Craigmad: I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him

Gardrum Moss © Richard Webb and licensed for reuse.

On Sunday 1 August 1680, Donald Cargill preached at Craigmad in Stirlingshire. His preaching took place two weeks after Cargill and Richard Cameron had preached together in Lanarkshire on 18 July and ten days after Cameron was killed in the skirmish at Ayrsmoss in Ayrshire.

According to Walker, Cargill and Cameron ‘were to meet and preach at Craigmad in Stirling-shire the first Sabbath of August, but Mr. Cameron’s Blood and others ran like Water on the 22d July’. Walker also recorded that ‘at their Parting, they concluded to meet the next Sabbath save one at Craigmeid, but he [Cameron] was cut off.’ (Walker, BP, I, 202; II, 9.)

Walker also described the location and significance of Craigmad in the introduction to his Life of Peden:

‘Before the Gospel came to that known Place, Craigmad, where it became frequent afterwards, to the sweet Experience of some yet alive; it lies within the Shire of Stirling, and betwixt the Parish of Falkirk and Moranside: How many did see that Know[e], or Braeside, as close covered with the Appearance of Men and Women? as they many Times saw it afterwards, particularly one Day, Alexander Stirling, who lived in the Redden, near that Place, a solid, serious, zealous Christian, who told this several Times, to some yet alive, worthy of all Credit, who told me of it, That he, with some others, one Day was in that desert Place, and saw that Brae-side, close covered with the Appearance of Men and Women, singing the 121 Psalm, with a milk-white Horse, and a blood-red Saddle on his Back, standing beside the People; which made that serious, discerning, observing Christian conclude, that the Gospel would be sent to that Place, and that the White-Horse was the Gospel, and the Red-Saddle Persecution.’ (Walker, BP, I, xxx-xxxi.)

Craigmad (NS 901 753) lies in Muiravonside parish, (East) Stirlingshire, on the eastern edge of the Gardrum Moss and next to the boundary with Falkirk parish.

Bing OS Map of Craigmad:

Google Street View of Craigmad:

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Walker also recorded some details of Cargill’s lecture at Craigmad:

‘He preached upon the 1st Day of August [1680] at Craigmad, and lectured upon the 22d Chapter of Jeremiah, and ran the Parallel in so many Particulars betwixt Coniah and Charles II. and in the End said, If that unhappy Man upon the Throne of Britain shall die the ordinary Death of Men, and get the Honour of the Burial of Kings, and if he shall have any to succeed him lawfully begotten, then God never sent me, nor spoke by me.’ (Walker, BP, II, 10.)

Cargill’s lecture at Craigmad was probably on Jeremiah 22.28-30:

‘Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.’ (Jeremiah 22.28-30.)

Coniah (a.k.a. Jeconiah) was the king of Israel who was cursed by God to be childless and that his descendants would never occupy the throne of Israel.

Cargill repeated his claim that Charles II would not ‘die the ordinary death of men’ a few weeks later when he preached at Falla Hills. (Walker, BP, II, 9.)

Alexander Shields also echoed Cargill’s claims in A Hind let Loose (1687) when he stated that Charles II had ‘died a childless pultron, and had the unlamented burial of an ass, without a successor save him that murdered him’. (Shields, A Hind Let Loose, 178-9.)

According to Walker, ‘the old, pious, praying Mr. Reid, late Minister in Lochrutton in Galloway, Mr. [Alexander] Shiels and George Lapsly, who lived and died at the Bowhead [in Edinburgh], heard him utter these Expressions:’ (Walker, BP, II, 10.)

John Reid was the minister of the parish of Lochrutton in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright from 1690 to 1727. He must have been around twenty-four years old when Cargill preached, as he died at the age of seventy-one. (Fasti, II, 291.)

George Lapsley was a miller in Linlithgow, who had been wounded and captured at Bothwell, but somehow either escaped or was liberated under bond. According to Wodrow’s account of him, ‘he had a real change wrought on him by the Gospel preached in the fields’. He appears to have been present at Craigmad and at Cargill’s later preaching at Falla Hills. He was captured for a second time for ‘hearing the gospel’, i.e. attending field conventicles, and appeared before the Justiciary with Robert Garnock, Patrick Foreman, David Farrie, James Stuart and Alexander Russell. The latter five were all executed on 10 October 1681, but the diet against Lapsley was deserted. He remained in prison and was brought before the Justiciary for a second time with Robert Lawson (a fugitive from of Kilbride parish?) for refusing the Test. Lapsley was also indicted with Mr John Dick, but he, Dick, Adam Philip and Edward Aitken, who were all prisoners for high treason, and twenty-two other prisoners managed to make a daring escape from Edinburgh’s Tolbooth on 16 September 1683. Lapsley remained at liberty until the Revolution. (Hewison, Covenanters, II, 356, 410; Wodrow, History, III, 285, 287, 457, 473.)

Playing Card depicting the Popish Plot

Cargill’s claims that Charles would not die an ordinary death, be succeeded by any ‘lawfully begotten’ heir or get a king’s burial are not extraordinary in the context of 1680.

His belief that Charles would not die an natural death tapped into the widespread contemporary paranoia surrounding the revelation of an alleged Popish Plot to kill the King at that time.

Catherine of Braganza

In 1680 it was also highly unlikely that Charles II would have a legitimate heir with his wife Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705). Charles II was not childless, he had around a dozen children by numerous mistresses, but none were considered ‘lawfully begotten’. Cargill may have chosen his words with care, as some moderate presbyterians and English whigs hoped that the succession would be settled in favour of the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, rather than in favour of James, Duke of York, Charles II’s Catholic brother.

It is also possible that elements of Walker’s account of Cargill’s lecture may have been influenced by later sources, as Shields’ A Hind Let Loose and Gilbert Burnet’s History of His Own Time were among the sources which informed Walker’s writings. (Walker, BP, I, 212, 256, 257, 275; II, 50.)

Statue of ‘Charles II as Caesar’ erected in 1685

Burnet wrote of Charles II’s burial that:

‘The King’s body was indecently neglected. Some parts of his inwards, and some pieces of the fat, were left in the water in which they were warned: All which were so carelessly looked after, that the water being poured out at a scullery hole that went to a drain, in the mouth of which a grate lay, these were seen lying on the grate many days after. His funeral was very mean. He did not lie in state: No mournings were given: And the expence of it was not equal to what an ordinary Nobleman’s funeral will rife to. Many upon this said, that he deserved better from his brother [James VII], than to be thus ungratefully treated in ceremonies that are publick, and that make an impression on those who see them, and who will make severe observations and inferences upon such omissions.’ (Burnet, History, 610.)

In England in 1685, a life-sized wax effigy of Charles II was commissioned and placed on the site of his burial in Westminister Abbey. In the same year, the equestrian statue of ‘Charles II as Caesar’ was erected outside of Parliament in Edinburgh.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on March 1, 2011.

9 Responses to “Craigmad: I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”

  1. […] Walker claimed that Lapsley had also heard Cargill’s sermon at Craigmad. […]

  2. […] the next two years, Philip was held in the Tolbooth until he escaped with John Dick, George Lapsley and Edward Aitkin. There is no further record of him, but after the Revolution his forfeiture was […]

  3. […] was present at Cargill’s preaching at nearby Craigmad on 1 August 1680 and probably attended at least one of Cargill’s preachings at either Falla Hills […]

  4. […] expressed similar views at Craigmad on 1 August, […]

  5. […] year, Cargill preached at Cairnhill (6 June), Kip-Rig (18 July with Cameron), Starryshaw (25 July), Craigmad (1 Aug), Torwood (mid Sept), Falla Hills (late Sept), Craigwood (3 Oct?) Largo Law (24 Oct) and […]

  6. […] the preaching Cameron and Cargill agreed to meet again two weeks later at Craigmad, however, Cameron was killed a few days later at […]

  7. […] know that it took place after Cargill’s preaching at Craigmad on 1 August, 1680, however, the precise date of it is not clear. According to William Row, it took […]

  8. […] excommunication took place more than a month after Cargill’s preaching at Craigmad (1 August) and a week before he preached at Falla Hills (late September). For a discussion on the […]

  9. […] Cargill may have kept almost everyone in the dark about his intentions at Torwood, but the excommunication was part of a sustained assault by the Society people on Charles II.’s authority that had been launched in spectacular style with the Sanquhar Declaration on 22 June, 1680. That attack had continued in Richard Cameron’s preachings at the Gass Water, Carluke and Hynd’s Bottom and at Cargill’s preaching at Craigmad. […]

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