Cargill in the Lee Wood

The Marriage of the Covenanter by Alexander Johnston

After his field preaching at Auchengilloch on 3 July 1681, Donald Cargill moved to the Lee Wood near the farm of ‘Mains of Lee’:

‘The next Sabbath after he went from the foresaid Benty-rig, he preached at Auchingilloch, in the South-side of Clyd[e]sdale, and then returned to [the river] Clyde. The Week before he was taken, he was in the Lee-wood [by the Clyde]’. (Walker, BP, II, 41.)

Mains of Lee was probably the farm of ‘Over Mains of Lee’, or ‘Avermains’, in Lanark parish, Lanarkshire. The farm at Over Mains has now vanished, but it lay to the north of track between Lockhartbank and the A73, in the field close to the top of the brae.

Google Street View of path to Over Mains of Lee

Bing OS Map of former location of Over Mains of Lee.

Track near Lockhartbank © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

Cargill stayed in the Lee Wood for a few days, probably between 4–9 July. On at least one occasion Cargill was fed in hiding by Marion Coupar, the spouse of James Weir, who lived at Mains of Lee. If Cargill hid close to Mains of Lee then Cargill’s hiding place may have lain in the area of the Brocklinn Glen (aka. Braxland Gill), which lies in the Lee Wood and next to the site of Over Mains of Lee. A similar site at Garrion Gill, which lies just a few miles down the Clyde from Brocklinn Glen, was a hiding place for local Covenanters.

Bing OS Map of Brocklinn Glen

Google Maps Aerial View of Brocklinn Glen

Google Street View of Brocklinn Glen from A73.

Marion Coupar and James Weir took a considerable risk in aiding Cargill, as the lands of Over Mains of Lee were owned by Cromwell Lockhart, Laird of Lee, one of the recorded ‘persecutors’ of the Covenanters. (RPS, 1592/4/198.)

In February 1685, the Laird of Lee and Colonel Buchan’s troops shot John Smith near Auchengilloch, and in April 1685, his ‘foot men’ were involved in the capture of Thomas Young and William Finneson in Carluke parish. (Walker, BP, I, 260.)

Sir William Lockhart of Lee

Cromwell Lockhart (d. <1698) was the son of Sir William Lockhart of Lee (1621-1675), Oliver Cromwell and Charles II’s ambassador to the French Court and the hero of the Battle of the Dunes of 1658, and Robina Sewster, Cromwell’s niece, although in 1681 Lockhart’s relations with his mother had broken down. He was married to a daughter of Sir David Harvie, an Extraordinary Ambassador to Constantinople. (RPS, 1681/7/67.)

Charles-Philippe Lariviere, ‘Battle of the Dunes, Galerie des Batailles, Chateau de Versailles

When Cargill hid in Lee Wood, the Laird of Lee was about to take up his seat in the Scottish parliament of 1681. Lockhart also sat James VII’s parliaments of 1685 and 1686, but in 1689 he supported the Williamite Revolution. (RPS, 1681/7/2, 1685/4/2, 1686/4/2, 1689/3/82.)

Lockhart’s Christian name, family background and political record suggest that the Laird of Lee was a far more complex figure than the simplicities of Presbyterian tradition’s propaganda label of ‘persecutor’ allow. Lockhart may not have been opposed to moderate presbyterians. However, as his actions in 1685 make clear, he probably abhorred the militancy of Cargill and United Societies.

The Marriage of Marshall of Starryshaw
Cargill’s presence in the Lee Wood was obviously known to some members of the Lanarkshire prayer societies, as while he was in hiding there he conducted the marriage of Robert Marshall of Starryshaw, whose brothers, Thomas and John, were active in the prayers societies with Patrick Walker. The wedding had likely been arranged the week before when Robert’s brothers had met with Cargill at Benty Rig.

According to Walker:

‘he [i.e. Cargill] married Robert Marshal of Starryshaw, Brother to the foresaid Thomas and John Marshals. After they were gone from him, Marion Coupar Spouse to John Weir, who dwelt in the Mains-of-Lee, two solid Christians and Sufferers in that Time, brought his Dinner to him in the Wood: In the Time thereof he said, What hath induced Robert to marry this Woman? This Woman’s Ill will overcome his Good, he will not keep the Way long, his thriving Days are done; which sadly came to pass in every Jot. A little Time thereafter. he was taken and put in Prison, fell in foul Compliance with the Enemies, went home and heard the Curates, and other Steps of Defection, and became lightly esteemed’. (Walker, BP, II, 41.)

From the Lee Wood, Cargill went to Dunsyre Common, where he preached on 10 July. It would be his last field preaching.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on June 17, 2011.

4 Responses to “Cargill in the Lee Wood”

  1. […] the presence of the Marshall brothers from Starryshaw at Benty-rig on c.28 June 1681 and at the Lee Wood on c.4-9 July, […]

  2. […] preached at Auchengilloch on 3 July and spent the week before his Dunsyre preaching hiding in the Lee Wood near […]

  3. […] After he crossed the Clyde, Renwick probably entered Lanark parish and certainly did enter Carluke parish when he fled to Darmead Moss. His flight to Darmead was unexpected, as he had intended only to make a ‘short’ journey, apparently in the direction of Lanark, after the crossing of the Clyde. It is possible that he and his brethren were heading for the Lee Wood where Cargill had sheltered after he had preached at Auchengilloch in 1681. […]

  4. […] preached at Auchengilloch on 3 July and spent the week before his Dunsyre preaching hiding in the Lee Wood near […]

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