Linsmill on the Almond

On the banks of the Almond River in Midlothian is an ancient property by the name of Linsmill.  There, we hoped to find the grave of William Lin, "Richt Heritor of Lins Miln," who signed the 1643 Covenant and died two years later of the plague.   It  was  reported

that, when he died, the fear of plague was such that no one would so much as make a coffin and, consequently, his wife dragged his body, unaided, to the banks of the Almond and buried it.  As we searched the perimeter of the woods, I had the unpleasant surprise of walking bare-ankled through nettles.  To add insult to injury, we never found the grave, our entire purpose for visiting the property.  Later, we learned the stone likely had vanished but fortunately had been recorded in 1985 by Donald Whyte of the Scottish Heraldry Society.  We ought to have spent our time at Linsmill riding the boat on the canal.  Leaving Linsmill, we drove to Perthshire and the scene of Scotland’s greatest victory over the English.

The Fields of Bannockburn

Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, planted his standard in the fields of Bannockburn on 23 June 1314.  Eight thousand starving Scottish patriots rallied to his side, defying an English army of twenty thousand and vanquishing the oppressor, Edward II of England, in two days of fierce battle.

Bruce, the warrior king, inspired an entire nation.  Seven years after their great victory, faced with continuing threats of English invasion, Scots gathered at Arbroath on 6 April 1320 and declared, “... as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.  It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

Thus inspired, we left Bannockburn with the words of Scotland's Bard resounding in our thoughts ...

Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled, Scots wham Bruce has often led,
Welcome tae your gory bed or tae victory.
Noo's the day an' noo's the hour.  See the front o' battle low'r.
See approach proud Edward's pow'r - chains an' slavery.

Wha would be a traitor knave, wha can fill a coward's grave,
Wha sae base as be a slave ~ let him turn an' flee.
Wha for Scotland's king an' law, freedom's sword will strongly draw.
Free man stand or free man fall, let him follow me.

By oppression's woes an' pains, by your sons in servile chains,
We shall drain our dearest veins, but they shall be free.
Lay the proud usurper low, tyrants fall in every foe.
Liberty's in every blow ~ let us doo or dee.


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