Things didn’t stand still at that time in Auldearn and it was only some 17 years later that the infamous Isobel Gowdie ‘Witch of Auldearn’ trial took place.
Gowdie, or Goudie, was a Solicitor’s daughter and an educated woman. She married John Gilbert, a farmer and church elder and they lived on his farm at Lochloy.
Her venture into witchcraft began when she met Margaret Brodie at the kirkyard in Auldearn, who allegedly taught Isobel a lot about the dark arts and, it was on her way home from their first meeting that she met the Devil.
Her confessions, seemingly extracted without torture, are an extraordinary account and have had a considerable influence on our understanding of how witchcraft was perceived and still feared in the mid 17th century.
The transcripts of her claims to have cavorted with the Devil and cast spells that saw farms ruined and crops fail have also influenced the world of literature and music.
There are much more detailed records of her confessions available to read, here are some examples:
The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie , composed by James Macmillan –
The area around the village is, and has been, a superb setting for many important buildings throughout history. Castles at Penick and Inshoch, the grand architecture of Boath House and Stables, plus a historic church in the centre of the village.
In more peaceful times, Auldearn became a busy village, with a cattle and horse fair held in June each year, and a produce fair held in November. By 1911 the village had blacksmiths , tailors, grocers, bakers, a man that brewed beer, millers and even a boot and shoe maker.
In 1842, at the schools in the village, the pupils studied English, Maths, Book Keeping, Geography, Land Surveying, Latin, Greek and French. For all of this the School Master was paid just over £36 a year.
Will add additional information as our research allows… presently trying to investigate aspects of life in the village during period from 1912 until 1950.
If you would like to see details of any of the listed buildings, scheduled sites or archaeological data for the village you can search the using the ‘Canmore’ website – Canmore search