Gowrie - Encyclopedia




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GOWRIE, a belt of fertile alluvial land (Scotice, " carse") of Perthshire, Scotland. Occupying the northern shore of the Firth of Tay, it has a generally north-easterly trend and extends from the eastern boundaries of Perth city to the confines of Dundee. It measures 15 m. in length, its breadth from the river towards the base of the Sidlaw Hills varying from 2 to 4 m. Probably it is a raised beach, submerged until a comparatively recent period. Although it contained much bog land and stagnant water as late as the 18th century, it has since been drained and cultivated, and is now one of the most productive tracts in Perthshire. The district is noteworthy for the number of its castles and mansions, almost wholly residential, among which may be mentioned Kinfauns Castle, Inchyra House, Pitfour Castle, Errol Park, Megginch Castle, dating from 1575; Fingask Castle, Kinnaird Castle, erected in the 15th century and occupied by James VI. in 1617; Rossie Priory, the seat of Lord Kinnaird; and Huntly Castle, built by the 3rd earl of Kinghorne.

were only with the greatest difficulty persuaded to accept James's account of the occurrence, although he voluntarily submitted himself to cross-examination by one of their number. Their belief, and that of their partisans, influenced no doubt by political hostility to James, was that the king had invented the story of a conspiracy by Gowrie to cover his own design to extirpate the Ruthven family. James gave some colour to this belief, which has not been entirely abandoned, by the relentless severity with which he pursued the two younger, and unquestionably innocent, brothers of the earl. Great efforts were made by the government to prove the complicity of others in the plot. One noted and dissolute conspirator, Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, was posthumously convicted of having been privy to the Gowrie conspiracy on the evidence of certain letters produced by a notary, George Sprot, who swore they had been written by Logan to Gowrie and others. These letters, which are still in existence, were in fact forged by Sprot in imitation of Logan's handwriting; but the researches of Andrew Lang have shown cause for suspecting that the most im

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