Sexto, dicendum est de supersticionibus contumeliosis, quarum quedam sunt contumeliose Deo, quedam proximo. Deo contumeliose sunt supersticiones que divinos honores demonibus attribuunt, vel alicui alteri creature, ut facit idolatria, et ut faciunt misere mulieres sortilege que salutem petunt adorando sambucas vel offerendo eis, contemnendo ecclesias vel sanctorum reliquias, portando ibi pueros suos vel ad formicarios vel ad res alias, ad sanitatem consequendam. Sic faciebant nuper in diocesi Lugdunensi, ubi, cum ego predicarem contra sortilegia et confessiones audirem, multe mulieres confitebantur portasse se pueros suos apud sanctum Guinefortem. Et cum crederem esse sanctum aliquem, inquisivi, et audivi ad ultimum quod esset canis quidam leporarius, occisus per hunc modum. In diocesi Lugdunensi, prope villam monialium que dicitur Novile, in terra domini de Vilario, fuit quoddam castrum cujus dominus puerum parvulum habebat de uxore sua. Cum autem exivissent dominus et domina a domo et nutrix similiter, dimisso puero solo in cunabulis, serpens maximus intravit domum, tendens ad cunabula pueri; quod videns leporarius, qui ibi remanserat, eum velociter insequens et persequens sub cunabulo, evertit cunabula, morsibus serpentem invadens, defendentem se et canem similiter mordentem; quem ad ultimum canis occidit et a cunabulis pueri longe projecit, relinquens cunabula dicta cruentata, et terram et os suum et caput, serpentis sanguine, stans prope cunabula, male a serpente tractatus. Cum autem intrasset nutrix et hec videret, puerum credens occisum et devoratum a cane, clamavit cum maximo ejulatu; quod audiens, mater pueri similiter accurrit, idem vidit et credidit, et clamavit similiter. Similiter et miles, adveniens ibi, idem credidit, et, extrahens spatam, canem occidit. Tunc, accedentes ad puerum, invenerunt eum illesum, suaviter dormientem; inquirentes, inveniunt serpentem canis morsibus laceratum et occisum. Veritatem autem facti agnoscentes, et dolentes de hoc quod sic injuste canem occiderant sibi tam utilem, projecerunt eum in puteum qui erat ante portam castri, et acervum maximum lapidum super eum projecerunt, et arbores juxta plantaverunt in memoriam facti.
Castro autem divina voluntate destructo, et terra in desertum redacta est, ab habitatore relicta. Homines autem rusticani audientes nobile factum canis, et quomodo innocenter mortuus est pro eo de quo debuit reportare bonum, locum visitaverunt, et canem tanquam martyrem honoraverunt et pro suis infirmitatibus et neccessitatibus rogaverunt, seducti a diabolo et ludificati ibi pluries, ut per hoc homines in errorem adduceret. Maxime autem mulieres que pueros habebant infirmos et morbidos ad locum eos deportabant, et in quodam castro, per leucam ab eo loco propinquo, vetulam accipiebant, que ritum agendi et demonibus offerendi et invocandi eos doceret eas, et ad locum duceret. Ad quem cum venirent, sal et quedam alia offerebant, et panniculos pueri per dumos circumstantes pendebant, et acum in lignis, que super locum creverant, figebant, et puerum nudum per foramen quod erat inter duos truncos duorum lignorum [introducebant], matre existente ex una parte et puerum tenente et proiciente novies vetule que erat ex alia parte, cum invocatione demonum adjurantes faunos, qui erant in silva Rimite, ut puerum, quem eorum dicebant, acciperent morbidum et languidum, et suum, quem secum detulerant, reportarent eis pinguem et grossum, vivum et sanum. Et, hoc facto, accipiebant matricide puerum, et ad pedem arboris super stramina cunabuli nudum puerum ponebant, et duas candelas ad mensuram pollicis in utroque capite, ab igne quem ibi detulerant, succendebant et in trunco superposito infigebant, tamdiu inde recedentes quod essent consumpte et quod nec vagientem puerum possent audire nec videre; et sic candele candentes plurimos pueros concremabant et occidebant, sicut ibidem de aliquibus reperimus. Quedam etiam retulit mihi quod, dum faunos invocasset et recederet, vidit lupum de silva exeuntem et ad puerum euntem, ad quem, nisi affectu materno miserata prevenisset, lupus vel diabolus in forma ejus eum, ut dicebat, vorasset. Si autem, redeuntes ad puerum, eum invenissent viventem, deportabant ad fluvium cujusdam aque rapide propinque, dicte Chalarone, in quo puerum novies immergebant, qui valde dura viscera habebat si evadebat nec tunc vel cito post moreretur. Ad locum autem accessimus, et populum terre convocavimus, et contra dictum predicavimus. Canem mortuum fecimus exhumari et lucum succidi, et cum eo ossa dicti canis pariter concremari, et edictum poni a dominis terre de spoliacione et redempcione eorum qui ad dictum locum pro tali, causa de cetero convenirent.
— Étienne de Bourbon, Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues tirés du recueil inédit d’Étienne de Bourbon dominicain du xiiie siècle, édition de Albert Lecoy de la Marche, Paris: Henri Loones, 1877, no. 370, p. 325-328.
Inverawe Bonawe, as it is now called, but a very few years ago styled simply Inverawe, is a house the beauty of whose situation will vie with almost any in the Highlands. It is built on a short terrace on the banks of the river Awe, surrounded with trees whose age and beauty are second to none, save those of Inverary.
Inverawe, which is now in the possession of Mrs. Cameron Campbell, Monzie, was then held by a different family of the name Campbell, whose race, alas! has no representative amongst the proprietary of Argyleshire, their estates having passed away into the hands of the stranger; and yet this family held sway equal to that of Breadalbane not much more than two centuries ago, whilst acknowledging the suzerainty of the house of Argyll, from which they sprang. They themselves enjoyed a separate chieftainship of their own, under the name MacDhonnchaidh, a title which, amongst other septs, gave them lordship over part of the Clan Robertson, who held lands in Perth and a small portion of Stirlingshire.
Such were the style, titles, and estate, of the family into which the maid of Callard had entered, of whose grandson the following inexplicable events are recorded. The manners and customs of the Western Highlanders accord with those of their Eastern brothers in Asia, and will account for the code of honour so manfully sustained throughout the following narrative.
In character, Inverawe was what men term highly practical. He held agriculture and horticulture in high esteem, and there yet remains about the grounds many proofs of his taste and judgment in shrubs, trees, and flowers. The oldest larches in Scotland — not I think planted by him, or they could scarcely be so — are in the avenue leading to the house. He was not, therefore, prone to entertain superstitious fears.
There are two versions of the commencement of this tale, though both agree as to middle and end. I shall give both. The second most will agree to be the more reliable and likely. The first, if adopted, would raise a doubt in the mind as to the verity of the vision at all — as fear and sorrow, acting on an already over-excited brain, might easily produce a dream-fever or fever-dream.
In common with all of his order, degree, and country, Mr. Campbell exercised an unbounded hospitality, the fame of which went far, and those near availed themselves of it as often as the laws of courtesy allowed. On one, then, of these festive occasions in the years, or about the year, 1755-56, and some time in the full blaze of an exceptionally fine summer, were assembled in the hall of Inverawe a number of guests, of all degrees, seated at supper, which was eaten about six o’clock. The cloth had been removed, and the wine and spirits, with tankards and a punch bowl, had been laid upon it. Tumblers and glasses were little known, and a tankard served as a drinking-cup for more than one, sometimes circulating round the whole table. Toasts were indispensable to all feasts, even the most ordinary. Some toasts had already been given and responded to, when the host rose to give it fuller honour — to drink to the health, wealth, and prosperity of his cousin and foster-brother, at the mention of whose name a noise like thunder shook the house to the foundation, striking terror to the hearts of the boldest. There was a simultaneous rush to the door to find out the cause,– all was serene and beautiful, not a cloud flecked the horizon, not a breath stirred the leaves. The blistering sun was descending in full radiance with no foreboding look of storm, only speaking of a peaceful resting and assurance of a glorious to-morrow. All returned to the festive chamber in awes-struck silence, the awkwardness of which was broken by numerous guests giving “Deoch-an-Doruis”; all drank and then retired. Our host at once betook himself to his own apartment to rest, meditate, and read. The occurrence above related gave him much to think about. Again and again he revolved the incident in his mind, endeavouring to find a solution of the mystery. Despite his better reason, old tales of forewarnings and mysterious visitations occurred to his mind, and he endeavoured in vain to banish them. His son’s absence with his regiment, to which he himself was also attached, in Holland, a natural cause of anxiety to a parent at any time, became now agonising, and he groaned aloud in his distress. Suddenly a noise of rushing footsteps is heard. Campbell sprang to his feet, thinking the worst forebodings of his heart were about to be realised, and that the messenger of evil had already come. His door was roughly thrown open. A man, dirty, dishevelled, panting, and terror-stricken, entered the apartment, throwing himself down on his knees and imploring protection, saying, “The avengers of blood are on my track.” The rebound from the anxious terror from which Inverawe had suffered, filled his heart with such gratitude that, with even more of the generous alacrity to succour the needy than was usual to him, he bade the suppliant rise, saying, “By the word of an Inverawe, which never failed friend or foe yet, I will, should you have slain my brother.” He then led the man across the room, opened a concealed door, and thrust the fugitive in. Scarcely had he done so, when his presence was again invaded by an eager, panting throng of people, who called out, “Should M’Niven come praying for shelter, do not give it to him, for he has slain your foster-brother.” On saying which, they rushed out as suddenly as they had entered, to resume their fruitless pursuit, leaving Inverawe in a state of perturbation more easily imagined than described. With unequal tread he paced the floor, his head bent within his hands to stay the throbbing of his burning temples. When he had attained sufiicient calmness, he pushed aside the panel, and saw crouching in the furthest corner the being he had promised to protect, whom he now loathed with the deepest hatred of his soul, and whose attitude of cringing cowardice quickened the feeling to almost the outward manifestation of violence. In cold, measured tones he bade him rise and follow him, at the same time taking with him some of the coverings of his bed.
The other and simpler edition is, that whilst Inverawe was in the fields looking over some work which had been finished the day before, he was startled by the sight of a man, with clothes torn, dishevelled hair, bleeding feet, and gasping for breath, crouching at his feet, and craving in earnest tones of agonising entreaty for protection. Listening to the prompting of his generous nature, and obeying the laws of Highland honour, he at once assured the man by the word of an Inverawe that he would save him; and lest the pursuers should come up before he had time to keep his promise, he bade the suppliant follow him to a cave on the side of Ben Cruachan, the secret of the locality of which was handed down from father to son as an heirloom to be kept hidden even from his bosom friend. It could only be approached from one side. The entrance was small, looking much like a tod-hole; but it contained two or more good-sized rooms which were dry and airy, though in one there is, I believe, a well, remarkable alike for the purity, coolness, and sweetness of its water. It is more than probable that this is the cave which was used by The Bruce and Wallace when they found shelter and peace for a time in Argyleshire. To this cave, then, Inverawe led his guest. When about to leave him within its safe recesses, the wretched being, the gnawings of whose terror-stricken conscience were almost unendurable, implored him not to leave him alone. Inverawe’s honest, courageous soul recoiled at such a show of cowardice; he spurned the man from him with disgust, though he gave assurance of a speedy return with food and warm coverings.
Inverawe was wending his way homewards, when he espied a number of men and boys running about in search of something. The foremost, looking up and recognising Mr. Campbell, at once went up to him and said, “If M’Niven comes later to ask you for a safe-conduct, do not give it to him; he has slain your foster-brother.” Mr. Campbell was thunderstruck, and could give no reply. His informant, knowing well the tender attachment that had subsisted between the two brethren, with that intuitive tact which is one of the most distinctive attributes of a true-born Highlander, and which gives to even the untaught amongst them the grace and breeding of gentlemen, touched his hat in respectful silence and withdrew, to let him weep unseen. Weary, heavy, worn, and feeling suddenly aged and forlorn, he sought the quiet of his own home. Bitter thoughts of angry hate and contempt mingled strangely together with his plighted troth and compassion for the misguided wrong-doer. The code of honour prevailed over his natural desire for revenge, so he returned as soon as he safely could with wrappings and a little food, telling him he would come back with more shortly after dawn. On Inverawe’s return home he betook himself at once to bed. He generally read for some hours ere sleeping, and on this night he followed out his usual rule. He had not been reading long when his book became slightly overshadowed. On looking up to ascertain the cause, to his surprise and almost horror, he saw standing close by the bed the form of his foster-brother, who looked ghastly pale. His locks were matted together and his garments blood-stained. In pleading tones the vision uttered the words, “lnverawe, give up the murderer; blood must flow for blood. I have warned you once.” Inverawe replied, “You know I cannot. I have sworn by the honour of an Inverawe, which never failed friend nor foe yet, and I cannot dishonour it, nor will I.” With almost menacing gesture the vision withdrew, Inverawe could not see how or where. To affirm that Inverawe experienced no sensation of fear, would be to deprive him of an honour rather than confer one. But that he successfully combated it, and rose to see whether it were possible for any one to have entered the apartment or to be lingering within it still, is argument conclusive that his courage was that of a man, not that of a brute or bully. Finding nothing within the room, he went over the whole house, carefully scrutinising every corner, bolt and bar — still finding no possible mode of egress or ingress for any one in bodily form. That the word pledged to bring food was faithfully kept on the morrow, goes without saying. Next evening, after all others had retired to rest, he subjected the house to a keen and searching quest for any trace of others than those he knew having found an asylum within its walls, and it is said he locked every door — after which he went to his room, and as far as he knew, he secured every avenue to it; but in vain. The vision again appeared, and saying the same words, save that this time he said, “I have warned you twice,” to which Inverawe undauntedly replied, “I can and will not.” On repairing to the scene, however, next day, he thought he would guard himself as much as possible from such disagreeable visits. He told the murderer he feared he could not protect him much longer — that he must seek another hiding-place. During the whole day all within the house of Inverawe observed how moody and dejected he was, and that his usual composed bearing had given place to a startled feverishness, and all thought it the outcome of sorrow alone. On this evening he again shut up the house, carefully examining each lock — in vain, for neither bolt nor bar could keep out this visitor. True to the time and the hour, he again appeared, adjuring Inverawe more solemnly than ever to give up the murderer. Mr. Campbell again refused. On the instant the whole manner of the spectre changed, and in tones which made the proud heart of Inverawe quail, said, “You cannot now. You have suffered him to escape. We shall meet again at Ticonderoga” (a fortress of the French in America as yet unknown in Britain). As soon as daylight broke, Inverawe was far on his way to the cavern, which to his dismay he found tenantless. To describe even feebly his agitation would be impossible. He hastened home, and then detailed the events just recorded to his family. Much discussion and wonderment took place on the subject, especially with regard to the threatened rendezvous, until at last it passed, as things of the kind often do, into a joke.
A year or two after this, when one of the Anglo-French wars was at its height, the contest having been carried by Britain to America, Inverawe and his son were instructed to join their regiment, the 42d, which was ordered to the scene of action. On their arrival in America and their first exploits there, I will not dwell as the story has nothing to do with these events; so I shall at once bring it to an end by taking the reader to an encampment amidst the clearings of a huge forest, within easy distance of a strongly fortified town. Officers and men are seated in gay converse round their various camp-fires. Round the fire specially dedicated to the Staff are some favourite officers of superior rank or station, and amongst them Campbell of Inverawe and his son. Story has succeeded story in rotation, and now it is Mr. Campbell’s turn. He, his mind revolving on many things at home, tells the tale of his visitations. After he had finished, and the remarks on the mysterious threat had become general, Campbell turned suddenly to the Colonel, and said, “By the way, Colonel, you have not told us what fort we are to storm to-morrow.” “No,” said the Colonel; “it is St Louis. But come, gentlemen, to bed — we have had enough of this.”
How gallantly our brave fellows endeavoured to gain the town is a matter of history, especially the conduct of the 42d, who in vain endeavoured to scale the mud rampart — that formidable barrier of defence which has become familiarly dreadful to our modern ears, but which was then slightly if at all known to our soldiery. Again and again they assailed the rampart, to be defeated, but not beaten — Inverawe and his son leading the force, with their example and voice encouraging the men, until first the son and then the father were cut down, with many a brave and loving heart beating its own funeral drum by their side. General Amherst, seeing the losses he had sustained, beat the recall. Having asked and obtained a truce, the English army proceeded to gather up their dead, dying, and wounded. The Colonel, who had known the name of the town was Ticonderoga, but who had withheld the knowledge from Campbell in case of the effect on his nerve, having been much impressed with the coincidence, had seen him and his son fall, and hastened to the spot. The son was already dead, the father’s life was ebbing fast. The Colonel urged him to speak, in case he should wish some message transmitted to Scotland. Slowly Inverawe opened his eyes, and recognising the Colonel, he said in accents of deep reproach — “You have deceived me, Gordon! I have seen it again, and this is Ticonderoga.” It is said that the Colonel kept a record of the story in his commonplace-book. The father and son were buried together, and the Colonel raised a monument to their memory on the spot some years after the second siege, when their death was so signally revenged.
And now I must again cross the Atlantic to record one of those curious sky-pictures which have baffled so successfully the skill of philosophers. Whilst the engagement at Ticonderoga was in progress, two ladies — the Misses Campbell of the old house of Ederlin — were walking from Kilmalieu, and had reached the top of the new bridge, Inverary, when they were attracted by some unusual appearance in the sky. They at once recognised it as a siege, and could distinctly trace the different regiments with their colours, and even recognised many of the men. They saw Inverawe and his son cut down, and others whom they mentioned as they fell one by one. They told the circumstance to all their friends, and noted down the names of each — the ‘Gazette’ weeks afterwards corroborating their whole statements by the details there given of the siege and the number of killed and wounded. A physician, who was a Danish knight and an Englishman, was with his body servant enjoying a walk round the castle when their eyes were also attracted by the phenomenon; and they established the testimony of the two ladies. The physician’s name was Sir William Hart.
— Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).
[A]ne stone of the quantitie of half a hen’s egg sett in silver, being flatt at the ane end and round at the vther end lyke a peir, quhilk Sir Coline Campbell first Laird of Glenvrquhy woir quhen he faught in battell at the Rhodes agaynst the Turks, he being one of the Knychtis of the Rhodes.
From a 1640 “Inventory of Plenissing” of Taymouth Castle, contained in the Black Book of Taymouth.
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According to the National Museums Scotland record of the object, the Glenorchy Charm-stone of Breadalbane (catalogued as “Charmstone, owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy, Argyllshire;” ID 000-100-002-959-C) may date from the 7th or 8th century. The rock crystal, which is damaged on one side, is presently set in a 17th century silver mount (70 mm H x 45 mm W), the rim of which is decorated with four stones of red coral alternating with four silver balls/bosses. It has a bail allowing the charm to be suspended from a chain.
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There are a number of crystal balls held by various Highland families, a surprising number of whom are Campbells. They share common magical properties such as the miraculous cure of humans and animals and the guarantee of safe return from travel or war. None is very large, two inches in diameter at most; some are or have been mounted in metal and some are unadorned. One or two are displayed as the centrepiece in large and complicated silver brooches.
Their origin is a mystery. According to G. F. Black (Letter to Oban Times, 30 April 1938), the crystals date from the Late Iron Age. They originate from China and have always had occult powers; some of the have later been ‘turned’ by the Church to Christian purposes and incorporated into reliquaries. Around twenty examples have been found in graves in England mostly of the Anglo-Saxon period and three or four in Ireland. There have been examples in Denmark, Germany, and France.
How they got here is unknown for certain, and why they should be clustered in the Highlands, particularly the West Highlands, and why so many should be in the Campbell hands is very strange. It is tempting to see the Middle East and the Crusades as a possible way for them to have found their way here, but this would not fit with the statement that the English examples dated from the Anglo-Saxon period, and when I asked Sir Steven Runciman, the great authority on the Crusades, whether he had ever come across anything of the kind, his answer was a decided ‘no’.
In fact, in two cases the stones are said to come from the Middle East. The Ardvorlich stone is said by Simpson to have been brought back by an ancestor from the Crusades — this would have to been one of the early Stewarts of what was to become the Royal Line, unless of course it was through the distaff side — and the Breadalbane stone was said to have been brought back from Rhodes by Sir Colin Campbell, which was after the end of the Crusades as such.
The Breadalbane charmstone. Claimed to cure ills, protect its devotees and bring them safe home. Some years ago, I was sent a small notebook by Miss Thelma Lewis, lately companion to Armorer, Countess of Breadalbane. It contained an account of material on the family including the sad tale of a young man in the 6th Black Watch during the First World War. On the eve of his departure, he went up to the castle to pay his respects to Lord Breadalbane, who got out the charmstone and, according to ancient custom, dipped it in a glass of water from which they both drank to the young man’s safe return. On this occasion, the charm did not work. Breadalbane had previously taken the stone with him as a good-luck talisman on his tour of South Africa in 1896-7.
— Alastair Lorne Campbell of Airds, A History of Clan Campbell: Volume I: From Origins to Flodden, Edinburgh, 2000, Appendix 5, pp. 299-300.
Loch Slapin, shore of sea loch, at Kilbride, Isle of Skye.
The inhabitants of this Island are for the most part of a good stature, strong and nimble, of a good complexion, live verie long, much addicted to hunting, arching, shooting, swimming, wherein they are expert. Their language for the most part is Irish, which is very empathetick, and for its antiquity Scaliger reckons it one of the material languages of Europe. They are good lovers of all sorts of mussick — have a good ear.
As to their women they are very modest, temperet in ther dyet and apparell, excessively grieved at the death of any near relation.
All the inhabitants here have a great veneration for their superiour, whom with the King they make particular mention of in ther privat devotion. Besides ther land rents, they ordinarilie send gratis to their superiours of the product of ther lands of all sorts. They honour ther ministers in a high degree, to whose care, under God, they owe ther freedom from idolatrie and many superstitious customes. Their traditions, wherein they are verie faithful, gives account that this Isle has been in time of the Danes and since, the scene of many warlik exploits. Some of ther genealogers can neither read nor writt, and yett will give an account of some passages in Buchanan his Chronicles, Plutarches Lives; yea, they will not onlie talk of what has passed in former ages, but in ther pedigree will almost ascend near Adam, as ifthey had an Ephemerides of all ther ancestors’ lives. They treat strangers with great civility, and give them such as the place does afford without ever demanding any payment. There are among them who excell in poetrie, and can give a satyre or panegyrick ex tempore on sight upon anie subject whatsomever.
– Description of Sky from The Spottiswoode Miscellany: A Collection of Original Papers and Tracts, Illustrative Chiefly of the Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, Spottiswoode Society, 1845.
Caput 10: De Alia Maligna Fontana Aqua Quam Vir Beatus in Pictorum Regione Benedixit
ALIO in tempore, vir beatus, cum in Pictorum provincia per aliquot demoraretur dies, audiens in plebe gentili de alio fonte divulgari famam, quem quasi deum stolidi homines, diabolo eorum obcaecante sensus, venerabantur; nam de eodem fonticulo bibentes, aut in eo manus vel pedes de industria lavantes, daemoniaca, Deo permittente, percussi arte, aut leprosi, aut lusci, aut etiam debiles, aut quibuscunque aliis infestati infirmitatibus revertebantur. Ob quae omnia seducti gentiles divinum fonti deferebant honorem. Quibus compertis, Sanctus alia die intrepidus accessit ad fontem. Quod videntes magi, quos saepe ipse confusos et victos a se repellebat, valde gavisi sunt, scilicet putantes eum similia illius nocuae tactu aquae passurum. Ille vero imprimis elevata manu sancta, cum invocatione Christi nominis, manus lavat et pedes; tum deinde cum sociis de eadem, a se benedicta, bibit. Ex illaque die daemones ab eodem recesserunt fonte, et non solum nulli nocere permissus est, sed etiam, post Sancti benedictionem et in eo lavationem, multae in populo infirmitates per eundem sanatae sunt fontem.
— St. Adomnán’s Vita Columbæ, Book II, Chapter 10.