Friday, January 20, 2012

Lady Margaret Ogilvy of Airlie

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband; but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones."--Proverbs 12:5

After the success of last year's calendar, I made another one, containing 12 more noble women. The first one is Lady Margaret Ogilvy of Airlie. The dates of her birth and marriage are unknown, but I believe that c. 1590 and c. 1613 are fairly close (one son who inherited the title Lord Airlie was born c. 1615).

Much of her life is unknown, being recorded chiefly in a ballad named The Bonnie Hoose of Airlie. This ballad is set in 1640, during the beginning of the turmoil of the English Civil War. As the song goes, Lord Airlie and his men went to join the King's forces in Scotland, leaving Airlie Castle relatively undefended. A Covenanting army under the Marquis of Argyle appeared and Argyle asked for "one kiss" from Lady Airlie. Despite an overwhelming enemy army, she scorned the proposal. Furious, Argyle fired Airlie Castle, burning the lady inside.

When the Royalists found out about Argyle's faithless attack:

"'Draa yir dirks, draa yir dirks!' cried brave Lochiel;

'Unsheathe yir swords!' cried Chairlie,

'An we'll kennle sic a lowe roond the fause Argyll

'An we'll licht it wi a spark oot'n Airlie!'"

Facing a strong enemy army, Lady Airlie had held Airlie Castle--and her honour--for her husband, and she is to be commended.

Note 1: versions of The Bonnie Hoose o' Airlie differ, mine taken from

Note 2: Despite references to "Chairlie" and "Lochiel", this song is set in 1640, not 1745. "Lochiel" refers to Allan Cameron of Lochiel.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Be Vigilant

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:--1 Peter 5:8

"When in 1745 Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, marched southward after the capture of Edinburgh, an army under Sir John Cope advanced from Dunbar to stop his progress. This force had reached the neighbourhood of Haddington without having encounted the Prince and his Highlanders, and as Sir John became impatient to learn their whereabouts, he sent forward two scouts from the Edinburgh Volunteers. But these two faithless warriors never returned. Afterwards it was reported that they entered a tavern, where they became oblivious to their military duties over some sherry and oysters, and while they were in a drunken condition the scouts were captured by a mere lad, an attorney's clerk (emphasis his)."--A History of the Scottish People, volume 6, by Rev. Thomas Thompson.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Claverhouse's Motto

Despite R. M. Ballantyne's idea for Claverhouse's motto ("Stick at nothing!") the Viscount of Dundee provides us with a very clear presentation of his foremost idea.

In 1684, Graham of Claverhouse was courting Lady Jean Cochrane. Some of the King's men, who hated Claverhouse and wanted his job as Sheriff of Dumfries and Galloway, said that his service to the King would suffer if he married Lady Jean. When Claverhouse heard of this, he quickly sent off two letters to his commander, the Duke of Queensberry.

"But, or long, I will, in despight of them, let the world see that it is not in the power of love, nor any other folly, to alter my loyalty."

And this was not an idle boast. In the Revolution of 1688, Claverhouse had the opportunity to prove this as he single-handedly raised the Highlanders, raided MacKay, and in short, kept Scotland for James II until he was killed at Killiecrankie.

If Dundee could show such loyalty to a fallible, earthly sovereign, how much more determined ought we to be, who serve the King of Kings?