The near approach of
the centenary anniversary of the death of Burns suggested to the
author of the following pages the desirability of having some
account, however meagre and inadequate, of the past and present
history of the parish from which sprung the family rendered now
world-famous by the genius of the great Bard.
The author, alike from observation, traditionary report, and his own
reading, was for a considerable time impressed with the conviction
that there was enough of material for a history of the Parish of
Glenbervie, cither already recorded, or to be got from trustworthy
sources, sufficient to make a small volume, having some interest for
natives and residents, if not for a larger public.
Besides the very considerable reading and research involved in its
preparation, there was necessarily a considerable discrimination to
be exercised, not only as to the relative value of whatever came to
hand, but also a careful sifting, as to whether it was fact or
fiction. The author, therefore, while endeavouring honestly to
“prove all things and hold fast to that which is good,” trusts that
the public will look with an indulgent eye on the many •shortcomings
and inaccuracies which no doubt will be apparent to many of those
who honour him by reading the little work.
The history of the neighbouring parishes of Fordoun and Laureneekirk
has been ably dealt with already, but the author, whilst possessing
the good sense and humility to recognise their complete superiority
in respect of matter and merit with the present work, yet ventures
to hope that there may be here and there scattered through these
pages something, however small, towards the elucidation or
composition of a complete county history.
Amongst the many who have rendered valuable assistance to the author
only a few can be mentioned, although grateful thanks are extended
To Mr James Badenach Nicolson and Mrs Nicolson, Glenbervie ; the
Rev. W. Gordon and Mrs Gordon, The Manse; the Rev. R. M. Boyd, F.C.
Manse; the Rev. John Brown, E.G. Manse, Bervic, Clerk to the
Presbytery of Fordoun, and many others in the parish and
neighbourhood the Author is indebted for much of his information. A
special word of thanks is also due to Mr W. Reith, one of the oldest
residenters in the parish, for many reminiscences of the past.
In the publication of the work valuable counsel and help have been
afforded by the editor of the Montrose Standard; and to Mr William
Watson, of the same office, the author is under a deep obligation
for his kindness and help in many ways.
The Bums Chapter has been revised, and in great part rewritten by Mr
Edward Pinnington, whose, enthusiasm for and extensive knowledge of
Burns’ matters are a guarantee of the correctness of the matter
contained therein. It is almost entirely taken from a series of
copyrighted articles published by him, some time ago, in the Glasgow
Evening Xeics and the Montrose Standard, under the title of “ Burns
in the. North.” These papers, it is his intention, to republish in
book form. The amount of Burns literature nowadays is so vast, and
of such easy access that the author did not feel called on to do
more in this special chapter than exhibit the salient points of the
historical connection of the Bur nesses with the parish. The general
scope of the work will tend, it is hoped, to show rather the
environing circumstances and conditions of the parish under which
many of the Burnesses lived.
In addition to the sources of information already noticed, the
following works, among others, have been consulted:—Jervise’s
“Memorials”; Scott’s Fasti Eeclesiae Scoiicancc; Dr Roger’s
“Genealogy of Burns”; Fraser’s “History of Laurencekirk”; Mollyson’s
“History of Fordoun”; “The Annals of Fordoun,” by Dr Cramond,
Cullen; Robertson’s Agricultural Survey; The Black Book of
Kincardineshire; The Old and New Statistical -Accounts of the
Parish; The Gleubervie Kirk-Session Records, &c., &c.
The author will be obliged to those who point out to him any errors
in matter of fact, so that they may, if necessary, be corrected in
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