Places Discussed

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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 to be haunted. Ultimately the disposition of the estate successfully combines ready money got by trade, through Captain Brown’s own industry and his involvement with the Dutch trading company Vanbeest and Vanbruggen; landed gentry, in the person of Lord Henry Bertram; and ancient gypsy superstition, through the machinations and pronouncements of Meg Merrilies.

Kaim of Derncleugh

Kaim of Derncleugh (kaym av dayrn-CLEW). Ruins of a tower situated in the Wood of Warroch surrounding Ellangowan. Legend has it that on this site rebellious members of the MacDingawaie clan killed themselves rather than be captured alive. The locals consider the spot to be haunted and shun it, which is precisely why Meg Merrilies uses it as a hideout for her gypsy clan. Here she watches over Vanbeest Brown’s death while hiding young Captain Brown, or, as she knows him, Lord Bertram of Ellangowan. Here also, Meg herself breathes her last, but not before proclaiming the ascendancy of Lord Bertram. Her deathbed pronouncement in this den of superstition transcends the legal proof that Colonel Mannering and Mr. Pleydell are so desperately seeking and allows Henry Bertram to claim the estate of Ellangowan uncontested.

Gauger’s Loop

Gauger’s Loop. Cliff overlooking Warroch Bay near Ellangowan. The bay is a convenient port for smugglers due to its proximity to the Isle of Man. The cliff has local renown as the point from which Frank Kennedy meets his death at the hands of Captain Dirk Hatteraick, and it is the site from which the same notorious high seas trader kidnaps young Lord Bertram. It is therefore fitting that from a cave under the cliff the captain is captured at Bertram’s hands.


Charlies-hope. Dandie Dinmont’s farm in Cumberland. In what becomes a typical strategy for Scott, the farm is the site of several days of old-style hunting and hospitality that introduces the young foreigner Captain Brown to the rusticity and grace of the Scottish clansmen.


Singleside. Estate belonging to Lucy Bertram’s only remaining relation. It is her last hope for fiscal independence, which...

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would allow her to marry her suitor, Charles Hazelwood, but, in a fit of superstition brought about by an encounter with the gypsy sibyl Meg Merrilies, Mrs. Margaret Bertram leaves it in trust to her lawyer until the young Lord Bertram returns.


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Alexander, J. H., and David Hewitt, eds. Scott and His Influence. Aberdeen, Scotland: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1983. These papers are from the Scottish Literary Studies Conference of 1982, and contain two significant papers on Guy Mannering by Jana Davies and Jane Millgate, on landscape and chronology, respectively.

Bold, Alan, ed. Sir Walter Scott: The Long-Forgotten Melody. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1983. A collection of essays mainly concerned with the background to Scott’s fiction. Index.

Cockshut, A. O. J. The Achievement of Walter Scott. New York: New York University Press, 1969. The first part of this study focuses particularly on Scott’s two voices, the romantic and the social. Guy Mannering is discussed at some length in this light. Cockshut sees Scott as torn between the conventional and the romantic artist: It is a deeper dichotomy than mere literary technique. Index.

Garside, Peter. “Meg Merrilies and Gypsies.” In The Politics of the Picturesque: Literary Landscape and Aesthetics Since 1770, edited by Stephen Copley and Peter Garside. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Helps place Scott’s novels in the Romantic tradition.

Millgate, Jane. Walter Scott: The Making of the Novelist. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984. One of the more penetrating and sophisticated studies of Scott and his techniques. Deals with Guy Mannering in one of its chapters, focusing on its structures, particularly on parallelism and Shakespearian allusions.


Critical Essays