The Wigtownshire Pages



The Ghost of the Galdenoch
Sam Heron
The ghost of the Galdenoch was a tale I heard from my Granddad as a boy because it concerned a Minister from Kirkcolm and that is where I spent my childhood. The significance for me had more to do with getting rid of the ghost than what it did as a ghost.

The building which reputedly housed the ghost, Galdenoch Tower, is beside the farm house at Meikle Galdenoch which is just off the B738. Meikle Galdenoch is roughly halfway between Lochnaw Castle and the North Channel, both of which are due west of the present village of Leswalt and not too far from Kirkcolm.

As the story is told the building which housed the ghost was originally built somewhere around 1550 - 1560, give or take a couple of years. One of the sons of the original owner of the building had joined the Covenanting forces and he was on his way home after his Covenanting army had been defeated by the forces of the Crown who were now hunting for the Covenanter stragglers who had survived. He was put up for the night by an apparently kindly soul who then seemingly during the night turned against him ready to hand him in. In the morning in a bid to escape what appeared to be certain death he shot the man dead. When the Covenanter arrived home at Galdenoch he was greeted by his family and attempted to settle back into family life. However, the ghost of the man he had killed, recognisable by its voice, had other ideas and it made life a misery for them. Eventually they moved out to get away from the ghost. When the new family moved in it continued to get up to much mischief. Several attempts were made to exorcise the ghost and even the best ministers who had great reputations were no match for the ghost of the Galdenoch.

However, he met his match in the new Minister for Kirkcolm the Reverend Marshall. It is said that his voice was so powerful on a quiet day when preaching outside in Kirkcolm he could be heard in Cairnryan on the other side of Loch Ryan. The Reverend Marshall took on the might of the ghost of the Galdenoch and they went at it hammer and tong. They had lengthy verbal sparring matches and then the minister started singing to drown out the ghost's voice because if he could out last the ghost he had won. After a while it became apparent that the battle was being won and eventually as the story goes when the Reverend Marshall started to sing again one of the Psalms the ghost capitulated and conceded defeat and was heard no more.

The Reverend Marshall had got rid of the ghost and with his powerful voice continued to serve the Kirkcolm community well.

I often heard about the preacher who could be heard on the other side of the loch when preaching in Kirkcolm.
Sam Heron, 2003
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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