The Caitloch Covenanter’s Cave

Caitloch Cave, which lies next to an abandoned lead mine shaft in Glencairn parish, Dumfriesshire, is said to have been used by Covenanters as a hiding place. Is it authentic? You decide.

Map of Caitloch Cave

Caitloch CaveCaitloch Cave

The cave lies close to the home of William Fergusson of Caitloch, a Covenanter who fled into exile after Bothwell. His house was used as a garrison in the 1680s.

It was first recorded on the OS map and name book (awaiting full transcription) of the mid nineteenth century for Glencairn parish.

In 1910, further details emerged linking it to the Covenanters:

‘About a mile to the north of Moniaive there is a curious artificial excavation known as “ Caitloch Cave.” It is supposed to have been made in search of lead, but no record of the operations has come down to us. The presence of “jumper” marks proves that it belongs to a period subsequent to the date when gunpowder was introduced for blasting purposes. As it was not till the beginning of the seventeenth century that any very active measures were taken to encourage the search for useful minerals, the excavation probably belongs to some part of that century. To-day the cave is chiefly famous as a reputed hiding-place of the Covenanters. It measures one hundred and fourteen feet in length, and opens on the Dalwhat stream, at a point of great natural beauty, about a quarter of a mile to the east of the mansion-house of Caitloch. When nearly opposite Caitloch the Dalwhat Glen contracts into a narrow gorge, and as the water frets and fumes in its rocky channel between banks clothed with natural wood and a profusion of ferns, the scene is one of remarkable beauty, and might well engage the brush of the painter or the pen of the poet. (Corrie, Glencairn, the Annals of an inland parish, 3-4.)

When the cave was visited by the OS in 1977, it was found to be ‘next to a disused lead mine and measures at the entrance 1.5×1.0m. Approximately 20.0m long there is no indication or likelihood of its having been inhabited.’

The Caitloch Cave shares a similar location to other caves which, either are, in the case of the Covenanters Cave in Kelton parish a lead mine, or may be an unsuccessful mine, such as Peden’s Cave at Sorn.

Return to HOME PAGE.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to or retweet this post, but do not reblog without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on January 16, 2014.

One Response to “The Caitloch Covenanter’s Cave”

  1. […] Posted at Jardine’s Book of Martyrs: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: