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thorn tree near the house, which still exists, and goes by the name of " Queen Mary's Tree."
Here, too, in 1650 came Montrose as a prisoner captured in Sutherland, and on his way south. He was allowed to rest a night here. The lady of the house, a cousin of his own, offered to aid his escape, and showed him an aperture by which he might do so. He, however, refused to avail himself of the offer, which would doubtless have brought his hostess into difficulties. An apartment in the castle is still shown as the room where he slept, and it goes by his name.
A few weeks after this, "in the month of July 1650, Charles II. landed from Holland at Garmouth, near the mouth of the Spey, in the county of Moray, from whence he proceeded to the Bog of Gight, and on his journey southward sent notice to the laird of Pitcaple that he intended to visit him. This rather astounding intimation was communicated to Mr. Leslie when attending the neighbouring market of 'St. Sair's Fair,' who without delay purchased all the claret in the market, and proceeded homewards to receive his royal visitor. When the royal party came in sight of the fair at some distance, and descried the tents pitched on the ground, they concluded that it must be an encampment of Covenanters. To avoid the hazard of an encounter, they quitted the highroad, and pursued their way through a sequestered valley. When Charles crossed the Ury near the Castle of Pitcaple, he was much struck with the luxuriance of the crops, observing that it reminded him of England. The farm was subsequently called England, which name it still retains. On the occasion of this royal visit a ball took place, the party dancing under, and in the vicinity of, Queen Mary's thorn. On the following morning, when Charles took his departure from Pitcaple, the Duke of Buckingham was on his right hand, and the Duke of Argyll on his left. In the assembled multitude to witness so rare a sight as a royal cortege, was a shrewd old dame, familiarly known as the 'Gudewife of Glack,' who, nothing daunted either by the
presence of Majesty or that of Argyll, exclaimed in a shrill voice, 'God bless your Majesty, and send you to your ain; but they are on your left hand that helped to tak aff your father's heid, and if ye tak na care, they will hae aff your's next.' These anecdotes were related by the late Miss Lumsden of Pitcaple, the great-granddaughter of John Leslie, the laird who entertained the king, and afterwards accompanied him to England, where he was in the royal army at the battle of Worcester."
Alexander Jaffray, the Quaker who was provost of Aberdeen, and also ono of the Scottish Commissioners to King Charles II., and a member of Cromwell's Parliament, was a prisoner in Pitcaple Castle in 1644, and has left us this quaint account of his imprisonment and release in his Diary:—
"Thereafter the country being so loose and broken I could not safely stay at Aberdeen, so went with sundry other honest families to Dunottar, where we were very kindly received by the Earl Marischall, having house-room from him, and our entertainment from Aberdeen and Stonehaven. One day having gone with Mr. Andrew Cant to Crathes to visit his son Mr. Alexander, on our way back we were encountered by the Laird of Harthill the younger, who was then returning from the battle of Kilsyth, where Montrose had gained the sixth and last battle he had over Scotland. We were by the said Harthill and the Laird of Newton Gordon taken prisoners (Mr. Andrew Cant, my brother Thomas, and I), after very much threatening presently to have killed us — especially I was threatened, as being guilty, they alleged, of Haddo's death, who had been executed for his rebellion against the State. Yet it pleased the Lord to restrain their fury. We were that night kept prisoners at Aberdeen, and the morrow carried to Pitcaple, where we were kept under the custody of one Petrie Leathe, brother to old Harthill. Many things might I remember, that would bo too tedious here to insert; only some few I shall point out, wherein the Lord's goodness and his wonderful hand in delivering U8 did most eminently appear. . . . One day in the afternoon, all the men except two being abroad, whereof one was an old decrepit body, we resolved to go and shut the gate. Having had advertisement that some of oar friends, commanded by Major-General Middclton, were that night at Aberdeen, having come north after the battle of l'hilliphaugh (which took place on the 13th of the month called September), we were confident that if we could get jiossession and could maintain the house till the morrow morning, our friends would before that time be at us for our relief. We having gone down (I and my brother Thomas, and a soldier of Middelton's, whom the garrison h'ad taken straggling from his colours), found, by our expectation, two as able men as any in the company standing in the very passage of the door, being about the flaying of an ox which they had lying within the door. I being first, when I saw them began to think of returning, but fearing that they would espy what we were about by the others following me, I resolved to go forward, and was much encouraged by their withdrawing a little without the door to make sharp their knives for the work they were about. Finding them without, though they were close at the door, we went down and offered to make it fast, which at last with much ado we got done. Then, having full possession of tho house, we made fast the iron gate, and put ourselves in a posture of defence. The rest, being advertised, cumo about the house, and so continued until night. By reason of their being there, one of our servants, who had undertaken to give advertisement to our friends at Aberdeen, that they should come for our relief, was forced to lie and hide himself all that day, so that it was the morrow at nine hours before he came to Aberdeen, and then our friends were gone. So our help that way was disappointed; but the Lord provided for us another way.
"The Laird of Leslie the younger, having advertisement from the country pooplo that wo had taken the house, gave advortisoment to some friends, who came on tho morrow by one or
two hours in the afternoon—the Lord Frisell, the Laird of Echt, Colonel Forbes, with the number of thirty horse or thereabout, and fifty or sixty foot. This was very observable, that as they came without any advertisement from us so did they come in the most seasonable time, when we were well near spent, having been pursued very sharply from nine hours until then. After we had beat them several times off, and killed one of them, at last they were driving through the wall, at a place where we could get no sight of them; and when they were almost gotten fully through, then our friends came, when we were even fainting and going to give over. We received our friends and entertained them the best we could, and parted that night with them, having set our prison on fire, it not being tenable."
Immediately beyond we come to
11. Fitcaple Station.
4| miles from Inveramsay. 2l£ „ „ Aberdeen.
This is a good point for ascending Bennachie. "Though Bennachie presents a nearly perpendicular face to the line, yet from the south-east side the ascent is easy. The peak of what is called the Nether Tap, though not the highest, is the most remarkable in appearance, and the most frequently visited of the six summits of the Bennachio range. The Nether Tap rises to tho height of 1440 feet above the level of the sea. The more rounded summit to the south-west, distinguishable by the cairn, is the highest, rising to the height of 1667 feet. It is called the Mother Tap. Professor Nicol says that'the mass of Bennachie is granite, often a reddish-brown binary compound of quartz and felspar, both, especially the latter, in regular crystals, well seen in drusy cavities, whilst on the northern face it approaches the greenstone or diorite.' The summit has been at one time rudely fortified, and inside the fortifications there is a well."
On the southern slope of the hill is Pittodrie (Knight-Erskine). Dr. Davidson says, '' The modern house of Pittodrie is a fine mountain chateau, placed amidst avenues of marvellous hollies on the southern slope of one of the high levels of the most accessible shoulder of Bennachie, near the site of Dame Christian Bruce's Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch." It is about 500 feet above the sea. MS. notes, which I am permitted to quote, say :—" Pittodrie is a beautiful place, with a very fine old garden, containing some of the finest clipped, hedges of holly and yew in Scotland. The estate of Pittodrie, formerly called the Barony of Balhaggardie, has been in the Erskine family for four centuries, the first possessor of that name, a descendant of the house of Mar, having exchanged the estate of Brechin in Forfarshire for these lands. Sir Thomas Erskine of Balhaggardie, a man of eminent talent, was secretary to King James V., and autograph letters from that monarch are among the many curious documents in the possession of the family. In the latter part of the last century the representation of the Erskines rested in an heiress, who married Colonel Henry Knight, and their son, also a colonel in the army, assumed the name of Erskine. Nisbet, in his valuable work on Scottish Heraldry, says that the Erskines of Pittodrie represent the original family of Erskine of Dun."
Leaving the station, we pass on the left the Free Church and Manse of the Chapel of Garioch, and further off the Parish Church. About half-a-mile to the north-west of the church is the Maiden Stone. It measures about ten feet in height, two feet ten inches in breadth, and about one foot in thickness. It is covered with the characteristic figures of the early sculptured stones. Stuart says, "It is doubtful to what its name is to be attributed, but we may safely reject the modern tradition, about a maiden of the house of Balquhain, to whose memory it is said to have been erected, and also the legend which connects it with a maiden who, on her bridal day, when she was engaged in baking a quantity of bread, was inveigled into a wager with a stranger, that she would bake a firlot of meal before he would form a road
from the bottom to the top of Bennachie, or if she tailed she would become his own. Ere her last bannock was ready the road was made; on seeing which she fled towards the wood of Pittodrie, pursued by the stranger, who was the great foe of mankind in disguise. He was in the act of seizing her, when she was turned into the Maiden Stone, and the part of it which has been broken out of one of the sides disappeared in the grasp of the demon. A paved road which winds in a northerly direction from the fort on the top of the neighbouring hill of Bennachie, is called the Maiden Causeway, and is supposed by some, not very probably, to have been a Roman road. Gordon says this stone is contiguous to a small Danish fort called the Maiden Castle. Near the house of Pittodrie, on the top of a slight eminence, are yet to be seen the remains of the fort referred to. The surrounding mound was lately dug into, when pieces of bones and charred wood were turned up in various places." We have already seen that the Causeway was supposed to be the work of an early Baron of Balquhain, if, indeed, it is not, as well as the fort on the summit, of Celtic origin.
To the right of the line, on the north bank of the Urie, is Logie, the seat of Sir J. D. H. Elphinstone. "The oldest part of the house of Logie Elphinstone was built by Sir James Elphinstone of Logie, about the year 1690. It has been largely added to at different periods since, and is surrounded by extensive grounds and woodlands, the beauty of which render this residence one of the most delightful in the country. The latest additions to the mansion, and the laying out of the grounds, were executed by the late Sir Robert D. H. Elphinstone, Bart., a gentleman who will long be remembered in this district for his high worth and dignity of bearing, as well as for the energy and public spirit with which he supported every measure calculated to benefit his native county. His persevering exertions and those of his elder brother, James D. H. Elphinstone, Esq., contributed in a very important degree to effect the formation of the first turnpike road from Aberdeen to Huntly, ana of the Aberdeen and Inverurie Canal—both improvements of vast importance to the district."
Further on, once more to the left, are the ruins of Harthill Castle, built 1638. At an early date it was a seat of the Abercrombies, one of whom, Humphrey, obtained a charter of the lands from Robert Bruce about the year 1315. It passed from them to the Smiths, and is now the property of Knight Erskine of Pittodrie.
About a mile off, on same side, is the Parish Church of Oyne, which is the next station.
miles from Pitcaple.
On the left is the Free Church; to the right the woods of Westhall. It is a very fine and ancient house, converted now into a comfortable modern mansion. Part of the building is very ancient, the walls being in some places four feet thick, and, according to Buchanan, was the property of the church as early as the 13th century, when it was a diocesan residence. The grounds contain some fine old trees. Westward from Westhall may be seen the modern house of Pitmedden (Horn), much added to during the last few years. It was long a seat of the Horns, and is now the property of Lady Leith.
A little beyond Oyne Station we cross the Gadie, or Gaudie, celebrated in song—
O gin I were where Gadie rins,
0 gin I were where Gadie rins,
By the foot o' Bennachie.
I've roamed by Tweed, I've roamed by Tay,
When bud and blossom sprout in spring,
When simmer deeds the varied scene,
1 fain wad be, where aft I've been
At the foot o' Bennachie,
When Autumn's yellow sheaf is shorn,
When winter winds blaw sharp and shrill,
Though few to welcome me remain,
Oh! ance mair, ance mair where Gadie rins,
This version was written by John Imlah, who was born in North Street, Aberdeen, in 1799, and died in Jamaica, 9th January 1846.
There are at least two other versions of this song, or rather two other songs set to this favourite tune. In his "Inverurie and Earldom of the Garioch," Dr. Davidson gives both. He says that tradition "has given Dr. Arthur Johnstone of New Leslie, on Gadie side, as the author of a song which is said to have discovered to some Scottish soldiers at the siege of Pondicherry the neighbourhood of a compatriot in captivity, a lady who made known her place of confinement by singing 'O gin I were where Gadie rins.'" One of the songs he transcribes, he says, was written by the Rev. John Park, D.D., of St. Andrews, and the other, he tells us, he has heard sung, and he thinks it may have been part of the song traditionally ascribed to Johnstone. The set of the song attributed by Dr. Davidson to Dr. Park is ascribed by Mr. Ramsay of Banff to the Rev. Mr. Barclay, who was parson of Cruden about two centuries ago. Johnstone's song begins—
0 gin I were where Gadie rins, Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins, Oh gin I were where Gadie rins,
At the back o' Bennachie.
1 wad ne'er seek hame again,
To view my ain countrie.
For if s there the bonnie lassie lives
And it ends with—
An' the hands were tied and the hlesain' said,
Yon wadna hae seen whar Gadie rins,
The Park-Barclay version is short and worth transcribing; we take it from Mr. Ramsay's print, which only slightly varies from Dr. Davidson's—
Oh! an' I were whar Gadie rins,
Ance mair to hear the wild bird's sang,
At the back o' Bennachie.
On the heights of Bennachie.
At the back of Bennachie.
Ah, Mary, there on ilka nicht,
Oh 1 ance, ance mair whar Gadie rins,
Between Oyne and Insch are the meal mills of Buchanstone. To the left, in a little dale, we pass the Parish Church and the Manse and Kirktown of Premnay. To the right, and far away to the north, are the hills of Foudland, rising to the height of 1500 feet above the level of the sea. They are of slate, and slates from them were much used at one time in Aberdeenshire. Now the Argyleshire, Kasdale, and Welsh slates are found to be better and cheaper. The Foudland glens come in in the ballad, too long to quote in full, of the "Duke of Gordon's Daughter." Though her Captain Ogilvie, when she, "bonnie Jeanie," married him, was only a soldier of fortune, and reduced because she married him to a private soldier's rank, he becomes Earl of
Northumberland, and then he is acknowledged. But in the poor days she says—
"Woe to the hills and the mountains!
"Oh if I were at the glen of Foudlan,
When his good fortune comes to Captain Ogilvie, he hies him to Gordon Castle to look after his wife and children, and now gets a very different reception, and the ballad closes thus :—
"You're welcome, pretty Captain Ogilvie,
"Sir, the last time I was at your gates,
"Come in, pretty Captain Ogilvie,
And drink of the beer and the wine;
"Til have none of your gold and silver,
Then she came tripping down the stair,
With the tear into her e'e;
Another upon her knee.
"You're welcome, bonnie Jeannie Gordon,
S miles from Oyne.
The village lies about a mile from the station to the right. The few houses at the station, with the inn and shop, are called Rothney or Drumrossie. To the north, on the summit of a conical hill, is the remarkable fragment of a ruined castle called Dunnideer. Hay says: "The castle of Dunnideer, upon the summit of a conical hill, with an elevation of about 600 feet from the bed of the rivulet (the Gadie) at its base, is a conspicuous and picturesque object from nearly every part of the