The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Castle Law (Abernethy)



There is a tradition that, upon a pretty high hill about a mile to the south-west of that town {Abernethy} called the Castle Law, in one of the three lochs or small round lakes upon the top of it; there is a golden cradle hid, in which the {Pictish} king's children were wont to be rocked...

Carney-venn, which obviously appears to have had connection with this Castle Law, and is supposed to have been the place where the treasures or things of the greatest value were kept... The tradition in the immediate neighbourhood is that there were at some remote period, some golden keys found in a small rivulet or stream that runs past this place, which were supposed to have belonged to this Carney-venn; and the popular tradition of the country in general is very lavish respecting some treasure concealed
"Betwixt Castle Law and Carney Vase
As would enrich a' Scotland ane by ane."
(Small, pp. 142, 143.)

There is a legend which attaches to the small loch on the top of the Castle Law; and well do I recollect of having in my schoolboy days, an undeined feeling of terror in approaching too near its dreaded waters...

Note.-- The traditions is, that if you run nine times round the loch, muttering a spell --the words of which, however, are too modern to be genuine-- a hand will arise from a golden cradle, and pull you in.
(Laing, p.20.)
'Small' is the Rev. Andrew Small's 'Interesting Roman Antiqities Recently Discovered in Fife' (1823), and 'Laing' is 'Notice of the Ancient Ecclesiastical History of Abernethy and of the Condition of the Early Inhabitants of Scotland' (1861). Collected by John Ewart Simpkins in County Folk-lore vol. 7.

I suppose this is right, but I can't figure out the Carney Venn?

There's also a cave called the Witches' Hole in the steep north face of the Law.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th December 2010ce
Edited 30th December 2010ce

Comments (3)

It's a bit confusing Rhiannon but page 142 refers to Castle Law a hill fort above Abernethy but Carney Venn , mentioned on other pages , is an area a few miles to the west associated with another , similar hill fort both now believed to to be pre Roman . Venn could be from bheinn =hill or fhionn =white , rather than suranme as in Diggory . tiompan Posted by tiompan
31st December 2010ce
Thank you for that, especially the etymology, those would make excellent sense.

With something called a common thing like 'Castle Law' I guess it's not surprising there's confusion. And I mean I do know it's all silly really - but I do really like it when you can pin a story to a specific place. Ha just call it obsession.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
31st December 2010ce
It's compunded by the fact that both sites share the same name ,are five miles apart and one is above Aberdargie and the other above Aberargie .A bit like buses . Just had a look at the 1866 six inch map and couldn't see a mention of Cairney Venn . It might be in the name book though . Pinning a story to a specific place provides that extra bit of all important sauce . tiompan Posted by tiompan
31st December 2010ce
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