MOATS

Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 225-228

MAISTLY every parish in Gallawa haes a Moat in’t, an the Kirk’s generally aside the Moat, an there maistly is, or use’t tae be, a Ingleston close bye, an a Borlan’ no far aff, an whiles a Carelton forbye.

Geyan affen the Ingleston, or the Borlan, or the Carelton haes been putten inta a bigger farm, an the names haes been lost that wey, an a’ yt’s left o’ them’s maybe a park, or a fiel, or a fey, or a plantin, yt gangs by that name yet.

The Moat in Gallawa’s a muckle conical tummock, maistly wi a flat tap; the tap aboot sixty fit across, an the fit aboot a hunner-an-twunty, an they’remaybe aboot fifteen or twunty fir heigh. There’s ey a ditch aboot them, aboot twal fit wide, an maybe fae fowr tae six fit deep; whiles wi water in’t, an while no; for a when o’ them sits on the side o’ a hill, an the ditch slopes wi the hill, an canna haud water. Whiles there’s a road across the ditch, an on tae the tap o’ the Moat, but generally the ditch gaes a’ the wey roon.

Moats is maistly consither’t tae be no verra cannie, an some o’ them’s suppose’t tae be inhabitit by the Fairies, especially them yt haes nae flat tap, an nae ditch roon them: Dunragit for instance – Drochdool, raither.

The name’s frae the Gaelic “Mod,” a coort o’ justice, an it’s ken yt several o’ them in Gallaaw wus use’t for that purpose.

They wur likely the buryin-places o’ prehistoric chiefs, or priests maybe, an they wud appear tae ‘a been thocht sacred, an that wey gude places for getting true evidence, an fair even-doon justice.

The verra aulest o’ the Parish-Kirks is ey set doon close tae the Moat, an that looks as if the missionaries yt first convertit the Picts tae Christianity, fun yt they wur consither’t holy places by the heathen natives, an set doon their kirks aside them tae get the folk tae come tae them, an gradwully transfer’t the sanctity frae the tummock tae the kirk.

It looks as if there had yince been Stannin-Stanes, aither on them or roon them, for in aul’ times the kirk, an noo-a-days the kirk-village, wus kent by the name o’ “The Clachan,” an “leck” or “clach” ‘s the name yet for a stannin-stane.

Yin wud think whun The Ingelston an The Borland’s sae affen aside the Moat, an The Carleton use’t tae be there too, yt the Moat maun a’ been the buryin-place o’ some chief o’ the Angles yt some time or ither made settlements a’ ower Gallawa, an left their place-names ahint them; but whun ye consither yt the missionaries, as early as 620, fun the natives usin them for place for religious worship, that’s harly likely.

Naebuddy kens whun the Angles made their settlements in Gallawa, but it’s mor nor likely it wus lang efter they took possession o’ the East Coast o’ Britain, an we ken whun that wus; an sae the chances is yt thae Moats wus the buryin-places either o’ the Picts yt wus there whun the Angles cam, or the Fairies yt possess’t the country whun the Picts cam. A think the last’s the maist likely, for tae this day the Moats ey brings the Fairies inta folk’s min’, an ye affen hear stories o’ Fairies bein seen aboot them, as weel as the Fairyknowes proper.

A canna min’ o’ ony Moat bein hokit up tae see whut wus in’t, but there wus yin in Kirkmaiden, naur Terally, yt wus a’ taen awa makin a new road; an aboot the middle o’t they fun a stane coffin wi the banes o’ an awesome big man in’t, or whut else they fun – it’s likely they wud sell’t tae the watchmaker if it wus worth ocht, an drink whut they gat for’t.

There wus another yin aside Balgown in Kirkmaiden yt wus taen awa for road metal, but A never heard if they gat ocht in it aither.

Sae ye see there’s unca little tae joodge the age o’ them by, or tae tell whutna race o’ men they belang’t tae.

It’s quite possible efter a’ yt they micht ‘a belang’t tae the Angles, for they’r no kent o’ but in or close tae Gallawa, an there’s nane in the Saxon or Scot districks o’ Scotlan. A dinna ken if they’r in the ither Pict districks or no.

Whut gars me jaloose yt they micht a’ belang’t tae the Angles is the circumstance yt the Moat o’ Orr’s made on the tap an in the inside o’ an aul’ camp, an it wusna likely yt the original Pictish folk wus gaun ‘a’ spoil sic a muckle an weel made an fortify’t an important camp tae bury a man in; an it maun ‘a been dune by some later race, yt didna ken the importance o’t, an there heas been nae ither later race yt ever A could read o’.

THE WHITE SNAKE

GRAMMAR

Partial Glossar

Definitions frae DSL (links are tae the relevant entries).

  • Whiles ‘Sometimes, at times, occasionally.’ [WHILES]
  • Forbye ‘Besides, in addition, as well, what is more.’ [FORBY]
  • Geyan ‘Pretty; very.’ [GEY]
  • Park ‘An area of enclosed farm-ground. a field in gen.’ [PARK]
  • Fey ‘The in-field or cultivated land nearest the farm-buildings in the old system of tillage.’ [FEY]
  • Tummock ‘A small mound or hillock, a tuft or tussock of grass, a mole-hill.’ [TUMMOCK]
  • Wheen ‘A few, a small number, several.’ [WHEEN]
  • Cannie ‘Favourable; fortunate, lucky, of good omen, esp. in a superstitious sense.’ [CANNY]
  • Ahint ‘Behind.’ [AHINT]
  • Gar ‘To make, cause; to force, compel, esp. to make (a person) do (something).’ [GAR]
  • Jaloose ‘To suspect, be suspicious of, to have doubts or suspicions about, guess, surmise.’ [JALOUSE]