The Pentland Rising of 1666: Executed at Irvine on 31 December #History #Scotland

Irvine Mercat Cross

Four days after he had executed seven of his rebel comrades at Ayr, Cornelius Anderson hanged and beheaded two more Covenanters in Irvine, probably at the mercat cross, on 31 December, 1666.

33. James Blackwood, servant to John Brown in Fenwick parish, Ayrshire.
No martyrs’ testimony has survived.

34. John MacCoul, son to John MacCoul in Carsphairn parish, Kircudbrightshire.
No martyrs’ testimony has survived.

As at other execution sites, they were probably executed in the burgh and their heads displayed nearby at Irvine’s mercat cross before they were spiked, probably on a burgh gate, for public display.

The mercat cross lay where the Kirkgate met the High Street and just before the town council building (now demolished) in the middle of the High Street.

A gravestone was erected to them in Irvine between 1702 and 1714, and was recorded in the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses. Today, it can be found at Irvine Old Parish Church.

After the Irvine executions, two more Covenanters were hanged and beheaded in Dumfries on 2 January


~ by drmarkjardine on December 31, 2018.

3 Responses to “The Pentland Rising of 1666: Executed at Irvine on 31 December #History #Scotland”

  1. […] days after the executions in Irvine, two more Covenanters were hanged and beheaded in Dumfries for their part in the Pentland Rising of […]

  2. Good morning,

    I have long enjoyed your informative and useful posts relating to the Covenanters since subscribing some years ago. I recently followed a link to your Theses and have just started reading. I am somewhat surprised and confused at a brief remark in your introduction which, if you were able to explain, I would be most obliged.

    It is as follows:

    The Societies’ story also has contemporary relevance. This thesis was begun prior to the public awareness of the ‘War on Terror’ and ‘global jihad’. It is not intended as a contribution to that debate, but as recent events have unfolded, some of the parallels seem unavoidable.

    I have come across some scurrilous and extremely ill-informed and frankly bigoted remarks on this subject in The National newspaper in recent times and am alarmed to see the sentiment – admittedly without explanation or qualification – in an academic historical paper. I would be greatly interested to hear your explanation if that was possible.

    With kind regards

    Rev David Campbell 35B Barnton Avenue West Edinburgh

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Dear David,

      Thank you for your kind remarks about the blog. I am alway humbled when people get in touch to say they have read the blog, even more amazed if my thesis is what has been read!

      After I wrote my thesis, I began to see that the account of the Killing Times of 1685 was very flawed. I began to pursue the matter via this blog.

      I hope it responds to new information, at least new to me I update old posts, as this is, as ever, a work in progress and an open work of history for the public as I want to expand knowledge of the Society people and their struggle no matter where people are coming from.

      There are myths that need to be punctured on both sides.

      The story of the Society people/Later Covenanters needs to be told.

      To directly address your question. There are parallels with both sides, as was, or is, the “War on Terror”. Violent repression, imprisoning people without charge, the use of intelligencers, rendition (from the Netherlands), the treason debate, the use of torture and military tactics. On the other side, radicalisation, justifying murder (in the face of repression) and how close to each other those networks were, like modern jihadists, or how they spread their message. I am trying not to judge.

      There were, or are, parallels we need to learn from on both sides.

      As for the newspaper article(s), which I have not read but get your point, they need to take that on board that historians should not be “fans with typewriters”. It is too easy. Then again, if a historian reaches a firm concluson via research, let them speak. You and others can dispute and debate. You are welcome to do that and I welcome that.

      Kindest regards,

      Mark Jardine

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