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above high-water mark. Upon this rock was built the castle. There is about 25 feet high of the wall next to the sea yet standing. Upon the land-side the wall is only about four feet high; the length has been 60 feet, and the breadth 45: it was surrounded by a ditch, but that is now nearly filled up. The top of the ruin, rising between 40 and 50 feet above the water, has a majestic appearance from the sea. There is not much local tradition in the vicinity connected with Bruce or his history. In front, however, of the rock, upon which stands Culzean Castle, is the mouth of a romantic cavern, called the Cove of Colean, in which it is said Bruce and his followers concealed themselves immediately after landing, till they arranged matters for their farther enterprises. Burns mentions it in the poem of Halloween. The only place to the south of Turnberry worth mentioning, with reference to Bruce's history, is the Weary Nuik, a little romantic green hill, where he and his party are said to have rested, after assaulting the castle.”
Around the castle of Turnberry was a level plain of about two miles in extent, forming the castle park. There could be nothing, I am informed, more beautiful than the copse-wood and verdure of this extensive meadow, before it was invaded by the plough-shate.
Note VIII. The Bruce hath won his father's hall !--St. XXXIII. p. 216.
I have followed the flattering and pleasing tradition, that the Bruce, after his descent upon the coast of Ayrshire, actually gained possession of his maternal castle. But the tradition is not accurate. The fact is, that he was only strong enough to alarm and drive in the out-posts of the English garrison, then commanded, not by Clifford, as assumed in the text, but by Percy. Neither was Clifford slain upon this occasion, though he had several skirmishes with Brucé. He fell afterwards in the battle of Bannockburn. Bruce, after alarming the castle of Turnberry, and surprising some part of the garrison, who were quartered without the walls of the fortress, retreated into the mountainous part of Carrick, and there made himself so strong, that the English were obliged to evacuate Turnberry, and at length the castle of Ayr. Many of his benefactions and royal gifts attest his attachment to the hereditary followers of his house, in this part of
It is generally known, that Bruce, in consequence of his distresses after the battle of Methven, was affected by a scorbutic disorder, which was then called a leprosy. It is said he experienced benefit from the use of a medicinal spring; about a mile north of the town of Ayr, called from that circumstance King's Ease. The following is the tradition of the country, collected by Mr Train :--- After Robert ascende ed the throne, he founded the priory of Dominican monks, every one of whom was under the obligation of putting up to Heaven a prayer once every week-day, and twice in holydays, for the recovery of the king ; and, after his death, these masses were continued for the saving of his soul. The ruins of this old monastery are now nearly level with the ground. Robert likewise caused houses to be built round the well of King's Ease, for eight lepers, and allowed eight bolls of oatmeal, and 28). Scotch money, per annum, to each person. These donations were laid upon the lands of Fullarton, and are now payable by the Duke of Portland. The farm of Sheils, in the neighbourhood of Ayr, has to give, if required, a certain quantity of straw for the lepers' beds, and so much to thatch their houses annually. Each leprous person had a drinking-horn provided him by the king, which continued to be hereditary in the house to which it was first granted. One of those identical horns, of very curious workmanship, was in the possession of the late Colonel Fullarton of that ilk.”
My correspondent proceeds to mention some curious remnants of antiquity respecting this foundation. “ In compliment to Sir William Wallace, the great deliverer of his country, King Robert Bruce invested the descendants of that hero with the right of placing all the lepers upon the establishment of King's Ease. This patronage continued in the family of Craigie, till it was sold along with the lands of the late Sir Thomas Wallace. The burgh of Ayr then purchased the right of applying the donations of King's Ease to the support of the poor-house of Ayr. The lepers' charter-stone was a basaltic block, exactly the shape of a sheep's kidney, and weighing an Ayrshire boll of meal. The surface of this stone being as smooth as glass, there was not any other way of lifting it than by turning the hollow to the ground, there extending the arms along each side of the stone, and clasping the hands in the cavity. Young lads were always considered as deserving to be ranked among men, when they could lift the blue stone of King's Ease. It always lay beside the well, till a few years ago, when some English dragoons encamped at that place wantonly broke it, since which the fragments have been kept by the freemen of Prestwick in a place of security. There is one of these charter-stones at the village of Old Daily, in Carrick, which has become more celebrated by the following event, which happened only a very few years
:-The village of New Daily being now larger than the old place of the same name, the inhabitants insisted that the charter-stone should be removed from the old town to the new, but the people of Old Daily were unwilling to part with their ancient right. Demands and remonstrances were made on each side without effect, till at last man, woman, and child, of both villages, marched out, and by one desperate engage ment, put an end to a war, the commencement of which no person then living remembered. Justice and victory, in this instance, being of the same party, the villagers of the old town of Daily now enjoy the pleasure of keeping the bluestane unmolested. Ideal privileges are often attached to some of these stones. In Girvan, if a man can set his back against one of the above description, he is supposed not liable to be arrested for debt, nor can cattle, it is imagined, be poinded as long as they are fastened to the same stone. That stones were often used as symbols to denote the right of possessing land, before the use of written documents became general in Scotland, is, I think, exceedingly probable. The charter-stone of Inverness is still kept with great care, set in a frame, and hooped with iron, at the market-place of that town. It is called by the inhabitants of that district Clack na Couddin. I think it is very likely that Carey has mėntioned this stone in his poem of Craig Phaderick. This is only a conjecture, as I have never seen that work. While the famous marble chair was allowed to remain at Scoon, it was considered as the charter-stone of the kingdom of Scotland.”
Note IX. “ Bring here,” he said, “ the mazers for, My noble fatkers loved of yore."-St. XXXIV. p. 217. These mazers were large drinking-cups, or goblets. Mention of them occurs in a curious inventory of the treasure and jewels of James III., which will be published, with other cu. rious documents of antiquity, by my friend, Mr Thomas Thom. son, D. Register of Scotland, under the title of “ A Collection of Inventories, and other Records of the Royal Wardrobe, Jewel-House," &c. I copy the passage, in which mention is