Bogle Bush, Collace, Perthshire

Legendary Tree:  OS Grid Reference – NO 19 32

Also Known as :

  1. Bogle Busk
  2. Bogle Buss

Archaeology & History

1867 Map Bogle Bush

The site on the 1867 OS Map

Perusal of a 25″ OS map of  1867 shows, in almost microscopic lettering, a feature marked ‘Bogle Bush’.  I transferred the approximate location onto a modern map and set off to make a field visit, honestly not expecting to find anything almost a century and a half later.

Bogle bush 1

The Bogle Bush

As I walked down the designated road I was drawn to an ancient multi branched or trunked tree, the trunks held together by a hefty iron band. The band had been placed there many years ago as it was being absorbed by the growth of the tree. Unlike the other trees in the road the foot of this tree had crocus and grape hyacinth in flower, as if deliberately planted.

The band was forged and fitted by Kinrossie Blacksmith and Kirk Elder David Gray at the end of the nineteenth century, following the collapse of one of the three trunks then standing.

Bogle Bush 2

The band holding the tree together

The online Ordnance Survey Name Books for Perthshire, compiled prior to the survey of the 1867 map, list Robert Millar of Flowerdale, Mr James Stewart of Kinrossie and Mr Fraser of St Euchans as the informants that ‘This name is applied to a Birch Tree situated on the north side of the road leading from Saucher to Kinrossie. Mr Millar says that there is a superstitious tradition existing in the locality that Bogles have been seen &c at this tree’.

Whether Mr Millar and his co-informants were trying to mischievously mislead the (probably) English Ordnance Survey officials, we will never know, but the tree is in fact a Sycamore! And the 1901 25″ OS map shows the tree as the ‘Bogle Busk’.

Folklore

There has been speculation that the Bogle Bush may have long forgotten links with Macbeth whose fortess at nearby Dunsinnan Hill overlooks it, adding the rider that Sycamores only live 200 years or so before falling and then regenerating on the same spot, implying that a mother tree could have been on the same spot in Macbeth’s time.

David Gray, Blacksmith and Kirk Elder of Kinrossie.

David Gray, Blacksmith and Kirk Elder of Kinrossie.

Local folklore states that ‘a great calamity will befall Kinrossie’ should the Bush collapse. The tree is a local icon that’s ‘aye been there’ according to a local resident and it seems to be a local geo-caching site, judging by the small container of ‘stuff’ hidden in a plastic container underneath a couple of pieces of bark at the base of the trunk on my visits.

Please note that if you decide to visit, this is not a wishing tree, so do not hammer coins into the bark or suspend rags from the branches. Respect the Bush and the local people to whom this is an iconic tree.

My thanks to local resident Morag Hislop for leading me to further information on this site.

References:

  1. Scotland’s Place Names
  2. Collace Parish Millenium Committee, Off The Main Road, 2nd edition: Kinrossie District Recreation Club, 2010

 © Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.473334, -3.316698 Bogle Bush

Bogle’s Well, Glasgow, Lanarkshire

Sacred Well:  OS Grid Reference – NS 597 650

Archaeology & History

Of all the ancient wells in the city of Glasgow, this has to be one of the most intriguing! Descriptions of it are few and far between, but it is the name of the site which is of interest, to folklorists and occult historians alike.  For the word ‘Bogle’ is another term for a ‘boggart’ or goblin of some sort!  The well is mentioned in Andy MacGeorge’s (1880) excellent study in his description of ancient wells in the city. Citing notes from the 17th century, amidst many sites,

“Another was Bogle’s Well, in regard to which there is a minute of the town council “that Bogillis Well should be assayed for bringing and convoying the water of the same to the Hie street according to the right the town hes thereof,” and the magistrates are recommended to arrange for having this done “by conduits of led.””

…Obviously in the days when they were clueless about lead-poisoning!  The word ‘bogillis’ is the early plural form of the bogle, or bogill (Grant 1941:201).  But where exactly was this old well?  Are there any other records hiding away to help us locate its original position?  It seems to have been one in a cluster of legendary and holy wells in a very small area scattered between Glasgow’s cathedral, down the High Street and to the northern banks of the River Clyde… (the grid-reference given for this site is an approximation)  In a less esoteric fashion, the occult historian Jan Silver suggested that the name of the Well may relate to the family name, ‘Bogle’.

Folklore

Traditionally ascribed in the lower counties of England to be an evil malicious sprite, in more northern counties and in Scotland the creature was said by Katherine Briggs (1979) to be a more “virtuous creature”, akin to the helpful brownies or urisks of country lore.  This was said to be the case in William Henderson’s (1868) Folklore of the Northern Counties. Whether this well was haunted or the home of a bogle, we do not know as the folklore of this site appears to be lost; so I appeal to any students who might be able to enlighten us further on the place.  The Forteans amongst you might have a cluster of ‘hauntings’ hereby, perhaps….

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Glasgow, TNA 2017.
  2. Briggs, Katharine, A Dictionary of Fairies, Penguin: Harmondsworth 1979.
  3. Grant, William (ed.), The Scottish National Dictionary – volume 2, SNDA: Edinburgh 1941.
  4. Henderson, William, Notes on the Folklore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders, W. Satchell: London 1879.
  5. MacGeorge, Andrew, Old Glasgow, Blackie & Son: Glasgow 1880.
  6. MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
  7. Steele, Joyce, Seeking Patterns of Lordship, Justice and Worship in the Scottish Landscape, Glasgow University 2014.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  55.857998, -4.242440 Bogle’s Well

Ashleigh Barrow, Darwen, Lancashire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SD 696 208

Also Known as:

  1. Whitehall Tumulus
Ashleigh Barrow urns (after John Dixon)

Archaeology & History

Early accounts of this site tell of its destruction in the 19th century, but a modern reconstruction of the site has been made close to where it once stood.  And this tomb sounded quite impressive!  Within the ‘tomb’ were found a large number of urns, one of which was curiously empty.  In John Dixon’s excellent Journeys through Brigantia (2003) work he told that,

“Contemporary reports about its excavation state that it was of circular form about 30 yards in diameter, being formed on a naze or promontory of an undulating plateau overlooking the Darwen valley.  Its height was said to vary between 10 to 12 feet on the east side and between 2 or 3 feet on the west, the centre being about 6 feet in diameter and consisting of a slight hollow.

“Ten interments appear to have been made, one being just a heap of burnt bones, the others, having been enclosed in urns, the majority of which are badly broken, consisted of ashes and fragments of bone together with unrecognizable pieces of bronze.  Two urns also contained ‘incense cups’ and another a 7½-inch bronze knife or dagger.

“The design of the urns is similar to those from the Middle Bronze Age… All but two of the urns were found within an area 21 feet by 14 feet, whilst one was 40 feet away.  They were, with one exception, placed in the Earth with the orifice pointing upwards and were covered with slabs, the depth at which they were found varying from 1 to 2 feet.”

Remains of the urns can be seen on display in the Darwen Library.

Folklore

Once again in John Dixon’s (2003) fine Journey’s through Brigantia volume, we read of folklore relating to the respect of the dead which local people used to give this old tomb, telling:

“Many superstitions were attached to the barrow and its destruction in the 1860s, with the country people speaking of the place being haunted by ‘boggarts’ and children having been known to take off their clogs or shoes and walk past it barefoot in the night time.”

References:

  1. Dixon, John, Journeys through Brigantia – volume 11: East Lancashire Pennines, Aussteiger Publications: Barnoldswick 2003.

© John Dixon & Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Ashleigh barrow

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Ashleigh barrow 53.683188, -2.461072 Ashleigh barrow

Grimeford Cross, Adlington, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 6200 1284

Also Known as:

  1. Headless Cross

Archaeology & History

Within the Harris Museum, Preston can be found the Upper section of a pre-Conquest stone ‘cross’. Though much damaged on three of its sides the main face displays the upper section of a horned-helmeted figure holding a sword before it. The spreading horns suggest an important figure from the Viking period in Lancashire (c.900). This large and important piece of sculpture was found during the construction of Rivington reservoir on the River Yarrow near the village of Grimeford, Anderton in the 19th century.

Also found at that time during the reservoir construction was the lower section of a ‘cross’ shaft. This shaft is decorated on all four sides with carvings which include: the figure of a man from the waist down; a trellis filled with geometrical ornamentation of horizontal and vertical straight lines repeated to form a band known as a fret; a modified version of T-fret; and a combination of vine scroll and frets. The top of the shaft serves as the base for what is possibly a post medieval sundial base which has been adapted for use as a direction stone with directions to “Preston, Wiggan, Boulton, and Blagburn” (spelled as on the stone) being carved on the sides.  I would suggest that the two fragments are parts of the same monolith and may even depict the Viking Gunnolf (the latter being my own fancy).  This headless ‘cross’ is sited at the junction on the old road near the Millstone pub in Anderton and Grimeford Lane on the way to Rivington (SD 618 130). The stone is known as the ‘Grimeford Headless Cross’ or more locally as the ‘Headless Boggart’.

Folklore

Legend has it that there used to be a chapel near the junction and a tunnel running to a nearby farm on a hill. In the 16th century shortly before troops came to destroy the chapel, a priest hid in the tunnel and became trapped underground. His body was never found. Many people are said to have seen a ghost at the Headless Cross.

Addenda

To complement John’s entry, here are Mr Taylor’s notes written more than a hundred years ago in his Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells (1906), where he told:

“The HEADLESS CROSS — These words appear on the ordnance maps at a hilly spot in the extreme south-eastern corner of the hundred, five hundred feet above sea level, and distant one mile from the village of Adlington and about the same distance north from Blackrod.  Both villages have histories going back into the far past… A ‘Windy Harbour’, near the cross, sufficiently indicates the breezy nature of the situation.  The well and the ancient stocks are shown in close proximity to the cross.  The remains of the stocks are still in existence.

“Respecting the Headless Cross and others in this locality, Mr J.W. Crompton of Rivington Hall, writes (February, 1899):

“‘In reply to your note, I never heard of any cross, ancient or modern, in Rivington proper.  There was a tenement known as Butter Cross. Possibly some ancient cross may have existed there, but I know of no record to it.  There used to be a Headless Cross in Anderton, but old Mr Ridgeway, of Ridgemont, removed it many years ago, when he had sporting rights rented in that township, and I believe and old road surveyor broke up a cross in Anglezark to repair his roads early in this century: his name was Gerrard.  Crosses seem to have been specially erected to warn people of dangerous moors they were about to cross, and as a call to prayer in this part of the country, they were frequent.’

“…The subjoined deed is printed in the Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey, circa 1184-1190:

‘Grant in frankalmoign from Ranulf Gogard and his heirs to God [and the canons of Cockersand] for the health of the souls of his mother and his wife Edith, of all the land from Fulford to the path which crosses Rascahay Brook, between Heath Charnock and Adlington, as it was marked out by the crosses and marks of the said canons; with comon right of Charnock, in wood and plain, feeding grounds and mast in all other liberties.'”

References:

  1. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.

© John Dixon, 2010

Grimeford Cross

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Grimeford Cross 53.610835, -2.575806 Grimeford Cross