leper deaths in Wigtown

The Middle Ages were for many in Scotland a time of poverty and deprivation, a meager diet and dangerous illnesses, low or non-existent sanitary standards, little medical knowledge. Eels were the standard food around Wigtown and the Galloway coast. They were salted and kept in barrels for winter. The poor were the first to catch... Continue Reading →

sin-eatings, dead days, and waulking the dead

The churchyard in Inch in the southwest of Scotland is in no way exraordinary. The parish church austere and grey, the graves ordered and well kept even though the village of Inch doesn't exist anymore. Old funeral customs in Dumfries and Galloway were elaborate and in parts rather strange. One custom, was known as the... Continue Reading →

death and healing waters

Penpont takes ist name from a wooden bridge over the River Nith where a penny had to be paid for building and upkeep.  Penpont also was the seat of the Presbytery. There are no more traces left of the medieval church that once stood within the graveyard. There were headstones dating back as far as... Continue Reading →

gravestone mistake

The place name already suggests graves, Glencairn, the valley of the stones, cairns having been used in the past as markers and for burials. There are various cairns in the area. The Earl of Glencairn was a fervent supporter of the Reformation. The old family seat was known as Maxwell House. In 1591 the King... Continue Reading →

sactuary stones

You need to know what you are looking for to be able to find the two stones in Dailly that prove to be various things, sanctuary, measure of strength, and indication of ownership. Old Dailly Church They lie within the ruin of the church of Old Dailly. Her long history of religious worship came to... Continue Reading →

the murder victim’s mausoleum

Gilbert Kennedy of Bargany and Ardstinchar, the last laird of the house Kennedy of Bargany, died on 11th December 1601. He was only 25 years old. The laird died no ordinary death - he was murdered. The murderer was his cousin. The murder was part of the long-running feud between the Kennedys of Bargany and... Continue Reading →

epitaph to a witch

Here lyes with Dethe auld Grizzel Grimme Lincluden's ugly witche; O Dethe, an' what a taste hast thou Cann lye with sich a bitche! Raymond Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Champbers, Edinburgh, 1990  

the Burns connection

The Church of Crosbie has a very special connection with the poet Robert Burns. Its roof collapsed on the stormy January night of 1759, in which the poet was born. Crosbie is just under 40 miles away from Alloway. The ruin was never rebuilt and has now been made inaccessible. Unfortunately, the entire cemetery is... Continue Reading →

shoon and sheets – the Sutor of Selkirk

A cobbler's profession is generally not a particularly exciting or scary one. A shoemaker in the early 19th century had an upscale clientel and was a respected citizen. The cobbler of Selkirk (Sutor of Selkirk) brought it to a certain fame but not because of his shoes but his greed and his nosiness. He was... Continue Reading →

harsh words

epitaph for a suicide Here lies in earth a root of Hell, Set by the Diel's ain bible; This worthless body damn'd himself, To save the Lord the trouble. Raymont Lamont-Brown: Scottish Epitaphs. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1990

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