Places: The Bride of Lammermoor

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1819

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Gothic

Time of work: Late seventeenth century

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places DiscussedRavenswood Castle

Ravenswood Bride of Lammermoor, TheCastle. Gothic fortress occupying a significant pass in Lammermoor (or Lammermuir) Hills, which straddle the border between the counties of Berwickshire and East Lothian in southeastern Scotland. A baronial seat in feudal times, the castle has deteriorated along with its resident family, passing out of their hands in the late seventeenth century, when Allan Lord Ravenswood was forced by a combination of political and financial misjudgments to sell the castle to the Lord Keeper, Sir William Ashton. Although Sir William undertakes considerable renovation work–in the course of which the banqueting hall is transformed into a library filled with legal commentaries and histories–the restoration of the house is temporary; it has fallen into ruins by the time that the tragic tale of Lucy Ashton is passed on to Jedidiah Cleishbotham by Richard Tinto.


Wolfscrag. Isolated tower on a narrow and precipitous peninsula jutting out from Scotland’s desolate North Sea coast between Eyemouth–a fishing village about eight miles north of Berwick-upon-Tweed–and Saint Abb’s Head, another five miles to the north. One of the first acquisitions of the Ravenswood family, the tower becomes their last when Allan Lord Ravenswood forfeits his title and removes himself there after losing the castle. Wolfscrag thus becomes the sole heritage of Allan’s son Edgar, who retains the ironic title of Master of Ravenswood as a matter of courtesy.

The tower is in a horribly dilapidated state, its rough stone-work exposed by the ragged black wall-hangings whose deteriorated state is responsible for the fire that eventually destroys its interior. It is significant that Edgar provides refuge at Wolfscrag to Hayton of Bucklaw, his eventual rival for Lucy’s hand, before Bucklaw inherits the estate of Girnington.


Wolfshope. Hamlet near Wolfscrag, whose name is said in the text to be equivalent to Wolf’s Haven. Although its inhabitants no longer owe any formal allegiance to Ravenswood and are keen to assert their right of independence, they are quick to rally round to help when Wolfscrag catches fire.

Alice Gray’s cottage

Alice Gray’s cottage. Humble dwelling on the Ravenswood estate, constructed out of turf and stones. It has a small garden, crudely hedged by elder bushes, which includes a turf seat shaded by a mournful birch tree, and several beehives. The cottage is overhung by a menacing rock–one of numerous ominous symbols contained in Ravenswood’s surrounding landscape–for which reason its situation is called Craig-foot.

Mermaiden’s fountain

Mermaiden’s fountain. Spring on the Ravenswood estate not far from Alice’s cottage, associated with a legendary nymph or naiad. It was once enclosed by a Gothic construction, but this has long fallen into ruins by the time Lucy is carried there by the Master of Ravenswood after an unfortunate encounter with wild cattle.


Tod’s-hole. Alehouse situated between Ravenswood Castle and Wolfscrag, some five or six miles from each, which makes a convenient meeting place for characters inclined to conspiracy. It is near a churchyard called the Armitage or Hermitage, in which some Ravenswoods and their loyal followers are interred and where Alice Gray wishes to be buried. “Tod” is a dialect term for a fox.


*Edinburgh (EDH-en-behr-oh). Capital of Scotland, where the Master of Ravenswood stays for a while as the guest of the unidentified marquis of A–– (probably Atholl) after the destruction of Wolfscrag


Langdirdum. Village in western Scotland that is the home of the artist Richard Tinto, from whom the novel’s narrator obtains the tale. “Lang” is Scots for long, while “dirdum” signifies commotion or admonishment.


Gandercleugh (GAN-der-clew). Village in which Jedidiah Cleishbotham, the notional collector of the “Tales of my Landlord”–the series to which The Bride of Lammermoor belongs–is the parish-clerk and schoolmaster. “Cleugh” means gorge or ravine, while a gander is a male goose.

BibliographyBrown, David. Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. A thorough discussion of Scott’s tragic plot and comic subplot. Compares the novel to other Scott novels and notes, focusing in particular on the similarities between The Bride of Lammermoor and Guy Mannering.Johnson, Edgar. Sir Walter Scott: The Great Unknown. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1970. The standard biography of Scott. Regards the novel as a tragedy of character and fate–one in which the love affair is surrounded by an atmosphere of foreboding.Kerr, James. Fiction Against History: Scott as Storyteller. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Considers the most fascinating feature of the novel to be its merging of pessimistic historical narrative with complex love story. Notes how the novel is a lament for the decline of the feudal order and a critique of the new order. Emphasizes the way in which Scott deploys gothic elements to develop a historical lesson found often in the Waverley novels.Lauber, John. Sir Walter Scott. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1989. An excellent introduction. Has a chronology of Scott’s life, chapters on Scott’s career, poetry, and fiction, and a selected bibliography. Refers to the novel as a one of oaths and omens, signs and warnings.Milgate, Jane. Walter Scott: The Making of the Novelist. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984. Discusses the legend surrounding the novel’s composition. Explores the importance of the dating of its action. Notes that the novel depicts a particular historical moment, one with which both Ravenswood and Sir William Ashton are out of step.
Categories: Places