The Archbishop's Cursing 

About the year 1524,The Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar, became exasperated at the activities of the reivers and was unable to contain himself any longer. He issued his Monition of Cursing, a wordy rant, against the reivers, which made the Archbishop the supreme curser of all time and would, if times had been different, have earned the good archbishop the highest rating in the Guinness Book of Records.

This magnificent tirade was read out from every pulpit throughout the Borders and beyond. 
The congregations must have been awestruck by 
its venom and length. Although no doubt it impressed the churchgoers, clergy, and the government, it had no impact on the reivers except as a source of great amusement.

This great cursing was a step beyond excommunication from the church. Wrongdoers who were excommunicated could, eventually, in certain circumstances, have their punishment revoked. 
Not so the cursing. It could not be rescinded: 
it was a permanent thing.

On the following page is but an extract from this splendid tirade of some 1,500 words. .

I curse thair heid and all the haris of thair heid; 
I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise, thair toung, thair teith, thair crag (neck), thair shulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thair leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of thair heid to the soill of thair feit, befoir and behind, within and without.

I curse thaim gangand (going), and I curse thaim rydand (riding); I curse them standand, and I curse thaim sittand; I curse thaim etand, 
I curse thaim drinkand; I curse them walkand, 
I curse them sleepand; I curse thaim rysand, 
I curse thaim lyand; I curse thaim at hame; 
I curse thaim fra hame;I curse thaim within the house; I curse thaim without the house; I curse thair wiffis, thair barnis, and thair servandis participand with thaim in thair deides.
I wary thair cornys, thair catales, thair woll, thair scheip, thair horse, thair swyne, thair geise (geese), thair hennys, and all thair quyk gude (livestock), I wary rhair hallis, thair chalmeris (rooms), thair kechhingis, thair stannillis, thair barnys, thair biris(byres), thair bernyardis, thair cailyardis (vetatable patch), thair plewis, thair harrowis, and the gudis and housis that is necessair for thair sustentatioun and weilfair.

And finally, I condemn thaim perpetualie to the deip pit of hell, ther remain with Lucifer and all his falllowis, and thair bodeis to the gallowis of the Burrow Mure, first to be hangit, syn revin and ruggit with doggis, swyne and utheris wyld beists, abhominable to all the warld. 

And their candillis gangis frae your sicht, as mot thair saulis gang fra the visage of God, and thair gude  faim fra the warld, quhill thair forbeir thair oppin thair synnys foirsaidis and ryse frae this teribill cursing, and mak satisfaction and pennance.

What the good Archbishop lacked in spelling ability, he certainly made up for in venom.

Now read the Cursing in full. Click here.

Border Life Index

Master Index