I have mentioned Loudoun Castle before and in particular the yew tree growing in the grounds for what is thought to have been over seven hundred years.
The castle was so grand that it was considered at one time to be the ‘Windsor of Scotland’ with twelve towers, one for each month of the year and three hundred and sixty five windows one for each day of the year.
It was gutted by fire in 1941 but prior to that the window tax would have been exorbitant.
However, as I mentioned in a previous tale, under this yew tree the articles between Scotland ,England and Wales were discussed and drawn up which must have been of great historical significance at the time.
But that yew tree has had a great deal of history even before that as it was often used as a letter box where in a hollow in the trunk notes or letters were left to be collected later. This at one time was the postbox of the Covenanters who risked their lives by passing on information of where outdoor services would be held. However another tale of its usage was by James Campbell the 2nd. Earl of Loudoun who lived in exile in Holland in 1654 to escape Cromwell. He sent a number of letters to his wife who was allowed to remain at Loudoun Castle and these were addressed to The Guidwife, The Aultoun, The Auld Yew Tree of Loudoun, Scotland.
These letters reached the Earl’s wife, the intended recipient, but the Earl himself never returned home dying in Holland in 1684.
The yew tree has had many tales to tell, surviving because of its historical antiquity and the service it had provided to the occupants of Loudoun Castle over the centuries.
It had become part of the tradition of the family and no one would wish to destroy it.
There is one tale where an American institution hearing of these tales offered lady Jean Campbell Hastings, the then estate owner, a considerable sum of money for the tree.
The institution intended to chop the tree down, transport it to America where it would be made into small lucky souvenirs no doubt for sale to immigrant Scots from that area. Lady Jean was short of funds and could well have done with the money, but she refused the offer thinking of her ancestors who would be all turning in their graves at the loss of such an important part of their history.
Loudoun Castle is but a ruin now but the Yew Tree proudly stands where it has always stood.
Hope you enjoyed this tale see you next week.