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Strathmore Past and Present
By The Rev. J. G. M'Pherson (1885)


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 Club Miscellanies.

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.

Ruthven Manse, March, 1885.


The Abbey of Cupar
Lethendy and Kinloch
Eassie and Nevay

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