NEWSLETTER No 17 OCTOBER 1996
TWO BIG EVENINGS
Two action-packed and very different evenings highlighted the Society summer. On July 26, our traditional Scottish Barn Dance at Ian Philip's Leadketty farm drew a capacity crowd, with some latecomers having to be turned away. That meant close to 300 people attended including a lively group of Polish, Estonian, and other European students working at the nearby berry/tattie farms. It was a memorable evening, with great music and camaraderie, good barbecued food and some spirited and even sometimes talented dancing. Thanks to the hard work of the committee and other friends the evening was a huge success, and made about £830 which has been assigned to the Society's latest project, the Dunning historical Web-site. The Web-site was one of the main topics at another busy summer evening, a meeting in old St. Serf's Church on September 19 (which just does qualify for summer). Clear explanations about the progress of the project were given to the 70 people attending, and a brand-new Society video programme "An Introduction to Dunning, Perthshire", produced to support our application for Heritage Lottery funding for the Web-site, was shown twice. (To the audience's apparent pleasure, for they immediately ordered 40 copies!) More about the video, the Web-site and the other big subject of the September 19 meeting, the Dupplin Cross move, can be found inside this newsletter.
DUPPLIN CROSS, DOUBLE-CROSS?
On Saturday, September 14, some forty Society members and friends went to see the weathering Dupplin Cross on Dupplin Estate, and also Forteviot Church, where the Society believes the Cross should be moved. Many of us locals had never seen the Cross because Dupplin Estate hadn't encouraged, in fact had discouraged visitors. Yet the Cross, more than 1100 years old, has a longer connection to the Scottish monarchy than the Stone of Destiny, for it is believed to connect with and depict the first Scottish King Kenneth McAlpine.
The visitors that sunny Saturday unanimously agreed the Secretary of State's May 3 ruling was right: a local solution should be sought for relocating the Dupplin Cross, and Forteviot Church as a living church was the right location for it. (St. Serf's in Dunning, recommended as an alternative by Historic Scotland, would be second choice). The Cross seemed just the right proportions to fit Forteviot Church, and financing for the move was assured.
Then at our meeting in St. Serf's September 19 came dire news about the Cross. The Rev. Colin Williamson reported that despite his Friends of the Dupplin Cross approaches to the Dupplin Trust to meet and help in finding a local solution (our Society had sent a similar offer to Historic Scotland in June), neither Historic Scotland nor the Dupplin Trust had met the interested local bodies. Instead one meeting had been held, with Dupplin Trust, Historic Scotland and, astonishingly, the rejected applicant for the Cross, the National Museums, still wishing the Cross as a feature piece for their new museum.
The Society had more bad news: in phone calls to Historic Scotland we'd learned that the Secretary of State has been made an offer by National Museums to take the Cross for conservation and display in Edinburgh, with a written promise to return it locally in 5 years. Some chance of that happening, our members felt! The aroused meeting directed that a letter be sent to the Secretary of State informing him his decision is being undermined, and that a secret deal seems to have been made without any local consultation. The minister was invited to come and see local alternatives for himself at a media conference to be held in Dunning and Forteviot, Tuesday, September 24, when local groups will be joined by groups representing a majority of Scottish archaeologists. We go to press before that, but we'll keep you informed.
A pencil sketch by Ken Laing based on a postcard circa 1915, "Dunning Burn at the Granco". Ken speaks to us January 16 about the Burn.
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS IN DUNNING
A round-up of contemporary Dunning: Sunday, July 7, 1996
As I told my wife when I picked her up that evening at Gleneagles station, it had been a wonderful tranquil Sunday in Dunning. I had gone out for a walk at eight a.m., strolled up to the Dragon enjoying the sweet warm air and the empty streets, then gone back down to the village shops for the messages, and back home to garden. The rest of that Sunday had been similarly quiet, for of course even in the summer nothing ever really happens in Dunning.
Arriving home, my wife went out to inspect the back garden. And there was our Lower Granco neighbour Judy Harper across the fence, crying out "Well, Patricia, you missed all the excitement this morning!" My description of that uneventful morning and any reputation I had as an accurate observer began swiftly to unravel.
Apparently Judy had been in her garden just after eight that morning when she was startled by loud snortings from across her garden wall which runs parallel to the burn. Animals of some kind, obviously. She dashed through the house in time to see two large black and white cows pass her front door heading up the Lower Granco. Investigating further, she discovered that the cattle had broken through the fence of an Ochil Gardens house behind hers, trampling the garden to get out to the burn.
Hmm, that would account for the dung splashed on the street when I returned from doing the messages. It had been noticed too by Sergeant Peter Macnab when he headed off from his home on the Lower Granco for the police station in Auchterarder.
At the station, he discovered that a phone call had come in at 1.30 am from two other Lower Granco residents, John and Morna Lochtie. Returning home from a party in Perth, they had come across a herd of cattle on the Perth Road at Drum of Garvock. Despite John's attempts to drive by without disturbing them, the cattle seemed intent on heading towards Dunning, a mile away.
The cattle were black and whites, Friesians. The only dairy herd in that area belongs to Ian Mitchell of Innerdunning. Constable Ian Campbell phoned him, and within minutes Ian Mitchell was out with two men looking for the cattle.
They were bullocks, and fast-moving. Ian had pastured them in a field next to the Perth Road. Investigating, he found that two sections of fence had been knocked flat, opening into an adjacent barley field. Four bullocks were still there, but fourteen had disappeared through the open gate of the barley field.
Eventually, three of the bullocks were captured going down the road to Wellhill farm, and four more were discovered investigating the night-time delights of Romangate. But the other seven were missing. After searching for three hours, Ian and his men had to go back to look after the milking at Innerdunning.
Nobody knows for sure, but it appears the other seven Friesians had gone into Ochil Gardens, trampled a fence leading to the burn, and spent some time grazing and then drinking the water of the ford at the bottom of the Lower Granco. As I sauntered up the Lower Granco just before eight, they must have been following almost on my heels.
Eventually, about nine o'clock, after encounters with a number of people and vehicles on Perth Road and the Upper Granco, the seven runaways were rounded up by Ian Mitchell and his helpers and returned to Innerdunning. That evening we started to tell friend Finella Wilson of Newtown of Pitcairns about the village cow invasion. "That's right," she said in that one-up way that Dragon people sometimes have in talking to us lower villagers, "there were 28 cows got loose last night on the Dunnock". As she said this, it suddenly occurred to me I had seen another unusual sprinkling of dung somewhere else in Dunning that morning, on the Dragon.
And it was true. Stewart Henderson put the story straight. At 10 o'clock the previous evening he had encountered cattle on the Bridge of Earn Road just next to the village. Some were in Ron Robertson's field across the road, others were in Angus Howie's field leading up the Dunnock. Stewart knew exactly what had happened: a weak section of the fence just behind the Doigs' house had given way. The cattle belonging to Willie Hendry of Balquhidder had broken into the Dunnock. Stewart rounded them up in Angus Howie's field and closed the gate. But there is no fence between Angus' sloping field and the Dunnock, and it seems some of them during the night probably wandered through the midway path leading to the Dragon itself.
Alerted by Stewart, Willie Hendry and his wife arrived at four o'clock in the morning. They gathered their still-wandering cows and put them in a securely fenced field next to Hendersons'. As they drove around in their Landrover, they noticed a couple in another vehicle apparently on a similar mission. The two roundups, the Hendrys' and the Mitchells' coincided at that point.
Rotten posts accounted for the Hendry herd getting loose, but why had the Mitchell bullocks got out of a secure field? Constable Ian Campbell's opinion was that they had been spooked. And in Ian Mitchell's opinion, it had been a powerful scare since the bullocks trampled down two strong sections of fence.
There was one other non-happening that night of July 7. At.Findony farmhouse, under reconstruction south of Dunning, there was a break-in. The time of the break-in was estimated at 1.30 in the morning. £9,000 of tools and building equipment were reported stolen.
Had the thieves spooked Ian Mitchell's bullocks as a distraction? Or was there another cause? A week later a neighbour reported to Ian he had seen men racing greyhounds in the moonlight in a field just opposite to where the bullocks were pastured. Had they been there too on the night of July 7?
No, nothing ever happens in tranquil, out of the way Dunning. But if it does, you know you can rely on it being spotted by us keen-eyed local observers.
CHILDHOOD HELP WANTED
Have you any interesting relics of Dunning childhood like toys, old photos, old clothes, historical games or other mementos of childhood? Alan and Grace Mcfarlane are looking for items to exhibit at our Society Coffee Morning on the theme of Village Childhood on Saturday, November 2. If you have any items you're willing to lend, please call them at 684 376. We'll also welcome donations on the day of home-baking and prizes for the raffle. Can you help?
!!!!!!! CHRISTMAS BARGAIN PACKAGE !!!!!!!
one-time offer valid only until the end of 1996
A pair of 1996 mementos of Dunning ideal for gift mailing: one VHS (PAL) copy of the new 9 minute video "Introducing Dunning, Perthshire" plus one copy of the booklet "In Full Swing" by Barbara Gordon and Mary Thomson
Bargain price for members £6.95 for both items (regular cost £9.54). postage included. For non-members the Christmas offer is £8.95
Please make out cheques to D.P.H.S. and send to treasurer Bill Peebles, 10 Romangate, Dunning PH2 0SU (tel 01764 684 782)
WEBSITE PLAN DEVELOPMENTS
You'll recall that in the last newsletter we told you about the Society's innovative plan to establish a history Web-site in Dunning. This means that in essence we would develop a digital library of all the historical material (text and pictures) about the village which we have collected now and will in future collect. This material would be readily available to members and to other residents and pupils through local access points called work-stations.
In effect the project will combine in one place, available all year round, the wonderful material of events like the Village Images picture show, the St. Serf's stone inscriptions, books about the village, plus much much more. It would be a village library and archive, and thanks to the easy communication system called the Internet, the material would be available to outsiders as well. That's where the Web-site comes in. It's a powerful computer enabling us to store all the information, and also able to send this data to the outside world (including to members outwith Dunning). Felicity Martin explained about the Web-site to our busy September 19 meeting in St. Serf's.
How's it to be paid for? As chair Ian Philip reassured the September 19 meeting, not by dipping into regular Society revenues or by affecting regular Society activities. Already nearly £12,000 has been raised for the project, Liz Fletcher reported, £10,000 of this being a donation by Ian Philip to get the project going. Liz explained that considerably more monies are required for a top-line level of equipment plus programmes, training and guidance. £47,000 has been asked of Heritage Lottery funds in a 29-page application prepared by a subcommittee chaired by Liz with important input by Jane Rigby. The response to the application won't be announced until next April.
The meeting screened a 9-minute video "Introducing Dunning, Perthshire" which is to be sent to the Lottery Commission as part of our application. The video was made by a team including Janet Crowe, Lorne Wallace, Liz and Willie Fletcher, David Doig and Steve Partridge, and obviously has merit as a bit of a money-raiser in its own right (see opposite page).
While we wait for the application result, plans are that we will continue to accumulate information and material to store in the computer when we get it.
A MAIDSERVANT'S MEMORIES
by Mrs. Isabel Wallace
Mrs. Wallace lived at Dalshian, Muckhart Road, Dunning, where a couple of years ago Mrs. Peggy Smith transcribed this interview with her. Mrs. Wallace lives now at Glencairn, Auchterarder.
I was born in Murthly where my father was fourth gardener at Murthly Castle. We lived in Gellyburn Cottage.
When I was still very young the family moved to Mount Wood, Aberuthven. This belonged to the Chinery Haldane Estate. My father was forester.
I started school at Aberuthven, but shortly afterwards we moved to Bruch Bane Farm, Strath Tummel. That belonged to Atkinson Clark. I attended Strath Tummel school. It was a one-teacher school with about 15 to 20 pupils, our teacher being Miss McLaren. It was quite a long way from home. We had to walk along a sandy path. In summer we walked in our bare feet and loved it.
Then came another move. This time we went to McKinlay's (of whisky fame) lodge in Foss. I was at school there till I was thirteen. Then I was exempted from school to keep house when my mother was ill for six months.
My father became a gardener again when we moved to Marshall's of Bleaton Hallet and we were there when I went at the age of fourteen and a half as under-housemaid at McIntyre's, Kinkell Bridge.
That was pretty awful. I was up at five in the morning and worked till late at night, making beds, lighting fires, and sweeping with brush and shovel. I always remember washing the black and white marble steps at the front door. Long stone passages had to be scrubbed. The cooks ruled the roost. Four of us slept in one room with no fire even in winter. It was very difficult trying to dry our long hair.
I was paid five shillings a week. We were allowed to go to church every second Sunday and had to hurry back for lunch. Then the girls left in the house would play tricks and hide our caps and aprons. We were all young with no sense.
I then went to work for the Warden of Glenalmond College, Mr. Canon Mathieson. There was the mother and Misses Adeline and Margaret and Master Frank. The mother was often ill and you had to stand in for everything. My own mother became ill and I had to leave Glenalmond to look after her.
My next move was to Linlather, Dundee to work for jute people. I worked as a tablemaid.
Mr. Marshall wrote to my father to say that the Hon. Bernard Rollo, Kelty Castle, needed a gardener. We went there in April 1928 and were very happy. We stayed there for thirty years, latterly working for Major Sanderson.
During that time I went back to Glenalmond. Then I met my husband, Dave. He was head forester with Lady Wilson at Kippen House. We went together for seven years and then married in 1938. At that time I was house tablemaid with Dr. Trotter in Perth. We lived in Viewbank, Dunning, where the Stockleys now live.
War came. Dave joined the Home Guard and I did nursing service with the V.A.D. at Gleneagles (then a military hospital) and St. Margaret's, Auchterarder. We had two evacuees for three years.
Dave had been badly gassed and was a prisoner of war during the First World War and his health suffered as a result.. We had only been married twelve years and our son was just six when Dave died in 1950.
I came to Dalshian, Muckhart Road, in May 1950 and had to work again, at Pitcairns, the Manse and various places. I was paid 6d an hour. When I was married I earned £48 a year as a cook, But you could buy a coat. dress and shoes for £5.
I have seen many changes in the village, notably the renovation of the houses up the Dragon and the extensions all over the village.
Mrs Isabel Wallace, 1994
ANOTHER HEPBURN HEARD FROM
In our July issue, Don Hepburn of Scarborough, Ontario, recalled a vivid experience being evacuated from Edinburgh to Dunning. Here's a postscript from older brother Jim Hepburn, a DPHS member who lives in Dunoon.
My brother's letter brings back many exciting memories of the frequent trips as a small boy over the Firth of Forth, sailing either on the Robert the Bruce or Queen Margaret ferries. In the early thirties these plied between North and South Queensferry. The Kincardine Bridge further up the estuary wasn't opened until 1939, if my memory serves me rightly, so a journey by car from Edinburgh to the village entailed a round trip via Stirling and Auchterarder, whereas the ferry was a shorter journey and certainly more interesting.
It must have have been quite an upheaval for our parents to uproot themselves with two small children from the comparative tranquility of a small Perthshire village to the bustle of a tenement building in Bonaly Place, Edinburgh. The primary school we attended, Craiglockhart, was more like an army barracks than a school, and my brother told me that Sean Connery, later known as 007, was in fact in his class.
As my brother so rightly said, petrol coupons were scarce and the few my father got were principally for business purposes, so it was not surprising that many of our journeys to Dunning to visit relatives were made by train, pulled by steam engines well-polished by their drivers. On arrival at Dunning Station we were met by the village bus and an array of cars operated by Steven's garage. My favourite car was undoubtedly his Belgian "Minerva" with its sleeve valve engine, which due to the engine design belched forth a steady stream of blue smoke.
The fateful Sunday when war was declared we were actually in Dunning visiting our grandparents. My brother and I were evacuated to the village twice, the first time to our grandfather's in the village itself. The second time we were split between the two aunts, he in the village and me to Boghall Farm, from where I walked to the village school every day.
James Hepburn, 48 Royal Crescent, Dunoon Argyllshire, PA23 7AQ
From Mrs. Myra Andrews, Erskine, Strathclyde, July/96:
Thank you very much for the last newsletter which I enjoyed very much. I wish this had been set up in my father's time; he would have enjoyed it too as he often talked about the people up in Dunning. I was very young when we stayed there and unfortunately the names do ring a bell but people don't. My husband and I hope to take a day up in Dunning again, his health being a bit mixed. Kindest regards to you all, and I hope the Society goes from strength to strength.
From Trevor Fulton, Tanatea, Napier, New Zealand, July/96:
Keep up the great publication. I eagerly race to the letterbox for days on end when I know the next newsletter is due. I feel so guilty I can't contribute, but 140 years since my forefathers came to the Antipodes means any letters from Dunning have been lost.
I came across Rev. James Russell's report on the Parish of Dunning, November 1842, which I guess your Society has. If not, let me know.
I hope to cross the seas in 1999 to support our national treasure "The All Blacks" at the next World Cup. I plan to spend 3 weeks in Scotland, a good part in Perthshire. So hopefully I'll be able to participate in some village activities and look at the history the Society has gathered. I'm always available to give a talk on life in the "Shaky Isles" if you can stomach colonial accents. Hope your Barn Dance is a raging success and I look forward to Newsletter No. 17.
At July's Barn Dance, a certificate marking the Society's first life membership was presented to Lorne Wallace by former DPHS secretary Shona Sinclair. The beautiful framed certificate had been prepared by Albie Sinclair. The life membership was given, chair Ian Philip explained, to mark Lorne's work as founding chair of the Society. He continues to be a member of the Society's committee. On behalf of wife Patricia and himself, Lorne gave thanks for the honour, previously intimated at the May AGM. Lorne served as chair of the Society from 1992-5, succeeded by Colin Young and now Ian Philip.
THE DPHS AUTUMN-WINTER PROGRAMME
Thursday, October 31, 7:30 pm Village Hall. Andy Wightman is author of the fascinating new book Who Owns Scotland? He tells us the story of his research, and the surprises he has come up with..
Saturday, November 2, 10 am, Village Hall. Coffee morning on a Childhood Theme. After last year's successful Matrimonial event, what could be more natural than an event featuring mementoes and photos of village infancy. Loans of items and photos are being sought: please contact Alan and Grace McFarlane 684 376.
Thursday, November 28, 7:30 am, Village Hall. "Leadketty As it Used To Be". What finds of interest have three years of amateur archaeological fieldwalks around Dunning turned up? What has expert scrutiny of our finds revealed? Mark Hall and Mike King hold a show and tell session.
Thursday, January 16, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "Water Under the Bridge". Dunning Burn has been at various times village water source, wildlife haven, site for industry, playground, supplier of food, sometimes a hazard to people and homes along its banks. Ken Laing takes us on a photographic tour through space and time.
Thursday, February 20, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "The Tradesmen Tell Tales" A group of Dunning tradesmen, some retired, relate reminiscences of their crafts in a live videotaping session.
Friday, March 20, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "Romancing the Stones". Three admirers of standing stones tell of their love for these ancient monuments: David Jeffery of Invermay. and professional photographers David and Dorothy Greenhill of Perth.
Coming up in April: an inter-club visit, in May our AGM taking us from Dunning to Abruthven to Auchterarder on a combined meeting/field trip/tea with guide Dr. Joan Macintosh, and in June a coach tour. Plus other trips.
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