John Gavin’s Ears

Today’s disfigurement news comes courtesy of a quick stop in the Scottish town of Douglas this weekend. On the main street is a monument to the tailor James Gavin, whose ears were cut off with his own scissors. The plaque explains:

ON THIS SITE DWELT JAMES GAVIN TAILOR A HERO OF THE COVENANT. HE INCURRED THE SPECIAL ENIMITY OF CLAVERHOUSE WHO WANTONLY SEVERED THE EARS FROM HIS HEAD WITH GAVIN’S OWN SHEARS ABOUT THE YEAR 1684.

TO COMMEMORATE AND PERPETUATE THE BRUTAL OUTRAGE GAVIN CARVED THE STONE, WHICH IS SET INTO THIS CAIRN, AND PUT IT ABOVE THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE ERECTED BY HIM ON THIS SITE YEARS AFTER HIS RETURN FROM BANISHMENT IN THE ISLAND OF BARBADOES.

BY GIFTS OF LAND FROM WILLIAM WOOD, ESQ. DOUGLAS AND JOHN MAXWELL, ESQ. CLYDEBANK, THIS MEMORIAL GARDEN HAS BEEN LAID OUT BY THE DISTRICT COUNCIL TO PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OF JAMES GAVIN.

The stone is pictured below, and further information about Gavin is available on the Douglas Community Council website.

 

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Carving by John Gavin, Douglas, Scotland.

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