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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

Roman Camp, Dalginross – October 1800

Account of the Roman Camps at Dalginross by the deceased Revd. Mr. McDiarmid, Minister of Comrie, presented to the Perth Antiquarian Society, Sept. 1801.

An old translator of Rapin’s History of England says in his notes that the Battle was fought within a mile of the Church of Comrie. Mr. Alexr. Gordon, an intelligent antiquarian, who examined all the North of Scotland published in 1726 his Itinerarium Septentrionale. In this book he endeavours to prove from page 35 to 41 that Dalginrossmuir was the real field of the Battle. In plate 5 we have a distinct draught of both camps, especially of the largest. How much the inundations of the Ruchill have diminished the other cannot be fully ascertained, but nearly one half seems to have been taken away.

No place could be more fit for a great and general engagement in the Highlands of Scotland than the extensive plains surrounding the Roman Camp, which tradition still points out as the scene of the Bloody Battle. This plain is 4 miles long from the wood above Craggish to nearly opposite the Church of Strowan; and in most places it is a mile and a half broad. Near the west end, the Ruchill divides the plain from North to South, and the Earn River near the North side runs from West to East the whole length. The River Ruchill everywhere, and the Earn except a few pools, are always fordable, but in time of floods; and the banks of the River are very low in their courses through the whole plain.

The number of troops said to be engaged on both sides, seems uncertain. Tacitus says, “instinctos ruentesque ita disposuit, ut peditum auxilia, quae octo millia erent, mediam aciem firmament, eqitum tria millia cornibus affunderentur.” He adds, the legions he placed before the trenches, thinking it would mightily add to his glory if he could gain a victory without the effusion of Roman blood: or he wished at least to keep them as a reserve in case of a repulse. Here we have 8000 auxiliary foot, 3000 horse, but it is not said whether auxiliary or legionary. He also speaks of the Legions placed before the trenches but conceals their number. Tradition says that a legion or two came from the camp at Ardoch by Glenlichorn, five miles to the South of Dalginross. Mr. Gordon thinks that 8000 foot and 3000 horses were encamped at Dalginross; and he declared that our two camps would exactly contain that number.

As to Caledonians Tacitus says, “now they have an army of about 30,000 fighting men and the youth of the country daily come in to them with such old men as continued able and strong, every one telling his old and past exploits.” For this great multitude on both sides above fifty thousand men the whole plain and the sloping face of the hills would surely afford room for action. For the plain and face of the hills from above the Cuilt near Aberuchill by Beinn-a-choinnie above Lawers to Ochtertyre present a circuit of about 15 miles.

The battle, Tacitus says, was fought at the foot of the Grampian Hills. The word Grampian has occasioned many needless disputes in plain Gaelic. Grampian is Garbh-am-beinn or -peinn, in English rough and rocky is the hill. To you who know the hills above Aberuchill, Dunira, Garrichrew, Tullybannocher, Comrie, to you I appeal if these hills are not Grampian or rugged and rocky.

Let any person of knowledge or taste view the hills from Aberuchill to Monzie, on both sides of the Strath or flat plain, all in sight of the camp and they will find an amphitheatre or rather Thaetrum Magnus formed by nature of a striking and noble kind. I was told by some intelligent old person in 1791 that the tradition of the Country was that 92,000 men, women and children were present on the day of the battle, that 10,000 as Tacitus says were killed and also 10,000 of the Romans and their allies especially from Fife and that 2,000(?) instead of the 340 he acknowledges. Tradition also reports that the battle lasted three days between Edinample at Lochearnhead and Cultiwhey two miles to the east of Crieff.

The most rational etymological or derivations of the Gaelic names of the places surrounding the Camp seems to confirm what tradition reports of the Battle of Dalginrossmuir. When the Caledonians appeared on the Hill around, it seems highly probable that different parties of them attacked the Roman outpost while the main army approached their Camp. In the first attack it is said that the Romans were severely handled and routed at Blairdearg that is the red or bloody field, a little to the north of the Camp, or between the Camp and the junction of the Ruchill and the Earn. Having retreated to the Western Hills, they rallied with spirit and had different engagements. Below the forest we have Blairchorrie, or the Battle of the Den, the next toun, Blairmore or the town of the great engagement. Next we have Dailrannaich or the plain of the loud cry where it is said the second in command of the Roman Army was killed. This loss, tradition says, forced Agricola himself to retreat and the toun of Cuilt in Gaelic, cuilt-teicheadh, is the Den of Retreat. The Romans, being highly provoked with their loss and affront forced the Caledonians to fly to the hills of Aberuchill; in the heat of their rage and pursuit they exacted ample and cruel revenge on many of the wives and children of the Caledonians, whom they cut off in the most barbarous manner, on the plain of Dailchonzie, in Gaelic, Dail-chaonie, or the plain of lamentations. The Romans, it is said, pursued to Edinample, Eaden-a-am-buille-pilleadh or the face of the hill, where an attack was made that forced them to retreat. When the old heroes on Bein-chonie or Bein-chaoineadh, the Hill of Lamentation, saw the battle against his friends they gave a loud cry and descended to the attack.

Regular ridges are still seen on the top of this high hill sown with corn forced from the Romans before the battle.

As the most bloody engagements were on the banks of the Ruchill, the most natural meaning of the name seems to be the Flood made Rathe-cath.-theol., red with blood. While engagements were going on in different parts a select band crossed the Ruchill near Blarmore, and went East behind the Craig of Cultibragan, the wood of Cowden to attack a bridge near Strowan to cut off the retreat of the Romans. To the east of Drummond-eireanach, they were discovered from a small hill, Tom-a-bhrath, the hillock of discovery as it is still called; the party was pursued to the west to Tom-nam-fuath, the hateful hillock, still called, as they were all here cruelly cut off. Tradition says that the Romans were overcome by the Old Heroes, and forced to retreat to Cultoquhey in Gaelic Cuiltachaidh - the den to which the fighting army retreated and where they last fought.

Tacitus says Agricola returned to his army in Angus. But whether victorious or not, it is certain no Roman General or army ever visited the Moor of Dalginross a second time.

(The above is a copy of a letter written by the late Rev. Hugh McDiarmid of Comrie to Commissioner Brown of the Excise, dated 17 Oct. 1800).

Aerial View of Victoria Roman Camp, Comrie


Author’s Note: The Reverend Hugh McDiarmid was the Parish Minister in Comrie from 1781-1801. As a fluent Gaelic speaker he translated several tracts and poems for Gaelic to English. Comrie being the first village in the Highlands and the meeting place of people from the north and south was Gaelic and English speaking. Reverend McDiarmid mentions that “the common language of the people was Gaelic however it was not spoken in purity.”

This was a rather fanciful attempt to establish the site of the Battle of Mons Graupius at Comrie however, it is now generally believed by historians and academics, that the battle was probably fought towards the north-east around Dundee. It is however probable that at Dalginross several engagements of this type occurred when one considers the place names, although some scholars may argue with the good minister’s translation.

It is known that the Romans were never able to proceed west of the village of Comrie other than for the odd foray. It may also well be that I am the last casualty of this particular battle as, when rearranging my father’s notes, I put a staple through my finger!