Monday, 22nd January 2018
With bright winter sunshine and snow on the grounds of Springkell, January is looking lovely here in south-west Scotland. The snowdrop shoots are appearing and there are plenty of places to explore, inside or out. In fact, we swam in the river over Christmas as did one of our guests last weekend! It wasn’t a long swim, but who could have asked for a more tranquil and picturesque wild-swimming spot? It is a quiet month here as we get ready for hosting an array of weddings and other events during the spring and summer months.
When we started to rebuild and refurbish the house after James’s parents moved out, in 2009, our first thoughts about the possibility of Springkell being a wedding venue were as a result of our close proximity to Gretna Green, the historic village famous for ‘runaway marriages’. In the 1770s a toll-road was constructed at Gretna Green, when it became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border.
At this time, a person under the age of twenty-one could not marry in England or Wales without parental consent, whereas in Scotland it was possible for boys to marry at fourteen and girls at twelve, rising to sixteen years of age in 1929. The blacksmiths of Gretna became known as ‘anvil priests’, forging the ‘links of love’ for the couples who married there. Springkell has now witnessed many links of love and we look forward to many more to come in the months and years ahead.
A photo of the front cover of the cuttings book compiled by James’s great-great grandmother, Williamina Margaret Johnson-Ferguson, dated 1896, two years after she and her husband, Jabez, acquired Springkell. The wedding connection started early on: every cutting relates to Gretna Green and its wedding history!