Place Names of Strathbogie


Towards the N.E. corner of the parish of Rhynie, and near the farm of New Noth is the Gulburn, which springs up in a strong stream at the foot
of the hill.  The name probably comes from guala 'a shoulder' which is frequently applied in Irish names to the shoulder of a hill, and at a
projecting angle or ridge this spring is situated.  There was in times not very remote a common belief abroad in the country, that a piece of wood
dropped into the 'well' on the Tap o' Noth would in due time appear at the Ee' o' Gulburn, the distance on the map being over two miles.

Pouran is a small croft on the S.E. of the Hill of Noth which takes its name from the burn coming down a steep part of the hill, and forming in its
course pools and marshes - hence Pol rathain (th mute) ' the pool or marsh of the ferns'. 

Smithston and Milton were, I think, two of the old dauchs, though the Rentals only indicate that they were so by the number of plough-gates and
the rent.  There must have been older names than either, but I have failed to discover them. On Milton is Lochrie - from Luachrach, a 'rushy place'.

To the west of Milton is the Corshill, on which there may have been a memorial cross as graves are reported to have been found in the
neighbourhood.  Due north from this point is a glen or corrie, running up into the hill, called Glencoe - Gleann-ceotha,'the glen of the mist'.  In this
corrie was an 'earth-house', and a venerable farmer in the neighbourhood tells me he was wont, when a boy herding cattle, to find shelter in it. 
It was then blocked up with rubbish, and in late years the outer stones were partly removed, the door filled up, and cultivation extended over the top
of it.

Clochmaloo, is a spur of rock jutting out on the side of the Tap o' Noth overlooking Scordarg, and half-way up the Tap.  The face of this perpendicular
rock is about 30 feet high, and behind, standing clear of the hill, it is 7 or 8 feet high.  Two names occur elsewhere which help us to understand this
puzzling name.  In charters of date 1450, and 1508, we have in the barony of Lochawe, Kilmolew, and in Morvern, Kilmalew, both churches dedicated
to Saint Molocus, bishop.  The Saint's name usually takes the forms Moluach, Moluoc, Molua, and Molew, which last gives the exact pronunciation as
in Clochmaloo.  Moluach is patron saint of Mortlach, and at Cloveth (Kildrummie) is Simmerluak's well.  Clatt was also dedicated to this saint; and in
that parish there was in old times St. Mallach's fair, and there is a farm close to the Kirktown of Clatt called Persylieu, which may contain the saint's
name.  Tarland is another dedication, and in this parish is Luoch's Fair.  We have thus four dedications of Moluach within no great distance from Rhynie,
two of them being in the neighbouring parishes; and Clochmaloo, 'the stone of Moluach', suggests the possibility that he was also patron saint of
Rhynie.  I may notice that clach means 'a stone', and it is unusual to find this word applied to a spur of rock.  As it is so used here, it may indicate
that the name is artificial, thus differing from all the Gaelic names around it. 

A little westward of this rock, and near the base of the cone, is a large boulder called the Giant's stone.  The legend connected with it is, that in the
days when giants inhabited this part of the world, the giant of Dunnideer made an assault on his brother of the Tap, who, in defending his fort,
pitched this great stone from the rampart against the enemy.  Dunnideer to show his contempt put out his foot and checked the boulder in its
downward course.  The stone remains son the very spot it was arrested, and the imprint of the giant's foot may still be seen upon it.

On the opposite side of the hill we have the name 'Ellendoon', which applies to the moor stretching away from the north-east of the Tap in the direction
of the Glen of Noth.  The name seems to be Ailean-duin, 'the plain or level field of the dun'. 

Along the west side of the hill is Scordarg. The old forms of the name do not differ materially from our ordinary spelling.  The Poll-Book gives
Scurdarge, the Retour of 1662 Skurdarge, the Rental of 1600 Scordarge, and the charter of 1534 Scordarg.  Sgor-dearg means 'the red scaur or
pointed rock', and although this scaur is not now easily discovered, I am told that there was a rock of reddish colour long quarried for road making, but
which has almost disappeared by the reclamation of land.  No trace has ever been discovered of the castle of John Gordon of Scordarg, nor is it ever
mentioned in any of the old writings.  Some of the farm buildings long since removed were said to have been built of large roughly hewn stones, which
might have been taken from the ruins of the castle, but there is absolutely nothing known of any such building in the neighbourhood.  I think it is
possible he may have early removed to Lesmoir, retaining the designation of the lands which he first owned in the district.  He is frequently designed
in old writings 'of Essie and Scordarg', Lesmoir being in Essie.

Ardglenny was situated on the farm of Mains of Rhynie, and seems to have been a sort of hamlet on the high bank overlooking the Bogie to the south of the church. The charter of 1545 gives the name Ardlony; the Rental of 1600, Ardlonye; the Poll-Book 1696, Ardglowie; and the common speech of the district has it, Ardglenny. Ardglowie is no doubt a misreading, but the 'height of the marshy place' (lonaich), or 'of the glen' (glinne) would be equally appropriate. It is most unlikely that Ardlony was changed into Ardglenny, though g might have dropped in the latter. I think it is possible both names may have been in use at the same time, distinguishing two neighbouring groups of cottars' houses.

The 'Craw-stane' of Rhynie stands on the high ground south of the churchyard. It is a pillar-stone 6 feet high, 30 in. wide, and 15 in. thick, having incised upon it the fish symbol, and below this a fantastic animal which cannot with any certainty be identified. It has been suggested that the name is derived from the Gaelic cro, 'a circle', and that the stone is one of a circle which may have once stood on the spot. This is almost certainly incorrect, because the fish is a common Christian symbol, the meaning of which is well known. Dr. Anderson says, - 'No stone that is certainly known to have marked a pagan interment exhibits them (the Christian Symbols). Their assumed connection with stone circles in certain instances is not established by sufficient evidence'. My impression is that the name may be a corruption of Cross-stone. Dr. Joseph Robertson says, that many of the Scotch crosses were 'unhewn blocks, graven with a cross, or covered with uncouth figures and symbols' (Scottish Abbeys and Cathedrals). The symbols on this stone may have conveyed the same meaning as a cross, and possibly the stone was the Cross of Rhynie. In its present from, the name probably indicates that the stone, being in the centre of a cultivated field, has always been a favourite perch for rooks, and therefore called 'The Craw-stane'.

About a mile to the north-east of the church-yard, on the ridge of Druminnor Hill, , are the remains of a stone circle. The recumbent stone has fallen, or been thrown down, and is broken through the middle. When entire it measured 13 feet long, 7 feet high, and 3 and a half feet thick at the bases. So far as can now be judged it stood on the south-west side of the circle. The pillar-stone on its east side, also, lies on the ground, and is 8 feet 9 in. long, by 2 feet 8 in. broad. The corresponding stone on the west side is the only one now erect, and is 7 feet 3 in. high, 2 feet 9 in. broad, and 2 feet 3 in. thick. There is also a 'Craw-stane', and the surrounding wood is called the 'Craw-stane Wood'. Druminnor means 'ridge of the inver', the hill occupying the point at the junction of the Burn of Keirn with the Bogie.

Hornershaugh is on Mains of Rhynie, beside the Bogie. Probably it represents a personal name; but I have heard it called 'The Hornershaugh', and if this was the old usage it may have another meaning. In Old Scotch, 'horner' means an outlaw, a man 'put to the horn' and some one under the ban of the law may have skulked about this place.


Finglenny is in Gaelic Fionn-gleannan, 'the white or light-coloured little glen'. In this glen there is a 'mound' known as Wormie Hillock, which has long been regarded as one of the interesting sights of the place. Legend tells us it is the grave-mound of a dragon, which at one time infested the neighbourhood, and was slain at this spot by some unknown St. George. The surrounding dyke, which is 50 yards in circumference, and 5 feet high, is the only artificial part of the work, and there can be no doubt it was erected as a pen or 'round' for protecting sheep in stormy weather. The centre 'mound' has been formed by digging out material for the dyke, and the soil or rotten rock of which it is composed has never been disturbed. I much regret having spoiled an interesting legend, but my attention was so frequently directed to the place, I was obliged to examine it. Near to this place are the Chapel Cairn, and Bell-hillock, marking the site of another of those small chapels so common in old times in this part of the country.

Near to the Mill of Finglenny (now Cransmill) was 'Broickhollis', a name derived from broc a 'badger'. This word is said to have been borrowed from Gaelic into the common speech of the country, and I have heard people speak of the broc who appear to be ignorant of the English name badger. Brocaire, a fox hunter, has also become a well-known word. Broickhollis has given place to the name Butterybrae, which appears on the map. It is not an uncommon name, and I have noticed the suggestion that is was derived from bothar, a 'road'. Now this word is held responsible for some strange names, but the explanation of this one by a farmer in the neighbourhood, is at least possible. He says it was given because there was a large yield of butter when the cows were fed on these braes.

Whether this is true or not, it is noticeable that, in 1600, there were only four farms in the whole parish which paid butter as part rent, and this place was one of them. Bogincloch, as a pasture farm, paid 40 st. butter, besides custom, and 20lb. Scots. This place owes its name, Bog-na-cloiches, the 'stony bog' to a deposit of great boulders, thickly scattered over an area of about 4 acres of elevated ground surrounded by bogs, or land which was formerly boggy. The stones range from 2 to 6 feet long, 2 to 4 feet wide, and 2 to 3 feet in thickness. At the end of the ridge nearest to the Lodge, within an area of less than 2 acres, are the foundations of between 30 and 40 houses, or erections of some sort. These foundations are formed of rough boulders without any dressing, and are either square or oblong, some of them being rounded at the corners. They vary in size from 8 feet to 14 feet long, and from 5 feet to 20 feet wide, inside measurement. Under a deposit of 12 inches of loamy soil, the areas appear to be neatly paved. The erections occur here and there among the boulders, apparently where there happened to be a sufficiently clear space. Not a few of them are double, having a close division in the centre, and doorways at either the most southerly end. One noticeable thing is that there is a large stone at the centre of each erection or compartment. The most southerly erection I think must have been a byre, judging from its length, and the fact that two of the three compartments open into a semicircular enclosure. Here and there on the outskirts are similar enclosures, probably for securing cattle. A burn at some little distance has been diverted from its course, and led by a cutting of considerable depth through the centre of the place; but I could form no opinion as to whether this cutting was of date corresponding to the buildings. The popular idea is that the place is the site of an ancient village; and it is pointed out that it is situated at an angle of the glen, so as to command a view both of the Tap and the Buck. As a matter of fact, both hills are clearly seen from the place, but whether there is anything in this, I do not venture an opinion. My time for observation was too limited to allow of such a close and extensive examination as would warrant me giving other than a very general description of these curious erections. On Bogincloch was a place called Claymellat.

Merdrum appears in the later writings as Mardrum, Mairdrum and Merdrum, but in the charter of 1534 it is given as Meldrum. This is the oldest reference we have, and I think it is probable our modern forms are corruptions of Maol-druim, 'the bare ridge', which is still descriptive of the place. Merdrum occasionally figures as a lairdship, though it was only 'wadsett' to James Duncan, who was pleased to call himself 'of Merdrum'; but the Rental of 1600, if he had seen it, would have reminded him by three separate entries that he was only 'in Merdrum'. Personal vanity occasionally shows itself in these old times in rather amusing fashion. In the churchyard of Keirn is a tombstone to the memory of 'Iohne Laing Baron of Noth who died in March 1624'. I suppose the person so described is John Laing, who was tenant of one-fourth part of the dauch of Noth in 1600, and not unlikely was 'baron bailie' of the district, a position which scarcely entitled him to the designation of Baron.

The hill to the west is Cloichedubh or the 'black stone', so named from a huge boulder stone upon it. Between this hill and Merdrum are The Forests, indicating, along with other names, the wooded nature of the country in old times, which is further proved by the abundance of tree roots found all over the district. In the Rentals the 'two forests of Mytice' are mentioned, and Kirkney was set in 1600 'reservand aluayes the woid of Kirknie to my lordis awn use'. These old names connected with Merdrum are of some interest. Between Mill of Lessmoir and Bruntland is a small hill called 'The Croich', which may have been the Gallowhill in old times, for croich means 'a gallows'. What is now known as the Gallowhill is nearly south of the Castle of Lesmoir. Croich might be derived from cruach, 'a heap or hill', but there is no apparent reason why this hillock should be specially called 'The Hill'. On Old Merdrum is a knoll called Ordichryne, probably Ord or Iaird-a'-chroinn, 'the height of the tree'.

Not far distant is Leirichie-laar, or as an old native calls it, Leirichie-va. Tradition says, that a band of Highlanders going to Harlaw, left sticking in this piece of ground, a rod for each man of the company, and on the return of the survivors, so great was the mourning on account of the heavy loss sustained in battle as represented by the unclaimed rods, that the place was called in Gaelic, 'the place of lamentation'. A Ross-shire Highlander tells me, that he has heard among his own people 'leirichie-vlaar' and 'leirichie-va' used as expressions of sorrow or lamentation. He thinks both forms are correct, but that 'laar' should be bhlair(bh=v), 'of the battlefield' Leirichie-laar, as a place name, may therefore have some such meaning as tradition assigns to it. I give this information as I have it, without further opinion of my own. The name Clayshot Hill is of doubtful origin. If the spelling is correct as given on the Ordnance Survey Map, it is south-country Scotch; and I have not found that the word 'shot' was ever in use in the north, though it may have been. Shot means a plot of land, as in Stoneyshot, and Welshott; and Clayshot is therefore a 'clay field', which would be no peculiarity anywhere in this district As pronounced I would write the name Claish-ot, which might represent Claisuillt, 'the furrow or glen of the burn', i.e., the Leyburn. Having no old form of the name I cannot say which conjecture is most likely correct.

Most of the burn names are lost. A small croft on a tributary of the Burn of Lesmoir has preserved the old name of the burn, Almuck, that is Allt-muic, the 'pig's burn'.

On the dauch of Essie was a croft having the common name of Auchenleck or Affleck, 'the stony-field', both forms being given. The Rental of 1600 tells us that this dauch was 'sett in fewe to the Laird of Lesmoir' at the nominal duty of 'Tuentie poundis fewe maill'.

In the neat little churchyard of Essie, a tombstone, of date 1774, gives us the curious place of Rumfud. On inquiry, I find this place was the highest cultivated land on Scordarg, on the side of the Tap o' Noth. The old name is now converted into Ramfold. Balhinny is given in the charter of 1545, Balhany; in the Rental of 1600, Balhanie; and it frequently appears in other old writings Balhennie and Balhene. Near to this place were two 'earth-houses', one on either side of the burn. These were removed about 50 years ago, 'in case of accident by the roofs giving way'. As these same roofs were formed of great stones, some of them 9 foot long, it is more probable that they were coveted as material for building purposes. At all events, this was the use to which they were turned. Also near to Balhinny is the traditional site of a battlefield, called 'Cammel', but whether the Campbells were combatants on one side no one can tell. Camphill may be the old name. To the east is a knoll, the top of which, still uncultivated, is called 'The Perk'. No doubt this is the site of an old market, now forgotten, though the name remains a memorial of former times.

On the lands around Balhinny many cup-marked stones have been found; and although these have been diligently carried away, some are still occasionally discovered. The cups occur sometimes singly, but more frequently in groups, and rarely with concentric circles. The stones appear to have had no connection with any particular spot, are of various sizes, and lie scattered about among the heather, or are turned up in the cultivated lands. So far as I have learned there were no cup-markings of any kind on the stones dug out of the earth-houses.

To the west of Balhinny is Glack, a word common in Gaelic and Scotch, meaning a cleft between hills. Bruntland is what its name implies - land, the surface of which had been burned, according to the old wasteful system of farming. Auchindinny and Blairdinny may also refer to this custom. The extensive peat moss in this corner of the parish is divided off under different names, but the general name of the whole is Badnaman, which may be Bad-na-moine, the 'place of the moss'. The name is sometimes rendered 'the hamlet of the women', Bad-na-mban ,where b is eclipsed by m; but if this is the meaning, I should have expected the sound of b to be retained in this part of the country, as in Clochnaben, 'the stone of the women'. Still this may be the proper meaning, but it is difficult to imagine a 'hamlet of women', and one would fain hope there were not many such places.

Craigietake, is a hill which at once attracts the eye from its jagged outline, so different from the smooth-topped hills in the neighbourhood. If Blackmiddens has any sense or meaning as a Scotch name, it may refer to the finding of traces of ancient habitations in this wild place. The name may be a corruption of a much older one, although the present, with which we are disagreeably familiar, is given in the Gordon charter of 1508. @Black' is occasionally a substitute for 'breac' or 'broc'. Midden may represent meddan, the Scotch form of the Gaelic meadhon, 'the middle'. Mount Meddan is not far distant, and meddan is very common in place names. The 'spotted middle' exactly describes the place, because it lies between two hills; and the grey rocks and boulders are so abundant as to give a speckled appearance to the face of the country. I do not say that this is the meaning of the name, because there is no authority for it, but it is possible.

Several names of places, which are only found in common speech, have been given me, but I can do little more than name them. Merryhaugh is on the Mains of Rhynie. The 'Fighting Swyle' is on Templand, and Brankum on Merdrum. Craigmahaggles is in Essie, not far from the old kirk, and may mean the 'craig of the church'. Peem's well is not far distant, and Peem may be a very corrupt form of a saint's name.


Our earliest notices of Rhynie are in the Register of the Diocese of Moray, of dates 1224, 1227, and 1232. In these documents relating to the church-lands of Strathbogie, the name is Rynyn and Ryny, occasionally both forms appearing in the same writing. There is no reference to a parish of Rhynie, the common practice in these old ecclesiastical records being simply to give the name of the church. It is probable, however, that even at this early date there was a recognised parish, as in the cases of Dunbennan, Drumdelgie, Botarie, and Ruthven. Any explanation of the name Rhynie, has rarely been attempted, and only one has been suggested which is at all plausible. It is that the church may have been dedicated to St. Irenaeus, or St. Renny, and Kilrenny in Fife is given as parallel. Saint Irenaeus however does not appear in the 'Kalenders of Scottish Saints', and the patron of Rhynie, which is a mere conjecture without any historical warrant. It is very evident that many of the supposed dedications are guesses suggested by an apparent similarity in names, which on examination proves to be entirely false. Like all place names, Rhynie is found in other parts of the country. There is a Rhynie in Fearn, Ross-shire, and a Rhynie or Rhynach in Aberchirder, Banffshire. The root may be roinn, 'a point or headland', which, as we have seen, occurs several times in Cabrach hill-names. The adjective form is roinneach, 'pointed or abounding in points'. It is a curious coincidence, if nothing more, that a few miles distant from Rhynach in Aberchirder is the modern place-name 'Points'. I think, in the case of Rhynie parish there is good ground - if not amounting to certainty, at least to a strong probability - for associating the name with a particular spot.

Overlooking the site of the old church is a pointed knoll, called the Bell Knowe, which in Gaelic might have been called Roinnean - diminutive of roinn - 'a little point or headland'. On this knoll was suspended, within a wooden triangle, the kirk bell - the church being situated on the low ground the sound of the bell would not have been heard at a distance This Knowe, as distinctive of the place, might have originated the name. As roinn takes the modern form of Rhinn and Rhynd, it does not appear unreasonable to conclude that roinnean may be represented by the phonetic spelling of Rynyn, the oldest form we have of Rhynie. The bell suspended on the 'Bell Knowe', like many other old bells, was considered to possess a fine tone, and a tradition explains causes of it. As the founders were busily occupied preparing to cast the bell, the Marquis of Huntly chanced to pass, and on learning what was going on he threw a handful of silver coin into the molten metal - hence the 'silver tone' characteristic of the bell. This story might possibly suggest the idea of a lost art in Strathbogie, but the old bells speaks for its founder. The inscsription on it reads, - 'Michael Burgurhuys: m: f: soli:Deo: gloria: 1620'. The same founder cast two of the bells in the church of St. Machar, Old Aberdeen, and re-cast he old bell (Lowrie) of St. Nicholas, recently destroyed by fire.

Essie derives its name from eas, 'a waterfall or rapid'. And occasionally 'a narrow glen'. The Essachie, the principal stream in this glen, is occasionally very rapid in its course, contrasting strongly with the slow winding Bogie of the neighbouring Strath. Easach is the adjective form, meaning 'abounding in waterfalls or rapids', and it is fairly descriptive of the stream. The Essachie is supposed to extend from the Bogie to Templand, it then becomes for a short distance the Burn of Essie, further on the Burn of Balhinnie, and what it is beyond no one very well knows. I have no doubt Essachie was originally the name of the stream from its source to its junction with the Bogie.

Rhynie and Essie were closely associated ecclesiastically from a very early period, appearing in the records of the Diocese (Moray) generally as one charge, though occasionally as two. In 1227, in the agreement between the Bishop and David of Strathbogie, Essy and Rynyn are mentioned as separate churches, with their respective church-lands. In the Taxations of Benefices in 1350, the vicar of Ryny and the Parson of Essy are entered separately. About 1400 Ryne and Essy are conjoined. In the Rental of the prebendaries of Moray, in 1563, the parsonage of Ryne is set for 80 merkis to Mr. James Gordon son of the Erle of Huntly, but Essie is not mentioned. In the list of Ministers and Reidaris, 1576, we have: 'Essie, - Walter Leslie reidare the haill thrid of the parsonage and vicarage of Essie extending to £6 13s. 4d. Scots; Rhynie, - James Uruell reidare, £13 6s. 8d. Scots, with the Kirklands'. In 1646, Mr. Geo. Chalmer, 'helper' to Mr. Henrie Ross, Rhynie, complains to the Presbytery that the parishioners had failed to pay him according to agreement '40 lbs. To build ane house upon the manse of Essie', and the matter was arranged by the retirement of Mr. Ross under pressure, he having become unfit for public work from a cause suggested rather than expressed. It is said that public worship ceased in the church of Essie in 1740. The erection by Bishop Bricius of the church of Rynyn into a prebend of the Cathedral was ratified by his successor, Bishop Andrew, 5th May, 1226, the prependary being bound to provide a sub-deacon to serve as his vicar in the Cathedral Church. Master David Monypenny, prebendary, 1473 - 1489, seems to have preferred a quiet life in his country parish to residence in Elgin, and neglecting his Cathedral duties he was, in 1488, amerced in the seventh part of the fruits of his benefice.

No traditon exists in the district of the march between these old parishes. In Macfarlane's Geographical Collections, it is stated that the length of Essie 'from Bogncloach to Templen is two miles; and its breadth from Crane's-miln to the Ton-burn as much'. Excepting this very general description there is no existing record, so far as I know, which gives any information on the subject except the Rental of the Lordship of Huntly of 1600. Part of this document is given in the Spalding Club Miscellany but the editor did not consider it necessary to give more than a summary of several of the parishes, Rhynie and Essie being of that number. This valuable old record has for years been lost sight of among a mass of other documents connected with the estates in the Muniment Room in Gordon Castle, and it seemed probable that the knowledge of the boundaries of these parishes would never be recovered. Quite recently the document has been found, and by the kind permission of His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, I have been allowed use of it. It must be remembered that a Rental only deals with the letting of lands, and gives no description of the marches of farms, hill pastures, or neighbouring parishes; but in the present case there is not much left to conjecture. The parish of Essie, according to this Rental of 1600, consisted of the lands of Finglennie, Bogincloch, Forrest, New and Auld Merdrum, Longley, Garbet, Lesmoir, Essie, and Balhanie; and we know from the retours that Templand was the 'Temple-lands of Essie'. Myttes and Scordarg both formed part of Rhynie. I therefore conclude that the old boundary extended from the summit of the hill now called the Hill of Cransmill, formerly called Mill of Finglennie, to the junction of the Burn of Merdrum with Kirkney Water, which burn it probably followed, and crossing over the ridge between Scordarg and Lesmoir, it descended to the Burn of Lesmoir, which was the march until it joined the Essachie to the east of Templand. Rhynie and Essie are understood to have contained eight of the 'aught and forty dauchs of Strathbogie'. And I have given the names of seven of them. Lesmoir, Essie, Balhanie, and Affleck constituted the dauch of Essie, and there followed 'The Waterside', Scordarg, Rhynie, Milton, Smithton, and Noth. These I give partly from tradition and partly from written records, bust the eighth dauch I have failed to discover.


At the base of the Tap o' Noth, lying N. by N.W., is Millduan, interesting from the traditions connected with it. The story runs that in the far past a great battle was fought on this moor, supposed to have been the last struggle for the sovereignty by Lulach, stepson of Macbeth; and it is believed that here he fell, and was buried in the grave-mound called the Cairn of Millduan. Many heaps of stones, supposed to be cairns, are said to mark the graves of those who fell; and certain remarkable enclosures are pointed out as burial-places of the chiefs. It is easier to say how far these traditions are not true, than to get hold of the facts underlying them. We know from Fordun and Wyntoun that Lulach was slain in Essy or Esseg, in Strathbolgyne, whether in battle or overtaken in flight is uncertain. Fordun adds, evidently quoting from the Chronicle of the Picts and Scots (anno 1187), 'some also relate that both these kings, Machabeus and Lulach, were buried in the island of Iona'. This is not the belief in the north, for we have pillar-stones in various parts of the country supposed to mark the grave of Lulach. If he fell in Essie, it could not have been on the battlefield of Milduan, which is not in Essie, but in Rhynie, if I am correct in tracing the old marches. Essie may have been named without special knowledge or regard as to the boundaries of the parishes, if they then existed; but making allowance for this possibility, the traditions break down when they are closely examined, and appear to be in great measure conjectures of a comparatively recent date, so far as I know, unsupported by old or authentic writings. Allowing that a battle may have been fight at Millduan in 1057, and that Lulach and many of his followers fell in the battle, it is very doubtful if their graves could have been distinctly traced a generation ago, as we are told they were. If this was possible after the lapse of 800 years, it is remarkable that within 30 or 40 years they have almost disappeared. Old people are still remembered who could point out the positions assigned by tradition to the contending forces, the heights occupied by women who were onlookers, and the Piper's Well on the battlefield. Almost certainly these details could not have been handed down through eight centuries, and must refer to a battle of a much later date than Lulach's time. As to the fact of a battle having taken place at Millduan there can be no question, because the traditions are too circumstantial to admit of doubt, confirmed as they are by the find of weapons on various parts of the field; but I do not think we have any evidence as to the combatants, or the time when the battle was fought.

The Cairn of Millduan, once described as 'stupendous', has almost ceased to be a cairn, the stones being removed, within memory of people still alive, for the purpose of building a sheepfold. The tumulus was opened in 1859, by Sir Andrew Leith Hay, and a stone cist found within a well-built chamber. From his report to the British Association, it does not appear that he discovered anything of interest in the cist, or in any of the smaller cairns which he examined. The ground under these cairns shows no sign of ever having been disturbed; and as a crofter at one time had a small farm at the place, it is more probable the cairns are merely heaps of stones gathered off the ground with the view of reclaiming it. My impression further is, that the enclosures, supposed to mark the graves of chiefs, are the remains of crofter's houses. I judge chiefly from superficial observation, and it is possible excavations would give us more light on the subject. It has been conjectured that the name Millduan means 'the grave of a thousand', but, so far as I see, there is not the slightest warrant for any such rendering. It might possibly mean the grave-mound of Duan=Duff, but this is open to the objection that we have many similar names all over the country. The same objection applies to the personal name Maelduin, which occurs three times in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots. I think the name properly belongs to the knoll lying between the Tap and the Burn of Kirkney; and at the base of this knoll, and forming part of it, is the site of the battle. Probably the Gaelic form is Meall-duibhe-aibhne, meaning the 'knoll of dark water'.


The Gordons of Lesmoir first appear in the reigns of James III. And James IV. In 'Castles in Aberdeenshire', they are said to be descended from William Gordon of Tillytarmont, 2nd on of John Gordon of Scordarg, but no authority is given for the statement. Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun in 'The History of the Earldom of Sutherland', says they were of the family of Scordarg. In family papers connected with the Gordons of Lesmoir and Terpersie, which have come into my hands, it is stated that James, 1st laird of Lesmoir, was second son of the Earl of Huntly; but the fist earl had no son of that name, and the second earl's 4th son was James Gordon of Letterfourie. In the Register of Birth Brieves of Aberdeen, of date 1703, Gordon of Inverebrie, Gordon of Kirkhill(Kennethmont), and John Gordon burgess in Aberdeen, stated in evidence, that the Gordons of Terpersie, descended from Lesmoir, were of the the family of the Duke of Gordon. These statements being so contradictory, must be taken merely as the opinions of members of the family and other, so far as they knew, but there is no certain evidence in favour of either side. Sir Robert Gordon is good authority in such matters, and is probably right. James Gordon, 1st laird, married Lady Ann Stewart, daughter of John, Earl of Athol, and widow of Sir Robert Gordon of Pitlurg, by whom he had one son, James, who became the father of a numerous family afterwards settled in various estates in the counties of Aberdeen and Banff. Who 'Sir Robert Gordon of Pitlurg' was I have no knowledge, having failed to discover any on of the name; and I have already said that the Gordons acquired Pitlurg in 1539, about 30 years later than the time referred to, though they may have resided at Pitlurg previous to becoming actual owners. Lady Ann, after the death of her husband in 1508, and during the minority of her son, built, or probably rebuilt the Castle of Lesmoir. James, the 5th laird, was created a baronet in 1626, but for what distinguished service does not appear. The date, however, suggests that he paid for the honour in the current coin of the realm. The barontcy was of the new order of Scotland and Nova Scotia, instituted in 1625. Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, was the first person who received the honour, and as the title was to be had almost by any person who could pay for it, not a few country gentlemen readily accepted the dignity. The Gordons of Lesmoir figure in most of the stirring events of their time, and were closely associated with the Earls of Huntly, by whom the near family relationship was recognised. In a charter by Earl George, in 1552, he conveys certain lands to his 'kinsman' William Gordon of Terspersie, son of James Gordon of Lesmoir. Another son, Patrick, was at Corrichie in 1562. James Gordon, 1st baronet, was engaged, along with other friends of Huntly, in the murder of the Earl of Moray at Donibristle in 1592. His 2nd son, William of Broadland, afterwards of Lesmoir, took part in the battle of Glenlivet, 1594. For some years previous to this event the loyalty of the great Catholic families in the North was under grave suspicion by the Government, and in the Acts of the Privy Council we find that on the 30th April, 1589, along with many other barons, George Gordon of Lesmoir signed a band at Aberdeen in defence of the true religion and His Majesty's Government. In the same year, by order of the Privy council, he had to find caution to the extent of 10,000 merks that he would 'attempt nathing in hurte or prejudice of his Majesty . . . nor the religion presesntly professit'. His son Alexander had also to find caution to the amount of 2000 merks. In the following year, George Gordon of Lesmoir was ordered to find caution for 20,000 merks that he and his followers should keep good rule in the country, and make themselves and their men answerable to justices. The troubles which followed the burning of Frendraught cost Lesmoir frequent appearances before the Lords, first at the trial of those suspected of setting fire to the tower, and during the five following years he was called on several occasions to give evidence about the raids on the lands of Frendraught. His name appears, along with many other barons of the Gordon Family, in numerous orders respecting the 'broken men', and the maintenance of order in the district. The Gordons of Lesmoir acquired considerable landed property in the county, and about the middle of the 17th century we find them in possession of one-half of the parish of Drumblade, all the lands of Essie and Lesmoir, one-half Auld Merdrum, the Temple-lands of Fulzemont and Essie, with the patronage of the church of Essie, and they had also various smaller possessions in other parts of the county. They occupied an honourable position among the landed proprietors of the North for nearly 300 years, but in the latter half of the 18th century they drop out of sight without leaving record of the disaster wh9ch had befallen them. In the Inventory of Charters in Gordon Castle there is this significant entry - 'Newton-garie, Drumblade, bought by the Duke of Gordon in 1765 from Sir Alexander Gordon of Lesmoir, and his Trustees and Creditors'. From the same source, we learn that Corvichen was purchased from Sir William Gordon of Lesmoir by Andrew Hay of Mountblairy, anno 1739, and sold by George Hay, his son, to the Duke of Gordon in 1770. Finally, we learn that the lands of Essie and Lesmoir were purchased by the Duke of Gordon, in 1780, from the Trustees of John Grant of Rothmaise, who a few years previously had bought them from the last of the Gordons of Lesmoir. The only memorial of the old family is the ruin of the Castle of Lesmoir, of which little remains but unshapely masses of masonry overgrown by vegetation. Though comparatively small, the castle seems to have been of considerable strength, with an outer defence and moat, which can still be distinctly traced.


In a manuscript preserved in the library at Slains, and given in the Spalding Club publications it is said - ' Strathbogie was of old divided into 48 davachs, each containing as much as four ploughs could till in a year'. This has no doubt always been the popular opinion in the district, and it is supported to some extent by known facts. The four divisions of Kinnoir almost represent the extent of the parish. In the case of Rhynie, we only want ones to complete the traditional number assigned to it, though several of these dauchs have lost their old names. Glass was almost completely mapped out into regular and equal divisions, which are still well-known. Dunbennan evidently underwent greater changes at an early date, and I have not found a single instance in this parish of the term being applied to any farm or group of farms, though Collonach probably was a dauch in name as it was in reality. In the Rental of 1600, the unit of land measure was the plough-gate, by which, and its proportional parts, (9 oxgates = 1 plough-gate, 4 plough-gates = 1 davach, or 416 acres) all rents were adjusted whether in 'money maills' or 'ferme victuall'. A davach (dabhach) means literally a 'vat', and in this senses it is used in Irish names; but how the word has come to describe a certain extent of land in Scotland is as yet unexplained. I much regret that I have not yet been able to recover the whole of the names of these old davachs of Strathbogie. Occasionally they are mentioned in the Rentals and the Poll-Book, but rarely in charters, and local tradition respecting them has to a considerable extent died out with the last generation. Still, from what I have recovered, either from personal evidence or written record, the presumption is strong that in old times the whole district was divided into davachs, each bearing its own distinctive name. It may appear useless to keep up the remembrance of these old land divisions, but even the incomplete knowledge we have, may at some future time serve to illustrate or explain the land system in old times, about which we are imperfectly acquainted. Be this as it may, natives of Strathbogie will always have kindly associations with the 'Auld Aucht and Forty'.


The march-burn between Glass and Cabrach is the Lynn Burn, so called from a linn on the stream. At the extremity of the Lower Cabrach, to the west of the Deveron, is Belcherrie. The name differs little in its present form from the old spelling we have in charters of 1474, and 1539-Balchere, and Balchery (R.M.S., 1155). As in all similar names of the district, Bel appears in old records as Bal, 'a town.' Belcherrie at first sight suggests Baile-h-airidh, 'the town of the shieling or summer pasture.' This it could only have been as a town to which distant pasture belonged. It is almost impossible, from the situation, to conceive that this place occupies the site of a shieling; and the word airidh so far as I have noticed, always applies to the place of the shieling or pasture. It is more likely that the old form was Baile-h-earach, that is 'Easter-town.' This meaning may connect it with the old march dyke, which, a little to the eastward, runs up from the Deveron to the top of Craig-dornie, and joins the stone rampart encircling the summit of that hill. The history of this old march dyke is lost; but it probably was some territorial boundary, within which Belcherrie was the most easterly town. Guestloan and Greenloan, immediately adjoining, are no doubt of Anglo-Saxon origin. 'Loan' is a well understood Scotch word, meaning an opening between cultivated fields, protected by stone dykes, into which cattle were driven for security. It is difficult in every case to distinguish between the Gaelic Ion, a 'marsh,' and the Anglo-Saxon loan, but the 'loans' belonging to these farms are still remembered. The tradition as to Guestloan is, that white stones were built into the enclosing dykes, and gave rise from their appearance in the gloaming to the jocular name 'the ghaist (ghost) loan.' Names occasionally arise from equally frivolous causes; and, in absence of any better explanation, I see no reason for rejecting what is supplied by tradition. Referring to the Guestraw, Aberdeen, Dr. Joseph Robertson says, -' In the charters of the 16th and l7th centuries this lane is termed vicus lemurum, the street of the goblins.' (Book of Bon-Accord, p. 117.) Cf. Gaisthill in Fife, and Gaistmeadow in Forfar. Greenloan is what its name indicates- 'a green or grassy loan.' The next farm is Soccoth-so named from soc, a 'snout' or 'point of land,' which is a marked feature on the height above the steading, and it also appears on the lower ground. The name Drywells has arisen from the fact of a remarkable absence of springs on this farm. The supply of water for ordinary purposes is drawn from a distance. Forteith is derived from uar, ' cold,' and teach, a ' dwelling' ; ' cold dwelling ' having the same meaning as our Coldhomes. It has probably received the name because the land slopes to the burn of the Soccoth, and so faces the north-east. The earliest notice I find of Lesmurdie is in a charter of James I II., of date 1474(R.M.S., 1155), confirming George of Strathachin, or Losmorthie, in a third part of the lands of Balchere, Enner-cheroche, and Auchnastank, all of which lands his descendants possessed, along with Lesmurdie, for at least 200 years. (Retour, Dec. 10, 1663.) In subsequent charters connected with this family, of dates 1527, 1540, and 1549, Lesmurdie is spelt Losmordy, Losmurdy, and Lesmordy. (Spal. Cl. Ant. IV., 460-463.) These old forms favour the opinion that the name was originally Lios-mor, {the big fort,' and that the word dauch in the form of dy may have been added at a later time to describe the property, when the fort had ceased to be of importance. Dauch becomes corrupted in post-Gaelic times into dacht, dawe, da, do, zeauch, dae ', and appears in the Latinised forms of daz'at, doi'af, davy, dovy, divy, and I think also as day and dy, although I have not proved these last two changes. The Lower Cabrach was divided into three dauchs, of which Lesmurdie was one, and the name may mean the dauch-lands of Lesmoir, or 'the big fort.' I notice this possible derivation of the name, because it is locally understood to have some such meaning ; whether it is traditional or not I have not discovered. On the other hand, comparing the name with many others in various parts of the country, I have no doubt the meaning is ' Murdo's '(Lios-MurcJiaidli)-whoever this Murdo may have been. So Dunmurchie (Maxwell p. 176), and Ardmurthach (Reg. Ep. Mor., 175). Murdo is the English equivalent of the Gaelic Murchadh, which, according to old usage, might have been written as in the earliest form of the name, Los-morthie-'h' being frequently used to express the sound of 'ch.'

Immediately above Lesmurdie is The Kelman Hill. Kelman is a common surname, and there was a family of Kelmans in Mains of Lesmurdie a century ago, as appears on a tombstone in Mortlach Churchyard. The universal practice is, however, to speak of The Kelman, not of Kelman's Hill, and this indicates a much earlier origin of the name. The present characteristics of the hill I suppose to be nearly the same as when the name was first applied-a moorish hill, partly wooded, hence Coille-monaidi 'the wood of the moorish hill.' On the Kelman are three knolls, two of which give names to farms,-Tom-bally, from Tom-ballade the 'spotted knoll;' Tombain, the 'white knoll;' and Knock-buidhe (booie), the 'yellow knoll.' On the east side of the Deveron, forming the march between Glass and Cabrach, is the Raikie Burn. Tomnaven appears in a Retour of Jan. 9th, 1610, as Tomanaven (Toman'abliann) the (little hillock of the river,' referring to its situation in close proximity to the Deveron.

The neighbouring farm bears the name Hillock of Echt, which is partly borrowed. Throughout nearly the whole of the 17th century, and, perhaps for a longer period, this part of the Lower Cabrach belonged to the Forbes's of Echt, by whom it was united to the barony of Echt-Forbes (Inq. Spec., Banff, 32, 142). The origin of the name Echt, in its own proper place, no one has yet discovered, so far as I know. Above Hillock is the corrie, which gives its name to this property of the Forbes's, now called the Dauch ofCorinacy. In a charter of 1508 the name is given Corrinuisy, a corrupt form, as I have no doubt, of Coire-na-giubhsaich, ' the corrie of the fir-wood.' Fir roots are still dug out of the moss in and around the corrie. The same word appears in Kingussie (ceann-giubhsaicli), l the head of the fir-wood.' I suppose the 'g' to have dropped out in Corrinuisy, as I find in a charter of 1328, Carnousie, in Forglen, is called Caringusy, which is, evidently, the same name as Corinacy (Fam. of Innes, p. 57). Pyke may be English or Gaelic (pie)-'a sharp point or pike.' On the farm so called, this natural feature is strongly marked in a long, high point of land or rock stretching up the river, which has been worn into the shape of a great horn by the action of the waters long ages ago. A mile further up the stream is Dalreoch, from Dail-riabhach, the 'mottled field.' In a Retour of 1681 of the lands of Corrienassies (misspelling of Corrinuisy), among other names mentioned is Dalreoch called Bank,' and the question arises, was the present farm of Bank of Corinacy formerly called Dalreoch ?-if it was not, it has borrowed a name which belonged to another farm. The question is easily settled. Dail applies generally to a level field, and would therefore be inappropriate, without a qualifying epithet, to the present Bank of Corinacy, which was originally called Glascorrie, 'the grey corrie' It is so named in the charter of 1508, already quoted, and in the Retours of 1610 and 1681. Glascorrie is now pronounced Glassory. At Dalreoch the Blackwater joins the main stream ; but what the name of the main steam really is, is a question in dispute in the present day, as it has been for at least 200 years. It will be most convenient to discuss the matter further on.

Returning to the west side of the river, we have on the south of the Kelman Hill, Inver-charrach. The burn takes the name of the farm, though it might with perfect propriety be called the Carrach Burn, which it probably was at one time. It is the boundary between the dauchs of Lesmurdie and Blackwater, the latter extending to the borders of the Upper Cabrach at the Allt-dauch or the 'burn of the dauch.' The old forms of the name Invercharrach differ only in appearance from the present-Enuercheroche, Inucr-quherauche, and Invercherauche. Charrach is the Gaelic Carrach, signifying f rough broken ground with a stony bottom.' Invercharrach is notable as one of the recorded stages in the journey of Edward I. in his progress through Scotland, when he spent the night of the 30th July, 1296, at ' Inverkerack,' which was then considered on the highway from Rothes to Kildrummie, at which latter place he arrived the following day. With his passing visit to the Cabrach, tradition associates the King's Haugh on the Blackwater, where there is pointed out a block of stone called the King's Putting-stone. The Kingsford is at the bridge over the Deveron, between the Upper and Lower Cabrach.

Following the Invercharrach burn westward through Glac-charrach, or 'the pass of the Charrach,' the first old name we meet is Burntreble, which, curiously enough, is commonly supposed to be English ; though what a triple burn could possibly mean I have no idea. It is true, three burns join at this point, but the name comes from the Gaelic triopall which literally is a 'bunch.or cluster,or gathering,' and here evidently means 'the burn of the gathering or meeting.' Cf. Montriple (Fife) and Glentriploch (Galloway). From the north comes the burn of Findouran, or Ardlouie, more commonly Alluie. I have not found any old reference to Findouran, and as we have elsewhere 'doranc,' 'derran,' and 'durane,' as various forms of the same place name, it is difficult to conjecture what the original may have been. Feithi-an-dobhrain (bh and th mute), the 'marsh of the otter,' may be the meaning. Bodiemulach, on the opposite side of the glen, means the l clump, or place of the ridge or summit'-from bad, ' a clump,' and mullac}' a 1 ridge.' Ardluie and Craigluie, names of places on this burn, mean the ' height,' and 'craig, of the Luie (laogh), that is the (the burn of the calves.' The Gaelic laogh means the 'calf of a cow or deer, either of which may have given rise to the name here, and in numerous instances in which similar names occur in secluded Highland glens. There arc two burns of the same name, the East and West Lewie or Luie, near the southern boundary of the Upper Cabrach. Two burns from the south-west unite and join the main stream at Burntreble. The more southerly is the Garmach Burn (garbhi-magh), probably meaning the 'rough field burn,' and the other is Cach-na-moon (caochan-na-moine)' the streamlet of the moss.'

Higher up this glen is Rynturk, which has its name from roinn, a f poJnt or snout,' and tore, a 'wild boar' (roinn-tuirc), referring to a fancied resemblance in the outline of the hill behind to the snout of a boar, which it has, at least to a lively imagination. On the line of the division between the Aberdeenshire and Banffshirc portions of the Upper Cabrach, occurs a similar name in Rounumuck, that is, in Gaelic, Roinn-a-muic, the (snout of the pig.' The hill due north is called in the map 'Round Hill,' which it certainly is not. Evidently part of the name is lost, as in the case of anotherlong hill on the outerboun-dary, which is also called Round Hill. Both these hills must have been named Roinn, but the qualifying words being gone, they have been changed into the inappropriate names they now bear. The hill immediately above Rhynturk is called the Hill of the Garbet. The only possible Gaelic form of this name seems to me to be Garbh-athi, the ' rough ford.'

Passing over the burn which flows round nearly one-half of the hill, is the highway from Strathdeveron to the Fiddich, through the Glacs, or 'defiles' of the Balloch. At the crossing of the burn is a place now called Bal-lochford, and which I suppose, before the erection of a bridge, was called Garbh-ath,l rough ford.' There are other two places of the same name, one in the Upper Cabrach, and another just over the Rhynie boundary, and it is worth noticing the local custom in speaking of all these places. The hill to which I have referred is not the Gar-bet Hill, but the Hill of the Garbet. So in the other two cases, in which the name is connected with burns, the usage is to speak of the Burn of the Garbet, not the Garbet Burn. The first of these burns rises between Leidshill and 'The Mounth,' and flows into the Leyburn. The old road from Cabrach to Rhynie passes over this Burn of the Garbet by the Cors of the Garbet. The second Burn of the Garbet is generally believed in the district to be the true source of the Deveron, and is described as flowing in a clear, strong stream from below a flat stone, which has the appearance as if placed there by human hands. This stream joins the West Lewie to form the Howe Water, which again joins the Kindy Burn (ceann, a 'head') to form the Allt Deveron. Crossing the Burn of the Garbet is the old road to Glenbucket, and this crossing is still called the Rochford (rough-ford), and is so marked in the Ordnance map. This word Rochford appears to confirm the derivation of the name as I have given it. These Burns of the Garbet are not named in the map, and I have therefore been particular as to the localities. One of the peaks of Bennachie is called the Tap of the Garbet, and the Burn of the Garbet runs along its base. There may have been a ' rough ford' over this burn, but Garbet may have been properly enough applied, at one time, to the passage through the bogs, now called the Heather Brig. As I view it, Garbet has assumed its present form, first by contraction, as appears in Garbet, Ross-shire, formerly written Garrowbat, and, secondly, by the hardening of th in ath, a ' ford,' in post-Gaelic times. These fords must have been formerly a noticeable feature in the Cabrach, intersected as it is by burns in every direction, and a few of them are still remembered,- as Ballochford, the two Garbets, Kingsford, Red-ford, the Highlandman's ford, and just over the border, Sillerford, and lastly Alluie. This name is frequently applied to the farm properly called Ardluie, but Alluie is derived from At-laogh, the ford of the Luie, that is the ' calves' ford.'

Badchear is derived from bad, meaning a 'clump of trees,' a 'particular spot,' and in some parts of the country, ' a hamlet'; and the second syllable might be from ciar, 'brown;' but the 'brown spot' would be a singular name for cultivated land in the centre of moors, where it is the only green spot. The present local pronunciation is Bad-hear, but old people say it used also to be Bad-tchear. Probably both are correct, and suggest the old forms of iar ' west '-Bad-a-h'.iar and Bad-t-siar, meaning 'the place of the west.' Badchear is the most westerly cultivated land in the district, and the name may indicate the western extremity of the lands, of which Bel-cherrie formed the eastern, though I merely suggest this as possible. The hill filling up the angle between the burn of Invercharrach and the Blackwater is Tom-navowin, which may mean 'the hill of the huts '(bhothan}, but as it is in close proximity to the Milltown, I think it is more likely that-as we have already seen frequently happens-the letter '?' has been lost, and that the original has been Tom-na'mhuilinn (,mh pron. v.), 'the hill of the mills.' There is a Tomnavoulin in Strathavon, and similar names are very common, both in Scotland and in Ireland. Only two names remain to be noticed in the Lower Cabrach-Shenwell and Ardwell, from Sean-bhaile' ' old town,' and Ard-bfiaile' 'high town.'


The pass between the Upper and Lower Cabrach is the only spot in the whole district which can be called beautiful; and seen in the autumn, when the heather is in bloom, it is really a lovely Highland glen. Why this fine pass has no recognised name I cannot understand. It must have had a name at one time, but it is entirely lost to those resident in its neighbourhood. The hill on the west side of it has been named, in very recent years, Mount Pisgah. This might pass as a joke, but it is too ridiculous a name to be allowed into common use. In the Ordnance map the hill is named Meikie Firbriggs. The Gaelic fir-breige means literally 'false men,' and is applied to heaps of stones raised on hills as landmarks (H. S. Die.), or to upright blocks of stone, or whatever might appear in the distance to represent men. I think it is probable this is the true meaning of the name here. It does not seem to be very common in Scotland, though there are other two hills in this county having the same name, and it is found in Iona in Port-an-fir-bhreige, f the port of the false man.' (Reeves' St Columbia, p. 332.) In Ireland it occurs as Farbreague, Farbreagues, and similar names, generally however applying to standing-stones rather than to cairns (Joyce, II. 435). Of the same class probably are the names Stonemanhill (Fyvie), Standingmanhill (Fordyce), Longmanhill (Gamrie), and Sluthman-hill (Sluth in old Sco.=lazy). In tracing the names in the Upper Cabrach I have taken into account local pronunciation; but I am chiefly indebted for the older forms, where there have been changes, to the Rental of the lordship of Huntly of date 1600 (Spal. C. Mis., Vol. IV). In ordinary records I would not attach much importance to evidence of so late a date, but a Rent-roll is probably in most cases a careful transcript of those of earlier date ; and this document very likely represents, with slight changes, the names as they were found when the Gordons came into possession in 1508.

Auchmair is the first name we meet in the Upper Cabrach ; and it has been assumed, without sufficient evidence, that the original form was AucJmor, or 'the big field.' In the charter of 1347 (Spal. C. Col., pp. 615, 616) the name is given Auchmayre, and it is unlikely that at this early date, on the borders of the Highlands, such a change as from mor to inayre could have taken place. As the church of the Cabrach was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and one half of Auchmayre belonged to the Church, it is a more plausible supposition that Auchmayre means Mary's Field. Similar names originated in Catholic times, as Maryland, Marywell, Maryhill, and Marypark. But in a charter of 1367 (Reg. Mag. Sig., 58, i8i) certain lands called Auchynmayre, in Banffshire, are mentioned, and as the article here comes between auch and mayre, the last syllable cannot be either an adjective or a personal name. The name must mean the field of the mayre or mare, whatever he may have been. I think the name has been originally Achadh-maoir ' the 'field of the mair or officer.' Maor means simply a deputy, and may apply to an official of any rank up to the King's deputy or mormaer, from whom possibly the district of Mar derived the name. In Ireland the same word, though pronounced differently, appears in names of places formerly held by guardians of lands, cattle, or sacred reliquaries, for neighbouring chieftains-so Bally-myre, l the town of the keeper or steward ;' and Tigh-an-mhaeir, f the house of the keeper' (Joyce II., 114). The position and duties of the 'maor' we can clearly understand from an interesting communication given in Skene's Celtic Scotland (Vol. III., 390), on the land customs of the present day in the Lewis. The Chamberlain is represented in every townland by a 'maor,' and he again by the 'maor-beg' or constable. Probably the same custom prevailed in early times in our own district. In the Rental of Lochaber (1600), 'The Officear ' appears as one of the tenants or occupants of lands. In the Retours of Moray in 1606, we have this entry, which I give nearly in full:-' Robert Dunbarheir of George Dunbar in Litle Tarie, his father,-in the office of mair commonly called the office of mairchip of the Eriedom of Murray and Westschyre of the samin, that is to say the haill mair comes, reik hens, and other casualties and feis quhatsumevir of the tounis and lands of the Eriedom of Murray and Westschyre of the samin, lyand on bayth the sides of the water of Findhorne; that is to say furth of every paroche ane stouk of beir, ane stouk of aitti's, with the cottaris reik hems of every pleuche yeirh'e, together with the aiker of land, houses and Diggings lyand within the town of Darnway and baronie thereof belonging to the said office of Mairschip.' Although it is impossible to say with certainty, there is a reasonable probability that Auchmair means the 'field of the mair,' more particularly as the Cabrach was Crown property, and a local official would have been necessary.

On the opposite side of the valley is Torni-chelt, which is given in the rental of 1600 Tornikelt, and I am therefore inclined to think the Gaelic is Torr-na-coillte, i the knoll of the woods.' The knoll is a strongly-marked feature on the brow of the hill, and clumps of natural birches are still found growing all over the neighbourhood. Similar names appear elsewhere in Scotland, and in Ireland, but from a different root, viz., eilte gen. of eilit, a doe, as in Rahelty and Annahilt (Joyce, I. 4.77). This place is, however, quite close to what must have always been the public highway, and is very unlikely ever to have been frequented by such timid creatures. The burn at Tornichelt is called Alsperit, which is probably from allt, 'a burn,' and spreidh, 'cattle' -hence Allt-sfreidh, 'the burn of the cattle.'

About half-a-mile to the southward the Allt-Deveron and Rouster unite, and it is curious that even in the Cabrach there is difference of opinion as to the proper application of the names of these streams. From the testimony of the older people I think they are properly named in the Ordnance map-the Allt-Deveron to the east, and the Rouster to the west. Gordon of Straloch gives, in his map of 1640, the eastern branch as the River Dovern. Macfarlane, in 1725, takes the opposite view, and gives Rouster, or Royster as he spells it, to the Allt-Deveron. We are not left, however, either to conjecture or tradition on the subject; the names speak for themselves. Rouster, I think, is derived from ruadh ' red,' and snith (E. pron. stru), 'a stream,' meaning the 'red-water,' as the next affluent is called the Black-water, and for a similar reason-because red is characteristic of one stream, as black is of the other. How it is so will be seen by the following notes on the geology of this part of the Cabrach, with which Mr. Hinxman, H.M.G.S., has kindly supplied me. He says-'The greater part of the ba'sin of the Upper Cabrach is occupied by a small outlier of Old Red Sandstone. Like the Rhynie area, it is bounded on the west side by a fault, and, on the east, rests uncomformably on metamorphic and igneous rocks. It extends from a point a little to the N.E. of Bank of Corinacy in a S.W. direction, to a point somewhere between Aldivalloch and Reekomlane while its most easterly extension may be seen just above the bridge at Kirkton. It is generally obscured by peat and alluvial deposits, but soft, crumbling sandstone of a deep red colour is well exposed on the banks of the Rouster Water.' I think there can be no doubt the name has been suggested by the colour of this rock, which can be traced along its banks for nearly two miles from any of the neighbouring heights. The Rouster must therefore terminate where the descriptive name ceases to be applicable, which is at the junction with the main stream. Allt-Deveron appears to me a peculiar name. Taken by itself it would no doubt mean l Otter-burn,' but this leaves us in a difficulty with The Deveron, which Dr. Joyce would derive from the old Gaelic dobhar, 'water;' but even if this is not so, we can hardly suppose the river has acquired its name simply by the loss of allt. It seems improper, because unnecessary, to prefix allt, 'a burn'-Deveron being, as I view it in any case, a name complete in itself, and applicable to the stream without any qualification. Gordon of Straloch does not give allt, and Macfarlane has 'old' Allt may have been a late addition ; but from the junction of the Howe Water and Kindy Burn, where the water assumes its characteristic dark hue from the peat bogs, I think Deveron has originally been the name of the stream, as in Straloch's map, and that the Rouster and Blackwater are merely tributaries. I judge entirely by the names, without regard to tradition or usage.

Following the west side of the Rouster, the first farm we have is Aldunie, which in the old Rental is given Auldeunye, as it is still generally pronounced. I think the Gaelic is Allt-diona, 'the burn of the shelter.' So we have, probably with the same meaning, near the Buck, Den-schiel, and Tukieshiel. Shiel is the same word as shieling, a shelter for cattle or their attendants. The next farm bears a name commemorated in the well-known song 'Roy's wife of Aldi'valloch.' The Gaelic form of this name is Allt-a-bhealaich (bh pron. v), and means l the burn of the pass ' or old road across the hills to Glenlivet. To the westward is Largue, Gaelic Learg, 'a. hillside'-a name of very common occurrence. About a mile further south is Reekomlane, as it is given in the Ordnance map, and generally pronounced. The tradition connected with this place is, that 'once upon a time' there was a great dearth in the land, and the inhabitants of the Cabrach either died out or fled, excepting the family in this lonely spot, who supported life by successful fishing in the burns, and their house had the only 'reekin' lum' in this district-hence Reekomlane. This story of the origin of the name seems at first sight so absurd, that one is disposed to look for a Gaelic derivation, which would not be difficult to find; but it is likely that there is truth in the tradition, as it has probability and general acceptance in its favour. My informant had the story 30 years ago, from a very old man resident near the place, who, in his boyhood, heard the old people speak of it as a tradition of the district. Whether the name originated in this way or not, it is quite clear that solitary houses sometimes received similar humorous names. Reekit-lane appears three times in various parts of Aberdeenshire; and in Peeblesshire the same idea is expressed in the name Standalane.

Close beside this place, on the banks of the Rouster, is Gauch, a name about which there is considerable diversity of opinion as to whether Gauch or Dauch is the proper form. Even in the Churchyard of the Cabrach, I notice both names appear on tombstones standing side by side. Now there can be no doubt that Gauch is a Gaelic word which appears in many place names, alone or in combination. Thus we find the hill of Goauch in the parish of Strachan, a hill called Trois Geach in Perthshire, Baden-goauch in Logiccoldstone, and Braidgauch, in Monymusk. In the Huntly rental of 1600 this place is called Geauche, and the 'eyauche,' and in Straloch's map it is Geach, so that, I think, there can be no doubt this was the original name. The Gaelic is almost the same as we have it- Gaothadi (pron. ghuach) meaning a 'windy place.' The name is sometimes understood in the Highlands to mean a junction of streams, but a junction of streams, especially of glen burns, is often a windy place; and I notice besides that the name occurs where there is no junction of streams. The confusion which arises from the similarity of the names Geauche and Dauch- sometimes written and pronounced Deyauche- may be accounted for by the supposition that this part of the Cabrach, like its other five divisions, had been also a dauch, although the fact-if fact it is-and the general name are lost. There is in the Huntly Rental the name Roche-findzeauche, which has now disappeared, and this may have been the name of an old dauch extending from the Buck to the Allt-dauch. It might appropriately enough have been called Fin-dauch, the 'white dauch ;' and the name may have come to be applied to one particular farm now incorporated with Gauch. I thus imagine that both Gauch and Dauch may correctly apply to this farm. This is only conjecture, but it seems probable.

Immediately to the east of Gauch, and lying along the banks of the Rouster for more than two miles, is a peat moss, named in the map Balvalley. These mosses, so abundant all over this district, arc interesting, as giving us some idea of its appearance centuries ago. One feature common to most of them is, that, in cutting down through the moss, there are found layers of roots and trees representing two generations, a new race having sprung up as the older perished,-natives say l three generations,' but our geological friends say 'only two.' This also appears in one of the mosses of Badnaman (the ' place of the moss'), which is called the moss of Fuie (fiodha) 'the timber' moss. Oak, fir, and birch are the trees principally found. Mr. Hinx-man examined various sections of the moss showing different ages of the tree-growth. He says-f On the Blackwater, at a depth of 6 feet from the surface of the moss, is a well-marked layer of large fir roots and stumps in black peat, this being succeeded by 9 feet of brownish peat full of twigs and branches of birch, while at the bottom of the moss, and resting on the boulder clay, is a layer of birch bark mixed with twigs and small branches.'

Balvalley is locally pronounced Ba'ville. Ville in Ireland frequently represents bile, 'a great tree.' In Scotland, vallie is an occasional form of b!iealaich, (a pass ;' as in Alltavallie in Glenrinnes-a burn at the base of the Hill of the Glenroads. I think, however, the name Balvalley may be a corruption of Baile-mhuilinn' the town of the mill'-hence 'the moss of the Milltown' at which place the moss terminates. Bodibae means literally 'the clump of the birch,' (bad-a-beithe) but bad also means (a particular place, a hamlet.' In the Huntly Rental the name is given Baldebaes, and the Poll-Book of 1696 moves the 'I' and gives us Badilbae. Bodibay and Badabay are also common forms.

Opposite Bodiebae, on the west side of Allt-Devcron, is Bracklach, frequently called The Bracklach, or 'the spotted place.' The name is not uncommon in Ireland with the same meaning (Joyce, II. 6). Professor Mackinnon mentions in his papers on Argyllshire Names that Bracklach occurs in Scotland as a corruption of Broclach, 1 the place of the badgers.' In the next parish (Mortlach) is Tomnabrock, 'the knoll of the badgers,' but Tulebrock in the old spelling is Tulebralloch. Behind Bracklach is Ordettan- from ord, 'a round hill' like a mallet, and aitionn, 'juniper,' hence Ord-aitinn 'the hill of the juniper.' This plant still grows abundantly on the hill. About a mile northward, on the Allt-Deveron, is Powneed, given in the Huntly Rental, Pownuid. Pow and^ are the common corruptions of '?, a ' pool,' an illustration of which we have in Po'daff, often called the 'Pot of Po'daff-daff being from duff= Poll-dubh means the ' black pool.' As the first syllable of Powneed has lost its 1's I am not quite certain that the second may not have lost them too. The name may have been Poll-an-uilit, the 'pool of the burn.' The qualifying part of a name is, however, generally accented, and therefore less liable to change, so that Poll-nead may be correct, and, if so, it means 'the pool of the birds' nests.' Ireland gives us many parallels, as Athnid, the f ford of nest,' Drumnid, the ' ridge of the nest,' and Derry-naned, the 'oakwood of the birds' nests.' At this place in the Cabrach the name is most appropriate. Anyone looking down from the heights, and observing the pools and sedgy grass over the low lands stretching along the burnside towards Bracklach, would not be surprised to learn that this is still a favourite breeding-place for water-fowl, particularly wild-duck.

Still further north on this stream is Craigencat, the 'craig of the wild cats.' The haugh along the stream is called 'The Dillet,' and near by is Cul-wyne, probably Cul-unine, the 'green hill-back.' On the extreme point of the Cabrach, towards Auchindoir and Rhynie, is Eirick, which in early times seems to have stood alone, and in the old charters is referred to as l the land of Eirick,' or 'Eirig,' probably because the other farms were grouped in dauchs, while Eirick was too distant to be included in any of them. The place occupies a rocky hillside, and the name is exceedingly common all over the country, and occurs in this county seven or eight times. The modern forms of the name are Eirig, Eldrig, Eirich, and Eirick. From the similarity of the last syllable to our Scotch word rig, it might be suspected to have an English origin ; but this cannot be, as we find it in such combinations as Eiri an Toiseach, Cairn Eirig Mor, Bellerig and Drumel-rig. In some twenty instances, where Eirick or Eirig stands alone, I only find one that I am not quite certain of its application to a hill or a hillside. I have no doubt the name is derived from lairig, primarily 'a moor,' and applied to the slope of a moorish hill, and also to a sloping hill. That this is the derivation of the name so far, is certain, because we find that Cairn Eirig Mor, in Glen Quoich, is also called Lairg Mor. The difficulty is to determine whether the first syllable is aill, 'a rock, a steep bank, a height,' or the article giving simply a-lairig, 'the hillside,' or 'sloping hill.' There are many hill-names so formed, as A Chioch, A Chailleach, A Choinneach, An Tom, Am Mullach, and many others. Such names, however, as Auchinhalrig, and Tom-na-h'elrig, show that the first syllable cannot possibly be the article, and I therefore conclude that it must be derived from ail or aill, and the name thus means * the rock or height of the sloping hill or moor.' Cf, Eirick, Inverness, in 1576, Allerik; Alrig, Wigton, 1539; Allerg, 1725, Abd. Sh.

From this point (Eirig) begins the old boundary of the Cabrach as described in the charter of 1508, to which I have already referred, and part of which I give in full. Translated from the original, it runs:-Beginning in the south at the burn ascending between Eirig and Blackmiddings, v/hich land of Eirig is m the territory of the Cabrach, and Blackmiddings in the barony of Huntly, otherwise called Strabogy; and from this burn ascending to the summit of Ludishill towards the north, and so going over the summit of the Hundehillack between Garbet and Ridford, and from thence ascending by the summit of the hill between Cairnaloquhy and Tullach Dowy; and so always towards the north by the head of the three burns between them and Glas-cory, leaving the Burnhedis to Strabogy, and Glascory to Cabrach; thence descending towards the north by the summit of Cornabroicht, towards the north and east angle of Ballochbegy, which is called Grenewellheid, which is the march between Cabrach and Corrynuisy.' It is quite clear this description does not correspond with the boundary on the map, and I suspect it is impossible now to trace it. I may notice the names however, and point out those which appear to be their modern representatives. Ludishill is now Leidshill, and may be derived from the personal name Leod, or more likely from leathad, 'a slope,' which occasionally appears in hill-names. Hundehillock is not now known. Cairnaloquhy is, I think, a contraction of Carn-Allt-lochan. ' the cairn of the burn of the pools' (or marshy land), and this name Aloquhy, or Allt-lochan, seems to be represented by the Eallachie Burn, at the head of which is the hill now called Craigwater Hill, apparently a free translation of Cairnaloquhy. The name Eallachie, as it appears here, is quite different from Craigellachie, Strathspey ; and I may suggest to those interested in the latter name, that it may possibly mean the Craig of Ellachie-Elloquhy being the old name of the neighbouring estate now called Eichies. Tulloch Dowy means the l black hillock,' and there is a height now called the Black Hill. The Three Burn-heads are well known, and Glascory, as I have said, is now Glassory, the come to the east of the Bank. On the hill at the head of this corry are two springs which are landmarks. One is called the Sponical, perhaps from spongail, 'spongy,' because it is a quagmire (Sco. wallee). The other is Ferrinay, which is probably from fnaranadi,,l full of springs.' Cornabroicht {coirc-na-bruaich) means 'the corrie of the precipitous hill-face,' and this name at once suggests the corrie in the hill called Bank of Corinacy, facing the pass.

Ballochbegy means 'the little pass,' and I know of no other place which could have borne such a name except the pass between the Upper and Lower Cabrach. I conjecture it has been called the Little Pass in contradistinction to the Mickle Balloch or Big Pass. Grenwellheids is a name which may occur anywhere. If my conjecture about Ballochbegy is correct, then the present boundary is at the wrong end of the pass, namely S.E., instead of N.E. I may remark, however, that although an English name may appear to be a translation of an old Gaelic one now lost, it does not follow that the one succeeded the other on the same spot. The English name may be the translation of the Gaelic, but may have taken its place side by side with it.

So, in the next parish is Tolo-phin, and at a little distance Whitehillock; and in Drumblade Culclerochy (cul a 'back') and Back o' Field. Tillybrother (brathair, a 'brother') and Tillymannoch 'manach, a 'monk'), are both in the parish of Echt. Turning to the hills-The Buck (Gaelic toe) is the most prominent of all those surrounding the great basin. Both its height (2368) and its finely-shaped conical form entitle it to bear the name it does. Only one hill in the Cabrach exceeds it in height-viz., Cook's Cairn (2478). Following the boundary which runs along the summits of the hills, we have Mount Meddin, from ineadhon, the 'middle,' and Dun Mount from dun^ a 'fort' or 'hill.' Near the march is Blair-lick Hill, from blar a ' field' and leac, a ' flagstone,' hence the ' field of the flag-stones.' Goal Charn is the 'white cairn.' To the west we have Cairn-a-Bruar, from the old Gaelic brothaire a 'caldron'-a name familiar to most Highland tourists, in the Falls of the Bruar. The word is applied to any hollow resembling a caldron. Cairn Brallan is from Sc. ' brawlin,' which applies to the crowberry, red whortleberry, or cranberry (Gaelic braoileag). Overlooking the upper waters of the Fiddich is a hill called Cam Allt-a-Chlaiginn. Claigionn means a ' skull,' and is applied to the round top of a hill. There seems a little confusion in this name which, as given in the map, means 'the cairn of the burn of the skull.' It ought to be Carn-a-Chlaiginn, the 'cairn of the skull,' and Allt Carn-a-Chlaiginn, the ' burn of the cairn of the skull.' A hill in the next parish bears the name, The Scalp, Sco. scawp, ' the scalp or skull,' applied to a bare -ound hill. The Scaut Hill is pronounced Scat; but the word is doubtful. Perhaps it may be a corruption of skiat a ' wing,' either from its shape, or because it is the wing of Cairn-a-Chlaiginn. Further north is the hill of Clais-nan-Earb, 'the hill of the furrow of the roes.' Cairncrome means ' the bent cairn or hill' (cam-crom)-and from this point, by a zig-zag, the boundary on this side terminates at the Balloch (bealach) or ' the pass.'


The name Cabrach is popularly believed in the district to mean a place 'abounding in trees,' and I know of no other meaning which it can possibly have. The writer of the notice of date 1374, in which he gives 'to our cousin William, Earl of Douglas, all and whole the lands of the Cabrauch, and a halfdavat of the land of Auchmayre, with the service of the free tenants of the other half of the said davat which is called Clouethe, with the pertinents within the sheriffdom of Banff which formerly belonged to David Brown of Glendriston, which the said David has resigned' (Reg. Mag. Sig., 104, 47).

During the next 200 years several persons of note are associated with the Cabrach as proprietors, either in whole or in part, and these I can only mention briefly. In 1397, Robert III. confirmed a donation of certain lands by Sir James Sandilands to his son George, Earl of Angus, whose mother was Countess of Mar and Angus, and among these lands were Buck, Cabrach, and Cloveth. In 1404, Lady Isabell, sister of the Earl of Angus, and widowed Countess of Mar, presented these lands along with much besides -herself included-to Sir Alexander Stewart, thereafter known as Earl of Mar and Garvioch. On his death, disputes arose as to the succession of the lands and honours of Mar, and one of the claimants, Sir Robert of Erskine, in 1438, promised the Cabrach to Alexander of Forbes, if, by his help and counsel, he succeeded in gaining the Earldom. When the time came for implementing the bargain, Lord Erskine retained the Cabrach, and, after much ado, substituted lands. in Strathdee. When, or how, Cabrach reverted to the Crown, I do not know, but in 1508 James IV., ' for good and free service' granted to 'our beloved cousin Alexander, Earl of Huntly our lands and forests of Cabrach, with all its pertinents lying within our Sheriffdom of Aberdeen;' and at the same time he incorporated these lands with the barony of Huntly (R.M.S). However this gift may have been valued by the Earl, he sold the whole of the lands and forests, before the expiry of the year, to James Gordon of Auchmullys (R.M.S). Again there is a silence of nearly a century, broken only by two short records. In 1565, John, Lord Erskine, Earl of Mar, resigned all rights which he possessed to the Cabrach, ' already desponit be the Quenis Majiste to Robert commendator of Haliruidhous and his airis.' In 1580, ' our Soverane Lordis Col-lectour' let to the Master of Elphinstone, the tcind sheaves and other profits pertaining to the common kirks of Kildrummie, Logiemar, Glen-bucket, and Cabrach. Taking these two notices together, it seems probable that the disposition to the Commendator only affected the church-lands of Cabrach, viz., the half dauch of Cloveth. Incidental references show that the Gordons' Cabrach remained in possession of one or other branch of the family, and reverted, as I conjecture, by failure of succession, to the Earl, in the latter half of the i6th century.

In 1600, it appears along with the other possessions in the Rental of the Lordship. Of stirring events in the Cabrach in old times, we have merely brief incidental notices. On the 18th July, 1463, the Earl of Huntly, along with other lords, summoned the Alderman and town of Aberdeen to meet them in the Cabrach. What expedition was in hand does not appear; but the Alderman excused himself and his townsmen, on the ground that the tryst was too hasty; that f they had no horses and could not get none,' as the county gentlemen had been summoned ; besides, they had been charged by their sovereign Lord to keep their own town against a 'flot of Inglismen,' and so he trusts that, from an entirely different quarter, their Singular lordships' may receive all necessary protection ' at your nee and mythty nobil hartis desiris.'

In 1592, the Cabrach was subjected to an inroad of a serious character. A long-standing feud existed between the Earl of Huntly, and Macintosh, chief of the Clan Chattan, which was ever breaking out in petty warfare. Macintosh had invaded Strathdcc, and killed several of the heads of the Gordon families resident there. Huntly retaliated by a raid on the lands of Pettie, killing many of the Macintoshes, and harrying the country. On his return home, news reached him that William Macintosh, son of the chief, had invaded the lands of Auchindown and Cabrach with a force of 800 men (?) The Earl, accompanied by a small body of 35 horsemen, attacked them near The Gauch, and defeated them with a loss of 60 men. This fight is commemorated in an old ballad, well remembered in the district by the last generation. I have only picked up a few lines, which are probably a fair specimen of the rude doggerel. Some one taunts Macintosh with his defeat- 'Oh.Willie Macintosh, oh, Willie Macintosh, whaur left ye a' yer men? Ye've left them in the Granes 'o' the Gauch, feeding theCabrach swine.' He replies-'Head me or hang me, death canna fley me ; I'll burn Auchindoun or life ley me.'

Two years later the Cabrach was the gathering-place of the confederate lords, Huntly, Errol, and others, previous to the battle of Glenlivet. They remained there one night, probably waiting their Deeside friends, and the assembling of the vassals in the neighbourhood.

In 1745, Lord Lewis Gordon summoned the Cabrach to Join the Prince's standard, along with the other Gordon retainers ; but although for a time he fully expected a strong contingent from the upper district, by and by he writes from Huntly Castle bitterly complaining of the few men who had joined him, owing to the Duke having given orders to his people to keep quiet.' Taking these recorded events as indicating the troubled times previous to the middle of last century, it is probable that the Cabrach frequently suffered heavy losses, both in life and property, as we know the neighbouring parishes did.

In 1362, Kildrummie and Cloveth (Cabrach) were united by the Bishop, because the revenues of the churches were so much wasted by frequent wars. Still, whatever changes may have followed these local wars, either in the loss or scattering of the inhabitants, they are not sufficient to explain the fact that there are remarkably few traditions of an old date to be found in the district. So noticeable is this, that I imagine there must have been virtually an entire change of the population, and this may possibly have occurred as the result of famine, as the all but solitary tradition-noticed in connection with Reekom-lane-tells. Whatever the cause, it almost certainly dates back beyond 1600, at which time, as appears in the Huntly Rental, 13 farms in the Upper Cabrach were let to non-resident tenants, who were either themselves lairds, or lairds' sons. Three farms appear to have been unoccupied. Only 5 farms were let to residents, and these had 16 tenants settled upon them. Unless the non-resident tenants were merely nominal tacks-men, with many subtenants whose names are not mentioned, the population at this time must have been very small. About a century later it was little short of what it is now. We can estimate the numbers pretty closely, and reckoning three children to each married couple, we have 296 inhabitants, against 312 at present. In 1600, the Rental of the Upper Cabrach was '366 merkis silver maillis' and 17 stones butter. In 1696, the Rental had risen to 454 Ibs. Scots, or nearly double. It is suggestive that while most of the low country rents were partly paid in grain and meal, neither entered into the Rental of the Cabrach. Mills uniformly paid largely in meal, but the miller of the Cabrach had to pay silver 'maillis' and 2 st butter.

There is nothing in the family names, either in 1600 or 1696, to show whether the people were of Highland or Lowland descent. There-are a few purely Highland names, but the same list might be made up from any of the Lowland parishes. Of the place names, 14 of Gaelic origin apply to the farms circling the great basin of the Cabrach, and are almost all situated on the hill slopes, while the 7 English names are found in the centre of the valley. As I have suggested, there may have been a settlement of strangers, or of English-speaking people, on the lower grounds, after the destruction, or partial destruction, of the forests. The Gaelic names most closely adjoining those of A. S. origin, have suffered greater change than the Gaelic names forming the outer circle, and the changes are of the same character as we find in the low count.