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American Traveler
American Traveler
Contributed by Susan

Description: Singular Assassination in Kincardineshire

Date: December 28 1827

Newspaper published in: Boston, Mass

Page/Column: 1

Singular Assassination in Kincardineshire

The fate of one of the sheriffs of this county in former times merits notice, especially as connected with a ruin in the parish of Eccliscraig [Ecclesgrieg?], formerly a place of great strength, being erected on a perpendicular and peninsulated rock, 60 feet above the sea at the mouth of a small rivulet. It was built in consequence of a murder committed in the reign of James the First, and the circumstances deserves to be recorded, as it affords a specimen of the barbarity of the times. MELVILLE, Sheriff of Kincardineshire, had, by a vigorous exercise of his authority, rendered himself so very obnoxious to the Barons of the county that they had made repeated complaints to the King. On the last of these occasions, the King, in a fit of impatience, happened to say to BARCLAY of Mathers, "I wish that Sheriff were sodden and supped in brue." BARCLAY instantly withdrew and reported to his neighbours the King's words, whey they resolved literally to fulfill. Accordingly the conspirators invited the unsuspecting MELVILLE to a hunting party in the forest of Garvock, where having a fire kindled and a caldron of water boiling on it, they rushed to the spot, stripped the Sheriff naked, and threw him headlong into the boiling vessel; after which, on pretense of fulfilling the royal mandate, each swallowed a spoonful of the broth. After this cannibal feast, BARCLAY, to screen himself from the vengeance of the King, built this fortress, which before the invention of gunpowder, must have been impregnable. Some of the conspirators were afterwards pardoned. One of the pardons is said to be still in existence; and the reason assigned for granting it is that the conspirator was within the tenth degree of the kin to MacDUFF, Thane of Fife.

[Transcriber's Note: James the First ruled 1406-1437. Some sources give a date of 1420 for the building of the fortress castle.

Submitted: 10/06/13

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