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The History of Brechin to 1864
Chapter XI. The Church, Steeples and Round Tower of Brechin


The cathedral is supposed to have been originally erected by David I. in the twelfth century, and to have been then dedicated to the Holy Trinity, but there is no distinct account of the date of the erection of the cathedral or adjoining steeple and tower; the only document we have seen bearing on the subject being that already mentioned, (p. 24,) by which it is proved that between 1354 and 1384 the belfry of Brechin was built. In the dike at present surrounding the churchyard, and immediately above the western iron gate, there is a stone said to have been in the wall above the porch door, which was in the north aisle of the old cathedral about the centre, and this stone bears a crosier proper above a shield carrying in the first and fourth compartments three bears’ heads, or, as others read them, three leopards’ faces or panthers’ faces, and a lion rampant in the second and third compartments. These, most likely, are the arms of the bishop who built the porch door; for, it is well known, cathedral churches were never all built at once, but at different times, as the different bishops had taste for building or means at their disposal We have not been able to ascertain positively to whom these armorial bearings belong, although we believe they are those of George Sherwood, who was bishop of Brechin in 1455-61. The cathedral, as used by the Presbyterian congregation, was a handsome Gothic building, consisting, till 1806, of a nave with two side aisles, and a transept formed by the extension of these aisles at the east end. In the north transept there was a small door on the west side on a level with the ground, and used, along with the porch door and

west door, at the “scailin* of the kirk, the dismissal of the congregation—the assembling of the congregation being mainly by the porch door, and occasionally by the west door. About the centre of the south aisle was another small door with an arched head. This door, in 1806, was considerably below the level of the churchyard, to which there were steps up from the inside of the church. The door spoken of was only occasionally used by the church officials at the time we knew it. We give a ground plan of the cathedral made from measurements, and revised by parties who were well acquainted with the church before the alterations in 1806. So far as we can learn, the cathedral was never finally completed. The great western door, at which extremity, generally, cathedrals were commenced, seems to have been fully finished, and the nave appears to have been also completed, but there was no appearance that there had ever been any pillars or arches in the transepts, which are now wholly swept away, and which, as already said, seem to have been merely extensions of the side aisles. Notwithstanding of the beautiful ruins of the chancel, of which we give a woodcut, we question if the high altar had ever been properly finished, and if there had been anything more than a “Lady Chapel," of which the foundations are occasionally met with to the east of the ruins alluded to. In 1806, the north and south transepts were removed, new aisles were built on each side of the nave, and one immense, abominably ugly, roof made to cover the whole, thus totally eclipsing the four beautiful windows in the nave, and covering up the handsome carved comice of the nail head quatre-foil description, which ran under the eaves of the nave. This building, as modernised, is used for the parish church. It is supported by 12 pillars, measures 84 feet in length, 30 feet in breadth, or 58 feet including the aisles, each of which measures 14 feet. The western door, of which we give a woodcut, has been beautifully carved, and the large Gothic window above it is still much admired for the elegance of its mullions and tracery. It is described by architects as slightly flamboyant, and is supposed to be of an age much later than the square steeple adjoining. Part of the side walls of the choir and chancel, measuring on the north wall 23 feet, and on the south wall 26 feet, in length, 24 feet in height, and 23 feet in width, are still standing, the windows of which, as seen in the woodcut, are tall and narrow, graced with chaste small columns supporting beautiful lancet-shaped arches. At the north angle of the nave, and close on the west door, is the steeple, a noble-looking square tower, 70 feet high, supported by buttresses on the west side, measuring 25 feet 2 inches on each side, and having handsome belfry windows, adorned with that species of opening called the quatrefoil. The walls are 5 feet thick at the base, and in the bell-house, which is immediately above the session-house, they are the same. The top of the steeple is battlemented and surrounded with a bartizan, out of which rises an elegant octagon spire 58 feet high. The ascent to the bartizan is by a spiral stair of 111 steps, contained in a handsome octagonal tower, at the north-east corner of the steeple, as may be seen in a view which we give of the church from the north. From the bartizan there is a beautiful prospect of the surrounding country, bounded on the west and north by the Grampian Mountains, on the south by Burkle Hill, and on the east, extending as far as the eye can see, into the German Ocean, over Montrose. A very beautiful moulding of floral ornaments runs round the projecting base of the west side of the bartizan; and on the top of one of the battlements on the east side of the bartizan, being that to the north of the clock-face, is carved an antique head, while on the corresponding battlement on the south side of the clock-face is the date 1642 in alto relievo letters. We find from the accompts of John Liddell, kirk treasurer in 1642 and 1643, that various repairs had been made on the church in these years, and we presume this date refers to them. The accompts are very minute, from 2s. 8d. given to Alexander Talbert for “ laddering the church;” 3s. 4d. to “ James Stirling for carrying in the bum;” Is. 4d. “given for mending the lyme ridllto “ Sept. 1643 given out in general for expenses disbursed upon the glass windows, 145, 2s. 2d.” At this time there appears to have been a clock belonging to the church, which, if it had then stood where the clock removed in 1806 stood, would have been immediately above the east window of the square tower, the works being placed on a flooring opposite inside

the steeple. This clock, like those of modern days, seems to have required much attention, for Mr Liddell has various entries in his accounts regarding the knock; as, for example, in November 1642 there are 4s. “given Hendrie Valentine for making changies to the knock" and in January 1643 Mr Valentine has 2s. 8d. “for mending some things the knock had need of.” Notwithstanding the age of these buildings, not a decayed stone can be seen in the cathedral, steeple, or spire. The base of the steeple, which is now occupied as the session-house, has a handsome groined roof, springing from four corbels, three of them ornamented with a leaf beautifully cut in high relief, and the fourth with a dog picking a bone, which may lead some antiquary to the exact date of the building, as the dog possibly has some allusion to the name of the builder. The arch or groin terminates in an open circle of about four feet in diameter, and about seventeen feet from the floor. The session-house measures 15 feet 3 inches on each side. In the east wall of the steeple, and about the middle of the second floor above the session-house, is a square opening like a door, but with teeth or stones projecting from each side, so as to be easily filled up to accord with the original building. This door leads by a zigzag course through the centre of the wall into the roof of the church, the exit from the door being on a level with the side walls of the nave. For what purpose this opening had been left, can only now be matter of conjecture. Possibly it might have been intended for a person, stationed in it, to communicate with the bell-ringers how to toll the bells at different parts of the ceremonials of the Romish Church. This seems the more likely, as within this passage through the wall there is in a recess a stone seat and a small window commanding the exterior view of the north side of the church. At present no person can see from this passage into the body of the church, in consequence of the flat plastered roof of the church; but when the original Gothic roof of the cathedral existed, similar to that of the Parliament House of Edinburgh, or Westminster Hall of London, there was no difficulty in seeing, from this point, what occurred in the cathedral. In the spire of the steeple are now placed two bells which were formerly in the round tower, and in the steeple, itself, is hung a large bell. A clock, placed on the bartizan when the church was repaired in 1806, strikes the quarters on the small bells, and the full hour on the large bell. Of course, these bells are all used for giving notice of divine service on Sundays, and the large bell is rung on the evenings of each of the six working days during the week, at eight o'clock, and is also tolled or jowed, that is, made to strike solemnly on one side, consecutively, each Saturday night at ten o'clock; and it is rung each workday morning, during the summer, at six o’clock, and during the winter at seven oclock. It is a deep full-toned bell, and the tolling, or ringing on one side, on the Saturday nights, has a peculiarly solemn effect. A musical friend informs us that the first or great bell sounds A exactly, concert pitch; the second, or one of the smallest bells, A sharp, or B flat, an octave above, and the third or smallest bell, C. in alt.; and that, had the second bell been A exactly, the chime would have been perfect, A, A 8va. and C the 15th. Although not a complete chime, he tells us the Brechin bells may be stated as very nearly so. The same friend informs us that the bell of the old Episcopal chapel in High Street sounds E in alt., and the town-house bell a note or two lower, say, perhaps, C in alt.


VIEW FROM THE WE8T.

At the south-west angle, but entirely separated from the nave of the church, stands the celebrated round tower, one of those singular buildings which have so long baffled the researches of antiquaries.1 The tower of Brechin is quite a distinct erection from any of the buildings of the church, although the south aisle now embraces nearly one-fourth of its circumference. From this aisle there is an entrance of comparatively modem date, at least evidently struck out of the wall after the tower had been built, supposed to have been made for the convenience of the ringers when there were bells in the tower.2 However, when the church was last repaired, these bells, as already noticed, were transferred to the steeple. There is no stair in the tower, and the only access to the top is by means of six ladders. One ladder rests on the earthen f floor within the tower; and the other five ladders are placed on wooden semicircular floors, each floor being supported by a circular projection or abutment, or corbel, as architects term it, within the tower. J These corbels form part of the wall of the tower, and, of course, are parts of the original structure of the tower. Each of the third and fourth floors is lighted by a small window or opening; the fifth and sixth, by the windows in the top; and the first, by the door; but the second has no window or light The window in the third floor is on the east side; the window in the fourth floor on the south side. The height of the tower from the ground to the roof is 85 feet; the inner diameter at the bottom, 8 feet; the thickness of the wall, at that part, about 4 feet; so that the whole diameter is nearly 16 feet, and the external circumference very near 50 feet; the inner diameter, at top, is 6 feet 7 inches, the thickness of the walls 2 feet 10 inches, the circumference 38 feet 6 inches. These proportions give the building an inexpressible elegance. The top is roofed with an octagonal spire, 18 feet high, which makes the whole height of the building 103 feet. || Near the top of the tower there are four windows, facing the four cardinal points, of oblong shape, with flat plain stones for sills, rybats, and lintels. In the octagonal roof there are also four windows, having their sills on the top of the tower, alternating with the windows in the tower. The windows in the roof are brought to a point at the top, by means of two stones resting on each other, like an inverted and springing from the square sides of each window. Near the bottom, on the west side, there is a handsome small arch or doorway, composed of four large stones, employed, one as a door-sill, two as rybats, and one as a curved lintel.3 The width of the door at the sill is 1 foot 11 inches, and at the spring of the arch or circle 1 foot 9 inches, the height of the rybats to the arch, 5 feet 9^ inches, and the height of the arch 10 inches, making the total height 6 feet 74 inches. Each stone is the depth of the wall, and presents an external face of about 11 inches. The sides of the door and the arch stand out in relief from the tower, and on the top of the arch is a crucifixion, also in relief. Between the mouldings on the sides, and about half the height of the sides below the arch, are two figures, apparently monks, leaning on staves, and wrapped in close cloaks with hoods. The introduction of two monks into the crucifixion is an anachronism similar to what may be found in the paintings of some of the old masters. On each corner of the sill of the door, which also stands out in relief from the tower, is the figure of a beast, and in the middle between them is a lozenge, on which apparently some arms have been engraved. Probably these animals may have represented the supporters of the shield of the pious lady whose arms had been contained in the lozenge, and who may have been at the expense of making the door-way. But, except the crucifixion, the whole figures, which have been all • sculptured in alto relievo, are so much decayed as to leave considerable 6cope for imagination. The door-way is filled up in a slovenly manner withj coarse rubble work.f One side of the door, within the tower, presents the appearance of a staple having been made to go into a hasp, neatly formed in the stonework, while the other side of the door shows where bands had been fastened for hanging the door, which thus must have opened upon the interior side of the door-way. The figures, on the exterior of this door-way, bespeak it to be of Christian architecture ; and after repeated and minute examination, in presence of architects and master masons, we are satisfied that the doorway must have been built when the tower was erected, be that era when it may.* The whole tower is built of large stones, not one of which is yet blasted, cut to the circle, but not squared at top or bottom, nor laid in regular courses, but running round the building in sloping courses, which rise above each other somewhat like a screw, forming one spiral course from top to bottom; although Mr Grose asserts, we think without sufficient examination, that it is composed of sixty regular courses of mason work. This mode of building seems ruder and more ancient than the regular coursed ashlar work of the steeple; and the roof of the tower, corresponding in the style of building to the steeple, would lead to the belief that this tower, like most others.

*We have had the door-way again and again inspected by people of skill since 1839, when this was published, and they have all agreed with the statement in our text* Mr R. W. Billings, the eminent English architect, in the first volume of his beautiful work, “The Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland,” published in 1852, in which he gives two views and a description of the cathedral and round tower of Brechin, says, “ Everything connected with the round tower but the conical roof has the appearance of being part of one original design, and where it is but barely possible that, with great exertion, a part of the lower range could have been removed for the incrustation of these Christian symbols, at a cost which might have been sufficient to erect a separate tower.” We omitted in our first edition to state, that on each side of the door-way, immediately opposite the crucifixion, and on the same stone with it, which forms the arch of the door-way, is a projecting stone of 1 foot 10| inches by six inches, left as if intended for figures being sculptured thereupon, but never finished. We omitted also to state that part of the south side of the door-way at the foot is of a red sandstone, as may be noticed in the enlarged view of the door-way, as if a piece had accidentally been broken off and renewed at a later period. This has the same ornament as Bur-rounds the door-way, but of inferior workmanship. This ornament is sometimes called the tellet and button-shaped, but we style it a bead-like ornament. The smaller of the two saints, that on the right side of the doorway, measures 1 foot 4 inches, and with the plinth 1 foot 9 inches; the larger figure on the left measures 1 foot 5 inches, and with the plinth on which it stands 1 foot 10 inches. The breadth of each stono on which the figure is cut is 5 inches. The crucifixion again measures, height of figure, 1 foot 3| inches ; figure with pedestal, 1 foot 8 inches; breadth of stone on which figure cut, 4 inches; width across the arms, 1 foot 34 inches; width of that part of stone, 1 foot 6 inches. The stones on which the animals at the foot of the door are sculptured measure each 11 by 8 inches. of the same description, had been originally open at top, and had received its present roof at the time the steeple was built, or by architects who imitated that style of building. The handsome door-way, however, rather contradicts the supposition of the want of skill in the original architects. Certain it is, that during high winds this tower has often been observed to vibrate; and we, ourselves, can vouch for having witnessed this fact on different occasions. It is by a high wind from the southeast that the tower is most generally shaken. While it stands perpendicular on the east, it appears to be about three feet off the plumb on the west side, likely an original error in the architecture, as no sit in the building can be detected, and apparently arising from a difference in the thickness of the walls on the east and west side.* We intended to have given the internal dimensions more particularly, but, in consequence of two of the ladders of the tower being altogether gone, and the others being in a rotten and decayed state, and the impossibility of introducing any additional ladder through the very small entry now left from the church to the tower, we found it unsafe, if not impracticable, to ascend to the top; and we are, therefore, obliged to rely on measurements, not so particular as we could have wished, made some years ago when the ladders and floors of the Brechin tower were in a better state than they are at present.

*We now think this is a mistake and an optical illussion, although many of our friends still contend for the truth of the statement in the text. Mr Billings, however, in his “Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities" says, “The round tower slightly tapers upwards, but it has a decided inclination in one direction, so that while the side towards the church is perpendicular the other forms an obtuse angle with the horizontal line.”

This was written and published in 1839. The steeples and towers were repaired mainly at the expense of Government in 1847, and new ladders and flooring introduced into the tower by the west door, then re-opened, as mentioned at page 219. We are therefore now enabled to give the exact dimensions of the tower. We adopt those made in October 1856 for Albert Way, Esq., M.A., of Wonham Manor, secretary to the Archaeological Institute of Great Britain, by Mr William Ormiston of Edinburgh, and given in plate III. of vol. iii. of the “ Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland,” along with remarks on the round tower of Brechin, then communicated to the Society by Andrew Jervise, Esq. of Brechin. We have verified these measurements with the aid of Mr John Baxter, builder in Brechin, and have found them correct, and, with Mr Baxter's assistance, we have made some additional measurements, which we give. Again, the total height and total thickness of the tower have been kindly ascertained for us by Mr George

Towers of this description are said to occur frequently in Ireland. Mr Richard Gough, in his “ Observations on the Round Towers of Ireland,” published in 1779, tells us that “ these round towers are spread through divers parts of Ireland; they differ from each other in degrees of height, some thirty-seven feet, others fifty and more; that of Kildare is 132 feet high; and* that at Kilkenny is little less.' Their outward circuit at the base rarely exceeds forty-two feet; walls three feet thick; diameter withiny seldom more than eight feet; they gradually Henderaon of the Den Nursery, Brechin, by trigonometrical survey, and have been found to tally with the reports of Messrs Ormiston and Baxter. The dimensions, then, are these—From level of ground outside to first corbel inside, 3 feet inches; from first to second corbel inside, 12 feet inches, the width here 7 feet 11 inches; from second to third corbel, 12 feet of height, width, 7 feet 9 inches ; from third to fourth corbel, height, 13 feet 10 inches, width, 7 feet 3 inches ; in this storey there is a window on the east side of the tower, measuring

I foot 8 inches by 11 inches at the bottom and 10 inches at the top ; from fourth to fifth corbel, 10 feet 7 inches in height and 7 feet of width, in which storey there is a window, on the south side, of similar dimensions with the one below; from the fifth to the sixth corbel measures 18 feet 8 inches of height, width, 7 feet; from Binth corbal to a shelf on the wall, 7 feet 2 inches. As the walls are considerably thinner here, the width inside the tower is 7 feet 8J inches. Within this division are the four windows looking to the cardinal points of the compass, measuring 3 feet 8 inches by 1 foot 9 inches each. All the windows mentioned are plain and unornamented. From the head of the shelf on the wall to the top of the wall is 3 feet 10 inches, the width being 8 feet 2 inches, as the wall is again considerably thinner. In the tower there are six corbels, averaging 9 inches each, giving in whole 4 feet 9 inches. Thus from the ground to the top of the t'ound tower the height is 86 feet 9 inches. The octagon top measures 15 feet 9 inches from the head of the waU to the inside of the roof, and the ridge of the roof is understood to be 3 feet thick, which gives in all for the octagon top 18 feet 9 inches. The stone ball on the apex of the roof measures 12J inches. Consequently the whole mason-work measures 106 feet 6j inches in height, tallying exactly with Mr Henderson's trigonometrical survey. If to this are added 3 feet inches for the iron rod and vane on the top of the steeple, we have a total height of 110 feet for this obelisk. The base course or ground plinth measures 12 inches in height, and projects 2 inches from the wall, and from the top of this plinth to the door-sill is 5 feet 8 inches, so that the door-sill is 6 feet 8 inches from the ground. At the base the walls are 3 feet 8 inches thick, and the internal diameter or width being 7 feet 11 inches; the whole diameter is 15 feet 3 inches, which gives a circumference of 47 feet 10} inches at the bottom. At the top again, the walls are 2 feet 5 inches and 2 feet 6 inches thick; the internal circumference 8 feet 1 inch, making in all 13 feet of diameter and 40 feet 10 inches of circumference. Thus the taper, or entasis, or batter, as it is more familiarly termed, from bottom to top is only 7 feet 6-8ths of an inch in whole, or 3 feet 6| inches on each wall, which gives the tower an inexpressible elegance.diminish from the bottom to the top, which is covered with a stone roof. Withinside are abutments on which to rest the timbers for the several floors or stages, to which they ascended by ladders; every storey has a little window; the four upper windows looking different ways; the door for entrance from eight to twelve, and to fifteen feet from the ground, without steps or stairs.”

In Scotland there are but two such towers, one at Brechin, and another at Abernethy, in Perthshire. We made a pilgrimage to the Abernethy tower in 1838. Thomas Simpson, the then beadle of Abernethy, informed us, readily, that it was built by the Picts 1300 years ago, and that a gentleman had read the whole account of it out of a book to his daughter. Thomas was, otherwise, very communicative and obliging, and under his superintendence we made a survey of this tower. We found that the height was under eighty feet. The door-way, which is on the north side, and attained by three steps, evidently of modern architecture, is about seven feet in height, and three in width. The diameter of the tower, inside, level with the door-sill, is seven feet ten inches. The thickness of the wall, at the door-way, is three feet six inches, but as the rybat of the door projects two inches, the true thickness of the wall here is three feet four inches; consequently the external diameter of the building is fourteen feet six inches ; but as this door-way, from the fall of the ground, is six feet nine inches above the foundation on the west side, the external diameter at the base will, most likely, be about fifteen feet. From the base on the west side, to the top of the door-way, a height of about fourteen feet, there are twelve courses of regular masonry of a dark-coloured stone, not unlike the Brechin stone. Above this the courses are of a yellow stone like the Cullalo stone, and the sills, rybats, and arch of the door-way are of this yellow stone. The doorway is of a very rude architecture, composed externally of six stones, one used for the door-sill, four for the side rybats, and one cut into a curve or arch for the lintel. The sill and rybats go through the wall; the lintel is backed by some small stones built in arch-ways. The top of the tower is attained by means of four ladders, resting upon wooden floors supported by internal rings or corbels, exactly similar to those of the Brechin tower. The first of these floors is level with the door-sill, and below this floor, there is a vacuity of three or four feet. By the help of the four ladders, the aspiring antiquarian may reach the floor where the bell is hung, but those who wish to attain the leads of the tower must apply to Thomas Simpson, or his successor, to keep the bell stationary, and then, by mounting upon the top of it, they will gain the highest floor, which is about three feet from the extreme top. This floor is covered with lead, in which there is a small hatchway, and the individual whose curiosity may induce him to mount so high, will be gratified by a beautiful view of the Tay and Earn, the Castle Law Hill above Abernethy, and the undulating grounds of Fife and Perth shires in the distance. Measured at this height, the internal diameter of the tower is found to be 6 feet inches, and the walls 2 feet 7 inches thick; but as the top is covered with stones which project with a moulding of about seven inches beyond the wall, the real thickness of the wall, at the top, is two feet, and, consequently, the external diameter nearly 10 feet 9 inches. The projecting moulding, we are informed, was added about the middle of last century. Previous to this addition, the tower must have have had a very unfinished-like appearance. The internal stone circles, or corbels, are six in number, supporting as many floors; and these projections all evidently form part of the original building of the tower. There is no stone roof, and so far this tower is defective in beauty compared with that of Brechin. Thomas Simpson said the Piets built it all in a night, and were about to put on the roof of a morning, when an old woman, looking from her window, frightened them away, and hence the building was left unfinished. At the top, and immediately below the highest internal ring or corbel which supports the leads of the building, there are four windows, but these do not look to the cardinal points, and we should suppose they are some three or four degrees of variation off the cardinal points. Each window measures, inside, about six feet in height and two feet in width. They are all arched, and, externally, there is higher circle some foot or so above that which gives light, and small carved pilasters, of which one or two yet remain, have supported or ornamented the external arch. In this respect they differ from the windows in the Brechin tower. The tower of Abernethy differs also from the Brechin tower in being composed of regularly squared and coursed ashlar of moderate sizes. Internally, there is the distinct appearance of the tower having been built to a circular mould or frame, the cement projecting beyond the stones, being run together to the circle, and smoothed on, not squared to, the joints of the stones. The cement upon the inner side of the circle has much the appearance of Roman cement; at the windows the lime appears in the centre of the wall, as if poured into the walls in a liquid state. Externally, the stones of the tower are pretty entire, except on the north-west side, near the top, and the joints having been pointed up about 1835, the courses of the building in 1838 were very distinct. In the interior many of the stones are very much decayed and eaten into, like water-worn stones, the softer parts being removed, and the harder standing out similar to ribs or joints. The tower is one-half within, and one-half without, the churchyard, the dike of which embraces the north-east half of the tower. Upon the south side of the tower, without the dike of the churchyard, and opposite to the Cross House in which the councillors make their elections and hold their magisterial feasts, and affixed to the wall of the tower, is to be found that ancient instrument of punishment, the “jugs,” an iron collar, namely, of three pieces, attached together by two joints, and which, opening in front to receive the culprit's neck, was then secured by a padlock, while, behind, it was fastened by a chain to the building, and thus the offender remained in durance till it pleased the men in power, and the keeper of the key of the padlock, to relieve him. Our friend Thomas Simpson assured us that the magistrates dared not now use this instrument of punishment, and as Thomas is town-officer as well as beadle and sexton, and as the day of our visit was the day of the election of magistrates and head court of the burgh of Abernethy, we deem ourselves as having derived our information from the highest, most direct, and purest source!!

Above Abernethy, a little to the south-west, is a hill, called the Castle-Law Hill, upon the top of which are the remains of a vitrified fort, which we visited; and amongst the names of places in the neighbourhood, we fincL Pittenbreigh, Pittendrioch, Ac., and below the hill, on the south side, we saw, if we mistake not, the remains of what is generally termed a Druid temple. Similar names of places, and similar druidical remains are to be found in the immediate vicinity of Brechin. The hill of Finhaven, on which are the remains of a vitrified fort, is at the distance of some five or six miles south-west from Brechin, and Catterthun is some four miles north-west of Brechin. We leave it, therefore, to abler antiquarians to ascertain if there is any connexion between these circumstances and the round towers of Brechin and Abernethy.

The Rev. Dr Small of Edenshead, Abernethy, who has written a book on Roman Antiquities, states the tradition regarding the tower of Abernethy to be, that it was erected as a burying-place for the kings of the Picts and to the doctor it is as clear as a sunbeam, that the Pictish race of Kings lie all buried within it.” In confirmation of this hypothesis, the reverend doctor writes, that on 10th May 1821 the interior of the tower was dug into, when, at about four feet from the surface, the sexton found, in presence of the gentlemen assembled, “ plenty of human bones, and the fragments of a light green urn, with a row of carving round the bottom of the neck,” and that, digging still farther, they “ came to three broad flags, which either served as the bottom of the first coffin or the cover of another, and by removing one which seemed the largest, found that there were plenty of bones below; and thus, after gaining our end in ascertaining the original design of building it, as a cemetery for the Royal Family, we desisted says the doctor. We introduced ourselves to Dr Small, from whom we purchased a copy of his work. We are quite satisfied he is a gentleman on whose veracity implicit reliance may be placed; but we rather fear he jumps at conclusions, and is not a little credulous—and, still worse, we doubt his antiquarian skill Shade of Huddleston, how wouldst thou shudder, if shades can shudder, to learn that Dr Small derives Pittendreich, your burial-place of the Druids, from two common Scotch words—ascribing the origin of the term to the circumstance of the Romans having “got a more dreich piece of road pitten to them,” when forming their famous way through North Britain! T^e doctor, in describing his researches in the tower, adds that the sexton of Abernethy afterwards found “ seven other human skulls all lying together, all of them full-grown male skulls,” buried in the tower, one of which, the most entire, was carried away by Sir Walter Scott. Our friend, Thomas Simpson, the successor of the sexton alluded to by the doctor, hints very broadly, that situated so close to the kirkyard as the tower is, there would be no great difficulty in finding skulls in the latter, when it was once seen there was a demand for them. Thomas applies to this case the famous axiom in political economy, that the demand regulates the supply.

Regarding such erections, Mr Pennant in his tour through Scotland has given the following observations:—"The learned among the antiquaries,” he remarks, “ are greatly divided concerning the use of these buildings, as well as the founders. Some think them Pictish, probably because there is one at Abernethy, the ancient seat of that nation ; and others call them Danish, because it was the custom of the Danes to give an alarm in time of danger, from high places. But the manner and simplicity of building, in early times, of both those nations, was such as to supersede that notion: besides, there are so many specimens left of their architecture, as tend at once to disprove any conjecture of that kind: the Hebrides, Caithness and Ross-shire, exhibit relics of their buildings totally different. They could not be designed as belfrys, as they are placed near the steeples of churches? infinitely more commodious for that end; nor places of alarm, as they are often erected in situations unfit for that purpose. I must therefore fall into the opinion of the late worthy Peter Collinson, that they were inelusoria, et arcti inclusorii ergastula, the prisons of narrow enclosures; that they were used for the confinement of the penitents; some perhaps constrained, others voluntary, Dunchad o Braoin being said to have retired to such a prison, where he died, A.D. 987. The penitents were placed in the upper storey; after undergoing their term of probation, they were suffered to descend to the next, (in all I have seen, there are inner abutments for such floors:) after that, they took a second step, till at length the time of purification being fulfilled, they were released and received again into the bosom of the Church. Mr Collinson says that they were built in the tenth or eleventh century. The religious were, in those early times, the best architects ; and religious architecture the best kind. The pious builders either improved themselves in the art by their pilgrimages, or were foreign monks brought over for the purpose. Ireland being the land of sanctity, Patria sanctorum, the people of that country might be the original inventors of these towers of mortification. They abound there, and, in all probability, might be brought into Scotland by some of those holy men who dispersed themselves to all parts of Christendom to reform mankind.” Mr Gough, the antiquarian, to whom we have already alluded, offers a pretty similar solution. He tells us, that “ about the year 1750, Mr Charles Smith, author of an account of the counties of Down, Waterford, Kerry, and Cork, who, with great industry, was searching ancient records for materials for these works, met with some ancient MSS. which clear up this long-disputed subject. From these, it appears that these towers were built in the 10th or 11th centuries, and were used for imprisoning penitents.” In the churchyard of Drumlahan, county of Cavan, Ireland, there is one of these towers, on the top of which, tradition asserts, an anchorite lived. Mr Harris, the gentleman,, who, in a work on the antiquities of Ireland, reports this tradition, states, that the earliest mention which he found of anchorites in Ireland was in the year 732. These anchorites were called Stelites, from their living on pillars; and Mr Harris adds, he was informed by a skilful critic in the Irish language, that a tower of the description in question is called, in that language, dock ancoire, or the stone of the anchorite, and not cloghad, or the steeple. The Styletic system began in the East in the year 460, and some anchorites are mentioned as late as the year 1200. Evagrius, an author, who writes on this subject, describes the mansion of the founder of the sect as cm a pillar 40 cubits or 60 feet high, but he also describes that of Simeon and that of Daniel as in a pillar. Notwithstanding of all this, the theory of Dr Small, though fanciful in many respects, is not unworthy of notice. The towers in question may have originally been intended for mausoleums, and the fact of only two being found in Scotland, one at Abernethy and another at Brechin, both of which places are reputed to have been seats of the Pictish kings, supports the notion that the towers were connected with that peculiar people, and might have been designed as mausoleums for their princes. The fact also that the door-way in the tower of Brechin is 5 feet 10 inches from the ground, and of Abernethy, about seven feet from the foundation of the building, gives room for supposing that the space between the ground and the doors may have been set aside for containing dead bodies. At Abernethy, there is an inner abutment, level with the door-sill, for supporting a floor, below which the bodies might have been deposited; at Brechin, there is a similar projection or abutment, about nine inches below the door-sill. We own we should like to see the interior of the Brechin tower dug into,* although, even if as many skulls were found as the sexton of Abernethy produced to Dr Small, we would not then conclude that the building had been erected expressly for a mausoleum, or that it was the vault of the Pictish kings, but we might then hazard a conjecture that some of the race had been interred at Brechin. The round tower of Brechin is much more perfect than the tower of Abernethy, and the materials are decidedly better; but the style of architecture at Abernethy, by squaring the stones and laying them in regular courses, is superior to the style of building at Brechin, where none of the stones are squared, and no regular courses are kept, and where, near the foundation especially, there are a number of broken joints, that is the joining of two stones being placed immediately above the joining of other two stones; but then the architecture of the doorway of the round tower of Brechin is decidedly superior to any part of the building of the tower of Abernethy; and although we long flattered ourselves that this difficulty was got over by supposing the Brechin door-way to have been introduced into the building at an after period, we are now as much convincedr as strict personal examination and the opinions of eminent practical masons can convince us, that this door-way and all its carving must have been put into the building at the time of the original erection. It may be conjectured that the tower was built in a hurry, of which, indeed, there are many proofs in the mason work, and that it was so hurried on to receive a royal corpse; but that, while the rest of the materials were being prepared in the most expeditious way possible, time, attention, and labour, were bestowed on the comparatively small matter of the door-way. Tradition, in Brechin, as well as at Abernethy, ascribes the erection to the Peghis; and although tradition has not reported at Brechin that they were interrupted by any old woman, it has stated that they were only allowed a trifle for their work, and were cheated out of part of this trifle; and, possibly, both traditions may import that the buildings were erected in comparatively short time. The existence of similar buildings in Ireland would not controvert the theory that they were originally intended as . the burying-places of princes, for, in Ireland, where there were, till a comparatively late period, so many independent kings, there may have been as many distinct burying-places. To be sure, the lozenge on the doorway of the tower of Brechin, throws a doubt upon the theory, that these buildings were erected as the burying-places of the Pictish kings, for it may be questioned if the Piets or Peghts used armorial bearings, or if the Pictish ladies carried their quarterings on a lozenge; but then there is another question, whether this lozenge, may not have been cut into its present shape from something else, at a recent period; and there is yet the more primary question, whether, what we have described as a lozenge, is a lozenge after all, although we are pretty well convinced it is really a lozenge or diamond.

We own Dr Small's speculation does not coincide with our opinions, and we are inclined to fall into Mr Collinson’s theory, approved of by Mr Pennant and Mr Gough, that the round towers in question were built by the religieuse of the tenth century, as places of mortification, and perhaps of sepulture, and we think the fact of the emblems of Christianity being found cut on stones, which are evidently part of the original structure of the Brechin tower, goes far to prove the correctness of this hypothesis.

Our readers will recollect the proof we adduced, (page 24.) that Henry de Lichton, vicar of Lethnot, gave to Patrick, bishop of Brechin (1354-84) a cart, made by Elisha Wright, to lead stones to the building of the belfry of the church of Brechin. Now, if the supposition we have made is correct, the stones which were thus driven could not have been driven for the erection of the round tower, which we suppose to have been erected nearly 400 years before. The belfry alluded to in the proceedings with the vicar of Lethnot, may have been the square tower, or steeple, in which the largest bell was hung, and which, since 1806, has been exclusively used as the belfry of the church, but we own we can scarce think the vicar of Lethnot would have been allowed to get off with so trifling a contribution as a cart, to assist in driving stones for so immense a building; and, besides, the square tower is universally called the steeple in all writings which have come under our notice. The round tower itself can scarce be meant, because, towards such an erection, the whole members of the chapter must have contributed more largely than Lichton did in the instance alluded to. The octagon top of the roiled tower is clearly of a different and superior style of architecture from the rest of the tower, and we cannot help thinking that, as the tower of Abernethy is without a top, the Brechin tower had originally been also without any top, and that the tower of Brechin had received its top for the purpose of being use# as a belfry, sometime about the year 1360; and that the top, then erected, was built by Patrick,* bishop of Brechin, in the same style as the square tower, bartizan, and steeple, then existing; for it is a legitimate conclusion, that the cathedral itself was erected when the bishopric was created by David I., and that the large steeple was built at the same time, or about 200 years before the belfry was built on the top of the round tower. Here, however, we are again met with the difficulty of the arms borne on the lozenge, for, as the practice of carrying armorial bearings was little known till the tenth century, and was not brought to perfection till nearly 200 years afterwards, we can scarce imagine that, if this tower was built in the ninth or tenth century, the arms of the founder could appear upon it. Granting that the lozenge is an armorial bearing, then the tower


 

must date somewhere about the year 1200, and, after all, the vicar of Lethnot’s cart may have assisted at the erection of it. We are almost satisfied that the figure, so often alluded to, is a lozenge, but we are by no means satisfied that it is an armorial lozenge, and rather conceive it to be one of those fancy figures which an architect would use to relieve the appearance of a heavy door sill, and that the lozenge and the two figures of animals at the comers were introduced for this purpose. This supposition, however, we hazard with very great diffidence, and we own our theory is not much less free from attack than that of our Pictish friends.

We find ourselves, however, bound to come to some conclusion, and we, therefore, offer it as our humble opinion that the shaft of the pillar, or round tower of Brechin, was erected somewhere about the year 1000, the cathedral and steeple about 1150, and the belfry, or top of the round tower, about 1360.

All this in the text we wrote and published in 1839, and as it has been often quoted, and not unfrequently misquoted and misrepresented by different authors since, in place of rewriting we prefer to allow it to remain as then printed, but with the explanations given in the foot-notes. We have now, however, to state that in the month of April 1842, the round tower was explored at the expense of the late Patrick Chalmers, Esq., of Aldbar, by the late Mr James Jolly, mason in Brechin, acting under our directions. The door facing the west, which was previously filled up with coarse stones, was opened; rubbish, which had accumulated to the first corbel, was removed to the depth of five feet; the natural soil was dug into for upwards of other five feet and under the foundation of the building; but nothing deemed of the least consequence having been found, a printed inscription, stating how the tower had been explored, was placed in a glass jar, enclosed in a leaden case, which was again surrounded by a thick oak box, well covered with coal-tar, the space between the lead and the oak being filled up with fine sand; and this box was then placed below the foundation-stones of the tower on the west side, and the natural soil dug out was replaced in the tower, and a stone pavement laid above it. We give in an appendix a detailed list, made up from day to day during the excavation, enumerating everything discovered in the bottom of the tower, which, according to our ideas, had served as a general receptacle for all the odds and ends of the several beadles of the church, and the refuse of the nests of the owls and of the jackdaws, called kaes in Scotland, which, from time immemorial, had built on the top of the tower. But some antiquarians may view the list in a different light. What we have said is no new idea on our part, as may be seen from the letter which we wrote at the time to William Hackett, Esq., of Middleton, in county Cork, Ireland, brother-in-law of the famous Father Matthew, and which we also give in our appendix. At the date of this exploration, the foundation of the tower on the south-east side was found to be 12 feet 2 inches below the door-sill; 10 feet 2 inches below the corbel or projecting course, where the digging was begun; and 5 feet 7 inches below the ground level outside; and the foundation on the west side proved to be 10 inches below the bottom of the foundation on the south-east side. The stones used in building the inside wall of the tower below the external ground level are all, with the exception of one freestone, rough whinstones, kept as near as possible to the circle, and the tower is shaken in three places below the external surface, apparently from the extreme pressure upon a coarse foundation. Mr Jolly was clearly of opinion that the slight vibrations of the tower, which occasionally occur in high winds from the south-east, may be ascribed to the fact of the tower being built on a circle or corbel of firm freestone masonry, placed on the rough foundation of whinstones, with projecting points brought to a level for the corbel with small stonea We know that the allegation of the occasional vibration of the tower is questioned by many; but we can vouch for having witnessed the motion of the tower on two several occasions, and several beadles have assured us of having seen the same thing repeatedly, while the late Mr William Shiress, slater, who had a house and garden adjoining the churchyard, proved the fact by erecting a perpendicular plank of wood, and watching the top of the tower appear and disappear beyond it on one stormy day, and calling on others to witness the same thing. We have noticed, at page 96, and in our appendix, the fact of the top of the steeple having been blown down in 1683.4 We have also noticed, at page 219, the repairs made on the tower in 1847.

On 29th September 1845, the famous Irish archaeologist, Dr George Petrie, visited Brechin, accompanied by some friends, and we had the pleasure of a long meeting with the worthy, mild, simple-minded gentleman, who is but recently removed from this earthly scene. Dr Petrie’s views exactly acquiesced with what we had published in regard to the round tower of Brechin; and in his “ Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland,’" a second edition of which was published shortly before his death in 1865, he reiterates his statements of the Irish and Scotch towers being of Christian architecture, and combats at great length all the different theories as to their pagan origin. We beg to refer to that beautiful volume. From pages 91 to 96 he discusses the round tower of Brechin, and, quoting the opinion given by us in our first edition, that the tower was erected somewhere about the year 1000, he says, “An opinion which I shall hereafter show is not far from the truthbut a purpose which he did not live to fulfil, although towards the end of his volume, at page 410, he again says, “The round tower of Brechin, in Scotland, as I shall show in the third part of this work, there is every reason to believe was erected about the year 1020, and by Irish ecclesiastics.” Indeed this is so far confirmed by drawings, which we have in our possession, of parts of the round tower of Cloyne in Ireland, the style of building of which is identical with the Brechin tower, while the storeys, the circumference, the thickness of walls, and the total height, 102 feet, correspond as near as may be with the Brechin tower. Dr Daniel Wilson, in his “ Prehistoric Annals of Scotland,” published in 1851, discusses the subject from pages 587 to 599, and comes to the same conclusion, that the Irish towers, the towers of Brechin and Abernethy, and the small church and tower of St Magnus, on the island of Egleshay in Orkney, were all built by Christian architects about the close of the tenth century. There is a fact worth mentioning connected with this Orkney church and tower. They are built of the unhewn clay slate of the district, and the tower, unsymmetrical, and bulging considerably at one side, much resembles the burgs so common in Orkney and Shetland. The tower on the island of Mousa in Shetland, of which a fac-simile is in the Antiquarian Museum of Edinburgh, is just a rude dry stone round tower, with the stair in the centre of the wall rising to the top in a spiral form. Can the round towers of Ireland and Scotland be the successors of the burgs of Orkney and Shetland, which they so much resemble in outward appearance? We think not; but the more ancient burgs in figure have certainly the style of the more modern towers.

In the “Le Revoir” at the end of our first edition we said, 14 On various parts of the church, steeple, and towers are to be found initials and dates, affording evidences of the longings after immortality which possessed the persons who cut these inscriptions, but affording no evidence of the date of the erections; at least the inscriptions yet discovered all subsequent to 1600 afford no clue to the date of the buildings.” We have nothing to add to this, but that the mason marks, which are also to be found on various places inside and out of these buildings, appear to us to be of very various dates and far from ancient.

We remain of our original opinion, that the shaft or pillar of the round tower of Brechin is of Christian architecture, and was erected about the year 1000,—most likely soon after 990, when, as noticed at the beginning of this work, (pages 3, 4,) Kenneth MacAlpine endowed a church at Brechin, as recorded in the ancient Pictish chronicles of that time; and that the belfry or octagonal top of the round tower was built about 1360. The cathedral and square steeple, we still think, dates about 1150.

We give in this work woodcuts of the church from three different points of view, and we also give an enlarged view of the door-way in the round tower. By comparing all these woodcuts, which, as already said, have been very carefully prepared from photographs, and especially by examining the woodcut of the door-way of the round tower, which gives, on an enlarged scale, each stone of the building identically as it exists at the present day; by such examination, the reader can satisfy himself of the correctness of our statements.

The cathedral is bounded on the south and east by a steep ravine, which is, by some, supposed to have also bounded the site of the church on the north, leaving the only access by the west. This theory is countenanced by the fact, that travelled or artificial earth has repeatedly been found, at a great depth, a little to the north of the church within the confines of the supposed ravine, and it is farther supported by the fact, that peatmoss, leaves, and deers’ horns have been found in digging graves of some depth, within six yards of the foundation of the steeple, while no appearance of original soil was to be seen.

To the east of the church is a lane, leading to the High Street, termed the Bishop’s Close. Over the mouth of this close, next the High Street, is a pend or arch, the sides of which display part of the ancient walls which enclosed the bishop s palace, and part of the abutments, from which sprung the original arch over this entry, which, as we believe, was erected by Bishop Carnock between 1429 and 1450. On the north side of this lane stood the bishops palace, but no vestige of it now remains, the foundation having been dug out when the house, formerly occupied by the senior clergyman, was erected in 1771. This house itself was demolished in 1850, and a new manse built in the grounds on the south side of the Bishop’s Close, while office houses were erected on the site where the bishop’s palace had. stood. When digging the foundations for the new manse in April 1850, there were found the remains of a strong wall, under ground, running east in a line with the south wall of the nave of the cathedral, supposed to have been erected to support the flat on which the new manse stands, all which is of travelled earth.

Near the round tower there lies an oblong stone which was dug out of the churchyard some years ago. The stone is covered with figures, and its general aspect very much resembles the outer case of an Egyptian mummy. We had the stone placed upright against the east side of the round tower, and a photograph of it taken in this position, from which we give a woodcut. The stone has at one time been used as a burial stone, for on the flat, or lower side, there is an inscription, in alto relievo letters, wholly illegible, as if worn out by feet passing over it, at the centre and foot, but bearing along the top and sides that “ Heir rests in the hope ” of a blessed resurrection, we presume, some now nameless wight, who, as the legend farther reads, “ feared God and eschewed ill, and departed” this world, we suppose, some 200 years ago, as little known now as the party for whom the stone was originally made. There are the remains of three stone coffins lying in the churchyard, but it is hard to say if this carved stone had been the cover of any of them. Most probably two of these stone coffins, which lie at the east end of the church, had formed receptacles for the bodies of some of the bishops of the see, who had, according to the practice of the Popish Church, been buried under the high altar; but this is mere speculation, as we have no history on the subject, only these two coffins were found near the place where the high altar must have stood. The third coffin, which is of larger dimensions, was found near where it lies, on the south side of the church. The two stone coffins first mentioned, and which were found more than fifty years before the third one, are placed alongside a vault or enclosed burying-place, belonging to the family of Speid of Ardovie, a family that has been long connected with this part of the country. On 6th May 1519, the Archbishop of St Andrews granted a charter of confirmation and novodamu8 in favour of Thomas Speid, of the lands of Cuikston, lying in the regality of St Andrews and barony of Kescobie, on the narrative, that Mr Speid and his ancestors had possessed these lands beyond the memory of man, without any interruption. On 9th September 1549, George Speid exchanged the lands of Cuikston for the lands of Auchdovey, now called Ardovie, in the parish of Brechin, by contract of excambion with Robert Carnegy of Kinnaird, and the lands of Ardovie have been in possession of the family of Speid ever since—for ten generations. Immediately opposite the Ardovie vault, and affixed to the ruins of the choir, is a monument, erected in 1806, by Alexander Ferrier, Esq. of Kintrocket, to the memory of his brother, Captain David Ferrier, who made a voyage round the world in the Dolphin, and who died in his native parish of Brechin in 1804, at the age of sixty. The fore churchyard has a monument to the memory of Mr Alexander Ferrier himself, who died in 1809, also aged sixty, and to whom might justly be applied the celebrated line of Horace, inscribed on the monument of Captain Ferrier:—

“Multifl Ule Bonis flebilie occidit.”

A modest stone, a little to the north of the Ardovie vault, records the death of Alexander Mitchell, “ who departed this life the 28th March 1800, aged one hundred and one years and two months and who, consequently, saw the year 1699, a century more, and the year 1800, and thus may be said to have lived for parts of three different centuries. The Bev. William Linton, A M., rector of the Grammar School for fifty-five years, died in 1832, at the age of eighty years, and a very handsome granite monument, built into the north wall of the churchyard, immediately adjoining the laige gate, records in classic Latin the acquirements of the learned gentleman. We have already noticed the inscription, built into the north-west wall, relating to the visitation of the plague in 1647.

William de Brechin, as we previously mentioned, founded the chapel of Maisondieu about 1256, and part of the walls of the chapel still remain. They are situated in the Maisondieu Vennel, or Lane, a little west of the Timber Market We give two views of the chapel, an exterior and an interior view, carefully engraved from photographs, and exhibiting each stone as it now actually exists. These views prove that the chapel had been, originally, an elegant little building of the pointed, or early English architecture. Within the building, there is still the remains of an aumrie, or ambrey and piscine, with an iron pipe for leading to the earth the water used in washing the holy utensils. The aumrie is seen in the woodcut. The house itself, and the property about it, with the superiority of some other lands, and a small revenue, payable from the farms of Maisondieu and Dalgetty, in the immediate vicinity, are generally gifted by the crown to the rector of the grammar-school during his incumbency, who hence takes the title of preceptor of Maisondieu, and in signing charters or other writings relating to his office, puts a Praeceptor Domus Dei * after his name. Alexander Hog, who held a chaplainry in the cathedral church in 1485, is the first person recorded as assuming the title of rector, which, however, is as old a title as many of higher pretensions. There have been instances, however, of these revenues being granted for other purposes than education. James Duke of Ross claimed the patronage of Maisondieu in 1488, for in January of that year there is a dispute before the Lords of Council between his nominee and another party, who pretended to have got a grant from the Pope, and this dispute is only settled on 26th February 1489 ; and the Panmure family seem at one period, previous to the year 1716, to have been in the receipt of the revenues. The annual income of the praeceptory at present is about 42,19s., besides occasional entries from vassals, and the property is estimated as being worth 960.

Within the burgh, at the junction of what was the Upper West Wynd with the Timber Market, now respectively called St David Street and Market Street, there is a house said to have been a hospitium of the Knights Templars, and which holds feu of the Earl of Torphicen as their successor in the superiority, lately and appropriately enough used as the Crown Inn, now belonging to, and occupied by, Messrs Dickson and Turnbull, nurserymen, and on which, till a recent repair of the roof, there was a small iron cross on the highest chimney. These knights had also some-lands in the neighbourhood, as there are pieces of ground, one on the estate of Southesk at Dalgetty,

called the Templehill, and another on the estate of Caimbank, close by Brechin, bearing the title of Templehill of Bothers.

A house at the foot of Chanonry Wynd, attached to which is an excellent garden, now belonging to Mr Mitchell, tenant of Nether Careston, was formerly the manse of the rector of Kilmoir, “ de antiquo manses rectoris de Kilmoir/’ says a charter of 1605 amongst the title-deeds.

We give a woodcut of the cathedral of Brechin from the west, carefully prepared from a photograph, in which the lower part of the round tower is exactly depicted. We also give an enlarged view of the doorway of the round tower, engraved from a photograph. Farther, we give a woodcut of a peculiarly carved stone, which, for the purpose of photographing, is placed against the base of the east side of the round tower. In all of these woodcuts the mason work of the round tower is represented exactly as it exists, each stone being carefully engraved as shown in the building. From these engravings, therefore, the reader may obtain a correct notion of the different styles of building of the tower, the cathedral, and the square steeple.

Since this doorway was opened, in 1842, the curved lintel of the top ia found to be composed of two 8tones, neatly joined and jointed. We give the exact dimensions of the tower, aa now ascertained, in a subsequent foot note; but here we may, in addition to what is given above, state that the door-way, at the sill, measuring across the whole stone, is 4 feet 5 inches, and at the spring of the arch, or circle, 4 feet 2 inches ; and that the wooden door now put on measures to the soffit of the circle 5 feet 6 inches with 8} inches for the circle,—in whole, 6 feet 2 inches.

While this work is pawing through the press, we find the following in the Athenceum newspaper of 16th February 1867 :—“ One of the most interesting of the ancient monuments of Ireland suffered damage in the hurricane of Wednesday week. The pointed stone forming the apex of the round tower at Ardmore, county Waterford, (weighing about 12 stones, and being 2 feet 6 inches in height,) was blown down, and, in falling, deeply imbedded itself in the ground. This conical cap of the very ancient pillar stood a little out of the perpendicular, having once been struck by lightning. The tower remains a venerable object of great interest. At the base of the tower a discovery was once made of two skeletons buried there, a circumstance which led to Mr Win dell’s assertion that the towers were used as burying-places, an assertion in which Mr Petrie could not agree. The old bell of the tower could be heard eight miles off, and its situation near the church, like that of other towers, may lead us naturally to infer that it was a campanile, detached from the church, as was once the case with ecclesiastical beU towers.” The tower of Ardmore, we have understood, is very like, in point of appearance and in height and dimensions, to the round tower of Brechin.


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