Covenanters Out of Ayr Banished to Barbados in 1687


Two Society people, James Richart, a cooper from Ayr, and George Paton, a taylor in Ayr, were banished to Barbados in April, 1687. Both of the men were rescued…

1. James Richard, cooper in Ayr, Ayrshire.
Richard, or Richart, was listed under Ayrshire on the published Fugitive Roll of 1684, as ‘James Richard, cooper there [in Ayr]’ (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 204.)

He appears to have fled to Ireland to evade capture, but was taken after he returned to Scotland. On 6 to 7 December, 1686, he was among a group of prisoners sent into Edinburgh by General William Drummond:

‘James Richards, couper in Aire, latie from Ireland, sent in by the Generall [William Drummond] for disow[n]ing the Kings authority, refuises to own his Majesties authoritie except with his own limitationes; being interrogat if [he] would take arms in defence of the Covennant, refuises to answer; in presence of the committee he prayes God preserve and bliss the King. It is the committees oppinion that this James Richard be continowed in prisone and some persone appointed to converse with him.’ (RPCS, XIII, 22.)

It appears that privy council suspected that Richart could be persuaded to recant. However, Richart was banished to Barbados and subscribed the joint testimony from a group of Society people of 30 March, 1687. (Wodrow, History, IV, 412.)

Could of Witnesses lists him as the ‘John Richard’ who was banished to Barbados (Thomson (ed.), CW, 531.)

Richard was among those whose forced indentures were purchased by the Society people in 1688 and his name appears as one of those who had rescued in a letter to the Societies’ convention of 16 Feb, 1689.

2. George Paton, tailor in Ayr, Ayrshire.
Paton was probably captured in late 1686 or early 1687. On 23 February, 1687, he was among a group of prisoners brought before the earl of Linlithgow:

‘George Pattoun, taylior in Aire, taken for conversing with rebells, refuises to depone anent his being at conventicles; declynes to answer to the question if he owns the Majesties authority, and refuises to pray heartily for him. (Signed) [earl of] Linlithgow. (On margin) Justices.’ (RPCS, XIII, 126,)

The record of his trial is missing. However, on 12 March, 1687, it was ‘the oppinione of the Committee’ that Paton’s examination ‘before the Justices should be read in Councill.’ (RPCS, XIII, 133-4.)

The privy council must have decided to banish Paton. He is listed among those Society people who were to be relieved from their banished to Barbados in a letter from the Societies’ convention on 1 August, 1688. His name appears as one of those who had rescued in a letter to the Societies’ convention of 16 Feb, 1689. (Shields, FCD, 345.)

Text Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

~ by drmarkjardine on January 28, 2013.

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