Part One – History

Family
Great Grandfather James Taylor

Background
Millbrex of Fyvie d.o.b 1825 died 1900

Family

Grandfather – Hugh Taylor

Married – Margaret Forbes

 

Background

Teuchan shop & farm.

Margaret was from Portlethen, her family are descended from boatbuilder, (Nigg) farmer and millwright

 

Hugh Taylor 

Mrs Hugh Tatlor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background

Margaret’s great Uncle was James Forbes, Captain and part owner of the ‘Natal Star’ built Aberdeen 1862

Natal Star photo from Aberdeen City Council

Children – Alexander Pearce, Hugh and James

Background

Alexander Pearce was Jim’s father

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background

Alexander Pearce was born 4.12.1897 at

Downiehills

Brought up at Teuchan

Part Two – History

Family
Alexander Pearce went to war (1st world war)

Background

Co-opted to the Royal Irish Gunners because none of the Irish could look after horses. He was well educated and could survey the land. He fought in the battle of Passchendaele, his job included calculating the elevations for the guns range and leading the teams of horses pulling the guns.

Alexander Pearce in his uniform

Family
Alexander Pearce married Alice Morgan

Background

Alice Morgan, brought up in Fyvie, worked at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, Cruden Bay in the Post Office

Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, staff from the hotel and Post Office. Alice Morgan back right

Alice Morgan

Alexander Pearce

Alice and Alexander

Family

Alexander Pearce and Alice Morgan

Background

Farmed at Teuchan, Bissethill, Hill of Gask and Stoneyhill Farms
Peat was from the Calf Moss at Stoneyhill and was just used for the farm
He was not a cattle man but kept a lot of sheep.
The cows that were kept were tied in the byre
Wintertime was ploughing by horse
They had 2 men & 2 maids that worked for them when they retired for the evening, the kitchen was left for the maids and on a cold night the men were allowed in otherwise, they were in the Chammer ice

Stoneyhill peat stacks

Family

Three children – Pearce, James and Margaret (1936)

Background

Brought up at Stoneyhill
First sale, Pearce and Jim were taken to Lairg sales with Dad and Jimmy Murdoch. He bought 400 sheep for £20 dearest was 1/-.

The sheep were taken down by train to Kittybrewster and then on to Hatton Station and walked on to Stoneyhill

Family

Bob the dog was first memory of Jim’s at the farm
At 4 years old Jim had to take Pearce to
Auchiries School because Pearce had poor health and then went back to Tuechan Shop where he learned to sew

Background

Pearce and Jim worked on the farms
Pearce helped with the lambing. Neeps were grown for the sheep at wintertime and bought from three other farms. Hay was made for the sheep as well.
At 6 years old Jim helped mother with the poultry Black & White Leghorns. The hens did not get shut in at night no foxes then – fed with boiled potatoes (mashed) + bran and other seeds.
Sand got from St Fergus to give better shells to the eggs. Used to go with horse and cart to collect the sand, later Jim and Pearce would go by bikes to get. The eggs were sold as hatching eggs.
20 hens to start with and ended up with 1000’s 500 battery (caged) & 1000 at Hill of Gask (free range in steading).
Jim ended up looking after the poultry after his Mum hurt her back.
At 8/9 years old would have helped with the hoeing of the neeps.

First tractor bought 1938 metal wheels rubber insets for going on the road.
Austin tractor bought from a Mr Ogston, Bridgend just before the year Pearce and Jim had to fix the binder.
Binder was used for the harvest
Threshing Mill bought from Highland Show year it was in Aberdeen, Barn Mill converted into Threshing Mill. Rooks had lots of rats!
Fencing, helped Father – bulwark fencing – timber posts (larch posts) were not treated (fir did not last) Jim stood on a peat barrow for height to drive the posts with a pinch bar & male hammer. Holes were dug for the strainers with a pick and shovel.

Horse and Hay

Horse and Cart

Family

2nd World War

Background

Pearce and Jim worked on the farms
Farms had to grow flax, oats and wheat 2 acres of and tatties 4 acres.

Background

After the war (2nd) Stoneyhill was one of the first farms to have electricity with a Lucas wind driven generator (24V) providing lighting for the farm.  Later the Electrical system that had powered Cruden Bay Brickworks was upgraded and the Glass /lead battery system which had previously been there was halved between Stoneyhill and Errolston.  The batteries and generator were installed next to the house to give 110v power.

Background

The byre was filled with 2 cows, reared calves from Payton’s of Maud (Cattle Dealers).
Oats were mostly grown, small of number of tatties, neeps galore – 100 acres and Hay
Ransom Buncher for drying hay in sous
Bought at Inverness Highland Show same time as Lucas Windmill

Background

Combine was bought just after the end of the war 1947 – the oats were bagged and were left in the park which had to be brought back to the farm for weighing.
Linseed was grown just after the war but had to be pulled by hand as stalks were too tough for machine to cut.

There was great success with showing sheep at a great many shows in the area Jimmy Murdoch was the shepherd.
Early on Aiken from Collieston and Marshall from Newburgh & Jimmy Murdoch clipped the sheep with hand sheers – 400 gimmers & 200 lambs.
Later Wolsley clippers were bought from the Highland Show.

Hill of Gask was mainly for crops, grass, wheat, barley and potatoes
Teuchan was farmed and put into mainly crops.

1952

 

Background

AP bought North Aldie and Pearce & Jim started to rent Hill of Gask at the same time
At North Aldie, 200 suckle calves were kept on the slats. There were sheep and the sheep dipper were there, and they had to be dosed wherever they were. Tatties were grown but not for long two to three years.
Pearce and Margaret (wife) stayed there, they had two children, Margaret-Ann and Elaine.
Helmet stayed at the Cotter House. Helmet was a German POW he came to North Aldie when Pearce and Margaret moved there.
McRobbie moved from North Aldie farmhouse to Stoneyhill when they moved in.
Hill of Gask had poultry and the land was in a 7-course rotation
AP went to Aberdeen and bought a combine Massey Harris Bagger.

 1953/54

 

Background

Pearce mostly drove it and Jim worked the bagger.
Slats were put into North Aldie this was Pearce’s idea and AP were okay with it but not Jim.

Built first cattle court at Stoneyhill to hold up to 200 beasts then steading converted to Dutch Mill at the back of the cattle court

Part Three – History

Jim met and married Annie McDonald in 1953ced settings.

David Brown 2D tractor was bought for neeps (120 acres) when Graham was born 1955.

Jim on 2D

Jim and Annie had two children, Graham & Joyce

The family lived at Bissethill. Annie’s brother helped on the farms and stayed there also.
At Bissethill we kept Suckle Calves, Cows which were tied and kept in the byre, also there were Highland Cattle, Sheep, Hens, Geese and Dogs
The calves were reared by Bill Mallerkey at Hobshill then taken to Teuchan for fattening up.
IBR was rife at that time. The calves were dosed for liver fluke.

Bissethill

First silage was done using a hole in the park at roadside and cut with a knife, but after 1 year a silage pit built.  First silage machine – David Brown, then Claas Chopper – Good God!

Out of poultry then battery cages went done.

Turkeys started after the battery cages were taken out, 2,000 turkeys Bronze and white but ended up with only white.  There were gas brooders for the chicks and were changed to electric by Jim.  The turkeys lasted for about 4 years then more and more into cattle. 

20 cattle brought to the farm every fortnight, suckle calves were bought from the borders these were better quality than from Skye, but they still bought from there.

First Claas Combine bought at roup at Huntly after AP died and First 4-wheel drive tractor – Roadless – in North East bought from Elgin

AP died 9.1.1959

In 1960 Stoneyhill Farm was bought by Alice, Pearce & Jim

Alice retired

In 1963 Alice retired to Cruden Bay

Jim, Annie & family moved to a new house

Jim and family moved to Stoneyhill farmhouse in 1963
At Stoneyhill there was cropped land on a rotation basis, mixed with livestock, sheep,
Cattle and the crops were Wheat, Barley, Oats and Potatoes.

One of the first things Jim did when he moved was to build a cattle court at the back of the buildings. Then a roof was put over the midden.

 

Outside workshop at Stoneyhill

February 1989

 The old cattle court was blown down in the gale

A new cattle court was built by Jim

Cattle court which was blown down

If any of the machinery broke down Pearce and Jim generally did all the repairs to all the equipment.

A Giant combine was bought, and they went into more Barley.

The farm workers, Pearce and Jim all did fence repairs, any draining that had to be done in the fields and they reclaimed 60 acres of the Calf Moss doing that. Laeca Burn was cleared of weeds etc using a digger placed in the burn and Sandy Simpson spent the winter in his own time clearing it all the way to Northfield.
Sunnybrae Farm was bought.

After some time, there were not enough buildings at Stoneyhill and it was decided to expand.
New buildings were put up which contained a building for the dryer which Pearce operated, and Jim drove the combine, one for the combine harvester and implements and another for the silage pit.
Rape was first grown.
Northfield Farm was rented

Combine in the field at Bissethill

Later, Graham diversified the farm to having pigs

Jim & Annie retired to Hatton in 1991

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