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A little about DENFIND or DENFIEND (the den of fiends) Monikie, Scotland

This website has several mentions of "Denfind", a local placename supposedly originally called the "den of fiends".
Using the Search Engine readers can find other references on this site, some similar to those below.
The following text forms a substantive portion of a response from Angus Council Archives about the subject, and may assist researchers. 

17 October 2006

Denfind or Denfiend, Angus

Thank you for your enquiry concerning the history of cannibals at Denfind or Denfiend in Angus.

From "Angus or Forfarshire" by A. J. Warden we found the following information about Denfind:  

Vol. 4 pp 419-20 

  • "The Earl of Crawford gave an annual of twelve merks from the lands of Dunfynd and Downycane, in the barony of Downie, to the alter of Our Lady at Dundee, to have mass celebrated for the souls of his ancestors, and his own after his death. Charter confirmed at Dundee, 10 December, 1406, by Regent Albany."

  • "King Robert III granted to David, Earl of Crawford (between 1398-1405) a charter of the barony of Downy, Achebatoun, and several other lands. Some time after the date of that charter, the barony, which consisted of the lands of Ardestie, Auchinleck, Balhungie, Carlungie, Denfind, Downieken, Ethiebeaton, Monikie, Pitairlie and others, both on the south and north of Downie Hill, became broken up into small sections, owned by various parties."

  • "The Durhams of Grange . . . acquired the lands of Denfind in 1544."

Vol. 4 pp 424-25

  • "The lands of Denfind were included in the barony of Downie, but, like other portions of the barony, Denfind was for a long time a distinct estate, and had its castle, the residence of the laird. The lands remain but the tower or castle disappeared long ago."

  • "A little to the west of the farmhouse of Denfind, formerly Dunfind, there is a deep ravine called Denfiend, through which a rivulet runs. It is crossed by a lofty bridge of one arch on the road from Dundee to Monikie. in Lindsay of Pitscottie's History, p.104-5, it is called the Fiend's Den, because a brigand with his family dwelt in it. 'He had an execrable fashion to all young men and children that he could steal or obtain by other means, and take them.home and eat them. The younger they were he held them the more tender and delicate. For these acts he was burned with his wife, bairns, and family, except a young lass of one year old, who was saved and taken to Dundee, where she was brought up, but when she came to women's years, she was condemned and burned quick for the same crime her father and mother were convicted of. A great crowd, chiefly women, attended at the execution, cursing her for her crimes. To them she said -'Why chide ye me as if I had committed a crime. Give me credit, if ye had the experience of eating human flesh you would think it so delicious that you would never forbear it again.' And so she died, without sign of repentance."

Following on below are details from the National Library of Scotland's website giving details of Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie's three volume text entitled "The historie and cronicles of Scotland from the slauchter of King James the First to the ane thousande five hundreith thrie scoir fyftein zeir." Perhaps you could arrange to view these volumes and note the sources Lindesay has used to recount his tale of cannibals at Denfind.

Dundee City Archives at 21 City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BY may hold information about the daughter who was burnt at the stake in Dundee. Another avenue of research would be to contact the National Archives of Scotland at HM General Register House, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY, who may hold documents from the 15 century that may prove to be useful to your research.

Yours . . .

Angus Archives, Hunter Library, Restenneth, Forfar, Scotland. DD8 2SZ

Tel: +44 (0)1307 468644 E-mail: angus dot archives at angus dot gov dot uk 

Website: www.angus.gov.uk/history/archives/default.htm


Scottish History in Print - Published Documents - Search Results Page 1 of 1

Published Documents - Search Results

  • Club: Scottish Text Society, Old Series

  • Published: Edinburgh, 1899-1911

  • Series/Item: 31.18

  • Title: "The historie and cronicles of Scotland from the slauchter of King lames the First to the ane thousande fyve hundreith thrie scoir fyftein zeir."

  • Details: Written and collected by Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie. Being a continuation of the translation of the chronicles written by Hector Boece and translated by John Bellenden.

  • Notes: 3 vols

  • Editor: Edited by A.J.G. Mackay.

  • Contents: i : (Pt. 42). [1437-1542. Up to 1460 Pitscottie's work is a translation of Hector Boece. For Beffenden's translation see 33.10.]
                   ii : (P1t. 43). [1542-76.] iii: Glossary and index. (Pt. 60). [Matheson, Catalogue, lists this vol. as 60.]

 

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Denfind or Denfiend, Angus

Thank you for your telephone call concerning the history of cannibals at Denfind or Denfiend in Angus.

From "Angus or Forfarshir& by A. J. Warden we found the following information about Denfind:

Vol. 4 pp 419-20 -

• "The Earl of Crawford gave an annual of twelve merks from the lands of Dunfynd and Downycane, in the barony of Downie, to the alter of Our Lady at Dundee, to have mass celebrated for the souls of his ancestors, and his own after his death. Charter

th

confirmed at Dundee, 10 December, 1406, by Regent Albany."

"King Robert 111 granted to David, Ear] of Crawfors (between 1398-1405) a charter of the barony of Downy, Achebatoun, and several other lands. Some time after the date of that charter, the barony, which consisted of the lands of Ardestie, Auchinleck, Baihungie, Cadungie, Denfind, Downieken, Ethiebeaton, Monikie, Pitairlie and others, both on the south and north of Downie Hill, became broken up into small sections, owned by various parties."

"The Durhams of Grange acquired the lands of Denfind in 1544."

Vol. 4 pp 424-25

"The lands of Denfind were included in the barony of Downie, but, like other portions of the barony, Denfind was for a long time a distinct estate, and had its castle, the residence of the laird. The lands remain but the tower or castle disappeared long ago."

"A little to the west of the farmhouse of Denfind, formerly Dunfind, there is a deep ravine called Denfiend, through which a rivulet runs. It is crossed by a lofty bridge of one arch on the road from Dundee to Monikie. in Lindsay of Pitscottie's History, p. 104-5, it is called the Fiend's Den, because a brigand with his family dwelt in it. 'He had an execrable fashion to all young men and children that he could steal or obtain by other means, and take them.horne and eat them. The younger they were he held

them the more tender and delicate. For these acts he was burned with his wife, bairns, and family, except a young lass of one year old, who was saved and taken to Dundee, where she was brought up, but when she came to women's years, she was condemned and burned quick for the same crime her father and mother were convicted of. A great crowd, chiefly women, attended at the execution, cursing her for her crimes. To them she said -'Why chide ye me as if 1 had committed a crime. Give me credit, if ye had the experience of eating human flesh you would think it so delicious that you would never forbear it again.'And so she died, without sign of repentance."

We have enclosed a printout from the National Library of Scotland's website giving details of Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie's three volume text entitled "The historie and cronicles of Scotland from the slauchter of King James the First to the ane thousande five hundreith thrie scoir fyftein zeir." Perhaps you could arrange to view these volumes and note the sources Lindesay has used to recount his tale of cannibals at Denfind.

You could contact Dundee City Archives at 21 City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BY as they may hold information about the daughter who was burnt at the stake in Dundee. Another avenue of research would be to contact the National Archives of Scotland at HM General Register

th

House, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY as they may hold documents from the 15 century that may prove to be useful to your research.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you require further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

~t7

Fiona C. Scharlau SeniorArchivist

If replying, please send to Heather Munro, Archives Assistant at the address below Angus Archives, Hunter Library, Restenneth, By Forfar, DD8 2SZ

Tel:O 1307 468644 E-mail: angus.archives(d-)an-gus._qov.u Website: www.angus.gov.uk/histo~ylarchives/default.htm

Scottish History in Print: Published Documents Search Results Page 1 of 1

Search for Published Documents View Transcriptions

Published Documents - Search Results

Club: Scottish Text Society, Old Series Published: Edinburgh, 1899-1911

Series/Item: 31.18

Title: The historie and cronicles of Scotland from the slauchter of King lames the First to the ane thousande fyve hundreith thrie scoir fyftein zeir. Details. Written and collected by Robert Lindesay of Pitscottie. Being a continuation of the translation of the chronicles written by Hector Boece and translated by John Bellenden. Notes: 3 vols Editor: Edited by A. 3. G. Mackay. Contents: j : (Pt. 42). [1437-1542. Up to 1460 Pitscottie's work is a translation of Hector Boece. For Beffenden's translation see 33.10.] ii : (P1t. 43). [1542-76.] iii: Glossary and index. (Pt. 60). [Matheson, Catalogue, lists this vol. as 60.] Back