Wayfarer Column- The tale of ‘Scotch Meggy’ who was a top rower on the thames

Fortunately there are still some mysteries in life which have not been explained and are left to provide us with interesting tales to fascinate our listeners/readers.

Now here is the tale of a redoubtable Scottish lady living in London who was called ‘Scotch Meggy’. She was a strongly built lady who was well known and appreciated for her skilful rowing on the Thames. No doubt for not only ferrying people but also for winning many wagers. It was back in 1834 when Meggy came to the public’s notice through a newspaper report that she had come upon a policeman being beaten up by six men and a woman, and had joined in the fray helping the policeman arrest his attackers.

At the subsequent trial the Police praised her conduct and the magistrate enquired how she had learned to fight so effectively. Meggy replied that she had spent forty two years on a man-of-war and had been present at several naval engagements.

The Admiralty had rewarded her service with an annual pension of £25. One wonders whether she had disguised herself as a man during her time on board, but whether she had or not, she would certainly have needed to learn to fight as well as any man.

Many a sporting challenge has been met with disdain if it appears too easily won. The 1st Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay was a famous jousting champion but when in a tournament on 5th. May 1390 he apparently unhorsed the English Champion Lord Wellesley so easily the crowd, presumably mainly English as the tournament was held down there, accused him of cheating by nailing his armour to the saddle of his horse. How he could have done this is enough to stretch the imagination but to prove his innocence Lindsay jumped off his horse and back on again wearing his full suit of armour. That in itself must have been some feat considering the weight of the armour, but it goes to prove that if anything appears too easy then according to a discerning audience it must be cheating. Presumably there were plenty of bets on the outcome and the audience would want an explanation as to how the champion could be unseated so easily Hmm! Another unexplained fact is about a hen who laid an egg with a double yolk, but strangely between the yolks was another egg complete with shell.

Fortunately life is full of unexplained mysteries and I will research more for you next week.