Bow-brig Ladies

About half-a mile to the east of Maxton, a small rivulet runs across the turnpike-road, at a spot called Bow-brig-syke. Near this bridge lies a triangular field, in which, for nearly a century, it was averred that the forms of two ladies, dressed in white, might be seen pacing up and down. Night after night the people of the neighbourhood used to come and watch them, and curiosity brought many from a great distance. The figures were always to be seen at dusk; they walked arm-in-arm over precisely the same spot of ground till morning light.

When some workmen were repairing the road, they took up the large flat stones upon which foot-passengers crossed the burn, and found beneath them the skeletons of two women lying side by side. After this discovery, the Bow-brig ladies were never again seen to walk in the Three-corner field.

The skeletons were believed to be those of two ladies, sisters to a former laird of Littledean. Their brother is said to have killed them in a fit of passion, because they interfered to protect from ill-usage a young lady whom he had met at Bow-brig-syke. He placed their bodies upon the bridge, and lowered the flat stones upon them to prevent discovery. Some years later he met with his own death near the same fatal spot. While riding with his dogs he fell over the brae opposite to the bridge, and was found lying dead by the Tweedside. Tradition identifies him with the laird Harry Gilles.



  • Henderson, W. (1879). Notes on the folk-lore of the northern countries of England and the borders. Covent Garden: W. Satchell, Peyton and Co., pp. 324-325.

This article incorporates text from Notes on the folk-lore of the northern countries of England and the borders (1879) by William Henderson, which is in the public domain.