Priory Ravine Carving

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Miss Mary Berry

I’ve been fortunate to been sent by Mr Jack Daniels, extracts from the journal of English born, Miss Mary Berry, a well travelled writer who lived from 1763 to 1852. For nearly 70 years of her life she visited many foreign places, writing daily about her experiences. She often visited Bothwell to see her friend and fellow writer, Joanna Baillie and on several occasions wrote about Blantyre. I consider her accounts to be very special indeed. More on that later, but for now, here is a nice little entry form 1808.

A nice extract in her journals whilst she visited Bothwell House, about coming across the River to Blantyre to visit the Priory. Mary wrote;

Saturday 20th August 1808 – Walked on the other side of the water to my favourite ravine, just under the remains of Blantyre Priory; again admired in singular beauty and the grandeur of its parts, though the whole thing is only a narrow gully.

The day and the spot were so delicious for loitering about, that i began cutting my name on the bark of a tree in the ravine, whilst the others sat by. The view of the Bothwell ruins from the Priory is beautiful.”

Mary carved the word “Berina” into a large tree in the Priory Ravine.  Berina is Mary’s name in Arcadian (Greek). It is stated in later correspondence to a friend, she carved the name into one of the largest trees in the ravine.

2015 Blantyre Priory by Katarzyna1

2015 Blantyre Priory in June. Photo by Katarzyna G.

If anybody visits the Priory Ravine, please feel free to look for “Berina” carving. It would surely be still visible, at eye or ground level. If the tree still exists it would need to be at least 3 or 4 hundred years old! Now there’s a challenge if ever there was one!

Pictured is the Priory Ravine in June 2015 , shared by Katarzyna G.

On social media:

Elsie Chalmers Another great 👍 article. Keep them coming.
The Blantyre Project being the largest tree then, I’m sure the carving must still be there at shoulder height or below on one of those trees in the Priory ravine.
Chris Ladds That’s amazing Paul. Did she visit anywhere else in this neighbourhood?
The Blantyre Project yes, she visited Blantyre Mills, but was staying across at Bothwell House most of the times she visited. She describes a dire scenario of child labour at the mills , far worse than ever described or thought of before. By 1814 though, it was illegal to tie children to being apprentices and the practice must have stopped as there were “only” around 60 children working in the mills by mid 1800s, but in 1808, she described them being in their hundreds .It was probably an exaggeration though as she was from a privileged background and would have been appalled at ANY children working in those conditions, let alone hundreds. Some good transcriptions coming in the next few days.
Robert Stewart 208 years ago, slight chance it is still there, depends on the species and how old it was in 1808.
If it has survived, after 208 years of growth I doubt it very much if anything of the craving remains.
Christine Wallace Wonderful!

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