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terminated on the line of the horizon by a colossal urn. The present Earl has added a very beautiful chapel, and is | making considerable alterations on the entrance and internal arrangements.
Leaving Udny station we pass on the right the farms of Monkshill and Orchardston, and on the left that of Cloisterseat. On the left also is the farm of Craig, and others belonging to the trustees of Gordon's Hospital.
1$ miles from Udny.
This station is placed in a moss, which, however, is fast disappearing under the hands of skilful cultivators. The road which crosses at this point is the main line from the interior of the country to the seaport of Newburgh at the mouth of the Ythan. There is a very good hotel at Newburgh, and the place is much frequented for the seatrout fishing in the estuary of the Ythan. In the immediate neighbourhood are the ruins of the castle of Knockhall, an ancient residence of the Udnys. It was erected in 1565, and was in the year 1734 accidentally burned, and has since continued in a state of ruin.
1£ miles from Logierieve.
About a mile to the north of the station is Esslemont House (H. Wolrige Gordon, Esq.) A little way from the modern house, which was rebuilt by the present proprietor, is the old castle of Esslemont, in a clump of trees not far from the farm-house of Mains of Esslemont. The '' View of the Diocese" says, "Esslemont is an old castle, the seat of the Cheynes of Esslemont." It has all the appearance of great ago, and must have been of considerable strength, having been surrounded by a moat, the lines of which may be still distinctly traced.
Leaving the station we pass through a very deep cutting through the hill of Woolaw, and cross the Ythan by a
bridge of four arches, and fifty feet above the stream. "The bridge across the Ythan at first consisted of three arches, and was completed in the autumn of 1860. On the 10th of the following February, owing to some undue pressure on the piers, it fell with a tremendous crash, which was distinctly heard a mile off. This accident was the cause of several months' delay in the opening of the line. The structure itself was very substantial and handsome, and the accident was entirely attributable to the slipping of the substratum on the south side of the river—a contingency entirely unexpected, and which probably could not have been anticipated."
Crossing the river, we are in Buchan proper, and at Ellon.
Of Buchan some one from the South once remarked, "It's pretty enough, but there's nothing of historical interest about it!"
"Nought of historical interest here!" Must all history loom large on the annalist's page?
And there only doth matter of interest appear
Where greatjcharter was signed or famed battle did rage?
"Nought of historical interest here!" Why—Buchan—the name speaketh loud of the past.
The king of broad Scotlaud its chieftaiu might fear,
Till in their own earldom they lost it at last .
"Nought of historical interest here!" Where the soil hath run red with the blood of the Dane,
Where the ruins are gray of the Abbey of Deer,
Of the towers of the Comyn, the Keith, and the Cheyne! "Nought of historical interest here!" To yon mystical circle thy footsteps turn. Who were they that laboured those cairns to uprear.
Whose dead ashes protect yon stone shell and clay urn?
Yes, for him that can read it, each Held has its story,
Where axes and arrows the plough has upcast, Of dead generations, of long vanished glory, A record revealed of the long buried past.
1J miles from Esslemont.
Ellon is a very central station for a large district of country. It serves the south part of the parish of Methlic, the east of Tarves, most of LogieBuchan, Slains, Cruden, and Ellon. A coach runs from the station by the coast to Peterhead in connection with certain trains, as from this point the line runs directly north, leaving the large and important district between Ellon and Peterhead away to the right. Here, therefore, parties nave to leave the train for Ellon Castle, Auchmacoy, Collieston, Pitlurg, Aquharnie, Slains, Aldie, etc.
The village of Ellon is about half a mile from the station, and is beautifully situated on the banks of the Ythan. This river, which we have already seen at Gight and Fyvie, has a course of about 31 miles. There is good salmon-fishing in it. "Itis celebrated for its mussel pearls (Mya Margaritifera), and one of the jewels of the ancient crown of Scotland is said to have been found here."
"The kirk and kirk-lands of Ellon (New Statistical Account) belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Kinloss in Moray. It is probable they were conferred on this abbey at its foundation in the middle of the 12th century. They certainly belonged to it in the 13th century, as we find that at an early period of the century following, Robert I. confirmed to the Abbey of Kinloss the advocation and donation of the Kirk of Ellon. The Kinloss monks probably acquired Ellon from one of the first Earls of Buchan. The Buchan family seems to have been partial to the Cistercian order."
Pratt tells us, that from a letter of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, a copy of which is preserved in the charter-room of Slains Castle, of date A. D. 1265, it appears that the said Earl of Buchan received a grant of certain lands of Ellon for himself and his two sons from Gameline, Archbishop of St. Andrews, for which he and his heirs were to pay annually to the archbishop and his successors two silver merks, and also to render certain dues, with which the lands were burdened, the same to revert to the archbishop and church of St. Andrews on the death of the said earl and his two sons.
'' Ellon Castle was formerly called Kermucks, and under that name was possessed by Forbes of Waterton, and before him by Kennedy of Kermucks. It has been built anew by the present possessor, Gordon of Ellon (son to a farmer in Bourtie), a merchant in Edinburgh, and once a bailie there, and a rich man; and it is accounted here a very great house, the great halls having two rows of windows, and being 28 feet high. — (Sir Samuel Forbes, Book of Bon Accord.)
Almost no part of this "very great house" now remains. In 1752, that Gordon of Ellon sold the property to the Earl of Aberdeen, who, in 1780 built large additions to the house, and made it his principal residence. A later proprietor (a collateral branch of the Aberdeen family, in the possession of whose descendants it still remains) unroofed the house and allowed it to fall into a state of complete dilapidation. The only portion of it now remaining is a fragment of the tower, which, ivy-mantled and hoary, forms a picturesque object on the beautiful terrace of the modern castle built in 1851. The gardens are well worthy of a visit, and contain some venerable yewtrees of very great size and beauty.
"The annals of Ellon," says Dr. Pratt, "could they be recovered from the graves of centuries where they lie buried, would furnish us with a curious episode in our history. Thrice a year, the Thane of Buchan—remember, reader, these were feudal times—accompanied by a proud array of retainers, resorted to Ellon to hold a head court. Here all inferior holders of land, who, in a certain sense, were his vassals, engaged by 'ane band of manrent.' to 'heill his consaill, and gif him the best consaill' they ' cane gif only he askis'—assembled at his bidding, each attended by his own special retainers, all mounted and armed to the teeth. There all cases of importance throughout the thanedom were tried and summarily decided. The place of assembly was the Moat Hill, called in later times the Earl'a Hill of Ellon, a spot situated on the left bank of the Ythan, 80 or 90 yards below where the bridge now crosses the river. It was the place also where the Earls of Buchan were formerly invested with the title; and it is said that its possession continued to be anxiously claimed by the Lords of Buchan, when of all that great inheritance little or nothing remained with them but the name and dignity of Earl." "The Earl's Hill is included in the charter of the earldom, granted in 1574 ; and in 1615, Mary Douglas was infeft in the earldom of Buchan and Earl's Hill. The slight eminence or mound to which these charters make reference has now disappeared; but persons are still living in Ellon (1841) who remember the time when the Earl's Hill retained both its place and name." (New Stat. Account.) A few years after Dr. Robertson wrote the above, the late Alexander Gordon, on succeeding to the property, had this interesting memorial of the past partially restored and protected by a railing; but now the paling is broken down and the mound all but levelled.
From the east lodge of Ellon Castle, there is a private path leading down the river side, past the granaries of Messrs. Mitchell and Rae, and on through the wooded high bank of the river to some remains which are all that are now left of the old house or Castle of Waterton, the ancient seat of the Forbes. "There now remains nothing beyond the mere indications of this once proud mansion. It occupied a prominent situation on a rocky eminence immediately over the river. The building was begun after the Reformation by the Bannermans of Elsick, and finished about the middle of the following century by Forbes, a son of Tolquhon, the first of the name who possessed the estate. Soon after obtaining the lands of Kenmuick he became Constable of Aberdeen, an office heritably attached to those lands. The castle and lands continued in the possession of the Forbes for upwards of a century, when they became, by purchase (1770), the property of the Earl of Aberdeen." Waterton and Kenmuick now belong to Ellon. On the fragment of the castle, J. H. Forbes, of Merry Oaks, Southamp
ton, the grandson of Thomas, the last laird of Waterton, has placed a stone tablet, on which is cut the'coat of arms of Forbes of Waterton, and the following inscription: "This stone marks the site of the ancient seat of the family of Forbeses, Lairds of Waterton, A.d. 1630-1770." "The footpath (says Pratt) is continued downwards, along the brink of the stream, and leads to a view of by far the finest reach in the river. The scenery here is singularly beautiful. The broad expanse of the stream with its rocky islets; the crags along both banks of the river—especially those on- the left brink—bold and precipitous, often rising to the height of 100 feet and upwards; birch, mountain ash, and other trees clothing the steep, wherever sufficient soil for their support is to be found; the wild rose and the honeysuckle, interspersed with furze (whins), and 'the lang yellow broom,' the foxglove, and other wild flowers, combine to give a character to this secluded spot, which takes the visitor, introduced to it for the first time, quite by surprise. The footpath extends for upwards of a mile from the meadow to the remains of a small ruin pointed out as the Abbot's Hill This is in the vicinity of what is known as the Abbot's Haugh, and a little below the Abbot's Well. The dimensions of the foundations externally, from east to west, are about 30 feet, and from north to south about 15. Some vestiges of the Abbot's Garden, on the rock above the ruin, in a north-easterly direction, are also pointed out to the visitor. These interesting objects lie directly between the farmhouse of Mains of Waterton and the river."
Passing up through the garden of the Mains of Waterton, half a mile or so brings you to Auchmacoy, two miles from Ellon.
Auchmacoy House is modern, and was built by the late James Buchan, of Auchmacoy, which property is now in the possession of his daughter and only surviving child. The remains of the old house are in the wood, at a short distance from the new house, which is admirably situated. It was I begun in 1832, and took two years to build. The style is Elizabethan. "The ground to the westward slopes gradually to the margin of a little stream, and forms a beautiful lawn, embellished with clumps of trees and shrubs; and to the north rises to a gentle eminence, richly clothed with wood. On the south and east the house overlooks a steep glen, tastefully laid out and cut into walks. Beyond this is seen the noble sweep formed by the Ythan, with the sea in the distance. A finer situation can hardly be imagined." So says Dr. Pratt, and the present editor entirely agrees with him. From the oriel window of the library, which is on the second floor, the view is unrivalled. To the right the rich cultivated country landscape is shut in by the noble outline of Bennachie. In front you look down the wooded hollow to the river. To the left the view comprises the broad reach of the Ythan, spanned by a graceful bridge of great length, for the river here is a broad tidal estuary, while the warehouses of Newburgh, and the masts of the vessels lying at its quay, loom large in the haze that melts in the distance into the ocean.
The " View of the Diocese of Aberdeen," written about 1730, says, "This family has possessed Auchmacoy these four hundred years; the first of them having been a son of Cummin, Earl of Buchan (whence Auchmacoy still bears the coat of Cummin, Earl of Buchan, with a mollet for difference), who had got this small estate from his father, and did, notwithstanding the almost general rebellion of his clan against King Robert the First, adhere so faithfully to that prince that he was allowfd to retain his estate (when the other Cummins were forfeited) upon the condition of his taking a new name; whereupon he chose that of Buchan. Those of this family have been frequently bailies to the Bishop of
The "New Statistical Account," written by the late Rev. Dr. Robertson, then (1841) minister of Ellon, says: "It appears from Robertson's 'Index of scarce Charters' that the Buchans of Auchmacoy were proprietors of that estate so far back as the year 1318,
holding it of the Earls of Buchan until the forfeiture of the too powerful Cummins, in the reign of King Robert Bruce. In 1503 James IV. gave Andrew Buchan of Auchmacoy a new charter, and erected his lands into a free barony, which has been inherited by his lineal male descendants ever since."
An eminent member of this family was Major-General Thomas Buchan, who adhered to the Stewarts after the Revolution. He was the third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy, by Margaret Seton, daughter of Alexander Seton of Pitmedden. He died at Ardlogy in Fyvie, and was buried in LogieBuchan A.d. 1720. After the battles of Killiecrankie and Dunkeld he became commander-in-chief for James in Scotland. "There can be little doubt that General Buchan, though not in command, was present with the Marquis of Huntly's troops at the battle of Sheriffmuir on the 13th November 1715."—New Statistical Account.
To any one desirous of exploring the singular sand-covered parish of Forvie, Ellon is the nearest point. He should drive to Waterside, on the north bank of the Ythan, and walk from that point to Collieston. "Leaving the road at Waterside (Pratt), and turning a little to the right, we find a footpath leading through the very centre of the Sands of Forvie. This remarkable waste lies along the north bank of the Ythan, and extends to the village of Collieston, a distance of nearly four miles. Not far from the centre of the sands, and at some distance on the right of the footpath, are the foundations and part of the walls of what is said to have been the parish church. The ruin is on the margin of a tiny streamlet. . . . The period at which the parish was overblown, and the cause by which the catastrophe was brought about are not very well authenticated. It is said that the calamity happened in the year 1688, and that it was the result of a furious storm from the east, of nine days' duration. . . . But when authentic history fails, popular tradition—aided, probably, by a love of the marvellous—comes to our assistance. The traditionary tale of the Sands of Forvie is, that about four hundred years ago the proprietor to whom the parish then belonged died, leaving his lands to his three daughters. In that lawless age the helpless orphans were, through fraud and violence, despoiled of their inheritance. Being thrown upon the world, they, in the bitterness of their grief, prayed to heaven to avenge their wrongs, and to make the fair fields of which they had been so unjustly defrauded worthless to the ravager and his | posterity. An old rhyme embodies the malediction of the fair sufferers—
<' If ever maiden's malison,
Time passed on, but still the prayer was unheard; but at length a furious storm arose, which raged without intermission for nine days. The maidens' weird was accomplished. Such is the tradition; the fact is certain — the parish is a sandy desert." It was probably overblown, at least in great part, before 1688; and a well-authenticated storm which commenced on 10th August 1413, and continued for many days, may have been the first instrument of the destruction. There is a wild weirdness and loneliness about these sands— and their great variety of character and general interest make them always fresh, however often a visit to them is repeated. The rocks of Collieston, with their numerous caves, aro also great attractions to this part of the coast.
_3J miles from Ellon.
Leaving Ellon, we pass on the left Auchterellon, and farther on, on the right, Turnerhall (Turner of Turnerhall) and Hilton of Turnerhall, a farmsteading where once the thrashingmachine was driven by a windmill, the tower of which only now remains, and which, far and near, is a conspicuous object in the landscape, dividing attention with the monument to the memory of "Athenian Aberdeen," on the hill
of Yssie, on the opposite bank of the Ythan. There is a heavy cutting through what is called the Gallowhill. To the left, on the brow of the hill, is a clump of trees marking the spot where the gallows stood in the old days when lairds had the power of '' pit and gallows"—drowning and hanging. A little beyond, on the opposite side of the Ebrie, and on the verge of the hill, is the Stone of Drumwhindle. This is a huge monolith, some 12 or 14 feet high. There is no certain information as to its origin. The present editor has heard that it formed one of a line of similar stones stretching across the country from the sea on the east to the Moray Firth, and that they were ancient landmarks of divisions of provinces in the days when the land was inhabited by various septs or tribes. It is an impressive object in the landscape from its vastness and from the mysteriousness of its origin and history.
On the right of the station is Arnage (Ross). The house is not visible from the railway, the tops of the towers only may be seen for an instant in passing, overtopping the trees. It is beautifully situated, and surrounded by fine thriving woods.
"Arnage, of old the seat of the Cheynes of Arnage, since bought by Rose, a merchant of Aberdeen."—(View of the Diocese.) The Rosses are said to be descended from the Roses of Kilravock. "Arnage House is a sort of castellated building, of small size, but originally it had been a place of considerable strength. The walls in the lower story are six or seven feet thick, and pierced with loopholes. It was of old the seat of the Cneynes of Arnage, cadets of the Cheynes of Esslemont, and descendants of the old barons of the Craig of Inverugie. The oldest part of the house was probably built by the Cheynes." "It has lately," says Dr. Pratt, "had some important additions made to it from the designs of Mr. Matthews, Aberdeen, consisting of an entrance - hall and staircase, two drawing-rooms connected by folding doors, and opening into a handsome conservatory, ladies' boudoir, etc. Over the entrance door, which