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Part 1 - Pre-History

Kettins Village

Pre- History

The village was possibly founded about 2000 years Before Christ.

We know that after the Ice Age animals and humans moved northwards in search of food and shelter, the North Sea (as we know it today) was most likely rivers and lakes with plenty of land masses in between, enabling the migrants to travel with ease.

The early migrants arriving on the Scottish shores were called Albannaeh, later to be named by the Romans as The Picts, due to the body painting which they did very widely.

 These Albannach settled, in their early days, along the shore line and river banks for ease of obtaining food (fish, shellfish and small mammals). Later, they moved into the tree line to obtain further food supplies such as deer and boar, along with nuts and berries. In so doing these people are known to us today as hunter-gatherers. Eventually movement would be made further inland, following rivers and streams to obtain more food and better shelter.

In the Tay basin they would be slightly restricted in their movement inland by the hills bounding the north and south banks of the Tay. We, being only interested in the north bank would follow them inland until they reached the Sidlaws. This barrier would be very big and would cause hardship. After many sorties they would possibly find a route over into Strathmore. Shall we assume that one party found a suitable path between the Ballo and Gask Hills and followed a stream down into Strathmore, eventually finding a clearing by the stream as it wriggled its way northwards. This clearing could have been a suitable place to make camp for the winter, food, water, fuel and shelter all being available in this clearing.

Years passed and the clearing got bigger as more kinsfolk arrived, shelters of a more permanent nature were built, the inhabitants were happy and Kettins came to life.

Village life grew and years passed, life began to assume a new entity, religion appeared, the God Keth came into the inhabitants lives. Where he came from is unknown but we know that he left his mark allover the North-East of Scotland in place names such as Keith, Caithness, Keillor, etc. The God had his devotees, called Shaman, who taught the people about the God. They were told that Keth lived at the top of the Southern Hills along with his acolytes or Sides - hence the current name of the hills Sidlaws (Side Hills).

How long this religion lasted is unknown, but it was eventually overtaken by Druidism which was a well known early religion over the whole of the British Isles. A Druid circle has been found, not far from the village, at Baldowrie, although there could have been a Druid meeting place in Kettins, but no site remains.

With the advent of Druidism it would be seen that there was a certain amount of trading going on between Kettins and other settlements. The village would of course be expanding and smaller hamlets would spring up at other suitable places as paths were made, woods cleared and crops began to be grown. But the essential part of life was still in the hunter-gatherer class.

Let us say then that time passed and the village became more solid, trees were felled and used to build better and safer shelters. It would take many, many years for the inhabitants to become really domesticated and settle down to a static life. Growing crops and tending sheep, pigs and cattle would help but it would only really change as trade grew and more travellers arrived.

Vendors would bring in trade goods such as iron, copper, silver and gold and in turn received pelts and furs, dried meat and fish and possibly carved wood. These vendors would not only bring goods but would also bring news from further afield. This news could have included news of wars, battles and not least religion.

We have spoken of the Druid faith, but we have no idea when it arrived and when it lost hold. It was, however, superseded by the early Christian faith of Celtic Columban. It would have taken the monks and teachers of this sect some time to arrive in Kettins, but when they did arrive it is certainly correct to say a monastery was built. The building was sited within the area of the north-east corner of the village. If you refer to the sketch map of 1756 AD (Appendix 1) you will see the ruined buildings within the Newhall Estate to the north-east of the mansion house. We will deal with this later on.

The monks at the monastery would have had control over the whole of the community and would have dealt with all religious functions, as well as local law and advice on husbandry.


The pre-historical part of the work is purely fictional, to give the story a background, although in saying that, who could tell how true it is or not - no one will ever know.

The kind permission was granted to allow reproducing of the above works (The Village of Kettins - A Short History) by copyright owner and author Mr Peter H Marsh

Peter H Marsh


December 1994

Thank you.