Football with a Head, Newmilns Tower and the Killing Times #History #Scotland


The New Statistical Account on Newmilns Tower in the Killing Times of 1685:

‘This was Captain [John] Inglis’s head-quarters when in the district. In one of the expeditions of Inglis’ troop [of dragoons led by Cornet Peter Inglis] in the search of conventicles, eight men, who were discovered praying in the Black-wood, near Kilmarnock, were taken prisoners [in March, 1685]. One of them, it is said [called James White], was immediately executed, and soldiers in mockery kicked his head for foot-ball, along the Newmills public green!’

James White Little Blackwood

Map of Newmilns Tower

Inglis was about to shoot the others, when it was suggested to him that it would be prudent to get a written order from Edinburgh for the execution, The seven men, in the meantime, were confined to the old tower [of Newmilns]. But while the troop was absent on one of its bloody raids, with the exception of a small guard, a man named [John] Browning, from Lanfine, with others who had been with him at [the battle of] Airds Moss [in 1680], got large sledge hammers from the old smithy, (still in existence [at Darvel],) with which they broke open the prison doors, and permitted the Covenanters to escape. [Browning, aka., Brounen, was captured hiding at Priesthill on 1 May and hanged at Mauchline.]

John Law, (brother-in-law to Captain [John] Nisbet [of Hardhill],) was shot in this exploit, and is buried close to the wall of the tower.

John Smith Cunningham

The dragoons soon went in pursuit of the prisoners, but they had reached the heather, and there no cavalry could pursue them. The soldiers, however, having ascertained that John Smith of Croonan had given the runaways food, went to Smith’s house, and, meeting him at his own door, shot him dead! Within a short period [before 1845] his grave was to be seen in the garden of the old farm-house [at Cronan].’ (NSA, V, 838.)

Map of Cronan marking garden

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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 March 30, 2018.

2 Responses to “Football with a Head, Newmilns Tower and the Killing Times #History #Scotland”

  1. […] cited a traditional story in the New Statistical Account of 1845 for what happened to James Smith. However, that story – of giving food to escapees after the […]

  2. […] Later Traditions of John Smith Norman MacLeod, the minister of Loudoun parish, writing in the New Statistical Account in 1845, placed his death in the context of an attack to rescue prisoners on Newmilns […]

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