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Hand. The Athole men were defeated with great slaughter, and Drust, their King, slain. The dead were all gathered and thrown into the small loch there called the Lochan Dubh-Black Loch-.... which took its name from that event, and to this day it is supposed to be haunted by the ghosts of these ancient dead. It is a place of such evil repute that nobody cares to pass that way, and I well remember when a boy how carefully I kept away from it eren in daylight when alone. The only one of consequence who fell on Angus M.Fergus' side was his favourite bard, who had ventured too far amongst the enemy when pouring forth his Brosnacha-cuth, or Song of War, to encourage on his clan to battle, which was the duty of bards in those days. His body was not thrown into the Lochan Dubb, but was buried on a round heathy hillock in the great corrie which runs down from Blathvalg into Glenderby, and which to this day is called Coire-a-bhaird-the Bards' Corrie. This battle is recorded in the Annals of Tighernac: “ 729. Cath Droma Derg Blathmig etir Piccardaibh i Dtuist agus Acuvis Ri Piccardach agus ro marbadh Drust andsin la dara la dey do mi Aughuist.” The Battle of the Red Ridge of Blathmig between the Piccardach, that is, Drust and Angus, King of the Piccardach, and Drust was slain there, on the twelfth day of the month of August.
In the Annals of Ulster it is recorded in Latin instead of Gaelic:-"729. Bellum Dromaderggblathnig in regionbus Pictorum inter Oengus et Drust regem Pictorum et cecidit Drust." Though victorious in this great battle, Angus did not finally subdue Athole for other ten years, when he overthrew and drowned another King of Athole, as recorded in the Annals of Tighernac :
“739 Talorcan mac Drostan Rex Athfhotla a bathadh le h-Aengus.”
Talorcan, the son of Drostan, King of Athole, drowned by Angus.
This Angus M.Fergus was the greatest of all the Pictish kings, and subdued all opponents, and united the Northern and Southern Picts. He reigned for 30 years, and died in 761.
806. In this year Constantine MFergus, the grandson of Angus M'Fergus, founded Dunkeld as the seat of the primacy of the Scottish Church. In the Pictish Chronicle we read
“ Constantin Fitz Fergusa xl. annz.. Cesti fist edifer Dunkeld yn.”
Constantin M‘Fergus reigned forty years. lle caused Dunkeld to be built.
Col. Robertson, in his “ Historical Proofs," says:—“The Register of St Andrews even, admits the foundation of Dunkeld by King Constantine, which, coming from a quarter that was jealous of all other churches, is strong confirmation of its truth; and as the district of Athole and country near Dunkeld was then in the Crown, by the conquest of its provincial rulers by Angus MFergus, King Constantine had it in his power largely to endow his church, and place it also where it must have been considered safe from the heathen plunderers.”
Amongst the lands with which Constantine endowed Dunkeld were the whole barony of Cally, the lands of Persie and Ashmore, and the whole stretch of country from there to Dunkeld, which continued to be the property of the Bishops of Dunkeld till the Reformation.
In later times there was a monastery and a nunnery at Bridge of Cally in connection with Dunkeld. This connection with the church gave their names to many of the places in Strathardle. Cally itself is derived from Caillach, a nun, and the full name of it is Lagan-clubh-chaillich, the Hollow of the Black Nuns; Rochallie comes from Ruith chaillich, the Nuns' Sheiling : Benchallie and Loch Benchallie are Beinn Chaillich and Loch Beinn Chaillich, the Nuns Mountain and Loch ; Blackcraig, in full, is Craig-dubh-chaillich, the Rock of the Black Nuns. There was also the Monks' Mill near Bridge of Cally.
In 903, the Pictish Chronicle tells us, the Danes laid waste Dunkeld and all Alban. Possibly it was then the battle of Ennochdhu was fought.
About 1005, in the reign of King Malcolm II., Kirkmichael gave the title of Abthane to Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, who had married the King's daughter, Bethoc or Beatrice. This title of Abthane is peculiar to Scotland, as no trace of it is found in any other country, and only three in Scotland. In the article on Malcolm II. in the “Scottish Nation,” we read :-“Malcolm's daughter Bethoc married Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, and this marriage gave a long line of Kings to Scotland, ending with Alexander III. Their son Duncan succeeded his maternal grandfather on the throne, and was the 'gracious Duncan' murdered by Macbeth.
“Crinan is styled by Fordun Abthanus de Dull ac Seneschallus Insularum. The title of Abthane seems to have belonged to an abbot who possessed a thanedom. It was peculiar to Scotland, and only three Abthaneries are named in ancient records, viz., those of Dull in Athole, Kirkmichael in Strathardle, and Madderty in Strathern. The three thanedoms mentioned seem to have been vested in the Crown, and were conferred by King Edgar on his younger brother Ethelred, who was Abbot of Dunkeld. On Ethelred's death they reverted to the Crown."
Dr MLauchlan says in his “Early History of the Scottish Church” :-“ Malcolm II. had a peculiar interest in Dunkeld, his daughter Bethoc having married Crinan the Abbot. This Crinan was head of the Athole fanily, this includiug in his own person both the civil and the ecclesiastical authority of the Athole district. Crinan engaged in war, raising troops, as we find, on behalf of his grandchildren, and was slain on the battlefield.”
Crinan was Abthane of Kirkmichael, and as both spiritual and temporal leader, was followed by the Strathardle men in this, his dire hour of need, when he fought and fell fighting against the “Bloody Macbeth” to win back the kingdom for his grandson, the famous Malcolm Canmore. How well and bravely Crinan-Crinan's, Athole, and Strathardle men fought on that day is proved by the fact that their fame spread beyond even the limits of their own kingdom to the remote parts of Ireland, as we find recorded in the old annals of Tighernac :
“1045.—Cath etir Albancho araenrian cur marbadh andsin Crinan Ab. Duincalland agus sochaighe maille fris. i. nae XX. laech."
Battle between the Albanich, on both sides, in which Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, was slain there and many with him, viz., nine times twenty heroes.
The fall of Crinan enabled Macbeth to reign another dozen years, till Malcolm, again assisted by the Strathardle men, marched from the wood of Birnam to the Hill of Dunsinane, and defeated Macbeth, as told by Skakespeare ; and three months after slew his son Lulac in Strathbogie, and so firmly seated himself on the throne in 1057.
After being securely seated on the throne, Malcolm Canmore kept up a close connection with the Abthanedom of Kirkmichael, where he built the old Castle of Whitefield as a hunting seat, from where he followed the chase in the surrounding royal forests of Athole, Mar, Alyth, Bleaton, Cluny, &c.
Whitefield is a modern name, the old name and that still used in Gaelic being Morchloich--the Castle of the Big Stone—from a large boulder on an eminence in the vicinity. This castle afterwards passed into the possession of a branch of the Clan Spalding of Ashiutully. It is now a a fine old ruin.
In 1033, when Thorfinn, the Danish Earl of Caithness, defeated and slew King Malcolm, and subdued and overran the whole north of Scotland as far south as Fife; the only districts north of the Forth which he did not conquer were Athole and Strathardle.
As we have now followed the History of Strathardle for a thousand years, and are now entering on modern history, I will leave the remainder for another paper.
8th MAY, 1889.
At this meeting, Mr Roderick Maclean, Ardross, read a paper entitled, “Notes on the Parish of Kiltearn.” Mr Maclean's paper was as foltows :-
NOTES ON THE PARISH OF KILTEARN.
The Parish of Kiltearn lies on the north side of the Cromarty Firth, west of, and parallel to, the Parish of Alness. Its greatest length is nearly 16 miles, and its average breadth 3 miles. The total area by the Ordnance Survey of 1876 is 29,956 acres, of which 4578 acres are arable. The surface is beautifully diversified by hill and dale, wood and water, arable and moorlands—the hills rising in successive altitudes to the crowning point at Wyvis, 3429 feet high. From the summit of Wyvis on a clear day the view is grand. A description is almost useless ; it must be seen to be appreciated.
The origin of the name is to me doubtful. It is traditional that one of the early Barons of Fowlis was buried at the site of the present Parish Church, that in process of time many of the retainers of the family were buried around him, and that when a place of worship was built there it was called Kill-an-Tighearnthe burying-place of the lord of the manor. I am not aware of another place of worship or of burial in the Highlands which, if dedicated, is so to any other than to the Divine or to a saint. May not the dedication be to the Lord-Kill an Tighearna ?
Great changes have taken place in the parish since Dr Robertson wrote his Statistical Account in 1791. There were then very few stone and lime houses—those of the poorer classes were miserable turf and mud huts. The population then was 694 males and 922 females-together, 1616; in 1831, 1605; and
in 1881, 1146. I have no doubt the difference of the number of males under that of the females in 1791 was owing to the number of the Clan Munro who were then serving in the army. They were always famed as a warlike race.
The object of this paper being to give the place names, I now proceed with them in alphabetical order :
Achleach-Achadh-an-Leathad—The field on the slope.
Allt-Cailc— The chalky burn. Plants under water on the banks of this burn have the appearance as if covered with chalk, no doubt caused by lime held in solution in the water. Limestone must be there, though as far as I know it has not been discovered.
Allt-Duack-The black small burn.
Allt-Duilleag—The leafy burn, named after water-cresses that grow there.
Allt-Garbhaidh –The rough burn.
Allt-Grad-The ugly burn. This is a portion of the river flowing from Loch Glais, now too well known to require a minute description. North of the village of Evanton, the river, for a distance of nearly two miles, runs through a narrow chasm from 80 to 120 feet deep-in one place only 16 feet wide—and it is said in the last century a smuggler pursued by excisemen leapt over the chasm at this place.
Allt-a-Choilich-The burn of the blackcock.
Allt-nan-Caorach- The burn of the sheep. Supposed to have got the name from a large number of sheep having been smothered in it during a severe snowstorm. There is here a lead mine, which was found to produce good lead, but the work was not prosecuted.
An Leacainn- The side of the hill.
Balconie-Balcomhnuidh- The residence. So named from having been the first building erected by the first Earl of Ross, v and in times gone by known as Baile Comhnuidh Mhic Dhonuill.