Dingwall Heritage

Dingwall Community Collage

History of the Bains of Dochcarty

NOTE: The numbering of paragraphs in the document which follows has been adhered to as in the original text but with some attempt to clarify the descendants of members of the Bain family.

The Bains of Dochcarty by Hugh Urquhart


The preparation of this history has been prompted by a desire to put on record, before it is too late, the fast diminishing oral and traditional information regarding this family, who wrote nothing to enable me to go further back than 1664 with safety. My maternal grandmother, who was well educated and full of traditional stories of her own and her husband's people's history, from whom in my youth I learned much of what I now record, though she wrote nothing, was a great letter-writer to her neighbours, who could not write in English, Gaelic being chiefly the language then spoken in the district, and, indeed, is still on the heights of Strathpeffer.

If there be omission of names of persons, descendants, from Alexander I., 1664, in any of the families, it is not intentional, and my if necessary be amended in a Second Edition by an abler family historian. The "Banaich" of Dochcarty were a race of good report.

I thank those who supplied me with information that helped so much to compile the family "story," and especially for their never-failing courtesy and kindness, which have made it a pleasure to me, and hope this little booklet will prove interesting to all

Hugh Urquhart
Dingwall, July 1913.

The Bains of Dochcarty
Little is known of the origin of this family. Tradition has it, that the first tenant of Dochcarty of the name of Bane, was a kinsman of the Banes or Baynes of Tulloch (before 1664, Sir Donald's time).

The father of the Laird of Tulloch, was Alexander Bane, Burgess of Dingwall, who died before 1513 (the year of Flodden Field). His son, Duncan, assumed or spelled his name "Bayne," on becoming a Laird before 1510. At least he was the first known to use the letter "y" in his surname which means "fair complexion," in Gaelic, "Ban." The Banes were originally McKays, and kinsmen of the Reay family.  Some historians dispute this, but the fact of the Baynes wearing the McKay tartan, is incontestable.

Dochcarty became part of Tulloch Estate by purchase from George Munro, presumably of Lemlair, in 1553, by Duncan, the first Laird of Tulloch. Queen Mary granted Charter the same month.

The Arms of the Baynes of Tulloch are:
Arms Azure, a wolf's head ........ or, quartering, Macleod of Lewis.
Crest A dexter arm bowed, vambraced, couped, clenching a dagger, pointing heavenwards. They wore the McKay tartan.
Motto: "Et Marte et Arte."
Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, Ross-shire, Scotland.
In possession before 1510-1762.
(More than 252 years)

Duncan Bayne, 1st of Tulloch in 1510. There was an action against him at the instance of the authorities for uplifting and withholding of certain victuals of the Granges of "Kinardie," pertaining to keeping of the Castle of Dingwall (Mackenzie, historian). This proves the date of the Bayne acquisition of Tulloch, Charter 1541, by King James V.

Succession of Dochcarty Bains
I. Alexander, Tenant at Dochcarty.
II. Alexander, born at Dochcarty.
III. Alexander, born at Dochcarty. He had two brothers, Donald and Colin. The former married a Kitty Urquhart, of Strathpeffer.
IV. Ronald, born at Dochcarty.
V. Colin, born at Dochcarty.
VI. Margaret Smith, born at Dochcarty.  (Munro).
(Not a tenant, but a grandchild, which makes the five generations born there.)
(Alexander, the first, not known where born.)


(Gaelic. "Dhabhochcartaidh" which means a holding near a marshy bog.)

I. Alexander Bane (1st tenant known). Must have been tenant farmer of Dochcarty, because (if not born there himself) he had a son and successor born there about 1664, and was succeeded as follows:
II. Alexander Bane, who died about 1740, aged 76 years, and was succeeded by his son.
III. Alexander Bane, born at Dochcarty, 1718, and died 1800, aged 82 years. He married and had issue:

IA. William, "Uilleam Ban na Fheillidh," or William Bain of the kilt, because he would never wear any other garb, but the McKay, or Bain tartan, and never wore trousers. He had a free holding from Tulloch for his faithfulness to the old clan tartan, at "Letacruich," a croft on the Heights of Dochcarty. He was born at Dochcarty about 1755, and was; it is said, 104 years old at his death. Tradition says that the Baynes desired that a free croft should be given to a Bain, by the Davidsons, when they entered into the Tulloch Estate. So William of the Kilt was the last tenant who sat free. His family did not avail themselves of the Bayne bequest, the male portion having emigrated to Canada. He was the contractor who made the road that leads from Upper Dochcarty Bridge to the Heights, and a steep one it is, too, to this day. The writer of this history knew him well, his grandfather was a younger brother of William the Kilt. The former died in 1844, aged 84 years. William the Kilt was the eldest son of that family, and I make this great age thus: - My grandfather died, ages 84, and as William was 8 years his senior and lived 9 years after his brother's death, it made him 101 years at least, whether or not his death was registered 96 years. The figures I quote are correct so far, unless there were deaths in infancy. If so, he would be older than 101 years.

He, William the Kilt, was married, and had issue by first wife: -
1. Alexander, piper to Tulloch, married, and went to Canada, and both he and his wife died there, without issue.
2. John, married, and went to America, with a young family from Moy Ross-shire, and died in Ohio.
3. William went to Glasgow.
4. Barbara went to Glasgow.
5. Margaret "Peggy" Bain, of Church Street, Dingwall, heritor and dairykeeper, died there about 1902; married and had issue, one; Willie Campbell, farmer, Goyal, and carter, etc; died at Dingwall, 1903, unmarried.

2A. Donald had holding, "Bog-na-hawn," on Foulis Estate, opposite Clair, and died there. He was married, and had issue:
1. Ronald, progenitor of the Balvaird Bains, married and had issue: - 1st Kenneth; 2nd, Mary, unmarried; 3rd, John, married; 4th, Ann, unmarried.
2. John, married and had issue; 1st, Kenneth, who married twice and had issue; 2nd, Bella, married a MacKay and had issue, sons and daughters; 3rd, Ann; 4th, Alexander; 5th, John, married, issue, a daughter who died young; 6th, Jessie; 7th, Julia, married Munro builder and heritor, Dingwall-no issue; 8th, name unknown.
3. Kenneth*, married and went to Canada direct on marriage day, with his young bride, and, as he said himself, the honeymoon was reserved for the land of his adoption, where they flourished and had a very excellent family of ten daughters and four sons! Nine daughters married, two to ministers of the Gospel and the others to well-doing farmers, and one to a Sheriff. Two sons married, and one unmarried, James, succeeded to his father's farm. Old Kenneth died at the great age of 96 years. His wife, Elizabeth, was a daughter of Hugh Urquhart, Forester of Fowlis. She died in Canada at the age of 80 years. When Old Kenneth was 79 years old, he paid a visit to his native country, after a sojourn of 50 years in Canada, hale and hearty, his Gaelic and himself as fresh as paint. He was another specimen of his race noted for his longevity.
*Handwritten note in margin: "Born June 5, 1800, Bog-na-han, Foulis, Ross-shire."
4. Julia, "Scheilas," died at Balvaird, unmarried, at upwards of 80 years of age.
5. Bella, married McGillivray, a schoolmaster; issue one son, who also became a schoolmaster, and others.

3A. Margaret, married a Dingwall, and had issue:
1st, A son, who married and had issue, a son and two daughters, all of whom died at Dingwall, unmarried (William, Helen and Jessie).
2nd.A daughter, Margaret, married Duncan Mackenzie, of the Bottacks, Strathpeffer, and had issue:
(1) John, blacksmith and postmaster at Garve, and progenitor of the Garve Mackenzies, who still hold the honourable and responsible position which has been conducted with ability by the family for over sixty years. It is a noteworthy and splendid record that none of them have ever been known to offend our country's laws. He married and had issue: 1. Duncan, married, issue; 2. Ann, married, issue; 3. Margaret, unmarried; 4. John, married, no issue; 5. Isabella, unmarried; 6. Donald, unmarried; 7. Roderick, unmarried, and Postmaster at Garve (1913).
(2) Roderick, farmer, Inchvannie, who died there, aged 88 years, married with issue: 1. Duncan; 2. Roderick; 3. Margaret; 4. Donald; 5. Isabella; the family are still in possession of the farm and prospering.
(3) William, married, issue, one daughter, who died, aged thirteen; he was in his day a trustworthy and faithful servant of the great Duncan Davidson IV, of Tulloch, as land steward at Little Lochbroom.
(4) Donald, died unmarried.
(5) Duncan, died unmarried.
(6) Isabella, married Hugh MacLennan and died in Australia.
(7) Margaret, married Andrew Munro, who died at Muir of Ord, aged 80 years; issue, a family, ten sons and daughters. A son, Ronald, married, issue, saddler in the 2nd North British Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys). He served in the Boer War campaign, 1899 to 1902, and is in possession of medal and six clasps. He is retired from the Army, and is Local Inspector of the Carriage and General Insurance Company. Ltd, Head Quarters, London, E.C; address, 19 Waterloo Street, Glasgow; and is Secretary to the Royal Scots Grays' Institute, Glasgow branch; others of the family are well fixed.
3rd. A daughter, married a MacLennan, with issue: 1st William, married, and had issue, 2 sons and 2 daughters, residing at Strathpeffer. He died there 1912. 2nd Donald, married with issue, three sons and one daughter, who is married. Donald, Parish Councillor, is known by the sobriquet "Timaru," the name of his property at Strathpeffer and New Zealand (1912). 3rd Grace, died at Oamaru House, Strathpeffer, unmarried, 1909.

4A. Ronald, farmer, Dochcarty, born there, 1760 died 1844 at same place, aged 84. He married Christina Macrae, of Inverinate, Kintail, Ross-shire. She died in 1871, at Kildary, aged 82. They had issue: (1) Alexander, guard on old Mail Coach, Inverness to Bonar-Bridge, and later from Inverness to Perth; next and lastly, mail train guard, Perth to Aberdeen; was pensioned and died at Perth. He married a Miss Ross, of Milton of New Tarbat, Ross-shire; issue, several sons and at least one daughter- 1. Christina, living in Vancouver in 1912; she was twice married, and is now a widow; had a son, died, by second husband. Christina had issue: 1st daughter, married, with issue; 2nd George, Postal Service, Edinburgh; married and had several children, one of whom is a missionary abroad. Jean, married a Macrae, miller, Jeanton, Lochcarron. Went to Canada, issue, a numerous family, many married and residing in the land of their adoption among children and grandchildren. 3rd Isabella, married Hugh Urquhart, blacksmith, Lemlair, where nine of the family were born, under the lordship of the renowned "John Deairg" Munro, Lemlair. The eldest son, Ronald, was born at Evanton. There were eight sons and two daughters. The smith removed about 1854, to Balnagown Bridge, where he died, 1893, aged 85 years; was predeceased by his wife, who died there also, aged 80 years; were buried at Kiltearn.

Their issue was (1) Ronald, engineer, died in the U.S.A., aged 65 years, married, and had issue, a son and daughter; last heard of in Mansfield, Ohio, about 1909.

(2) Robert, blacksmith, went to Australia, 1853, married and had issue, four sons and three daughters. One daughter died, one married, and one, Bella, was housekeeper to her aged father, and married 1913. A good correspondent with the homeland. His wife died in 1909, at Christmas town, via Victoria, Australia. Remarkable family for stature - Father, 6ft. 4 in; wife very tall; one son 6ft. 4 in.; one 6ft. 5in.; one 6ft. 6in; and one 6ft. 3 in.; the daughters averaged 5ft. 1in.

3rd Hugh, born 1838; a soldier of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, who retired with the rank of Master Gunner in 1880, after a service of 25 years. He (1912) is the family historian, a minor "bard," or an historic rhymer, amateur musician, genealogist, ornithologist, xylographist, a veritable xerophagist, he could subsist on dry bread almost, dabbled a little at black and white, and, ye critics smile gently! he could make and mend his own shoes! - "a real St Crispin." He always enjoyed good health; in latter years was an abstainer and non-smoker; yet withal he had but scant hold of the wealth of this world. Nevertheless it was noted that under all circumstances he was aye cheerful and happy. And why, you ask, or how was it this mixture of rude culture began to develop after middle age? Well, the cause may be that the genius was smouldering, and then began to fan into flame, by chance or circumstance, but too late to attain that perfection that it certainly would have had if the fire was kindled at an earlier stage of that very humble individual's career. Neglected education in youth loses many a bright character to the wonderful world of science and art!  He married Margaret Rosevear, of St Austell, Cornwall, who died 10th January 1911. Issue:
(1st) Christina, maid to the Lady Ross of Balnagown Castle; travelled much abroad, including Spain, Africa, Monte Carlo, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and Portugal. She died unmarried, at the early age of 25 years, beloved by many outside of her own family circle, and is buried in the same cemetery as her forefathers, i.e. Dingwall.
(2nd) William Hugh, soldier, served twelve years in the Royal Field Artillery; served a number of years in India, England, Ireland, and Scotland; joined the Natal Mounted Police as a trooper, and served with the Maxim gun detachment in Bulwer Field Force (Colonial Troops) in suppressing a rising of the natives in East Griqualand in 1897. The ringleader, Le Fleur, a French half-castle, and 400 men captured in one day, after a stubborn resistance extending over nine months, campaigning on the veldt, under all conditions of South African weather, which has to be experienced to be understood.
*W.H. then joined the Cape Mounted Police, and served in British Kaffraria. At the outbreak of the Boer War, 1899-1902, he was stationed at Colesburg; 25 miles form the Orange River, the south boundary of the Orange Free State. On 14th November 1899 the town was captured by the Boers, a force of 1500, with Krupp guns, annexing that district in the name of the Orange Free State. He, with another trooper who had been on reconnaissance duty for three days, and had slept in the town that night, were captured soon after daybreak, when attempting to escape with the news of invasion to the troops 39 miles distant. They were captured by an outpost of 12 men and sent back into the town under escort, and two hours later escaped in disguise without their horses, which fell into the enemy's hands, and passing another outpost. A curious incident in this connection was that on passing the outposts the trooper, who had never heard the story of his great-grandfather's escape from the press-gang, assumed a limp and passed the Boers in safety. They evidently assumed that the crippled tramp could not have been considered a combatant, and was allowed to pass on his way unmolested. After a tramp of nine miles in the scorching sun, they reached an English farmer's homestead, who was known personally to the two fugitives, and who lent them a mount each to ride the intervening distance of 29 miles to the camp to report the invasion.
*Handwritten note at foot of page: "Died 4 June 1918. 51 years of age."
About 15 miles from their destination they met and took the mails from the driver of a mail-cart, who was driving into Colesburg with them, and which would have fallen into the enemy's hands had they not been "commandeered" by the two adventurous troopers. On reaching the camp, and briefly related the occurrences of the day, they received a great ovation from the Mayor of the township and Major, now Major-General, Rimington, and other distinguished soldiers. They were complimented for their daring and lucky escape, and their dash for freedom saved the famous South African Railway Junction from capture and ultimate destruction, as it was the intention of the enemy to swoop down and destroy it by surprise night attack. He afterwards joined Roberts' Irregular Horse, and served in columns in the Orange Free State and Transvaal in 1900 and 1901, both as a scout and with the squadron, and subsequently as a gunner on a one-pounder Maxim gun, commonly known as a "Pom-Pom." After five years colonial service, he re-enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, and served to complete 21 years for a pension. Total service, 24 years 3 months. Was awarded Queen's South African medal with four clasps, and was discharged in 1909. He married a "veritable" Colleen Bawn, and splendid specimen of the bonnie "colleens" of Co. Mayo. Issue, two sons and one daughter - Hugh Francis, Wilfred and Emily Margaret.
3rd. Emily, residing with her father at Dingwall.
4th. Frederick Walter, photographer, and Town Councillor of the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Dingwall. He married in 1902 Catherine MacLennan, Rootfield (a cousin of Sir Hector MacDonald, the famous Scotch General), Mulbuie, Parish of Urquhart, Ross-shire. "Land of the pen, the sword and the sickle."
Issue: 1st "Eric," Hector MacDonald Urquhart, aged 9 (1912), attending Dingwall Academy.
2nd Helen Margaret Rosevear, aged 7 (1912).
3rd, Emily Mary, in her fifth year.
4th, Catherine Christina Flora, in her first year.
5th. James Alexander, head accountant, Blue Funnel Line of Butterfield and Swire, Shanghai (Holt's Wharf), China. Married Emily Smith, a New Zealand lady. Issue: boy and girl, who died in infancy; and Hugh Norris and Sheila Rosevear, still living.
6th, John Rosevear, watchmaker and jeweller, Dingwall, married Adelina Mitchell, an Aberdonian lady; issue Margaret Florence, 3 years; and Adelina Rosevear, 1½. years. He served in the Artillery Volunteers, Glasgow.
7th, Albert Wolfe, photographer, residing at Dingwall; married Mary, daughter of A. Beveridge, hotelkeeper, Elgin. Issue: Willie Rosevear, aged 7 years; and Robert, 3.1/2 years (1912). Albert was a Seaforth Highlander (Volunteer Battalion); was present at late Queen Victoria's funeral; reviewed once by King Edward VII., and also was on another occasion guard of honour to that genial monarch. Spent some time in South Africa. An expert photographer and floriculturist.

4th. Farquhar, blacksmith, served in Gordon Highlanders, and as a shoeing smith in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (1863 to 1875). Served nine years in India, and received a small pension. Married Ann Mackenzie of Balintore, Easter Ross. Issue: one son and four daughters, three of whom are well married, and one head nurse in Royal Hospital, near the Rockies. (Won two gold medals and a scholarship.) His wife died in 1912, a good, kind, Christian wife and mother.

5th. William, blacksmith, successor to his father at Kildary. He was twelve years manager to Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, in addition to owning the farm and smithy of Kildary. He married Anne Sutherland, of Milton of New Tarbat.
Issue: (1st) Annie, residing with her parents at Kildary; unmarried, "Mean mo Chridhe." (2nd) Hugh, blacksmith, assistant to his father; married Hughina MacDonald, and had issue: 1. Charlie; 2. John; 3. Willie.
(3rd) Charles, Divinity student, met his death whilst bathing in the sea (a godly and promising lad), an event which caused genuine regret, widely spread (1897).
(4th) Alexander, blacksmith, went to Rhodesia, Africa; married Margaret MacLennan, who died early in life, without issue, at her home in Rhodesia.
(5th) Ronald, banker, in good position in Rhodesia.
(6th) Angus, carpenter in Rhodesia, a promising young man. Some children died in infancy.
8th. Alexander, blacksmith, of Portage, Manitoba, and latterly of Vancouver; married an Elgin lady. Issue: two daughters, unmarried. (He was inventor of the Ross dropper, and improved a hay lifter in Portage, La Prairie.)
9th. Colin, painter, died, London; married a young woman of London; issue, one daughter, who married a blacksmith and settled there.
10th. Isabella, married a Macleod, and went to Manitoba. Issue: ten of a family, of splendid physique. They own a 500 acre farm near a lake and railway; good prospects. She made a capital Colonial wife. She had good training and experience before going to the country where there is work and bread for all who work!

4th. Ann, married Christopher Macrae, head huntsman at Strathconon (Brocker-Dhu), "the black hunter"; had issue; went to Canada; family - 1. Farquhar; 2. Ronald; and others. Ronald is in Vancouver, unmarried, with much property. Farquhar succeeded his parents in Home Farm. Ann was 82 years at her death, was predeceased by her husband, Christopher, who was her senior.
5th. Farquhar, for a short time had temporary charge of Dochcarty Farm, after his father's death in 1844. He married and went to Canada, and took a farm. Issue: two sons. Farquhar died early. No further account.
6th. Margaret, died at 18 years of age, at Dochcarty. A handsome maiden. She was unmarried.
7th. Elizabeth, married Alexander Munro, head keeper at Culloden for 36 years; died at Inverness; as also her husband, and are both buried on top of Tomnahurich Cemetery. Issue: (1st) Margaret, married Andrew Smith. Issue: five sons, three of whom as Colonials took part in the Boer War, 1899-1902. Donald and Alexander served in Baden Powell's Horse; one medal and five clasps each; and Andrew joined Fincastle's Horse; one medal and two clasps. He was one of the best shots at home (Munlochy Volunteers), and held his own among the splendid shots of South Africa, and is in possession of the following prizes: - 33 medals, 10 silver bowls, 5 silver cups, 5 silver mugs, 6 silver teaspoons, 6 silver egg-cups, 1 diamond brooch, and is still adding to his long list in South Africa, besides a lot of minor prizes too numerous to mention. And two daughters, the latter, Mrs Scott and Mrs Young, both having issue. (2nd) Christina, married Mr Whitelaw, gardener, residing at Portobello, near Edinburgh. Issue: one son and two daughters. (3rd) Ronald, unmarried, Inverness-shire. (4th) John, unmarried, Vancouver, B.C. (5th) William, married; issue, three of a family. (6th) Elizabeth married John Mackenzie, a P.C., who died; issue, two sons and two daughters. (7th) Donald, married a Miss Munro; issue, one son. During Boer War, South Africa, he served with 3rd Seaforths in Egypt. (8th) Alexander died in U.S.A. (9th) Anabella, unmarried, residing in Kent, England. (10th) Duncan, carpenter, unmarried, living in Glasgow.

V. 8A. Colin succeeded his brother Farquhar at Upper Dochcarty, and afterwards at Drynie, and latterly he held the farm and mill of Bridgend, Dingwall. He retired from farming in 1868, and was the last of the Bains of Old Upper Dochcarty, who held land and ceased to be tenant farmers. He died unmarried at Applecross, at the age of 73, in 1891, and was buried there.

9th. Donald, 43 years manager to Lord Middleton at Applecross; died at Dingwall, unmarried, February 1912, and was interred in the Old Cemetery at Dingwall, where the Banes or Bains, of Old Dochcarty, buried their dead for generations. His fame need not be lauded here, sufficient to record of him that he did his duty in a manner satisfactory to his lordship and tenantry, which was a credit and honour to himself. See what the Bard said in the lines, in Gaelic and English, at the end of this little work. He was the last of "Old" Dochcarty Bains. - "Gillean Glinn Dhabhochcartaidh" - "A splendid specimen of a Highlander."

10th. Ronald, was a manager with the Cromarty family; married a Macgillivray of Inverness; had several of a family; one went to U.S.A. ranching; others went to Nairn with their widowed mother. He died at Cromarty in 1895, and was buried in the family ground at Dingwall. A son is a light-house keeper in Orkney, and married.


When I, the writer, was a child, four years old, I went to reside with my maternal grandfather and grandmother, as "Grannie's" pet," and slept with them, as one of their own. It was there I learned to speak the Gaelic tongue and learned so much of the family history, which is a help today to me in compiling this record of the family - Bains of Dochcarty. Also I am aided by written matter which I have secured; also evidence of descendants of neighbours and aged relatives, and a sample quote here, viz. - Six generations in succession occupied a holding next to Dochcarty, and was only separated by a single stone dyke, and the sixth and last tenant, a Mr William Cameron, told me that his parents often spoke of the Old Bains, and that there were two Sandys before the last Sandy, i.e., my great-grandfather (Alexander the third) and Mr Alexander Cameron, forester at Tulloch, who died a centenarian in 1912, used to tell me that the Bains were ever there (Dochcarty), and where was the like of them? He would say in Gaelic, "Glinn Glinn Dhabochcartaidh" (the gentle refined lads of Dochcarty

The renowned Miss "Ann Drynie," who lived in her villa at Courthill, West End, Dingwall (now Mr Dewar's, Town Clerk, Allanfield), was one of the Mackenzie's of Dochmaluag. Often on Sundays, when she met my grandfather, grandmother, and five or six sons and daughters going to Dingwall Presbyterian Church, she would hold up her "malacca," and exclaim, "Aha! Only for me you would not have got her (his wife)."

It is true she thought herself of higher degree than my grandfather, but Miss Ann cleared the way by her knowledge of the Bain genealogical tree, love grew, and time did the rest. She was one of the Inverinate family.

Some time after my grandfather's death in 1844, a ploughing match (a very rare event in those days) was held in a field near Dingwall. Landed gentry were judges, and the renowned Duncan Davidson, Esq., the fourth Laird of Tulloch, was one of the judges. My two uncles, with their own horses, ploughs, and equipment, were competitors, representing Old Dochcarty. The result was as follows: Ploughing - Donald Bain, 1st and medal; Ronald Bain, 2nd. Harness and Decorations - Ronald Bain, 1st; Donald Bain, 2nd. I remember it well. The medal was of soft metal, the size of an old cart-wheel penny. I would be about seven years old then. (H. Urquhart, nephew.)

Alexander Bane II of Dochcarty planted oak and elm trees to the west of the Castle of Tulloch. They are fast disappearing, but few being left, and if they were planted by him, as stated by members of his family, they would now be 230 years old (1914).

Alexander Bain III of Dochcarty had the best-trained pair of oxen for farm work in Strathpeffer, and the Laird of Tulloch fancied them, but "Old Sandy" could not afford to part with them. The Factor was sent from time to time to try and effect a purchase of the famed oxen, but at last Mr Bain thought he would give the Factor a fright by asking £20 for them. The Factor told the Laird, who agreed, and the oxen changed hands, but when the old farmer died, and was succeeded by his son, Ronald, as fourth tenant of Dochcarty, he found the rent raised £20, and poor Ronald laboured late and early to bring up his family of five sons and five daughters and "where was the like of them," the old folk of the district used to say.

A good story of Ronald IV (the writer's grandfather) is told, when the press-gang used to raid the heights of Strathpeffer, in the time of the olden wars. The Laird sent his gardener to warn Ronald privately at dead of night, to be out of the way, as my grandfather had a young family, and the Laird did not want to lose so good a tenant either.

There was great concern with the good wife. "Och! Och! Ronald, you will have to hide in the peatstack or in the straw-barn, and I'll say you're away to Glasgow for an operation at one of the hospitals." "No, no," says Ronald, "keep calm and leave it all to me. I am no coward. Eh! I'll meet them and offer myself for the service of my King and country, to be sure. Oh, don't cry! Don't cry! Christy bochd, trust to your own Ronald." "Ow, wow, this is awful, ochone, ochone." Nothing but silent weeping in their chamber that night. "Now, be quaite, methal, and I'll give you my word that the sodjers will not take your own Ronald. Methal, wipe those tears, and trust him whom you always trusted," and she ceased to weep.

When the day came, sure enough the soldiers were seen coming up Dochcarty Brae, with their red coats. There was a little extra stir in the "auld hoose," but my brave Ronald coolly said, "Christina, give me your old Rob Roy shawl, and an old boot from the lumber room, and that hoe, and then I'll jine the red-coated 'Airmie'."

Then he shoved the old shawl up under his jacket, onto the right shoulder, and made himself a hunchback, and then put the hard scrogged boot on his right foot, and went to join the Army. A turnip field lay by the roadside, where the sergeant and his men would pass, and my bold recruit made for the drill nearest the road, and began to thin the neeps; and when the escort came nigh, Ronald bravely neared the bank overlooking the roadway, and addressed the sergeant thus: "Hi! Sergeant, will you take me," at the same time limping his very best. The sergeant replied, "If ye were fit, ye wadna be sae willan, ma bonnie man." "Weel, sergeant, if you will go over to that hoose, my wife will gie ye all a dram, or a drink of milk. Man, I had aye a notion o' the sodjers, but I suppose ae boddy wasna made ti be sodjers. So I min just hoe ma neeps, and good-bye tae ye, ma good lads, and God bless the Airmie." "Oh! good-bye, ma guidman, and we will go and test your milk," and they did, and the bold recruit never saw them again.

"Poor fellows," as he always called them years afterwards, when he used to tell the story of how he didn't join the Army.

Strange but true, a great-grandson of this old Ronald IV, who was a prisoner of war, who had never heard this story of his great-grandfather's generalship, made his escape by disguising himself. He had a bundle of food given him by a lady, and disguised him in her son's clothes, and he acted lame, and passed the enemy's outposts during the Boer War at Colesburg, Cape Colony, in 1899. (See account of William Hugh, R.F.A.)

Ronald IV's second daughter Bella's husband also hated the red coat. When a young man, and a journeyman shoeing smith, he was working at Elgin, and was there unmarried. One day when he was shoeing a gentleman's horse, the owner fancied the strapping young shoeing smith and his good work. He was none other than the Duke of Gordon, and Colonel of the Scots Greys, and asked him if he would like to join the "Greys." He said, "No!" The Duke said, "I am the Colonel and you will never be a private, but farrier-sergeant right off The young fellow feared the red coat, as most youths of that period did, and ran away home to Ross-shire, and remained there all his days, and often afterwards expressed regret for refusing the Duke's offer.

But in course of time he had two sons and three grandsons in the Army, two of the latter who fought for their country, and one still in the flesh (1919), and retired from the Army.


Ronald the IV and his wife were a kind, hospitable couple, and kept the festive season in good style. As was then customary at Strathpeffer, they kept the door open from Christmas until after the New Year, and his favourite daughter, Bella (the writer's mother, the third child and second daughter and first married), with her brood, would need to be all present for weekends or longer (good old times). On one occasion a son-in-law appeared he did not much admire, as he came into the family under false colours. He was a great boaster, which Ronald hated. After this gallant son-in-law had dined well, if not wisely, he challenged everyone present at the steading to compete with him in feats of strength etc. Those present were young brothers and cousins, men rather refined and modest, and they demurred, as they felt shy in the presence of their parent. Ronald saw this, and said sharply to him, "Stop it, man! Try a matured man. Hugh, stop him," and in a jiffy the bold boaster was on his back in the stable midden. "Hallah!" shouted old Ronald; "I have one son-in-law I am proud of to-day! `Uisdean,' if you ever want a favour of me just ask." "Well, Mr Bain, if you will fulfil a promise you made in your speech at my wedding in your house. I seek no more." "Say the word," said the old man. "Sir, you said when I had a boy fit to herd a `coo' I would get the best cow in your byre." My bold Ronald there and then entered the byre and put a rope on a cow's horns, led her out into the steading yard, and put the rope end into my little hand - I was the third boy out of five then - and that cow was the greatest God-send that ever came to our family, and eight boys and two girls owed their fine physique to her quantity and quality of milk.

This is my last story.

There was another "cow" who was a curse to the district where it existed, i.e., near Dingwall. I call her the Bho Dhu - black cow - long dead, thank God. Here is a sample of the effect of some of her milk. My father was a bit of a vet, as all country smiths generally are. He was called one evening to attend a cow that had choked on a small turnip at a farm close by. After a successful operation, the farmer invited his quack to a "dhram" at what I called the Black Coo. The Red Wife (hostess) not being at home, the daughter supplied the needful, it being a standing order that the smith would at all time have the best. So young Peggy did so to the best of her knowledge. But when the smith got home he was nearly exhausted - mouth, throat, and stomach all ablaze. He was very ill, and he went to the farmer to see if he was similarly affected, and it proved he was even worse. So the smith went to see what vile stiff was given to them. The good wife, who returned from her Muir of Ord tent, was in, and heard the complaint. She said "Peggy, whatna bottle you gave the smith the dram from, lassie?" "The one on the top shelf of the cupboard, mother." "O, good gracious, me the day, you gave them the - the - 'veetrall' (vitriol)," and the curtain fell.

Veritus odium parit.

Le Ian Maccoinnich, "Bard na Comraich" Gaelic poem by John Mackenzie, Poet, dedicated to Donald Bain, late Manager, Applecross - English translation "Ab Origine" by H.U.

Sann air feasgair toiseach earraich 'Twas one evening in first of Spring
Smi d-ol seachaid ceann na h-atha Whilst I was passing by the Ford,
Smuainich mi gun deanan oran I thought I would compose a song
Chur an ordugh d'an na Bhanach. Of praise to him we all adored.

Chorus or Seisd Chorus
O's toil leum, 'stoil leum. 'stoil leum, We admire, admire, admire him,
O gur toil leum fhein am Banach Oh! I admired our Mr Bain.
'Stoil leum fhein an sar dhuin 'uasal He was a hero "par excellent",
Bha e suairce riamh na nadur. By nature he was of gentle strain.

O'n latha thainig e d'on duthaich Since he came to our country
Bha e riamh na duine baigheil He was a considerate friend;
Ris na dilleachdain bu truasaich To the orphans, in sad distress,
'Siomadh uair a shine laimh dhoibh. Many times did his hand extend.

Tha e eireachdail na ghluasad, He was comely in his travail,
'S tha e suairce gun droch nadur And he bore the genius of his race.
Is ghuidheadh sinne saoghal buan dha Let us pray a long life to him,
'S cothrom gluasad feadh a-n-aite And all comfort whilst in this place.

Oir cha leig sinn as ar cuimhne O! we'll not let his memory pass,
An aoibh 'bitheadh an tigh a mhail air His charge he tended with goodwill,
'Nuair a thachres dha bhi trialb uainn And when he doth depart from us
Chaoidh cha tig na lionas aite. 'Tis no sinecure, his place to fill.

Cuiridh sinn a nis a ceill dha, We now our judgment here record,
Meud ar speis dha uile laithean May he our wish each day attain.
O'n tha e na fhior dhuin' uasal, O! he was true, just, and sincere,
Fearail, suairce, stuaime, baigheil. Manly, kind, modest and humane.

'Nuair a thig a chuis ro chruaidh oirnn When hardship is severe on us
Fermaidh sinn' dhol suas do'n Bhanach, Our Highland "Bey" is aye within.
Bheir e na mo chuimhn' an comhnaidh His manner reminds me always,
Coamhnais Joseph ri na braithrean. Joseph's kindness to his brethren.

Ged be siol theid san talamh, When there was no seed for our land,
Ged be maide theid am bata, Or wood, our fishing boats to mend.
Ged a bhitheadh sinn gann do storas, When we were without other stores,
Geibh sin iad le ordugh Bhanaich. We got a mandate from our friend.

Bithidn mi 'nis tighinn gu ceann leis, I now close the song of my heart;
Theid gach rann dheth 'chuir 'sa phaiphier I'll publish every line, and greet
Gus an cluinn iad clu dhuin' uasail Our hero, whose fame I impart;
Bha taobh shuas do ceann na Sraide. That dwells beyond our western street.

Dingwall, 1st May 1913.

Handwritten note which would appear to be the inscription on a gravestone:

In loving memory of our Father John Bain who died at Dochcarty 20th August 1917 aged 75 years.  Also our Mother Elizabeth Mackenzie who died 23rd December 1915 aged 65 years.  And our brother Kenneth who died in infancy.  Also our brother-in-law Private Ronald Johnson who was killed in action in France 28th June 1918 aged 36 years. Also of our brother Sergeant Lachlan Bain, D.C.M. 2nd Seaforths who died at Meerut, India, 23rd February 1921 age 34 years.  Also their son Henry who died at Windyneuk, Edderton, on 11 March 1964 aged 80 years.  And his wife, our dear Mother Elizabeth Sinclair died 5th January 1980 aged 78 years.

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