My dear Sir George,—I received two
or three days since your interesting vindication of your opinion
respecting the vitrified forts against Dr Macculloch. I have
not seen as yet the Doctors letters so that I am not very competent
to judge nor perhaps should I be so were I to investigate the
matter as deeply as I could having no science to aid me.
But I think our friend & associate
cuts too short in disposing so very absolutely both of Lord
Woodhouselees opinion and of yours for I think your pamphlet
shows a strong probability that some of these structures at
least had been used as beacon stations. I cannot however think
that all of these were so because the only one which I ever
examined particularly with spade & shovel was in a low
situation on the verge of a moss near Fettercairn a place totally
unfit for a signal light. Tradition terms this the Castle of
Fenella where Kenneth was murderd by that Lady & adds that
[her?*] castle was burnd in revenge of the Kings death by the
royal followers. If this could be trusted it would go far to
shew that in one instance at least Woodhouselees explanation
had been just and that the vitrified [appearance arises from
The Letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H.J.C.
Grierson, vol. I (London: Constable, 1932), p. 49n.
* Grierson reads "his".