The Hidden: Covenanters in Kirkcudbright and Borgue in 1684

Among the people who hid fugitive Covenanters in Galloway is one name that connects to a mysterious martyr named Robert M’Whae…

The following comes from the entries on the parishes of Kirkcudbright and Borgue in a summons to a circuit court in Kirkcudbright. Those summoned were expected to appear before the Kirkcudbright court on 7 October, 1684.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlunton Castle © Richard Paxman and licensed for reuse.

1. Alexander McKean, tailor in Kirkcudbright
He appears on the Fugitive Roll of 1684 as ‘Alexander Mackean, tailor there [i.e., in Kirkcudbright]’. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

According to the summons:

‘David McClelland in Kirkcudbright, Andrew McKroyk ther and John McKeon ther for converseing with Alexander McKean, rebell;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

2. William Campbell in Borgue parish
He is almost certainly the ‘William Campbell, there [i.e., in Borgue parish]’ who appears on the published Fugitive Roll of May, 1684. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

3. John Coultart, or Coulthard, in Linns?, Torthorwald parish?
Although he appears to have been some distance from his home, the fugitive mentioned below is probably John Coultart in Linns, Torthorwald parish, Dumfriesshire, as he was the only proclaimed rebel of that surname.

Map of Linns

John Coultart in Linns was probably related to James and Michael Coultart in Roucan, Torthorwald parish, who were both captured after James Renwick’s preaching at Wardlaw in 1686. Roucan and Linns lie a mile apart.

According to the summons:

‘Andrew Kennan in Kirkbryd and John Campbell in Kirkcudbright for converseing with John Coutart, rebell, and William Campbell, fugitive;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

‘Kirkbryd’ is probably ‘Kirkbride’ in Kirkcudbright parish.

Map of Kirkbride               Aerial View of Kirkbride

Map of Kirkcudbright

Also mentioned in the summons are several people from Borgue parish, which lies on the opposite side of Kirkcudbright Bay from the burgh:

‘John Corsane in Pluntoune, Robert Shaw ther and James McQhae ther, for conversing with and doeing favours to William Campbell, fugitive;’ (RPCS, IX, 375.)

Plunton lies in Borgue parish, which is situated next to Kirkcudbright parish.

Map of Plunton         Aerial View of Plunton Castle (Ruin)

All three of those summoned lived in the vicinity of Plunton Castle.

Mowat 1685 Short MemorialThe record of a ‘James McQhae’ in Plunton is possibly the first link found to a mysterious martyr called Robert M’Whae, who was summarily executed in 1685. (M’Whae may have been inaccurately recorded by Alexander Shields under the surname of Mowat.)

Robert M’Whae is buried just over a mile from Plunton at Kirkandrews. If the two McQhaes were connected, then Robert may have been from Borgue parish.

Map of Kirkandrews        Aerial View of Kirkandrews Graveyard

Street View of Kirkandrews Graveyard

McWhae was not buried in the parish burial ground, but was placed in Kirkandrews burial ground. The parish of Kirkandrews was incorporated into Borgue parish in 1670.

CarletonCarleton Farm © James Bell and licensed for reuse.

4. John Clinton in Borgue parish
He appears on the Fugitive Roll of 1684 as ‘ John Clinton, there [i.e., in Borgue parish]’. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

5. James Robison in Borgue parish
He appears on the Fugitive Roll of 1684 as ‘James Robertson, there [i.e., in Borgue parish]’. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

‘John Robison in Miekle Careltoune and John Sword in Borgue for converseing with John Clintoun, James Robisone and William Campbell [(see No. 1 above)], rebells and fugitives;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

Map of Carleton             Street View near Carleton

‘Meikle Careltoune’, now Carleton, appears to have been a centre of dissent in Borgue parish, as five people from there were summoned for various reasons. John Sword in Borgue may have been related to the Andrew Sword from Borgue parish who was executed in November, 1679. Carleton lies just to the west of the village of Borgue.

‘John Clark in Meikle Careltoune and William McKnaight ther for converseing with John Clintoune, rebell;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

Three people from Borgue and Carleton were also summoned for collecting money for the ministers imprisoned on the Bass Rock.

Bass RockThe Bass Rock

Borgue and the Bass Prisoners
‘John Inglis in Borg[ue] for collecting of money for others in name of rebells;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

Map of Borgue

‘Andrew Haffie in Carletoune for supplieing and doeing favours to rebells, and particullarlie for giveing sex shillings to John Inglis for supplieing of the ministers in the Bass;’ (RPCS, IX, 374-5.)

‘Margaret Cairns, spouse to Andrew Carsane in Meikle Careltoune, for supplieing of Gilbert McGie, rebell, be giveing him money, particullarlie 201s[?]. for the use of the prisoners in the Bass;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

6. Gilbert McGhie in Borgue parish
He appears on the published Fugitive Roll of 1684 as ‘Gilbert M’Gee, there [i.e., in Borgue parish]’ (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

According to the summons:

‘Mary Gordone of Robertoune, Agnes [Gordone] in Knockbrex, William McGie in Borland, John McKnish, younger, in Littletoune, James Dalzell in Gategill, Thomas Bryce in Rotraw, Thomas Bryce ther and Janet Bryce, widow, ther, for converseing with Gilbert McGie, rebell;’ (RPCS, IX, 374.)

All the placenames mentioned lie in Borgue parish.

Map of Roberton     Street View of Roberton

Map of Knockbrex    Aerial View of Knockbrex

Map of Borland of Borgue        Street View of Borland of Borgue

Map of Littleton         Aerial View of Littleton

Map of Gaitgil           Aerial View of Gaitgil

Map of Rattra           Aerial View of Rattra

Upper SenwickUpper Senwick © Chris Newman and licensed for reuse.

7. John Richardson in Borgue parish
He appears on the Fugitive Roll as ‘John Richardson, there [in Borgue parish]’ (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 216.)

According to the summons:

‘Mareon McKie in Over Sennick for conversing with and resetting John Richardsone, rebell;’ (RPCS, IX, 375.)

Over Sennick, now Upper Senwick, lies in Borgue parish.

Map of Upper Senwick

It had formerly been the home of Fullerton of Senwick/‘Over Sennick’, a laird forfeited from his role in the Bothwell Rising of 1679.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to or retweet this post, but do not reblog without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on March 20, 2014.

6 Responses to “The Hidden: Covenanters in Kirkcudbright and Borgue in 1684”

  1. […] not clear, but she was publically proclaimed a fugitive on 5 May, 1684. Her name does not appear in a list of those accused of reset and converse with fugitives in Borgue parish in October, 1684, which may indicate that she had fled the parish. Some of those named for reset […]

  2. Hello Mark

    I am involved in a project called Solway Coastwise, managed by Solway Firth Partnership, that is using place name on the coast as catalyst to promote a greater interest in our shoreline. Looking at names of caves on the coast of Dumfries and Galloway there are a number that are named after people seeking refuge from religious persecution. Many are no longer marked on the current OS maps. Would the cave names and location be of interest to you?

  3. […] 5. John Gordon of Knockbrex, Borgue parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. No grave for his head is recorded in Cloud of Witnesses. However, what was said to be his head, or that of his brother, was rediscovered buried below an old Ash tree at Knockbrex in 1905. However, recenty the head was said to be that of an elderly woman. ‘Agnes Gordone’ in Knockbrex was accused of hiding fugitives in 1684. […]

  4. […] in late 1684, there were several fugitives in hiding in Borgue parish. One of them is of particular interest in relation to the tradition of “Dixon” and the […]

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