The Wigtown Martyrs: Patrick Walker’s Version of the Drowning in 1727
Patrick Walker in Some Remarkable Passages of the Life and Death of Mr. Richard Cameron, Later minister of the Gospel (Edinburgh, 1727), gives his version of the drowning of the Wigtown Martyrs:
‘I could give many Instances, but at this Time shall Only mention the Drowning of these two Women at Wigtoun in Galloway, the 11th of May 1685, (which some deny to be Matter of Fact) viz. Margaret Lachlan, who was past 63 Years, and some of her Intimates said to me, She was a Christian of deep Exercise through much of her Life, and of high Attainments and great Experiences in the Ways of Godliness; and Margaret Wilson, who was put to Death with her, aged 23.
The old Woman was first tyed to the Stake, Enemies saying, ‘Tis needless to speak to that old damn’d Bitch, let her go to Hell: But, say they, Margaret, ye are young; if ye’ll pray for the King, we will give you your Life. She said, I’ll pray for Salvation to all the Elect, but the Damnation of none. They dashed her under the Water, and pull’d her up again. People looking on, said, O Margaret, will ye say it? She said, Lord, give him Repentance, Forgiveness and Salvation, if it be Thy holy Will. [Robert Grierson of] Lagg cry’d, Damn’d Bitch, we do not want such Prayers; Tender the Oaths to her. She said, To Hell with them, to Hell with them, it is o’er good for them. Thus suffered they that extraordinary and unheard-of Death.
Margaret Maxwel, [the servant to the wife of Alexander Vaus of Barwhanny and] now an old infirm Woman, told me of late in Burrowstouness, That she was then Prisoner with them [for being disorderly], and expected the same Sentence; but she was ordained to be scourged through the Town of Wigtoun by the Hand of the common Hangman 3 Days successively, and to stand each Day one Hour in Juggs; [beside the kirk] all which was done. But such was the Cruelty of these Days, that all who retained any Thing of Humanity towards their Fellow-creatures, abhorred such Barbarity; [>p289.] so that all the three Days the foresaid Margaret was punished and exposed, there was scare one Door or Window to be seen in the Town of Wigtoun, and no Boys or Girls looking on. The Officers and Hangman enquiring if they should shorten the Hour, she said, No, let the Knock (or Clock) go on, she was neither wearied nor ashamed. The Hangman was very tender to her.
All this Cruelty was acted by Sir Robert Grierson of Lagg, (who stirred up others to assist him) a great Persecutor, a great Swearer, a great Whorer, Blasphemer, Drunkard, Liar and Cheat, and yet out of Hell.’ (Walker, BP, I, 288-9.)
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