 
application. Lord Brodie was deputed by the Parliament along 
with certain others, " to repair and congratulate his Majesty's 
happy arrival in the Kingdom," and while probably having 
still lingering doubts as to the wisdom of the whole transac- 
tion, he shares in the enthusiasm which prevails in the nation 
at the King's coming. He appears to have conceived a strong 
personal liking for the young King, and Charles as a mark of 
esteem for him, presented him with a portrait of his father 
Charles I., by Vandyke, which still hangs in the drawing-room 
at Brodie Castle. 

Tn the national events which rapidly followed on the 
-crowning of the King at Scone, Lord Brodie took an active 
part. The English army enters Scotland, and there is a call 
to arms in Scotland. From this quarter Brodie of Lethen 
goes south with a contingent. He is present at the conflict 
at Eastwick, and commanded a troop with some credit at the 
disastrous battle of Dunbar. He frequently gave the Estates 
pecuniary assistance and lent them a considerable sum when 
the troops were at Stirling and greatly in want of money 
immediately after the battle of Dunbar. Lord Brodie was 
elected Commissary-General to the Army in October, 1650. 
He was superseded as a Lord of Session by Cromwell's English 
judges in the Court of Session, and being strongly averse to 
the English rule he resolved and determined he says, " in the 
strength of the Lord to eschew and avoid employment under 
Cromwell." He was summoned to London to treat with 
the Commonwealth for a Union of the two Kingdoms, and 
repeated offers were made to him by Cromwell of important 
positions in the administration of affairs in Scotland, but 
contrary to the advice of his most trusted friends, he declined 


a 1 ! offers until the death of the Protector, when he went back 
to his post at the Court of Justice. 

In common with other parts of the country, the district of 
Moray and Nairn felt the beneficial effects of Cromwell's firm 
administration. His government was not popular, but the 
p30ple soon learned to respect it. Order was restored, and 
industry revived. Detachments of the soldiers of the English 
Commonwealth were stationed at Elgin, Darnaway and Inver- 
ness. Sometimes parties of them were billeted at Nairn and 
Lethen. The Laird of Cawdor had sufficient influence to 
procure an order from General Monk exempting Cawdor 
Castle from occupation by the troops. The officers mixed 
freely with the people, and sometimes preached to them on 
Sundays. The Laird of Brodie mentions his sitting up late- 
of nights discussing points of theology and the principles 
of religious toleration with certain of the Major-Generals,. 
Colonels, and Cornets of Cromwell's Ironsides, some of whom 
" exercised with him " namely, conducted family worship in 
his house. Brodie's views were somewhat enlarged by this- 
intercourse, but he still stuck to the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith as the only true system of theology and 
church polity. General Monk addressed letters to the 
magistrates of Nairn, arid two of these communications 
have been preserved. 

: Cromwell built a great citadel at Inverness, the ruins of 
Which, called Cromwell's Fort, still exist. The officers- 
entrusted with the work ruthlessly dismantled the disused 
Catholic edifices in the district for building materials for it, 
and in this way the beautiful old Abbey of Kinloss was- 
dismantled. It belonged to the Laird of Lethen, and the 
local Presbytery appointed a deputation to wait upon Lethen 
to, ask him to save the Chapter in which religious ordinances 


had been conducted since the Reformation. Lethen replied 
that it was against his will that these stones of Kinloss were 
taken away, and he promised to go to Inverness and do his 
best to allow the remainder to stand. He gave 100 towards 
the new church and half the glebe. But only fragments of 
the noble structure were spared. 

Once only was the peace of the county broken. The Earl 
of Glencairn in 1654 made an expedition into the Highlands 
in favour of the King (Charles II.) He entered Moray on 
10th January and the same day despatched letters to Lord 
Brodie demanding money. Brodie is in great straits whether 
to comply or refuse. Happily for him, a party of English 
troops turn up unexpectedly at Darnaway, and he is safe. 
The river Findhorn came down in great flood, and Glencairn 
on his way to Lethen was unable to cross it. Lord Brodie 
finds providences for thankfulness in " the Lord's ridding 
these in Nairnshire out of perplexity." But it was only a 
reprieve, not a deliverance, for the Laird of Lethen. Two 
days later, Glencairn and his forces forded the river, and once 
more Lethen House was besieged. The barns wherein were 
stored the corn for the year were burned, and the houses 
given to the flames. An illustration of the religious feeling 
of the times is afforded by the way in which the Brodies were 
affected by this calamity. The last day of January was set 
apart as a solemn day of humiliation, and the various branches 
of the family met at Lethen. " They met," says Hugh Miller, 
" in that dreary season amid the blackened and wasted walls, 
when every streamlet was swollen into a river, and the winds 
howled amid the roofless and darkened turrets, but to what 
intent? We employ the simple language of the Brodie 
Diary ' to come under a new, firm, inviolable covenant 
with God that they should be His and He theirs'." The 


covenants and fasts, the self -introspection and diary-writing 
of the time, were but outward manifestations of the strong 
earnest religious spirit that prevailed. 

The Eestoration of Charles II. to the English Throne was 
followed shortly after by the re-enactment of Episcopacy in 
Scotland. Bishoprics were revived, and Presbyterianisin in 
name at least was abolished. No changes of any consequence 
were, however, introduced in the services or the ritual of the 
churches. Along with questions as to whether the Prelatic 
or Presbyterian form of church government was the more 
Scriptural came the principle of the spiritual independence 
of the Church, and the whole movement turned upon the 
question, " Is the Church supreme within its own domain, or 
is it to be subject in spiritual matters to the King ?" The 
watchword of the evangelical party of the time was, "For 
Christ's Crown and Covenant." It happened that the Pres- 
byterian Church of Scotland had been greatly weakened by 
internal divisions some time previous to this. The General 
Assembly, before it was suppressed by Cromwell, had been 
torn by two factions one the Eesolutioners and the other 
the Protestors. The dispute arose out of what is known as 
the Duke's Engagement all who had taken part in Hamilton's 
expedition in favour of the King being regarded as Malignants 
by the Protesters and unworthy to be admitted to civil office 
in the country. The Baron of Kilravock, who took part at 
the Battle of Auldearn, was one of those sought to be pro- 
scribed for having accompanied the Duke into England. 
Lord Brodie had some sympathy with the views of the 
Protestors, but he considered they went too far. He, how- 
ever, joined his two uncles John Brodie of Auldearn, and 
Joseph Brodie of Torres, Hugh Campbell of Auchindoune, 
and some others at a meeting of the Synod of Moray, in 


protesting against the legality of the election of the members 
of the Assembly in 1651. It went no further. He kept 
himself aloof from the Protestors as a party, though in 
friendly intercourse with Samuel Eutherford and the other 
leaders. But now when Episcopacy is restored, nine years 
after the event, Sir Ludovick Gordon, Lord Brodie, Brodie of 
Lethen, Patrick Campbell of Both, Hugh Campbell of Auchin- 
doun, and several others are suspended by the Synod for their 
well-nigh forgotten protest. They were specially exempted 
from the Act of Indemnification, and heavy fines were imposed 
on them. One of the Bailies of Nairn, John Tulloch, was 
fined at the same time. This was but the first step in the 
new persecution. Ministers who did not conform to the new 
order of things and receive fresh induction to their charges 
by the hands of the new Bishops were ejected from their 
benefices, and forbidden to reside within twenty miles of 
their churches. The old spirit of independence burned 
rather low at this time amongst the clergy of Moray and 
Nairn, and nearly all conformed. It was quite different 
with the laity. The old Presbyterian families sought to 
have as little to do as possible with the renegade " curates," 
as they were called. They despised both the men and their 
preaching, and looked upon them as having broken their 
solemn vows. That was the view taken by the most intelli- 
gent people in the district. The Eev. Harry Forbes, minister 
of Auldearn, after some hesitation gave up his church rather 
than conform, and retired to Nairn. Poor man, he seemed 
to be in great straits as regards his worldly circumstances, 
and all the efforts of Denoon, the Burgh Officer, and the 
magistrates were needed to make him pay his merchants' 
accounts. Mr James Urquhart, minister of Kinloss, was 
ejected from his charge for refusing to recognise the Bishops, 


and took up his residence in Penick in the parish of Auldearn, 
He was connected with the Brodies by marriage. 

Nairnshire became the asylum for the exiled Nonconformist 
ministers of the North. They were a band of able men, and 
their preaching made a powerful impression, especially in the 
country districts. The people deserted the parish churches 
for the ministrations of the Covenanting clergy, and Sabbath 
after Sabbath meetings were held at some private house or in 
some sheltered ravine. Besides the ejected minister of Kin- 
loss, there were in this movement Thomas Hogg of Kiltearn, 
John M'Killican, James Koss, Hugh Anderson of Cromarty, 
Thomas Urquhart of Essil, Colin M'Culloch of Ardersier, and 
later on James Fraser of Brea. 

It became a question whether it was not sinful to hear the 
curates, and many absented themselves entirely from the 
Church services. The Government passed Acts against 
Conventicles in house or in field, and it behoved the lairds 
to be careful how they gave their presence at such meetings. 
As a rule they abstained from the open-air meetings, but the 
Nonconformist ministers were received as welcome guests and 
honoured friends at every house in the district, save at Darn- 
away Castle, the Earl being a sworn enemy to them. The 
ladies evinced stronger attachment to the cause of religious 
liberty than even their husbands. The Baron of Kilravock was 
friendly enough, but his wife, the Lady of Kilravock, was an 
enthusiastic supporter of the persecuted ministers. She was 
a daughter of the Laird of Innes, and her religion took the 
form of charity to the poor and succour to the distressed. 
Colin, the Tutor of Cawdor, had by this time been removed 
from this earthly scene, but his son Hugh reigned in his stead, 
having succeeded as nearest male heir to the Cawdor estates. 
Like his father, Sir Hugh was a strong Presbyterian, and the 


harsh treatment of the Earl of Argyle, the head of his 
race, embittered his feelings against the Government. He 
retained the hereditary office of Sheriff of the County of 
Nairn, and stretched his powers to the utmost limit to afford 
protection to the Nonconformists. His wife, Lady Henrietta 
Stuart, daughter of the third Earl of Moray, still more 
ardently espoused the cause of the oppressed ministers and 
had scruples about hearing prayers by her chaplain because 
he had been licensed by a Bishop. She preferred the hearty 
services held at Penick by conscientious men to the lifeless 
devotions of the curates. The Lethen family were on the 
closest terms of intimacy with the Presbyterian ministers, 
and Lethen House was one of the centres of hospitality for 
the refugees. For some time it afforded protection for a 
distinguished Covenanter from the south George Pringle of 
Torwoodlee. He had married the Laird of Lethen's only 
(laughter Janet, and according to Wodrow the historian, he 
was a gentleman of a fine spirit and singularly religious, of a 
masculine .presence and eloquence, " and the representative of 
a family that had the honour and happiness to be among the 
first who publicly owned and stood up for our holy Eeform- 
ation." Wodrow speaks warmly in praise of his wife " I 
cannot forbear to mention," he says, " the heroic spirit of his 
lady, who, in most of all the parts of his trials, gave him an 
account of their approach, and thus not to affright or deter 
him from suffering for his country's interest, but to arm and 
prepare him for what he was to undergo. She bore all her 
difficulties with unexampled serenity and evenness of temper, 
one evidence of which was when the harpies of that time 
came and seized her estate, set her lands and rummaged her 
house, her only son lay upon her hand despaired of by the 
physicians and her husband in hazard of a public death for 


his firm adherence to the good cause, she showed such con- 
tentment and acquiescence under all these complicated dis- 
asters as is rarely to be found; and in her darkest night 
rejoiced in the faith and hope of those days she lived to see 
after the Eevolution. She was a daughter of Brodie of Lethen, 
in the North of Scotland, a name very well known for a 
staunch adherence to their country's interest." The lady in 
her youth had been one of the little garrison at Lethen which 
stood a twelve weeks' siege by the Marquis of Huntly. 

The Hays of Lochloy and Park were ardent Covenanters, 
and the famous religious gatherings were wont to be held at 
one or other of the places belonging to them Penick, Park, 
Iiishoch, or Knockoudie. Thomas Hogg married a sister of 
Hay of Lochloy, and the marriage was celebrated at Inshoch. 
Lord Brodie, though abstaining personally from joining in the 
popular gatherings in order not to give his enemies a hold 
upon him, rejoiced in the movement, and found a warm 
seconder in his son's young wife, Lady Mary Ker, daughter 
of the Earl of Lothian, who had subscribed the Covenant on 
the eve of her marriage. Lady Mary had a great dislike to 
the clergy who had conformed, and a strong admiration for 
the men who had sacrificed their positions for conscience 
sake. Parliament might pass Acts of Parliament ordering 
every one to attend the Parish Church, but Lady Mary de- 
clined to sit under the ministrations of Mr William Falconer 
of Dyke, who had conformed, and went as often as she could 
to hear Hogg, Mackillican, and other outed ministers. It 
is not always the most conspicuous figures who do the greatest 
amount of service in such movements, and in this case a devout 
woman in humble life, but of superior intelligence and educa- 
tion, who lived at what was called the Bridge-end of Inshoch 
and supported herself by teaching sewing, was a chief agent 


in maintaining the struggle for independence in religious 
matters. Her name was Margaret Collace, and she had the 
ear of all the good ladies in the county. When Lord Brodie 
is disposed to compromise matters by going occasionally to 
the Parish Church, she reminds him that in matters of prin- 
ciple no compromise is admissable. Lilias Dunbar also takes 
an active part in connection with this movement. She was a 
ward of Sir Hugh Campbell's and had been brought up by 
Lady Duffus. Coming under the preaching of Thomas Hogg 
she was led to take a deep interest in spiritual matters. Her 
marriage with young Campbell of Torrich, who was also a 
relative of the Cawdor family, being descended from the fifth 
son of Sir John and Lady Muriel, brought them into collision 
with the civil power. They had been married by a Non- 
conformist minister an unpardonable offence in the eyes of 
the rulers of the time. If justice could be done to all those 
who suffered for the cause of religious liberty, the name of 
Alexander Dunbar, the young schoolmaster of Auldearn, 
would be placed in the forefront. He was a most zeulous 
Covenanter, and enjoyed the respect of Lord Brodie and 
others. He had been for a time tutor at Kilravock, and 
having decided to enter the ministry he took up his abode 
at "Brodie Castle, and served as chaplain there for several 
years. He was ultimately licensed, but when the dark 
days of cruel persecution came the young teacher was sent 
a prisoner to the Bass Rock. Up to this time, however, 
considerable liberty had been enjoyed, and fines and warn- 
ings were the only weapons wielded, but an event happened 
which drew down the ire of the ruling powers. Professor 
Macdonald, in his " Covenanters of Moray and Ross," thus 
describes a memorable scene " Standing at the door of the 
Free Church Manse of Auldearn and looking south, you have 


before you the steep gorse-covered side of the Hill of the Arr. 
The rugged slope is furrowed by several torrent courses. 
One of these, somewhat deeper and wider than the others, 
with a mass of gray boulder shutting it in at the lower end, 
you observe above the farm-house of Dalmore. This ravine 
is still known as Hogg's Strype. To this sheltered hollow 
Hogg retired with the congregation, which had grown too 
large for the dwelling and barns of Knockoudie. There for 
many a Sabbath, with the granite boulder as his pulpit, and 
the blue sky as his canopy, he preached the Word with 
power. This was defying the Act against Conventicles with 
a witness ; for the Act was peculiarly stringent with respect 
to meetings in the fields. But the outed minister of Kil- 
tearn determined to take a still bolder step. Why should 
the flock that gathered around him be for years denied the 
privilege of communicating with their Lord, and with one 
another, in the Sacrament of the Supper ? The Strype be- 
came the scene of one of the most solemn of those open-air 
celebrations of the Supper, once so common, but now confined 
to the Gaelic-speaking districts of the North. A considerable 
number of the devout from a wide circuit of country some 
all the way from Easter Eoss joined in the sacred ordinance. 
The occasion was marked by signal tokens of the Lord's pre- 
sence, and ' the communicants/ we are told, ' returned to their 
habitations with joy unspeakable '." 

Soon after, Thomas Hogg, M'Killican, and Thomas Urquhart 
of Essil, were apprehended and thrown into prison in Forres, 
but through influence they were liberated after a few months' 
imprisonment. Nothing daunted, they proceeded to assert 
their right to administer religious ordinances, and formed 
themselves into a Presbytery, which came to be known as 
the Field Presbytery of Moray, Young Fraser of Brea, a 

284 THE TEST. 

distinguished theologian and scholar, and Eobert Gillespie, a 
son of the leader of the Scottish Commissioners at the famous 
Westminster Assembly, received ordination at their hands 
either at Inshoch or the Park. This was an assertion of 
independence which the Church Courts could not brook, and 
the machinery of the law was set in motion to stamp out the 
ecclesiastical rebellion. Troopers were sent into the district to 
put down u conventicles," as they were called; proclamation 
was made at the market cross and kirk doors forbidding all 
persons to hold intercourse with the " rebels ;" and the Non- 
conformist ministers were ultimately hunted down. Thomas 
Hogg, James Fraser of Brea, M'Killican, and others, were 
sent to the Bass, where they were kept in confinement for 
several years. Liberated for a short time, they were again 
imprisoned some in Blackness prison, others banished the 

The Test a repudiation of the Covenant and an acknow- 
ledgment of the King as sole head of the Church was ordered 
to be rigorously enforced in Moray and Nairn. Hugh Eose, the 
minister of Nairn, who had up to this retained his benefice 
without declaring himself, was induced to sign it and undergo 
fresh induction at the hands of the Bishop of Moray. The 
minister of Auldearn, John Gumming, had the courage to 
repudiate it, though he had held office under the Bishop 
for some years, and retired from his charge. Seven of his 
fellow-ministers in the Diocese or Synod of Moray followed 
suit. The first Bishop of Moray under the new Episcopal 
regime had been Murdoch Mackenzie, who was intensely 
disliked for his tyranny. He was succeeded by a man of a 
different stamp Colin Falconer of Downduff. Colin was a 
descendant of the family of Falconer of Lethen and Hawker- 
town. When the old family took its departure from the 


district, a branch stayed on at the small property of Down- 
duff, touching Lethen lands on the banks of the Findhorn. 
Bishop Colin Falconer was of an eminently conciliatory 
disposition, but had often perforce to act an unpopular part 
in the troubles of the times. The two subsequent Bishops 
were Nairnshire men the one, strangely enough, descended 
of the strong Presbyterian family of Hay of Park, the 
other of the Eoses of Insch, a branch of the Koses of Kil- 

On the last day of the year 1680, the Nairn Town Council 
met in the Tolbooth. The business was the subscribing of 
the Test. The minute of the proceedings records that 
" The Magistrates of the said burgh having seriously taken 
to their consideration the Act of Parliament dated the last 
day of August last bypast, intituled an Act anent Eeligion 
and the Test, and also having seriously considered the oath 
and bond thereto subjoined, they solemnly did take and 
subscribe the same, and ordained the principal by them sub- 
scribed to be recorded in the Burrow Court books of the said 
burgh, arid a real and authentic extract thereof to be ex- 
tracted under the hand of the Clerk of Court, and to be 
reported to his Majesty's Privy Council betwixt and the 
first day of March next day to come, and that conforme to 
the tenor and contents of the said Act of Parliament." It is 
signed by John Kose, Provost ; J. Eose, bailie ; Hugh Eose, 
bailie ; J. Eose, bailie ; Isat Angus, bailie ; George House- 
hold, treasurer ; William Eose, clerk ; Thomas M'Phaill, 
Fiscal ; J. Eose, councillor ; William Tulloch ; Alex. Ore, 
councillor ; Hugh Wilson, councillor ; A. L. E., councillor. 

A grave crisis arose. The Government appointed a Com- 
mission consisting of the Earls of Kintore and Errol, and Sir 
George Munro, to try all persons guilty of " conventicles " and 


entertaining vagrant preachers. The Commissioners on their 
arrival at Elgin erected a gallows, and proceeded to summon 
some two hundred and fifty suspected delinquents. These 
belonged to every class of society. Lord Brodie was dead by 
this time, but his son James, now the Laird of Brodie, was 
more averse even than his father had been to " keeping his 
own parish church." He was examined before the Commis- 
sion. So was Lady Mary Ker, his wife, who confessed to 
" three years withdrawing and more," after old Brodie's death. 
The Laird of Brodie was fined 24,000 Scots. The first Laird 
of Lethen died in 1672, but his son had followed in his 
father's footsteps as regards the church. Two years before, 
Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor, as Sheriff of Nairn, was 
ordered by the Privy Council to summon him before him 
at the Court of Nairn. Sir Hugh, with characteristic kind- 
ness, went up to Lethen and took his deposition there, making 
his report as mild as he possibly could. The Commission 
now fine him for his own and his wife's misdeeds in hearing 
vagrant preachers in his own house and not keeping the kirk, 
in the sum of 40,000 Scots. His son-in-law, Ludovick Grant 
of Grant, was fined 42,000, his wife (Lethen's daughter) 
having been a chief offender in this matter. Lethen's brother, 
David Brodie of Pitgavenie, was fined 18,722, and imprisoned 
in Blackness. Another brother, James Brodie of Kinloss, 
was fined 200 merks Scots. His cousin, Francis Brodie of 
Milton, was fined 10,000, and Francis Brodie of Windiehills, 
5,000 merks. Mr Campbell of Torrich fled to the North of 
Ireland, and experienced great kindness from the Presby- 
terians there. His wife, Lilias Dunbar, stood her trial before 
the Commission and refused to promise " to keep the kirk " 
in future, and she was sentenced to be banished the country. 
John Montford, described as Chamberlain to Hay of Park, 


refusing to keep the kirk, was sentenced to be imprisoned in 
the prison of Elgin. A sepulchral monument with Latin 
inscription in the Auldearn Churchyard to John Montford, 
notary public, his wife Magdalene Matthew, and their chil- 
dren Alexander, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Margaret, and Hugh 
Montfords, probably relates to the Chamberlain of Park, who 
was thus dealt with. One John Montfod was a burgess in 
Nairn in 1715. 

The Commission's work was cut short by the intelligence 
of the King's death, and some of their sentences were never 
carried out. The fines, however, were extorted in the case of 
the Lairds of Brodie and Lethen. It brought the family of 
Lethen to the verge of ruin. Lethen was denounced rebel in 
1687, and the official receivers proceeded to lead an adjudica- 
tion of the estate. Poor Lethen died the following year, and 
was spared the humiliation of witnessing his home on the sweet 
Burnside of Lethen in the possession of strangers. He left 
no son, and his brother David of Pitgavenie succeeded to the 
estate, and after some years got the fine mitigated and the 
property relieved. Lethen's daughter Janet, who had married 
Ludovick Grant of Freuchie, became mother of Sir James 
Grant of Grant, and one of her daughters became wife of 
Simon, Lord Lovat. The late Francis William, Earl of Sea- 
field, and James, last Earl of Fife, were both great-great- 
grandsons of this Janet Brodie, Lady Grant. 

Lord Brodie's position has already been referred to. The 
" Diary " he wrote presents only the subjective side of his 
religious character. When he makes a visit to the South he 
is welcomed in the best society of the time. In 1654 he is 
presented with the freedom of the City of Glasgow. In 1661 
he went on a mission to London about his own and his neigh- 
bours' private affairs, and experienced all the bitterness and 


disappointment of a suppliant at court. He was specially 
concerned in getting the Argyle estates restored to Lord 
Lome. There he met Sharp and Leighton and had frequent 
interviews with the Earls of Lauderdale, Middleton, Glen- 
cairn, and other high officers of State. He was permitted an 
interview with King Charles II., and kissed hands, but very 
little success attended his stay at court, which extended over 
ten months. He died on 17th April, 1680. His son James 
continues the " Diary," and exhibits the same disposition and 
character as his father. He died in 1708, two days after his 
wife Lady Mary Ker, and their bodies were carried to the 
family tomb in one carriage " they were lovely and pleasant 
in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." They 
had nine daughters, but no son, and the Brodie estates went 
to George Brodie of Asliesk, who was both nephew and son- 
in-law to the deceased Laird. 

Old Bailie Tulloch of Nairn appears to have been an inter- 
esting character. He was a wealthy merchant, and the hand 
of his daughter was sought for by more than one suitor on 
the look-out for a rich wife. The chief of the Tulloch family 
in Moray was Tulloch of Tanachie, (now called Invererne), 
and with the view doubtless of the old merchant's gear help- 
ing to maintain the decaying glories of the ancient house, 
young Tanachie made a desperate effort to secure the prize. 
The old Bailie was a Covenanter, while the Tanachie Tullochs 
were on the other side in Church and State politics, and rather 
suspected of leanings to Popery. On the llth of June, 1684, 
old Tanachie and his son John, and the scapegrace Lord 
Doune, son of Lord Moray, after a bout of drinking, drove 
into Nairn during the night time and carried off the young 
lady. She was engaged, it appears, to Bishop Colin Falconer's 
son, and the Laird of Brodie says there was a great talk in the 


country about the abduction. The Tullochs of Tanachie 
were compelled to restore the lady to her father's house. On 
the hereditary Sheriff of Moray declining the Test, Lord 
Doune had been made Sheriff Principal, and he appointed 
Tulloch of Tanachie his deputy a precious pair of Sheriffs. 

The Kevolution Settlement put an end to the persecution, 
and the outed ministers who survived were restored to their 
charges. Mr Alexander Dunbar was liberated from the prison 
of the Bass, and became minister of Auldearn. Mr James 
Urquhart, went back to his flock at Kinloss. Thomas Hogg 
returned to Kiltearn. Eraser of Brea settled at Culross, 
(his only daughter and heiress marrying the Laird of 

The struggle had lasted twenty-eight years. The prin- 
ciples contended for by the Covenanters had triumphed and 
once more were embodied in the constitution of the Church 
of Scotland. The Church had regained its independence. 



THE great sand-drift which overwhelmed the estate of Culbin 
took place in the autumn of the year 1694. Previous to 
this, however, it is recorded that storms and tempests of 
unusual violence had occurred, the sea making encroachments 
on the land and carrying away houses. Great floods in the 
rivers are also mentioned. In the year 1663, Lord Brodie 
records on llth April, " I heard that Nairn was in danger to 
be quite lost by the sand and by the water." The report 
was exaggerated, but no doubt circumstances of exceptional 
severity had occurred to give rise to it. The grand bridge 
erected by Clava was injured by the flood, and was not re- 
paired until 1669. The Town Council of Nairn issued about 
this time orders forbidding any one cutting turf at the sea- 
side as a precaution against sand-drift. The order is from 
time to time renewed, showing that the sand-drift had 
become a source of trouble and alarm. The sea in its 
inroads had cut into the flat shore, stripping it of its covering 
of turf, and leaving large areas of sand exposed to the action 
of the wind. The waves had also cast up and deposited large 
quantities of sand along the margin of the beach, and the 
westerly wind catching up the sand sent it in streams over 
the arable land for some distance inland, forming in some 
places isolated hills and in other places continuous ranges of 
mounds. The great sand-drift can be traced from Ardersier 
to Nairn, and thence from the mouth of the river Nairn to 


the mouth of the Findhorn. Two immense hills of blown 
sand formed on the flat marsh land below Mavistown, and 
from these the sand spread eastward in a desolating stream. 
On reaching the cultivated land of Culbin, it over-ran the 
fields and pastures. According to tradition, the estate with 
its mansion-house, orchard, farm houses, and biggings was 
overwhelmed in one night of awful drift. The truth appears to 
be that one terrible storm completed the work of destruction 
which had been going on gradually for some years before. 
It was in the autumn of 1694 that these lands were finally 
overwhelmed. The storm came suddenly and with short 
warning. The drift, like a mighty river, came on steadily 
and ruthlessly, grasping field after field, and burying every- 
thing in a tomb of sand. Whatever obstructed its progress 
became the nucleus of a sand mound. In terrible gusts the 
wind carried the sand amongst the dwelling-houses, sparing 
neither the hut of the cottar or the mansion of the laird. 
The splendid orchard, the beautiful lawn, all shared the same 
fate. The people fled for their lives, and on returning next 
morning when the wind had subsided, nothing was visible 
but a sea of sand. Not a vestige, not a trace of their houses 
was to be seen. They lay buried under the avalanche of 

The desolating and destructive effects of the sand-drift, 
notwithstanding recent efforts made to recover portions of 
the land by planting and other means, remain visible to this 
day, and the marks of the ploughshare where the fields were 
cultivated can still be seen. The sand occupies an area of 
three thousand six hundred acres by actual measurement, 
extending four or five miles along the shore and two miles 
from the sea inland. The rental of the estate in the year 
1694, before its destruction, was 2720 Scots, 640 bolls 


wheat, 640 bolls bear, 640 bolls . oats, and 640 bolls oatmeal, 
besides salmon fishings. The estate was divided into sixteen 
.farms, apparently of uniform size. Some of the farms 
\>ore such names as Dalpottie, Laik, Sandifield, Culbin, and 
Middlebin, Earnhill, &c. An old formula in the district 
for wishing one to go to a remote region, was " Gang 
to Dalpottie !" When the estate was thus overwhelmed, 
Alexander Kinnaird was in possession. His grandfather, 
Walter Kinnaird, received a charter from Charles I. in 1642, 
and Thomas, his father, was served heir in 1677. The family 
had been all along of good standing. Thomas Kinnaird was 
married to 4nna Eose, widow of Hugh Eose of Kilravock. 
She was a sister of Lord Forbes, and had been brought up 
with her father in Germany, he having been an officer 
in the Swedish Army. Alexander Kinnaird applied to the 
Scottish Parliament to be relieved of the payment of cess or 
.land tax, setting forth " that the best three parts of his estate 
of Culbin, by an inevitable fatality, was quite ruined and 
destroyed, occasioned by vast heaps of sand (which had over- 
blown the same) so that there was not a vestige to be seen of 
the manor place of Culbin, yards, orchards, and mains thereof, 
and which within these twenty years were as considerable as 
many in the county of Moray," and the small remainder 
which yet remained uncovered was exposed to the like hazard 
and the sand daily gaining ground thereon, where through he 
was like to run the hazard of losing the whole. Kinnaird 
pleads exemption on the ground that such an occurrence had 
no parallel in Scotland. All the Government appears to have 
done was to pass an Act with special reference to the circum- 
stances which had occurred prohibiting the pulling or cutting 
of bent grass, to which cause the Act assigns the sand-drift. 
The family had been in embarrassed circumstances previous 


to the loss of their lands, and James, Laird of Brodie, who, 
however, was engaged in a lawsuit with them, gives a very 
bad account of their goings on. The people of the district 
regarded so singular an occurrence as a judgment. The place 
was sold to the Duffs and afterwards was acquired by the 
Grants, and now belongs to Grant of Glenm orris ton. The 
last Kinnaird, with the few hundred pounds he got from the 
sale, embarked in the Darien Expedition, and perished among 
the adventurers on the Isthmus. His widow lived to an 
advanced age, and her son by Kinnaird, through the good 
offices of a kinsman of Kilravock, got a commission in the 
Army, rose to the rank of Major and died unmarried, the old 
family thus coming to an end with the destruction of their 

Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor was one of the notable men 
of the period in which he lived. He set himself to redeem 
the diminished fortunes of the house of Cawdor, and by 
great prudence, sagacity, and energy he succeeded in a great 
measure in spite of the drain of that costly acquisition Isla. 
Sir Hugh loved his home at Cawdor, and spent money freely 
in making additions to the Castle and in planting and laying 
out the grounds. The Cawdor Castle of the present day, 
with only some trifling changes, is the Castle as it came from 
Sir Hugh's hands. He liked to hear the sound of the mason's 
hammer and see the foresters at work. He took the farm of 
Auchindoune into his own hands, and with the assistance of 
his neighbours and tenants, had it ploughed and sown every 
rig of it for the first time. He added considerably to the 
estate. He purchased Meikle Urchany and Lynemore from 
the Hays ; Moyness and Crachies from James Grant of 
Moyness; and re-acquired Fleenasmore from the Campbells 
of Moy. Blackhills, Leylands, and Boghole also came into 


the titles of Cawdor in Sir Hugh's time, although a good 
many wadsets still remained unredeemed over these and 
other portions of the estate. Lady Henrietta Stuart, his 
wife, procured from the looms of Arras tapestry for her 
ladyship's state-bedroom with Scriptural scenes, namely, 
events in the life of Noah, Abraham and the Cities of the 
Plain, the passage of the Eed Sea, at a cost (including 
freight from Flanders to Leith and thence to Findhorn) of 
483 7s 6d. The tapestry still remains in the state-bedroom. 

Sir Hugh was a strict Presbyterian, and held strong views 
in favour of the repetition of the Lord's Prayer in the services 
of the Church. He wrote a book on the subject, and entered 
into a warm controversy with the learned divines of the time. 
On being taunted with lukewarmness, Sir Hugh was able to 
say " Since ever I came to the age of a man, I made it my 
business to do every honest minister of the Gospel all the 
good offices and service that was in my power, as I could 
find occasion ; and God honoured me so much that I relieved 
many honest ministers out of prison, kept more from trouble, 
and to be an instrument to save the lives of several who were 
pious, eminently pious and knowing beyond many of their 
brethren, such as Mr William Guthrie, Mr William Veitch, 
and several others ; and I can say I spared neither my pains 
nor what credit I had with any who governed the State, nor 
my fortune nor my purse. I ventured these and my office and 
life too, to save honest people, who walked according to their 
light without flying to extremities and taking arms against 
the King and Government ; so that all the time from 1662 
to the late Kevolution there was not one man paid a fine in 
the shire of Nairn except two or three." 

Sir Hugh had also a project for establishing a system of 
free education. " I hope you will not discourage me and the 


people," (he wrote to a member of Presbytery), " from the 
great and good design I have still of settling eight or ten 
schools, which shall be so placed that all the poor people in 
the parish shall have their children taught to read the Bible 
without the least expense, and even the tenants have their 
children taught for very little. I have three of the schools 
set up already, and will settle the rest as soon as I can get 
masters or mistresses to teach them." 

Sir Hugh was much troubled by the depredations of the 
Highland rievers. Writing to the Laird of Park who was at 
Edinburgh in June, 1691, Sir Hugh gives a lively picture of 
the times in Nairnshire. He had been at Inshoch, tending a 
daughter of Park's who had been taken seriously ill with sore 
throat, and he continues " Just upon the back of this there 
came two or three parties of Hielanders, one of them carried 
away a great many cattle out of Aitnoch, and carried away 
above ane hundred head of cattle. The party was strong, 
betwixt fifty and three score. The people were secure and 
without fear, hearing there was four and five hundred of them 
in Ross whom Sir James Leslie and Balnagown were pursuing ; 
in short, they were surprised and the cattle were carried into 
Lochaber. The next party fell upon my lands in the muir 
and braes of Altherg, when I was at Inshoch and carried such 
cattle as they found right away about thirty head and four 
piece of horse. The third party fell upon my lands of Boath, 
but then I was at home, and sent my son Archie and the 
lightest lads I had after them. They were overtaken in the 
braes of Stratherrick and brought back. One of their boys 
was likewise caught and brought prisoner. And just as this 
letter is a-writing I have advertisement from several friends 
of the brae of Strathnairn that there is a party of five or six 
score Lochaber men passed by them, who is like may make 


an onset this night somewhere in our braes. If we knew 
where, we would endeavour to buckle a touch with them. 
However, I am just about convening the county, and will do 
what we can to find them out." His neighbour Kilravock 
bought off the reivers by paying blackmail. 

According to the traditionary stories of the district, Sir 
Hugh had a notorious cattle reiver among his own tenants- 
one Callum Beg. Sir Walter Scott in his novel of Waverley 
introduces " Callum Beg" as the page of Fergus M'lvor, but 
the Nairnshire Callum Beg was a totally different sort of 
character. He dwelt in a remote part of Nairnshire known 
as the Streens, on the north bank of the Findhorn. Callum 
Beg's house was situated a few hundred yards above the 
present suspension bridge at Banchor. The spot is very wild 
and rugged, and, when the river is in flood, the noise of the 
rushing water sounds like thunder. Such was the scene in 
which the dauntless spirit of Callum Beg was nursed, and it 
was here that he devised his deeds of robbery, which made 
his name the terror of the district. From his upland retreat 
he made periodical descents on the lowlands, uplifting the 
very pick of the cattle. There appears to have been some 
kind of fascination in the character of the bold robber. He 
was a giant in strength, and could carry a weight of booty 
slung over his shoulders which would crush any ordinary 
man. His immediate neighbours always spoke of him as that 
" honest man Callum Beg !" Perhaps in their case it may be 
accounted for by the fact Callum never " killed a beast " but 
he shared it with his friends. He was a great favourite of 
the Laird of Cawdor who got him out of many a scrape. As 
a retainer, he attended his lordship on his hunting expedi- 
tions on the moors, and enjoyed his closest friendship. The 
Laird was greatly annoyed a day or two before setting out 


for a week's stay at the Streens at the loss of the prime 
bullock of his; herd at Cawdor Castle. It had been stolen 
Over-night, and the thief had not been discovered. Each day 
as the Laird sat down to lunch with Callum he began to 
lament the loss of the "fine mert" that -had been stolen. At 
last Callum could stand it no longer. " Laird !" said Callum, 
" ye need na mak' sae much din about it, for ye have had 
your ain share of the beaste !" Callum had been dining the 
Laird off his stolen bullock. 

Callum came down to pay his rent one day, and the Laird 
said that as the night was so stormy, he had better remain 
and share the bed with the grieve. During the night Callum 
got up, selected a nice fat mert, drove the beast across the 
hills to Banchor, and was back again before the grieve awoke. 
Next day there was a great noise about the beast that had 
been stolen, but the grieve would not allow any one to hint 
a suspicion that it had been taken by "that honest man 
Callum Beg !" 

Callum Beg often turned up at the cattle markets, and was 
regarded with a suspicious eye. One day he went to Torres 
market and spied a nice little cow. He could easily " lift " 
the cow, but; owing to a marked peculiarity, he was afraid of 
detection. The : cow in fact wanted the tail. Callum, how- 
ever, was equal to the occasion. Next morning in broad 
daylight, he was seen driving a cow from Torres towards 
Nairn. At the Findhorn Bridge he was met by the owner of 
the lost cow. ." That's my beast !" exclaimed the man. "Had 
your beast a tail like that ?" asked Callum. The poor man 
had to admit that his little cow was minus a tail. So Callum 
drove off in triumph. He had cut off the tail of another 
animal during the night, and had it fastened on to the 
crofter's eow/ ; 


The story is told how Callum was one day brought before 
the Laird, having been caught with stolen property in his 
possession, namely, a good fat sheep. Having a kindness for 
Callum, notwithstanding his evil doings, the Laird did nob 
know well how to act. At length he ordered the culprit and 
the sheep to be put into the " donjon keep " of the castle, at 
the same time giving directions that the people who lodged 
the complaint should be amply regaled with bread and ale. 
While the latter were indulging in this repast, the Laird slipt 
out and inquired of Callum if he had a good knife. Being 
answered in the affirmative " then," said he, " I shall send 
you customers for your wedder." Callum took the hint and 
killed the sheep. He cut it into small morsels, and threw 
the whole out of an aperture in the dungeon, constructed 
rather for air than for light, at the outside of which there 
was a pack of hounds, by whom the sheep was speedily 
devoured. Time having been allowed for the accomplish- 
ment of this feat, the Laird took his chair of state, and 
summoned that " obdurate thief," Callum Beg, into his 
presence, together with the stolen property and the wit- 
nesses. The door of the cell was forthwith opened and 
Callum brought out, but not a vestige of the sheep could be 
found. Upon this hint the justice spake, charging the wit- 
nesses with conspiring against that honest man Callum Beg, 
and accordingly set the prisoner free. 

Callum, however, was not always so fortunate. On one 
occasion he fell into the hands of the Laird of Kilravock, and 
was committed to durance vile. His natural chief, the Thane 
of Cawdor, hearing of the jeopardy in which Callum was 
placed, repaired to the mansion of his friend on the first day 
of the new year, and seated himself on the great stair in front 
of the castle. The usual greetings having passed, the Laird 


of Cawdor was invited into the house ; but he replied that he 
had a new-year's gift to ask, and unless it were granted he 
would not enter the house, or partake of his neighbour's 
hospitality. " I shall grant you every favour in my power," 
replied Kilravock, " but the life of Callum Beg." " That," 
rejoined the other, " is the very request I came to make, and, 
being denied, it is unnecessary for me to stay." The Laird 
accordingly departed, and Callum Beg was hanged. Some 
years ago, a skeleton was dug up in the district with a rope 
round its neck, which the country people identified as the 
body of Callum Beg. 

Sir Hugh Campbell took a keen interest in public affairs, 
and in 1705, when the question of the Union of the two 
Kingdoms of Scotland and England was being discussed, Sir 
Hugh in a letter to Hugh Eose of Kilravock, who represented 
the County of Nairn in the Scottish Parliament, expressed 
his strong disapproval of the proposed incorporating Union. 
" I received," he writes, " a packet of prints for which I 
thank you. According as you desired, I have called for all 
the freeholders in the shire that they might advise you in 
the matter of the Union. I told you my thoughts of it 
before you went South, in short, all of us are of the same 
mind, and although we be very desirous to live in love 
and friendship with the rich and wise and good people of 
England, yet we desire not to be incorporated into one king- 
dom with them, since we are sensible that cannot be without 
loss of honour and interest. We have had the honour of 
being a kingdom and a free people governed by our own laws 
for more than two thousand years. We have had a hundred 
and eleven kings before our present gracious Queen, whom 
God long preserve, an honour which few kingdoms in Christen- 
dom can pretend to, and for point of interest its evident and 


capable of a full demonstration, that poverty and being under- 
valued by all nations in the world, even by the English them- 
selves, would be a consequence of an incorporated union, but 
a federal union and free trade would certainly be an advan- 
tage, and it's a wonder that a free trade was not established 
betwixt them when we came first to be under the same king." 
He adds " I shall not enlarge, only assure you that I know 
not a man in this or Inverness-shire who is for the incor- 
porate union, and if any had been at the pains you might 
have got an address against it subscribed by every man that 
can write his name." 

The Laird of Kilravock was of the same mind as his 
correspondent, and was one of the eighty-two members who 
voted against incorporating the two kingdoms into one. He 
joined the party favourable to a federal union. In taking 
this stand, however, he had no sympathy with the Jacobites 
who wished to bring back the Stuart dynasty to the Throne. 
When the Union was concluded Kilravock was named by the 
Parliament one of the Commissioners to represent Scotland 
in the first Parliament of Great Britain. 

Sir Hugh Campbell was still alive when the Jacobite 
Kising of 1715 occurred. His eldest son, Sir Alexander, 
had married Elizabeth Lort, the heiress of Stackpole Court, 
Pembrokeshire, and thus formed the first connection of 
the Campbells of Cawdor with Wales. Sir Alexander 
predeceased his father, and his eldest son Gilbert dying 
young, the second son, John, became heir. The old Laird 
appears to have entertained a strong affection for another 
grandson Duncan Campbell, son of Sir Archibald of Clunas. 
This Duncan Campbell mixed a good deal in Jacobite society, 
and came fresh from a visit he had paid to the Earl of 
Breadalbane to see his grandfather Sir Hugh at Cawdor. 


Lord Breadalbane, representing a younger branch of the 
Campbells, contrary to the traditions of the family separated 
himself from his chief, the Earl of Argyle, who, as of yore, 
adhered to the Protestant succession. The old Thane of 
Cawdor received overtures to join in the proposed Rebellion, 
and acceded. The Earl of Mar issued a proclamation to the 
effect that " our rightful and natural King James the VIII., 
by the grace of God (who is now coming to relieve us of our 
oppression) having been pleased to instrust me with the 
direction of his affairs and the command of his forces in this 
his ancient Kingdom, therefore let all his faithful and loving 
subjects and lovers of their country, with all possible speed 
put themselves into arms." He wrote to the Laird of Calder 
as a sympathiser, requesting him in His Majesty's name to 
raise his men, friends, and following with their best arms, 
and to order his grandchild Duncan Campbell, younger of 
Clunas, to march his men in the shires of Inverness, Moray, 
and Nairn, to join the Mackenzies and Macphersons and the 
King's forces, who are ordered to march through Perthshire 
towards Stirling. 

Sir Hugh entertained the design, and granted the following 
mandate to his loving grandchild, Duncan Campbell, younger 
of Clunas " Since I am not able to take the field myself, 
these are therefore empowering you to do everything which I 
might do myself, and that with all possible expedition." Four 
days later, (September 23), he renewed his commands to the 
young man, and authorised him to draw out his whole follow- 
ing in his north country estate, with their best clothes and 
arms, and three days' provisions, in order to be in readiness 
to march with all expedition to the King's standard, and if 
possible to encamp at Auldearn the following night. There 
seems to be little doubt but that the Cawdor tenants, with 


Duncan of Clunas at their head, joined the " Standard on the 
Braes of Mar." Old Sir Hugh's conduct in this matter is 
inexplicable. His son, Sir Archibald of Clunas, was a strong 
supporter of the House of Hanover, and all the Laird's former 
principles and actions would have rendered any suspicion of 
disloyalty on his part improbable. Perhaps his feeling against 
the Union of the two Kingdoms and the influence of his 
favourite grandson may have perverted his judgment. 

Another Nairnshire laird, Hugh Eose of Clava, was also 
induced to join the Kising. His connection by marriage with 
Earl Marischal accounts for his action. The Eoses of Clava 
had considerable means, but no great following. Clava's 
joining the Jacobite party must have been a sudden resolve, 
as on 14th February of the same year he was appointed the 
delegate of the Nairn Town Council to vote at Fortrose for a 
Member of Parliament to represent the Inverness Burghs, 
and only a supposed loyalist would have been chosen. 

A letter preserved amongst the State Papers from " A 
Gentleman in Moray " (who does not give his name) to Capt. 
John Brodie at Edinburgh, gives the following account of the 
state of the district : " Sir, Knowing that you are a friend 
of Brodie's and that he cannot write himself, being defending 
his own house, I must acquaint you in the first place my 
Lord Huntly sent him a civil letter demanding his horse and 
arms, and that the Lairds of Alter and Tannachy Tulloch 
would give receipt therefore to return the same within six 
months, or the highest value for them in case they were not 
returned within the six months. But in case of his refusal, 
under the highest threats of military execution, as that of 
battering down his house, razeing his tenents, burning their 
cornes, and killing their persons. Brodie returned ane very 
civil answer, that he had no arms but those were necessary 


for preserving his family in such a time of confusion, and 
horses only sufficient for himself and servants, and therefore 
begged to be excused. Upon which he got a second letter 
from my Lord Huntly, assuring him of protection to himself, 
family, and tenents provided he would comply with his first 
demands of surrendering his horses, arms and ammunition, 
which occasioned Brodie to return ane other answer to his 
Lordship, importing that he had already laid his account 
with the worst, and therefore resolved rather to suffer in so 
good a cause than to be ane abettor or ane assister any 
manner of way to the rebels, whereupon Huntly searched all 
the country over for cannon, but found none but those of two 
pounders, or three at most, and for want of big cannon, not- 
withstanding that his Lordship had gathered all the cannon 
ball he found in the country, and of his having received a 
a sudden message from the Earl of Mar to join him, he gave 
over the project. Notwithstanding likewise that they had 
ane engineer who had viewed the house, his Lordship used all 
the stratagems imaginable to bring Brodie to a complyance 
by sending the good lairds of Dunbar of Grange, Dipple, 
Tannachy and Altyre to converse with him, thinking to 
frighten him into his Lo'p. measures by reason of his youth. 
He admitted all of them to commune with him but Alter, and 
notwithstanding of all their amusing stories and threats he 
stood firm and still does to his great applause in this country* 
Tho', on the other hand, to their disgrace, most of the gentle- 
men in Moray have surrendered their horse and arms such 
as the Lairds of Innes, Dunbar of Thunderton, Pitgavenie, 
and Mackintosh of Blervy, and many more. But the garri- 
soned houses, such as Culloden, Kilraick, and Brodie give 
out that they'll defend them to the utmost of their power. 
Huntly is gone with all his vassals and followers which are a 


great many to join Mar, and his retinue of gentlemen from 
this country are Sir Eobert Gordon, Cluny, his Curator, 
Alter, Sir Thomas Calder, Tannachy, Innes, and Dunkirdy, 
and with a troup of horse from Elgin, and this besyd many 
less conspicuous people." The plucky young Laird of Brodie 
was James, son of George Brodie of Asliesk, and was served 
heir to his father in the Brodie estate only a few months 
before this occurrence. He afterwards sat in Parliament for 
the County of Elgin. 

At the outset of the troubles in 1715, the Baron of Kil- 
ravock took care to have his Castle of Kilravock well 
fortified. Bands of Highlanders were roving up and down 
the country, burning houses and pillaging right and left. 
They knew better than to attack the castle, but as Kilravock 
had a " town house " in Nairn, there was some apprehension 
lest the Highlanders should seek revenge on him by attacking 
and burning the town of Nairn. Kilravock the younger was 
Provost of Nairn at the time, and the magistrates and bur- 
gesses, like their Provost, were loyal to the House of Hanover, 
and hostile to the Stuarts. As early as 26th August of 
the previous year (1714) there was a meeting of the Town 
Council, when a letter was presented from the Lords of 
Justiciary and Exchequer, conveying the intelligence of 
the serious illness of Queen Anne and an order from the 
Privy Council requiring the authorities to look to the 
defences of the place and prevent any disturbance of the 
public peace within their jurisdiction. In obedience to this 
command, a night-guard of selected burgesses was formed, 
and a council of war established to see to the arms and 
ammunition being in readiness. One of the magistrates at 
the time was James Falconar of Blackhills, and in the absence 
of the chief magistrate on affairs of state, the duties of local 


leader were undertaken by him, and he proved equal to the 

In the early part of the year 1715 there is a good deal of 
political excitement, and as summer advances the state of the 
country becomes once more alarming. On 2nd August the 
Magistrates ordain by tuck of drum a muster of the whole 
inhabitants in order to know the strength of the place and 
how they are armed. Arthur Rose, (a son of the Lady of 
Culbin by her first husband), who had been a foreign trader 
and had just got back from servitude amongst the Turks a 
hero of strange adventures is there in his Turkish dress, 
stimulating the martial ardour of the townsmen. The old 
list of captains of the guard is revised, and the night-watch 
of twenty is once more set, each captain being responsible for 
his twenty men. Every " armedless " burgess (to quote the 
curious expression of the records) is to be fined 5. It 
appears there is a scarcity of powder and lead, and a com- 
mittee is authorised to " search arid secure " all the ammuni- 
tion in the Burgh and to divide it amongst the respective 
Captains of Companies. 

On 12th September, news reaches Nairn of the Rising and 
of the town of Inverness, with its two garrisons, being in 
the hands of the rebels. " There being fears that this place," 
(that is, Nairn,) " may be assaulted," (so runs the official 
records of the day) " the Council appoint the guard to be 
punctually kept by all the respective captains under the 
highest peril, and one of the guards to be despatched express 
to Kilravock for further intelligence, and to learn if those 
Highlanders be like to come further east !" Such is the 
quaint entry in the Council's records. 

If the " guardsman" from the town of Nairn happened to 
be at Kilravock on a certain morning about that time, he 


would have seen a strange trio arriving. There was much 
company at Kilravock. The Castle and town of Inverness 
it was too true were in the hands of the Highlanders, and 
Mackenzie of Coul, with his clansmen, held the Castle for 
the Prince. The Stuart flag floated from the bartizan of the 
Tolbooth, and the great body of the inhabitants had declared 
for the Stuarts. The leading Loyalists in the country had 
assembled at Kilravock to concert measures, when the strange 
trio referred to presented themselves at the Castle door. The 
one was recognised as Duncan Forbes of Culloden, the Lord 
Advocate, a welcome guest ; but who were the two others ? 
Simon, Lord Lovat, was one, and his erratic kinsman Major 
Eraser " Major Cracks," he was afterwards nicknamed by 
old Lovat was the other. The two worthies had just come 
from France Lovat disguised as the Major's servant. 

At Leith they had foregathered with Duncan Forbes of 
Culloden, and taking passage in a small boat, were landed at 
Fraserburgh. An out-of-the-way place surely, but they were 
not an hour at the inn when they were nearly detected by 
Lord Saltoun. Lovat in his young days had all but hanged 
Lord Saltoun's father he had erected the gallows for the pur- 
pose and had now no wish to meet his son. The Major, how- 
ever, was equal to the occasion. While Lovat kept to his room 
above, the Major met Lord Saltoun in the inn parlour below 
told him they were Highland drovers returning from the 
Southern markets drank no end of drams with Saltoun 
and in the end, on the faith of the Major's lies and the 
influence of the much whisky, Saltoun provided horses for 
them to carry them the rest of the journey. 

And here they are on Saltoun's Portsoy nags at Kilravock. 
The queerest of mortals, Major Fraser was devoted to Lovat, 
and his object in bringing him home was to set him up as 


Chief of the Erasers, and to lead them to join the standard, 
not of the Prince but of the King. Lovat was really a 
Catholic and a Jacobite, but he fell in with the Major's plan 
to take the Protestant and Hanoverian side, as it promised 
to turn out for his immediate advantage. It must have been 
a merry party, but Major Fraser had other work still to do. 
Kilravock told Lovat that some 300 of the Frasers in Strath- 
errick were waiting for the word of their Chief to come down 
to join them. On hearing this, the Major started off that 
same night and a wild night it was and by daylight he 
was addressing his clansmen. " But," asked the Frasers, 
" has the Government given Lord Lovat a pardon ?" " To be 
sure," said the Major, telling a downright falsehood, " and has 
promised him his estates if you join him." Whereupon 
stoups of whisky went round to the King's health who had 
given their Chief peace. Next day they went to Culloden, 
met Kilravock and his 400 men, Culloden with his 200, and 
the others, numbering 1300 men. And they then marched 
upon Inverness. 

A plan of operations was settled. It was agreed to blockade 
the town and force the garrison to surrender by starving it, 
to avoid needless bloodshed. The Frasers invested the town 
on the north side ; Kilravock, Culloden, and the Grants on 
the east and south sides. 

This leisurely proceeding did not suit two parties con- 
cerned. Major Fraser whispered to Lovat " Now is your 
chance to distinguish yourself, be the first to attack, and you 
will gain credit with the Government and dispel their sus- 
picions." Lovat saw the advantage, left his position and 
closed in upon Inverness with his troops. The consequence 
was that the garrison betook themselves to the Tolbooth. 

Arthur Rose was equally impatient. He proposed to seize 


the garrison now in the Tolbooth by stratagem. He got 
Eose of Blackhills, now in command of a detachment of the 
Eoses, to give him a party to enter the town during the 
darkness of night and seize the Tolbooth. The contemporary 
history states that his guide led him all right until the top 
of the lower staircase was reached. He then called to the 
guard to open the door, which they did, and the guide entered 
followed by Arthur Eose, with his sword and pistol. Just as 
Arthur was entering, the treacherous guide shouted, " He is 
an enemy ! an enemy !" Balls whizzed through the passage, 
Arthur fell back, shot through the body, and the iron door 
was closed upon him, crushing him against the stone wall. 
He was carried down by his friends to a house in the town 
where he died in a few hours. Kilravock's anger was now 
roused to the highest pitch at this tragic end of his favourite 
brother, and he sent a message to the Governor that unless 
he surrendered both garrisons within an hour, he would 
reduce the town to ashes and take the Governor dead or 
alive. The Governor, Sir John Mackenzie, (who was married 
to an aunt of Kilravock's), begged for mercy, surrendered the 
place, and he and his clansmen slunk down to the quay and 
embarked in boats for the Eoss-shire side of the Firth. Poor 
Arthur Eose, who met with so untimely an end, had had. a 
most adventurous career. The family historian relates that 
in a voyage to the Levant, Arthur was taken by Algerine 
pirates. " He was kept for some time prisoner in Algiers, 
but upon notice given to the British Consul at Grand Cairo 
in Egypt, he purchased him from these barbarians, and kept 
him in his own company till he was ransomed in the year 
1714." A portrait of him in his Turkish dress is preserved at 
Kilravock. Arthur is described as a brave resolute man, 
without fear of danger. 


The abortive Kebellion was crushed at Sheriffmuir on the 
same day as the town of Inverness was taken. A brother of 
Arthur Eose's, Colonel Alexander Eose, who had served 
under the Duke of Marlborough, distinguished himself on the 
Hanoverian side at Sheriffmuir, while two cousins, the one 
the son of Archbishop Eose of St. Andrews, and the other of 
Bishop Eose of Edinburgh, were taken prisoners on the other 

The day of reckoning with those who had taken up arms 
against King George speedily arrived. Duncan Campbell 
of Clunas was banished the country, and for several years 
remained in Paris. He had a brother Hugh there prosecut- 
ing his studies, who was a Jacobite. Major Eraser in his 
search for Lovat had met him, and received much kindness 
from him. Hugh Eose of Clava surrendered to the Justices 
of the Peace at Nairn, and through the influence of his 
kinsman Kilravock, was pardoned. Sir Hugh of Calder 
would certainly have suffered in his estate, if not in his 
person, for the part he had taken, but he was prostrated 
by illness and died on Sunday, llth March, of the following 
year. He had reached the age of seventy-seven years. One 
of his last acts was to write a touching letter to his grandson 
John, his heir, urging him to use all his endeavours, sparing 
no pains or money, to prevent Mackintosh of Kyllachie, a 
neighbour, being sent to prison for taking part in the Eising, 
for a close imprisonment, he says, will certainly destroy him 
considering the circumstances of his age and health. Sir 
Hugh appears to have regretted the Eising, for he speaks of 
Kyllachy having been prevailed upon by " his children and 
other worse counsellors to go with a number of his kindred 
where he went." 

The obsequies of Sir Hugh Campbell were observed with 


great state. It was a typical Highland funeral. All the great 
men in the north attended. From Sunday, the llth March, 
till Thursday, the 29th, the body lay in state, and open house 
was kept at Cawdor Castle. The body was placed in two 
coffins the coffins costing 110 13s 4d. Eefreshments 
were ordered on a large scale. Bailie John Finlay, Torres, 
supplied brandy to the amount of 40; Bailie John Koy 
in Forres, supplied claret to the value of 25 4s. A still 
larger account was incurred to James Cuthbert, merchant. 
It included " 22 pints of brandy at 48s per pint," 6 dozen 
pipes and 3 Ibs. cut tobacco, currants, raisins, cinnamon, and 
other spices, which, with a few etceteras, amounted to 
407 8s 4d. To make sure that there would be enough 
liquor, a quantity of claret was ordered from Bailie Cattan- 
ach of Aberdeen, costing 82 6s, and a local merchant, John 
Fraser in Clunas, supplied " waters " to the value of 35 
probably smuggled whisky. Besides the Clunas waters, home- 
brewed ale of sixteen bolls and a half of bere were consumed 
between the date of death and interment. The feast was on 
a scale corresponding with the drink. A cow, an ox, five 
kids, two wedders, eggs, geese, ducks, turkeys, pigs, and moor- 
fowl, costing 55 15s, were consumed. Five bolls of flour 
were used, and the baker and cook who dressed the meat for 
the entertainment got between them 39 12s. The hearse 
was magnificently furnished. A painter in Forres, William 
Ker, furnished two escutcheons, which must have been of an 
elaborate character, as they cost 100 each. The hearse had 
eight branches and there were four mortheads. The horses 
were decorated with little escutcheons and thanes, and two 
dozen knops, coloured and gilded, were used. The under- 
taker's account alone came to about 400. The minister of 
Calder, Mr John Calder, got a new set of mournings for the 


occasion, costing within a trifle of 30. The domestic chap- 
lain was content with 20 for mournings. The sum total of 
the expenses of this great funeral was 1647 16s 4d. 

The cortege had but a short distance to go. In former 
times, the family buried at the ancient church of Barevan, 
but a new departure was made in this respect, and the 
remains of the worthy old Laird were interred at the Church 
of Cawdor. The spectacle must have been a most imposing 
one. All the gentlemen of quality came on horseback, and 
they vied with each other in the splendour of their mounts. 
Simon, Lord Lovat, and his henchman Major Fraser were 
there, carrying it grandly amongst their compeers no finer 
horses were to be seen there than those upon which the Chief 
of the Frasers and his leading clansmen rode. Their horses 
were vastly admired, especially a handsome bay mare, until 
someone whispered that they had not been come by honestly. 
It turned out that the horses some nine in number had 
actually been stolen from the stables of Sir Archibald Dunbar 
of Thunderton a few weeks before by the Frasers. A law- 
suit followed. Three of the horses were returned, but the 
decreet for the remaining six was unpaid when old Simon's 
estates were forfeited. Lord Lovat, however, meanwhile 
treated such matters loftily, and appears shortly after as a 
fortunate bridegroom, marrying a daughter of the Laird of 
Grant, with the approval of the Earl of Argyle and Lord 
Lorn the lady being a daughter of Grant by his wife Janet 
Brodie of Lethen. She had been brought up in the strictest 
school of Puritanism, and was now transferred to the some- 
what peculiar atmosphere of Castle Downie. 



ALTHOUGH the rebels in the Rising of 1715 did not attack 
Nairn, as its magistrates feared, the town suffered a consider- 
able loss, not by the Jacobites but by the Royalists. The 
Tolbooth or town-house, which was also the prison, was burnt 
in the year 1716 " by His Majesty's forces when they kept 
guard." The Tolbooth does not appear to have been at any 
time a very formidable structure. About the year 1667 it 
was badly in need of repair, and the Town Council despatched 
some of the magistrates to bring timber from Rothiemurchus 
for its reconstruction. It must have been a mere patch up 
it got, for in 1670, a poor Covenanting preacher, Thomas 
Ross, presented a petition to the Privy Council representing 
that the Tolbooth of the Burgh of Nairn was very insufficient, 
and not able, from want of roof and repairing, to shelter him 
from the rain and storm, and his life was in hazard. The 
Privy Council must have known that his report was true, 
as they ordered his removal from the prison of Nairn to 
that of Tain. It was probably this old prison the D unbars of 
Tarbet and Dunphail broke open, and liberated therefrom a 
kinsman of theirs who had been imprisoned for smuggling. 
The escapade cost them dearly, for the fine imposed upon old 
Dunbar compelled his son some years later to sell off his 
little property to discharge the burden. From various refer- 
ences to the Tolbooth in the Burgh Records, it appears to 
have had an outside stair leading to the council chamber and 


the prison. The basement was used for merchandise, and a 
little booth was constructed under the staircase. The Tol- 
booth had a steeple, which was furnished with two bells, and 
in the year 1707 the magistrates parted with one of the bells 
to the Parish Kirk, which had none. The bell they retained 
was encircled near the top by the following inscription " Di 
Deus nobis quis contra nos. 1699." It survived the hand of 
time down to comparatively recent years, and is described in 
1843 as being a beautifully cast bell, of silvery tones, and 
ornamented with flower wreaths and other embellishments. 
It was sold about that time, along with another and larger 
bell, bearing the date 1769, to Messrs Bartlett of Birmingham, 
when a new bell was purchased. The rebuilding of the Tol- 
booth was too much for the finances of the Burgh. Ten 
years after, it is recorded that " the place is altogether use- 
less." Application was made to the Privy Council for aid, 
but no assistance was given. An appeal was addressed to 
the Synod of Moray, and a collection for it and the bridge, 
which was also in disrepair, was recommended to be made in 
all the churches within the bounds, but a sum of 34 was 
all that was received from that source. One Highland 
Kirk Session that of Alvie voted "saxpence" for the 
bridge ! Duncan Forbes, the Lord Advocate, who represented 
the Inverness Burghs, gave a contribution of thirty guineas 
towards the object. In the year 1715, the Council in for- 
warding a commission to the Provost (who was in Edinburgh) 
to represent the Burgh at the Convention of Burghs, sent 
him instructions to procure a committee of the Burghs " to 
make cognition of the state of the Burgh and to see if there 
can be any contribution had for repairing and perfecting the 
Tolbooth, or if any assistance can be had for contributing to 
our harbour !" Some small contribution appears to have 


been given, but it was some twenty years after this before 
the town was in a position to partially rebuild the edifice. 

The imperial land tax, known as Stent, pressed very heavily 
on the smaller burghs. It had to be collected monthly, and 
if the town got into arrears of payment, which Nairn unfor- 
tunately often did, troops were quartered upon the inhabi- 
tants until it was paid. In the year of the Jacobite Eising 
there were troops thus quartered on the place. Stentmasters 
were regularly appointed to collect it, but the tax was badly 
paid. In addition, the Burgh had to pay eque and missive 
dues to the Convention of Burghs, and defray the expense of 
a Commissioner to Edinburgh. 

It 1659, William Murray, late bailie, was appointed Com- 
missioner to the Convention of Burghs summoned by General 
Monk, and was offered " for his expenses for himself and his 
ain horse twa merks and halfe in the day." The Bailie, how- 
ever, " absolutely refusing to go," was fined twenty merks in 
terms of the Acts " anent any member that should refuse to 
goe any journey, after writing past." In the following year, 
Robert Baine, burgess, was appointed Commissioner to attend 
at Edinburgh on 2nd July, " his horse being hyred to him for 
20 merks Scots, and for his ain expenses he is to have 24s 
Scots every day during his absence." In November of the 
same year, Rose of Broadley was sent to Edinburgh to attend 
the Convention, and was allowed 14s per day for himself, his 
horse, and his servant each, the allowance being increased on 
account of its being the winter season. A few years later, 
the allowance mentioned is a crown per day. 

The earliest " Cite Roll of the Burrow Roodes within the 
Burghe of Nairne" occurs on the fly-leaf of the Council's 
oldest minute book extant, which begins 16th November, 
1657. The roll is not dated, but it appears to have been 


drawn up in that year or the beginning of the following 
year. The entries (except one or two which were added) are in 
the handwriting of William Man, who was Town Clerk at the 
time, and received instructions to prepare the roll. It shows 
that the total number of roods within the Burgh was 309 J, 
of which 107 belonged to Eose of Clava, and 80 to Rose of 

When the Rev. Hugh Rose was ordained assistant and 
successor to the Rev. David Dunbar in the year 1659, it was 
found necessary to rebuild the manse, and the extent of land 
belonging to the Burgh of Nairn liable for the assessment is 
stated to be " twelve ploughs " a ploughgate of land being 
104 acres. 

In 1712 the Convention of Burghs insisted upon the Town 
Council making up a proper Valuation, and the committee 
appointed for that purpose on 24th June of that year gave 
in its valuation as follows : The tenements of the Burgh 
extend to 456 9s ; the real rent of Mill, fishing and burgage 
lands to 1334 13s 4d Scots. 

A revaluation was made on November 4th, 1714, when 
the Committee reported " that the whole lands of ye said 
Burgh extends to 300 bolls victual, which, according to the 
Sheriff fiars at 3 per boll, and with deduction of the tiends, 
extend to 900 Scots, and that the real rent of the tenements 
and houses of the said Burgh liable in payment of cess and 
in use of payment amounts to 430 Scots." 

In addition to these dues, the Burgh had to make a con- 
tribution of men and money to the militia. Eight men and 
a half man was the quota in 1680, outrigged and supplied 
with arms. With so small a rent roll, the taxes came to be 
very oppressive. Accordingly, in the year 1726, the Council 
sought the aid of their representative in Parliament, Mr 


Duncan Forbes of Culloden, Lord Advocate, and presented 
the following memorial to him : " 16th October, 1726 The 
Council being met in order to draw a memorial to the Eight 
Honourable His Majesty's Advocate, Duncan Forbes, Esquire, 
their representative in Parliament, concerning several matters 
relating to the interest of the town which want to be adverted 
to without loss of time, the Council think proper there be a 
memorial accordingly drawn of the several particulars fol- 
lowing, viz : Concerning the Eques and missive dues, to find 
out a way to get the town discharged of them. Item, to 
endeavour to get all the advantages possible by the en- 
couragement allowed for the fishery, sowing of hemp and 
lint, and to get the encouragement of a spinning school. 
Item, to get a fund for rebuilding the town house and Tol- 
booth, the same being now altogether useless, having been 
burnt in the year 1716 by His Majesty's Forces when they 
kept guard therein, and ordain the said proposals in a short 
note to be put in the Advocate's hands." 

The reference to the fishing industry relates to certain 
Acts passed by the Legislature for the encouragement of the 
herring fishery. Something had, however, been done previous 
to this. In 1712 a company was established at Nairn for 
carrying on the herring fishery. On 9th April of that year, 
the Herring Company at Nairn constituted Hugh Eose of 
Clava, one of their number, " sole manager for providing 
materials," instructing him to have casks and salt and other 
materials necessary lodged at Nairn betwixt this date and 
the middle of July, sufficient for making 120 lasts of herrings. 
The herring shoals apparently made their appearance about 
the same time as they do now. A " last " is ten craus. 
During that and the following year mention is made of 167 
lasts having been cured. 


On 26th August, 1720, the Town Council being convened 
in order to consider an Act of the late Convention of Burghs 
anent erecting a Fishery trade gave instructions to their 
Clerk to make up a return asked for, and appointed the 
second day of September ensuing for their next meeting, 
and ordain the officer to intimate to the haill burgesses to 
meet and give attendance when called same day. The 
meeting, however, did not take place till 21st September, 
but having then convened " for the above affair of a fishery 
trade and having called all the burgesses and ordered the 
Clerk to keep a note of such as are to subscribe with their 
sums in order to be insert in the Council Book, when they 
all come in, the same was accordingly done on the 26th 
September. The Council having called all the burgesses 
willing to enter the Fishery Company, and having made lists 
ordain the same with certificate and what further is required 
to be sent to Edinburgh, conform to the Act of Convention 
of Eoyal Burghs and letters sent to the Burgh relative 
thereto, to be transmitted in due form." There is no further 
mention in the Burgh Kecords of the affairs of the Company, 
until 20th June, 1729, when Bailie Eobert Sutherland peti- 
tioned the Council to be appointed Cure and Wreckmaster of 
Herrings, conform to a letter from the Secretary of the Com- 
missioners and Trustees appointed for improving the Fisheries 
and Manufactures in Scotland, and the Council thereupon 
nominate the said Kobert Sutherland Cure and Wreckmaster. 

The salmon fishing appears to have been of very consider- 
able importance from a very early time, and the Brodies and 
Eoses had corff houses and stores at the shore at Nairn. The 
salmon were exported in exchange for lime, salt, and other 
commodities. The fishing was by net and coble, or stell 
fishing, and the right to fish the river Nairn was, at one time 


at least, divided amongst the proprietors by days. The Burgh 
also had a right of salmon fishing in the Nairn. 

In 1684 a contract is recorded in the Sheriff Books between 
John Hay of Lochloy and James Dunbar, younger of Boath, 
according to which the former binds and obliges himself to 
deliver to the latter 300 bolls good sufficient French salt free 
of all public dues and burdens, whereof 200 bolls at Nairn 
and what he desired of the whole number at Findhorn, to be 
measured by James Calder of Muirtown's ordinary measure 
for giving out of salt. Failing to deliver the salt, Hay is to 
pay 6 Scots for each undelivered boll. The prospects of 
trade in Nairn were so good in the year 1712, that Alexander 
Falconer of Blackhills petitioned the Council to feu out to 
him " a piece of useless ground be-east Broadley's corff-house 
that he might have the convenience of building some fishers' 
houses for accommodating some seamen who might labour a 
boat or yoale for his son's use, whom he designed to settle 
amongst them for following merchandise, and for building a 
corff-house for the convenience of washing his fish in the 
neighbouring fresh water." The petition concludes that 
" others might be induced by his example to feu more of 
the said barren ground which yielded nothing to the town 
and might tend to the ornament of the place, the increase 
of the common good, and the furtherance of trade." The 
Council thought the desire of the petition reasonable, and 
agreed to give off the feu measuring one hundred feet in 
breadth, and about one hundred and ten feet in length, at 
20s Scots of a yearly feu duty. 

The Laird of Clava, though engaged in the local trade 
himself, had higher ambitions for his son. An indenture is 
recorded in the book of the Burgh Sasines dated 6th June, 
1671, betwixt Hugh Rose of Clava and John Rose, merchant 


burgess of Aberdeen, whereby Clava's third son, David, is to 
be apprenticed to his kinsman in Aberdeen, in the trade, 
employment, and occupation of a merchant for the space of 
five years. The premium paid down was 1000, and it is 
stipulated that the master shall not conceal any part or point 
of the said calling from him as he shall answer to God, and 
to furnish him with bed and board and good and sufficient 
clothing, and further "that he shall during the three last 
years of his prenticeship send the said David, his said pren- 
tice, every year at least once for a foreign voyage beyond 
seas, in such business and affairs of merchandise belonging 
to the said John Rose, as may give the said David insight in 
dealing and bargainings of the said nature." David is taken 
bound to abstain from carding, night walking and bad 

The Town Council took a somewhat selfish interest in the 
fishers and their white fish. " Complaint having been made," 
the Records of October 22nd, 1711, state, " that the fishers 
carry out their fish to the country and oblige the inhabitants 
to go down to their houses to buy their fish at their houses 
to the great prejudice of the town in hindering the country 
people to frequent it, do therefore appoint that all fishers 
henceforth be obliged to sell none of their fish till they come 
to the Cross with them, and in respect it is suggested that all 
the fishers threaten to make their fish dear in contempt of 
this Act, and that they may presume to go into the country 
after the town refuses to buy their fish, do therefore appoint 
that the said fishers shall not exact above forty pennies for 
the score of their greatest haddocks, twenty pence for the 
score of the middle size, and sixteen pennies Scots for the 
smallest fish, and that the said fishers be obliged to stay at 
the Cross with their fish at least three hours unless they 


sell sooner, and in case the said fishers out of contempt of 
this Act, refrain going to sea, it is recommended to the Bailies 
to see this Act put in execution by imprisoning or fining 
those fishers in case of refusal to follow their employment 
conform to use and wont, and for further prosecution of this 
good and necessary Act, they thought fit to constitute David 
Taylor another officer, who, in conjunction with William 
Chisholm, is to see the said Act put in due execution at the 
discretion and orders of the said Bailies, and to search the 
said fishers' houses, and in case of concealing the said best 
fish, to confiscate the same for use of the poor, and fine them 
day by day as they find occasion. 

Flax was grown extensively in the lower district of the 
country, especially in the neighbourhood of Nairn. As early 
as 1660, the Council issued an order forbidding the drying of 
lint in houses within the burgh as a precaution against fire. 
An Act of Parliament in 1686 ordained that no person should 
be buried in any shirt, sheet, or anything else except in plain 
linen, and within eight days of burial the relatives of the 
deceased person were obliged to declare on oath before the 
parish minister that the rule had been complied with. 
Another Act was passed ordaining that for the same end 
no lint should be exported from the kingdom, and rules were 
promulgated enjoining a uniform breadth of the cloth pro- 
duced. In 1720, the Nairn Town Council issued an order 
for putting in force the Acts anent linen. The flax crop 
required all the attention of a garden plant, and consequently 
gave employment to a great many hands, young and old. 
The plant when ripe was pulled up, and laid oat in handfuls 
to be sun dried. It was then " rippled," and the seed laid 
aside for winter food, along with grain, for the cattle. The 
iron combs for rippling are still to be found about old farm 


houses. One of these combs used in the district is preserved 
in the Nairn Museum. The stalks were put in sheaves and 
then steeped in pools, stagnant water being preferred. A 
favourite place at Nairn for steeping the lint was where the 
water collected in pools along the Links of Nairn and the 
Seabank lands, and the name " Lint Pots " was applied to the 
ground below the modern mansions of Invernairne and Firth- 
side. After the lint had been scutched, it was handed over 
to skilled hands to be " heckled " i.e., the finer spinning lint 
to be separated from the coarser tow. A worthy man of 
respectable position who died some few years ago in Nairn 
was familiarly known as " Davie Heckler," having in his 
younger days been engaged in the work of " heckling." 
When finished, the lint was handed over to the women to 
be spun. The Government encouraged the trade by bounties. 
A prominent member of the Nairn Town Council about 1770 
was one Walter Dallas, who is sometimes designated " weaver," 
but at other times styled " linen manufacturer." He was a 
descendant of the old family of Dallas of Cantray, and when 
the family estates were sold off, he betook himself to this 
industry. The weavers, who appear also to have engaged in 
the linen manufacture, were a numerous class of tradesmen 
in the burgh. There are few specimens of the old home- 
made linen now in existence, but the industry was at one 
time of considerable local importance. 

The Town Council were invested with very extensive 
powers, and the Magistrates had authority over all matters 
civil and criminal within the Burgh. Early in the year 1657, 
they took cognisance of offences usually regarded as coming 
within the ecclesiastical domain, and two cases of immorality 
are mentioned in which the Burgh Court imposed fines. At 
a later time, however, they declined to consider even cases of 


defamation of character, handing over the parties to be dealt 
with by the Kirk Session. They had under their royal 
charter the right of " pit and gallows," and administered 
capital punishment. The gallows stood at the west end of 
the town, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Lodgehill, and 
the road leading to it was called the Gallowgate. The record 
is preserved of the trial of John Smith alias John Williamson, 
" a stranger vagabond," who had got work from George House- 
hold the cooper. A series of housebreakings had occurred. 
In one case the exact amount of the money stolen was known. 
Suspicion pointed to Smith as the robber. When appre- 
hended he was found to have 400 shillings and a half-crown 
in a black bag. The Fiscal, Macphail, noticed that this was 
exactly one-third of the sum stolen, and came to the con- 
clusion that Smith must have had two accomplices, who had 
each got an equal share. Smith admitted that this was the 
case, and implicated two young men of the town, and the 
three were placed on trial before John Eose of Broadley, 
Provost, John Tulloch, John Inglis, and John Wilson, bailies. 
The first act of Court was significant of the gravity with 
which the offence was regarded by the magistrates John 
M'Donnachie Eoy was sworn in as Dempster of Court. The 
Fiscal stated his case, mentioning that when the prisoner 
had been searched a " testificate " from one John Finlayson, 
Parish of Urquhart in Eoss, was found in his possession, 
stating his name to be Donald M'Gown, his back bore marks 
of scourging, and his shoulder had been branded with a hot 
iron. The Fiscal wished to make out that the prisoner was 
none other than a notorious robber, David Williamson, who 
had recently broken out of Elgin prison. A jury consisting 
of the leading burgesses was empanelled, and they brought 
in a verdict of guilty on the principal counts of the indict- 


merit to two of which he had indeed pled guilty, but they 
did not consider the evidence of identification sufficient to 
prove that he was the Elgin robber. The record of Court 
sets forth that the judges having taken the said verdict to 
their serious consideration, and having found the inquest to 
have convicted, and the panel guilty of five criminal points 
of law, " do find him GUILTY OF DEATH, and by the mouth 
of John M/Donnachie Roy, their dempster of court, sentence 
and ordain the said John Smith, panel, to be hanged at the 
public place of execution till he be dead, by the hand of the 
public executioner, upon Friday next ensuing, and also de- 
clared all his goods escheat and ordained the same to be 
inbrought." The Fiscal moved for a verdict against his two 
accomplices, but the jury refused to convict them on the 
ground that Smith had withdrawn that part of his confes- 
sion, now stating that he had no accomplices. The Fiscal 
maintained that he had evidence that the prisoner had been 
tampered with while in jail, in particular that the two young 
men went to the jail door during the silence of night and 
begged of him not to tell upon them hence the withdrawal 
of that part of the confession. The magistrates took the 
same merciful view as the jury, but in order to vindicate law 
and authority, liberated them on heavy bail to come up when 

A few years later, an entry occurs indicating that another 
execution had taken place, at which all the inhabitants had 
been ordered to attend with arms, for failing to do so John 
Macdonald, burgess, is fined 5. 

It was the duty of the Burgh Magistrates to carry out the 
capital sentences pronounced by the Sheriff Court. In the 
year 1742, Murdoch Mackenzie, who appears to have been 
the leader of a band of reivers from Lochaber, was convicted 


by the Sheriff and jury of the theft of two mares, and was 
sentenced to be hanged. Murdoch, it is stated, did not under- 
stand the English language. It happened that there was no 
hangman in Nairn, and the Council dispatched a messenger 
post haste to Inverness to see if the authorities there would 
lend their executioner for the occasion. The answer brought 
back was that they would, provided a sufficient guard was 
sent from Nairn to convey him from Inverness to Nairn. 
This having been done, the execution was duly carried out on 
the 21st day of January, 1743. 

The punishments inflicted for minor offences were severe. 
Two domestic servants at Broadley, for the theft of butter 
and cheese and other commodities, were sentenced "to be 
kairted and scouraged openly, from one end of the street to 
the other on ane market day, and thereafter to be banished 
furth of the town." Two women found guilty of the reset 
were exempted from punishment on their husbands giving 
their carts and acting as scouragers to the chief delinquents. 
On 6th March, 1660, a dishonest weaver, Donald M* James at 
the Mill, for stealing six pound weight of yarn of a plaiding 
web which he did weave for Donald Gow and Alexander 
M'Glashan, and for taking double woff to said web, was 
sentenced to pay to the party wronged the price of the yarn 
at 5s per pound, and a fine of 30s, and " to stand ane marcat 
day in tyme of open marcat in the jougs and ane clew of 
yarn in his arms." Janet Gow, for stealing kail and hens, 
divers and sundry times, was fined 5 Scots and ordained " to 
stand in the collar on ane marcat day from seven hours in 
the morning to eleven hours, and to be put in the blackhole 
till such time as she should pay the fine." William Hendrie 
found guilty of stealing corn fined " in ane nierk and ordained 
to stand in the collar for the space of four hours." Custen 


Clunas for stealing a Holland band or leather belt, was 
ordered to restore the goods, pay a fine of 2 to the treasurer, 
and ordained to stand in the jougs on Friday next in time of 
market. Magdalen Kose, for opening certain parcels left in 
her master's house, and stealing " a great quantity of indigo, 
alme, anest seeds and ginger " got as an option to corporal 
punishment " to leave the burgh absolutelie and no to trouble 
the samen any more." Janet Simson, servant to Beatrix 
Thomson, spouse to William Murray, late Bailie, was charged 
with having divers times " gone to two puncheons of wyne 
and drunken ane great quantitie of the samen, being about 
the value of 40 Scots money, and that she had stollen ane 
pair of plaids worth 4 Scots, and stollen her butter." She 
confessed to the charges, and was sentenced " to be scourged 
publicly ane mercat day from one end of the toune to the 
t'other and her ears to be nailed to the tron, and thereafter 
proclamation to be made that she was banished, and any one 
who should receive her within the town or territories yr. of, 
should pay 10 Scots." For threatening a Bailie with a 
drawn sword, Hugheon Tulloch was ordained to stand two 
several markets days in the stocks, with his head and arms 
fast therein, with a paper about his head and a naked sword 
about his neck and an officer beside him. 

Some of the Sheriff* Court sentences were quite as severe. 
On 16th April, 1742, William Mackay in Fleenas was charged 
with having stolen a grey mare. He was found guilty and 
adjudged to be carried from the Tolbooth of Nairn under a 
sure guard and his hands tied to the Bridge of Nairn, and 
there to be bared to the body, and by the hands of the 
common hangman then to receive on his naked back the 
number of twelve stripes, and from thence with the hangman 
at his back to be brought to the Tron of Nairn and his right 


ear affixed to the Tron with a nail, and in that situation to 
remain for the space of two minutes, and then at that place 
to the like number of twelve stripes, and from thence to the 
Dial and there to receive the like number of stripes, and from 
thence to the Gallowhill of Nairn, and there to receive the 
like number of twelve stripes by the hands of the said hang- 
man, and for ever to be banished the shire and territories 
thereof, under the pain of whipping the first Monday of each 
month after his return in manner and at the time and places 
convenient. On 29th September, 1743, Margaret Davidson 
was convicted, before Sheriff Depute Patrick Clark, of theft. 
The poor wretch appeared from the testimony of witnesses to 
have been a " common thief," and had been " jougged " and 
afterwards imprisoned in the jail of Cawdor for a considerable 
time. The sentence now was that she was to remain in sure 
ward in the Tolbooth of Nairn from that date (29th Sept.) 
till Friday, the llth day of November next to come, and that 
day betwixt the hours of two and three afternoon brought 
from prison to the Tron of Nairn, and her right ear affixed to 
the Tron by the hands of the common hangman and then to 
be by him cut off, and the town's iron put upon her left 
cheek by the hands of the said hangman until the skin be 
burnt, and immediately thereafter to be carried to the bridge 
of Nairn under a sure guard and the hangman at her back, 
and there and then to be stript to the middle, and when so 
stripped to receive six strokes upon the back with a whip 
from the hangman, the like number at the Cross of Nairn, 
the like number at the Horologe Stone, and the like number at 
the foot of the Gallows, and from thence to be banished never 
again to be seen within the shire under the pain of death. 

Complaints having been made against people stealing pease, 
the Sheriff issued the following curious order-^-" Considering 


that it is the duty of all judges to curb such pernicious and 
destructive practices, and as in time coming the Sheriff 
intends without respect of persons to put the laws in execu- 
tion upon the first complaint, but wanting previously to 
advertise the lieges of his intention in order to obviate and 
remove any defence and to render transgressors excuseless, 
the said Sheriff hereby discharges all and sundry persons, old 
or young, from stealing, away carrying, pulling and destroy- 
ing of pease, before or after reaping, without the special 
consent of the owner or proprietor, with certification to such 
as shall be seized in the act, or against whom legal evidence 
shall be brought, they shall be holden and obliged to stand in 
the pillory within the town of Nairn in the juggs, bared to 
the britch, with a bale of pease about their middle and a paper 
on their breast with these words ' Here I stand for pease 
stealing ! ' This Act to be published at the mercat cross and 
read at the door of the several parish churches within the 
County upon Sabbath day next after divine service. Given 
at Nairn the 10th August, 1745 years. DA. CUMYNG, Shf." 
The old Cross of Nairn stood in the centre of the street. 
It was a built structure of stone and lime, requiring to be 
pointed and harled. In 1757, amongst the public works the 
Council report having carried out that summer, was the 
" removing the old ruinous cross," and " building a new one." 
The Horologe Stone or Dial appears to have stood about the 
corner of Leopold Street. When the Council were improving 
the street in 17>7, they considered the necessity of making 
an addition thereto " from the Horologe Stone westward to 
the end of the town." The old sun dial on the top of the 
pillar which goes by the name of the Cross at the present 
day, is probably the old Horologe Stone so frequently referred 
to in the Eecords. 


The Council exercised the right of appointing a minister, 
and on one occasion went pretty far afield. On 21st April, 
1729, the Council having considered " the want of a minister 
for the Burgh and parish, and that it's necessary there be 
one nominated and presented to the Presbytery before the 
elapsing of the six months from the demise of Mr George 
Dunbar, late incumbent, and having considered the fitness 
and good qualifications of Mr Lachlan Kose, minister of the 
Gospel at Kukewood Hall in Essex of England, the Council 
therefore do unanimously agree that the said Mr Lachlan 
Eose be presented and called to the said paroch, and that his 
settlement therein be prosecuted and followed f urth according 
to laws in such cases, and appoint Bailie Alexander Falconer, 
John Kose, younger of Blackhills, James Eose of Hunterbog, 
and Alexander Eose, Clerk, as a quorum of their number in 
name of the town and Council to prosecute the same accord- 
ing to the usual form." 

The call to Mr Lachlan Eose was not accepted. The 
Council met in February of the following year to consider 
" making choice of another minister for this paroch in respect 
Mr Lachlan Eose, to whom a call had been given, had de- 
clared his being unable to accept of that call, after thinking 
fully thereof, they unanimously agree that Mr Alexander 
Eose, probationer, now in the Synod of Eoss, is a person fit 
to be called to the said charge, and that the Magistrates and 
Council are to concur in using all the ordinary ways for 
obtaining him settled as minister of this place." The Council 
had the satisfaction of seeing him ordained their minister in 
July following. 

The Council also took to do with the appointment of a 
schoolmaster. In 1751 the following resolution was passed 
" That this burgh is at a considerable loss by the school con- 


tinuing so long vacant, though a presentation was some time 
ago signed by the whole heritors recommending Mr James 
Rose, present schoolmaster at Croy, to that office, which Mr 
James Rose was cast by the reverend Presbytery of Forres as 
insufficient for the charge of our school, notwithstanding of 
his having past trial with approbation some years ago before 
the Presbytery of Inverness this behaviour of the Presby- 
tery of Forres would induce us to believe that our school is 
likely to continue long enough vacant did the settlement 
thereof depend upon them solely ! we do therefore in con- 
firmation of our former opinion and in conjunction with the 
heritors of this parish who did formerly unanimously nominate 
the said Mr James Rose, appoint him schoolmaster of this 
place, and we recommend to the Reverend Alex. Rose, our 
minister, and the Kirk Session, to appoint the said Mr 
James Rose their Session Clerk, with the hail privileges and 
emoluments thereto pertaining." 

The earliest medical practitioner mentioned as settled in 
Nairn is one Dr. Savage, who flourished about the year 1670, 
whose sons gave trouble to the magistrates by fighting. In 
the next generation, a very humane doctor was in the place, 
as appears from the following minute, dated 1st August, 
1721 " There being a petition given in by William M'Phail, 
chirurgeon and burgess, craving a piece of waste ground at 
the back of the houses and kiln belonging to and possessed 
by the petition on the south side of the Burgh near and 
adjoining the river with the Laird of Calder's land on the 
east, might be granted to him by charter for an herb garden 
for the use of the poor, it being absolutely necessary, and the 
said ground being quite useless." The Council appointed a 
committee to visit the piece of ground and doubtless granted it. 

The Town Council consisted of seventeen members includ- 


ing Provost, three Bailies, Dean of Guild and Treasurer. The 
Council elected the Provost and Magistrates annually, and 
the " old Council did elect the new." The Provostship was 
confined for centuries to one family and its branches. The 
Eoses of Kilravock, Dunearn, Broadley, Clava, and Newton 
furnished the Provosts of Nairn in unbroken succession down 
to 1750, and then an exception was made in favour only of 
Kilravock's brother-in-law ! 

In one official document a writ authorising an election 
of Parliament the Chief Magistrate is addressed as " the 
Lord Provost of Nairn." On 13th May, 1734, the Council 
" taking into consideration that there is a precept from the 
Sheriff Principal of the Sheriffdom of Nairn, in obedience to 
a writ from His Majesty's Chancellary delivered to My Lord 
Provost, for choosing a delegate for this Burgh to meet with 
the other delegates and commissioners of this District and 
Class of Burghs at Torres, being the presiding Burgh, in order 
to elect a Member of Parliament in the ensuing Parliament 
of Great Britain which is to be held at Westminster, the 13th 
day of June next, the Council appoint Thursday next, the 
17th, for the Council to meet in order to choose a delegate 
for the above purpose." The Council promptly accepted the 
title of "Lord Provost" for their Chief Magistrate, and in 
making out the commission, it runs in favour of " Hugh Rose 
of Geddes, Esquire, Lord Provost of the Burgh !" Something 
unpleasant, however, occurred at the election in March of the 
following year, for the Council met on the 29th of that month 
" in order to write a letter to My Lord Advocate and Hugh 
Rose of Kilravock, Esquire, concerning the indignity done 
the town at the election of a Member of Parliament upon the 
17th current." Next year another Parliamentary vacancy 
occurred, in consequence of the resignation of " Duncan 


Forbes, Esq., lately chosen member for them, and who since 
the said election hath accepted the office of Lord President 
of the College of Justice." 

The river appears to have had a trick of running away 
from the town. It is a small stream in summer, but in an 
autumn flood or a winter's spate it comes down in great 
volume. In 1720, the Council, considering the advantage it 
would be to cause the river to run in a straight channel, 
appointed three leading townsmen to begin with a body of 
forty-eight men each under their charge, with spades and 
shovels, and to continue till the work be done. In January, 
1734, a minute states that " the Council taking into con- 
sideration the loss the Burgh received by the water or river 
of Nairn running to the westward of the town, they therefore 
recommend to the Magistrates of the Burgh to take the 
proper measures of rectifying the same and that it be gone 
about without loss of time." The river had evidently re- 
sumed its ancient channel along the Links. The next men- 
tion of the river is that it has escaped to the east. In 1737, 
the Magistrates with as many of the Councillors as can 
attend are appointed to see how the run of the water can 
be put right. In March of the following year, the Council 
have information "of an instrument of interruption to be 
taken against the Town and heritors of the fishing upon the 
river of this place, to hinder the water (which lately broke 
out on the bounds of the Laird of Brodie) being brought back 
to the property and bounds of the burgh where it formerly 
. ran and that application may be made to the Lords of Session 
for procuring a warrant to stop the bringing back the said 
water; therefore the Council order the Clerk to write to 
Hugh Eose of Geddes, Esquire, one of their number, who is 
now at Edinburgh, to take proper care no such warrant be 


obtained, and to do what may be necessary for the town and 
heritors' interest in the said matter." The Council did not 
succeed in preventing the Laird of Brodie taking the threat- 
ened action. Interim interdict or suspension was granted to 
Brodie, and on June 20th the Council sent up some of its 
papers to Edinburgh to prove the town's rights. The papers 
sent were King James VI.'s confirmation charter of 1598, 
and the Parliament's Ratification of the same in 1661, and a 
decreet arbitral betwixt the Burgh of Nairn and John Hay 
of Lochloy determining their marches, dated at King's Steps 
the 6th and 7th days of August, 1574 years. A long litiga- 
tion ensued. The Burgh applied to the Convention of Royal 
Burghs for assistance to prosecute the cause at law, " it being 
thought absolutely necessary for the interest of the town that 
the run should be on its own property." A map of the Burgh 
lands, prepared by order of the Court of Session in connection 
with another law process in the year 1777, shows the river 
flowing into the sea beyond King's Steps quarries, with a large 
store-house on its west bank. It was not till 1820 that the 
river was finally brought back to its present channel. 

The regulation of the liquor traffic engaged a good deal of 
the attention of the Town Council, and a series of enactments 
appear in the Burgh Books. Their spirit may be described 
as an effort to secure ale of good quality and plenty of it, at 
a cheap price. In 1663, the Council passed a resolution that 
" considering the great plenty of victual wherewith the Lord 
in his goodness has been pleased to bless the land with this 
year, by which means the ale arid beer in all other neigh- 
bouring and adjacent places is sold at a lower rate than in 
this place hereto," it is ordained that no brewer shall presume 
upon any pretext whatever, to take above 7d Scots for the 
pint of ale, and 2d for the pint of beer. The enactment 


provides that, what persons please, for the better accommoda- 
tion of gentlemen passengers and others, to brew good and 
sufficient ale or beer, to be esteemed by the cunnisters worth 
more, the same will be taken into consideration, and permit 
such as they think fit without prejudice to the former Acts. 

The cunnisters were a committee of ale tasters or testers 
appointed by the Council, with authority to set the price 
upon such ale and beer as should be brewn within the town, 
according to the worth thereof, and when they found any 
insufficient drink, the brewers were to be fined one shilling 
sterling. According to an old Burgh Law, the cunnisters 
were required to stand outside in the middle of the street 
and call upon the publican to bring out his liquor to be 
tasted a rule wisely providing that the duty be performed 
in public under the eye of their fellow-burgesses. It is 
expressly stated that the cunnisters appointed in Nairn " to 
take tryall of the ale or beer, once, twice, or thrice in the 
week," are " honest conscientious men !" In 1659, an Act of 
the Magistrates was passed that all brewers within the burgh 
being stallengers should pay hereafter yearly 40s Scots as 
stallenger's money. The same year it was ordained that " all 
brewers of acquavitie within the town should keep acquavitie 
of every breust for the use of the inhabitants within the town 
and for passengers and strangers under the pain of confisca- 
tion of a pint of acquavitie or the price thereof, how-so-often 
as they should be found contravening." Soon after, John Eose, 
burgess of Nairn, was accused of deforcing of the officers and 
for exacting of prices for his ale more than the cunnisters 
did allow, and was fined 2s 6d. The brewers were divided 
into two classes innkeepers and stallengers. On 6th Octo- 
ber, 1658, William Murray John Gordon, Hughone Eose, 
John Glass, Alexander M'Phail, and John Eose, brewers in 


Nairn, did voluntarily enact themselves that they should 
keep honest bed and buird to gentlemen and strangers wh^ 
they came to their houses, under the penalty of half-a-crown 
The stallengers were an inferior class. On one occasion, a 
publican who had forfeited his liberty to sell on his premises, 
was allowed to be a stallenger, that is, to sell in an open stall 
or booth. There appears to have been no restriction at first 
as to the number of persons engaged in the traffic, provided 
they were burgesses ; but after the passing of a new Act of Par- 
liament, they had to apply to the Magistrates who gave them 
license to sell for one year only. Thus in 1756, two of the 
Bailies met to admit and license proper persons duly qualified 
for retailing ale, beer, &c., in terms of the late Act of Parlia- 
ment, and did admit, license and allow the persons following, 
viz : Mrs Christian Sutherland, Mrs Grizell Miller, George 
Grant, James Taylor, John Rose, weaver, and John Mackay, 
and none other person or persons within the Burgh to retail 
ale, beer, &c., and that for one year commencing upon the 
26th day of October, 1756. 

The Council had to maintain constant vigilance against 
the introduction of malt from the country, and passed various 
enactments requiring all country malt to be measured by 
the town's firlot, paying certain charges therefor. The regula- 
tions of the trade of the Burgh were numerous and exces- 
sively strict. No man could open a shop or engage in trade 
unless he were previously admitted a Freeman Burgess and 
Guild Brother. Unfree traders were constantly being pro- 
secuted. It was necessary that a merchant burgess should 
take up house within the Burgh. John Wilson, Auldearn, 
thought he could enjoy the privilege of being a burgess of 
Nairn with residence at Auldearn, but he was peremptorily 
ordered to take up house and keep open shop within the 


burgh on pain of forfeiting his freedom. Auldearn butchers 
* ,^e absolutely prohibited from exercising their trade outside 
<#he Burgh of Nairn. The right to kill and prepare the hides 
was a strictly burghal privilege. Country people were allowed 
to slaughter cattle for their own use. That was the defence 
pled by the Auldearn people. 

Whilst preserving a monopoly of trade in the Burgh, the 
town did all it could to enhance the importance of its markets. 
These were held at Michaelmas. Leather merchants were 
bound to exhibit a certain quantity of leather in open booth. 
Shoemakers required to have ready for sale several dozen 
pairs of shoes, which they must show at the market stalls. 
Two markets were held, and they appear to have been 
attended by a large concourse of people. One of the never- 
failing duties of the Magistrates a day or two before the fair, 
was to appoint a guard of twenty men to keep the peace of 
the market. The merchandise proper was confined to the 
booths on the High Street. Agricultural produce was sold 
at the Shambles Yard (now the site of the Congregational 
Church). The cattle were exposed for sale at the Links, and 
there was a horse-wynd somewhere in the neighbourhood of 
Bridge Street and Harbour Street. The fair was really a 
business occasion, and the bulk of the commodities exposed 
were products of local industry leather, dressed and tanned, 
homespun cloth, plaidings, hose, and the other materials for 
the wearing apparel of the times. The small crofters in the 
uplands brought wooden tubs, cogs, and churns at least 
these latter were features of the market in the beginning 
of the present century. The tolls of the market were let for 
about 8 or 10, each booth or stall-holder paying a few 
pence. The " Michael markets " there were latterly three 
of them, the middle one being the " big market " were the 


great annual events in the Burgh for centuries. There was 
also a weekly market held on Fridays, at which fleshers were 
bound to present carcases for sale, with hide, &c., uncut. 

Amongst other monopolies of trade was the manufacture 
of snuff the exclusive right of manufacture being regularly 
let along with the Common Good by the Burgh, generally 
fetching about 8 or 10. A waulkmill was erected by John 
Gumming, and no person was allowed to follow the trade of 
a dyer unless specially licensed by him. Makers of linen 
cloth had to give caution that the material they manufactured 
was in accordance with statutory requirements. The smith 
was a town officer, appointed by the Magistrates. He had 
also a monopoly, but the difficulty seemed rather to be to 
find sufficient work for him. In 1750, it is stated that one 
John Falconer, in Moyness, is qualified for the trade, and as 
the town is much in need of such a craftsman he is appointed. 
The former smith had a croft from the town, called the Smith's 
Croft, now forming part of the property of Larkfield. The 
smith had to do all the Town Council's work without pay- 
ment, and his charges to the public were fixed " penny 
work " covering a variety of small iron-making and mending. 
Falconer had great difficulty in making a livelihood. There 
was a gunsmith and a wigmaker in Nairn in 1720. The 
wigmaker was in that year admitted a burgess on the ground 
that " there was none other of his employment in town, and 
that it was absolutely necessary there should be one such " 
in consideration of his mean circumstances he was admitted 

The town required a gunsmith and sword -maker. The 
gunsmith was granted a feu at a nominal rent for his greater 
encouragement. The sword-maker was an incorrigible char- 
acter, and he and his wife were ultimately banished the 


town. The following entry (reproduced with its original 
orthography) applies to the sword-maker and his wife 
" 9th Aprile, 1658. That day in refference to the former 
Acts enacted anent swearing and such lyke, the said Huchone 
Tulloch in Nairn and Margaret Russell, his spouse, being 
dyvers and severall tyrnes found cursers, swerars, and tur- 
bulent personnes, and formerlie ordainet to be banished for 
sick lyke offences, nevertheless in houpes of amendiement has 
bein hitherto spaired, yet the fornamed persones ar so far 
from amendiement that they ar altogidder become worss, and 
lyklie to become worser, as by the putt, given in against them 
appears," therefore the judge gives them the option of standing 
in the jougs or leave the town next Sunday night. 

A feature of the times was the great number of vagrants 
resorting to the Burgh. In 1658, the Magistrates enacted 
that no " strange vagabonds " should be harboured within the 
town or territories thereof, " except crepill, blynd, and almes 
deides." Some fifteen years later it was found necessary to 
put into execution this and other laws made against strange 
vagabonds, beggars, and their resetters and lodgers " by reason 
of great multitudes of such persons resorting to this place," 
and the Council authorised and empowered the scourger to 
imprison all such vagabonds and to take notice of the places 
where they lodged that those receiving them may be punished 
and fined. 

One advantage Nairn had was its possession of a good Moss 
about two miles westward of the town. Each burgess and 
resident inhabitant had a right to a lair in the Moss. Many 
and grievous were the disputes by neighbours as to the quan- 
tity of peats each was entitled to bring home, and the diffi- 
culties of the Town Council increased as the Moss became 
worked out. In the year 1772, the Council "anxiously 


recommend to the inhabitants the use of coals that the Moss 
may be no more than a secondary aid to their firing, at least 
till it shall increase, which may happen in a few years." 

Tea was sold by John Ore, merchant in Nairn, in the year 
1733, at 3 12s per Ib. It came into use as a beverage in 
the Burgh long before it extended to the country districts. 

An old custom in Nairn was the morning and evening calls 
the one to work and the other to rest. On 21st October, 
1717, the Council orders " the drummer to beat the taptow 
and revelzie daily, as also the officer to ring the bell." 

A favourite resort for the youth of the town was the Nairn 
Mill, when it happened to be under the charge of a good- 
natured miller. The Council, on 10th September, 1660, 
minute that " there was a complaint given in against the 
miller that he did harbour so monie litill ones in the Mill, 
whilk did great prejudice by stealling of honest men's victual! 
in the night and day, the said John being summendit did 
compear and did hereby enact himselfe that he should have 
non such in or about the myline, only except almes deids 
and fatherless and motherless bairns," under pains and 

When a funeral took place the inhabitants were summoned 
by the officer to attend. They had become remiss in this 
duty, and the Council, on 6th November, 1660, did ordain 
in regard that there was " ane great slyghting of not keeping 
comon burialls after advertisement that every burgess inhabi- 
tant within the tonne, he being tymouslie advertised by the 
officer, if he should absent himself he is to pay one shilling 
sterling toties quoties, without reason shewn to Provost or 
Bailies present and leave asked and obtained." A similar 
enactment was passed in regard to the " whole commonaltie 
within the toune and territories thereof," the fine to be 6s 


Scots. It was a standing order that when the Provost and 
Bailies went from home to attend a funeral a certain number 
of the burgesses were to accompany them on horseback as a 
guard of honour. 

There appears to have been no lack of public spirit amongst 
the burgesses and inhabitants in those early days. It showed 
itself in the readiness to make voluntary contributions to- 
wards public improvements, and especially in giving personal 
service, with horse, spades, and barrows. The ambition of 
the town was to have the High Street its only street paved 
from end to end, and the inhabitants in relays assisted in the 
work. It was found desirable to enclose by a dyke the 
ground called the Calfward, lying between the Parish Church 
and the Millroad, and the inhabitants in sets, under the 
Provost and Bailies, performed the work. It became neces- 
sary to divert the river into a temporary channel in order to 
repair the Bridge of Nairn, and again the inhabitants turned 
out with spades and barrows. 

The great antiquity of the Burgh of Nairn is undoubted. 
Lachlan Shaw, the historian of Moray, states that he found 
mention of it as early as 1006. It originally owed whatever 
importance it possessed to its garrison. The King's House, 
however, fell into decay, and although attempts were made 
to establish various industries in the place, none of them 
assumed any great proportions, and the more enterprising 
and adventurous amongst successive generations sought a 
wider field in military service and mercantile pursuits in 
other lands. 



THE period between the Rising of 1715 and the Rebellion of 
1745 was not marked by any public events of special note in 
Nairnshire, but the history of the leading men in the district 
is interesting. 

Although the head of the House of Cawdor Sir Hugh 
Campbell's grandson John no longer made Cawdor Castle 
his residence, the old place was well looked after by Sir 
Archibald Campbell of Clunas and Budgate, who acted as 
manager of the estates for Commissioners during the earlier 
years of the young laird of Calder. At his own expense Sir 
Archibald formed plantations near the Castle, planted trees 
on the banks of the Cawdor Burn, laid out a handsome garden, 
which even in his day grew all " sorts of fruit that are to be 
found in Scotland," and enclosed it with a lime and stone dyke 
ten feet high, besides planting hedges and enclosing nearly 
twenty acres to the east of the deer park improvements 
that are visible to this day. The deer park at that time 
contained some eighteen red deer. 

Sir Archibald was made Sheriff- Principal of Nairnshire, 
holding the office as a life appointment, and took an active 
part in the business of the County. He had been knighted 
by the Duke of Argyle, and was strongly attached to the 
House of Hanover. He frequently held the Sheriff Courts 
at Cawdor, and granted decreets and passed sentences there, 
ignoring so far the claim of the Burgh to be the seat of the 


Head Court. He married Anna, only daughter of Duncan 
Macpherson of Cluny, and had ten of a family. His eldest 
son Duncan, who had been for some years in exile in con- 
sequence of the part he took in the Eising of 1715, returned 
to this country and took up his abode for a time at Delnies 
and afterwards at Clunas. He had married Katherine, 
daughter of Trotter of Morton Hall, and a daughter Eliza- 
beth was born to them when in Eome in the year 1724. 
She was their only child, and grew up in their home in 
Delnies and Clunas one of the most beautiful and accom- 
plished ladies of the time. She had many suitors, and old 
beaux, like Lord Lovat, paid her courtly compliments, but 
according to tradition, she favoured young M'Gillivray of 
Dunmaglass the fairest, handsomest youth in the Highlands. 
The romance of their lives, as will be seen later, ended in the 
tragedy of Culloden Moor. Judging from the frank way 
in which Lord Lovat confides in him, Duncan Campbell still 
cherished Jacobite sympathies, arid the family historian says 
that he was a man " of great intelligence, some accomplish- 
ments, with a dash of affected peevishness and humour." 
He wisely leaves politics alone, however, and busies himself 
when at Clunas with hunting on the moor and fruit-growing, 
attributing the occasional failure of his crop to his Siberian 
.situation. The second son Hugh, who received his education 
in Paris, was a good deal with his cousin, the Laird of Calder, 
in Wales, and when his father, Sir Archibald, began to 
get valetudinarian, as the phrase of the day went, he was 
appointed factor on the Cawdor estates in the North. The 
property of Budgate, Sir Archibald settled on his fourth son 
Colin, who studied medicine and took up practice as a doctor 
in Inverness, and his fame as a physician extended throughout 
.the north. Dr Colin Campbell married a sister of Duncan 


Forbes of Culloden, then the Lord Advocate, and had a family 
of several children. He was called upon to attend the 
Countess of Moray at Darnaway Castle, 'caught the fever, 
and died at Darnaway. A tombstone in the enclosure in the 
old church of Barevan records his death. His son succeeded 
to Budgate, became a surgeon, and married a daughter of 
Duff of Drummuir. Their daughter married Colonel John 
Baillie of Dunain, and the wadset of Budgate was redeemed 
in her time by Cawdor. 

In 1735, Sir Archibald Campbell, as Sheriff-Principal, 
appointed Eobert Donaldson of Arr his Sheriff Depute. His 
predecessor had been David Cuthbert of Draikies. Robert 
Donaldson and his wife, Katherine Brodie, took part in one 
of the Covenanting family meetings in 1654, and he is 
frequently mentioned subsequently by James Brodie in his 
Diary, in connection with business matters. His second son 
Alexander, who inherited some money under the marriage 
contract of Alexander Urquhart, then of Kinnudie, and 
Bessie Hay, his grandmother, went furth the Kingdom in 
1684 his father advancing him money in lieu of his rights 
under the will. Some years later he reappears as Major 
Alexander Donaldson, late of the 76th Kegiinent, and had the 
freedom of the Burgh of Nairn bestowed upon him. Sub- 
sequently he became Colonel of the West Lowland Fencibles. 
The Robert Donaldson who was appointed Sheriff Depute 
appears to have been the eldest son. He held office until 
1740, and was a leading man in the district. At the time 
Robert Donaldson was appointed Sheriff-Depute, Thomas 
Brodie, writer in Edinburgh, received the post of Sheriff-Clerk, 
and to make the monopoly of offices complete in the family, 
George Donaldson was appointed Sheriff-Clerk Depute. He 
was also for a time Town-Clerk of Nairn. His son Robert 


Donaldson was apprenticed to Thomas Brodie, and admitted 
a "Writer to the Signet on 26th June 1769, becoming a 
freehold voter in the County of Nairn a few years later on 
Lethen and Cawdor qualifications. He married, April 1767, 
Helen only daughter of John Grant, W.S. 

Thomas Brodie, Sheriff-Clerk of Nairn, became a "Writer to 
the Signet, and a well-known member of the legal profession 
in those days in Edinburgh. The present family of Brodie 
of Lethen is descended . from him. David Brodie of Pit- 
gavenie, who succeeded his brother the second Laird of Lethen, 
and saved the estates from forfeiture, left a son Alexander 
Brodie (known as Dunearn) who succeeded to the Lethen 
estates. He had married before he came into possession 
Sophia Campbell, fifth daughter of Sir Hugh Campbell (by 
Lady Henrietta Stuart), and had a numerous family. Alex- 
ander was the eldest, and Thomas, the above-mentioned Writer 
to the Signet, the second son. In 1732, he gave up Lethen 
to his eldest son Alexander and built a house at Brightmony 
where he and his wife Sophia Campbell spent their remain- 
ing years. He was not a very old man when he retired, but 
he made way for the young Laird who was ambitious to have 
a seat in Parliament. After a keen contest, young Lethen 
was elected Member of Parliament for Nairnshire in 

The young Laird of Brodie who defended Brodie Castle so 
valiantly against Huntly in the Eising of 1715, died in the 
year 1720, and was succeeded by his immediate younger 
brother Alexander Brodie, who was elected in room of his 
deceased brother Member of Parliament for Elgin. His 
youngest sister Anne married George Munro of Novar. 

Some years previous to this the good old family of Hay of 
Lochloy went down. Pecuniary embarrassments, partly due 


to fines for nonconformity, pressed heavily on the family. 
The Sheriff Court books of Nairn are crowded with bonds 
registered against the estate of John Hay of Lochloy, by his 
procurator John Dallas, burgess of Nairn. He appears to 
have borrowed money freely from all sorts and conditions of 
people. Amongst others, old Bailie Tulloch advanced him 
considerable sums, and the Bailie's daughter Anna, who had 
been abducted by the Tullochs of Tannachie, but was now 
happily married to her first lover, Alexander Falconer, the 
Bishop's son, ranks for payment. The Lairds of Brodie, Lethen, 
Clava, and Boath are large creditors. Hay of Lochloy sells 
Kilhill to James Dunbar, younger of Boath, for 600. He 
was due him 3500. Newton of Park comes into possession 
of the Laird of Brodie about this time. William Hay, while 
younger of Lochloy, in 1686 sold the wood of Lochloy, and 
the father let the salmon fishings on a long lease, with the 
mansion house. But all these expedient did not avert the 
crash. The estates which had been in the family since the 
days of Baliol and Bruce, if not earlier, were exposed to 
judicial sale in 1710. 

The desire for acquiring land amounted at this time to 
almost a passion. Kilravock and Calder entered into a 
compact previous to the sale, one of the conditions of which 
was " We are by any means to be the highest bidders, cost 
what it will," and they arranged to divide the property the 
portion lying east of the Kirk of Auldearn to belong to the 
one, and the portion west of the Kirk to the other, according 
as they might choose. This curious compact was drawn up by 
a man who afterwards became famous Duncan Forbes, the 
Lord Advocate, and subsequently the Lord President. Two 
merchants at Inverness who had made some money attended 
the sale, and were aghast at the style of bidding. The price 


not only covered the value of the land but also the debts of 
the family. Kilravock had fortified himself by getting a 
promise of the money he might want for the purchase from 
Duff of Dipple, the ancestor of the Duke of Fife, and as 
security he granted him a bond over Muirtown near Find- 
horn, an estate which he had recently purchased from his 
brother-in-law, Innes of Muirtown, who had got into financial 
difficulties. This is not the only banking transaction Kil- 
ravock had with the Duffs of Braco. William, Lord Braco, 
was a freeholder, having a right to vote in the County of 
Nairn in virtue of a Kilravock property qualification down to 
1747, when his claim was purged and paid. The Laird of 
Brodie was exceedingly annoyed when he found that Calder 
and Kilravock kept the estate of Lochloy to themselves, but 
a few years later he got Inshoch and Lochloy proper, (with 
its Moss, which he much desired), and these lands have since 
continued in the possession of the family of Brodie of Brodie. 
The last of the old family of Lochloy was Colonel William 
Hay. Hugh Hay of Park continued a freeholder in virtue 
of his possession of Park, Newton of Park, Bognafuran, &c., 
but in the year 1755 these lands passed into the hands of Sir 
Alexander Grant of Dalvey. A tablet with an elaborate 
Latin dedication to the Hays of Lochloy still exists in the 
old choir of the Church of Auldearn, but during some repairs 
of the wall, it appears to have been found necessary to reduce 
the size of the monument, which was done by slipping out 
the middle portion containing several lines of the elegy, and 
-it was built into an outside wall, along with a fragment 
turned upside down ! 

Sir Archibald Campbell, the Sheriff of Nairn, did not 
live to witness the Eebellion. He died in 1744. Charles 
Robertson of Urchany succeeded to the office of Depute 


Sheriff on the demise of Robert Donaldson, but it was 
again vacant in 1742, and Patrick Clark, surgeon in Nairn, 
was appointed. He had acted as Sheriff-Substitute on 
several occasions and now received the salaried appoint- 
ment. It was he who passed the ferocious sentence of 
branding in the Sheriff Court in 1743. On the death of 
Sir Archibald, John Campbell of Calder as hereditary Sheriff 
resumed the office of High Sheriff, and appointed his kinsman 
Alexander Campbell of Delnies to be his Depute. The Laird 
of Calder had by this time attained to considerable eminence 
in the political world. He had a seat in Parliament, was for 
some years a Lord of the Admiralty, and became a Lord of 
the Treasury in 1746. 

The Laird of Brodie, who retained his seat for Elginshire, 
was now Lord Lyon of Scotland. Thomas Brodie, (Lethen's 
brother), the Writer to the Signet, was Depute Lord Lyon. 
Duncan Forbes of Culloden, (Kilravock's brother-in-law), was 
Lord President of the Session, and exerted himself to the 
utmost to prevent his Northern countrymen joining the 
Jacobite Rebellion. 

In the Burgh of Nairn, between the years 1729 and 1736, 
(with one year's exception), the Chief Magistrate was a mili- 
tary man of some renown Colonel Alexander Rose (brother 
of the unfortunate Arthur), who is already mentioned as 
having greatly distinguished himself at Sheriffmuir on the 
Royalist side. He is described as Colonel Rose of Lord 
Londonderry's Regiment. It was he who gave a start in 
life to the young Laird of Culbin after the ruin of that 
house. He was a half-brother of the old Baron's, and resided 
in the Kilravock " town-house," as the building which stood 
on the north side of High Street (now Macgillivray's Build- 
ings) was called. It had been enlarged and repaired, and a hand- 


some outside stair erected, and when all was finished in 1722, 
a slab was placed in front bearing the following inscription : 
" Omnia terrena per vices sunt aliena 
Nunc mea mine hujus, post mortem nescio cujus ; 
Nulli certa domus. " 

Of which a translation is given thus : 

" All terrene things by turns we see 
Become another's property ; 
Mine now, must be another's soon, 
I know not whose, when I am gone ; 
An earthly house is bound to none." 

The stone with its inscription still remains in the reno- 
vated building, and one room of a back wing, with fine oak 
pannelling, is still preserved intact. From a return a few 
years later, it appears the original building had fourteen 
windows. Colonel Eose had passed away before the 
Kebellion, and the Laird of Kilravock was once more the 
Provost of Nairn. The only recorded official act the Magis- 
trates performed was to appoint a quartermaster for disposing 
of the troops halting in the town their first visitors being 
the Army of Sir John Cope, when he hurried from Inverness 
where he was stationed to embark at Aberdeen for the South. 
His troops lay at Merryton to the east of Nairn for a day, 
and Lady Dunbar's tenants refused to pay their next year's 
rents in consequence of the damage their crops had sustained 
from the soldiers. A curious reminiscence of the visit of Sir 
John Cope is preserved. A fisherman's wife presented her 
husband with a son on the morning of Sir John Cope's arrival, 
and the child was christened John Cope. Descendants of 
theirs still bear the name of Main Cope or Coup. 

Prince Charles Edward landed from a French frigate at 
Moidart in the Hebrides on 19th July 1745. He raised his 
standard at Glenfinnan on 20th August. Cameron of Lochiel 
joined him, and he was followed by several other Highland 


Chiefs. His force amounted to only fifteen hundred men, 
but in his march southward it swelled into an army. Charles 
entered Edinburgh in triumph and his father was proclaimed 
" James the Eighth " at the Market Cross. On 21st Septem- 
ber he fought the Battle of Prestonpans, completely routing 
Sir John Cope and his army. He continued his march with 
his army now augmented to 6000 men, as far as Derby, which 
he reached on 4th December, and intended proceeding onward 
to London. But the support he calculated upon from the 
Catholics and Jacobites of the North of England failed him. 
Three English armies were on the move against him. In these 
circumstances he deemed retreat to the Highlands advisable, 
and fell back rapidly on Glasgow. Keinforced there by several 
thousand men, he attacked and defeated General Hawley's 
army which had followed him from England. Many of 
the Highlanders after the victory made off to the mountains 
with their booty, and Charles marched the remainder of his 
troops northward to Inverness. He arrived there on 16th 
February, and additional clansmen joined him. The district 
between the Spey and the Ness was now in his hands, and 
the Highlanders pillaged and robbed friend and foe indis- 
criminately. During part of the month of March, the 
Prince was at Gordon Castle and Elgin, where he was over- 
taken by severe illness, but he returned early in April to 
Inverness. He left a force under Lord Drummond to dispute 
the passage across the Spey of the Hanoverian army which was 
in pursuit of him, and if that failed to harass it on its march. 
The Duke of Cumberland remained at Aberdeen till 8th 
April, his progress northward having been stopped by the 
flooded state of the Spey. Having forded the Spey on the 12th 
the Army resumed its march, passed through Elgin on Sunday 
the 13th, and halted at the Moss of Alves. Next day the 


march was resumed. Kay, in his " History of the Rebellion," 
he was a volunteer officer in the Koyalist Army mentions 
that they were obliged to ford the Findhorn, " a broad and 
deep river." " From this to Nairn/' continues Kay, " is a 
very moorish country ; to the left of which we perceived a 
body of the Kebels at a mile distant, on which we drew up ; 
but perceiving they did not advance, we fell into marching 
order until we came within half-a-mile of them, and then, 
observing that they did not form but kept in a moving 
posture, the Duke of Kingston's horse, with four companies 
of the Campbells, were ordered to advance ; on this the Kebels 
fled, and being pursued by some volunteers, we had a fine 
hunting-match after them. We took some prisoners, of whom 
I had the good fortune to get two, the one a Fraser, who 
could speak no English, and had not the sense to stand when 
shot at until he was cut twice in the head ; the other was a 
Montrose man called Sanders Stewart, (heard of him on my 
return, that he served an apprenticeship to a barber there); 
he told me that the Kebels were 5000 the day we crossed the 
Spey, under the command of Lord John Drummond, and that 
the Chevalier and the rest of his Army were then at Inver- 
ness. After I had got these two fellows held together with 
my horse collar they proved very troublesome to drive, and I 
had above two miles over a moor to go with them to our 
Army, who were then encamped at Nairn, which before I 
entered I had occasion to go through that wing of our Army 
where the Old Buffs were pitching, and my prisoners were 
condemned to various deaths by the Old Buffs' wives. I 
delivered my prisoners to the guard, and in the evening went 
and dressed the wounded Highlander. By this time the 
quarters were all taken up, so that I did not go to bed the 
two nights the Army lay there." 


Drummond had fallen back as the Royalist Army advanced,, 
but at Nairn he made a stand with a large party of men.. 
They barricade the bridge, and as Kingston's horse advanced,, 
they fired upon them. The troopers and some detachments 
of infantry then began a regular assault on the bridge. Shots 
were exchanged and a brisk fire kept up, but as the main 
body of the Royalist Army had now made its appearance^ 
Drurnmond drew off his men and fled precipitately towards 

Lord Albemarle, Commander of one of the divisions, writing 
from Nairn on 15th April to the Duke of Richmond, thus 
alludes to the incident at Nairn Bridge " The Rebels might 
with ease and no danger to themselves have disputed the- 
passage of every one. At this town [Nairn] whether inso- 
lence in them or whether they did not expect us so soon I 
can't tell, we heard they proposed waiting for us. The Duke 
immediately sent the cavalry forward, who not only drove 
them out of it but four miles beyond, where, having taken a 
few prisoners, they were forced to stop for want of the foot 
coming up in time to sustain them. This body of theirs,, 
consisting of about four thousand, retired to Inverness 
to meet and fight us on our march thither, but I don't 
believe it." 

The entry of the Duke of Cumberland's Army into Nairn 
must have been an imposing sight. His forces numbered about 
7000 infantry and 2000 horse. The Old Buffs, as Ray men- 
tions, bivouacked on the east bank of the river. A portion of 
the troops was lodged in the town, but the main body marched 
out to Balblair where they formed a camp. The Duke of 
Cumberland took up his abode in Kilravock's town-house,, 
already described. The next largest house was the Manse. 
The minister at the time was Mr Alexander Rose. Clava's- 


house, (now the Caledonian Hotel), was also occupied by the 
officers. Bailie Kenneth Sutherland had a pretty large house 
on the High Street, and Mr John Falconer and Mr George 
Grant came next with houses of some size, and these were 
all occupied by officers. The Tolbooth was also made use of 
for sleeping accommodation. The whole town was thronged 
with the military, and guards patrolled the town from the 
Bridge to the Horologe Stone. 

The Duke of Cumberland gave orders that the troops 
should rest the next day, and it being his Royal Highness's 
birthday, the Army celebrated the occasion with great 
rejoicings. The centre of the camp was the house of Bal- 
blair, a gaunt old building belonging to Rose of Clava the 
only gentleman of Jacobite proclivities in the district. The 
house stands on a slight eminence and the tents were pitched 
on the slopes around it, a line of guards being posted west- 
ward along the ridge as far as Kildrummie and eastward to 
the town. In the town and at Balblair the mirth and revelry 
ran high, but at ten o'clock lights were ordered out and all 
.betook themselves to rest, to be refreshed for an early start 
in the morning. 

On the evening of the 14th Prince Charles moved from 
Inverness to Culloden. Here he was joined by the party 
under Lord John Drummond which had retreated from 
Nairn, and expecting the Royalists to advance, drew up his 
army in order of battle on the Moor. Lord George Murray, 
with the trained eye of a soldier, saw the advantages which 
the level field would give to regular troops, and strongly 
urged that the Highland army should cross the river Nairn 
and take up a position on the slopes and heights on the 
.south, with the mountainous region behind to retire upon. 
But his advice, though supported by most of the Highland 


chiefs, was rejected by the Prince, probably because it would 
leave Inverness exposed. 

On the Tuesday, Prince Charles rode out to survey the field. 
About two o'clock he sent an officer to Kilravock Castle to 
inform the Laird that he would dine with him that day. He 
arrived about three and was received with all respect, though 
Kilravock was on the opposite side. The Prince charmed his 
host and hostess by his affability. He asked to see their 
three children, kissed each of them and praised their beauty. 
Observing a famous old violin, he begged the Laird to play a 
tune. Kilravock who was a good performer, played an Italian 
minuet, remarking, " That, if I mistake not, is a favourite of 
your Eoyal Highness." " That it is a favourite of mine, Mr 
Rose, is certain, but how you came to know that it is so I am 
quite at a loss to guess." " That, sir," replied Mr Eose, " may 
serve to show you that whatever people of your rank may do 
or say is sure to be remarked." " I thank you," said the 
Prince, " for your observation." The Prince walked out with 
the Laird to see his trees. Observing the people busy plant- 
ing, the Prince remarked " How happy you must be, Mr Eose, 
in being thus peacefully engaged, when the whole country 
around you is in a stir." The Prince, Mr Hay his secretary, 
and Mr and Mrs Eose dined together in what is now the 
parlour of the old Castle, while forty of the Prince's attend- 
ants dined in a large hall adjoining. The short passage 
between the two rooms was guarded by two of the Prince's 
officers with drawn swords while he was at dinner. When 
the cloth was removed, Kilravock proposed to the Prince 
that he would allow these gentlemen to go to dinner, adding, 
" Your Eoyal Highness may be satisfied that you are perfectly 
safe in this house." To which he replied, " I know, sir, that 
I am safe here ; you can desire them to go to dinner." Some 


joking followed at the expense of the Prince's Secretary, who 
expressed a wish to see a huge China bowl, capable of con- 
taining sixteen bottles of liquor, filled. It was promptly 
filled with whisky punch, and the Prince in gay humour 
insisted that Mr Hay, since he had challenged the bowl, 
should stay to see it out. He took but one glass and then 
accompanied his master back to Culloden. 

On the return of the Prince from Kilravock, Lord George 
Murray suggested that instead of waiting for the advance of the 
Eoyalist Army, they should attack the camp at Nairn after 
night-fall. This bold scheme pleased the Prince, but when 
the troops assembled in the evening, it was found that they 
had no bread, and were in a half famished state. Several 
officers advised giving up the night march, but the Prince 
gave peremptory orders, and the expedition set out for 
Nairn, marching in two columns. The first, composed of 
the clans, was led by Lord George Murray, the second, 
consisting chiefly of Lowland regiments, by the Earl of 
Perth. The Prince with his staff was between the two 
columns. The plan was boldly conceived. The first column 
had orders to cross the river about three miles from Nairn, 
and then lower down re-cross and attack the English Army 
in fiank and rear, and the second column was to make its 
attack from the west, keeping as near as possible to the coast 
road. This would have brought the one division out at the 
Nairn Moor (now Tradespark), and the other at Broadley or 
Firhall. But the night was dark, the road was rough, and the 
men were exhausted for want of food, so that the march had 
been slow. At two o'clock in the morning, when the attack 
was to have been delivered, the advance column had only 
reached Knockanbuie ("the Yellow Knoll"), about three 
miles from Balblair. The leaders called a halt, held a con- 


sultation, and decided it was too late to make the attack, and 
Lord George Murray gave the order to retrace their steps. 
The roll of a distant drum indicated that the English camp were 
on the alert. The Prince, who was in the rear, was very angry 
when he learned that the retreat had been ordered, and mili- 
tary critics are of opinion that Lord George Murray's 
judgment was at fault in having so readily given up a plan 
of battle, which, whether carried out at night or in daylight, 
was vastly better than retiring again to the level plain of 
Culloden Moor which now became the scene of the final 

On the morning of the 16th, whilst the Highland Army 
was once more getting into position on Culloden Moor, 
several ladies rode on to the field. One of these was Miss 
Elizabeth Campbell of Clunas, the lovely daughter of Duncan 
Campbell. She was specially interested in the gallant leader 
of the Clan Mackintosh. Lady Anne Mackintosh, whose 
husband, the Chief of the Mackintoshes, was on the Hano- 
verian side, and at the time was with Loudon's Eegiment 
in the Black Isle, called out the Clan in favour of the Prince, 
to whom she was devotedly attached, and had asked Duncan 
Mackintosh of Castle Leathers, who was residing at the time 
at Daviot, to lead the Clan Chattan. He was highly pleased 
at this mark of honour (says the writer of a manuscript of 
the time quoted by Mr Fraser- Mackintosh), but in the mean- 
time Macgillivray of Duimiaglass sent a message to her 
ladyship that the Macgillivrays would not follow her banner, 
unless the chief command was entrusted to him. The lady, 
fearful of losing so important an ally, made a polite excuse 
to her relative, Mr Mackintosh, importing that she had been 
compelled to place Macgillivray over him. He, indignant at 
what he justly conceived an affront, retired to his own home 


and vowed he would riot take part with one or the other. 
Mackintosh at the time was engaged to be married to Miss 
Dallas of Cantray, whose brother was a strong Jacobite and 
raised a regiment for the Prince. " Miss Dallas of Cantray 
carries the bell of fine ladies," wrote a swain of the period to 
a friend in the south ; " I shall see her before I leave the 
country." But she subsequently consoled Castle Leathers for 
his disappointment in not being allowed to lead his clan. 
Macgillivray of Dunmaglass was the beau ideal of a High- 
land Chief. He was of gigantic stature, strong limbed, and 
of huge strength, and yet there was a feminine delicacy about 
his features that was very remarkable. An old man who had 
seen him described him thus " He was a clean purty man, 
he stood six feet two in his stocking soles, his hair was red 
and his skin white as milk." Such was the hero to whom 
Miss Campbell had come to say a parting word on the morn- 
ing of the battle. 

Meanwhile the Eoyalist camp at Nairn was quickly aroused. 
The Duke of Cumberland had information from his spies that 
an attack at Nairn had been intended, though he did not 
expect that it would take the form of a night surprise. The 
soldiers the night before had received a liberal allowance of 
brandy, biscuit and cheese, but the Duke took care to see 
that when they retired to rest each man's accoutrements 
should lie at his side in case of a hurried call, and to make 
sure there would be no disorder or confusion, he left his 
quarters at Nairn and slept at Balblair in the midst of the 
camp. A hurried meal was made, the tents were struck, 
and the troops formed into three divisions of four regiments 
each, commanded respectively by Huske, Sempill, and Mor- 
daunt, with a column of artillery on one hand and a column 
of horse on the other. Just before leaving Balblair, the Duke 


of Cumberland rode along the parallel divisions, and the 
general orders of the day, threatening immediate death to 
deserters or defaulters in action, were read at the head of 
each regiment. It was five o'clock when the inarch began, 
and by nine o'clock they were passing Kilravock. 

When the Duke of Cumberland came up with his troops, 
Kilravock was at the gate to receive him. " So I understand 
you had my cousin, Charles, here yesterday ?" " Yes, please 
your Royal Highness," replied Kilravock ; " not having an 
armed force, I could not prevent him." " You did perfectly 
right," said the Duke, " and I entirely approve of your con- 
duct." So saying he rode on to the Moor of Culloden to meet 
his cousin. 

An unpublished letter by James Granger, Surgeon's Mate 
in Pultney's Regiment, to his brother William in London, 
gives the following account of the inarch and the engage- 
ment, which, though strongly biassed in favour of the 
Royalists, has the interest and merit of being the descrip- 
tion of an eye-witness 

" On the morning of the 16th we decamped by break of 
day from Nairn and were in sight of the enemy by eleven, 
who were drawn up in one very long line across Culloden 
Moor. Upon this our advanced guard came back, the army 
was in an instant marshalled in order of battle. The cavalry 
was equally divided on the Hanks, the Campbells were posted 
at a little distance from the left of the front line, and orders 
were sent to the ba-men, women, &c., forbidding them to 
come within a mile of the rear. These material points thus 
settled, we continued our march, and about 12 were come so 
near them that I could observe their right wing to be com- 
posed of the Clans, the left of the French, and their centre of 
the Lowlanders. Where their cavalry was I could not see. 


The ground on which they stood was plain, and the field 
seemed every way adapted to decide the fate of the Rebellion. 
Here the whole Army fixed bayonets, and renewed their 
priming, while our nine piece of cannon were planted at 
regular distances in the front of the first line. The Duke 
says a battle without cannon is like dancing without music 
his ears were soon gratified with that martial music. 
For the Kebels now welcomed us to the plain from a battery 
on their right, but they fired too high and the balls whizzed 
over the Corps de Reserve. The compliment was returned 
forthwith by a complete round from our Artillery, but to 
better purpose ; most of the shots took effect and laid numbers 
of them sprawling on the ground. The cannon gave our men 
infinite spirits. The enemy renewed their charge not only 
from their first battery but from two others to their left. 
They only made our gunners fire the faster, and really com- 
plimented the enemy at least twenty for one. The wind 
drove the smoke in the teeth of the enemy ; their batteries 
were silenced in the space of eight minutes, and their line 
partly raked. The thunder of our cannon was perpetual, 
and if they had stood still much longer where they were, our 
matrosses would have done the business. This they were 
sensible of. Their whole line advanced forward to attack our 
first line in the order they were drawn up. 

" The Clans rather flew than marched, consequently our 
left was not only soonest but hottest engaged, for nothing 
could be more furious than their onset, which no troops but 
these, headed by our magnanimous hero, could have withstood. 
Yet not a regiment was broke, not a soul deserted his colours, 
true, indeed, their small arms did little execution, but they 
seemed determined to make amends for this by their broad- 
swords, had not the regiments they attacked prevented them 


by a very brisk and heavy fire we had some hundreds of 
them breathless on the ground. This ruder reception (per- 
haps) than they expected did not, however, dispirit the Claris. 
They rallied, and before our left, (viz., Barrels, Monroes, and 
the Highlanders), could load, came again like lions to the 
charge, sword in hand, but the claymores would make no 
impression against the bayonet charged breast high. Our 
men stood like a wall, shoulder to shoulder. Here, however, 
Lord Robert Ker was killed and Lieut.-Colonel Rich lost his 
left hand. More officers than these must have fallen had 
not the battalions in the centre of our line, viz., Scots 
Fusiliers and Cholmondeley's, before whom the Lowlanders 
began precipitately to fly almost without attacking, turned 
part of their fire against the Clans, and with such success 
that but few of them had leisure to return from the attack." 

So runs the letter of Surgeon Granger. 

The charge of the Highlanders was, however, more formid- 
able than this Royalist account represents it. Galled by the 
fire of the artillery, there were murmurs for the charge, but 
minute after minute sped, and no order was given. The 
Prince and his staff occupied an eminence a little distance 
behind the two lines, and Lord George Murray waited for his 
order. But no order came. Unknown to him, young Mac- 
lauchlan, the Prince's aide-de-camp, had been struck by a 
cannon ball on his way to the front, and lay dead on the 
field with the Prince's order in his pocket. The Mackintoshes 
in the centre, who had been exposed to the hottest fire of the 
artillery, could stand it no longer, and with Dunmaglass at 
their head, they rushed forward to engage the enemy. Lord 
George Murray called on the Athole-men, Camerons, Stuarts, 
Frasers, and Macleans to follow him. The charge became 
general along the whole line, except on the left where the 


Macdonalds, offended at not being placed on the right, refused 
to move. Onward rushed the devoted Highlanders in face of 
a blinding hailstorm, in face of the deadly grape-shot from 
the cannon, and the volleys of bullets from a thousand 
muskets, into the smoke and fire they plunged, and madly 
Hung themselves on the solid wall of glistening bayonets. 
The shock broke the first line of the Eoyalists, but like a 
spent wave, the onward motion had exhausted itself, and not 
a man reached the second line. The Highlanders lay in piles 
three and four deep. 

Resuming Surgeon Granger's narrative at this point, he 
goes on to say 

" The confusion of the enemy was now pretty universal, only 
the French as they marched more orderly so they were only 
come now within musket shot of our right. At the beginning 
of the action, our regiment, Pultney's, was advanced from the 
Corps de Reserve and posted on the right of the Royals, an 
honour for which we were indebted to the Duke of Cumber- 
land, and here it was that we not only regained our character, 
but were particularly complimented by his Royal Highness. 
But what could they or any other troops have done ? The 
Royals and our regiment were ready and eager to engage, and 
not a man of either the 2nd or Corps de Reserve had dis- 
charged. They, (the French), however, made a show to charge 
and flank us, but after a fire (not like the French) they 
followed the example of their mountainous friends and made 
with all the swiftness their feet could carry them towards 
the town. Our regiment did not miss this opportunity, and 
with one good volley made numbers of them bite the ground. 

" The whole field on their side was one continued scene of 
slaughter and dismay. They flew scattered in little clusters 
everywhere, but most made after the Pretender to the moun- 


tains. Our cannon again thundered. Our light horse and 
dragoons who had never been engaged were sent after them 
and did terrible execution many they took prisoners, but 
more they killed, for the pursuit lasted four miles beyond 

" In the field were taken ten 6-pounders. Whilst His Royal 
Highness advanced at the head of the infantry towards 
Inverness he was met by an officer from the Brigades who 
surrendered themselves prisoners of war in town. Inverness 
was immediately taken possession of by a regiment, where 
they found 6 more field pieces, and our royal conqueror- 
entered the place about 4 o'clock. 

" Immediately upon the flight of the enemy, I rode over 
the field of battle. You may be sure it gave me infinite joy 
to see those who threatened ruin to our glorious constitution of 
Church and State dead in the field, which joy was not a little 
augmented by observing how very few, not twenty of our 
men, were killed. As the Campbells were on the left, and 
therefore in the hottest of the action, they lost two Captains 
that is the sum of the slain. That of the enemy cannot 
certainly be known, for we daily find dead bodies, six, eight 
miles from the place, it is conjectured to amount to 1800. 
Our men have got a great deal of booty. The Pretender's 
coach and Boger's are taken. On the coach was painted the 
Welsh arms and below ' Prince Charles ' in letters of gold. 
We have between 2000 and 3000 prisoners. Amongst several 
of distinction are Earls Kilmarnock, Cromarty, and their sons; 
Lord Drummond, Glenbucket, Stewart of Ardchiel, Appin, 
&c. They mustered 8350 the day before the battle, as was 
found in an officer's pocket ; it would have been ended fatal 
to us had we given way, for their Prince gave orders to 
spare neither man, woman, or child, and so confident was he 


of success that in the same orders he forbad any man to stir 
from his rank to plunder till after the pursuit." 

The carnage which ensued has for ever dimmed the lustre 
of the feat of arms achieved by the Royalist Army. The 
wounded on the field were butchered as if in sport. The 
fugitives were hunted and slaughtered. Prisoners were shot 
down in batches, and in some cases houses were fired and the 
refugees roasted alive. The shocking atrocities exceeded the 
bounds of civilised warfare, and have made the name of 
Cumberland infamous for ever among Highlanders. 

Prince Charles witnessed the destruction of his Army from 
a hillock still marked by a tree, and when he saw all was 
lost, he rode off accompanied by one or two members of his 
staff, crossing the river Nairn at the ford at Faillie. His 
subsequent wanderings and escape to France belong to 
general history. The Eoyalist forces pushed on to Inver- 
ness, leaving the dead unburied and the dying uncared for. 
The night which succeeded the battle was intensely cold, and 
many of the poor soldiers in whom life still lingered made 
the night hideous by groans and cries for water that last 
solace of a wounded soldier. During the night some of them 
extricated themselves from among the corpses of their com- 
panions piled in the ditch, and dragged themselves to a 
little well close by. Here, next morning, was found the body 
of Macgillivray of Dunmaglass. According to the tradition 
of the country, Dunmaglass was one of the gallant band who 
broke through the front line of the defence, and was last seen 
fighting with his broadsword in rear of the enemy's cannon. 
He cut down a dozen of his assailants before he was over- 
powered and laid low. He was left for dead, but according 
to the current story he was one of the miserable sufferers 
who lingered on during the night and who crept to the well, 


and a touch of deepest pathos is imparted to the circumstance 
inasmuch as it is said that he, commiserating the sufferings of 
a wounded lad, summoned up his remaining strength and 
carried him to the well, and then fell back and expired. 
Whilst the rank and file of the clansmen were buried in 
trenches according to their tartans, the body of Macgillivray 
of Dunmaglass was borne by the country people, amidst 
great lamentations, to the Churchyard of Petty and there 
decently interred. There was grief that morning in many a 
Highland home, but in none was it more poignant and dis- 
tressful than in the old house of Clunas, where the fair 
Elizabeth Campbell mourned the fate of her lover. She 
survived his death but two short years, dying of a broken 
heart, and a stone still marks her grave in the enclosure in 
Barevan Churchyard. 

The Duke of Cumberland remained in the North for some 
time after. At Inverness he met Lord President Forbes, who 
pled hard for mercy for his misguided countrymen. Writing 
to the Duke of Newcastle on 30th April, His Royal Highness 
remarks " that the affair is now almost over with regard to 
the military operations, but Jacobite rebellious principle is so 
rooted in the nation's mind that this generation must be 
pretty well wore out before this country will be quiet. . . . 
Lord President has just joined me, and as yet we are vastly 
fond of one another, but I fear it won't last, as he is as arrant 
Highland mad as Lord Stair or Crawford. He wishes for 
lenity if it can be with safety, which he thinks, but I don't, 
for they really think that when once they are dispersed it is 
of no worse consequence than a London mob, and but yester- 
day a Sir William Gordon wrote to one of the officers to 
complain that his house has been plundered whilst he was 
out following his duty (as he is pleased to call the Rebellion). 


They are now dispersed all over the Kingdom at their own 
homes, and nobody meddles with them except I send the 
military force after them. I have got the Lord President to 
direct Sir E. Fawkener in the drawing up of a proclamation 
which I shall take the liberty to publish in His Majesty's 
name, requiring of all civil magistrates to exert themselves 
in order that these dispersed Kebels may be brought to 
justice, but as one half of the magistracy have been either 
aiders or abettors to this Rebellion, and the others dare not 
act through fear of offending the Chiefs, or of hanging their 
own cousins, I hope for little from them." On President 
Forbes remonstrating with His Royal Highness in regard to 
the barbarities committed by the soldiery in burning houses, 
plundering, and murdering, reminding him they were break- 
ing the laws of the country, he replied with an oath, " The 
laws ! I'll make a brigade give laws !" and he was heard at 
Inverness to allude to the President " as that old woman who 
talked to me about humanity." In another letter, Cumber- 
land says " I am sorry to leave this country in the condition 
it is in, for all the good that we have done has been a little 
Uood-letting, which has only weakened the madness but not 
at all cured, and I tremble for fear that this vile spot may 
still be the ruin of this Island and of our Family." 

Many of the fugitives died from exhaustion on the lone 
hill sides. A Culloden soldier's grave on a moor, now planted, 
near the ford on the Muckle Burn at Keppernach, Ardclach, 
is still preserved, though covered merely by loose stones. 

Local tradition has it that a concealed chamber in the roof 
of one of the wings of Cawdor Castle was the hiding place of 
Lord Lovat. It is called " Lovat's Hole." Tradition, how- 
ever, is at fault, for old Simon was in hiding at Gorthlick near 
Foyers, when the Battle was fought, and then fled to the 


West Coast where he was captured, and sent to the Tower 
of London and executed, as were also Lords Balmerino and 
Kilmarnock. It has been suggested that Lovat may have 
been in hiding at Cawdor from Lord London's troops some 
months before the Battle. There is, however, one argument 
against the " Hole " having ever been used by Lovat which 
seems pretty conclusive. Old Lovat had become so stout 
that it was a physical impossibility he could have been 
squeezed into such a narrow place. On the window of the 
place is scratched the word " Overcome," with the date 
" 1685." James Eraser of Brea, the Covenanting preacher, was 
in hiding that year in Nairnshire, and as he was a favourite 
of Sir Hugh Campbell's, he may have disposed of him in this 
secret place, the name " Eraser's Hole " becoming a century 
later " Lovat's Hole." 

Lord Lovat and his kinsman Major Eraser who brought 
him from France, had quarrelled some years before the 
Rebellion, and the Major consistently supported the Whigs 
and got some employment from Cumberland in connection 
with the Lovat estates. He spent the later years of his life 
at Inshoch, near Auldearn, with his son Eobert (who was for 
a time factor for the Laird of Brodie), and died at the age of 
ninety-two. The Major's portrait hangs on the walls of the 
Inverness Town Hall. 

Although the Rebellion was totally suppressed within the 
next few weeks, the town of Nairn was kept in a state of 
commotion for some time by the presence of large bodies of 
military. Four battalions which had been despatched from 
London about the end of March did not arrive in the Moray 
Firth till the 6th of May. They had been tossed about in the 
North Sea for weeks, and terrible disease had broken out 
amongst them. A fever of a malignant type prevailed, and 


it was believed at the time to be the dreaded yellow fever, 
brought from India by some of the troops. Houghton's 
regiment amongst others rested at Nairn on its way to Inver- 
ness, and several of its officers and men were suffering from 
fever. A young officer, Captain Eobert Nisbit, unable to 
proceed with his regiment was taken into the house of Dr 
Clark, the Sheriff-Substitute, and one of the leading men in 
the place. Nisbit belonged to the knightly family of Nisbit 
of Dirlton, in Haddington. He was carefully nursed by the 
Doctor and his wife, a daughter of Eose of Broadley, but he 
died. His remains were interred in Dr Clark's burying- 
place in the Nairn Churchyard, and a tombstone there 
records his death. " Here lies the body of Captain Kobert 
Nisbit, of Brigadier Houghton's Eegiment, who died May 19, 
1746, aged 26 years." Dr Clark, the young officer's host, 
caught the fever and died a few days after, and was interred 
in the same grave, but the tablet to his memory has dis- 
appeared. Strangely enough, some twenty years after a 
young officer in Montgomerie's Highlanders, (the old 77th), 
Lieutenant Lachlan E. Grant, son of Sir Patrick Grant of 
Eothiemurchus, died in the house of Dr Forbes, who had 
married the widow of Dr Clark the lady who had nursed 
Nisbet in his illness and young Grant of Eothiemurchus 
was buried in the same grave, and the following inscription 
added to the tablet " As also here lies Lieutenant Lach. E. 
Grant, of Colonel Archibald Montgomerie's Highland Eegi- 
ment, son of the Laird of Eothiemurchus, aged 25 years, and 
died November, 1767." It is probable that Dr Clark at 
the time occupied Fir hall, which belonged to the Grants of 
Eothiemurchus. The forest of Eothiemurchus had yielded 
considerable wealth to the family, and wanting to have a 
winter residence in a less severe climate than their paternal 


home, they built a house at Nairn, which they called Firhall r 
because it was built with money got for the firs, and with 
wood brought from their forest. 

On 18th August, 1746, the Town Council have notice " that 
four companies belonging to the Eoyal Irish are to be lodged 
in this town for winter quarters," and accordingly " they have, 
after billeting the private men, made out such a form of 
accommodating the officers, and fixed on a place for an. 
hospital in case of sick among them, of which, according 
to directions in writing, the Clerk is to make out a copy and 
deliver the same to the commanding officer for disposing of 
the officers under his command." At the same time the 
Council directed the Bailies and a quorum of the Council to 
meet and make out such a stent upon the inhabitants of all 
ranks as will be sufficient for defraying the expense of coal 
and candle to the guard. On 2nd September, the four com- 
panies had arrived, and the records state that " in consider- 
ation that the troops now lying in town will want fire and 
candle for their guard room, do hereby empower the Collector 
of Cess of the Burgh, to collect, conform to the roll of the 
inhabitants in his hands, in such proportion from each as 
shall be appointed by the following committee hereby 
appointed, namely, Bailie Robert Sutherland, Mr William 
Inglis, and Hugh Robertson, bailies, and the Clerk to attend, 
whatever other Councillors please to be present and vote, the 
Collector to keep exact accompt of disbursements upon the 
said subject to be given into the Council against the first of 
October, the peats to be given in by order of the magistrates 
and to be gotten from the town and territories and an account 
kept of it in like manner, to ascertain from whom they are 
got and what number of loads ; as also the Commanding 
Officer here, having made a demand for coal and candle to 


an hospital in which he has some sick people, the Bailies 
.above named are to enquire what is law and common practice 
in the like case and to direct accordingly ; likewise as to the 
"blankets required for the people lodged in town, the Council 
find that all houses here are mostly taken up and given to 
their respective lodgers what bed clothes they say they can 
afford, so this must be referred to the meeting of the Justices 
that they may judge and interpose their authority for pro- 
viding what clothes the town cannot serve the troops with 
from the county, and a copy of this day's minute to be given 
to the Commanding Officer, subscribed by the Clerk." 

The Act forbidding the wearing of the Highland dress was 
duly enforced in Nairnshire, although most of its inhabitants 
had been loyal to King George. The Sheriff-Substitute of 
Nairn (James Eose of Brea) issued an order the 27th day of 
December, 1748, to the effect that considering that the late 
Acts of Parliament made anent " restraining the Highland 
garb have with respect to the plaids and philabeg, or little 
kilt, taken place and commenced the 25th day of this month, 
and apprehending that many of the leiges may be brought to 
punishment by reason of their not being duly apprised of the 
same, for remeid thereof ordains publication and intimation 
to be made at the Mercat Cross of Nairn on a mercat day, 
and at the several Parish Churches of the shire upon Sunday 
next, and recommends to the several ministers to cause their 
respective precentors read the proclamation to be issued 
immediately after divine service, that all persons may be 
duly cautioned of their danger in case they trespass." The 
Act was disregarded by so many that the Sheriff considered 
it necessary to issue a second proclamation a few months 
later to be published at the Cross in the Burgh, at the Parish 
Kirk doors, and also to be read at the close of divine service, 


and the ministers are recommended seriously to exhort their 
regular congregations to the due observance and performance 
of these Acts. 

The Laird of Calder, residing at the time in Wales, hears 
of the dissatisfaction the abolition of the Highland dress has 
caused amongst his tenants at Cawdor, and he writes to his 
factor suggesting that they should wear canvas knicker- 
bockers in lieu of the tartan kilts " I have thought that 
the poor Highlanders who are distressed by wearing breeches 
might be very agreeably accommodated by wearing wide 
trousers, like seamen, made of canvas or the like. Nankeen 
might be for the more genteel. But I would have the cut as 
short as the philabeg, and then they would be almost as good 
and yet be lawful." Very sensible ; but how little does the 
Laird of Calder understand the Highland character ! 

The state of feeling produced by these and other harsh and 
insulting measures must have inevitably led to another and 
perhaps more formidable Rebellion, as soon as the natural ele- 
ments gathered strength, had it not been for two causes which 
worked for peace and reconciliation, namely, the abolition of 
Heritable Jurisdictions and the raising of Highland Regiments 
for the King. 



JOHN CAMPBELL of Calder was the last hereditary Sheriff of 
Nairn. The Act abolishing the heritable jurisdictions was 
passed in 1747. The holders of these offices were called 
upon to lodge any claims they might have to compensation, 
and these claims were investigated and reported on by the 
Court of Session. In only sixteen cases were the claims of 
the hereditary sheriffs held to be proved. One of the sixteen 
was, however, that of the Sheriff' of Nairn, but the change 
from the Calders to the Campbells had to a certain extent 
affected its monetary value. The Laird of Calder claimed 
3000 as compensation for the abolition of the Sheriffship 
and 500 for the abolition of the office of Constable of the 
King's Castle of Nairn. For the former he was awarded 
2000, but for the latter he got nothing as the place was in 
ruins. The ground of the old castle still bears the name of 
the Constabulary or Constabulary Garden, on which Lord 
Cawdor has in recent years built a handsome house. 

After the resignation of Alexander Campbell of Delnies, 
who had for some time the management of the Cawdor 
property, John Campbell of Calder sent North a Welsh 
factor, Mr Valentine White, to attend to his interests. 
Valentine White resided at Polenach and afterwards at 
Brackla, and the correspondence kept up between Laird and 
factor furnishes some interesting information regarding Nairn- 
shire in those days. John Campbell, the Laird of Calder, 


parted with the expensive acquisition of Isla and also sold off 
Muckairn, but, though seldom visiting Cawdor, he had great 
affection for the old place. Late in life he died in 1777 
he writes " If my grandson sees with my eyes, nothing 
done here [Stackpole Court] will make him insensible 
to the natural beauties of Calder, or slight that ancient, 
honourable, and agreeable seat of the family. It would be 
tedious and fruitless to give the reasons why I have resided 
so little, and not laid out money at Calder, but I can truly 
say want of love or liking to the place was none of them. 
With the same money I might have made Calder exceed this 
place in everything except being farther north and the high 
rocks by the sea, which are indeed a great natural beauty." 

The Laird of Calder in his Welsh home, was, however, 
kept informed of everything that was passing in Nairnshire. 
Valentine White wrote him that he had received in the 
autumn of 1773, a visit from two distinguished strangers, 
namely, Dr Samuel Johnson and Boswell. He met them at tea 
in the Manse of Cawdor. Their host, the minister, was the Eev. 
Kenneth Macaulay, (granduncle of Lord Macaulay). Previous 
to his settlement at Cawdor, he had been minister at Ardna- 
murchan, and was the author of " A History of St. Kilda " 
a work which procured him this visit of Dr Johnson. Val- 
entine asked the strangers to his house, and gave them a letter 
of introduction to Mr Ferae, Master of Stores at Fort George. 
Boswell in his Journal records their meeting with Valentine 
White and getting the letter of introduction. " He showed 
the letter to me," says Boswell ; " it recommended two cele- 
brated gentlemen; no less than Dr Johnson, author of his 
Dictionary, and Mr Boswell, known at Edinburgh by the 
name of Paoli" a compliment to Boswell's admiration of 
the Corsican hero. " He said," continues Boswell, " he hoped 


I had no objection to what he had written ; if I had he would 
alter it. I thought it was a pity to check his effusions and 
acquiesced, taking care, however, to seal the letter, that it 
might not appear that I had read it." In commenting on 
the news, the Laird of Calder gives his personal opinion of the 
two distinguished visitors. " The weakness of Mr Bos well," 
he writes, " in regard to the foolish and absurd stories which 
abound in the Highlands, and indeed in all very remote and 
lonely places, amazes me. Mr Johnson is a learned and 
ingenious man, and his Dictionary a useful book ; but there 
are some things in it which, I fancy, he now wishes were not 
there. For instance the articles on ' oats ' and ' excise/ which 
are both silly and impertinent ; and I observed two or three 
things in Mr Boswell's books which I thought wrong ; but no 
man is or can be without failings." Johnson and Boswell 
spent a night in the inn at Nairn, and the great lexicographer 
records that the place was " in a state of miserable decay, 
and for aught he knew, might have still a Lord Provost !" 
" At Nairn," says Dr Johnson, " we may fix the verge of the 
Highlands ; for here I first saw peat fires, and first heard the 
Erse language." He was attracted by a girl he saw indus- 
triously working her spinning wheel and singing a Gaelic 

Valentine White informs the Laird of all that is doing 
in ecclesiastical matters. Calder dislikes immensely the 
" high flyers " the evangelical party of the time. On the 
subject of popular election in the Church he has strong 
opinions. " I think," he writes, " the popular calls, con- 
current in a presentation, are very absurd things, and the 
gentlemen by giving in to them increase the pride and 
insolence of the clergy, and encourage a turbulent dis- 
position in the common people. True national religion is 


the best thing in the world, but superstition and enthusiasm 
are two of the worst and most mischievous. They usurp the 
name of religion, but are in reality the greatest enemies to it 
and to the peace of the world. They are the engines of 
wicked hypocrites to work their ends and bad purposes, and 
to govern and mislead the weak and well meaning." Like 
most men in his position, the Laird of Calder misunderstands 
the real character of these religious revivals. They are re- 
actions from deadness and formality in religion, and impart 
fresh vigour and life to the Church. 

Valentine White did not find the tenantry of Cawdor very 
well satisfied when he arrived amongst them. Unpopular 
changes had been introduced in regard to their holdings by 
Sir Archibald Campbell and his son. Sir Archibald in his 
report to the Commissioners in 1725, wrote " The tenants 
upon the Cawdor estate being numerous and generally poor, 
refuse to take leases at the present rent, and their houses are 
all of faile." He could think of no other way for bettering 
or improving the estate than " if the Commissioners incline 
to give him a nineteen years' lease thereof, he will transmit 
his proposals whereby he will be enabled to find more sub- 
stantial tenants, fewer in number, and instead of heightening 
their rents or taking entries, he will take them bound to 
build their houses in stone, enlarge their gardens, and plant 
about their several possessions." The plans Sir Archibald 
had in view were partially carried out, and the people dis- 
liked " the improvements." This was the state of things 
Valentine White found, and he was at a loss what to do. 
Evictions were not to be thought of, and yet there was absolute 
need of consolidation of holdings in order that the tenants 
might be comfortable, and new methods of cultivation intro- 
duced so that the estate might be improved. He wrote to the 


Laird that he had consulted the Laird of Lethen, and Calder 
writes back " Lethen's information and advice will certainly 
be of great use to you, and you will take some pains calmly 
to reason with the people and show and convince them of their 
past mistakes, and how much better it will be for themselves 
in many things to follow new methods. I don't say that all 
will be capable, or can be made willing, to hearken to good 
advice and instruction ; that is more than can be expected in 
any country ; but I am satisfied you will find many that will 
be persuaded to hearken to reason, and when they hear it 
may be made to understand it, and then they will follow it. 
Great allowance must be made for the prejudices of education 
and old habits." 

All men will honour John Campbell for the sentiments 
contained in the following letter of his to his factor " You 
were extremely in the right in choosing to make labourers of 
the poor people in the country. And indeed there can be no 
improvement made about Calder which will please or oblige 
me so much as improving the poor people by teaching them 
industry and such work as is proper for the country. I hate 
to hear the people of any country thought below the rest of 
mankind because they are untaught. There was a time when 
the inhabitants of the politest parts of England were at least 
as rude and ignorant as any Highlanders ; and those who in 
their pride, despise the inhabitants of remote, ill-cultivated 
countries, might have been among the worst of their people. 
It must cost time and trouble to teach the ignorant what 
they never learned, and to unteach them, if I may use such a 
word, what they have learned wrong, but the time is well 
spent, and the trouble will afford great pleasure to an honest, 
benevolent mind." 

At a later period he writes " It grieves me to hear of so 


much sickness among my poor tenants. I wish I had sooner 
thought of sending Dr James's book and powders, which I 
really believe will be of great service if the people will be 
persuaded to follow the directions. In this country many 
people, I believe, are killed in fevers by keeping them too 
hot, not letting any air come to them, heaping clothes upon 
them, and letting numbers of people come into their room 
and talk to them, whereas they should be kept as quiet as 
can be, the air cool, &c." 

Cattle disease breaks out in 1770, and the Laird writes to 
his factor " I am extremely sorry to hear that the distemper 
among the cattle is broken out so near our country. Its 
being in the air, I think a groundless imagination. But 
from what happened in Greenwich Park when the like dis- 
temper was in England, I am satisfied it may be carried by 
dogs in their hair, and that being near the ground, and they 
apt to tumble on the ground, the dogs infect the grass." 

The factor consults him on the subject of hedges, indicating 
a preference for whin hedges. The Laird does not much 
fancy them, but he yields the point. " My objection to 
whin hedges was that I thought frost would kill them, but 
after what you say, I can only prefer hawthorn for their 
beauty." He recommends constant clipping and pruning. 
" Hawthorns," he adds, " are very beautiful as standard trees, 
though not large ; and I should fancy some here and there in 
your whin hedges, pruned up above the top of the whins, 
would have a pleasing effect and not hurt the hedges." 

The wasteful and slovenly method of covering roofs with 
sods or divots, the Laird of Calder cannot abide. He writes 
" No tack or lease to be given without a clause to prevent 
cutting of divots for covering of buildings. Straw, I know, is 
scarce, but broom or heather may be had. It is true it will 


take a little more trouble to cover with than with divots, but 
if even the poorest tenants spent a little more of their time 
in taking care of their houses and other proper work, instead 
of lying a great part of the day idle upon the side of a brae, 
it would be better for themselves as well as for their land- 
lords !" The sting in the tail of the letter was probably 
required at the time. The Laird was fond of having his 
own ideas carried out in the matter of planting, but he 
shows his considerateness of the feelings of his neighbours 
" Remember," he writes to his factor, " to plant the hill 
opposite Kilravock in the manner agreeable to him" 

The Laird's love of the old place breaks out in every letter. 
" The first time I was at Calder, we had great plenty of the 
finest black cherries, which they called geans. It is a 
a beautiful tree when it is in blossom." He recommends 
his factor to see if he could not get a few apricot and cherry 
trees to plant from the Nursery at Inverness, mentioning 
that Mr Williamson, the nurseryman at Kensington, had a 
brother with him, who had been at Inverness as a soldier in 
the Rebellion year, and had recollections of seeing a pretty 
large nursery garden " beyond the church as you go to the 
sea." He adds that there used to be very fine apricots in his 
early days at Brodie, and as the gardens north of the Castle 
were well walled in and agreed with the appearance of the 
old house, they might be made useful for fruit. 

Calder has very distinct recollections of everything about 
the Castle. He writes to his factor " The vaults under the 
hall at Calder, which were made garrison stables, are very fit 
for cellars, but I fear these want a good way down to them 
without going through the great hall or the laigh kitchen. I 
would gladly have the vault where the hawthorn tree stands 
a cellar only for wine and bottled liquors, unencumbered by 


lumber. The hawthorn tree must be preserved sacred, and; 
you must carry all strangers to see it. I don't remember the 
tradition of the cart wheel sticking in the hawthorn tree, but 
have heard that the laird when about to remove dreamed 
that if he built over the hawthorn tree it would be very 
prosperous. There may be ground for both stories, and I 
suppose the truth is that fehe laird had a mind to remove and 
was in fear of displeasing his clan, who probably had a 
superstitious regard for the old place, and therefore invented 
the dream, and possibly also contrived the sticking of the 
cart-wheel, to turn their superstition in favour of the new 
place and reconcile them to the change." 

The factor sends to the old Laird to Wales some skeps of 
honey " it is extremely good and much approved of," writes 
the gratified Laird. A further indication of the agricul- 
tural advancement of the vale of Cawdor is furnished by 
another consignment he received " I this morning tasted 
some very fine white rolls made of the fiour you sent me 
from Calder, which you may be sure gave me great pleasure, 
and I am very proud of it." 

In 1671, the Laird expressed his desire to " turn the estate 
of Cawdor into money rent/' and three years later he wrote 
" If you can in another year raise the estate to 1000 per 
annum, free of public burdens, without hurt to or oppressing 
any tenant, you may be assured that if I live to that time, I 
shall think it a very acceptable service, and be much pleased 
with it." This Valentine White accomplished. The barley 
and meal in next year's rental paid by the various farms 
amounted to 1056 16s 6d, with minor payments, such as 
160:3 hens, at 2d each ; 189 wedders, at 2s each ; 30 kids, 
at Is 2d each ; 39 hooks, (or women shearing for the whole 
harvest), at 5s 6d each. 


In 1767, the good old Laird falls and bruises one of his 
knees and has to be wheeled about in a chair. The old factor 
is also failing, and wishes to resign. "You must get an 
assistant/' said his master ; " I have been so well satisfied 
with your management that I can't willingly think of another." 
The Laird goes to Bath and drinks the waters. His knee 
gets much better, but he catches cold and dies at Bath on 6th 
September, 1777, aged eighty- two. " Val," as White was 
called by his master, survived some years longer, dying at 
Brackla, of which place he was latterly the tenant, in 1784. 
He appears also to have been a wadsetter of Banchor. 

Very great improvements had been made both in planting 
and enclosing by Valentine White, and every encouragement 
was given to small tenants by dividing amongst them carse or 
waste land. The Carse of Ardersier was lined out into crofts, 
which are shown on a plan (year 1777), marked " The New 
Improvement." A fishing village existed probably long before 
this time at Delnies, but the villagers received fresh allot- 
ments. The great drawback was that they had no harbour. 
The boats were beached, and it was part of the work of the 
women to wade out into the shallow bay, carrying the fisher- 
men on their backs to and from their boats. They also 
assisted in dragging the boats ashore. The fishing population 
of Delnies were a Gaelic-speaking community, and being 
crofters as well as fishermen, they found it advantageous to 
take wives from the agricultural classes in the neighbourhood. 
There was evidently an intention to create a series of rural 
villages along the cultivated land between Delnies and Arder- 
sier, and places are marked out and named as Eraser town 
Campbeltown (of Delnies), Cuthbertown, &c. The " Cadger's 
Koad " leading from Delnies in the direction of Kildrummie, 
indicates that the Delnies fishers took their fish to the country 


and not to the town. A hill to the south of Easter Delnies 
was named " Tomintoul." The ridge running east and west 
was called the Drum of Nairn. 

After the Eebellion of 1745, the Government wished to 
build a fort to overawe the Highlanders, and selected as the 
site a fishing village called Blacktown belonging to Calder at 
the point or sand-spit below Ardersier. These lands, 
as formerly mentioned, belonged to the Order of the 
Knights Templar. Calder now disposed of part of them to 
the Government, and the inhabitants of Blacktown were 
removed to the nearest point beyond the Government ground, 
and the new locality was called Campbelltown, in honour of 
the superior of the soil making the third village of that 
name. The Government also acquired the neighbouring farm 
of Hillhead, in proximity to the garrison, which was named 
Fort George in honour of George II. The Government 
sold this farm of Hillhead in 1833 to Mr Archibald, Edin- 
burgh, whose representatives sold it again to Mr Orr 
Ewing. In 1792 the rental was 50 ; it is now over 500. 
The building of Fort-George was begun in 1747, and cost 
160,000 ere it was finished. 



THE system of Parliamentary representation began, properly 
speaking, in the year 1681. Previous to that time, all barons 
were required to give personal attendance at the Parliaments. 
The barons regarded it a burden rather than a privilege, 
and sought relief and obtained it so far as to be allowed to 
combine in sending two or more " wise men " of their number 
from each Sheriffdom. Hence arose the custom of payment 
of members. Sir Hugh Campbell's bill in 1673 for attend- 
ance at four sessions of Parliament against the eighteen 
poor heritors of Nairnshire amounted to 1785, not including 
his own share, which would probably be a fourth more. In 
the course of the seventeenth century more value began to be 
attached to a seat in Parliament, and various Acts were 
passed defining the qualifications of those who had a right to 
vote for Commissioners to Parliament. 

In 1681, an Act was passed declaring that none shall have 
a vote but those who are publicly infeft in property or 
superiority, or in possession of a forty shilling land of Old 
Extent holden of the King, or in lands liable in public 
burdens for four hundred pounds of valued rent, or wad- 
setters (bond-holders in possession of the rents of the land), 
apparent heirs to deceased predecessors, and husbands in 
right of their wives. These constituted the county free- 
holders entitled to vote down to the passing of the Reform 
Bill of 1832. 


The Burghs sent one or more Commissioners to the Con- 
vention of Royal Burghs, forming part of the Estates or 
Parliament of Scotland. When the Rolls of Parliament were 
called previous to the Union, Nairnshire stood twentieth, 
taking precedence of Cromarty, Argyle, Forfar, Banff, Kirk- 
cudbright, Sutherland, Caithness, Elgin, Orkney, Clackmannan, 
Ross, and Kinross. 

After the Treaty of Union an Act was passed which 
ordained that thirty of the forty-five representatives in the 
British Parliament allocated to Scotland should be chosen 
by the shires, one for every shire, excepting the shires of 
Nairn and Cromarty, which shall choose by turns (Nairn 
having the first election,) and the shires of Bute and Caith- 
ness, and Clackmannan and Ross, which are similarly 
bracketed. It thus happened that at each alternate 
Parliament the County of Nairn had no representative. 
The Burgh of Nairn was grouped with Inverness, Torres, 
and Fortrose, as at present. The Town Councils of each 
burgh elected a delegate, and these delegates elected the 
Member of Parliament, the election taking place in each 
burgh by turn, which was called for that time the pre- 
siding Burgh. 

The first Member of Parliament for Nairnshire after the 
Union was Hugh Rose of Kilravock the Baron who after- 
wards took such an active part against the Jacobites in the 
Rising of 1715. He had at the time of the Union been a 
Commissioner of the shire, and was nominated as its 
representative to the United Parliament of Great Britain. 
When it came to be Cromarty 's turn to elect in 1710, that 
County returned Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty, and 
with little variation continued the representation in the 
Laird of Cromarty's family in subsequent Parliaments. 


The first contest of which there is any particular account 
was in 1735, when Alexander Brodie of Lethen was chosen 
Member for Nairn shire. His opponent was James Brodie of 
Spynie. The contest lay between the interests of Calder and 
Lethen on the one side, and that of the Brodies of Brodie on 
the other. The number of voters on the roll was eleven. 
According to James Brodie of Spynie, there ought to have 
been more, but the Sheriff-Clerk, Mr Eobert Donaldson, had 
made up a " packed roll " he had left out some unfavourable 
to Lethen's side. However that may be, the Sheriff Principal 
(Sir Archibald Campbell of Clunas) declared Lethen duly 
elected. The Laird of Spynie petitioned the House of Com- 
mons against his return, and raised an action in the Court of 
Session in regard to the disputed points relative to the 
making up of the roll, but the election was sustained by the 
House of Commons and the litigation in the Courts came to 
nought. When the Barons or Freeholders met in 1742 the 
feelings generated by the election had not subsided, and there 
was a renewal of the fight. Every claim was keenly con- 
tested. It was the fixed rule of procedure that the last 
Member of Parliament present, receiving the roll of freemen 
from the Sheriff, should call it. Mr Brodie of Spynie objected 
to Lethen doing so, but the custom depended on statute, and 
Lethen called the roll, but when it came to electing a preses 
of the meeting, Alexander Brodie, Lord Lyon, was chosen. 
The majority this time was the other way, and several names 
were added and expunged by the Lord Lyon's party in spite 
of Lethen's opposition. It was, however, the turn of Cromarty 
to elect for this Parliament, so that there was nothing at stake, 
and when the next election came round in the year 1747, the 
peace had been made up, and John Campbell of Calder (whose 
letters to his factor have been given) was unanimously 


elected member of the shire of Nairn. He had been a Lord 
of the Admiralty in 1736 and served in the Ministry of 
Pelham in 1746 as a Lord of the Treasury. He sat for 
Nairnshire till 1754, when it became the turn of Cromarty 
to elect. 

At Brodie's death, the office of Lord Lyon was gifted to 
John Campbell, second son of the Laird of Calder, and 
Alexander Campbell his brother, who became conjunct Lords 
Lyon with survivancy to the longest liver. Alexander 
"became a Lieut.-Colonel in the Army, and left the duties to 
oe performed by his brother John, who assumed the name of 
Hooke in addition to that of Campbell John Campbell 
Hooke becoming a well known personage in political circles. 

John Campbell of Calder was then proposed for the Inver- 
ness Burghs. The representation of these Burghs was practi- 
cally in the hands of Culloden and Kilravock. The Forbeses 
were Provosts of Inverness, and the Roses of Nairn. Kil- 
ravock also exercised a controlling influence in Fortrose, and 
Forres usually followed suit. Duncan Forbes of Culloden 
represented the Inverness Burghs from 1722 till 1737, when 
he was appointed Lord President of the Court of Session. 
In 1747, Alexander Brodie of Brodie, Lord Lyon, was 
elected. Inverness was the presiding burgh on that occasion, 
and the Nairn Town Council deputed Hugh Rose, younger of 
Kilravock, (or Geddes, as he was called), to represent the 
Burgh of Nairn at the election. Brodie died on 9th March, 
1754, at London, of heart complaint. 

The election of John Campbell of Calder in 1754 was 
attended by great excitement. Nairn was the presiding 
burgh, and an armed mob seized the town. The minutes 
of the Council (written in a shaky hand indicative of the 
excitement of George Donaldson, the Town Clerk,) give a 


graphic account of the circumstance " At and within the 
dwelling-house of Hugh Rose of Kilravock, Esq., in the Burrow 
of Nairn, and in the hall of the said house, the thirty day of 
Aprile, 1754 years, betwixt the hours of eleven and one of 
the clock, the said day in presence of Hugh Robertson, Bailie, 
Nathaniel Leitch, Dean of Guild, Hugh Rose of Kilraick, 
Esq., James Rose of Brae, Lewis Rose, Esq., Alexander Camp- 
bell of Delnies, David Falconer of Grieshop, and Alexander 
Douglas, wright, common councillors of the said Burgh. The 
Council considering that for these several days past there 
has been a tumultuous assembling of armed men in this town, 
who having upon last Lord's Day, commonly called Sunday, 
got possession of the Court-house and Tolbooth of this place, 
forcibly and contumelously keepit the same, and without 
any known reason have frequently refused access to the 
Sheriff-Substitute of this County when demanding the same 
in an agreeable manner, in order to hold courts and admin- 
ister justice. As also considering that the mob, armed as 
above, have frequently thrown stones at, and threatened to 
stab and shoot any persons who should attempt to enter the 
said Tolbooth or walk upon the outer stair thereof they 
particularly did yesterday, the twenty-ninth instant, menace 
the said Hugh Rose of Kilraick and swear that they would 
shoot him with a pistol one of them had then in his hand if 
he offered to move one step further towards the Tolbooth, 
where the said Hugh Rose was then intending to go, and at 
the stair-foot of which he was then standing; as also did 
catch hold of Alexander Dunbar of Boath, Sheriff-Substitute 
of the County, by the breast, and did threaten and abuse him, 
both yesterday and this day, and when he demanded access, 
as said is, the mob from the steeple of the prison threw 
stones at the said Sheriff and others present with him, not- 


withstanding of the Mob Act, its being publicly and audibly 
read at the stair of the said Tolbooth in presence and by 
appointment of the said Sheriff, and the mob desired to 
dismiss under the certification and penalty mentioned in the 
said Act. And further, considering that the said mob is 
still in possession of the said Tolbooth and the doors shut, 
notwithstanding of the hour appointed to meet for the 
election of the delegate being past, as appears by an instru- 
ment of protest taken in the street opposite the door of the 
said Tolbooth, under the hand of a notary and witnesses^ 
Therefore and in order to prevent any bad consequences from 
the said tumultuous mob, them or any of them, did and do 
hereby agree to hold this meeting for choosing the Commis- 
sioner or Delegate in consequence of the appointment of the 
twenty-sixth current, at the said house of Hugh Rose of 
Kilraick, within the Burgh of Nairn, being the most secure 
and convenient place for that purpose." They proceeded to 
the election according to the usual forms, and " the vote 
being put, Doctor Joshua Mackenzie, son-in-law of the said 
Hugh Eose of Kilraick, was by the whole members present, 
being a majority of the Town Council of the said Burgh, 
unanimously elected and chosen Commissioner or Delegate 
of the said Burgh of Nairn." 

On the 9th of May following, the delegates met within the 
Tolbooth without obstruction or molestation. They unani- 
mously elected John Campbell of Calder. Doctor Joshua 
Mackenzie, the delegate of Nairn, was the father of Henry 
Mackenzie, the author of the " Man of Feeling." He had 
married Kilravock's daughter Margaret. 

Sir Alexander Grant of Dalvey was chosen for the Inver- 
ness Burghs in 1761. He was engaged in extensive foreign 
business, and had made a large fortune. He purchased the 


property of Grangehall belonging to the Dunbars, and changed 
its name to Dalvey, which it has since retained. Sir Alex- 
ander also acquired the property of Park in Nairnshire 
from the old family of Hay which, like the Dunbars 
of Grangehall, decayed about this time. He also acquired 
lands in the Burgh of Fortrose. Sir Alexander was made a 
burgess of Nairn, and was on very friendly terms with the 
Magistrates, but on his purchasing James Eose of Clava's 
property, they had a violent dispute with him about the 
boundaries of Balblair, which ended in an expensive lawsuit 
carried on for years by his brother Sir Ludovick who suc- 
ceeded him. The Grants had misfortunes in business, and 
had to part with their property in this district. Sir Alexander 
Grant, late Principal of Edinburgh University, now deceased, 
represented the Baronetcy. 

Colonel Hector Munro of Novar, the distinguished Indian 
officer, was elected Member for the Inverness Burghs in 1768. 
On his return from India he purchased from Eose of Kil- 
ravock the property of Muirtown at Findhorn (a part of 
which still belongs to Munro-Ferguson of Novar), and with it 
the representation of the Inverness Burghs. His relative, Sir 
Harry Munro of Foulis, was appointed the delegate of Nairn 
to attend the election at Fortrose. Colonel Hector Munro 
had cultivated the good graces of the Nairn Town Council by 
becoming a member of the Council some years before, and he 
continued a member for several years, eventually becoming 
Provost of Nairn as well as Member for the Inverness Burghs. 
A few weeks after his first election to Parliament, he pre- 
sented the town with a clock for the steeple, which the 
Edinburgh clock-maker guarantees to be " as good a clock as 
is in Scotland for its size." Novar was knighted and continued 
to represent the Inverness Burghs down till 1802, having 


been returned to six Parliaments successively. Sir Hector's 
re-election to the Parliament of 1780 took place at Nairn, 
when " Alexander Munro, Esq., his Majesty's Consul General 
to Spain," was appointed the Nairn delegate, the Council 
testifying that " he was a man fearing God, and of the 
true Protestant religion now publicly professed and authorised 
by the laws of the realm." 

On the retirement of Sir Hector Munro in 1802, the 
representation of the Inverness Burghs passed into the 
possession of the Gordon-Cummings. Sir Alexander Penrose 
Cumming-Gordon, son and heir of Gumming of Altyre was 
elected in 1802, but accepted the Chiltern Hundreds the 
following year. His brother, George Gumming of London, 
who had been in the naval service of the East India Company, 
and afterwards settled in London as a merchant, succeeded 
him in the representation of the Burghs. In 1806 he made 
way for the Hon. Colonel Francis William Grant of Grant, 
who, however, stood in the following year for Elginshire, 
which he represented without a break until 1837. He 
became Earl of Seafield in 1840. 

Mr Peter Baillie of Dochfour, represented the Burghs 
from 1807 till 1811. Following the precedent of Novar, he 
became a member of the Nairn Town Council, but seldom 
attended its meetings. 

In 1811, Charles Grant of Glenelg became member for 
the Inverness Burghs, and sat till 1818, when he stood for 
Inverness-shire and was elected. He held high office in 
successive Governments, and on his elevation to the Peerage 
took the title of Lord Glenelg. Mr George Cumming of 
London again came forward in 1818 and was elected, remain- 
ing until 1826. Sir Eobert Grant, a brother of Lord 
Glenelg's, succeeded him, and sat for the Burghs from 


1826 to 1830. He married a daughter of Sir David Davidson 
of Can tray. Sir Eobert Grant became Governor of Bombay, 
and occupied a distinguished position amongst the public 
men of the time. He was succeeded by Colonel John 
Baillie of the Leys. 

To return to the County representation. While John 
Campbell, the old Laird of Calder, represented the Inverness 
Burghs, his eldest son Pryse Campbell sat for the County of 
Nairn. He was unanimously elected in 1761. In the 
previous Parliament he represented Inverness-shire. Valen- 
tine White, the factor for Cawdor, acted as his procurator in 
the election proceedings at Nairn. On 4th December 1766, 
Pryse Campbell sought re-election in consequence of having 
accepted office in the Ministry as a Lord of the Treasury. 
Two years later he died his death happening on 4th 
December 1768, the second anniversary of his re-election. 
A new Parliament having to be elected in that year, 
Cromartyshire had the choice of the representative, and 
departing from the traditional custom, elected a stranger 
William Pulteney who sat till the Parliament expired in 
1774. Mr Pulteney was really a Johnstone of Dumfries, but 
having married the heiress of Daniel Pulteney, first cousin of 
William Earl of Bath, he assumed the name of Pulteney and 
dropped that of Johnstone. He was a man of enormous 
wealth, commonly reputed to be one of the richest subjects in 
Great Britain. He hoped to be retained for Nairnshire when 
it came to be its turn to elect, and with that view he 
acquired an electoral qualification as a freeholder of two 
davochs of land at Auldearn. His procurator was Hugh 
Eose of Aitnoch, who was the liferenter of the two davochs, 
Mr Pulteney being only entitled to exercise the vote in the 
Absence of the liferenter. This Hugh Eose began to maim- 


facture votes in the County in the interests apparently of Mr 
Pulteney, among others claiming being the Earl of Fife, George 
Ross of Pitkery and John Ross, Advocate. The two first 
claims were rejected. The other side added Captain John 
Eraser, late Captain of a Company in the 48th Regiment 
of Foot, on a liferent qualification on Kilravock property, 
Henry Mackenzie, Attorney in Exchequer, " The Man of 
Feeling, " on a vote for Coulmony, &c. Two years 
previously, Kilravock had created four additional votes on his 
property, in addition to his own and his son's vote. These 
new voters were Mr Lewis Rose, Captain William Rose, 
Captain Hugh Rose of Brae and Mr Alexander Rose in 
Flemington. They held in liferent. The manufacture of one 
of these faggot votes led to a change in the destination of the 
property in a later generation. It is curious to find one of 
the great ecclesiastical leaders in Scotland at this time 
Principal Hill of St. Andrews holding a fictitious vote in 
Nairnshire. He qualified on the liferent of the superiority 
of Balmakeith. During the twenty years he held the qualifi- 
cation he, however, voted once only. 

The election, for which there was so much preparation, 
took place on the 25th October 1774. There were nineteen 
voters on the roll, and thirteen voted. The contest lay between 
Cosmo Gordon of Cluny and Mr Pulteney, and of that 
number eleven voted for Gordon, and two Rose of Aitnoch 
and Mr John Ross for Pulteney. The Gordons of Cluny 
had by this time acquired the property of Kinsteary belonging 
to the Sutherlands. Mr Pulteney soon after relinquished his 
faggot vote in Nairnshire, having found a seat in England. 
He died in 1805 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His 
daughter was created Countess of Bath. 

Mr Cosmo Gordon was made a Baron of Her Majesty's 


Exchequer in Scotland in 1777, and resigned office as Member 
for Nairnshire. The Whig compiler of the " Confidential 
Keport on the Political State of Scotland" in that period, 
remarks about the Gordons "Baron Gordon was made 
a Judge by Lord North and is attached to Campbell of Calder, 
and his brother Charles Gordon, made a Clerk of Session by 
Dundas and the Duke of Gordon. They have a good estate 
and interest. As the Baron has no children Charles is the 
heir-presumptive, and will be much directed by the Baron. 
They are both men of character and abilities." 

Baron Gordon presided at the election of his successor on 
18th April of that year. John Campbell, younger of Calder 
(his grandfather was still alive, but died a few months later), 
was unanimously elected, and represented the County of 
Nairn till the close of the Parliament in 1780, when it being 
Cromarty's turn to elect, he sought and obtained a seat in 
Wales, which he retained until raised to the Peerage as 
Baron Cawdor of Castlemartin in 1796 the first Laird of 
Calder who became a Peer. 

In 1784, the minute of election of a member for the 
County of Nairn records that Captain Alexander Campbell, 
of the late 75th Kegiment of Foot, was elected and chosen to 
be their representative by those present (except James Brodie 
of Brodie who voted for himself.) Captain Campbell's death 
the following year caused a vacancy, when the candidates 
were Mr Alexander Brodie, now returned from Madras, and 
Captain George Campbell, of the Orpheus frigate, a brother 
of John Campbell of Calder. Brodie, the Indian Nabob, was 
elected by a majority of one the votes being 9 to 8. He was 
a man of considerable wealth, and purchased the estate of 
Arnhall in Kincardine. He was presented with the freedom 
of the City of Edinburgh. He married a daughter of the 


Hon. James Wemyss of Wemyss Castle by Lady Elizabeth 
Sutherland, daughter of the seventeenth Earl of Sutherland. 
His only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth Brodie, became 
Duchess of Gordon, having married in 1813 George, last 
Duke of Gordon. In the following Parliament, Cromarty 
having the choice of the Member, Alexander Brodie stood 
for the Elgin Burghs, and was elected. He was a great 
friend of Henry Dundas who administered affairs in Scotland. 

When the County of Nairn in 1796 was again called upon 
to elect, they unanimously chose Colonel Henry Frederick 
Campbell, of the First Kegiment of Guards, and re-elected 
him in 1806. He was a cousin of Lord Cawdor's, and served 
with distinction in Holland and the Peninsula, being made a 
General and a K.C.B. Sir Henry retired in 1808. 

In 1812, Hugh Kose of Kilravock was elected Member for 
the County, but the following year he accepted the Chiltern 

In 1813, the County of Nairn returned as its member one 
of the most distinguished men of the time Sir James Mac- 
kintosh, the statesman and philosopher. Sir James was 
descended of the family of Mackintosh of Kyllachie. The 
fame he had acquired by his great work the " Vindiciae 
Gallicie" had reached the North, and the Cawdor family, 
always friendly to the house of Kyllachie, made interest for him 
and got him the seat. On the occasion of his election he came 
to Nairn, and revisited the scenes of his youth. Sir James 
is said to have been a pupil at the Nairn Parish School, but 
this is doubtful. He received part of his early education at 
the old Grammar School at Fortrose. Sir James continued 
to represent the County of Nairn till the dissolution in 1818, 
when Cromarty once more elected the Member. 

In 1820, Admiral George Pryse Campbell, K.N., son of 


Lord Cawdor, was elected, and represented Nairnshire till the 
dissolution of 1826. He was again elected in 1830, and sat 
tiU 1831. 

Major Gumming Bruce was member for the Inverness 
Burghs during the agitation immediately preceding the pass- 
ing of the Eeform Act of 1832. His election in 1831 took 
place at Nairn. Captain Kose (of Kilravock) presided at the 
election, and the Provosts of the other burghs were present 
namely, Provost Eobertson for Inverness, Provost Gordon for 
Forres, and Provost Macfarquhar for Fortrose. According to 
a contemporary account, Captain Eose proposed the Major's 
election " in a very neat and appropriate manner." The elec- 
tion was unanimous, and after the Major had returned thanks, 
he invited the commissioners and his friends to a dinner in 
Eichardson's Hotel. It was the last political dinner under 
the old regime. When next the Major sought re-election, he 
had to fight for his seat under the extended franchise. 

There were several meetings for Eeform in the Burgh of 
Nairn and a great trades demonstration, still memorable. 
On the last night of the year 1831, a large anti-slavery 
meeting of the inhabitants was held in the Secession 
Church. " The night was intensely cold," says the newspaper 
account, "but there were many people from the country 
present." Mr Eobert Falconer occupied the chair, and 
addresses were delivered by Mr Isaac Ketchen, Mr Mackin- 
tosh, Millbank, Dr Smith, Eev. James Mein, Secession Church 
Minister, Mr Henry Mackenzie, Mr Cant, and Mr Cameron. 
Eesolutions were passed calling upon the Government to 
abolish slavery in the British Dominions, and to use its 
influence with the nations of Europe and America for the 
entire extinction of the Slave Trade. The petition was for- 
warded to Mr Joseph Hume, M.P. Shortly after another 


meeting was held in favour of the passing of the Keform Bill, 
when Mr Ketchen and the other leading Eeformers gave 
addresses, and a petition was drawn up and copies ordered to 
be forwarded to the Earl of Cawdor, Lord Brougham, and Mr 
Joseph Hume. It is apparent from the numerous petitions 
sent by the burgesses of Nairn to him that Mr Joseph Hume 
was the popular politician of the day. 

By the Keform Act of 1832, Nairnshire was combined 
with the County of Elgin in the election of a Member. The 
first Member returned by the united votes of the combined 
Counties was Colonel Francis William Grant, who retained 
the seat till 1840, when he became Earl of Seafield. He was 
succeeded in the representation by Major Cumming Bruce of 
Dunphail, who sat in seven Parliaments, extending over the 
period from 1840 to 1868. Major Gumming Bruce was a 
strong Conservative. The Duffs made several efforts to 
defeat him, but failed. The leading Whig or Liberal family 
in the County of Nairn was that of Brodie of Lethen. 

When Major Cumming Bruce retired, he was succeeded 
without a contest by the Hon. James Grant, who sat till 
1874, when, after a keen fight, the seat was gained by Lord 
Macduff for the Liberals. 

On the death of his father in 1879 Lord Macduff became 
Earl of Fife. He was created Duke of Fife in 1889 on the 
occasion of his marriage with the Princess Louise of Wales. 
The bye-election which followed on the elevation of Lord 
Macduff to the Upper House was keenly contested. Sir 
George Macpherson Grant of Ballindalloch was the Liberal 
candidate and Brodie of Brodie the Conservative candidate. 
Both gentlemen were personally very popular, and the election 
turned almost exclusively on the Eastern Question, then 
occupying public attention. Sir George won by a majority of 


56 votes. At the General Election of 1885 a three cornered 
fight took place. The extension of household suffrage had 
enfranchised a large class of new voters in the counties. 
Brodie again entered the field as Conservative candidate 
against Sir George as the Liberal candidate, while Mr C. W. 
Anderson, Q.C., appealed to the Eadical voters. Sir George 
was returned at the top of the poll by a majority of 56, 
receiving 1612 votes. Brodie polled 1556 votes, and Mr 
Anderson 1435. At the General Election of 1886, the split 
had occurred in the Liberal party over the question of Home 
Rule for Ireland, and Sir George, though receiving as a 
Liberal Unionist the support of most of the Conservatives, 
was defeated by Mr Anderson by a majority of 119. The 
numbers were Mr Anderson 1991 ; Sir George 1872. Mr 
Anderson having gone to Natal and settled there, his early 
resignation of his seat was looked for, and the Conservatives 
and Liberal Unionists adopted Brodie of Brodie as their 
candidate. Brodie's health, however, gave way, and he had 
to seek alleviation of his suffering by travelling on the Con- 
tinent. Mr Anderson's unexpected death in Africa in 1889 
necessitated an election, and Brodie being still unwell, retired. 
The Unionists selected Mr C. B. Logan, W.S., and the 
Radicals adopted Mr Seymour Keay. Mr Keay was returned 
by a majority of 529. Whilst the contest was in progress, 
intelligence came of the death of Brodie of Brodie. At the 
General Election of 1892, Mr Keay was opposed by Sir 
William Cameron Gull, but was again returned, by a majority 
of 545. The result of the last two elections shows that the 
sympathies of the great body of the electors enfranchised 
under the Act of 1885 notably the fishermen and farm 
servants have hitherto been with the Radical section of the 
Liberal party. 


Resuming the history of the representation of the Inver- 
ness Burghs, Colonel John Baillie of Leys, as already stated, 
succeeded Sir Robert Grant in 1830 at the election caused by 
the death of King George IV. Colonel Baillie had a most 
interesting career. His father was Dr George Baillie of 
Inverness, (who was the grandson of the first possessor of 
Mid Leys), and his mother was a sister of Colonel John 
Baillie of Dunain. He was intended for the law, but ran 
away from the law office in Edinburgh where he had been 
serving as an apprentice. A friend in England procured him 
a commission as Ensign, and he went out to India. He had 
a brilliant record as a soldier and came home in 1822, with 
an ample fortune, out of which he built Leys Castle. Colonel 
Baillie was a Whig, and voted for the Reform Bill, which 
established a 10 household qualification in the Burghs and 
enfranchised leaseholders and copyholders of 50 and upwards 
in counties. The Bill having been thrown out, Earl Grey's 
Ministry appealed to the country in 1831. Colonel Baillie's 
pronounced Liberalism had apparently given offence to the 
managers of the representation of the Inverness Burghs, and 
Major Gumming Bruce was elected in his stead. The Reform 
Bill having passed the House of Commons, and the House of 
Lords having offered it no further opposition, it became law, 
and a Dissolution of Parliament followed. 

The first election under the extended franchise took place 
in the month of December of 1832. No less than four 
candidates stood for the Inverness Burghs, namely, Colonel 
Baillie, Mr Stewart of Belladrum, Major Gumming Bruce and 
Mr Eraser of Torbreck. The candidature of the latter was 
regarded somewhat as a farce, and the contest really lay 
between the three first named. The electors had the choice 
of three shades of politics Major Gumming Bruce represent- 


ing the uncompromising Tory, Colonel Baillie the Whig, and 
Stewart of Belladrum, the Kadical. There was extraordinary 
excitement at the time. It was of course open voting, and 
feeling ran very high. Colonel Baillie was returned at the 
top of the poll, with 250 votes ; Stewart of Belladrum came 
next with 243 ; Major Cumming Bruce polled 142, and 
Fraser of Torbreck 6. Poor Colonel Baillie did not live long 
to enjoy his Parliamentary honours. He died of influenza in 
April of the following year (1833), leaving Leys Castle 
uncompleted. At the election which followed, Major 
Cumming Bruce again came forward to do battle for his- 
party, and Stewart of Belladrum stood as the accepted 
Liberal candidate. The bulk of the "Whigs voted for the 
Major in preference to Belladrum, and he was returned by a 
majority of 66, the numbers being Major Cumming Bruce 
358 ; Stewart 292. 

In 1834, another keen contest ensued. Major Cumming 
Bruce was opposed by Mr Edward Ellice of Invergarry, in 
the Whig interest. Young Ellice was a strong opponent, 
and was very popular, especially with the numerous class of 
non-electors, but Major Cumming Bruce's supporters stuck to 
him, and he was returned again, but only by the narrow 
majority of 4. The numbers were Cumming Bruce 344; 
Edward Ellice 340. The electors in Torres warmly espoused 
the cause of the Major, their friend and near neighbour, 
which saved his seat. Apparently Major Cumming Bruce 
accepted the vote as , warning to remove, and he did not 
stand again for the Inverness Burghs, but a few years later 
re-entered Parliament for the Counties of Elgin and Nairn. 
Mr Ellice was returned for the St. Andrews Burghs at the 
next election, and sat for the constituency for forty-three 
years continuously, becoming one of the most influential 


private members of the House of Commons. He died in 

At the General Election in 1837 on the death of King 
William, and the accession of Queen Victoria, the seat was 
contested by Mr Eoderick M'Leod of Cadboll in the Liberal 
interest against Mackenzie of Scatwell, Conservative, who was 
defeated by 19 votes. Young Cadboll accepted the Chiltern 
Hundreds in 1840, and in the election which followed 
thereupon there was a keen fight between Mr J. Fraser, 
Cromarty House, and Mr James Morrison, a London merchant, 
head of the great drapery firm of Morrison, Dillon and Coy. 
Mr Morrison was returned by a majority of 46, the numbers 
being Morrison 353 ; Fraser 307. 

A General Election took place the following year (1841) 
and Mr Morrison was unopposed. Morrison made lavish 
promises, few of which he ever fulfilled. He was a 
millionaire, but some years before his death he believed he 
was a poor man, and insisted upon his relatives contributing 
1 a week towards his support. 

The elections over the country had gone against the Whigs, 
and Sir Robert Peel took office at the head of its opponents, 
(who adopted for the first time the name of Conservatives) 
with a majority of over a hundred. It was a very strong 
Government, but it split up over the Repeal of the Corn 
Laws, and the Whigs returned to power under Lord John 

At the election of 1847 Mr Alexander Matheson of 
Ardross came forward as a supporter of Lord John Russell. 
He was opposed by Mr Hartley Kennedy, a London merchant, 
as an independent candidate, but Mr Matheson was returned 
by a majority of 81, having polled 280 votes as against 199 
for Kennedy. Mr Matheson held the seat for the next five 


Parliaments a period extending from 1847 to 1868. During 
that time he was unsuccessfully opposed on two occasions by 
Mr Campbell of Monzie. Mr Matheson, although not a 
great speaker, was a most useful member, and was largely 
instrumental in opening up the North to railway communi- 
cation. On retiring from the Inverness Burghs in 1868, he 
was elected for Eoss-shire, and was created a Baronet in 

Mr Mackintosh of Eaigmore succeeded Mr Alexander 
Matheson of Ardross in 1868 without a contest, but was 
defeated by Mr Charles Fraser Mackintosh of Drummond in 
1874 Mr Fraser Mackintosh retained the seat until 1885 
when he stood for Inverness-shire. The Liberal Association 
invited three candidates to address the constituency Mr W. 
S. B. M'Laren, manufacturer, Mr J. Macdonnell, barrister, 
and Mr E. B. Finlay, Queen's Counsel. The Association chose 
Mr M'Laren, and Mr Macdonnell retired, but a large body 
of the electors declined to accept the Association's nomination, 
and invited Mr Finlay to come forward. He did so, and won 
by 163 votes. Mr Finlay voted against the Home Eule Bill 
in 1886, and at the General Election which followed he was 
opposed by Sir Eobert Peel, as the Gladstonian candidate. 
He defeated Sir Eobert by 273 votes, and during the succeeding 
Parliament he supported the Unionist Government with 
conspicuous ability. In 1892 he was opposed by Mr Gilbert 
Beith, Gladstonian candidate, who was returned by a majority 
of 53. Mr Finlay in 1886 purchased the property of 
Newton, near Nairn. 



DURING the fifteen or twenty years immediately succeeding 
the Kebellion of 1745, the district of Nairn, in common with 
the Highlands generally, appears to have been in a very 
deplorable condition. In the year 1751, a memorial presented 
to the Convention of Burghs by the Town Council of Nairn 
gives a very vivid, but perhaps overdrawn, picture of the 
impoverished state of the Burgh. The Council being distrained 
by diligence for arrears of missive dues at the instance of 
George Irvine of Newton as executor to his father (who had 
been agent for the Koyal Burghs for several years), the 
Council prayed the Convention in Edinburgh to make a 
visitation of the Burgh with the view of ascertaining its true 
condition, and granting relief. The memorial sets forth that 
" the common good of the burgh is so inconsiderable that, 
communibiis annis, it will scarce amount to 50 Scots, which 
is not sufficient to pay the town's servants, support the 
windows of the Court House, and defray the charge of coal 
and candle to the military and other measures necessary for 
their guards, who in the winter season are constantly 
quartered here and are daily passing and repassing, and have 
been so since the year 1715 ; that several of the treasurers of 
this Burgh have broke and gone off with the town's revenue 
small as it is without accounting for several years, and some 
of them died bankrupt, considerably in arrear to the town ; 
that by reason of the smallness of the common good the 


Burgh is not able to send a Commissioner to the Convention 
to represent their grievances, and the small trifle it is 
possessed of is expended annually as aforesaid and not 
sufficient even to answer those ends ; that the King's House, 
public streets and Harbour are all decayed and in a ruinous 
state, which is a considerable loss to the place, and trade also 
decayed, as are a great part of the biggings within the burgh ; 
that Kilraick, the present Provost, when last a member of 
the Convention (which is not many years ago) applied for 
relief of the claim of missive dues then in consideration of the 
extreme poverty of the place and having scarce any such 
thing as trade stirring amongst us, to which the Convention 
was pleased to give a favourable answer, and surely had not 
the Troubles happening in the country intervened, application 
had been long ere now made for relief and redress of 
these grievances and for assistance from the Eoyal Burghs." 
On 3rd July 1751, after due consideration of the foregoing 
memorial, the Convention appointed the Burghs of Inverness, 
Torres and Elgin to inquire into the state of the Burgh of 
Nairn. Accordingly on the 20th December of that year, 
Bailie John Mackintosh, delegate from Inverness, Alexr. 
Brodie of Brodie, Lord Lyon, delegate from Torres, and 
Alexander Brodie, Esq., delegate from Elgin, visited Nairn, 
and reported to the Convention that they according to the 
evidence laid before them found " that all the public good or 
revenue of the Burgh of Nairn consisted of shore dues, one 
public market, and a calfward or piece of grass, which three 
articles have been set annually by public roup from the year 
1740 at 40, 60, 70, and 80 all Scots money, and for one 
year, viz., 1742, at 99 like money ; that they have likewise 
two acres of land and a house belonging to it which has been 
always given to their Clerk and is his only salary ; that there 


are some trifling feu duties payable to the town, so small that 
they have not been exacted within memory ; that the same 
is reported to us for we have seen no evidence of it, and is 
also reported that there is no feu duties expressed in any 
charter or holding, but use and wont ; that from the year 
1711 to 1740 the said articles have been much lower, some 
years at 20 and one year at 19 Scots money ; that we find 
the Tolbooth or Town House to be very insufficient and wants 
reparation ; and that the streets are in very bad order and 
much want to be causwayed ; that we find all the Town 
Treasurers preceding the year 1745 are dead and are told 
some of them died in the Town's debt." The merchants in 
town appear similarly depressed. This state of matters was 
very different from a generation 01 two before when one 
Nairn Bailie, Hugh Eobertson gave a loan of five thousand 
pounds sterling to Lord Strathnaver, and another, Bailie 
Tulloch, made large advances to the neighbouring lairds. 

When the Government under Pitt conceived the idea of 
raising regiments in the Highlands for service under the 
Crown, a new interest in life was created for the Highlanders. 
The experiment succeeded beyond all expectation. Kegiment 
succeeded regiment. Government nominated certain promin- 
ent men as officers, and each officer secured his commission 
on bringing a quota of men -to the field. Kecruiting went on 
in the lowlands of Moray and Nairn as well as in the upland 
districts, and the proximity of Nairn to Fort-George, the 
headquarters of the new levies, brought it in contact with the 
excitement of the new recruiting. 

One of the earliest regiments raised in the north was that 
of the Fraser Highlanders. Government appointed the Hon. 
Simon Fraser (son of Lord Lovat), who had been, like his 
father, involved in the recent Kebellion, to raise a battalion 


on the forfeited estates of the family. Simon Eraser was to 
be Lieut.-Colonel Commandant. He raised 700 men. The 
next in command was Major James Clephane, whose sister 
had married Rose of Kilravock. Major Clephane had already 
seen much hard fighting. He had been an officer in a Scotch 
Eegiment in the Dutch War, and was taken prisoner at Sluys 
in May 1747, and carried off to Dijon in Burgundy. His 
friends got him exchanged for another prisoner, and shortly 
after he was put in command of Stewart's Regiment at the 
garrison of Tournay. Tired of Holland, he got transferred 
to the British Army and received a commission in the Eraser 
Highlanders, on condition of his raising a company and 
undertaking to serve with the troops in North America. 
Arthur Rose, an uncle of the then Baron of Kilravock, who 
had also been in the Dutch service, assisted the Major greatly 
in the recruiting, and was appointed a Lieutenant in the 
Regiment. The business of recruiting for the Eraser 
Highlanders went on merrily in the earlier months of the 
year 1757. The ladies even took part in it, and one young 
lady writes to a friend " I am happy to say I have made out 
my man!" meaning that she had won a recruit. The Major 
wrote to his brother that since he came north he had not 
been twenty-four hours at one time in one place " one day 
at Inverness, next day return to Kilravock, and a third day 
at Nairn, and so on alternately, and often reviewing my 
recruits, and Kilravock and I engaging good men and 
dismissing worse." The Major's success is shown by the 
following minute of the Nairn Town Council " 20th April 
1757. Whilst the Council had under consideration the 
condition of the streets a letter was laid before them from 
James Clephane, Esq., First Major to the Second Battalion of 
Eraser Highlanders, directed to Mr Alexr. Ore of Knockoudie, 


Treasurer of the Burgh, wherein was inclosed Five Guineas 
gifted by that worthy gentleman, brother to Mrs Elizabeth 
Clephane, Lady Kilravock, and freeman Burgess and Guild 
brother, as a token of his friendship, for being applied 
towards repairing the street. The which letter being read, 
the Council in testimony of the high value they sett on his 
friendship and of their due esteem and sincere affection for 
him do appoint and ordain their Clerk to record said letter in 
the Council book and lodge the original among the Town's 

Major Clephane's letter is as follows " Sir, I could not 
think of leaving this country without desiring you a& 
treasurer to return my most sincere thanks to the Magistrates 
.and Town Council of your good town of Nairn and to all 
the honest inhabitants of it for the repeated marks of their 
friendship ever since I had the good fortune to be acquainted 
with them, but just now in a more particular manner for 
their activity and cheerfulness in assisting me in the 
recruiting of my company, when the assistance of real friends 
was so necessary to perform so great a work in so short a 
time, in which I own they have exerted themselves in a very 
remarkable manner towards me, and although my power be 
but small, consequently, as I can assure all of you, far below 
my inclinations to be of use or service to your town, yet I 
hope the Magistrates and Council will be so good as accept of 
my small mite here enclosed to you as Treasurer towards 
assisting to repair the street at the West End of the town of 
Nairn, when the Magistrates think proper to cause it to be 
repaired, where I yet hope to be merry with my friends after 
doing my duty to my King and country. I am, sir, your 
obedt. humble servt., JAMES CLEPHANE." 

Major Clephane was able to send off to Glasgow a company 


-of 124 recruits, raised (he wrote to his brother) "by my worthy 
friend Kilravock and a few other friends, without any 
assistance from Colonel Eraser or his officers," " as good 
hearty young fellows as are to be seen in many regiments and 
all as willingly and cheerfully engaged as is possible for any 
men to be." Arthur Eose went to Canada with him. The 
Kegiment was soon in the thick of the lighting. Arthur Rose 
was wounded, and wrote home to his grand-nephew " I am 
sorry I can't accompany you with the fiddle any more, my 
left hand being rendered useless. The many battles, sieges, 
and skirmishes we have had fell heavier on us than any 
other regiment, having thirteen officers killed between 
Louisburg and Quebec, and a great number of men, among 
whom is poor Sandy Rose of Littletown." He expressed 
longings to be home again, to kill some muir fowl on the 
muirs about Coulmony or a fox in the mickle park or birken- 
ward. But he appears never to have returned. At the 
conclusion of the war, a large number of the men, instead of 
returning home, procured leave to remain in Canada, and 
several lads from Nairnshire were amongst those who settled 

Major Clephane came back again to be merry with his 
friends in Nairn. He sold out of the Army in 1760, and 
three years later he was elected a member of the Nairn Town 
Council. In 1765, he was unanimously elected Provost of 
Nairn, which office he held for several years. He revived 
the custom of making honorary burgesses which had declined 
during the dull times, and the Major never missed an 
opportunity of merry-making with his friends. His name 
occurs for the last time as a signatory to the appointment of 
Sir Henry Munro of Fowlis as the Burgh's representative at 
the Parliamentary election in 1780. The village of Clephan- 


town, near Kilravock, preserves the name of the Clephanes. 

Two years after the embodying of the Eraser Highlanders, 
a regiment of Gordon Highlanders was raised by the Duchess 
of Gordon and her sons. Several of the officers belonged to 
Moray and Nairn, and a number of young men joined them. 
The second Major was Hector Munro of Novar. He had been 
engaged in capturing the fugitive Jacobite chiefs in the 
Highlands. Alexander Duff, who had succeeded to the 
property of Culbin, was a captain ; and young M'Gillivray of 
Dumnaglass, Ludovick Grant of Knockando, Archibald 
Dunbar, son of Dunbar of Northfield, and Duncan Macpherson 
also held commissions in the Gordon Highlanders, or old 89th. 
The Regiment proceeded to India, and Major Hector Munro 
greatly distinguished himself. His career was most brilliant, 
and he was ultimately promoted to the rank of Major- 
General and made a K.C.B. The regiment served in India 
for four years, and when it was sent home and reduced, it 
returned with every officer it started with, excepting one who 
had been promoted to another regiment, and not a man was 
brought to the halberts or deserted duty these four years. 
The regiment was reduced in 1765. 

A sensational incident occurred on the occasion of Novar's 
first return from India. As he was passing through the 
wilds of Badenoch, on his way to Inverness, he was beset by 
highwaymen, who attempted to rob him. The band was led 
by the scapegrace son of a Highland laird Mackintosh of 
Borlum. Young Borlum fled the country. Three of his 
kinsmen concerned in the affair were convicted and hanged 
at Inverness for the crime. It was the last incident of the 
kind in the Highlands. 

Whilst engaged in official duties at Fort-George, Colonel 
Hector Munro appears to have been a good deal about 


Nairn and its district. In 1767 he was elected a member 
of the Nairn Town Council Major Clephane being Provost. 
He was present at a meeting of Council the following year, 
and was annually elected to the office of Councillor for many 
years he is usually described as " absent," but the Town 
Clerk duly gives effect to the various distinctions won by this 
gallant soldier on the plains of India. He held the appoint- 
ment of Governor of Fort George, and reviewed the successive 
Kegiments sent abroad from the North. Sir Hector (as 
elsewhere stated) was elected M.P. for the Inverness Burghs 
and made a gift of a town clock to the Burgh of Nairn. He 
still kept up his connection with the place, and while 
serving in Parliament accepted the office of Provost of Nairn. 
A handsome portrait of this distinguished man is preserved 
in the Town Hall of Inverness. He died in 1806. Sir 
Hector had acquired a vast fortune, and expended 70,000 
in building Novar House and laying out the garden, which 
latter alone is said to have cost 10,000. 

In 1772, the Lovat property was restored to Colonel Simon 
Eraser, and in 1775 he was commissioned to raise another 
regiment of two battalions. He had six chiefs of clans 
amongst his officers, including Mackintosh of Mackintosh, 
Cluny, and Lochiel. They raised in all 2,340 men. Colonel 
Simon Eraser, apparently on a recruiting expedition, is in 
Nairn early in 1776, and at the September meeting of 
the Nairn Town Council, Major-General Simon Eraser of 
Lovat is elected a Town Councillor, and continues one of the 
seventeen members of that body till his death in 1782. 

Captain William Eose of the Eight Honble. the Earl of 
Sutherland's Eegiment, (second son of Kilravock,) is admitted 
a burgess of Nairn on 2nd September 1761. This Fencible 
Eegiment is said to have been the handsomest body of men 


under arms in Scotland. Captain Kose brought with him. 
a quota of recruits from this district, mostly Koses and 

A prominent figure in Nairnshire at this time was Captain 
John Fraser in Geddes. He appears to have been a relative 
of Eose of Kilravock, and on his retirement from the Army, 
having served with distinction in the 48th Eegiment of Foot, 
he turned his attention to farming. He gave up the farm of 
Holme, however, after a short trial, and during the remainder 
of his life resided at Geddes. He appears as a freehold voter 
in the County of Nairn in 1774, and was a most regular 
attender at all the meetings of the Barons. He also became 
a member of the Town Council and acted for a time as town 
treasurer. Captain Fraser died about the year 1809. 

Major Alexander Donaldson, of the Arr family, formerly 
referred to, was admitted a freeholder at the same time as 
Captain Fraser. Donaldson was at that time Major in the 
76th Regiment or Macdonald Highlanders. Previous to this, 
he had served with the Black Watch in many a hard fought 
battle. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd as Ensign in 
1758, and for nineteen years, during one of the most heroic 
periods of the Regiment's history, he was its Adjutant 
and Captain. He is mentioned by Colonel Stewart, in his 
history of the Highland Regiments, in terms of high praise. 
When the Macdonald Highlanders were raised in the year 
1778, they were, after being inspected at Inverness, immedi- 
ately afterwards marched to Fort George under the command 
of Major Donaldson. The Regiment remained for twelve 
months at Fort George under the training of Major Donaldson, 
" an officer," says Stewart, " admirably calculated to command 
and train a body of young Highlanders." An unfortunate 
incident in the history of the Regiment happened on their 


removal to the south to embark for foreign service. They 
mutinied at Burntisland. Each company gave in a written 
statement, complaining of the non-performance by the 
Government of promises made to them, accompanied by a 
declaration that until their claims were satisfactorily settled 
they would not embark. They requested that Lord Macdonald, 
the chief of the Regiment, should be sent for to see justice 
done them. Not having received a satisfactory answer, they 
marched away in a body and took possession of a hill above 
the town of Burntisland, continuing firm to their purpose, 
but abstaining from all violence. There they remained for 
some days, sending into town for provisions, which they paid 
for out of their own pockets. " It happened fortunately," 
says Stewart, " that the Kegiment was at that time com- 
manded by Major Donaldson, an officer of great experience 
and not less firm than conciliatory." Born in the Highlands, 
he understood perfectly the peculiar habits and dispositions 
of his countrymen. Aided by the paymaster, an investigation 
took place, and every man's claim was clearly made out. 
When Lord Macdonald came on the scene, he paid out of his 
own pocket the money claimed by and justly due to the 
soldiers, and when all was settled, they embarked with the 
greatest alacrity. Major Donaldson, however, did not 
accompany the Eegiment. His state of health did not allow 
of his going to America again, and he sold his commission to the 
Hon. Major Needham, who afterwards rose to the rank of 
Lieutenant-General. Major Donaldson received the appoint- 
ment of Colonel in the West Lowland Fencibles, no doubt 
through the influence of the Campbells of Cawdor, to which 
house the Donaldsons were warmly attached. Colonel 
Donaldson died about the year 1796. Captain Alexander 
Donaldson, of the 36th Regiment (apparently his son), 


qualifies in October 1779 as a county voter on a Cawdor 
qualification the superiority of Clunas formerly held by 
Major Donaldson. 

Not satisfied with the recruiting for the regular army, a 
movement was set on foot in Scotland for the establishment 
of a local force. Stewart states that previous to the peace of 
1801 the Volunteers in the Highlands and Islands exceeded 
11,500 men. "When the war recommenced, some 13,000 
volunteers were embodied and placed in corps. Nairn had 
a regiment of 200, whilst Moray raised only 150, Banff 80, 
and Aberdeen 120. Inverness-shire, however, had four 
regiments, numbering in the aggregate, nearly 2000 men, 
commanded by Culloden, Lovat, Glengarry, and Lochiel. 

The early Volunteer movement collapsed through the 
parsimony of the Government of the day. At a meeting of 
Freeholders of the County on 9th November 1806, the 
thanks of the meeting were accorded to the Battalion of 
Volunteer Infantry serving for the County, for the alacrity 
with which they enrolled themselves in the defence of the 
country, the zeal which they uniformly manifested in the 
discharge of their duty, and the high state of discipline and 
improvement which they have attained. At the same time, 
it was recorded " that the members comprising the meeting 
and the county in general are decidedly of opinion that 
though the Battalion early and unanimously agreed to 
continue their services under every privation and discourage- 
ment, yet that the reduction of their allowances is highly 
prejudicial and must in the end prove destructive of the 
Volunteer service." The minute goes on to say " that 
without a design to contemn or arraign the measures of 
the Government, this meeting candidly declare their opinion 
that unless the former allowances are continued, the 


Volunteer service must dwindle to insignificance." The 
meeting directed that a copy of the above resolutions be 
transmitted to Lord Spencer and to Colonel Campbell, the 
member for the County. With a view to the formation of 
public opinion on the subject the press is called in, for the 
Clerk was instructed to have the resolutions published in the 
" Edinburgh Evening Courant and Advertiser " and in the 
" Aberdeen Journal." But nothing came of it, and in a short 
time the anticipations of the meeting were realized. 

Nearly fifty years before this an agitation had arisen 
for establishing a militia force, on the same footing as in 
England. The apprehension of a French invasion was the 
active cause. In February 1760, a letter from the Lord 
Provost of Edinburgh (George Drummond), was submitted 
to the Nairn Town Council urging them to support the 
annual committee of the Convention of Eoyal Burghs in 
having a militia established, " which recommendation his 
Lordship enforced by mentioning the well known fact that 
during the greatest part of last summer all the burghs 
situated upon the sea-coast of Scotland continued under the 
justest apprehension of being insulted or even destroyed by 
Captain Thurst's (French) Squadron." The Council returned 
a warm approval of the proposal. Two years later both the 
freeholders of the County and the members of the Town 
Council of Nairn petition Parliament in favour of the 
establishment of such a force. In the minute of the Town 
Council, dated llth February 1762, it is declared that the 
Council are unanimously of opinion that " the safety and 
honour of this country depend much on obtaining at the 
present juncture an extension of the Militia Laws to Scotland." 
The Local Militia was not established till 1808. 

The Nairnshire Eegiment of Local Militia was formed 


in the year 1808. The pay-list for the three months ending 
December 1808, shows that Hugh Kose of Kilravock was 
Commandant, David Davidson, Major, Benjamin Coates, 
Adjutant, and James Murray, Quartermaster. The pay of the 
Adjutant and Quartermaster was 6s per day. The non- 
commissioned officers were Sergeant-Major George Gowans, 
Sergeants Alexander Falconer, James Mackintosh, Duncan 
Smith, and Daniel Fraser; Drummers William Laing and 
Hugh Eose. Their pay was at the rate of Is 6d per day. 
An account for " Breast Plates of Nairnshire Militia 1811 " 
gives the following details 15 corporals' plates, 8 drummers' 
plates, 258 privates' at 2s each, 28 2s. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Eose certifies that the above number of breast plates was- 
furnished for the Eegimerit by his, direction and was 
necessary to complete the equipment of the Eegiment, and 
Major-General Leslie gives a certificate to the effect that he 
had inspected the breast plates, and that the supply was 
necessary to complete the equipment of the Eegiment as 
directed by the King's regulations. One pleasant glimpse is 
afforded of this old Eegiment of Militia. Mrs Elizabeth Eose 
of Kilravock records in her Diary " June 4, 1810 Morning, 
up early, drest to go to Nairn, and after an early breakfast Mrs 
E. and I set out with the children. Alighted at the Inn, and 
in about an hour after, accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant 
(Brodie) and my son [Kilravock], the Sheriff and the Eev. Mr 
Paterson proceeded to the Links, where the Eegiment of Local 
Militia were drawn up, and their colours being properly placed, 
Mr Paterson, the chaplain (in his pontificals), proceeded to 
consecrate them, which he did in a most sublime, appropriate 
address to the Almighty, in which he alluded to the late 
disturbances in London, exhorting them to maintain our 
happy condition by resisting both internal and external foes. 


Brodie then, taking the colours in his hand, addresst the 
Colonel arid the Eegiment, exhorting them to maintain the 
character they had already acquired, defending their country 
and families, and what was perhaps as dear as all else to a 
.soldier, their honour ; he then delivered the colours to the 
-Colonel, who, calling out the Ensigns, addresst them and the 
rest in a spirited manly voice, reminding them that though 
not called on as their fellow soldiers of the line to oppose our 
inveterate foe in foreign countries, to them was committed 
the arduous charge of defending their native country from 
invasion, and he trusted they would under these banners 
defend all that was dear to them to the last drop of their 
blood. He then presented the colours to the Ensigns, and 
.afterwards ordering the Eegiment to present arms, he 
marched them into town, where where they fired three 
volleys, a feu de joie on the King's birthday." One of the 
Ensigns was Mr James Grant, who a few years later became 
Parish Minister. The day, it appears, from a story still 
-current, was very windy, and Ensign Grant had some 
difficulty in keeping the colours flying aright. He was 
provoked into the use of a choleric word. It nearly lost him 
the Kirk, for an old gossip who had overheard it, treasured it 
up, and repeated the expression to the Presbytery before his 
settlement. The minister of Ardersier, Mr Pryse Campbell, 
came to the rescue, and suggested that the woman must have 
been entirely mistaken the young minister could have 
.stappit the water, but never the wind ! The colours of the 
Kegiment, consecrated on the occasion, are still preserved at 
Kilravock, and the old drum is also in existence. 

A distinguished man of letters, Mr Henry Mackenzie, was 
about this time much associated with the County and Burgh 
of Nairn. His father, Dr Joshua Mackenzie, had married 


Margaret Eose, sister of the Laird of Kilravock. The 
marriage took place at Coulmony in 1747, and the ceremony 
was performed by Mr Barren, minister of Ardclach. The 
Mackenzies frequently resided at Coulmony. Their son 
Henry was intended for the legal profession and went to 
London to pursue his law studies. He became a strong 
supporter of Pitt's Ministry and was rewarded by the appoint- 
ment of Crown Attorney in the Court of Exchequer in 
Scotland. He regularly spent the summer vacation in 
Nairnshire, and composed poetical inscriptions for walks at 
Coulmony, specimens of which are preserved in the Kilravock 
Papers. In the year 1771, he published his novel " The 
Man of Feeling," which had extraordinary popularity and 
made the author famous. He became one of the leaders of 
literary society in the metropolis of Scotland, and in 
contemporary opinion he was " among the last of the 
illustrious men who made the literature of the eighteenth 
century famous" an estimate, however, not confirmed by 
later critics. His novel is written in the vein of false 
sentimentality made popular by Sterne and Eichardson. 
Professor Henry Morley in a recent edition of " The Man of 
Feeling " cruelly prefixes an index to the " Weepings not 
including the Chokings " which occur in the work. Although 
his works of fiction are now unread, Henry Mackenzie did 
good service in his day as Chairman of the Highland Society 
in investigating the Ossiari controversy, and he also has the 
credit of being the first man of literary eminence who 
recognised the poetical genius of Eobert Burns. It is curious 
to find the author of " The Man of Feeling " acting as a 
Town Councillor in Nairn. He was elected to that office on 
30th September 1776, in the very plenitude of his fame. 
Previous to the business of electing members on the occasion, 


Cosmo Gordon of Cluny, the Eight Honourable Lord 
Gordonston, Doctor John Alves of Inverness, James Fraser 
of Gortulig, Writer to the Signet, William Ballantyne, Esq., 
at Balloan, Mr William Fraser, Surgeon in the East India 
Company's Service, and Lieutenant Hugh Lawson of the 
Navy, were received Burgesses and Guild Brethren of the 
Burgh with the usual powers. Mr Lewis Eose of Coulmony 
the " Will Wimple " of the Kilravock family was Provost, 
and the Laird of Kilravock, Eose of Holme, Sutherland 
of Kinstearie, Captain Hugh Eose of Brae, Bailie Ore of 
Knockoudie, and other members of the retiring Council, 
were present. Some vacancies having occurred, Mr Henry 
Mackenzie, styled " Attorney in the Court of Exchequer," 
was elected a Councillor, as were also Mr James Fraser of 
Gortulig, W.S., Dr John Alves, Physician in Inverness, and 
William Ballantine (Supervisor of Customs.) Unlike some 
others, Henry Mackenzie, though absent from the first 
meeting, gave frequent attendance at the meetings of the 
Town Council, and on more than one occasion rendered useful 
service in connection with business matters of the town in 

In the year 1783, there was a great riood in the Eiver 
Nairn which, according to the Burgh Eecords, swept away a 
considerable part of the bridge on that river at the lower end 
of the town. The Town Council met on 13th August of that 
year to consider what was to be done. Mr Henry Mackenzie 
was present at the meeting, when it was resolved that 
" masons, wrights, and artists " should be employed to make 
estimates of a temporary bridge, and Mr Henry Mackenzie 
was " earnestly recommended " to open such subscriptions 
and make such applications in Edinburgh and other places 
as he saw proper. 


The appointment of persons non-resident as members of the 
Town Council had become a great scandal. The Council in 
the year Mr Henry Mackenzie entered was constituted as 
follows : 

HUGH ROSE of Kilravock. 



LEWIS ROSE of Coulmony. 


ALEXANDER ROSE in Flemington. 

HUGH ROSE of Aitnoch. 


MR HUGH FALCONAR, Merchant in Nairn. 


ALEXANDER ORE of Knockoudie. 


JAMES FRASER of Gortulig, W.S. 

MR HENRY MACKENZIE, Attorney in the Court of Exchequer. 

DR JOHN ALVES, Physician in Inverness. 

WILLIAM BALLENTINE, Esq., at Balloan. 

ROBERT GLASS, Shoemaker in Nairn. 

'Of the seventeen members three only were townsmen. The 
system was fruitful of many evils and abuses in the 
administration of burgh affairs, and was utterly indefensible. 
'The position was sought for purely political ends. As the 
times advanced, municipal reform began to be demanded, and 
& Reforming party sprang up in the Burgh of Nairn. 

The legality of the election of Novar as Provost, gallant 
soldier though he was, was challenged, and the question 
whether persons non-resident could hold office as Magistrates 
was raised in the Court of Session and carried eventually to 
the House of Lords. 

A weaver named David Bremner was the leader of the 
Reformers at the time. On 17th September 1782, the Town 
Olerk reported to the Council that on the previous day a 


petition had been lodged with him by David Bremner, weaver 
in Nairn, and subscribed by him and a number of the 
inhabitants, praying the Town Council upon the day of the 
election to choose and appoint the whole of the Magistrates 
and Councillors for the ensuing year out of the inhabitants of 
the Burgh, such persons as may appear to them to be 
disinterested in their principles, independent in their way of 
life, and disengaged from every other public charge. David 
Bremner was called in, and adhered to the petition. The 
Council adjourned consideration of it to another meeting. 
When they met, Mr Henry Mackenzie was present as a 
member of Council, and his hand may be recognised in the 
courteous but evasive answer given to the petitioners : " The 
Council being this day met to deliberate upon the petition 
presented to the Council upon 17th current, and being 
extremely concerned that by the death of their late worthy 
Provost and eldest magistrate since the annual election in the 
year 1781, it has been, yet impossible to supply their place, 
which the Council would otherwise have willingly done, 
though they believe every attention has been paid to the 
Town's business by those remaining in office, and as nothing 
can be a more desirable object to them than the appointment 
of proper Magistrates and Councillors at the ensuing election, 
they trust that their choice will fall upon persons every way 
well qualified for the discharge of their respective offices, and 
to support and promote the interest and welfare of the Burgh 
and its inhabitants." The petitioners were of course dis- 
satisfied, and as the meeting was breaking up, they took 
a protest against the finding. Two days later was the 
appointed day of the election. Bailie Alexander Rose, the 
presiding Magistrate at last meeting, was absent, "refusing to 
attend, though repeatedly requested by the Council, and 


walking at the stairfoot of the Tolbooth when the Council 
met." The Clerk reported that a petition had that morning 
l>een lodged with him in name of Mr Robert Forbes and 
others of the same nature and tendency with that presented 
to and considered by the Council at their last meeting. The 
Council unanimously resolved to adhere to their former 
.answer, and proceeded to the election. The list of the 
Council was worse than any former one. The Town Clerk 
resigned apparently in order to become a Bailie, and there 
was but one other genuine burgh resident amongst the 
seventeen elected. Mr Baillie of Dochfour, who was present 
.at the meeting, retired at this time, but the new members 
.added to the old Council were Mr Benjamin Dunbar of 
Hempriggs, Captain George Brodie, Mr John Rose of 
Househill, Mr David Davidson of Can tray, Mr George 
Mackenzie of Inchcoulter, and Mr Peter M' Arthur, tacksman 
of Pol n each. Mr William Rose of Montcoffer was added the 
following year. The Council elected Sir Hector Munro of 
^N"ovar their Provost. The Reformers raised the question of 
the legality of Novar's election, he being non-resident. Public 
agitation came to a head in the following year, and a riot 
ensued. Bailie Hay and Bailie Rose informed the Council 
that on Monday 25th August last while they and the other 
Magistrates were in the exercise of their duty, " a set ot ill 
-disposed and disorderly persons assembled in the street, 
interrupted them in the course of their duty, violently 
.assaulted Mr Glass, Dean of Guild, and afterwards used the 
most sanguinary threats against some of the peaceable 
inhabitants, putting them in terror of their lives and 
properties." John Mcolson, tanner, son of Charles Mcolson, 
was the ringleader of the mob. A precognition of the facts 
was laid before James Brodie of Brodie, one of Her Majesty's 


Justices of the Peace. The Council, considering that such 
proceedings were subversive of all government and good order 
and destructive of the peace and freedom of the community,, 
unanimously resolved to take steps to bring the said John 
Nicolson and others therein concerned to condign punishment 
by a prosecution in a competent court. 

The Keformers still harassed the Council. At the next 
meeting a petition was lodged, subscribed by Eobert Forbes, 
Alexander Dunbar, Charles Nicolson, Eobert Falconer, Hugh 
Kose, David Bremner, Alexander Falconer, William Alexander, 
and Alexander Kinnaird, demanding that a regular statement 
of the town's accounts be exhibited. These were the parties 
who had raised the question of declarator in the Court of 
Session. The Council, while considering the demand captious 
and calculated to give trouble, recommend the treasurer to 
furnish the petitioners with copies of the accounts. 

The decision of the House of Lords in the Nairn case was 
to the effect that it was not necessary the Provost should be 
resident, but it was so as regards the other Magistrates. 
The decision having thus virtually gone against the 
Keformers, the old system was carried on without abatement 
until the great measure of municipal reform was passed 
in 1833, which began a new era in municipal government. 

Henry Mackenzie was not the only literary man during 
this period who had intimate relations with Nairnshire. 
Some years before, Dr Clephane, whose sister married Kil- 
ravock the younger (usually styled " Geddes"), was an 
occasional visitor, and kept up a correspondence with the 
family of Kilravock. Whilst Major Clephane was a type of 
the rollicking soldier of the day, Dr Clephane was a 
representative of the educated Scot Abroad. He was a man 
of learning, a physician and traveller, the associate of the 


eminent men of the day both in this country and on the 
Continent. David Hume was one of his most intimate 
friends. He had studied under Boerhaave, and could claim 
the best known artists, musicians, and litterateurs in Europe 
.as intimate acquaintances and friends. Dr Clephane's 
opportunities for becoming acquainted with the Continental 
savants arose partly from his being employed as the travelling 
tutor or companion to young English noblemen doing the 
grand tour, then necessary to a polite education. Mr Cosmo 
Innes states that Dr Clephane's letters in the Kilravock 
^charter chest have really supplied the materials of the 
literary history of Scotland, and were largely used by Hill 
TBurton in his Life of Hume.' Dr Clephane made his friends 
in Nairnshire acquainted with the great personages in the 
^circles in which he moved. He had a sympathetic audience. 
Young Geddes, his brother-in-law, was himself a man of 
scholarly attainments. He was an accomplished linguist 
.and was recognised to be one of the best Greek scholars in 
the kingdom. His friendship was cultivated by the most 
-distinguished literary men in Scotland. Professor Moor 
of Glasgow consults him about difficulties which met him in 
editing an edition of Homer's Iliad, and young Kilravock 
points out some errors in the text as printed. Lord Kaimes 
writes to him familiarly, and brings a number of kindred 
friends on a visit to him. James Ferguson, the self-taught 
astronomer, writes to him telling him of the new inventions 
he is engaged with, and sends him the present of a kind 
of perpetual pocket almanack, showing the changes of 
the moon. They were evidently on very friendly terms 
Ferguson expressing a desire to hear from him how he and 
his worthy lady and family were, and Mrs Ferguson joins in 
good wishes. While maintaining the closest connection with 


the learned men of the day, yOung Kilravock's ambition was 
satisfied with his avocations in planting and improving his 
land at Geddes, and the only office he ever solicited or 
accepted was that of Sheriff of Eoss a post that had 
previous to the abolition of heritable jurisdictions been 
almost invariably held by some member of the family for 
many generations back. His letters to his correspondents 
are exceedingly clever and racy. He was a pure Whig in 
politics. Some seven years after the Battle of Culloden, he 
writes to a friend that he did not think he could wish for 
a more effectual punishment to all Jacobites than that they 
had their James or Charles to govern them on some spot of 
this globe far distant from us. " Sure I am, " he adds, 
" they'd soon tire of it and heartily wish to be back to 
Britain and live again under that King and Government they 
have so often endeavoured to distress." No wise man, he 
remarks, would wish to live under absolute monarchy. 

His daughter Elizabeth inherited much of her father's 
literary and musical tastes, and was a voluminous corres- 
pondent, a painstaking diarist, and a most extensive reader. 
Authors were her heroes and musicians her friends. Henry 
Mackenzie, her cousin, sends her the proof-sheets of " The 
Man of Feeling" to read, and she sits down and makes a 
copy of each chapter as it comes to hand. Her father's 
literary friends indulge and gratify the young lady by 
sending her occasional letters. Mr Cosmo Innes excuses 
the severely religious tone of her private journal on the 
ground that it was the habit of the time merely to 
record pious reflections, and says she was really the 
leader of all cheerful amusements, the humorous story- 
teller, the clever mimic, the very soul of society. In early 
youth, she was the centre of a little circle of ladies of kindred 


spirit the Russels of Earlsmill, the Brodies of Lethen, and 
the Grants of Castle Grant. As she grew up, and circum- 
stances as romantic and singular as ever happened a heroine 
of fiction, fell to her lot, she became the most interesting 
personage in Nairnshire, the central figure in its society, the 
moving spirit in all that was worthy and good. 

Taking up her residence with her father at Kilravock 
some time before the death of his father in 1755, 
she spent her youth and young womanhood amidst the 
lovely scenery of the ancient seat of the Eoses. " I was 
fostered like a hot-bed plant in the lap of ease and indulgence 
for the first twenty years and more of my life, surrounded by 
a constant succession of persons agreeable to me," is her own 
description of her early circumstances. But sorrow after 
sorrow followed in rapid succession. She lost her favourite 
brother and her devoted father within one month the dreary 
November of the year 1772. The brother who succeeded 
made an unequal marriage, and on bringing home the hand- 
some girl Jane Fraser, Elizabeth and her gentle-born mother, 
heart-broken, left the Castle, as they thought, for ever, 
and betook themselves to the gloomy town-house at Nairn, 
with its commonplace surroundings. Elizabeth detested 
Nairn at this time " a place," she says, " where not a bud or 
blossom marks the change of seasons " a description, 
however, that could apply only to the outlook to the High 
Street from the narrow windows of her dwelling. Her 
imprisonment was mitigated somewhat by an occasional 
change of residence to Firhall, where her spirits revived and 
her literary correspondence and studies were resumed. She 
ivas, however, not destined to waste her life in vain regrets. 
A singular chain of circumstances now develop. Her early 
friend and companion Margaret Kussell, had some years 


Before this married Miss Elizabeth's cousin, Hugh Eose of 
Broadley. To identify this Hugh Eose it is necessary to go 
back in the family genealogy to the Fifteenth Baron, who, as 
formerly mentioned, married as his second wife the heiress of 
Fraser of Brae, the Covenanting preacher. The Baron settled 
the property of Brae on the eldest son James of this marriage, 
to the exclusion of his eldest son by his first wife. 

James Eose of Brae, as he was called, was Sheriff-Substitute 
of Nairn, and took a prominent part in all the affairs of the 
town and county during his lifetime. He sold the estate of 
Brae, and married Margaret, heiress of James Eose of 
Broadley, a near kinsman. It is his son Hugh who now 
marries Miss Margaret Eussell. When a youth, Hugh Eose 
of Broadley entered the Army, is assisted by Dr Clephane, 
.and becomes a Captain in the 57th Eegiment, but his tastes 
lie in another direction, and he retires from the Army and 
studies medicine. Having graduated in medicine, he set 
up in practice at Forres. His mother, Lady Brae, as she 
was still called, and his sisters resided at Meikle Kildrummie. 
Dr Eose had a wadset over Kildrummie, and got a lease of 
the lands for thirty-eighfc years, beginning the year after the 
wadset should be redeemed. He also feued the Smith's 
Croft from the Nairn Town Council, adding it to the eighth 
part of the Grieshop lying contiguous, which he also 
possessed. The lands there had the curious names of 
Overmoor, Crocodales, Wallace Butts, and the Little Acre. 
He also purchased the burgh property now known as 
Eosebank, originally acquired by Hugh Eose of Geddes, the 
Greek scholar, and at this time the property of Hugh 
Eobertson of Ardulzie. He was a man of substance, 
rand like the rest of the Eoses, literary and musical in his 
tastes. Margaret Eussell, his young and beautiful wife, did 


not live long. In the year 1777 Dr Kose of Broadley is left 
a widower with a son James, and two daughters, Margaret 
and Kachel all of tender years. He looks out for a second 
wife, and his choice falls upon Miss Elizabeth Eose, his 
cousin and friend of his first wife. There is no family at 
Kilravock Castle, and Dr Kose is the nearest male heir of the 
line, whilst Elizabeth is the nearest heir whatsoever. With 
some reluctance, though not from any want of regard for 
him, Elizabeth accepts him as her husband, and they are 
married in 1778. Two brief years of married life were all that 
were in store for Elizabeth. Dr Eose was seized with fever in 
Torres, and died 1st November 1780. In February following 
his widow gives birth to a posthumous child a son. Two 
years later, the Baron of Kilravock dies, leaving no issue. 
His widow, Jane Eraser, who had been a great favourite with 
Jane the gay Duchess of Gordon, the Queen of the North, 
and succeeded in asserting her position in a fashionable but 
fast set, retires into obscurity, but an old tombstone at 
Geddes, erected by a faithful servant, records that she lived 
till she was ninety years of age. 

An important question of succession now arose. There 
was no doubt that issue of the last Baron having failed, the 
nearest male heir of line was Dr Eose of Broadley, whilst it 
was equally clear that Mrs Elizabeth was the nearest heir 
whatsoever, and the question the courts had to decide was 
whether it was Dr Eose's first born son James by Margaret 
Eussell or his second wife Elizabeth Eose and her son who 
were entitled to the estates. Litigation was at once entered 
upon. It was the great causa celebre of the time. The Eev. 
James Eose of Ockharn, near Eeply, in Surrey, as uncle and 
tutor to the children of the first marriage, took up their 
cause, and Mr Francis Eussell, of Westfield, Advocate, as 


tutor dative, pursued it still more actively. Poor Mrs 
Elizabeth records that she entered on the contest to maintain 
her rights of succession " without friends or means against a 
powerful opposition." She was a brave woman, and was 
animated and sustained all through the prolonged litigation 
by the feeling that she was seeking to preserve the ancient 
heritage to the rightful heir. In 1783 the Court of Session 
decided practically in her favour, to the great joy of the 
district. When the tidings of the decision arrived, there 
were bonfires, dancing, and general rejoicing at Nairn and 
Kilravock. The case was appealed to the House of Lords, 
but four years later the decision in her favour was confirmed. 
The old lands and barony of Kilravock became hers, but 
Geddes, which stood on a different footing, fell to James Kose, 
as nearest heir male. It turned out that in creating a faggot 
vote on Kilravock Barony for his brother Lewis, the old 
Laird, her father, had whether intentional or not is not clear 
made the property to revert on his brother's death to him- 
self " or his nearest heirs whatsoever in fee." The fortunate 
clause enabled Mrs Elizabeth, with her son and her mother, to 
return to the home of her forefathers, where for the remainder 
of her life she ruled and reigned, not only as mistress of 
Kilravock, but as Queen of Nairnshire. 

In the autumn of 1787, the Poet Burns paid a visit to 
Kilravock, and had breakfast with the two ladies. He 
had a letter of introduction from Mr Henry Mackenzie. Burns 
records in his Diary " Old Mrs Rose, sterling sense, warm 
heart, strong passions, and honest pride all in an uncommon 
degree. Mrs Eose, junr., a little milder than the mother 
this perhaps owing to her being younger." Burns, accompanied 
by Mrs Elizabeth Rose and Mrs Grant, the wife of the minister 
of Cawdor, went over to Kildrummie, where old Lady Brae 


still resided. The poet there met two young ladies " Miss 
Kose, who sang two Gaelic songs, beautiful and lovely Miss 
Sophia Brodie, most agreeable and amiable both of them 
gentle, mild : the sweetest creatures on earth, and happiness 
be with them!" Elizabeth Rose and Burns afterwards corres- 
ponded. " There was," he says in one of his letters, 
" something in my reception at Kilravock so different from 
the cold obsequious dancing school bow of politeness, that it 
almost got into my head that friendship had occupied her 
ground without the intermediate march of acquaintance. I 
wish I could transcribe, or rather transfuse into language 
the glow of my heart when I read your letter. My ready 
fancy, with colours more mellow than life itself, painted the 
beautiful wild scenery of Kilravock, the venerable grandeur 
of the castle, the spreading woods ; the winding river, gladly 
leaving his unsightly heathery source and lingering with 
apparent delight as he passes the fairy walk at the bottom of 
the garden ; your late distressful anxieties ; your present 
enjoyments ; your dear little angel, the pride of your hopes ; 
my aged friend, venerable in worth and years you cannot 
imagine, Madam, how much such feelings delight me, they 
are my dearest proofs of my own immortality." Burns was 
at this time assisting a friend in a collection of Scottish songs, 
set to their proper tunes, and as a small mark of his grateful 
remembrance, he presents Mrs Kose with a copy as far as it 
was printed. He adds " ' The Man of Feeling/ that first of 
men, has promised to transmit it by the first opportunity." 
" When you see the ' two fair spirits of the hill ' at 
Kildrummie, tell them " (says Burns) " I have done myself 
the honour of setting myself down as one of their admirers 
for at least twenty years to come., consequently they must 
look upon me as an acquaintance for the same period." The 


one lady, Miss Hose, was the daughter of the house, sister of 
the late Dr Eose, and the other, Miss Sophia Brodie, became 
the wife of Mr Dunbar Brodie of Burgie, and inherited 
Lethen. Amongst the Gaelic pieces with which Burns was 
entertained, it would be interesting to know if the old 
composition " The Baron of Kilravock," was one of them. 
The music of the old tune has recently been recovered, but 
the words are awanting. 

Burns was probably received in what was -known as " Miss 
Brodie's Room, " and if he glanced at the books in the library 
he must have been considerably astonished at finding in a 
farm house in Nairnshire such a collection of high class 
literature. An inventory taken a few years before his visit 
shows that the library at Kildrummie included Pope's 
Letters, the Tatler, the works of Milton, Shenstone, Prior, 
and Dryden, Voltaire, twenty-one volumes, Horace, Virgil, 
Juvenal, Terence, and Tacitus, the History of the Caesars 
and the Life of Cicero, Parner's and Roscommon's Poems, the 
Life of Rosilli, Butler's Hudibras, the Devil on Sticks, a 
French New Testament, Select Plays, Entertaining Fabulists, 
and Mackenzie's Meditations, with seventy pamphlets and a 
volume of Jocular Songs. 

The Poet Burns did not visit the town of Nairn. In 
coming from Strathspey he had crossed to Kilravock by way 
of the Bridge of Dulsie and General Wade's road. His visit 
to Kilravock over, he proceeded to Inverness and went to see 
the Falls of Foyers. 

For more than half a century, Mrs Elizabeth Rose 
maintained her social supremacy. In her later years she 
formed a link between several generations. No stranger 
of note visited the district without being entertained by her. 
Veteran soldiers returning from active service had to report 


themselves on arrival at Kilravock. Young men leaving the 
district call for her, some to receive advice and assistance, 
others to get letters of introduction. Is not George Rose of the 
Treasury her kinsman, and Commissioner Rose of the 
Customs her most obliging friend ? Mrs Rose attends the 
Parish Kirk either at Croy or Cawdor, and she counts all the 
Highland ministers of note at the time as her particular 
friends an invitation to dinner at Kilravock invariably 
follows the preaching of a good sermon at Croy. Amidst 
all the business and social cares of her life, she never lost her 
early love of literature. The names of the books she reads are 
carefully noted in her diary each day, and the periodical 
arrival of the box of books from Isaac Forsyth's, the Elgin 
bookseller, or a parcel of latest literature from Edinburgh, 
gives her infinite pleasure. The reading of books and 
the planting of trees may be said to have formed the passion 
of her life. But the end of her busy useful life drew to a 
close in the year 1813, and in November of that year she 
died and was buried at Geddes her funeral being the 
greatest gathering of the kind witnessed in the district. 
In accordance with directions in her will, the coffin resting 
apart on birch trees cut in Kilravock wood, was borne by the 
tenants to the family tomb in the old Chapel at Geddes. 
And thus passed off the scene one of the most remarkable 
women of her time in the north of Scotland. 



TOWARDS the close of the eighteenth century, several changes 
took place in the ownership of lands in Nairnshire. 

The old family of Sutherland of Kinsteary had to part 
with their estate, which had been possessed by them for 
centuries. James Sutherland of Kinsteary had become 
involved in cautionary obligations for Sir James Calder of 
Muirtown. Eose of Kilravock, the brother-in-law of the 
Laird of Muirtown, purchased the estate from the trustees 
appointed, and the purchase price being insufiicient to clear 
off Muirtown's debts, James Sutherland was held to his 
obligations. Financial ruin came upon him in consequence. 
The estate of Kinsteary after being in sequestration for 
some years was judicially sold by the Court of Session, and 
was purchased by Mr Cosmo Gordon for 4200 a price 
equal to about three years' rental of the property at the 
present time. In a memorial for James Sutherland of 
Kinsteary (December 1763,) it is stated " that when this 
price, with the rents during the sequestration, shall be 
applied towards the paying off the creditors' debts in the 
ranking, if the creditors content themselves with the payment 
of their principal sums and annual rents without accumul- 
ations, there is reason to hope some small reversion may be 
recovered to the heir." Creditors are hard to deal with, and 
James Sutherland had to seek employment in the Excise. 
His name was struck off the roll of Barons and Freeholders 


of the County on 1st October 1772, by reason of his having 
denuded himself of the lands and titles upon which he had 
formerly claimed, in favour of Mr Cosmo Gordon. A tablet 
in the west gable of the Church of Auldearn preserves the 
record of the old connection with the district. The 
dedication runs " This is the buriel place of James Suther- 
land of Kinstearie, second son to the Laird of Duffus, and 
Magdalene Falconer, daughter to the Laird of Halcartown, 
Iris spouse, and their posteritie. Builded 1624." The 
armorial bearings show the three stars of the old Moravia 
family, with the boar's head representing the Chisholm 
-connexion of the Sutherlands, whilst the lady has the three 
stars and the falcon of the Falconers of Lethen and 
Hawkerton now represented by the Earls of Kintore. 

Near neighbours to the Sutherlands of Kinsteary were the 
Ores of Knockoudie, a small property now forming part of 
the farm of Park. The Ores were not of great fortune, but 
occupied a good social standing. Ore of Knockoudie was 
imprisoned for his delinquencies in frequenting the services 
of the Presbyterian ministers in 1676, instead of conforming 
to the Episcopal Establishment of the. time. David Eose, 
Laird of Holme, married Katherine Ore, daughter of 
Alexander Ore, at the time Sheriff-Clerk of Nairnshire. A 
stone over a tomb in the old choir of Auldearn Church has 
the monogram " A. 0., 1686," and the inscription on a marble 
tablet tells the later family history in brief " This tablet 
placed here as an humble yet grateful tribute of affection to 
the memory of Margaret Ore, late of Knockoudie, of her 
sister Helen Ore, wife of John Ore, one of the Magistrates for 
the County and Burgh of Nairn, and of Lieutenant Ore, late 
of the East India Company's service, who died at sea in 1827 
in the prime of life, is erected by Elizabeth Ore and James 


Alexander Ore, of the Eighth Koyal Irish Hussars now of 
Knockoudie. May 1st 1832." The Misses Ore latterly 
resided in a large house on the south side of the High Street 
of Nairn, opposite the Manse, upon the site of which the 
Caledonian Bank now stands. The old ladies were exceed- 
ingly benevolent. On their decease, the old house was 
acquired by General Gordon, then of Lochdhu, who was the 
last occupant previous to its demolition. The name of Ore 
still [exists in Nairn, but the main line has failed in this 

The Eoses of Clava, who figure so prominently in the 
history of Nairnshire for several centuries, disappeared about 
1770. The family never recovered the loss incurred in 
connection with the indiscreet part taken by the Laird of 
Clava in the Kising of 1715. The Barony of Clava is thus 
described in the book of the Barons and Freeholders in 
Nairnshire "All and whole the ancient Barony of Clava, 
comprehending the lands, mills, fishings and others under- 
written, viz., all and whole the towns and lands of 
Cantraydown, Dellagramich, and Drumtenval, with houses? 
biggings, " &c., " lying within the parish of Croy (Barony of 
Clava) and shire of Nairn ; as also all and whole the towns 
and lands of Clava or Clavalg and Dalcroy with the pertinents 
thereof, the town and lands of Drumore and universal 
pertinents thereof, with the sucken, sequels, knaveships, 
fishings, services and whole other pertinents of the said 
lands lying within the parish of Croy, Barony of Clavalg and 
shire of Nairn, with power of erecting and building mills 
upon the said lands, and of receiving the emoluments thereof 
in manner mentioned in the late and original rights of the 
same, which lands and ancient barony together with certain 
other lands were lately erected in one Barony called the 


Barony of Clava." The Eoses of Clava also owned Balblair 
and properties in the Burgh of Nairn. 

The family connexions of the Eoses of Clava were 
widespread. The wife of William of Clava, the Provost of 
Nairn, who built the Nairn Bridge, was a daughter of 
Chisholm of Comar. Their eldest son Hugh married 
Elizabeth Sutherland of Duffus, and their daughter Anna 
went down to preside in the now lost Mansion House of 
Culbin as wife to Alexander Kinriaird, whilst their daughter 
Margaret crossed over from Balblair to grace her cousin's 
house of Broadley. Alexander, the next laird of Clava, had 
for his first wife a daughter of Sir Eobert Innes of Innes (by 
whom he had no family), and for his second wife the widow of 
Gordon of Cluny (Gordonston family). She was a daughter of 
Mackenzie of Coul, her mother being a daughter of Chisholm 
of Comar. Clava's eldest son Hugh, married a daughter of 
Irvine of Crimond, and several daughters made good 
marriages. Bishop Colin Falconer married Lilias Eose 
of Clava. The Eoses of Tarlogie trace their descent to the 
Clava Eoses. Baptisms in those days were occasions of great 
family gatherings, and the baptismal register of the Parish of 
Nairn preserves the record of the principal guests at the 
baptisms of several of Hugh Eose of Clava's children. 
On August 29, 1708, there was the baptism of a son, 
apparently the third. James Dunbar, the Sheriff of Moray 
is there, and the boy is named James. The company 
includes Eoses from Coulmony, Broadley, and Culless, who 
are set down as witnesses. In December of the following 
year a daughter is baptized Anna, but it is thought sufficient 
to have her baptism authenticated by the names of James 
Eose, the town clerk of Nairn, and John Eose of Newton. 
On July 27, 1711, there is a great gathering on similar 


business. William Lord Strathnaver is the principal guest, 
and the boy is named William. The connexion with the 
Sutherland family began with the first Laird of Clava. 
There were present also William Mackenzie of Belmaduthy, 
who had married Clava's sister Margaret, and several Roses, 
The next child being a daughter and baptized Margaret, the 
occasion was sufficiently honoured by the presence of John 
Eose of Broadley and the Town Clerk of Nairn ; but on 
January 15, 1715 the date is significant William Earl of 
Marischal is the principal guest and witness, and the child is 
baptized William. The Earl Marischal was engaged in 
Jacobite intrigues at this time, and it was doubtless through 
the Earl's influence Clava was led to join the Rising of 1715, 
a few months later. Through the influence of friends his 
property was ultimately restored to him, but it was heavily 
burdened. Two more children were born to him. In 1718 
a son is baptized Robert, the witnesses on the occasion being 
Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstown, and Robert Innes of 
Innes ; in 1721 a daughter is baptized Isabel, and her 
godmother is the Lady Crimond (Irvine of Crimond), who is 
present along with " Lady Crimond, younger." Hugh Rose 
the eldest son and younger of Clava, married Frances 
Macleod of Cadboll, and died before his father, leaving a 
daughter Janet, who married Charles Robertson of Kindeace 
the family from which the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone 
is descended. Clava, the younger, appears also to have left an 
infant son. Old Clava died in 1741, and his third son 
James claimed the property as a creditor. His sister 
Ann, who had married her cousin Hugh Rose of 
Coulmony, had an action with her brother James, in 
which she says " The affairs of Clava's family went into 
disorder by the precipitate action of the pursuer in the 


character of being a creditor, and the defender, a widow with 
a family of young children, did not know what course to 
take for obtaining justice, as her brother's heir (i.e., young 
Clava's child) was an infant and the pursuer would take no 
concern for him in his affairs. Indeed he swept away the 
brother's executry and attached the estate by a judicial sale 
upon some debts he acquired right to." This James who is 
thus represented as an unjust man, married Margaret, 
daughter of Alexander Irvine of Drum. He is said to have 
been a shipbuilder at Gothenburg. He sold the Clava estates 
to Sir Alexander Grant of Dalvey, and they were resold by Sir 
Ludovick Grant to David .Davidson, who also acquired the 
estate of Cantray, and these properties remain in the 
possession of descendants of David Davidson, afterwards to 
be noticed. 

The family of Brodie of Brodie had also its vicissitudes. 
Going back for the sake of genealogical clearness to Lord 
Brodie, he was succeeded by his son James, who, dying in 
1708, left nine daughters but no son. His fifth daughter 
married George Brodie of Asliesk, her father's cousin german, 
and he succeeded to the Brodie estates as nearest male heir. 
His father Joseph Brodie was the youngest son of old David 
Brodie of Brodie, and the youngest brother of Lord Brodie. 

George Brodie, now the Laird of Brodie, lived to enjoy his 
new property for but seven years. His eldest son James 
succeeded him, but five years later, there was again mourning 
at Brodie Castle for the death of the Laird. James was 
succeeded by his immediate younger brother, Alexander, who 
became Lord Lyon of Scotland. The prosperity of the family 
greatly increased during the Lord Lyon's reign, but on 


his death in l^pO, the estates descended to his son Alexander 
who was barely of age at the time. He lived but a few years 


after his succession, and, dying unmarried, there was once 
more a break in the direct descent. The nearest male heir 
was James Brodie of Spynie. His grandfather was James 
Brodie of Whitehill, (the immediate younger brother of 
Joseph Brodie of Asleisk), who had married Margaret Brodie, 
one of the ten daughters of James Brodie of Brodie, and had 
purchased the lands of Spynie from Douglas of Spynie. 
James Brodie of Spynie, the grandson, who now became Laird 
of Brodie, was thus a second cousin of the last Laird. He 
had qualified as an Advocate, and became Sheriff Depute 
first of Sutherland and Caithness and afterwards of Moray 
andfNairn. He was an active politician, but did not enter 
Parliament. He died in 1756. He had eight children. His 
eldest son James succeeded him. Alexander, the third son, 
went to India, made a great fortune, and returning to this 
country, resided at Thunderton House at Elgin, and after- 
wards acquired the property of Arnhall and the Burn in 
Kincardine. His daughter became Duchess of Gordon the 
good Duchess who made Huntly Lodge a centre of religious 
influence. Two of the daughters (namely, of the late Laird), 
married ministers. Margaret married the Kev. Mr Ketchen, 
minister of the Secession Church at Nairn. Elizabeth 
married the Eev. Mr Calder, and attained to the age of 
ninety-two years. 

James Brodie of Brodie married Lady Margaret Duff, 
youngest daughter of William, first Earl of Fife in 1767. 
The couple appear to have eloped. A letter is preserved of 
Lord Fife, Lady Margaret's brother, who, writing to a friend 
under date 12th March 1767, says " I am informed Mr 
Brodie and Lady Margaret have stole a marriage. T wonder 
neither the one nor the other chose to drop rne a little civil 
note. However, their want of discretion gives me no pain. 


T wish they may pass a happy life together." They had a 
family of two sons and three daughters. Though Brodie of 
Brodie ha,! inherited a considerable estate, his style of living 
in London ultimately exhausted his resources and financial 
embarrassment came upon his house. The whole estates were 
exposed to judicial sale in 1774. The Earl of Fife, Brodie's 
brother-in-law, came to the rescue and bought them in for 
31,500 sterling. The purchase, it was understood, was a 
family arrangement with Brodie, under which he was to 
redeem the property when able. Lord Fife re-settled all 
the properties on the west side of the Findhorn on the Laird 
of Brodie and his heirs, but retained all the properties on the 
east side of the Findhorn. Kineddar, Grieship, and Brounser- 
nick and Coltfield, he sold to various purchasers, the prices 
amounting in the aggregate to nearly 20,000, whilst the 
lands of Monaughty, Asleisk, and Spynie were added to 
the Fife Estates a very remunerative transaction as far as 
the Earl of Fife was concerned. The Laird of Brodie was 
thus shorn of considerably more than half of his possessions. 
He learned wisdom in the school of adversity, and 
applied himself diligently to improving the remainder 
of his property. He was a good botanist and naturalist, 
and made a collection of the plants in the district. 
His list was published in the " Zoologist," and the herbarium 
itself was up till recently in possession of a gentleman in 
Edinburgh. The older relics of the family at Brodie Castle 
were carried away to Dunvegan Castle in Skye. Mrs 
M'Leocl of Dunvegan, Emilia Brodie, a daughter of the Lord 
Lyon's, was heir of line, and although she renounced her 
right to the unentailed property in consequence of the debts 
with which it was burdened, she removed all the effects in 
the house, except an old clock and some pictures. 


A tragic event occurred at Brodie Castle on the night of 
Friday, 24th February, 1786. On Thursday, the 23rd 
February, the Lord of Brodie and two friends, Major Munro 
and Captain Fraser, went to the Nairn Assembly a fashion- 
able ball of the district. They returned next day to Brodie 
Castle, and found Lady Margaret Brodie in good spirits, full 
of fun and drollery, which she kept up the whole day. In 
the evening she played at cards with her husband and the 
guests, and then sat down to supper. As the gentlemen were 
sleepy after the previous night's gaiety, and were to hunt 
early next morning near Nairn, the party broke up about 
eleven o'clock. Brodie accompanied Lady Margaret to her 
bedroom, and saw to her fire, which was burning brightly ; 
her daughter, Charlotte, a little girl who slept with her, was 
already in bed, and her maid was in attendance. Lady 
Margaret, however, sat down to read. The maid, who usually 
sat with her until she went to bed, having complained 
of being unwell, was told by Lady Margaret she need not 
wait, and she left after laying out her nightdress. Brodie 
showed the gentlemen to their bedrooms, and then retired 
to his own room immediately above Lady Margaret's, went to 
bed, and immediately fell asleep. All these particulars are 
furnished by letters written by friends at the time. 

About an hour later, agonising screams rang through 
the stillness of the house, proceeding from Lady Margaret's 
bedroom. The butler and the footman, who alone of the 
inmates had not retired for the night, ran up stairs and 
finding flames and smoke issuing from the bedroom, raised 
their cries, but having lost their presence of mind, made 
no attempt to save Lady Margaret. A letter by Mr A. P. 
Gumming to Miss Urquhart of Meldrum describes the 
harrowing scene that followed. Brodie awakened by the 


dismal shrieks from below, " rushed naked down stairs and in 
the passage from her dressing room to her bed-chamber was 
met by the flames. At the risk of his life and being burnt in 
the hand and leg, he pushed forward and sought the 
dear unfortunate in vain suffocation and flame drove him to 
the passage to recover his breath. Frantic, he again pushed 
in, for the whole room to the very cornice and furniture was 
in a blaze, and in his second attempt he found the lovely 
sufferer extended on the floor. He thinks then he felt her 
heart once beat ; she was all on fire. He carried her to the 
dressing-room and rolled her in the carpet, but ere this her 
soul had fled." " From the most minute investigations," 
continues the writer, " it appears she immediately sent away 
her maid and sat down before a large fire with a volume 
of Dodd's Works, that she fell asleep and that a peat fell 
on her petticoats, which set her in a blaze. She must have 
run to the bed, to which she communicated it, for it was 
at the foot of it she was found. Her sufferings could not 
have been long, as her piercing cries preceded suffocation. 
Her child Charlotte, who was her bedfellow, escaped down- 
stairs, nobody knows how." Miss Tulloch who supplied the 
Earl of Fife at his request with a full account of the 
particulars of the melancholy occurrence, confirms the above 
details. She mentions that the child was awake when Lady 
Margaret came to her room, and spoke several times to her 
mamma, desiring her to come to bed, but she must have fallen 
asleep during the time Lady Margaret was sitting by the fire. 
11 There is every reason to hope," continues Lord Fife's 
correspondent, " that she did not suffer so much as at first 
people were apt to imagine, as it is supposed the fright and 
terror had soon deprived her of the power of screaming out, 
but she certainly had made an attempt to get at the bed, 


perhaps with an intention to wake the child, and had fallen 
down probably in a faint at the bedside, by which means 
the curtains, bed, and bedclothes were set on fire, either her 
fall or the light of the flames seems to have awoke the child, 
who got up in a fright, and not seeing her mother and 
perceiving her own danger from the flames, got into a dark 
closet at the head of the bed and endeavoured to shut the 
door after her, but providentially for herself and the rest of 
the family it would not shut. She then, with some difficulty, 
got past the flames, opened the room door, and ran out 
calling on her papa." It was at that moment the butler and 
his fellow-servant came upstairs. Miss Tulloch mentions 
further that when Brodie came down he was soon followed by 
the two gentlemen who were in the house. The servants 
said Lady Margaret was gone, but Brodie " caught her out of 
the flames as soon as the thickness of the smoke allowed him 
to discover in what part of the room she was. The scene 
then may be imagined but is too terrible to describe; but 
everybody says a few minutes more would have made it 
impossible for any of the family above stairs to have been 
saved from suffocation, and the flames were beginning to 
communicate to Mr Brodie's room above ; but the short space 
of time in which the dreadful accident happened not being 
more than an hour from the time poor Lady Margaret left 
the dining room, prevented any bad consequences to the 
house and family." 

The poor Laird was "overwhelmed with grief. " My poor 
friend's distress," writes Mr Gumming, " beggars description. 
At first he was torpid and as it were benumbed with grief 
the second day he got some relief from tears, he is now again 
worse, it seems to enter his soul he refuses all sustenance, 
gets no rest, and seems to wish to follow her." At five 


o'clock on the Friday morning, Brodie despatched a note 
to Major the Hon. Lewis Duff at Rothiemay acquainting him 
of the dreadful catastrophe that had occurred, and asking him 
or his brother Arthur to " hurry immediately to your truly 
afflicted and miserable. J. BRODIE." The Hon. Arthur Duff 
comes to Brodie immediately, and in a letter to Lord Fife 
detailing the circumstances, he mentions that Lady Margaret 
had a custom of reading at night after going to her own room, 
and had once before set fire to her clothes, which made Brodie 
order her maid never to to leave her till her candle was 
extinguished. " Unfortunately, the girl was that night ill, 
and having been ten years in her service Lady Margaret's 
humanity was too much interested to allow her to sit up 
further." He adds, " I neither had nor have any suspicion 
but that the whole catastrophe was purely accidental." 
The latter remark was probably made in reference to some 
idle and cruel gossip about the accident, based only on the 
circumstance that Brodie and Lord Fife were not on friendly 
terms at the time. A. portrait of Lady Margaret, the colour 
much faded, still exists at Brodie. She is represented with 
her forefinger at her mouth, as if she were imposing silence. 

Brodie in later years had also to bear the sorrow of losing 
his eldest son James, who was in the Civil Service of the East 
India Company on the Madras establishment, and was 
drowned by the upsetting of a boat on 14th October 1801 
near the Bar of St. Thome River at Madras. The body was 
recovered, and taken to the house of Major Jones (father of 
Mrs Augustus Clarke of Achareidh), in whose care were the 
sons of the notorious Tippo Sahib. A handsome residence near 
Madras belonging to Brodie bears the name of Brodie Castle. 
The connection of the Brodies at this time with Madras was 
very prominent. It began with Alexander Brodie of Arnhall 


(father of the Duchess of Gordon), and was continued by 
various members of the family, who served in that Presidency 
in civil and' military capacities. The second son, William 
Douglas Brodie, who had been Consul at Malaga, died at 
Madras in 1826, and in the same year his nephew George 
Brodie, who had entered the Madras Cavalry, also died there. 
William Brodie, eldest son of James Brodie who was drowned 
succeeded to the estates on the death of his grandfather in 
1824. He was also for some time at Madras. One of 
his sisters, Jane, married Francis Whitworth Eussell of the 
Bengal Civil Service ; another sister, Charlotte, married 
Edward Humphrey Woodcock of the Madras Civil Service ; 
a third sister, Isabella, married Captain Archibald Erskine 
Patullo of the Madras Cavalry, who greatly distinguished 
himself at the Crimea and fell mortally wounded at the 
Eedan ; and a fourth, Louisa, married Hugh Calveley Cotton 
of the Madras Engineers. 

William Brodie of Brodie was Lord-Lieutenant of Nairn- 
shire for nearly fifty years. His singularly courteous, courtly 
manner, his witty, wise sayings, and generous disposition, 
made him a great favourite in society in London, to which he 
was much drawn, but latterly he loved to dwell among his 
own people at Brodie, where he spent many happy years. 
In early manhood, he married Elizabeth Baillie, third 
daughter of Colonel Hugh Baillie of Tarradale and Eedcastle, 
M.P. a lady (still living) of remarkable accomplishments 
and distinguished character. Of their four sons, George, the 
eldest son, who was in the Navy, died during his father's 
lifetime ; Caithness, the third son survives ; William, the 
youngest son, died from the effects of a carriage accident 
which happened near the Church of England Chapel at 
Nairn in 1865. Hugh Fife Ashley Brodie, the second son, 


on the death of his father in 1873, succeeded to the 
estates. He had married, on 1st January 1863, the Lady 
Eleanor More ton, daughter of Henry George, second Earl 
of Ducie. Hugh Brodie of Brodie shed fresh lustre on the 
old house of Brodie. He was a man of chivalrous character, an 
eloquent speaker, fond of music and art, a keen sportsman, 
and a patron of all manly sports. Though not destined to 
enter Parliament, where his abilities would have gained him 
distinction, he exercised a unique influence in this district, 
his character inspiring admiration and affection among all 
classes. Brodie was nobly sustained in his high ideals of life 
and duty by Lady Eleanor Brodie. His death at the age of 
forty-nine was regarded as a great public calamity. He died 
at Glion, Switzerland, on 20th September 1889, whither he 
had gone for the benefit of his health, in company of his 
brother Caithness. His remains were conveyed to Brodie 
Castle, and laid in the tomb of his ancestors at the Church of 
Dyke. He left a numerous family, and is succeeded by his 
eldest son Ian, who is in the Scots Guards. 

Few changes have taken place at Brodie Castle in recent 
times. The house has from time to time been added to, but 
the older part with its narrow door and corner turrets 
is preserved intact. The massive pillars in the entrance hall 
form a quaint feature of the interior. The basement is 
mainly occupied by the library, which contains a very good 
collection of books. The dining room has a richly-carved 
ceiling, the work of an Italian artist. There are several 
good paintings, and amongst the curiosities preserved are 
Guy Fawkes's lantern, Queen Adelaide's coronation robes, and 
collections of objects of interest which belonged to the last 
Duchess of Gordon. The Duchess's valuable cabinet of 
minerals bequeathed to William Brodie of Brodie, was 


presented by him to the Nairn Museum. Brodie Castle, with 
its stately avenues of trees, its spacious lawn, and placid 
lake, resembles some old English manor in its rich luxuriance 
and quiet beauty. / ' 

The Brodies of Eethen, in the last decade, have had an 
interesting history. Alexander Brodie, who represented the 
County of Nairn in Parliament from 1735 to 1741, was an 
outstanding figure of his time. His brother Charles Brodie 
of Ardersier and he embarked in some bold commercial 
enterprises, and Charles established a considerable trade 
between Inverness and Holland and other Continental 
countries. Their speculations consisted chiefly in the export 
of corn, and the importation of Continental commodities. 
Charles Brodie was the first merchant who introduced coals 
into the North. The Crawfords and Halliburtons of Leith 
and Rotterdam, well known shippers of the time, were their 
correspondents. Alexander, the Laird of Lethen, had strong 
literary inclinations, and was minded to found a great library 
at Lethen. He set about it in a very ingenious and original 
way. He drew up a catalogue containing every book he 
would like to have in his library, and then proceeded to buy 
such books as were on his list as he found opportunity, 
but when he died he had only secured six hundred and five 
volumes. He entailed the estates on his children, whom 
failing on the heirs of Thomas Brodie, the Lord Lyon Depute, 
whom failing on some collateral branches of the family. His 
eldest son Alexander succeeded him, but died at the age of 
fifteen, a few months after his father. The second son, John, 
who succeeded, died at Nice, where he had gone for the 
benefit of his health, three years later. He was only sixteen 
years of age. The estates now devolved on the eldest 
daughter, Anne. She was about eighteen years of age on her 


accession, and was assisted in the management of the 
property by Mr Duncan Campbell, tacksman of Fornighty, 
as factor a situation he held under her father. Miss Anne 
Brodie was a remarkably active lady. Though much sought 
after, she did not marry. She showed her interest in the 
welfare of her tenants by establishing a spinning school. 
It is to Miss Anne that Lethen House owes its west wing, 
and also the grand staircase. The estate of Coulmony, long 
the summer resort of the Koses of Kilravock, was purchased 
by her apparently in lieu of the lands and fishings of Kinloss, 
which she sold to Forbes of Echt. Miss Anne died in 
October 1805 in the fifty-first year of her age. Her sister 
Sophia one of the " fair spirits of the hill " so much 
admired by Burns succeeded to the estate. Some nine 
years before this Sophia had become the wife of Lewis 
Duribar of Grange, afterwards of Burgie. He was her 
cousin, his mother having been a daughter of Anne Brodie, 
wife of Alexander Campbell of Delnies. On succeeding to 
the Lethen estates, Sophia took the name of Dunbar Brodie 
of Lethen and Burgie, and her husband changed his name to 
the same effect. A fine portrait of this worthy lady is 
preserved at Lethen House. During her husband's lifetime 
she resided at Burgie. The Castle of Burgie, now in ruins, 
appears to have been a fine old place. Patrick Gordon in his 
" Britaine's Distemper " in defending Huntly's conduct in 
spending nearly three months besieging Lethen House, says 
that " Burgie, Moyness, and Are," were " the three best houses 
in Murray, except Darnaway and Spynie, and had he been 
master of Spynie as he was of those three he would have been 
master of Murray." Lethen, it would appear from the context, 
is meant by the Arr. In 1808, Mrs Dunbar Brodie 
sold the part of the lands of Coulmony on the south side of the 


Findhorn to Major (afterwards Sir) James Cunningham. 
These lands now form the estate of Glenferness. Sir James 
Cunningham died before he had completed the building 
of Glenferness House, and the property was sold to John 
Dougal of Katho Park, who again parted with it to the 
Earl of Leven and Melville, in whose possession the 
estate remains. 

On the death of Mrs Dunbar Brodie without issue, the 
succession reverted to the heirs of Thomas Brodie, the Lord 
Lyon Depute. The heir of line was James Campbell Brodie, 
grandson of the Lyon Depute. His father held an appoint- 
ment in the House of Lords in connection with the journals 
of the House. He had four sons and four daughters James 
the eldest who succeeded to Lethen, Thomas, who became 
a Colonel in the East India Company's service, David, an 
Indian officer who died young, and John Clerk Brodie of 
Idvies, who was successively Crown Agent for Scotland under 
successive Liberal Administrations, and latterly held the 
office of Principal Keeper of the General Kegister of Sasines 
and other important offices. His son Thomas Dawson 
Brodie, who was made a Baronet in 1892, took a very active 
and kindly interest in Nairnshire, befriending its institutions 
and promoting its prosperity both by his means and his 
personal efforts. 

James Campbell Brodie who succeeded to the Lethen and 
Coulmony estates set about improving the property. He was 
a man of much activity, of great conscientiousness, and of 
very enlightened views. He took a leading part in all the 
public events of the time in the district, and the value of the 
estate was greatly enhanced by his judicious administration. 
He died in the year 1857 at the age of fifty-six years. He 
was the chief Whig landlord in the County in his day. He 


leffc two sons Thomas Stewart Brodie, who succeeded him 
and James Campbell Brodie. Thomas Brodie died in 1865, 
in his twenty-ninth year, and left a family of four daughters 
but no son. He was succeeded by his brother James 
Campbell Brodie, who added considerably to the House 
of Lethen and greatly improved its grounds. He married in 
1869, Fanny Sophia Constance Wood, third daughter of 
Edward Thomas Wedgwood of Watlarids. Mr J. C. J. 
Brodie of Lethen was Lord-Lieutenant of Nairnshire, and was 
of a most amiable and kindly disposition. He died at 
Madeira on 25th February 1880. Mrs Brodie, during the 
minority of her eldest son, Alastair, (born 1876), has maintained 
the best traditions of the good house of Lethen. The fine old 
beeches, which shelter from the east wind, still stand hoar 
with old age, and one of them, a veritable family tree, 
bears in its bark the signatures of successive generations of 
members of the family. 

The Dunbars of Boath, 'while suffering considerable 
pecuniary losses through the financial embarrassment of their 
neighbours in the end of last century, held their own, and 
added from time to time to their paternal property. Their 
earlier history has already been narrated. 

Alexander Dunbar of Boath is one of the Barons of the 
County of Nairn in 1735. His son, Alexander Dunbar, 
succeeds about 1740. Political feeling running high between 
the Lairds of Brodie and the Lairds of Lethen, young Dunbar 
of Boath was objected to by Lethen at the meeting of 
freeholders in 1743 as not having lodged a claim for 
enrolment two months before the meeting, as required by 
statute. Boath replied that he was an apparent-heir, his 
father's name standing on the roll, and therefore he did not 
require to lodge a claim a well-established rule which the 


meeting recognised. At the meeting in 1747, in order to 
avoid any exceptions to his title as a freeholder, he produced 
a special retour in his favour as heir to the deceased 
Alexander Dunbar, his father, dated 19th September 1740, 
infef ting him in all and haill the lands and barony of Boath, 
Boathill, and Quarter of Little Penick, and others therein 
mentioned. He was married to Janet Brodie, daughter of 
James Brodie of Whitehill. On 23rd April 1755, Alexander 
Dunbar of Boath is appointed Sheriff-Substitute of Nairn- 
shire, by James Brodie of Spynie, (afterwards of Brodie), who 
himself was that day at Auldearn commissioned as Sheriff 
Depute of Elgin and Nairn. The Laird of Boath was a 
most upright judge, and during a period of considerable 
popular excitement and disturbance, administered justice 
firmly and impartially in the Court at Nairn. He had three 
sons and two daughters. His second son James was an 
eminent scholar, received the degree of LL.D., and was 
appointed Professor of Philosophy at Aberdeen University. 
The third son William became a Writer to the Signet, and 
year after year was appointed the representative elder of the 
Nairn Town Council to the General Assembly. He was 
a distinguished member of the legal profession in Edinburgh. 
A faggot vote was created for him in Nairnshire, but being 
a conscientious man " he would not swear " namely, take 
the trust oath that the qualification was genuine, and he 
renounced. Mr William Dunbar was in the Calder interest 
in the County, and usually came down from Edinburgh 
to attend the making up of the electoral roll. One of the 
Sheriffs daughters, Magdalen, married Lieutenant Fordyce, 
of the Royal Navy, but he died in early life, leaving two 
daughters, Emilia and Elizabeth, whose right to a sum of 
1250, invested in the Brodie estate, is established by their 


mother and their uncle, Mr William Dunbar, W.S. The 
second daughter, Marjory, married Mr Alexander Dunbar 
of Nairn. The old Laird of Boath having died in the year 
1774, he was succeeded by his son Alexander. Curiously 
enough, when he claimed enrolment as a freeholder, he 
was objected to, as his father had been before him. The 
objectors were Kilravock, Rose of Brae, and Mr Charles 
Gordon, and by a majority his claim was rejected and he was 
kept off the roll for several years. The grounds of objection 
are not recorded, but it was probably due to a claim of the 
I Gordons of Kinsteary to the superiority of two davochs 
of land lying in the village of Auldearn, namely, Belgium's 
lands and the Smiddy Croft, which are also in the Boath 
titles. The description of the Boath property is interesting 
on account of the old place names at Auldearn it preserves. 
The first subject specified is the town and lands of " Pitwhin," 
mentioned in early charters, and its pertinents of Broom- 
X bank, &c. The next is " the acres of arable land called in 
the original writs Belgium's or Smiddy lands," (another writ 
gives it the additional alias of the " Card's Croft,") sometime 
belonging to Alexander Urquhart formerly of Kinnudie, 
afterwards of Newhall ; also the Mill Acre of Auldearn, with a 
piece of barren or uncultivated land belonging thereto ; 
likewise the acres of land lying in the fields called Cloggan's 
and Tobacco lands, with the privilege of building houses on 
any part of the said lands. There is no explanation of how 
the latter subject came by the name of Tobacco lands : it is 
stated to have formerly belonged heritably to Alexander 
Lord Duffus. In addition to these there are the Broadlands, 
the pertinents of which are called Roan and Castlehill both 
names survive " the said lands of Broadlands, with the 
Burgh of Barony into which the said lands of Broadlands of 


Auldearn was created, with the weekly market and free 
yearly markets, particularly the free yearly market called St. 
Colm's Fair, held upon the 9th of June yearly all of which 
are united and incorporated into one whole and free Barony, 
called the Barony of Boath ; and in like manner, the town 
and lands of Boathill, with the stone house and other houses 
and biggings, &c., J gardens, orchards, meadows, mills of the 
same ; also the fourth part of Little Penick and the lands of 
Brewlands, with the multures and sequels of the said lands of 
Boathill, Fynesfield, Dean's Acre of Auldearn, and lands 
of Penick aforesaid. The Mill called the Mill of Boath is 
also referred to. Alexander Dunbar who succeeded in 1774, 
married Jane, daughter of Alexander Burnett of Kemnay, 
Aberdeenshire. An entry in the Council Books dated 28th 
Sept., 1772, records the admission as honorary burgesses of 
James Dunbar, Professor in Aberdeen, George Burnett of 
Kemnay, and Alexander Burnett, younger. They were 
doubtless on a visit to the Lady of Boath at the time. Her 
husband died in 1787, and in the absence of the young Laird 
who went to India, matters are looked after by his uncle the 
Professor. He applies for enrolment of his nephew at the 
Michaelmas meeting following as a freeholder of the County, 
and is there styled Dr James Dunbar. The second son, 
George, graduates in medicine, and went to India also, where 
he died unmarried. James entered the Koyal Navy ; William 
found a grave in Jamaica ; and Peter became an officer 
in the East India Service ; Helen, the only daughter, remained 
unmarried with her widowed mother. The old Lady died 9th 
November 1805, and a tablet in the old Choir of Auldearn 
runs thus " Sacred to the memory of Jean Burnett, widow 
of Alexander Dunbar, Esq. of Boath, a person of singular 
accomplishments, of understanding, and of the most active 


benevolence, whose exemplary regard to all the tender 
charities of life was exalted by piety, adorned by elegance, 
and regulated by the soundest discernment." The epitaph, 
though stilted in language, truthfully describes the good 
Lady of Boath. Her daughter, Miss Helen Dunbar, belonged 
to the literary circle of which Mrs Elizabeth Eose of 
Kilravock was the centre. Though of a younger generation, 
Miss Dunbar was drawn to the old Lady Kilravock by 
kindred tastes. Mrs Grant of Laggan, who was then writing 
her charming " Letters from the Mountains, " was also a most 
intimate friend. Many of Mrs Grant's letters and poems 
were addressed to her. Miss Dunbar also made the 
acquaintance and secured the friendship of Hugh Miller, the 
Cromarty geologist, then unknown to fame. He had only 
published a small volume of Poems. Hugh Miller was 
induced to make two visits to Boath, and he pays in his work 
" My Schools and Schoolmasters " a very graceful tribute to 
his hostess and her literary friends. " Miss Dunbar belonged," 
says Hugh Miller, " to a type of literary lady now well-nigh 
passed away, but of which I find frequent trace in the 
epistolary literature of last century. The class comes before 
us in elegant and tasteful letters, indicative of minds 
imbued with literature, though mayhap not ambitious of 
authorship, and that show what ornaments their writers 
must have proved of the society to which they belonged, and 
what delight they must have given to the circles in which 
they more immediately moved." Hugh Miller found that 
the central figure of the interesting group had been Mrs 
Elizabeth Kose " a lady of a singularly fine mind, though a 
litttle touched mayhap by the prevailing sentimentalism of 
the age." He had perused portions of her journals, and a 
copy of one of them was in his possession. " My friend Miss 


Dunbar," he says, " was at this time considerably advanced 
in life, and her health far from good. She possessed, however, 
a singular buoyancy of spirits, which years and frequent 
illness had failed to depress ; and her interest and enjoyment 
in nature and in books remained as high as when, long before, 
her friend Mrs Grant [of Laggan] had addressed her as 

Helen, by every sympathy allied, 
By love of virtue and by love of song, 
Compassionate in youth and beauty's pride. " 

Hugh Miller mentions that Miss Helen wrote pleasingly and 
with great facility in both prose and verse, and he gives the 
opening stanza of a light jeu d 'esprit on a young naval officer 
engaged in a lady-killing expedition in Cromarty the gay 
and gallant first Lieutenant of the ship her brother Sir 
James was captain. "I greatly enjoyed my visits to this 
genial hearted and accomplished lady," says the geologist. 
A tablet in the Choir of Auldearn Church records that Helen 
Dunbar died 29th June 1835, aged 60 years. 

Alexander Dunbar, the Laird of Boath, had returned to 
this country after pretty long residence in India. He was 
still in the prime of life, but he fell ill, and after years 
of suffering died unmarried on 29th August 1808. 

His brother, Captain James Dunbar of the Eoyal Navy, 
succeeded. He was knighted in the year 1810, and came 
home for a short stay. Mrs Elizabeth Hose in her diary 
records meeting him and finding him a most pleasant, 
excellent man. In February 1814, he married a niece of Sir 
Archibald Dunbar of Northfield, Miss Helen Coull of 
Ashgrove, Elgin. On 10th September of the same year he 
was created a Baronet of the United Kingdom. Sir James 
had established himself as a great favourite in the town and 
county of Nairn by this time, and there was much rejoicing 


over the distinction conferred upon him. He purchased 
several properties lying between Nairn and Auldearn. In 
addition to the old Barony of Boath and lands about 
Auldearn, the farms of Auchnacloich, Camperdown, Balma- 
kerdach (a burgh feu), Balmakeibh, Merry ton, the Broadhill 
and others belonged by this time to Boath and are retained. U^ 
The house at the west corner of Bridge Street was the Boath 
town-house in olden times. The first Sir James was a great 
land improver and built a new mansion at Boath, in lieu of 
" the great stane-house " of former days. He died 5th January 
1836, aged sixty-five. Two sons, Peter and Ernest, aged 8 
and 11 years respectively, died in the month of February of 
the previous year. He left two sons, Frederick William and 
James Alexander, and two daughters, Jane and Helen, the 
former marrying Mr Arthur Grant of Bogton, Forres, and the 
latter Captain Duncan Milne of the 24th Kegiment. 

Sir Frederick succeeded his father, but died in 1851, and his 
brother James became Baronec and Laird of Boath. Like his 
father, James was an officer in the Royal Navy, but soon after 
succeeding he retired from the service. On 3rd May 1854, 
Sir James was married at Stoke Church, Devonport, to Miss 
Louisa Pemble, third daughter of the late Lieut.-Colonel 
Parsons, C.M.G. From the time they came to reside at 
Boath House, a few years after their marriage, Sir James 
and Lady Dunbar closely identified themselves with the 
interests and institutions of the district. Sir James's 
independent character and conscientious discharge of duty 
won for him great respect. He formed one of the group of 
very remarkable men who took the lead in public matters in 
Nairnshire during the latter part of the century. He 
died 7th October 1883. A deserving tribute to his memory 
was the erection at Auldearn of a " Dunbar Memorial Hall." 


Lady Dunbar, who was associated with her husband in his 
good work, continues to assist in every worthy cause. Sir 
James left two sons Alexander and Frederick, and one 
daughter Nina*, Sir Alexander attained his majority in 1891. 

Debrett gives the armorial bearings of the family as 
follows : Arms Gules, a lion rampant, argent, within a 
bordure of the last, charged with eight roses of the first. 
Crest A dexter hand paume, proper, reaching to two earl's 
coronets, tied together : motto, " Sub spe " (Under hope.) 

Mr Cosmo Gordon who acquired Kinsteary on the decline 
of the Sutherlands was a son of John Gordon, who had been 
factor to the third Duke of Gordon, and had amassed a great 
deal of wealth as tacksman of the salmon fishings of the 
Spey. He belonged to Strathawn in Glenlivat, There is 
evidence that the Gordons of Strathawn were descended fronl 
the old Gordons of Cluny (Seton-Gordons) who had 
among other possessions in the North lands in Nairnshire in 
early times, as formerly mentioned. The property of Cluny 
had passed out of the first Gordon family to the Gordons of 
Gordonstown, and it was probably ambition to reacquire the 
early heritage of the old Gordons that induced John Gordon, 
the wealthy factor, to invest his savings in the princely 
domain of Cluny, though a hundred years had run since his 
ancestors had possessed it. Cosmo Gordon, some few years 
after purchasing Kinsteary, became member of Parliament for 
Nairnshire, which office he resigned on being made a Baron 
of Exchequer. He was latterly styled Baron Gordon. He 
was a keen politician, and manufactured numerous votes out 
of his property in Nairnshire. Two of his brothers, Charles 
and Alexander, made great fortunes in the West Indies, and 
both of them were freehold voters in the County of Nairn. 
They were the principal owners of the Island of Tobago, in 


the West Indies, and Alexander is designed in the register of 
voters as of Bellmounfc, Tobago. The Gordons, on the failure 
of Sir Ludovick Grant of Dalvey, acquired the properties of 
)p Mid-Fleenas, Kinnudte, Park, Knocknagillan, Bognafuran, 
' Foynesfield] the Newmill, &c., which remain with the family. 
Baron Cosmo Grordon was succeeded by his brother Charles, 
styled " of Braid," a property near Edinburgh, where he 
resided. He introduced two new freeholders into the County 
of Nairn, namely, Henry Trotter of Moretonhall, residing at 
Swanstown, and Thomas Trotter, Writer to the Signet. The 
Trotters of Moretonhall had a previous connection with 
Nairnshire Duncan Campbell of Clunas (who was ordered 
by Sir Hugh, the old Laird of Calder, to bring out the Calder 
men at the Rising of 1715) having married Miss Trotter 
of Moretonhall. Charles Gordon of Braid married Joanna 
Trotter, (8th November 1775) her pet name was " Jackie." 
The issue of the marriage was three sons and two daughters. 
One of the daughters became Countess of Stair. John, the 
eldest son, succeeded his father in 1814, and inherited the 
enormous wealth of the family, his younger brothers pre- 
deceasing him. He was a Colonel in the Aberdeenshire 
Militia, and was in Parliament for some time. Colonel Gordon, 
as he was generally styled, resided a good deal at Kinsteary, 
and carried out great improvements on the property. The 
authors of the "Survey of Moray," writing in 1794, state 
that there was then an " elegant country seat at Kinsteary," 
but this is doubtful. The present Lodge of very humble 
pretensions was the house in which the great millionaire lived, 
and in which his youngest son died. He is said to have 
projected building a residence there after the style of Cluny 
Castle, but he never carried out his purpose. He had a great 
liking for Nairnshire, and, according to common report, 


offered to build at Nairn in the west corner of the Links 
a harbour sufficient to accommodate the largest vessels at 
low water provided he got the shore dues. The Town 
Council did not see its way, however, to accept the offer. 
Perhaps it was never actually made. Colonel Gordon bore 
the reputation of being a very hard man in business, though 
instances of his generosity were not unknown. He died at 
Kinsteary Lodge 16th July 1858, at the age of 82, leaving in 
money and property from two to three millions sterling ! 
He was succeeded by his son John Gordon, who married first 
Clara, daughter of the Rev. James White of Bonchurch, 
Isle of Wight. She died in 1864, at the early age of 
twenty-one. He married again in 1865, Emily, grand-daughter 
of Sir John Pringle, and died in 1878, leaving no issue. His 
widow has since married Sir Reginald Cathcart. Lady Gordon 
Cathcart usually spends a short time in Nairnshire every 
year, and visits each of her tenants on the estate, which she 
holds in liferent. The spacious parks, unbroken for nearly a 
hundred years and sheltered by thriving plantations, the 
stately trees and fine avenue at the Lodge, and the fruitful 
orchard and walled garden, form a fine setting for a 
handsome residence. --L. 

The Cawdor family continued to make their estates in 
Wales their home, and the old Castle of Cawdor was seldom 
visited. John Campbell succeeded his grandfather, the last 
Hereditary Sheriff. His history is particularly interesting. 
Unlike his father and grandfather who had married heiresses, 
the young Laird of Calder married for love and love at first 
sight. According to Lord Robert Seymour, a contemporary, 
young John Campbell had been waiting in Grosvenor Place 
one morning for a sale to begin at Tattersall's, when he saw 
a beautiful young lady at a window. He continued walking 


up and down the street looking at the lady, and though word 
was sent him that the sale had begun he would not be drawn 
away whilst the lady was visible. He was informed by Mr 
Tattersall that the lady he so much admired was the daughter 
of Lord Carlisle at the time a very poor and distressed 
nobleman. Next day, the Laird of Calder got a friend 
to introduce him, and without loss of time, Calder made 
proposals, was accepted by Lady Caroline Howard, and 
in order to avoid any unnecessary delay in the matter 
of marriage settlements, he gave her father carte blanche in 
that matter. It turned out a most happy marriage. 

In the year 1796, John Campbell, Laird of Calder, was 
created " Baron Cawdor of Castlemartin " a place in Wales. 
In the following year he greatly distinguished himself by his 
spirited conduct in opposing an invasion of the French in 
Wales. Early in February of the year 1799, some fourteen 
hundred French troops sailed from Brest, burned some 
British merchant ships at sea, and landed on the coast 
of Pembroke. The French Army had been largely recruited 
from amongst the criminal classes let loose from prison 
on condition they joined the expedition. They expected the 
country people would rise and join them, but not finding 
them willing to do so, they began to pillage the inhabitants. 
Information of their landing was speedily brought to Lord 
Cawdor, who was Colonel of the local militia, and without 
waiting for reinforcements, his Lordship at the head of a 
detachment of the militia, along with the peasantry armed 
with pikes and scythes, immediately attacked the Frenchmen, 
and compelled them to surrender. It is stated that the 
Welsh women in a large body came on the field during the 
action, and the Frenchmen seeing them with their high hats 
and red jackets thought they were additional reinforcements 


of regular troops, against whom they had no chance. The 
despatch which Lord Cawdor sent to the Home Secretary (the 
Duke of Portland) giving information of what had taken place, 
was published in a special London Gazette, and evoked great 
rejoicing throughout the country. Lord Cawdor wrote 
"Fishguard, Friday, February 1797. My Lord In conse- 
quence of having received information, on Wednesday night 
at eleven o'clock, that three large ships of war and 
a lugger had anchored in a small roadsted upon the 
coast in the neighbourhood of this town, I pro- 
ceeded immediately with a detachment of the Car- 
digan Militia and all the Provincial Force I could collect 
to the place. I soon gained positive intelligence they had 
disembarked about 1200 men but no cannon. Upon the 
night's setting in, a French officer, whom I found to be second 
in command, came in with a letter, a copy of which I have 
the honour to enclose to your Grace, together with my 
answer, in consequence of which they determined to 
surrender themselves prisoners of war, and accordingly laid 
down their arms this day at two o'clock. I cannot at the 
moment inform your Grace of the exact number of prisoners, 
but I believe it to be their whole force. It is my intention 
to march them this night to Haverfordwest, where I shall 
make the best distribution in my power. The frigates, 
corvette and lugger got under weigh yesterday evening and 
were this morning entirely out of sight. The fatigue we 
have experienced will, I trust, excuse me to your Grace for 
not giving a more particular detail, but my anxiety to 
do justice to the officers and men I had the honour to 
command will induce me to attend your Grace with as little 
delay as possible to state their merits and at the same time 
to give you every information in my power upon this subject. 


The spirit of loyalty which has pervaded all ranks throughout 
this country is infinitely beyond what I can express." 

Lord Cawdor in his communications with the enemy 
declined to treat upon any terms short of the surrender 
of the whole force as prisoners of war, and the Frenchmen 
had to accept his terms. Lord Cawdor received great credit 
for his gallant conduct. The Cawdor tenants in Nairnshire 
hear the news of their Laird's patriotic services through 
a letter which Mr James Macpherson of Ardersier, the 
factor, received from an officer in Lord Cawdor's cavalry. 
The letter gives some further particulars. It appears that 
the remainder of the French prisoners taken by Lord Cawdor 
were on the 4th March safely lodged on ship board, and that 
the papers found on the officers contained directions from the 
French Government to destroy and lay waste the country 
wherever they went, and when joined by the inhabitants to 
put them in front of any attack which might be made on 
them, and if they did not do their duty, to bayonet them. 
The factor remarks, in writing these particulars to his ground 
officer, that this invasion was a great surprise to the people 
of that country, and as there were very few troops that could 
be collected in a moment, the country was in great danger. 

Baron Cawdor gave a series of entertainments at Cawdor 
Castle in the autumn of 1810, and in October of that year a 
picnic party, the first on record, was given at the Hermit- 
age a we ll known romantic spot on Cawdor Burn at 
which the leading people of the district were present. Old 
Mrs Elizabeth Eose mentions in her diary that her son and 
his young wife had gone to it and returned late. The season 
of the year at which it took place seems a little advanced for 
an alfresco entertainment, but the weather may have been 
exceptionally fine. 


Baron Cawdor died at Bath in 1821, and was succeeded by 
his son, John Frederick, who was created Earl Cawdor 
and Viscount Emlyn in 1827. Earl Cawdor married Lady 
Elizabeth Thyrme, daughter of the second Marquis of Bath. 
Previous to his going to the Upper House, he had represented 
Carmarthen in the House of Commons, whilst his brother, 
George Pryse Campbell, the Kear-Admiral, represented 
Nairnshire the last representative of the House of Cawdor 
who sat for the County. 

Earl Cawdor carried on the work of improvement begun a 
generation or two before. The tenants in his father's time 
had signed a petition in which they embodied their grievances, 
the principal being the want of leases by the smaller tenants. 
Mrs Elizabeth Kose records having made a copy of it in 1810 
as it might be useful to her. Earl Cawdor was as anxious as 
his tenants to improve the agricultural condition of the estate, 
and he gave them leases with encouragement to undertake 
reclamation of waste land. He had, like his grandfather, a 
strong affection for the old Castle, and whilst of necessity 
having to add to the accommodation, he took care to preserve 
intact every feature of its antiquity, even to the old furniture 
and wall r hangings. The Earl had very decided literary and 
Scientific tastes, and was a member of many learned societies. 
His Lordship placed the whole papers in the charter-room of 
Cawdor at the disposal of the Spalding Club, of the Council 
of which he was long a member, and a collection selected 
therefrom was edited by Mr Cosmo Innes, and published 
at the Earl's expense, under the title of the " Book of the 
Thanes of Cawdor," forming a most valuable contribution to 
the history of Scotland as well as to local genealogy. Lord 
Cawdor had a large family 1st, John Frederick Vaughan who 
succeeded him on his death in 1860 ; 2nd, Archibald George, 



who became a clergyman and married Charlotte Henrietta 
Howard, second daughter of the Hon. Henry Howard, Dean 
of Lichfield ; 3rd, Colonel Henry Walter of the Coldstream 
Guards ; 4th, Lady Emily Caroline who married Octavius 
Buncombe, M.P. ; 5th, Lady Georgiana Isabella, who 
married Balfour of Balbirnie ; 6th, Lady Elizabeth Lucy, 
who married the Earl of Desart; and 7th, Lady Louisa, 
who married the Earl of Ellesmere. Lord Cawdor was 
very fond of planting, and very averse to cutting a taste 
shared by his factor, Alexander Stables, and by his son, 
William A. Stables, who succeeded him. 

The " Hawthorn Tree " continues to flourish. The second 
Earl married the Hon. Sarah Mary Cavendish (now deceased), 
and had three sons and four daughters and numerous grand- 
children. He represented Carmarthen in Parliament from 
1841 to 1846. His eldest son, Viscount Emlyn sat in the 
House of Commons for Carmarthenshire from 1874 to 1885, 
and took an active part in its proceedings. He was appointed 
an Ecclesiastical Commissioner. He married in 1868 Edith 
Georgiana Turner, daughter of Mr P. Turner and Lady 
Caroline Turnor. Their eldest son, Hugh Frederick Vaughan, 
came of age in 1891, when there were great rejoicings. 

Earl Cawdor's second son, .Ronald, fell in the Zulu War. 
General Wood was clearing the Zlobani mountain. Konald 
rushed forward to the mouth of a cave where some of the enemy 
had established themselves in advance of his men, and was shot 
dead. A tablet in the Cawdor Parish Church records the 
sad event. Konald was a youth of great promise. The eldest 
daughter Lady Victoria married Colonel Lambton ; the second 
daughter, Lady Muriel, married Sir Courtenay Boyle ; and 
the youngest daughter, Lady Kachel, married Mr E. S. 
Howard, of Greystock. Lady Evelyn, the third daughter, is 


unmarried, and is greatly beloved for the kindly interest she 
has taken in the religious and moral welfare of the people of 
the district. I _ 

Earl Cawdor has manifested a great attachment to 
Cawdor, and resides a portion of each year at the old Castle. 
In his relations towards his tenantry, he acts pretty much 
on the good old principles laid down by the old Laird 
of Calder in his letters to Valentine White, and regards the 
people on his estates as his personal friends very much as 
if they were a large family of which he happens to be the 
head and it falls to him to see that equal justice is done all 
round. Lord Cawdor takes a keen interest in agriculture, 
and has recently established a stud of pure bred Clydesdale 
horses at Cawdor, in addition to a herd of superior Highland 

The Koses of Kilravock, though shorn of a large portion of 
their possessions by the decision of the House of Lords which 
gave James Eose the ancient Barony of Geddes and other 
lands long the heritage of the family, had still the Barony 
of Kilravock and its old tower. Hugh Kose, Mrs Elizabeth's 
son, married first Katherine Baillie of Budgate. Her father 
was Colonel John Baillie of Dunain, and her mother was 
Isabella, daughter of Dr Archibald Campbell of Chinas, who 
had a wadset over Budgate. The lady was married to the 
young Laird of Kilravock when she was eighteen years of 
age. The marriage took place at the old house of Budgate* 
still in occupancy, and now belonging to Lord Cawdor. 
Kilravock, as already mentioned, became Colonel of the 
Nairnshire Militia, and took an active part in public affairs. 
Amongst other duties which fell to his lot was the conveyance 
to prison of Gillan, a man who had been convicted at the 
Circuit Court of the murder of a little girl near Elgin. Old 


Mrs Eose records in her diary 15th November, 1810 " My 
mind much distressed by hearing the particulars of the 
wretched Gillan's execution which my son and Mr F. had 
witnessed yesterday." The crime had excited great horror, 
but no sooner was the execution over than the hatred of the 
populace turned upon the poor executioner who had been 
brought from Inverness to perform the duty. He fled for his 
life from the Elgin mob, only to be barbarously murdered by 
the populace at Forres happily the last instance of the 
kind. The balls at Nairn, reviews at Fort-George, the races at 
Inverness, the Fort, and Delnies, farmer's dinners and 
ploughing matches, hunting in the woods of Kilravock (where 
the sport is varied by killing an occasional fox and a polecat), 
with due attendance at public meetings, form the ordinary 
avocations of the young Laird when his time is not taken 
up with social and domestic duties. 

Hugh Eose succeeded to the estate on his mother's death in 
1815. He had three sons and four daughters by his first 
wife. The eldest daughter Isabella the object of old Mrs 
Eose's fond affections curiously enough, relinked the friends 
of a former generation. She married Mr Cosmo Innes, whose 
mother was Euphemia Eussell, of Earlsmill, the devoted 
friend and correspondent of Elizabeth Eose, Isabella's grand- 
mother. Mr Cosmo Innes, the eminent legal antiquarian and 
historian, and one of the most brilliant conversationalists of 
his day, died in 1874. Mrs Innes survived till 1891, 
dying at Newton, Nairn, the residence of her son-in- 
law, Mr E. B. Finlay. She was the eldest of the family of 
Hugh Eose of Kilravock. Another daughter, Elizabeth, 
married Mr Peter Grant of Corrimony, and their daughter, 
Isabella Baillie, married the Eev. Hugh Francis Eose of 
Holme Eose. On the death of his first wife, Kilravock 


married Catherine Mackintosh of Farr, by whom he had five 
sons and three daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest 
son Hugh, who entered the Civil Service of the East India 
Company, and went to Bengal immediately after his father's 
death. He resembled his grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Kose, 
in mental qualities as well as in her family enthusiasm and 
passionate attachment to the old place, " endeared to him," 
says Mr Cosmo Innes, " not only as the inheritance of his 
forefathers, but as the scene of youthful rural sports in which 
he took great delight." He died in India in the prime of life 
in 1847. He was succeeded by his brother, John Baillie 
Eose. John entered the British Army while quite a youth. 
He joined the 55th Kegiment of Foot in April 1826, and 
served with his Kegiment in the Chinese War at Chun Kaing 
Foo. In 1851, he was promoted to brevet rank of Major. 
His regiment was in the second division at the Battle of the 
Alma and in the thick of the fight. He received a severe 
wound about three o'clock in the afternoon, and was carried 
to the rear. Surgeon Blake found that a bullet had 
penetrated his chest. Kilravock was fully aware of his 
danger, and awakening after a short sleep, he desired the 
Surgeon to send word home that the last name on his lips 
was that of his dear wife. Major Rose's death was lamented 
by the whole regiment, and he was interred side by side with 
Captain Shaw, another officer of the regiment, who fell the 
same day. Major Rose was married to Ellen Phyllis Pattinson 
daughter of Mr Richard Pattinson of Montreal, and left 
no family. 

The succession now devolved on James Rose, eldest son of 
the second marriage. He had entered the military service of 
the East India Company, and remaining in India for some 
years after the death of his brother, he went through the 


Indian Mutiny. On retiring, Major James Kose took up his 
residence at Kilravock, is the Lord-Lieutenant of Nairnshire, 
and is greatly respected. He has two sons, both in the 
Army, and two daughters, the eldest of whom is married to 
the Kev. A. F. Pope, The Furlong, Tring. 

\S' The old Tower of Kilravock, in its picturesque situation, 
remains as beautiful as it was when the Poet Burns visited 
and described it. The " gooseberry bush " on the very top 
of the tower the traditional emblem of the family's 
prosperity still sends forth fresh buds at the touch of spring. 
The rooms of the old Castle are kept intact, and the family 
relics and writs, of which there is great wealth, are preserved 
as a sacred inheritance. With the single exception of 
Elizabeth Eose's succession, the estates have descended in an 
unbroken line from the first Baron in the thirteenth century 
to the present Laird of Kilravock, who is the twenty-third 
in succession a geneaology perhaps unique in Scotland. 
Kilravock is Chief of the Eoses. iL 

The family of Eose of Holme, 'which branched off in the 
fifteenth century from Kilravock, retain possession of their 
ancient inheritance. John Eose of Holme was admitted, 
apparently for the first time, a freeholder entitled to vote in 
the County of Nairn in the year 1783. As the lands of 
Holme lie mainly in Inverness-shire, he qualified on the lands 
of Wester Bracklie and others, and his name was retained 
until 1803, before which time he had died. John Eose 
of Holme took a great interest in Nairn Burgh affairs, 
and was elected a magistrate. He was succeeded by 
Colonel Eose, whose only son was killed by a fall from a 
horse in 1815. Colonel Eose, who had a command in the 
East India Company's Cavalry, had two daughters, one of 
whom, Carlotte, married Sir John Fox Burgoyne, K.C.B., and 


the other, Grace, married William Mackintosh, first of 
Geddes. The Colonel was succeeded by his brother, Major 
(afterwards Sir John) Kose. Sir John had a distinguished 
military career. In the year 1797, he was appointed an 
Ensign in the East India Company's Bengal Army. He was 
present during the whole siege and capture of Seringapatam, 
for his services at which he received a gold medal. After 
the fall of the latter fortress, Lieutenant Eose served under 
the Duke of Wellington (then Colonel Wellesley) at the taking 
of several forts in the Mysore and Bednore countries. In 
1800, he volunteered for the expedition to Egypt and served 
under Sir David Baird, and then joined the expedition 
against the Portuguese settlements of Demann. The follow- 
ing year he was with the Bombay Army in Guzerat. In 
1803, he served under General Lake at the battle of Delhi 
and the reduction of several fortresses. At the capture 
of Agra, he commanded his own regiment of Sepoys, when he 
was severely wounded, and one half of his regiment was 
either killed or wounded in taking the batteries. In the 
same year he was also present at the siege and capture 
of Gwalior. Upon this occasion he received the thanks of 
the Commander-in-Chief. In the year 1804, when the 
fortress of Delhi was besieged by a great native army and 130 
guns, Lieutenant Kose commanded a sortie upon the enemy's 
breaching batteries, inflicted severe loss upon them, and 
rendered their guns unserviceable. For this gallant exploit, 
he was again thanked in general orders. In 1805 he was 
present with General Lake when he pursued Holkar through 
the Punjaub. Major Eose was in Nairnshire 1810-11, and Mrs 
Elizabeth Eose, who had a great liking for the brave soldier, 
records in her diary, apparently with great glee, on 21st 
Feb., 1811 "Went in the carriage with my son to see the 


old ladies and the new church (at Nairn). Heard of Major 
Rose's marriage with Miss Lily Fraser ! " Miss Lilias Fraser 
was a daughter of James Fraser of Culduthel. The marriage 
took place on the 16th February 1811. He returned to 
India a few years after his marriage, and was actively 
engaged until the year 1823, when he finally returned to 
England, having served in eight campaigns, three expeditions, 
four great sieges, assisted at the capture of eight forts, took 
part in two great battles, and numerous minor engagements. 
In recognition of his valour and distinguished services he was 
created a Knight Commander of the Bath in 1837. On 
retiring (his brother being still alive), Lieut-General Sir 
John Kose purchased the residential property of Castlehill 

Sir John was a keen politician and a Reformer, and threw 
himself with great ardour into the political struggle which 
preceded the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832. He took 
an active part in the elections in Inverness County and 
Burgh, and while regarded as a great acquisition to the 
popular side, he was made a not infrequent subject of 
political squib and pasquinade by the opposite party. Sir 
John Rose was no hectoring, roystering soldier, but really a 
quiet-mannered sensible man. On the death of his elder 
brother Colonel Rose in 1836, Sir John succeeded to the 
Holme Rose property, which he greatly improved and 
enhanced the charming situation of the house by judicious 
planting and laying out of the grounds. He died in 1852. 

Sir John was succeeded in the estate by his elder surviving 
son, the Rev. Hugh Francis Rose. Mr Rose was educated at 
Cambridge and took orders in the Church of England, 
becoming Rector of Homersfield and St. Cross. He retired, 
however, and took up his abode at Holme Rose. He married 


Isabella Baillie, daughter of Peter Grant of Corrimony. Mr 
Hose's kindly humorous disposition his conversation over- 
flowed with joke and witty sayings made him a great 
favourite. He died in 1890, leaving two sons, Hugh Francis 
and John Baillie, and one daughter, Millicent, who is married 
to Major Lang of the Seaforth Highlanders. 

Sir John Eose left two daughters. One became Mrs Oliver 
Jackson, the other Mrs Pallisser. The latter survives, and 
has a son Edward G. Pallisser. Sir John's eldest son John, 
who was in the Indian Civil Service, died unmarried. 

Sir John Rose's younger son, Henry Francis Rose, served 
in the Civil Service of the East India Company, and on 
retiring took up his residence for a time at Heathmount, at 
Geddes, and afterwards purchased lands adjoining the 
Grieshop, near Nairn, on which he built a residence and gave 
it the name of Ruallan.^ Mr Rose of Ruallan married a 
daughter of Mr James Augustus Grant of Viewfield, Nairn. ^> 
Mrs Rose died in 1887, and Mr Rose in 1888. They left a 
son, Henry Francis Nugent, and two daughters, Louisa and 

The Dallases of Can tray lost their property some time 
after the Battle of Culloden. Going back on their geneaology 
for a generation or two prior to that time, we find John 
Dallas of Can tray in 1662, taking part in the trial of Isobel 
Gowdie, a reputed witch, at Auldearn. He is then Sheriff-^ 
Depute of the County of Nairn. He is succeeded by his son 
Alexander, who married Isobel, daughter of James Dallas of 
North Newton, and grand-daughter of George Dallas of St. 
Martin's. His daughter Anna, a great beauty in her day, 
married Duncan Mackintosh of Castleleather, and was the 
mother of Angus Mackintosh, who in 1827 succeeded his 
brother Alexander as chief of the Clan Chattan. Alexander 


Dallas was succeeded by his eldest son James, who was out 
in the Kising of 1815, joined in the Rebellion of 1745, and 
was killed at the Battle of Culloden. He was married to 
Margaret Hamilton. He left an only son William, a minor 
at the time, who afterwards married Stewart, daughter of Sir 
George Mackenzie of Coul. He parted with the property in 
1767, and died abroad, leaving four daughters. The male 
line was now represented by Walter Dallas, who had settled 
in Nairn as a weaver and linen manufacturer, and is 
frequently mentioned in connection with the Town Council, 
of which he was a member. His sons were well educated, 
and two of them went abroad, dying, in Jamaica, without 
issue. James died at Nairn. Alexander Dallas, Walter's 
second son, went to London and was in business as a 
merchant, and when the young Nairnshire lairds of his 
generation visited London, they frequently put up at his 
house at Great Towerhill. He married Cordelia Phipps, 
daughter of a London solicitor, and had one daughter, 
Elizabeth. He returned to Nairn (his brother James being 
then alive), and took a great interest in all religious matters. 
He died in 1849. His daughter Elizabeth, usually known as 
little Miss Dallas, was a very enthusiastic member of the 
Free Church. She lived in Church Street, with the Cantray- 
Dallas arms above the door of her house, an old thatched 
dwelling a quaint personage full of traditional lore and 
pride of ancestry. 

The family of George Dallas of St. Martins claims now to 
be the main line of the Dallases. George Dallas of St. 
Martins was a well known lawyer in his day, and a book he 
wrote, usually called " St. Martin's Styles," is still a work of 
reference in the legal profession in Scotland. His son sold 
St. Martins and purchased the property of North Newton in 


Stirlingshire. He was twice married, and after his death 
litigation arose among his family as to the succession to the 
property. William, the youngest son, appears in possession, 
having apparently bought off the other claimants, and his 
grandson is Mr Dallas-Yorke of Walmsgate, whose only 
daughter, Winifred, is married to the Duke of Portland. 
The fair Duchess of Portland's claim to be the nearest heir of 
the old line is ungallantly called in question by some of the 
genealogists, but they have not agreed amongst themselves as 
to who is better entitled to wear the family honour. 

There are numerous families of Dallases in America, and 
one branch has risen to great distinction. They trace their 
descent from James Dallas, the eldest son of the second 
marriage of James Dallas of North Newton, who was the son 
of George Dallas of St. Martins, who was the son of William 
Dallas of Budgate, 1617. The family had originally settled 
in Jamaica, but emigrated to Philadelphia in 1783. James 
Dallas became Secretary of the Treasury in the Cabinet 
of President James Madison. He was also Secretary for 
War, and effected the reduction of the Army of the War of 
1812 to a peace footing. He was an eminent lawyer, and 
was approached to become a candidate for the Presidency of 
the United States. This he declined, on the ground that he 
shared the feeling that none but native-born citizens should 
hold that exalted position. His third son, Alexander James, 
was Commodore in the United States Navy, and in the 
action with the " Little Belt," fired the first gun in the 
impending war with the mother country. His first wife's 
brother was Major-General George Gordon Meade, the victor 
of the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. Commodore 
Dallas's son by his first wife is Colonel A. J. Dallas of 
the United States Army, now retired. His sscond wife was 


connected with the Washington family, and the second son by 
that marriage, George Miffliri Dallas, became the American 
Ambassador to Russia, afterwards to the Court of St. James, 
and finally was appointed Vice-President of the United 
States. He died in 1864, and his descendants occupy high 
stations in the public service and learned professions. 
Commodore Dallas's daughter Sophia, married Eichard Bach, 
whose mother was Sally Franklin, daughter of Benjamin 
Franklin. Miss Dallas (who thus became Mrs Bach) was 
one of the most intellectual women in the States, and was the 
friend and adviser of the greatest American statesmen of her 
day. The learned Professor Bach of Philadelphia was her son. 
The ramifications of the family are widespread. The 
Nairnshire origin of the family is a cherished tradition 
among the members of this American branch. 

David Davidson purchased the estate of Dallas of Cantray, 
and also acquired the property of the Eoses of Clava from 
Sir Ludovick Grant of Dalvey. He was admitted a freeholder 
of the County of Nairn in respect of the Clava property on 
18th June 1796, " but only as a fiar, and having right to vote 
in the absence of the liferenter of the said lands," viz., Sir 
Ludovick Grant who had retained the superiority. David 
Davidson died in 1804. His son, David Davidson of Cantray, 
claimed enrolment at the Michaelmas meeting in 1809. He 
was represented by ^Eneas M'Bean, W.S., and his claim was 
admitted, but " only as fiar." He married Margaret Eose, 
daughter of Dr Eose of Broadley by his first wife Margaret 
Eussell. He was knighted in 1812. The Davidsons had 
considerable wealth, and led the fashion in the district 
in extravagant living. Mr Eobert Grant, M.P. (brother of 
Lord Glenelg), who afterwards became Governor of Bombay 
and a K.C.B., married Miss Margaret Davidson of Cantray, 


and their son is Sir Charles Grant, of Indian Civil Service 
fame. Sir Eobert died in 1838, and his widow in 1848 
married Lord Joceline Percy, brother of the Duke of 
Northumberland. Sir David Davidson died in 1817, and 
was succeeded by his son David, who died in 1824. Hugh 
Cochrane Davidson succeeded. Like his neighbour, Sir John 
Eose of Holme Kose, he was a Liberal, and was one of the 
leading speakers at a banquet given to General Duff, the 
defeated candidate for Moray and Nairn in 1841. He 
married an Irish lady, Maria Grogan. He died in 1846, and 
was succeeded by his son Hugh, who was a short time in the 
Army, and afterwards studied law. Hugh Davidson of 
Cantray took a leading part in the public affairs of the 
Counties of Inverness and Nairn, and was Convener of the 
County of Inverness at the time of his death 12th 
September, 1889. He was a very able business man, and an 
excellent public speaker. He left a son Hugh, and a daughter 
Clara. Hugh, now of Cantray, is a Captain in the Seaforth 
Highlanders, and married Miss Hugonin, Kinmylies. 

The Campbells of Delnies, closely related to the Brodies of 
Lethen, were at one one time a flourishing house, but have 
ceased for many years to have any lands in Nairnshire. 
Delnies was held by them for several generations under 
wadset of the Laird of Cawdor. Alexander Campbell of 
Delnies (eldest son of Colin Campbell of Delnies and Mary 
Duff, second daughter of Adam Duff of Drummuir) married 
Ann Brodie of Lethen on 9th April 1730. He was Sheriff 
of the County of Nairn under the hereditary Sheriff, and 
retired on the abolition of heritable jurisdictions. His eldest 
son Alexander Campbell was Sheriff-Substitute of Inverness- 
shire, and married in 1777 Katharine Baillie, widow of 
Alexander Mackenzie of Flowerburn, and daughter (by the 


second marriage) of William Baillie of Kosehall, in Koss-shire. 
Alexander Campbell, the Sheriff Substitute of Inverness, had 
a lease of the farm of Delnies after the wadset had been 
redeemed. When the tack had nearly expired, he became 
anxious about its renewal, and resolved to seek a personal 
interview with the Laird of Calder in London. It was 
a serious journey, and the Sheriff according to custom made 
his will and arranged his affairs before setting out. Arrived 
in London, he appeared in the full dress of a Highland Sheriff 
of the period broad-skirted coat, breeches, with knee 
buckles of silver, large silver buckles in his square-toed shoes, 
cocked hat, and powdered queue hanging behind, and his gold- 
headed official staff in his hand. He lost no time in finding 
the residence of his Laird, and was fortunate in getting 
an immediate interview, when he told the Laird the object of 
his mission. After hearing all, the Laird said " Well, Mr 
Campbell, you shall have the lease of the farm of Delnies 
renewed, and that too more favourably than before." On 
hearing this, the worthy Sheriff politely and gratefully 
returned thanks. Thereafter he was invited to lunch, and 
was introduced to Lady Caroline, the Laird's wife, who had 
never been in Scotland. She was much taken with his 
courtly demeanour and quaint but stately appearance, and 
privately inquired of her husband who the gentleman was. 
The Laird replied " One of my Scotch tenants." Lady 
Caroline much surprised said " Indeed ! Then I suppose all 
the Scotch farmers are gentlemen ! " The Laird gaily 
replied " And that they are ! " The tenant of Delnies 
having succeeded beyond all his expectations returned a 
happy man, and never wearied of telling his neighbours of 
the hospitality and kindness shown him by his Laird and the 
beautiful Lady Caroline. The Sheriff was a good sportsman, 


and rode to hounds along with the neighbouring lairds. 
Horse-racing had become the fashionable pastime in the 
district and a racecourse was established at Delnies. Mrs 
Elizabeth Rose in her Diary records on 1st October 
1810, that her son (Kilravock) and his wife and family had 
gone to the horse-races at Delnies. The course would no 
doubt have been along the level sea-margin or carse beyond 
the fishing village of Delnies. The tradition is that half the 
lairds in the county were well-nigh ruined by over-devotion 
to the Turf, and the Delnies races, like the Fort-George and 
Inverness race meetings, were given up. Sheriff Campbell 
had a son Pryse John Campbell, born at Inverness, 1778, and 
a daughter, Anne, born at Inverness, 1779. 

Going back to old Alexander Campbell of Delnies, the 
Sheriff of Nairn, he had besides Alexander, the Sheriff- 
Substitute of Inverness, above referred to, a son Colin (who 
went to Jamaica), also John, Sophia, and Pryse Campbell. 
Sophia married Joseph Dunbar of Grange. It was their son 
Lewis who married Sophia Brodie of Lethen. 

The Forbeses of Culloden appear on the roll of freeholders 
in the County of Nairn in virtue of their lands of Ferintosh, 
a detached part of Nairnshire, situated in Ross-shire. The 
claim of Arthur Forbes came before the Barons on 22nd 
December, 1785, when they were assembled to elect a 
member of Parliament. The candidates were Alexander 
Brodie of Madras, representing the Dundas administration, 
and Captain Campbell, late of the Orpheus frigate, in the 
Whig interest. Culloden was known to be favourable to Mr 
Brodie's election, and the Calder party in the Whig interest 
strongly opposed his admission. The grounds of objection 
are not stated, but on a vote being taken Arthur Forbes was 
enrolled by a majority of one the numbers being 8 to 7 


and his name was continued thereafter on the roll. On 6th 
October 1803 a claim was lodged by Duncan George Forbes 
of Culloden, stating a " that he is the |only lawful son and 
apparent heir of the now deceased Arthur Forbes of Culloden, 
Esquire, who stood heritably infeft and seized in all and 
whole the lands and barony of Ferintosh or Thainland, called 
in the ancient infeftments thereof Kinkel Fraser, " (of which 
a detailed description is given,) all as contained in the 
original charter granted under the Great Seal in favour of 
Arthur Forbes, his grandfather of date the 22nd January 
1697. In enumerating the ecclesiastical properties of the 
united churches and parishes of Logie and Urquhart, they 
are expressly stated to lie within the Thanedom of Calder 
and Sheriffdom of Nairn and by annexation within the 
diocese of Eoss. The claim was admitted. In more recent 
times, Forbes of Culloden is admitted as a Commissioner 
of Supply in virtue of those parts of his lands lying in the 
parishes of Croy, Daviot and Dunlichty, within the shire of 
Nairn. Mr Duncan Forbes, the present proprietor, is 
Convener of the Commissioners of Supply of the County of 
Nairn. By buying up the Mills of Nairn and removing the 
weir or intack there, Culloden has greatly improved the 
Nairn as a salmon river. Jj* 

James Kose of Geddes who divided the inheritance with 
Elizabeth Eose did not long retain the property which had 
come to him. He is admitted a baron and freeholder at the 
Michaelmas meeting in 1797, in virtue of his being infeft in 
the lands of Easter Geddes, called Allanhall and Chapeltown, 
with the Burgh Barony of the same. In October 1801, the 
Court finds Mr James Eose has denuded himself of his 
property of Geddes in favour of William Mackintosh of 
Geddes. Captivated by the beauty of Peggy Duncan of 



Morriston, young Geddes made his first plunge into 
matrimonial life. He married her on 8th May 1802, and she 
bore him three daughters, but he is a widower a few years 
later, and on 2nd April 1811 he married Elizabeth, fourth 
daughter of David Hunter of Blackness. His connection 
with this district ceased thereafter. 

After the elapse of centuries the Mackintoshes thus 
reappear in the neighbourhood of Rait. " The eldest cadet of 
the house of Mackintosh," (says Mr Eraser-Mackintosh,) 
" was that of Rothiemurchus, and the second Kyllachy. 
From Kyllachy springs Holme, Farr, and Dalmigavie. The 
next is Balnespick ; and of the others Borlum, Aberarder, 
Corrybfough, are descended of younger sons of Lachlan Mor 
Mackintosh of Mackintosh who died in 1606. Raigmore 
Drummond and Geddes are cadets of Borlum." 

William Mackintosh, who purchased Geddes, had made his 
fortune in India. He married a sister of Sir John Rose of 
Holme Rose, who survived him. He was succeeded about 
1814 by his nephew, William Mackintosh, sometimes styled 
Dr Mackintosh from his having been in the medical service 
of the East India Company. William Mackintosh of 
Geddes kept up a large establishment, and Geddes House, 
which had been rebuilt, became a centre of great hospitality 
and festivity. He married, first, a daughter of Mackintosh of 
Balnespick and niece of Sir ^Eneas Mackintosh of Mackin- 
tosh, Chief of Clan Chattan, by whom he had four sons. 
William Mackintosh's youngest son John (by his second wife 
Jane Jolly), was the "Earnest Student" of the Rev. Dr 
Norman M'Leod's well-known biography. John Mackintosh 
was much attached to Geddes, the scene of his early youth. In 
his wanderings amongst the scenery of Switzerland and Italy, 
he can see nothing finer than the view from the Hill of 


Urchany. His letters abound in descriptions of the scenery 
of Nairnshire, and a passage in his diary in which he relates 
the incident of a stolen visit from the south to his father's 
grave is singularly pathetic in its character and remarkably 
graphic and truthful to the minutest touch of local colouring. 
It was the last time he visited Nairnshire. He had been a 
student at Cambridge when the Disruption of the Church of 
Scotland occurred, and though the bias of family connexions 
and associations drew him the other way, he joined the Free 
Church from conscientious convictions. He was a favourite 
student of Dr Chalmers, and assisted Chalmers in the work of 
founding the territorial mission of the West Port in Edin- 
burgh. While studying in Germany, he fell ill, and died of 
consumption. " Bury me beside Chalmers," was his dying 
request, and it was complied with. Dr Norman M'Leod, 
whose large-hearted, generous spirit is nowhere more evident 
than in his " Memorials of John Mackintosh," was a frequent 
visitor at Geddes. He married a sister of " The Earnest 
Student." Another sister married Sir William Gordon 
Cumming of Altyre. The estate of Geddes descended to 
George Mackintosh, the eldest son of the first marriage. He 
was for many years Convener of the County of Nairn. On 
his death, (his only son William Alfred Bruce having 
predeceased him), the property passed to his daughter Anna 
Agnew, and she married Mr John Walker, who assumed the 
name of Mackintosh -Walker. They have one son, Charles, 
who has studied for the English Bar, and two daughters, one 
of whom is married to Mr Keir Mackintosh of Dalmigavie. 

Another family of Mackintoshes of some fortune settled at 
Torrich in the beginning of the century. Dr John Mackin- 
tosh, who had been in the West Indies, resided for a time at 
Brightmony, and then removed to Torrich. He owned the 


Grove near Nairn for some years, and also acquired Firhall, 
but remained at Torrich. He married a daughter of the Rev. 
Alexander Grant, minister of Cawdor. Captain William 
Eraser of Fort-George, who had seen considerable service at 
Batavia and the East, married another of the minister's 
daughters, and settling down at Brackla, ultimately became 
the proprietor of the Distillery there, which had been erected 
in 1812 by a small company of local gentlemen, of which he 
was one. The minister of Cawdor's son, George Grant, 
became a merchant in Liverpool, and was the " Grant " of the 
firm of Messrs Grant, Gladstone & Coy. the " Gladstone " 
being the father of the Eight Hon. W. E. Gladstone. Captain 
William Eraser's eldest son, George, entered his granduncle's 
office in Liverpool, and had as a fellow-clerk Mr Gladstone's 
son William. George Eraser and young Gladstone were great 
friends, the latter on one occasion arranging to spend a part 
of his holidays at Brackla, having doubtless heard much from 
his fellow-clerk about Cawdor and its romantic surroundings. 
The arrangement fell through, and the death of George 
Eraser soon after broke the connection. Captain William 
Fraser's daughter married Alexander Mackintosh, son of 
John Mackintosh, Torrich. He went to India, and has 
issue William and Ernest, and a daughter Nellie. William 
is a Lieut-Colonel in the Royal Artillery, and Ernest is a 
merchant in Calcutta. A younger son of John Mackintosh, 
Torrich, William, devoted himself to missionary work, and 
has been for many years a missionary in Tangier, Morocco. 
He married a daughter of Mr Seeley, the London publisher. 
Captain William Fraser, who carried on the Distillery, was 
succeeded by his son Robert, who married Miss Mary 
Gordon, daughter of Robert Gordon of Croughly, and niece of 
Lieut-General Gordon of Lochdhu. Mr Robert Fraser has 


four daughters (his only son, William, has predeceased him). 
His two married daughters are Mrs Jerdeine and Mrs 
Graham Campbell. Mr Fraser, Brackla, retired from the 
Distillery some years ago. He was the Convener of the 
County under the County Council previous to the election 
of 1892, when he retired. 

The property of Achareidh was given off by the Town 
Council on 20th September, 1791, to Captain John Fraser. 
It was then called Nairn Grove, and consisted of the lands in 
the more immediate neighbourhood of the house, still marked 
by boundary walls. Captain Fraser did not retain it long, 
and it was purchased from him by William Eoss and his 
spouse in 1794. A family of Macfarlanes came into 
possession in 1807, but four years later it was purchased by 
Captain Andrew Fraser. He only held it for six months, 
when it was acquired by Colonel Alex. Mair, in command 
at Fort George. It was customary for officers at the 
Fort to reside for the sake of their families at convenient 
places outside the garrison, and in this way several of the 
smaller properties in the neighbourhood passed into the 
hands of military officers. Dr John Mackintosh was the 
next proprietor of the Grove, and he sold it in 1825 to John 
Stuart of Belladrum. In 1828 Stuart parted with it to 
Kobert Gordon, whose son John succeeded to it in 1835. He 
sold it in 1839 to Augustus Clarke, who changed the name 
to Achareidh (" The Cleared Field "). The small property of 
Wester Newton and Moor of Newton, which had been feued 
out to David Davidson of Can tray at the same time as the 
Grove was given off by the Town Council, namely, in 1791, 
changed hands in 1832. In consequence of the financial 
embarrassment of the affairs of Sir David Davidson, his 
trustee Thomas Mackenzie, W.S., sold Wester Newton to 


John Grant, who left it to Miss Mary Grant. She sold it in 
1835 to Dr John Grant, who sold it in 1855 to Augustus 
Clarke, and along with the Alton lands acquired from the 
late Sheriff Falconar, it was added to Achareidh. Mr Clarke 
died in 1886. He was a gentleman of a scientific turn, 
and amongst other services, kept for a series of years 
meteorological observations of considerable value. He 
habitually wore the Highland dress, and was a striking 
figure at all public assemblies during his generation. He 
took a warm interest in all religious and social improvement. 
He is succeeded by his eldest son, Lieut.-Colonel Montague 
Clarke, late of the 50th Regiment, who served in the Crimea, 
and was wounded and taken prisoner at the trenches before 
Sebastopol. He afterwards served in the East, and in the 
New Zealand War. Colonel Clarke was elected Convener of 
the County of Nairn in 1892, and takes an active interest in 
local public institutions. 

The estate of Lochdhu is made up of a number of small 
properties, the largest of which were Janefield and Mosshall. 
The Ores of Knockoudie were proprietors of lands there at one 
time, and got a lease of five nineteen years from the Town 
Council in 1777 of seventeen acres of moorland lying to 
the west of the Black Loch. Colonel William Mackintosh of 
Millbank, who was a great land improver, drained a large 
part of the moss land, and planted the sides of the open 
ditches with willows, forming regular squares, but they have 
not been preserved. His resources becoming exhausted, he 
was unable to reap the benefit of the skill and energy he had 
expended on Janefield and other lands in his possession, and 
the property passed into the hands of trustees. Lieut.-General 
W. A. Gordon who had acquired the house of the Ores of 
Knockoudie in Nairn, the old name of which was Nairn Lodge, 


became the next owner. Gerferal Gordon belonged to the 
same stock as the present Gordons of Cluny, and came of the 
family of Gordons of Croughly. He served with the 26th, 
92nd, and 50th Kegiments. He was Lieutenant in the 92nd 
in 1799, and Captain in 1801, and latterly served with the 
50th Kegiment. He served at the Helder, at Malta and 
Gibraltar, at Walcheren, in the Peninsula, and in France till 
the end of the War. He was wounded at Vittoria and 
Helleta, and particularly distinguished himself when in 
command of the advanced battalion at the passage of the 
Nive, where he was wounded and his horse shot under him. 
For this he got the rank of Major, a gold medal, and the 
thanks of Lord Hill. At the crossing of the Nive at day- 
break the native guide, whose duty it was to point out the 
ford, disappeared almost the instant he entered the water ; 
the soldiers, supposing that he had acted treacherously, 
became alarmed and hesitated as to entering. At this 
juncture Gordon, laying hold of two soldiers, rushed for- 
ward with them, and plunged into the river, calling out in 
Gaelic " Highlanders, shoulder to shoulder ! " The effect was 
electric. The whole of the men immediately followed, and 
the passage of the river was effected in the face of a galling 
and destructive fire from the enemy who lined the opposite 
bank. He was afterwards created a C.B., and appointed 
Colonel of the 54th Kegiment. General Gordon, on 
retiring from the Army, settled down to farming at 
Inverlochy, on Avenside, which, however, he gave up after a 
time and came to Nairn. The veteran soldier was for many 
years a prominent citizen of Nairn, and lived to see his five 
stalwart sons enter the Army. It was the General who 
changed the name of Janefield to that of Lochdhu. Before 
the drainage operations of Colonel Mackintosh, a loch existed 

NEWTON. 479 

near the present house. It was called the Black Loch, and 
is shown on old maps as of considerable extent, its overflow 
feeding the Alton Burn, which hefore entering the sea spread 
along the carse land for about a mile westward, and also 
bore the name of the Black Loch. General Gordon gave the 
property the Gaelic synonym, " Lochdhu." Both the lochs, at 
the moss lands and on the sea margin, have been drained 
off. General Gordon died in 1856. 

General Gordon's family in 1860 sold the property to Mr 
Robert Anderson, a practical agriculturist, who following up 
extensive improvements on the neighbouring farm of 
Meikle Kildrummie, of which he was at the time the tenant, 
put an entirely new aspect on the place, converting the 
mossy and moorish lands into well cultivated arable fields. 
Mr Anderson built a commodious house at Lochdhu, erected 
a new steading, and enclosed the lands by substantial stone 
dykes. He added to it, from time to time, the Burgh lands of 
Moss-side, a large portion of the Grieship, and the property 
of Broadley, all lying contiguous. 

Newton, or Easter Newton, as it was sometimes designated, 
was a possession of a branch of the Eoses of Kilravock. 
" John Eose of Newton, Provost of Nairn," is a familiar entry 
in the Burgh Eecords. The property reverted to the Eoses 
of Kilravock on the failure of the line of John Eose of 
Newton, but was sold by Kilravock about 1780 to Hugh 
Falconar, a representative of a family long connected with 
Nairn. The first mentioned is Eobert Falconar at Inshoch 
and Mavistown. He was probably descended from the 
Falconars of Kincorth, and naturally enough marries 
Elizabeth Kinnaird of Culbin, the daughter of a near 
neighbour. This Eobert Falconar had several sons. John, 
the eldest, purchased the estate of Easter Draikies at Inver- 


ness, on the decline of the Cuthberts, and his son Hugh, who 
married Jean Dunbar, retained Draikies, and being a very 
enterprising man, entered into large contracts for cutting 
timber, keeping his bank account with Forbes & Coy. of 
London. At the time of his death in 1782, he was engaged 
cutting an extensive tract of wood belonging to The Chisholm 
in Strathglass. A letter of his written in 1780 states that 
he had sustained severe loss by a great flood in the river, 
which occurred on 6th or 7th March of that year. An 
inventory in the Nairn Sheriff Court books records that 
his son John, described as a student residing in Nairn, is a 
minor, and his curators are Eobert Falconar of Nairn, 
and Alexander Mackintosh of Aberarder. John Falconar 
became the British Consul at Leghorn, and carried on a large 
mercantile business. He was a claimant for the Aberarder 
estate when old Provost Mackintosh of Inverness obtained 
possession. Old Falconar of Inshoch's second son was 
Eobert. He died in 1776, and leftf a son Eobert, who 
married a daughter of Alexander Inglis, Sheriff-Substitute of 
Nairn, and succeeded his father-in-law in that office. His 
son, Alexander Falconar, succeeded to the office of Sheriff- 
Substitute, and was the last resident Sheriff in Nairn. He 
married Agnes, daughter of the Eev. Dr Macdonald of 
Ferintosh, the " Apostle of the North." Hugh Falconar, the 
third son of Falconar of Inshoch, was a merchant in Nairn, 
and like his brother of Draikies, engaged in some extensive 
speculations. It was he who purchased Newton from 
Kilravock, and was the first to improve and enclose the 
lands. He died in 1786. A daughter married James Smith 
of Gorskieneuk, and from her are numerous descendants. 
Major James Falconar, his brother, was the last of the 
Falconars of Newton. 


Dr Peter Macarthur, who had been in India, was the next 
possessor. He had also a lease of some lands at Moss-side,. 
and a road leading to the Moss is known as "The Doctor's 
Eoad," it having been made by him. He had been for some 
time tenant of Delnies previous to purchasing Newton, and 
belonged to the family of Macarthur of Polneach. 

About the year 1840, Harry Eobertson, who had been in 
business in the West Indies, purchased Newton. He took an. 
active part in all religious and temperance work. He threw 
himself with great ardour into the conflict which preceded 
the Disruption, and became a liberal supporter and leading 
elder of the Free Church. He removed in 1873 to Fortrose,. 
where he died. His only surviving daughter married Mr 
Walter Arres, Fodderty. Mrs Robertson returned to Nairn,, 
residing at Walton Villa. 

In 1872 Colonel William Fraser purchased Newton from 
Mr Robertson. Colonel Fraser is descended from the second 
son of the fourth Lord Lovat. The early heritage of the 
family was Guisachan, to which was added on the death 
of the third son the property of Culbokie, from which the 
family thence took their territorial designation. Culbokie is 
situated in close proximity to Ferintosh, a detached portion 
of Nairnshire, and in 1607 when the Thane of Cawdor, (Sir 
John Campbell), sold the Barony of Ferintosh to Simon Lord 
Lovat for 44,000 Scots, one of Lovat's cautioners is Huchon 
Fraser of Culbokie. Young William Fraser of Culbokie, 
along with the Master of Lovat, led the Frasers at Culloden 
Moor, and having escaped after the Battle to the fastnesses- 
of Strathglass, where he was hid by the tenantry, the Duke 
of Cumberland's troops in revenge burned down the house of 
Guisachan over the head of his father, a very old man, who 
had taken no part in the affair of 1745. The second son, 


-John, was an officer in the Eraser Highlanders, and was at 
the taking of Quebec in 1759. When Major Clephane (Kil- 
ravock's brother-in-law, who became Provost of Nairn), was 
about to leave Canada for home, he generously procured 
a command for John Fraser, Culbokie's son. Captain John 
married and settled in Canada, as did also his brother Simon, 
who, going out West on an adventurous expedition, became 
known to fame as the discoverer of the Fraser Eiver, which 
was called after him. Colonel William Fraser sold the estate 
of Guisachan to Sir Dudley Coutts Majoribanks (now Lord 
Tweedmouth), and purchased the estate of Kilmuir in Skye. 
Having also acquired Newton, he erected the present very 
handsome residence there, incorporating with it the old 
house and greatly improving the grounds. Colonel Fraser 
has taken a very great interest in Nairn and its institutions, 
particularly in the local Artillery Volunteers, of which he 
had the command for many years, latterly becoming Colonel 
Commanding the Highland Artillery. In 1887 Newton 
was acquired by Mr E. B. Finlay, Q.C., in whose possession it 
now is. Mr Finlay has been a generous friend to the Golf 
Club, the new club-house as well as the Newton ground being 
given to the club in free occupancy. Mr Finlay married the 
youngest daughter of Mr Cosmo Innes. 

The lands of Seabank adjoining were acquired by Mr 
William Grigor, Elgin, from the trustees of Robert Young, of 
Palmercross, Elgin, to whom it had come from the Rev. 
Ludovick Grant of Boyndie, Banff. Mr William Grigor early 
saw the advantages of the Seabank lands for feuing purposes, 
and declined tempting offers to sell out. The property of 
Viewfield lying to the east of it belonged to James Augustus 
Grant, who had been a Judge at Guzerat in India. He was 
for many years Convener of the County of Nairn, and a 


handsome portrait of him hangs in the Nairn Sheriff Court- 
room presented by a number of friends during his lifetime, 
He married a daughter of Colonel Mackintosh of Millbank. 
He had five daughters the eldest of whom married General 
Shirreff, and at the death of her father, she purchased 
from the family trustees Viewfield House and grounds, whilst 
Mr Grigor bought the lands of Viewfield lying towards the 
sea. Since his death, Mr Grigor's trustees have followed 
the same policy of feuing, and a large number of villas and 
residences have been built on these lands the largest being 
Firthside, belonging to Lord Thurlow, and Invernairne, 
belonging to Mr A. T. Lawrence. 

The lands of Seabank originally extended southward to 
the Gallowgate, the road which branched off the High 
Street at Ivybank. The name Ivybank is of comparatively 
modern date. It was originally Seabank, and a cottage in 
its vicinity bears the name of Seabank Cottage. Ivybank 
became the residence of Captain Gordon of Eevack a brother 
of General Gordon of Lochdhu. Captain Gordon served in 
the Peninsular War with the 92nd, of which he was long 
the Paymaster, and received the medal with seven clasps. 
He was present at the Battle of Waterloo. He was of 
a singularly quiet, amiable disposition, so that it was said 
of him that he never made an enemy or lost a friend. His 
first wife was Miss Knight, whose beauty was celebrated 
in Strathspey in the popular song, " The Bonnie Wife of 
Eevack." On her death, he married a daughter of Major 
John Grant of Auchterblair, and the sister of Field-Marshal 
Sir Patrick Grant. Captain Gordon died, aged ninety 
years, on 8th April 1867. He was survived by three 
sons and three daughters, but they did not retain Ivybank, 
The property then passed into the hands of Colonel 


Bethune, whose son, Mr Duncan Norfolk Bethune, now 
owns it. 

About the beginning of the century there was a realloca- 
tion of the burgh lands in the neighbourhood of the town. 
'They had been held in run-rig, and when an improved system 
of cultivation came in, it was found necessary to assign each 
proprietor his burgh roods contiguously. The Glebe was 
defined to march with Viewfield on the one side and the 
Skateraw on the other. Viewfield, or the lands so designed, 
was in this division allotted to the Earl of Findlater and 
Seatield. In a plan of the town lands made at that time, 
Kingillie, probably originally part of the Skateraw, is shown 

- as it now is. It received its name of Kingillie from a Captain 
Fraser, who adopted the name from Kingillie in Inverness- 
shire a possession of the Frasers. It was purchased by 

General Ketchen (a son of the Eev. Mr Ketchen of the 
Secession Church, Nairn), who had been Colonel of Artillery 
in the East India Company's service and had been long 
in command of Fort-George at Madras. His brother, Mr 
Isaac Ketchen, succeeded General Ketchen. His three sons 

-entered the Army. Major-General Isaac Ketchen of the 
Royal Artillery is the only surviving son. James, the 
eldest son, died a Major in the Indian Army ; William, 
the youngest, at his death in 1890 was Colonel-Command- 
ing the Nair Brigade in Trivandrum, Travancore, and was 
a very distinguished officer. The Mahrajah has erected 

a monument to his memory. The property of Kingillie 
was purchased by Mr David Anderson, a native of Nairn, 
who had been in business in Demerara. He died in 1891. 
Mrs Anderson retains the property. 

Firhall, long the possession of the Grants of Rothiemurchus, 
passed into other hands about the end of last century, and 


was purchased by Captain Troup, who married John Kose 
of Holme's daughter Jane. They had four sons, brought up 
at Firhall, all of whom entered the military service of the 
East India Company. Hugh retired as General; Colin 
became Brigadier-General ; Eobert had command of the 
2nd Oude Local Infantry ; Captain John Eose Troup married 
an Indian lady of great wealth, and in remembrance of his 
I early days in Nairn left a sum of 2000 for the indigent 
poor and 2000 to the Nairn Academy. A sister of 
Mrs Troup of Firhall married the Eev. Dr Cormack of 
Stowe, and their son was Sir John Eose Cormack who 
was physician to the British Embassy, and greatly dis- 
tinguished himself at the Siege of Paris in 1871 by his 
humane efforts to succour the distressed and wounded. In 
recognition of his services he was knighted by Her Majesty. 
Colin Eose Troup, who was with Stanley in his expedition 
for the relief of Emin Pasha and was left with Major 
Bartelot in the ill-fated rear detachment, is a grandson of 
Captain Troup of Firhall. 

Firhall was purchased by John Mackintosh, Torrich, but 
he sold it in 1843 to Angus Cameron, late of the North 
West and Hon. Hudson Bay Coy.'s Service, who under his 
uncle JEneas Cameron was one of the leading pioneers of 
Canadian settlement and progress. Mr Cameron was greatly 
respected in Nairn, and many young men belonging to the 
district owed their first appointment in the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany to his influence. Dr James A. Cameron succeeded 
his father at Firhall, and holds the appointment of Medical 
Officer for the Counties of Banff, Elgin, and Nairn, and is an 
Examiner for the Science Degree in Edinburgh University. 
Dr Cameron married a daughter of Mr Skinner, Drumin. 
Their eldest son, Angus, is an officer in the Cameron 


Highlanders, and the youngest son, Hamish, is entered a 
student at Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Broadley in ancient times the residence of the branch of 
the Eoses known as " the Provost of Nairn's family," was 
purchased by Captain Grant, Congash, factor for Strathspey. 
It was a charming situation, and the house, though unpre- 
tentious, had a famous fruitful garden. A mill was erected 
at Broadley in Dr James Rose's time, and was known as the 
Newmill. The mill lade at the riverside can still be traced. 
When the Eev. James Grant was minister of Nairn, he 
became tenant of Broadley, and resided there for several 
months each summer. 

The adjacent lands of Grieship have a somewhat interesting 
history. Originally belonging to the burgh, they are found 
at an early time in the possession of the Thanes of Cawdor, 
then of old Bailie Tulloch, probably under wadset. His 
daughter, who was abducted by the Tullochs of Tannachy, 
and afterwards married William Falconer, the third son of 
Colin Falconer, Bishop of Moray, inherited the Grieship 
lands. They were succeeded by their eldest son Alexander. 
He was the senior Bailie in charge of the Burgh of Nairn 
when the Eising of 1715 occurred. He was succeeded 
by his brother David, who from all accounts was a 
very energetic and somewhat eccentric gentleman. He was 
known among his contemporaries as " The Admiral." He 
owned an eighth part of the salmon fishings of the river 
Nairn, and according to an entry in the Sheriff Court Books 
in 1766, possessed the property " lying immediately to the 
east of Kilravock's great stonehouse in the burgh and 
bounded on the east by the tenements belonging to 
Broadley" a description answering to Falconer's Lane. 
" The Admiral " was married to Isabella Dunbar. Their 


daughter Emilia ("a beautiful and accomplished woman," 
according to a memorandum in the handwriting of Eobert 
Falconar, the Sheriff-Substitute of Nairn) died unmarried 
and this branch of the family became extinct. The old 
Sheriff adds " Another of the sons of the Bishop of Moray 
was the father of Mrs Innes of Instellie, with whom I had 
the pleasure of passing an evening in my father's house in 
the year 1769. She was nearly related to a daughter of the 
family of Clava who was married to Mr Hugh Falconar, my 
uncle. Mrs Innes was at this time accompanied by Mr 
David Falconer, ' The Admiral,' and a young lady of the 
name of M'Kenzie, her grand-daughter." Sir Hugh Tnnes, 
Bart., M.P,, Lochalsh, the grandson of Mrs Innes, erected a 
monument to his ancestor Bishop Colin Falconer at Elgin 
Cathedral. He died unmarried in 1831. It would appear 
from an entry in the Burgh Eecords that the Falconers 
parted with the Grieship to Patrick Grant of Eothiemurchus, 
in 1769, the Council finding that the latter had for several 
years past held the lands of Grieship in non-entry. 

The Grieship lands were purchased by Captain Grant 
of Congash, and he left Broadley to his relative Grant of the 
Aird in Strathspey, and the Grieship to the Eev. Mr Stewart 
of Dalvey. Both properties in succession have been pur- 
chased by Mr Eobert Anderson of Lochdhu.-^n 1 * 

Househill and Crook were held of the Burgh of Nairn by 
the Eoses of Kilravock, and were sold by Hugh Eose of 
Kilravock about the year 1780 to Hugh Eobertson, merchant 
in Nairn. The property came from the Eobertsons to Lieut.- 
Colonel Hugh Eobertson Murray, H.E.I.C.S., a nephew, who 
had acquired Lodgehill, and was sold by him to Colonel J. 
A. Grant. Colonel Grant's father was the Eev. James 
Grant, Minister of Nairn. Colonel Grant served in the 


Sikh War and the Indian Mutiny. He was wounded at 
the relief of Lucknow. After the suppression of the Mutiny, 
Grant joined Captain Speke in the expedition to discover the 
Sources of the Nile. The record of their wonderful march 
into the interior and their discovery of the Victoria Nyanza 
forms one of the most interesting chapters of African travel. 
For some time before they emerged from the Dark Continent 
by way of Khartoum, nearly all hope of their return had 
been given up. Sir Eoderick Murchison almost alone 
believed in their safety. The news of their reappearance was 
hailed with joy throughout the length and breadth of the 
land. When the travellers came home they were lionised in 
London, and received marks of distinction from the King of 
the Belgians, King Victor Emmanuel of Italy, and other 
European Potentates. Grant was made a Civil Companion of 
the Bath by Her Majesty. On returning to his native town 
Captain Grant was presented with the freedom of the Burgh, 
and with a piece of silver plate by the County. His mother 
being resident at Dingwall, (her daughter having married the 
Eev. Dr Mackenzie of Ferintosh,) Captain Grant took up his 
abode there, and wrote the account of his African travels, 
" A Walk Across Africa," the title of which was suggested 
by a remark of Lord Palmerston's in greeting him, "You 
have had a long walk, sir." Whilst engaged on the work, 
news came of the death of Captain Speke, who had been 
accidentally shot by his gun going off when out shooting. 
Captain Grant married Miss Laurie, niece of Sir Peter Laurie, 
Lord Mayor of London. After his marriage he went back 
to India, but returned after a few years further service. 
When the Abyssinian Expedition of 1868 was dispatched, 
Captain Grant, at the urgent request of the Government, 
joined the Intelligence Department, and rendered valuable 


service to the Expedition. On his return from Africa he 
received the Star of India. Colonel Grant purchased 
Househill in 1872 and resided there when in the North. 
He ^kept up his connection with African travellers and 
geographers, and was a prominent member of the Royal 
Geographical Society. He was a warm friend of Stanley, 
and used to say " If you ever hear any unfavourable remark 
about Stanley, don't believe it ! Stanley is one of the best 
of men." Colonel Grant died at Househill on llth February 
1892, and the coffin was borne shoulder-high to the Nairn 
Cemetery by a detachment of the 78th Highlanders his old 
Regiment preceded by the pipers playing "The Flowers of 
the Forest" a simple but touching ceremony. An interesting 
biography of Colonel Grant appeared in Blackwood's Magazine 
for April 1892. He left two sons and three daughters. His 
eldest son, James Augustus, following in the footsteps of his 
father, was with Joseph Thomson in his expedition to Mashona- 
land when his father died. At the General Election of 1892, 
young Mr Grant stood as a candidate in the Unionist interest 
for the Elgin Burghs, and made a good though unsuccessful 
fight. He also contested Banffshire at the bye-election in 
.1893, and reduced the majority, but was defeated by 771 
votes. The second son Alister is in the Army. 

Millbank, a burgh heritage, belonged in early times to 
various proprietors. Kilravock, Calder, Rose of Belivat, and 
others had roods " in the Millbank." Dr Forbes, surgeon in 
Nairn, became heritable proprietor of the consolidated 
property, and the Earl of Findlater had a parcel of land 
lying to the south of Millbank. The original kirk glebe 
was in this quarter. Millfield was also carved out of it. 
Millbank, as at present bounded, along with " the field 
between the roads " a description still recognisable 


was purchased by Colonel William Mackintosh, who was 
succeeded by his son William : both of them, father and son, 
were great land improvers, but some of the speculations of 
the latter turned out badly. The trustees sold the property 
to Colonel Alexander Findlay a native of the district, who 
had risen in the Army. His son, Alexander Findlay, also a 
Colonel, succeeded him, and became a very prominent citizen 
of Nairn. He farmed for a time Balblair, Lochdhu, and 
other lands in the neighbourhood. He was Provost of Nairn 
for many years, and was the first Commandant of the Nairn 
Artillery Volunteers. The house was occupied for a period 
by the Rev. Dr Edwin Wrenford as a boarding school for 
young gentlemen. The property was purchased by Mr John 
Howden of Inverness on the decease of Colonel Findlay. 

The property of Larkfield was originally the Smith's Croft 
of the Burgh. The blacksmith of the town received it from 
the Town Council as part of his emoluments. Occasionally 
other arrangements were made, and in the year 1662 
William Man, Town Clerk of Nairn, held it on tack. It was, 
however, usually let along with the other subjects of the 
Common Good of the Burgh. On 27th September 1779 Dr 
Hugh Rose of Brae asked for and obtained a feu of the 
Smith's Acre, " as presently occupied by Alexander 
Clark, blacksmith," the price being fixed at 20s per 
Scots acre. In 1813 a feu charter to it was granted 
to his son, who is designated James Kose of Flemington. 
The same year he sold it to Colonel Alexander Mair, 
and three years later it was purchased by Mrs Grace 
or Grizel Grant, relict of the deceased Major John 
Grant, Auchindoune. A good house was built and the 
grounds laid out and enclosed, and the name changed 
to Larkfield. The old lady, Mrs Grant, left the property 


to her daughters, Misses Jane and Eliza Grant, and 
it was bequeathed by the latter, the last survivor, in 
1860 to Dr John Grigor, a medical practitioner of eminence 
in Nairn, as a mark of esteem. Dr Grigor, who established 
a practice at Kome, on his retiring, resided at Larkfield. He 
did much to bring the burgh of Nairn into notice as a health 
resort, and took a leading part for many years in developing 
its attractions. He was a gentleman of cultivated tastes, 
and was widely known both for his professional skill and 
his interest in antiquarian research. He was the means 
of establishing a local museum, and at his death in 1886 he 
left 1000 for the Nairn Literary Institute, with which the 
Museum was connected, and also bequests for University 
Medical bursaries, free scholarships at the Nairn Academy, 
and for the poor. His fellow-citizens and other friends 
erected a bronze statue on the High Street to his memory, 
the work of Mr J. Hutchison, the well-known sculptor. At 
Mrs Grigor's demise, Larkfield went to Dr Grigor 's nephew, 
Mr Clement Gordon, of Banff, from whom it was purchased 
by Dr H. W. Mann the property thus reverting to one of 
the same name as held it over two hundred years before. The 
family of the name of Mann has been very prominently 
associated with the town of Nairn for many generations 
back, members of it holding official positions in the burgh 
and taking a leading part in its affairs. Dr Mann has 
followed in the footsteps of his ancestors in this respect, and 
was for some time Provost of Nairn. 

Any notice of Lands and Land Owners in Nairnshire 
would be incomplete without mention of the Baillies of 
Lochloy. The chivalrous old Knights of Lochloy have happily 
been succeeded by a family of distinction. The Baillies as a 
clan trace their descent from Baillie of Lamington, who 


married the daughter of Sir William Wallace, the Scottish 
Patriot. The branch to which the Baillies of Lochloy 
belong is the family of Redcastle. Colonel Hugh Smith 
Baillie and General Duncan Baillie were younger sons of 
Colonel Hugh Baillie of Eedcastle and Tarradale. After 
residing for some time at Househill, General Baillie built a 
handsome mansion at Lochloy on a long lease, and his 
brother, who is married to the Viscountess Glentworth, 
usually resided there also. General Baillie married Anna 
Burnaby (sister of Colonel Frederick Burnaby of military 
renown and niece of Lady Glentworth.) On retiring from 
the Royal Horse Guards, General Baillie took up permanent 
abode at Lochloy, and settled down to the enjoyment of 
country life. He was devoted to Nairnshire, and main- 
tained friendly intercourse with all ranks and classes. No 
public gathering was considered complete without his hand- 
some genial presence, and every institution felt his kindly 
influence. He was warmly attached to his nephew, the 
Laird of Brodie, and admired his brilliant qualities. When 
the first County Council was formed in 1890, General Baillie 
was elected Convener, but he died before completing his first 
year of office. He left a family of sons and daughters. 
The eldest son, Ronald, is at the Scottish Bar, and the second 
son Alan is in the 78th Highlanders, and has seen active 
service in Northern India. Mrs Baillie and her family 
maintain the social prestige of the old name and fame of 
Lochloy in Nairnshire, 



ALTHOUGH Presbyterianism was restored as the national 
form of church government in Scotland by the Revolution 
Settlement in 1690, the organisation of the Church in many 
parts of the country was for a long period thereafter exceed- 
ingly defective. The Episcopal ministers who conformed to 
the extent of taking the oath of allegiance to the civil power 
were allowed to retain their benefices during the natural 
term of their lives. It thus happened that in one parish the 
minister was an Episcopalian and in the adjoining parish 
a Presbyterian. The form of worship in either probably did 
not differ very materially, but a marked distinction existed in 
the spirit in which the work was performed. The Presby- 
terian clergy were as a rule ardent reformers of the life and 
manners of the people, whilst their Episcopal brethren were 
notoriously lax in the performance of their duties. 

It was not till 1702 that a Synod of Moray was revived, 
the Presbyterian ministers being so few in number that they 
were content to have one Presbytery for the whole diocese of 
Moray. The parishes of Auldearn, Ardclach and Nairn 
formed part of the Presbytery of Forres by a later 
arrangement, and it was not until 1773 that they were 
finally erected into the Presbytery of Nairn, along with 
Cawdor and Croy from Inverness, and Ardersier taken from 
Chanonry the six parishes which now form the Nairn 


The Church of Nairn in ancient times stood on the west 
side of the Constabulary Gardens, or Castlehill, some little 
distance back from the High Street. There is no record 
of when it was removed to the site on the bank of the river, 
but probably the change took place soon after the Reforma- 
tion. In the year 1658, there is a reference in the Burgh 
Records evidently to the building of a new church. It 
is stated there that the Trades of Nairn had agreed 
voluntarily to contribute 30 Scots a large sum in those 
days towards the erection of a Trades Gallery in the church. 
The only ecclesiastical relic preserved is a small handbell 
bearing the name " NARN " evidently from the spelling 
and the form of the letters of a pretty old date. 

The Rev. Hugh Rose, minister of Nairn, whose literary 
labours have made his name better known than that of any 
of his contemporaries, did not live to witness the Revolution. 
He died in 1686. He was the eldest son of David Rose 
of Earlsmill, fifth son of William, the eleventh Baron of 
Kilravock. David Rose had the wadset of Termet in the 
parish of Petty, and of Earlsmill. He assigned Earlsmill to 
Hugh, minister of Nairn, but Lord Moray redeemed it in 1667, 
and David made provision for his son by giving him the wadset 
of Termet instead. Hugh was intended for the legal pro- 
fession, and for that purpose studied at Leyden, having 
for his companion there Sir George Mackenzie of legal fame, 
who, it is said, expressed great surprise on hearing that his 
fellow-student had abandoned the law for divinity, knowing 
his extraordinary abilities as a lawyer. In the intervals 
of study for the pulpit in the years 1683-4, the minister 
drew up a History of the Family of Kilravock of great 
interest and value. It was edited and supplemented by Mr 
Cosmo Innes and published by the Spalding Club in 1848. 


The old minister was laid aside by illness for several years 
before his death, and being debarred from preaching, he 
employed himself writing a series of " Meditations on Several 
Interesting Subjects," which was published in 1*762 by an 
Inverness bookseller. The little volume shows the minister 
of Nairn to have been a pious, scholarly man of the type 
of Leighton. 

The minister in possession when Presbyterianism was 
re-established was Mr George Dunbar. He had been 
schoolmaster at Auldearn and graduated at Aberdeen 
University. He conformed to Episcopacy and was or- 
dained to the Church of Dallas in 1682. In 1687, he was 
translated to Nairn, being presented by the Dean of Moray. 
He did not preach in Gaelic. He retained his benefice 
under the new ecclesiastical order, and died in 1728, aged 
about seventy-six years. 

The next minister was Alexander Eose, licentiate, who was 
appointed by the unanimous call of the magistrates of the 
Burgh of Nairn. In his time, a curious question of discipline 
arose. At the Commission of the General Assembly in 
August 1739, a representation was read from the Synod of 
Moray and Presbytery of Forres respecting Eobert Main, 
skipper of a fishing boat at Nairn, and five other seamen, his 
crew, who had given offence to the session of Tarbet in 
Eoss-shire by setting to sea from a harbour in that parish on 
a Sabbath morning. They had expressed their willingness 
to remove the offence by submitting to the discipline of the 
church, but the Magistrates of Nairn had by their authority 
discharged their compearance. Hugh Eose of Clava was 
Provost of Nairn at the time, and he had pretty strong 
Jacobite-Episcopalian sympathies, which may account for 
the unusual proceeding of the Magistrates interposing 


between the ecclesiastical courts and the subjects of dis- 
cipline. The Commission, however, found the representation 
incompetent, not containing information as to whither the 
said seamen went, what they did at sea after they went out, 
&c., and therefore could give no advice until a more distinct 
account of the case be laid before them. No further mention 
of the case occurs in the church records. Mr Alex. Rose 
married Elizabeth Ross in 1753, and died in 1757. It is 
recorded in Scott's " Fasti," that his pecuniary affairs were 
left in such a way as to cause loss to many, and to give 
occasion to much unfavourable reflection, yet his memory 
was cherished as he introduced the preaching of Gaelic to 
the congregation. 

His successor, Patrick Dunbar, could not preach in Gaelic. 
He was a native of Auldearn, and on being presented by 
Brodie of Brodie, who now claimed the right of Patronage, 
his settlement was opposed before the Presbytery on account 
of his lacking the Gaelic, but the Presbytery were of opinion 
that Gaelic was not necessary to the minister of Nairn, and 
he was accordingly ordained on 12th April 1759. He 
married Elizabeth Davidson, and died 1787, having been 
minister of Nairn for twenty-nine years. 

John Morrison succeeded the following year. He was a 
native of Mortlach, and had been a schoolmaster of Mgg 
in Ross-shire. He could preach in Gaelic, which he probably 
learned in Ross-shire, and the Gaelic service, to the joy of 
the Highlanders, was resumed. He married Jean Grant. 
In 1789, the Presbytery ordained the heritors to pay the 
sum of 56 8s 7|d for repairing the kirk, manse, offices 
and garden wall. In 1797, a visitation of the kirk took 
place ; it was found sufficient, but the Presbytery authorised 
the minister, Mr Morrison, to get any necessary repairs 


on the ecclesiastical buildings done at the expense of the 
heritors. In 1805, the heritors were assessed for 71. A 
serious panic arose in the church in the year 1808, from 
an alarm that the galleries were giving way, and some of the 
worshippers jumped from the loft to the floor. It was a false 
alarm, but the Presbytery on 23rd November 1808 declared 
the church to be insufficient, and on 4th May of the 
following year, it was resolved to build a new church to 
accommodate from 900 to 1000. The amount levied on 
the heritors for the new church was 1357. The smallness 
of the sum was jprobably due to the circumstance that the 
old foundation walls and the materials of the old edifice 
were used in the building *of the new church. The stone 
vaults in the interior of the old church were, according 
to common report, merely covered with sand and floored 
over. The rule for assessing the heritors for their pro- 
portions of the stipend and expense of repairs was a rental 
originally prepared in 1805 for apportioning the expense of 
supporting the wives and families of militiamen, but when 
the new church was built the assessment was laid upon 
the burgh heritors and feuars, as well as the heritors of 
the landward parish, and several refusing to pay, the 
decreet was enforced against them by legal process. In the 
old church the Magistrates and Town Council had a loft for 
themselves, but in the new church no such accommodation 
was claimed or provided. The church was finished Sarly 
in the year 1810. There was much debate amongst I the 
heritors regarding the allocation of the seats, but Mrs 
Elizabeth Eose of Kilravock records in her diary that ner 
son Kilravock, Cantray, and others returned to dinner in the 
evening from a meeting at Nairn regarding the allocation, all 
highly pleased at the arrangements, except the Laird of 


Boath. Mrs Rose herself made a special journey in her old 
age to see the grand new church. It was, however, a very 
plain structure the heritors had erected, and being seated for 
only 900, it was quite inadequate for the population of 
the burgh and landward parish. It provided only sixty 
sittings for fisher people thirty for Nairn and thirty for 
Delnies fishers. Mr Morrison died in 1814, in the thirtieth 
year of his ministry. 

Mr James Grant, son of the Rev. Alexander Grant of 
Cawdor, succeeded. He was a graduate of Aberdeen Uni- 
versity and King's College. Some objections were raised feo 
his settlement, but they were fallen from at the bar of the 
Assembly, and he was ordained minister of Nairn, 13th July 
1815. Mr Grant married Christian Mackintosh, and had 
three sons and one daughter. The distinguished career of 
his son, Colonel James A. Grant, has already been described. 
Mr Grant was minister when the Disruption occurred. 

The church of Auldearn stands on the same spot as it 
did when it was the Deanery of Moray in ancient times, but 
the present edifice bears the comparatively recent date of 
1757. The choir an unroofed portion still used for sepul- 
ture is of much older date, and its windows bear traces 
of the Gothic architecture of the more ancient structure 
of which it formed a part. According to tradition the old 
chinch was struck by lightning and partially destroyed by 
fire. In 1640, John Hay of Lochloy by his last will and 
testament left his body to be buried in the burial place " of 
his forbears within the quier of Auldearn," and ordained 
"ane loft to be biggit within the Kirk of Auldearn on 
the north side thereof with the timber gotten of the 
Ohanonrie Kirk of Elgin." Lord Brodie in his time had 
much trouble of mind concerning the spiritual condition of 


Auldearn. Writing in 1671, he says " I desire to be 
affected with the withered and dry state of Dyke and 
Auldearn. Oh ! does there fall any rain upon them ! " 

The last Dean of Moray was Thomas Keay. It was men 
like Keay who deepened the dislike of the people to Prelacy. 
The Dean of Moray was a thoroughly bad character. Keay 
was in fact a notorious drunkard. One ecclesiastical 
authority says he was " expelled " from Auldearn, another 
that he " deserted his charge." He afterwards intruded 
at Crimmond. His successor the first Presbyterian minister 
after the Eevolution was of a very different stamp. The 
saintly, heroic schoolmaster of Auldearn, Alexander Dunbar, 
who had been a prisoner in the Bass Kock for twelvemonths, 
now occupied the pulpit of Auldearn. No tablet exists to 
perpetuate his memory, but in other days he would have 
been canonised. He was inducted to Auldearn in 1689, and 
attended the meetings of the General Assemly in 1690 and 
1692. He was twice married, first, to Margaret Meldrum, 
who died 29th September 1689, and secondly to Beatrix 
Fowler, who survived him. His confinement in the Bass 
prison had weakened his health, never very strong, and after 
an illness of three years he died 29th October 1707, aged about 
sixty-seven. He left a sum of money to buy two large silver 
cups for the use of the Communion. They are not now 
in existence. He was succeeded by David Henderson, of 
whom nothing particular is recorded. He died, after a 
ministry of sixteen years, in 1725, and was succeeded by 
James Winchester, who had been chaplain to the Baron 
of Kilravock, and afterwards presented by Brodie of Lethen 
to the Kirk of Eafford. He remained in Auldearn for five 
years, and then accepted a presentation to St. Giles Church, 
Elgin, but a few years later he was translated to Jedburgh. 


On his leaving Elgin, the Kirk of St. Giles once more took 
away the minister of Auldearn Alexander Irvine, who had 
been brought from St. Andrews to Auldearn. He had two 
daughters Mary, who married Mr James Gray, minister 
of Lanark, and Sophia, who married Mr John Wood, minister 
of Kosemarkie. 

A strong antipathy existed in the minds of the Kirk 
Session of Auldearn towards Highlanders. They passed 
a series of severe enactments against them. The first 
begins in September 29, 1728, when Mr Winchester was 
minister. It runs as follows " The Session agreed that 
intimation be made to the congregation that they be cautious 
in harbouring strangers in their families and receive none 
without clear certificates relating to their behaviour." On 
February 27, 1732, " intimation was this day from the pulpit 
according to the appointment of a former session, to masters 
of families, &c., within the parish warning them against 
receiving servants or subtenants, who understood not the 
English language." Mr Irvine, the St. Andrews man, was 
the minister at the time. As the Whitsunday term was 
drawing near, it was thought desirable to renew the 
injunction, and accordingly on May 14, 1732, " the Session 
appointed that next Lord's Day from the pulpit all masters 
and heads of families in this Parish be exhorted to enquire 
for testimonials from such strangers as are in their service." 
Again, on October 29, 1732, " it was recommended to the 
elders to take care that no servants be received in their 
corners without sufficient testimonials, and the minister was 
desired to make intimation of the same from the pulpit next 
Lord's Day." Finally, on May 19th 1735, " the elders were 
desired to inspect their respective districts about servants 
not understanding the English language, and do what they 


could to hinder their reception." A happy day dawned for 
the Highlanders in the district when Mr Irvine quitted his 
post, and Mr Daniel Munro, himself a Gaelic speaker, was 
installed as minister of Auldearn. This happened the year 
following the date of the last edict of the Session, namely, 
on 23d September 1736. Mr Daniel Munro was a very 
powerful evangelical preacher. He laboured in Auldearn for 
some nine years. He had occasion to preach at Tain. The 
Tain people were vastly taken with him, and having 
knowledge of his high repute for faithfulness and godliness, 
they lost not a day in moving for a call to him. The 
Magistrates generously undertook to bear all the expense. 
The call was given, and Daniel Munro, to the sorrow of 
the people of Auldearn, accepted it. He may have heard 
what happened to his predecessor at Tain, recently deceased. 
He had been minister of Tarbat, and declined the call to Tain, 
but a number of the Tain parishioners went down to Tarbat 
and entering the church, went straight to" the pulpit and 
carried him off bodily to Tain. 

A very unhappy period followed in the history of the 
parish of Auldearn. The patron, Brodie of Brodie, presented 
Thomas Gordon from Cabrach, but his settlement was 
opposed. The presentee was unpopular, and he was not 
allowed to be settled till 12th February 1747, nearly two 
years after his presentation. A number seceded, and formed 
the nucleus of the Secession Church at Boghole. Mr Thomas 
Gordon turned out, however, to be a man who could look 
after his own affairs and the parishioners' rights as well. 
It is to him the Parish owes the present church. He 
compelled the heritors to pull down the old church, which 
had fallen into a ruinous state, and to erect a new edifice 
which bears the date 1757, the tenth year of his ministry. 


He had no hesitation in suing the Laird of Brodie, his 
patron, and other heritors in the Sheriff Court of Nairn, 
as the records show. He lived to the age of eighty-five 
years, during forty-six years of which he was minister of 
Auldearn. A tombstone in the old choir perpetuates his 
memory in the following dedication " To the memory of the 
Kev. Thomas Gordon, who was 8 years minister of the Gospel 
at Cabrach, and 46 at Auldearn. A man of exemplary piety, 
the strictest integrity, and remarkable for the extent of his 
erudition. After a life devoted to the duties of his sacred 
function, he was summoned to his reward 25th November, 
A.D., 1793, aged 85 years." 

Mr John Paterson, a native of Morayshire, was the next 
minister. He was admitted 1794. It was he who dedicated 
the colours of the Nairnshire Militia in 1810 on the Links of 
Nairn " in full pontificals." He was a very scholarly man, 
and according to Scott's Fasti, " eminently possessed the 
virtues of candour, benevolence, and unsullied integrity." 
The stories preserved of him, however, show him to have 
been a " muscular Christian " who rather shocked the Seceders 
of the time by his candour of speech and unconventionality 
of conduct. He died at the comparatively early age of 
forty-two years. 

Of quite a different type was his successor, Mr William 
Barclay. He was a fervid evangelical preacher, a keen 
theologian, devoted to pastoral duties, and at the same time 
something of a doctor, lawyer, and mechanic. Many who 
had forsaken the ministry of the church at Auldearn for that 
of the Secession Church at Boghole, returned to the old fold. 
In his report in the New Statistical Account Mr Barclay 
states that there is scarcely a child in the parish between six 
and fifteen years of age who cannot read. There might be 


from twelve to fourteen persons above fifteen who could not 
read. He was, in short, a model parish minister. His 
influence in the parish was probably all the greater from the 
circumstance that he was connected by marriage with the 
Laird of Lethen. who was of a kindred spirit. Mr Barclay was 
minister of Auldearn when the Disruption took place. 

Ardclach for many years after the Keformation had scant 
provision for religious services. At one time it is a vicarage, 
under the patronage of the parson of Kafford as sub-chantor 
of Moray, and at a later time it is united to the Kirk of 
Edinkillie. Efforts were made to have it erected into an 
independent parish, and in the hope of this being done, Mr 
Donald Macpherson, a graduate of St. Andrews, accepted the 
charge, but he was forced to leave it and accept a call 
to Cawdor, " as he had no means to live by." Mr John 
Balfour, who must have been a man of some courage, under- 
took in 1642, the duties of the charge. The Assembly had 
the previous year agreed to erect it into a separate parish, 
but the matter lay with the Scottish Parliament, and it was 
not till 1650 that the parish of Ardclach as it now exists was 
constituted. It was one of the charges established by 
Decreet of Platt, as it was called, and in order to make 
it sufficient for the sustenance of the minister, a portion 
of Auldearn Parish was annexed to it, viz., " the lands 
of Lethenbar, For nighty, Fleenasnagael, Achamore, and 
Achavelgin, belonging to Alexander Brodie of Lethen ; and 
Middle Fleenas and Achnatone, belonging to William Eose 
of Clava, and Hugh Eose, fiar thereof." 

In 1680, Patrick Grant, brother of the Laird of Grant, 
was appointed minister of Ardclach, and for thirty-six years 
served in that office. He was succeeded in 1716 by John 
Duncanson, who was translated to Petty in 1728. His 


successor was Mr William Barren, an eminent Hebrew 
scholar, a good preacher, and a most agreeable person. His 
friendship was much cultivated by the learned men who 
made visits to Coulmony as guests of the Barons of Kilra- 
vock. He was married to Jean Grant, and had sixteen 
children. He died 17th August 1784. 

A very eccentric person named William Shaw, from Arran, 
next found his way into the Ardclach pulpit. He quarrelled 
with many of his parishioners, and had become so unpopular 
that after less than a twelvemonth's residence, he quitted 
his charge, and went off to London. Before settling at 
Ardclach, he had published an Analysis of the Gaelic 
Language, and having compiled a Dictionary of the Gaelic 
Language, he went to London in order to get it published. 
He made the acquaintance of Dr Samuel Johnson, and 
through him got an incumbency in the Church of England 
worth 200 a-year. His Gaelic Dictionary, published by 
subscription, was found to be so valueless that many of 
the subscribers refused to pay for it, but were compelled by 
decreet of the Court of Session to do so, the judges taking a 
lenient view of the performance not coming up to the 
prospectus. Dr Samuel Johnson's favour for him was due to 
his having taken the same side in the controversy regarding 
the authenticity of Macpherson's " Ossian." 

Mr Donald Mitchell, the next minister, was a native of 
Cromarty. He had been minister of the Little Church of 
Elgin, and was presented by Miss Brodie of Lethen from her 
knowledge of his character and ministerial gifts. He was 
admitted to Ardclach in 1781, and laboured with great 
faithfulness for thirty-seven years. On 8th April 1810, the 
year before his death, Mrs Elizabeth Rose of Kilravock in 
her diary records hearing him preach at Croy " a very fine 


sermon " and gives notes of his discourse. His parishioners 
erected a handsome monument over his grave. He had six 
sons and two, daughters. His son Donald became the first 
Scottish missionary to India. Donald had attended the 
University of Aberdeen with a view of entering the ministry, 
but he relinquished that purpose on finding he could not 
conscientiously sign the Confession of Faith. He got an 
appointment in the East India Company's service, and sailed 
for India in 1811, and remained there for nine years. While 
stationed at Surat he met with two missionaries of the 
London Missionary Society, whose preaching and conver- 
sation led him to a complete change of view. He now 
became ardent to enter on Christian work, and resigned 
his commission in the Bombay Army. He returned to his 
native land, finished his theological training, and offered his 
services to the Scottish Missionary Society, which were 
accepted. The Presbytery of Nairn met at Ardclach, and in 
his father's church licensed and ordained him setting him 
forth as the first Scottish missionary to India. He arrived 
in India in 1822, and settled at Bankot, on the Savitri river, 
in the Presidency of Bombay. He opened schools for the 
natives and taught them to read the Gospels in Marathi. 
He was, however, after less than a year's service laid low 
by fever, and died on the way to Satara for change of air. 
He was buried in a field a short distance beyond the village 
of Poladhpur, where the mango trees to this day overshadow 
his tomb. A marble tablet thus records the death of the 
heroic pioneer missionary " In memory of Rev. Donald 
Mitchell, first missionary of the Scottish Missionary Society 
in India. He left the Bombay Army, of which he was a 
commissioned officer, to become a preacher of the Gospel 
to the benighted inhabitants of this country, but he was 


removed from the chosen sphere of this work of faith within 
the first year of his ministerial services. He died at this 
village on the 20th November 1823." 

The minister of Ardclach's second son, James Errol 
Mitchell, was unfortunately born deaf and dumb and blind. 
As he grew up to manhood, he developed a remarkable 
degree of intelligence mainly through the abnormal develop- 
ment of the senses of touch, taste and smell. His case 
excited great interest amongst scientific men, and he formed 
the subject of a paper by Professor Dugald Stewart of 
Edinburgh. He reached a good old age, and died about 
the year 1869, at Nairn, where he was long a familiar figure. 
Another son of the minister of Ardclach was Lewis, who 
became a Lieutenant in the Eoyal Navy. The Eev. K. A. 
Mitchell, Free Gilcomston Church, Aberdeen, is a son of 
Lieutenant Mitchell. 

The Parish Church of Ardclach occupies a peculiar 
position. It is situated on a low haugh on the left side 
of the river Findhorn, about the centre of the parish. To 
reach it, there is a precipitous descent from either bank 
of the river. The tradition is that the present site was 
adopted as a compromise the party on each side claiming to 
have the church on their side of the water, but ultimately 
agreeing to its being at the water edge on the north side, 
The records show that the church was built in 1626, rebuilt 
in 1762, again rebuilt in 1839, and renovated in 1892. As 
it would be of no use ringing the church bell in its low- 
lying situation, the belfry is perched on the top of a hill 
north of the church, and is consequently said to be the 
highest bell-tower in Scotland. This old tower, however, 
was probably erected originally as a watch-house. One of 
the traditions regarding it is that the watchers rung the bell 


the moment they observed the Highland reivers coming down 
the pass of the Streens on foraging expeditions. The 
inhabitants of Ardclach for miles around had thus timely 
warning of the approach of the enemy. The cattle-lifters 
were so annoyed that their plans were frustrated by the 
ringing of the bell, whose sound was carried to the utmost 
corner of the parish, that they resolved to steal the bell. The 
boldest robber of the gang succeeded in cutting it down, and 
threw it into the river Findhorn. The construction of the 
building, and the dungeon and shot-holes, lend colour 
to the surmise that it was originally a watch-tower, 
but the ecclesiastical records show that it was also used as a 
church prison, several defaulters having been committed by 
the Session to the Kirk Steeple for a term of imprisonment. 

Mr Mitchell was succeeded by Mr Hugh Macbean, a native 
of Inverness-shire. He was admitted 1812. He wrote an 
excellent description of the parish for the new Statistical 
Account. He was minister when the Disruption occurred. 
His son Mr JEneas Macbean was a well-known Writer 
to the Signet in Edinburgh. 

The Church at Cawdor was erected in 1619, according 
to tradition by the Laird of Calder in fulfilment of a vow- 
he made when in danger of shipwreck coming from Islay. 
In the report furnished by Sir Archibald Campbell of Chinas 
to the Commissioners on the Cawdor estate in 1725, it 
is stated " As to the church of Calder which was built by 
Sir Hugh Campbell's grandfather, Sir John, being the only 
heritor except Eose of Holme, a small heritor, the roof 
thereof is entirely rott and many of the slate fallen off, never 
being repaired since the erection thereof, except three or four 
couples furnished in Sir Hugh's time, when the pricket 
or top of the steeple was by storm blown over and broke 


these couples ; needs to be immediately repaired and will 
cost double the money if it is delayed another year. The 
Sacrament not being administered for the years 1722-25, Sir 
Archibald has retained the element money, which being 
yearly 50 Scots, amounts to 150, and proposes that the 
said sum be applied in the first place towards the repair 
which he shall finish as effectually and frugally as possible. 
The families new burial place which lies under that part 
betwixt the steeple and the body of the church is much 
abused and like to go to ruin altogether, by the insufficient 
roof of the church ; and the old burial place, called Barrivan, 
of the Thanes and all the Campbells of Calder who died 
in the north preceding Sir Hugh's time, where formerly the 
old Kirk of Calder was, likewise needs to be repaired, which 
Sir Archibald conceives may be done for 10 sterling, which 
he expects the Commissioners will comply with, for the 
honour and memory of the family." One of the relics of the 
olden time when church discipline was enforced by corporeal 
punishment is preserved, namely, the jougs, in a very 
complete state. 

The last minister who preached in the old church of 
Barevan was Andrew Balfour, who had been minister of 
Nairn down to 1601, and he occupied the new church of 
Cawdor till his death in 1625. He was succeeded by Gilbert 
Anderson, who was translated to Cromarty iiTl641. Donald 
Macpherson, who had been starved out of Ardclach, was 
admitted to Cawdor the following year. He shared to the 
full the prevalent belief in witchcraft, and in 1643 a 
complaint was made to the Privy Council against him and 
the Tutor of Cawdor for " waking a woman the space of 
twenty days naked, with nothing on her but sackcloth, under 
a charge of witchcraft," whom their Lordships ordered to be 


liberated. Donald Macpherson's services were sought for by 
Ardersier, but he remained at Cawdor, and died there in 
1686, aged about seventy-two years. 

Lauchlan M'Bean was minister of Cawdor when the 
Eevolution Act was passed, having been ordained in 1687. 
He had been schoolmaster of Nairn, and is mentioned as 
having been admitted as a burgess of the Burgh. He was a 
worthless character, and had to demit his office. He intruded 
at Ardersier in 1695 but was deposed in 1706 for immorality. 
He was succeeded at Cawdor by James Chapman, son of an 
Inverness merchant, but he was translated to Cromdale in 


John Calder, chaplain to Sir James Calder in Muirtown, 

was the next minister of Cawdor. He was the ancestor of a 
race of eminent ministers in the North. He was a Gaelic 
preacher of some note. He died in 1717. 

Lachlan Shaw, the historian of Moray, laboured at Cawdor 
from 1719 to 1734. It was during his pastorate at Cawdor 
that he collected his materials for his History and put 
them in shape for the press. He also wrote a Continuation 
of Eose's Genealogy of the Family of Kilravock, and the 
description of Moray in Pennant's Tour. He was on intimate 
terms with the Laird of Calder, and had access to all the 
family muniments in the district. Shaw gives a deplorable 
account of the state of religion in the remoter parts of 
the Highlands, and he himself on more than one occasion 
received very rough treatment at the hands of parishioners 
who had no desire to be brought under the government and 
discipline of the Presbyterian Kirk. Lachlan Shaw removed 
to Elgin in 1744, and was minister there until 1774, when he 
retired. His History appeared the following year, and two 
years later the worthy old man died, greatly venerated, at 


the age of ninety-one years. A slab of Peterhead granite 
has been placed in the chancel of Elgin Cathedral to his 
memory. He had been twice married and had a large family, 
and some of his descendants are to be found in America. A 
grandson, Mr Lachlan Donaldson, was sometime Mayor of 
the City of St John, New Brunswick, and he placed a 
memorial window in the Parish Church to the author of the 
" History of Moray." 

Patrick Grant was the next minister. He was ordained 
at Cawdor in 1735, and was translated to Urray in 1749. 
He became Moderator of the General Assembly in 1778, 
having a few years previously been made a Doctor of 
Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. Dr Patrick Grant 
was a learned man, and his point of view of the questions of 
his time is indicated by the title of a sermon he published in 
1779 " The Spirit of Moderation in Eeligion Eecommended." 

Daniel Brodie, connected with the Brodies of Lethen, took 
the place of Patrick Grant. He had been minister of 
Ardersier for some years before. He married Margaret Eose, 
and died in his forty-seventh year, in 1771. 

In 1772, Kenneth M'Aulay was translated from Ardna- 
murchan to Cawdor. His entertainment of Dr Samuel 
Johnson and Boswell at the Manse of Cawdor has been 
already related. Copies of his History of St Kilda are now 
scarce. M'Aulay was pleased with the situation of his 
charge, but was dissatisfied with the amount of his 
stipend. The minister of Calder, with the exception of his 
brother of Ardclach, had the smallest stipend in the Presby- 
tery. It amounted to only 56 14s 5Jd, whereas the stipend 
of Auldearn was 82 ; Nairn 76 ; Croy 75 ; and Petty the 
same with a good glebe. M'Aulay said he would be content 
if it were raised to an equality with that of his fellow 


Presbyters, and the Laird of Calder, on the representation of 
Valentine White, his factor, increased it to that extent. As 
already stated, he was grand-uncle to Lord Macaulay. 

He died in 1779, and was succeeded by Alexander Grant, 
who had been minister of the Parishes of Daviot and Dun- 
lichty, an unruly charge, which he had succeeded in reducing 
to order and decency. Alexander Grant was a son of George 
Grant, minister of Kirknrichael, of whom it is related that he 
had twenty-one children, sixteen of whom came to maturity, 
and although he had a stipend of only 47 sterling he 
contrived to leave each of his children the sum of 100. 
The minister of Cawdor had three sons Alexander, James 
who became minister of Nairn, and George who was a 
partner in the firm of " Grant, Gladstone and Coy./' merchants 
in Liverpool. The old minister died in 1828 in his 85th 

Alexander Eraser, son of the Eev. Donald Fraser of Kirk- 
hill, succeeded. On his father's death in 1837 he was 
translated to his native parish. He was a chaplain in the 
Army in the Crimea, and was greatly respected by all 

The minister at the Disruption was Simon Fraser 
M'Lauchlan, who had been translated from Snizort to 
Cawdor in 1837. 

The minister of Croy at the time of the Eevolution was 
Hugh Fraser, a native of Aberdeenshire. He was an 
Episcopalian, but stayed on. Like so many of the other 
" Curates," he was a man of disreputable character. While 
Keay, the Dean of Auldearn, was a drunkard, and M'Bean, the 
minister of Cawdor, an immoral person, the minister of Croy 
was accused of bigamy. He was deposed by the Commission 
of Assembly in 1700. The writer of the Statistical Account 


gives a frightful picture of the demoralisation of the parish. 
*' There were fightings at lykewakes, fightings even at church, 
sad immorality, and attempts at compassing death by charms 
and spells ; one parishioner is recorded as having in 1748 on 
the death of his mother on a Sunday evening gathered 
together some neighbours, got up a dance, and continued the 
orgies till next day. For this the shameless reveller had to 
stand publicly and penitentially in the church for six con- 
secutive Sundays." By the time the particular instance 
mentioned occurred, James Calder, translated from Ardersier, 
must have been minister of Croy. His predecessor, Farquhar 
Beton or Bethune, was usually spoken of as " the worthy Mr 
Bethune," but he suffered long from ill health. He was a 
great genealogist, and was married to a daughter of John 
Kose of Newton, Provost of Nairn. It took a whole 
generation, however, to civilise the people of Croy. 

James Calder is described as possessing gentle manners, 
great humility, extensive charity and fervent piety, with 
labour unwearied, and his compositions from the pulpit were 
remarkable for genius, taste and judgment, so that his 
services were rewarded by uncommon success. The eulogium 
on the tombstone is supported by the testimony of oral 
tradition, and his published Diary shows him to have 
been a man of intense spirituality of character. He 
married a daughter of Thomas Inglis, minister of Eesolis 
one of the Inglises of Nairn and had three sons in the 
ministry at Kosskeen, Urquhart, and Croy. His son 
Hugh succeeded him at Croy in 1778, and laboured there 
with much success till a few years before his death, when he 
had to employ an assistant. One of his assistants was Mr 
Garment. Another was his son Alexander a youth of great 
promise, whose illness and death at an early age are mentioned 


in sympathetic terms in Mrs Elizabeth Eose of Kilravock's 
unpublished Diary in 1810. The father died in 1822. A 
brighter picture of the social state of the people can now be 
given. Mr Sage of Eesolis says the parish of Croy at the 
commencement of his ministry, from various associations in 
his mind connected with it, was to him at least a " Holy 
Land." " In that part of the North," he says, " I met with a 
goodly number of men bearing the name of Christ who were 
certainly among the most eminent Christians I ever had the 
privilege to meet during my life and ministry. Their names 
are engraved upon my most vivid and affectionate re- 
membrances of the past. These were, Hugh MacDonald at 
Campbeltown ; his senior in years and grace John Macnishie 
and his son Donald who lived at Milton of Connage ; John 
Munro at Croy ; Angus Eoss, catechist of Nairn ; Hugh 
Clunas at Ardclach ; William Sinclair at Auldearn ; John 
Fraser, catechist both of Ardersier and Petty, and many 
others. I was first introduced to this Christian circle in 
1822, during the vacancy at Croy caused by the death of Mr 
Hugh Calder." 

Lord Cawdor made an unpopular presentation, and serious 
disturbances occurred. When the presentee, Alexander 
Campbell, minister of Dores, made his appearance in the 
parish to preach, he along with his friends were met by 
a mob, refused admittance to the church and assaulted. 
The military had to be used to enforce his settlement. 
Several of the rioters were tried before the High Court of 
Justiciary, and four of them sentenced to terms of imprison- 
ment, which, to his credit, Mr Campbell used his influence 
to get shortened. Mr Campbell was minister when the 
Disruption occurred. 

Ardersier was not added to the Presbytery of Nairn 


till 1773. The transference from Chanonry to Nairn 
Presbytery was mainly brought about by Walter Morrison, 
the minister at that time. The Laird of Calder, John 
Campbell, claimed the right of patronage, and in his self- 
complacent manner, communicated to Valentine White his 
views on ecclesiastical affairs in Ardersier. " Enclosed is an 
answer," he wrote, " to the Presbytery of Chanonry to let 
them know that they are misinformed as to the necessity of 
the Erse language in Ardersier Parish. The sooner the Erse 
.and Welsh languages are worn out of use among the common 
people the better. I am told Mr Morrison is not one of the 
enthusiastic tribe, which is what I would chiefly guard 
.against." The Laird of Calder was correctly informed 
regarding Mr Walter Morrison he was known amongst 
his contemporaries as " the Witty Walter." The chaplaincy 
of Fort George was also instituted as a function of the 
minister of Ardersier in Walter Morrison's time. He died 
in 1780. 

Mr Pryce Campbell was ordained to the charge in 1781. 
He was a younger brother of Mr Duncan Campbell, factor 
for Lethen. Pryce was a man of extraordinary physical 
endurance in his earlier years. It is told of him that on one 
occasion he left Fornighty on foot to attend his classes at the 
Aberdeen University, and was just entering the Granite City 
when he recollected that he had left a class-book at home, 
value 7s 6d. Money was scarce in those days, and he 
immediately retraced his steps and went back to Fornighty 
for his book. The inmates were all asleep, but by raising 
H window he got hold of the book in question, without 
disturbing the family, and then proceeded to Aberdeen, 
where he arrived in time for the opening exercises of the 
Session, having done the double journey without a single 


break or rest. It was his frequent practice in the course of 
the session to leave Aberdeen on Friday evening, proceed to 
Fornighty, and return in time for his classes on Monday, 
performing the journey on foot. He and Mr Mitchell of 
Ardclach were married to two sisters. During his later years 
he was unable from failing strength to overtake all the duties 
of his office, but with his old spirit of dogged endurance, he 
struggled on. However, on complaints reaching the General 
Assembly in 1835 he was enjoined to desist from the exercise 
of his ministry he was then over eighty years of age. Mr 
John Matheson was appointed his colleague and successor. 
A daughter of Mr Campbell's married Mr Young, Billhead, 
and Mr Matheson, the young minister, married their 
daughter Grace. Another of Mr Campbell's daughters, Jane, 
married James Clark, Dalnahegleish, and their daughter 
married Mr John M'Killican, Piperhill, afterwards of 
Achagour, of whom are the M'Killicans of Achagour. A 
son, .Robert Calder Campbell, became a Major in the East 
India Company's service, and was the author of " Lays from 
the East." Mr Pryce Campbell died in 1840, aged 86 years. 
Mr Matheson was minister when the Disruption occurred. 
His only surviving son is Colonel John Matheson of the 
Eoyal Engineers, now at the War Office. 

The united parishes of Moy and Dalarossie, though joined 
to the Presbytery of Inverness, were territorially in Nairn - 
shire. At the Revolution, the curate, Alexander Cumin, 
though a Jacobite, continued undisturbed, and remained 
in possession till his death in 1709. His successor, James 
Leslie, was a man of great muscular power. He hailed from 
Ardclach, and appears to have been one of the Leslies of 
Drumlochan a family who have been in possession of this 
small upland farm for over two centuries and a half. It is of 


him the story is told that finding it impossible to get an 
audience to hear him preach, the parishioners being engaged 
in the pastime of putting the stone, he challenged the best of 
them at the game, making it a condition, however, that 
should he beat them, they should all attend church, to which 
they agreed. The minister threw off his coat, took up the 
heavy stone, and distanced all of them. He thus won 
the respect of his parishioners, and speedily worked a 
remarkable change amongst them. He married Janet 
Robertson, widow of Alexander Rose of Holme Rose. Mr 
Leslie died in 1766. Patronage having been restored, Hugh 
Rose of Kilravock exercised his right, and made a bad 
selection. He presented James Mackintosh, schoolmaster 
.and Session Clerk of Cawdor, who had been a missionary in 
Strathdearn. He was deposed for immorality in 1787. His 
.successor was William M'Bean, but after four years service, 
he accepted a call to Alves. M'Bean's successor was Hugh 
Mackay, and on his death James M'Laehlan was presented 
by Mr William Mackintosh of Geddes. The right of 
patronage was carried, on the division of the Kilravock 
inheritance, by the Laird of Geddes. James M'Lachlan was 
a conspicuous figure in the troublous times preceding the 
Disruption. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Patron- 
age party in the Highlands, and for the part he took at the 
settlement of an obnoxious presentee at Kiltarlity, he was 
rebuked at the bar of the Assembly in 1824. Mr James 
Grant, the minister of Nairn, was mixed up with the 
proceedings at Kiltarlity, but was on the other side> having 
been appointed a Commissioner by the Synod to assist 
the Presbytery. Mr James M'Lachlan had two sons Simon, 
who became minister of Cawdor, and Thomas, who succeeded 
his father. Thomas M'Lachlan came out at the Disruption, 


and became minister of the Free Church at Dores. He 
afterwards was minister of Free St Columba's (Gaelic 
charge) in Edinburgh, and did eminent literary work as a 
Celtic scholar, as well as earn distinction as a minister of the 

The parishes of Daviot and Durilichty, in the patronage 
of the Laird of Calder, have had a curious history. The first 
minister presented after the introduction of Patronage was 
Alexander Eose, a natural son of William Kose of Clava- 
William got a presentation to the better living of Alves from 
the Earl of Moray, but the Presbytery of Inverness would 
not allow him to accept it, but continued him at Daviot " in 
respect of the Gaelic language." He died in 1664, and was 
succeeded as Episcopal curate, by Alexander Fraser, descended 
from the family of Fruid in Tweeddale. Alexander, however, 
developed strong Presbyterian tendencies, and was deposed in 
1672 for " deserting his charge," which really meant in his 
case that he did not confine his ministrations to his own 
parish. In the summer of 1675, he is to be found preaching 
amongst the Nonconformists in Moray and Eoss, to the great 
displeasure of the Bishops. He became chaplain to the 
family of Ludovick Grant of Grant, whose wife was a Brodie 
of Lethen, and both she and her husband were zealous 
Covenanters. Driven from that position, Alexander Fraser 
took up his abode at Croy. Meanwhile, the Kirks of Daviot 
and Dunlichty were supplied by Michael Fraser, as curate. 
Michael Fraser was an artist, and was enjoined by the Synod 
in 1675, in all time coming " to abstaine from all limning and 
painting, quhich hes diverted him from his ministerial 
employments." At the Eevolution, the artist-minister of 
Daviot and Dunlichty held on to his benefice, and continued 
his limning and painting. He was for forty-five years the 


minister of the parish, surviving until 1726. When Mr 
Shaw, the Historian of Moray, then minister of Cawdor, went 
to declare the church vacant in that year, he was unable 
to discharge the duty in consequence of the people carrying 
off the key of the Kirk, and behaving so rudely that he could 
not worship even in the churchyard. Accustomed to the 
easy-going ways of the former regime, the Highlanders 
wanted no Whig ministers, as they called the Presbyterian 
clergy, from the lowlands amongst them. It was not until 
Alexander Grant of Kirkmichael took them in hand that 
any real impression was made. 

The Secession Church took its rise in this district from 
very small beginnings, but received an accession of strength 
through the unpopular presentation of Mr Thomas Gordon 
from Cabrach to the Parish of Auldearn in the year 1747. 
Many of the men who originally formed the body were 
descendants, in spirit at least, of the old Covenanters. A 
touch of romance is imparted to their first meetings. They 
met in a cave a deep rocky recess on the left bank of the 
Muckle Burn called " Eob Roy's Cave," near Whitemire. 
They afterwards met in the summer time in the court-yard 
of the old ruined castle of Moyness, and in the winter season 
descended into the vault beneath. They were united with 
the Seceders in Morayshire under the designation of " The 
United Congregations of Elgin and Boghole," and they 
shared the ministrations of the first missionary, Mr Alex- 
ander Troup, whose field of labour embraced the Counties 
of Moray, Nairn, and Ross. Mr Troup and the majority of 
those he ministered to became Anti-Burghers, when the 
" Breach " occurred in 1747. The dispute referred to the 
meaning of the terms of the oath enacted in 1745 of all 
persons becoming burgesses in the principal cities. The one 


party held that the terms of the oath implied approval of 
the alleged corruptions of the Established Church, and 
therefore that all persons taking the oath should be excluded 
from the Communion of the Secession Church. The other 
party viewed the terms of the oath as merely indicating the 
approval of the national religion in its Presbyterian form as 
against Prelacy and Popery, and therefore held that forbear- 
ance should be exercised. The Seceders of Boghole were 
thus in favour of toleration. In 1753, a small church was 
built by the congregation at Boghole, where Mr Troup 
continued to conduct services every alternate Sunday, down 
till the year 1753, when he accepted a call to Perth. The 
Boghole congregation was then disjoined from Elgin, and the 
Boghole congregation elected Mr Henry Clark from Aber- 
nethy as their minister. He continued their minister for 
forty-six years, dying in the year 1809. His son became a 
Surgeon in the Eoyal Navy, and was lost by the wreck of the 
Villette on the coast of Sweden. 

During Mr Henry Clark's time a portion of the congregation 
resident in and about Nairn decided to build a separate 
church at Nairn for themselves, but to continue united 
with the congregation of Boghole under the pastorate of Mr 
Clark. The church they built was near the foot of Castle 
Lane probably on the very site of the old church of Nairn. 
In 1769, however, three elders and sixty-one members of the 
Boghole congregation resident near Nairn applied to the 
General Associate Presbytery of Perth to be disjoined from 
Boghole and formed into a separate congregation, on the 
understanding that public worship was to be conducted 
in Gaelic only. The congregation of Boghole strongly 
objected to this, on the ground that the preaching of Gaelic 
at Nairn would affect the attendance at Boghole. A 


compromise was agreed upon the preaching of Gaelic 
must not come nearer than Balblair, a mile to the west 
of Nairn. Here the Gaelic-speaking people worshipped in 
the open air for about a year. The Boghole congregation 
were still dissatisfied, and the Highlanders had to move 
another mile further apart, settling at Howford, and building 
a church in the year 1777 containing 500 sittings. A young 
probationer named Alexander Howison, from Logiealmond, 
who had apparently against his will been sent by the Anti- 
Burgher Synod hither and thither to learn Gaelic, was appointed 
to take charge of the Gaelic congregation at Nairn, but the 
young man utterly failed in learning the Gaelic tongue, and 
the Highlanders who met at Howford were treated to an 
English discourse when they expected a Gaelic sermon. His 
Gaelic was said to be more unintelligible than his English to 
the natives. He was, however, ordained minister of Howford 
in 1780, in the expectation that his Gaelic might improve, but 
latterly he gave up the attempt to speak Gaelic and confined 
himself to English. The Boghole congregation brought his 
conduct before the Synod, and the Howford case, in many 
puzzling aspects, came before the Synod year after year. The 
difficulty was ultimately solved by Mr Howison resigning his 
charge in 1792, and returning to Perthshire, where he 
succeeded in obtaining a charge the congregation of 
Auchtergaven more adapted to his talents. The Gaelic 
charge at Howford came to an end in 1795, but the edifice 
a low, thatched, turf building remained a picturesque object 
near the Howford Bridge until quite recently. The " manse " 
disappeared only in 1892. 

The ministers of the three Secession churches in Nairn- 
shire came together in connection with a remarkable 
occurrence. Mr Isaac Ketchen, a native of Alloa, was 


ordained minister of the Nairn congregation which met 
in the Castle Lane Church in 1780. The ordination took 
place in the open air. It was early in April, and instead of 
meeting in the low-roofed church, the people gathered in the 
Constabulary Park, the garden of the old Castle of Nairn, 
where the formalities of ordination were gone through a 
unique occurrence in ecclesiastical procedure. The memor- 
able event which brought the three Seceder ministers 
together took place six years later. On 30th November 
1786, the Nairn congregation met in the old church, and 
repeating the solemn procedure common in the Covenanting 
times of a former century, swore to the Covenants. What led 
to their doing so at this particular time does not appear, but 
the act may be taken as an indication of the spirit of the con- 
gregation. They first swore to the National Covenant, then to 
the Solemn League and Covenant, and then to the Acknowledg- 
ment of Sins, and forty-one members, male and female, came 
forward and signed these documents. The deed was attested 
by the signatures of the Kev. Isaac Ketchen, minister of Nairn, 
the Eev. Henry Clark of Boghole, the Eev. Alexander Howison 
of Howford, and the Eev. William Bennett of Forres. It 
was probably the last Covenanting meeting of the kind in 

These old Seceder ministers were scholarly men, well 
trained in theology, and deeply imbued with the Puritan 
spirit. Mr Ketchen staid, circumspect gentleman though 
he was fell in love with the Laird of Brodie's daughter 
Margaret and won her affections, and they were married 
quietly at Forres. The event caused a sensation at the time, 
but the minister's wife accommodated herself to the humble 
manse with its multifarious duties to the entire satisfaction 
of the congregation. One Sabbath evening in March 1796, 


ominous creaks were heard by the congregation among the 
rafters just as the service was about to commence. The 
minister recommended the congregation to disperse as 
orderly and quietly as possible, which they did. The roof 
soon after gave way, and next morning the church was in 
ruins. It was rebuilt the same year, and continued to be 
occupied till 1816, when the accommodation being inadequate 
for the congregation, a new church was built on the High 
Street opposite the County Buildings. The foundation stone 
was laid by Mrs Ketchen.V In Mrs Elizabeth Eose of 
Kilravock's diary there are frequent references to Mrs 
Ketchen, who appears to have been a favourite with the 
old lady. In the year 1810, Mr Ketchen and his son Isaac 
make a call at Kilravock on the occasion of the young man 
setting out for London. His brother James had already 
entered the Army, and carried with him throughout life 
the religious spirit imbibed in the old Seceder manse. Mr 
Ketchen had the long ministry of forty years. He died 
in 1820. Mrs Ketchen survived some years later. ^4*- 

In 1820, a few months after Mr Ketchen's death, the two 
sections of the Secession Church in Scotland came together, 
and the Nairn congregation concurred. In 1822, the Kev. 
James Mein, a native of Jed burgh, was ordained minister, 
and as exemplifying the kindly relations between the Church 
people and the Seceders, the Parish Minister, Mr Grant, 
gave the Parish Church for the ordination services. Mr 
Mein laboured with great success in Nairn, making a deep 
impression, especially amongst the seafaring population, the 
majority of whom by this time had joined his church. - Mr 
Mein, who died in 1841, was succeeded by the Rev. John 
Bisset, from Arbroath. Mr Bisset was a notable preacher 
a stalwart man of striking appearance and dark rugged 


countenance, he might have stood for a picture of John 

In the year 1851, the church on High Street was vacated 
in favour of a new church erected at Leopold 'Street. The 
foundation-stone was laid by General James Ketchen, son of 
the former minister^^^Er Bisset retired from the active duties 
of the charge, on account of failing health, in 1876, and Mr 
Henry J. S. Turnbull was elected colleague and successor, 
but he died after a pastorate of little more than a year and 
a half. A memoir has been published of Mr Turnbull. Mr 
Bisset died in 1878, and memorial windows have been placed 
in the church in honour of Mr Bisset and his wife, whose 
labours were so highly appreciated. Mr G. K. Heughaii 
succeeded, and after a ministry of ten years, accepted a call to 
Pollockshaws. Mr James Macmillan, the present minister, 
was ordained to the charge in 1890. He declined a call to 
the Pollock Street Church, Glasgow, in 1893. A new hall 
has been erected in connection with the church. 

After the death of Mr Henry Clark in 1809, the Boghole 
congregation was vacant for six years. In 1815, Mr David 
Anderson was settled over it, but resigned in consequence 
of some disagreements and went to America. He died of 
apoplexy on a public street in Philadelphia in 1841. The 
congregation called as his successor Mr James Morison, 
whose theological views known as " Morisonianism " were 
much discussed throughout Scotland. Mr Morisou, who 
became the virtual founder of the Evangelical Union, de- 
clined the call of Boghole, as also did Mr Andrew Gardiner. 
In 1842 Mr John Whyte was ordained minister of Boghole, or 
Moyness, as it was then and is now called. Mr Whyte has 
been minister since that time. He retired a few years ago 
from the active duties, residing in Edinburgh, and Mr J. 


Ker has been appointed colleague and successor. Mr 
Whyte's jubilee as senior minister was celebrated in 1892. 

A small body of Seceders was formed into a congregation 
at Campbeltown, Ardersier, in 1843. Lady Anderson, wife 
of the Governor of Fort George, though an Episcopalian 
herself, gave liberal assistance to the congregation. Their 
first minister was William Main, ordained in 1852, and died 
in 1871. He was succeeded by Kobert Primrose Douglas 
from Lockerbie. Mr Alexander A. Eobertson is the present 
minister. A new church was built shortly after Mr Kobert- 
son's settlement. 

It does not appear that George Whitfield ever visited the 
district of Moray and Nairn, but John Wesley undoubtedly 
did. With provoking brevity, Mrs Elizabeth Eose in the 
year 1810 has the following entry " Heard Mr Westley 
preach." She does not say whether it was at Nairn or at 
Croy. Probably it was at Nairn, from the old stone-stairs 
in front of the Town-house, that the great preacher held 
forth. He did not, however, succeed in establishing a 

Towards the close of the last century, two laymen preached 
from the flight of steps in front of Nairn Jail. The Church- 
men and Seceders of the time as a rule regarded lay- 
preaching as an alarming and dangerous innovation, and 
they gave no countenance to the itinerant preachers. The 
novelty of the service, however, attracted a considerable 
number of people, and a few persons in the town and county 
were found who sympathised with the lay preachers in their 
mission. Other lay preachers from time to time followed, 
and they were cordially welcomed by the small band of 
sympathisers. This led to the formation among them of a 
meeting for prayer held at each other's houses. They had 


not originally the remotest intention of forming a church or 
congregation, but " The Society for Propagating the Gospel 
at Home/' having sent several preachers to the North, who 
visited Nairn in the course of their itinerancy, it was found 
necessary to have some suitable place at which to hold their 
services. A piece of ground on the north side of King 
Street was acquired for this purpose in May 1801, and also 
the house behind, which had been erected some short time 
before. The title to the property was made out in the 
names of " Lewis M'llvain, in Golford ; Hugh Cameron, alias 
M'Phatrick at Newton of Park ; David Rose at Allanaha ; 
Hugh Rose, James Wallace, and Alexander Nicol, weavers in 
Nairn, as Trustees and Managers for a congregation, established 
or about to be established in the town and county of Nairn." 
For some time afterwards they met for worship in the house, 
and when weather permitted, outside, the preacher being in a 
box which was made for the purpose. In March 1802, they 
obtained the services of a Mr Ferguson, who laboured for 
about two years as an unordained preacher. In an account 
of the congregation, it is related that Mr Ferguson travelled 
on foot from Edinburgh to Nairn, and that on the day he was 
expected one or two of the brethren went to meet him. At 
a short distance from the town they met one whom they 
knew to be a stranger, " he had a staff, an umbrella, and 
a small bundle." The brethren accosted the stranger with 
the question, " Art thou he that should come or look we for 
another ? " The question sufficed to convince Mr Ferguson 
he was now amongst his friends and they entered the town 
in company. The Haldanes interested themselves in the 
erection of the church at Nairn, and Mr Robert Haldane gave 
400 on loan, which with a sum of 130 raised by voluntary 
contributions, sufficed for the erection of the modest building. 


It was called the Independent Chapel, and the object in view 
in its erection was " that it will be open to all evangelical 
ministers of the Gospel who may be pleased to officiate in it." 
Some time later the congregation formed themselves into 
a Congregational Church. Mr Ferguson was succeeded in 
1803 by Mr Mackay, who, however, resigned in 1804. 
The first pastorate of importance was that of Mr James 
Dewar. He was a native of Breadalbane, and was of a 
devoted evangelical spirit, entirely in harmony with the 
feelings of his little flock. He was ordained in July 1806, at 
which time the church was regularly formed. The number 
of members composing the church was seventeen. Serious 
financial embarrassments overtook the little congregation. 
Mr Haldane called up his money, now amounting with the 
accumulated interest to 500, and the property was about to 
be sold, when Mr Dewar undertook to see Mr Haldane, 
whom he had known in early life. The sum of 250 had 
been subscribed by friends, and on Mr Dewar candidly telling 
Mr Haldane that only half the sum they owed could be paid, 
he frankly forgave the rest. The congregation now plucked 
up courage, and the cause amongst them prospered. Mr 
Dewar preached three English sermons and one Gaelic 
sermon every Sabbath. He opened the first Sabbath School 
in Nairn. In 1817, Mr Dewar in company with his brother, 
made wide tours each summer throughout the Highlands, 
travelling on foot and preaching wherever he went. It was 
no uncommon thing for him to walk forty miles in a day and 
preach three or four sermons in addition. These journeys 
were taken every year, down to within a year or two of his 
death. Mr Dewar's simple, earnest character dispelled any 
prejudice that existed against the Missioners, as they were 
called, and he lived in terms of friendship with Seceder and 


Churchman alike. When the Established Church was being 
rebuilt in 1810, the congregation held their services in 
the Independent Chapel. In 1818, there was a religious 
revival in Nairn, and again still more marked in 1842. The 
Congregational Chapel was the centre of the work, and union 
meetings for prayer were held daily, morning and evening, 
for several weeks, when the chapel was generally filled. In 
December 1842, Mr Dewar died, to the great sorrow of his 
congregation and regret of the community. He was succeeded 
by Mr John Gillies, who was ordained in 1844, but resigned 
the following year. The congregation was once more restored 
to prosperity by the settlement of Mr James Howie, who 
laboured amongst them for eleven years, on the lines of Mr 
Dewar. In 1857, however, he accepted a call to a church 
in Adelaide. He was succeeded by Mr Ingram, who, 
however, demitted the charge after a short pastorate. The 
Kev. James Johns tone was settled in 1859, and he was 
minister when the new chapel at Crescent Koad was built. 
The foundation stone was laid by Dr Grigor in 1861. Mr 
Johnstone in 1870 accepted a call to Glasgow, where he 
died. The Kev. Eobert Dey and the Eev. Charles Whyte 
were next ministers in succession, and after a pastorate of a 
few years each, they both accepted charges in New South 
Wales, where they have attained distinction as preachers. 
Mr J. W. Thornton was the next pastor. He died in 1889, 
and is succeeded by the Kev. G. Currie Martin, B.D. 

The Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843 was 
preceded by much controversy and agitation in Nairnshire. 
The leading laymen in the county associated with it were 
Mr Forbes of Culloden and Mr Brodie of Lethen. The members 
of Nairn Presbytery identified with the non-intrusion party 
were Mr Barclay of Auldearn, Mr M'Lachlan of Cawdor, and 


Mr Matheson of Ardersier. The Presbytery was thus equally 
divided. In the town and parish of Nairn, Mr Eobertson 
of Newton, ISheriff Falconar, Dr Bayne, of Firhall, Bailie 
John Donaldson, Bailie J. Malcolm, and others anticipated 
the Disruption by commencing the building of a church 
a year before that event. As far back as 1839, when Dr 
Chalmers paid a visit to Nairn in connection with the Church 
Endowment Fund, the necessity for erecting an additional 
Parish Church was recognised, as the existing accommo- 
dation was insufficient for the population. A movement was 
set on foot for building a new church, but those interested in 
it being almost entirely composed of those favourable to the 
abolition of Patronage, about a year before the Disruption 
they dropped the intention of connecting it with the 
Established Church and proceeded with it on an independent 
footing. When the Disruption took place, they adhered to 
the Free Church, and the third Sabbath after the Disruption 
they entered into possession of the new building, then all but 
finished. Hence, with the exception of Dr Candlish's brick 
church in Edinburgh, it was the first Free Church opened 
in Scotland. The first minister elected was Mr Alexander 
Mackenzie, who was ordained in November of that year. A 
school was also built, called the Free Church Institution, and 
was carried on with conspicuous success by Mr Graham, 
afterwards of the Normal School, Mr Donald M'Leod, 
afterwards of Kothesay Academy, and Mr William Kait. It 
ceased when the national system of education was introduced. 
The church completed at the Disruption served the congre- 
gation till 1882, when a handsome new church was erected 
on High Street at a cost of 8000. Mr Mackenzie accepted 
a call to Free Tolbooth, Edinburgh in 1873. He was 
succeeded by Mr Murdoch Macdonald, who published a 


little work entitled, " The Covenanters of Moray and Koss." 
He accepted the charge of the Presbyterian Church in 
Toorak, Melbourne, and afterwards became Professor' of 
Theology in the Presbyterian College of Victoria. Professor 
Macdonald was succeeded at Nairn by Mr Alexander Lee 
(formerly of Lybster), in the earlier period of whose ministry 
the new church was erected. Mr Lee has taken a prominent 
position in the Church. A Gaelic service has been main- 
tained from the beginning, but the numbers attending it 
have fallen off of late. The congregation is one of the largest 
in the North, and raises annually a sum of over 1000. In the 
year 1891 the three ministers of the Nairn congregation were 
present at a meeting in the church, and Professor Macdonald, 
who was home on a visit from Australia, received an address 
of welcome. On the occasion of the Jubilee celebration of 
the Free Church, Mr Mackenzie, the first minister, was 
presented by the Nairn congregation and Nairn Presbytery 
with addresses of congratulation on his having reached his 
own jubilee year in the ministry. 

The effects of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland 
were more strikingly visible in the country parishes than in 
the town of Nairn, where a portion only had hived off from an 
overgrown congregation. The Kev. Simon M'Lachlan, 
minister of Cawdor, who adhered to the Protest, intimated 
to his congregation on the Sabbath immediately subsequent 
to the Disruption that it was not his intention to officiate 
again in the Parish Church, and for some time thereafter he 
preached from a tent at the corner of the wood at Newton of 
Budgate to very large audiences. All the elders in Cawdor 
church signed the Deed of Demission, and were constituted 
into a Kirk Session of the Free Church. The Sacrament 
was dispensed on Sabbath, 23rd July, at Cawdor in the open 



air. The English-speaking congregation was estimated at 
1000, and the Gaelic congregation at from 3000 to 4000, 
people attending from all parts of the district. Probably these 
numbers are an over-estimate, but the assemblage was un- 
doubtedly the largest which ever met at one time in the 
county for religious worship. Lord Cawdor was averse to 
granting a site, not expecting the movement to be per- 
manent, but he allowed the adherents of the Free Church to 
erect a temporary wooden building for public worship, and 
ultimately, though after some considerable delay, gave the 
present site of the Free Church for a permanent building. 
Mr M'Lachlan continued to minister to the congregation till 
1877, when he retired to Nairn to spend the evening of his 
days. He was a strikingly handsome figure, and his 
-discourses were marked by extreme simplicity of language 
and beauty of thought. Mr John Macpherson was elected 
colleague and successor. Mr M'Lachlan died in 1881, and 
Mr Macpherson in 1884. Mr John George M'Neill, formerly 
of Portnahaven, Islay, was appointed minister. He is, 
recognised as a Gaelic scholar of repute, and has done a good 
deal of literary work in that connection for the Free Church. 
In the Parish of Croy, the minister, Mr Campbell, did not 
secede. He having been inducted at the point of the bayonet, 
the bulk of the parishioners of Croy retained but a very loose 
connection with the church, and those adhering to the Free 
Church attended for a time at Cawdor and Ardersier. A 
proposal was made to the" Free Presbytery that Croy should be 
annexed to Cawdor, but the proposal being received with 
disfavour was dropped. Mr Sage of Eesolis offered to 
conduct services at Croy once a-month, and the Presbytery 
accepted his offer. These services were conducted in a huge 
gravel pit, with a tent for the preacher. Eventually the 


Congregation was constituted, and turned out to be a very 

large one ; a church was built and a minister settled. Mr 

%^ Adam G. M'Leod, a native of Sutherlandshire, was the first 

x * minister. He accepted a call to Greenock, but not liking his 

new sphere, returned to Croy before the vacancy was filled 

up, and was minister there till his death in 1892. He is 

succeeded by Mr Malcolm M'Leod, a native of Lewis. 

In Ardersier, Mr Matheson gave up his charge. He 
preached on the Sabbath after the Disruption at Milton 
of Connage to a large congregation. Captain Shaw, the 
tenant, a man of some influence, was a warm supporter. Mr 
Matheson continued service there for several Sabbaths. A 
site was ultimately got in the village of Campbeltown from 
one of the feuars, but the first dispensation of the Sacrament 
took place in the open-air at one of the farms in the 
neighbourhood. The Kev. Dr M'Farlan, of Greenock, one of 
the leaders of the Free Church, assisted on the occasion, and 
services in English and Gaelic were conducted. Mr Matheson 
died in 1850, and was succeeded by Mr Alexander Cameron, 
who previously had a charge in Canada. In 1887 Mr 
Duncan M'Leod was elected minister of the congregation, 
having formerly been minister at Fortingall, Perthshire. 

In Auldearn Mr Barclay preached for the last time in the 
Parish Church on 4th June. The following Sabbath he 
conducted divine service in the space in front of the Innes ^N 
School. All the elders adhered to the Free Church. The 
congregation lost no time in setting about building a church. 
No site nearer the village than Dalmore could be obtained, 
and the ground there was given by Mr Brodie of Lethen, who 
also contributed towards its erection. On 19th July the 
foundation-stone was laid by the Laird of Lethen. The 
Communion was dispensed in the open-air on Sabbath, 27th 



August, and it was estimated that over 2000 persons were 
.present. The summer of 1843 being exceptionally fine, these 
out-door gatherings were attended with very little discomfort. 
Mr Barclay, after a laborious pastorate, died in 1857. He 
was succeeded by Mr W. G. Forrester, a very eloquent 
preacher, but health failing him, he had to employ an 
assistant, and finally retired to Nairn, where he died 28th 
December, 1886. He is succeeded by Mr John M'Neill, 
formerly of Oban. 

In Ardclach, Mr M'Bean retained his charge at the Dis- 
ruption. For some time previously, however, most of the 
elders and principal families had deserted the services of the 
Parish Church for the ministrations of a young missionary of 
the Secession Church a Mr Handyside, who subsequently 
went to America and died there. The missionary usually 
preached within the precincts of some of the farm houses 
in the parish. When the Disruption occurred the entire 
Session joined the Free Church. A site for a church was 
granted by Mr Brodie of Lethen at the Crask, about a 
mile and a half from the Parish Church. The church, 
which was seated for 400, was opened early in 1844, and 
Mr Adam M'Leod was elected minister. Whilst a faithful 
preacher, Mr M'Leod was rather noted for his quaint peculiar 
sayings. He was reputed in the Church to be a very accom- 
plished Hebrew scholar. He died in 1872, and is succeeded 
by Mr Alexander Macdonald, who is one of several brothers 
ministers in the Free Church. 

The Presbytery of the Established Church met on 6th 
June 1843, and took steps to fill up the vacancies caused by 
the ministers who had demitted. Mr Grant intimated the 
vacancy at Auldearn on the following Sabbath. Mr Grant's 
remarks on the occasion illustrate the feelings of those who 


remained in the Parish Church. " In the course of his address 
he stated that it was his painful duty a duty which he had 
most reluctantly undertaken by command of the Assembly 
to intimate that Mr Barclay was no longer the minister of the 
parish. He expressed the hope that Mr Barclay, for whom 
he had the highest esteem, might yet be re-admitted into the 
church, at which no man would more heartily rejoice than he 
would. The difficulties of the Church, in his opinion, were 
due to the Veto Act. Though this was doubtless a time of 
darkness, he had [no fear for the Church." On 10th August 
the Presbytery sustained a call, signed by thirty parishioners, 
to the Kev. Charles Fowler, assistant and successor at St 
Monamce. He was presented by Brodie of Brodie on the 
recommendation of Rev. Dr Cook. Mr Fowler was inducted 
on 21st September 1843, but died at Nairn on 2nd November, 
of consumption, having been but five weeks minister of 
Auldearn. Mr Fowler, who was but twenty-seven years 
of age, was an eloquent preacher and had a brilliant record 
as a scholar, and his premature death caused much sorrow. 
He was succeeded by Mr James Reid, who was minister 
thereafter for thirty years. He married Mary Skene, 
Skenepark a family connected with Nairnshire for a long 
period and died in 1873, at the age of seventy-one. He 
was succeeded by Mr James Bonallo, under whose ministry 
the congregation has greatly prospered. 

In Ardclach Parish Church Mr M'Bean, who died in 1851, 
was succeeded by Mr Colin Mackenzie, from Fort- William 
a kindly, hospitable man, who did much to soften the 
asperities of ecclesiastical feeling. He is succeeded by the 
Rev. David Miller, B.D. 

The Parish Church of Cawdor was closed for several 
Sabbaths after the Disruption, but Mr George Campbell 


was ordained in December, 1843. He was succeeded by 
Mr Lewis Macpherson in 1845, who died in 1876. Mr 
Thomas Fraser, the present minister, was translated from 
Port-Gordon to Cawdor. 

Mr Campbell of Croy was succeeded by Mr Thomas Fraser, 
in 1853. Mr Fraser was an accomplished botanist, and 
contributed lists of the Flora of the Parish of Croy to 
Northern Scientific Societies. He died in 1885, and was 
succeeded by the Kev. John Grant, from Cromdale. Mr 
Grant, who died in 1890, was succeeded by Mr Charles 
Fraser, B.D. 

In Ardersier Parish Church, the following have been the 
ministers Mr Simon Fraser ordained in 21st December, 
1843 ; Mr William Forsyth elected in 1846 ; Mr Evan Eoss 
elected in 1853 ; and Mr Paton ordained to the charge in 
1884. J 

In the Parish Church of Nairn, Mr Grant, who had the 
long ministry of thirty-seven years, died in 1853, and was 
succeeded by Mr James Burns. Previous to the induction of 
Mr Burns, the question of resuming the Gaelic service, which 
had latterly been discontinued by Mr Grant, was raised, and 
Mr Eoss of Ardersier took an appeal in favour of a Gaelic 
service. Motions were made in the Assembly by Principal Lee 
and Dr Eobertson, and a resolution was adopted remitting 
the matter back to the Presbytery to receive and report for 
the Assembly's consideration, any objections against the dis- 
continuance of Gaelic that might be made, but when the time 
came none were tendered. Mr Burns was unanimously elected, 
and has ministered to the congregation since that time. In 
1893, the congregation entered upon the building of a new 
church, by voluntary subscriptions, at the south corner of 
Seabank Eoad. The church is estimated to cost 8000. 


The old Episcopal Church party died out entirely in Nairn- 
shire, but about 1840 some families of English origin or 
connection settling in the district, were desirous of having 
a place of worship of their own denomination. Bishop Low and 
Bishop Ewing interested themselves in the matter, but those 
in the district specially concerned objected to being connected 
with the Scotch Communion, desiring instead to be placed 
under the jurisdiction of the Church of England, in the same 
manner as Consulate Chapels abroad. Differences on theo- 
logical and ecclesiastical questions existed. Accordingly in 
1845, a Church of England Chapel, near the Bridge, was built 
by subscription. William Brodie of Brodie, Mr Clarke of 
Achareidh, and Mrs Campbell, lessee of Kilravock Castle, 
were the principal supporters of the Chapel. The first 
incumbent was Mr Hitchcock. He was succeeded by Mr 
Roberts. Mr Brasby, who died at Nairn, was the third 
minister in succession, and he was succeeded by the Rev. Dr 
Edwin Wrenford, who removed in 1879. The congregation 
enjoyed a fair measure of prosperity, but there was continual 
controversy between its members and those of the Scottish 
Episcopal Church as to its position and standing. After Dr 
Wrenford's departure services were discontinued. Bishop 
Eden, having at the outset failed to effect a reconciliation, 
started an Episcopal Mission in 1853 in connection with 
the Scotch Episcopal Church. The Rev. John Com per 
(afterwards of Aberdeen) was the first missionary. In 1854, 
a regular congregation was formed under the Rev. Charles 
M. Keith, and in 1857, a chapel was erected at Queen Street, 
dedicated to St Columba. In 1864, the Rev. William West, 
who published an edition of the works of Leighton, was 
settled over the congregation. He removed in 1879, and 
was succeeded in 1880 by the Rev, H. E. Mackenzie-Hughes, 


the present incumbent. Most of those connected with the 
Church of England Chapel have joined its communion. The 
church has recently been enlarged. 

A Koman Catholic congregation was established about the 
year 1857. A large body of crofters from the Island of 
Barra, removed, it was said, by Colonel Gordon of Cluny, 
came to Nairn and settled there. They were Eoman 
\^ Catholics in religion, and were purely Gaelic-speaking. They 
were exceedingly poor, but the men found work as labourers, 
and the women and children made a living by cutting and 
selling firewood. Occasional services were held, and in 1864 
a chapel, dedicated to St Mary, was erected in Academy 
Street. The first priest was the Kev. Donald Mackenzie, 
Beauly. The present priest is the Eev. A. Bisset. A 
Convent of the Sacred Heart was established in 1891. The 
congregation now numbers about 200. The incumbent 
officiates each Sunday at Fort-George. 



TOWARDS the close of the Eighteenth Century, there was an. 
enormous rush from the North to the West Indies. Sir 
Alexander Grant of Dalvey from his intimate relations 
politically and otherwise with the Burgh and County of 
Nairn interested himself in obtaining situations for young 
men belonging to the place in mercantile houses having 
a West Indian connection. Roses, Brodies, Falconers, 
Inglises, Mackintoshes, Campbells, and Erasers from Nairn- 
shire were to be found in every part of the West Indies, 
One of the earliest and most successful planters was Samuel 
Falconer, grandson of Bishop Colin Falconer and brother of 
" The Admiral " of Nairn Grieship. Leaving Jamaica with a 
fortune about the year 1760, Samuel Falconer returned to 
Nairn, and no deserving lad applied to him in vain for a start 
in life. Some acquired wealth, but a greater number found 
graves. Amongst those who went out was Mark Campbell, a 
nephew of Sheriff Inglis of Nairn. He succeeded well, and 
along with a partner purchased an estate in the Island 
of St Vincent. The original deed of conveyance from the 
Charribes is still in existence. The native chiefs sign with 
a cross. In 1791 Mark Campbell is struck down by fever, 
and makes his will. His thoughts revert to a certain young 
lady in Nairn his pretty cousin Amelia Inglis, and he leaves 
her a handsome annuity. He left his share of the estate 
to his partner. As an indication of the view of a West 


Indian planter at the time regarding slavery, Mark 
Campbell requests his executor " to endeavour to make free 
my housekeeper Petonee and her daughter Margarate," leaving 
it to him to assist Petonee and her daughter as he chooses. 
Mark Campbell died on 2nd December, 1791. When the crash 
came in West Indian affairs some years later, Miss Amelia's 
annuity was lost. These were but examples of the ups and 
downs of fortune of the time. 

The means of education in Nairn for equipping young men 
for a mercantile career were at this time of an excellent 
character. The earliest Burgh School of which there is any 
record was situate in Church Street, but in the year 1762, 
the Council decided to give a new site. The minute of 
the Council of date 13th April 1762, runs as follows " The 
Council met and taking into their serious consideration that 
the building of a school-house with some accommodation for 
lodgings to a master is to be soon set about, which being a 
matter of great public utility, justly merits the attention and 
encouragement of the Magistrates and Town Council, therefore 
in order to the better executing of the same they not only 
unanimously agree that the sum of five pounds sterling be 
given out of the town's common good towards defraying 
the expense thereof over and above as an addition to the 
heritors their different proportions, which sum is hereby 
ordered to be forthwith paid by the Treasurer to Mr Eobert 
Davidson, the schoolmaster, for the above purpose upon his 
receipt, but also for rendering said school-house more 
agreeable, wholesome, and commodious both for master 
.and scholars, hereby unanimously give as much ground as 
will be necessary for building the same on, with a proper 
.urea in front, of and upon the easter part of that particate 
or piece of ground of a triangular form, belonging to the 


Town Council, lying at the wester end thereof, 'twixt the 
Gallowgate and Kildrurnmie Gate ; and the stance of the old 
school being thought sufficiently fit for a house and school- 
room to a schoolmistress for teaching sewing and other 
necessary branches of education, the Council resolve to 
employ the said old stance to that use how soon a fund 
necessary for executing the same in a proper manner can 
be established." The subscriptions to the Girls' School came 
in slowly and it was some time later before the institution 
was established. It continued to nourish down to about 
1860, mainly supported by the Town Council. Other 
establishments having sprung up, it was discontinued. 

The Parish School reached its greatest fame under John 
Straith. His celebrity as a teacher drew pupils from all 
parts of the country to it. The writer of the article in 
" Kee's Cyclopaedia " about 1800 says " In the town is an 
excellent school, in which the number of scholars is seldom 
under 100, parents sending thither children there from 
all parts of the country, and frequently even from England. 
Every branch of study now in repute at the Universities 
is taught here to perfection ; and several of the most 
distinguished characters for science and literature in Great 
Britain first rose to comparative eminence in the provincial 
school of Nairn." The writer appears to have been indebted 
for his information to the Eev. Mr Morrison, the Parish 

Mr Straith is mentioned in the Burgh Kecords, 3rd October 
1774 as having been admitted a burgess of the Burgh, 
along with Mr Peter Withraw (from his name he may 
be judged to be a sch