Scotland Visit '02
| So, people have asked,
where's Bo'ness? Did anything interesting ever happen there? Well,
yeah. Bo'ness is rich in history dating back to pre-roman era and is
filled with stories of intrigue, murder, suicides and mayhem.
In the 1800s Bo'ness was chock full of 'Resurrectionists'. These ghoulish fiends would steel into the graveyards of Bo'ness and take fresh corpses for anatomical experimentation. As a matter of fact two of Scotland's most famous resurrectionists, William Hare and William Burke, were rumored to have lurked about Bo'ness graveyards. But these two didn't always wait for a fresh body. If one wasn't handy they'd just hunt for a victim to sell to the 'scientists' of the times.
Here you see Jen and I 'digin' around the old Kinneil Gravesite and Church ruins in Bo'ness. Built around the mid 12th century.
Bo'ness is also reported to be the last place in Scotland where a witch was burned. While I wasn't able to find any concrete evidence of the spot, the townsfolk assure me this is it.
Bo'ness had plenty of martyred witches of record though. On Tuesday, December 23rd 1679, 1 man and 5 women were taken to the West end of Corbieshall and strangled at the stake until dead and then their bodies were taken to the East end of Pan Braes and burned at the shoreline. For years nothing would grown in the circular spot where the Bo'ness Witches were burned. There is a 'Witches Stone' today about 200 meters South West of where the original Carriden Church stood. Today, children run three times around this stone clockwise before making a wish.
Kinneil House and "the White Lady"
Following the execution of King Charles I Oliver Cromwell ordered General Lilbourne north to police Scotland, thus in 1651 he requisitioned Kinneil House as his headquarters. When ordered north General Lilbourne had recently married, reluctant to leave Lady Alice behind he decided to bring her with him. Alas his marriage was not a happy one and he frequently quarrelled with his homesick young bride, who pleaded with him to let her return to England.
To teach Lady Alice a lesson the General ordered that she should be locked in an attic room on the West Side of the building overlooking the rocky ravine through which flows the Gil burn. The resourceful Lady Lilbourne managed to escape wearing only a white night-gown, but was quickly recaptured and once again imprisoned in the attic. In desperation she flung herself out of the window to her death on the rocks almost 200 feet below.
Another unsubstantiated local version of this legend is that she tried to elope with her lover, a young officer who helped her to escape. Unfortunately they were caught and she was again imprisoned, the officer was not so lucky and was entombed alive in a hollow tree. It was on hearing this news that Lady Lilbourne flung herself into the Gil burn.
The story did not end with
her untimely death, her ghost, the aptly named "White Lady" can be seen
vainly searching the woods and old mansion house for her lover.
Here are some pictures of the
'haunted' Kinneil woods. I must admit to feeling 'watched' while we
trekked through the woods, but I'm pretty sure it was just Tess (Jen's pup),
or was it?
Ok, enough intrigue, lets go shopping at the Howgate...