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.
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.
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If it has survived, after 208 years of growth I doubt it very much if anything of the craving remains.