Extract From The Historic Scenes In Perthshire: Tulliallan

Traces of the Romans have been found in Tulliallan, in some urns in which they had deposited the ashes of their dead before laying them to sleep in the dust of the earth.

The chief Historic Scene in the parish is the old Castle of Tulliallan, the ruins of which yet indicate its strength, and the defences that surrounded and secured it. It was long the seat of the Blackadders, another of our historic families. Their original seat was Blackadder in Berwickshire, from which they took their name. It was given by James II., in 1415, to their common ancestor, Cuthbert, called “The Chieftain of the South,” in reward of important military service which he had rendered to his Majesty. Cuthbert, and his seven sons, styled from their dark complexion, “The Black band of the Blackadders, figure much in the Border feuds with the English. They took part in the wars of York and Lancaster, fighting on the side of the latter; and the father and three of his sons fell on the bloody field of Bosworth; on which the Earl of Richmond won the decisive victory, which led to his being forthwith crowned as Henry VII. Andrew, the eldest of the surviving sons, succeeded to the barony of Blackadder. He had two sons, Robert and Patrick. Robert married into the noble family of Angus; followed the standard of the Douglases; and fell at Flodden, leaving a widow and two daughters, both of them in childhood.

The Homes of Wedderburn had cast a covetous eye on the lands of Blackadder; and they thought that the time for appropriating them had now come. They accordingly set about putting out of the way those who were likely to oppose them. They assassinated Robert Blackadder, the prior of Coldingham, and Patrick Blackadder, the dean of Dunblane, uncles of the young heiresses. The Castle of Blackadder, in which they and their mother resided, they assaulted. Sir David Home then forced a marriage between himself and the widow, and contracts of marriage between two of his brothers and her two daughters; and then confined the latter in their Castle till they should be of age. Of these grievous wrongs the Blackadders made several attempts to obtain redress, but they failed; and their inheritance, thus outrageously wrested from them, remained in the Home family.

The first Blackadder of Tulliallan was Patrick, referred to above as the younger son of Andrew of that Ilk in Berwickshire. He acquired it by marrying Elizabeth, elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Edmonstone, to whom Tulliallan then belonged. Only one half of the property was hers; the other was her sister’s; but Sir Walter Ogilvie, the sister’s husband, excambed his wife’s half with his brother-in-law for the thanedom of Boyne.

The whole of Tulliallan thus came to the Blackadders, and it continued with them for five generations. The second Blackadder of Tulliallan was John. He adhered to the unfortunate Queen Mary, who reposed much confidence in him, and in 1565 wrote him a holograph letter asking his help and guidance. His son, Captain William Blackadder, commanded in Mary’s army at Langside, and was taken and executed. He was held to have been accessory to Darnley’s murder, and he and three others were drawn backward on a cart to the Cross of Edinburgh and were there hanged and quartered in June, 1567. The fifth Blackadder of Tulliallan was Sir John, created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1626. He so dilapidated the family fortunes by his extravagance that none of his posterity assumed the title. The sixth Blackadder of Tulliallan was the Rev. John of Troqueer. He was of the younger collateral branch of the family, which possessed Blairhall, in Culross. He was the father of Dr William Blackadder, who, at the revolution, was appointed Physician to King William, and of Lieutenant-Colonel John Blackadder of the Cameronian Regiment, who did exploits in the battle of Dunkeld served with distinction under Marlborough in the wars of Queen Anne, and died Deputy-Governor of Stirling Castle in 1720.

The minister of Troqueer is much the most conspicuous of the Blackadders, at least in our ecclesiastical annals. Ordained in Troqueer in 1652, when Prelacy was established at the Restoration he “entered his dissent in heaven” against it, as he himself phrased it. That might have been overlooked, had he not inveighed against it on earth. He was “outed,” of course; and one of his sons thus relates the manner of his ejection:- “A party of the King’s guard of horse, called Blue-benders, came from Dumfries to Troqueer, to search for and apprehend my father, but found him not; for what occasion I know not. So soon as the party entered the close, and came into the house with cursing and swearing, we that were children were frightened out of our little wits, and ran upstairs, and I among them; who, when I heard them all roaring in the room below, like so many breathing devils, I had the childish curiosity to get down upon my belly, and peep through a hole in the floor above them, for to see what monsters of creatures they were; and it seems they were monsters indeed for cruelty; for one of them perceiving what I was doing, immediately drew his sword, and thrust it up where I was peeping, so that the mark of the point was scarce an inch from the hole, though no thanks to the murdering ruffian, who designed to run it up through my eye. Immediately after, we were forced to pack up, bag and baggage, and remove to Glencairn, ten miles from Troqueer. We who were children were put into cadger’s creels, where one of us cried out, coming through the Bridge-end of Dumfries, ‘I’m bannisht, I’m bannisht!’ One happened to ask ‘Who has banished you, my bairn?’ He answered, ‘Bite-the-sheep has bannisht me.”‘

No edicts and threatening could deter Blackadder from exercising his ministry as opportunity offered. He had therefore soon to leave Glencairn, and to lead a wandering life for several years; in the course of which he visited “almost every county south of the Tay,” and “there was scarcely a hill, a moor, or a glen in the southern and western districts of Scotland where he did not hold a conventicle, or dispense the sacrament.” He preached at Kinkell, near St Andrews, braving the power and the wrath of Archbishop Sharp; and the people, notwithstanding the injunctions of the Primate, flocked to hear him. It is said that Sharp applied to the Provost to send out the militia to disperse the congregation; but was answered that it was impossible, the militia having gone to Kinkell already as worshippers. He took a leading part on other two occasions, the accounts of which are among the most thrilling narratives, that have come down to us, of the days when our fathers sought the food of their souls at peril of their lives. We refer to the great conventicle on Beath Hill near Dunfermline; and to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the green haugh at East Nisbet, in the Merse, when about three thousand and two hundred communicated, at a succession of sixteen tables.

He was outlawed in 1674, and a reward of 1000 merks was offered for his apprehension. At length, in 1681, he was arrested in his own house at Edinburgh, and conveyed to the Bass Rock, where he lay for upwards of four years. His health failing through the dampness and closeness of his place of confinement, application was made for his release. It was ultimately granted, on condition of his residing in Edinburgh, and giving a bond for 5000 merks. But so much delay took place, and so much progress did infirmity and disease make, that liberation by man was anticipated by a better deliverance. He died in his State prison in December, 1685, in the 70th year of his age, and was buried in North Berwick churchyard. His cell in the Bass is one of the most touching sights shown to visitors. The inscription on the tombstone in the churchyard also attracts much notice. It is in these words:

Blest John, for Jesus sake, in Patmos bound.
His prison Bethal, Patmos Pisagh found;
Lo! the bless’d John, on yonder rock confined-
His body suffered but no chains could bind
His heaven-aspiring soul; while day by day,
As from Mount Pisgah’s top, he did survey
The promised land, and received the crown by faith
Laid up for those faithful are till death.
Grace formed him in the Christian Hero’s mould-
Meek in his own concerns – in’s Master’s bold;
Passions to reason chain’d, prudence did lead-
Zeal warmed his breast, and reason cool’d his head.
Five years on the lone rock, yet sweet abode,
He, Enoch-like enjoyed and walked with God;
Till, by long living on this heavenly food,
His soul by love grew up too great, too good
To be confined to jail, or flesh and blood.
Death broke his fetters off, then swift he fled
From sin and sorrow; and, by angels led,
Entered the mansions of eternal joy;
Blest soul, thy warfare’s done, praise, love, enjoy.
His dust here rests till Jesus come again-
Even so, blest Jesus, come-come, Lord-Amen.”

Tulliallan was for some time in the possession of the noble house of Kincardine. In the valuation of the county, taken by Act of the Estates of Parliament in 1649, the Earl of Kincardine is entered as the proprietor of it; the sum at which it was valued being £1244=16=4d. It was afterwards acquired by the Mercers of Aldie and Meikleour, who made it one of their seats. The modern Castle stands on a small rising ground about half a mile from the Forth, and is a delightful residence. The old church at Overtown is the family burial place. Admiral Viscount Keith made a noteworthy addition to the estate. He enlarged it by 152 acres, reclaimed from the Forth on the west side of the town of Kincardine. The embankment by which this was effected was begun in 1821, and finished in 1823. It is 2020 yards long, and 11.5 feet high above the level of the river; and cost altogether the sum of £6104=0=7d. His Lordship’s Trustees followed his example, making a like encroachment on the waters of the Forth to the east of the town of Kincardine. The work was begun in 1829. The embankment is 3040 yards long, and averages 16 feet in height. It cost nearly £14,000; and the land reclaimed by it measures about 214 acres of the finest alluvial soil, deposited tide after tide as the embankment was being executed. The Castle and lands of Tulliallan are now the property of Lady William Osborne, daughter of Admiral Viscount Keith by his second marriage to Hester Maria, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Henry Thrale Esq., of Streathem, Surrey.

Kincardine is a burgh of Barony, under the government of bailies. It was at one time called West Pans; the manufacture of salt being then a staple of its trade, as it was of that of Culross at the same period. It has a good quay, and an excellent roadstead, with twenty-one feet of water, and where a hundred vessels might ride in safety. But the Statistical Account says of its trade and commerce generally, and we are not aware that a materially different report of them could now be made:- “These are decidedly on the decline in this parish. The extensive distilleries, collieries, and salt works, which formerly employed many workmen, are totally extinct. The shipping interest is also on the decline. Formerly many vessels were to be seen here, and during the winter nearly 100 were to be seen in the roadstead. In 1786, there were nine on the stocks at one time; in 1842 there were only three.”….Of the fisheries of the parish the Account adds:- “These were once numerous and successful in this part of the river, but there are now only a few crusiers or baskets employed for this purpose, which catch a few small fish in the autumn, and a few salmon are taken with the nets in July and August. The large quantity of moss floating down the river is supposed to have injured the fishings.”

The quarry at Longannet, in the east of the parish, used to be in high repute, its freestone being of fine texture, hard and durable, beautifully white in colour, and taking on an exquisite polish. Many of the best houses in the adjacent district of country were built of it. So were the more ornate parts of the Royal Exchange, the Royal Infirmary, and the Register House, Edinburgh. It is said that the Stadt House of Holland was built of stone from this quarry; and at the village of Longannat “are some slight vestiges of a pier, reported to have been built by a Dutch company to facilitate the exportation of the stone.”

John Forrest, minister of Tulliallan at the Restoration, was ejected in 1662 for not conforming to Prelacy. He lived to see the Revolution; was recalled to the parish in 1690; and was translated to Falkland in 1691. Alexander Williamson, minister at the Revolution, was deprived by the Privy Council in 1689 for his Jacobitism. It is a rather remarkable circumstance that both the Erskines, Ralph and Ebenezer, fathers of the Secession Church, were called to the pastorate of Tulliallan.

Note: many spelling mistakes in this document are faithful copies from the actual document. These may or may not reflect accepted spellings at the time the document was prepared.

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