James Muir (or "Bowsie" as he was called) was a man of diminutive stature with very bandy legs - hence the nickname. He stayed around the Mill Wynd with an old couple, Thomas and Elisabeth Boyd, in a house next to the Red Lion Hotel, and earned his living doing light carting jobs with his "cuddy and cairt". He was found drowned in the Tyne in 1873, aged 31. The original inscription read "--- WHO WAS DROWNED IN THE TYNE OCTR 19TH 1873 BY THOMAS AND ELISABETH BOYD E. LINTON AND A FEW FRIENDS." and as such became quite well known. The word "BY", which was originally on a separate line, was eventually replaced by a neat little panel and "PLACED THIS MEMORIAL HERE." added below to make James Muir's epitaph read unambiguously.
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