« AnteriorContinuar »
the assassin of the Regent Murray, was four miles distant from the present site. Woodhouselee had been bestowed upon Sir James Ballenden, one of the Regent's favourites, who seized the house, and turned out Lady Bothwellhaugh naked, in a cold night, into the open fields, where, before next morning, she became furiously mad.* The ruins of the mansion are still to be seen in a hollow glen beside the river. Popular report tenants them with the restless ghost of the lady. The road now passes the hamlet of Upper Howgate, and a little farther on Glencorse Church, embosomed in a wood. On the right is the vale of Glencorse, watered by a little rill, called Logan Water, or, more commonly, Glencorse Burn. The head of this valley is supposed by some to be the scene of Allan Ramsay's pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd, but the appearance of the scenery, as well as the absence of all the localities noticed by Ramsay, render this opinion extremely improbable. The sequestered pastoral character of this valley, however, renders it well worthy of a visit. After crossing Glencorse Burn, the road passes House-of-Muir, in the neighbourhood of which is the place where the Covenanters were defeated, 28th November 1666. The insurrection, which ended in this skirmish, began in Dumfriesshire, where Sir James Turner was employed to levy the arbitrary fines imposed for not attending the Episcopal churches. The people rose, seized his person, disarmed his soldiers, and, having continued together, resolved to march towards Edinburgh, expecting to be joined by their friends in that quarter. In this they were disappointed, and being now diminished to half their numbers, they drew up on the Pentland Hills, at a place called Rullion Green. They were commanded by one Wallace, and here they waited the approach of General Dalziel of Binns, who, having marched by Calder to meet them on the Lanark road, and finding that, by passing through Colinton, they had got to the other side of the hills, crossed the mountains, and approached them. The Covenanters were drawn up in a very strong position, and withstood two charges of Dalziel's cavalry, but upon the third shock they were broken, and utterly dispersed. There were about fifty killed, and as many made prisoners. Passing through the village of Silver Burn, the road reaches
* This event forms the subject of Sir Walter Scott's fine ballad of Cadyow Castle.
NEWHALL, on the banks of the North Esk, about three miles from Pennycuik House, and twelve south-west from Edinburgh. Newhall is now the property of Robert Brown, Esq. At the era of Ramsay's drama, it belonged to Dr. Alexander Pennycuik, a poet and antiquary. In 1703, it passed into the hands of Sir David Forbes, a distinguished lawyer; and, in Ramsay's time, was the property of Mr. John Forbes, son to Sir David, and cousin-german to the celebrated. President Forbes of Culloden. The scenery around Newhall answers most minutely to the description in the drama. Near the house, on
the north side of the vale, there is a crag (called the Harbour Crag, from having afforded refuge to the Covenanters,) which corresponds exactly with the first scene of the first act:
“ Beneath the south side of a craggy bield,
Where crystal springs the halesome waters yield.”
Farther up the vale, and behind the house, there is a spot beside the burn which corresponds to the description of the second scene:
“ A flowry howm between twa verdant braes,
A little farther up the vale there is a place called the Howe Burn, where the stream forms a small cascade, and where the scenery in every respect corresponds with the exquisite description of the spot called “ Habbie's Howe :”
“ Gae farer up the burn to Habbie's Howe,
Still farther up the vale, at a place called the Carlops,* a tall rock shoots up on each side. At this spot, near an old withered solitary oak tree, is
* A contraction of Carline's Loups, in consequence, it is said, of a witch or carline having been frequently observed to leap, by night, from the rock at one side over to that at the other.