John Dick Taken in Potterrow and Hanged in Edinburgh in 1684 #History #Scotland

•September 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The minister John Dick had been on the run since he had escaped from Edinburgh Tolbooth with up to twenty-four others on 16 September, 1683. However, in March, 1684, he was captured in a house in Edinburgh’s Potterrow with another minister, John Rae.

Under 4 March, 1684, seven prisoners including two ministers were warded into Edinburgh Tolbooth:

‘Mr John Dick Mr John Rae John Mirrie Robert Melvin & W[illia]m Lambe with tuo woman [one called Mary Normand] wairdit by order of the Lords of Council’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, IX, 128.)

As Dick had already been sentenced to death before his escape, he was executed in the Grassmarket on the following day, i.e., 5 March, 1684:
‘Mr John Dick execut at the Grassmket for treasone’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, IX, 129.)

Dick left a very long martyrs’ testimony behind, which was unusual in testifying in favour of the Hamilton Declaration of 1679.

Mary Normand was one of the women who had sheltered Dick in the Potterrow:

On 13 March, 1684, her petition was considered:

Lords of his Maties privie Councill having considered a petition presented by Mary Normand spouse to John Melvill Tayleor freeman in the potteraw prisoner in the Tolbuith of Edr for having Mr John Dick resett in her house supplicating that in regaird she has a sucking chyld on her breast near to death and that her continuing longer in prison will certainly occasion both ther deaths & that her said husband continues still prisoner order might be granted for her libertie The s[ai]ds Lordes doe hereby give order & warrand to the Magrats of Edr to sett the s[ai]d Mary Normand petitioner at libertie…’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, IX, 129.)

William Lambie was also liberated:

22 April, 1684:
‘The Lords of his Maties privie Counsell haveing considered a petition presented by William Lambe jurnieman tailzier in Edr in whois hous John Dick rebell wes aprehendit with a report of a Comittie annent his caice Doe ordean the Magistrats of Edr to set him at libertie’. (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, IX, 134.)

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The Covenanters’ Revenge in Galston #History #Scotland

•September 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

In December, 1688, a party of armed Covenanters ejected the ministers of several parishes in Ayrshire. At Galston, they seized the minister Robert Simpson, took him to the churchyard and tore his cloak. However, then they went a step further, as they ‘forced him to wade upon and down through the water of Irvine for a considerable time in a severe Frost.’ It was a particular act of revenge on a minister who had betrayed some of their friends several years earlier.

The moderate presbyterian minister, Gilbert Rule, disputed some elements of the story of the rabbling at Galston:

‘The Truth of the matter is, Mr. Robert Sympson had violently Persecuted several of the Parish; particularly he had caused George Lamb[i]e, a very old Man, Janet Lamb[i]e, the Wife of James Mill, who was very Infirm, and brought forth a Child ten dayes after, and James Lamb[i]e; to be carried on Car[t]s (not being able to go) to Kilmarnock by Lieutenant Collonel Buchan’s Souldiers, and that for not coming to hear [Sympson’s ministry]; Some of their Friends in Resentment of this, did in January, or February 1689 [actually on 27 December, 1688], take Mr. Sympson our of his House, and Discoursed with him about an Hour, he being Uncovered, and put him through the Water of Irwin out of the Parish, but they neither rent his Gown, nor did other Injury to him. These Persons were Strangers, except some few of the Parish. This is attested by Hugh Hutcheson Notar, Thomas Morton, John Adam.’ (Gilbert Rule, Second Vindication, 32.)

Rule’s account was carefully phrased. For example, he mentioned that they ‘neither rent his gown, nor did other injury to him’. In fact, the earlier Episcopal account had only claimed that the Covenanters had rent his cloak as Simpson’s gown was missing. Rule stated that they did him no ‘other injury’, but neglected to mention that the River Irvine was freezing when Simpson was put in it due to a severe frost.

Where Rule adds to our understanding is when he adds new details about prisoners taken in Galston parish long before the rabbling took place.

When were the Galston prisoners taken?
Rule indicates that the Galston prisoners were captured by soldiers from Mar’s Regiment of Foot that was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Buchan. He also makes it clear that they were accused of refusing to hear the preaching of Robert Symson, the minister of Galston since 1681. That evidence considerably narrows down the time frame for when the prisoners were taken.

The taking of the prisoners probably took place in late 1684 or 1685, as the rounding up of those who refused to hear their local minister only began after lists of them were produced by their local ministers in late 1684. Similar lists of ‘withdrawers from public worship’ were produced by parish ministers in Galloway and elsewhere in late 1684 and they, too, were followed by round ups over the next six months or so.

The historical sources indicate that the soldiers of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Buchan were active in the area Galston area in the spring and late autumn of 1685.

Prior to the rounding up of those who refused to hear their local minister, Buchan took part in “the ambuscade at Auchengilloch” in June, 1684. That action took place to the east of Galston and indicates that his men were already operating in Ayrshire before the end of that year.

At the very beginning of 1685, Buchan was not close to Galston, as he conducted a close search of Glasgow that captured Thomas Jackson. However, his search of Glasgow was not typical of his area of operations. According to Alexander Shields, Buchan was ‘a most violent persecuter, in Galloway and Shire of Air, by Robberies took from the People upwards of 4000 pounds Scots.’

The historical record confirms that Ayrshire and Galloway were where Buchan mainly operated. Soon after, he and his men were active in the vicinity of Galston. In mid February, he was involved in the killing of John Smith in the hills between Muirkirk and Lesmahagow parish, and on c.6 May, he almost captured James Nisbet somewhere near the eastern boundary of Ayrshire. By the summer, he and his men appear to have had other business to attend to. First, in common with other government forces, they were involved in opposing the Argyll Rising from late May through to the final moping up operations after it in late June to early July. At around that time, he was recorded far from Galston, as he was involved in a raid on Arecleoch in the Carrick/Galloway area. Some of his men were also in Glenluce parish in the same area at around that time. However, later in the year, Buchan’s men were again near Galston. On 9 November, he was at Ayr, when his troops brought him John Nisbet of Hardhill, the leader of some ‘skulking rebels’ taken beside Kilmarnock.

Although it cannot be proved when Buchan’s men took the prisoners in Galston, it is reasonably clear that they were involved in capturing them at some point between late 1684 to late 1685.

Who were the Galston prisoners and where did they live?
All of the prisoners were called Lambie and were connected to presbyterians/fugitives of the same surname in Galston parish in mid 1684.

Gilbert Rule gave a simple description of the three prisoners.

George Lambie was said to be a ‘very old Man’.

He gives no information on James Lambie beyond his name, but he may be kin of George.

Janet Lambie appears to be younger kin of George and possibly the sister of James. She was the ‘wife of John Mill’. She was described as being ‘very Infirm’, due to being pregnant, and she ‘brought forth a Child tens dayes after’ her experiences in Kilmarnock.

Several fugitives named Lambie lived in Galston parish and appear on the published roll of May, 1684, for their involvement in the Presbyterian rising of 1679. There were only six Lambies named in total on that roll, which contained around 1,800 names. Four of them lived in Galston parish. They were:

John Lambie [in Ladybrow], ‘son of George Lambie of Crofthead’.
James Lambie ‘in Lady Brow’ i.e., Ladybrow, who was the son of another fugitive, James Lambie, ‘elder, in Lady-brow, for reset’. The latter was probably sought for the reset of his son.
The fourth was ‘Thomas Lambie, in Langside’.

In another document from 1684, Hugh Campbell of Cessnock in Galston parish was alleged to have sent several of his tenants to the rising of 1679. Among them were:
‘George Lambie in Crofthead’, the father of the fugitive, John, named above.
‘John Lambie in Ladybrow’, who was the fugitive son of George. (RPS, A1685/4/36.)

The Hearth Tax records of the early 1690s list ‘John Lambie in Preistland’ as having two hearths. Priestland is yards from Crofthead.. He was probably John, the 1684 fugitive who was the son of George in Crofthead.

Ladybrow, Crofthead and Priestland all lies next to each other in the east of Galston parish.

Street View of Ladybrow           Map of Priestland/Crofthead/Ladybrow

However, it appears that the three prisoners taken by Buchan’s men in 1685 – George, James and Janet Lambie – were not any of the above in Ladybrow. They were withdrawers from the church rather than declared fugitives.

It is here that two others surnamed Lambie in the Cessnock document of 1684 are of particular interest. They were tenants of Cessnock who were said to have been involved in the 1679 rising, but were not on the fugitive roll, i.e., they had probably taken the bond of peace after the rising not to rise in arms against the King, but may well have remained committed Presbyterians who withdrew from their parish minister. They share exactly the same names as two of the prisoners:

‘George Lambie, merchant in Bankhouse’.
‘James Lambie in Laefine [i.e., Lanfine]’ (RPS, A1685/4/36.)

[Note: The version of this document in Wodrow incorrectly transcribes the place names as ‘Bankhead’ and ‘Lawfen’. See Wodrow, History, IV, 74n.]

Two similar names George and James ‘Lamb’, possibly Lambie, also appear right next to each other in the Hearth Tax records for Cessnock’s estate in Galston parish in the early 1690s:
‘George Lamb[ie?] – 1 – –
James Lamb[ie?] – 1 – – ’

Neither Janet Lambie, nor her husband James Mill, are listed in the Hearth Tax record for Galston parish in the early 1690s.

Both locations can be identified. Both lie just to the west of Priestland, Crofthead and Ladybrow.

Map of former site of Bankhouse

Map of Lanfine

George Lambie in Bankhouse and James Lambie in Lanfine were probably two of the Galston prisoners taken by Buchan’s men. The weight of evidence in favour of that hypothesis is increased by another detail given by Gilbert Rule. He states that some of those Cameronian Society people who exacted revenge on Simpson were ‘friends’ of the Galston prisoners who suffered in c.1685.

Who were the ‘friends’ of the Lambie Prisoners?
There certainly had been “sufferings” in Galston parish. Two Covenanters from it had drowned in the wreck of The Croune in 1679. Mr Matthew Campbell of Waterhaughs was also forfeited for his part in the 1679 Rising. Hugh Smith in Galston parish, who was captured in 1686, was sentenced to be banished for attacking Newmilns Tower in 1685, but he appears to have stood trial in 1687 for corresponding with the most wanted man in Scotland, James Renwick. His fate is not known. Two other Covenanters were certainly banished. George White in ‘Beine Hill’ and George White, a ‘weaver boy’, were obstinate prisoners captured after a preaching by David Houston in early 1687 and banished to Barbados. They were rescued from banishment by the Society people in 1688 (which was highly unusual) and returned home to Galston parish in 1689.

However, it is Lanfine, where the Galston prisoner James Lambie lived, that is of particular interest. Lanfine is a place associated with John Brounen/Browning in Lanfine, who was hanged at Mauchline in May, 1685. It also lies very close to the former homes of John Richmond, younger of Knowe, who was hanged at Glasgow in March 1684, and James Browning in Richardton, who was in arms at Bothwell in 1679 and was captured after one of Renwick’s field preachings in Muirkirk parish. The latter was released in July 1686 and may be kin to John Brown in Richardton, as the historical sources at that time move between recording Brown, Brounen and Browning as a surname. If he was not kin, James Browning must have known John Brown, who is discussed below.

Richardton lies next to Knowe and Lanfine.

Map of Richardton              Street View of Richardton

John Brown was the ‘son of John Brown in Richardton’ and was one of two Galston Covenanters who were armed guards for David Houston, a minister among the Society people, at a preaching held at Polbaith Burn in early 1687. Brown also advertised the preaching in the locality immediately before it took place. Both he and John Paton, also of Galston parish, attended the preaching ‘armed with gun, pistol and sword’. It is striking that a similar combination of arms which were carried at Houston’s preaching were carried by those who rabbled the minister of Galston and the minister of Kilmarnock in 1688.

It is possible that John Brown, who lived next to Lambie in Lanfine, and John Paton were some of the ‘friends’ of the three Lambie prisoners taken in 1685 and that in 1688 they were in the party of Covenanters that took revenge on the minister of Galston parish who had put the Lambies on a list of those who had withdrawn from the church.

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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


‘Under the Highest Peril’: The Rabbling of Ayrshire in 1689 #History #Scotland

•August 29, 2017 • 1 Comment

On Christmas Day, 1688, armed Covenanters began a campaign of rabblings in Ayrshire designed to terrify ministers and their wives out of their churches, houses and parishes. Ninety armed Covenanters rabbled the ministers at Cumnock, Mauchline and Galston. On 27 December, their band, which had increased to two-hundred strong, publicly destroyed the “garment of the Whore of Babylon” while rabbling the minister of Kilmarnock. Then they turned south towards Tarbolton in Ayrshire …

On the way, they seized the minister of Riccarton, who they had apparently missed earlier in the day when his wife had fed the Covenanters.

‘Upon the said day [27 December] they went to Rickarton [just south of Kilmarnock]: whence they brought [John Arbuckle] the Minister of the place to Torbolton: where they kept for a whole night the Ministers of these two Parishes under a Guard [i.e., they also guarded James Gillespie, who had been assaulted by his parishioners in mid 1681]: and next Morning [28 December] brought them to the Church-yard of Torbolton where they rent the Minister of Torboltons Canonical Coat, and put the one half of it about each of the Ministers necks, commanding the Church-Officer of the Place to lead them thereby per vices as Malefactors, discharging them from all Exercise of the Ministry, & from their Houses, Gleibs, and Stipends under the highest peril.’

Street view of Tarbolton churchyard

What the Cameronian Covenanters meant by ‘the highest peril’ would have been absolutely clear to the ministers and their wives. The Cameronians were well known for political assassinations, such as murdering Archbishop Sharp in 1679, killing the minister of Carsphairn in 1684 and violently attacking the minister of Irongray in 1685.

The rabblings were successful in removing several ministers who had fled to Glasgow by early January. However, it is clear that some ministers in the Presbytery of Ayr had not fled, especially in areas where the Cameronians did not have a strong presence. By early January, they, too, were threatened with ‘death’ in a paper delivered, possibly nailed to the church door, to the heart of the Presbytery.

‘Upon the Eleventh of January 1689, The Full Minister of Air [Alexander Gregory] received a written Paper, Commanding him and all his Brethren to leave their Ministers against the fifteenth under the pain of death:’

Map of Old Church of Ayr:

The threat was backed up:

‘and because he did not regard this, there came to his House upon the fifteenth about Eight of the Clock at night Eleven Armed Men of them, who Commanded him under pain of Death to Preach no more in the Church of Air till the Princes [i.e., William of Orange’s] further order.

And at the same rate did they treat his Colle[a]gue [William Waterson] that same night.

‘Much about the same time these Armed Men with their Associats went throughout all the Ministers Houses within that Presbytery, and discharged them any more to Exercise their Ministry, and appointed them to remove from their Manses, or Parsonage Houses and Gleibs and discharged them to meddle with their Stipends under the penalty aforesaid. So that now the most of the Clergy through force and Violence have left the Countrey; none in it undertaking their Protection; but all the Rabble of it in Arms against them. And to Compleat their Miseries those who are Indebted to them refuse to pay even so much as may carry them to places of shelter: which exposeth them to the greatest hardships Imaginable.

To obviate the Impudent denial of these things the under Subscribers are able and shall (if called) in due time produce sufficient Proof of the whole, and that both by writing and Witnesses. Given under our hands at Edenburgh upon the Twenty and Sixth day of January One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty Nine years.

[Alexander] Gregory, Parson of Aire.
Will. Irwine Minister at Kirk Michael. [Apprehended at battle of Killiecrankie in support of Jacobites]
Fran[cis]. Fordyce, Parson of Cumnock.’ (Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy, First collection of papers, 2-3.)

How successful were the Covenanters’ rabblings in the Presbtery of Ayr?

The Presbytery embraced twenty-eight charges. The ministers of six of those (excluding Kilmarnock which lay in a different presbtery) were directly threatened by the Covenanters in late 1688. Of the remaining twenty-two charges in the Presbytery, only one, Dalrymple parish, certainly retained their minister through the Revolution. Ochiltree parish did not have a minister and in one other case, that of Kirkoswald, it is not clear if the parish had a minister in 1688.

All of the ministers from the remaining nineteen charges deserted their parishes: Two had fled to Edinburgh by late January, two from the Covenanter strongholds of Muirkirk and Dalmellington, seven from Carrick (including Barr, Dailly, Maybole and Straiton), where the Cameronians were divided post 1685, and eight more from the rest of the Presbytery (including Sorn, where the minister, William Anderson, is traditionally said to have fled along the Curate’s Steps, a foot path from the church that leads across the mouth of the Cleuch Burn below the castle. (NSA, Ayrshire. 144; Love, Scottish Covenanter Stories, chapter 44.)

Approximate location of Curate’s Steps path:

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free 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 Garment of the Whore of Babylon” Destroyed in Kilmarnock in 1688 #History #Scotland

•August 28, 2017 • 4 Comments

After ninety armed Cameronian Covenanters had conducted rabblings of ministers at Cumnock, Mauchline and Galston, they turned west towards Kilmarnock. While the minister Robert Bell was walking to Riccarton, he had the bad luck to encounter them …

Robert Bell’s account of his sufferings at the hands of the Covenanters on 27 December, 1688, was transcribed at Glasgow on 8 January, 1689. His account was written with an eye to swaying English opinion over what had taken place. It is not clear how reliable an account it is. Gilbert Rule, the author of the Second Vindication of the Church of Scotland (1691), did not seriously challenge most of detail of it. Instead, he attacked the character of Bell and his political sympathies and those of the Laird of Bridgehouse. He also distanced moderate Presbyterians from the actions of the Cameronain Society people:

‘That the Armed party [of Cameonians] were as much Enemies to the Presbyterian Ministers in the Meeting Houses, as to the Episcopalians; calling them [the moderate presbterian ministers] Apostates, and preachers of the Duke of York’s Gospel [i.e., under James VII’s Toleration Edicts]: With many other unsavoury Expressions: And that they had diverse Consultations about doing the same Indignities to them [i.e., the tolerated moderate presbyterian ministers], that they did to the Episcopal Clergy: And that particularly they did threaten Mr [James] Osburn, if he did not depart thence. And at the same time they fixed a Paper on the Meeting House at Irwin [i.e., at the centre of the Presbytery], threatening to burn it down.’ (Second Vindication, 29-31.)

A true Account of those Abuses and Affronts, that were committed upon the Person of Mr. Robert Bell Parson of Kilmarnock, by a Party of the Presbyterians now in Arms in the West of Scotland.

Master Robert Bell Minster of Kilmarnock, being desir’d by his Neighbour Minister at Richardtown, to celebrate the Marriage of two Persons at that Church, in the Ministers necessary absence, as he was walking thither, was seized by two Armed Men, who came from a great Party which he saw at some distance; one of them as he came near to him, presented a Musket to his Head; whereupon he told him, he was his Prisoner, and would go where he had a mind to carry him. He having recovered his Musket, and placed him betwixt himself and his Fellow Companion in Arms; in this posture he was brought to the Minister of Ritchardtown’s House,’

The manse at Riccarton presumably lay near the parish church. In the mid Nineteenth Century, the manse, possibly on the same ground, lay to the south of the church at what is now the far end of Wallace View.

At Riccarton manse:

‘where he was commanded to pluck off his Hat, they calling him Rogue and Rascal, and treating him very rudely. But assoon as he perceived they had filled their Bellies with the Meat, that the good Gentlewoman had set before them; and their Passion and Rancour was thereby a little asswaged; he began to ask the Commander of the Party, by what Rule and Law they proceeded, in their appearing thus in Arms: He told him, By the Rule and Law of the Solemn League and Covenant, by which they were obliged to extirpate Prelacy, and bring all Malignants to condign Punishment. Mr. Bell replied, they would do well to take care that those their proceedings were justifiable by the Word of God, and conformable to the practice of Christ, his Apostles, and the Primitive Church in the propagation of the Christian Religion. He answer’d him, That the Doom of all Malignants is clearly set down in the Word of God, and their appearing thus in Arms, was conformable to the Pratice of the Ancient Church of Scotland.

From this House [at Riccarton] the Minister was carried Prisoner to Kilmarnock, and in his Journey thither, there was a Gentleman the Laird Bridgehouse, who having come to meet him, took the courage to tell the Party, that their appearing in Arms, and abusing the Clergy in this Hostile manner, were but insolent outrages against all the Law of the Nation; and that they would do well to remit their Illegal forwardness, together with their pretended grievances unto the Parliament, that was now very quickly to be assembled, by the care and affection that his Highness the Prince [of Orange] had of all the Subjects of this Kingdom. They answered him, To stand off and forbear giving Rules to them, for they would take none from him nor any Man, and that they would not adhere to the Prince of Orange, nor the Law of the Kingdom, any further than the Solemn League and Covenant, was fulfilled and prosecuted by both.

By this time they were come near the Town [of Kilmarnock], and they commanded the Minister to pluck off his Hat, which he obeyed, yet at the same breath they threatned to throw him in the River: And coming to the Bridge [across the Kilmarnock Water],’

The Old Bridge, or Town Bridge, of Kilmarnock had been rebuilt with two spans in 1660. It was later replaced on the same site by a single span bridge in the later Eighteenth Century. It connected Sandbed with Cheapside, a short street which led to The Cross where the mercat cross stood.

Street View of site of Old Bridge

‘they met the whole Body of the aforesaid Party, returning from the Mercat place; where they had caused the Church Officer to deliver up the Keys of the Church: And they discharged by way of Proclamation the Minister, whom in an opprobrious manner, they called Curate of Kilmarnock, from all intromission with the Benefice and Casuality of the Church, or the least exercise of the Ministerial Function. Assoon as they saw Mr. Bell, and understood that he was the Parson of the Parish, he could see nothing in their Faces, but the most insulting joy; nor find in their discourses, but the most reproaching Language, that ever the greatest Criminal in the World was treated with. After a long Consultation amongst themselves, one of their chief Commanders came, and asked him, if he had a Book of Common Prayer: the Minister desired to know of him, why he asked the Question. He answered, That sure he could not want that Book since he was educated at Oxford, and trained up to all the Superstition and Idolatry of the Church of England. The Minister told him, perhaps he had half a dozen of Common Prayer Books; he commanded him, to produce one of them, for that would do their business.’

Bell was the minister of the first charge at the Laigh Kirk since 1687. As he was educated at both Glasgow and Oxford, it appears that some of the Cameronians knew about him. The Laigh Kirk lies just cross the bridge. Parts of the steeple probably date to the church from Bell’s time.

Street view of the Laigh Kirk

‘From this place they carried him back to his House, and there compelled him to deliver unto their hands the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, after this they led him as a Prisoner bare headed, betwixt four Foiles of Musketeers, through a great part of the Town unto the Market-place, where the whole Party was drawn up in Battallia: Which appeared to be about the number of two hundred well Armed; with fire Lock Muskets of a very large size, most of them had also a pair of Pistols but all of them one.’

The Mercat Cross lay at The Cross, the market place, of Kilmarnock. The site of the gallows lay at The Cross, too. The mercat cross appears to have vanished before the mid Nineteenth Century when a statue was erected.

‘In Kilmarnock, after the fashion of most Mercat places in Scotland, there is a Cross erected, unto which one goes up by steps on all sides, after the form of a broad Starecase, with which it is invironed. It was on the uppermost step, that one of these rude Guards placed the Minister, two of them on the same step, one on both hands; and so on every step as you go down from the Cross, they ranged themselves before him:

After this they called for Fire, which was brought, then one of their Commanders made a Speech to the People, That were gathered together in great numbers from the Town and Country. He told them, That they were come there to make the Curate of the place, a Spectacle of Ignominy, and that they were obliged so to do, by virtue of the Solemn League and Covenant; in Obedience unto which they were to declare here their abhorrency of Prelacy, and to make Declaration of their firm intentions and designs, to fulfill all the ends of that Oath: The propagation of the Discipline of the Government of the Church of Scotland, as it is express’d and contained in the foresaid Solemn League and Covenant. And all this they attested to do, not by virtue of any Civil Power nor Ecclesiastical Power, but by the Military Power, and the Power of the posture they were now in. These are the very words of this Speech.

After this another of their Commanders taking the Book of Common Prayer, reading the Title Page of it, and extending his voice very high, he told the People, That in pursuance of the forementioned League and Covenant, they were now to burn publickly this Book of Common Prayer, which is so full of Superstition and Idolatry; and then throwing it into the Fire, blowing the Coals with a pair of Bellows, after that catching it from amidst the flame, they fixed it on the Spear of a Pike and thence lifting it up on high, far above the top of the Cross. Which Elevation was attended with Shouts and Acclamations, down with Prelacy Idolatry and Superstition of the Churches of England and Scotland.

After all these indignities and impudent reproaches, offered to the most reformed and best constituted Churches in the World, they turned themselves to the Minister again, and rudely in a very menacing manner, asking him, if he was an Episcopal Prelate’s Man, and of the Communion of the Churches of England and Scotland; he answered, he was and did there confess it to the whole World.

Then they tore his Gown, one of the Guard first cutting up the Skirt of it with his Sword, and throwing it amongst their feet, telling him, It was the Garment of the Whore of Babylon. One of them bid him promise never to Preach, nor Exercise the Office of a Minister any more; but he refused, telling them, that such a Promise lay not within the compass of his own will, and could not be extorted by force, and that tho they should tear his Body, as they had done his Gown, they would never be able to reach his Conscience. Well, well, (says he) do it at your Peril; the Minister answer’d, that he would do it at his Peril.

And so they gave over troubling him any more, only asking, what he had to say to them, he told them, he was extremely sorry to see Protestants, so ingratefully exasperated against the best Protestant Church in the World, that had done such Eminent Service to our Common Religion and Interest against Popery: And withal praying God to forgive them, and not to lay these things to their Charge.

So the Minister was dismissed, they telling him, he was an ignorant and obdured Curate and Malignant.

This is a true Copy of that Account, of those indignities and affronts, that were done unto me Robert Bell, by the Presbyterians now in Arms in Scotland.

Glasgow, Jan. 8. 1689.
Robert Bell:’ (The Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy, First collection of papers, 33-36.)

From Kilmarnock, the 200 armed Cameronian Covenanters moved south towards Tarbolton. On the way, they found the minister of Riccarton, whose wife had bravely fed them …

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The Other Glorious Revolution: The Covenanters’ “Rabbling of the Curates” in 1688 #History Scotland

•August 27, 2017 • 3 Comments

Not all revolutionaries want the same thing. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 is no exception to that rule. On Christmas Day, 1688, amidst the chaos of the fall of James VII’s regime, armed Cameronian Covenanters launched a coordinated campaign of ‘rabblings’ to purge five Western shires of ministers they believed to be supportive of the former regime or an Episcopal settlement of the Church. It was a ‘Military way of Reformation’ from below that created facts on the ground. It was their own revolution, which aimed to force the hand of the victor, William of Orange, whose authority many of them rejected, to acknowledge a defacto Presbyterian settlement in Scotland and pave the way towards a Covenanted state. That was not the settlement of the Church that either William, or the vast majority of the Scottish elite, wanted.

The evidence for the rabblings comes from a pro-Episcopalian pamphlet, The Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy in Scotland Truly Represented (1690).

‘Upon Christmas day [1688] about Ninty Armed Men forced [Francis Fordyce] the Minister of Cumnock out of his Chamber into the Church-yard, where they discharged him to Preach any more there under the highest Peril they took upon them to Command him to remove from his Manse, or dwelling House, & his Gleib, and not to uplift his Stipend thenceforth; after which they rent his Gown in pieces over his head: they made a Preface to their discourse to this purpose; that this they did not as States-Men, nor as Church-Men, but by violence and in a Military way of Reformation.

In this manner, in the same place, and at the same time used they [John Watson] the Minister of Authinleck, who dwelleth in Cumnock.’

Street View of the former site of Cumnock parish church.

‘From Cumnock the foresaid day they marched to Machlin & missing the Minister [David Meldrum], were rude beyond expression to his Wife, & finding the English Liturgy burnt it as a Superstitious and Popish Book: thereafter they went to the Church-yard where they publicly discharged the Minister from his Office and Interest there.’

Mauchline parish also had an indulged minister, James Veitch, who had returned under James VII’s edicts of toleration. It was also where the gallows were felled in early November.

Street view of Mauchline churchyard

Some of The Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy’s accounts of the rabblings were disputed in the pro-Presbyterian pamphlet, The Second Vindication of The Church of Scotland (1691):

‘It is Attested under the Hands of George Logan of Logan, William Crawfurd of Dalegles, John Campbel of Horsecleugh, George Campbel of Glaisknock, John Beg of Dornal, John Mitchel of Whetstonburn ; all of the two Parishes mentioned [of Cumnock and Auchinleck]: That they who did this wers not of either of these Parishes, nor was it known who they were: Only that they were Cameronians,who had suffered severely; and were now gathered together on occasion of an Alarum that then was in the Countrey [due to the Revolution]: Nor had any in these Parishes any Accession to that practice. And it is to be observed, that many of these Ministers entered by a Military Force, as they wers so put out: Particularly the Minister of Auchinleck had his Edict served with three Troops of Dragoons [prior to 23 June, 1680?]: And that People never submitted to these Mens Ministry, but by the force that was put on them by Armed Men: And they suffered very hard things; and yet the People of these Parishes bore it patiently. In the business of Machlin he grosly belyeth them: They used no violencs to the Ministers Wife; only gravely reproved her for Cursing and Swearing, which she used.’ (Second Vindication, 89.)

However, the account of the rabblings continues in The Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy:

‘Upon the twenty seventh December the more considerable part of the fore said number [of ninety Cameronian Society people] went to Galston: where they apprehended the Minister [Robert Symson], and taking him out of his house into the Church yard they rent his Cloak missing his Gown, and thereafter forced him to wade upon and down through the water of Irvine for a considerable time in a severe Frost.’ (Case of the Present Afflicted Clergy, 1st Collection of Papers, 1-2.)

Street view of Galston churchyard

From Galston, the armed body of the Cameronian Society people headed west towards Kilmarnock and Riccarton. There Robert Bell, the minister of Kilmarnock, had the ill fortune to encounter them while he was walking to Riccarton …

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The Mystery of the Covenanters’ Panbreck Convention Site #History #Scotland

•August 18, 2017 • 1 Comment

Panbreck was the site of the secretive United Societies’ thirteenth convention on 20 March, 1684. Where was this treasonable meeting held? …

Panbreck Hill

Faithful Contendings Displayed only gave a placename for the convention site:

‘[The date for the convention] was delayed until till the 20th of March [1684] thereafter.
Which day, A General Meeting did conveen at Panbreck.’ (Shields, FCD, 129.)

There are two Panbrecks which lie close together. Both are very remote locations.

Panbreck Hill (part of a hill embracing Stony Hill and Drummond’s Knowe) and the Panbreck Burn straddle the Ayrshire/Lanarkshire boundary. The burn flows in a north-east direction from Panbreck Hill to North Bottom where it swings south-east to join the Duneaton Water at South Bottom.

Map of Panbreck Hill and Burn

At first sight, this appears to be the location and I had previously assumed that this was where the thirteenth convention had taken place. If this was the site, it truly was a meeting in the wilderness, as apparently even in the Seventeenth Century there was no shelter there. But then, I spotted this …

A second Panbreck, just over a kilometre to the south. It appears on Roy’s mid-eighteenth century map as a farm called ‘Panbreak’ and in a charters of 1654 and 1696 as ‘Panbreck’. Was this where the convention was held? It has the same name and it was a better location for the meeting, as it would have provided shelter from Scotland’s March weather.

Map of ‘Panbreck’

It also appears as ‘Benbrock’ below ‘Benbreek Hill’ on Pont’s map of Kyle published by Blaeu in 1654.

‘Panbreak’/‘Panbreck’ lay deep in the hills on the west side of the Penbreck Burn below the ridge of Penbreck Rig. It also lay close to the drove road between Muirkirk to Sanquhar, which may have made it a convenient meeting point for delegates.

On the mid-nineteenth century OS maps the farm was located on the opposite, eastern, bank of the Penbreck Burn. At that time, the boundaries of the farm were the March Burn on the west, and the march boundary with Dumfriesshire – Nether Black Law, Nipes and White Hill – on the east. The Lanarkshire boundary marked the northern limit, possibly including some of Stony Hill in the farm.

‘Panbreak’/‘Panbreck’ lay at the extreme east end of the narrow parish of Auchinleck, Ayrshire, with Muirkirk parish just to the north.

In 1654, ‘2 merkland of Panbreck’ was held by James Crichton ‘of Castellmaynes’ along with the 23 Shilling and 4 Penny lands of Dornal and other lands in Cumnock parish, including Lochnorris. There is a clear kin connection to the next recorded holder of the lands. In 1696, the lands of ‘Panbreck’ appear to have been held by Penelope Crichton, daughter and heir of William Crichton, earl of Dumfries (d.1691). The earl had lived at Lochnorris near Cumnock, when it was raided for arms by the Society people in 1685. Penelope Crichton also held the lands of Dornal and Glenmuirshaw, and on the hearth tax list of 1694, ‘Dornills List of Hearths’ included ‘Penbreak – 2 – –’, i.e., it was a fairly modest dwelling but a step up from a one hearth household. It is clear that the lands of ‘Panbreck’ were related to those of Dornal estate, which lies several miles down the Glenmuir Water from ‘Panbreck’.

That relationship between Panbreck and Dornal implies that Society people may well have had good reasons to settle on Panbreck as a convention site. From scattered clues in the historical sources, it appears that Dornal and the area around it was a place of relative safety for militant Covenanters in the 1680s. After the defeat at Bothwell Bridge in 1679, several of the assassins of Archbishop Sharp were sheltered at Dornal, where they appear to have got a guide to Panbreck. In 1680, two proclaimed traitors for the Sanquhar Declaration lived in the valley of the Glenmuir Water. Alexander Peden probably fled from government forces in this area in 1685, and in the same year, James Nisbet hid and made escapes at several locations along the Glenmuir Water.

Today, the farm has disappeared, but the site, perhaps ruins (of at least the nineteenth-century farm), lie by a single tree. It is probably the site of the seventeenth-century farm, if Roy’s map placed in the wrong side of burn. If Roy’s map was correct, which is far from certain, then the site of the meeting may have been just across the burn.

Sadly, it is not obvious in the historical records who the tenant of Panbreck was in 1684.

However, we do know who occupied (some?) lands at Dornal in 1684. At almost exactly the time of the thirteenth convention, John Begg of Dornal was probably imprisoned. On 2 April, ‘John Bog of Dornel’ was before the criminal court in Edinburgh, probably for the suspected reset, converse and sheltering rebels, but the diet against him was deserted. In 1689, he reappears in the sources alongside George Logan of Logan and John Campbell of Horsecleugh, two moderate presbyterian lairds who had called the field preacher Richard Cameron a Jesuit in 1680, as one who testified that the rabbling of the minister of Cumnock was the work of Cameronians who were not of the parish. (Wodrow, History, III, 64.)

Among those who attended the thirteenth convention were James Renwick (d.1688), Michael Shields, David Steel (d.1686), George Hill, William Nairn, John Mathieson and Archibald Hunter. The latter was possibly the fugitive in Tererran in Glencairn parish, Dumfriesshire, listed on the roll of 1684.

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Donald Cargill’s Letter to the Sweet Singer Women, Prisoners in Edinburgh #History #Scotland

•July 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The following letter was sent by Donald Cargill to the Sweet Singer women imprisoned in Edinburgh’s Correction House, probably in June, 1681, after the women had rejected a paper from the Sweet Singer men. The Sweet Singers had been captured at Wolf Hole Craig in the Pentlands in mid May. Before that, Cargill had preached against them at Underbank Wood on 1 May and at Loudoun Hill on 5 May. Some of Cargill’s letter is taken up with refuting the Sweet Singers’ views as expressed at a conference with him at Darngavil in Lanarkshire on 24 to 25 April, 1681.

The Correction House (centre left) below Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

Cargill’s letter to the women is as follows:

‘Dear Friends,—I think ye cannot but know that I am both concerned and afflicted with your condition, and I would have written sooner, and more, if I had not feared that you might have been jealous, under your distempers, that I had been seducing you to follow me, and not God and truth.

It had been my earnest and frequent prayer to God, as He Himself knows, to be led in all truth, and I judge I have been in this graciously answered; but I desire none, if they themselves judge it not to be truth, to adhere to anything that I have either preached, written, or done, to any hazard, much more to the loss of life.

But I have been afflicted with your condition, and could not but be more, if God’s great graciousness in this begun discovery, and your sincerity and singleness, gave me not hope that God’s purpose is to turn this to the great mercy of His poor Church and yours, if ye mar it not; and yet the great sin, and pillar of Satan, that is in this snare, makes me tremble. It was God’s mercy to you, that gave you such convictions; that made you, at least some of you, once to part with these men. And it was undoubtedly your sin, that you continued not so; but after convictions, did cast yourselves in new temptations; for convictions ought to be tenderly guided, lest the Spirit be grieved, from whom they come; but this second discovery, though it be with a sharper rebuke, as it makes God’s mercy wonderful, so it shall render your perseverance in that course sinful and utterly inexcusable; for God has broken the snare; and it will be your great sin, if you go not out with great haste, joy, and thankfulness, when God’s wonderful discovery has made such a way for your delivery. For God, having now shown you the ringleaders and authors of these opinions to be persons of such abominations, calls you not only to deny credit to them, but also to make a serious search of their tenets; which will, I know, by His grace, bring you undoubtedly to see, that these things are contrary both to God’s glory and truth, that they so much pretend to.

And now, dear friends, I cannot be tender enough of you, who in your zeal and singleness have been misled. For though this did bewray a great simplicity and unwatchfulness, yet it did also betoken some zeal and tenderness; that being beguiled, it was in things that were veiled and busked [i.e., adorned) with some pretence to God’s glory, and public reformation. And on the other hand, I cannot have great enough abhorrence of the persons, who, knowing themselves to be of such abominations, did give out themselves to be of such familiarity with God, and of so clear illumination, to make their delusions more passing with devout souls. Let nothing make you think this is malignity, or natural enmity against the power of Godliness, or progress in reformation, that is venting itself in me: For though I cannot win [i.e., get] forward as I ought, yet I have rejoiced to see others go forward.

And I am sure, there lies in this bed within you, a viper and a child. Satan, transforming himself into an angel of light, has put these two together, to make it passing with some, and to be spared of others who are of tenderness. But my soul’s desire is, to kill the serpent and keep the child alive; and God is calling you loudly to sever the good from the bad, that the wit of Satan’s subtilty has mixed together, and to deliver yourselves speedily, as a roe from the hand of the hunter; and not only return, but bitterly mourn for your high provoking of God, in offering such foul sacrifices to His glory, and sewing your old clouts upon that new garment; in your making the enemy more to despise that cause and company who are enough despised already, and discouraging those who were following and going forward with you in that which was right; so that now, neither have they heart nor hand for the work, nor can they look out till God recover them again.

There is much in the whole of this, that may, and does weight and overwhelm some spirits: but there is nothing in all their cogitations about it that they find comfortable; unless it be, that He is cleared in afflicting us, and continuing to afflict, because there were such persons among us. I speak this but of some of you, and beloved by us, though ignorantly; and we wish that this be the last and great stop that was to be removed, before His coming to revenge Himself, and reign. I would not say but by this also He showed His tenderness, of preserving integrity of doctrine, and sound reformation, and His purpose not to suffer errors and heresies to prosper.

This I told you, when I met with you, that there were some things ye were owning which were highly approved of God; such as, an inward heart-love and zeal to God’s glory, which I perceived to be in some of you, so far as it can be perceived; and setting up that before you, as your end, in pursuing it always as your work, and a forgetting of all other things in regard of it; excepting only these things without which we cannot glorify Him; as a workman that intends his work must mind his tools; even our own salvation, and the salvation of all others, as if they were not things wherein He is greatly glorified; for His glory is in righteousness and mercy, and in, and by these, is the salvation of man infallibly advanced, and to these it is inseparably connected.

Next, I would advise you to set apart more, yea, much more of your time, for humiliation, fasting, and prayer, in such an exigence, when the judgments of God appear to be so near and so great; so that it be done without sin; for God cannot be glorified by sin, ‘for if my lie hath more abounded to His glory, why am I judged as a sinner?’ I was against such as deny nature, and others their right dues; for He that allows dues to others, allows them to be paid also. And we must be like prisoners, who are of great debt and honest hearts, who know they cannot pay every one their full sums, yet are resolved to give every one some, and to the greatest most, and to the rest accordingly. And as there cannot be a total abstinence from meat without self-murder, so there cannot be a total denying others their dues, such as the benevolence of husband to wife, and a total abstaining from work, without a transgression of God’s commandments and laws; which can never be a glorifying of Him; which the more impartially they are kept, the more He is glorified.

Next, ways are allowed of Him, that ye may make yourselves free, so much as in you lies, of all the public defections, whatever may involve you in these, or contribute to their upholding, without either an overpowering force, or an indispensable necessity; for I may buy meat and drink in necessity, whatever use the seller make of that money I give for my meat and drink.

Next, He allows these particulars of reformation, such as change of the names of days, of weeks, of terms of the year, and such like, warranted by the word and example of the Christians in Scripture, that have been neglected before in our reformation; so that there be not too much religion placed in these things, and other things more weighty, which undoubtedly have more moral righteousness in them, made little in regard of them; but in these good things Satan will quickly (if it be not already), over-drive you in your progress, and leave you only to hug a spurious birth.

But there are other things that ye maintained when I spoke with you [at Darngavil] (and the viper has more since appeared [in the Paper from the Sweet Singer men]), as truths and parts of God’s glory, that are utterly contrary to, and inconsistent with the glory of God. As first, laying aside of public preaching, some of them saying no less, nor [i.e., than that] they had no missing of it; so that ye thought, ‘Ye had reigned as kings without us, and would to God ye had reigned.’ Your flourishing should have delighted, though we had not been the instruments and means thereof. But, alas! this your liberty, that you so much bragged of, would have lasted but a little while, and was among your other beguiles, and was nothing else but Satan stirring you about to giddiness, and raising of fantastic fumes to the tickling of the imagination, but leaving you altogether without renovation of heart, or progress in sanctification; so that I cannot compare this your liberty to anything else, but to an enchanted fabric; where the poor guests, only placed in imagination, imagine themselves to be in a pleasant place, and at royal entertainment; but when God comes, and delusion evanisheth, they will find themselves cast in some remote wilderness, and left full of astonishment and fears.

I told you, while I was with you, that the devil was sowing tares amongst your thin wheat; but I was not long from you, exercised in thoughts about you, but I saw clearly there was sorcery in your business; and now, I tell you, I fear sorcerers also. I know I have spoken this against my own life, if they get the power they desire; but I am in a defiance of them, and I know also in a defence by Him who hath preserved, and I know will preserve me, till my work be finished. But if your liberty that you talked of had been true, it would at least have stayed till it had brought you to other thoughts, other works, and other comforts; and it might have been easily discerned not a true liberty, but a temptation that led you from public preaching, the great ordinance of God’s glory and men’s good; as the apostle has that word, ‘forbidding us to preach to the Gentiles;’ but especially to leave public ordinances at this time, when they are the only standards standing which shows Satan’s victory against Christ’s kingdom in Scotland not to be complete.

Yet, dear friends, when you hear this, let not Satan cast you as far to the other side, for it is rare to see the most devout souls altogether out from under his delusions and temptations, as to make you believe that it is impossible to attain unto anything of certitude of truth, liberty, manifestations, and communion with God, if that which seemed to be so firm be delusions. But shall Satan have such power to make men believe lies, and shall not God go infinitely beyond him, in making men to see and believe truth? There were many that thought themselves at the height of assurance, when under the greatest temptations—as Psalm lxxiii., ‘Verily I have cleansed my hands in vain;’ and yet they have a greater certainty when they come to see that there is no such unquietness of spirit under this, as they found in the former. And seeing it is so, rest not till ye attain that assurance of your own interest, and of His main truths, which is both above doubt and defect, that ye may be able to say, ‘Now we believe, and are sure.’

But in the next place, ye will join with none in public worship, but those who have infallible signs of regeneration. This seems fair, but it is both false and foul. False, because of its false foundation, viz., that the certainty of one’s interest in Christ may be known by another. Whereas the Scripture says, ‘That none knows it, but he that has it.’ Foul also, for this disdain has pride in it, and pride is always foul; and though there be a difference amongst men, and though we should have regard of repentance and brokenness of heart, yet those who have well fought and seen their own filthiness, will judge themselves the persons of any that should be thrust out of the assemblies of God’s people, and that not only in regard of what they have been, but also in regard of what they daily are.

Next, ye would have all to be prayed to eternal wrath, who have departed and made defection in this time. Alas! we need not blow them away; the great part is going fast enough that way; but this, I am sure, is not to give God His glory, but to take from Him, and limit Him in His freedom and choice in the greatness of His pardon. It is remarkable that the angels, in their glory to God, joined also with it good-will to men.

Next, you have rejected the Psalms, with many other things, by a paper come from some of you [i.e., the men]; and I cannot see upon what account; except it be, because it is man’s work, in turning the Psalms out of prose into metre. Then ye must reject all the other Scriptures, because the translation of them is of man’s work; ye have not yet learned the original languages; ye must betake yourselves altogether to the Spirit, and what a spirit will that be, that is not to be tried by the Scriptures? I told some of you, when I last saw you, that ye were too little led by the Scriptures, and too much by your own thoughts and suggestions; which, indeed, opens a wide door to delusion, and alas! lays yourselves open to Satan’s temptations.

As for the rest of your denying all your former covenants and declarations, this cannot be from God, they containing nothing but lawful and necessary duties; and, suppose they did not contain and include a complete reformation, yet they did not exclude it; so that still holding them, we might have passed on to more perfection, and they might be inviolable obligations with us.

And next, your cutting off all that were not of your mind, and delivering them up to devils, was not justice and religion: it being done neither in judgment nor righteousness, upon conviction of their crimes, but in unbridled rage and fury. But these things I cannot fully speak to now; yet there is somewhat that I cannot pass, but must tell you, that I fear there shall remain some of the leaven within, which shall not only spoil an orthodox Protestant, but also a true, tender, and humble Christian, and give us nothing instead of it but a blown bladder; for I am persuaded, if Satan should have the tutory but a while, he should bring it to this; for it has been his way with some—first, to make them saint-like, and afterwards to settle them at atheism; like a cunning fisher, running a fish upon an angle, who at last casts it on dry ground. God is my witness, my soul loves to see holiness, tenderness, and zeal in such a generation, where there is nothing but untenderness, unconcemedness, and lukewarmness; and, by His grace, I shall ever cherish it .

I desire you then, in the bowels of Christ, to retain your zeal; but see well to this, that it be for His glory. Indeed, the more ye are zealous, and the further ye go forward, so that the word of God direct your course, ye are the more pleasing to God, and shall be the dearer to us. And persuade yourselves, that though I cannot equal or go before, yet it is the sincere desire of my heart to follow such. And my soul wishes you well, though, it may be, I cannot here point nor lead you the way to well-being; yet this I must say, that if I could lead you the way that He has led me, I should let you see eternal life, without these things that I am desiring you to relinquish.

Hold truth, glorify God, be zealous to have Him glorified ; but think not to desire the condemnation of any man, simply on that account, that they dare not come and continue where you are; or that to put a bar by prayer between them and a return, is a glorifying of God. We glorify Him in this kind, when, as He Himself desires, we acquiesce in His sentence when it is past, though we wrestle against it before it be known to us.

I cannot bid you go forward in all, but I desire you to go forward in that which is surer and better. And dear friends, let not the world have it to say, that when ye are become right, ye are become the less zealous; only take the right object, and let your zeal grow. O let not your sufferings be stained with such wildness; and think it not strange that ye have not such liberty in your return, as ye seemed to have before; if you take the right way, and hold on, ye shall find it, in His time, greater, and better, and surer.

I shall only add, that there must be an express disowning of your errors and evils, and an express owning of His truths; whereof ye have been persuaded before now, but which now are either denied or doubted; otherwise you will come to nothing of religion, or worse; this will either state your sufferings right, or be a mean to obtain a cleanly liberty from God in His due time. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you. Amen!

Donald Cargill.’ (CW, 19-26.)

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