How the Covenanters of the Killing Times got their Gravestones #History #Scotland

Old Mortality 2

The 1701 general meetings of the Cameronians decided to record and mark the graves of the martyrs of the Killing Times of 1685. From the resolutions passed in the meetings below, it appears that two projects for honouring the martyrs ran in parallel. First, discovery of where the martyrs were buried and the erection of headstones on their graves with a suitable inscription. Second, the ongoing gathering of information which was eventually used in A Cloud of Witnesses in 1714.

The resolutions of 1701 were not primarily a search to discover who the martyrs were. Much of the key information which ended up inscribed upon many of the early martyr graves came from a list in Alexander Shields’ A Short Memorial published in 1690, which was based on information gathered in the late 1680s. Shields’ list essentially gave the names of the martyrs, who was deemed responsible for their deaths and where and when they died.

One way that we can tell that Shields was the source for some of the details in the inscriptions is that on occasion they included typographic errors in the published list without checking Shields’ errata.

Shields’ list was more or less reproduced by the Cameronians in Cloud of Witnesses in 1714. It was also recycled by George Ridpath in An Answer to the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence of 1693. Shields and/or Cloud of Witnesses were also the source for Daniel Defoe’s “list” published in 1717.

The main contribution of the resolutions passed in 1701 was to establish the location of the martyrs’ graves and to mark them with gravestones. It was that work that informed a list of ‘epitaphs or inscriptions’ attached to the end of Cloud of Witnesses in 1714, which was modified and added to in later editions.

Without the Cameronian resolutions of 1701, we would probably know very little about where the dead of the Killing Times were buried.

Some notes on the resolutions at the Cameronian’s general meetings in 1701 are as follows:

23 General Meeting at Friarminnan, 18 June, 1701.

Hugh Mathie summoned to the next general meeting.

Concluded that all the societies and shire correspondences diligently search ‘for all the graves of the Myrtyrs and their names in particular where they ly, in order for putting ane Remark of Honour upon these graves and this to be taken to Consideration until the next Gen: Meeting.’

Those who were to comply with the Collector of the General meeting were Robert Speirs, Thomas Gillespie, Robert Maxwell (Renfrewshire) and Robert Hamilton.

Mr. Robert Smith was to write a letter to ‘our friends’ in both England [probably the society in Newcastle] and Ireland.

24 General Meeting at Crawfordjohn, 29 October, 1701.
Concluded that all the correspondences ‘provide and make ready Stones as signs of honour to be set upon the graves of the Martyers as soon as possible and also the names of the forsid Martyers with the speaches and Testimony and by whom they were Martyred or Killed in houses or fields, contrey or Citie as far as possible to be brought to the next Gen: Meeting in order for their Epitephs and likewise an account of those Martyrs and Behaviour the time of their Marterdom.’

Members chosen for the committee, later held at Biggar, and a conference with ‘Eskdalemuir’:
James Mundell [in Tinwald parish].
William Stuart [in Galloway].
Joseph Francis, in Irvine, Ayrshire.
‘Robert Munnell’ [or Robert Maxwell? (Renfrewshire)].
Francis Graham.
Mr. James Kid [in the Lothians].
James Currie, in Pentland.
James Olipher, who was possibly the James Olipher banished in 1685.
Robert Hamilton [in Lanarkshire].

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Picture: Copyright © University of Edinburgh ‘Old Mortality and [Steel engraving by W. H. Lizars after a drawing by William Allan of a scene from Scott’s novel Old Mortality] | William Home Lizars. 1820. Licensed for reuse.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free 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

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~ by drmarkjardine on June 8, 2016.

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