Clarencefield
The Dumfriesshire Companion
Haig Gordon

THEMES & PERSONALITIES

Introduction

Some Historical Background

The Border

From Westerkirk to Westminster Abbey -
Thomas Telford


Robert Burns - Doonhamer

The Sage of Ecclefechan - Thomas Carlyle

Hugh MacDiarmid and the Muckle Toon

Other Literary Figures

The Artists

Fame and Fortune

Other Pairs of Eyes

Clarencefield

An estate village associated with Comlongon Castle. The castle consists of two adjacent structures: a massive fifteenth-century tower alongside which a Baronial-style mansion was built in the 1890s. Once a seat of the Earls of Mansfield, Comlongon is now a hotel specialising in honeymoons for couples who may have been married in the less romantic surroundings of Gretna.


Newly-weds can choose the Haunted Suite and, if they are lucky, spend their first night in the company of the ghost of Lady Marion Carruthers. Which really is spooky because the unfortunate Marion did all that she could to avoid a marriage that was being pressed upon her. She was highly eligible owing to an inheritance from her father Sir Simon Carruthers of nearby Mouswald. There were two rivals anxious to get their hands on her wealth: Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig near Carronbridge and Lord Maxwell of Caerlaverock near Bankend.

Maxwell was so keen for a lucrative betrothal that he violently took possession of the Carruthers stronghold. Marion sought refuge at Comlongon, home of her uncle Sir William Murray. The tussle between her two overbearing suitors transferred to the courts. Douglas won the case and determined to claim his marital prize. Marion was equally determined to evade the clutches of the high-born thug and did so by ending her life, jumping from the ramparts of Comlongon Castle on 25 September 1570. Well, at any rate, that is the story. There is another theory that Douglas's men killed her.

Whatever the truth may be, it was believed at the time that she had committed suicide and so she was denied a proper Christian burial. Her soul is therefore perpetually dissatisfied, we are told, and from time to time her restless spirit returns. Sightings have frequently been reported, and who knows when she might appear again. 'Please contact reception,' announces the management, 'if you think you may have any new images.'


South-west of the village, Cockpool is where, according to legend, William Wallace finished off a party of English fighters at the climax of his Nithsdale campaign in 1297 - a campaign that very probably never took place (see Some Historical Background).

PLACES

Ae
Amisfield
Annan
Auldgirth
Bankend
Beattock
Bentpath
Brydekirk
Canonbie
Carronbridge
Carrurtherstown
Chapelknowe
Clarencefield
Closeburn
Collin
Cummertrees
Dalswinton
Dalton
Dornock
Dumfries
Duncow
Dunscore
Durisdeer
Eaglesfield
Eastriggs
Ecclefechan
Eskdalemuir
Glencaple
Gretna
Hightae
Holywood
Johnstonebridge
Kettleholm
Kirkconnel
Kirkpatrick Fleming
Kirkton
Kirtlebridge
Langholm
Lochmaben
Lockerbie
Middlebie
Moffat
Moniaive
Mouswald
Newton Wamphray
Parkgate
Penpont
Powfoot
Ruthwell
Sanquhar
Templand
Thornhill
Tinwald
Torthorwald
Tynron
Wanlockhead
Waterbeck

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