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obtained consent to marry Marion and thus get her part of it. However another local Baron, Lord Maxwell of nearby Caerlaverock Castle, took and occupied Mouswald Castle hoping to thwart the Douglas claim. They however contested his right to occupy the Castle stating that they had prior rights by way of a marriage contract. The case was settled by Privy Council in 1563 when Marion was ordered into the wardenship of Borthwick Castle and told not to try to return home until the marriage was settled. However she did escape and sought sanctuary in Comlongon Castle, owned by her uncle, Sir William Murray, and shortly after gave over half of her dowry to him, hoping this would persuade James Douglas not to enforce the marriage contract. However he was not to be dissuaded and instead sued through the courts for his 'just inheritance' i.e. Marion's estate, and he won the case. Marion was ordered to surrender herself to James. Possibly distressed to the point of madness after a 20 year long battle to avoid an arranged marriage she supposedly threw herself from the battlements or so it was said. However, long after her death rumours began which suggested that some of Douglas's men gained access to her chamber and tossed her from the battlements. Thus James Douglas was able to obtain her half of the Mouswald Estate without having to marry her. Because suicide was quickly reported at the time Marion was not given a proper Christian burial. In fact her final ignominy was such that her body was dismembered and disposed of in several locations at night under the strictest secretary so no formal reverence of her final resting place could ever be achieved. And so it is said that she haunts the castle forever looking for a proper resting place. (And she still hates the name of Douglas of Drumlanrig and gets irritated if anything pertaining to him or his clan is brought into the Castle.) Marion must have been a remarkable woman in a male dominated age. To have been dragged through courts on numerous occasions and to have fought her case for most of her life only to be thrown over the battlements late one autumn evening by hired thugs is a very cruel conclusion. One can only imagine she fought to the very end. However it happened, the story went, within a few short years of her demise that grass refused to grow on the spot where she died and that Marion Carruthers continues to walk in Comlongon Castle. Interestingly these documents were written only a few years after her death and indeed the area where she fell used to be a courtyard, where no grass did grow. Eventually the courtyard was built over by the present house, now a hotel. The precise site is believed to be under the present Drawing Room Over the years we have had many reports and sightings of Marion Carruthers, usually in a particular location which has resulted in renaming this particular room the Carruthers Suite. 27


comlongon_history
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