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 Day of the Penny Wedding

A Penny Wedding


(Sir David Wilkie)

Duncan Gairdner’s wedding was an event of quite some note. He was a shy, bashful, thin man, rather weak physically and with a retiring disposition. He never stood out or took a lead position and, although only a working man always had an eye to the main chance and every penny he could put together became his prisoner. In time he was able to amass a comparative fortune amounting to £40.

Although shy and bashful and timid in the company of women there were several of the faire sex who were of a different stamp and “Muckle” Jenny Macfarlane was one of these. She was quite the opposite of Duncan being tall and stout as well as physically strong. In fact it was said that she was as strong as an elephant!

It was rumoured that they had been seeing each other, even having been seen walking out together, and this caused some concern to Duncan’s friends who advised against any form of liaison. One of his friends suggested an alternative candidate - a lady who was more couth and appropriate. However, after some deliberation Duncan mentioned that, “Ah, but she hisna’ earnings and that’s spoiled her chances."

Shortly thereafter, and against all advice, the Banns were posted and it was put about that it was to be a Penny wedding. In other words all were welcome. The day came around and everyone showed up in their “Sunday” best, the weather was beautiful and an oft repeated phrase was, “Happy is the bride that the sun shines on.”

It had been arranged that the wedding would take place in the Manse in Dalginross and the bridegroom, having arrived at the house of his intended met her, gathered the wedding party together and went in procession to the Manse hand in hand. They were preceded by two pipers who played, “Hey, bonnie lassie, we’ll bundle and go,” and in the middle of the happy throng two fiddlers played away. Many of the young men carried pistols and guns with blanks and they would fire them into the air on either side of the procession...so it was quite a noisy procession.

On arriving at the Manse, and as it was a beautiful day, it was decided that the ceremony should be held outside on the lawn with Duncan and Jenny taking their places. The minister conducted the service and then proclaimed them man and wife and suggested that Duncan kiss his new wife. Poor Duncan froze on the spot mortified but Jenny didn’t and quickly stooped down and grabbed him in a bear hug and kissed him with such a smacker that poor Duncan almost faded away. He swooned and became quite faint, obviously aware of the future yet to come!

The happy crowd then engaged in dancing with the Minister having the first reel with the new wife. Reels were followed by country dances followed by more reels and further country dances so all danced to their hearts content. After the dancing the party reassembled in procession form and with the pipers at the head playing, “Woo’ed an’ married,” they walked down Dalginross to the Brigend Hotel which was instantly filled. Orders were passed about to ensure that all glasses were charged to drink to the health and happiness of the bride and groom. Standing in the lobby at the top of the stair, the best man with the throng below him looked around for the bridegroom to respond, but he had disappeared. Looking out the window one of them saw Duncan standing in the middle of the street looking lost and abandoned and probably wondering what all the noise was about. He was brought in and launched up the stair, a toast was said but before Duncan could get to his feet Jenny answered for him...the shape of things to come!

As there were no applicable licensing hours the party went on all night long and, in the wee sma’ hoors, Jenny and Duncan were escorted to the nuptial bed. There, and before they did anything else, Jenny demanded that Duncan give her the £40 and drawing herself up to her full height she towered over Duncan. With great and deliberate reluctance Duncan resisted but was no match being mere putty in her hands, did as he was told....and the night rolled on.

Sometime later she started a grocery shop with the money converting most of it into stock and, because of this Duncan had to resume working for someone else at his trade. After a short period of time she was unable to reconcile the accounts and had to close it down. Duncan was dumbfounded with this turn of events and asked her what she had done with his fortune. The answer came back swiftly and sharply, “You have had your own good share of it.” Duncan bravely replied, “I didn’a get my share o’ what you and the baker’s wife drank in the closet, Jenny!” Jenny stamped her foot on the floor, ordering him to “haud his tongue” and he scurried off.

Duncan worked away and did the best he could but the grey mare was the better horse and Jenny always wore the breeks. They had no children but Jenny adopted a boy called Tam Fleming or Fleeman and she was very fond of him. In fact her affection was much greater for Tam than it ever was for Duncan who, to a large degree, had to fend for himself. In time, as he had never been physically robust, he fell ill and it was not long after that he went to meet his maker.

When Duncan died she was very sore to live with taking the blow very hard, however, she took a grip on herself and worked harder than she had ever done before. She was devoted to Tam and she lost no opportunity to make an honest penny. One harvest day she and a number of other women went along to the Carse of Strowan farm to the shearing leaving Tam alone at home. Tam had gone out of the back door and climbed a drystane dyke and when part of it gave way he fell over on to some glass which had been strewn on the other side. He found that he had been bruised and had cut himself rather badly on the hands and some of the neighbours bandaged him as best they could.

The doctor came around later and said that Tam would recover in a few days, but, in the meantime word had been sent out to Jenny at Strowan. Hearing from the messenger that Tam was “all covered in blood and sure to be dead” she leapt upon a ready, barebacked horse and galloped to the village with her long grey hair and her white linen sooback streaming behind her.. She raced up Lednaig (Drummond) street and flung herself off the horse at the front of her house and entered. Finding Tam in a weak condition but still alive and the injuries not as bad as she had been told she was greatly relieved.

Staying with him for a couple of days and seeing that he was on the mend she returned to her job at Strowan and at the noonday break sat apart from the others. All at once she let out a series of piercing yells and stood up dancing about and beating herself. The other folk thought she had gone mad and, before they could rise to assist her, she was off running like a hare letting out frightful screams. Several of the men ran after her and caught her but she wriggled free of their grasp continuously beating herself. Some of the women started looking at the spot she had run from and saw a stream of angry wasps coming from the ground. Jenny had been sitting on a wasp’s nest and the wasps finding that they could not access their nests had started crawling under her dress and stinging whatever obstacle they could find. The women took her to a nearby house and stripped her and put her to bed as by this time she was quite sick. The farmer’s wife produced a bottle of whisky and all got a dram as they picked the wasps from her clothes. By the evening she had got over the worst of her adventure and was able to accompany her fellow workers back to Comrie. The shearers latterly enjoyed a good laugh about it and who knows maybe the incident sparked the ditty, “A bumbee stung me weel above the knee!”

Jenny and Tom carried on with their lives and he grew up to be a hard working chap and able to hold down a job in a local farm and Jenny was very proud of him. One night he, along with a few others, went to a market and afterwards on to a local hostelry where they had a few jars and were not feeling a lot of pain. During the evening a recruiting party called in at the tavern. They were in a very affable mood joining the Comrie lads and recounting tales of the grand life that was offered in the army. Tam had had one too many and was attracted by the ready “siller” and the flashing medals and when a piece of paper was casually thrown on the table he signed it and was hooked. Returning to the village he told Jenny the next day about what he had done and she was mightily saddened and as she was short of the “ready” she was unable to buy him out.

They parted with great sadness and although he said he would write frequently there was hollowness, as she knew her time was short, because she was getting on a bit. He was posted overseas and when he returned to Comrie, Jenny had joined Duncan in the “happy land.”