The Wayfarer - Downfall of the widows’ friend

In THE old days there was no such thing as television, Twitter or Facebook, stories had to be handed on by word of mouth and ‘Old Wives Tales’ were very much in vogue.

Whether it was by way of over the garden fence or at Ceilidhs they were all part of life’s rich tapestry. Naturally, you will appreciate any stories passed this way were subject to embellishment and expansion, however that in no way spoils the story, rather the reverse..

As you drive south from Girvan you will see Carleton Castle above Lendalfoot.

Away back in historical times this was the home of Sir John Cathcart a notorious man of wealth and standing who was famed for marrying rich widows.

He chose widows because they had usually inherited wealth and so far he had been successful with seven of them. However, after Sir John had annexed their wealth the widows usually met with a tragic accident.

As mentioned there had been seven so far but Sir John was so influential in the district that nothing had been done about it. Sir John’s eighth wife was May Collean or Culzean again an heiress to considerable property, but one who kept a close eye on her wealth. Sir John decided it was time to move on, and on a beautiful summers day he suggested that they ride up to the top of Games Loup a high cliff some two miles away and admire the wonderful view of Arran, Mull of Kintyre, Ailsa Craig and quite often it was possible to see the Antrim Hills in Ireland. His wife agreed and went off to prepare herself. They arrived at the cliff top and it was hot enough for Lady Cathcart to divest herself of her riding cape which she laid upon the ground.

Sir John was aghast to find that under the cape she was wearing a very expensive dress and all her fine jewellery.

He suggested that as the ground was muddy and the dress could be ruined if she slipped and even worse some of the jewellery lost he suggested that they be removed and placed on top of the cape until they were ready to ride home. This Lady Cathcart agreed to, but in order to protect her modesty she requested her husband turn and face the other way. With an evil grin on his face Sir John agreed, turned his back and OOPS! It was Sir John who disappeared over the cliff.

Lady Cathcart dusted her hands turned, put on her cape and rode back to Carleton Castle with the news. The moral of this story is to think twice about marrying an intelligent woman if you mean to do away with her.

There are more stories to come which will no doubt keep all the family amused as you travel along this magnificent coastline