Thursday, 27 August 2015

Crieff Past and Present Published on the 7th JANUARY 1888

 The ’45 Uprising and what happened in Crieff

In the three and a half  years I have  been editing the Strathearn Perthshire  Local History Blog , numbers  following the site have  risen considerably. Currently we have  some 3 000 " hits " per month and what  has proven more than a little  surprising is the geographical distribution of  our readers across the globe.  Approximately  one third are  from the United Kingdom Regrettably we cannot identify  the actual number logging  on from here in Scotland but in probability  it will be around 500 to 600 or , as a percentage somewhere between  15 and 20 % . The largest viewing  contingent outside the UK  is  from the USA closely  followed  by Germany . Statistics  show that we have  a considerable number of viewers in Russia, France , China and Canada as well as in other  countries  scattered a cross the Globe ! Do trust we can continue  to keep you all interested !

I have  chosen a topic  which invariably arouses  passion and interest when discussed  amongst Scots at home and abroad . The Jacobites - followers  of the Royal House of Stewart - rose against William and his wife Mary who had  been crowned joint monarchs of Scotland England and Wales in 1689 . Their  succession was known as the " Glorious Revolution " as it had ousted the Catholic James II of  Great  Britain and Vll of Scotland .James supporters  were known as Jacobites .The revolution  may have been glorious in the eyes of the staunch Presbyterians  of the Scottish Lowlands particularly those  who inhabited the counties of Ayr and Dumfries and Galloway in the  south west corner of Scotland . This  was the land of the " Covenanters " and who themselves  had  been victims of persecution in those turbulent days . 

There is a degreee of romanticism   about the Jacobites and  indeed  the not so " Bonny " , Prince Charlie ! Hollywood in the 1950s turned out a Brigadoon style stinker on the Prince  featuring the so called Scottish David Niven ( he was actually born in London ! ) - film star of yesteryear ! It was a a flop at the box office .

Notwithstanding , Scots , do have a  tendency generally  to support the Jacobites instead of the Hanoverian " Redcoats " in any reproduction of the skirmishes of the 18th Century . Much of the  failings of both  the 1714 and 1745 Uprisings are attributable  to the incompetence  of the Jacobite leaders . In the 1714 " set  to ", the incompetence of the Earl of  Mar played a not inconsiderable part in its failings . In the 1745  it was the  inability of the command  to listen  to Lord George Murray , an outstanding General , that posted  failure . Much of the aftermath  of the '45  cast a dark cloud  over the country . The brutality of the Duke of Cumberland lived on and he is always  known as " Butcher Cumberland " north of the Tweed . Cumberland was the third  and youngest son of George ll . The plant  known as Sweet William  was named after  him . In Scotland the name 'Stinking Billy' was applied to a weed by the Highland Scots - it is Ragwort which is smelly and poisonous to horses.  Memories  are indeed long !

I reproduce  below an account  about the '45 Uprising and how it affected Crieff . Written in 1888 it recalls  a number of facts handed  down through local families and accordingly makes history that bit closer ! Read on :

In 1745 the Town was again interested in the Rebellion . The Duke of Perth entered actively into the Uprising but few of his tenants would follow .Some of the young men of Crieff joined the Rebels , amongst them being Lewis Caw, who held a medical appointment in the Highland Army , and is reported to have been a great favourite  with Prince Charles, who in the later period of his wanderings in Scotland adopted the name of Lewis Caw .

 On the 19th August 1745 , the standard of rebellion was raised at Glenfinnan and at the same time General Sir John Cope , Commander  in Chief of the army in  Scotland, left Edinburgh with an army of nearly 2 000 for the North . They encamped for a short time east of Crieff, on the grounds of Ferntower , where they were visited by the Duke of Athole and the Laird of Glengarry. The spring of water at the spot is now known as Cope’s Well . It was expected that many recruits would  join the army in its Northward march, but, being disappointed , General Cope sent back from Crieff, 700 stands of arms . He was much inclined  to return to Edinburgh, but peremptory orders from Government made him continue his Northward journey . After Prince Charlie had  run his race in the South he returned  with his army to the North. Halting at Crieff in February 1746 for two or three days, he divided his army into two divisions purposing to reach Inverness by different routes .

During the times the Prince was about the town, the various tradesmen had full employment , and tradition says that they had  to make it a labour of love with a view to get quit of the starving and  unthankful host .The last generation used  to recapitulate the stories of their forefathers at this eventful time . One saddler  who repaired some of the trappings  of the Prince’s horses was known as Prince Morrison, which title descended to his posterity. When the Highlanders left Crieff, they forced all who had horses in and around the town to enter an appearance and convey the baggage  to Aberfeldy , a distance of  23 miles over “ moors and mosses many O . “ Payment was promised on reaching this village, but instead of payment each man was glad to give the baggage and the army the slip and seek the nearest way home. 

The Highlanders were anxious to give the town another “singe “ but the Duke of Perth prevented it . We have frequently heard  stories of that time , several of which referred  to the immense quantity of spoil the Highlanders – acting independently- used to carry away Northwards over the Glenturret Hills .Pots and pans  were favourite spoil. An old man named  McRorie , who lived at Bridge of Turret , West from Crieff, about the beginning of this century witnessed their movements in small and large parties away up to the glen . Ferntower House , the old Drummond Arms Hotel  and several other houses were reported to have lodged the Prince .

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Crieff Crimes of Yesteryear !

Nowadays  citizens of Crieff and indeed the whole country are confronted  by a raft of legislation  concerning the family car ! The punishment  for contravening  the laws  are  extensive and quite draconian . Private car parks , parking meters , average speed cameras , lines  on the road , traffic  wardens  (aka blue meenies !! ) and so on and so on !
In days  gone by , long before Mr Daimler  had invented  the four wheel metal  box , crimes  were of a different nature and indeed  a different scale of punishment . I have  had  a look through the archives  pertaining to the town in the 18th and 19th centuries  and judge  for  yourself  whether a £60 parking  fine is  more tolerable than some of the felonies  listed below !

In 1770, Andrew Wilson from Aberfoyle  and Janet Graeme his wife were tried at Perth Circuit Court for breaking into the Waulk Mill at Monzie and stealing there from two pieces of cloth . They were found guilty and banished to the Plantations ( America ) for life .
In June 1776 John Fisher alias Anderson from Alloa was found guilty of shop breaking in Crieff and condemned to be hung at Perth. He was hanged on the 24th July .

At Edinburgh on the 19th February 1781 , James Maxtone , stocking maker , James Fisher and David Campbell his apprentices , James Fisher , apprentice to William Key, weaver , all of Crieff, and William Ross, day labourer , Pittenzie , Crieff, were indicted at the instance of the King's Advocate for having on the evening of 16th December 1780 , assembled  with other associates in a riotous and tumultuous mob , and broken into the dwelling house of William MacLellan, meal seller, Crieff, and assaulted his person , dragged him violently out of his house , put him upon a cart , carried him in that manner throughout the streets , and then along the highway to the River Earn , where they threw him in with the cart above him, where he was almost drowned . After a searching trial , the jury found the libel not proven against Maxtone and Fisher , his apprentice ; but found unanimously against the other Fisher , Campbell and Ross. By a plurality of voices Fisher and Campbell were recommended to the mercy of the Court on account of their youth. It appears that Campbell went into the water and rescued MacLellan when he was almost drowned. He was dismissed with an admonition , and Ross was  kept in Edinburgh Prison till 18th April and then sent to Perth prison , and  whipped publicly the first market day through the streets and set at liberty and then to leave Scotland within twenty days never to return . Fisher was sentenced to 5 months imprisonment and Campbell to three months, and afterwards to find caution to keep the peace for 12 months under a penalty of 308 Merks Scots each. There were great meal riots about that period in Perthshire, and Church Officers were enjoined to ring the church bells on the appearance of any mob. On this signal the lieges were commanded to repair to the churches on horse and foot, and armed as best they could to get instructions for further action.

In the 18th century, the County Justices had great power and their proceedings were viewed with awe by the populace. With the exception of capital offences, all manner of cases were brought up at their Courts. According to reports, a Justice would sometimes sit on his own case. Frequent ludicrous cases were tried, and amused both judge and audience .Amongst them was a case of a man from Muthill who had struck his wife. The Bench rebuked him for his action. He answered that he considered a weaver had as much right to thrash his wife as any other body. So much for 18th century sex equality!

Another case was that of two Gallowhill weavers. One had a game cock and the other a pig. The cock had gone into the piggery and was picking away when the pig opening his mouth caught the cock’s head and neck and tried to swallow them. But the body of the cock could not get in and after a short struggle the cock ceased to flap its wings and the pig got choked. The owner of the pig sued the owner of the cock for damages and vice versa. The Justices enjoyed the trial and in the end decided that the piggery was the domain of the pig and that the cock had no right to enter therein without authority. Had a pig intruded into the hen coop and the cock swallowed the pig, it would have been different. Judgement was given in favour of the owner of the pig.     

Maybe a £ 60 ticket aint that bad after all !