Showing posts from July, 2012

Alexander “ Snacks ” Taylor (1862 –1954) : Crieff Soldier's Incredible Military Record

Alexander “ Snacks ” Taylor (1862 –1954)
Alexander “ Snacks “ Taylor was often referred to as “The Grand Old man of The Black Watch” This obituary to him appeared in the Perthshire Advertiser on the 31 July 1954.
Mr Alexander Taylor who was the oldest veteran of 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch and the oldest man in the 1939 – 1945 war to wear the King’s uniform, has died in Perth Royal Infirmary at the age of 92. He was a native of Auchterarder and until recently ran a one-man tobacconist’s business in Crieff. He served on CrieffTown Council for seventeen years including a spell as bailie. Mr Taylor who was in the Home Guard in the last war was at he age of 83 was thirty-three years with the Black Watch and attained the rank of Colour Sergeant. He wore ten medals ranging from the Egyptian Campaign Medal of 1885 to the Defence Medal of World War ll and including the M.S.M. Recently he was presented to the Queen Mother at Dundee as a Black Watch veteran. Last year Mr Taylor completed fifty…

General Sir David Baird ( 1757 to 1829 )

General Sir David Baird (1757 –1829)

David Baird was born at Newbythe in East Lothian, the fifth son of David Baird an Edinburgh merchant on the 26th December 1757. Technically he is not a Strathearn man but such was the impact he made on our community, that it is incumbent on the author to include “ Oor Davie “ in this "Blog". The family were descended from the Bairds of Auchmeddan in Aberdeenshire and moved a few years later to a large house at the top of Castle Hill in Edinburgh .His father died when he was only eight and his mother found herself having to bring up seven boys and seven girls. He purchased a commission in the 2nd Foot (the Queens Regiment) that had been intended for one of his older brothers who had died unexpectedly. He was an ensign and not yet fifteen. After a year at a MilitaryAcademy, Baird joined his Regiment at Gibraltar and so began his illustrious military career. What transpires from early on is that Baird was unlike so many …

The Story of Ferntower House

There has been considerablediscussionrecently regarding thestate of decrepitude ofmany of the olderand betterknownbuildingsin Crieff . The Drummond Arms , the old Parish Church in Church Street ( aka the Community Hall ) , the George or Strathearn Hotel and the old Crown Hotel in East High Street . Onedoesnotto travel too far back in timeto recallthefate ofmany other fine buildings in Crieff and indeed in Strathearn on a wider basis .
Although I devoteda small spacesomemonthsback to Ferntower HouseI finditso fascinating that I havedecided  I am going to elaborate furtherandincludemore informationabout it andits mostcelebrated occupant General SirDavid Bairdwhose monument dominates so much of the Strath . It was a building not renownedforany great architectural meritbut rather for its part in the overalltapestry oflife in the Strath over two centuries .
Once the home of the Preston family in the 15th century the lands of Ferntower were forfeited to the Crown .These landsseemed separate …

The Burning of The Strathearn Towns & Villages : PART TWO

" Bobbing John " - the incredibly two faced  and incompetent Earl of Mar , Jacobite leader at Sheriffmuir
The Chief official in Scotland was the King’s brotherJames , Duke of Yorkand Albany. He was not an Episcopalian but something even worse in the eyes of many Presbyterians , a convert to Catholicism ! In 1685 he succeeded to the throne on Charles’s death . In England opposition was strong and William of Orange , ruler of Holland was invited take over the throne . His wife , Mary was James elder daughter. James went into exile and William became King . Scotland followed suit and when William guaranteed a Presbyterian ascendancy in Church matters he became King of Scotland .

The struggles continued . Claverhouse whom James had created Viscount Dundee moved north and raised an army of James supporters or Jacobites . He moved south and defeated General MacKay at Killiecrankie but was himself shot . The next battlewas at Dunkeld where a Cameronian regiment ( founded by th…


My Personal Point of View

Assomeone who hasstudied history over a number of decades I havebecome acutely aware how important itisto present facts and information in a straight unambiguousfashion . I had the pleasure a number of years ago to study , through the Open University, asuperb courseon Family and Community History .This disciplinedcourserapidlyinstilledwithin me how imperative it is toensure thatyou gather togetherthe factsandthe sourcesbefore settingforth on a dissertation that couldbe radically flawed ! Bearing thisin mind I looked at thereportonthe“ Burning “ of Crieffas writtenby one John Drummond the recumbent Presbyterian Minister . Biased bigotry prevails and ascard carrying member of the “ Kirk “was suitablyshockedto readof the narrow minded parochialismthat Drummond and his ilk projected . Read on with open mind !


Historical background

To properly understand the “ burnings ”, it is necessary to look bri…