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The History of Blairgowrie
Chapter II

Authentic Records — Roman Invasions — Suetonius Paulinus — Julius Agricola—Galdus—Mons Grampius—Site of the Battle—A Bone of Contention—Opinions of Eminent Men—Tacitus—Description of the Battle—A Disputed Victory—Sad Experience of the Romans—False Reports—Vespasian—Evidences of the Struggle—Tulina—Emperor Severus—Bridge of Lornty—St Ninian’s Well—Invasion of Northmen —Kenneth M'Alpin—Regner Lodbrog—Inchtuthil—Battle of Stenton Craig—Bloody Inches—Church and Lands of Blair—Kinclaven Castle Taken by Wallace—Coupar Abbey—Robert the Bruce at Stormont Loch—Highland Caterans—Battle of Glasclune—Drummond Feud and Massacre—Queen Mary’s Summons—Offers by Murderers—Their Trial and Execution—Bond of Manrent.

THERE are no authentic records to inform us whether Blairgowrie existed prior to the Christian era, but in the early days of the Roman invasions, when these ruthless foreign marauders waged war with our countrymen, we have the knowledge that Suetonius Paulinus, in command of the Roman legions about 61 a.d., finished his last expedition to Caledonia, choosing as the scene of his operations the valley of Strathmore. In this campaign he had but little success until, in progress of his march southwards through the provinces of Albin, he encountered a formidable force under Caractacus, a British King, who for nearly ten years had waged successful war against the Roman arms. After a long and bloody fight the Roman legions triumphed, and the British King, being betrayed, was carried to Rome.

In 81 a.d. Julius Agricola, one of Suetonius Paulinus’ successors, and the last of the Roman Generals in Britain, entrenched his army to the east of the Tay in the Stormont, along that sward now known as the Haughs of Delvine. The country at this time, and for some years previous, was oppressed by Roman invaders, but an attempt was now to be made by the Caledonians, under Gaid us (the Galgacus of Tacitus), to free their country and sweep their foes out of it. It has long been a bone of contention amongst antiquarians and historians to locate the site of this battle, “Mons Gram pins,” but the researches of eminent men, amongst others Lieutenant-Colonel Bayl3, R.E., Superintendent of the Ordnance Survey, 1803, and Mr Knox, author of “The Map of the Basin of the Tay,” prove conclusively that the site of “Mons Grampius,” the historic battle between the Caledonians and Romans, was around Blairgowrie.

The Caledonians occupied the ridge of heights to the north of Blairgowrie, and extending from Mause to Forneth, a distance of about five miles. Their left flank was protected by the steep and lofty banks of the Ericht, their right by the deep ravine beyond Forneth and Loaning; Lochs Clunie, Marlee. Ardblair, and the Lunan Burn, strengthened by fortifications, which in parts can yet be traced, protected the front, a position which military judges have said was admirably chosen. The Romans were encamped along the banks of the Tay from Inchtuthil at Del vine eastwards as far as Meikleour, where their entrenchments can yet be traced. Tacitus, the Roman historian, who was present at the battle, thus describes it:—

“Galgacus (Galdus), the Commander of the Caledonians, harangued his host in one of the noblest speeches any General ever addressed to his soldiers. He concluded with these words:- ‘Your enemy is before you, and in his train heavy tributes, drudgery in the mines, and all the horrors of slavery. Are these calamities to be entailed upon us, or shall this day relieve us by a brave revenge? There is the field of battle, and let that determine. Let us seek the enemy and, as we rush upon him, remember the glory delivered down to us by our ancestors, and let each man think that upon his sword depends the hope of all posterity.’ This speech was received, according to the custom of the Barbarians, with war songs, savage howlings, and a wild uproar of military applause. Their battalions began to form the line of battle, the brave and warlike rushed forward to the front, and the field glittered with a blaze of arms.

“Agricola, the Roman General, also harangued his troops in most impassioned and eloquent strains, and concluded thus‘ Here you may end. your labours and close a scene of fifty years by one great, one glorious day. Let your country see, and let the Comrnon wealth bear witness, if the conquest of Britain has been a lingering work, if the seeds of rebellion have not been crushed, that we, at least, have done our duty.’ As soon as the General ended, the field rung with the shouts of applause, and, impatient for the offset, the soldiers grasped their arms. Agricola restrained their ardour till he formed his order of battle. The auxiliary infantry, in number 8000, occupied the centre; the wings consisted of 3000 horse. The legions were stationed in the rear at the head of their entrenchments to support the ranks if necessary, but otherwise to remain inactive, so that a victory obtained without the effusion of Roman blood might be of higher value. The Caledonians kept possession of the rising ground, extending their ranks as wide as possible to present a formidable show of battle. Their first line was ranged on the plain, the rest on a gradual ascent on the acclivity of the hill. The intermediate space between both armies was filled with the charioteers and cavalry of the Britons rushing to and fro in wild career and traversing the plain with noise and tumult. The enemy being greatly superior in number, there was reason to apprehend that the Romans might be attacked both in front and flank at the same time. To prevent that mischief, Agricola ordered his ranks to form wider range. Some of the officers saw that the lines were weakened into length, and therefore advised that the legions should be brought forward into the scene of action, but the General was not of a temper to be easily disuaded from his purpose. Flushed with hope, and firm in the hour of danger, he immediately dismounted, and, dismissing his horse, took his stand at the head of the colours. The battle began and at first was maintained at a distance. With their long swords and targets of small dimensions, the Caledons had the address to elude the massive weapons of the Romans and at the same time to discharge a thick volley of their own. To bring the conflict to a speedy decision, Agricola ordered three battalions of Bavarians and two Hungarian cohorts to charge the enemy sword in hand. To this mode of attack these troops had been long accustomed, but to the Britons it was in every w ay disadvantageous. Their small targets offered no protection, and their unwieldy swords, not sharpened to a point, could do lmt little execution in a close engagement. Tin Bavaiians rushed to the attack with impetuous fury, they redoubled their blows, and with the bosses of their shields bruised the enemy on the face, and, having overpowered all resistance on the plain, began to force their way up the ascent of the hill in the order of battle. Incited by their example, the other cohorts advanced with a spirit of emulation, and cut their way with terrible slaughter. Eager in pursuit of victory, they pressed forward with determined fury, leaving behind them numbers wounded, but not slain, and others not so much hurt.

The Roman cavalry in the meantime was forced to give ground; the Caledonians in their armed chariots rushed at full speed into the thick of battle where the infantry were engaged. Their first impression struck a general terror, but their career was soon checked by the inequalities of the ground and the close embodied ranks of the Romans.

Nothing could less resemble au engagement of the cavalry. Pent up in narrow places the Barbarians crowded on each other, and were dragged or driven along with their horses. A scene of confusion followed. Chariots without a guide, and horses without a rider broke from the ranks in wild disorder, and, flying every way as fear and consternation urged, overwhelmed their own files, and trampled down all who came in their way.

Meanwhile the Britons, who had kept their position on the hills, looking down with contempt on the scant numbers of the Romans, began to quit their station. Descending slowly, they hoped, by wheeling round the field of battle, to attack the victors in the rear. To counteract their design, Agricola ordered four squadrons of horse, which he had kept as a body of reserve, to advance to the charge. The Britons poured down with impetuosity and retired with equal precipitation. At the same time, the cavalry, by direction of the General, wheeled round from the wings and fell with great slaughter on the rear of the enemy, who now perceived their own stratagem was turned against themselves. The field presented a dreadful spectacle of carnage and destruction. The Britons fled, the Romans pursued; they wounded,- mangled, and gashed the runaways, seized their prisoners, and butchered them on the spot. Despair and horror appeared in various shapes. In one part of the field the Caledons, sword ill hand, fled in crowds from a handful of Romans; in other places, without a weapon left, they faced every danger and rushed on certain death. The field was red with blood. The vanquished Britons had their moments of returning courage, and gave proofs of virtue and brave despair. They fled to the woods, and, rallying their scattered numbers, surrounded such of the Romans as pursued with too much eagerness. Agricola saw the danger, and ordered the light cohorts to invest the woods.

The Britons, seeing the pursuit was conducted in compact 'and regular order, dispersed a second time in consternation, each seeking his own personal safety. Night coming on, the Romans, weary of pursuit, desisted from the slaughter. 10,000 Caledonians fell in the engagement and about 5000 Romans. The Roman army, elated with success and enriched with plunder, spent the night, in exultation; the Britons, on the other hand, wandered about helpless and disconsolate.

The following day displayed to view the nature and melancholy silence all around, the hills deserted, houses at a distance involved in smoke and fire, and not a mortal discovered by the scouts; the whole a vast and dreary solitude.

Agricola was at length informed by those who were sent out to explore the country that no trace of the enemy was anywhere to be seen, and no attempt made in any quarter to muster their forces.”

Tacitus the historian, and son-in-law to Agricola, the Roman General, in the narrative of the battle just described, naturally gives his powerful father-in-law the advantage of any disputed victory to gild his illustrious arms.

Tacitus, moreover, gives the speeches of the Roman and Caledonian Generals before leading their armies to battle. It may have been the custom with the Roman Generals to address their soldiers, but if Galgacus delivered a speech, it was when he could be neither seeu nor heard by any save his own soldiers, for it is recorded by other historians that the Caledonians attacked the Romans in the night, nearly seized their camp, but were prevented by the advance of other legions. Further, if we consider the limited boundaries of the Caledons, and the internal dissension prevalent in the country at the time, it is difficult to accede to the number of the army, Instead of 30,000 men, it is more likely that 15,000 would be the utmost figure. We are also informed by the Roman historian that the Caledonians were defeated. If this was so, why did the Roman army not keep possession of the field, and how do other historians inform us of the Romans’ sad experience of the Barbarians.—The Barbarians drive us to the sea, and the sea drives us back to the Barbarians, leaving us only the choice of being put to the sword or be drowned; nor have we any defence against either.

The reports of the campaigns in Britain, sent and carried to Rome, must have been beyond measure false and designing on the Emperor and the people, insomuch as Josephus, another historian, says of Vespasian:—“This was he who finished the conquest of Britain, which before, was neither perfectly subdued nor known.’’

An eminent historian visiting these fields, and surveying the numerous evidences of the severe struggle, says:— “Virtuous men will revere the memory of Galgacus and the Caledonians who here bravely drew their swords for religious liberty. In this field 10,000 fell resisting the reckless ambition of Rome, and while we surveyed the mouldering cairns raised above their graves, we felt we were treading amongst the ashes of heroes and of patriots in righteous battle slain.”

Another historian, speaking of the place, remarks:—“For miles around every yard of ground marks a soldier’s sepulchre, and every inch of turf has been dyed with the best blood of Scotland.”

Boetius, another historian, says that “the Picts hail a town called Tulina on the elevated tract of land at Delvine, which they deserted and burnt on the approach of the Romans.”

In 138 a.d, the Romans again traversed the district, and once again, in 207 a.d., Severus, the Roman Emperor, and his legions encamped at Meikleour. It is generally supposed that the lower arch of the bridge at Lornty was built at this time, the work being ascribed to the Romans.

St Ninian, one of the earliest Christian Celtic missionaries, on his tour through Scotland, pitched his camp where the Wellmeadow now is, and quenched his thirst at an old well or spring which ever afterwards bore the name of “St Ninian’s Well,” until it was covered in and the water led into the town drains.

History is silent regarding the events of the district for many hundred years, until about the year 831 a.d., when Alpin became king of the Scots. As grandson to ITnngus, king of the Picts, he (being the only male survivor of the family), laid claim to the kingdom of the Piets. After a number of reverses, the Picts chose as their king, Brude, who immediately took active measures against Alpin. He levied a large army, crossed the Tay at the Castle of Caledonia (Dunkeld), and marched with all speed he could eastwards to the country of Horestia (Angus), where he was met by King Alpin with 20,000 men. At the time the armies joined battle Alpin was viewing the scene from a vantage point, and, observing one of the wings of his army to give way, he went forth with great force till, giving a fresh charge on his enemies, he was unfortunately taken prisoner. The Scots no sooner saw their king taken than they betook themselves to the mountains, while the Picts, remaining victors of the field, beheaded Alpin, and affixed his head to a pole which they erected in the centre of their chief city. Before the accession of Kenneth (or Kenneth MacAlpin, son of Alpin, as he is properly termed), at Dunkeld, in 843 A.D., the country was terribly ravaged by the Danes or Norsemen. Kenneth, making peace with the Scots of the West, engaged them in a common defence against their mutual foes. Daily incursions were made against the Danes, who had taken possession of and fed upon the rich lands of Strathmore.

Regner Lodbrog then ruled over the nations on the shores of the Baltic—a man who made every throne in Europe tremble. Word having been brought home of the doings in Scotland, he resolved in person to punish Kenneth for his audacity in interfering with his countrymen. Lodbrog landed an army in the Tay in 847, and at once advanced and took possession of the old Roman encampment at Inchtuthil (on the Delvine estate). The Vikings—as these sea-kings were called—first fortified their position by forming a camp on the south side of the Tay, to guard a ford of the river near the present Bridge of Caputh, in order to provide against surprise from that quarter, and then at once proceeded against the outworks provided by Kenneth for the defence of his capital, the principal of which were on Stenton Craig, where very considerable works had been executed, part of the remains of which exist to this day. After much hard fighting these advanced positions fell, and Lodbrog found himself with his army looking into the steep gorge leading to Dunkeld, with MacAlpin and his men strongly posted on the top and sides of the mountain, ready to dispute the passage. A more uninviting outlook than the Vikings had before them could scarcely be presented. Nevertheless, Lodbrog led his men to the assault, when a dreadful carnage ensued. Kenneth and his men were wholly victorious, and drove the Northmen out of the pass, when hundreds of them were drowned in the river Tay attempting to escape from the swords of the Scots and the rocks that were rolled down upon them. A tradition exists that, after the battle, Kenneth caused a cross to be erected near the spot where the bulk of the Danes were buried, on the little haugh near the river side, and by which the road then led. History also well records that in the following year Kenneth and his men signally defeated the Danes, led by Lodbrog, who lost upwards of 4000 of his men, vainly trying to ferret Kenneth out of his stronghold by approaching past Butterstone and Cairnie, at which places the brunt of the fighting took place.

After this disaster the Danes fled to their encampment at Inchtuthil followed by Kenneth and his victorious army, who, after a time, compelled Lodbrog and his men to quit their camp and take refuge on the islands of the Tay, a little lower down than their former camp at Inchtuthil. Here the Scots sat down before them until the river had sufficiently fallen to enable them to attack with success, and they had not long to wait before the assault was made, when Lodbrog was driven out with immense slaughter. In the old maps of the country these islands are called “The Bloody Inches.” Prom them the Danish King was carried to his ship wounded, and he has referred to this fatal day in an epieidum, or death-song, still extant, for, along with his fighting propensities, he was also a poet.

The valley of Strathmore was a very favourite hunting-ground of Malcolm Canmore, who is accredited ith the building of Kinclaven Castle, about the year 1080, as a hunting seat. The building of the Castle of Ardblair in 1175 is also credited to Alexander de Blair, one of the favourite courtiers of William the Lion.

It is recorded in the papers of the Monastery of St Marie, at Coupar Angus, that “ an agreement was entered into between the churches of Blair and Coupar Angus, at a Synod held at Perth, on 1st of May, 1201,” and on the 1st of June, 1235, Alexander II. granted, at Traquair, “lands in Meikle and Little Blair to the Abbey of Scone, excepting a small portion in the feu of Meikle Blair, which he gave to the monks of Cupar (Coupar) in exchange for the common Muir of Blair, of which they had the use.”

The Church of Blair was consecrated by David de Bernham, the Bishop of St Andrews, on the 13th September, 1243.

The Castle of Kinclaven was held as a Royal residence by Alexander II., and is mentioned in the year 1261, when payments were made for the carriage of wine to Kinclaven and for the repairing of a boat.

The Scottish patriot, William Wallace, in his early years received his education at Dundee, where he formed an attachment to John Blair (of the family of Ardblair), a Benedictine Monk, who afterwards became his chaplain, and compiled a history in Latin of the Scottish hero’s deeds.

In June, 1297, King Edward I., in his progress northwards, visited Kinclaven, and stayed there one night. Shortly afterwards, with a handful of men, Wallace besieged and took the castle—“a castell wondyr wycht” —putting the entire garrison to the sword, including Sir James Butler, the Governor. Blind Harry, the Minstrel, describes an engagement between the English garrison aud Wallace, some little distance from the castle, the defeat and flight of the funner, pursued by the Scots, toward their stronghold, where

“Few men of fenss was left that place to kepe,
Wemen and preistis upou the wall can wepe,
For weill thai wend the fleais was their lord,
To tuk them in tliai maid thaim red) ford,
Leit doun the bryg, kest up the yettis wide,
The freyit folk entrit, and durst uocht byde.”

Here Wallace and his followers stayed seven days, spoiled and wrecked the place, and, under cloud of night, betook themselves to the neighbouring woods, and

“The contre folk, quhen it was lycht of day,
Gret reik saw ryss, and to Kinclewyn thai socht.:
Bot wullis and stane, mar Łud thai fund thai uocht.”

* * * * * *

“In till Kinclewyn thar duelt uane ajrayne
Thar was left noeht bot brokyn wallis in playne.”

In 1309, at Dundee, King Robert I. continued a charter to the Abbey of Coupar, bestowing the lauds of Muir of Blair upon it. There can be little doubt that the Blairs, Herons, and Drummonds, the three powerful families in the district at the time, with their retainers, such as were able to bear arms, assisted the Bruce, and rendered him yeoman service in the grand engagement at Bannockburn in 1311.

Id the chartulary of the Abbey of Scone is a letter, dated Clackmannan, 20th of March, 1320, from King Robert the Bruce to the Sheriff of Perth, commanding him to take charge of the Loch of Blair (Stormont Loch) :n view of the King’s arrival in the neighbourhood. In the chartulary is a second letter on other matters, dated Clunie, 4th August, 1320. and a third and fourth are dated Alyth, 5th and 0th August the same year. It is reasonable to suppose that in August, 1326, King Robert fulfilled his intention and fished the Stormont.

From another document in the Scone Chartulary, dated February, 1330, it appears that in the reign of David II. the ownership of the church lands of Blair was in dispute. The Bishop of St Andrews laid some claim to it; the Abbey of Cambuskennetb stretched out a ghostly hand ; and the Abbey of Scone retained its hold. In the document referred to the question is settled. All the lawful rights to the lands and pertinents of the Church of Blair are finally and elaborately made over, by William the Bishop of St Andrews, to the Abbey of Scone. It is ordained that a payment of money shall be made or continued to the Abbey of Cambuskennetli, and as for the Bishop himself, the church of Carrington (in the Lothians) with the rights and pertinents, presently the property of Scone, shall be transferred to him. The Church of Blair, then, with it revenues, was given over to the Abbey of Scone in 1356, and confirmed to the Abbey in a Bull by Pope Gregory XI. of the year 1373. The Bull narrates “ that Carrington, though it ‘ abounded in revenues,’ was distant from Scone, and the way was difficult; whereas, Blair was close at hand, although its revenues were but small.” A Bull of Benedict XIII., a duplicate Pope, dated 1390, in the reign of Robert III., narrates that “the Abbey of Scone had been put to great expense, and had suffered serious loss, by many different meetings of the nobility and magnates concerning the affairs of the kingdom.” The Bull, therefore, confirms to the impoverished Abbot and Convent several churches, including that of Blair.

In 1384 an Act was passed for the suppression of masterful plunderers, who get in the statute their Highland name of cateran:—“Qui transierint ut Katherani, tomedendo patriam et consumendo bona comitatum et capiendo per vim et violenciam bona et viituaiia.” By this statute all men might seize caterans and bring them to the Sheriff, and, should they refuse to come, might kill them without having to answer for the act. This is the first of a long succession of penal and denunciatory laws against the Highlanders, on whom, no doubt, there was ample provocation to retaliate.

King Robert the Third’s brother, Alexander, named the Wolf of Badenoch, had an illegitimate son, also named Alexander, who made, during his life, a considerable figure both in Scotland and France as Earl of Mar. Whether or not he obtained any of the Highland property, he succeeded to his father’s propensities and his influence over the Highlanders. With a large following he descended from the Braes of Angus on a grand plundering expedition against the agriculturists of the lowland districts of Forfar and Perth. The landed gentry of this district gathered for its defence, and met the invaders near Glasclune. They fought, of course, and the affair, though a small one, was sharpened by the hatred to each other of the races whose antipathy was all the more bitter that they were near neighbours and nominally under the same government.

It is the earliest recorded example of the method of Highland warfare such as it continued down to the latest of our civil wars. The method was a simple rush or bound upon the enemy, and a reliance upon the impetuosity of the blow breaking his defences. If it failed to do so, the assailants instantly turned ; if strong enough they might make another rush, but if not they would disperse their several ways, and the war was at an end for a time.

In this instance, at Glasclune, 1392, the rush was successful: the Lowlanders, mounted men >and footmen, were swept before the torrent. Sir David Lyudsay, "that worthie was and wycht,” in command of the Lowland force, trying to make head against the torrent, as a mounted man, had trodden several of the Highlanders down, and had one of them pinned to the earth with his long lance. Thereupon, in the words of Old Wyntoun, the chronicler.

“That man held fast his own sword Into his lieive, and up throwing He pressed him, not again standing That he was pressed to the earth;

And with a swake there of his sword,

Through the stirrup-leather and the boot Three-ply or four, above the foot,

He struck the Lyndsay to the bone.

That man no stroke gave bot that one,

For there he died. ’

Sir Walter Scott could not but see the value of such an incident in heroic narrative, and accordingly, in the poem “Lord of the Isles,” he brings it in at the death of Colonsay’s fierce lord :—

‘“Now then,’ he said, and couched his spear,
My course is run, the goal is near;
One effort more, one brave career
Just close this rare of mine.’

Then in his stirrups rising high
He shouted loud his battlecry,
‘Saint James for Argentine!’
And of the bold pursuers, four
The gallant knight from saddle bore;
But not unharmed—a lance's point
Has found the breastplate’s loosened joint,
An axe has raised his crest;
Yet still on Colonsay’s fierce lord,
Who pressed the chase with gory sword,
He rode with spear in rest,
And through his bloody tartan’s bored
And through his gallant breast,
Nailed to the earth: the mountaineer
Yet writhed him up against the spear
And swung his broadsword round!
Stirrup, steelboot, and cuish gave way
Beneath that blow’s tremendous sway,
The blood gushed from the wound;
And the glim lord of Colonsay
Hath turned him on the ground;
And laughed in death pang, that his blade
The mortal thrust so. wrell repaid.”

In 1430 one of the Blairs of Ardblair was Abbot of Coupar Abbey. In 1500 Bishop Brown of Dunkeld erected Clunie Castle, and in it (in 1560), was born James Crichton, afterwards so well known as the Admirable Crichton, the greatest Scotsman of any age.

About this time, throughout Scotland, family feuds were very prevalent, and one very remarkable example of one of these deeds of violence, connected with the locality, is recorded in “Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials” under the year 1554. On the third day of June of that year, the Lairds of Gormack, Ardblair, Drumlochy, Clayquhat, and Knockmaliar—all places in the vicinity of the Um n and their retainers, to the number of eighty, waylaid and attacked George Drummond and his son, William (of Newton Castle), “in ye hie mercate gate, behynde ye Kirke of Blair,” and barbarously murdered them both. The trial is fully reported in “Pitcairn,” and will be found well worth perusal, not only on account of the peculiar circumstances attending the murder, but also in connection with it, the Laird of Drumlochy, one of the delinquents, entered into one of those extraordinary obligations called “Bonds of Manrent,” which bound the granter to serve the grantee, and fight on his side in any quarrel, just or unjust, in which he might be engaged with any of his neighbours, or, as the document expresses it, “again is all and sindrie personis, our Soveraine Ladye and ye auctoritie of this realm allenarlie excepit.” This extraordinary conspiracy and deliberate murder afford a most illustrative picture of the lawless condition of the country at the period, and the inveteracy and ferocity with which each petty laird took the law into his own hands, and, either with his retainers or the assistance of his friends and neighbours, fought out his particular feuds or quarrels. It vw\s also too frequently the case that, in place of meeting the enemy in a fair field, every advantage was taken to surprise him unawares and unprepared; and that those outrages were but too common, little regarded, and very leniently dealt with, is proved by the fact that, for this shameful aud deliberate murder, an attempt to compound it “by pilgromaigis, doing suffrage for the soule of the deid,” and a certain money payment, although, as it happened in this ease, “the wyf an’ bairnis” of George Drummond could nowise be content with the offer, and so, at least, two of the guilty persons suffered the penalty of their crime by decapitation.

George Drummond, \\ ho apparently purchased the lands of Newton of Blair, about 1550, is the first whom we understand to have been styled George Drummond of Blair. He married Janet Halliburton of Buttergask, who bore to him two sons, George, who succeeded, and William.

The following is the summons for apprehending and bringing the Laird of Gormack and his accomplices before the Queen and Privy Council:—

“Marie, by the Grace of God, Quiene of Scottis to our own Shireff of Perth and his deputis and to our deputis and lovittis, Archibald Campbell, Thomas Drummond, messengeris our scheriffs, speciale constitute, grating and forasmeikl as it is humlie menit and complenit to us be yu lovittis the wiffe, bairnis, kin and friendis of umqle George Drummond of Leidcrief and William Drummond his sone, upon William Chalmer of Drumlochie, William Rory, George Tullyduff, etc. : George M'Neskar, fidlar, his householdmen, Robert Smith (and cottars) tenantis to ye laird of Drumlochie, John Blaire of Ardblaire, Andro Blair, Thomas Blair his sones, David 31‘Raithy his householdman, Patour Blair (and two others) tenentis to the said Laird of Ardblair, William Chalmer in Clayquhat, Alexander Buttir, half-brother to John Buttir of Gormack, William Blair, David Blair of Knockmahar, John Blair, Patrick Blair, his sones, William Young of Tornence, and Thomas Robertsone, tenentis to ye said Laird of Gormok, quhilk is with fhair complices with convocation of our leigis to the nomer of 30 personis bodin in feir of weir with jakkis, coittis of mailye, steil bonnetis, lance staffis, bowis, lang culverings with lichtit luntis, and utheris wappinis, invasive recentlie upone Sounday, ye thirde day of June instant, before none, of ye counsalling, devysing, causing, sending, command assistance, fortefeing1, and ratihabitioun of ye said John Buttir of Gormack, come to ye said umqle George Drummondis, Perroche Kirke of Blair, to haif slanc him, the said 'William, his sone, and utheris being with him in company and, becaus they could nocht cum to -thair perversit purpois, they passed to the Laird of Gormokis place of Gormok and thair dynit with him, and send furth spyis that he was cuming furth of his place, thai with thair complices with ye said Laird of Gormokis householdmen and servantis bodin in feir of weir of his causing, sending, devysing as said is with convocation of our leigis to ye nomer ot 66 personis, ye samin day at twa houris or thairby efter none ischit further of ye said Laird of Gormokis place foirsaid and imbeset ye gait to ye saidis umqle George and William his sone, where they were doublate alane at thair pastyme play and at ye rowbowlis in ye hie mercate gait behynde ye kirke of Blair in sober manner, tiaisting na truble nor harm to haif bein done to them, but to haif levit under Goddis peace and ouris, and thair crewellie slew them upon aid feid and forethocht felonie, set purpois, and provisioun in hie contemption,” &c.

The murderers, finding themselves in an awkward predicament, and believing they were likely to obtain their deserts at the hands of the hangman, appeared to have endeavoured to compromise the matter with the family of the murdered men, and the following is the offer they made with that view :—

The offeris offered be the laird of Gormok, etc., to young George Drummond of Blair for the slauohter of his father—Thir ar the offeris quhilk the Lordis of Gormok, Drumlocliye, and Ardblair, and their collegis, offeris to my Lord Drummond and to ye sone of umquhile George Drummond, his wyf and bairnis, kyne and friendis—item:

“In primisTo going or cause to gang to the four heid pilgromaigis in Scotland.

“Secondlye:—To do suffrage for ye saull of ye deid at his Paroche Kirke or what uthir kirk they pleis for certaine yeiris to cum.

“Thirdlye:—To do honour to ye kyne and friendis as effeiris as use is.

“Ferdlye To assyth ye partye is content to gyf to ye kyne wyf and bairnis—Imp. 1000 rnerks.

“Fyfthlie Gif thir offeris be noch suffeycent thocht be ye partje and ye friendis of ye deid, we ar content to underlye and augment or pair as reasonabil friendis thinkis expedyent in so far as we may lefsumlie.”

It appears that the foregoing “offeris” were not considered adequate by Lord Drummond and the other parties concerned. The first, second, and third offers were considered of no value, therefore “ Chalmer of Drumlochye and otheris, his friendis,” made an amended offer:—

“To offer to his Lordship and ye partye ane nakit sword be ye point, and siclike to do all uthir honour to my lord, his hous, and friendis that sail be thoueht reasonabil in siclike caisis—to give iny lord and his airis his Bond of llanrent in competent and dew form sic as may stand in ye Actis of Parliament and lawis of this reaJme—because throu extrame persecutioun be ye lawis of this realme ye said William has nother landis, gudis, nor money, he thairfor offeris his soni* marriage to be mareit upon George Drumniondis dochter frelie without onie tocher and siclike ye marriage of ye said Williame Chalmer his cousing to ye said George sister—to offer any uthir thing quhilk is possabil to him as pleis my lord and friendis to lay to his charge except his lyfe and beretage."

It does not appear whether or not the above modest proposal to marry the son and cousin of the “murderer” to the daughter and sister of the “murdered” man, “without ony tocliir,” was cari'ied into effect; but the promised “Bond of Manrent” was duly executed, for which the said William Chalmer was freely pardoned by the said George Drummond, but although one of the principal murderers thus escaped the gallows, others of them met their due deserts.

“August 4, 1654.-—John Buttir of Gormok, denounced rebel and put to the horn for not underlying the law for art and part of the cruel slauchter of George Drummond of Ledcrief and William, his son.

“John Crechton of Strathurd and James Hering of Glasclune, his cautioners, were accordingly amerciated.”

“16th Nov., 1354.—George. Gordon of Scheves, James Gordon of Lesmore and Gilbert Grey of Scheves found caution to nnderlye the law at the next aire in Aberdeen, for resetting, intercommuning, and supplying William Chalmer of Drum loch ye and his accomplices, rebels, and at the horn fore the aforesaid slauchter and for affording them meat, drink, and otheris necessaries in the months of July aud August last."

“12th Dec., 1554.—Patrick Blair, in Ardblair, and Robert Smyth, in Drumlochye, alias Henry, convicted of the slaughter of George Drummond and William, his son. Beheaded.”

The following is a copy of the extraordinary document known as the “Bond of Manrent ” :—


“Be it kend til al men be thir present letteris me Williame. Chalmir of Drumlochie that fforasmeikill as ane noble and michty lord David Lord Drummond and certaine utheris principalis of the four branch is and maist speriale and neirist of ye kin and friendis of umqle George Drummond of Leidcrief and Williame Drummonde his sone for thame-selfis ami remanant kin and friendis of ye said umqle George and Williame, hes remitet and foregevin to me thair slauchteris, and gevin and deliverit to me thair letteris of slanis thairupone: and that I am oblist be vertew of ane contract to gif ye said noble lord my Band of Manrent as ye said contract and letter of slanis deliverit to me fullie proportis — Thairfore to be boundin and oblist and be thir present letteris bind is and obligsis me and my airis in trew and awfald Band of Manrent to ye said noble and michty Lord as chief to ye saidis umqle George and Williame his sone, and ye saidis Lordis his airis, and sail take thair trew and awfald part in all and sundry thair actions and causis, and ride and gang with thame therein upon thair expenses when they require me or my airis thairto, againis all and sindry personis, our Soveraine Ladye and ye auctoritie of this realme allenarlie exceptit. And heirto I bind and obliss me and my airis to ye said noble and mychtv lord and his airis in ye straightest form and sicker style of Band of Manrent that can be devisit na remied nor exceptioune to the contrary.

“In witness of ye quhilk theng to thir present letteris and Band of Manrent, subscrivit with my hand, my seil is hanging at Edinburgh yn fift day of December ye zier of God ane thousand five hundreth fiftie aucht zeiris befoir thir witnesses—Andro Rollock of Duncrub, James Rollock his sone, John Graham of Gormok, Maister John Spens of Condy and Lawrance Spens his bruthir with utheris divers.


“William Chalmir of Drumloquhy.”

From this time, 1558, for a period of nearly eighty years, we have no records, civil or political, regarding the district.

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