Category Archives: Bothwell Bridge

Cloud of Witnesses

Some of the early Wylie pioneers may have immigrated to North America against their will. In fact, thousands of Scots were sold into slavery because of their religious beliefs. The slaves listed below were sold in the American Colonies or Jamaica. Most eventually escaped or were set free and those who may have returned to Scotland did so under penalty of death.

The following is an excerpt from Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ; or, The Last Speeches and Testimonies of Those Who Have Suffered for the Truth in Scotland, Since the Year 1680 [1714] and is only a partial listing of the many thousands of Scots who were martyred or enslaved before.

Ed. Note: The Wylies listed below were captured at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge June 22, 1679 and were aboard the Crown of London when it sank.

A Cloud of Witnesses

 

[AT the time the “Cloud of Witnesses” was drawn up, the compilers do not seem to have had access to such full information as Wodrow [History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland Betwixt the Restoration and the Revolution, 4 vols]. Hence the list of the banished given by them is far from being full. It is, however, generally accurate so far as it goes. The additional information given has been inserted in brackets throughout the list.–ED.]

TO speak nothing of those whom the cruelty of the persecutors forced to a voluntary exile, of whom there can be no particular account had, besides the six or seven ministers [i.e., James Simpson of Airth, Robert M’Ward of Glasgow, John Brown of Wamphray, John Livingston of Ancrum, John Nevay of Newmilns, Robert Trail of Edinburgh, and James Gardiner of
Saddle] that were banished and went to Holland, and seven or eight country people to France, several others [were banished] to Barbadoes, before the year 1666.

[Wodrow gives an account of the banishment of William Gordon of Earlstoun to Holland; of four boys in 1664 to the Barbadoes; of two brothers to Virginia; of John Sproul, apothecary, Glasgow, who, on his return, in 1680, from Holland, in order to take his wife and family to Rotterdam, was apprehended, and put to the torture, as stated in a former note (p. 98); and of several persons in 1665, whose names are not given, to the Barbadoes.–ED.]

AFTER the year 1678, there were banished to be sold for slaves, for the same cause for which others suffered death at home, of men and women about 1700–viz. [herein is a partial listing only]:

ANNO 1678.–To Virginia 60, whereof three or four were ministers, who were all by the mercy of God delivered at London.

[In May 1678, a conventicle was held at Williamwood, in the parish of Cathcart, Renfrewshire. John Campbell of Sorn, Matthew Crawford of Eastwood, and some others not mentioned, preached. An alarm was given which dispersed the meeting. Several of the ministers escaped, but the dragoons pursued the people that had been assembled, and about seventy were taken prisoners to Glasgow.
Among others were the well-known Alexander Peden, Robert Meikle, chaplain to Sir James Stewart, and Adam Abercorn, chaplain. After a few days’ confinement they were taken to Edinburgh. On May 28th, and June 13th, the Council banished them to his majesty’s plantations in the Indies, and Ralph Williamson of London gave security that he would transport them and sell them to the best advantage. They lay in prison till December, when a warrant was given to deliver them to Edward Johnston, captain of the St Michael of Scarborough, lying at Leith. Their names, amounting to sixty-seven, are given in Wodrow. The passage between Leith and Gravesend was five days longer than Williamson had expected, and when the ship arrived he was not to be found. The captain waited for some time, and as provisions ran short, and Williamson did not appear, he set them ashore and left them to shift for themselves. Wodrow says that the country people were very kind
to them when they knew the cause of their sufferings, and they generally got home safe after they had been absent from their homes about nine months. Wodrow also gives, under the same year 1678, the sentence of banishment passed upon William Temple, James Miller in Kirkcaldy, David Barclay, Robert Marnock, and seven or eight more; John Harroway, Alexander Buchanan in Bucklyvie, and three or four others there; Andrew Buchanan in Shargarton, and three more tenants there; Thomas and William Govans, and nine others.–ED.]

ANNO 1679.–Of the prisoners taken at Bothwell were banished to America, 250 [rather 257], who were taken away by (William) Paterson, merchant in Leith, who transacted for them with Provost Milns, laird of Barnton [and bailie or provost of Linlithgow], the man that first burned the Covenant: whereof two hundred were drowned by shipwreck at a place called the Moul Head of Deerness, in Orkney, being shut up by the said Paterson’s order beneath the hatches
fifty only escaped. The names, so many of them as could be had, follow; those who escaped being marked with a star for distinction’s sake.

Out of the shire of CLYDESDALE:

City of Glasgow, Francis Wodrow, Walter M’Kechnie, Alexander Pirie, William Miller. Parish of Govan, Andrew Snodgrass.

Parish of Kilbride, Robert Auld, John Struthers, James Clark, John Clark, William Rodger.

Parish of Shorts, Peter Lermont, Robert Russel, John Aitkin, Robert Chalmers, John Thomson,*  John Killen, Alexander Walker. Parish of Cambusnethan, William Scular.*

The Monklands, William Waddel,* William Grinlaw, Thomas Mathie, William Miller, John Wynet, James Waddel, John Gardner,* Thomas Barton.

Parish of Bothwell, ___ More,* William Breakenrig.

Parish of Evandale, John Cairnduff, John Cochran, Robert Alison, Andrew Torrence, Thomas Brownlee, John Watson, William Alison, Andrew Aiton. Parish of Cadder, William Fram.*

Parish of Glassford, John Miller, John Craig.

Parish of Carnwath, Thomas Crighton, James Couper.

Parish of Quathquan, James Penman,* James Thomson, Thomas Wilson.

Parish of Carstairs, Thomas Swan.*

Parish of Biggar, John Rankin.

Parish of Lesmahagow, George Weir, Robert Weir, George Drafin,* [after his escape he was conveyed to America.–ED.]

Out of the shire of AYR:

Parish of Fenwick, James Gray, Andrew Buckle, David Currie, David Bitchet, Robert Tod, John White, Robert Wallace,* John Wylie, William Bitchet.

Parish of Loudon, Thomas Wylie.

Parish of Dalmellington, Hugh Simpson, Walter Humper, Walter Humper, younger,* Hugh Cameron,* Quintin M’Adam.*

Parish of Cumnock, John Gemill, James Mirrie.

Parish of Ochiltree, Andrew Welsh. Parish of Auchinleck, Andrew Richmond.

Dundonald, Andrew Thomson.* Mauchline, William Reid, William Drips.

Parish of Muirkirk, John Campbell, Alexander Paterson. Parish of Digen [i.e., Dreghorn], James Bouston.

Parish of Galston, James Young, George Campbell.

Parish of Kilmarnock, Thomas Finlay, John Cuthbertson, William Brown, Patrick Watt,* Robert Anderson, James Anderson. Parish of Stewarton, Thos. Wylie, Andrew Wylie, Robt. Wylie.

Parish of Barr, Alexander Burden.

Parish of Colmonell, Thomas M’Lurg, John M’Cornock, John M’Lellan.

Parish of Girvan, William Caldwell.

Parish of Dalry, David M’Cubbin, William M’Culloch.

Parish of Maybole, William Rodger, Mungo Eccles, John M’Whirter, Thomas Horn, Robert M’Garron, John M’Harie. Parish of Craigie, George Dunbar.*

Parish of Straiton, James M’Murrie, Alexander Lamb, George Hutcheson.

Parish of Kirkmichael, John Brice, Robert Ramsay, John Douglass, John M’Tire, James M’Connel.

Parish of Kirkoswald, John White, Thomas Germont.

Out of the shire of FIFE:

Parish of Newburn, James Beal.

Parish of Largo and Kilconquhar, Andrew Prie, James Kirk. Parish of Ceres, John Kirk, Thomas Miller.* Parish of Strathmiglo, Robert Boog.

Out of the shire of KINROSS:

Town of Kinross, James Lilburn.

Parish of Orwell, Robert Kirk,* Robert Sands.*

Out of the shire of PERTH:

Parish of Kilmadock, John Christison.

Parish of Kincardine, Patrick Keir, John Donaldson.

Parish of Glendevon, John Murie and Andrew Murie.

Out of the shire of BARONTHROW [i.e., RENFREW]:

Parish of Eastwood, James Cunningham.

Parish of Neilston, John Govan.

Paisley, William Buchan, William Auchinclose.

Out of the shire of LENNOX [i.e., Dumbarton]:

Parish of New Kilpatrick, James Finlayson.

Out of the shire of STIRLING:

Parish of Drummond, Daniel Cunningham.

Parish of Kippen, James Galbraith.

Gargunnock, Thomas Miller, Patrick Gilchrist, James Sands,* Thomas Brown, James Buchanan.

Parish of St Ninian’s, Thomas Thomson,* Andrew Thomson,* John Neilson, John
M’Nure.

Parish of Denny, James M’Kie.

Parish of Airth, Andrew Young, John Morison, Robert Hendrie.

Parish of Falkirk, Hugh Montgomerie.*

Muiravonside, Thomas Phalp.

Out of the shire of WEST LOTHIAN:

Parish of Torphichen, John Allan, John Thomson, John Pender,* James Easton,
John Easton,* Andrew Easton, John Addle, Alexander Bishop. Dalmeny, John
Thomson.

Livingston, Thomas Inglis, Patrick Hamilton, John Bell, Patrick Wilson,
William Younger, William Henderson, John Steven. Parish of Kirkliston, John
Govan. Bathgate, David Ralton.

Parish of Abercorn, John Gib, James Gib.

Parish of Linlithgow, Thomas Borthwick.

Parish of Kinneil [now Borrowstounness], Andrew Murdoch.

Out of the shire of MID-LOTHIAN:

Parish of Calder, James Steel, Thomas Gilchrist, James Graze, John Russel.

Mid-Calder, John Brown, Alexander Mutray. East Calder, David Samuel,*
Alexander Bissit.

Parish of Stow, Thomas Pringle. Parish of Temple, James Tinto.

Parish of Liberton, Thomas Mackenzie.*

Parish of Crichton, James Fork.

Parish of Cranston, Thomas Williamson.

Musselburgh, William Reid.

Out of the shire of EAST LOTHIAN:

Parish of Dunbar, James Tod.

Out of the shire of NITHSDALE:

Parish of Glencairn, David Mackervail, John Ferguson, Robert Milligan, John
Milligan,* John Murdoch,* John Smith,* William Ferguson,* James Colvil, Thomas
Rosper.

Parish of Closeburn, Thomas Milligan, John Kennedy.

Out of the shire of GALLOWAY:

Parish of Kirkcudbright, James Corson, Andrew M’Quhan,* John M’Bratney,* John
M’Gie*

[Wodrow gives an extract from a letter of James Corson, dated Leith Roads, in
which he says that all the trouble they met with since /library/bothwellbridge/bothwellbridge.phtml”>Bothwell
was not to be compared to one day in their present circumstances, that their uneasiness was
beyond words, yet, that the consolations of God overbalanced all; and expresses
his hope that they are near their port, and that heaven is open for them.–ED.]

Parish of Balmaghie, Robert Caldow,* James Houston. Parish of Kelton, James
Donaldson.

Parish of Kirkmabreck, Robert Brown, Samuel Beck, Samuel Hannay.

Parish of Penninghame, John M’Tagart, Alexander Murray.*

Parish of Borgue, Andrew Sprot, Robert Bryce, John Richardson,* John
Martine,* John Brice, William Thomson. Parish of Girthon, Andrew Donaldson.

Parish of Dalry, John Smith,* John Malcolm.*

Irongray, Andrew Wallet.

Balmaclellan, John Edgar.*

Lochrutton, Andrew Clark.*

Ettrick Forest, John Scot.

Parish of Galashiels, Robert Macgill,* Robert Young.

Out of the shires of MERSE and TEVIOTDALE:

Parish of Nethan [i.e., Nenthorn], Samuel Nisbet, John Deans, James
Aitchison.*

Parish of Cavers, James Leydon,* John Glasgow,* William Glasgow,* John
Greenshields, Richard Young, Samuel Douglas, James Young,* James Hopkirk. Kelso,
William Hardie.

Jedburgh, John Mather.

Parish of Ancrum, George Rutherford.

Parish of Sprouston, Walter Waddel and Thomas Cairns.

Parish of Melrose, John Young and Andrew Cook.

Parish of Castletoun, William Scot, John Pringle, Alexander Waddel, and John
Unnes.

Parish of Ashkirk, William Herd.

Parish of Baudon [i.e., Bowden], Andrew Newbigging.

Parish of Sudon [i.e., Southdean], James Couston, William Swanston,* John
Eliot.

Parish of Hobkirk, John Oliver.

THESE seven following were sentenced and banished to West Flanders, who departed the kingdom, March 4, 1684: Thomas Jackson, George Jackson, James Forrest elder, James Forrest younger, John Coline, James Gourlay, ___ Gillies [in Wodrow, Dennis Gilcreif.]

[Wodrow says the above-named were before the Committee for Public Affairs, and in their joint testimony they relate that the Chancellor, after a long speech charging them with rebellious principles, declared they were banished to West Flanders, never to return under pain of death. In their testimony they vindicate themselves from the charge of disloyalty and rebellion, and profess their attachment to the Scriptures, Confession, and Covenants, against Popery, Prelacy, etc. John Coline has a separate testimony of his own, in which he gives the reason why he could not say “God save the king.” He asked the committee to let him know the meaning of the words, and they told it signified an owning of his person, and government, and laws, and present actings. This, he says, satisfied him that he was right in refusing to utter them.–ED.]

AFTERWARDS were banished to Carolina thirty, who were transported in James Gibson’s ship, called sometime Bailie Gibson in Glasgow, of whom it is observed, that in God’s righteous judgment he was cast away in Carolina Bay, when he commanded in the “Rising Sun.” They received their sentence, July 17, 1684. The names of such as subscribed the joint testimony are
these: Matthew Machan, James M’Clintock, John Gibson, Gavin Black, John Paton, William Inglis, John Young, John Galt, John Edwards, Thomas Marshal, George Smith, William Smith, Robert Urie, John Buchanan, Thomas Brice, John Simon, Hugh Simon, William Simon, Archibald Cunningham, John Alexander, John Marshal.

[In May 27, 1684, the Council passed an act, granting prisoners to Walter Gibson, merchant in Glasgow, to be by him transported to America. On June 19, Sir William Paterson reported to the Council that twenty-two prisoners are in the tolbooth of Glasgow; and they are ordered to be transported in Walter Gibson’s ship. Many, if not all of these, seem to have been shipped along with the twenty-one subscribers to the joint testimony against the king’s supremacy and the renouncing of the Covenants above mentioned. The ship was commanded by Walter Gibson’s brother, James, a person well known in Scotland at the time of the publication of the “Cloud of Witnesses” as the commander of the “Rising Sun,” a ship of sixty guns, and the chief ship in the second squadron sent out to the ill-fated Darien settlement. When the settlement broke up, the “Rising Sun” returned homewards, and had reached as far as the Gulf of Florida, when a violent storm carried away the masts, shattered the boats, and compelled them, with the help of a jury mast, to make for Carolina. In ten days they reached Charleston, and lay at anchor until their guns were taken out so as to get over the bar, when a hurricane arose, and the ship and all on board perished, September 3, 1700. Captain Gibson behaved with extreme harshness to the prisoners on the voyage. Their daily allowance of water was a mutchkin (less than an English pint), and an ounce and a-quarter of salt beef; and during the voyage they experienced all the horrors of what was known in the next century as the middle passage.–ED.]

THEREAFTER in July 19, 1684, John Mathieson, John Crighton, James M’Gachen, John M’Chesnie, James Baird, were banished to New Jersey in America.

[Wodrow’s date is June 19, 1684. “He says: At Edinburgh the Lords, by sentence, appoint James M’Gachen in Dairy, John Crighton in Kirkpatrick, John Mathieson in Closeburn, John M’Chesnie in Spittle, libelled for reset and converse with rebels, found guilty by their confession judicially adhered to, to be transported to the plantations.”

John Mathieson survived the Revolution of 1688, returned home, and died Oct. 1, 1709. He wrote a testimony some years before his death, when he was under sore sickness and in expectation of his approaching end. John Calderwood of Clanfin published it in 1806 in his “Collection of Dying Testimonies,” a volume now very rare. John Mathieson, like not a few of the Presbyterians some years after the Revolution, inveighs in strong terms against William III., possibly because he was ignorant of the difficulties the king had to contend against — difficulties that Burnet in his history unconsciously shows might well have baffled even a more courageous spirit than the Prince of Orange. Mathieson’s testimony had been seen by Lord Macaulay, who calls it one of the most curious of the many curious papers written by the Covenanters of that period; but he makes the most of its intemperate language against King William, and forgets that such language was a characteristic of the age. The first part of his testimony, in which he records his sufferings, is not without its interest, and no doubt might be parallelled by the experience of many of the sufferers of that time. He says:

“I am a poor man, and seemingly about to step out of this vale of misery; and I may say with old Jacob, ‘ The days of the years of my life have been few and evil, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in their pilgrimage’ (Gen. xlvii. 9).

“As to my education, I was brought up with those that cared not much for religion or the things that accompany salvation, if they got me seen [i.e., cared for] as to back and belly, but the Lord, who knew well what He had to do with me, inclined my heart to better things from my youth, and at length brought me to the knowledge of His way, by converse with some good neighbours, such as Thomas Corsbie, etc. So, being married, I left off hearing the curates, and withdrew from them, which afterwards brought on nay persecution; but not being fixed and stable–as the generality of the country was –in bearing testimony against the then defections; until I became acquainted with some of these who were declared rebels, and then I was [i.e., got] to understand matters better, and be as they were in judgment and practice. But this I observed, that I never went out of His way (though I then did it ignorantly), but I met with chastisement of one sort or other from the Lord to bring me back again to Him.

“And when it pleased His holy majesty to bring me to a wandering and suffering lot for Him, wonderful was His loving kindness unto me, and strange were the warnings He gave me at several times before I was apprehended, which I forbear to relate: But at length, being apprehended on the Lord’s day at my own house by a party of the bloody dragoons whom Closeburn had sent for by, Doeg John Kilpatrick in Bredgeburgh Head, I was, by his command, sent to prison in Dumfries, where, after continuing for a season, I was carried from that to Edinburgh with some others, and there sentenced, by a party of the bloody Council, to Carolina, in America.

“When I was on the sea, and there, or in my way going, which was nineteen weeks from our entering into the ship until we set our foot on shore and came to land again, I endured a sore fight of affliction from the enemy of my salvation, but the Lord helped me to resist that evil one….  We suffered great straits while on shipboard, and on shore also, by him and his who carried us captives to that land, yet the Lord was with me and was exceeding kind to me in that strange land. Their cruelty to us was because we would not consent to our own selling or slavery; for then we were miserably beaten, and I especially received nine great blows upon my back very sore, by one of his sea-fellows, so that for some days I could not lift my head higher nor my breast; which strokes or blows I looked upon to be the beginning of all my bodily pains and diseases that have been upon me since that time until now.

“But soon after, by a remarkable providence, getting free from these bloody butchers, from Carolina we sailed to Virginia, in which voyage we suffered a long and dangerous storm, and great hunger. From Virginia we went into Pennsylvania, where I was near unto death by a great weighty sickness. From Pennsylvania we went to East Jersey, where we met with the rest of our banished
brethren; and from thence we went into New England. But being sorely grieved with the miscarriages of some of our friends there, I left New England, and returned to East Jersey, whereafter soon I fell sick; and during which sickness I was kindly entertained and taken care of by the man and his wife in whose house I lay, and with whom I had bound myself. For, albeit we had escaped from them that had brought us over, and could not work to them, yet we behoved to work for something to bring us back again. From thence I came to New York on my journey homeward, where I agreed with a shipmaster to bring me to London.

“During my abode or being in that strange land, the Lord helped me twice or thrice to covenant with Him, but on these terms, that He would carry me and my burden both, and save His noble truth from being wronged by me; still confessing and acknowledging unto Him that I could keep neither word nor writ unless He kept me and it both. And so, on His own terms, I took Him for my king, priest, and prophet. After my first covenanting with Him in these lands, I wan [i.e., got] to such a clearness of my interest and salvation, that the very thoughts of it made me often to leap for joy in the midst of all my sorrows, sore travail, and labour, I had in these lands. And when alone, which was often, I was readily best in my case, for I was grieved with the vain and wicked conversation of the inhabitants of the land. And, now, what shall I say to the commendation of my kind Lord and Master Christ? For many and wonderful were His loving kindnesses unto me in all my travels in that land, even to me, one of the silliest [i.e., frailest] things that ever He sent such an errand; so that, as it passes my memory to relate, I think truly, it would seem incredible to many to believe when they heard them told, even what He hath done for poor insignificant unworthy me, during my abode in these lands; which, betwixt being taken from my
own house, and my returning home, was something more than three years.

“But for all that, my heart was still at home with the poor suffering remnant in Scotland. For though fire and sword had been in one end of it, I could have been content to have been in the other end of it. So, from New York coming to London, and from thence soon after I arrived in Scotland. So then at length being safe there, and restored to my friends and relations, I clave to and joined with that party after whom while in my banishment I had so great a desire, and continued with them all alongst, hearing with much delight the Gospel then faithfully preached, yea, powerfully preached as occasion offered, by that shining light Mr James Renwick.”

Dr Simpson, in his “Gleanings among the Mountains,” tells a touching story of his reception in his own house on his return home. When he entered the house, his wife was busy preparing dinner for the reapers. She did not recognise him, but took him for a traveller, who had come in to rest himself. She pressed him to take some refreshment, which he did, when she went out to the field with a portion for the reapers. As she went out, he rose, and followed her at a respectful distance. She turned round, and fancying he had not been satisfied with her hospitality, said to the bystanders, “The man wants a second dinner.” The words drew the eyes of the reapers on him, when one of his sons whispers to his mother, “If my father be alive, it is him.” She turned round, looked into the stranger’s face for a moment, and then ran to his embrace, crying out, “My husband!” John Mathieson died October 1, 1703. His remains lie in the churchyard of Closeburn.–ED.]

THEREAFTER were taken away in banishment, by one Robert Maloch, fourteen men, whose names are not recorded. [Wodrow’s notice is equally short: “And August 15, about fifteen more are ordered to the same place.”–ED.]

ANNO 1685. In the time of Queensberry’s Parhament, of men and women were sent to Jamaica two hundred.

[Among these prisoners was Gilbert Milroy of Kirkala in Penninghame parish, who survived the Revolution, and returned home, and was in 1710, says Wodrow, a very useful member of the session of Kirkcowan. He wrote an account of his sufferings. He and his brother William had doubts about abjuring the Societies’ Declaration, and so had kept from home out of the way of the soldiers. The soldiers came and plundered their house, and carried away eighty black cattle and about five hundred sheep, besides household stuff. Next day the brothers were brought to Minnigaff, and, not answering the usual questions to satisfaction, were sent on to Edinburgh, where they were imprisoned in Holyrood, as the ordinary prisons were full. When brought before the judges, they refused to take the oaths, and were sentenced to have their ears cut off and to be banished for ten years. A few days after sentence, the prisoners were taken out and tied six and six of them together, and marched to Newhaven, such as were not able to walk being conveyed in carts, and put on board a ship lying there, and thrust under deck two and two of them together to the number of an hundred and thirty. In this state they were kept during the voyage, and so great were their sufferings through insufficient food, a scanty supply of water, and want of fresh air, that when they arrived at Jamaica, after a passage of three months and three days, thirty-two had died on the way. They were landed at Port Royal, and kept in prison ten days, until they were sold as slaves. The proceeds of their sale were kept for Sir Philip Howard, an Englishman, who had received a gift of them from the king. Sir Philip, however, did not live to enjoy it, for
when leaving London for Port Royal, he fell between two ships and was drowned.–ED.]

THE same year, one Pitlochie transported to New Jersey one hundred, whereof twenty-four were women.

[In 1685 there are several acts of Council banishing prisoners, and handing them over to John Scot, laird of Pitlochie. Under March 10, he received a warrant to go to the prisons of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling, and transport a hundred of the prisoners to the plantations. He seems also to have gone to Dunottar, and to have got about thirty there, among others Patrick Walker, the well known writer of “Remarkable Passages in the Lifes of Peden, Cameron, Cargill, etc ;” but he escaped while they were waiting at Leith. The ship sailed September 5. She had scarcely turned the Land’s End, when fever broke out, especially among those who had been confined for so many months in the dark vault at Dunottar. The beef became putrid; the ship twice sprang a leak; and so deadly was the voyage, which lasted for fifteen weeks, that their numbers were about seventy less when they arrived at New Jersey (whither the wind drove them
rather than to Jamaica, where the captain had proposed to take them)–Pitlochie himself and his wife being among the dead. On landing, the prisoners seem to have been left at large, and the inhabitants of a town, not named, a little way up the country, hearing of their circumstances, invited all who were able to travel to come and live with them, and sent horses for such as were not, and entertained them that winter freely and with much kindness. In spring Pit-lochie’s son-in-law sought to claim them as his property, and sued them before the court of the province. The governor sent the case before a jury, who found that the accused had not of their own accord come to the ship, and had not bargained with Pitlochie for money or service, and therefore, according to the laws of the country, they were free. Most of the prisoners retired to New England, where they were very kindly entertained. “So,” concludes Wodrow, “Pitlochie proposed to be enriched by the prisoners, and yet he and his lady died at sea on the voyage. He sold what re-mai-ned of the estate to pay the freight, and much of the money remaining was spent upon the law-suit in New Jersey. Thus it appears to be but a hazardous venture to make merchandise of the suffering people of God.”–ED.]

IN the same year thirteen more were sent to Barbadoes. Their names are not in the hands of the publishers, if they be at all recorded.

[Wodrow does not mention this exact number, but under November 26, 1685, he gives an extract from the Council registers, which sentences David Paterson in Eaglesham, William Freugh there, James Rae, Uddingston, and John Park, weaver in Lanark, for Conventicles and refusing the Oath of Allegiance, to be banished; and under December 9, 1685, eleven more receive the same sentence.–ED.]

ANNO 1687 [1685], three-and-twenty men and women were sent to Barbadoes, whose names that subscribed the Joint Testimony are as follows: John Ford, Walter M’Min, Adam Hood, John M’Gie, Peter Russel, Thomas Jackson, Charles Dougal, James Grierson, John Harvie, James Forsyth, George Johnson, John Steven, Robert Young, John Gilfillan, Andrew Paterson, John
Kincaid, Robert Main, James Muirhead, George Muir, John Henderson, Anaple Jackson, Anaple Gordon, Jean Moffat.

[1687 is here, from the place in which the paragraph stands, evidently a misprint for 1685. The compilers do not seem to have known that these were part of the banished given to Pitlochie. The substance of the joint testimony, with the names here given, and five others, occurs in Wodrow, and is dated from Leith Roads. August 28, 1685, while the ship was lying there waiting orders to sail.–ED.]

ANNO 1686 [1687], March 30, were banished to Barbadoes, John Stewart, James Douglas, John Russel, James Hamilton, William Hannay, George White, Gilbert MacCulloch, Thomas Brown, John Brown, William Hay, John Wright, John Richard, Alexander Bailie, Marion Weir, Bessie Weir, Isabel Steel, Isabel Cassils, Agnes Keir.

[In Wodrow the same names and three others occur under 1687. He says, “April this year I find that sixteen men and five women were banished to America, and gifted to Captain Fairn, who carried them away in Captain Croft’s ship, then lying at Leith. Their testimony they jointly signed lies before, me, and therein they signify the reason of their sentence was, because they would not acknowledge the present authority to be according to the Word of God, nor disown the Sanquhar Declaration, nor engage not to hear Mr James Renwick, and conclude with leaving their testimony against the evils of the times, and sign thus.” Then follow their names.–ED.]


References Used and Discovered

A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ; or, The Last Speeches and Testimonies of Those Who Have Suffered for the Truth in Scotland, Since the Year 1680 Edinburgh, [1714].:

An example of the heroic stories of the Scottish Covenanters and their religious persecution in the seventeenth century.

Originally published 1714, with editorial notes by John H. Thomson, 1871 [noted in backets with “–ED.”]. It does NOT include the list of those banished or exiled before this time, except noting a precious few after 1661. This list is also absenting the few thousand enslaved and banished by Oliver Cromwell, being mainly a mix of resolutioner Presbyterians and highland malignants who fought against Cromwell for James II – the malignants fighting out of royalism, the Presbyterians because James swore the Solemn League and Covenant.

History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland Betwixt the Restoration and the Revolution, 4 vols. Wodrow

Related Articles:

The Battle of Bothwell Bridge by Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott
The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge

It has been often remarked, that the Scottish, notwithstanding their national courage, were always unsuccessful when fighting for their religion. The cause lay, not in the principle, but in the mode of its application. A leader, like Mahomet, who is at the same time the prophet of his tribe, may avail himself of religious enthusiasm, because it comes to the aid of discipline, and is a powerful means of attending the despotic command, essential to the success of a general. But, among the insurgents, in the reign of the last Stuarts, were mingled preachers, who taught different shades of the Presbyterian doctrine; and, minute as these shades sometimes were, neither the several shepherds, nor their flocks, could cheerfully unite in a common cause. This will appear from the transactions leading to the battle of Bothwell Bridge.

We have seen that the party, which defeated Claverhouse at Loudon Hill, were Cameronians, whose principles consisted in disowning all temporal authority, which did not flow from and through the Solemn League and Covenant. This doctrine, which is still retained by a scattered remnant of the sect in Scotland, is in theory and would be in practice, inconsistent with the safety of any well-regulated government, because the Covenanters deny to their governors that toleration, which was iniquitously refused to themselves. In many respects, therefore, we cannot be surprised at the anxiety and rigour with which the Cameronians were persecuted, although we may be of opinion, that milder means would have induced a melioration of their principles. These men, as already noticed, excepted against such Presbyterians as were contented to exercise their worship under the indulgence granted by government, or, in other words, who would have been satisfied with toleration for themselves, without insisting upon a revolution in the state, or even in the church establishment.

When, however, the success of Loudon Hill was spread abroad, a number of preachers, gentlemen, and common people, who had embraced the more moderate doctrine, joined the army of Hamilton, thinking that the difference in their opinions ought no longer to prevent their acting in the common cause. The insurgents were repulsed in an attack upon the town of Glasgow which, however, Claverhouse, shortly afterwards, thought it necessary to evacuate. They were now nearly in full possession of the west of Scotland, and pitched their camp at Hamilton, where, instead of modeling and disciplining their army, the Cameronians and Erastians (for so the violent insurgents chose to call the more moderate Presbyterians) only debated, in council of war, the real cause of their being in arms. Robert Hamilton, their general, was the leader of the first party; Mr. John Walsh, a minister, headed the Erastians. The latter so far prevailed, as to get a declaration drawn up, in which they owned the King’s government; but the publication of it gave rise to new quarrels. Each faction had its own set of leaders, all of whom aspired to be officers; and there were actually two councils of war issuing contrary orders and declarations at the same time; the one owning the King, and the other designing him a malignant, bloody, and perjured tyrant.

Meanwhile, their numbers and zeal were magnified at Edinburgh, and great alarm excited lest they should march eastward. Not only was the foot militia instantly called out, but proclamations were issued, directing all the heritors, in the eastern, southern, and northern shires, to repair to the King’s host, with their best horses, arms, and retainers. In Fife, and other counties, where the Presbyterian doctrines prevailed, many gentlemen disobeyed this order, and were afterwards severely fined. Most of them alleged, in excuse, the apprehension of disquiet from their wives. * A respectable force, however, was soon assembled; and James, Duke of Buccleugh and Monmouth, was sent down, by Charles II, to take the command, furnished with instructions, not unfavourable to the Presbyterians. The royal army now moved slowly forward towards Hamilton, and reached Bothwell moor on the 22d of June, 1679. The insurgents were encamped chiefly in the Duke of Hamilton’s park, along the Clyde, which separated the two armies. Bothwell bridge, which is long and narrow, had then a portal in the middle, with gates, which the Covenanters shut, and barricaded with stones and logs of timber. This important post was defended by three hundred of their best men, under Hackston of Rathillet, and Hall of Haughhead. Early in the morning, this party crossed the bridge, and skirmished with the royal vanguard, now advanced as far as the village of Bothwell. But Hackston speedily retired to his post, at the end of Bothwell bridge.

While the dispositions, made by the Duke of Monmouth, announced his purpose of assailing the pass, the more moderate of the insurgents resolved to offer terms. Ferguson of Kaitloch, a gentleman of landed fortune, and David Hume, a clergyman, carried to the Duke of Monmouth a supplication, demanding free exercise of their religion, a free parliament, and a free general assembly of the church. The Duke heard their demands with his natural mildness, and assured them he would interpose with his Majesty in their behalf, on condition of their immediately dispersing themselves, and yielding up their arms. Had the insurgents been all of the moderate opinion, this proposal would have been accepted, much blood-shed saved, and, perhaps, some permanent advantage derived to their party; or had they been all Cameronians, their defence would have been fierce and desperate. But, while their motley and missassorted officers were debating upon the Duke’s proposal, his field-pieces were already planted on the western side of the river, to cover the attack of the foot guards, who were led on by Lord Livingstone, to force the bridge. Here Hackston maintained his post with zeal and courage; nor was it until all his ammunition was expended, and every support denied him by the general, that he reluctantly abandoned the important pass. ** When his party was drawn back, the Duke’s army, slowly, and with their cannon in front, defiled along the bridge, and formed in line of battle, as they came over the river; the Duke commanded the foot, and Claverhouse the cavalry.

It would seem, that these movements could not have been performed without at least some loss, had the enemy been serious in opposing them. But the insurgents were otherwise employed. With the strangest delusion that ever fell upon devoted beings, they chose these precious moments to cashier their officers, and elect others in their room. In this important operation, they were at length disturbed by the Duke’s cannon, at the very first discharge of which the horse of the Covenanters wheeled, and rode off, breaking and trampling down the ranks of their infantry in their flight. The Cameronian account blames Weir of Greenridge, a commander of the horse, who is termed a sad Achan in the camp. The more moderate party lay the whole blame on Hamilton, whose conduct, they say, left the world to debate, whether he was most traitor, coward, or fool. The generous Monmouth was anxious to spare the blood of his infatuated countrymen, by which he incurred much blame among his high-flying royalists. Lucky it was for the insurgents that the battle did not happen a day later, when old General Dalzell, who divided with Claverhouse the terror and hatred of the Whigs, arrived in the camp, with a commission to supersede Monmouth, as commander-in-chief. He is said to have upbraided the Duke, publicly, with his lenity, and heartily to have wished his own commission had come a day sooner, when, as he expressed himself, “These rogues should never more have troubled the King or country.” *** But, not withstanding the merciful orders of the Duke of Monmouth, the cavalry made great havoc among the fugitives, of whom four hundred were slain.

The same deplorable circumstances are more elegantly bewailed in Wilson’s Clyde, a poem, reprised in Scottish Descriptive Poems, edited by the late Dr. John Leyden, Edinburgh, 1803: –


“Where Bothwell’s bridge connects the margin steep,
And Clyde, below, runs silent, strong, and deep,
The hardy peasant, by oppression driven,
To battle, deemed his cause the cause of Heaven;
Unskill’d in arms, with useless courage stood,
While gentle Monmouth grieved to shed his blood;
But fierce Dundee, inflamed with deadly hate,
In vengeance for the great Montrose’s fate,
Let loose the sword, and to the hero’s shade
A barbarous hecatomb of victims paid.”

The object of Claverhouse’s revenge, assigned by Wilson, is grander, though more remote and less natural, than that in the ballad, which imputes the severity of the pursuit to his thirst to revenge the death of his cornet and kinsman, at Drumclog; + and to the quarrel betwixt Claverhouse and Monmouth, it ascribes, with great naivete, the bloody fate of the latter. Local tradition is always apt to trace foreign events to the domestic causes, which are more immediately in the narrator’s view. There is said to be another song upon this battle, once very popular, but I have not been able to recover it. This copy is given from recitation.

There were two Gordons of Earlstoun, father and son. They were descended of an ancient family in the west of Scotland, and their progenitors were believed to have been favourers of the reformed doctrine, and possessed of a translation of the Bible, as early as the days of Wickliffe. William Gordon, the father, was, in 1663, summoned before the Privy Council, for keeping conventicles in his house and woods. By another act of Council, he was banished out of Scotland, but the sentence was never put into execution. In 1667, Earlstoun was turned out of his house, which was converted into a garrison for the King’s soldiers. He was not in the battle of Bothwell bridge, but was met, hastening towards it, by some English dragoons, engaged in the pursuit already commenced. As he refused to surrender, he was instantly slain. _ WILSON’S History of Bothwell Rising – Life of Gordon of Earlstoun, in Scottish Worthies – WODROW’s History, vol ii. The son, Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun, I suppose to be the hero of the ballad. He was not a Cameronian, but of the more moderate class of Presbyterians, whose sole object was freedom of conscience, and relief from the oppressive laws against non-conformists. He joined the insurgents shortly after the skirmish at Loudon Hill. He appears to have been active in forwarding the supplication sent to the Duke of Monmouth. After the battle, he escaped discovery, by flying into a house at Hamilton, belonging to one of the tenants, and disguising himself in female attire. His person was proscribed, and his estate of Earlstoun was bestowed upon Colonel Theophilus Ogilthorpe, by the crown, first in security for 5000- and afterwards in perpetuity. – FOUNTAINHALL, p. 390. The same author mentions a person tried at the Circuit Court, July 10, 1683, solely for holding intercourse with Earlstoun, an intercommuned (proscribed) rebel. As he had been in Holland after the battle of Bothwell, he was probably an accessory to the scheme of invasion, which the unfortunate Earl of Argyle was then meditating. He was apprehended upon his return to Scotland, tried, convicted of treason, and condemned to die; but his fate was postponed by a letter from the King, appointing him to be reprieved for a month, that he might, in the interim, be tortured for the discovery of his accomplices. The council had the unusual spirit to remonstrate against this illegal course of severity. On November 3, 1683, he received a farther respite, in hopes he would make some discovery. When brought to the bar, to be tortured, (for the King had reiterated his commands,) he, through fear, or distraction, roared like a bull, and laid so stoutly about him, that the hangman and his assistant could hardly master him. At last he fell into a swoon, and, on his recovery, charged General Dalzell, and Drummond, (violent Tories,) together with the Duke of Hamilton, with being the leaders of the fanatics. It was generally thought that he affected this extravagant behavior to invalidate all that agony might extort from him concerning his real accomplices. He was sent, first, to Edinburgh Castle, and, afterwards, to a prison upon the Bass island: although the Privy Council more than once deliberated upon appointing his immediate death. On 22nd August, 1684, Earlstoun was sent for from the bass, and ordered for execution, 4th November, 1684. He endeavoured to prevent his doom by escape; but was discovered and taken, after he had gained the roof of the prison. The Council deliberated, whether, in consideration of this attempt, he was not liable to instant execution. Finally, however, they were satisfied to imprison him in Blackness Castle, 16th September, 1684, where he remained till after the Revolution, when he was set at liberty, and his doom of forfeiture reversed by act of Parliament. See FOUNTAINHALL, vol. i. pp. 238, 240, 245, 250, 301, 302.

* “Balcanquhall of that ilk alleged, that his horses were robbed, but shunned to take the declaration, for fear of disquiet from his wife. Young of Kirkton – his laydes dangerous sickness, and bitter curses if he should leave her, and the appearance of abortion on his offering to go from her. And many others pled, in general terms, that their wives opposed or contradicted their going. But the Justiciary Court found this defence totally irrelevant.” – FOUNTAINHALL’S Decisions, vol i. p. 88.

** There is an accurate representation of this part of the engagement in an old painting, of which there are two copies extant; one in the collection of his Grace, the Duke of Hamilton, the other at Dalkeith House. The whole appearance of the ground, even including a few old houses, is the same which the scene now presents. The removal of the porch, or gateway, upon the bridge, is the only perceptible difference. The Duke of Monmouth, on a white charger, directs the party engaged in storming the bridge, while his artillery gall the motley ranks of the Covenanters. An engraving of this painting would be acceptable to the curious; and I am satisfied an opportunity for copying it, for that purpose, would be readily granted by either of the noble proprietors. 1810. . . The picture has been engraved in outline for one of the publications of the Bannatyne Club. 1830.

*** Dalzell was a man of savage manners. A prisoner having called at him, while under examination before the Privy Council, calling him “A Muscovia beast, who used to roast men, the general, in a passion, struck him with the pomel of his shabble, on the face, till the blood sprung.” – FOUNTAINHALL, vol. i, p. 159. He had sworn never to shave his beard after the death of Charles the First. The venerable appendage reached his girdle, and as he wore always an old-fashioned buff-coat, his appearance in London never failed to attract the notice of the children of the mob. King Charles II, used to swear at him, for bringing such a rabble of boys together, to be squeezed to death, while they gaped at his long beard and antique habit, and exhorted him to shave and dress like a Christian, to keep the poor bairns, as Dalzell expressed it, out of danger. In compliance with this request, he once appeared at court fashionably dressed, excepting the beard; but, when the King had laughed sufficiently at the metamorphisis, he resumed his old dress, to the great joy of the boys, his usual attendants. – CREIGHTON’S Memoirs, p. 102.

+ There is some reason to conjecture, that the revenge of the Cameronians, if successful, would have been little less sanguinary than that of the royalists. Creichton mentions, that they had erected in their camp, a high pair of gallows, and prepared a quantity of halters, to hang such prisoners as might fall into their hands; and he admires the forbearance of the King’s soldiers who, when they returned with their prisoners, brought them to the very spot where the gallows stood, and guarded them there, without offering to hang a single individual. Guild, in the Bellum Bothuellianum, alludes to the same story, which is rendered probable by the character of Hamilton, the insurgent general. GUILD’S MSS. – CREIGHTON’S Memoirs, p. 61.

THE BATTLE OF BOTHWELL BRIDGE
“O billie, billie, bonny billie,
Will ye go to the wood wi’ me?
We’ll ca’ our horse hame masterless,
An’ gar them trow slain men are we.” –

“O no, O no!” says Earlstoun,
“For that’s the thing that mauna be;
For I am sworn to Bothwell Hill,
Where I maun either gae or die.” –

So Earlstoun rose in the morning,
An’ mounted by the break o’ day;
An’ he has joined our Scottish lads,
As they were marching out the way.

“Now, farewell, father, and, farewell, mother,
And fare ye weel, my sisters three!
An’ fare ye well, my Earlstoun,
For thee again I’ll never see.”

So they’re awa’ to Bothwell Hill,
An’ waly * they rode bonnily!
When the Duke of Monmouth saw them comin’,
He went to view their company.

“Ye’re welcome, lads,” the Monmouth said,
“Ye’re welcome, brave Scots lads, to me;
And sae are you, brave Earlstoun,
The foremost o’ your company!

“But yield your weapons ane an a’;
O yield your weapons, lads, to me;
For gin ye’ll yield your weapons up,
Ye’se a’ gae hame to your country.” –

Out then spak a Lennox lad,
And waly but he spoke bonnily!
“I winna yield my weapons up,
To you nor nae man that I see.” –

Then he set up the flag o’ red,
A’ set about wi’ bonny blue; **
“Since ye’ll no cease, and be at peace,
See that ye stand by ither true.” –

They stell’d *** their cannons on the height,
And showr’d their shot down in the howe; +
An’ beat our Scots lads even down,
Thick they lay slain on every knowe. ++

As e’er you saw the rain down fa’,
Or yet the arrow frae the bow, –
Sae our Scottish lads fell even down,
An’ they lay slain on every knowe.

“O hold your hand,” then Monmouth cry’d,
“Gis quarters to yon men for me!” –
But wicked Claver’se swore an oath,
His Cornet’s death revenged sud be.

“O hold your hand,” then Monmouth cry’d,
“If onything you’ll do for me;
Hold up your hand, you cursed Graeme, +++
Else a rebel to our King ye’ll be.”

Then wicked Claver’se turn’d about,
I wot an angry man was he;
And he has lifted up his hat,
And cry’d, “God bless his Majesty!”

Than he’s awa’ to London town,
Aye e’en as fast as he can dree;
Fause witnesses he has wi’ him ta’en,
And ta’en Monmouth’s head frae his body.

Alang the brae, beyond the brig,
Mony brave man lies cauld and still;
But lang we’ll mind, and sair we’ll rue,
The bloody battle of Bothwell Hill.

* Waly! – an interjection.

 

** Blue was the favourite colour of the Covenanters; hence the vulgar phrase of a truly blue Whig. Spalding informs us, that when the first army of Covenanters entered Aberdeen, few or none “wanted a blue ribband; the Lord Gordon, and some others of the Marquis ( of Huntly’s,) family had a ribband, when they were dwelling in the town, of a red flesh colour, which they wore in their hats, and called it the royal-ribband, as a sign of their love and loyalty to the King. In despite and derision thereof, this blue ribband was worn, and called the Covenanter’s ribband, by the haill soldiers of the army, who would not hear of the royal ribband, such was their pride and malice.” – vol. i. p. 123. After the departure of this first army, the town was occupied by the barons of the royal party, till they were once more expelled by the Covenanters, who plundered the burgh and country adjacent; “no fowl, cock, or hen, left unkilled, and the haill housedogs, messens, (i.e. lap-dogs) and whelps within Aberdeen, killed upon the streets; so that neither hound, messen, nor other dog, was left alive that they could see. The reason was this – when the first army came here, ilk captain and soldier had a blue ribband about his craig (i.e. neck,); in despite and derision whereof, when they removed from Aberdeen, some women of Aberdeen, as was alleged; knit blue ribbands about their messens craigs, whereat their soldiers took offence, and killed all their dogs for this very cause.” – p. 160.

I have seen one of the ancient banners of the Covenanters; it was divided into four compartments, inscribed with the words – Christ – Covenant – King – Kingdom. Similar standards are mentioned in Spaulding’s curious and minute narrative, vol. ii. pp. 182, 245.

*** Stell’d – planted

+ Howe – hollow

++ Knowe – knoll

+++ It is very extraordinary, that in April, 1685, Claverhouse was left out of the new commission of Privy Council, as being too favourable to the fanatics. The pretence was his having married into the Presbyterian family of Lord Dundonald. An act of Council was also passed, regulating the payment of quarters, which is stated by Fountainhall to have been done in odium of Claverhouse, and in order to excite complaints against him. This charge, so inconsistent with the nature and conduct of Claverhouse, seems to have been the fruit of a quarrel betwixt him and the Lord High Treasurer. FOUNTAINHALL, vol. i. p. 36.

That Claverhouse was most unworthily accused of mitigating the persecution of the Covenanters, will spear from the following simple, but very affecting narrative, extracted from one of the little publications which appeared soon after the Revolution, while the facts, were fresh in the memory of the sufferers. The imitation of the scriptural style produces, in passages of these works, an effect not unlike what we feel in reading the beautiful book of Ruth. It is taken from the life of Mr. Andrew Peden, printed about 1720.

“In the beginning of May, 1685, he came to the house of John Brown and Marion Weir, whom he married before he went to Ireland, where he stayed all night; and in the morning, whence took farewell, he came out of the door, saying to himself, ‘Poor woman, a fearful morning,’ twice over. ‘A dark misty morning!’ The next morning, between five and six hours, the auld John Brown having performed the worship of God in his family, was going, with a spade in his hand, to make ready some peat ground; the mist being very dark, he knew not until cruel and bloody Claverhouse compassed him with three troops of horse, brought him to his house, and there examined him; who, though he was a man of stammering speech, yet answered him distinctly and solidly; which made Claverhouse to examine those whom he had taken to be his guides through the muirs, if ever they heard him preach? They answsered, ‘No, no, he was never a preacher.’ He said, ‘If he has never preached, meikle he has prayed in his time;’ he said to John, ‘Go to your prayers, for you shall immediately die!’ When he was praying, Claverhouse interrupted him there times; one time, that he stopt him, he was pleading that the Lord would spare a moment, and not make a full end in the day of his anger. Claverhouse said, ‘I give you time to pray, and ye are begun to preach;’ he turned about upon his knees, and said, ‘Sir, you know neither the nature of preaching or praying, that calls this preaching.’ Then continued without confusion. When ended, Claverhouse said, ‘Take goodnight of your wife and children.’ His wife, standing by with her child in her arms that she had brought forth to him, and another child of his first wife’s, he came to her, and said, ‘Now, Marion, the day is come that I told you would come, when I spake first to you of marrying me.” She said, ‘Indeed, John, I can willingly part with you.’ – ‘Then,’ he said, ‘this is all I desire. I have no more to do but die.” He kissed his wife and bairns, and wished purchased and promised blessing to be multiplied upon them, and his blessing. Claverhouse ordered six soldiers to shoot him; the most part of the bullets came upon his head, which scattered his brains upon the ground. Claverhouse said to his wife, ‘What thinkest thou of thy husband now, woman?’ She said, ‘I thought ever much of him, and now as much as ever.’ He said, ‘It were but justice to lay thee beside him.’ She said, ‘If ye were permitted, I doubt not but your crueltie would go that length; but how will ye make answer for this morning’s work?’ He said, ‘To man I can be answerable; and for God, I will take him in my own hand.’ Claverhouse mounted his horse, and marched and left her with the corpse of her dead husband lying there; she set the bairn on the ground, and gathered his brains, and tied up his head, and straightened his body, and covered him in her plaid, and sat down, and wept over him. It being a very desert place, where never victual grew, and far from neighbours, it was some time before any friends came to her; the first that came was a very fit hand, that old singular Christian woman, in the Cummer head, named Elizabeth Menzies, three miles distant, who had been tried with the violent death of her husband at Pentland, afterwards of two worthy sons, Thomas Weir, who was killed at Drumclog, David Steel, who was suddenly shot afterwards when taken. The said Marion Weir, sitting upon her husband’s grave, told me, that before that, she could see no blood but she was in danger to faint; and yet she was helped to be a witness to all this, without either fainting or confusion, except when the shots were let off her eyes dazzled. His corpse were buried at the end of his house, where he was slain, with this inscription on his grave-stone:


In earth’s cold bed, the dusty part here lies,
Of one who did the earth as dust despise!
Here, in this place, from earth he took departure;
Now he has got the garland of the martyrs.”
“This murder was committed betwixt six and seven in the morning; Mr. Peden was about ten or eleven miles distant, having been in the fields all night; he came to the house betwixt seven and eight, and desired to call in the family, that he might pray amongst them; when praying he said, ‘Lord, when wilt though avenge Brown’s blood? Oh, let Brown’s blood be precious in thy sight! and hasten the day when thou wilt avenge it, with Cameron’s, Cargill’s, and many others of our martyrs’ names; and oh! for that day, when the Lord would avenge all their bloods!’ – When ended, John Muirhead inquired what he meant by Brown’s blood! He said twice over, ‘What do I mean? Claverhouse has been at the Presshill this morning, and has cruelly murdered John Brown; his corpse are lying at the end of his house, and his poor wife sitting weeping by his corpse, and not a soul to speak a word comfortably to her.'”

While we read this dismal story, we must remember Brown’s situation was that of an avowed and determined rebel, liable as such to military execution; so that the atrocity was more that of the times than of Claverhouse. That general’s gallant adherence to his master, the misguided James VII, and his glorious death on the field of victory, at Killiecrankie, have tended to preserve and gild his memory. He is still remembered in the Highlands as the most successful leader of their clans. An ancient gentleman, who had borne arms for the cause of Stuart in 1715, told the Editor, that when the armies met on the field of battle at Sheriff-muir, a veteran chief, (I think he named Gordon of Glenbucket,) covered with scars, came up to the Earl of Mar, and earnestly pressed him to order the Highlanders to charge, before the regular army of Argyle had completely formed their line, and at a moment when the rapid and furious onset of the clans might have thrown them into total disorder. Mar repeatedly answered, it was not yet time; till the chieftain turned from him, in disdain and despair, and, stamping with rage, exclaimed aloud, “O but for one hour of Dundee!”

Claverhouse’s sword (a strait cut-and-thrust blade) is in the possession of Lord Woodhouselee. In Pennycuick house is preserved the buff-coat, which he wore at the battle of Killiecrankie. The fatal shot-hole is under the arm-pit, so that the ball must have been received while his arm was raised to direct the pursuit. However he came by his charm of proof, he certainly had not worn the garment usually supposed to confer that privilege, and which was called the waistcoat of proof, or of necessity. It was thus made; “On Christmas dai, at night, a thread must be sponne of flax, by a little virgin girle, in the name of the divell; and it must be by her woven, and also wrought with the needle. In the breast, or fore part thereof, must be made, with needlework, two heads; on the head, at the right side, must be a hat and a long beard; the left head must have on a crown, and it must be so horrible that it maie resemble Belzebub; and on each side of the waistcote must be made a crosse.” – SCOTT’S Discovery of Witchcraft p. 231.

It would be now no difficult matter to bring down our popular poetry, connected with history, to the year 1745. But almost all the party ballads of that period have been already printed and illustrated by Mr. Ritson.

Source:
The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border
by Sir Walter Scott.

Related Articles:

The Sinking of The Crown of London

Covenanters Memorial
Covenanters Memorial erected August 22, 1888

The Crown of London sank at Deerness, Orkney Islands, Scotland at 10:00 P.M. on December 10, 1679. There were at least 5 Wylies among the prisoners on board and, according to A Cloud of Witnesses“, at least 1 may have survived. By most accounts about 50 of the prisoners survived and most of them were recaptured.

The five known Wylies aboard the “Crown”:

  • John Wyllie of Finnick in Airshire (posible survivor)
  • Thomas Wylie of Loudoun in Ayrshire
  • Thomas Wylie of Stewarton in Ayrshire
  • Andrew Wyllie of Stewarton in Ayrshire
  • Robert Wyllie of Stewarton in Airshire

The following is one account of the sinking of The Crown of London and the events leading up to the tragedy from The Orcadian, Thursday, October 6, 1988.

The Sinking of The Crown of London

Reprinted with permission of The Orcadian Ltd..

It was a wild and stormy night off the north coast of Deerness. A blizzard was blowing and the white horses riding the crests of the waves were buffeting the sides of the heaving ship, flinging the 257 prisoners too and fro across the crammed hold of their wretched gaol, the merchant ship Crown.

Ever since the troops of Charles II had defeated their rabble army five months previously, the Covenanters had known the meaning of true hardship. However, they had survived the months of
confinement without shelter at Greyfriars Churchyard in Edinburgh finding that they would escape death only to be transported to the new colonies in America where they would be sold as slaves.

Now they were more in fear for their lives than they had ever been before, as it seemed at any moment the groaning vessel might be smashed onto the Scarvataing rocks protruding through the foamy sea only a few hundred yards away.

The prisoners begged the captain to let them ashore, where they would gladly stay in any prison of his choice, no matter how miserable, just to get them off the ship until calmer weather. The captain, who had already neglected to take local advice and shelter farther down the coast, similarly spurned the prisoners desperate request. Instead of freeing them from the confines of the ship he locked and chained the hatches, showing them they shared the fate of the ship.

At 10 p.m. the inevitable happened. The straining anchor chain snapped conclusively, allowing the ship to be carried unprotestingly on to the treacherous saw-tooth rocks, sending the
majority of the screaming prisoners to watery graves.

This tale is no work of fiction, though it would be at home in any “Boy’s Own” annual. It is merely a recreation, using the facts, of what the wreck of the Crown must have been like when the tragedy happened over 300 years ago on December 10, 1679.

Though the Orkney coastline has been responsible for many shipwrecks in its time, this one is relevant today as recently the pillar built to commemorate the disaster celebrated its
centenary, the Covenanters Memorial having been inaugurated on August 22nd. 1888.

The Covenanting movement was a Scottish one. It was formed in the early seventeenth century to oppose the attempts of Charles I to force the beaurocratically dominated ways of the Episcopalian
Church of England upon the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and drew its name from a national petition begun in 1638 which carried the signatures of all who pledged resistance to the change. Covenanters were relentlessly persecuted and everything came to a head in 1679 when an armed coup resulted in a minor victory at the Battle of Drumclog.

A small army of about 6000 was assembling at Lanarkshire with whatever weapons they could find. The King ordered the threat to be eradicated immediately and a large government force was dispatched, resulting in the adversaries confronting each other on opposing banks of the River Clyde.

Unfortunately, Robert Hamilton, the man they had chosen to lead their crusade, was not even at the battle, being content to let God lead them into the foray. While he was busily organising gallows from which to hang the prisoners he was sure victory would bring, his “army” was being routed by the superior numbers and discipline of the 15,000 government troops as they eventually crossed the Bothwell Bridge virtually unopposed.

Thus those on the ship were amongst the 1,200 captured on June 22nd, and in the following months either watched their compatriots sentenced to death or swear an oath of allegiance to
the King. There should have been two ships to take them to the colonies but bad weather delayed one and rumours of a planned attempt to forcibly release the prisoners led to a hasty dispatch
for the ‘Crown’. One survivor tells of how there was barely enough room for 100 men, let alone 257 in the compartment, and that the men had to stand continually to let the sick and
dying lie down.

There is speculation that the captain of the Crown cared little about the fate of the men as he was a “papist” and had insured his ship for a greater value than it was worth. Whatever, the entire crew escaped alive by cutting down the mast and using it as a bridge to shore, although reports say that when prisoners attempted a similar crossing they were beaten back and forced into the water. At most only 50 of them survived by floating ashore on pieces of wood, the remaining bodies being washed up over a three mile stretch of coast in the
following days. Those who did survive were recaptured and ended their days as slaves in Jamaica and New Jersey.

Exactly why the memorial was left until 200 years after the tragedy is unclear, though the key may be provided by John Tudor’s book “The Orkneys and Shetland”, published in
1883, which says, “If a plain grey granite cross should be considered too superstitious an emblem for pious God-fearing Scotland in the 19th century, a simple monolith of the samematerial could be open to no objection.”

This comment may have instigated the public appeal fund, for which donations came largely from south, that paid for the forty-feet-high monument to be built by three masons in the remarkably short space of only a few weeks. With the money left over, a smaller marble obelisk was placed in front of the Cathedral at the top end of the kirk green in 1891, where it still stands today in the shade of an old sycamore tree.

At the inauguration ceremony a bottle containing, amongst other things, copies of the local papers and a Bible was entered into a special hollow, then sealed with a granite slab bearing the following inscription:

“For Christ, His Crown and Covenant.
Erected by public subscription to the memory of 200 Covenanters who were taken prisoners at Bothwell Bridge and sentenced to transportation for life, but who perished by shipwreck near this
spot, December 10th, 1679”.

The monument, which stands on an elevated piece of ground 300 yards from the position of the wreck, can easily be reached even in its remote position. The route to it is well signposted once the turn off before the Deerness shop is reached. Given its excellent condition, it seems certain that it will be there for many centuries to come.

Related Articles:

 

The Battle of Bothwell Bridge

Here are some details of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge and its aftermath, abridged from Alexander Smellie’s “Men of the Covenant”.

The Battle of Bothwell Bridge

After the Sabbath-day on which they sent Claverhouse flying at Drumclog, the Covenanters knew that they must hold together, because their enemies would muster soon to punish them. They grew rapidly in numbers. Within three weeks the two hundred and fifty had multiplied into a legion of between five and six thousand. Probably the ultimate issues of the campaign were never in doubt; the soldiers of the Kirk could not vanquish the overwhelming forces which the King was able to send against them. But, for months, they might have maintained a guerilla war, and, in the end, have extorted from their persecutors terms which were not unfavourable. They were themselves to blame that the result was mournfully different.

Their foes on this occasion were not Charles Stuart, and the Duke of Lauderdale, and General Dalzell, and John Graham; they were the men of their own household. The little band of fighters had pursued their adversaries till they were within sight of the gates of Glasgow, and then called a halt. They were worn with the battle and the chase, and the King had a considerable garrison in the town. So they withdrew for the meantime; and yet they came back soon: Glasgow was a prize worth making an effort to win. Lord Ross hurriedly threw up barricades and stationed his musketeers.

It was still early on the morning of Monday when the Covenanters appeared. But their assault was badly managed and futile. From behind the barricades the guns of the Royal troops flashed out flame and death. At least seven were killed, and their comrades were compelled to beat a retreat. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent by the Whigs in marching to and fro. But in this interval the men who had repulsed them were ordered by the inconclusive Earl of Linlithgow, who had arrived with his army, to leave their quarters within the gates and join his regiments outside. The Covenanters were quickly appraised of this.

They marched again to Glasgow, and stationed themselves in and around the place: it was in their hands now. This was on Friday the 6th of June. Ever since their success on the Sabbath, they had been gathering new recruits. From Ayrshire, from Renfrew, from Lanark, from Stirling in the north and Galloway in the south, companions hastened to join them. Already they were so formidable that the rebellion began to trouble the authorities not only in Holyrood but in Whitehall. But they kept Sir Robert Hamilton in the chief command, a young man whose thirtieth birthday was still in front of him and whose fondness for dissent in its most intransigent varieties had turned him into a “crackbrained enthusiast”. He could not brook the presence of anyone who failed to see each of the many facets of truth from the same angle as himself. An exclusiveness so rigid did infinite harm to others, and wrecked the army of the Covenant. His was the Hard Church which believes in a Hard Master, which thinks that it is not the endurance, but the infliction of hardness that makes a true soldier of Christ, which walks about like a theological detective, without any care or compassion for the sins of the defaulters it arrests.

Every new band of helpers, as it arrived, was compelled to declare itself for the party of rigour or for that of comprehension; there was no permission to see the truth on both sides. The army determined, at one stage, to draw up a manifesto -a “Declaration”. But over this the leaders quarrelled: Hamilton and his intimates demanding a definite repudiation of the Indulgence; the others answering that “neither were we a Parliament nor a General Assembly” to judge such matters, and that, “if we meddled with them, it would hinder many to come who would be as willing as we, and would make friends to become enemies.” Hot words were spoken. More than once the moderate men were on the eve of leaving; it needed John Welsh’s eloquence and the near approach of the common enemy to prevent them from departing in heartache and despair.

And all the while, their doom drew closer to them. From London a large force had been despatched; and, when this was added to the Scottish contingents, the Royalists numbered about fifteen thousand horse and foot. The young Duke of Monmouth, Charles’s son and, meantime at least, Charles’s favourite, had the principal command. He was popular for his good looks, his courtesy, his Protestantism, although his Protestantism was neither very intelligent nor very ardent. He was disposed, too, to lenient courses; it was an encouraging omen for the Covenanters that he received the first place and that Dalzell had to be content with standing second. Many of them were inclined to negotiate with Monmouth; and, though the extremists resisted the proposal, the moderate men managed to carry the point. Another Sabbath had come round, the third since Drumclog. Soon after daybreak, two envoys went to interview the Duke -David Hume and a Galloway landlord named Murdoch. He gave them a not unkindly welcome, and listened while they read the Declaration of some days before. Then he answered that their petition ought to have been worded in humbler terms, but that, if they were willing to lay down their arms, he had no intention to deal harshly. They returned to their comrades to report how they had fared. But the proviso about disarming was a fatal obstacle. Sir Robert Hamilton laughed loudly when he heard it. “Yes, and hang next !” he said. Manifestly the strife must be fought out to the end.

Yet there was another pause before the artillery began to play. Hume and his friend had something more to ask, and Major Maine went over from the King’s lines to ascertain what it was. Had not Monmouth brought with him, they inquired, ” terms of accommodation from England ” ? and would he acquaint them with their purport ? But these were questions to which the General was not prepared to give any reply. The parleyings were over, and the time for decisive action had arrived.

The combatants confronted each other on opposite banks of the Clyde. Between them was the old and steep and narrow Bridge of Bothwell, not more than twelve feet wide, and guarded in the centre with a gatehouse. The King’s army was much the larger. It was well officered. The Duke of Monmouth led the cavalry, the Earl of Linlithgow the infantry. Claverhouse rode at the head of his dragoons, and the Earls of Home and Airlie were in command of their respective troops; Lord Mar held a command of foot. Dalzell’s commission, much to his annoyance, was late in arriving from London; and he did not get to the scene of the action until everything was over.

The advantages of position were with the Presbyterians. If they could only have abandoned their controversies, and gone to work singing the Drumclog Psalm, a new victory might have been theirs. But at Bothwell they were without unity, without buoyancy, without competent generalship. Let us listen to James Ure: ” We were not concerned with an enemy, as if there had not been one within a thousand miles of us. There were none went through the army, to see if we wanted powder and ball. I do really think there were few or none that had both powder and ball, to shoot twice.” The Covenanters had predestined themselves to failure and shame.

There were some who did their best. Ure was one, and Henry Hall was another; but the honours of the lamentable day are with David Hackston of Rathillet. For hours, with three hundred men of Galloway to aid him, the genuine and great-hearted soldier held the bridge. After awhile, the three hundred, wearied with their vigil and struggle, begged, not to be withdrawn, but to have reinforcements from the larger mass behind them; but no reinforcements were sent. Then they asked for ammunition, and were told that the ammunition was at an end. At last Hamilton gave them the order to fall back on the main body. They obeyed ” with sore hearts,” as Hackston writes; for they felt that the order was the last folly of this black and bitter Sabbath, and that now their fate was sealed. The barrier which hitherto had hindered its advance having been removed, the Royal artillery slowly and steadily crossed the Clyde; and soon, from the same bank as that on which they stood themselves, the Duke’s cannon poured death into the lines of the Whigs. Even yet the Royalist triumph might have been postponed. But a panic seized the Covenanters. Numbers of them fled recklessly and at random. Only Rathillet and his companions held their ground, until they too, seeing that all was over, retired from the moor in sullen silence. The rout was complete. By ten o’clock in the morning, every hope was extinguished; and from the King’s side a messenger took horse for Edinburgh, bearing news of the victory.

No fewer than four hundred perished in the death-chase; some accounts, indeed, would double that number. Twelve hundred were taken prisoners; and very many of these would have been massacred in cold blood, if Monmouth had not interposed. Bound two and two, they were dragged eastward to Edinburgh. No one on the wearisome road dared to extend to them a hand of succour. When the capital was reached, the mob greeted them with the taunt, “Where’s your God? where’s your God?” Two of the ministers, adherents of Welsh rather than of Robert Hamilton, were executed at the Mercat Cross. Five Covenanters were hanged on Magus Moor, though not one of them had a personal share in the death of the Archbishop. As the Edinburgh gaols could not hold the crowd of other prisoners, a part of Greyfriars churchyard was transmuted into a place of confinement; and into it they were penned like sheep.

Sentinels guarded them day and night. They were exposed to sun and rain, wind and weather; for there was no covering above their heads – none at least until, with the approach of winter, some wooden huts were erected, “mightily boasted as a great favour”. Their bed was the bare ground. They were poorly fed, and it was next to impossible for friends to convey any comfort to them. In this plight they lived “a life half dead, a living death, and buried”, until the dreary weeks of November. A few hundreds had been freed on their pledge to desist in the future from armed resistance ; here and there one, more fortunate than his comrades, had gained the goodwill of his gaolers; some had contrived to escape across the churchyard walls; some were dead. Only two hundred and fifty-seven remained out of the twelve hundred.

Early one November morning, they were marched by a party of soldiers from the Greyfriars to a vessel, the /library/bothwellbridge/thecrown.phtml”>Crown, lying in Leith Roads; the Privy Council had decreed that they should be banished to the West Indies, and sold for slaves. On board the ship their pains came to a climax. They were crowded under deck in a space not sufficient to hold one hundred people. Those with some health were forced to continue standing, that the sick and dying might lie down on the hard boards. Hour after hour, in the poisonous air, many fainted away. “All the troubles we met since Bothwell,” one of them, James Corson, wrote to his wife, ” were not to be compared to one day in our present circumstances. Our uneasiness is beyond words. Yet the consolations of God overbalance all; and I hope we are near our port, and heaven is open for us.”

Off the coast of Orkney, in a night of tempest, the captain ran his vessel close inshore and cast anchor, locking and chaining the hatches over the prisoners in the hold. In the darkness, at ten o’clock, the ship was dashed against the rocks, and was broken in two. The sailors made a bridge of the mast and escaped to the rough beach; nearly sixty of the Covenanters were able, in one way or in another, to follow their example. But the other two hundred were drowned, only a few of their bodies being washed to the land, to be buried at a place called Scarvating, where one may see the graves today.

Men of the Covenant

      by Alexander Smellie. (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1903 (1975 reprint)).
    The book, published originally by Andrew Melrose, and more recently reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust, has an illustration of the monument at Deerness, Orkney, to the Covenanters drowned in the Crown. Alexander Smellie (1857-1923) was a minister in the Original Secession Church.

Related Articles: