School of Divinity

'Two gossips': Grey Colin and John Campbell

In the series of letters between them, both men signed themselves 'zour gossap.' In 16th-century Scotland this term, originally from 'god-sib' or godparent, was used between male friends as a sign of affection and easy familiarity.

Staying in touch

The letters (e.g. GD112/39/5/11; 6/2) were written during the 1565/6 Chase-about Raid, a particularly critical time for Clan Campbell which had followed its chief, the 5th earl of Argyll, into rebellion.

Being at the centre of Campbell communications, John Campbell of Carrick was keeping Grey Colin up-to-date with the very latest news and telling him of some disagreements within Campbell ranks (GD112/39/5/18 & 23).

At other times the two friends used alternative methods of communication, meeting each other or sending verbal messages and the rest of their correspondence does not survive or never existed.