Dunning Parish Historical Society in Perthshire Scotland has local Dunning history data including dunning village census and grave yard geneaology records Dunning history society logo text

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A Touch of Barbados - APRIL 2001

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Titivating is what you might call it. This winter, independently, various members of your committee have been thinking of ways to spruce up the image of the Society, including this newsletter.

On a mid-winter sojourn in Winnipeg, the editor has been taking instruction in desk-top publishing. Please note that the contents of the newsletter remain exactly the same: the good solid articles and art and poetry from many contributors. What we're trying to do is to present this fine material with as high a quality reproduction as we can, and in as attractive a format as we can devise.

Advising the editor has been a veteran newspaperman and author originally from Barbados, Harold Marshall. He and his Edinburgh-born wife have an abiding and intense interest in Scotland: Harold's first stop on the Internet every morning is to read the Scotsman newspaper, and for many years he and his wife have journeyed to Scotland annually. We hope to lure him to Dunning to speak to us as the author of over 100 short stories, some set in Scotland. We're grateful to Harold for many helpful suggestions. By the way, he's a great admirer of the DPHS website.

So as you leaf your way through this issue, see if you can spot some of the wee touchings up that we've been doing. And please tell us whether or not you think we're going in the right direction.

A Wonderful Winter, Says Liz

A concern in arranging a winter programme is that weather will prevent speakers from arriving, so we look for local talent. And DPHS is so fortunate in this regard, as this winter's programme superbly illustrates.

We began in December with member and businessman Ian Stothard's most informative talk on the history of Whisky. His love of the subject shone through as he explained the stages in the making of The Water of Life. A treat lay in store for members later with the opportunity to sample some wonderful malts from distilleries as far afield as Islay and Orkney.

January saw our second Burns' Supper, enjoyed every bit as much as last year's. A capacity audience met in the Village Hall to enjoy the bashed neeps and tatties with the Regal Haggis being piped in by Douglas Johnstone, carried with honour and dignity by Simon Warren and addressed with due solemnity by Ian Philip. Vice Chair Raymond Young ably chaired the meeting and gave an eloquent Toast to the Lassies with an equally entertaining reply by Elspeth Pentland. Peter Duncan gave us his grand rendition of Tam O'Shanter, followed by fine singing from Janet Crow and Alan McFarlane accompanied by Alan's wife Grace. Then member Ian Buick who'd come from his home in Berwick Upon Tweed, amazed and enthralled us with his readings, culminating in "Holy Willie's Prayer". We were even favoured with the field mouse's thoughts on Rabbie Burns, courtesy of Charlie Laing. A truly memorable evening.

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February members' night once again displayed the wealth of member talent. Felicity Martin and Andrew Thomson gave us a beautifully illustrated talk of their visit to help rebuild a monastery in the hills north of Kathmandu in Nepal. They skilfully showed us the similarities, although so far apart in distance and culture, between the way of life in Nepal and that in Scotland a few hundred years ago. Ted Dorsett followed with a poignant report of revisiting the Welsh village where as children he and his brother were evacuees. We were all moved by his search to lay the ghosts of such unhappy memories.
A typical Nepalese scene

A fourth fine evening came in March, with Bob Palmer playing video scenes of Dunning in the last two decades. Aren't we indeed fortunate to have such wonderful presentations, all provided by our own members? --Liz Fletcher, Chair, DPHS

A Dunning Farm: The Knowes

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Copied from a water colour painted by Alf Marshall

Betty's Memories

Here are recollections of Dunning in the nineteen thirties and forties
written by Betty Hutchison Taylor,
who lives now with husband Joe in Lower Granco Street.


The annexe at what was the Infant School up the brae to Newton of Pitcairns housed the Cookery and the Woodwork Department. The girls had cookery and the boys had joinery from visiting teachers.

The woodwork department was also where the School Dentist made his yearly visit and did any necessary filling and extractions.

Mr. Benzies, the Headmaster, was keen on music and we had a very successful school choir. We competed at the Perthshire Musical Festival and on more than one occasion came first and the choir was awarded the"conductor's baton" on which silver rings were placed with the name of the winner and the year.

The visit to the festival was a red letter day. We left Dunning in the morning and competed at the Festival. Afterwards we all went to Wood's Tearoom, at the corner of High and George Streets, had something to eat and then proceeded to "Woolies" to spend our money.

My earliest recollection of the Infant School would be sitting around a big stove on coconut mats getting our lessons from Miss Philip. This would take place on a cold winter's day.

Another bit of excitement came at the Big School when one day the hampers arrived from D'Oyley Carte with the costumes for the annual Gilbert and Sullivan show which was performed in the Village Hall by the Dunning Operatic Scciety.

The Country Dance Club

Dunning was unique in that we had a three piece band for our dancing every week. This consisted of Aeneas Dougall on fiddle, Jimmy Dougall on cello and Miss Gray on piano. The tempo was perfect.

We held country dances in the Village Hall and clubs from all around came. The dancing was all set dances, and we never sat down.

Brownies and Guides

We met in the Church Hall on the Perth Road. Miss Rosalind Rollo from Duncrub and Miss Lily Shearer took the Guides and Miss Frances Young (later Mrs. Harding) took Brownies. My earliest recollection of Brownies was doing my bedmaking badge down at Duncrub (the huge home of Dunning's laird, Lord Rollo). Miss Rollo took us down and we went along what seemed to be very long corridors before we came to a room in which we did our bedmaking. I seem to recollect I did pass.

As a Guide, I can recall we went along to the Beinn Kist (between Craigrossie and the next hill), where we had a campfire. No tinfoil in those days! In true Guiding tradition we cooked eggs in orange skins and sausages in banana skins.


Concerts were annual events. We would have a concert on New Year's Night in the Village Hall. The artists would all be local: Mary Dougall, Chris Smith, Nancy Hurry, Jean Somerville, George Orr, John and Walter Flockhart and Bob Dougall would be at the piano. Bob could play anything and everything.

One personal memory was another concert when the ditty "Why Am I Always the Bridesmaid" was sung by George Dougall, Charlie Laing and Joe Taylor.

The Burns Club

The Burns Club was another strong club in the village-its members were all male. They celebrated Rabbie so well on the Friday Night at Burns' time that one local businessman was unable to open his shop on the Saturday.

Burns' Suppers

These were held in the Church Hall. David Hurry would address the haggis, Mr. Walter Orr would render either Tam O'shanter or the Cotters' Saturday Night, and Nancy Hurry and Ivy Hepburn would sing Burns' songs.

A personal memory is of our son Andrew at age eighteen proposing the toast to the lasses at a St. Serf's Burns supper.

Highland Games

This was another annual summer event which was well known in the area. We had all the traditional sporting and dancing entries. The Games were held in the Alley Park (now the Rollo Park). My father was a committee member for years and took the money at a box sited at the gate. In the evening to round off the day, a dance was held in the Village Hall, usually the band was Staig's from Perth.

I hope I have jogged some memories and also that my cameos of days of yore in the village will be of interest.

-- Betty (Hutchison) Taylor, Cadzow, Dunning

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This newsletter is published quarterly, January, April, July and September by the Dunning Parish Historical Society.
Editor: Lorne Wallace Contact us At The Old Schoolhouse, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning, PH2 0SL (Telephone answer machine) 01764 684 448 or personal e-mail lornepat@hotmail.com

Ken Laing On "The Thorntree"
Here's an article which Kenny Laing wrote last June, just a month before he died. Our thanks to Greta for completing it.

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The article about the new Thorntree in the spring newsletter No. 31 brings out some questions about the original old Thorntree: When was it planted? Why was it planted? Was it the original tree or an earlier replacement which was destroyed during a night of violent gales in 1936?

From the sparse documentation available and word of mouth lore passed down through earlier generations it would appear the tree was planted in April 1716, only a few months after the burning of the village on the evening of Saturday, January 1716.

Why such haste at all? Of all the villages in the Strath that were destroyed in Mar's scorched earth policy to deny food and shelter to the advancing Argyle army, Dunning was the only one to erect any symbol of resistance. We know that Robert, the fourth Baron Rollo, was a staunch Jacobite who took an active part in the Old Pretender's Rebellion of 1715 and, both before and after the indecisive battle of Sheriffmuir at which he was a commander, rebel soldiers under the command of Lord James Murray were billeted at Duncrub and around the area. It was a 300 strong regiment of these soldiers which sacked and burned the village, but before setting houses ablaze the cunning Highlanders encouraged the inhabitants to remove their most needed and cherished possessions and then seized the best of these for themselves--particularly clothing and footwear (shoon) for they were ill-clad and shod, and twas mid-winter.

William Reid, the old minister of St. Serf's, a fervid Covenanter and long a thorn in the side of the Jacobites, died only a few hours before the rebels came and he was hurriedly buried. Only the snow concealing his grave prevented it being desecrated. In their fury, the soldiers did not spare his widow and family, throwing them into the winter's night and razing the manse to the ground.

What a tragic and desolate sight the village must have appeared in the cold light of the morning. Now although Lord Rollo was the land superior to whom villagers owed titles, services and allegiances, he in turn had a duty of protection and justice towards these now homeless and destitute people. As John Philip's memorial poem relates (see DPHS Newsletter No. 10), the original tree came from Pitcairn Den and was carefully tended by "the Baron's men". Was it a symbol of contrition generated by a feeling of guilt? Frankly it is difficult to imagine villagers, wandering around their rickle of roofless biggings, scavenging for whatever material were available to repair and thatch their ruins, initiating or even thinking about such a memorial in their wretched state.

And of the tree itself, did it withstand the rigours of 220 years of our weather in its solitary exposed position? Probably, because it was a small sapling, and the tree was planted firstly in a raised earth mound and only some time later (whether months or a few years is not certain) was it protected by the stone enclosure.

It is evident from the old photographs that by the late 1800's it was a venerable, rugged tree with a thick trunk, twisted branches, gnarled bark and its two inverted bowls of foliage as described in the poem. By the late 1920's, as so remembered, the trunk was partially encased in lead and the main branches were encircled with lead cups and bands supported from the ground by iron bars.

Precarious as it was, no one really believed it could suffer such a calamity. I can still remember my father coming in that morning and announcing "The tree's doon." And so it was, broken and spreadeagled across the podium and the roadway.

But relics of that old tree still remain. The local joiners salvaged the best part of the branches, which they then sliced, dressed, polished and distributed around the village, so a number of households still have them. I have one, about 6 inches in diameter with its hard gnarled centre, its warm golden brown core with radial cracks, and its half inch thick dark rough bark. This relic is in pristine condition and although the annular rings are not easily distinguished it is quite evident to me that the tree was well over 200 years old and could have been transplanted as a sapling when about 10 or 12 years.

There is still a lot we don't know about the history of those times in the village and my conjectures are open to query, but we now have a new Thorntree and with David Doig's expertise and attention it should not suffer the ignominies of its many predecessors. So, "long may it tell in future days, what Dunning suffered from the Rebel ways".

Footnote: In my research I came across a description of the rebuilding of the village: "The roads were bad ... inhabitants salvaged what they could from materials at hand, boulders and clay for walls, Kyber thatch and divots for roofs ... floors were of clay and there were small open windows."
Question: Does anyone know what Kyber thatch is?
References: John Wilson "Dunning, its Parochial History"
James Wilson "Reminiscences of Dunning" talk to Dunning Literary Society 1899
Alexander C. Reid "Annals of Auchterarder" 1899
- Ken Laing, June 2000

Another Evacuee Heard From

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It's always a pleasure to hear from ex-Dunning evacuees who have not been part of the various reunions. Here's a letter recently received:

4/49 Quinn Street, Rosslea, Townsville Queensland, Australia 4812

I was interested to read in the Scots Magazine that you have published "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies". As one of the first wave in 1939 I would be most interested to obtain a copy and enclose a cheque.

I was one of four boys head-hunted by a prominent local farmer (no names no pack drill) who was looking for cheap labour for the harvest. I got to know how to handle corn, tatties, cut thistles and hold cows' tails in the byre. I was never healthier.

I came to Australia in 1969 but keep in touch with events and try to visit every two years. I hope to be back next year for Glasgow University's 550th anniversary. I would be interested in the work of your society.

- Roderick S.F. Campbell, emeritus professor,
Tropical Veterinary Science, James Cook University

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Prizes for Dunning Primary

A key objective in our constitution is to develop and encourage interest in local history...for that reason we've always maintained close ties with Dunning primary pupils and teachers.

Accordingly, the Society has donated three prizes to be awarded at the school's prize-giving in June and in future years. They'll be given to pupils who have participated in writing "What I did on January 28...", the anniversary of the burning of the village in 1716.

The committee also has purchased a scanner for the school, in thanks for pupils who will be contributing a regular page to our website. And in return for the material used by the school in providing the exhibits for last November's coffee morning (and incidentally material for our newsletters), the Society is buying £40 of school supplies.

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Something for the Future

At last autumn's DPHS Coffee Morning, much admiration was expressed for a display of Wildlife Line drawings by Henry Hoey.
As a result, and using Henry's kindly provided new and previous drawings, members of the DPHS Committee are currently busy preparing a 2002 Dunning Wildlife Calendar
In the next edition of the newsletter, we'll have details of when copies of these new calendars will Be available.

We're back!

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Dunning, A Village of Crossroads & Characters
The first edition of this book by Lorne Wallace of old Dunning photos and postcards has been out of print for several years. Now, a second edition is available. Published by the Dunning Parish Historical Society, the book is now available at Dunning Post Office or by mail for £5.00 plus £1 for mailing in Britain, £2 for mailing overseas.
Please send your cheque or money order to
The DPHS, Old Schoolhouse, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning, Perthshire PH2 0SL

A Few More of Those Favourite Places

A further selection of compositions and artwork contributed by Dunning Primary pupils to last autumn's themed coffee morning

My favourite place is the burn because I feel wet but happy.

-Alexander Milligan, P3

Up in the Dunnock I see the trees waving round the dirt track
When I cycle up the ramps the wind blows in my face.
It feels funny if you go very fast.
The smell of the trees is wonderful.
The sound of tyres going through the muddy puddles
Sssslllluuuupp! I can taste the fresh air.
It echoes with the sound of happy children.

-Andrew Kidd, P6

In the summer beams of sunlight shine though the gaps in the overhanging trees.
Round deep lively ponds hold the people who swim in their glistening water.
Cries of laughter fill the air as children slide on the slippery mossy banks.
In the winter the pools that once were full of joy are now pools of dull,
calm water waiting for the summer.
People often walk along the winding paths beside the water.
This is my favourite place because it fills me with happiness and tranquility.

-Theo Barnard, P7

My favourite place in Dunning is the fountain because it is quiet.
It makes me feel happy when I am there.

-Alisha Chalmers, P3

My favourite place in Dunning is my house.
When I'm near my house
my thoughts are on the good times
I've had there with my friends.
When I'm near my house
I love to see and smell all the nice plants and trees.
I can hear the birds singing I can feel the wind brushing against my face
I can taste the fresh air.

--Victoria Wood, P5

My favourite place is the park.
When I'm at the park
All my thoughts are about the good times I've had there with my friends.
We smell the fresh air.
When we swing on the swings we can see the hills and houses far away
The noises we hear are the birds singing and vehicles going past.
We feel the rope hurting our hands when we swing on the rope bars.
We feel the coldness against our cheeks when we go down the slide.
When two of us go on the spider roundabout we smell the bark.

-Roslyn Andrews, P5

My favourite place in Dunning is the Dunnock.
The trees remind me of broccoli so green and bushy,
The smell reminds me of burning pine,
I can hear the birds singing,
It feels warm and relaxing.

-Vicki Henderson, P6

Guess where?
Grave stones stand as still as trees,
The deep snow with no footprints in it,
The silence is broken by the crow of birds,
The tall church chimes the time,
People sit on the walls staring at the stones.
All you can see in the snow is the birds' footprints.
When the snow goes people come and remember their loved ones.
Dressed in black they come with bright flowers to change the cold place to brightness.

-Sam Scott, P7

The burn is my favourite place.
The burn goes fast when it's raining.
The burn goes slow when it's dry.
The burn is very cold in the winter.
The burn is warm in the summer.
The burn is calm and sometimes dirty.
Some stones are slippy and there are
Little bits of wood on the stones.
There are little fish in the burn.
The burn has some eels but you can't see them

- Jodie Bell, P5

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My Favourite Place
My favourite place has
small stones in it.
It has wild fish striped
with agility swimming
through the clear water.
Calm and silent water
Sun beams off light
making a rainbow over
the water.
The only thing nicer
than water
is an aurora.
-by Abby Inverarity, Primary 7

Next issue, a final selection from our coffee morning exhibition.

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Can You Help Answer These Queries from Members?

The recorded history of Dunning seems to comprise a string of events rather than a comprehensive record of the struggle of its inhabitants to survive and who they actually were etc. I probably ask for too much for you to consider compiling a record of Dunning inhabitants as they were on say the 1st of January 1800.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a print of a painting of the Findony Mill (October 2000 issue). I have done laser copies for our family and mounted one in a black frame. My family records show Elizabeth McIntosh, William Mailer, Helen Henderson and Robert Mailer as being millers at Findony during the period 1773 to 1864. I wonder if there is a tenancy record that would give details of its origins and who operated the mill from its beginnings?

John Seymour McGill, 5 Tye road, Hillcrest, North Shore City 1310, New Zealand, e-mail: jobemacs@xtra.co.nz.

For the records of the DPHS, during the summer we have erected (with the grateful assistance of George Hepburn, Greenhill Farm) one of the original tollhouse gate stones in the garden at the rear of the house, in a position which we thought to be safe and secure from any possible damage. The gate stone is sandstone and still had the original wrought iron gate hook and nut, to which we have applied preservative and black Hermetite paint, so it will outlive us!

In my ongoing research of the Blaeberry Tollhouse, can the DPHS assist me with records of previous residents of the Blaeberry Tollhouse who have died and may be buried in the Parish of Dunning? Or is there anyone who can guide me to a possible source of this information?

--Ronnie Taylor, Blaeberry Tollhouse, Muckhart Road, Dunning PH2 0RD, tel 01764 684 657, e-mail: tollhouse@ntlworld.com

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A Coin Offer from the Money Man
Someone has paid their Society subscription with an unusual commemorative coin. This may have been a mistake. If this is so, and you can describe it to the treasurer (01764 684 149) you can recover it (for the appropriate value).
--Michael Barwick

Looking At Our Website

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One of the many little treasures which our clever DPHS webmaster Simon Warren has woven into the Historical Society website is a section called "Members' Pages".

An offering currently on view is a Dunning pupil's account of a Dunning Primary trip to the Millennium Dome and several other theme parks last autumn. Here are a few snippets from a lengthier account:

Recent Primary School Trip, By one who was there.

"It was just after nine when the coach departed from the school. Parents stood on the pavement waving to us. Away from school! We had a long journey South ahead of us. Julian and me sat up front. It was a bit boring there, but I survived...

After breakfast in the little chef, we set off...to the Dome. It was huge. We had to split up into groups to look around. Once inside, the first thing visible was the body. I was very impressed by the size but inside it was very disappointing. It was just escalators with snippets of music. The play zone sort of made up for it though. ..you could activate a futuristic piano! It was really good fun. I had a go twice! ...The rest of the Dome was a fluke. It was ok, but there was certainly better ways to spend money.

(After York Dungeons and the Yorvik centre) we set off to Eden Camp. Eden Prisoner of War Camp was split up into lots of different huts. My favourite was the Blitz because you were in a burning building. Screams and shouts could be heard. I opened a door and this woman screamed.

... After a long 5 hour journey, we arrived home. The journey had been exciting. Ross had been sick all over the floor, and a very recent accident happened just after the Forth Road Bridge, but I was glad when we got home. I had missed it. In the car, my mum told me that the cat had died on Thursday. I was quite glad he went peacefully. In all, it was a good week."

For more, please see our Historical Society website at www.dunning.mcmail.com

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Leadketty: More Than Just a Place to Barndance

In our last issue, Ian Philip described the creation in the nineteen thirties of the group of smallholdings just north of Dunning called Leadketty, where Ian has lived all his life and where on his farm the Society in recent years held several successful barndances. The article was transcribed from Ian's talk to the Society's May 2000 agm. In this second and final part, Ian looks at the changes in Leadketty over the years.

The type of farming on the holdings has really mirrored the changes in farming in Scotland over the same period. In my earliest memories horsepower meant literally horse power. Gradually it moved over to tractors.

Two events with tractors I can remember quite clearly from my early days at school. There was our first tractor. Originally my father had ordered a Ford Ferguson and hoped to get that in the late forties. But there were complications: Ferguson fell out with Ford and they never came through. And then Ferguson eventually joined up with Standard and their tractors were built in Coventry. So the Ford Ferguson never arrived, and father bought, at Hays Mart, an Oliver 70 which was a three wheeled tractor. It was really just a draught machine for pulling. It wasn't used an awful lot except in busy times: it had a terrible habit that when it was sat for any length of time the clutch plates seized.

I came home one day from school, I must have been about nine I guess, in 1948 or '49. Along from the main farm to our place the farm road takes a slight bend. And half way along, there's this Oliver 70 and it's lying on its side. I went home wondering what had happened.

My father had gone to start the tractor and the clutch plates were seized, and he got Pharic Steven down from the garage to fix it. And Pharic had said, "It's an awfu' big job splitting the tractor and getting these clutch plates freed. The best thing to do is to put it into gear, we'll put it in reverse. We'll start it up [this was by hand crank, there was no self starter then] and you back it along the road. When you get to the steading at the main farm, you back it into the thick stone wall of the steading and the jerk will free the clutch plates, and that'll be the cheapest and easiest way to do it."

So this is what they did. They got the tractor started in reverse and my father was backing it down the road. At that time there were quite a lot of hedge stumps and some of them were almost small tree size. And driving slowly backwards he began to think "Well, that wall's not mine!". So he thought another option was to back the Oliver into the hedge and see if the jerk would free the plates. But unfortunately it had iron wheels with spuds on it. And what happened was it climbed up the hedge, until it tipped over. He was none the worse...he threw himself backwards out of the seat. They didn't try that a second time.

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In this photo from 1950, Alex Philip is with his children Hilda and Ian, aboard their Oliver 70 Tractor

Managed to stop

Another event--David Myles of Wellhill might remember this--the Corrigalls always had a Case tractor. It had a hand clutch. Mr. Corrigall was working in the field behind the wood near Wellhill. The clutch had been slipping badly, and he stopped it and got down on his knees. The pulley at the side where the clutch worked meant he was in front of the tractor's back wheel. He left the tractor running because in those days of course there was no starter. The tractor was petrol/paraffin-powered, and if you let it cool without changing pack to petrol you couldn't get it started again. So he left it running. He just pulled the hand clutch to stop, but it was still in gear. As he adjusted the clutch, the tractor started to move forward and ran over his leg. He managed to stop it but he was trapped below it. He was there for a couple of hours until David Myles' father saw the tractor in the middle of the field and wondered why it wasn't moving. He eventually heard Mr. Corrigal shouting and came over and rescued him. Luckily he wasn't much the worse for the experience.

The earliest memories of farming at Leadketty involved rotational farming. You started off with two or three years of grass. The first year of young grass you took a crop of hay. After grass you put in a crop of potatoes. One of the reasons was that after the fields had been grazed for two or three years there was quite a lot of manure around. If you put in cereal you were going to have quite a flat crop. So you took a crop of potatoes which also helped clean up the weeds. After the potatoes you always put in wheat. The wheat straw at that time was required for pitting potatoes---because of course the potatoes were all stored outside---and also for thatching stacks. After the wheat you probably put in a crop of turnips and if you were liming that was when you put the lime on to keep it as far away from the potatoes in the rotation as you could. After the turnips, probably oats, which would be undersown with grass in the oat crop and next year it would come back into grass again. Any dung would be spread on the fields before the potato or the turnip crops.

At that time barley was a very uncommon crop. Very few folk grew barley. One of the reasons of course was that it was not so easy to cut with a binder. And with all the awns on it, it was a devil when you were handling it. You got these awns sticking into everything and it was very itchy.

The oats you used for stock feed or for milling oats. The horses and the cattle ate the oats and the oat straw was always used for feeding the cattle. I think the general belief was that cattle didn't really eat barley straw. But things change, and gradually as combines became more popular, we started growing more barley.

Another thing that also happened was the availability of electricity. That led to the intensification of livestock keeping, because you had electricity to run fans, ventilation and feeding systems, and you had the ability to grind grain down easily. When that happened pigs were kept in a more intensive style, and barley was valued as pig feed. They discovered then that cattle could eat barley straw as well, because there wasn't nearly so much oats grown.

Number of Years

Another difference in grain crops at that time: when you were cutting with a binder you had to cut before the crop was ripe. Otherwise all the grain would be lost on the ground. So it was a couple of weeks before the crop was ripe and it was ripened in the stook. But once you came into the combines, it had to be ripe before you cut it. It took quite a number of years as the crop breeders gradually bred the varieties which ripened earlier and with shorter straw. Less straw and the grain stood better to be suitable for combining. Some of the early crops of oats, if they stood in the stooks for very long, they used to sprout in a wet year, and that wasn't very desirable.

At that time we kept a range of livestock. We had sheep, we had lambing ewes. We used to rear early lambs, you lambed them in January, February, and you fed the lambs on and started selling them in June. If you could get them sold in June, July, you got a good price for the spring lambs. But these sorts of things have now really passed into history. Because with the global market they can bring lamb from New Zealand in a few days, and there's not the same sort of niche markets for these sorts of systems. Things have really changed around.

We also had fattening cattle, and at that time we had quite a lot of pigs, for which we grew barley. Wheat just about went out of rotation...in fact it did go out of rotation for quite a few years. Potatoes were getting stored in sheds, you were combining your grain, you didn't require the same wheat straw. Another thing with wheat was at that time you were hoping to combine the grain dry enough to store without drying it. If you could pick your days...there wasn't so much grain grown at that time...you would pick a dry day hopefully it would dry up in bags and it would keep. If it wasn't piled too high on the floor it would keep. When you were combining wheat the possibility of getting wheat dry enough from the combine was minimal. So wheat had to be dried.

Expensive Machinery

Gradually dryers came into fashion. Another thing was that because you were buying your combine and other expensive machinery you tried to make more use of them and you started growing more grain. There was a bigger demand for the grain. Most of the milling grain of course is imported, but they started using wheat in the poultry rations so there was a big demand for wheat. Whisky had been distilled from maize..but the price differentials changed and the distillers started buying a lot of wheat for producing grain whisky. So in Scotland that's one crop that's usually not in surplus, wheat. Usually there's a demand here for all the wheat that can be grown.

As wheat came in, we at Leadketty then went back more into winter crops. We were growing more grain and when you spread it between winter and spring, you got the harvest spread over a longer period and you got more use for your combine: the same machine could handle more acreage.

Another thing that happened was that up until the early seventies sugar beets were grown as a break crop. There was a sugar beet factory at Cupar and that was a good break crop. When the sugar beet factory closed, for a few years there wasn't a break crop to take its place but now the break crop that has come in is oilseed rape. We ourselves never grew either sugar beets or oilseed rape: I think I may be a bit allergic to oilseed rape.

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As I said we had the sheep, the cattle and the pigs, and we also had quite a lot of hens. We used to rear pullets and sell some on at the point of lay. We had hens running free range out in the fields in houses with a hundred or two in a run. That's was quite a lot of work going around collecting the eggs, cleaning and packing them and so on. Of course my mother did most of that.

Gradually of course things changed again. In 1961 and 1965 our large chicken houses went up. That was when the big expansion in chicken rearing took place, when D. B. Marshall opened up his poultry processing factories. At that time, all the catchers for the chickens came from the village. There seemed to be plenty of local tradesmen with apprentices and we used to get out at four o'clock in the morning and get the chickens caught before they went to their work at eight.

But there's not the same number of apprentices and nowadays there are dedicated squads who do the job. They come geared up to do the whole operation.

The other two big holdings were similarly farmed. They grew similar crops and had cattle and sheep. The Corrigalls had at one time a lot of breeding hens and they produced chickens. They had an incubator, hatched them, and sold the chicks round about.

Growing Rasps

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On Bob Duncan's No. 5 holding, at the end of the war, there were lots of corrugated iron sheds up there. He was in pigs in a very big way. He bought in weaners. They had a lorry went around to all the kitchens and hotels in the area and collected a lot of swill. He had a steamer up there to steam the swill, and that was one of the main things that he fed his pigs on. At that time the field he had was in rasps. Gradually one or two of the other holdings started growing rasps: when Peter McLean came to the holdings he had rasps and his brother kept on rasps. Corrigal did the same and we had rasps. At one time, believe it or not, there were forty or fifty acres in rasps at Leadketty holdings. The amazing thing is that they were mostly picked by folk from the village. Now you can hardly get anyone to pick rasps. There were a few came from Auchterarder, Aberuthven and Perth and nearby, but most of these rasps were picked by locals.

In the early days at Leadketty and similar smallholdings around Scotland, the six acre holding was enough to make a living off. John Stewart for example had several hen runs laid out and he sold eggs and worked with the neighbours at the hay, harvest threshing, and potato lifting and dressing. But these days are long gone.

I think about the only farming enterprise that hasn't taken place at Leadketty to any extent is dairying. A few of us kept a couple of cows, but of course the trouble is that cows have to be milked twice a day, seven days a week. One cow's not enough because it dries off, you have to have two. It became easier to buy your milk in the bottle.

Fishery on the Holdings

Asurprising thing was that we even had a fishery on the holdings, and that I think is quite a turn up for the books. Eric Cleary got involved in a scheme with somebody in Glasgow who wanted topsoil. They dug out the pond to get the topsoil and he was left with a hole in the ground. The height of it was a problem. It's higher than the level of Duncrub Burn, and it's fed by the Latch Burn which goes down through the golf course. Of course in dry summers the golf course is using a lot of water to irrigate and in summer the Burn tended to dry up. Mr. Cleary stocked the pond and they had quite a few fishers to start with but gradually it started getting algae in it and they had to start pumping water into it from the Duncrub Burn to keep it fresh. And I think the cost of diesel outweighed the returns from the fishers.

Right now we're probably at another sea change in agriculture. The way farming is now many folk are saying it's back to the days of the thirties. I don't remember the thirties but I recall my father talking of them. One basic difference between now and the thirties was that then you could pull up the drawbridge: you were basically self-sufficient. And you didn't need the same capital to exist. These days it all depends on buying and selling, so who knows where agriculture will go in the next few years. They tell us we're in a global market and I think we're really going to have difficulty competing. We'll have to wait and see.

-Part two of a talk by past DPHS chairman Ian Philip.

P.S. A further note on the water supply: David Doig and Jim Smith have since told me that the tank on the Dunnock was supplied from the main water pipe between Newton of Pitcairns and Dunning. Jim remembers five hoses being laid up the Dunnock and connected to the pipe to find out how high the water would rise and where to locate the storage tank. This was above the height of the highest house in Dunning and meant that the village would be supplied first in times of heavy demand. The tank would refill overnight when water usage was less.--I.P.

In Our Next Issue
A highly unusual reminiscence by a youthful ex-Dunningite.
Further "Favourite Places" pictures and pieces.
plus more local history sketches, art and verse.

The DPHS 2001 Spring Programme

Sunday, April 22. It's off we go to see the newly restored Stanley Mills as guests of their new local history group. Please meet in Tron Square at 1:45 to share car-rides. If you have any queries, please contact Ian Philip 684 269.

Thursday, May 10, 7:30 pm Village Hall. We hold our annual general meeting, followed by a most unusual speaker. Since coming to live in the Dragon, Society secretary David Halliday has taken up a demanding new hobby, and accompanied by his friendly five Siberian pals, he'll give us "A Husky History". Everyone, David assures us, will be perfectly well behaved.

Saturday, May 19, 9:30am departure from Tron Square. Another stellar coach trip in is prospect: this year to spots fondly associated with two famous 19th century Scots, Owen and Livingstone. First stop is New Lanark, the utopian milltown built by Robert Owen, and today one of Scotland's top visitor attractions. Then it's off to Blantyre to visit the David Livingstone exhibition. Climaxing the day will be high tea at Balmaha. The fee for the day includes the cost of the bus, the high tea, and entrances to the venues. Adult DPHS members £20 (£17.50 if you're a National Trust member), senior members £18 (£16 for National Trust cardholders). Add £2 for a non-member. To make sure of a seat, call Peter Duncan at 01764 684 243 as soon as possible.

Saturday June 23 MAYBE An Old-Fashioned Picnic. Plan is to walk or get an all-terrain lift up Craigrossie for a picnic on high, but all depends on foot & mouth happenings. Please contact Liz Fletcher 684 061 or 684 213 in advance to confirm details. Could be great fun!

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Further details in our July newsletter about a summer garden party or other events. Make sure you don't miss any of the above happenings by marking them now in your diary or calendar.

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