Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Western Scotland

*Western Scotland. The main backdrop of the novel. For Scott, this region of Scotland was the geographical heart of the radical Covenanter tradition in Scottish history, and he was intensely interested in and deeply knowledgeable about this area, its people, and its history. Most of the places in the novel illuminate aspects of western Scotland and of the Covenanter rebellion which grew out of the west country of Scotland and which tore the country apart in 1679. On a more specifically symbolic level, Scott describes western Scotland as divided between bleak and empty moorland to the north and a fertile and richly productive valley to the south. For Scott, these two areas of western Scotland symbolize the fanaticism and violent division of the Scottish past and the order and rationality of Scotland’s future in the eighteenth century. The novel is about the place where these two forces clash at the end of the seventeenth century.


Tillietudlem (TIHL-ee-TUHD-lehm). Ancient Scottish castle characterized by its great central tower and sturdy battlements that is the home of the Bellendens. Scott based Tillietudlem mainly on his firsthand knowledge of the ruined castle of Craignethan. Although Tillietudlem is itself fictional, the popularity of Scott’s novel was so great that the Caledonian Railway established a station called Tillietudlem in the 1860’s to accommodate those passengers who insisted on seeing the “real” Tillietudlem. In the novel itself, the castle is in part a symbol of the deeply felt Royalist faith of the Bellenden family. For Lady Bellenden, Tillietudlem is a holy place because Charles II once had breakfast there....

(The entire section is 704 words.)