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The History of Fettercairn
Chapter VIII.—History from 1747 to 1861


IT^ROM the middle of the eighteenth century down to the first year of Queen Victoria's reign (1837) there are no parochial events of much importance on record. Any noteworthy incidents which did occur are such as can be treated, along with relative subjects, in another part of this book. But on the occasion of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the 28th June, 1838, the villagers of Fettercairn, like those of more recent days, were not behind in their manifestations of loyalty. Under the heading of "Fettercairn," a local correspondent of the Montrose Standard writes as follows:—

"Our little village was not behind in the general rejoicing on Thursday last. Although we did not follow in the wake of some of the neighbouring towns, in founding public buildings, the day was employed in pulling down part of our church, to make way for a handsome steeple and additional church accommodation, about to be erected by the munificence of several of our public-spirited proprietors. A flag was displayed from the Forbes Arms Inn, and * the artillery of Heaven' came very seasonably to supply the want of our ordnance department. A neat selection of fireworks, procured by subscription, was let off about ten o'clock p.m. from the Forbes Arms Inn, to the gratification of several hundreds who had by that time assembled in the village, and who afterwards retired to Fettercairn House to witness a similar display by the Lord of the Manor, Sir John Stuart Forbes, Bart., who supplied them with a bumper of real Fettercairn to pledge the health of 'our maiden Queen.' After three long and loud huzzas, the whole party broke up in perfect harmony and good order."

The cost of the steeple referred to was defrayed by Sir John Gladstone; and that of the addition to the church by him and the other two resident heritors, viz., Sir John S. Forbes, and Captain, - afterwards Colonel, M'Inroy.

In 1847 gaslight was introduced into the village through the enterprise of two brothers, Alexander and David Ross, both blacksmiths, the one at the Burn, and the other at Stankeye. In 1852 the latter, with his family, emigrated to Australia, like many another in that year, and the works were offered for sale. Sir John S. Forbes and the leading householders of the village formed themselves into-a joint-stock company with a capital of 250 in 1 shares. They paid 150 for the plant, and carried on the business with ordinary success. But after a few years, owing ta the cost of necessary repairs, the high price of coal, and the consumpt of gas falling off on account of the cheapness of paraffin, and improvement of lamps, the concern had to-be wound up with a call upon the shareholders, and the company dissolved in 1879.

The Burn and Fettercairn Curling Club, the oldest in the Mearns, was formed in 1848. All the resident proprietors who founded the club are now dead and gone; but they were keen, keen curlers, like as are now their successors. The Burn and Fettercairn ponds, as also the beautiful expanse of ice at Fasque lake, have on many a. happy occasion been the scene of a well-contested bonspielr and the joyous boom of the stones as they sped their way over the ice from crampit to tee could, on a quiet frosty day, be distinctly heard in the village of Fettercairn, although the lake at Fasque is more than a mile distant. Schoolboys—the curlers of the future—were all put on edge at the sound, for, so long as they did not cross the rink, had they not the privilege of skating and of learning from their seniors something of the mysteries of the "roaring game" Then, too, on occasion, lady patronesses-provided curlers' fare, hot and toothsome, from their respective mansion-houses, and sometimes a share of the-good things came the way of an enterprising boy.

In the long and frosty winter of 1880-1, Lord Clinton,. then at Fettercairn House, was a keen player. His lordship wrote and composed a song, Horo, Curlers! and presented each member with a printed copy. At his own cost, he enlarged and improved the curling pond in Fettercairn House grounds. Of all the original members in 184& only one survives, Mr David Prain, the unwearied secretary,. who, as a leader of the game, has never been excelled^ Of humorous incidents on the ice, one may be given: "Hollo! John, you've fallen through, up to the middle. Water enough; get out and run home for your whisky!"

In 1855, the Fettercairn District Subscription Library was instituted; and in the movement Lady Gladstone and the late Rev. Charles Aitken, incumbent at Fasque Chapelr took a leading part. It consisted at first of about 600 well-selected volumes. The old and disused libraries of the Parish Church and of the Farmers' Club were added to it, and from time to time new works of importance. The library is now kept in the Reading Room of the Public Hall, and is open to readers once a week.

On the 28th of July, 1858, Miss Forbes of Fettercairn. was married to her cousin, the Hon. Charles Trefusis, now Lord Clinton. The village was en fete. The people held holiday, and the school children were entertained by Sir John S. Forbes.

The Fettercairn Corps of the 4th Kincardine Rifle Volunteers was started in 1859. The movement was a popular one, and many parishioners of influence joined the local company. An excellent Rifle Range was found at Glenburnie. It was one of the best and safest in the country, and provided firing points up to 1000 yards.


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