Swords of the Covenanters: In Lesmahagow Parish #History #Scotland


In the mid Nineteenth Century, several swords of the Covenanters were held in Lesmahagow parish, Lanarkshire.

‘At Neu[c]k is preserved a Spanish trombuco or shoulder gun, with brass barrel and bell-shaped mouth; a plug dirk, being the origin of the bayonet; a claymore (claid-neamh-more), and other swords; a drum used at Drumclog in 1679; and a flag under which the men of Lesmahagow rallied at that engagement. The flag is of dark blue silk, with a St Andrew’s cross, in white, sewed to the upper corner next the staff. In the centre is inscribed, in red capital letters, “For Lesmahagow.” It is believed to be of older date than Drumclog, being probably made 1640 to 1650, when the levies of militia forces, or musters, as they were then called, were raised by the Convention of Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland; the Presbyterian clergy of that period acting in a great measure as recruiting sergeants, their contingent being arranged in districts or parishes under a distinguishing flag.’

Neuck was the home of John White, a forfeited Covenanter and fugitive.

Map of Neuck

‘At Auchlochan is preserved a fine Andrea Ferrara sword, of the rose pattern, worn by one of the ancestors of the present proprietor, and who is elsewhere described as a valiant Covenanter.’

The image of Auchlochan at the top of this post, is the house where the sword was held. Due to the cost of refurbishment, it was demolished in 2014. It was not the seventeenth-century house that was replaced by the house pictured above.

Thomas Brown in Auchlochan is said to have been a Covenanter.

‘Thomas Steel of Auchlochan’, ‘John Carscallan in Auchlochan’, ‘Thomas Weir in Auchlochan’ and a ‘Thomas Brown, son to William Brown in Town-foot of Auchlochan’ all appear on the Fugitive Roll of 1684.

Map of Auchlochan

‘At Birkwood are no fewer than seven Andrea Ferraras, several of which are known, from authentic evidence, to have been unsheathed during the cruel persecution. One of them belonged to David Steel, whose name stands out so heroically among the Lesmahagow martyrs. It was long traditionally known to have been hid in a moss near Skellyhill, and at last was discovered by accident, buried to the hilt.’

David Steel was a leading figure in the Society people and was killed attempting to escape from Skellyhill in 1686.

‘Another [sword at Birkwood] was worn at Bothwell Bridge by John M’Wharrie, a younger brother of the Laird of Scorryholm. He was apprehended long after the battle, and hanged, together with a James Smith, in a field near Kirkintilloch, where a tombstone is erected over their graves.’

MacQuarrie and Smith were actually hanged in Glasgow and their bodies displayed on a gibbet near Inchbelle Bridge close to Kirkintilloch in 1683.

Map of Birkwood

Miscellaneous Relics
‘The late Mr. Gavin Dalzell, draper in Abbeygreen, had in his possession a sword which belonged to an Ayrshire Covenanter; […] Amongst the miscellaneous objects of antiquarian interest in the parish is a powder horn, used at Bothwell Brig, and preserved at Brakenrig;’ (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow Parish, 38-9.)

‘Brakenrig’ is now Brackenridge.

‘Robert Fleming, in Wester-Brackenrig’, and ‘George Jackson, in Brackenrig’, both appear on the Fugitive Roll of 1684.

Map of South Brackenridge

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Additional 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 30, 2017.

7 Responses to “Swords of the Covenanters: In Lesmahagow Parish #History #Scotland”

  1. Do we know what ever happened to the Lesmahagow Covenanter flag?

  2. Hi,

    Did you mean that the 17th century house has now been demolished and not the one at the top of the page which I can see from Google street views is still there and part of a Retirement Village or Care complex.

    Regards Malcolm Grant Hutton, Melbourne Australia

    PS Gt.Grandad James Currie Draffan was born in Lesmahagow.

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