Monday, 25 April 2011

Childhood in a Historical Town

My Early Childhood in Scotland was rather interesting. My family moved quite a bit, and I got to live in interesting places. Scotland is full of interesting and colourful history, like most countries.
I lived for a while in the industrial town of Motherwell. Nothing to jump up and down about unless you like history. We have a haunted house by the name of Dalzeil House (pronounced Dee L), it is also known as Gresham House too. These days it is beautifully converted into apartments.

It is more like a small castle than a house. Dalzeil house played a vital part in history over the centuries, including the times of Mary, Queen of Scots. This place has hidden panels in the walls like most castles do and underground tunnels to escape from enemies. I would give my eye teeth for a tour of this place.

My grandfather on my mother's side knew the then Lord Gavin Hamilton, that lived there during my mothers childhood. My Mother passed down many stories of the old house to me. It is also well documented in history books. I spent a lot of time with my friends playing in the grounds of this old house. I have lovely old photos of the place from my child hood.

I remember the stables there being used for the local riding school. I used to go down to visit the horses quite often. During the Autumn months, my friends and I would pick Chestnuts to play conkers with. In the summer I loved to pick Rhododendron's for my mum. Living near the old house was an idyllic childhood. There was plenty to explore and hours of fun. The house was surrounded by a lovely big woods. Great for playing games in those days. The gardens were beautiful. I wanted to stay there for hours on end but alas, when the other kids were leaving I had to go too. I envy the gardeners getting to work there. What a joy that would be.

There is also the famous Covenanter's Graveyard in Cambusnethan a few miles up the road next to some land  owned by my grandparents. We played and explored there too. As a child I used to see some of these men watching us in spirit. I saw them with their women folk walking in a long group, and they looked ragged and battle weary. I would say starving too.  Some of them had violent deaths. They fought for their religious freedom against the King. They came off second best unfortunately.

I have been reading an old book about the Covenanters this week, The Scottish Covenanters written by Rev James Barr. Memories of oral history come back to me and of  the feelings of the Scottish people.   The there are many of these types of grave yards all over Scotland.

The one where I lived was vandalised by the 1970's by hooligans. It is rather disgusting to vandalise a grave, but what would these young thugs and drunks care about what these men fought for, whether it is right or wrong. These were brave men that gave their lives for what they believed in. 
The Tomb at the Covenanter's Graveyard in Cambusnethan.

The next place on my "play ground" was Cambusnethan Priory House. Now this is a very dark and evil place. I was talking to an old friend on Facebook about this place last week. He  was there last week and said that he got a horrible feeling come over him as he  walked around the ruin. He had no desire to go in there.

This old Priory house has a long and dark history.  The house was built in 1819/20 for the Lockhart family designed by architect   James Gillespie Graham.   By the way the house that was on the sight prior to this one was burned down in 1810. Which was replaced by the current one, that is now in ruins.

John Gibson Lockhart the biographer and son in law, of Sir Walter Scott was born in this house.  There are stories of murder done in this house by the minister  Rev Lockhart who lived there. There are stories in the town of him having fathered children with his servants. The children of the servants were said to have been murdered by him.

All I know is that there have been satanic goings on in the old house over the years. This is an area of Scotland famous for this kind of stuff. The suburb of Gowkthrapple just up the road from there had stories of weird goings on and ghost sightings back in the early 1970's.  The land that the houses are built on is old farm property which may have belonged to the owners of the Cambusnethan Priory House.

I think the Strathclyde area in Scotland is one of the most interesting places historically speaking there is so much over there to see. I love getting my teeth into the old history, which for us Scots, is still living history. Hamilton, near Motherwell has many houses and monuments to see, not forgetting Bothwell Castle and Bothwell  Brig (bridge). My parents took both  my brother and I to see these places in our historical tours too. There was the famous battle of Bothwell Brig in 1679.

I shall have to rack my brains to think of all the places that I went to to as a child. My parents took my brother and I on regular visits around Scotland when the weather was good. It was such a magical time for me living over there. The Campsie Hills and the Lead Hills were not far by car and we had day trips there in the summer to get out and climb the hills and run ourselves ragged, lol.

I was always champing at the bit to get out doors and explore anything in the countryside or historical places. To this day I love this kind of stuff. I have a nice collection of  Scottish and British history books that I treasure dearly. I like to reflect on them from time to time.

There is an old Roman foot bridge or brig as we call it, in one of the local parks. It's a funny little thing with no sides to it. Unless you knew the area you might not even notice it. When I saw it back around 1982, I would have been about 19 at the time. I remember being annoyed that kids had vandalised the old brig.  

It seemed that every Summer my parents took us to Stirling Castle too. Wow, what a fantastic place to visit. I enjoyed this place so much. I would dearly love to see it again.  This place is massive, with so much to see. It would take a whole day to go through it. I highly recommend this place. Wallace's Monument is just near by and is a must see.  Hell, why not just go visit Scotland itself and do a historical tour.

The tourist season starts in  March right through to the end of September. It is a sad but riveting history full of mystery and intrigue. Forget the famous 5 mysteries, lol. This stuff is real.
Another area that I was taken to see is Banockburn, where the famous battle took place with Robert the Bruce in 1314. From there we would then head for the highlands. Fantastic countryside all the way.

I remember going to Glenncoe, where the massacre took place between the MacDonald Clan and the Campbell Clan. This place makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. The atmosphere there is so eerie. It is very picturesque scenery but the overwhelming feeling of grief  is nauseating and distressing to those that are highly sensitive to the vibes there.

I was  about 15 years old the last time I was there. But I will never forget that awful feeling of death and sadness there.  That was one of my earliest psychic experience's with the suffering of others. There is a lone piper there playing for the dead. It is a very moving experience.

UPDATE 23 December 2018

 Above is the memorial stone of Robert Paterson, ( Old Mortality in the Sir Walter Scott novel of the same name) 1715 -1801, a stonemason and  Presbyterian who spent 40 years of his life traveling    around Scotland to all the covenanter's graves to carve a memorial to the people that lost their lives fighting for their cause.

His memorial stone in in Balmaclellan down in Dumfries and Galloway in the Scottish borders. This information came from the Scottish Covenanter's Facebook page. If any one is interested in Scottish history then you will find this page very interesting.