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comlongon_history

Comlongon Castle under the stewardship of Dr Barnardos in 1943 The Ghost of Comlongon Castle The tragic tale of Marion Carruthers On the 25th September 1568 it was recorded that the Lady Marion Carruthers "did willfully take her own life by leaping from the lookout tower of Comlongon Castle" where she was being held captive and did "break her head and bones". Subsequently it was noticed that no grass would grow on the spot where she fell and an apparition of a young lady was often seen in and around the castle usually crying. For 400 year this myth has become local folklore. However recent research of various documents available shed new light on this very tragic tale. The events which lead up to her mysterious death began when her father, Sir Simon Carruthers, born in 1517, son of Simon 9th of Mouswald and his wife Katherine, daughter of William Lord Carlile. In April 1531, Simon succeeded his father as 10th Baron of Mouswald. In 1538 he married Agnes, daughter of Cuthbert Murray of Cockpool. In about 1540, his eldest daughter Janet was born and on 30 Nov 1541 a second daughter Marion was born. In 1544, Simon married Mariota, sister of John Johnstone of that Ilk. In the same year, Simon got a new free barony of Mouswald from the Crown. It included parts of the older Carruthers barony with various additional lands. Simon died between some time before 13 Aug 1548 probably in a Border raid by the "Thevis of the Marche". On 13 Aug 1548, Queen Mary granted Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig ward and marriage of Simon's two daughters. For this privilege, he had to pay 3000 pounds cash to secure their inheritance and he had to support and maintain them until they reached marriageable age. In return, of course, he intended to marry them to men sworn to him and thus secure their inheritance for himself. On 21 Mar 1557, the uncle of the two girls Charles Murray of Cockpool and his brothers Archibald and Cuthbert wrote to the Lords of the Counsel stating that the two girls were now past the age of 14 and lodging a protest against Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig. The protest states that he has kept both Janet and Marion in "subjectioun and thraldome" and will not permit them freedom to go about and visit their friends and deal with their affairs. The Lords demanded that Douglas bring the girls to Edinburgh and show the Counsel whether they were kept in "thraldome" or not and so the Counsel could see to it that they were set at liberty. In 1560, the elder sister, Janet, reached mature age. Sir James told her that since her lands lay so near the Border, they had been laid waste and she and her sister would get no profit from them. He therefore proposed that she marry Thomas Roreson of Bardannock and Drumlanrig would give her a dowry (or tocher) of 1000 marks and "other considerations." Janet, seeing the way things were and that Drumlanrig was 25


comlongon_history
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