Magic in the Brown Family History

PearDoing a little geneaological research on my family, I found the following citation:

The Brouns of Colstoun also claim descent from George Broun who in 1543 married Jean Hay second daughter of Lord Yester, ancestor of the Marquess of Tweeddale. The dowry consisted of the “Colstoun Pear” which was said to have been invested with wondrous powers by the 13th Century wizard and necromancer Hugo de Gifford of Yester. This pear was meant to ensure unfailing prosperity on the family which possessd it. The pear was said to have been as fresh as the day it was picked until in the 17th Century a pregnant descendant, longing for the fruit which was out of season, took a bite of it, whereupon it became as hard as rock.

Is that cool, or what? And I’m sure it’s all true, because the family sure is a heckuva lot less prosperous these days, if my bank account is any indicator.

Another search found this alternative telling of the tale. (Ain’t the web wonderful?)

George Broun of Colstoun, who lived in the beginning of the seventeenth century, married Jean Hay, second daughter of Lord Yester, ancestor of the Marquis of Tweeddale. The dowry of this lady consisted of the famous “Colstoun pear,” which Hugo de Gifford of Yester, her remote ancestor, famed for his necromantic powers, described in Marmion, and who died in 1267, was supposed to have invested with the extraordinary virtue of conferring unfailing prosperity on the family which possessed it. Lord Yester, in giving away his daughter, is said to have informed his son-in-law that good as the lass might be her dowry was much better, because while she could only have value in her own generation, the pear, so long as it continued in the family, would cause it to flourish to the end of time. Accordingly, the pear has been carefully preserved in a silver box, as a sacred palladium. About the seventeenth century, the lady of one of the lairds of Colstoun, on becoming pregnant, felt a longing for the forbidden fruit, and took a bite of it. Another version of the story says that it was a maiden lady of the family who, out of curiosity chose to try her teeth upon it. Very soon after, two of the best farms on the estate were lost in some litigation, while the pear itself straightway became stone-hard, and so remains to this day, with the marks of the lady’s teeth indelibly imprinted on it. The origin of this wondrous pear is, by another tradition, said to have been thus: – One of the ancestors of the Colstoun family married a daughter of the above-named Hugo of Yester, the renowned warlock of Gifford, and as the bridal party were proceeding to the church, the wizard lord stopped beneath a pear tree, and plucking one of the pears, handed it to his daughter, telling her that he had no dowry to give her, but that as long as that gift was kept. good fortune would never desert her or her descendants. Apart from the superstition attached to it, this curious heirloom is certainly a most wonderful vegetable curiosity, having existed for nearly six centuries.

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One Comment on “Magic in the Brown Family History”

  1. SNOOPYD7 Says:

    So Is this why I am Pear-Shaped????


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