Mumps Hall Characters
Various characters, real and fictional, are associated with Mumps Hall. This list should help to prevent some common errors.
Thomas Carrick is one of two men mentioned on the five Mumps Hall gravestones at Over Denton. He doesn't have a stone of his own but Margarett Carrick (d. 1717) is referred to as "wife of Tho. Carrick". This is the oldest stone of the group, and a different style from the rest. A Thomas Carrocke of Mumps Hall is recorded in a complaint to the magistrates in 1688 as having broken into a remote house and threatened the occupants, but if the TC from the gravestone was the same age as his wife he would have been about 70 at the time. Maybe he had a son called Thomas.
Dandy Dinmont is a fictional character in Guy Mannering. He is cast as a rough, humourous borders farmer, owner of two terriers named Mustard and Pepper according to their colours. In Scott's Notes to Guy Mannering, he gives a long explanation of the way the fictional character became associated with (not derived from) a particular Borders farmer, and the origin of the Dandie Dinmont breed of terriers.
Richard Mendham (or Mindham) was a forger who lived at Mumps Hall in 1798. I have found two newspaper articles mentioning him: Leeds Intelligencer, 19th November 1798 and Hexham Herald, 1877.
Meg Merrilies is a fictional character from Guy Mannering. She:
- Was not born at Mumps Hall or Merrilies Cottage
- Did not live at Mumps Hall or Merrilies Cottage
- Was not based upon the real Margaret Teasdale
- Was not cast as an evil or dangerous person
- Is not spelt "Merrilees"
In the novel, Meg Merrilies is a tall, mysterious gypsy who knows the truth of Brown's identity, and appears at various points to deliver inscrutable prophesies and warnings. In Scott's later years, when he was pressed to reveal the origins of his characters and settings, he wrote, in an anonymous article in the first edition of Blackwood's Magazine, that she was based upon a famous Scottish gypsy queen called Jean Gordon who originated from Kirk Yetholm. In chapter 12 of the novel, which has brought so much fame to the village, she is at the inn described by Scott at the mouth of the Poltross Burn, when Brown meets Dandie Dinmont there.
Tib Mumps is a fictional character from Guy Mannering. She is cast as the untrustworthy landlady of Mumps Hall (which is not named in the novel - Tibs's surname being the only appearance of the word "Mumps"). As Brown mounts his horse to leave she comes round with a stirrup cup, enquiring which route he will take, but Brown has been warned to mislead her to avoid being intercepted by her accomplices and Scott illustrates this aspect of the past reputation of Mumps Hall with the tale of Fighting Charlie in his note on Mumps Hall. Tib Mumps is said to be based upon Margaret Teasdale.
Margaret Teasdale (1679 - 1777), also known locally as Meg O'Mumps, was a real person who lived at Mumps Hall and is buried in Over Denton churchyard. She is named on a legal document from 1758 at that address and a newspaper advertisement for an auction in 1763 refers to "Mrs Teasdale's house at Mumps Hall". The evil character of Tib Mumps in Guy Mannering is said to be based upon Margaret Teasdale, but Collingwood Bruce, as usual, sets things straight in his immaculate prose: "Although the heroine of Mump's-hall was cast in a mould somewhat suited to the state of the district at that time, she was not the fiend-like woman that she is generally represented."