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NOTES TO CANTO I.
LOCKHART OF LEE.
[The celebrated Lee Penny is deposited at Lee-house, a fine old mansion, modernized within the last few years in the castellated form, and the seat of Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, baronet, the representative of a long and illustrious line of ancestors. In the olden time this stone or penny was held in great repute from the medicinal virtues which were attributed to it, not only for healing the diseases of bestial, but for its effects in restoring the human species from disease and danger. This ancient relic is a small triangularly shaped stone, of what kind lapidaries are unable to determine, and is set in a silver coin, which, from the appearance of a cross upon it, is supposed to be a shilling of Edward I. The way of applying the remedy was by drawing the stone once round and dipping it three times in a goblet of water, of which the patient drank, or applied the liquid to the wound. This process was known by the phrase of three dips and a sweil. This talisman has been in the family of the Lockharts of Lee ever since the days of Robert the Bruce, and according to well-authenticated tradition it came into their possession in the following manner:— Sir Simon Locard of Lee accompanied the good Sir James Douglas in his mission to deposit the heart of the Bruce in the Holy Land; and to defray his expenses, a deed still in existence, dated 1323, shows that he borrowed a sum of money from Sir William de Lindsay, prior of Ayre, to whom he gave an annuity bond for £10 over his lands of Lee. From Sir Simon's services in this mission, the name of Locard was changed to Lock-heart or Lockhart, and the armorial bearings of the family show a heart within a lock, and the motto, Cordo serata pando. Although the good Sir James Douglas
was killed fighting with the infidels in Spain, Sir Simon made his way to the Holy Land, and in the course of his encounters there took prisoner a Saracen chief, for whose liberty a large sum of money was offered by his lady. In counting out the amount of the ransom-money, the lady dropped this gem from amongst it, and evincing great eagerness to pick it up, the Scottish knight made inquiry regarding it, and reluctantly these were explained, upon which Sir Simon declared that it must form part of the ransom, otherwise the Saracen chier would remain in his fetters. Her affection for her husband being stronger than her regard for the talisman, the lady yielded it up, and it has ever since remained the property of the Lockhart family. The house of Lee used often to be resorted to by the diseased to be healed by its virtues, and more than once the Lee penny has been lent to individuals or public bodies for the same purpose, but always for a short period, and upon due security being given for its safe return. In the reign of Charles I., when the plague was raging in Newcastle, the corporation obtained the loan of the Lee penny, and gave a bond of £6,000 in security. Its effects seem to have been extremely beneficial, for the corporation were disposed to forfeit the bond, and retain the stone; but the laird of Lee would not agree to this appropriation, and his penny was accordingly returned. On another occasion, about the beginning of last century, it was applied for by the husband of a Lady Baird of Saughtonhill, near Edinburgh, and was exhibited in her case with great efficacy. The lady had been bitten by a rabid dog, and symptoms of hydrophobia are said to have commenced before the magic stone arrived; but by drinking the water in which it had been dipped, and by bathing her in it, Lady Baird was completely restored! The coin, to which a small silver chain is attached, is preserved in a gold box, the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa to the father of the celebrated Count Lockhart. The Lee penny has been beautifully introduced by Sir Walter Scott in his novel of "The Talisman.' Up to a very late period, the supposed virtues of this ancient relic were occasionally called into requisition, especially by the peasantry, and its effects were often those which have been ascribed it: but it is now well known that where a cure was performed the patient was more indebted for it to his imagination than to the Lee penny
The using of the Lee penny was at one time the subject of
inquiry before the church-courts, and the following extract from the minutes of the period may be interesting:
"Copy of an act of the Synode and Assembly apud Glasgow, the 25th of October, Synode session 2d.
"Quhilk daye amongest the referies of the brethern of the ministrie of Lanark, it was propondit to the Synode that Gawen Hammiltoune of Raploch had preferit ane complaint before them against Sir Thomas Lockhart of Lee, anent the superstitious using of ane stone, set in silver, for the curing of deseased cattel, qulk the said Gawen affirmed could not be lawfullie used, and that they had deferit to give any desisioune therin till the advise of the Assemblie might be heard concerning the same. The Assemblie having inquerit of the maner of using therof, and particularlie understood be examinatioune of the said laird of Lie and otherwise, that the custom is onlie to cast the stone in sume water, and give the deseasit cattel therof to drink, and yt the same is done wt-out using onie wordes, such as charmers use in their unlawful practisses-and considering that in nature there are monie thinges sein to work strange effect, qrof no humane witt can give a reason, it having pleasit God to give unto stones and herbes a special virtue for the healling of mony infirmities in man and beast-and advises the brethern to surcease thair process, as qr-in they perseive no ground of offence-and admonishes the said Laird of Lie in the using of the said stone, to tak heid it be usti heir after wt the least scandall that possiblie may be.-Extract out of the bookes of the Assemblie holden at Glasgow, and subscribed by thair clerk at their command.-Mr. Robert Young, clerk to the Assemblie at Glasgow."]
Independently of the intense historical interest which must ever attach to the residence of 'the Douglas,' there is a melancholy association connected with Douglas castle, as being the scene of 'Castle Dangerous,' the last novel of Sir Walter Scott, and the last place to which he made a pilgrimage in Scotland. The preface to this work was transmitted by Sir Walter from Naples in 1832, and contains the following pas
sage: "The author, before he had made much progress in this, probably the last of his novels, undertook a journey to Douglasdale, for the purpose of examining the remains of the famous castle, the kirk of St. Bride of Douglas, the patronsaint of that great family, and the various localities alluded to by Godscroft, in his account of the early adventures of Good Sir James; but though he was fortunate enough to find a zealous and well-informed cicerone in Mr. Thomas Haddow, and had every assistance from the kindness of Mr. Alexander Finlay, the resident chamberlain of his friend Lord Douglas, the state of his health at the time was so feeble that he found himself incapable of pursuing his researches, as in better days he would have delighted to do, and was obliged to be contented with such a cursory view of scenes, in themselves most interesting, as could be snatched in a single morning, when any bodily exertion was painful. Mr. Haddow was attentive enough to forward subsequently some notes on the points which the author had seemed desirous of investigating; but these did not reach him until, being obliged to prepare matters for a foreign excursion in quest of health and strength, he had been compelled to bring his work, such as it is, to a conclusion. The remains of the old castle of Douglas are inconsiderable. They consist, indeed, of but one ruined tower, standing at a short distance from the modern mansion, which itself is only a fragment of the design on which the Duke of Douglas meant to reconstruct the edifice, after its last accidental destruction by fire. His Grace had kept in view the ancient prophecy that, as often as Douglas castle might be destroyed it shoul rise again in enlarged dimensions and improved splendour, and projected a pile of building, which, if it had been completed, would have much exceeded any nobleman's residence then existing in Scotland; as, indeed, what has been finished, amounting to about one-eighth of the plan, is sufficiently extensive for the accommodation of a large establishment, and contains some apartments the extent of which is magnificent. The situation is commanding; and though the Duke's successors have allowed the mansion to continue as he left it, great expense has been lavished on the environs, which now present a vast sweep of richly undulated woodland, stretching to the borders of the Cairntable mountains, repeatedly mentioned as the favourite retreat of the great ancestor of the family in the days of his hardships, and persecution. There remains at the
head of the adjoining bourg, the choir of the ancient church of St. Bride, having beneath it the vault which was used, till lately, as the burial-place of this princely race, and only abandoned when their stone and leaden coffins had accumulated, in the course of five or six hundred years, in such a way that it could accommodate no more. Here a silver case, containing the dust of what was once the brave heart of Good Sir James, is still pointed out; and in the dilapidated choir above appears, though in a sorely ruinous state, the once magnificent tomb of the warrior himself."]
THE DOUGLAS FAMILY.
[The whole family of Douglas, "whose coronet so often counterpoised the crown," and which has so closely linked the district of Douglasdale to Scottish story, is said to have been founded by Theobald, a Fleming, who acquired these lands at a very early pcriod. The first great man of the house, however, was "the Good Sir James," who was the friend and companion of Robert the Bruce in his valorous efforts to achieve the independence of Scotland. His own castle of Douglas had been taken and garrisoned by the troops of Edward I., and he resolved to take it, and at the same time inflict signal chastisement on the intruders. History tells us that a beautiful English maiden, named the Lady Augusta Berkely, had replied to her numerous suitors that her hand should be given to him who should have the courage and the ability to hold the perilous castle of Douglas for a year and a day; and Sir John de Walton, anxious to win by his valour such a lovely prize, undertook the keeping of the castle by consent of Edward. For several months he discharged his duty with honour and bravery, and the lady now deeming his probation accomplished, and not unwilling perhaps to unite her fortunes to one who had proved himself a true and valiant knight, wrote him an epistle recalling him. By this time, however, he had received a defiance from Douglas, who declared that despite all his bravery and vigilance, the castle should be his own by Palm Sunday; and De Walton deemed it a point of honour to keep possession till the threatened day should pass over. On the day named Douglas having assembled his followers, assailed the English as they retired from the church,