The Mystery of Robber’s Cave near Dumfries #History

Robber's CaveRobber’s Cave

In the mid nineteenth century, ‘Robber’s Cave’ was recorded twice in the OS name book:

‘About 1 1/2 miles S.W. by W. of Troqueer Church. A large cave extending in for a considerable distance. Its entrance is about 2 feet high through a large rock. James Campbell [Isle Steps] and James Smith [of Nethertoun] says that it has been handed down by tradition that Robbers had formerly frequented it hence its name. Situate in Cunhuith plantation.’ (OS name book)

Covenanters Cave Walter Baxter© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

‘A large cave situated on the farm of Cunhuith and in a plantation bearing the name of Cunhuith Plantation the entrance to it is through a large rock and the hole through which you enter is about two feet high. tradition says that it was the haunt of a band of robbers from which it derives its name’. (OS name book)

Covenanters Cave Rod Collier© Copyright rod collier and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It makes you wonder what went on there. Who were those outlaws lurking outside of Dumfries? Was this area perilous for travellers? The name certainly fires the imagination…

However, by the next OS survey in around 1900, the cave’s reputation had been transformed. Robber’s Cave had become Covenanters’ Cave.

Covenanters' CaveCovenanters’ Cave

It is the same cave.

Map of Covenanters’ Cave

Tradition can be a wonderfully flexible thing. The same cave, but with a new, more godly name that makes you imagine it and what went on there in a different way…

Covenanters Cave Darrin Antrobus© Copyright Darrin Antrobus and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The cave lies in Troqueer parish where a few real, fugitive Covenanters lived at nearby Bridge End.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

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~ by drmarkjardine on November 2, 2015.

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