NEWSLETTER No 7
This season has seen ever-widening participation of members and friends in the activities of the Society. The lead was shown by the busy individuals on the executive committee and was taken up by many of you in and outwith Dunning. Page 2 tells about some recent activities.
We have also been receiving generous help from outside bodies and individuals. With grants from Tayside Region and Perth & Kinross District added to funds raised by the Society, we'll shortly purchase the computer and printer required for our History Database project. Continued help from people like the staff of Tayside Education, the Perth Libraries and Perth Museum has made several other projects possible. Many individual Dunning people kindly continue to donate memorabilia and old photos. And we're grateful for the wide community participation in the past season's concert and ceilidh, the museum and coffee morning and other events.
The forthcoming season promises many more chances of participation, with events like a big reunion for ex-evacuees and villagers, a bus tour, a boat trip, a summer museum, evening meetings, ceilidh, coffee morning and field trips, plus plans for more publications and videos.
More immediately, the 1993-94 season winds up with a historical country walk, field trips, a visit to Alloa and then our AGM which will feature an outstanding guest speaker, Betty Willsher. For details of coming events, please see last page.
WHO'S DOING WHAT
Capturing facts from the past! An energetic team of DPHS members is currently visiting the Sandeman Library transcribing data from the old 1841 to 1891 censuses of Dunning. This is being put on forms for transfer to our History Database when our computer arrives. The team is led by Nan Ross and includes Grace MacFarlane, Myrtle Potter, Nancy Hurry, Peggy Smith, Isobel Barnett, Ann Scott, Pamela Bain, Helen Ferguson, Peter Duncan and Iain and Kate Lambie. The end result of this project? A much readier access to historic information about Dunning.
Ken Laing, Peter Duncan and Isobel Barnett, in another project, are collecting data from fallen gravestones in St Serfs recently lifted by Perth & Kinross District Council, and organising the information for the History Database. Oral history taping is going on slowly but steadily: among those working on this project is Peggy Smith. Peggy recently interviewed one of our oldest members, Mrs Ina Hepburn, who also gave the Society some delightful mementos and photos.
The newsletter production team is being expanded to include three young executive members, Catherine and Louise Crowe and Kirsty McNab who, with Patricia Wallace and Jill Tanner, take over responsibility for reproducing and distributing the DPHS newsletters. As publisher, Lorne Wallace co-ordinates content, Finella Wilson looks after layout and accuracy, Albie Sinclair contributes graphics, Will Donaldson lends a hand with script vetting, and typesetting is now being contracted out. Our thanks to Colin Young for all his time and hard work printing and distributing our first six issues.
The Village Vignette video series narrated by Janet Crowe continues in production. The original five videos are being re-edited: The Evacuees, The Tattle Holidays, and The Return of the POW for use in Tayside schools, and The Butler's Son and The Thorntree for local school and visitor use. Other productions are planned. We're grateful for help from Jill Tanner, Auchterarder High and Perth Grammar staff, plus technical aid from Colin and Jane Young and Willie and Elizabeth Fletcher.
David Doig, Ken Laing, Sheena Proff and Lorne Wallace lead the organising of a Museum for a Few Days in July. See Coming Events, Page 12.
REMINISCENCES OF A DUNNING EVACUEE
(In the first of this series, RON IRELAND of Culloden described how, on 3 September 1939, he and sisters Margaret and Lily were evacuated to Dunning, to be billeted with David and Agnes Hurry over their family grocery shop. The children's mother joined them that night, having persuaded the authorities to let her come as an evacuee's helper.)
Next morning dawned bright and sunny (Monday 4 September 1939). My sister Margaret and I were up early and found that the view from our little attic window overlooked St Serfs churchyard, dominated by the imposing Norman tower of the old kirk. (Passing through the village years later, I noticed that our little window had been bricked in, but its traces could still be seen.)
After breakfast I helped Mr Hurry load his van with groceries, which he delivered to farms, bothies and other customers outwith the village two or three days each week. I accepted his offer to accompany him on these trips with great enthusiasm. Arrangements for our schooling had, as yet, not been finally agreed by the authorities and, for the next few weeks, I like to think I was of some help with these deliveries.
I'll never forget that day as I paid my first visit to a bothy. With a basket of groceries on my arm I lifted the latch of the door and walked in. The workers, of course, were all out at various jobs around the farm. Approaching the table on which I had been instructed to leave the supplies, I was horrified to see a large number of mice scurrying off. I had apparently disturbed them enjoying breakfast from the leftovers which littered the table. I couldn't get out of that place quickly enough!
I thoroughly enjoyed these journeys with Mr Hurry and I still remember the kindness of several elderly lady customers on our rounds who invited us in for a hot bowl of soup or cup of tea, most welcome on a cold autumn day. In my mind's eye I can still see a little well-kept cottage on a sharp corner of the road between Forteviot and Forgandenny, and another more isolated cottage on a hillside up at Path of Condie.
School started up, but owing to the influx of evacuees, accommodation proved inadequate and it was decided that we would attend on mornings only and the local children in the afternoons. Things were rather at sixes and sevens for some time until better arrangements were made, as when older children, including myself, were moved from Miss Philp's school to Mr Benzies 'big' school. We evacuees were taught by our own teachers who had come with us from Glasgow. After a few months all the older pupils were transferred to Auchterarder High School (headmaster Mr 'Pop' Dobson) to continue our secondary education. We then travelled back and forward each day by courtesy of Mr Stevens' old bus.
Whilst at Dunning School, however, we were delighted to find that the children in these parts enjoyed an extra three week "tattie holidays", unheard of back in city schools.
The farmers had plenty of volunteers that autumn. Margaret and I (Lily being too young) received our invitation in the "art" at Broadleys Farm along the Auchterarder Road, and after the initial back-breaking experiences, we were soon fully-fledged 'tattie-howkers'. We were of course only able to tackle 'half-bits', for which we received the princely sum of 2/6d (12Mp) per day.
A 'half-bit' usually measured about 10 meters of a furrow or 'drill' and this the farmer carefully stepped out, planting twigs to show where one's section began and ended. I remember it would seem we had hardly finished filling our 'sculls' (or creels) before the pair of big, panting horses were back again, pulling the digger and churning out potatoes from the next drill.
In the years ahead I was to graduate to a 'whole bit' and, in addition, turned my hand each spring to planting potatoes, and to thinning and'sheughing' neeps (topping and tailing turnips) by means of a 'sheugh' or sickle. Most of these jobs were performed on the same farm, Baldinnes, off the Perth Road. The farmers there were the Mclnroy brothers and the younger, Tam, I remember with affection for his kindness and droll humour.
Another farm my sister and I worked on in the school summer holidays was the Hall Farm near Smiddyhaugh, Aberuthven. There it was to join the hard-working country folk at 'the berries'. This was always a very tedious task and it seemed to take ages to fill our pails with raspberries which we then took to the weighing machines, where we were paid on the spot. We received 1d per pound of berries and, as it took us all day to pick about 40 to 50 lbs (around 20 kgs), our daily wage was approximately 20p. It has to be remembered, however, that farm workers' average wages in those days amounted to about £3 per week.
Returning to earlier times again: frost, ice and snow heralded the early arrival of the War's first winter and Mr Hurry's van had quite some difficulty during the weekly deliveries negotiating the narrow twisting roads around the district.
Sometime in December I remember trudging through quite deep drifts down the Station Road as I made my way on my first visit back to our home in Glasgow. I was on my own and I remember it was a long lonely journey. This must have been during the winter break from school and I believe I stayed only for a few days with my father and oldest sister. They had both already paid a few visits to Dunning since September as on one Sunday each month the parents of the evacuees chartered a bus for a trip to see their children.
Our first Christmas away from home was not too unhappy an experience for us, and was made more bearable by dear Mrs Hurry who did her best to keep our spirits up, and even managed to find presents for us all. Knowing my fondness for Scotch Dumpling she presented me with a beautifully-cooked home-made Christmas Pudding. (No, I didn't eat it all myself!) She also gave me a book on Aircraft Modelling, which was instrumental in introducing me to a hobby which has interested me ever since and a life-long love of aeroplanes. Later in the War I remember she displayed my models, with those of a friend, Alex Steel, in her shop window during 'Wings for Victory Week'.
These special weeks, for various causes, were instigated by the Government from time to time to help the 'war effort'. Towns and villages throughout the land were encouraged to raise funds to pay for aircraft, armaments, tanks, ships, etc. To take the aforementioned 'Wings for Victory Week' as an example, many fighters and bombers bore the names of towns and cities which had raised the necessary amounts to pay for them.
The New Year of 1940 was ushered in with more heavy falls of snow. The evacuees had never seen so much before and we had a great time, with many a snow-ball fight and sledging up in the field by the side of the Dragon Hill, which served as a park for the children. A few years later a young local boy was tragically killed sledging there.
This was the period of the 'phoney war' in France when the opposing armies were dug in for the winter and it appeared that the combatants were content to wait until either side was prepared to make the first move. The Allies were behind the heavily fortified Maginot Line and the Germans their Siegfried Line. In actual fact, Germany was actively preparing for a mighty Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) to be launched later in the spring.
When the 'big push' did take place the enemy, adopting the old Schlieffen Plan which had worked for them in the Great War of 1914-18, swept sideways through the Low Countries and Belgium into France, thus rendering the mighty Maginot Line redundant.
By mid-May the German armies were at the gates of Paris and the Allies had been rolled back towards the Channel ports. The rest, as they say, is history and thousands of words have been written about the 'miracle of Dunkirk'. This took place in early June 1940, as France capitulated. Newspapers and newsreels were full of the amazing escape of over 330,000 Allied troops, lifted from the beaches by an armada of warships and every conceivable type of sailing craft down to the smallest cabin-cruisers and motor-boats.
Unfortunately all of our heavy equipment, tanks, guns, etc and most of our small arms had to be abandoned and Britain was, at this time, left in an extremely precarious position, practically unarmed.
All these happenings had their effect on the life of Dunning as well as the rest of the country. Invasion appeared imminent and this was the time Winston Churchill made is famous "We'll fight on the beaches..." speech and suggested the creation of a civilian army. So it was that Dunning saw the formation of her LDV platoon (Local Defence Volunteers) which was soon to become known as the Home Guard.
An enthusiastic group of local men, drawn from all age groups, trades and professions, met a few evenings each week for small-arms training and marching drills. Armed with shotguns, hunting pieces and a variety of weapons, they often spent the weekends on military manoeuvres. Roadblocks were prepared, ready to be placed in position on all roads leading into the village.
'I'm sure these worthy gentlemen would have given a good account of themselves had the occasion arisen. Thankfully the enemy failed to take advantage of this country's weakness and instead decided to establish air superiority before launching 'Operation Sea-Lion' (invasion of Britain).
Over the late summer and into autumn of 1940 newspaper and radio broadcasts were filled with the amazing accounts of the huge air battles which were taking place down south, as the RAF took on the might of the Luftwaffe. The weather at that particular time was glorious, with hours of hot sun each day (which my pals and I enjoyed to the full, playing war games up in the 'Den' and swimming in the 'Poly'). The Battle of Britain appeared to reach its climax around 15 September. I can still see the Daily Express headline for that day: "145 Enemy Aircraft Downed!".
In later years we read that this figure had been 'slightly' exaggerated. Nevertheless over these months the Germans had lost such a large percentage of their air fleets that the idea of invasion was postponed and instead a policy of strategic bombing was adopted. Of course in Britain we were unaware of these changes of plans and it was to be a few years before the threat of invasion fully receded. Meanwhile, the Home Guard had to maintain a constant vigilance and remain in a state of readiness for any eventuality.
(to be concluded next issue)
AN AUCHTERARDER PILGRIMAGE
Interested in visiting some rarely-seen sites around Auchterarder? Friday evening, 17 June, the Auchterarder history group holds a pilgrimage (by car) to early local Christian chapel sites and DPHS members are invited along. Meeting time is 7.00pm at the Crown Hotel car park and leader, Prue Kennard, advises wearing wellies for brambles, if not mud.
PLACENAME NOTES : WORK IN PROGRESS
By Angus Watson, Collingwood, Forgandenny
In my notes in Newsletter No 4, I mentioned the earlier threefold division of Pitcairns which has left its mark in the surviving names of Middle Third and Knock of West Third. At the time I had seen no trace of an East Third but since then I have come across 'East Third called Boghall in the Register of Seisins for 1794. Boghall (08 sq 0413) is, in fact, mentioned in a charter of 1527 side by side with 'terras de Ester-third de Petcarne', the lands of the Easter Third of Pitcairns, which may suggest that the two holdings were closely associated, at that time, without necessarily being combined. By 1829 the Register of the Seisins has 'the Town and lands of Boghall sometimes known by the names of Boghall and Longdrums', so by then Boghall had ceased to be 'East Third' and was seemingly associated with Longdrum.
'Boghall' and 'Longdrums' continued to appear as independent names for a while but Longdrum disappeared as an independent holding after 1860. Its site is still known and I am told by Mr George Ritchie that it was at GR 044128, south of Knock of Boghall. Ken Laing tells me that the stretch of road that passes to the south of here is still known as'the Long Drum'.
Other names associated with the Pitcairns land have come and gone too, sometimes leaving some sign of their former presence, sometimes not. I have a note of 'Hole of Pitcairns', which seems to have been a farm or some other kind of dwelling, between 1606 and 1806 at least. There was a 'Cotterknow of Pitcairns' from 1653 to 1818 at least. Here would live the farm servants, each family in a 'Cot' or tied cottage, perhaps each with a small piece of land for their own use. The various 'Cotterknows', 'Cottertouns' and 'Cottouns' in the Ochils area had all disappeared from the records by about the middle of the nineteenth century. They seem to have fallen victim to progress in the shape of the agricultural improvements set in motion during the previous century, which led to amalgamation and a reduction in the number of farms and the adopting of techniques which were less labour intensive. It all sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?
Ken Laing pointed out to me that a reminder of the existence of the cotter's toun at Cotterknowe survives in the name of the two cottages at GR 023140, which may well be the original location. A similar kind of community would be found at 'Raw of Boghall', from Scots 'Raw', a row of farm workers' cottages, which is mentioned in Dunning Parish Register in the eighteenth century.
A piece of land called Torbreckwell', perhaps with a dwelling, perhaps not, occurs only once in the records I have looked at, in 1794. Part of the barony of Pitcairns, it is a kind of fossil suddenly unearthed after four or five hundred years at least, since it must come from a Gaelic hill named Torr Breac', speckled rounded hill, and so date back to the time when Gaelic was spoken here, 900 to 1350 approximately. I wonder if anyone has heard of it since?
There was a waulk mill at Pitcairns in the mid eighteenth century, that is to say a fulling mill where newly woven cloth was soaked in various unsavoury-seeming substances and then pounded with water-driven wooden pestles. This tightened up the weave, shrinking and thickening the cloth to make it more weatherproof. 1 have found records of four or five waulk mills in the Ochils area, including one at Glow and one at Muckerside, but there were almost certainly more.
Granco: Still a bit of a mystery. Granco is not one of the names I have been looking into but I have noted down a few references to it that I have seen while working on other names. In the sixteenth century, 'Granco', etc was the name of the chapel lands of Dunning. In the next century it was big enough for one holding on it to extend to three acres, but I do not know how much bigger it was than that. In the late eighteenth century it still carried crofts, and the last reference to it I have seen dated from 1801. That mine of information, Ken Laing, tells me that about that time major restructuring of Dunning village was carried out. Perhaps the new incarnation of 'Granco' was a street name dated from that period. The 1801 reference reads: 'the houses and yard of Granco benorth Dunning on the West Side of the burn'. This sounds as if Granco was thought of as being distinct from Dunning proper. It also gives us a location but as the extract is perhaps referring to only one specific part of Granco it doesn't give us an extent or tell us in which direction(s) the rest of Granco lay.
Less can be said with certainty about 'Granco' as a name. The earliest reference I have spells the name 'Granto'. Now confusion of'c' and 't' was not uncommon in the transcription of early documents as the letters looked similar. But is 'Granto' the only correct form I've seen, with 'Granco' a later misreading that caught on? Or is 'Granto' a one-off mistake among a lot of "correct" Grancos? Either is possible. The most I can say is that 'Granco' doesn't make sense to me whereas 'Granto' is a perfectly possible development of Gaelic 'Granntach' 'Granndach', a Gralach someone of the name Grant. I am told that there is no known record of Grants being landowners at any time in the Dunning area. The time were are talking about may be as early as the 1240s or 1250s, when the Grants first came to Scotland. It is true that from the beginning the Grants settled mainly in the North East, but it is at least possible that some unrecorded Grant was here for a while.
One of the things placename study can do is to bring out in this way the possibilities contained in the names as language. These may subsequently be proved or disproved by other forms of research, but by approaching the past from a different angle, placenames can often provide stimulating suggestions.
Copyright Angus Watson 1994
(Mr Watson's book on Place-names in the Ochils is to be published by Perth & Kinross Libraries later this year. We are grateful for his contributions to this and previous newsletters and hope in future he will again so honour us.)
TALES FOR A WINTER NIGHT
Thanks to those who have contributed to the success of the winter lecture series. Despite terrible weather, Kirsty Doig drew a great crowd in January with her talk on Dunning's lost churches. A Village Vignette video The Butler's Son' with John and Mabel Stockley was shown. Alistair Lawson of the Scottish Rights of Way Society gave a fine general talk in February on rights of way, followed up by suggestions on the diplomacy with which a footpath system might be planned. Bruce Summerton contributed video footage of the '93 flood in Dunning to that meeting. As we go to press, Joe Black, Nan Ross and David Doig have plans to entertain us with Members Night talks on the Celtic Cross in St Serfs, Gaelic in Dunning Parish, and the history and natural history of the Den. Thanks to Judi Slater and Jane Young for the always welcome and warming refreshments, and to Simon Warren for audio-recording the speakers for our archives.
EVACUEE REUNION PLANNED
A joint committee of former Dunning evacuees, George Boardman of East Kilbride and Lily (Freeland) King of Cumbemauld and DPHS members, Nancy Hurry, Rita Laing and Les McColl, an ex-evacuee who lives in Dunning) is making plans for a big Evacuees' Reunion in Dunning on Friday and Saturday, 2 and 3 September 1994. Plans are that evacuees and their spouses will be billeted with DPHS members and other villagers. On the Friday, evacuees will visit Dunning and Auchterarder classes to tell children about their experiences, and in the evening see the premiere of the DPHS video, The Evacuees' at a special Society get-together. On Saturday, there'll be 'memory tours' of the village, and a wind-up dance. Anyone interested in billeting or being billeted is asked to contact Nancy Hurry (0764 684 355), Rita Laing (0764 684 484 or Les McColl (4 Croft Terrace, Dunning PH2 OSD, 0764 684 488).
ANOTHER NOTE FROM HENRY CAMPBELL, TORONTO : BORN DUNNING, 1900
As you know, Milk is now pasturised and delivered in bottles from some outside dairy to the various households in the village. This is the modern way but not so many years ago everything was vastly different. In Dunning there were six people who kept cows and there were two fields for them to gra7,e in, the Perth Road Cow Park and what is now the Golf Course. John Maclellan had three or four cows, Mrs H Duncan four or five, James Hepburn six, Mrs Wallace four and Joe Walker seven cows. Up the Dragon and using the Red Sea puffer, Marshall had three or four cows. Milk was cheap and you could buy a half penny worth. You had to bring a jug to hold your purchase. Of course there was a delivery system. When I was 11 I delivered milk for Mrs Wa)lace every morning except Saturday and Sunday for which I was paid 5 pence a week and all the milk I could drink and now and then a duck egg or a slice of bread with her famous Rhubarb and Ginger jam. I may add that in those days a slice of bread was a treat because flour was used in its natural state and bread had a flavour unlike the white tasteless bread of today. Milk delivery was simple. Mrs Wallace had a number of Flagons of various sizes, some held a penny worth of milk, some tuppence worth and so on. The big filled tins were in the centre and small flagons attached to the handles by a system of hooks. It really boils down to the large tin in the centre carrying all the others. The customers were a silent lot, seldom ever said a word and never gave me anything. The minister's housekeeper accused me of drinking the cream. I didn't like cream....
24 April Sunday, 10.00am David Doig leads a history/natural history tour of the Den. Meet at top of the Dragon at Doig residence, Glenview.
1 May Saturday. Please note the change of date, one week earlier than previously announced, at Alloa's request. A visit to Alloa district as guests of the Clackmannan history group. Convoy leaves from St Serfs at 10.00am. Please bring a picnic lunch.
21 May Saturday at 2.00pm at Dunning School. Please note change ofvenue. OurAnnual General Meeting. Guest Speaker our Leader, Betty Willsher, author and authority on Scottish
graveyards, leads the tour of St Serfs and, if time permits, other nearby graveyards.
5 June Sunday, 10.00am. A History Walk to a hill croft, led by Colin Young (684 521). Leaving from Dunning Primary School at 10.00am.
17 June Friday. Auchterarder Pilgrimage to old chapels (see page 7).
Circa 2-10 July A Museum for a Few Days based on last year's fine Museum for a Day, to be held daytimes in the Scout Hut. Loans of objects for the Museum will be gratefully received (please call Ken Laing 684 598, David Doig 684 321 or Lorne Wallace 684 581). Volunteers needed to staff the Museum please call Sheena Proff (684 550).
27 August Saturday. Boat trip to the Isle of May, Firth of Forth, to visit a dig with Fife archaeologist, Peter Yeoman. Trip organized through Perthshire Society of Natural Sciences. Boat-trip costs £9 (£8 pensioners). Booking and money to Shona Sinclair (684 566) please. Space is limited: please book quickly.
2/3 Sept Friday and Saturday. Evacuees Reunion. (see previous page).
Archeological Field Walks. this year Mike Ring of Perth Museum is organising field-walks in various Perthshire locales: DPHS members are very welcome to attend. In September, a Dunning field-walk close to the site of 1993's successful event is planned. Please contact Shona Sinclair (684 566) to be kept informed of all these walks.