ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Agincourt, in the middle ages, were only the precursors of still greater events in coming years. The British empire was not much longer to be confined to the old world, or to the lands that had felt the iron hand of Rome. Regions that Cæsar never knew, and where his eagles had never flown, were to be possessed by the descendants of the rude tribes of the North, whom he tried so hard to subdue. The valour of the one, with the steady perseverance of the other, made the united nation irresistible, and her people are now dominant in every quarter of the globe.

It is not to be forgotten, indeed, that a violent rupture took place last century between the North American colonies and the mother country. Nor is it at all unlikely that in process of time other colonies, both in the New World and at the Antipodes, may spring up into new nations. All this is part of the general law of nature, in virtue of which new life springs out of the old, and children grown to manhood cease to depend upon the parent. This should be no cause for serious regret, and it is certainly no cause for thinking that the Anglo-Saxon, or rather the AngloCeltic race, has begun to decline from its eminence. The right view to take is, that new nations springing from the old stock serve to carry the vigour and the enterprise of the races from which they have sprung, in a chain of increasing strength around the world. If it be the case, as perhaps it is, that this is not a statesmanlike opinion, it is also the case that statesmanship has often failed to see what has been apparent to common sense. The independence of the United States was for years a cause of grief to the people of the old country. It seemed like a breaking up of the established order of things, and a step towards ultimate ruin. It was certainly a misfortune that the division was made with such a wrench, and that we did not part on good terms with our kinsmen beyond the Atlantic. But after all, a few years of war, followed by an international misunderstanding for a generation or two, is but a small thing in the history of a world. Such events bulk largely in the annals of a reign, and in the memories of those in whose days they happen, but in the general progress of humanity they are but as pebbles in a stream. They cause a ripple for a little while and then the waters move onward, never stopping, never turning back till they reach at last the ocean.

Even so has been the progress of the races formed by the union of the Celts and Teutons. Troubles have befallen them, but out of the nettle of danger the flower of safety has been plucked. Not only has a great country grown out of the Ameri. can Colonies, but the country that was left has grown more powerful than it was before. The people of the United States, made up as they are from a happy combination of the two best tribes of the old world, have risen into a nation that still continues to grow in strength, and which promises to maintain beyond the seas the fame of that from which it had its beginning. And as far as can be seen from the evidence of history, and the present course of events, the extension of the Anglo-Celtic race must go on till the language of Britain becomes the universal language, and British civilisation rules mankind.

4th DECEMBER, 1889. The following gentlemen were elected at this meeting, viz. :Rev. Mr Bentick, E.C. Manse, Kirkhill ; Mr Cathel Kerr, Free Church College, Aberdeen ; Mr Lachlan Macbean, editor Fifeshire Advertiser, Kirkcaldy. Thereafter Mr William Mackay, honorary secretary, read a paper contributed by Mr John Mackay, Hereford, on “Sutherland Place Names—Durness and Eddrachilis.” Mr Mackay's paper was as follows :

SUTHERLAND PLACE NAMES.

DURNESS PARISH. The scenery of this parish is mostly wild and mountainous. Its western coast is very slightly indented, offering to the Atlantic a lofty and rock-bound front, terminating on the north in the huge promontory of “grim Cape Wrath,” 523 feet above sea level. Every where the coast exhibits some of the finest 1ock scenery in Scotland ; the cliffs about Cape Wrath, the Fair, and Whiten Heads, rising sheer up from the sea to heights of 200 to 700 feet, are fringed with “stacks," and tunnelled by caverns, the more celebrated of which are the “Whiten” and “Smoo."

The rocks are composed of gneiss, granitic gneiss, quartzite, and mica slate, with veins of felspar and porphyry. In some parts they are variously conglomerate, red sandstone, and limestone. The limestone underlying the surface soil of Durness proves a valuable stimulant to its pastures. The limestone caverns present fine specimens of stalactites and stalagmites. Immense blocks of rounded granite frequently rest on the limestone rocks, telling their own tale of geological history, remote, incalculably remote. From one of such blocks on the glebe land was formed, it is interesting to record, the monument erected in the church yard of this parish to the memory of Sutherland's bard, Rob Donn Mackay, elegist, satirist, lyrist. In the limestone has been found pieces of porphyry, which were easily cut into seals and other ornaments.

The parish anciently comprehended the district lying between the river Borgie, in the east, to Kyle Sku, on the west. It was only in the year 1724 that it was divided into the ecclesiastical and civil parishes of Tongue, Durness, and Eddrachilis. The latter parish anciently formed a part of the Barony of Skelbo, of which Richard Murray, brother of Bishop Gilbert Murray, was chieftain in 1230. Durness seems to have been an appanage of the Cathedral Church of Dornoch after Bishop Gilbert regulated the affairs of his diocese, between the years 1225 and 1245. Tongue formed part of the ancient “Strathnavernia."

Durness, as now constituted, is naturally divided into three sections--1. Parph, between the Atlantic and the Kyle of Durness. 2. Durness proper, between the Kyle of Durness and Loch Erriboll. 3. West Moine, between Loch Erriboll and the middle of the morass called The Moine, half-way between Loch Hope and the Kyle of Tongue.

There are in the valleys of this parish ten Pictish or Scandinavian towers, circular in form, some of them surrounded by several circles of outworks. The one in Strathmore, called - Dornadilla,” is an immense structure 150 feet in circumference, consisting of two concentric walls of flagstones, said to be the hunting tower of Dornadilla, king of the Scots. On the side of BeinnSpionnaidh is a building twelve feet square, called “ Carn-an-Righ" (the King's Cairn), probably where the King of the Scots lodged while hunting, and where he stood to view the gathering of the deer. It commands a very extensive prospect. Torfacus mentions that “Sweyn, an Orkney magnate, waited on the King of Scotland when hunting in the hills of 'Dyrness.'” This king may have been Malcolm II. There are also several subterranean buildings, called by the natives “leabaidh fholaichte” (hidden beds, or hiding places). One of these, lately discovered on the west side of Loch Erriboll, measured 40 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 6 feet high, built of dry masonry, covered with flags, the descent to it being by regular steps, and the entrance covered by flagstones. Near it are large stones placed on end in an elliptical form.

The area of the parish is 147,324 acres, inclusive of 3726 acres of water and 2541 acres of foreshore, and the islands Choarie, Hoan, Garvellan.

The etymology name of this parish has been much controverted, and various derivations assumed. A traditionary one is that a Skyeman from Duirinish, named Y. Ay. Aodh or Hugh MacThormaid, of the Clan Morrison, trading in meal between the Lewis aod Thurso, had frequent dealings with the Bishop of Caithness, whose scat was near Thurso. He fell in love with, and married, the Bishop's sister or daughter, receiving as her dowry the Church lands of Dumness and Ashir, an extensive Highland estate, and, in taking possession of it, named it Duirinish, from the place of his nativity in Skye. It is said that a colony of Skyemen followed him, who became the progenitors of the Morrisons of Durness and Ashir, and held these lands for several generations. The last chieftain of these Morrisons married a daughter of Donald Ban Matheson, of Shinness, and died without an heir. His widow, harshly treated after his death by his successor, escaped at night to her father's house in Shinness, taking away with her the charters by which the Morrisons held their lands frow the successive Bishops of Caithness. She handed them, probably for a consideration, to the Earl of Sutherland. Possessed of these muniments, the Earl claimed rent from the Morrisons. Encouraged and supported by the Mackays, the Morrisons refused to acknowledge the Earl as superior, much less to pay him his demands for rent. Wearied out at length by the obstinacy of the Morrisons, the Earl agreed, for sixty merks a year, to band the Morrison district over to the Mackay chief, Huistean D1-Na Tuagh (Black Hugh of the Battle Axe), father of the first Lord Reay.

There is a more romantic tradition connected with this Mor. rison district, not as to its name, nor of its origin, but involving the loss of it by the Morrisons, and the acquisition of it by the Mackays, along with Eddrachilis, characteristic of the times. A Mackay chief, probably Y. or Aodh Mackay, father of Huistean Du-Na-Tuagh, was hunting one day in the Dirrimore forest, near Loch Stack. The custom was, while the chief and his party were located in the hunting bothy, to make requisitions for food upon the nearest inhabitants, many of whom of their own accord brought whatever necessaries they could supply, such as bread, butter, cheese, and milk. One day a handsome young woman presented herself with such a present for the High Chief of Farr. She captivated the Chief, who expressed a wish to detain her. The woman, as high-minded as she was handsome, repelled the advances of the chief, declaring, while her husband lived, she would submit to no dishonour to him, or to herself as his wife. Some of the gillies were sent for the husband. On the way they slew him, cut off his head, and brought it to the wife. Terrired of being similarly treated, she felt obliged to remain. A son was born, fostered and reared by order, in the house of the Morrison chieftain. Some years thereafter the Morrisons had contentions with the Macleods of Eddrachilis and Assynt, resulting in disorder and much bloodshed. The Morrisons, unable to cope with the Macleods, had recourse to intrigue and assassination, and called in the aid of the Mackays, proposing to divide Eddrachilis into two parts, giving one-half of it to the bastard son of the Mackay chief, Donald Balloch, brought up amongst themselves, and the son of the Morrison Bathsheba, the result of the Loch Stack captivity, and the other half to Donald Mac Mhurchaidh Mhic Ian Mhor Macleod, who agreed to assassinate the youthful chieftain of the Eddrachilis Macleods, and thereby open the way to take possession. A battle became imminent. The Morrisons and Macleods gathered for the fight, and were about to engage, when the Mackay chief made his appearance with three hundred men. The Macleods saw the hoplelessness of a combat, and submitted to be despoiled. The territory thus surrendered was given to the bastard son, and Donald Macleod, for policy's sake, was induced, in lieu of the half of Eddı achilis, which was to be his reward, to accept of the Davoch of Hope, and the Morrison Bathsheba for his wife. This Macleod was the notorious Rob Roy of Sutherland. He died at a great age, leaving by this wife seven sons, of whom nothing is known. He was the Donald Mhic Mhurchaidh Mhic Ian Mhor, whose epitaph is-

“ Donald Mack here lies lo;
Vas ill to his frend and var to his foe,

True to his maister in veird and vo.—1623." Durness, in the Sutherland charters, 1223 to 1245, is spelled Dyrness; in those of 1541 to 1544, Ardurness ; in 1559, Ardwrness ; in 1630, Duriness ; in 1640, Durenish ; in 1726, Durness. The village is still called Durine, which, with Ness, Norse for pro montory, forms Durin-Ness. It has been said that the derivation of Durness is from the Gaelic word Dorruin, storms, and Ness, meaning the cape, or promontory of storms, not an inapplicable signification. But there is another given, that its derivation is from Du, black, and raoin, fields, pronounced and spelled Du-rine, which would apply to the village name, and, adding Ness to this word, it becomes Du-rin-ness, a compound of Gaelic and Norse. But yet another derivation has buen given to make it out that the word is essentially Gaelic-Du, black, thir, gen, of tir, land, and innis, grazing, when it becomes Du-thir-innis, the black grazing land. Setting this aside as somewhat fanciful, and having regard to the orthography of the word as given in the ancient

« 前へ次へ »