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

Sir David Baird of Seringapatam – 1757-1829

Sir David Baird (1757-1829)


Sir David was described by his contemporaries as being "every inch a soldier," "an outstanding officer." These qualities were a rarity in this days. As a young Captain in the 73rd Highlanders in the British army in India he had been grievously wounded during an attack on Hyder Ali, the powerful ruler of the State of Mysore. Left for dead he was taken prisoner and thrown in prizon in Hyder Ali's capital city of Seringapatam. There, along with his fellow unfortunate captives, they were kept in chains for three long years although one of his compatriots volunteered to wear them for him. On hearing about his capture and the wearing of manacles his mother excleaimed, "God help the chiel chained to oor Davie!" After the death of Hyder Ali, his son, Tipu or Tippoo Sahib reached a peace agreement in 1780 with the British and Baird was released returning home as a Major. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and command of the regiment.

Under the command of Cornwallis (of Yorktown in-fame), he returned to India years later and to again mysore taking part in the iege of its capital city, Seringapatam. It was beseiged by the British in May of 1789. Baird was responsible for the storming parties in his regiment and spoke to his troops, "Men, are you ready?" "Aye" they shouted back, "then, forward my lads." At the head of his troops he took the city in ten minutes and became its master. Tippoo was killed in the batle for the city and Baird was presented with his sword. The sword was recently purchased by an Indian buyer at an auction in 1994.

Sir David Baird viewing the body of Tippoo Sahib

Tippoo Sahib

Tippoo Sahib's Sword

Baird's spectacular victory was dulled immediately when he was superceded for polititical reasons by Colonel Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington. Wellesley's eldest brother, Arthur, was, after all, the Governor-General of India...and the Wellesley tribe were an extremely ambitious lot! Those were the days when commissions could be bought and the man with the most money, or politial influence, gained the highest commands. To be fair though Wellesley, as the Duke of Wellington was a genius of a military commander.

Some of our soldiers were involved in the Peninsula War of 1809-1812, and saw a host of actions during the great fighting retreat to Corunna, and then embarkation to Britain. History buffs will know that Sir John Moore, a Glasgow-born Scot, whom Britain failed to support with food, munitions and supplies, conducted a brilliantly successful military rearguard campaign, but was killed on the heights overlooking Corunna.

Moore's Great Fighting Retreat through Spain to the Port of Corunna

Sir John Moore at Corunna - B. Granville Baker

Battle of Corunna

This caused much anguish amongst the British soldiers because, unlike many other officers of the day, he was much respected and loved, and his loss deeply affected the whole army. At his own request he was buried there in an unmarked grave prompting Charles Wolfe to write the following poem commemorating the scene:

BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE

Charles Wolfe

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,

As his corpse to the rampart we hurried;

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot

O’er the grave where our hero was buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,

The sods with our bayonets turning;

By the struggling moon-beam’s misty light,

And the lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,

Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;

But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,

With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,

And we spoke not a word of sorrow;

But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,

And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought as we hollowed his narrow bed,

And smoothed down his lonely pillow,

That the foe and the stranger would tread o’er his head,

And we far away on the billow.

Lightly they’ll talk of the spirit that’s gone,

And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him,-

But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on,

In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done

When the clock struck the hour of retiring;

And we heard the distant and random gun

That the foe was sullenly firing

Slowly and sadly we laid him down

From the field of his fame fresh and gory;

We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,

But we left him alone in his glory.

Sir John Moore by Sir Thomas Lawrence - National Portrait Gallery, London


Burial of Sir John Moore at Corruna


Throughout the retreat Sir David Baird had been an outstanding, and daring, if sometimes irascible, Divisional General. At the engagement with the French on the Heights at Corunna his arm was shattered by round shot. It was later amputated aboard ship.

Where Sir David Baird was wounded at Corunna

Later they would fight together in Denmark at the Siege of Copenhagen. Here he was twice more wounded but there was still rancour left over from Baird’s subordination by Wellesley at Seringapatam.

Although not from the Comrie district Sir David Baird retired to the Trowan estate near Comrie living at Ferntower, in nearby Crieff. He was repeatedly passed over for other commands, but was eventually promoted to a full general in 1814. He married a wealthy woman, Miss Campbell-Preston. In time he became Governor of Kinsale in Ireland in 1819, and latterly was made Commander-in-Chief of Ireland in 1820.


Ferntower – Home of Sir David and Lady Baird


One day when visiting the estate he came across some men who were mending a fence. As he only had one the arm - the other having been shot off at Corunna, he shook the paling with his good arm noting that it was not secure. One of the men said, “Tak yer other arm, Sir.” Sir David somewhat warmly remarked “had you been where I had lost my arm, you would not be here today.” “I was there,” replied the worker whose name was McNaughton. Sir David looked at him closely and asked “Were you at Corunna?” “Yes, and I was the right hand man of the regiment under your immediate command at the time your arm was shot off.” “What is your name?” “McNaughton.” After a short conversation regarding the events of that frightful day Sir David found that his humble workman was a former companion-in-arms. McNaughton in time became his head gamekeeper at Trowan and the Christian name of the eldest male children of later generations of McNaughtons, became David. The author’s late father was christened David Baird McNaughton.

Sir David was once approached by a stranger who asked the way to a nearby farm. His quaint reply was, “It’s but a tether’s length from here.” His wife was a rather formidable woman who often interfered with his decisions. On one occasion he was heard to say that he could command 10,000 men, but could not command one woman! However to commemorate his accomplishments and achievements his wife arranged, after his death, to have built a stone monument similar in shape to Cleopatra’s Needle on a hillock called Tom A’ Chasteil on the Trowan estate.

Sir David Baird


The plinth lies on top of the remains of a castle which housed an early Scottish Princess! When constructing the base of the obelisk the workmen accidentally broke into a concealed chamber and found skeletal remains with some ornaments and gold coins. This was all that remained of the Agnes Comyn, Countess of Strathearn. She, along with others, including William de Soulis and David de Brechin, conspired to over throw the King in 1320. After her confession and betrayal of her friends she was confined by Robert the Bruce in this castle for the rest of her life. Like the Melville Monument on Dunmore it was struck by lightning and its height was shortened by about thirteen feet.

Monument to Sir David Baird in the middle distance