Where was the Mysterious Covenanter called McLorgan From?

The possible identification of an origin for Thomas or John McLorgan, one of the obscure martyrs of the Killing Times of 1685, is another small step forward in our understanding of the history of that period.

Semple Old Dailly 1685

Mclorgan’s Grave at Old Dailly © Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse.

In 1691, George Ridpath, who recycled the list of killings found in Alexander Shields’ A Short Memorial (1690), recorded that ‘John Maclorgan shot at Drummellian’s house in the night, not known by whom.’ (Ridpath, An Answer to Presbyterian Eloquence, 42.)

In the early Presbyterian sources, variations of his surname are recorded as McLorgan, Maclorgan, McClorgan or McGlorgan. The same sources also disagree on whether he was called John or Thomas. His grave in Old Dailly parish states the latter.

It is possible that Mclorgan may have been a local fugitive, from either the circuit courts in 1683, the names of which were published in May, 1684, or the Abjuration courts in early 1685. Fugitives often hid near their former homes where they could receive assistance.

Mclorgan/Maclorgan/McClorgan/McGlorgan may be a transcription error for a local fugitive named ‘MacLarchan’ or vice versa. On the Fugitive Roll of May, 1684, a ‘—— MacLarchan, son to Andrew MacLarchan officer in Bargeny’ was listed under Dailly parish. (Jardine, ‘United Societies’, II, 213.)

The Hearth Tax roll for Carrick of 1695 sheds a little light on than possibility, even though it was recorded a decade after the shooting. The Hearth Tax rolls recorded the names of head of households, usually men. In some parishes in Carrick they were unusual in their detailed list of both names and houses, rather than just listing the number of hearths as happened in some other places. The surname McLorgan does not appear on it under any of the variations found in the early Presbyterian sources. It is not listed anywhere in Carrick, where McLorgan was killed.

However, two other very similar surnames do appear. ‘McClorkan’ and ‘McClorge’.

They appear in only two parishes, Straiton and Dailly parish. The latter was where Thomas or John McLorgan was shot.

‘James mcClorge In nether glencraig’ is listed under Straiton parish. ‘Glencraig’ is probably Glenthraig in Straiton parish. A ‘John McClorge In Petmouth’ is also found under Dailly parish.

However, of much greater interest is ‘Andrew McClorkan att bargany’ in Dailly parish. As mentioned above, the unnamed son of ‘Andrew MacLarchan officer in Bargeny’ was a fugitive in mid 1684. It appears that Andrew MacLarchan and Andrew McClorkan are the same individual. His son, the former fugitive, is not present on the Hearth Tax roll anywhere in Carrick. Was his son, John or Thomas McLorgan/McClorkan? The rare nature of the surname in Carrick makes it a distinct possibility that they were the same individual.

Map of Bargany

If so, another linkage between a Bothwell fugitive and one the victims of the Killing Times has been established.

For more on McLorgan’s death, see here..

For more on the Covenanters of Dailly parish, see here.

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

~ by drmarkjardine on July 20, 2015.

2 Responses to “Where was the Mysterious Covenanter called McLorgan From?”

  1. […] when escaping out of a window, and Thomas Mclorgan, who was shot at Drummellane and was probably the son of an officer at Bargany in the same parish. Also in the graveyard is a monument to George Martin, a schoolteacher who […]

  2. […] a probable origin and identity for McLorgan as a fugitive and son of Andrew McClorkan in Bargany, Dailly parish. has been […]

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