FP100: No. 41

Nerwburgh's bear in the frost
Nerwburgh's bear in the frost

Newburgh’s Bear

If you’re passing through Newburgh you may be lucky enough to make out the bear at Parkhill.

The shape of a bear was ploughed by a farm worker Parkhill, southeast of Lindores Abbey, for a festival in 1980.

The bear is believed to be a depiction of the bear stone which the town’s Bear Tavern takes its name.

The stone was originally set into the abbots residence at Lindores Abbey. The ‘bear and ragged staff’ is a device of the Earls of Warwick.

The origin of the legend of the bear goes back to the time of Arthur and the Round Table. One of his knights was Arthgal or Arsh meaning bear.

The ragged staff is attributed to Morvidus, an earl of the same family who slew a giant with a young tree he had pulled up by its roots.

In 1076, the bear and ragged staff became Norman property when Henry de Newburgh became Earl of Warwick.

The male line of the Newburgh family ceased in 1242.

A female descendant named Isabel was married to Simon de Lis, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon. They had no family and on the death of Earl Simon, the King offered the title to William ‘The Lion’, King of Scotland who gave it to his brother David the founder of Lindores Abbey.