Britannia, by William Camden


Big W WHERE now Buquhan (in Latin Boghania and Buchania) shoots, above the River Done, into the Ocean; were anciently seated the Taizali. Some derive this later name from Boves (Oxen,) whereas the ground is fitter for the feeding of sheep; whose wooll is highly commended. Notwithstanding, that the Rivers in this Coast breed abundance of Salmon, this Fish never enters into the River Ratra,The River Ratra. as Buchanan hath told us; (and let it not be to my disadvantage, if I cite his Testimony, although his books were prohibited by authority of Parliament in the year 1584. because many passages in them were fit to be dash’d out.) He reports also, That on the bank of Ratra, there is a Cave,A strange water. near Stany’s Castle, the nature of which seems to be worth our taking notice of. The water distilling by drops out of a natural vault, is presently turned into pyramidal stones, and if people did not take the pains to clear the cave now and then, the whole space in a little time would be filled up to the top of the vault. The stone thus made, is of a middle nature betwixt Ice and Rock; for it is friable, and never arrives to the solidity of Marble. It is hardly worth while, to mention the Clayks,Clayks, a sort of Geese. a sort of Geese, which are believed by some (with great admiration,) to grow upon trees on this coast and in other places, and when they are ripe, to fall down into the sea; because neither their nests nor eggs can any where be found. But they who saw the ship, in which Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world, when it was laid up in the river Thames, † † Can, C.could testifie, that little birds breed in the old rotten keels of ships; since a great number of such, without life and feathers, stuck close to the outside of the keel of that ship. Yet I should think that the generation of these birds was not from the logs of wood, but from the sea, term’d by the Poets the Parent of all things*.* Vid. Sibbald’s Scotiæ illustrata, where Bœthius’s error herein is shown; But he is now convinced, that they are not informis massa carnosa, as he there calls them. App. ad Lib. 2. part.3.

A mighty mass likewise of Amber, as big as the body of a Horse, was († † So said, ann. 1607.not many years since) cast upon this shore. This, the learned call Succinum, Glessum, and Chryso-electrum; and Sotacus was of opinion, that it was a juice, which amongst the Britains distill’d from trees, and ran into the sea, and was there harden’d. Tacitus expresses the same sentiments of it, in this passage of his; ¦ ¦ De moribus Germanorum.I should believe, that as there are trees in the secret parts of the east, which sweat out frankincense and balm, so in the Islands and other countreys of the west, there are woods of a more fat substance, which melting by the hot beams of the neighbouring Sun, run into the sea hard by, and being driven by tempestuous weather, float to the opposite shores. But Serapio and the modern Philosophers will have it to work out of a bituminous sort of earth, under the sea, and by the sea-side; and that the waves in stormy weather cast part of it upon the shore, and that part of it is devoured by the fish. But I have digressed too far, and will return; hoping that my ingenuous confession will obtain me a pardon.

The North part of Scotland map, left The North part of Scotland map, right

The North part of Scotland

In the reign of Alexander the second, Alexander Comin Earls of Buquhan.enjoy’d the honour of Earl of Buquhan, who married a daughter and one of the heirs of Roger de Quincy Earl of Winchester in England; and his grand-daughter by his son brought the same title to Henry Beaumont her husband. For he, in the reign of Edward the third, sat in the Parliament of England under the name of Earl of Buquhan. Afterwards, Alexander Stewart, son to King Robert the second, was Earl of this place; and was succeeded by John, a younger son of Robert Duke of Albany, who being sent for into France (with seven thousand Auxiliary Scots) by the French King, Charles the seventh, did extraordinary services against the English, and had so great a reputation there, that, having killed Thomas Duke of Clarence, King Henry the fifth’s brother, at Baugy, and got as great a victory as ever was obtained over the English, he was made Constable of France. But three years after, when the fortune of the war turned, he with other The valour of the Scots in the Wars of France.valiant Commanders, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Wigton, and Duke of Tourain, &c. was routed at Vernoil by the English, and there slain. Whom yet as the Poet said—

Æternum memorabit Gallia cives
Grata suos, titulos quæ dedit & tumulos

Those grateful France shall ever call her own,
Who owe to her their graves and their renown.

The French cannot but confess, that they owe the preservation of France and recovery of Aquitain (by forcing out the English in the reigns of Charles the sixth and seventh) in a great measure to the fidelity and valour of the Scots. Afterwards, King James the first, out of compassion to George of Dunbar, whom by authority of Parliament he had before divested of the Earldom of March for his father’s crimes, gave him the Earldom of Buquhan. And not long after, James, son of James Stewart of Lorn, sirnamed the Black Knight, whom he had by Joan Somerset, obtained this honour, and left it to his posterity; but * * So said, ann. 1607.not long since, for default of heirs male, it went by a daughter to Douglas, a younger brother of the House of Lochlevin. ⌈As the Scotch Historians report it, Christiana daughter and sole heir of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, married Robert Douglas, Brother of William Earl of Morton; and, being in right of her, afterwards Earl of Buchan, he had by her James Earl of Buchan; whose only daughter Mary, marrying James Ereskin, eldest son, of the second marriage, of James Earl of Marr, carried the title of Buchan into that noble family, in which it still remains.⌉

Beyond Buchan, in the bending back of the shore northwards, lies Boen;Boen. and Bamff, a small Sheriffdom. ⌈It comprehends that part of Buchan which lies north of the River Ugie, with the Countries of Strathdoverne, Boin, Enzie, Strathaven, and Balvenie. To the South, it is separated from that part of Buchan which belongeth to Aberdeenshire, by the water of Ugie: to the East it hath the water of Doverne; to the West the water of Spey; to the South-west it hath Badenoch and the Brae of Mar; and Murray-frith on the north. The length from west to east, is about thirty two miles, and the breadth about thirty. In Balvenie is found the stone of which Alom is made; and in the country of Boin, great quarries of spotted marble have been discovered of late. The country is generally well furnished with grass and corn.

Bamff. Bamfe, a Burgh-Royal, is seated at the mouth of Doverne in the Boine; where the Sheriff hath his Courts; and it shows the Ruins of an old Castle. The country about it is very fertil, and the Salmon-fishing very advantageous. Deer. Near this, is the Abbey of Deer, which belonged to the Cistercians, and was founded by William Cumin, Earl of Buchan. At the Bogehilt, resides the Duke of Gordon; whose seat is adorned with excellent gardens, enclosures, and woods of oak, surrounding it. Stone Monuments. In this Shire and the Parish of Aberlowr, is a place called (in their language) the Blessed Chapel; from a Monument of stones, which stood there, but is now demolished; such as are spoken of in the County of Mernis, and supposed there to be Heathen-Temples. And in the same Shire, in the Parish of Aberchinder, is another of the same kind, called Cairneduin, or Cairnedewin; the first part of the name being probably derived from Cairn, a heap of stones, which is usually to be found within such Monuments.⌉

Near Bamff, is Ainza a little tract of less note; as also Rothamy Castle, the seat of Barons Salton.the Barons of Salton, sirnamed Abernethy †† Now Fraser.. ⌈Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth, in right of his mother, daughter to the Lord Saltoun, was declared Lord Saltoun, and approved in Parliament upon the death of Alexander Abernethy last Lord Saltoun of that sirname.⌉ Beneath these, lies Strathbolgy,Strathbolgy. that is, the Valley upon the Bolgy, formerly the Seat of the Earls of Athol, who were sirnamed from thence; but ¦ ¦ So said, ann. the chief residence of the Marquis of Huntley.Marquis of Huntley. For, this title King James the sixth conferred upon George Gordon Earl of Huntley, Lord Gordon and Badzenoth; eminent for his ancient Nobility, and his numerous Dependance. Whose ancestors are descended from the Setons, and by authority of Parliament took the name of Gordon (upon Alexander Seton’s marrying the daughter of Sir John Gordon, with whom he had a very noble estate,) and received the honour of Earl of Huntley from King James the second, in the year 1449; ⌈of which family, George Marquis of Huntley was advanced to the honour of Duke of Gordon by King Charles the second. Ogilvies. In this Shire, did also reside the Ogilvies of Findlater; of whom Walter Ogilvie was created by King James the sixth, Lord Deskford; and his Son by King Charles the first, Earl of Findlater; whose descendant is James, the present Earl, a Person of great Eloquence and Abilities. Also Sir George Ogilvie, was by King Charles the first created Lord Bamff.⌉

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52