“He Looked Alwayes for the Gibbet”: The Entry of Rumbold the Plotter into Edinburgh, 1685 #History #Scotland

The ripples from the capture of the notorious rebel and plotter Richard Rumbold in Lesmahagow spread out to Edinburgh and to the Monmouth Rising in England. He was brought to Edinburgh as a prisoner on 22 June, 1685.

Water Gate Edinburgh Holyrood

Edinburgh’s Water Gate (centre)

News of his being taken had quickly reached the Capital:

“June 22d, The council ordain the magistrates of Edinburgh, as soon as he comes to the water-gate, to put him in a cart, and cause the hangman put a rope about his neck, and the hangman’s man going before him leading the horse, Rumbold being fettered and bare headed; and captain Graham is to receive him with drums beating, and colours displayed, and carry him to the castle!” (Wodrow, History, IV, 314.)

Lord Fountainhall was probably an eyewitness to Rumbold’s entry:

‘Mr. Rumbold was brought in to Edinburgh on the 22 June, (that same day of the moneth on which Bothuelbridge was foughten [in 1679],) and, at the Watergate, was put upon a sled or hurdle, with a rope about his neck, and so drawen up to the Castle; he looked alwayes for the gibbet, thinking he was going instantly to be hanged;’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 190.)

Rumbold entered the city via the Water Gate, which lay at the bottom of the Canongate where it meets Calton Road beside Holyrood Palace. Immediately to the left of the Water Gate as he entered was the Guard House to Holyrood Palace where Gilbert McIlroy was held prisoner in July. It is clear that Rumbold was deliberately brought in that way to be taken on a sled up through the city to the Castle, as it would have been easier to bring him in from the West by any other gate. Rumbold’s humiliation was the public theatre of royal power.

Rumbold’s Capture in English Propaganda, 24 June
News of his capture also quickly reached England, where it was used for propaganda purposes. On 24 June, two days after Rumbold had entered Edinburgh, his taking was used to encourage James VII’s soldiers to capture the rebel Duke of Monmouth, who was then in arms in England:

‘The King […] to incouradge his souldiers, he declares, he will give the 5 militia men of Arran’s regiment, in Cliddisdale, who […] took Rumbold prisoner, the 500 lb. sterling he had promised, by his English declaration, for any to take him, and if they ware dead, ther wives, children, or nearest of kin, should get it sequally amongs them.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 203.)

The ‘Dead or Alive’ Proclamation on Rumbold’s Capture
A Scottish proclamation announcing Rumbold’s capture was issued on 24 June. It offered rewards for the capture ‘dead or alive’ of several other fugitive Argyll rebels:

‘Sir John Cochran, sometime called Sir John Cochran of Ochiltree, Patrick Hume, some time called Sir Patrick Hume of Polwart, forfeited traitors’, the sons of Argyll and ‘[George] Pringle of Torwoodlee, Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, and each of them, the sum of eighteen hundred merks Scots money; [William] Denholm of Westshiels, and [John] Balfour, and [George] Fleming, murderers and assassins of the said late archbishop of St Andrews [in 1679] William Cleaveland, called captain Cleaveland [i.e., William Cleland], and [David] Stuart younger of Coltness, grandchild to Sir James Stuart [d.1681] sometime provost of Edinburgh, and each of them, one thousand merks money foresaid; for [Captain James?] Wisheart master of one of the ships who came alongst with the said arch traitor Archibald Campbell, five hundred merks, and for every fanatical preacher who was with the rebels, one thousand merks money foresaid.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 311n-312n.)

The day before the proclamation, the Lord Advocate was ordered to process Rumbold before the justiciary. His trial took place in Edinburgh on 26 June.

For more on Richard Rumbold, 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 December 16, 2017.

3 Responses to ““He Looked Alwayes for the Gibbet”: The Entry of Rumbold the Plotter into Edinburgh, 1685 #History #Scotland”

  1. […] On 22 June, Rumbold was publicly dragged through Edinburgh. […]

  2. […] Richard Rumbold was captured in Lesmahagow and dragged through the streets of Edinburgh, he faced trial and execution on 26 June, […]

  3. […] Nearly twenty years later, the rebel Richard Rumbold entered through the same gate. […]

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