Claverhouse at the Grey Mare’s Tail

A James Hogg tale of John Graham of Claverhouse, but there is a sting somewhere…

Where roars the torrent from Lochskene,
A troop is lodged in trenches deep.’ (Mess John p78. v. 2.)

There are sundry cataracts in Scotland, called The Grey Mare’s Tail; … But that in Polmoody, on the border of Annandale, surpasses them all; as the water, with only one small intermission, falls from a height of 300 yards.

Grey Mares TailThe Grey Mare’s Tail © Dannie Calder and licensed for reuse.

Map of the Grey Mare’s Tail

This, with the rocks overhanging it on each side, when the water is flooded, greatly excels any thing I ever saw in awful grandeur. Immediately below it, in the straitest part of that narrow pass which leads from Annandale into Yarrow, a small strong entrenchment is visible. It is called by the country people, The Giant’s trench. It is in the form of an octave, and is defended behind by a bank. As it is not nearly so much grown up as those at Philiphaugh, it is. probable, that a handful of the Covenanters might fortify themselves there during the time that their brethren were in arms. But it is even more probable, that a party of the king’s troops might be posted for some time in that important pass; as it is certain, [John Graham of] Claverhouse made two sweeping circuits of that country, and, the last time, took many prisoners in the immediate vicinity of this scene.

May we not likewise suppose, that the outrage committed at Saint Mary’s kirk might contribute to his appearance in those parts? [i.e., the assassination of the minister, which did, of course, not take place.]’ (Hogg, A Mountain Bard, 90.)

Hogg also claimed that Donald Cargill hid near the Grey Mare’s Tail.

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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 February 18, 2014.

5 Responses to “Claverhouse at the Grey Mare’s Tail”

  1. Are there any known occasions in which Claverhouse visited Greenock or Port Glasgow?

    • Now there is a question. James Renwick did preach near Greenock, As for Claverhouse, I don’t know. he was in Renfreshire. Got married in Paisley. Married into the eral of Dundonald’s family.

  2. […] Hogg also claimed that Claverhouse camped at the Grey Mare’s Tail. […]

  3. […] Hogg also claimed that Renwick preached at Riskinhope and that Claverhouse camped nearby at the Grey Mare’s Tail. […]

  4. […]                                 [Polmoodie] Full many a wight their vigils keep; Where roars the torrent from Loch-Skene,              [The Grey Mare’s Tail] A troop is lodged in trenches […]

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