Spedlins Tower Ghost: The Tragic Scottish Story Of The Miller Who Was Left To Starve In The Dungeon

Spedlins Tower in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, is home to a tragic story of a miller left to starve to death in the dungeon, the family believed that the restless spirit of the deceased returned to punish them for their actions.


Spedlins Tower was reportedly home to the ghost of Dunty Porteous
Spedlins Tower was reportedly home to the ghost of Dunty Porteous

At the end of the seventeenth century, Spedlins was owned by Sir Alexander Jardine, brother-in-law of the first Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas.

One of the laird's tenants, a miller by the name of Dunty Porteous was said to have fallen out of favour with his master.



The laird, having the right of pit and gallows, apprehended Porteous and took him to Spedlins. The miller was locked in the dungeon of the tower while awaiting judgment and suitable punishment for his misdermeanours.


It was a grim place to be left pondering one's fate - a deep underground pit that had no light source whatsoever. The only access down into the dungeon was through a trap door above. Once Dunty Porteous had been locked in the dungeon, Sir Alexander had to leave Spedlins to attend some business in the capital city. Dunty would have to be dealt with upon his return. When the laird set off on his trip to Edinburgh, he took the key to the dungeon with him. In his absence, it would appear that the Miller was either forgotten about or nobody gave a thought to breaking down the door of the dungeon to give him aid. Whatever the reasons behind it, Dunty was left abandoned, with tragic consequences.


When Sir Alexander finally returned to Spedlins and unlocked the dungeon, the miller was dead, he had apparently died of starvation.


The story tells of when Dunty was found, his hunger had been so great that he had been chewing off parts of his own hands. Any regret that Sir Alexander felt for what had happened to the miller was clearly not good enough, for as soon as the spirit of Dunty Porteous was released from the confines of the dungeon, paranormal activity started to cause chaos at Spedlins.


The ghost of Dunty was said to have been heard running through Spedlins Tower, screaming out in pain and hunger, crying for food and mercy. The restless spirit refused to allow any peace for the Jardine family.

The family is said to have eventually summoned a chaplain to attempt to exorcise the spirit from the tower. However, his efforts were not entirely successful, for the ghost would not leave.


According to the story, the clergyman and the family managed to confine the tormented spirit to the dungeon with the help of a bible that they left at the site.


Over time the binding on the bible became worn and needed repair, so it was sent to Edinburgh to be rebound. No sooner had the bible been taken from the dungeon, the spirit of Dunty was unleashed on the property again, tormenting the laird and his family just as before.


The repair of the bible was hurried as the family believed the only way to confine the spirit was to return it as quickly as possible.


When the Jardine family eventually left Spedlins, the ghost of Dunty reportedly followed them, but after moving the bible with them, the spirit remained subdued.


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