Sections


Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
Temperance
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds

On the bend of the road which approaches the modern golf course in Comrie on a knoll can be seen the remains of a Norman Motte. It shows itself as circular and raised as a level plateau shaped by man, and positioned against the natural northerly slope of the Laggan Braes. It would be, for its day, a strong defensive site with wooden palisades to act as walls sharpened at the top with an entry gate to allow for access. The enclosure was surrounded by a rough ditch. Here in times of danger the local folk would gather secure in the knowledge that the enclosure could withstand assault. The area at that time was surrounded by trees and water was drawn from the nearby river Lednock. Over time and after its use as a defensive site was over, it tumbled to the ground with its palisades being taken by the local folk and probably used as firewood or to build low shelters, loosely referred to as cottages. Centuries later the Lawers estate built a number a number of small dwellings at Coneyhill. Evidence of this is seen when one comes across patches of nettles, a sure sign that people once lived there. It was called Laggan meaning “little hollow.” Close by the Motte the clachan of Laggan grew to a small collection of houses (more meaningfully, huts) and a family called McKenzie lived in one of them as tenants. They had an only daughter whose name was Kate.

One day Mrs. McKenzie went out of her home leaving the infant in her cradle and during her absence some fairies, looking for something to do, went into the house and stole the child, but left another child in her place. The “fairy” child was nurtured and brought up by the McKenzies as one of their own. However, no one really loved or cared for this child as she continually annoyed the neighbours in various ways. Eventually Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie passed on leaving Kate the cottage and the smallholding.

One Beltane (May Day in the old Scottish calendar, sometimes called the Celtic May Day) morning it was her habit to rise early and go to the fields, taking with her a rope made of twisted hair. She used this as a tether which she unwound and taking one end of it place it over her shoulder as she walked over all the “pasture” land, including her neighbours, muttering weird incantations. At one time this resulted in all the milk coming to her cow alone and the neighbouring cattle grazing alongside had none. It is small wonder that her neighbours were “no verra happy!” They sought advice from a “traveling” woman who knew what the remedy was and by some private method she restored the milk to all the cattle. She was handsomely rewarded for this service.

Being strange or “fey” she had annoyed the local manager of the Lawers estate, Mr. Ross, and he determined to rid himself of her. One day the overseer against the advice of his neighbours confronted Kate and gave her notice to quit her cottage and smallholding. His neighbours had told him that something unpleasant would happen to him if he did this. Undeterred he announced that “all the witches in Christendom” would not stop the eviction. When the time came he took possession of the cottage. He employed men who ploughed up the land. This was then seeded and to make sure that the job was done right he oversaw the project himself.

Shortly thereafter he yoked a fine young mare in the harrows and commenced to drive over and around the worksite to ensure that everything was going well. Suddenly just when he was turning a corner of the field where St. Serf’s chapel now stands, one of the harrows stood up on end and fell to the ground upside down. Mr. Ross pulled up on the mare but she stumbled and fell back on the harrow with its spikes going deep into her body.

Throwing the reins to the side he ran to a nearby rowan tree from which he broke a twig and fixed it to his hat. Rowan branches were used to ward off evil spirits. All the other onlookers did the same thing and then went to attend to the stricken mare which sadly died after a few minutes. Perhaps the “hex”" worked?

On another occasion Kate took umbrage at one of her neighbours who was a poor old soul racked with rheumatism to the extent that she could do almost nothing for herself. Her neighbours were very kindly to her and would help with the washing and cleaning and jobs about the house...but not oor Kate. Sometimes she would come in the evening or during the night and wave a bridle over the old woman transforming her into a cow. Kate would then throw the bridle over the woman’s head and jump on her back making them gallop up and down the Laggan Braes and through the heights and hollows at a pace which ordinary mortals had no conception. The violent exercises continued till cock-crow when the poor old woman was driven home, transformed into her usual form and put to bed where her neighbours would find her in the morning breathless with every bone in her body sore almost to breaking point.

Whilst the local people of Laggan thought the best way of handling Kate was in a similar fashion to the demise of Kate McNiven of Monzie who was rolled over a crag in a barrel of boiling hot oil, they decided to leave her alone and she lived to a ripe old age. The houses at the Laggan were demolished but when the workers were building the railway from Comrie to Lochearnhead they came across a part of a wall and from what is known, there is no doubt that it was a part of Kate McKenzie’s home. The building stood a few yards from the East side of the road leading to Coneyhill House and near to an iron gate erected by Colonel Williamson.