Muckle-Mou’d Meg Sculpture
Muckle-Mou’d Meg Sculpture, Thornylee Picnic Site,Tweeddale
The sculpture was carved from a single piece of local elm provided by the Forestry Commission by Rob Taylor, a local sculptor based in Ancrum in Roxburghshire. The work was erected in May 1999 at the Forestry Commission’s Thornylee picnic site overlooking Elibank Castle, Meg’s home.
The work was sculpted as part of the Tweed Interpretation Project, a partnership project led by the SBC with the participation of Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Borders Enterprise, Scottish Borders Tourist Board, Forest Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund.
In the waning years of the 16th century, the Laird of Eliburn despaired of finding his daughter Meg a husband as she was no beauty and was not called “muckle mou’d” without reason.
One moonless night towards the turn of the old year the laird and his household were alerted by cries and a shot from the darkness beyond the castle. The laird, careful of his cattle and goods, and being no stranger to the ways of Reivers himself, kept a watch who had surprised a band of rogues that had forced a way into his barnekin and were attempting to drive off his livestock. In the ensuing confusion the laird’s men captured one of the thieves and flung him into the dank dungeon below the castle floor.
In the morning the prisoner was brought before the laird, who evidently thought the lad worthwhile, and offered him a choice. He could hang or he could marry Meg. Horrified at the prospect of marrying Meg, for her fame was widespread, the lad chose the gallows. Meg’s father was not to be cheated of a husband for his daughter however, so he returned the unwilling suitor to the evil prison cell to reconsider.
The lad, who it turned out, was Walter Scott from nearby Ettrick eventually reconsidered his choice and he and Meg were married. Surprisingly enough it seems that he and Muckle Mouth Meg got along well, she mellowed and he settled down and the marriage was something of a success in the end.
Location: Scottish Borders, Tweeddale, Thornylee Picnic Site
OS sheet: 73 GR: 406364