Thursday, 24 November 2011


Today we went to Turriff, for the Best of Banffshire and Buchan Bed and Breakfasts monthly meeting. Neil and Sally were our hosts and run Deveron Lodge.

This is the story of the Turra Coo.

courtesy of wikepedia.

Under the Liberal government of the 1910s, the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George introduced a scheme whereby National Insurance contributions (by employer) became compulsory for all workers between the ages of 16 and 70. This was enacted via the National Insurance Act, and caused outrage among the farmers local to Turriff, who claimed that their contributions were too high; and that, as they were rarely able to be off work due to illness like industrial workers, it was unfair for them to have to pay for a service they were unlikely to use.

In Turriff, popular protests were held in the Johnston and Paterson Mart, and Robert Paterson, a Lendrum farmer refused to stamp the insurance cards of his employees. This resulted in orders on 13 December 1913 for Turriff's sheriff George Keith to seize property to the value of £22 from Paterson's farm. However, this was more difficult than it seemed as officers could not move property without local assistance, and the locals refused to help in protest.

The Cow

Sheriff's Officer George Keith removed the only piece of property which was easily mobile: Patersons' white milk cow, which was led to Turriff on foot. The next day, the citizens of Turriff found the cow tied in the village square, decorated in ribbons and painted with the words 'Lendrum to Leeks' in reference to Lloyd George's Welsh origin, and representing the sheriff's and government's victory over the hostile farmers. The cow was put up for auction. The response was a near riot, and a 100-strong mob proceeded to pelt the sheriff's officers with rotten fruit and soot.

The cow was eventually sold to a farmer Alexander Craig for £27, but Bryony Miller, a local girl and wife of the Patersons' farmhand John Miller, with his help, rallied the local community together to buy back the cow for Lendrum, where the cow died six years later and was buried in a corner of the farmland.

A statue of the Turra Coo now stands in the town of Turriff to commemorate the event.

Now how many towns have a statue of a cow in their midst?!

Turriff is an attractive town. Yet another small town that has a department store!
Turriff holds an annual show which is extremely popular. Thousands of people descend on the Haughs, a vast, green space, and view cattle,sheep, horses, tractors, crafts, a fun fair, just about everything. One of the most exciting displays I saw there was the curricle racing (not sure about my description here or spelling,) laid back driver in small cart with high stepping racing horse in front? You get the picture I hope.
Today was somewhat more muted but still good fun. Instead of the usual home bakes, coffee and tea, we had the most delicious leek and tattie soup with a dash of curry flavours, cheese scones and chocolate cake to follow. Also mince pies, all home made, coffee and tea.
There wasn't much business, in fact I have dispensed with agenda and minutes, much to the disgust of one of the founder members of the group.....But when the agenda becomes
Minutes of last meeting - Where will we have Christmas lunch.
Matters Arising. Christmas Lunch.
Christmas Lunch.
AOCB Christmas Lunch Secret Santa.
Whats the point?
We will be returning to Turriff over the next few weeks. Delgatie Castle Victorian Craft Fair next weekend.
Oh - and the Christmas Lunch, the week after that.


BadPenny said...

Brilliant !

BadPenny said...

Marvelous story !
I offered to take the minutes for the Parents & Friends accociation meetings at primary school. I'd just decided to learn to use the computer. It took me six hours to type one fingered & print out the copies !