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The Parish of Longforgan
Chapter V. At the Hundhil of Langforgrund in 1385

1385 carries us back a long way. But one of the most curious glimpses which we have of early Longforgan belongs to this year. In Celtic times, as is known, the people gathered in council and for justice at what was called the Moothill. The Moothill was a mound which lent itself naturally to the purposes already named. Of a Moothill in Longforgan in those distant times, we know nothing. But, curiously enough, records exist of meetings at the Moothill, or, as it is described in the documents themselves, the "hund hil of Langfor-grund," in 1385. These records are written on a "long narrow roll of parchment of separate pieces stitched together," and are preserved among the papers of Sir Patrick Keith Murray of Ochtertyre and Fowlis Easter. 'They contain an account of the proceedings of five Barony Courts held by Sir Patrick Gray, who, in addition to Fowlis, possessed the barony of Longforgan. These records are of the highest value. In the first place, they are almost the only specimen of the proceedings of a Scotch Barony Court in the fourteenth century known to exist. Further, they are marked by great detail. And they are also interesting as specimens of the vernacular in the Carse of Gowrie at the close of the fourteenth century, part of the proceedings being in Scotch.

The courts described sat in four successive months. The first was held on the 16th of January 1385; the second on the 3rd of February; the third on the 25th of February; the fourth on the 8th of March; the last on the 21st of April. It is curious to read today the names of the officers who took part in these courts. It must not be thought that those meetings were wanting in the elements that make them imposing. Sir Patrick Gray, "lorde of the chefe barony of Longforgonde," was surrounded in his court by the same figures that appeared in the court of the king.

There were "mony nobillis " and "mony gude men." Robert Louranson, the dempster of the King's Court, was dempster of the Barony Court. Then we read of the sergand, Robyn Jopson. It may be of interest to give a short account of the proceedings.:

At the first -meeting, held on Tuesday the 16th of January 1385, after the court had been fenced and Robyn Jopson's authority as serjeant admitted, Robyn was asked if he had executed the summons on the tenants and parceners of Lytylton and Lowranston of Achlyrcoman, calling them to appear. Robyn replied that he had, and read his citation, which was as follows: "I, Robyn Jopson, sergand, lauch-fully made and ordanyt of the chef part of the barony of Langforgund throu Sir Patrick Gray, lord of that ilk chef part of that ilk barony in the sheradom of Perth, somonde at the chef plaz of the teneindri of Lytilton and Lowranstone of Ochtyrcomane within the Lytilton, Sir Thomas the Hay, of Lowchqwor-wart, and Dam Jonat, his spouse, throu reson of his spouse, Sir William of Cunygham, and Dam Margaret, his spouse, Elezabeth of Maxwel, Alexandir of Kocborne, and Katerin, his spouse, for reson of his spouse, and Dugal McDuel, and Eufam his spouse, for resone of his spouse, the Wedynysday, the xvi. day of the moneth of November, that thai apere lauchfolly at the Hundhil in Langforgrond, in the sheradom of Perth, to Sir Patrick Gray, lord of the chef part of Langforgonde and orlard of the landys of Lytilton and Louranz-stone of Ouchtircomon, thys tewysday that nw ys the xvi. day of this moneth of fenner, to schaw how and for qwat cans, throw qwat chartir or ewydens thai halde or clemys to hald the landys or tenandris of Lytiltone and Low-ranzstone of Achtyrcoman of hym, and of his chef parts of the Barony of Langforgond within the sheradom of Perth, and to do this day efter my sumonz for yhour haldying as the law and ordyr of law askys in yt selfe, yat I haf mad this somondys in this maner as I hafe re-cordyt laufully, lo here my witnez Robyn Jonson of Balligyrnach and Richard of Pent-land, William Scot and Androw Yliong."

None of the parties cited appeared at the Hundhil 011 the 16th of January. So, the Court decreed, through its dempster, that the serjeant should levy a distraint of the value of six cows from each of them, and should cite them further to appear at the Hundhil on the 3rd of February. Again the parties c>ted did not come, and a fresh decree was made.

This took place a third time.- At the fourth court, Sir Thomas Hay appeared at the Hundhil. He pled that he ought not to be fined for his earlier non-appearance. To this. Sir Patrick agreed. Hay was next asked what title he had to the land in dispute. Sir i liomas said he had no charter, but asked fifteen days' delay before judgment was given. This was granted. The Court in the meantime agreed to the following judgment: " Than the Curt fullely awisit with the consale of mony gude men thair beand, decretyt that the lande of Lytilton and Lowrandston in Ouchtercomane aucht to dwell yn to Sir Patrick's Grayis handis, to the tyme that it was lauchfully recouerit fra the forsayde Sir Patrick othir with trety or with proces of lauch, the dome of qwhilk decrete the forsayde Sir Patrick delayt graciously deferryt tyl bis lauchfulle day next eftir pas, to prowe gif the forsayde personaris walde seke hym othir with tretys grace or lauch, and assignet tnareto, tewisday the xxi. day of Auryll next for to caus his dome to procede and to be giffyn gif thai come noucht, and that he made manyfest in playne Curt."

The last court on this matter was held at the Hundhil on the 21st of April. There, "throw Sir Patrick Gray, lorde of the chefe barony of Langforgonde, mony nobilJis thare beande, with consale of tha nobillis, and of his curt, he wele awisit that the forsayde per-sonaris contenyt in his prosces souch hym nother with grace, lufe, na with lauch, to delay his dome na his proces, with consale of the forsayde curt and noblis that thare was, throw the mouth of Robert Louranson than demstare of oure lord the kingis curt, and of his, it was giffyn for dome that the Lytilton, and Lowrand-ston of Ouchtercomane suld dwell in the handis of the forsayde Sir Patrick and his ayeris, quhill the tyme that all the forsaydis personaris and all thaire namys nemmyt sulde recouir the, landys othir be grace trety or prosces of law, and this endyt the proces."

Cf. Report by Dr. John Stuart on the MSS. of Sir Patrick Keith Murray, Bart, of Ochtertyre, Historical Manuscripts, Third Report, p. 410. Cf. also Introduction, p. 24.

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