The Killing Times of 1685: Ridpath’s List of Covenanters Executed in the Fields
The 500th post…
In 1693, George Ridpath, one of the first Scottish journalists, published a list of Covenanters who had been summarily executed in the fields. Ridpath’s list was copied from the list found in Alexander Shields’ A Short Memorial in 1690. It appeared in his pamphlet An Answer to the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence (1693), 39-42.
‘A LIST of those Murdered in Cold Blood, without trial, conviction, or any colour of Law.
ONE [David] Finlay shot at Belmoynock, by General Dalzel’s orders, because he could not discover who was in arms at Pentland, Anno 1666; James Davie in Bathgate parish, and several others at divers times, shot, as hearing sermons in the fields, before the insurrection at Bothwell-bridge [in 1679].
John Graham of Claverhouse and his troop of horse.
William Graham in Galloway, shot by Graham of Claverhouse’s order [in 1682], who together with the Earl of Dumbarton, and Lieut. General Douglas, caused to hang Peter Gillis, John Bryce, Thomas Young, William Fiddison, and John Binning, without trial or sentence, suffering them neither to have bible, nor time to pray; at Mauchlin, Anno 1685.
The said Graham of Claverhouse shot Robert Stuart, John Grier, Robert Ferguson, and another, at the river Dee in Galloway, Dec. 1684, and by his order they were again raised out of their graves.
May 1685, he shot John Brown of Priesthill in the Parish of Moorkirk, in the shire of Air, as at his work before his own door, in presence of his wife. He also ordered his troop to kill Matthew Mackelwrath without examination, in the parish of Camenel in Carrick, Anno 1685.
Colonel James Douglas (Right)
Colonel James Douglas, and Lieutenant Livingston with a party, surprized five men in a cave at Ingleston, in the Parish of Glencairn, to wit, John Gibson, Robert Grierson, Robert Mitchel, James Bennock and John Edgar, who were all brought out, and shot dead, without giving them time to pray; this was also Anno 1685.
He likewise caused shoot John Hunter, for no other cause but running out from the house at Corehead.
The same Colonel [James Douglas], Lieut. Livingston, and Coronet [>p40.] Dundasse, surprized and shot six men at prayer, at the Calduns, in the Parish of Minnigaff, viz. James Dun, Robert Dun, Andrew Mackliale, Thomas Stevenson, John Maclude and John Stevenson, in January 1685.
He caused also take Adam Macquhan out of his bed, sick of a fever, carried him to Newtown of Galloway, and next day shot him dead.
He caused also to be shot Thomas Richard, an old man of seventy years, as he was praying at Cumnock in Kyle.
The said Col. [Douglas] together with the Laird of Lag, and Capt. Winram, did illegally condemn, and inhumanly drown Margaret Lauchlan, upward of sixty years old, and Margaret Wilson about twenty, at Wigton, fastening them to stakes within the sea-mark; all this in 1685.
Wigtown Martyrs (Right)
the said Captain and his men shot one Auchinleck a deaf man, for not answering them through defect of hearing, near Carlingwark, Anno 1685.
The same men killed William Adam, hiding himself in a bush at the Walwood in Kyle, Feb. 1685.
Bruce, Captain of Dragoons, took one James Kirke, carried him to Dumfriers, where he kept him prisoner one night, and next day brought him out and shot him without any further process; and the poor man desiring a little time to make his peace with God, this Episcopal missionary, the Captain, answered oftener than once, Devil a peace ye get more made up; correspondent to the worthy saying of the D. of Queensberry, one of the great patrons of the Prelatical clergy new, who answered one that came to beg a reprieve for some that were thus precipitantly condemned, that They should have no more time to prepare for Heaven, Hell was good enough for them. Craick of Steuarton hindered some gentlewomen that attempted to beg [>p.41.] his life; and Sir Robert Dalzel’s second son was one of them that shot him, and that without command; this was June 1685.
This same Captain [Bruce] surprised and shot John Wallace, one Edgar, and another in the field, in the parish of Kirpatrick in Galloway, Feb. 1685.
He also caused Thomas Machaffy, sick of a fever, to be taken out of his bed, and shot instantly in the parish of Straiton, in Carrick, January 1686,
He also shot Edward Macken, without any trial, meerly because he had a flint about him, February 1685.
Lr-Gen. William Drummond
Lieutenant General [William] Drummond, commanded John Murchy and Daniel Mackilwreek, to be immediately shot, after they were taken near Camonel in Carrick, anno 1685; and at the same time his soldiers shot Alexander Lin.
His son [Cornet Peter Inglis] killed one John Smith in Cunningham, in 1685; as also one James White, striking off his head with an ax, brought it to New-mills, and played at the football with it, anno 1685. He killed also one John Barrie, in Evandale, with his pass in his hand, April 1685.
The Laird of Steenhouse, Sir Robert Laurie of Maxweltown, and Craick of Stewarton, [>p.42.] urged Coronet [John] Baily’s party of Dragoons, to shoot William Smith of Hill, and refused to let him be buried in the Church-yard.
Sir Robert Griersn of Lag, with part of Claverhouse’s and Strachan’s men, surprised John Bell of Whiteside, David Haliday of Mayfield, Andrew Maccrabeit, James Crabeit, James Clement, and Robert Lennox of Irlinton, and barbarously killed them after quarters, without allowing them time to pray; which when John Bell of Whiteside begged, Sir Robert answered, What devil have you been doing, have you not prayed enugh these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, February 1685.
The said Laird of Lag did also hang Alexander Melluby, and John Gordon, at the Miltown of Air, without any trial, and caused them afterward to be hung on a tree, at the kirk of Iron Gray, where he left them hanging.
The number of those murdered thus, as above-said, without any legal process, is Seventy-eight.’
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