Farming work on an old jousting ground by Mac (William MacGregor)

Blervie Castle. The tower is the remnant of the 16th century castle, property of the Dunbars. It is very similar to nearby Burgie Castle (NJ0959)       Califer from near Blervie Castle The road winding up the hill is picked out by twin lines of whins in full bloom. The farm in the left distance is Easter Califer

After three years of Latin and French at Forres Academy I decided to leave school. My first job was at Marcassie Farm, Rafford. Marcassie are flat lands below Blervie Castle. Marcassie means tilting ground and Mac heard that the site was where the knights from the nearby Blervie castle jousted.

“Marcassie. From the Gaelic Marc, a horse, and A is, a covert, a hill, or stronghold. A tilting field. ”  source:  

Interesting Discovery
In 1940 I was ploughing new soil and I found a axe. I took the axe to the Falconer’s museum . It was sent to Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen where it was identified as a medieval woodman’s axe.

Work Life
Mac’s ploughing work was for the war effort. He had to plant Rye for Rye bread. The land was not suitable for barley or wheat. The top soil was very good with a sandy sub-soil which meant the soil was not waterlogged as it did not hold the rainwater.

War work
He was in a protected occupation as a farm worker so he was not called up however he had join the Home Guard. He felt less affected by rationing as the farm had its own milk, eggs, butter, pigs, chicken, beef cattle etc….

Follow-up on the axe discovery (Feb 10th)
Liz Trevithick at the Falconer’s museum has just found Mac’s axe and it was dated c. 1550. Mac will now be given the chance to see it again after 71 years after handing it to the museum for identification.

Memory contributed by William (Mac) Mcgregor at a Kinloss Coffee Morning

Additional information
Marcassie Farm website
Horse ploughing film