Lochan na Mna & Sir Walter Scott’s tale of “A Legend of Montrose”
The following gruesome tale is factual and it provided the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s tale, A Legend of Montrose.
It was the custom to provide hospitality to anyone who asked for food and shelter. In accordance with this custom, Lady Margaret Stewart at Ardvorlich, pregnant at the time, gave hospitality to some traveling MacGregors. However, they had just come from murdering her brother, John Drummond of Drummonderinoch, and while she was out of the room placed his severed head on a silver platter, and placed in his mouth some of the cold victuals she had served them. She was so distraught that she ran out to the hills, went into labor and gave birth to James Stewart, later known as the Mad Major.
The lochan she gave birth by is known as Lochan na Mna, the Lochan of the Woman, on the side of Beinn Domhnuill. Major James Stewart is one of the great historical characters of the Covenanting Wars and is the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s novel A Legend of Montrose, in which he changed James Stewart’s name to Allan Macauley. This name is actually engraved on the foot of Major Stewart’s gravestone in the Stewarts of Ardvorlich old kirk of Dundurn just outside the village of St Fillans on the shores of Loch Earn.
A photo of the gravestone and other information on the Stewarts of Ardvorlich can be found here.
Lochan na Mna is near the Ardvorlich House, Comrie, Perthshire.
Erice is an historic town and comune in the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy. The town is perched on top of Monte San Guliano. “It is in the fog clouds day and night - very unusual: beautiful and mysterious.” - Ovid Heroides 15.57-58
There are two castles that remain in the city: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, and the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped. According to legend, the temple was founded by Aeneas and was well-known throughout the ancient Mediterranean area.
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