Logierait (Gael. lag-an-rath, ` hollow of the castle '), a village and a parish of N central Perthshire. The village is beautifully situated on the N bank of the Tay, 5 furlongs above the influx of the Tummel, and ¾ mile W of Ballinluig Junction, this being 8¾ miles E by N of Aberfeldy and 8 N by W of Dunkeld. A neighbouring eminence was crowned by a castle of Robert III. (1390-1406), and now is the site of a conspicuous and richly-sculptured Celtic cross, erected in 1866 to the memory of the sixth Duke of Athole. Long the seat of the regality court of the lords of Athole, which wielded wide jurisdiction with almost absolute powers, the village then had its court-house, gaol, and Tom-nacroiche or ` gallows-knoll.' The court-hall is said to have been ` the noblest apartment in Perthshire, ' more than 70 feet long, with galleries at either end; whilst Rob Roy escaped from the gaol (1717), and Prince Charles Edward confined within it 600 prisoners from Prestonpans. Almost the sole survivor of the past is the hollow ` Ash Tree of the Boat of Logierait, ' which, 63 feet in height and 40 in girth at 3 feet from the ground, is said to have been ` the dool tree of the district, on which caitiffs and robbers were formerly executed, and their bodies left hanging till they dropped and lay around unburied. ' The lower part of the trunk is quite a shell, and has been formed into a summerhouse or arbour, capable of accommodating a considerable number of people. A chain-boat over the Tay was started in 1824; and Logierait also has a post office, an inn, and the Athole and Breadalbane combination poorhouse, erected in 1864, and accommodating 117 inmates. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy dined at Logierait on 6 Sept. 1803.
The parish comprises a main body and five detached sections, its total area being 611/3 square miles or 39, 253 acres, of which 1493½ are water, and 21, 0983/8 belong to the main body. This, with Logierait village on its southern border, is bounded W by Dull, N by Dull and Moulin, NE by Kirkmichael, SE by Clunie, and S by Dunkeld-Dowally, Little Dunkeld, and Dull. It all but surrounds the Dalcapon section of Dunkeld and Dowally, and has an utmost length from E to W of 11 miles, whilst its width varies between 17/8 mile and 4½ miles. The Tummel runs 6½ miles south-south-eastward, partly along the Moulin boundary, but mainly across the interior, till it falls into the Tay, which itself flows 65/8 miles east-by-southward along the western half of the southern border. Much the largest of nine sheets of water are Lochan Oisinneach Mhor (4 x 3 furl.) and Loch Broom (5½ x 2 furl.), which latter partly belongs to Moulin and Dalcapon. In the extreme S the surface sinks along the Tay to 185 feet above the sea; and chief elevations to the E of the Tummel are *Cregnam Mial (1842 feet), *Meall Reamhar (1741), and Tom Bheithe (1192); to the W, *Carra Beag (1250), Creagan an Feadaire (1318), and the *eastern shoulder (2000) of Beinn Eagach, where asterisks mark those heights that culminate on the confines of the parish.
Two only of the detached sections are of any size. Of these the largest, containing Carie, 3 miles WSW of Kinloch Rannoch, on the N is bounded for 3¼ miles by Loch Rannoch, and on all other sides by Fortingall. It has an utmost length and width of 5 and 45/8 miles; and its surface is mountainous, rising southward from 668 feet to 3370 at Carn Gorm on the southern border. The second largest section, containing Lochgarry House, 2½ miles E by N of Kinloch Rannoch, on the S is bounded for 33/8 miles by the winding Tummel, and on all other sides by Fortingall. It has an utmost length and width of 5½ and 2¼ miles; and the surface rises northward from 650 feet to Beinn a' Chuallaich (2925), from which again it declines to 1250 along a headstream of Erichdie Water. The three other sections are all small-one containing Killiechassie House and a third of the town of Aberfeldy; another bordering on Loch Glassie; and the third including the SW half of Loch Derculich.
The scenery of the parish, especially that of its main body, is eminently picturesque. ` The windings of the rivers, the rich vales, the sloping corn-fields and pastures, the hanging woodlands, and the awful mountains in the distance, ' as seen from a rock about 1 mile distant from Logierait village, ` form one of the noblest landscapes, for extent, variety, beauty, and grandeur, that the eye can behold; ' and the combinations of vale and hill, glen and mountain, wood and water, cliff and cascade, exquisite culture and sublime desolation, as seen from many standpoints, both in the main body and in the detached sections, are striking specimens of almost all the best kinds of Highland scenery. The rocks are very various. Several strata of limestone lie in different parts; in one place occurs a variety of talc; and building stones of different kinds are occasionally raised on almost every estate. The soil of the low grounds is chiefly alluvium; on the slopes of the hills is mostly deep and loamy; on the higher grounds is cold and spouty; and on the mountains is nearly everywhere moorish. Less than one-fifth of the entire area is in tillage; rather more than one-tenth is under wood; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. Distilling is still carried on, though not to such an extent as formerly. Antiquities are Caledonian standing-stones and cairns in several places, an ancient camp near Middlehaugh, a sculptured stone in the parish churchyard, a ruined beacon-house on a rock 2 miles from Logierait village, and sites and burying-places of several preReformation churches. Amongst natives of Logierait have been Adam Ferguson, LL.D. (1724-1816), the historian; Robert Bisset, LL.D. (1739-1805), the biographer of Burke; Daniel Stewart (1741-1814), the founder of Stewart's Hospital in Edinburgh; and General Sir Robert Dick of Tullymet, who fell at Sobraon (1846). Mansions, noticed separately, are Ballechin, Donavourd, Dunfallandy, Eastertyre, Edradynate, Killiechassie, Lochgarry, Middlehaugh, Pitnacree, and Tullymet; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 15 of between £100 and £500, and 22 of from £20 to £50. Giving off part to Kinloch Rannoch quoad sacra parish, Logierait is in the presbytery of Weem and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £364. The parish church, at Logierait village, was built in 1806, and contains 1000 sittings; and a handsome mission-church was built at Aberfeldy in 1884. Logierait Free church dates from Disruption times; and Tullymet Roman Catholic church, Our Lady of Good Aid, was built in 1855. In Strathtay are Episcopal and Roman Catholic chapels; and four schools-Aberfeldy public, Logierait public, Strathtay Stewart's free, and Tulloch of Pitnacree-with respective accommodation for 310, 201, 129, and 68 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 185, 128, 41, and 33, and grants of £138, 5s- 6d-, £120, 13s., £52, 0s. 6d., and £36, 14s. Valuation (1866) £14, 396, 17s. 8d., (1884) £19,118, 0s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 2890, (1831) 3138, (1861) 2592, (1871) 2417, (1881) 2323, of which 1523 were Gaelic-speaking, and 2220 were in the ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 55, 56, 54, 1869-73.
Grand Lodge comes to Logierait
By Kenneth C. Jack
By Kenneth C. Jack
The Hamlet of Logierait is a rather unprepossessing area of habitation situated a short distance from the Perth to Inverness Road, (A9); a stones throw from the village of Ballinluig- which in turn is about twenty miles North of Perth, and five miles South of Pitlochry, in the North Perthshire area of Scotland.
The village does possess a rich history however; being the birthplace of famous Sociologist Adam Ferguson- a Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University during the Enlightenment period, and son of a local Minister- and, Alexander Mackenzie, who from a rather inauspicious start to life as son of a local Stonemason, became Prime Minister of Canada in 1873.
Logierait Church is said to stand on ground once occupied by an early Christian mission founded by St. Cedd around 650 AD- and the church has within its grounds a very interesting Pictish Cross, which takes the form of a sculpted stone which has, on one side: a knot work-decorated Cross- and on the other, what appear to be Pictish symbols; namely, a horseman above (possibly trampling upon) a serpent-and-rod, with the horseman carrying a spear- his horse wearing an ornamented saddle and bridle. The serpent- and- rod symbol is of course one which will be familiar to many Freemasons.
Logierait was the seat of the head regality court of the Dukes of Atholl, and the court was situated near to the churchyard alongside a large regality prison. Nearby, was an Ash tree- known as a Dule Tree, or hanging-tree- which was used to execute an assortment of criminals. Not only were the miscreants necks stretched on these trees, but there corpses were left to hang there until such time as they rotted away and fell to the ground.
This writer has developed an affinity for the village of Logierait, by dint of the fact he has resided in the nearby town of Pitlochry for almost twenty years. Indeed, if he had a pound for each time he has driven through the village during that time, he would be a wealthy man indeed. Family History Research in recent years has also led to him learning that his Great-Great-Great- Grandparents- both from the nearby Hamlet of Dull, near Aberfeldy- were married at Logierait on 15 November, 1834.
However- as interesting as the foregoing may be, this essay concerns a historic event which occurred in Logierait on 10 August, 1865- the day the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland came to the village to lay the foundation stone for the memorial to be erected in memory of the 6th Duke of Atholl.
It is not the purpose here to detail the involvement of the various Dukes of Atholl in Scottish Freemasonry over the years- but it is perhaps necessary to mention some details of the sixth Duke’s Masonic career. George Augustus Frederick John Murray, the sixth Duke of Atholl, was born on 20 September, 1814, and succeeded his father James Murray as Baron Glenlyon in 1837- and his uncle John- the fifth Duke of Atholl in 1846.
He was initiated into the Scottish Craft in Lodge St. John No. 14, Dunkeld, in November I841 (now the United Lodge of Dunkeld No. 14). He was appointed to the position of Deputy Grand Master in the same year, holding that position for two years, before being elected the 66th (some sources say 60th) Grand Master in November, 1843; retaining the post until his death in January 1864.
The laying of foundation stones at various buildings and structures was a prominent public duty of many Masonic Lodges between the years 1836 and 1872 and the sixth Duke of Atholl carried out many of these duties in his role as Grand Master. A number of those which he attended were the laying of the foundation-stones at: Victoria Bridge, Glasgow on April 9, 1851; the Freemasons' Hall, Edinburgh, on June 24, I858; and the Wallace Monument, near Stirling on June 24, I86I. This writer is pleased to report that one of the Lodges attending the latter ceremony was his own Mother Lodge: St Michael No. 38 from Crieff.
In 1851, Queen Victoria’s husband and consort Price Albert was invited to lay the foundation-stone of the Fine Arts Gallery in Edinburgh. His Grace the Duke had failed in his attempt to persuade the Prince to join the Masonic Order, and believing the laying of foundation stones to be an exclusively Masonic duty, he did not give the proceedings his blessing. In 1861, the Prince attended a couple of similar events in Edinburgh, which prompted the Duke to write to the Prince declaring:
“I consider it my duty, as Grand Master Mason of Scotland, again respectfully to protest against the infringement of the ancient privilege of the Masonic Bodies to lay the foundation-stones of public buildings in Scotland."
The Prince apparently made some enquiry and formed the conclusion that Freemasonry had no such exclusive jurisdiction, and replied to the Duke accordingly.
This little spat did not appear to cause any long-term damage to the relationship between Grand Master Mason of Scotland and the Royal Family, and during the illness leading to his eventual demise; Queen Victoria paid a personal visit to the Duke. Following his death in 1864, the sixth Duke of Atholl was succeeded as Grand Master Mason of Scotland by Brother John Whyte-Melville of Bennochy and Strathkiness; who carried the additional distinction of being the Deputy Grand Master and Governor of the invitational and appendant Masonic body- the Royal Order of Scotland- between the years 1858 and 1883; and Grand Master of The United, Religious, and Military Orders of the Temple and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta between 1865 and 1883. The Duke had also held the latter title between the years 1845 and 1863.
A Grand Lodge of Sorrow was held in honour of the Duke, and a similar mark of respect was held by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow which was presided over by their Provincial Grand Master- Sir Archibald Alison, 1st Baronet (1792-1867) – a historian, social-critic, criminal lawyer, and Sheriff of Lanarkshire.
In 1865, the Duke’s family, friends, and tenants decided to erect a Memorial to the Duke which was to be sited on a hill overlooking the village of Logierait and the Vale of Atholl. The Memorial was to take the form of a Celtic-Cross and cost £1500.00; a considerable sum of money in those days.
As befits a former Grand Master; the Foundation-Stone for the Memorial was to be laid by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, with the new Grand Master, Brother John Whyte-Melville presiding over the ceremony. Grand Lodge would be supported by large Deputations of Freemasons from Provinces throughout Scotland.
A letter dated 17 June, 1865 from the Memorial Management Committee to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland- Brother W.A. Laurie Esq., stated:
“At a meeting held at Logierait on the 10 July, this Committee of Management for erecting the monument to the late Duke of Atholl considered that the most suitable time for all the parties for laying the Foundation Stone of the Monument at Logierait with Masonic honours would be about the 10 August, and I have been desired by the Earl of Mansfield, the Chairman of the Committee, to ascertain if this time would be agreeable to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge.
May I therefore request that you will have the kindness to inform me if Thursday the 10 August will suit Mr Whyte-Melville, and upon hearing from you the necessary arrangements will be made.
Begging the favour of your reply as soon as may be convenient.”
The aforementioned Grand Secretary- Brother William Alexander Laurie- is a very interesting character indeed, being a member of an Edinburgh family which was involved in Freemasonry and the printing trade over many decades. In 1859 he published a book entitled: “The History of Freemasonry and the Grand Lodge of Scotland – With Chapters on the Knight Templars, Knights of St. John, Mark Masonry and RA Degree” which was nominally a second edition of a book first published by his father Alexander Lawrie in 1804- which, although in his father’s name- is now widely believed to have been the work of Sir David Brewster, the Scottish Scientist, Inventor (Kaleidoscope) and Writer. However, William Laurie acknowledged that the later book was actually an entirely different work, which he dedicated to his Grand Master- the sixth Duke of Atholl. (Note: - as can be seen- the family changed the way they spelt their surname).
A notice dated 24 July, 1865 declared the following:
“Memorial to the late Duke of Atholl
Notice to the subscribers
The Committee of Management beg to intimate that the Foundation Stone of the Monument will be laid by the Grand Lodge of Scotland on Thursday, 10 August next.
The procession will be formed at Logierait Schoolhouse, near Ballinluig Station at 11 o’clock on that day after the arrival of the trains from the South.”
Confirmation of the proposed itinerary was also communicated to the Earl of Mansfield, in a letter dated 26th July, 1865; sent to his London address:
“I am just favoured with your Lordship’s letter of yesterdays date.
I have been intending for some days to write your Lordship as to the arrangement for laying the Foundation Stone of the Monument at Logierait on 10 August, but have delayed, expecting to receive information from the Grand Lodge as to the deputations and numbers that might be expected to be present, but I have not yet got all the required information from Mr Laurie.
A circular has been sent from the Grand Lodge to the Lodge of Perthshire and Forfarshire, and also to Glasgow, inviting their attendance, and I have put an advertisement in the Perth papers, the North British Advertiser, the Scotsman, and also in a Glasgow paper, intimating to subscribers that the Foundation Stone is to be laid by the Grand Lodge on the 10 August.
It is proposed that the procession should be formed at the new Schoolhouse at Ballinluig after the arrival of the South trains (say about 1 o’clock) and that it should proceed across the river by the Railway Bridges (which will be granted by the Company) to the site of the Memorial.
The Foundation Stone would probably be laid about Noon, and the procession would then return to the School House, where a lunch will be given by the Duchess Dowager, to the Grand Lodge and Deputations and the Memorial Committee, and at which it is hoped your Lordship will preside.
The band of the Perthshire Rifles will attend. The trains will arrive at Ballinluig from the South at 10.19, and parties can return either at 2.44 or 5.53. The Duchess’s Carriage will be at Ballinluig Station to take your Lordship and the Grand Master to the School House…….”
On the day of the event, The Highland Railway ran a Special Train to Ballinluig- full to brimming with a large number of guests and Masonic brethren from all over Scotland. The Perthshire Journal and Constitutional Newspaper of Thursday, August 17, 1865 wrote extensively about the event and reported that it was dampened by heavy showers of rain- although it would appear that the spirits of those attending remained upbeat. The site chosen for the Memorial was Tom-Na-Croigh hill- on which an ancient castle is reputed to have stood- but of which there is no longer any trace. The hill is about two hundred feet in height; this author has scaled it, and found that although steps have been built to accommodate the climb up- the endeavour can still break sweat and quicken the pulse. It must have been a strain for older attendees of the event, some of whom would have had the additional encumbrance of Masonic Regalia and paraphernalia.
Prior to the foot- procession from Ballinluig, a number of bystanders passed the time by either obtaining lodgings, or visiting some of the local sites, which included the “chain-wrought” floating platform which operated as a ferry- and which crossed back and forth on the nearby River Tummel. However, the greatest attraction was a shed in which the assembled Masonic brethren were given their instructions by the Grand Marshall. The procession formed up, and was led from Ballinluig over the railway bridge to the foot of Tom Na Cloigh hill- preceded by the band of the Royal Perthshire Militia, and four of the Duke’s Pipers – playing the Atholl March. The procession is said to have been half-a mile long. The Perthshire Journal & Constitutional reported:
“On arriving at the opening leading to the stone, the procession halted, the brethren opened to the right and left, so as to leave room for the Grand Master and office-bearers to pass up the centre. The Grand Master and office-bearers of the Lodges passed under the crossbars in the usual form, and the whole of the brethren fell in as it came to their turn.”
A large number of Grand Lodge officers and Masonic brethren then made the climb up to the memorial site, some of them carrying the ceremonial wine, corn and oil to be used in the course of the stone-laying. The Perthshire Journal & Constitutional further reported:
“The Working Tools of the Grand Lodge were carried by 12 members of the Journeyman Lodge (Lodge of Journeymen Masons No. 8, Edinburgh) - the famous ‘Blue Blanket’ being carried by Brother Andrew Kerr” (Note:-The ‘Blue Blanket’ is an ancient Craft Banner which has only been carried by this Lodge on four occasions at various Foundation Stone-Laying ceremonies over the years).
The total number of persons attending the ceremony that day was about 1500- 564 of them being Freemasons. The local paper also reported the following list of Lodges in attendance at the event- along with the number of brethren representing each; in order of seniority: