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The topography of Scotland preserves the memory of these duns and raths in many districts; but the progress of cultivation has obliterated many of the structures themselves, except those placed on hills, as at Dunecht, Caterthun, Barra, Craigphadric, and the like.1
It is plain, from numerous entries in the Annals of the Four Masters, that in Ireland the raths and duns continued in many cases to be occupied by the chieftains down to a comparatively recent period; and it seems probable that they continued to be used in Scotland till towards the end of the Celtic period.
The words "civitas" and "urbs" were also applied to the early monastic establishments in Britain and Ireland, which, as in the case of St. Columba's monastery of Hy, consisted of a church, with groups of circular huts within an enclosing wall.3
1 The rath in Athol, which, as we learn, was the capital of the earldom in the twelfth century (Liber de Scon, p. 35), was doubtless the residence of the earlier chiefs or mormaers of the district. The Lord of Badenoch in 1380 held a court at the standing-stones of the Rath of Kyngucy. (Chartul. Morav. p. 184.) The moat of Ruthven, on which the Cummings erected their great castle, in its name perpetuates the memory of a still earlier structure or rath. At Rattray in Gowrie there is a remarkable fortified site; and at Rattray in Buchan there is another of the same character. We hear of the Rath of Katerlin in the twelfth century (Registr. Vet. de Aberbroth. pp. 88, 89), and the place is still called Rathfield. On the Kaims Hill at Ratho is a rath, with remains of enclosed hut-circles.
The parishes of Rathen in Buchan in the county of Aberdeen, of Ruthven on the Deveron in the same county, and Rathven in the Enzie in Banffshire, were all probably the sites of the raths of district chieftains, and got their names by association with these structures. Rathelpie at St. Andrews, in the same way, may preserve the memory of King Alpin's Rath.
2 Rathmore, which in the sixth century was a residence of the Dalaradian princes, appears to have been a place of habitation and importance so late as 1315, when it was burned by Edward Bruce.-(Reeves' Eccl. Antiq. of Down and Connor, pp. 69, 70.)
3 Reeves' Adamnan, add. notes, p. 357. While the early monasteries were placed within circular walls resembling that of
The word lis or les, which also signifies a circular earthen fort, is often translated "civitas." 1
When, therefore, we read of the "towns" or "cities" of Abbordobhoir and Deer, which the mormaer granted to the clerics, it seems probable that we are to understand the surrender of two of his fortified places, round which a population of the district tribes were clustered in their frail huts.
THE custom of the Irish to use wood as materials for their buildings, obtained for it in the middle ages the title of the Scots' style,2
the raths, duns, and cathairs of Pagan times, it frequently happened that these fortified sites were surrendered to the missionaries by the converted chiefs as sites of monasteries and churches.
Thus, "the church of Cill Benen was erected within the arx or fortress called Dun Lughaidh, from a lord of the country, who, with his father and four brothers, having been baptized by the Saints Patrick and Benen, gave up their dun or fortress for the purpose." Again," the chief of the country of Briefny, Aodh Finn, the son of Feargna, on his conversion to Christianity by St. Caillin, gave up to him his cathair or stone fortress, in order that he might erect his monastic buildings within it."-(Petrie's Round Towers, p. 444.) The church at Nendrum stood within a cashel
of three oval walls.-(Reeves' Eccles. Antiqs. p. 10.) The monarch Daire gave to St. Patrick a rath, within which he erected his first ecclesiastical establishment at Armagh.-(Todd's Life of St Patrick, p. 476.) At Derry, St. Columba got from Aodh, son of Ainmire, who was King of Erin at the time, his royal fort, within which he founded a church.-(Reeves' Adamnan, p. 160.) It would seem that some of our early Scottish churches were founded within duns-such as Dunkeld, Dunblane, and Dunfermline.
1 Dr. Todd's St. Patrick, p. 479.
2 Our own records have many examples of the use of the term Scotic as equivalent to Gaelic, and opposed to English, as in a deed dated in 1253 relating to the boundaries of Kingoldrum. One of these
mos Scottorum," although, as will be seen, it was far from being peculiar to that people.
The distinction first appears in the History of Venerable Bede, when he describes the church erected by St. Finan in A.D. 662 at Lindisfarne, "quam more Scottorum non de lapide sed de robore secto totam composuit atque harundine texit." It appears from many passages in the Lives of the Irish Saints that churches of wood or hurdle-work continued to be erected in Ireland in subsequent times, and it is plain that in the twelfth century the custom was still regarded as "Scotic," as we learn from St. Bernard's description of the oratory at Bangor, built by St. Malachy, "de lignis quidem lævigatis," which he styled "opus Scoticum pulchrum satis;" and somewhat later, when St. Malachy began to build an oratory of stone at Bangor, "instar eorum quæ in aliis regionibus extructa conspexerat," the native objections took the shape of resentment against stone buildings as a novelty, "quid tibi visum est nostris hanc inducere regionibus novitatem? Scoti sumus non Galli."3
The wooden church erected by St. Finan at Lindisfarne was on the Scotic model of that at Iona, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the churches of St. Columba throughout the territory of the Picts were built of similar materials.1
This indeed is implied in the request made by the Pictish ruler Nectan to the Abbot Benedict Biscop, that he would send him masons who could build him a church of stone, "juxta morem Romanorum."
While the churches both in Ireland and Alba were probably in general formed of beams of sawn timber, it would seem that the houses were of wattle.' Adamnan notices the gathering "virgarum fasciculos ad hospitium construendum." St. Woloc, who laboured
'H. E. v. c. 21. Reeves' Adamınan's St. Columba, p. 106, note. In charters of burghal properties of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, stone houses are sometimes mentioned in a way which shows their rarity, and it is plain that most of the houses of our Scotch towns were wooden fabrics resting on foundations of stone, down to a comparatively recent period. (Liber de Scon, p. 49.) A stone house was enough at times to give its name to the barony on which it was placed, and it would appear that the lands now called Stenhouse, in Stirlingshire, derived their name from the remarkable stone building called "Arthur's Oven," which stood on them till the time of its barbarous demolition before the middle of last century. In a charter dated in 1461, the granter is styled "Alexander de Broys de Stanehouse." -(Charters of Holyrood, p. 150.) In other cases, however, the term "domus Scoticana" is used for the sake of distinction, as in the case of one erected by the king within the castle of Inverness in 1263. (Chamberlain Rolls, vol. i. p. *23.) We learn from a " Briefe Description of the
Barony of Fort" [or Forth], in the county of Wexford, that "they greatlie sow Fyrse seeds, or plant the same in rowes some few ridges distant, which ordinarily in a few years grow 8 or 10 feet in height, and to that bigness and strength that (better timber being there deficient) dwellinghouses are therewith all roofed" [note]. Furze wood was used for the watlin (little wood) or wicker work, to which the thatch was fastened. Until the close of the last century, almost every dwellinghouse was so roofed." (Proceedings of Kilkenny Arch. Soc. vol. iv. p. 60, 1862.
Wattled houses were erected in some parts of the Highlands till recent times. Lachlan M'Pherson, a second son of the Laird of Cluny, and who ultimately succeeded to the chiefship, married Jean, second daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Locheil, and brought her home to a wattled house at Nuid, near Kingussie, about the end of the eighteenth century. Wattled huts were to be seen in many parts of the Highlands towards the end of last century, and some of them probably remain to the present day.
on the banks of the Deveron, built as his abode "casam calamis viminibusque contextam." Adamnan notices in one case the parts
of a house which formed the skeleton on which the hurdles were placed, and which remained after the destruction of the more perishable materials by fire.2
In the year 1233, we have a notice of a guest-house near the church of Kilpatrick, "fabricata de virgis," built on ground which Earl Alwine of Lennox granted to St. Patrick, on condition that the tenant should receive as guests pilgrims coming to the church.
The custom of building houses and churches of wood prevailed also among the Britons. When St. Ninian erected a church of stone on the rugged shores of Galloway, we are told by Bede that it was "insolito Brittonibus more."4
When St. Kentigern founded
'Breviar. Aberd. Part. Hyemal. fol. 45. 2 Reeves' Adamnan's St. Columba, p. 114. 3 Registr.de Passelet, p. 166. Mac Firbis of Lecan, in a topographical poem of the early part of the fifteenth century, sings of "A white wattled edifice of noble polish, Habitation of the sweet-scented branches." -(The Genealogies, Tribes, and Customs of Hy Fiachrach, Irish Arch. Soc., p. 265.)
4 H. E. iii. 4. Ailred, the biographer of St. Ninian, tells us that the saint brought with him from Gaul workmen who could erect a church after the Roman fashion.
Besides the "White Church" of St. Ninian on the shore of the Solway Firth, we had other "White Churches" in Scotland.
Hamer or "Whitekirk," one of the foundations of St. Baldred; and in Aberdeenshire was "The White Church" of Buchan.
All of these churches were much resorted to by pilgrims, probably from feelings associated with their early foundation, and reverence for their founders.
The church at Durham, in which the body of St. Cuthbert reposed for three years, during the erection of the greater church to which it was translated in A.D. 999, was called alba ecclesia.(Simeonis Dunelm. Hist. lib. iii. cap. ii.) A church was erected in honour of St Oswald near the place where he fell, “que Candida dicitur."-(Lelandi Collect. vol. i. p. 366.) See a notice of Temple-finn or White-church in the Diocese of Down,
In East Lothian was the church of (Reeves' Eccles. Antiqs. p. 26.)