The Forfeited: Five Lanarkshire Men Forfeited at Glasgow in 1683

Near the beginning of his journal, John Erskine of Carnock records five forfeitures of Lanarkshire men in absentia at the circuit court held in Glasgow in June, 1683:..


‘13th. [June]— James Hamilton of Parkhead, Robert Russel [, portioner of Windyedge], James [or John] Russel [,portioner of Eastfield], and Gawin Paterson in Bothwell[shields], being absent, the assize was set upon them.’ (Erskine, Journal, 4.)

‘14th. [June] — James Hamilton of Parkhead, Robert Russel, portioner of Windyedge, were forfeit in absence as being at Bothwell according to their lybels. It was said for some of them that they had no arms; but the King’s advocate said that was debate before, and found that a man without arms was as guilty as one with them, because it imported greater forwardness.’ (Erskine, Journal, 5.)

A fifth forfeiture in absentia, of Hamilton of Raith (see picture above), took place on 16 June:

‘A great number of country people were called this day, and many about Hamilton and Glasgow refused the Test, of whom about forty were committed to prison; yet some took the Test. Mr. Th[omas]. Hamilton of Raith was forfault in absence for being at Bothwell, Ja[mes]. Maxwell of Williamwood, and Jo[hn]. Maxwell of Bogtown [both in Cathcart parish], were forfault on Thursday for Bodwell, and in absence. The Lords sat till ten o’clock at night, and presently after they arose they got a treat from the town.’ (Erskine, Journal, 6.)

Wodrow, too, recorded their forfeiture:

‘[At] the circuit at Glasgow,[… there were] only two processes recorded at this place. The first is June 13th, and the lords present are, Perth justice-general, and Maitland justice-clerk, with the lords Collington, Castlehill, and Forret.
That day appear in the pannel, John Russel portioner in Eastfield in Monkland, Gavin Paterton feuar in Bothwell-shiels, Robert Russel of Windy-edge, Mr Thomas Hamilton of Raith, James Hamilton of Parkhead. The second and third of these had been before the justiciary formerly, and how they came now to be again pannelled I know not. Their indictment runs very short, that they had been in arms with the rebels at Bothwell. Their indictment is found relevant, and the probation is remitted to an assize.
The depositions of witnesses appear very lame.
One depones, he saw John Russel at Meadows, and at Hamilton-muir, with a horse, sword, and pistols. Another depones, he saw him at Shawhead-muir, some days before.
Two witnesses depone, they saw Mr Thomas Hamilton and James Hamilton at Shawhead-muir, but without arms.
One depones against Robert Russel [of Windyedge], that he saw him at Drumclog, and another that he saw him at Hamilton-muir.
And the same as to Gavin Paterson, one saw him at one place, and another depones he saw him elsewhere; and, as far as I could remark, there are not two witnesses ad idem, as to any but Raith and Parkhead, and both declare they had no arms; and these gentlemen’s houses were near by [the battlefield], Raith’s within a quarter of a mile of Bothwell-bridge.
The assize bring them in guilty of the crimes libelled. The lords forfeit them, and appoint them to be demeaned and executed as traitors, when the justiciary or council shall think fit. This is another instance of the justice of this period, a sentence of death passed upon two gentlemen, for being in the company of the west-country army, when just lying about their houses’. (Wodrow, History, III, 485.)



The five forfeited men were:

1. James Hamilton of Parkhead, Bothwell parish.
Parkhead appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, as forfeited under Bothwell parish. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 193.)
Parkhead lay near Bellshill and Raith. Today, it has been obliterated by Bellshill.

Map of Parkhead

2. Mr Thomas Hamilton of Raith, Bothwell parish.
Raith has been obliterated by the construction of the M74.

Map of Raith

Wodrow records Raith’s pardon in 1684:

‘The next gentleman I meet with before the council, is Mr Thomas Hamilton of Raith. His process last year [in 1683] was very ill grounded and iniquitous, and the council are so sensible of this, that they interpose for a remission. February 1st, the council write the following letter, aud send his petition inclosed to the secretary.

“Right Honourable,
The inclosed petition from Mr Thomas Hamilton, forfeited by the sentence of the justice-court, for his accession to the late rebellion, being addressed to his majesty’s privy council, they, in consideration of several favourable circumstances in his case, and of his loyalty, have thought fit to recommend to his majesty, for a pardon as to his life only, and that to be expede the several offices gratis, because of his great poverty.
Aberdeen, Cancel[lor].”

The humble petition of Mr Thomas Hamilton, prisoner, second lawful son to Mr John Hamilton of Raith, Advocate,

That whereas your petitioner, by sentence of the lords of his majesty’s justiciary, in justice-air holden at Glasgow June last, was forfeited in life and fortune, for his being alleged present at the rebellion 1679, and for being art and part thereof, and for reset and converse with those rebels: and true it is, that the petitioner’s mother’s dwellingplace and residence, when he was attending her in her old age, is nearly sited unto Bothwell-bridge; and that the said rebels did ligger and camp in and about the said house, during the time they continued in arms; and that your petitioner was never seen actually in arms, as is evident by the probation adduced against him, and that his being present with them, harbouring and resetting them, did rather proceed out of the vicinity of his mother’s residence to their camp and ligger, and out of youthful inexperience, ignorance, mistake, and error, than out of any disloyalty, disaffection, or evil principles towards his majesty’s person and government, which he ever accounted his duty to maintain; and for his saying he was forced, and his owning the king in some of the rebels’ hearing, he was in hazard of being murdered by some of them, as was certified by the minister of the parish to his majesty’s advocate: and that your petitioner is sensible of, and most sorry for his said guilt, ignorance, or error, and mistake; and as heretofore he never carried arms against his majesty or his authority, so he is willing to engage for the future, that he shall never take up or bear arms against his majesty, or his heirs, or lawful successors; as also it is known, that the constant duty, sufferings, loyalty, and affection of the said umquhile John Hamilton, advocate, father to your petitioner, in the late rebellious times [of the 1640s and 1650s], towards his majesty, and his dearest father of blessed memory, and toward their government and service, were very great: may it therefore please your lordships, to take your petitioner’s case to your consideration, and recommend him to his sacred majesty, for a remission as to his life, and your lordships’ petitioner shall ever pray, &c.
Tho[mas]. Hamilton.”

This good man got a remission, but when his father had been a sufferer for the king and his father, and himself evidently loyal, as the council themselves bear witness, and was not in arms, but only with the west country army when encamped about his mother’s house, it was a new instance of the unparalleled severity of this period, that his estate and moveables were forfeited.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 41-2.)

Although the council recognised that Hamilton’s sentence was unjust, his name appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, as forfeited under Bothwell parish. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 193.)

Hamilton’s forfeiture was reversed in 1690.

3. John Russell, portioner of Eastfield, New Monkland parish.
‘Russel, portioner of Eastfield’ appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, as forfeited under New Monkland parish. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 200.)

Map of Eastfield

4. Robert Russell, portioner of Windyedge, Shotts parish.
‘Robert Russel, portioner of Windyedge’, appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, under Shotts parish. Two other fugitives, John Brownlie and William Calderhead, are also listed under Windyedge. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 201.)

Windyedge appears as a ruined farmstead on the Canmore website.

Map of Windyedge

5. Gavin Paterson, feuar in Bothwellshields, Shotts parish.
‘Gavin Paterson, in Bothwellshiels’ appears on the published fugitive roll of May, 1684, under Shotts parish. Three other fugitives, John Paterson, James Miller and John Gilkerson are also listed under Bothwellshields. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 201.)

Bothwellshields appears as a farmstead on the Canmore website.

Map of Bothwellshields

All of the forfeitures listed above, and many others, were reversed by Act of Parliament in 1690.

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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

~ by drmarkjardine on February 15, 2015.

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