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search in the countrey some might be here."
41 miles from Turriff.
Leaving Turriff on the right, the line sweeps round the town towards the Deveron, 'on the banks of which is Forglen House, the beautiful residence of Sir Robert Abereromby, Bart. There is nothing of interest on the way to Plaidy. Craigston, just referred to, is about a mile east from the station. The next station is
2J miles from Plaidy.
A little before reaching the station we pass on the left the ruins of the castle of King-Edward or Kin-Edar, a word which is said to signify the Head of the Valley. Pratt speaks of it as the scanty remains of the once proud residence of the family of the Comyns, Earls of Buchan. A shapeless heap of ruins spread over its extensive substructure is all that remains to testify to its former strength and grandeur; the forlorn remnant of a greatness which could measure itself even with royalty! The castle stood on a bold precipitous rock, on the northern margin of a deep ravine, through which flows the burn of Kinedar, and by which it was protected on the south and west angles, and on the other two sides by a deep fosse. The bold and broken character of the ground in all directions was well calculated to give security to this castle-fortress. There are no records to be gleaned either as to its erection or destruction, but probably it existed in the time of the former Earls of Buchan, and was destroyed in the early part of the 14th century, when the Comyns were expelled the country, and their very name proscribed by King Robert the Bruce.
Whilst the railway was in progress, in a cutting about a mile southward of the ruins of the castle, a bed of lias
clay was come on, full of characteristic organisms, such as ammonites, belemnites, etc.
Beyond the station, and west of the railway, are the ruins of the Castle or House of Eden, on the eastern slope of the valley of the Deveron, and about four and a half miles from Banff. The modern house (Grant Duff) is a little beyond, further north, and nearer Banff. It was once possessed by Meldrums, by whom probably it was built. They were succeeded by Lesleys, and these again by Duffs, the ancestors of the present owners. It is said that there always blows about the old house, even in the warmest and calmest day of summer, a chill air, and this is accounted for by the following incident, related by Spence in his "Ruined Castles in Banff."
'' Long ago there was a laird of Eden who had, like others of his class in old times, 'the power of pot and gallows.' On an outlying croft on the estate there lived in a little cothouse a poor widow woman with an only son. This boy was rather wayward; and the mother, after many fruitless endeavours to keep him in order, resolved to apply to the laird for advice and assistance. This she did; and having told her story, requested the laird as a great favour to speak to her son, to reason with him, to threaten him with some dire punishment if he did not mend his ways. The laird readily undertook the task— alas! too readily—and taking the lad by the hand led him to the 'pot' in the Deveron, plunged him in, and held him there till he was drowned. Then returning to the castle he was met by the grateful mother, who thanked him warmly for his great kindness. 'Weel . woman,' said the laird, 'I'se warran' he's never vex ye ony mair; I've ta'en his han' upon't.' A fearful doubt seemed to seize the mother's mind on hearing this speech, and she eagerly asked, 'But far is my bairn?' 'Oh, wine,' says the laird, 'he's in the pot, an' ye'll fin' him there gin ye gae doon.' Whereupon the wretched mother knelt down on her bare knees and prayed a prayer instantly heard and instantly answered in part—
"' Cauld blaw the win'
About the Hoose o' Edin.'
And so the chill breeze blows there constantly, and the hearth-stone is cold."
54. Banff Bridge.
4| miles from King Edward. 29| „ „ Inveramsay. 49J „ Aberdeen.
Owing to the difficulties of the ground, the line has not been carried into the town of Banff, which is reached by a station about a mile and a half south-east of it, and on the opposite side of the river from that on which Banff stands. We will treat of Banff when we reach it by the Banffshire Railway from Grange. A quarter of a mile further on we come to the terminus in Macduff. The river Deveron, which separates Banff from Macduff, separates the counties also till close to the two towns, which are both in Banffshire.
\ mile from Banff Bridge. 29| „ „ Inveramsay. 49$ , „ Aberdeen.
Macduff is a thriving seaport town, with a harbour which is said to be more accessible and safer than that of Banff.
It stands on the steep slope of the Hill of Doun. It is in the parish of Gamrie, and the parish church is at Gardenston, some miles distant. There is now a second parish church in Macduff, erected on a commanding site on a hill above the town. In the town itself there is a large and commodious Free Church. The Cross of Macduff stands in front of the Parish Church, on a high bank overlooking the town and harbour. It bears this inscription : — " Macduff Cross, rebuilt at Macduff by the Earl of Fife in 1783, when that place was constituted a royal burgh by George III. May it flourish and long increase in numbers and opulence!"
The coast scenery here is very fine, both east and west of Macduff and Banff. Immediately to the east of Macduff is Tarlair, well known to readers • of Smiles's '' Life of Thomas Edward, the Banff Naturalist," and famous for its "walls," as must be equally familiar to those who have perused "Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk." The whole coastline is full of interest, from its caves, castles, historical associations, and interesting geological features ; the latter are specially prominent at Gamrie, and are described with his usual graphic power by Hugh Miller in his "Rambles of a Geologist."
THE BANFFSHIRE RAILWAY.
The Banff, Portsoy, and Strathisla Railway, like most of the other branches of the Great North Railway, was originally constructed by an independent company. Sanctioned in 1857, it was opened in 1859; and though not embraced in the general amalgamation of 1866, it became part of the Great North system in the following year, 1867.
Its length to Banff is 16i miles. At Tillynaught, at 10J miles from Grange, a branch 2$ miles long strikes off to Portsoy, a port on the coast between Banff and Cullen.
Leaving Grange Station, and proceeding north-eastward, we reach
3J miles from Grange. 52| „ „ Aberdeen.
The only striking feature here is the regularly conical hill, The Knock, 1409 feet to the summit. At a height of about 1000 feet there are some cairns.
There is little of interest to be observed on this part of the line till we reach Banff. The stations are—,
11 miles from Knock.
S\ miles from Glenbarry.
2J miles from Cornhill.
Here, as already stated, the lino
divides. We keep to the right for Banff, in which direction is
60. Lady's Bridge.
miles from Tillynaught.
The course of the line is along the burn of Boyndie, and passing the village of Boyndie Bridge we reach the coast at Boyndie Bay, and keep on to the east along the shore till we reach the terminus at the harbour of Banff. In the neighbourhood of Boyndie interesting fossils of the Lias are found in the clay. In 1848 Hugh Miller gave an account in the "Witness" newspaper of a visit to this locality. He says— "The argillaceous deposit of Blackpots occupies, in the form of a green swelling bank, a promontory rather soft than bold in its contour, that projects far into the sea, and forms, when tipped with its thin column of smoke from the tile kiln, a pleasing feature in the landscape. I had set it down on the previous day, when it first caught my eye from the lofty cliffs of Gamrie Head, at the distance of some 10 or 12 miles, as different in character from all the other features of the prospect. The country generally is moulded on a framework of primary and transition rock, and presents headlands of hard sharp outline to the attrition of the waves; whereas this single headland in the midst— soft-lined, undulatory, and plump— seems suited to remind one of Burns's young Kirk Alloway beauty disporting, amid the thin old ladies that joined with her in the dance. And it is a greatly younger beauty than the transition and mica-schist protuberances that encroach on the sea on either side of it. The sheds and kilns of a tile-work occupy the flat terminal point of the promontory; and as the clay is valuable in this tile-draining age for the facility with which it can be moulded into pipe tiles (a purpose which the ordinary clays of the North of Scotland, composed chiefly of re-formations of the Old Red Sandstone, are what is technically termed too short to serve), it is gradually retreating inland before the persevering spade and mattock of the labourer. The deposit has already been drawn out into many hundred miles of cylindrical pipes, and is destined to be drawn out into many thousand more; such being one of the strange metamorphoses effected in the geologic formations, now that those curious animals, the bimana, have come upon the stage; and at length it will have no existence in the country save as an immense system of veins and arteries underlying the vegetable mould. Will these veins and arteries, I marvel, form in their turn the fossils of another period, when a higher platform than that into which they have been laid will he occupied to the full by plants and animals specifically different from those of the present scene of things—the existences of a happier and more finished creation? My business to-day, however, was with the fossils the deposit now contains, not with those which it may ultimately form."
He names among those found—
also specimens of lignite.
2i miles from Lady's Bridge.
The town of Banff is beautifully situated on the west bank of the mouth of the Deveron. A royal burgh, with a population of about 7400, it forms one of the Parliamentary group known as the Elgin Burghs. It is built on a somewhat steep slope, and has some
good buildings. On the shoulder of the hill next the sea stood the castle, at times a royal residence, and occupied for a day or two by Edward I. in 1296 and 1298. Mr. Spence tells us that "the plateau known as the Castle Hill, lying between the town and the sea-town of Banff, is believed to be to some extent artificial, especially along its eastern slopes. . . . The ancient royal castle of Banff was in a ruinous condition when Johnstone wrote an epigram on it in 1642, for he says—
"'A warliek fort, its rubbish yet appears, The rest's consumed by Time, which all things wears.'
But we know," adds Spence, "that part of it was still habitable and inhabited at that time, or that a dwellinghouse had been erected among its ruins, from the fact that the celebrated Archbishop Sharpe was born in it in the year 1613. The only vestiges of this 'warlick fort' now remaining are a part of the outer wall and the fosse, the latter extending along the northern and in part along the eastern side of the area anciently occupied by the castle buildings." A modern house has now taken the place of the old castle.
At the end of one of the principal streets of Banff is the entrance-gate to Duff House, the seat of the Earls of Fife. The following description of it is abstracted from the "Statistical Account:"—Duff House was built about the middle of the 18th century by William Lord Braco, after designs by Adams, the first of the celebrated architects of that name, at a cost of about £70,000. The style is Italian. The body of the house (for the wings have never yet been added) is of an oblong shape, and consists of four lofty stories. The first is a rustic basement, over which rise two stories, adorned with fluted pilasters and an entablature of the style of the Temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome. Over this entablature, which goes round the whole structure, there is an attic story surmounted by a balustrade. The four corners of the building have projections resembling towers, which break and vary the outline, and also rise to a greater height than the other parts of the attic story. These towers are adorned at the angles by an upper ranee of pilasters, with an entablature of the composite order, and are crowned at top by dome-shaped roofs, on which octagonal pedestal chimneys are placed. Both the entrance and back facade have also central projections surmounted by pediments, on which the family arms are cut in bas-relief, which, with the appended accessories, fill the entire space of the faces of the pediments. The entablature and capitals of the pilasters, as well as the smaller ornaments, are exquisitely carved, though some of these last have been left unfinished. The back and front of the building are precisely alike, except that the basement part of the projection in front is occupied by an outer stair of two circular ascents, with curved stone balustrades. The principal entrance is thus on the second story. From an arcade below the landing-place of the outside stair there is an entrance to the servants' hall.
Duff House contains a fine collection of pictures. Among others Henrietta Maria, a full-length by Vandyck; Penelope, Countess Herbert, same; Charles I. as Prince of Wales, by Velasquez; Lady Mary Coke and Mrs. Abingdon, by Sir J. Reynolds; Hawking, by Wynants; Sir W. Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons, lb'40, by Mytens; Infant Saviour, by Alonzo Cano; Italian landscape, by Zuccarelli; Salvator Mundi, by Luea Giordano; Assumption, Murillo (?); Duke of Richmond, Vandyck; Duchess of Richmond, same; Charles I., Vandyck; Duchess of Richmond, Lely; Prince Henry, Jansen; Jane, Duchess of Gordon, Reynolds; Princess Elizabeth; three children of James I.; three small heads, Holbein; an Ecclesiastic, J. Van Eyck; a Philosopher with a skull, Q. Matsys; Head of a Girl, Murillo; Louis XIV., Rigaud; Queen Elizabeth, Hilliard; portraits of the English Kings from Henry V. to George II. (including a full-length of Henry VIII. by Holbein); the Chevalier, Prince Charles, and Cardinal York, by Gf. Hamilton; and many more. The house contains a handsome library, 70
feet long; and among other things of interest there is a good collection of arms and armour.
In the churchyard of Banff there is a very interesting fragment, ivycovered, of the chancel of an old Gothic church, and in the Park of Duff House there is a Gothic Mausoleum. The walks and drives in the grounds are beautiful and varied. At a distance of about two miles is the bridge of Alvah over the Deveron, very picturesque. The rocks here rise to the height of 50 feet from the edge of a profound pool said to be as deep as they are high.
Ferguson the astronomer was born in the neighbourhood of Banff, and the museum contains a number of early specimens of the fruit of his mechanical genius.
Not far from Banff, between it and Portsoy, at a place called Fatmacken, in the parish of Boyndie, was born in 1738, in a wayside inn which has long since disappeared, Mrs. Buchan, the founder of the sect of Buchanites. Her father was John Simpson the innkeeper. An old lady still alive remembers that her father used to tell her that Mrs. Buchan when young used to spread out a sheet in the fields to receive the manna she expected to fall at night. From Mr. Train's "History of The Buchanites," we take these opening sentences :—"Few people have acted such an extraordinary part on the stage of life as Mrs. Buchan. She gave herself out to be the Third Person of the Godhead, and pretended to confer immortality on whomsoever she breathed on ; and promised, eventually, to translate direct to heaven in a body, without their tasting death, all who put unlimited faith in her divine mission. She also personified the Woman described in the Revelation of St. John as being clothed with the Sun and the Moon, and pretended to have brought forth the Man-child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, in the person of the Reverend Hugh White, Minister of the Relief Congregation of Irvine."
Strange and revolting as her doctrines and her practices were, she found many