One of the things that can be pondered on best in a graveyard is time. A lifetime. In case of the beautiful sounding village of Kirkton of Kingoldrum, the life and faith of Marion Ogilvie comes to mind. She lived just south of the village in Balfour Castle. Or maybe she didn’t and the tower there is not what is left of her home. The ruins of Melgund Castle once were her abode, that can safely be assumed. The area around Kirkton of Kingoldrum was Ogilvie land and it was rather likely, that Marion Ogilvie was living here at some point or somewhere else in Angus.
She lived “in sin”, mistress of a man who should not have had a woman in the first place. She was no short-term passion of the good-looking David Beaton, she also bore him eight children, three daughters and five sons.
David Beaton was born in 1494, educated in St Andrews, Glasgow, and Paris and there appointed envoy to the crown. That in a way sounds like the kind of man that would have a mistress, if it wasn’t for the rest of his career. He returned to Scotland and became a member of parliament as Abbot of Arbroath. At first not as monk but a lay person.
He then moved on the be advisor of the young King James V, defender of the Catholic faith against the surging current of Protestantism. Cardinal Beaton was murdered in 1546, a strong defender of the old faith was gone.
A defender of a faith that called for celibacy among its clergy.
He was a powerful man and he lived his life with the woman of his choosing. That is in many ways a beautiful love story. After all, in those days, men of the church were noblemen of influence. The vow of chastity often disregarded, as it was throughout the centuries.
But what would that have meant for his lifelong mistress. She died in 1575, nearly 30 years after the father of her children. She had married another man who died only a few month after the vows were exchanged. As a widow, the mistress for a lifetime was alone again.
Was she happy with her fate?
Or did wish for a normal life with a normal husband and finally a grave beside him? We will never know.
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Scotland is a country full of history, stories and secrets. Often, the three cannot be separated. That is what makes this country so wonderful and unique. The stories of this book have been discovered and gathered for Erkenbach’s blog, Graveyards of Scotland, over many years.
Her main sources were historical travel guides from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the finds were scary, beautiful, funny, and sometimes, cruel.This unusual approach to a country’s history has produced amazing results. You don’t have to share the author’s passion for cemeteries to enjoy this book; only a small number of the stories in this collection take place in graveyards, though they do all end in them, so perhaps it helps.
The fairy hill in Inverness, a nitrate murder on Shetland, a family of left-handers, wolves, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace shown in a new light, the secret bay of the writer Gavin Maxwell, a murdering poet and so many things you didn’t know about Scotland, its clans and its history.
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