MEMORIAL TO THE BLACK WATCH AT ABERFELDY



On a plaque set into the base of the Memorial is inscribed:

THIS CAIRN
IS ERECTED BY
GRATEFUL AND ADMIRING COUNTRYMEN
IN COMMEMORATION
OF THE ASSEMBLING TOGETHER AT TAYBRIDGE
IN OCTOBER 1739
OF THE SIX INDEPENDANT COMPANIES
AFTERWARDS INCREASED TO TEN
OF THE "FREICEADAN DUBH" OR BLACK WATCH WHO AFTER SERVING
IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE HIGHLANDS
WERE EMBODIED INTO A REGIMENT
DESIGNATED THE 43rd AND AFTERWARDS
THE 42nd ROYAL HIGHLANDER
WHOSE FIRST MUSTER
TOOK PLACE IN MAY 1740 NEAR TAYBRIDGE
AND ALSO IN RECOGNITION
OF THE VALOUR AND PATRIOTISM
WHICH HAVE EVER SINCE DISTINGUISHED
THE SOLDIERS OF THIS CORPS
DURING ITS ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER IN MANY LANDS
A.D. 1667


Set onto the ground close to the Memorial is an information tablet produced by Aberfeldy Council, and sponsored by the Black Watch, and the Perth & Kinross District Council.

It contains two sections which read:

THE REGIMENT

The Highland Watch (or simply, 'The Watch') was established following the issue of commissions from King Charles II in 1667 for certain clan chiefs to raise independent Companies 'to be constant guard for securing the peace in the Highlands' and 'to watch upon the braes'.

The dark tartans worn by the men of these companies to distinguish them from the 'Red Soldiers' led to them becoming known as 'Freiceadan Dubh' or 'The Black Watch'.

These companies were disbanded in 1717 and started up again in 1725. Starting out as the 43rd Regiment of the line it became the 42nd Highland Regiment in 1749 on the reduction of the original 42nd Regiment.

In 1970 the Regiment was given the freedom of the Burgh of Aberfeldy.


THE MONUMENT

The Memorial was unveiled on 14th November, 1887 by Gavin, Marquis of Breadalbane.

It should have been set up on the actual site of the original 'muster' in 1740 on the opposite side of the River Tay. However, the area was subject to flooding and the nearest practical site was chosen instead.

The Monument - depicting a soldier wearing the old regimental uniform - cost about £500, which was raised by public subscription.

In 1910 lightning split the structure from top to bottom. The repairs and installation of a lightning conductor cost £200.


ABERFELDY

The beautiful, small Highlands town of Aberfeldy is on the A827 road about 25 miles north-west of Perth. The River Tay, flowing out from Loch Tay, runs eastwards through the town itself.


© Karl Murray: September, 1996


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