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Glenbuchat Heritage

50 Massacre at Corgarff or Towie Castle 1571
The Glenbuchat Image Library
50 Massacre at Corgarff or Towie Castle 1571

Although not part of Glenbuchat, Towie was in the same parish until a separate parish of Glenbucket was created in 1472. These events also highlight the inter clan feuds that were typical at that time.

The Forbes clan was in a feud with the Gordons because of their loyalties to rival claimants to the throne of Scotland. In November 1571, Adam Gordon of Auchindoun tried to capture Corgarff Castle when the men were away. The castle was nearly burned to the ground, killing Margaret Forbes and 26 retainers. Adam Gordon was killed in 1594 at the Battle of Glenlivet.

The scene of this massacre is in dispute and has been placed both at Corgarff and Towie castle. The Forbes family owned both castles

There is a well-known Ballad about this massacre called called "Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon" Ballad printed at the end of this page

Versions of the story:

One of North East Scotland’s most enduring legends is connected with Corgarff and is remembered in “The ballad of Edom o’Gordon”. Edom (or Adam) Gordon of Auchindoun, 4th son of George 4th Earl of Huntly, was a staunch supporter of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1571, he defeated the Forbeses, the hereditary enemies of the Gordons, and the opponents of the Queen's party, in two small battles near Aberdeen.

While they had the upper hand, the Gordons made their way up Donside to capture Corgarff, where they found Forbes of Towie away from home and his wife, children and servants secure in the castle. The Gordons asked for the surrender of the castle “in the name of Queen Mary”, which Margaret Forbes declined, supposedly shooting one of the Gordons in the knee from a window, whereupon the besiegers started fires around the castle. It is probable that the intention was merely to smoke out the occupants, however the fire evidently took hold. The occupants stood little chance because the tall building acted like a giant chimney, and the windows were all covered with iron grills, which did as thorough a job of keeping people in as they usually did of keeping people out! All 27 occupants perished. The remains of the lady were interred in the church-yard, at what is now called the farm of Nethertowie, where a white stone long marked her grave. This catastrophe gave rise to a ballad, which commemorates the particulars.

The Forbes’s made all the propaganda they could from this event, claiming for example, that the daughter of the house was lowered from the burning building in a bed-sheet, but only onto the spear-points of the waiting Gordons. While some of these events are true, it is probable that Edom o’Gordon was not actually present, and that the Gordons were commanded by one Captain Thomas Kerr.

Of more interest, is that there is a strong body of opinion that the events probably didn’t happen at Corgarff at all, but at Towie Castle, further down the glen!! So why all the talk about Corgarff? Well, Towie was demolished some 70 or so years ago, and it’s not nearly as much fun to have a good legend if you don’t have somewhere to have it!

See a 1920 photo of Towie Castle and 1936 photo of Corgarff Castle further down this page.

Another version:

The Gordons fill a considerable place in Scottish legend and ballad. "Captain Car," or" Edom (Adam) of Gordon" describes an incident in the struggle between the Forbeses and Gordons in Aberdeenshire in 1571; " The Duke of Gordon's Daughter " has apparently no foundation in fact, though " Geordie " of the ballad is sometimes said to have been George, 4th earl of Huntly; "

The first printing of "Edom o Gordon" was in 1755 by Robert and Andrew Foulis. The story is thought to document a real historical event of 1751 as told in The Diurnall of Occurents (1755), although some of the details are speculative. Edom o Gordon is usually identified as Adam Gordon of Auchindoun a supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots, Captain Car as Captain Kerr, one of his lieutenants, and the lady of the castle as Margaret Forbes (née Campbell), of the Forbes clan (supporters of James VI and the Gordon clan's arch-enemies). The castle is thought not to be Rhodes Castle but the House of Towie (Toway) at Corgarff.

Edom o Gordon (or Captain Car) and his men need shelter from the cold weather of Martinmas and decide to seek it at the house of the Towie. When the lady of the castle sees the troops arriving, she is disappointed that it is not those of her returning husband but his enemy's. She climbs to the top of the tower and tries to negotiate with Gordon (or Car) but he demands that she open up the castle and, worse still, sleep with him. She refuses and he vows to burn down the building together with her three children. To achieve this, he offers one of the servants, Jock, a fee for his help. He agrees and the fire is started. Attempting to save the youngest daughter, the lady throws some sheets down so that the besiegers might catch the baby but, instead, when she is thrown from the blaze, Gordon (or Car) impales her on the end of his spear.

While these grisly events are unfolding, the lord of the manor arrives and rushes over to the castle to save his wife and children but he is

And the consequences

The burning of Corgarf, thus chronicled, had a sequel which affords a striking illustration of the manners of feudal times. The incident is related in Picken’s Traditional Stories of Old Families, from which it may be quoted: "Subsequent to this tragical affair," says the writer, "a meeting for reconciliation took place between a select number of the heads of the two houses in Lord Forbes’ castle of Druminor. The difference being at length made up, both parties sat down to a feast. The eating being ended, the parties were at their drink. ‘Now,’ said Huntly to his neighbour chief, ‘as this business has been satisfactorily settled, tell me, if it had not been so, what it was your intention to have done.’ ‘There would have been bloody work,’ said Forbes, ‘bloody work, and we would have had the best of it. I will tell you. See, we are mixed one and one, Forbeses and Gordons; I had only to give a sign by the stroking down of my beard, and every Forbes was to have drawn the skean from under his left arm, and stabbed to the heart his right-hand man.’ As he spoke, Forbes suited the sign to the word, and stroked down his flowing beard. In a moment a score of skeans were out, flashing in the light of the pine torches held behind the guests. In another moment they were buried in as many hearts; for the Forbeses, whose eyes constantly watched their chief, mistaking this involuntary motion for the agreed sign of death, struck their weapons into the bodies of the unsuspecting Gordons. The chiefs’ looked at each other in silent consternation. At length Forbes said, ‘This is a sad tragedy we little expected; but what is done cannot be undone, and the blood that now flows on the floor of Druminor will just help to slocken the auld fire of Corgarf.’"


Adam Gordon of Auchindoun
Father: George ,6th Earl,1st Marquis Of Huntly GORDON b: 1563
Mother: Henrietta STUART b: 1573 in France
Killed in 1594 at the Battle of Glenlivet.

Auchindoun Castle
The hill on which Auchindoun Castle stands had a long history as a centre of power.
The splendid ruins of a medieval castle stand amidst the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort. Among its owners was Adam Gordon of Auchindoun, brother of the Earl of Huntly. They tried to hold northern Scotland for Mary, Queen of Scots after she was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI. They took control of Aberdeen with 1,500 men and attacked the provost’s house. Aberdeen reluctantly became a regional capital with Auchindoun in charge. In November 1571 the Master of Forbes, a traditional enemy of the Gordons, attacked but was defeated at the Battle of Crabstane. However the rebellion against James VI failed and Auchindoun fled to exile in France.

From Scotland.com/Castles

Auchindoun Castle - Romantic Ruins
Auchindoun Castle
Near Dufftown, Moray
Map Reference: NJ 348 374

Auchindoun Castle lies on the banks of the River Fiddich in Scotland and despite the fact that it is now in ruins, it has always attracted many visitors who are charmed by its romantic silhouette visible from a distance. Situated about 2miles from Dufftown on the Cabrach road, you have to look for a signpost on the right hand side and then follow the track all the way to this stunning and romantic castle.

The castle was believed to be built in the mid 15th century by John Stuart, the Earl of Mar. After his murder, the castle passed on to Robert Cochrane, court mason and favorite of King James III. After he was hanged the castle passed to the Ogilvie and Gordon clans. Ownership of the castle passed swiftly through the hands of many people. In 1571 it was the home of Adam Gordon, a staunch supporter of the ousted Mary Queen of Scots. This earned it the epithet Fortress of clan chief 'Edom o Gordon'.

Auchindoun Castle was sacked and burnt in 1591 by the Mackintoshes in an act of revenge for the murder of the Bonnie Earl of Moray by the Marquis of Huntly and Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun. The castle was subsequently restored but by 1725 it had been abandoned and partly demolished to provide building material. Its corner-stones were taken for use in Balvenie Castle nearby.

Today the ruins of Auchindoun Castle, an L-plan tower house, stand on a hilltop within the earthworks of an Iron Age hill fort. The original structure was three stories high with cellars on the ground level. The hall was on the first floor with the living quarters on the second. Auchindoun Castle is scheduled for restoration. The inner rampart of the fort, formed by ditch and outer bank, is mutilated by approach ramps to the castle on the west and by quarrying on the south. The outer defenses are formed by natural rocky slopes in the east and ditch and outer bank to the north and south. The original rampart was destroyed by cultivation in the west. It is now in the care of Historic Scotland.

This castle has had a very violent life and not held by anyone for very long. It was built in the 15th century for the Earl of Mar. The Earl of Mar was murdered by his brother (James III) and the tower house passed to Robert Cochrane. Cochrane was hanged in 1482 and it was taken over by the Ogilvies but went to the Gordons in 1535. The Mackintoshes raged through it in 1591 in revenge for the murder of the Bonnie Earl o' Moray. Gordon was killed in 1594 at the Battle of Glenlivet.

Auchindoun was restored after the Mackintoshes wrecked it, but by 1725 the stone work was being used for building material in nearby areas. This is an L-Plan tower house with three stories to it's structure. Ground level has the cellars, the hall was on the first floor with the living quarters on the second.

Towie castle
See a 1920 photo of Towie Castle

And this is where some folk believe the tragedy of Edom O'Gordon really happened! This photo is a bit of a collector's item, as the castle was demolished long ago and there are very few photos of it left.

Since the foregoing Ballad was first printed, the subject of it has been found recorded in Abp. Spotswood's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 259; who informs us, that

"Anno 1571. In the north parts of Scotland, Adam Gordon (who was deputy for his brother the earl of Huntley) did keep a great stir; and under colour of the queen's authority, committed divers oppressions, especially upon the Forbes's . . . Having killed Arthur Forbes, brother to the lord Forbes . . . Not long after he sent to summon the house of Towie pertaining to Alexander Forbes. The Lady refusing to yield without direction from her husband, he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein, with children and servants, being twenty-seven persons in all.

"This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his name odious, and stained all his former doings; otherwise he was held very active and fortunate in his enterprises."

This fact, which had escaped the Editor's notice, was in the most obliging manner pointed out to him, by an ingenious writer who signs his name H. H. (Newcastle, May 9.) in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1775. p. 219.

From Nelsons' hand-book to Scotland: for tourists 1860

TOWIE CASTLE, adjacent to the right side of the Don, at a ford, with a frail timber pedestrian bridge, is a ruined square tower, the remnant of a stronghold of the family of Forbes, and was the scene of a dismal tragedy, in 1571, sung in a famous old ballad beginning, "It fell about the Martinmas time." Glenkindy, striking to the north from the western vicinity of Towie Castle, is the scene of a legend commemorated in the ballad, " Glenkindy was anee a harper gude." Glenkindy House, in the mouth of the glen, is the residence of Alexander Leith, Esq. The surrounding tract, within a diameter of 4 miles, contains a number of curious ancient earthen houses.

Corgarff castle
See a 1936 photo of Corgarff Castle

I thought it would be interesting to post these photos after the beautiful views of Corgarff posted by Fitaloon yesterday (on "Scotland's castles"), to show what it used to look like. Corgarff is in upper Donside at the point where the road leaves the Don and strikes north over the moors to Tomintoul and Speyside. As a result of it’s position, it has always been a place of strategic importance. As this picture shows, it was quite ruinous in 1936, but as Fitaloon's photo shows, the building is in the care of Historic Scotland and is now well preserved.

From Scotlandsplaces.gov.uk
Corgarff Castle is a tower-house, located on sloping land to the south of the River Don. Built as a hunting-lodge in the mid-sixteenth century, it was converted into a Hanoverian garrison in 1748. The lodge was reputedly built by the Earl of Mar, but passed to the Forbes family soon after.

The castle is said to have been the scene of a terrible atrocity in 1571, when a party of Gordons, enemies of the resident Forbeses, burnt down the castle. Twenty-seven people were killed, including the wife of the laird, her family and servants.

By the eighteenth century, tower-houses were going out of fashion, and Corgarff's survival probably resulted from its strategic position. It was used by Jacobite troops during the '15 and '45 uprisings. It was following the Battle of Culloden in 1746 that the castle came into government hands, forming part of the route to the new Fort George.

The building was originally a three-storeyed tower-house, with a tall, vaulted hall on the first floor. Following the occupation of the castle by the government, another floor was inserted, to provide additional accommodation, and an eight-point curtain wall was constructed around the building, in a star-shape, with slits through which muskets could be fired.

The army left the building in 1831, and it was subsequently used as a whisky-still and accommodation for agricultural labourers, before being restored in the 1960s.

Archaeological Notes
NJ20NE 1.00 25452 08669
(Attributed to the Fourth Period, 1542-1700). Corgarff Castle has originally been a simple oblong tower, to which various additions have been made within comparatively recent times, giving it an imposing and strongly fortified aspect. The castle stands on a height amongst the uplands of the head streams of the river Don, an inaccessible and dreary country. Tradition states that it was built by one of the Earls of Mar as a hunting-seat. It afterwards belonged to the Forbeses, and was destroyed in 1581 during their feuds with the Gordons. Indeed, this castle disputes with Towie (NJ41SW 3) the unenviable distinction of having been the scene of Adam Gordon of Auchendoun's horrid tragedy.
The original tower probably belongs to the early part of the 16th century but was rebuilt after its destruction in 1581. It is 35ft (10.7m) long by 24ft (7.3m) wide with walls about 6ft (1.8m) thick. The basement is vaulted and is divided into two apartments or cellars. The entrance door seems to have been on the first floor, in the same position as the present one. It is now approached by an open stone staircase and a porch, but no doubt originally the access was by a ladder. The original staircase to the upper floors was in the SE angle, above which a gabled turret is still carried up; a square wooden staircase has now been substituted. The hall was no doubt on the first floor, with bedrooms above, but the interior is now cut up into small houses for agricultural labourers. Two solitary corbels remain to indicate where the parapet walk originally was.
In 1746 the Government purchased the castle from Forbes of Skellater, and kept 15 to 20 men stationed in it. This would form an outpost from Mar Castle (Braemar Castle: NO19SE 4), one of the principal garrisons for keeping the Highlanders in order. At the above date extensive alterations were made upon it to suit it for its purpose. A wing of one storey was added at each end, probably as officer's quarters, while the upper floors of the keep were converted into barracks for the troops. An enclosing wall was also at the same time run round the whole, provided with salients for the defence of the flanks, and all well loop-holed, in the same manner as the enclosing wall at Mar Castle. This is perhaps the most interesting point about this lonely castle, which thus, along with a few others, brings the history of fortified houses in Scotland down to so recent a date as the middle of the last century.
Till 1831 the castle still contained a garrison of two officers and fifty men but these were no longer required to put down rebellion; they were merely employed to support the civil authorities in the suppression of smuggling.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92.

The nucleus of the castle is a plain rubble-built tower of the 16th century, measuring 35ft 11ins E-W by 24ft 9ins N-S. This tower was remodelled after the '45 when wings were appended to each gable wall and the whole surrounded by a loop-holed curtain wall, rectangular on plan with a salient on all four faces.
W D Simpson 1927.

Corgarff stands on a height near the head of Strathdon, on the Lecht road - so frequently blocked by snow in winter - that leads to Scotland's highest village, Tomintoull. Corgarff is a tall tower, four storeys high, oblong in plan, with its original stair case carried a storey higher to provide a cap-house on the SE angle. It replaced the structure, destroyed in 1581, which had been a hunting-lodge for the earls of Mar and in which the tragic events recounted in the well-known ballad 'Edom o' Gordon' are said to have occurred. Annexed by the Crown in 1435, the lands were given by James IV to the Elphinstones, who were probably the builders of the present tower. The Mars recovered it in 1626, but after the family disaster resulting from the rising of 1715, it passed to the Forbes family.
Corgarff was burnt by the Jacobites in 1689 to deny it to the government troops, and again in 1716 to punish Mar. The Jacobites, nevertheless, repossessed it during the '45. The government then took over Corgarff and turned it into a garrison outpost to help subdue the highlanders. Extended alterations were made to it, a single-storey wing being added to house the service offices. An enclosing oblong wall, with salients projecting from each face and well provided with loopholes, was also added. It is now in State care.
M Lindsay 1994.

The castle now houses an effective evocation (by Historic Scotland) of Hanoverian barrack-life.
I A G Shepherd 1994.

"Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon",
IT befell at Martynmas,
When wether waxed colde,
Captaine Care said to his men,
We must go take a holde.
?? Syck, sike, and to-towe sike,
And sike and like to die;
The sikest nighte that euer I abode,
God lord haue mercy on me!
'Haille, master, and wether you will,
And wether ye like it best;'
'To the castle of Crecrynbroghe,
And there we will take our reste.'
'I knowe wher is a gay castle,
Is builded of lyme and stone;
Within their is a gay ladie,
Her lord is riden and gone.'
The ladie she lend on her castle-walle,
She loked vpp and downe;
There was she ware of an host of men,
Come riding to the towne.
'Se yow, my meri men all,
And se yow what I see?
Yonder I see an host of men,
I muse who they bee.'
She thought he had ben her wed lord,
As he comd riding home;
Then was it traitur Captaine Care
The lord of Ester-towne.
They wer no soner at supper sett,
Then after said the grace,
Or Captaine Care and all his men
Wer lighte aboute the place.
'Gyue ouer thi howsse, thou lady gay,
And I will make the a bande;
To-nighte thou shall ly within my armes,
To-morrowe thou shall ere my lande.'
Then bespacke the eldest sonne,
That was both whitt and redde:
O mother dere, geue ouer your howsse,
Or elles we shalbe deade.
'I will not geue ouer my hous,' she saithe,
'Not for feare of my lyffe;
It shalbe talked throughout the land,
The slaughter of a wyffe.
'Fetch me my pestilett,
And charge me my gonne,
That I may shott at yonder bloddy butcher,
The lord of Easter-towne.'
Styfly vpon her wall she stode,
And lett the pellettes flee;
But then she myst the blody bucher,
And she slew other three.
'[I will] not geue ouer my hous,' she saithe,
'Netheir for lord nor lowne;
Nor yet for traitour Captaine Care,
The lord of Easter-towne.
'I desire of Captine Care,
And all his bloddye band,
That he would saue my eldest sonne,
The eare of all my lande.'
'Lap him in a shete,' he sayth,
'And let him downe to me,
And I shall take him in my armes,
His waran shall I be.'
The captayne sayd unto him selfe:
Wyth sped, before the rest,
He cut his tonge out of his head,
His hart out of his brest.
He lapt them in a handkerchef,
And knet it of knotes three,
And cast them ouer the castell-wall,
At that gay ladye.
'Fye vpon the, Captayne Care,
And all thy bloddy band!
For thou hast slayne my eldest sonne,
The ayre of all my land.'
Then bespake the yongest sonne,
That say on the nurses knee,
Sayth, Mother gay, geue ouer your house;
It smoldereth me.
'I wold geue my gold,' she saith,
'And so I wolde my fee,
For a blaste of the westryn wind,
To dryue the smoke from thee.
'Fy vpon the, John Hamleton,
That euer I paid the hyre!
For thou hast broken my castle-wall,
And kyndled in the fyre.'
The lady gate to her close parler,
The fire fell aboute her head;
She toke vp her childern thre,
Seth, Babes, we are all dead.
Then bespake the hye steward,
That is of hye degree;
Saith, Ladie gay, you are in close,
Wether ye fighte or flee.
Lord Hamleton dremd in his dream,
In Caruall where he laye,
His halle were all of fyre,
His ladie slayne or daye.
'Busk and bowne, my merry men all,
Even and go ye with me;
For I dremd that my haal was on fyre,
My lady slayne or day.'
He buskt him and bownd hym,
And like a worthi knighte;
And when he saw his hall burning,
His harte was no dele lighte.
He sett a trumpett till his mouth,
He blew as it plesd his grace;
Twenty score of Hamlentons
Was light aboute the place.
'Had I knowne as much yesternighte
As I do to-daye,
Captaine Care and all his men
Should not haue gone so quite.
'Fye vpon the, Captaine Care,
And all thy blody bande!
Thou haste slayne my lady gay,
More wurth then all thy lande.
'If thou had ought eny ill will,' he saith,
'Thou shoulde haue taken my lyffe,
And haue saved my children thre,
All and my louesome wyffe.'
'FFAITH, master, whither you will,
Whereas you like the best;
Vnto the castle of Bittons-borrow,
And there to take your rest.'
'But yonder stands a castle faire,
Is made of lyme and stone;
Yonder is in it a fayre lady,
Her lord is ridden and gone.'
The lady stood on her castle-wall,
She looked vpp and downe;
She was ware of an hoast of men,
Came rydinge towards the towne.
'See you not, my merry men all,
And see you not what I doe see?
Methinks I see a hoast of men;
I muse who they shold be.'
She thought it had beene her louly lord,
He had come ryding home;
It was the traitor, Captaine Carre,
The lord of Westerton-towne.
They had noe sooner super sett,
And after said the grace,
But the traitor, Captaine Carre,
Was light about the place.
'Giue over thy house, thou lady gay,
I will make thee a band;
All night with-in mine armes thou'st lye,
To-morrow be the heyre of my land.'
'I'le not giue over my house,' shee said,
'Neither for ladds nor man,
Nor yet for traitor Captaine Carre,
Vntill my lord come home.
'But reach me my pistoll pe[c]e,
And charge you well my gunne;
I'le shoote at the bloody bucher,
The lord of Westerton.'
She stood vppon her castle-wall
And let the bulletts flee,
And where shee mist .

But then bespake the litle child,
That sate on the nurses knee;
Saies, Mother deere, giue ore this house,
For the smoake it smoothers me.
'I wold giue all my gold, my childe,
Soe wold I doe all my fee,
For one blast of the westerne wind
To blow the smoke from thee.'
But when shee saw the fier
Came flaming ore her head,
Shee tooke then vpp her children two,
Sayes, Babes, we all beene dead!
But Adam then he fired the house,
A sorrowfull sight to see;
Now hath he burned this lady faire
And eke her children three.
Then Captaine Carre he rode away,
He staid noe longer at that tide;
He thought that place it was to warme
Soe neere for to abide.
He calld vnto his merry men all,
Bidd them make hast away;
'For we haue slaine his children three,
All and his lady gay.'
Worde came to louly London,
To London wheras her lord lay,
His castle and his hall was burned,
All and his lady gay.
Soe hath he done his children three,
More dearer vnto him
Then either the siluer or the gold,
That men soe faine wold win.
But when he looket this writing on,
Lord, in is hart he was woe!
Saies, I will find thee, Captaine Carre,
Wether thou ryde or goe!
Buske yee, bowne yee, my merrymen all,
With tempered swords of steele,
For till I haue found out Captaine Carre,
My hart it is nothing weele.
But when he came to Dractons-borrow,
Soe long ere it was day,
And ther he found him Captaine Carre;
That night he ment to stay.

'LUK ye to yon hie castel,
Yon hie castel we see;
A woman's wit's sun oercum,
She'll gie up her house to me.'
She ca'd to her merry men a',
'Bring me my five pistols and my lang gun;'
The first shot the fair lady shot,
She shot seven of Gordon's men.
He turned round about his back,
And sware he woud ha his desire,
And if that castel was built of gowd,
It should gang a' to fire.
Up then spak her doughter deere,
She had nae mair than she:
'Gie up your house, now, mither deere,
The reek it skomfishes me.'
'I'd rather see you birnt,' said she,
'And doun to ashes fa,
Ere I gie up my house to Adam of Gordon,
And to his merry men a'.
'I've four and twenty kye
Gaing upo the muir;
I'd gie em for a blast of wind,
The reek it blaws sae sour.'
Up then spak her little young son,
Sits on the nourrice knee:
'Gie up your house, now, mither deere,
The reek it skomfishes me.'
'I've twenty four ships
A sailing on the sea;
I'll gie em for a blast of southern wind,
To blaw the reek frae thee.
'I'd rather see you birnt,' said she,
'And grund as sma as flour,
Eer I gie up my noble house,
To be Adam of Gordon's hure.'
IT fell about the Martinmas,
When the wind blew schrile and cauld,
Said Edom o Gordon to his men,
We maun draw to a hald.
'And what an a hald sall we draw to,
My merry men and me?
We will gae to the house of the Rhodes,
To see that fair lady.'
She had nae sooner busket her sell,
Nor putten on her gown,
Till Edom o Gordon and his men
Were round about the town.
They had nae sooner sitten down,
Nor sooner said the grace,
Till Edom o Gordon and his men
Were closed about the place.
The lady ran up to her tower-head,
As fast as she could drie,
To see if by her fair speeches
She could with him agree.
As soon he saw the lady fair,
And hir yates all locked fast,
He fell into a rage of wrath,
And his heart was aghast.
'Cum down to me, ye lady fair,
Cum down to me; let's see;
This night ye's ly by my ain side,
The morn my bride sall be.'
'I winnae cum down, ye fals Gordon,
I winnae cum down to thee;
I winnae forsake my ane dear lord,
That is sae far frae me.'
'Gi up your house, ye fair lady,
Gi up your house to me,
Or I will burn yoursel therein,
Bot and your babies three.'
'I winnae gie up, you fals Gordon,
To nae sik traitor as thee,
Tho you should burn mysel therein,
Bot and my babies three.'
'Set fire to the house,' quoth fals Gordon,
'Sin better may nae bee;
And I will burn hersel therein,
Bot and her babies three.'
'And ein wae worth ye, Jock my man!
I paid ye weil your fee;
Why pow ye out my ground-wa-stane,
Lets in the reek to me?
'And ein wae worth ye, Jock my man!
For I paid you weil your hire;
Why pow ye out my ground-wa-stane,
To me lets in the fire?'
'Ye paid me weil my hire, lady,
Ye paid me weil my fee,
But now I'm Edom of Gordon's man,
Maun either do or die.'
O then bespake her youngest son,
Sat on the nurses knee,
'Dear mother, gie owre your house,' he says,
'For the reek it worries me.'
'I winnae gie up my house, my dear,
To nae sik traitor as he;
Cum weil, cum wae, my jewels fair,
Ye maun tak share wi me.'
O then bespake her dochter dear,
She was baith jimp and sma;
'O row me in a pair o shiets,
And tow me owre the wa.'
They rowd her in a pair of shiets,
And towd her owre the wa,
But on the point of Edom's speir
She gat a deadly fa.
O bonny, bonny was hir mouth,
And chirry were her cheiks,
And clear, clear was hir yellow hair,
Whereon the reid bluid dreips!
Then wi his speir he turnd hir owr;
O gin hir face was wan!
He said, You are the first that eer
I wist alive again.
He turned hir owr and owr again;
O gin hir skin was whyte!
He said, I might ha spard thy life
To been some mans delyte.
'Busk and boon, my merry men all,
For ill dooms I do guess;
I cannae luik in that boony face,
As it lyes on the grass.'
'Them luiks to freits, my master deir,
Then freits will follow them;
Let it neir be said brave Edom o Gordon
Was daunted with a dame.'
O then he spied hir ain deir lord,
As he came owr the lee;
He saw his castle in a fire,
As far as he could see.
'Put on, put on, my mighty men,
As fast as ye can drie!
For he that's hindmost of my men
Sall neir get guid o me.'
And some they raid, and some they ran,
Fu fast out-owr the plain,
But lang, lang eer he coud get up
They were a' deid and slain.
But mony were the mudie men
Lay gasping on the grien;
For o fifty men that Edom brought out
There were but five ged heme.
And mony were the mudie men
Lay gasping on the grien,
And mony were the fair ladys
Lay lemanless at heme.
And round and round the waes he went,
Their ashes for to view;
At last into the flames he flew,
And bad the world adieu
IT fell about the Martinmas time,
When the wind blew shrill and cauld,
Said Captain Gordon to his men,
We'll a' draw to som hauld.
'And whatena hauld shall we draw to,
To be the nearest hame?'
'We will draw to the ha o bonny Cargarff;
The laird is na at hame.'
The lady sat on her castle-wa,
Beheld both dale and down;
And she beheld the fause Gordon
Come halycon to the town.
'Now, Lady Cargarff, gie ower yer house,
Gie ower yer house to me;
Now, Lady Cargarff, gie ower yer house,
Or in it you shall die.'
'I'll no gie ower my bonny house,
To lord nor yet to loun;
I'll no gie ower my bonny house
To the traitors of Auchindown.'
Then up and spak her youngest son,
Sat at the nourice's knee:
'O mother dear, gie ower yer house,
For the reek o't smothers me.'
'I would gie a' my goud, my child,
Sae would I a' my fee,
For ae blast o the westlan win,
To blaw the reek frae thee.'
Then up and spak her eldest heir,
He spak wi muckle pride:
'Now mother dear, keep weel yer house,
And I'll fight by yer side.'
IT fell about the Martinmas time,
When the wind blew snell and cauld,
That Adam o Gordon said to his men,
Where will we get a hold?
See [ye] not where yonder fair castle
Stands on yon lily lee?
The laird and I hae a deadly feud,
The lady fain would I see.
As she was up on the househead,
Behold, on looking down,
She saw Adam o Gordon and his men,
Coming riding to the town.
The dinner was not well set down,
Nor the grace was scarcely said,
Till Adam o Gordon and his men
About the walls were laid.
'It's fause now fa thee, Jock my man!
Thou might a let me be;
Yon man has lifted the pavement-stone,
An let in the low unto me.'
'Seven years I served thee, fair ladie,
You gave me meat and fee;
But now I am Adam o Gordon's man,
An maun either do it or die.'
'Come down, come down, my lady Loudoun,
Come down thou unto me!
I'll wrap thee on a feather-bed,
Thy warrand I shall be.'
'I'll no come down, I'll no come down,
For neither laird no[r] loun;
Nor yet for any bloody butcher
That lives in Altringham town.
'I would give the black,' she says,
'And so would I the brown,
If that Thomas, my only son,
Could charge to me a gun.'
Out then spake the lady Margaret,
As she stood on the stair;
The fire was at her goud garters,
The lowe was at her hair.
'I would give the black,' she says,
'And so would I the brown,
For a drink of yon water,
That runs by Galston Town.'
Out then spake fair Annie,
She was baith jimp and sma
'O row me in a pair o sheets,
And tow me down the wa!'
'O hold the tongue, thou fair Annie,
And let thy talkin be;
For thou must stay in this fair castle,
And bear thy death with me.'
'O mother,' spoke the lord Thomas,
As he sat on the nurse's knee,
'O mother, give up this fair castle,
Or the reek will worrie me.'
'I would rather be burnt to ashes sma,
And be cast on yon sea-foam,
Before I'd give up this fair castle,
And my lord so far from home.
'My good lord has an army strong,
He's now gone oer the sea;
He bad me keep this gay castle,
As long as it would keep me.
'I've four-and-twenty brave milk kye,
Gangs on yon lily lee;
I'd give them a' for a blast of wind,
To blaw the reek from me.'
O pittie on yon fair castle,
That's built with stone and lime!
But far mair pittie on Lady Loudoun,
And all her children nine
IT was in and about the Martinmas time,
When the wind blew schill and cauld,
That Adam o Gordon said to his men,
Whare will we get a hauld?
'Do ye not see yon bonnie castell,
That stands on Loudon lee?
The lord and I hae a deadlie feed,
And his lady fain wuld I see.'
Lady Campbell was standing in the close,
A preenin o her goun,
Whan Adam o Gordon and his men
Cam riding thro Galston toun.
The dinner was na weel set doun,
Nor yet the grace weel said,
Till Adam o Gordon and a' his men
Around the wa's war laid.
'Come doun, come down, Ladie Campbell,' he said,
'Come doun and speak to me;
I'll kep thee in a feather bed,
And thy warraner I will be.'
'I winna come doun and speak to thee,
Nor to ony lord nor loun;
Nor yet to thee, thou bloody butcher,
The laird o Auchruglen toun.'
'Come doun, come doun, Ladye Campbell,' he said,
'Cum doun and speak to me;
I'll kep thee on the point o my sword,
And thy warraner I will be.'
'I winna come doun and speak to thee,
Nor to ony lord or loun,
Nor yet to thee, thou bludie butcher,
The laird o Auchruglen toun.'
'Syne gin ye winna come doun,' he said,
'A' for to speak to me,
I'll tye the bands around my waist,
And fire thy death sall be.'
'I'd leifer be burnt in ashes sma,
And cuist in yon sea-faem,
Or I'd gie up this bonnie castell,
And my gude lord frae hame.
'For my gude lord's in the army strong,
He's new gane ower the sea;
He bade me keep this bonnie castell,
As lang's it wuld keep me.'
'Set fire to the house,' said bauld Gordon,
'Set fire to the house, my men;
We'll gar Lady Campbell come for to rew
As she burns in the flame.'
'O wae be to thee, Carmichael,' she said,
'And an ilk death may ye die!
For ye hae lifted the pavement-stane,
And loot up the lowe to me.
'Seven years ye war about my house,
And received both meat and fee:'
'And now I'm Adam o Gordon's man,
I maun either do or dee.'
'Oh I wad gie the black,' she said,
'And I wuld gie the brown,
All for ae cup o the cauld water
That rins to Galstoun toun.'
Syne out and spak the auld dochter,
She was baith jimp and sma:
'O row me in a pair o sheets,
And fling me ower the wa!'
They row't her in a pair o sheets,
And flang her ower the wa,
And on the point o Gordon's sword
She gat a deadlie fa.
He turned her ower, and ower again,
And oh but she looked wan!
'I think I've killed as bonnie a face
As ere the sun shined on.'
He turned her ower, and ower again,
And oh but she lookt white!
'I micht hae spared this bonnie face,
To hae been some man's delight!'
Syne out and spak Lady Margaret,
As she stood on the stair:
'The fire is at my gowd garters,
And the lowe is at my hair.'
Syne out and spak fair Ladie Ann,
Frae childbed whare she lay:
'Gie up this bonnie castell, mother,
And let us win away.'
'Lye still, lye still, my fair Annie,
And let your talking be;
For ye maun stay in this bonnie castell
And dree your death wi me.'
'Whatever death I am to dree,
I winna die my lane:
I'll tak a bairn in ilka arm
And the third is in my wame.'
Syne out and spak her youngest son,
A bonnie wee boy was he:
'Gae doun, gae doun, mother,' he said,
'Or the lowe will worry me.'
'I'd leifer be brent in ashes sma
And cuist in yon sea-faem,
Or I'd gie up this bonnie castell,
And my guid lord frae hame.
'For my gude lord's in the army strong,
He's new gane ower the sea;
But gin he eer returns again,
Revenged my death sall be.'
Syne out and spak her waitin-maid:
Receive this babe frae me,
And save the saikless babie's life,
And I'll neer seek mair fee.
'How can I tak the bairn?' she said,
'How can I tak't?' said she,
'For my hair was ance five quarters lang,
And 'tis now brent to my bree.'
She rowit it in a feather-bed,
And flang it ower the wa,
But on the point o Gordon's sword
It gat a deidlie fa.
'I wuld gie Loudon's bonnie castell,
And Loudon's bonnie lee,
All gin my youngest son Johnnie
Could charge a gun to me.
'Oh, I wuld gie the black,' she said,
'And sae wuld I the bay,
Gin young Sir George could take a steed
And quickly ride away.'
Syne out and spak her auldest son,
As he was gaun to die:
'Send doun your chamber-maid, mother,
She gaes wi bairn to me.'
'Gin ye were not my eldest son,
And heir o a' my land,
I'd tye a sheet around thy neck,
And hang thee with my hand.
'I would gie my twenty gude milk-kye,
That feed on Shallow lee,
A' for ae blast o the norland wind,
To blaw the lowe frae me.'
Oh was na it a pitie o yon bonnie castell,
That was biggit wi stane and lime!
But far mair pity o Lady Ann Campbell,
That was brunt wi her bairns nine.
Three o them war married wives,
And three o them were bairns,
And three o them were leal maidens,
That neer lay in men's arms.
And now Lord Loudon he's come hame,
And a sorry man was he:
'He micht hae spared my lady's life,
And wreakit himsell on me!
'But sin we've got thee, bauld Gordon,
Wild horses shall thee tear,
For murdering o my ladie bricht,
Besides my children dear.'

It fell about the Martinmass time,
When the wind blew shill and cald,
That Adam McGordon said to his men,
Where will we get a hall?
'There is a hall here near by,
Well built with lime and stone;
There is a lady there within
As white as the . . bone.'
'Seven year and more this lord and I
Has had a deadly feud,
And now, since her good lord's frae hame,
His place to me she'll yield.'
She looked oer her castle-wall,
And so she looked down,
And saw Adam McGordon and his men
Approaching the wood-end.
'Steik up, steik up my yett,' she says,
'And let my draw-bridge fall;
There is meickle treachery
Walking about my wall.'
She had not the sentence past,
Nor yet the word well said,
When Adam McGordon and his men
About the walls were laid.
She looked out at her window,
And then she looked down,
And then she saw Jack, her own man,
Lifting the pavement-stane.
'Awa, awa, Jack my man!
Seven year I paid you meat and fee,
And now you lift the pavement-stane
To let in the low to me.'
'I yield, I yield, O lady fair,
Seven year ye paid me meat and fee;
But now I am Adam McGordon's man,
I must either do or die.'
'If ye be Adam McGordon's man,
As I true well ye be,
Prove true unto your own master,
And work your will to me.'
'Come down, come down, my lady Campbell,
Come down into my hand;
Ye shall lye all night by my side,
And the morn at my command.'
'I winna come down,' this lady says,
'For neither laird nor lown,
Nor to no bloody butcher's son,
The Laird of Auchindown.
'I wald give all my kine,' she says,
'So wald I fifty pound,
That Andrew Watty he were here;
He would charge me my gun.
'He would charge me my gun,
And put in bullets three,
That I might shoot that cruel traitor
That works his wills on me.'
He shot in, and [s]he shot out,
The value of an hour,
Until the hall Craigie North
Was like to be blawn in the air.
'He fired in, and she fired out,
The value of houris three,
Untill the hall Craigie North
The reik went to the sea.
'O the frost, and ae the frost,
The frost that freezes fell!
I cannot stay within my bower,
The powder it blaws sae bald.'
But then spake her oldest son,
He was both white and red;
'O mither dear, yield up your house!
We'll all be burnt to deed.'
Out then spake the second son,
He was both red and fair;
'O brother dear, would you yield up your house,
And you your father's heir!'
Out then spake the little babe,
Stood at the nurse's knee;
'O mither dear, yield up your house!
The reik will worry me.'
Out then speaks the little nurse,
The babe upon her knee;
'O lady, take from me your child!
I'll never crave my fee.'
'Hold thy tongue, thou little nurse,
Of thy prating let me bee;
For be it death or be it life,
Thou shall take share with me.
'I wald give a' my sheep,' she says,
'T[hat] . . yon . . s]ha],
I had a drink of that wan water
That runs down by my wa.'
It fell about the Martimas time,
Fan the wind blue loud an calld,
Said Edom of Gordon to his men,
We man dra till a hall.
'An fatten a hall will we dra tell,
My merry men a' an me?
We will to the house of Rothes,
An see that gay lady.'
The lady louked our castell-wa,
Beheld the day ga doun,
An she saa Edun of Gordon,
Fase Edom of Ach[en]doun.
'Gee our yer house, ye gay lady,
Gee our yer house to me;
The night ye's be my leall leman,
The morn my lady free.'
'I winn gee our my bonny house,
To leard nor yet to loun,
Nor will I gee our my bonny house
To fase Edom of Achendoun.
'Bat ye gett me Cluny, Gight, or Glack,
Or get him young Lesmore,
An I ell gee our my bonny house
To ony of a' the four.'
'Ye's nether gett Cluny, Gight, nor Glack,
Nor yet him young Lesmore,
An ye man gee our yer bonny house,
Winten ony of a' the four.'
The ladie shot out of a shot-windou,
It didne hurt his head,
It only grased his knee
. . . . . .
'Ye hast, my merry men a',
Gather hathorn an fune,
. . . . . . .
To see gin this lady will burn.'
'Wai worth ye, Joke, my man!
I paid ye well yer fee,
An ye tane out the quin -stane,
Laten in the fire to me.
'Wai worth ye, Joke, my man!
I paid ye well yer hair,
An ye t[a]en out the qunie-stane,
To me laten in the fire.'
'Ye paid me well my meatt, lady,
Ye paid me well my fee,
Bat nou I am Edom of Gordon's man,
Mane eather dee'd or dree.
'Ye paid me well my meatt, lady,
Ye paid me well my hire,
But nou I am Edom of Gordon's man,
To ye mane lat the fire.'
Out spak her doughter,
She was bath jimp an smaa;
'Ye take me in a pair of shets,
Lat me our the castell-waa.'
The pat her in a pair of shets,
Lute her oure the castell-waa;
On the point of Edom of Gordon's lance
She got a deadly faa.
Cherry, cherry was her cheeks,
An bonny was her eyen;
. . . . . . .
. . . . . . .
He turned her about,
. . . . . . .
'I might haa spared that bonny face
To ha ben some man's delight.
'Chirry is yer chik,
An bonny is yer eayn;
Ye'r the first face I ever saa dead
I wist liveng agen.'
Out spak one of his men,
As he stad by a stane;
'Lat it never be sade brave Edom of Gordon
Was dantoned by a dame.'
Out spake the bonny barn,
Ti sat on the nurce's knee;
'Gee out yer house, my mider dear,
The reak it smothers me.'
'I wad gee a' my silks,' she says,
'That lays in mony a fall,
To haa ye on the head of Mont Gannell,
To gett three gasps of the call.
'I wad gee a' my goud,' she says,
'Far it lays out an in,
To haa ye on the head of Mount Ganill,
To get three gasps of the wind.'
. . . . . . . that gued lord,
As he came fraa the sea,
'I see the house of Rothes in fire,
God safe my gay ladie!'


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History Texts

126 Cattle Rustling in the Glen88 1696 Poll Book Belnacraig87 Original 1696 Poll Book91 Wandering in the Highlands 188185 Sketch of 'Old Glenbucket' about 174575 Peatfold70 New Statistical Account of Strathdon 184571 Descendants of the Great Glenbucket69 My First Detachment -The Glenbucket Inn4 St Margarets Chronicle Free afternoon Glenbuchat