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

The Beggar's Badge

A Beggar’s Badge for Comrie


Transient people were fairly commonplace in Perthshire and other parts of Great Britain. In Comrie and Strathearn, in the main, they consisted of Highland tinkers who, in essence, were from dispossessed clans, or possibly gypsies of Romany stock, tramps and beggars. Most were honest folk trying to scratch a living by doing itinerant jobs in and around the local farms and villages, and, with the exception of the beggars, could turn their hands to almost anything ranging from repair of farm equipment to planting and bringing in the crop. Those involved in farm work moved to the rhythm of the seasons.

The beggars, on the other hand, were local folk with no means of income, or tramps who had heard that people in one place were more generous in one place than in others. Hence few of them would come from Aberdeenshire!

At that time there was no Poor Law and, to alleviate distress, the Kirk Sessions took it upon themselves to address the problem regarding local people, who, through no fault of their own, were in this situation. They could apply for a badge or certificate which was issued after the appropriate enquiries had been made and in a small community like Comrie they were well known and, if able to work, would get first crack at a wee job.

Sometimes, however, beggars from outside would appear and they did nothing other than to make a pest of themselves. One evening a party of young weavers came across a travelling beggar near the Ross Bridge. The lads decided that they were going to teach him a lesson so one went forward and arrested him in the King’s name for vagrancy. The beggar stoutly denied the charge but the weavers had organised a Court of Justice, empanelled a jury and opened the proceedings. One lad agreed to act in the defense of the beggar and he made a stalwart plea for clemency but to no avail. The beggar was condemned to be hanged from the bridge. The executioner came forward and at once grabbed the beggar by the scruff of his neck and manhandled him onto the parapet of the bridge. Grabbing him by his collar he suspended him over the parapet with the river flowing some twenty feet below.

What had started as a comedy, however, almost became tragic because the executioner didn’t have the strength to pull the man back up the parapet and it seemed likely that he would drop into the deep pool underneath the bridge where he could possibly have been drowned. Seeing disaster looming a couple of the lads went to the assistance of the executioner and were able to pull the beggar up over the parapet and onto the road surface. The beggar was released and ran down the road as fast as he could and, strange to say, was never seen in the district again!

Ross Bridge in Winter