Blue on Blue: The Covenanter who Shot a Covenanter #History #Scotland

•December 31, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Semple Old Dailly 1685

In the annals of the Killing Times of 1685, Alexander Ferguson of Kilkerran is remembered for shooting dead John Semple, one of the Society people, at Eldington in April. What has not been noticed in the accounts of his death is that Kilkerran, who was about 70 when he fired the shot, had been imprisoned for presbyterian dissent a few years earlier …

In the records of Edinburgh Tolbooth under 15 March, 1682, is the following:

‘His Royall Highnes his Maties heigh Comissioner and lords of Counsell haveing considered the petition off Alexr fergusson of Kilkeran prisiouner in ye tolbooth off Ed[inbu]r[gh] doe in regaird of his age & infirmittie & long imprisonment And that no persones insists agt him vpon ye grounds of his imprissonment Ordean ye Magistrats of Edr or Keiper of ye tolbooth of Edr to sett him at libertie’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, VIII, 121.)

Moderate presbyterians were complicit in the killing of some of the militant Society people.

For the story of the killing of John Semple, see here.

Image: Semple’s Grave at Old Dailly © Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.



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

•December 30, 2017 • 7 Comments


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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Alexander Hume Hanged at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross in 1682 #History #Scotland

•December 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Under 29 December, 1682:

Alex[ande]r Home portiouner of Home hanged at the [mercat] cross of Edr for treason & rebellion’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, VIII, 142.)

The Gallows Speech of Alexander Hume, Executed at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross on 29 December, 1682:

‘Men And Brethren,—There is a great confluence of people here at this time, and I fain hope there are some amongst you that desire to be edified by the last words of a dying man;—which shall be but few, because I do not think or judge myself qualified, to enlarge upon any thing I have to say, as need requires and some might expect; and moreover, the time allowed is but short.

And now I am come here to lay down my life, and I bless the Lord that I am not to lay it down as an evil-doer; and albeit I be a sinful man, as others are, by nature, yet through his grace, I hope I am planted in Jesus Christ,—in whom I have redemption and remission of sins through his blood, and am separated from the generation of unbelievers. Free love only hath made the difference, and happily hath ordered it so, that I have been born within the church, where the blessed device of the gospel hath been discovered, and the means of salvation made effectual for converting and building me up in grace, and begetting in me the hope of that glory and redemption which I am now going to possess.

The ground of my sentence is the alleged converse I had with the party that took the castle of Hawick, in the year 1679;—the probation whereof was not clear, and from which the verdict of the assize did materially differ, as is evident from the witnesses’ subscribed depositions, and the recorded verdict of the said assize;—the equity and justice whereof I leave to God, and all unbiassed persons to judge.

I need not be ashamed to live, (as through his grace I am not ashamed to die,) and here I dare say, it has been my study to keep a conscience void of offence towards God, and also towards man. The world represents me as seditious and disloyal, but God is my witness, and my own conscience, of my innocence in this matter; I am loyal and did ever judge obedience unto lawful authority my duty, and the duty of all Christians; I was never against the king’s just power and greatness, and this I commend to all that hear me this day; but all a Christian doth must be of faith, for what clasheth with the command of God cannot be our duty, and I wish the Lord may help the king to do his duty to the people, and the people to do their duty to the king.

It doth minister no small peace and joy to me this day, that the Lord hath set his love upon me, one of Adam’s unworthy posterity, and has given me the best experience of his grace working in my heart, whereby he hath inclined me to look towards himself, and make choice of him for my soul’s everlasting portion. It is the Lord Jesus, and he alone, who is my rock, and the strength and stay of my soul. All my own righteousness I do utterly renounce, as a garment too short for me, yea, as filthy rags. I die a protestant and presbyterian this day, adhering to the holy Scriptures, and work of reformation from popery and prelacy; according to the engagements personal or national lying on me; and I do leave my testimony against all the steps of defection there from, either in doctrine, worship, or government, and all the encroachments made upon the kingdom and privileges of Jesus Christ, and whatever is against the life and power of godliness.

It was the glory and happiness of our land, that the Lord Jesus Christ made choice of us, to dwell in the midst of us by his gospel, and the ordinances thereof, the precious symbols of his presence, by which we had the advantage of many, if not of all the churches about us. But oh and alas I how far are we degenerated, and what contempt of this precious gospel are we become guilty of? We have not received the love of God in our hearts, nor improved him for growth and progress in holiness; in place whereof all manner of impiety and naughtiness does abound, which I fear will provoke the holy and jealous God to send many heavy judgments on the whole land, whereby it may be laid utterly desolate without an inhabitant. ‘Tis to be feared that these things may turn this church into a den of idolatry, and provoke the Beloved to put a bill of final divorce into our harlot mother’s hand. O! what cause is there to fear, that this people, partly through their own ignorance, and partly through the unfaithfulness and delusion of their pretended teachers, shall return again in multitudes into the darkness and superstition of popery, from which the Lord in his mercy delivered our fathers. O! that the Lord would give repentance to this generation, that the evil day might be prevented. Be exhorted to turn from sin, and make your acquaintance and peace with God in time, which is not so easy a work as many apprehend, and who wants his own challenge for negligence in this matter? People love to defer this great concernment until it be too late, unhappily preferring the pleasures of sin to the favour of God, and all the expectations of the saints within or beyond time. Was there ever a generation wherein so many sad prognostics of divine wrath, upon its near approach, did so much abound amongst men of all ranks and capacities of whom far other things were expected, and I am sure, solemnly thereunto obliged, no less than those who have suffered at their hands upon that account ?—which cannot but highly aggravate sin, heighten and hasten judgment beyond ordinary,—which I pray the Lord may prevent. He knows I desire not the evil day; I would exhort the Lord’s people to study much nearness to God, and oneness among themselves, that being of one mind and one spirit, they may stand fast for the faith o the gospel, which is in such palpable hazard this day, as all who have but half an eye may see. I cannot but be sensible of the sharpness and severity of my sentence, which, after strict inquiry, will be found to be as hard measure as any have met with before me: which seems to flow from some other thing than what law and justice could allow I wish, I may be the last that may be thus dealt with. I question not but if competent time had been given, that application might have been made unto his majesty,—his clemency would not have been wanting in this case. Nevertheless, I bless the Lord, I find it in my heart to forgive all men, even as I desire to be forgiven, and obtain mercy in that day; and if there be any at whose door my blood may more directly lie than others, I pray the Lord to forgive them; and now I wish it may be well with the land when I am gone. My conscience bears me witness, I ever studied the good of my country; I hope I shall be no loser that I have gone so young a man off the stage of this world, seeing I am to make so blest an exchange, as to receive eternal life, the crown of glory, the near and immediate fruition of the blessed Father, Son,and Holy Ghost, in place of a short, frail, and miserable life here below. I bless his name he made me willing to take share with his persecuted people, for I hope I shall also share with them in their consolations, when he shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and they shall suffer no more, but reign with him in his kingdom.

I am shortly to be clothed upon with my house from above, and that city that hath foundations; I shall sin no more. O desirable condition! when beyond all hazard of offending God any more, I shall be capable both of serving God, and enjoying him more: I shall wander and toil no more, having reached that harbour of eternal rest.

I now contentedly take my leave of the world. Farewell all enjoyments, earthly pleasures, and contentments: Farewell friends and relations, in whom I had much satisfaction: Farewell my dear wife and children, dear indeed unto me, though not so dear as Christ, for whom I now willingly suffer the loss of all things, and yet am no loser! I leave them on the tender mercies of Christ. Now, welcome blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; welcome innumerable company of angels, and spirits of just men made perfect: welcome celestial city; welcome endless joy I And now, O Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, Lord Jesus receive my soul!

Alexander Hume.’ (Cloud of Witnesses and Naphtali, 424-7.)

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The “Covenanters’ Hideout” near Cannonholm, Lesmahagow #History #Scotland

•December 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Cannonholm Farm

The Covenanters are often said to have hidden in gorges or in man-made caves. What was rumoured to have been one lay on the Hallhill Burn near Cannonholm Farm near Craignethan Castle. The evidence suggests that it was probably not used by the Covenanters, but it does sound like a curious construction and does not appear, as far as I can tell, on the Canmore database.

No exact location is given for it and the map references below are approximate.

Map of Hallhill Burn and Cannonholm Farm

‘At Hallhill burn, near the farm of Connalholm [i.e., Cannonholm], there is a curious gorge, which will amply repay a visit. The rivulet appears to have been roofed over for about 20 yards; the supports upon which the roof rested being inserted in sockets cut out of the solid stone, three pairs on each side, and directly opposite each other. Towards the lower end, an additional prop rested in a hole cut out of the rock in the bed of the stream. No tradition relating to this singular spot is known to exist, but it is probable that at the period when English “raids” were common, cattle may have been driven into this gorge for safety, and the place would be rendered still more secret if the wooden roof were neatly covered with turf. It has been suggested that it may have served as a place of concealment for the Covenanters; but if so, it is remarkable that no record or tradition of the fact should have been handed down.’ (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow Parish, 40-1.)

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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

A Ritual Execution in Lesmahagow in August, 1685 #History #Scotland

•December 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment


After the execution of Richard Rumbold on 26 June, 1685, the militant Society people struck back with a ritual execution in the place where he was captured, Lesmahagow. In August:

‘At this tyme, we had ane account of a barbarous murder committed by the phanatique Whigs at Lesmahaigo, on Mark Ker, bailzie their, for assisting to take Rumbold: it was said a sone, freind, or servant of Rumbold’s was with them, they called for his pistoll and whinger which he had tane at his disarming, and with the whinger rip’t up his belly, and took out his heart, as Rumbold was used.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 217.)

Rumbold’s brutal execution in Edinburgh had involved his heart being removed.

According to a history of Dalserf parish, Baillie Mark Kerr lived at Hailstonemyre, near Larkhall. That may have been the site of the killing.

Map of Hailstonemyre

According to Howie of Lochgoin:

‘Mark Kerr, one of the principal actors, and who said to wound him after he was taken, and who, it is said, got his sword, was afterwards killed on a summer-evening [in August, 1685] at his own door, (or run through by the same sword,) by two young men who called themselves Colonel Rombol[d]’s sons; and, as it is said, went off without so much as a dog moving his tongue against them’. (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 55.)

Providential Judgements on those who took Rumbold
In addition to Kerr, Five men from Arran’s Militia were involved in the capture of Rumbold. They were rewarded by King James VII:

‘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.)

Presumably, those five Lanarkshire men were considerably richer when the reward, the equivalent of £1,200 Scots each, was paid to them. However, John Howie of Lochgoin recorded that they all suffered providential judgments against them in the years that followed.

Craignethan Castle

Mair’s Fall at Criagnethan Castle
‘George Mair, being abroad [after the capture], when returning [home], wandered and fell over Craignethen craigs, got one of his limbs broke, and stuck in a thicket, and when found next day, was speechless; and so died in that condition.’ (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 56.)

Mair was injured by a fall over Craignethan Craigs at Craignethan Castle.

Map of Craignethan Craigs

‘George Mair of Pouneille, valued to £130 [Scots], also tenant n 82 lib. valuation in Milton, being taken at the highest capacity as heritor’ appears on the Poll Tax record for Lesmahagow parish of 1695, as do his wife Margaret Weir and son James Mair. (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow Parish, 169.)

Mair was an upstanding member of the local community and presumably died after 1704, as on 2 October, 1704, ‘George Mair in Poneels’, the laird of Craignethan and other heritors attended a meeting at Lesmahagow Kirk with Thomas Linning regarding the provision of a manse. (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow Parish, 145-6.)

He lived Poneil in Lesmahagow parish

Map of Poneil

Wilson and the Loft
No location was given for the collapse of a loft that dealt a mortal blow to one Wilson:

‘One —– Wilson was killed by the fall of a loft.’ (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 56.)

If Wilson sank his reward into property (which is likely) and lived in Lesmahagow parish (which is possible), he may appear on the Poll Tax roll of 1695. It lists several individuals of that name.

Netherton Hamilton

At the Netherton of Hamilton
‘Another in Hamilton (commonly called the long lad of the Nethertown) got his leg broken, which no physician could cure; and so corrupted, that scarce any person, for the stink, could come near him’. (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 56.)

The Netherton Cross formerly stood in Hamilton Low Parks and lay close to where the Netherton lay in Hamilton parish.

Birkwood Blackwood Kirkmuirhill

Weir in Birkwood
‘[William Weir of Birkwood (fl.1691-1702)?] fell from his horse, and was killed; and his son, [William Weir, younger of Birkwood (fl.1702?] not many years ago, was killed by a fall down a stair in drink after a dre[d]gy.’ (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 56.)

A dispute over church seating between William Weir of Birkwood and the laird of Blackwood was mediated by Thomas Linning in late 1691. He also carried at call to a minister in 1702. (Greenshields, Annals of Lesmahagow Parish, 108, 130, 138, 143.)

Weir of Birkwood lived at Nether Birkwood, near Kirkmuirhill in Lesmahagow parish.

Map of Nether Birkwood        Street View of Nether Birkwood

“Gavin Hamilton”
The final receiver of the reward is disputed in the sources. According to Lord Fountainhall, ‘———– Hamilton of Raploch younger’ led the small group of Arran’s militia that captured Rumbold, i.e., William, the eldest son of the sheriff-depute of Lanarkshire. However, other versions of the text omit the word ‘younger’, which may indicate that it was his father, the notorious Gavin Hamilton of Raploch. It is also possible that it was Raploch’s other son, Gavin Hamilton of Hill, who captured Rumbold.

Gavin Hamilton of Hill was alive, married and had children in the Poll Tax roll of 1695.

According to Howie of Lochgoin, who wrote decades later:

‘Gavin Hamilton, who got his buff coat, (out of which Rumbol’s blood could by no means be washed), lived a good while after a wicked and vicious life; yet his name and memory is become extinct, and the place of his habitation is razed out, and become a plain field.’ (Howie, The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, 56.)

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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


A Wind So Strong It Broke A Standing Stone, 21 December, 1674 #History #Scotland

•December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment


A twelve-foot standing stone had stood in Easter Ross for over three thousand years until the great storm of 21 December, 1674:

‘The wind here, at Tarbut, Dec 21, 1674, was extraordinary: it broke a standard-stone, that stood as an obelisk, about 12 feet high, 5 broad, and nearly 2 feet in thickness. Whole woods were overturned, being torn up from the roots, though in a low situation. The wind blew from the north-west, and for a long time continued westerly.’(Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, II, 210-211.)

Today, the great stone is missing. There appears to be no sign of a standing stone of that size on any map, but it may still lie buried there.

The Reverend Law of Easter Kilpatrick also noted the widespread effects of the ‘great winds’: ‘This year, 1674, ends in a stormy winter; great winds in it, great scaith at sea, and great loss of ships.’ (Law, Memorialls, 73.)

In the following year, a ‘hurricane’ struck Scotland in September.

It may seem strange that a storm could break a standing stone two feet thick, but in 1879 it may have happened again at the time of the Tay Bridge Disaster.


The report of the breaking of the standing stone came from George Mackenzie of Tarbat, later known as Viscount Tarbat, who purchased Milnton Castle in 1656 and renamed it Tarbat.

‘Sir George MacKenzie of Tarbet when he purchased the castle and estate of Milntown, changed the name to Tarbat, after his own title, he being then a Lord of Session under the title of Lord Tarbet. But the peasantry to this day call the place in Gaelic “Balie-Mhuillinn Andrea”. The only remains of the old castle still extant are the door of the vault and the high terraces near the place where it stood. In 1728 Viscount Tarbet contracted with masons to “throw down Munro’s old work”, clear the foundation and build a new house. Some of the oldest inhabitants of the village of Milntown still remember hearing their parents, some of whom assisted in razing Milntown Castle, say, no doubt, with a certain amount of exaggeration, that the hall was so large “that the music fiddles at one end could not be heard at the other”. The castle is said to have been the most elegant and highly finished in the North, strikingly adorned with turrets. It stood near the side of the present mansion.’ (Mackenzie, History of the Munros of Fowlis (1898), 289.)

New Tarbat

New Tarbat, which was demolished in 1787 and relaced with a Georgian house.

Map of Milnton Castle

A tree planted by Mary, Queen of Scots, was buried there:

‘In the grounds near the old building [of the castle] were many fine trees. One large beech was called “Queen Mary’s tree”, supposed to have been planted by that Queen while on a visit to Beauly Priory. It was more than 100 feet high; is said to have required a whole week to cut it down, and to have been so heavy and difficult to remove that it had to be buried where it fell.’ (Mackenzie, History of the Munros of Fowlis (1898), 289.)

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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

A Republican Martyr Executed in Edinburgh in 1685 #History #Scotland

•December 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Rumbold Executed

After the republican Richard Rumbold was hanged in Edinburgh, an account of his death appeared in print which contained the line that “none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him”. A century later, Thomas Jefferson would famously rework those words from Rumbold’s gallows speech when describing the virtues of a republic over a kingdom: “I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.”

It is not known who wrote the account, below, of Rumbold’s last hours, but they may have been in Edinburgh on 26 June, 1685, as it contains intriguing details. However, when one reads the account, it is clear that who ever wrote it actually alleged that Rumbold had, in part, defended monarchical government: ‘God hath wisely ordered different stations for men in the world, as I have already said; kings having as much power as to make them great, and the People as much property as to make them happy.’

Did Rumbold say that? It is not clear, but it either contradicts, or adds to, the version of events found in Wodrow and Fountainhall of his hanging.

The Last Speech of Coll. Richard Rumbold, with several Things that passed at his Tryal, 26 June, 1685.

About 11 of the clock [on 26 June] he was brought from the castle of Edenburgh, to the Justices court, in a great chair, on men’s shoulders; where at first he was asked some questions, most of which he answered with silence; at last said, he humbly conceived, it was not necessary for him to add to his own accusation, since he was not ignorant they had enough already to do his business; and therefore he did not design to fret his conscience at that time with answering questions.

After which, his libel being read, the court proceeded in usual manner; first asking him, if he had any thing to say for himself before the jury closed? His answer was, he owned it all, saving that part, of having designed the King’s death; and desired all present, to believe the words of a dying man; he never directly nor indirectly intended such a villainy; that he abhorred the very thoughts of it; and that he blessed God, he had that reputation in the world, that he knew none that had the impudence to ask him the question; and he detested the thoughts of such an action; and he hoped all good people would believe him, which was the only way he had to clear himself; and he was sure, that this truth should be one day made manifest to all men.

He was again asked, if he had any exceptions against the jury? He answered, no; but wished them to do as God and their consciences directed them. Then they withdrew, and returned their verdict in half an hour, and brought him in guilty.

The sentence followed, for him to be taken from that place to the next room, and from thence to be drawn on a hurdle, betwixt two and four of the clock, to the [mercat] cross of Edenburgh, the place of execution, and there to be hang’d, drawn and quartered.

He received his sentence with an undaunted courage and chearfulness. Afterwards he was delivered into the town-magistrates hands; they brought to him two of their divines, and offered him their assistance upon the scaffold; which he altogether refused, telling them:
That if they had any good wishes for him, he desired they would spend them in their own closets, and leave him now to seek God in his own way.

He had several offers of the same kind by others, which he put off in like manner. He was most serious and fervent in prayer the few hours he lived (as the senturies observed, who were present all the while.)

The hour being come, he was brought to the place of execution [at the mercat cross], where he saluted the people on all sides of the scaffold, and after having refreshed himself with a cordial out of his pocket, he was supported by two men while he spoke to the people in these words:

Gentlemen and Brethren, It is for all men that come into the world once to dye, and after death to judgment; and since death is a debt that all of us must pay, it is but a matter of small moment, what way it be done; and seeing the Lord is pleased in this manner to take me to himself, I confess, something hard to flesh and blood, yet, blessed be His name, who hath made me not only willing, but thankful for his honouring me to lay down the life he gave, for his name; in which, were every hair in this head and beard of mine a life, I should joyfully sacrifice them for it, as I do this: And providence having brought me hither, I think it most necessary to clear my self of some aspersions laid on my name;

and first, that I should have had so horrid an intention of destroying the King [James VII] and his brother [Charles II].

[Here he repeated what he had said before to the justices on this subject.]

It was also laid to my charge, that I was antimonarchial. It was ever my thoughts, that kingly government was the best of all, justly executed: I mean, such as by our ancient laws? That is, a king and a legal free-chosen Parliament. The king having, as I conceive, power enough to make him great, the People also as much property at to make them happy; they being as it were contracted to one another: And who will deny me, that this was not the just constituted government of our nations? How absurd is it then for men of sense to maintain, that tho’ the one party of this contract breaketh all conditions, the other should be obliged to perform their part? No; this error is contrary to the law of God, the law of nations, and the law of reason. But as pride hath been the bait the Devil hath catched most by, ever since the Creation, so it continues to this day with us. Pride caused our first parents to fall from the blessed estate wherein they were created; they aiming to be higher and wiser than God allowed, which brought an everlasting curse on them and their posterity. It was pride caused God to drown the Old World. And it was Nimrod’s pride in building Babel, that caused that heavy curse of division of tongues to be spread amongst us, as it is at this day. One of the greatest afflictions the church of God groaneth under, That there should be so many divisions during their pilgrimage here; but this is their comfort, that the day draweth near, whereas there is but one shepherd, there shall be but one Sheep fold. It was therefore in the defence of this party, in their just rights and liberties, against Popery and slavery—

[At which words they beat the drums; to which he said:]

They need not trouble themselves; for he should say no more of his mind on that subject, since they were so disingenious, as to interrupt a dying man, only to assure the people, he adhered to the true Protestant religion, detesting the erroneous opinions of many that called themselves so; and I dye this day in the defence of the ancient laws and liberties of these nations: And though God, for reasons best known to himself, hath not seen it fit to honour us, as to make us the instruments for the deliverance of his people; yet as I have lived, so I dye in the faith, that he will speedily arise for the deliverance of his Church and People. And I desire all of you to prepare for this with speed. I may say, this is a deluded generation, vail’d with ignorance, that though Popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; tho’ I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him; not but that I am well satisfied, that God hath wisely ordered different stations for men in the world, as I have already said; kings having as much power as to make them great, and the People as much property as to make them happy.

And to conclude; I shall only add my wishes for the salvation of all men, who were created for that end.

After ending these words, he prayed most fervently near three quarters of an hour, freely forgiving all men, even his greatest enemies, begging most earnestly for the deliverance of Sion from all her persecutors, particularly praying for London, Edenburgh and Dublin, from which the Streams run that rule God’s People in these three nations.

Being asked some hours before his execution, if he thought not his sentence dreadful? He answered, he wished he had a limb for every town in Christendom.’

For more on Richard “Hannibal” Rumbold, see here.

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