A Kinrowan Estate story: Old Ben, the Steward


Dear Anna,

You asked about the story you’d heard about Old Ben, the Steward in the early Sixteen Hundreds, who helped create the publishing house that is now here. I can’t tell you much about him, as where he came from or what he had for formal training as a printer is not recorded in the Estate Journals.

Yes, it’s true that the first thing Old Ben did was write and publish the first true history of the Estate. Or so they thought at the time. We now know that he, errrr, lied. Or if you prefer, Old Ben told his story in a way that he apparently thought was best for the Estate.

It’s a masterful piece of fiction accounting for all that a normal Estate would have, including a cleverly constructed history of the Kinrowan family all the way back to the Conquest. He even included genealogical charts for the family and insisted that somewhere on the Estate there was a Kinrowan family graveyard. There isn’t any such graveyard, as a later Steward got the Head Librarian and his Several Annies to search the Archives and they also conducted a physical survey of the grounds that took a decade to complete. They found quite a number of unmarked grave sites but none that could possibly be a Kinrowan family graveyard.

Why Old Ben did this is unknown to this day, as he even lied in his Journal. Quite amazingly lied. And no one had the slightest clue he was doing this as they assumed he was just doing something he wanted to do. It was ap Owen, a much later Steward, who realized that what he said was not what local folk remembered and ap Owen trusted them more than he did Old Ben.

Some of what — no, let me correct that — most of what he wrote became received history here. It’s even possible that he created the story of the Neverending Session, the myth of the Jacks and Jills, and certainly created the origins of the Estate itself. But since most of it is quite entertaining, no one cares if it’s really true. Well, Iain cares.

Until next time, Gus



About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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