« PreviousContinue »
MONCRIEFF HILL,APPROACH TO PERTH.
botanist, be gratified by the acquisition of many rare and beautiful plants.
Although a favourable gap in the ridge which Moncrieff Hill terminates, has been taken advantage of to carry over the high-way, yet the pull is steep. The top attained, Perth and its enchanting environs are in view. From this spot, the invading legions of Rome caught an enraptured view of a vale, beautiful as the fairest Eden of their native Italy. They descended and pitched their tents; for now they exclaimed, “We have found another field of Mars on the banks of another Tiber!' Succeeding ages have enriched, softened, and harmonized the features of this scene, the sequestered character of which the town
the whole Carse of Gowrie, with all the noblemen and gentlemen's seats, are distinctly seen, with the town of Dundee and Broughty Castle at the influx of the river to the sea. In a pare ticular attitude are to be seen Perth and Dundee in one view. When we turn to the west, Strathearn lies open, with a view of many noblemen and gentlemen's seats. At the west end is an curve of the Ochil hills, which intercepts a vietv of Stirling castle; but we see the hills of Monteith beyond it.
On the highest summit of the hill there is a circular fossé above sixty yards in 01«m. ter, in the middle of which stcol Carnac Fort, which belonged 10 the Picts. There were several loitresses on the top of hills through the kingdom, which served for watch. towers. On the tops of these they used to kindle fires on sudden invasions, insurrections, or the approach of the enemy. These signals were communicated from tower to tower, until the whole country was alasmed, and flew to arms. They were attended with the blowing of horns, which was a signal of war. Three miles south-east from this hill is to'be seen Abernethy, the metropolis of the Pictish kingdom."-CANT.
may have destroyed, but certainly without lessening its beauty, or decreasing its interest t.
Gradually descending, we come to the South Inch, through which, by an avenue of trees, we enter Perth. But it is meet we should pause on that beautiful green. It was the scene of the athletic our ancestors. Here the quoit was thrown, the arrow shot, and the ball struck with an energy and power, compared to which the nerveless efforts of modern arms appear ridiculous and contemptible. Within these few years, that monster improvement has levelled a little eminence, which stood at one end of this green, and bore the name of the Scholars Knoll. Here the bow was twanged, and the arrow sped its way to a distance of 3000 feet,-for so far removed was the target *! The avocations of commerce
† Previous to the reformation, Perth was a strongly-fortified town, surrounded and filled with embattled buildings, and the glittering spires of numerous religious houses. Few vestiges of fortification or ancient architecture now remain, and the suburbs are annually extending on every hand.
* Mr Adamson, the metrical historian of Perth, thus laments the past celebrity of the inhabitants in sports of the field.
“ How can I chuse but mourn, when I think on
Our games Olympic-like in times agone?
leave the inhabitants little time now for the exercises of the field. Golf is still a favourite game, but the practice of archery is disused and unknown.
A row of villas has been planned at the north end of the Inch, and the lots disposed of; but none are
built. Some of them will encroach on the site of
What time Perth's credit did stand with the best
There to contend : Quorum pars magna fui.” On this passage, his commentator, Mr Cant, has the following note : “ Archery, of which the gentlemen of Perth were great masters, was made an indispensable article of education from the days of James the First. This most accomplished and wise Prince passed an act, forbidding the favourite diversion of foot-ball, substituting in its place that of shooting with bows and arrows. Every boy, when he came to the age of thirteen, was obliged at stated times to practise archery at certain bowmarks. There is a piece of ground without the north port on the left of the road leading to Huntingtower, called the Bow. Butt, where this exercise was practised; but the strong and expert 'archers had their bow-marks in the South Inch. Near the soutlı end of this Inch stands yet a stone, which tradition says was the southern mark; the northern is near to the north-west side of the ditch that surrounds the mount. It was fixed on a rising ground, called the Scholars Knoll. The stone was but lately carried off. The distance betwixt these marks is above 500 fathoms. They must have been very strong and expert archers who could shoot an arrow betwixt these marks,”
a citadel which Cromwell erected. Part of the fossé remains, and is the only vestige of the work *.
We now enter Perth, and shall lead our travellers to the Salutation, or to the George Inn. At either house they will experience comfortable treatment.
Our perambulation of the town we shall commence at the cross; or rather where the cross anciently stood, at the intersection of the High-Street by the Skinnergate from the north, in a line continued southward by the Kirkgate. It appears latterly to have been an
*“ Cromwell's army built the citadel, on the head of the South Inch, a little below the Greyfriars burial-place, to overawe the town. It was a stately and strong work; square, with a bastion at every corner, surrounded with strong ramparts of earth, and a deep ditch full of water. Opposite to it, they built a pier for the loading and unloading ships. The entry towards the town had an iron gate. The commanding officer ordered great trees to be cut down in the King's hunting-park at Falkland, and brought to the citadel. The school-house was demolished, which contained 360 scholars, was three stories high, and contained rooms for the Rector, Doctors, and Music.master. They demolished the walls of the Greyfriars, which were between six and seven quarters high, carried away the stones, with betwixt two and three hundred tomb.stones, and one hundred and forty divelling-houses, with the garden-walls, the Hospital, containing many large rooms, and three stories high, the cross not inferior to Mary Magdalene's chapel. The stone-pillars and abutments of the bridge, besides many kilns and cobles; all were carried away to build the Citadel. One hundred and forty families were turned out of their houses, and had starved if they had not been supplied by the town. The surface of the two Inches, which yielded 2000 merks yearly for grass, were carried off to build the ramparts. All this the town suffered for their loyalty."
erection of some elegance, and on great occasions was the scene of public rejoicings. Here stood the sixth James, and partook of the festivities on his being proclaimed Provost of Perth * !
Until within these few years, the Skinnergate was the only avenue to the town from the north; and when we recollect, how recently the wooden fronts of the houses projected far enough to admit of the friendly contact of hands across the street, it is matter of astonishment how our an.
cestors * This curious fact is thus narrated by our poetical historian, and his commentator :
“ But who shall shew the Ephemerides
gave his burgess-oath, and did enroll