Andrew De Moray
North Rising 1297
17th May 2008
Avoch is a small costal village on the North east coast of Scotland over looking the north shore of the Moray Firth some 15 miles from Inverness.
A mile from the centre of the village is Ormonde Hill, the site where Avoch Castle later to be known as Ormonde Castle once stood, once a stronghold with a commanding view over the Moray Firth the castle now lies hidden under grassy mounds with only small pieces of the great structure evident.
The castle was made the headquarters of the Moravia family in the 13th century, who had allegedly Flemish and Celtic origin.
When Andrew De Moray escaped his jailer in Chester Castle he returned home to the Black Isle and it was from his father’s castle at Avoch that he raised the standard of King John Balliol in May 1297 from the place now called Ormonde Hill.
Today what remains of the castle belongs to Rosehaugh Estates who have entered in to a management agreement with Historic Scotland who are charged with the preservation and investigation of all aspects of the history and archaeology of the site. Unfortunately Historic Scotland, do little more than cut the grass periodically.
Had it not been for the efforts of locals and with the co-operation of Rosehaugh Estates there may have been nothing apart from the ruins to remember the historic importance of the site. A cairn was built which incorporated a flag pole, dedicated on 31st May 1997 which has kept the memory of Andrew De Moray here from falling into obscurity.
Today a crowd of about 70 or so gather at the local football ground, blue skies overhead. We began the mile long walk by winding our way through the village until we emerged at the sea front. Following the line of houses along the front we come into sight of Ormonde Hill with the flag pole proudly flying a Saltire noticeably on the top. As the row of houses come to an end a footpath takes us up a lane and across a right of way between the fields. On reaching the furthest side of the field the path begins to climb gently to a small gate and access point to the castle remains. There is a sharp winding path to up to the cairn where the crowd gathered.
Local organiser Charlie Beattie dressed in his finery gathered everyone’s attention by blowing on a cow horn and introduced Rob Gibson who compared the proceedings. Duncan Fenton from the Society of William Wallace was then asked to come forward and present the new flag which was received by Charlie Beattie. The Wallace Society have traditionally provided a new Saltire on an annual basis to replace the old. Also as tradition the person who raised the flag the previous year is asked to lower it, this was done by Shona Munro and the new flag was raised by John Robertson. Duncan Fenton gave a passionate speech on behalf of the Wallace Society encouraging everyone to visit as many historic sites as possible in an effort to keep them preserved. Then the floor was then opened to anyone who wished to say a few words, no one accepts the offer and the commemoration ended with parting words from both Rob Gibson and Charlie Beattie.
Below is an interesting wee booklet which is well worth a read. It only has 18 pages, but it is full of interesting facts about Andrew de Moray and the North Rising of 1297.
All profits made from the booklet go to the Andrew de Moray Project.
The booklet is only £3.00 which includes P&P
Contact Rob Gibson for details
Tel 01349 830388 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jim Singer