In the town of Moffat, Scotland, a large bronze statue of an anatomically deficient ram proudly surveys the town’s central marketplace from his vantage point atop a sandstone fountain. Reputedly, it has more ghosts than it has ears, which would probably make it the world’s only haunted, earless effigy of a sheep.
The powerful-looking bronze ram sculpture and drinking fountain were commissioned in 1875 by a local businessman William Colvin as a gift to his native town to commemorate its long association with sheep farming and the wool trade. The artist chosen to undertake the work was a prolific and celebrated Victorian Scottish sculptor named William Brodie, whose most famous work is the statue of a faithful dog, Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh.
According to legend, at the unveiling of the statue, a local farmer exclaimed, “It has nae lugs!” which, in English, translates to “It has no ears!” He was right. The otherwise perfect sculpture is totally lacking ears. If the legend were to be believed, the sculptor, Brodie, was so embarrassed at his mistake that he returned to his room in the Annadale Arms Hotel, within sight of the newly revealed sculpture, and hanged himself. The legend says he haunts the hotel corridors to this day, perhaps searching for the lugs. Fortunately for Brodie, and unfortunately for fans of ghost stories, this popular myth has no basis in truth at all, as, embarrassed or not, Brodie died at home in Edinburgh six years after the unveiling.
The statue’s other alleged spirit presence is that of Colvin, who, 19th-century plumbing notwithstanding, is accused of making the tapping noises emanating from the fountain.
Unlikely legends aside, the statue is an instantly recognizable symbol of the town, a poignant monument to the area’s ties to the wool trade and an impressive sculpture by a much-celebrated artist.
Know Before You Go
Moffat is set in beautiful countryside in the Southern Uplands, and is easily accessible from Junction 15 of the M74 Motorway. It is an hour by car from Glasgow, or an hour and a half on the X74 Bus.