Friday, 25 March 2016

A Look At Ochtertyre Its Tenants And Holdings In 1865.





I have in my collection , the original Rental Book for Ochtertyre Estate near Crieff  covering the years 1865/ 1866 . That was some 150 years ago , and , as  you would expect , things  have, since then , changed more than a little ! In those far off days , the Laird  was Sir Patrick Keith Murray ( born 27 January 1835 ) and his  residence was Ochtertyre House built in 1785/1789 to the design of architect ,James McLeran . The Estate was a thriving source of income to the Murray family .  The Rental Book shows the holdings of the Estate  split into the three distinct areas all owned  by the  Murray family . These  were Ochtertyre itself ( to the  west of Crieff ) , Fowlis Wester (east of Gilmerton ) and Fowlis Easter  immediately  west of Dundee . The  Roll lists building leases , farms , holdings of labourers and cottars , grass parks and dwellings .


Rental Book for Ochtertyre Estate 1865/1866

Ochtertyre

A.  Building Leases

1.Hosh Farm , Mill and Distillery : John Wright’s Heirs

2.Burn House : Agnes MacGregor

3.Turretbank Sawmill : George Morgan

4.Hosh Excisemen’s Houses : John McCallum



B.  Labourers and Cottars



1.   Land at Quoig : Duncan Dewar

2.   Land ast Quoig :Peter Murray

3.   Land at Quoig : William Brown

4.   Land at Quoig : Benjamin Taylor

5.   Part of Monzievaird School Gardens : Monzievaird Heritors

6.   Granite Lodge Crieff :John McIntyre

7.   West Quoig Pendicle ( North ) : Peter McCallum

8.   West Quoig Pendicle ( South ) :Mrs Duncan McGregor

9.   Ground at House of Burn : Mrs Duncan McGregor

10.               Upper Quoig Pendicle : Daniel McIldowie

11.               Turret Enclosure : Georg Morgan

12.               Grass in wood at Turret ( for cutting ) : George Morgan

13.               Bleach field Island: George Morgan

14.               Oakbank : Duncan Alexr. Campbell

15.               Old Bridge of Turret House & Garden : Ann Halley

16.               Old Bridge of turret House & Garden : William McRorie

17.               Cauldhame : Robert Wilson

18.               Laggan Quarry : Alex. McNeill & Wm Baynet& Son

19.               Locjhend House :James Duff

20.               Badoochalloch: Misses Keay



C.  Farms

1.   Carroglen : George McFarlane and his heirs

2.   Currochs Smithy : Andrew McGregor

3.   Old Glebe : Andrew McGregor

4.   Laggan :Lauchlaan McPherson

5.   Glenturret Farm : Peter McCallum

6.   Monzievaird Brae :Archd. & Donald Campbell

7.   Locherlour : James & Alex Kemp

8.   Locherlour :Donald Campbell

9.   Hill& Mains of Callander :McCulloch & McAra

10.       Mains of Callander : McCulloch & McAra

11.       Hosh Land & Mills : George Morgan

12.       Culcrieff : James Rait

13.       Culcrieff Upper |Wood & Grazing : James Rait

14.       Culcrieff Lower Wood & Grazing : James Rait

15.       Galvelbeg Field : John Herron

16.       Grass Parks : Sundries ** ( see below )

17.       Glenturret Lodge & Shooting : Robert W Draper Esq.

18.       Carroglen Shooting : Colonel Reeves

Grass Parks ( 16 above ) : Season 1865

1.   East Ledbowie : William Cousin , Dunblane

2.   Mid Ledbowie : Thomas Thomson , Muckhart

3.   West Ledbowie : Peter McCallum ,Glenturret

4.   South Ballintra : John McCulloch , Stonefield

5.   East Ballintra:Thomas Thomson

6.   West Ballintra :Donald Lamont , Carsehead

7.   Churchfield South:John Killen , Tirchardie

8.   Churchfield North :Andrew Rodgie , Gilmerton

9.   East Tomintoshach: I & I McIsaac, Monzie

10.               West Tomintosach : I & I McIsaac , Monzie

11.               Lurigan : Peter Donaldson ,Crieff

12.               Clush : John Philips,Dalchonzie

13.               Garden Park : Peter McAinsh , Woodburn

14.               Lochside : Thomas Thomson

15.               Greenend : Donald Campbell, Monzievaird

16.               Turret Haughs : Donald Campbell, Monzievaird

17.               West Park : John McIvor , Muckhart

18.               Lower Kinlochan : Duncan McInnes , Cowden

19.               Upper kinlochan : Andrew McGregor , Currochs

20.               Middlethird : John McCallum , Findoch.

Fowlis Wester

1.   Blairmore : James Buchan

2.   Burnsde Pendicle : Duncan Drummond

3.   Carsehead :Donald Lamont

4.   Drumphin: Robert Carmichael

5.   Forenaught: William Allan

6.   Newbigging : William Allan

7.   Westden : Heirs of Robert Buchan

8.   Castleton : Mr James Barclay

9.   Castleton : James Buchan Jun.

10.               Castleton : John McAra

11.               Castleton : John McKerchar

12.               Castleton: Mrs McKeich

13.               Wood Grazing : John McCallum

14.               Old Toll House of Gorthy : James Buchan Sen.



Fowlis Easter

Note ( March 2016): Fowlis Easter Castle

Despite the substantial rebuilding the Gray's sold the site in 1667 to Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre who occupied it until the eighteenth century. But around 1780 they shifted their main residence to Ochtertyre House leaving the castle abandoned until Sir Patrick Keith Murray extensively renovated and updated it in the mid-nineteenth century (another carved stone gives the date as 1862) to support farm workers on the adjacent estates. Later a modern extension was added to the north side of the Tower House whilst the cone shaped roof is also modern and unlikely to have represented the original design. Today the castle is a private residence with no public access.




1.   Mill and mill Lands : Henry Jack


2.   Berryhill : Mr John MCNaughton


3.   Northleys and Piperdam :Mr John McNaughton


4.   Binns: William Watson


5.   Binns : Benjamin Irving


6.   Crausley : Peter Bell


7.   Millhall :William Lawson


8.   Waulkmill : Andrew Yule


9.   Keithhall : Alexr William Miller


10.               Mains : Thomas Smith


11.               Muirloch :William Bell

12.               Thrawpart : Wm. & D Thomson

13.               Millhall Quarry : Smith & Ferguson

14.               Fowlis Shhoting & Keeper’s House :McKenzie Murray

15.               Fowlis Shooting & Keeper’s House : Wm Brand
16.               Fowlis Village : David Steel
17.               Fowlis Village : Thomas Moon

18.               Fowlis Village – Land : Thomas Moon

19.               Fowlis Village :A & H Matthew

20.               Ground Floor of Castle ( 3 rooms & 2 closets ) Mrs Turnbull

21.               1st Floor of Castle West ( Room & closet ) : R Moon

22.               1st Floor of Castle East End ( 2 Rooms & closet ) Peter Davidson

23.               2nd Floor of Castle West End ( 1 Room & closet ) : John Duncan
24.               2nd floor of Castle East End ( 2 Rooms & closet ) : John Duncan

25.               Ground Floor of North Wing of Castle ( Room & closet ) : Edward Inches

26.               1st Floor of North Wing of Castle ( 4 Rooms & closet ) : David Gibson

27.               2nd Floor of North Wing of Castle ( 1 Room & 4 closets ) : James Edward

28.               Ground Floor East of Castle ( Room & closet ( : Inspector of Poor

29.               Dovecot Cottage  : William Batchelor


 Rental Values /Income in 1865


1.   Ochtertyre : £ 4, 334: 18: 9

2.   Fowlis Wester :  £ 1, 778: 18:4

3.   Fowlis Easter : £ £ 4,210 :14 : 5

4.   Total Gross Income for the 3 parts of the Estate was
£ 10, 324 :11:6



Note : A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say that the relative  value of this amount of  £ 10,324  in 2014 would be £881, 600 .





















Saturday, 12 March 2016

Where is Cultoquhey ?


The old Cultoquhey demolished in the 19th Century

Many of our  Scottish place  names pose problems  not only for visitors   but indeed  for native Scots ! When I was married  a long time ago I settled  down in the  small town of Milngavie  north of Glasgow . Milngavie  is pronounced Mil- guy as Kirkcaldy is pronounced Kirk- caw – di and our delightful Strathearn village of Muthill is pronounced Mewth- ill !



The present Cultoquhey  which is now an hotel





Now that brings me to the subject of this  “ blog “ - Cultoquhey . This ancient place name  is pronounced Cul- to – whey ! Its roots in the mists of time have  resulted in at  least  source two interpretations of its Gaelic source . Coillte a' Che meaning ‘the woods of Ce’.  Ce was one of the seven sons from whom the Pictish race was said to descend and this seems eminently possible .

During the 1930s, Margaret Ethel Blair Oliphant wrote: "The estate lies about three miles to the east of the town of Crieff at the gate of the Highlands, between the Ochil and Grampian Hills. The name signifies in Gaelic, "At the back of the snowdrift". I am afraid we will have to accept that we  do not  know  for certainty  the  definition  of the  name .


What is  interesting  about Cultoquhey is that it  was in the same family  , the Maxtones , for over five hundred  years  having passed through the male line , generation  after generation . Surrounded  by larger land  owners  , the Maxtones  somehow  managed  to cling onto their small estate  through  fifteen generations . There have been at least three houses at Cultoquhey. A "fortalice and tower" is mentioned in a charter of 1545. Then the house pictured above was built (perhaps in the 17th century - a drawing of an old model cut out of paper makes it look older than McOmie's drawing) and was occupied until 1830, when it was pulled down on the foolish advice of Robert Graham of Redgorton, "to get rid of all taxes". The present big house of Cultoquhey (now an hotel) was built between 1822 and about 1830 on a nearby site. The Maxtone ( Maxtone Graham ) connection  ended  in 1955 when Cultoquhey was  sold  by the 16th Laird .


In the 1790s , the Parish of Fowlis Wester declared  the following annual rental values for the  Estates located  therein :

1.      Moray of Abercairney : Abercairney Estate :  £ 3,026
2.      Moncrief of Moncrieff : Gorthie Estate : £ 1,598
3.      Murrray of Ochtertyre : Fowlis Wester : £1, 500
4.      Smith , Lord Methven : Keillar : £1,270
5.      Drummond of Logie Almond : Logie : £549
6.      Maxton of Cultoquhey : Cultoquhey : £ 362
7.      Robertson of Lawers : -- : £118
8.      Graeme of Inchbrakie : Pitnaclerach: £82

One can see from these  figures that Abercairney was , by far the largest of these estates  whilst Cultoquhey was  comparatively small .




 Gilmerton Village







Where  exactly is Cultoquhey ? It lies immediately to the south of the main A 85 trunk road in the village of Gilmerton , three miles  to the east of Crieff . It is currently an hotel specialising in hunting, shooting and fishing and owned by an Italian consortium. Immediately to the south of the estate lies  the small clachan / hamlet of Milton of Cultoquhey where in days  gone by  there  existed a corn mill which can be looked at digitally on the National Library of Scotland web site http://maps.nls.uk/view/75655733.

The present house  was  built about 1820 for the  then Laird , one Anthony Maxtone . It was designed by the architect Robert Smirke and has  been described in critical circles as a “ competent but unexciting Tudor  manor house “ ! The house it  succeeded had obviously out grown its original needs and was described in the book “ The Maxtones  of Cultoquhey “  by E Maxtone Graham as follows :

"According to the only picture that has been found, this was a small compact house with wings, to modern ideas, far too small for the families that were reared within its walls; but until recently the standards of comfort in Scotland were primitive ... The household staff would be crowded into a couple of attics and the children packed like sardines in small bedrooms at night ..."

In “ Historic Scenes of Perthshire “ by William Marshall DD published in 1880 , we  find an interesting account  of the family : “ The present proprietor is James Maxtone Graham of Cultoquhey and Redgorton . . His usual residence is Battleby House, Redgorton .He assumed the name and arms of Graham on succeeding to his uncle Robert Graham of Redgorton, cousin and heir of Lord Lynedoch. The Maxtones are of Saxon extraction. Robert Maxtone fell at Flodden. Anthony Maxtone was Prebendary of Durham in the reign of Charles 1. “

A quaint tradition is still quoted regarding Mungo Maxtone, the 10th Laird. Every day he climbed the hill which rises at the back of the house at Cultoquhey, from whence he could see the surrounding estates. There, he offered up a litany for protection from his neighbours, the lairds of Monzie, Drummond Castle, Balgowan and Abercairney.

“Frae the greed o' the Campbells,
Frae the ire o' the Drummonds,
Frae the pride o' the Grahams,
And frae the wind o' the Murrays,
Good Lord deliver us.”

The story is told that the Duke of Athole, the chief of the Clan Murray, invited Cultoquhey to dinner and in the course of the evening requested him to repeat his addition to the litany , thinking he would not have the courage  to do so in his presence . His Grace was mistaken as he heard the words spout from the lips of the author. “Cultoquhey – I will crop your arse if you ever again take such liberty with my name! “ The cool reply came – “There my Lord, there’s the wind of the Murrays! “ On a further occasion Cultoquhey was visited by a gentleman by the name of Murray and remonstrated with him for so scandalising his Clan. The Laird said not a word to the remonstrant but calling his servant quietly ordered him “to open that door and let out the wind of the Murrays!


Let me move on to the present and conclude this Blog . Those of you who peruse the ever bourgeoning Sunday supplements will, no doubt have stumbled across a very literate journalist who goes by the somewhat unusual forename or Christian name of Ysenda.

Ysenda Maxtone Graham was born in 1962 and educated at The King’s School, Canterbury and Girton College, Cambridge. She has written widely for many newspapers and magazines, as features writer, book reviewer and columnist. She is the author of The Church Hesitant: A Portrait of the Church of England (published by Hodder & Stoughton); The Real Mrs Miniver (published by John Murray) which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography of the Year Award, 2002, and Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School, published by Slightly Foxed Editions in 2011, described by Rupert Christiansen as ‘a small but perfectly formed masterpiece’. This book sold out so quickly in its limited-edition hardback that it came out six week later as the first-ever Slightly Foxed paperback. She was a judge of the Whitbread Awards in 2003.She lives in London with her husband Michael and their three sons Toby, Charles and Francis.

The Maxtone Graham surname perhaps gives a you a clue that Ysenda is from that well known and ancient line of Maxtone Grahams whose presence at Cultoquhey spanned many centuries in Strathearn. The forename of this eminent member of the Clan can be found lurking again in the Charters of that so neglected abbey :

Ysenda, spouse of Earl Gilbert of Strathearn, by consent of the earl her lord, has given, granted, and established by her charter, to Inchaffray Abbey, five acres of land in her villa of Abercairney (PER), namely, that land which she perambulated in the presence of Sir Richard the knight and Geoffrey of Gask, her brothers, Henry and Tristram, sons of Tristram, William the earl’s clerk, and many others, in perpetual alms, free and quit from all service and secular exaction, with common pasture for 12 cows and two horses, and with all other easements pertaining to the same territory. Because she does not have her own seal, the seal of Bishop Abraham of Dunblane has been attached.








Monday, 7 March 2016

Methven : Some Historical Tales including a defeat for Robert the Bruce . Methven the cradle of the Stewart Dynasty







Methven is a Parish and a village lying  due  west of the City of Perth .  The name  is derived from the Gaelic word Meodhan, signifying "middle “ . Perhaps  because of its  location and proximity to Perth , it has  featured  in numerous tales concerning our ancient heritage . Let  me  start off this Blog with reference  to my namesake , Culen who was crowned  King of Scots at Scone in 972 AD. Culen  was  a bit of a high liver and  not exactly the most moral of individuals . To quote  the words of Victorian author  and cleric  , William Marshall : “ He abandoned himself to the grossest of licentiousness and in a few years was such an abhorrence to the Nation that a Parliament was  summoned to meet at Scone  for the purpose of   disposing him “ . Culen was on his way there when he was ambushed ,attacked and killed by the Thane of Methven . The Thane  had saught revenge  for the alleged abuse of his daughter by the monarch . A scribe of the period  recorded : “ Culen , not knowing wherefore this Councell  was was called, as he was going thitherwards , at Methven Castle , being almost in the mid waie of his journey , was murdered  by one Cadhard , the Thane of that place , whose daughter he had ravished  before  time among divers others . This end had Culen together with all his filthie sensualities . But this reproachful infamie thereof remaineth in memory with his posteritie, and is not like to be forgotten whilst the whole World goeth about . He was thus dispatched in the fifth year of his reign , the nobles and great peers of the realm , rejoicing at his death , though they allowed not  the manner of his death “


Just over  two hundred  years after the demise of Culen , Methven once  again featured in another incident . This one featured  Scotland’s  great hero , William Wallace . Wallace had  taken refuge in Methven Wood on  a spying  mission  to ascertain the strength of the English garrison in the Fair City of Perth . Having succeeded in  finding  out the relevant information , he proceeded  to attack  the English  force on their  way  to Kinclaven Castle  to strengthen its garrison 


Shortly after this , Methven Wood again featured in an important chapter in the Wars of Independence . The English under their King Edward 1  or   “ Edward Longshanks “ had  invaded and controlled  most of Scotland including Perth . The “ Fair City “  was  governed  by Aymer de Valence , the Earl of Pembroke . His power  was substantial as the King had  appointed  him “ Guardian of Scotland “ . 

Robert the Bruce 



It was here in 1306, that Robert  Bruce , a Scottish nobleman of Norman  descent , commenced  the fight  back  against the occupation . At the head a of a comparatively small army, Bruce headed  to Perth and in a bold assertion of his standing , challenged Pembroke  to fight him in the open field . The English noble  replied that he would  accept this  challenge on the following day . Bruce  on hearing this  retired with his men  to Methven Wood .In an age when chivalry and honour were rated highly , Bruce and his  men settled down in their  sylvan retreat .Their  body armour  was  taken off and fires  were lit  and cooking of their  meals  commenced . Suddenly ,out of the  darkness appeared the soldiers of Pembroke . Scarce was the time  to raise the alarm as the foe lunched a fierce attack on the unprepared Scots . It was a desperate  resistance  but the odds  were  heavily stacked  against them . A rout was inevitable . Bruce launched an attack directly at Pembroke and killed  his horse under him . The result  was  inevitable . Particular  attention was paid  by the English attackers  to down Bruce . His horse  was targeted and  he was thrice unsaddled . Sir Philip de Mowbray , one of the English officers , shouted  loudly that he had the new – made King! Bruce’s brother  in law , Sir Christopher Seton , responded immediately and with a mighty blow of his battle axe  felled Mowbray to the ground  and rescued the Bruce . The English sword drank that night , the blood of many of our ancestors . Besides the slain that Bruce had to mourn, he  was  faced  with many of his men now  being held captive . Sir Hugh de la Haye , Sir David Inchmartin , Sir John de Somerville , Randolph and  others of his bravest adherents .Longshanks on hearing the tidings of his victory , ordered  the prisoners  to be immediately executed .

Pembroke ventured  to deviate slightly from the letter of the  bloody order . Randolph  was pardoned  , a few were ransomed  but  the majority were hanged and quartered in a spirit of merciless revenge .



Methven Wood



There  have been a number of Methven Castles and the present structure was  built in the late 17th century . What is interesting  however  is not the structure  but the owners and occupants  of the seat. The first  of these upon record was the Mowbrays  ( mentioned above ) . Their common ancestor  was Roger Mowbray , a Norman who came to England  with Norman the Conqueror . His descendant , Sir Philip de Mowbray arrived in Scotland  some 100 years later and married  the daughter of the Earl of Dunbar . The family had  extensive lands  and the Methven part became the  property of Robert  de Mowbray  , a brother of Philip . In the Wars of Independence the Mowbrays  generally sided with the English . In 1314 when the Bruce gained Scottish Independence after Bannockburn , a Mowbray was Governor of Stirling Castle  and duly surrendered  it to Bruce . As a result the lands of the Mowbrays  were confiscated and Methven fell  to Walter , Lord High Steward of Scotland who was the husband of Bruce’s daughter Marjory . Their son became Robert  the Second  and he  was the progenitor of the Stewart dynasty .