Three Men Hanged?: Major Winram in Wigtown at Lambas, 1685
On 11 May, 1685, Major Winran and his men are said to have drowned the Wigtown Martyrs, Margaret Wilson and Margaret McLachlan. There is no evidence in government sources that they were present in the burgh on that specific day as the Presbyterian sources state, but there is official confirmation that they were quartered there two months later. How long they had been there is not known.
In the summer of 1685, Captain ‘Major’ George Winram’s company of dragoons are recorded in the Wigtown area. The Burgh Records of Wigtown for 23 August, 1686 state:
‘The qlk day the Magistrates and Councell, considering that Major Wynram his troop of Dragounes Did eat up the Wholl meadowes of the hills and Clay Crops with their horses at Lambas, 1685 yeirs, they therfoir appoynt the s[ai]d. Lambas teremes rent of the s[ai]d. hills to be allowed to the tenants yrof for the loss of the s[ai]ds. meadowes and grass, and for their vyr trouble they had yranent.’ (Morton, Galloway and the Covenanters, 251-2.)
The due date for rents at Lambas was 1 August, which places Winram’s company of dragoons at Wigtown on 1 August, 1685.
Map of boundary of Royal Burgh
The ‘meadowes of the hills’ lay on lands belonging to the royal burgh, which were broadly situated to the west of the town in the parish of Wigtown.
Complaints about the quartering of Winram’s dragoons also came from Baldoon, on the south side of the River Bladnoch.
The evidence of the Wigtown burgh record does not place Winram in Wigtown in May, when the women were drowned, but it does place him in Wigtown a little after three men, William Johnston, John McIlroy and George Walker, were hanged by him at Wigtown in the summer of 1685, probably at Gallow Hill.
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