‘Did you ever read about the death of Dundee? Graham of Claverhouse, you know, who persecuted the Covenanters and had a black horse that could ride straight up a precipice. Don’t you know he could only be shot with a silver bullet, because he had sold himself to the Devil?’
‘Oh, yes,’ replied Father Brown, ‘I believe in the Devil. What I don’t believe in is the Dundee. I mean the Dundee of Covenanting legends, with his nightmare of a horse. John Graham was simply a seventeenth-century professional soldier, rather better than most. If he dragooned them it was because he was a dragoon, but not a dragon. Now my experience is that it’s not that sort of swaggering blade who sells himself to the Devil.’
Halloween horrors, what Scottish ones could I have served up here today? Hmmmm. Well we could have had Burke and Hare, body snatchers extraordinary. Murderers extraordinary too when they couldn’t find a body to dig up.
Mr Sawney Beane….cannibal extraordinary, Deacon Brodie, councillor by day, Mr Hyde by night.
Who knows but this being the spooky season, we might yet. But myth and legend, selling one’s soul, is hard to beat….. so much so, that even when I was growing up, several hundred years after the event it was still said that this man,…..
see….a roistering blade really, was killed with a silver bullet at the Battle of Killiecrankie. Who was he really? And how did that come about?
Well, Chesterton sums it up nicely. Claverhouse was a career soldier and a very good one, who clearly hated the Covenanters so much he married one of them.
Always interesting to a romance writer. I’m not taking sides here, let’s be clear further back the family tree I have one of the Covenanting assassins of Archbishop Sharpe–always nice to know.
Especially as there’s mercenaries and -er- robber barons on the other side…..(Probably why I deck people in Dundee taxi queues).
I’m just saying the man did his job, and the legends grew up after his death. Maybe for that matter there was a bit of smoke and mirrors going on even when he was alive. Let’s face it the area he had to police was large, so why not? At any rate his letters show a very different man from the legends. His skill as a diplomat was as great as his skill as a soldier and his inspiration as a leader of the Highlanders at the Battle Killiecrankie was second to none. Bonnie Dundee? or Bluidy Claver’se?
I tend to think the former, although the idea of him selling his soul, well don’t we all like the notion of a bad boy?
SO the aim of today’s blog. As well as it being Halloween month… Well, I once did a post for the fabulous Jerrie Alexander called What Lies Beneath, on the hidden histories of a town. How Captain Kydd
and Jack the Ripper and Mary Shelley quite inspired me to write Lady Fury. ( You may well wonder) Well, Graham of Claverhouse was Viscount Dundee. He was born just up the road from the town. And liking the idea of selling one’s soul, I used it in His Judas Bride. Just what is the Black Wolf exactly? Has he done so? Is he supernatural as the legends all suggest? Or a creature of flesh and blood? Obviously he has a black horse, although I’d forgotten Claverhouse did too. The Wolf’s is called Satan.
I thought I better get this post up as the wonderful author Emily Guido has very kindly just informed me she’s got its sister post from the Wolf himself over on her blog with a giveaway of the book. http://emilyguido.com/2013/10/18/giveaway-and-pay-it-forward-friday-with-author-shehanne-moores-novel-his-judas-bride/
I ‘m just ..ahem… a bit worried about the amount of slavering she’s doing…. But I am sure she will be ok.
It’s also the last day of my amazon voucher giveaway book tour. I did like I finished up with the aptly named Queen of the Night…..http://queenofthenightreviews.blogspot.com/2013/10/excerpt-tour-giveaway-for-his-judas.html?spref=tw
- For Whom the Bell Tolls: John Graham of Claverhouse and East Kilbride (drmarkjardine.wordpress.com)
- A Clue to the Killing Times: John Graham of Claverhouse on the Earl of Annandale, 16 June, 1685 (drmarkjardine.wordpress.com)