The Eight Days of the Keppoch Devil near #Glasgow. #History #Scotland


In October, 1670, a devil troubled a house at Keppoch, near Glasgow. At the same time, other strange reports were heard …

‘October 29, 1670, there was a suddane thunderclap by seven of the morning, that fell out at Glasgow, and lighted on the Blackfrier Kirk, the like whereof was not heard of in these parts; it rent the steeple of the said church fra top to bottom, and tirred the sclattes off it, and brake down the gavills in the two ends of it, and fyred it, but was quenched afterward by men. (Law, Memorialls, 33.)

Blackfriars Kirk, aka. The Old College Church, lay on the east side of the High Street near the old site of Glasgow University. After the lightning strike, the ruined church was reportedly where “a dreadful voice” was heard in 1677. It remained in ruins until 1699, when a replacement was built, which is also now demolished.

The Devil

However, perhaps more troubling to the minister who recorded the story in his Memorialls was the appearance of a devil at Keppoch:

‘October, 1670, There was a divill that troubled a house in Keppoch, within a mile of Glasgow, for the matter of eight days tyme, (but disappeared again) in casting pits, and droping stones from the roof, yet not hurting any, lyke that which appeared in the west, in a weaver’s house, a good man, about 14 yeirs agoe, which did the lyke, and spoke to them audibly.’ (Law Memorialls, 33-4.)

Apart from the occasional use of the placename, Keppoch has largely vanished. It appears to have been located around what is now the junction of Bardowie Street and Balgair Street.

Street View of probable approximate location of the Keppoch Devil

The Keppoch Devil was apparently similar to the case of the Glenluce Devil, which haunted a weaver’s house in the West. Recently, the well where the Glenluce Devil first appeared has probably been tracked down.

However, is many respects, the Keppoch Devil was similar to the later Rerrick Apparition, detailed reports of which appeared in 1696.

Devils Witches Dance

The works of the Devil were the cause of particular excitement in Glasgow when a celebrated witch finder, Janet Douglas, was mobbed entering the burgh in 1677. She was later interviewed in Glasgow Tolbooth.

The Devil was, apparently, never idle in seventeenth-century Glasgow. In 1684, a devil allegedly attacked Covenanters imprisoned in Glasgow Tolbooth.

For other wonders of late seventeenth-century Scotland, see here.

~ by drmarkjardine on January 20, 2017.

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