Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Ellangowan (el-lan-GAO-an). Ancient Scottish home of the noble Bertram family, located in Dumfries, a region in the southwest of Scotland, near the fictional village of Kippletringan. The Auld Place, the ruins of the family castle, overlooks the Point of Warroch and commands an impressive view of the bay. The family now resides in the New Place, built by Lewis Bertram using stones from the original castle’s ruins. Central to the book’s plot is the question of whether society and the legal system will allow the estate to be auctioned off to the family’s agent—a man of no family history or prowess who drove the Bertrams into debt in the first place—or whether the missing “laird,” young Harry Bertram, will return to claim his inheritance.

Physically, the estate is at the intersection of three contrary and warring worlds, each with its own excesses and vices. It is bordered on one side by Warroch Bay, a favorite landing place for smugglers hoping to avoid Great Britain’s high tariffs on goods such as tea and brandy imported from Holland. On another side is Woodbourne, the estate rented by Mannering as his temporary residence in the region. Although he provides a home for Lucy Bertram when she is ousted from Ellangowan, the house is the site of a standoff between revenue officers and smugglers that results in the death of Vanbeest Brown, one of Hatteraick’s crew and an accomplice of the local gypsy clan.

Ellangowan estate is also close upon the Kaim of Derncleugh, a site of local folklore and superstition, supposed by the region’s peasants...

(The entire section is 657 words.)