Arthur’s seat is a extinct volcano which is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh.
How it became known as ‘Arthur’s seat’ still lays a mystery today. Some say that it was the site for the legendary Camelot, the home of King Arthur and his noble Knights. Another comes from William Maitland, who suggested that the name was from the Scots Gallic, Àrd-na-Said, meaning height of arrows.
The Sleeping Dragon legend!
According to the legend, the land surrounding Edinburgh was once plagued by a huge ferocious dragon. It would circle the skies, terrifying locals, breathing fire, stealing precious livestock and generally getting up to the dragon-ly mischief. The people of Scotland didn’t know what to do. They were petrified of the beast and could see no way to satisfy its greed. Eventually however, this greed would become the reason for the dragon’s downfall.
Over weeks and months and years, the dragon ate and ate and ate, taking whatever supplies and animals it wanted from the people of Scotland without second thought. The beast became so greedy that it grew fat and slow. No longer the fierce monster it had once been, the dragon’s constant fullness had made it increasingly lazy. One day, it rested on top of a peak just outside the city for a sleep.
Unfortunately for the dragon, it never woke up. Instead, it became the hill we now know as Arthur’s Seat.
Brings back youth!
Arthur’s Seat was also a hotspot for women seeking beauty and youth back in the day. Thousands of women would gather at Arthur’s Seat before sunrise on May 1st to wash their with the May Dew. Stemming from pagan rituals, the dew was regarded as holy water of the druids which would bring health and beauty. Specifically, women believed the dew would whiten lines and beautify their faces making them appear younger.
Hill of the Dead
Whinny Hill, which just sits at the side Arthurs seat as over the years gained the name the ‘Hill of the Dead’ as over the years it has seen its fair share of murderous events. In 1769 Mungo campbell murdered a officer, after which he killed himself and demanded to be buried below Sailsbury craggs and In 1677 several civilans was shot dead by the kings troops.
In 1863, Nestled on its cliffside, two boys discovered 17 coffins filled with fully clothed wooden figurines. While no one knows for sure, but there is many legends attached to why they was buried here. One legend has it the coffins were symbolic burials of Burke and Hare‘s 17 medical murder victims.
The tiny coffins were arranged under slates in three tiers: two tiers of eight and one solitary coffin on the top. Each coffin, only 95mm in length, contained a little wooden figure, expertly carved and dressed in custom-made clothes that had been stitched and glued around them.
Some believe these was used for witchery and for summoning evil, such things may have been made to resemble a person in which they wanted to destroy with a ritual being done on them to cast such a thing.
Others believe they was placed here as a ancient custom which prevailed in Saxony, of burying in effigy departed friends who had died in a distant land.
Some believe that they could have been made by sailors and given to their wifes so if they never returned they could ensure that something remebled them to have a christain burial. While some believe sailors used them as a lucky charm before setting off to sea.
An interesting tale of this comes from a publisher named the Scotsman’s, he goes into details in one of his articles how A ‘lady residing in Edinburgh’ had told the paper that her father (‘Mr B.’) had sometimes been visited at his business premises by a ‘daft man’. On one occasion, the man had drawn on a piece of paper a picture of three small coffins, with the dates 1837, 1838 and 1840 written underneath.
‘In the autumn of 1837,’ The Scotsman explains, ‘a near relative of Mr B’s died; in the following year a cousin died and in 1840 his own brother died. After the funeral, the daft deaf mute appeared again, walked into Mr B’s office and “glowering” at him vanished never to return.’
A fine twist to the tale of these mystery finds and one that we will probably will never know!
Charlene Lowe Kemp