"A Royal Reputation"

By Elizabeth Kerr

A Place in History

Over the years many interesting events have taken place and several natives of Inverbervie have made their 'mark' on the world. One such was Hercules Linton who designed the "Cutty Sark" tea clipper and to whom a commemorative garden with monument was erected in recent years, near the modern Jubilee road bridge. The bridge was built in 1935 but at one time there was a toll bridge and in 1848 Queen Victoria was travelling to Montrose from Balmoral by coach and halted in Inverbervie for a change of horses. She had refreshments in the King's Arms Hotel which was situated in School Wynd where there also was a blacksmith's shop where the horses could be taken care of. Neither the hotel or the blacksmith's shop remain today. I wonder if the Queen had to pay her toll of a groat to cross the bridge?

650 Years Celebration

On 22nd June 1992 the little north east coast town of Inverbervie celebrated 650 years of becoming a Royal Burgh. Legend has it that on 2nd June 1342 there was a storm in the North Sea. King David II with his Queen Margaret and their court were voyaging from France to Scotland when their ship was driven on to the rocks at Inverbervie. The King with his Queen managed to scramble ashore and shelter under a cliff, which today is called Craig David.

In the morning the royal party made their way along the rocky shore to the River Bervie and at the shallowest part they managed to cross in search of water, food and shelter. Today a footbridge spans that stretch of the river where it is alleged the royal party crossed. They then climbed the steep hill path and halfway up they came to a spring well, which still flows today. There they were able to refresh themselves with sparkling spring water. On reaching the top of the hill they found their way to a cottage where they were given shelter. Although the cottage has been replaced by modern bungalows, the street is still called David Street. The Queen was taken to the priory to rest and the King was taken to a castle at Fettercairn until arrangements were made for their onward journey. The priory no longer exists.

My father who lived as a child in Inverbervie over 100 years ago, related that the house he was brought up in had roof timbers salvaged from the wreck of the King's ill-fated ship. The story goes that the ship's cat was drowned at sea during the storm but the cat 'haunted' the house looking for the ship. Its ghost wandered through the roof of the house on stormy nights, mewing for hours. Eventually the old house was demolished and the timbers which were of pitched pine, were used to erect a sort of chalet on the ruins of this old house. About 40 years ago my sister and I spent a few nights in the chalet and sure enough we heard a cat crying during the night. I sometimes wonder if poor pussy is still looking for his ship.

By-gone Days

A single line railway was opened in 1865 from Montrose to Inverbervie and I can remember in the 1930's - 40's when the Glasgow and Clydeside Fair holidays arrived in July. Special trains came into Inverbervie and everyone in the town lined the station roadway to see the 'pale faced' Glesca folk arrive for a 10 day holiday and then go home with tanned or weather-beaten faces, after a very bracing holiday. In those days the town crier used to go round the streets ringing a bell, crying "Hear ye, Hear ye" and people gathered at the market cross in the town square to hear the latest news or the latest death which had occurred.

In the old grave yard there are many ancient grave stones which are perhaps puzzling, for I understand that in the old days when interments took place, people could not afford grave stones so they paid what they could afford to someone who had a stone to have the name of the deceased inscribed on it.

Moving On

Inverbervie is a very interesting little town which is constantly extending its borders with modern bungalows but unfortunately closing down the jute mills and fish factory. At one time there were several mills but sadly none are operating today. Inverbervie is a now commuter town where the working population travel to Stonehaven or Aberdeen in the north and Montrose in the south. A walk along the beach and round the rocks at Inverbervie is a pleasure and a worthwhile experience. Long may it continue to progress and live up to its "Royal" reputation.

Text ©Elizabeth Kerr 1992
Photography ©Douglas Kerr 1992
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