The History of Leith

December 7, 2011

The Story of Grime, the usurper

From the time of the Saxon expulsion to the days of Malcolm II.period of nearly four hundred years—everything connected with the castle and town of Edinburgh is steeped in obscurity or dim tradition. According to a curious old tradition, preserved in the statistical account of the parish of Tweedmuir, the wife of Grime, the usurper, had her residence in the Castle while he was absent
fighting against the invading Danes. He is said to have granted, by charter, his hunting seat of Polmood, in that parish, to one of his attendants named Hunter, whose race were to possess it while
wood grew and water ran. But, as Hogg says in his ” Winter Evening Tales,” ” There is one remarkable circumstance connected with the place that has rendered it unfamous of late years, and seems to justify an ancient prediction that the hunters of Polmood were never to prosper.

Leaving his queen in the then solitary Castle, Grime (who, according to Buchanan, began his reign in the year 996) often pursued the pleasures of the chase among the wilds of Polmood, in the neighbourhood of which he saw a woman of great beauty, named Bertha, of Badlieu, whose charms soon proved more attractive than the pursuit of the wild boar or Caledonian bull, and he became her captive— her lover. In process of time a son was the result of their intimacy, and the forgotten queen, though residing quietly in solitude at Edinburgh, resolved on deadly vengeance. Selecting a time when Grime was again fighting the Danes, she dispatched to Badlieu certain assassins, who murdered Bertha, her aged father, and infant son, and, burying them in one grave, heaped above it a rough tumulus, which still marks the spot. Full of remorse and fear, the queen died before the return of Grime, who, after defeating the Danes, and destroying their galleys, hastened to Badlieu, where the huge grave alone awaited him. In a gust of morbid horror the half-barbarian prince commanded the tumulus to be opened, that he might behold the remains of those who had perished; and from that moment he lost all relish for life, and plunging into a war with Malcolm, his successor, was deserted in battle by his warriors, taken captive, and, after having his eyes put out, died in grief and misery in the eighth year of his reign.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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