Prophet Peden and the Pocket Watches: ‘The Earl is this Minute Fallen’ #History #Scotland

•November 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Argyll Captured

In mid June, 1685, as the Argyll Rising crumbled around Glasgow, a group of Covenanters came out in support of him in Galloway. Unfortunately for them, as they drew together for the rebellion, the earl of Argyll was captured just as his forces won a small victory at the battle of Muirdykes on 18 June. Soon after, his men who had forced their way across the Clyde, broke up and fled into hiding. As ever, Alexander “Prophet” Peden was allegedly on hand to warn the Galloway rebels…

John Ker of Kersland recorded Peden’s warning and the Galloway support for Argyll In his Memoirs posthumously published in 1726:

‘My Brother[-in-law], Daniel Ker [of Kersland], after the Death of my Father[-in-law] at Utrecht, landing also in Scotland with the said Earl [of Argyll in May, 1685], repaired to the South-West, where the main Body of the Cameronians were, and, at their Request, taking the Command upon him, he resolved to join (Argyll as soon as possible: But some English Men of War, coming into our Western Seas [i.e., in the Firth of Clyde], cut off the Communication [with the Earl in Argyll], which obliged the Earl to March about by Glasgow, in order to join the Cameronians and his other Friends in the West, who were all upon their March to meet him: But it is Melancholy to trouble the Reader with the Particulars of that Miscarriage. The Earl falling into the Hands of his Enemies, after his Party was dispersed near Duntreth, [>p8] &c. “Which not only ushered in the Death of that great Man, but likewise buried the whole Hopes of that Party till the happy Revolution in the Year 1688, under King William of Pious and Immortal Memory;

I shall only beg leave to take Notice of a very odd Accident which happened when the Cameronians were upon their March to join Argyll, Mr. [Alexander] Pedin, another of their Ministers stopping suddenly, intreated them to Halt, and after a short Ejaculation, cryed out, we have no Occasion to go any farther, for the Earl is this Minute fallen a Sacrifice to the fury of his Enemies. Whereupon several Gentleman pulled out their Watches to Mark the Time, which was afterwards found to answer to a very Minute accordingly, tho’ the Earl and they were at least 50 Miles distant. (John Ker, Memoirs, 7-8.)

Patrick Walker recorded a different story about Alexander Peden joining with the rebels for Argyll in Galloway.

His second sight that Argyll was captured is similar to other stories of occasions when he allegedly saw the fates of the Pentland Rising of 1666 and the Bothwell Rising of 1679 when they were taking place. On each of those occasions, Peden was said to have been miles away when the risings failed. (Walker, BP I, 42, 45-6.)

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

Flight Through the Heather: Brysson Among the Society people in 1685 #History #Scotland

•November 23, 2015 • 1 Comment


After a rebellion fails, comes flight. On the evening of Saturday 20 June, after George Brysson had his lamentable parting with his comrades from the Battle of Muirdykes, he set off with a small party of companions in search of safety. If they were captured alive, they would have been banished to Jamaica, as many other Argyll rebels were:

‘I came off with three other lads that came from London with me [to Holland to join the earl of Argyll’s ill-fated invasion and had fought at Muirdykes]. When we four were parted a good way from Sir John [Cochrane of Ochiltree] and the rest, we began to consult what to do;’

Brysson was probably in the vicinity of Uplawmoor in Neilston parish, Renfrewshire, when Ochiltree’s men split up.

Map of Uplawmoor and Loch Libo area

Where he went next is not clear, but there are clues in the text.

‘as for our arms, we would in no case part with them, thinking to defend ourselves as long as we could. So one gave one advice, and some another: our conclusion at length was, that we would march towards Annandale, for some of us had acquaintance there, and there we could inform ourselves what was become of Monmouth[‘s Rebellion]; and if he were prospering, we resolved (if possible) to go to him, for we knew that we were always unsafe in our own country. So we resolved to travel all night, and to dern all day; and buy victuals as we went alongst, for as yet we wanted not money.’

Brysson and his companions’ plan was clearly to avoid the populated areas where government forces had the greatest chance of catching them. Their aim was to keep to the hills and moors as they headed south-east to Annandale on the Border. The landscape before them suited that plan, as it was possible to follow hills and moors, with only short breaks, to the edge of Annandale. Their planned route also would also take the through the heartlands of the militant Society people.

‘So we went on, and marched through a weary long moor, and then came to the plain ground, and had travelled a good way in the plain before it came to be very light [on the morning of Sunday 21 June]. This was on the sabbath morning. When we began to see about us, we could not perceive either wood or moss to shelter in all day. Then we wist not what to do, the whole country being full of the king’s forces, so that we were afraid of being apprehended. We resolved to venture on some house. We sent one of our number to a house hard by, to see if they would give us quarters, and desired him to tell them plainly what men we were, and that we were in hazard of our lives.’

Brysson and his companions almost certainly avoided heading directly south into the populated areas of Ayrshire and towards the government garrison at Kilmarnock. Instead, they probably skirted east and south-east through the uplands and into Fenwick parish, Ayrshire, heading towards Eaglesham Moor. Fenwick parish sounds like the plain ground he encountered and where they were compelled to seek shelter in a house.

Map of Fenwick area

The Widow and Mr Renny’s Men
‘We happened upon a very honest widow-woman’s house, who yet, upon no account, would give us quarters, taking us for dissemblers; for she had some of Mr. Renny’s men hiding in her house, who were in as great hazard as we were in. But she let us see a house a little way off, who, she said, would shelter us, if we were such men as we gave ourselves out to be.’

Mr Renny’s men in hiding were Society people led by James Renwick. In the summer of 1685, the Society people had were divided over the issue of whether to join with Argyll’s Rising over the failure of Argyll to expressly support a Covenanted settlement in his declaration. The widow clearly judged Brysson and his companions to be Argyll’s men:

The Second House
‘So we came to that house, and sent one to call at the door, whereupon the goodman came out. Our case was made known to him. He said, “Gentlemen, ye need not think to deceive me, for ye are not such men as ye say ye are.” I stept near and said, “Friend, we truly came alongst with Argyle, and our lives are in hazard, and if ye refuse to shelter us, ye cannot be free of our blood, if we should fall into the enemy’s hands.” Whereupon the honest man condescends. So we went in, and though it was early in the morning, there was a brave fire burning on the hearth. We sat down and warmed ourselves. He presently caused his daughter bring plenty of meat to us. After we had breakfasted, he said, “Now, gentlemen, what shall I do with you next, for your enemies will be abroad presently, and will range up our house for provision?” He said, “I have an old torn house, where our sheep lie, I think they will not go near it, being ruinous; there are two steads lying on the balks of the house, I will cause my daughter carry up straw, and ye may lie there till night.” Which, accordingly, we did, and slept there as sound as ever we did upon a feather bed.

[The Old, Torn House]
And at night [of Sunday, 21 June] one of those men that were hiding in the widow’s house [i.e., one of Renwick’s men], came to the honest man, and asked, if there came four armed men there in the morning. He told him, there did. He asked, what men we were. He told him, we were very honest men. He desired to see us. He brought him to us.’

The man who sought them out in the old torn house was probably the John Ferguson, sometimes mistakenly called Fergushill due to a typesetting or transcription error. A few months later, he and two others wrtr killed in a raid on the farm at Midland in Fenwick parish in November when John Nisbet of Hardhill was captured.

‘He was very glad when he saw us, and asked several questions at us, which we told him. He inquired, what we resolved to do. We said, we were resolved to go for Annandale, and to travel all night, and keep close all day. He said it was impossible for us to win there, without being apprehended; for, he said, it was difficult for them to keep themselves out of the enemy’s hands, though they knew the country better than we did. He advised us rather to stay with them, and assured us we should not want meat and drink, if we would take our hazard with them. And we complied with his advice.’

Ferguson gave them sound advice. In the summer of 1685, Highlanders had been sent into Ayrshire, government troops were very active in hunting fugitives and the Border was under guard to prevent rebels joining Monmouth.

Brysson then implies that Ferguson was one of the Society people sympathetic to Argyll’s cause:

‘Now, there were very many of the west-country men upon their hiding, who had met together to have joined us if we had prospered!’

That may be true, however, Ferguson was a member of the United Societies. His interest in Brysson’s party may have for intelligence purposes. Brysson and the others had useful information for the societies about not only the fate of Argyll’s campaign, but how it had dissolved and what divisions there had been during it. That intelligence may have been of particular use to the Societies, as they were under pressure from Argyll’s former agents not only join with Argyll until his capture, but to join with Monmouth, who was in the weeks after the encounter with Brysson, still leading a rebellion in England. Intriguingly, Ferguson proposed to take them to a meeting of the Society people, probably on Eaglesham Moor.

On Eaglesham Moor?
They then went with Ferguson to a great moss:

‘So we took leave of our landlord [of the old torn house], and went alongst with him [i.e., Ferguson]. He carried us to a great moss [probably Eaglesham Moor], where we were to stay next day, for several of them had trysted to meet there. And as we were going to the place, he was to call at a house by the way who was to bring provisions to us, and desired us to stand at the end of the house till he spoke with the folk within.

In the mean time, when we were standing, there came about twenty-four men, well armed, who were on their hiding also; and they came with the same resolution to desire these folk to bring provisions to them, in such a place as they were to lodge in the moss. Not knowing of us, they came close up to the place where we were standing. We hearing the noise of their feet a pretty while before they came up to us, one of our company said, “We are all taken! for there is a party of the enemy coming.” So we had our arms ready to receive them, if they offered any violence. I looked betwixt me and the sky, and I perceived their arms, and saw that they had some sort of arms of their own making, which the forces used not. I said, “They are surely friends.” The other said, “There could not be so many friends together at such a time.” So they came close up to us; and, when they perceived us, they presented their guns, and said, “What are you?” We said, “We are friends!” They said, “How shall we know that?” We said, John Ferguson was with us; (this was the man that brought us along) thinking they might know him; which, accordingly, they did, when we called him.

So we parted; for John Ferguson told them that he had bespoke the house to bring provisions to us and some others that were to meet with us in the moss. So they went to some other place for provisions.’

‘The Great Moss’
‘We lay in the moss all that night and all next day [i.e., the night of 21 June and Monday 22 June]; and then went, in the night time, to another place.’

With the Society people around Eaglesham Moor
‘We remained six weeks wandering up and down with them; whiles lying in the fields and sometimes in houses, and were hardly one night where we were the other. The country was exceeding kind to us, and would take nothing for our victuals;’

Brysson’s party remained with the Society people in hiding on the borders of Eaglesham Moor between 22 June and early August, 1685. At some point in that stay, he and others were to be taken to a safe refuge the burgh of Kilmarnock. However, the plan went astray:

‘There was one night that there were about a dozen of us who were invited by some friends to come to Kilmarnock privately, in the night time, to stay there some days, and there were some ordained to wait upon us at the time appointed, a little space from the town, to convoy us in some secret way; but, behold, that evening some troops of horse had come to quarter there, so our friends sent to stop us by the way. Then we knew not what to do. We had travelled so far from the moors that we were afraid of being apprehended before we wan there again, there being no friend’s house near.’

The low-lying areas of Kilmarnock parish appear to have been hostile terrain for the Societies in comparison to the eastern uplands of it.

Taking Hostages
‘Then they resolved to go to a man’s house that was bein [i.e., well-off] enough, but no friend to them [i.e., to the Society people]; only he had some honest servants, and they thought the man would not be ill-natured.

There were several of the lads that were acquainted with him. So we sent one to call at the door, to see if they would harbour us, and were resolved to stay there by violence, if we could not prevail with fairness.’

The fugitive Society people did, as the occasion demanded, hold hostages for their security.

‘When the man came to the door, behold, it was not locked; he came again and told us; so we came in, and placed our arms beside us, and there was a fine gloss of fire on the hearth. We laid to some more peats, and kept very quiet. When the fire began to have some light, the goodman’s brother, lying in the hall, looked over the bed, and began to bless himself, saying, “What’s that there!” One of them named him, and said, “Be not afraid, it is kend folk.”

He asked, “who we were?” They told him some of their names that he knew. He said, what the devil had brought us there! We desired him to be quiet, for we should do them no wrong. He said, “Devil a one of you stays here!” Then he began to call aloud to his brother to rise and come to his assistance, for there were a great many of the mountain-men come there; upon which his brother rose in haste, and was as ill-natured as he. Then we four that were strangers took upon us to command. After no intreaties would prevail, we threatened to shoot the rascals dead, if we heard any more of their noise; and forthwith we locked the goodman up in a close room, and made him prisoner, and set down his brother amongst us, and commanded him to silence, and threatened, if we had any more of his disturbance, we would immediately knock him down; so after that we had great quietness.

In the morning, very early, the servant men came in, being ordered by their master the night before to go to carry carriage-coals for their laird.

The two servants were well inclined; and after some time’s converse with us they obtained leave to go. We made all the rest prisoners. In the morning, when the cattle and sheep were to go to their meat, the goodman and his brother began to desire liberty for the servants to take them out. We told them, we would be herds ourselves for that day. So two of our number took all the cattle to their meat, and waited on them. Then the goodman and his brother began to use many intreaties to let them be set at liberty, and their life for it, they would do us no harm. At length we condescended, for that stead stood by itself a good way from any other, and we kept a watchful eye upon all that belonged to the house. The goodman, at length, began to be more friendly, telling us it was for fear of bringing hazard upon himself that made him so rude; and desired that we might go down to his barn, where was a great deal of straw, and take us rest, and he and his brother would watch; which accordingly we did, but kept always three sentries to oversee them, that none went to give warning to the enemy. At length our landlord caused make breakfast ready for us of very good victuals, and caused set them down in our sight that we might take them, that, if he were challenged, he could say, he gave us neither meat nor drink. We continued safe till night, and so parted.’

By early August, the Argyll Rising emergency and the Killing Times had passed.

‘When we had staid very long we began to think the country somewhat more quiet. We thought of venturing home to see our friends, whom we had not seen for two years and a half. Two of us went away first, and after that the other two ventured.’

Brysson (b.c.1649) had attended field preachings and been a Bothwell rebel in 1679. He lived at ‘Goursnout’, probably ‘Gourstoun’ in Lasswade parish, Edinburghshire, and attempted to trade privately in Edinburgh before he left for London in mid 1683. In London, he was recruited to join the risings by Argyll and Monmouth by Major James Henderson, who later died from wounds he received at the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689. (Memoirs, 278n., 291, 302.)

‘My comrade and I kept our arms all alongst till we came to Calder Moor, and there left them with a friend that we were recommended to [by the Society people?]; and so we came home; but were in as bad circumstances as we were in when we went off the country. For half-a-year we durst never travel safely but in the night; we thought we would be but a burden to our friends; we resolved to go for England again, where we were not so well known.

So my friend, who had been with me in the most part of all my travels, who is living at the writing hereof [in 1714], (and was the person I spoke of formerly/who was carried off the field into the house sleeping,) went away before me to Northumberland, and promised to write me if he got any settlement, which he did, accordingly, within a short time; he being settled in an honest family. He desired me to take my venture, for I knew not what providence might carve out for me.’ (Brysson in Memoirs of Veitch, 335-45.)

Brysson soon headed to Northumberland where he met James Welsh, a preacher from Kirkcudbrightshire who had been opposed to the militant platform of the Society people in 1682. He remained there until well after the Revolution.

In 1721, he attested an account of George Lapsley’s appearance before the privy council. Lapsley, a follower of Donald Cargill, had escaped from Edinburgh Tolbooth in 1683 and fled to London.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

The Battle of Muirdykes in 1685: George Brysson’s Memoir #History #Scotland

•November 22, 2015 • 2 Comments

George Brysson, a foot soldier in the Argyll Rising, left a remarkable memoir of his part in the battle of Muirdykes on Thursday 18 June, 1685. His narrative is noteworthy for the detailed account he gives of the battle, his references to the wounding of the martyr, Thomas Archer, and the way in which the death of Captain William Cleland was used by Argyll’s men. It is interesting to compare it with Patrick Hume of Polwarth’s account of the same events.

Erskine Green

A small force of Argyll’s men made an amphibious assault across the River Clyde from Old Kilpatrick.

Map of Old Kilpatrick and Erskine

[Crossing the Clyde]
‘We resolved then to cross Clyde [at Kilpatrick on the morning of 18 June]. But behold there was a troop of horse lying on the other side of the water [on Erskine Green], which made our passage most difficult. However, Sir John Cochrane [of Ochiltree] said, “Gentlemen, it is not time for us to delay, for whenever the enemy does miss us in the morning, they will pursue; therefore, let us force our passage over the water.” There were two boats ; Sir John entered the one with about ten or twelve men, [Patrick Hume of] Polwart got into the other with as many men. The troop sent down four or five of their men on foot to the side of an old boat that lay at the side [>p322.] of the river. Our men would have fired at them, but Sir John would not suffer them, because they had the old boat to be a defence to them; but desired them to forbear till they were nearer the side of the water. And then said, “I think our shot will now reach the body of their troop, so fire at them”; which was accordingly done. And one of their horses being shot dead, and some wounded, the five men that lay at the side of the old boat, firing at us, made haste to get to their horses, and so the whole troop fled; and we got ashore as fast as we could, and pursued them.

They rode more than a mile before they stinted, and so drew up upon the top of a hill. So we sent the boats to and again, till we had brought over about 150 men. The Earl of Argyle, and the rest, refused to come over. [… >p324.]

There was a gentleman whose house stood upon the water-side, who had provided a brewing of good ale, and a batch of oat loaves, to serve the king’s forces, as we were informed. The gentleman being with the forces himself, we went in and refreshed ourselves; and indeed, we had great need, for some of us had eaten very little for three days, being still pursued by the enemy, and had slept none all that time. I tied up three loaves in my napkin, thinking to keep myself from such a strait for some time as I had been in before; and I tied them to my belt, but, through sleepiness and weariness, I lost all.’

The house were Brysson obtained his loaves was probably the old Erskine House, which lay by the ferry house and was demolished in the nineteenth century when the new house, later a hospital, was built. The house may have belonged to William Hamilton of Orbiston, who served in the militia in 1685. The small government force at Erskine had probably been placed there to give warning if Argyll’s forces tried to cross the Clyde. The Old Kilpatrick/Erskine ferry crossed at the first narrow place on river.

‘After this, we resolved to mount ourselves with horses, (being all well armed,) and to ride straight toward England, where we doubted not but [the Duke of] Monmouth was prospering.’

Monmouth Execution

Monmouth’s invasion of the South West of England had landed only a week before Brysson crossed the Clyde. His invasion was late and at that point, no word of it had reached Argyll’s forces. Monmouth failed and was beheaded in July.

‘But that troop of horse, which we had put from the water-side, got other two troops of militia, and so came upon [>p325.] us, and disappointed us of our design. They coming within our view, we marched up to a stead [i.e., a farm-house with outbuildings,] that stood upon the top of a brae, where there was a very pretty thorn hedge enclosing a garden, into which we entered, and resolved there to stand for our defence. When we had waited a considerable time, and saw no appearance of their approach. Sir John says, “These cowardly rogues dare not come and attack us in this strength. Come, let us go out and fight them in the open fields.” So he divided his 150 men into three companies: himself to command one; and Polwart, another; and major [James] Henderson, the third.

So we marched directly towards them, who were drawn up in a plain, a little below the house; who, at the very first appearance of us, fled and went quite out of our sight. So we saw no more of them till it was afternoon; by which time they had got other two troops, the one commanded by [William Ross,] my lord Ross, the other by captain Cleland. These two, being trained forces, were more forward than the country gentlemen. They observed the way that we took, and so cast about an hill, and came just before us, and met us as we were coming up the hill.’

Battle of Muirdykes

Cochrane’s small force appears to have headed south and west from Erskine before crossing the Black Cart Water at ‘Luton Bridge’, which appears to be an old bridge near Howwood. From there, they headed up Muirdykes Mount, where they found their way blocked by a Lord Ross’s larger government force.

Map of Muirdykes Mount

[The Battle of Muirdykes, Afternoon of 18 June, 1685]
‘We were marching in two men rank, the small company that was then of us, for by this time we were decreased to threescore and ten, many dropping off as they [>p326.] had opportunity. When we were advanced a good way up the hill, they came suddenly upon us, and after firing, thought to have ridden us down; but Sir John cries, “Come up, my lads, and stand to it, and through God’s grace I will bring you-off.” Though there was little appearance thereof, yet we took courage, knowing the worst of it. And after we had received their fire, wc discharged upon them again very vigorously, and then betook us to our halberts, (for every man of us had a halbert, besides special firelocks) so that we made them retire.’

[What Brysoon meant by ‘special firelocks’ is not clear. However, it is clear that Argyll’s forces probably had better arms than the government forces that opposed them. ‘Special firelocks’ probably indicates some form of flintlock, or wheellock, muskets, that were more advanced than the matchlock muskets whch were probably in the hands of many in the government forces. There are also reports that some of Argyll’s men were issued with bayonets that plugged the musket, a very early reference to the use of that weapon. All of Argyll’s weapons had been purchased in the United Provinces. Some of them were perhaps the arms that Richard Cameron had purchased there in 1679, which Argyll’s faction appear to have taken over.]

‘There was no harm done on either side at the first fire; only Mr. Thomas Archer, a young gentleman [and minister] on our side, received a dangerous wound in the back, by which he was disabled, and left lying on the ground.

Then my lord Ross sent one to treat with us, who told us,. We were pretty men: why would we throw away our lives! would we not take quar- [>p327.] ters? To which Sir John said; “We disdain your quarters! for we are appearing here for the protestant religion, and ye are fighting for popery, for whieh ye ought to be ashamed.” So he returned with his answer.

In the mean time, we got into an old stone-fold, which was a little defence to us. Sir John. took the whole; command upon him, and so divided us, and set one half on his right hand, and the other on his left hand, and gave orders to all to “charge and make ready” and ordered those on his right hand first to receive the enemy’s fire, and after, that not to fire till he gave them a sign by his napkin, and after the sign to fire briskly, and then to take the halberts in their hands, in case the enemy should attempt to come over the little stone-dyke, and to defend themselves bravely; and ordered those on his left not to fire when those on his right fired, till once he gave them another sign, and then to fire close upon the enemy, and after fire to take their halberts and defend themselves from being trodden down.

The enemy approached, and we received their fire, but fired none again till they came very near; and then Sir John gave the sign to those on his right hand, who gave a very close fire; The enemy not knowing but our shot had been done, attempted to come over the dyke, and break in amongst us, but the lads oh the right hand defended bravely. Then Sir John gave the sign to [>p328.] those on his left, who fired furiously upon the enemy, so that several of their saddles were emptied, and amongst the rest Captain [William] Cleland was shot dead at the very dyke-side, so that they were forced to wheel again. One of our lads stept over the dyke and pulled Cleland’s scarlet coat off him, and put it upon the top of his halbert, and waved it against the enemy.

They staid a considerable time before they made another assault; and we put ourselves in a posture of defence, and loaded our pieces, and made ourselves ready to receive them; We were ordered to behave ourselves as at the former onset. Sir John said, “They have now lost some blood; therefore they will make a vigorous assault; and, therefore, lads, take courage, and stand to it, for our cause is good.” So at length they approached again, and we received them as formerly; and beat them from the dyke with the loss of more of their men. And if any lord Ross had not bad on harness, he would have gone the same way Cleland went; for the [musket] ball broke upon his harness, and hurt him on the neck. They were so affrighted that they durst not give us the fourth onset. The dyke did us good service, and defended us much from their shot; for we were below them. We had none killed in all this action, except one man who was shot through the head, and two more wounded; besides Mr. Archer, who was wounded at the first fire, before we came into the fold. After this [>p329.] they went behind an old stone dyke, and the dragoons ‘lighted from their horses, and stood behind the dyke where they continued pluffing and shooting without any harm to us, except that Sir John had two shot which lighted upon his buff-coat, which smarted very much, but did not pierce his coat. After they were weary with shooting they gave over. Then Sir John said, “it becomes us to thank God for our wonderful preservation.” He desired we would be all in a watchful posture; and, in the mean time, to go about the worship of God. And so he took a book and sang the forty-sixth Psalm throughout, and after that prayed pertinently.

By this time our enemies had guarded us round as a ring, but without reach of our shot. It was an exceeding cold day as ever I saw at that time of year [i.e., in mid June]. I had thrown off my big coat when we first engaged; and being cold, I went to seek it, where I found Mr Archer groaning in his wounds. When I knew it was he, I was exceedingly troubled; he being an eminent Christian, and my intimate. He was almost dead, what for want of blood and for cold. He desired me to lift him to the bield of the dyke, and cast something over him, [>p330.] which I did; and got a cloakbag and put it under his head, and laid a cloak about him. I told him I could do no more for him at present, and that we were all yet still in hazard of our lives; for we were surrounded by the enemy.

When I returned, I told Sir John that Mr, Archer was dying of his wounds, who ordered several to go alongst and carry him to a herd’s house which was hard by, and give the people of the house money, desiring them to take care of him. They received him very kindly; from which place, he was carried afterwards by the enemy to Edinburgh, where he was executed in the Grassmarket [on 21 August]; whose speech and testimony are in record amongst the rest of the worthies who suffered for owning the truth.

[Night of 18 June]
After this, when it began to grow dark. Sir John said, “What think ye of these cowardly rogues! They dare not fight us, for as small a number as we are, but have a mind to guard us in till to-morrow, that the body of the King’s forces come and cut us off; therefore, let us still behave ourselves like men;” (for indeed there were very pretty men amongst us, that were expert both with sword and gun) “let us, therefore, charge our pieces well, and let us go off the field in a [>p331.] close body together, with as little noise as we can. If we escape them in the dark, it is well; if not, let us fight our way through them.”

We buried our dead man, and so made ready for a march, and so went off the field in a close body, but saw none of our enemies, for they were more afraid of us than we were of them; for whenever it was dark, they had left their ground and fled into Kilmarnock, as if there had been an host pursuing them; as the country folk told us afterwards. So when we had marched very hard for about a mile, Sir John said, “I think we are safely by them now;” we apprehending them to be still keeping their ground. So we began to consider what to do next. And because many had left us the day before, Sir John took an oath of us, that we should not part one from another, without leave asked and given; and then asked, who amongst us knew the ground to be our guide. There were none amongst us that knew it except himself, it being his father’s ground that we were then on [i.e., an estate belonging to William Cochrane, earl of Dundonald]; so he took the guiding of us himself. And so we marched exceeding hard all that night, that so we might be a good way off from the enemy; but when day began to appear [on the morning of 19 June], that [>p332.] we saw about us, behold we had gone the round, and were come back within two miles of the place where we engaged the enemy! Sir John said, “Woe is me! I have led you into a snare. I know not now what to do for it; for if we keep the field the whole body of the forces will be upon us: so come of us what will, we must lodge in some house.”’

It is not clear which direction Cochrane led his party, but his father did hold lands in the neighbouring parish of Neilston at Cowden, Uplaw, Knockglass and around Loch Libo, which do lie about two miles from Muirdykes. (RPS, 1669/10/114.)

Map of Uplawmoor and Loch Libo area

‘There was a stead hard by, where two of his father’s tenants lived. He caused us all sit down upon the ground, till he sent major Henderson to acquaint the people that Sir John was there, and a company of men with him, and desired they might give us quarters; and to tell them that, if they were quarrelled for it, we were a stronger party than they, and would take it by force; but they most willingly received us. And there was a wonderful providence in our being so near the place of engagement, for when they ranged all the country about, they came never near that place.’

The Wodrow manuscripts record an allegation that ‘in the parish of Lochwinnoch, in the shire of Baronthrow [i.e., Renfrewshire] ther was a parties that was persewing of Sir Jjohn Cocheren, and they cam upon two lads laying sleeping in a dike sid, and shot them and not awaked them.’ (Wod.Qu.MSS., XXXVII, 142.)

‘The major [i.e., Henderson] had travelled all that night with a bullet shot in his left shoulder, and sticking like a plum within the skin, none knowing of it but himself, which was cut out when we came to the house. We knew not [>p333.] whether meat or sleep was most desirable, for that was the fourth night we had been without sleep, and with very little meat.

There was one of our company dropt asleep on the ground where we had been sitting. When we came to the house we did not miss him, his halbert and his gun being with him. After we were lodged in the house he slept on, till some people, passing by, could not awaken him, but carried him sleeping to the first house they came to, and set down his halbert and gun in the house beside him, there being some lambs in the house for speaning. He slept there till it was well afternoon, and then he awakened but knew not how he came there. He thought we were either all taken prisoners, or then killed. So he lay down to take the other nap, till there came a man to take out the lambs, who said, “Friend, you lie not well here, you would lie better amongst your neighbours!” He said, “Where are they?” So the man brought him to us. But he never knew who had carried him to the house, his sleep was so great.

Then Polwart said, after we had got some meat, “I know ye have all need of sleep, but of necessity four of you must watch, two at each barn-door, in case we be surprised by the enemy, to give warning to the rest. And the honest men will watch without, and give you notice if they see [>p334.] any hazard.” I offered myself for one, and other three did the like. And he desired that within two hours we would awaken him, and he would cause relieve us, which accordingly was done. We lay there all that day [of 19 June] very safely, and saw regiments passing within two miles, but none came near us. So at night we took march again, having sent before to provide quarters for us. So we got a guide, who conducted us safe to the place where we tarried the next day [20 June], and sent some friends to inquire if they could get any account of the earl of Argyle, who would not come alongst with us over Clyde. In the evening they brought us word that he was taken prisoner. Then Sir John called us all together, and told [>p335.] us, “That my lord was taken, and that we were now free from our oath, and every one of us might shift for himself the best way we could.” So we had a lamentable parting.’

After further adventures, Brysson escaped to Northumberland.

For Patrick Hume of Polwarth’s narrative of the battle of Muirdykes, see here. Polwarth also escaped.

Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree was less fortunate. About a week later he was captured in the house of his uncle, Gavin Cochrane in Renfrew. He was betrayed by Gavin’s wife, Margaret Cleland, whose brother, Captain William Cleland, had been killed by Cochrane’s men at Muirdykes.

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The Forgotten Battle of Muirdykes in 1685 #History #Scotland

•November 20, 2015 • 4 Comments


The battle of Muirdykes has almost been forgotten. When it does appear in history, it is usually consigned to a footnote as the last desperate gasp of the doomed Argyll Rising of May to June, 1685.

The Argyll Rising was an invasion of Scotland led by the earl of Argyll to overthrow the regime of the new king, James VII. It was supposed to coincide with the duke of Monmouth leading an invasion of England, but Monmouth delayed and did not land until a week before Muirdykes. By that time, the Argyll Rising was already in deep trouble.

Those who took part in the Scottish invasion were mainly moderate presbyterians opposed to their new Catholic king. They hoped that Protestants would not rally to the king’s side, but that did not prove to be the case.

After weeks spent in Argyll’s clan Campbell heartlands and debate over where they should strike into the Lowlands, his forces finally crossed the River Leven three miles above Dumbarton. What followed was a farce as his men were led in the wrong direction and found themselves, tired, directionless and boxed in by government forces.

The narrative of the battle given below comes from a letter Patrick Hume of Polwarth wrote to his wife in the latter half of 1685. A moderate presbyterian, Polwarth was one of the captains in Argyll’s forces. He later went on to become a key figure in bringing the Society people on board with the Williamite Revolution of 1689 to 1690.

The battle was fought near Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, on the afternoon of Thursday 18 June. The action begins in the morning of that day as some of Argyll’s men finally made an attempt to break into the Lowlands where they had more support.

Erskine Green

[The Crossing of the Clyde]
‘Thursday, June 18, wee came back to Kilpatrick, not above 500 men in all, sadly wearied; soone as I got downe the hill, very faint & weary, I tooke the first alehouse and quickly ate a bit of bread, and took a drink, and imediately went to search out the Erle ]of Argyll]; but I met Sir John [Cochrane of Ochiltree], with others accompanieing him; who, takeing mee by the hand, turned mee, saying my heart goe you with mee: Whither goe you said I? over Clide by boate said he: I, wher is Argyle? I must see him: He, he is gone away to his owne countrey, you cannot see him: I, how comes this change of resolution, and that wee went not together to Glasgow? He, It is no time to answer questions, but I shall satisfy you afterward.

To the boates wee came, filled 2 and rowed over; but a good troop of horse on Askine Green, waited our landing, and came as near the water as they could draw up to fire on us; & planted some foot men and firelocks, behind some dry boates lying on the shoar: yet they wounded only one man.’

Ferry Erskine Bridge

Old ferry landing near Erskine Bridge © Leslie Barrie and licensed for reuse.

Some of Argyll’s men forced a crossing of the River Clyde from Old Kilpatrick, close to the present site of the Erskine Bridge. They made an amphibious assault on Erskine ‘Green’, which lay opposite Old Kilpatrick and probably where the ferry landed at Erskine.

Map of Old Kilpatrick and Erskine

‘Wee shot hard among them, beat the men from their dry boates, wounded and killed horses, and made the rest well in disorder; so they marched away. Wee stay’d till such as wer to come over came over, in all about 100 men; then wee marched to a place to dine which I knew not; Sir John was busie, causing get horses taken, to help some of us in our march; and an honest gentleman who was present, told mee the manner of his parting with the Erle: Argyle being in the roome with Sir John, the gentleman coming in, found confusion in the Erle’s countenance and speach; in end he said, Sir John, I pray advise mee what shall I doe; shall I goe over Clide with you, or shall I goe to my owne countrey? Sir John answered, my Lord, I have told you my opinion; you have some Highlanders here about you, it is best you goe to your owne countrey with them, for it is to no purpose for you to go over Clide: My Lord, faire you well; then call’d the gentleman, come away Sir; who followed him when I met with him.

Having got some country horses, about 10, such as wer lest able to walk mounted, and wee came to the place wee designed to eat at, upon a hill; thither the troope with some joined them persued us. Sir John would have us divide in three parties, and goe over a litle deam to charge them; I would have them takeing meat, and sitting a gaird, on a stone dike to defend the deam by turnes; that wee might not loose time, but get at a strong moss, he intended to be at, before night; but he gave me a reason to satisfaction. Wee drew up, marched out, and putt them from their ground; for they wer only come to dog us till more forces came up:


Looking up Muirdykes Mount  © Chris Court and licensed for reuse.

[The Battle of Muirdykes]
Wee returned, and all who had gone out, about 90, (the rest being Highlandmen fled over the hill in our sight) tooke meat and marched presently to Luton bridge [over the Black Cart Water, probably earlier version of Garthland Bridge at Howwood]; the troop keeping sight of us the whole way. We had stay’d but a litle there, when we got an alarm; wherupon wee marched up the hill [now Muirdykes Mount, aka. Fir Hill], and severall Highlandmen slipt away by the backs of the yaird dikes; some took leev and pairted:’

Map of Muirdykes

‘Those who resolved to die on that ground, and to sell their lives at as worthie a rate as they could, march’d up; and seeing themselves surrounded with squadrons of horse and dragoons, wer not at all dashed, but expressed much courage: Wee had scarce time to take up a ground, in the place called Moure dikes, in a little closs of stubly ground, within a low ston dike, and to draw up, when a strong troop appeared to assault us: Sir John, who caried with as much bravery as any man could doe, conceiving the troup to be his nephew [William] the Lord Rosse’s [horse],

intended to have bespoke him, and had begun on horsebacke; but unluckily one of our men fireing his gun, they fired on us; and Sir John being interupted, got from his horse, and with abundance of danger joined our body; & caried the markes of severall pistoll shot on his buff coate. Wee beat them off with sore stroakes; yet only one of them lay on the place, in that charge, which was given upon our left hand: Then another party came imediately from the body above us, and charged on the right hand; ours received them most courageously, beat them off in disorder with smart blowes; and Captain [William] Cleland [of His Majesty’s Regiment of Dragoons]

who comanded, lay dead on the place: After that, the strong body below as advanced; but our men wer very ready, and received them briskly, that they approached not to the dike; & imediately a strong troup on the left hand charged furiously, and got in over the dike, a litle below us, and charged us closs: But our men fired hard and home, run on them with that spirit, that they broke them in pieces, and beat them off in great disorder; for they caried sore blowes at that incounter; for I did perceive our shotes gall them. Ther horse charged no more, but some dragoons on foot came to charge on our right hand; but wee quickly made them run to their horse: Then they planted on a dike above us, and played on us with rifled guns and firelockes, and wee on them; by which ther was slaughter and wounds on both sides; and so night came on.

Wee advised what to doe, and resolved that by night, wee would fall out upon the squadron above us on the right; and if it wer possible, to get to a strong moss before morning; for we knew that they had sent for foot to fight, and overpoure us; but finding that they wer drawen off the ground, wee marched off quietly, unperceived; and marching all night, came to a safe hiding before the morning, wher wee lurked all that day [of 19 June].

Wee had no men kill’d in the action, but 4; few more wounded; but it was caried with that readiness of courage, that wer I to choose 75 men upon my life’s hazard ; I would not reject one of that 75 (and no more ther was) that came of that night.

The next night we marched againe, and came to another lurking place [on 20 June]; stay’d till night, engaged among us never to part but by consent: And late, Sir John got notice Argyle was taken, and his party quite broke; wherupon he came and told us, that now it was impossible to stay together, but we must pairt, and shift each for himselfe; so wee condescended, and pairted.’

Polwarth wrote the above in a letter to his wife in 1685. He added at the end of the letter:

‘And this narrative is true, not full, for I am forced to conceall names of persons, places, yea countreys, till a freer time. I have written this haistily, and had not time to correct errors in the write.’

The battle of Muirdykes is recorded on the Canmore website.

The OS name book, using evidence from of the New Statistical Account, states that:

‘“The battle of Muirdykes, fought on a farm of the same name in the eastern part of the p[aris]h June 18 1685. The D[u]ke of Argyle collected in Holland an army of 1500 refugees from Scotland. with whom he landed at Kintyre & proceeded towards Glasgow. When he reached Kilpatrick his followers began to desert him. With a few of them he crossed the Clyde & came to Inchinnan, where he was taken prisoner, carried to Edinburgh & executed. A remnant of his followers, under the command of Sir John Cochran, came to Muirdykes, where they were attacked by the forces of King James VII, whom they defeated, and remained on the field behind a natural entrenchment till it was dark. Afraid of the enemy being reinforced, they retired during the night, and proceeded Southwards in the parish of Beith. The King’s forces made a similar retreat under the shade of night, and so the field was found next morning deserted of both parties” N[ew]. S[statistical]. Acc[oun]t. The site is marked on trace. The present farmer never found anything in ploughing, but the one before him found several bullets.’

Polwarth’s letter was not the only account of the battle of Muirdykes, as George Brysson, one of the foot soldiers among Argyll’s men, wrote a fascinating narrative of the battle. That is the next post.

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“Lost” Peden’s Chest?: A Covenanter’s Relic in Brisbane #History

•November 15, 2015 • 4 Comments

Peden Eyes

Peden’s Chest, a relic of the Scottish Covenanter, Alexander “Prophet” Peden who died in 1686, was last recorded in Brisbane, Australia, in 1928. It may be lost to history, but does it no longer exist? Can it be found in Brisbane, or elsewhere?

According to the Brisbane Courier in 1928, Peden’s Chest was in the possession of Mr. G. H. Preston, Gregory Terrace, Brisbane…

Peden’s Chest in Brisbane
A Memorial of the Scottish Covenanters
By “Erasmus”

… The relic to which we have now to refer has escaped both fire and flood, though it has been in Brisbane since 1870. It is not one of those treasures of intrinsic worth, like a chair of old bog oak in the same house. There is no polishing or carving about its stout, rough timbers, except on its lid this legend: “XNDRS PEDEN” (i.e., Xndrs Peden). It is an old Scotch chest, or kist, as it was familiarly called in rural Scotland, being the property of Mr. G. H. Preston [probably George Henry Preston d.1959 Brisbane, son of Margaret Alexander. See comments below], of Gregory-terrace.”

Street View of GregoryTerrace


Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane, 1954, by Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd, held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland and licensed for reuse

“The chest conforms to the usual size and shape of these boxes, but the dove-tailing is of large pin-type used by the joiners of olden days. The lock is intact, being of a quaint type long out of date. Hand-made iron bands reinforced the corners, and some of these remain. Inside there is a small compartment at the top of the left-hand corner, common feature of such kists, and meant to contain any trinkets or valuables, the box itself being chiefly used for the storage of clothes. Unfortunately, in order to make the chest pack compactly for the long sea journey, the iron handles at each end had been removed, and the over-lapping lid cut back at the ends flush with the body of the trunk for the same reason.

The Story of the Chest
The story of this chest is an interesting one, and goes back to the early days of Robert Burns. As will be remembered, the poet frequently corresponded with John Richmond, writer of Mauchline, whose granddaughter, Miss Jane Alexander, died in Brisbane in 1919, at the age of 92. Her mother was Janet Richmond, the only daughter of the Mauchline lawyer, and of William Alexander. John Richmond’s clientele was composed of the rich and poor of the neighbourhood, and manuscripts remain to show his legal transactions with lairds like Gavin Hamilton and others. In one particular instance the fee was a peculiar one. The writer had transacted some legal business for a farmer’s wife in the parish of Sorn, in Ayrshire, and this good woman, having little “worldly gear,” gratefully offered Mr. Richmond, by way of recompense, this “kist” which belonged to the “Prophet Peden,” one of the worthis of the Covenanting period, called in Scotland “the days of the persecution.” Mr. Richmond accepted the gift in the spirit in which it was given, and handed it down to his descendants as the authentic memorial of a remarkable man.

Alexander Peden
Alexander Peden was one of the most picturesquee figures of “the killing-times” in Scottish history
It is a far cry from Brisbane to Sorn, but this chest of Alexander Peden’s, some 250 years old, is a memorial of the old battle for freedom from Stewart tyranny that toughened the fibre of the Scottish race.” (Brisbane Courier, Saturday 21 January, 1928.)

Can you help Scottish history out? Does anyone know where Peden’s Chest is? Or who Mr. G. H. Preston was? Or which house he lived in at Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, in 1928?

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Peden’s Chest, please get in touch via a comment, twitter or contact email.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

The Curse of Peden’s Willow: The Mystery of Peden’s Cave near Mauchline #History #Scotland

•November 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is a puzzling Peden cave, as it does not appear on the old OS maps or their name books. It also does not, to my knowledge, appear in twentieth-century history books that deal with sites which tradition connects to the Covenanter, Alexander Peden. At first, it could be confused with Peden’s Cove near Failford in Tarbolton parish, which is in set in similar cliffs. However, every reference to the cave places it in Mauchline parish … Quite a mystery.

Carse Covenanter in a GlenCarse, Covenanter in a Glen, University of Edinburgh

Peden’s Cave first appears in the New Statistical Account under Mauchline parish between 1834 and 1845:

‘The river Ayr runs through this parish, about a mile south of the town. In its course, it passes between steep rocks of red freestone, from forty to fifty feet high. How this passage was formed, whether by some convulsion of nature, or by the water gradually forming a channel for itself, cannot now be ascertained. The scenery is beautiful and romantic. On its banks there are various caves cut out of the solid rock, similar to those at Auchinleck, of which Dr Johnson has taken notice in his Tour to the Hebrides. One of them is known by the name of Peden’s Cave, where it is said Alexander Peden (whose name is so familiar to the inhabitants of the west of Scotland) often concealed himself during the unhappy time of the persecution. About half a mile above Barskimming, the seat of Lord Glenlee, the Ayr is joined by the waters of the Lugar. It afterwards runs a course of ten miles, and joins the Firth of Clyde at the town of Ayr.’ (NSA, V, 159-160. and here)

Below Barskimming Bridge

A few years later, in 1851, additional information appeared in Wylie’s Ayrshire Streams. It recorded traditions about Peden in cave and the curious curse of Peden’s Willow literally falling on those who felled it:

‘Here steep red sandstone rocks rise 40 or 50 ft., overhung by wood, and beautiful and romantic. Of several caves cut out of the rocks, one is known as Peden’s Cave. “In front of this recess, there lay in past days a pool of water, and the entrance was shaded by an umbrageous willow. By one of the branches of this tree, the pious Peden was enabled to swing himself into his hiding place. The willow was long preserved, but at length an edicts was issued for its removal. It is worthy of remark, that the seven men engaged in cutting it down, were all more or less injured by its fall. It is furthermore noted, that no shoot sprang from the root after the ruthless removal of the tree, such being quite unusual with the willow. Peden’s brother resided contiguous to this asylum, his house being onnly a short way from the present offices of Sorn Castle. Upon Peden’s retreat being discovered, his brother counselled him to remove to Auchinleck, where he might obtain more secure shelter from a friend. Feeling unwell, and apprehending immediate dissolution, Peden exclaimed, that ‘In forty-eight hours, he didna min; though they made a whistle o’ his banes.’ The prediction was fully verified; within the time specified, he had ceased to breathe.”’ (Wylie, Ayrshire Streams: Or, Scenes, characters and Traditions of the West Country (Kilmarnock, 1851), 71. Quoted in James Hooper Dawson’s, Abridged Statistical History of Scotland, (1857), 131n.)

In 1852, Paterson recorded the cave under Mauchline parish. His text was obviously based on the New Statistical Account:

‘The [River] Ayr bounds the parish for upwards of a mile. “In its course it passes between steep rocks of red sandstone, from forty to fifty feet high … on its banks there are several caves cut out of the solid rock, similar to those at Auchinleck, of which Dr Johnson has taken notice in his ‘Tour of the Hebrides.’ One of them is known by the name of Peden’s Cave, where it is said Alexander Peden, whose name is so familiar to the inhabitants of the west of Scotland, often concealed himself during the unhappy times of the Persecution.’ (Paterson, History of the County of Ayr, II, 1852, 324.)

In 1874, William Douglas Scott recorded where Peden’s Cave lay when describing the River Ayr:

‘About half a mile below this junction [with the Lugar] is Barskimming, where the “hermit [River] Ayr” steals through tangled woods and between immense cliffs of red freestone: these are in many places perforated with deep caves which once afforded a shelter to Peden and other outlawed adherents of the covenant. The river thereafter takes a northward bend till it nearly touches the high road to Ayr, at a point now called Failford, about two and a half miles below Mauchline, and there, on its right bank, it receives the interesting water of Faile.’ (Scott, In Ayrshire, a descriptive picture of the County of Ayrr, with relative notes on interesting local subjects chiefly derived during a recent personal tour (1874), 8.)

All the sources located Peden’s Cave where the River Ayr flows between immense cliffs of red freestone ‘in many places perforated with deep caves’. Scott placed it before the Ayr ‘takes a northward bend’ that nearly touches the high road to Ayr and prior to the river reaching Failford. Everything points to a location near Barskimming and in Mauchline parish where there are caves and passages cut into the rock. The cave clearly lay on the north bank of the Ayr, as the opposite, southern bank lay in a different parish. That points to the red freestone cliffs either near Barskimming New Bridge or a little down stream by Netheraird Holm. At the latter there are man-made caves thought to have been created in the late eighteenth century.

One of them may be Peden’s Cave, or the story may relate to a different cave at Barskimming

Barskimming CavesBarskimming Caves © Stuart Brabbs and licensed for reuse.

Map of Caves

For more interesting photos of the caves and carved walkways by Simon Gavin, see here.

If anyone has any information about Peden’s Cave near Barskimming, please get in touch.

There are several other Peden Caves in the area. See:

Peden’s Cove near Failford

Peden’s Cave on the Lugar

Peden’s Cave at Sorn

Peden’s Cave in Craigie parish

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The Lost Peden’s Tree in Auchinleck Churchyard #History #Scotland

•November 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The Covenanter, Alexander Peden, has many caves, stones and trees that tradition associates with him. One tree lay in the old parish church graveyard at Auchinleck. Is the replacement for it still there?

Auchinleck Graveayrd Entry

Entrance to Auchinleck Graveyard and the old parish church © Billy McCrorie and licensed for reuse.

In 1891, Janet, aka Mrs Collins, recorded the fate of Peden’s Tree:

‘Monday morning dawned bright and cheerful, a foretaste of the pleasant hours we spent in the home of Professor Spence in Auchinleck. In the old graveyard, now handsomely kept, is Peden’s tree planted on the spot where the old tree flourished for many years, and was regarded with affection as a silent witness of the desecration of Peden’s resting place. A handsome church building adorns the center of this churchyard, and it is further interesting as the place of sepulture for the Lords of Auchinleck for generations.’ (Mrs Collins, Reminiscences: Or, a Few Glimpses from Over the Sea (1891), 216.)

Boswell Mausoleum

Old Kirk (Left), Boswell Mausoleum (Right) © Billy McCrorie and licensed for reuse.

Which tree is the replacement for Peden’s Tree, or if the replacement tree still stands well over 130 years later, is not clear. If anyone knows which one it is, please get in touch.

Auchinleck graveyard lies on the south side of the town

Street View of Auchnleck Graveyard

Peden on Monument at Auchinleck

Monument in churchyard © Copyright Robert Guthrie and reproduced by his very kind permission.

A monument to Peden’s burial, the Airds Moss Martyrs and others lies just inside the gate on the way to the Boswell Mausoleum. It reads as follows:

to the memory of
The Rev. Alexander Peden
The noted Covenanter, born 1626
died and was buried in this
churchyard 1686. His body
after six weeks in the grave
was raised by the Dragoons under
Colonel [James] Douglas and in
contempt was buried at the
foot of the gallows-tree at
Old Cumnock, whch place
afterwards became the
parish church-yard.’

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