Scotland’s “Most Armoured” Monument Found near Shotts #History #Scotland

•April 1, 2020 • 2 Comments

Gregor Steele Starryshaw 2020

This monument looks like an electricity substation, but there are good reasons for its formidable defences. It has been dynamited, yes, DYNAMITED, and destroyed twice.

You can forget the statue to the Duke of Sutherland, what is possibly Scotland’s most disputed monument lies near Shotts in Lanarkshire. It is the Starryshaw monument to the Covenanter field preaching of Donald Cargill on the death of Richard Cameron in July 1680.

Quite why is has been attacked is a bit of a mystery, as was where exactly it is located – it does not appear consistently on online maps or the OS map. However, I am very grateful to Gregor Steele for finding and photographing it. Without his recent efforts, it was not clear to anyone who did not live locally if the monument still survived and where it was located.

It lies here, about 1 km off the Harthill to Fauldhouse road.

Map of Starryshaw Monument

Where to begin?

Back to 1680

Let’s go back to 1680, as we know roughly what was said back then by Donald Cargill. According to Patrick Walker: ‘Mr. Cargill preached upon the 25th [July] in the parish of Shot[t]s, upon that Text, Know you not that there is a great Man and Prince fallen in our Israel? [2 Samuel 3.38.]’. (Walker, BP, II, 9-10.)

Cargill’s sermon was on the death of Richard Cameron a few days before at the Battle of Airds Moss. Less than a month earlier, Cameron had forfeited the king, Charles II, in the Sanquhar Declaration and declared war on the powers that repressed the Covenanters. It was a very radical moment that in many ways would echo through time, as Cameron was the first in Scotland to explicitly deny royal authority in the name of the People in a public declaration. Now he was dead. He had been hunted down by the King’s army and killed in battle.

Starryshaw Shotts

The 1925 ‘Watchtower’ Monument at Starryshaw

Jump forward in time. On 6 September 1925, a monument to Cargill’s preaching was unveiled near Starryshaw. Thousands turned up to see it, The Shotts Foundry Brass Band played and speeches were delivered. Mrs Kerr, proprietorix of Starryshaw, had gifted the site.

The 1925 monument was built of brick and faced with marble chips set in cement. Underneath the cross of St Andrew was a granite plaque apparently bearing the inscription–“Dedicated to the men of the Covenant. Near this spot, where the Covenanter worshipped, Richard Cameron‘s funeral sermon was preached by Donald Cargill on 21, July, 1681 [actually 1680], from the text, ‘Know ye not that there is prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel’– 2nd Samuel, III, 38. Starryshaw, 1925.”’

However, the first Starryshaw monument did not last long. In 1946 it was dynamited, blown up.

 

After twenty years, it was no more. But then, in 1988 a new monument was erected at the site.

Starryshaw Shotts 1988

Here it is, or rather was. It, too, was destroyed, apparently by “vandalism”, in 2000. Who goes to the middle of a moor near Shotts to do that? We do not know.

However, in July 2007, it was back. This time surrounded by an armoured steel fence.

Starryshaw Shotts 2007

Thanks to Gregor Steele, we now know that it still survives. Surely Scotland’s “most armoured” monument is well worth a visit.

Gregor Steele Starryshaw 2 2020

 

Covenanter Grave Girthon #History #Scotland

•March 31, 2020 • Leave a Comment

geograph-2605602-by-Walter-Baxter

Robert Lennox in Irelandton. Girthon parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1685.

Shields:
‘Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, having command of a part of Claverhouses Troop & Strauchans Dragoons, surprised Jo. Bell of Whiteside, David Haliday portioner of Mayfield, Andrew Macrabeit, James Clement, and Robert Lennox of Irlintown, and barbarously killed them after Quarters, without time allowed to pray; when John Bell of Whiteside begged a little time to pray, Lag answered, What Devil have you been doing? Have you not prayed enough these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Febr, 1685.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 37-8.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Within this tomb lyes the corps of Robert Lennox sometime in Ireland toun who was shot to death by Grier of Lagg in the paroch of Toungland for his adherence to Scotlands Reformation Covenants National and Solemn League 1685.’

No poem.

Based on Shields.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition:
‘In the church-yard of Girthon, upon the body of Robert Lenox sometime in Irlintoun, shot by the laird of Lagg, Ann 1685.’

Map of Grave at Girthon

Covenanter Grave Kirkconnell Moor #History #Scotland

•March 30, 2020 • Leave a Comment

James Clement, Kirkconnell Moor, Tongland parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1685.

Shields:
‘Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, having command of a part of Claverhouses Troop & Strauchans Dragoons, surprised Jo. Bell of Whiteside, David Haliday portioner of Mayfield, Andrew Macrabeit, James Clement, and Robert Lennox of Irlintown, and barbarously killed them after Quarters, without time allowed to pray; when John Bell of Whiteside begged a little time to pray, Lag answered, What Devil have you been doing? Have you not prayed enough these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Febr, 1685.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 37-8.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes James Clemet who w[as] surprised and shot to death on this place by Grier of Lagg for his adherence to Scotlands Reformation Covenants National and Solemn League 1685.’

No poem.

Based on Shields.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition:
‘In the parish of Tongland in Kirkconnel hill, upon the body of James Clement, shot to death there by the laird of Lagg, Anno 1685.’

Map of Grave on Kirkconnell Moor

Covenanter Grave Anwoth #History #Scotland

•March 29, 2020 • Leave a Comment

geograph-5474356-by-Bob-Pearce

John Bell of Whiteside. Anwoth parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1685.

Shields:
‘Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, having command of a part of Claverhouses Troop & Strauchans Dragoons, surprised Jo. Bell of Whiteside, David Haliday portioner of Mayfield, Andrew Macrabeit, James Clement, and Robert Lennox of Irlintown, and barbarously killed them after Quarters, without time allowed to pray; when John Bell of Whiteside begged a little time to pray, Lag answered, What Devil have you been doing? Have you not prayed enough these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Febr, 1685.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 37-8.)

Covenanter Grave Anwoth John Bell

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes John Bell of Whitesyde who was barbarously shot to death in the paroch of Tongland at the command of Grier of Lag 1685.’

‘This monument shall tell posterity
That blessed Bell of Whitesyde here doth ly
Who at command of bloody Lag was shot
A murder strange which should not be forgot
Douglas of Morton did him quarters give
Yet cruel Lag would not let him survive
This martyr sought some time to recommend
His soul to God, before his days did end
The tyrrant said, What, devil! Ye’ve pray’d enough
This long seven year on mountain and in cleuch
So instantly caus’d him with other four
Be shot to death upon Kirconnel moor
So thus did end the lives of these dear sants
For their adherence to the Covenants.’

Based on Shields, but contains new information about Douglas of Morton and the location on Kirkconnel Moor.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition:
‘Upon the grave stone in the church yard of Anwith, lying on the corps of John Bell of Whiteside, who was most barbarously shot to death at the command of Douglas of Morton and Grierson of Lagg, in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Anno 1685.‘

Map of Grave at Anwoth Old Kirk

Covenanter Grave Kirkandrews #History #Scotland

•March 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Covenanters Grave Kirkandrews

Robert McQhae, Kirkandrews, Borgue parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1685.

Shields:
‘Captain Dowglas finding one —— Mowat, a Taylor, meerly because he had some pieces of lead belonging to his Trade, too him, and without any further trial shot him dead, between Fleet and Dee in Galloway.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 36.)

As Shields corrected the surname in his errata, it should read:
‘Captain Dowglas finding one —— Mcwae, a Taylor, meerly because he had some pieces of lead belonging to his Trade, too him, and without any further trial shot him dead, between Fleet and Dee in Galloway.’

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:
‘Here lyes Robert M’Whae who was barbarously shot to death by Captane Douglas in this paroch for his adherence to Scotlands Reformation Covenants National and Solemn League 1685.’

No poem

Possibly used the errata in Shields for the surname, but mainly drew on independent information for both the Christian name and the location of the death.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition::
‘In the church-yard of Borgue, upon the body of Robert Macquhae, shot to death in that parish by the said captain Douglas, Anno 1685.’

Map of Grave in old kirkyard of Kirkandrews

Covenanter Grave Durisdeer #History #Scotland

•March 27, 2020 • Leave a Comment

geograph-1347454-by-Walter-Baxter(1)

Daniel MacMichael, Durisdeer parish, Dumfriesshire. Died 1685.

Shields:
‘Sir Robert Dalzel and liev: Stratoun, having apprehended Daniel Mackmichel, and detained him 24 hours Prisoner, took him out and shot him at Dalveen, in the parish of Durisdeer in Nithsdale, Jan: 1685:’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 36.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:
‘Here lyes Daniel McMichel martyr shot dead at Dalveen by Sir John Dalyel for his adherence to the word of God Christs kingly government in his house and the covenanted work of Reformation against tyranny perjury and prelacy 1685. Rev 12:11.’

‘As Daniel cast was in Lyons den
For praying unto God and not to men
So Lyons thus cruely devoured me
For beairing witnes to truths testimony –
I rest in peace till Jesus rend the cloud
And judge twixt me and those who shed me bloud.’

Based on Shields, but had information that corrected a naming error in Shields.

Grave record in Cloud of Witnesses (1st edition, 1714, 288.):
‘Upon Daniel Mackmichael, who was shot by Dalziel of Kirk michael, Jan. 1685. Lying in the Church yard of Durisdeer.’

Map of Grave at Durisdeer

Covenanter Grave St John’s Town of Dalry #History #Scotland

•March 26, 2020 • Leave a Comment

geograph-2111213-by-Walter-Baxter

Robert Stewart and John Grierson, St John’s Town of Dalry, Dalry parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1684.

Shields:
‘The said Claverhouse coming to Galloway, in answer to the Viscount of Kenmures Letter, with a small party surprised Robert Stuart, John Grier, Robert Ferguson, and another, and instantly shot them dead, at the water of Dee, in Gallaway, December 1684. Their Corps being buried, were at his command raised again.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 34-5.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Key part of the inscription:
‘Here lyeth Robert Stewart son to Major Robert Stewart of Ardoch and John Grierson who were murthered by Graham of Glaverhouse anno 1684 For their adherence to Scotlands Reformation and Covenants National and Solemn League.’

‘Behold! Behold! A stone’s here forc’d to cry
come see two martyrs under me that ly!
At water of Dee who slain were by the hand,
of cruel Claverhouse and’s bloodie band.
No sooner had he done this horrid thing
but’s forc’d to cry, Stewart’s soul in Heaven doth sing
Yet strange! His rage pursued even such when dead
and in the tombs of their ancestors laid;
Causing their corps be rais’d out of the same
discharging in church-yard to bury them
All this they ‘cause they would not perjure
our Covenants and Reformation pure
Because like faithful martyrs to dy
they chus’d then treacherously comply
With cursed prelacie the nations bane
and with indulgencie our churches stain
Perjured intelligencers were so rife
shew’d their curs’d loyalty to take their life.’

Based on Shields, but has additional information. The long poetic inscription blamed intelligencers.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition:
:‘Upon the grave-stone lying on the corps of Robert Stewart, son to major Robert Stewart of Ardoch, and John Grierson, who were murdered by Graham of Claverhouse, at the water of Dee in Galloway, Anno 1684.’

Map of Grave in St Johns Town of Dalry