MAGGIE WALL: THE DUNNING WITCH


When  shall we three meet again?


In thunder, lightning or in rain…. 

Strange place, Dunning. Near the battlefield of Sheriffmuir. On the outskirts  I came across  this 20 ft. high monument to Maggie Wall –  burnt to death on this spot in 1657 for witchcraft, ” the last witch in Scotland to suffer this fate. ” ( Not true – the last witch burnt to death  in Scotland was Janet Horne, in Dornoch, 1772)
Anyhow the next time I passed Maggie’s monument  (this time without a camera), someone had placed a bunch of flowers on the stones at the pedestal base. I asked in the village about the flowers and who renewed the white painted epitaph but no-one seemed to know. One old woman said that there was always a card with the wreath saying, “In memory of Maggie Wall burnt to death by the Church in the name of Christianity.”

A photograph taken perhaps 100 years ago shows the lettering exactly as it is now. Who is entrusted with the task of keeping the memory of poor Maggie Wall alive by the annual wreath and the renewing of the lettering since nothing – apart from this memorial – is recorded or known about her. (And why is Maggie Wall commemorated in particular when there were altogether 6,000 ‘witches’ executed in Scotland?)

Strange place, Dunning. Very quiet. Worth a visit but I wouldn’t advise you to stay there overnight.

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