The 2nd Statistical Account
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PARISH OF EDDERTOUN*
(Presbytery of Tain, Synod of Ross)
Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster in Caithness standing in front of map of Ross and Cromarty
By the Rev Donald Gordon, Minister**
*The writer owes his grateful acknowledgements to Mr Rowand of the Theological Library, in the University of Edinburgh, and to the Rev Hew Scott, MA, minister of Wester Anstruther, for much useful information and friendly assistance afforded him while engaged in this Statistical Account.
**Drawn up by A.S.A. and revised by the Minister
II. – Civil History
The first historical notice of Eddertoun occurs in the twelfth century when King William the Lion (who reigned over Scotland from 1165 to 1214) built a castle at Etherdover, Edirdona, or Edirton, as a curb upon the turbulent inhabitants of Easter Ross. The situation of this castle or “dune” was near the sea, and commanded the ferry betwixt the counties of Ross and Sutherland. There is mention made of it in the chronicle of Melrose, Bower’s Scotichronicon, and in Macpherson’s Geographical Illustrations of Scottish History.
Abbey of Fearn –
The next event of importance in the history of this parish is the founding of the Monastery or Abbey of Fearn, which took place in the thirteenth century. Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, having, about the year 1227, accompanied his sovereign, King Alexander II to London, challenged a renowned French champion, then at the English court, to single combat a l’outrance; and made a vow before entering the lists to found a monastery in his own earldom, if he conquered his antagonist. It was very common for men in that dark and superstitious age to make similar vows, immediately before engaging in battle or any other hazardous enterprize, imagining, no doubt, thereby to interest the Almighty in their safety.* The Earl of Ross, having vanquished and slain his opponent, set about fulfilling his vow; and accordingly in travelling home he brought from the Priory of Whitehorn, or Candida Casa, in Galloway, Malcolm and his brother, two canons of the Candidus Ordo** of the rule of St Augustine; and procuring some of St Ninian’s relics, founded and endowed an Abbey at Fearn, a place situated near the western extremity of this parish, and in the earldom of Ross. Malcolm of Galloway was appointed by the Earl first abbot of the new monastery, about the year 1230, and “by him the affairs of the abbey were conducted with great piety and judgment” until his death, which took place after an incumbency of fifteen years. “He was reverenced as a saint” in the monastery, “on account of his virtues”.
*Hector Bosco, and Holinshed from him, places this combat in the year 1277, and asserts that for this deed the King conferred the earldom of Ross on Ferquhard or Farquhar Ross, who was before then a private gentleman; but there are incontestable proofs that Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, died in 1251, and of there having been a regular succession of earls of that surname from the period when the Parliament was held at Forfar by King Malcolm III (who reigned from 1057 to 1093) until the death of William, Earl of Ross, in 1371.
**This order was called Candidus Ordo, because their garb was entirely white; they were also called Praemonstratenses for their principal monastery Praemontre (Praemonstratum), which was situated in the diocese of Laon in France. They followed the rule of St Augustine, and were founded about the year 1120 by St Norbert, Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany. There were six monasteries of the order in Scotland, situated at the following places:-
1. Souls Seat (Sedes animarum, or Monasterium viridis stagni)
2. Holy Wood (Monasterium sacri nemoris, and in the Papal bulls Abbacia de Dorcondall)
3. Whitehorn (Candida Casa)
4. Tungland. These four, which were all in Galloway, were founded by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, during the reign of King David I (1124-1153)
5. Dryburgh, in Teviotdale, founded in the twelfth century by Hugh Moreville, Constable of Scotland.
6. Fearn, or Ferne (Abbacia de Nova Farina or Fernia) in Ross, founded as above, in the thirteenth century, by Ferquhard, Earl of Ross.
Malcolm of Nig succeeded as second Abbot of Fearn about the year 1246. In his time the devotions of the church, meeting with frequent interruption from the ferocity and savageness of the neighbouring inhabitants, and the situation proving otherwise unsuitable to the purpose, Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, with consent of the abbot and brethren of the convent, transported the abbey, “for the more tranquillity, peace and quiet thereof”, to a place about twelve miles south-east of the former situation, where it continued ever after. Its new site received the name of Fearn, or, as it was styled in ancient charters, “Abbacia de Nova Farina”, in allusion to the place where it was originally situated. Its founder and benefactor, the Earl of Ross,* granted many new privileges, and bestowed numerous munificent donations upon it, all which were confirmed by his son and successor, William, Earl of Ross, in 1258. The period of the removal of the abbey from this parish must have occurred betwixt the years 1246 and 1251, as Malcolm of Nigg, in whose time the transportation took place, became abbot in the former year, and Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, whose death occurred in the latter, was living at the time, and very instrumental in the removal.
*Ferquhard, Earl of Ross, was interred within the new abbey, and a stone effigy of a warrior, with his arms crossed on his breast, is still pointed out as his. An unsuccessful search was made for his remains on 17th September 1819, but was given up, after digging to the depth of eight feet.
From its previous connection with this parish, a catalogue of the mitred dignitaries who ruled the Abbey of Fearn may not be unacceptable. The following is therefore given from the best authorities:-
1. Malcolm of Galloway, 1280
2. Malcolm of Nigg, 1246
3. Matthaeus, or Machabaeus, who was Bishop of Ross 1272-1274 (Fordun)
4. Colin, “Colino Abbate de Nova Fernia”, witness in 1298 to a charter (Deuchar)
5. Martin, a canon of Candida Casa or Whitehorn
6. John, also a canon of the Priory of Whitehorn in Galloway
7. Mark Ross, a knight. Abbey church rebuilt in his time, 1388.
8. Donald Piply, a canon of Fearn – “Donaldus Abbas de Nova Farnia”, is a witness in 1350 to William Earl of Ross’s entail of his earldom.
9. Adam Monilaw, who died at Fearn in the year 1407
10. Thomas Cattanach, presented by the Prior of Whitehorn, who assumed that privilege, but rejected by the convent of Fearn.
11. Finlay Ferrier, “grandson to Sir William Ferrier, vicar of Tayn”, died 1440
12. Finlay McFead, who was held in great respect, so much so that the king commanded that he and his descendants should bear the name of Fearn as their family surname, which was accordingly done. This abbot died 17th March 1485, having enjoyed his benefice forty-four years, and was interred in St Michael’s aisle, where his effigy in full pontificals, with the mitre on his head and crosier by his side, still exists in tolerable preservation; and under it is the following inscription in Saxon characters, “Hic Jacet Finlaius McFead, Abbas de Fern, qui obiit anno MCCCCLXXXV”.
13. Thomas McCulloch succeeded, and was unjustly deprived by Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness, after which he resided at Mid-Geanies, where he erected a chapel for himself, until his death, which occurred in 1516.
14. Andrew Stewart of the house of Innermeath, having acquired possession of this abbacy, by a pretended bull from Rome, held it till his death, 17th January 1518. He was also Bishop of Caithness, 1490-1518, and Commendator of the wealthy Abbey of Kelso. (Rymer etc)
15. Patrick Hamilton, a natural son of the Earl of Arran, received this benefice when quite a child, and it is probable never resided at Fearn. He was the first called in question for religion at the dawning of the Reformation in Scotland, and having been found guilty of thirteen different articles of heresy, was burnt at the gate of St Salvator’s College in St Andrews, 28th February 1527, at the age of twenty-four. (Spottiswood, Keith etc.)
16. Donald Dunoon, of the family of Dunoon, of Dunoon, in Argyleshire, succeeded Abbot Hamilton in 1528; he was a man of great learning, and died 9th February 1540.
17. Robert Cairncross, Bishop of Ross, 1539-1545, was appointed Abbot of Fearn, upon the king’s recommendation to the Pope, as the building was out of repair, and the Bishop, a wealthy man, and so in a capacity to restore the edifice. He was Provost of Corstorphine, Abbot of Holyroodhouse, and chaplain to King James V. (Holinshed, Keith etc.) He resigned the abbacy, 1st April 1545, and died shortly after (Ep. Reg. Scot.)
18. James Cairncross having thus acquired the benefice by Bishop Cairncross’ resignation, who was probably his brother or some near relation, enjoyed it only a few months, having also resigned that same year.
19. Nicholas Ross, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Tain, was appointed in 1546 to the Abbey of Fearn; but seems to have held it as a secular charge, for in the Parliament of 1560 he sat and voted for the abolition of the Roman Catholic religion in Scotland, and was an avowed Protestant. He died at Fearn in 1569.
20. Thomas Ross of Culnahal, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Tain, and vicar of Alness. He was forced, by troubles and oppression by the neighbouring barons, to reside for many years in Forres, during which period he received little or no benefit from the revenues of his monastery. Abbot Ross married Isobel, daughter of Alexander Kinnaird of Cowbin, and dying in 1595 was buried in St Michael’s aisle at Fearn
21. Walter Ross of Morangy, and son of the preceding, was the last commendator of the Abbey of Fearn. It would appear that he was little more than titular abbot or commendator (as these titular were called), for in 1597 the lands belonging to the abbey were erected into a temporal lordship called the Barony of Geanies, and granted by James VI to Sir Patrick Murray, who was a great favourite of his; and in the year 1607 all the other lands not contained in that barony were, by act of Parliament, annexed to the bishopric of Ross. Whether Abbot Ross, who was not consulted in making these arbitrary grants, was living at that period, or when he died, is not known. Thus this venerable institution, after existing nearly four hundred years, became extinct. (Forbes on Tithes makes 1617 the date of its annexation to the Bishopric of Ross.)
Eminent Characters –
Amongst the eminent characters of this parish, the names of the following individuals deserve to be noticed:
Mr John Sutherland –
Mr Sutherland was son of Mr Arthur Sutherland, Episcopal incumbent or curate of Eddertoun, from 1679 to 1708, and at the period of his father’s death (8th April 1708) was very young. He early embraced Presbyterianism, and having pursued the usual course of study, preparatory to becoming a candidate for the ministry in the Church of Scotland, was licensed by the Presbytery of Dornoch, within whose bounds he was residing. The parish of Eddertoun becoming vacant about this time, by the death of Mr Hector Fraser, his father’s immediate successor, on the 17th of May 1729, and the patron omitting to present any person within the six months specified by law, the “right of planting the said parish” fell into the presbyteries’ hands tanquam jure devoluto; and on the day appointed for moderating in a call, it appeared that there were three candidates – Mr Alexander Rose, a licentiate of the presbytery of Aberdeen; Mr John Sutherland; and Mr Robert Robertson, minister of Loth, in the county of Sutherland – a considerable number of the heritor, elders, and heads of families in the parish voting for each. After a variety of procedure, unnecessary to be recited here, a Presbyterial call was given to Mr Robertson, on the 16th April 1730.
Though Mr Sutherland was not the successful candidate for Eddertoun, yet his character as a preacher was so high that in a few months afterwards he received a call to another parish, Golspie in Sutherlandshire, and was ordained and admitted there 30th April 1731. That parish was for some time before the year 1688 a sanctuary, by means of the family of Sutherland’s steady adherence to the interests of religion, and residence in the parish, to sundry eminent individuals persecuted from a neighbouring county, for their non-compliance with the impositions of the times. These refugees might with safety have returned to their native county immediately after the Revolution, yet such was their gratitude to the above-mentioned noble family that they chose rather to spend the remainder of their days in their respective callings, under the wings that covered them in their distress. During the forty years’ ministry of Mr Walter Denune*, Mr Sutherland’s immediate predecessor, religion flourished in the parish. Mr Denune had himself, previous to his settlement there, suffered considerably for non-conformity during the period betwixt the Restoration and Revolution, as related in Wodrow’s History. At Mr Sutherland’s admission to Golspie in 1731, there was a considerable number of devout Christians in the place, some of them being the posterity of these refugees; but during the period betwixt the years 1731 and 1744, nothing remarkable occurred under his ministrations, till in November of the latter year, when there was a considerable awakening and revival of religion, which extended through the parish. There is a full account of it given in a letter from Mr Sutherland, dated “Golspy, August 8, 1745”, and addressed to Mr Robe of Kilsyth, by whom it was published in his “Monthly History” for 1745 (No. 5, p. 130), and also in “Gillies’s Collections” (Vol. ii p. 387). After a ministry of twenty-one years in Golspie, Mr Sutherland was translated to the town and parish of Tain, and admitted there 29th July 1752. He died at Tain on the 25th November 1769, in the thirty-ninth year of his ministry. Mr Sutherland, who was twice married, left a numerous family. His eldest son, William, born 27th January 1738, was minister of the parish of Wick, in Caithness, for a period of fifty years (1765 – 1815).
*When the “United Presbyteries of Ross and Sutherland” were disjoined into three presbyteries, and erected in to a synod, by their own act, dated “At Tain, 11th December 1706”, Mr Walter Denune, as the oldest minister in the roll, preached from the third verse of St Jude’s Epistle, and was afterwards chosen moderator of the newly erected synod, at its first meeting, on the 18th of March 1707. The synod at that period consisted of the “Presbytery of Dornoch”, with three members, the “Presbytery of Tain” with four, and the “United Presbyteries of Chanry and Dingwall” with three members; in all ten members, who were all ministers, the remaining parishes being either vacant, or possessed by Episcopal incumbents. There were also “correspondents” at this synod from the “Presbytery of Forress and Inverness” and from the “Presbytery of Elgin, Aberlour and Abernethy”, which increased the number to fifteen. (Synod Book of Ross and Sutherland, Vol. i.)
Alexander Ross Oag –
At the period of Mr Robertson’s admission to this parish in 1730, there lived an aged Christian named Alexander Ross Oag (or Young, a very common patronymic when the father and son were of the same name), a man in indigent circumstances, and without the advantages of education, but of such uncommon natural talents, combined with fervent piety and Christian simplicity, that numerous anecdotes, well authenticated, illustrative of his eminent character, and the estimation in which he was held, especially by the religious public, are still related throughout the northern counties.*
Though this individual, obscure and unnoticed in all worldly respects, has entered “the land of forgetfulness” upwards of a century ago, such is the veneration and respect in which his memory is still held in this parish that there are several individuals living who were named after him, and even within the last three years there has been one added to the number. It was lately proposed to erect a monument to Alexander Oag’s memory in the churchyard here, where a flat stone marks the place of his interment, but this proposal, though not abandoned, has not yet been carried into effect.
*One instance may be recorded exemplifying his confidence in the providential government of God. A sturdy beggar, one of a class very numerous at that period, came to his house late one evening, and asked for a night’s lodging. Alexander met the man at the door, and expressed his willingness to receive him, excepting for his ignorance of the man’s character for honesty, stating that he was a weaver by trade, and must be careful of the property belonging to other people which was under his charge. The “gaberlunzie-man” protested in the most solemn manner as to his honesty and principles, appealing at the same time to the Divine Omniscience as his witness and surety! “Your surety is accepted, and you are welcome to such entertainment as I can afford,” was the reply. Here the “goodwife”, who was of quite a different stamp – being a bold, irreligious, worldly woman – interfered, upbraiding her husband for his simplicity, and neglect of his temporal interests, in admitting a perfect stranger on such pretences. Here the beggar again protested, to quiet the fears and suspicions of his hostess, and the worthy master of the house repeated his entire satisfaction with the assurances given.
The beggar, discovering the character of his host, endeavoured to the best of his abilities to lead the conversation to religious subjects, and thus occupied the time till he retired to rest. The wife, however, less satisfied with the honesty of her guest than her unsuspicious husband, rose at an early hour on the following morning, and immediately went to her lodger’s apartment to see if all was safe, but what was her alarm on finding the beggar gone, and one of the most valuable webs of cloth in the house carried off! The first expression of her feelings was to attack Alexander for his imprudence in admitting the beggar contrary to her express desire, but his calm and cool rejoinder was, “I appeal to the surety”. The beggar, on starting from Alexander’s house with his ill-gotten booty, at an hour before sunrise, made the best of his way towards Alness, over what was then a trackless moor, many miles in extent, but being overtaken by a dense mist (it was a morning in the “soute season”), he wandered about the whole day, without a glimmer of sunshine, or a path which might guide him to human habitation. At length, soon after nightfall, he observed a feeble rush-light at a short distance, and, overjoyed at the prospect of shelter, food, and rest, exerted his sinking energies, and reached the door of the cottage, at which he knocked several times. A voice which seemed familiar to him inquired from within, “Who is there?” To which the weary traveller replied, “A perishing man, who seeks admission in the name of mercy!” Upon this the door was opened, and the beggar, sinking under fatigue and the weight of his burden, threw himself down near the fire, and, with a groan, looked around to see where he was, and what reception he was likely to get from the inmates. The “gudeman of the house” now came forward, after closing the door, to untie the stranger’s burden, which seemed to oppress him with its weight, and administer consolation to his dropping spirits, when he was startled by the shrill voice of his wife exclaiming, “Turn out the thieving villain, or he’ll be making off with more of your webs, I’se warrant”. “No, Peggy,” was the reply, “our property is sent back by the Surety, and for His sake the poor man shall be sheltered and entertained this night too.”
The incident was made the occasion of imparting reproof and Christian instruction by Alexander Oag to the poor beggar, who was deeply affected, and it is said permanently benefited under circumstances so remarkable.
Sir Charles William Augustus Ross of Balnagown, Bart.;
His Grace George Granville Sutherland, Duke of Sutherland, K.G.; and
Robert Bruce AEneas Macleod, Esq. Of Cadboll;
are the land-owners in this parish, all of them being proprietors of land upwards of the yearly value of £50, and non-resident.
The following is the present valuation of their respective estates in the parish of Eddertoun – Balnagown, £1,138; Sutherland, £320; Cadboll £70, 10s.
Estate of Balnagown –
The lands of Balnagown in this and the neighbouring parish of Kincardine have been in the possession of the family of Ross from remote antiquity, and may be seen in the account of the Abbey of Fearn in this parish, towards the beginning of the thirteenth century. But on the decay of that monastic institution after the Reformation, the lairds of Balnagown seem to have been resuming the grants of land etc. which their ancestors, the Earls of Ross, had been bestowing with so liberal a hand upon the abbey, for we find that in the year 1580, on the demission of Robert Colvil, prebendary of Cambuscurry (which was in this parish), Alexander Ross of Balnagown got a grant from the crown of that prebend for seven years, for the maintenance of his son, Malcolm, at school, and by its becoming afterwards the property of another son of Balnagown, it would appear that he got a perpetual grant of it. In 1601, a charter was granted by Sir Patrick Murray* to George Ross of Balnagown, and his heirs and assignees, of “the lands of Wester-Fearn, Downy, fishings of Bonar, lands of Easter and Wester Drum of Fearn, with the half of the manor-place and gardens of Fearn, commonly called the monastery of Fearn” etc; the other half of the abbey lands, possessed by Sir Patrick, fell to the share of Sir William Sinclair of Mey, son-in-law to Balnagown. The other lands belonging to the abbey not contained in the above grant were annexed to the bishopric of Ross, in the year 1607, and in 1609, David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, grants a charter to George Ross of the “Kirkton of Kincardin, lands of Ardgay, Eddertown” etc. From this it would appear that the revenues of the monastery were very great, when it was in the full possession of the rents of these lands, but at the time of the Reformation its revenues must have been considerably diminished; for as early as the time of Abbot McFead (or, as he was frequently called, Abbot Fearn), who ruled the monastery from 1440 to 1485, certain farms belonging to the abbey were feued off to the friends and relatives of the abbots and commendators (as the titular Protestant abbots of monasteries were commonly called after the Reformation), and every succeeding incumbent appears to have followed the same pernicious example, until the evil became past remedy.**
The barony of Westray is entailed property; but the small estates of Meikle and Little Daan, which also belong to the Balnagown family, and were acquired by purchase, the former in the last century, and the other in the present, are both unentailed. Meikle Daan originally belonged to the family of Foulis, a charter and disposition of those lands having been granted by Hector Munro, twenty-second Baron of Foulis, in August 1601, to “Andrew Munro of Foulis, his youngest brother-german” to hold of the said Hector Munro of Foulis and his descendants, on payment of a feu-duty of “x. merkis Scottis yearlie”.
*In 1597, the Abbey of Fearn was erected into a barony, called the “Barony of Geanies”, and given by King James VI to Sir Patrick (as mentioned in the account of the “Abbey of Fearn”), but this grant did not prove a very advantageous one, for the whole of the lands contained in it, having been either violently or by feus from the latter Abbots, kept possession of by the neighbouring gentlemen, he found it so difficult to recover them that he accepted 18,000 merks Scots from the Laird of Balnagown, and his son-in-law, Sinclair of Mey, for the whole barony. (Ancient Charters etc.)
**The correctness of these statements will appear more fully from the following facts: The descendants, collaterly, of Abbot Fearn were very numerous. David Fearn of Tarlogie, and Andrew Fearn of Pilcallion or Pitculzean, both claimed to be related to him, and both their properties having been originally “Abbey-lands”, Abbot Dunoon (1528-1540) feued off the Barony of Cadboll in 1534 to his nephew, Andrew Dunoon, in whose family it continued till it was lost in supporting the cause of the unfortunate King Charles “the martyr”. Dunoon of Pitogarty and Sir Andrew Dunoon were also of this family. In 1559, Mr Robert Melville, Prebend of Tain and Chaplain of Tarlogie, granted a “charter of confirmation of the lands of Tarlogie to George Munro of Dalcastle, with consent of Mr Nicholas Ross, Commendator of Fearn” (1546-1569). Abbots Nicholas and Thomas Ross (1569-1595) were compelled by the powerful neighbouring barons to give grants of the lands belonging to the monastery. This oppression reduced the latter personage to great straits, as related in the “Catalogue of Abbots”. And, to conclude, “Walter Ross of Morangy, the last Commendator of the Abbacy of Fearn”, procured a grant in his own favour of “Morangy and the mills thereof” and these lands belonged to his family for several generations. (Charters of Family of Ross, etc., and ancient MSS.)
Estate of Sutherland –
The estates in this parish belonging to the Duke of Sutherland were acquired by purchase in 1832 from Murdo Mackenzie, Esq. of Ardross, who had inherited them from his maternal ancestors. Easter Fearn, which is part of them, was originally in the possession of a family of the name of Ross.
Estate of Cadboll –
The Estate of Upper Eddertoun was acquired by Roderick Macleod of Cambuscurry, without heirs-male, as “heir of tailzie of the foresaid lands of Upper Eddertoun”.
The land-owners of this parish were more numerous about a century ago than at present. The following are their names, with their respective valuations, in the year 1745:
The following are their names, with their respective valuations, in the year 1745:
The Laird of Balnagown
£ 1045 Scots
Bailie Nicolas Ross, merchant in Tain, factor on the sequestrated estate of Easter Fearn
£ 200 Scots
Alexander Ross, tacksman of Mid Fearn
£ 100 Scots
Roderick Macleod of Cadboll
£ 73 Scots
David Ross of Priesthill, heritor of Meikle Daan
£ 61 Scots
Alexander Ross, in Gray's Inn, London, writer to the Signet, or Francis Griffith, his Factor, for the lands of Little Daan
£ 50 Scots
Total valuation of Eddertoun
£ 1529 Scots
Parochial Registers etc. –
The register of births, baptisms, and marriages commences 25th July 1799, and has been regularly kept since that period, previous to which nothing of the kind existed. It is contained in one volume. The session records only began to be kept by the late incumbent, the first entry being dated 26th September 1821. They consist of minutes of the proceedings of the kirk-session, poor’s funds, etc. There is no register of deaths kept.
The kirk-session of the parish consists of ten members, all regularly ordained elders. The session-clerk at present is Mr Watson, the parochial schoolmaster.
Antiquities – Dunes –
There is a complete chain of those round towers called Dunes surrounding this parish; none of them, however, in a state of even tolerable preservation. One of these, situated at Easter Fearn, and known by the name of Dune-Alliscaig (from Dun-fair-loisgeadh, or the beacon watch-tower), was about fourteen feet in height within the last thirty years, and had vaults and a spiral staircase within the wall. This interesting specimen of a Teutonic fortress was entirely destroyed about 1818, by the materials of which it consisted being used for building dikes and farm-houses at Easter Fearn, so that scarcely a vestige is now to be seen.
Sculptured Stones –
There are several of these stones here. One behind the school-house, which is ten feet in height above ground, and tapers to a point at top, the breadth at the bottom being about four feet. This obelisk, which is of rough unhewn whinstone, has what seems to be a salmon sculptured very correctly on the north side, and below that two concentric circles, the one three inches below the other, but joined together and connected with the fish by a triangle running through this joining. These hieroglyphics, which perhaps allude to the circumstance of the chief who is interred under the stone, being one of the Vikings, or sea-kings of the middle-ages, are executed with great delicacy and beauty. There is a circle surrounding the obelisk, at the distance of three yards from it as the radius, and two feet in height above the surrounding plain; and the local tradition is that a battle was fought in this place betwixt the inhabitants of the country and a party of invading Norwegian pirates, in which the latter were defeated with the loss of their leader, Prince Carius, who was interred on this eminence, and the above-mentioned obelisk erected over him; accordingly, the name of the place to this day is Carry Blair, or the battle-field of Carius.
There is another sculptured stone in the church-yard, with a warrior on horseback in the lower compartment, and a large cross engraved above it; on the other side there are a number of curious circles and hieroglyphics, arranged in an indescribable manner.
In the old mansion-house of Meikle Daan, there is, above the fire-place of the principal apartment, a yellow stone, 5 feet 4 inches long, and 1 foot 7 inches broad, with three circles 16 inches in diameter. Above the middle circle, and betwixt it and the others, are the following initials, A.M.M.F. 1680; and below, the motto Soli. Deo.Gloria. There is in the middle circle a man in what seems to be a Geneva hat, cloak, and band, with the long peaked beard and mustachios of the seventeenth century, holding an open book in his right hand, in which is written “Fear . God . in . hairt . as . ye . my . be . bad”. Surrounding this effigy, of what is in all probability a clergyman, are the following motto and initials, “Servire . Deum . est . regnare . M.H.M.E.R.” In the circle to the right are three lions rampant in an escutcheon, surrounded by the motto, “Noblis . Est . Ira . Leonis”; and in the left circle an eagle, also in an escutcheon, and “Aquila . non . captat . muscas”.