After the Defeat at Airds Moss: Prophet Peden at Mauchline Fair 1680


The following story from Patrick Walker’s Life of Peden is probably the only hint we have that Alexander Peden had returned to Scotland from Ireland by the latter half of 1680:

‘14. In the Year 1680, after the Murdering of Mr. [Richard] Cameron, and these Worthies with him at Airdsmoss, he was near Machline in the Shire of Air.’

Map of Mauchline

‘One Robert Brown of Crosshouse, who lived near the Newmills, and one Hugh Pinaneve Factor to the Earl of Lowdon, stabled their Horse in that House where he was, and went to a Fair in Machline:’

In 1606. Lord Loudoun was granted free barony status for the ‘town of Mauchline’ with the right to hold ‘weekly market day upon Saturday and two free fairs yearly’. (RPS, 1605/6/99.)

The exact dates of the Mauchline fairs in 1680 are not clear, as in 1698, an act of Parliament empowered the Earl of Loudoun to hold ‘a fair to be yearly in all time coming at the said town upon the last Wednesday and Thursday of January, for buying and selling all kinds of vendible commodities’ in Mauchline. (RPS, 1698/7/148.)

If Walker’s story is correct, then at least one of the fairs took place at some point after the date of the skirmish at Airds Moss on 22 July. The present day Holy Fair at Mauchline in May is of modern origin.

Robert Brown of Crosshouse, who may have been a barber surgeon, and Hugh Pinaneve, Loudoun’s factor, both lived on the Earl’s estate near Newmilns. Both were probably at Mauchline Fair due to its connection with the Loudoun estate.

Map of Loudoun

‘Robert Brown, in Crosshouse’ appears on the published Fugitive Roll of 1684 under Loudoun parish. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 209.)

Crosshouse is not named on the modern OS map, but is marked just to the north of the policies of Loudoun.

Map of Crosshouse               Aerial View of Crosshouse

‘And in the Afternoon, when they came to take their Horse, they got a Drink; and in the Time of it, the said Hugh, a wicked Wretch both in Principle and Practice, brake out in Railing against Sufferers, particularly against Mr. Cameron [who had been killed on 22 July].’

Richard Cameron and his followers had renounced the King’s authority and held seditious preachings in the summer of 1680. To moderate presbyterians their actions and their Sanquhar Declaration were both shocking and divisive. It is alleged that some moderate presbyterians provided government forces with intelligence on Cameron’s whereabouts. The story portrays Hugh as a drunken loud mouth, but in reality drinking was part of the culture of fairs and his hostility towards Cameron was not unusual in moderate presbyterian circles.

‘Mr. Peden being in another Room, over-hearing all, was so grieved, that he came to the Chamber-door, and said to the said Hugh, Sir, hold your Peace; ere Twelve a Clock you shall know what for a Man Mr. Cameron was; God shall punish that blasphemous Mouth and cursed Tongue of yours, in such Manner as shall be astonishing and affrighting to all that shall see you; and shall set you up as a Beacon to all railing Rabshakehs.

Robert Brown, knowing Mr. Peden, hasted to his Horse, being perswaded that Mr. Peden’s Words would not fall to the Ground, and fearing that some Mischief might befal him for being in the said Hugh’s Company. They rode hard home; Robert went to his own House, and Hugh to the Earl’s House; and casting off his Boots, he was struck with such Sickness and Pain through his Body, with his Mouth so wide, and his Tongue hanging so far out in a fearful Manner, they sent for the said Robert [Brown], being used to take Blood: He got some Blood of him, but all in vain; he died before Midnight. The said Robert, an old Man, told me this Passage, when in Prison together [in Edinburgh in late 1684 to mid 1685].’ (Walker, BP, I, 50-1.)

Canongate TolboothCanongate Tolbooth

Brown was probably the same man as the prisoner named Robert Brown whom General Thomas Dalyell was ordered to bring probations against with George Jackson and Thomas Wood. The order of the privy council to Dallyell is not dated, but the latter two prisoners were executed on 9 December, 1684 and Wood was taken in early August, 1684, after the attack at Enterkin. After examination, Brown was ordered released from the Canongate Tolbooth by the council, again at an unspecified date either in late 1684, or early 1685. (RPCS, IX, 178, 184.)

Patrick Walker was held in the Canongate Tolbooth at the same time as George Jackson and records a story of Jackson attacking John Gibb, the former leader of the Sweet Singers, in prison. (Walker, BP, II, 22.)

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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 April 16, 2014.

3 Responses to “After the Defeat at Airds Moss: Prophet Peden at Mauchline Fair 1680”

  1. […] In 1685, Hugh Campbell had recently become the third, earl of Loudoun. His sisters are known to have sheltered the fugitive James Nisbet, the son of Hardhill, at their family estate at Loudoun Palace in November, 1685. Nisbet had met Alexander Peden in mid 1685 and appears to have been in his company on several occasions that summer. Peden also had connections to people who knew the previous earl of Loudoun and he is alleged to have foretold the death of Loudoun’s factor in 1680. […]

  2. […] for the United Provinces in early 1682. Peden is recorded as returning from exile in Ireland when he attended Mauchline Fair in late 1680. He was also in Galloway in early 1681. Walker […]

  3. […] near his house. The last time that Earlstoun saw Peden alive, he was with Cargill. Peden is said to have been at Mauchline Fair in the later half of 1680 and in Galloway in the first half of […]

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