on her wedding night
Castle: "There never was trouble brewing in Scotland but
that a Dalrymple or a Campbell was at the bottom of it!"
-- so Charles II is reputed to have said. The Dalrymple family
home in Wigtownshire was Carscreugh Castle now in ruins. From
the family home one day in the middle of the 17th century a bridal
procession set off -- with a most reluctant bride. Janet Dalrymple
was madly in love with Archibald, third -- and penniless -- son
of Lord Rutherford.
parental foot had been set down very firmly however on any romantic
notions the young couple may have had a union with David, eldest
son of Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon was all arranged for Janet.
No one knows exactly what occurred in the bridal chamber that
night, for ever after the bridegroom refused to talk about it.
All sorts of rumours were bandied around. One claims the bride
in her grief went insane and attacked her unwanted husband. Another
says no it was Archibald, who~ madly jealous, somehow or other
concealed himself in the room until the newly-weds were alone,
then sprang out and attacked the groom. Yet again it is the groom
himself who is said to have stabbed his reluctant bride . . .
whatever the case, Janet ended up mortally wounded.
paths of the two families who had been so eager to unite took
widely different paths after that. The Dalrymples became better
known by the title they received shortly after -- Earls of Stair.
As the Master of Stair John Dairymple eventually became Secretary
of State for Scotland and was responsible for the Massacre of
Glencoe. The Dunbars of Baldoon turned their energies to the improving
of agriculture that was beginning to take effect in the last quarter
of the 17th century. In his way Sir David Dunbar was a pioneer
of the enclosed land for grazing and the importation of cattle--albeit
illicit--from Ireland. Sir David recovered enough from his first
unhappy matrimonial venture to wed a daughter of the 7th Earl
that lady thought of the ghost of her husband's first wife haunting
the castle is not known. But legend lives on in more than tradition
for the tale so captured the imagination of Sir Walter Scott
that he wove "The Bride of Lammermuir" round the tragic
heroine. Janet's ghostly figure clad in her blood-splattered
white bridal gown, is often seen at Baldoon especially on the
anniversary of her dreadful experience.
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