Ghosts of Nechtanesmere

On 20 May 685, at Dun Nechtáin (‘Nechtan’s Fortress’), an English army from Northumbria was massacred while advancing deep into Pictish territory. As well as being associated with…

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they never came home

The Battle of Culloden was a terrible turning point in the history of Scotland. For many it felt like the devastation of a nation. Short as it was (it lasted no more than an hour) it was deadly and…

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killed on wedding day

graveyards of Scotland

Portnacrois (29)

The murder of John Stewart, Lord of Lorn on his wedding day, the killing of his murderer Alan MacDougall in battle and a graveyard for the line of the legitimized bastard – the dramatic birth of the Stewarts of Appin. 

At the beginning of the Clan Stewart of Appin was lust, maybe even love. It was the year 1445 and Sir John Stewart was on his way home to his castle (Dunstaffnage) when he met a young woman with whom he fell in love with. Awkwardly enough Sir John was a married man. It did not stop him though to father a son with this woman, a daughter of MacLaren of Ardvech whose name remains obscure, but whom he eventually married five years after his rightful wife had died. She had left him with three daughters but no male heir, he was forced to secure the line.

Duror (21)The marriage of…

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Ardchattan’s Murder Victim

graveyards of Scotland

Ardchattan Priory (27)This is an ancient monastery, founded nearly 800 years ago by Duncan Mac Dougall, Lord of Lorn. thriving on the shores of Glen Etive it was the center of ecclesiastical life in this area for centuries until Cromwell’s troops burned it down in 1654. The adjacent house and beautiful garden are in private ownership.

Ardchattan Priory (25)Here, the most famous murder victim in Scottish history is interred, Colin Campbell of Glenure, the Red Fox, the victim in the legendary Appin murder.

A victim often overlooked for the tragic injustice of the alleged murderer’s hanging. But he was mourned as well.

For more details check: The Appin Murder

His death, tragic as it was for his family, was very much a political showcase and his funeral a very public event. It was the Campbell’s cry for justice. The fact that a Campbell judged the murder trial an injustice of exceptional dimension.

Ardchattan Priory (45)

“…an impressive…

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The Appin Murder

graveyards of Scotland

Keil Church (23)This is a tale of power, politics, deceit and injustice.

This gruesome tale is true, some parts will never be brought to light but many say The Appin Murder is one of the biggest if not the biggest miscarriage of justice in the history of Scotland. The law made James of the Glen a murderer, legend made him the victim.

His bones rest in the old graveyard of Keil in Appin.

Keil Church (47)

Appin Murder (14)

the real murder?

Ballachulish on the shores of Loch Leven, November 8th 1752.

On the little hillock above the pier of the ferry (today a bridge connects the two shores) a gallow has been erected. The 50-year-old James Stewart, also known as Seaumas a’ Ghlinne, James of the Glen, faces death on this very spot.

He was hanged for murder. A murder he very probably did not commit. So the alleged murderer was murdered.

Appin Murder, Ballachulish bridge from the hill of the gallow

Appin Murder (4)the accused

James of…

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ancient ruin in Argyll

graveyards of Scotland

St Baedan above Ardchattan

St Baedan, Ardchattan, Argyll

A church, that hasn’t been used for well over 300 years and an old burial ground that was last used in the late 19th century, a place nearly forgotten right next to one of the more prominent sights of Argyll: Ardchattan Priory, burnt down by Cromwell’s troops in 1654.

Ardchattan Priory (16)

St Baedan, Ardchattan, ArgyllA few hundred feet above the old priory, founded in the 13th century, there are the remains of a church that was built two or three hundred years after the founding of the priory: the old Parish Church of Ardchattan, St Baedan or St Baodan (possibly St Modan).

St Baedan, Ardchattan, Argyll

St Baedan, Ardchattan, ArgyllFew gravestones stand around the church ruin, some graves are inside the former building, on holy ground. The buried most likely craftsmen and respected members of the community.

Nobles and monks are buried below around and in the priory chapel.

The ruin enhances the sense of evanescence. Times…

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2015 in review

A worthy acolade for a very informative blog, which contains well researched articles and superb photography.

graveyards of Scotland

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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