The Breeches Bible of the Covenanter Peter Gemmell Killed in 1685 #History #Scotland

•September 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Among the relics of the Covenanters held at Lochgoin, is the bible of Peter Gemmel, aka. Patrick Gemmell, who was shot and killed at Midland in Fenwick parish in November, 1685.

According to Johnston:

‘Breeches’ Bible. — Imprinted at London, 1599. It is inscribed — Peter Gemmel, with my hand. And aye to be at God’s command.’ (Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 638.)

A Breeches Bible was a copy of the Geneva Bible, which had a more direct translation of the text than the King James Bible and contained explanatory footnotes and introductions to chapters for the reader that were missing in the latter. In general, the Geneva Bible offered more direction on how the reader should interpret the text. The ‘Breeches’ Bibles take their name from the translation of the famous passage on Adam and Eve and the fig leaves found in Genesis 3.7. Where the Geneva text used the down-to-earth term ‘breeches’ to describe how they had covered their nakedness, the King James version chose to use ‘aprons’. The 1599 edition of the Breeches Bible went through many cheaper, pirated editions in the 1630s that were “falsely” dated 1599. It is probable that Gemmel’s copy was one of the later.

Although killed near Fenwick and buried there, Gemmell was from (New) Cumnock parish.

For more on Peter Gemmell, see here.

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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


Prophet Peden’s Kinfolk #History #Scotland

•September 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Peden Eyes

When the wanted Covenanter, Alexander Peden, died at ‘the Dikes’ in Sorn parish in January, 1686, he was protected by his kin. The names of two Pedens appear to be associated with his hiding place, a fugitive named Alexander Peden and a former elder in the Church, John Peden of Blindburn. However, there were several other Pedens in the parish at that time. Some, if not all, were probably his kinfolk. They, too, reveal something about Prophet Peden…


Waulkmill of Sorn
Two fugitives in the parish in 1684 were ‘Robert Pedin, son to Hugh Pedin in Walk Mill of Sorn’ and ‘—— Pedin, also his son’. The Waulkmill of Sorn lay just to the west of Sorn Castle by the River Ayr and Sorn Hill. Today, it is not named on the OS map and the mill has vanished.

Map of Waulkmill of Sorn

The Hearth Tax record for the parish a decade later lists a ‘Robertt Paddin — 1 –’.
Two others named Peden listed in the Hearth Tax record could be the unnamed Peden fugitive: ‘Alexander Peiden — 1 — –’ and ‘James Peedint — 1 –’.

However, more intriguing is the Hearth Tax record’s listing of a ‘Hewgh Peidie’, which is probably a ‘Hugh Peden’. It appears under ‘The Earle of Loudoun land & house in dalquainie qch is all payed’. The first property listed is ‘My Lords house thr [there] payed 11 — 11 — –’. The Earl of Loudoun’s house was Sorn Castle, the largest dwelling in the parish. The very next name listed is one ‘Hewgh Peidie — 2 –’. Hugh Peden clearly lived close to the Earl of Loudoun’s castle. He may be the same man as the Hugh Peden in the Waulkmill.

The fugitive field preacher, Alexander Peden, was in hiding nearby at ‘the Dikes’ in early 1686. He is also associated with a cave nearby below Sorn Castle and Blindburn.

There were connections between Prophet Peden and the owners of Sorn Castle, the earls of Loudoun.

In 1685, Hugh Campbell had recently become the third, earl of Loudoun. His sisters are known to have sheltered the fugitive James Nisbet, the son of Hardhill, at their family estate at Loudoun Palace in November, 1685. Nisbet had met Alexander Peden in mid 1685 and appears to have been in his company on several occasions that summer. Peden also had connections to people who knew the previous earl of Loudoun and he is alleged to have foretold the death of Loudoun’s factor in 1680.

When Prophet Peden first returned to Scotland in 1685, the castle was garrisoned by some dragoons from Captain John Inglis’ company under the command of Lieutenant Lewis Lauder.

Before he arrived at the castle, Lauder had captured John Paton of Meadowhead in April, 1684. Lauder was responsible for administering the Abjuration Oath in the parish in February 1685. At some point, probably in the following months, his men shot William Shillilaw further down the River Ayr.

How long the castle remained garrisoned is not clear. Command of Lauder’s unit was transferred Captain ‘Major’ George Winram in early May, 1685, after a humiliating attack on the tower at Newmilns. It is possible that the garrison was removed at that time, as immediately after that, the unit was based much further to the south near Wigtown. Soon after that, the crisis of the Argyll Rising of May to mid June led to a general redeployment of military units.

The castle was possibly not garrisoned when Peden hid near it in late 1685 to early 1686.


Another fugitive in Sorn parish in 1684 was ‘John Pedin, portioner of Hole-house’. Holehouse lay to the east of Sorn Castle and by the River Ayr between Dalgain and Daldilling. The properties there were later known as High Holehouse (aka. Holehouse-hillhead) and Laigh Holehouse.

Map of Holehouse

Laigh Holehouse has vanished, but it lay here:

Aerial View of Laigh Holehouse

Peden’s Tree, a site associated with the field preacher, which may still exist, lay on the opposite bank of the River Ayr from Holehouse.

George Wood was shot at nearby Tincorn Hill is 1688.


The Fugitive Roll of 1684 also mentions one non-fugitive named Peden: ‘Mr John Pedin in Meadowhead’. There are two farms named Meadowhead, which both lie to the north of Sorn Castle. The title ‘Mr’ implies that John Peden was educated at a university like Alexander Peden. The more northerly of the Meadowhead farms lies next to Auchencloigh, which is where Alexander Peden is said to have been born.

Map of Meadowhead by Auchencloigh and Auchmannoch

Aerial view

The other Meadowhead lies relatively close to ‘the Dikes’ where Prophet Peden died.


Map of Meadowhead near Dykeneuk

Aerial View

The Hearth Tax record for the parish a decade later lists three John Pedens: ‘John Peiden — 2 — –’, ‘John Peddine — 3 — –’ and ‘John Pedden’ under no specific location who could be any of the John Pedens above.

What makes one of the Meadowhead farms intriguing is that Richard Cameron is said to have spent his last night before he was killed at Airds Moss at Meadowhead. A stone trough at Meadowhead, in existence in 1908 and perhaps awaiting rediscovery, was said to be where Cameron washed his hands for the last time.

Prophet Peden appears to have had a connection to Cameron. In 1680, he is said to have spoken about Cameron’s death at Mauchline Fair. In 1685, he is said to have visited Cameron’s grave, and when dying, he is supposed to have expressed a desire to be buried there.


West Auchenlongford: Prophet Peden’s Home? © Gordon Brown and licensed for reuse.

A final Peden connection in the parish is via the Pedens of Auchenlongford.

Map of Auchenlongford

‘The first notice we have of this family is in the old retours, under date 16th March 1648, when

I. Alexander Pethein is served heir to his grandfather, Alexander Pethein of Auchinlongford but from the number of families of the same name that existed in the parish during the seventeenth century, we may infer that they had been settled there long previously.

[It is possible that Alexander Pethein of 1648 was the field preacher, but there is no direct evidence that it was. Peden was forfeited for his field preaching. His property was restored to his heirs in 1690 by an act of the Scottish Parliament. The next entry may be a nephew of the preacher who held the lands in the 1690s.]

II. James Peden of Auchinlongford had a child baptized on 5th March 1693. His wife’s name was Agnes Miller. They had several other children baptized. His son succeeded in 1723, and was also styled

III. James Peden of Auchinlongford. He married Isabell Rob, and had several children baptized before the year 1733. He was succeeded by his son,

IV. James Peden of Auchinlongford, who sold his property before the year 1780 to Mr Innes of Stowe […]. It consisted of the farms of Burntshields and West Auchinlongford.

There were six[?] families of farmers named Peden in the parish towards the end of the seventeenth century, doubtless all derived, either directly or indirectly, from Auchinlongford, and from one of them sprang the revered Covenanter, Mr Alexander Peden; but it is doubtful (although it is allowed by every one that he was a native of Sorn), to which of them he belonged. The Pedens in Auchmannoch have the name of Alexander more frequently mentioned in the session records than any other, which is an indication, at least, of nearer affinity. The first entry in the register [from 1692 onwards] is the baptism of a son of Alexander Peden in Auchmannoch.’ (Paterson, History, 427.)

How the Pedens in Sorn parish were related to Prophet Peden (1626-1686) is not clear.

James Peden of Auchenlongford (d.1723) was too young to be a brother of Alexander, as he had children baptised from 1693 onwards.

John Peden of Blindburn, an elder in c.1660 and again 1693, appears to have been of a similar age to Prophet Peden and lived near ‘the Dikes’ where the preacher died in 1686.

The Mr John Peden in Meadowhead in 1684 was an educated man like Alexander, but his age is not known. He may, or may not, have been the same man as Blindburn. He was clearly not John Peden, portioner of Holehouse, a fugitive in 1684 of unknown age.

Hugh Peden in the Waulkmill of Sorn was probably around the same age as the preacher, as he had two sons, Robert and ‘—–’ who had fought at Bothwell in 1679. Assuming that one of his sons was at least 20 in 1679, it is probable that Hugh was born prior to 1639, which would make him old enough to have been close kin of Prophet Peden who was born in 1626.

The fugitive Alexander Peden in ‘the Dikes’ in 1684 was certainly not Prophet Peden’s brother, but he lived in the location where Peden died in 1686. He may, or may not be, the same man as Alexander Peden in Auchmannoch, who had a child baptised in 1692.

In the end, like Prophet Peden, his family in Sorn parish remains elusive.

For more on Alexander ‘Prophet’ Peden, see here.

For more on the Covenanters in Sorn parish, see here.

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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 Mystery of Alexander ‘Prophet’ Peden’s Death #History #Scotland #Ayrshire

•September 21, 2016 • 2 Comments

Peden Eyes

Where did Prophet Peden die? There is some confusion over where the famous Covenanter, Alexander ‘Prophet’ Peden, died. Some say he died at Auchencloigh. Some say he died near Auchinleck. But did he die somewhere else? The historical evidence suggests that he did…

When he died from illness in early 1686, everyone involved in his death and burial had very good reasons to keep the details of it secret, as their lives, livelihoods and property were at stake. The code of silence around his death and the elite position in society of some of those suspected to be involved in his burial may account for the extreme and unusual response of government forces six weeks later when they exhumed his body and publicly displayed it on the gallows at Cumnock.

In this post I want to advance a theory based on the earliest historical evidence for a different location of Peden’s death. Why does the location that matter? Because a different location deepens our understanding of what took place.

Perhaps the best way to summarise what has been, and often still is, claimed about the location of his death is to look at the two locations in Ayrshire usually given for it. The following summary comes from Hutchison, the editor of Thomson’s Martyr Graves of Scotland in 1903:

‘It has been generally regarded as a fact that Peden died in his brother’s house at Auchincloich, in the parish of Sorn. Mr Johnston, however, in his interesting volume, “Alexander Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant [of 1902],” says that Auchincloich [in Sorn parish] was tenanted at that time by one of the name of [John] Richmond; and that Peden’s brother was tenant of the farm of Ten Shilling Side, in the parish of Auchinleck. It was to this latter place, then, that the Venerable Prophet retired when death drew nigh. Not far off there was a concealed cave, in which he could remain safe from the pursuit of his enemies. ED.’

Let us examine those two theories.


The building where Peden is said to have been born at Auchencloigh © Becky Williamson and licensed for reuse.

The Auchencloigh Theory
The idea that Peden died at Auchencloigh in Sorn parish has a circular neatness, as that was where he is said to have been born. However, there is no evidence that he died there.

Map of Auchencloigh                      Street View of Auchencloigh

Aerial View of Auchencloigh

The reason why it has been believed that Peden’s death took place there is that Walker stated that he died in his ‘Brother’s House in the Parish of Sorn, where he was born’. Walker’s statement is ambiguous, as it is not clear if ‘where he was born’ relates to his brother’s house in Sorn parish or only to Sorn parish. Walker did not claim that Peden was born at Auchencloigh. Earlier in the same work, Walker simply stated that Peden was ‘born in the Parish of Sorn’. (Walker, BP, I, 39.)

There are also major flaws in the evidence for Auchencloigh being the location for his death.

First, Johnston was correct to state that Auchencloigh was held by [John] Richmond, as Walker states that ‘John Richman’ lived there in 1685 or early 1686. Peden did stay in a chamber there at some point (in late 1685?) where he foretold about the dangers of the French “Monzies” to Scotland. (Walker, BP, I, 78-9.)

Second, Auchencloigh was almost certainly not his brother’s house. An Alexander Peden had been retoured heir of Auchencloigh in 1648, but in 1663 an Andrew Richmond was retoured heir to ‘John Richmond of Auchincloigh’. The latter is almost certainly the ‘John Richman’ named by Walker in late 1685. ‘John Richmont Auchincloych’ paid the land tax in 1705. The same Richmond family still held Auchencloigh in 1723. (Paterson, History of Ayrshire, 427-8.)

Third, as we shall see below, Auchencloigh was not where an earlier and potentially more reliable source than Walker stated that Peden died.

From the above, it is clear that Walker was making a distinction between where Peden was born, i.e., in Sorn parish, and where he died, i.e., in his brother’s house. It is certain that his brother’s house lay somewhere else in the parish.

What of the other theory advanced by Johnston in Alexander Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant in 1902?


Deer Cave near Ten Shilling Side Bridge © Rab McMurdo and licensed for reuse.

Johnston’s Ten Shilling Side Theory
Where ‘Ten Shilling Side’ lay in Auchinleck parish is not clear, but it lay somewhere near the old tower house of Mr David Boswell, laird of Auchinleck. It does not appear on any map, but there is a Ten Shilling Side Bridge on the former estate of the Boswells, which presumably marks the route to, and lay close to, the former site of the ten shilling lands.

There certainly were Peden’s in Auchinleck parish twenty years later when in 1705 and 1708 ‘Hugh Pedine [in] Heitach’, i.e., Heateth. paid the Land Tax. A ‘John Aird yr [younger] & John Mitchell [in] ten shilling syde’ also paid the same tax in the same years.

Aerial View of Ten Shilling Side Bridge

Hutchison’s ‘concealed cave’ where Peden hid ‘not far off’ from Ten Shilling Side may be Peden’s Cave at Auchinbay, which does lie relatively near to the bridge but on the opposite bank of the Lugar Water from the Auchinleck estate. However, there are other caves that lie closer to the bridge, like the Deer Cave (above).

The advantage of Johnston’s Ten Shiling Side theory is that many sources claim that Peden was initially buried either in, or in a later tradition close to, the Boswell of Auchinleck’s family isle in the parish kirkyard. If Peden died on their lands, it makes sense that his body was initially buried in secret among the tombs of the Boswells.

However, the major flaw with the Ten Shilling Side theory is that the historical sources for his death and burial are unequivocal in stating that he died in Sorn parish, rather than Auchinleck parish. It is a big step to take to abandon the historical sources for his death, on the basis of a possible rental and conjecture that Peden was in hiding there.

If not Auchencloigh or Ten Shilling Side, then where did he die?

The Historical Sources
Curiously, very few have taken note of what Wodrow wrote about Peden’s death a decade before Walker’s account. He was very precise as to where Peden died:

‘Upon the 26th of January this year, that singularly pious minister Mr Alexander Peden, of whom in the former part of this work, died in the Dikes, in the parish of the Sorn, in Ayrshire;’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 396.)

According to Wodrow, it was ‘in the Dikes’ in Sorn parish, rather than at Auchincloigh or Ten Shilling Side. Wodrow’s source for that information was almost certainly the ‘gentleman’ who gave him the other information about Peden in 1685 found in the same passage. That gentleman was Captain John Campbell of Over Wellwood in Muirkirk parish, who as a young man had hidden with Peden in late April 1685 and was frequently in his company in that summer. Given his background with Peden, Over Wellwood is a very good source for where ‘the Prophet’ died.

Wodrow’s evidence appears to complement, rather than contradict Walker’s claim that he died at ‘his brother’s house in the Parish of Sorn’.

Writing a decade after Wodrow, Walker wrote:

‘When the Day of his Death drew near, and not able to travel, he came to his Brother’s House in the Parish of Sorn, where he was born; he caused dig a Cave, with a Saughen-bush covering the Mouth of it, near to his Brother’s House; the Enemies got Notice, and searched the House narrowly many Times. […] A little before his Death, he said, Ye will all be angry where I will be buried at last; but I discharge you all to lift my Corps again. At last, one Morning early, he came to the Door, and left his Cave; his Brother’s Wife said, Where are you going? the Enemies will be here; he said, I know that. Alas, Sir, what will become of you, you must back to the Cave again; he said, I have done with that, for it is discovered; but there is no Matter, for within 48 Hours I will be beyond the Reach of all the Devils Temptations, and his Instruments in Hell and on Earth, and they shall trouble me no more. About three Hours after he entered the House, the Enemies came, and found him not in the Cave, searched the Barn narrowly, casting the unthreshen Corn, and searched the House, stobbing the Beds, but entred not the Place where he lay. He told them, that bury him where they would, he would be lifted again, and within 48 Hours he died: He died in January 28th, 1686, being past sixty Years, and was buried in the Laird of Afflect’s Isle.’ (Walker, BP, I, 82-4.)

According to Walker, Peden died at his brother’s house, which was apparently a farm in Sorn parish. It may be worth noting that Walker only mentions his brother’s wife as present in the house when Peden came there for the final days of his life, not his brother. Wodrow does not mention Peden’s brother.

The two historical sources beg obvious questions: where was ‘the Dikes’ in Sorn parish and was it connected to Peden’s brother?

Where was ‘the Dikes’?
Two sources, the Fugitive Roll of May, 1684, and the Hearth Tax roll for Sorn parish a decade later list several Pedens who lived there. The Fugitive Roll indicates those who had Covenanting sympathies, as it generally lists those who were accused by the authorities of having been in arms at Bothwell in 1679.


Laigh Brocklar © Leslie Barrie and licensed for reuse.

Two fugitives appear in combination on the Fugitive Roll: ‘Alexander Pedin, in Blocklerdyke’ and ‘William Hunter, in Blocklerdyke’. The Hearth Tax record for the parish a decade later in 1694 listed an ‘Alexander Pedden & George Huntar’, as sharing three hearths somewhere close to ‘dycknuk’, i.e., Dykeneuk, which lies beside Brocklar.


Today, there are two farms, High Brocklar and Brocklar, aka. Laigh Brocklar, which both lie close to Dykeneuk.


On mid-seventeenth-century maps of Kyle, they are known as East and West ‘Breklairdyk’. These two farms are almost certainly ‘the Dikes’ – note the plural – identified in Wodrow as where Peden died.

Map of Brocklar            Street View of Laigh Brocklar

Aerial view of Laigh Brocklar

Was ‘the Dikes’ his Brother’s House?
It is reasonably clear that Peden died ‘in the Dikes’, i.e., at West or East Brocklardyke. However, there is no evidence that it was his brother’s house. The Peden listed there was a fugitive named Alexander Peden who cannot be the field preacher’s brother. He could be a son of one of Peden’s brothers, but the roll does not list who his father was. What is clear is that the fugitive had evaded the circuit court in Ayr for his alleged part in the Bothwell Rising of 1679 and was on the run in mid 1684. ‘Blocklerdyke’ was probably a location of interest for the local garrison as a place where fugitives may have been in hiding. Walker recorded that ‘the Enemies got Notice, and searched the House narrowly many Times’.

‘The Dikes’, or at least a portion of it, appears to have been intermittently held by Campbells. In 1646, William Campbell in Brochlerdyke, Holehouse, and Sands (now Holehouse Mill) held the land, but in that year his brother James Campbell of Auldhouseburn in Muirkirk parish was retoured his heir. After that, there is a silence in the records for fifty years until 1695, when a ‘George Campbell in Brochlerdyke’ had children baptised. The long gap in the record and the fact that the name of the latter, George Campbell, is missing from the Hearth Tax record for the Sorn parish of 1694, probably indicates that he had recently obtained the land. (Paterson, History, 393, 429-30.)

What is clear is that the names Peden and Hunter are linked to ‘the Dikes’ in the mid 1680s and in the Hearth Tax record of 1694, and that that was where Wodrow stated that Alexander Peden died on 26 January, 1686. It appears that Peden and one of the two Hunters were ‘in’ the Dikes at that time, but that the land was held by another, perhaps Peden’s unnamed brother?

In that light, it may be of some relevance that the adjoining lands to Brocklar were held by another Peden of some status in the parish.


Blindburn © Bob Forrest and licensed for reuse.

John Peden of Blindburn
In 1693, after the reestablishment of Sorn parish under post-Revolution Presbyterian church governance, ‘John Peden of Blindburn’, a heritor, was described as formerly an elder of the parish who was still living. John Peden had been an elder after 1658 when Sorn parish was briefly separated from Mauchline parish. That implies that John Peden was at least around sixty years old, as he was aged to have been an elder between 1658 to 1662 and alive in 1693. A ‘Peden of Blindburn’ was described as a heritor in 1702. (Paterson, History of Ayrshire, 420, 421.)

Was John Peden, a heritor and elder of the Presbyterian Church, Peden’s brother? There is no direct evidence that he was. One of the problems we face when discussing Prophet Peden’s family is that we do not know how many brothers he had or how the individuals named Peden in Sorn parish were connected to ‘the Prophet’ in the seventeenth century.

John Peden of Blindburn is in the correct age range to be a brother of Alexander, who was born in 1626. He may well have been close kin to the fugitive field preacher, as the few Peden families in Ayrshire at that time were heavily concentrated in Sorn parish. John Peden was also not a fugitive and may have taken the Test Oath in the early 1680s, as three of the four former elders had. Peden’s brother in Walker’s account was apparently not a fugitive, as he openly held the house and land where the Prophet hid.

Blindburn was, and is, a farm which lies next to both ‘the Dikes’ and Sorn Castle.

Map of Blindburn                Street View of Blindburn

Aerial View of Blindburn

It is interesting to note that what is today called the Cleuch Burn on modern maps, was called the ‘Blind Burn’ on Roy’s map beside the two Brocklars aka. ‘the Dikes’.

Pedens cavePeden’s Cave in Cleuch Glen, Sorn

Peden’s Cave near ‘the Dikes’
Walker records that when Peden came to his brother’s house (or the Dikes?) for refuge, ‘he’, either Prophet Peden, or his brother, ‘caused dig a Cave, with a Saughen-bush covering the Mouth of it, near to his Brother’s House;’

Blindburn lies above a cave in the Cleuch Glen where tradition claims that Peden hid.

There is no way of knowing at present if John Peden of Blindburn was one of ‘Prophet’ Peden’s brothers. Alexander Peden is said to have had at least a brother, possibly called Hugh, but we do not know how he was related to others in Sorn parish or elsewhere.


Laigh Brockler, light frost and trees on the Cleuch Burn © Bob Forrest and licensed for reuse.

Pure Speculation on Peden’s Burial
Prophet Peden’s death was clearly a secret from the authorities, who did not discover where he was buried until six to eight weeks later.

Reflecting on the secretive nature of his death and burial, one is confronted with two different narratives. In one, he died in Sorn parish. In the other, he was buried further south in Auchinleck parish. In both cases, other individuals named Peden appear to have been involved. Perhaps the two narratives are not as contradictory as they at first appear.

When Alexander Peden died, his death had to be kept secret by his brother’s family and his corpse was a problem, as he was a notorious fugitive. Peden is said to have died at his brother’s house in Sorn parish. He died at ‘the Dikes’, which is linked to the Peden name via a fugitive (Alexander) and possibly to John Peden of Blindburn. For all concerned in concealing him in Sorn parish his presence was a problem, as discovery of evidence that he had died there could very easily have led to the ruin of those involved via an accusation of reset of a fugitive. One possible solution to that was to remove his corpse and secretly give it a Christian burial elsewhere. If you were Peden’s conforming-yet-presbyterian brother, who would you turn to in such a predicament? If Johnston is correct, Peden’s family had connections via a possible second brother in Ten Shilling Side to the Boswells of Auchinleck, who were sympathetic and influential Presbyterians with a private burial vault in their parish kirkyard. Although Prophet Peden had died some miles to the north, he ended up in the Auchinleck vault. Somehow his body was transported between ‘the Dikes’ and the Boswells’ burial ground. Everyone involved in that potential transaction had good reasons not to admit their part in concealing or burying him in early 1686.

When the dragoons discovered where he was buried, probably via intelligence, they were reduced to symbolically displaying his corpse on the nearby gallows at Cumnock as a warning.

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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

Swords of the Covenanters: Captain John Paton of Meadowhead #History #Scotland

•September 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Among the relics of the Covenanters, their swords are often treasured.

Two swords that are said to have belonged to Captain John Paton of Meadowhead survive.


In 1887, they were recorded by Johnston:

‘Captain Paton’s Sword. — The weapon is 27 inches long, and is sadly consumed by the rust of time. The tradition of the house is that it has twenty-eight “nicks” or notches, one for each year of the persecution.’ (Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 638.)

‘Captain PATON’s Sword. — A small blade is to be seen at Lochgoin [now a museum], but the real formidable weapon of Captain Paton is said to be an Andrea Ferara, forty inches long, in possession of Thomas Rowatt, Esq., of Bonnanhill, Strathaven, a descendant of Paton.’ (Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 644.)

Paton’s “Andrea Ferara” is pictured at the top of this post. For some excellent photos of it, see here.

The bible Paton held on the scaffold in 1684 is also at Lochgoin:

‘Captain Paton’s Bible. — “Which he gave to his wife from off the scaffold when he was executed for the cause of Christ at Edinburgh on 8th May, 1684: James Howie received it from the Captain’s son’s daughter’s husband, and gave it to John Howie his nephew.” A few of the last leaves are wanting, but singularly enough the Bible closes with the words of Rev. xii. 11. It is the authorised version, and bears the date 1653.’ (Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, 638.)

For all posts about Paton of Meadowhead, see here.

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Images © Copyright Douglas Bond (top) and Lochgoin and Fenwick Covenanters Trust.

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

Three Days on the Road with John MacMillan: Lesmahagow and Douglas in 1707 #History #Scotland

•September 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

For three consecutive days in 1707, we can follow in the footsteps of John MacMillan through his record of baptisms among the McMillanites…

At ‘Suffield moor in Lasmehagow’, Lesmahagow parish, Lanarkshire, Sunday 3 August, 1707.
‘Suffield’ lay somewhere near Draffin in Lesmahagow parish according to the following colourful parish session record:

‘23 March 1657.— Delat yt Jennet Hamilton in Suffield satt till 27 (Scotch) pynts of beir was drukn in Draffin, being seven in number. John Weir, packman, George Weir in Draffin and his wyf, Ja. Hamilton in Fence; Ordains to cit them. (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow, 137.)

southfield-blackwoodSouthfield Farm © Iain Thompson and licensed for reuse.

Just south of Draffan is Southfield farm. Today, much of the former moor is covered by the village of Blackwood/Kirkmuirhill.

Map of Southfield                  Street View of Southfield Farm

On that Sabbath, MacMillan performed baptisms and probably preached:

‘David Young, New Munkland :—Marion, aged 12 weeks.
William Pillans in Torphichan:—John, aged 9 weeks.
Alexander Garner in Shots :—Mathew, aged 22 weeks.
James Russell, New Munkland :—James, aged 8 weeks.
John Marshall in Shotts:—Joseph, aged 20 weeks.
William Martine in Shots :—Janet, aged 25 dayes.
Marion Russell in Shots :—Alexander, aged 14 years.’

corramill-from-craignethan-castleCorramill, centre, from Craignethan Castle © Billy McCrorie and licensed for reuse.

On the following day (or months later), he was at nearby Corramill:

At ‘Cora Miln’, i.e., Corramill, Lesmahagow parish, Lanarkshire, Monday 4 August, 1707.
Corramill lay on the River Nethan in Lesmahagow parish.

Map of Corramill                 Street View of Corramill

The same list of baptisms for that day was also listed under 21 March, 1708.

‘John Jeamison’s children:—(Andrew Paull in Eastwood, parish, sponsor), Alexander, aged 16; John, aged 6 moneths.’

On the next day, or two days after the Southfield preaching and baptisms, he was further south in Douglas parish.

At ‘West Brigtoun in Douglas’, Douglas parish, Lanarkshire, Tuesday 5 August, 1707.
‘West Brigtoun’ is possibly Weston, which lies by the Arnesalloch Bridge, in Douglas parish.

Map of Weston                  Street View of Weston

At West Brigtoun, MacMillan baptised:

‘William Bradefoot in Douglas:—George, aged 9 weeks.
James Peetts in Douglas :—Thomas, aged 20 dayes.
Robert Kenady in Douglas :—James, aged 5 weeks.
John Stinstoun in Carmichall :—John, aged 8 dayes.’

Two years later, MacMillan was back in Douglas parish:

Douglas parish?, Lanarkshire, 22 October, 1709.
George Young in the parish of Finick:—Mathew, aged an year old.
Adam Gaw in the parish of Douglas:—May 7, 1710, William, aged 8 dayes.
James Pet in the parish of Douglas :—Janet, aged a moneth.
William Willson in parish of Carmichall:—Jo., aged 3 quarters.
John Williamson in parish of Carmichaell :—Thomas, aged half a year.

For more on the McMillanites, see here.

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Additional 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

John McMillan and John Mack at Plewlands in 1707 #History #Scotland

•September 13, 2016 • Leave a Comment

In early 1707 in the Union Crisis, John MacMillan of the McMillanites was at yet another location with connections back to the militancy of the 1680s, Plewlands.

high-plewlandHigh Plewland

‘At Plilanheed’, Evandale parish, Lanarkshire, Tuesday 18 March, 1707.
Probably ‘Plelland’, i.e., at or near High Plewland.

Map of Plewlands            Street View of High Plewland

There MacMillan conducted one baptism:

‘John Mack in the paroch of Strathaven :—John, aged on[e] year.’

John Mack in Evandale parish had been a delegate to the United Societies’ general meetings in 1689. He was also a delegate to the general meetings of the Continuing Society people that later became the McMillanites.

In 1685, the ‘good man’ of Plewland was captured by John Graham of Claverhouse for assisting John Brown in Priesthill.

It is not clear if Mack lived at Plewland in Evandale parish in 1707, but it is possible that he did. It was a very remote location for MacMillan to visit. He also visisted on a Tuesday, i.e., not the day of a preaching. It is possible that Mack lived elsewhere in the parish. In 1694, a John Mack lived at ‘Fillheid’ near Unthank and Brackenridge. That location was probably ‘Fieldhead’, which lies to the west of the latter two farms. The Hearth Tax Roll for Evandale parish lists only one John Mack and he is found in a modest one hearth dwelling under ‘Fillheid’
‘Thomas Leiper — 1
Andrew Steill — 1
Andrew Riddell — 1
John Mack — 1′

Map of Fieldhead (North and South)        Street View of North Fieldhead.

Aerial view of North Fieldhead

Macmillan returned to the area four years later:

[Evandale parish, Lanarkshire] Saturday 1 December, 1711.
Alexander Borland in the parish of Evandale, a son called John, born July 18th, 1710.
James Muir in Evandale, a son called James, aged 18 weeks 3 days.
John Mickle had a child baptiz’d the same time.

The following year he was also in neighbouring Muirkirk parish, on one of his rare visits to Ayrshire:

Muirkirk parish, Ayrshire, Monday 26 May, 1712.
John Murdoch, a daughter named Margaret, 10 weeks old.
John Ranken in Moorkirk, a daughter named Jean, 6 weeks old.
Archibald Gai in Moorkirk, a daughter Helene, 7 days old.

For more on the McMillanites, see here.

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Additional 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 McMillanites First Preaching at Crawfordjohn in 1706 #History #Scotland

•September 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

John McMillan had received a call to preach to the “Continuing” Society people on 10 October, 1706. His first preaching was at Crawfordjohn on 2 December, 1706, the same day that he conducted his first baptisms for the Society people.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire. 2 December, 1706.

Map of Crawfordjohn

After 1713, McMillan often baptised at Mountherrick, which lies beside Crawfordjohn.

Map of Mountherrick

‘The children of Dunkan Forbes in BorroustounessDunkan Forbes in Borroustouness : —Katrine, aged 13 years.
Of James Carmichaell in the paroch of Carmichaell: —Daniell, aged 12; Isobell, aged 10; William, aged 8.
Of Margaret Anderson in the paroch of Moorkirk :—Christin, aged 15; Mary, aged 10.
Of Tho[mas] Ca[l]derheed in the paroch of Shots:—John, aged x.
Of Mathew Flager in the paroch of Cragie :—John, aged 14.
Of Grisell Johnstoun in the paroch of Crafoord, December 3, at tuo in the morning:—James, aged 1.’

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 8 February, 1708.
William Symintoun’s child, in the paroch of Lasmehagow, James, aged 6 moneths.

At Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 9 February, 1708.
were married ab eodem, William Crosby and Janet Craik.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 2 August, 1708.
Grizell Johnstoun in Crafordmoor:—Joseph, aged 4 moneths.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 16 January, 1709.
Joseph Stotart in paroch of Douglas:—Marrion, aged 8 weeks.
John Laurie in paroch of Carmichaell:—John, aged 12 weeks.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 1 May, 1709.
Alexander Weir, the forsaid parish :—Mary, aged an quarter.

[Crawfordjohn?] 2 May, 1709.
Hugh Muir in parish of Douglas:—Margret, aged 6 moneths.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, 24 July, 1709.
James Firth in paroch of Carmichall:—John, aged 11 weeks.
Serjan Law in paroch of Carnwath.—
John Haddock in paroch of Carnwath :—Robert, aged 15 weeks.
Samuell Johnstoun in East Calder:—Elizabath, aged 9 weeks.
John Sheedden in parish of Bothwell:—Claud, aged 14 weeks.
William Meikell in parish of Bothwell:—Robert, aged 20 dayes.
John Pet in paroch of Hamiltoun :—Marrion, aged 14 weeks.
Bethea Sherilaw in paroch of Dalserf:—.Margaret, aged 20 weeks.
John Meikell in paroch of Glasford :—Marion, aged 26 weeks.
Patrick Love in paroch of Kilmacolm:—Margaret, aged 8 moneths.
Margaret M’Crie in paroch of Kilbryd:—Janet, aged an year and 20 dayes.
John Marshall in paroch of Shots :—Jannet, aged a quarter.
Ritchard Newlands in paroch of Shots:—John, aged 5 moneths.
John Christie in paroch of Shots :—Mary, aged a moneth.
Alexander Dick in paroch of Shots:—Jean, aged 5 weeks.
John Newlands in paroch of Shots :—James, aged 6 moneths.

Crawfordjohn, 16 July, 1710.
Mathew Neuland in parish of Shots:—Elspith, aged 10 weeks.

[Crawfordjohn] 17 July, 1710.
Thomas Wood in parish of Crafoord:—Thomas, aged 32 weeks.

Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, 10 April, 1712.
marryed at Crawfoordjohn, Mr. Charles Umpherston and Elizabeth Bailie in Pentland.

At [Crawfordjohn?, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire], [October,] 1712.
To John Welsh, two sons called James and Joseph, one 8 years and the other 6.
To William Yule in Crawfordmoor, a son John; item, another son James, baptiz’d October, 1712.
John Blacklaw in Campshead had a child baptiz’d at the same time, called Catharine.

At Crawfordjohn, Crawfordjohn parish, Lanarkshire, October, 1712.
James Moffat in Glengeith a daughter Mary.
John Douglass in the parish of Robertoun had a daughter named Catharine.
To Matthew Newlands in Tarphichen parish a son called John, born December 27, 1711, baptized at Cloakburn July 26, 1712.

For the Covenanters in Crawfordjohn parish, see here.

For more on the McMillanites, see here.

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Additional 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