To the west of Kilmarnock in Knockentiber once stood Busbie Castle an old tower house which became so ruinous that it was considered too dangerous to preserve and the council had it demolished.
The castle was originally erected in the late 15th century by the Mowat family who remained in possession until the 17th century when disaster fell.
At the latter part of their tenancy the laird was John Mowat who liked to enjoy himself and was no respector of the Sabbath. The local minister berated John Mowat for holding parties and even football matches on a Sunday, and this was long before Rangers and Celtic so it could not have been them, but to no avail so he called in the Rev. John Welch minister of the Auld Kirk in Ayr to help him.
The Rev. Welch was a well known minister of that time with a lot of influence in the area. He wrote a number of civil letters to the Busbie laird but as these were ignored he made his way to the castle to be received by John Mowat himself who invited in for some refreshment. This the minister refused advising the laird that his failure to observe the Sabbath would bring retribution upon himself and his family, but as it was not making any impression on John Mowat he turned and left but in doing so placed a curse upon the estate saying that ‘The Lord would cast them out of their house and lands, and none of their posterity would follow them.’ Up to then the Mowat family had been affluent and financially secure, but after the minister’s visit things began to deteriorate with one disaster following upon another. Their finances were badly affected and eventually they were forced to sell Busbie Castle and lands to Montgomery of Eglinton.
The Mowats must have become aware of the error of their ways as the son of the family the Rev.Matthew Mowat became a minister in Kilmarnock and often bemoaned the Rev. Welch’s curse on the family and no doubt used it as a text in his sermons. Even under the Montgomery’s hands the castle continued to deteriorate and was latterly acquired by the Ritchies who after an attempt to knock it down and build Busbie House in its place failed, left it to be eventually demolished by the council.
In those days, and in fact in quite recent times it was not accepted to play sport or read books other than the bible on a Sunday, a walk up Coalpots Road however was acceptable. I wonder if we are seeing Ibrox suffering from the fate of this curse due to playing football on a Sunday??. Have a good time over the festive period. and remember to tell a few tales around the fireside. See you next week.