Thomas Douglas Spotted & Hepburn’s field preachings near Mount Lothian #History #Scotland
In July, 1680, James Currie met Thomas Douglas soon after the latter’s acrimonious departure from Richard Cameron and his followers. Currie rode south with Douglas. At the same time, John Hepburn held a field preaching near Mount Lothian in Edinburghshire. Currie and Douglas did not attend Hepburn’s preaching.
‘After Mr. [Thomas] Douglas came from Mr. [Richard] Cameron [in early July 1680], I rode south with him and heard Mr. [John] Hepburn preach; and that Sabbath there was a meeting at Mount Lowdon [i.e., Mount Lothian]; but there came a company of dragoons and scattered the meeting. And there were several taken, but they did get away again; and the minister escaped by hiding himself among the corn. And so I, being absent that day, escaped; and all the preachings we had [in Edinburghshire] were never scailled with troopers except that day. And for all this while (as I said), I was still hearing the [Presbyterian] ministers, but with a sore heart.’ (Passages in the Lives of Helen Alexander and James Currie of Pentland, 29.)
In 1680, Hepburn preached near Mount Lothian in Penicuik parish, Edinburghshire. The preaching may have taken place a short way to the south of Mount Lothian at Mount Lothian Moss and Cockmuir, that respectively lie in the parishes of Penicuik and Temple, and by the march boundary with Eddleston parish in Peeblesshire.
Currie also recalled that Hepburn returned to the area and preached in Temple parish in 1683:
‘In the year 1683, Mr. Donald Cargil being dead [since July 1681], we had then no publick preachings; for those [moderate-presbyterian] ministers that were for preaching in houses, laid by, and keeped up no publick Testimony, and some turned merchants. Only Mr. John Rae [captured in early 1683] used sometimes to come to Temple Parish, and sometimes Mr. John Hepburn. I heard them when I heard none of the rest that were condemning the Testimony that was keeped up by these Declarations. And the last of these I heard, for ought I know, was Mr. Hepburn, at Malslie [aka. Mausly], when he reckoned those that had casten off the Magistrates and Ministers, amongst proud doers, though at this time these called Magistrates were turned tyrants. About this time I began to joyn with the [United] Societys that had withdrawn from the generality of the Ministers, upon the account of their complyance with the enemy in not going forth to preach faithfully and freely as they had done formerly. For I had continued with them for some more than three years [i.e., since c.1680], hearing them with little satisfaction; for, as I said, I had sad debeats with them; and this I write that it may be known we [in the Society people] did not withdraw from hearing without ground; for many a sore heart I and others had with them. So I did withdraw from hearing for a little time, and joyned in Societys about Pentland, and the Temple Parish, having great debeats with my old and dear comerads, especially one who was very dear to me; for though he was strict against the Indnlgetices (year 1669), and the Indemnity (year 1679), yet that unhappy difference fell in among us about withdrawing and not withdrawing from the Ministers, as they were then stated, for there were none of them keeping up a publick Testimony, by preaching in any place where they were called, but they lurked and laid by.’ (Passages in the Lives of Helen Alexander and James Currie of Pentland, 30.)
Malslie, or Mausly, now Mauldslie/Mauldslie Hill, lies in Temple parish by the shire boundary with Berwickshire. Mauldslie may have been an ideal site for a field preaching as lies directly below the Moorfoot Hills. Rough boggy is located around it and above it moorland begins on the crest the of the hills.
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