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the banks of the Kerbet, a few miles to the east of Glamis, with whose history it is closely associated. Lying very low in the valley, it is ofttimes flooded by the waters of the Kerbet, which, during a spate in winter, frequently overflow its level banks. Hence its other name, “ The Bog," by which it was equally well known as by that of its more aristocratic title, Kinnettles.
The North Esk, has from time immemorial been the resort of the water-kelpies, and the Castle of Murphy being in the vicinity of that part of the river where he was most frequently seen, he afforded, tradition saith, most material service in its erection. In the Minstrelsy of the Border, Dr Jamieson refers to the circumstance thus :
When Murphy's laird his biggin rear'd
I carryt aw the stanes,
For sair birz'd back and banes. In a note the writer says—"the water-kelpy celebrated the event of carrying stones for the building of the castle in rhyme; and that for a long time after, he was heard to cry with a doleful voice
“Sair back and sair banes,
Carrying the Laird o' Murphy's stanes.” to which a later edition of the history has added
“ The Laird o' Murphy will never thrive,
So long as Kelpy is alive.” As the extensive peat mosses in the neighbourhood, before they were drained, became the prolific nurseries of the “spunkies," so the Kerbet, like the North Esk, in a flood was also the favourite resort of the “water-kelpies ”—both races of mythical spirits being now, alas ! extinct.
With earnest voice, yet full of fire,
And how, by Brigton's spreading woods,
He's heard the well known splash
So terrible the smash.
And then to hear him lauchin' fast,
And plashing fell the rain ;
In waterkelpie's reign !
The large rivulet, or stream, called Kerbet, takes its rise in Dilty Moss, in the parish of Carmylie, seven miles to the eastward of Kinnettles and falls into the Dean, as already noticed, before its junction with the Isla. In summer it flows gently on in its placid course, but after a thaw in a winter storm, it swells to an almost incredible extent, the low-lying fields and meadow-land being inundated by its impetuous torrent.
The Hill of Kinnettles, rising to the height of 356 feet above the level of the sea, adds greatly to the beauty of the parish. The view from the top is extensive, and very beautiful. This hill is one of the detached Sidlaw Hills, and is also sometimes called the Hill of Brigton.
Brigton, immediately adjoining the village, with its rich haughs and meadows, and beautifully-clustering sylvan woods, and the winding Kerbet sweetly flowing through its midst, is a deeply-interesting and lovely spot. Many a day, in the bright and gladsome days of youth, have I rambled among its sheltered glades, listening with ecstatic joy to the gushing melody of the happy birds, combined in softest harmony with the low, quiet song of the gently-flowing river. These are sunny memories, which no cloud, however dark, in after-life, can ever obliterate or obscure.
Kinnettles, during the life-time of its late parochial schoolmaster, Mr Daniel Robertson, enjoyed a wide-spread reputation for the high-class education of its “wee school,” many of his pupils becoming in after-life eminently successful, and some achieving fame in the several arenas of science, commerce, and literature. Modern innovations have, however, swept away the sacred landmarks so dear to his heart, and so fondly cherished by his pupils. The schoolhouse and school have been ruthlessly levelled to the ground, but the associations thereof cannot be extinguished; and the place where once the humble seminary stood is ever eloquent to us the
Poor Daniel ! all is over now,
Death on thee sets his seal ;
To the land o' the leal.
All is over now !—the pawky smile,
The energy and zeal.
Of the land o' the leal. There are several very old grave-stones in the churchyard, the dates on which go back to an early period. Some of these were erected to the memory of the writer's ancestors several
The more recently erected monuments are very handsome. The "ancient mill," immediately to the east of the village, is probably, however, the oldest relic of antiquity in the parish, it having been built sometime in the fifteenth century. In the year 1478, Andrew Guthrie of that Ilk was charged before the Lords of Council “anent a mylne biggit on the landis of Kyncaldrum, and holding on the multers of the corns of the samyn."—(Acta. Dom. Con. 5; And. 69.) The barony of Kincaldrum adjoins the lands of Kinnettles, the Guthries being at that period apparently proprietors of both. There is
every reason to believe the above allusion to the “mylne biggit on the landis of Kincaldrum” refers to the old mill on the Kerbet, immediately to the east of Kinnettles. Doubtless the building has received many alterations and repairs, and, in consequence, little of the original structure may remain. To the writer especially, however, it is still an object of the most absorbing and affectionate interest, as it and the adjoining farm were for many generations tenanted by his ancestors, as neighbouring homesteads are occupied by their descendants to the present day. An antiquarian relic of great value, however, dug up by the plough in a grass field in the parish, in 1833, carries us back beyond the Christian era.
This was an
“upper millstone of a hand mill, supposed to be about two thousand years old.' It is, says the Rev. Mr Lunan, formerly minister of the parish, -24 inches in diameter, 1} inch thick, nearly quite circular, neatly hewn with the chisel, and displays the nicest workmanship around the small circular opening in the centre. The stone of which it is composed is mica-schist, has a leaden colour, contains a mixture of silicious spar, and is thickly studded with small garnets.
The earliest instrument in combination with the pestle, for grinding corn, appears to have been the mortar, which, in process of time, was superseded by the mola manuaria, or handmill, first worked by bondmen and bondwomen, and afterwards by oxen and horses. Strabo, Vitruvius and other classic writers inform us, that water-mills were introduced in the reign of Julius Cæsar; so that hand-mills had probably been laid aside sometime before the Christian era, thus proving this ancient relic to be of the age already stated.
Surrounded rich by hill and dale,
By Kerbet's water's still,
Kinnettles' ancient mill.
O very quaint it is, and old ;
Who dared its age to tell ;
And does its work so well,
That antiquarian, seer, or sage
With an approach to truth;
And oft renews its youth.
Nay, never art forgot;
Still sacred, blessed spot.
Which far from thee I shed. Recalling scenes, narrations rare, Of eldrich visions in the air, Sepulchral warnings to beware,
And visits from the dead.
So thus, like April hopes and fears
From thee, O ancient mill :
My blessing with thee still.