« AnteriorContinuar »
proportion of mountain, wood, or bog, as the case might be. Should circumstances lead the neighbouring occupants to a community of abode, their several farms, while they retained their distinctive appellations, would naturally acquire a generic name borrowed from their joint habitation."
"An Irish memorandum in the Book of Armagh, written before the year 800, furnishes us with a sketch which may fairly be understood as representing the characteristics of a primitive townland: Cummen and Brethan purchased Ochter-n-achid [upper field], with its appurtenances, both wood, and plain, and meadow, together with its habitation and its garden."1
The lands described by the prefix Pet seem to have been divisions or portions, known from their connection with an individual, or their special use. In the first sense we have Pett-micGarnait, or Pett of the Son of Garnait, Pet in Mulenn, the Pet of the Mill, for which probably the equivalent is now the Mill Town.2
1 Of the Townland Distribution of Ire- farshire, which in the records is also spelt
land, by the Rev. Wm, Beeves, D.D.; Balskellie; and in Pitgerso, which also
Proceedings, Royal Irish Acad. vol. vii. appears as Balgerso, in the parish of
p. 473. Foveran, in Aberdeenshire.
3 It has been at times suggested that Mr. Jervise informs me that the same
Pet, which is a very prominent feature in occurs in the case of Balgersho in the par
the topography of Pictland, should be ish of Kettins, in Forfarshire, which is also
translated "the hollow ;" but it occurs in known as Pitgersho. He adds that Pit and
such varying circumstances of site as to Bal are used indiscriminately, as the names
preclude this idea. of the following lands in Forfarshire:—
In the parish of Migvie, in Aberdeen- In the parish of— shire, we have the church-lands called Panbride . . Balmachie—Pitmachie.
Pettentagart, or the Pette of the Priest; in Tealing . . . Balargus—Pitargus.
Fife, Pittenweem, or the Pitt of the Cave. Forfar .... Pitruchie—Baltruchie.
In Athol there is Pet mac dufgille, or the Newtyle. . . Balkeerie—Pitkeerie.
Pet of the son of dufgille. In some cases Aberlemno . Balglassie—Pitglassie;
we find Pit and Bal used indiscriminately, and that most of these places are on rising
as in Pitskellie in the parish of Barry, For- grounds.
The fluctuating character of property among the early tribes under the law of gavel, which led to continued redistribution, was adverse to any enduring boundaries; and in Ireland the evils of this system survived to be deplored by Sir John Davis in the beginning of the seventeenth century :—
"Again, in England, and all well-ordered commonwealths, men have certain estates in their lands and possessions, and their inheritances descend from father to son, which doth give them encouragement to build, and to plant and to improve their lands, and to make them better for their posterities. But by the Irish custom of tanistry, the chieftains of every country, and the chief of every sept, had no longer estate than for life in their chiefries, the inheritance whereof did vest in no man. And these chiefries, though they had some portions of land allotted unto them, did consist chiefly in cuttings and cosheries, and other Irish exactions, whereby they did spoil and impoverish the people at their pleasure. And when their chieftains were dead,- their sons or next heirs did not succeed to them, but their tanistes, who were elective, and purchased their elections by strong hand; and by the Irish custom of gavelkind, the inferior tenanties were partible among all the males of the sept, both bastard and legitimate; and after partition made, if any one of the sept had died, his portion was not divided among his sons, but the chief of the sept made a new partition of all the lands belonging to that sept, and gave every one his part according to his antiquity."1
As the formal charter may be said practically to have been introduced into Alba in the time of David I., so that change was accompanied by more fixed rights of property in the land, and by more careful adjustment of boundaries, than had prevailed before his time, of which we find tokens in the numerous perambulations and settlements of marches recorded in the chartularies of our religious houses.1
1 Historical Tracts, p. 12.
The terms of the grants are suggestive of other points of interest in connection with the institutions of the time and the condition of the people.
It will have been observed that many of them convey the lands with clauses of "freedom," or exemption from burdens of various kinds.
i The lands to which a general name is given, as including both mountain and field, are evidently of au indeterminate extent. Such descriptions seem to imply rights of commonty, of which many illustrations occur in the charters even of later times. David I. granted to the monks of May one-half of the lands of Ballegallin, with common pasture in the shire or parish of Kellin and the shire of Crail.— (Records of the Priory of the Isle of May, p. 2.)
When William the Lion gave to the monks of Arbroath the church of Monikie, with its lands and tithes, he added "with common pasturage of the whole parish of Muniekky."—(Registr. vet. Aberbroth. p. 18.)
The same monarch confirmed to the Hospital of St. Andrews a grant by David I. of the lands of Kenaleken, which included " communitatem eciam in pascuis de Fif pecoribus hospitalis." — (Registr. Priorat . S. Andr. p. 212.)
He granted to the Priory of St . Andrews the church of Eglisgirg, with the land of
the Abbey of Eglisgirg, "et cum communi pastura eisdem canonicis et hominibus eorum in predictis terris manentibus cum theyno meo et c hominibus meis per totam parochiam de Eglisgirg.—(Idem, p. 192.)
The perambulations by which the boundaries of lands were settled by the goodmen of the country were often presided over by the king in person.
Alexander IL confirmed to the monks of Kinloss the lands of Kinloss and Inverlochty, granted to them by King David, "et preterea terram quam ipse rex David perambulavit."—(Registr. Morav. p. 457.)
David I. granted to the monks of Coldingham a charter confirming the boundaries between the lands of Coldingham and Bonekel "quas ego cum probis hominibus meis perambulare feci."—(Raines' North Durham, App. p. 4.)
In a settlement of disputed marches between the monks of Kelso and Melrose, a ditch along the top of a hill, made by order of David I., is referred to.—(Liber de Calchou, vol. i. p. 22; Munimenta de Melros, p. 136.)
Pet-mac-Cobrig was granted "free from all the exactions or burdens," and Achad-Madchor was conveyed "in freedom for ever;" while a general confirmation of the offerings declares them to be "in freedom from mormaer, and from toisech, to the day of judgment" (pp. 93, 94).
The freedom from mormaer and toisech is obviously an exemption from the rents, tributes, or customs1 exigible by these officials from those over whom they ruled. By such payments the polity of the tribe was maintained, and after the provincial arrangement had passed into that of the consolidated kingdom, certain public necessities of the state were met by a tax which formed a burden on landholders.
1 Bents were probably mostly paid in kind; and " can," which forms so prominent a feature in our early charters, seems generally to mean the portion of the produce paid as rent to the owner of the land, and in this sense the name is not yet altogether unknown in leasehold arrangements in Scotland—the fowls which form part of the rent being termed kain fowls.
A considerable part, however, of the rent consisted in the personal services of the tenant, as in the tillage of the landlord's ground, the sowing and reaping of his crop, digging and carrying hia fuel, carrying materials for his buildings, and the like. This resulted from the want of trade, and consequently of capital.
But there is reason to believe that in Celtic times, besides the rents payable by occupiers of the soil, there was a poll-tax or tribute, which might be demanded from the people generally, and at special times from the occupants of certain lands, to which the word can was also applied. Of this last we find a trace in a charter granted in the year 1467, by Alexander
Wardropar of Gothnys to Henry Forbes of Kynnellour, conveying to him certain lands in the Thanage of Kintore, in Aberdeenshire, with his cane of barley and cheese, "et totam pecuniam michi vel heredibus meis racione fer chane [mancane] contingentem de terris de Kynkell, et de Dyse infra thanagium predictum."— (Collections on the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, vol . i . p. 575.) A similar tax was known among the Celtic people of Brittany. Alan, the earl of that country, had "quandam consuetudinem quam super homines S. Salvatoris qui morantur in plebe que vocatur Penkerac et in guerram habebat quam vulgo tallia nuncupatur, nos incisionem nominamus;" which, by a charter granted in the year 1122, he released, commanding " ne quis villicus nee propositus nee etiam aliquis suorum clientum ullo modo sit ausus super hac re aliquid querere nee incisionem quando erit facta colligere, sed in arbitrio et potestate abbatis sit, ut quotiescunque comes suos homines incident, hoc est censum a suis exigent, abbas suos secundum velle suum
These burdens were inherent in the possession of land, unless a special "freedom " was conferred by competent authority. Even in grants of land to the church in free alms, the burden of contributing towards the maintenance of the national fabric was implied, unless accompanied by an express exemption.
According to a statement in the Register of St. Andrews, the land which King Hungus gave to St. Regulus was to be held "in eliemosynam perpetuo; et tanta libertate, ut illius inhabitatores liberi et quieti semper existerent de exercitu, et de operibus castel
inddat,et potestative ut concessnm est colli- Conveth, which so constantly occurs in
gat et habeat."—(Chartular.Redon,p.324.) our early charters in association with
Of the tribute exigible on certain occa- can, seems to be synonymous with the
sions from the people of a district we seem right of refection, or the Irish coigny. to have an example in the can leviable by We find that the Bishops of St . Andrews,
the King of the Scots, not from hi8 de- in the twelfth century, were wont to re
mesnes, of which he had none in Gal- ceive refection for themselves and their
loway, but from the people of that country, followers from the men of the Kirktown
his right to which was determined by the of Arbuthnott, in the Mearns, which
judges of Galloway, in presence of Roland, formed part of the Episcopal inheritance, its Celtic chief.—(Acts of the Parliaments In the document which records the
of Scotland, vol. i. p. 56.) In this sense the exercise of the right, two expressions are
word was known to Skene, being used, he used in reference to it. It is said that the
says, to describe a tribute "payed be the Bishops Arnald and Richard, "hospitatot
servand or subject to the maister, as I haue fuisse pluries apud Aberbuthenot in terra
read in ane auld authentic register of the ilia, tanquam in propria;" that Bishop Hugh
Bishoprick of Dunkeld, quhair it is called "ibidem tanquam in propriis hospitatus est,
chan or chanum."—(De verb, signif. voce et de hominibus illis terre sicut de homini
canum.) bus suis necessaria recipisse et munera."