James Renwick’s Field Preaching at Dechmont Hill near Cambuslang
In the late summer of 1686 James Renwick preached at Dechmont Hill in Cambuslang parish, Lanarkshire. Today, the site of the conventicle lies between the towns of East Kilbride, Cambuslang and Blantyre.
Four Lanarkshire men were captured after the field preaching.
On 6 December, 1686, Robert Wark and James Ker were brought before Arthur Rose, the Archbishop of St Andrews, John Paterson, the bishop of Edinburgh, Lt-Gen William Drummond aka. Viscount Strathallan, Lord Livingston and Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath, the Lord President of the Court of Session.
‘Robert Wark, chapman on the fugitive roll, taken at Glasgow for his being at the late conventicle at Dechmonthill, denyes his being at Bothwelbridge rebellion, but will not give his oppinion whither it wes a rebellion and sin against God; being asked if he owns the Kings authoritie, sayes he is not a fitt judge to determe in such matters; denyes he wes at Dechmonthill at the said conventicle. To be remitted to the Justices.’ (RPCS, XIII, 22.)
Wark was probably either ‘Robert Wark or Warnock in Thornton’ in Kilbride parish, Lanarkshire, or ‘Robert Wark, son to John Wark of Rinnis’ in Old Monklands parish, Lanarkshire.
The farm at Rhinns has vanished.
On 12 March, 1687, Wark appeared on a list of prisoners in the Canongate Tolbooth in Edinburgh: ‘Robert Wark, to be liberat—from the Justices’. (RPCS, XIII, 133.)
On 6 December, 1686:
‘James Ker in Hamiltounferme[, tenant of Sir John Bell in Ru[ther]glen [parish]], taken prisoner at Glasgow for being at the conventicle at Dechmonthill, refuises to depone if he wes at the said conventicle; being interrogate if he owns the Kings authority, sayes he owns all kinglie authoritie; being interogat if he owns his present Majestie [James VII]; answers he owns him as far as he is for the glory of God; being interogat if he wes at Bothwelbrige, confesses he wes there but took the benefite of the indemnity; being interogat if the ryseing at Bothwell wes a rebellion, confesses it was rebellion against the King; being interogat if he thinks it is a sin against God, answers be his thruth he will not say that. The comittee offers their opinion he be remitted to the Justices.’ (RPCS, XIII, 22.)
On 23 February, Ker was before the earl of Linlithgow and Sir James Foulis of Colinton, the Lord Justice Clerk.
‘James Ker, formerlie remitted to the Justices and by them remitted back againe to the Councill, depones he wes not at the conventicle he wes apprehended for; owns his Majesties authoritie and prayes heartily for him, and promises hereafter to live as a faithfull loyall and dutyfull subject. (Signed) James Ker. (On the margin) 8. Libe[rate]’. (RPCS, XIII, 126.)
Hamiltonferme, or Hamilton farm, lay in Rutherglen parish, Lanarkshire.
It is not clear if the three entries for David Scot in the registers of the privy council between 1686 and 1687 refer to the same individual, but they probably do.
On 5 October, 1686, Scot was brought before Charles Maitland, earl of Lauderdale (formerly Lord Hatton), George Mackenzie, the Lord Viscount Tarbet, John Paterson, bishop of Edinburgh, and Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath, the President of the Court of Session and Andrew Ramsay, Lord Abbotshall:
‘Coline Ailisone, William Hanna, and David Scot being called, but being all under former sentence of banishment, the Lord’s remitts their caises to the Councill, being old and decrept men’. (RPCS, XII, 479.)
Colin Alison and William Hanna had their banishment stopped in August, 1685. (Wodrow, History, IV, 223.)
There is no evidence that Scot had previously been banished. He was probably listed alongside other prisoners who had been previously banished by mistake. The date of Scot’s appearance indicates that Renwick’s field preaching at Dechmont Hill probably took place in August or early September, 1686.
Scot’s case was reviewed on 7 December, 1686, before John Paterson, the bishop of Edinburgh, Lord Livingston and Andrew Ramsay, Lord Abbotshall:
‘David Scot, servitor to James Ker, tennent [of Hamiltonferme] to Sir John Bell in Ruglen, refuises to depone that he wes at the conventicle at Dechmonthill; denyes he wes at Bothwellbridge; sayes he knowes not if Bothwelbridge wes a rebellion or not; sayes he knowes nothing of the Kings being a lawfull or unlawfull king; will not say that the ryseing in armes against the King is unlawfull; being desyred to say “God save the King,’ answers this is not a fitt place to pray in; is ane ignorant creature that can nether say the belieff or Lords prayer. To be continued in prison and dealt with.’ (RPCS, XIII, 23.)
On 12 March, 1687, ‘David Scot … in the same condition [, i.e., in reguard of his old age to ly in prison]’. (RPCS, XIII, 133.)
Winziet also appeared on 7 December, 1686:
‘Robert Winziet in Sandiehills, in the barony [parish] of Glasgow, sayes he hes not the Lords prayer nor creed; prayes heartily ‘God save the King,’ and thinks it unlawfull to ryse in armes against the King or any in authority under him; confesses he wes at that conventicle at Dechmonthill, and sayes it wes not a good preaching as he thinks; is sory for his being there, and will never goe to ane other. The Lords offer it as their oppinion he be liberat on[c]e enacting himselfe to live regularlie and peacablie hereafter.’ (RPCS, XIII, 23.)
The farm at Sandyhills lay in Barony parish, Lanarkshire.
Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.