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Macduff's Cross

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Macduff's Cross</b>Posted by scottyImage © scotty
Nearest Town:Newburgh (1km N)
OS Ref (GB):   NO227167 / Sheet: 58
Latitude:56° 20' 10.66" N
Longitude:   3° 15' 1.65" W

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<b>Macduff's Cross</b>Posted by scotty <b>Macduff's Cross</b>Posted by scotty <b>Macduff's Cross</b>Posted by scotty

Fieldnotes

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If your thinking of visiting this site just click on the map for directions because my best attempt at directions would be' on the back road from Newburgh to nowhere' !

CANMORE list this as a sandstone boulder with marks as a result of weathering...... Not a chance mate!

This is a lovely little standing stone with great examples of cupmarks on two side and the top. The stone stands on a little mound surrounded by stones added by the good folk of Newburgh in the 1850s. The field that the stone stands in also has a few little mounds dotted about.

Parking is for one car only in the farm road end just next to the site.

The local residents would like it if you don't block the road so please leave enough room for a tractor/horse and cart.
Posted by scotty
22nd April 2003ce

Folklore

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About three quarters of a mile south-west of Mugdrum cross, are the remains of another celebrated cross, Norman Macduff's cross, on which so much has been written, both in prose and rhyme. It is situated upon the high ground, in an opening of the Ochils which forms a pass from the valley of Strathearn into the central portion of Fife. This cross is said to have been broken in pieces by the Reformers, on their way from Perth to Lindores; and nothing now remains but the large square block of freestone which formed the pedestal. [..] There are several holes or indentations on its different faces, which tradition says were nine in number, and in which nine rings were at one time fixed. [..] It formed a girth or sanctuary for any of the clan Macduff, or any related to the chief within the ninth degree, who had been guilty of "suddand chaudmelle," or unpremeditated slaughter. In consequence of this privilege any person entitled to take advantage of it, and requiring its security, fled to the cross, and laying hold of one of the rings, punishment was remitted on his washing nine times at the stone, and paying nine cows and a colpendach or young cow; the nine cows being fastened to the rings. [...] a powerful spring called the Nine wells, where it is supposed that the ablutions took place, still takes its rise at no great distance from the cross.


[..] It was on all occasions necessary when the privilege of Cross-Macduff was claimed, that proof should be given of consanguinity within the limited degree; and where in any case the claimant failed in establishing his right, he was instantly put to death, and buried near the stone. There were formerly several artificial airns and tumuli around the cross, and one rather larger than the rest about fifty yards to the north, but the progress of agriculture which has brought the ploughshare over the fields around the cross, has now removed all traces of them. [..] "Superstition," says Cant, "forbids the opening of any of them; no person in the neighbourhood will assist for any consideration, nor will any person in or about Newburgh travel that way when dark, for they affirm that spectres and bogies, as they call them, haunt that place."
From 'The topographical, statistical and historical gazetteer of Scotland' v2, published by A Fullarton and Co, 1856.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th July 2010ce
Edited 6th July 2010ce

Miscellaneous

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These two articles are from Scottish papers (I think the Courier and Scotsman), didn't keep a date for them but think they date from circa 2000. Relevant to the right of way:

Judges clear historic path for public

Couple lose fight to block scenic track
JOHN ROBERTSON
Law Correspondent
THE boyhood reminiscences of two pensioners and the legend of Macbeth have helped to establish a public right of way over a disputed mile-long track in the Fife countryside.

For John Wilson and John Davidson, the Bloomfield Walk was more than just a path and yesterday three judges at the Court of Session ruled against a couple living by the ancient route after they tried to bar people from using it. Two of the most important witnesses had been Mr Wilson, 78, and Mr Davidson, 76, who spoke of their childhoods in the village of Newburgh and family strolls and bramble-picking along the track. For Mr Wilson, victory in the long legal dispute came too late. He died last year, but Mr Davidson paid tribute to his friend: "If he was alive he would be having a dram tonight. He wanted me to make sure I walked this path to my dying day."

For the Stuart kings the path was a royal route from Scone Palace to their hunting lodge at Falkland. Along the way a duel had been fought in 1672 and the Thanes of Fife had claimed it as their own and erected a stone cross in honour of MacDuff, murdered by the usurper Macbeth. Taking in the panorama of Errol, the Carse of Gowrie, Dundee, Perth and the River Tay, the Bloomfield Walk at Newburgh in Fife is one of the most spectacular pathways in Scotland. For Robert and Elizabeth Nisbet, the path was a nuisance. Their house at Bloomfield, by Newburgh, lies near the middle of the route and it was their challenges to people trying to use it that led to Fife Council taking the dispute to court.

In 1997, Sheriff Kevin Breslin ruled at Cupar Sheriff Court that it had been established that a public right of way existed over the route by at least the 1920s and that the right had not been lost by non-use over 20 or more years. He said there was historical evidence that the track had been used for carts and a drover’s road. Also, it had been part of the route from the Tay ferry at Ferryfield of Carpow to Auchtermuchty. By the start of the 20th century, it had been used by pedestrians only and, as at about 1925, Sheriff Breslin added, it was regarded and used as a public right of way by the people of Newburgh. Mr and Mrs Nisbet disputed the judgment and appealed to the Court of Session where the case was heard by Lord Cullen, the Lord Justice-Clerk, sitting with Lords Coulsfield and Caplan.

In yesterday’s judgment, Lord Coulsfield said that the sheriff had relied heavily on the evidence of Mr Wilson and Mr Davidson. Mr Wilson, a retired works manager, lived in Newburgh all his life and told the sheriff that from the age of eight he regularly walked the track with his parents on a Sunday. Mr Davidson, a former maintenance engineer, said he began walking the route aged 11 when he went bramble picking with his father. "His schoolteacher and others at Newburgh had told him that it was a public road," said Lord Coulsfield. "This was his understanding and his use of the road was never challenged."

Last night Mr Davidson hailed the court’s decision: "I used to come along here as a boy to pick brambles. The whole stretch used to be covered and it was always a treat to come up and fill our faces. When I heard the Nisbets had started shutting off the track with an iron gate, John and I felt something had to be done. We spoke to the council what seems like ages ago and now it’s been in so many courts I am finally glad it’s over. When I get confirmation in black and white I will be back on the path straight away." The Nisbets attacked the ruling. When asked for her reaction, Mrs Nisbet ran from her house shouting: "It’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace."

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The path is famed locally for the Riding of the Marches, a historic walk staged every three years by three hundred locals who finish off by throwing a stick in the River Tay. The walk is set to take place again next year after worries that it might be halted for the first in history. The path runs from a mound of stones called Macduff’s Cross at Newburgh for a mile to the nearby village of Abernethy. John went on: "This one of the most beautiful walks I have ever been on and there’s no way the public should be denied access to what is their birthright. The house the Nisbets live in used to be owned by a lady called Mrs Simpson and when I was a boy sh e would welcome thirsty youngsters and walkers into her home for a strong cup of tea. I can’t see why the Nisbets can’t show the same courtesy." For John Wilson, the victory came a year too late when he passed on. A regular walker with his good friend John, the pair would meander together along the path and it was his dying wish to see that it remained open.

The judges said that there might have been a very low level of use in modern times, but it was still enough for the route to retain its right of way status. The track runs east from a point on the A913 Newburgh-Abernethy road to the unclassified Newburgh-East Lumbennie road. The mound of stones known as Macduff’s Cross marks the spot which, legend has it, the Thane of Fife passed on his way to Auchtermuchty while fleeing from Macbeth. At another point on the track, there is an ancient relic called Sir Robert’s Prap. It is said to mark the site of a duel in 1672 between two people returning from a fair in Perth.

Robert and Elizabeth Nisbet’s property at Bloomfield, by Newburgh, lies near the middle of the route. It was their challenges to people attemping to use it that led to Fife Council going to court. In 1997, Sheriff Kevin Breslin ruled at Cupar Sheriff Court that it had been established that a public right of way existed over the route by at least the 1920s and that the right had not been lost by non-use over 20 or more years. He said there was historical evidence that the track had been used for carts and a drover’s road. Also, it had been part of the route from the Tay ferry at Ferryfield of Carpow to Auchtermuchty. By the start of the 20th century, it had been used by pedestrians only and as at about 1925, Sheriff Breslin added, it was regarded and used as a public right of way by the people of Newburgh. Mr and Mrs Nisbet disputed there was a public right of way as opposed to a possible estate road, rarely if ever used by the public in modern times. They appealed to the Court of Session where the case was heard by Lord Cullen, the Lord Justice-Clerk, sitting with Lords Coulsfield and Caplan.

In yesterday’s judgment, Lord Coulsfield said the sheriff had relied heavily on the evidence of Mr Wilson and Mr Davidson. However, they were criticised by counsel for Mr and Mrs Nisbet as "shaky witnessses" with unclear and inconsistent accounts.
Mr Wilson, a retired works manager, had lived in Newburgh all his life. He had told the sheriff that at about the age of eight he regularly walked the track with his parents on a Sunday. "He stated that there were always two or three groups of people walking up the road on a Sunday," said Lord Coulsfield. "Until recent years, when Mr and Mrs Nisbet had attempted to interfere with persons using the route, no challenge had ever been made to the use of the route."

Mr Davidson, a former maintenance engineer, whose family had long been connected with Newburgh, had said he began walking the route at age 11 when he went bramble picking with his father. "His school teacher and others at Newburgh had told him that it was a public road," said Lord Coulsfield. "This was his understanding and his use of the road was never challenged...until 1983, when he retired, he would walk it every three or four years." The appeal judges were satisfied that there had been enough evidence before the sheriff for him to conclude that the route had been used by the public as of right for a long time before the 1920s. Since then, the evidence pointed to a very low level of use. However, Lord Coulsfield said: "There was some evidence of use and, in our view, the sheriff was entitled to conclude that there had never been non-use of the road for a sufficient period for the right of passage along it to be lost."
nickbrand Posted by nickbrand
15th June 2003ce

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Macduff's Cross on BRAC


rockartuk Posted by rockartuk
9th July 2010ce