W. Douglas Chisholm was the minister of Monikie Parish for many years until 1983
and wrote regular articles with the above heading which were published in the Church
Magazine. He was well known for the vast amount of research he carried
out regarding the parish and it could be said that this culminated in the
publication of his book, 'The Monikie Story',
copies of which can be ordered online.
following articles are a selection of those appearing over the years and will
hopefully add to the reader's interest in the Monikie Parish. They
were brought together in a special booklet to celebrate the 800 years of Monikie
They were brought together in a special booklet to celebrate the 800 years of Monikie Parish.
Generally, the text has been reprinted much as in the original, but a few additions (mostly coloured) are given in order to assist the reader who may not be fully acquaint with the geography and other matters of the area, or which may have changed since the original years of publication.
these articles may contain some links to other parts of this site, you are are
recommended to use the Search Engine provided to
discover other items on this site relating to most of these articles.
From the booklet - 'MONIKIE KIRK 800 YEARS'
JOURNEY DOWN THE AGES THROUGH THE PARISH
These selected historical sketches (following on this webpage) are offered for the celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the founding of Monikie Kirk. They originally appeared in the Parish Newsletter between the years 1972 and 1983, in the series “Journey down the Ages through the Parish”. In them, readers were asked to look down in imagination upon people and places in our long Parish history and to try and recapture some of the spirit of those former days and to discover what they had to say to us.
Eighteen of them have been selected as being representative of different aspects of Parish life. Some of them arose out of topical events, but only a few changes have been made. The date of their first publication is given, but they have been loosely arranged in chronological order.
Unfortunately, my history of the Parish, “The Monikie Story”, published in 1982 is long out of print, but some of you may still have a copy. (It is available again after being re-printed, complete with index. Copies available for sale on this website. Webmaster.)
These articles, then, may bring back memories to the older Parishioners and be of interest to a younger generation.
In this year of celebration, I send my good wishes and blessings to all in the Parish.
W. Douglas Chisholm, Minister 1961-83, Chinnor, Oxfordshire, 1991
During his time as minister of Monikie Parish Rev. Chisholm also arranged with local proprietors that he could conduct small parties of parishioners around various local points of interest, and these were well attended.
ARDESTIE AND CARLUNGIE EARTH HOUSES about 100 A.D.
Ours is a Parish in which people have lived for a very, very long time. Amongst the earliest that we know of are the men and women who lived in the earth houses or Souterrains at Ardestie and Carlungie. An approximate date would be between the years 50 to 250 A.D. I find it a strangely fascinating experience to stand in the midst of those great earth passages and try to imagine what life was like for these people. It would be a hard, tough life, judged by modern standards. They would live in their wattle huts, going out to hunt deer and game, growing a little corn and going fishing. At Ardestie, you can stand in the fish-pond and a shell dump, with crabs, lobsters and mussels, has been found. It was for their cattle, though, that they fashioned their stone passages. They were skilled masters in using local stone. You can stand at the sloping entrance at Carlungie down which they drove their cattle, you can walk along the narrow curved passage which was the byre until you come up against the wider end where the beasts could turn round. You can see the step leading into their workshop where they prepared and, if it was not too damp, dried their skins and where too, they made their articles of bone and red pottery, remains of which have been found. Covered in with local stone slabs, such a building was far stronger than one above ground for standing up to beasts moving about.
I wonder what woman lost her bronze finger-ring or who was the proud owner of the bead of white glass that have been unearthed. Was it a friendly trader that had brought the bronze brooch from Belgium or was it taken in a raid on a foreign boat?
rough life. Do we appreciate our “mod-cons”?
WDC - 1972
THE LAWS FORT - About 200 A.D.
If the huge stones on the battlements of the Laws Fort could speak, what stories they could tell you. Listen to them, if you will, as they describe the straggling line of women and children, roughly and poorly clad, wending their way up the steep hillside to the Fort for safety. The alarm had gone out: ‘Enemy in sight’. At once, they left their dismal wooden dwellings around what is now Drumsturdy Road. Once in the Fort, they crouched in the ditches, leaning against the stout wooden posts, hoping the enemy would soon pass by. The men were already in the Fort, standing in the shelter of the fairly high stone walls, watching and waiting. A watchman was always there, for one could see for miles in all, directions from that vantage point.
Careful not to be seen, these Celtic men kept their eyes on the lower ground amid the trees at Ardownie. “Look, there they are!” A bright spear glinted in the sun through the trees. Further along the track, a helmet with its coloured plume moved through the leaves like a coloured bird. The officer in charge of the small Roman patrol - for that is what it was - was quite aware that he and his men were being watched by these Celts on the Laws. His trained eye had seen movement against the sky-line, but he did not intend to engage them. Nothing was to be gained by attacking them as long as they remained in the strong position of the Fort. His men had marched that day from the little camp at Kirkbuddo and they were due back by nightfall. “Forward!” he ordered his men and the Roman banner with its eagle was carried on. The men in the Fort watched and waited until it seemed that the Romans had really gone. The all-clear was given and down the hill ran the men, the women and children, leaving only the watchman on duty by the hard grey stones of the Laws. If only these stones could speak, or do they?
not too far below them (to the north) in our day, in
Newbigging Church, the people sing of
another Fort in the strong strains of “Eine Feste Burg”: “A safe
stronghold our God is still.”
WDC - 1973
The Camus Stone - 1010 A.D. (another article)
Up from their long boats drawn up on the shore, up the burns of Barry, Pitairlie and Monikie, crossing the earth houses, past the Old Downie motte, up the hill they come, these wild Danish Vikings on one of their foraging raids. On the hill-top, they meet the strongly positioned barons and men of the army of the King of Scotland, Malcolm II. In the fierce fighting, King Camus, the Viking leader is slain. He is buried and laid to rest. His men flee in disorder. Some run as far as Aberlemno (to the north-east in Angus). Others disappear into hiding. Many die. How else can we explain the Viking stone coffin found at Carlungie?
somehow, sometime comes upon the
burial mound and fashions over it what is one of the finest
examples in Angus of a Celtic Cross. Yes, it might have been disturbed in
1630 when various Norse ornaments were taken away by Sir Patrick Maule to
Brechin Castle. Yes, it might have been moved in the 19th Century to allow
the planning of the beautifully straight avenue from Panmure House to the
Testimonial, but still it stands for all to admire.
burial mound and fashions over it what is one of the finest examples in Angus of a Celtic Cross. Yes, it might have been disturbed in 1630 when various Norse ornaments were taken away by Sir Patrick Maule to Brechin Castle. Yes, it might have been moved in the 19th Century to allow the planning of the beautifully straight avenue from Panmure House to the Testimonial, but still it stands for all to admire.
When the 1000th Anniversary of the death of Camus comes round in 2010, the Camus Stone will probably still be there. I wonder if the babies, the toddlers, the children of our Parish today will gather for a celebration there, maybe on 9th June, St. Columba’s Day, that great saint of the Celtic Church.
But go yourself one day this June. You’ll hear the moan of the doves; the distant call of the cuckoo will reach your ears. In the peace and serenity of this spot, the craftsman of the Celtic Church, cutting out in the hard stone with poor tools, yet with consummate skill, his men, his flowers, his bow and arrow and his horse will come alive to you. Look up from his Celtic Cross, from the soft earth, through the great trees to the blue sky and hear him sing in the words of his beloved Columba, the message of Christ that has served Monikie for 1000 years:
WDC - 1973
CASTLE; an Unfinished Tale for
The Lady Auchinleck rose from the stone seat by the draughty window and slowly walked down the Great Hall towards the welcoming fire, blazing in the beautifully decorated fireplace. This was Affleck, her husband’s Castle. Cold and chilly it sometimes was, but her husband, the hereditary bearer to the Earls of Crawford, loved it. At times, at the entrance door she would look up to the very top to the projection high above, from which boiling pitch could be poured upon any unwelcome enemy, and a shudder would run down her spine. She would climb the steep winding stair to the very high open rounds from which arrows could be mercilessly shot against the approaching foe. Why are men so cruel?
From one or other of the two watchtowers, with an eager eye, she would take in all the surrounding countryside, West and North over the rolling moors, South and East out to sea - she was not to know that at a later date, sailors would use her Castle as a guide - and looking over the billowing contours of her native Fife, her spirits would revive.
The dancing flames were mirrored in her eyes. She was proud of her husband and his family. With undisguised pride, he had shown her his family burial ground in the Howff in Dundee. On occasion, she had secreted herself in the tiny chamber just above this Hall and looked down through the spy-hole on her husband, enjoying the company of his noble friends.
Warmed and made happier by the heat of the fire, she turned and made her way to the tiny oratory or place of prayer set cunningly in the thick walls. Dipping her fingers in the holy water, in the stone aumbry, and crossing herself, she knelt before the small altar with its flickering candles, and prayed. She prayed for the child she was expecting - would he be like his father and a worthy heir to Auchinleck? - and as the priest of Monikie had bidden her, she prayed for generations yet unborn.
As she knelt, it seemed as if in a vision, she witnessed a long unending procession of those who were to follow her: her immediate descendants and grandchildren, the Jacobite Reids, Baillie James Yeaman who seemed to be building a mansion-house, Smith of Smithfield, and John Shiell and many another, Neish and Fyvie among them, as 400 years sped by.
Then it seemed as if a great number of boys and girls came running, helter-skelter towards her, happy and free. She asked them, “Where do you come from, my dears?” They stopped. “We came from Affleck Gardens, Lady.” “Affleck, Auchinleck - my husband’s name, still in use. Deo Gratias. Thanks be to God!”
was found by her husband, still kneeling, but in a faint. That night, soon
after midnight, her baby was born. It was Christmas Day.
WDC - 1974
DOWN THE AGES THROUGH THE PARISH
You can see it every time you pass up the road from Newbigging to Monikie, that Dovecot on Pitairlie Farm. What you don’t see from the modern road (but can be seen on foot and by further exploration) is the old bridge that in olden days took the traffic over the notorious Den of Fiends, “Aye, this bridge will last for ever.” The master mason in 1764 gave his firm opinion. “It’ll never fall down, however wild the spate and the weather.” Leading his horse and walking from the newly completed bridge up to the dovecot, he had the satisfaction of a good job well done. He would be pleased to know that 190 years later, in European Architecture Year, it is a “listed” building, one of historical interest and not to be demolished.
The masons too, who about 1550 built the dovecot, built better than they knew, for it is a listed building, although sadly in need of urgent repair today. (The building has been repaired and is in current use for agricultural purposes - 2000.) It speaks of days when winter feed for man and beast was desperately hard to find.
Before the introduction of turnips in the early 18th Century, there was precious little food for sheep or cattle, while, for the household there was little variety and certainly no fresh meat. So what better than pigeon pie? Pitairlie, like all well-to-do 16th Century families in Scotland, built their dovecot. At least 150 pigeon nests were provided and down below, where for long, machinery has been stored, there was the Medieval equivalent of a deep-freeze. There, with the cool air flowing through, flesh could be stored.
Although the roof was repaired 36 years ago, the original slates taken possibly from the quarry further up the Den, are there. It was probably built adjoining the first House. Traces have been found. In a dyke some years ago, a big round stone was discovered and on its under part was fashioned something like a large scoop for water or rain.
An old and famous Angus family, the Lindsays kept their pigeons at Pitairlie. It all began with Sir John Lindsay, son of the Earl of Crawford, for he held the lands of Pitairlie as part of the thanedom of Downie, but he was slain at the Battle of Brechin in 1453. In 1542, David Lindsay, who may have built the present dovecot was a witness to a legal document. His son, David was Minister of Aberlemno in 1574. Did he come down for his pigeon pie? They were skilled blacksmiths like John 1589-93. Sentimental too, for on a stone were the letters, now obliterated, AL_IC_ 1631 _ Alex. Lindsay and his wife. In 1655, an Alex. Lindsay owned Pitairlie, the Moor of Downie, Guildy, and the Earl’s Lodgings and St. Nicholas Crag in Dundee. With that income, he could afford to keep a well-stocked do'cot.
WDC - 1975
Five centuries ago, when the Lindsays owned the Barony of Downie, there was a Mill of Downie. There is still one. The deep ravine with the strong current of the Burn was a natural place to build a Mill where grain could be threshed and ground.
Go to the strong stone bridge at Downiemill today. The mark on it is 1854. Before that, there would be a wooden bridge, many times renewed, leading to the fields and on to Catty Moor, the name given to the land East of the Newbigging Toll - Ardestie Road.
The early millers were wealthy men. Examine the l6th century dovecot sturdily built against the bank above the present farm-house. There, several hundred pigeons would be reared; their dung providing manure, their flesh a welcome change in Winter and Spring when meat was unobtainable. By the Law of Scotland, only a man who had a certain value of land could possess a do'cot.
A little further on, clamber down into the ravine and look up and around at the remains of the millhouse. From there, David Angus, the miller had many dealings with the great merchant, George Dempster of Dunnichen whose wife was a daughter of Monikie Manse, Margaret Rait. Thus, in April 1737, he sold 2 bolls of wheat to Dempster for W. Thomson for £13.-16s.-5d. After the harvest of 1738, he watched Dempster’s cart come in with wheat at £6 a boll. Again, in 1739, Angus sold 1¾ bolls at £7 a boll and in that one year, received in all, £75.-5s. from Dempster.
For long, the farm and mill were separate and round them, were several cottages, some of which can still be seen beside the mill dam. In 1851, Thomas Arklay was a farmer with five men and two servants. James Fyfe was miller. John Guthrie occupied one cottage, Isabel Kinnear and her two children another. A quarry worker occupied the third cottage. There is still a quarry there. By 1871, the farm had 61¾ acres under Alexander Geekie, while the mill was run by Andrew Hunter. David Whyte with his family and David Towns occupied the cottages. The Mill declined this (20th) century, but the farm remained.
The farm of Downiemill has been in the family of the Reids for many years. Today, William Reid presides over his ancient domain. Ask him to let you see it and walk in imagination down the centuries.
WDC - 1981
JACOBITES 1715 : A
True Christmas Story
It was Christmas Day 1715. Thomas Reid, seated at the table in the large Banqueting Hall of Affleck Castle, was full of hope, even in those dangerous times. To his wife, he confided the news that three days before, the Chevalier (James) had landed at Peterhead. Most people in Monikie, he was telling her, were sympathetic to the Jacobite Cause and regarded George I as a usurper to the throne. James, Earl of Panmure had taken a large company of Panmure retainers to the Battle of Sheriffmuir in November and was welcoming the Chevalier in the North. The Minister, Mr. William Rait openly supported him, calling him James VIII. Had he not prayed for him as such in the Kirk: had he not ordered a Fast in November for his safe arrival in Scotland: had he not asked from the pulpit for provisions for the Jacobite Camp at Perth and called for volunteers for Panmure’s Army? That very day, Mr. Rait had ridden across from the Kirkton (of Monikie) to Affleck (Castle) to celebrate Communion after the Episcopalian order in the tiny oratory, secretly, because Government and Presbytery had forbidden him. The Minister had told Mr. Reid this news.
knew, of course that they had enemies. He suspected Andrew Kydd, the
Schoolmaster, as well as James Steven at the Kirkton, and old Robert Ramsay
at the Craigton, but he was more concerned with two of his own tenants,
Robert Anderson and Alexander Simmers. [In fact, all these men petitioned
against Mr. Rait to the
then, the servant girl rushed in: - “Hurry,
Master, I think I see soldiers riding across from Stotfaulds. Hide in the
secret chamber and John will keep them at the door. Madam, let’s hide
these silver plates and cups used by Mr. Rait today.”
your Master? We have orders to arrest him as a traitor.”
As soon as darkness fell, that short December day, the owner of Affleck Castle, heavily disguised, rode off to find a ship. He escaped to France and exile. Later his wife and children followed. Little peace that Christmas Day of 1715, but what heartfelt goodwill would be shown to that quick-witted servant girl.
WDC - 1981
In the 18th Century, the main cottage industry was weaving, one of the
recognised ‘Trades’. As late as 1842, the Statistical Account states
that out of 300 house-holds in the Monikie Parish, 135 were weavers.
business it was too, as a song puts it:
weaver lads were merry blades when Osnaburgh sell’d weel
We have no means of knowing in detail what particular kind of cloth was made here: “checks, stripes, Dornicks - linen for table use - scrim birdy-thin cloth for window-blinds - and damask” amongst them.
‘Osnaburgh’, a coarse brown linen, began being made at Dunnichen. In 1738, a weaver offered for sale some sub-standard flax he had made into a web. A merchant who had been in Germany remarked on its likeness to Osnaburgh fabric and urged the weaver to attempt more of the same kind. And so it spread throughout Angus, and was perhaps the commonest made fabric here.
The busy Craigton had weavers. Old James Murdoch died in 1782 and was succeeded by his son. Their neighbour, Andrew Guild, also a weaver died in 1740. On the Bankhead Road, you will find Waterhead where young James Henderson worked as a weaver, sadly dying, victim of the long hours of work and damp, aged 32, mourned by his wife Anne Gibson.
Going up the Stotfaulds road today, you will recognise the old 18th Century smiddy at what was called Loanhead (formerly Lonehead) of Auchinleck. (Houses and buildings now converted into a modern dwelling - 2000.) Somewhere nearby, stood the cottage of well-to-do James Hog, his wife Isobel Toner and their family of weavers. Its name suggests that the cottage stood at the end or head of the path between the fields that was used by cattle and where cows were milked. If you want to see his huge loom, like a four-poster bed with a frame on which were stretched the long threads of the warp on rollers, go to the Kirkyard to find it. There he is, the shuttle in his right hand, the winged angel and the, crown of immortality above him on the 1778 stone, every inch of which suggests prosperity. Yet, no doubt the Hogs would agree with the thoughts expressed on a stone in Aberlemno dated 1728:
this fine Art with skillful hand
WDC - 1978
Before the days of mass-produced clothes, the tailor played a vital rote in the Parish economy. The fascinating story of the tailor is found in every part of the Parish, visible to all.
Newbigging, the last Tailor’s shop was that of “Fyfie Tailor”.
beside the pavement below the present Shop and part of Laburnum Cottage,
the building is still there. Robert Fyfe, the last tailor died in 1904.
His family had been around for over a century. Every day, he used to cross
the road to feed his hens where Maredda now stands. Sometimes, so it is
told, people found it difficult to pay him and once he brought home a
lively little pig in payment of a suit.
At the Craigton, the last tailor was George Spalding. His workshop with its Angus stone slates and a little window, beside the Cuthil’s house, still stands.
Along at Monikie village, John Phillip was the tailor. Have a look at the County Council Cottage (recently occupied by the late Annie Findlay - 2000) opposite the Mill (Granary, now derelict). You will see a brick extension. That was the tailor’s shop just after 1900. Originally, he had a wooden hut where two tailors and an apprentice worked, cross-legged with their wooden board. Ironing was done with 12 lb. irons that had to be heated in the fire, then taken out and placed in their case. When a wedding drew near, the tailors were extra busy making new suits for the bridegroom and his friends.
On one such occasion, the men worked into the early hours in the hut with the stove burning. At last, they finished and retired, but not for long. In an hour, the hut was up in flames. It was after that fire, that the brick workshop was built.
Mrs. Ramsay, formerly of Wellbank Post Office, is John Phillip’s daughter. She remembers as a girl trudging round the farms in an evening with her father on his visits to customers to show them a cloth and to measure them.
The Phillips left Monikie about 1910 for Wellbank where there was another family of tailors, the Ramsays. John Phillip had been apprentice to David Ramsay and they were to be related in marriage.
Going back a little, it was in 1865 that David Ramsay left Wellbank to settle in Baldovie Inn (Baldovie Toll Crossroads) where, in the grounds of its descendant, Miss Cook, his sturdy stone-built tailor’s shop in traditional Angus style can be admired.
still, in the 18th Century, Monikie tailors were prosperous men. In the
Churchyard, have a look at the large ornate stone of “Robert Wat, who
departed this life, 14th January 1733”. On it are the symbols of the
Honourable Trade of Tailors: the bodkin, the rule, the scissors and the
iron, called by reason of its shape, the ‘Goose’. Read his epitaph: it
is so quaint but true:
glas is run, and yours runneth.
WDC - 1979
Woodhill is an old estate on the borders of the
Monikie Parish, down (south) from the
Half-Way Garage on the main Arbroath Road A92
and is a good example of how a
farm was run in the late 18th Century.
In November 1765, an appraisement of valuation was carried out.
The Dicks farmed Woodhill for a long time. There is a tack or contract dated 1783 between James Milne Esq. and Thomas Dick. It mentions the toun and Mains of Woodhill and the North Toun. The yearly rent was £130 sterling plus 12s. only to the proprietor but to the Minister at Barry: 10 bolls, 1 firlot, 1 peck and 1 lippie oatmeal and 3 firlots, 3½ lippies wheat. Dick had to preserve the fruit-trees, and maintain the dykes. The rotation of crops was fixed: turnip, potato, pease, lint for flax, oats, barley and grass, all are mentioned. Dick had to send all his girnable corn to the Mill at Barry. Thus, a discharge of 1790 certifies that all his grain had been duly sent to the Mill. Witness to it bear common local names: John Ogilvie, Balhungie, John Patullo and Alexander Greig.
Times though were financially difficult in Dundee. In 1798, a Thomas Dick appealed by a Precept to the Magistrates of the Town for payment of sums due to him by Dundee merchants. Patrick Crichton owed him £105 plus interest: Thomas Wemyss owed him £420. Legal fees were £1.-5s.-0½d.
As late as 1818 a Thomas Dick was still at Woodhill. He paid cash for items which reveal the high standard of living on the farm, perhaps in contrast to that of the cot-houses:
The Dick family of Woodhill must have been a notable family. Just as modern farming families are connected one with another through marriage, so they had relations at both Ardownie and at Whitehouse, Tealing. It must have been good to know them.
WDC - 1982
A MARRIAGE IS ARRANGED - 1779
In 1779, Isabel Dick, daughter of John Dick, Whitehouse of Brighty, Tealing, agreed to marry John Jamieson, Craigmill, Panbride. Before she could marry him, a contract had to be drawn up. Her father bound himself to pay 1000 marks as tocher or dowry to her bridegroom. Jamieson agreed to leave (bequeath) his wife-to-be and her children 2000 marks Scots and the land of Craigmill, should he die before her. If Isabel died before him and without children, her estate could claim up to 300 merks from him for debts and her nearest “inkin” could have “her whole body clothes”. If one or other died, the child or children were to have 2000 merks Scots.
Isobel, her father and her intended all signed. Her father got his kinsman, Thomas Dick of Woodhill to sign as witness, as well as Peter Sturrock, farmer at the Laws. Perhaps, he rode up from Ardownie where another relative of the Dicks stayed, to get it. John Aymer, Inchskichen also signed: his kinsman David Aymer had farmed Lochwyllie, Old Downie and Robert Aymer farmed Stotfaulds about this time. This document was found at Ardownie.
The dowry given to Isobel seems a large sum of money, and many a laird, it was said, in order to get a respectable tocher, had to mortgage his property and “lived with a wadset-debt upon his mind and house” all his days. There is no indication however, that Mr. Dick found it too much.
then, the happy wedding in Tealing Kirk with the farmers from all around
present - there was a fine of 20 shillings Scots if the wedding was not held in
Church. Let’s hope that John and Isabel Jamieson had many happy years
at Craigmill - so far, nothing more has been found about them.
WDC - 1982
When the sun is shining, it is the bees coming from their nearby hives that are happiest around the old farmstead of the Fallaws up the Skichen Road. Yes, rabbits are there and pheasants and plenty of other wildlife, but only a very few people. It wasn’t always so. The bees once were busy in what was reckoned to be the loveliest garden in the Parish, and people came from far and near to the cottage to admire it. Last year, a Doctor came all the way from London to this tree - surrounded spot to see where his forebears had been brought up. Today, Fallaws is hidden far up the winding road where every corner has a surprise in store.
There must be something about Fallaws, because there you are treading on what is probably the oldest human habitation in the Parish. On Fallaws was found a prehistoric Beaker of the type that experts call: CA, seven of which have been discovered in Scotland. You can see it in the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, numbered CA 76. A charming piece of workmanship, it is quite small, about 6 inches high, reddish, brownish pottery with extraordinary markings of decoration, five sets of horizontal lines of varying Sizes and in between them, little notches. Many centuries ago, these primitive people lived and worked there, eking out a bare existence by hunting, fishing, growing a little grain and maybe keeping a few animals. Other relics have also been found nearby.
Today, the old farmhouse, a good example of Angus building with its fine stone and heavy slates, has over its lintel, the date 1827. Another building has the initials JW. ED. with the date 1884, and has modern slates.
It is a strange experience to stand on the ground floor of what was the Victorian farmhouse and to look round its bare and towering interior for the floors have been taken away to make of the grand house a large and commodious barn. High up, you can see the charred place where the fire used to warm the bedroom and the boarded-up windows from which the farmer’s family would look over their well-laid out garden through the trees - to watch the Dundee East (Station) to Forfar train chugging its way up the line.
Sometimes, it would stop and lift them, for although the main exit was by Skichen, there was no proper road to the Kirkton of Monikie until after the First World War, when it was built by a squad of unemployed men as “job creation” work. Another similar scheme was to remove the stones from the steading and take them by horse and cart to Downiebank for a building there. That is why today, you can see an odd depression in the midden behind the buildings.
So we leave Fallaws to its memories - and the bees.
WDC - 1978
VOYAGERS and TRAVELLERS
In 1841, David Rae lived at Guildy, one of a group of Army Pensioners who came to the Parish to end their days. Our country has always had men who went to the wars, either by force of circumstances or by choice. In the same year, another ex-soldier lived at the Newton of Affleck. David McRobbie, a Pensioner of the Duke of Argyll, died of a heart attack at the Craigton in 1844. Thomas Robertson, 70 years old, died at Guildymuir in 1847. What tales these old soldiers might have told of their hard and dangerous life. Did William Mitchell, a Navy Pensioner at the Shank of Omachie fight at the Battle of Trafalgar? He died aged 72 in 1846. In February 1806, there was a Collection at the Kirk (£6.-2s.-6d) taken for the “relief of those who fell in the recent engagement”. No name is given; perhaps it was Trafalgar, perhaps Austerlitz, shades of the Napoleonic Wars.
James Yeaman of the mansion-house of Affleck served with His Majesty’s 63rd Regiment, dying, aged 47, in 1834. From Affleck House, too, there left young W.E. Mitchell, proud to join the Royal Navy as an Officer. He rose quickly and by 1864 was in command of H.M.S. Gunboat Avon on the Maira River in New Zealand where, at the early age of 27, he was killed in action. Tragedy followed his brother too, for he died in New South Wales in 1866, but there is no mention of Army or Navy service.
At that time, very few people lived in the Parish from outwith Angus, but a seafaring romance must surely surround the couple that lived about 1851 in Downiemill Cottage. Thomas Dennison came from Kirkwall, his wife, Elisa, a Frenchwoman, from the Isle de France.
Far-off places saw Monikie men, too, who went abroad for business and to lay the foundations of the British Empire.
Such a one was James Andrew Ramsey, Earl of Dalhousie who was Governor-General of India 1847-56 and who received the Punjab into India and whose name appears in several places and buildings. What lies behind the tale of George Craig who, in his 26th year, died in 1831 in London on his arrival from Valparaiso, South America after an absence of 6 years? Spare a thought too for the Hay family, merchants at the Craigton since at least as early as 1739. In 1845, they renewed the family stone in the Churchyard and pathetically inscribed the name of their brother William who went abroad and “has not been heard of since”.
Around 1825, William Moonlight was Overseer or grieve at Newbigging (Farm), Cunmont now. The name is said to have originated in Arbroath where a couple one night found an abandoned infant on their window-sill. They adopted him and not knowing his real name, gave him the surname of Moonlight, because he was found at night. Alas, young William Moonlight, his son, aged 22, was drowned at sea in 1831 (stone). At a later date, in 1876, another Monikie man died at sea: James Sanderson, Chief Engineer who died on the Red Sea (stone).
Many Monikie people emigrated to Canada, Australia and so on - like Patrick James MacWattie of Harecairn whose family obelisk states that he died in Victoria, Australia aged 78.
Sometimes, their descendants come back to pay homage in the Kirk and kirkyard and to visit the ancestral home, often now totally gone, unfortunately. What a mass of unrecorded stories there must be of nineteenth century voyagers and travellers.
WDC - 1980
(33) PITAIRLIE QUARRY
Angus stone is famous. Today, trees tastefully hide from the road what last Century was the centre of a busy thriving industry. Much of Pitairlie Quarry is overgrown and changed, but there are large tracts of bare stone and plenty of evidence of past working still to be seen. Work ceased in 1915, the quarry having been in existence for nearly 100 years.
Half-way down on the eastern side of Pitairlie Brae, stands the handsome house named 'Lismore', built of local stone by the last owners, the Nairns.
Entering by the present quarry road, you can see on the left the square office with its chimney. Next, on the same side, but hidden in trees, the workshop stood. The ground today is dangerous. The huge base, oil-covered, for it supported the engine that drove the machinery is, along with the covered aqueducts for the water, the odd bolts and chains, amongst some of the relics.
There was a large boiler and a big wheel for the machinery. Stones were brought up on a kind of railway and lifted by crane into the long workshop where a giant saw cut them and the masons dressed them. You can still see stones with the saw marks on them. Horses then carried the finished article away. The doorway of Cunmont House has good examples.
Going further in, you can see on the right, the result of 50 years of quarrying. Keeping to the left, the Pitairlie Burn is crossed. Formerly it was all covered in with stonework. Further on are three cottages and stables, all in ruins. The Sharps were the last family to live there. In living memory, Bob Gibson, a Dundee architect used to come out with his apprentices for weekends. In that delightful setting, sometimes used for rolling Easter eggs, he got a neat putting green laid out.
The Quarry was a busy one. In 1868, David Barry employed 50 men. Some of them lived or lodged in Newbigging. Thus, in 1841, three quarriers and two masons, George Weir and David Lowson lived there. Others lived in the Cotton of Pitairlie which in 1861 had 11 houses. Others lived at Denfind Brae where the Mills and Findlays are today. One cottage housed a quarry worker and his wife, Fell by name. They lost a child in 1837. One of their sons emigrated to New Zealand and became a Minister in Wellington. He never forgot “the rock from whence he was hewn”. He renewed the stone in the Churchyard in memory of his father who died aged 81 in 1887, and he left to Monikie Kirk, the bookcase which you can see in the Vestry, dated 1905.
Have a look for the 'march stone' on the road from the Quarry to Denhead. On one side it has a 'D' for Denhead which was on Affleck land: on the other side, 'P' for Pitairlie which was on Panmure land.
Instead of becoming a rubbish dump, this unknown spot could be laid out as a Nature Trail. It would make a lovely one.
WDC - 1982
For some time now (at the time of writing), there have been temporary traffic lights on the B961 road near the Monikie School. The trouble, it appears, is that the banks of the Monikie Burn are in danger. Meanwhile for safety’s sake, we have signals at what we call today ‘The Point’, where the Clarks live. Long ago, it was called Danger Point. I wonder why. In 1841, the name occurs when Alex Sturrock, a labourer, Clementine, his wife and their two children lived there. I suggest that it was called so because of the danger of flooding.
The construction of the Waterworks around 1850 completely altered the road and drainage systems. Previous to that date, the area now covered by the reservoirs was rough, badly drained ground. The old maps, Edward’s of 1678, General Roy’s of 1747 and Ainslie’s of 1794 indicate that the Monikie Burn flowed on a different course from that of today. The road we use today from the present Monikie village to the Monikie School at Craigton was only built in 1853, when the North Reservoir Act was passed by Parliament, giving authority to alter the “road from Affleck to Craigton Muir”. The turnpike road, built about 1790 came up from Pitairlie old bridge in a much more direct line than today to the Kirkton. This catchment area for the Reservoir had plenty of water.
This is proved too, by the Kirk Session records. In October 1718, l0 shillings was spent on repairing “the bridge at the Craigton”. Then, a few months later, there is mention of “building two stone bridges on the Kirk Road”. In other words, in a wet season, the area could be a marsh and the burn could rise dangerously high. Mr. Neish of Affleck led the opposition to the waterworks, for his supply would be affected. That is why the first Bill in 1836 was rejected by Parliament, but in 1845, the Dundee Water Act was passed, the Company being given powers “to direct or alter the course or to take the water” of several streams, including the Monikie Burn.
Thus, after 1850 or so, with the construction of the Reservoirs, there was no more flooding. As people forgot the troubles of the past, Danger Point became just The Point. Should it now get back its former name?
WDC - 1980
(Readers may wish to refer to the Ordnance Survey website at www.old-maps.co.uk for maps from the Victorian era. One should look for 'Scotland; Forfarshire; Monikie' and use the facilities on the webpage to view the area. The part of Monikie Burn as described above can be seen in its original position as the North Pond is not shown on the map. The road referred to in the sentence following can also be seen.)
The most unusual burial place in the Parish lies high up on the windswept moor above the farmhouse of the Shank of Omachie. There are four large boulders like a pre-historic stone circle. They may well mark the four points of the compass. They are set in a colourful mass of many kinds of attractive heaths. A fence on a stone dyke surrounds the stones, then a ditch, 2-3 feet deep, like a vallum in a Roman camp. Inscribed on one stone are the words “To the memory of Frederick D. Sandeman, The Laws, who passed on, the 26th April 1938 and of his wife Christine Stewart Sandeman who passed on, 27th October 1931, and of his grandson Frederick Michael Stewart Sandeman, infant son of Colin and Moyra, who passed on, 3rd December 1959”.
The Sandemans lived in the beautiful stately mansion of The Laws with its well-kept grounds and garden, noted for its primulae. Later, the house was used for wartime purposes, and was then, alas, blown up. Nothing of it now remains. (In fact, the foundations and a small part remain in a derelict condition. Nearby still stands important estate buildings - 2000.) Mr. Sandeman and his first wife, Christine used to go over to the Shank in their Bentley or their Rolls cars- they had both - and walk up on to the moor. Every day, they enjoyed that and revelled in it.
“Angus tenants lose beloved laird”. So the 'Courier' described Mr. Sandeman when he died. Among his business interests was Jute Industries, his father being the founder of the Manhattan Works and the Stanley Cotton Mill (is that Stanley, Perthshire? - webmaster.) He was a Director of the Dundee Royal Infirmary. Caring for his tenants, he was so distressed when a boy in Drumsturdy road contracted pneumonia and almost died because there was no nurse nearby, that he donated £500 to start the Newbigging Nursing Association which still exists (alas, no longer - 2000). He also built the Nurses Cottage where (formerly) Nurse Beattie lives. His funeral was in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Broughty Ferry with the Bishop of Brechin officiating. A Memorial Service was held later at the (former) Hillock Church, farther east along Drumsturdy Road.
Mrs. Sandeman was a lady of good works. When Admiral Beatty visited Dundee to accept the Freedom of the City, he publicly acknowledged her work for the War when she organised the collection of food and vegetables for the men of the Fleet. From the Omachie hilltop, she would see her ships in the Tay Estuary. From there too, she would see her beloved Laws and so she expressed a desire to be laid to rest in this, her favourite place. And so it was arranged and a few like Mrs. McGregor of Wellbank will never forget the dedication by the Bishop of that unique memorial and burial ground.
It is one of the vantage points of the Parish. Fife lies before you: the vast panorama of Dundee to the East, and Westwards opens up in front of you and the rolling farm-lands of Monikie Parish dance with colour and joy and life below you.
WDC - 1979
NEWBIGGING SCHOOL (Photographs and more Information)
The Parish is saying farewell to Mrs. Moira Todd on her retirement from Newbigging School through ill-health. Entering into Parish life with vivacity, she has brought to her task a humanity and a Christian understanding, true to the motto of her old school, Dundee High, “Praestante Domino”.
Newbigging School was founded by the United Associate Congregation. It finds mention in the 1842 Statistical Account as having 50 pupils. Under the 1872 Education Act, Monikie Parish School Board was formed to have oversight of the four schools - Monikie, Bankhead, Craigton Free and Newbigging - but, believing that there should be no connection between Church and State, Newbigging Seceders hesitated to accept State rule in education.
It was not until 1888 that Rev. Alex Miller of Newbigging handed over the feu charter to the School Board, along with the Endowment Trust of £1029.-9s.-0d. He and Robert Fyfe joined the Board. The first thing that happened was that the school had to be closed for measles. Judgment! Perhaps, the change was made easier by the death of Robert Craig, Master for 26 years.
After an inspection in May, the classroom was improved during the 'tattie holidays'. This explains the gable still visible – MSB 1888 - Monikie School Board. Later, the accounts had to go to London for approval. No devolution then! Forty-four applications for attendance of pupils were received. Mr. Lowson was appointed with Jemima Lowson, pupil teacher. The Board granted 22 shillings. for prizes that session. Fees were abolished.
In the 1890’s, there was a lot of trouble over the water supply. Analysis of the well, at the side of the present gate, showed it unfit for use. The children were so mischievous that the handle of the pump had to be removed lest they be poisoned. Later, for the 100 pupils, five dozen (writing) slates, a set of counting sheets and twelve double sheets of Nelson’s cards were provided. Two rail-wagons of ashes were laid on the playground.
In 1896, Samuel Low, master at Bankhead School since 1883, came to be dominie for many years. In 1898, an extension was proposed, the work being done by David Gray, joiner, Templehall - who gives his name to the Brae from the Village to the - Toll - and Alex Robertson, Ashbank, builder - who built a number of houses in Monikie. The Board purchased a piano for £22-10s.-0d., plus, a modulator and a set of musical instruments. Some still remember Mr. Low’s “Wheepie”.
The tenure of Mr. Patterson as Master, then the long distinguished service of John McIntosh from 1926 to 1960, led on to the school years of Alex Taylor and so on to Ron Grassie, Ron Elder and then to Mrs. Todd. We record our gratitude to Mrs. Todd and offer our best wishes for her happiness.
Once in 1975 in what used to be the classrooms, the Missies and Masters, the pupils of that time gleefully roared out at a School Concert, to the tune ‘Ball of Kirriemuir’, this song:
WDC - 1980
THE OBSERVER POST
This summer, you may have seen the floral emblem in Albert Square, Dundee marking the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Observer Corps. The Elizabethan watchman stands on the shore, his left hand over his eyes, peering into the distance for the enemy, the Spanish Armada, his right hand holding high the flame to warn the watchman at the next post. It is a lovely scene. Round our (British) island shores, that scene has been repeated over and over again. With its telling motto “Forewarned is forearmed”, the R.O.C. officially carries on this role in 1975.
On the whole East Coast, one could hardly find a better placed look-out post than the Monikie one, just below the Panmure Testimonial and above Denfind. From it, the panorama takes your breath away.
It is fitting that in 1975 we should pay tribute to that small group of men who manned the post for the duration of the war, 1939-45, day and night, summer and winter, scanning the skies, peering out to sea, the “eyes and ears” of the Royal Air Force, in constant touch with H.Q. enabling R.A.F. fighters and anti-aircraft gunners speedily to come to grips with the attackers. Some of these men have gone now, but amongst them, older Parishioners will remember W. Boath, R. Cant, P. Crowe, D. Dorward, T. Drummond, J. Gray, J. Lyell, J. McIntosh, W. McKendrick, W. McMurtrie, D. Milne, F. Mitchell, A. Moonie, W. Reid, J. Rennie, W. Stott, J. Wilson and G. Wilson.
Some of the incidents deserve recording: for instance that German plane in 1940 which in dense fog narrowly missed Newbigging Church roof, tore through the dyke at the top of Cunmont field and then ploughed 150 yards through the plantation before disintegrating - an awful mess it was when found: or that other German plane, spotted by the men at the post as it came in from the sea by night: it turned and dropped a bomb on Ardownie and then was caught by the searchlight at Monikie Manse (now a private house, east of the Kirk - 2000) before being shot down at Faldiehall. As the official History of the R.O.C. puts it: “Let no man who served in the Observer Corps feel his work was wasted for each was a vital link in that chain of defence which saved Great Britain in those years of war.
Did you know that our Parish is still a vital link in the national network of defence as it was in those years of war? At a certain place in the Parish, there is an up-to-date underground station all set for immediate action in an emergency. It is equipped with the sensitive instruments and apparatus needed to detect the fall-out and direction of a deadly nuclear radio-active explosion. (Information from JD. - This construction is situated about 300 metres to west of the Panmure Testimonial and can still be seen. Also, although hard to trace nowadays, to be found to the south of the drive from the Panmure Testimonial eastwards to the main gate, quite near the Camus Cross, there was an 1939-45 wartime underground shelter which, reputedly, might have been used by the Home Guard acting as a 'resistance' organisation if Britain had ever been invaded by the Germans. Read more HERE.)
“A worthwhile part-time job for any young man in the Parish,” says Douglas Mitchell of Guildy, the Chief Observer who has the R.O.C. medal and clasp.
role of the R.O.C. has changed over the years, but still, visual aircraft
recognition is regarded as of prime importance. The old wartime post may
stand empty and gaunt and forlorn against the skyline, almost forgotten
like the broken cement bases immediately below it, all that is left now of
the Army billets, yet the age-long question first posed by the Old
Testament prophet Isaiah, is still being asked: “Watchman, what of the
For our nation, what lies ahead? “Forewarned is forearmed.”
WDC - 1975
MEMORIES OF YESTERYEAR - The COUNTRY BEADLE at MONIKIE
by Miss Mary Knox
WDC - 1979
Although I have not found any reference to a Royal visit to our Parish, that is not to say the Sovereign has not had any links with it. It seems that at least five Sovereigns have exercised the Right of Patronage in Monikie. Today, a Minister is elected by all members of the charge under Presbytery approval, but until 1874, private patrons held the right of appointment and the congregation had little say. This was called Patronage. The Patron of Monikie was the Crown.
The learned James VI signed the Latin document on 1st July 1612, appointing John Durham, Minister at Monikie. He had been at Flisk and died in 1639, “an auld agit man”, the Father of the Kirk. Charles I found time in 1642 in the Civil War to elect Patrick Makgill M.A. after he had been 10 years in Barry. Poor man, his son was drowned in the Witch Hole, St. Andrews one January day in 1660.
George II, whose English was not very good and who lived in an age of religious apathy soon to be broken by the Wesley Revival, on 27th April 1734, elected George Johnston, but the Church Courts objected, maybe because of the Jacobite trouble, and he did not become Minister until four years later.
George III, who was the effective Head of State, and active in politics, placed the Minister of Kirkden, James Hunter, in Monikie. He died in 1782. George III then chose William Maule M.A., who with his wife Margaret Bisset was to play an important part in Parish life for the next 44 years. He wrote the 1798 Statistical Account of the Parish and received his D.D. from St. Andrews University in 1812.
Patronage was disliked by many, particularly the Evangelicals. It is not surprising then, that with the worthless George IV on the throne, there is no record of the next Minister, James Millar, being placed by the Crown. He came in 1827, but in 1843 joined the Free Church which did not approve of Patronage. He became first Minister of the Craigton Church.
Young, Queen Victoria restored the image of the Crown though, and in 1843 as Patron, placed Thomas McKie, who was to be involved in the building of the Monikie Waterworks. It fell to her, also to appoint the last Minister under the old Patronage system. John Reid, M.A., who was assistant in Dundee, St. Mary’s, came to Monikie in 1852 and for 48 years served the Parish faithfully and well. Like most of his predecessors, he (John Reid) is buried in Monikie Kirkyard. The east window in the Kirk is to his memory.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, has close ties with the Church of Scotland, worshipping there when in Scotland. In her Accession Oath, she promised to uphold the Presbyterian form of Church Government and the rights and privileges of the Kirk. At her Coronation (in 1953) it was the Moderator of the General Assembly (of The Church of Scotland) who presented her with the Bible. When, this May (1977), she enters the Royal Gallery in the Assembly Hall, (presently the temporary accommodation of the Scottish Parliament,) she will bow first to the Moderator and the fathers and brethren, and then, and only then, will they bow to her. Before she is acknowledged, the earthly Monarch does homage to the King of Kings.
At our forthcoming Parish Celebration of her Silver Jubilee in May, there will be on display, a ram’s horn, the Hebrew word Jubilee meaning ‘horn’, and so rejoicing. 'Jubilate Deo', the Latin opening of the Old Hundredth Psalm, ‘Rejoice in the Lord’, is to be the Theme of the Service. We will have read to us, too, by the Session Clerk, the Loyal Address from the Church of Scotland to Her Majesty. It should remind us all of the happy relationship that exists in our day between Crown and Parish.
God Save the Queen!
WDC - 1977
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