Black Watch Monument, Aberfeldy, Scotland

Tonight, I am reporting on the Black Watch Monument which comprises a massive cairn located on the south bank of the River Tay near General Wade’s bridge in Aberfeldy, central Scotland. The cairn is topped with a statue of Private Farquhar Shaw dressed in the original uniform of the Black Watch Regiment.

The Black Watch, which became one of Scotland’s leading military units, traces its origins to a muster which took place in 1739 in the Weem Cow Park on the north bank of the River Tay, immediately opposite the monument. The monument was positioned on the south bank of the Tay due to the risk of flooding in the fields opposite.

Prior to formation of the regiment companies of trustworthy Highlanders were raised from loyal clans. They became known as the ’Black Watch’ for the watch they kept on the Highlands and from their dark government tartan. These companies were formed in response to the Jacobite uprising in 1715 when an attempt was made to reinstate by force the former Stewart line to the throne of Scotland and England.

In 1739 King George II authorised the companies be formed into a regiment of foot, “the men to be natives of that country, and none other to be taken”. That same year they held their first regimental parade on the banks of the River Tay at Aberfeldy, on what is now part of the Golf course.

The monument was unveiled in 1887 by the Marquis of Breadalbane to commemorate the first muster of the Regiment in May 1740.  The muster took place on the Weem Cow Park on the north bank of the River Tay, in the Parish

On the monument is a plaque with narrative set out below.

THIS CAIRN IS ERECTED BY GRATEFUL AND ADMIRING COUNTRYMEN
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE ASSEMBLING TOGETHER AT TAYBRIDGE
IN OCTOBER 1739

OF THE SIX INDEPENDENT COMPANIES AFTERWARDS INCREASED TO TEN

OF THE “FREICEADAN DUBH” OR BLACK WATCH

WHO AFTER SERVING IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE HIGHLANDS
WERE EMBODIED INTO A REGIMENT DESIGNATED THE 43rd AND AFTERWARDS
THE 42nd ROYAL HIGHLANDER WHOSE FIRST MUSTER TOOK PLACE IN MAY 1740 NEAR TAYBRIDGE AND ALSO IN RECOGNITION OF THE VALOUR AND PATRIOTISM WHICH HAVE EVER SINCE DISTINGUISHED THE SOLDIERS OF THIS CORPS DURING ITS ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER IN MANY LANDS
A.D. 1887