“But lead me, O Malvina! to
the sound of my woods; to the roar of my mountain streams. Let the chase be
heard on Cona; let me think on the days of other years. And bring me the
harp, O maid! that I may touch it, when the light of my soul shall arise. Be
thou near, to learn the song; future times shall hear of me! The sons of the
feeble hereafter will lift the voice on Cona; and looking up to the rocks,
say, ‘Here Ossian dwelt!’ They shall admire the Chiefs of old, the race that
are no more! while we ride on our clouds, Malvina! on the wings of the
roaring winds. Our voices shall be heard at times in the desert; we shall
sing on the breeze of the rock.”-—Ossian.
Dedicated to the Memory of
EWEN MACPHERSON OF CLUNY MACPHERSON, CHIEF OF CLAN CHATTAN, C.B.
“THE GENUINE TYPE OF THE OLD
SCOTTISH CHIEF: THE CHIEF WHO LOVED HIS PEOPLE AND SPOKE THE LANGUAGE OF THE
PEOPLE, AND LIVED ON HIS PROPERTY, AND DELIGHTED IN OLD TRADITIONS, IN OLD
SERVANTS, IN OLD SERVICES, AND OLD KINDLY USAGES OF ALL KINDS.”
PORTIONS of the following
papers have from time to time within the last few years appeared in various
magazines, and are now, with considerable additions, presented to the public
in a collected form. The volume makes no claim to learned or original
research, and professes, as its title indicates, to be little more than a
compilation or omnium gatherum of old folk-lore, and odds and ends
gleaned from reliable sources, connected chiefly with the lordship of
Badenoch in the central Highlands, that wide and extensive district so
appropriately described by the late Principal Shairp of St Andrews as “the
grand old country of the Chattan Clan.”
Originally intended solely for natives of Badenoch, the author ventures to
express the hope that the book may prove of more than local interest, as
illustrating to some extent the Church and social life prevailing north of
the Grampians, and the condition and characteristics of the Highland people
in olden times. The portraits of famous personages connected with the
district in bygone days, and the other illustrations, will, it is hoped,
tend to enhance the interest of some of the “Glimpses” given in the volume.
The Appendix, embracing as it does so many historical documents relating to
the Clan Chattan, Prince Charlie, and the famous Cluny of the “’45” (some of
which are now published for the first time), will, it is believed, prove
specially interesting to members of the clan and natives of Badenoch
generally. In the Cluny charter chest are preserved a large number of
original letters of historical importance, addressed to the Cluny chiefs of
the time by Viscount Dundee, the Duke of Gordon, the Earls of Dunfermline,
Mar, Marischall, Perth, and Rothes, the Master of Stair, Simon Lord Lovat,
and others, from 1689 to 1756 in connection with the various Risings in the
Highlands in favour of “the hapless Stuart line,” which, it is hoped, may
yet be published in some permanent form.
The author desires gratefully to acknowledge his obligations to the Duke of
Richmond and Gordon, and to his Grace’s Commissioner, Mr Wedderspoon, for an
inspection of the original document at Gordon Castle containing the rental,
in 1603, of the lordship of Badenoch, a transcript of which is given in the
Appendix; to Cluny Macpherson for access to the Cluny charter-chest and to
the Cluny library; to Mr Macpherson of Corrimony, for the use of the MSS. of
his grandfather (“Old Biallid”); to the Rev. William Bruce of Glenrinnes,
the Clerk of the Synod of Moray, the Rev. James Anderson of Alvie, and the
Rev. D. S. Maclennan of Laggan, for access to the old records of the Synod
of Moray, the records of the Kirk-session of Alvie, and the records of the
Kirk-session of Laggan respectively; and to Mr Brewster Macpherson of
Belleville, Professor Blackie, the Rev. Dr Cameron Lees of St Giles, the
Rev. Neil Dewar of the Free Church, Kingussie, the Rev. Thomas Sinton of
Dores, Mr Fraser-Mackintosh of Drummond, Dr Joseph Anderson of the Society
of Antiquaries, Mr David M‘Gibbon, architect, Edinburgh, Mr William Mackay,
solicitor, Inverness, Mr Alexander MacBain of Rainings School, Inverness, Mr
Hew Morrison of the Public Library, Edinburgh, Mr Roderick Maclennan of the
Public School, Kingussie, Mr Donald Campbell, merchant, Kingussie, and his
brother, Mr Paul Campbell, for valuable aid and suggestions in the
preparation of the work.
The cordial acknowledgments of the author are also due to the large and
influential number of suscribers whose hearty encouragement led to the
publication of the volume. He specially desires to record his warmest
obligations in this respect to Mr W. J. McPherson of Rochester, New York,
one of the most devoted and patriotic members of the clan now living,
through whose unwearied efforts upwards of fifty Macpherson subscribers were
secured in America and Canada. So many Macphersons have not, it is believed,
been brought together, so to speak, since the clan with their distinguished
chief, and the famous green banner at their head, so devotedly followed
Prince Charlie in his gallant but ill-fated attempt to regain the crown of
The author may be permitted to add that any profits to be derived from the
sale of the work are intended to be devoted to a fund for keeping in good
order and repair the venerable churchyard of St Columba in Kingussie, where
the mortal remains of so many generations of Macphersons so peacefully rest
with their kindred dust.
Kingussie, August 1893.
GLIMPSES OF CHURCH AND SOCIAL
LIFE IN THE HIGHLANDS IN OLDEN TIMES.
Introductory remarks—Reformation era—Prevailing superstition and
credulity—State of Highlands prior to Reformation—Extraordinary incident in
parish of Farr—“Dying testimony” of Alexander Campbell—Knox’s system of
Church discipline—Powers exercised by Church courts—“A cry from
The old lordship of Badenoch—The Wolf of Badenoch—Deputation from General
Assembly in 1597—Derivation of Badenoch—Celtic name for Kingussie—The Spey—The
Moray floods of 1829—Whimsical result of flood at Dalraddy— Extent and
boundaries of parish of Kingussie—Watch hill or cairn of the Black
Watch—Highland marauding of olden times—John Dhu Cameron—Characteristics of
old Highland peasantry—Curious old tradition—The famous Witch of Laggan—Kingussie
as the capital of Badenoch—Traces of Roman works on the Spey—Old
silver-mine—Founding of village of Kingussie—Celebrity of district as a
Parish of Kingussie—Earlier records—Old church life in the parish—Black
sheep among ministers’ men—Enactment anent “Pennie Weddings”—Effect of
establishment of barracks at Ruthven in 1718—Measures adopted by Kingussie
Session against vagabonds and dissolute women following the garrison
soldiers —Enactments against “grievous scandals” and “breaches of
Sabbath”—State of church buildings in the Highlands last century—Fiddling at
Leickwakes— Matrimonial contracts on Saturdays—Restrictions as to drinking
in taverns on Sabbath—Jealous husband, makes his wife swear upon a
knife—Intermittent character of administration of sacraments—A wild
Highlander—Prohibition against strangers and vagabonds—Change-keepers
prohibited from supplying ale or aquavitie to drunkard—An odious Act of
Parliament—Profanation of churchyards—Resolutions regarding proclamations
Parish of Kingussie—Social life in bygone days—Colonel Thornton’s visit to
Badenoch in 1784—Restoration of Cluny estates—Colonel Thornton’s account of
the rejoicings on the occasion—Pitmain inn—The old Assembly rooms of
Kingussie—Opening of rooms in 1821 by Marquis of Huntly—Condition of
parishioners of Kingussie at close of last century—Their moderation in
religious opinions—Results of Secession of 1843.
Parish of Alvie—The church and manse—Loch Alvie—Remains found beneath church
in 1880—Derivation of name of parish—Conflict in 729 between Angus, son of
Fergus, and Nechtan, King of the Piets—Boundaries and extent of the
parish—The Queen’s expedition to Glenfeshie in 1860.
Church life in parish of Alvie—Old church records—Elders of the church in
1713, all lairds of good family and substance—Desertion from National Church
of Highland and Lowland lairds of later times—Duke of Argyll’s words of
warning to Presbyterians of Scotland—High Anglican sectarianism—Dean Stanley
on Scottish Episcopacy—Sir David Brewster an elder of Alvie
church—Punishment of erring sheep of Alvie flock—Results of Badenoch people
joining Rising of 1715—Cases of church discipline—Grievous breaches of the
Sabbath— Punishment of parishioner abusing the minister—Educational state of
parish in 1732—Cases for “breach of promise” and “slandering and scolding.”
Condition and characteristics of old parishioners of Alvie—Kinrara—Jane,
Duchess of Gordon—Her early life—Her married life—Her active habits and life
at Kinrara—Her death in London and burial at Kinrara—Monument to her
memory—Alexander, Duke of Gordon—George, last Duke of Gordon—Glimpses of
life of last Duke and Duchess at Gordon Castle—Monuments on Kinrara Hill in
memory of last Duke and Highlanders who fell at Waterloo—Prince Leopold of
Belgium at Kinrara—The widow of last Mackintosh of Borlum—Sir David Brewster
at Belleville—The Bedford family at Doune of Rothiemur-chus—Visit of Lord
Brougham and Sir David at the Doune—Loch-an-eilan and its castle.
Parish of Laggan—Old church of St Kenneth—Legends connected with building of
church and “Allan of the Spoils”—Sir James the Rose—Cainnech, one of St
Columba’s monks—Battle at Garvamore in 1187—Traditions of Loch Laggan and
its islands—boundaries and extent of parish of Laggan—Old fortification of
Dun-da-lamh or the two-handed—Old military road by Corryarrick.
Mrs Grant of Laggan—Her ‘Letters from the Mountains’—Her description of the
manse—Her allusion to the spirit of mischief inhabiting Corryarrick—Her
description of course of Bronnach—Her love for “the gentle and courteous
cottagers” of her “ever dear Laggan”—Her life in Edinburgh after her
husband’s death—Glimpses of her life in Badenoch—Touching incident of last
century—Gaelic ballad relating thereto, and translation thereof by Principal
Shairp—The Queen’s visit to Ardverikie in 1847.
THE OLD CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD
OF KINGUSSIE (ST COLUMBA’S)
The planting of the church—St Columba—His last counsels—His death—Muriach,
parson of Kingussie in the twelfth century—The Macphersons derive from him
the name they now bear—Charter by William the Lion—Concession of Andrew
Bishop of Moray—Agreement between same bishop and Walter Cumyn—Ordination
order of same bishop—The Wolf of Badenoch cites Bishop of Moray to appear at
Standing Stones of Kingussie—Founding of Priory of Kingussie —Prebendaries
of Kingussie—St Columba’s Fair—Reminiscences of ruins of old church.
The three churchyards of Kingussie—Repair of St Columba’s churchyard—The
piscina of the old church—Oldest reference to St Columba’s churchyard—A
celebrated hunter and poet—The Forester of the Fairy Corry and his fairy
Transcripts of inscriptions in St Columba’s churchyard, with descriptive
notes—Lieut. M'Pherson of Biallidmore—Lieut.-Colonel Angus Macpherson—The
Macphersons of Crubinbeg—The Macphersons of Blaragie—Big George of Dallanach—The
Macphersons of Invernahaven—The Macphersons of Knap-pach—The Macphersons of
“Culenlean”—Lachlan Macpherson of Ralia—The Ardbrylach Macphersons.
Captain John Macpherson, the famous Black officer—The Gaick catastrophe—A
noted Macpherson of Phoness.
Lachlan Macpherson of Nuide, chief of the Clan Chattan—His son Cluny of the
“’45”—The Macphersons of Breakachy—The last Mackintoshes of Borlum.
The “Kings” of Kingussie—The Clarks of Dalnavert—The maternal ancestors of
Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada—The Macdonalds of
SKETCHES OF THE PROTESTANT
MINISTERS OF BADENOCH SINCE THE REFORMATION.
Introductory remarks—Ministers of the parish of Kingussie and Insh.
Ministers of the parish of Alvie.
Ministers of the parish of Laggan.
GLIMPSES OF JAMES MACPHERSON,
THE TRANSLATOR OF OSSIAN’S POEMS, AND TESTIMONIES AS TO THEIR AUTHENTICITY.
Macpherson’s early life—His literary and public career—Glimpses of his life
Macpherson’s death—Estimates of his character.
Testimonies as to the authenticity of Ossian’s poems.
THE LAST OF THE OLD JACOBITE
“Old Cluny”—Introductory remarks—Sketch of his life—His Jacobite
leanings—His golden wedding—His death and burial.
Descent of “Cluny” from Gillicattan Mor.
SKETCHES OF THE OLD SEATS OF
FAMILIES AND OF DISTINGUISHED SOLDIERS, ETC., CONNECTED WITH BADENOCH.
Introductory remarks—Parish of Kingussie.
Parish of Alvie.
Parish of Laggan.
THE OLD CASTLES OF RUTHVEN AND
THE LORDS OF BADENOCH.
The old lordship of Badenoch—The earlier castles—The Earls of Huntly—The
siege of the castle in 1594—The battle of Glenlivet.
The “Water-Poet’s” visit to the castle in 1618—Capture of the castle in
1647—The Macphersons and the wars of Montrose—Men of Badenoch arraigned by
Synod of Moray—Capture of the castle in 1649—Castle garrisoned by the
English after battle of Worcester—Monck’s despatch to Cromwell from the
castle— Monck’s proceedings in the hills.
The last Marquesses of Huntly—The Dukes of Gordon—Ratification to first Duke
of lordship of Badenoch—Castle burnt by Dundee in 1689—Letter by Lieut.
Mackay of the garrison of Badenoch to the “ Dutches of Gordone” in 1691—
“Vindication” by the Macphersons to the Duke of Gordon in 1699—Shaw’s
description of old castle—Queen Mary said to have resorted to castle for
pleasures of chase—Account of Queen Mary’s “hunting the deer” in 1563—The
Rising of the ’45—Sergeant Money’s defence of castle—Capture of castle by
forces of Prince Charlie—Assembling of remnant of the Prince’s followers at
Ruthven after Culloden—They set fire to the castle to prevent its falling
into hands of Royalists—“The graves of Culloden.”
SELECTIONS FROM THE MSS. OF
THE LATE CAPTAIN MACPHERSON (“OLD BIALLID”).
Introductory remarks—The old deer-forests of Badenoch—Particulars of later
measurement and divisions.
The old cave of Raitts—Sir David Brewster’s description thereof—Rev. Wm.
Blair’s description—“ Old Biallid’s” account—The battle of the North Inch of
Perth—The battle of Glenfruin.
The retreats of Cluny of the’45—Colonel John Roy Stewart.
The Clan Farsons’ bond,
1591—Covenant by members of clan, 1628—Bond beween Laird of Grant and men of
Badenoch, 1645—Bond by M'Intosh of Torcastle to Cluny, 1665—Deliverance of
“Lords of Privie Counsell” on “debait betwixt the Laird of M'Intosh and
Clunie M‘Pherson,” 1672—Letters from Lord Fluntly to the Macphersons,
1674—Extracts from genealogy of the Macphersons in Cluny
charter-chest—Declaration by clan regarding chiefship, 1689—Genealogy of the
Macphersons from Jeremy Collier’s ‘Genealogical Dictionary,’ 1701 —Bond of
friendship between the Frasers, the Camerons, and the Macphersons,
1744—Relative letter, Macpherson of Killihuntly to Simon, Lord Lovat—
Account of watch undertaken by Cluny, 1744—Transcripts of MSS. relating to
the Clan Chattan and Cluny of the ’45—Letter to Cluny from “Secretary to the
Chevalier de St George,” 1758—Letter intimating Cluny’s death at Dunkirk,
1764—“The Clan Chattan” (from Skene's ‘ Highlanders of Scotland’)—
Correspondence between Mackintosh and Cluny of the ’45 regarding command of
Clan Chattan—Battle of Invernahaven and conflict on North Inch of Perth
—Prince Charlie’s retreats in Badenoch—Genealogy of the Macphersons (from
Douglas’s ‘Baronage of Scotland’)—Rental of “Lordshipe of Badyenoche.”
Index of Names and Places, List of Subscribers.