Out of History: The Martyrs of Covenanting Tradition.

Allans CairnAllan’s Cairn © Leslie Barrie and licensed for reuse.

This is a list of Covenanters who were allegedly martyred in the Killing Times of 1685. Some of them still appear on lists of martyrs, even though they are only known from traditions that were recorded over 150 years after their alleged killings.

There is no historical evidence to corroborate the deaths of these “Martyrs of Tradition”.

Feel free to browse through this list of twenty-nine martyrs and comment on them.

1. John Wilson who was shot by Buchan and Lee in Lesmahagow parish in February 1685.

2. An anonymous Covenanter who was killed Claverhouse’s men by the banks of the River Nethan in Lesmahagow parish.

3, 4, 5 & 6. Marion Cameron, Margaret Dun and two others who were killed in Ayrshire in 1685.

7 & 8. George Corson and John Hair who were killed by Highlanders in the summer of 1685.

9 & 10. The Craignorth Martyrs, Robert Morris and William Brown, who were shot by Lord Drumlanrig near Sanquhar in the summer of 1685.

11. An unknown Covenanter buried in Chapman’s Cleuch near Sanquhar.

12. ‘——-’ Gilbert of Gibb’s Corse in the Ae Forest.

13 & 14. George, or John, Allan and Margaret Gracie who were killed at Allan’s Cairn.

15. John Dempster who was killed by Lag in Carsphairn parish.

16, 17 & 18. The killings of the Black Clauchrie and Killoup Wood Covenanters and M’Roy in Halfmerk.

19. The Covenanter burned in a tar barrel at Geordie’s Cairn in Crawford parish.

20, 21, 22, 23, & 24. Five Covenanters that James Hogg claims were killed at Watch Knowe and by Claverhouse at the Happertutie.

25. The Covenanter killed at Cairn Connell/Loch Connell

26. The Covenanter named Dow killed by Lag at Lagdow in Durisdeer parish.

27, 28 & 29. The Killing of Mary McClymont, William Smith and an aged wanderer in Carsphairn parish, Galloway.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

~ by drmarkjardine on March 6, 2013.

11 Responses to “Out of History: The Martyrs of Covenanting Tradition.”

  1. […] traditions coopted significant features in the landscape into their narratives. Every tradition has to be judged on its own merits. For a variety of reasons, Simpson’s tradition of Gracie and ‘George Allan’ is very dubious […]

  2. […] claims died by the hand of Claverhouse at Happertutie and the other at Watch Knowe can be added to the list of traditional deaths in the Killing Times which lie out with the realm of […]

  3. […] The “Martyrs of Tradition”, for which there is no historical evidence, have not been included in the above list. […]

  4. […] usual, I have excluded the “martyrs of tradition”, i.e., those for whom there is no historical evidence as they were only recorded in unreliable […]

  5. […] have excluded the “martyrs of tradition”, i.e., those for whom there is no historical evidence as they were only recorded in unreliable […]

  6. […] There is absolutely no historical evidence that Dow was killed by Lag at Lagdow. The later traditional story of Dow joins the list of over twenty-five deaths in the Killing Times for which there is no historical evidence. […]

  7. […] No historical evidence for the existence of William Smith or Mary M’Clymont has been discovered. They “exist” in gaps in the historical record. They are “Martyrs of Tradition” that lie out with the bounds of history. […]

  8. […] Tower on 25 April, 1685, was recorded later than any other Killing-Times death in 1741. Only the “martyrs of tradition” appear after […]

  9. […] He has a stone named after him high up on Meaul, a hill near Carsphairn in Kirkcudbrightshire. However, the only evidence for John Dempster are unreliable later traditions about his numerous escapes and death in the Killing Times collected by Simpson and published in 1846. He is one of the Covenanter martyrs of tradition. […]

  10. […] All three of the above stories belong to later and unreliable tradition. As such, they, like many other stories of the Covenanters, lie outside of history. […]

  11. […] martyrs to appear in a historical source, i.e., in the inscription on the re-1741 grave. After Law, only “the martyrs of tradition” emerge in the Nineteenth Century and they are all of very doubtful […]

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