Covenanting and Legends

During what is called “The Killing Times”, when the Covenanters were being persecuted, the Lords of the Covenant ordered that all communion plate was to be valued and either redeemed by cash, or sent to Edinburgh to be sold to raise money for the Army. Colmonell had no money, but although they had sent representatives to Edinbrugh to sign the Covenant, the kirk session elected to hide the two silver goblets. Oral tradition has it that the Knockdolian Laird’s wife hid the cups in the castle, they were taken out and used as required and restored to the kirk when happier times came around. (From a letter to James L McCubbin from Jimmy McLachlan)

Peden “Alexander Peden the Minister of the kirk was sometimes called the Prophet of the Covenant. In the days when he was hunted like the red deer by moss-troopers seeking his capture, he was several times sheltered by Fergus Maccubin of Knockdolia, who was heavily fined for hs charity. Finally he told Peden he could not do it again, as a matter of justice to his heir whose inheritance was dwindling under the fines.

Looking past him with his strange, pale eyes Peden is said to have made the answer: “The eldest son will never inherit,” and in fact Knockdolian’s heir was drowned before his father’s very eyes not long after; and while we cannot say the Covenanter meant root and branch of the race we know that the succession fails in the line of the eldest son to this day.”
(From The History of Ayrshire, Paterson)


“There is a legend that the first McCubbin wife (Margaret) broke a rock in the river to prevent a mermaid sitting there at night. Her singing kept the baby awake. This is the mermaid’s curse which she uttered in anger,

“You can sit by your cradle,
And greet* for your wean*,
There will never be an heir,
To Knockdolian again.

Tragically, it has been borne out down the years as wars and illness has carried off many young men from all the families.”

*Greet – cry  *Wean – wee one  (From the notes of James L. McCubbin)