These Articles were
originally written, at the request of the Proprietor, to appear in the
columns of the Perthshire Advertiser. They were meant for the general
readers of a newspaper. Accordingly, my object was to make the sketches
interesting, in some way, to all: accurate enough for the ecclesiastical
and historical student, yet readable and instructive for those who have
less liking for antiquarian lore.
Some friends, whose
opinions have always a considerable influence with me, have at last
persuaded me—though after no little reluctance—to acknowledge the
authorship, and collect them in the more permanent shape in which they
now appear. And, though I have carefully revised the Articles, they are
reprinted, to a great extent, in the same order, and with the same style
and aim, as in their first appearance in the Advertiser.
The first Article is the
History of the Abbey of Cupar, and its influence on the religion,
education, and agriculture of the district; then follow sketches of the
sixteen parishes in the “ Howe of Strathmore; ” and the volume concludes
with the History of the Priory of Rostinoth, in Forfar. It has been
impossible to get for the volume a title which would give an exact idea
of its object, and the ground gone over. It is more than a series of dry
statistical accounts, though each parish has been made a separate study.
Special attention has been given to the Ecclesiastical Antiquities : I
have ransacked the Registers of the Abbeys and Priories—especially of
Cupar, Arbroath, Dunkeld, St. Andrews, and Lindores—and have examined
for myself the original, contracted, Latin charters, to ensure accuracy.
The history of the several Churches has been traced from their
foundation, with occasional characteristic extracts from the Parochial
records. The Topographical Sketches are from personal observation;
descriptions of the landscape from several points being given. The most
interesting fauna and flora to be found, the characteristic climate, and
the physical features of each parish, are specially described. The
Secular History deals with facts and carefully-sifted traditions; the
several Castles being the centres of the narratives. The Antiquities of
the district are full of interest, not only to those living in the
Strath, but to all Scotland. The development of the manners and customs,
the vicissitudes of agriculture and trade, and the prominent social
features, are described and freely commented upon. Illustrious persons
born in, or connected with, the district have not been forgotten.
Occasional anecdotes and poetic illustrations have been introduced to
lighten the reading.
I have, I think,
acknowledged, throughout the work, the valuable authorities to which I
am indebted. Besides the Registers already mentioned, I would especially
notice Chalmers’ Caledonia, Lord Lindsay’s Lives of the Lindsays,
Jervise’s Land of the Lindsays and Memorials of Angus, the two
well-known Statistical Accounts of the Parishes, Skene’s Celtic
Scotland, Wilson’s Pre-historic Scotland, the Proceedings of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, Edward’s Angus, Ochterlony’s Shyre of Forfar,
Myln’s Bishops of Dunkeld, Robertson’s Agriculture, Scott’s Fasti,
Billing’s Ecclesiastical and Baronial Antiquities, Grose’s Antiquities
of Scotland, Stewart’s Sculptured Stones, Browne’s History of the
Highlands, Cunningham’s Church History, Allan’s Abbots of Cupar,
Duncan’s Ecclesiastical Law, Forbes’ Saints, Keith’s Scotch Bishops,
Laing’s Catalogue of Seals, Hooker’s Perthshire Illustrated, Gardiner’s
Flora of Forfarshire, Douglas’ Peerage, and the Spalding and Bannatyne
A pleasant part now
remains. I sincerely thank the ministers and session-clerks who have,
with considerable trouble, assisted me. And I specially thank the Rev.
George B. Lunan, B.D., Minister of Newtyle, for having carefully revised
the proof-sheets, so as to make the volume as accurate as possible.
To me, this has been a
work of special pleasure. The Publishers now offer it at a very
reasonable price; and my object will be consummated if it affords
interest, instruction, and a fresh thirst for research to those who
peruse its pages.
J. G. M'PHERSON.
Ruthven Manse, March, 1885.
The Abbey of Cupar
Lethendy and Kinloch
Eassie and Nevay