The Soulis family were associated with Hermitage Castle from the 13th century. Of a long line of mean officials, William Soulis excelled. He became the Lord of Hermitage in 1318.
was a giant of a man and quickly became loathed by his vassals on whom
he inflicted all sorts of humiliating and oppressive acts. He enjoyed
power and ruthlessly exploited his position at the expense of anyone who
came his way.
He was indeed an evil man.
as the Wizard, he
was said to be in league with the devil and indulged in all kinds of black
magic and witchcraft.
Riding to her home he was confronted by her father who was determined to defend his daughter, even against a powerful figure such as Soulis.
Not being used to having his desires frustrated, de Soulis struck out at the man and killed him.
The local people had witnessed the incident, and Soulis would have been slain by the infuriated mob and he was forced to abandon his prize and flee for his life.
He would certainly have been killed but for the intervention of Alexander Armstrong, the Laird of Mangerton, who, arriving on the scene in the nick of time, restrained the crowd, and escorted de Soulis back to Hermitage.
De Soulis, safe at home, felt no gratitude to the man who had saved his life. Indeed, he was offended that a man whom he regarded as his social inferior could so control his people and save his life.
Brooding over these thoughts, he sent an invitation to Alexander, inviting him to a banquet at Hermitage to demonstrate his appreciation and thank him for his help.
But on arriving at the castle Alexander was attacked and murdered by De Soulis, stabbing Alexander in the back.
His grieving friends bore away his body to be buried at Ettleton Cemetery. It was nightfall when they rested by the roadside at the foot of the hill below the graveyard.
Next morning Alexander was laid to rest, and later, by the roadside,
beneath the cemetery, a cross was erected, the
Cross, to mark the event and passing of a respected and much loved
Exasperated by the constant barrage of complaints, the king, in despair, clasped his head in his hands and cried out 'Soulis! Soulis! Go boil him in brew!'
That was all that was needed, an order from the king himself!
Soulis was overpowered and taken to Nine Stane Rig, high up in the hills by a Druid circle. There, a huge cauldron and fire had been prepared and the Lord Soulis was wrapped in lead and placed in the cauldron where he was boiled to his death.
discovered that the Borderers had taken him literally the king
dispatched officials hastily to Liddesdale. They were too late to save
De Soulis and arrived in time to witness the cauldron with Soulis inside
'supping his own broth.'
A good story indeed, except from Soulis's viewpoint, but unlikely to be true. There is evidence to believe that Soulis, in fact, died while in captivity in Dumbarton Castle. He had been guilty of a conspiracy against Robert Bruce.
|Border People Index|