Where was ‘The Deer Slunk’ where the Wild Sweet Singers Hid in 1681? #History #Scotland

Darmead Monument Jon Morrice

As it is Christmas Day, let’s find a ditch in the midst of a Scottish moor near Shotts where the militant, radical and mainly-female Sweet Singers lay hidden … It is a bit of mystery. Where was it?

On the morning of 24 April, 1681, the Sweet Singers lay in a mysterious location known as ‘the Deer-slunk’:

‘That Sabbath Morning [24 April], John Gibb, David Jamie, Walter Ker, John Young, and Twenty six Women, were lying in the Dear-slunk, in Midst of a great flow Moss betwixt Clydsdale and Lothian, about a Mile distant [from Donald Cargill’s preaching].’ (Walker, BP, II, 17-18.)

Where was the Deer Slunk?
On 24 April, 1681, the militant Covenanter and field preacher, Donald Cargill, preached at Darmead. We know where the site of the field preaching was, as a monument stands there.

Map of Darmead

We know that the Sweet Singers were ‘in the Dear-slunk, in Midst of a great flow Moss betwixt Clydsdale and Lothian, about a Mile distant [from Darmead]’.

However, the Deer Slunk does not appear on any maps under that name. What does the name mean?

According to the Scots Dictionary, a ‘slunk’ is broadly defined as ‘a wet and muddy hollow, a soft, deep, wet rut in a road, a ditch, mire, slough’.

The Deer Slunk was clearly a “muddy hollow” or “ditch” where deer gathered in somewhere ‘in Midst of a great flow Moss betwixt Clydsdale and Lothian, i.e., on Darmead Muir.

We know that the Deer Slunk lay ‘about a Mile distant’ from the preaching site at Darmead.

If we look at modern maps, only one feature like that stands out on the Craig Burn, which is about a mile from the Darmead site.

Deer Slunk

It lies not far off the Climpy to Headlesscross road at the western tip of West Calder parish in Ednburghshire (i.e., just in the Lothians.)

Map of the Deer Slunk

Does that look like the Deer Slunk? Yes it does!

From the Deer Slunk, the Sweet Singers went armed to meet with Cargill. There would be fallout.

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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

Image of the Darmead Monument Copyright Jon Morrice

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~ by drmarkjardine on December 25, 2018.

One Response to “Where was ‘The Deer Slunk’ where the Wild Sweet Singers Hid in 1681? #History #Scotland”

  1. Mark, this is definitely a win for best Christmas message. Thank you for the Deer Slunk post.

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