The Hidden: The Hunt for the Fugitive George Storyen in Kirkcowan Parish

Craigairie

George Stroyen was a fugitive from the Bothwell Rising of 1679 who lived in Kirkcowan parish, Wigtownshire. He appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, as simply ‘George Stroyen, in Kirkcowan parish’, (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 214.)

Those who were accused of converse with him confirm his roots in the parish. They also highlight possible links to stories of the martyrs.

1. James Stroyen in Craigairie.
‘The said James Strayan in Craigarie for conversing with George Strayan, rebell, upon the Carrok Road in the moneth of June last [1684];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

Stroyen appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

George Strayan probably had some kin connection to Craigairie. The parish list of October, 1684, names him ‘James Stroyen’ in ‘Craigary’.

Map of former site of Craigairie

Craigairie lies just to the north of where Alexander Lin was shot in 1685.

2. William McCall ‘in Elrig of Barhane’.
‘the said William McCall in Elrig of Barhane [or Elrig of Brichann] for converseing with rebells and trators, and particularly with George Strowan, since May day last [in 1684];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McCall appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

‘William McCa’ appears under ‘Alderickallabrichan’ on the parish list of 1684. The site has vanished, but probably lay to the north of Craigairie and High Derry, as it appears on the parish list between them.

Map of approximate location

High Derry

3. Thomas McWayane in High Derry.
‘the said Thomas McWayane [or M’Weyan] in High Durrie for conversing with George Strayan, rebell, since Beltone last [i.e., since c.1 May, 1684];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McWayane appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

The parish list names him as ‘Tho[mas]. Milweyen’.

Map of former site of High Derry

Craigmoddie

Craigmoddie

4. Robert McNeillie in Craigmoddie.
‘the said Robert McNillie in Craigmaddie for conversing with the said George Strayan comeing from Glenluce;’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McNeillie appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

The parish list calls him ‘Robert Mcnily’ in ‘Craigmuddy’

Map of Craigmoddie

Alexander Lin was shot and buried above the farm on Craigmoddie Fell.

Halfmerk Kirkcowan

Halfmerk

5. Archibald McRoy in Halfmark.
‘the said Archibald McRoy in Halfmark for conversing with the said George Strayan in June last [1684];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McRoy appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

The parish list calls him Archibald Milroy. A ‘Gilbert Milroy’ was the tenant of the neighbouring farm of ‘Haillmerk’.

He may be connected in some way to the tradition of the ‘M’Roy in Halfmark’ who was allegedly shot in Carsphairn parish.

6. James Wilson, elder, in Mark of Lochronald aka, Haillmerk.
‘the said James Wilsone, elder, in Mark of Lochronald for converseing with rebells and traitors;’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

Wilson appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

Gilbert Milroy was the tenant of Haillmerk/Mark of Lochronald. James Wilson is listed as present on the farm on the parish list.

Map of Haillmerk/Mark of Lochronald

High Airies

High Airies

7. John Forsyth in Upper Airies.
‘the said John Forsyth in Upper Aries for his willful and traitorouse harboring, resetting of, converseing with and intertaining att his oun duelling house with meat and drink, and doeing other kyndnesses and favours to George Strayan, rebell about ane yeir since or therby;’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

John Forsyth appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

John Forsyth was a neighbour of McRoy. His appearance on the same list as McRoy is of some interest, as Simpson also recorded a tradition about Andrew Forsyth, who appears to be related to the Forsyths in Upper Airies, perhaps John’s son. The case of Andrew Forsyth has a parallel with that of McRoy, as Andrew is said to have fled to a remote part of Carsphairn parish.

Map of Upper Airies

Later tradition claims that the Alexander Lin killed at Craigmoddie Fell in 1685 was from ‘Laris’, which is perhaps Low Airies below Upper Airies. Curiously, there is no entry in the parish list for Low Airies, even though the lands of Low Airies are recorded on the ratification of the grant of MacDougall of Freugh’s lands to Claverhouse in 1682. It is possible the farm had been abandoned. (RPS, 1681/7/129.)

8 & 9. Thomas Forsyth and John Wilson in Balminnoch.
‘the said Thomas Forsyth in Balmannoch for harboring, resetting, intertaining of the said George Strayan, rebell, about three yeir and a half since or therby [i.e., in 1681];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

Forsyth appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

‘the said John Wilsone in Balmannoch for conversing with the said George Strayan within this twelf moneth;’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

Wilson appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He, too, was found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

Both men appear on the parish list of 1684 under ‘Ballmainoch’.

Forsyth and Wilson were neighbours of McRoy.

Map of Balminnoch

Mains of Lochronald

Mains of Lochronald

10. Thomas McCornock in Mains of Lochronald.
‘the said Thomas Mchornok in Mayns of Lochronald for harboring and resetting of and converseing in his oun duelling house with the said George Strayan, rebell, about ane yeir since [in c. October 1683];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McCornock appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. He was also found guilty of forced or accidental converse and liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

‘Tho. McCornick’ appears on the parish list under ‘Mains of Lochroule’.

Map of former site of Mains of Lochronald

11. John Forsyth in Carseriggan.
‘the said John Forsyth in Careriggane for converseing with the said George Strayan about ane yeir since or therby [in c. October 1683];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

John Forsyth appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. Guilty of forced or accidental converse, he was liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

John Forsyth appears on the parish list under ‘Carsrigging’.

Map of Carseriggan

12. Uthred McWilliam in High Ardnimord.
‘the said Uthrid McWilliam in Arniwood [or Arnimord] for converseing with the said [George] Strayane within this half yeir or therby [in spring, 1684];’ (RPCS, IX, 380.)

McWilliam appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October. Guilty of forced or accidental converse, he was liberated. (RPCS, X, 606-10.)

‘Ochtry McWilliam’ is listed under ‘Higharnamord’ on the parish list.

Map of Ardnimord

The Gargrie“The Gargrie” © David Baird and licensed for reuse.

Banished
‘John McHaffie in Gargarie’ in Kirkcowan parish was also banished by the court.

McHaffie appeared before the court in Wigtown on 16 October and was secured. He was ordered banished to the plantations on 17 October. (RPCS, Xi, 606-10, 612.)

His name appears on the parish list under ‘Gargary’, which lay between, or near, Drummurrie and Barskeoch.

Gargarie has now disappeared, but was “a farm about 2 miles northwest of Kirkcowan village, on the road to Dirnow. There is little to see there now apart from some faint outlines of walls in a field next to the road, but travelling this stretch of road is still known locally as “going over the Gargrie””. (Information from David Baird)

Map of approximate location of Gargary/and the Gargrie Road

On the parish list, a ‘Robert Mahaffie in Gargary’ is marked as ‘disorderly’, i.e., they had withdrawn from the parish church.

For more on the Covenanters in Kirkcowan parish, see here.

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

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~ by drmarkjardine on November 28, 2014.

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