Notes on the Parish and Lordship of Urquhart

Notes on the Parish and Lordship of Urquhart

Family historians and One-Name Study researchers love names.  The more names the better chance of finding the name you want.  Well, I hope this transcription, albeit a little on the long side, will give a few names and places to fellow researchers.  Yes, I know it’s long but there are some interesting snippets in there.

The Elgin Courant and Courier, Friday, July 22 1892

Urquhart was formerly a cell or priory belonging to Dunfermline, and was founded by King David 1 in honour of the Blessed Trinity in the year 1124, as appears from the Chartulary of Moray.

Richard, prior of Urquhart, subscribed the fixing of the Cathedral of Moray at Spynie, and the foundation of eight canons settled there by Bishop Bricius, brother to William, Lord Douglas, in the reign of William the Lion.

Thomas, prior of Urquhart, was present at a Synod of Andrew, Bishop of Moray, held at Elgin in 1232, and was sub-legate for composing a difference betwixt Bishop of Moray, and David de Strathbogie.

Robert, prior of Urquhart, was present at a Synod called at Elgin in 1369 on a question of tithes.

The Lordship of Urquhart belonged to the priors of Pluscardine and soon after the Reformation the estate of the priory was erected into a temporal Lordship in favour of Sir Alexander Seton, then created Lord Urquhart, and afterwards Earl of Dunfermline, and upon forfeiture of that family, was acquired by the Earl of Callendar, who assumed the title of Dunfermline.

The grant of the Lordship of Urquhart was burdened with payment of a feu-duty to the Crown of 550 merks Sc., as also with considerable portions of their estate in the parish or Urquhart to different persons – particularly Over and Nether Mefts, Leuchars, Threipland, Lochs, Binns &c., and the feuars continued to possess, only paying their feu-duties to Lord Dunfermline in place of the Church.

Part of Urquhart via NLS via https://maps.nls.uk/view/74426735

The following notes are taken from original MSS, and other documents now before the writer:-

1)  In 1685 a precept was issued at the instance of James, Earl of Dunfermline, Lord Fyvie and Urquhart, and Lord of the Lordship and Regality of Urquhart and George Gordon in Garmoch, bailie principal of the said Regality against the feuars and tenants of the Lordship of Urquhart anent the Cess. James Caler of Muirton and William Duff, elder, and William Duff, younger, merchants in Inverness, tacksmen of the Lordship of Urquhart, had obtained decreet before the said bailie against John Innes of Leuchars, David Stewart of Upper Meft, John Farquharson of Binns and Nether Meft, Robert Innes, portioner thereof, John Taylor of Maverston, John Duncan portioner of Nether Binns, John Russell, portioner thereor, James Flytter of Gladehill, Margaret Hamilton, L#liferentris of a portion of Nether Binns, Archibald Geddes ad Alexander Gordon of Loch, and James Brander, portioner of Urquhart, John Dunbar and Alexander Stronoch, portioners of Finfan and Walter Chalmer of Threpland decerning each of them to make payment to the said tackshman, for relief of the new Supply granted to the king by Act 3, third Parliament of Charles 11 viz., each of the foresaid persons as vassaks and feuars and as gentlemen above the quality of tenants for themselves, wives and children £6 Sc., and each of their tenants and subtenants, cottars, and grassmen residing within the said lordship £4 Sc., for the tenant and 20s for each of their subtenants, cottars and grassmen, tradesmen and servants and that yearly since Martinmas 1693. The foresaid tacksmen obtained decreet before the said bailie against Alexander Anderson, tacksman of Longhills mill, Archibald Brander, tenant in Urquhart, John Brander, younger, tenant there, John Brander (alias Chief), tenant there, Michael Maver, tenant there, Alexander Innes, and Mr James Gordon tenants there, William Simson, elder and younger, tenants in Tyres, Henry Innes, tenant in Binns, Lachlan Innes, tenant in Unthank, James Young, tenant in Hillside, David Maver and Margaret Ragg, tenants in Hills, Robert Farquharson, tenant in Fosterseat, James Robb, tenant there, Janet Allan and Alexander Laing, tenants there, and Robert Chalmer, tenant in Tipperlair decerning them as tenants to make payment of £4 Sc., each yearly and each subtenant, &c., 20s Sc.

The precept as “given under the subscription of John Kemptie nottar publict, our clerk of court of our said Lordship and Regality of Urquhart, at Urquhart the twentie fourth day of November 1685 yeirs.”

In the year 1659 the rental of the Lordship of Urquhart was £402 15s in money and chalders 1 bolls 3 firlots in victual. Converting the victual at 100 merks per chalder gives £807 5s 10d, the gross rental thus amounting to £1201 0s 10d. The free rental, however, was only £474 4s 10d, as the sum of £366 13s 4d was payable to the Crown as feur-duty, also £185 11s of money and 44 bolls 1 firlot of victual to the minister. The total deduction was thus £735 16s, besides 12 bolls to the schoolmaster.

Another old rental makes it 21 chalders 15 bolls, with at 100 merks per chalder is £1462 10s, and deducting as before £735 16s, leaves £727 14s of free rent.

The rental in 1704 was 14 chalders 12 bolls 1 firlot victual ad £187 16s 10d money, equivalent in all to £172 9s 8d. With deductions as before the free rent appears then at £436 13s 8d.

The lordship of Urquhart, including the feu-duties payable by vassals, was sequestrated by the Court of Sessions in 1707, and William Sutherland of Roscommon was appointed factor thereon. By a judicial rental taken by him it appears the rent, after deduction of stipend and schoolmaster’s salary, was £174 12s 8d and 191 bolls 1 firlot 1 peck victual, equivalent in all to £873 6s 8d. After deducting the feu-duty to the Crown, there remained f free rent £506 13s 4d. By a rental of the parish of Urquhart given in by the minister in 1766 in a process of augmentation he was then pursuing against the heritors it appears the gross rent of the property lands of the lordship of Urqhuhart was £216 12s 4d Sc., and 179 bolls 3 firlots victual, equivalent in all to £965 11s 6d.

In the year 1772 the rent of the property lands of the lordship of Urquhart, exclusive of Maverston and the house and yard in the College of Elgin, was 88 bolls meal (at nine stones), 12 bolls bear, and £30 6s 7d stg. Converting the meal and bear at £5 sc., the boll the gross rent is £1430 7s

. Deducting £773 9s 4d (£366 13s 4d feu duty and £406 16s stipend) makes a free rent of £657 8s 4d Sc., that is £54 15s 8d stg.

The rental of the parish in 1792 was 1264 bolls victual and £1992 8s 8d sc. Nether Meft paid then a rent of 115 bolls and £20 Sc. Upper Meft 121 bolls and £20 Sc. Unthank 32 bolls and £5 10s Sc. Threipland and Upper Binns 32 bolls each.

The valued rent of the parish is stated in 1798 as £5567 15s 3d Sc. The assessed property of the parish in 1860 was £6970 stg., in 1883 £8053, and in 1891-92 £7812.

The following list was drawn up in 1773, and gives the names of the lands lying in the Lordship of Urquhart:-

Part of Urquhart via NLS maps

Hills, Hillside, Mill of Longhill ad part of Mill Lands, Lochrynoch, Twelfth part of Urquhart and lands annexed thereto, Bank twelfth part and Mill lands, part of the Mill lands and twelfth part of the lands of Urquhart, twelfth part of Urquhart and part of the Mill lands, Back and Fore Crosses and Woodside, Mill and Mill lands of Byres and Abbey, One half of Unthank, One half of Unthank, Bawds, House and garden in the College of Elgin.

From a particular account of the rental of the whole parish in 1776, as given by the heritors it appears that the total rental was 2529 bolls victual and £1737 s 4d in money. The Duke of Gordon then possessed the Milnlands, Woodside, Hillside, Bawds, Unthank, Byres, and Maverston. John Gordon of Cluny was proprietor of Over Binns, while William Ogilvie of Pittensear owned Nether Binns and Threipland. Finfan belonged to Alexander Tod, Lochs to James Fraser, Gladhill and Tippertail to Ann Stewart, relict of James Anderson of Mathie Mill, Leuchars to John Innes, the Mefts &c., to Sir James Innes, and the lands of Germach, Mathie Mill and Corskie to Lord Fife and Ann Stewart. There were several other proprietors.

An interesting old document, of twelve pages foolscap in possession of the present writer gives “Ane just rentall of the Countess off Dumfermling and Callander he la…. thirds, my Lord Dumfermling hjaueing the two partis as also th rentall of the Lands of Forresterseat wherof my Lord hes no pairt. And that for the heire 1659.”

The following were the names of some of the tenants for that period:-

John Maver, Overmeft and Nethermeft; Mark Maver, Urquhart; Robert Innes, Glaidhill; John Maver, Treipland’ Sir William Dick, Loch; George Stronach, Finfan; John Leslie Maverston; Nicholas Dunbar, Unthank; James Brander for one-twelfth part of Urquhart; Mark Maver for Robert Innes for the Abbey grass.

The sum of the whole third part of the victual was 11 chalder 15 bolls, of the money £147 17s 2d also £246 13s 4d, being the duty of Forresterseat, also about 17 capons, 17 poultry, 2 wedders and a third part of two hens. The Rental is doqueted at Linkwood and Elgin by the Earl of Callendar and his Chamberlain Nicholas Dunbar, before these witnesses, Norman Livingstone of Milnehills, Alexander Anderson in Garmoche. And William Monteith, servitor to the said Noble Earl.

Lossiemouth Fishing Disaster

Lossiemouth Fishing Disaster

Following on from a recent post on the Morayshire Family and Local History Facebook page I transcribed two newspaper articles.  The two articles, one nearly a full column in a local newspaper goes into great details while the second, smaller article tells the reader a different side.

The Elgin Courant, Tuesday, April 18, 1876

A Lossiemouth Boat Lost.

Nine Men Drowned.

A Terrible Catastrophe, involving the loss of eight men, has occurred to a fishing boat belonging to Lossiemouth. Yesterday week the whole of the fishing fleet numbering about thirty, of Lossiemouth and adjacent villages, put to sea in the afternoon, intending to proceed in an easterly direction to the herring fishing. The weather at the time was threatening. The wind was squally, with frequent showers of blinding drift, occasionally succeeded by a perfect calm, which made sailing slow as well as dangerous, and it was not till night that the fleet arrived at the fishing ground, fifteen miles off Cullen. The crew, who numbered about eight men to a boat began to shoot their nets soon after sunset, and by the time they had finished this work a steady fresh breeze had sprung up from the NN.E, which soon increased to a hurricane, rendered still more terrible to the fishermen in the darkness of the night by the heavy snow showers which now began to fall incessantly. The sea rose very rapidly to a height which the oldest fishermen declare they had never seen paralleled before in their experience. The crews became alarmed at the prospect before them, and prepared to run to a place of safety. But this, in the face of wind and snow and sea was dangerous work. The masts, for instance, had to be lashed to the boats before the fishermen were prepared to use them. Some of them tried to haul in their nets, but the great majority of the boats drifted away from them, and the crews then tried to set sail for their own preservation. Five of them – the Hopeman, the City of Elgin, the Gold Finder, the Catherine, and the Lisunday – rode out the storm, and, when the weather moderated next morning, they proceeded homewards, which they reached in safety. The other boars, except the David Main, which was lost, as described below, reached Invergordon and Cromarty, and by Tuesday and Wednesday news of their safe arrival had reached Lossiemouth. The Anne of Branderburgh, William Campbell (“Dad”), skipper broke away from her nets about the same time as the others, and the mast was got up and the rudder put on preparatory to sailing before the gale. One of the crew, named John Scott, belonging to Branderburgh, who had been forward in the boat, went aft to see if the sheet was properly fastened (fishermen say mistakes are oftener made with the sheet that with any other part of the boat’s gear), and, while standing near the skipper, he called out to his comrades to beware to a tremendous sea which he saw rolling on towards them. Anxious for the safety of other, he forgot his own, and in a moment the sea broke upon the board and washed him overboard. The mainsail, and half a barrel of water which was lying upon the deck, were washed away at the same time, and the boat was laid on her beam ends. In this precarious condition she lay for about a minute, and her crew had little hope of her righting again. Fortunately, however, a smooth sea now succeeded the huge breaker, ad the boat was righted; but Scott was never seen again. He was the son of Mr Scott, bookseller, Branderburgh, and was an expert, affable young man, respected by all who knew him. He was twenty-five years of age, and unmarried.

It would have been fortunate for the locality had the loss of this young man’s life been all the sacrifice the storm had entailed upon the Lossiemouth fishermen, but the melancholy news must be added to crew of the David Main, eight in number, lost their lives, in is supposed, about the same time as Scott. The last time the David Main was seen was about eleven o’clock. She then nearly passed the Anne, so near that her crew called out that Scott had been lost. The David Main was then apparently under sail, and sailing up close to Campbell’s boat. A collision was impending, which induced the former to stow the foresail and set a part of the mizen, and throw the boat’s head to the wind in order that she might go astern. The Ann got righted up at this point, and set sail for Cromarty. But the David Main has not been heard of, and there is now no doubt that her crew have all perished. There are several conjectures as to the cause of the catastrophe. The most probable is that she was caught by a heavy sea and immediately swamped. The crew were all married men, in the prime of their life, ad leave behind them large families to mourn their irreparable loss, The following are their names, ages and number of children:-

William Smith (Wokie), skipper, 38, wife and six children.

William McLeod (Punchy), 32. wife and one child.

John McLeod, 26, wife and three children.

Alexander McLeod, 24, wife and three children.

James Souter, 53, wife and 10 children

Alexander Souter, 50, wife and four children.

William Stuart, 38 (“Manson”), wife and six children.

The deceased men were nearly all connected by blood or marriage. The McLeods were brothers, and Smith was their brother-in-law; the Souters were cousins, and James was uncle to the McLeods. About a year ao one of the Main’s sons was washed overboard off Helmsdale. The appalling disaster has thrown Lossiemouth, Stotfield, and Branderburgh into mourning. Those villages have been singularly free from fatal calamities at sea for many a year. The last memorable one took place in 1806, when twenty-one lives were lost by the swamping of three boats. But the one of last week is more heartrending than that of 1806 from the fact that no fewer than eight wives have been made widows, and 38 children fatherless by it. Four of the bereaved families live under the same root. Alex. McLeod’s youngest child is but eight days old, and the families of the other men are mostly unable to earn their own livelihood, except five of James Souter’s who are grown up. The families have all been left in very destitute circumstances, rendered all the more so from the fact that the past winter has been a most severe one to the fishing population. They call for public sympathy and support, and we doubt not both will be generously given when the circumstances of the disaster become known to the country.

We are very glad to learn that a subscription list was started in Lossiemouth on Saturday night. It was drawn out the the Rev. Mr McDonald, and two fishermen, named William and George Stewart, started with it about seven in the evening. They called on about nine gentlemen, who subscribed the sum of £19 3s, a very good beginning, and we hope that a handsome sum will be realised.

The nets of the lost boat, as well as of the others, were recovered on Thursday and Friday, but all of them were so much damaged they will be of little use. The loss to the fishermen in this respect will be over £100. One of the four boats which rode out the storm picked up, on Thursday morning, about four miles from the fishing ground, some floating gear supposed to belong to the David Main, including some of the side hatches, which is always well fastened in a boat, and a piece of a broken string.

Melancholy though the disaster is, the crews who were at sea during the storm state that the wonder is the loss of life was not much greater than it is. They have been often out during a much more tempestuous gale, but a rougher sea, or one that rose more quickly, they have never witnessed before, and that the bulk of the fleet reached ports of safety is more than they could have expected.

Narrative of a Fisherman

One of the fishermen who was with the fleet during the whole of the storm sends us the following narrative:-

We proceeded to sea on Monday forenoon with the intention of going to the fishing ground know along the coast by the name of the Skate (?) Hole, about seventy miles from this harbour. The wind being light, with an occasional shower, accompanied by strong squalls and succeeded by dead calms during the afternoon, sunset overtook us in the deep water about fifteen miles off Cullen, and there we set our nets. A small (?) breeze was blowing at the time, but during the afternoon some ominous signs were visible about the sun, and a dense black shower in the north-east kept us on the watch lest it should become worse. And we were not left long in suspense, for the shower came, and with it the strongest wind I ever faced. The sea rose very high and sharp, so that with snow, spray, and the rolling of the boat our situation was far from being a pleasant one. Being assured that we could haul our nets, we cleared the deck by placing every encumbrance below, and putting on the hatches, lifting the foremast from its place of fastening at both ends, reversing the bowsprit, putting rigging in it, to be ready, in the event of our net breaking, to get underway as quick as possible. This done, we sat peering through the gloom and saw several of our neighbours breaking adrift and making sail, but still we rode, and, fortunately, the weather began to moderate after four o’clock, and thinking we could manage to haul our nets, we made an attempt, but failed. We broke adrift about two o’clock on Tuesday morning, and we made sail for Cromarty Firth, which, after considerable buffeting, we reached about ten o’clock. We there heard news that will cause us to remember it to the end of our life.”

On Sunday the catastrophe was alluded to in the local pulpits. The Ref. Mr McDonald, U.P. Church, preached from James iv. 14 – “For what is your life? It is but a vapour, which appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” In commending his discourse he remarked. – We have met this day under a cloud, which has spread its dark shadow over us all. In the terrific storm of last Monday night nine men who belong to this community, some in the very prime of their manhood, were consigned to a watery grave. Of these nine men five were adherents of this church, ad two were members. By this great calamity, eight wives have been made widows, and 38\children left fatherless. No such disaster has occurred here since 1853, and the first thing that we are called upon to do is to mourn for the dead. Death, in all its aspects, is a sad and afflicting event. The friends who have been taken away were our fellow worshippers – they sat in the same church, and heard the same Gospel; and it therefore becomes us to mourn over then. We are also called upon to sympathise with those bereaved ones who to-day are so bitterly mourning over the death of their friends, and, in as far as their circumstances require it, it is our duty to aid them. The rev. gentleman went on to say that this disaster was a warning of the uncertainty of life. He discoursed on life as a journey, as a sacred trust, and as a momentous probation, concluding by exhorting his bearers to life soberly and righteously during their present brief existence.

The Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, April, 18, 1876

Loss of a Lossimouth Boat’s Crew at Sea.

Another melancholy accident to a whole boat’s crew belonging to Lossiemouth took place at sea early on Tuesday morning last, caused by the violent gale and storm. The David Main, belonging to Mr William Reid, ‘Ho’ was one of the fleet of boats that left Lossiemouth during Monday for the cod fishing ground. About twenty of thirty miles east of that place. The storm set in so violently that the boats broke adrift from their nets, and some of them made for home, or to the nearest places of shelter, one crew having run as far as Cromarty. But the David Main did not return, and serious fears began to be entertained for her safety. So soon as the weather settled, the boats returned for their nets, and they were all successful in recovering them, the most of them being in a tattered condition, however. Among the nets that were found were those belonging to the David Main, but no trace of the boat itself were seen. The conjecture that had previously been formed as to her total was thus confirmed. It is supposed that, after having been drive or broken away from their nets, the boat had been upset while the crew had been attempting to set up the mast, the boat meanwhile having, it is thought, got broadside on to the sea, ad so had floundered. She was heavily ballasted, and had a metal keel of about 25cwt., which would have prevented her from floating, even supposing she had been capsized. As it is, no one saw her sink, or beheld her crew of eight fishermen go down to their watery graves. Some of the spars and gear of the boat have since been found, and it was reported on Saturday evening in Lossiemouth that some of the men’s chests had been cast ashore about Buckie. The brave fellows who have lost their lives are – William McLeod, skipper, John McLeod, Alex. McLeod, William Smith,, William Main, William Steward, James Souter, and Alex. Souter. All of them were married, and they leave eight widows and twenty-eight children under 14 years of age to mourn the sad calamity that has overtaken them. It may easily be supposed that a distressing event like this would cause the keenest sorrow among the people of Lossiemouth, familiar as they have unhappily been of late with loss of life at sea. A subscription paper has been started for the behoof of the bereaved, and, as they are all in the very poorest circumstances, it is to be hoped the response will be liberal. One poor woman has to grieve for the loss of three sons, a son-in-law, a brother, and a cousin, in the ill-fated boat.

Riach’s in Dingwall

Patrick Scott Riach.

Patrick Scott Riach was born at Edinkillie in January of 1892. He was the son of James Alexander Riach and his wife Janet Scott. James Alexander Riach was Station Master at Dingwall Railway Station.

Dingwall Railway Station via Wikipedia

Patrick was born the middle child of five born between 1886 and 1895.  Patrick and his siblings had each been given a middle name that connected them to their forebears, on both the maternal and paternal lines.

The small village of Edinkillie had been home to the Riach’s until about 1894. Patrick and his elder sibling were all from the village while the two youngest were born in Muir of Ord, Dingwall.

Edinkillie to Dingwall via Google maps

In 1901 the family were living in Station Square, Dingwall. Station Square is still there, surrounded by the Victorian Station and houses.

The time of the 1911 census came and the family were still living at Station House. Patrick was now 19 years old and working as a Post Office clerk.

In the centre of the square is a small grassy area which is surrounded by wrought iron railings and within its centre is the local war memorial with a rustic wooden cross at the top which remembers the fallen from the 4th Btn Seaforth Highlanders.

In 1917, while James Alexander Riach was working at Dingwall Station he would have seen the ‘Jellico Express’.

What was the ‘Jellico Express‘? I hear you saying!

In May 1917, while Patrick Scott served his Country, his home town played a great part in the war. A rail route had been introduced from London to Thurso – the nearest station to Scapa Flow in Orkney where the Grand Fleet was stationed. It was Britain’s longest railway journey, just over 700 miles, and is said to have transported about 500,000 military personnel and mail in two years. The train’s carriages could hold up to about 500 for the long, 22-hour journey. The journey was the safer option, and quicker than by sea – it was also safer than the sea with the constant threat of U-boats.

The railway station cafe was also a very busy place and is said to have served over 134,800 cups of tea – served during the entire war by Red Cross volunteers.

Patrick’s Post Office record has him working from 1908 to 1915. By the time April 1918 had arrived Patrick Scott Riach was serving with the Royal Flying Corps, later the Royal Air Force. He served in France and by October 1918 he was in Russia. In June 1919 his records tell that he was in Archangel. He was a wireless operator and had completed numerous courses in this field. He had experience and qualified as a telegraphist. He had knowledge of telegraphic engineering and held a Class 1 Postmaster Generals Certificate for Wireless and attended courses in Valve Detectors at Brooklands and British School of Telegraphy, London. During his time serving his country, he had been given the rank of Lieutenant. It was while in Archangel that he was Acting Captain. He was transferred to the ‘unemployed’ list.

Royal Flying Cross via Wikipedia

In October 1919 he was awarded the A.F.C. (Air Force Cross)

Upon return to civilian life, he returned to working for the post office. In 1922 he married Christina Laurie Hood. Christine had also worked for the post office – could they have met through work? The couple went on to have at least two children.

Patrick retired from the post office and lived the rest of his days in Dingwall.

He died on the 16th of October 1958. He rests in Mitchell Hill Cemetery, Dingwall.

John Roy – Upper Ballochy to Germany

John Roy – Upper Ballochy to Germany.

The 22nd of October, 1918 was a sad day for James and Jane Ann Roy – it was the day their son John died at Chemnitz, Germany during WW1.

John served in the Canadian forces during the war. He had been born on October 27th 1890 in Upper Ballochy, Elginshire and later in life worked as a teamster.

Upper Dallachy via https://maps.nls.uk/


When John Attested in 1914 he was one month shy of 25 years of age – serving as Pte 20365. He was 6′ tall – very tall for someone of that period and weighed 185lbs. He had a medium complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and was a Presbyterian by persuasion. He was declared to be fit by Medical Officer WP Duncan.

As John served with a Canadian Regiment and therefore his service records have survived. How wonderful is that?

One of the identifier pages of his service records tells that John had two large patches of Leukoplake on either side of the lower abdomen. But saying that he was classed as fit. So at Valcartier, Quebec he joined the army and gave his mother as his next of kin.

Valcartier Camp, Quebec WW1 via Wikipedia

John served with the 103rd Regiment, Calgary Rifles from 1914 and sailed with his unit to France on the 3rd of 1914. For some reason, not named, John was subject to 15 days Field Punishment at Pond Farm on the 29th of October 1914.

On the 21st of May 1915, John was recorded as missing and Struck Strength to days later. Three years later he was officially reported missing and officially a prisoner of war Kreigsfefaugenlater, followed by Munster, later being transferred to Chemnitz, Ebersdoft.

Upper Dallachy to Germany via Google Maps

In December 1918 he died of pneumonia whilst a POW in the camp hospital in Chemnitz in the state of Saxony. The information supplied in a letter from the British Help Committee. It seems that he had been gassed and while under the immediate effects of the gas had been taken a prisoner. He spent time at Kreigsgefangenenlager (sic), Munster before his transfer to Chemnitz.

Information about John and I suppose other prisoners had been extracted from Hosp Adm. book by Cpl. Wilkinson, RAMC, which included that he was later a POW at Munster. From looking at one of John’s records it would seem that Cpl. Wilkinson, himself a POW, returned home and brought the register with him.

During the years John was a prisoner of war, his mother was receiving $15 per month.

Headstone of Pte John Roy, via Find a Grave

John rests in Sudwestfriedhof der Berliner Synode Military, which is also known as Berlin Suth Western Cemetery, Brandenburg. Above his name is the Canadian Mapel Leaf and his service number and rank. Followed by a cross with ‘Ever Remembered by Those Who Loved Him’ at the base as requested by his family.

The Probate entry in the Scottish National Probate Index lists John, who died intestate. His father James, a ghillie of Upper Dallachy, Spey Bay, was granted the estate of £215 3s.

The Speymouth War Memorial includes John’s name and two other Roy’s.

Speymouth War Memorial© Carol Sklinar 2020

Another Walk around Sugar Lane Cemetery

Another Walk around Sugar Lane Cemetery.

In the March quarter of 1864, in the Pancras Registration District, John Nathaniel Manton married Annie Elizabeth Trevett. John Nathaniel had been born in St Georges, Bloomsbury and Annie Elizabeth gave St. Pancras as her place of birth.

Later in the year on the 30th of June Annie Elizabeth gave birth to their son, John Albert Manton. The summer came and went and autumn began to creep around the corner. One early autumn day John Albert Manton was taken by his parents to the All Saints church in the centre of Wakefield. I wonder how many family and friends joined the couple to celebrate the christening, John’s christening? 

John’s name and that of his parents are entered in the Parish Register along with seven other babies and their parents. All but two of those entries were signed by Rev. C E Camidge – remember the Camidge family from the previous Walk Around Sugar Lane?

The family now lived on South Parade and Nathaniel worked as a dentist. The family are still living in South Parade at the time the census enumerator walked his round in 1871. By then John Albert had two younger sisters – Constance A aged 5 and Gertrude F(?) aged just two. Also part of the household was Annie Teall, their 22-year-old general servant and Barnsley born, Sarah Heliwell a 20-year-old nurse. 

The census enumerator called again in 1881 to the Georgian terrace house. Each of the houses backed on to George Street, while their front door opened directly on to South Parade. Each of the houses had a long garden, accessed across the narrow road. Who is in the house? John Nathaniel, who now classes himself as a dental surgeon. His wife Annie Elizabeth is next, followed by John Albert now aged 16 and a medical student. Constance Annie followed by Gertrude Lilly – her name is now written clearly and in full. Both girls are pupils at the High School – probably, the Girls High School. Again there are two servants – Elizabeth (22) and Annie (19) Wilson.

In early 1889 John Albert Manton and his family were in the Salford area. John was to be married to Ernestine Graham Gradisky. The families gathered at Stowell Memorial Church on the 5th of March 1889. It seems by looking at the corrections to the date, on this and the previous entry, the minister was not sure of the dates. John, now 24 years old was a surgeon, living at Shrewsbury House, Sheffield. While Ernestine, a year older than John, lived at Glen View, 59 Howard Street, Salford. John’s sister Constantine, John N Manton and Charles Gradisky were witnesses.

There is one thing on this entry in the parish registers, that I find fascinating. Ernestine Graham-Gradisky signed in a good hand but, and there is always one of those, in parentheses the minister added a wonderful snippet of information (adopted name). With a quick bit of side-tracking, it seems that Ernestine could have been the daughter of Ann Straker, who later married Charles Gradisky. Ann also appears to have been known as Ann Holt or another question, were there two Ann’s? Anyway, aged 25 she married Charles Bradisky, a Belgian designer. Charles, in turn, was the son of a ‘gentleman’. Where the ‘Graham’ comes into the equation, I have not gone that far as Ernestine is not the main focus of my rambling around Sugar Lane.

Norfolk Road, Sheffield

Back to John. The Medical Directory of 1905 includes an entry for John which tells:- “Manton, John Albert, Shrewsbury House, Park, Sheffield (teleph. 1340) – M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. Lond. 1886: (St. Bart., Leeds, Durh.); Chevalier Holy Ord. of St. Sava (Servia) 1899; Med. Off. Post Off. and Educat. Departm.; Hon.Surg. Sheffield Bn. Boys’ Brig.; Surg. Hearts of Oak; Med. Reg. Nat. Mut. and other Insur. Cos.; late Demonst. Anat. Sheffield Sch. of Med. Author Pamphlets, “Echoes from the Savoy,” 1893: “Scandinavian and Russ,” 1895; Municipal Hygiene;” Joint Author of “Round Sheffield” Guides; “By Way of the Balkans,” 1899. Constrib, “Hypnotism,” Hospital, 1899; “Universal Variety of Episapadias – Pseudo Hermaphrodism,” Lancet 1890.”

John and Ernestine went on to have three children. Although the family lived in Sheffield, they returned to Wakefield to have their children christened in what is now Wakefield Cathedral.

As well as being a prominent doctor, surgeon and writer of guides and medical works, John was also heavily involved in the local community. The Sheffield Evening Telegraph tells that ‘John Albert Manon, physician and surgeon of 1 Norfolk Road, Sheffield, nominated by William Arthur Birks, John Frederick Hodgson, William Rawson Carter and George Senior’ for the Municipal Elections of 1891. He was nominated for quite a few years and did serve time on the Council’. During this time, John was a member of St Leonard’s Lodge, 2263, part of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire West Riding.

John Albert Manton died on the 4th of February 1919. His obituary in the British Medical Journal tells of his full life and explains some of the abbreviations previously mentioned. “Dr, John Albert Manton, a well known Sheffield medical practitioner, died on February 4th from pneumonia following influenza. He was born in Wakefield in 1864, and studied medicine at St. Bartholomews Hospital and at the medical schools of Leeds and the University of Durham, obtaining the M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. diplomas in 1886. Two years later he began practice in the Park district of Sheffield. Among other early appointments, he was a demonstrator of anatomy in the Sheffield School of Medicine. For many years Dr. Manton took a prominent part in municipal life as a member of the city council and a guardian. In addition to the work of a large private practice, he held the appointments of medical officer to the Sheffield Post Office and to the Education Department. He spent his holidays in travel, and made good use of his experiences, both on the platform and in various literary contributions. He visited Servia in 1899, and wrote a series of sympathetic articles on life in the Balkans and in recognition of which he was appointed by King Alexander of Serbia a Chevalier of the Order of St. Sava. He was an enthusiastic cyclist, and was for many years president of the Sheffield Road Club, in this was adding year by year to his knowledge of local roads and of the antiquarian lore of the countryside. Dr Manton leaves a widow, a son and two daughters. He was for many years a member of the Sheffield Division of the British Medical Association.”

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Saturday 8th of February 1919 adds more information to the life and times of Dr. Manton. “The funeral of Dr John Albert Manton whose death is universally regretted in Sheffield, where he was held in the highest esteem, took place yesterday at Wakefield – his native town. Owing to the fact that the internment was at an early hour of the day, and difficulties of travelling, many old friends of the doctor were unable to attend. The Rev. T. C. Greenwood, Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Wakefield, was the officiating clergyman. The mourners were the immediate relatives, and included Mrs Manton (widow), Captain and Mrs Marcus Manton (son and daughter-in-law), the Misses Manton (daughters), and Mrs James Lowe, of Addison Grange, Sale (sister-in-law). The remains were laid to rest in the family grave. Floral tributes were sent by the widow and daughter, Mr and Mrs Marcus Manton, Mr James Low (sister-in-law), the Brethren of St. Leonard’s Lodge, No. 2263 (“In affectionate remembrance of a beloved Past Master, from the Brethren of St Leonard’s Lodge, No. 2263″), J E B Beaumont, the Staffs of the Sheffield Theatres, Mr and Mrs H Amstein, Mr Reuben Thompson, and Nurse Moore”.

The family headstone in Sugar Lane cemetery has the following inscription -“In loving memory of John N Manton LDS & RCS Eng. of Wakefield Born Novr 2nd 1833. Died Sept 2nd 1900. ‘His end was peace’ Annie Elizabeth Manton, wife of the above who died March 4th 1909. ‘He giveth his beloved sleep’. Also John Albert Manton, MCRS Eng. LRCP Lon. son of the above. Born June 30th 1864. Died Feby 4th 1919. ‘After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well’.

There were quite a few entries for John in the British Newspaper Archive with each article adding more to his very rounded life. As an afterthought, while in the BNA I searched for Ernestine and came up with the following which goes a long way to answering previously asked questions. The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent March 7th 1889 “Marriage of a Local Doctor – At the Stowell Memorial Church, Salford on Tuesday was celebrated the marriage of Mr J Albert Manton, MRCS, LRCP, Shrewsbury House, Park, formerly of Wakefield to Miss Ernestine Graham Gradisky, only daughter of the late Mr J Graham, of Warsaw(?). The bride, who looked charming, in a dress of dark green cloth, “a la Directoire,” was given away by Mr C Gradisky. The nieces of the bride, attired in dresses of white pongee silk, with reseda sashes, the Misses Manton in pink embroidered dresses, a nephew in the costume of “Little Lord Fauntleroy”, and a profusion of choice flowers, with the bright sun streaming in at the window made the ceremony one of the prettiest that has been witnessed in this church for some time”.

Marcus Dyce Manton via Ancestry

Extra information from the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star June 12 1915 – Marcus Dyce Manton, son of John and Ernestine, was the Godson of Sir Dyce Duckworth, eminent surgeon, physician and dermatologist and physician to King Edward when he was Prince of Wales. “I was at Hendon Flying Ground the other evening, and there saw Mr Marcus Dyce Manton, a godson of Sir Dyce Duckworth, and instructor in flying. He told me how Flight-Lieut. J S Mills, one of the heroes of the week’s Zeppelin-shed attack, had a setback in his flying lessons last winter. In “the swirl “ of another aeroplane the other day – it can only happen on a calm day – he got blown down and hooked on to a railway fence! Now he is famous. Mr Manton taught him to fly.”  Marcus during WW1 was found to be unfit on medical grounds for service.  He, therefore, continued to teach flying and was a key figure in the formation of the British Gliding Association.

I never get tired of saying that you can learn so much from a few names on a headstone with the smallest amount of ‘digging’.

Accident – Elgin to Lhangbryde Road

Accident – Elgin to Lhangbryde Road

There are a few cemeteries that evoke little or any emotions within me. While the headstones do or can tell wonderful tales. But the majority of cemeteries and kirkyards that I’ve visited in Scotland bring over me a sense of calmness – now is that because I’m in Scotland?

Another headstone within the strong walls of Urquhart cemetery is also telling a tale of tragedy. Possibly with some villagers remembering the terrible plight of Alexander Gillies in 1886 who left a wife and four children.

This is the story of Constance Leslie.

Constance was born on the 26th of April 1910 at Parkes of Innes, Urquhart. She was the daughter of James Leslie and his wife Isabelle Pirie.

Park of Innes via nls maps

 

Isabella had been a nurse then changed her occupation that of assistant art teacher working at Elgin Academy.

Eighty-five years ago in 1936 Elgin Academy was on a different site. The academy Constance would have been familiar with was on the current site of Moray College with a previous building been on the corners of Academy Street and Francis place. In 2012 the academy opened the doors of its new building on Morriston Road. Elgin Academy is the largest school in Moray and has historical links back to the Middle Ages.

After a full day at work, Constances headed for home on her pedal cycle, a journey of just over five miles and would probably have taken just over 30 minutes.

On the 14th of January 1935 what made this Constance’s last day at school?

was at the junction of the road to Tyockside Farm and the main road north, collided with a car driven by Mr Rose.

Tyocksiden junction with main Elgin to Lhangbryde road via nls maps

The Dundee Courier on the 15th of January ran the following:-
Scots Art Teacher Fatally Injured. Elgin Road Tragedy.
Miss Constance Leslie (24), an art teacher at Elgin Academy, was fatally injured in a motor accident near Elgin last night.
Miss Leslie who was cycling to her home at Urquhart, was involved in a collision with a car a the junction of the road to Tyockside Far with the main north road. The car was driven by Mr A J Rose, timber merchant, Woodview, Garmouth, who was accompanied by his wife and son. They escaped injury.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph of the same date informed:-
Scots Teacher Killed on Road.
Miss Constance Leslie (24), an art teacher on the staff of Elgin Academy, was killed instantly in an accident east of Elgin.
Miss Leslie who was cycling to her home at Urquhart, was struck by a car which emerged from a side road on to the main road near
Tyockside Farm. She fell heavily on her head.

The Scotsman of the 17th of January 1935, corrects a previous issue and contradicts one of the Dundee newspapers. It looks like one of the papers was syndicated and ended up with slightly wrong information. Well, what is new!

Elgin Woman Teacher’s Death in Accident.
Miss Constance Leslie, an art teacher on the staff of the Elgin Academy, who was killed in an accident east of Elgin on Monday night was cycling from a side road on to the main road when she was struck by a passing car. The car was not, as stated in the report which appeared on Tuesday, emerging from a side road; it was on the main road.

An Inquiry

The following month – The report of an inquiry in The Aberdeen Press and Journal of the 16th of February, 1935 gives a little more information. The main Elgin road seemed to have seen quite a bit of tragedy during January, as not only Constance lost her life but a young man aged 20 was also fatally injured. James Anderson, clerk of 20 Gordon Street, Huntley, was in early January riding his motorcycle from Elgin to Lhangbryde, and who at the junction of the road leading to Orton, overtook and crashed into a motor bus belonging to Elgin and District Motor Bus Company, about one mile out of Elgin. The bus was being driven by Alexander Fraser of 16 South College Street. James Anderson received instant fatal injuries. A witness to the event told that he thought James Anderson would have been travelling at about 45 – 50 mph. Which the witness thought was far to fast, in his opinion as it was a night with a drizzle of rain.

The report continues and says that Mr Fraser, the driver or 16 South Street, told that he could not remember what traffic passed him on that night, but he did always keep an eye on his driving mirrors. Another witness, Mrs Jeannie Henderson or Ross, Oldshiels, Lhangbryde remembered hearing the roar of a motorcycle just behind the bus near the Orton Road. She also said that there was a light below the bus window for a minute then sparks.

Elgin Woman Teacher’s End
The second inquiry related to the death of Miss Constance Leslie, assistant art teacher, Elgin Academy, and residing at Parks of Innes, Urquhart, who when emerging on a pedal cycle from Tyockside Road on to the main Elgin-Lhangbryde road, on the night of January 14, was in collision with a motor car being driven towards Elgin by Alexander James Rose, wood merchant, Woodview, Garmouth, receiving injuries from which she died instantaneously.
The driver of the car, Mr Rose, said the cyclist came right out on to the middle of the road. He swerved the car as fast as it was humanly possible for anyone to do in order to try and avoid her, but contact took place about the centre of the main road.
Mr Rose said he tried to right the car, which took the bank at the right-hand side and toppled over after it stopped. He came out through the wind-screen, which was smashed, and found the girl lying about a car length behind the car.
In further answer to Mr Shiach (procurator-fiscal, conducting for the Crown), a witness said that any person coming out of the side road should have seen the reflection of the car’s head-lights through the trees.
After hearing other witnesses the jury, as already indicated, returned a formal verdict.

The Scotsman 16th February 1935.
Elgin Fatalities: Drivers Exonerated.
Both drivers were exonerated from blame at a public inquiry at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday into the death of Constance Leslie (24), an assistant art teacher at Elgin Academy, and James Anderson, (24), clerk of Gordon Street, Huntley, who were killed in collisions with a car and a bus respectively. Both accidents occurred on the main road east of Elgin at points a little over a mile apart. The jury returned formal verdicts in each case.

Constance’s headstone © C Sklinar 2020

And so the headstone in the shape of a simple scroll standi ng on a solid base bears only one name – In loving memory of Constance Leslie. D.A. who was accidentally killed 14th Jan. 1935 aged 24 years.   The single name and inscription has truly told an interesting tale.

Tragedy at Elgin

Tragedy at Elgin

Names fascinate me, well mainly surnames, but there are occasions when a first name sparks my curiosity. When I say first names – the modern scrabble orientated names…..No! I just wonder, Why?

But sometimes it is something else carved in stone that spurs me on to out more. This could be something that the family thought was important to the person resting beneath the slab of stone. Or, something the family thought meant a lot to them. Or the family thought everyone who passed should know who the deceased was or how they ‘met their maker’.

A headstone in the quiet and calm cemetery in Urquhart, Moray, tells of such a tale.

Alexander Gillies was born around 1862. There is a census entry for 1881 that seems to fit with Alexander being born in Duffus and at that time working in a local quarry. There is a wife, Mary, a few years older than him and a young child, Margaret.

If this is the correct young man by 1886 he working on the railway and has four children. And I suppose as with everyone else in the village life went on as normal, some may have a harder life than others but normal for them.

The Event

The morning of the 1st of March 1886 would see ‘normal life’ change forever.

Alexander would have left for work as usual then the unthinkable happened.

The First Elgin Railway Station via Wikipedia

The First Elgin Railway Station via Wikipedia

Glasgow Evening Post, Monday 1st March 1886:-

Sad Accident at Elgin.
This morning a sad accident occurred at Elgin Station, Great North of Scotland Railway, whereby Alexander Gillies, shunter, a native or Urquhart, was severely injured that no hope of his recovery is entertained. While endeavouring to leap on the buffer of a shunting engine in motion he lost his balance

Headstone for Alexander Gillies and his wife Mary. © Carol Sklinar 2020

and fell among the wheels, two of which passed over him and mutilated his body and legs fearfully. He is only 25 years of age, and has a wife and four of a family. Drs. Mackintosh and Duff are in attendance, but his end is momentarily expected.

Alexander was followed by his wife Mary a few short years later.

Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin

Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin

The other day I went through all the cemetery photographs taken while I was staying in Lossiemouth during July 2020 and there were quite a few! The purpose of this exercise was to make a note of the headstones I thought would make an interesting blog.

What made the headstone of interest? Well, it could be the names carved in the memorial; the regiment; place of death (if included) or just a little something that sparked my interest.

One person today ticked one box twice – first with one of his first name and secondly his surname.

Who is he? William Alaister Drage Riach.

But, before I tell you about William Alaister Drage Riach I must tell you a little about his father, William.

William Snr had married Isabella nee Yeats, and at one time the couple had lived at Braco Place, 40 Hawthorn Road, Elgin.

On the 13th of June 1918, William Snr, a tailor, born in 1874, enlisted at Kinross into the RAMC. His time in the military was a short one as on the 25th of February the following year he was Demobbed.

In the previous months, William Snr served as Private 153351 and had spent time in K Company, Blackpool.

Service Records, if they have survived the damage caused during WW2, can contain so much information. Also, the Pension Records preserved by The Western Front Association and available on Fold3 – contain much more information. And can contain more personal details.

Returning to William Snr, when he enlisted he was 44 years and 1 month old. He was 5′ 4½” tall with a 38″ fully expanded chest (with a 3″ range of expansion, so a normal 35″ chest). He had married Isabella on the 17th of June 1916 at Elgin. The following year William Alaister Drage Riach was born (7th May 1917).

William Snr died at Glen View, Moray Street, Elgin on the 11th of May 1933 aged 57 and his wife Isabella Years followed him on the 10th of July 1937 aged 53 years.

And so back to William Jnr. In September 1951, William Jnr and his wife Dorothy Wordsworth, Gardiner whom he had married in 1942, returned to Britain from Nyasaland. Nyasaland was from 1907 a British protectorate. Between 1953 and 1963 it became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. After the Federation dissolved in 1964 the area was renamed Malawi.

Where did his life in the ministry start? William had attended Aberdeen University to study theology. According to the Aberdeen Press and Journal of the 2nd of April 1935, he passed and his graduation was to take place the following day in the Mitchell Hall, Marischal College.

The Scotsman 18 March 1947 via British Newspaper Archives

William served time as a probationary minister in Elgin, before moving to parishes in and around central Scotland before venturing further afield. While at New St Bride’s Church, Douglas, Lanarkshire William organised a Youth Conference which was attended by over 60 delegates. Speakers included those from Scotland and Amsterdam with messages being read out from messages of greetings from various bodies in England, Germany, Austria and Geneva.

Church of Scotland, 121 George St., Edinburgh, via Google maps

William during his life was a minister in the Church of Scotland and spent some of his life in Africa. Upon his return to Britain with his wife they gave their onward address as 121 George Street, Edinburgh which is the Church of Scotland building.

The couple, William and Dorothy were on the move again in July 1952, this time their children were with them – Miss R E; Miss H M; Mstr N D and Miss A W. They again gave their UK address as 121 George Street, Edinburgh. All were to disembark the ‘Rhodesia Castle‘ at Mombasa.

By 1956 William Jnr and Dorothy are back in Africa as according to the Kenya Gazette the couple are living in Kiambu north of Nairobi.

William and Dorothy moved to Newfoundland, Canada and after a full live William died in 1999. His obituary reads:-

Riach, William Alastair Drage, died on Saturday, September 4th, at the Agnes Pratt Nursing Home. Predeceased by his beloved wife Dorothy on June 3rd, 1999. Father of Rosalind Gray, Hilary Vavasour, Neil Riach and Alison Decker, father in law of George Gray, Andy Vavasour, and Carolyn Currren; grandfather of Sarah and Stuart, Claire and Peter, Tristan, Rachel and Kathryn, friend and teacher to many. The funeral service will be held at St. James United Church, Elizabeth Avenue, St John’s on Friday, September 10th at 2 pm followed by the burial of his ashes as his Country hoe in Avondale. No flowers please, cards and notes appreciated. Donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

September 08, 1999.

William A D Riach headstone © C Sklinar 2020

William is remembered on the family headstone in Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin but there is no mention of his wife or where he died or his missionary work.

Alexander Jamieson Dean of Urquhart

Alexander Jamieson Dean of Urquhart

I’ve always thought that Scotland has a vast number of beautiful cemeteries. Beautiful not only in the memorials they contain and how they are laid out but what they look out on – a beautiful hillside, swathes of farmland or stunning hillsides.

Dean family headstone in Urquhart Cemetery © C Sklinar 2020

Cluny cemetery in Forres is one that I particularly feel drawn towards due to its setting. Another is Urquhart cemetery which is overlooked by fields and is where my grandparents, and aunt and uncle rest. Whenever I walk around both the old and new sections of Urquhart cemetery I see familiar names and places. The names include Douglas, Hay, Petrie and of course, Riach. The places, well Inchbroom, Innes Estate, Bogmoor and Nether Meft all bring back very fond memories of spending time with my grandfather at Rutherhill, Lhangbryde.

Alexander Jamieson Dean – could he be in some way related to a family friend who had the surname Jamieson? Anyway, Alexander Jamieson Dean was 3 months old when the census enumerator called on the family home in 1891. The enumerator that day recorded the names of nine people – Alexander (34) and Jessie Dean (24) Alexander’s parents. Then there was Robert Dean (22) Alexander’s (Snr) brother. Then there were servants ranging in ages from 35 down to John Young aged five.

Ten years later in 1901, Alexander had four siblings. As well as a domestic servant the farm had a cattleman, shepherd and horseman. Young John Young had gone – could he have been connected to one of the female servants who no longer worked on the Jointurelands farm?

During his school years, AJD attended Elgin Academy then returned to full-time work on the farm.

The peaceful time on the farm was soon to be interrupted as the summer of 1914 quickly came around.

AJM joined the Seaforth Highlands, the 1/6th (Morayshire) Battalion, raised in Elgin in August 1914 as part of the Seaforth and Cameron Brigade. The 1/5th (Sutherland and Caithness) and 1/6th both landed in France as part of the 152nd Brigade in the 561st Highland Division in May 1915 and served on the Western Front.

Alexander initially served as 4517, then after changing battalion, company or some other change to his service his number became 267076. He enlisted after 1914, as he was only eligible for the British and Victory Medals.

AJM and his fellow soldiers served in Belgium in the 3rd Battle of Ypres – The Battle of Passchendaele. Fought from July to November 1917, the bloody and muddy battle was to take control of the ridges south of Ypres.

Alexander’s death in the Army Register of Soldiers Effects is ‘on or since’ te 31st of July 1917 ‘Death Presumed’. His mother, Jessie was to receive £6 19s 6d in October 1918 followed by a War Gratuity payment of £3 in December 1919. Early in the morning of 31st July 1917, the Battle of Pilckem Ridge began. Could AJM have been killed in this battle? Pilckem is only a few miles north of where he rests in New Irish Cemetery. According to the information for New Irish Cemetery it appears that many graves were brought in to the newer cemetery, this included Pilckem Road Cemetery.

After the war Jessie (Taylor) Dean applied for a pension – I don’t think her claim was all that successful!

Section of Urquhart War Memorial

As well as being remembered on the Scottish National Roll of Honour, AJM is remembered locally in Urquhart, the village of his birth, Elgin Academy and the Morayshire Roll of Honour where his entry reads –

“DEAN, Alexander Jamieson. No. 267076, Pte., 6th Seaforth Highlanders; born at Jointure-land, 8th Dec, 1891; joined at Elgin, 22nd Sept., 1916; served in France; killed at Ypres, 31st July, 1917. Son of Alexander Dean (deceased), Jointureland, and Jessie Taylor or Dean. Occupation, farm manager”.

A Soldier Remembered in Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin

A Soldier Remembered in Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin

I sit down with all good intentions to write another section of my blog. Yes, good intentions, but it takes me longer to decide who to write about than it does to put the information into words. I have so many photographs of military-connected and interesting headstones choosing who should be next is extremely hard.

Once again it is a Scottish cemetery that is providing the headstone – Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin, Morayshire. Technically, the subjects memorial is not a headstone but a plaque. To be precise one of a set of four plaques for the MacPherson family.

It was one of these simple plaques that caught my eye and yes, you have probably guess correctly that it has a military connection.

Elizabeth MacPherson died in July 1916; Catherine Duff MacPherson died in May 1895. Robert MacPherson died in 1926. But the MacPherson that interests me is John Cook MacPherson.

JCM was born on the 30th of January 1886. The son of Robert MacPherson and Catherine Duff. Robert was the Minister of Elgin.

JCM and his family were living at the Manse, Elgin in 1891. In 1901, he was living in The Manse, Monymusk with his aunt and uncle, William and Elizabeth MacPherson.

After attending local schools JCM attended Aberdeen University studying law. While at university he was a private in ‘U’ Company, Gordon Highlanders.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 JCM was working in the Solicitor’s Department of the North British Railway Company. According to some sources his health had not been the best he did still enlist in September 1914 to the 9th Battalion of the Royal Scots. Initially serving as Private 2383 he was soon to gain his commission and become a 2nd Lieutenant. In February 1915 he entered France. His medal card includes an address for his father on the reverse side – The Rev’d R MacPherson D.D., The Manse, Helensburgh. Very few medal cards include any information on the reverse.

Now commissioned to the 11th Battalion Royal Scots and attached to the3rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders. l He underwent further training and was now attached to the 1st Battalion. It was while serving with them that he was killed in action while leading the remnant of his Company for the third time to manoeuvre their way through a wire entanglement during the fighting at Loos, on September 25th 1915.

Aberdeen University – Roll of Service tell ‘His personality was one of unusual charm, and his kindly and genial manner had gained for him a wide circle of friends. In literature and art, he took a keen interest, and was Editor of “Alma Mater”. A slightly dilettante attitude concealed to some extent his more solid characteristics, but the war swept aside what was never more than an attractive pose and brought out the true nature of the man. By his friends, Macpherson will be remembered as an example of the best type which the Scottish Universities produce.

A wonderful source of information for WW1 research is De Ruvigney’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918. Now online, I am proud to say I own a set and have spent many an afternoon looking through its pages. Luckily enough JCM is included along with a picture so I can see what a handsome man he was. This entry also includes more information than his university entry.

Macpherson, John Cook extracted from Du Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour

MACPHERSON, JOHN COOK, 2nd Lieut., 3rd (Reserve) Battn. The Gordon Highlanders. 3rd s (son) of the Reb. Robert MacPherson, D.D., V.D., Minister of Elgin, by his wife, Catherine Duff, dau. of the Rev. George Cook D.D., of Kincardine; b (born) The Manse, Elgin, 30 Jan. 1886′ educ. Elgin Academy; Aberdeen, and Edinburgh Universities, where he graduated M.A. in 1910, and subsequently LL.B.; was Assistant to the Solicitor of the North British Railway Company; joined the 9th Battn. Royal Scots (T.F.) as a Private in Sept. 1914, after the outbreak of war; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. 3rd Gordon Highlanders, 6 March 1915; went to France in July, 1915, and was killed in action near Hulluch 25 Sept. following. The Chaplain Reb. Alex. M. Maclean, C.M.G., attached 1st Gordons, wrote: “When the order was given to advance, the Gordons sprang as one man from their trenches. They swept on to the German lines like a torrent. The right wing found the barbed wire smashed to atoms by artillery and walked straight into the German trenches. The centre and left-wing found the barbed wire intact, possibly because of some depression in the ground which diverted the artillery fire. The night before this was noticed, and an engineer party detailed to deal with it; but unfortunately, they got knocked out before the work was done, and in the dark nothing could be seen. The wire was five feet high and about eight feet broad – a tangled mass only a few yards from the German loopholes. The Gordons charged right up to this formidable barrier. They tried to get over it, to get under it, to get through it, but not to go back. They died there on the wire, and your son and the foremost of them. His body was found by a gallant party which crawled out in the dark the night after and brought him in… Your son is buried with other officers just behind the line in what is called Sanctuary Wood. The exact spot is registered and marked by the Graves Registration Commission. His funeral was a soldier’s funeral, very reverent and solemn.”

Menin Gate CWGC image

In the extracted letter to JCM’s father, it tells that JM was buried at Sanctuary Wood. I now have been hit by the curiosity bug as the CWGC have JCM having no known grave and being remembered with thousands of others on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. The CWGC details for the memorial doesn’t mention anything about why this information differs. However, when I looked at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery information there was the answer.
There were three cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all of which were made between May and August  During the Battle of Mount Sorrel, these cemeteries were all but destroyed. Hence, JCM being remembered in Ypres. There were traces of the second cemetery later found and this formed the start of the present day cemetery.

After JCM’s death, his father went on to receive over £47 in 1916 followed by £5 War Gratuity in 1919.

The Scotsman of Wednesday 6th October 1915 includes the death notice for JCM, followed by the Aberdeen Press and Journal issue of Saturday 4th November 1916 tells that Aberdeen

J C MacPherson from the University Roll of Honour

University was compiling a Memorial Number of ‘Alma Mater’ worth of Aberdeen University and its glorious war record. No fewer, at the time, that 42 admirable portraits had been given of graduates and students who had made the supreme sacrifice. JCM was one of 2,852 University staff, students and alumni who served in the First World War, of which 341 lost their lives.

As well as being remembered in his University Roll of Honour, JCM has an entry in The Morayshire Roll of Honour, along with a page in the Libindex.

Does John Cook MacPherson have a place in your family tree?