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    Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby George Ardrossan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:14 pm

    I recently 'discovered' two blue plaques in Ardrossan - one at the Montfode Burn Bridge on the North Shore and the other on a pillar at Saint Peter's Church.
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    At the bottom of each plaque is a website address http://www.naheritagetrails.co.uk. I accessed this site and learned that there are sixty such plaques for Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Kilwinning and Irvine.

    The Ardrossan plaques are for
    • Ardrossan Castle and Church, 13th century; Montgomerie stronghold
    • Peter Nicholson, 1765-1844; architect of Ardrossan
    • St Peter-in-Chains, built 1938; designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia
    • Horse Isle Beacon, built 1811; navigation beacon
    • Mungo Campbell, 1712-1770; excise officer and murderer
    • Rev John Kerr, 1824-1907; physicist
    • Ardrossan Harbour, built from 1806; designed by Thomas Telford
    • Edith MacArthur MBE, born 1926; actress
    • Dr Alexander MacFadzean, 1788-1849; physician and philanthropist
    • Majestics, 1986; film location of Tutti Frutti

    The Saltcoats plaques are for
    • Saltcoats Bathing Pond, built 1932; salt water bathing pool
    • Robert Cunninghame, died 1715; industrialist and entrepreneur
    • Betsy Miller, 1792-1864; first female sea captain
    • Janice Galloway, born 1955; novelist
    • Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941; artist
    • James Smith, died 1881; philanthropist and missionary
    • Queen of the Sea; first crowned 1928
    • William Ritchie, 1756-1834; pioneer shipbuilder
    • Kenneth Campbell, 1917-1941; Victoria Cross recipient
    • Ardrossan Parish Church, rebuilt 1773; heritage centre
    • Harry Kemp, died 1972; impressario.

    The Stevenston plaques are for
    • Rev David Landsborough, 1782-1854; naturalist and author
    • Cholera victims, 1845-1871; some 606 killed by epidemics
    • Kerelaw Castle, 15th century on; Cunningham stronghold
    • Battery and Nelson's Tower, built c.1812; in grounds of Seabank House
    • Francis Love, 1781-1860; poet
    • Deep Shank Pit, sunk 1678; first deep pit in Stevenston
    • Ron Geesin, born 1943; musician and composer
    • William Landsborough, 1825-1886; first European to cross Australia
    • Edward Boyd, 1916-1989; writer
    • Alfred Nobel, 1833-1896; inventor of dynamite

    I drove through each of the towns yesterday and had a wee look for the plaques. I didn't find any in Stevenston. The only one I saw in Saltcoats was for the Bathing Pond. While there, I visited the buildings on the sites of the Regal Cinema, La Scala Cinema and Beach Pavilion looking for Harry Kemp's plaque as he was involved with these places but did not find it. I went to the Cannon Hill in Ardrossan expecting to find plaques on the Castle and MacFadzean's Monument but there was none.

    Does anybody know where the plaques are? Please let me know if you find one in Ardrossan and I will take a photo. It would be good if the Saltcoats and Stevenston plaques could be identified and photographed too.

    http://www.naheritagetrails.co.uk gives some background to the plaques.

    Here are more details on Mungo Campbell. On Tuesday 24 October 1769, the tenth Earl of Eglinton, Alexander Montgomerie, was travelling in his carriage to Fairlie with four servants following him on horseback. The Earl of Eglinton owned most of the land in and around Ardrossan. As he was near Montfode Burn where it enters the sea on the North Shore - and where the plaque is - the Earl was annoyed when told that two men, one with a gun, had been seen on his land. He ordered his carriage to stop. The man with the gun was Mungo Campbell, a son of the Provost of Ayr, who worked as an excise officer in Saltcoats. Campbell had permission to shoot on the nearby Montfode Estate and prosecute poachers but not on the adjacent Earl of Eglinton’s land. The Earl confronted Campbell and told him to hand over his gun. Campbell refused. The Earl tried to grab the gun which went off, mortally wounding him. The Earl was taken to his home at Eglinton Castle in Kilwinning where the best medical attention could not save him and he died early the next morning. Mungo Campbell was charged with murder but despite claiming that the gun was fired unintentionally, he was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Mungo’s mother was so distraught over the death of her son that she hanged herself near a well in Ayr.

    I have been told that Mungo Campbell gives Ardrossan a very loose connection with Robert Burns.

    In Burns' poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’, there are lines:
    And thro' the whins and by the cairn whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn
    And near the thorn, aboon the well, whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'.


    Mungo’s mither hanged hersel’ because her son killed himself after being convicted of a murder in Ardrossan.

    If you know more about this Ardrossan-Robert Burns connection, please let me know.

    George
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby Meg » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:04 pm

    Just as an addendum, Mungo's well is on the Doonfoot cycle path which goes from Maybole Road and emerges at the Heads od Ayr. We were cycling down there last week and stopped and read the plaque.

    Great post George.

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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby margb » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:35 pm

    Always wondered if this mungo Campbell was related to the Mary Campbell that rabbie burns wanted to marry and go to Jamaica with. Thought I read somewhere that they were neighbours or acquaintances. When did rabbie live in Irvine. Maybe he knew him then. More questions than answers. Interesting though.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby Penny Tray » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:53 pm

    A very interesting post George. I was completely unaware of this initiative.

    Incidentally, a former Strathclyde 'polis, James Thomson, recently published a book - IN AND OUT OF TAM O'SHANTER, in which he describes "line by line and in great detail the background to The Tale of Tam O'Shanter."

    I'm fairly confident ARDROSSAN isn't mentioned in his book but I'll interested to see what he says about Mungo's mither. In the absence of anyone having this book and being able to comment, I'll try and check this out.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby George Ardrossan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 pm

    Margb
    margb wrote:Always wondered if this mungo Campbell was related to the Mary Campbell that rabbie burns wanted to marry and go to Jamaica with. Thought I read somewhere that they were neighbours or acquaintances. When did rabbie live in Irvine. Maybe he knew him then. More questions than answers. Interesting though.
    According to the Irvine Burns Club website at http://www.irvineburnsclub.org/burnsroom2.htm, Robert Burns was in Irvine from 1781 till the spring of 1782.

    Penny Tray wrote:Incidentally, a former Strathclyde 'polis, James Thomson, recently published a book - IN AND OUT OF TAM O'SHANTER, in which he describes "line by line and in great detail the background to The Tale of Tam O'Shanter." I'm fairly confident ARDROSSAN isn't mentioned in his book but I'll interested to see what he says about Mungo's mither. In the absence of anyone having this book and being able to comment, I'll try and check this out.
    It would be great it you could get more information, Penny Tray.

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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby georgersweir » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:20 pm

    George Ardrossan wrote:...
    I have been told that Mungo Campbell gives Ardrossan a very loose connection with Robert Burns.

    In Burns' poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’, there are lines:
    And thro' the whins and by the cairn whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn
    And near the thorn, aboon the well, whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'.


    Mungo’s mither hanged hersel’ because her son killed himself after being convicted of a murder in Ardrossan.

    If you know more about this Ardrossan-Robert Burns connection, please let me know.

    George

    According to 'The Ayrshire Book of Burns-Lore', (A.M.Boyle, 1996, p.150), "There is no local legend of a hanging at the well and we must presume that the poet's license turned St. Mungo's Well into a place where an imaginary Mungo's mother met her end." - but he could be wrong.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby George Ardrossan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:46 pm

    Thanks for letting me know, George.

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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby 5eulbdog7 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:34 pm

    Hi George i know of two in Stevenston. Alfred Nobel at the top of the Rec brae and Francis Love at the entrance to the Masonic hall.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby Penny Tray » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:46 pm

    George and George,

    Jim Thomson's contribution in 'IN AND OUT OF TAM O'SHANTER' (ISBN 978-0-9566316-0-2) is -

    "Kirk Alloway is not too far along on your right hand side, and of course you should visit it. Before you do, there is still the ride of Meg to follow to Mungo's Well, which is about 100 yards west of the Kirk.

    St.Mungo is the Patron Saint of Glasgow and Alloway Kirk is thought to have been dedicated to him as Glasgow Cathedral owned land locally at Carcluie.

    There is no direct evidence that the Mungo whose mother hanged herself is indeed St. Mungo but that is widely regarded to be the case and accepted as fiction.

    St. Mungo lived at the turn of the 6th and 7th century but the only surviving information about him comes from the 12th century, making it difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction. His mother was Tenew (later St. Tenew), daughter of King Llew or Loth, after whom Lothian is named.

    Tenew allegedly had an affair with her cousin Owain, resulting in the birth of Mungo. As sex outwith marriage was a crime punishable by death, when her father discovered she was pregnant he was obliged to follow the law of the times. She was thrown from Trapain Law, a large hill near Edinburgh, but survived the fall. Consequently she was cast adrift in a coracle as Loth was of the opinion she may be a witch. She drifted to the coast of Fife landing at Culross where St. Serf ran a religious settlement. She was rescued and had the child, who she named Kentigern. The child was promptly given the nickname Mungo by St. Serf.

    Nowhere in these histories does Tenew commit suicide, and certainly not in Alloway as she lived some considerable distance away. We are left with the notion that either it is a work of fiction by Burns or it is some other hapless soul who lived in the area and also had a son called Mungo."


    Jim Thomson therefore leaves it open-ended. I think it's worth a wee bit more digging.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby George Ardrossan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:34 pm

    Thanks, Penny Tray.

    The mystery deepens. It appears that Mungo in Tam O'Shanter
    - was Mungo Campbell
    - was Saint Mungo
    - was another Mungo
    - didn't exist and was 'invented' by Burns for dramatic effect.

    Mungo Campbell was the son of the Provost of Ayr and was possibly born in that town. He lived from 1712 to 1770. Robert Burns was born in nearby Alloway and lived from 1759 to 1796 so their lives overlapped. According to Wikipedia, Mungo Campbell was an excise officer in Newmilns, Stewarton, Irvine and Saltcoats. Robert Burns was also an exciseman. It is not impossible that, living fairly close to each other and having the same occupation, they may have known each other but is there any evidence to support this theory? We will probably never know ... unless a ThreeTowner can help.

    George
    Last edited by George Ardrossan on Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby George Ardrossan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:37 pm

    5eulbdog7 wrote:Hi George i know of two in Stevenston. Alfred Nobel at the top of the Rec brae and Francis Love at the entrance to the Masonic hall.

    Thanks, 5eulbdog7.

    So far we have found two in Ardrossan, one in Saltcoats and two in Stevenston - that's five out of thirty.

    Keep looking, folks!

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    Re: Heritage Trail Blue Plaques - Where Are They?

    Postby Penny Tray » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:12 pm

    George Ardrossan wrote:
    The mystery deepens. It appears that Mungo in Tam O'Shanter
    - was Mungo Campbell
    - was Saint Mungo
    - was another Mungo
    - didn't exist and was 'invented' by Burns for dramatic effect.

    George


    Summarised perfectly George. Selfishly we're only interested in the prospect that it might be Mungo Campbell. Mungo was convicted of the murder of the Earl of Eglinton and sentenced to hang on 12 April 1770. He cheated the hangman however, by committing suicide beforehand. If we could find out if his mother also committed suicide in her grief it would be quite persuasive. If we can find that out we might also find out where?
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