The Killing of Arthur Inglis in Netherton in 1679
The records for the killing of Arthur Inglis in 1679 are problematic. The two sources for it agree on his death and where he was from, but they contain contradictory details and different information.
His death was first recorded by Wodrow in 1718:
‘I shall end this melancholy subject [of the rout after Bothwell] with a well vouched account I have of Arthur Inglis, a pious, sober, honest man, in the Nethertown of Cambusnethan. He had not been at Bothwell, but, upon Monday, June 23d, he was looking after his own cattle feeding upon a ley, and had sit down in a fur among his own corn, and was reading upon the Bible; the place was two or three miles from Bothwell, and the high road came near it. Some of the soldiers were coming that way, and perceiving him reading, concluded he was a whig; and, when at a little distance, one of them discharged his piece at him, but missed him. The good man, conscious of no guilt, and probably not knowing the shot was directed at him, only looked about to the soldiers, and did not offer to move; they came straight up to him, and, without asking any questions, clave him in the head with their swords, and killed him on the spot.’ (Wodrow, History, III, 108-9.)
Inglis’ death was not recorded by Alexander Shields in A Short Memorial in 1690, as Shield’s list of those who were killed in the fields begins in 1682.
Wodrow’s version portrays Inglis as a innocent man murdered by soldiers in the field. Given that Wodrow claims that he was killed on the day after the battle, it is possible that Inglis was cut down as government forces mopped up those who had escaped the battlefield. However, there is no way of knowing what relation Wodrow’s account has to the truth of what took place.
The fermtoun of Netherton, which lay in Cambusnethan parish, was originally located above the road called ‘Carbarns’ on the street map, below.
One of the only surviving documents for the parish in this period, the communion roll for Cambusnethan of 1640, does not mention Arthur Inglis, probably due to its early date. However, it does record earlier residents of Netherton of the same surname: Robert Inglis, who was probably married to Janet Scott, and James Inglis (elder), who was probably married to Marion Robertson, and a James Inglis (younger), who were all probably kin of Arthur. A Helen, Marion and Margaret Inglis also lived there in 1640.
The killing of Inglis is usually placed in the context of those killed in the rout after the battle of Bothwell Bridge. However, it is possible that the local context was the crucial factor in it.
The immediate area around Netherton accounted for several dead Covenanters. They were Walter Paterson in Carbarns, who was killed during the Covenanters’ assault on Glasgow in 1679, Robert Paterson in Kirkhill, who was killed in the skirmish at Airds Moss in 1680, and William Paterson, the latter’s son who was summarily executed at Strathaven in 1685.
Inglis is said to be buried at the site of old Cambusnethan, or St Michael’s, church, down by the River Clyde. The old parish church had been abandoned in c.1650 after a new church was erected at Greenhead. However, the burial ground continued to be used into the nineteenth century.
The Erection of a Gravestone to Inglis
In 1733, a gravestone was erected to his memory on the south side of the church facing east/west. In the late nineteenth century the grave was described as ‘within a railed enclosure of some three yards square’. The gravestone has now vanished amid a graveyard that was in an absolutely terrible condition when I last visited.
Inglis’ gravestone is unusual in that it was not recorded in any edition of Cloud of Witnesses. It is also unusual in that it is not based on the texts of either Shields, or Wodrow. A local source of information seems the most likely reason for its content.
Fortunately, the inscription on his gravestone was recorded by Thomson, who edited Cloud, in his volume on the martyrs’ graves published in the late nineteenth century:
[on the east side]
ARTHUR INGLIS IN NETHERTON
VHO UAS SHOT AT STOCKLTON
DYKE BY BLOODY GRAHAM OF
CLAVERSHOUSE JULY 1679
FOR HIS ADHERENCE TO THE
UORD OF GOD AND SCOTLANDS COVE
NANTED WORK OF REFORMATION
REV.12 and 11.
Erected in the year 1733.
[on the west side]
When I did live such was the day
Forsaking sin made men a prey
Unto the rage and tyranny
Of that throne of iniquity
Who robbed Christ and killed his saints
And brake and burn’d our covenants
I at this time this honour got
To did for Christ upon the spot.
The inscription is notable for the information it records which does not appear in Wodrow’s version.
First, it claims that Inglis was ‘SHOT’, rather than ‘clave’ in the head ‘swords’. Wodrow does record that Inglis was shot at, but that the shot missed.
Second, it records that Inglis was killed ‘AT STOCKLTON DYKE’. The placename is not recorded in the OS name book of the mid nineteenth century. However, the New Statistical Account for Cambusnethan parish mentions both Inglis and ‘Stockleton Dike’ in connection with Muirhouse/Murrays:
‘Muirhouse, the property of the ancient family of Dalzell, and the jointure house of that family, is situated at the western extremity of the parish, within half a mile of the House of Dalzell. It is an old building, on a very commanding situation. It [i.e., Muirhouse] was at one time the residence of the clergymen, when public worship was performed at the Old Kirk, from which it is little more that a quarter of a mile distant. Between these places runs a hedge, called Stockleton Dike, where a farmer is said to have been murdered in times of persecution.’ The NSA also records the inscription on the grave in a foot note. (NSA, VI, 621.)
it is not clear from the map, above, which hedge/dyke, was Stockleton Dyke, but it probably indicates that he was killed near Robert Paterson’s home at Kirkhill.
John Graham of Claverhouse
Third, the grave claims that Inglis was shot ‘BY BLOODY GRAHAM OF CLAVERSHOUSE’, i.e., Captain John Graham of Claverhouse, whom by 1733 was already established as the legendary bogeyman of the Covenanters. Wodrow did not name any officer involved in the killing. There is no evidence to corroborate the claim that Claverhouse was either present in the area, or involved in the death of Inglis. However, from his share in the forfeitures awarded to government officers who had taken part in Bothwell, it is possible that Claverhouse was at the battle. The claim almost certainly does not mean that Claverhouse, himself, killed Inglis. It may indicate that Claverhouse’s troop of horse was involved.
Fourth, the inscription claims that Inglis was killed in ‘JULY 1679’, rather than on Wodrow’s date of Monday 23 June, 1679.
Finally, the inscription adds that Inglis was killed ‘FOR HIS ADHERENCE TO THE UORD OF GOD AND SCOTLANDS COVENANTED WORK OF REFORMATION’. In Wodrow’s version, Inglis was, allegedly, a ‘pious, sober, honest man’ who had taken no part in the Bothwell Rising. The claim that Inglis died for the Covenanted work of Reformation probably indicates that one of the more-militant dissenting sects in 1733, rather than the Established Presbyterian Church, erected the gravestone.
The Memorial of 1837
In 1837, a new memorial was erected to Inglis at the east end of his burial enclosure. Thomson described it as ‘a cross about six feet in height; on the one side of the centre-piece are the words:
[On the reverse]
For more on the Covenanters in Cambusnethan parish, see here.
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