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Under the Carlovingians the Mactyerns lost much of their importance. Some placed themselves under the authority of the Frank count set over the government of the Peninsula; while others, such as Portitoe and Wrbili, held directly of the emperor, with the title of vassi dominici}
We may, I think, infer that the rights of the mormaer were less absolute than those of the ruler of an earlier period, consisting in a hereditary claim to certain lands in the province, and an official title (which in process of time seems also to have become hereditary) to a share of the royal dues, for which, as steward, he accounted to the King of Alba.3
It would seem probable, on the whole, that Bede, the Pictish ruler of Buchan in the sixth century, was an oirrigh or under-king when he conferred on the clerics the towns of Aberdour and Deer, with full freedom, as if they were his own sole property.
At a later period we find grants by several mormaers of townlands, which also appear to have been their absolute property; but in other cases "the share" or interest of the mormaer in the lands is only granted; probably consisting of that part of the royal returns which fell to him.
Malcolm [Mac-Kenneth], King of Alba, gave the royal share or portion in Bidben and other lands ;1 while Bidben was also granted to the clerics by Domnal Mac Ruadri and Malcolm Mac Culeon, thus showing the co-existing rights of different persons in the same lands.
1 Cartulaire de Redon. Prolegom. p. It would be the policy of the supreme
cclxix. king to continue the administration of the
"The office of the mormaer was expressive provinces in the families of the former
of a more direct dependence on the ard- rulers where that was possible ; and the
righ than had been the case with the pro- natural tendency of Celtic institutions to
vincial ruler; but, as the royal representa- wards hereditary official tenures (as in
tive in the district over which he ruled, stanced in the case of many of the thanes)
he naturally combined with his steward- would in time practically confine the office
ship some of the functions of the earlier to the descendants of the first mormaers,
rulers, such as the leadership of the pro- although, doubtless, with the sanction of
vincial subsidies in the king's host . the royal authority.
Again, we find that the mormaer and toisech had joint rights in the same townlands.2 Thus Matain mac Caerill gave the share of the mormaer in Alteri, and Cull mac Baten gave the share of the toisech.1
1 This shows that the King of Alba had certain defined rights in lands lying in a province only recently added to his kingdom, rights which accrued to him in virtue of his conquest, and as "ardrigh," while it is obvious that his conquest or annexation left the Celtic proprietary in the enjoyment of their lands. There are indications in our earliest records of a fluctuating period, showing traces of the gradually widening claims of the supreme King of Alba, and yet shadowing out an earlier condition, when the rights of property were to some extent vested in the community.
When Macbeth confirmed to the monks of Lochleven the lands of Kirkness, vnth freedom from the king, or the Icing,s son, or the sheriff, his title to grant resulted from his position as King of Alba, his own inheritance lying in Moray—thus witnessing to the rights of the crown in the lands.
When King David confirmed to the monks of Dunfermline, " auctoritate regia et potestate," the grants of his father, mother, and brethren, it was with the ratification not only of his bishops, earls, and barons, but with the consent of the clergy and people; "clero etiam adquiescenteet populo."—(Registrumde Dunfermelyn, p. 3.)
His son, Alexander I., who granted a charter of foundation to the abbey of Scone, did so with consent of his seven Gaelic mormaers or earls.—(Liber de Scon, p. 1.)
When Ethelred, another of the sons of Malcolm, Abbot of Dunkeld and Earl of Fife, conferred on the monks of St . Serf the lands of Admore, his grant was confirmed at Abernethy by his brothers David and Alexander, at a great convention of the country both of clergy and laity, with freedom from both, and with the usual malediction against those who should infringe the gift. The transaction was concluded with a popular ratification: "Omni populo respondente, Fiat. Amen."—(Registr. Priorat . S. Andree, p. 116.)
* An instance of the concurrence of parties having separate interests in land to its surrender to the monastery of Redon, occurs in the Chartulary of that house, A.d. 1105, where we find the granter "habito consilio cum dominis suis, id est, Herveo Juscel, et Guaterio, atque Erardo filiis ejus—et Hamelino de Armalle super eos domino,—et Guaterio Hai domino super omnes, communi assensu," gave to the abbey the land in question.—(Cartul. Redon, p. 322.)
In one case the same person is styled both mormaer and toisech, and his grant must have included the shares of both in the lands which it conveyed.2
1 " The word Toshach simply means 'captain' or 'leader,'—dux; the Irish Taisigeacht meaning 'captaincy,' 'leadership,' or 'precedency.' When the office of dux, originally elective, became hereditary, according to the invariable principle of 'divided authority' so characteristic of all the Celtic communities, it remained permanently in the family of the eldest cadet of the clan, the Tighern farthest removed from the chieftainship. The ' Captains of Galloway,' and the ' Thanes of Ross,' were probably known in their native tongue as Toshachs—captains by right of office— for though the oldest cadet, and the thane in his military capacity, were known as Toshachs, it by no means follows that a Toshach was necessarily either one or the other."—(Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. i. p. 104, note) "The theory of a toshach over every Triocha-ced, or group of thirty Baile-biataghs, was familiar to the Irish Gael" (Idem); and the Toshachs of Buchan were probably chiefs of clans or families, and as such possessed of rights in certain lands which eould be made the subject of grants. The name, however, long survived the existence of the important officials to whom it was originally applied. The Toshach of our later records had sunk into the position of something between a
ground-officer or bailiff, and a sheriffofficer.
In a charter by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Marr, in favour of Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, of the lands of Davachindore and Fidelmonth, dated in 1410, the office of tosach, and its dues, appear alongside of those of the hereditary smith of the barony. The lands in the charter are declared to be free of all services, " et sine aliqua custuma danda,fabrisderavel tosachdera."—(Illustr. of Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, vol. iv. p. 453. See Skene, De verb, signif. voce Tocheoderache; Dr. Jamieson's Scott . Diet voce ifair.)
a See p. xlix. The rights of the mormaer as a royal official representing the crown in the district over which he presided, and accounting to the ard-righ for his rents and dues, were eclipsed by the introduction of the vicecomes or sheriff, soon after the time when the entries in the Book of Deer were written. When this took place, the prerogatives of the royal maer devolved on this officer, who was directly dependent on the sovereign, and accounted for the rents of the demesne lands of the crown, standing in the same relation to the royal Thanes, and the tenantry in demesne lands, as the , baron by military service did to the
The lands in the grants were probably of varying extent, some of them being described as fields, as achad naglerech (the field of the clerics). The descriptions imply recognised boundaries, defined at times by prominent rocks, and stones or trees, which could only have been temporary landmarks.1
knights and tenantry of the barony.—(Scotland under her Early Kings, vol . ii. pp. 252-3.) At this period the title of mormaer fluctuates, until it finally becomes earl; thus Gartnait, Mormaer of Buchan, whose grant to the clerics about the year 1132 is recorded in the Book of Deer, appears in the foundation-charter of the monastery of Scone, about A.d. 1120, as Earl Gartnait; and Ruadri, who, as a witness to the grant of Gartnait, is styled Mormaer of Mar, appears in the charter of Scone as Earl Rotheri.—(Liber Eccles. de Scon, p. 3.) Long after the mormaers or earls had generally ceased to have any claims over the king■s tenants, an exception survived in the case of the Earl of Fife, who was still entitled to exact from all the freeholders within his earldom his rights as Kin<fs Mair of the province of Fife; "Forsuth na erl, na seriand of the erlis, in the land of ony man haldand of the Kyng aw for to cum, for to rais that defalt, bot the erl of Fyffe, and he sal not cum as erl, bot as the mair of the Kyng, of his rychtis to be rasyt wythin the erldome of Fyffe."—(See Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. i. p. 68. The Book of Deer, p. 93.)
1 The land given by Bede the mormaer, is said to lie between Cloch in Tiprait and
Cloch pette mic Garnait, which may probably mean between " the stone of the well" and the "stone of the portion of Garnait's Son." In the same way we learn from the Pictish Chronicle that Nectan, king of all the provinces of the Picts, dedicated to St. Brigid the territory of Abernethy, with its boundaries, which ran from " the stone in Apurfeirt to the stone near Cairfuill, that is Lethfoss."—(Chronicles of the Picts and- Scots, p. 6.)
The boundaries of the lands conveyed in the first grants are in many cases vague and indeterminate, and of a temporary character; but as the country was brought under cultivation and settled, the boundaries became specific, and are distinguished by marks of a permanent description. Thus the boundaries of the three davochs of Fedreth [now Fedderat] in the neighbourhood of Deer, which are given with great minuteness in a charter by Fergus, Earl of Buchan, to John, the son of Uthred, before the year 1214, consist in many instances of the natural features of the country, such as burns and hills; but in others of such remarkable objects as the Crux Medici or Cross of the Doctor, the sheep-fold of Kuthri mac Oan of Allathan, the fold of horses, etc.
The davochs comprised Eastir Auheoch
In some cases the extent is more determinate, reference being made to a davoch, which implies a measure of arable land.
In others the description "both mountain and field" * would lead us to understand a townland of varying size, which would be determined by the circumstances of the locality. The general idea, however, of the townland is thus shadowed out by Dr. Reeves:— "If we suppose a widely-diffused population to have existed in the island [Ireland] at an early date, which the thick interspersion of the earthen duns, rathes, and lisses authorises us to do, we can easily understand how, among a people semi-pastoral semi-agricultural, each occupation of land would acquire a severalty, and become defined by ascertained limits. Our idea of a primitive settler would be of one who obtained a tract of land, so circumstanced as to be clear in part, and have a fair supply of running water, near which a habitation might be erected, together with a
Auhetherb, Auhethas and Conwiltes, "cum a fossa magna propinquius adiacente ville
omnibus limitibus suis et rectis diuisis, de Carnebennach ex parte aquilonali oc
videlicet a riuulo currente ex parte orien- cidentaliter extendente in riuulum de
tali de Estir Auhioch in oriente vsque ad Giht vsque ad concursum . . . de Leth
fossam concauam ex occidentali costa alge . . . n aquilone et sicut fossa concaua
montis de Derevan in occidente, et inter que dicitur Holleresky Lech jacet inter
viam altam supra Clochnily sicut exten- Buchangy et montem de De . .. n sub oc
ditur in austro vsque ad Crucem Medici cidentali parte de Derevan et sic a fossa
in aquilone et iterum . . . ndo in oriente a vadi concaui de Auhakorty ex parte occi
vado riuuli de Huskethuire inter Au- dentali vsque in costam aquilonalem de
helit et Auhitherb vsque riuulum de Cragcultyr et de Cragcultyr vsque ad pre
Qiht in occidente, et in predicto oriente dictam Crucem Medici et . . . de ipsa
a . . . li inter duas Auhcrauthis vsque in Cruce vsque in costam aquilonalem de
dictum riuulum de Giht subter ouili Derevan.—(Collections on the Antiquities
Ruthri Mac Oan de Allethan in occidente, of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, vol. i.
et progrediendo ... do inter dicta ouilia p. 407.) equitum versus austrum vsque ad predic
tam viam altam supra Clochnuly et etiam l The Book of Deer, p. 94.