Local History

Annie Laurie in Moniaive

During the refurbishement of the Craigdarroch Arms Hotel two mysterious wall paintings were uncovered. These showed Annie (Anna) Laurie and her husband, Robert Fergusson of Craigdarroch. The paintings are by former prisoner of war, Adolf Keuchel, who moved to Moniaive in the late 1950s with his wife Ilse.

Adolf started his own painting and decorating business in the village. He painted a number of murals including these in the bar at the Craigrarroch Arms Hotel, the bathroom of The Ford and at Gaups Mill. Adolf’s son Theo returns to Moniaive to enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations each year.

Anna was the inspiration for what has become one of Scotland’s best -known love songs, Maxwelton Braes (Annie Laurie). A dashing Jacobite swordsman, William Douglas of Fingland, penned the song – without a tune. Douglas is reputed to have had an ill-fated romance with Anna and is said to have composed his two verses at the beginning of the 18th century.

It is interesting to note that neither Anna nor Douglas kept their promise true and that the gallant Douglas was the first to break the romantic vow.Alicia Spottiswoode, sister in law to the Duke of Buccleuch, later rearranged the song, added a third verse and put it to a tune. This is the much-loved version of the song that we know today.

Artist – James Paterson

James Paterson A talented colourist, James Paterson was a founder member of ‘The Glasgow Boys’. He settled in Moniaive in 1884 and stayed 22 years painting the rivers, burns, hills and nearby Solway Firth.

One of his best loved paintings ‘The Last Turning’ is a scene from Moniaive. (Housed in the Kelvingrove Museum). Skilled in almost every artistic medium, including photography, James Paterson wrote and illustrated the Nithdale Book.

Covenanting History

In the 17th century, Moniaive, Tynron and Glencairn became the refuge to religious non-conformists who became known as the covenanters. For 50 years, the last three Stuart kings, two Charles’s and a James, tried to force their Episcopalian religion on the grim Presbyterians of Dumfries and Galloway. These common folk would not bend to what the Stuarts saw as their divine right of Kings.

The Stuarts ousted the Presbyterian ministers from their kirks and replaced them with hated prelates. The folk of Tynron and Glencairn followed their ministers into the open air and worshiped at what became known as conventicles. Conflict was inevitable and the crown then used troopers to force the people back into the abandoned churches.

Draconian measures followed and many were fined and imprisoned for not following the King’s religion. Dragoons were billeted on the folk and the hills and hidey-holes of Shinnel and Glencairn were searched for the rebel covenanters.

The Killing Times saw several covenanters pay for their religion with their lives. The martyrs of Ingleston were betrayed and shot without trial and young William Smith was gunned down in a field between Dunreggan and Gaups Mill.

The firebrand preacher James Renwick a Moniaive weaver’s son was only 23 when he perished on an Edinburgh scaffold. Born in Moniaive, he was the last covenanter of note to be executed. A leaflet ‘The Covenanters’ is  available from sue@badpress.demon.co.uk

See also Glencairn History Group under community groups.