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 →

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 →

graveyard excorcism

Two ghosts are said to haunt the ruined Sanquhar Castle. A third one appeared in Sanquhar graveyard on the other side of town. He seems to have been the creepiest of them all. His name was Abraham Crichton. Crichton was a wealthy gentleman, a laird with extensive lands in the area. Nevertheless, he went bankrupt... Continue Reading →

the ghosts of Sanquhar Castle

Scotland is full of stories, epic and terrible, funny and weird and very often not out of this world. The belief in supernatural powers is widespread still among the Scots today. It can be a scary country!   In centers like Edinburgh, ghost stories are marketed as tours and are very much en vogue. A... Continue Reading →

ghost of a spinster

Lady Louisa of Traquair was the 15th and last of the Lairds of Traquair. She had remained unmarried for all her long life and when she died at the age of 99 the estate went to the female line of the family, the Maxwell Stuarts. Her predecessor, the 14th Laird of Traquair had no head... Continue Reading →

the shepherd and the poet

James Hogg was one of Scotland’s major writers and is (especially in the Scottish Borders) a celebrated author of poetry, essays and novels, his books belong to the curriculum in the upper grades at schools and literature courses of universities. But internationally he is far less known as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns or Robert... Continue Reading →

I saw the body of my son

Valtos cemetery Uigen in the Parish of Uig lost two young men in the Iolaire disaster. John MacLeod was 22, Angus Matheson was 19. Both were buried at Valtos (Bhaltos), neighbours in death as in life. Weeks had went past and the body of young Angus had not turned up. His parents, Malcolm (Càlum Càm)... Continue Reading →

cursed spirits

In Fodderty people have lived since the earliest times. The remains of a Pictish hill-fort on a ridge next to the graveyard are still visible for those who are energetic enough to climb the crag called Knock Farrill. Nothing much is left to be seen but remains of walls and ditches, there definitely were look-out... Continue Reading →

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