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stones, which in many places have been piled right over the retaining wall of set stones. Outside the circle of stones there is a banking of earth and stones, at its widest about 9 feet wide. The highest part of the "cairn "

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is about 6 feet above the lowest outer base of this bank. As is usually the case, the largest stones of the circle are towards its south-west part, and there is a diminution each way around the circle. The tallest stone, the south-west one (B), stands scarcely 3 feet 6 inches above the bank, and the diminution is carried so far that at about the north-east point the

set stones disappear into the upper surface of the bank, which itself is here uch less built up.

Further, the whole surface of the "cairn" drops towards this point, and it is easy to suppose that this was a place of entry for barrows loaded with the collected stones. Such entry would naturally be at the previously lowest point of the circle, and stones so carried and thrown down would make a mound gradually rising from the point of entry towards the remoter parts of the circle. The present appearance of the "cairn” strongly suggests such a procedure.

This involves the complete burial of the third or innermost circle mentioned in the New Statistical Account.

Outside the middle circle, on the west side of this "entrance," there is a considerable pile of loose stones (C), looking as old, weathered, and lichen-covered as those of the main pile; and against these are two large blocks (D), whose relation to the general structure is not apparent. Near the east side of the "entrance" there is a pile of fresh-looking stones (E), about which I made special but fruitless inquiries. They are not a very recent addition. Just here one stone of the circle (F) has been forced outwards from its place, and lies on its side, and the loose stones behind it have been much disturbed.



The story of the Nine Maidens forms a picturesque chapter in the annals of Scottish hagiology. These Nine Maidens were sisters, daughters of St Donevald, otherwise Donald, a Scot, who settled among the Picts. Their exact date is uncertain, but they are said to have flourished early in the eighth century. They lived in what is now the parish of Glamis, in Forfarshire, where St Fergus died later in the same century. Their home there was in the Glen of Ogilvy, now forming part of the possessions of the noble family of Strathmore.

In his Kalendar, under 15th July, Adam King has this entry: "The 9 virgines dochters to s. donewalde vnder king eugenius ye 7. In scotland." The tradition is thus given by Bellenden, who, it is to be noticed, assigns seven instead of nine daughters to St Donevald: "In his (Eugenius's) time was Donevald, the haly man; quhilk levit ane sobir life at Ogilvy, haldin amang Pichtis in gret veneratioun. It is said that he had VII douchteris, quhilk levit with him in gret pennance, on beir breid and wattir. Thay eit nevir bot anis on the day; and the residew thairof occupyit in continewal labour and orison." 2 The names of only two of the Nine Maidens are recorded. Stewart, in his metrical version of Boece's Chronicles of Scotland, says:

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"The eldest hecht Mazota to her name

The secund sister callit Fyncana;

Quhat hecht the laif I cannot to zow sa,

For quhy my author schew thame nocht to me;
Thair namis now thairfoir I will lat be." 3

Mazota seems to have been a person of some energy, for we are told that she "maid inhibitation to the wild geis, to eit hir faderis corne, and

1 Forbes's Kalendars of Scottish Saints, p. 157.

2 History and Chronicles of Scotland, bk. ix. ch. xxv.

3 Vol. ii. p. 329.

thay obeyit hir haly monitionis; and thairfore, wild geis was nevir sene efter on that ground.'

" 1

This reminds one of St Milburga, who founded a religious house at Wenlock in Shropshire in the seventh century, and is commonly associated with wild geese from her having forbidden them to fly over her land and devour her corn. The memory of St Mazota and her sisters was kept alive in the neighbourhood of their hermitage. Jervise says: "The Nine Maiden Well was near the old dove-cot within the Castle park of Glamis, where probably stood a chapel which was inscribed to these holy sisters." 2

On the death of their father St Donevald, the Nine Maidens, not wishing to be without a protector, removed to Abernethy near the Earn in Perthshire, still noted for its round tower, akin to the round tower of Brechin, though earlier in date than the latter. What then happened is thus narrated by Bellenden :


"Thir haly virginis, efter deceis of thair fader, come to Garnard, King of Pichtis, desiring sum place quhare thay micht leif ane solitar life, in the honour of God. Garnard condiscendit to thair desiris and gaif tham ane hous in Abernethy, with certane rentis to be takin up of the nixt landis, to thair sustentation quhare thay leiffit ane devote life and war buryit at the rute of ane aik, quhilk is haldin yit in gret veneration amang the pepil.” 3

What Garnard did for "the Maidens" is thus told in Stewart's metrical version of Boece ::

"At thair requeist ane proper mansioun
He biggit thame into that samin toun,
With kirk and queir, to sing and for to sa
Thair obseruance and ouris of the da.
Thair tha remanit lang and mony zeir,
In fasting, walking, and devoit prayer
With perseuerance to thair latter då.” 4

Baring-Gould tells us that after their father's death the Nine Maidens "are said to have gone to Abernethy, where they lived in a hollow

1 Bellenden's Chronicles of Scotland, bk. ix. ch. xxv.

Epitaphs and Inscriptions, vol. i. p. 185.

3 Chronicles of Scotland, bk. ix. ch. xxv.

4 Vol. ii. pp. 329-30.

oak." 1 In his Menologium Scoticum, of date 1622, Dempster gives the tradition of his day regarding the Nine Maidens. He says that their names were inscribed among those of the saints, that their abodean oak-was shown, in the memory of our fathers, full of years, and that their miracles, which had been engraved on the walls of the most ancient oratory, were lately profaned and abolished by the heretics.2

Dempster probably meant to indicate that the dwelling-place of the Maidens was at the foot of the oak in question. It is interesting to learn that, even in the seventeenth century, the fame of the oak at Abernethy was such that an enactment was passed by the kirk-session of Glamis forbidding maidens to go to it on pilgrimage.3

In treating of the Nine Maidens we are met with certain difficulties of chronology which call for notice. Bellenden says: "Thir virginis war not in time of Conrannus, with Sanct Brigitta, as the commonis haldis, bot in the time of Eugenius the VII; for he perseverit in gud peace with Garnard, and visyit oft times thir virginis with his liberalite and guddis."4 Eugenius VII. can be fitted into the chronology tolerably well if we do not lay too much stress on the fact that 715 is given as the date of his death, and circa 716 as that of St Donevald, when the Nine Maidens went to Abernethy. Garnard is presumably the some as Garnad, a Pictish ruler, who held sway over the district between Scone and Meigle from 706 till 729.7 His name, or a name resembling it, is assigned to several other Pictish kings. Thus we find


1 Lives of the Saints, s. v., 15th July.

2 "Abernethæ Donevaldi agricolæ, et filiarum novem Sanctis adscriptarum, quarum domicilium quercus, patrum memoria, ostendebatur annosa, et miracula Ecclesiolæ vetustissimæ parietinis insculpta, ab hæreticis nuper profanata et abolita."-Forbes's Kalendars of Scottish Saints, p. 205.

3 Rev. J. M'Lean's Translations of the Names of Places in the Deeds of Entail of the Breadalbane Estate; Dr A. Laing's Introduction, p. 20.

Chronicles of Scotland, bk. ix. ch. xxv.

5 Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 326.

that Eugenius died at Abernethy, and was buried in Iona.

6 Forbes's Kalendars of Scotland, s. v. "Donald."

7 Skene's Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, pref., p. 126, n.


Wyntoun says


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