Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kenneth MacAlpin

Kenneth I, King of the Picts, died on February 13, 858.  Nearly a milleneum later he was remembered in the name Buccleuch as referred to in Sir Walter Scott's "The Lay of the Last Minstrel":


The dwarf, who feared his master's eye
Might his foul treachery espie,
Now sought the castle buttery,
Where many a yeoman, bold and free,
Revelled as merrily and well
As those that sat in lordly selle.
Watt Tinlinn there did frankly raise
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-Braes;
And he, as by his breeding bound,
To Howard's merrymen sent it round.
To quit them, on the English side,
Red Roland Forster loudly cried,
'A deep carouse to yon fair bride!'
At every pledge, from vat and pail,
Foamed forth in floods the nut-brown ale,
While shout the riders every one;
Such day of mirth ne'er cheered their clan,
Since old Bucclench the name did gain,
When in the clench the buck was ta'en.
Note on Line 154. Since old Buccleuch the name did gain.

A tradition preserved by Scott of Satchells gives the followmg romantic origin of that name. Two brethren, natives of Galloway, having been banished from that country for a riot, or insurrection, came to Rankleburn, in Ettrick Forett, where the keeper, whose name was Brydone received them joyfully, on account of their skill in winding the horn, and in the other mysteries of the chase, Kenneth MacAlpin, then King of Scotland, came soon after to hunt in the royal forest, and pursued a buck from Ettrickbeuch to the glen now called Buckeleuch, about two miles above the junction of Rankleburn with the river Ettrick. Here the stag stood at bay; and the king and his attendants, who followed on horseback, were thrown out by the steepness of the hill and the morass.  John, one of the brethren from Galloway, had followed the chase on foot and now coming in seized the buck by the horns, and being a man of great strength and activity, threw him on his back, and ran with his burden about a mile up the steep hill, to a place called Cracra-Cross. where Kenneth had halted, and laid the buck at his sovereign's feet.

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