Glaucus’ Grave

This is an excerpt from an Article by Steve Norris in the Galloway News, on 5th November 2020

The resting place of a courageous horse which took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade has been rediscovered in a field near Borgue.

Glaucus the stallion galloped towards the Russian guns at Balaclava with local laird Lt Col Sir William Gordon in the saddle.

Gordon was badly wounded by sabre cuts during the failed action – but he and his beloved mount survived.

Both cavalry officer and horse returned to Earlston House at Borgue, the family’s stately home.

And when Glaucus died six years after the fateful charge, his master laid a gravestone in memory of his gallant charger.

Guardian yew trees were planted round the site – but the memorial slipped into obscurity when Earlston was demolished in 1954.

But now the inscribed stone has again come to light thanks to research for the Place in the Biosphere Borgue Field Name Project,

Nic Coombey, of Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere, which is backing the project, uncovered the remarkable story.

He told the News: “The field near Borgue is named Horse’s Grave after the final resting place of Glaucus, who died in 1860.

“It commemorates the horse who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1854. The memorial sits in the corner of the field and is flanked by four yew trees.

“It reads: ‘My Gallant Old Horse, lie lightly on him earth softly, as he with highbred grace moved ever upon thee.”

Lt Colonel Sir William Gordon and Glaucus led the left squadron of the 17th Lancers in the doomed charge. Five days after the battle, the slashed and bloodied Gordon wrote to his mother.

The letter said simply: “I only got a few cracks on the head which are of no consequence.”

On his return from Crimea, the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright presented Sir William with a portrait of Glaucus and his master, painted by Henry Richard Graves.

Mr Coombey said: “It is thought that the painting was later cut up and re-framed.

“Two portraits were created, one of Gordon and another of his horse.

“They are now with relatives of the family in Australia.”

Nic Coombey at the Gordon Mausoleum in Borgue