Once in Newton Castle there lived a family with a beautiful daughter, Lady Jean, who fell in love with Lord Ronald. Although they were happy together, they could rarely find any time to be together. Soon Ronald had, to all intents and purposes, lost all interest in the girl who had once been his sweetheart.
Lady Jean, refusing to give up faith in her love, dressed herself in her most expensive and attractive clothes and jewels, to make Ronald notice her, but instead he barely looked at her at all. Unsure of what to do, Lady Jean’s heart was all but broken as she sat in her bower, until the local wise woman hobbled up to her. She had been watching Lady Jean’s predicament and despaired at her attempts to regain the affections of her love with fine clothes and jewellery. ‘A love won in that manner’, she said, ‘was not worth having’. If Lord Ronald was indeed the man she wanted as her husband she would have to take a different road.
Eagerly she leaned towards the woman asking for all the advice she had to offer, to which the old woman responded:
First, you must cut some of the long grasses that grow in the kirkyard. Then you must go to the Gallows Knowe and break off a branch of the lone rowan tree on which they hanged the three murderers. Bind the branch with the grasses and carry it down at gloaming to the Coble Pool on the Ericht. Sit yourself on the Corbie Stane, shut your eyes tight and don’t open them till morning.
The Lady rushed off to do as the wise woman told her to, collecting the grasses and the rowan branch before hurrying back to her room in Newton Castle where she bound the grasses around the branch and there she sat and waited.
As the sun went down and before the moon had chance to rise, she set off for the Coble Pool, where the boat ferried passengers across the Ericht. She pulled up her skirt sitting herself down on the Corbie Stane. In the gloom she settled and soon it grew darker, though Lady Jean could not tell, as the crone had told her to keep her eyes shut. However, though her sight was lost, her hearing wasn’t, and through the night she listened to the bubbling and raging of the water through the rocks, leaves rustling, branches creaking, animals and insects piercing the nights silence. And then suddenly another, strange sound could be heard, a strange voice emerging from the waters…
Warlocks, wabsters, ane an aa,
Weave the witchin claith;
Warp o’ grass an’ weft o’ rash,
Weave the wab o’ death!’
Yet still Lady Jean kept her eyes tightly shut until the morning. As she felt her skin heat from the sun as it rose and the cock crowed she dared to open her eyes after her night. Stepping back on the bank it was only then that she noticed the change that had occurred. She was all dressed in fairy green.
When she returned to the castle she found Lord Ronald awaiting an audience with her, his gaze riveted to her. He begged her to marry him and in accepting it was done as soon as was possible. Lady Jean had never looked so beautiful in her long green gown, but even as she and her love danced a terrible voice rang in her ears, the same cry as on the Corbie Stane. Fainting she fell to the floor.
There was uproar as the guests saw the helpless bride being carried to the bedroom prepared for the couple. There as Lord Ronald knelt by her side, she died.
Unable to be buried on the consecrated ground of the kirkyard as she was now forever bound to the fairy world after her enchantment, Lady Jean was carried from her home, still clad in the fairy green dress, up the hill behind Newton Castle to a lovely and calm spot. There she was buried and her grave marked with a simple stone.
Any resident of Blair could tell you the myth of the Green Lady, and how on Halloween night the stone, still hidden in the grass, birls round three times until the ghost of Lady Jean arises from her lonely grave, walks to her old home of Newton Castle, where she goes to the room in which she died and searches for her lost bridegroom.
Dating from the 14th century, Newton Castle is home to the current chieftain of the Clan Macpherson, Sir William Macpherson. It is reportedly connected by a tunnel with Ardblair Castle.