The Devil and Duncan Grant

‘Judgements upon Persecutors’ was a popular topic in Presbyterian historiography. This example about Duncan Grant in East Kilbride parish comes from John Howie of Lochgoin:

‘Duncan Grant, a cripple, with a tree leg, who vaunted of his wickedness, was another of this hellish crew. His leg did not hinder him from running, or rather riding up and down the country, oppressing and killing God’s people. In Clydesdale, he uplifted 1500 1. of sines. And being one of Lord Airly’s petty officers, he got a commission 1683, to hold courts in East Kilbride parish, upon which he quartered his party, and harassed them in a cruel manner. He spoiled the house and goods of John Wilson in Highflat, to the value of 673 1. seizing crops and land and all; and though he got the gift of some land there, he did not long possess it; for, after the Revolution [of 1688 to 1689], he was reduced to extreme poverty and went through the country now begging, instead of robbing, until the day of his death. He at last came to a kind of gentleman’s house, in the east country, for quarters. The gentleman, coining to the hall, and seeing him in a dejected and melancholy situation, asked the reason. At last, Grant told him, that, by a former paction, the devil was to have him soul, and body, that night. Whether the gentleman believed the reality of this, or rather took, him to be crazed, we cannot say; but it was said, he gave him such advices as occurred to him, to break off his sins by repentance, and implore God’s mercy, who was able to pardon and prevent his ruin. He went to bed in the gentleman’s barn. It appears, he asked no company. However, he was not like to open the door next morning, which made them at last break it open; where they found his body dissected on the floor, and his skin and quarters in such a position, as we shall forbear to mention, left they should shock the humane reader’s mind. , History of the Sufferings &c. A—d R—n.’
(Howie, BP, 625-6.)

There is no record of Duncan Grant as a petty officer in James, earl of Airlie’s Troop of Horse. However, the troop was raised in September 1678 and consisted of sixty horsemen besides other ‘officers’. There is a Duncan Grant listed as a trooper in Sir John Keith’s ‘Lieutenant’s Squad’ of the Earl Marischal Troop of Horse which was raised in March 1667. (Dalton, Scots Army, 64, 72, 111.)

‘John Wilson in Highflet’ was listed on the Fugitive Roll of 1684. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 198.)

Bing OS Map of Highflat Farm       Google Street View of Highflat

For more on the Devil’s activities in England in 1678, see this superb blog here.

~ by drmarkjardine on September 10, 2011.

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