Welcome to our History - Past & Present page which we have added because of a growing interest generated by the website in the historical development of the village of Westmuir. We already have a number of interesting articles included below. If you have similar information which you think would be of interest to others please get in touch and let us know. We'd be delighted to hear your feedback.The links below will take you directly to the article of your choice or you can read them all by scrolling down in the normal way.

 

A Lifetime in Westmuir and Two Years of Poetry

 

Born in 1925, Eila Webster has spent her entire life living in Westmuir. Blessed with a fine memory, Eila recently agreed to work with our web team to share her life story and what a story it is!

Eila's Story: Part 1, can be read here.

Read about Eila the Pianist, the Poet, the Performer, the Published Writer and multiple Prize Winner as she recalls local people and memorable events decade by decade.

This is a fascinating and poignant personal account of a lifetime in Westmuir and is not to be missed.

     

During her 90th Year, Eila was encouraged to write us a regular monthly poem which we featured on the Home Page throughout 2015. We have gathered all of these below so that can re-read your favourites. She has just kept going ever since !
     
November 2017
  Truth or Lie ?
October 2017
  The Promise
September 2017
  Just for a Laugh
August 2017
  Always Give of Your Best
July 2017
  At the Health Centre
June 2017
  Free Gifts
May 2017
  The Precious Gift
April 2017
  Memories of Long Ago
March 2017
  Snow
February 2017
  A Sad Dog
January 2017
  Looking to the Future
     
December 2016
  December Celebrations
November 2016
  November
October 2016
  October Flashsbacks
September 2016
  Goodbye August . . . Hello September
August 2016
  August Reflections
July 2016
  Midsummer Days in July
June 2016
  The Happy Month of June
May 2016
  May Reflections
April 2016
  Spring 2016
March 2016
  March Reflections
February 2016
  February Thoughts
January 2016
  New Year 2016
   
December 2015
  Eila's December Reflections
November 2015
  November Martinmas Winter Term
October 2015
  October Tattie Holidays
September 2015
  September ~ My Favourite
August 2015
  The Heather Hills of August
July 2015
  The Berries in July
June 2015
  June Amonst the Roses
May 2015
  The Merry Month of May
April 2015
  Spring Cleaning
March 2015
  Eila's 90th Birthday Poem
February 2015
  The Birthday Month
January 2015
  A Moment in Time
   
     
Summer Extra 2015
  The Weather
Christmas 2014
  Meaningful Christmas

 

Return to Top of Page

 


Lindertis House and the Munro Family

 

In 1808 Gilbert Laing Meason purchased the lands of Lindertis, which lies about four miles west of Kirriemuir on the north side of the road leading to Blairgowrie. He was the 2nd son of Robert Laing the Laird of Strynzie in Orkney and succeed his Cousin Gilbert Meason of Moredon, by whose deed of settlement in 1808, took the name and arms of Meason.  Through his marriage in 1811 to Mary, daughter of William Weymss of Cuttlehill, their combined fortune was considerable, and it was lavishly spent on their newly acquired property. Between 1814 and 1817 they had the square Castellated House built which formed the main building, the design having been drawn up by Elliot of Edinburgh in 1813.


The policies and gardens had also been laid out by Mr Laing Meason. In fact everything was done on a grand scale, with the result that when he died in 1832, his son Magnus Laing-Meason fell into financial difficulties and Lindertis was sold in 1838, on behalf of the creditors, to the Trustees of Major-General Sir Thomas Munro, Baronet, who had died in India in 1827. By his settlement a certain portion of the considerable fortune which he left to his elder son and heir to the Baronetcy was to be invested in land. Lindertis was purchased and managed until their ward came of age.

 

 

Thomas Munro, Second Baronet was born in India in 1819; he made additions to the estate with the purchase of Auchendorie and Baldovie in the 1860s. In 1864 he made considerable additions to the Lindertis House, one of these being the west wing. Sir Thomas was never married so on his death in 1901, his younger brother Campbell Munro became Third Baronet. Sir Campbell was born in India in 1823 and he chose the army as a career rising to the rank of Captain in the Grenadier Guards. Through his marriage in 1853 to Henrietta Maria Drummond they had nine of a family, of whom the eldest was Hugh Thomas.

Hugh Thomas Munro, Fourth Baronet, was born in 1856. In 1899 the lands of Lindertis and Baldovie were conveyed to him by his uncle, Sir Thomas Munro, and on his father's death in 1913 he took the title 4th Baronet. Sir Hugh Munro is best remembered for his table of Scottish mountains of 3000 feet and over which was published in 1891 in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal. This caused a great stir among active mountaineers, who saw the challenge of climbing all the mountains on the list as a lifetime ambition. Of his total of 538 main summits and tops, it is reckoned he had only 3 summits still to climb when he died in France in 1919. His son Torquil, becoming the 5th Baronet. 

Thomas Torquil Alfonso Munro, Fifth Baronet, was born in Edinburgh in 1901 and educated at Winchester. He was best known as a farmer, particularly as an Aberdeen Angus breeder and Judge. He got his name in the record books when his Aberdeen Angus bull 'Lindertis Evulse' was sold at the Perth Bull Sales, in 1963, for the world record price of 60,000 guineas. Many of his other championship bulls were exported to other countries. Sir Torquil was well known in his younger days as a host for society parties which were attended by pre-war British film stars and for many years he was one of the organisers of the Angus County Ball, which he attended in red kilt, jacket and red stockings. In 1928 Torquil made it possible for the people of Westmuir to erect their village hall with the gift of a piece of land.

 


By 1947 with the family living in the nearby Drumleys House and the large mansion house becoming more of a burden than an asset, the main building was stripped of all valuable building materials. Special care was taken with the library, with its roll-shuttered walnut bookcases and doors that resembled shelves of books.

 

The main building stood for a long time after this as a roofless shell. The west wing was converted into flats which were last occupied in 1965/6. For health and safety reasons, children playing in the buildings, lighting fires etc., all of buildings were finally demolished in 1987.

 

 

 

  Sir Torquil's grandson, Alisdair John Munro Hopkinson   (through Sir Torquil's second marraige - to Averil Moira Catherine Hunter) is the present landowner and manager of the Lindertis/Munro estates.

 

                                                                                                                    

With thanks for this article to David Fawcett

Return to Top of Page

 

Stuart McGugan, Actor who lived in Westmuir during the early years of his life.

Stuart was first seen on television as a presenter on BBC's Play School in 1964 (he regularly presented the programme for more than 20 years), but he is probably best known for playing Gunner 'Atlas' Mackintosh in the BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Originally from Stirling, he has kindly sent us this account of his family's sojourn in "Carraig."

 

Stuart McGugan


"We arrived around 1957, moving from Letham, Angus.   I was a pupil at Forfar Academy.   I left Forfar Academy, after five years' senior secondary education, with an Intermediate Swimming Certificate, which I passed by rescuing a drowning brick from the bottom of Forfar Swimming Pool while dressed in my pyjamasl

I was therefore very grateful to Willie Ogilvy, chief printer at the Kirriemuir Herald, for my first job as his reporter.   I was with the Herald, or as it was more unkindly known, the two minutes' silence, for eighteen months, during which time the McGugans moved from "Carraig" to a house my Dad had had built at the Welton Corner, between Forfar and Kingsmuir.

Among my most vivid memories of my time in Westmuir are riding my sister's pony through the raspberry fields and up the hills over the road opposite the house: illegally driving my Dad's car, while under age, along the great straight stretch of road towards Alyth; and the great teenage parties we held in the what used to be the billiard room in "Carraig."  

As we were at the bottom of the hill out of Kirriemuir, any time there was a serious snowfall the family played host to stranded lorry and car drivers.   I remember my parents were thanked by one guy from up Glen Isla with a whole side of venison.   

I first started acting around the time I lived in Westmuir, joining the Thrums Dramatic Society and the Kirriemuir Amateur Operatic Society - both  great places to meet girls!  One play, "Bed of Roses" by Falkland L Cary - weird the useless pieces of information which stick in the mind - toured to Lintrathen.   The local hall was packed, kids in the front rows, courting couples in the middle, Mums and Dads keeping an eye on it all at the back.  There was a long tea-party scene and we were stuck at the very edge of the tiny stage.   We were so close to the front row that when I got up to leave the tea-party, I discovered someone had tied my shoe-laces together....

After a clutch of newspaper jobs I went to the College of Dramatic Art in Glasgow for three years, and I've been in the acting business ever since.   This has ranged from seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre and theatre tours to television shows and series like "It Ain't HAlf Hot, Mum," "Playschool," "The Chief," "Tutti Frutti," "Hamish MacBeth,""Benidorm" etc., etc.

There is one long-lasting response to my stay in Westmuir.   Years later I took a rush of blood to the head and bought a house in the Languedoc region of the south of France.   I didn't realise it at the time, but I've since noticed that the view from the house in France is identical to the wonderful view I had from my top-floor bedroom in "Carraig."   If you substitute the sunflowers with potatoes and the vines with rasps you've got the same sweeping view from Westmuir down the Strathmore valley, with Forfar over to the left, and down towards Perth on the right.  Only in France with more predictable sunshine....."

Very best wishes,
Stuart.

Return to Top of Page

Canon Harry Rorison

The gentleman pictured below is Canon Harry Rorison, a Westmuir character from the past, who lived at Downfield Cottage.

Canon Rorison
Click Here or on the picture to read an article which has been researched and compiled by Helen Humphreys with help from Hector MacLean (of Balnaboth) who kindly provided some of the information and photographs.


Return to Top of Page

Westmuir - A Historical Summary
Historical Summary Northmuir, Southmuir and Westmuir were specifically created by the Kirriemuir authorities in 1815 ostensibly to allow the town to develop.   At Westmuir more than thirty smallholdings were laid out to enable handloom weavers and their families to practise self-sufficiency whilst plying their trade.   However there is evidence to suggest that all three hamlets were located on the edges of the town/parish boundaries in order to deter local farmers who were encroaching on the town’s common lands.   This would explain why the Westmuir is a mile out of town and not at Herdhill. About a third of the initial buildings survive in one form or another and many of the smallholdings and their wells can be located.   In addition at least two communal wells were sunk outside the present shop and in Roman Road.   Some of the smallholdings were located along the Airlie/Kirriemuir road which bisects the village.     Most were sited to the north and south of the main road and were reached by paths between the plots and fields.   These footpaths in time developed into the four side roads on which most of the village housing is now to be found.  

To the north of the main road lie East and West Bank, the latter was and sometimes still is known as Old School Road or School Brae, names which explain why it came into use in the 1870s to service the new village school.  Prior to that date early O.S. maps indicate that the western houses of the village were accessed by ‘the Strippie’ now a wide but partially overgrown footpath between the Parish Boundary mound and the property boundaries.   The title is not as one might presuppose a familiar diminutive common to locals – as with ‘Shoppie’,  but is an actual Old Scots term for an approach road.

East Bank sometimes known as Rossiebank from the property at the northern end certainly predates the 1815 village and was the trackway which led to Cloisterbank whose buildings have disappeared in the last fifty years.   This farm was reputed to be the site of the late 18thC confrontation between the townsfolk of Kirriemuir and the surrounding farmers when disagreements over the hoarding and price of grain led to the fisticuffs described in Reid’s ‘Regality of Kirriemuir’ as the Battle of Cloisterbank.   In fact the name itself may well suggest even greater antiquity.   In 1202 A.D.  Gilchrist, Earl of Angus gifted Kirriemuir Parish Church and the lands which sustained it to the Abbey at Arbroath as part of the Abbey’s fund-raising to contribute to the fourth Crusade.   It is not impossible that CLOISTER bank may well relate to some of the arable and grazing lands so gifted.   Could it be that these rents partially financed the sack of Constantinople in 1204?

South of the main road lie the Low Road and Roman Road.   The fact that the former has always been referred to as The  Low Road may well indicate that in the early years this was the major access route to the lower and southern part of the settlement.   Certainly a substantial number of the older houses of the village were adjacent to it.   In more recent times the Roman Road has taken precedence as the most populated road in the village.   The name recalls the Roman Road which runs SW/NE across the field immediately to the west of the village.   This feature form part of the metalled road linking the fort of Cardean in the west to the fort at Inverquharity in the east and dates from the Agricolan invasion and occupation of 79/87 A.D.

The existence of this stretch of road has been known for decades but it was spectacularly revealed as a crop marking photographed by Prof. J K St. Joseph and the Cambridge Aerial photography group in 1951.   More recently in 1994 another aerial survey of Strathmore by the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments Scotland revealed two more sections of the road.   To the west and 200 metres south of Reedie Farm lay a continuation of Westmuir’s Roman Road.   More curiously a new section of road was discovered at Balbrydie Cottage a mile north east of Westmuir.    This section was aligned to the most northerly piece of Roman Road known in Britain which was found in Caddam Woods.    It would appear that at some point between Westmuir and Herdhill the Roman west to east advance up Strathmore temporarily went northwards.

Might it be that the first structures raised at Westmuir were the leather tents of the engineers of the 20th Legion as they swithered about going north or south to avoid Kirrie Den and the Tannage Brae?

Brian Humphreys

                                                                                                           

Return to Top of Page                                   

 

Village Development 1950's - 1980's

This link leads to an interesting photographic comparison of part of the village with a similar view being taken from both the 1950's and the 1980's. It's just like a ''Spot the Difference' puzzle and is both interesting and fun to look at. To bring you up to date there is also a fine aerial photograph of Westmuir which was taken during the Millenium Year in 2000.

Click Here - Village Development 1950's - 1980's

We would be very interested in discovering any photographs of the village, especially aerial pictures since the 1950's, as these are invaluable in researching our village history and that of local people from the past such as Canon Rorison. If you have one or more which you would be willing to let us borrow for scanning, then please get in touch via our Contact Page.

 

Return to Top of Page

 

Lindsay Scott Clark - Teacher, Painter, Soldier, Gentleman


Lindsay Scott Clark, a well known local artist, lived in Westmuir from 1958 until his death in 1996.


Teacher, Painter, Soldier, Gentleman - Mr Lindsay Clark was all of these things and for many pupils at Webster’s Seminary in Kirriemuir in the 1950’s he was simply  “an affa guid music teacher” and a fine well-respected gentleman. In later decades a wider picture of Lindsay Clark began to emerge. He gained strength from being a loved family man, an accomplished artist and sharing his musical talents at school and in the wider community. This all helped him along the road to recovery after being held a Prisoner of War in the Far East during the Second World War.

To read more about Lindsay Clark and his life and history, you can click here.

We are grateful to Mrs Ethel Clark for her encouragement to have this story written in the words of his daughter Jennifer and also to Helen Humphreys, one of Lindsay's former pupils, for submitting this account of his life and history.


Return to Top of Page

 

Lance Corporal John Beaton

A poem written by a young soldier serving in France in 1915 has re-emerged and in recent months touched the lives of family and
friends both at home and abroad. To read the full account of how this came about please Click Here.

To read and listen to John's first poem you can click on these links:

We're in the Trenches Noo (Words)   We're in the Trenches Noo (Recording)

Since we added the original poem, a second poem written by John Beaton whilst on active service in France was brought to our notice. The Camerons versus the 5th Black Watch enjoying a game of football during a lull in the fighting in war-torn France. 

To read John's second poem, which he sent home to a friend in Kirrie, you can click on this link: 

 Weel Wullie, thank ye ance agin (Words)

Another astonishing discovery with this new poem is that it was printed and sold locally for One Penny ( 1d ) in aid of the Fund for sending tobacco and cigarettes to the 5th Black Watch at the Front. It is clear from John’s poetry that receiving cigarettes, chocolate, candles and letters brought great comfort to soldiers on the front line. Following the publication of the Beaton article and the presentation of family papers to the Kirriemuir Museum we had a surprise visit. Kathleen Harris, Victoria Street, a great niece of John Beaton, decided to offer her Beaton family memorabilia to the Museum and amongst the papers and photos was the ‘football ’ poem.  

In the Summer of 2015, Kirrie Kist's play 'Soldiering On' was performed in and around St Mary's Church in Kirrie. As part of the performance a third poem by John had been uncovered within a letter written by him in February 1915. There is mention of someone named Reedie from Kirriemuir who had sent body belts, perhaps with many more knitted items, to the soldiers serving on the front line. You can read it by clicking on the link below:

Poem in a letter from Lance Corporal J. Beaton. Feb 1915

In addition to Kathleen’s papers and photos we received another welcome collection of family photos from Bill Beaton, Canada  (nephew of John Beaton).  Bill, as you may recall from the earlier story is a great Burns enthusiast, so his Burns information and family photographs will be added to the Museum collection. He sent copies of photographs of his grandparents William and Ann, the parents of Lance Corporal John Beaton. There was now only one piece of the puzzle still remaining. We had not been able to establish how the two branches of the Kirriemuir Beatons could be related to Lance Corporal John Beaton yet appear to not be related to each other. Until Bingo! Sincere thanks to Linda Gray who emigrated to Australia with her parents and grandmother, Mary Norrie (Beaton) from Westmuir in the 1950s. Linda persevered and discovered the link. Linda’s great, great Grandmother was the sister of William Beaton of Mill Street, Grandfather to the Canadian Beatons. The family chart explaining the link will also be taken to the Museum.

Helen Hunphreys, our resident historian, has been liaising with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to pass on details about John Beaton so that they could include these on their website and we are delighted that these have now been posted online. You can click this link to go directly to the CWGC Microsite Presentation

Douglas Beaton is a great, Great Nephew of Lance Corporal John Beaton of 5th Battalion, the Black Watch. Together with his wife Louise, Douglas visited Kirriemuir in 2014 and spent an emotional day hosted by Helen & Brian Humphreys and others connected with this story. We have Pictures Here and also a copy of the Courier Press Report.

Helen Humphreys has also written an interesting account of the day's highlights in which she also mentions all of those who helped make the visit so special for Doug and Louise. You can read Helen's account here.

 

Return to Top of Page

Mrs Evelyn Soutar of Lisdon and Westmuir WRI

Evelyn Soutar of Lisdon, Westmuir left an indelible impression on her peers, enough to last a life time. To so affect folk of your own age group is one thing, but to leave a favourable lasting impression with youngsters thirty or forty years younger requires considerable personable and worthy talents. Evelyn Soutar had these in abundance.

There is even a song about Mrs Soutar called 'The Sweet Gracious Lady of Lisdon' which was written in the late 1960's by Eila Webster of Viewbank, Westmuir on the occasion of Evelyn Soutar's retirement from the Westmuir WRI

To read more about Mrs Soutar and her links with Lisdon and Westmuir WRI click here.

'The Sweet Gracious Lady of Lisdon'

Somewhere in Westmuir a Lady doth stay and living for others is always her way
So far and near you’ll hear folk say she’s the Sweet Gracious Lady of Lisdon.
Children love her it is plain, no one seeks her help in vain
And that is why she gets this name - The Sweet Gracious Lady of Lisdon.
She thinks of us all the young and the old, to each one in turn her love would unfold
She is a treasure far greater than gold - The Sweet Gracious lady of Lisdon.
May there still be joys in store for the one we all adore the Lord Bless her for ever more
The Sweet Gracious Lady of Lisdon.

 

Return to Top of Page

 

 

 

Get Adobe Reader