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Not many miles away lies the battlefield of Culloden, and the whole neighbourhood is rich in decayed buildings. The people of the district are peculiar. Though inhabiting a very flat country, they have all the types of the Celtic race, and one is as much among Highlanders on those sandy fields as in the centre of the Grampians. The border where Celt and Saxon meet passes through the neighbouring town of Nairn, of which it used to be said that the western half did not understand the language of the eastern.
Little is known of the history of this edifice. Its name must be comparatively modern, and the local antiquaries have failed to identify with it any of the ancient names in the parish.* The parish of Pettie was of old a part of the great earldom of Moray. In the seventeenth century the Macintoshes had got a footing in the district, and carried on a series of wild feuds with the kinsmen and followers of the Earl of Moray. In the midst of these we are told of the Macintoshes, that, in the year 1624, “ assembling five hundred of their men and partakers, they joyned together against the Earle of Murray. They goe to ane hous which he hath now of late built in Pettie, (called Castell Stuart.) They drive away his servants from thence, and doe possess themselves of all the Earl of Moray his rents in Pettie. Thus they intend to stand out against him.” † In the year 1796, the Earl of Moray, who had only the privileges of the Scottish peerage, was made a British peer by the title of Lord Stewart of Castle Stewart.
* See Shaw's History of Moray. Statistical Account. Anderson's Highlands, 98. The name does not occur in the Cartulary of Moray.
+ Gordon's History of the Earldom of Sutherland, 391.