THE LATE JAMES TAYLOR, J.P.
EDITED BY JANET ANDERSON.
THE BANFFSHIRE JOURNAL LIMITED.
A "Feering" is the first
ploughed, and is a guide for all
The ploughing of the field of "The Cabrach" is only begun in the present volume, but may this "feering" guide to a satisfactory "finishing".
The late Mr James Taylor, of Milltown, Lesmurdie, was much interested in his native place, and when chance brought in his way some old diaries and newspaper cuttings, relating to The Cabrach, which had belonged to his uncle, John Taylor, of Boghead, familiarly known as "Boggy", he thought it might occupy some leisure hours to arrange and elaborate them. But soon his enthusiasm grew, so that he was not content with these meagre records, but sought out every book containing any reference to Cabrach, and gathered information from every possible source.
I had the pleasure of helping Mr Taylor in this work for some years, and I spent days in research in the Public Libraries of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, in the Advocates' Library, the Scottish Register House, and the British Museum Reading Room, while Mr Taylor, who was prevented by ill-health from journeying so far from home for this purpose, would eagerly wait for news of some elusive land charter or family history. He was able to go to Elgin, however, and spent many an hour in the Library there, or in searching at home through the books he was able to buy or borrow.
Mr Taylor had intended the work to be much more extensive; as readers will see for themselves the Upper Cabrach is not touched on in the chapter entitled "Traversing The Cabrach" nor is there much information about the school there. I have by me a paper on which are points to be cleared up, and give them here, in case any reader can supply the information:-
Beldorney, Belcherry, and Succoth. Guestloan, proprietors as
back as possible. Tenants of the three?
When did Corrinassie come to the Duke of Gordon?
The burying ground at Forteith. Is anything known of the writing of Mr Robertson, Woodside, Elgin, about the cists and skeletons found?
What was the name of the chapel on the river bank on the farm of Tombally?
Is anything known about the chapel?
When was the last laird of Lesmurdie in Invercharroch?
Can a copy of "The Missionar Kirk" be had?
Is anything known of the history of the Cabrach, or of the church, between 1797 and 1824?
Are there any accounts, written or otherwise, to be had of the smuggling?
Are there any writings about the Cabrach 1860-1-2-3, such as were contributed to the Elgin Courant by the "Rambler"?
When and how was the boundary between the Soccoch and Lesmurdie defined?
When the war commenced in August 1914, the Cabrach history was put aside for the time. In 1916 I left The Cabrach, but before my departure arranged all our manuscripts in a connected form to await an opportunity of publishing. They remained untouched till the summer of 1918, when the bundle was sent to Mr James Grant, LL.B., of Banff, who undertook to arrange for the publication. The first negotiations were proceeding when Mr Taylor suddenly died in September 1918. I was staying at the Milltown at the time, and had some talk with Mr Taylor about "The Book", as his friends used to call it, but as his death took place two days after my arrival, we had no time to make any definite arrangements. When I saw Mr Grant a few days later he was very enthusiastic about his task, and keenly regretted that Mr Taylor had not lived to see his book in print. Within a few months Mr Grant, unfortunately, was seized with influenza, from which he never recovered, and the question of publishing "Cabrach Feerings" was dropped, until Mrs Taylor arranged for its issue in this form.
We have been much indebted for assistance in various ways to the late Mr James Grant, LL.B.; Mr Yeats, of Banff; Mr Fraser, Librarian of Aberdeen Public Library; Mr John Mallet, London; and to Mr G. T. Lynam, M.I.C.E., for his excellent map.