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The Delph

The Delph is historically the common property of the village and the land around it used to be called the Village Green. In the old days the Delph was used in Winter for the game of curling. There has been a pair of swans on the Delph since the 1930s. There are also ducks there, water hens, fish, the occasional heron and even, sometimes, a cormorant. Tullibody Tannery used to take its water from the Delph. The Delph isn't very deep, but people have drowned in it.

For Harry - The word Delph comes from an Anglo-Saxon word 'delvan', meaning 'to dig' . Sadly, it isn't named after the sacred spring of Delphi, where travellers quenched their thirst after a long voyage and purified themselves before consulting the oracle.

Pictures of the Delph - Click on the small picture to see the larger version (800x600 pixels)

The Delph, Tullibody
& Dumyat (Ochil Hills)
- 2005 -
The Delph
-January 2006-
The Delph
- July 2003 -

The following is taken from Robert Kirk's Historical Sketch of Tullibody part I - dated 1890 ...

Quite close to the tanyard is its main water supply, the Delf. The name, Delf, according to the Imperial Dictionary, is from the Saxon delvan - to delve - to dig, and means anything dug - as a hollow or quarry. The pond has evidently been a natural hollow filled with water from the neighbouring woods. Of course, it has been deepened and improved by the tanwork people for trade purposes, but, I understand, it is the common property of the village, the ground round about it being known in the village 'patois' as the 'commonry'.
In winter, when covered with ice, it is changed into a playground for the youth and beauty of the village, and presents a gay, exhilarating spectacle, its surface, being covered with skaters gliding about most gracefully, a bad 'spill' and an unlucky 'ducking' adding to the variety of the scene.
Immediately alongside is the 'Little Delf', the 'happy hunting ground' of the 'knights of the broom', where, during frost, the 'roaring' game is carried on - in season and out of season - by our curling enthusiasts. Tullibody curling club is one of the oldest in the district and in its palmiest days could produce a rink that would do battle for it against the World, I suppose. Even now, it is not the least among the curling clubs of the County of Clackmannan.

The following is taken from Robert Kirk's Historical Sketch of Tullibody part 2 - dated 1937...

The Delph - A Swan Family
I should like to mention a little incident connected with the pond. Last winter a pair of swans arrived on the Delph, nested on its banks and hatched a brood of half a dozen cygnets which they reared to maturity. The event is unique in the annals of the Delph for, as far as I am aware, this is the first occasion a pair of swans have sailed proudly with their young family over the waters of our 'classic loch'.