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Luncarty

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Luncarty, a suppressed parish and a village in the Strathmore district of Perthshire. The parish was anciently a rectory, and is now incorporated with Redgorton, forming the NE division of its main body. The village, near the right bank of the Tay, has a station on the Caledonian railway, 4 miles NNW of Perth. Luncarty bleachfield has long been reputed one of the largest in Britain. Its grounds cover upwards of 130 acres. The water-power by which the works are driven includes the whole volume of Ordie and Shochie Burns, carried along an artificial canal, and also a considerable volume led out from the Tay by means of a dam run nearly across the river.

According to Hector Boece, but to no earlier historian, Luncarty in 990 was the scene of a decisive overthrow of the Danes by Kenneth III., aided by the peasantancestor of the noble family of Hay. The Danes, strong in numbers and fiery in resolve, had landed on the coast of Angus, razed the town and castle of Montrose, and moved across Angus and along Strathmore, strewing their path with desolation, and menacing Scotland with bondage. Kenneth the King heard at Stirling of their descent, and hastened to take post on Moncrieff Hill, in the peninsula of the Earn and the Tay; but while there organising the raw troops, whom he had swept together, and waiting the arrival of forces suited to his exigency, he learned that Perth was already besieged. Arraying what soldiery he had, and making a detour so as to get to northward of the enemy, he marched to Luncarty, saw the Danes posted on an eminence to the S, and next day taunted and provoked them to a trial of strength on the intervening level ground. The rush of the Danes was dreadful; but three puissant ploughmen, father and sons, of the name of Hay, or Haya, who were at work in a field on the opposite side of the river, were bold enough to attempt to infuse their own courage into the faltering troops. Seizing the yoke of the plough and whatever similar tools were at hand, they forded the Tay, and arriving just at a crisis when the wings had given way and the centre was wavering, they shouted shame and death against the recreant who should flee, and threw themselves with such fury on the foremost of the Danes as to gain the Scots a moment for rallying at a spot still known as Turn-again Hillock. Hay, the father, as if he had been superhuman, had no difficulty in drawing some clans to follow in his wake; and plunging with these down a deep ravine, while the battle was renewed on ground at a little distance from the original scene of action, he rushed upon the Danes in flank and rear, and threw them into confusion. A band of peasants, who were lurking near or drawn together from curiosity, now raised a loud shout of triumph, and were taken by the Danes for a new army. The invaders instantly ceased to fight; they became a mingled mass of routed men; and, not excepting their leaders and king himself, they either were hewn down by the sword or perished in the river. An assembly of the states, held next day at Scone, decreed to give the peasant-conqueror the choice of the hound's course or the falcon's flight of land, in reward of his bravery. Hay having chosen the latter, the falcon was let off from a hill overlooking Perth, and flew eastward to a point a mile south of the house of Errol, alighting there on a stone which is still called the ` Hawk's Stane.' All the intervening lands were given in property to Hay's family; but they have since been either alienated, or parcelled out among various lines of descendants.—Ord. Sur., sh. 48, 1868.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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