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antiquities of the Saxon church) the minister says 'nothing more than probable conjecture can now be stated with respect to the etymology and signification' (ibid., vol. xx. p. 383)—and yet immediately describes it as placed at the Aber or inouth of the Cornie burn. We do not know if the following instance falls within this category, but it is not to be omitted. The writer of the account of Banff
, having given with laudable care an enumeration of some descents of the worshipful family of Baird of Auchmedden, willing to heap honour on his heroes, winds it up thus : ‘Of the same family was the celebrated Bayardo, an Italian poet, who wrote Orlando Innamorato, which Ariosto made the groundwork of his Orlando Furioso.' (Ibid., vol. xx. p. 371.) He forgets that the poet's name is Boiardo. He should have claimed the honour of the Baird connexion for Bayard, the . Chevalier sans peur et sans tache!'
In the New Account of the parish of Aberdeen, after four pages of laborious trifling, evading the most obvious of etymologies--the learned author concludes, The origin of the name of this parish is enveloped in obscurity!' (New Stat. Aberdeen, p. 5.) The minister of Slamanan thought it safest to suggest a choice of etymons-Some say it derives its name from the following cir. cumstance: When the Earl of Callander, to whom it belonged, first sent up his servant to plough part of it (it being formerly a barren moor), he asked his servant how it would work; to which he answered it would slay man and mare.
Others again suppose that, from its vicinity to the Caledonian wood, it had often been the scene of battle where many had been slain.' (Old Stat., vol. xiv. p. 79.) These alternative derivations are carefully treasured by the writer of the New Report; but both authors reason themselves into the conclusion that, on the whole, it is highly probable that the name is of Gaelic origin, purporting brown, or grey, or lony heath, for the parish must have been originally covered with heath. (Ibid. and New Statistical, Stirlingshire,
The etymological disease seems to be peculiarly dangerous in the Gaelic constitution. The little island of Inchbrayock, on which abuts the handsome suspension-bridge of Montrose, has an ancient cemetery, and was once the site of a parish church. In old charters it figures as insula Sancti Braoci, preserving the name of an obscure saint. The minister, however, prefers a Gaelic derivation, and tells us Inchbrayock means the island of trouts,-a convenient etymology, not unsuitable to any island ! We are told that 'Golspy,' the name of a parish in Sutherland, is probably derived from goul spaut--goul signifying “a figure resembling the branch of a tree" ' (what figure may that be?),
and spaut, a speat.' But observe, it is not because such a description is applicable, but because it might have been. • Probably the burn of Golspy ran in that form, and had often a speat or flood; which is still the case, although the form is much changed by reason of frequent inundations.' (Old Statistical, vol. ix. p. 26.) Tranent, in Lothian, is 'a corruption of Trinity;' or else the Latin word tranent,-i. e. let them swim over--a shout addressed to a party of Danes beaten off from the opposite coast of Fife.' (!) (Ibid., vol. x. p. 83.)
Nor is the knowledge of civil history much more accurate. A Stirling penny of William the Lion is described, with its legend Re Villam-Re being the Gaelic word for king.' (!) (Ibid., vol. xx. p. 225.) The Reverend historian of Duddingston assures us that · Froissart affirms that there were about 100 chateaux in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh in the time of Queen Mary.' (New Statistical, Edinburgh, p. 388.) Did neither the author nor the editor know that the chivalrous canon visited Scotland 150 years before Mary was born? A minister in the Mearns deliberately writes this sentence: "John of Fordoun, the historian, was either a native of the parish or resided in it when he wrote his history of Scotland. He is called by Bede, venerabilis vir dominus Joannes Fordun, presbyter. Although the biographical dictionaries give very little information about him, yet it is generally believed that he was a priest in the church of Fordoun in 1377, because he dedicated his history to Cardinal Wardlaw, who at that time was Archbishop of Glasgow.' (New Statistical, Kincardine, p. 81.) Fordun is made to dedicate to Cardinal Wardlaw, Archbishop of Glasgow in the year 1377. There was no Archbishop of Glasgow for a century afterwards. John of Fordun did not dedicate his history to any one. And, above all, the Venerable Bede, living in the eighth century, did not vouch for John Fordun, a historian of the end of the fourteenth!
Crossraguel is stated to have been founded by Duncan king of Scotland, in 1260! Unhappily the last Duncan was assassinated in 1095. The same writer speaks of `authentic history, and of the marriage of · Martha Countess of Carric with Robert Bruce, Earl of Annandale, in the year 1724;' from which marriage, says he, sprang the kings of Scotland of the race of Stewart.' (New Statistical, Ayr.) Granting the date to be a mere error of the press, and that Margaret of Carric is sometimes called Martha--was Robert Bruce, who married the Countess, Earl of Annandale? Is it the way to distinguish that union, of which was born he heroic King Robert, to announce that from it sprang (a century afterwards, and through a female) the Stewart kings?
But what are we to say of the model' Report, drawn up by the “Author of the Statistical Account of Scotland' himself-containing such a historical announcement as the following ?- The earldom of Caithness was formerly possessed by a family of the name of Harold, some account of whose history is given by Torfæus, the Danish historian, extracts of which may be seen in Mr. Pennant's Tour.' (Old Statistical, vol. xx. p. 534.) Just so, one might observe, the crown of Great Britain was formerly worn by a family of the name of Charles, some account of whose history is given by Hume, the English historian, extracts of which may be seen in Miss Strickland's Queens of England !
There is a curious display of research in the Account of that parish of Culter, in Lanarkshire. The writer details a dispute between the Knights Templars and the monks of Kelso, and accuses the former of 'special pleading, which must appear a curiosity to all who have seen the place to which reference is made,' because they pleaded, as one reason for being exempted from parochial burdens, their separation from the parish church by a great river without bridge. The minister is naturally indig, nant at an attempt to escape from parish jurisdiction. All things,' says he, moralizing, seem formidable to an unwilling mind. The great river here spoken of is Culter water, a stream of a few paces in width, and which is not so large, even in half-adozen of years, that it may not be forded.' (New Statistical, Lanark, p. 345.) Now this reverend author is entirely at fault. It is not the Culter water 'which separated the church and lands of the contending parties. Where the northern Dee, escaped from the fastnesses of Mar, sweeps with gentler current round the sweet haughs of another Culter, the Templars had an ancient settlement from which they brought into cultivation lands that have since formed the domains of many an Irvine and Menzies. On the opposite bank of the river, stood the baptismal church of Culter, dedicated to Saint Peter, the property of the monks of Kelso, which had the parochial territory of both sides, including the lands of the Templars. The Templars claimed to hold their chapel at their house of Culter, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with cemetery and baptistery, tithe free, and to extend that privilege to their lands of Kincolsi, Escentully, and Tulburies, which they and their vassals had reclaimed from waste;
and more over they declared “they could not refuse to their men of these lands, whom they were bound as their lords to protect, sepulture, baptism, and the other sacraments and rites, seeing they were often unable to reach the parish church by reason of the great river intervening without bridge or ferry. The dispute was settled by Papal Commissioners in the year 1287, and the result was the
separation of the Templar lands on the south of the river, afterwards forming the parish of Mary-Culter, in Kincardineshire, from the parish of the monks of Kelso on the opposite bank, which is known as Culter St. Peter, or Peter-Oulter, in Aberdeenshire.
Perhaps Aberdeen is the place in the kingdom for the historical illustration of which the richest materials exist.
The records of the bishopric are full and well preserved. The charters of the burgh, reaching back to the twelfth century; and its books of record, which go as high as the fourteenth, have been studied and quoted by every legal antiquary since the days of Lord Hailes. The Account in the Old Statistical was compiled 'from the communications of several gentlemen of that city.' The later Account is divided into several chapters ecclesiastical state'--'civil history,' &c.-each of which is drawn up by a separate author, chosen, it may be thought, for his peculiar acquaintance with the subject assigned to him. Now, for the fruits ! The Old Statistical informs us that 'the parish of Old Machar was originally a deanery called the Deanery of St. Machar, and comprehended the parishes of Old Machar, New Machar, and Newhills. In times of popery they do not seem to have been divided into separate parishes, but to have been chapels in the deanery.' (Old Stat., vol. xix, p. 144.) The unwary reader will pass over the absurdity of a rural deanery' not consisting of parishes; but he will scarcely believe that the Deanery of Old Machar is a pure imagination—that no such deanery ever existed ! This valuable piece of ancient statistics is repeated in the New Account verbatim. (Aberdeen, p. 1057.) In the Old Account there is actually no mention of the place having once been a bishop's see. The remains of the cathedral are mentioned only as forming part of a picturesque view, along with the various manufactories on the different meanders of the Don'-when the author assures us, this place has been compared to the beautiful and wild scenery of Switzerland.' (Old Stat., vol. xix. p. 146.) As to the burgh, we cannot complain of niggardly information. All his. torians agree that this city was erected into a royal burgh towards the end of the ninth century, by King Gregory of Scotland, surnamed the Great: but the original charter of erection '--that of King Gregory the Great, we presume!]—and all the more ancient title-deeds and records of the burgh, were, together with the town itself, burnt and destroyed by the English.' (Ibid., p. 159.) This fable of Boece is set right in the New Statistical; but in other respects it is, if possible, more imperfect and faulty than the older work. We turn to a chapter headed Ecclesiastical State, and are told that little precise information can be given regarding the
early ecclesiastical state of Aberdeen '-[there is more precise information regarding the early ecclesiastical state of Aberdeen than of any town or parish in Scotland]—except that for two or three centuries preceding the Reformation, there were in the town houses of Dominican, Franciscan, and Carmelite friars, and a monastery dedicated to the Holy Trinity'-[what does this mean?]—as well as a parish church dedicated to St. Nicholas; and that there is no reason to doubt that in Aberdeen, as in other parts of Scotland, the form of popery which prevailed was of the most bigoted and illiberal kind' (New Stat., Aberdeen, p. 28), &c.;-a statement which may be valuable perhaps as recording the writer's testimony against popery, but which scarcely merits the character of historical information. Next, the reverend author asserts 'the bishop fixed his residence at Seaton on the right bank of the Don, about half a mile from its mouth, and in consequence of this, the cathedral church was erected there. (Ibid.) It would be remarkable, if true, that the site of the cathedral was made to suit the bishop's residence. But this is pure invention. No other information is afforded in this chapter of the ecclesiastical state of the parish-regarding the bishopric, of which this parish church and village were the cathedral and see ; except that the author has taken pleasure in recording the sale by public roup' of the silver and brass work of the church in 1561-2. He has not bestowed one line upon the architecture of the cathedral. He has not even mentioned the long line of bishops who once made that rural village the seat of ecclesiastical hospitality and munificence, the centre of piety, learning, and refinement; many of whom by their deeds and character threw a lustre even upon their high and holy office.
Such omissions and blunders, numerous as the pages of the books--the signs of a defective education in the national clergyproofs of utter incompetency in the editors-must excite wonder in the English reader, and shame among the scholars of Scotland. But we have no pleasure in stringing them together, and we choose rather to dwell upon the assistance these books afford in estimating the progress of the country during an important period. The time embraced by these reports—the forty years over which the aged minister of the Old Statistical could look back, with the forty years that divided the Old and the New, were eventful indeed to all Europe, but came fraught with more than ordinary change to Scotland.
It is no exaggeration to say that the beginning of last century found Scotland lower than at any former period of her hard history. She was among the poorest and rudest countries of Europe: her agriculture neglectedwithout trade or manufac