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WEMYSS BAY, SKELMORLIE,
AND THE SURROUNDING DISTRICTS
WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
Written By The Rev John Boyd, M.A.
Minister (1871 - 1899) of Wemyss Bay and Skelmorlie United Presbyterian Church 'The North Church'
Strangers Residing in The District and
Visitors at The Wemyss Bay Hydropathic Establishment
( Skelmorlie Hydro Hotel )
Published By ALEXANDER GARDNER, PAISLEY 1879
PREFACE. This brochure is principally intended for strangers residing in the district and for visitors at The Wemyss Bay Hydropathic Establishment, in quest of health or recreation, who may desire to know something of the places which they visit in their daily excursions. At the same time, it is hoped that it may not be altogether without interest to permanent residenters, by affording information regarding the locality, which the writer finds is not always possessed by those most familiar with its scenery. Whatever is of value in a historical or antiquarian point of view, the writer has attempted to bring before the reader in the following pages. The district north of Inverkip has not been described, as that is taken up by another publication shortly to be issued (in 1879). CONTENTS Skelmorlie Skelmorlie Cliff Wemyss Bay Kelly, The Origin of Name and History Livingstone's Hut Smuggling Skelmorlie Castle, Its History and Walks at Skelmorlie Castle Skelmorlie Aisle and Monument Notes on Skelmorlie Castle Skelmorlie Glen Bridgend House Serpent Mound Meigle Skelmorlie to Largs St. Fillans St. Fillan's Chapel Knock Castle Brisbane Glen and Prophet's Grave Inverkip and The Roman Bridge Ardgowan Old Castle of Inverkip "Auld Kirk" - Ecclesiastical History Inverkip Notorious for Witches Witch Tale Dunrod and The Ballad of "Auld Dunrod" Largs Battle of Largs and The Remains of The Battle Largs to Fairlie Fairlie - Village, Castle and Glen Parish of Kilbride Portincross Castle Rothesay Millport Names of Places and Roman Remains ILLUSTRATIONS Map of the Firth of Clyde (missing) Facsimile of the Hut built for Dr. Livingstone to Die in Roman Bridge, near Inverkip Map of Inverkip, Dunrod, and Roman Bridge Serpent Mound Knock Hill - Ancient Triply-Entrenched Camp
THE district designated by the terms Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay includes a tract of land strtching along the coast of The Firth of Clyde, about three miles in extent, from Skelmorlie Burn to Wemyss Point, divided, as the names indicate, into two separate but closely-connected settlements and bounded south and north by two colossal castles, Skelmorlie and Wemyss, the one with the remains of its huge thick walls and low arched gateway, reminding us of the past and connecting us with the rude manners and warlike habits of the 15th century, when strength and security from aggression were of more concern than internal comfort; the other, with its modern adornments and recently laid out grounds, possessed and occupied by one of the great company of Cunard, symbolic of the industry and enterprise of the present 19th century. Like several of the other Clyde watering-places, Skelmorlie is of quite recent origin and may be said to date no further back than 1850, in which year 'feuing' was commenced. Before that time, the toll-house and one or two others, were the only houses on the shore. Originally the feuing price was £8 per acre - the last feu on the shore was £35 per acre. Feus on the upper ground may be had for £15 per acre. Skelmorlie owes its popularity chiefly to its naturally beauty of situation and pure bracing air, but no doubt much also to its easy access to Glasgow. Considerable impetus was given to feuing by the opening of the Wemyss Bay Railway in 1865, which brings it within an hour's reach of Glasgow, seventeen minutes from Greenock and in consequence, it has become the favourite summer residence of many Glasgow and Greenock merchants, several residing throughout the whole year. Nearly all the houses are built of red sandstone, obtained from a quarry in the neighbourhood, which are quite in keeping with the locality. The principal houses are along the shore, on the road leading from the sta- tion. A second row, built on the summit of the cliff in a line with The Hydropathic Establishment, commands very extensive views. A third row, higher up, is in course of building, and above that, a beautiful crescent is in course of formation. Upper Skelmorlie is further back, and contains several houses at a cheaper rate for working men. With this exception, the feu contracts forbid the erection of a house of less than a certain specified value, and no more than one house can be erected on each feu. In consequence of this restriction, Skelmorlie can never become a town, or even a village of any extent and always lie a favourite resort for those who love retirement and seclusion from the busy haunts of men. In 1856, The Established Church was built and enlarged in 1858 and in 1874 the United Presbyterian Church, near the station, was erected. In 1860 Skelmorlie was formed into a quod sacra parish, including portion of the parish of Largs, from St. Fillans on the south to Kelly Burn (flowing past the United Presbyterian Church) on the north and also including a portion of In- verkip parish, from Kelly Burn to Castle Wemyss, extending altogether about four miles and a half along the shore. The Kelly Burn divided the Parishes of Largs and Inverkip, and still divides the Counties of Ayr and Renfrew. Beach House, near the pier, is one of the oldest houses in the district, having been built in 1844, long before feuing became general and 1ong the residence of Mr. Arbuthnot, the father-in-law of Mr John Burns. It has recently been much enlarged and improved Mr. James Galbraith, the present proprietor and forms a charming marine residence. Immediately above it, nearly hid by trees, is Morland House, the residence of Mr. Lawrerence Robertson. This house has also been much enlarged and occupies a most commanding situation with delightful views to the north and west. In 1868, The Hydropathic Establishment was erected. It is built of red sandstone, in the Scottish baronial style and is noted for the beauty and grandeur of its situation. The cliff on which it and the houes adjoining are built is a bold rugged rock of conglomerate sandstone and pebble, overgrown with trees and ivy and rising to a perpendicular height of about 100-feet above the shore road. The situation is perhaps unsurpassed by that of any similar institution in the country. Perchcd on the edge of this precipitous rock, it affords to its occupants the most bracing air impregnated with health-giving ozone, while at the same time the student of nature can feast his eyes on some of the grandest scenery which the Firth of Clyde affords. Very extensive new baths were built in 1875, when, in addition to all the most modern appliances of hydropathy for the treatment of disease, including a very complete Turkish bath, salt water was introduced and is daily pumped up from the sea by a powerful hydraulic engine at the rate of 1,000 gallons per hour. This is one of the few establishments in the country where salt-water baths (hot and cold) can be had at any time, and where (if the reader will pardon the Irishism) the luxury can be enjoyed of salt water fresh from the sea. One great great source of enjoyment, particularly to those whose health compels them to remain indoors, is the number of ships of all sorts continually passing and as "The Measured Mile", by which nearly all Clyde-built steamers try their speed, stretches from the establishment to Skelmorlie Castle (indicated by the white poles on the shore and underneath the cliff) they may be seen every day passing and repassing the house. The views from most of the houses here are matter of constant remark by strangers. Views may be had elsewhere on a more extensive scale, revealing richer scenes and wider tracts of country, but none where sea and shore, mountain and
sky, so harmoniously combine to produce shifting panoramas and transformation-scenes the whole day long. To a true over of nature, the sea especially, with its endless variety, is a never-failing source of delight. So abruptly does the height, on which many of the houses stand, rise from the shore that you feel as if overhanging the water and one never grows weary of gazing upon it, for it is never for two successive hours the same - now lying calm and motionless as an inland lake, without a ripple on its surface and now tossing its wild billows and rioting in the fury of the storm - one day stealing softly up the shore, "kissing the shells and pebbles with a gentle sigh as though they were gifts of love", the very next dashing its crested waves against the rugged rocks. Magnificent views are at all times obtained here of the Arran hills, with "the warrior" lying at rest, helmet and breast-plate easily distinguished and Goatfell rising to a height of 2866 feet. Whether viewed in the gloom of winter, with their snow-capped peaks mingling witli the clouds, or as coloured by the glowing tints of a summer sunset, no nearer approach to the grandeur of Alpine scenery can be had than these Arran hills afford. SKELMORLIE CLIFF One of the distinguishing features of Skelmorlie is the high cliff running parallel with the coast line, upon the brow of which, as already mentioned, many of the houses are built. This cliff forms a continuous line for many miles along the coast and is an interesting specimen of what geologists call a raised sea-beach. That the sea once washed its surface is beyond doubt from the fact that it consists of sand, gravel, shells and other beach deposits, such as are found in abundance on the shore below. Like other raised beaches of a similar kind - several of which are to be found along the coast line of the British Islands - this cliff points to a former sea-margin and to an elevation of that sea-margin into dry land. Prof. Geikie, in his geology, says, "In some parts of the world, we can detect the ground in the very act of rising. In the south-east of Sweden, for example, rocks have been marked at the place where high water reached them, and, in the course of years, have been found to be considerably above their former level. From observations of this kind, it has been inferred that the land there is rising at he rate of about two or three feet in a century. This appears to be but a slow movement - too slow to be appreciated except by careful measurement and yet, if it were to go on for another thousand years, what is now the beach would have risen to a height of twenty or thirty feet above the sea level. Now just as the coast of Sweden is rising witli no violence or shock, so in old times, the upraising of the sea-bed into dryland may have been a gentle and quiet process". WEMYSS BAY Although included in the quoad sacra Parish of Skelmorlie, Wemyss Bay is a separate group of houses, lying on the north side of the railway station and, like Skelmorlie, it is a watering-place of modern origin. The houses, numbering in all about 20, are irregularly built in a bay, with a beautiful beach gently sloping down to the water's edge and securely sheltered from the north and east winds by a range of well-wooded heights. At either extremity, the bay is bounded by red sandstone rocks of irregular appearance, worn and honey-combed by the action of the waves. A considerable extent of the beach to the north of the bay is also composed of this same red sandstone, intermingled with a coarse conglomerate and dykes of trap, but in several places it relaxes into a kind of rough gravel or shingle, which forms a convenient footing for the bather, and affords an easy launching place for small fishing boats, and other kindred craft. Originally, Wemyss Bay formed part of the Ardgowan estate - it presently belonging to Sir Michael Shaw Stewart - and was given to Wallace of Kelly in return for the lands of Finnock, in the year 1814. Kelly was sold in two distinct and nearly equal portions, Mr. Scott of Glasgow purchasing the one (Kelly portion) and Mr. Wilsone Brown, also of Glasgow, being the purchaser of the other. The latter built the castle, Castle Wemyss, and feued several portions of the ground, but was obliged to sell in the year 1860 when Mr. John Burns became possessor. He has since considerably enlarged the castle, designed by Billings and laid out the grounds with great taste. Long before any of the present houses were erected, the whole bay was overgrown with trees and shrubs down to the water's edge. The only habitation was an old fisherman's house called "Wemyss Cottage" and so named on on the old plan annexed to the Ardgowan estate's title deeds. At that time the salmon fishing at Wemyss was very valuable and was let by the Laird of Ardgowan to a Mr. Main of Edinburgh. Before the excambion took place between Mr. Wallace and and Sir Michael's ancestor, portion of the ground in the centre of the bay was feued for four houses. These houses were built considerably before the end of the last century by Mr. Orkney, grandfather of Provost Orkney of Rothesay. They were designated "New Glasgow" from the fact that Glasgow merchants occupied them and for many years they were the only houses in the bay. They were all of the same design and the proprietors seemed to have constituted themselves into a "Dean of Guild Court" on a small scale as we are credibly informed that there was a clause in the titles, or at least a written agreement, binding each proprietor to respect the similarity of design and forbidding him to alter or improve his dwelling without the consent of the others. This agreement, of whatever kind it was, must have sadly fallen into abeyance, since one of the houses, Dunloe, belonging to Mr. Hunter, has been so altered and improved as to be scarcely recognisable in its original form, the other two have been improved away
altogether and their places supplied by one large and commodious house, called Redholme, possessed by Mr. Ronaldson. The only remnant of the past still standing entire is the property of Mr. John M'Kinnon, Glasgow. One can have some idea of the increased value of house property in this locality from the fact that this house was bought in 1857 for £280 and sold in 1877 for £1,400. Adjoining Dunloe, but nearer the shore, is Ardvar, the property of Mr. N. B. Stewart, partner of the celebrated firm of Stewart & M'Donald, Glasgow, who occupies it during the summer months. Passing Tighnamara, occupied by Mr. Edwin Higginbotham, a large and commodious house, but with no architectural beauty and Villa Clutha, we come to Ferncliff, a Gothic structure designed by Rochead, beautifully situated and snugly ensconced beneath the precipitous rock which rises immediately behind it. Perched on the abrupt precipice above Ferncliff and commanding a most extensive view, is the residence of Mr. Martini, Danish Consul for Glasgow. Adjoining Ferncliff on the north is The English Episcopal Church, a very elegant Gothic structure of red sandstone, designed by Mr. Burnet of Glasgow and built in 1879 in memory of the late Mrs. George Burns. It contains a fine chime of eight bells set in the 'key of G', the only chime, so far as we are aware on the West Coast of Scotland. Service is conducted here during the summer months, when clergymen of ability, selected by Mr. Burns from various parts of England and Ireland, officiate. A little further on is WEMYSS HOUSE, a large and commodious family residence, built of white sandstone, from designs by Mr. Salmond of Glasgow, possessed and occupied by Mr. George Burns, to whom Wemyss Bay belongs. Leaving the shore, the road now turns inland, passing the gates of the cattle, from which a sight may be had of the fine lawn and beautiful shrubbery of Castle Wemyss, the growth of which, to all who know the exposed nature of the site, must appear a marvel of gardening skill. Following the road, the visitor can now go right on until he comes to the massive gates and porter's lodge, where the Inverkip road is reached and by which the visitor can return home, or, after passing the castle gates, let the visitor take the first road to the right, which, after traversing the wood for a short distance, leads along the brow of the cliff homeward.
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME
"Wemyss Bay", applied to this locality, is matter of doubt. It occurs in old maps of the last century and is at least one hundred years old. The general term 'Wemyss' or 'Weems' is common in Scotland. It is derived from the Gaelic uamh, 'a cave' and is applied to those subterranean dwellings or earth-houses, built by the primitive Picts, which served to hide the people and their goods in time of war. Many of these have been found in different parts of the country - in Forfar and Perth Shires and in the Orkney Islands. Daniel Wilson, in his 'Archoeology and Pre-historic Annals of Scotland', to which the reader is referred for a more minute account of these 'Weems', says "In general, no external indication affords the slightest clue to their discovery. To the common observer, the dry level heath or moor under which they lie presents no appearance of ever having been disturbed by the hand of man and he may traverse the waste until every natural feature has become familiar to his eye without suspecting that underneath his feet lie the dwellings and domestic utensils of remote antiquity". As to the origin of the general term then, there can be no doubt. The only difficulty is that none of those caves having ever been discovered in this locality, so far as we can learn, it is not easy to trace any connection between the name and this particular place unless, indeed, it may have been applied to one or two natural caves which may be seen in the cliff at different places. It is to caves of this description that the villages of East and West Wemyss, in Fifeshire, owe their names, but there the caves are very conspicuous. A story is told us which, if authentic, would explain the origin of the name on a very different principle. It is to the effect that an old fisherman called Robert Wemyss used to reside here some time during last century and that three gentlemen who had been in the habit of hiring his boat for fishing during several summers thought they would give the place a name, portion of the bay having previously been called "White Wick" of Wemyss - 'wick', a 'little bay' - and sometimes "Kelly Bay". They discussed several names but could not agree on any until one of them said, "Let's call it after old Bob". Accordingly, the place was called "(Bob) Wemyss' Bay".
KELLY Near the railway station, on the opposite side of the road and overlooking the line, stands the large and commodious house of Kelly. Its external appearance, though neat, is very plain and has no pretension to architectural beauty. The situation however is particularly good, the pleasure grounds carefully laid out and the surrounding scenery rich and attractive. The house is built of red sandstone but, a former propnetor, thinking to improve its appearance, got it painted white and it is now a conspicuous object from the opposite coast. "The coast at this place and indeed along the whole course of The Firth, from Inverkip to Ardrossan, is bounded at a short distance back from the shore with a range of hills, sometimes rising in gentle slope and at other times in abrupt rocky precipices from which can be had a succession of rich and varied views". Advantage has been taken of this conformation of ground for the building of several fine houses along the coast, such as Skelmorlie Castle, Knock Castle, Routenburn and Fairlie Castle. Among these, Kelly stands pre-eminent as one of the oldest as well as one of the most beautifully situated of them all. Dr. Young, the present proprietor, has added a large picture-gallery to the south end of the house and to his collection of very fine pictures he has recen:ly added two masterpieces of Salvator Rosa, brought from Florence. ORIGIN OF NAME AND HISTORY. The name is Celtic, meaning 'a wood' and is often found in combinations, such as Kelburne (a wooded burn). The estate, as has already said, is very old and was the seat of an ancient family named Bannatyne. The first of the family who possessed the lands was James Bannatyne who had a grant of them from James III. In Crawford's History of Renfrcwshire, it is stated that the original charter was extant in his time, but he does not give its date. As, however, James III was slain in 1488, at Bannockburn, the gift must have been bestowed before that. The Bannatynes continued to hold the estate for more than 300 years, until 1792, when it was purchased by Mr. John Wallace, the acknowledged representative of the Elderslie Wallaces and descendant of Sir William Wallace. The old mansion house, Kelly Castle, stood in the present garden, "nested up among the cliffy rocks", about a quarter a mile higher than where the house now stands, but it was destroyed by fire in the time of the Bannatynes. It is evidently to this situation that the words apply " There lived a carle on Kelly-burn braes, Hey an' the rue grows bonnie wi' thyme." The present house was erected by Mr. John Wallace in 1793 and subsequently greatly enlarged by his son, Mr. Robert Wallace. "By him chiefly", says Crawford, "the place has been formed, not only by his energetic improvements in agriculture, by which he has greatly extended the arable lands, but by extensive plantations of wood, both valuable and ornamental". Originally the southern boundary of Kelly estate was Kelly Burn but, in 1814, by a contract of excambion entered into betwixt the Earl of Eglinton and Mr. Wallace, the latter got possession of Auchindarroch, that portion of ground between Kelly Burn and the Beithglass Parish road, leading from the U.P. Church to Upper Skelmorlie. Another exchange was effected between Mr. Wallace and the Laird of Ardgowan, by which the lands of Finnock were given up to Sir Michael's ancestor in return for Wemyss Bay, which, from being part of Ardgowan, became portion of Kelly estate and continued to be so until Mr. Alexander's time, when the estate was divided. Mr. Wallace, senior, seems to have been a very shrewd and energetic man of business and carried on an extensive trade with the West Indies. A story is told of him which may not be uninteresting. Having reason to suspect the honesty of his officials in the West Indies, he adopted a strange expedient to detect the imposition. Disguising himself and going out to the Indies in the capacity of a clerk, he sought and obtained employment in his own office. None of the officials recognised him. An old negress, suspecting who he was, said to someone in the office, "If Massa had been in this country, I would have said that was him". Not much attention was being paid to her remarks and Mr. Wallace was undetected. He however detected the fraud which was being practised on him, dismissed his principal officials and had their places supplied by more trustworthy men. At his death in 1803, Mr. Robert Wallace, the eldest son, succeeded to the estate. After the passing of The Reform Bill he entered Parliament as the representative for Greenock and his name is intimately associated with the system of 'Penny Postage'. Indeed, we believe that to his labours as Chairman of The Parliamentary Committee, the country is chiefly indebted for to him for its introduction". The Postmaster of Greenock, Mr. Macmillan, has in his possession papers given to him by Mr. "Wallace shortly before his death, exhibiting facsimiles of a SINGLE and a DOUBLE Letter in 1838, which he, Mr. Wallace, got printed to draw the attention of Parliament to the absurdity. The following is printed on the SINGLE Letter "Postage Charges in 1838
"This paper, 4 inches by 2½ inches and its cover of similar size weighs 7 grains, or, under the 60th part of an ounce. weight and is charged DOUBLE Postage, whilst the accompanying sheet, 33 inches by 23 inches, weighing just under 1 ounce is charged as a SINGLE Letter. "N.B. - In France, Germany and throughout Europe, postage is charged by weight". The reason of this absurd inequality was because one, the small one, was in an envelope, the other, the large one, although equally secured by sealing-wax, was simply folded ! The enthusiasm with which Wallace was received by the working classes in Greenock on the occasion of his election was immense. Feeling ran very high and no stone was left unturned by either party to gain the seat, but on the declaration of the poll, it was found that Mr. Wallace was returned by a large majority. As illustrative of the vigorous efforts put forth, a story was told us by Mr. Wallace's coachman, Mr. William Beith, who died recently, aged 89 and who remembered the scene. A drunken shoemaker, belonging to the town, was eagerly canvassed by both parties. As his craving for drink was much stronger than his political principles, it was well known that the party which treated him best and watched him most closely would be certain to secure his vote. A Mr. Johnstone, on behalf of the Conservatives, agreed to sit up with him all night, regale him with potations of whisky at judicious intervals and have him early at the poll on the following morning. How Mr. Johnstone passed the night we are not told, but next morning he and his companion set out for the voting. On the way he kept continually dunning into his ear the name of "Cochrane", the gentleman for whom he was to vote and who was Mr. Wallace's opponent on thia occasion. As they got near the door an immense crowd was gathered which kept continually shouting "Vote for Wallace", ''Wallace for ever". Entering the polling booth the shoemaker was asked for whom he voted. Mr. Cochrane's name was doubtless on his mind when he entered, but just at the moment of being asked the question, the shout was again heard outside "Wallace for ever", which so completely effaced the remembrance of 'Cochrane' from the shoemaker's mind that he stammered out "Wa-Wallace" and to the disgust of Mr. Johnstone and his friend, who all knew of the self-denying efforts which had been made to secure him, the shoemaker's vote went to the other side ! Shortly after Mr. Wallace entered Parliament he was obliged to part with Kelly. He had previously built that row of houses on the side of the turnpike road leading to Inverkip, situated about a mile from the station and called by him "Forbes Place", after his wife, a daughter of Sir William Forbes, Bart. of Craigievar in Aberdeenshire. In anticipation of leaving Kelly, Wallace had intended the house at the north end of the row as a residence for himself but, changing his mind, or his affairs turning out to be more involved than was at first supposed, the whole estate was sold and Mr. Wallace left the district. Mr. Alexander, an Australian merchant, was the purchaser, but he only retained possession for two or three years. Becoming bankrupt, the estate fell into the hands of his creditors by whom it was sold in two distinct and nearly equal portions to Mr. James Scott of Glasgow and to Mr. Charles Wilsone Brown, also of Glasgow. The one part forms the present estate of Kelly, the other, forming Wemyss Bay. Mr. Scott, in his turn, sold Kelly to Dr. James Young, the present proprietor, in 1867, Mr. Brown having sold his portion of the estate, Wemyss Bay, to Mr. Burns, the present proprietor.
WALKS ABOUT KEI.LY
Through the kindness of Dr. Young, visitors residing in the district may obtain, by written application, cards admitting them to walk through the glen any day during the week, except Sunday and available for the whole season. Entering by the gate beside the burn and, passing the lodge, the first road to the left leads to the house; the road leading straight on conducts through the glen and is one of the most delightful walks which the district affords. The burn flows through a romantic narrow dale which, on both sides, is covered with trees and wild flowers in rank luxuriance and the visitor may here spend a few hours with great pleasure. The road sheltered by over-spreading trees runs along the right bank of the burn until it comes to the sawmill, a rustic Swiss-looking cottage close beside the water. Before coming to the sawmill, a narrow rustic bridge is seen crossing the burn at the foot of the garden. By this the visitor may pass grassy path through the wood on the Skelmorlie side of the burn and come out on the Beithglass road (see map), by either of the two gates which enter off that road. But, if the visitor wishes to continue his walk through Kelly, he must take the road to the left, near the sawmill. Continuing this road, which skirts the wood behind the gardens, until it brings him, in about ten minutes, to the Home Farm, he then gets clear of the wood and continues the road which passes through the centre of the estate and which is an old road leading to Inverkip, until he comes to Binny Hill, a shepherd's house at the northern boundary of the estate. Here the road divides, that to the left leads by a circuitous route through a wood, past the stables and the mansion house and then out by the gate by which entrance was obtained. Instead of taking this road, if the visitor continues his
walk past Binney Hill, through the iron gate, the boundary between Kelly and Ardgowan, he emerges on a beautiful tract of country, from which the most charming views may be obtained of the farms adjacent to Inverkip and of the opposite side of the Clyde - to Dunoon, Kirn and Hunter's Quay, the entrance to The Holy Loch, to Ben Lomond and the surrounding hills. Continuing along this road to Finnock Bog, the first farm-house after crossing the Brewacre Burn and at the point where the road again divides, he can either take that to the left, which reaches the Greenock Turnpike, about a mile and a half from the Weymss Bay Station or, he can go past the second farm house, Berfern, to Inverkip and return either by road or rail. The whole walk to Inverkip will be about two and a half or three miles and, to Finnock Bog and back, about the same. LIVINGSTONE'S HUT Dr. James Young, being one of Dr. David Livingstone's early friends and enthusiastic admirers, has all along taken a deep interest in the great traveller's explorations and, at his own expense, fitted out an expedition for his discovery and relief. After Livingstone's death, the two Nassick African boys, Susi and Chuma, who had so faithfully attended their master till the last and who brought home his remains, resided some time in this country and, during the summer of 1875 spent a fortnight at Kelly. They had, at the bidding of their sick master, built him "a hut to die in" and, at Dr. Young's request, they erected a facsimile of that hut in the Kelly grounds.
Facsimile of Livingstone's Hut in Kelly Estate It is in all respects, even to the rude bed on which the great traveller died, exactly similar to the original and is well worth a visit by all who revere the great and good man whose name it bears. Entering by the principal gate at the Lodge and immediately after passing the road to the left which, as already stated, leads to the house, a flight of wooden steps conducts to a broad avenue which leads from Kelly House to the garden. Following this avenue to the right, a little gate is passed close by the garden wall and, to the left, about fifty yards nearer the sea than the garden, may be seen, on a grassy slope, the rude hut erected in memory of the immortal Livingstone. SMUGGLING This same district was notorious for smuggling. A little to the north-west of Forbes Place there stood a number of houses forming a small village or clachan, and known by the name of Finnock, and when one was asked how many houses there were at Finnock, there was a common saying in reply, "there were as many as would fill ten boats for the smuggling." A correspondent informs us that in his early days his father's family used to visit this district, about the year 1810, having hired apartments from a shoemaker who resided near the shore. On one occasion he remembers being taken by the shoemaker to Roseneath in a small boat, which he kept ostensibly for fishing or amusement, but really for other purposes. It was late in the afternoon, and when they landed, says our informant, "Here was I left in charge of the boat until the shoemaker brought to the shore, and placed in the boat small cask of whisky, which was taken to his house, having eluded the custom house officers stationed at Gourock. It is needless to say that the whisky was smuggled, or that this was neither the first nor the last venture of our landlord in the contraband traffic." The inhabitants along the shore at Gourock, Inverkip, and down to Largs were, late in the last and early in the present century, notoriously addicted to smuggling. Whisky from Arran and the Cowal shore and Bute was taken across the
Firth, and carried into the interior, but a still larger and more profitable contraband traffic was carried on with outward bound ships, from which large quantities of rum, brandy, tobacco, and other exciseable goods, were landed and carried on horseback into the country to places of concealment. There was a strong party of revenue officers stationed at Inverkip, and fights between them and the smugglers were frequent, and on some occasions the officers were severely handled, and on one at least, an officer was murdered. SKELMORLIE CASTLE Let us now give a brief description of those properties lying to the south of the village of Skelmorlie and, about a mile and a half from Wemyss Bay Station, prominently situated on the cliff, but nearly hid by trees, is Skelmorlie Castle, the stronghold and residence of the ancient family of Montgomery. To it apply the words written by Cartwright regarding another castle equally strong and equally ancient " Deep in the bosom of a wood, An antique castle towering stood; In Gothic grandeur rose the pile." but unlike it, Skelmorlie Castle is not given up to the "owls and bats." "It is one of the few examples of old baronial castles of the district now inhabited"; and that it is so, is due to the present occupier, Mr. John Graham, a wealthy Glasgow merchant. Although only a tenant, Mr Graham, in 1852, with consent of the proprietor, The Earl of Eglinton, rebuilt the old ruin, at his own expense and now it forms a picturesque and pleasant residence commanding a a varied and most extensive view. The modern improvements and additions have been carried out in keeping with the original design. HISTORY The old castle dates as far back as 1503, and is described in Font's Cunninghame as "a fair weill-built house and pleasantly seated, decorred with orchards and woodcs, the inheritance of Robert Montgomery, Laird thereof" The estate attached to it originally included the barony of St. Fillans, together with all the land to the south as far as Knock, and belonged, in the reign of Robert III., to Sir William Cunningham of Kilmaurs; but shortly after, in 1460, it was divided into two parts. The northern half became the property of the Eglinton family under the name of SkclmorlieMontgomerie, the southern part remained with the Cunninghames, and became known as Skelmorlie-Cunninghame, now St. Fillans. Skelmorlie-Montgomerie has remained in the hands of the Montgomerie family ever since; and the present proprietor, the Earl of Eglinton and Winton, though removed by twenty-five generations from the first possessor, is the lineal descendant of Sir Alexander de Montgomerie of Ardrossan, first Lord Montgomery. The sixth in descent, Robert Montgomerie was knighted by James VI., and was afterwards created a Baronet by Charles I. In the early part of his life, he was cruel and blood-thirsty, and "indulged his wrath with such eagerness as to occasion much bloodshed to his enemies. For this he was afterwards seized with remorse, and in expiation performed many acts of charity and mortification in his latter days" (Robertsons Cunninghame). He erected the elegant monument, Skelmorlie Aisle, in the aisle of the old Parish Church at Largs, which it has been said "has never been surpassed, if indeed equalled, by any work of the kind in this country and which at once stamps its author as a man of genius and highly cultivated taste" - (Fullarton's Memoir of Eglinton Family) It is said that Sir Robert, in the latter part of his life was in the habit of descending at night into the vault at Largs for devotion and meditation and on the lid of his coffin , the following inscription, having reference to this strange habit, may still be seen - "Ipse mihi praemortuus fui, fato funera / Praeripui, unicum idque Caesareum, / Exemplar, inter tot mortales secutus" of which the following translation may be given, "I predeceased myself: I anticipated my proper funeral; alone among all mortals following the example of Caesar." The meaning of the phrase "following the example of Caesar" is thought to refer to a circumstance in the life of Charles V which will be in the recollection of those who have read his life, viz., this - that his funeral obsequies were performed before his death. He ordered his tomb to be erected in the chapel of the monastery of St. Justus, to which he had betaken himself. His domestics marched thither in funeral procession, with black tapers in their hands. He himself followed in his shroud, and was laid in his coffin with great solemnity. The service for the dead was chanted, and Charles joined in the prayers which were offered up for the repose of his soul, mingling his tears with those which his attendants shed, as if they had been celebrating a real funeral (Robertson's Life of Charles V) It is supposed that Sir Robert Montgomery, by performing his devotions in the funeral vault at Largs," followed his example."
Sir Hugh, another descendant of the Montgomery family, was one of the slain at the famous battle of Otterburn, fought in 1388. His remains are also interred in the Montgomery vault at Largs. He is thus referred to in the ballad, "Chevy Chase" : A knight amongst the Scots there was, Who saw Earl Douglas die, Who straight in wrath did vow revenge Upon the Earl Percy: Sir Hugh Montgomery was he called, Who, with a spear full bright, Well mounted on a gallant slee'l, Kan tiercely through the fight ; And past the English archers all, Without dread or fear; And through Earl Percy's body then He thrust his hateful spear; With such vehment force and might He did his body gore, The staff ran through the other side A large cloth yard and more. So thus did both these nobles die, Whose courage none could stain. An English archer then perceived The noble Earl was slain : He had a bow bent in his hand, Made of a trusty tree; An arrow of a cloth yard long To the hard head haled he: Against Sir Hugh Montgomery So right the shaft he set, The grey goose wing that was thereon In his heart's blood was wety. SKELMORLIE AISLE AND MONUMENT In the old burying ground situated near the centre of the town, may be seen the remains of the ancient Parish Church of Largs. These remains consist of an aisle, extending northward from the demolished church. This aisle was erected in 1636, by Sir Robert Montgomery, and contains a burial vault and monument, said to be the most magnificent sepulchral design extant in the West of Scotland. There may be difference of opinion about this, but as the monument is well worth a visit, we subjoin a short description of it, mainly taken from the account given in the Parish Churches, etc., of Ayrshire. The aisle is built of chiselled freestone. Above the entrance door, on a panel enclosed with mouldings, are very neatly sculptured the quartered armorials of Montgomerie and Eglintoun. On it are a helmit, an anchor, a shield, and an escroll with the quotations - "The Lord only is my support;" "Only to God be Laud and Gloir," the initials of Sir Robert and his Lady, with the date, 1636. On entering, the tattered remnants of two old escutcheons may be seen hanging on the wall, with a rusty old helmet and sword. The aisle within is lofty, and its roof is vaulted with boarding. It is thrown, by painted Gothic arches, mouldings, and panels, into forty-one compartments of various forms and dimensions, each of which is adorned with a religious, moral, emblematic, fanciful, or heraldic subject; and while the drawing and perspective are very inferior, the colouring is still fresh and bright. The following are some of the subjects represented - the twelve signs of the Zodiac, Esau hunting, Jacob ploughing, Eve being tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. There is also a view of the church with a stream flowing past spanned by a bridge, and a representation of Skelmorlie Castle; and the figure of a lady receiving a fatal kick from a horse. This is believed to depict the tragical death of Lady Margaret Montgomery. Being on horseback at Largs during the fair of St. Colm, she was thrown amidst a number of the people. Irritated at the accident, she arose and pursued the animal, when, very unfortunately, she received a kick that instantly proved fatal. The monument stands across the aisle to the left of the entrance. In length it is eleven-and-a-half feet; breadth, five feet, height, eighteen feet. It presents two fronts and profiles responding to each other in every respect, save that the elevation next to the entrance door is higher than its counterpart. To the right of the monument a stair of seven steps conducts to a small area between the north elevation and the gable of the aisle. From this platform, the carved details of the monument may be examined. The monument is indeed not less remarkable for the taste, variety, and finish, exhibited in its ornamental details, than for the purity of its architectural profiles and general proportions, considering the period of its construction. The base of the monument has three panels on each side; standing on this are eighteen Corinthian columns bearing an arch and side aisles; and on the corners of these aisles are sculptured figures. The figure above the right hand column is represented leaning with the left arm resting on an inverted flambeau resting on a skull; the other figure holds a spade
in the right hand, and an apple in the left. The figures have grotesque appearance, the form of their heads and the expression of their faces being considerably in advance of the undeveloped anatomy of their bodies. The crowning member of the monument is a pyramid surmounted by a ball. Its sides are insculped with an ingenious variety of ornaments. One is allotted to musical instruments, another to martial gear, including a helmet and coat of mail; a third to several kinds of native fruit suspended by drapery; and the fourth is decked with emblems of mortality. The subjects are arranged or grouped with considerable address, and the workmanship, as on every other part of the monument, is free, spirited, and carefully finished. On different parts of the monument are the initials S. R. M., and D, M. D., repeated to satiety ; and on each side are tablets with the respective epitaphs of Sir Robert and Dame Margaret. The former, on the principal elevation, is completely effaced, but the latter is still legible. It is as follows "His duo bisq decem transegi virginis annos; Ter duo ter decem consociata viro, Et bis opem Lucina tulit. Mas Paris imago; Spesq domus superest: Femina idvasa mon. Clara genus generosa, anima speciosa decore. Cara Dec vivia; nunc mihi cuncta Deus". This inscription is a good example of epitaphs of persons of rank, two hundred years ago. It represents the deceased as speaking from the tomb. The following is a free translation - "Twice times two, and twice times ten years, I lived a virgin life ; twice times three, and twice times ten, I lived a married life, (married to a husband.) Twice I required the assistance of Lucina. My husband was the image of Paris; he still survives as the hope of his house, I, the female, was alone destined to die. My birth was noble, my mind was brilliant, my heart was generous my beauty was splendid. I was dear to God when alive, and now God is all to me." In the family vault below the monument, may be seen the two large large leaden coffins, containing the relics of Sir Robert Montgomerie and those of his Lady. That of the latter bears on the cover in raised characters, "Dame Margaret Douglas, spouse To Sir Robert Montgomery, Scalmurlie, 1624.'' On the cover of the former is the inscription "Ipse mihi praemortuus funera Praeripui, unicum idque Caesareum, Exemplar, inter tot rnortales secutus" - "I predeceased myself: I anticipated my proper funeral; alone among all mortals following the example of Caesar." There are also, in another coffin, the remains of Sir Hugh Montgomery, who was slain at the Battle of Otterburn. Several years ago, while alterations were being made in the aisle, a number of bodies became exposed to view. Having been embalmed, they were fresh and in good condition and strangely enough, on being examined, the skull of one of them was observed to have received a severe injury, but to have been carefully mended. This was the body of Sir Hugh, and the scalp wound was believed to have been the result of his encounter at the famous "Chevy Chase". Two of the coffins have been partially damaged, owing to the cupidity of some fishermen about Largs, who stole the lead to make 'sinks' for their fishing lines. The place has since been secured from such depredators, and the aisle repaired by the late Earl of Eglinton. NOTES ON SKELMORLIE CASTLE. Since the foregoing was printed, a desire has been expressed that a few additional notes should be added on Skelmorlie Castle; and as a description of the Picture Gallery has already been given to the public in an admirably-written article in the Glasgow Daily Mail newspaper, we presume the generous occupant of the Castle will not visit with the penalty of his displeasure what in other circumstances might be deemed an unpardonable intrusion. We direct the attention of those who may desire further details to the above article in the Mail, of Monday, June 9, 1879. The castle is approached from the north by a modern avenue; on the left hand side of which (close by the castle) is the garden, surrounded by a very high wall, evidently a relic of the past. This wall must have enclosed part of the "gardens" and "orchards" referred to by old Timothy Font. The enormous size of the laurels and hollies affords evidence of their age, and a gigantic plane tree on the right hand side of the avenue must have cast its shadow on the old castle in the days when it was inhabited by the Montgomeries. Some of the fruit trees in the garden are also of very great age. The present front of the castle, with its doorway facing the north, was the back in olden time, while the old front was on the south of the building. The ancient gateway still stands entire, but serves now as a means of communication between the castle and the offices. The portion of the building facing the sea (including dining and drawing rooms) is all new, having been built by Mr. Graham in 1856; and on the south-east a wing has been added at a still more recent date. About a year ago, while alterations were being made on the offices, the old chapel was discovered, which, until then,
had been unknown. It stands to the south of the dining room, with an arched gable, and is evidently of great age. The roof is of oak, the joists supported by wooden pins, and is still in very good condition. The conjecture which some one hazarded on seeing the ruin is very likely correct, that it was built by old Sir Robert Montgomery, the same who became so pious in his later years, and who went down to the sepulchral vault in Largs after the example of Charles V. According to the article already referred to, there is in part of the ancient building a quaint old tower, " in which there is still to be seen an iron bolt, from which, according to local tradition, malefactors used to be hung."
It is well known that Mr Graham possesses one of the finest collections of pictures in the west of Scotland and for the guidance of those who may obtain permission to view the collection, we subjoin a list of those chiefly deserving attention The Two Sisters (Gainsborough); St. John in Patmos (Ary Scheffer); Mary at the Sepulchre (Ary Scheffer); A Highland Raid (Rosa Bonheur); The Wreck Buoy (Turner); Antwerp Cathedral (so called) (Turner); Vale of Tempe (Turner); Landing of Ulysses (Linnell); Christ and Woman of Samaria (Linnell); The Nile Boat (J- L. Jerome); The Shepherd's Bible (Landseer); Christmas at Antwerp during the Spanish Occupation (Leys); Moonlight on Coast of Holland (Stanfield); Caerlaverock Castle (Roberts); Grand Canal, Venice (Roberts); Christ Amidst the Doctors in the Temple (Holman Hunt); Venice by Moonlight (Cooke); Cattle (Cooper); Stormy Sea (Birket Foster) and Village School (Wilkie). Owing to the additions which are constantly being made to the collection (for Mr. Graham is continually adding to his store) the picture gallery seldom remains in all respects the same. For example, there has this year been added to it a magnificent painting by Müller of the "Acropolis," while shortly before that he purchased at the sale of Albert Grant, Holman Hunt's celebrated " Christ among the Doctors." But its principal pictures have for several years now remained the same, and have become well known. The gem of the collection is usually supposed to be Gainsborough's " Two Sisters," said to have cost the enormous sum of £6,000; although about 100 years old, the colouring is fresh and rich. Then we have four masterpieces by Turner, three of which are specimens of his workmanship at the three different stages of his career. The first of these, " Antwerp Cathedral, or an Artist in Search of a Subject," represents the white towers of a cathedral in the distance, in the foreground the moving waves of the German Ocean, said to be unsurpassed as a representation of water in motion. It was of this picture that Stanfield, when he visited this collection, said, " It would be difficult for any man to equal that." "The Vale of Tempe," a rich glowing landscape in Italy, in which the sun is lost in his own rays, represents the second stage; and the third is represented by " Mercury and Argus," so often referred to by Ruskin, in which "the pale and vaporous blue of the heated sky is broken with grey and pearly white, the gold colour of the light warming it more or less as it approaches and retires from the sun." "Not one line out of the millions there is without meaning; yet there is not one which is not affected and disguised by the indecision and dazzle of distance. No form is made out, and yet no form is unknown." (Ruskin's Modern Painters) The "Wreck Buoy " is the fourth of Turner's paintings in the collection. The story is told of this picture, that when it was in possession of a former owner, Mr. Turner visited the house, and hearing the gentleman complain of its dark and gloomy appearance, got a brush dipped in paint and dashed it in a circle over the picture; "'Oh," said the owner, "you have spoiled my picture ! '' The dash of extra paint, according to the story, forms the rainbow in the "Wreck Buoy." In the dining room is Millais' celebrated picture of the "Cavalier," in which the artist has painted the likenesses of two of his own family - a boy and girl. The benevolent look of the old man, evidently delighted at doing an act of kindness to the two little children, and the half-trustful, half-suspicious looks of the youngsters are admirably pourtrayed. Above the mantelpiece in the dining room is a very celebrated painting, " Christmas at Antwerp during the Spanish Occupation," by Baron Henri Leys, while on the left is a very fine sea piece by Birket Foster. On the wall opposite the fireplace is a fine painting of " Cattle," by Sydney Cooper. Every visitor to the collection will be interested in Rosa Bonheur's famous "Highland Raid.'' This picture acquires a special interest from the fact that when, at the request of the artist, it was sent by Mr. Graham to the Paris Exhibition, she thought she could improve the picture by adding another sheep to the group. With the owner's consent this was done, and now this additional sheep occupies a conspicuous position in the foreground. The owner fearing that this might afterwards throw doubt on the identity of the picture when compared with engravings taken at a prior date, the fair artist replied that she would never be afraid of that picture, it would speak for itself. There is another picture by Rosa Bonheur recently acquired, "Stags Coming to Drink," in which the graceful figures of the animals are reflected in
the transparent blue of the still waters. Two very fine Scripture subjects by Ary Scheffer are "St. John in Patmos" and "Mary at the Sepulchre." The former represents the aged apostle, with pen in hand, listening to the mysterious voice which inspired his visions, when he wrote "I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet saying, I am Alpha and Omega." In the drawing room are several Linnells, the largest and finest being the "Landing of Ulysses at Ithaca" by John Linnell, who is still alive, and occasionally uses his brush, although at the advanced age of over 80 years. Here, also, is a masterpiece by Gerome, of the "Nile Boat" in which the grim face of the old captive lying on his back, unmoved by the grimaces of his tormentor, is worthy of careful study. Amongst smaller pictures are " Venice by Moonlight," by Cooke, - a copy of which has been painted by the gifted daughter of Mr. Graham, herself an amateur artist of very considerable power. The one picture is such an exact facsimile of the other that the onlooker need not be ashamed if he mistakes the copy for the original, as we are informed that a late President of the Royal Academy very nearly committed the mistake, and several celebrated art critics have fallen into the trap. Other pictures are "The Shepherd's Bible," by Landseer; the "Genevieve" of Noel Paton; Wilkie's "Village School," "The Grand Canal, Venice," by Roberts ; "Moonlight on the Coast of Holland,'' by Stanfield ; "The Saviour Blessing little Children," by Scott Lauder, and a host of others, all worthy of careful inspection. Those who remember what the Skelmorlie collection was like many years ago, will now miss a painting which at that time attracted considerable attention, viz., "The Distinguished Member of a Humane Society," by Landseer. It was purchased from Agnew of London at a cost of £2,000. "E. Landseer" was duly inscribed on the canvas, and no one doubted that on examining it, he was looking at a genuine painting by the distinguished artist. A Frenchman who visited the Skelmorlie Gallery was the only exception. He expressed doubts as to its genuineness, and although little attention was paid at the time to his remarks, Mr. Graham, to have all doubts removed, ordered the picture to be sent off to Landseer himself, (who at that time was living near London,) with the request that he would examine it, and certify as to its genuineness. Strange to say the report was unfavourable ; Landseer signifying that the painting was a good copy, but was not his. Mr. Agnew, on being apprized of the result, was equally, with its owner, surprised and chagrined, and agreed at once to take back the picture and refund the money. Inquiry was of course made as to the history of the picture which had thus deceived so many critics, when the following facts were ascertained - Landseer had a sister residing with him named Elizabeth, who, like her brother, was able to handle the brush, and who had been in the habit of copying some of her brother's most successful paintings. It seems that Landseer himself had proceeded so far with the picture in question, having sketched the figure, and done the "filling up" of the head, but not being satisfied with the workmanship at this point, he had thrown it aside and commenced the work anew. His sister, who had pos- sessed herself of the discarded outline, sometime afterwards began filling up with great care, copying every detail from her brother's finished work. Her name, "E. Landseer," was inserted in the comer, and when at her death the whole of her property was sold, the picture was bought by Mr. Agnew, no one ever doubting that it was the original painting by her famous brother, "Edwin." Mr. Agnew, on receiving back the picture from Mr. Graham, exposed it for sale again, but this time as a copy. It was purchased, we understand, for about £250. The collection has taken more than sixty years to reach its present complete form, and is unsurpassed by any in the West of Scotland. Its owner, with rare generosity, allows others to view what affords so much delight to himself, and in consequence the Skelmorlie Picture Gallery, although a private collection, has become more widely known than many public ones.
WALKS AT SKELMORLIE CASTLE Skelmorlie Castle is approached from the shore by the first road to the left after passing the Skelmorlie villas. At the lodge, which may be seen about sixty yards from the turnpike, this road divides. That to the right through the gates leads by a gradual ascent to Skelmorlie Heights. Along the shore road, about a quarter of a mile, a second road leads behind the Castle, and by this road several beautiful walks may be had in various directions. After passing the Castle and Gardener's house, and continuing our walk about a quarter of a mile, we come to a place near the farm of Skelmonie Mains, where two roads cross, and where walks may be had in three different directions. (i) If we go right on, (continuing the road on which we have started), we are led by the high road to the village of Upper Skelmorlie. All along this road the most extensive and varied views may be had. (2) Taking the road to the right close by the farm of Skelmorlie Mains, a most delightful and bracing walk may be had for a couple of miles up the hills, with magnificent views of the Firth of Clyde, and farms lying to the South. This road leads to the farms of North and South Fardens the former a ruin, close beside the road, and the latter inhabited by a shepherd and others. The lands have been added to the farm of Skelmorlie Mains. By the side of this road in the wood, about a quarter of a mile from Mains Farm, may
be seen a mound covered with trees. Here, in Anglo-Saxon times, criminals were tried and executed. Hence the name of the mound, "Judge Hill." These mounds are common in many parishes of Ayrshire, and are interesting remains of the customs of our ancestors. (3) The turning to the left joins the road leading from Skelmorlie Castle Lodge to Skelmorlie " Heights." SKELMORLIE GLEN Skelmorlie Glen is a place of unending interest to those who take delight in the scenes of nature. One entrance is obtained through an opening in the hedge, on the road behind the Castle. Here a path leads for a short distance through the wood, with its tangled under-wood, luxuriant ferns, lichens, and other forms of vegetable life. Another entrance is behind the gamekeeper's house, where a more regular road, following on the north side the curves of the burn, winds through the wood for a distance of about a mile. when it abruptly terminates. As we ascend, two smaller glens - called Shaw Glen and Farden's glen - branch off to the left, but Skelmorlie Glen proper is the finest, and extends for a long distance inland in a north-easterly direction. Ascending still higher, numerous little waterfalls and cascades enliven the scene, and the view which opens out towards the shores of Bute, over the lower portion of the glen, will amply repay the toil of the ascent. BRIDGEND HOUSE A few yards south of Skelmorlie Castle, nearer the main road, is Bridgend House, a comfortable, cosy-looking residence, charmingly situated on a gentle slope, and securely sheltered from every wind. It is the property of the Earl of Eglinton but let by him, along with the Castle, to Mr. Graham. The house and grounds, extending to about forty acres, originally belonged to the Earl of Glasgow, but in 1814 they were purchased by Mr. Wallace of Kelly, and given by him to the Earl of Eglinton in exchange for Auchendarroch, which from being part of Skelmorlie estate, was attached to Kelly, and now forms the part of that estate on the south side of Kelly burn. Behind Bridgend House is a hill or mound rising to a height of 100 feet, which has recently become an object of interest to the antiquarian. SERPENT MOUND It presents the appearance of an irregular hill or mound, partly overgrown with trees. That it is artificial there cannot be any doubt. In the newly published Geography of Ayrshire, issued by Collins, ( Collins' County Geographies), there is the following reference to it - "In Skelmorlie is one of the most remarkable antiquities in Scotland : a ' Serpent Mound,' supposed to have been used by the ancient Britons in the worship of the sun and serpent, and in other religious rites." The first to discover the mound, and to speak of it as connected with the worship of the serpent, was Dr. Phene of Chelsea, who has come to this district for several years during the summer months. He made several cuttings in the mound, and discovered the remains of bones and charcoal, and two or three years ago published an account of his researches in the Scotsman and Glasgow Herald. If this be indeed a serpent mound, then it is closely connected with Druid worship; for the worship of the serpent by the Druids is a matter of history. Whatever may have been the true origin of this snake reverence, certain it is, that in countless old Gaelic legends of the West Coast and the Hebrides, the serpent holds a place of much importance. We are told how they were wont to place live serpents as symbols at the foot of the altar during the time of sacrifice. They were also in the habit of forming artificial mounds in the form of a huge serpent, and several of these have been discovered in Scotland through the investigations of Dr. Phene and others, the most perfect of which is the famous serpent-shaped mound of Loch Nell, near Oban. We give the account of the Skelmorlie mound in Dr. Phene's own words - "In my investigations in Scotland I have lately discovered, in Ayrshire, a monument which appears to combine the most imponant customs I have touched on in one. The Diagram represents the form of a mound with a large circular head and serpentine ridge 400 feet long. It appears, though in a different attitude to the serpent mound in Argyllshire to bear the characteristics of a serpent emblem. Attracted by the outline, I excavated the mound, and discovered a paved platform of great interest. The hill is 100-feet high on its western side, is most uniformly shaped, and on the north and south sides measures 60 feet high ; to the east it is only 40 feet, and here its true circular form is lost, and a distinct elongation, terminating in broken ground, occurs just over a roadway formed at no very remote date. On the other side of this roadway similar broken ground appears, where a beautifully curved serpentine embankment, 300 feet long commences. It is evident that the embankment once joined the circular mound or head, and was severed when the road was made. The embankment forms a ridge about five feet across on the top, and was once nearly 400-feet long; it tapers as it recedes from the head and also slopes
downwards towards the end or tail, terminating almost vertically, the earth having been retained in position by a facing of uncemented stonework, the remains of which still preserve the shape. The ridge, which runs sinuously from the east side of the mound northwards, has been formed on the crest of a lofty bank, and is at an elevation of 130 feet above a stream still further north. The serpentine ridge did not contain any relics, but on cutting through it, its artificial formation was plainly shown, the materials having been brought from the adjacent sea-shore, and being quite distinct from the original summit, which was clearly denned. Trenches were cut in the head or circular hill at the four cardinal points, from the summit to the base, without any result; but on continuing these over the plateau, so as to form a cross, a divergence had to be made to avoid some trees, when the soil, hitherto of light colour, suddenly changed to black. This discoloration being followed, a paved platform was found about two feet, in some places, under a rich vegetable soil, which covered the whole hill uniformly, (except where it had been severed from the embankment), and which it must have taken ages to deposit, the trees that have been for many years on the hillock assisting little, as they are conifers. This discovery took place at the north-east, and was on the verge, just where the plateau joined the declivity. Cuttings were then made at intervals of a few feet all round the edge, in the same position, without success, till, on arriving at the north-west, the same appearance was exhibited. In result it was found that the platform was 80 feet long and 5 feet wide, paved with smooth flattened stones from the shore in a true curve, forming a segment of a circle, and covering a space between and including the north-east and north-west points of the compass. The platform itself, and the earth beneath it to a considerable depth, were highly charred, large masses of charcoal filled the interstices between the stones, and on washing the earth obtained from the same position, it was found to be full of portions of bone, so reduced in size as to show that the cremation must have been most complete. Taking the latitude of the mound, and the points of the compass where the sun would rise and set on the longest day, this segment-shaped platform, devoted apparently to sacrifice by fire, is found to fill up the remaining interval, and thereby complete the fiery circle of the sun's course, which would be deficient by that space. Near the centre of this hillock was found under the surface a larger stone than any on the hill, and which may have formed part of the foundation of an altar. Independently of the time of year indicated by this fire agreeing with that of the midsummer fires of the Druids, we have here not only an evidence of solar and serpent worship, but also of sacrifice." Apart from historical interest, the mound and adjoining glen are well worth visiting, if only for a sight of the flowers with which at certain seasons they are covered. MEIGLE Continuing the turnpike road and crossing the Skelmorlie and Meigle Burns flowing on each side of Bridgend, a road turns to the left, past a group of houses called Meigle, and where a small chapel has recently been erected - in November 1876 - by the Misses Stewart of Ashcraig, for the benefit of those residing in the district. The chapel is built of concrete - a fact which, though not very inmportant in itself explains the following conversation which took place shortly after it was erected. A gentleman residing in the Hydropathic Establishment happened to take a walk in the direction of Meigle, and observing a new building resembling a place of worship. asked a gardener's wife, who resided in the locality, " What church is this ?" "It's Miss Stewart's church," was the response. " Yes ; but what denomination does it belong to?" asked the stranger. "Oh! sir, it's the concrete kirk." Concrete it certainly is, not only in regard to its material construction, but also in the sense of being a meeting-place for members of all denominations who choose to attend. The road here winds up a steep hill past Meigle School, and conducts to several farms. When the top of the hill is reached (150 ft.) an extensive view is obtained, and several walks may be had in various directions. 1st - Walk by Thirdpart and Barr Soon after passing the school, a road to the left leads to the farms of Thirdpart, Dykes, and Barr. The name Thirdpart, is a very common designation for farm houses, and occurs in several parishes. It belonged at one time to the Glengarnock family, but is now the property of the Earl of Glasgow. Dykes farm, on the right, is about four hundred yards off the road, and forms part of the estate of St. Fillans. The name Barr, is supposed by some to be connected with the dispensation of justice in Anglo-Saxon times; and near this, on the opposite side of the glen, is a small mound called " Tndge Hill," where, in all likelihood, criminals were tried. The road properly ends at Barr, but if the visitor is venturesome, he may pass through the fields to the left, and crossing Skelmorlie Burn, climb up on the opposite side, through the wood, until he reaches the Fardens Road, whence he may easily find his way home. 2nd - Walk past Millrig and Anchengarth Farms and Home by Shore Road
Instead of turnig to the left after passing Meigle School, if we keep straight on, a beautiful view may be had along the high road leading past Auchengarth (not seen from the road; on the right; and on the left Millrig, both forming part of the estate of St. Fillans. Shortly before reaching Millrig, the highest elevation (200 ft.) on the road is reached. After passing Millrig about a hundred yards, the road goes down a steep hill, then through the thickly-wooded grounds of St. Fillans, close by the garden wall, where the height above the sea-level is only thirty-six feet. At the bridge which here crosses the Blackhouse Burn, the road divides. That to the right leads to the turnpike road along the shore, by which the visitor can find his way home. 3rd - Walk over the Hill to Brisbane Glen For those who are good pedestrians, and who don't object to a climb over the hills, this walk strongly recommended as affording magnificent views of the Firth of Clyde on the one side and of the Brisbane Glen or the other. The hill may be approached from any part of the road described under the second walk; but the the following course is recommended as being on the whole the least fatiguing, and not likely to lead the pedestrian into bogs or impracticable byways. Taking the road past Thirdpart Farm, strike off to the right by the road (through a gateway) leading to Dykes, and passing in front of the house continue the road for about 100 yards, until the second field on the left is reached, then leaving the road begin to ascend the hill in a south-easterly direction, keeping well to the right, and in a short time the summit will be reached. By keeping to the right the steep hill is avoided, and the walk very much shortened, although the views are not so fine. Directly behind Dykes the height is about 650 feet, whereas further south in the hollow of the hill it is not above 500 feet. After the summit is reached the descent on the east side should be made close by Constablewood Farm, from which a road leads by a bridge crossing the Noddle Burn to Brisbane Glen. (See Brisbane Gfen, Largs.) Largs is about two and a-half miles distant, and from thence the Skelmorlie pedestrian can return home by any of the numerous steamers which regularly ply during summer. The walk from Skelmoriie to Brisbane Glen Road will take about two hours, and another half or three-quarters should be allowed for reaching Largs. 4th - Walk to Knock Hill A clear day should be chosen for this excursion. Starting from the bridge referred to at the end of walk No. 2, behind St. Fillans, and which may be reached either by the route there described or (which is preferable) by the shore road from Skelmoriie, let the visitor continue his course along the high road to Largs. Before the present turnpike was formed, this was the direct route from Largs to Greenock. It is now little used except by the farmers in the district. After leaving the bridge the road gradually ascends, and is skirted at first on the left and then on both sides, by a thickly planted wood belonging to the Knock estate. In a short time a view may be obtained of Knock Castle. Passing the stables on the left, the road proceeds in a straight direction until the highest elevation is reached (300 ft.) immediately behind Quarter House. At this point and all along the road, a magnificent prospect is obtained to the south and west. If this road is continued, after passing the farms of Routenburn and Bankhead, it descends to the shore and ioins the turnpike at Noddesdale Toll-bar, when Largs can be reached about half a mile further on. But as our object now is to guide the pedestrian to Knock Hill, we have to direct him to continue this old Largs Road only until it reaches the highest point referred to above. Here a path to the left takes off at right angles through a gateway; continuing this until three fields are crossed, Knock Hill is seen rising conspicuously, and after mounting two stone dykes can be reached easily in half-an-hour. If the day is fine and the air clear, the visitor will in all probability stop several times before reaching the summit to admire the prospect which, as he ascends, gradually enlarges on all sides, until at the top it reveals a panorama unsurpassed in beauty and extent by any in this district. The hill rises to a height of 711 ft., and from the top a view can be had in all directions. Up the river you can see Castle Wemyss on its conspicuous promontory, Innellan on the opposite side, with the Cowal hills behind. Further down, the whole east coast of Bute may be seen, with the Paps of Jura in the far distance; next, the two Cumbraes, and Arran hills towering up into the clouds. The peninsular district of Ardneil rises on the left, while down the Firth - fifty miles away - is Ailsa Craig, faithfully guarding the entrance to the river. On the east we overlook Brisbane Glen with its variegated scenery, its farms snugly nestling on the hillside; while to the north, far away, the tops of Ben Lomond, The Cobbler, &c., frowning in mountain grandeur. On the summit of Knock Hill are to be seen the remains of ancient entrenchments. The hill belongs to the estate of Brisbane, although at one time it formed part of the estate of Knock. The remains of an old cart road winding round the hill and leading to the very top, may still be traced. If after descending the hill on the north side this road be followed, it will lead by the most direct course back to Skelmoriie. A short distance from the foot of the hill it divides - the one part may be seen leading down to the right through the wood to Brisbane Glen, the other leads to the spot at St. Fillan's Bridge, from which we started; or the whole route may be reversed.
SKELMORLIE TO LARGS Largs is distant from Skelmoriie about five and a half miles, and may be reached either by road or water. During the summer months, steamers ply frequently between Wemyss Bay Pier and Millport, calling at Largs. The latter is reached in half-an-hour, the former in one hour by steamer. The road between Skelmoriie and Largs skirts the shore all the way, and is of never-failing interest, owing to its variety. In summer it is a very pleasant walk, and a favourite drive. Shortly after passing Skelmoriie Castle and Bridgend, we reach Ashcraig, a modern mansion house, built of red sandstone, belonging to the Misses Stewart, finely sheltered beneath the cliff from the east winds, and protected on the west by a strip of pines. It may be noticed how the trees here and at Bridgend give evidence of the prevailing winds : those on the side next the sea, stunted and weather-beaten, likened by some one to those sentinel souls of humaniry who bear the brunt of the storms of life, and shield others from their fury. ST. FILLANS About a mile further on, we pass the huge commodious modern mansion house of St. Fillans. The situation is one of the finest in this locality, the house being situated at the summit of a knoll, gently sloping down to the sea; while behind, the hills, with their thickly planted woods, rise as a protection from the east. The house commands a magnificent prospect both up and down the firth, and the grounds, which are tastefully laid out, contain some very fine trees. One Auracaria near the house is of very large size. ST. FILLAN'S CHAPEL Close by the garden wall is St. Fillan's Well and near the Blackhouse Burn, which flows through the grounds, south of the mansion house, is a place called Chapel-yards, indicating the site of an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Fillan. Not a stone is now left to mark the spot, but the exact site, as laid down in the ordnance survey map, is near the Blackhouse bridge, between the burn and the road. The Reformation, which shook the whole fabric of the Scottish Church, introduced considerable changes both in the regime and in the number of the ecclesiastical divisions and many churches which piety had reared were allowed to go to ruin. Among these was the chapel of St. Fillan. The burn flowing past the mansion house on the north, and which joins the Blackhouse burn near the lodge, is the division between the parish of Largs and the quoad sacra parish of Skelmorlie. KNOCK CASTLE The present Castle was built in 1850, while the estate was in the hands of Mr. Robert Steele, shipbuilder, Greenock. It is a large and stately mansion, occupying a commanding site, and the view from its windows is magnificent. But, large and imposing though the modern building be, it may be doubted whether the style of architecture and colour of stone of the old castle (part of which still remains) be not more in keeping with the surroundings. The red stone harmonizes with the green foliage much better than the white, and the pointed style of the old (Scottish baronial) design adapts itself to the irregular and precipitous nature of the cliff. For several centuries the estate of Knock belonged to a family called Fraser - the Frasers of Lovat. As far back as 1380, John Fraser, third son of Hugh Fraser of Lovat, married the heiress of Knock, whose name is unknown, and thereby became possessor of the property. It remained in possession of the Frasers for about 300 years. In the history of that family we find some curious and interesting information, illustrative of the customs of our ancestors. For example, in the year 1572, it seems that John Fraser, the representative of the family then in possession, had got into debt, and in consideration of (John) Brisbane of Bishopton discharging this debt, he engages "that his grandson, John Frissal, (a mere child) on attaining the age of fourteen, shall marry one of Brisbane's daughters ; either Margaret, the eldest, or, failing her by death, Jean the second, whom failing, Marion the third daughter. The marriage was actually consummated in 1563 with Jean, the second daughter. In the records of the Presbytery of Irviine, we find Alexander Frazer of Knock summoned before that august body, and proceedings taken against him "for having taken protection from the Duke of Montrose," which was regarded as a grave offence by the ecclesiastical rulers of those days. About 1674, the estate of Knock passed from the Frazers into the Montgomery family, and was by them sold to the Earl of Glasgow, who in turn gave it to the Laird of Brisbane in exchange for certain other lands. In 1835, Knock was sold by Brisbane to a family called Wilson, in whose hands it was greatly improved. In 1850, it was purchased by Mr. Robert Steele, shipbuilder, Greenock, who built the modem mansion house; and in 1858, it passed into the hands of its present proprietor, Mr. George Elder, a deputy-Lieutenant and Magistrate for the county.
About half a mile from Knock and about two miles from Largs, is QUARTER, situated on the cliff. It formed part of the (old) estate of Knock, and is now in possession of Mr. James Stewart, M.P, for Greenock, who also owns the adjoining mansion-house of Routenburn (a little more than a quarter of a mile from Quarter). Some have supposed that the name is derived from the rout or defeat of Danes, but the most probable explanation is that the name is descriptive of the little roaring rivulet which runs near the house. About half-a-milc further on, the villas on the north side of Largs begin. They are beautifully situated and finely sheltered from the east winds. At Nodesdale toll-bar the old Greenock road joins the turn- pike, and a short distance back is a large mansion-house of red sand-stone and whin, recently erected by Sir William Thomson. The Conchologist may find on the shore here the Rtssoa calathisca, an exceedingly rare shell. BRISBANE GLEN AND PROPHET'S GRAVE Brisbane Glen lies to the north-east of Largs, and for three or four miles affords a most delightful inland walk in summer. Going up Nelson Street, the first turning on the left is Brisbane Road, which leads through the Glen, and is the old road to Greenock. About half a mile from the road, at the foot of the hills, and about one mile from the town, may be seen the modern mansion house of Burnside, built by Dr. Wm. Campbell, son of the late Dr. John Campbell, Largs. After passing the farm of Chapelton on the left, Prospect Hill on the right, (a small modern mansion house with a fine view), then Raillie's farm on the left, Brisbane avenue is reached where the Haylee burn joins the Noddle.
BRISBANE HOUSE is
of great antiquity, and is surrounded with some fine old trees. The family of Brisbane is also very old, the name being found in documents of date 1360, in the time of David II. The earliest estate which belonged to them was Bishopton in Renfrewshire, which they held before 1400; and about that time they acquired property in Largs. In the house, there is a magnificent old oak chair which is often talked about. It is ornamented with a carefully executed carving of the Brisbane coat of arms, and is in a state of good preservation, although bearing date 1357. The late proprietor, Sir Thomas M'Dougal Brisbane, was a man of great celebrity as well for his valour in the field as for his scientific labours. Astronomy was his favourite study, and his perseverance and success in this department may be inferred from a volume entitled "The Brisbane Catalogue of 7385 Stars of the Southern Hemisphere." To shew the esteem in which he was held by scientific men, he was unanimously elected President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, on the death of Sir Walter Scott. For many years he was Governor-General of New South Wales, during which time he did much to improve the the system of convict punishment. He was also the means of working many other improvements in the colony, the good results of which are felt at the present day. A story is told by his friend Colonel Mansell, which illustrates his intense devotion to his favourite study. The Colonel and Sir Thomas on their return home from the West Indies had embarked on board an unsound ship which foundered on the voyage. Before she went down, a boat from a convoy ship arrived to save the lives on board. As Colonel Brisbane was in the act of stepping in from the sinking ship, with his nautical instruments in his hands, the lieutenant in charge stopped him saying, the Captain had given peremptory orders to take no baggage of any sort whatever and he could not therefore allow these things to be put into the boat. Colonel Brisbane immediately retraced his steps, desiring the lieutenant to give his respects to the captain and tell him that, "before I part with these things I hold in my hand, I will go down with the ship." The lieutenant immediately replied, "Step in, sir." After his retirement, he resided chiefly at Brisbane House, and took a deep interest in all that concerned the town of Largs. It was principally by his munificence that the Brisbane Academy was built and endowed. He died in 1860, "From the same old mansion house of Brisbane, even from the same bed in which he had been born nearly 87 years earlier, he was taken to his heavenly home."
Passing the Brisbane avenue and continuing the parish road until we reach the second turning on the left, which leads to Brisbane Mill, we find a lonely sequestered spot in the wood, about 130 yards from the house, and here a rude grave consisting of a large flat stone laid on four uprights, known by the name of the "PROPHET'S GRAVE." It contains the following inscription in very bad Latin - "Conditus in tumuo hoc jaceo, juveni&que senexque nempe annis juvenis sed pietate senex, divino eloquio coelestia dogmata vidi, abstersi tenebras mentibus, ore tonans attonitoque, haesit animo pervera malorum colluvias verbis improba facta mcis.'' It may be rendered thus "Within this grave I lie entombed, A type of youth and age, In years a stripling, young was I, In piety a sage. From secret chambers of the mind Cross darkness I have driven; I truth proclaimed, with thund'ring voice, Inspired by light from Heaven. A horror of all wickedness, My inmost feelings moved; And, with my words, unrighteous deeds, I fearlessly reproved."
Like other epitaphs of that period, another example of which will be found under "Skelmorlie Aisle," it represents the deceased as speaking from the grave, and generally in language not conspicuous for modesty. In addition to the Latin inscription, the following words are added : "Renewed by James Smith, his nephew, in the year 1710." "Renewed 1769." Round the border is inscribed . "Here Layeth Mr. William Smith, minister of Larges, a faithfull minister of the gospell, removed by the pestilence, 1644." The stone, as the inscription indicates, commemorates the death of Mr. Smith, a former minister of Largs, and the following traditional circumstance gave rise to the title "prophet" being associated with his name. About the year 1644, Largs was visited by a pestilence, under which it suffered very severely. The minister, Mr Smith, was one of the victims; and shortly before his death, he asked that two holly trees, planted at each end of his grave, should be prevented from ever meeting, saying that if this were done, Largs would not be visited by the plague; but should the trees meet over his grave, the pestilence would return. The trees are carefully kept from meeting, but as to the effect of this on the pestilence, the reader is allowed to judge. This plague is one of the most memorable everts in the history of Largs. Various references are made to it in the records of the Irvine Presbytery, which at that time included Largs within its bounds, showing what a calamitous affair it must have been to the town and district. On the 26th of October (1644) the minutes of Presbytery bear that, "The Laird of Bishopton, having remonstrate the calamitous condition of the Parish of Largs, and that if it were not tymouslie helpit, the people wald be forcit to break out athort the countrie. The Presbyterie, after hearing, ordains that these brethern of the Presbyterie, who, upon the report of their present necessity, had already gathered something for supply of the same, should presentlie apply themselves for their relief, either in money or in victuall as suld be thought most expedient; and that the rest of the brethern sould use all possible diligence in collecting a contribution, to be sent to them to refresh them in their necessity." The aid of the neighbouring parishes being called for, a list is given of the various sums subscribed by Newmylnes, Irvin, Kilrnaurs, Stewartoune, etc., from which it appears that a considerable amount was obtained to aid the people of Largs in their distress. By this pestilence the population was greatly reduced. "Besides those who were carried off, the alarm and excitement caused many families to leave the place." On a small holm at Outervrards, (a farm situated about four miles further along the Brisbane Road,) there were discovered the foundations of several small buildings or huts, said to have been the retreat of numbers of the inhabitants during the plague. Near the prophet's grave, on the other side of the parish road, is the farm of Middleton, where the new water works may be seen, by which gravitation water is supplied to the burgh of Largs. If the visitor from Skelmorlie wishes to complete the circuit of his tour, instead of returning to Largs, he can reach home by continuing his walk or drive along the Brisbane road for a distance of eight miles, until he reaches Loch Thorn. From this a road leads over the hills past the Dunrod quarries to Inverkip. Before reaching Loch Thorn, the scenery is wild and weird, the road passing through a bare and barren moor, and the district has not inaptly been named the "Back o' the Warl'." This is the scene of the Witch Tale which follows the section on Inverkip. Near the road, not far from Loch Thorn, is a hill named "Mount Pisgah," rising to a height of 1057 feet. Loch Thorn in the parish of Inverkip, is one-and-a-half-miles long by half a mile broad. Two small burns fall into it, and the Kip flows out of it. It belongs to the Greenock Water Trustees, Mr. Duncan Darroch of Gourock, and other adjoining proprietors. The loch contains trout and perch, and yields very good sport when the weather is favourable, from April to September; but it is not open for fishing to the public without permission. The distance from here to Inverkip is about about four miles, and the whole circuit about twenty miles. It is quite practicable to make the round by driving, although the road is rather rough. In driving, it will be advisable to go the reverse way, starting from Inverkipand returning by Largs.
INVERKIP Inverkip lies about three miles north of Wemyss Bay Railway Station. The village's name denotes its position, near the influx of the small river Kip into the Clyde. 'Ynver', or 'Inver', in Celtic, denotes the outlet or issue of a river and is used as the prefix of many names of places at the mouth of streams or rivers, e.g. Inverness. The village of Inverkip is small, with a population in 1871 of 637 and it consists chiefly of two long rows of houses on each side of the turnpike road, but the district around is very beautiful. One great peculiarity of Inverkip is its luxuriant foliage, Looked at from the river, it appears completely buried among trees. In consequence, the district is rich in varied walks and sylvan retreats. One very fine walk (which visitors should not omit,) is that leading through the Daff Glen. Near the northern
extremity of the village, immediately after crossing the bridge, a gate is seen on the right hand leading to a path along the burn. Entering through the wicket (at the side of the large gate), the visitor has free access at all times to the varied scenery. Here the Daff flows in its rapid and rugged course to the sea, and the charming little cascades which appear here and there through the glen, together with the rich and varied foliage, combine to render the spot one of the most attractive in the neighbourhood. Walks have been formed along the banks of the winding stream, and seats placed at different places for the accommodation of visitors. The Daft rises in Leap-Muir. and after a run of one-and-a-half through a very pretty country falls into the Kip at Inverkip. It contains some good trout but permission to fish must be obtained from the proprietors, Sir M. S. Stewart or Mr. M'Fie of Langhouse, who preserve it. The Kip, meandering through the southern part of the Ardgowan policies, is neatly embanked, taught to ripple over little falls and crossed by a handsome bridge; and rising abruptly on on the east from the stream is the precipitous hill of Idston with its thickly-investing mantle of wood, " the romantic den at its southern and eastern base." ROMAN BRIDGE A visit may also be paid to the old Roman bridge. Passing the parish church, a large plain square building with a belfry in front, take the first road to the left immediately behind the manse, and ten minutes' walk will lead to the bridge. It stands beside the present bridge crossing the Kip, and the visitor, if antiquarian in his tastes, can judge for himself as to its antiquity. ARDGOWAN The mansion-house of Ardgowan, the residence of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Bart, ofGreenock and Blackball, may be seen to the north of the village, on the left hand side of the turnpike road, most pleasantly situated amidst extensive and beautifully wooded pleasure grounds. Many of the trees are of great size, and are well worth seeing. The house was erected about the beginning of the present century, from designs by Cairncross, and is a large handsome building, forming a splendid and commodious family residence. Near the house is a neat little private chapel (Scotch Episcopal), where service is conducted every Sunday. The situation of the house is very fine, completely screened on the one side by its stately trees, but with an uninterrupted and extensive view to the front, facing the Firth of Clyde. OLD CASTLE OF INVERKIP Near the mansion house are the remains of an ancient tower (of quadrangular shape) which formed part of the old house - the residence of the lords of the manor, called the Castle of Inverkip. During the time of Robert the Bruce, and while he was making his gallant struggles for the throne this old keep was for some time in the possession of the English. "It was," says the poet Barbour, "well stuffed all with Englishmen," This same old poet, in his poem of "The Bruce" says that one of the illustrious English fugitives, Sir Philip de Mowbray, after his defeat by Sir James Douglas, fled to this castle, where of course he received a welcome reception from his intruding English friends. He came by Kilmarnock and Kilwinning, thence to Ardrossan, - "Syne throu the Largis him alane, Till Innerkyp." Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, the present Lord of the Manor, is a lineal descendant of Sir John Stewart of Ardgowan, a natural son of Robeert III, King of Scotland. The royal parent bestowed several other estates on Sir Michael's ancestor, among them being Blackhall, near Paisley, and in 1404 he gave him the lordship of Ardgowan. "AULD KIRK" - ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY The name, Inverkip, is of course Celtic, and indicates the ancient date of the village. But in more recent times it was popularly known by the name of "Auld Kirk." The origin of this name leads us to say something regarding its ecclesiastical history. In 1164 the Church, with all its parochial rights and pertinents, "was granted by Walter, the son of Alan, to the Monastery of Paisley,'' and was held by the monks till the Reformation. They enioyed the rectorial revenues, and allowed the cure to be served by a vicar who had 100 shillings Scots yearly as his share of the spoil. These revenues, together with those of Largs and Lochwinnoch (all of which belonged to the Monastery of Paisley), amounted to £460 yearly—a considerable sum in those days. After the Reformation the patronage and tithes were vested in Lord Claud Hamilton, and inherited by his grandson, the Ear] of Abercorn. In the reign of Charles II. they were acquired by Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackhall, in the hands of whose descendants the patronage continued until the passing of the late Act of Parliament abolishing patronage. Originally the parish was a
very extensive one, and there were several chapels in it before the Reformation. One of them, viz., the chapel of Christswell, was near the present village, and was endowed with a large quantity of land. It had for its chaplain, during part of the fifteenth century, Sir John Card, who obtained a decree in Parliament "against six- men, ordaining them to vacate the lands of Achenmilane, and pay him the rents of the same for the terms gone by." The Reformation, which shook the whole fabric of the Scottish Church, introduced considerable changes. "Many churches and chapels, which piety had reared, were thrown into ruins from hardships and penury;" and among these was the chapel of Christswell. The whole of Greenock was originally part of the Inverkip parish, and near the Bay of Greenock (called at that time St. Lawrence Bay) there was a chapel called by the same name. At the Reformation, when this chapel was allowed to go to ruins amid the general wreck, great inconvenience was felt by the people residing there, owing to the distance from the parish church. In consequence ot this. John Shaw of Greenock obtained a grant from the King "authorising him to build a church for the accommodation of the tenants and inhabitants of his lands and he and they were exempted from any further attendance at their "auld Parish Kirk of Inverkip, and from all taxations and imposts for upholding the same." Hence the name "Auld Kirk," which was applied to Inverkip. INVERKIP NOTORIOUS FOR WITCHES The crime, or supposed crime of witchcraft, was first referred to in the criminal code of our country shortly before the Reformation, when an act was passed, ordaining that every person found guilty of "sorcery,"or "consulting with witches,'' should be put to death. From that time forward, until the year 1736, when the penal statutes were abolished, hundreds of persons, young and old and of both sexes, were put to death for the supposed crime. The number of victims from first to last in Scotland has been estimated at upwardwards of 400. Inverkip, in particular, was notorious for witches. Such annoyance had they caused to the Laird of Ardgowan and others, that in 1662 application was actually made to the Privy Council for a Royal Commission to enquire into the matter. They summoned before them a considerable number of persons on whom suspicion had fallen and many of them were burned at the stake. Surprise has been expressed at the fact of so many of theses unhappy persons actually confessing themselves guilty of this crime; but it must be remembered that many of them were examined under torture. Arnot, in his Criminal Trials, says, "Thrusting of pin' into the flesh, and keeping the accused from sleep, were the ordinary treatment of a witch ; but if the prisoner were endowed with uncommon fortitude, other methods were used to extort confession. The Boots, the Caspie Claws, and the Pilnie Winks, engines for torturing the legs, the arms, and the fingers, were applied to either sex, and that with such violence, that sometimes the blood would have spouted from the imbs."In the trial by Commission at Inverkip, one Marie Lamont, only 18 years of age, confessed in the presence of Archibald Stewart of Blackball, and J. Hamilton, minister of Inverkip, that "five years since, Kattren Scott learnt hir to tak' kyeis milk, bidding her go out in misty mornings, and tak' with her a hairv tether, and draw it over the mouth of a mug; saying in God's name - 'God send us milk, God send it, and meikle of it.' By thae ways, she and the said Kattren gat muckle o' their neibour's milk, and made butter and cheese thairof. That the deil nipt her upon the right side, quhilk was vcra painfull for a tym, but thereafter he straikit it with his hand and healed it. That she was at a meeting at the Brig-Lin, &c., where the deill was with them, in the likeness of a brown dog; and the end of their meeting was to raise stormie wather, thereby to hinder boats from the killing fish. That she knew sum witches carreit meikle ill-will to Blackball younger and Mr. John Hamilton, and wad fain give them an ill-cast gif they could. That Jean King, Kaitie Scot, Janet Holm, herself, and sundrie others, met togidder in the mirk, at the Buchtgait of Ardgowand. whar the devil was with them in the shape of a black man with cloven feet, and directit them to fetch whyt sand fra the shore, and cast it about the yetts of Ardgowand, and about the minister's hous; but God wad not give thame libertie to get any evill done. That she and several others went out to the sea betwix and the land of Arran, to doe skaith to boits and ships that sould come alang; they gart the storm to wax greatlie and foregathering of Colin Campbell's ship, they rave the sails fra hir. That she was at a meeting at Kempock, whar they designit to cast thelang sten into the sea, tharby to destroy a whein boats and ships; and that the deill, for ordinar in the shape of a black man, sang to them; he gave them wyn to drink, and wheat bread to eat; when they dancit they were all verra merrie, and he kist them ane and all when they skaillit." The result of the trial was that Marie Lamont, notwithstanding her youth, was put to death "in the usual manner." Traces of this belief in witchcraft remained about the district for many years and long after the penal statutes had been abolished people of peculiar habits still continued objects of suspicion by their ignorant neighbours. A case in point is supplied by the oldest inhabitant of the district, who remembers the name of a woman who had been employed on the Ardgowan estate, and who came under the suspicion being "uncanny" from a very trivial circumstance. A number of workers were engaged ricking hay in a field near the Brueacre Burn, when the one referred to (called Margaret), said they must "put up" the hay for a storm was gathering. Her neighbours demurred and the old Laird of Ardgowan, who happened to be passing at the time, asked what she meant by putting up the hay, as there was no sign of rain. "Oh, aye," said Margaret, "there will be a downpour immediately." Sure enough a deluge of rain did come, and poor Margaret in consequence of her superior skill as a weather prognosticator, was repined a witch.
WITCH TALE As the belief in witchcraft was almost universal, nearly every county or district had some legend or tale embodying the popular impressions regarding the extraordinary powers of witches. These legends are useful as illustrations of what the popular belief really was regarding the nature of the influence bestowed by the Evil One, and the conditions under which that influence could be exercised. Oftentimes the legends are but different versions of the same tale, found in various forms in different parts of the country. The tale of Tom Connor's cat, for example, in Handy Andy, gives one story which may be found in many different versions, and those who have read the letters of the poet Burns to Francis Grose, Esq., will find several tales about witches, the best of which has become known to all readers by its rendering in the immortal "Tam O'Shanter." We proceed now to give what may be called the "Inverkip version" of one of those legends of Scottish superstition. The story is to be found in various forms, one version having appeared in the Scottish Journal of April, 1848, to which we chiefly adhere, but we believe in its present form it will be new to most readers. The scene of the story is the "Muir road" leading from Largs to Grecnock, the main personage a sailor lad, travelling home from the latter to the former place, for the purpose of seeing his friends : the time. the gloaming of the October 31st - the well-known Hallowe'en still observed in many parts of Scotland. Jack had imbibed pretty freely before leaving Greenock, and although the night threatened to be dark and the weather stormy, he ascended the hill with a light heart and a firm step, and was soon "careering it" merrily on the long and barren moor which stretches between Loch Thom and what is not inaptly termed "the Back o' the Warl.'' As he went on, the sun set and every half-hour gave additional evidence that a terrible storm was gathering. Jack threw a scrutinizing glance toward the hill top, to ascertain whether "Auld Dunrod and his cummers" were there at their infernal orgies; but the fast increasing darkness soon shut everything from his view. At length the storm became a perfect hurricane. "The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last, The rattling showers rose on the blast, The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed, Loud, long and deep, the thunder bellowed; That night, a child might understand; The Deil had business on his hand." It was with the greatest difficulty that the sailor continued his journey. He had now reached that part of the moor where the rugged road runs alongside the "Rotten burn," and every flash of lightning revealed to him the dangerous nature of his course. At length, on approaching the southern extremity of the mocr, near where the present farm of Outerwards is situated, he perceived what he took to be the light of a candle shining through a cottage window. Approaching nearer, he discovered that what he supposed to be a cottage, was an old ruinous hut, without roof, or door or windows. Mustering courage to look in, he saw a woman, evidently a witch, busy preparing some diabolical hell-broth in a large simmering cauldron. A large fire blazed in the centre (if the hut, and what particularly struck the sailor was the fact what although the winds were raging without, not a breath seemed stirring within. Not a single blade of grass was moved nor a single drop of rain fell into the fire. Like Tarn O'Shanter, Jack "glowered" for a time, "amazed and curious," and was greatly perplexed as to what he should do; but at length, contrasting the warm, comfortable appearance of the interior with the imminent perils to which he had been exposed, he determined to enter. Assuming as easy an air as possible, and doffing his dripping "sou'-wester," he shuffled into the hut. The old woman was at first inclined to resent the intrusion, but, on second thoughts, she agreed to give Jack shelter for the night, "provided he took nae notice o' ought that he heard or saw done in the howfthat night." Jack readily agreed, and was conducted to a dark corner of the ruin, where he lay down and was comfortably covered with an old tattered grey plaid. But the excitement had driven away all idea of sleep, and so he determined to watch, as well as he could the infernal proceedings. In a short time several other witches entered the hut, and the foremost of the party, having completed her charms, lifted something from the cauldron which had the appearance of a night-cap. This was wrung and dried with much ceremony, and then placing it on her head, she cried, " Hilloa for Cantyre !" and in a moment up she flew out at the lum head, and was seen no more. In two or three seconds, however, the night-cap fell "wi' a thud" on the floor, evidently falling from a considerable distance, and another witch placing it on her head, cried, "Hilloa for Cantyre !" and in a similar manner disappeared. At last, the whole party having ascended, Jack came forth from his corner and examined the cap, which the last witch, like the others, had thrown back on the floor. He then, half in sport, placed it on his head, and crying, " Hilloa for Cantyre !" as he had heard the witches do, up he flew, and before he could recover his self-possession he was half-way across the Sound of Kilbrannan, following in the wake of the witches who had preceded him. "Twas now in for a penny in for a pound," so wrapping himself up closely in the
grey plaid, he determined to pass muster as a witch. In a short time they alighted on a bare headland in the vicinity of the Mull (of Kintyre), where was assembled a vast number of witches and warlocks, waiting the arrival of their lord and master "Auld Nickte Ben." This gro tesque personage soon made his appearance, and after receiving the homage of his vassals, proposed that they should adjourn and "haud their Hallowe'en" in the wine cellars of the King of France ! a proposal which was received with acclamation, and soon the whole party, Jack and all, were in mid-air, winging their way towards the French capital. The storm was now passed and a clear full moon shed its silvery radiance over land and sea affording Jack a beautiful bird's-eye view of the hills and plains of "Merry England," with which he would have been highly delighted, had not the novelty of his situation detracted in some measure from his usual cool self-possession. In due time the whole party arrived in Paris, and entering the wine-cellars of the King, commenced their carousals. All went on very well, until Jack, getting a little elevated by the wine, happened to emit an oath, in which the sacred name was mentioned. Instantly he was struck under the table insensible, and when he recovered the whole party had vanished. Escape from the vaults in which he was enclosed, seemed impossible, and here Jack was found in the morning by the servants of the King, and without much ceremony taken away to be hanged. His case was now beginning to look desperate, but recollecting that he had still the enchanted night-cap in his pocket, he desired the hangman, as a last dying request, to allow him the favour of being hanged in his own night-cap. This the Parisian readily granted. The cap was put on, the priest retired, the multitude were in expectation ; but just as the fatal noose was about to be applied, Jack cried "Hilloa for Cantyre !" when up he flew, leaving the hangman and his crowd of admirers to gaze after him in mute astonishment, long after distance had concealed his eagle flight from their view. He soon reached Cantyre, whence he found his way to Largs, and lived long and happily, often recounting, with much humour, the wondrous tale of his midnight adventures with " the witches o' the Auld-kirk." DUNROD We cannot conclude this sketch of Inverkip and surrounding district, without some brief account of the Castle of Dunrod. If the reader wishes to muse on the ruins of former grandeur and the mutability of human affairs, let him repair to the farm-house of Dunrod, about one mile from the village of Inverkip. Passing the parish church and manse, and taking the road to the left, behind the latter, let him follow the road which crosses the burn at the Roman Bridge, and after passing one or two farm-houses he will reach Dunrod - a plain substantial edifice after the style of modern farm-houses in this part of the country; and there in the stackyard, on the opposite side of the road, may be seen a ridge of earth with a number of stones - the ruins of the Castle of Dunrod. The site is very fine, overlooking a deep defile thickly planted with trees, at the bottom of which flows the river Kip, and is just such a place as the warlike nobles of old would choose for a stronghold, When the reader is told that these few stones are all that remains of a castle belonging to one of the most powerful and distinguished of our Scottish nobility, he may well say with Byron - "Shrine of the mighty, can it he That this is all remains of thee." There can be no doubt that the Lindsays, (the family referred to,) can prove by means of authentic evidence a higher antiquity than any in our peerage. The first of the name who appeared in Scotland, was "Walter de Lindsay, an AngloNorman, who figures as a magnate or great baron under David I., Prince of Strathclyde," and whose name appears in a Scottish document as early as 1116. From that time through all the vicissitudes of Scottish history, the name of Lindsay appears prominent. Sir John Lindsay was one of the Scottish nobles who fought at the battle of Otterburn. A branch of this distinguished family owned and possessed the Castle of Dunrod, and "maintained for many ages a high station in the West of Scotland." In addition to the Castle of Dunrod, which was their original residence, they owned the Mains of Kilbride, in Lanarkshire, and which, like the residence of the West, now also in ruins. "Their sun set as it rose in blood." The account of the last proprietor is very affecting, and affords a sad instance of the sudden decline of human greatness". Twenty years before his death, Alexander of Dunrod was one of the haughtiest barons of the West country, and is said "never to have ridden from home without a retinue of twelve vassals mounted on gallant steeds attending him," and yet he lived to beg bread from those who had been his tenants. During the time of his greatness, "he exceeded all his predecessors in haughtiness and oppression.'' Amongst the instances of his cruelty, it is said that "when playing on the ice, he ordered a hole to be made in it, and had one of his vassals, who had inadvertently disobliged him in some trifling circumstance, immediately to be drowned." (Ure's History of Rutherglen). Tradition mentions this cruel action as a cause of the just judgment of God that gave rise to his downfall. In 'The Lives of The Lindsay', by Lord Lindsay, the following account is given of his end - ''At the beginning of the 17th century, Alexander of Dunrod, having in some way or other become engaged in that dreadful and long-lasting feud, between the Cunninghams and Montgomerys, killed, by a shot out of the window of a a farm-house of his own,
Alexander Leckie of that ilk, who was brother--in-law to Patrick Maxwell of Newark, a great hero, and a very bloody man on the side of the Cunninghams. The murder was never for a long while known, till Dunrod, in the decline of his days, told and discovered it himself. But as bloodshed always calls for vengeance from heaven, so it fell heavily on this gentleman; for when he committed that act, he had one of the best estates in the West, yet from that day forward it melted away visibly from him. In less than twenty years, he sold all his estate; for the Laird of Leckle was slain in the year 1600, and he sold the barony of Dunrod in 1619 to Archibald Stewart of Blackball, as appears from the charter of alienation, which I have seen. Before he died, he was reduced to the lowest penury, and really wanted bread, but what was offered him from the charity of his friends." (Hist., Lindsay's M.S.) He eked out his subsistence latterly by selling favourable winds and immunity from the Evil One to the sea captains and fishers of the coast, in the character of a warlock, and in concert with some reputed witches among his former cottars at Inverkip. His pre-eminence among this infernal crew is still celebrated in a traditional rhyme of the district "In Inverkip the witches ride thick And in Dunrod they dwell; But the greatest loon amang them a' Is auld Dunrod himsel'." He died in a barn belonging to one of his former tenants, and the family sank at once into humble life. In the Scottish Journal, there is a ballad illustrative of the latter phase of this man's life, and entitled "Auld Dunrod," which we reproduce for the amusement of the reader.
I - Certain premises regarding Dunrod, and a liberal conclusion which certes none will dispute. "AULD Dimrod was a goustie carle, As ever ye micht see ; And gin he was na a warlock wicht, There was nane in the haill countrie." II - A prank or cantrip - the instrument mentioned - and the consequences which flowed from his necromantic twistings "Auld Dunrod stack in a pin (A bourtree pin) in the wa', And when he wanted his neighbour's milk, He just gied the pin a thraw." III - Farther on the same subject and very much to the same purpose, with the extent of his warlockship - whether the milk came over the Firth in magic pipes or mortal boats is not stated "He milkit the Laird o' Kellie's kye, And a' the kye in Dunoon; And Auld Dunrod gat far mair milk Than wad mak a gabbart soum." IV - Says liitle to the colour of the cheese, which seems to have been too black - peradventure they may have been painted "The cheese he made were numerous, And wonerous to descry; For they kyth't as gin they had been grule, Or peats set up to dry." V - The neighbours flocked to Dunrod for advice. The henpecked are far more numerous than people are willing to believe, and therefore his clients were a great number " And there was nae cumerwald (henpecked) man about, Wha cam to him for skill, That gif he didna do him good, He didna do him ill." VI - The powers ecclesiastic got notice of Dunrod's doings, and began to deal with him accordingly "But the Session gat word o' Dunrod's tricks, And they tuik him in han', And there was naething to do but Auld Dunrod Forsooth maun leave the lan'." VII - Dunrod taketh the earliest conveyance he had, and quittcth his premises; and the sequel sheweth he did not return in a hurry "Sae Auld Dunrod he muntit his stick, His broomstick munlit he;
And he flychterit twa three times about, Syne through the air did flee." VIII - A geographical or rather topographical account of his passage upon his broomstick - a simile introduced "And he flew by auld Greenock tower, And by Newark haw, Ye wadna kenn'd him in his flicht Be a huddock or a craw." IX - Sheweth the extent of his journey, and the merry mood he was in "And he flew to the Rest-and-be-Thanku' Stane (between Port Glasgow and Kilmacolm), A merry auld carle was he; He stottit and flutter't as he had been wud, Or drucken wi' the barley bree." X - Impediments not foreseen, and of which he was not cognizant "But a rountree grew at the stane - It is there unto this day, And gin ye dinna find it still, Set donn that's away." XI - An accident befalls Dunrod "And he ne'er wist o' the rountree Till he cam dunt thereon; His magic broomstick tint its spell, And he daudit on the stone." XII - Comparison between his head and the stone "His heid was hard and the stone was sae, And whan they met ane anither, It was hard to say what wad be the weird, Of either the tane or the tither." XIII - Effects of collision between two impenetrable substances; with a word of advice to people on a journey "But the stane was muilt (crushed) like a limpet shell, And sae was Auld Dunrod; When ye mount a broomstick to tak a flicht, Ye had best tak anither road." XIV - The prying neighbours unrewarded - Dunrod and the said stane ought to have settled the matter themselves "The neighbours gather to see the sicht, The stane's remains they saw; But as for Auld Dunrod himsel', He was carriet clean awa'." XV - A lamentation - opinion as to the propriety of the hero taking the air "And monie noy't (blamed), as weill they micht, The Rest-and-be-Thankfu' Stane; And ilk ane said it had been better far, Gin Dunrod had staid at hame." XVI - The latter end of Dunrod is involved in some uncertainty "And what becam' o' Auld Dunrod Was doubtfu' for to say, Some said he wasna there ava, But flew anither way."
LARGS The name is derived from Learg, signifying a plain with a slope (See Armstrong's Celtic Diet.'). This plain extends from the sea-shore eastward to the foot of the hills, which rise abruptly and form a kind of rampart behind the town. Notwithstanding the great height of these hills, they are covered with verdure during the greater part of the year, and afford excellent pasturage. From all of them delightful prospects may be had. Indeed few scenes can equal in rich variety what may be seen from the grounds above Kelburn. The town has long been in repute as a watering-place, and oft'ers many natural attractions to those who visit its shores in quest of health and recreation. It is but fair to state,
however, that Largs is not sheltered from the east winds, as several writers assert. In the statistical account of the parish, e.g., it is stated that " Largs is protected from the east winds by a range of high ground.'' It is evident that the writer of this article never resided in the village when east wind blew; and the visitor who comes here seeking " a mild and salubrious climate" need not expect it during a continuance of east wind. This wind, however, is dry, and although unpleasant, is not so prejudicial to health as on the East Coast of Scotland. On the whole, the temperature of Largs may be considered " mild and salubrious "; the sea breezes are of a peculiarly bracing and invigorating character, and the thousands who crowd to its shores during summer, from the smoky atmosphere of Glasgow, are generally benefited by the change. Few places possess greater natural facilities for sea-bathing ; the whole coast is perfectly safe (the beach gradually sloping into the sea), and one may bathe at all states of the tide. The principal street is " Main Street," leading through the town from the pier; and here many fine shops may be seen. Beautiful and varied walks may also be had, and handsome villas extend on both sides of the town. The Parish Church, built in 1812, maybe seen on the north side of the pier facing the sea. Although possessing no architectural beauty, it is a large commodious building, capable of accommodating twelve hundred sitters, and has recently been enriched with some fine stained glass windows. Behind the pulpit there is a monument to the memory of Sir Thomas M'Dougal Brisbane, for some years Governor-General of New South Wales, and whose estate lies to the north-east of the town. The monument consists of a marble medallion portrait of Sir Thomas, with a sword, telescope, and other instruments cut in relief upon it. The minister of the church is Rev. J. Kinross. Besides the Established there is a Free Church on the south side of the pier facing the sea (Rev. Charles Watson, minister); a United Presbyterian (Rev. J. B. K. M'lntyre); Scotch Episcopal (Rev, Ch. Keith) recently erected on the north side of the village; and a Roman Catholic (Rev. H. V. Baer). In front of the Established Church a handsome drinking fountain has been erected, in memory of the late Dr. Campbell, by the inhabitants. It is composed of Aberdeen and Peterhead Granite - principally the former - and bears the following inscription - "The people of Largs, to John Campbell, for 61 years their beloved physician. Born 1791, died 1873." The cost of the monument was £550. Largs is well supplied with schools, and the BRISBANE ACADEMY, founded in 1830 by Sir Thomas Brisbane, has obtained considerable fair;e :i~ an educational institution. The population of the parish, in 1871, was 4084. The place has recently been erected into a burgh, and under the superintendence of the new Commissioners, gravitation water has been introduced and other improvements effected, which, it is hoped, will enable Larga to sustain the character of a fashionable and favourite watering-place. BATTLE OF LARGS The most remarkable circumstance in the history of this place is its having been the scene of the famous battle between the Norwegians and the Scots, which took place on 3rd October, 1263; a brief account of which is here subjoined. For many ages preceding the battle of Largs, the fierce Norsemen from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, had continued their depredations on the shores of our country. The anarchical governments of these countries during the middle ages, produced the pirate kings of the northern seas, almost unexampled in the annals of the world. They were first felt on the shores of Scotland during the eighth century. They made the Hebrides deplore their barbarities throughout the ninth. They burnt the religious houses which the pious hands of Columba and his followers had reared, and paid periodical visits to our shores for the purpose of plunder and bloodshed. The petty chiefs of the Western Islands of Scotland had for a long period been feudatory to the Norwegian crown, and Haco King of Norway laid claim in the thirteenth century to the Hebrides and the Islands of the Clyde. Alexander III., King of Scotland, decided to resist. The Norse annalists say that Alexander was very anxious to purchase from Haco his sovereignty of the western isles, but that Haco refused : at all events treaty failed. The Scotch were now encouraged by their rulers to invade many of the islands under the sovereignty of Haco, and commit depredations, which they were only too ready to do. King Haco resolved to revenge these injuries, and in the autumn of 1263 fitted out an expedition, the magnitude of which spread alarm even upon the shores of England. On July yth the fleet set sail under the command of the king himself. "The united armament," according to Tytler, "amountedto 160 vessels, andas itenteredthe Firth of Clyde, became conspicuous from the opposite shores of Kyle, Carrick, and Wigtown." The Scots were everywhere making preparations to meet the foe, although meantime Alexander, trying every means in his power to cause delay, was busy offering terms of peace. This was manifestly the best policy of the Scottish king. The delay gave the Scots time to concentrate their army, and as winter was drawing near the weather was likely to break, and the Norwegians to run short of provisions. Attempts at pacification were at length given up, and the Norwegian fleet bore in through the Firth of Clyde close by the Cumbrae Isles. The Scots army, numbering about 1500
cavalry, together with a large body of infantry, had been gathered and lay encamped at a place called "Camphill," on the highway from Kilbirnie to Largs; and from the heights above Largs, closely watched the movements of the enemy. It was now shortly after the time of the equinox, and the autumn storms had already begun. On Monday, 1st October, a dreadful tempest arose from the west, accompanied with such torrents of hail and rain, that the Norwegians ascribed its violence to witchcraft which the Scottish king had invoked against them. Many of the ships were driven on the shore and totally wrecked, and their crews forced to land. On the morning of Tuesday, 2nd Oct., King Haco came ashore with a reinforcement, and soon after the Scottish army appeared on the high grounds above Largs: "and (says the historian Tytler) as it advanced, the sun's rays glancing from the lines, made it evident to the Norwegians that a formidable body of troops was about to attack them." The Norwegians had succeeded in landing about nine hundred men, according to Tytler, who were drawn up on the beach ; and two hundred others occupied in advance a small hill which rises behind Largs. Haco was now pressed by his nobles to return to the fleet, and after much persuasion he consented. It was well for him that he did so, for the Scottish army began to press on the advance guard of the Norsemen with such fury, that, afraid of being cut off, they hastily retreated. At this juncture another storm came on which completed the ruin of the Norwegian fleet. The Norwegians would have been entirely cut to pieces, had the king not succeeded in sending a reinforcement which somehow managed to land amid the tremendous gale. By this assistance they rallied somewhat, and checked the impetuosity of the Scots, whom they repulsed from the high grounds over-looking the shore, until they succeeded in re-embarking. " But the ravens," as the Norsemen were called, "were tamed." King Haco sought a truce to bury his dead, which, having been granted, lie gathered together the remnant of his shattered squadron, and steered for the Orkneys. He was sick at heart, and sadly disappointed. Anxiety of mind and constant fatigue had brought on a painful disease, from which he was destined never to recover. The brave old Norseman struggled hard against his fate, but in vain. At length feeling that the hand of death was upon him, he gave orders concerning his last will and testament, commanded his attendants to read him the legends of his Norse forefathers, the old pirate kings; and "towards midnight, on the i5th December, as the legend of King Sverre was finished, the sturdy old Norseman breathed his last." It is but right to add that the Norwegian account of the battle, gives it a somewhat different complexion from the Scotch writers, and the probability is, that the account given by the latter has been considerably exaggerated. George Buchanan, in the "Historia rerum Scoticarum," says the Norwegians lost sixteen thousand men, and the Scots five thousand. Carlyle (Carlyle's Early Kings of Norway), commenting on this, says, " Divide these numbers by ten, and the excellently brief and lucid summary by Buchanan may be taken as the approximately true and exact." There would doubtless be a tendency on the part of the Scotch to make too much of the battle, and of the Norwegians to make too little of it. The truth seems to be expressed in the summing up by Tytler - "The battle of Largs appears to have been nothing more than a succession of fortunate skirmishes, in which a formidable armament was effectually destroyed by the fury of the elements, judiciously seconded by the bravery of the Scots." The result, however, so far as Scotland was concerned, was to free the country for ever from the incursions of the Norsemen. REMAINS OF THE BATTLE From all that can now be learned, it appears that the landing of the Norwegians took place somewhere between the south end of Broomfields and Fairlie Burn, and that the battle was fought on the sloping plain stretching between the Fairlie Road and the sea. The Scots army had a place of retreat and observation on Castle Hill - a hill rising conspicuously above the town, on the south-east, to a height of nearly 600 feet. On this hill, which, with its solitary white house (called "the house on the hill"), can be easily seen from the pier, there are still visible distinct remains of an encampment. About three-quarters of a mile from Largs, along the Fairlie Road, is the mansion house of HAYLEE. It derives its name from Helle, a pit or burial place; and here, in a field behind the house, there are the remains of a tumulus called in Largs, "Haco's Tomb." It consists of a large flat stone supported on two others, and doubtless marks the spot where many of the soldiers were interred. It was discovered (as stated in Robertson's Ayrshire) in the year 1780, by the proprietor, Mr. Wilson, and was till then known by the name of "Margaret's Law." In it were found five stone coffins, two of them containing five skulls each, and other bones, with several urns. The supposition is that the skulls and other bones enclosed in the coffins were those of chiefs, whilst the bodies of the common soldiers had been thrown promiscuously over them, and then stones in vast quantity heaped over all. There were in all "about five thousand cartloads" of stones and rubbish, and an immense quantity of bones. In addition to these remains of the battle, there may be seen at Curling Hall (a mansion house situated near the shore), a rude stone pillar commemorating the fall of Haco of Steine, one of the Norwegian commanders. It has been built in
the garden wall, and may be seen on application at the gardener's house. On a copper plate affixed to it, there is the following inscription, written by Dr. John Cairnie, a former proprietor SUSTIT HIC GOTHI FUROR CONDITUR HIC HACO STEINENSIS, ET UNDIQUE CIRCUM NORVEGIOS FIDOS TERRAE TEGIT SOCIOS HUC REGNUM VENERE PETENTES; SCOTIA VICTOR HOSTIBUS HIC TUMULOS, PRAEMIA JUSTA, DED1T. QUARTO ANTE NONAS, OCTOBRIS, A.D. 1263 LARGIS IPSIS CAEENDIS JUNII A.D. 1823 ME POSUIT, JUSSITQUE JOANNES CARNIUS ILLAM REM MEMORARE TIBI - TU MEMORES ALIUS Other supposed memorials of the battle are the large barrow, close by the west wall of the old burying-ground, in the centre of the town, and the mound at the entrance to the avenue of Hawkhill House, called Greenhill. The former, described in the Church-yards of Ayrshire as of "elliptical form," about twenty-five yards in length by nine yards broad, and between four and five feet high, was excavated by Dr. John S. Phene, in 1873, who seems to have been convinced that it was the mound in which the Norwegians were buried. The result of this excavation was the discovery of burnt clay and charcoal of oak, interspersed with bright flakes of green, thought to be " bronze or copper plates or fastenings, probably remnants of armour." and some " hard white and soft brownish grey substance','' supposed to be bones; "some quite calcined, others on'.y p-r.ly burnt." Human teeth were also found. In a let:er to the Tunes, Dr. Phene states further that " when the centre of the mound was reached, it was one mass of fat unctuous earth, dotted all over with red and black, formed by pieces of the burnt clay and charcoal." Others, however, are disposed to doubt these conclusions, and for very good reasons, holding that the mound was raised before the battle, and was an artificially formed "court hill" similar to those found in many parishes of Cunningham, Galloway, and other parts of Scotland. Long before the battle, we know that Largs formed a separate district from Cunningham, and must therefore hnve had its own "moat hill," on which would be erected the "gallows" or gibbet for executing criminals; and there appears good ground for believing that this was none other than the mound excavated by Dr. Phené. Near the spot a street runs, still known by the name of "Gallowgate." May not the bones discovered by Dr. Phené have been the remains of criminals executed on the mound and buried within it ? It is true, indeed, as stated by Dr. Phené, that the Norwegians are said to have buried their dead near a church. But it requires to be proved that the church in Largs was the church referred to. We know that at that time there were many churches in the district, for shortly after the settlement of St. Columba in Iona, innumerable churches were erected throughout Scotland. There was a chapel at Haylee, close beside the site of the battle. There was another on the island of Little Cumbrae, where Haco had previously gone to offer mass; and several on the Larger Cumbrae, both islands being in possession of Haco. We must remember, too, the difficulty the Norwegians would have had in crossing the Gogo, described in ancient records as "ane impassable water," and especially as it must have been greatly flooded at that time by the immense quantities of rain that had fallen. It may be said that the Norwegians had boats which could ferry them across; but is it not more likely that if they had recourse to boats, they would have sailed to either of the Cumbraes ? On the north end of the small Cumbrae, not very far from the chapel of St. Vey (which might be the church referred to) are a number of large cairns, which were partially opened in 1813, and in which were found steel helmets and other remains, bones, etc. Here, too, there is good anchorage and shelter from south-west winds. Also on the island of Large Cumbrae, at a place called "The Lady," nearly opposite the site of the battle of Largs, there were discovered "a large accumulation of pieces of arms and armour, and the green and oxydised remains of what had once been similar works of art." It would be beyond the scope of this publication to enter into further details on this question, but the following points may be suggested which throw doubts on the theory that the Largs mound is the grave of the Norwegian soldiers - i. (Quoted from Pont's Cunninghame) "Could the remnant of the Norwegians have made this large mound in the limited period of three October days, or, at the very furthest, four - being all the time they had for so doing ?" - ii. We must not forget that in the thirteenth century, when the battle was fought, Christianity had been introduced both among Scots and Norwegians, and is there any reason to believe that "cremation would be resorted to in Christian burial at a church ?" - iii. We again quote from Pont's Cunninghame, "Had cremation been resorted to, and thoroughly performed, there would have been no remains but ashes." The probability seems to be, that the mounds referred to by Dr. Phené had no connection with the Battle of Largs, but that both of them (the one at the graveyard, and Greenhill mound) were connected with the dispensation of justice in Scoto-Saxon times; the one, Greenhill, being where trials took place, and the other, near the Gallowgate, where the criminals were executed. There has been a tendency on the part of some to explain every relic found in this district by a reference to the battle of 1263. Some fanciful etymologists have even attempted to derive the names of
many of the places in the district from this Norwegian defeat, as, for example, Gogo and Routenburn. The latter is a small burn on the north side of the village, and is supposed to be derived from Rout-Dane-burn. This is evidently fanciful. The name is most likely descriptive of the roaring noise made by the burn. Wilson, in his Archaeology, justly remarks: a "reference to the old and new statistical accounts of the various parishes along both the Ayrshire and Argyleshire coasts, will suffice to show that the battle of King Haco has proved as infallible a source of explanation for the discovery of cists, tumuli, cairns, and sepulchral relics of 'every kind, as if it were a well authenticated fact that no one had died, from the days of Noah to our own. but at the battle of Largs." LARGS TO FAIRLIE Fairlie is about three miles distant from Largs, and may be reached either by road or steamer. The road after going inland for about two miles runs along the coast, and is one of the favourite walks about Largs. Starting from the pier, and passing up Main Street, with its irregularly built and straggling houses, the visitor comes to a substantially built stone bridge crossing the Gogo Burn. From the bridge, looking inland, a fine view is obtained of Hawkhill House, with its white-painted stone, the residence of Mrs. Scott, relict of Mr. Charles Scott, shipbuilder, Greenock. It is securely screened from the east winds (the scourge of Largs), and beautifully sheltered by numerous trees. Having crossed the bridge, the first road on the right leads to BLACKDALES, the residence of Mr. John Fergus, photographic artist. No one should omit a visit to the studio recently fitted up here, probably the finest in the United Kingdom, where may be seen some of the most finished works of art which the highest style of photography can produce. Mr. Fergus is known as one of the most successful artists, and his photographs are admired bv connoisseurs over the whole country. Coming back to the Fairlie road, a succession of gardens is passed on both sides, from which fruits of all sorts may be "purchased in their season." About half a mile further on (left side), overlooking the road, and buried among trees, is Haylee House, behind which may be seen the tumulus called "Margaret's Law," already referred to. At Haylee, the road goes up a steep incline, and at the summit we reach Haylee Toll Bar, where the road leading to Dairy diverges, and a few minutes walk along this road leads to "Largs Cemetery," which the visitor should not omit to see, as it is one of the most beautifully situated in the west of Scotland. The grounds are laid out with great taste, every plot tended with care, and the view alone is worth all the toil of the journey. When it was proposed to place a cemetery here, a difference of opinion was expressed by the townspeople as to its suitability. This gave rise to considerable ill-feeling, nearly all the inhabitants espousing one side or other. An expensive and tedious law-suit was the result - those who were opposed to it being defeated; but now, happily, all ill-feeling, if not all remembrance of the fight has passed away. The hill behind the cemetery is called "Auchenbranchan," and rises to a height of 550 feet above the sea level. Returning to the Fairlie Road, and continuing our journey, a glimpse is now obtained of the policies of Kelburn Castle. The high wall on the left encloses the grounds.
is beautifully embosomed among trees and rich foliage, and finely sheltered by the high wooded hills rising abruptly behind it. The scenery around Kelburn is the finest to be seen anywhere in this district. The surface of the extensive pleasure grounds is very varied, and slope down gradually from the hills towards the sea, affording, through opening glades, commanding prospects of the Firth of Clyde, with the islands of Cumbrae, and Bute, and the mountains of Arran towering in the distance.
In Pont's Cunmnghame, the castle is described as "a goodly building, well planted, having very beautiful orchards and gardens," and in the Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland, the author remarks regarding the architecture of Kelburn, that in it "is the only ancient metallic termination to the turret which the writer has met with, and this distinctly shows the finishing personality and nationality of Scotch architecture - the crest of the Laird surmounted by the thistle. Then there is the ingeniously ornamented sun-dial, where every inch of surface is made to tell the story of time, under every possible extortion of form and position, and where its pinnacle by a series of grooves, imitates the crocketing of Gothic architecture." The house and grounds have belonged from time immemorial to the Boyles, Earls of Glasgow, and form one of the numerous residences belonging to that noble family. Near the mansion house, in a romantic spot on the banks of the burn, is a monument to John, third Earl, who was wounded at the battles of Fontenay and Lafeld, and who died in 1775. The monument consists of a handsome female figure in white marble, placed in a niche, and represents "Virtue lamenting the loss of one of her favourite sons." Below, is an appropriate inscription, and above, a shield containing the family arms. The effect of this monument in so peculiar a situation is very striking.
FAIRLIE - Village, Castle and Glen The pleasant little village of Fairlie was originally a small fishing hamlet, but early in the present century, the Earl of Glasgow, (to whom tlie ground belongs), granted feus to three Glasgow gentlemen, on which were built handsome villas. The place gradually increased, and in 1874 the population was between three and four hundred. It lias two churches, (Established and Free,) one school, two inns, a famous old castle, and a still more famous shipbuilding yard. The latter has obtained great celebrity within the past few years, and the name of Fyfe is known to all yachtsmen as one of the most skilful builders of fast sailing pleasure boats. With no special advantages, Mr. Fyfe and his father before him have been able to compete with builders in any part of Great Britain. The origin of Fyfe's interest in boatbuilding is in itself a curious circumstance. Will Fyfe, the father of the present builder, was the son of a millwright, and he himself followed his sire's occupation. While a young man residing in Fairlie, he had a desire to board some merchantmen lying in the Fairlie Roads, and being unable to find a boat, he determined to build one. His first attempt was so successful tliat it was purchased as soon as finished. A second was started, and, to the disappointment of the old millwright, he found his son deserting his trade for a new doubtful one. But boat-building was paying the son better than cart-making : and, without further delay, Will Fyfe commenced as boatbuildcr. About 1812, after many successful attempts at smaller craft, he began the gigantic undertaking of building a fifty-ton cutter, and from that day till the present, the Fairlie building yard has increased in celebrity year by year. Lately there have been built here the Fiona. Neva. Neptune, and Bloodhound, all clippers of the first class. The visitor to Fuirue should not omit to visit the old castle and glen. It would be difficult to find anywhere, in such small compass, such a variety of woodland beauty as this little glen presents, particularly in the months of September and October, when the autumn tints appear. The wood abounds in splendid ferns, and nature seems to have crowded into it specimens of her richest wild flowers. The castle is rather more than half way up the glen, and is situated on a rounded knoll, close by the brink of a deep ravine, where the burn dashes over a rough rock some ten or twelve feet high, forming a beautiful little waterfall. In ancient times, we learn that there were orchards and gardens around the castle. These are no longer to be seen, but the sylvan beauty remains in all its grandeur. The castle is very ancient, and belonged to a family the name of Fairlie, said to be as old as the Stuart dynasty. The name of one William Fairley has been found in a document dared 1535, purporting to be a pardon granted to him and others by Edward III. The last of the family sold the possession to the first Earl of Glasgow, to whose descendants it still belongs. Of late, the doorway has been built up to prevent visitors from entering and venturing to climb the old dilapidated stair—a feat attended with considerable danger, and one must be content now to survey the massive structure from the outside.
BALLAD OF HARDYKNUTE
We would scarcely be doing justice to the old ruin, without referring to the conjecture which has associated it with the name of Hardyknute, and assigned it as his residence prior to the battle of Largs. It is right to mention that there are several conjectures regarding the famous ballad, both as to the personal identity of the chief hero (Hardyknute), and as to the place of his residence. In Finlay's Scottish Ballads the first of the series is Hardyknute; and in the introduction, Fairlie Castle is assigned as the residence of the warrior: and it is there stated that "the slight notices of local scenery in the ballad are extremely accurate, and show that the author must have been well acquainted with it." The story is as follows - " Hardyknute, an old warrior, was at peace with his foes, and enjoying the society of his family at his castle, contemplating the close of his days without being again involved in war, when a page arrives in haste calling on him to come down and relieve his sovereign from the danger that threatened him by the invasion of the King of Norway. Hardyknute's heroism is at once aroused and answers to the call. His peerless dame, his only daughter 'Fairlie fair,' and his stately towers, are left in charge of his youngest son, and with his four eldest and 3000 men, he sets off to support his king. After they had ridden over hills and glens, they came upon a wounded knight who is lying on the ground apparently at the point of death : Hardyknute urges him to rise, and offers to have him conducted back to his castle and put under the charge of his ladie's kyndlie care, and that of his daughter, 'Fairlie fair.' The knight mourns over his inability to accept of this gracious offer, but must remain where he is, until cauld death shall end his care. The warrior and his sons proceed, and travel far out over Lord Chattan's land sae wyde. On reaching a rising ground they see the Norse army encamped on the dale below them. The battle rages, but victory crowns the Scottish arms; and Hardyknute returns on a wet mirk night to his s:atcly towers with his heroic sons. To their grief and surprise there is nothing but darkness in the halls which were wont to shine with torches when their master was abroad; and it is left to be inferred that the wounded knight had been a traitor in disguise, and had brought distress and woe on the amiable family, of whose hospitality he had been urged to partake." The poem, it is needless to say, is extremely popular, and has been so for more than a century." It has drawn forth the praises of the best judges in that department of literature, and excited the admiration of Lord Byron." On being read to him by Sir Walter Scott, he was
so much affected, that some one who was in the room asked Scott what he could possibly have been saying to Byron, seeing he was so much agitated. PARISH OF KILBRIDE The parish of Kilbride adjoins that of Largs. The village situated inland, about eight miles from Largs, and five from Fairlie, and lying in a finely sheltered position about a mile from the sea, has nothing of interest to attract the visitor. But there are many objects of antiquarian interest in the parish, and the remains of several fine old castles and towers are well worthy of inspection. The castles of Kilbride may be conveniently visited in one day's excursion. HUNTERSTONE CASTLE The family of Hunter is one of the oldest in the country which has to the present time retained uninterrupted possession of its original estate. They appear to have possessed a portion of the estate as far back as the time of Alexander II. In 1116, the name of William Hunter occurs in an ancient document, as a witness on an inquisition by David, Prince of Cumbria, regarding lands pertaining to the church of Glasgow. They seem to have been hereditary Keepers for the Crown of the island of Little Cumbrae. The old castle is only a short distance from the present manor house, and seems to have been built on the edge of a bog or morass, into which the moat extended, and to this in great measure it owed its strength of position.
HUNTERSTONE RUNIC BROOCH
This very interesting relic was discovered here in 1826, on a spot supposed to have been the site of a skirmish between the forces previous to the Battle of Largs, and is supposed to have been lost by some of the Danes at this place. The brooch is of silver, beautifully ornamented with gold filigree of the most delicate workmanship, and the inscription on it in large Runic characters has given rise to much discussion among antiquarians. Prof. Geo. Stephens, S.F.A., Copenhagen, who seems to be the greatest authority on Scandinavian Runes, refers to it at great length in his folio work on The Old Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and England, and says it is the finest fibula ever found in Scotland, and the only one known to exist in that country bearing runes. The brooch is kept at Hunterstone House, and is in an admirable state of preservation. For those who may obtain permission to see it, we subjoin Professor Stephens' translation of the inscriptions. According to him, it belonged at different times to two persons, and his readings are as follows - "Mallbritha owns this brooch, Priest in Lar" and, Dr. John Stuart also describes the brooch and gives a drawing of it in his Sculptured Stones of Scotland. So does Prof. Wilson in his ArcJiaology, but nearly all the authorities give different renderings of the inscription. A magnificent facsimile representation of it is given in the recently-published volume by the Ayrshire and Wigtonshire Archaeological Society. PORTINCROSS CASTLE This is the me the most ancient of all castles in Kilbride, as well as the most interesting. It is situated at a point of land of the same name, on a ledge of rock jutting out into the sea. The walls are still entire and on application at the adjoining cottage where the key is kept, admission may be obtained to the roof from which a most extensive view can be had. The ancient name of the property was Ardneil - usually spelt Ardnele - from the Celtic, signifying a hill, but afterwards was better known by its present name, received from the promontory or bay where the ruins stand. Portincross is supposed to be derived from Portus Crucis, the port of the cross. The castle is rendered memorable by the frequent visits which were paid to it by the early Stuart kings, who, in passing from Dundonald to Rothesay, were in the habit of crossing the channel at this point, and often resting within its walls. Seven charters have been discovered here, granted by Robert II. during the first nine years of his reign, (from 1371 to 1380), dated "Apud Ardnele." When the Spanish Armada of 1588 was dispersed, one of the vessels having found its way to the Firth of Clyde, was stranded and wrecked close to the old castle, and a piece of cannon rescued from the vessel has been preserved, and may be seen lying on the beach. On it may still be faintly traced near the breech the Spanish crown and arms. It has also been stated that some of the Spaniards who manned the boat were saved from the wreck, and settled among the people here, and that their descendants may still be seen. The reader may be interested in the following extract from Defoe's Tour through Great Britain - "In the month of August, 1740, an attempt was made by diving to come at one of the largest ships of the Spanish Armada, stranded in 1588 on these coasts. Another was dived for some years ago; but the sand being loose, it turned to little or no account.
The other, which was lost near Portincross, was begun to be searched after by Sir Archibald Grant and Captain Roe, in August, 1740, and the following was the account that was transmitted to us; which we the rather insert, as it gives some notion of the operation by the diving-engine. The country people had preserved by tradition the spot pretty near here she sunk, and gave them all the information they were able. Immediately the divers went to work, and swept for her, which they do thus : They have a long line, which they sink with leads ; one end of the rope is fixed to one boat, and the other to another; they row, and whatever interrupts them, the diver goes down to make a discovery. They soon happened on the place where the ship lay, which is scarce a quarter of a mile from the shore, in ten fathom and a foot water. Captain Roe immediately went down, and found the vessel to be very intire, to have a great number of guns, but to be full of sand. The first thing he fixed upon was a cannon, which lay upon the sand at the head of the ship. To this he fixed his tongs, which are made of strong bars of iron. They are open when they are let down, and have teeth, which join into one another. As soon as they are fixed upon any thing, he gives the signal, when they are made to shut; and the heavier the subject, the closer they hold. The cannon was drawn up with a good deal of difficulty. It measures full nine feet, is of brass, greenish coloured, but nothing the worse. Ten of these brass cannons, and ten iron ones have been since carried into Dublin; and they hope to recover sixty out of this ship." Close to the old castle is the small but neat cottage belonging to Mr. E. H. J. Crawford, the proprietor of the Ardneil estate, and ex-M.P. for the Ayr Burghs. Between Hunterstone and Portincross there rises a celebrated precipice or natural wall, extending about a mile along the coast, and rising in some places about 400 ft. It runs almost parallel with the beach, and between it and the sea there is a narrow strip of land. The precipice is called Ardneil Bank, and in old writings, "Goldberrie Head." In the statistical account of West Kilbride, a very exact and vivid description is given of this cliff, in the following words - At its base "the precipice is richly fringed with natural coppice, in which the oak, ash, hazel, and hawthorn are thickly interwoven; upwards the glossy ivy is widely spread, whilst grey lichens, intermixed with large patches of a bright golden colour succeed, lining the bold front to its utmost verge. The general mass of these stupendous rocks consists of dark red sandstone, lying horizontally; but for a considerable space where highest, the sandstone about midway up is surmounted by a beautiful brown porphyry. This portion dividing itself into three distinct and deeply separated cliffs of equal height and uniform appearance has immemorially obtained the poetical cognomen of the Three Sisters (otherwise three Queans, perhaps nuns), and truly it were not difficult in their stately and solemn austerity to conceive a fanciful resemblance to the veiled sisterhood of superstitious observance." The same writer says, that to approach the terrific summit of this cliff, the vivid description by Shakespeare of the cliff of Dover is vividly realized "Come on, Sir ; here's the place : stand still - How fearful And dizzy 'tis to cast one's yes so low ! The crows and choughs, that wing the midway air, Shew scarce so gross as beetles : half way down Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade ' Methinks he seems no bigger than his head : The fishermen that walk upon the beach Appear like mice; and yon tall anchoring bark Diminished to her cock; her cock, a buoy Almost too small for sight: tlie murmuring surge That on the unnumbered idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high - I'll look no more, Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple down headlong. CROSBY CASTLE Situated inland, and not far from the village of Kilbride, is reached by a parish road branching off the main turnpike. Along with the adjacent grounds it belongs to Mr. E. H. J. Crawford, and is well worth visiting. Perfect freedom is allowed to wander about the grounds and explore the fine old woods, and, in consequence, it is a favourite resort for pleasure parties. The old castle, which has been restored in excellent taste by Mr. Crawford, may be seen at any time. Crosby is peculiarly interesting as the place where the brave William Wallace found refuge during his outlawry by the English authorities. Many antiquarian objects of interest are pointed out by the forrester's wife, who shows visitors through the castle.
is finely situated on a steep eminence overlooking the village, and on three sides at least, commands the finest prospects to be obtained in this district. It is supposed to have been built about 1468 for the accommodation of the Princess Mary, sister of James III., on her marriage with Thomas, master of Boyd, afterwards Earl of Arran. (Robertson's Cunninghame.) Law Castle is evidently of more modern date than Portincross. Being furnished with gun ports, it must have been built after the introduction of cannon.
ROTHESAY We must refer the reader to other guides, of which there are many, for a full description of this favourite wateringplace. We merely direct him to the chief points of interest. In summer, steamers run between Wemyss Bay Pier and Rothesay in connection with nearly all the Wemyss Bay trains and most of the Rothesay steamers call at Innellan, which is only ten minutes sail from Wemyss Bay. is one of those watering-places that have sprung up on the Firth of Clyde within recent years. It consists chiefly of a row of beautiful villas, along the coast, on each side of the pier, and is much frequented by Glasgow families in the summer months. Across the Firth there is a fine view of the Cloch Lighthouse and the whole line of coast down by Skelmorlie and Largs. Leaving Innellan, the steamer proceeds to Toward Pier, near which the Toward Lighthouse standing so prominently on the south-west extremity of Cowal, and seen by all vessels coming up the Clyde.
stands amidst pleasure grounds very richly wooded, on that part of the Cowal Coast which is opposite to Rothesay. In early times it was the seat of t»lie head of the Laments, who, before the Campbells attained to pre-eminence, were the Lords of Cowal. In days of old, this family had the honour of giving a queen to Olave, King of Man. Here Mary, Queen of Scots, in the course of her wanderings, once dined. The present mansion was erected in 1821 by Mr. Kirkman Finlay, who also greatly increased and improved the arable lands.
After touching at Craigmore Pier, recently built for the accommodation of those residing at the east end of Rothesay and Ascog, the steamer reaches Rothesay. The situation is particularly fine and well sheltered, and the climate is so mild that it has been denominated the "Montpelier of Scotland." During summer it is visited daily by hundreds of excursionists from Glasgow and elsewhere. There can be no doubt that it owes its origin to the existence of its ancient castle, under the protection of which it gradually arose. The ruins of this old castle in the centre of the town, about two or three minutes walk from the pier, form one of the chief objects of interest for the visitor. This castle was a royal residence as early as the end of the iith century, (noo.) Rather more than half a century after this it was taken by Haco, but when this old Norwegian was defeated at the battle of Largs, Rothesay Castle had to be abandoned. Robert II was in the habit of residing here, and he was the first to give his eldest son the title of Duke of Rothesay, a title which has since been invariably given to the Prince of Wales. In the time of Robert III., Rothesay was erected into a royal burgh, and this king was in the habit of holding his court at the castle. In 1685 it was taken and burnt by the Marquis of Argyll, and ever since it has been in ruins. The present Marquis of Bute has done much to beautify the grounds about the old building, and to keep it from going to decay. The most ancient portion of the castle consists of a circular court, 138 feet in diameter, surrounded by a wall eight feet thick, and seventeen feet high, with battlements. The wall was flanked by four round towers at nearly equal distances, and the whole was surrounded by a moat of considerable breadth, and fifteen feet deep. It was enlarged by King Robert II., who built an oblong keep, three stories in height, in front of the ancient gateway, and projecting into the moat. The AQUARIUM is the next object of interest. Till lately the only institution of the kind in Scotland, it is alike an ornament to the burgh, and an honour to the island. All the arrangements are most complete, and the tanks, (some of them thirty feet in length), present a beautiful combination of art and nature, in which the finny occupants can be seen to the greatest advantage. Amongst the most recent additions are a gigantic edible turtle, weighing nearly one cwt, from Jamaica; horse shoe crabs from North America; seals from Newfoundland; alligators and softshell turtle, from St. Louis, U.S.A. The collection of sea anemones is very fine, and the seal house with its luxuriant tree-ferns, its dripping rocks, and rustic stairway, has been got up with great taste. For a full description of this interesting institution, we refer the visitor to the official guide book, (price 6d.), by Mr. Barker, the curator. Some very fine drives may be had on the island of Bute, which is about seventeen miles long, and four in breadth. One favourite drive is to Mount Stuart House, the residence of the Marquis of Bute. This fine old mansion was recently much injured by fire, but it is now undergoing restoration. On Loch Fad, a fresh water lake about a mile and a quarter above the town of Rothesay, is Edmund Kean's cottage, where the famous actor lived for some time after retiring from the stage. The cottage was afterwards occupied by Sheridan Knowles, another famous actor, who here spent the closing years of his life. MILLPORT From Largs the steamer crosses to Millport in half-an-hour: all the Wemyss Bay steamers calling at Largs, go on to Millport.
The village is very pleasantly situated in a bay on the south end of the Island of Larger Cumbrae. This bay is sheltered at its entrance by a number of islets, and on the south, by the Island of Little Cumbrae. The village stretches about a mile and a half along the bay, and has a very fine southern exposure. Like Largs it is a favourite resort during summer of visitors from Glasgow and other places, and many of the inhabitants make a living by letting their houses during the season. The whole length of the island is about eight miles, from north-east to south-west, and about two broad: consequently the walks are not numerous, but two of them are very beautiful, viz., the walk (or drive) by the road round the island, recently formed by the Earl of Glasgow, and that across the island to the Balloch Pier opposite Largs. The Island of Great Cumbrae is a mass of granite, except just at the south, where, as in the smaller island, are metamorphic rocks of the silurian age. On the eastern shore, opposite Fairlie, may be seen a couple of interesting whinstone dykes. The whole island forms one parish (called the Parish of Cumbrae), and is the joint property of the Earl of Glasgow and the Marquis of Bute. An amusing story is told of a former incumbent who, with high ideas of the parish over which he ruled, was wont to pray in his regular Sabbath services "for the Island of Cumbrae, together with the adjacent Islands of Great Britain and Ireland." Near the centre of the village may be seen "The Garrison," a favourite residence of the Earl of Glasgow. On the hill above the village is the Parish Church, and a handsome new United Presbyterian Church; the Free Church is lower down, about the centre of the village, and further north, outside the village, on a rising piece of ground, is the Episcopal Cathedral and College, erected and endowed by the Earl of Glasgow, and said to have cost £20,000. Visitors are admitted at certain hours, which are notified on a board at the entrance. On the Island of Larger Cumbrae there is a farm called Portry. The name is derived from Port Righ, signifying the landing place of the king, and is said to mark the place where King Haco landed at the battle of Largs. NAMES OF PLACES AND ROMAN REMAINS NAMES OF PLACES To any one reflecting on the names which are applied to different places in the locality, such as hills, streams, promontories, &c., the question naturally occurs, by whom and at what time were they given ? Who, e.g., gave such names as Largs, Skelmorlie, Wemyss, Knock, and so forth ? Are they merely arbitrary designations, bestowed at random, or given, as the poet Burns received his name - "I think we'll ca' him Robin." That some of them were so given, seems likely enough; but that the great majority of them (and those the most ancient) were bestowed on a principle and mean something appropriate to the places they designate, there cannot be the slightest doubt. And the strange thing about them is, that they were nearly all given by the most ancient inhabitants of our country, and through all the vicissitudes of wars and rebellions, and invasions by different races, have been retained up to the present time. These ancient inhabitants were Celts, and consequently the great majority of names of places are Gaelic. All experience tells us that though the population of a country may change, the names of great natural features mountains, lochs, rivers, islands, promontories - generally remain unaffected, and retain the stamp of its earliest race, by whom these names were imposed. The names of farms, homesteads, and houses, may change and bear the impress of each succeeding population, but those of the grand unchangeable features of nature remain the same. Suppose one were to doubt, whether at any time the Lowlands of Scotland had been inhabited by Celts, and suppose it were asserted that from the earliest times the places had been possessed (as now) by Teutons, and only the mountain districts in the Highlands, had been Celtic, the names of hundreds of places, within a few miles of where we are, would disprove the assertion, e.g., Largs, Inverkip, Knock, Cumbrae, Kelburn, &c. We repeat then (1) that Gaelic names are the most ancient in the country; (2) they designate the great natural, unchangeable features of nature: or, conversely, that the names which are found attached to the great natural unchangeable features of nature are, generally speaking, Gaelic and (3) the names of farms, houses, homesteads, being more modern are, generally speaking, Anglo-Saxon, as e.g., Middleton, Thirdpart, Dykes, Mains, Burnsyde, &c. And now we naturally ask - How does it happen that the Gaelic has succeeded in maintaining its sway over natural objects, and designating them by its own peculiar tongue ? And the answer is - Because of its natural superiority and peculir fitnes for such a purpose. Not only had these old forefathers of ours an ardent passion for imposing names on all
prominent objects, but their language is peculiarly fitted for such a purpose. None of the languages of which the English tongue is composed can at all compare with it in this respect. The qualities which render it so are its copiousness, its discrimination and its frequency ofmetaphor.. The names which it has given to such objects of nature as mountains, and rivers or lakes, display the first of these qualities. When compared with the other tongues of which our language is composed, the barrenness of the latter appears conspicuous. For example, the Gaelic has no fewer than 50 different terms for hills of various kinds, from Ben (as Ben Nevis, Ben Cruachan) for the highest mountain, down to Knock, and Tom (as Tom-na- hurich) for the smallest: while the Anglo-Saxon has scarcely half-a-dozen for the same objects. In the same way for rivers, lakes, or waters. While the Gaelic has about seventeen different names, and for smaller streams more than seven, the Anglo-Saxon seems to have only one for the former, and one for the latter (viz., byrn, burn). So much for the copiousness of the Celtic. As an instance of its discriminating power, take some of the distinctions made regarding rivers, as Eden and Ithan - a gliding stream; Alan - a bright stream; Uisge du - a black or dark coloured stream; High or Ila - a floody stream; Ar - (River Ayr) clear; Dhu or Dhun - (Doon) dark. In the case of the last two, with which we are more particularly acquainted, we can test the discriminating power of the Celtic tongue. The river Doon, in consequence of running through a soft deep bog near its head, receives a black mossy tinge, which it retains through its whole course, whereas tlie River Ayr (clear) from flowing above a gravelly bed, continues clear and limpid throughout. As to its metaphorical character, the whole language is replete with examples. Such then being the respective merits of the Celtic and other languages, we are not surprised to find that as a general rule, wherever other tribes occupied countries in Europe, previously occupied by the Celts, the intruders not only adopted the names of the rivers, mountains, and other places, that the more lively genius of the Celts had imposed, but borrowed from them many other terms as well. In Scotland, they adopted even a greater number; and thus it happens, that although we are so many centuries removed from these ancient forefathers of ours, and notwithstanding the numerous invasions by other nations, the Celtic language has held its sway over the dominion of natural objects and retained them as its own peculiar heritage. It should be added that in distinguishing Celtic names, the following rule will be found useful : In names derived from the Celtic languages, the root word is generally placed at the beginning of the name (provided the word contain more than one syllable), thus e.g., Auchen (the Celtic for field) is found as the prefix in many words, e.g., Auchengarth - a rough or coarse field; Auchendarroch - an oak field; Auchencloich - a stony field, the root word being prefixed, and the adjective coming after. On the other hand, in names derived from the Teutonic or Scandinavian languages, the root word comes last, as will be found with regard to ton, dale, berg, statt, yard, as in Middlton, Blackdale.
THE following prefixes and postfixes of names of places bear a variety of meanings, but the nature of the place must determine -
Bal- or, BealCar-
ClachanKel-, Kit-, or Kyle-
a mouth or pass - e.g., Balloch Balla, a place or village - e.g., Balmoral Kirk - e.g., Carluke Castel - e.g., Carstairs Rock - e.g., Carrick Winding stream - e.g., Carron Stepping stones over stream, Stone circle - Druidical - hence Church Caol - narrows - e.g., Kyleakin Ceann - a head—e.g., Kildrummie Cill - a cell - e.g., Kilmuir Coil, (old King) - Kyle (in Ayrshire.) Coill - a wood - e.g., Kelvin Coll - hazel Cul - back of—e.g., Kiltoy Aig - a bay - e.g., Greenock Og (diminutive.) Oigh - a maiden - e.g., Kempock Uchd - brow of a hill - e.g., Garvock
Tin, or Tinny CARDINAL POINTS Deas Er Iar Tuath
Uig - a corner Teine - fire - e.g., Tintu Tigh - a house - e.g., Tinnycruss
Right side, or South - e.g., Deskart Front, or East - e.g.. Earn Hinder part, or West - e.g., Iorsa Left side, or Korth - e.g., Tievietooey
LIST OF LOCAL NAMES Ardgowan Ardrishaig Ardrossan Arran Ascog Auchengarth Ayr Barr Benmore Bute Clyde Colintraive Corrie Cowal Crinan Cumbrae Daff Doon Dunoon Dunrod Gareloch Garroch Glcncroe Glendarual Glenfruin Gogo Gourock Greenock Inverkip Irvine – river Ard-gobha, Smith's height Ard-driseag, height of ihe bramble (Dim. of Ard-ros) - Height of the little promontory Ar-rin, land of sharp points Ais-ciiach, cuckoo's retreat Auchen garbh - rough field Ar - Clear water A hill top Great hill Baile mhota - town of the moat - Rothesay was the ancient name of the Island of Bute Clutha, according to Chalmers - warm, sheltered Caol-an-a-snaimh - swimming narrows Coire - a hollow Gobhal - forked Grianan - sunny spot Cumhra - fragrant (from its abundance of sweet smelling herbs) stream - Damh - an ox Dhu - dark water Grey fort Dun roid - fort of the sweet-gale Short loch Garbh - rough Croe - a hut Valley of the two Ruals - streams Bron (Bhroin) - weeping According to Pent, a branching river Gabhar - a goat Greanach - gravelly bay Mouth of the Kip Odhar (ier) - grey water
Kames Cam - curved or bending - Camus - a bay Kelly Coill - a wood Kellymore the great wood Kelburn the woody burn Kelvin the woody river The appropriateness of the designation may be inferred from the following quotation from an old writer "There were few trees in the district of Skelmorlie Castle and no foliage nearer than Knock on the one side and Kelly on the other" Kilchattan Cell of St. Chattan Kilbride St. Bride or St. Bridget - a virgin of great celebrity in the Scotch Calendar Knock Cnoc - a hill Knocbrack - spotted knoll
Knockreay - grey hill Knockroe - red hill Kyles (of Bute) Caolas - narrows, strait Largs Learg - a hill slope, and, according to others, a sloping plain with a pass, i.e. a mountain pass to the high country Loch Awe Ath - a ford Loch Eck Aire - narrow lake Loch Fyne Fin - clear Loch Long Luinge - a ship Loch Lomond Leamhann - lake of the elm river (Leven) Oban Otter (Ferry) Portincross Rothesay Skelmorlie Stake, Hill of Strone Tarbert Tighnabruich Toward Wemyss Bay Diminutive of 'ob' - a little bay Oiter - a bank in the sea Port-na-crois - landing-place of the cross (Scandanavian) - Island of Rother - the ancient name of Bute Stac - a high hill Sron - a promontory Tairbeart - an isthmus The house on the bank Rugha an Tonnard - high waveo Uamh - a cave
ROMAN REMAINS For those who may wish to examine the "Roman Bridge" at Inverkip, and other supposed Roman remains in the district, we give a brief sketch of the Roman occupation. Very little is known regarding the state of Scotland, or of any part of the British Isles, before their occupation by the Romans. At the time when these foreigners landed on our shores, we find the native Celts scattered over North Britain, but with that peculiar aversion to union which always characterised them, divided into numberless tribes or clans each tribe independent of the rest, and only uniting with the others when common danger threatened. The district in which we live was occupied by the tribe called the Damnii, the most powerful, and perhaps the least barbarous of any. For many generations they continued to hunt their game and feed their flocks on the hills of Skelmorlie and Largs before the Roman invasion. That great event, so far as England was concerned, took place in the year 55 B.C., but the Caledonians offered a braver resistance than their southern neighbours, and in consequence, the Romans had great difficulty in extending their dominions northwards. The country was strongly fortified by nature, and art, even among those rude natives had done something to fortify it still more; so that 135 years elapsed from the date of their landing in England till the time of their first attempt on the country of our ancestors. The space at our disposal does not admit more than the briefest account of the general characteristics of the Roman occupation. Suffice it to say, that they continued to occupy England for 500 years, and a considerable portion of Scotland for 350 years. One of the most striking monuments of their power was their highways, which, by traversing their provinces, supported their authority and promoted their intercourse. They built two gigantic walls (as every reader of history knows) one running between the Clyde and the Forth, called the wall of Antonine, and the other between the Sohvay Firth and the Tyne, called the wall of Hadrian. The territory which lay between these walls was everywhere intersected by Roman roads. They never penetrated into what is distinctively called the Highlands, nor (so far as the writer is aware) is there any evidence to show that they visited Bute, Arran, or the Cumbraes, although it is possible (or probable) that Agricoia, or those who followed in his footsteps, landed on some of them from the Ayrshire coast, but there is evidence to show that they occupied the region of the Damnii. We do not know how this brave tribe fought against the Romans, but we know that the Romans were compelled to erect in their territories a strong camp which they called Vanduaria, and of which many traces remained so late as the 17th century. It had indeed been for a long time supposed that the Romans never were in Ayrshire nor I-lcnfrcwshire at all; but from discoveries which have been made, it may now be regarded as definitely settled that they were. Remains of the Roman road have been found, and the road itself traced for considerable distances. Not far from Ayr there is a farm called the "Causeway," which,
according to Chalmers, is supposed to have derived its name from the circumstance of the road running beside it, and from that place for the distance of more than a mile it is said to have been distinctly traced. Another road is also indicated striking off this one, and ending at Loudon Hill, which may have been continued to Irvine and thence to Largs. Chalmers, in the third volume of his ponderous work "Caledonia," says - "Roman trinkets have been found in various parts of this shire (Ayrshire). They (the Romans) had erected their villas along the fine shore of the Clyde firth from Kelly Burn to Irvine, and on this coast the remains of their baths have been discovered, where so many bathing establishments have recently been formed." But now, it may be asked, what traces of the Romans have been found in our own neighbourhood ? In Paterson's "History of Ayrshire" it is stated that a Roman bath was discovered at Largs in the garden of Mrs. Hall, post-mistress, in the year 1820. Mr. J. Eaton Reid, author of a "History of the County of Bute," tells us in a note to his volume that the father of Mr. William Jamieson, some time ago church officer at Largs, happened on one occasion to be digging in the same garden, and "that about 18 inches from the surface he came upon a pavement, &c., formed of square shaped tiles of red fireclay." A great many of these tiles were preserved by different people, and they used to be lying about in many quarters of the town. The late Dr. Campbell of Largs has stated that he remembers the tiles being found, that he himself was possessed of several of them, and that they were often to be seen in the houses of the town's people, "who used them as hobs for their fireplaces." This statement has been corroborated by several others, who all concur in the belief that the tiles had been pronounced at the time to be Roman, by competent authorities. The author of the "History of Bute" states further that Mrs. John Hall, daughter-in-law of the Mrs. Hall already mentioned, produced to him" one of the identical tiles, which upon being submitted to a gentleman skilled in Roman antiquities (Mr. Buchanan of Glasgow) was pronounced to have every appearance of being Roman." "The tile," he says, "is square, 11½ inches across (about a Roman foot), and 2 inches deep, of a very ponderous, red, gritty fireclay, quite unlike anything of recent formation." The present writer has himself seen coins about Largs with undoubted Roman inscriptions, which were said to have been dug out of the earth in different parts of the village. Several of these coins were sent at that time to the Earl of Eglinton. In addition to these remains it must be remembered that the appearances of a triply entrenched encampment on Knock Hill, which are still quite distinct, are said to be Roman, and at least two competent observers have, "without being in communication on the subject," pronounced them to be so. In the parish of Invcrkip, not far from the farm of Uunrod, there is an old bridge which has for many years been known by the name of the "Roman bridge." It is certainly of very great age, and is in appearance just what the Roman bridges were like. Close by the present graveyard in Inverkip there are the remains of a very ancient road, which, by the oldest people in the place, is known by the name of the "Causeway." It is very narrow, as the Roman roads were known to be, and although nearly overgrown with grass and covered with rubbish, bears evident traces of its causeway formation, but whether it is really entitled to be called Roman may be doubted. Many may be disposed to wonder at there being so few Roman remains found in the district compared with Celtic; but a little consideration of the characteristics of the Roman occupation will explain the reason. It must always be borne in mind that the occupation of Britain by the Romans was purely military and lasted only for a short time. The country was never thoroughly Romanized like France or Spain. The influence which the Romans had on the native language, for example, was very small. In Welsh there are few and in the Gaelic scarcely any Latin words, and almost no trace of them whatever in names bestowed on natural objects, such as mountains, rivers, promontories, &c. The Scandinavians have even given a greater number of names to places than the Romans. Professor Blackie, in his introduction to the "Etymological Geography" says that "camps, battlefields, and military settlements will naturally leave strong traces in the topography of anv country where human beings dwell and accordingly we find that the Chester (as Manchester, &c.) and caster (Lancaster) added as a generic term to so many English towns are simply the sites of ancient Roman castra or camps." To these add coin (colonia) which is found in Lincoln; and the word street, from stratum or strata, and you have nearly all that can be adduced as topographical traces of a Roman occupation. In judging of the paucity of Roman remains in the district, it must also be remembered that the progress of agriculture in a thriving county like Ayrshire has effaced many of them. But those which have been discovered both here and elsewhere (being principally roads, bridges, baths, trinkets, coins, &c.) prove that Roman civilization in Britain was very far advanced and much more complete than is commonly supposed.
The temperature of the district is exceedingly mild, and strangers from other parts of the Kingdom are often surprised at the shrubs and plants found growing here, which will not grow in places considered much warmer. We subjoin a short list of shrubs which grow and bloom only in the milder parts of the Kingdom, healthy specimens of which may be found in this locality - Myrtles*, Fuschias, varieties of *, Escallonias, Euonymus, Hydrangea*, Ceanothus, Laurestinus, Disfontania Spinosa, Sweet Bay*, Wisteria Sinensis, Lavatera Arborea (Mallow Tree) and Eucalyptus Globolus* - or Blue Gum, or Fever Tree as it is called in Italy, has lived here throughout the winter. Those marked * are common and well known plants, chiefly found in greenhouses. The fact of their growing and flowering in this locality with the greatest luxuriance indicates pretty clearly the mildness of the climate. Geraniums have been gathered fresh out of doors on New-Year's day.
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