Many tales in by gone days were passed by word of mouth, but whilst that is still the case in many circumstances, a lot of tales nowadays come through books.
One tale I have come across concerns the battle at Barbiston just east of Dalrymple in the year AD360. Hmm! yes quite some time ago. Some accounts of the battle state it was between the allied forces of the Romans and the Picts against the Scots. It seems that Maximus, a Roman Prefect, persuaded the Picts to join him against their common enemy the Scots.
The Allied forces attacked the Scots at night, dastardly people to pull a trick like that as it was assumed in those days that night was the time for whoolets and hobgoblins etc. The unprepared Scots were routed with their king Eugenius a big and powerful man, and most of the Scots nobility killed in the battle.
It appears to have been a ferocious battle and could account for some of the findings in another tale which states that in 1804 a Mr Fullerton on purchasing the farm of Barbiston was laying a drive up to the farmhouse when he unearthed a stone coffin containing bones of a man, a very tall and presumably powerful man. Nearby on another hillock more bones were found together with spears, pikes etc.
So all this bears out the aforementioned battle but there is also an account of another battle on this site between Dick of Barbiston and Kennedy in which the latter was killed with a big stone which is known as the Barbiston Stone.
But when this battle actually took place is unknown to me but the stones of the vaults of Barbiston Castle were uncovered bearing the dates 1340 and 1345. These were certainly ferocious times.
Another battle fought in Ayrshire was at Mauchline. According to the Ulster annals of the Cruithne, which was another name for the Picts from Ireland, who invaded the county in AD 681 and made their way through it claiming the land as theirs.
However when they reached Mauchline they were met by a strong force of the people of ancient Strathclyde who after a bloody conflict routed the Cruithne.
All these battles happened back in the mists of time when little records were kept, but over the years farmers have come across evidence of bodies and weaponry of bygone days proving that the battles actually took place.
See you next week.