The Killing Times of 1685: The list of the Dead in Cloud of Witnesses
In 1714, a list of Covenanters who were summarily executed in the fields during the Killing Times appeared in A Cloud of Witnesses. The list was based on the list found in Alexander Shields’ A Short Memorial (1690) and nearly reproduces Shields’ list in full with some minor textual changes.
All the lists state that ‘seventy-eight’ died in the Killing Times. However, Cloud actually lists seventy-nine dead.
The following version of the list comes from the 1794 edition of Cloud of Witnesses, which predates the corrected version with expanded texts that appeared in later, nineteenth-century editions.
[1. Crossmichael parish.]
‘John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount of Dundee, in the year 1682. with a party of his troop, pursued William Graham in the parish of … [Crossmichael] in Galloway, making his escape from his mother’s house, and overtaking him, instantly shot him dead.
[2.-7. Mauchline parish.]
Item, The said Claverhouse, together with the earl of Dunbarton and lieutenant-general Douglas, caused Peter Gillies, John Bryce, Thomas Young, (who was taken by the laird of Lee,) William Fiddison and John Buiening to be put to death upon a gibbet, without legal trial or sentence, suffering them neither to have a bible, nor to pray before they died, at Mauchlein, 1685.
[8.-11. Girthon parish.]
Item, The said Claverhouse, coming to Galloway, in answer to the viscount of Kenmure’s letter, with a small party, surprised Robert Stewart, John Grier, Robert Ferguson and James MacMichael, and instantly shot them dead at the water of Dee in Galloway, December, 1684. Their corps being buried, were at his own command raised.
[12. Muirkirk parish.]
Item. Claverhouse, in May 1685, apprehended John Brown in Priesthill, in the parish of Moorkirk, in the shire of Air, being at his work, about his own house, and shot him dead before his own door in presence of his wife.
[14.-18. Glencairn parish.]
Colonel James Douglas, brother to the duke of Queensberry, together with lieutenant John Livingston, and a party with them, surprises five men in a cave at Ingleston in the parish of Glencairn, being betrayed by Andrew Watson; Their names were, John Gibson, Robert Grierson, Robert Mitchel, James Bennoch and John Edgar, all which were at the command of the said Colonel Douglas brought forth and immediately shot dead, without giving them so much lime as to recommend their souls unto God. One John Ferguson, sometimes a professed friend, thrust one of them through, supposing he was not dead: This was done in the year 1685.
[20.-25. Minnigaff parish.]
Item, The said colonel or lieutenant-general James Douglas, with lieutenant Livingston and coronet James Douglas [an error for Dundas], surprised six men at prayer at the Calduns in the parish of Minigaf; viz James Dun, Robert Dun, Andrew Mackale, Thomas Stevenson, John Maclude, and John Stevenson, in January, 1685.
[26. Kells parish.]
Item, The said colonel James Douglas caused take Andrew Macquhan out of his bed, sick of a fever, and carry him to Newtown of Galloway, and the next day shot him dead, the foresaid year 1685.
[27. Cumnock parish.]
Item, The said colonel or lieutenant-general Douglas commanded Thomas Richard an old man of seventy years, to be shot in time of prayer; (he was betrayed and taken by Peter Inglis) Anno 1685, at Cumnock in Kyle.
[28. Borgue parish.]
Captain [Thomas] Douglas finding one … [Robert] Mowat a taylor, merely because he had some pieces of lead belonging to his trade, took him, and without any further trial shot him dead, between Fleet and Dee in Galloway.
[29. Kelton parish.]
Item, The said captain Douglas and his men, finding one Achenleck, a deaf man, for not making answer, thro’ defect of his hearing instantly shot him dead off horseback, near Carlinwork, Anno 1685.
[30. Durisdeer parish.]
Sir Robert Dalziel and lieutenant Straton, having apprehended, Daniel M’Michael, not able to flee, by reason of his being sick, and detained him twenty sour hours prisoner, took him out and shot him at Dalveen, in the parish of Durisder in Nithsdale, January, 1685.
[31. Muirkirk parish.]
Item, The said captain Dalziel, and lieutenant Straton, with their men, sound William Adam hiding in a bush, and instantly killed him, at the Walwood in Kyle, February, 1685.
Captain [Alexander] Bruce, captain of dragoons, apprehended James Kirko, carried him to Dumfries, detained him prisoner one night, next day brought him south to the water sands, and without any process shot him dead. The dying man desired a little time to make his peace with God; The captain answered, oftener than once or twice, Devil a peace ye get more made up. Some gentlewomen coming to beg his life were hindered by one John Craig of Stewarton; the foresaid Dalziel’s second son was one of them that shot him, though without command, June 1685.
[33.-38. Kirkpatrick-Durham parish. Irongray parish.]
Item, The said captain Bruce surprised at Lochenkithil, in the parish of Kirkpatrick in Galloway, six men, and instantly killed dead four of them, viz. John Gordon, William Stewart, William Heron, and John Wallace, and carried the other two Edward Gordon and Alexander MacUbine prisoners, and the next day he and monstrous Lagg, without any trial caused hang them upon a growing tree near the kirk of Irongray, and left them there hanging, February 1685.
[39. Straiton parish.]
Item, The said captain Bruce and his men took out of his bed William [or Thomas] MacHassie sick of a fever, and shot him instantly, in the parish of Straton in Carrick, January 1685.
[40. Dailly parish.]
Item, James Douglas [i.e., Dundas] coronet of dragoons, commanded to shoot John Semple, essaying to escape out of a window, in the parish of Dellie, Anno 1685. Kilkerron shot him.
[41. Barr parish.]
Item, The said coronet Douglas [i.e., Dundas] apprehended Edward Mac Keen, and by search finding a flint stone upon him, presently shot him with, out any further trial, February 1685.
[42.-44. Colmonell parish. Kirkcowan parish.]
Lieutenant general Drummond commanded without any process of trial, John Murchie and Daniel Miklewrock to be instantly shot after they were taken, in the parish of Colmonel in Carrick, Anno 1685. At the same time his soldiers did shoot dead Alexander Lin.
[47. Fenwick parish.]
Item, The said Peter or Patrick Ingles killed one James White, struck off his head with an ax, brought it to Newmilns, and plaid at the foot-ball with it, he killed him at Littleblackwood the foresaid year 1685.
[49.-51. Cathcart parish.]
Major [John] Balfour, together with captain [James] Maitland and their party, apprehended at their work, Robert Tom, John Urie, and Thomas Cook, and instantly shot them at Pomadee near Glasgow, May 1685.
[59. Glencairn parish.]
The laird of Stenhouse, Sir Robert Laurie of Maxwelton, and John Craig of Stewartoun, did instigate and urge coronet [John] Bailie’s party of dragoons to shoot William Smith in Hill, after he had been prisoner, one night, (it was the day of Maxwelton’s daughter’s marriage), who also refused to let him be buried in the church yard,
This [John] Douglas of Stenhouse being a laird of mean estate, was advanced for such service as this, and his excessive harassing, spoiling, and fining of the people of God, and because he was a papist, to the honour of being secretary for Scotland to James VII. But the wicked’s honour is short lived, his name is extinct, having neither root nor branch, male or female, nor any remembrance left unto him.
The said [Robert] Laurie of Maxwelton’s steward reported that a cup of wine delivered that day into his hand, turned inte congealed blood; but be that as it will, himself died by a fall from his horse some years after.
[60. Eskdalemuir parish.]
Sir James Johnston of Westerhall, caused apprehend Andrew Hyslop in the parish of Hutton in Anandale, and delivered him up to Claverhouse, and never rested until he got him shot by Claverhouse’s troops; Claverhouse would have delayed it, but Westerhall was so urgent, that Claverhouse was heard say, that man’s blood shall be upon Westerhall. At length upon his urgency, Claverhouse ordered a Highland captain who was there to do it, but he refused; and drawing off his Highlanders to a convenient distance, swore, that her nain-sell would fight Claverhouse and all his dragoons first. Whereupon he caused three of his own dragoons do it, May 1685.
It is observable of this Westerhall, that he was once a great professor, and one who had sworn the covenant, and when the test was framed, he bragged that he was an actual covenanter, and scorned the test; but when he had the trial, he embraced it and became a bitter enemy to the work and people of God; and this man having been taken in his ground, he would have him shot, to give proof of his loyalty. He died about the revolution, in great torture of body by the gravel, and horror and anguish of conscience, insomuch that his cries were heard at a great distance from the house, as a warning to all such apostates.
[61.-65. Tongland parish.]
Sir Robert Grierson of Lagg having the command of a part of Claverhouse’s troop and Strachan’s dragoons, surprised John Bell of Whiteside, David Halliday portioner of Mayfield, Andrew M’Crabit, James Clement, and Robert Lenox of Irlintoun, and barbarously killed them after quarter, without time allowed to pray. When John Bell of Whiteside begged a little time to pray, Lagg answered, what devil have you been doing have ye not prayed enough these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, February 1685.
[66.-67. Twynholm parish.]
Item, The said laird of Lagg, with the earl of Anandale, having command of some troops of heritors, pursued another David Halliday and George Short, and apprehended and shot them, under cloud of night, in the parish of Twynhame in Galloway, Anno 1685.
The laird of Lagg, who was so wicked an oppressor and destroyer of the people of God, in Galloway and Nithisdale, is now a justice of the peace, notwithstanding his being excommunicate for his adultery and impenitent obstinacy.
[77. Evandale parish.]
Likewise William Paterson was shot at Streven, uncertain by whom. 1685.
[79. Sorn parish.]
John Reid, belonging sometimes to [Wallace of] Craigie’s troop, did, under cloud of night, kill by a shot, one George Wood, about sixteen-years old, without asking one question at him, in Tinkhorn-hill, in Kyle, June 1688.
In sum, their number amounts to seventy eight [, the actual number listed is 79].
Besides these cold blood murders, there were many killed at several skirmishes at Pentland, Bothwel, Airsmoss, &c. while sighting in their own defence, and the defence of the field meetings, the number whereof amounts to about 400, and some odds.’
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