Spedlins Tower

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3 Responses

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Spedlins Tower
    According to ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain’ by John Ingram (1897)

    This ancient fortress bore the reputation, for a long number of years, of being haunted by the spirit of a certain man, known in the flesh as Porteous. The story of this haunting has been frequently told by Grose, the antiquary, and other well-known writers, and the truth of the events about to be recorded has been most emphatically asserted by persons of respectability and credit ; indeed, many a ghost story passes current that has not had such corroborative evidence as this tale of antique lore.

    Spedlin’s Tower, which stands on the south-west bank of the Annan, in the time of Charles the Second was in the possession of Sir Alexander Jardine, of Applegarth. At one time this baronet had confined in the dungeon of his tower a miller, named Porteous, who was suspected, truthfully or not cannot be known, of having set fire wilfully to his own premises ; the alleged object tradition does not condescend to inform us. Sir Alexander Jardine, soon after this man’s incarceration, was suddenly called away to Edinburgh, and carrying the keys of the dungeons with him, forgot or disregarded his prisoner, until he was passing through the West Port, when, it has been suggested, perhaps the sight of the warder’s kevs brought to his mind his own. He sent back im- mediately a courier to liberate the unfortunate man, but Porteous had, in the meantime, perished of hunger.

    No sooner was he dead than his ghost began to torment the household, and no rest was to be had within Spedlin’s Tower by day or by night. In this dilemma Sir Alexander, according to old use and wont, summoned a whole legion of ministers to his aid; and by their strenuous efforts, Porteous was at length confined to the scene of his mortal agonies where, however, he continued to scream occasionally at night, ”Let me out, let me out, for I ‘m deem’ o’ hunger ! ‘" He also used to flutter against the door of the vault, and was always sure to remove the bark from any twig that was sportively thrust through the key-hole.

    The spell which thus compelled the spirit to remain in bondage was attached to a large black-lettered Bible, used by the exorcists, and afterwards deposited in a stone-niche, which still remains in the wall of the staircase ; and it is certain that after the lapse of many years, when the family repaired to a newer mansion (Jardine Hall), built on the other side of the river, the Bible was left behind, to keep the restless spirit in order. On one occasion, indeed, the volume requiring to be re-bound was sent to Edinburgh ; but the ghost, getting out of the dungeon, and crossing the river, made such a disturbance in the new house, hauling the baronet and his lady out of bed, and committing other annoyances, that the Bible was recalled before it reached Edinburgh, and replaced in its former situation.

    The good woman who told Grose this story in 1788, declared that should the Bible again be taken off the premises, no consideration whatever should induce her to remain there a single night. But the charm seems to be now broken, or the ghost must have become either quiet or disregarded ; for the old Bible has been removed, and is now kept at Jardine Hall.

  2. jschester says:

    Re: Spedlins Tower
    I am a direct descendant of Dunty Porteous and only last week gave a talk to the Wrexham U3A Family History Society about my mother’s research into the family history. I related the above tale, which the audience found fascinating. I’d be very pleased to hear from anyone else with connections to this story.

    JS – Chester

  3. Ana says:

    Re: Spedlins Tower

    Dunty is a relation of mine by marraige, my direct Perry line married into the Porteous line, and I could trace the line directly back to him. I found the story amazing and would love to speak to someone such as youeself. 

    Anastiscia Chantler