February 28, 2015

They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death they were not divided

 

 

St Drostan, Insch

Andrew and Jane Murdoch die within days of each other

Andrew and Jane Murdoch die within days of each other

 

They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and  in their death they were not divided

Their death notice in the local newspaper:

At Insch, on the 10th inst., after a lengthened illness, JANE GAULD, wife of Mr Andrew Murdoch, aged 63 years; and on the 12th inst, after two day’s illness, the said ANDREW MURDOCH for many years employed in Culsalmond Slate Quarries, aged 73 years.

The remains of this clearly devoted couple lie in St Drostan’s graveyard at Insch Old Church.

Repaired tombstone Insch

Repaired tombstone
Insch

The ruined kirk dates from the 18th century and is the remnant of one of several which occupied this spot from the 12th century during the reign of King William, Lion of Scotland. The land the church was built on was owned, or claimed, by David, the King’s brother.

12th century grave slab from Insch, Aberdeenshire 12th century grave slab from Insch, Aberdeenshire

Immediately facing you as you walk in through the iron gates is a sandstone gravestone thought to date from the 13th century. Note the remnants of a figure at the side.
The inscription reads:    Orate Pro Anima Radulfi Sacerdotis: Pray for the soul of priest Radulfus

Radulfus, a chaplain to the Bishop of Aberdeen, died in the late 1100s, making this one of the oldest lettered monuments in Scotland.

It may not belong to the churchyard as it was discovered in another part of Insch in the 19th century.

If you like you cemeteries crumbling and abandoned you will enjoy a walk around St Drostan’s; there are fallen stones all around the small graveyard. Evidently some have been in this state for years.

St Drostan's churchyard

St Drostan’s churchyard

There are few obvious stories to emerge from a visit – not least because many stones are in poor condition and the inscriptions indecipherable.

Among the more interesting are one or two freestone with a few decorations, others are in granite and slate.

The best graveyards contain stones which tell us something of the lives of the interred. The modern trend that includes only dates of death, omitting people’s occupations is a huge loss to the social historian and I wish people would add a detail or two that means something to others beyond the family. Remember in the future family members will be dead themselves and the sparse information will mean nothing to anyone.

Bellcote 17th century Insch

Bellcote 17th century Insch

If you look up you’ll catch a glimpse of the church bellcote. This pretty work in sandstone dates from the start of the 17th century, from 1613, and so considerably older than the ruined remains of the west gable it is perched upon. It sits on a base of worked stone.

17th century bellcote

17th century bellcote

The bell that used to hang there was removed in 1882.

The photographs are not great but you should be able to make out dog-tooth workings and scrolls among the uprights and finials. Bring up the photo and you will make out initials MIL carved into it – Minister John Logie

St Drostan's Church, Insch

St Drostan’s Church,
Insch

The wall, as you can see, is built of granite rubble and together with the bellcot and the various tombstones of sandstone, slate and granite we get an impression of the mixed geology of the area.

Slate tombstone

Slate tombstone

You might be wondering who St Drostan was – or you may not. You might guess he was another of those determined early missionaries who set sail from Ireland for Scotland to convert the heathens here to Christianity – and you’d be right.

Drostan was one of twelve, the Bretheren of St Columba, who travelled with Columba in 563 heading for Old Deer. What Old Deer does in the 6th century Insch gets around to eventually and so it was that in time Christianity reached this part of the northeast.

The land, as I said, was owned by David, brother of the King, and as was the fashion of the time for princes and such to go on crusades to sort out those who had beliefs different from themselves which involved much bloodshed he gave this piece of land to Lindores monastery in Fife with the proviso they would pray for his safe return from the East. As thanks, in return, the monastery then decided to build a church on the parcel of land.

One little story I found online. A local master baker heated bricks in his ovens on Saturday evenings and took them with him to church to heat up the family pew. Churches can be glacial places and a sermon might last hours with the body cooling just short of hypothermia.

Milne children die within a day of each other

Milne children die within a day of each other

The elderly couple who died within days of each other had their deaths recorded in the local newspaper but I couldn’t find any mention of the Milne children, Annie aged 9yrs and Peter 2yrs who died a day apart in 1863. There was, however, an epidemic of typhus in the Aberdeen area at the time. The couple John Milne and Elpet Tough had sadly lost baby twins five years earlier.

Note the Scottish tradition of married women retaining their maiden names throughout their lives.

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A couple of inscriptions referred to a death at Motherwell Schoolhouse. I couldn’t find any local reference to such a place which doesn’t mean one didn’t exist but it’s strange all the same.

 

Another couple who died within a day of each other- Alexander Reid born in 1766 and died at 80 years a day before his wife, Ann Roger.

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God

St Drostan's graveyard, Insch

St Drostan’s graveyard, Insch

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February 14, 2015

It was a dog of a day but Muse’s plans for Marischal Square were given the bird

 

Marischal Square

 

It was a dog of a day.

A guy carrying a placard reading

Existentialists Oppose Mindless Civic Vandalism

If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according

to the outcome, he would never begin.

(Dedicated to Jenny Laing and Willie Young 2014/15)

sauntered past.

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‘Have you got a light mac?’ he asked.

‘No, but I have a dark brown raincoat,’ I replied.

‘That makes two of us,’ he said as he trudged away to gaze meaningfully up at the magnificent frontage of Marischal College.

He looked familiar. Like a man who was once Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council. I said to him one time,  Marischal College should become the council HQ. He turned to me and from the side of his mouth mumbled something along the lines of,

I dinnae really like it.

Happily he is no longer Chief Executive and Marischal College is the council HQ but that’s not where the story ends. Local government is like a cesspool. It is infested with the kind of low life attracted to cess pools. As Titania once said in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shit rises to the top.

People, several hundreds, were gathered to voice their opposition to those miserable plans to destroy Aberdeen city centre from Muse Developments.

The people gathered around the tenacious old warrior Robert the Bruce were looking for a fight. Eyes turned to the Town House – was he there? Was Willie Young in there looking out at us looking in? sneering?

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People expressed incredulity that anyone in their right mind would support the Muse proposals.

They say money doesn’t smell, said one, I sometimes wonder.

Willie Young

Willie Young Wanted

the banners read. Only in a manner of speaking. No-one there today wanted him in a good sense.

Party dogma has been driving this agenda.

A list of councillors in favour of snuffing out all vestiges of a civic square was read out.

In another time the gibbets would have been erected but Aberdeen is a peaceful city. The miscreants were let off lightly – instead of rotten tomatoes their names were received with boos.

Some were booed louder, much louder than others.

Several names were greeted with,  fa?  Those councillors you find everywhere -the ones no-one has ever heard of – they just turn up and pocket the cash, keep schtum, don’t rock any boats – play the role of their party’s bitches, vote when told when and how and trust no-one will notice next election time. They got off lightly in the booing stakes.

But not all.

It’s clear some councillors are in the dog-house as far as the voters gathered there today were concerned. They don’t reckon them at all and these guys will be hounded next time they present their credentials to the public.

Biggest boos of the day were given to Alan Donnelly, Yvonne Allan, Lesley Dunbar, Ramsay Milne (big time), Neil Cooney (big time), Len Ironside (big time), Marie Boulton (big time), Fraser Forsyth (big time), Barney Crockett (BIG BIG time), Jenny Laing (GIANT BIG time), Willie Young (SCREAMINGLY LOUD ENORMOUSLY BIG time).

There aint no sanity clause might have been written for Aberdeen City Council. This local authority has apparently drawn up a contract that not only sells off public space but agrees to pay the developer compensation in the event they cannot lease out all its retail outlets in what was council land.

I don’t believe it – do you? No-one in their right mind would sign that off?

Sacking is too good for these individuals.

In a dog-eat-dog world Aberdeen has been sold a pup.

A real dog’s breakfast of a deal for the city.

There are more dog-fights to come – in the council chamber, on the pages of the local newspaper and across the airwaves on local radio stations over this.

People are going nowhere.

As the great man once said,

Common sense always speaks too late. Common sense is the guy who tells you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week.

As he went on to say,

Such is the brutalization of commercial ethics in this country that no one can feel anything more delicate than the velvety touch of a soft buck.

willie young

I looked at the banner billowing in the breeze. Willie Young’s face gazed out over his accusers.

The moment a man talks about one commercial development being essential that’s proof he’s fresh out of ideas.

Provost Skene's House Enjoy it while you can

Provost Skene’s House
Enjoy it while you can

February 9, 2015

123 or 321 Talking by numbers? Is God communicating by numbers? What’s it add up other than 6?

Numbers in the sky over Aberdeenshire  9 February 2015 4.30pm

Numbers in the sky over Aberdeenshire
9 February 2015 4.30pm

P1030121

Numbers in the sky 1 2 3 over Aberdeenshire at 4.30pm 9 February 2015

Anyone got an idea how these came about? Random trails from an aircraft presumably – or a message from god? There must be an answer out there? Or not.

February 4, 2015

Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Lord Byron the Aberdeen laddie

Come and see the twa laddies with the twa club feet going up Broad Street

If Aberdeen had been any other city it would have laid claim to Lord Byron long ago. The ‘English’ poet who by reputation was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Few Aiberdeen loons aren’t.

He is English by a technicality. He was fathered by an Englishmen, a drunken ne’er do well who abandoned his wife and baby son only seeking them out, in Aberdeen, to get the last of his wife’s fortune out of her.

Mrs Byron was Katherine Gordon from Gight near Banff, and heiress to the estate there and a direct descendant of James I to boot, a family of greater substance than  gold-digger  Johnnie Byron’s.

She changed the spelling of her name to the English Catherine but she lost more than the K from her name. Her husband immediately began divesting her of her money, then the estate was sold off. A child was born but within two years the Byrons or Gordons, for he had to adopt her family name in order to sell off the family wealth, were living in Aberdeen with the bairnie George.

The money was now all gone and so too was Johnny-waste-of-space-Byron.

The loon grew up around Broad Street and Virginia Street. His first school was in Longacre and then he went onto the Grammar where he carved his name on one of the benches.

He used to chum about with another boy with a hurple and together they’d chant,

Come and see the twa laddies with the twa club feet going up Broad Street

When he was ten Geordie Gordon inherited the title Baron Byron from his now dead father’s uncle and the loon moved to England for a few years before moving abroad where he died in 1824.

He returned once to the area, to Ballater, and from there he climbed Morven for the last time. It is said that he never lost his Scottish accent; meaning Aberdeen and the Doric.

He was, of course, half Scots, indeed he claimed so himself, and so at the very least is a British, not English poet. His roots were very much in northeast Scotland and the land and language is said to come out in his poetry, and just possibly his reputation for raising the roof.

In February 1876 a letter to a local newspaper described something of the poet’s boyhood in Aberdeen

The author refers to a Byron memorial which I’ll come back to and goes on to describe something of the poet’s boyhood in Aberdeen which you can read for yourselves.

Byron copy 1

Lord Byron, Aberdeenbyron 3 againByron 4

And as far as I know there never was a Byron memorial built but in Aberdeen there’s aye Byron Square – where it’s not unknown for mad, bad and dangerous happenings to occur of a weekend. I’m sure Geordie Gordon would have been happy with that.

The Gowk

 

 

 

 

January 24, 2015

Less is More: the muse of Marischal Square

 

Many hundreds of Aberdonians turned out to show their disapproval of the hugely misconceived Muse development which has the enthusiastic backing of the Labour led Aberdeen City Council.
Anti-Muse demo

Views ranged from outright anger to suspicion over how we were so misled by them. At one stage all talk was of a civic square being created to act as a focus for the city which would be used for cultural events as well as a sanctuary for the people of the city – who it should be remembered own this site.

The square idea contracted and contracted until all that remained after officials, councillors and developers completed their negotiations was a street, and one that will be overshadowed by a bloody great series of soulless boxes.

Where else have we seen them?

Ah, yes over at the Triple Kirks going up right now.
Who, in their right mind, would agree to this dismal development?

Several of those demonstrating their opposition were pretty certain they knew the reason (reasons) that swayed support. Suffice to say it was nothing connected with the architectural integrity of the site.

Marischal College is one of the finest buildings in the whole of Scotland. A backdrop of this magnificent granite edifice to a civic square would place Aberdeen on the map in terms of civic pride and ambition.
Marischal from schoolhill

What the Muse shopping centre will do is underline the bankruptcy of ambition and imagination of the current Labour led council.
Muse demo

I did not see Dame Anne Begg there – she was a prominent opponent, correctly, of the equally appalling Union Terrace Gardens design. So does this mean she, and her fellow Labour MP Frank Doran and the usually opinionated MSP, Lewis Macdonald have given their backing to this monstrosity? We can assume so until we hear otherwise.

On 9 October 2014 the local newspaper quoted Willie Young, Labour group secretary saying they did not operate a whip and that planning decisions were non-political.

I think we can all make up our own minds on that.

P1020947
The 7000 signatories to the petition objecting to the Muse development are well aware of the shortcomings of those who have pushed and pushed this proposal.
We should be asking WHY this one?

WHY is this design that overwhelms the site?

The architecture is ugly. The scale is ridiculous. The loss of a world-class amenity ought to be a actionable.
P1020961

It is time to hold the people who flex their power to impose such an abomination on the city to account for their cultural vandalism.

“Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council deputy leader, added: “We are seeing the start of what will be a vibrant and exciting development on the old St. Nicholas House site.”
P1020954

“Planning committee convener Ramsay Milne insisted, however, that the council acted “entirely properly” in its handling of the case.

Mr Milne moved to approve the plans, praising officers and insisting elected members had a “civic duty” to back the redevelopment.”

“Council leader Jenny Laing said Marischal Square could provide a “beating heart” for the centre of Aberdeen.”

Muse demo 3

“Labour’s Willie Young faced a backlash after his comments in the Press and Journal that it was “already determined” that the £107million Marischal Square project would go ahead. 18 July 2014.”
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/289634/marischal-square-finance-chief-under-fire/

It was great that so many gathered to demonstrate their disapproval but having turned out in their high hundreds the organisers should have had something to focus the event to increase its impact: speakers on mic, holding hands around the condemned site, demanding an appearance from the man the crowd held most responsible for this debacle, Willie Young, who it was reported was in the Town House at the time.

Muse demo

There was a time city officials were prepared to face their critics and respond to their objections to their decisions but no more, our present-day incumbents hide in their Town House ivory tower.

Such is 21st century democracy in Aberdeen.

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January 10, 2015

Good Morning Scotland (sic) BBC Scotland (sic) a station like no other

 

bbc

Good    Morning    Scotland (sic)

Raucous computer-generated muzak

A station like no other

Good mor …uhm…eh…so…

So…eh …uhm…eh…eh…eh…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

News headlines … uhm…

Travel … M8…trains to Glasgow…Glas…Queen Str…

Weather …looking out the window…G…ow…

Sport…Celtic…Rangers…eh…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

A station like no other

So…er…er…er…uhm…Afghanistan…spokesman in Afghani community in Glasg…eh…eh…

So…eee…uhm…festival in Glas…eee…eh…uhm…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

A station like no other

Sport …Rangers…Celtic…eh…eh…

Travel…usual suspects…trains to Glasgow…Glasgow…

Business…uh…uh…uh…Gla…startups…eh…eh…eh…

Er…er…Syria …er…eh…eh…symposium in Glasgow…eh…

Uhm…ee…eee…Moon landings…Univers…f…Glasg…uh…so…

Thought for the da…a…a…a…y inthestudiofromaroundthecorner…uh…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

A station like no other

Travel …usual suspects…trains to Gla…traffic lights in Glas…

Sport…Celtic…Rangers…eh…eee…Gla…Warriors…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

Uhm…professor fro…Glasgow University …so…eh…eh…

Uhm…

Travel….slow…Glasgow…Edinbur…sorr…Glasg…eh…usual delays…120 mile detour…

Sport…Celgers…uhm…Glasgow Rocks…eh…

Your national broadcaster

And now…University of Glasgo…and Strathclyde…uhm…eee…so…

Arts correspondent…Glasgow…Glas…Edinbur…Edinburgh…burgh…Gl…ow…Glasg

Raucous computer-generated muzak

A station like no other

Eee…uh…uh…expert…University of Glas…

Ah…eh…ah…ee…asked these Glaswegians…uh…em…

Travel…set of traffic lights out in Glasgo…Gla…Gl…trains… 120 mile diversion…in…

Weather…looking out the window…rain…Glasg…eh…

Sport…Glasgow Warriors…Rangtic…unpronounceable tennis player name…uhm…

Raucous computer-generated muzak

Eh…conference on how Glasgow influenced M…M…M…Mozart…eh…uh…em…ah…

I…i…i…i…so…i…i…eh…Glas universi…eh…eh…Strathcly…eh…

Archaeological remains in Shetland…uh…uh…we asked experts from Strathcly…and…Glasg…uni…

Travel…delays…usual susp…train…Gla…t…E…burgh…set…traf…ights…in…Glasgow…

BBC    SCOTLAND    SERVING    THE    NATION

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive 

 

January 9, 2015

The Great Marischal Square Cornswaggle – 3D

The people of Aberdeen have been cornswaggled by their council AGAIN.

The big lie that was Marischal Square is exposed.

 

pinnacle visualisation

 

There is no square. There probably never was any intention of creating a square, by any definition.

We were duped. We were wary of their promises but were duped by that old trick of the public consultation. Look where that’s taken us.

Cast your eyes on this projection for how the Muse Development will look once the concrete is poured and the common land, that belongs to everyone in the city, is turned over to a private development for the erection of tawdry towers.

Willie Young

Which means this development was given the full-hearted support of Labour members of the council willingly.

Not one of them recognised the architectural outrage they were about to impose on the city.

willie young

 

Who voted for this abomination?

For:

Labour: Ramsay Milne, George Adam (Lord Provost), Jenny Laing, Angela Taylor, Willie Young, Barney Crockett, Neil Cooney, Len Ironside, Ross Grant, Graham Lawrence, Tauqueer Malik, Yvonne Allan, Scott Carle, Lesley Dunbar, Jean Morrison, Nathan Morrison, Gordon Graham. SNP: Graham Dickson. Independents: Marie Boulton, Andy Finlayson, John Reynolds, Fraser Forsyth. Conservatives: Alan Donnelly (23)

Against:

SNP: Bill Cormie, Muriel Jaffrey, Callum McCaig, Gordon Townson, Gil Samarai, Sandy Stuart, Andrew May, Jim Kiddie, Jim Noble, Jackie Dunbar, David Cameron, Kirsty Blackman. Liberal Democrat: Jennifer Stewart, Martin Greig, Aileen Malone, Ian Yuill, Steve Delaney. Conservatives: Ross Thomson. (18)

 

Bring on the next election

 

January 4, 2015

The Eagle Stone, the Brahan Seer, Nutwood and the Earl of Cromartie

P1020708

This Pictish stone currently sits on a brae at Strathpeffer in Ross and Cromarty. Allegedly this brae is called Nutwood Lane which sounds horribly twee straight out the pages of Enid Blyton so we’ll draw a suitably lacy curtain over that dubious name.

eagle stone again

 The area’s rich Pictish heritage includes many symbol stones  including this one with carvings of an eagle and a horse shoe arc. It is also known as Clach an Tiopain, Gaelic for the stone of the echo, from its hollow ring when struck – a bit like listening to the wit and wisdom of Gordon Brown.

The stone is a greyish blue gneiss and stands 32ins tall by around 24ins broad and 10ins thick. The shape of the stone was presumably selected by the carver but it has not been dressed into a particular shape. It is an example of a carved fallen stone, a feature of early Pictish art, dating from the 5th or 6th centuries, or perhaps it was a rush job. Why it was carved with a horse shoe and eagle is anyone’s guess. Some say it commemorated a battle and others that it signified a marriage – a lucky horseshoe is still associated with weddings and the eagle is the symbol of the Munros – but this is all conjecture.

eagle-450[1]

The stone was carved at least 1500 years ago and originally stood where Fodderty cemetery is, between Dingwall and Strathpeffer, and was used to mark the burial place of the local Munro clan killed in a battle with the MacDonalds in 1411. The Munros won and the Eagle stone was an appropriate monument to mark where their clansmen fell in battle.

As the information notice by the Eagle stone explains a century later the Brahan Seer (Coinneach Odhar), Scotland’s equivalent of Nostradamus, fortetold of a great flood across the strath if the Eagle Stone fell three times – when it had fallen twice it was thought advisable to move it higher up the strath from Fodderty to its present position and set it in concrete, just in case.

The predictions of the Brahan Seer are, of course, cobblers and instances of old Brahany hitting the nail on the head are only the ravings of delusional simple folk. The Brahan Seer was dispatched in a horrible manner that involved a barrel of boiling tar at Chanory Point at Rosemarkie. Didn’t see that coming did poor old Coinneach.

And I don’t know if the Brahan Seer predicted the coming of a development of houses close to where the stone now stands that will necessitate the felling of mature trees as well as part of the distinctive beech hedging that lines the entrance to Strathpeffer.

Strathpeffer looking West

As far as I know he didn’t mention the Earl of Cromartie and his housing ambitions but maybe he did. Seems like a lot of upheaval for 15 houses but then we know what happens when a few houses get permission – before anyone knows it there’s another 15, then no reason why another 15 shouldn’t be built too. I hope that cement around the Eagle Stone is solid because if one of those diggers gets too close there’s no knowing what might happen.

b

 

As for the beech hedge it may yet be saved, well not saved exactly because it will be dead when howked out, but local planners, we love them all don’t we folks?, have sought to reassure people that a ‘robust replanting plan’ for a replacement hedge is, well – planned. Robust? Can’t argue with robust.

Good luck to the future of the Eagle stone in its present location. I have a feeling it’s going to need it. Hey, the Brahan Seer thing is catching.

December 24, 2014

Franz, Three Beers and a Kümmel scene from Berlin Alexanderplatz

This is one of the most impressive acting performances I’ve seen. Franz is struggling with his life and visits a beer cellar where he addresses his drinks in an astonishing scene.

It only lasts 5 mins so make sure you watch till he’s onto his third beer.

November 30, 2014

Old Midmar church and graveyard

Old Midmar Church

The tiny graveyard and church ruin of Old Midmar or Migmar in Aberdeenshire lies below a narrow busy road west of Echt so if you go to take look be careful.

The roofless kirk is St Nidan’s, and you’ll battle with Google looking up that one as is the way with many things Scottish and Welsh, and its cemetery date from the 17th century. However this church is a replacement for an older one and it is likely several churches occupied this site over many many centuries. The remains that are there now are from a church built in 1677 but there have been changes to the original building over time. It was common for newer churches to replace older ones and use some of the same stone, as happened here  -with locally found granite, partly dressed.

Nidan was a 6th/7th century Welsh priest who is said to have helped spread Christianity to this part of Scotland.

The church is set among trees on a wee hillock across from Cunningar motte. Cunningar possibly took its name from the Latin for rabbit cuniculus or the Gaelic which is coinín. Think too of the American rabbit island or Coney Island. Anyway it looks like the place had so many rabbits they named the place after them. Cunningar mott dates from the 12 or 13th centuries when a Norman bloke rode north and claimed the land as his. To prevent the natives from trying to move him on he protected his house with a motte. All went well until a hundred or so years later when the black death struck and the house was abandoned and buried. There’s been quarrying on the site over time which put paid to most of the remaining motte.

Outside the graveyard is a beehive structure with a plaque to the Bel family buried in the cemetery. The Bels, it tells us were master masons and ‘practical architects’ who worked Midmar, Castle Fraser, Crathes, Craigievar and Fyvie for centuries.

A short way off to the west and higher up lies the magnificent Midmar church and graveyard which incorporates a fine recumbent stone circle. This newer kirk was built in 1787 at which point the old kirk shut its doors.

It is not really possible to get an impression of how the church looked in the 17th C because it was divided up into  burial enclosures accessed through separate doorways when it stopped functioning as a church.

In 1740 the parishes of Midmar and Kinairney were united.

These burial enclosures were for members of local landed families of Corsindae, Kebbity and Midmar and parish ministers.

Corsindae and Midmar are well-known today but Kebbity or Kebbaty was new to me. Various families are associated with the estate including the Davidsons and Forbes.

In 1698 George Forbes of Kebbity was one of many lairds mentioned in parliament (Scottish parliament as this predated the union of parliaments of Edinburgh and London) concerning licences to trade with Africa and the Indies. 1698 was the year of the launch of the Darien scheme at Panama that fell foul of attacks by England and its allies determined to wipe out Scotland’s trading company.

James Mansfield of the Castle of Midmar has a plaque on the east wall. Sir William Wallace is said to have ordered the biggen of Midmar Castle as a gift for a friend when he was Governor of Scotland – Wallace not the friend. Midmar was reputedly the area’s most valuable property in the early 18thC but I’ve no idea how prestigious it was in the 14thC.

P1020591

James Mansfield possibly bought the Barony of Midmar from one of the Davidsons.Most of the landed families appear to have followed the usual practice of being absentee lairds but the Davidsons  of Kebbaty appear to have been residents. Some of the Mansfields were bankers in Edinburgh.

James Mansfield was an improving landlord who had his workers knock what had been wild, barren land into shape including the creation of a large and well-stocked garden and banking families would have had the means to pay for it.

Another James, was a captain in the army who was killed during the Highland regiment mutiny at Leith in 1779 – along with many largely unarmed Highlanders who were virtually slaughtered as a lesson to others not to question military orders.

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/the-affair-of-the-wild-macraas

Around 1730 alterations were made in the kirk to accommodate a pulpit to conform to post-Reformation church architecture.

Many inscriptions are illegible. The oldest marker I found I could decipher in part was from the 17th century.

‘Here lives Alexander Tytler farmer at the milltown of Corsendaye who dyed March 23(?) 1690 aged 84 years as also Margrat Martin his spouse who dyed june 16 1681 ???James Tytler ? son farmer at the forsaid place who dyed February 20 1736 aged 90 years and Jean Middleton his …’

James Rolleston Sterritt, a surgeon with a very grand name, made even grander when he married Patience Duff of Corsinae and added her family name to his – as her first husband had also done. He was Irish and a surgeon with the Royal Navy. His family is buried within the old kirk and features one of the largest memorials.

There are only a few dressed and polished granite stones, many are simple undressed stone, mainly granite.

Dressed and polished black granite, not a northeast granite but possibly from Scandinavia

The greyish pink granite stone below may have come from Hill o’ Fare near Echt.

The memorial to James McIntosh, a gardener, features plant motifs.

Some nice carving on a freestone memorial to Jessie Laing.

I’ve no idea who belongs to this memorial that stands proud on the south side of the graveyard. Sadly it has lost it inscriptions.

There are a number of very old stones – this one comes from a time before colour, when the world was in black and white – which some people really believe.

P1020567

And suddenly colour magically appeared and all was right with the world.

This stone belongs to the McIntosh family, wonder if its the same as the gardener above, who lived in Kirkstile. Kirkstile I believe is the cottage close to the graveyard, see below.

McIntosh

As you can see the McIntosh’s knew personal tragedy. In 1871 Christina Forsyth, his wife, and James lost two of their children within days of each other, Jessie aged 7 on 22nd July and Robert aged 8 on the 30th. They had a baby around that time and that child, Charles, died at 7 years in 1878. Their surviving son, Theodore, died at 55 years and James and Christina were aged 92 and 84 respectively – dying in the same year, 1915.

Kirkstile

Kirkstile at Midmar

 

If walls could speak -

The cottage had several turning hooks attached to its walls – does anyone know what they were for?

See too the recumbent stone circle at Midmar http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/the-great-recumbent-stones-in-scotlands-stone-circles

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