A wide choice of topics covered from the dawn of history right up to present days . Many of these have a wider relevance than purely within the context of Strathearn . The author's viewpoint often is at variance with the accepted opinions espoused elsewhere eg The Jacobite Uprisings and The Reformation .
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
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 !
story is one of the sad tales of the Strath. This ancient family once were one
of the dominant influences in Strathearn and their names appeared with frequent
regularity as the centuries unfold. The Graeme family of Inchbrakie are however
still around. There is a most excellent web site http://www.inchbrakie.com/ which provides a
superb source of research and information into not only the family but also
their domicile up until the late 19th century at Inchbrakie . Anthony Graeme ,
a present day descendant and a most charming person , lives in far off Devon
but is a frequent visitor here in Strathearn .Interestingly , there are here in
Crieff, a couple of roads bearing that
illustrious name .One wonders just how many of the inhabitants of houses in
those specific airts know much about the original name ! We are, however , most fortunate that the family history of the
Graemes was painstakingly recorded in a book Orr and Sable – a book of the
Graemes and Gr…
The Cursus of Crieff – More of Our Incredible Past !
We have looked at in previous Blogs , the considerable number of known Neolithic or New Stone Age sites around Strathearn and indeed Crieff . The numbers seem to grow by the year and are an increasing part of our heritage . They are relevant not just in a local sense but on the national and indeed international archaeological stage . They date back some 6 000 years and are older than many of the pyramids of Egypt ! Apart from the ancient tomb discovered 150 years ago on the ancient site of the Stayt of Crieff on Broich Road , most recent discoveries include the timber circle at Pittentian and the habitations at Forth Cottage at Fendoch at the entrance to the Sma Glen .
Perhaps however the most incredible was the realisation that we had in our own back yard on the site of the new Strathearn Campus a Neolithic cursus . No , a cursus is not some celestial finger of doom pointing at our fair town an…