When Argyll was Broken: Peden in Wigtownshire. June, 1685
In the summer of 1685 and just as the Argyll Rising was about to collapse, Alexander Peden was in Wigtownshire…
‘38. After this, two Days before [the earl of] Argyle was broken and taken [i.e., on Tuesday 16 June], he was near to Wigtown in Galloway; a considerable Number of Men were gathered together in Arms, to go for his Assistance; they pressed him to preach, but he positively refused, saying, he would only pray with them; where he continued long, and spent some Part of that Time in praying for Ireland, pleading, That the Lord would spare a Remnant, and not make a full End in the Day of his Anger, and would put it in the Hearts of his own, to flee over to this bloody Land, where they would find Safety for a Time.’ (Walker, BP, I, 75.)
Patrick Walker does not mention where Alexander Peden was when he was ‘near to Wigtown’ on 16 June, 1685. However, the presence of his former parishioners from New Luce parish, mentioned below, suggests that Peden was to the north of Wigtown in either the parish of Glenluce, Kirkcowan or Penninghame. The later two of those parishes were the logical place for Peden to be, as they were the strongholds of the Society people and Presbyterian dissent in Wigtownshire.
‘After Prayer, they got some Meat, and he gave every one of his old Parishoners [from New Luce parish], who were there, a Piece out of his own Hand, calling them his Bairns; where he advised all to go no further, but for you that are my Bairns, I discharge you to go your Foot-length, for before you can travel that Length, he will be broke; and tho’ it were not so, God will honour neither him [i.e., the earl of Argyll] nor [the Duke of] Monmouth, to be Instruments of a good Turn for his Church, they have dipt their Hands so far in the Persecution.’ (Walker, BP, I, 75-6.)
Argyll had sat on the privy council which conducted the repression of Presbyterian dissent until the end of 1681, when he fled into exile.
Monmouth had commanded the government forces that had defeated the Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge in June, 1679.
‘And that same Day that Argyle was taken [Thursday, 18 June], Mr. George Barclay was preaching, and perswading Men in that Country to go to Argyle’s Assistance: After Sermon, he said to Mr. George, Now Argyle is in the Enemy’s Hands and gone; though he was many Miles distant. I had this Account from some of these his Bairns [in New Luce parish], who were present; and the last from Mr. George Barclay’s self.’ (Walker, BP, I, 76.)
On the 18 June, some of Argyll’s men won the Battle of Muirdykes. However, it was too late.
The earl of Argyll was allegedly captured at the St Conval and Argyll Stone, between Inchinnan and Renfrew, in Renfrewshire.
George Barclay was a longstanding opponent of the Society people’s platform. He had been sent to the South-West by the earl of Argyll after he landed at Campbeltown on 20 May, 1685. By 25 May, Barclay was in Carrick to the north of Wigtownshire and sending back optimistic reports of the number of men willing to join Argyll’s rising. Barclay probably preached in either Kirkcowan, or Penninghame, parish.
After the Craigminn preaching, Peden appears to have headed north into Carrick. In Walker’s narrative, Peden went to Carrick ‘after this’. (Walker, BP, I, 76.)
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