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Forres

Forres, (Gaelic, far uis, near water ), is situated on the Findhorn, which sweeps past the town and is crossed by a suspension bridge about a mile to the West. It is one of the most ancient towns in the north of Scotland. King Donald, son of Constantine, died in Forres, not without suspicion of poisoning, and in it King Duff was murdered. Macbeth is said to have slain Duncan in the first structure that gave its name to Castlehill, which was probably the building detnolished in 1297 by the adherents of Wallace. The next castle was a royal residence from 1189 to 1371 and was occupied occasionally by William the Lion, Alexander II. and David II. It was burned down. by the Wolf of Badenoch in 1390.

The ruins on the hill, however, are those of a later edifice and are surmounted by a granite obelisk, 65 feet high, raised to the memory of Surgeon James Thomson, a native of Cromarty, who at the cost of his life tended the Russian wounded on the field of the Alma. The cross, in Decorated Gothic, stands beside the town hall. Adjoining the town on the south-east is the beautifully-wooded Cluny Hill, a favorite public resort, carrying on its summit the tower, 70 ft. high, which was erected in 1806 to the memory of Nelson, and on its southern slopes a well-known hydropathic. An excellent golf-course extends from Kinloss to Findhorn. The industries comprised the manufacture of chemicals and artificial manures, granite polishing, flour and sawmills, boot and shoe-making, carriage buliding and woollen manufacture. There was also considerable trade in cattle.

Suenos Stone, about 23 ft. high, probably the finest sculptured monolith in Scotland, stands in a field to the east of the town. Its origin and character have given rise to endless surmises. It is carved with figures of soldiers, priests, slaughtered men and captives on one side, and on the other with a cross and Runic ornamentation. One theory is that it is a relic of the early Christian church, symbolizing the battle of life and the triumph of good over evil. According to an older tradition it was named after Sueno, son of Harold, king of Denmark, who won a victory on the spot in 1008. A third conjecture is that it commemorates the expulsion of the Danes from Moray in 1014. Skenes view is that it chronicles the struggle in 900 between Sigurd, earl of Orkney, and Maelbrigd, Maormor of Moray. Another stone is called the Witches Stone, because it marks the place near Forres where Macbeth is said to have encountered the weird sisters.

Within 2 miles of Forres, to the South West, lie the beautiful woods of Altyre, the seat of the Gordon-Cummings. Three miles farther south is Relugas House, the favorite residence of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, romantically situated on a height near the confluence of the Divie and the Findhorn. Not far away stand the ruins of the old castle of Dunphail.

On the left bank of the Findhorn, 3 miles west of Forres, is situated Brodie Castle, partly ancient and. partly modern. The Brodiesthe old name of their estate was Brothie, from the Irish broth, a ditch, in allusion to the trench that ran from the village of Dyke to the north of the housewere a family of great consequence at the period of the Covenant. Alexander Brodie (1617-1680), the fourteenth laird, was one of the commissioners who went to the Hague to treat with Charles IL, and afterwards became a Scottish lord of session and an English judge. He and his son were regarded as amongst the staunchest of the Presbyterians.

Farther south is the forest of Darnaway, famous for its oaks, in which stands the earl of Morays mansion of Darnaway Castle. It occupies the site of the castle which was built by Thomas Randolph, the first earl. Attached to it is the great hall, capable of accommodating 100o men, with an open roof of fine dark oak, the only remaining portion of the castle that was erected by Archibald Douglas earl of Moray, in 1450. Queen Mary held a council in it in 1562. Earl Randolphs chair, not unlike the coronation chair, has been preserved,

Kinloss Abbey, now in ruins, stands some north east of Fbrres. It was founded in 1150 by David I., and remained in the hands of the Cistercians till its suppression at the Reformation. Robert Reid, who ruled from 1526 to 540, was its greatest abbot. His hobby was gardening, and it is believed that many of the 123 varieties of pears and 146 varieties of apples for which the district is famous were due to his skill and enterprise. Edward I. stayed in the abbey for a short time in 1303 and Queen Mary spent two nights in it in 1562.



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